Monday, December 28, 2009

Up in smoke : Day 17

j0433899 Now that the dust has settled after the Christmas rush time to get back in the swing of things. It has been now 10 days since I’ve quit smoking. I’m not sure if it’s the Chantix but I feel as I’ve got the knack of this. Besides the first day I’ve had the feeling that it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Occasionally  a thought passes my mind to have a cigarette but it soon passes. I’ve got enough butterscotch and Wurther’s hard candy to last a few weeks now.

The Chantix does cause me some nausea if I don’t eat something with it. Other than that I  haven’t noticed any physical effects. My wife has noticed that I’ve become a a little more out spoken recently. I guess I don’t have smoking to hide behind anymore. I’ve read before that smokers tend to keep or hide stuff inside them. So my reaction makes sense. My wife actually see’s this as a good thing since I tend to be on the quiet side.

I’m hoping to finally clean my car out this week. I do notice the “smoke” smell when I first get in the car. I did add an air freshener” but the smell is still underneath. Thanks for coming by. I’ll check in later this week.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Test post

This is a test post from my iPhone. Hope your having a great holiday. This phone is cool. I wish I had gotten it sooner.

Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! This clip is from one of my favorite Christmas movies Scrooged starring Bill Murray. It is the ending clip of the movie which can be touching at times. It sums up the holidays spirit nicely.

A lot of people say that Christmas is just for kids. I agree but, with a twist. I believe that were all still kids at heart. We are still that same person we were when we were kids and couldn’t wait to open presents. Then we grow older and become wiser and mature.We get caught up in “grown up” concerns and worries and can lose the spirit of the holidays. I think many times we are the ones who keeps us from having a good time during the holidays. Enjoy yourself wherever you may be. That kid who used to wake your parents up early to open presents is still inside you and for one day let them come to light. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Up in smoke : Day 10

j0399548 I’m now on my 3rd day of not smoking. I made it through the weekend which was an accomplishment. The first day was the toughest I have to admit. It was constantly on my mind and I found it hard to concentrate on much else. I napped a few times just to get my mind off it. Ate tons of butterscotch candies. On Sunday I spent much of the day cleaning up after the snow storm. It was less on my mind than the first day.

Today will be the first day at work not smoking. I usually smoke driving to and from work and at lunch break. This will be another hurdle I’ll have to jump. I expect it’ll be much like the Saturday was but, after that it should be ok. I’m still taking the Chantix twice daily with no side effects. I actually was late taking one last night. I completely forgot about it. Maybe that’s a good sign. Thanks again for those with the words of support encouragement. They are appreciated.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Up in Smoke: Day 8

j0337276 Well it’s almost time for the last smoke. I’m still following through with the Chantix(and the Get Quit program that goes with it). So far I’ve noticed no side effects from the drug. I’m quite anxious about it(quitting) to be honest. Tomorrow I start the full strength pills (twice daily). I thought of putting it off but, couldn’t come up with a compelling reason to stop going through with it. Thanks to all who have given me words and thoughts of encouragement. It’s time for bed. I’ll see you on the other side.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Up in smoke: Day 2

hh00116_ This is my second day of taking Chantix to quit smoking. I didn’t notice much difference in my smoking routine. If anything I seemed to think about it more. That could just because I’m trying something new which may wear off after awhile. The Get Quit program activity of the day was to keep a log of when and where I smoked during the day. I took a small notepad and used that. For today’s activity was to check off the reasons for quitting. Here are my selections:

  • I no longer enjoy smoking. – I don’t remember enjoying that much in the first place. Today I find it annoying and wastes my time.
  • My family is worried about my health. – My oldest son(7 years old) keeps telling me to stop because he doesn’t want me in the hospital like his grandfather. Need I say more?
  • I’m spending too much money on cigarettes. – The price of cigarettes these days is utterly ridiculous. I can use the money on stuff I’ve been wanting or needing.
  • I’m concerned about my health. – I’m not one to be too much of a health nut but I am concerned about it. I’d like to enjoy my time here on God’s green Earth for many years to come.

Also on the website they explain a little bit about how Chantix works. In short it blocks the Nicotine from the receptors in your head that release Dopamine. Dopamine is what gives the smoker pleasure while smoking. It lasts only a short period which why smokers have a craving quickly afterward.

Thanks for coming by.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Up in smoke: Day 1

j0341771 Recently I decided I wanted to try and quit smoking again. I talked to my doctor recently and he recommended I try Chantix to help me stay quit. It hasn’t been an easy decision to make. It’s a major commitment on my part. I know my wife and kids support me in my decision. It has been a part of my life for close to 30 years now. The time just feels right to renew battle against this stuff. My wife suggested that I could blog about my experience. So I plan to blog here every so often to give everyone updates on my progress(or not).

What are my goals?

First of course is to stop smoking for good. I hadn’t made a serious attempt in quite awhile. The Chantix is suppose to be a 12-week program. I smoke the first week while starting to take the pills. It’s suppose to give your body time to adjust to the medication and then to stop smoking on the 8th day. My day will be next Saturday December 19, 2009. My wife even asked why so so soon? I said why not, I had pretty much made my mind up to do this.

Secondly I hope to inform and help those that may be thinking of quitting using this method. Even if they choose to try something different perhaps it will serve as encouragement.

Chantix also has a support program called GetQuit. I signed up online which they’ll give me activities to do, email and phone support. Today’s activity is suppose to keep a log of where and when I smoke for 24 hours. I’ll begin that today when I wake up(I’m writing this is in wee hours of the morning). When I wake I plan to start keeping my log and pill in the morning(with beverage and food as recommended).

I’d love to hear about any other people who have tried this. I’d welcome your comments.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran’s Day 2009

j0401374 Today is a day we honor those that have served and sacrificed in our armed forces. I’m sure we’ve all passed the memorials in our parks and town centers throughout our land. Many list the names of men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Even today many of our loved ones serve in far away places in harms way to serve the rest of us and protect us. That is their oath that they took. I’m sure they would much rather be at home with their family and friends. These soldiers are also our, sons, daughter, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers and friends. I think they all deserve our profound thanks for there efforts.

Thank you all veteran’s who have served past and present. A special thanks and prayers to those that gave the ultimate sacrifice and were not able to return home.  I leave with some words from a man much more eloquent than myself who perhaps summed it up best:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate...we can not consecrate...we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government: of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

-Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863, Gettysburg , Pennsylvania

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Lessons from Iacocca

47893I’m a firm believer if you want to learn about being productive and successful you can learn a lot from those that are. Recently I’ve been reading Lee Iacocca’s autobiography. I’m amazed by how much can be learned from him. I haven’t got to fifty pages yet and almost every other page seems to be a how to guide for business and management. Many of the tips and advice comes from people he encounters through his life. He was also shaped by the times he grew up in which was during the depression and going to college during World War II. This seems like a self help book disguised as an autobiography. Here are some examples:

  • His father preaches not to worry about what has happened in the past.
  • He tells how to he got through college and work by concentrating his efforts Monday through Friday and  leaving his weekends for other pursuits like family and leisure.
  • Good attendance. One time he got an “A” in a class that few showed up for on a Saturday morning.
  • He also credits his studies in psychology(a favorite subject of mine) while at college as one of the keys to his success.
  • A tip he got from Robert McNamara(soon to be Ford President, and then future Secretary of Defense)was if you have an idea was to first put it into writing. He would say that if you haven’t written it out you haven’t really thought it through.

iacocca2 These are just a few of the little tidbits you may pick up from the book. The book also has it’s human (and humor) side also. If your looking for a self help book but, your tired of the ordinary books this could be a nice sidetrack from them. At the same time you’ll be learned from someone who has lived through success and failures.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Don’t sweat the small stuff….

j0440424Yesterday after soccer and Friendly’s for lunch we ended up at a Goodwill store because my oldest son wanted some new books to read. So we stopped in to check it out. I’m not ashamed to say we shop there at times. You can find some cool stuff for cheap. I immediately hit the electronics section at first. If your in desperate need of a printer there only $5 you just have to add ink. Not to mention I almost got a tape deck for my garage stereo for another $5, maybe next week.

The most popular section was the book section. For $.99 or $1.99 you can pick up some decent books. Of course my son picked out a handful and of  course I browsed too. I did find some cool books. My wife had to drag me out of there before I spent the whole day there. Here are the ones I picked up:

  • Don’t Sweat the small stuff… and it’s all small stuff – By Richard Carlson, Ph.D.
  • Iacocca, An Autobiography by Lee Iacocca/William Novak
  • Understanding Psychology by Robert S. Feldman

I believe I read “Don’t sweat the small stuff” many years ago when it first came out. Lee Iaccoca is an interesting figure from our times. The psychology book is actually a textbook. I find psychology an interesting subject so I thought it would be great reading and for reference. I’ll write more about these later. I’ve got to go for now .

Thursday, October 29, 2009

【Dale Carnegie】 How to analyze and solve worry problems

I've just finished reading this book and I thought it was great. Here's a short video I found that summed up some good points about it. I'll be writing more about this in the future.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Book: How to win friends and influence people : Part 14

The Secret of Socrates

j0390575 In this next chapter of Dale Carnegie’s famous book How to win friends and influence people we look at the power of “Yes”. When we start a conversation with someone we should start off by emphasizing what we agree on. It’s important to start by getting the first couple of yes’s out of the way. This set’s a positive and friendly tone. Overcoming a “no” answer is more difficult to do. The other person has already made a decision as a no answer implies. You have to overcome a person’s decision which is hard to do. If you get a yes your agreeing with them on an issue. Imagine it as a streak. When you get a string of “yes” responses they can build upon each other.

Dale Carnegie Principle:Get the other person to saying “yes,yes” immediately.

Next chapter: The Safety Valve In Handling Complaints

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Greatest Generation

Picture61Recently my wife got the sad news that her grandfather had passed away. At the same time a close friend lost theirs too. It kind of gave me a moment to reflect on grandparents and their generation.Both were members of what has been popularly known as the “Greatest Generation”.  I was talking to a friend today and he told me of a saying that when an older person passes away an encyclopedia of knowledge and experience goes with them. As a kid we may think of these people as just as our Grandparents who may shower us with affection, understand us when our parents don’t, or hug us when were down. At some point as we grow older we may come to understand who they are and what there experiences were. Why perhaps they may hold different values then us and think were crazy at times.

cid_751These two gentlemen lived through quite an historic period of time in our country and the world. They grew up in the depression, fought World War II, lived through the “Cold War”, Korean War, Elvis, Kennedy assassination, The Beatles, Vietnam,  and Watergate to name a few. They do in fact have an encyclopedia's worth of experience. Most of these things are but, things we read about in history books and movies. They lived through them first hand. The fact that they lived through it all is amazing feat. Its a privilege and an honor to have known them.

n532421337_2026520_4109589 Many of them were humble and rarely spoke about what they had lived through. I spoke to a friend who’s father had been a World War II veteran in the Navy. Growing up there father rarely spoke of his experience. One day while watching a film(I believe it was Tora!Tora!Tora!) his father spoke up and described in detail how the airplanes were so low that they were killing sailors in the water with their propellers. He had been at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked. Even his wife had not heard him talk of this before.

What will be the great events of history we’ll be telling our children and our grandchildren? They almost seem insignificant in comparison of what this generation went through. As we go through our lives we go along raising families, working, playing and living a life. Perhaps that’s the idea, it was that they were just trying to live a life and dealt with as it came.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Book: How to win friends and influence people – Part 13

A Drop of Honey

j0250384 In this chapter Dale Carnegie emphasizes the importance of starting off in a friendly way with people when meeting them. If you start off like gangbusters you may get there attention but, your unlikely to win them over to your point of view. It may even get you short term results but, more than likely you won’t win over any good will and long term results. Here is an excellent quote from the book(How to Win Friends and Influence People) that summed it up nicely:

If a man’s heart is rankling with discord and ill feeling toward you, you can’t win him to your way of thinking with all the logic in Christendom. Scolding parents and domineering bosses and husbands and nagging wives ought to realize  that people don’t want to change their minds. They can’t be forced or driven to agree with you or me. But they may possibly be led to, if we are gentle and friendly, ever so gentle and ever so friendly.

I’m sure we’ve all have the picture in our minds of a drill instructor barking out orders and perhaps throwing the occasional trash can down the barracks hall(Yes my drill instructor did that). That may serve as an immediate attention getter and may even get immediate results in the short term. The workplace and friendships is not boot camp or a battlefield. Were interested in long term results and building friendships and goodwill. Here we can start using many of Dale’s previous tips like making others feel important and begin by talking about them and trying to understand them. I’ve found that many of Dale’s principles build upon another as they go along. Though each one may stand on it’s own merits.

Dale Carnegie Principle: Begin in a friendly way.

Next chapter: The Secret of Socrates

Friday, October 16, 2009

How to win friends and influence people: Part 12

If you’re wrong, admit it.

The last post was about not saying if someone is wrong. This one is about admitting that you are wrong. This may seem like it’s self defeating. Many of us don’t like to admit it when we are wrong. When we are wrong we should admit it and get it out in the open. Many relationships have been destroyed because one or both sides can’t admit they are in the wrong. Also if you admit your responsibility it takes that issue away from others to use against you. 

Lee_horse Dale Carnegie uses the historical Gettysburg battle for an example which is a good one. At the height of the battle General Robert E. Lee ordered General George Pickett to make the now famous “Pickett’s Charge”. In all accounts the brave men of the south made the charge but, were turned back with horrible losses. General Lee had realized he made a mistake. He did what so few generals have done, he apologized to the troops. He rode out and said to his defeated troops “All this has been my fault, I and I alone have lost this battle.” That act speaks volumes about General Lee’s strength of character. He could have blamed many things that went wrong prior to that but he did not.

Dale Carnegie Principle: If you are wrong, admit it quickly  and emphatically.

Next Chapter: A Drop of Honey 


Friday, October 9, 2009

John Lennon

John_Lennon_Biography What can be said about this man that hasn’t been said before? I was just beginning to learn about him when he was taken away from us in 1980. I can’t give any first hand accounts of him when he was with us. We live in the shadow of John Lennon. I only remember the media coverage and reaction to his death. The only one that compared to it was the passing of the “King” Elvis just a couple of years before.

John of course was an essential member from the most influential pop/rock group in history, The Beatles. I knew very little of his personal life before his passing. I learned much of his post Beatle years in the days (and years) after his death. Media coverage at the time was extensive. Newspapers, radio and television were saturated with news and  music of his work. I believe the recent passing of the “King of Pop” pails in comparison. Many at the time felt they lost a family member or close friend. Can that be said of the gloved wonder? I doubt it, unless you’ve got a demented family.

What I learned about since is that he was a human being prone mistakes. He married a woman he loved, though few understood it(she didn’t cause the Beatle’s split but, she didn’t help matters either.). Extremely gifted artist and musician. He spoke his mind with his biting wit.  He used his celebrity status to campaign for world peace.  He was also a father too, was he a good Dad? That depends on which son you talk too. I also believe he grew up with a lot of anger and sadness, which at the time of his death he was beginning to work through.

One can only imagine(pun intended) what he would think of today's world.

Happy Birthday John! Thank you!


October 9, 1940 – December 8, 1980

Life is just what happens to you,
While your busy making other plans…

-John Lennon “Beautiful boy(darling boy)”

Monday, October 5, 2009

How to win friends and influence people : Part 11

A sure way of making enemies-and how to avoid it.

j0433180 “You are wrong!” If you come right out say someone is wrong that is a sure fire way to make an enemy. That is the theme of the next chapter of Dale Carnegie’s famous book “How to win friends and influence people”.

It can be communicated either verbally or by visual cues. To blatantly come right out and say someone is wrong about something immediately puts them on the defensive. Even if you are 100% correct and have overwhelming evidence you have already insulted there intelligence. You may have won the battle but, you haven’t won over there hearts or minds. If anything they further entrench into there position.

To admit you may be wrong, you disarm the other person and they will be more likely admit that they may be wrong also. When you accuse someone of being wrong you may also bring on an argument (covered in previous post) which we want to avoid also. Even when we may admit to ourselves we are wrong, we don’t like it when someone rams the fact home.

Dale Carnegie Principle: Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.”

Next Chapter: If you’re wrong, admit it.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

How to Win Friends & Influence People : Part 10

j0399181 This part of my continuing series on Dale Carnegie’s famous book “How to win friends and influence people”. We are now entering the third part of the book(four all together) called How to win people to your way of thinking. The first chapter in this section is called:

You can’t win an argument

If you argue and rankle and contradict, you may achieve a victory sometimes; but it will be an empty victory because you will never get your opponent’s good will. – Benjamin Franklin (Quote used in book)

No doubt that some people actually enjoy arguing. They may achieve some success but, have they really one over the hearts and minds of their adversary. Even if someone were to win a hotly debated subject it’s not likely the loser has changed his mind and is perhaps just weary of the fight.  In the quest to win the heart and mind of another you must listen to the other side and make them feel important. Second you should also give your opponent a way to save face or a way to back down gracefully. If you embarrass or beat down someone in victory you hardly gain any influence on them(the point of the book).

Some guidelines are suggested(from an article quoted in the book):

  • Welcome the disagreement.
  • Distrust your first instinctive impression.
  • Control your temper.
  • Listen first.
  • Look for areas of agreement.
  • Be honest.
  • Promise to think over your opponent’s ideas and study them carefully.
  • Thank your opponents sincerely for their interest.
  • Postpone action to give both sides time to think through the problem.

These may be tough to remember in the heat of the moment. I think the idea is to not get into a battle in the first place and back off. Many times agreeing with them first can take the opponents ammunition away and can cool things down where issues can be discussed sanely.

Dale’s Principle: The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.

Next chapter: A sure way of making enemies – and how to avoid it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Book: The Road Less Traveled: Part 3.a

The Sins of the Father

image0-3For those just joining in this is the next chapter in The Road less Traveled by M. Scott Peck. This chapter is about our parents, us and our children all in one. Peck tells us about how our parents influenced us and how we in turn influence our children. Don’t get fooled by the title because mothers and fathers get equal treatment.

As Dr. Peck tells us that unself-disciplined children often come from parents that are not self-disciplined. He quickly notes that it not the traditional “discipline” such as spanking, slapped or even worse physical and verbal abuse. Our children look up to us when they are young. They are more observant than you might think. Things you say and do, can and will have a lifelong impact. 

When parents do things a certain way, it seems to the young child the way to do them, the way they should be done. – Peck

It’s not just about providing a good role model for your children it’s also about love. “Ultimately Love is everything.” Peck writes. When we love something we spend time with it, care for it and enjoy it. Why should our children be any different.

Good discipline requires time. – Peck

When we don’t give our children our time we learn little about them. When the need for discipline or action is required we have little knowledge to go by. So we will often over-react to the situation at hand or just let them have there own way just because it’s easier to do so. When parents have spent quality time with their children they become more astute to their children’s needs and will respond more thoughtfully.

On the other side “quality of discipline afforded by loving parents is superior to the discipline of unloving parents.”(Peck). As with most things in life a balance must be struck. Children will also perceive the time and amount of quality time given to them. This in turn gives them a feel for how much they are valued by their parents.

Action speaks louder than words as the saying goes. Children also pick up this also. Some unloving parents profess their love, but don’t devote a meaningful amount of time to them. It may work for awhile but, eventually when the words don’t match the action they can catch on.

On a personal note:

At the beginning of this post,and even this series, I was attempting to review the contents of this book. Working in my own thoughts were my own personal experiences in my life. This chapter touches me deeply being a parent myself of two young children. This has made search my own discipline or should I say lack of discipline. Do I always provide the best example to my own children? Admittedly I do not. Does this mean I don’t love them? No it doesn’t and I love them dearly. Could I do better? Yes I could and I will.

I’m going to continue this chapter on my next post as this one is getting too long as it is.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Living in the past

You glorify the past when the future dries up – “God Part 2” U2

image0-11 As I’ve entered my fortieth decade I’ve found myself more looking into my past. Facebook has fueled this fire recently with the ability to look up old friends from as far back as 1st grade. Even my musical tastes tend to be those from past like my recent “Beatle” phase. I’ve begun to wonder if I dwell on the past too much. Is it a good thing to analyze past events or should my eye be on the future?

I think there is a good case for looking into your past. Just like in history books, lessons can be learned from the past. If not we can be prone to making the same mistakes over and over again. It’s a part of the learning process to look at how and what we’ve done in the past. It can also serve as a benchmark as to where we’ve been to gauge how far we’ve come in life.

On a personal note it’s been fun reconnecting to people I went to school with in my youth on Facebook. Some I remember vividly with others needing a memory jog. I remember there faces as they were over three decades ago. They range from grade school friends to high school sweethearts. I’ve also managed to gain some new friends along the way.

On the flip side we can become to involved in the past and not take care of the present and future. A balance must be struck to keep an eye on the future. Be open to new things. I’ve seen many people get stuck in the same rut. They are reluctant to try to branch out. It seems like they are in there comfort zone and won’t come out. Keeping an open mind to new things is a must. Don’t be afraid to learn and branch out of your comfort zone. Be willing to challenge yourself and try new things. Remember things of the past but, look to the future.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How to Win Friends and Influence People : Part 9

How to make People Like you Instantly

j0442438 My seven year old son has one particular friend over frequently to visit and play with him. Whenever his friend wants to ask me something he always addresses me as “Mr. Plumer” in the most polite manner that a seven year old can do. To be honest I’m not always used to being addressed in this manner by anyone. It almost makes me feel a bit older. That’s not the point though. He in someway (perhaps without realizing it) show’s his respect and makes me feel important to him. Needless to say this boy scores a lot of points with me. He has taken the first step in making others feel important, which is the theme of this next chapter.

All of us want to feel important and appreciated. If we are neglected or taken for granted we feel hurt or resentful. When we make others feel important it we make them feel respected and special in someway. This can be a bit tricky sometimes to those not used to positive attention. Recently I was attempting compliment a coworker an a job he was doing. He was immediately suspicious like I was being sarcastic. I’m not sure if I came across the wrong way or I had just taken him by surprise. The point is to do this with sincerity. If you come across as a phony people won’t take you seriously.

Here is how Dale Carnegie puts it:

 The unvarnished truth is that almost all people you meet feel themselves superior to you in some way, and a sure way to their hearts is to let them realize in some subtle way that you recognize their importance, and recognize it sincerely.

Dale Carnegie Principle: Make the other person feel important-and do it sincerely.

Next Chapter: You can’t win an argument

Monday, September 21, 2009

Book: The Road Less Traveled: Part 2

Delaying Gratification

j0442385 We live in an instant gratification society. We get our news as it’s happening. More and more of us now Twittering with instant updates of our lives. Every get rich quick scheme thrives on people wanting instant gratification.

Scott Peck defines “Delaying Gratification” as:

“…a process of scheduling the pain and pleasure of life in such a way as to enhance the pleasure by meeting and experiencing pain first and getting it over with.

It brings to mind as a kid when I was eating certain items that I didn’t like at the dinner table. To my Grandmother(God rest her soul), who helped raise us kids, not eating your dinner was not an option. You didn’t leave the table until you were done whether you liked it or not. At some point either she or someone gave me the advice to eat what you didn’t like first and then on to the stuff you did like. Though it seemed to not make sense at the time it does now.

Most of the time by the time we reach adult hood we have learned how to delay gratification to some degree or another. Those that can’t control it well are prone to impulsive acts which can negatively affect themselves and those around them. They may be prone to acts of violence, anger, missing work, change jobs often, loss of friendships, divorce, frequently changing sexual partners and so on. Not everyone is able to always control themselves to “delay gratification”. Those that are able to discipline themselves often have a better time adjusting to life in general.  

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Music: Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band - Remastered


What can possibly be written about this album that already hasn’t been said. It is The Beatles masterpiece. They pulled out all the stops on this one. To be honest I haven’t listened to this album in many years. My one copy on a cassette(yes that dates me) was well worn and was lost quite awhile ago and never replaced. So this is a revisiting of an album I’m somewhat familiar with.  I must admit I got a bit caught up in the recent Beatlemania with the Rock Band Beatles game and re-release of The Beatles albums on  September 9, 2009(9-9-09) and I ordered my CD from Amazon.

After listening to this in it’s entirety I’m simply blown away. I had forgotten how good, I mean great this album is. From the opening orchestra sounds to the fade out at the end of “A day in the life” you are taken away to a different world than the one your in. To enjoy this properly I believe a set of headphones and a block of time to listen to the whole album from start to finish.

One thing that strikes me is how much I forgot that The Beatles were at heart a rock and roll band.When I went through my adolescent and young adult years I put them on the backburner in favor of more modern rock music of the time. Again I find my self re-discovering them. The beauty of The Beatles is that they went beyond the traditional arrangement of guitar,vocals,bass, drums and brought in many different instruments and sounds.

Well back to the CD itself. If your like me and haven’t listen to this album in awhile it’s worth it pick this one up and give it a listen. If your new to The Beatles this is a good start. If your a hardcore fan it’s still worth it I believe with booklet inside with notes about the album and an additional 5 minute video included on the CD(computer needed to view). This is still rock album that all others must measure up to.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

How to Win Friends & Influence People: Part 8

j0316809 This is part of my continuing series on Dale Carnegie’s classic book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. This chapter is titled: How to Interest People.

Dale’s secret on getting people interested in you is to talk in terms of what interests them. Find out what a person likes to talk about. Almost everyone has a hot topic or personal item they like to talk about. This can be a hobby, profession or issue that they are passionate about. Be sincere about it and don’t patronize them. This builds on the previous chapter on how to be a good conversationalist. The key is to focus on the other person’s interests and desires. You are more likely to gain a persons trust and attention when you show an interest in them personally.

I think the key is to take the initiative and find out what a person may be interested in. They are more likely to be open to you and your interests.

Dale Carnegie Principle: Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.

Next Chapter: How To Make People Like You Instantly

Friday, September 11, 2009


This was a day that each one us will remember for the rest of our lives. It is the “December 7” of our age. Most of remember where and when we heard the news or saw the horrible images on TV. Who could imagine on September 10, 2001 that something of this magnitude could happen?

For a short period of time our nation was united across all lines. Flags flew everywhere and there was a sense of unity that hadn’t happened in recent memory. The attack was not only targeted at the Trade Centers and Pentagon, it was targeted at our hearts and minds too. In a sense it was an attack against all Americans.

A prayers should go out to all the victims and their families on this day as I’m sure they are still missing the loved ones lost that day. A thanks should also go out to all the police, firefighters and emergency workers who responded that day. They were on the frontlines that day and were overwhelmed and did the best they could do. Nothing more could be asked of them. They have my utmost respect.

I think eight years later that it has become a day of reflection and tribute to those lost. I’ll forever identify the Enya song “Only Time” with Sept. 11. I believe CNN(or other news agency) used it first and is used with many tribute videos on YouTube and other video sites. I think it speaks for itself. God Bless all those were lost that day and to all who helped that day, and may God Bless America!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Music: Hey Bulldog

In case you haven’t noticed The Beatles are once again in the limelight. The fab four are now featured on a new video game as part of the RockBand franchise. Coinciding with this release is the re-mastered versions of there albums on the same day. It suddenly seems cool to like The Beatles again. I now have a reason to upgrade my gaming console. I think this is major testimony to the strength of there staying power. Even though they broke up close to forty years ago they still have the ability to be in the limelight.

I was born in the mid sixties when they were in there hey day and still producing music. Obviously I was born a little to late to enjoy them when were still together. I’ve often wished I was born about ten years earlier so I could have enjoyed them a bit more. Growing up in the seventies The Beatles music was still played on the airwaves along with there solo stuff that was more current. It seemed like they were always around just in the background. It was until later in the seventies to early eighties that I paid more serious attention to them.

In middle school music class we learned about The Beatle’s. We examined the lyric’s and meaning behind “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”, “Penny Lane”, “Eleanor Rigby” , “With a little help from my friends” and probably others I don’t remember.

It seemed just as I was getting into them was about the time John Lennon was shot. I was shocked and felt like I had been robbed. This shook the music world like I’ve not seen since that time.

I think after that it was the twilight of other remaining Beatle’s career’s. Sir Paul McCartney put out some stuff but, it almost didn’t compare to his earlier solo stuff. George and Ringo had some solo stuff that was OK but after the eighties they all just seem to fade out. Not completely gone but, not center stage.

We fast forward to 2009 and in that time George Harrison has passed away along with Paul’s first wife Linda and he’s already divorced the second. He still tours from time to time. I’m not exactly sure what Ringo’s up to these days. You would think that for a pop/rock band from forty years prior would just be a faded memory. It seems just the opposite is happening. A recent example is when the anniversary of just taking the famous photo of The Beatles crossing the now famous “Abbey Road” attracted large crowds that authorities weren’t prepared for. The popular game franchise Rockband is set to release “The Beatles” version and there music catalog is again being re-released.

Personally though I may have put The Beatles in the back of my musical interests they have now gotten my attention once again. My favorite song now is “Hey Bulldog” from the “Yellow Submarine” soundtrack. What got my attention is the video for it. A rare studio take them performing the song together. I feel like I’ve discovered a new song that I now can’t get enough of. What makes this one a bit different is that they look like there having fun. In bit’s of later footage they seem a bit too serious. Many reports tell this was the pinnacle of The Beatles and that they never performed together quite the same after this one. Perhaps this is the way I want to remember them playing together.

It’s certainly nice to see Beatles once again be cool to like again. Now I’ve got to go watch the video again. Thank you John, Paul, George and Ringo for all you’ve done. What are your thoughts and memories of The Beatle’s?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Book: The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, M.D.

j0438658 This book is one of those that perhaps you’ve heard about for years but, maybe never got around to reading it. I’ve heard about this book before and now I’ve just got around to reading. Part of the it was I never quite knew what it was about. I can’t tell you exactly what it’s about because I’ve only just begun reading the book. I’ll summarize what I do know about this book and then I’ll do a chapter by chapter review of the book as I’m reading along. Maybe some of you were expecting my next chapter from How to win friends and influence people chapter by Dale Carnegie. My wife has borrowed the book for class assignment so I’ve moved on the next book on my list. I will still be continuing that also.

The Book: The Road Less Traveled was first published in 1978. It was written by Morgan Scott Peck(1936-2005) who was a Psychiatrist and best selling author. The book describes human habits or virtues that help people be fulfilled in their lives. It is broken down into four sections: Discipline, Love, Growth and Religion and, Grace. This is the book that Dr. Peck best known for.

Section 1: Discipline: Problems and Pain

“Life is Difficult” is how Dr. Peck begins his book. He also adds that “Once we know that life is difficult- once we truly understand and accept-then life is no longer difficult.”. I think many languish in how difficult life is? There are bills to pay, jobs to do, families to raise and so on. Everyone has there own set of unique problems that they have to(or don’t) deal with. I know because I do my share of complaining also. I think we think that at some point in our lives that they’ll be no problems and everything will be easy. My own mother still thinks if she hit’s the “big one” in the lottery all her problems will be solved. In reality it may solve some financial problems other problems will arise in there place. Life throws problems at you everyday. Dr. Peck asks “Do we want to moan about them or solve them? Do we want to teach our children to solve them?”

Discipline is the key to solving problems. “Discipline is the basic set of tools we require to solve life’s problem’s. Without discipline we can solve nothing.” Dr. Peck explains.

The reason life is difficult is that the process of dealing with and solving problems is difficult. They often force us to deal with uncomfortable emotions. It is because of this emotional pain that they become problems and make life difficult.

It is the dealing with these problems that give’s life it’s meaning.” Problems call forth our courage and wisdom; indeed, they create our wisdom and courage.” Dr. Peck explains. We can learn and grow from dealing with life’s difficulties.

It is the fear of the pain and difficulty that prevents us from growing. We’ll procrastinate, avoid, ignore, forget, or hope they’ll go away. Some will use artificial means of avoidance like alcohol and drugs. Many of us go to great lengths to avoid life’s difficulties.

Dr. Peck urges us to to teach our ourselves and our children that suffering through life’s problems is necessary and is a part of personal growth. This is not an easy pill to swallow. Who wants to go through life suffering?

Dr. Peck lays down the the four basic tools in using discipline which are:

  • Delaying of Gratification
  • Acceptance of Responsibility
  • Dedication to the Truth
  • Balancing

So far this book has grabbed my attention. I’ve already got a number of quotes highlighted within the first couple of pages. I certainly look forward to continuing reading this book. I’ll share my thoughts and summaries here as I read the book. I wished I had picked up this book a long time ago.

Next Chapter: Delaying Gratification

Friday, September 4, 2009

How to Win Friends & Influence People: Part 7

Part 2: Chapter 4: An Easy Way To Become a Good Conversationalist

j0363470 As I’m reading more of Dale Carnegie’s book How to win friends and Influence People, I’ve discovered Dale’s overall theme to be to put other people before yourself. This chapter is no different. For those that find it hard to be social this is a relatively easy one. You get other people to talk about themselves. When you show interest in others and ask them about them they are usually more eager to open up. Face it no one likes someone who’s favorite subject is themselves.

Being a quiet guy myself I’ve tried this recently and it does work. By listening and encouraging others to talk about themselves or something they care about you’d be surprised how well people open up. Often times they carry the bulk of the conversation. Listen and be attentive. Listen for things to ask about in the future. Try and remember key point about them for it will give you future material to ask about. It’s worked for me.

Dale Carnegie’s Principle: Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

Next Chapter: How To Interest People

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

How to Win Friends & Influence People: Part 6

Part 2: Chapter 3: If You Don’t Do This, You Are In Big Trouble

j0442036 No it’s not remembering your anniversary, though you will be in trouble with your spouse if you do forget. Remembering people’s names. Dale’s theme in this chapter is to remember people’s names. A person’s name is very important to them. How many time’s have you got an automated voicemail message that totally butcher’s your name? What are the chances of you calling back? I know I won’t.

A person’s name is 100% their own. People will remember you better and more positively if you recall and use their name. It may be a good idea to either write it down and try and associate it with some about them. Use it when you greet them even if it’s just their first name. It’ll help you remember them and their name. 

I have trouble with this one as I’m sure many do. Since reading this chapter I have been trying to make it a point to at least find out names of acquaintances and to use and learn them. If you have any tips or tricks feel free to share them here.

Dale Carnegie Principle: Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

Next Chapter: An Easy Way To Become A Good Conversationalist

Monday, August 31, 2009

How to win friends & influence people: Part 5


This is my continuing series of How to win friends & influence people by Dale Carnegie. You might ask what’s with the cute baby picture of my son Samuel. You’ll find out as you read along.

Part 2, Chapter 2: A simple way to make a good first impression.

Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, “I like you. You make me happy, I am glad to see you. – Dale Carnegie.

Smile. That is the subject of this chapter on A simple way to make a good impression.The smile has to be from the heart, sincere and honest. Not a fake politician type of smile.  A smile says I’m glad to see you and meet you. Many times just putting a smile on your face will make you feel better. It makes you think of happy thoughts and brightens your mood.

Dale Carnegie Principle: Smile.

Next Chapter: If you don’t do this, you are headed for trouble





Saturday, August 29, 2009

How to Win Friends and Influence People Part 4

If you’ve just joined us here I’m doing a chapter by chapter summary/review/thoughts on Dale Carnegie’s classic self improvement book How to Win Friends & Influence People. This book so far has both reinforced ideas that I’ve already known about and has also given me great insight into new ways of thinking.

The first three chapters covered are called Fundamental Techniques in Handling People and they are:

In Part 2 of the book is called Six ways to make people like you. Admit it, we all want to be liked. Whether are liked is another matter.

The next chapter is called:

 Do This and You’ll Be Welcomed Everywhere.

In this chapter Dale tells us that the key to getting people interested in us is to show interest others. Let’s face it for the most part were really interested in ourselves. When others show interest in things that are important to us we become more open to them. We’ve all talked to people who are only interested in talking about themselves and what interests them. Those are usually people that we avoid  in the future. We show more attention and appreciation to those who like to talk about us and make us feel important. Much of what Dale Carnegie says may seem like common sense but, how common is it really? The key is to become genuinely interested in other people.

Dale Carnegie Principle: Become genuinely interested in other people.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Write a letter

I just got to thinking today who actually sends out written letters these days? I know I can’t personally remember the last time I wrote someone a personal note or letter. I’ve occasionally had to write a letter but, they’ve usually pertained to business matters. Nowadays everyone is texting, Twittering, Facebooking, IMing each other. These are generally short messages not more than a few sentence long. Proper grammar or punctuation is almost nonexistent. I’m not exempt from this either.

j0438585I remember back many years ago when I wrote home from my stint in the Army I wrote home constantly. Sometimes I’d write my girlfriend at the time several in one day. I’m not even sure if she read them all when she got them. I’d probably die of embarrassment if I saw one of them today. I believe I wrote my wife a few but, that was before we were married(ten wonderful years ago, you never if she’s reading this.). I think she read them because she married eventually. I’ve slacked off in writing her much lately. It’s hard to write a letter to someone you see every day. She’d probably love to get one.

An actual letter is a lot of work these days compared to email or texting. It must be hard to imagine actually writing on paper(or typing it out), folding and stuffing it in an envelope, finding an address, finding a stamp and finding post office. Then it may take days for it to get to it’s destination. Then you never know if they’ve got it or not. Seems like forever in this instant gratification society we live in.

I’m curious to know how often others write family or friends a letter these days.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

How to Win Friends & Influence People: Part 3

I’m definitely hooked on reading this book at this point. It now goes where I go and it’s hard to put down. I’m so glad I picked this one up and wished I had done it a lot sooner. This one does live up to all the hype.

Chapter 3: “He who can do this has the whole world with him. He who cannot walks a lonely way.”

We all know what we want in life. It may be a nice house, successful career, happy family, new car, and so on. How many of us focus on what other people want? Ever talked with someone and the most popular word was “I”? You probably get tired of that after awhile.

As Dale  puts it:

So the only way on earth to influence other people is talk about what they want and show them how to get it.

I think we are more drawn to people and friends that are interested in us. When we show interest in other people wants and desires they’ll show more in us. The key is to listen to other people and be attentive to there desires.

The next time your trying to persuade someone to do something like putting your kids to bed, negotiating a business deal, selling something to try to think of how it relates to them and what they want. What you want and what they want can be two different things. If you stop, listen and focus on what they are concerned with you have a better chance of finding a solution that works for the both of you.

Dale Carnegie Principle: Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Next Chapter: Do this and you’ll be welcome anywhere

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How to Win Friends & Influence People: Part 2

Here we continue with my read through of Dale Carnegie’s famous book How to win friends and Influence people. Today we explore Chapter two titled: The Big Secret of Dealing With People. So far this book has lived up to all the hype I heard about it before. It is definitely worth reading.

Chapter 2: The Big Secret of Dealing with People

Dale begins by telling us that the only way to get someone to do something is to make them want to do it. That’s it in a nutshell. Sure you can force them to do something but, that only works for a short time.  When your not around you can sure little or nothing will get done. you have to give people what they want in order to get them to do something.

So what to do people want? Most if not all people want to feel important or appreciated in some form or manner. Aside from normal physical needs the feeling of importance is high on the list of people’s wants. I worked at one job where I thought I did the job well.  I was efficient and hard working. I was pretty much the only doing it my company and so I felt I had an important job in keeping the job flow moving. My one boss appreciated it so much they gave me a few raises that were considered merit raises along with normal pay increase. I felt like an important part of the company. Along the way I had the opportunity to move to a different position. I felt at the time it was a good move. I did OK in the job but, I felt something missing inside me. I was now among many doing the same job and felt less important. Eventually through circumstances(not negative though, They couldn’t find someone to replace me) I went back to my old job. I was never happier.

Dale emphasizes that it must be sincere appreciation and not just flattery. Flattery is false and only tells a person what they want to hear. In other words you become a “Yes” man only telling a person what they wish to hear than giving them an honest compliment.

Dale’s #2 Principle: Give honest, sincere appreciation.(Dale Carnegie)

Chapter 3: He who can do this has the whole world with him, He who cannot walks a lonely way