June 27, 2011

How to be THE LUCKIEST GUY ON THE PLANET in 4 Easy Steps

I told my dad, “I’m a lucky guy.” He said, “But are you lucky in love?” I was six years old. Love was the most disgusting thing in the world to me. What the hell was he talking about? Love was living in another neighborhood at that time. Or another planet. It would be years before Love stuck its ugly little nose into my house and said, “hello, anyone here?

Luck was all about rolling the dice. Or finding a quarter on the ground. Or seeing a double rainbow after a quick storm.
But now I’m different. I’m constantly checking in and out of the Hospital of No Luck. I’m older. I need luck to be constantly transfused into me or I run out of it. Without luck, I’m dead. For me, good luck equals happiness.

On a scale of happiness from 0 to 10, I think I’m about a seven or eight. But that’s a big improvement. When I was lying on the floor here, I was probably about a zero. Or at different points in this story, I was maybe at negative. So I’m trending upwards. I get lucky when I stick to three simple goals:

My ONLY Three Goals in Life

A) I want to be happy.
B) I want to eradicate unhappiness in my life.
C) I want every day to be as smooth as possible. No hassles.

That’s it. I’m not asking for much. I need simple goals else I can’t achieve them.
There’s been at least ten times in my life that everything seemed so low I felt like I would never achieve the above three things and the world would be better off without me. Other times I felt like I was stuck at a crossroads and would never figure out which road to take. Each time I bounced back.

When I look back at these times now I realize there was a common thread.

Each time there were four things, and only four things, that were always in place in order for me to bounce back.

Now I try to incorporate these four things into a daily practice so I never dip low again.

A) Physical – being in shape. Doing some form of exercise. In 2003 I woke up at 5am every day and from 5-6am I played “Round the World” on a basketball court overlooking the Hudson River. Every day (except when it rained). Trains would pass and people at 5:30am would wave to me out the window. Now, I try to do yoga every day. But its hard. All you need to do, minimally, is exercise enough to break a sweat for 10 minutes. So about 20-30 minutes worth of exercise a day. This is not to get “ripped” or “shredded”. But just to be healthy. You can’t be happy if you aren’t healthy. Also, spending this time helps your mind better deal with its daily anxieties. If you can breathe easy when your body is in pain then its easier to breathe during difficult situations. Here’s other things that are a part of this but a little bit harder:
  1. Wake up by 4-5am every day.
  2. Go to sleep by 8:30-9. (Good to sleep 8 hours a night!)
  3. No eating after 5:30pm. Can’t be happy if indigested at night.
B) Emotional– If someone is a drag on me, I cut them out. If someone lifts me up, I bring them closer. Nobody is sacred here. When the plane is going down, put the oxygen mask on your face first.

Family, friends, people I love – I always try to be there for them and help. But I don’t get close to anyone bringing me down. This rule can’t be broken. Energy leaks out of you if someone is draining you. And I never owe anyone an explanation.

Explaining is draining.

Another important rule: always be honest. Its fun.

Nobody is honest anymore and people are afraid of it. Try being honest for a day (without being hurtful). Its amazing where the boundaries are of how honest one can be. Its much bigger than I thought. A corollary of this is: I never do anything I don’t want to do. Like I NEVER go to weddings.

C) Mental – Every day I write down ideas. I write down so many ideas that it hurts my head to come up with one more. Then I try to write down five more.

The other day I tried to write 100 alternatives kids can do other than go to college. I wrote down eight, which I wrote about here. I couldn’t come up with anymore. Then the next day I came up with another 40. It definitely stretched my head.

No ideas today? Memorize all the legal 2 letter words for Scrabble. Translate the Tao Te Ching into Spanish. Need ideas for lists of ideas?

Come up with 30 separate chapters for an “autobiography”. Try to think of 10 businesses you can start from home (and be realistic how you can execute them)? Give me 10 ideas of directions this blog can go in. Think of 20 ways Obama can improve the country. List every productive thing you did yesterday (this improves memory also and gives you ideas for today).

The “idea muscle” atrophies within days if you don’t use it. Just like walking. If you don’t use your legs for a week, they atrophy. You need to exercise the idea muscle. It takes about 3-6 months to build up once it atrophies. Trust me on this.

D) Spiritual. I feel that most people don’t like the word “spiritual”. They think it means “god”. Or “religion”.

But it doesn’t. I don’t know what it means actually. But I feel like I have a spiritual practice when I do one of the following:
  1. Pray (doesn’t matter if I’m praying to a god or to dead people or to the sun or to a chair in front of me – it just means being thankful. And not taking all the credit, for just a few seconds of the day)
  2. Meditate – Meditation for more than a few minutes is hard. It’s boring. Here I give tips for 60 second meditations. You can also meditate for 15 seconds by really visualizing what it would be like meditate for 60 minutes. Here’s a simple meditation: sit in a chair, keep the back straight, watch yourself breathe. If you get distracted, no problem. Just pull yourself back to your breath. Try it for 5 minutes. Then six.
  3. Being grateful – I try to think of everyone in my life I’m grateful for. Then I try to think of more people. Then more. Its hard.
  4. Forgiving – I picture everyone who has done me wrong. I visualize gratefulness for them (but not pity).
  5. Studying. If I read a spiritual text (doesn’t matter what it is: Bible, Tao Te Ching, anything Zen related, even inspirational self-help stuff, doesn’t matter) I tend to feel good. This is not as powerful as praying or meditating (it doesn’t train your mind to cut out the BS) but it still makes me feel good.
My own experience: I can never achieve the three “simple” goals on a steady basis without doing the above practice on a daily basis.

And EVERY TIME I’ve hit bottom (or close to a bottom, or I’ve been at some sort of crossroads.) and started dong the above 4 items (1991, 1995, 1997, 2002, 2006, 2008) magic would happen:

The Results
A) Within about one month, I’d notice coincidences start to happen. I’d start to feel lucky. People would smile at me more.
B) Within three months the ideas would really start flowing, to the point where I felt overwhelming urges to execute the ideas.
C) Within six months, good ideas would start flowing, I’d begin executing them, and everyone around me would help me put everything together.
D) Within a year my life was always completely different. 100% upside down from the year before.

More money, more luck, more health, etc.

And then I’d get lazy and stop doing the practice.
And everything falls apart again. But now I’m trying to do it every day.
Its hard to do all of this every day.
Nobody is perfect. I don’t know if I’ll do all of these things today. But I know when I do it, it works.

You will rule the planet if you follow me on Twitter. 

With many thanks to Altucher Confidential
H/T: J.R.

June 15, 2011

Swiss Zoo shows off rare Snow Leopard cubs - Just Stunning!

RARE snow leopard triplets have made their first public appearance at Basel Zoo in Switzerland. 
The zoo is showing off the eight-week-old cubs today alongside their mother, Mayhan and father, Pator.
The pair were matched mid-January through a preservation program run by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria.
Snow leopards are an endangered species and only 4000 to 6000 are believed to still live in the wild.
They are mainly found in the mountains of Central Asia and the Himalayas.
With thanks to News.com

Some related posts: 

Buddhist Monks and The "Tiger Temple" of Kanchanaburi

Lion Cub Triplets Raise Hope for The Endangered Asiatic Lion

The Siberian Tiger

Bornean Marbled Cat: An Ultra-rare Cat Species Captured On Camera

Iranian Cheetah Sighting Gives Hope To Conservation Efforts

Cincinnati Zoo Cheetah Sets New World Speed Record!

Snow Leopard and Cubs at Magdeburg Zoo

Swimming Tigers at Australia Zoo

Clouded Leopard Cubs At Houston Zoo

Another Chance for Three Orphaned Tiger Cubs

Golden Tabby Tigers

Lion Protector, Shivani Bhalla Helps Big Cats and People Coexist

Surprising Facts About Our Favorite Big Cats

Asher Jay: Art Of The Matter

India’s Wild Tiger Population Has Increased 30% Since 2010

Clouded Leopard Born at Florida Zoo

World Lion Day: Some Stunning Images Of The King Of The Jungle

White Lions - A Royal Family  

Lions Gain New Endangered Species Protections

Leopard Hunting Banned in South Africa For Remainder of 2016

A Hidden Population Of Up To 200 Lions Has Been Found In Ethiopia

Africa’s Big Five Animals

Tigers Are Coming Back!

Tracking Sumatran Tigers

30 Tiger Zoos In Thailand Face Nationwide Checks

The Truth Behind The Tiger Temple

The Black Panther

Russia's 'Extinct' Persian Leopards Reintroduced To Black Sea Mountains

Why Big Cat Rescue Doesn’t Have Cheetah or Jaguars 

The Best Big Cat Videos Come From The Wild

Pallas's Cats To Get Their Own 'Palace' In Siberian Mountains

Amur Tiger Release
Last Wild Ocelots In Texas Get New Paths To Safety

June 05, 2011

Your Ego and How it Can Affect Your Life

So what is your ego you ask? It is that part of your brain, and a rather silly part,that makes you always think you must finish on top!

Whether it is having the last word, winning an argument, or even causing someone emotional pain while trying to prove you are right.

(Of course you may well be right but this isn't a nice way to do it.).

Most of the time when arguing with people who have a different perspective, or are simply a little stupid, you cannot win in any case.

Some people will simply never get it no matter how many provable facts you come up with. It can be very draining and a waste of your time.
As someone once said: “ 5% of people think, 15% think they think, and the rest would rather do anything than have to think”. (Skip Ross).

Essentially ego makes you waste your time and energy and prevents you from moving forward in your life.

It stops you from actually believing in yourself, your instincts, inner voices and what we now call ‘vibes’.

How many times do we dismiss ‘vibes’ only to discover later that we should have taken notice of them?

If you think deeply about some of the decisions you have made in the past you may even acknowledge that these were purely ego-driven and were, in fact, a big mistake!

Your ego often provides you with silly excuses that help you justify the things you do. It prevents you from thinking things through thoroughly and can lead to what I can “unintended consequences”. These are usually bad.
I think we see this a lot from our politicians – just one example that comes to mind.

We may also see many examples from our work colleagues and family members.
Ego keeps you in a state of immaturity.

In other words it is the opposite of your “higher self” or soul.

That is why you have to be very aware of not acting on ego-driven advice.

Your higher self is desperately trying to help you get to who you want to be, who you are capable of being.

You must learn to love yourself and constantly push your ego out of your thought processes as much as you can. Loving yourself is not an “ego thing”. It is necessary for your success.

Your ego restrains you in every possible way.

Try and learn to live without it and communicate with your higher self instead.