In an Over-Communicated, Intrusive World, Simple is Better
Ed
Musings by Ed

On Perfectionism:
Even if the world could be perfect for you, you are not perfect nor is anyone else perfect, so there will never be a permanent, perfect match between opportunity, preparedness and reality. When your expectations are too demanding to be met in a perfect world, they can only cause you pain and misery. Being a perfectionist is mentally and emotionally debilitating. If you are a perfectionist, stop it. Never seek perfection, always seek excellence. Excellence is nothing more of less than ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

On Your Potential:
It is possible that you are squandering your ability to develop your potential by spending too much time mooning over what is not right with your life rather than using that same energy to take action to achieve what you want to happen. To do so you must first decide who you are, what it is you want, and why you are here. Once you answer those questions for yourself, you will naturally gravitate toward becoming the person you are, you want to be, and what you are going to do with the rest of your life.
Along the way, you will be feeding your passion rather than trying to discover your passion on an ending journey to nowhere.

On Personal Growth:
There is a huge difference between "professional growth" and "personal growth". Do you know the difference? Virtually all successful people have professional growth. Professional growth is getting more education (a bachelor's degree or an advanced degree, or successfully completing a training course in some specific skill, you before a journeyman carpenter rather than remaining a carpenter's helper). Personal growth is totally different because personal growth requires you to change your thought process and belief system. Learn about how mental maturity, physical maturity and emotional maturity happens in our life cycle. Of every 100 people who could benefit from personal growth, only 10 at most would even attempt to develop personal growth, and, of those 10, only 1 will achieve personal growth because it is so difficult to achieve on your own without professional help of some kind.

On Making Comparisons:
It is not good mentally or emotionally to compare yourself or your job with others because there will always be other people who will be greater or lesser than you regardless of what basis of comparison you use.

On Perception:
Perception is a cruel mistress, and as such is an affair you must end. Perception, without critical thinking skills, can become a reality of confusion. Perception, like fear, is real when it is imagined. There may be no real fear, but if you think there is fear, then the fear may as well be real because it is real to you. You have heard the expression, don't let your imagination run away with you.

On Work Obligations:
You have certain obligations to your employer. They are paying you for your time and talent and expect a return on their investment just as you expect a paycheck for your obligation to them. It is a work relationship in which both parties can benefit. Do not diminish an employer's honest effort to make a living for him or herself and provide others with an opportunity to make a living, no matter how little they may be paid for their effort. If the employee is smart, they will learn new skills and abilities, get training or education, and more on to a better opportunity.

On Responsibility:
The fact you are unhappy with your life, your job or your present situation is not your employer's fault or problem, it is not my fault or problem, it is your fault and your problem, and you must take responsibility for creating and solving your problem. Sometimes professional help can guide to the solution to whatever is troubling you. Sometimes you can, with recognition and acceptance, a discovery process, and critical thinking, resolve the problem yourself.

On Trouble:
When you talk about your troubles, your ailments, your diseases and your hurts, you give longer life to what makes you unhappy. Talking about your grievances merely adds to those grievances. Give recognition only to what you desire. Think and talk only about the good things that add to your enjoyment of your work, and life. If you don't talk about your grievances, you'll be delighted to find them disappearing quickly.

On Being Satisfied:
When Is Enough, Enough? At some point, you must become satisfied with your life, your job and your situation, or you will never be satisfied, and the more dissatisfied you become, the unhappier you will become. At my age, I am practicing gratitude and trying to better appreciate and understand the concept of grace. I suggest that you consider doing the same. When I see someone who is facing a tougher situation in life than I am (a child with terminal cancer, a person with no legs because of an IUD explosion in wartime, or a person who is blind, or deaf, or mute, I say to myself, "There but for the grace of God go I". If you do not have any spiritual growth, get some while the getting is good.

On Fear:
Let's talk about fear again, because it is the same as perception. How do we overcome fear? How do we overcome perception? We overcome both fear and perception by taking action, not the action that speaks to our constant reminder of our problems, but concrete action on to resolve them. And the way to resolve them is personal growth.

On Growing Old:
As a man, a husband, a father or grandfather, you have an opportunity to experience more happiness and satisfaction in life that is not available to someone who is single and without children or grandchildren. The worst thing in the world that can happen to you is to grow old alone, without family and friends.
We are blessed to have children and grandchildren. We need to see another generation coming before we exit our generation.

On the Ordinary:
Do not ignore or discount things that are ordinary or mundane. The mere fact that they are so predictable allows you more time to use your creative skills to develop more opportunities for enjoyment and satisfaction for yourself and your family.

On Getting Information:
"When clients ask me a serious question, I always tell them what I know, not what I think. When it counts, never ask people what they think. Ask them what they know. You do not want to know what people think. The cheapest commodity in the world is opinions. If you don't think so, just ask anyone anything (especially teenagers), and they will give you an answer that is often without any basis in experience, knowledge and/or reasoning. I want to know what a person knows, not what they think."

On the Second Amendment:
"If you don't have to give up your car because others drive drunk with theirs and sometimes kill people in head-on crashes . . . then why do you have to give up your gun because others commit crimes with theirs? What person with a lick of common sense would suggest that we ban cars and driving because some people drive irresponsibly and kill people? The same logic applies to guns."

On Life:
"We become what we think about."

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    Copyright 2012 by Ed Bagley

    Alexander Pope, best known for popularizing the heroic couplet, came to my attention in an English literature class at Michigan State University in the mid-1960s.

    I was more interested in reading Pope at the time than learning about Pope because he clearly knew how to do what I call “turn a word”. That is, to write a string of words that grabs your attention and delivers a thought so profound that it cannot be ignored.

    Pope was a master at this art in writing. Perhaps you have read or heard these gems:

    A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

    Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

    To err is human, to forgive, divine.

    The ends must justify the means.

    More than one author has rewritten these thoughts and claimed them for monetary gain. Each of these thoughts could remind us of a stunning truth: someone said it first.

    Some pundits say that England’s William Shakespeare is the most read and most quoted author ever. Many suggest that the Holy Bible is second. It has been said that British author Agatha Christie’s books have only been outsold by Shakespeare and the Bible.

    Alexander Pope may not have sold as many books, but he has been cited as the second most frequently quoted writer in the English language, after William Shakespeare.

    Pope (1688-1744), the master of the heroic couplet, is generally regarded as the greatest English poet of the early 18th Century. He was widely known for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer.

    For the uninitiated, the heroic couplet is a pair of rhyming iambic pentameters. Iambic is a verse using iambs, and an iamb is a metrical foot consisting of one short (or unstressed) syllable followed by one long (or stressed) syllable. So there you have it, learning once again springs on your computer monitor.

    The heading to this article is an example of Pope’s heroic couplet: A little learning is a dangerous thing, Drink deep or taste not the Pierian spring.

    Read for a moment, appreciate just how good Pope and his verses were, and understand why he would grab my attention:

    On bribery: Judges and senates have been bought for gold; Esteem and love were never to be sold.

    On churches: Who builds a church to God, and not to Fame, Will never mark the marble with his Name.

    On curiosity: One who is too wise an observer of the business of others, like one who is too curious in observing the labor of bees, will often be stung for his curiosity.

    On the Devil: Satan is wiser now than before, and tempts by making rich instead of poor.

    On education: ‘Tis education forms the common mind. Just as the twig is bent, the tree’s inclined.

    On expectation: Blessed is he who expects nothing for he shall never be disappointed.

    On fashion: Be not the first by whom the new are tried, Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.

    On gossip: And all who told it added something new, and all who heard it, made enlargements too.

    On judgment: ‘Tis with our judgments as our watches, none go just alike, yet each believes his own.

    On order: Order is Heaven’s first law; and this confess, Some are and must be greater than the rest.

    On pride: What the weak head with strongest bias rules, Is pride, the never-failing vice of fools.

    On proverbs: Hope springs eternal in the human breast, Man never is, but always to be blest.

    On providence: Destroy all creatures for thy sport or gust, Yet cry, if man’s unhappy, God’s unjust.

    On right: Always do right. That will gratify some of the people and astonish the rest.

    On self-knowledge: Trust not yourself, but your defects to know, Make use of every friend and every foe.

    On self-sacrifice: Many men have been capable of doing a wise thing, more a cunning thing, but very few a generous thing.

    Here is the message: Great writing and great writers are timeless for those who seek knowledge and truth. If you care for neither then it does not matter. For example:

    If today’s generation is on spring break at the beach, drinking and drugging, and running around half-naked willing to hump each other that is their business and their perfect right.

    My suspicion is that their personal life is so bereft of anything meaningful that they must put on a public display to convince themselves they are having a life experience. In their effort to raise shallowness to an art form they occasionally succeed.

    Now back to something worth examining, the life of Alexander Pope, who should provide inspiration for not only poets and writers but also for the handicapped.

    Pope, born in London, was the son of a linen merchant and his wife. Since they were Roman Catholic, he grew up having to deal with the Church of England, which banned Catholics from teaching upon pain of perpetual imprisonment.

    His aunt taught him to read and he was educated at two secret Catholic schools that, while illegal, were tolerated in some areas.

    Pope suffered from Pott’s disease, a form of tuberculosis affecting the spine. This stunted his growth and deformed his body, perhaps ending his life at 56. He was only 4-foot-6 and was apparently not very attractive, which may explain why he never married.

    Despite his inauspicious start in life, Louis Kronenberger in “Alexander Pope Selected Works” says “In terms of money as well as fame Pope was probably the most successful English poet who ever lived. No other in his own day—few in any day—had so many readers or received such nearly universal acclaim.”

    Pope’ s works would not cause him to be forgotten, but the growth of Romanticism in the late 18th century would. Joseph Warton would deny that Pope was ever a “true poet” and dismiss him as merely a “man of wit” and a “man of sense” thus hastening the demise of the “Age of Pope”.

    It would take until the 1930s to rediscover Alexander Pope and his works. By posting this article on Internet directories hopefully Alexander Pope and his works will again take their rightful place among the great works in history. With apologies to a great writer:

    Then Alexander Pope who was soon forgot,
    Might finally become a true juggernaut.

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    Financial Thoughts on Investing by Warren Buffett

    On Investing: Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: Never forget Rule No. 1. (Ed’s Note: The great secret to getting rich is getting your money to compound for you, and the larger sum of money you start with, the faster it will compound. No less of a genius than Albert Einstein said that compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe.)

    The Story of My Life

    Copyright © 2015 Ed Bagley

    When we are born, grow and develop, we form a concept of what life has to offer. If we grow up in a single-parent home without a father, have little exposure to an abundance of food, shelter and clothing, live in a low-income housing area, and experience poverty, drug activity and violence, our outlook on life is considerably less positive and encouraging than if we grow up in a home with both a mother and father, have adequate to abundant food, shelter and clothing, live in a high-income housing area, and experience stability, substance, support, encouragement and opportunity, our outlook on life is far more positive and productive.

    We learn quickly our station in life, and as a youngster we also realize that we do not have the knowledge, experience, maturity, means and opportunity to easily overcome our circumstances when at an apparent disadvantage. This is when our concept of what life has to offer now also develops our expectations of what life has to offer, and whether we can, if disadvantaged, overcome our circumstances and begin to develop a new and better life for ourselves. Some of us manage to do this, others do not.

    As we come to understand our exact circumstances and place in life, we face the challenge of what to do next. It should come as no surprise that what happens to us as we muddle our way through the up and down process of growing up with what we perceive to be successes and failures, out attitude determines much of what happens to us.

    If our attitude is negative, our personality will become more negative and people will see us as more as a liability than an asset, someone who is more difficult to satisfy and deal with. We quickly learn that we have enough issues of our own without being burdened by the issues that others struggle with. Life does, after all, present all of us with challenges we need to overcome. It is as common as breathing to say that we all have our crosses to bear.

    If our attitude is positive, our personality will become more positive and people will see us a normal, productive, positive person who is easy to be around and helpful to us. The positive person will become a people magnet, someone everyone wants to be around and work with, that includes everyone except the negative person, who will likely see the positive person as someone more fortunate than themselves. This can lead the negative person to jealousy, envy, anger, frustration, disappointment, and ultimately violence, causing no one to want to be around them or have them as a friend.

    It is easy to say and sometimes harder to understand that attitude drives personality. If you show me someone with a continual bad attitude I will show you someone who is a great candidate to develop a bad personality. If you show me someone with a continual good attitude I will show you someone who is a great candidate to develop a good personality. This is a fundamental fact of life, and what happens to us as we grow up and hopefully mature into productive, well-adjusted adults who can handle duties, responsibilities, commitments and obligations, and raise their children to do the same while becoming well-adjusted children in future generations.

    Abraham Lincoln said that people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. You will agree that Abraham Lincoln was exactly right when you understand that attitude is a choice in your life. You have a choice to be positive or negative in every event in your life. Some people say that life is about 10% of what happens to you and 90% about how you respond to what happens to you in life. Unless you are one of life’s greatest losers, you will be cheered up and motivated by stories about people who have overcomer great odds to achieve amazing accomplishments.

    This is where our concept of what life has to offer, and expectations of what life has to offer, meets our challenges of what life has to offer. This is about whether our hopes, dreams, aspirations and achievements will be possible for us. One thing is for sure: unless believe we can do something, we never will.

    Our attitude is so key as to whether we will be able to overcome our setbacks in achieving where we want to end up in life. When we believe something becomes possible to achieve, it will happen quicker when we bring a good attitude, ambition, effort, determination, acquired knowledge, skill development, understanding and maturity to the process.

    Clearly, we can accomplish goals when we want to or need to, that is to say, we need a reason to do something, and it has to be a deep-seeded enough reason to overcome the obstacles on our way to accomplishing our goals and desires.

    If you are hungry and starving, and need food to live, you will find a way to get food as an adult without stealing or begging for food. It is a matter of understanding that in any life event, there are only two outcomes: results or excuses. We are ultimately exactly where we are in life as a result of the choices we have made.

    If we want better results, we must make better choices. We may not achieve every one of our goals in life, but we can achieve many of them when we make the right choices at the right time for the right reasons. If you do nothing more in life than do the right thing for the right reason, you will become very successful.

    Success in life is much more than making the most money, living in the best house, driving the best car, or having the best vacations. Monetary and material success can certainly make your life easier, but it has little to with happiness. If you ever expect to be happy, you have to add people to the equation. You must become other-centered rather than self-centered. When you are single, you can afford to be self-centered if not happy. When you get married and have children, it is no longer just about you, it is also about your wife and children, who need your support, love, affection, understanding and encouragement.

    All of us need something to do, someplace to go, and someone to share our life with, in other words, a job with a career or becoming the best housewife and mother, a home with security and love, and spouse or partner who you love as they love you. Albert Schweitzer said it best: Success is not the key to happiness, happiness is the key to success. No one with a bad attitude and a bad personality is happy, everyone with a good attitude and a good personality can enjoy happiness. Again, attitude rules the day, and ultimately where you end up in life.

    Albert Schweitzer found his happiness in Africa. Schweitzer was a theologian, organist, writer, humanitarian, philosopher and physician. In other words, a very smart, accomplished person.

    He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952 for his philosophy of the “Reverence of Life”. His philosophy was expressed in many ways, but most famously for founding and sustaining the Albert Sweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné, in the part of French Equatorial Africa which is now Gabon. Sweitzer knew happiness; it was Sweitzer who first said: “Success is not the key to happiness, happiness is the key to success”.