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 2007 by Ed Bagley

    Waking Ned Devine – 4 Stars (Excellent)

    Sooner or later one has to come clean. When pigeonholed about what is my favorite comedy, I said some time ago that “Meet the Fockers” was the best comedy I had seen in a long time.

    What I did not say was what is the best comedy I have ever seen. So let me say it here and now: as of Thursday, March 11, 2007 the best comedy I have ever seen is “Waking Ned Devine” and it is not even a close call.

    It would be easy to throw around a bunch of adjectives like outstanding, fantastic, remarkable, extraordinary, superb or phenomenal but why bother when you can say this: there are not another five writer/directors in America that are better than Kirk Jones and his creation.

    In crafting Waking Ned Devine Kirk Jones has done what dozens of his peers have not done on their best day, and that is both write and direct a film worthy of being called the best. Let me not be shy or just throw out words to fill up space.

    Let me name some writer/directors whose effort in a dual role bred more failure than success: They include Kimberly Peirce (terrible rating) for Boys Don’t Cry, Vanessa Parise (average rating) for Kiss the Bride, Peter Weir (average rating) for Master and Commander: the Far Side of the World, Nancy Myers (average rating) for Something’s Gotta Give, Thomas Bezucha (average rating) for The Family Stone, Michael McGowan (average rating) for Saint Ralph, Jared Hess (terrible rating) for Napoleon Dynamite, Robert Rodriguez (terrible rating) for Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and Paul Thomas Anderson (terrible rating) for Punch-Drunk Love.

    The worst of these efforts was Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love.

    There is no question that all of these wannabe writer/directors probably worked their butt off trying to win an Academy Award for their effort, and I do not mean to discredit their time and effort, just their result. Hopefully, they will learn from experience and get better.

    Kirk Jones is almost unique because this was his first effort at being a writer/director. He was in very dangerous territory but talent, judgment and sensibility can overcome a lot of mistakes. I would put Kirk Jones in the same incredible class of writer/directors as Tim McCanlies in Secondhand Lions. Both Jones and McCanlies are great writers-not-yet-discovered who become artists painting a masterpiece when directing. Waking Ned Devine is set in Ireland but filmed on the Isle of Man, an island in the Irish Sea that is a British crown possession with home rule.

    The Narrator for the film (Paul Vaughan) sets the stage for the film with this great observation: “Saturday evening, and the world is much the same as at any other point in the history of the world. The planets and stars orbit and spin, and do everything that is expected of them. On Earth, as the sun sets, millions prepare for an event that is much less predictable.

    “In 63 countries around the world, dozens of lottery machines spin hundreds of lottery balls. It takes seconds for the winning numbers to be selected . . .seconds for the losers to realize that they have lost. But for the winners, it is an event that will undoubtedly change their lives forever . . . lucky sods!”

    In the tiny Irish village of Tullymore two best friends—Jackie O’Shea (Ian Bannen) and Michael O’Sullivan (David Kelly)—discover that someone among them has won the Irish lottery, and they go to great lengths to find the winner.

    After concocting an elaborate chicken-dinner ploy that fails to rat out the winner, they plough through a horrific rainstorm to call on the only person to not attend the dinner.

    When they find the elderly Ned Devine with the winning ticket is in his hand he is dead. Imagine Ned Devine at his moment of triumph. He survived endless storms upon the sea as a fisherman but ends up dying of shock in his lazy boy upon discovering his good fortune. Jackie O’Shea, being the good Irishman he is, does not want the money to go to waste and convinces his reluctant friend Michael O’Sullivan to go along with his plan. You simply must see what happens when these two pikers get about the business of dealing with Ned Devine’s body.

    Jackie’s wife Annie (Fionnula Flanagan) is beside herself when she learns of Jackie’s plan, upbraiding Jackie for his dishonesty and fearing that both of them will end up in jail. Jackie, being the creative Irishman he is, lets Annie know that he has had a dream that the deceased Ned would want to share his winnings with him.

    When Jackie and Michael were skinny-dipping in the sea, they bump into the claims inspector as he is coming to interview Ned Devine to settle the claim ticket. Jackie takes the claims inspector on a wild goose chase while trying to find “Ned’s” house, and Michael is left to jump on a moped naked and make a mad dash back to the house before the inspector arrives.

    Earlier, when Jackie’s wife Annie learns he has put Michael up for the part of Ned Devine, she reminds him that “he’s never told a lie in his life.” “Well,” replies Jackie, “he’s making up for it now.”

    Michael, nervous as a cat, does pull it off, and the inspector lets Michael know that his payout will be almost $6.9 million Irish pounds. If you can only see one other comedy bit ever, see Michael O’Sullivan, buck naked, riding that moped like a man possessed. It is beyond comedy, it will be legend for those in the know. Only when Jackie discovers that the winning ticket is worth $6.9 million Irish pounds does he realize how out of the control the situation has become, and that the entire village will have to become involved to pull off a deception of this magnitude.

    Every villager to a person agrees with the plan except for Lizzy Quinn (Eileen Dromey), a cantankerous, wheelchair-bound, b-class whiner who holds out for a hefty 10% take with a threat that she will spill the beans.

    When pushed Lizzy (I hope my memory serves me right in thinking this is the right character) makes good on her promise, and wheels herself up the road to the pay phone by the cliff. Fortunately for the villagers, Lizzy dies when the lottery claim inspector’s car spins out of control and forces an oncoming van to crash into the phone booth, sending Lizzy over the cliff before she can report the fraud.

    The claims inspector shows up in the middle of the funeral with the $6.9 million pound check for Ned Devine, sending all of the attending villagers into a state of emotional and mental panic.

    Jackie O’Shea who is delivering the eulogy slides into some instant Irish resourcefulness with this brilliant piece of oratory: “Michael O’Sullivan was my great friend. But I don’t ever remembering telling him that. The words that are spoken at a funeral are spoken too late for the man who is dead. What a wonderful thing it would be to visit your own funeral. To sit at the front and hear what was said, maybe say a few things yourself.

    “Michael and I grew old together. But at times, when we laughed, we grew young. If he was here now, if he could hear what I say, I’d congratulate him on being a great man, and thank him for being a friend.”

    Waking Ned Devine is both one of the best comedies ever made and a classic study in relationships, not just among friends and families but among a small community as well. Kirk Jones has given this story heart, risk, honor, integrity, unity, romance, love, tolerance, chicanery and Irish whiskey all rolled into a masterpiece of storytelling.

    Waking Ned Devine is the funniest film I have ever seen. Because Ned Devine is a comedy and also a story about relationships among common people, this, as much as anything, gives it such solid goodness despite the deception. I mean really, who wants to give $6.9 million Irish pounds back to the government when it really belongs to the people?

    There are other subplots in Waking Ned Devine too good to detail here.

    We learn of the romance between Maggie O’Toole (Susan Lynch) and Pig Finn (James Nesbitt), a pig farmer Maggie would like to marry if she did not have to smell him. We learn that Maggie has a son, and Pig Finn wonders if he is the father. We learn that the real father is none other than Ned Devine, and that the son is rightfully due the entire $6.9 million pounds as the legal heir. Maggie, thankfully, realizes that a rising tide lifts all ships to a better place.

    Waking Ned Devine ends with Jackie O’Shea, Michael O’Sullivan, Maggie’s boy and Pig Finn all raising a toast to Ned Devine while standing on a cliff overlooking the sea. A better comedy I may not see in my lifetime.

    Sadly, recognition for Kirk Jones, the cast, outstanding casting by John and Ros Hubbard, and cinematography by Henry Braham all go without their proper due. To prove there is some small measure of justice in the world, the budget for Waking Ned Devine was estimated at $3 million and this independent film has generated at least $43 million worldwide and the video is still raking in more bucks.

    There are 6.9 million reasons to see Waking Ned Devine, but here is the best one: Kirk Jones. I raise a second toast of Jameson’s to Kirk Jones’ effort. I may only be 18% Irish, but it is the best 18% of me. I am a better person for having seen Waking Ned Devine.

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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”.