Monthly Archives: February 2010

Old Henry Ford

26 February 2010, by A. Cedilla

Aside from taking his place in history as an industrial titan, Henry Ford left a lot of inspiring quotes, as well as an enduring legacy.

  • “It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.”
  • “There is joy in work. There is no happiness except in the realization that we have accomplished something.”

We all have dreams and plans for what we want in life, and how we want ours to turn out, but not all of us are putting ourselves out there — working and hustling to make our plans bear fruit, or turn our dreams into reality. I know this. You know this.

Doubtless we’ve all had grand plans that we drew up, all excited and eager, only to have them quietly die on paper, stillborn.

It goes like this: we’re intelligent enough and glib enough to come up with at least 3 reasons off-the-cuff on why it:  a) never happened, b) would never have worked out and/or c) was doomed to fail.

We ‘re crazy-smart that way.
Continue reading Old Henry Ford

Life In 4-D

24 February 2010, by A. Cedilla

(This post was inspired by Trent Hamm’s — of The Simple Dollar– “What’s Coming Next” post here, and another post by Philip Brewer –on Wisebread — here, on contingency planning.)

We are the only beings who can also live backwards and forwards. Living backwards is memory, living forward is day-dreaming.

  • Looking back, have you ever thought that you’d be where you are right now, when you were younger?
  • If that sentence wasn’t confusing enough — have you ever thought you’d be at this point in your life, ever, or at all?

When you get the answers, here’s the next question, you just fill in the blanks:

  • If anyone ever said to me (pick a number) years ago I’d be (doing what you’re doing now) I’d have (done something that showed my explicit yet polite disbelief to the person or persons in question).

Continue reading Life In 4-D

“Coming Soon.”

22 February 2010, by A. Cedilla

When you sit down, put your feet up and turn on the TV to shuffle through the channels…click-click-click, how often do you ever wonder, “What’s up?” — only to hear the voice-over tell you, in a deep, gravelly voice, the name of the next show?

Living your life on purpose is a little like that.

Let me explain:

TV movie channels can tell you what you can look forward to watching in the next week, and in the next 24 hours. They can also tease you with what to expect in the next month.

As a viewer, the former gives you the advance notification of what’s coming… you can choose which programs you want, as well as know the times those programs are available, and when they’ll show, easy as pie.

You can arrange your time to fit in what you want to watch when it’s convenient. The latter lets you anticipate what’s coming, and keeps you going because you have something to look forward to.

What you don’t see going on behind the scenes were the months of planning ahead, the people hammering out licensing and broadcast agreements per region, settling conflicts with other upcoming events –like the Oscars or the Superbowl, and figuring out the best times to release films to the audience.

For example, when releasing a multi-part movie series, the first parts get continuous replay on cable, just around the time the next part is to be released in theaters, right? It’s the build up before the storm breaks, so to speak. (Note: This isn’t even taking into consideration the actual work that went into the films and shows themselves.)
Continue reading “Coming Soon.”

Making Your Solid Support System

16 February 2010, by A. Cedilla

So many things have been written about how the financial crisis has brought the people’s faith in the government (not to mention big industries and banks) to new lows that we won’t even be coming near that any more.

There’s too much information on how things went wrong, and not enough on how to start making things right, even if just on a personal level. Instead, let’s focus on what security we can build for ourselves now.

This article was inspired partly by a post regarding Social Security on GenXFinance, explaining just what Gen-Xer’s (the people born between 1965-1980) can expect from it, and how they can and should prepare for their futures themselves.

The advice was to keep planning as if Social Security won’t be enough to fully support you in your retirement, which is an unsettling realization. And quite possible.

No one expected the current meltdown to hurt to this extent, or how it impacted everyone: people who thought their jobs, homes and families would be safe, believing the government and big companies would be able to take care of them, trusting that the system was stable. Now everyone’s had a taste of bitter medicine: Guarantees are only as strong as the institution backing them up.

So, how do you build your own version of “Social Security”? Continue reading Making Your Solid Support System

…And Using Time

08 February 2010, by A. Cedilla

In this companion piece to Building Goals , we’ll discuss how to work with the time we’re given to make things happen, instead of waiting for things to happen to us. Ready?

  • Pick an age, any age older than you are now. If you can’t settle on anything, pick your current age plus 1-3 (or 5-10 years).
  • Then pick some pictures of your best moments in life, if you caught them with the camera. For those moments not captured on film, write down the details, nothing wordy, 2-3 sentences ought to do.
  • Add some more images of people you respect and admire. List down the reasons why.

This activity is a way to take snapshots of the future. If you want to be technical and metaphysical about it, photographs and movies are just images of captured light. The snapshots you’re preparing now are the light-source for the future you want to have, the one that you can work towards.
Continue reading …And Using Time

Building Goals…

05 February 2010, by A. Cedilla

Spot-check, guys! How are things going? Hit any milestones lately? How about those resolutions, yeah, still going strong, or did they fall by the wayside?

Any way you slice it, some of the big goals you set for yourself this past New Year would just about expire right now. And there’s actually solid research backing up why that happens.

Resolutions are common at the end of a year, because the promise of a brand new year, one all to yourself, one with which to start anew, makes it conducive to grandiose, inflated expectations and promises.

“This year I swear I’ll lose weight, quite smoking, save more, break up with that jerk, quite my job, etc…And then I’ll be happy.”

See what we did there, that little thing at the end? “And then I’ll be happy.”

That’s where people trip up most, thinking that doing, having or being X (whatever X may stand for) is the only key to being happy, the fail-based formula being X = goal, and achieving X = happy.
Continue reading Building Goals…

Who’s Your Driver?

03 February 2010, by A. Cedilla

When we speak of someone being a driven person, it usually comes out in admiring tones. You can just imagine that look on a recruiting poster somewhere, someone with jaws clenched, his eyes burning with fervor and determination, and a look of steely resolve urging you to man up and get things done, yeah!

Or perhaps not. Another definition for driven is ‘obsessed’. A close relation is ‘hag-ridden‘. Ahem:

  • Tormented, harassed or worried.
  • Overburdened by fear or dread.

So, who — or what — is your driver?

See, when I think of someone being a driven person, what comes to mind is someone (or some thing) else is holding the reins.

Maybe that person has an axe to grind, or something to prove, or feels that he has something to make up for, but whatever the reason, it’s big, and it’s the one sitting in the driver’s seat.

If you feel that you’re a driven person, would you want that, to just be in the passenger seat of your life? Continue reading Who’s Your Driver?

When Preparations Become Mental

12 February 2010, by A. Cedilla

In targeted visualization there comes a point — after all the prepping, but before implementation– where everything stops and the practitioner mentally sees the entire process unfold, from the beginning towards the desired end.

This is a technique used in many disciplines. Olympic-level athletes train themselves mentally by intensive visualization exercises, a practice supported by their trainers and backed up by scientific study. Ordinary people can use it to help lower their blood pressure, calm themselves down, or desensitize themselves from phobias.

Another useful practice supports visualization. Rituals can help delineate the borders of your activities and regulate the rhythm of your days. The difference in the two activities play off each other.

Visualization is mental practice, the inner movie you rehearse before the moment of action.

Rituals are a mental and physical practice, drawing borders around activities, their beginning, their end, and helps free you to do the next thing.

What is a ritual?
It’s kind of blurry. Smoking is a habit, but it can also be a ritual — to calm yourself down or signal the end of a day. And in disagreement with the common definitions I found online, it is not just a repeated set of actions.

Putting a liner in the garbage can requires a few steps, and you need repeat these steps when you throw out the trash, but that’s hardly a ritual. (Until you make one of it, of course.)
Continue reading When Preparations Become Mental

What’s Your Agenda?

01 February 2010, by A. Cedilla

When I think of the word “agenda” the image that comes to mind is of two groups of people looking at each other over a long table in the board room.

Think Wallstreet, with Gordon Gekko, or that scene in American Psycho where Patrick Bateman and his colleagues try to one-up each other with, of all things, the fonts on their business cards.

When we think of agenda what pops up is the idea of a meeting or a discussion — sometimes a heated negotiation or a nefarious plan (“I don’t trust that guy, he’s got an agenda….”).

While the latter covers some of the more emotional connotations of the word agenda, what it boils down to is: an agenda is a list of things to talk about. So, you discuss the items on the agenda in a meeting. I hope that’s clear.

An agenda is not a To-Do list. Those are personal and task oriented. An agenda can be seen as a program of sorts, listing topics and issues presented for of discussion.

(Quick insert: An agenda is also not a credenza, even though they sound somewhat the same. I once made the mistake of confusing the two, in writing. It wasn’t pretty.

And a credenza is not a place of discussion, although you can have a quick chat beside one. Remember, you can put the notes for your agenda on the credenza, but not the other way around.) Continue reading What’s Your Agenda?