Category Archives: Thoughts

Thoughts that pop into my head. Things that I ponder from time to time.

Why do you blog in the first place?

For us bloggers out there, why do you blog in the first place?

Is it to get subscribers or followers or likes? If this is the reason you blog, then you are simply one of the millions that post to social media just to get feedback that someone likes what you posted. Really? Think about it for a minute. If we showed someone a funny picture or told them a story face to face, would we ask them, “Did you like it? Did you think it was funny? Will you tell other people about it? Please like it. Give me a thumbs up.” I don’t think so.

I am a newbie blogger and I’m already exhausted.

I enjoy writing my content, I really do, but I don’t write it to impress you. I write it because for me it is therapy. It’s sort of like a public journal of thoughts I wouldn’t mind talking to you about in person. They say that if you are a blogger, you should spend most of your time promoting your blog instead of writing it. I get that, but what if the purpose of your blog is to share good ideas and thoughts with others? If you spend all of your creative time in promoting your blog, then it would seem that your blog content would be rather thin as you just want to create content fast enough to publish it. It’s sort of like a writer rushing the end of his or her story just to meet a deadline. Have you ever read a book where the end just sort of happened? You are sitting there reading the last sentence saying to yourself, “That’s it? That’s the ending!!!!???”
Quill pen with the writing 'The End'

What we create, should be an extension of ourselves.

We shouldn’t try and copy someone else or you end up just being another version of other people. Why would you want to do that? I don’t know about you, but I know that I have good ideas and that what I write is worth reading and my music videos are worth listening to. Logging in to your site stats every 2 hours to see how many people have viewed it is simply neurotic. What I have done is to link these blog posts to my Facebook page, have a link in my personal email address and share those certain posts that I think others will appreciate with just them. You have to do a little self promotion or what you write won’t matter because nobody will see it, but spending the majority of your time self-promoting instead of being creative is not what I want to do. No, I will not be a Huffington Post, but I don’t want to be that blog anyway. That’s not the reason I started doing this and hopefully that is not the reason that you started doing this either.

The American Work Force is in deep…..

This post is for people who are 54 to 72 years of age, better known as the baby boomer generation. So, if you aren’t in this age group, then just click back to Google land. That being said, I will begin my lament. The American work force is in deep doo-doo. I know, because I employ those people that are less than 54 years of age, most of them in their 20’s and lower 30’s. The sense of entitlement is off the charts. The lack of gratitude is unbelievable. Those of you that are not baby boomers are not going to be able to relate to this. We grew up in a different America. (I know that some of you are going to say, “Good, I’m glad I wasn’t born in your Victorian age) Our parents were the product of having to walk through the great depression. There was no Social Security, no welfare, no unemployment compensation. You depended on family to help get you through tough times; you didn’t look to the government for a handout.
Most of us did not live in McMansions. We lived in small bungalows or one story ranches. The house payment was something that every working family was able to pay without both parents having to work. We owned one car. We used public transportation. We had one TV in the house and we had 3 stations. That was good enough for us. You were able to be an electrician, a carpenter, a salesperson or a baker and afford a decent place to live. Health insurance was reasonable and there was the possibility of retiring from one company that you worked at all of your adult life.

I have talked to many CEO’s and they are having a hard time filling positions. People just don’t want to work. They get these kind of responses:

  • It’s too hard, I thought this job was going to be easy.
  • I want to master this job in one month like my old job.
  • Google employees get to work when they want and work from home.
  • I want unlimited time off.
  • This job is boring.
  • I want to be a YouTube sensation.

I have answers for these statements above:

  • Any job that is worth anything takes practice and repetition to be good. If you want easy, then go bag groceries, but beware, you can’t put canned goods on top of eggs.
  • If you mastered a job in one month, then it wasn’t much of a job. Any job that you can master in one month is sort of like an assembly worker putting a rivet into a fender on a car. Pick up rivet, insert in rivet gun, pop rivet in fender, repeat.
  • You have no skills that Google would want. If you want to work for Google, then you need to be a top notch coder and then if you are the best of the best at Google, MAYBE they might let you work from home every now and then.
  • If you have unlimited time off, why am I paying you to work? I tell you what, I will give you unlimited time off, it’s called “You’re fired!!”
  • Well now, isn’t that special. This job is boring. How about your last job selling phones at Verizon. Was that exciting applying customer’s payments on phone accounts that got cut off because they value having a cell phone more than buying groceries? Even being an astronaut gets boring after the 300th time. Deal with it or go find another job.
  • Everybody wants to be a YouTube sensation. Create a YouTube channel after you get off work and find your voice that others want to listen to. You need to learn to use video and audio software. You have to work everyday at producing quality content. Most good YouTubers work 12 hours per day, 7 days per week. Don’t believe me, listen to one of the top YouTubers Casey Neistat.

I’m not saying that everyone that I have hired is a lazy, entitled prick or prickett. I’m saying that most of them are, or are leaning that way. I have hired 3 Asian interns over the past 2 summers and they have blown me away. They are not just on time. They arrive early, they don’t take lunch until they are at a good stopping point, they don’t take smoke breaks or potty breaks every 6.5 minutes. They type usually 90+ wpm with like 1 error and they pick up tasks so fast that I keep asking them, “Don’t you have any questions?” When I check their work, it is correct. They take criticism constructively. They don’t tell the rest of the staff, “He is so mean, he told me that I needed to improve.” Do you know why this is? It’s because their family background is more like my parents and grandparents. To do something well that you are proud of, you had to work at it. It wasn’t something that you perfected in one month. If you have noticed, many of the YouTube sensational instrument players (violin, cello, piano etc) are of Asian descent. To become good at something, you have to practice. This means you have to lay down your phone, tablet or keyboard and you have to apply yourself. Your boss is your boss, not your friend. He or she is someone that is in authority and typically they got there because they put in the time over the years, not due to nepotism.  When I used to talk face to face with my construction customers, they complained “All the Mexicans are taking our jobs.” Do you know why? They are willing to work longer and for less money than you are. They don’t insist on driving an $85K Ford F-350 or living on 5 acres with a $750,000 home. They do what our fathers and grandfathers did.

I’m all about hiring the best person for the job, that means if he or she is 3rd generation American or 1st generation Asian, it doesn’t matter. I need a job done and I’m looking for the best person to do that job. I just want to get a fair amount of work for the more than fair wage that I pay. It’s time to stop playing the entitlement card and learn from, God forbid, Baby Boomers about working hard, playing hard and feeling good about what you did before you punch out for the day.

Be careful what you wish for

    Be careful what you wish for. These things aren’t just wishes, they are seeds that go into your innermost being and take root. These thoughts get put into our subconscious and like a computer program, start to run. If you don’t want them to be fulfilled, then you need to run an anti virus in your thoughts and tell your subconscious that you really didn’t mean this to stop that thought from becoming reality. If these are positive good thoughts, then they will also begin to take root. They will begin to order your steps to fulfill that which is most important to you. They will even override what you normally would do to fulfill their purpose. This can be a great thing as long as ypu want this to happen.

But, be careful what you “wish” for, it probably will happen.

I hated history class!

As a baby boomer, I often wonder why I’m suddenly interested in history. I hated history class in both high school and college. Now, I can’t wait to go to Colonial Williamsburg, watch the history channel or visit Monticello. Anything nostalgic or retro is in. The 50’s furniture we grew to hate as teenagers is now affectionately called “mid century” style and very popular. Talk to any Baby Boomer guy and they will tell you they love to watch ‘American Pickers’ on the history channel.
The two guys on this show, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz are the epitome of our generation. They look for anything old and nostalgic. When we watch this show, we see things from our childhood that flood our memories with an easier time, at least in our own mind.  Maybe this is why I enjoy renovating things, be it an old home, car or old piece of machinery. Don’t get me wrong, I also love thinking about the future and all of the inventions that people are coming up with. It’s as if I have one hand in the past and one hand in the future with my body in the present. My two favorite places in Disneyworld are Epcot, where you can learn about nation’s history and Tomorrowland, where a child could dream of going into space and learning about all of the technologies that were emerging.

I’ve often threatened to buy a “mid century” home and totally furnish and decorate it in “mid century” style; I mean down to the old black and white TV’s with reruns of ‘I Love Lucy’ and ‘Leave it to Beaver’. Somehow, even though there were a lot of scary things going on in the 50’s like the cold war, as youngsters, we felt insulated. There weren’t reality TV shows and continuous news networks that bombarded us with more than we could handle. There were only 3 channels and the quality of the video wasn’t that good so that reality and fiction weren’t blurred as they are today.

We were told as kids that we could do anything. We were trying to figure out how to get men to the moon.  Buck Rogers was the precursor to Star Trek. We were thinking of the future.  That future included leaving our past behind. People were moving out of the city into the suburbs. We wanted the new ranch style homes. We didn’t want to live on the farm or in a row house. We wanted a 100 x 100 lot with an attached garage. Most families had only one car, a modest home and making a living wasn’t as hard. We were a more formal nation. We wore a coat and tie to the movies as well as on an “air”plane. I know there was social unrest and the past wasn’t as kind to many, but the present isn’t exactly kind to all of us either.

There is a saying that if we don’t remember our history, we are doomed to repeat it, both good and bad. Many of the books that my teachers tried to get me to read while I was in school, I now actually buy and read in my spare time! Talking to many of my peers, they say the same thing, they became interested in history over the past 10-15 years.  Colonial Williamsburg is having a hard time staying afloat due to their attendance waning. The Rockefellers  felt that our nation’s history was important enough to save, so they funded the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg.

I don’t know why I have become so nostalgic about the past. Maybe I see the unrest in our nation and the uncertainty of the present, wishing that I could somehow go back to what seemed like a more calmer period in our history. I know that I’m probably looking back through rose colored glasses, but let me continue to live in my memories, as memories can be changed to fit whatever we want to remember.

I’m interested to know if you find yourself more interested in history as you get older or is it just me and those in my circle.

Does anybody really want to work?

I haven’t been this frustrated in a long time. I have a small company. We are looking for people to work in our mini warehouse. It’s really a minimum wage job, but we pay$12 per hour plus benefits. We sell small parts for power tools, most of them less than 1/2 lb. The boxes are small, maybe 5″ x 5″. This is really a simple job. When you think of warehouse, you think of forklifts and conveyor belts; that’s not us. We have 20 shelf units that hold our parts. There are only 2 people in our warehouse and we all get along great. We advertise the job telling everyone about the job. We get applicants via email. We email them back a simple questionnaire, asking just a few questions and can you believe that nobody bothered to even reply to the questionnaire? Hey, you emailed me asking for an interview. I reply with 5 easy questions and you don’t even bother to reply. When we do get people to reply and set up interviews, at least 50% of the people never show up for the interview.  We call them and say, “Where were you? You had an interview today at 1PM and it’s now 2.” Their response typically is, “Oh, I didn’t know I had an interview” or “Sorry, I forgot.”

This is so frustrating! Do you or do you not want a job?
I can’t even imagine running a fast food restaurant. The number of people you need for all of the shifts has to be staggering. I have contractors that come into my place of business that feel the same way that I do. They have more work than they have employees to do the work. Many of the employees that they have had simply stopped showing up.

I believe that we have made it too easy for people to obtain assistance from our state and federal agencies so working is well, just not necessary.  In Virginia, you can receive unemployment benefits for up to half a year.  I know that unemployment benefits are necessary, but if someone answers an ad for employment  only to satisfy the requirements to receive unemployment, and I seem interested in your resume, at least reply to my questions. Maybe I should say in my help wanted ad. “If you apply to us for employment and we respond positively and you do not reply or show up for the interview, we will forward your name to the unemployment agency so that they can remove you from the roles of the unemployed!”

Many of my friends have decided to become consultants because this allows them to not have to depend on anyone else and avoid employees altogether. It’s pretty sad actually. I’m really concerned about the future of our nation as the work ethic has seemed to fall to an all time low, at least for what I am seeing in my world. Don’t get me wrong. I have a good number of great employees and they are as shocked as I am when people just don’t show up for an interview. It makes their jobs harder when we can’t find people to fill vacancies, because they are carrying a heavier load due to lack of staff.

My latest attempt at finding employees is to advertise through the local community college. Hopefully, if you are attending college, you want to learn more, you want to improve yourself and are more apt to respond to an opportunity to work and earn some money. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Did I think that?

The unconscious mind never sleeps, it never stops absorbing everything around you. Every sight, smell and sound is indelibly etched into your mind. We don’t realize how many of our decisions are the result of our subconscious spoon feeding our cognitive mind. It is sort of like an iceberg; there is more to it than we realize. Since the subconscious never sleeps, it’s no wonder that the amount of information in it is much larger than our conscious mind.

I have experienced things during the day that were in the back of my mind, thinking that I had forgotten about the incident only to realize that they had birthed attitudes and tension later in the day. I was sort of thinking about it, but not really, at least not consciously as I know it. If I let these subconscious thoughts roam on auto pilot, later I find I pay the price. I end up anxious or ruminating about it while trying to fall asleep. This is why it’s important to bring these thoughts captive, not to let them run like a tape in the background. Phillipians 4:8 says

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Also, we have to be wary of what we allow our subconscious to absorb, what we spend time around. Studies have been done to see how much other people affect our attitudes, even those people that we only interact with via social media. It is said that positive or negative feeds or posts can affect other people 3 layers down. This is astounding. What we feed our minds, both conscious and subconscious really does affect us. We have to really guard our thoughts and what we let into them. As you can’t stay in a smoke filled room without smelling like smoke after you leave, so our minds cannot simply wash out the thoughts that come our way.

Today, why not pay attention to what you are allowing to influence your thoughts. Remember, your subconscious is like a baby, it doesn’t know what is good or bad for you; only you can be the gatekeeper of your subconscious.

On being an introvert

Being a pianist and enjoying playing in front of people, you would be surprised to find out that I am an introvert. I have been in plays, given speeches and am the president of my own company, yet I hate attending events where I am in a crowd. When I attend a party or other event, I stand on the periphery of the venue, close to an exit. I enjoy one on one conversations with someone at the event, but not if I have to yell over the crowd. I love to learn about what others are doing, if it interests me, but I can’t stand mindless chit-chat. I have no need to impress others or compare my life to your life. I desire a meaningful conversation where I can learn more about you and form a bond based on mutual interests.

I have found that I enjoy observing others when in a crowd, seeing how they interact or simply enjoying watching people. If we are throwing a party, I would rather serve others and make sure everyone is having a good time. I want to stay busy. I’ll be glad to play the piano and provide live music, but don’t force me to mingle. If I want to have a meaningful conversation with someone, I will invite them over for lunch or dinner where I can focus on just them. Trying to do this in a crowd is simply frustrating in my opinion.

Stress and anxiety. Don’t ignore it.

What can stress and anxiety cause? It can cause much more than you think. Our unconscious never sleeps. It runs tapes in the background when we are not even aware of it. Stress over work, money, family or a relationship can cause all kinds of physical damage to our bodies. I should know, stress over money and work caused muscles in my body to start to twitch. This started happening in the middle of the night after getting up to do what 60 year old men have to do in the middle of the night. After getting back in bed, my calves would start to twitch like crazy keeping me up. This was enough to cause me to visit my doctor who said I needed to see a neurologist to make sure I didn’t have ALS. Wonderful! Now that this sensitive doctor put the disease ALS in my head, I had something new to worry about. I couldn’t get into see a neurologist for 2 months. Now, the twitching started happening all over my body. This turned into insomnia. I was only sleeping 3-4 hours per night.  By the time I was able to visit my neurologist, I was a nervous wreck.  The neurologist did a basic screening and told me, you don’t have ALS, you have Benign Fasciculation Syndrome which means, your muscles twitch for some unknown neurologic reason, most commonly brought on by stress. He said to go see my primary care physician. By the way, I have a new PCP. The old one retired and his bedside manner stunk anyway.

All of this now turned into anxiety and panic attacks of which I have never had. My old doctor prescribed Ativan to help me sleep and for the panic attacks during the day, but being on this is not a long term solution, believe me. My new doctor has me on Cymbalta, a SNRI.  It takes about 6 weeks for this medicine to kick in, but it is finally working, allowing me to feel like a normal person. No, the twitching has not stopped, it has slowed down though. I’m hoping that it all goes away eventually as it is really annoying and causes my muscles to cramp after exercising.

This is what can happen with stress. Some people get high blood pressure, heart issues or headaches. If we ignore stress, we may think that it’s no big deal, but those tapes in the background keep playing and these tapes cause synapses in our brain to change. Those changes can cause all kinds of physical issues. Don’t ignore or try to push the stress under the rug. You have to find a way to remove the cause of the stress in your life or find some way to deal with it in a healthy manner.

 

When is what you see less real than what you do not?

We are spiritual beings, not just clumps of carbon. We are eternal beings, this being said, what you cannot see, the spirit, is more real than anything made of carbon. Have you ever stared at someone that had their back turned to you, only to find that they turn around to look at you because something in them told them that you were staring at them? I have had this happen countless times. Somehow the spirit of that person knew that someone was looking at them. I’m not saying that what we make and do on earth doesn’t matter, it does. I’m just saying that there is a spiritual side to us that we should not ignore, that we should spend more time spending time in meditation, prayer and letting our spirits be refreshed.