Daily Ramblings – Ted Talk Tuesday

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This is a short video featuring Joachim De Posada and the famous marshmallow experiment that demonstrates the importance of being able to delay our gratification for better things. It is really short and the videos of the kids in these experiments are absolutely adorable. Enjoy!

Until next time…

Dave

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Daily Ramblings – Motivation Monday

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“If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.” – H. G. Wells

Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/h_g_wells_163592?src=t_motivational

How many times have you set a goal for yourself, only to give up or screw up within a few days? (I raise my hand). It happens to all of us, right? Change is hard. The brain’s wiring is hard to overcome.

We get ourselves fired up and charge into the fight, only to fizzle out within days or hours. How do we overcome this cycle? I asked this question, searching for the answers and finally found the answer a few years ago. The answer is this: Create “stupid small” habits.

These habits are mentioned in Stephen Guise’s book: Mini Habits. You can find it online for $5.99. In his book, Stephen explains what “stupid small” means and why creating these stupid small habits are so effective. Imagine an exercise program consisting of one pushup. Imagine writing 50 words a day. Imagine creating a habit where you are only required to read 2 pages in a book or even 1 page if 2 is too much. You see the pattern here.

The beauty of these mini habits is they don’t require a lot of motivation and only tap minute levels of your willpower, which science has shown to be finite. Interestingly, they have also found that willpower can be exercised like a muscle and the more we train our willpower, the stronger it gets. Persistence is key. If you screw up today, you get back on the horse again tomorrow.

If for some reason you continue missing days or “screwing up” reduce your requirements even more. Ultimately, the goal of these mini habits is to create the ability to do something you want to do every day or every week and stick with it until it becomes second-nature. Once your internal wiring accepts the new habit, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to keep it going. The next step in this process is the bonus work you’ll get each time you use your newly formed habit. Think about reading a page in a book. If you are reading a great story, it’ll be hard to just read one page, right? The same goes for writing 50 words or doing 1 pushup. Each of these habits is so minimal, it would be easy to add to them. Just realize your only requirement is the mini habit you created. The bonus work you do is cool and will add dramatically to your self-esteem, but they are not required. Only the mini habit is. This is really important to remember: Only the mini habit is required. The bonus stuff you do is bonus stuff.

If you want to build some new habits get this book. I am not an affiliate of Amazon or Stephen Guise. I just like to pass on life-changing books that come into my life. It has had a huge effect on me and I hope it helps you attain your goals.

This week:

  • I’m leading a book discussion today at a monthly meetup
  • I’m healing from a hurt back (so workouts are minimum and low intensity)
  • I’m continuing to work on my non-fiction book
  • I’m learning a new game called Masters of Orion 2 (introduced by a buddy of mine)
  • I am cooking some meals that will keep me satiated during my intermittent fasting
  • I am going to finish a book I’ve been working on this week, called Armor
  • I will be moving back into the non-fiction reading arena by starting a book by Immanuel Kant

I hope each of you has a terrific week!

Until next time…

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Thank you!

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Here’s a heartfelt thank you for my new followers this week. I hope each of you enjoys the content I provide. I am also honored that you are giving your time each week to take a look at my postings.

For those of you that are new, here’s my weekly schedule:

  • Motivation Monday
  • Ted Talk Tuesday
  • Wisdom Wednesday
  • Thinking Thursday
  • Funny Friday
  • Spiritual Saturday
  • Series/Bonus Sunday

Thanks again for your followership. It is greatly appreciated.

Until next time…

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Bonus Posting – Veteran’s Day

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As I write today’s bonus posting I was thinking about all the suffering in California. The wildfires are ripping through the countryside, people are having to evacuate their homes, while first-responders are doing their best to contain the fire and save those souls who cannot help themselves. All, as I sit in my comfortable home office and clack away at this keyboard.

As I write today’s bonus posting I was thinking about the shooting in Thousand Oaks. I wondered about what went through the Marine’s head as he squeezed off round after round into the bodies of the patrons of that establishment who were just there to enjoy some music, finger food, and their friends. All, as I sit in my comfortable home office and clack away at this keyboard.

As I write today’s bonus posting I try to understand the victims of these tragedies and how their lives have been overturned by events they had no control over. I think about the Mothers, Fathers, sons, and daughters. I think about the Aunts and Uncles. I think about the pet owner who has lost their best friend to the tragedy of a fire. All, as I sit in my comfortable home office and clack away at this keyboard.

As I write today’s bonus posting I was thinking about all the men and women of our Armed Forces and the sacrifices they make every day. I think about the first responders who are here to keep us safe and protect our loved ones in times of natural disaster. I think about the sacrifices that are made, the losses of life and limb, and what it means to be a volunteer. All, as I sit in my comfortable home office and clack away at this keyboard.

As I write today’s bonus posting I was thinking about all the wars this nation has fought. I thought about all the young men and women who volunteered to help keep this country safe. I thought about the tears that streak down a soldier’s face when he bids his loved ones goodbye. I thought about the tears held back by the fathers who watched their baby boy or girl left, to stay strong for his wife and the rest of their family. All, as I sit in my comfortable home office and clack away at this keyboard.

As I write today’s bonus posting I was thinking about all the wives and mothers waiting by the phone to hear from their loved one in harm’s way. I thought about the constant worry that goes through their minds as they scour the Internet, the television, and the radio for any news. I thought about the day a man in uniform arrives at home to deliver the worst news ever. I thought about the caskets arriving at Dover. I thought about the funerals and parades. All, as I sit in my comfortable home office and clack away at this keyboard.

As I write today’s bonus posting I was thinking about the time I was told by my unit first sergeant that the Red Cross called. I thought about how angry my Mother was that I hadn’t called. I was thinking about my wife calling me in Turkey after having a car accident and not knowing what to do. I was thinking about how cold it was one rainy night in Austria on a field exercise. I was thinking about how cold I was pulling guard duty at Spandau on a Christmas Eve, wondering what the hell I volunteered for. I was thinking about waking up to the smell of hot bread in Berlin. I was thinking about a New Year’s Eve party at the Brandenburg Gate. All, as I sit in my comfortable home office and clack away at this keyboard.

As I write today’s bonus posting I was thinking about the time I got a letter from a Judge in my hometown and how good it felt to have someone say thanks for my service. I was thinking about getting a care package from an elementary class in South Dakota whom I’d never met. I was thinking about the looks on my soldier’s faces when they got mail from home. I was thinking about how great the food tasted when I hadn’t eaten in four days. I was thinking about how good a hot shower felt. I was thinking about how warm and soft my wife was when I returned home. All, as I sit in my comfortable home office and clack away at my keyboard.

I thank everyone that has served our country. I will never forget you. You are what America is all about.

Until next time…

Dave

Sergeant First Class

United States Army, Retired

Daily Ramblings – Spiritual Saturdays

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“Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.” –  Marcus Aurelius

Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/marcus_aurelius_101023

Many of us have been offended by what we read, what we saw, or what we heard. How does that happen? It happens when we forget that sometimes no offense was intended. We forget about the human being on the other side of that article, video, or song. It also happens when we give take ourselves too seriously.

How would a stranger know what upsets you? How would you know what upsets them? You don’t. They don’t.

Instead of a world where people are offended by everything, take account of yourself. If you are offended by an author—don’t read their work again. If you don’t like a YouTube video, a movie, or a television show—stop watching it. If you don’t like a talk-show host on a radio program—turn the dial. The same goes for people when you’re in person. If a person says something that offends you—tell them. If they continue, stop hanging out with them. If you are bothered by a person in school, a place of employment, or some other area where you cannot escape this person—approach the person that can do something about it.

Most people, particularly those who have offended you and did not know, will stop their behavior immediately and apologize. Forgive them and move on. The challenge I see in our societies today is people are too easily offended and not willing to forgive—instead, words like homophobe, misogynist, and racist are used, sometimes followed by violence.

As I work on the character trait tolerance, I enjoy reading quotes like these. It is about letting others have the right to say what they want, write what they want, and sing what they want. I used to get upset with certain political views, certain radio stations, certain television shows. It is stressful and not worth the time. Don’t get me wrong, I still cringe when I hear something that is way out of my realm of tolerance and change the station, click on a different YouTube channel, or stop reading a book or article. As I work on this character trait, I am doing it a lot less.

What I am discovering over the last month is that the longer I stay engaged the more I learn. I have begun to reject my righteousness for the sake of learning something. I reject it, so I can engage and open my eyes and ears to something that may be helpful.

Open your eyes and ears to opinions, beliefs, and values counter to your own. I think you’ll be surprised by the results.

Until next time…

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Thinking Thursday

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“As long as you keep going, you’ll keep getting better. And as you get better, you gain more confidence. That alone is success.” – Tamara Taylor

Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/tamara_taylor_884736?src=t_success

All of us start out in different places. This is what makes us human. You may a great artist; I may be a great speaker. The key is to recognize where you are starting from, set your sights on getting beyond your current talents to improve them.

Some advocate that we concentrate on our strengths and forget our weaknesses. I’m old school. Why should I fix what isn’t broken? Why should I neglect the parts of my make up that are not as strong as the others? I know what my weaknesses are, and I want to bring them up a bit, so they are no longer weaknesses.

Deciding is the key. Decide what you want. Decide what you want to work on. Decide on where you want to go and be. Then, formulate a plan, break it down into easy steps, and start working on each step daily. You’ll get where you want to go in no time.

Here’s what I’ve done this week:

Exercise Program:

Jim Stoppani’s Shortcut to Size – (www.bodybuilding.com) – I’ve done this workout before and returning to it because it is just a good all-around weight routine. It’s 8 weeks in length, a 4-day split with 3 rest/cardio days mixed in.

Books:

Armor, Steakley – Recommended by an Army Buddy. A terrific book so far.

The Shariyat Ki Sugmad, Paul Twitchell – This is my bible. I finished it and will re-read again. This book is a permanent fixture on my reading list.

Classes:

De-mystifying Mindfulness Course – Coursera – I’ve completed all the coursework so far and waiting until Nov 4, 2018, for the course to continue. One drawback of Coursera is the scheduling. Udemy allows you to buy the whole course, complete the whole course on your schedule and provide a certificate at the end.

Documentaries:

Movies:

Fun:

Ozark – Netflix – Season 2!

House of Cards – Netflix – Final Season. This was ok, but they ran out of gas. There were a lot of loose ends in the series and well, that’s all I got. I’d stick with the first few seasons and bail after that. Kevin Spacey made the show. After his trouble in the media and the law, the show would not survive.

Interesting Apps:

I hope all of you are having a terrific week! See you tomorrow for Funny Friday!!

Until next time…

Dave

 

Daily Ramblings – Wisdom Wednesday

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“Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.” – Albert Camus

Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/albert_camus_105894

Have you ever thought about the freedoms that you enjoy? Have you ever contemplated all of the opportunity and advantages we have over previous generations? Have you given any thought to the amount of time-saving technology that we now have access to?

I used to have to use a Thomas Guide to figure out where I had to go when I worked in Los Angeles. Now, I simply type in an address to my phone and it tells me where to go. I used to carry my daily plan, hand-written, and barely legible. Now, my to-do list is on the cloud, accessible by any device I can get onto. I used to carry around a bulky notepad to the gym. Now, I enter all my lifts into an app on my phone. The time savings that these applications provide are staggering when I consider what I used to have to do.

Think about the access you have to books, magazines, radio, music, movies, television shows, and sporting events. If you wanted to, you could literally own a phone and be able to get everything was done that used to take so much time. Think about your contacts. Your phone never forgets a phone number, an appointment, or what you must do today.

But there’s a dark side. With so much entertainment at our fingertips, it is easy to get carried away with video games, movies, and all the social media apps that are available. We must make conscious decisions about what we will do and what we will not do. For some, this is challenging. They waste their lives playing video games for hours and get nothing done. They surf YouTube for hours without reading, writing, or learning. They watch hours of television and for some reason can’t squeeze in 30 minutes of exercise. The list goes on and on.

We have the freedom and access to pursue whatever goals we set for ourselves. We also have the freedom to waste untold hours of time, doing absolutely nothing but staring at a screen.

Take some time today to really analyze what you do. Seriously. Write down what you do today in 15-minute increments. I think you’ll be shocked by the amount of time that you waste daily. How do you turn it around? The first step is setting goals.

Set a few goals. Your goals could be in four areas of your life. Set a spiritual goal. Set a learning goal. Set an exercise goal. Set a social goal. Don’t go crazy, just pick one goal in each of these areas. Then, figure out how you will attain the goal. Start small. Pick something you can dedicate time to each day. Maybe you’d like to pick up meditation. Perhaps learning a new language would be something you’d be interested in. What would you like to do for exercise? Is there a relationship you’d like to cultivate?

Start with these four areas and pick something you’d like to do. Schedule the activities you have for improving these four areas into your calendar or time-planner. Don’t miss a day pursuing small amounts of progress for each one. You will be absolutely amazed at the results.

With the freedom we have, we can either do great things or waste our lives. The more freedom we have; the more rope we have to hang ourselves. Don’t be a social media addict. Don’t be a binge watcher. Don’t be a video game addict. All of these will result in a wasted life. Instead, pursue something that will build a great life. Read, write, meditate, spend time with loved ones, exercise. Learn something new each day. This is your life. Make it a productive, service-oriented, fulfilling one.

Until next time…

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Ted Talk Tuesday – VOTE!!!

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“Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/government

Today is the day that America’s elected officials get to hear the voice of the American people. Today, were the Mid-term elections in the United States. Days like today are what make America the great country that it is. We get to tell our leaders how well they are doing, how well they are pursuing our interests, and give these leaders their report card. If they did what the American people wanted—they get voted in. If they didn’t do what the American people wanted—they get voted out.

Regardless of your political views, today is your day to stand up for them. Get out there and vote your beliefs. This is your solemn duty as a United States citizen. In fact, in my opinion, if you do not vote—you have ZERO right to complain when the results come in this evening. Don’t be a bystander—get out there and let your elected leaders hear you.

As is tradition, with my Tuesday posting, here’s a Ted Talk that is relevant to today’s quote.

I hope you enjoyed today’s Ted Talk by Eric Liu.

Until next time…

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Motivation Monday

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“The only courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one moment to the next.” – Mignon McLaughlin

Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/mignon_mclaughlin_161632

It’s another Monday!

What do you have planned this week? Anything overwhelming?

The key to moving forward on your projects is nothing more than taking small steps. It is very common to feel a little stress or a lot of stress when looking at a project. You can relieve much of this stress by sampling breaking these projects done into “stupid small” (Guise, 2013) steps.

Applying Mini Habits to Your Project Work

I’ve read the book Mini Habits by Stephen Guise and completed this book’s companion course on Udemy. It is so powerful. You can benefit from this power as well.

  1. Look at your project
  2. Brainstorm all the things you’ll have to do to get the project to your visualized end-state.
  3. Refine the list by putting these things in order
  4. If any steps seem to be too much, go back and break that task down even smaller
  5. Once you have your list of things to do, start knocking them out day by day.
  6. Finish your project!

It really is this simple.

The Importance of 25 minutes

The next time you are looking at accomplishing something, use the above list of action steps to get this thing written down, brainstormed, and organized for action. The best action steps will take you 25 minutes or less. Schedule this into your to-do list as “Project Name” and schedule work on this project every day for 25 minutes (or 1 Pomodoro). What is a Pomodoro?

The Pomodoro Technique

A Pomodoro is derived from the Pomodoro Technique. This technique involves periods of 25-minute, total-focus steps, separated by 5-minute breaks. I try to schedule reading a book for 25 minutes, writing projects for 25 minutes, and any project work I do to 25 minutes. I know that I’ll be done in 25 minutes. I know I can check that action off my list in 25 minutes. It is gratifying, zero-stress, and it gets you one day closer to finishing (Cirillo, 2018).

I cannot stress how important it is to focus on your tasks for finite periods of time. 25 minutes will be over with before you know it. Heck, the writing of this blog post took me less than 25 minutes. But, if you remember that any project you do can be broken down into 25-minute increments, then take 25 minutes of action against your step, you’ll get it done and be that much closer to the finish line.

I’ll provide you links to the Stephen Guise book and the Pomodoro Technique for you to use later if you are interested.

Here’s what I’m up to this week:

  • Reading the book Armor and my Bible, The Shariyat Ki Sugmad (Translation: The Way of the Eternal)
  • Continuing my workouts using Jim Stoppani’s Shortcut to Size
  • Working on my non-fiction book
  • Posting to this blog
  • Learning CSS programming
  • Learning Mindfulness
  • Voting in the Mid-term Elections in the U.S.
  • Watching Netflix
  • Skyping with my buddy in the evening
  • Meditating

I hope each of you has a great week! Remember, smaller is better when you are working through your projects. You’ll be effective, productive, and you’ll feel great knocking out a little more on your work each day.

Until next time…

Dave

References

Cirillo, F. (2018). The Pomodoro Technique. Retrieved from https://francescocirillo.com/pages/pomodoro-technique

This is Francesco Cirillo’s business site. Check it out. It is really good and has had a dramatic impact on my productivity since I began using this technique over 10 years ago.

Guise, S. (2013). Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results. https://www.amazon.com/Mini-Habits-Smaller-Bigger-Results-ebook/dp/B00HGKNBDK/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1541453458&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=mini+habits&psc=1

One of the great books I read every year in December before kicking off the new year. It is worth a read!