Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Stand up and make a difference


Politeness, good manners, consideration, and respect are not relics of an ancient past. On the contrary, those constitute the best investment you can make. They don't cost much and their return compounds at great speed.

Nobility of the soul expresses itself in many different forms. Sometimes it shows as the willingness to listen patiently to silly questions. Other times, it comes as the readiness to return a phone call from which no benefit can be expected.

Gratuitous acts of politeness denote a benevolent spirit. Respect for strangers is the trademark of a tolerant, open society.
Good manners are a trait of the highest sort of nobility.

Your kind disposition will benefit your family, friends, and neighbours. It will no doubt be of great help also to your customers, colleagues, and career. The greatest reward it brings, however, will not be for others, but for yourself. Nothing will reinforce your belief that there are still plenty of kind people in the world as being one of them yourself. Day after day.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by corrieb under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Stand up and make a difference


Politeness, good manners, consideration, and respect are not relics of an ancient past. On the contrary, those constitute the best investment you can make. They don't cost much and their return compounds at great speed.

Nobility of the soul expresses itself in many different forms. Sometimes it shows as the willingness to listen patiently to silly questions. Other times, it comes as the readiness to return a phone call from which no benefit can be expected.

Gratuitous acts of politeness denote a benevolent spirit. Respect for strangers is the trademark of a tolerant, open society.
Good manners are a trait of the highest sort of nobility.

Your kind disposition will benefit your family, friends, and neighbours. It will no doubt be of great help also to your customers, colleagues, and career. The greatest reward it brings, however, will not be for others, but for yourself. Nothing will reinforce your belief that there are still plenty of kind people in the world as being one of them yourself. Day after day.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by corrieb under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Looking for better alternatives


Are you concerned about the future of civilization? Do you ever fall into thinking that the world is doomed to years of low economic growth? Have you expressed lately pessimistic views about your career prospects?

If that is the case, please take a look at the streets of Shanghai. Observe the determined eyes of young stock brokers and the well-cut suits of small businessmen. Take note of the new shops opening all over the place. The whole atmosphere is bold, ambitious, and amazing.

If you find news reports depressing, you just have to change your source of information. Great things are happening in many parts of the world:
roads and hospitals are being built, factories are buying new machines, new ships are being made ready for their maiden voyage, and thousands of jobs are being created.

If global conditions remain what they are now, the Chinese economy might grow 9% this year and it might soon speed up to 12% next year. Of course, you don't have to move to China to take advantage of the opportunities that are being created.

Many Western business schools have already started to offer Chinese language courses as part of their MBA programmes. An excellent move and a realistic perception of the world's trade direction. If you don't have time to go back to school, that shouldn't be a problem. Chinese language audio-courses are both affordable and convenient. Would that be something for you?

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by ufoncz under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Looking for better alternatives


Are you concerned about the future of civilization? Do you ever fall into thinking that the world is doomed to years of low economic growth? Have you expressed lately pessimistic views about your career prospects?

If that is the case, please take a look at the streets of Shanghai. Observe the determined eyes of young stock brokers and the well-cut suits of small businessmen. Take note of the new shops opening all over the place. The whole atmosphere is bold, ambitious, and amazing.

If you find news reports depressing, you just have to change your source of information. Great things are happening in many parts of the world:
roads and hospitals are being built, factories are buying new machines, new ships are being made ready for their maiden voyage, and thousands of jobs are being created.

If global conditions remain what they are now, the Chinese economy might grow 9% this year and it might soon speed up to 12% next year. Of course, you don't have to move to China to take advantage of the opportunities that are being created.

Many Western business schools have already started to offer Chinese language courses as part of their MBA programmes. An excellent move and a realistic perception of the world's trade direction. If you don't have time to go back to school, that shouldn't be a problem. Chinese language audio-courses are both affordable and convenient. Would that be something for you?

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by ufoncz under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Monday, 28 September 2009

Trust only your own statistics (Part 2 of 2)


[3] In the same line of thought, try to acquire the mental fortitude to discard preposterous expectations. Never trust studies that provide evidence that you can make a quick fortune by entering a business field where you don't posses any knowledge or experience. That kind of statistics, even if based on real data, frequently portrays a window of opportunity that has already closed by the time you hear about it. Be prudent and don't go blindly for things that look too good to be true.

[4] Statistics that prompt you to waste your resources or risk your health should be regarded with utmost scepticism. If someone proves to you with numbers that work and play are equally productive, you should not believe it. If a survey tells you that it doesn't matter whether you take care of your health or not, you should stick to your salutary habits and rational good choices. Such surveys make the headlines precisely because they are controversial and contradict basic common sense. The data might be true if applied to particular circumstances, but the conclusions make little sense as general advice.

[5] Surveys that predict awful consequences from seemingly harmless activities should be assessed with caution. For instance, a study showing that people holding a certain type of job die young might reflect the statistical truth. Nevertheless, if you read its conclusions in full, you will realize that many individuals in that profession live substantially longer than the average. Ask yourself what are the factors that make those men and women reach an advanced age and seek to draw lessons that you can apply to your life.

[6] Trial and error are part of the natural learning process in any field of activity. For this reason, you should question the scientific value of any survey that enthrones a specific method of doing things. Are the conclusions based on local circumstances or do they have general application? Has the study been conducted with impartiality or do you have reasons to suspect the existence of conflict of interests? Whenever you face a recommendation to narrow your field of inquiry, compare the statistics to what you know from experience, and see if the conclusion makes sense.

The purpose of surveys is to extract lessons from reality, but without method and logic, data cannot teach us anything of value. Place your common sense above all statistics and your reason above all calculations. Trust your immediate perception more than a hundred volumes of allegedly scientific conclusions, since in life, you will have to pay for your own mistakes. Always check twice what seems to be lie beyond doubt and question what appears self-evident. Let your own independent judgement guide your life according to reason and reality.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by coda under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Trust only your own statistics (Part 2 of 2)


[3] In the same line of thought, try to acquire the mental fortitude to discard preposterous expectations. Never trust studies that provide evidence that you can make a quick fortune by entering a business field where you don't posses any knowledge or experience. That kind of statistics, even if based on real data, frequently portrays a window of opportunity that has already closed by the time you hear about it. Be prudent and don't go blindly for things that look too good to be true.

[4] Statistics that prompt you to waste your resources or risk your health should be regarded with utmost scepticism. If someone proves to you with numbers that work and play are equally productive, you should not believe it. If a survey tells you that it doesn't matter whether you take care of your health or not, you should stick to your salutary habits and rational good choices. Such surveys make the headlines precisely because they are controversial and contradict basic common sense. The data might be true if applied to particular circumstances, but the conclusions make little sense as general advice.

[5] Surveys that predict awful consequences from seemingly harmless activities should be assessed with caution. For instance, a study showing that people holding a certain type of job die young might reflect the statistical truth. Nevertheless, if you read its conclusions in full, you will realize that many individuals in that profession live substantially longer than the average. Ask yourself what are the factors that make those men and women reach an advanced age and seek to draw lessons that you can apply to your life.

[6] Trial and error are part of the natural learning process in any field of activity. For this reason, you should question the scientific value of any survey that enthrones a specific method of doing things. Are the conclusions based on local circumstances or do they have general application? Has the study been conducted with impartiality or do you have reasons to suspect the existence of conflict of interests? Whenever you face a recommendation to narrow your field of inquiry, compare the statistics to what you know from experience, and see if the conclusion makes sense.

The purpose of surveys is to extract lessons from reality, but without method and logic, data cannot teach us anything of value. Place your common sense above all statistics and your reason above all calculations. Trust your immediate perception more than a hundred volumes of allegedly scientific conclusions, since in life, you will have to pay for your own mistakes. Always check twice what seems to be lie beyond doubt and question what appears self-evident. Let your own independent judgement guide your life according to reason and reality.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by coda under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Trust only your own statistics (Part 1 of 2)


If you are planning to consult statistics before making a major decision, you'd better check your sources twice. Many proclaimed truths are solely based on opinion. Countless times, surveys do little more than elevate preferences to models of conduct that are to be followed out of convenience or for personal gain. Every morning, we should remind ourselves that serious errors have been committed in the past by placing blind trust in numbers produced by self-interested parties.

There is no future in repeating the faults of History. Our best protection against misguided statistics is not searching for alternative data, but using our common sense to interpret the conclusions presented to us. We should check if the recommendations match our experience and knowledge of the world. We should assess the consequences of the outcome of such surveys, ask ourselves uncomfortable questions, and take the necessary time to think things through.

When it comes to determining the direction of your life, never trust other people's calculations without subjecting them to rational examination. No matter what results from a survey, its conclusions can never be as reliable as your own perception of the world. No matter how sophisticated a mathematical model may be, it will never match the accuracy of your direct inspection of the facts. The following list presents six sensitive areas where you should be particularly attentive to check the logic of any recommendation that is presented to you.

[1] In general, you should not expect someone else to solve your problems. Statistics proving otherwise should be subject to close scrutiny, since they seem to contradict a fundamental aspect of human nature. We all love to help family and friends, but should we believe any survey that promises uncertain help from indeterminate strangers? Check things twice before you act on such conclusions.

[2] Human beings become most effective when they concentrate on work they love, or at least, on work that matches their best talents. Do not decide on your career solely on the basis of statistics. A survey might show you, for instance, what are the average salaries in different professions, but remember that, within each field, there are large differences of income due to individual expertise, ambition, and dedication. Take career statistics with a grain of salt and rather use your common sense to identify which professional path is suitable for you.

To be continued in Part 2

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by doug88888 under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Trust only your own statistics (Part 1 of 2)


If you are planning to consult statistics before making a major decision, you'd better check your sources twice. Many proclaimed truths are solely based on opinion. Countless times, surveys do little more than elevate preferences to models of conduct that are to be followed out of convenience or for personal gain. Every morning, we should remind ourselves that serious errors have been committed in the past by placing blind trust in numbers produced by self-interested parties.

There is no future in repeating the faults of History. Our best protection against misguided statistics is not searching for alternative data, but using our common sense to interpret the conclusions presented to us. We should check if the recommendations match our experience and knowledge of the world. We should assess the consequences of the outcome of such surveys, ask ourselves uncomfortable questions, and take the necessary time to think things through.

When it comes to determining the direction of your life, never trust other people's calculations without subjecting them to rational examination. No matter what results from a survey, its conclusions can never be as reliable as your own perception of the world. No matter how sophisticated a mathematical model may be, it will never match the accuracy of your direct inspection of the facts. The following list presents six sensitive areas where you should be particularly attentive to check the logic of any recommendation that is presented to you.

[1] In general, you should not expect someone else to solve your problems. Statistics proving otherwise should be subject to close scrutiny, since they seem to contradict a fundamental aspect of human nature. We all love to help family and friends, but should we believe any survey that promises uncertain help from indeterminate strangers? Check things twice before you act on such conclusions.

[2] Human beings become most effective when they concentrate on work they love, or at least, on work that matches their best talents. Do not decide on your career solely on the basis of statistics. A survey might show you, for instance, what are the average salaries in different professions, but remember that, within each field, there are large differences of income due to individual expertise, ambition, and dedication. Take career statistics with a grain of salt and rather use your common sense to identify which professional path is suitable for you.

To be continued in Part 2

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by doug88888 under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Saturday, 26 September 2009

The crucial element in successful dating (Part 2 of 2)


When you meet new people with romantic purposes in mind, some of your new acquaintances will be great, others will leave you cold, and a few will personify everything that you can possibly dislike in a human being. If you are attending a social event or have been invited for dinner by friends, you might not wish to leave right way, but on the other side, you really don't want to drag along all evening in conversation with obnoxious strangers.

In those cases, adopting a strategy of deliberate slowness can work wonders. By the way, this is an approach that you can take to defuse many exacerbating social situations. Deliberate slowness is the ideal defence mechanism on those occasions when someone is verbally distressing you or bothering you at a party.

Should you find yourself in that situation, the perfect way to play is not to get angry. Instead of arguing and reacting with indignation, you can pretend that your brain needs hours to absorb the simplest information and stall. Very often, people will succumb to their own impatience, rate you as a hopeless bore, and leave you in peace.

The second technique, purposeful indifference, requires longer training, but its field of application is much wider. Occasionally, during the dating process, you won't be able to escape nasty, unfair criticism, threats, or warnings, either from friends, family, or strangers. Don't let them ruin your day. Remember that it is great that people are free to express their opinions even if they don't know what they are talking about.

Put on your best poker face, say that you take note of their comments, and walk on. As soon as you are away from the scene, shrug your shoulders and don't let anxiety take control of your mind. Reserve your energies for the next date, where you might meet just the right person for you.

Looking for soul mate is difficult enough. Let us not allow ourselves to be affected by nonsensical remarks from other people. As Epictetus observed in Ancient Rome, "some men find joy in fishing and others in hunting, but for me, there is no greater pleasure than living my days with measure.” Take advantage of your dating experiences to develop a thick skin. In addition to facilitating your search for love, you will be making yourself an invaluable present.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by bslmmrs under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The crucial element in successful dating (Part 2 of 2)


When you meet new people with romantic purposes in mind, some of your new acquaintances will be great, others will leave you cold, and a few will personify everything that you can possibly dislike in a human being. If you are attending a social event or have been invited for dinner by friends, you might not wish to leave right way, but on the other side, you really don't want to drag along all evening in conversation with obnoxious strangers.

In those cases, adopting a strategy of deliberate slowness can work wonders. By the way, this is an approach that you can take to defuse many exacerbating social situations. Deliberate slowness is the ideal defence mechanism on those occasions when someone is verbally distressing you or bothering you at a party.

Should you find yourself in that situation, the perfect way to play is not to get angry. Instead of arguing and reacting with indignation, you can pretend that your brain needs hours to absorb the simplest information and stall. Very often, people will succumb to their own impatience, rate you as a hopeless bore, and leave you in peace.

The second technique, purposeful indifference, requires longer training, but its field of application is much wider. Occasionally, during the dating process, you won't be able to escape nasty, unfair criticism, threats, or warnings, either from friends, family, or strangers. Don't let them ruin your day. Remember that it is great that people are free to express their opinions even if they don't know what they are talking about.

Put on your best poker face, say that you take note of their comments, and walk on. As soon as you are away from the scene, shrug your shoulders and don't let anxiety take control of your mind. Reserve your energies for the next date, where you might meet just the right person for you.

Looking for soul mate is difficult enough. Let us not allow ourselves to be affected by nonsensical remarks from other people. As Epictetus observed in Ancient Rome, "some men find joy in fishing and others in hunting, but for me, there is no greater pleasure than living my days with measure.” Take advantage of your dating experiences to develop a thick skin. In addition to facilitating your search for love, you will be making yourself an invaluable present.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by bslmmrs under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Friday, 25 September 2009

The crucial element in successful dating (Part 1 of 2)


“A wise man should not fear losing anything in life if he is able to preserve his peace of mind,” taught the Roman philosopher Epictetus two thousand years ago. When you are out there looking for the right person to share your life with, you should remind yourself that maintaining your balance and self-esteem is going to put you way ahead of the game.

When it comes to dating, each of us can easily make a list of unpleasant situations that we would rather avoid in order to keep our tranquillity. For instance, most men and women would consider themselves happier if they could avoid dealing with nasty people altogether. The same preference applies to averting unwanted criticism. Last but not least, wouldn't our days be easier if we never had to comply with silly rules?

The crucial element in successful dating is rational persistence. The question is how we can sustain our motivation long enough to achieve our romantic goals. Indeed, looking for a soul mate would be less complicated if we could keep away all those inconveniences, but let's face the truth, the world is not going to turn into paradise tomorrow morning. Negative personal interactions are particularly aggravating during dating, since love seekers who invest themselves heavily in their search often place their egos in the line of fire.

The good news is that you can minimize your dating annoyances if you grow a thick skin, that is, if you become more philosophical about life. Learn to enhance your psychological resiliency and this knowledge will serve you well for the rest of your life. The techniques are not difficult and you can practice them on your own. During your dating adventures, you will have ample opportunity to test the validity of these theories.

One can only wonder why mental resiliency is rarely taught at school. Every little elephant in the savannah knows how important it is to grow a healthy thick skin for protection against weather inclemencies, viruses, and infections. In the same way, human beings need to develop a sound psychological armour against the inevitable frictions of social life.

Which techniques can you use to build up a psychological protection layer as thick as the rugged skin of an elephant? In the case of dating, my choice of methods would go towards cultivating deliberate slowness and purposeful indifference. Let us see how these two techniques work in practice.

To be continued in Part 2

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by docentjoyce under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The crucial element in successful dating (Part 1 of 2)


“A wise man should not fear losing anything in life if he is able to preserve his peace of mind,” taught the Roman philosopher Epictetus two thousand years ago. When you are out there looking for the right person to share your life with, you should remind yourself that maintaining your balance and self-esteem is going to put you way ahead of the game.

When it comes to dating, each of us can easily make a list of unpleasant situations that we would rather avoid in order to keep our tranquillity. For instance, most men and women would consider themselves happier if they could avoid dealing with nasty people altogether. The same preference applies to averting unwanted criticism. Last but not least, wouldn't our days be easier if we never had to comply with silly rules?

The crucial element in successful dating is rational persistence. The question is how we can sustain our motivation long enough to achieve our romantic goals. Indeed, looking for a soul mate would be less complicated if we could keep away all those inconveniences, but let's face the truth, the world is not going to turn into paradise tomorrow morning. Negative personal interactions are particularly aggravating during dating, since love seekers who invest themselves heavily in their search often place their egos in the line of fire.

The good news is that you can minimize your dating annoyances if you grow a thick skin, that is, if you become more philosophical about life. Learn to enhance your psychological resiliency and this knowledge will serve you well for the rest of your life. The techniques are not difficult and you can practice them on your own. During your dating adventures, you will have ample opportunity to test the validity of these theories.

One can only wonder why mental resiliency is rarely taught at school. Every little elephant in the savannah knows how important it is to grow a healthy thick skin for protection against weather inclemencies, viruses, and infections. In the same way, human beings need to develop a sound psychological armour against the inevitable frictions of social life.

Which techniques can you use to build up a psychological protection layer as thick as the rugged skin of an elephant? In the case of dating, my choice of methods would go towards cultivating deliberate slowness and purposeful indifference. Let us see how these two techniques work in practice.

To be continued in Part 2

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by docentjoyce under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Finding your own way in life (Part 2 of 2)


The 21st century is the age of the empowered individual. We inhabit an environment where many businesses can be started with negligible upfront investment. Innumerable doors are open to personal initiative and skills, giving each of us almost infinite opportunities to find our own way towards happiness and success.

Business has become international, but the low-cost of internet communication gives us instant access to all corners of the earth. If you feel short-changed in any way, make a pause and look at things with perspective. If you are lucky enough to live in an industrial economy, you will not lack chances for personal development.

In moments of pessimism, remind yourself that the digital media are decreasing educational costs for everyone, that information about job openings is available on line, that inexpensive software applications are readily available, and that the cost of incorporating a company remains low in many jurisdictions. Chances are that you have more opportunities than you think.

“Materials and substances are not enough to produce change,” observed Aristotle. “The fact that something can be transformed, does not mean that it will. Without activity, there is no motion.” Let us devote our days to turning what we have into something more valuable. Let your willingness to perceive opportunities turn yourself into a motor of change.

If you still hesitate which way to go, why don't you get in touch with people who have similar interests and who are pondering the same questions? The easiest way to do that is to start up an internet blog on the subject that interests you the most.

A blog is deeply marked by the personality and philosophy of its author. One hundred million people go daily on-line and, in the near future, the number might grow to five hundred million. Many of them would gladly read more blogs if they found something that really appealed to them.

Use the internet fully to find your own way in life, since the web is offering you access to the whole world. This is the kind of opportunity that no other generation has enjoyed before our time.

If you decide to begin a blog, write about what you like and let people with the same interests find you. It is often through discussion with people like us that we come to realize that we already know the answer to our most pressing questions.


[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by RonAlmog under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Finding your own way in life (Part 2 of 2)


The 21st century is the age of the empowered individual. We inhabit an environment where many businesses can be started with negligible upfront investment. Innumerable doors are open to personal initiative and skills, giving each of us almost infinite opportunities to find our own way towards happiness and success.

Business has become international, but the low-cost of internet communication gives us instant access to all corners of the earth. If you feel short-changed in any way, make a pause and look at things with perspective. If you are lucky enough to live in an industrial economy, you will not lack chances for personal development.

In moments of pessimism, remind yourself that the digital media are decreasing educational costs for everyone, that information about job openings is available on line, that inexpensive software applications are readily available, and that the cost of incorporating a company remains low in many jurisdictions. Chances are that you have more opportunities than you think.

“Materials and substances are not enough to produce change,” observed Aristotle. “The fact that something can be transformed, does not mean that it will. Without activity, there is no motion.” Let us devote our days to turning what we have into something more valuable. Let your willingness to perceive opportunities turn yourself into a motor of change.

If you still hesitate which way to go, why don't you get in touch with people who have similar interests and who are pondering the same questions? The easiest way to do that is to start up an internet blog on the subject that interests you the most.

A blog is deeply marked by the personality and philosophy of its author. One hundred million people go daily on-line and, in the near future, the number might grow to five hundred million. Many of them would gladly read more blogs if they found something that really appealed to them.

Use the internet fully to find your own way in life, since the web is offering you access to the whole world. This is the kind of opportunity that no other generation has enjoyed before our time.

If you decide to begin a blog, write about what you like and let people with the same interests find you. It is often through discussion with people like us that we come to realize that we already know the answer to our most pressing questions.


[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by RonAlmog under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Finding your own way in life (Part 1 of 2)


The perception that achievement should be either immediate or impossible is wrong. Important things frequently demand substantial time, as it is the case of relationships. It makes no sense to put pressure on the wrong places. Some things take as long as they take. The process of reaching our goals is to be enjoyed, not frivolously discarded as a waste of time.

As they say in my home village, “you'd better bake potatoes slowly if you don't want to burn them.” Substantial skills, like learning a foreign language, require months or years of effort. In life, you have plenty of time to find your own way. If you think that this is not the case, check your priorities and simplify your activities.

“Some talents are innate and others are acquired through practice,” wrote Aristotle in the year 328 B.C. “While the movement of animals is governed by the law of cause and effect, the essential characteristic of human beings, reason, can only be developed by choice.”

Centuries of decay followed the fall of the Roman Empire. For generations, fear replaced rational discourse as the primary means of human interaction. In many fields, knowledge remained inaccessible to the great majority of the population. As a result, life expectancy dramatically decreased.

Conditions improved in the 13th century. The transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance opened a wide range of opportunities for talented individuals. Towns attracted tradesmen and merchants, who manufactured utensils, made clothes, and built houses.

In Italian cities, like Florence and Venice, the wealth created by entrepreneurs brought into existence a market for artists. Upward social mobility became possible to an important segment of the population in the time of the great Renaissance artists, such as Botticelli and Michelangelo.

In our days, despite problems and difficulties, opportunities for personal development have multiplied in many countries to the extent that they are practically endless, making easier for every individual to explore the fields in which he is interested and find his own path.

Millions of men and women are now enjoying levels of prosperity that would have been unthinkable for the wealthiest prince in the Middle Ages. The advent of the internet and the global economy are tearing down barriers to entrepreneurship. We are living at the beginning of a new period of economic growth that may offer countless opportunities for each person to determine his own future.

To be continued in Part 2

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Klearchos Kapoutsis under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

The time to get out of a bad relationship is now


People become discouraged and despondent in relationships because, at a certain moment, they believe that they have no options. This is not true, unless you suffer from terminal illness and you have no time left. Wherever you live, whatever your occupation, alternatives exist to bad relationships.

An active mind is a precious treasure that is given to every human. If you doubt this, look at children. Their curiosity and excitement are irrepressible. An entrepreneurial spirit is not something you have to acquire, but your natural due. If later in life, you find that missing, you just need to reclaim it.

There are plenty of unexplored possibilities when it comes to meeting new friends and lovers. In each case, you might need to exert effort, look around, and experience some rejection. That's part of the price you pay for growing as a human being.

Once we are equipped with an entrepreneurial attitude, we should actually love it when someone calls our dreams unrealistic. In particular, when that person adds some trite remark, such as "in life, we cannot always get what we want." That's a sign for us to take action.

If your parts supplier expects you to make your purchases at exorbitant prices, find a new supplier. If your internet provider acts as though you have no choice, change providers. If your computer repair shop informs you that they are the only experts in that brand of computer, throw away the old computer and purchase another brand.

If your bank announces that you have no other place to save, open accounts in three other banks. If your plumber tells you that your have to pay too much, learn how to replace the water tabs yourself. If a painter tells you that you can do things only his way, hire someone else to paint your house.

The examples above apply equally to a bad relationship or marriage. The time to step out of them is now, even if you cannot immediately figure out where to go next. You should make your priority number one to escape a situation that makes you feel unappreciated and belittles your best qualities.

What about geographical constraints? Moving to another region or country to build a new life seems so complicated that most people don't give it much thought. Nevertheless, every year, millions of men and women go and live in another country in search of better conditions or to break completely with miserable past relationships.

When someone says that you have no choice, give yourself a break. Look hard at your situation and question why, when and how. Once you decide to replace a failed relationship with a better future, your eyes will begin to detect opportunities that you had never seen before.

When people express the view that you should be content with what you have, don't get upset and refrain from giving a snappy reply. Useless discussions are not going to save the day. More often than not, you will be better off if you just nod, smile, and move on.

The world is full of possibilities to connect with wonderful people and build great relationships. Don't waste a minute with those that believe that there is only one path to walk. You have better things to do.


[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by sektordua under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The time to get out of a bad relationship is now


People become discouraged and despondent in relationships because, at a certain moment, they believe that they have no options. This is not true, unless you suffer from terminal illness and you have no time left. Wherever you live, whatever your occupation, alternatives exist to bad relationships.

An active mind is a precious treasure that is given to every human. If you doubt this, look at children. Their curiosity and excitement are irrepressible. An entrepreneurial spirit is not something you have to acquire, but your natural due. If later in life, you find that missing, you just need to reclaim it.

There are plenty of unexplored possibilities when it comes to meeting new friends and lovers. In each case, you might need to exert effort, look around, and experience some rejection. That's part of the price you pay for growing as a human being.

Once we are equipped with an entrepreneurial attitude, we should actually love it when someone calls our dreams unrealistic. In particular, when that person adds some trite remark, such as "in life, we cannot always get what we want." That's a sign for us to take action.

If your parts supplier expects you to make your purchases at exorbitant prices, find a new supplier. If your internet provider acts as though you have no choice, change providers. If your computer repair shop informs you that they are the only experts in that brand of computer, throw away the old computer and purchase another brand.

If your bank announces that you have no other place to save, open accounts in three other banks. If your plumber tells you that your have to pay too much, learn how to replace the water tabs yourself. If a painter tells you that you can do things only his way, hire someone else to paint your house.

The examples above apply equally to a bad relationship or marriage. The time to step out of them is now, even if you cannot immediately figure out where to go next. You should make your priority number one to escape a situation that makes you feel unappreciated and belittles your best qualities.

What about geographical constraints? Moving to another region or country to build a new life seems so complicated that most people don't give it much thought. Nevertheless, every year, millions of men and women go and live in another country in search of better conditions or to break completely with miserable past relationships.

When someone says that you have no choice, give yourself a break. Look hard at your situation and question why, when and how. Once you decide to replace a failed relationship with a better future, your eyes will begin to detect opportunities that you had never seen before.

When people express the view that you should be content with what you have, don't get upset and refrain from giving a snappy reply. Useless discussions are not going to save the day. More often than not, you will be better off if you just nod, smile, and move on.

The world is full of possibilities to connect with wonderful people and build great relationships. Don't waste a minute with those that believe that there is only one path to walk. You have better things to do.


[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by sektordua under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Monday, 21 September 2009

My passion for saying maybe


It doesn't pay to engage in verbal fights with irrational people. They will dismiss your well-thought arguments. They will ignore facts and figures. They will wear you down. In extreme cases, they might even make you doubt your senses.

Nevertheless, no matter what business you are in, you probably make a good part of your money through your dealings with irrational customers, colleagues, or employees.

The world being what it is, there are few ways to make a living without having to deal with some unreasonable, overbearing individuals. Your efficiency and happiness depend to a great extent on your ability to deal with that kind of persons.

I have tried different approaches through the years. Avoiding nonsense altogether doesn't work, since you won't be able to remake the world according to your likes and dislikes. Getting angry doesn't work either, since you will only be creating stress for yourself without actually improving anything.

My personal solution to irrational attacks consists of simply saying one word. "Maybe," I reply when I face enthusiastic defenders of some crazy theory. For the sake of variety, I also say "possibly" from time to time.

Do you consider my approach a lowly form of compromise? It is not. Think twice. Most of us would be already millionaires if we had been paid for all the hours that we have wasted in useless discussions. Let me show you what happens when you say "maybe" to common, everyday nonsense.
  1. "The world is coming to and end. You have to be anxious and depressed." Maybe, but I will start worrying when I actually see civilization fall apart.
  2. "Saving is useless. You are much better off living in the moment." Maybe, but I will stop saving when I have tangible guarantees that my financial future is properly taken care of.
  3. "You have to read newspapers everyday. Otherwise, without constant new information, you will lose your competitive edge." Maybe, but I will wait until I see proof that my minimum-information approach is no longer effective.
  4. "Eating healthy food is a waste of time. Cancer can hit anybody and there is nothing you can do to prevent it." Maybe, but good nutrition has kept me healthy for many years and I see no reason to change my ways.
  5. "Markets are going down and opportunity is shrinking." Maybe, but that does not prevent me from taking action to pursue those opportunities that remain available.
  6. "Nobody thinks long-term any more. There is no point in looking ahead beyond next quarter." Maybe, but having a long-term vision has always helped me take right decisions in the present, so it is something that I intend to keep.
  7. "In life, everybody has to face some sort of frustration or failure. Attempts at happiness are doomed to failure." Maybe, but that does not prevent me from looking for solutions to my problems and achieving as much happiness as I can.
  8. "Times are hard and mean. You rarely meet good people any more." Maybe, but that gives me a strong incentive to look for those who have decided to remain rational and honest.
Saying maybe does not endorse nonsense. It does not evade logic or support mistakes. On the contrary, saying maybe will preserve your right to act according to your own rational interests.

Don't waste time debating with people who are not listening. Why should you engage in heated disputes where your opinion won't make any difference? Let the foolish go their own way so that you can go yours.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by joebeone under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

My passion for saying maybe


It doesn't pay to engage in verbal fights with irrational people. They will dismiss your well-thought arguments. They will ignore facts and figures. They will wear you down. In extreme cases, they might even make you doubt your senses.

Nevertheless, no matter what business you are in, you probably make a good part of your money through your dealings with irrational customers, colleagues, or employees.

The world being what it is, there are few ways to make a living without having to deal with some unreasonable, overbearing individuals. Your efficiency and happiness depend to a great extent on your ability to deal with that kind of persons.

I have tried different approaches through the years. Avoiding nonsense altogether doesn't work, since you won't be able to remake the world according to your likes and dislikes. Getting angry doesn't work either, since you will only be creating stress for yourself without actually improving anything.

My personal solution to irrational attacks consists of simply saying one word. "Maybe," I reply when I face enthusiastic defenders of some crazy theory. For the sake of variety, I also say "possibly" from time to time.

Do you consider my approach a lowly form of compromise? It is not. Think twice. Most of us would be already millionaires if we had been paid for all the hours that we have wasted in useless discussions. Let me show you what happens when you say "maybe" to common, everyday nonsense.
  1. "The world is coming to and end. You have to be anxious and depressed." Maybe, but I will start worrying when I actually see civilization fall apart.
  2. "Saving is useless. You are much better off living in the moment." Maybe, but I will stop saving when I have tangible guarantees that my financial future is properly taken care of.
  3. "You have to read newspapers everyday. Otherwise, without constant new information, you will lose your competitive edge." Maybe, but I will wait until I see proof that my minimum-information approach is no longer effective.
  4. "Eating healthy food is a waste of time. Cancer can hit anybody and there is nothing you can do to prevent it." Maybe, but good nutrition has kept me healthy for many years and I see no reason to change my ways.
  5. "Markets are going down and opportunity is shrinking." Maybe, but that does not prevent me from taking action to pursue those opportunities that remain available.
  6. "Nobody thinks long-term any more. There is no point in looking ahead beyond next quarter." Maybe, but having a long-term vision has always helped me take right decisions in the present, so it is something that I intend to keep.
  7. "In life, everybody has to face some sort of frustration or failure. Attempts at happiness are doomed to failure." Maybe, but that does not prevent me from looking for solutions to my problems and achieving as much happiness as I can.
  8. "Times are hard and mean. You rarely meet good people any more." Maybe, but that gives me a strong incentive to look for those who have decided to remain rational and honest.
Saying maybe does not endorse nonsense. It does not evade logic or support mistakes. On the contrary, saying maybe will preserve your right to act according to your own rational interests.

Don't waste time debating with people who are not listening. Why should you engage in heated disputes where your opinion won't make any difference? Let the foolish go their own way so that you can go yours.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by joebeone under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Sunday, 20 September 2009

The importance of reading the writing on the wall (Part 2 of 2)


How have we become so blind? Which invisible force makes us dismiss uncomfortable evidence? What leads men to push aside all prudence and disregard patent signals of danger? Can we not see the destruction that arises from overeating, excessive drinking, and profligate spending? What moves us to close our eyes instead of reading the writing on the wall?

The answer is hard to accept, but it's all about conformity. Such lethal errors, such fundamental mistakes are never made innocently. Our darkest ambitions push us towards places that we know we should avoid. We willingly follow wrong signals and fool ourselves with the excuse that everybody does it.

Conformity comes from the fear to stand out as individuals and speak out our mind. The desire to belong to a community turns from positive to negative from the moment that it makes us ignore obvious signs of trouble. Without our overwhelming faith in the stories we are told, we would easily remark details that don't match and figures that don't add up.

At school, we are seldom encouraged to think independently. Exams frequently consist of repeating theories learned by heart. Research projects are often rated on the basis of a student's ability to quote other people's opinions. Original ideas are not welcome. We are taught that it is safer to repeat bromides than to draw our own conclusions.

Most movies tend to reinforce the idea that, when it comes to making decisions, one should first search for answers by looking at what others are doing. Individual inquiry leads to trouble, we are shown. Unpopular statements, no matter how true, are better left unsaid. Even when movie heroes get to read the writing on the wall, this is always presented as a case of last resort.

In this way, if we want to blame someone for our blindness, we never lack good candidates. Every time that we close our eyes to problems and embrace a wrong solution, we can contend that we saw it on television. Every time that we place our trust in patently unworkable schemes, we can argue that we heard them on the radio.

Such excuses, nevertheless, will never bring us peace of mind, since inside, we know the truth only too well. We can all be cheated for a while, but no force in the world can make a man ignore reality day after day. Inconsistencies won't let you sleep when you pretend to believe what in practice cannot be achieved. The present is consistent with the past. The future is consistent with the present. The writing on the wall is there all the time to remind us to think for ourselves.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Wolfgang Staudt under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The importance of reading the writing on the wall (Part 2 of 2)


How have we become so blind? Which invisible force makes us dismiss uncomfortable evidence? What leads men to push aside all prudence and disregard patent signals of danger? Can we not see the destruction that arises from overeating, excessive drinking, and profligate spending? What moves us to close our eyes instead of reading the writing on the wall?

The answer is hard to accept, but it's all about conformity. Such lethal errors, such fundamental mistakes are never made innocently. Our darkest ambitions push us towards places that we know we should avoid. We willingly follow wrong signals and fool ourselves with the excuse that everybody does it.

Conformity comes from the fear to stand out as individuals and speak out our mind. The desire to belong to a community turns from positive to negative from the moment that it makes us ignore obvious signs of trouble. Without our overwhelming faith in the stories we are told, we would easily remark details that don't match and figures that don't add up.

At school, we are seldom encouraged to think independently. Exams frequently consist of repeating theories learned by heart. Research projects are often rated on the basis of a student's ability to quote other people's opinions. Original ideas are not welcome. We are taught that it is safer to repeat bromides than to draw our own conclusions.

Most movies tend to reinforce the idea that, when it comes to making decisions, one should first search for answers by looking at what others are doing. Individual inquiry leads to trouble, we are shown. Unpopular statements, no matter how true, are better left unsaid. Even when movie heroes get to read the writing on the wall, this is always presented as a case of last resort.

In this way, if we want to blame someone for our blindness, we never lack good candidates. Every time that we close our eyes to problems and embrace a wrong solution, we can contend that we saw it on television. Every time that we place our trust in patently unworkable schemes, we can argue that we heard them on the radio.

Such excuses, nevertheless, will never bring us peace of mind, since inside, we know the truth only too well. We can all be cheated for a while, but no force in the world can make a man ignore reality day after day. Inconsistencies won't let you sleep when you pretend to believe what in practice cannot be achieved. The present is consistent with the past. The future is consistent with the present. The writing on the wall is there all the time to remind us to think for ourselves.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Wolfgang Staudt under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Saturday, 19 September 2009

The importance of reading the writing on the wall (Part 1 of 2)


Wouldn't it be great if we could reduce the number of serious mistakes that we make in life? Imagine the amount of pain and disorientation that we would avoid. Think of the financial gains and opportunities that we would be able to seize. No one possesses universal knowledge and can prevent all mistakes, but this is no reason to disregard the real possibility of reducing our errors.

If you learn what is the main cause of your mistakes and keep that in mind, you will already have established the basis for massive improvements in your personal performance. The fundamental reason for our mistakes is that we fail to read the writing on the wall. The crucial problem is the difficulty of recognizing our own blindness.
  • We hold to losing hands, even when it becomes obvious that we should throw them away. We willingly ignore signs that conflict with our deepest ambitions and cling to habits that we should discontinue. How much time do we waste maintaining worthless possessions, even when it is apparent that we would be better off if we got rid of them?
  • We pursue counter-productive goals and devote endless energies to make them look compatible. We tell ourselves that opposite objectives will somehow come together, only to grow increasingly alienated from reality and truth. We allow our contradictory desires to transform our positives into negatives.
  • We trust dishonest people even after receiving overwhelming evidence of their moral flaws. We look the other way in order to avoid witnessing their deceitful actions. We tell ourselves that these people will get better with time, only to find our worst suspicions confirmed once and again.
  • We invest in shaky undertakings and close our eyes to repeated signs telling us to stay away from what looks too good to be true. We allow our wishful thinking to overrule our prudence despite the lessons from the past. We become insensitive to good advice and, instead, we feed ourselves agreeable nonsense.
  • We long to have sex with enticing beauties whose words and actions mark them as seriously deranged. We pay attention to superficialities and repress the uneasiness that arises from such lack of substance and humanity. We train ourselves to perceive only the convenient side of the world and to disregard aspects of serious concern.
  • We join social movements that have no future and give them the best of our lives. We avidly believe their nonsense and reassure ourselves that we are doing the right thing. We feel proud of our participation in rites and ceremonies that serve no other purpose than enhancing our vanity.
  • We purchase useless and overpriced items for which we lose interest in a matter of hours. We devote massive efforts to acquire symbols of success for the sole purpose of impressing people who couldn't care less. When will we learn to trust no one and nothing beyond what we can touch and conclude for ourselves?
To be continued in Part 2

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by ufoncz under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The importance of reading the writing on the wall (Part 1 of 2)


Wouldn't it be great if we could reduce the number of serious mistakes that we make in life? Imagine the amount of pain and disorientation that we would avoid. Think of the financial gains and opportunities that we would be able to seize. No one possesses universal knowledge and can prevent all mistakes, but this is no reason to disregard the real possibility of reducing our errors.

If you learn what is the main cause of your mistakes and keep that in mind, you will already have established the basis for massive improvements in your personal performance. The fundamental reason for our mistakes is that we fail to read the writing on the wall. The crucial problem is the difficulty of recognizing our own blindness.
  • We hold to losing hands, even when it becomes obvious that we should throw them away. We willingly ignore signs that conflict with our deepest ambitions and cling to habits that we should discontinue. How much time do we waste maintaining worthless possessions, even when it is apparent that we would be better off if we got rid of them?
  • We pursue counter-productive goals and devote endless energies to make them look compatible. We tell ourselves that opposite objectives will somehow come together, only to grow increasingly alienated from reality and truth. We allow our contradictory desires to transform our positives into negatives.
  • We trust dishonest people even after receiving overwhelming evidence of their moral flaws. We look the other way in order to avoid witnessing their deceitful actions. We tell ourselves that these people will get better with time, only to find our worst suspicions confirmed once and again.
  • We invest in shaky undertakings and close our eyes to repeated signs telling us to stay away from what looks too good to be true. We allow our wishful thinking to overrule our prudence despite the lessons from the past. We become insensitive to good advice and, instead, we feed ourselves agreeable nonsense.
  • We long to have sex with enticing beauties whose words and actions mark them as seriously deranged. We pay attention to superficialities and repress the uneasiness that arises from such lack of substance and humanity. We train ourselves to perceive only the convenient side of the world and to disregard aspects of serious concern.
  • We join social movements that have no future and give them the best of our lives. We avidly believe their nonsense and reassure ourselves that we are doing the right thing. We feel proud of our participation in rites and ceremonies that serve no other purpose than enhancing our vanity.
  • We purchase useless and overpriced items for which we lose interest in a matter of hours. We devote massive efforts to acquire symbols of success for the sole purpose of impressing people who couldn't care less. When will we learn to trust no one and nothing beyond what we can touch and conclude for ourselves?
To be continued in Part 2

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by ufoncz under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Friday, 18 September 2009

Happy are the relentless (Part 2 of 2)


So much arbitrary advice is polluting our environment that careless listening has become a source of disorientation. Words fill the airwaves with promises of upcoming help that will never arrive. Believers without proof are always looking forward to recruiting new blood in order to expand their circle of followers and contributors.

Conflicts of interest will taint most recommendations you'll hear. Most of the advice you'll get will be biased to the extent of being manipulative. Those who talk the loudest are often on the look for personal gain, whether financial or psychological. As soon as you realize that received wisdom is less pure than you thought, it is high time for you to close your ears and heart to unproductive noise.

Others will encourage you to do one thing and deeply believe what they are saying, while a moment later, their actions will belie their speech. Look at the facts with a fresh mind and draw your own conclusions. No matter how sweet and enticing, words inconsistent with reality serve no other purpose than entertainment.

Drop your luggage of traditions and ignore empty promises. Do not place your trust on misrepresentations. Do no follow those who twist words and falsify concepts in the hope of rewriting reality. Let go of vain pursuits that clash with fundamental truths. Do not attempt to correct falsehoods at great cost. Ignoring them is the way to go.

In the worst possible moment, when everything seems lost, one should stop looking inside and focus all his senses on the world. Most often than not, the solution lies in front of us, if only we allow ourselves to see it. When things get tough, we should not waste our time with unfeasible theories. Instead, we need to watch those who are successful and imitate what really works.

Complaining does not help. Waiting does not move you forward. Should we hang around hoping for someone to fix our problems? That doesn't work either. Paralysis has never proven useful to anyone. Personal action is the only recipe that delivers results. Each of us must become the force behind his own transformation. There is no other way. All other roads are blind alleys.

Relentless, purposeful action is the only strategy that will move you towards success and happiness. Action will show you the way, no matter where you start, irrespective of how deprived or discouraged you may feel today. Even with the best intentions and motivation, perfect results are guaranteed to none, but once you start to walk, you are on your way to a better life.

In all countries, in all periods, men have seen how persistent and intelligent efforts lead to improvements. Your context will dictate your individual timing, but the path of change is the same that human beings have walked since the beginning of time. Stand up, choose your goal, and pursue it with the best you have, for happy are the relentless.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Crispin Swan under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Happy are the relentless (Part 2 of 2)


So much arbitrary advice is polluting our environment that careless listening has become a source of disorientation. Words fill the airwaves with promises of upcoming help that will never arrive. Believers without proof are always looking forward to recruiting new blood in order to expand their circle of followers and contributors.

Conflicts of interest will taint most recommendations you'll hear. Most of the advice you'll get will be biased to the extent of being manipulative. Those who talk the loudest are often on the look for personal gain, whether financial or psychological. As soon as you realize that received wisdom is less pure than you thought, it is high time for you to close your ears and heart to unproductive noise.

Others will encourage you to do one thing and deeply believe what they are saying, while a moment later, their actions will belie their speech. Look at the facts with a fresh mind and draw your own conclusions. No matter how sweet and enticing, words inconsistent with reality serve no other purpose than entertainment.

Drop your luggage of traditions and ignore empty promises. Do not place your trust on misrepresentations. Do no follow those who twist words and falsify concepts in the hope of rewriting reality. Let go of vain pursuits that clash with fundamental truths. Do not attempt to correct falsehoods at great cost. Ignoring them is the way to go.

In the worst possible moment, when everything seems lost, one should stop looking inside and focus all his senses on the world. Most often than not, the solution lies in front of us, if only we allow ourselves to see it. When things get tough, we should not waste our time with unfeasible theories. Instead, we need to watch those who are successful and imitate what really works.

Complaining does not help. Waiting does not move you forward. Should we hang around hoping for someone to fix our problems? That doesn't work either. Paralysis has never proven useful to anyone. Personal action is the only recipe that delivers results. Each of us must become the force behind his own transformation. There is no other way. All other roads are blind alleys.

Relentless, purposeful action is the only strategy that will move you towards success and happiness. Action will show you the way, no matter where you start, irrespective of how deprived or discouraged you may feel today. Even with the best intentions and motivation, perfect results are guaranteed to none, but once you start to walk, you are on your way to a better life.

In all countries, in all periods, men have seen how persistent and intelligent efforts lead to improvements. Your context will dictate your individual timing, but the path of change is the same that human beings have walked since the beginning of time. Stand up, choose your goal, and pursue it with the best you have, for happy are the relentless.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Crispin Swan under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Happy are the relentless (Part 1 of 2)


Every village has its share of poor, desperate people. On Main Street, you will find a bus station full of individuals who live on the margin of society. They will beg you for money, or failing that, for attention. Their sad stories will break your heart. They will gladly tell you how they came to be that way, how they lost the little they had and never got a chance to claim it back.

Every town has a factory that has recently shut down. If you go there in the morning, you will see workers waiting outside, dressed for jobs that no longer exist, staring at the closed gates. The buildings are empty and the machines have stopped, but those who have been made redundant still hang around in the shadows, whispering to each other about a past that will never return.

Every capital of the world attracts hundreds of talented people who dream of becoming artists. Some try their luck at the theatre, others paint, or sing and dance. How long will they last in a market that will reject their best attempts and treat their creativity with contempt? A day will come when most of them will quit and forget what they were trying so hard to achieve.

Undoubtedly, there are many distressing tales to pay attention to. You will not have to search long before you find a long string of mournful cases to fill your mind with sorrow. If you wish to be convinced that man is doomed, you will find the proof everywhere you look. The world offers as many excuses as we want to perceive, some for our convenience and others for our comfort.

Luckily, however, when we become sharp observers of society, the worst news often turn out to be the best. The unpleasant summer rain is what makes trees grow faster. Ravaging fever is the sign of our body's capacity to fight infection. In this perspective, indifference, failure, and discouragement might be considered harbingers of opportunity. They are the hidden signals that point out the way to a better future.

Men who are down and out devote an inordinate amount of time to lamenting that nobody cares. Someone should come along and repair their broken life, they argue. Someone should provide the resources and the opportunities that they never had, they demand. Unfairness and discontent, we have all seen those before, but does the solution consist of waiting and railing?

To be continued in Part 2.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Sandeep Murali under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Happy are the relentless (Part 1 of 2)


Every village has its share of poor, desperate people. On Main Street, you will find a bus station full of individuals who live on the margin of society. They will beg you for money, or failing that, for attention. Their sad stories will break your heart. They will gladly tell you how they came to be that way, how they lost the little they had and never got a chance to claim it back.

Every town has a factory that has recently shut down. If you go there in the morning, you will see workers waiting outside, dressed for jobs that no longer exist, staring at the closed gates. The buildings are empty and the machines have stopped, but those who have been made redundant still hang around in the shadows, whispering to each other about a past that will never return.

Every capital of the world attracts hundreds of talented people who dream of becoming artists. Some try their luck at the theatre, others paint, or sing and dance. How long will they last in a market that will reject their best attempts and treat their creativity with contempt? A day will come when most of them will quit and forget what they were trying so hard to achieve.

Undoubtedly, there are many distressing tales to pay attention to. You will not have to search long before you find a long string of mournful cases to fill your mind with sorrow. If you wish to be convinced that man is doomed, you will find the proof everywhere you look. The world offers as many excuses as we want to perceive, some for our convenience and others for our comfort.

Luckily, however, when we become sharp observers of society, the worst news often turn out to be the best. The unpleasant summer rain is what makes trees grow faster. Ravaging fever is the sign of our body's capacity to fight infection. In this perspective, indifference, failure, and discouragement might be considered harbingers of opportunity. They are the hidden signals that point out the way to a better future.

Men who are down and out devote an inordinate amount of time to lamenting that nobody cares. Someone should come along and repair their broken life, they argue. Someone should provide the resources and the opportunities that they never had, they demand. Unfairness and discontent, we have all seen those before, but does the solution consist of waiting and railing?

To be continued in Part 2.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Sandeep Murali under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

The short-term consequences of long-term thinking


Short-term thinking is deadly for human beings. It dismisses patience and persistence in favour of superficiality. It degrades entrepreneurship to silly speculation. It leads to a world of fast love and quicker divorce.

If the consequences of short-term thinking are so nefarious, why has it gained dominance in our society? How did it become the paradigm in the financial world? What makes millions of people blind to reality?

The answer is invisibility. The results of short-term thinking, even if mediocre at best
, can be quickly perceived in business and relationships. On the other hand, many believe that long-term thinking produces such slow results that it is not worth bothering.

I sustain that such belief is mistaken. On the contrary, long-term thinking produces both slow and quick results, in each case of positive nature. What is true is that short-term consequences of long-term thinking remain mostly invisible.

Those beneficial short term-consequences are, amongst others, serenity of spirit, healthy self-confidence, resiliency, improved abilities to asses people fairly, patience, and persistence.

In business, long-term thinking immediately creates a sense of perspective, peace of mind, ambitions of the best sort, high standards of quality, breakthrough innovations, and sharp eyes for investment opportunities.

The short-term consequences of long-term thinking will immediately put you ahead of the game. Make a daily effort to make them visible to yourself.

Let them remind you that you are on the winning path and that you are pursuing the right objectives. The rest is only a matter of time.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Fr Antunes under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The short-term consequences of long-term thinking


Short-term thinking is deadly for human beings. It dismisses patience and persistence in favour of superficiality. It degrades entrepreneurship to silly speculation. It leads to a world of fast love and quicker divorce.

If the consequences of short-term thinking are so nefarious, why has it gained dominance in our society? How did it become the paradigm in the financial world? What makes millions of people blind to reality?

The answer is invisibility. The results of short-term thinking, even if mediocre at best
, can be quickly perceived in business and relationships. On the other hand, many believe that long-term thinking produces such slow results that it is not worth bothering.

I sustain that such belief is mistaken. On the contrary, long-term thinking produces both slow and quick results, in each case of positive nature. What is true is that short-term consequences of long-term thinking remain mostly invisible.

Those beneficial short term-consequences are, amongst others, serenity of spirit, healthy self-confidence, resiliency, improved abilities to asses people fairly, patience, and persistence.

In business, long-term thinking immediately creates a sense of perspective, peace of mind, ambitions of the best sort, high standards of quality, breakthrough innovations, and sharp eyes for investment opportunities.

The short-term consequences of long-term thinking will immediately put you ahead of the game. Make a daily effort to make them visible to yourself.

Let them remind you that you are on the winning path and that you are pursuing the right objectives. The rest is only a matter of time.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Fr Antunes under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Why people die and how we can live longer and better (Part 2 of 2)


What would you say if you woke up some day and realized that your vision of the world had been, until that moment, completely wrong? If the latest scientific theories about death are correct, this means that the mental patterns that most people use to make decisions might be massively unrealistic. The misunderstanding has its roots in our perception of sickness and death as the following sequence of events:
  1. You are born into a certain family and social environment.
  2. You live, eat, and work according to what is generally considered acceptable.
  3. One day, cancer, cardiovascular disease, or other major sickness hits you out of the blue.
  4. You follow a medical treatment in order to combat that particular illness.
  5. Even if the treatment is successful, sooner or later, another disease will come to haunt you.
  6. Finally, when medical treatments fail, you die.
If the theories of waste-accumulation and cellular exhaustion are true, we need to revise our mental representation of what it means to live, eat, and work. Sickness and death take a different significance when they are seen as part of a natural process which we might be able to influence to a larger extent than it is currently assumed. The new paradigm would reshape our vision of life into a sequence of events in which we play a much more significant role:
  1. You are born into a certain family and social environment, which might have no clue about what is really good for you.
  2. You will be much better off if you live, eat, and work using reason as a standard, irrespective of what other people think of you.
  3. You should learn how to live in a way that slows down the accumulation of biochemical waste in your organism, since your own behaviour is the number-one factor that contributes to keeping you healthy.
  4. When it comes to health matters, prevention should be your main concern. If we trust the waste-accumulation theory, the right behaviour should be able to keep away fatal illness until a later stage in life, allowing us to live longer and healthier.
  5. You should learn to conduct your life in a way that minimizes cell exhaustion, aiming at extending your lifespan towards the ideal 120 years, which seems to be the limit for the human species.
  6. What kills most people is a direct consequence of their wrong way of living. By correcting your mental patterns and daily actions, you can lead a much healthier existence and extend your lifespan.
Imagine the advantages if you could enjoy this world five years longer without being afflicted by debilitating illness. The inspiring aspect of the latest hypotheses about sickness and death is that they reinforce the idea that you, as a rational individual, are in control of your future. We are still far away from understanding all the implications of the new paradigm, but it is clear that the latest scientific theories strongly favour the fundamental tenets of living thoughtfully and independently.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by phault under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Why people die and how we can live longer and better (Part 2 of 2)


What would you say if you woke up some day and realized that your vision of the world had been, until that moment, completely wrong? If the latest scientific theories about death are correct, this means that the mental patterns that most people use to make decisions might be massively unrealistic. The misunderstanding has its roots in our perception of sickness and death as the following sequence of events:
  1. You are born into a certain family and social environment.
  2. You live, eat, and work according to what is generally considered acceptable.
  3. One day, cancer, cardiovascular disease, or other major sickness hits you out of the blue.
  4. You follow a medical treatment in order to combat that particular illness.
  5. Even if the treatment is successful, sooner or later, another disease will come to haunt you.
  6. Finally, when medical treatments fail, you die.
If the theories of waste-accumulation and cellular exhaustion are true, we need to revise our mental representation of what it means to live, eat, and work. Sickness and death take a different significance when they are seen as part of a natural process which we might be able to influence to a larger extent than it is currently assumed. The new paradigm would reshape our vision of life into a sequence of events in which we play a much more significant role:
  1. You are born into a certain family and social environment, which might have no clue about what is really good for you.
  2. You will be much better off if you live, eat, and work using reason as a standard, irrespective of what other people think of you.
  3. You should learn how to live in a way that slows down the accumulation of biochemical waste in your organism, since your own behaviour is the number-one factor that contributes to keeping you healthy.
  4. When it comes to health matters, prevention should be your main concern. If we trust the waste-accumulation theory, the right behaviour should be able to keep away fatal illness until a later stage in life, allowing us to live longer and healthier.
  5. You should learn to conduct your life in a way that minimizes cell exhaustion, aiming at extending your lifespan towards the ideal 120 years, which seems to be the limit for the human species.
  6. What kills most people is a direct consequence of their wrong way of living. By correcting your mental patterns and daily actions, you can lead a much healthier existence and extend your lifespan.
Imagine the advantages if you could enjoy this world five years longer without being afflicted by debilitating illness. The inspiring aspect of the latest hypotheses about sickness and death is that they reinforce the idea that you, as a rational individual, are in control of your future. We are still far away from understanding all the implications of the new paradigm, but it is clear that the latest scientific theories strongly favour the fundamental tenets of living thoughtfully and independently.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by phault under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]