Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Climbing The Sand Dunes of My Mind

I need a mental break. My mind is so tired of thinking about all the negative things in my life currently. My brain is stressed from learning / re-learning information for the CPA exam. My thoughts are clouded by the if / then situations regarding (un)employment, potential interviews, or even just applications. And then I get the occasional detours to consider the new home, moving, rising interest rates, and new home expenses. Last, but certainly not least, I continue to consider my parents situation regarding retirement, finances, selling their current home, and moving to a new home. I’m exhausted.

My only reprieve is the reading I do daily. Non-fiction to educate myself. Fiction to take me away mentally, however, only temporary.

I feel as if I’ve sacrificed myself for nearly a year with nothing to show for all the efforts yet. When will I attain what I've struggled for? 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Substance Over Form

For the past 2 weeks, I have not been buying my usual loaf of whole wheat Italian bread from my local grocery store. That's $3.99 that I've been saving. But it's not because I'm trying to save money. It's because I watched a docuseries on Netflix called "Cooked", and it inspired me to bake my own bread.

Check out the trailer here:

There are so many positives to baking my own bread. I know exactly what's going into it. There are no artificial ingredients. It's as simple as flour, salt, water, and yeast. The process is not labor intensive nor does it take too much time. And it's fresh.

For me, bread is life. It's sustenance in the very simplest form. It's science at work in the processing and in the consumption. I love bread so much that it's the one thing that I try no matter where in the world I am. I must try the local baker's bread.

And I've tried it everywhere, in different ways. They've had different textures, moisture levels, shapes, sizes, flavors, colors, consistency, and even accompaniments. The forms are literally endless. It only matters where you are that determines what you get. And what one considers bread, another may not. But here, like in accounting, it's the substance over the form that matters.

This week's loaf didn't turn out as great as the first week, but I learned from it. I learned that it matters how much effort you put into it. You can't just half-ass the baking process. It's a science, and like all scientific processes, it's exact. And the slightest deviation will change the outcome.

Baking my own bread is something that I will continue to do going forward. I think it will give me discipline, grow my patience, and allow me to reap the benefits of my work. I know that I'll appreciate it more than just going out to the store and paying the nominal $3.99 for ease.

Other things I've been watching: 

Something I'm looking forward to watching: 

Monday, April 23, 2018

Before the Flood

What if there were other planets that were once like ours? Abundant, full of life, and intelligence. What if they lived the same life path as we have for thousands of years? What if they too destroyed their own being through poor politics, greed, and ill paid attention to climate change and global warming? Maybe they wouldn’t be the deserted, barren, lifeless planets they are currently with only traces of a life once lived before the gases choked the atmosphere and caused a chain of events that might have been stopped if it weren’t for politics. Maybe Earth’s future is in the stars…

These thoughts came after I watched a documentary produced by Leonardo DiCaprio called “Before The Flood” on Netflix. It was another documentary on Climate Change and the harmful effects. I think this was just as good as "The Inconvenient Truth" and it’s sequel.

Here, check out the trailer:

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Down, Read, Laugh, Up, Repeat

Just a random thought that cross my mind today.

I was so free and unrestricted while traveling the world for those 6 months. Now, I am imprisoned in my home without a job, studying for an exam that doesn’t guarantee anything with a passing grade, cost cutting to make myself feel better, and continuing to be depressed about my situation. I was given the opportunity of a lifetime, temporary happiness, everlasting memories and in return, karma has reared its ugly head in the form of depression.

Good thing I read this after that thought...

You can work hard. You can be talented. You can know all the right people. You can follow all the right lessons. You can be smart, rich, beautiful, everything - and still, life can deal you a bad hand.

So what are you to do in the face of a reality that can be indifferent, cold, even cruel? All you can do is play the odds. If you choose to give up, you can be fairly certain that life will pass you by. But if you choose to try your best, you can at least tip the balance significantly in your favor.

I Can’t Make This Up by Kevin Hart

Thanks @KevinHart4Real

Monday, April 9, 2018

Excerpts: 2 Books Down, 47 To GOjesseGO

It's been just about one month since my birthday gifts arrived, and I am through 2 books completely. Here are a few excerpts from the books that I noted along the way.

How Champions Think by Dr. Bob Rotella

Dr. Rotella uses golf as a vehicle for conveying his ideas. The book is full of golf analogies. This was one that struck me particularly as I was studying for part of the CPA Exam that I recently sat for.

He only knows he will accept the shot he is about to hit, find the ball, and go through the same routine for the next shot. He visualizes the shot that he wants to hit and makes all the necessary judgments about the club to use, the wind, the break of the green, and any other factors that might affect it. Then - and this can be the hard part - he trusts that his body can execute the shot. He turns off the conscious brain. He lets the subconscious - where the best control of fine motor skills can be found - governs his movements. He looks at the target, looks at the ball, and swings. He hit the shot without consciously trying to control his body. He play instinctively, athletically. 

Nervousness can disrupt all this. Nervousness prods the conscious brain to keep control of the proceedings because of fear. The performer is afraid that he’ll mishit a shot and humiliate himself on television or miss the cut and lose his playing privileges. If he succumbs to nervousness, he’ll let his conscious brain have control.

Moral of the story is learn what you need to as best as you can. At some point, it will be second nature and you have to trust your subconscious to guide you in the right direction. 

Let's say I tested it out this past Saturday when I took my exam. I'll let you know how that went and if we should rely on this method. Haha. 

The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

This came as a suggestion from 2 people, so it was atop my list of books to read. There are plenty of things that I agree with but also think that most of the advice and suggestions are not for everyone. 

Even still, I found a whole host of quotes that I really liked. Whether Tim Ferriss himself said them or it was something he quoted, it was worth it for me to copy it down for myself. 

All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger (it’s impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.” - Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince

If you must play, decide on three things at the start: the rule of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time.” - Chinese Proverb

Just because something has been a lot of work or consumed a lot of time doesn’t make it productive or worthwhile.” 

Pride is stupid.” 

Don’t confuse the complex with the difficult. Most situations are simple - many are just emotionally difficult to act upon.” 

Until the question is clear - each term in it defined - there is no point in answering it. The “meaning” of “life” question is unanswerable without further elaboration… Before spending time on a stress-inducing question, big or otherwise, ensure that the answer is “yes” to the following questions: 

  • Have I decided on a single meaning for each term in this question? 
  • Can an answer to this question be acted upon to improve things?

“What is the meaning of life” fails the first and thus the second. Questions about things beyond your sphere of influence like “What if the train is late tomorrow?” fail the second and should thus be ignored. These are not worthwhile questions. If you can’t define it or act upon it, forget it.

So be bold and don’t worry about what people think. They don’t do it that often anyway.

Time without attention is worthless, so value attention over time.

Besides studying for the CPA Exam, I've had to relax my mind by reading. And just to keep things interesting and varied, I've also started and am in the middle of the following: