Turning 60

60 is the newToday is my birthday.  My 60th birthday.

I find the concept very confusing.  I look in the mirror and know that I’m 60.  But I don’t feel it.

Allow me to explain.  First the part that I understand.

I’ve been blessed with a wonderful life that includes an amazing wife of 34 years, a remarkable family plus a glorious list of long time, trusted friends. I’m in good health and mostly sound of mind.

But I’m wondering today what ‘being 60’ is supposed to be.  I grew up in an era that dictated “you can’t trust anyone over 30” so I knew when I turned 30 that I couldn’t trust myself.  When I turned 40  my waistline taught me  that the Roman Numerals for 40 are XL.   50 was a blur.

But 60?  What is it?

I have so many questions.

Does my favourite tv channel now automatically become the Weather Network?  Why do I see all my favourite childhood toys selling for huge dollars on Ebay?  How has the word ‘spry’ crept into my vocabulary?

Ever so many questions.

Do my pants start to creep upwards daily so that I’ll ultimately look like a pair of pants with a head?  When my phone rings at 9:00 p.m. are people going to start the conversation by asking “did I wake you?”.  When do I begin driving under the speed limit because, well, I don’t have anywhere to be that fast?

Endless questions.

Are my secrets now truly safe with my friends because they can’t remember them either?  Do I need to start an exercise program so that I can remember what heavy breathing sounded like?  Am I now obligated to have supper at 4:00 pm?

There is no manual for this.  There is no Cole’s Notes or cheat sheets or even some heavily funded government document that answers these questions.  There’s nothing that tells you what being 60 is supposed to be.

At 60 the government has started paying me to stay home.   I fooled them.  I’m not staying home.  I’m on the way out the door right now or at least as soon as I can find my glasses and car keys and double-check my phone to see where the heck I’m supposed to be.  Which reminds me.  Why is my phone now my calendar?

And because there is  no information on what it’s like to be 60, it appears that  the duty has fallen to  me to define it.  Somebody totally ditched their obligation to society and this is now in my hands.  Not the best decision whoever you are.  So here’s my plan.  I’m converting to Celsius.  60 is 16 Celsius.

So yes, today is my birthday.  My 16th birthday.

 

 

 

 

Keep It Simple – Think Like A Child

It seems to me that the older we get, the more we tend to complicate things.

Life is simple when you are a child.  Things are what they are.  There are no hidden meanings.  No subversive plots.

The sky is blue.  The sun is yellow.  Play some, learn some, eat some and sleep some.

Then we grow up.  And we complicate our lives with help from the social environment that shapes us.

We become jaded, suspicious, self-serving and dare I say it, rational.

I work hard every day trying to keep my thinking simple.

Before you burst into gales of laughter, I didn’t say I had a simple mind.  But in my experience, Occam’s Razor is one of the great truths of all time.  Occam’s razor (sometimes spelled  Ockham’s razor) is the meta-theoretical principle that “entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity”, which really means that when faced with multiple possible answers, and all variables are equal, the simplest solution is usually the correct one.

Let me repeat that.  The simplest solution is usually the correct one.

Something to think about.  And something to put into practice.

So let’s see how you fare with a simple question, you with the adult mind.

90% of kindergarten students in North America get the answer to this question correct.

Below is a picture of school bus.  Is the bus travelling to the left or to the right?

And before you get all ‘adult minded’ on me, no the bus is not stopped, that is not the back of the bus, yes it is really a bus and yes it is really travelling.

So which direction is the bus travelling?  Left or right?  Those are your only two options.

For the answer, click here.

And if you got the answer correct, go get a popsicle.  That’s what kids do.

Small Moments Make A Big Difference

My business partner, Greg Fullerton, sent this to me today.

Greg is a very funny, very thought provoking public speaker and business success story.

His email made me think.  I thought you might enjoy it as well.

Here’s Greg’s email verbatim.

I get a kick out of dreaming up book titles for underachievers:

“Three-and-a-Half Steps to Underachievement”

“What Underachievers Don’t Want You To Know”

“Instead of Reach For The Sky, Reach For Your Ankles”

“The Foolproof Formula for Failure, Using My Secrets”

“Do Half as Much in Twice the Time”

“Go Halfway”

“Money is For People Who Intend to Pay Their Bills”

“Start Procrastinating NOW”

Here’s one I thought of when I was much heavier:

“Disadvantages to Weight Loss: When You’re Skinny You’re Easier to Kidnap”

But seriously.

A lot of people fear success because they think it entails something big, grandiose, world-shaking.

They discount their private victories that seem relatively petty and obscure. They don’t think that their small efforts make any noteworthy difference.

And in this mind frame, they miss out on the simple, yet crucial opportunities presented to them daily to uplift others and make the world a better place.

One of my favorite quotes comes from William Shakespeare who wrote,

‘If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then unto me.”

We have no idea how our daily actions will impact others and the consequences they carry.

How many countless stories are there out there, real or that nobody knows about, where one little seed of thoughtfulness, or one little seed of kindness made a profound difference?

One time my daughter called me scared because she smelled gas in her apartment. I drove over, checked out the situation, and we called the gas company.

While we were waiting for a service man to show up, on a whim I asked my daughter if she wanted to go get something to eat.

Since she’s moved out of the house we haven’t had as much time together as I’d like. I was busy. I could easily have passed up the moment.

But we spent a wonderful two hours together. Just talking. Enjoying each other’s company. Growing closer. I told her I loved her.

I’ll never forget that time. Did it change the world? Who knows. I don’t care. It was just the right thing to do, a good thing to do.

That was a pleasant story. Often, however, in the quiet pursuit of greatness, we’re required to do difficult things.

We suffer and sacrifice, strain and struggle behind the curtains of life. We receive no prize, no pat on the back.

But it’s worth it. It’s the small moments that build to form the whole of our life.

In The Power of Truth, William George Jordan wrote,

“The reformer must realize without a trace of bitterness that the busy world cares little for his struggles. It cares only to joy in his final triumph. It will share his feast, but not his fast.”

There are little things that go on every day in everybody’s life that are big, reforming events that we have no clue about.

But they matter. They are real, and they are meaningful, and they matter.

Reforming — making a difference — is not about conquering the world. It’s not about becoming a superstar on the glittering stage of life.

It’s about being aware of the small and simple things and taking advantage of them at the right moments.

It’s about encouraging words and extended hands when you have no audience. It’s about dealing with your struggles gracefully and graciously.

And it’s a process, not an event. This process is comprised of thousands of little steps in your everyday life.

Once you identify and become true to yourself, you have no idea who and how that will impact.

But you don’t need to know. You just need to know what’s right, then follow through with courage — regardless of who sees you or how simple and meaningless your actions may seem.

Book Preview

It has been a lifetime dream to write a book.  I’m excited to tell you that the book is now a reality and has gone to the publisher.

Some of you knew that and emailed asking if you could purchase a copy.

Yes, you can purchase a copy.  Just not today.  I’m expecting it to be available by the end of March or early April in both paperback and e-book versions.

Some of you asked if you could have a sneak peek.

That, I can do.

Here’s a short preview of the ‘foreward’ and Chapter One so that you can get a feel for the content and character of the book.

I hope you enjoy it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

FOREWORD

This is a book about thinking.

That’s it.

I am not a scientist so I have no intention of delving into the functionality, operation, composition or dimensions of the human brain.   If you are looking for a medical treatise or information on neuro-linguistic programming or even how to cure a headache, you are reading the wrong book.

This book is about thinking.

Furthermore, there are three incontrovertible truths that you must accept or again, you may be reading the wrong book.

* Truth is ancient.  There is no such thing as new truth.

* Wisdom is everywhere.  You just need to listen, look and think.

* If you will change, everything around you will change.

As well, this book is designed to provide short reading sessions.  This is not a novel that has a beginning, middle and end.  Each chapter is intended to stand by itself and give you pause to think.

And finally, this book is written in the style that I speak.  It is not designed to become a beacon of literary style and grammatical accuracy.  I write as I speak.

So as long as we’re clear on that, let’s begin.

CHAPTER ONE

TRUTH IS ANCIENT

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered.  The point is to discover them”  (Galileo Galilee)

There is no such thing as new truth.  As a matter of fact, beware of people peddling new truth.  That’s like trying to sell new antiques.  I suspect everyone knows that’s impossible.

Truth is ancient, thus the quote above from Galileo.  True then.  True today.

And truth really hasn’t even morphed much since the dawn of language.  What was truth in medieval times still is.  Certainly, the language used to discuss these truths has changed.  But the truth itself is as self-evident today as it was at the dawn of time.

Look after the temple you call your body.  Truth.

Wisdom is everywhere.  Truth.

You are your friends.  Truth.

It’s not love until you give it away.  Truth.

What you see is what you get.  Not so much truth.

It’s okay to do it if nobody finds out.  New truth.  Run the other direction.

In today’s world of billions of bytes of information bombarding your psyche every day, it has become more and more difficult to discern the truth from bafflegab.

Politicians, marketers and millions of others have become experts at spinning the truth for their own purposes and their own advantage.

So how does a thinking human being separate the fact from the fiction?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I will keep you posted on the progress.  And thank you so much for the emails of support.

This truly has been a labor of love.

Your Favorites – Top 5

I received an email from a reader with some very kind comments and a couple of excellent suggestions for this site.

Among those was the thought that it might be an interesting idea to post the Top 5 posts from time to time.

She went on to explain that she was interested in what other people were reading and with the volumes of information available on the internet, a concise listing would be “ever so handy”.

Terrific thought.

So here’s the All Time Top 5 Posts on this blog as determined by the number of views.

1.  The “7 Things Challenge”

2.  What The Mind Can Conceive

3.  Teamwork

4.  How To Choose A Home Business

5.  Cuppa Coffee Or Maybe Life

I will update this list occasionally.  It has some nice possibilities.

Thanks Dee.