Do as you say

Today in a New York Times Article reviewing President Obama’s press conference, held Wednesday April 30th 2009, he is quoted to have said:

“We cannot go back to an economy that is built on a pile of sand — on inflated home prices and maxed-out credit cards, on over leveraged banks and outdated regulations that allowed the recklessness of a few to threaten the prosperity of us all,”

Reading these words all I can say is YES.  Yet, I remain troubled.  We’ve all read about the various programs our government is implementing to “fix” our economy.  Too often these programs are simply a mechanism to take money from Honest Tax Payers and distribute it to those that over-leveraged themselves and where reckless.  President Obama that is not what those word would suggest your policy is.

We seem to think that whatever we do the Government will bail us out.

  • Build on the Mississippi flood plane and when the river does what it has always done help those who built where the water has always been supreme.
  • Live on the cliffs in California.  When the rain comes, and it will, the land will be washed out from under the foundation. Washington will come to the rescue.
  • Build on a fault line and when the earth shakes don’t worry too much papa will rescue you.
  • Run up your credit card debt, buy a home you can”t afford and daddy will punish the lender and protect the reckless.
  • Leverage yourself as Bear Stearns did and we will make it all better

Nature is and has been since God set the universe in motion.  Moses in his dialogue with God learned of the beginning and in Genesis he recorded those first days of Adam’s life and how easy it would have been to follow the rules. 

 The LORD God put the man in the Garden of Eden. He put him there to work its ground and to take care of it.

 The LORD God gave the man a command. He said, “You can eat the fruit of any tree that is in the garden. But you must not eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you do, you can be sure that you will die.”

He gave us the chance to live in paradise for eternity.  He gave us plenty.  All he asked is that we work the ground, take care of it and not eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of …

I do not mean to look at original sin nor do I want to talk about how the serpent beguiled woman and man simply ate with her.

What I am concerned with is that Obama is saying all the right things.  Yet, when we look to the results we see money flowing into the pockets of those that took us into the abysm.  We tell credit card companies that they should reduce interest charges and not protect themselves.  We simply seem to be protecting those that are reckless.

So President Obama, please do as you say,

  • Don’t bail out the banks and investment company, then let them skirt the rules.
  • Don’t fix it so people with maxed out Credit Cards can get themselves back in trouble.
  • Don’t help people and mortgage lenders who agreed to mortgages that could not be sustained by the home-owner.

This idea that some companies are just to big to let fail sounds smart.  Yet, unless they are also made to appreciate their failings we will simply see it happen all over again. 

They personally must feel the pain not simply do as Merrill, AIG and all the CEOs want to and do  do, get a government hand out and still get the big bonus.  They need to be held accountable and made to put their money where their mistakes are.

It is one thing to allow them protection under the law it is another to marry them

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/28/us/28marriage.html?th&emc=th

A Quiet Day in Iowa as Same-Sex Couples Line Up to Marry

New york Times 28 July 2009

It is one thing to offer same sex couples rights and protections under the law, call it common-law.  It is another thing to allow them to Marry; which is a religiuously rooted event that should adhere to the laws God so long ago defined and have worked so well for so many years.

Same Sex couples are people and we should love them as we love our nieghbor, YET!

Is the UAW focusing on helping or simply being greedy

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/28/business/28auto.html?th&emc=th

G.M.’s Latest Plan Envisions a Much Smaller Automaker

By BILL VLASIC and NICK BUNKLEY Published: April 27, 2009 New York Times

Over the last months countless articles and news commentaries have discussed the plight of the US auto makers.  Bankruptcy, restructuring and foreign buyouts are all on the table as the US Government pushes Chrysler and General Motors to fix itself or get fixed.

One item that keeps appearing and as I think back over the last years, starting when Asian auto makers built factories here in America, I am constantly amazed to see that the UAW is not part of the solution.  I appreciate that their role is to protect the interests of their members.  Yet they simply  focus on protecting the lavish pensions (developed when Detroit was ever so profitable) that these individuals are “entitled” to.

I have a profound respect for much of the work the union movement has done to protect the American worker and to assure them that they are paid a fair wage, work in reasonably safe conditions and various other initiatives that escape my mind.

What disturbs me these days is that we complain about Outsourcing and the migration of jobs to India, Malaysia, in years past Ireland and countless other countries willing to work for less than the American worker and do those jobs that are “Beneath Us”.  Why we have the human resources, just look at the current rate of unemployment.  When it is zero then OK let’s outsource.

As the spokesperson for American workers and hoping they are aware that we cannot practice isolationist policies and impose tariffs and taxes to protect American jobs.  I worry that they are not out there working with business and the government to protect those jobs or better yet grow the n umber of jobs while still exploiting the virtues of technology and the goal to reduce the end cost to the consumer, their members.

Instead they slow down progress.  They do not take the lead in driving for quality and do not help to make sure what we build or do with American hands and minds is the best that can be made or provided anywhere.

In the article, what I am once again reminded of is the fact that they insist that the “Pensions” be protected 9screw the stockholders and debit holders.  i do not see them thinking about the fact that the future of our children is at risk.  Jobs will continue to go to where it is less expensive to produce and where equally skilled people demonstrate a willingness to work to put food on their tables.

The unions are one of the great strengths of America.  At this time of economic turmoil, where greed is at the core of our housing crisis, the introduction of high risk derivatives and a truly expensive health care system.  They should be leading the workforce to understand that the American dream never was intended to guarantee anyone everything and that the American dream was built on hard-work, prudent investment and quality.

If we can return to these roots and focus on quality, hard-work and assuring the future of America for our children, then we will see an upturn in the market and a return to full employment where immigrants are seen as a positive influence and not illegals stealing American jobs.

At the same time Management is equally responsible for our plight.  Sub-prime mortgages, derivatives, short sighted corporate planning and yes greed leads them also to be UN-American.  They are to focused on the next analyst briefing and their quarterly results and make sure they could sell more for less.  So they purchase materials produced by non Americans.   They do not insist on an equitable balance between pay, quality and work.  Then to make matters worse they insist that they are paid millions of dollars, the Government then bail them out when they make stupid decisions; for what?

We are all in this together and although we know that communism and socialism does not work.  Capitalism only works when we do right by everyone and devise a fair distribution of wealth: based on ability, hard work and ingenuity.

In God We Trust

More Atheists Shout It From the Rooftops

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN Published: April 26, 2009 New York Times

Not often am I driven to comment on other people opinions, especially when it has to do with Religion.  Yes, I am happy to discuss my own beliefs and to shoot from the Rooftops – there is a creator and God did come down to earth in the form of a man to lead us into the light.

 

When the New York Times has such a headline I cannot resist wondering what these people believe and how they can be so sure that they are right and there is no God. 

 

Once I was an agnostic.  I was willing to wonder if he existed.  Bottom line I was not willing to totally deny his existence. 

 

In my quest to understand, I took the time to read the bible, read various authors discussions looking at the question from both sides of the table and eventually came to realize no matter how deep we go in exploring our Universe and how knowledgeable we become about the subatomic particles and the structure of DNA, we always seem to find that there is still more to learn and that we come to a point where when we turn the next page in our scientific exploration, there are still mysteries out there that with all of our science we cannot explain.

 

Chaos, so many believe that out of disorder will come order; well, when I look to the microcosm and I look out to the universe what astounds me is the beauty, the majesty and the order of it all.  Only an artist could create the Star Nebula, only a composer could compose the symphony of sounds we hear deep in the words at night, only a master craftsman could form such a beautiful universe and build our planet.

 

What concerns me even more is that without what God taught us through Moses, who first wrote down the ten commandments; and then when  Jesus  condensed these down to two very simple one – love god and love your neighbor then what?.  If we do not believe in God then we are also saying we do not accept that we all must live to a common set of moral standards.  Anarchy would rein and the evil would overpower those that have the sense to figure out what God  is said to have taught us.

 

Darwin wrote of evolution.  Yet he did not say that all things emerged from the ooze.  He simply postulated that species could evolve.  With evolution as an understood reality I looked to the first chapter of Genesis and came to accept three things.  First the day that is written is not our day.  How could it be, the earth did not have day and night until the fourth day?  The day that is described in Genesis is not our daysbut God’s day. 

In a previous post I spoke to these seven days described in Genesis and found that even evolution is of Gods making.  Only someone with his power could set in motion the mechanisms that would allow a bird to evolve and embrace its environment.

 

Finally, I accept and want everyone to have a voice.  What I would also hope is that their voice is what it is.  That it is the voice of a minority.  Let them speal and be heard, let the majority ultimately decide.  let us all remember that we are taught to love our neighbor therefore we must and will love everyone and help them to live with their beliefs in peace as long as they respect the peace.

 

All I suggest is that the Athiest study history, that they truly understand and listen to the greatest of scientists and are open to change.  Stephen Hawkins, probably one of the greatest thinkers of our time recognized that even though he identified that “This Universe” emerged from the “Big Bang” he knew that without a creator, someone to have caused the light. that explosion of matter and energy, could not have been and without someone to establish the constants and help the dust to form planets.  Without his intervention there would still be an expanding universe of dust. energy and nothingness.

 

When the Atheist can finally explain everything then and only then will they are able to say there is not God.  Until then as long as we cannot move from that which Newton found, to those principles that Einstein understood, to the new learns that our great scientists reveal then there is only one plausible answer.  Our universe, the cosmos and all that we known, don’t know and will never understand are God’s work.

Our Financial Market must embrace the spirit of Social responsibility and avoid the power of the Dark Side

Geithner, as Member and Overseer, Forged Ties to Finance Club

 By

Did Timothy Geithner help or assist in bringing Wall Street and the world at large to the brink of disaster?  A brilliant man yet was the force of the Wall Street lobby able to easily sway the path of the New York Federal Reserve to allow risk that lead to the collapse.  

Morals and a solid foundation of right, wrong and mutual satisfaction must return to the market if it is to be the leader of the world.  Has the financial market been seduced by the dark side and falls fowl of the seven deadly sins (Greed, Pride, Sloth, Gluttony, Lust, Wrath and Envy)?  They in the end should be the machine that assures liquidity and assures the foundation of our economies ability to grow and prosper.   Losing their way and focusing on their personal wants and not the needs of everyone is a disaster worth of the fallen one.

I am happy to see Wall Street and the City of London prosper as long as they remember Jesus’ two commandments and embrace them as part of the principles and goals that drive their actions.

Our Medical System should be run by doctors not corporations

Shortage of Doctors Proves Obstacle to Obama Goals

By ROBERT PEAR 27 April 2007 the New York Times

One proposal — to increase Medicare payments to general practitioners, at the expense of high-paid specialists — has touched off a lobbying fight.

I wonder if Congress should instead focus on improving the income of doctors, reduce the fear of Mal-practive and insisting on deepening their education.  So that people will once again see it as a worthy profession and thus there will be enough doctors to serve our growing population, not simply here, but all over the world.

 As the Grandson, son and brother of doctors, I am driven to suggest to our Congress and the people that we must consider the investment someone must make to becoming a care practitioner and realize that we must encourage people to want to dedicate the time it takes to become proficient.  These dedicated individuals, unlike CEO’s and Wall Street millionaire, must excel in their studies and invest  four years at university, four years at  medical school and then finally before having the skills to serve us, invest an additional three to six years as a journey man (i.e. their their internship and residency).  Hundreds of thousand of dollars later and so much time and study does desire a fair reward. 

I also believe that we should begin to think about training our internist better, so they can be more effective and not simply pass the patient on to a specialist.  they as the gatekeep should have the education and practical training so unlike today thare are able to properly diagnosis the problem we the sick are facing. 

Simply look at the TV series House.  his dedication and effectiveness of his team is what we need.  People who truly think and only turn to specialists when they fibnally accept that the specialists skills are required.  Just to put a value to House.  my father a retired Park Avenue and renowned diagnostician finds this one medical program stimulates his thinking.

The other key issue that Obama and Congress must address is that medicine should be a cottage industry.  Instead corporations and insurance companies now run our health care system, Hillary Clinton’s efforts, although altruistic, probably drove corporations to seek profits at the expense of the real care-takers and unltimately you and I.  These new “medical?” tycoons are more worried about shareholder returns and annual bonuses than the health of the people who should be their focus and are in their care.

Is it a national health system that we need simply to “FIX” the problem.  Or is it a return to a system run by doctors who are properly trained and rewarded. We should think first of investing our taxes on helping the gatekeepers (family practitioners, gynecologist and internists) to be the front line, capable of dealing with most medical issues.  We should encourage their selfless commitment and  drive for education and practical training so they can effectively serve, thus drive down costs by being better at what they do.

Finally thought.  Risk is endemic in any system.  Lawyers drive risk out of the system by pursuing law suits because someone took at risk or was just like the rest of us a made an error.  The net result,t doctors have become overly cautious, dependent on too many tests and unwilling to say this is what I think is wrong and if we don’t do something (however risky) now MY patient will die.

Letter to President Obama

Sir my thoughts for your consideration,

I envision a country that is a global leader, that inspires strong work ethics.  I wish to live in a country that does not dole out money to those that claim need only those that are in need. 

Morality

Our constitution, the oath of office and our money all reminds us that we trust in God.  So therefore we must respect his laws and embrace the standards he has set for us.  I agree in a separation of Church (the organization) and State (the government).  What I do not agree is that this statement leads us to a secular state that does not respect moralities long established and given as commandments by God.

Healthcare

I believe in improving our health care system so that it is affordable and not a place for profiteering.  I am amazed at how expensive our health care system is and wonder why countries like Belgium, Canada, United Kingdom and Switzerland have equal care (not always timely for elective surgery) at a much low price per capita.  I see insurance companies and big business profiting from a health care systems that should be about cost plus services and not revenue and enormous profits.  I believe that the doctors should be responsible to administer the system while at the same time held accountable for the costs of the system.

Defense

I believe in a strong defense and think that we should have a civilian militia, but not guns in the hands of anyone who wants to go out and buy machines of mass destruction.  I am not sure where I stand on Iraq, North Korea, Islamic fundamentalism and other places where democracy is abused and people in power abuse the people they are suppose to serve.  I do not know if we are the global police force but I know we must play a strategic role. 

Globalization

I believe that the world is not one country, it is many states that must share in our planets resources and more importantly must protect our planet for our children and theirs.  We cannot thrive while others wither.  We cannot take advantage for our own benefit or we destroy what is God’s gift to man (and woman).

Freedom of Religion

Religion is a power force that is out of control.  Some of those with Islam as their faith wish to rid the world of those that do not share their beliefs.  Is Christianity any better, do we forget the atrocities of history.  I believe that we must insist that we the people respect God’s Ten Commandments and most importantly the two that Jesus taught us.  Love God and Love your neighbor.

Due process

I believe that the process of government (driven by big money, lobbyist and special interest groups) does not represent the will of the people.  We live in an age of technology, where we can us the Internet to put issues in front of the people and ask them to vote.  if we reflect on the definition of democracy we must remember that it is by the people not simply their representatives.  We should reflect on what democracy could become given the Internet and telecommunications.  We should think more about referendums, much like Switzerland does. 

Our republican form of government, I do not mean the party, is not a democracy; we are a republic that claims to be a democracy.  We should strive to exploit technology to create a true democracy. 

What see is that our republican government has flaws and does not have safe guards to assure us that our leaders vote the wishes of the majority.  Instead they fall into the trap of voting with those that can afford to buy their favor.

Greed and corruption

I think Wall Street is run by people that are only interested in lining their pockets through greed with Gold.  Salaries and risks need to be managed in a way that makes sure they seek to represent the interest of all the stakeholders and not just the interests of the speculators and sometimes shareholders.  Derivatives and the instruments of mathematics have created a trading environment designed to make those that can play the game rich, at the expense of the people who believe that others will look after their interests.

The environment

I believe that we are not offering the world a good example of how to be proper stewards of our planet and the biosphere we live in.  How can we expect others to cut back on carbon emissions and other diabolical chemicals pouring into the atmosphere, oceans, rivers and land if we sit and consume 25% of the world’s resources and represent less than 6% or the global populations?  How can we think that others will not follow our example and do what we should do if we don’t do it ourselves?  We must lead by example.  We must suffer the pain of finding ways to conserve energy, reduce pollution and clean up the environment before we complain about what China and others are doing as they race to catch up.

Taxes

I believe that we are over taxed and under served.  Too much goes to special interest groups.  If the people can see that their money is well spent and they benefit from the spending then we are willing to pay for the services rendered but if money is spent to help foolish people then we ponder why must pay. 

Land Use

I give two examples.  The Mississippi flood plain, will flood it is natural and the way the environment works.  If we let people build in these areas then the rest of us should not have to rescue them they must suffer for their own mistakes?  Now I do not wish to sound too callous, how were they to know that every hundred years the flood plain will be covered in water?  Well then Government should study and provide the zoning restrictions designed to make sure land is used intelligently.  The other is the fires and mud slides in California these will happen it is the way of nature.  We should not permit people to build in these, although beautiful, areas and then expect the government to come to their rescue.  If we want to live in places that are going to be destroyed by acts of nature then we should be held responsible for our own decisions and not expect the people to come to our rescue.  This being said we must be prepared since there will always be something we cannot control, like a meteor striking the planet or Yellowstone turning into a volcano.  But then we do know that these things can and ultimately will happen. 

So, yes prepare, but also insist the wer plan at the individual level, and shift our attitude – expect not from the government.  We must take responsibility for your own decisions and risks.

The Champagne Class of Income

Our economy is out of control when so much wealth can be concentrated in the hands of so few.  What did they do that affords them the right to amass wealth beyond belief.  If they do let them live a great life but make sure we tax them or demand that they invest in charities and good works.

Corporate Growth

We must maintain an attitude that is about keeping and bringing job to the United States.  It must be rational and not subsidies.  Farm subsidies do not assure a balance on a global scale.  Yes we must be self sufficient but when we create mountains of unused produce simply to make sure the farmer makes a lot of money something is wrong.  If we price food so that people cannot afford to eat then we are messing up the planet.  There is enough food to feed the world but it is not priced to feed the world.  Stop subsidizing what is not rational and once again lead the way.  Europe will follow if we lead and then food will be available for the poor in Africa and Asia.  As to corporations they must stop thinking about the next three months and the value of their shares.  They must remember their responsibility as stewards and focus on stakeholder value not shareholder value.  A country without employment is a country without consumption.

My request

I see a need for radical change that must be the will of the people.  Your job, as president, is to figure out what we want (the majority) and then lead us to achieve.  In the end, government is for the people.  Unless it can serve then it is not of the people.

Alternative Payment Methods

Ed Kountz of jupiter in his recent blog on Alternative online Payments offers an opinion that credit and debit cards where not designed for the Internet. It is interesting to reflect back in history and remember when it was not the magnetic strip that was important to the execution of the transaction but the numbers printed on the front of the card a merchant could simply would say into a phone or type onto their telephone keypad to get an authorization.

Move to the Internet and instead of asking the merchant to type in the account number and expiry date we ask the consumer to fill in an Internet form. How can one argue that ISO7810-3 cards where not built for the Internet.

Back in the day, circa 1993, when we began to think about how we would secure payments over the Internet and address words like dis-intermediation. It was clear that by any definition the ubiquitous credit card was already a vehicle for enabling eCommerce. All the internet did was to take mail order and catalogue business and give it the power to become a global operation; no longer limited by the cost of a telephone call or postage. Nowadays, of course, the internet has become such a vital part of our everyday lives, with people looking up things like “internet in my area” to make sure that they are getting the best deals possible so that they can be confident that their connection won’t let them down.

And, of course, Mr Kountz is correct, there is a real issue with security and the Internet. Yet the issue is no greater than what was faced when Card Not Present transactions started happening as telephone ordering became common place. Did the payment associations attempt to keep up? MAYBE!

First we saw the introduction of CVC2/CVV2 and address verification as tools to address the risks of someone who had captured the data on the face of the card from employing that card maliciously. Not a bad solution, if the merchant was willing to make the changes to their web sites and call center procedures.

Next came SET, now here was the perfect solution, yet at a cost that simply did not offer anyone a reason return on investment; even if Card Not Present Fraud was an issue. Since then the payment associations tried to develop a simpler yet equally secure solution called 3D-Secure, Verified by Visa or SecureCode. The idea is sound. The issue of adoption came down to the simple issue of figuring out how to get the consumer to go through the additional step of activating their 3D-Secure password and better yet remember it. Versus what became the reality, they simply said this is too difficult, I don’t need to buy that today, so they abandon the shopping cart. Merchants saw 3D-Secure as a way to lose potential business and at a rate alarmingly larger than the cost of fraudulent transactions.

So what is the answer? Create new means of payment that are designed for the specific trading environment (mobile, Internet, Mail Order, telephone Order, face to face …) or figure out how to get everyone to work together to come up with a workable solution that exploits the power of the Visa, Discover, MasterCard and American Express Brands.

In my opinion it is about communications and working together as a team. Not once has the merchant been asked to participate in developing more secure solutions to payments. They are simply told through compliance and rule changes this is what they shall do.

Maybe the new Visa and MasterCard will find that merchants are now shareholders and bringing them to the table is in the interest of everyone especially the consumer. Or is it time for a new payment Brand that is built to serve the merchant and operated by the Banks?

Yesterday today and tomorrow

Once long ago there was a lady so fair
My heart was with her
My mind did pondered a future together
I understood then we each had a path we must follow
Each a Path leading to fields of fruit and bounty
Time passed and contact was lost
Yet her name stayed in my mind
Never to leave the subtle crevices of memory
Thoughts and feeling of joy kept the feeling fresh

Recently perchance our acquaintance once again remade
In yesterday unfinished was the relationship
In tomorrow expectation that are yet unknown
In today time to dream
A time to learn of of each other
A time to explore what was is and could be
No hopes, only dreams yet tempered by the realities of time

Power of Positive Thought

This week I took a course offered by the Ontario Government called “Thought Patterns”, presented by the York region franchise of the “Academy of Learning”. The facilitator was a woman names Judith Seki. Her background was amazing and her ability to engage and stimulate our group’s discussion was outstanding.

Some of the interesting things I learned and would like to share:

We have 3 seconds to make a first impression and 3 minutes to fix the other party’s impression of us. Once set, it could take us years to overcome and turn that person, from someone who has a low opinion of us, into someone interested in spending time with us.

If we think about how much we can say or do in 3 seconds, let alone 180 seconds; we are limited and therefore must focus on some very simple, yet, ultimately essential attributes.

People will of course, unless it is a telephone call, immediately react to how we look. They will then think about things like: are we on time, do we know their name, are we smiling, are we standing up straight, do we look them in the eyes, is our attire appropriate, do we demostrate the appropriate level of respect, what is the tonality of our voice, how do we greet them and how do we respond to their greeting?

Obviously if the conversation is over the telephone, via email, IM or in a chat room we are limited by tools we can use. Therefore our focus must be on the tone we employ in our written or verbal communications and the content we convey.

Three seconds is up, they have formed a first impression. Now we have another 177 seconds of time to set that impression in stone. Is our posture appropriate to the setting and conversation, do we have a good opening story (the 30 second helicopter or elevator pitch), do we listen attentively to what they have to say, do we let them talk two thirds of the time, are we pacing ourselves accordingly, is our tone and volume appropriate and do we show the right level of emotion?

Assuming we achieve a positive result in this first 3 minutes, the balance of the discussion is to determine if you are the right person for the job, is the product you are selling matched to their needs or will they hire you to help them achieve some specific task.

We then spoke about the three attitudes we can take in such initial meetings or frankly whenever we encounter others. These attitudes are:

  • Aggressive which can be either positive or negative
  • Passive which can also be positive or negative
  • Assertive which is always positive and allows us the opportunity to take on an aggressive or passive attitude, based on the circumstances and what we are discussing or why we are having the discussion

Next we spoke about perception and how our brain processes input and develops output. Interesting statistic – more than 75% of daily conversation is negative. During this part of the discussion I came away with a different understanding of perception and reality. Bottom line, “My Reality” is unique and is based on how my neurons have been imprinted.

Can we change the way we perceive things and adjust the pathways of our brain? Absolutely, we must understand our existing habits, attitudes and beliefs and determine which ones are not working for us and adjust our thinking and change, in a positive way, our attitudes, habits and beliefs.

Once we know what our negative habits, attitudes or beliefs are we can work on changing our thinking by thinking about what, why or how we would prefer to think and then:

  • Say It! Earn one point for every-time you say it.
  • Do It! by exhibiting the new behavior. Earn ten points every-time you do it
  • Get It! by having others provide positive reinforcement. Earn 100 points every-time someone provides you with that affirmation.

The more points you earn the faster that new pathways will be established and the sooner the old negative pathways will cease to exist.

On the second day, after talking about what beliefs are and understanding we have the ability to choose how to believe,we were ready to move on to the next step.

We focused on how one goes about establishing goals and developing an action plan to achieve our goals. We all knew that if we set our goals too big or made them unachievable then the results will be as one would expect. So we must focus on defining bite sized goals.

As a consultant and executive I thought I knew how to set goals for companies, divisions, units or teams. Yet even though I was on the right track, I learned some interesting lessons.

  • A goal can not be longer than one sentence. It must start beginning with the words “I will be, do or have …”
  • They must be “SMART” Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Recorded and Time specific.

As a result of this session, I set my first three goals:

  • I will start talking to a minimum of 10 people every weekday by March 31st, 2008.
  • I will be recruited as an executive with responsibility for strategy, innovation, projects, products and/or sales support by the end of 2008.
  • I will take two trips for pleasure by December 31st 2008.

They are now recorded, they are measureable they are specific they are achievable and they are time specific.

At one stage during the course we were asked to develop four statements that began with the words “I have …”. Each of us developed our four sentences and told them to another person. Then Judith asked us to change the word “have” to “choose” and restate our four objectives. Interesting how different it felt when we used the words “I choose …” verses “I have …”. Suddenly from being a command, they become objectives that we each decided would positively improve our lives. It was an eye opener to see how one word can change our whole emotional and physical feeling about what we set out to do.

Not wanting to simply record what I learned over the four days I will focus the balance of this blog on insights that I acquired.

Visualization, an interesting word with the powerful ability to allow us to focus on changing our attitudes, beliefs and habits from being negative to being positive. Affirmation and self talk are tools we can employ to help focus our minds and help us to move forward towards a more positive attitude about ourselves and our situation. Talking to ourselves in a mirror will remind us to have a happy face and look ourselves in the eyes.

As we progressed, each of us exhibited negative feelings, fears or distress. As we discussed the obstacles that could delay or stop us from achieving our goals, many of us exhibited frustration. As we explored the list of obstacles, we came to realize that obstacles are not external, but instead they are self imposed.

We came to understand that setting our goals requires that we:

  • Understand what you really want
  • Understand what it costs both in monetary and non-monetary terms
  • Understand that we might have to make sacrifices to achieve our goals

Obviously, as previously mentioned, our goals have to be achievable or they are not SMART.

Clearly in developing our action plan we may find others are involved or affected. If we think about military tactics it is clear that if you surround your enemy and give them no means of escape; they will fight to the death. So always leave those that could prevent you from achieving your goal a back door, so that they can get out of your way gracefully.

While understanding that we must make sure we leave others a way of exiting gracefully; we must also make sure that we close all doors that we could use to escape.

At one point during the session we had the opportunity to watch and discuss the film “Patch Adams”. Our discussion focused on first impressions, perception, beliefs, goals, naysayers, memory joggers, visualization, self-talk, choice and obstacles. Using Patch Adams, as an example of someone who emerged from being suicidal into the visionary and inspirational medical professional he is today; provided us with the clarity to understand, if we set our minds to something we can achieve amazing results. It also reminds us that the most successful solution is laughter and making sure everyone has fun.

On the last day we moved on to addressing the subject of stress. Judith reminded us that obstacles are self imposed whereas stress has chemical and physical ramifications. Therefore we needed to pay attention to what caused us stress, what would or have been the results and how can we minimize or better handle stress. It is important to note that managing stress can come in a variety of forms, and there is no one way of getting through stressful periods. From utilizing therapy resources to going onto websites like mmj express for recreational products, people can find something that works for them, they just have to give it time and patience.

The first time we identified what causes stress, we all focused on the negative. Clearly how we identify the cause of stress comes from our perception. Coping with stress is a balance between the stress we are under and our coping skills. Most of us might resort to canndy edibles or other products to try and resolve stress on our own or actually reach out to a therapist to gain a better understanding of the problem and take professional help.

The interesting thing about stress is that stress can be either a positive or a negative force in our lives. Starting out with the assumption that stress is all bad and therefore must be eliminated is not going to get us where we want to go. Clearly, each of us must develop methods and mechanisms to cope with the negative effects of stress such as meditation, music, hobbies, vacations, sex, and laughter. Some might even opt to take CBD oil which is available at outlets like Vibes CBD to manage their stress problem. It has proven to be helpful in this regard to many. Similarly, we must embrace an attitude of gratitude and one of seeking help and support. Obviously, this is one person’s abbreviated list. Others might include painting, aroma therapy or lying in the sun as part of their inventory of coping skills.

Bottom line, to address the negative causes of stress, we must develop an arsenal of tools and techniques to help us cope with these causes of stress. Whether it requires us to change our dietary habits or include meditation or yoga in our daily routine, we should be ready to incorporate these changes. To achieve instant relaxation, however, for extremely stressful days, we can also keep some Mellow Road CBD products handy. Simultaneously, we must make sure we focus positive stress towards accomplishing our goals and get on with our daily lives.

To close the session we were introduced, through a video called “The Joy of Stress” to an extraordinary woman, Loretta La-Roche. For forty minutes she had her live audience and those of us watching the video constantly laughing.

Through her use of humor she reminded us of what we had already learned; stress can be either positive or negative. She told us that we had to “work to prevent a hardening of attitude”. She told us that one of our greatest fears is what will others think and “is anybody watching”.

She asked us to commit ourselves to “Stop Global Whining”.

She demonstrated the power of humor. She showed us that “laughter makes you happy”. She reminded us that “laughter is contagious” and that working to make others laugh will brighten your day and, better yet, brighten their day.

She told us that if we walk around looking grumpy we will feel grumpy. But, if we start out with a smile on our face we will feel happy inside. “You feel how you think”, “your mind mimics your expression”, “how you look is how you feel” and “how you look makes you feel a certain way”. All demonstrated by how we felt when she forced us to put a smile on our face and forced us to laugh.

She repeated a phrase we had heard earlier in our session. A phrase that emerged when we listed the obstacles to moving towards a positive self; “fake it till you make it”.

She told us how it has been proven when people introduce some form of play in their work, productivity increases. Imagine the shareholders reward if they demand that management makes coming to work fun.

She reminded us that we all think that we worry because it helps us to prepare. Then she rattled off a series of statistics.

40% of what we worry about will never happen
30% of what we worry about are historic events
22% of what we worry about are trivialities
4% of what we worry about we is outside our control and cannot change
4% of what we worry about are real events that we can act on

96% of what we worry about we can’t do anything about anyway.

So why waste all that energy.

One frightening thing she said and quite a sobering lesson.

“Optimists live longer”

and

“Pessimists are accurate, but, don’t live as long”

In closing she reminded us that

Yesterday is history

Tomorrow is a mystery

Today is a gift

That’s why it’s called the present

As I come to a close I am reminded that when I was a child I had very few things to worry about, I laughed at all sorts of things, I didn’t worry about what you thought of my antics and I had fun.

So in conclusion “Find Your Inner Child” have fun, laugh, smile and be happy. That’s what I am going to try to do to help myself.

______________________________________________________________________________________

If you are interested in this program you can contact the York region of the Academy of Learning either on +1 (905) 836 8973 or +1 (905) 508 5791. At this stage their program is only available in the York region on Ontario, Canada.

Maybe you can convince them to license it to a franchisee near you.

Is God the joining of the Earth Father and The Earth Mother into one flesh, that which we call God

This morning my common law partner and I were embraced in the oneness God created to bring man and woman together as said in Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man will leave his father and mother and will join with his wife and they will be one flesh. and Again Jesus says in Mark 10:6-8 But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.  For this cause a man will leave his father and mother, and will join to his wife.and the two will become one, so that they are no longer two, but one flesh.  Again in Matthew 19:4-6 Matthew once again quoted these words from our Lord Jesus.  In each of these passages God, both as father and son state very clearly that Man and Woman will bond and will become one with each other.  we can see this as the beginning of what we know as the intimate act of a man and woman when they physically join as one.

Yet we must think deeper than this.  Not only does man and woman join as God has ordained they also find deep and lasting enjoyment in this joining of the flesh.  For each the feeling and the sense of intimacy is different.  For the man, who I can speak for, it is an act that can, in some instances, be overpowering, it is an act that requires work as the man enters and pleasures his wife.  It is a demonstration of his power and is work.  For the woman, I can only imagine, it is a time when she receives her man within her womb.  It is a time where she shares in the intimacy of the oneness and it is a time where the woman cherishes and brings comfort to her husband.

So this oneness of a couple must also be a demonstration of the difference between man and woman.  The man is the stronger and more viral participate while the woman is the more giving and receiving participant.  Is it in this, God ordained the merging of flesh, that we begin to note the differences God built into man so that he would be the stronger, the one that would go out and work the fields and hunt for food.  While the woman is the more sensitive one that focuses on building binding relationships and meets her man in an act of intimacy pleasing to the two, reproductive of the species and most importantly a way of demonstrating her cherishing and giving spirit.

From these thoughts I then remembered, in Genesis 1:26 God said, “let us make man in our image, after our likeness”.  This plurality suggests that God is not alone and that he made man in the image of the maleness of God and woman in the femaleness of God.  Does this suggest that God is actually two who have joined as one?

Then we read of angels and wonder from where they come.  Maybe it is from the joining of the male and female that is God.

Maybe the ancients or the gentiles who believed in concepts of an earth mother is simply an expression of the half of God that is female. Is it these same ancients who saw the powerful images of Zeus and Apollo, were they simply recognizing the maleness of what we know now as the one God, the union of the earth father and the earth mother?

China, socialism and the world of electronic health records.

Today during a most enlightened networking meeting, beyond what someone in transition normally speaks of, we got into a most interesting and thought provoking conversation.

Electronic Health Care Records

Somehow we got into a discussion of the evolution and problems involved in developing the electronic patient record.  The gentleman, who will remain nameless, remembered a conversation he had with a man who was involved with the United Kingdom’s work on the exploration of space.  This knighted individual apparently suggested the key issue with developing the electronic health record was the issue of creating the patient’s electronic history from the previous pencil and pen records.

His approach to solving this problem was to use prisoners as the codifiers.  Of course such an idea immediately causes one to worry about privacy and the threat to the patient and doctors when these prisoners were freed.

As we talked an interesting thought occurred.  How often is a patient’s history relevant?  How often is the doctor quite happy to meet with a patient and simply focus on the symptoms described during that  persons visit?

As we reflected, we both realized that often the patient’s history will never be pertinent to a future diagnosis.  In those situations where the history is relevant, let’s say 10%, then there is value to the effort of codifying historic medical records, charts and the like.  The doctor and his office staff can find the time to organize the codification of the relevant data.  Clearly such an approach with the reduction is the cost of establishing the basic health record, is connected with the value a complete electronic health record will have in reducing the cost of long term care, something insurance companies and public health authorities can understand.

For that 90%, after the doctor has become automated and is part of a system designed to capture and retain the Patient Health Record, at the next appointment the doctor in conjunction with the patient can record important facts such as allergies, reactions to drugs, existing conditions and any pertinent operations or procedures the patient can remember.

Only when this basic profile indicates conditions that will have future implications, is there a need to go through the effort of backtracking through the records and recording any pertinent information.

China and Socialism

I asked my companion what he was up to.  He talked about the five companies he was working with in China and the various trips he had taken to remote parts of that great country.  He said three things that stuck in my mind.

  1. He remembered a bus trip where he asked about unemployment.  His Chinese companions asked him to look out the window and tell them what he saw.  His response “everyone is working”, “there are no beggars on the street”.  They smiled and he was reminded that in this socialist environment one of the fundamentals is that everyone has work however menial it may be.
  2. We then spoke of the economic divide that is emerging and like in all countries this is a reality that will always exist unless we can evolve to that social utopia described as the purest form of socialism.  A society where every man works to his ability and everyone shares equally. He then reflected on the reality that mobile phones, TVs and other luxuries were everywhere and the age old work ethic that is China, will drive these people to want more, therefore, work harder to get more.  It is this work ethic that is China’s strength and will be the issue we will have to address as the world moves forward in time.  If we in the west continue to expand our leisure time and the Chinese continue to follow their nature and continue to focus on work.  Who will win?  I think the answer is evident.  Those that work  will be the ones who win.
  3. He then spoke of issues within the industrial complex where mine accident occurred or dangerous products are released.  The interesting comment was that those in power, the top three managers, are shot when such things happen.  Of course this form of behaviour is abhorrent and clearly a violation of Christian thinking or western thoughts of punishment.

Yet what is interesting, assuming they learn to balance the punishment (100 dead in a mine cave do to poor conditions and insufficient safety standards) to the crime, is that those ultimately responsible are ones that are punished.

I then reflected on what happens in our society.  The executives always seem to go unscathed.  They successfully push the blame down to the supervisors and little people who work and manage the place where the disaster occurred.

If we were to dig deep enough I am sure we would find that they did all they could do with the tools and budget they were provided.  Budgets and tools authorized by executives sitting in big offices taking down big salaries and only getting worried when shareholders not employees come screaming for justice.

Assuming that China is going to continue to evolve.  That they are going to embrace compassionate forms of punishment.  While at the same time maintaining their work ethic and maintaining the premise that responsibility is top down not middle down.  They will become not only an economic power to deal with, but a country with a strong moral sense of responsibility and thus a threat to the soft life that has become the western dream.

A dream that balances not working more than 40 hours a week with demands for more and more vacation.  China will be a country where hard work is rewarded, pleasures are sought and people have a moral sense of responsibility to each other.

We in the west need to be mindful and learn from those countries that take the goodness of socialism, merge it with the power of capitalism and the forces of the global economy.

As the World Turns everything changes and nothing is different

Often as I explore how our culture and our planet evolve; I am amazed at how we try to change everything with each succeeding generation.  We, and I remember when I was young, think that our thoughts are original and therefore believe that we were the first to dream it up.  Yet if we explore history we will find that the great and the unknown have probably already put forward the concept we believe to be so unique.  As an example think of the Helicopter, invented by Da Vinci, yet when he conceived it, he did not have the tools to make it work.

The difference is that as the tools become available we find that now we can build and create what we imagine is a new machines.  the reality, if we appreciate history, we find we now can  build those things that before were only in our or someone else imagination.

With those thoughts considered we find that we tend to circle back and adopt patterns that once were in vogue and then did not pass the test of time.  The best example is our explicate use of sexual overtones in advertising.  The idea that the spam we once  received for male enhancement products is no longer spam.  Today, these products are promoted on TV prime time. They are  simply examples of how we lost sight of the value of prudence and morality.  Do we want to learn about feminine products, or is that something our mothers will teach us or our doctors and health classes will education us about.  Do we need to know that your product is more absorbent than theirs or that you can go swimming if you buy this one?

Maybe in a generation or two we will once again realize that by exploiting the art of sex we create and stimulate thoughts that are not biblical and can in some cases harm people.  Then again, as so many great artists and photographers recognize, the naked body is a beautiful thing.  But, is the naked body art, when we use it to advertise cars, shampoo and who knows what else.

As a technologist I find that people think I have lost my edge given that I no longer understand the terminology they are using today.  Give me a thesaurus that matches words like a self contained subroutine to an object.  Then we can talk about methodologies.  Do these new words like “Cloud” improve productivity? I am sure some people believe they do.  More importantly do they assure the worlds population that they can get better jobs.  Do these new techniques assure the enterprise that we are doing a better job of documenting what we have built.  Does all of this assure the shareholders, stakeholders and customers they is getting what they asked for, are will to pay for and more important with cherish.

As an observer of our times I sometimes wonder if we are simply taken things to new extremes.  I wonder if our desire is simply to lure people into buying this or that.  For what?  Or are we simply selling products to earn a dollar, peso, euro, yen of pound.