Simple is better

Today I attended a football game and unfortunately our local team (Bengals) lost to their division rivals (Steelers), and as sour that it is to stomach the loss, there is a big lesson I witnessed en the last seconds of the game: big problems sometimes require simple solutions.

While many of us in the stands were waiting for a big play from the quarterback to any wide receiver who could catch the ball in the end zone with only fifteen seconds in the game clock, the visiting team executed a short pass to the inside in a crossing route using a screen, and the receiver pretty much ran the remaining yards through the center of the defense (untouched) for the winning touchdown.

Sometimes we over-complicate things, but going back to basic solutions can be the answer to big problems.

They did it. The got the win. The deserve it!

 

The power of gratitute

It’s easy to express gratitude for a nice word being said to us, or an action that represents any kind of  benefit, or a favor that requires no payback. It’s human nature to be thankful, for both the basic things in life, or the bigger ones beyond our underlying needs.

The challenge emerges when we face problems, opposition, failure or setbacks. If such circumstances are beyond our control and we cannot blame ourselves or other people, a common reaction is to ask: Why me? What did I do to deserve this? When am I going to get a break? Why do bad things happen to good people? And the list goes on…

A similar situation can happen when a young person is constrained by the boundaries set by their parents. When we grow up, we start developing a desire of independence, which is usually tilted towards having more privileges, and opposed to acquiring additional responsibilities. And then the same kind of situation happens: young people complaining about their “horrible” dilemma.

A positive approach to all this is to look at things in retrospective and analyze which lessons we learn from every challenging situation. Within all the unpleasant time and discomfort that this might bring on to us, we must recognize that many of the “bad” situations or restrictions were there for our benefit, or protection.

Let’s image that we are put in a house with metallic bars in the windows and doors. We might feel like we are in a prison, right?

Now imagine that we hear a load roar somewhere outside this house. Maybe what we considered a prison now it feels like a safe place.

All our challenges, problems, adversities, setbacks or failures, represent our journey towards a life of constant achievement, where we are solving life problems and becoming more savvy, to the point that we can help others. And giving such help is the ultimate expression of unselfish learning that usually helps us to be grateful about our struggles, our worthy journey, our self-carved accomplishments. An even though we pretty much always get some kind of help, we can always say… “thank you” life, for helping me get to this point… and I’m ready for more.

Be grateful. I am grateful for your comments, regardless of their kind.

Thanks!

Out of the comfort zone

Change is never easy. When the question asked is: do you like change? pretty much everybody says “yes”. However, when the question is: who wants to change?, not everybody responds with an affirmation.

Change is uncomfortable, stressful, and nerve-wrecking. But it is also exciting, motivating, it creates new opportunities, new ventures, and sometimes new life.

I’m going myself thru some changes that are pushing me out of my comfort zone. In the past I have followed the rules of the system: get an education, get a job, go up the corporate ladder, and retire someday.

But this kind of journey does not work in the current environment, where jobs are not abundant, and the existing ones are full of challenges with nothing guaranteed. It’s simply a rat race without significant benefits for the majority of the employees. It’s good for those who are willing to “go the extra mile”: work 12 or more hours a day, leverage corporate politics, knock down those who get in your way and, the most important, please your boss no matter what.

Maybe this is not the norm, but definitively is very common among many “success” stories. This kind of rhythm doesn’t leave much left for other important things in life, and the consequences will show at some point in time, unequivocally.

I’ve tried several times to get out of the rat race, but it’s not easy, although I’ve learned a lot. I’m now embarking on a new venture, as a side project, that is pushing me out of the normal routine. Maybe it will work or not, but the learning lessons are awesome, totally worth it.

We can always complain about our lack of success, if we have tried new things… but we cannot complain if we keep doing the same thing over and over… because the result will be the same.

And if we have tried and failed, the right thing to do is move on to something new, and make the best out of the lessons learned.

I’m sure I’ll be sharing my success soon, and would love to learn about yours too!

 

P.D. I was shared this ring tone recently, definitively different, and fun. In case you want some Latin beat coming out of your phone. Enjoy!

Nothing to worry about

I have an inside joke with my wife, when she wonders why I have no gray hair… yet. I’m approaching 48 years young :), and still can show a black mane with no hints of snowed threads. She sometimes wonders if I get up in the middle of the night to dye it. Now, that would really be stressful for me!

My answer to her frequent inquiry is usually the same: “I try not to worry too much”.

That is a little of bit of an understatement. I have a lot of things in my mind, and certainly enough to keep me busy and sometimes overwhelmed. However, when I say that I don’t worry too much, it’s a form of saying that I don’t let the problems get the best of me.

But wait… let’s go back to the beginning… is there a correlation between stress and gray hair? Or is it more accurate to say that there is a correlation between age and gray hair? Or even further, a correlation between the combination of age and stress that produces gray hair?

I’m clueless!

And while the challenges keep coming, I’m confident that I have enough character to conquer them, or enough humbleness to decide when not to pursue them, without lamenting anything later.

Let’s remember: 10% of any situation is how it presents itself, and the other 90% is how we react to it.

I have enjoyed writing this blog, even though I’ve been absent for a while, but I hope to keep connecting with people, to make more friends.

And gray hair or not, I’m learning to age gracefully, because every phase in life is worth enjoying!

See you soon!

myblackhair

Hey, no dandruff either!  🙂

Is your kid excited to go back to school?

If it’s up to our kids, they would love to stay at home, having a good time, playing games, going places at any time of any day, or maybe just doing nothing. Some kids think school should not exist, due to multiple reasons they can come up with, and based on their own perspective.

Some kids attend summer classes, or camps, or supplemental online courses that keep their brains absorbing knowledge. This kind of kids will not experience the uphill of the first days or weeks when they go back to school.

Let’s remember that the brain gets stronger with use. Although some games nowadays are very challenging, and force kids to use their creativity and cognitive skills, the methodical aspect of the regular classes is something that needs to keep happening, for the sake of compliance with the school curricula. Having a regular time to deal with reading, problem solving and conscious reasoning is important for the student to avoid a steep re-adapting period. Just two or thee hours per week of “school” work while on vacation is enough to accomplish that.

Returning to classes can be dreadful or fun, depending on how balanced the school break is approached. Having the kids doing something light, but close to the type of work they will face when school starts again, will give them confidence, and maybe even they will be anxious to go back.

And let’s remember, our kids’ education is not the responsibility of the school system, it’s ours!

Let’s keep learning…

 

To be an expert, act like a student

During our scholar life, earning a title or degree is something that becomes a life goal. To be able to say that one is an engineer, a doctor, a lawyer, or some new ones like entrepreneur, or knowledge worker, is the carrot in front of us that drives us to learn as much as we can in order to achieve the status of an expert in any field.

While there’s nothing wrong with becoming an expert, the problem is when we assimilate such title as the end of the learning process, like we don’t need to learn more, like it’s time for those behind to catch up to us and for us to just laid down and enjoy being called such titles. The worst of the worst… being incapable to say “I don’t know” when blubbering about a topic and ending up like a fraud in everybody else’s mind.

learn

 

 

 

When we’re students we’re hungry for knowledge, asking all sorts of questions, trying to master the discipline that will get us the coveted degree of something, with minor in something else. And this is a life event to be proud of, no question there and nothing wrong with that.

However, the real merit of becoming an expert is not the fact of being an expert itself, but the journey that the person had to go through to get there. Such momentum must not stop after graduation, it has to continue to purse the next phase, status, step on the ladder, or any other tag or label that we pursue. Some of the most approachable people do not hold fancy degrees of credentials, but they are learners that enjoy being students at any stage in their life.

Let’s keep on learning, we will always be life students!

 

 

 

24 hours a day

We all have the same time in a day, but that is not difficult to figure out.

The challenge is to figure out what to do with all that time. Some people say this is too much, some say is not enough. Everyone can come up with a list like the one I’m going to propose, and the time we spent on it also counts against those 24 hours.

So, what are you doing with your time?

  1. Sleep. I sleep 6 hours a day, but some differ and sleep less, what  about you?
  2. Walk. Mi body is getting older, father time is not waiting for me to keep delaying this. If I’m not as active as I was in my youth, then walking is a good choice, and it’s becoming easier to use that time for thinking, meditating, finding some alone time, although walking with someone is highly recommended as well.
  3. Learn. The brain is a muscle that never gets tired. While we sleep, it opens the door to dreams and thoughts that sometimes we cannot conceive while awake. Learn something new right away, no matter how crazy it is, challenging your brain will pay down the road, maybe we can delay the visit of Mr. Alzheimer.
  4. Care. The more you care, the more endorphins you will generate in those who are the recipients of your caring, and in return you will be rewarded. Such reward will not come from anyone, it will come from you. We spend a lot time judging ourselves for our bad actions, we need to reward ourselves for our good treats.
  5. Travel. Even out of your own state gives you a different perspective of the world, it rewires our mindsets and helps us re-evaluate our current paradigms.
  6. Work. Although important, for many people their job is the center of their lives. It’s a normal trend due to the conditions of the world that we live in. A job also creates a huge distraction, a paycheck, which constrains our efforts, our potential, our dreams. On the other side, investing time after your job is done, will allow for a future endeavor that will fulfill the dreams that no job can, including more time for sleeping, walking, leaning, caring and traveling.

Put together your own list, including your life priorities, so you can steer your life the way you’ve always wanted.

Let’s learn together!

 

 

51TZg1dT-1L

From typewriters to a cloud world

When I was in junior high, back in Acapulco, Mexico, a friend and I were sitting on the sidewalk talking about what the next prank was going to be. I don’t remember the details, but such idea soon changed because suddenly through the corner of my eye I saw an unidentified flying object (UFO) coming out of a moving car. It landed roughly a hundred yards from where we were plotting some childish joke.

As any young curious people would do, we rushed to see what the UFO was, which landed on the same side of the street where we were discussing our very important endeavour. It was a science-fiction book named The Foundation, by Isaac Asimov. The cover of the book was different back in 1983, and it was in English. My friend showed no interest in the book, so I decided to keep it because at the moment I was taking additional English classes to the ones from school, so I though I could eventually read it. Later, Isaac Asimov would write several Foundation books, and now you can have the entire collection, if you enjoy this kind of reading.

As time passed, I kept learning English but still could not comprehend the book. So I took on the goal of translating the book to Spanish, so I could read it. It was a daunting task considering that the book had almost 400 pages, with no images. So I bought a couple of dictionaries and used the typewriter and some paper at home and started typing.

Hold on… if you are 30 years old or younger you might have have not seen a typewriter. Such device was not kept at my parents’ house or mine, so I can’t take a picture of it, but I’ll give you an approximation of it with a cute picture of a vintage, emotionally charged fake typewriter that I got last year (it’s actually a bank).

Vintage Typewriter

Vintage typewriter, no electricity or Wi-Fi required

Also, if you did not use a typewriter, you should know that there was no “Delete” key to correct a mistake. If you made a mistake, that implied to start the page all over again, until a marvelous thing was created: liquid eraser, a white coating that covered the wrongly typed word and allowed to write on top of it (awful when used on non-white paper).

Fast-forwarding to 1988, at my last year of High School, and after five years and countless nights of typing, along with trying to decipher the idiomatic expressions in order to translate them in a way that made sense in Spanish, I was able to complete the task.  A lot of effort went in it, and it allowed me to dive deep into the intricacies of translation. By the time I finished it there was no need to read it, because I became very familiar with the story both while translating the easy parts, as well as when trying to fill the gaps. At the end, the stack of paper that the book formed was higher than the typewriter (letter size).

In our current world, the typewriter can only be found in museums, or the basement or garage of highly sentimental people who like to hold on to these things. But I doubt they keep using it. New devices have taken over, so fast, so radically. Change is a wave so powerful that nobody can stop.

The rapid pace of change produces such an incredible tale of two realities. That from two o three decades ago, and the one from today. Stories like these seem themselves like science-fiction, but they’re not. Here’s today’s tale:

During the past few months I have translated two books from English to Spanish, and I’m on my way to finish the third one. Of course I’m leveraging the experience (gay hair) and the tools I didn’t have back then. I use the website Babelcube to find the books that I want to work on, and after a quick handshaking process I’m typing, proof-reading, editing, and submitting the work, without using a single sheet of paper, or liquid eraser. The best part is that I’ll get paid for, based on royalties. I like to plant seeds for the future…

The books I refer to are:

It’s a whole new world we live in. Distance, language, culture and other barriers are quickly fading, and those who refuse change will eventually end up in a museum, like the old typewriter.

Adios!

P.S. If you want to check the books in Spanish, here are the links:

Use a challenge to fuel your life

Life is not fair. This is a fair thing to say… talk about contradictions…
Every challenge in front of us can be looked at with at least with two perspectives, it can be an insurmountable peak that is so overwhelming for us to even try climbing it, or it can be a unique opportunity to get to the top and look at what’s ahead of us. The first is a dead-end alley, the latter is a world of possibilities that can only give us new options.

Life is hard, but how hard? It depends on our perspective to every situation. Call it problem, challenge, opportunity, getting stuck, out of luck, unfairness, etcetera. The moment that we change the perspective, that’s when anything and everything becomes something that we own and control for our own benefit, that’s when the energy and motivation allow us to take advantage of the situation, instead of whining about it.

Problem, challenge, opportunity, getting stuck, out of luck, unfairness, etcetera? BRING IT ON!

Hasta la vista!

 

Hard work always pays

Reading successful stories is always inspiring. It helps our conscious mind to relate to the story and find similar reasons to start something, to get into action, to make a plan.

This story from Entrepreneur is one of those. I enjoyed it, and it inspired me. However, the reason for this to be inspiring is not the money, as we have learned that money does not give happiness. It is about hustle, determination, action and purpose. Those are the treats that help a person become a better human being, and that can give you or me a lot of happiness. I hope you find it inspiring as well…

5 Success Tips From a Multimillionaire Who Used to Work at Kmart

Life is beautiful… enjoy it!