Tag Archives: life

READ u DUMB@SS

Im sorry… not really. Wanna see how small you are?

  • If the human race = 1
  • You = 0.00000000014285 (thats 9 zeros)
And as you read this article, that number will only keep getting smaller, and smaller, and smaller. (due to the rising world population)

Which leads 2-2 questions…

  1. How can I stand out?
  2. How to make lots of $$$?

WARNING – this is not a Facebook trip, or Twitter frenzy, or Gossip toilet. This is LIFE. If you are not in a “thinking” mood, close this article NOW. Skimmers not welcome.

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How can I stand out? Is it by being different? Nope, unless you want to end up all ____ing crazy like Gaga. To stand out you have to BE yourself, and to BE yourself you have to ACCEPT yourself (not cover yourself in rotting beef )

STEP #1 – ACCEPT

For better or worse, you are not white… or maybe you are. You dont have a Colgate smile… or maybe you do. Curly hair, crow’s feet, wrinkle valleys… these are all part of  YOU. I wish… don’t wish, accept. I don’t like… don’t reject, embrace. Accept yourself 100 %. Not 80%. A hundred percent. By accepting your external looks, you achieve inner peace. I’m at peace with my body, are you?

STEP # 2 –  SMILE

Smiling is the universal human sign of happiness. A light that shines constantly when we are kids, but starts to grow dim as we get older. Nobody tells us to smile less, yet for some reason, the older we get – the less we choose to smile. Jesus once said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them; for it is to those who are childlike that the Kingdom of the Heavens belongs.”

And while having a good sense of humor helps, it is not a requirement to be happy. Being compassionate and helping others, is a great way to cultivate smiles. Acknowledging the beauty that sorrounds us (trees, stars, sunsets, animals, life, love, family) is another path to smiling. Curving those lips more often, also has its health benefits.  Smiling is the perfect drug (free & healthy) : )

STEP # 3 – SOCIALIZE

When you accept yourself, you are confident. When you smile, your happiness attract others towards you. When you are confident, happy and attractivethe social world becomes your own “sandbox”. A place of limitless possibilities and connections waiting to happen.

The most important part of socializing, is being able to “listen”. In a frenzied society where everyone screams and wants to be heard, very very very few people have the ability to actually shut up and listen. And like any other art, the art of listening requires practice. (for starters, avoid “filling in” words or interrupting others in mid-sentence) A master listener not only hears the message, but also understands the messenger.

Another way to “stand out”, is to literally STAND OUT. A straight body posture shows confidence and good hygiene demonstrates you are disciplined/caring. Speaking loud and clear, denotes that you are person worth hearing. But these are just details… and NO, having 5,000 Facebook friends doesn’t count as socializing. Go out there and socialize in the real world.

How can I stand out?

  1. By being an ASS ( accepting , smiling , socializing )
  2. By turning U into Ü

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Stay tuned, for next week’s – How to make lots of $$$?

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The Aztec way of Life

Aztec, a +1000 page book, is the culmination of 12 years of historical research by its author Gary Jennings. First published in 1980, the book narrates the adventures of Mixtli, an aztec native, before & after the arrival of the Spanish conquerors in Mexico. The book serves as a window into a distant time, into an Aztec Empire capable of great beauty and cruelty. But most of all, Aztec demonstrate the unique philosophy of life and way of living of the aztec people.

Tenochtlitan - The Capital of the Aztec Empire

Aztec reminds of us of a time  where everyone believed in “fate”, a place where men coexisted peacefully with nature,  and a society in which money wasn’t the most important thing in the world.

Every time a aztec baby was born, his umbilical cord was cut off. If the baby was a girl, the umbilical cord would be wrapped around a piece of wood and buried under the house. (this should help the girl develop good household skills – the aztecs would say) If the baby was a boy, the umbilical cord would be wrapped around a small wooden shield and given to a warrior. The warrior would then proceed to bury the “shield” in a battlefield. (according to aztec tradition, this would give the boy the courage he needed to be a great warrior) This piece of buried umbilical cord was referred to as an aztec’s “tonali” or fate. The common aztec believe that their human fate was tied to their “tonali” and the will of the gods.

Like many ancient cultures, the aztec’s religion was deeply interwined with the elements of nature. The aztec gods manifested their will through meteorological and astrological acts. Just like the early Christians, the aztecs believed that man and nature where subject to the direct power and intervention of the God(s). But unlike the Europeans of the time who disdained nature, destroyed countless forests and abused of the Earth’s resources; the aztecs lived sorrounded by nature.

Unlike in today’s capitalistic society, money wasn’t  everything in the aztec world. As there was no official currency, the aztec’s often traded using gold powder, copper chunks, jade rocks, and chocolate beans. Honor, prestige, war and power – were more imporant than money. And the aztec tradesmen were members of a guild, known as the Pochteca, and always traded in the name and for the well-being of their Empire. (And unlike those working at Wall Street, these ancient traders would have never allowed their greed to destroy their nation)

And finally... the topic of human sacrifice

Why did the aztecs perform human sacrifices?

According to Aztec folkore, the world and its human inhabitants has been destroyed four times. The first time the entire human population was devoured by jaguars. The second time, destroyed by tornadoes and hurricanes. The third time, by a rain of fire. And finally, by a massive flood like Noah’s (but without survivors). According to aztec religion, these four destructions were sent by the gods because they were not pleased. The gods demanded a more constant supply of human blood, or else they would grow thirsty and destroy. From the aztec point of view, being sacrificied was an honor: they were giving their life for a good cause. Protecting the human race from further divine destruction.

Henceforth the problem: how can you sustain an Empire that constantly requires war prisioners for sacrifice?

The answer is easy: make “fake” wars. During times of peace, the six central Aztec nations would wage their own war simulation, called “Florid Wars”. Every year, 3 Aztecs nations would face off against the other 3 Aztec nations in an open field. The objective of these “Florid Wars” was not to kill the enemy, but to disable and capture prisoners. These “fake” wars would last several days, until all of the generals decided they had captured enough prisioners. Each army would then return to their own nation and commit massive “Florid Sacrifices”. And the gods were pleased.

MEMORABLE QUOTES FROM THE BOOK

Yes, at your age you expect a lot. You can go in any direction you choose. You can go alone or with company. Your companions might travel with you a short or long distance. But at the end of your life, no matter how full your wanderings and days have been, you must learn what everybody eventually learns […] No man has ever lived more than one life, which he himself as choosen and for the most part lived alone.

I believe that memories are the only treasure that humans can ever hope of owning forever.

We had wasted love, which is the most unforgettable waste of all. Time and love are the only two things in the world that one can’t buy, only spend.

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Old School vs. New School

And when I say old school… I mean OLD school. This article is about appreciating those traits that made Greek Academies so great and the current College System… so, so lame. History repeats itself, they say. And looking at the past for knowledge, is a GREAT way to help build a better future.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Students who went to the academies in Ancient Greece went there because they wanted to learn. It was this thirst for knowledge that drove students to visit their classrooms, not a need for a diploma or social pressure.

Greek students choose their teachers. They weren’t assigned to teachers randomly.

Greeks students honored their teachers by referring them to as “master” or “mentor”. Not Mr. Jones, Missy, or simply Emily. Formalities aside, respect toward educators is a thing that is quickly deteriorating.

Ancient students were free to leave a classroom whenever they wanted, and a teacher could refuse to give classes to a disrespectful student.

Students read books because they genuinely wanted to learn, not because of some test or examination.

Greek Academies ran on donations/sponsors…. not on student’s money.

IN THE END

It’s the over-complicated society, the over-complicated life, and over-complicated regulations that have ruined the education system.

It’s a shame how the entire SYSTEM is geared towards teaching students how to work, but NOT how to live. Sure, it’s the parent’s job to take care of the LIFE lessons … but happens to kids with bad parents? or a dumb ones? or broken homes?….. sadly, there is few people around to guide these lost teenagers.

Old School

Read —–> Learn —–> Be a better person

New School

Read —–> Take tests —–> Get diploma —–> Work —–> Make money

In the Society of the XXI Century

Seems like helping students make “future” money is more important than helping them find happiness.

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The Professor who talked about LIFE

Sometimes when looking at a classroom of students, all I see is a room full of zoombies. Not your typical skin-rotting, degenerate, brain-eating creatures from the grave. No, im talking about a high-tech, de-sensitivized, note-hungry mass of uninspired zoombies.

Students who stare at the chalkboard with blank eyes and open mouths. Peers who instead of taking notes, have their eyes glued to their cellphones or the Internet. Fellow classmates whose attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish. The classroom, in reality, is a lot more like a zoombie wasteland than a educational facility. A place where a few survivors, with the professor as their leader, have to fend off a mass of brain-dead zoombies.

What happens when the survivors have had enough?

Unlike in a zoombie-apocalypse film, the survivors in the classroom can´t stand up and fight. They can´t grab baseball bats and start clobbering zoombie skulls. Instead of melee weapons, all the survivors have are chalk sticks. Instead of bullets, all they can shoot at the zoombies are words. And in this movie,  the protagonist (professor) is forced to keep feeding exam-information to the student-zoombies or run the risk of being eaten alive.

What happens when a recording machine can just as easily carry out the work of a professor? What happens when everytime the professor goes off topic, he is meet with a cascade of falling pencils? – If it wasn´t for those couple students that actually do CARE,  most professors would feel competlely de-humanized, impotent and useless.

Now the reason im writing this reflection, is because of something I witnessed the other day in class.

I noticed how our professor, a shy man, got tired of talking about the same classroom material he always talked about. Mr. Shy decided to take a break from being a teacher, and for just 20 minutes, give his students advice about LIFE.

He didn´t lecture us. He didn´t act as a superior-being. All he did was give us, his students, good advice on the matters of LIFE. Knowledge and wisdom that he had obtained through experience. The kind of desinteristed advice a grandfather gives to his grandchildren.

How did we, the students, thank Mr. Shy for his thoughtful advice?

With cold stares. Eyes saying ¨Who the F*** do you think you are, telling us this¨

With the loud noise of dozens of pens hitting our desk.

With mouths yapping gossip left and right.

With inconsiderate yawns and laughter.

¨Respect your elders¨ they say…

And there I was. Alone, sorrounded by a crowd of inconsiderate, disrespectful, ungrateful XXI-century student-zoombies.

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Meaning of Life in the XXI Century

Exisitencialism, emptyness, constant boredom… all signs of the XXI century man struggling to find a meaning to his life. A struggle for meaning that only seems to be getting harder decade after decade, generation after generation. Capitalism tells us its money, Goverment tells us its work, Religion tells us its God, Hollywood tells us its pleasure… the list of meanings goes on and on… and so does the number of people that feel their existence is meaningless, that they have no control over their lives.

But what if there was a a way to find meaning to our lives… what if the reason we are not finding that meaning is because we are not looking in the right places. Here is where Viktor Frankl’s theory of logotherapy comes in. Frankl was a jew with a loving family, a prominent career as psicologist/neurologist, a pregnant wife and unpublished book. Then came 1942. His family was put on a train. His dad died in his arms. His mother was sent to the gas chambers. His wife was forced to abortion and sent to another camp.  His unpublished book was ripped to shreds. Everything he loved… gone in the blink of an eye.

So there he was standing in front of Auschwitz’s electric fence. With every right to want jump… end his life… escape the suffering. But right then, another prisoner touched his shoulder and said “Don’t, wait till to tomorrow”. And thus he waited. Waited 3 years in 3 different concentration camps before finally being liberated in 1945. What keep him alive? His willingness to reunite with his wife and rewrite his lost book.

His experiences in the camps taught him a lot about the human being. It showed him that even in the most miserable, inhuman conditions where a people were reduced to numbers: humans retained the ability to choose. Even in Auschwitz, prisoners could still to retain some dignity. “The pigs were unmasked. And so were the saints. Hunger revealed them” It’s this experience and his own professional formation that motivated Frankl to elaborate his theory of logotherapy.

Don't stop looking...

Logotherapy  focuses on the meaning of life and man´s search for that meaning. Not an abstract/universal meaning that applies for all, but rather, a concrete personal meaning that life holds for everyone. Instead of dwelling in the past, logotherapy encourages us to look at the future. A personal meaning that has to found in the world outside, not inside.

According to Frankl there a 3 different ways of discovering/carrying out the meaning of life:

1. Meaning of  action: having a goal, a mission in life. Wanting to write, create or achieve something that one can later look at and be genuinely proud of.

2. Meaning of love: being able to accept and love that which sorrounds you. Being able to enjoy nature, art, company, friends and family.

3. Meaning of suffering: when one faces an inescapable destiny (terminal disease, death), life offers one the opportunity of carrying out a supreme value: accepting the suffering. Valor resides not in the suffering itself, but in the attitude in which one faces that suffering. By accepting the challenge of suffering, life maintains its meaning to the last instant, all the way to the very end.

Frankl admits that the our meaning of life can change with the passing of time, but the important thing its that never ceases to exist. In summary, what his experience in the concentration camp taught him was this: “The human being is not just an object among’st objects; things determine other things, but men, at the last instance, determines himself.”

Even Nietzsche, a devout existencialist, once said: “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how”. The trick is in finding that “why”.

Quoting the last words of  Viktor Frankl’s short book Man’s Search for Meaning (which I highly recommend)

“We have come to know man as he really is. After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord’s prayer or the Shema Yisreal on his lips”

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Dam! The Internet is a Small Place!

I normally wouldn´t post this. But this  is a story worth telling. A story that shows us just how small the world really is… and just how small Google has made the Internet.

Our family boat - 1996

The sailboat me and my family lived on during 1996; where we got together for dinner and slept each night. Our international house that travelled almost every island in the Lower Caribbean and Venezuela. A country were time didn´t exist and the strength and direction of the wind was the only thing that mattered.  Yep, that year aboard the sailboat gave us memories and awesome pictures to last a lifetime.

 

14 years later...

Where we in the boat when the gust of winds picked up? When the waves battered the casket like the hooves of a thousand horses?  We most certainlay weren´t. Because fate, life (or whatever else you call it) had other plans for us. My parents sold the boat to couple of Polish/Canadians back in 1999. And they were the ones vacationing in Grenada when the Hurricane Ivan hit the island in 2004.

How then, did we find out about our beloved sailboat´s demise?

The Internet. While navigating the web one day, my dad found a hurricane news article with our boat´s name in it. We each gave it our own personal goodbyes and thought that was it. We would never see our boat again. That was how we felt for 6 years… until yesterday.

¨The Kapsis Wreck¨ as it´s known now

http://www.grenadagrenadines.com/detail/kapsis-wreck/

Apparently, our boat was found by a couple of Grenada scuba divers a couple of years ago and since then has become a diving attraction for tourists. That bring us to the present, when my family did that which we once thought impossible: we saw our beloved Kapsis once more. Although saddening, these news have also brought joy and light to our hearts. Never would we have imagined that our  year-long home would one day become a tourist sight.

And even more unimaginable was that we found out about our sailboat´s fate through random chance in the Internet. It´s one of those stories that remind one of just how small the world really is. And how Internet is doing a great job at making it even smaller.

20 years ago, without the Internet such an ocurrence would have been impossible. And even 12 years ago, when the digital era began, finding such news in the giant mass of Internet information would have been unlikely, to say the least. But it´s 2010, and search engines such as Google and Yahoo have really brought all the Internet´s information closer to us, the users. Thus the technological advances of the last couple years have not only made the world a smaller place, but the Internet as well.

The digital information of today is just closer and more easily accesible than ever. So while the size of the Internet database will always be on the rise, the way we perceive this database as individuals will each day be smaller, closer and more personal. Until we reach a day where wasting hours paging through useless  Internet information will be a thing of the past.

Kapsis (1995-2004)

The name Kapsis comes from an ancient Mayan myth. In it, Kapsis was the name of a native princess. A native princess that loved staring at the stars so much the turtle god decided to turn her into a sea star. That way she could stare at the stars underwater for rest of time.

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Special credit and thanks to my dad [ and family = ) ]

Like my work? Then don´t forget to subscribe at the bottom of the home page!

 

 

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Hate School?? CLICK HERE

Us. And by us I mean us young people. Us young people and our eternal struggle to live a balanced life. Or at least that´s what were “supposed” to be after, right?

Good grades, good body, and good friends…

Better yet – OK grades, rock hard body, and millions of friends….

Now… The reason I am writing this is because I am outraged at the current education system´s incompetence and its unwillingness to help balance a student´s life.

The great majority of students usually excel at one or two of these aspects… but can almost never maintain all three.

If you get top notch grades It means you take time to study and probably love coffee. It also means you can’t afford going out that often and find it hard to maintain an exercise routine.

If you are all about the party It means you probably have below average grades and sleep little. Also, hangovers and late nights don’t usually mix well with exercise.

If you are all about sports It means every extra hour on the field is one less hour hitting the books. On the plus side, you can always enjoy the occasional party and show off that body.

So there exists a three directional pull on student’s activities and the result of that pull will determine his future personality and lifestyle. If trying to balance all three aspects is a hard and confusing task by itself…. add the NOISE that sorrounds us all and you get pure chaos. Chaos and noise… what the modern age is all about.

The hours spent procrastinating inside continents of Facebook, Youtube, Myspace, Twitter, and Wikipedia; that are all form part of that wonderful planet called the Internet.

The nights spent in front of the TV or computer watching countless programs, brainless reality shows and awesome network series.

The days spent traveling the World of Warcraft, scoring goals on FIFA or shooting terrorists in Call of Duty.

Yes… the noise is fun.  Yes… the noise requires very little effort. And yes… the noise is very addicting.

While the noise does serves as an escape to every day worries and problems, it more often serves as an excuse to avoid doing useful things with your time. Unlike the noise, useful things like studying, building relationships and exercise require real effort.

“Effort”, a word thats rapidly losing its value and gaining a negative connotation in the minds of new generations. New generations that constantly look for ways to cheat effort, because effort can be uncomfortable.

Cheat exercise – by taking diet pills, buying TV machines, or having an operation.                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cheat social life– by living in WOW , Facebook , or videogames.                                                                                                                                            Cheat studies – by copy/pasting, ADHD pills or plagiarism.

Now, I am not saying cheating from time to time is bad… we all do it occasionally. It´s just that every time you cheat, you are also unknowingly limiting your own potential for personal growth. Thus when cheating becomes ¨regular¨ habit, your human potential also becomes ¨regular¨.

My words probably sound a lot older than my current age… but i’d be dammed if there isn’t truth in each and everyone of them. Call me an idealist but

Why can’t more of us be like that lucky 15%? That lucky 15% of students that are intelligent, exercise and still find time to party.

Why does the education system revere intelligent students, when maybe they are just covering up their loneliness with studies?

Why do colleges revere talented athletes, when their IQ can sometimes be that of a kid?

Why does pop media revere party animals, when in reality their lives tend to be extremely bipolar?

If our education system truly promotes a balanced lifestyle, why does only 15% of their students ever achieve it?

I`ll tell you why… because it´s easier for educators to produce athletes, academics, and party animals than to produce well-rounded human beings. And looking at how fucked up the society and parenting of today is… I don´t blame them.

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10 Small Things made Big Impact… Finale

This is the final entry to a remarkable list of 10 innovations, laws and inventions that changed everyday living forever.

These are the two most important.

2nd place: The Fountain of Remedies

Eternally open all year long

21 bottles…

That is the number of medicine bottles I counted at my parent’s house last summer. And they prefer natural remedies over synthetic ones

Which led me to wonder, how many bottles of medicine does an average civilized family have?

Tylenol, Panadol, Bayer, Aleve, allergy medicines, prescription medicines… that just naming the basic ones. Now try to imagine how many medicine bottles a 19th century family had: none? two? if rich perhaps six?

Man… times do change. Now a days there is pill for every mental and physical distress.

Why recommend several days of rest, when a sleeping pill can do the job?

Why recommend eating salad, when a laxative can work just fine?

Why recommend vacations, when a stimulant can serve you right?

Chicken soup, no way, I need Robytusin

Take for example the surge in the number of school kids diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in the last decade.

Time magazine says:

Two studies suggest some symptoms may be due simply to immaturity… One of these studies found that young-for-their grade kids were twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD as those who were old for their grade. (pg. 16, 08/30/10)

Misunderstood case like the following are quite abundant… I’m not saying that medicine is bad. Heck no, medicine has improved our lifestyle in many, many ways.

But like everything else, abusing medical consumption is harmful.

Sure, taking a pill is the easy way

Just not always the right way

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1st place: The Mouth and Ears of your life


You guessed it… that thing in your pocket made it to the top of the list.

I mean, who doesn’t have a phone these days? Who doesn’t get a bit “jumpy” when the battery’s dead? What more reliable lifeline in times of awkward silence?

The telephone

Allows the transfer of thoughts anywhere, anytime.

Took down the barriers of time and space in human interactions.

Revolutionized the work space.

Changed human behavior.

Also, the telephone shows no sign of slowing down it’s technological progress. From the bulky phones of the past to the sleek, camera, GPS, Mp3, Internet, digital cellphones of the future. Now a days the possibilities are almost endless – from surfing the web, finding the nearest exit to your destination,  to identifying a song that´s playing on the radio – the modern cellphone does it all.

Just stop and think….

Is there phone close to you now? Does it accompany you wherever you go? Do you use it to avoid people? To get to know people? To stay in touch with people? Are all of the above true?

More useful tool in the social life of an average person: none.

Telephone

Portable phone

Cellphone

Iphone

Lunch break at Verizon

Thanks for all those that have followed the countdown till the end, hope you had as good time reading it as I had making it.

Till the next post… keep it real

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