Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I have started reading "What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption" by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers. I am through the intro and the book focuses on the rise in Collaborative Consumption. Collaborative Consumption from what I can tell are 3 things:

1. Sharing something you own

2. Sharing something owned by an organization (company, communal)

3. Swapping of something you own for something similar via barter or to give it away completely

4. Collaborative Lifestyles – Which I have no idea what it is yet, so I will update once I figure it out

Key attributes to the shared item is:

A. That it sits idle for the majority of the time when owned by one.

B. Required by a diversity of people periodically. (the book calls it Critical Mass)

C. Trust that what you share is returned in a similar state or will be replaced if damaged

D. Is expensive or wasteful to purchase/maintain. (optional, but makes it economically easier for those wanting some $ for their sharing)

So far pretty common sense, but laid out in a nice narrative with good examples. Additionally the book states that for Collaborative Consumption to work you need belief in the commons which I will talk about once I get to it. Look forward to updating this in a week or so when I finish the book.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

US Healthcare System Comparison

Halfway through Frontline: Sick Around the World. Reviewed 4 other healthcare systems besides the US. Seen UK, Japan, Germany. USA ranks 37 in healthcare from the World Health Organization in terms of quality and fairness.

1) Healthcare designed to be used frequently end up keeping people healthier and are lower in total costs for government per capita and end-users. They lower cost by market forces through increasing supply of users or through government regulation causing lower prices which increases supply. This eliminates or significant reduces profits for healthcare insurance companies, however administrators and doctors can still be well paid while investors lose an industry to invest in. Japan at the time had taken price regulation to the extreme ($10 hospital stays, $5 to stich a 3 inch wound) to the point where 50% of their hospitals were in serious debt instead of breaking even. At the time of the film they were going to increase prices so hospitals could break even.

2) In other countries the majority believe that the healthy and employed should take care of the sick and unemployed. I can reinforce this with my time in France, Italy and Peru. This means people do not go bankrupt from paying for healthcare.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My Spiritual Signposts

I have beat around the bush regarding my spirituality in this blog and have talked to a lot of topics around it. I had fear about posting my spiritual beliefs as I was unsure of those beliefs at the time. In reality I still have uncertainty and do not have all the answers for my path in spirtuality which I will endeavor to explore and answer in my own time, but this is what works for me. I'll discuss what exactly works for me means in my next post.

1) Surrender and forgive every situation, every person and everything every second of the day. Life is, I am, You are. From this surrender and forgiveness find inner peace. Good and bad are filters we as mankind put on everything. Reach the state of inner peace and then take action.

2) Do not seek salvation in the future nor in the past. Salvation is living the present moment of life to the fullest as it is the only thing which exists in any moment in time. To do this make sure the mental hamster is turned off and focus on the task you are doing no matter how mundane and boring you may perceive it to be and give it your full attention. Salvation is not a monumental task, but is a simple feat that is inherent in all mankind always, we simply veil ourselves to it.

3) A collorary of 1 and 2. Joy is conciousness and conciousness is internal and eternal. It depends on nothing external. No external action, approval, activity, assignment and label. A concious homeless man can have equal joy and spirituality to a concious Bill Gates. A concious criminal can have equal joy and spirituality to a concious Barack Obama. Everything else in life is external and temporary/changing. Find and be the eternal and internal peace and joy. Respect and appreciate the external, but do not tie your joy and peace to it.

Until next post!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Physical Pillar of Happiness: 2000 calorie or less per day

I decided to mix it up and take a break from the spiritual postings. One of my key pillars to a happy life is eating a 2000 calorie or less per day diet. I would like to amend this to also include eating a diet that contains my daily nutrient requirements, is diverse (different foods each day) and has a 30/40/40 structure for fat, carbs and protein.

A good diet contributes just as much if not more so to healthy living than exercise and is pretty equal to sleep. It's all about harmony and balance. By keeping my meals balanced I feel emotionally and mentally balanced. I perform better and it is easier to access my spiritual side. By not eating a good meal the body and mind is tired and I am unable to keep my focus. This causes me to fall into bad thinking habits and emotional viscious cycles which further promote bad diet.

Until next time, eat healthy and harmoniously

Monday, October 11, 2010

Why I neglected my spiritual side part 3

Continuing on my previous post I will explore a couple more reasons why I neglected my spiritual aspect. As I type this post I noticed there was more I had to say and there will likely be a part 3. As I mentioned before the amount of effort required to attain enlightenment felt greater than the return I would receive. Also I did not know what the return possibility was. Now that I have a taste of what enlightened thinking is here’s a couple more reasons why I neglected my spiritual side.

After reaching enlightenment, staying enlightened requires energy and upkeep. A key point many people forget and thus return from an enlightened state of mind back into what many of us consider the regular grind. Enlightenment is not a goal one achieves like a trophy and then puts it on a shelf and can say one has been enlightened. It’s a continuous way of life which at first requires much effort until it is a regular habit, like working out. One doesn’t magically one day say “I am in shape” you’ll stay in shape forever. It takes upkeep of good diet, healthy living and exercise to stay in shape. This upkeep requires a conscious acknowledgement that enlightenment is not a goal that is achieved, but is a lifestyle change which requires much energy.

It requires more upkeep then mental, physical and social aspects and perhaps the human mind is not naturally wired that way. Social and physical is fun, mental is fun. Perhaps it is more that not enough of us have found spiritual joy and therefore do not and cannot put a heavier emphasis on it than social and physical pleasures of life, however temporary.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Why I neglected my spiritual side?

Before getting into detail about how I practice and view spirituality, I wanted to blog about a couple reasons why I had neglected the spiritual side of life until now. As I wrote this blog I realized I had much more to say about this and have split it into 2 parts.

If you knew me from 2001 to 2008 you would know my world was driven purely by results. I sought out return on every activity I performed. I was in college in 2001 and in that point in my life the return for getting a degree and good grades was a good paying job. So I slaved away to complete my bachelors in 3 years in order to get the good job. In my mind the spiritual aspect did not even enter my life. As I reflect and learn from the past I see the 1 key reason the spiritual did not enter my life and 1 key reason that even if spirituality had entered my life I would have not taken advantage of it.

The first was I did not realize how much there was to gain in life by being my spiritual self. I was caught up in the day to day and not appreciating the beauty everyday life has to offer. It’s like chasing a one dollar bill through a maze without realizing that the walls of the maze itself is made up of billions of dollars free for the taking at any time if one were to just stop and look for it.

The second would be that even if I saw the money on the walls of the maze I thought it would take me too long to be able to get the money into my pocket. The return on investment for spiritual reflection and practice takes much longer than many physical things in life. It is a life-long practice and process. It’s like someone telling you there are huge amounts of money on the walls of the maze, but you can’t see it. They keep telling you to stare and be patient and you’ll see it one day, but you look everyday and you can’t find it. Some spiritual leaders would even say that seeking or desiring a return from spirituality is the exact antithesis of spirituality. They would say to gain a return on spirituality one must have no desire to seek any result, but to appreciate the process that is life and from that to gain enlightenment. My mindset was very results oriented and even if I knew the benefits of spirituality, I would have difficulty in not chasing that 1 dollar bill around the maze.

More discussion on why I neglected my spirituality in a future post. Until then, stare at the wall of your life and try to find the hidden wealth there.

Friday, October 1, 2010

What is Spirituality?!?

Before blogging anything about spirituality I thought it would be worthwhile to give my definition of it. Let me know if you agree or disagree and what you would change or add.

I’ll start the answer to a question with a question. What do you seek in life today? I know many people would list material items, behaviors that they want themselves to perform, goals, better relationships and many externally empirical items. If I were to dig deeper and ask, why do you want these external and empirical answer and continue to ask why like a curious young child does, I would get to the root cause of “this external item will make me happy/at peace/joyful.” Spirituality to me is finding that happiness, peace, and joy internally without the use of external items. The external is ever changing and dynamic.

Proof in this would be if I were to ask the same question “what do you seek in life today?” to the same person in a month after asking the question the first time I would get some similar answers, but also many different ones. The truth of the matter is the external and empirical items we desire are constantly changing like all structures will do. Spirituality is a constant and a great equalizer. Regardless of your personal life situation you always have the ability to find your spirituality. Some environments make it easier and others more difficult, but it is a constant internal capability we always have (unless we are unconscious which I will discuss in another post). We as humans all have the same capacity for spirituality. It may not be recognized, but it is there.

In short, spirituality is finding, practicing and being the inner peace and joy that is within each of us every second of every day. To always being that peace. Until next time, be spiritual!

P.S. Majority of my views and even some words I use in my blog posts come from Buddhism and Eckhart Tolle’s books.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Social Pillar of Happiness: Being Social

By nature human beings are social animals. We survived for millennia by working together in packs and sharing our labor, resources and knowledge. We are hard wired to survive and in order to survive we recognize the need to be in groups. It makes sense that in order for our natural survival instinct to be satisfied we require daily social activities. In the near past it was impossible to survive day to day without human interaction.

Within the last 15 years with the internet revolution many of those human interactions can be skipped for the sake of time efficiency. While we are becoming more and more time efficient, we are exchanging and fighting against out natural instincts. While we have entered into a new state of consciousness as a species, the challenge of a hermit life may still be too much for most of us to bear.

So my recommendation is simple. Do 1 social thing every day for at least an hour outside of work. It can be lunch with a colleague or a happy hour or working out with a friend as long as you do it you’ll satisfy that instinct and it will be that much easier to be conscious and happy in everyday life.

Until next time, be social!

Side Note: If possible, try to be socially inclusive. Unfortunately humanity also developed the instinct to create “others” or the enemy, those not within our group. Conflict first arose out of physical need and hunger uncontrolled by consciousness. This created the concept of “the others” who tried to take “our” food and resources. This has mutated “others” based on the desires of man and not the need of man, both which are follies. So be inclusive and do not create others. We are all living beings together on this planet.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


We’ve all known somebody who we could tell was talking out their ass about a topic. They were not knowledgeable about a topic, yet spoke as though they were. I am certain all of us (myself included) have done this whether or not we knew it. I wanted to explore why this behavior occurs and possibly provide a solution to reduce it.

Why do we talk out of our ass? 2 big reasons out of the many I see are an unnecessary desire to impress and we don’t know we are talking out of our ass. The desire to impress is a defect caused by our ego. Our egos seek validation and the satisfaction of being superior to others. True we can be superior in form and knowledge to others, this is of only relative importance. At the end of the day we all have equal consciousness. Without getting any more confusing, I’ll delay this discussion to a future post.

The 2nd reason we talk out of our ass is that we don’t know we’re doing it. I refer to the Dunning-Kruger effect. In short “You are a novice on a topic. You think you are an expert in it. This is because you are a novice and have little knowledge on the topic and therefore are unable to gauge where you fall on the expertise scale” This happens regardless of the intention of the ass-talker. This makes me think about the popularly held belief that it takes 10,000 hours of activity to become an expert at it so how many of us are incorrectly calling ourselves experts at something after reading a couple internet articles. I even get the sense that even I am talking out my ass a little bit about talking out the ass. To caveat, I am no expert in incompetence even though I may have reached that 10,000 hour mark long ago.

What’s my solution? We can all sense when we begin to talk out of our ass a bit. If you feel the slightest bit uncomfortable about the info you’re giving then be sure to caveat it. Call out ass-talkers, so those who believe them may be better informed. However, do so gently and understanding regardless of the reason why they are doing it. If it’s clear that everyone can see they are full of it, then wait until they are alone, pull them aside and inform them. The goal is to increase knowledge and awareness which can not be done if people just end up annoyed and shouting at one another…until next time.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mental Pillar of Happiness, Creative Thinking

How does thinking creatively create an environment allowing one to live a happy life?

The majority of humanity is driven by a sense of inadequacy. I do not have enough, I am not enough, I need to do something in order for life to fulfill me. This results in boredom, feelings of routine and nervousness about doing nothing.

This sense of inadequacy is false and the root cause is something internal to each of us. While creative thinking does not solve the root-cause of the inadequacy, it provides strong relief. This relief will improve quality of life, but like any other object is only temporary.

Creating something you normally do not do breaks the routine of everyday life and disrupts the feelings of inadequacy, nervousness and doing nothing. The act of creation requires a level of focus which does not allow us to have the negative feelings mentioned above. I have often heard of people who are performing different acts of creation entering into a realm of focus that they do not have in everyday life. There are no limits with creation. Even if you can not physically make it, mentally you are only constrained by your imagination. However it is important to take the imagined and make it physical, much like taking a dream and making it reality. Only then will you maximize the experience. This will be a little difficult require some discipline to reach initial success, but once you overcome the initial hurdle you’ll find yourself absorbed by creation.

Until next time, create something!