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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    (Ed’s Note: I originally wrote this review in 2007.)

    Camelot – 4 Stars (Excellent)

    “Camelot” is a wonderful Broadway musical that garnered Oscars for Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design and Best Music, and Oscar nominations for Best Cinematography and Best Sound.  It other words, Camelot was a superb technical triumph in its day.

    Camelot also won Golden Globes for Richard Harris for Best Actor (as King Arthur), Frederick Loewe for Best Original Score, and both Frederick Loewe (music) and Alan Jay Lerner (lyrics) for Best Original Song “If Ever I Should Leave You”.

    Golden Globe nominations also went to Camelot for Best Picture, to Vanessa Redgrave for Best Actress (as Guenevere) and to Franco Nero for the Most Promising Newcomer (as Lancelot Du Lac).

    The cast was superb and included David Hemmings (as Mordred, who looked as slimy and cunning as possible), Lionel Jeffries (as King Pellinore) and Laurence Naismith (as Merlyn, the Magician).

    Joshua Logan directed this film like a beautiful flower coming into blossom where it is planted only to be destroyed by fire.

    Camelot, released in 1967, celebrates its 40th anniversary this October, and was based on the 1960 musical play Camelot written by Alan Jay Lerner with music by Frederic Loewe.

    The play was based on the King Arthur legend as adapted from the T. H. White novel “The Once and Future King” and ran on Broadway for 873 performances. To say the least, it was well received.

    The original cast for the play included Richard Burton as King Arthur, Julie Andrews as Queen Guenevere, Robert Goulet as Sir Lancelot, Roddy McDowell as Mordred, Robert Coote as King Pellinore and David Hurst as Merlyn with Moss Hart as the Director.

    Camelot became a modern day legend when it was immortalized—after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963—by revealing that the show’s original cast recording had been the favorite bedtime listening in the White House. Kennedy’s favorite lines were in the final number (when King Arthur knights a young boy and tells him to pass on the story of Camelot to future generations):

    Don’t let it be forgot,
    That once there was a spot,
    For one brief, shining moment
    That was known as Camelot.

    Since then, Camelot has been associated with the Kennedy administration, and the glory and the tragedy of the Kennedy family. Kennedy was the youngest elected President, the first Roman Catholic President, and the youngest President to die.

    The following synopsis of Camelot from wikipedia.com is important in setting the stage for what I am about to reveal to you (the songs to accompany the scene are in parentheses):

    “Guenevere arrives in Camelot on a wintry morning to marry King Arthur (of England) and is greeted festively by the Court. Arthur, shy and nervous, hides in the nearby woods (“I Wonder What the King is Doing Tonight?”).

    “Guenevere comes to the woods, uncertain about herself and her future (“The Simple Joys of Maidenhood”). She stumbles into Arthur, who tells her about life in Camelot (“Camelot”), and then discloses his identity. They are each happily charmed by the other.

    “Arthur learns from Merlyn the wisdom of peace and brotherhood, and is inspired to establish the Round Table. The news of this reaches young Lancelot in France, who is determined to come to Camelot and join Arthur’s knights (“C’est Moi”).

    “A May Day celebration takes place on the castle grounds (“The Lusty Month of May”), where Arthur introduces his wife to Lancelot. Guenevere takes an instant dislike to the cocky young man and (challenges) him to engage three knights of the Round Table in a jousting match (“Then You May Take Me to the Fair”). Arthur is dismayed by this and (is) at a loss to understand a woman’s way (“How to Handle a Woman”).

    “In the jousting match Lancelot easily defeats all three knights, drawing the admiration of them all, including Guenevere. Lancelot falls in love with (Queen) Guenevere and is torn by the conflict between this love and his devotion to Arthur. He asks permission to leave Camelot for foreign conquests.

    “Returning two years later, Arthur makes him a Knight of the Round Table. Arthur is painfully aware of the feelings between Lancelot and Guenevere but remains silent to preserve the tranquility of the Camelot.

    “Lancelot reveals his feelings to Guenevere (“If Every I Would Leave You”). Nevertheless, she remains faithful to Arthur, and helps him in carrying out the affairs of State (“What Do Simple Folks Do?”).

    “Mordred, Arthur’s illegitimate son, comes to Camelot to dishonor the King and try to gain the throne for himself. He schemes . . . to trap Arthur in a forest one night. During the night, Lancelot visits Guenevere in her chambers, where she reveals her love for him (“I Loved You Once in Silence”).

    “Mordred and some of the Knights of the Round Table interrupt, accuse Lancelot of treachery, and imprison him. Lancelot escapes, but Guenevere is sentenced to burn (“Guenevere”). At the last moment, Lancelot rescues her and takes her off with him to France.

    “For the sake of his own honor and that of Camelot, Arthur must now wage war on France. Just before the final battle, he meets Lancelot and Guenevere, and forgives them both.

    “In camp, Arthur meets a young stowaway who wants to join the Round Table. Arthur knights him on the field of battle and sends him back to England to grow up there and pass on to future generations the ideals of Camelot.”

    Two side notes and then my revelation.

    First, the song “If Ever I Would Leave You” (erroneously called “If Ever I Should Leave You” in the Golden Globe citation) was nominated and won in the category Best Original Song Written for a Motion Picture, even though it was not written especially for the film.

    It was written for the original stage production of Camelot, and all the other nominees were songs especially written for films. This is the only instance in the history of the Golden Globe Awards that this has happened.

    Second, even though Richard Burton won a Tony for Best Actor in the stage play and was offered the same part as King Arthur in the film, he turned it down. Richard Harris was magnificent in his performance as King Arthur in the film.

    And the revelation? Camelot the play and Camelot the film were both truly inspirational musical productions, but I submit that the story Camelot was much more.

    I felt in my heart that Camelot was also a primer in civilized human relationships and personal growth as well as a step forward for humanity. Let me explain.

    When King Arthur realizes the relationship between his Queen and his chief knight, he says this, reacting like a man:

    “I love them and they answer me with pain and torment. Be it sin or not sin, they betray me in their hearts and that’s far sin enough. I can feel it in their eyes. I can feel it when they speak, and they must pay for it and be punished. I shall not be wounded and not return it in kind! I’m through with feeble hoping! I demand a man’s vengeance!”

    Then he calms down and says this, reacting like a king: “Proposition: I’m a king, not a man. And a very civilized king. Could it possibly be civilized to destroy the (ones) I love? Did they ask for this calamity? Can passion be selected?”

    In the end, King Arthur takes the high road. He would not punish either of them given his druthers, he realizes he still loves Guenevere and loves his best friend and knight, Lancelot, as a brother.

    He cannot, however, stop Guenevere from burning at the stake for her indiscretion. He enlists his confidant King Pellinore to watch and see if Lancelot will attempt to rescue her in time. Thankfully, Lancelot does.

    King Arthur sees the wisdom of the Round Table, bringing the knights of the kingdom together to protect the weak rather than fight among themselves at the expense of the weak.

    King Arthur sees the wisdom of a legal system that gives the accused his day in court rather than fighting for his life in a duel whether the accused is guilty or innocent. Poor King Pellinore does not understand or accept this precursor to rule by law rather than rule by might.

    King Arthur uses his love to overcome his pain and suffering and ultimately loses not only the love of his life but his best friend.

    And, most important, despite going into a battle he may well lose and perhaps even die, he has the presence of mind to knight a young man to carry his hope into the future, so his vision will continue.

    Is Alan Jay Lerner a great writer of screenplays? Perhaps the best, ever. You decide. Camelot has been on my Top 10 Favorite Movie List for 40 years. Now you know why.

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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”.