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Self-Help

How To Navigate Between Order And Chaos

How to navigate between order and chaos

In the beginning, there was chaos. According to Greek mythology, the universe began as an abyss. There was no matter, no light, no life or consciousness outside of this primordial chasm. Yet out of this very void, known as Chaos, sprung not only the Titans (and later the gods of Olympus) but existence itself. Order and chaos have thus been eternally linked. Chaos is a place where everything is complex and unpredictable; order is where things are so rigid that it’s repetitive and restrictive. Navigating between the two, it is possible to find a meaningful place where you’re partly stabilized and partly curious.

Order is masculine, chaos is feminine

In his book, 12 Rules of Life: An Antitode to Chaos, Jordan Peterson did a wonderful job explaining the difference between order and chaos. A Guardian article hilariously and succinctly summarized part of Peterson’s concept:

Order is Masculine and Chaos is Feminine. Therefore to move towards Order, we all need to man up. Happiness is pointless. We are all on this Earth to suffer. So learn to suffer like a man. Not everyone can be as rich and successful as me, but try to be less of a failure than you already are.

John Crace

What Peterson actually says is, Stand up straight with your shoulders back (Rule 1) and accept the terrible responsibility of life. The point is trying to make is that life is not always a party and we need to learn how to shoulder the burden of being. In Eastern philosophy, this heroic path is known as the Middle Way. We are living in interesting times and learning to navigate between order and chaos is crucial. This article will help you do that, guided by the wise words of Jordan Peterson.

Order and chaos are the most basic subdivisions of being

Everyone experiences the world through chaos, order, and something in between called consciousness. We eternally inhabit order, surrounded by chaos. We eternally occupy known territory, surrounded by the unknown. We experience meaningful engagement when we mediate appropriately between them.

The meaning of order

Order is explored territory; it is the authority, the structured society. Order is tribe, religion, home, and country. It’s the warm, secure living room where the fireplace glows, and the children play. It’s the flag of the nation. It’s the floor underneath your feet and your plan for the day. It’s the greatness of tradition, the rows of desks in a school classroom, the train that leaves on time, the calendar, and the clock. We’re in there when things are going according to plan and nothing is new and disturbing. Order is the place where the world’s behavior matches our expectations and our desires, the place where all things turn out the way we want them to. We like to be in there. In order, we’re able to think about things in the long term. There, things work, and we are stable, calm, and competent. We seldom leave places we understand – geographical and conceptual – for that reason.

But order can be tyrannical when its demands for certainty, uniformity, and purity become too one-sided. Where everything is certain, we’re in order. You are in order when you have a loyal friend or trustworthy ally. When that person sells you out, you move from the daytime world of clarity and light to the dark underworld of chaos, confusion, and despair.

We are living in interesting times. Learn to navigate between order and chaos. Photo by Alexanderku via freepik.com

The meaning of Chaos

Chaos is unexplored territory. Chaos is the stranger represents the rustle in the bushes at night, the monster under the bed, the sickness of your child. It is the place you find yourself when things fall apart, when your dream dies, your career collapses, or your marriage ends. Chaos is where new ideas destroy old and comfortable certainties. Chaos is when we don’t know where we are. When we don’t know what we’re doing, and when we don’t know where we are going.

When the ice you’re skating on is solid, that’s order. When the bottom drops out, and things fall apart, and you plunge through the ice; that’s chaos. Human beings have a great capacity for wrongdoing. We can and do make things worse, voluntarily, with full knowledge of what we are doing as well as accidentally, and carelessly, and in a manner that is willfully blind. There are so many ways that things can fall apart or fail to work altogether, and it is those with fortitude and perseverance who valiantly fight their way through chaos who will come on the other side, battered but victorious.

The Yin and Yang

In Eastern philosophy, order, the known, appears symbolically associated with masculinity (as illustrated in the yin and yang symbol). This is perhaps because the primary hierarchical structure of human society is masculine. It is because men are and throughout history have been the builders of towns and cities, the engineers, stonemasons, bricklayers. Order is the peacetime army of policemen and soldiers. It’s the political culture, the government, the corporate environment, and the system. Order, when pushed too far, when imbalanced, can also manifest itself destructively and terribly. It does so as the concentration camp or the gulag.

Chaos, the unknown is symbolically associated with the feminine. This is partly because all the things we have come to know were born, originally, of the unknown, just as all beings we encounter were born of mothers. Chaos is the substance from which all things are made. In its positive guide, chaos is possibility itself, the source of ideas, the miracle of gestation and birth. As a negative force, it’s the mother-bear, all compassion to her cubs, but who marks you as a potential predator and tears you to pieces.

Order and chaos are the yang and yin of the famous Taoist symbol: two serpents, head to tail. Order is the white, masculine serpent, chaos, is its black, feminine counterpart. The black dot in the white—and the white in the black—indicate the possibility of transformation: just when things seem secure, the unknown can loom, unexpectedly and large. Conversely, just when everything seems lost, new order can emerge from catastrophe and chaos.

Order & Chaos – Yin & Yang

For the Taoists, meaning is to be found on the border between the ever-entwined pair. To walk that border is to stay on the path of life, the Middle Way or the Divine Way. The Taoist juxtaposition of yin and yang doesn’t simply portray chaos and order as the fundamental element of being – it also tells you how to act. The Way, The Taoist path of life, is represented by the border between the twin serpents. The Way is the path of proper Being. The same idea is expressed in Matthew 7:14: “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it”.

To saddle that fundamental duality is to be balanced: to have one foot firmly planted in order and security and the other in chaos will lead to growth and adventure. Everyone understands order and chaos, good and evil. We all have a palpable sense of chaos lurking under everything familiar. We’ve all been to both places many times. When life suddenly reveals itself as intense, gripping, and meaningful, when time passes, and you’re so engrossed in what you’re doing, you don’t notice – it is there and then that you are located precisely on the border between order and chaos. It’s the right place to be in every sense. Chaos and order are fundamental elements because every lived situation is made up of both.

No matter where we are, there are some things we can identify, make use of, and predict, and some things we neither know nor understand. No matter where we are, some things are under our control, and some things are not. The fundamental reality of chaos and order is true for everything alive, not only for us. Living things are always to be found in places they can master, surrounded by things and situations that make them vulnerable. Order is not enough. You can’t just be stable, and secure, and unchanging because there are still vital and important new things to be learned. Nonetheless, chaos can be too much. You can’t tolerate being swamped and overwhelmed beyond your capacity to cope while learning what you still need to know.

Thus, you need to place one foot in what you have mastered and understood and the other in what you are currently exploring and mastering. Then you have positioned yourself where the terror of existence is under control, and you are secure, but where you are also alert and engaged.

This is where meaning could be found. And, this my dear friend, is your Quest.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

Categories
Self-Help

Everybody Is As Lost as you are. Nobody has it figured out

I wrote an article recently titled Why being confident matters, the main idea of the article is that being confident matters a great deal because it acts as a protective shield. Bullies and predators’ favorite types of victims are those who are weak, easy to conquer, and less likely to put up a fight. If you are walking in the street with your eyes on your feet and hunched around, you broadcast to the world your vulnerability; but on the other hand, if you stand up straight with your shoulders back, if you walk tall and stare forthrightly ahead you broadcast to the world that you are solid, ready to face whatever life is throwing at you, and you know where you are going.

The question is do you know where you are going? Do you know what you want in life? Do you have your future all figured out? Most of us would no doubt visualize our future as being bright and happy, with success attached to our name, living comfortably with people we love around us. This is what most people want, right? But how do we get to that picture-perfect-happy place?

Everybody is as lost as you are

Social media is full of people looking their best and leading a ‘perfect’ life, but nobody really knows what’s really going on behind the scenes. Things may look pristine on the surface, but pretty messy underneath. Moreover, you never know what it took for people to get to where they are, all the hard work, all the rejections, the sweat, the tears, the setbacks, the doubt, the number of years it took them to become an ‘overnight’ success.

Nobody has it all figured out because life rarely works out as planned. Having a plan and doing everything you can to implement it is always a good idea; except that things happen, unexpected events, delays, setbacks are bound to show up when you least expect it and mess-up your plan. All those things could take you down a path that you did not envisage and certainly didn’t plan for. This said, being rigid about the plan is not going to help.

Everybody is as lost as you. Nobody has it figured out, but I am very good at making plans, and I stick to them – Photo by http://www.slon.pics via freepik.comking plans

Remember the points I made in this other article I wrote titled Rules to break: Make a PLan and Stick To It . On one hand, making plans and sticking to them is a good idea because it encourages discipline and demonstrates one’s ability to persevere despite difficulties and setbacks. As a general rule being disciplined and persistent is a good thing. Whatever you do, give it your best shot and try it long enough to figure out whether it is a goer or not. If you quit too early and too often, you may never see your efforts pay off.

On the other hand, you have to have enough foresight to see that sometimes your ideas and vision don’t match reality, and being stubborn about it can cost you more than just pride. There is no virtue in sticking to the plan merely because it’s the plan. Sometimes you have to adapt, pivot, and rectify the plan if and when necessary.

Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck

Dalai Lama

Being lost and not knowing where you are going in life may fill you with a sense of dread, but instead of panicking, pause for a minute or two to have a conversation with yourself to try to figure things out.

Nobody has it all figured out, but you can start with your why to make sense of it all

In 2009, Simon Sinek gave a TED talk called How Great Leaders Inspire Action; in this talk, he invited business leaders to start with why. The talk went viral which gave Simon the perfect excuse to turn the 19 minutes talk into a whole book titled Start with Why. The core of the book centers around the Golden Circle Concept. There are three parts of the Golden Circle: Why, How and What. Why do you get out of bed in the morning? Why does your company exist? Very few people can clearly articulate why they do what they do. How is your process and it describes the specific actions you have to take to realize your why. It is your unique selling proposition. What is the result of the why, it is the products or services that you sell.

Everybody is as lost as you. Nobody has it figured out, but I found my passion – Photo by http://www.slon.pics via freepik.com

Knowing your why gives you the highest level of confidence you can get: I know it is right. If you want to find out why you are lost and try to figure out where you want to go, you should start with your why, which will become apparent to you as soon as you trust your gut feeling and stay true to your cause or belief, your passion.

It is right for people to want to live their lives with passion. The problem is that people believe that their passion is hiding somewhere, maybe behind a tree or underneath a rock. We should be first and foremost passionate about life itself. The truth is that our passion comes from doing things right. Get into the habit of injecting passion into all the things that you do. If you do this consistently, a time will come when something stands out above all the other things, that is the thing to devote more time to doing passionately.

For those who have found their passion but feel discouraged by the lack of validation and recognition, my advice would be to stop focusing on the outcome and start focusing on the work itself. Pursue the things you love doing and devote yourself on a daily basis to practice and hone your art until people cannot take their eyes off you.

Everybody is as lost as you are. Nobody has it all figured out but you can start with your why to make sense of it all.

And, this my dear Friend, is your Quest.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

Categories
Self-Help

Insignificant, Yet Important

Whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it because you can’t know. You can’t ever really know the meaning of your life. And you don’t need to. Every life has meaning, whether it lasts one hundred years or one hundred seconds.”

Mahatma Gandhi.

This quote from Mahatma Gandhi is profound in many ways, it teaches us that the insignificant is important, and who we are and what we do have an impact on people around us and on the world at large; we have more influence than we think.

The insignificant is important because small choices + consistency + time = significant results.

Have you heard about the concept of compound effect? The compound effect is the strategy of reaping huge rewards from small, seemingly insignificant actions. Darren Hardy wrote a whole book on this fascinating subject. Success is doing half dozen things really well, repeated five thousand times. Your life is a result of your moment-to-moment choices and the compound effect is the operating system that has been running your life whether you know it or not.

Compound Effect. Photo from Alfah via freepik.com

Small changes done consistently each day can add up to a big reward further down the line. The doubling penny example illustrates this point quite well. If I offer you $1 million dollars right now or a penny that would double in value each and every day for the next 30 days, which would you choose? Most people would jump at the opportunity to grab $1 million and make a run for it. However, if you spend a little time thinking it through, you would be better off choosing the second option. If you double a penny every day for the next 30 days, you will end up with $5.3 million dollars. Sure, you may be thinking nobody knows where I would be in the next 30 days, I may be dead, so might as well grab $1 million now. The chance is, you will be perfectly fine and alive in the next 30 days and if you opted for the second choice you would be sitting on $5.3 million dollars. Not insignificant!

The insignificant is important because no man is an island

Every life matters because we operate within a chain of existence where everything we do or don’t do affects our environment and the people we interact with. Every person you come in contact with is somehow impacted by your presence.

Today you wake up happy and in a good mood, ready to make the most of the day ahead of you. You go out of your building, cross path with a stranger, and decide to hold the door for that person to let him in the building; that gesture will likely trigger a positive reaction from that person who will smile back, say thank you, and wish you a pleasant day. Good manners go a long way and can create a positive ripple effect. So now we have two happy people out and about with a smile on their faces.

At the end of a stressful day in the office you come back home, you are tired and in a bad mood. You walk towards your building, cross paths with a stranger by the front door, and lash out at that person for being in your way. Your lack of civility will have a ripple effect on that person’s mood and you may have just ruined the rest of their evening. So now we have two unhappy people out and about with a grumpy expression on their faces. Those examples show that you have the power to make someone‘s day a great day or a shitty day.

Insignificant, Yet Important. Photo from Alfah via freepik.com

The majority of people go about their daily life without considering the impact their words or actions could have on someone else. Our impact on others is largely unconscious. We do things without considering the repercussions or even realizing that our actions and words matter. We dish out our opinions on social media without a second thought about the possible ripples effect that our comment may cause to someone. We wrongly believe that our words and/or actions don’t matter that much because who are we to think that we have the power to shape the world around us?

This belief is wrong. Each and every one of us has a great deal of power over our environment, there is no doubt that we can have a positive or a negative impact on this world through the choices we make every day. You do not need to be famous or wealthy or write a book to be influential. Assuming that you don’t live under a rock, you will be surrounded by family, friends, colleagues, random people you come in contact with all the time, and this in itself gives you some kind of influence.

Do not underestimate the impact you have on others. The impression you leave on this life and on others is your legacy, and this in itself is a big deal. Be intentional about the way you live your life, because that is your legacy.

“Please think about your legacy because you are writing it every day.”

Gary Vaynerchuk

It’s the little things that count. Way too often, we just stop. We stop trying, stop caring, stop moving. For sure accomplishing great deeds of valor is a worthwhile pursuit, but at the same time, we should not underestimate the power of doing small acts that are just and right, a touch of a hand, a smile, a kind word, and doing them over and over again, no matter what; those are the things that count. Insignificant, yet important!

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

Categories
Self-Help

Why Being Confident Matters

Confidence is difficult to define because it is subjective, elusive, and hard to pin down; but you know it when you see it, and you know what it feels like to be around it. Being confident is an experience. We also know when we don’t feel it when we hide underneath a blanket of self-doubt, anxiety, and insecurity. Confidence and lack of confidence are some of those rare qualities that are infectious. When you act confident you exude good positive vibes, people want to be around you, follow your lead, and be inspired by you. When you feel wary, insecure, and defeated people tend to stay away from you. Being confident matters a great deal. Please read on to find out why.

Why being confident matters?

Being confident matters a great deal because whether we like it or not being successful in our professional and personal life depends to a great extent on what we do and how we do it. On a professional level, what we do is a matter of technical skills, and how we do it is a function of confidence.

“Skill and confidence are an unconquered army.”

George Herbert
Why being confident matters. Photo from @raulmellado via freepik.com

Confidence should not be an end in and of itself, and it will never compensate for good old-fashioned hard work. Even the most confident people need to be confident about something, themselves, their work, their identities, and confidence divorced from content will fall apart sooner rather than later. Confidence isn’t just about style, it’s also about substance; the two are intimately connected.

Rule 1 of Jordan Peterson’s book “The 12 Rules for Life” is to stand up straight with your shoulders back.

“Attend carefully to your posture. Quit drooping and hunching around. Speak your mind. Put your desires forward, as if you had a right to them, at least the same right as others. Walk tall and gaze forthrightly ahead. Dare to be dangerous.”

Jordan Peterson

Confidence manifests in a number of highly visible ways: our body language, vocal tonality, verbal cues. Confidence matters a great deal because it acts as a protective shield. Bullies and predators’ favorite types of victims are those who are weak, easy to conquer, and less likely to put up a fight. If you are walking in the street with your eyes on your feet and hunched around, you broadcast to the world your vulnerability; but on the other hand, if you stand up straight with your shoulders back, if you walk tall and stare forthrightly ahead you broadcast to the world that you are solid and ready to face whatever life is throwing at you.

Use your body language and your vocal tone like you mean business. Operate in a calm-assertive-mode with the ability to turn into fighting-mode if and when required.True confidence is a process, it is not constant. It comes and goes. It ebbs and flows. It takes a hit and has to recover. It’s always evolving during the course of our lives as we take on new situations, challenges, and goals. So, we have to keep working on it as we go along.

Be confident without trying to fake it

Why being confident matters. Photo from @raulmellado via freepik.com

One of the recipes for success promoted by many self-development gurus and authors is to fake it until you make it. Confidence is a quality that can be projected or faked. Deep insecurity can masquerade as confidence, politicians are experts in the art of faking it. Confidence can be hacked acquired and learned if you spend enough time practicing talking, acting, and looking a certain way.

The question is how long can you fake it? My take on this is that you can fake it for a little while until the entire act of faking confidence will become too exhausting, confusing, and alienating, as keeping up appearances becomes your primary objective. And here starts a vicious circle of faking it, being fearful of being found out and doubling down on the illusion.

Wouldn’t it be easier if instead of faking it you practice the real thing, by being more authentic, more grounded?

“True confidence is a feeling of self-assurance that is grounded in an authentic experience of our own ability, perspective and sufficiency. It is also a sense that we are enough, that we aren’t lacking in some fundamental sense that prevents us from navigating the world in a healthy, positive, and productive way. It is a quality we all inspire to have. With it we feel engaged, purposeful, inspired. Without it, we feel wary, defeated, fearful.”

Jordan Harbinger

A few tips to help you be more confident

  1. Stand up straight with shoulders back. Confidence is expressed most profoundly through our bodies. No matter how well we speak, the way we feel about ourselves will always manifest in our posture, our hand movements, and our facial features.
  2. Dress for success, for the job, and for the life you want. We have to remember that people’s first impressions are made when they see us, not when we first interact with them. This is why you should pay attention to your physical appearance. Wearing the right attire for the right occasion is important. Showing up at a job interview wearing garments that are inappropriate for the job on offer, will for sure not get you that job and will also knock down your confidence level a few notches. This rule doesn’t stop when you are at home, you can wear comfortable clothes, and still look fabulous, ready to have a fabulous day.
  3. Speak as you mean it. After body language, our voice is our most powerful tool to make a good impression. Vocal tonality, which includes not just the physical quality of our voice but also our pitch, articulation, syntax, volume, and intention, expresses and reinforces our innermost sense of self. And remember that our voice tonality could act as a protective shield, if you find yourself in a situation where someone is invading your personal space, taking liberties that make you feel uncomfortable, assert yourself through your words and voice tonality, put some boundaries and make it very clear that you are not to be messed with. Don’t let yourself be intimidated by someone who is taking too much liberty.
  4. Be authentic. Being authentic means being emotionally honest, clear about your experience of the world, and free of pretense. It means responding to every moment of life, the positive and the negative, in your own way, without faking it. True authenticity owns and acknowledges those less than pleasant experiences in our lives in a way that ultimately enhances our sense of self. In other words, we don’t become confident by never feeling insecure. Nobody feels positive, upbeat, and confident at every hour of the day. I got news for you; everybody is as lost as you are. If you respond authentically to your experiences (good or bad) and are able to share those experiences in the appropriate amount (too much self-pity will turn you into a victim – avoid this at all cost), in an appropriate way, in appropriate contexts, you are all set. If you do it right, those moments of vulnerability can turn into an asset and a strength.

Be confident without being arrogant

There is a fine line between arrogance and confidence, and it can be hard to distinguish between the two. Working to boost self-esteem is a good thing but taking it to excess can encourage arrogance and narcissism instead.Confidence is a feeling of self-assurance that comes from an appreciation of our abilities or qualities. Arrogance is characterized by having an exaggerated sense of our importance or abilities, and self-righteousness. Arrogance often masks an insecurity. Confidence on the other hand stems from true self-worth. Ultimately, arrogance repels us. I don’t know a lot of people who like to spend time with arrogant people. Confident people are the opposite: they inspire others. Never underestimate the power of being confident, it matters a great deal. And this, my dear friend, is your Quest!

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

Categories
Self-Help

You Are Too Old For This. Too Young For That!

Age is often an issue in our society. It is not uncommon to be judged just by age alone with the verdict coming in the form of statements such as “Sorry you are too young, come back in a few years’ time when you have gained more experience” or “Sorry you are too old, we cannot take the risk of taking on board someone of your age. Age should not matter. Being young or being old should not interfere with your mission in life, if you have the conviction, the energy, and the willpower to follow your gut-feeling and pursue your dream, then go for it. Through this article, I will introduce you to some amazing people who didn’t let their age define what they could or could not do.

“You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear, as young as your hope, as old as your despair.”

Samuel Illman

You are too old for this

Explorers are a special type of human being. They have physical endurance, mental toughness, abundant determination and willpower, a deep feeling of purpose; they have faith in their pursuit and live every day with the conviction of their Quest. Meet Alexandra David-Neel and Sir Ranulph Fiennes two extraordinary explorers who engaged in hazardous and demanding adventures at an age where most of us would want to put our feet up and take it easy.

You are too old for this?! Meet Alexandra David Neel. Photo from @LesEchosWeekEnd

Alexandra David-Neel[1] claimed to have this deep desire for adventure since she was a child. She was born in Saint-Mandé, a suburb of Paris, and her earliest childhood memory was the desire to explore further than the confines of her own yard; her first break for the street being when she was just two years old. Later, during her teenage years, she recalled feeling distressed by the long, idle vacations her family took.

“I cried bitter tears more than once, having the profound feeling that, my life was passing by, that the days of my youth were going by, empty, without interest, without joy. I understood that I was wasting time that would never return, that I was losing hours that could have been beautiful.

Alexandra David Neel

Alexandra David-Neel was 56 years old when she undertook her expedition to Lhasa, Tibet when it was still forbidden to foreigners. She disguised herself as a beggar and traveled for many months along very difficult terrain, including a 19,000-foot mountain to get into Lhasa. She witnessed murders and battles, had to barter with warlords, suffered from hunger, and traveled through snowstorms. She is believed to be the first Western woman to ever visit the holy city of Lhasa, the center of Tibetan Buddhism, and she lived to the remarkable age of one hundred years old.

You are too old for this?! Meet Sir Ralph Fiennes. Photo from @warwickartscentre.co.uk

Sir Ranulph Fiennes[2] was described in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s greatest living explorer. He is also a prolific writer and poet. Fiennes served in the British Army for 8 years. He later undertook numerous expeditions and was the first person to visit both the North and South Poles by surface and the first to completely cross Antarctica on foot.In May 2009, at the age of 65, he climbed the summit of Mount Everest.

Prior to that in 2003, he had suffered from a heart attack and had had a double heart bypass surgery. Several months later he agreed to complete seven marathons in seven days on seven continents in the Land Rover 7x7x7 Challenge for the British Heart Foundation. In June 2005, Fiennes had to abandon his attempt to become the oldest Briton to climb Mount Everest, forced to turn back due to heart problems, after reaching the final stopping point of the ascent. In 2007, Fiennes made his second attempt to climb Mount Everest, getting to within 400 meters of the summit before bad timing and bad weather stopped the expedition.

On 20th May 2009, Fiennes reached the summit of Mount Everest, becoming the oldest British person to achieve this feat. Ranulph Fiennes demonstrates that age and even a heart condition is no good reason to stop you from going achieving your own Quest.

Photo of Deshung Wang from @worldkings.org

But you don’t have to climb Mount Everest or travel through Tibet to be extraordinary, you could just go to your local gym or your local swimming pool.

Meet 80 Years old Deshun Wang.

“My name is Deshun Wang. Born and raised in Shengyan, China. Many people started noticing me after a catwalk show. Some people call me the hottest grandpa. Some people said that I am an instant internet sensation. But you know what, to prepare for this day, I have been getting ready for 60 years. At 24, I was a theatrical actor. At 44, I started learning English. At 49, I created my own pantomime troupe, I went to Beijing and became a Beijing drifter. I had nothing to my name, starting everything from scratch. At 50, I stepped into my first gym and I started working out. At 57, I returned to the stage and created the world’s only form of performance art called ‘Living Sculpture Performance’. At 70, I really got into working out. At 79, I got my first catwalk. I am 80 this year and I still got some left in me. I still have some dreams to achieve. Believe me, potential can be explored. When you think, it’s too late, be careful to not let that become your excuse for giving up. No one can keep you from success except yourself. When it’s time to shine, be the brightest. I am Dushun Wang.”

Your are too old for this?! Phot by @worldkings.org

You are too young for that

Jessica Watson[3] is Modern-Day adventurer and explorer. For her, it started when she read (at the age of eleven years old) the book Lionheart by Jesse Martin, an Australian Sailor who in 1999 became the youngest person (at the age of 17) to circumnavigate the globe solo, non-stop, and unassisted. How many of us have heard or read about people doing amazing things and said to ourselves – “I can do that” and then gone ahead and done it?!

Jessica Watson became the youngest person who, at the age of sixteen years old sailed solo, unassisted, and nonstop around the world (18 October 2009 – 15 May 2010). She explained during an interview for the Los Angeles Times the reasons for her journey:

“I wanted to challenge myself and achieve something to be proud of. And yes, I wanted to inspire people. I hated being judged by my appearance and other people’s expectations of what ‘a little girl’ was capable of. It’s no longer just my dream or voyage. Every milestone out here isn’t just my achievement, but an achievement for everyone who has put so much time and effort into helping me here.”

Jessica Watson

Not all of us want to sail solo around the world but Jessica Watson’s story is an inspiring story that shows how grit and determination can help you achieve your dream, even at the young age of 17. In the same vein is the amazing Laura Deker[4] from Holland who started her 2-year-round the world solo trip (with stops) in 2012 (at the age of 14) but only after winning a fierce legal battle with the Dutch authorities who did everything, they could to stop her adventure because of her young age. Laura Deker’s inspiring message to us all is that: “You have everything you need to become the hero of your dream”.

Youth by Samuel Ullman

Youth is not the age of life, but the age of the heart. Not rosy cheeks and red lips and a flexible body With strong will and abundant imagination.In the fountain of deep and deep life. It is freshness that elutes.

Youth is not a spirit of courage. Jumping from great love. It is in courage and adventure. 20 years old without courage is an old man. Courageous 60 years old is youth.

People don’t get old just because they get older. You grow old only when you lose your dreams. Although time increases the wrinkles more, the mind that has lost its enthusiasm becomes wrinkled. Worry, fear, and self-harm kill my mind made of garbage.

The important thing for everyone is to move and what’s next? Childlike curiosity. It is a heart-warming and joyful challenge to an unknown life. Close your eyes and think. The wireless base in your mind. Numerous antennas soaring high in the blue sky. That antenna will receive.

The message of the great man and the message of the noble Mother Nature. How beautiful and wonderful the world is. How cool it is to be alive! As long as you keep receiving the message of life without losing your courage, hope, and smile, you are always a young man.

If the antennae of your heart collapses and is covered with snow-cold cynicism and Ice-hardened disappointment; you are certainly an old man, even at the age of 20. But while your antennae constantly received the message of life, you are always young, even at the age of 80.

Youth, not in a young body. It is in a young spirit.

[1] Alexandra David-Neel (24 October 1868 – 8th September 1969 – France). Explorer, spiritualist, Buddhist, anarchist, and writer. Best known for her exploration trip to Lhasa.

[2] Sir Ranulph Fiennes (OBE) (born 7 March 1944 – England) – Explorer and holder of several endurance records.

[3] Jessica Watson (born on 18 May 1993 – Australia) – Sailor – Author of the book “True Spirit” – “True Spirit”.

[4] Laura Dekker (born 20 September 1995 – New Zealand) – Sailor – Author of the book “One Girl One Dream” – Maiden Trip.

This article was inspired by Chapter 1 & 2 (Olden -day and Modern-Day Explorers) of my book “This Is Your Quest

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

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Self-Help

There is Never Enough Time, Or Is There?

It is the end of another busy day and you are wondering where did the time go? A lot of us seem to have this problem. There never seems to be enough time in the day for everything we need or want to do. Or is there? It’s always a question of time, you are either on time, out of time, pressed for time, having a bad time, or just racing against time, thinking that maybe next time, for sure there is still time until one day your time is up. Time is of the essence. All we have to do is to decide what to do with the time that is given to us

There is never enough time, or is there?

We all know how easy it is to waste time and get distracted by numerous non-essential activities. There is nothing more distracting than having a source of unlimited information, entertainment, and shopping at your fingertips. Perhaps you spend several hours playing computer games, watching endless TV, obsessively checking your social media feeds. You may think that wasting an hour here and there is not a big deal, but it is because slowly but surely and without you realizing it you can blow away a whole lifetime.

There is never enough time

You have to be conscious of where your time is going because that’s where your life is going. Make everyday count for something. Don’t get sucked into pointlessness. Of course, you can watch a bit of TV and play computer games but be intentional about it. It is important that you attach value to your time. Life is precious and frittering away time is more than you can spare.

If you want to leave your footprints on the sands of time do not drag your feet.”

A.P.J Abdul Kalam

The value of Time. How you spend your day is how you spend your life

Time is the most valuable asset each person has. Every day when we wake up, each one of us has the same amount of time to live a meaningful life, to learn, to give, to share, to experience, to make a difference, to be who we really want to be. We all have twenty-four hours a day to do all those things. How you spend your days is how you spend your life. You must make the most of time, because as it ticks by and the days turn into weeks, then into months, and then into years; life can pass you by before you know it. Don’t wait all week for the weekend, enjoy each day as it comes. Don’t wait all year for the summer, enjoy each season as it comes. Don’t wait all your life to be happy, happiness happens every day.

The Value of Time

“To realize the value of one year, ask a student who failed a grade. To realize the value of one month, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby. To realize the value of one week, ask a writer of a weekly newspaper. To realize the value of one day, ask an applicant who missed a job interview. To realize the value of one hour, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet. To realize the value of one minute, ask the person who just missed his plane. To realize the value of one second, ask a person who has survived an accident. To realize the value of one millisecond, ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics.”

There is never enough time unless you make time.

Time waits for no one. Too often we do not realize the value of what we have until it is gone. How many people out there will not realize the value of spending quality time with their aging parents until after their parents have died and later live with regret? The time is there to take an unscheduled trip to surprise your parents and pass some enjoyable moments, sharing meals, laughing, exchanging stories, connecting, and really appreciating each other.

How many people out there do not realize the value of showing appreciation to their wife or husband for the little things that they do every day, until the time that the spouse decides to leave, sick and tired of being taken for granted and not feeling appreciated.

How many people out there do not realize the value of being spontaneous, of being young and feeling alive, living life to the full, doing things on the spur of the moment, only to realize when they become old, tired, and sick that they had the opportunity and missed out?The Quest for most of us is to understand that time is of the essence.

Time is the most valuable commodity that each of us has. Once spent, you can never get it back. Spend it wisely.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

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Self-Help

Rule to Break. Make a Plan and Stick to It

The book ‘The Rules to Break– A Personal Code for Living Your Life Your Way’ by Richard Templar, exposes all those ‘well-intended’ rules and gracious advice from teachers, parents, friends that somehow become ingrained in us. The trouble is many of those rules often aren’t true and yet they have a major influence on our lives. Instead of blindly accepting the rules set down for us by other people, we should learn to question them, think for ourselves, and be more fluid in our judgment. This article is the second of a series of articles I have decided to write offering you a selection of rules to break, and today we are going to look into the rule that encourages people to make a plan and stick to it.

Rule to break: Make a plan and stick to it.

Make a plan and stick to it. Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

Throughout your life, you will have a raft of people from well-intended parents to teachers, spouse, siblings, etc… who will tell you that to succeed in life you need to make a plan and stick to it. Everything we do requires us to make a plan of sorts. Making plans is part of what we do every day, we plan our days at work, our weekends, our food shopping; we have a plan for our short, medium, and long-term goals, and that is how it should be. It is particularly important to plan ahead for the future. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark, and you dig the well before you are thirsty.

Make a plan and stick to it sounds like very good advice. It encourages discipline and perseverance. The sticking to the plan part is what demonstrates one’s ability to persevere despite difficulties and setbacks. There are plenty of great stories of people who kept going despite the rejections. J.K. Rowling’s original synopsis of Harry Potter and the philosopher’s stone was rejected by 12 different publishing houses before Bloomsbury accepted it. In 2004 Forbes magazine named J.K Rowling the first person to become a billionaire by writing books. No doubt that her persistence to continue writing her novel whilst she was a single mother living on welfare paid off.

Those stories of achieving great success through sheer grit and perseverance are inspiring; we rarely hear stories that say, “when the going gets tough, just give up”, but these stories exist, they are just not as celebrated. Consider Isaac Newton who is famous for discovering the Law of Gravity; you may not be aware but before he achieved celebrity status, he wasted many years of his life in his quest to become a successful alchemist. Newton was obsessed with alchemy and spent years trying to decipher strange numerological codes hidden in the bible that he thought could give him the recipe for turning lead into gold. Eventually, he came to realize that his pursuit of alchemy was futile and decided to redirect his energy to more scientific pursuits, which eventually led him to discover the Law of Gravity.

New rule: Life is unpredictable. Adapt, pivot, rectify the plan if necessary.

Isaac Newton – Law of Gravity. Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

As a general rule being disciplined and persistent is a good thing. Whatever you do, give it your best shot and try it long enough to figure out whether it is a goer or not. If you quit too early and too often, you may never see your efforts pay off. On the other hand, you have to have enough foresight to see that sometimes your ideas and vision don’t match reality, and being stubborn about it can cost you more than just pride. There is no virtue in sticking to the plan merely because it’s the plan. Sometimes you have to adapt, pivot, and rectify the plan if and when necessary.

Life is no different than the weather, it can be unpredictable. The Brits like to say, “there is no such thing as bad weather only bad clothing.” As long as you are wearing proper clothing the weather does not matter, you can go out and do whatever you need to do whether it rains or snows.

Talking about the weather, the invasion of Normandy by the allied forces during World War II took months of meticulous planning. The planning and strategic team responsible for the invasion of Normandy had to consider the weather, the moon, and tides when assigning a date for D-Day. Air operations required clear skies and a full moon for good visibility. Naval operations required low winds and calm seas to safely transport troops ashore. Ground troops needed to land at low tide when German beach obstacles were exposed and easier to deal with. D-Day required the best combination of all these factors.

Military Generals relied on information from meteorologists and other specialists to decide the best date for the invasion. With all the information made available to him, Supreme Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower decided to set the date on 5th June. In the days leading up to D-Day the meteorologists forecast that weather conditions would worsen; on the 4th of June Eisenhower decided to postpone the invasion by 24 hours, based on the information from his meteorologists that there will be a temporary break in the weather on the 6th of June. Delaying further was not an option, as it was difficult to keep such a large operation a secret for too long.

Eisenhower decided to launch the invasion during that small window where the weather would clear. D-Day happened on 6th June 1944. Historians agree that the D-Day military invasion that helped end World War II was one of the most ambitious and consequential military campaigns of the time and to this day, it remains among one of the greatest military achievements in recent history.

Moral of the story: Have a plan and stick to it in the first place, but be prepared to adapt, pivot, and rectify the plan as and when necessary.

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Self-Help

Rules to Break. The Internet Makes You Anonymous

The book ‘The Rules to Break– A Personal Code for Living Your Life Your Way’ by Richard Templar, exposes all those ‘well-intended’ rules and gracious advice from teachers, parents, friends that somehow become ingrained in us. The trouble is many of those rules often aren’t true and yet they have a major influence on our lives. Instead of blindly accepting the rules set down for us by other people, we should learn to question them, think for ourselves, and be more fluid in our judgment. This article is the first of a series of articles I have decided to write offering you a selection of rules to break and the question of the day is whether the internet makes you anonymous, why freedom of expression is so fundamental, and how Cancel Culture is becoming a thing these days.

Rule to break: The internet makes you anonymous.

Rules to break: The internet makes you ananymous. Photo by @freepik Via freepik.com

The ‘accepted’ rule is that the internet makes you anonymous. Richard Templar disagrees. It’s so easy he said, sitting all on your own in your bedroom with your computer, to think that no one can see you. You use your computer like a mask, except that your computer doesn’t conceal your real identity. You may feel a level of detachment from your social networking pages or your emails, but the people who read them are very conscious that these words or pictures come straight from you. So, you have to take responsibility for what you say and do online. If you wouldn’t say a thing to someone’s face, don’t say it to Facebook either. Be considerate of what pictures you post or the tone of the emails you send. If you wouldn’t do it or say it offline, then don’t do it or say it online. And if in doubt don’t.

New Rule: The internet doesn’t make you anonymous, but it can make you a hero or a prat.

Social media makes you all way too comfortable with disrespecting people and not getting punched in the face for it”.

Mike Tyson

There are a lot of talks these days about Cancel Culture which is defined by Wikipedia as a modern form of ostracism in which someone is thrown out of social media or professional circles either online on social media or in the real world or both. Those who are subject to this ostracism are said to be canceled i.e., culturally blocked from having a prominent public platform or career.

On the one hand, we have people who are condoning, encouraging, and participating in cancel culture, those people have a tendency to see themselves as civil rights activists and romanticize their activities as some radical but necessary form of citizen justice. On the other hand, we have the canceled victims who because of a misplaced word, post, tweet, image, or statement (which by the way falls perfectly within the remit of the law) can see their whole life and livelihood destroyed.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the freedom of speech, religion, and the press. In the UK, article 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998 protects the Freedom of Expression: “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authorities and regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art or through any other media of his choice.”

Superior Rule: Freedom of Expression is a fundamental and inalienable right of all individuals

Free Speech. Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

Freedom of expression in all its forms and manifestations is a fundamental and inalienable right of all individuals. Additionally, it is an indispensable requirement for the very existence of a democratic society. At the same time, it is also universally recognized that it is not an absolute right, and every democracy has developed some system of limitations on freedom of expression. Any restrictions on freedom of expression must firstly be provided by law and secondly, it must be for the protection of a legitimate and overriding interest. For example, common limitations or boundaries to freedom of speech relate to libel, slander, obscenity, pornography, classified information, copyright violations, trade secrets, etc.

Cancel culture is a direct affront to the freedom of thought, expression, and speech. The idea is to blame, shame, and destroy the target. There are no rules, no code of conduct. It is open season, and it operates beyond the remit of the law of the land. You can’t really describe it as a movement because it has neither leaders nor membership and those who take part in it do so erratically, but it is a practice that is often used in the political arena to ostracize people with a different political opinion. It is not clear whether the goals are to right a specific wrong and redress an injustice, or to speak out against and condemn an untrustworthy system and make a plea for a fairer one or whether it is just done for sport and for the thrill of humiliating and destroying the target.

Whether you condemn or condone cancel culture is up to you and can be the subject of some virulent debates, but for me, Cancel Culture is all about how we communicate and treat each other. Wanting to destroy someone’s life and livelihood just because of their view on a particular subject is taking it way too far; it demonstrates a lack of decency, way too much intolerance, and most of all an astonishing overreach of the power of media. It is not uncommon nowadays to be de-platformed, censored, banned from your social media just because; media companies have granted to themselves the ultimate power of censorship which goes way beyond what the law of the land allows. Think about this for a minute or two and let it sink in.

Rule of Karma

French Revolution. Eugene Delacroix

But beware, because the pendulum always swings in both directions; you could be a perpetrator of Cancel Culture today and become a target tomorrow. A vivid example of this could be found in the French Revolution which began in 1787 as a populist movement against the Monarchy. The uprising culminated in the beheading of Louis XVI and his wife Marie-Antoinette.

Maximilien Robespierre was a controversial figure of this period in French history. He started his life as a lawyer, became a politician and a revolutionary figure of the French Revolution who actively participated in the revolt against the French Monarchy; he had an active role in helping put in place a new Republique based on the principles of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. But as we all know by now, power corrupts, and it corrupts absolutely.

Robespierre became so obsessed with the idea of ‘defending’ the revolutionary ideas at all costs that he became a ruthless and bloody dictator himself, imposing his will right, left, and center and being directly responsible for the massacres and public executions of almost 17,000 ‘dissidents’. Robespierre famously declared that “Without terror virtue is impotent”. This dark period of French history is known as the Reign of Terror.

Eventually, a group of brave souls decided that enough was enough, the fearmongering and killing had to stop; so, they decided to give Robespierre a taste of his own medicine. They took it upon themselves to arrest Robespierre and his companions in crimes and publicly executed/canceled them on the same guillotine used for Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. This final execution put an end to the Reign of Terror.

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The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

Categories
Get Wealthy

$how Me the Money

There are a lot of things you hear about money: The Love of Money is the root of all evil. Money doesn’t grow on trees. Money can’t buy happiness. Nowadays there is a huge divide between the 1% of the population who holds in their hands the vast majority of the world’s wealth, leaving the 99% trying to pick over the remainders. Money is what makes people worry the most and makes them the happiest and the unhappiest.

The true fact of all money matters remains a secret for the majority of people. In this article, I will unveil the hidden secrets of money. [Hint, the current debt-based-fiat-money system was born in secrecy following a meeting of some of the most influential people of the time gathered on Jekyll Island]. I will also explain what money is and where it is coming from. [Hint: ‘money’ is created out of thin air and is just a piece of paper with no intrinsic value.] And finally, I will take you on an epic journey through history, right from the start where I will tell you the story of the Scotsman who is responsible for all of your money worries. Fasten your seat belt, it is going to be a hell of a ride.

Hidden Secrets of Money

There is a difference between money and currency, most people would not know what is the key factor that distinguishes one from the other. The best person to explain the difference is Mike Maloney, who is the creator of the series Hidden Secrets of Money; he made it his mission in life to see through all the smoke and mirrors that surrounds money matters. As the title of his series suggests, the true facts of all money matters remain a secret for the majority of people.

“Our true wealth is our time and freedom. Money is just a tool for trading your time. It is a container to store your economic energy until you are ready to deploy it. The secrets of money are hidden in plain sights, they are out in the open like the way the monetary system works, but most people can’t really see or understand how it really works; the use of technical jargon makes it very opaque and inaccessible to the uninitiated. The secret remains a secret because of a lack of proficiency for the majority of people. Other secrets are meant to be just that, secrets! But the truth is finally coming out, such as the fact that the Federal Reserve is a private corporation and not part of the US Government.” Mike Maloney

Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

G. Edward Griffin the author of The Creature of Jekyll Island explains in his book the origin of the Federal Reserve. He describes it as a creature.

Most people think that the Federal Reserve is a Government Agency. It is not. It is a corporation. The Federal Reserve was created in 1913 and operates like a banking cartel. It is a cartel of the biggest private banks in America. They are joined together for the purpose of what all cartels do and that is to control their own industry, prevent competition and make sure their profits margins are nice and secure.

G. Edward Griffin

What is money?

But what is money? Money and currency are two different things. Currency is a medium of exchange, a unit of account that it (i) portable, (ii) durable, (iii) divisible and (iv) fungible mutually interchangeable – a dollar in your pocket buys the same amount as a dollar in my pocket. Money is all of the above plus (v) a store of value over a long period of time. The currency in your pocket is a medium of exchange. It is a unit of account because there are numbers on it. It is somewhat durable. It is portable. It is divisible and it is fungible, but it is not a real store of value because governments can print more and more of it, devaluing and diluting the currency supply, continually transferring wealth out of your pocket into the banking system.

Paper currencies have no intrinsic value and are used solely as a means of payment. When you board a plane to go on vacation overseas one of the things you are likely to bring with you is some foreign currency because as soon as you cross the border, the currency of your home country stops being useful. The same principle applies when you return home with left-over foreign currency; unless you change that currency, it will remain in your wallet with no value in the country you live in. Ultimately, currencies are just pieces of paper, with no intrinsic value.The dollar has lost 98% of its value since its creation by the Federal Reserve in 1913. All money created is debt and there are interest payments on it. There is always more debt in the system than there is currency in existence to pay the debt. The whole currency system is a debt-based system.

How money comes into existence?

Money’ is created out of thin air just by the fact that the Treasury and the Federal Reserve are swapping IOUs (“I Owe You”) with the bank as the middleman. This process is repeated over and over again enriching the banks (who systematically take a cut from each transaction) and increasing the national debt (the US National Debt stands at $23.3 trillion at the time of writing). The Treasury deposits the newly created currency into the various branches of government and gives it to politicians to fulfil their promises. The government then does some deficit spending on public works, social programs and war. Government employees, soldiers, contractors deposit their money in banks for safe keeping.

This is where the money creation process starts cranking up through a system known as Fractional Reserve Banking, which is a banking system in which only a fraction of bank deposits (i.e., 10%) are backed by actual cash on hand or money available for withdrawal. Banks are free to loan the greater part of their deposits (i.e., 90%) to customers seeking loans or debts. For example, if you deposit $100,000 in the bank and the bank has a reserve requirement of 10%, the bank must keep $10,000 of your money on reserve and can lend $90,000 to other customers. In essence, the bank has taken $100,000 and has turned it into $190,000 by giving you $100,000 credit on your deposits and by lending an additional $90,000 to someone else. This process continues to repeat itself over and over again with the next customer. This is where the vast majority of our currency supply comes from.

In essence, the commercial banks are creating money out of nothing then lending it to the people and charging interest on it. If individual persons decide to manufacture money in their own home, this is called counterfeiting. If an accountant creates money out of nothing in the company accounts, it is called accounting fraud or cooking the books, but if a bank does it, it is perfectly legal. It is absurd. But that it was it is.

Money and Currency. Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

The Founding Fathers of the Unites States knew the danger of central banking and a Debt Based Monetary System and this is why they wrote very clearly in the Constitution that only gold and silver can be money; but we have seen throughout history that what’s written on paper and what’s happening in real life is two different things. The American Revolutionary war itself started out as a tax revolt and to protect future generations from institutional theft and an out-of-control government the United States Constitution stated:

No state shall make anything but gold and silver a tender in payment of debts”.

US Constitution

Only gold and silver can be money for the simple fact that you can’t print them into oblivion.

The current system in the US is not only unconstitutional but it robs every American of the Liberty and Prosperity that the Founding Fathers fought and died for. By this means, Government may secretly and unobserved, confiscate the wealth of the people, and not one man in a million will detect the theft.”

John Maynard Keynes

This sentiment was reiterated by Sir Josiah Stamp, Former Director of the Bank of England when he said

The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The process is perhaps the most astounding piece of sleigh of hand that was ever invented. Banking was conceived in iniquity and born in sin. Bankers own the earth. Take it away from them but leave then the power to create money and control credit, and with a flick of a pen, they will create enough money to buy it back again… but if you want to continue as slaves to the bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create money and to control credit”.

Sir Josiah Stamp

To understand more about money, look back at history

In 1944, near the end of the Second World War, world leaders and economists met in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire USA, to form a new world monetary system for the post war era, ‘The Bretton Woods System’. Within the Bretton Woods Agreement the US dollar became the reserve currency of the world, promising nations that they could redeem any dollars they had for gold. The dollar’s value at the time was fixed to a gold standard, other countries currency valuations were fixed to the dollar. This system favored the United States because the US could settle its foreign payments in paper dollars, allowing the US to simply print dollars to send overseas, whereas other nations had to settle their foreign payments in gold.

President Charles de Gaulle of France called this payment system America’s exorbitant privilege. The closing of the gold window by Nixon was triggered by the decision of De Gaulle to send a warship to New York harbor with instructions to bring back all of France’s gold from the New York Federal Reserve Bank. On 15 August 1971, President Nixon repriced the dollar/gold relationship to $35 per ounce and no longer allowed the Federal Reserve to redeem dollars with gold, making the gold standard meaningless. This date is a very significant date in the history of global finance as it marked the beginning of the era of fiat money.Fiat Money is currency that a government has declared to be legal tender, but it is not backed by a physical commodity. Fiat currency is created out of thin air and is based on faith and credit in the economy backed solely by public confidence.

If you want an Empire, first create paper money

The sun never sets on the British Empire. Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

The story as to how modern-day banking was created is fascinating in its Machiavellian brilliance. As Robert Darryl Schoon explains in his video series Dollar and Sense, banking started in England in 1694 and the key character in this Shakespearean tragedy was a Scotsman by the name of William Patterson. Patterson approached the King of England, King William III, with a proposition: “If you let me issue paper money from my new bank (The Bank of England) alongside the Gold and Silver coins that are used as money; I will pay off all your war debts and loan you as much money as you need so that you can go to war again”.

King William III as the reigning monarch of the time had absolute power over the land and over its subjects but was running short of money. Why? Because like most kings he was constantly waging war. So, when William Patterson approached the King with this deal at a time when the king was heavily indebted, he could not and did not refuse. Unknown to the king, his acceptance of that deal would change the world forever.The role that paper-money has played in the shaping of history cannot be underestimated.

At the end of the 19th century, Britain’s position as the world’s greatest imperialistic power was uncontested; the expression the sun never sets on the British Empire means literally that there was always some part of the Empire on which the sun was shining.Have you ever wondered how and why England, a relatively small island in the English Channel managed to propel herself to be one of the greatest Empires of all time? The key ingredient for this phenomenal success was paper money. England was the first country to develop a modern financial and banking system. Bankers loaned fiat-money to traders, ship owners, and government officials. The formation of the Bank of England was the determining factor that allowed the British to borrow ‘money’ to build a huge navy, overtaking countries such as Spain and Portugal who had exercised maritime dominance from the 15th century onwards.

The availability of finance allowed England’s navy capability and military resources to be built up enabling the English explorers and traders to explore, trade, and establish commercial trading posts all over the world. The British Navy owned the seas. These days fiat money is used to indebt and enslave the population. Bankers first made a deal with King William III, then they made a deal with the United States (which coincided with the creation of the Federal Reserve) and later with every government on the face of the earth (except for Cuba, North Korea, and Iran, the only countries in the world without a Central Bank.)

The whole world has become indebted because governments gave the power to the bankers to do just that. How are these debts paid off? Through income tax. The American Congress passed an act to legalize federal income tax imposing a flat rate to be imposed on each individual; this new law was enacted in 1913, the same year the Federal Reserve was created. Do you think this was a coincidence?

Quick stop-over in China

Photo taken in Suzhou China – March 2019

It is worth noting that the Chinese were the first to create paper money around the year 1000 AD. During that time money was in the form of gold and silver coins, but most cash coins were made from copper or bronze alloys. In the province of Sichuan, there was a shortage of copper, so, some inventive men came up with the idea of minting iron coins instead of copper. Iron was worth less than copper, but the idea was to mint more of it to make up the difference. The problem with this solution was that a large amount of iron coinage was required to purchase items that were both very heavy and hugely inconvenient to carry around.

To resolve this problem people started to leave their coins on deposit at money shops; money shops kept coins safe in their store and issued the owner with a receipt, which was then used to purchase food or other items. That receipt, or piece of paper, represented the exact amount of iron that a person had on deposit at the money shop. This system worked well; until the people at the money shop realized that their receipt was as good as money. The money shops started printing more of these receipts than they had coins in deposit and fairly soon, prices started going up, things got out of control and economic chaos followed putting the local government in a state of crisis.

In 1022, the Sichuan Provincial Government had to be rescued, or bailed-out, by the Central Chinese Government.Central Government officials came to Sichuan Province to assess the situation and report back; the officials shut everything down but realized that this paper money system was a very clever idea. Two years after the incident in Sichuan the Chinese Government themselves adopted a paper money system but declared that only the Central Government could issue these bank notes. The Chinese Government propaganda machine worked to convince people that the paper money was intrinsically as good as the copper deposited, but the truth of the matter was that the Government issued a significantly higher value of paper money than there was copper stored.

What is freedom? Freedom is about having choices. The more choices you have the more freedom you have and vice versa. In our society money is a conduit that facilitates choices. The 1% control the 99% of the population by keeping a firm grip on money creation and money distribution.

For the 1%, money is power. For the 99% knowledge is power. Know how the system works and you will become powerful.

For a more detailed analysis of this fascinating subject please refer to Chapters 8 & 9 of my book “This Is Your Quest’.

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Be Healthy

How Much Cardio Do I Really Need

How much cardio do I really need?

Cardiovascular exercise, or cardio, i.e. swimming, running, cycling, etc., promotes weight loss, endurance, and is great for getting your heart rate up and making your blood pump faster. There are however downsides to cardio, including your decreasing your resting metabolism rate, constrained energy expenditure, and possible muscle loss. This post is about the effects cardio has for people looking to lose fat, gain muscle, or those just looking for a healthier lifestyle.

The benefits of cardio

Starting with the good news, there are 3 major benefits of cardio,  weight loss, strengthening the heart, and being a great transitional workout. Those alone, or just the enjoyment of doing it, sway many into putting cardio into their exercise routine.

A cardio workout increases blood flow and acts as a filter system. It brings nutrients like oxygen, protein, and iron to the muscles that you’ve been training and helps them recover faster.

Harley Pasternak, personal trainer, motivational speaker, author and television host

Firstly, cardio does promote weight loss. According to Healthline.com, if you weigh around 160 pounds, a 30-minute jog would burn around 250 calories, with the calories increasing if you weighed more, or if you run faster. Compare this to weight training, where you would only burn between 130 to 220 calories in the same amount of time. A big chunk of losing weight is burning calories and in that sense, cardio does a great job in helping you achieve this.

Secondly, cardio is a great workout for your heart and lungs, your cardiovascular system. Cardio is a workout that speeds up your heart rate, so it’s not surprising that it would help your heart muscles grow stronger. In essence, cardio pushes more oxygen into your bloodstream without putting too much pressure on your body, making cardio great for people who want to maintain their current weight or add some exercise to their daily lives. It’s also one of the best options for people who have heart problems or are slightly injured.

Cardio is a great workout for your heart and lungs

Lastly, cardio is a great transitional workout. Unlike cardio, weight training puts a lot of stress on your body, this makes it a bit intimidating and unattractive to people who haven’t worked out for a while. Starting with cardio before doing a harder workout decreases the chance of injury, and trains your body to breathe properly. Cardio is not just a good transitional workout for weight training, but also as a warm-up for High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or endurance training.

How much cardio in a week? Recommendations suggest you get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.  Greater amounts of exercise will provide even greater health benefits.

The importance of muscle growth

While cardio is good for your heart and lungs, the bad news is that cardio doesn’t really help your metabolism, in fact, it can discourage muscle growth and leaves you with constrained energy expenditure. Scientifically, according to Gravity Transformation, “Cardio reduces the activity of mTOR, which is a crucial enzyme for muscle growth while also raising AMPK, which is an enzyme that impairs muscle growth,” More simply put, regular cardio exercise causes two key enzymes to work against your body to inhibit muscle growth.

Now, even if muscle growth (or looking like the next Arnold Schwarzenegger) is not your main goal, weight training has an advantage over cardio by maximizing the calories you burn when you are resting! This is known as the after-burn effect, or more formally the Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, or EPOC.

Benefits of cardio

After an intense cardio session, your EPOC duration lasts about 3-24 hours, and it makes up around 6-15% of the net total oxygen cost of the exercise. This means your body burns little to no calories more than it did during your workout. HIIT workouts also only burn around 30-60 more calories per day while resting, but weight training has the highest EPOC and burns about 150 calories while you are resting after your workout. Amazingly, you can burn as many calories resting as you did lifting weights in the gym. This high EPOC for weight training is due to the energy required to grow muscle, and because muscle as a tissue burns the most fat for fuel.​

Whether you are doing both cardio and weight training, or just cardio, it is important to understand that cardio does not help your muscles grow, and in fact, that it slows the muscle growth. If you do both cardio and weight training it’s important you do the weights first or wait for a long period after your cardio workout before starting to lift weights. Cardio exercises prohibit you from reaching optimal stimulus or maximum potential which is key for repairing and building muscles. It also reduces your production of mTOR enzymes and obstructs hypertrophy or muscle growth exercises.

Finally, it’s worth understanding the relationship between cardio and constrained energy expenditure. Doing cardio before eating, or doing too much of it, can result in constrained energy expenditure. This is when your body wants to save as much energy as possible and stops doing simple tasks you would otherwise normally do. This could be small things like sitting down more, fidgeting less, or not wanting to walk your dog. This may not seem like a big problem but this ‘constrainment’ may actually prevent you from burning calories that you would otherwise normally burn, not only making your afterburn less effective but possibly even slowing down your metabolism as well. 

So, who should do cardio?

In the end, there are both pros and cons to doing cardio. Cardio isn’t great for quickly gaining muscle, or for beginners to weight training. Cardio is also not the most effective for extreme weight loss, however, it’s great for maintaining shape and having healthy lungs and heart. Cardio is also good at removing visceral fat around your abdominal organs, and subcutaneous fat that’s stuck under the skin. However, while exercise will keep you fit, to keep your shape a healthy diet is the most effective! Cardio does not replace a good diet.


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Get Wealthy Self-Help

The Reddit, Robinhood, Citadel Saga. The Name of the Game is Short Selling

The Reddit, Robinhood, and Citadel saga is front page news; the name of the game is short selling. All those players are currently engaged in a modern-day version of the David and Goliath battle where the small guy is beating up the big guy at their own game.

This whole Reddit, Robinhood, Citadel saga gave me a good excuse to have a movie night at home with my youngest daughter to watch the 2010 Robin Hood movie directed by Sir Ridley Scott with Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett in the lead roles. We enjoyed it, great cinematography, great cast, and a really good storyline. The movie tells the background story of Robin Hood and how he came to be an outlaw. In this article, I am taking you on an epic adventure traveling back in time with Robin Hood as our traveling companion and hero. At the end of this journey, we will circle back to the modern-day Reddit, Robinhood, and Citadel saga, where the name of the game is short selling.

Robin Hood. Rise and Rise Again Until the Lambs Become Lions

Robin Hood – Rise and Rise Again Until the Lambs Become Lions. Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

The movie starts with an epic battle taking place in France between the army of Richard the Lionheart who is on a full siege and assault mode on the Challus castle; the idea was to break through the castle’s fortress and ransack the place to finance the final leg of the journey home to England. Robin Longstride serves as a common archer in the army of King Richard the Lionheart, at this point in time he was quite disillusioned and war-weary. He got himself and his comrades into trouble after sharing his frank and unflattering appraisal of the King’s conduct when the king asked for his opinion. This led Robin and his comrades to be tied-up for insubordination, waiting to hear about their fate whilst the rest of the army mounts their final assault on the castle.

The King is killed during the attack; this gave Robin and his comrades the opportunity to escape, they became deserters and persona non-grata but they were alive and free. From that point in time, their quest was to make it safely back home to England. They came across an ambush of the English by Godfrey the traitor, an English Knight who was conspiring with King Philip of France to assassinate King Richard. After chasing Godfrey away, Robin decides to take advantage of the situation by having his men impersonate the dead English knights in order to return to England as wealthy noblemen instead of penniless deserters. Before they depart to sail across the Channel, Robin promised to fulfill one of the dying knights, Sir Robert Loxley’s last wish, of returning his sword to his father in Nottingham.

Robin was fascinated with the words engraved on the sword’s blade

“Rise and rise again, until the lambs become lions.”

The Legend of Robin Hood and the Charter of Rights also known as the Magna Carta

Upon his arrival in the Thames estuary, Robin continued to assume the identity of Sir Loxley as it fell upon him to inform the royal family of King Richard’s death. He witnessed the coronation of King John who was as ambitious as he was clueless, and who lost no time making himself extremely unpopular by raising taxes on the poor and by dismissing the loyal and experienced chancellor from his function to replace him with his friend Godfrey, who turned out to be a ruthless traitor who was plotting with the French King to invade England.

Robin and his companions traveled to Nottingham to hand over Loxley’s sword to his elderly and blind father. Sir Walter asked Robin to continue impersonating his son to prevent the Crown from seizing the Loxley family lands. Loxley’s widow, Lady Marian, is initially cold toward Robin but eventually warms up to his charisma, quiet assertive strength, courage, and devotion towards the people and the land.

The plot by Godfrey to help the French invade England is discovered and triggered the northern barons to assemble in the presence of King John to discuss a strategy to fight the invaders. Attending and speaking on behalf of Sir Walter, Robin declared that he would not fight under King John’s command unless the King agrees to the Charter of Rights granting more rights and protection to the barons such as the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown. In those days, kings believed they were divinely appointed, and this gave them a license to use and abuse anyone and anything that suited their wants or needs. Being under the threat of civil war on the domestic front and having to deal with an imminent foreign invasion on its shores King John reluctantly agreed and signed (on 12 June 1215) the Charter of Rights also known as the Magna Carta.

The battle between the now united English troops and the French took place on a beach below the cliffs of Dover. Robin led his troops to victory and distinguished himself during the battle saving in the process Lady Marian’s life from Godfrey’s evil intent and stopping Godfrey dead in its track when he was shamefully fleeing the battle scene. King Philip soon realized that his ‘surprise’ attack failed and sailed back to France feeling utterly defeated. The English troops rejoiced in their victory over the French and celebrated Robin Hood for his courage and leadership during the battle. King John was offended by the lack of recognition and validation he received from his troops and became resentful of the genuine and loving attention ‘his’ people gave to Robin Hood, something he never experienced first hand. He decided from that point on to compensate for his flagrant lack of authority and popularity by abusing his ‘flaky-God-given-power’.

Back in London, King John decides to renegade on his promise to implement the Charter of Rights deciding instead to reassert the fact that he was divinely appointed and would not on this basis agree to have his power curtailed. He declares Robin an outlaw to be hunted throughout the kingdom. Robin and his men flee to Sherwood Forest with the orphans of Nottingham.

And so, begins the legend of Robin Hood the one that steals from the rich to give to the poor

The Reddit, Robinhood, and Citadel Saga. The Name of the Game is Short Selling

The Reddit, Robinhood Citadel saga. The name of the game is short selling. Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

Fast forward to today and the news about GameStop, Robinhood App, and the Citadel Hedge fund. It all started with a Reddit Chat Group called Wall Street Bets who has more than 2 million subscribers. This group noticed that a lot of the big hedge funds had very heavy short positions on GameStop, as a matter of fact, 140% of the stocks were short! [Feel free to be shocked]

Disclaimer. Before I continue with this article please note that I am not a financial advisor, banker, or any kind of financially qualified person; the rest of this article should not be taken as financial advice.

Question: Can you sell something that you don’t own? Answer: in the real world the answer is no, but in the world of finance the answer is yes you can. That is what short selling is; it is the ability to borrow a stock that you don’t own in order to sell it back at a profit later on hoping in the meantime that the stock price has tanked, allowing you to buy it back at a price that is lower than the price you paid to borrow the stock. Once you have pocketed your profit you return the stock to the owner. Sounds fishy?! Absolutely, except that in the financial world you are allowed to do that.

When you have a short position, you are betting on the company to fail. The big wall street players have been playing this game very successfully for years until a few weeks ago when they got a taste of their own medicine. That medicine was administered by a bunch of amateur investors who got together on the Reddit chat group where they agreed to buy en masse shares of GameStop forcing the price to go up. The increase in prices forced the big guys to buy back their short positions at a much higher price than they paid which cost them billions of dollars in losses. The price of GameStop skyrocketed to the moon, making millions of dollars of profit to the small guys! At its lowest GameStop’s share price was $2.50 and at its highest, it went over $350.

The big guys on wall street were stunt, they had no idea that a bunch of ordinary people could get together, get into the stock market arena, call them out on their short positions, and play quite successfully the same game that was reserved till now to the big guys!

When the going gets tough change the rules of the game!

The Reddit, Robinhood, Citadel saga. The name of the game is short selling. When the going gets tough, change the rules. Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

The story should have ended there with winners on one side (the small guy for once) and losers (the big guys) on the other side licking their wounds. Except that when the going gets tough for the big guys they change the rules!

The plan worked extremely well for the little guy until the big guys started to freak out. One Hedge fund company called Melvin Capital lost 30% of its money and was on the verge of bankruptcy; this triggered two players Citadel and Robinhood App to come into the arena to ‘rebalance’ the game.

Citadel is another hedge fund company, they came to the rescue and bailed out Melvin Capital from Bankruptcy. Robinhood is an App where you can trade stocks for free, [attention, attention, alarm bells ringing, there is no free lunch anywhere. Right?! So, how does Robinhood LLC make their money if all their customers can trade for free?! There must be a catch somewhere]. To everyone surprise and shock, Robinhood stopped trading stocks of GameStop to try to stem the bleeding and protect the big hedge funds from incurring further losses. Robinhood market themselves as being an App for the people, they push forward the message that through their App ordinary people can get on their phones, participate in the stock market and make money. Shutting down trading because they didn’t like what was happening to these Hedge funds with short positions seemed like the exact opposite of what those Apps were supposed to be doing, taking from the poor and giving to the rich. It is interesting to note that a ‘citadel’ is defined as a fortress where people could shelter for safety. It looks to me that Citadel is acting as a fortress to protect its own i.e., the big guy.

What is interesting about Robinhood is that they make their money through Citadel by selling them user data. Citadel pays Robinhood money for real-time information on what Robinhood’s users are buying and selling. Remember my point earlier about there is no free lunch, there must be a catch somewhere. [Feel free to feel shocked and outraged]

People should not underestimate the importance of this event, because it is without the shadow of a doubt a populist revolution aimed at the financial industry. The little guy is saying, “The system is rigged. We can play that game too. We want a piece of the pie.” This event has caused an onslaught of reaction, on one side you have those cheering and applauding the small guy and on the other side, you have the big guys going on TV and crying foul! The double standard is quite outrageous. It is classy to game the stock market if you are wealthy but if you are a regular Joe and you game the stock market you are trashy.

After enduring a beating across social media, Robinhood took to its own blog on 28 January, and CEO’s Twitter account to explain why it had halted trading of some of the stocks.

“Amid this week’s extraordinary circumstances in the market, we made a tough decision today to temporarily limit buying for certain securities. As a brokerage firm, we have many financial requirements, including SEC net capital obligations and clearinghouse deposits. Some of these requirements fluctuate based on volatility in the markets and can be substantial in the current environment. These requirements exist to protect investors and the markets and we take our responsibilities to comply with them seriously, including through the measures we have taken today.” Robinhood CEO

SEC net capital obligations and clearinghouse deposits are rules about how much money brokerage have to have on hand to ensure that they are essentially good for the transactions their consumers want to make. In order to be in compliance, a brokerage must have sufficient net capital at all times prior to, during, and after purchasing or selling property securities to protect its customers and fulfill its obligations; it must have cash flow.

Robinhood’s explanation for suspending trading and putting a limit buying of some of their stocks is that it was to comply with their regulatory obligations; in other words, it was a risk management issue. My question is: how often does a brokerage house have to suspend trading in order to comply with its basic regulatory obligations? Can we reasonably infer that it was the broker’s own conduct and operation that made their exposure so risky that they put their customers and their own operation at risk, so much so that they had to halt trading?

The Reddit, Robinhood, and Citadel Saga. Class Action v Robinhood, the battle is now happening in Courts

A class-action lawsuit was filed in the Southern District of New York by Brendon Nelson, Plaintiff Class Action against Robinhood Financial LLC, Robinhood Securities LLC, Robinhood Market Inc. Plaintiff demands trial by jury.[Feel free to clap and cheer, if you so wish].

Nature of the legal action:

1. Breach of contract. Robinhood an online brokerage firm purposefully, willfully, and knowingly removed the stock GameStop from its trading platform in the midst of an unprecedented stock price, thereby depriving retail investors of the ability to invest in the open market. Robinhood breached its customer agreement by among other things failing to disclose that its platform was going to randomly pull a profitable stock from its platform. Robinhood failed to provide adequate explanations to their customers and knowingly put them at a disadvantage compared to customers who used other trading platforms.

2. Breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Robinhood failed to exercise trades and actions requested by their customers and was therefore in breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Robinhood unfairly interfered with the rights of plaintiffs and members of the class to receive the benefits of the customer agreement.

3. Negligence. Robinhood was grossly negligent and wrongfully breached his fiduciary duty to the plaintiff and the members of the class causing losses and damages that would not have occurred but for Robinhood’s gross breach of duty of care.

And so, begins the legend of Reddit and the small investor.

To be continued …

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For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

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Categories
Self-Help

“I Am Right, You Are Wrong!” Do We Have the Right to Be Wrong Until We Know Better?

I am right, you are wrong

I am right; you are wrong. We all tend to live within echo chambers. These echo chambers sometimes create misinformation and distort perspectives making it difficult to consider opposing viewpoints. Our righteousness is often comforted by confirmation biases. We believe that we are right whilst the rest of the world is wrong. We see this happening all around us. We do it to ourselves, we do it to others, and others do it to us.

Wikipedia defines confirmation bias as the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one’s prior beliefs or values. People display this bias when they select the information that supports their views, ignoring contrary information, or when they interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position.

Where does human behavior come from? Behavior comes from our perception of an event or a situation. Where does perception come from? Perception comes from information received, be it from direct personal contact or newspapers or other media. If our behaviors are influenced by information, how can we be sure that the information we receive is true? What we read in newspapers and see on TV can be very deceptive. The same event can be interpreted in many different ways depending on who does the interpreting. The media is expert in the art of spinning a story to influence public opinion. Does this mean human perception can be controlled?

Fact or Fake? Photo from @freepik via freepik.com

Wikipedia defines spin as propaganda. “In public relations and politics, spin is a form of propaganda, achieved knowingly providing a biased interpretation of an event or campaigning to influence public opinion about some organization or public figure. While traditional public relations and advertising may manage their presentation of facts, “spin” often implies the use of disingenuous, deceptive and manipulative tactics.”

Through spinning, it is possible to control human perception; the best way to do this would be to filter or censor the type of information that the public receives or use deceptive tactics such as subterfuge, propaganda, or misinformation to make the public believe something that is not true.

The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent. They control the minds of the masses. If you are not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing”. Malcolm X

Every day, we find ourselves in an I am right, you are wrong kind of situation. People are entitled to think the way they want, regardless of whether it is right or wrong. This is the cornerstone of what freedom of expression is. But who knows what is right or wrong? Things are changing all the time; what is right today may be wrong tomorrow. Moreover, it is possible to be 100% right and 100% wrong at the same time. How, may you ask? You can be 100% right about an event, be it good or bad, but 100% wrong about the timing or how you chose to share the news.

I am right, you are wrong, these spoken words matter

Some people are so entrenched in their position that nothing will make them change their point of view. But that’s OK; nobody wants free thought or free speech limitations. Freedom of thought and freedom of expression are fundamental human rights. You can feel free to think and speak the words you want, but be aware that words have energy and power. Words have the ability to help, heal, and educate, but they can also hinder, deceive, hurt, and destroy.

When we hear things that don’t agree with our particular point of view, we should avoid lashing out or brutally dumping the contents of our minds. People are entitled to their wrong opinions, passing thoughts, or half-conceived notions. When we need to talk candidly about something with another person, we should try to speak in a manner that conveys compassion, respect, and gentleness.

Fake news article generator. Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent. They control the minds of the masses

Gary Chapman in his book Love as a way of life used the perfect metaphor for words as being bullets or seeds. If we use our words like bullets with a feeling of superiority and condemnation, it will be very difficult to get out of an entrenched position. But if we use our words as seeds, and we speak with compassion and goodwill, the conversation will move from being entrenched to being constructive.

Be mindful of the fact that often people speak words that are full of kindness, understanding, and compassion but act in a manner that is totally out of sync with those words. Remember that action speaks louder than words, so in this particular instance, do not pay too much attention to the spoken words, because there is no substance to them, it is just fluff, but pay a great deal of attention to the action that follows those spoken words. I would also encourage you to pay a great deal of attention to the lack of consistency of the words spoken, people who are doing the very thing they were condemning a short while ago without shame or any sense of self-awareness should not be trusted.

Do you have a soldier or a scout mindset?

When you have a soldier mindset, you will act as if some information or ideas are your allies and, in that circumstance, you want them to win. You think that opposite ideas or concepts are your enemies, and you want those shot down. This soldier mindset is very present in the workplace, in sports, and in politics. When someone judges our team unfairly, we get upset, but when the same thing happens to the other side, we feel that justice has been made. The soldier mindset is rooted in emotions, aggression, and tribalism and creates a pattern of accelerated escalation in all types of interaction.

The scout mindset is about understanding, not defending our beliefs. The scout goes out, maps the terrain, and identifies the real challenge. He wants to know what’s really there. The scout mindset is rooted in curiosity. It is about being open-minded, learning new things, being intrigued when new facts contradict their beliefs, and not feeling weak about changing their minds. When you have a scout mentality you are strong and grounded, and your self-worth isn’t tied to how right or wrong you are.

Reclaim the right to speak and the right to know

Freedom of thought is a fundamental right, it is interpreted as the right not to be coerced into believing something, and this includes the right to be wrong and to make mistakes. It is extremely difficult these days to know what’s true and what’s not true, and this is exactly why freedom of thoughts and expression is so fundamental because it protects each person’s understanding of the truth and more fundamentally it protects the search for the truth.

There was a time when everybody thought that the Earth was flat and was the center of the Universe; claiming otherwise would automatically label you as a heretic with all the dire consequences attached to this label. In the early days, scientists who ventured to put forward theories different from accepted theories faced prosecution from the authorities. In 1633, the physicist and astronomer Galileo was prosecuted by the Chief Inquisitor, appointed by Pope Urban VII, for his theory that the Earth revolved around the Sun. This belief was deemed heretical by the Catholic Church, who refused to accept (despite scientific evidence to the contrary) that the Earth was not, in fact, the center of the Universe.

That’s where you’re wrong kiddo! . Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

These days human interaction is more than ever mediated through countless hours online, and we have to navigate our ways through a tsunami of information and sometimes misinformation. The right to speak and the right to know are in jeopardy, and this alarming phenomenon is happening around the world. Article 19.org organization put together The Global Expression Report 2019/20 where they concluded that global freedom of expression is in decline:

Below is a summary of the findings of this report:

  • Global freedom of expression is in decline. The Global Expression Metric (GxR) dropped to 50 (on a scale of 1 to 100) in 2019; it shows that more than 50% of humanity lives under a repressive regime.
  • The crushing of freedom of expression is both a means and an end for these leaders who suppress dissent and scrutiny of their regimes, with rampant corruption and cronyism being the order of the day.
  • Half of the world population now live in countries with a GxR score of less than 20/100 where the right to speak and the right to know are routinely violated. The worst offenders are China, India, Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Bangladesh. Countries like the USA are dangerously faltering and creating an increasingly hostile environment for uncensored communication, freedom of expression, the right to speak, and the right to know.
  • A handful of companies have gained market control, they wield huge power, creating a context of corporate monopolies that do not respect human rights and acting as the gatekeepers of expression across the world.
  • The COVID-19 virus emerged into an environment already fraught with censorship and denigration of dissents or political opposition. Many governments have used the health crisis as a pretext on which to further control expression online, in the media, and on the streets.
  • Power over freedom of expression is increasingly consolidated in the hands of a limited number of social media platforms. The focus of authorities falls on policing users rather than ensuring that platforms and companies respect human rights.
  • Although the internet has been hailed for democratizing information, the data tells a different story. The number of viewpoints online has increased, but so has a toxic climate of polarization, and misinformation has exploded.
  • It is a vital necessity for populations everywhere to access and act on accurate information from pluralistic and diverse media sources.
  • The right to information is a shield against corruption. The free flow of information is essential, it enables engaged participation, and the exercise of rights fosters sustainable development, improves economic performance, and makes authorities accountable.

We must reclaim our right to speak and our right to know before it is too late. The freedom to speak concerns everyone’s right to express and disseminate opinions, ideas, and information through any means as well as to disagree with power holders. The freedom to know concerns the right to demand and receive information by power holders for transparency, good governance, and sustainable development.

I want to end this article on a musical note by leaving you in the company of Joss Stone and her song Right to be Wrong.

Right to be Wrong By Joss Stone

Right to be Wrong by Joss Stone

Right to be wrong

I’ve got a right to be wrong
My mistakes will make me strong
I’m stepping out into the great unknown
I’m feeling wings though I’ve never flown
I’ve got a mind of my own
I’m flesh and blood to the bone
I’m not made of stone
Got a right to be wrong
So just leave me alone

I’ve got a right to be wrong
I’ve been held down too long
I’ve got to break free
So I can finally breathe
I’ve got a right to be wrong
Got to sing my own song
I might be singing out of key
But it sure feels good to me
Got a right to be wrong
So just leave me alone

You’re entitled to your opinion
But it’s really my decision
I can’t turn back I’m on a mission
If you care don’t you dare blur my vision
Let me be all that I can be
Don’t smother me with negativity
Whatever’s out there waiting for me
I’m…

Source: LyricFind

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