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