Category: Character

Preparar

Everyone knows what “preparar” means, right? If you don’t, then you’re not prepared. 

You know what I love about this past decade and a half? We have search engines on the web. I sit at home comfortably using my laptop to learn almost anything. Speaking of search engine, I use duckduckgo.com and startpage.com. It does not track your internet habits so you don’t suddenly get a pop up ad asking you to buy a BMW while you’re researching a mountain bike on the web.

Well, when I was young many, many moons ago – when Star Wars was still far, far away – I read an article about the 7 laws of success.  One of them is preparation. It really make sense because in our everyday lives – we always have to prepare for something minor such as going to work or a major thing like traveling to another state or country.

Let’s look at air travel as a good example for preparation. At a minimum, we have to purchase our air ticket, book a hotel and arrange for transportation. But we can go deeper in our preparation process. Some traveler do extensive research:  find the cheapest but practical air tickets, the cheapest but not grungy hotels, and find the most inexpensive transportation to the airport and at the destination.

Now for the nitpicky among us (or should I say, very detailed?), they check the weather on the destination and the route to the airport. Then the traffic in both departure and destination so they can plan accordingly (do I bring an umbrella? should I wear shorts?). They also have enough charge on their cell phones, a charger, and one of those gadgets that can charge a phone by itself. They estimate the time to get to the airport using the traffic and weather data and add 15 to 30 minutes, just in case.

Their luggages comes in two separate bags, both with complete change of clothes, shoes, etc. just in case the airline losses their luggage. To be sure, they check in only one bag so they have their other bag within eyesight. Inside the luggage are a pen, pad of paper, pencils, small knife, a multitool, masking tape, duct tape, a length of rope, rubber bands and a few butterfly clips (to close hotel drapes tightly). Did I mention they have energy bars, cookies, snack packs just in case the flight is delayed?

Of course, the last paragraph is kinda extreme, and I think very few people engage in that kind of detail (ahem, please don’t give me that look!). But in the preparation business, It’s good to be a bit more prepared than less (in my humble opinion). You can’t prepare for everything, of course, but it sure makes for a smooth journey. There’s nothing more awkward than being unprepared.

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Strong As Samson

This title is misleading on purpose because I personally don’t think there’s going to be another person as physically strong as Samson ever again. But there are many people as strong as Samson when it comes to their faith in God so if our topic is about spiritual relationships, then yes, millions of men and women are as strong as Samson.

A quick introduction:  Samson’s mother was visited by a “Messenger” from God stating that she will have a son and he will be raised as a Nazarite (which explains why he has long hair) and he will be tasked to deliver Israel from the oppressive Philistines.

Let me illustrate some of Samson’s actions that make any superhero movie appear lame:

A young lion attacked him in the vineyards of Timnah. He tore the lion in pieces (barehanded) as if its just a pesky insect.

He was always infatuated by women from the enemy’s camp, and he married one. One time during a dispute with the enemy he “struck down” thirty men.

At one point, he allowed himself to be tied up with thick ropes, but he just loosened it from his hands, and using a jawbone of an ass he “slew a thousand men”.

In Gaza, they tried to trap him inside the city walls by locking the gate. After midnight, he took the doors of the heavy gate with the two posts and the bar, put them on his shoulders and took it to the top of a hill in Hebron (about 37 miles away).

Even in death, he managed to kill 3,000 of his enemies using his hands to push two pillars apart bringing down the roof where his enemies where standing to watch him “entertain” them.

I don’t about you but I think we will never see anyone as strong as Samson again. He had some weaknesses that put him in serious trouble even with his supernatural strength. It’s no secret that his strength is God given as explained in the Book of Judges (Chapter 13 onwards).

Samson’s other strength is his faith in God. In the end, he realized he needed God  to defeat his enemy so he prayed that he die with them. He got another chance at reconciliation. He made mistakes maybe because he depended on his incredible strength but in the end, it was his faith that brought back his strength.

The lesson here is that no matter how much abilities we have, we still need a close relationship with God to be able to use those abilities for good. To have a close relationship, we need to call on Him – through prayers and study him through his Word (the Bible).

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Avoiding Temptation

One of the surest things in life is that we will be subjected to temptation. Is it a sin to be tempted? Nope. But it is a gateway to getting in serious trouble with God and our fellow human beings. There are so many kinds of temptation but it really falls into three types: Lust of the eyes, Lust of the Flesh and Pride of Life.

May I present some examples?

Lust of the eyes is when you look at a red Ferrari and you say I want that even though it will bankrupt your family. Lust of the Flesh is intense craving for the chocolate at the Ferrari dealership. Pride of Life is boastfully driving around in that red car with a “you should be jealous of me” attitude. Those are highly exaggerated example – but it helps drive the point.

The good thing is, there are ways to avoid temptation, and here’s a few of them:

Avoid Situations

If you know you will be tempted, avoid it. In driving for example, give way to speeding vehicles and avoid hogging the lane if your speed is 10 mph less than everyone else. Keep 5-10 car lengths away from the car in front of you. You’ll encounter less reckless drivers this way.  If someone cuts you off, do not react in an offensive manner.

Distance

One of best ways to avoid temptation is to keep our distance. For example, if you tend to overeat chocolate, avoid going to the chocolate counter on the Ferrari dealership.

A Friend Indeed

The right friends can help you choose a good path in life. Friends that give you constructive criticism are real friends. Avoid “yes men (or women)” or those who kiss up to you because they want favors. Avoid friends or colleagues with bad habits so you don’t start emulating them.

Accountability

I remember a pastor ask me someone once to go with him to a ministry in a foreign country. He said he just need someone to be around him for accountability. I thought that was a good technique in walking the straight and narrow path.

Troubled People

Avoid contact with people that seems to like trouble. Avoid obnoxious people that are legends in their own mind. Don’t think you can change bad people into good people because good people almost always turn bad instead.

Remove Alluring Things

If you have an object that may tempt you, get rid of it. Don’t worry about its cost. Having a clear conscience is better.

Be A Coward

Being a coward is good when it comes to temptation. By not acting on a bad decision, we tend to preserve the status quo and avoided hurt feelings for ourselves and others.

Procrastinate

One of the ways to avoid impulsive buying or instant gratification is to sleep on a decision. Some people even use the “30-day” rule. If they want something, they wait 30 days. If they still need it (not “want” it), then they buy it.

Prayers

This is the most powerful of all. God promised us that “you will not be tempted beyond your ability” (1 Corinthians 10:13). One of our favorite prayers states “and lead us not into temptation”. Temptation will be around – but we can flee from it.

I hope and pray that this post will be of help to all of you.

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Elimination Round

I am sure you’ve heard of Bruce Lee. A famous quote from him: “It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” I couldn’t agree more especially with the constant bombardment by advertisers and big time media outlets about how we should upgrade to the next model because our previous widget is over three months old.

The process of elimination does not apply to material things only but that’s a good place to start. I have an example below of a cyclist with too many bicycles (I’m one of them – but still haven’t gotten the time to advertise my bike for sale).

So I put on my thinking cap and came up with a few. I’m sure some of you can come up with more, but hey – whatever you come up with should apply to your own life. I already have my own personal list of things I need to eliminate or decrease.

What can we eliminate?

Bad habits. I could name a few but why bother. I know some of us think we don’t have any but if you ask an honest loved one or friend, they’ll tell you the truth. Once you find out the truth about who you are from other’s perspective – set yourself free and change for the better.

Excess materials. I spend a little time reading comments in bicycle forums. Some people pride themselves in having 10 bicycles in their “stable”. They don’t ask me for money to buy their bicycles but I feel that 10 is too much. If only one person is riding it, why have 10? Does he drag the other 9 while riding to make the workout harder? How about me? I’ll sell at least one bike next month.

Overanalyzing. When we think about tasks or passions, sometimes we spend too much time overthinking that we become paralyzed into inaction. If there is a project, and plans and budget have been worked out in paper, the best thing to do is start. Worst thing is having too many plans, but zero execution.

Entertainment.  The fall of the Roman Empire was due to excessive entertainment. The Babylonian Empire got conquered when they were in a drunken party while the Persians drained the Euphrates River (which passes through Babylon) so their soldiers can walk underneath the fortress walls. Things you can take off: Watching Sports, Playing expensive sports, any high end this and high end that.

What do we get out of our elimination round?  In a word, time. Now we have time to do the things that really matter, like: following our passion, getting some side passive income, studying things we love, spending times with loved ones, reading, sleeping, exercising.  We will have a higher quality life and in the process, save or earn more money, maybe. We’ll have a clearer mind and a better perspective in life. We may end up helping people more. What’s not to like?

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Trending Now

What’s popular these days?

One day I read an article that coffee is bad for us. Then a week or so later, a few articles come out that states drinking coffee moderately is actually good for our health.

A doctor once told a distant relative:  Avoid eating any rice at all. Yet I found out that there is such a thing as a “rice diet”, where you basically eat any kind of food as long as its made from rice.

In the 70s, bell bottomed pants were the rage, only to disappear in the 80s. Sometime after that, it reappeared again sometime before 2017. Baggy pants for men, remember those days? Then changed to regular fit pants to skinny pants. Baggy pants will come back soon, just wait.

From approximately 1998 thru 2006, Real estate was considered the best U.S. investment. It seemed like residential units will never go down in value. But like any cycle, it went sour and a multitude of people got crushed by the economic downturn. Real estate picked up again around 2012 and I think it’s close to another peak right now.

Want one more?

Hydration is very important to exercise and health, right? I’ve seen a few people even go to the extent of carrying a gallon of water everywhere they go. Is it healthful to drink a gallon a day? Maybe. But then back in the 80s, bicyclists trained on their racing bikes for 80 miles without drinking a drop of water. I think that’s tougher than drinking a gallon a day, right?

wash, rinse, repeat.

Trends come and go and sometimes we are attracted to the latest and greatest. It’s fine if it’s minor like the color of your next car (the most popular car colors are silver, black and white). The only thing that will affect you in the future is the resale value of the car down the road and maybe getting tired of the color eventually (the other colors will have less value after a few years).

Sometimes we are faced with too many choices. It seems that with improving technology we are offered a plethora of choices for almost everything. It’s essential that we get rid of the riffraff (distractions) to get to the right choice.

My solution to this constant dilemma of making the right choices is research and just plain thinking. When I have a task that’s challenging, I sometimes spend hours just thinking how I could find the best solution. I even use a pad of paper, different color pens, my favorite pencil and a calculator sometimes to arrive at a good decision. This system works for me.

But all that systematic problem solving pales in comparison to what I usually do these last few decades: I pray for guidance. I really can’t tell how the guidance will arrive but it does. I’ve received some guidance that I ignored, and I paid a big price one time. I think the solution is to pray also that I do not miss the guidance when it shown to me.

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The Mirror

The other day I was watching a movie that features a mirror on the wall that talks back to one of the characters.  I think you all know what that movie is about and as you know, my unwritten rule is, don’t name names. It got me thinking about a different type of mirror (the mirror in the movie turned out to be evil).

In the morning after our showers, we face the mirror in our homes. This is to make sure that we present our very best appearance at our work places, meetings, playing field, gym, breakfast places – just to name a few. We want to be appealing to the public so we present an excellent public image.

I wish we would do the same degree of preparation of our physical appearance to our moral compass. Character is more important than our public image. Character is doing the right thing even when no one is present.

I usually read the comments section in the major news websites. There are some news items that bring about the worst in people. For every 2-3 people that write a clearly stated, logical comment, there’s dozens of comments with the intention to hurt someone else’s feelings – so the commenter can feel good about themselves. Imagine a world without the correct mirror (standard)- most people would want to rule the world according to their own rules. I wouldn’t want to live in that kind of world.

I grew up with plenty of reprimands and I’m sure you guys have the same experience. I was a youth who tried to deviate and do bad things and had to be corrected to learn accountability. I now appreciate the discipline given to me while I was young, because it got me ready for the military and the life after the military.

While in the navy I seldom got reprimanded. It’s not because I was great but because we were all told in detail in advance what was expected of us. The rules and regulations were the mirror (or the standard). As long as we did what we’re expected to do – life is smooth. I knew that if I challenge the rules (for example: late for five minutes), the consequence is immediate.

Our life mirror should be a good point of reference. It should be rock steady, so it doesn’t change with the trends and traditions of society. It should not be affected by the majority rule (imagine if you’re in a life boat with four cannibals and they’re voting whether they should eat you – majority rules, right?). It should be flexible enough to account for common sense approach to life (should I help someone who needs help now even though I’m late for church?). But it shouldn’t be bendable to adapt it to our own personal agendas.

What’s that mirror? I would leave this unanswered. I would to request your participation on this post. If you really look for it, you’ll find it too. That would be your best research ever.

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Ghost Reality

In the past, I was fearful about things supernatural – thanks to people emphasizing it in everyday conversation. One of the most popular are vampires, and I’m sure you’ve heard of them. I was afraid of them growing up, along with a plethora of mythical creatures which I won’t repeat here to avoid infusing your mind with negative thoughts.

Watching movies and television shows also exposed me to more imaginary creatures and events. In the back of my mind, these are mythical creatures but when darkness comes, it doesn’t help but make me afraid anyway. In my younger days when I get too fearful I carry a thick stick or a knife to defend from attacks of the members of the spiritual realm. I know that a material weapon is useless against the dark spiritual forces but it gave me a little confidence.

Have you been in places where you could feel the presence of unseen creatures but they’re not visible at all? No outward physical manifestations but you know something unknown is inside the room? I experienced them a few times.  One time it was in a large church in Europe and I could feel the negative spiritual vibes inside the church. Did I spook you yet?

Have you met someone who would swear that they actually saw someone or heard someone that died? I have met a few people who thought that their dead loved ones are trying to communicate with them. From their stories, it appeared as if the spiritual beings know about some details of their lives which convinced them that it was really their dead relatives. Do you think it really happened?

It’s not until decades later that i found out that those creatures are not really what we think them to be. In fact they can be categorized only to one type of created beings. Not convinced? I urge you to research online. For starters, you can visit www.ghosttruth.com.

These days, dark rooms or areas are no longer fearful to me. There’s always the danger of bumping into an obstacle in the dark, of course but that’s really a minor thing. Nothing to be afraid of because I know I am protected by our Maker.  It’s really hard to explain in just 400 words because it took much hours of study. In my case,I just stumbled into it one day while researching some items. I researched further and found out the truth.

Check it out and you’ll be amazed!

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