Why We Do What We Do

Have you ever tried to give up smoking, lose weight, exercise, or get up earlier when things seem to go well for awhile, and then

BAM!

You start messing up and soon you are back where you started.

Do you give up and give in to your doubts?

I can’t change, it’s too hard, I’m too old. I’m under too much stress,

I can’t deal with another failure. I’m too far gone.

NO!

Don’t listen to the doubts. Stop making excuses.  The only right thing to do when you fail at something is again.

In medicine, especially treating addictions, I have seen unbelievable transformations.

Without a doubt I believe change is possible, and there is absolutely hope for you.

You can be successful.  You can quit smoking, lose weight, stop doing drugs, or whatever it is you want.

You can, even if you’ve failed multiple times before.

If you want to change something in your life, start small. Just change one thing.

Right now, write it down. 

Then do what you need to do to get where you want to be.

For example, drink water instead of a soda. Brush your teeth when you want to smoke. Install a filter on your computer. Recite Shakespeare when you feel angry. Take a cold shower. Run around the block. Count to ten. Count to 500. Eat on a smaller plate. Do jumping jacks. Make exercise an appointment on your calendar. Write fifteen minutes a day.  Surround yourself with positive influences. Change little things in your environment. Stop and think. Redirect.

Read, research, hire a coach, or a counselor, ask a friend to come along side.

One thing you can’t do is just hope for the best.  You can’t “name it claim it blab it grab it”.

I’m all for having a vision of who you want to be and changing your thoughts.

Sow a thought, and you reap an act;
Sow an act, and you reap a habit.

But bad habits and faulty thinking are deeply embedded in your brain like a well trodden path. You have got to forge a new trail. There is no try, there is only do.

The secret to successfully breaking a bad habit is replacing the bad with a new, good one, and coaxing it along step by step.

R. Buckminster Fuller said,

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

Are you the person you really want to be?  If not, do something about it. You can break that bad habit.  You can change.  Replace bad with good.

Yeah, I know its hard, it takes work, it gets frustrating, it takes forever.

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So what do you want? What do YOU want, and what are you going to do about it? You have to start somewhere.

What better time than right now? Let me tell you something,

You can change, it’s not too hard, you’re not too old, stress will always be there, and failure is a part of change.

You can do it, and you will. I know you can.

You got this.

More on change here.

Book suggestion—>The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

power of habit

Setting the Record Straight: Can You Get the Flu From the Flu Shot?

NO. You cannot get the flu from the flu shot.

Let me set the record straight.

THE FLU (INFLUENZA) SHOT DOES NOT, CANNOT, WILL NOT, DARE NOT GIVE YOU THE FLU (INFLUENZA).

Flu shots are made either with viruses that have been ‘inactivated’ and are not infectious, or with no viruses at all!

What about the nasal spray? The nasal spray flu vaccine does contain live viruses. However, the viruses are attenuated (weakened), and cannot cause the flu.  Listen up:

The weakened viruses are cold-adapted –  which means they are designed to only cause infection at the cooler temperatures found within the nose. The viruses cannot infect the lungs or other areas where the temperature is warmer.

why the hey

Most likely because you were already exposed to the flu and the shot didn’t have enough time to work.

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza virus infection.

It is possible to get minor side effects (low grade fever, aches, and a sore arm at the injection site).

If you had a problem with a flu shot, please don’t brag about it on Facebook or get on a soapbox and testify of the evils of modern day immunizations.  What you should do is to encourage your friends to discuss their concerns with their health care provider.

In regards to the myths, Gizmodo has an excellent post  that addresses all that crazy talk like the flu shot contains antifreeze, causes Alzheimer’s, and weakens your immune system.

All flu-vaccine naysayers allow me to send you back in time where you’ll be happiest, when germs were copious. You could live in a world where there were no immunizations, no anti-viral medications, and dirty filthy grimy environments sure to boost your immune systems the natural way.

No herds to protect you.

Welcome to 1918, to the Spanish flu pandemic...

and then again to 14th century Europe, to the plague.

Me and my family, we’ll take immunizations and the flu shot any day. Thank you modern medicine.  Now excuse me while I go wash my hands with Purell.  All this germ talk is making me feel dirty.

And What Exactly Is The Meaning Of Life?

It baffles me at how many people zip through life at breakneck speed, starting so many days behind schedule and ending them complaining there is not enough hours to get it all done.

They forget to eat, don’t know how to stay healthy, or don’t recognize when they are sick.

Maybe that’s you. Except for the forget to eat part, it’s me too.

I’ve been asked many times things like,

What is the point?

Why am I so unhappy?

Where did I go wrong?

How can I do this?

What is the reason for it all?

Why am I here?

Where is God?

Sometimes I feel like some wise mystic who waits on a mountain for pilgrims to come and ask,

What is the meaning of life?

The meaning of Life

What’s the meaning? Why are we here? What’s the point? Why bother?

Because there is meaning. You are alive. You are here. You belong. You have a chance to do something.

Take a deep breath and consider this: it all goes by so fast. We live, we die.

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Love God.  Love your neighbor.  Do good.  Love what you do.  Bloom where you’re planted.  Give.  Take care of what you have.  Be non-toxic.  Plant hope. Reap joy.  Shine.  Be kind.  Forgive. Don’t look back. Live. 

We rush through our lives so eager to grow up, get a career, make and spend lots of money,  climb to the next rung on the ladder.

We are forever looking back or fantasizing the future that we neglect the present.

The here and now.  This day, this hour, this moment.

I’m not saying don’t ever look at the past – reflection is necessary for growth and learning.  And only a fool wouldn’t make plans for the future.

The point is to find balance, and in the process don’t forget to live.

And that’s the meaning,

that’s exactly the point of life,

to live.

Wherever you are. Whoever you are. Whether things are good, or bad, if you’re rich, or you have nothing.

Life is a gift. Life is life.

Live it.

 

Is there really a secret to success?

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Do you think yourself as successful?  How do you define success?

Merriam-Webster defines it as, “the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame“.  I think Webster completely misses the mark with that definition.  Success is viewed differently depending on your culture, upbringing,  social situation, work environment, and worldview.

Success is not a one-size-fits-all standardized, measurable thing.  No one would argue that the self-made millionaires, Edison/Einstein types,  Hollywood stars, Olympic athletes, or Pulitzer Prize winners aren’t successful.

But in reality the super famous,  geniuses, and wicked wealthy people represent such a small number.  If we look at fame as an indication of success, Wired Science reports,

somewhere between about  1 in 10,000 and 5 in 10,000 (or 1 in 2,000) people in the world are successful.

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The truth is successful people can be found in every crevice of the planet.  From the tiny fishing village of Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland, to the congested metropolis of Tokyo, Japan,  you’ll find success.

Isn’t success simply accomplishing that which you set out to do? Whether it be a goal to climb the world’s ten tallest mountains or to climb out of poverty – you determine what you want to achieve.

Anyone. Including you, can be successful.

There is no secret to success.  Instead there’s a mindset, and opportunities. 

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To be successful in any area of your life, you must consistently do these 4 things

  1. Have a vision and establish clear goals and objectives
  2. Equip yourself with what you need to accomplish your vision
  3. Cultivate emotional intelligence
  4. Stay the course

#Have a vision and establish clear goals and objectives

Know what you want. Rather than wander aimlessly through life letting the “chips fall” where they may, decide what/where you want to be.  And write it down.  Napoleon Hill, the author of The Magic Ladder to Success,  puts it in perspective:

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#Equip yourself with what you need to accomplish your vision 

Once you have your goals and a plan, you need the tools and the people to help.  If you want to lose weight you’ll need to learn how to change the way you eat, and you need to move. Do you need to get exercise equipment, a gym membership, or a new pair of sneakers?

If you want to start your own business, you need education, training, and business mentors.

Make friends with the right people, surround yourself with good influences, and keep moving yourself forward.

Keep moving

 #Cultivate emotional intelligence

Successful people learn to temper their emotions.  They are empathetic, understanding,  set the tone for their team, and know how to bring the best out in others.  They keep their head in the game, and don’t sweat the small stuff.  If you want to accomplish your goals you can’t be pouty, reactive, or vindictive.  I recommend either reading up on emotional intelligence or try taking a free class. A little emotional intelligence goes a long way.

#Stay the course

Success will find you busy working. Build on your strengths,  be persistent, optimistic, and learn from your failures. There will be obstacles, set backs, mistakes as well as triumphs. The point is to never lose your grit.

Anyone who has set a goal and accomplished it is a success. Success does not happen overnight.  It won’t drop from the sky, and it will never come if you turn around and admit defeat.  It is a challenge, and that’s exactly what makes life zesty!

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You Will Become A Better Person By Doing This

There was a time in my life when I avoided any one who was suffering.  Ironic for someone who chose nursing as a career.  I didn’t last long as a hospital nurse.

I stopped watching the news.

I became tongue tied when I did try to offer condolences to a friend.

The thought of going to a funeral or wake triggered panic, dread.

Until one day I was sick of avoiding, ignoring, pretending.

That was not how I wanted to live my life! Bad things happen, and that’s never going to change. Kids die. Planes explode. Buildings collapse. Accidents happen. Spouses cheat. Cancer spreads. Evil destroys. We all die.

And I can’t do a damn thing about it.

Except…

I can accept it, and share the pain.

So I did.  And it didn’t destroy me. Actually, the opposite happened. My spirit became stronger, and my own heavy load seemed lighter, so much less important.

Somehow the act of sharing another’s hardship freed me from my own suffering.

Now, I see burdens everywhere I go. P1070618The traffic of my daily encounters reveal so many who suffer.

Whether it’s a headline tragedy, or the quiet grief of a neighbor you hardly know, there are people who are lonely, broken, despairing.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Our burdens become more bearable when we help carry another’s.  We become liberated. Our purpose becomes clearer.

Lifting the burdens of another, making the road a little easier – it’s the cure for suffering. It makes you a better person.

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People in the midst of terrible, heavy suffering tend to hide it. They want you to think everything is fine.  Maybe that’s you right now, you go to work, do your shopping, show up at functions with a smile on your face and the whole time you’re thinking,

I have to do this again tomorrow??? I can’t. God help me. I can’t take it anymore!

The secret for overcoming hopelessness, grief, fear, tragedy? Lose yourself in the service of others. Share the burden. Give some of yours and take some of theirs.

When someone asks you,

 What can I do?  Is there anything you need? Anything at all? 

Say yes.

There is something you can do for me. You have pain. I have pain.  If you let me have some of yours, I will give you some of mine.

That’s the miracle of healing. It makes us better.

There will never be a shortage of suffering in this world. None of us truly know the right thing to say or do when tragedy strikes.

The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

It’s ok. Don’t say anything. A hug, a nod, a comforting shoulder to cry on.

Start small. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

charles dickensYou suffer. I suffer. And life goes on. And it is through that suffering we find life.

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

There was a time in my life when I avoided any one who was suffering.

Not any more.

And I’m more than Ok.

Would You Believe These Guys are Best Friends?!

Did you ever meet someone and immediately think,

I like this person! There’s something about him that, well,

reminds me of

me!

You like the same food, enjoy the same music, and have the same world views.

You are like

two peas in a pod
two peas in a pod

I never stopped to consider the origins of the cliche until I was taking pictures one day and saw it.

The identical peas, each with a tiny umbilical cord.

Twins. 

Compadres.

Matching set.

Two minds thinking as one.

Soul mate.

Best friends.

What a glorious thing it is to find someone who ‘gets’ us, relates to us, makes us feel at ease. We can pour out our heart and soul to and we know there is nothing we can’t say.

Our best friend can finish our sentence, knows how we like our coffee, and always finds us the perfect birthday gift.

There’s nothing like that deep, mysterious connection with another human being.

It is irreplaceable.

Do you have a pea like that?  If you do, don’t take that person for granted. The world is a better place and life is so much richer because of that precious soul.

Maybe you don’t? Or, maybe you have, but haven’t realized it.

Who would have thought this wombat and this pig would become best friends?

Credit: Photo by Rob Leeson/Newspix / Rex Features (1808299a) http://www.rexfeatures.com/stacklink/IFJIDKRTD

We can find amazing friends in our neighborhoods and workplaces, and also in the unlikeliest places.  If you found yours, that is so awesome! If you haven’t yet, don’t give up. Just keep your eyes open.

 You never know who might be

the right pea

for your pod. 

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Could Your Headache Be a Sign of Something Serious?

Headaches are a common complaint. The cause is usually minor, such as tension in the muscles, lack of sleep, allergies, or hunger.

Many people experience incapacitating migraine headaches, yet even those aren’t considered life threatening.

So when is a headache more than just a headache, but a sign of something more serious?

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Any headache that is different than what you are used to, occurs in the very young or old, is accompanied by a stiff, painful neck, is preceded by a bump to the head, wakes you up from sleep, or comes on like a thunder clap, needs immediate medical attention.

when in doubt

Consider meningitis, an inflammation of the brain that causes sudden onset of headache, fever, and a stiff neck. Would you recognize it if you had it?

Any new headache is potentially worrisome. Add on other symptoms and there is no question there is a need for prompt, further investigation.  If your headache seems in anyway unusual for you, or is accompanied by a change in neurological function, an emergency consultation is necessary.

Antibiotic Apocolypse: The Rise of The Superbug

In 2013 the Center for Disease Control released a landmark report: Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013 (PDF).

The report gives a bleak picture of our current antibiotic problems.

If folks don’t stop demanding and clinicians don’t stop prescribing antibiotics for every cold, earache, cough, or other illness that is likely viral, we won’t have any effective antibiotics left!

antibiotics

The consequences of this is catastrophic.

Imagine our world run amuck with superbugs that cannot be killed. These bugs become armed militants capable of mutating and altering their defenses against anything thrown at them, making them more virulent, more deadly. This is not science fiction. Antibiotic resistance is not a potential problem of the future, it is here and now, present day.

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The CDC conservatively estimates that in the US alone, two million people a year get sick with antibiotic-resistant infections, and 23,000 die from their infection.

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I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.
I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.

Are we too late?  Has the overuse of antibiotics by prescribers and patients caused irreversible repercussions? Yeah, probably.

But with education and action by every one of us, we can help our situation from getting even worse.

What can we do?

CDC’s Dr. Frieden proposes a four-part solution:

  • Preventing infections from occurring and spreading:
    through immunization, hand washing, proper food preparation
  • Tracking resistant bacteria (CDC’s role)
  • Improve antibiotic prescribing/stewardship. This commitment to always use antibiotics appropriately and safely—only when they are needed and to choose the right ones and administer/take in the right way in every case—is known as antibiotic stewardship.
  • Promote development of new antibiotics and tests for diagnosing resistant bacteria.

Important take-aways:

-The use of antibiotics is the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance.

50% of all the antibiotics prescribed for people are not needed or are not optimally effective.

Simply using antibiotics creates resistance.

As antibiotic resistance grows, the antibiotics used to treat infections do not work as well or at all.

When someone takes an antibiotic that they do not need, they are needlessly exposed to the side effects of the drug and do not get any benefit from it.

Every time someone takes an antibiotic they don’t need,
they increase their risk of developing a resistant infection in the future.

When a person takes antibiotics, good bacteria that protect against infection are destroyed for several months.

Stopping even some of the inappropriate and unnecessary use of antibiotics in people and animals would help greatly in slowing down the spread of resistant bacteria

Remember, most illnesses resolve on their own, and very few truly require antibiotic treatment.

Let’s fight this war together and agree to be good antibiotic stewards. Otherwise, we risk being destroyed by mercenaries who are capable of assembling their army on a single grain of salt.

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How Do You Know? Is it Normal Panic or a Disorder?

Panic is a sense of overwhelming fear, triggering physical and mental reactions so severe that a person might believe he is dying. Symptoms include palpitations, pounding fast heart beat, shaking, sweating, choking, dizziness, rapid breathing, and tight chest.

The cause of the panic can be real, or imaginary. Unless you are a vulcan, you have experienced panic at some point in your life.  For instance,

  • After stumbling upon a lone bear cub in the woods, the mama spies you and charges.
  • You run out of gas late at night on a dark desert highway during a blizzard.
  • While hiking in the mountains you suddenly hear a distinct rattling sound.
  • You are about to give a speech to a packed auditorium.
  • It is your turn to audition in front of the judges of America’s Got Talent.
  • You speed by a well hidden police car. He immediately pulls out lights on, siren blaring.
  • You wake up and remember your anniversary was yesterday.

In those circumstances, your panic is normal, it is not pathological and you will quickly return to a non panic state once the stressor passes or the situation is dealt with.  If however you experience recurrent episodes of panic, often for no apparent reason, you may have a panic disorder.  Some common symptoms are

shaking, shortness of breath, chest pain, blurred vision, tunnel vision, out of body feeling, pounding heart, trembling legs, spinning sensation, dry mouth, suffocating or smothering sensation, and a feeling that death is imminent

In his book, The Loss of SadnessDr Kenneth Kendler writes:

If an individual experiences a full-blown panic attack when he looses his grip and falls 40 feet before his rope catches him, no psychiatrist I know would consider this to be a psychopathological phenomenon. A panic attack is not—in and of itself—psychopathological. It only becomes pathology when it occurs in certain contexts—at times and in places when it should not.

One panic attack, not a problem. A couple more here and there, still can be dealt with.  If your panic is often, or is starting to interfere with your lifestyle or work, you need to see a health care provider.  There are medical conditions that can mimic a panic disorder, and you should have those ruled out.  Also, it is safer to err on the side of caution.  If you feel you are having a heart attack, call 911. Chest pain or tightness should always be taken seriously.

The good news: you don’t have to be a victim of panic.

Don’t be ashamed or afraid to seek help, panic disorder is way more common than you think, and is very treatable.

He said What?! Einstein’s Best Quotes

Albert Einstein, the most influential physicist of the 20th century was born with a misshapen head to a middle-class German Jewish family.  He didn’t talk until he was nearly four years old. His first sentence was…

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Einstein hated school, especially rote learning and he refused to study anything that he didn’t find interesting.

He dropped out of high-school, but eventually graduated from college. You know the rest of the story.

Einstein is known for many things: the theory of relativity, cavorting with ladies, absentmindedness, crazy hair, and some really cool quotes.  Here’s some of my favorites.

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God did not create evil. Just as darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of God.

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.

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There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.

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Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.

I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.

Never memorize something that you can look up. (I think he came up with that because he was so absentminded!)

mysteriousLogic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.

Thanks Al, for everything. Except those ridiculous rules of marriage. No wonder Mileva divorced you.