Month: February 2014

Thought Control

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Most of the voluntary actions we do always start from one source: our brain. The brain even controls the involuntary actions of our physical body. It is the center of everything that no computer in the world can match in its complexity. On the nano level, it is even truly awesome how the brain works. And to think that it has been said, that we use only a small percentage of our brain.

In this 3 lbs organ, a lot of communication takes place. The brain has 200 billion neurons (which transmits electrical and chemical signals to each other) via synapses (structures that enable neurons to transmit – per wikipedia.com). There are 125 trillion synapses in the cerebral cortex alone.

It would be nice to continue discussing the scientific aspect and impressive complexity of our human brain but this post today is concerned how we use our brain in micro and bigger decisions, which lead to action.

Every action, including talking comes from a thought. Sometimes, the thought involved happened in a second or less, but still – it resulted in an action.

It would be a correct conclusion then that in order to have good actions and decisions, we should really guard our mind, or what we put into it. Am I right or am I thinking incorrectly? Smile

Would it be a correct assumption then that whatever comes in to our brain will affect it positively or negatively? Could the stimulus or learning result in something that would make our life better or worse?

If you answered yes to the above, then it is safe to say that we should guard our thoughts, right?

Did you even experience getting mad at someone or something and the more you thought about it, the more you become enraged? Then something else distracted you and minutes later (or maybe hours later), your priority is no longer the subject of your anger?

There are negative thoughts or angry thoughts that are not worth dwelling in because it affects us physically: blood pressure goes up, pulse start racing, blood vessels expanding, muscles contracting and the body getting stressed out. Thinking happy thoughts can change all of it.

Easier said than done, right?

Yes, but with enough repetition it can become a habit. One of the techniques I learned in changing our thought pattern is to do some very slow inhaling and exhaling while consciously relaxing your shoulders. Making the mind think of a happy, pleasant or peaceful setting or event reverses the negative effects.

In our daily thoughts, whenever some unpleasant idea or concern comes in, the idea is to let it go and not remain stagnant in our brain. Let the thought go, and think about something else. Does someone really annoy you? Remove the thought. Believe me, in a few days or two, that thought would be insignificant.

Having a positively geared thinking makes our life better. We do better decisions, which lead to good result, which improves not only our lives, but the lives of the people around us.

So next time a bad thought comes in, expel it. We all have a lot of positive experiences and favorite sceneries. Think about them instead.

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Stay Busy

Do you know the secret to not getting in trouble? Yes, stay busy! Let me offer a short anecdote to start. The setting is an aircraft carrier back in the 90s. When we are out to sea, no one hardly gets in trouble. Everybody is too busy working and there is too much to do. When there is free time, everyone tries to rest. Sometimes you see men sleeping on the hard steel deck while waiting for the next flight evolution.

As soon as we pull in to port, people start getting in trouble. There is too much idle time that a lot of people can’t handle the available free time. Maybe it’s the sudden release from weeks of stressful environment. A few days after we pull out of port, people gets punishment: Restricted liberty (time off) for the next port, docking of half the salary for a month or two, demotion of rank or extra duties.

People that are busy doing productive things almost always never get in trouble. They are focused on one thing: accomplishment of the next goal. The busier they are, the less likely they will find time to find mischief.

Being busy does not mean working your regular job seven days a week, 12 hours a day.   By the way, this was an aircraft carrier’s regular schedule back in the 90s. A weekly work schedule must include a day of rest and time spent on the other important non-work related things.

Creative hobbies does a lot for our self-worth. A few hours spent painting in watercolor or acrylic is very relaxing. Photography enhances our creativeness and aesthetic awareness. I mentioned these two because it’s two of my favorite hobbies.

Exercising or stretching not only makes us healthier. It makes us feel alive and ready to tackle the challenges of the day. I learned about a “four minute” work out from a foreign TV show: lunges, push ups, jumping jacks and squats. This is great when the temperature outside is almost freezing.

Reading, doing puzzles, (even some video games) and surfing the web for information are things that exercise our mental faculties, and keeps us sharp. One time I was in between jobs for several months, I was shocked to notice that I was having a hard time doing additions in my head.

Playing sports is another good thing as long as it doesn’t take us away from productivity and we avoid risky physical endeavors. It improves our agility, endurance and speed. Good especially if we work in a farm.

There are so many things we can do to avoid idle time. As you know, Empires and Cities get destroyed due to idleness. The Babylonian empire was too busy partying that they didn’t notice that the river was being diverted so the invading Persian army can pass on the dry riverbed. It was an easy conquest after that.

Did you notice that this is my fourth post for the month? We’re just halfway through the month. Normally I publish four to six posts per month. What’s my secret? I stayed BUSY writing! (Raucous laughter in the background!)

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Loving Others

The song “The Greatest Love of All”, ironically, is not about the greatest love. Loving yourself is a given, it does not need to be learned. Most of us knew how to love ourselves very early in life. The remaining few (less than 5% maybe?) are the Mother Teresa’s, missionaries and other selfless people who turn their back on comfort and riches to serve others.

Even very young children know how to love themselves way before we teach them how to love properly. They will cry or throw a fit until they get what they want, regardless of the consequence to other people. I want that toy! Nobody plays that toy except me!!!

How do we teach children (and ourselves), how to love correctly?

The people in our immediate sphere of influence should benefit most from our love. That is the reason why we feed our family first instead of going to the poor areas of town and buying food for them.

People – regardless of their wealth, race, age, personality, physical appearance or level of education – must be treated without preference. It is hard to do sometimes, but it’s the right way of practicing the correct form of love.

I never spanked my children” may sound good to hear, but is it really loving? Corrections to a child is painful for both parent and child but it is necessary to produce an upstanding productive citizen in the future. Some parents would rather be their children’s friend rather than show “tough love”.

Did you know that children or other people within our sphere of influence learn most by our example? We can nag, lecture, or reprimand them to death but as long as our actions do not coincide with our words, we don’t have credibility.

So how do we start to love others the right way? First, we have to seriously look at ourselves. Turn off that TV, go into a quiet area and think honestly about it. What are the things we do or say that are hurtful to others? That’s a good place to start. I myself, can probably write hundreds of bad habits, but I won’t. I’ll just dictate it to SiriSmile

Slowly, we can work on modifying our behavior so that we become more loving to people. It will be a continuing saga during our lifetime, so don’t give up on it.

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Best Uses of Credit Card

Credit cards? Isn’t that against the fundamentals of thrift? Incidentally, they are not as bad as we think they are. Maybe no one even thinks bad about credit cards. But then, how about those overwhelming credit card debts?

Yes, many people have problems with consumer debt. It seems that when you start getting in debt, it just continues to slowly grow until it becomes an overwhelming part of your life.

The shady part is the minimum monthly payment. If for example, the credit balance is 2,000 and the minimum payment is $35.00 – we are led to believe that we can afford a lot of things because they monthly payments are low. What’s $35 a month anyway? It’s nothing, right?

So we continue to borrow – another purchase of $20 here and $30 there. Before we know it we racked up another 2,000 in the hard plastic. Soon we have over $20,000 in debt. I know because I’ve been there – done that! It can be very frustrating.

But we are here not to discuss the bad things that credit card brings, but rather the benefits of having one. So, take out your wallet, stare at your favorite credit card for a few seconds, and read on!

Opening locked doors – this doesn’t apply to all doors but in the past, I have experienced opening a locked door using only a credit card. Of course, you have to be authorized to open any door before you try it.

Water color painting – when you draw a tree using watercolor as a medium, you can use the corner edge of the credit card to produce texture and sharp lines for the trunk of the tree and to draw branches and twigs.

Source of Cash – there are a few credit cards that offer $100 to $400 just to open an account. The catch is you have to pay an annual fee later. You can always close the account before the fee is due or change the card to one without an annual fee.

Capital – if you have a business and you are short of cash, a credit card can give you inventory or get services and you have 30 to 45 days to pay. If you sell your goods before the 30th day, you get profit without investing your own money.

More Capital – some offer 0% interest for 6 to 12 months for cashing a check they sent you. You have to pay on time every billing period or they charge you a big interest rate. Best way to do it is pay a week or more in advance. That’s an interest free loan!

Guarantee – some cards guarantee purchase. If you buy a defective item and the maker is not willing to take it back, the credit card company will reimburse you.

The best use of a credit card is the convenience of making a purchase without carrying wads of cash. If you pay the balance every month, then you are able to gain the most benefit from them without getting deep in debt. In fact, the credit card companies will pay you by giving you reward points.

I won’t recommend any credit card companies right now. I will when I get paid to advertise them. So attention: credit card companies, here’s your chance!

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A Brilliant Man

For this post, I referred to one of my favorite books “A World of Wonders” by Doug Batchelor. This one discusses one of my favorite ancient men that serves as one of the best role models for all time.

Very few men have been born with the intellect of Leonardo. He was a great artist, a genius in science, architecture and engineering. His interests were so varied and he observed everything from the properties of herbs to the movement of the heavens.

His artworks, like the “Mona Lisa” are known for their harmony, soft light, and sharpness of observation.

He designed everything from fortifications, weapons and engines of war to beautiful gardens, castles, churches, canals and multi-tier roads. He found fundamental knowledge in timekeeping which he used to build clocks operated by weights, sand and water.

He loved animals and trained them with kindness and patience. He also wrote a book on the anatomy of horses. When passing a market where live birds are sold, he would pay for them and let them out of their cages.

He was a vegetarian, stating “I have from an early age renounced the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I look upon the murder of animals as they look upon the murder of men”.

Did you know he invented the scissors?

His ideas were so far ahead of his time that they weren’t made until centuries later: tanks, helicopter and parachutes. In 1999, some Englishmen built a parachute according to Leonardo’s specifications and it worked perfectly.

How did he do it?

He didn’t watch TV at all!

After your laughter has subsided, I think it is appropriate to mention that he was blessed with extraordinary intellect. He didn’t waste his blessings. He used it to provide much toward the improvement of our daily lives.

We can’t be all like Leonardo, but we all have talents, skills and abilities that can be put to use to improve everyone’s lives.

All we have to do is to apply those abilities!

 

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