Having It All

If you are like most people in the USA and much of the "developed world", you like to think it is possible to have it all: partner, children, big house, career of your dreams, exotic vacations, good health, etc.  Substitute your particular goals as appropriate.

If I had known what it would be like to have it all - I might have been willing to settle for less. 
Lily Tomlin 

We also like to think this way when it comes to the environment: big house big car, cheap energy, clean environment, there are probably lots of areas where we think we can have it all, but it is complete delusion, and the sooner we admit it, the sooner we can get away from "wanting it all", and on to "wanting what really matters to us".  It is important to differentiate between these two concepts, because what really matters are those things we would give up everything else to have.

My Fault

Years ago when I started training in martial arts, I adopted a simple philosophy about injuries.  If during a match, either of us got hurt, it was my fault.  In life most of us spend far too much time trying to assign blame to others when bad things happen. This is not only a waste of time and energy, it is also usually a lie.

If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month.

Theodore Roosevelt

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Finding Time

I have on occasion joked to friends that I was planning to invent the 40 hour day.   The patent rights alone should be worth a fortune :-) 

Despite the fact that I don't have nearly the level of time commitments that most people do and seem to need less sleep, it often seems like I am living life at a dead run.  The problem is that, like most of us, I want to do too many things and don't always make the best use of my time.  Despite this, I suspect my success rate is a fair bit better than most people manage.

Time is a created thing. To say "I don't have time" is to say "I don't want to."
Lao Tzu

Ultimately, it is not so much a question of finding time, but figuring out how you are currently using it, not wasting any of it, and deciding what really matters. This most emphatically does not mean never taking time to relax, but it does mean getting the most out of every moment.

Your Scale Is Lying To You!

It has been a long slow journey, you're trying to get fit, but half the time when you weigh yourself, it seems like you are getting worse.  This is depressing, sometimes you think something like:

"what the heck, if I can't get fitter I might as well enjoy myself"

At this point your will power fades and you give in to your favorite form of evil food.  Ice cream was always my kryptonite, cookies and cream in particular, though any flavor but coffee would do.  I have been where you are.

The trigger for this breakdown of will-power was the weight shown on your scale.  What if your interpretation of the scale's reading is not only wrong, but the exact opposite of what you think it meant?

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Traveling and Living Lightly - Footwear

Are you a boot bigot?  Have you ever given any thought to why you wear shoes or other footwear every day (assuming that you do)?  Much of the world's population goes their whole lives without footwear with many consequences both good and bad.  Given the potential health, financial and other consequences, whether you are a hiker, world traveler, or just like a nice-looking pair of shoes, perhaps it is time to take a closer look.

Knowledge

From the perspective of the education system I was and am a less than ideal student.  It is not that I didn't (usually) get acceptable grades or that I have problems learning, rather, the problem is that I do learn and most of us have lost sight (if we ever knew) of what it really means to actually "know" something.

Knowledge is power - Sir Francis Bacon
Power Corrupts - Lord Acton
I am dedicated to the pursuit of corruption - Shannon Dealy :-)

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Caveman

Whenever I see a problem, I like to ask myself one simple question: was this a problem for the caveman?  All of our problems big and small fall into one of the following caveman categories:

  1. It was a problem for the caveman. 
  2. We don't know if it was a problem for the caveman.
  3. It wasn't a problem for the caveman.

Traveling and Living Lightly - My Clothing

When living out of a backpack for long periods (seven months on my most recent trip), you need to carefully consider every item of clothing which you carry.  If we give the same consideration to what we wear at home, it can save money, time, and reduce our environmental impact as well.  This is what I currently carry when I travel and why.

The Calorie Myth

There is a lot of confusion about the concept of "calories" when it comes to diet and exercise and the problem is made far worse by well educated people (including some MDs) making grossly misleading statements such as: "a calorie is a calorie".  While technically a calorie is always a calorie from the perspective of a physicist or chemist, when viewed from the perspective of health, exercise and weight management, the meaning of "calories" shifts somewhat and one calorie of food or exercise is NEVER just one calorie!

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Success Is Not An Option

Throughout my life, I have found that in most cases when I fail to achieve something, it is because I have set myself up for failure.  Success is often difficult if not impossible if we do not make proper preparations to ensure success before we begin.  As I start this article, I am sitting in Chengdu, China, taking a break from studying Mandarin.  I have no particular aptitude f

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