Sunday, October 15, 2017
Indeed, life can be frustrating. If I put my finger on the pulse of society, my guess is the top four things people get frustrated about are money, career, health or a relationship. Remember, this is a guess, but I think I’m pretty close to being right. Perhaps not in that order. Everyone is an individual.
Regardless of your circumstances, what matters is how you deal with the issue frustrating you. Why? Because that is what will determine your outcome. Regardless the issue, we want our outcome to be the one that brings us happiness! Nothing else is good enough. What’s all the fuss about life if we are not going to live it happy?
Allow me to relate. I have had a spinal cord injury for a little over 20 years. I was in a car accident when I was 21 years old that resulted in a broken neck, a spinal cord injury, and paralysis from the shoulders down. No sexy details, just a true boring ole’ accident.
For me, it felt as if the rug of my life had instantly been ripped from underneath. I was falling in midair with no parachute. Prior to the moment I was injured, I had been on a magic carpet ride, you see.
I was 21 years old, sharing a townhouse with my girlfriend in Connecticut, and had just landed a dream job. I had been working two jobs to make ends meet. One was as a “Girl Friday” (the person in a small office that does everything from making copies, brewing coffee, answering phones, picking up dry cleaning for boss, etc., etc.), the other as a weekend manager at a small Greenwich salon.
A woman came into the salon one weekend, and I offered her something to drink, as I would any client. We only spoke for literally a minute, but out of nowhere she hands me her business card and tells me to call her the following day.
I call, I make an appointment to see her, and she offers me a job. As what? A consultant on Wall Street. Or perhaps you’ve heard the not-so-nice term “headhunter.” The financial package offered fantastic health insurance, educational expenses reimbursement, and enough money per week that I could quit both my jobs. Added to this was the commission I’d receive when I placed someone in a job.
She explained in general how the business worked and how she came to be where she was. I assured this woman I could learn anything, and what she proposed sounded not only interesting but exciting… my one problem was, I knew nothing about the position she was offering me!
She laughed and said she could teach me all I needed to know about stocks, bonds, mortgage-backed securities, etc. What she couldn’t teach was honesty, integrity, and tenacity. You had to work hard at this career, but never get so caught up in a commission you could make that you placed someone in a job you knew wasn’t in their best interest, but in yours. And she said she saw those qualities in me.
Her company was small, but her clients were big. I worked at that wonderful business, filled with hard-working, intelligent, good women for almost four months. I felt my life was the cherry on top of the sundae. I sang Frank Sinatra’s lyrics, “I’ve got the world on a string, sitting on a rainbow,” 24/7. I had found my niche in the professional world. I had arrived! Whoop! Whoop!
Then I broke my neck and became paralyzed for life. My physical independence, my financial independence, my independence in every aspect of my life was over. For an individual that had been on her own since she was very young, frustration took on a new meaning.
For a drink of water, to scratch an itch on my nose, getting dressed, eating, driving, and every tiny detail in between, I couldn’t do any of these on my own… there was nothing I could think of that I had control over. When you feel like you don’t have control over your own business, finances, relationships, etc., you feel frustrated.
So what to do? Hmmm… After digesting what it really meant to have a spinal cord injury, I realized I had something that only I could control, no one else. No doctor, nurse, therapist, friend, family, or foe, could control the thoughts I put in my mind. I made those up and put them there, nobody else.
It was as if a magical window opened in my hospital room, and I could see outside for the first time. Yet nothing had physically changed. I simply shifted my perception, allowing my mind, my heart and my soul to open up and see the possibilities.
Once I did that, I felt like a different person.
Frustration comes when we can’t find a solution or create a plan to change circumstances we do not wish to be in. Frustration comes from feeling out-of-control of our own destiny. I should be the driver of my life, no one else.
So if you are feeling frustrated, your first step is to recognize what you are frustrated about. Next, find one element in your circumstances you can control. It’s there, I promise. Just find one. That one element will lead you to find other elements you can control, and suddenly you have a plan to get you out of the circumstances you are in, and headed toward the life you wish to lead instead.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Norman Vincent Peale, “Change your thoughts and you change your world.”
My Next Toastmasters Talk: A Family’s Basketball Highs and Lows - Like Father Like Son? Not quite.
He jumps. He shoots, swish! Another two points for the local high school basketball team. That was my boy, my step-son Phil Chiang, doing what I rarely had been able to do.
It took two generations to attain high school basketball glory in our family.
I loved playing basketball, but I was not very good at it. I tried to be like the pro-basketball player Bob Cousy, Boston Celtics point guard for over a decade, or one of the Harlem Globetrotters, perhaps Meadowlark Lemon. I was fancy, not soundly fundamental.
I dribbled well with my right hand, poorly with my left.
I shot only with my right hand, never with my left, even for lay-ups. I practiced hook shots that I’d hardly get a chance to use in a game.
My long shots were two-handed, not very accurate. My vision was poor, and I refused to wear glasses, so my depth perception suffered, and I was shooting at doubled rims.
I passed well, but sometimes passed behind-the-back, a bit erratically, surprising my teammates.
I was a tenacious defender, but not much of a jumper and a so-so rebounder.
I almost never got into a game as a junior varsity (JV) high school player, and I did not even try out for the varsity.
As a JV, I would scrimmage during week on the second string against the first string, then spend the actual game on the bench.
“Send me in, Coach” I would pray.
If we were well ahead or way behind, I might get some playing time, late.
Once, in my second year, I dribbled most of the way down the court, and took a shot from near the foul line. It went in. My only two points in two years of JV basketball. Thus, I averaged a point a year.
My last three years of high school, I played football as a skinny but determined defensive end, earning a varsity Valley Central letter my junior and senior year.
My son, Phil Chiang, from my wife’s first marriage, loved basketball, too. By sixth grade, he was a fine player, but short for his age. What to do? I advised him to work on jumping: 5’ 3” Muggsy Bogues, 5’ 9” Calvin Murphy both were NBA stars. Phil worked on it.
In junior high, he started to grow, and within a couple of years, he was one of the few kids his age who could dunk the ball. He was an excellent defender and rebounder and a good shooter. There was no behind-the-back dribbling, no hook shots, just sound fundamentals.
He played in various youth leagues and then for the Ramsey, NJ, high school JV team, becoming first-string his second year. His last two years, he played for the varsity, and in his senior year they won their league, going almost undefeated. His coach offered to pursue getting him a college basketball scholarship for a Division Three college team, but Phil had other tuition support and did not request this be done.
Tina and I would go to most of his games all four years, even though she was in a wheelchair. We would sit at court-side, and occasionally, I would have to catch a ball that otherwise would have struck her. We had a great time.
I still remember a play that Phil made in one of his last games. The other team had shot, and the ball bounced off the rim and started to go out of bounds under the basket. Phil dove for the ball, caught it, threw it to teammate Steve Kupfer at mid-court, before hitting the end wall himself; an excellent shooter, Steve made a basket at the other end of the court. Beautiful and thrilling....for the parents, at least.
It took two generations, but we finally got our basketball star.
Phil had been almost three when he and Tina came to live with me, after our marriage. His Chinese father and I were both academics: professors with modest athletic ability. More athletic than academic, Phil eventually also did earn an MBA.
Like father, like son? Not wholly so, but people who know us well say that Phil has my smile. I like that.
Sunday, October 8, 2017
Businessman Dan Lok has written a succinct and helpful summary of 47 tactics advertisers use to get us to purchase their goods and services. Many of these you will recognize, but some may be new to you. for each "forbidden psychological tactic" (and "forbidden" may be a 48th), Lok describes it, gives an example, explains how it works.
Here is my summary list of all 47 that Dan Lok calls out: popularity, exclusivity, superiority, storytelling, frequency, rationale, surveys, specifics, congratulations, teaching, honesty, show and tell, visualization, fun, skepticism, answers, mirroring, curiosity, celebrity, fear, challenge, herd, comparison, gimme more, exchange, commitment, similarity, strength, affection, questions, logic, ease, uniqueness, conformity, participating, difference, cheer leading, urgency, guilt, familiarity, currency, novelty, sex, icing, command, common ground, non-selling.
Granted, there's some overlap among these: "popularity," "conformity," and the "herd mentality" are close, and "superiority" can mean any of several comparisons, "logic and "rationale" are kin, too. But you won't cavil about whether there are really 47 or 50 or 43 tactics. Rather, you will be glad to absorb the insights of this successful millionaire marketeer.
Here's one of Lok's 47; it's #37, BE A CHEERLEADER. He starts by quoting Henry Chester, "Enthusiasm is the greatest asset in the world. It beats money and power and influence. It is no more or less than faith in action." Who is Henry Chester? I looked him up: he was a nineteenth century "public servant." Well, I like what he wrote, as did Dale Carnegie, a "famous motivator" as Lok describes him.
The book was a bargain. Don't miss it. You can use these tactics or recognize when they are being used on you!
Available from Amazon as a Kindle ebook:
Sunday, September 24, 2017
Live with Purpose, on Purpose
Live with Purpose, on Purpose
Being raised by a single mom in the poorest neighborhoods of the South Bronx with my brother and sister was not entirely the most frustrating part of my childhood.
I have to say that the biggest frustration in my life so far has been coming to America on a vacation visa at the age of nine, not knowing why we were here, or when we could go back home.
When we arrived here in 1974, I did not know a speck of English, nor what snow was. I didn’t even know that we were about to meet my real mom.
A little background on my story….
I was born in the Dominican Republic, where I lived with my dad, stepmom and three siblings. There was no love felt from the stepmom, but I did feel love from my dad when he was around, which wasn’t often.
My dad was an entrepreneur, and as far as I can tell, we were financially well off: we had a maid, a cook, fancy cars, and many employees.
My father died three years after I arrived in America, and I know of no inheritance money. Perhaps writing this sounds cold, but when you’re growing up hungry, moving from building to building due to constant eviction, or forced out of condemned buildings, a better life is all you think about. Yes, even at twelve years of age.
Luckily, at twelve, I was able to land a newspaper route. I made about $7.50 a week delivering the New York Daily News, and other than enduring the occasional muggings, I loved that job…because every penny I earned was getting me closer to my independence. As I grew older, I worked at a hardware store, grocery stores, and other part time jobs as I attended school.
Major disagreements with my mother (I didn’t appreciate the beatings) and dealing with my kleptomaniac brother made it difficult to live a peaceful life, At age eighteen, I moved out.
I was barely able to afford rent, food, clothing, etc., so I looked for a better-paying job.
Not knowing what I know now, and having no guidance, I pounded the pavement in the nicest neighborhoods I knew in Manhattan, NY.
Having held a job in a grocery store since the age of 16, I figured that the next step upwards was working at a supermarket.
After walking for hours from supermarket to supermarket, I landed a job at a Red Apple Supermarket at 72nd Street and Amsterdam Ave. in Manhattan.
If you’re wondering why I didn’t simply search closer to home, the answer is simple. Starting out, I took a job at a local mini-market for a week. The first time I took the day off, there was a robbery, and the clerk was shot dead. I took that as a hint: perhaps I should quit and not test my luck again.
There are many stories I can share about working the overnight shift at Red Apple. For instance, one New Year’s Eve, we were locked in to replenish the store; my partner fell down the food transport belt and lost his ear, and we had to wait until the morning because our emergency contacts did not pick up the phone. We were afraid to lose our jobs if we called the authorities, so we waited. Yes, I was legal in the country at the time, in case you were wondering.
I’m not sure if we were naïve, or simply stupid.
I didn’t last much longer at that job; I knew that there was something better for me. I was not just driven by lack of finances. I was driven by the knowledge that there was something much better out there. I just didn’t know what it was.
I looked, and I looked. I answered a newspaper ad from an employment agency. The agency tested me, prepared me, and showed me how to dress better and shave the fuzz from my face. They sent me on three interviews. I got two offers. I chose E.F. Hutton as my first corporate job. The job was in the Wall Street area, and I knew that I was finally on the right track because I could now afford to pay the rent on time every time. I was eating better, bought a car, dressed better, and most importantly, started to live life.
I was around twenty or twenty-one then. I’m fifty-two now. There have been many ups and downs in my life from then until now. I am married, have two children that have never experienced the depth of poverty that I was exposed to, and I hope that I have prepared them enough so that they never will.
My son has finished his four years at Hofstra University and is successfully living life on his own terms. He and I have a great relationship. My daughter is finishing up her second year in college, and I couldn’t ask for a better daughter. I love them both very much, and our relationships continue to flourish.
As a parent, I can say that all the frustrations I have experienced in life have all been worth it to get to the point where my family is right now.
There are still a few challenges to overcome, and that’s a story for another book.
My message to all who have posted and will post on FrustratedWithLife.com is this:
Look beyond yourself. Focus on a better future, even if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
The people that frustrate you, the challenges that frustrate you, the relationships that frustrate you, anything that frustrates you, these are just specks on your timeline. The future is yours to accomplish anything you wish.
Choose to accomplish. Choose to live life on your terms without infringing on anyone else’s.
Choose to live life on purpose, with purpose.
Edison R. Guzman
Excerpted from FRUSTRATED WITH LIFE? You Are Not Alone, ebook by Edison R. Guzman and Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., available online from amazon.com.
Write your book with me? See my site.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Saturday, September 16, 2017
Jorge P. Newbery has many impressive accomplishments, starting early as a seven-year-old newspaper delivery boy, participating successfully in long-distance bike races and in marathons, owning over 100 buildings in Ohio, and moving to his current position as founder and CEO of American Homeowner Preservation "a socially responsible hedge fund which purchases nonperforming mortgages from banks at big discounts, then shares the discounts with families to settle their mortgages at terms many borrowers find 'too good to be true.'" Basically, he now gets his money from helping the downtrodden screw their creditors.
Newbery's next book is DEBT CLEANSE: HOW TO SETTLE YOUR DEBTS FOR PENNIES ON THE DOLLAR (AND NOT PAY SOME AT ALL). This is 21st-century heroism, not going bankrupt, but finding another way not to pay.
I admire his persistence and talents and appreciate how well the book is written. It is inspiring in showing how hard work can produce surprising results. It is disappointing in the author's goals, which are largely self-serving, though he seems oblivious to this. He does take responsibility for his failure as well as his successes.
Mine is a minority opinion of this well-received book at amazon.com. Reviews of BURN ZONES
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
I struggled through Binary Physics, impressed with the author’s brilliance, dismayed at the disagreements with much of contemporary physics, unsure whether this was a breakthrough or more of a breakdown on Zilberberg’s part. It was often hard reading. At times, it warranted five stars for creativity and merely one for lucidity, though some of the topics are arcane.
Time as the Fourth Dimension, “Depth”
Let’s start with his view of time, as a quantized fourth dimension, “depth,” with individual units that are about ten to the minus 50th power of a second, 1/10**50 s, a decimal with 49 zeros and then a 1. A wave passing through a location would have a series of Existences (1) and Placeholders (0). The highest frequency pure wave would be 01010101… over the units of “depth” (“time” from here on). A wave or half that frequency would be 01001001… These are frequencies in the range of 10**50 (ten to the fiftieth power) Hz (= per second), whereas gamma rays (the highest-frequency waves we know of) are 10**19 Hz, much lower in frequency. As with Fourier analysis, the greater the range of frequencies you can use to compose a particular signal, the more accurately you can replicate it, so having a range up to 10*50 Hz gives lots of leeway, which is needed…because the time series of 0s (Placeholders) and 1s (Existences) is what everything is made of.
Existences, Placeholders, and the Real World
We can compose any electromagnetic signal with our 0s and 1s up to 10**50 Hz. How do we get mass? From obstructions, the bunching up of Existences that cannot move freely. A pure wave, 010101…, in the next “turn” (a unit akin to time), becomes (moving to the right) 001010…, as the Existences occupy the Placeholder positions. However, the pattern 0110110… cannot shift fully freely one turn to the next because an Existence cannot move to where there is already an Existence, so we have 0101101… and the change is experienced as resistance. In Binary Physics, motion is inherently at the speed of light but mass gets in the way, so that work is done not moving mass, but removing obstruction and thus producing apparent acceleration.
Perception is Reality
“Apparent acceleration”? Well, it is not clear to what extent what we perceive is real, according to Binary Physics. What we perceive as motion, BP tells us is extinction in one location and creation in an adjoining location (also quantized, like time), which looks like motion of an entity.
Yes, location is quantized, also: the universe is in some sense granular, with Zilberberg estimating the spatial quantum at about 1/10**42 meter. The size of a proton is generally stated to be 1/10**15 meter or 27 orders of magnitude larger. The “cells” of the universe are tiny in comparison with physical objects.
Quantum mechanics has prepared us for quantization of physical properties like energy, and angular momentum, so quantizing time does not come as such a big surprise, especially when it is so fine-grained at 1/10**50 of a second. Similarly, locational cells are extraordinarily small. The Heisenberg uncertainty principle indicates that the product of energy and time uncertainty is greater than Heisenberg’s small constant, also true for the product of momentum uncertainty and positional uncertainty; perhaps the “graininess” of the universe in time and space contributes to the lack of precision in these products.
Effect Following Cause?
What does come as a surprise is BP’s statement “the future influences the present no less than the past, and the past is constantly changing….” This contradicts basic tents of science. We do not accept that the cause happens after the effect.
Two-Dimensional Analogue: The Game of Life
The two-dimensional analogy made by BP is with The Game of Life, where squares in a grid are given initial values of 0 or 1 (visually white or black) and then are required to change or stay the same during a series of time steps, where their existence (1, black) is determined by a set of rules generally dependent on what their “neighbors” are. On a square grid, each square would have four full-neighbors, one on each side, and another four part-neighbors, one on each corner. Depending on the rules and the starting conditions, rather life-like patterns and behavior can emerge. BP analogizes this to Existences and Placeholders in eight dimensions, a familiar three plus time (depth), plus four more, which extra four I won’t explain and do not find persuasive.
Ten Rules to Supplement the Axioms
Much of the book describes how Existences and Placeholders and cells in space and time can be understood to explain motion and gravity. A weakness here, in my estimation, is the adoption of The Ten Rules of Private Binary Physics. I’d prefer fewer rules. The need for these seems like the addition of the epicycles to the old Ptolemaic view of the solar system to be able to explain eclipses and “retrograde” motion. Occam’s Razor needs to be employed.
Another disagreement I have is with the idea of a multitude (infinite?)of universes, to explain how this particular one is capable of having human life. Yes, the anthropic principle is persuasive to me: this universe is too well suited to our existence to be just a coincidence. Zilberberg believes in God the Creator, as I do, so there is no need for this multiverse hypothesis. I like that he thinks God would create something that has the virtues that God has, while allowing (somehow!) for us to choose between right and wrong.
Goals, Awareness, Consciousness
Zilberberg discusses in depth the degree to which systems can be goal-seeking and even aware and conscious, and I defer to his greater knowledge and more extensive contemplation of these issues.
Sources and Methods
The author is clearly brilliant and well-informed. His sources and inspirations range from thinkers Dawkins and Hawking and Harari to films The Matrix and Back to the Future. Nevertheless, I concluded that much was mistaken, much was unclear or repetitious. This was hard going. With almost no equations, it is hard to follow some arguments to assure oneself of their validity.
Profound or Profoundly Wrong?
As I read the reviews on Amazon that have preceded mine, I am unsettled by how few of the reviewers have the scientific background to examine Binary Physics in depth. I found BP challenging myself. despite my own education (A.B., physics, Cornell, 1964; M.S., physics, Penn State, 1969; Ph.D., engineering, Harvard, 1974) and three decades of technical employment.
I recall how impressed I was in my youth in the 1960s by the iconoclastic works of the genius Immanuel Velikovski, works such as Worlds in Collision and Earth in Upheaval, both of which were closely argued, well documented…and now considered to be mostly wrong (see The Velikovski Controversy). I fear this may turn out to be the case for much of Binary Physics. What survives such scrutiny may be of real value, however.