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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    Imagine Me & You – 1 Star (Terrible)

    Imagine a bride walking down the aisle on her wedding day, getting ready to marry the man she has had an intimate relationship with for years, looking at another woman at the ceremony, and starting an awakening that would lead her to question her own feelings, eventually falling in love with the other woman, ultimately destroying her marriage, but living happily ever after with her new lesbian partner.

    Now, maybe, you begin to understand why this premise does not work. It is sold in the film as perfectly natural and normal, with everyone making out fine in the end (no pun intended). This film does not work because it is not psychologically sound.

    The offering is British made, of course, which accounts for the poor sound effects of the movie, and the annoying lack of proper diction and enunciation by the actors involved. It would be hard for me to believe that Imagine Me & You advances the cause and understanding of lesbian issues.

     In Good Company – 1 Star (Terrible)

    An ad salesman gets demoted after a corporate buyout, and his new boss, young enough to be his son, falls for his daughter on the rebound from his divorce. You want to like this movie, but the scriptwriter and director will not let you; this movie ends without an ending, and becomes worthless in the process. In Good Company is beyond disappointing, it is a pathetic waste of time.

    It Runs in the Family – 1 Star (Terrible)

    A Michael Douglas produced movie with Kirk Douglas, his dad, and Cameron Douglas, his son. If the title of this film is the key to its presentation, then what runs in this family is a lot of incredibly dysfunctional people who are led virtually nowhere. There are not enough adjectives to describe how poor this presentation is so I am not even going to try.

    Sum it up in two thoughts: 1) Am I a better person for having seen this film? No. Absolutely not, and I felt like I should have been. It was not even entertaining as a supposed “comedy.” This was so far from comedy it was very bad drama. 2) Michael Douglas had an opportunity to make a substantial film with meaning about what counts in life, and he failed miserably. When one examines the body of Michael Douglas’ work as an actor, I am hard put to find a film of substance; usually the theme is sex, warped values and bordering on revulsion. What should I have expected?

    Just Like Heaven – 1 Star (Terrible)

    “Just Like Heaven” is cute but not substantive. This movie effort takes off on the concept of Ghost in the reverse; instead of a dead person who can see the living but cannot be seen by the living, here we have a dead person who can also see the living, but the living can also see the dead person.

    It just does not work like Ghost. Ghost is 1,000 times better than this effort. Ghost works because it is a drama and courts reality. Just Like Heaven does not work because it is a romantic comedy and has nothing to do with reality (just a minor point).

    There are several more reasons why Ghost works, and Just Like Heaven does not (too many to mention in detail here). This effort entertains but lacks substance, and hence believability.

    The best part of this movie is Reese Witherspoon (who would go on to win an Oscar for her lead role in the Johnny Cash story, “Walk the Line”). I would not see Just Like Heaven again, even with a monetary incentive.

    Laws of Attraction – 1 Star (Terrible)

    Light-hearted, fun romantic comedy about two divorce attorneys who fight in court over cases and then end up together in marriage. Both Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore make this an easy film to watch, despite its lack of substance. No depth here, but it is an easy film to watch as there is no nudity, no filthy language, no violence and no sex scenes (in other words, almost a miracle of moviemaking given it is not a Disney production).

    Kingdom of Heaven – 1 Star (Terrible)

    Unfortunately for the “Kingdom of Heaven”, what started out as an ambitious epic film about a little known time in history, became an almost disaster at its release and was only average at best. There is enough blame to spread around.

    First, there is a reason why the immortal “Gone with the Wind”, which involved a turbulent love affair in the American south during the Civil War and Reconstruction, took almost 4 hours to see. You apparently cannot make a quality, classic film about the Civil War in less time. Ken Burns’ acclaimed documentary film “The Civil War” consisted of 9 episodes and took 11 hours to view.

    Second, there may be a market for a film in the Middle Ages about the Christian Crusades, a series of military expeditions by Europeans to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims in the 11th, 12th and 13th Centuries. That market, regrettably, is very small compared to an epic about the Civil War, World War I or World War II.

    This proved to be a critical mistake in judgment. It was nearly impossible for Scott to tell the Kingdom of Heaven story in 2 hours, and when the movie received really mixed reviews and proved to be a financial disappointment in the United States, the error was clearly noticeable.

    Fourth, not only was this film to be an epic story, its production cost was enormous. Most of the filming was in Morocco, and Mohammad VI, King of Morocco, provided 1,500 of his military personnel with accompanying equipment to help in the filming.

    In addition, there were apparently 15,000 handmade costumes for the film that also required helmets, boots, gloves, chainmail, belts and scabbards. The flag budget for the film was $250,000. There were 7,500 weapons, 3,000 shields and 20,000 arrows used in the film. In one scene alone, there were 143 extras, 60 military personnel, 125 horses and 60 camels.

    A massive replica of Jerusalem was constructed in the Sahara Desert, containing 28,000 square meters of wall that required 6,000 tons of plaster. The front set was 1,200 feet long and the walls were 56 feet tall. Good grief.

    Fifth, writer William Monahan’s first draft of the script was 186 pages. Executive producer Lisa Ellzey thought Fox would never approve the script because of its length, so she cut it to only 20 pages before sending it to Fox.

    Sixth, Orlando Bloom was not ready to play the leading role as Balian of Ibelin, and his performance did not reflect the kind of command and presence necessary to pull it off.

    Seventh, I had great difficulty as a moviegoer following the story as its presentation required much more help in context, or from a narrator, to understand what was happening when and why it was important.

    Eighth, the sound in the film was terrible. There were times when it was impossible to understand the dialog and, without this essential element, there is no way the film would be rated good by my standards. Sound is too basic of a need to succeed and, when it goes unnoticed because it is well done, it is not an issue.

    Ninth, this whole project was sad from start to finish. What could have become a good film could not overcome the obstacles along the way. Two bright spots in the film were the performances of Liam Neeson as Godfrey de Ibelin and Ghassan Massoud as Saladin, the great Muslim leader.

    In his quest to be noble, Liam Neeson was able to deliver this dialog as Godfrey de Ibelin: “Be without fear in the face of our enemies. Be brave and upright that God may love thee. Speak the truth always, even if it leads to your death. Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong. That is your oath.” (Spoken to his son, Balian, when making him a knight.)

    History records that Saladin and his Muslim troops did recapture Jerusalem after defeating the King of Jerusalem at the Battle of Hattin near the Lake of Galilee. When Saladin’s soldiers enter the City of Jerusalem, they were not allowed to kill civilians, rob people, or damage the city.

    In many ways, the Muslims come out looking better than the Christians in Kingdom of Heaven, and historically, they were.

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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”.