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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    My Big Fat Greek Wedding – 4 Stars (Excellent)

    My Big Fat Greek Wedding is simply one of the best movies ever made about close families and their traditions.

    This film is on par with Fiddler on the Roof (winner of 3 Oscars among 8 nominations) and A Christmas Story (winner of no major awards and no Oscar nominations), proving that the biggest award-winners are not the only great movies.

    A Christmas Story and My Big Fat Greek Wedding were matched bookends in that both films were not thought to be worthy of financing by typical Hollywood backers and ended up as independent films with limited distribution before becoming huge successes.

    A Christmas Story, a low budget film that was not expected to do well, was released just before Thanksgiving in 1983. By Christmas the film had been pulled from theaters because it was thought to have been “played out.” It was only because of complaints from moviegoers that it was brought back to life and has since developed a loyal following of fans that will not let it die.

    My Big Fat Greek Wedding was filmed because a gutsy Greek girl named Nia Vardalos believed in herself and in her one-woman stage show to keep performing until Rita Wilson saw the play. She persuaded her husband Tom Hanks to produce a movie version.

    Wilson, like Vardalos, is Greek. Wilson’s reward as one of the producers with her husband and Gary Goetzman was to see the project completed. The PGA Golden Laurel Awards remembered Rita Wilson by giving her the Visionary Award in 2003. The three producers also won the Golden Laurel Award for Producer of the Year.

    So we have in My Big Fat Greek Wedding a low budget, independent film that was about to make Hollywood history.

    To show you how dumb the Hollywood financial backers were and how smart Tom Hanks was the estimated $5 million budget for My Big Fat Greek Wedding generated worldwide revenue of $368 million.

    The Hollywood backers thought America filmgoers would not accept an ethnic film. I wonder how many of the same backers recognized that Fiddler on the Roof, produced 31 years earlier in 1971, was an ethnic film about a Jewish family which broke with the tradition of arranged marriages.

    My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) became the highest-grossing independent film of all time, surpassing The Blair Witch Project (1999). It also became the highest grossing movie never to have hit number one at the box office, surpassing Dances of the Wolves (1990). Incredibly , the film was still running in several theaters even after its initial video release.

    This film is essentially the story of Toula (Nia Vardalos), a 30-year-old Greek woman who falls in love with John (Ian Miller), a non-Greek man, and struggles to get her family to accept him while both of them come to terms with their heritage, cultural identity and mutual compatibility.

    As Toula says, “Nice Greek girls are supposed to do three things in life: marry Greek boys, make Greek babies, and feed everyone . . . until the day we die.”

    Her father, Gus Portokalos (Michael Constantine) says: “You better get married soon. You’re starting to look old!” Gus also says, “There are only two kinds of people, Greeks and people who wish they were Greek.” He believes any ailment can be cured with Windex.

    My Big Fat Greek Wedding is the Greek community at its most accurate and best, all of the suffocating love, demanded tradition, motivation by guilt, male ego, female influence, pride of race, sibling ties, extended family, romance and sacrifice for those we love.

    This film is not heavy and dripping with drama, this is a romantic comedy mixed with strong family traditions that proves Shakespeare’s sage observation that “all’s well that ends well.”

    The cast is not star-studded and proves that you do not need to be a headliner to deliver a headliner’s performance and then some. Joining Nia Vardalos, Michael Constantine and Ian Miller with significant and meaningful contributions were Lainie Kazan as Toula’s mother Maria, Louis Mandylor as Toula’s brother Nick, Andrea Martin as Aunt Voula, and Gia Carides as Cousin Nikki.

    Vardalos, Constantine, Mandylor and Carides were the only true Greeks in the cast.

    There is a point in the film when Toula feels she is losing the battle and laments that “the man is the head of the house.” Her mother Maria tells her that “the man is the head, but the woman is the neck, and she can turn the head any way she wants.” Maria does so in a confrontation with her husband that should make women proud.

    This film will warm you heart, entertain your soul and cause you to walk away a better person for having seen this superb effort in moviemaking. Toula’s personal growth as a young woman freeing herself from forced expectations against insufferable odds is so precious that you want to take her home and adopt her.

    I once went to a Polish funeral and was amazed that when the funeral was over and the reception began, the whiskey flowed and all of the immediate family and friends had a heck of great party drinking, dancing and singing. I learned more about family traditions in different cultures at that Polish funeral. Some cultures celebrate the life of a loved one after the funeral.

    Despite the complications presented in My Big Fat Greek Wedding you come away wanting to be Greek because you see the love and the fun that they have much more than any disagreements or disappointments.

    The interaction between Toula and her brother Nick is really sweet, touching and funny.

    At one point, Nick is impressed with Toula’s ability to break with tradition (he secretly wants to study art) and says, “Don’t let your past dictate who you are, but let it be part of who you will become.” “Nick, that’s beautiful,” replies Toula, to which Nick adds, “Yeah, that dear Abby really knows what she’s talking about.”

    Nia Vardalos wrote the script and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenplay, was nominated for 6 other lesser screenwriting awards and won 2. My Big Fat Greek Wedding is directed by Joel Zwick who won two minor awards for his effort. I feel he deserved more recognition.

    The film garnered little attention among the big award givers but did appropriately win the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Comedy. Almost as an afterthought, My Big Fat Greek Wedding won the Best Independent Comedy Film Award from the U. S. Comedy Arts Festival. It would be my pleasure if some of the Comedy Film Award judges were Greek.

    There is Greek love throughout this film, from Rita Wilson’s vision to the thousands of Greek Americans who said, hey, this is Greek, this is good. The Greek community really made the film become a box office record-setter while we non-Greeks came on board later and enjoyed the film just as much.

    When I left the theater, I went looking for ouzo, the Greek anise-flavored liqueur so celebrated in the film at Greek gatherings. They would down a shot of ouzo and shout “oumpa.”

    I married a girl from a very traditional Italian Catholic family. Every Christmas my wife makes Italian cookies with anise-flavored frosting, no wonder I loved My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

    Anyone who wants a job watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding should be Greek, love ouzo and love having fun. Others need not apply unless, of course, they might want to be Greek, want to try ouzo, and have fun!

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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”.