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 Ed Bagley

    If you could choose only one, would you rather have money, power, fame or health? And why?

    Most of us have had our share of ups and downs in life.

    When we were at our lowest point, we probably wondered how different our life would be if we suddenly came into some found money, or increased influence, or instant and intense attention, or lost weight without real focus and discipline.

    The tendency to think our future would change is irresistible. But would it change for the better?

    Here’s my take on whether it’s smarter—given the opportunity—to choose money, power, fame or health:

    Let’s start with money because “it makes the world go round’. Money can do a lot of things. It can make your creditors vanish. It can make lenders suck up to you. It can cause much poorer people to buy you dinner just to be in your company.

    It can get you the best table at a restaurant on the waterfront with a view. It can get you a luncheon meeting with a celebrity or a top-end producer.

    Money can also bring some unwanted attention. It attracts all manner of “gorgeous” suitors to your side, begging with eager eyes and huge mounds to put some bang into your evening. It can also bring tax problems and IRS agents, eager to take away your newfound cash.

    It can bring friends and relatives you never had, with sob stories about how they need your cash more than you do. They will be the ones who will love you the most when they want the money, and then hate you the most when you don’t give it to them.

    Even if you win millions in the lottery, the reality is that too many lottery winners lose the money they have not earned because they have never been taught or learned how to keep and grow money. Most lottery winners are like drunken sailors on leave, they use their six months at sea figuring how to spend all of their money on wants rather than needs.

    Unfortunately, money seldom brings us anything of substance that really matters. Money cannot buy us happiness. Money cannot buy us love. Money cannot buy us health. The people without money can enjoy the simple pleasures of life just as easily as those with money–like sunrises, sunsets, walks in the park, playing board games, spending time with family and friends, working up a sweat exercising, reading a good book, or watching a movie or live theater.

    Someone first said that the best things in life are free. And have you ever thought that if you won big bucks in the lottery, it would deprive you of the satisfaction of making it in the world on your own?  There is something important to be said about working hard and achieving your goals by clear thinking and sweat equity.

    When it is difficult to earn money, you are not so anxious to spend it recklessly. When gifted or loaned money, it slips through your hands like a hot knife through butter.

    Power is another matter. Power suggests influence and creates a welcome bed for wrong-doing. People with perceived power tend to use it for ill-gotten personal aggrandizement.

    Daniel Webster had this to say about power: “Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.”

    Power among high-level bureaucrats is almost legendary, as many of them become dictators. Even low-level bureaucrats like to lord it over the citizens they should be serving rather than aggravating. Should you question their use of power, you might be subjected to a bevy of bureaucrats ready to do you substantial harm. All pigs eat out of the same trough.

    Politicians on both sides of the fence tend to eat each other alive when in power. They think nothing of launching a Congressional investigation into a minor happening and, when both sides are in agreement to their benefit, they ignore inquiry into a major issue, such as taking a pay raise in a down economy while raising taxes to continue salary increases and benefits for their fellow government staff members and supporters.

    The effect of power among high-level military officers and law enforcement officers is no less so, and they carry and use guns and associated weapons.

    Lord Acton, an English historian, said “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Man, was he ever right. More than one inquiring soul has learned that it is best not to upset a high-level righteous bureaucrat, politician, military officer or law enforcement officer.

    When I was managing editor of the daily newspaper in Westfield, Massachusetts, Teddy Kennedy and his handlers ALWAYS came calling for my endorsement during an election year. When I owned and operated a newspaper publishing company, many local citizens thought I had a power position in the community because of the newspaper I published.

    When they told me so, I reminded them that the only power I had was what they thought I had; virtually all of them had no idea what I was talking about.

    In truth, people are about as powerful as we believe them to be. When people in a power position start killing people and ruining the lives of others, their power becomes a lot more obvious.

    There is also great danger in being powerful as someone always wants to kill you to replace you, and many a dictator has met death on his way to the forum. When you live by the sword, you can just as easily die by the sword.

    Clearly, power is a dangerous game and, when combined with money, becomes toxic to control—the propensity to do wrong (and get caught) is all but inevitable.

    And then there is fame. Andy Warhol coined the phrase “15 minutes of fame”, wherein a person experiences a short-lived, fleeting moment of publicity or celebrity that melts away faster than a dewdrop in the hot morning sun.

    An example happened recently to a woman in New Jersey who went to the tanning booth so often she looked more like a deep-fried Twinkie than a responsible adult. All you need to know is that the “15 minutes of notoriety” did not cure her need to go to the tanning salon and, once informed, people quickly forgot about her.

    There are several attention-getters willing to commit stupid pranks or even heinous crimes just to get noticed. Hollywood types who have fallen out of favor will do literally anything, even absurd behavior, just to get back into the news; they figure even bad news is better than no news, and they are absolutely right, too many of us are drawn to stupid behavior because it fools us into thinking it makes us look smarter for not having done so.

    It has been said than fame is a fickle suitor. Once lost, it never seems the same again. Fame also comes to those who least expect it. There are a number of famous professional athletes who were stocking grocery shelves and three weeks later were playing the big leagues. It almost seems unfair that fame can come to you unannounced and then leave as suddenly as it arrived.

    Some people can’t wait for fame to arrive, and others are upset when it does. Fame, even for 15 minutes, can be overwhelming, and fame that lasts can be unrelenting, presenting an opportunity and a paycheck for the paparazzi.

    Health is given and can also be taken away. Some of us are born with a genetic makeup that allows us talent, intelligence and longevity, and, should we take advantage of the opportunities that life serves up, we can reap great benefits. This great possibility is cast against a youngster who, through no fault of his own, contracts and dies of cancer during a single-digit existence.

    While we can contribute to our well-being through regular exercise, eating wisely and avoiding obvious dangers, a good half of who we are is genetic and cannot be influenced by our behavior, attitude or will. We are at the mercy of life itself, or a higher power when you develop a spiritual awareness and choose to believe in a greater power.

    That said, I believe I would choose health over money, power or fame. At the very least, without health I probably would not be a candidate for money, fame or power given my own volition and means. 

    In its best state, health allows me to enjoy life without significant money, fame or power. Sometimes it is better to be the captain of your own rowboat than a 5th mate on an ocean liner. Good health allows you to be self-sufficient, independent, responsible and accountable for your own actions. I really determine my own success or failure. I can really only control myself, and even not then when I lose my health.

    I would rather lose money, fame and power than my health. Should I lose money, fame or power, it can be potentially gained back again through focus, hard work and determination. Health, once lost, is never regained. Should you lose your eyesight, it will be gone forever.

    Give me health, something to do, someplace to go and someone to love, and I will be happy, because people are, as Abe Lincoln has said, about as happy as they want to be.

    Never forget that when we blame others for our condition in life, we give up our ability to change. Worse yet, if we lack the will for change, there is no one who can show us the way. We can only become better by being willing to change, and making better choices in doing so.

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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”.