Category Archives: Dreams

How To Always Expand Your Horizons

The Beauty Of Never Ending Progress

So this morning I was out on my morning walk, like normal. And I came across this guy that was building this model airplane. Not just a regular model airplane that you build and put it up on your shelf. This was the kind that had an engine, and a propeller, and a remote control to fly it. It wasn’t quite like most remote controlled airplanes that you buy straight out of the box and send flying. This was the kind you have to build from the ground up.

I asked him now long he’d been working on it, and he said for a few weeks. He mentioned that he had flown other planes, the out of the box kind, but they didn’t quite give him the pleasure of actually building something from scratch, and then seeing it take off. He said the possibility of making a mistake is enough motivation to get him to focus on his project so he makes sure to put it together correctly.

I remember once I had this kid when I was a kid. It was a 75 in 1 electronics kit from Radio Shack, which is a chain of small electronics shops. You could build lots of things, from a simple light with a push button switch, to a lie detector, where you could actually hook up the electrodes to people and question them regarding there whereabouts on the night of August 17th, or whatever.

I seem to remember that at first, when I built simple things like the push button light bulb, it gave me a pretty quick sense of accomplishment, but it was short lived. After all, it only required hooking up three wires. Anybody could do that. The lie detector was a bit more complicated, and took almost an hour to set up the first time. After a couple of times, though, that became pretty easy as well, and didn’t quite give the initial satisfaction that it did the first time.

So of course, I moved on to bigger things. I tried taking my regular bedside lamp, cutting the plug that went into the wall socket, and running it through the switch. When I realized that it worked, I was amazed. I actually had built an additional switch into my bedside lamp. I tried it again with the strobe light circuit. And it worked. Now I had a strobe light in my bedroom. My mind spun with the possibilities.

Here I was looking at this kit, inside this wooden box with a built in circuit board that was supposed to be used only with the self-contained things in that kit. Nowhere in the instructions did it say it was ok to take normal, everyday object like a light and run it through these small circuits, but I did it anyway.

And it worked.

Thinking of this story reminds me of this book about evolution I was reading the other day. One of the many books by Richard Dawkins. Be careful of reading him if you are of any kind of a religious mind, because he makes it quite clear where he stands on that particular set of beliefs.

But what he was talking about in this book is the problem that keeps coming up among evolutionary biologists. Why did man become the predominant species on the planet? What was it about homo sapiens sapiens that made us be able to build cars and houses and waffle makers?

Many argue that one that humans have developed, that no others animals have developed is adaptability. We can (and have) survive; even thrive, in pretty much any environment. If you take a bunch of penguins or polar bears, and stick them in the Sahara desert, they won’t last long. If you take a sidewinder snake and put him on the North Pole, he’ll be dead in a few hours.

But humans are different. We have learned to adapt, to change, and to expand to match the size of our containers, until we break the container and expand even further. How else would some societies be able to dig holes and live in the sides of cliffs?

When you realize that your human potential comes pre programmed with the capacity to learn from, use and overcome your environment, you can gain massive amounts of clarity when it comes to facing the challenges of everyday life. The history of humanity is filled with examples of people meeting the challenges of their environment or situation, and overcoming them with incredibly innovate solutions, many of which eventually make it into mainstream consciousness.

If you look at a shark from a million years ago, they still swam around hunting in exactly the same way they do today. Prehistoric bees still made honey the same way they make it today. Humankind, on the other hand, seems to make huge progress with every generation, the current generation being no exception.

Even if you look at your own life, I’m sure you can find plenty of examples of things that you are more than capable of excelling at today, that you had no clue how to do only a short time ago. When you compare the skills you have today to only a couple of years ago, just imagine what you’ll be like five years from now?

After I had success with my bedside lamp, I tried to run it through the handheld speed control on my electric race care set. It was this track with cars that ran around it through this slot, which were connected to a hand held speed control. I wondered what would happen if I ran the hand held speed control through my Radio Shack electronics kit. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out so well. The first time I tried it, it literally burst into flames in my hand. I was dejected, but vowed to continue.

And the guy I saw on my walk this morning got pretty excited when he started telling me about this model airplane convention he is going to in a couple weeks. They’ll be a lot of like-minded people there to share new ideas and tips, as well as many vendors with the latest gadgets and accessories. It should be interesting to see what happens.

How To Increase Your Resilience For Guaranteed Success

How To Become A Guided Missile Towards Success

There used to be this guy that I worked with. He was kind of a quiet, serious type of guy. He was always focused on his job, which was good. He was an electronics technician. This was at a company that manufactured these big machines that were then sold to various manufacturers of various large commercial and retail products.

This guy’s job was to trouble shoot new designs. The engineers would come up with a new design for a machine, and build several prototypes. Then they would give them to this guy, who would run them through a whole range of different operating conditions, and then give them back to the design engineers with his report.

At first, they would give him specific things to look for, but they realized that he could do a far better job on his own. So after about year, they just gave him the machine, and pretty much let him play with it for a couple weeks. In his report he would list the drawbacks, the benefits and what he would like to see from an end user’s standpoint.

The interesting thing was that the design engineers would use him for a large part of their research and development efforts, as his input was extremely valuable. It was also a good experience for him; having only a two-year degree he was giving input at the level usually reserved for upper management and senior level engineers. They would usually give him a product several different times during the stage of development, and with his input, they eventually created a device that was unmatched in that particular industry.

I was reading this self-development book the other day. It was talking about how some people choose their goals. Most people have a vague wish, take a couple steps, and get discouraged when everything doesn’t turn out exactly the way they want it. Which is kind of funny because since most people don’t really know exactly how they want things, it’s kind of hard to know when you get there.

But this book was saying that people should design their goals, and then think of themselves as a guided missile. What many people don’t know about guided missiles is the incredible amount of feed back from the environment they use to keep reprogramming themselves. They literally make hundreds of thousands of calculations along the way to their target, and are always adjusting their trajectory. If guided missiles were like people, they’d give as soon as they left the launch pad.

I was reading this book recently about how people tend to give meaning to events based on their opinions of themselves, and of their expectations of the outcome of the event. Two different people will do exactly the same thing, but they each will have a completely different interpretation of what went down. And based upon their interpretation, what they do next will be completely different.

So after a while, if one person is always looking at results, and adjusting their behavior to get better results, then they will usually get what they are looking for.

But somebody else, who instead of getting instant gratification sees only failure, will usually give up. They might try a bunch of different things, only to think that they fail all the time. This will destroy their self-esteem and their belief in their ability to get what they want out of life.

The first person will see a world filled with opportunities, while the second person will see a world filled with problems and limitations. And although the second person likely won’t ever admit it, it’s all based on how they choose to think of events that happen. The secret, according this book, was that all you have to do is change your interpretation of events, and you can pretty much do anything, with a long enough time line.

The other thing this book mentioned was to think more in the future instead of immediate gratification. If you are always looking for immediate pleasure, you usually won’t get anything that lasts very long. Kind of like planting seeds. Some plants grow very quick, but don’t produce much. Some take a while to grow, but when they finally reach maturity, they produce fruit year after year, without much effort on your part.

And my friend finally started his own consulting business, helping companies to design all different kinds of machines. Last I heard he just got a huge contract with a major automobile manufacturer. He has about twenty people working for him that he collected along the way. Word on the street is that his net worth is well into the millions. Not bad for a two year degree technician.

What’s The Meaning Behind You Now?

I knew this guy once that was really good at reading lips. He had some long convoluted story about he learned that particular skill. I had nothing to do with being deaf or knowing anybody that was deaf. I think he was just the kind of guy that would study up on strange skills that most people wouldn’t normally think to learn.

Like this one guy considered himself an expert in predicting how much daylight was left while looking at the sun. He would always impress whoever he was with by looking at the sun, checking how many fingers he could hold up at arm’s length between the horizon and the sun’s lower edge. He could usually predict the exact time; to the second the sun’s last visible part would dip below the horizon.

Kind of like that episode of Star Trek where they landed on some planet and the flowers had some weird chemical that made the crew members go wacky. Spock lost all of his logic, and for the first time, expressed awe at the beauty of a rainbow. He said something along the lines of “I could explain to you in precise scientific detail why that occurs, but I feel it would take away from its beauty.”

So this guy would usually sit in restaurants and entertain whoever he was with by looking around the room the tell us whatever people were talking about. At first it seemed kind of like we were in on some secret CIA spy stuff, then we then realized that most of the stuff people talk about while they are at a restaurant is kind of boring.

Of course, every once in a while you might find an interesting conversation, but nothing really worth anything. We never got any inside information on a hot stock or a horse that was sure thing. The closest we got was the kind of juicy gossip you see on a soap opera.

I suppose it’s like those guys in New York that buy telescopes to look out there windows into other peoples living rooms. I suppose most of the time it’s pretty boring. Perhaps once in a while you might get lucky and see a murder, like in “Rear Window,” or maybe a porno being shot, but most of the time it’s just some dude, or a couple sitting around watching TV.

Of course the real fun begins when you find that somebody is watching you, while you are sitting there reading this. Is there somebody behind you?

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How To Exploit Juice Underneath Your Desires – For Sex, Love, And Money

Have you ever chosen a goal, only to find out that you really didn’t want it, or once you got it you thought maybe it wasn’t all that you thought it might be?

Or maybe you’re lucky enough to have had a goal, tried really hard to achieve it, and then failed. And after you’ve failed, you realized that you really weren’t after that goal after all, but something deeper, and by doing things that were moving you closer to the goal you thought you wanted, you were actually developing your skills that would make it much easier for you to achieve a much larger, more satisfying goal.



I know a guy that really wanted to be a standup comic. He had watched comics as a kid, and really enjoyed him, and really wanted to be onstage telling jokes, and getting people to laugh. So he read books, went to trainings and seminars. He studied the structure of humor so he could write his own material. When it finally came time to get up on stage and burst onto the comic scene, he failed miserably.

He was literally booed off stage again and again. His jokes were horrible, his delivery was terrible, and his timing was awful. For a while he was completely demoralized. The he started learning about personal development and motivation. As it turns out, studying the structure of comedy is closely related to the structure of human understanding and how we humans view the world. Which is very closely tied to our own motivational strategies and our beliefs about what we are capable of.

So he started studying and learning more and more. And he found out there was a huge demand for this kind of seminar. He started giving seminars that quickly sold out every time.

The skills he had picked up along the way, studying about human nature through comedy, and practicing public speaking skills against a ferociously unappreciated audience gave him incredible understanding of other peoples pain and fear, and incredible effective public speaking and motivation skills.

Had he not tried and failed as a comedian, he would never have succeeded as self-development coach. His seminars still sell out whenever he gives them, and he is making quite a bit of money today.

But the point of this essay is not to encourage you to chase after a goal and then fail. If you started out with that mindset, you’d likely not chase it with near as much gusto as is you were expecting to win.

The point of this is to encourage you to really examine the goal you are chasing. Really really examine it. What is it about that goal that is so appealing to you? What will you have, feel, and experience when you achieve that goal? Is there and even better, quicker, and easier way to feel, experience and have those same things by choosing a different goal?

In the example above, the underlying criteria of becoming a comic might have been to make people feel good, and happy, and feel good about oneself for delivering those emotions to others. There are many ways to do that. Being a comic is certainly one way, but is it the only way? Is it the easiest way?

There is one very powerful motivating factor in psychology called commitment and consistency. This has been proven to be a very powerful social influence technique. People that publicly claim they are Republicans will never vote democrat, but people that never commit publicly to either party are much more likely to vote for a candidate not based on his party, but on his or her qualifications.

In the jury system, studies have shown that juries where they publicly voice their opinion (guilty or innocent) before deliberation have a much harder time coming to a consensus. Those that indicate their initial opinion anonymously (writing G o I on a slip of paper) have a much easier time agreeing on a consensus. The people that publicly claim either guilty or innocent have a much harder time changing their minds.

This same dynamic is in place when setting goals.  Sometimes a goal that should have been abandoned a long time ago is still pursued, only because the person made a decision to get it, no matter what.

Of course, this is not to be confused with simply giving up on chasing a goal due to some adversity or difficulties in achieving it. This is about a goal that has lost its relevance.

When you can really dig down deep inside your mind to discover the real reason behind your goal, and go after that, the goal itself can become a temporary placeholder in your mind for your deeper, and more important criteria. Once you identify what that is, you will realize that there are many more ways to get there.

This can take some time and person introspection, but it is well worth the effort.  When you realize that the underlying structure of your experience is something worthy of your attention, you can be assured you will be successful.

Paint Your Future Brightly

I remember a few years ago I bought a condo. The first thing I wanted to do before moving in was to repaint the interior. So naturally, I was overwhelmed by the eighteen million different shades of white available at home depot. So I chose some flavor of white I thought would be appropriate, and was surprised when the guy at Home Depot asked about a drop cloth.

A drop what? I asked? He explained that I would need to cover the carpet, and put tape up over all the electrical fixtures, and put tape over all the door jams. And probably tape the drop cloth on the floor, as being a first time painter; I would have a lot of splatter to contend with.

I quickly realized that getting the place ready to be painted was going to take nearly as much time as the painting itself. When the guy started talking about primer, and spackle and all kinds of other home improvement language that I didn’t understand, I left before things got out of control.

There was a guy I was talking to in a seminar who was telling about this book he had read on goal setting. The guy in there said there were two different kinds of goals. One kind was milestone goals, or goals you could measure once you got there, like losing weight, or a certain score on the golf course.

The other kind of goal he referred to as horizon goals, or goals that are specific. They are more like a direction that you want to go to in life. Like the horizon, the more you walk towards them, the more they will stay off in the distance and give you a direction. As long as you can see the horizon, you know which way to go.

And if you are wondering about what to do when you are surrounded by horizons on all sides, it helps to align your horizon goals with your milestone goals.

For example, if a horizon goal was to live a healthy lifestyle, then milestone goals could be a specific weight or dress size, a specific time in a 10K, or a certain amount of pounds to bench press. Your horizon goal would always keep you thinking about eating healthy and getting enough exercise, while your milestone goals will give you something specific to shoot for, and measure and celebrate once you achieve them. The beauty of this is that if you have a solid horizon goal, then every time you achieve a milestone goal, you can simply choose another one off in the distance a few months and keep on truckin.

A great way to motivate yourself is to place the milestone goals in the future, and then drift up into the future and look back on the goals you will have achieved when you get there to give yourself some ideas of how you did that. Then when you come back into the present, you can bring the information from your future self of how you achieved the goals that you want to accomplish. Kind of like having twenty twenty hindsight for something that hasn’t happened yet.

So when I finally finished painting, and took down all the tarps and mats and tape and whatever else I had put up, it looked pretty good. One of the best feelings you can experience is when you stop, stand back and look at something you’ve accomplished. It’s one thing to receive unexpected gifts from others, but it is quite another to admire something you’ve created through your own efforts and inspiration.

Comforting Thoughs Lead to Increasing Ideas

This morning I was doing my usual exercises. I do some setups, a bridge, some Hindu squats, and I have a large elastic band that I use for some upper body work. It saves a lot of time this way; as I don’t have to go to the gym, and it saves quit a lot of money, because the only cost was for the elastic band contraption (which I bought from by the way), which was about fifty dollars. While I was doing my exercises I noticed something strange about my apartment. Because it’s recently become hot, I started sleeping in another room, because I only have an air conditioner in one room, so I sleep in that. And I usually do my exercises right when I wake up, so I do them in the same room where I sleep.

It’s interesting the things you notice when you change your schedule just a little bit. The human mind is a fantastic thinking machine that has developed an extraordinary amount of flexibility over the years. And when I say over the years, I mean over the last million years or so of evolution. On the one hand, the brain is incredibly flexible and adaptive, but on the other hand it can get into a rut rather quickly.

I was reading an interesting article the other day that was talking about how many of superstitions actually stem from the fact that people are afraid to change their habits. Which turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy, because once superstition grows to a certain level of acceptance in any society, it becomes a familiarity in and of itself. Likely rooted in the natural and beneficial human desire for safety, humans tend to stick to what works, without having much of a proclivity to stray from the beaten path. Once you something over and over again, and you like the results, there is tendency to stop look for small ways to improve yourself, and start to develop a strong attachment for the same way of doing things. The funny thing is, according to this article, is that many of the methods and techniques we pick up along the way are completely random, and don’t really have anything to do with the outcome.

Just because we tried one random thing, and happened to coincidently get the same outcome, we somehow convince ourselves everything that we did contributes to the outcome.

This is how people grow attached to lucky shirts, going through the same pre-swing ritual in baseball and golf. I’m not sure if I agree with this guys theory but it seems to make a bit of since.

Sometimes when you change your schedule or routine, really cool things can happen. You can notice new ideas, and look at things in a different way.

Once I was driving to a friend’s house, and there was construction going on that I didn’t know about. I had to take a different route to get there, one that I’d never taken before. I found a bagel shop (for those of you that know, I love bagels). I had to stop, and was surprised to find out they have some of the most delicious bagels I’ve ever eaten. They had a salted bagel that had really huge chunks of sea salt all over it, like fourteen-carat chunks of salt. This something that you don’t’ come across everyday, so needless to say I was happy that I had to take a detour.

And what I noticed in my new bedroom this morning while I was doing setups as how much softer the floor is. And to think I’d been wasting all my time sitting in chair on this soft tatami mat floor.

One Scoop Please

I was taking a stroll down the street the other day, just kind of meandering in the direction towards my eventual destination. I had a few hours to get there, and even longer before I had to be back. The weather was pretty nice, not as humid as it had been lately, and temperature had luckily dipped a little bit. It’s always nice when you have a day like this. You are certain you will eventually get to your destination, and you are just as certain that your destination will hold for you exactly what it is that you need right now, whatever that might be.

Something kind of cool usually happens to me when I’m in this state of mind. I can somehow release all anxieties and really pay attention to the stuff that is happening around me. The sounds of every day life that you usually miss out on because of what worrying thoughts are running around in your head become more colorful and endearing. The smells that are always drifting around become more salient and observable. The colors and movements of objects usually only assigned by your unconscious to your peripheral vision become center stage and fight for your conscious attention.

I happened across a group of kids talking about something. They seemed to be really animated about the subject, so I slowed my pace to listen to them speak. They were talking about some new superhero movie that was coming out, and seemed to be comparing it to the comic book. There appeared to be one group that was arguing that the movie was much better, while the other, less enthusiastic group seemed to feel that the movie didn’t capture the true essence of the characters as described in the comic books. They seemed to be less enthusiastic in their arguments and position, but it was a position that I seemed to agree with, don’t ask me why, so I found a reason to stick around and find out more. You know how when that happens, right? You are wandering around, minding your own business, and you come across something, and you hear or read a little bit, and there is something here, maybe you’re not sure what, but you just feel this slight curiosity to find out a little bit more information. Perhaps it could be useful someday.

So I looked around, and I decided to grab an ice cream cone at this ice cream shop that I’d just passed. They had a few outside tables, and there were a couple vacant ones, so I went inside to get an ice cream. I hadn’t been inside a non-chain ice cream shop in a while, and I’d never been inside this particular one, so I was surprised at what I saw. They had many old-fashioned ice cream equipment parts that were used as part of the decoration on the inside. They seemed to have taken quite a lot of time decorating, and getting the ambiance just right. I realized that is the difference between a chain restaurant and a family owned shop. You can tell a really good family owned shop when you enter because you get a feeling right away it is a business that means more than just making money. When you can put your own personal interests and personality into a business, and sell something that is really important to you, you’ve really got something. Of course, in the whole scheme of things, ice cream is not that high of a priority, but in the people that owned this shop, they really took pride in something that they thought was important and had made a conscious decision to present it so people could feel their appreciation.

After looking around the shop, the shopkeeper gave me a full description of their most popular flavors. That’s another hallmark of a successful family run business, they can tell right away when a customer walks in if they are a new customer or a customer that comes there every day, or even the occasional customer. I had a feeling that if I came to this ice cream shop more than once they would be able to quickly ascertain all my likes and dislikes, so I would feel right at home in their wonderful little shop.

After having a protracted discussion with the proprietor, I finally settled on a peanut butter chocolate pecan mix. Single scoop in a waffle cone. When I found my way back outside, I realized I had completely forgotten about the kids arguing over the recent incarnation of their comic books hero’s. I looked around, and they were gone. Completely. Just as well, I hadn’t seen the movie yet, and I didn’t want to have my opinion tainted by some young zealots. It’s important to make up your own mind on these important issues.

Listen to Your Amazing Brain

Sometimes when you come across something new, some of us can have a tendency to compare it to things that you imagine that it is similar to, even though you haven’t decided to spend a lot of time investigating this. Neuro- scientists believe that because of the way the brain categorizes things fairly quickly, sometimes we put things into categories that they don’t really belong to. They tell us that this unconscious behavior is a leftover from evolution, and that while it served us well for hundreds and thousands of years it can give us trouble in modern society.

There is much disagreement on how “blank” of a slate we start out in life. There are the scientists that believe we are completely blank, and everything is culturally programmed into us. Then there are those that believe we start out with some kind of a filing system already in place, but it is completely empty. So that when we grow and move through life and experience new things, this pre-formatted filing system is filled up.

Whether we start completely blank, or start with a pre formatted filing system, most agree that we end up with some kind of system where we have categories our minds that things we experience gets put into. One of the fascinating aspects of this is that most of the time, our pre conscious processor takes the external stimulation, and decides on what category it belongs to (whatever it is!) before we are even consciously aware of what is going on. This is where those uncomfortable emotions come from when they seemingly come out of nowhere. Our brain sees something in the outside world, and decides it belongs in a category of danger or trauma, and that touches of a cascade of emotions. This is what people mean sometimes when they say they are “blindsided.”

For example, lets say you used to be in a relationship with somebody. It was going really well, and then suddenly it ended, to much emotional pain. That was years ago. You’ve completely forgotten about it (or so you think!) and you’re out walking around. You see somebody that doesn’t even remind you of them, so you don’t consciously think of them, but they happen to have the same kind of poodle that your ex had. The important thing to remember is you don’t realize any of this consciously. Your pre conscious processor sees the person, their clothes, and the poodle, and it searches your memory for similar items. It comes up with the poodle, and the corresponding feelings that the poodle unconsciously reminds you of. It’s important to keep in mind that the actual memories don’t necessarily come up, but the transient emotions do. So all of a sudden you’ll be feeling kind of icky for no good reason.

The brain is amazing this way. Sometimes stray thoughts will pop up out of nowhere, thoughts you haven’t had in many years. And although you realize you are thinking those old thoughts, you can’t put your finger on what triggered them. Your brain is always sorting through everything that comes in through your five senses, and comparing it to everything that’s ever happened to you, to decide where to put the information in your brain, and whether or not to bring it to your conscious awareness. It does this in a fraction of a second. So when you have those stray thoughts, something you saw, heard, smelled, or physically felt or tasted somehow reminded of you of some aspect of it. And our incredibly fast and incredibly smart brain has decided that there is some reason it’s given you the memory.

So what do you do? What do you do when you are eating chocolate ice cream and suddenly you have a childhood memory that has nothing whatsoever to do with ice cream? Simply accept the memory, and ask yourself if you have any unfinished business regarding that memory. Do you need to forgive somebody? Do you need to release some emotion so you can get on with your life? Do you need to remember to do something? Sometimes those memories are a warning of something that is coming up that you need to be careful about.

Once I was having a recurring memory of Magic Johnson when he pulled his hamstrings in the NBA finals several years ago. I had no idea why, but it flashed in my mind a few times over the course of several days. Later that week, I was in a situation where running outside was an appropriate behavior. When the time came for me to run, I took off sprinting. Within a few strides, I felt a sharp pull in my hamstring.

Had I been paying attention, I would have realized that my brain was looking into the future (I already knew I would be in the running situation) and warning me to stretch, or be careful, or go slow. Because I ignored the warning, I suffered the consequences.

The brain is a wonderful tool designed by our creator, or millions of years of evolution, or Mother Nature, whichever you choose to believe. Scientists are only beginning to understand how it operates. But that doesn’t mean you can use those seemingly random thoughts you get from time to time. You brain is trying to tell you something. See what happens when you listen to your own wisdom.

Ignore Their Fears and Follow Your Dreams

So I had just finished lunch yesterday. A friend and I went to this new bagel shop in town. It is underneath a movie theater I like to go to, next to a game center. The game center has a small place outside where people can sit and smoke, because there is not smoking allowed inside. The problem is that most of the people that go to the game center are Junior High School students, so I think they take the outside smoking area as an invitation to light up. As a result, whenever we leave the bagel shop to go upstairs to the movie theater, we have to pass through a gang of chain smoking 14 year olds, trying their hardest to look dangerous.

One thing I like about the bagel shop is that they make a wide variety of bagel sandwiches, and even stuff that isn’t on the menu, they will make as a special order. Some places only know how to make what is on the menu. That is one of the reasons that it’s my favorite bagel shop, is because they are really flexible. They aren’t limited to whatever decision somebody made before on what kind of menu they should have. They have the awesome ability to look at all your resources, and combine them in whatever combination the customer asks. It doesn’t matter if it’s never been done before, or if they think it is strange, or unusual. They have made the decision to be completely open minded, and as a result, their business has been able to consistently make more money, and attract more people to come and eat in their bagel shop.

So as we were leaving, (I had just finished a peanut butter, fried egg and tomato and cheese on toasted onion) we were walking up the steps to the movie theater. I saw this older gentlemen that looked strangely familiar. I’m sure you’ve had this happen before (seeing a familiar face, not eating a peanut butter, fried egg, tomato and cheese bagel), right? Except that I wasn’t quite sure where I’d seen him before, or even if I knew his name.

I once had the embarrassing situation of seeing a girl I was sure I recognized from a social situation, so I walked up and starting talking to her as if we were long time friends. She looked a little taken aback. I didn’t realize until about halfway through the conversation that I actually recognized her from where I take my shirts to be cleaned, and I’d never exchanged any words with her before. Turns out that she owns the shop with her husband, and she was wondering why one of her many customers was talking to her like she was an old friend. That is an awkward situation to be in, as once realized my social blunder, I had quickly and painlessly extricate myself from the conversation, the whole time trying to look l knew what I was doing. It was a while before I felt comfortable enough to go back to her dry cleaners. She must think I’m some kind of kook or something.

So as I was mentally scratching my head, he was looking at me with the same look of half realization and half “who are you?” when he got a sudden burst of realization in his eyes. I was relieved, as he was going to be the one to explain how we knew each other, so I wouldn’t make a fool of myself again.

“You!” he said.
“Yep, me.” I smiled.
“It really is you!” He said again.
I smiled again.

“How’ve you been?” He asked, clapping me on the shoulder. He was alone.
“Pretty good. Pretty good. Yourself?” I responded. Waiting for some information.
“Oh, same as usual. Before we left last time, there was something I wanted to tell you.”
“Oh?” I asked. This ought to be interesting.

What I wanted to tell you was about that thing you are thinking of doing. I know you aren’t sure if it will work out or not, or if you will be completely successful, but don’t let that stand in your way. You need to really focus on your dreams, and not let others stand in your way. That’s what I wanted to tell you. Many people will tell you not to go ahead with what you want to do, but the reality of the situation is that they are really afraid. And although most people will try and tell you that they are trying to look out for your best interests, don’t listen to them. They are really just imaging themselves in your shoes, trying to do what it is that you are going to do, and it scares them. Most people want an easy, comfortable life, where they don’t have to risk anything. And here you come along, telling them of all your dreams and plans, and it makes them nervous. So they tell you their own fears and anxieties, but they dress them up to make it sound like they are really concerned about you. Don’t let yourself be influenced by others fears. The sum of most people’s lives is just an obedience to their fears. Don’t listen. Just smile, nod your head, say thank you and go on your way.

I was shocked. I don’t remember ever telling anybody my secret plans, but here this stranger (I still don’t know who he was) was telling me exactly what I needed to hear.

It’s cool when something like this comes out of nowhere to inspire you.

The Thunderbolt Comes for YOU

Have you ever had an experience that you just had to tell somebody about? Like you just experienced something incredible, but you are by yourself, so you can’t wait to share this with somebody that you know would really appreciate this? Not just anybody, a close friend, somebody who you’ve shared many similar experiences and stories, maybe somebody you grew up with, or maybe somebody you just met recently that you just click, that when you think about this person you think that you are really close. When was that last time something like happened?

Well, it happened to me recently. It was incredible. I didn’t have my phone with me, and the only person I could think of to share it with lived in a different country, so I had to rush home to email them, and send them the pictures I’d taken of this incredible event. So I was rushing home, and then I bumped into another friend.

Now this suddenly turned into an awkward situation. Because the guy I bumped into wasn’t quite a close enough friend to share my experience with, but he was close enough to not just say “hi” quickly to and then go on my way. And he was close enough that he could tell I was excited about something, I could to tell that he could tell, you know? So we chatted for a while, and one thing led to another, and we were having lunch at this restaurant. It was one of those restaurants where you can tell them at the front it’s our birthday, and they’ll come over and sing this goofy happy birthday song, which they’ve kind of morphed into a singing pitch for their restaurant. I guess because the restaurant is on a busy pedestrian sidewalk, they are kind of hoping to make people feel really excited about the atmosphere and want to come inside to find out more. But after the birthday singing stopped, my friend started telling me about his dilemma.

A competitor from back was heavily recruiting him east. It would give him a huge pay raise, and lots of increased authority, and he would actually have several people reporting directly to him. It sounded like a no brainer, until he told me that he was in love. And you know how much love throws a monkey wrench into life. It’s almost as if Cupid waits around until your life is almost perfect, and then shoots one of those magic arrows right up your you know what, and suddenly everything is confusing. I believe Michael Corleone described it as a thunderbolt.

Its like money suddenly loses its value, the house you live in suddenly loses its value, your job, and your clothes suddenly lose their value. All you care about is this person who you feel these feelings for. Those wonderful feelings that swirl through your head and make all the colors around you brighter, and all the sounds more pleasant, and all the people suddenly having goofy smiles on their faces.

As my friend was explaining his dilemma, the obvious solution was to simply take his girl with him to his new job.

“It’s not that simple,” he said.
“Why not?” I asked.

He said that they were at “that stage.” You know what I’m talking about. That beginning stage where you know that you really like each other, but you don’t know exactly when and how and how much, your heads are both swirling in a cloud. You are kind of afraid to put a label on it, or limitations for fear that it might get scared and run away. So you just hope that it grows on its own, hope that it flourishes and becomes strong enough to swoop you both into the bliss of an unknown future.

I asked him when he was going to make his decisions. He just shook his head, smiled and said that he’d already made it.

Oh well, I thought. Good for him. I had to hurry up and get home and email my friend before I lost my excitement.