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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    Apocalypto – 4 Stars (Excellent)

    Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto” shows the raw, violent face of the advanced Mayan civilization in its decline, with its rulers insisting that the key to continued prosperity is to build more temples and offer more human sacrifices to their Gods. The result is the story of innocent Mayans being viciously attacked and their communal way of life being destroyed to meet an insane desire. Killing your own has never been a good idea historically and is perhaps a lesson we need to take more seriously today.

    The focal point of this film is Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood) and his family. He is one of many sons of Flint Sky (Morris Birdyellowhead), the leader of a small, isolated Mayan community in the tropical jungle of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula just before the arrival of the Spanish in the New World.

    Flint Sky and his progeny wish only to be left alone to pursue their destiny in a peaceful environment. Enter Zero Wolf (Raoul Trujillo) and his raiding party looking for victims to sacrifice to the Gods. Jaguar Paw and pregnant wife Seven (Dalia Hernandez) and their son Turtles Run (Carlos Emilio Baez) escape the attack. Jaguar Paw quickly finds a hiding place to keep his family safe, and then he returns to help fight off the attackers.

    Many in his village are killed and many more are captured. This story is about how the captured Jaguar Paw can possibly survive the enforced march to an untimely death and then return to save his family. In the end, he must choose to greet the oncoming Spanish as their ships roll into the harbor, or retreat to the jungle and continue to live a hidden life.

    I promise you that when you see this film you will be glued to the edge of your seat. Apocalypto will hold your interest like very few films can. Some historians were falling all over themselves to criticize inaccuracies in the film, I suspect mainly to get some badly needed publicity which they obviously could not do on their own.

    Gibson is a film producer in Apocalypto, not an historian. Good grief, if I want exact history, I will read history books. Gibson brings history to life and does what no one else in Hollywood dares or cares to do.

    Gibson’s film is an excellent presentation of how we would like life not to be, and also a reminder that no matter how smart we think we are we can sow the seeds of our own destruction right here in the greatest nation Earth has ever hosted.

    Apocalypto is produced by Mel Gibson, Farhad Safinia and Bruce Davey, and written by Gibson and Safinia. It is worth the price of two tickets to see. I highly recommend it for adults. It is a not-so-subtle reminder of what civilization was and could be again. The fate of the Mayan civilization remains a mystery even today. We know that around 300 BC the Mayan calendar was invented in the Yucatan and was more exact than older calendars. We know the oldest Mayan temples in Central America were built around AD 200.

    We know that the Classic period of Mayan civilization occurred between AD 250 to 900 with the development of hieroglyphic writing and advances in art, architecture and science. We know the Post-Classical period of Mayan civilization began in AD 900 and extended to 1519. The Mayan civilization was at its apex in the early 8th Century before eventually falling into decline and ultimately suffering abandonment.

    We do not know why the civilization collapsed but can only speculate that its fall was from within, sowing the seeds of its own destruction. Apocalypto picked up nominations for Academy Awards in Makeup, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. I thought the cinematography was spectacular, the close up shots of Jaguar Paw running for his very life, the look of fear in the faces of those innocents who were violently executed by their attackers, and the jungle with its teeming flora and fauna.

    Cinematographer Dean Semler used a Spydercam to shoot from atop the 170-foot waterfall when Jaguar Paw jumps to escape Zero Wolf and his killer squad. Semler filmed Apocalypto digitally, using the high-definition Panavision Genesis camera. Semler is an artist disguised as a cinematographer. The Central Ohio and Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Associations saw what I did in giving Apocalypto their Best Cinematography Awards.

    Apocalypto should have garnered more awards, but Mel Gibson’s unfortunate drinking habit and run-in with a law enforcement officer did not endear him to the Hollywood community.

    Gibson insisted on making the main sets based on actual buildings rather than computer-generated images. Three cheers for Gibson as I believe authenticity counts. I am so sick and tried of seeing stupid kung fu films showing actors jumping 150 feet straight up into the air and then fighting on a twig. I would like to see these wannabe clowns fighting Bruce Lee on his best day.

    Was Apocalypto an epic? Absolutely. There was a main cast of 39 along with 700 extras. Ever wonder what a support cast is to a film? For Apocalypto there were 179 people in the Makeup Department, 67 in the Art Department, 50 in Sound, 36 in Special Effects, 153 in Visual Effects, 33 in Stunts, 80 in Camera and Electrical, 8 in Casting, 22 in Costume and Wardrobe, 18 in Editorial, 62 in Transportation and 100 more additional crew. Total support: 800+. Cost of the film: $40 million. Total box office and rental revenue figures: $72 million and counting.

    Many of the speaking roles were by Mayan people who had never acted. The sick child who curses the hunting party as they lead the captives on a forced march to their death was played by a 7-year-old girl who lived in a dirt-floored hut in a village not unlike Jaguar Paw’s.

    This was a haunting scene as the girl who was affected with the plague and untouchable upbraids the hunting party by saying “You fear me? So you should. All you who are vile. Would you like to know how you will die? The scared time is near. Beware the blackness of the day. Beware the man who brings the jaguar. Behold him reborn from mud and earth. For the one he takes you to will cancel the sky, and scratch out the earth. Scratch you out. And end your world. He’s with us now. Day will be like night. And the man jaguar will lead you to your end.”

    Herein we learn how Jaguar Paw avoids being beheaded only to run the gauntlet of spears and arrows in his escape back into the jungle. This is a brutal and graphic film with beheadings like sound bites. There are too many gems in this film to list here. Suffice to say a village elder uses animals to tell a story about how man will never be satisfied despite using the Earth and everything in it for his own gain.

    You will cringe when Jaguar Paw’s wife and young son face downing as she falls and must deliver her newborn facing certain death. In the end Jaguar Paw uses his wit and wisdom to claim the forest as his own. Get out and see Apocalypto. This is a film nearly everyone could benefit from seeing before they pass from this Earth. It will remind you of how fragile and perilous our life is.

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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”.