Every day I think of another way to improve and be happier. Here is one simple addition.
It's time to try something new.
For those times you want to blog while on the go, yes there's an app for that.
Below is an updated (minor edits) version of a speech I wrote in May of 2017. You'll notice time stamps in the text, as I had to fit this into a 5-7 minute time frame. Enjoy!
Join the Movement of Just Be Nice
Let there be no misunderstanding about the word movement here. This is not about religious or political movements. And, if you are thinking about yet another meaning of the word movement, we WILL NOT be discussing prunes!
Ladies and Gentlemen, Fellow Toastmasters….
A discussion I had had with a friend of mine, led to this idea. My friend feels it is unfortunate that many people feel a need to rely on “some higher power” for help. One example he cites is when people pray for their sports team to win.
The details of that discussion were probably more colorful than I can share here with you today. The result, included in the title of this speech, was that we should all practice, or be members of the religion of, “Just Be Nice.”
Yes, I know I said we would not discuss religion here.
That’s why the first part of the title of this speech is, “Join the Movement.”
“Now that we’ve cleared that up….” Just remember, it’s a movement, not religion. And, it’s the easiest practice in the world, with no regular attendance required, no prayers, no need for singing ability, no dues, collections, or “Sunday go to meetin’ clothes.” You simply make up your mind to just be nice.
Well, it’s easy. Based on research I’ve done on how to start a movement, it only takes one follower to make me a leader. More importantly, that one follower not only transforms me from a subversive lunatic into the founder of a movement, but he or she now sets a brilliant example of how to jump in and participate at the grassroots level, as the real momentum begins! The possibility of this activity becoming something worth doing has now doubled and twice as many people may be influenced by our collective behavior. It sounds easy so far, right? Well, it is fun, so I hope you’ll try it.
Who, what, where, and when?
This answer may seem simply obvious. The who is you, doing whatever is kind, wherever you are, whenever you have the opportunity. Ah, you say, but where do I find these opportunities. That’s easy, too. Almost anywhere you go or anywhere you are, if there are other people around you, the opportunity to be nice is there. The key is to be open to that possibility.
An observation, more good things happen to me when I expect them to happen. As much as I could avoid disappointment by reducing my expectations to zero, that just doesn’t suit me.
You, perhaps I should say, I’m hoping you, might feel the same way. See the possibility of goodness in everyone you meet and your approach to people will be colored positive by this prejudice. Yes, prejudice can be positive if applied correctly. Prejudge people to be wonderful and you’ll meet lots of wonderful people.
Did you just say, “why?” What are you, some kind of rabble rouser? Are you looking for trouble? I’m sure it’s just as easy to find. Remember that bit about expectations we just covered?
Yes, you may find the world and the people in it meet your expectations. Good or bad, you’ll likely have it your way.
But, seriously, the “because” answer for “why” becomes far clearer after you’ve had some experience with this behavior.
1. Because you’ll feel better is one of three reasons why you should be nice.
2. The other two reasons are other people, the objects of your kindness.
3. And, other people who witness your kindness, who get something akin to a contact high just by seeing your good deeds.
If we had more time, we could go into the serotonin effect and what happens inside the brains of all the people affected by your kindness. The short answer is a heightened sense of wellbeing and happiness. These good feelings are brought on by a rush of a neurotransmitter, created in happy people, as a direct result of your brazen expression of kindness toward another human being. You can almost feel it now, can’t you? Enjoy!
But, alas, the end is near and here comes the “what you can do, what I want you to do, and what I think you’ll enjoy doing.”
Choose one or more of these actions. (1:15)
1. Start a movement in your community. I’ll give you this speech with my blessings. Use it as is, when I win this contest, you’ll have award winning material to use to continue this movement! Or, modify it, make it your own.
Find your voice and change the world.
2. Start a movement among your closest friends. Leverage your circle of influence to drive positive change. Same offer as before…. if you like this speech, it’s yours to use, free of any encumbrance.
Find your voice and change the world.
3. Start this movement personally. Make a commitment every morning when you rise, to go out into the world expecting an opportunity to make someone happy. Your good deed need not be grandiose, dandy or verbose. If you are open to it, surely your spirit will realize this possibility.
Be a single voice of kindness and change the world.
As I close this speech, I wonder how you’ll feel to say these THREE SIMPLE WORDS. So, when I say, “say it with me.” I want you to say, "JUST BE NICE."
Then you’ll know how you feel.
There is a smile out there waiting for you, it will be for you, due to what you do. All you have to do is (say it with me!):
Just Be Nice!
What did you think of first when you saw that title? The Rancho Mirage Public Library (they have now added, "and Observatory" to their name) immediately came to my mind. They offer books on CD and for some reason, I couldn't always get back there after checking out some of that material.
That's not why I'm writing today. It is because I see the date of my last post and realize that if I'm going to call myself a blogger, I must post. Today, after talking to a professional blogger, I realized how far behind I truly am on my own project here.
It seems funny to me that after (way too many) years of telling an old tired story of my past I'm not more excited to share with you all of the progress I've recently made! If you could "zero out" your history and start anew now, would you want to do that? Could you shed the baggage of your past, photographs and memories, and simply press on with a new story? I'm doing that.
There's little hope that I should promise here to be more consistent, but I will try to be that. Perhaps my new client will provide an excellent example of how to do this and maybe I'll make enough changes with new progress to generate a bit of income from my content. Won't that be nice? Let's hope so, for both of us.
After some time spent working on an Amazon Fire TV setup, I really wanted to find a way to reboot the electronics as a last effort to restore Russian Television channels on the ETVNet. My client is a Russian lady and she wants to watch Russian Television channels and with little prior experience on the delivery system she had been using, I was stuck. If only the little remote would just put a "restart" button on the screen, I was confident this problem would simply go away. Maybe if I push a few more buttons...
A knock comes on the door and in comes the pool guy and his assistant/trainee. My Russian lady client jubilantly explains that the young man (the assistant, who says nothing) is a champion boxer from Indio. While I'm trying to figure out how any of this relates to what I'm trying to do, the pool guy goes out to the pool then comes back in, disappears, and resets a couple of circuit breakers.
Guess what! The TV, the little Amazon Firestick thing, the cable fed Intenet connection and its router, and a few other things are magically turned off by my new hero, the pool guy.
We wait for the network to come back up, ensure all is well with that by logging back into it on smartphones. Now I turn back on the TV electronics and go back to trying to make the Amazon Fire TV setup work properly and YES!
You guessed it. All is well. Just a few clicks later and we are watching Russian TV stations and my client thinks I'm the genius!
I'm good with that. Get paid and get out... Angel (my little dog) needs to take a walk and I need some fresh air, too. Another minor miracle from the powers that be. I'll take it. Now is best.
Simply this - I lack an ability to express my emotions with words. Just saying how much I miss Margaret will never adequately convey the magnitude of what I am feeling.
Yesterday, I read several online sources like Medium and Quora and found a stellar example of another writer's work on loneliness. I also read posts by people who have suffered greater losses than I and I found myself feeling better - as in, my losses seem small by comparison. Often I have said that knowing someone has lost millions will never make me feel better about having lost "only hundreds of thousands." But, when it comes to losing people, I feel differently about that and the comparison seems valid.
OK, I've lost it. My train of thought has left the station and I'm still on the platform. My search for images on Unsplash has derailed this commute. I'm done, but I'll share my post from Medium for you here. This was my response to a writer who produced a well-crafted post on the topic of loneliness. Her work is here: Hetty La on Medium
OK, I forced it. But when I say I'm going to do something, I'll fake it to make it.
Has anyone else noticed how many "secrets" are shared on Social Media? Are we all assumed to be voyeurs, with an insatiable desire to know what has been kept from us by others? It seems oxymoronic to use a word (or in this case, "utilize" a word) with all of its meaning to express the polar opposite effect.
By the way, there are a few words that I should likely discuss in my posts. Like, "utilize" and "use" and why I believe they are NOT synonymous. This is similar to when you hear people say, "I could care LESS!" - when we know what they were trying to say, but you see they completely missed the logic. To tie it up nicely, not is not knot.
Having awakened to the thought of being such a small part of a great big world, my memory turned to Aesop’s Fables. Thinking that there had been one about a mouse removing a thorn from a lion’s paw or from an elephant’s foot, I set off to search for answers. Google did not disappoint, as I found an entire volume in PDF form of Aesop’s Fables – and, another tome from 1906, with several versions of similar stories, with one by Aesop.
As I’m sure you recall, Aesop’s Tales always ended with the moral of the story. Most of them are useful, one led to some ambiguity. There are different versions to the end of the story (I had remembered wrong) about “The Lion and the Mouse.” If you search it, you may find versions that end with, “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” That phrase itself leading to ambiguity, as it may be written, “A friend in need is a friend in deed.” And, you can see how that might lead to some discussion regarding motives, etc. The moral at the end of Aesop's Fables (you'll see by clicking the link above) is: Little friends may prove great friends.
It turns out there is no elephant in any of the results turned up by my search and I realize that I have the whole thing mixed up with a joke I used to tell about a mouse and an elephant. Moving on… The thorn part of my analogy comes from that 1906 version, where someone is spared as repayment for an earlier kindness. This kind of deflates the whole thing, as most of this cannot be applied to my original thinking about making a small difference in this great big world. Perhaps the starfish story might better apply.
But, all is not lost as I’ve found links now to great collections of ancient tales, told in many ways by multiple authors. So, I’m reminded of my friend Emerson who, in so many words, said there isn’t much new knowledge in the world, simply a rehashing of history. Well, he didn’t exactly say that, but that was the meaning I took from his words. Had I read every classic work and had all of that to refer to with my writing, I’m wondering if I would be happier as a writer. I’ll never know.
Lastly, it bears saying here, that I lost the first version of this writing to some sloppy work on my part. The original post was written on Facebook and as I went off to find a suitable image to illustrate my thoughts, to my horror I managed to lose the (about twenty minutes worth of) work I had done. C’est la vie, indeed! This version I’ve written with Word 2016 and I’ll be copy pasting it into my blog first, with a link to that blog post to be posted on Facebook. This may seem circuitous to some, but I like my work and hate to see it lost to carelessness. Control or command + S as often as necessary when you write. Remember, Jesus saves! So should you.
It is funny how easy it is to find an analogy to an idea.
The transformation in this case is my own. Going from debilitating despondent destitute depression to an optimistic outlook took only three steps. So it is appropriate that the list in the graphic above has only three tasks in it.
The first two items should apply nicely to the process described here. That last one, I'm not so sure how or if it should come to a close. Perhaps when I finish this exercise, I'll simply put it behind me as I'll do with so much of the past. Close the door and move on with life.
Revalue sounds so much like re-evaluate, don't you think? This is an experience I had recently. However, it will be the second in my sequence of events. Items to be settled in a balance sheet sounds sexy, no? Well, probably that will be the toughest part of this exercise. That list might be quite long.
Here are three things that recently happened in my (formerly miserable) life.
One: A counselor put up a matrix and it was a simple image with four quadrants and four labels. I'll have to search the Internet to see if I can find a graphic for you. Essentially, it is about what we experience through our senses, what we experience on the inside with our thoughts, feelings and emotions. Those are the labels top and bottom, respectively. On the left is the word, "Away" and on the right, "Toward." As in, we want to get away from things like uncomfortable thoughts and feelings and we want to move toward who or what is important. This matrix was presented to me on October 2, 2017. Since then I had given it quite a bit of consideration. Also, I learned to be more objective about my thoughts and feelings. As in, I now ask myself, why am I thinking or feeling this or that. It separates my mind from the thought or feeling of the moment. It may seem strange, like an out of body experience, but it works. Doing this lets me have feelings without letting the feelings have me. October 2, 2017
Two: A conversation I had with a new client allowed me to spew forth all of the details of my progress. From the time I was a kid, ten years old, realizing that I was going to have to raise myself, through the few major jobs I held as paperboy, busboy, tree-trimmer, and Information Services Specialist, to working with start-ups and mortgage brokers, back to computers, where I now run my own business. Through all of that descriptive story-telling I realized I had done pretty well. Not by monetary standards, but by the fact that I continued to get better through the years with experience, determination and a drive to rise to every challenge. God, I really don't enjoy talking about myself. But, sometimes it really helps. Probably November 2, 2017
Three: This same client from thing two suggested a couple of books I should read. One, "The Power of Now," by Ekhart Tolle has changed everything for me. It is a frighteningly simple concept, one you've probably heard many times in your life: Enjoy the moment. Just being and being fully present is the key to enlightenment. Trust me, I was not looking for enlightenment. I was looking for a way to get over my past. It turns out this is the key. While I'm sure I could write an entire blog post and several pages on what all of this means to me, it seems more important to say, you should see what it means to you. Funny thing is, I think I had purchased this book some time ago and ignored it. That is evidence of the obvious, you have to be ready for the lesson. Probably November 6, 2017 (The other book was, "Love is letting go of Fear" which is a whole new topic for a blog post and a speech!)
I'm done now. Or, I may revisit this to add or edit later. But, I've achieved my goal of getting these things into print while they are fresh.
This was a good one.
Did you miss it?
Buy this for me and I'll grant you permanent forgiveness for all trangressions in perpetuity.
To me, it seems simple. One or zero, those are the two states. There either is something, or there is not. Sure, you can add the OR, NOR, and the NAND functions and start to mess about with something simple. But, I'm going to do my best to stay within the bounds of, "yes, or no."
But, of course, with just a bit of research, we run into fuzzy logic. This, to me, means the absolute state of one or zero is now questionable. Hurrah for that. If you want to read more about fuzzy logic, click this link.
Logic may be applied to many situations, as in the image above, where you see a bridge. You may assign the value zero to where you are now, having not crossed the bridge. Naturally, the value one would be assigned to the state of having crossed the bridge. Which, I suppose, leaves all of the states of being on the bridge to the fuzzy logic, or the fuzziness of your situation.
And, now it is too late to finish this post, as my brainpower fades into the darkness. I must sleep, or make a valiant effort to get some rest. Either way, I cannot continue. 10:46 p.m. on Wednesday, 2017/09/20.
Revisited on October 2, 2017 - removal of negative inner dialog and the addition of the following (quoted) outline of a speech delivered on September 28th.
Semantic satiation (also semantic saturation) is a psychological phenomenon in which repetition causes a word or phrase to temporarily lose meaning for the listener, who then perceives the speech as repeated meaningless sounds.
This might happen. The word is logic. If it loses its meaning, we are in big trouble.
Things you find on Wikipedia as you research this topic.
Predicate (mathematical logic)
Semiotics (also called semiotic studies); is the study of meaning-making, the study of sign process (semiosis) and meaningful communication
The title of this speech is applied logic and other nonsense, because if you want to make sense of certain common expressions, the application of logic is all you need.
An easy example: “I could care less!”
You are trying to say you don’t care about something, but you just said you do.
Recently, one of my clients used this expression:
Failure to plan is planning to fail – or something like that.
You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.
Really, I think I can. Here I have it, watch me eat.
Think outside the box? Don’t get me started.
If I could bottle the feeling I had tonight and sell it, I would be wealthy. You simply cannot buy this. Allow me to expound and illustrate. Indulge me for a moment. For, in the end, a moment is all we have. Tonight, I ate and drank at Pacifica Restaurant, on El Paseo, in Palm Desert.
Pacifica has been one of my favorite places since I moved to the desert in 2004. There you will find seafood and over 150 vodkas. If you aren't sure how to choose, ask your bartender to make a recommendation. Times I've done this have provided new experience.
My favorite appetizer is this: Seared Ahi Tataki 12/15 Seaweed salad, ponzu sauce, chili oil, ginger - at happy hour prices, with bread and butter that tastes like dessert, you can fill up and be happy. They also have happy hour pricing on salads and the essentials like fish tacos. Click the link for my Seared Ahi above to see their menu.
But, that's not the half of it. The ambiance, that's the better part. You cannot buy this. All you have to do is show up and pay attention. You'll see it. Like a dance, your bartenders, Amanda and Ashley, work it like a ballet. Watch closely and you'll see the camaraderie, the cooperation, and the care they put into managing their position and place as they manage the space behind and beyond the bar. Choreography wouldn't do as well. It is impromptu. You have to see it for yourself.
By the time I finished my drink and my dinner, I was simply astonished at the way I felt. It was all puppies and rainbows and better than that. My tummy was full and my mood fully satiated. That's pure arrogance for, I was happy. Yes, that's how I think and that's how I write.
Ignore me. Go to Pacifica and enjoy. That's all I'm trying to say.
I've always wondered how anything can be more than virgin... But, here it is. A list of links to Olive Oil products and producers who are reported to have quality product. Enjoy!
Do you love that Costco made the grade? See that last link and shop well!
Whenever I think about sharing the details of the benefit to using Social Media to promote their business (or their books, or themselves), blogging comes first to my mind. That graphic is intended to illustrate my approach. When this post is complete, it will be posted on Facebook, which will feed it to Twitter. Then, I'll use my Wordpress presence to share it again on my Mousehelp and Rouzell blogs. Does that seem excessive to you?
Consider this: What if people are searching for exactly this? "How to use Social Media to promote my book" And, how will it benefit me as the author of this post when they find a link to my article in their search results? I could leave that to your imagination. But, the fact of the matter is I am going to be teaching (professionally) on this very topic to writers very soon. And, if I later create a webinar version of this instruction to sell online, I may get paid again!
That's most of what I have to say about this, except that I am passionate about writing and teaching, probably in that order, and sharing these ideas on Social Media and with blog posts simply makes good sense to me. What makes sense to you? Write and post and send me a link.
http://www.quotes.net/mquote/71704 - the source of this quote:
You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster.
Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride!
What a great story.
I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.
This is nowhere near finished! To be (God willing) continued....
I'm not sure I've ever posted one of my speeches, but I don't doubt that I've used blog content as part of speeches I've given. Here, then, is the barely modified text of my last speech.
This is one of those times where everything is changing very quickly.
Not that it hadn’t been changing all along, it is simply more obvious to me, now.
Clarity can do that to you.
Or, perhaps, should I say, "Clarity can do that FOR you?"
It seems prudent at this juncture to tell you a few things about a few things. So, that’s three times three, or nine things, by the time I’m done. This may require a slight acceleration as we near the end, so you’ll have to listen more quickly as we hasten to the close. It may surprise you to learn that I took out several words already in this speech, then burned up all that free time with this sentence.
Here’s thing one:
Sometimes the good news and the bad news are the same news.
1. Like, it’s all coming back to me now and my memories are like a rush of melancholy and joyous things – little stuff, like falling in love and my first heartbreak.
2. Another bit of news might be, “Hey, you are going to get a new computer.” I’ll allow you to process that news for a moment.
3. Or if someone were to say to you, “Wow. You look fantastic… for your age!”
Thing two goes like this:
You cannot know exactly how much you don’t know.
4. If you’ve heard of infinity and have a solid grasp of that concept, then you already know that how much you don’t know is really a big thing!
5. But, have you ever stopped to consider the idea that on your journey if you only go half way to your destination with every step, you’ll never arrive? Even if you could move just a little closer, until you were moving only one angstrom (a unit of length equal to one hundred-millionth of a centimeter, 10–10 meter, used mainly to express wavelengths and interatomic distances), then half an angstrom, etc., you’ll be thinking in terms of subatomic distances, right down at that little tiny place where Ph.D. physics majors sometimes find God.
6. Can you know how many stars there are in the universe? Do you need to have a number to express such a thing? Or, can you be comfortable with leaving such things to a higher power? And, if you like the idea of higher powers, simply square or cube this sentence and be happy, right?
That brings us right up to thing three, doesn’t it?
Here are a few reasons we like three.
7. It’s because we like having choices to make, but two things to choose from is just not enough and four starts to cause anxiety. Seriously, look at websites and you’ll see what I mean.
8. When you were a kid, wasn’t it always, “Ready, set, go!” We love this stuff, like Pavlov’s dog, we are conditioned to be happy with three.
9. In religion, you have the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Columbus had the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. J.R.R. Tolkien (who needed three initials) wrote one of the bestselling novels as a trilogy, and if you are going to Trilogy in La Quinta, you’ll find three palm trees at the corner of Madison and Avenue 60. Oops, that was four examples!
Are you confused, now?
If yes, then we go together. Which is something like a bumper sticker I once saw,
it said, “Don’t Follow Me, I’m Lost, Too!”
If you'd like to join us at Toastmasters, click here for more info.
This is how it all works. Everything on your computer is dependent upon this logic.
The hard part is finding a way to care about this, or finding someone who cares about this. So, if you are still here, congratulations, I like you better, already!
In case you are wondering, I’m writing this article today as a result of something someone said in church, today. It was, in a word, unsettling.
You can search for this yourself, so, please do. Someone said that scientists say there are something like 100 billion stars in our galaxy. And, she continued, there may be 100 billion galaxies in the universe. I’ve done the searches and these words are close to what you will find, except that this search...
“how many stars and galaxies are there in the universe”
Yields these results. There are about 10 billion galaxies in the observable universe! The number of stars in a galaxy varies, but assuming an average of 100 billion stars per galaxy means that there are about 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (that's 1 billion trillion) stars in the observable universe!
So, what bothers me about these suppositions? It’s pretty simple. As long as you understand the concept of infinity, you should find it easy to realize that we simply do not know what we cannot know. Since we have no way to see whether there is an end to the universe, there can be no way to theorize how many of anything there are in an infinite space.
You don’t even need to understand logic to fully grasp this concept. But, having learned logic and having an appreciation for that very simple and basic application of ones and zeros to the core of how things works helps me, when considering abstract concepts, like nothingness and infinity.
Perhaps a better question to ask is this: Why do we need to guess at how many stars there are in the universe? Or, how is it that we cannot simply accept there are things we cannot know?