Be The One

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Hey you . . . yeah you.  I know you’ve seen that gauntlet of leadership lonesomely lying on the path of your journey before, which you have ignored in the past and casually stepped over it.  But why not be daring NOW and have the fortitude to pick it up and do something that makes a difference in this world.  You know the calling.  It’s easy to recognize, but it has also been more convenient to  dispel from your thoughts.

You’ve had this uneasy feeling many times before, most especially when you’ve observed something you don’t like in this world, which you know, deep down within the inner core of your very being, is wrong, wrong, wrong on so many levels.  And although you have previously been able to swiftly replace these increasingly unsettling thoughts and emotions with others more pleasant to divert your attention, you keep seeing what bothers you.

It happens again and again with different people in varying settings and circumstances that still share an all-too-familiar commonality of discord eating away at your psyche like a blood-sucking parasite that only becomes repulsively engorged with each instance.  The slowly developing anger within reaches new heights with each occurrence, to the point of recognizing your reaction has now transmogrified into an apoplectic rage that demands release, as if a belching volcano is about to explode . . . along the lines of exasperation displayed in the iconic scene from the 1976 movie Network — for although the sources of fear and anger that weigh heavy on our minds have changed in the past 38 years, the impact is the same . . . until we decide we’ve had enough!

Although these accompanying emotions  are unpleasant, it’s actually a good thing that they bring you to a boiling point, such that you say “enough is enough” and  decide to finally do something about it and take meaningful action.

I’ve been deliberately vague throughout this post because I want this concept to have wide applicability, notwithstanding, I’m confident you know exactly what I’m talking about.  The sociopaths that seem to increasingly hold positions of influence over others which they use for their selfish, avarice-driven benefit and to the detriment to a vast many others.  And what may really irk you is the realization a kakistocracy is growing like pernicious weeds  around you, which only causes you to question your preconceived notions of rationality and common sense all the more.

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And The Solution Is . . .

Things will only get better if you TAKE ACTION with a laser focus on the root cause of each problem.  Forget the unimportant ancillary stuff and direct your attention toward rectifying what’s most important.  You will soon realize all the other minor issues that have bogged you down in the past, will miraculously fall into place or otherwise disappear once the primary source of the problem is ameliorated.  This may require some forethought, but don’t over think it, because you’ll be surprised how accurate your instincts will become once you start  TAKING ACTION.

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In so doing, you will be metaphorically pulling back the curtain of The Wizard of Oz and come upon the serendipitous realization that what you perceived to be a BIG SCARY problem staring you in the face is no longer the case, as the reality of understanding how to resolve it now becomes crystal clear.

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Charli XCX‘s music video performance of You’re The One is obviously a love song from the perspective of a woman finally realizing she’s found “the one” (i.e., the love of her life).  But I would like to indulge your creativity to interpret the lyrics (reflected below) a bit differently, and think of them as the thoughts of those who are looking to YOU to lead a cause to meaningfully change things for the better . . .  and then go do it !

You’re The One

Dancing, in the darkness
Pink and lilac
Keep the silence

Crystals on the skyline
Cut the midnight
Alterable lit

You’re the one who can make me stay
You’re the only one who makes me feel this way
You’re the one that’s been stealing stars
Your golden arrow went through my heart
You’re the one that can turn the page
You’re the one who came along and unlocked the cage
Now I’m dancing in the dark

Flying through the black night
You’re the angel in the moon light
Running through the thunder
Undercover, silver lover

You’re the one who can make me stay
You’re the only one who makes me feel this way
You’re the one that’s been stealing stars
Your golden arrow went through my heart
You’re the one that can turn the page
You’re the one who came along and unlocked the cage
Now I’m dancing in the dark

Yeah I’m dancing in the darkness
Three years before I was feeling so heartless
But your burn shined through
And I’m drinking love potion
When I lay next to you

It’s a criminal feeling
Happiness cries and the tears are dreaming
My body is screaming
I’m staying right here
No I’ll never be leaving

I’ll wrap this post up with an Avicii music video, aptly titled I Could Be The One, which hilariously depicts the manifestation of a dead-end life and encourages boldly doing things that excite you, and lead you on a life journey that makes you feel alive again . . . albeit with a shocking plot twist at the end.

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Posted in Being a Leader, Managing Fear, Overcoming Obstacles, Recognizing Problems, Staying Focused, Thinking Positive & BIG | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Feel Like A Hero . . .

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. . . (or heroine) and then go do something that is both HEROIC and EPIC — and no more excuses, no more putting it off.  NOW is the time, so RUN and make it happen, even in the face of discouragement by others who may say what you seek to accomplish is impossible. Channel the energy of those nay-sayers into a “well then I’ll show you” mindset.

If you believe deep in your soul that something very important is within the realm of possibility, then you owe it to yourself (and others who will benefit) to embark on your quest, and make it an EPIC success.  And for inspiration, watch this epic performance by the acrobatic dance troupe known as AcroArmy, who defy the laws of physics and stretch the bounds of human physiology to execute something quite magical and in perfect synchronicity to the apt soundtrack “Run Boy Run“.

The soundtrack was written and performed by an emerging baroque pop neofolk artist known as Woodkid, whose performing body of work is often described as “epic” and is specifically intended to make those who listen to it “to feel like heroes“, as articulated in his RT interview below.

So Who Is A Hero & What Is Heroism?

But what do we mean by “hero”?  And what is this notion of “heroic” anyway?  And what heroic act or pursuit do you have the passionate enthusiasm to undertake that could make YOU feel like a hero?  And isn’t it an oxymoron to want to feel like a hero?  Or said another way, aren’t heroes selfless individuals who care more for others than themselves and most certainly NOT about how they themselves feel?  Isn’t the essence of heroism putting the interests of others first, and self-interests take a back seat?

What thoughts and images come to mind when you think of a “hero”?  Is it a fireman fearlessly entering a fiercely conflagrating building on the brink of collapse to save a child trapped on the second floor?  Perhaps its a marine who hurls himself on top of a grenade  to save his nearby brothers in arms. Or maybe its giving up a kidney to someone who will otherwise not survive.  Yes these are all undoubtedly good examples, but MANY other things can be considered heroic.

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And those who do heroic things need not be superheroes.  A hero can be ANYONE who undertakes an extraordinary action on behalf of others, despite perhaps having to face severe danger, overwhelming adversity and a low perceived likelihood of success, and yet bravely perseveres despite an obvious position of weakness.  It is someone who displays courage and exhibits a willingness for self-sacrifice that observing others may derive inspiration from, such that they too are willing to do things for some greater good of humanity (broadly defined).  And although heroism may entail exemplary acts of courage, whereby one puts their life on the line, it is more broadly applicable to a vast range of circumstances that demonstrate . . .

selfless moral excellence.

So if you see something you don’t like in this world, and you can creatively envision that it is within the realm of possibility to do something about it, then by all means . . .

Be Heroic And Do It !

So why not do something meaningful that really scares you.  You know, something that will certainly test your mettle and will present you with an opportunity for that “breakthrough moment” to make you feel truly alive and especially gratified in knowing how others will benefit.  That’s not only an opportunity to self-actualize in doing something you once thought was not possible, but an opportunity for altruistically reaching the pinnacle of one’s potential, which is otherwise known as . . .

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So What Are You Waiting For?

RUN and go do what YOU KNOW must be done — the starting gun has gone off.  And momentum is important, so the faster you are able to explode from the starting blocks (usually the most difficult part of ANY project is getting started), the sooner you will able to reach full stride and cross the finish line of your project or quest victorious.  And who better to metaphorically illustrate this than the world’s fastest human . . . Usain Bolt.

Posted in Being a Leader, Never Giving Up, Overcoming Obstacles, Standard of Excellence | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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For most readers of this blog, the Fall (or Autumnal) Equinox occurs when the orbit, rotation and pitch of the planet earth moves the midpoint of the high noon sun below the earth’s equator from the Northern hemisphere to the Southern hemisphere.

This marks the beginning of autumn in the northern half of the world (i.e., North America, Europe, most of Asia and the Arctic) and the beginning of spring for the southern half (i.e., most of South America, Africa, Australia and Antarctica), and thus the Vernal Equinox for those “down under”.

The context of this post reflects Northern hemisphere perspective.

For Those Who Are Somewhat Sad . . .

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Although summer officially ends with the Fall Equinox on September 22, 2014, most consider the last day of summer to be Labor day — and thus representing the “unofficial end of summer“.  At this time of the year many may feel compelled to shift out of the “relaxation mode” mindset that summertime had blissfully placed them in, and this may naturally cause a “downshift” to one’s morale.

Accordingly, some may feel it is once again time to get serious about their life — particularly in their vocational endeavors, whatever they may be.  This may also bring about a feeling of remorse or sadness.  And this post serves to remind those  experiencing such “post-summer blues” to . . .


However, For Those Who Are REALLY Sad . . .

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Importantly, this post is intended to be relevant year-round, in that it is especially dedicated to those who have experienced a loss, where the associated emotional pain of a broken heart may be especially piercing, and in instances where this omnipresent foreign aching simply won’t go away.

And since you may have never experienced anything quite like this before, you may frankly not know how to lighten your heavy heart.  This dark feeling may have been brought on by the painful end to a long beautiful and enriching relationship, the untimely loss of a loved one, or perhaps the result of unfortunate and emotionally debilitating events that seem to have drained you of your energy, and will to go on.

 This is all the more reason to summon the courage to . . .


The Art of Smiling by Charlie Chaplin . . .

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Perhaps the world’s foremost expert EVER in the “art of smiling” was Sir Charles Spencer (“Charlie”) Chaplin, as it was something he personally embraced, consciously engaged in, espoused to many and manifested for countless others who enjoyed (and will continue to enjoy) his vast array of performances in  cinematic productions that spanned FIVE decades.

His now classic silent films began  in 1914, and successfully proceeded well into the period of full sound movies through the late 1930’s and continued on in his own full sound movies, up to and including his last film in 1967, A Countess from Hong Kong (starring Sophia Loren and Marlon Brando), which he wrote, scored, directed and produced.

Notably, Charlie Chaplin’s first talking film was The Great Dictator, which received high critical acclaim and became his most commercially successful film.  Its unmistakable message was especially prescient and boldly controversial in its condemnation of the fascism, which were movements that were beginning to take hold in Europe under Adolf Hitler in Germany and Benito Mussolini in Italy.

This particular clip from the film is especially moving and is perhaps MORE applicable today than it was in 1940 . . . you be the judge.

Although Charlie Chaplain left us in 1977, he has imparted many priceless eternal gifts that will be enjoyed and savored for generations to come.  These include: (1) his inimitable comedic charm in his movies that have consistently brought smiles to  millions; (2) his aphoristic pearls of wisdom on the subject of smiling (some of which grace the images of this blog posting); and (3) the classic song “Smile” which he wrote, and has since been recorded by many outstanding artists (e.g., Michael Jackson, Josh Groban); however,  in the opinion of this blog’s author, no rendition of this song comes close to the masterpiece performance by Nat King Cole, which is presented in the touching music video below (featuring Charlie Chaplin and then wife, actress Paulette Goddard), along with its simply beautiful, but evocatively powerful lyrics.


Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

[instrumental interlude]

That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile




Posted in Being Kind, Laughing Often, Overcoming Loss | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Look For The Silver Lining

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If you have encountered a devastating setback, and wondered “why me?”, along with an accompanying feeling of being isolated, at least take heart in the fact that you are NOT alone in such an experience.  We’ve all encountered this.  But instead of wallowing in an emotional abyss, cancel your “pity-parade” and start looking.  For what, you may ask?

Start looking for “the silver lining” in your dark clouds.  It is ALWAYS there, and often there are MANY of them, but you’ve got to LOOK FOR IT.  And don’t be alarmed or frustrated if you don’t see it right away.  In fact, your misfortune may have temporarily blinded you to it.  But hang in there, for if you search with a mindset that it exists, it will eventually materialize, and often with profound clarity.  But don’t give yourself a flat-forehead for not seeing it sooner — just rejoice in your epiphany.

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Not let’s cover this from three perspectives: (1) the sage aphorisms of Maya Angelou; (2) the underlying themes of Silver Linings Playbook; and (3) the lyrical candor of the Swedish sisters of First Aid Kit.

Maya Angelou

The poet, author, activist and renaissance woman, Maya Angelou has many aphorisms attributed to her that are especially germane to this topic, and are reflected below.  They collectively encourage you to overcome your defeats, learn from them and acquiesce to your transformation into something greater so that you may eventually help others overcome their “rainy days”.

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Silver Linings Playbook

Now let’s take the romantic comedy-drama Silver Linings Playbook, a cinematic tour de force, based on the book by Matthew Quick, which really delivers on the core element of overcoming adversity.  It is a touching love story about two seemingly lost souls, who serendipitously find each other, and despite an awkward and unexpected journey together, eventually help one another out of their respective doldrums that have bordered on depression in the past, albeit for entirely different reasons.  He (“Patrick” played by Bradley Cooper) suffers from a bi-polar disorder and is despondent over his wife’s estrangement, while she (“Tiffany” played by Jennifer Lawrence) has encountered profound difficulty in coping with the emotional loss of her husband’s death and adapting to life as a young widow.  The below movie trailer summarizes this well, and the two quotes that follow are relevant and especially poignant.


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First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit is the name of a Swedish folk duo, comprised of sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg.  Their music video rendition of My Silver Lining is presented below, and is followed by the lyrics to this song.  While there may appear to be some conflicting messages (“I don’t want to wait anymore, I’m tired of looking for answers” and “There’s no starting over, no new beginnings”) the interpretational gist of this song is nevertheless consistent with the themes of this blog post.  For instance . . .

  • Regret, remorse, hold on, oh no I’ve got to go”  — i.e., Don’t let your past mistakes weigh you down
  • Gotta keep on going, looking straight out on the road” — i.e., Stay focused on where you want to go
  • Can’t worry ’bout what’s behind you or what’s coming for you further up the road” — i.e., Don’t dwell in the past and fear not the unknown future
  • I try not to hold on to what is gone”  — i.e., you can’t change the past, you can only learn from it
  • I try to keep on keeping on” — i.e., stay the course
  • These shackles I’ve made in an attempt to be free . . . I won’t take the easy road” — i.e., stay true to what you’ve committed to do even if it is fraught with many challenges
  • Something good comes with the bad . . . There’s hope, there’s a silver lining” — This is self-explanatory and if you can remember only one thing from this blog post . . . THIS IS IT !

My Silver Lining

I don’t want to wait anymore I’m tired of looking for answers
Take me some place where there’s music and there’s laughter
I don’t know if I’m scared of dying but I’m scared of living too fast, too slow
Regret, remorse, hold on, oh no I’ve got to go
There’s no starting over, no new beginnings, time races on
And you’ve just gotta keep on keeping on
Gotta keep on going, looking straight out on the road
Can’t worry ’bout what’s behind you or what’s coming for you further up the road
I try not to hold on to what is gone, I try to do right what is wrong
I try to keep on keeping on
Yeah I just keep on keeping on

I hear a voice calling
Calling out for me
These shackles I’ve made in an attempt to be free
Be it for reason, be it for love
I won’t take the easy road

I’ve woken up in a hotel room, my worries as big as the moon
Having no idea who or what or where I am
Something good comes with the bad
A song’s never just sad
There’s hope, there’s a silver lining
Show me my silver lining
Show me my silver lining

I hear a voice calling
Calling out for me
These shackles I’ve made in an attempt to be free
Be it for reason, be it for love
I won’t take the easy road

I won’t take the easy road
The easy road, the easy road

Show me my silver lining, I try to keep on keeping on
Show me my silver lining, I try to keep on keeping on
Show me my silver lining, I try to keep on keeping on
Show me my silver lining, I try to keep on keeping on

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Posted in Believing in Yourself, Never Giving Up, Overcoming Loss, Overcoming Obstacles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

EXPECT The Miracle To Come


Definitionally, “miracles” are events not readily explicable by natural or scientifically proven laws and are considered by some to be the result of divine influence. They are unusually surprising events that are generally welcomed and considered extraordinarily amazing in the context of conventional wisdom and/or empirically based expectations.

What Do You Need For A Miracle?

The elixir of prerequisites for the manifestation of a miracle include: (1)  those involved must share a genuine belief that “IT” is within THE REALM OF POSSIBILITY; (2) a shared passion and willingness to do whatever it takes to FIGHT FOR IT; and (3) an unwavering EXPECTATION (through visualization and feeling) that it will come to pass (this is metaphysics).  But there is a fourth and VERY important factor, which perhaps explains why miracles are so rare — for in order to pull off a miracle, (4) there must also be exceptionally unique creative thinking and careful advanced preparation.


Here are three well-known examples, presented in reverse chronological order: (1) The Miracle On Ice; (2) The Miracle Mets; and (3) The Miraculous Rebuilding of Frankfurt.

The Miracle On Ice

In the 1980 Winter Olympics held in Lake Placid, New York, the U.S. Men’s Hockey team was the least experienced team competing, comprised of feisty college players cobbled together just in time for the Olympics.  This team had no acknowledged stars, and since they had very little time playing together, not much was expected from them.

Although the U.S. team had performed beyond expectations during the initial rounds of Olympic play, they suddenly found themselves slated to face the mighty Russian Bear from the U.S.S.R., a well-coached team with many years playing together, and with most players on its roster in their mid-twenties, they were also playing at what was widely considered to be at their physically matured peaks.  Moreover, they boasted a long legacy of overwhelming prior success — for instance, the Soviet team won nearly every world championship and Olympic competition over the preceding quarter century (i.e., since 1954).  Accordingly, pre-game pundits felt the probability of Team U.S.A. surviving the impending onslaught from the Soviets was akin to “a snowball’s chance in hell”.

And yet this was much more than an Olympic hockey game.  Due to a confluence of unprecedented preceding world events, the game took on dimensions of unparalleled importance and world significance.  At the time, personnel of the U.S. Embassy in Iran had been taken hostage, and efforts (both military and diplomatic) to secure their release had proven fruitless.  In addition, the Soviet Union had earlier invaded Afghanistan, and the U.S. efforts to turn back this incursion were also a dismal failure.  President Jimmy Carter candidly spoke of a national malaise that had beset the United States, and America thus found itself at its lowest point of self-esteem.  And at the time, the Berlin Wall was still very much intact, so this particular contest represented a playing out of “The Cold War on Ice”, or in other words, “communism versus democracy”.

In the now famous inspirational pre-game speech, U.S. Hockey Team Coach Herb Brooks recounted how “sick and tired he was of hearing what a great hockey team the Soviets were”, and despite his admission that the Soviets might beat them in 9 out of 10 games, “it would NOT happen tonight”.  This speech is memorialized in the movie “Miracle“, where Coach Brooks (played by Kurt Russell) illustrates the four prerequisites for a miracle in the below movie clip, as follows: (1) the careful advanced planning is represented by his closing a meticulously constructed game preparation binder just prior to his speech; where (2) he points out  winning is within the realm of possibility in that they might win one of ten games against the Soviets; (3) and “tonight is the night” he expects them to realize this “great moment” by going all out to fight for this “great opportunity”, “skating with them” and “shutting them down”; because (4) “this is YOUR time” to show the world that “TONIGHT we are the GREATEST hockey team in the world !”

The video clip below covers the last minute of play in the actual 1980 Olympic game with team USA up 4 – 3,  and where at its conclusion, TV announcer Al Michaels exclaims his now famous rhetorical question . . .

“Do you believe in miracles?”

And it was this ragtag group of unassuming college kids and remarkably gifted and inspirational coach who embodied “David slaying Goliath” in this “miracle on ice”, and what is arguably the greatest sports moment of the 20th century.


The Miracle Mets

The New York Mets began their existence as a professional baseball team of the National League in 1962, and for their first seven seasons, they not only never had a winning record (i.e., more wins than losses), but they typically finished in 10th place (out of ten teams).  In fact, during their inaugural season, they set the season record for the most losses by a professional baseball team (120).   They were the “hapless Mets” and thus the butt of jokes throughout professional baseball.

But coming off their best season to date (where they finished in 9th place), something changed in 1969.  Miraculously “the team that couldn’t” had transformed into “the team that did”.  Under new manager Gil Hodges, the Mets had quietly pulled together a team rich in pitching talent (e.g., Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman and Nolan Ryan), along with well-balanced hitting team that featured speed and aggressiveness on the base-paths, along with solid defensive fielding, rife with spectacular diving catches.

This sudden transformation from a perennial loser to a legitimate contender was not immediately apparent.  In fact during the first quarter of the 1969 season, the Mets had once again posted a losing record of 18 wins and 23 losses.  Yes, despite the many promising changes, they still looked like the “same ole hapless Mets”.

But then they began to gel as a team, pulling together multiple 11-game winning streaks and an impressive 82 – 39 remaining season record, as they and gained new-found confidence with each win.  Instead of being at or near “the cellar” with the all-too-familiar agony of triple digit losses, they finished the 1969 regular season with a comfortable FIRST PLACE finish and 100 wins!

Although this was indeed a miraculous turn-around, the Mets still had to face the American League Champions, the Baltimore Orioles, a team which not only posted the best record in baseball, they featured ELEVEN current and future All-Stars on its roster, and THREE  future  Hall of Famers (Dave Palmer, Brooks Robinson and Frank Robinson).  As a result, respected baseball pundits called for a short world series, with a consensus expectation for a sweep of the Mets.

However, after losing game 1 of the World Series (as expected), the 1969 Miracle Mets convincingly beat the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles in the next four games to finally become the Champions of Baseball.  Never before and never since has there been a more unlikely champion than the 1969 New York Mets.  When asked how they did it, pitcher Tom Seaver summed up their miracle turn-around as follows: “We never put our head between our legs . . . We always fought!”


The Miraculous Rebuilding of Frankfurt

During World War II, the city of Frankfurt carried special significance in that it served as the capital of Germany during the 19th century and featured the largest office building in Europe where the headquarters for Nazi wartime research was based.  Therefore, due to its strategic importance, the Allied forces dropped nearly 13,000 tons of explosives in indiscriminate nighttime carpet bombings, and literally obliterated this once beautiful historic city (refer to pictures below).

Frankfurt - 1945

When U.S. General George Patton‘s troops entered the bomb-devastated city of Frankfurt, they were astonished by the comprehensive level of destruction, and in the years that immediately followed, few thought this city would be able to “find its way back” to what it once was.

Nevertheless, the unwavering will of the German people not only resurrected this city, it has become the beacon of achievement, as the de facto banking capital of Europe, serving as the headquarters for the European Central Bank, and 229 banking institutions (half of which are foreign), as well as the 10 largest banks in Germany (e.g., Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank).

Yes, Frankfurt did indeed miraculously “find its way back”, as evidenced in the music video picture montage the author of this blog took and compiled from a business trip in October 2005.


So In Conclusion  . . .

. . . after you have: (1) employed creative thinking with meticulous advanced preparation; (2) embraced this miracle as being within the realm of possibility; (3) committed to do all things necessary for its manifestation; and (4) maintained an unwavering mindset that fully EXPECTS your miracle will be realized . . . then you’ll just be Waiting For the Miracle to Come.  And this is also the name of the song performed in the music video below by Leonard Cohen, whereby its lyrics and images may place you in a state of introspective reverie as you reflect on this powerful topic (despite it being a “love song”).


Posted in Believing in Yourself, Careful Planning, Getting Inspired, Living in the Moment, Never Giving Up, Overcoming Obstacles, Staying Focused, Thinking Positive & BIG | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

101 Ways To Open Your Eyes

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Few would argue the importance of being cognizant of one’s environment, be it physical surroundings, those with whom they interact, or those who otherwise influence their lives in some manner.  After all, failure to do so could have dire consequences. For instance, obliviously walking alone late at night in a notoriously high crime neighborhood would be foolhardy, and it could end up compromising one’s Safety Needs, which is the second tier of Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Core Human Needs.  This is common sense, right?


Yet maintaining a lucid state of acute mental awareness of the”HERE AND NOW” is challenging for many, especially given the surfeit of distractions of an information-rich and increasingly fast-paced society.  The dawn of the Internet-based information age with smart phone connectivity and vast social networking options means anyone can be yanked from their personal HERE AND NOW with the mere push of a button by another.  Thus the notion of  being “IN THE MOMENT” has become increasingly elusive for many.


Notwithstanding, one can consciously free themselves from such distractions by simply going for a walk and turning off their smart phone.  But doing so is certainly not the “be-all-to-end-all” panacea.  Some may feel vulnerable, guilty or perhaps even reckless by engaging in such a connectivity respite — “What if there is an emergency with one of my loved ones, and I can’t be reached . . . oh dear”.  Others may have made arrangements to have such a contingency covered — for example, a separate phone that only a few know about, which is to be used ONLY in an emergency, or better yet a selective filter setting on more sophisticated smart phones.  However, that still doesn’t address the states of reverie many may still experience by constantly dwelling on past negative events or otherwise worrying about the future.  This form of mental/emotional masturbation is just as effective in robbing us of cognition in the HERE AND NOW.

The notion of having a sagacious awareness of one’s HERE AND NOW, is also referred to as “having one’s eyes open”.  Thus, when a person appears blind to something seemingly obvious, we naturally find ourselves imploring them to “Open Your Eyes!”  And this is obviously a COMMONPLACE PROBLEM throughout the world.

Need proof?  Well consider the shear number of songs written and performed by a variety of artists from all over the world that inculcate this advice in thusly titled songs “Open Your Eyes” — for Chrissake, there are even comedy sketches titled as such.  And although there are MANY MORE (covering every music genre you can think of), here are Youtube links to . . .

101 separate renditions of “Open Your Eyes

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Note:  For the viewing pleasure of the valued subscribers / readers of this blog, its author has compiled and embedded his personal interpretation of the “Top Ten” performances ala “David Letterman style” below, along with one honorable mention.  Thereafter, the performances in the remaining 90 music videos are listed in alphabetical order by entertainer name, along with the respective YouTube links, which will conveniently open up in a separate window.

The Top Ten Performances of . . .                   “Open Your Eyes

(or derivative thereof)

# 10 — Snow Patrol (British Alternative Rock)

# 9 — Ryan (Asian Comedy)

# 8 — Sad Alice Said (Ukrainian Gothic Metal)

# 7 — Ansoticca (British Electronic Rock)

#6 — Aurosonic (Russian Trance)

# 5 — Phillip Phillips (American Soulful Rock)

# 4 — Tonic (American Rock Band)

# 3 — LMNT (Multi-Cultural American Boy Band)

# 2 — Daughtry (American Rock Band)

# 1 — Tom Hugo (Norwegian Indie Pop)

 Honorable Mention  # 11 — Bonnie McKee

You may wonder why Bonnie McKee received an honorable mention for a relatively infrequently viewed “Open Your Eyes” YouTube video, which shows one static picture for its full duration.  Well, this California girl of Irish descent is über talented, as evidenced by her hit American Girl and oh yeah, she tends to OPEN THE EYES of heterosexual men and lesbian women (she identifies as being bisexual) . . . because she is veritable EYE-CANDY to those demographics  (see below and her American Girl video).

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And here are the other 90 performances of

Open Your Eyes” . . .

12. 12 Stones . . .
13. 55 Escape . . .
14. Alex Metric & Steve Angello . . .
15. Alter Bridge . . .
16. Andrew Belle . . .
17. Andy Tau . . .
18. ASIA . . .
19. At The Villa People . . .
20. Aviators . . .
21. Basshunter . . .
22. Bea Miller . . .
23. Benaddict . . .
24. Benga . . .
25. Black Box . . .
26. Bobby Caldwell . . .
27. Calibre . . .
28. Capleton . . .
29. Chiddy Bang & Mac Miller . . .
30. Cubic Underdog . . .
31. D.Ramirez . . .
32. Dance Gavin Dance . . .
33. DARA . . .
34. Darren Styles (Ft. Tyler) . . .
35. Dashni Morad . . .
36. Datsik . . .
37. David Guetta . . .
38. Disco Fries . . .
39. DJ Encore (ft. Engelina) . . .
40. DJ Tiesto . . .
41. Doobie Brothers . . .
42. Downstait . . .
43. Dwele . . .
44. EAPro . . .
45. Emmerson Nogueira . . .
46. Eyeopener . . .
47. Flora Purim . . .
48. Game of Thrones . . .
49. Gary Burton  . . .
50. Gates & Captain Hook . . .
51. Glance of Medusa . . .
52. Goldfinger . . .
53. Guano Apes . . .
54. Immortal Technique . . .
55. Insigma . . .
56. Jaclyn Gee . . .
57. Jesse Glick . . .
58. John Legend . . .
59. Karma . . .
60. Keane . . .
61. Keith Green . . .
62. Koko . . .
63. Lattitude, Longitude . . .
64. Lee DeWyze . . .
65. LikeWolves . . .
66. Liz McComb . . .
67. Lizz Wright . . .
68. Lords of the New Church . . .
69. Mad Sam . . .
70. Maher Zain . . .
71. Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster . . .
72. Mitch Thompson . . .
73. Molitor (Ft. Sebastian Silverberg) . . .
74. Nalin and Kane . . .
75. Naturally 7 . . .
76. NeedToBreathe . . .
77. Norwegian Recycling . . .
78. One . . .
79. Open Mind . . .
80. Paul Oakenfield . . .
81. Penelope Cruz . . .
82. Phace . . .
83. Pillar . . .
84. Pusha T . . .
85. Rameses B . . .
86. Russian Slavic Folk Music . . .
87. Samuel . . .
88. STAB . . .
89. Staind . . .
90. Step Brothers 2 . . .
91. Stream of Passion . . .
92. Sum 41 . . .
93. TerraNation . . .
94. The Dreamside (ft. Rogue) . . .
95. The Fault In Our Stars . . .
96. The Office . . .
97. The Raconteurs . . .
98. United State of Electronica . . .
99. Vanessa Williams . . .
100. Yes . . .
101. Your Favorite Enemies . . .

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You Are Full Of Wonder

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Disney’s Animated Character, Alice In Wonderland

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines WONDER to be: (1) something or someone that is very surprising, beautiful, amazing, etc.; (2) a feeling caused by seeing something that is very surprising, beautiful, amazing, etc.; (3) something that is surprising or hard to believe.  Now let’s talk about YOU.

Who ARE you?

There is no one quite like you and there never has been, nor will there ever be — for you are one-of-a-kind and . . . you are full of wonder.  No matter who you may be, you will always be this fantastic being that is uniquely you — but now I’m going to really blow your mind and further inform you that you are everyone, and everyone is you.  Is this a contradiction?  I think not, but that is the subject of another post in this blog titled The Real You, and I’ll let Alan Watts explain in his beautiful 5 minute video masterpiece.

Now back to the matter at hand:  You need only recognize this truism that you are full of wonder to see yourself in an entirely different light . . . sort of like looking in the mirror for the first time, but wearing special rose-colored glasses that allow you to not only see your beautiful human form, but your magnificent psyche, together with an epiphany realization that you are capable of doing things once thought impossible — thus you can now see yourself transformed into transcended totality.

The music video of Naughty Boy‘s production of “Wonder” features Emeli Sandé and celebrates the wonder that manifests by deciding to: (1) face fears; (2) deal with adversity; (3) persevere; (4) cultivate strength in unity; and (5) be the light to lead others out of darkness.  In other words, meaningfully change what you don’t like in this world.

[Note: the below performance may be preceded by a brief advertisement & lyrics are below]


I can beat the night
I’m not afraid of thunder
I am full of light
I am full of wonder

Wo-oh, oh-oh, I ain’t falling under
Wo-oh, oh-oh, I am full of wonder

Though our feet might ache
The world’s upon our shoulders
No way we gon’ break
Cause we are full of wonder

Wo-oh, oh-oh, we ain’t falling under
Wo-oh, oh-oh, we are full of wonder

This light is contagious
Go, go tell your neighbors
Just reach out and pass it on, ooh, yeah
This light is contagious
Go, go tell your neighbors
Just reach out and pass it on, ooh, yeah
This light is contagious
Go, go tell your neighbors
Just reach out and pass it on, ooh, yeah
This light is contagious
Go, go tell your neighbors
Just reach out and pass it on, yeah

Wo-oh, oh-oh, we ain’t falling under
Wo-oh, oh-oh, we are full of wonder

When everything feels wrong
And darkness falls upon you
Just try sing along
This is a message from Cabana (*)

If your heart turns blue
I want you to remember
This song is for you
And you are full of wonder

Wo-oh, oh-oh, we ain’t falling under
Wo-oh, oh-oh, we are full of wonder

Wo-oh, oh-oh, we ain’t falling under
Wo-oh, oh-oh, we are full of wonder

(*) The name of Naughty Boy’s Album which features this song is called “Hotel Cabana” and thus the message is from this album.

The Cultural Significance Of Wonder

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The notion of Wonder has long been part of the American culture, ranging from Wonder Bread . . . to Wonder Woman . . . to Robin, The Boy Wonder . . . to Disney’s iconic animated character  Alice In Wonderland, which in 2010, morphed into a wild 3D IMAX cinematic tour de force . . .

And as you may know, this was an adaptation of Lewis Carroll‘s 1865 novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a masterpiece classic about a young girl who falls down a rabbit hole and into a fantasy world so bizarre, it is likened by some to the manifestation of an “LSD trip”.  It is also rife with timeless pithy aphorisms that are often facetious plays on philosophy and logic, many of which are germane to this blog on achieving happiness through self-actualization — for instance:

AIW Aphorisms

In other words . . .

    (1)  know who you are;

    (2)  know where you’re going; and

    (3)  believe you can do the impossible.

And do so with great urgency . . . as though you are already late for a very important date.


 And while life may not always be fair . . .

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. . . . YOUR ACTIONS can make it be more so.

Posted in Accomplishing Objectives, Believing in Yourself, Getting Inspired, Knowing Yourself, Managing Fear, Never Giving Up, Overcoming Obstacles, Staying Focused, Thinking Positive & BIG | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rise Again . . . And Again


Those who have achieved true greatness have had to overcome many setbacks — some devastating.  For Nelson Mandela, it started at an early age, as his father died when Nelson was just 12 years old.  He was expelled from college for joining a student protest. He was a poor student and flunked out of law school TWO times.  He was divorced TWO times.  A daughter died in infancy.  For much of his adult life, he was denounced as a communist and terrorist.  In 1963, he was notoriously imprisoned, and relegated to hard labor pursuant to a life sentence he received for his anti-Apartheid activism.  During his TWENTY-SEVEN years of incarceration, his mother and son died, and he was NOT allowed to attend their funerals.

Nelson_Mandela-2008_(edit)He could have given up on his dream of a free society in South Africa, and allowed himself to be shackled in his own mind by a never-ending “pity party”.

He remained steadfast in his pursuit of a then controversial paradigm articulated in his immortal 1964 ‘Speech From The Dock‘:  “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.  It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve.  But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

In 1990, a time of escalating civil strife in South Africa (remarkably fueled in part by his wrongful imprisonment), Mr. Mandela finally gained his freedom, yet instead of lashing out at those who had maliciously deprived him of his freedom for more than a quarter of a century, he collaborated with then President F. W. de Klerk to formally abolish apartheid and hold multiracial democratic elections, resulting in his being elected as South Africa’s first black president.  As he had promised, he limited his presidency to one term, during which time he established a commission to investigate past civil rights abuses, and took meaningful steps to combat poverty and expand healthcare services for all.

Although the entire world mourned his death in 2013, the legacy of his fulfilled dream lives on as a beacon of inspiration for ALL who are committed to realizing their dreams — and  he certainly established a solid foundation for availing countless others an opportunity to pursue them.

Every Major Accomplishment . . . - 640 x 503

Nelson Mandela was regularly confronted by travails that could have easily served as “knockout punches” and cause him to give up on his dream on numerous occasions, but he chose to . . .

Rise Again . . . And Again

And you’d be surprised how many “superstars in life” had to overcome major setbacks before ultimately realizing their dreams, which are often held up as examples of reaching the pinnacle of success.  Thus no matter how many times you get knocked down, be absolutely certain that you will Rise Again, as performed below by NeedToBreathe.

[Note: the below performance may be preceded by a brief advertisement & lyrics are below]

Rise Again

I know how it started, the walls that we built to separate us
Make it wider, stronger, til it’s too tall for us to touch
Heaviness is on me, I don’t see, we might be whole again
We might be better off in the wake of a bitter end

Oh, I know I’m gonna rise again
Set my sights on where I’m going
And my goodbyes to where I’ve been
Oh, I know I’m gonna rise again
Singing farewell king of the broken
So long my friend

We could always count on the same things
The ups and the downs like time
We crawl through the abyss then we came through the other side
Heaviness is only temporary the daylight will soon break in
The sunlight can change a heart in the wake of a bitter end.


I could see us moving on I can feel that coming on strong
We’ll never start all over like this and I still can’t believe it (4x)


Maya AngelouMore recently, we lost another great one — namely Maya Angelou, who ALSO overcame unthinkable adversity, manifested in the brutality of racial discrimination.  Undaunted, she pursued a fertile menagerie of  dreams, and thus became a modern day renaissance woman: author, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, civil rights activist and one of the greatest poets of her era.  Her poem Still I Rise is especially poignant and directly relevant.

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

The Phoenix Rising

Posted in Accomplishing Objectives, Believing in Yourself, Forgiving Others, Helping Others In Need, Never Giving Up, Overcoming Obstacles, Staying Focused | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Celebrar La Vida

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The metaphysical laws of attraction contend that when you are genuinely thankful for what you have in your life, this naturally begets MORE good tidings to in turn be thankful for. This ascending cycle of positivity and improvement of one’s lot in life tends then to perpetuate itself to the point of truly thriving along one’s journey toward self-actualization. And it is this relatively simple “attitude of gratitude” that becomes an augmenting, powerful and infectious force.

“But how do I do it?”

Start by being thankful for those you love — family and friends.  This should automatically put you in a good mood.   Next, play some music you have always enjoyed, but you haven’t listened to in a while.  This should enhance your already good mood.

Now let’s get REALLY fundamental, but in areas you have likely taken for granted.  Be thankful that you are alive to enjoy this day — not yesterday, not tomorrow . . . but HERE and NOW, in other words this very instant.  And be thankful that your heart has been beating dependably without even having to think about it for your entire life.

Be thankful you can breath the air, so go ahead, take a slow deep breath through your nose and feel your chest expand as your lungs take in life-sustaining oxygen, which is then absorbed by the one to two gallons of blood (although it varies by body size, on average the human body holds 1.5 gallons of blood) that is ALWAYS coursing throughout your miraculous temple.

Now slowly exhale what is now principally carbon dioxide through your mouth, while being thankful for the relaxed feeling you now have.  But wait a minute!  Not so fast.  How did you turn the oxygen you breathed in just a few seconds ago, into carbon dioxide?  Are you some kind of magician!?!

Magic hat and magic wand

Your blood picked up the carbon dioxide after dropping off the oxygen to the TRILLIONS upon TRILLIONS of cells that comprise your body (Scientific research reported by estimates this number to be roughly 37 TRILLION).  To help you appreciate this number, let’s write it out for you . . .


Your blood also picked up the many nutrients processed by your stomach after it wasCirculatory System carefully extracted from the the food you had eaten earlier.  So you should be thankful that you also do this ALL THE TIME without having to think about it.  And while you’re at it, be thankful for the food you had eaten, as well as what’s now in your refrigerator (an appliance you should be thankful to have) and throughout your kitchen (also something to be appreciated) for future consumption.

But where did the carbon dioxide come from?  Oh that came from the energy you produced from the aerobic respiration (using the oxygen you breathed) and anaerobic respiration (using the nutrients stored in your muscles).  So be thankful that you have been doing this your entire life, and again without having to consciously think about it.

Be thankful this remarkable life-sustaining liquid in your circulatory system is continuously at work for you and pumped by your heart to sustain your body’s TRILLIONS of cells of vast variety, including your brain which allows you to read this blog post.  You do so by cognitively processing the images your eyes (be thankful you can see) take in from your computer screen (an advanced technology you should be thankful for) and utilizing  information you have been learning throughout your life (so be thankful for the education availed to you thus far, along with the cognitive ability to process it).

So you should be ever so thankful you have a brain that not only allows you to think, feel emotions and remember things dating as far back as when you were 5 years old, it tells every single one of your TRILLIONS of cells what to do and when to do so in relatively perfect harmony.  And you should be thankful that it is possible to efficiently accomplish with but a mere 100 billion neuron cells (actually it is more like 86 billion)  that comprise your brain, along with its TRILLIONS of synapses that interconnect them.


Well that should be enough biology to convince you that your are this magnificently complex organism who has much to be thankful for just by simply existing.  But there is so much more to you and your life.  And although we’ve only scratched the surface of what comprises “life”, this is something that should be appreciated and celebrated each day.

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And this celebration begins with an attitude of gratitude for the miracle that is YOU, and the world that surrounds you, as aptly depicted in Ricky Martin‘s music video below.  The lyrics then follow, and since part of the song is in Spanish, the English translation is reflected  parenthetically.


Finally the time has come
Let’s just dance in the sun
Everybody grab someone
And let rhythm make us one

It’s a celebration
Every time we get together
All people in every nation
Put your manos (hands) in the sky
Venimos a vacilar (We come to have fun)
Venimos a disfrutar (We come to have joy)
Vamos todos a gozar (Let’s all have a good time)
Vamos todos a cantar (Let’s all sing)

La vida buena (The good life)
Buena vida (good life), hey, huh
Everyone across the world
Man, and woman, boy and girl
La vida buena (The good life)
Buena vida (good life), hey, huh
Vamos todos a bailar (Let’s all dance)
Sonreir y celebrar (Smiling and celebrating)

Negativity is gone
And I’m feeling so good
Cause we, cause we found love
Like life has just begun
Enjoy the laughter and fun

It’s a celebration
Every time we get together
All people in every nation
Put your manos in the sky
Venimos a vacilar (We come to have fun)
Venimos a disfrutar (We come to have joy)
Vamos todos a gozar (Let’s all have a good time)
Vamos todos a cantar (Let’s all sing)

La vida buena (The good life)
Buena vida (good life), hey, huh
Everyone across the world
Man, and woman, boy and girl
La vida buena (The good life)
Buena vida (good life), hey, huh
Vamos todos a bailar (Let’s all dance)
Sonreir y celebrar (Smiling and celebrating)

La vida buena (The good life)
Buena vida (good life), hey, huh
Everyone across the world
Man, and woman, boy and girl
La vida buena (The good life)
Buena vida (good life), hey, huh
Vamos todos a bailar (Let’s all dance)
Sonreir y celebrar (Smiling and celebrating)

La mano para arriba (Hand up)
Todo el mundo para abajo (Everyone get down)
Da una vueltecita (Have others take turns)
Que siga este canto (To continue this singing)
Pon la mano para arriba (Put your hand up)
Todo el mundo para abajo (Everyone get down)
Da una vueltecita (Have others take turns)
Que siga este canto (To continue this singing)

La vida buena (The good life)
Buena vida (good life), hey, huh
Everyone across the world
Man, and woman, boy and girl
La vida buena (The good life)
Buena vida (good life), hey, huh
Vamos todos a bailar (Let’s all dance)
Sonreir y celebrar (Smiling and celebrating)

La vida buena (The good life)
Buena vida (good life), hey, huh
Everyone across the world
Man, and woman, boy and girl
La vida buena (The good life)
Buena vida (good life), hey, huh
Vamos todos a bailar (Let’s all dance)
Sonreir y celebrar (Smiling and celebrating)

Celebrate Life - 640 x 260

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When All You See Is Red

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The color RED is one of the three primary colors, which means it represents the foundation upon which all other colors are based.  This is the case for most human beings, at least those who are sighted and not “color blind”, because the human retina is comprised of three types of cone cells, along with rod cells (allowing for discerning colors at varying light intensities), which avail the ability to perceive images of varying color through trichromacy — i.e., via three separate channels of color.

The Science of Color

The range of color the human eye can see is expressed in wavelength (measured in nanometers, abbreviated “nm“) and frequency (in units of terahertz, abbreviated “THz“), and yet vis-à-vis the universes of wavelength and frequency, this band is relatively small.  For instance, the below chart is NOT to scale, in that the complete wavelength range is depicted in meters , while the ranges pertaining to what is visible to the human eye is expressed in nanometers (or billionths of a meter).

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In fact the range of visible color is relatively tiny in both wavelength (360 nm) and frequency (304 THz), as shown below.

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That’s enough of a science lesson, but at least you now have an appreciation for how little we humans actually see and the level of precision involved in discerning one visible color from another.  And the combination of RED with the other primary colors (YELLOW and BLUE), when mixed in varying degrees, will derive ALL other colors visible to the human eye.  For example, if you add some BLUE to RED, you get CRIMSON . . . add some more and you get BURGUNDY . . . and add yet more to obtain MAROON.  Alternatively, adding YELLOW in varying degrees will result in shades of ORANGE.

The Psychology of Color

The psychological impact that color can have on a person is significant, and the color red carries with it a great deal of influence in that it is often associated with high energy, fiery passion, aggressive action, enveloping warmth, profound love, alluring seduction, wild adventure, trepidating danger, gruesome violence, exciting physicality and apoplectic anger.  Thus it is a color of extremes and great emotion.

Quality of Life a Function of Quality of Decision

Since the quality of one’s life is often a function of the quality of one’s decisions, most people are well served to make important decisions during times of emotional calm — for when one is in a state of high emotion, perceptions and interpretation of facts can get distorted and thus cloud otherwise lucid decision making.  And it is well-known that rash emotion-laden decisions often translate into regrettable actions.

For instance, when hopping mad, one’s anger may reach the point where . . .

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And this emotion is covered well by megastar Cher in her hit song of the same name.

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Don’t get mad, get even

. . . however when doing so, be sure to take the high road.  A perfect example is how the multi-talented superstar Taylor Swift has dealt with her break-ups throughout her life. She is notorious for channeling her emotional pain, and mixing it with her vast creative talent to yield a personally therapeutic elixir in the form of blockbuster songs that: (1) top the charts and broaden her already prodigious fame; (2) translate into millions of dollars from record sales, concert tickets and related franchise products and endorsements; and (3) help countless others cope with similar emotional pain.  Her magnificent multi-media extravaganza concert performance of “RED” in the below video illustrates these elements well.


And while RED is the color of high emotion, its existence in nature can be as calming as it is beautiful, as illustrated in the below time-accelerated blooming of red roses . . .

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