A How to Guide…

"Do not seek praise, seek criticism." – Paul Arden

Month: October, 2009

A Family of Strangers


Losing family causes us to find family. It may not be flesh and blood but the ties are no less strong. It is in sadness that we find and need comfort. It is in comfort that true family is made manifest. It is through this true family that we cope with the loss of the original family. Family needs not be part of a genealogical tree, but rather part of our hearts and systems of reliance and comfort and coalescence. We need to understand that it is family that makes us who we are—it is our environments that create us, that mold us.

Why does losing family hurt so much? It is because we see it as a special part of the unity we had leave our lives. This special part is not dependant upon others; it is the others that make up the special part, yes, but that special part exists whether or not those who fill it leave or not. It is unity that makes a family, not the members therein. The hardest part of understanding this special part is to understand that it is not the people that make it. The same as it is not the clouds that make the sky, although they fill its breadth often to completion, the sky exists without them—it is the atmosphere that makes the sky; if the clouds dissipated, the sky could always be filled over again. The same as it is not the fish that make up the ocean, although they fill its depth often in a glorious rainbow of diversity that seems to fill the ocean to capacity—it is the water that makes the ocean; if the fish dissipated, the ocean could always be repopulated. This is how it is with family; it is not the specific people that make up the family, although they fill the heart with inter-reliance, joviality, and trust—it is unity that makes the family; if a one of the family were to die, or were to turn against the others, or were to move away forever, the unity between the remaining family members (and those who are added) endures.

Therefore, family without unity is not a family at all, because the family is the unity, not the members. This is a hard concept to grasp because it seems so impersonal, uncaring, and cold. However, were family to be based on the members only, than one could use the word family to mean any number of lesser relationships. But it is in unity that family is based and therefore is dependent upon there first being unity in order for there to ever exist family.

In the love that is found in between family members we see the unity. Mafiosos had families as the main construct of their regimes because it is in the unity that is formed by the members of the whole that creates the security and construct needed to run such an organization. Organized crime thrived because they used the unity of family to support negative ideas. What would happen if we expanded our concepts of family to concentrate on the unity: a unity that is perfectly capable of including those not of flesh and blood and to then use it to support positive ideas? What if we used this unity to coalesce and, as did the mafiosos, trust and rely upon one another fully and without restraint or mercy, demanding the reciprocation of that unity? We could change society as certainly as the clock strikes midnight.

The family that matters most is our blood family—we have spent the majority of our lives with them. However, even though this family is extremely important, we cannot simply allow family to stop at this level. Imagine the level of potency any organization, be it an entire society or even an organized crime group, could attain if they saw one another as family—if they united together and stayed true to that unity. Imagine what would happen if we had unity across the globe: if our world was a family. It sounds impossible, idealistic, and idiotic, but through the eyes of the child is the world seen as it should be; through the eyes of the child does society actually make sense. Children do not use motive, selfishness, and personal gain—at least they used to not. Family, to the child, does not stop at blood. We should see unity in those around us, in those we trust, and learn to trust others and to be trustworthy.

Our society is a family… were we to have unity. If we unite and have the common purpose of reformation and social betterment, leaving the immorality of the mafiosos behind, then we will be a family. From the perspective of a nation, the function of family is to maintain were maintaining is required and to change where change is required. I challenge you to find unity not only in blood, but also in the family that does not show up in your family tree, because every step towards trust is a step away from negligence, every step towards unity is a step away from dilapidation, and every step towards family is a step away from social decay.  Change of the whole starts with the change of the parts.

Adam T. Wamack – A Young Influence

Try It

I just finished reading a variety of twitter updates and blog posts on a talk given @poptech today by food journalist and activist, Michael Pollan.  Here are three things he said that I feel would be beneficial to all of us:

1.  Plant a garden.  If you invest $70 in a home garden you can yield $600 worth of organic produce per year.

2.  Get back in the kitchen and cook.   Gain control of the food you eat by making it yourself and involving your families.  

3.  Stop eating in front of the television and the computer and inside your car.  Americans (everyone) should work harder to bring back the meal as the sacred communal activity that it is.

If you’re already doing these things, please continue to do so and encourage others to follow your example.

Ruben Harris


Good Night

Dreaming is an act of pure imagination, attesting in all men a creative power, which if it were available in waking, would make every man a Dante or Shakespeare. – Frederick Henry Hedge

Aesop’s Fables


The Ass in the Lions Skin

An Ass, having put on a Lion’s skin, roamed about in the forest and amused himself by frightening all of the foolish animals he met in his wanderings.  At last, coming upon a Fox, he tried to frighten him also, but the Fox no sooner heard the sound of his voice then he exclaimed, “I might have possibly been frightened myself, if I had not heard your bray.”


Clothes may disguise a fool, but his words will give him away.

If You Can…

If you can keep your head when all about you 
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; 
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, 
But make allowance for their doubting too; 
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, 
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies, 
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating, 
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master; 
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim; 
If you can meet with triumph and disaster 
And treat those two imposters just the same; 
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken 
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, 
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken, 
And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings 
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, 
And lose, and start again at your beginnings 
And never breath a word about your loss; 
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew 
To serve your turn long after they are gone, 
And so hold on when there is nothing in you 
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, 
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch; 
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; 
If all men count with you, but none too much; 
If you can fill the unforgiving minute 
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run – 
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, 
And – which is more – you’ll be a man my son! 

By Rudyard Kipling


Always Consider Opportunity Costs

Josh Kaufman has a blog (Personal MBA) that I read often.  As I was reading his post, The 4 Most Valuable Things I Learned In Business School, the first one resonated with me the most:

“Always Consider Opportunity Costs”

“Whenever you choose to invest your time or money, you’re simultaneously choosing not to do everything else you could potentially do with that investment.”

“The principle of opportunity cost applies to everything: every choice has hidden costs, whether you’re working, sleeping, or taking on a new project.”

“The more you can uncover the implicit costs behind the decisions you intend to make before you move forward, the better your decisions will be.”

I am also a business student and can attest to how valuable the application of this concept is to your life.

Go ye, and do likewise.



Never Underestimate The Power Of A Great Story

Are You Happy?

This is an excellent poem about attaining happiness in life.

Desiderata (Latin for “desired things”) by Max Ehrmann

1. Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence.

2. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

3. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

4. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; for they are vexations to the spirit.

5. If you compare yourself with others you may become bitter or vain, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

6. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

7. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

8. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery; but let this not blind you to what virtue there is.

9. Be yourself. 

10. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

11. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

12. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune, but do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

13. Beyond a wholesome discipline be gentle with yourself.

14. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here, and whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

15. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.

16. And whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, be at peace with your soul. With all its shame, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

17. Be cheerful. 

18. Strive to be happy.

Which item do you find most important in your life?