When I’m Gone

Death is always a surprise. No one expects it. Not even terminal patients think they are going to die in a day or two. In a week, maybe. But only when this particular week is the next week.

We are never ready. It is never the right time. By the time it comes, you will not have done all the things that we wanted to. The end always comes as a surprise, and it’s a tearful moment for widows and a bore for the children who don’t really understand what a funeral is (thank God).

It was no different with my father. In fact, his death was even more unexpected. He was gone at age 27. The same age that claimed the lives of several famous musicians. He was young. Way too young. My father was not a musician and neither a famous person. Cancer doesn’t pick its victims. He was gone when I was young, and I learned what a funeral was because of him. I was 8 and half, old enough to miss him for a lifetime. Had he died before, I wouldn’t have memories. I would feel no pain. But I wouldn’t have a father in my life. And I had a father.

I had a father who was both firm and fun. Someone who would tell a joke before grounding me. That way, I wouldn’t feel so bad. Someone who kissed me on the forehead before I went to sleep. A habit which I passed on to my children. Someone who forced me to support the same football team he supported, and who explained things better than my mother. Do you know what I mean? A father like that is someone to be missed.

He never told me he was going to die. Even when he was lying on a hospital bed with tubes all over him, he didn’t say a word. My father made plans for the next year even though he knew he wouldn’t be around in the next month. Next year, we would go fishing, we would travel, we would visit places we’ve never been. Next year would be an amazing year. We lived the same dream.

I believe — actually I’m sure — he thought this should bring luck. He was a superstitious man. Thinking about the future was the way he found to keep hope alive. The bastard made me laugh until the very end. He knew about it. He didn’t tell me. He didn’t see me crying.

And suddenly, the next year was over before it even started.

My mother picked me up at school and we went to the hospital. The doctor told the news with all the sensitivity that doctors lose over the years. My mother cried. She did have a tiny bit of hope. As I said before, everyone does. I felt the blow. What does it mean? Wasn’t it just a regular disease, the kind of disease doctors heal with a shot? I hated you, dad. I felt betrayed. I screamed with anger in the hospital, until I realized my father was not around to ground me. I cried.

Then, my father was once again a father to me. With a shoebox under her arm, a nurse came by to comfort me. The box was full of sealed envelopes, with sentences where the address should be. I couldn’t understand exactly what was going on. The nurse then handed me a letter. The only letter that was out of the box.

“Your dad asked me to give you this letter. He spent the whole week writing these, and he wants you read it. Be strong.” the nurse said, holding me.

The envelope read WHEN I’M GONE. I opened it.


If you’re reading this, I’m dead. I’m sorry. I knew I was going to die.

I didn’t want to tell you what was going to happen, I didn’t want to see you crying. Well, it looks like I’ve made it. I think that a man who’s about to die has the right to act a little bit selfish.

Well, as you can see, I still have a lot to teach you. After all, you don’t know crap about anything. So I wrote these letters for you. You must not open them before the right moment, OK? This is our deal.

I love you. Take care of your mom. You’re the man of the house now.

Love, dad.

PS: I didn’t write letters to your mom. She’s got my car.

He made me stop crying with his bad handwriting. Printing was not easy back then. His ugly writing, which I barely understood, made me feel calm. It made me smile. That’s how my father did things. Like the joke before the grounding.

That box became the most important thing in the world for me. I told my mother not to open it. Those letters were mine and no one else could read them. I knew all the life moments written on the envelopes by heart. But it took a while for these moments to happen. And I forgot about it.

Seven years later, after we moved to a new place, I had no idea where I put the box. I couldn’t remember it. And when we don’t remember something, we usually don’t care about it. If something goes lost in your memory, It doesn’t mean you lost it. It simply doesn’t exist anymore. It’s like change in the pockets of your trousers.

And so it happened. My teenage years and my mother’s new boyfriend triggered what my father had anticipated a long time before. My mother had several boyfriends, and I always understood it. She never married again. I don’t know why, but I like to believe that my father had been the love of her life. This boyfriend, however, was worthless. I thought she was humiliating herself by dating him. He had no respect for her. She deserved something a lot better than a guy she met at a bar.

I still remember the slap she gave me after I pronounced the word “bar”. I’ll admit that I deserved it. I learned that over the years. At the time, when my skin was still burning from the slap, I remembered the box and the letters. I remembered a specific letter, which read “WHEN YOU HAVE THE WORST FIGHT EVER WITH YOUR MOM”.

I ransacked my bedroom looking for it, which earned me another slap in the face. I found the box inside a suitcase lying on top of the wardrobe. The limbo. I looked through the letters, and realized that I had forgotten to open WHEN YOU HAVE YOUR FIRST KISS. I hated myself for doing that, and I decided that would be the next letter I’d open. WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR VIRGINITY came right next in the pack, a letter I was hoping to open really soon. Eventually I found what I was looking for.

Now apologize to her.

I don’t know why you’re fighting and I don’t know who’s right. But I know your mother. So a humble apology is the best way to get over this. I’m talking about a down-on-your-knees apology.

She’s your mother, kid. She loves you more than anything in this world. Do you know that she went through natural birth because someone told her that it would be the best for you? Have you ever seen a woman giving birth? Do you need a bigger proof of love than that?

Apologize. She’ll forgive you.

Love, dad.

My father was not a great writer, he was just a bank clerk. But his words had a great impact on me. They were words that carried more wisdom than all of my 14 years of age at the time. (That wasn’t very hard to achieve, though).

I rushed to my mother’s room and opened the door. I was crying when she turned her head to look me in the eyes. She was also crying. I don’t remember what she yelled at me. Probably something like “What do you want?” What I do remember is that I walked towards her holding the letter my father wrote. I held her in my arms, while my hands crumpled the old paper. She hugged me, and we both stood in silence.

My father’s letter made her laugh a few minutes later. We made peace and talked a little about him. She told me about some of his most eccentric habits, such as eating salami with strawberries. Somehow, I felt he was sitting right next to us. Me, my mother and a piece of my father, a piece he left for us, on a piece of paper. It felt good.

It didn’t take long before I read WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR VIRGINITY

Congratulations, son.

Don’t worry, it gets better with time. It always sucks the first time. Mine happened with an ugly woman…who was also a prostitute.

My biggest fear is that you’d ask your mother what virginity is after reading what’s on the letter. Or even worse, reading what I just wrote without knowing what jerking off is (you know what it is, right?). But that’s none of my business.

Love, dad.

My father followed me through my entire life. He was with me, even though he was not near me. His words did what no one else could: they gave me strength to overcome countless challenging moments in my life. He would always find a way to put a smile on my face when things looked grim, or clear my mind during those angry moments.

WHEN YOU GET MARRIED made me feel very emotional. But not so much as WHEN YOU BECOME A FATHER.

Now you’ll understand what real love is, son. You’ll realize how much you love her, but real love is something you’ll feel for this little thing over there. I don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl. I’m just a corpse, I’m not a fortune teller.

Have fun. It’s a great thing. Time is gonna fly now, so make sure you’ll be around. Never miss a moment, they never come back. Change diapers, bathe the baby, be a role model to this child. I think you have what it takes to be an amazing father, just like me.

The most painful letter I read in my entire life was also the shortest letter my father wrote. While he wrote those four words, I believe he suffered just as much as I did living through that moment. It took a while, but eventually I had to open WHEN YOUR MOTHER IS GONE.

She is mine now.

A joke. A sad clown hiding his sadness with a smile on his makeup. It was the only letter that didn’t make me smile, but I could see the reason.

I always kept the deal I had made with my father. I never read letters before their time. With the exception of WHEN YOU REALIZE YOU’RE GAY. Since I never thought I’d have to open this one, I decided to read it. It was one of the funniest letters, by the way.

What can I say? I’m glad I’m dead.

Now, all joking aside, being half-dead made me realize that we care too much about things that don’t matter much. Do you think that changes anything, son?

Don’t be silly. Be happy.

I would always wait for the next moment, the next letter. The next lesson my father would teach me. It’s amazing what a 27 year old man can teach to an 85 year old senior like me.

Now that I am lying on a hospital bed, with tubes in my nose and my throat thanks to this damn cancer, I run my fingers on the faded paper of the only letter I didn’t open. The sentence WHEN YOUR TIME COMES is barely visible on the envelope.

I don’t want to open it. I’m scared. I don’t want to believe that my time is near. It’s a matter of hope, you know? No one believes they’re gonna die.

I take a deep breath, opening the envelope.

Hello, son. I hope you’re an old man now.

You know, this letter was the easiest to write, and the first I wrote. It was the letter that set me free from the pain of losing you. I think your mind becomes clearer when you’re this close to the end. It’s easier to talk about it.

In my last days here I thought about the life I had. I had a brief life, but a very happy one. I was your father and the husband of your mother. What else could I ask for? It gave me peace of mind. Now you do the same.

My advice for you: you don’t have to be afraid

PS: I miss you

View at Medium.com

See You Again

Stumble into this song. Caught up by the tune, then the lyrics. Made some search… and realize how beautiful it is. The more I dig into it, the more my heart aches. Looping Mode – On.

RIP. Paul Walker.

It’s been a long day without you, my friend
And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
We’ve come a long way from where we began
Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
When I see you again

This Is What Disney Prince & Princess Would Look Like In Real Life

Prince Charming from Cinderella is transformed from a hand-drawn charmer…

Prince Charming from Cinderella is transformed from a hand-drawn charmer...


…into the glass-slipper-bearing man of your dreams.

...into the glass-slipper-bearing man of your dreams.

Aladdin goes from just any old street urchin…

Aladdin goes from just any old street urchin...


…to a heart-throbber who will show you a whole new world!

...to a heart-throbber who will show you a whole new world!

You’ll take one look at the new Eric…

You'll take one look at the new Eric...

…and with one gaze into his piercing blue eyes, you’ll want to be part of his world!

...and with one gaze into his piercing blue eyes, you'll want to be part of his world!

John Smith starts as just a blonde explorer…

John Smith starts as just a blonde explorer...

…and becomes a total dreamboat who will canoe you just around the river bend!

...and becomes a total dreamboat who will canoe you just around the river bend!

Prince Adam (the Beast) and his luscious locks are brought to life…

Prince Adam (the Beast) and his luscious locks are brought to life...

…and you’ll definitely want to be his guest!

...and you'll definitely want to be his guest!

Then there’s Prince Phillip…

Then there's Prince Phillip...

…who truly looks once-upon-a-dreamy!

...who truly looks once-upon-a-dreamy!

We can’t forget Tarzan…

We can't forget Tarzan...

…because he’s bound to show you a swinging good time!

...because he's bound to show you a swinging good time!

Oh, and Hercules?

Oh, and Hercules?

Yeah, you’ll want to go the distance!

Yeah, you'll want to go the distance!
And here’s how the Princess would look like 🙂


Elsa from Frozen in real life

Anna from Frozen:

Anna from Frozen in real life

Snow White:

Alice in Wonderland:



Rapunzel (totally looks like Amanda Seyfried):


Jane (from Tarzan, obvs) – a touch of Maggie Gyllenhaal about her?:




And the anomalous villain…Ursula:

24 Beautifully True Cartoons That Show What It’s Like Being An Introvert and INFJ

For introverts and people who identify as the INFJ personality type, art often becomes therapy. “Life is hard, and it’s even harder when you’re an INFJ,”

To introverts and INFJs, “Be true to yourselves, be good to yourselves. You’re wired a particular way, fashioned according to a particular design, so use it to do good, to do that which only you can do.”

These beautifully humble cartoons describe the quiet, often complex and confusing existence of introverts and INFJs:

1. You love people, but being around them for too long drains you.


2. Your definition of ‘fun’ is different from most people’s definition.


3. Unfortunately, most people just don’t get it.


4. Some days, you wish you could disappear and get away from everyone for a while.


5. People tell you to ‘come out of your shell,’ but that doesn’t change who you are.


6. Spending time by yourself is the way you recharge.


7. If you could actually get one of these installed, maybe others would understand you better.


8. Crowds and attention aren’t really your thing.


9. Small talk with strangers? You’ll avoid it if you can!


10. People talk and talk, but to you it seems like all that noise doesn’t actually accomplish much.


11. If people would do less talking and more listening, you think the world would be a better place.

INFJoe 3

12. As an INFJ, you read others well and intuitively understand the things that go unspoken.


13. Underneath your calm exterior is a rich, emotional world.


14. You’re always thinking and analyzing. Always.


15. Sometimes you torture yourself by using your vivid imagination to replay your mistakes.


16. You’re reserved and private, so talking about yourself — especially to people you don’t know well — isn’t easy.


17. As an INFJ, you’re sensitive, so you don’t let just anybody into your life.


18. You often feel like you don’t fit in. You’re still trying to find your place in the world.


19. Others see you as someone who generally has their act together, but you know you’re more complex than you appear.


20. If only your personality actually came with an instruction manual.


21. If you’re a highly sensitive person, you feel the pain of life deeply.


22. You’ve been called ‘intense’ because you love connecting intimately with others.


23. Because you truly care about almost everyone you meet.


24. Your relationship goal: sharing solitude and your rich inner world with someone else.



10 Types of Friends Worth Fighting For

“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.”
― Helen Keller

1.  Friends who make time for each other.

There are countless intricacies to every great friendship, but the foundation is always incredibly simple: making time for each other.  The key is to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you.  Don’t walk away when the going gets a little tough, don’t be distracted too easily, don’t be too busy or tired, and don’t take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and happiness together. It’s powerful stuff!

So put down the smart phone, close the laptop and enjoy each other’s company, face to face, the old fashioned way.

There are few joys that equal a good conversation, a genuine laugh, a long walk, a friendly dance, or a big hug shared by two people who care about each other.  Sometimes the most ordinary things can be made extraordinary simply by doing them with the right people.  You know this!  Choose to be around these people, and choose to make the most of your time together.

2.  Friends who are willing to put in the necessary effort.

Healthy, long-term friendships are amazing, but rarely easygoing 24/7.  Why?  Because they require flexibility and compromise.

Two different people will always have two slightly different perspectives about the same situation.  Resisting this truth and seeing the hard times as immediate evidence that something is catastrophically wrong, or that you’re supposed to see eye-to-eye on everything, only aggravates the difficulties.  By contrast, finding the willingness to view the challenges as learning opportunities will give you the energy and strength you need to continue to move forward and grow your friendship for decades to come.

3.  Friends who believe in each other.

Sometimes we see our worst selves…. our most vulnerable and weak selves.  We need someone else to get close enough to tell us we’re wrong.  Someone we trust.  That’s what true friends are for.

Simply believing in another person, and showing it in words and deeds on a consistent basis, can make a HUGE difference in their life.  Several studies of people who grew up in dysfunctional homes but who grew up to be happy and successful show that the one thing they had in common was someone who believed in them.  Be this ‘someone’ for those you care about.  Support their dreams.  Participate with them.  Cheer for them.  Be nothing but encouraging.  Whether they actually follow through with their present dreams, or completely change their minds, is irrelevant; your belief in them is of infinite importance, either way.

4.  Friends who face challenges and weaknesses together.

When we honestly ask ourselves which friends have helped us the most, we often find that it’s those special few who, instead of giving lots of advice, specific solutions, or quick cures, have chosen rather to share in our challenges and touch our wounds with a listening ear and a loving heart.

The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of pain and mourning, who can tolerate not knowing or having all the answers, not curing and fixing everything in an instant, and instead simply face the reality of our momentary powerlessness with us, that is a friend worth fighting for.

5.  Friends who are gentle and compassionate through life’s changes.

Be gentle and compassionate with your friends as they evolve and change.  Mother Nature opens millions of flowers every day without forcing the buds.  Let this be a reminder not to be forceful with those you care about, but to simply give them enough light and love, and an opportunity to grow naturally.

Ultimately, how far you go in life depends on your willingness to be helpful to the young, respectful to the aged, tender with the hurt, supportive of the striving, and tolerant of those who are weaker or stronger than the majority.  Because we wear many hats throughout the course of our lives, at some point in your life you will have been all of these people, and the same is true for your friends.

6.  Friends who support each other’s growth.

No human being is your friend who demands your silence or denies your right to grow.

Healthy friendships always move in the direction of personal growth: for the relationship as a whole and for each individual in it.  A desire to impede the growth of the other for one’s personal comfort is an expression of fear.

When you connect with a true friend, this person helps you find the best in yourself.  In this way, neither of you actually meet the best in each other; you both grow into your best selves by spending time together and nurturing each other’s growth.

7.  Friends who tell the truth.

Subconsciously, many of us prefer gentle lies to hard truths.  But make no mistake, in the end it’s better to be hurt by the truth than comforted by a lie.  Friendships based on lies always die young.

Lying is a cumulative process too.  So be careful.  What starts as a small, seemingly innocent lie (possibly even with the intention of not hurting anyone) quickly spirals into a mounting fairytale where the biggest factor preventing you from sharing the truth is the unwanted reputation of being known as a liar.

Don’t do this.  Don’t hide behind lies. Deal with the truth, learn the lessons, endure the consequences of reality, and move your friendship forward.

8.  Friends who are tolerant of each other’s inevitable mood swings.

Giving your friends the space to save face, and not taking things personally, when they’re occasionally upset, cranky or having a bad day is a priceless gift.

Truth be told, what others say and do is often based entirely on their own self-reflection.  When a friend who is angry and upset speaks to you, and you nevertheless remain very present and continue to treat them with kindness and respect, you place yourself in a position of great power.  You become a means for the situation to be graciously diffused and healed.

My grandmother once told me, “When somebody backs themselves into a corner, look the other way until they get themselves out; and then act as though it never happened.”  Allowing a friend to save face in this way, and not reminding them of what they already know is not their most intelligent behavior, is an act of great kindness.  This is possible when you realize that people behave in such ways because they are in a place of momentary suffering.  People react to their own thoughts and feelings and their behavior often has nothing directly to do with you.

9.  Friends who work out their issues with each other, not with others.

This may seem obvious, but these days it’s worth mentioning:  NEVER post negatively about a friend on social media.  Fourteen-year-old school kids post negatively about their friends on social media.  It’s a catty way to get attention and vent, when the emotionally healthy response is to talk your grievances over with them directly when the time is right.

Don’t fall into the trap of getting others on your side either, because healthy friendships only have one side – it’s called mutual respect.

Furthermore, friendships and their intricacies don’t always make sense, especially from the outside.  So don’t let outsiders run your friendship for you.  If you’re having an issue with a friend, work it out with THEM and no one else.

10.  Friends who are faithful from a distance.

Sometimes life puts geographic barriers between you and a good friend.  But growing apart geographically doesn’t change the fact that for a long time you two grew side by side; your roots will always be tangled.  Knowing this, embracing it, and making the best of it… that’s a clear sign of true friendship.

In the end, this ‘true’ kind of friendship is a promise made in the heart – silent, unwritten, unbreakable by distance, and unchangeable by time.


Elon Musk’s first wife explains what it takes to become a billionaire

Justine Musk, first wife of billionaire Elon Musk, knows a thing or two about wealth and hard work — her ex-husband is a founder of PayPal, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, and has an estimated net worth of $12.1 billion.

She recently posted a response to a Quora thread asking the question “Will I become a billionaire if I am determined to be one and put in all the necessary work required?”

Her answer is “no,” though she says that the Quora reader is asking the wrong question altogether.

“You’re determined. So what? You haven’t been racing naked through shark-infested waters yet,” she writes. “Will you be just as determined when you wash up on some deserted island, disoriented and bloody and ragged and beaten and staring into the horizon with no sign of rescue?”

She then offers some advice:

“Shift your focus away from what you want (a billion dollars) and get deeply, intensely curious about what the world wants and needs. Ask yourself what you have the potential to offer that is so unique and compelling and helpful that no computer could replace you, no one could outsource you, no one could steal your product and make it better and then club you into oblivion (not literally). Then develop that potential. Choose one thing and become a master of it.  Choose a second thing and become a master of that.  When you become a master of two worlds (say, engineering and business), you can bring them together in a way that will a) introduce hot ideas to each other, so they can have idea sex and make idea babies that no one has seen before and b) create a competitive advantage because you can move between worlds, speak both languages, connect the tribes, mash the elements to spark fresh creative insight until you wake up with the epiphany that changes your life.

The world doesn’t throw a billion dollars at a person because the person wants it or works so hard they feel they deserve it. (The world does not care what you want or deserve.)  The world gives you money in exchange for something it perceives to be of equal or greater value: something that transforms an aspect of the culture, reworks a familiar story or introduces a new one, alters the way people think about the category and make use of it in daily life. There is no roadmap, no blueprint for this; a lot of people will give you a lot of advice, and most of it will be bad, and a lot of it will be good and sound but you’ll have to figure out how it doesn’t apply to you because you’re coming from an unexpected angle. And you’ll be doing it alone, until you develop the charisma and credibility to attract the talent you need to come with you.

Have courage. (You will need it.)

And good luck.  (You’ll need that too.)”


A psychologist discovered the secret to never getting frustrated

We all get frustrated.

The guy in front of you is driving like an idiot. Your boss is being a jerk. Your partner isn’t listening.

And sometimes these all happen to you on the same day.

What’s the fix for this? One guy came up with a solution that deals with all of these problems — and more.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about his system:

In general REBT is arguably one of the most investigated theories in the field of psychotherapy and a large amount of clinical experience and a substantial body of modern psychological research have validated and substantiated many of REBTs theoretical assumptions on personality and psychotherapy.

His stuff works. And it’s as simple as ABCD — quite literally, as you’ll see below.

So how can you never be frustrated again? Let’s break it down.

The Tyranny Of “Should”

Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? Here’s what you need to take away from Ellis’ work:

You don’t get frustrated because of events. You get frustrated because of your beliefs.

And where did this idea start? Ancient philosophy. Stoicism. That’s where Ellis found the concept. And then he proved it really worked.

…if you understand how you upset yourself by slipping into irrational shoulds, oughts, demands, and commands, unconsciously sneaking them into your thinking, you can just about always stop disturbing yourself about anything.

You’re stuck in traffic and that makes you angry, right? Wrong.

cab traffic new york

Traffic happens. But you think it shouldn’t happen to you. And the thing that’s making you miserable is that word “should.”

Here’s an example. I say, “This headache remedy probably won’t work but give it a shot.” So you try it. And it doesn’t work. You’re not frustrated.

Okay, same situation but I say, “This always works.” It fails. Now you’re annoyed. What changed? Your expectation.

Or you tell a five-year old to stop yelling. They don’t listen. You don’t get that bothered. After all, the kid is five.

But if you tell me to stop yelling and I don’t listen, you get angry. What’s different? “Eric should stop. He’s an adult.

Again, nothing changed but your belief.

Pretty straightforward, right? But that leads to a question: how do you change your beliefs? Ellis has an answer.

The Universe Is Not Taking Orders From You. (Sorry.)

It’s as simple as ABCD. Really.

A is adversity. Traffic is awful.

B is your beliefs. And often they’re irrational. “This shouldn’t happen to me.” Well, guess what, Bubba? It is happening.

C is consequences. You get angry, frustrated or depressed.

In very few cases can you change A. But you can change B. And that will change C. So let’s bring in the 4th letter.

D: Dispute your irrational beliefs. “Wait a second. When did the universe guarantee me a trouble-free existence? It didn’t. Traffic has happened before. It will happen again. And I will survive.”

Giant Buddha Bodhgaya

Look for beliefs that hold the words “should”, “ought” or “must.” That’s where the problems lie.

You’re allowed to wish, want and desire. Nobody is saying you need to be an emotionless lump.

“I would very much like or prefer to have success, approval, or comfort,” and then end with the conclusion, “But I don’t have to have it. I won’t die without it. And I could be happy (though not as happy) without it.”

But you can’t demand the universe bend to your will. That’s where the frustration and anger creep in — because that godlike insistence isn’t rational.

When you insist, however, that you always must have or do something, you often think in this way: “Because I would very much like or prefer to have success, approval, or pleasure, I absolutely, under practically all conditions, must have it. And if I don’t get it, as I completely must, it’s awful, I can’t stand it, I am an inferior person for not arranging to get it, and the world is a horrible place for not giving me what I must have! I am sure that I’ll never get it, and therefore I can’t be happy at all!”

When you’re angry, frustrated or depressed look for those irrational beliefs.

People should treat me kindly and fairly all the time.” Sound rational? Hardly.

I ought to succeed at this. If I don’t, I’m a failure and a loser.” Really?

This person must love me back or I’ll die.” No, no, no you won’t.

What were you anxious or over-concerned about? Meeting new people? Doing well at work? Winning the approval of a person you liked? Passing a test or a course? Doing well at a job interview? Winning a game of tennis or chess? Getting into a good school? Learning that you have a serious disease? Being treated unfairly? Look for your command or demand for success or approval that was creating your anxiety or overconcern. What was your should, ought, or must?

Is disputing your irrational beliefs going to immediately change everything? No.

But when you start disputing you’ll see that your expectations aren’t in line with reality. And with a little work, those expectations will start to change.

Sum Up

It’s as simple as ABCD. Next time you’re turning red and clenching your fists, give this a shot:

A is Adversity. Like traffic. Sorry, no genie can let you wish it away.

B is Beliefs. Look for beliefs with these troublesome words: should, ought and must. “Traffic shouldn’t be this bad.” Not rational. Traffic is what it is. Sorry.

C is Consequences. You banging the steering wheel with your fist and sending your blood pressure into the stratosphere.

D is Dispute. Are you demanding the universe and everyone bend to your wishes? Is that rational? No way. You can want, you can wish and you can definitely try your best in the future, but you cannot demand if you want to stay happy and sane.

Life is not perfect. People aren’t perfect. You, dear reader, are not perfect. And that’s okay. But having beliefs that any of these things “should” be the way you want causes you a lot of unnecessary suffering.

Many of your irrational beliefs are not immediately obvious. Sometimes you’ll have to dig to find them. And you’ll need to dispute them a fair amount before new reasonable beliefs kick in. But you can definitely make progress.

What did Epictetus, the great Stoic philosopher, say way back in the first century AD?

People are disturbed not by things, but by the views they take of them.

What did Shakespeare write in Hamlet?

There’s nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.

How about the Buddha?

We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.

Rarely can you change the world. But you can always change your thoughts.

And that can make you very happy.


A Clean House and a Wasted Life

Clean House

You have probably heard the saying before: A clean house is a sign of a wasted life. Whatever else the phrase means, it expresses some of the frustration and the sense of futility that attends life in this world. I thought of that saying when I spotted this proverb: “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox” (Proverbs 14:4). A little bit of research shows that commentators are divided on exactly what it means, but I think one of the explanations rises to the top.

According to this explanation, the proverb is about the messiness of a life well-lived. Tremper Longman says the moral is that “a productive life is a messy life.”

I love productivity. At least, I love productivity when it is properly defined—as effectively stewarding your gifts, talents, time, energy, and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God. By this definition, each one of us, no matter our vocation, ought to pursue productivity with all the vigor we can muster. And if you do that, it is inevitable that along the way you will accumulate some mess. You cannot focus your time, attention, gifts, energy, and enthusiasm toward noble goals while still keeping every corner of life perfectly tidy.

The pastor’s desk will at times be crammed with books and papers. The baker’s counter will sometimes overflow with pots and pans and flour and sugar. The mechanics’s hands will be stained with grease and his shop will need a daily once-over with the power washer. And the home—the home will at times be messy and cluttered and downright embarrassing.

Longman says, “One desires a neat and tidy life, just as the ideal stall would be clean. However, a clean stall by the nature of things would mean an empty stall since oxen do not have to be in a stall long before it is messy. However, without oxen there is no productivity.”

We could as easily say that one desires a neat and tidy house, just as the ideal stall would be clean. However, a clean house by the nature of things might just mean an empty house since children and husbands and houseguests and those neighborhood kids do not have to be in the house long before it is agonizingly messy. However, without all of those people there is no productivity—no true, biblical productivity—, no children to care for, no friends to counsel, no hospitality to extend.

Like so much else in this life, you cannot have it all. You cannot have perfect order and perfect productivity. You cannot have a home that is warm and full and inviting, you cannot have every child fed and cared for, while also having every dish done and every sock laundered. You just can’t. Of course this isn’t to excuse slovenliness or laziness. But you need to understand what Derek Kidner says, that “Orderliness can reach the point of sterility. This proverb is [a plea for] the readiness to accept upheaval, and a mess to clear up, as the price of growth.” Growth, or productivity, as the case may be. Is a clean house proof of a wasted life? Not at all. But a tidy house isn’t necessarily evidence of a well-lived life.

source: http://www.challies.com/articles/a-clean-house-and-a-wasted-life

7 Networking Secrets Everyone Should Learn In Their 20s

Fresh out of college, my first job was doing marketing research for McGraw Hill in New York City. I didn’t know many people in the city and, to me, networking was all about finding new friends to hang out with. Networking was purely social.

What I discovered over the years is that networking is much more than that. It is an essential part of building a successful career, and if done strategically and intentionally, it can be very powerful.

Here are the seven secrets about networking I wish I learned in my 20s:

1. Effective networking involves focus, attention, and strategy.

Many of us network haphazardly. We join some industry groups. We meet coworkers after work for a drink, but we don’t have a plan. We might even think the more people we meet, the better. But meeting the right people is most important. The right people are those that can help you reach your career goal. The right people are those people who are willing to speak up for you. You need to focus on people with whom you can build strong mutually beneficial relationships.

2. There is a direct relationship between networking strategically and increased income.

Upwardly Mobile, Inc., with the support of Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business Management, conducted research in April 2008 about how professionals use networking. They surveyed more than 600 high-earning “elite” professionals about how they use networking to cultivate richer relationships, gain more access and enjoy more success in their careers and personal lives. Their findings confirm that “networking is a key driver behind higher salaries and career advancement.”

3. Keeping in touch with former alums and colleagues is money in the bank.

When I wanted to make a career move after having lost out on a promotion, I tapped into my network and let people know I was looking for a new opportunity. Almost immediately, a former colleague gave me information about an opening in her company. She worked in another business unit there and knew the management team. Not only did she give me the lead, but she pre-sold me to the key stakeholders. I interviewed for the position and landed the job. My income almost doubled.

4. Paying it forward pays off.

One important lesson I’ve learned is that the more you invest in your network, the more valuable your network is. Taking calls, responding to emails, offering to help people creates a strong bond. People trust that you will be there for them and are often willing to respond in kind. It’s important to network proactively so you have these relationships when you need help.

One of my clients is a great example of this. Lisa was always willing to offer her help and support to her former colleagues. An executive with a long history in banking, Lisa took a risk and joined a technology startup as COO. After one year, it was apparent that this new opportunity wasn’t working out. Lisa was let go. The primary breadwinner in her family, she needed another high-level job as soon as possible.

She immediately let her network know what she was looking for. They gave her leads about openings and she was able to secure a senior executive position within a month and a half. The job had not even been formally posted yet. The time and energy she invested in helping her network contacts paid off.

5. Collecting business cards is better than handing them out.

Do you go to networking events armed with a stack of business cards? We have been instructed that giving out our cards is the best way to make connections. The secret to effective networking, however, is to make sure you collect business cards of those people you meet. This way you can control the follow up. You give away your card, you give away the control. After you go to a networking event, write notes on the back of the cards about the conversation you had with this person and potential ways to follow up.

6. Forget the elevator pitch; find commonality.

I often hear from clients that they don’t know what to say when they first meet people at networking events. They stumble over their elevator pitch trying to impress someone with their title or expertise. Here’s the thing to remember: It’s the commonality that matters. Enter into conversations and ask questions and listen. The things you might have in common help to establish a connection that will blossom over time.

7. Don’t just network with people you like and people like you.

Our comfort zone is to hang out with people most like us, but research supports the benefits of diverse networks.

Ronald S. Burt, professor of sociology and strategy at the University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business, has done extensive research on the efficacy of diverse networks.

“Indeed, it might not be who or what you know that creates advantage, but rather more simply, who you become by dint of how you hang out — the disadvantaged hang out with folks just like themselves, while the advantaged engage folks of diverse opinion and practice.”

How are you currently networking? It takes focus and intention to network effectively for your career advancement.


The 48 Laws Of Power Cheat Sheet with Real Life Examples

Below is a cheat sheet (aka summary) of The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene.

This book sounds kinda weird and evil (and sometimes it is) but it’s a fun read that tells the story of some of the most powerful people in history. Lots of good info here and lots of awful advice, so be careful not to follow everything the book says.

48 Laws of Power Cheat Sheet

Law 1: Never outshine the master

  • Make those above you feel superior. Do not show your talents too much, it’ll make them insecure.
  • Make the master appear more brilliant than they are.

Law 2: Never put too much trust in friends, learn to use enemies

  • Friends will quickly betray you.
  • Hire former enemies, they’ll be loyal.

Law 3: Conceal your intentions

  • Keep people off-balance. They cannot prepare if they don’t know. Guide them down the wrong path.

Law 4: Always say less than necessary

  • When trying to impress, the more you say the more common you look and less in control.
  • Be vague.
  • Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less.

Law 5: So much depends on reputation – guard it with your life

  • Reputation is the cornerstone of power.
  • Reputation alone will make you win.
  • Destroy enemies by attacking their reputation. Then stand aside and let the public hang them.

Law 6: Court attention at all cost

  • Everything is judged by appearance, what is unseen counts for nothing.
  • Never get lost in a crowd.
  • Be mysterious, appear more colorful than the masses.

Law 7: Let others to do the work for you, but always take credit

  • Use the skills of others to do the work for you, never do yourself what others can do for you.
  • Your efficiency will appear god-like.

Law 8: Make other people come to you – use bait if necessary

  • When you force others to act, you’re in control.
  • Make opponents come to you.
  • Lure with gains, then attack.

Law 9: Win through your actions, never through argument

  • You never win through argument.
  • The resentment last long.
  • It’s more powerful to agree with actions.
  • Demonstrate, do not explain.

Law 10: Infection: Avoid the unhappy and the unlucky

  • You’ll die from other’s misery – emotional states are as infectious as diseases.
  • The unfortunate draw misfortune on themselves and will draw it on you.
  • Associate with the happy and fortunate.

Law 11: Learn to keep people dependent on you

  • To maintain independence you must be needed and wanted.
  • The more you’re relied on, the more freedom you have.
  • Make people depend on you for happiness.
  • Never teach them enough so they can do without you.

Law 12: Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim

  • One sincere move will cover over a dozen dishonest ones.
  • Honesty can bring down the guard of suspicious people.
  • Open their shield with honesty, then deceive.

Law 13: When asking for help, appeal to people’s self-interest, never to their mercy

  • Do not remind people of past deeds.
  • Find something that will benefit them and emphasize it out of proportion.

Law 14: Pose as a friend, work as a spy

  • Learn to probe and find valuable information.
  • Ask indirect questions.
  • Every occasion is a chance to spy.

Law 15: Crush your enemy totally

  • More is lost through stopping halfway.
  • Crush your enemy in body and spirit.

Law 16: Use absence to increase respect and honor

  • Too much circulation makes the price go down.
  • If you’re already established in a group, temporarily withdraw to make people talk.
  • Create value through scarcity.

Law 17: Keep others in suspended terror: cultivate an air of unpredictability

  • Being predictable gives control to others.
  • Behavior that isn’t consistent will wear people out, and they’ll stop trying to explain things.
  • When used to the extreme, you’ll intimidate and terrorize.

Law 18: Do not build fortresses to protect yourself – isolation is dangerous

  • Isolation cuts you off from valuable information.
  • Its better to mingle.
  • You are shielded from your enemy in a crowd.

Law 19: Know who you’re dealing with – do not offend the wrong person

  • Never assume everyone will react the same way.
  • Choose your victims carefully.
  • Never offend the wrong person.

Law 20: Do not commit to anyone

  • Fools rush to pick a side.
  • Do not commit to a cause but yourself
  • Maintain independence
  • Make people chase you and play people against one another

Law 21: Play a sucker to catch a sucker- seem dumber than your mark

  • Don’t be stupid, but make your mark appear smarter than you
  • Making them appear smarter hides your motives

Law 22: Use the surrender tactic: transformer weakness into power

  • When you’re weaker, never fight just for honor but surrender
  • Do not give them the satisfaction to win, surrender
  • Turn the other cheek to infuriate them

Law 23: Concentrate your forces

  • Intensity defeats extensity every time
  • Find a fat cow that’ll give you milk for a long time

Law 24: Play the perfect courtier

  • Master the art of indirection
  • Assert power gracefully

Law 25: Re-create yourself

  • Create an identity that commands attention and never bores
  • Be the master of your own image
  • Use large gestures and actions-your character will seem huge and you’ll gain power

Law 26: Keep your hands clean

  • Never appear soiled by mistakes
  • Use others as scapegoats to disguise your involvement

Law 27: Play on people’s need to believe to create a cultlike following

  • People want to believe in something
  • Become the focal point of this and offer them a cause, a new faith
  • Keep your words vague but full of promise
  • Emphasize enthusiasm over rationality
  • Give your new disciples rituals to perform and ask them to make sacrifices

Law 28: Enter action with boldness

  • If you’re unsure then don’t do it
  • Timidity is dangerous
  • Any mistakes your commit through audacity are easily corrected with more audacity
  • Everyone admires boldness, no one honors the timid

Law 29: Plan all the way to the end

  • The ending is everything
  • Take into account of scenario
  • If you plan, you won’t be overwhelmed
  • Guide fortune by thinking far ahead

Law 30: Make your accomplishments seem effortless

  • Conceal the clever tricks
  • Make your success seem natural
  • Do not reveal how hard you work
  • Teach no one your tricks

Law 31: Control the opinions: get others to play with the cards you deal

  • The best deceptions seem to give the other person a choice
  • Give options so no matter their choice, you win

Law 32: Play to people’s fantasies

  • The truth is unpleasant, avoid it
  • People that manufacture romance are like oases in the desert
  • There’s great power in tapping into people’s fantasies

Law 33: Discover each man’s thumbscrew

  • Find other’s weaknesses
  • Its usually insecurity, uncontrollable emotions, secret pressures

Law 34: Be royal in your own fashion: act like a king to be treated like one

  • The way you carry yourself determines how you’re treated
  • Appearing vulgar or common will make people disrespect you
  • Kings respect themselves and inspire the same in others
  • By acting confident you make yourself destined to wear a crown

Law 35: Master the art of timing

  • Never seem in a hurry, always seem patient
  • Sniff out the spirit of the times, find the trends that’ll give you power
  • Learn to stand back when not ready, and then strike

Law 36: Disdain things you cannot have: ignoring them if the best revenge

  • Acknowledging petty problems gives them existence
  • When you acknowledge an enemy you make them stronger
  • The more you a mistake visible, the worse it gets
  • If you want something but can’t have it, disdain it
  • The less interest you reveal, the more superior you seem

Law 37: Create compelling spectacles

  • Striking imagery and symbolic gestures create the auro of power and people respond
  • Stage spectacles for those around you and heighten your presence
  • Dazzle by appearance

Law 38: Think as you like but behave like others

  • By flaunting your unconventional ways people will only think you want attention
  • They’ll punish you for making them feel inferior
  • Blend in

Law 39: Stir up waters to catch fish

  • Anger and emotion is counterproductive
  • Stay calm and objective
  • Make enemies emotional while you stay calm
  • Rattle your enemies

Law 40: Despise the free lunch

  • What’s offered for free in dangerous
  • Pay your own way to avoid guilt and gratitude
  • No cutting corners with excellence
  • Be lavish with your money, keep it circulating
  • Generosity is a sign and magnet for power

Law 41: Avoid stepping into a great man’s shoes

  • What happens first always appears better and more original than what’s next
  • Following great people means you must double their power
  • Gain power by shining in your own way

Law 42: Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter

  • Trouble can be traced to a single individual
  • These people will influence others
  • Do not negotiate but banish them
  • Strike at the source of the trouble

Law 43: Work on the hearts and minds of others

  • Coercion will work against you
  • Seduce others into wanting to move in your direction
  • Seduce others by operating on their individual psychologies and weaknesses
  • Soften them by working their emotions and what they fear
  • Ignore the hearts and minds and they will grow to hate you

Law 44: Disarm and infuriate with the mirror effect

  • When you mirror exactly what your enemies do, they cannot figure out your strategy
  • The mirror effect mocks and humiliates them, making them overreact
  • Hold a mirror to their psyches and you’ll seduce them and they’ll think they share your values
  • Mirror their actions and they learn lessons

Law 45: Preach the need for change, but never reform too much at once

  • Everyone wants change but too much is traumatic
  • When new to power show you respect old ways
  • Make change feel like a gentle improvement on the past

Law 46: Never appear too perfect

  • Its dangerous to appear like you have no thoughts
  • Its ok to admit to small defects

Law 47: Do not go past the mark you aimed for; in victory know when to stop1

  • When going to far in victory, you make more enemies
  • Set a goal, achieve it, then stop

Law 48: Assume formlessness

  • By having a visible plan you open yourself to attack.1
  • Stay adaptable and on the move
  • Accept that nothing is certain and now law fixed
  • Everything changes and never bet on it