if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again
be strong of heart
Contrary to what is often taught in American schools, this mantra has nothing to do with the USA. The real legend is that it’s all about Robert the Bruce and a spider, before the Battle of Bannockburn in June 1314. The moral is that dogged persitence, bloody minded perseverance, or as Churchill said; ‘Keep Buggering On,’ may just snatch a notable victory from the jaws of defeat.
If you can’t snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, fight even into it’s belly. ~ Bangambiki Habyarimana.
Giving up when things get difficult is why some people complain that life has handed them a raw deal, why many relationships fail, and some people become alcoholics and addicts. I walked out on a brilliant career when things became too stressful, got divorced when marriage was too complicated, and drank like booze was going out of fashion because real life was just too painful. And you know what? If you give up then your life will get worse, all you are doing is jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.
Giving up trying, giving in, accepting defeat comes in many forms. If you have serious problems and you just give up, for example by staying in a truly terrible relationship because that’s easier than doing something positive, then if you think your life sucks now it will soon become more awful than you thought possible. Trust someone who has been there; no matter what rock bottom you have it there is another even worse to come ~ if you give up.
There is a huge difference between not trying again, and trying something different. There are two mantras to remember here; never reinforce failure, or if you like don’t throw good money after bad….. And, as Einstein is supposed to have said; ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result…..’ There is no point in trying something again and again if every time you try you are severely punished.
For example an abused wife may keep on going back to her husband for one more try at a happy marriage, but each time she does she is abused again. Or even worse, at the Battle of the Somme in July 1916, English generals kept sending their men ‘over the top,’ trying again and again to break the German lines. Each time they tried, they suffered horrific casualties. You can try, try, and try again to break down a brick wall with your head and all your are going to get is a headache ~ or dead, mostly dead.
Two things to remember;
- Bloody minded perseverance will often rescue what looks like a lost cause.
- Sometimes it’s better to walk away and do something else instead.
Some say that successful people know when to chuck in a losing hand. And that if you are knocked down get right back up again. All I know is that Faint Heart never won Fair Lady.
even if you think you’re beat
rise like a Phoenix and live again
I want the moon to be there, even when I’m not looking at it.
Nobody really understands quantum mechanics, or quantum physics, or quantum biology, or quantum psychology, or quantum theory.
If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet. ~ Niels Bohr
I have long been fascinated by the spooky world of quantum physics and quantum mechanics, where nothing makes sense, everything is possible, the totally weird is commonplace, and things seem to happen by random chance. Many respectable scientists will have nothing whatsoever to do with anything called Quantum ~ even Albert Einstein was unhappy about quantum physics.
God does not play dice with the universe. ~ Albert Einstein
Recently I discovered that there is a thing called quantum biology, where quantum effects are applied to biological objects, events, and problems.
It occurred to me that the spooky stuff in quantum mechanics could also be applied to physical, mental, sexual, and spiritual events and effects in humans. That there should be something called quantum psychology. It turns out that some other people believe that quantum psychology does exist, and they believe it is strange, spooky, and probably doesn’t make sense. In fact, anything to do with the quantum world is counterintuitive and goes against ‘common sense’.
If the word ‘fuck’ is obscene or dirty, why isn’t the word ‘duck’ 75% dirty. ~ Robert Anton Wilson.
The reason I started to believe in quantum psychology is that, from time to time, I have been instantly affected, (in real time), by thoughts and feelings my friend has, even though she is 5,256 miles away in Orange County, Southern California. There is a phenomena in quantum physics called quantum entanglement, where actions performed on one entangled particle affect the other, even when the entangled particles are separated by a great distance. Albert Einstein called this spooky connections and spooky action at a distance. I believe this spooky connection exists in quantum psychology, which is why things my friend does, thinks, or feels in California can affect me here in England.
This is weird, but if quantum psychology really does exist, then it is guaranteed to be weird. Quantum physics reveals the basic interconnectedness and oneness of all things in the universe, which reveals that all people are connected at some level, therefore I am connected to my friend, even when I’m in England and she is in Southern California.
…so many people have been hypnotized by Aristotelian yes / no logic to the extent that any step beyond that Bronze Age mythos seems to them a whirling, dizzying plunge into a pit of Chaos and the Dark Night of Nihilism. ~ Robert Anton Wilson.
This means that in the quantum world boolean algebra, which is basically yes / no and 0 or 1 logic, does not exist, or does not always apply. In the quantum world, in the world of quantum psychology, true and false do not actually exist. This absolutely mirrors the real world of medical psychology and practical psychology, where everybody lies, nothing is completely true, and understanding people is more of a black art than a science.
One of the sayings I found most useful form my study of Neuro Linguistic Programming is that information does not have to be true to be useful. The theories of Quantum Psychology may not be completely true, but they are a very useful way of understanding intimate interpersonal relationships. The theories of quantum psychology may even help men understand women.
Some women anyhow.
click on the book
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Time Is An Illusion. ~ Albert Einstein
Time passes at different rates and in different ways depending upon who we are, where we are, what we are, why we are counting time, and how we measure time. There is no such thing as an absolute past. There are probably an infinite number of futures for us to choose from. The present isn’t just now, the present also encompasses the past and the future. My perception of time and my reality is different from yours. Most importantly, we are not trapped by time, we can choose to use and take advantage of time as we will.
Time is not constant and one minute is not the same length as another. ~ Jeanette Winterson
Subjectively we know that time passes at different rates depending upon circumstances. If you’re stuck in an airport departure lounge waiting for your much delayed flight, then time passes painfully slowly ~ the minutes seem like hours and the hours crawl by like a wounded fly. Conversely, if you’re getting ready for a really hot dinner date, then the hours fly by, and there’s just no way you’re going to be ready on time.
Scientifically, time also passes at different rates depending upon how fast you’re moving, and how much gravity there is where you are. In the world of quantum mechanics time may, or may not, exist at all.
We choose to examine a phenomenon which is impossible to explain in any classical way, and which has in it the heart of quantum mechanics. In reality it contains the only mystery. ~ Richard Feynman.
The present, your ‘now’, isn’t only the present. This instant of ‘now’ also includes the past and the future, and both the past and the future can and will change in a way that’s dependent upon now. Once you accept that time is not an immutable constant you have the ability to change your future, your present, and your past. Changing your own past is called retrocausality.
Everything, and I mean every moment of joy, happiness, sadness, trauma, learning, experiencing, dreaming and imagining, everything that has ever happened to you, and everything that you have ever done is present in the now. Mostly we just aren’t consciously aware that the past is with us in the here and now. But, without your past you wouldn’t be able to walk, talk, drive, hold down a job, or maintain a loving relationship. The downside of this is that all the bad things about us were created in the past. All the anger, attitudes, insecurities, jealousies, phobias, and mental illnesses are from the past. But, you do not have to be a prisoner of your past, you have the ability to change the past.
The future is also with us in the present. Everything you do is dictated by the future. You most likely will go to work on Monday, and that’s dictated by things that will happen much further in the future than Monday. If you don’t go to work, then somewhere in the future you may lose your job, and then your home, because you can’t pay the rent / mortgage / local taxes. If you knew for certain that the Second Coming of Christ was going to happen this Christmas, then most likely you wouldn’t go to work on Monday. The future changes and creates the present, and the present changes the future. The more brave choices you make in the present the greater number of possible futures you have to choose from.
We can choose from our possible futures, but most people are very bad at making brave choices. Almost everyone will do tomorrow what they did yesterday, with exactly the same people in exactly the same places. Those people have made the choice to make no choices at all, and the more they do that the fewer possible futures they have to choose from. If nothing changes then nothing changes.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. ~ Albert Einstein
We can choose to change our past. After all, the past is only what we remember and how we interpret those memories. If you had an abusive childhood, then in all likelihood it will have blighted your whole life, right up to the here and now. Trauma in your childhood could have left you with Alcoholism, Borderline Personality Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or any of a number of other psychological problems.
You can change all that and have a good life now by reinterpreting the past ~ after all the past is only memories. I can’t tell you how to do that, you may need counselling or psychotherapy. However, I can tell you that I stopped the past from blighting my present by unconditionally accepting who I am, and acceptance created a whole raft of new futures for me to choose from. Today I am enjoying enlightenment and empowerment because I changed the past in my present. Today I have more futures to choose from because I changed the subjective past.
You can change your own past, your present, and your future. All you need to do is to have the willingness to change.
please listen responsibly
these opinions are mine and mine alone
Am I the only one who thinks that releasing genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys to help combat the Zika virus is a terrible idea?
Not quite. Local residents have launched a campaign to stop the release of these mutant bugs on the grounds that this kind of idiocy almost always has catastrophic unintended consequences. It seems a British company, (Oxitec), has programmed a strain of male Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes to only have offspring which will die before they reach breeding age. Seems to me that these British scientists don’t know much about these nasty little critters. One obvious snag is there are just so many of these insects and they have such a fast life cycle. What’s worse is that these GM bugs have not undergone proper testing ~ the Florida Keys release is by way of a very large-scale test.
Another snag is that disease carrying mosquitoes are not just in Florida. If you believe in global warming they are also going to be a problem in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and California. And, just do not even think of going anywhere south of the Mexican border.
The US Food and Drug Administration loves to approve GM organisms which haven’t been thoroughly tested, and without understanding what the long-term effects are going to be. Why is that? Money or hubris?
Female Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes, (females are the dangerous, blood-sucking, ones), mate in a swarming cloud of males, and can lay a clutch of 100 or so eggs on a damp surface near stagnant water. The malarial mosquito was just about eliminated worldwide by DDT, (now banned), and completely eliminated in Panama during the building of the canal by eradicating the open, still water, on which the larvae depend. (Spraying water with oil works well…)
The disastrous results of previous animal releases still blight the world. Just ask the Australians what they think of bullfrogs and rabbits. Or the more enlightened New Zealanders what they think about cats. Come to that haven’t the Oxitec people ever seen Jurassic Park?
Three outcomes are likely from this release, none of them good;
- This GM mosquito technique will cost a fortune and won’t work at all.
- The genetically modified Aedes Aegypti will mutate into something else.
- This will work, the Aedes Aegypti will die out and something even nastier will take their place, (the Asian tiger mosquito, for example).
Man has a habit of doing things because they are possible, and not because they are such a good idea. Nature has a habit of finding a way to exploit man’s best intentions.
You don’t need to be Einstein to see that this is all going to end in tears.
There is no doubt that I am a Briton. My people were of Celtic origin and were around in the North of England during Roman times. I have an old and deep bond with the country here, most especially with the North Sea. My entire sense of place is predicated upon the understanding that the sea lies to the east and that the sun always rises to the south and east.
I believe I have an intense understanding of the present and the future ~ not merely the things there are, but also the things that could be.
The mystery of past life recall is no stranger to me. For those who don’t know, it’s nothing like you would first think. Riffle the pages in an unread book and everything you see is permanently stored in your brain. Accessing those pages with your conscious mind is something else entirely. An eidetic memory is an uncommon thing in adults ~ or so the psychologists would have you believe. Most of of your life you have been told that you cannot… If you listen to yourself you will know that you can….
True sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination ~ Einstein
By training and inclination I am a scientist and engineer. I can design, build and repair just about anything. Yet I know there is far more to the Cosmos than can be explained by our current scientific method. Either we know too little, or we know too much.
A myth is a traditional story, usually including some unexplained or unexplainable events. Not all myths are false. I know that I need to explore the mythology and spirituality of my own past, present and future. I know that some of my legend is also yours. I intend to share the things I discover of my own mythology in this blog. You are welcome to share with me.
Chaos ~ complete disorder and confusion
Chaos in Clouds
Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void but out of chaos. ~ Mary Shelley
As well as disorder and confusion, Chaos also refers to the behaviour of complex systems where outcomes are so unpredictable as to appear random, which they are not. Even chaos is predictable. Hence, the branch of pure mathematics called Chaos Theory has a host of ‘practical applications’. All of these are disciplines where tiny differences in the initial condition of a model produce wildly different outcomes. Sometimes this is called the butterfly effect. One of the major applications of chaos theory and the butterfly effect is in meteorology ~ forecasting the weather. The mathematics of the butterfly effect are mind-bendingly complicated, but an easy to remember illustration is that the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can cause a typhoon halfway around the world. This may, or may not, be true. However there is nothing in mathematics or physics that says it is impossible.
There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s eventually going to be a butterfly. ~ R. Buckminster Fuller
Chaos theory differs from probability theory in that one tries to predict the future while the other says that predicting the future is impossible. Both are true in life. Most of life is safe and predictable, but it is as well to remember that Shit Happens. Life has some very predictable things in it, such as gravity and death, but there are also some unexpected events which we should expect to happen from time to time. Unexpected events such as; love, stock market crashes, icebergs…
Life happens. Shit happens. And it happens a lot. To a lot of people. ~ Colleen Hoover
Chaos theory also relies upon the Fractal nature of the universe. Fractal basically means something that cannot be represented by classical geometry, and looks the same whatever size and whatever portion of the whole we are looking at. It becomes really complex when we try to understand a fractal curve. Some say that a fractal curve represents the nature of God. And, that God is part of the infinite cosmos. All I know is that I have to understand that by trying to understand a spiral, which has some very complicated math to explain it. Even a two-dimensional logarithmic spiral, (such as the Nautilus shell illustrated), is quite complex ~ three dimensional spirals even more so.
Fractals and Oneness It would seem that the universe began in a state of oneness, as a singularity. Since the Big Bang, the universe has become incredibly, infinitely labyrinthine and convoluted. There is also a oneness theology which expresses the concept of God as a singularity.
Infinity is almost impossible to comprehend in the mind of man, and therefore so is God. Man quails before the unforgiving infinities. In order to make human sense of God we make him smaller, anthropomorphic… give Him a name. In my own case my higher power is the Goddess Isis ~ understandable, personal, merciful. Isis concerns herself directly with my fate and actions. A long way from the infinity of the cosmos and probably a long way from the true nature of God.
An apocryphal story says that Einstein proved the existance of God by proving that Cold does not exist.
Chaos theory says that I cannot predict the future. Fractals and oneness say that reality is a contradiction of infinite complexity and infinite simplicity. The concept of my personal Higher Power, Isis, helps me make sense of the cosmos.
words and pictures by jack collier
SOMETIMES, SELF-WILL AND EFFORT ARE JUST NOT ENOUGH
In 12 step recovery programmes this is step 2. In Alcoholics Anonymous the full text reads;
We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. ~ The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.
For many people trying to recover from an addiction to alcohol, street drugs, prescription drugs, gambling, shoplifting…, this is where it all falls apart. One may have been dry and clean for a while, (although cigarettes and candy will have taken the place of the primary addiction), but here we begin to flirt with the idea of God.
Addicts and people under great stress have poor memories, they will have forgotten that when they were at their nadir they will have said something like; ‘Please God, get me out of this one…’ In any event, in the quotation given above where does it say God? It doesn’t, it says; a Power greater than ourselves. Addiction is self-will writ large; egotism, egomania, narcissism, conceit, and vanity are all part of the psychology of an addict. Addicts and the otherwise mentally ill believe they are the most important person in the Cosmos ~ that belief has to be smashed.
Addiction, stress, anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder, anorexia, binge eating disorder, psychotic disorders, exhibitionism…, (the list could go on and on), all produce a state of desperation. A state where the sufferer is willing to do almost anything to escape from the see-saw of euphoria and misery that they endure. Anything, except believe that there is more in this Cosmos than themselves ~ addiction and self-absorption go together like ham and eggs.
Trust me on this, one does not have to believe in the God of our childhood, or the God of our parents, or the God of whatever church or religion we theoretically belong to. Lapsed Christians, lapsed Jews, Agnostics, atheists, sun worshipers, druids, can all come to believe that there is a power in the universe that is greater than they are. In 12 step recovery programmes this sometimes known as ‘finding your higher power.’
I believe in a higher power and I believe in good and bad, right and wrong. You sleep in the bed you make. ~ Leif Garrett.
Lief Garrett, singer, actor, television personality, one time drug addict, member of the Church of Scientology, often in legal difficulties.
So we’re in physical and mental torment of one sort or another. In order to recover we need to give up some of our egomaniacal self-will, narcissistic denial, and the conceit that we can stop doing whatever destructive behaviour we suffer from, whenever we want to. Whether one believes in a Deity, or not, recovery from addiction and a range of other destructive behaviours depends on faith and spirituality. The human mind finds it much easier to believe in something, rather than believing in nothing, (although one could believe in nothingness and infinity.)
There is something about modern man and woman, particularly men and women who are suffering extreme distress, which makes it difficult for them to accept that there is anything beyond what they can see, hear, taste, touch, smell, or otherwise detect with one of our many other senses. Very well, what if I quote from one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th Century? A man so smart that 99% of the people in the world don’t even understand what he was getting at.
The most beautiful and most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms ~ this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of all true spirituality, (geistigkeit). ~ Albert Einstein, The Merging of Spirit and Science.
Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist and philosopher of science.
Quantum physics and probability theory are both pretty wedded to the fact that nothing is impossible. People being what they are, if one gives a lot of them three choices;
- There is definitely no God, Goddess, Higher Power, or a Power greater than me.
- There may or may not be a Higher Power, Earth Goddess, Power of the Cosmos, et alii.
- There is a Higher Power, Mother Goddess, Power of the Universe, Isis and Aphrodite. I know because I have faith.
There is no possibility whatsoever that they would be able to come to a consensus of opinion. The proof of this is in Arrow’s impossibility theorem. Therefore, it doesn’t really matter what one believes in, as long as one believes in something that is greater than a single human being ~ that is, greater than you. We cannot go on just existing, we need faith and spirituality in order to live ~ after all, we are broken human beings.
Personally, I walked the road of recovery from my disease by believing in the power of the Cosmos. It didn’t matter what I believed in, as long as I believed that there was a Power greater than myself. If you can’t even manage that, then believe in the fact that you want to believe in something, because that will put you on the road to spirituality and recovery from whatever syndromes you suffer from.
The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. ~ Carl Sagan, in Cosmos.
Carl Edward Sagan, astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science populariser, researcher into extraterrestrial life.
All of human life requires faith. Faith in gravity, in the laws of physics, in birth, love, life and death. To recover from serious addiction, mental illness, extreme stress, also requires faith and spirituality.
Given that I am currently not only on planet weird, I am deep in the jungle on planet weird, after experiencing reincarnation into my own life, I need a hell of a lot more faith and spirituality than most. Currently it suits me to believe in my vision of the Goddesses Isis and Aphrodite. They are my higher powers, not yours. You need to find your own higher power for yourself to achieve true spirituality.
NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE ~ THEREFORE MAGIC IS POSSIBLE
Magic; The power of influencing events using mysterious forces.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Impossible; Not able to occur, exist, or be done.
The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to attempt the impossible.
Science; A systematically organised body of knowledge on a particular subject.
When a distinguished scientist states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
I believe in intuitions and inspirations… (Einstein)
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. (Shakespeare)
These quotations and definitions are from unimpeachable sources. Studied closely they don’t make sense. But then, even the Bible says that nothing makes sense, (Ecclesiastes 1). Some things just do not make sense. Some things in science do not make sense. Nothing in quantum mechanics makes any sense at all. Infinity does not make sense in this universe. And, any competent practitioner of quantum electrodynamics can prove that water does not exist.
Magic is obviously impossible and nonsensical. Flight by machines heavier than air is unpractical and insignificant, if not utterly impossible. (Kelvin) Any student of classical aerodynamics can prove that the bumblebee cannot fly. Then the Wright bothers flew right though the smoke screen of impossibility.
Dragons are mythical creatures. One definition of dragon is a mythical monster like a giant reptile. If you were to travel to London’s Natural History Museum you will be able to see the skeletal remains of a mythical monster like a giant reptile, right there in the entrance hall. A lot of good Christians don’t believe in dinosaurs. A lot of good Christians don’t believe in nudity and Pan either.
The point is that it is much easier to claim that something is impossible than it is to prove it. Conversely, even if I could prove that magic was not only possible, but that it existed, and that I know how some of it works, (through practical experience), most respectable scientists would simply ignore the evidence. The Boomerang Effect shows that any evidence I could possibly present will only strengthen the attitude of someone who doesn’t believe in magic ~ they will become someone who really doesn’t believe in magic.
We all agree that your theory is crazy, but is it crazy enough. (Bohr) There is a t least one perfectly respectable area of science which is basically the study of magic. Psychology is the study of the human mind and its functions, especially the functions which affect behaviours. Some say that the most practically effective branch of psychology is Neuro-Linguistic Programming, (NLP). Some others say that NLP is a discredited pseudoscience. I have hard evidence that NLP works. From personal experience I can also state that the widely accepted Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, (CBT), is so close to parts of Neuro-Linguistic Programming that you couldn’t get a cigarette paper between the two.
Why is psychology a branch of magic? Proper practical psychology embraces all aspects of the human experience, from child development to the actions of nations in conflict. Large elements of practical psychology have to be taken on trust by the end-user. Psychological therapies often work because the patient, (and the therapist), believe they are going to work. Believing you can recover is vital to recovery from mental illness. How far different is that from a voodoo witch doctor telling someone they are going to die on Tuesday, and because the victim believes they are going to die on Tuesday ~ send for the undertaker. Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you. (Jung)
In Neuro-Linguistic Programming there is a basic technique for self improvement ~ Act As If. You want to stop drinking, gambling, and turn up for work looking and smelling clean. You are not going to cure your alcoholism overnight, but Act As If you were cured. Don’t drink as soon as you get out of bed, take a shower, shave, put some clean clothes on the clean body, Act As If you were a normal human being instead of a shambling alcoholic. The power of belief will carry you a long way. As well as in NLP, anyone who has been around Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) will have heard this Act As If mantra. The thing about AA is they only use stuff that works. Alcoholism is a deadly disease, they don’t dick around with fashionable slogans or do things for the sake of it.
The power of self-belief is a very basic form of magic. It is also unbelievably difficult. All magic is unbelievably difficult until the user really knows how. The application of practical magic will often require a great deal of sleep, mental preparation, meditation, subconscious thought, and massive self-belief. I firmly believe this is why cats are associated with practical magic, they have mental preparation and self-belief in bucket-loads.
One of the main principles of scientific method is Reproducibility. If Lab A can make rats drip green slime by doing B, then if it’s real science Lab C can also make rats drip green slime if they follow the same methodology. This is different from magic. In real magic, just because I can do something doesn’t mean that you can do the same thing ~ not unless I show you how, you have talent, and you work at it. There is no reproducibility in magical engineering.
One useful definition of magic is; the ability to cause an observable effect that cannot be reproduced by anyone else, but can by you. Give me a place to stand and I will move the Earth. (Archimedes)
Black holes are where God divided by zero. (Wright) Some things are probably impossible. Magic isn’t one of them, depending on how you would like to define magic. The application of magical engineering merely requires a suspension of disbelief, concentrated instruction, talent, and hard work.
I will explain how some of it works in later posts to this blog.
EXCELLENCE IS NOT A SKILL ~ EXCELLENCE IS AN ATTITUDE OF MIND
The extra mile isn’t a crowded place, there are no traffic queues along the extra mile, the extra mile is the road less traveled. Going the extra mile means doing more and better than anyone should reasonably expect. Those who give more and better than is expected of them will, sooner or later, receive compound interest on their investment. The people you meet along that extra mile will share your need to achieve excellence in everything you do. The people traveling the extra mile may not know exactly where they are going, or even exactly how to get there, but like you they are willing to learn along the way. The extra mile is the hard mile, it’s the mile you get to after all of your competitors and rivals have given up. The extra mile is the one which will win you more and better of whatever it is that you want and need, be it; business success, sporting achievement, intellectual satisfaction, love, friendship, sex, self-esteem, or self-actualisation.
The extra mile is the longest mile of all, it will require some extra effort from us, and we may suffer some deprivation and hardship along the way. There will be temporary strains on our lives, we may not immediately attain the material benefits others think are essential to life in a modern society. Our co-workers, friends, family, and even our significant other may criticise, ridicule and denigrate us and our goals. Sometimes we will be beset with self-doubt and will need to dig deep to keep on keeping on. But, will it pay off in the end? Look around you at the most successful people you can think of and the answer is obvious. Those who have achieved excellence have all traveled that extra mile.
There is one hard lesson that all men need to learn before we can achieve the kind of excellence that doing everything we do, both better, and for longer than our competition, will give us. That lesson is how to delay gratification. Delayed gratification is not natural to boys. Boys want what they want and they want it right now! If we have a chocolate cookie, we want to eat it, and we want to eat it now! If some girl is constantly playing hard to get, then most guys will be tempted to look for an easier conquest. The below-average guy will merely go into a bar to find a woman who is out to get laid at the end of the night. Chances are that if he succeeds he won’t ever want to see that girl again. What the below average guy has done is passed up a chance to have something interesting and long-lasting with the girl he really wants for instant gratification with a one-night stand.
Going the extra mile is often about endurance and sheer bloody-minded persistence. What the extra mile is not about is having a try, try, and try again attitude. Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. The odds always are that if you do what you did before, you will get what you got before ~ or didn’t get. Going the extra mile means having the mental acuity to realise that what you are doing isn’t working, and having the strength and flexibility to hang in there and try something else, something novel, something different. If you get knocked down, get up again, and do something different to whatever it was that got you kicked in the teeth. But, and this is really what going the extra mile is all about, bloody well get up again.
The very Laws of Physics ensures that whatever you do will bring you some sort of result, usually the same kind of thing that you did in the first place. Chances are if you act with kindness, then you will receive kindness. Or, if you act unprofessionally, then you will be treated as though were a waste of space. To benefit from this, the real man must always do the most and the very best that he is capable of. And, he has to do that regardless of whether he expects to receive immediate compensation for his actions. The real man must be prepared to cast his bread upon the waters, and then see what comes back to him in due course.
Men should not expect to get an unexpected benefit from what they do. Honest, manly men will do the best they are capable of, no matter what. Dishonest and lazy, below-average guys will always look to get something for nothing, or to get as much as possible for doing as little as possible. If you go into a bar, get surly and poor service, the drinks are watered, and you are ripped-off when you pay your bill, are you likely to ever return to that dump? Probably not, unless there is a hidden attraction that means you are getting some sort of instant gratification from slumming it. If that’s the case, you are probably acting like a fool.
If you have gone that extra mile, if you always go that extra mile, then what you can reasonably expect is that the people you deal with will also go that extra mile for you. If you are a constant over-achiever at work, if you more than meet all your targets, if your co-workers like and respect you, then you should expect the people you work for to recognise your value. What the people you work for should be doing is going the extra mile for you with some tangible compensation, even if it’s only the salesperson of the year trophy. If you put in everything and get nothing in return, then walk away and do something different.
It’s the same with interpersonal relationships. If you are always going the extra mile for your significant other, and you get nothing in return, then do something different. Walk away and find a woman who will appreciate that you go the extra mile for her. There are no points for sticking with a vampire.
The bottom line is; Smart people always deliver more than the customer has any right to expect.
THEY HAVE LEARNED NOTHING AND FORGOTTEN NOTHING
After the abdication of Napoleon, Tallyrand was supposed to have coined the above phrase when speaking about the restored Bourbon dynasty to the throne of France. Einstein may have unwittingly borrowed from this when he gave as his definition of insanity as Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. For another example of willful hubristic stupidity to which both quotations could apply you need look no further than the major banks of Europe and North America. The people running these organisations still seem to be completely lacking in ability, common sense, expertise, foresight, honesty and integrity. One major scandal after another appears in the press with such predictable regularity that nobody seems to take much notice any more. And, for a professional banker with 30 years experience, it is as plain as pikestaff what, why, when, how, where, and who went wrong in each and every case.
Bank of America was ordered to refund and pay fines amounting to about $772 million in April of this year because of it’s illegal charging of customers for credit monitoring and credit reporting services that were never delivered. Allegedly, there was an institutional culture of mis-selling in the bank’s telemarketing department, or so says the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
In the UK the Co-op Bank has recently apologised for making a loss of £1.3 billion in 2013. The bank has also said that it does not expect to make a profit in 2014 and 2015. There is a strong argument for renaming this bank, as it is no longer a co-operative organisation, having already sold out to US hedge funds to plug a £1.5 billion hole in its balance sheet. Another £400 million is now required. The Co-operative Group is no longer the bank’s parent, and any claims the bank ever had to being an ethical organisation have vanished like smoke in the wind. The bank has admitted that these losses are due to ‘past misconduct and poor documentation.’ This is a supposedly ethical bank which has to pay £103 million compensation to customers for mis-selling Payment Protection Insurance, and another £114 million for overcharging on mortgage payments. The disgraced Paul Flowers, a drug addict who is also addicted to casual homosexual relations, had no abilities or experience to qualify his appointment as Chairman of the Co-op Bank. If nothing else that appointment says a lot about how badly this bank was run. I see no immediate signs of improvement.
Credit Suisse has pleaded guilty in US courts to criminal charges related to helping Americans evade taxes. The giant Swiss bank will pay a fine of some $2.5 billion. Eric Holder, US attorney general stated that hundreds of Credit Suisse employees, ‘conspired to help tax cheats dodge US taxes.’ If I were one of those Credit Suisse employees I would not plan on visiting the USA any time soon. This is not the first example of Bankers forgetting that they are not above the law.
Deutsche Bank is looking for 8 billion Euro, mostly from Qatar, and mostly to help the German bank pay fines, compensation and the cost of properly meeting regulatory requirements in its Investment Banking arm. Deutsche is another bank facing a shareholders’ revolt over plans to boost executive bonuses.
Standard Chartered has just suffered a shareholder rebellion at its Annual General Meeting. There was a 41% vote against its pay policy, the over-large number of executive directors on the board, the soft targets for top executives, high bonuses and a profit warning. Standard Chartered was recently fined £415 million for breaching US sanctions against Iran.
BNP Parisbas is currently trying to agree a $3 billion plea-bargain with the New York Department of Financial Services to resolve investigations into allegations that the French Bank violated US sanctions against Iran and Sudan, among other countries. Again, these are criminal charges. Employees concerned will be lucky if the worst they can expect is the sack.
British banks are facing an increasing number of complaints about fee-paying packaged accounts. Customers are paying up to £300 a year for supposed benefits they didn’t know existed or didn’t ever want. As banks see these packaged accounts as their new nice little earner, they are routinely rejecting customer complains, meaning the UK Financial Ombudsman’s disputes arbitration service becomes involved. Some 78% of referred complaints are upheld after initial rejection by the bank concerned. Some critics have said that this shows banks have a ‘rotten culture’ and that they have learned nothing from previous mis-selling scandals. As there are some 9 million packaged accounts already in use, we can expect the banks to be hit with another serious of massive fines for mis-selling in due course. British Banks have set targets for the number of these accounts sold by their retail staff, so expect customers to continue to be pressured into taking one of these useless products.
In 2013 Britain’s four largest banks; Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland were between them forced to set aside £21.5 billion to cover fines and compensation to customers. This is in addition to a total of about £25 billion incurred by these banks since the financial crash of 2008, in relation to meeting the costs of financial misconduct, including rigging the LIBOR market.
It’s not just in the major centres that bankers seem to have been making one monumentally incorrect decision after another. In Hungary, the banking sector faces costs of billions of florints to unwind the ‘foreign currency mortgages’ scandal. Anyone who thinks that borrowing in a currency where you have no income stream is a good idea should be locked up, bankers especially.
All of the above cautionary tales have some common causes. Monumental hubris and a complete lack of relevant banking expertise by the directors and management concerned at each bank. Worse than that, even a cursory look at the facts of each case shows a surprising reluctance to face the brutal truth by the people concerned.
Sadly, it is not only banks that seem to have an insidious culture of sticking the corporate head in the sand. Companies as diverse as BP, Glaxo-Smith-Kline, Pfizer and UBS have been hit with huge corporate fines in recent years. Often these fines are the result of mis-selling. You tell me why BP has recently been fined $34 billion.
The hard truth is; Any new or revamped product offered by a bank should be treated with the utmost suspicion. If your bank gives you any hassle, find another bank. George Bailey must be turning in his grave.