Saturday, July 5, 2014
Sunday, June 29, 2014
Happiness. It’s the term thrown around more often than any other term when people are asked what they are looking for in life. A loving partner, a fun high-paying job and endless world travel are also amongst some of the most common answers, however all of these are preference-based means to the one ultimate end, which is happiness. Being so sought-after, I thought I’d comprise a list of common traits that seem to be found in happy people -and I’m talking about the genuinely happy people, and not just those who appear to be so on the surface.
By compiling this list I’m not suggesting that these are the only keys to happiness, I’m simply shedding light on some common characteristics I’ve come to find.
1. Love Themselves For Who They Are
On the surface this may sound incredibly egotistical, but by it I simply mean that they are truly comfortable in their own shoes. They accept and embrace themselves physically, they maintain their true character traits regardless of whether or not they receive approval and they work to make the best of the human experience they are living -rather than wallow in what others would define as weaknesses or shortcomings.
2. See Relationships As An Extension To, Rather Than The Basis Of The Human Experience
Relationships, whether friendly, familial or romantic, are certainly one of the greatest parts of the human experience. However, far too many of us let their presence or absence, and even more so the value we attribute to them dictate our overall happiness in life. I’ve found that genuinely happy people tend to find complete contentment within themselves, and see all relationships as the awesome extension to their self-content. It’s often when we are not looking for others to fill a particular void, or to make us feel a certain way, that most of the truest and most-valuable relationships are formed.
3. Embrace Change
Life is a constant lesson and happy people tend to be well-aware of that. Not only are they always open to change, but they truly listen to suggestions, respect and consider all opinions and take criticism constructively rather than offensively.
4. Celebrate Rather Than Compare Themselves To The Accomplishments Of Others
Jealousy is a killer, and as Gary Allan once said, “You can be the moon and still be jealous of the stars.” We are all capable of accomplishing anything in this life and are the only ones that are going to find the drive within ourselves to do it. Rather than observe and compare to those who have accomplished, the truly happy tend to celebrate it and use it as motivation to accomplish things within their own lives.
5. Never Dwell In Being A Victim
We’ve all been the so-called ‘victim’ to several things in life. Whether it be an unexpected break-up, getting fired from a job, or even something as serious as the recipient of domestic abuse. Truly happy people tend to be those who choose not to dwell in it. They choose to let the victimization strengthen them, rather than wear it as a badge of weakness or as the thing that makes them consistently worthy of receiving sympathy.
6. They Live In The Present
As fun as reminiscing about the past or fantasizing about the future can be, nothing will ever be done in anything but the present and happy people tend to realize that. Not only do they realize it, but they tend to use it as motivation to make the most of it. In addition to being motivating, presence can also come in handy for truly appreciating those moments of relaxation, allowing yourself to be truly in them, rather than projecting future concerns into them.
7. Trust That Everything Happens For A Reason
This can very easily be paired with the choice to not be a victim, but happy people tend to trust the process and existence of everything in their life. They know that nothing is ever too big to handle and choose to embrace what life is currently throwing at them rather than cowering at the sight of it.
8. They Don’t Let Money Dictate Their Lives
Nobody is denying that in this world right now we all need money to exist, and as a result many of us spend the bulk of our lives doing things that help us earn it. What I’ve found to differentiate happy people is that they don’t let money be the ultimate dictator in their life. They still make sensible choices within their means, but they never let money: A) prevent them from pursuing a so-called “risky” passion, B) be the factor that is blamed for why their life is so miserable, C) complain about how little they have. There are creative ways to do everything in this world, and seeing money as only being possible to make in the standard ways is the most crippling thing to that creativity.
9. Look Within For Solutions
One of the most powerful realizations a genuinely happy person will often operate based on is “change starts within.” The empowerment that comes as a result of not only realizing this but even more so in using it as the backbone to everything in life can be quite remarkable. There are thousands of books, mantras, techniques and practices out there that can all help us to find solutions to so many things in life, but they all require one thing to truly be serviceable: the consciousness to support them.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
What started as a coup d'état is now moving into the 'purge' phase. On May 22 the Thai military, after six months of political bickering, dumped the elected politicians and said 'enough was enough'. The street protests were not peaceful and people died, many more were injured. So decry the move away from democracy if you feel so self-righteous but realize that many good Thai people are alive because of this move to peaceful progress rather than a continued, and violent, stalemate.
One thing is very clear, three weeks into this regime. It has been brilliantly planned and executed, so far. There is no way this coup was a whim of General Prayuth, fed up with political talks going nowhere. There is a grand plan behind all this, 'grand' being the key word. The re-writing of school's curriculum to reflect the true nature of historical battles rather than the rather romantic versions Thais have learned as they grew up. Students will also be taught about the nature of corruption and how it has been such a bad influence in the Kingdom. These changes of the curriculum are not whimsy, they have been carefully researched and planned. They are grand and worthy plans indeed.
Let's move south to the former tropical paradise, now euphemistically called 'Phuket Inc.' Greed-gone-crazy as a chair and table on the beach has grown into elaborate 150 pax beach clubs in a matter of four or five years. And not just one establishment. Literally hundreds of unregistered, unlicensed, illegal constructions have sprung up along former pristine beaches to overcharge silly tourists for the pleasure of a beer or a hamburger overlooking the west coast beaches. Now these establishments have seven days to reverse time and remove the buildings, some extremely extravagant and expensive. This wasn't a knee-jerk decision - this has been clinically planned and executed with documents and the legals all carefully prepared.
Look no further than the Phuket's very own 'Day of the Long Swords', D-Day for the local taxi and tuk tuk industry, when the army and police moved in, arrested 95 taxi drivers (plus a few allegedly corrupt officials), pulled down their little 'gang huts' and, in one swift motion, dismantled decades of rife corruption, intimidation, extortion, bashing's and even deaths in the battle for their slice of the lucrative public transport income pie. You don't have to be half smart to realize that public transport in Phuket has been priced well in excess of world standards - around five times the price of similar services in the capital, Bangkok, or more. Now the roads are free to be repopulated with a useful, workable and fair public transport 'system'. Again, this has not just been a 'good idea', it has been thoroughly and strategically planned. The replacement plans were already worked out it seems.
Then there is the country's broadcasting services. On Day One of the coup all TV and radio was taken off air and only the government stations allowed to broadcast. (In those first few days there were calls for a new music director of the military-run radio station with a handful of folksy, patriotic Thai songs playing on high rotation. But I suspect even these songs had been carefully picked for their benign nature to start the process of 'healing'.) Three weeks later and all cable services, local and overseas, have been restored. But small commercial 'community' radio stations in Thailand are still off air as the purge sorts out the 'real' from the purely political. This is going to take longer than we might think as the many thousands of small radio stations need to be individually checked for technical compliance (and political compliance one would assume). But there seems to be a plan to all this, hammered out over time, not merely in the hours or days following May 22.
Importantly, there was a detailed 'road map' to a return to full democracy issued days after the coup. Was this document hastily hacked together by the military PR department in the hours following the official Coup? Of course, not. It is clearly a well-researched document with the hand of wiser political academics seen in the writing and preparation. This road map details the many stages of social and political reform necessary before fruitful elections can be considered in the former Land of Smiles.
In 2014 every business, event or idea needs a catchphrase. The Military PR Department (they obviously have one) have come up with the concept of 'bringing happiness back to the Thai people'. It cuts through the politics of colored shirts, the long decade of bickering and offers the Thai people what they love and appreciate most.
So, the hand of detailed and rigorous planning appears behind just about every move of the Thai Junta so far. The longer you live in this wonderful place, the more you realize that there are firmer hands on the steering wheel than the elected politicians. Whether it is a plan to De-Thaksinise Thailand or just restore civility and pave the road ahead, it IS a Grand Plan.
Sunday, June 8, 2014
The man who built one of the most famous bikes in the world, Ben Hardy … Ben Hardy, born Benjamin F. Hardy, was an African-American motorcycle engineer and chopper builder, who is best known for creating the customized choppers for the characters ‘Captain America’ and ‘Billy’ which featured in the 1969 Peter Fonda road movie Easy Rider, a movie which influenced more people to take an interest in motorcycles and choppers than any other.
The “Captain America” bike, made from a then 20 year old, heavily customized Harley-Davidson “Panhead” is considered one of the most iconic motorcycles ever built, one which captured the zeitgeist of a generation and became an anti-establishment symbol…
Friday, June 6, 2014
Life should not be lived through a series of mind games, but from truth and looking deep within.For better or worse, many people have been raised to believe that communicating in an honest and open way will not get them what they want. They have learned, instead, to play mind games or go on power trips in the service of their ego’s agenda. People stuck in this outmoded and inefficient style of communication can be trying at best and downright destructive at worst. We may get caught up in thinking we have to play the same games in order to defend ourselves, but that will only lead us deeper into confusion and conflict. The best way to handle people like this is to be clear and honest with them
As with all relationships and situations in our lives, we must look within for both the source of our difficulties and the solution. Reacting to the situation by getting upset will only entrench us more deeply in the undesirable relationship. Only by disengaging, becoming still, and going within can we begin to see what has hooked us into the mess in the first place. We will most likely find unprocessed emotions that we can finally fully feel and release into the stillness we find in meditation. The more we are able to do this, the less we will be bothered by the other person’s dramas and the more we will be free to respond in a new way. In the light of our new awareness, the situation will untangle itself and we will slowly break free.
Whenever people come into our lives, they have come for a reason, to show us something about ourselves that we have not been able to see. When unhealthy people try to hook us into their patterns with mind games and power trips, we can remind ourselves that we have something to learn here and that a part of us is calling out for healing. This takes the focus off the troubling individual and puts it back on us, giving us the opportunity to change the situation from the inside out.
Saturday, May 31, 2014
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Guitar Center decided to terminate their 20-year relationship with music gear manufacturer Music Group.
Instead of just "citing irreconcilable differences" or quietly ending their supplier-retailer relationship without comment, both companies have provided some interesting stories in the wake of their business break up. Obviously, the more interesting bits for us guitar players would be those related to GC(Guitar Center)'s publicized financial woes, but let's also look at the "who broke up with who" stories on the side!No doubt that this messy break-up rocked the entire music industry, especially since the two companies provided some juicy details about the split.
I first got wind of the news from Bugera's Facebook Page (Music Group Brand) where they said and I quote:
"After 20 years, Guitar Center recently decided to terminate our relationship. Frankly, it became increasingly difficult to do business with GC as they sought to increase their profits, which would have forced us to increase our prices to you. We didn’t agree."
That by itself is revealing e a statement, so I dug further and found that Guitar Center was the first to move, terminating their relationship with Behringer (part of Music Group) on May 16. An online press write up says that the break up was due to Behringer's "continuous attempt to force unfavorable changes into agreements" and their "revision to unreasonable business terms late last year".
For the details, let me quote the GC Spokesperson:
"Decisions like this are never made easily. There are rare occasions where the integrity of the relationships and agreements we make with vendors are challenged, despite the potential impact to the bottom line or overall sales. We can’t speak for anyone else in the industry, but we’d had enough of watching Behringer try to do business this way. It’s not the way we like to work with people and it’s not productive. They made some questionable choices that put us into a position to develop a contingency plan. As we re-evaluated that plan several weeks ago, we found that it would allow us to build better relationships with other vendor partners in the category. When Plan B starts to make this much business sense, it became clear we didn’t need to tolerate this anymore. We’re focused on where we can succeed in partnership with our new vendors and we’re excited about the future."
Music Group's CEO and Behringer founder, Uli Behringer himself responded to the story of Guitar Center. He signed a press release and said that they were surprised by the public statement issued, which put the Music Group company in bad light. Here is the rest of Behringer's statement regarding the break up:
"Over the last year, due to GC’s highly publicized financial situation, we were forced to evaluate their credit worthiness. As a result of their credit rating, it was determined that they were a high risk and we were forced to put them on business hold. We certainly respect GC’s decision to discontinue business with us and we thank them for our excellent 20 year relationship."
So now that they have parted ways, what does the future hold for Music Group and Guitar Center? From an outsider's point of view, Music Group seems to be doing well in terms of business, and on their press release, they boasted that "The Company experienced a historical record revenue last year and also celebrated an all-time record revenue in April in the United States."
Guitar Center however is another story, Wall Street Journal reported back in March that the giant retailer is to be acquired by one of its creditors, Ares Management. While the LA Times reported in April that a debt-for-equity swap already happened giving Ares Management more control over the retailer in-exchange for reducing their debt.
So what does Guitar Center have to do with us guitar players when we can buy our guitars elsewhere? We should remember that many small business gear manufacturers are dependent on this giant retailer, so if anything happens they will be affected.
Instead of naming these small manufacturers, maybe we should name the biggest guitar manufacturer that is "closely tied" with GC, Fender! As it stands now, Fender itself are having financial worries, recently closing down one of its US based facilities and selling the Guild guitar brand. Analysts are keen to say that Guitar Center's worries will unfortunately have adverse effects to the already ailing popular guitar maker.
In light of these developments we will have to wait and see if the current GC management could turn the business around, it's not over till it's over.