Life Lessons from Thinking.

March 29, 2014 at 1:45 pm (Excellence in Business, Freedom, histoires financières, Life skills or hacks, organized simplicity, The decline of Civilization) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

In my never ending quest to not feel like a total dumbass I read. I read a lot. No I have never cracked a volume of Fifty Shades of anything nor have I read Twilight. Until recently I thought it was an anthology of the Twilight Zone in written word.

I read books about historical (and often hysterical) people. I like biographies and not the sordid tell all types but the nuts and bolts of how someone changed their world by doing something their own way. I enjoy their process and mistakes far more than the ultimate successful outcome which brought them fame and fortune.  See here’s the funny thing about me. I know that I don’t know much in this world life but I do know that anyone who pins themselves as an expert is either full of bullshit or drank their own Koolaid (or Flavor-aid as it was). All I know is all I know and no more. Who decided we should “fake it till we make it?” That is a terrible idea. It suggest fooling ones self as well as anyone willing to buy into our story. I think that maybe and again I’m no expert, we should learn about it, research it, discuss it before declaring ourselves experts…and even then take it down a notch to say, hey this is something I have studied and I have some ideas versus the hard core foregone conclusion that every #FakeExpert out there really has the *Secret. There is no secret. Well, maybe there is…this is it.

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You must learn to think. Critically think, think for yourself and often. Everyday in fact. Question everything especially what you think you know. I also don’t read because I want someone else’s foregone conclusion. I want some facts, some insights, some thoughts, some ideas and I will mull them around in my own noggin, seek more info on the subject and continue to distill the thoughts and even question my own distillations. Think of your ideas and conclusions as a good scotch whiskey. it takes quality going in, some knowledge and time…and even then shit happens and it doesn’t turn out exactly as the distiller thought it would. Sometimes better sometimes not. So s/he thinks some more before the next batch and maybe even talks to others in his world but still thinking for himself. Reflecting. It is easy to groupthink but takes actual thought to think for yourself. Question even your own thoughts.

Currently one of the books I am reading is Fortune’s Children, the fall of the House of Vanderbilt. Crazy stories of the ridiculous rich in 19th and 20th century America. Tales of social registries, who has the biggest most ornate mansion on 5th avenue and who spent the most on a party which excluded whom. All somewhat interesting but not why I chose this book. I wanted to understand the underpinnings of their failure to get past the shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves curse of wealth. Yes they made it past three generations but not past 100 years. Why did they begin to falter? Was it the introduction of income tax, the millions spent on a never-ending string of mansions, parties and luxury yachts? I think it may have been even simpler. So basic that many families miss the mark. It was a missing system of family governance and the simple act of valuing the happiness of every family member. How did I come to this hypothesis? Well another book I am reading called Family Wealth by Hughes talks about how one man has coached the wealthiest families in the world regarding long-term wealth and he has observed why some families make it beyond  few generations and others are just golden ghosts of the past. Family and recognizing each individual’s right to happiness and being supportive in a way which enhances their life as well as expanding the family’s intellectual capital is key. I like the theory. So as I read about the Cornelius Vanderbilts I am testing the weight of this theory and as I read how money was a tool to strike fear, express love, bribe, and punish in the Vanderbilt’s world and I see the merit of this thing called happiness. I still think there is more so I suspend my full thought on the matter for now but look further for clues for happiness and wealth.

So I will leave this topic for further study another day. I leave you with this question. What makes a person an expert? Education? Marketing their knowledge base (fancy bullshit for selling yourself), a published article or book? Being on the Today show? …or could it be the quiet thoughtful person who is too busy to showboat and get your attention juggling buzz phrases? Maybe there are no experts? Maybe real thought involves quiet reflection and no wi-fi?

Discuss, research, contemplate.

 

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Life Lessons from the Pony Farm

March 23, 2014 at 8:39 pm (Freedom, Health, Letting go, Life skills or hacks, Polo) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Sometimes it is important to question your own motives. I ride horses because of a life long love of horses and I find it to be the greatest exercise which never feels like punishment.

I’ve had fitness trainers with great results but I always felt like the gym was filled with chemical cleaners, sweat and an air conditioning system which should be cleaned a bit more often. Not a natural way to fitness. So last year after a tete a tete with the black dog of the death world I was determined to find a more natural way to stay fit. I use fit loosely to mean healthy and able to do all I want to do and avoid illness, not enter a fitness challenge.

I literally fell into playing polo and from day one was deep sweating the kind of cellular detox neither hiking mountains nor running is capable of providing. I know I used to do both regularly. I still hike for communal reasons but gave up running because frankly it is not healthy over time. O I can see the outrage in the runner’s eyes as they read this but ask any old runner how their knees and hips are.

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Yeah yeah I hear you all thinking how can a sport that has a very real danger of being thrown off, clocked by a ball or mallet be safer? It is because you train to minimize those risks and accept that full throttle living involves calculated risk. Now let me assure you I am no fan of coming off a horse for any reason so I work out on my horse as well as take lessons from not one but two highly respected trainers here in my neck of the woods. When I ride my own horse often it is for only a half hour bareback trotting with a harness only. No bridle no stirrups. This forces me to work the proper muscles and sit in my seat in a way which maintains balance and builds muscle memory. Riding my horse is much more fun than any gym. Period. Fresh air, sunshine, the sounds of birds in my ears and communicating with my horse for maximal performance. A horse is not a machine. It is a living breathing thinking , spiritual being. If it does not like you or your energy you are going nowhere you want and may find yourself on the ground after flying across  a bridle path.

I know why I play polo and ride horses. because I love it. I’m not out to prove anything to anyone least of all you. I want to find peace in my day and if you are a horse person you know they often have the answer to your worldly problems. Listen and they will give you the secrets of the ages. Ignore them and you are just another person who is afraid of or dislikes horses. They don’t bullshit you like your human friends who want to make you feel good about yourself. They whisper it like it is. Period. They don’t know how to do otherwise.

Recently in one of my equitation classes there was a woman who wanted to ride a horse who is a bit above her experience level. This is a champion horse who requires an experienced rider. I do not feel qualified to ride this handsome gelding but this woman had something to prove …to someone. So this lesson was all about trotting out of stirrups, standing while trotting and controlled tight circles while doing all of the above. I was on a normally sweet mare who was a little crazy as she was in heat. I’m okay with a little crazy as a hopped up horse can teach you all kinds of lessons in keeping quiet hands, and remaining calm while they buck and just calming them without reacting. We were not cantering or galloping today.

While our trainer was working with me on standing and neck reining, the other woman decided to take her horse for a canter around the arena as we had on another day. She went faster and faster until we heard the distinctive thud of someone hitting the ground. She had not payed attention to her diagonal and when her smarter than her horse wanted to correct his stride he threw his head up to get room for his front legs to make a flying change. She mistook his action and began pulling on him  with her hands and arms flailing instead of keeping them quiet. Result she lost her already precarious balance and went flying.  Luckily she did not hit the metal rails. She has a black and blue behind and hopefully a new respect for her equine friend. Was I surprised? Not really. She had ignored the basics and wanted to prove something resulting in her own pain.

I don’t want to be that gal so I tend to err on the side of being conservative. I underestimate my ability and constantly work on being better than the day before. Not better than you or someone else, just better than I was before. It is the only measure which matters. I have my own personal goals for my horsemanship and they don’t even involve competitions although if that is your measure of how much better you have become in your passion rock on!

I wrote this for me but if you have enjoyed any part that is a bonus for us both. Go out and be your best and don’t worry about telling the world they will figure it out in time if you keep on in your dogged pursuit of being your best you. Some of the most incredibly talented people I know you may never have heard of because rather than talking about themselves or their skills they are busy honing them. Sure the American way would tell them to brand themselves and tell the word to make a million, but there is something very appealing about folks who are doing amazing things in their own lives out of the limelight. Anthony Robbins teaches the skills of life mastery because we have forgotten in our culture. He isn’t a guru or a life coach in his approach but rather someone who is here to give you permission to live your greatest life. Time to work on something bigger than a million$ bucks.

Find a passion that isn’t about making money and watch what happens to your financial life. There is an inverse relationship to doggedly pursuing a career and pursuing the quality life you imagine riches will provide. Pursue your best you and …let me know what happens. When the light bulb goes on you won’t be able to turn it off.

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