Tag Archives: Advice

Beware of GPS Systems That Lead You Astray

Once upon a time, there was this guy. He was a normal, every day guy, and the kind you usually run into in the grocery store, or at the cleaners picking up your shirts. The kind of guy who you see on a regular basis, but if you saw him outside of the usual places, like say if you saw him at the ice skating rink, you wouldn’t likely get anything other than a vague, “that guy looks familiar” feeling.

That was the kind of guy that this guy was. He had a decent job, he made decent money, and he lived in a decent neighborhood, in a decent apartment. He dated some decent girls, and most of his dates went pretty decently, meaning that he never got to second base.

If you are wondering where I’m going with this, that only means that you are starting to find this interesting, and perhaps a little upsetting at the same time, the reasons of which shall likely be explained soon.

So anyways, something very peculiar happened to this guy. He had one of those GPS navigators in his car. It didn’t come factory installed; he had it put in after the fact. Of course, he was smart enough to know that you should never get something like that done at the dealership, because everybody knows they charge way too much for things like that.

Anyways, he really liked the sound of the voice on his GPS. She always sounded so soothing, and so comforting. Warning him of upcoming on ramps and off ramps. He would sometimes drive by himself and pretend that he had a woman with him in the car.

But that’s when the creepy stuff started happening. Pretty soon he noticed that his navigation system was taking him on longer and more roundabout ways to get to where he wanted to go. At first he thought it was just a glitch in the software, but it kept happening with more and more consistency.

Pretty soon, his GPS was leading him way out in the boonies where he’d never been before. Every time he tried switching off his GPS, she would politely ask him not to do it. It was as if she was starting to read his mind.

Pretty soon he just gave up. He listened to her, and went where she told him, without question. And the more he obeyed her, the further and further she took him from his destination. Sometimes he would end up completely lost, and became completely dependent on her to take him back home.

Because he was late several times for work, he quickly lost his job. And with his job gone, he lost his apartment, as he couldn’t afford the rent. All he did was drive around and listen to her sweet, soothing voice take him wherever she thought he should go. And he obeyed unquestioningly.

Pretty soon he was receiving messages from her on how to get loose change, and a few odd dollars here and there so he could pay for gas, and some food. Because he was living in his car, he began to listen to her direction twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Pretty soon he felt completely alone and vulnerable every time he left his car.

People would see him standing on the side of the road, mumbling incoherently as he got out of his car. He would wander off into the city, and come back with enough money to buy another weeks worth of gas and food. Then he would climb back in his car, and she would tell him where to drive, so that they could be alone together.

Everything was fun until he got pulled over. It seemed that either he or she (whatever she was) neglected to renew his registration. Normally, this would have been a regular stop, with a warning from the police officer to renew his registration.

But because he hadn’t shaved or showered in several days, he was more than a little suspicious to the police. When he mumbled completely incomprehensibly to the police, they asked him to step out of his car. When he started asking his car for permission, they knew something was wrong.

Naturally, they took him in for questioning, and because of his completely deranged description of how he came to be like he was, they deemed him a menace to himself and to society. They locked him up in the psychiatric ward, where he remains to this very day.

His car, however, is another story. When they interrogated him, he said some interesting things which made the police want to search his car further. When they went out to the impound yard, the car was gone.

And they haven’t found it since.

Lead By Example

Once upon a time there was a baby alligator. He was born like other alligators are born, first in an egg, and then hatched by time and his mother. He had several brothers and sisters. If he knew how to count, he would have counted at least sixteen alligator brothers and sisters.

The alligators lived in a very large alligator community, which had been established for several generations. They lived in a swampy place, just outside of several cotton field that were run by a few cotton farmers, that had been there for just as may generations.

Despite speaking different languages, the alligators and the farmers had a mutual understanding. The alligators wouldn’t wander on to the farmer’s fields, and they wouldn’t get shot. The farmers (or more likely their curious kids) wouldn’t wander on the alligator’s neighborhood, and wouldn’t be eaten.

Shortly after this young alligator was born, or hatched, there was a terrible storm. It hadn’t rained in quite a while, and both the farmers and the alligators were getting worried, for different reasons.

The farmers, of course, were overjoyed when the rains came, because it meant that years cotton crop would be particularly lush, which would get them quite a lot of money at the cotton marketplace.

The alligators weren’t so lucky. The rains came at a particular bad time of year. Baby alligator hatching season is a particularly precarious time on the alligator life cycle. The nests are especially vulnerable at this time, as the alligators are too weak to defend themselves, but the mother alligator has to leave them from time to time to get food. If the floods come during this time, it is all too easy for the baby alligators to get swept away and plucked by hungry birds.

Because of the extraordinarily heavy rains, the adult alligators didn’t fare much better. Before long, over half of the entire alligator community was wiped out by the floods, leaving many young orphans.

This young alligator suddenly found himself without a mother, and several siblings that he felt responsible for. He didn’t know how to hunt yet, and he was worried that he wouldn’t be able to provide for them.

One day he was out wandering around, wondering if he would even survive, let alone care adequately for his siblings. He came across a very old alligator, and asked him what he should do.

Young boy. Many have come before you that have faced much harsher conditions. They survived, and so shall you. You must not focus giving food to your siblings and your neighbors, for they must also learn how to fend for themselves. Fate has chosen you to be the next leader in the alligator community. And to do that you must not only provide, but also lead. Your actions will be an example to others. As you show others that you can get your needs met, they will also learn that they, too, can get their own needs met. As you show them that you can survive, they too, will realize they can as well. As you prosper, so shall they.

The young alligator, uplifted by this strange old alligator’s words, walked back to his nest, and rousted his siblings and his neighbors.

“Come!” he shouted.
“We have much work to do!” he turned and began to work. Everybody else followed, certain of their future.

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 Magic of Waiting

I have a friend who is a rice farmer. He tells me about all the different things that you need to do in order to prepare for a decent rice harvest. In come cultures there are even special festivals and holidays designed to help people in this manner. There are different machines, several different stages of preparation including soil preparation, planting of the seedlings, and flooding the rice fields with water. Then the most important, the waiting. This is where the magic happens.

I don’t usually like to wait, which is why I don’t like going to doctors offices without an appointment. I made the mistake of thinking I could sneak in one Friday afternoon about an hour before I had another appointment with somebody else. Boy was that a mistake. Never make an appointment on a Friday afternoon and then just ‘pop in’ to the doctors office. I had been sitting there, already given up on the magazines that all seemed to be at least three years old. I kept checking my watch, already thinking of when I would be able to reschedule my appointment that I was already an hour and a half late for. When this guy sitting next to me starting talking. I normally don’t talk to people in doctors office waiting rooms, but you never know what can happen. You’ll be sitting there, and all of a sudden you will find yourself in the middle of a discussion that you aren’t sure where it came from.

This guy started talking about his job. He is a resource manager for a temporary staffing agency. He said that is always important to gather resources. And there really never is a good time or a bad time to gather resources. I guess since he is in that line of work, it’s important for him to keep that frame of mind. Of always being open to new things, because you never know when you are going to find this useful. He always carries a stack of business cards with him, because you never know who you might run across that you may be able to develop a mutually beneficial relationship with this person. And because the most valuable resource you can ever discover is other people, it always pays to treat people with respect. Once you’ve successfully cultivated a resource that can provide many years of valuable service, both to yourself and to the person providing the service, you can truly enjoy a beneficial relationship.

Which is why, by the time I saw the doctor, I had forgotten all about my appointment, which this guy explained to me was a sales appointment. He explained how you can easily sniff out people that are trying to sell you something from those that just want to help. And the doctor really was apologetic, it seems he had been in an unexpected surgery all morning, and was trying his best to get through all the patients.

Wonderful things happen when you wait. The rice seedlings drop their roots in to the soil, and slowly pull up the nutrients they will mix with the air to grow bigger and bigger. And after a couple of months, you can see the rice growing from the stalk. And a month or so after that, these small seedlings have turned turn into giant resources of food that can be harvested for nourishment to feed entire countries. Amazing things happen when you wait.