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Comments Off on Guitar Tip: Secret Benefits Of Using A Metronome.

Guitar Tip: Secret Benefits Of Using A Metronome.

| Articles | June 30, 2012

I’m sure you’ve heard that it is incredibly useful to practice with a metronome. Most books and teachers make it abundantly clear that using a metronome is a great way to improve your timing. This is true. But did you know that there are other HUGE benefits to using a metronome? Let’s take a look at a few now…

***Goal Setting***

It’s been proven time-and-time again that goals need to be specific and measurable to work. If you don’t know exactly WHAT you are trying to achieve, how will you know WHEN you have achieved it?

I use my metronome all the time to help me set SPECIFIC goals for my technique development. For example, let’s say that you would like to increase the speed at which you can play a particular exercise. If you use a metronome you can set an EXACT speed for your goal. For example, you might say that when you can play the exercise using sixteenth notes at 160 bpm (beats-per-minute), then you have reached your goal. Can you see how powerful this is? The metronome setting gives you a clear target to aim for!

***Progressive Realization Of Goals***

Metronomes allow you to progressively achieve your goals. What do I mean by this? Put simply, it means start slow and GRADUALLY increase the speed of your metronome. For example, let’s say you want to get a particular lick up to 200 bpm. You could first master the lick at 40 bpm. Once mastered at this speed you could then increase the metronome speed to 42 bpm, then 44 bpm, then 46 bpm. You get the idea! You would work up to the target speed incrementally over a period of days, weeks or even months.

***Developing Listening Skills***

One absolutely vital skill to develop is the ability to play your guitar while still being able to listen to the people that you are playing with. This is especially true in jazz, where a large proportion of the song may be improvised!

Metronomes really help you develop this listening skill. As you practice you will also have to be listening to the click of your metronome. If you don’t, you will soon be playing out of time with it!

Obviously, you’ll develop this listening ability more fully by playing with other musicians, but playing with a metronome will definitely help as well. It’s a great place to start and can often can help build your confidence to play with other people.

Hopefully this article has inspired you to dust off your metronome and use it. It would also be a great exercise to think of some other benefits yourself. Practice hard and have fun!

Comments Off on Guitar Lessons Playing Harmonics

Guitar Lessons Playing Harmonics

| Articles | June 29, 2012

A harmonic is a tone that’s created by the guitar by touching the string above a fret on an open vibrating string. There are 2 types of harmonics Natural and Artificial or I prefer to call them pinch harmonics.

Natural Harmonics

Natural Harmonics can be produced by touching your index finger on your fret-hand above at the 5th, 7th or 12th fret. Just place your finger on the string above the fret, don’t press to hard or you will mute the note, pluck the note and then pull your finger off. Try it on the A string.

E|————|

B|————|

G|————|

D|————|

A|—-12——|

E|————|

Timing is critical when playing harmonics. The length of time you keep your finger on the string will determine if you hear a harmonic, muted sound or just a regular note. Natural harmonics occur in various locations along the fretboard. The most common ones are on the 5th, 7th, and 12th fret. The harmonics in those positions will ring for all 6 strings on the same fret. Try playing them in all 3 positions. Place your finger across all 6 strings and play from the Low E to the high E lifting your finger as your pick strikes each individual string. You have to work at this and it takes some time, but it sound so cool.

E|———5—–|——–7—–|———-12—|

B|——–5——|——-7——|——–12—–|

G|——-5——-|——7——-|——-12——|

D|——5——–|—–7——–|——12——-|

A|—–5———|—-7———|—–12——–|

E|—-5———-|—7———-|—-12———|

Pinch Harmonics

Pinch harmonics are done with the pick hand hand. I found this technique very difficult to master. The best method is to “choke” down on your pick so there is very little pick exposed between your thumb and your index finger. With time you’ll learn the pick has to be mobile in your hand, and you will move it into different position depending on how you play. Now when you pluck a string with your pick the trick is to hit the pick first and then slightly twist your thumb so that it touches the string immediately after hitting the string.

Why play a pinch harmonic..well because they are very cool when playing solos. You can combine string bends with pinch harmonics and vibrato to get totally cool sounding “squeals”. They even sound great when you do them by accident. The trick is to devote some of your practice time everyday to just playing cool licks and try adding a pinch harmonic with some demonic vibrato. Oh yea, it makes you want to play more guitar because you can just create some of coolest sounds!

Comments Off on Guidelines in Buying a Feng Shui House

Guidelines in Buying a Feng Shui House

| Articles | June 28, 2012

Even for the mind that is trained in western thought, the environment is one of the key factors that greatly affects the development of the individual, and everything could be explained. This is also very true with Feng shui although it goes a step more than just what is outright tangible and explainable.

Buying a house by any language is one among the major decisions that one has to do. Not only will it influence the future of those who will reside in it, it could also well be one of the most expensive. Mistakes then have to be minimized if not eliminated. Buying a Feng shui house employs practices that do just that and the tag will not always be the prime consideration. Take for example the following guidelines:

One of the best considerations in buying a Feng shui house (which Feng shui experts always have an eye on) will be a house that has a frontage with a bright hall effect. The bright hall effect means that the house has a wide and open area fronting it or a frontage where there is a space of land before the house. A house that has this feature in its property is considered a very auspicious Feng shui house. Sometimes, this feature alone could already bring the luck that the occupants will want to enjoy.

This Feng shui house is better improved when its back faces a mountain or a rising slope, or a tall building. Open spaces behind the house do not really contribute that much. What is to be avoided though is a house where its back elevation is lower than the house itself unless something is done about it to correct the downslide. Another very useful guide is to buy a house that is on the same level as the road. A house that is higher than the road will even be better. Avoid those that are below the road level.

Speaking of road positions, never choose a house that is on a T-junction where the direction where the T crosses is directly in front of your house. Have nothing to do with it even when it is sold at a bargain.

Other things that should be considered when you want a Feng shui house is to watch out for what it termed as poison arrows and water flow and its direction.

One example of a poison arrow is to observe your neighbors’ roofline. If the slope of the roof is directed towards you, have this corrected by a pakua symbol. The principle is that there should be no sharp edges and protrusions that should be directed towards a Feng shui house. There should also be no trees and other obstructions blocking the front of your house, including tall buildings. This will prevent the natural flow of chi and will exert pressure on those who live in it.

Observe the flow of the water in front of your house. A Feng shui house will be more auspicious if the water in front flows from left to right when the house faces a primary path and the opposite when the house faces a secondary path. This should include the flow in the drainage and the flow in the house storm drains. If this is not observed properly, the residents will find difficulties in their careers as they are against the flow.

Remember that Feng shui is a mainly about wind and water. Every consideration must be taken so that the Feng shui house harmonizes with it.

Comments Off on Growing Your Own Herbs

Growing Your Own Herbs

| Articles | June 27, 2012

If you’re not the type of person that wants to spend their time managing

an elaborate fruit or vegetable garden, you might consider planting and

maintaining an herb garden. While the product might not seem as

significant, you’ll still enjoy the constant availability of fresh,

delicious herbs to flavor your meals with.

First you’ll want to choose the herbs that you’ll plant. You might have a

hard time doing this because of the huge scope of herbs available. But the

best way to choose is to do what I did; just look at what you have in your

kitchen. By planting your own collection of these herbs, you can save

money on buying them from the grocery store while having the added benefit

of freshness. Some of the herbs you might start with include rosemary,

sage, basil, dill, mint, chives, and parsley among others.

When choosing an area to put your herb garden, you should remember that

the soil should have extremely good drainage. If the dirt gets watered and

stays completely saturated, you have no chance of ever growing a healthy

plant. One of the best ways to fix the drainage problem is to dig a foot

deep in the soil, and put a layer of crushed rocks down before replacing

all the soil. This will allow all that water to escape, thus saving your

plants.

When you are ready to begin planting herbs, you might be tempted to buy

the more expensive plants from the store. However, with herbs it is much

easier to grow them from seed than it is with other plants. Therefore you

can save a bundle of money by sticking with seed packets. Some herbs grow

at a dangerously fast rate. For example, if you plant a mint plant in an

open space then it will take over your entire garden in a matter of days.

The best way to prevent this problem is to plant the more aggressive

plants in pots (with holes in the bottom to allow drainage, of course).

When it comes time to harvest the herbs you have labored so hard over, it

can be fatal to your plant to take off too much. If your plant isn’t well

established, it isn’t healthy to take any leaves at all, even if it looks

like its not using them. You should wait until your plant has been well

established for at least several months before taking off any leaves. This

wait will definitely be worth it, because by growing unabated your plant

will produce healthily for years to come.

Once you’ve harvested your delicious home grown herbs, you’ll want to use

them in cooking. Why else would you have grown them? Well first the

process begins with drying them out. This is easily achieved by placing

them on a cookie sheet and baking them 170 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 to 4

hours. After they’re sufficiently dried to be used in cooking, you can

consult the nearest cookbook for instructions on using them to effectively

flavor a dish.

If you want to store your herbs for later usage, you should keep them in a

plastic or glass container. Paper or cardboard will not work, because it

will absorb the taste of the herbs. During the first few days of storage,

you should regularly check the container and see if any moisture has

accumulated. If it has, you must remove all the herbs and re-dry them. If

moisture is left from the first drying process, it will encourage mildew

while you store your herbs. Nobody likes mildew.

So if you enjoy herbs or gardening, or both, then you should probably

consider setting up an herb garden. It might require a little bit of work

at first to set it up for optimal drainage, and pick what herbs you want

to grow. But after the initial hassle, it’s just a matter of harvesting

and drying all your favorite herbs.

Comments Off on Growing Trees for Shade

Growing Trees for Shade

| Articles | June 26, 2012

If you are currently trying to plant trees in order to shade your garden, you will probably want something that grows very fast and provides plenty of shade. With the many types of trees available, you will have no problem finding a variety that will grow extremely fast and provide all the shade that your garden needs to survive. There are also many things you can do to speed up the growth of trees.

Generally trees are separated into two categories: long lived and short lived. If you are just looking for some temporary shade for your garden, you should stick to a short lived tree. But if you plan on keeping it for years, go for a long lived tree.

If you decide on a short lived plant, you are probably looking for something with speedy growth. This means the root system will be particularly aggressive, so be sure not to place it near any septic tanks or other deep rooted plants. If the roots have plenty of area to grow, then they will shoot out extremely fast and your tree will take off in growth. Your placement should also be based on the tree’s relative position to the area you are wanting to shade. You should keep it to the western or southern sides for maximum shading.

Preparing your soil well for the shade trees can be the best way to enhance the plant growth speed. The bigger hole you dig for the root ball, the better. Also when you dig out the soil from the hole, you should work it over well before you replace it. This will allow the roots to penetrate through the soil better. If you mix in all your fertilizer and nutrients to the soil before you replace it, you will end up with a superior tree. Also try to use organic materials as mulch. Bark and any branches or twigs work well for this, and will encourage the quick growth.

When you buy your shade tree, it will usually come with the root ball balled up and in a burlap bag. It might also be grown in a container or simply with bare roots. If you get a tree in a burlap bag, you should plant it anywhere between fall and early spring. Trees grown in containers are ok to plant at almost any time of the year. If the tree just has bare roots, then the ideal planting time is anytime in winter and early spring. If you buy a tree that has been grown in a container, make sure that the roots are not constricted by the container. This will usually cause the roots to go in circles underground after you plant it. After you buy the tree and before you plant it, be sure to constantly add moisture to it.

The ideal planting process would include putting it in the ground at the proper depth, and replacing the soil without compressing it too much. Immediately after planting, you should give the tree its first watering before putting the layer of mulch on. You should always use organic mulch, and have a 2 or 3 inch layer of it at the base of your tree.

You should always use nitrogen fertilizer during the first segment of the tree’s life. Simply follow the instructions on the label in order to find out exactly how much to apply and when to apply it. Never apply too much fertilizer while the tree is young. You should usually wait until it has been established for about a year. The fertilizer that you do add should be sufficiently watered down.

If you are trying to grow a tree speedily, there are many more things that you need to consider. However, with proper planning you can create the perfect environment for the tree to spring right up and provide you with plenty of shade within months.

Comments Off on Spiritual Growth: the Spiritual Challenge of Modern Times

Spiritual Growth: the Spiritual Challenge of Modern Times

| Articles | June 25, 2012

To grow spiritually in a world defined by power, money, and influence is a Herculean task. Modern conveniences such as electronic equipments, gadgets, and tools as well as entertainment through television, magazines, and the web have predisposed us to confine our attention mostly to physical needs and wants. As a result, our concepts of self-worth and self-meaning are muddled. How can we strike a balance between the material and spiritual aspects of our lives?

To grow spiritually is to look inward.

Introspection goes beyond recalling the things that happened in a day, week, or month. You need to look closely and reflect on your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and motivations. Periodically examining your experiences, the decisions you make, the relationships you have, and the things you engage in provide useful insights on your life goals, on the good traits you must sustain and the bad traits you have to discard. Moreover, it gives you clues on how to act, react, and conduct yourself in the midst of any situation. Like any skill, introspection can be learned; all it takes is the courage and willingness to seek the truths that lie within you. Here are some pointers when you introspect: be objective, be forgiving of yourself, and focus on your areas for improvement.

To grow spiritually is to develop your potentials.

Religion and science have differing views on matters of the human spirit. Religion views people as spiritual beings temporarily living on Earth, while science views the spirit as just one dimension of an individual. Mastery of the self is a recurring theme in both Christian (Western) and Islamic (Eastern) teachings. The needs of the body are recognized but placed under the needs of the spirit. Beliefs, values, morality, rules, experiences, and good works provide the blueprint to ensure the growth of the spiritual being. In Psychology, realizing one’s full potential is to self-actualize. Maslow identified several human needs: physiological, security, belongingness, esteem, cognitive, aesthetic, self-actualization, and self-transcendence. James earlier categorized these needs into three: material, emotional, and spiritual. When you have satisfied the basic physiological and emotional needs, spiritual or existential needs come next. Achieving each need leads to the total development of the individual. Perhaps the difference between these two religions and psychology is the end of self-development: Christianity and Islam see that self-development is a means toward serving God, while psychology view that self-development is an end by itself.

To grow spiritually is to search for meaning.

Religions that believe in the existence of God such as Christianism, Judaism, and Islam suppose that the purpose of the human life is to serve the Creator of all things. Several theories in psychology propose that we ultimately give meaning to our lives. Whether we believe that life’s meaning is pre-determined or self-directed, to grow in spirit is to realize that we do not merely exist. We do not know the meaning of our lives at birth; but we gain knowledge and wisdom from our interactions with people and from our actions and reactions to the situations we are in. As we discover this meaning, there are certain beliefs and values that we reject and affirm. Our lives have purpose. This purpose puts all our physical, emotional, and intellectual potentials into use; sustains us during trying times; and gives us something to look forward to—a goal to achieve, a destination to reach. A person without purpose or meaning is like a drifting ship at sea.

To grow spiritually is to recognize interconnections.

Religions stress the concept of our relatedness to all creation, live and inanimate. Thus we call other people “brothers and sisters” even if there are no direct blood relations. Moreover, deity-centered religions such as Christianity and Islam speak of the relationship between humans and a higher being. On the other hand, science expounds on our link to other living things through the evolution theory. This relatedness is clearly seen in the concept of ecology, the interaction between living and non-living things. In psychology, connectedness is a characteristic of self-transcendence, the highest human need according to Maslow. Recognizing your connection to all things makes you more humble and respectful of people, animals, plants, and things in nature. It makes you appreciate everything around you. It moves you to go beyond your comfort zone and reach out to other people, and become stewards of all other things around you.

Growth is a process thus to grow in spirit is a day-to-day encounter. We win some, we lose some, but the important thing is that we learn, and from this knowledge, further spiritual growth is made possible.

Comments Off on Grooming Your Golden Retriever

Grooming Your Golden Retriever

| Articles | June 24, 2012

Grooming your Golden Retriever is a never ending process. The entire process should be down once or twice a week, and will take you around a an hour of time. Brushing your dog while he is shedding will help to control shedding quite a bit. While outside, if your Golden Retriever manages to get burs or other defects in his hair, you should instantly take a few moments of your time and get the burs or other matter out of his coat.

When you groom your pet, you should always start with a good brushing. Brush his entire body, then once you have finished brushing you can switch to a comb to get out any loose hair that remains in the coat. While you are getting out the hair, you can also inspect your pet for ticks, fleas, and other types of skin ailments. If you wish, you can also check his ears and trim his nails as well.

Bathing your Golden is essential to grooming, and can be somewhat complicated. Before you attempt to give him a bath, you should always brush him first, to get rid of tangles. During shampooing, you should always use shampoos that are specifically for dogs, since human shampoo can dry a dog’s skin out. You don’t need to bathe your dog often, once every other week is good enough. If you properly maintain your Golden’s coat, you’ll find it’s much easier to clean.

To prevent matting, which is very common with Golden Retrievers, you should always make sure that you brush your pet on a daily basis. Metal combs and brushes work extremely well, and will help you to get a great deal of the hair out. Although some people choose to use scissors and cut the mats, you can easily injure your Golden if he happens to move or jerk. Scissors aren’t recommended, as brushing and proper bathing will help to prevent matting of the hair better than anything else.

When you cut your dogs nails, you should trim them a great deal, all the while avoiding going down into the quick. You should never let your Golden’s nails get too long, as long nails can easily take the shape of the dog’s foot, resulting in a splay. Therefore, you should always check your Golden Retriever’s nails and trim them every few weeks. If you trim them just right, you’ll have at least 2 weeks before they need to be trimmed again. If you do happen to trim the nails past the quick, bleeding will occur. To stop the bleeding, always keep some styptic powder on hand to make sure that you are prepared if you do make a mistake.

With other types of grooming, you should also make sure that you clean your Golden’s ears as well. They can get ear infections quite easily, if you don’t clean their ears on a regular basis. To get the best results and protect your pet from ear infections, you should clean his ears once a week using a quality cleansing solution. This way, you can rest assured that your Golden has healthy ears.

Grooming is an essential aspect to the health of every Golden Retriever. All it takes is a little bit of time from your day to groom your pet and keep him healthy. If you don’t have the time to groom your Golden, you can always take him to a professional. Whether you do it yourself or take your Golden to a pro – grooming is something that simply must be done.

Comments Off on Grooming Your Pure-Breed or Mixed-Breed Dog

Grooming Your Pure-Breed or Mixed-Breed Dog

| Articles | June 23, 2012

There are some restrictive rules on how to groom a particular breed, just like how to feed or take care of it. But there is one similar thing that applies to all. And that is: every dog requires a total body grooming. So, disregard the name Dorgis, Peekapoo, Labradoodle, Schnoodle, Beagle, Jack Russel, Labrador, Rottweiler, and Yorkshire Terrier because they are all dogs. And all of them need to be groomed just the same.

How do you groom your dog then?

There are two ways:

First thing you should know is that you can let professionals do the grooming for you. There are countless of dog salons and grooming shops across the country. You can surely find one on each city where your dog could comfortably fit in. Professionals charge between $20-$50 (or more) on each service. The cost of course depends on the type of service your dog had. Each dog grooming professional has a specialty. One could be good on trimming with the other is good in bathing but generally, there are lots of dog grooming professionals who can do everything.

Dog grooming shops have specialties as well. And prices depend on the service they offer. There are shops that charge cheap and there are those that charge a lot. Depending on your budget, you should decide where to take your dog. Price, however, is a great determiner if the dog grooming shop is good or not. But this does not mean that if one shop charges small fee, it serves bad. Same thing goes with shops that charge large free. The task for you then is to weigh the service, facilities, staff skills and expertise, and location to pinpoint your particular shop.

The second is by grooming your dog on your own. Grooming your dog should be done carefully and properly. You should know the right way on how to groom your particular dog since different dog breeds should require different approach and grooming frequency. Books and internet articles are two rich sources of information about the proper grooming. Learning from these could be very helpful.

The good thing about grooming your own dog is that you somehow create a special connection with your pet. In other words, grooming your dog on your own is more than just a physical connection but an emotional and psychological one as well.

At first, you need to invest on the different dog grooming tools you need. Your dog should have its own comb, brush, de-matting tool, and nail clippers. You should also invest of dog shampoo, dog conditioner, and dog toothpaste. Although you have some initial cash outs, it is actually cheaper in the long run since you don’t have to visit dog grooming shop and spend for the services they give to your dog twice or more each month.

Your dog, whether it is pure- or mixed-breed, should be groomed depending on its requirement. And as an owner, it is your primary responsibility to know how to properly take care of your particular dog. Dog grooming is a must. That’s the very first thing you should realize. The task might be expensive and time consuming at first, especially if are a dog owner novice, but it will prove to be rewarding in the long run.

Comments Off on Grooming Your Dog the Atlanta way

Grooming Your Dog the Atlanta way

| Articles | June 22, 2012

In Atlanta and in any other state, you will notice that a lot of people are so into grooming their dogs. You will find them busy attending to their pets and its needs.

And why not? You would not to be caught dead walking a stinking and ugly looking dog, would you? Besides, you probably are one of those who like to cuddle and sleep with your pet. Imagine having to endure the odor and stink day in and day out.

Dog grooming tend to be very expensive though. This may be why a lot of people are neglecting their pets because they do not have the required budget set aside for that purpose.

Before you rant and rave about all these things, stop for a while. There are actually things that you can use to groom your dogs without ruining your allotted budget. How?

1. Dog shampoos.

You will notice that your pet’s shampoo tends to cost more than your own shampoo. Many dog owners would rather use dog soap as a shampoo to cut back on the cost. This is a definite no-no if you want to maintain the glory of dog’s coat.

Take note that the ingredients present in soaps are not the same as the ingredients in shampoos. In addition, soaps might cause irritation. In thinking that you had saved, you will end up paying more if ever your pet needs to be treated.

Consider Aloe Vera shampoos. You are probably using one. The good news is that you can use this same shampoo for your dog. When mixed with water, the solution can work just as well as any other dog shampoo.

This type of shampoo is very mild. You will have no worries of irritating your dog’s scalp. In addition, the formula that is present in Aloe Vera can leave your dog’s coat looking shiny and full. All this using the shampoo that you yourself use. A big cut on your expenses too.

2. Dog scent.

It is apparent that you do not have all the time in the world to bathe your dog and have them smelling great. In most cases, soaping and shampooing is the only thing you are capable of. If given the time and the resources, you surely would want your pet to smell good once he starts nestling beside you in your couch.

Dog perfumes can now be bought at pet stores. Once put in your dog’s coat, you will have them smelling as sweet as if they have just step out of their bath.

If you cannot afford to buy one of these perfumes, you can go for the other option. That is, you can buy one of those body sprays in the grocery. Find one that you like and spray them all over your dog. Be sure to put some on areas that have the tendency to smell bad.

If you want to be certain that the spray will not harm your dog, you can check out your local health store and find one containing essences that are known not to cause irritations.

Grooming your dog does not mean that you will cut back on other expenses just to give your dog what it needs. You just need to be wise and research on alternative means of keeping your dog smelling good and healthy. Groom your dog the Atlanta way!

Comments Off on Greatness

Greatness

| Articles | June 21, 2012

When I was a nineteen-year-old high school student and budding poet two years after my diving accident many factors adversely affected my creativity. My trips in a special bus to school and back home, my courses, and my assignments, though I was spared a lot of writing and was mostly tested orally, all this was time-consuming. More often than not, my obligation to study took priority over my desire to compose poetry.

To tell the truth, I had plenty of free time. That I spent much of it uncreatively showed evidence of frivolousness, laziness, and cowardliness. I usually preferred to take my mind off things, or to daydream, rather than to express myself through poems. The satisfaction I could derive from achieving this expression seldom induced me to try. The deterring elements were the difficulty of trying and the uncertainty surrounding the outcome of my efforts.

A poem assuming one is concerned about writing beautifully is indeed no cinch. It requires a poet who is talented, skilled, and determined. My poetic ability was fickle; my grammar and style were faulty; my will was faint. I lacked the courage of my creative desire. This lack was not absolute. Now and then, when I felt compellingly inspired, I resisted my temptation to trifle which amounted to taking the easy way out and endeavored to compose a poem. I had to repeat this endeavor, over and over, to grow more capable and confident, less discouraged by the challenge at hand.

I am afraid young individuals similar to the young man I was then are not a rarity. The prospect of success turns them on; effort and the risk of failure turn them off. The contradiction is apparent, and the result predictable: Since effort and the risk of failure are essential for success, the avoidance of them precludes this success. Of course everyone knows this. The trouble is that many refuse largely to accept it. This is proof that knowledge is powerless in itself; it needs a strong will to be effective.

Young individuals, who know the rules of success, can be failures inasmuch as they fail to accept these rules. Wisdom includes this acceptance (the exclusion of which is thus foolish). It must be distinguished from knowledge. Wise people are also brave people who put their knowledge into practice and become successful for that reason. The obvious holds good in every way: Life without courage is like a bird without wings; it cannot take off.

Why is it hard to want both the end and the means? Precisely because the means are hard, not to mention the fact that they are hazardous, you might answer. If you are right, then why do some actually thrive on this hardness and hazardousness? The key to this mystery is their attitude: They regard these opposing elements not only as obstacles but also as opportunities for merit and excitement. Just as they were young once, spoon-fed and sheltered from the evils of the world, they eventually outgrew their attachment to easiness and developed a taste for challenge. In conclusion, what characterizes them is their maturity, by contrast with the infantilism of others.

Between these two extremes there is a mediocre compromise, partly mature, partly infantile. It consists in taking charge of one’s life while taking the easy way out. Small principles, small realizations, far below one’s potential for greatness, they are poor excuses for wisdom and success. Potential, that is the operative word. There can be greatness in apparent smallness and smallness in apparent greatness; the truth resides in the great or small actualization of one’s potential, whatever it is.

How does one discover what it is? By making the effort to actualize it in the ever-renewed and multifaceted act of living. This entails that one push oneself hard, at the risk of going too far. Measure is an empty abstraction for anyone who has never exceeded it. Limits should be experienced, not invented. This experience demands a serious and courageous commitment to greatness. Steer clear of frivolousness, laziness, and cowardliness; do not fall prey to them as I did so many times. They are strong temptations that can assume the form of a cunning philosophy that is unique to losers. Beware of this snare. Life is a demanding character test; come death, you will have ample time to rest!

Nostalgic for the old days at the rehabilitation facility when I wrote anyhow about anything, I once conveniently believed in spontaneous writing as a guarantee of genuineness. Fortunately I was foolish yet not a complete fool. After some denial, which involved some nonsense in justification of my foolishness, I admitted sullenly that my sacrosanct pursuit of genuineness was in fact a vile indulgence in idiocy. There is nothing spontaneous about the intelligent conception and intelligible expression of one’s true self, which is everything but simple. It is a tissue of desires, feelings, ideas, and memories, caught in a whirl of interactions between the mind and the world. Either one goes to great lengths to elucidate and formulate the truth about oneself, and one hits the bull’s-eye, or one talks bullshit please forgive my language.

Some people shine at off-the-cuff speeches, as though they were so brilliant they could avoid saying idiocies when forced to be spontaneous. Make no mistake; their brilliance is merely one side of the equation. They have spent years polishing their manner of thinking and speaking, while their knowledge waxed through learning. Their spontaneity is studied. It is a product of numerous rehearsals, like the performance of an actor. Nothing great ever comes easily to anyone, including those who are the most gifted among us. Superior luck is not human greatness, only a steppingstone toward it. The stone is given; the stepping is done by the sweat of one’s brow and is made of a million steps, uphill. To work one’s way up to greatness is comparable to conquering Mount Everest, the highest peak of the Himalayas. It is an outstanding achievement with a sense of pride to match.

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