Time Marches On

Writing one’s opinions and publishing them where all can see can get, let’s say, tiring, boring, easily repetitive and if you’re not really a good writer – hard.

It’s been over two years since my last blog post. Two years to do more work, two years of not blogging, two years of silence on this site.

But there’s been so much going on in the world.

I do have so much to say – about the world I live in, the politics of the day, the troublesome times we live in. But, the old I get the more I observe that we don’t need more opinions, we need more deeds. I do think everyone has a point of view that can help enlighten us all to see a bigger picture. However, it seems that “everyone” has issues with how other people see the world.

There is a, now older, country song I use to hear on the radio titled “Time Marches On” and so it is for me, marching on. I want to post more about my life’s journey, my observations, my opinions… But I don’t know – who’s listening?

Who knows – in some distant future humanity can learn from everyone’s observations and opinions and come to a better way of living together.

For now, we shall continue the way we are…

Here’s to a more enlightened future!

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What’s Old is New, Again…

OldWritingOctober 2002 was my first public blog post. Back then blogs were all the rage!

You could ramble about a topic and publish it so ALL THE WORLD could see just how smart (or stupid) you were.

Blogs pre-dated VLOGs (made popular by Youtube Video Bloggers) and POD casting. Back in the good old days there were some great blogs like Joel on Software. But as the years took us into the two thousand teens, blogging became less popular –  blogging took to long for goodness sakes. You had to type and then hit a publish button. Bloggers evolved and went onto different services like Twitter and Facebook where they could communicate in “real” time. As if posting a blog isn’t “real” time enough!

Being old and crusty, I didn’t embrace the new media of the Internet… Sure, I created a Youtube channel for my video work, I got a Twitter and Facebook account. But I didn’t go all in. I kept my blog and slowly kept posting on a topic hear and a thought there.

Fast forward to today.

Even good ole Joel on Software is coming out retirement to document the development of one of his inventions, Stack Overflow. Other Bloggers are brushing the dust off their URLs and re-inventing the good ole blog.

What once was old is now new again!

There’s something about the written word that for thousands of years have kept mankind chronicling their existence and I suspect the written word still has a good future!

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Thoughts on the “Mid Life Crisis”

We all go through changes in our life, from being a helpless baby to a toddler to a child to that pre-teen mess to a teenager and then to an adult. We move along the journey through our 20s, 30s and 40s like there’s no tomorrow. And then we start to approach 50.

Fifty years old in America is a pretty big number in our lives. We realize that most of our life is behind us. That for the vast majority of us, the course of our life is set, the sails are open full and we are now holding on tight for the rest of the ride.

Sure, for some of us, the course can be changed, but our ship is not as resilient to the ever changing waves of life that surrounds us.

It is during this time that we also see the demise of our parents, uncles, aunts, older cousins. We start seeing our friends die one by one, an accident here, cancer there, an odd medical condition that took them at too young of an age. We realize that our life force from now on is less in our control and this realization disturbs some of us.

It seems that I’ve been in the mid-life funk for more time that I should. I see the beauty of life’s cycle. I know that my time on Earth is limited and I must give way for the next generation of life. I guess Dylan Thomas knew me well…

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

I hope for as much time as He will give me. I want to see my child’s child. But I must move past the rage of the inevitability of my demise.

There is still so much that CAN be done.

Why do we wallow in what is lost? Why not relish in what still can be found!

Interstellar

Never give up…

 

 

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If You Managed To See The World..

Through the eyes of child…
From the bed of an old man about to dye…
At the moment two come together on their wedding day…
When the mass of humanity come together and celebrates…

If you could see the world as God does, what would you see?

The struggles of it all. Unfolding moment by moment, day by day, year by year.

The world circles the Sun, time passes by, people live, people die.

What remains when all is turned to dust? What will the Universe bear witness to of the time, of the energy we’ve all expelled?

If is all is a one-way trip, one journey and it’s over, what are you going to do with it all? With all that time? With all you have been given?

So many questions go unanswered… Don’t let the important ones go without adding your voice to the chorus.

Find the wind for your sail… Take it and hold onto it for as long as it blows…

And when the end nears, regret not what was, but rejoice for what will be!

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It is never too late to…

To tell someone that you love them
To do something wonderful for a stranger
To extend you hand in peace
To shelter a friend in need
To give a smile and share laughter
To embrace with open arms and an open heart
To forgive when you have the standing to hate instead
To stand for those who cannot stand for themselves
To give of yourself for no other reason than just because
To throw away the pains of the past and move forward with grace and certainty
To allow someone into your heart when you have no room
To challenge others to live up to their highest capabilities
To challenge yourself to go forward when all you want is to rest
To live the best life you can live

The world is filled with so many good people, so many loving people, so many giving people. The world is also host to humans who are evil, humans who care more about eliminating others who do not acquiesce to their demands.

I say that the human spirit is design for good. Most humans want to give to each other – their talents, their love, their time and their precious gifts.

I really do believe that humans want to live in harmony with each other. This evil that exist today in our presence is just temporary. We have the ability to grow beyond the evil desires and fears that live deep inside our human psyche. As a child needs assurances after a nightmare, humanity needs time to take action to do good and to be righteous – for this is the path for survival and for long term existence as a species.

We can do more together than apart. We can make the world a place where all who dwell do so in grace, with prosperity and with love and with peace.

He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, who despises the gain of oppressions, who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed and shuts his eyes from looking on evil, he will dwell on the heights; his place of defense will be the fortresses of rocks; his bread will be given him; his water will be sure. Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty; they will see a land that stretches afar.  -Isaiah 33:15-17

MH-EJ-Christmas

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Why are you sitting in Shit?

A conversation sparked the thought that as humans we tend to adapt to our environment and learn to live there.

People adapt to living in poverty. Seemingly they see no path out of poverty. Their entire view on life tells them that they have no options – that someone is keeping them in poverty – that someone or some group is “taking” what is theirs.

People adapt to working in a company and at a job that they really don’t enjoy. They grow comfortable with their salary, even if there salary isn’t what they want. The grow comfortable in knowing how to deal with the dysfunctional processes they have to work within. They blame management for keeping them down, for not seeing their potential, for not promoting them to a better job. They blame anyone except themselves for their position.

People adapt to their communities, to their political environment, to their leaders. They accept that they cannot change the world around them. They accept that there are no good leaders to rally behind. They accept what it is is what it is.

You see, these are just a few examples of the great adaptability of the human species.

We tell ourselves that our lot in life isn’t our fought – someone is taking our part of the pie. We tell ourselves that we can’t make our job better – the boss is the problem, the system is the problem. We tell ourselves that politicians are the problem – they lie to us and are beholden to the money people.

We tell ourselves anything but the truth.

Sure, there are many things in this world that a single individual cannot fix. There are many things in our life that in the past we didn’t have a good solution or option – so “we had to take what life gave us.”

Yes, we have real excuses for where we are right now – a bag full of excuses that we can feel comfortable with – that we can carry around on our back and live with.

Why are you living and sitting in shit?

The world will tell you that YOU HAVE NO CONTROL of your life. That your destiny is written by someone else. That your lot in life is un-changeable. That you job and the company you work for cannot be changed. That YOUR LEADERS cannot be good and beholden to the electorate (you!)

The world tells you this everyday. The world wants you to stay comfortable in the shit you abide by.

But the truth is that the naysayers out there in the world are FULL OF SHIT. And if you accept what they believe, you are the only one to blame.

So, get out of the shitty rut you find yourself in and start doing one good thing at a time and keeping doing good things until all you have is good around you and do not be weary in doing good, for in due season you shall reap good – if you don’t faint.

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Growing, Growing…

Those darn kids. They grow so fast.

My little girl’s been playing the piano for three years now and she loves to sing and so does her mamma.

We took time over Christmas to record and then film this music video. It is actually Ellie-Jane’s first music video and I’m happy to say she did very good at taking direction from daddah.

Her mamma… well, that’s another story.

Hope you enjoy the video…

image

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnlsxmikiNY

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A Free Business Lesson in 42 Pages

How often does the opportunity come along to learn so much with such little effort?

If I told you that you could gain years of insight and more importantly incredible ideas by reading 42 pages of text – just an hour or so of reading?

Well, what if someone much more successful in the realm of business than I said these 42 pages where the best of Warren Buffett’s career? Don’t take my word on this.

image Bill Gates noted on his blog that of Warren’s 50 annual letters, this year’s is Warren’s best ever. I thought to myself that if Bill spent time to read all 50 and then said this was the best of them all, I’d spend a little time to see what the fuss was all about.

In 42 pages of reading you will get insight into Buffett’s system that has produced one of America’s best business success stories.

If you are so inclined, the 42 pages will also cause you to have more questions that you’ll have to go get answers to, which is a big bonus in itself.

image Take the time to read these 42 pages and really understand the numbers. The thing I find really interesting is that if you look beyond the economic results of Berkshire Hathaway (investor return), how much positive impact has Berkshire Hathaway and Warren’s management system had on the employees and companies that BH/Buffet have influenced?

No one is perfect. However, I believe Buffet’s tenure shows us that a business can be directed by values that when put into practice can create wealth and stability that extend to a great many people and for a great period of time.

Here’s the link to the 42 page letter – http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/2014ltr.pdf

image

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The Things They Don’t Tell You…

From time to time, if you’re lucky, you get to realize a “fond memory” being made as it is being made. Not very often do we get to write it down when it still is so fresh in our mind. So, I’m feeling pretty damn lucky right now and decided to put it to paper.

My little girl is growing so fast these days. In her routine of life, she’s slowing getting a little taller each day and her mind is exploring the world in such a fast pace. imageBeing close to Valentines day, she has a school project to transform a measly old shoe box into a grand Valentine’s receptacle where her class mates will share their good will and candy! She said to me “Dad, since you’re the only “real” artist in the house, can you help me decorate this, as she pointed to the future Valentine castle. I said, sure, let’s do it!

Later that night after she was securely tucked away into night’s dreamland, he mother said to me, “you know Ellie-Jane is starting to take a liking to boys.” I said with a smirk, “Really, where’s my gun, I need names?” As if she didn’t hear me, my wife went on to say “EJ really makes me smile as she said to me ‘mom, you know, I don’t think I’m ever going to find a real good boyfriend.’ Why’s that? ‘Well, I don’t think I’m going to find someone as good as dad.’ What do you mean? ‘Well, you know Dad’s so funny?’”

We laughed and talked and realized that our little girl is growing up way too fast. The whole conversation made me think that even little girls don’t tell you everything or is it we just don’t ask?

It’s pretty cool to hear it now and then to realize that these are the moments in life we live for, that we will remember.

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Is It Already Time For Those Damn New Year’s Resolutions (NYR)?

I hate those damn NYR’s… They absolutely make me sick.

As I go through the middle life years, I find myself stuck. Stuck in comfortable routines, stuck on "being" tired, stuck on "trying to do the next big thing", stuck on "trying to make a mark in life", stuck "trying to get a better and higher paying job", stuck where I’ve been for the past few years!

Depressing? Yea, a little. It seems that once we achieve a comfortable point in our life, we often find a way to stay stuck there or in my case lost there. Face it, being comfortable is nice! 🙂 Getting your career to a certain point where you make good money is nice! Having the comforts of life is nice! Spending time with your family and friends is nice! Going on vacation is nice! Working a reasonable amount of time per week is nice! Saving money for retirement is nice!

I wonder if people in other parts of the world live in fear of loosing their comforts? For those who have comforts I’m sure they do have "levels" of fear of loosing their comforts. Or maybe I just think too much about it all. Maybe having a healthy fear of loosing the comfort you’ve earned is good. Maybe it’s the thing that keeps us motivated to move forward?

Too Introspective? I’m never really satisfied with what I’m doing or how I’m doing it. I look at the size of my belly and it drives me nuts that I’m not really getting to where I want to be and loosing the weight. I look at my job and I’m never really satisfied with what I’m doing or how I’m doing it. I look at my filmmaking efforts and I’m never really… you know the story.

Which brings me to the end of the year and the thought of doing the same damn things over and over in 2015.

I know that if I really dislike something "I’m doing" that "I’m the only person who can do something about it." The problem is I hate the fact that I know what I should be doing, yet, lack the fortitude to make the changes necessary to excel and move to where I "want to be" in my mind.

I guess we all suffer from these delusions to some degree? Maybe it is the Ultimate Irony of Humanity that on one hand we want to stay where we are – comfortable. Yet on the other hand we fear that being comfortable will lead to our eventual demise.

Which brings me to the end of this year and the prospects of making some more NYR’s that I know I will start with the best of intentions, yet somehow fall off the wagon and end up being another failed set of expectations!!! 😉 when I don’t keep those resolutions or don’t live up to them.

You know what, screw it. I’m not going to make any NYRs. I’m going to simply just keep my goals in mind and EVERYDAY do something to achieve them. Just like the aliens told Dr. Arroway in Contact "little steps" will get you there just fine. You may not get there in the time-frame you have in mind, but you will eventually get there!

Here’s to a great 2015 with no NYR’s… just a continual improvement at reaching whatever goals we have in our lives and a desire to enjoy the comforts we’ve achieved, yet the desire to not rest on our laurels.

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Owning Your Failures

No one likes to fail. It’s a result we are trained to avoid. It feels like we are tested all the time from an early age and someone, it seems, is there scoring our results.

Seth Godin, marketing guru, wrote in his blog recently:

"You’re Right, We Were Wrong"

by Seth Godin

This is the most difficult sentence for companies that stumble in doing effective customer service.

By effective, I mean customer service that pays for itself, that is a rational expense on the way to building a loyal brand following and generating positive word of mouth.

When someone in your organization says, "You’re right, we were wrong," they’re not saying that you’re always wrong, or that you were completely wrong, or even that, in a court of law with a sympathetic jury, you would lose. It certainly doesn’t mean you didn’t try.

No, all you’re saying is that you made a promise or set an expectation and then failed to live up to it.

Owning that and saying it out loud does two things: it respects the customer and it allows you to make more promises in the future.

If it helps, you can remind yourself that this is investment in your ability to make a promise tomorrow.

This reminded me of a meeting I was in recently at work where I was trying to get a project completed in a short time-frame. I confidently suggest we could complete the project in a month. After some input from the attendees I sat and thought to myself, "you know, they are right, there’s too much red tape to get through and too many people to get buyoff from." I spoke up and said "I’ve thought about this and your right, I’m wrong. It’s not going to happen as fast as I’d hope." The whole meeting took a different tone from then on. People started to talk about how we could get it done faster than they thought, yet not as fast as I wanted. By owning my failed opinion, it gave people permission to look for solutions because they knew even if they came up with bad suggestion, it would be ok because failure of thought wasn’t going to be belittled.

As I go through what they call the "mid-life crisis" over the past few years, I try to take life’s lessons and find a spiritual connection.

For many people in the world they look at God and fear His judgment. I guess from one perspective we are living a test of life and if we pass the test on to heaven, if we fail, on to hell.

I don’t look at judgment day that way.

By owning my failures I am taking ownership of me. At the end of your life, you can either be remembered for your failures or remembered for your successes. I think by owning your failures you will move beyond them and people will see you for what you did right in this world.

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Who do you believe? Is it ever too late?

There is so much information out there in the world. So many people telling you this, telling you that, saying they have the answers because they’ve researched the questions, found data and come to a conclusion.

The problem is that many questions spawn other questions and data is an enigma that give different answers for different questioners.

The world is full of people who tell you what you can’t do. They tell you you’re too old, not enough experience, not smart enough.

The world is full of people who tell themselves that it, whatever their dream is, can’t be done! They accept as truth that they are too old, they accept that they don’t have the experience needed, they accept that they are not smart enough to achieve their dream.

Who should you believe?

I say this today, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Don’t listen to the naysayers. LISTEN TO YOURSELF!!!

How many examples do you need of people who beat "the odds"? How many testimonials do you need to hear from people who have clinched their fist in the air and said "I will be somebody! I will see my dreams come true!" And then they went out and did what they dreamed!

Here’s one more testimonial if that is what you need. There’s data and statistics that show that It is Never Too Late!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tSCdNmd4BM

Go, now, watch this video and listen to this fellow and then listen to yourself – It is never too late to do what you dream!

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Sometimes we get lost…

in the daily routines of life
in the desire to make something of our lives
doing what we love to do
doing what we loath to do
in times of trouble
in the depths of fear and uncertainty
with joy of what we’ve accomplished
with who we’ve become
with what we can do

Sometimes we forget to step away from ourselves and examine ourselves as we examine a painting on the wall of a fine art gallery. You see, the Father is the painter and each of us are His greatest work.

I believe that when this life is done, we will stand with Him in that great gallery of humanity and gaze upon the paintings of our lives and just stand there awestruck by what He HAS done!

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Is God an Alien?

Once you accept the notion that there is indeed a God, do you ever think about Who is God? Where did he come from? What is his history? How did he come to be?

To be honest, I don’t dwell on those questions, but every now and then I have an interesting conversation with people. Just the other night I got into a discussion about Aliens with a fella and I said "Well, you know there’s no doubt in my mind that Aliens exist!"

The fella I was talking to look dumbfounded and said "really, how’s that?" To which I replied "Well, if you believe in God then by the definition of an alien, GOD IS AN ALIEN."

Is God human? I don’t think so. So, he has to be an Alien, not human.

Judo-Christians believe God made Adam in his image. But God did not father Adam biologically or clone him, else we would be demi-gods. And the last time I checked, I have no God-like powers.

So there you go…

Does it matter if God is an alien? Does it diminish the releationship we have with Him? Does not knowing more about God’s history matter?

It seems that Humans are in constant search mode for understanding of who they are (right now), where they came from, and where they are going.

Since having my daughter six years ago I have come to a realization that I don’t care as much about the future and wanting the future to get here and trying to make my future what I see in my mind’s eye.

I’ve realized that this moment with my wife and little girl is what matters. What we have today is precious. The moments of love, laughter and adventure that we share together is what we take with us into the future and into the great unknown – into tomorrow!

Tomorrow is an ubiquitous egnima that frustrates us all. Sure, we have to work. Sure we have to plan and save for tomorrow. Like the big questions of life, I don’t think it matters what tomorrow will be just as it doesn’t matter that God is an Alien…

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Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow

If you wake up and don’t want to smile,
If it takes just a little while,
Open your eyes and look at the day,
You’ll see things in a different way.

Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow,

Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here,
It’ll be, better than before,
Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.

Why not think about times to come,
And not about the things that you’ve done,
If your life was bad to you,
Just think what tomorrow will do.

Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow,
Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here,
It’ll be, better than before,
Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.

All I want is to see you smile,
If it takes just a little while,
I know you don’t believe that it’s true,
I never meant any harm to you.

Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow,
Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here,
It’ll be, better than before,

Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.

Don’t you look back,
Don’t you look back.

-Christine McVie

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Some Things You Can’t Take Back…

You can say “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings…” but you can’t take back the words you said that created the hurt feelings.

You can “Go to jail, pay a fine and go on probation for getting drunk in public and causing a public disturbance…” but you can’t take back the stupidity of your actions, the hurt and embarrassment to your friends and family it caused.

You can’t recall the bullet from the gun that you just fired into the head of a innocent child as you attempted to burglarize his mom who had nothing to give you.

You can’t erase from your mind the images of a video you just watched that showed the beheading of a human being.

There are some things you can’t take back.

We live in a world that has so many humans who have the capacity to create so much love, beauty, ingenuity and greatness.

Yet, we still have the nightmares that exist in our world – hatred and evil.

The imperfections of humanity weighs on our God I’m sure. As He came to live amongst us and to die for us, I’m sure He weeps for us as we live with all the greatness AND all of the filth.

I don’t know why – why did humanity had to fall from God’s grace? Whatever the reason, we are here, now, striving to shed the imperfections of the flesh so that one day we can once again live in the presence of our maker.

I can’t take back the images of death in my mind and the knowledge of the evil that exist in this world.

BUT, thankfully, I can ask The Savior for a take-back. I can ask Him to take me back into His grace. I can ask Him to come into my heart so I may accept His salvation, to accept His love, to accept His guidance in making me a worthy human being.

Thankfully for me, there is one thing that can be taken back…

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Creating Something Great, Becoming Great

There have been so many human beings who have become legendary, immortal by their deeds. Think of that for a moment.

We all CAN BE a great human being without doing great deeds if only we love each other and treat one another with dignity and respect. But, for a select few, they additionally become legendary and immortal by their deeds.

In my life I try to be a better human being by sharing my love and treating others with dignity and respect.

Bill Gates posted an interesting thought about Thomas Edison, who Bill describes as America’s Greatest Inventor – America’s Greatest Inventor.

What I found appealing about his writing is that Bill Gates, himself a successful business man and philanthropist, feels what pushes humans to greatness is the application of "creativity, perseverance, and optimism."

No matter if you are an inventor, business person, sales person, home-maker or artist – CREATE, PERSEVER and MAINTAIN OPTIMISM!

Good words for a Friday to take you into the weekend.

Herschel

From The Gatesnotes – www.thegatesnotes.com

America’s Greatest Inventor
October 08, 2013
By Bill Gates

I love learning about history, especially the history of innovation. I recently got to write the foreword for Edison and the Rise of Innovation, a new book about one of the great inventors ever. I thought I would share the foreword with you, along with a few photos of some of the Edison-related items I’m lucky enough to own.

Foreword

There’s no question in my mind that one of America’s greatest gifts to the world is our capacity for innovation. From light bulbs and telephones to vaccines and microprocessors, our inventions and ideas have improved the lives—and even saved the lives—of countless people around the globe.

In the pantheon of American innovation, Thomas Edison holds a unique place. He became a symbol of American ingenuity and the conviction that inspiration and perspiration could lead to remarkable things.

In this 1885 sketch, Edison notes some ideas for improving the incandescent light bulb.

He certainly has been an inspiration to me in my career. I’m lucky enough to own a few pieces of Edison memorabilia, including his sketch of an idea for improving the incandescent light bulb and some papers on finding a substitute for rubber. Looking at this work, it’s easy to see a creative mind continually trying to refine and improve his ideas.

Obviously, Edison’s inventions were revolutionary. But as this book makes clear, the way he worked was also crucial for his success. For example, Edison consciously built on ideas from predecessors as well as contemporaries. And just as important, he assembled a team of people—engineers, chemists, mathematicians, and machinists—that he trusted and empowered to carry out his ideas. Names like Batchelor and Kruesi may not be famous today, but without their contributions, Edison might not be either.

Second, Edison was a very practical person. He learned early on that it wasn’t enough to simply come up with great ideas in a vacuum; he had to invent things that people wanted. That meant understanding the market, designing products that met his customers’ needs, convincing his investors to support his ideas, and then promoting them. Edison didn’t invent the light bulb; he invented the light bulb that worked, and the one that sold.

Finally, Edison recognized that inventions rarely come in a single flash of inspiration. You set a goal, measure progress using data, see what’s working—and what isn’t working—adjust your plan, and try again. This process can be very frustrating because it means running into a lot of dead ends. But each dead end tells you something useful. As Edison famously said, “I have not failed 10,000 times. I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.”

These lessons are just as true today as they were in Edison’s time. Innovators still have to work in teams. (Although that’s far easier to do today than at the turn of the twentieth century. Imagine what the Wizard of New Jersey’s Menlo Park could have done with the tools coming out of California’s Menlo Park.) Innovators still have to understand and solve real-world problems, and they still have to persevere for the long haul. Scientists run trial after trial to perfect a new vaccine. Co-workers at software companies debug each other’s code.

While we’ve seen amazing advances in science and technology since Edison’s day, these things have not changed. Thomas Edison remains a powerful exemplar of creativity, perseverance, and optimism. Even more than light bulbs and movie cameras, that may be his greatest legacy.

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The Best of Steve Jobs

I don’t know the man personally, I hear he was a very driven, hard ass, early on in his career. Maybe that’s what it took to be a leader of a technological revolution. Leaders sometimes have to pull their people into the future kicking and screaming.

Then Jobs was excommunicated from the company he co-founded by a board of directors who choose to live in the past and use tactics and strategies from the old school religion of corporate governance. Apple languished, Jobs moved on and found a new path of discovery – he never lost sight of the future, of innovation, of THE CUSTOMER.

And then Jobs was resurrected to bring back Apple from the depths of being a historical footnote.

And I’m sure you know the rest of the story – iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iPad and the iUniverse!

I found a video on Youtube that I thought was so interesting. You don’t need to be a technical guru to understand the conversation.

Jobs was speaking at what appears to be a technical meeting and he fielded a question from the audience. The questioner insulted Jobs, telling Jobs that he didn’t know what he was talking about in relation to the technical discussion at hand.

This is the new Jobs you see responding here. The reinvented Jobs, who is clear with his vision and who seems humble with his response.

Go watch the video and come back for my thoughts…

The number one thing to take from Jobs’ response is that any vision for a product starts with "what incredible benefits can we give the customer."

He understood that technology means nothing if people can’t use it or understand it. And he was thinking on a scale of selling 8-10 billion dollars in products.

The second, but equally important thing to take from Jobs is that leadership and innovation will result in "some mistakes [being made] along the way. That’s good! Cause at least decisions will be made along the way."

Don’t be afraid to act! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! Don’t be afraid to innovate!

And always keep your vision centered around THE CUSTOMER.

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Thankfully I Heard HIS Voice

Every now and then I am reminded that I am human, that I sometimes have unbridled emotions, that I am imperfect.

Today, an old man in a car acted like a dumb ASS, yes a dumb donkey. And for a few moments I wanted to catch that old man and shake him and ask what in the world was he thinking. I didn’t want to harm him, I just wanted understanding from him and for him to understand what he had done.

And then then I heard His voice. A voice of reason, a voice of restraint, a voice of understanding, a voice that told me to turn right and to let that old man go on his way.

As I sit here now and think about the whole affair that voice is telling me that there are some people in this world that I will never understand. There are people who see the colors of life differently and interpret the world differently than I do. There are people who are lost and their senses are failing them.

For these people we must see what they cannot. We must hear what they do not. We must be willing to turn right when they do not do so. There are times when our unbridled emotions must be controlled and WE MUST forgive them.

For surely our senses fail us from time to time and we loose our way. At these times we need forgiveness and understanding and love from a stranger.

To love a stranger who does you wrong is surely not impossible, it is what we are called to do.

Thankfully I heard HIS voice.

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Listening to Someone You Don’t Even Know

The Internet has changed the way people communicate ideas and has impacted humanity in the same way the printing press changed the world so many hundred of years ago. Ideas flow instantly from keyboard to brain in a blink of an eye. Words, images, sounds travel around the world in a never-ending frenzy to be seen, to be read, to be absorbed.

We get access to ideas instantly if we can latch onto someone interesting. With seven billion people in the world and at least 2.4 million people accessing the Internet there are a lot of opportunities to listen to someone you don’t even know.

The key, as it has always been since ideas started traveling from community to community by weary travelers is to figure out if what you are hearing makes sense, if the idea has validity, if the information can be trusted.

With so many people accessing and contributing to the Internet, I wonder if at some point there will be a technological innovation that changes how we absorb information in a way that we can’t even comprehend today.

But for today, I have found that I can only trust and give attention to a limited number of sources of information.

I’ll find a blog or podcast or Youtube video channel of someone interesting and give them some of my attention. If they continue to say interesting things, I’ll keep them around. If they go astray, I hit the little unsubscribe button.

In today’s world, we only have so much attention capacity in our heads. It is important to use that inventory wisely.

Here’s some good words of wisdom and words of encouragement from someone I don’t even know.

Proving the Skeptics Wrong by Seth Godin
July 10th 2013

"It’ll never last…"

"Someone with her background will never make a go of this…"

"Are you kidding me?" "Pathetic! Delusional!"

"Social media is a fad, the iPad is a toy, you’re never going to amount to anything…"

Here’s the thing about proving skeptics wrong: They don’t care. They won’t learn. They will stay skeptics. The ones who said the airplane would never fly ignored the success of the Wright Bros. and went on to become skeptical of something else. And when they got onto an airplane, they didn’t apologize to the engineers on their way in.

I used to have a list, and I kept it in my head, the list of people who rejected, who were skeptical, who stood in the way. What I discovered was that this wasn’t the point of the work, and my goal wasn’t actually to prove these folks wrong, it was only to do the work that was worth doing. So long ago I stopped keeping track. It’s not about the skeptics. It’s about the people who care about, support and enable.

Instead of working so hard to prove the skeptics wrong, it makes a lot more sense to delight the true believers. They deserve it, after all, and they’re the ones that are going to spread the word for you.

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Short-Timing It

Do you know what a short-timer is? The term came from the Vietnam era to denote A solider who had less than two months to serve. Other short-timers include people who give notice at work with their intent to leave. The hallmark of a short-timer is that they usually don’t care about what’s going on anymore because they see a different path in the very near future.

With this blog of mine I try to balance my nature to share and my hesitancy to share. On one hand I want to share with people what I’ve learned, what I think, why I think the way I do in hopes that they may learn something and in return that I may learn something about myself. I find it hard to write about deep personal experiences and about the people I know and love. For one thing, a lot of my friends and family don’t want their lives put out onto the Internet. I respect that and I try hard to maintain a balance. So, these words are especially difficult to write and for some, may be difficult to read. But I feel led to write them nevertheless.

I have someone in my family who I love dearly, who I think is humorous, has a lot of wisdom, who is compassionate, caring, loving and giving.

I know he struggles with his own demons – alcohol being one of them. Hell, we all have our own demons and skeletons to deal with.

I really don’t judge or condemn him for his inability to conquer that demon, for I have never walked in his shoes. But when I hear of his distress my heart aches for him.

You see, I think he is short-timing it. He’s had to deal with Cancer, and at any age or disposition in life that is a tough battle by itself. I can’t imagine the pain he goes through with that. But from what I know, I think he’s done an admiral job at dealing with Cancer.

I just wonder if my friend has given up?

I was talking with my mother today about the whole affair and said “Well, at some point in life you get tired of the fight, you tire of the war against the flesh. Maybe he’s just short-timing now, hoping and yearning for the peace of the eternal rest.”

And then it hit me – It doesn’t take old age or an affliction like cancer to make someone become a short-timer.

There are so many people walking through life right now short-timing it. They are waiting for what’s happening today to end, so that they can start anew tomorrow.

To this attitude I pray “Lord, as I grow older and hopefully wiser, no matter what the circumstance, please be with me so that I may not Short-Time the time you have given me. Let me rejoice for everyday that has been given and let me stay grateful for the life I have lived. For the time I have on Earth is not recorded until the day my body is laid to rest.”

To my loved-one, my friend, who is dealing with his demons and afflictions of the flesh, I hope I have more time with you. I hope that in the days, months and years that you may have left, that those days are filled with love, with hope, and joy for the life and time that we have all been given.

You know, it’s hard telling someone that you love them, when at the same time you are sadden that they are unable to conquer their demons and afflictions.

So my friend I’ll just say I Love You!

I don’t have a lot of verses memorized, but as I wrote these words, these words of the father came to me: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.(John 4:14).

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I’m So Glad God Exist

So many years ago God graciously accepted my invitation – the invitation to save me from my human instincts, to teach me love and kindness, to show me wisdom, to help me to be a better man and to save me from my sins.

As I grow in God’s image and see the world around me, I still have moments of cloudiness, moments of rage, moments of doubt and moments uncertainty.

I watch the T.V. images and stories of the Aurora Theatre Killings and my heart breaks. And in those moments I feel a rage deep in me. How could a man do such an act – to kill men, women and children with no remorse, with hate and anger.

And then, in those moments, a peace overcomes my heart.

You see, I’m So Glad God Exist – I know that he comforts me in these times of unrest, he calms the rage and he shows me his way.

I pray for the families in Aurora who have lost loved-ones. I pray that God comforts them and calms their rage and that even in this time of tribulation, they see God’s way.

My pastor, Dr. Cooper, gave an uplifting message on suffering – clarity during turbulent times – http://www.mountparan.com/mostrecentmessageV.asp

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A Fist Full of Haters

The world of seven hundred billion (SHB) people is full of Haters. People who always look for the problem, for this issues, for the mistakes of others so as to make themselves feel better about their own short comings.

It saddens me that the Internet, a tool of collaboration and communication, is used by the sickened to spread their hate and misery. They troll around on forums and comment sections and spout their condemnation to others who try to create with their hands, hearts and minds.

Are you a hater or a appreciator?

Do you look for the good in what your fellow men do or do you simply want people to fail?

Mamma says “If you can’t say something good, don’t say anything at all.”

You know, as years go by, mamma’s words make more and more sense!

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When Words Matter

I don’t know, maybe I’m getting old school. In the time I grew up, I learned that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words never will hurt me.”

Back then we were taught to be tough, to ignore idiot adults and stupid children’s taunts. As a kid it is tough to shun the attack of verbal abuse. In today’s world, it seems that it is still difficult to ignore hurtful words that come our way.

But, I still believe after many years of reflection that words only have power over us if we allow them to have power. As adults we can control our impulses to respond to “stupid, dumb-ass” or worse.

But there are times when words do matter.

While reading a thought-thread that started with Neal Bortz discussing an Obama official citing Karl Marx (the communist), I was reading the comment section of the Rick Bookstaber post, the Obama official citing Karl Marx that Bortz was referring to. In the comment section of Bookstaber’s blog post, a commenter named Abe was able to communicate when words matter.

Abe commented:
“Marx was a notable, even preeminent, social philosopher of that time.”
So you believe that’s a good enough reason to constantly quote him, not only in this, but other posts as well?
Everyone knows who Marx was. Nobody claims he was not a notable social philosopher. It’s the terrible impact of Marxs’ philosophy, the millions slaughtered thanks to his ideas, which offends people terribly, and therefore garners so much negativity when you quote him.
So you see, the fact that he was indeed such a prominent philosopher, is what caused humanity so much hurt. If he’d be an insignificant individual with no one paying attention to his philosophy, maybe, just maybe the world would be spared of communist mass murderers the likes of Stalin, Mao, Castro, Che, Pol Pot etc. most of whom are revered and quoted amongst Leftist Academics and main-stream Liberals such as yourself.
Is this really beyond your comprehension? Although, I wouldn’t be surprised if that is the case. White House communications director Anita Dunn famously quoted Mao as one of her “favorite political philosophers.” Yet When Glenn beck criticized her, the leftists came running with their MSM pitchforks and condemned him profusely. Why? Because Ms. Dunn didn’t specifically praise Mao’s atrocities! That’s a mind-boggling feat of ethical line-drawing! The level of your intellectual dishonesty is simply stunning! Yet you don’t see the error of her, or your ways.
Let me put it to you in simpler terms: You can’t separate the man’s political philosophy from the actions that flowed from it. It’s the same as saying you look to Mein Kampf as a masterpiece of political philosophy but don’t support Hitler’s actions.
I rest my case.

You see, words are ideas. Ideas become powerful when men take them to heart and then take action.

“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”
– Luke 6:45

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The Cool Technology

of my generation continues to amaze me! I’ve been using Microsoft’s FREE Windows Photo Gallery application for three or so years now and it is great. I’m sure there are other photo/video management tools out there, but I got hooked on this one and it keeps getting better.

For instance, how many people do you see in this photo?

2012-03-23 Melba The Citizen 025

Pictured: Jean Horton, Cindie Horton and Melba Horton (L-R)

Did you say three? Well, actually I would have said that as well had it not been for Photo Gallery asking me who the people on the wall were? See them, the President and those other two who I don’t know? By the way the three in the front are my mom, my sister Cindie and my wife, who became a citizen on the 23rd!

Isn’t that cool? Photo Gallery recognized five faces in the picture (the last one on the right wasn’t recognized for some reason (technology isn’t perfect yet).

When you think about it, on many facets of technological evolution, Humans have achieved what they thought they could. But for so much of technology that we take for granted today, Humanity had no idea we would have so much or be so far advanced!

Imagine, there are millions of people everyday putting effort into improving (evolving) technology to do more – way more than we ever imagined or could imagine.

If humanity can manage to last another 10,000 years without digressing back to the cave, where will we be? What kind of technology might we have.

I am a little jealous of the children of the future, but, I am so grateful that I have the technology that I have today!

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How Do You Change the World?

So many great people have walked the Earth. So many great people are still walking that same Earth right now. I suspect that if humanity continues to be blessed, there will be scores of great people to walk the Earth in the future!

From the perspective of a single human being, it is often asked How can one person change the world?

I think at the core of this question are two simple answers: A human can change the World by one act of kindness at a time or, conversely, by one act of evil at a time.

I choose kindness!

In December of 2009 I read about Kiva (www.Kiva.org). Kiva is a microfinance facilitator that works with microfinance organizations around the world to connect lenders to poor borrowers and the borrowers get the loans with no finance charges. I decided that I could start with fifty dollars and help people borrow money so they could make a better life for themselves and their families!

Since December of 2009, by adding $ 25.00 dollars at a time I now have a bankroll of $ 1000.00 dollars in my Kiva account. As borrowers pay back their loans, I re-loan the money back out.  The $ 1000.00 dollars has actually been lent out for a total of $ 3,275.00 dollars to 104 borrowers.

When I first started with Kiva I had no goal. I just thought the idea of helping people help themselves was a good start. Now, as I think and write about my experience, I think my goal is to keep loaning $ 25.00 at a time, one act of kindness at a time.

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If You Know Someone in the Music Business…

I have a talented friend, Wayne Vickers, and every now and then we sit down and write a tune. In 2007 we wrote a couple of songs and they are my favorite to date that we’ve written together.

The lyrics for Scattered Road (click the link to listen to the song) were written by both of us in a day. I was listening to Garth Brook’s song What She’s Doing Now and my thoughts turned to old flame from many years back. I sat down and wrote the first verse and half of the chorus in about 15 minutes. I sent them to Wayne and that night he finished the Chorus and second verse in about an hour. Collaborating like that was crazy cool!

Realman (click the link to listen to the song) is a song idea I had after listening to one of Wayne’s one minute music treatments. We were sitting around one day just thinking about what a Realman is and out came this song.

Songwriting with a friend is really fun – when you collaborate it seems like the song isn’t yours or isn’t your collaborators. The song seems to have its own voice!

If you know someone in the music business ask them to get these to some famous artist to record. I’d love to hear a star sing either of these two on the radio.

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What Is Your Message?

A couple of weeks ago a question came to me – Herschel, what is your message? I said “Brain, what do you mean what is my message?” Since then I’ve been pondering the question, trying to understand it better. What is the message about –  my life? what I want to proclaim to the world? Is it about the world and humanity at large? What message?

Sitting at church listening to Dr. Cooper talk about faith the other day, the question came to my mind and an answer came to me from the perspective of Jesus Christ. What was his message? What is his message? Sitting in that pew He answered “John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

All the great artist throughout time have struggled with this question. Socrates’ message may be one of his famous quotes “True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.” In our lifetime John Lennon’s message may have been from his hit song Imagine where he said “Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can, No need for greed or hunger, A brotherhood of man, Imagine all the people sharing the world.” And then Thomas Jefferson’s message comes to life as the Declaration of Independence where he writes “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

Answering one of life’s, or as I think it may be one of God’s larger questions can be tough. Being a Christian I know that I walk daily with my savior. We have these conversations and he challenges me – to grow, to learn, to ponder, to question what life is about.

My mother sent me a newspaper article from the Dallas Morning News titled Life’s Larger Questions where author William McKenzie talks about life’s larger questions. Mom wanted me to read it and then comment on it through my blog. I found the timing of her request inspirational as I feel that God asked me the original question a couple of weeks ago and through my mom is asking again.

As I ponder the question What is your message? my best answer right now, at this time in my life is that life is precious and rare and unique. We all have been endowed with an unique spirit and unique gifts to add to the chorus of life, to change the world, to make the world a better place That we have been given everlasting life through the Grace of Jesus Christ and that when life here on Earth is complete, we shall be with each other to live in the glorious presence of the Father.

What is your message? Do you have one?

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“When You Get It, You Get It”

I guess I was in search of some food today – not for my body, but nurishment for my soul!

And then HE found it for me.

A friend who is now in the presence of The Father wrote this a while back… thanks Zac, your words still rock!

When You Get It, You Get It

 by Zac
 
The Subaru car company had a slogan for a while back in 2002. The slogan was, “When you get it, you get it.” The slogan had a sort of I-know-something-that-you-don’t-know attitude. But, since it was an advertising slogan, it was hardly arrogant. After all, Subaru was telling me the good news. They knew something that I did not know; they were sharing that something with me; it was up to me to decide what to do with that information. This relates well to the concept of blindness being converted into sight.

A long time ago, Jesus was walking out of the city of Jericho, he came across a blind man named Bartimaeus. Old, blind Bart called out to Jesus for help; the people with Jesus rebuked Bart for his impertinence. Bart called out more, Jesus heard him and called out to him.

Mark 10:50-52 — And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to Him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed Him on the way.

I find it interesting that when Bartimaeus received his sight, he immediately begins following Jesus. He did not return to his thrown cloak; he did not go back to sitting by the city entrance. He fell in step with Jesus. I can see some old friends of Bart’s bumping into him somewhere down the road and asking why Bart was following Jesus. Bart’s response: “When you get it, you get it.”

In church we talk and sing about once being blind and now being able to see — even though most of us have never been blind. We mean it in a spiritual sense: we were once blinded to something; there was some information out there that we did not know. But someone shared that information with us. And now we know. Now we can see. And now that we know it, we embrace it. We get it. But it does not stop there: we must continue sharing that good news with others. When you get it, you get it. And you tell everyone you know about it.

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Change is a coming…

It’s early in the morning here in the United States as the Sun begins its journey across the sky. Another day here for 310 million people scurrying around conducting their chores. While somewhere thousands of miles away a man with an idea tries to change the world, and make a little cha-ching in the process. You see, this man, Andrea Rossi thinks he has the solution to cheap energy with his Low Energy Nuclear Reaction machine. Today, in Italy, he is demonstrating it for the first time to “large American” customer. If his machine is verfified to do what Rossi claims… well, your life will change, as will every other life in this world.

You see, if this LENR machine is verified, the age of cheap energy will come to the age of man.

I don’t know, maybe Rossi is another in the long line of fraudsters. But, maybe, just maybe, this Italian might just be for real and bring about a revolution to humanity. I hope instead of a fraud, the news tonight will be of a new era unleashed.

As I sit here this morning finishing one thought another comes to me. Everyday, all around us, change is always coming…

August 4th 2016

So far Rossi is just another fraudster… I haven’t read anything of substantial in relation to his invention. You would think that a technology like this would have generated real news if it were true. Too bad and so sad.

But there are people everyday working on real technological innovations! Keep the faith!

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Shaking Your Fathers Hand…

While reading a story on the recently deceased Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, I had a strange epiphany.

The background story goes that Steve Jobs, an adopted baby, had searched for his biological parents during the 80’s. He found his biological mother and through that relationship found out about his biological father. He didn’t like what he learned about his father, so he never sought out to meet or develop a relationship with his biological father.

His biological sister had told a story to Steve that his biological father related to her of the story of him managing a restaurant in Silicon Valley, where Steve’s offices were near, and meeting Steve Jobs when he came into the restaurant. Neither Steve or his biological father knew at that time of their relationship.

When I read this, an epiphany feeling came over me. You see, for a couple of years now I have been thinking about the relationship of God and man and how he might “talk” to us (The Burning Bush, Are You Listening). What if God was strolling the Earth one sunny day and you happen to come across him and shook his hand? Or you talked to him, but he never told you of his true identity?

Some years later you find yourself in Heaven and you come before God and realize that you had met and Shook Your Fathers Hand

I don’t know if God walks this Earth incognito, but I think it is interesting to think of the repercussions – how do you treat strangers? I think we should treat each other, strange or well known, the same as you never know whose hand you are shaking.

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Objects At Rest

Sir Issac Newton suggested some three hundred and twenty-four years ago that Objects in Motion Tend to Stay in Motion, while Objects at Rest Tend to Stay at Rest.

Now when Mr. Newton suggested these ideas that would over time become scientific laws, I’m not sure he was thinking of Humans as the objects. But as I have observed over the years I find this law applies equally to us mere mortal humans.

How many times have you heard of someone retiring and shortly thereafter they become sick and die! You see, their mind and body stopped their motion and simply went to a resting state.

The “resting” of one’s mind is a common problem that many suffer from. I think our society is configured wrong when it comes to continuing education. Most of us in the US get a decent education for twelve years and then some continue to get four more years at a college or university. Very few continue after starting their career to get an advance degree or through self-exploration to continue their quest for knowledge.

But most disturbing is that so many people simply stop learning. It seems that people get into a routine of life and expect that what they’ve learned as a young person will take them to retirement.

Remember that Minds at Rest tend to say rested, minds in motion tend to stay in motion!

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Mediocrity, It Fits Well…

Another week ends, another famous person dies, politicians take a break from their deeds, Summer comes to a close, Winter begins her ascent and I write another rambling of words!

It seems over the past year my mind has going through a mid-life pause and reflection. What have I done? Where am I going? Who am I? Who do I want to be? Who do I want to be remembered as? I wrote a blog rambling the other day where I looked up the fact there are around 6.9 billion people on Earth RIGHT NOW! Sometime next year there will be seven billion people rambling around this little blue marble we call home! Seven billion minds at work!

Like you, of those seven billion people I probably know at deep level maybe ten to twenty people. Isn’t that crazy that I can only call a handful out of seven billion people my really good friends. I think when I die maybe a few hundred people will have ever really known me and who/what I was all about.

As I reflect about my life I realize that I have not done all that I thought I would do. I have less than half the time left on this Earth than when I first started some forty four years ago.

Do we ever feel as if we have accomplished all that we could accomplish or is our time here just a journey of what we actually do and that it is good enough to just LIVE!

I fear that for the vast majority of the seven billion people on Earth Mediocrity Fits Well for them. They become comfortable, they accept what life is, accepts what life gives them.

I hope that the time I have left on this Earth will be used for great purposes. I hope that all the souls I know and will ever know will always strive for a great journey of life!

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The Truth, The Internet, Common Sense & Intelligence

So what does The Truth, The Internet and Common Sense all have in common?

I’m sure you thought of many commonalities during the pause I hope you took to think about an answer!

Well, first of all each takes Intelligence to find and use! With more than 6.9 billion human beings in existence at this very moment in time, The Truth can be difficult to find. The facts of any one event in time can become easily manipulated and distorted.

With the adoption of the Internet across the planet, people, by their very nature of telling a story slowly change the facts, either by ignorance or on purpose for the purpose of deception.

So, it takes Common Sense to read an email that touts fact and determine if it deceptive or factual.

I find many emails arrive in my Inbox that are partially true and have been cleverly changed to support some persons vision of The Truth. I find that so many people live in “their reality” and they are daily trying to fit the facts and actions of their fellow human beings into “their reality”.

In today’s world, we must use Common Sense and Intelligence to take all the information from The Internet we receive and figure out The “Real” Truth.

There’s this fellow on the radio whose favorite saying is “don’t believe a word I say until you can independently confirm ‘my’ facts!” I say that is a good course of action with all data and information, especially if you get it from the Internet. There are so many ways to cross check information on the Internet. Don’t be lazy!

The Truth is out there!

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The Bull Riders

So I was playing racquetball a while back. Yea, that sport with four walls and a ceiling where players pound the ball around in circles and yell like hell at each other!

Anyway, there were three young guys taking a break. Being the out-going, nosy person I am I asked if they were having fun to which they said “that’s all we do this for.”

I asked if they went to school and they said yap, we’re all on the rodeo team. I asked do you guys do the barrel racing or some such to which they chuckled and said “girls barrel ride, we are bull riders.” Now mind you one of these fellas is missing a hand so I just had to ask “Did you loose your hand to the bull.” He said na, a big fire-cracker got that. Silently my mind said “I’d like to hear that story one day.”

Being a city dude I had to ask more. So I said “so tell my guys, how do you exactly practice bull riding?” With the seriousness of a saint one of them said “We ride bulls.” I could imagine inside their minds “Is he kidding or is he just a plain stupid city slicker.”

Having a football background I know that teams practice with second stringers and aren’t always practicing at full speed. You know what I mean here. You tell the guy across the line “Hey, make me look good, don’t hit me so hard, let’s get through the practice without killing each other.” You see, you’re practicing against a human being.

But these bull riders, they ain’t practicing against no bull that they can talk to and reason with. Although I can imagine that plenty of times if you look real close, right before they pull the gate open, you can see the bull rider leaning into the bull and whispering “come on mr. bully, take it easy on me tonight.”

But anyway, back to the story.

So right at the moment I thought of “how do you exactly practice bull riding” I blurted out “So, do you guys have like a wimpy bull that isn’t quite good enough for the big arena to practice with.” With a little disgust in their eyes one replied “look, bulls ain’t like no damn horse, they never get use to someone on their back and they want to hurt you for get’in on there.”

So I guess it holds true, as with bull riding, to get good at anything it’s a matter of constant practice, even if the damn bull doesn’t like it!!!

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How to live before you die…

This fellow, Steve Jobs, is known around the world. He’s had good times and bad and it seems that as of lately his health is failing and he will not be with us much longer.

Here he discusses how to live before you die… How to find passion for your daily life!

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice and most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Postscript:
Steve Jobs died last week on the 5th of October. There’s been a lot written about this guy who changed the technology industry. It will be interesting to read the forthcoming authorized biography.

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Find That Thing…

From time to time we face obstacles that seem too great to overcome. These obstacles can create feelings from within the depths of our inferior flesh that occupy our mind and take from us the glory that has already been won.

For after all, we are “just” humans. We can’t be expected to always have an uplifted spirit.

So, in times of your dispar, when you are down and out and feeling like life has forsaken you, what do you do?

Me, I find places in my mind that bring me back from the depths of dispar. Like an image of my little girl helping me build a snow worm or a song about the resurrection and redemption that lays ahead for me:  Lazarus, by Carmen (Video)

I tell you today, have in your arsenal a place in your mind that you can go to for strength when it is needed.

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The Fountain Of Youth

2011-05-24 EllieJanes4thBDay 007My daughter turned four the other day. Damn, four years old already. Everyday since she adorned our lives with her presence I have seen a change in her.

I remember we use to wonder when she would sleep throughout the entire night, when would she walk, when would she would talk… So many milestones that we would see her go through!

Looking back at the four years with her seems like a blur. There are so many precious memories that will only come once for us with her.

But each day I’m with her I find something new to marvel at. She’s always on the go, always doing something, saying something, learning something, becoming something more today than she was yesterday! I think that as a parent if I give her the suroundings, encouragement, spiritual and physical nurishment, there is nothing she can’t achieve or become.

2011-05-28 EllieJaneBDayParty 033As adults we yearn for the days when our bodies weren’t so old, when our minds were fresh with excitement of a new day. Working for a living seems to put us into the rut of life where we never change our path, where we settle into the routine of life.

Sometimes when I look at my little girl I lament that she’s always changing, never “staying” with me in the rut and routine of the life that I live in. Sometimes I wish she would be that three year old forever.

But then I realize that she is my fountain of youth!

She shows me that everyday is a new day! A day filled with adventure, filled with new experiences, filled with new opportunities if I only CHOOSE to see them and to do something with them!

Hopefully, I think to myself, I can say around this world for another fifty or sixty years. The eighteen or so years that she is with me and my lovely wife is such a short time. But I will hold on to each moment, each day and each year! I will look forward to the changes of life that she will go through.

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Pearls Before Pigs…

Conflict resolution is so hard with us humans. Our love for each other drives us to be passionate about what we belive. Have you ever felt so constricted when you felt you needed to reach out and tell a loved one how you feel?
 
In the video (click the link) Dr. Cooper, pastor of Mt. Paran Church of God, gives so much wisdom on conflict resolution.
 

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Don’t Get Use To The Stench!

Talking to co-workers today I came up with a good motto, Don’t Get Use To The Stench!

You see, as humans we have this great ability to adapt to our surroundings, to make the best of a bad situation, to withstand horrid environmental conditions, to put up with an ever-increasing pile of bat guano.

The conversation with these co-workers reminded me of my first visit to the Philippines. In the big city of Manila there’s a river “slum” where people live over the top of what can only be describes as a floating pile of Shit and Trash – literally. The stench from this is almost unbearable. But somehow, people live there in shotty homes built of thin wood and sticks.

You see, these people have allowed themselves to Get Use to the Stench!

There is no circumstance that you should ever accept that makes you become numb or accustom to the stench of life!

We all have things in our lives that are painful to deal with… Somehow we numb our noises to the stench these things create.

I say today to resist! Don’t Get Use To The Stench! EVER!

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Yep, I’m Still Here

I love my little blog.

For me it gives me a place to leave a piece of myself behind. I don’t expect that when I post these random thoughts that thousands of people will read and understand them.

mother-teresaI guess that as I go through my mid-life reconciliation I find that very few humans have the privilege to make a impact on millions of people’s lives. People like George Washington, good old Abe Lincoln and Mother Teresa and thousands of great people throughout history who have made humanity what it is today.

For me, I’ve reconciled that if I exist in this time and can be a great father, husband, son, brother and friend to the people I love and for the strangers that I have yet to meet that I’ve done a hell of a lot for humanity.

So, today I say, “Yep, I’m Still Here” – I’m still here working at being a better father, husband, son, brother and friend…

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A Friday Thought…

Whilest working and listening to my music the song We Are The World came on. It took me back to my youth and reminded me of a time when a bunch of famous people saw a problem and tried to make a difference with their talents.

Even today, the words of this song echo louder that We are indeed the world… that on  some great scale six billion people live together on a world that is in a solar system that is racing fast through the Universe.

That We Are The World full of humans who for all we know are alone in the physical Universe. Yes, we have God with us. But we only have each other in this dark, cold Universe that is full of things unknown.

We, the people of the world have so much to do as a peoples and as individuals. I look forward to the day when the world looks past the bondage of yesterday and toward the freedoms of tomorrow and the life of today!

Here are the words from the song of yesterday that still rings true today!

We Are The World
by: Michael Jackson

There comes a time
When we head a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
And it’s time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all

We can’t go on
Pretneding day by day
That someone, somewhere will soon make a change
We are all a part of
God’s great big family
And the truth, you know love is all we need

[Chorus]
We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day
Just you and me

Send them your heart
So they’ll know that someone cares
And their lives will be stronger and free
As God has shown us by turning stone to bread
So we all must lend a helping hand

[Chorus]
We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day
Just you and me

When you’re down and out
There seems no hope at all
But if you just believe
There’s no way we can fall
Well, well, well, well, let us realize
That a change will only come
When we stand together as one

[Chorus]
We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day
Just you and me

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An Example of Change – For a Business

In the cell phone business, Nokia was a powerhouse. However, recently the company has lost a lot market share and is struggling to regain its past glory. Nokia brought in a new CEO and recently he issued an internal letter that got leaked to the world.

It’s an interesting letter that I reproduce here to serve as an excellent example on how, as a group, a business must see the need to change and to keep moving forward and not rest on past success.

I also liked the letter because it demonstrates that a true leader is not afraid to speak honestly and in terms everyone understands.

Hello there,
There is a pertinent story about a man who was working on an oil platform in the North Sea. He woke up one night from a loud explosion, which suddenly set his entire oil platform on fire. In mere moments, he was surrounded by flames. Through the smoke and heat, he barely made his way out of the chaos to the platform’s edge. When he looked down over the edge, all he could see were the dark, cold, foreboding Atlantic waters.

As the fire approached him, the man had mere seconds to react. He could stand on the platform, and inevitably be consumed by the burning flames. Or, he could plunge 30 meters in to the freezing waters. The man was standing upon a “burning platform,” and he needed to make a choice.

He decided to jump. It was unexpected. In ordinary circumstances, the man would never consider plunging into icy waters. But these were not ordinary times – his platform was on fire. The man survived the fall and the waters. After he was rescued, he noted that a “burning platform” caused a radical change in his behaviour.
We too, are standing on a “burning platform,” and we must decide how we are going to change our behaviour.

Over the past few months, I’ve shared with you what I’ve heard from our shareholders, operators, developers, suppliers and from you. Today, I’m going to share what I’ve learned and what I have come to believe.

I have learned that we are standing on a burning platform.

And, we have more than one explosion – we have multiple points of scorching heat that are fuelling a blazing fire around us.

For example, there is intense heat coming from our competitors, more rapidly than we ever expected. Apple disrupted the market by redefining the smartphone and attracting developers to a closed, but very powerful ecosystem.

In 2008, Apple’s market share in the $300+ price range was 25 percent; by 2010 it escalated to 61 percent. They are enjoying a tremendous growth trajectory with a 78 percent earnings growth year over year in Q4 2010. Apple demonstrated that if designed well, consumers would buy a high-priced phone with a great experience and developers would build applications. They changed the game, and today, Apple owns the high-end range.

And then, there is Android. In about two years, Android created a platform that attracts application developers, service providers and hardware manufacturers. Android came in at the high-end, they are now winning the mid-range, and quickly they are going downstream to phones under €100. Google has become a gravitational force, drawing much of the industry’s innovation to its core.

Let’s not forget about the low-end price range. In 2008, MediaTek supplied complete reference designs for phone chipsets, which enabled manufacturers in the Shenzhen region of China to produce phones at an unbelievable pace. By some accounts, this ecosystem now produces more than one third of the phones sold globally – taking share from us in emerging markets.

While competitors poured flames on our market share, what happened at Nokia? We fell behind, we missed big trends, and we lost time. At that time, we thought we were making the right decisions; but, with the benefit of hindsight, we now find ourselves years behind.

The first iPhone shipped in 2007, and we still don’t have a product that is close to their experience. Android came on the scene just over 2 years ago, and this week they took our leadership position in smartphone volumes. Unbelievable.

We have some brilliant sources of innovation inside Nokia, but we are not bringing it to market fast enough. We thought MeeGo would be a platform for winning high-end smartphones. However, at this rate, by the end of 2011, we might have only one MeeGo product in the market.

At the midrange, we have Symbian. It has proven to be non-competitive in leading markets like North America. Additionally, Symbian is proving to be an increasingly difficult environment in which to develop to meet the continuously expanding consumer requirements, leading to slowness in product development and also creating a disadvantage when we seek to take advantage of new hardware platforms. As a result, if we continue like before, we will get further and further behind, while our competitors advance further and further ahead.

At the lower-end price range, Chinese OEMs are cranking out a device much faster than, as one Nokia employee said only partially in jest, “the time that it takes us to polish a PowerPoint presentation.” They are fast, they are cheap, and they are challenging us.
And the truly perplexing aspect is that we’re not even fighting with the right weapons. We are still too often trying to approach each price range on a device-to-device basis.

The battle of devices has now become a war of ecosystems, where ecosystems include not only the hardware and software of the device, but developers, applications, ecommerce, advertising, search, social applications, location-based services, unified communications and many other things. Our competitors aren’t taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem. This means we’re going to have to decide how we either build, catalyse or join an ecosystem.

This is one of the decisions we need to make. In the meantime, we’ve lost market share, we’ve lost mind share and we’ve lost time.

On Tuesday, Standard & Poor’s informed that they will put our A long term and A-1 short term ratings on negative credit watch. This is a similar rating action to the one that Moody’s took last week. Basically it means that during the next few weeks they will make an analysis of Nokia, and decide on a possible credit rating downgrade. Why are these credit agencies contemplating these changes? Because they are concerned about our competitiveness.
Consumer preference for Nokia declined worldwide. In the UK, our brand preference has slipped to 20 percent, which is 8 percent lower than last year. That means only 1 out of 5 people in the UK prefer Nokia to other brands. It’s also down in the other markets, which are traditionally our strongholds: Russia, Germany, Indonesia, UAE, and on and on and on.

How did we get to this point? Why did we fall behind when the world around us evolved?

This is what I have been trying to understand. I believe at least some of it has been due to our attitude inside Nokia. We poured gasoline on our own burning platform. I believe we have lacked accountability and leadership to align and direct the company through these disruptive times. We had a series of misses. We haven’t been delivering innovation fast enough. We’re not collaborating internally.

Nokia, our platform is burning.

We are working on a path forward — a path to rebuild our market leadership. When we share the new strategy on February 11, it will be a huge effort to transform our company. But, I believe that together, we can face the challenges ahead of us. Together, we can choose to define our future.

The burning platform, upon which the man found himself, caused the man to shift his behaviour, and take a bold and brave step into an uncertain future. He was able to tell his story. Now, we have a great opportunity to do the same.

Stephen.

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Change… A Perspective

Let us face ourselves squarely in the mirror. There is a lot that we like about ourselves as we gaze at that flesh, bone and spirit. But there is a lot of what we see in the mirror that we don’t like. Do you want to change what you see? Is it hard for you? Can you do it?

YES, you can make significant changes in the things you don’t like about yourself…

Here’s Dr. David Cooper teaching on the subject. I really like the second sermon on change!

Sermon 1: http://vidego.streamingfaith.com/player.php?p=i4fl910j

Sermon 2: http://vidego.streamingfaith.com/player.php?p=mp0oy39t

Trust me, you’ll be glad you spent the time watching these…

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“Roll With The Changes”

Do you have a personal motto? Do you ascribe to a having a motto? I think life at times tends to wear on us mere mortals. I think we find comfort in knowing that we are not alone, that we have family and friends and that we have our maker.

You know, when the rigors of life get you down, you need quick thought that re-sets your frame of mind so you get back on track and keep moving forward.

I’m not sure what my motto would be, but I like “Roll With The Changes”

Way back REO Speedwagon wrote this song (see it here on YouTube).

As soon as you are able
Woman, I am willin’
To make the break that we
Are on the brink of

My cup is on the table
Our love is spillin’
Waitin’ here for you to
Take and drink of

So if you’re tired of the
Same old story
Oh, turn some pages
I’ll be here when you are ready
To roll with the changes
Yea eee yea, woo

I knew it had to happen
Felt the tables turnin’
Got me through my darkest hour

I heard the thunder clappin’
Felt the desert burnin’
Until you poured on me
Like a sweet sunshower

So if you’re tired of the
Same old story
Oh turn some pages
I’ll be here when you are ready
To roll with the changes
Ohh yeah

(Keep on rollin’) Oh yeah
(Keep on rollin’) Ohh
(Woo ooo)
Roll with the changes
Keep on rollin’

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