Paying Attention to Your Kids

Let me preface this with a disclaimer.

I am an imperfect parent that says and does dumb things for the wrong reasons; thus, I often end up apologizing for my behavior.

With that out of the way, I have a short, swift set of advice for parents (or those considering parenthood in the future).

Pay attention to your children.

I don't mean install video monitoring systems in their play area.

I don't mean upgrade your cell phone service to include location monitoring (although I'm not against that).

I don't mean nit-pick every detail of their lives to ensure absolute perfection from your kids.

To get at what I DO mean, let's dissect the phrase, "Pay attention to your children."

"Pay"

When you pay for something, is it easy? Usually not. It's a payment. When you pay money, you sacrifice for something you consider worthy of your money. Paying requires effort. Paying requires work. Paying sometimes requires doing something you're not super excited about.

Pay = sacrifice

"Attention"

Giving your attention is to tend to the needs and desires of something. 

If you pay attention to television, you ensure the volume is adequate, the picture is properly adjusted, the reception is good, and no other noise is interfering with your show or movie.

We are all good at paying attention to TV or Facebook. 

What about your kids?

"To your child(ren)"

Kids are kids. Profound, right? 

They are not adults. They have not learned logic, reason, and self-control. They are unfiltered billboards for human selfishness and unhindered volition. They don't know tact, discretion, or consideration.



I know kids are annoying. I know they demand your attention at the most inopportune times. They want to interrupt everything and interfere with your productivity.

And yes, there will be times when you need to shun them a little and tell them to find something else to do; but that should be the exception--not the rule.

As a parent, you have many things you can give your children.

An understanding of authority.

An understanding of money.

An understanding of love.

Food, clothing, housing, and education.

Birthday celebrations and nice vacations.

Safety and protection.

All of these things ought to be given, but not to the neglect of giving them your attention.



Kids appreciate all of the above things when they get older and think more like an adult. Until then, they think like children. 



All they really care about at the end of the day is whether you sat on the floor with them and watched them do and say ridiculous things. All they want is for you to talk to them, hold them, play with them, and respond to their foolish questions. 

They just want you.

If you give them everything else and fail to give them you, you have failed as a parent.



If this is the case, don't be surprised when they grow up and don't want you in their life.

Please think carefully before you brush off your child's cries for attention. They might be crying for it because they're selfish brats. Or they might be crying for it because they are starving for you. You need to decide which.

Photo credit:
All photos are copyright of Daniel and Elizabeth Devine

Five Tips To Save Money On Vehicle Repairs

You don't live in the mountains of Nepal. 

You don't levitate to work every morning.



You live in the industrialized world of the 21st century. Going places means consuming fossil fuels (even if you have a Chevy Volt). And with that statement, let me assure you I am not about to whine about environmental issues. I'm okay with burning fossil fuels--they're an efficient energy source.

But I digress. My point is we all drive vehicles. Perhaps some of you are athletic and trendy enough to ride your bike to work. I envy you. That's great.

For the 99.99% who don't bike to work, you drive a vehicle that, one way or another, becomes a veritable black hole for money. It sucks money mercilessly and is aided by dealerships and not-so-honest mechanics that bend the truth to coerce you to release more cash.

I'm not saying all mechanics are crooked. Some are ignorant. Some are lazy. Some are all of the above. Then there are some that are fantastically talented and honest individuals. If you have a mechanic like that, you are fortunate.

I am not a mechanic. I have taken my vehicles to mechanics on several occasions; but let me be clear--I avoid them as much as possible. They are cash termites. 

Even the good ones have to charge a finger and a big toe for services because their overhead is so high. Garages and fancy diagnostic equipment are not cheap.

So what do I do? 

Here are five things I've done to save money when repairing my vehicles.

1. Research

Knowledge is always the greatest tool. Before you even think about touching a vehicle, talk to someone who knows more than you or read something written by someone who knows more than you.

For each vehicle I've owned, I have purchased a Haynes Repair Manual. Depending on if you buy it new or used, you can pick one up for $15-30. Money well spent!



As a supplement to your Haynes manual, you can also Google your car problem. Just say "2009 GMC Sierra knocking sound" and hit "Enter." The internet is full of good info if you look for it.

If you have a service engine ("Check Engine") light on in the vehicle, and IF the vehicle can be driven safely, take it up to Auto Zone or another auto parts store and ask them to read the code for you. Many stores will plug in a code reader for free and tell you why the light is on. That will help you immensely on your journey to find the problem. Usually the store employee can look up the code right there and tell you what you need (because they want you to buy it from them). Check internet prices before you make that purchase.

After you've done your detective work, determine if you are capable of fixing it yourself. Seriously, some stuff is easy enough for ANYONE. Don't pay someone $100/hour to replace light bulbs!

Recently I replaced a part on the interior of my vehicle. It required one tool--a vice grip. And that was only because I couldn't fit my fingers in the space where the part was. Many repairs are easier than you think.

After researching, if you decide you can do it, start the journey of DIY vehicle repair/maintenance. 

2. Compare prices.

Call a mechanic and get a quote on fixing your problem. After completing #1, you should know what the problem is. If not, you can pay the mechanic a small fee to inspect the vehicle. Just be warned--they are NOT always right! And remember, nobody cares more about your money than you.

After getting some quotes, compare those prices to the price of the part by itself. The difference between those prices is what the shop is getting paid.

It is very easy to find vehicle parts these days. Go to an auto parts website (Auto Zone, Advanced Auto Parts, O'Reilly's Auto Parts, etc.), Amazon.com, or E-bay.com. These sites all have databases to match parts to your specific vehicle. 


Amazon.com tells you if a part fits your vehicle.

If you do this, you need to know what type of car you have. It's not good enough to say "Toyota." You need to know the year, the model, the body style, and the engine type. Those can all be found in the User's Manual that came with your car.

As an example, I replaced a heater blower motor transistor recently that would have cost over $200 to replace in a shop. I purchased the part on E-bay for $86 and installed it in fifteen minutes. I saved $114 in 0.25 hours. That's like $400+/hour. That's decent money.

Not every project is so easy. Sometimes you only make $50-60/hour, but that's still okay with me--for a Saturday.

3. Use the internet.

I already mentioned Google, Amazon, and E-bay for price comparison, but the internet has more than merchants.

You can learn a lot from people on the internet. Yes, some are idiots too, but you can usually tell who knows what they're talking about by how other people respond to their advice! 

Mechanics mean well (I hope), but they make mistakes and rush past details just like you. You need to check what they say against the quorum of the internet--what do other people say?

We recently purchased a vehicle, and I wanted to ensure all the replaceable filters were, well, replaced. I wanted a fresh start. I searched for "transmission filter replacement" and had a hard time finding anything. When I did find the part, I couldn't locate an obvious record of how to replace it. So I turned to the internet (car forums). 

If you word your search queries well, it doesn't take long to find what you want. Within a few minutes I was reading a thread about a guy who had replaced this filter, and he gave very nice instructions on how to do it. He also noted that the dealership he normally took his car to did not tell him about this filter--they didn't know it was there! How can you replace something you're unaware of? To be fair though, I can see why they missed it. It is hidden under hoses and lines and all sorts of other stuff. It's not easy to find, and if I hadn't gone to the internet for help, I would have had no idea where it was or how to access it. And what's worse, this filter was NOT on the regular maintenance schedule from the vehicle manufacturer! (NOTE: Replacing this filter was NOT mentioned in the Haynes Repair Manual I referred to in #1 either.)

4. Borrow tools.



I do not have a mechanic's repertoire of tools. You don't need it. You need basic stuff like wrenches and sockets. You need pliers and screwdrivers, but you should have that stuff anyway!

Most auto parts stores will loan tools. You make a deposit, use the tool, return the tool, and get your money back! Done.

If you have a friend that is a mechanical person, ask them if they have the tool you need. 

In the worst case scenario (which has happened to me), purchase the tool and then sell it on E-bay or Craigslist when you're done using it--unless of course you will need it again.

5. Miscellaneous Tips 



A. Use old T-shirts as mechanic rags instead of buying fancy shop towels.

B. Dispose of old fluids properly. If you drain fluids from your vehicle (engine oil, transmission fluid, etc.), you can bring those fluids to most auto parts stores. They will let you dispose of the fluids there for free. This is the responsible thing to do. Don't put oil in the garbage! Oil should get recycled.

C. Pay attention to your vehicle. Every time you drive your vehicle, it is communicating with you about possible problems. The way it turns (or doesn't). The shake in the steering wheel. The rough idle. The difficulty accelerating. The clunk noise from the rear end. All these are messages from your vehicle that you need to start looking. Don't wait for the wheel to fall off or the engine to completely fail! Be proactive and save lots of money.

D. Ask for mechanic referrals. The best way to find a mechanic is to ask people. You can try Angie's List if you want, but that costs money. Find somebody smart and ask them where they take their vehicles.

E. Let there be light! If you try to work on your vehicle without a good light source, you will fail or quit. Get a nice bright, flexible light to point into your work space.

F. Wear latex or nitrile gloves. Many automotive fluids and lubricants are toxic and even carcinogenic.

G. Use magnets. Magnets are your friend. I have a magnetic bowl for holding bolts, screws, and other small metal pieces. It helps me keep track of that stuff. I also have a telescoping magnet that allows me to pick up a metal object that has fallen down in the engine compartment or other small crevice. That $3 tool has saved me many, many times!

Image credits:
Levitating guy image from http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=252442
Haynes repair manual image from http://www.outdoorpros.com/Prod/Haynes-42013-Honda-Accord-Haynes-Repair-Manual-covering-all-models-from-1994-thru-1997/52063/Cat/1425
Car tools image from http://carservicelabrador.com.au/10-important-things-to-keep-in-your-car/
Car repair cartoon from http://attackgooglepanda.blogspot.com/2012/05/you-can-do-yourself-of-5-auto-repair.html

Moving Fast

Perhaps you've heard the phrase "Going nowhere fast." I'm not a fan of that--because nowhere isn't usually the best destination.

Then again, there are times in life when you need to kick it up a gear and get it done



I operate the majority of my life under the advice of "slow and steady." Don't over-do it. Don't burn out in a frenzy to accomplish the next thing and ruin your chances at accomplishing anything.

However...

During those times of slow and steady, I think it's wise to be thinking what you will do and anticipating scenarios.

Let me use a sports analogy. Most people I know are not excited about watching baseball, but I love baseball. More correctly, I love playing baseball. 

Baseball is a lot like life--it can be boring at times. Slow. Not much happening. But that doesn't give you the right to let your mind wander. A baseball player must always be aware of the score, the number of outs, the pitch count, the runners on the bases, and many other details of the game.

If a player is not thinking about these details and mentally preparing for what might happen next, they will most likely make the wrong decision. Because when the ball is hit, it's fast. Really, really fast! The plays are bang-bang-bang.

The key is mental preparedness.

Where am I going with this?

My wife and I have been contemplating purchasing another vehicle for a few weeks. We looked but didn't find much that met all of our criteria. Since we were not under any pressure to buy, we backed off. We even got to the point where we had mostly given up.

We thought, "Maybe it's just not the right time."

But we were aware of the field. We knew the price ranges, the features we wanted, the type of person we wanted to buy from, etc. I'm not a fan of dealers or car payments, so we like dealing with private parties (some of them).

I came home last Friday with a car that I told her was "the one." I thought it was great. But the seller wasn't responding. Again, waiting. 

Standing in left field with nothing to do but stare at the grass.

Then somebody "hit the ball." The seller called us Saturday morning, and the ball was in play. Instead of being wishy-washy, we made a stop at the bank to pick up the cash for the vehicle. Yes, cash. Fast. Definite. Done deal.



Now we hadn't seen the car yet, but we had to drive an hour to see it; so we weren't about to pass up our chance to get it. This was "the one" we thought.

Sure enough--when we saw it, we wanted it. I made a good offer, and the guy said yes (via permission from his boss, aka wife). Then I said I wanted it right then. I wanted to drive it home. 

He looked at me and said, "Cash or check?"

Me: "Cash."

Him: "Dang, son." (not making that up)

I didn't get that cash at a title loan shop. See, we knew this day would come. We anticipated this play. And when the ball was hit, we knew what to do.

We drove that vehicle home three hours after sitting on the couch on Saturday morning and watching cartoons. 

You never know when the ball will be hit!

That evening we decided to list our "old" vehicle for sale. There's no sense in us keeping three vehicles. It went on Craigslist Saturday evening around 7:00 PM.

I had four people contact me with in 12 hours and the Camry sold (for cash) exactly 24 hours later (7 PM Sunday). The car was cleaned, prepared, and ready to sell. We saw this day coming.

I'm typically not the best at preparedness; but looking back on this weekend, I can appreciate how smoothly things went when we put in the energy to be ready for the fast moments.

Don't let the slow times lull you to sleep. 

Use them as prep times to get ready for the next play.

P.S. I certainly don't want to give the impression that we are savvy car people. In fact, we're novices. For that reason, we've been praying about a new vehicle ever since we started looking. I truly believe God worked this deal out, because the vehicle is EXACTLY what we wanted for much less than I ever thought we could get it for. So be reminded--God is awesome!

Image credits:
Guy running with laptop image from http://www.businesslawalert.com/2012/02/articles/general-business/internet-defamation-requires-a-fast-investigation/
Cash in hand image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cash

Killing Cancer With Nanoparticles

We hate cancer.

We give to charities, support research, help cancer patients, and strive with blood, sweat, and tears to end this horrible disease.

Yet many of us are acquainted with the sad fact that often cancer wins.

But the battle continues on many fronts. 

Today I read an interesting article in the journal 'Science' that might give us another edge.

In the article, Stephen W. Morton and colleagues published about a new delivery system for chemotherapeutics (cancer-fighting drugs).

Before I discuss what this means, let's take a few sentences to discuss why this technology is important.

Cancer cells form and are maintained by disrupting the normal processes (cellular signaling pathways) that occur in a non-cancerous cell. When a cancer patient is treated with a drug or given radiation therapy, many of the cancer cells will die, but often a small percentage of resistant cells linger behind. These are the worst possible cells for a patient.

The reason these cells are so pernicious is they have developed a way to resist the current treatment. They will expand clonally, giving their resistant nature to all subsequent cells; thus, the patient will relapse, but this time that first treatment won't work anymore. Very, very bad news.

Researchers know this and are searching for ways to make those cells sensitive again by blocking the signals in those cells that make them resistant. In this particular article, the heavily-studied cell receptor, EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) is targeted to make the cells sensitive.

All that is rather routine.

What's not routine about this publication is the new drug delivery technology.



This image is taken directly out of the article. It represents the structure of the nanoparticle-based drug delivery system. The little red balls are hydrophilic ("water-loving") ends of lipid molecules. If you're not familiar with those, that's okay. Just keep reading.

A sphere produced by lipid molecules is referred to as a liposome. These are formed in your body regularly as part of normal cellular processes. Scientists have copied the idea from the design of life and are attempting to take advantage of it as a way to deliver drug treatments.

By packaging chemotherapies in these manufactured liposomes, researchers can deliver a "one-two punch" to cancer cells. 

The first punch (Erlotinib) weakens the cells and makes them sensitive to the second punch. 

The second punch is a well-established chemotherapeautic (Doxorubicin).

The beauty of this system is the time delay between the release of the punches. If the second punch comes too early, the cells won't be weak. If the second punch comes to late, the cells may have recovered from the first punch. 

The liposomes can be engineered to deliver other chemotherapeutic combinations and release them at different times based on research-based treatment regimens that harness the most "bang for their buck."

Even more exciting is that the liposomes can be "tagged" with surface molecules that will bind specifically to surface molecules on the targeted cancer cells. This ability to fine tune the liposome for each type of cancer means the delivery system can specifically target cancer cells to a much higher degree than normal cells. This helps reduce treatment side effects, which are a major clinical problem.

While the delivery system is in early stages, it's exciting to see progress. Keep an eye on nanoparticle-based treatments. I have a feeling your or your children may end up benefiting from them.

Biomarkers--In Your Breathe?

I read an article on msn.com today about using "breath prints" as a way of diagnosing a disease or monitoring patient health. The link to the article is here if you're interested.



For you that work in science or medicine, a biomarker is a familiar concept; but for the sake of those who many not be so familiar, let me briefly describe it:

A biomarker is a molecule that has been tested and validated to indicate the presence or absence of a health condition.

For instance, biomarkers are heavily studied in the diagnosis of cancer. If research confirms that "molecule A" increases when a large cohort of people develop lung cancer, then "molecule A" may be considered a biomarker.

In the article I linked to on msn.com, folks in the pulmonary vascular program at the Cleveland Clinic are narrowing in on the idea of using exhaled air as a sample source to look for biomarkers. Rather than looking for a particular molecule though, they propose testing a large array of molecules to give a "breath print".

This concept is not new, but the use of exhaled air is somewhat novel. Technology to test people's breath is mostly associated with confirming blood alcohol levels--the test which has affectionately become known as the "breathalyzer."

But how will this technology be different from other biomarker pursuits?

The struggles surrounding biomarker validation are staggering. 

Patient populations vary in genetic background (ethnicity), diet, weight, age, gender, lifestyle, and many other factors. After stratifying patients into relevant categories, the patient populations become small, making statistical significance difficult to attain.

Going back to the analogy of lung cancer and "molecule A", consider that only 35% of lung cancer patients have elevated "molecule A", and 35% have moderate levels, and 30% have low levels.

Is the relationship between molecule A and lung cancer causative, correlative, or non-existent?

That is the billion dollar question.

Then there is the million dollar question: Are these scientists certain that "molecule A" diffuses through the alveolar membranes of the lung and dissolves into air in the lungs? That question has partially been answered, but it will need to be addressed for every molecule that is analyzed for every disease to be diagnosed.

Other questions for these scientists include:

Are there other conditions or scenarios that could cause "molecule A" to increase? 

Stress? Pregnancy? Eating lots of Chinese food?

What threshold level of "molecule A" will be considered "elevated", "moderate", and "low"?

Perhaps some people have inherently higher or lower levels of "molecule A", meaning a baseline level must be established for each patient prior to diagnosis. 

Another problem is establishing a baseline is difficult because people are always changing. When can you consider a patient "normal"? And even if you knew when they were "normal", could you get them to come to the doctor to obtain a sample? Probably not. People don't go to the doctor when they're "normal".

I'm not being negative. I'm trying to be rational.

These questions hang over the head of these biomarker-based technologies. Conceptional challenges must be addressed before people start celebrating a breathalyzer that can diagnose early stage cancer--or any other disease.

In my opinion, the most useful application for a breath-based analysis technology is to market it as a convenience to medical professionals, their patients, and law enforcement. 

Develop ways to test the exact things that are already being tested for (glucose, narcotics, hormones, etc.), but allow them to give their patients a breath test instead of a blood test.

Nobody likes needles.

Think. Then Speak.

We all face problems, and this post is about a common problem most of us have.

Do you have trouble communicating with people?

Do you "accidentally" say stupid things that hurt or confuse others?

Do you "say things you don't mean"?

Do things just "come out wrong" when you talk?

Do you find yourself "eating your words"?



Do you frequently find yourself with your "foot in your mouth"?



We have all these idioms assigned to one basic problem.

Talking without thinking (well).

I like to talk.

Maybe it's genetic. Maybe I'm self-absorbed. Maybe it's the coffee. I'm not sure, but I know it's true.

And let me be clear--by "talk" I mean communicate. We "talk" on social media, and I am "talking" on this blog right now. 

Make no mistake, our communicative hastiness can cause big problems in the digital world just as it can in the organic world.

The problem is my enjoyment of talking often causes me to talk for the sake of talking. I fail to put sufficient thought into my words, and they end up as a bit of a failure.

Words are like any other investment--time, money, etc. If you plan carefully and execute well, you can make a big difference with a small investment. But if you act hastily, you can squander what you have; or worse yet, misuse can harm you and/or others.

What can we do to solve this problem?

James 1:19 Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath. [emphasis added]

But being "slow to speak" is rather ambiguous. Does that mean we should speak slowly to enunciate better? I don't think that's the idea.

Is slow speaking so we can give more thought to our word choice? 

Yes; but even then, what are we supposed to think about?

1) Motivation / Intent

Why am I saying this? Is my motivation good?

Helping someone? 

Making myself look good? 

Impressing someone? 

Hurting someone? 

Transmitting information?

2) Ramifications / Consequences

What are the consequences of saying this and are the consequences worth the benefits?

Are you neglecting a person or group of people that will be hurt, offended, or confused by what you're saying?

3) Presentation / Word Choice

Is there a better way to say this? 

Choose your words wisely. 

Be aware of non-verbal communication. It's not just what you say, but how you say it.

4) Timing / Location

Is right here, right now the best time to say this?

Many things need to be said--but timing is everything.

Conclusion:

I don't know about you, but I could probably avoid a lot of trouble by keeping my mouth shut.

Experience has taught me that waiting and reflecting on my communication is the best course of action.

Sometimes the next day I consider what I was going to say and think, "I'm so glad I didn't say that."

Has that happened to you?

Proverbs 21:23 [Whoever] keeps [controls] his mouth and his tongue keeps [protects] his soul from troubles.

Image credits:
'Eat your words' image from http://www.idioms4you.com/complete-idioms/eat-your-words.html
'Foot in mouth' image from http://ksyu.wordpress.com/2008/05/27/a-really-stupid-way-to-make-enemies-and-how-my-colleague-did-it/
Post image 'Think before you speak' from http://brucemctague.com/thinking-and-talking

What I Wish I Would Do Differently

Readers can get the wrong impression.

Of course, I'm not blaming the readers. It's the writer's job to communicate clearly--so boo me.

Here's the wrong impression they get. 

They read my posts about my opinions--about how I think things could be done better or more efficiently. Then they might assume that I am currently heeding all of my own advice.

Wrong.

I have a lot of good advice that I struggle to follow. I wish I could write with full confidence that I always live exactly like I should; but we all know would be a lie.



I work hard to live up to my words. In fact, one of the reasons I enjoy writing publicly is to make me accountable. I don't want to eat my words. They taste like sweaty socks.

This post is dedicated to clearing up the misconception. 

Here are the fifty-five things I wish I did differently:

1. Quit biting my fingernails (I'm doing it right now. Ugh.)

2. Quit getting angry when I'm driving.

3. Remember people's names.

4. Quit being so impatient (closely related to #2).

5. Quit being critical of people in my mind.

6. Help people tangibly instead of just praying for them.

7. Actually pray for people when I say I will.

8. Quit assuming problems are caused by other people and not me.

9. Be more friendly.

10. Spend more time considering other people's situations.

11. Quit being a "people-pleaser".

12. Quit compulsively dissecting every statement I hear.

13. Quit stressing about social blunders.

14. Listen more (implies talking less).

15. Quit concluding things before I hear the whole story.

16. Quit categorizing people.

17. Do more leading by example.

18. Value people for who they are rather than what they can do for me.

19. Quit asking God for things before thanking Him for what I already have.

20. Quit assuming I deserve what I have.

21. Quit assuming I deserve more than what I have now.

22. Quit comparing myself to other people.

23. Quit valuing myself by my accomplishments.

24. Quit valuing others by their accomplishments.

25. Quit stressing over gas prices.

26. Quit stressing about money in general.

27. Be more thoughtful in my gifts and cards.

28. Quit agreeing with people simply because they are influential.

29. Quit hoping politicians will save the day.

30. Take a few more risks.

31. Quit sharing my opinion when it wasn't asked for.

32. Ask people what their opinions are.

33. Quit being proud (of myself).

34. Be more genuine and less "what is expected" (boring).

35. Be more transparent about my faults (hence this post).

36. Quit mocking people.

37. Quit criticizing unless I intend to help fix the problem.

38. Know my role and stick to it.

39. Quit assuming I know how to do someone else's job better than they do.

40. Use less unwarranted harsh language.

41. Quit exaggerating.

42. Quit telling God how and when to do things.

43. Quit telling other people how and when to do things.

44. Figure out how and when I should do things.

45. Say more kind things to people.

46. Offer to help more often.

47. Help people when opportunities arise.

48. Quit drinking bad coffee in Styrofoam cups.

49. Quit interrupting my wife.

50. Quit trusting Wikipedia.

51. Curb my desire to throw my computer off the top of a thirty-eight story building and savor the moment of impact.

52. Eat more dark chocolate.

53. Quit generalizing.

54. Play more basketball.

55. Talk with people instead of talking at people.

Image credit:
Caution: Work In Progress image from http://www.fiec.org.uk/what-we-do/strand-blog/change-for-changes-sake

We Don't Want What We Want

Often we hear inspiring stories about people rising from difficult circumstances and being exceptionally successful. 

Other times we hear about someone with great potential and opportunity who blows it big time and is left with practically nothing to show for it.

What is the defining factor there? Where is the tipping point?



There are tons of cute anecdotes to insert here. 

People have rhyming sound bites that make for cute PR or politics. 

But really, what's going on inside of these people that pushes them so far from the publicly perceived trajectory they had?

I have a theory. 

Of course I do, or this post would not exist.

It's true of all of us. It's fair. It's not about categories of people, or locations, or education, or money, or power, or corruption, or prejudice, or destiny.

It's about what you want.

Have I oversimplified? Yes. 

So let me explain.

"Want" is a paradoxical word. It means two completely different things in different contexts. If we say we "want a candy bar", it's true; but we do not "want to gain weight". 

Therefore we want and don't want the exact same thing. 

We want benefits without consequences. 

We want prosperity without responsibility.

We want good without bad. 

We want fun without repercussions. 



We have immediate and long-term desires (wants). Long-term success and fulfillment will be determined by how we execute on our long-term desires. The bummer is that long-term desires often conflict with short-term desires. 

We want to spend all our money now on fun and excitement, but that could mean no money left next month when you drop your phone in the toilet and remember you didn't insure it. Oops. Or on a more serious note, you live to be 65 years old with no investments and you're stuck between a rock and a social security building. I'm not making fun, but this stuff happens.

Individuals that become enraptured by their moment-to-moment desires lose site of their long-term desires. They have tunnel vision. 

From the outside, it might appear their life is free and full of fun and pleasure. They get to do whatever they want, whenever they want. Or do they?

Lack of constraint does not equal freedom, nor does lack of responsibility equal excitement.

I have no intention of outlining a solution to this problem. It's complicated. It's personal; and for your life, it's none of my business. 

But my life is my business, and I am no exception; and neither are you.

Every moment we are faced with a choice to get what we really want from life, or what our glucose/dopamine-driven brains tell us we want right now

I'm not against occasional indulgence, but if you make it your lifestyle, you'll lose out on what you want from your life.

Proverbs 23:21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty, and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.

Proverbs 28:19 He that tills his land shall have plenty of bread, but he that follows after vain [people] shall have poverty.

Image credit:
Confused guy image from http://cyberbrethren.com/2013/12/18/are-you-confused-about-the-third-use-of-the-law/
'Everything you want' image from http://vividmktg.blogspot.com/2013/08/how-to-get-everything-you-wantno.html