Tag Archives: Meaning

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.

Unconscious Guidance

The other day I was walking somewhere and got sidetracked. Has that ever happened to you? You will have this clear goal in mind, this clear outcome that you’ve decided is what you want to do. You set out to achieve this goal, sure that you will achieve it. But then something happens, and either because you didn’t allow yourself to see all the possibilities, or maybe your original goal was well formed enough, you just kind of end up in another place.

One way to get around this is to be aware of what your underlying intentions are. It helps to be able to dig deeper to find the real reason behind your goals. When you search beneath what is pretending to be the important part, you’ll be surprised to discover that many of your goals fall under the same basic categories. Safety, comfort, recognition, personal growth.

As I got off the streetcar (yes they have street cars where I live) I saw my goal in sight. The coffee shop where I had intended to relax and spend an hour or so writing in my journal. As it happened, the weather was particularly nice, and there were a fair number of people out and about. There is a street going just past that I’ve always kind of wondered about. There was a steady stream of people walking up this street, that looked as if they were going to some kind of event. You can sort of tell when people are going to find something special here. Because of the way they are dressed, many of them carrying water bottles, cameras, other things that make it appear as if they are on a mini-trek that might take a few hours.

But something funny happened. Usually when I’ve made a choice, (other than to wander around without a clear choice) and I see a distraction, I have at least a few moments of indecision. Should I go this way? What about my other plans? Which is better? Hmm. But not this time. My coffee shop plans instantly disappeared as I followed the crowd up the street. When I emerged back about two hours later, much richer for the experience, I never even gave my abandoned coffee shop plans a second thought.

If you are thinking this is completely platitudinous and futile, maybe you’re right. The thing that struck me was the speed at which I’d abandoned my coffee shop plans for an unknown trek up the street, merely using the crowd as my guidance. Which leads me to suspect that something told me that the underlying reason I wanted to hang out at the coffee shop would better be served by following the crowd up the street. On  an unconscious level, the change in plans didn’t even warrant a the token elevation into consciousness. My desire just shifted, without any conscious thought.

Maybe because I’ve been doing a lot of meditating lately, I was able to not need to question the greater wisdom of my unconscious. I just went with it, and had a much richer experience because of it. Of course I wasn’t doing brain surgery, or walking across a tightrope over the grand canyon, I was just wiling away a Sunday afternoon. But in that moment I experienced an unconscious guidance that I don’t usually experience.

Thank you unconscious, whatever you are. That was fun.


Dig Into The Meaning Of Life One Hundred Percent

One of the reasons I like to study Chinese Characters is because each particular character has it’s own individual meaning. So even if you don’t know how to pronounce a group of characters, you can sort of figure out what the meaning by guessing the combinations. Although sometimes, due to historical anomalies, you get some strange combinations. For example, the combination of “parents” and “cut” yields “kind.”  Most make a bit more sense, but they are interesting nonetheless.

English words, on the other hand, may require a bit of etymological investigation before breaking a word into parts (if that’s the kind of thing you are into.)
For example, ‘century,’ which means one hundred years, is based on the same ‘cent’ which is one hundredth of a dollar, and the ‘cent’ in the centigrade that means one hundred grades (between freezing and boiling of water.) Also in centimeter, and centipede. ‘Ped’ of course meaning foot, as in ‘pedal’ and ‘pedestrian.’

These are just some basic examples, but words are really fascinating when you look below the surface. You can really discover interesting things if you stop and think of the story and history behind things.

Like when I was taking the bus the other day. I was sitting next to this really interesting older woman, who was telling me about her granddaughter who just became engaged to this guy from Bangladesh. And he comes from a very large family, I believe she said six brothers and four sisters, if I recall correctly. And one of the brothers was showing her recently how to make this really spicy Thai dish, but that’s another story. Anyway, this guy was saying that each moment in time space continuum (those are his words, not mine) is an opportunity to really dig underneath reality to discover what is really there.

If you take the time to stop and watch the ‘unfolding’ as he referred to it, you can catch the moment when your thoughts and reality merge. When humans give meaning to events. He said that it is a lot better to stay open as long as possible when interacting with reality, because once you give meaning to something, while it’s not set in stone, it’s a lot more efficient to create the possibility for a more resourceful meaning beforehand, rather than waiting until after the fact.

I wasn’t sure I understood her when she was describing this too me, and I don’t she was able to completely understand it either, because it sounded a lot like some Eastern Philosophies that I’ve read about. I think the gist of it was to stay open, and make sure you don’t give away any meanings to events unless you are really one hundred percent sure you know what happened. And since we are almost never one hundred percent sure of what really ever happens, it’s best to keep an open mind.

Like when you pass by somebody in the hallway, and you say “hi,” and they don’t say “hi” back, it would be best to give the benefit of the doubt, and not assume they are angry at your or something. Otherwise you might get your feelings hurt over something that was only in your head. 

Although the fellow described this in eastern philosophical terms which might have been a bit esoteric, I think we are all talking about the same concept. And because you are reading this, you are likely wise enough to have known about this anyways. I’m sure you already know that giving people the benefit of the doubt and assuming they are most likely operating from some kind of positive intention is usually a good idea.

I just think that the concept of standing back and watching the unfolding of reality is a beautiful concept, one that we don’t take the time to really appreciate, since it is happening all around us, all the time.



I was sitting in a coffee shop yesterday, minding my own business, when a young, happily beeming woman walked in carrying a very recent addition to the human race. Tightly bundled in a comfortable looking baby sling, his head poked out and his eyes looked around, ceaselessly amazed at the colors and lights and sounds and activity. Imprinting his fresh young brain with stimuli to later categorize into learnings and beliefs and ideas about who is he and how he fits into all this amazing unfolding of stuff that is always presenting itself to us.

I tried to think back to when I learned something, really able to truly discover something and give it meaning. Through some slippery power of thought, connect cause to effect. When I first noticed that when you turn that round thing on the door, that other part that looks like it’s the same material goes in and out of the side of the door.  Or when you are holding those sort of round white things, and you open your hands, they fall and crack open on the ground into a yellow gooey mess. Or those squiggly lines that my first grade teacher wrote on the board, and made us copy over and over, that had no meaning at the time, but later, through some voodoo magic that I am still trying to wrap my mind around, became letters with which I could build words and sentences and express complicated ideas and desires and plans that were inside my head, waiting for me to give them life.

But then I realized that something happens to us as we grow old. For some reason, we stop being able to see the world as an exciting unfolding of learning and discovery.  We somehow learn, or believe, or pretend, that once we get to a certain level of knowledge, the learning stops.  We trick ourselves into thinking that instead of being people who always find new and exciting things to learn about, we slip into the comfortable habit of doing, instead of becoming. Does it have to be that way? Do we have to give up any idea that we are able to continuously learn and grow and change? And if we do change and learn, does it have to be to satisfy some external requirements by society? Can we not set our own course of our lives so that we can not merely serve others, but to serve others in a way that can benefit us both?

As the young woman sat down to join her friends, they all took turns holding young child. A child who has a long journey ahead of him. Clearly enjoying the support of the caring adults around him. Well equiped by nature to pull from his environment all the resources he will need to survive and thrive. In his young mind the few, yet to be voiced thoughts soon to be joined by many others. The thoughts we all too soon let go of. The thoughts we should never forget, as they can help us to master our reality in any stage of our life.

What is this?

What does it mean?

How can I use it? How can I share it?

I like it! How can I get more?