Life Lessons From Last 3 weeks.

Life lessons from the last 3 weeks from reading, living, exploring.

I had some setbacks and great lessons on projects i had spent a few months working on. I recently read that 98% of all failure comes from quitting. Most people become discouraged and they see delay as denial. The challenge of overcoming temporary setbacks in defeat is normal. Sometimes it’s going to be difficult it’s going to be challenging the obstacles that are thrown in your path. You’ll have setbacks and disappointments and one must develop the mindset of a winner. When my two sons were little, I would always ask them to “show me the winner” and they would put up both their little hands in Victory. On the business card of one of my most inspiring customers/teachers is a photograph of a small boy in a baseball jersey that says “I play to win.” To maintain that attitude is important to view yourself as a winner and view the journey as a fun game, even during setbacks is critical for long-term success. Sometimes I take two steps forward and one step back, if you have the mindset of a winner, you will make Headway in the long run. One must be creative, flexible, versatile, and adaptable and never stop until they reach their target. Just like the following a winding River in a tropical rainforest it always reaches its goal of the ocean even though at times you may feel that your going in the wrong direction. If you maintain a positive attitude and continue to work hard and strive to achieve your objective and never give up that’s the enjoyment in the Journey of life for me. I Enjoyed reading a quote ” when the end comes for you, let it find you conquering a new Mountain, not sliding down an old one.” So constantly raising the bar gives one purpose in life and it makes the game of life more enjoyable. Most people take their health for granted but living a long healthy life is not guaranteed we have to fight to stay here. You have to have a plan of action to maintain your health and your positive attitude and self-awareness. I try to put this on my to do list everyday.
I read a story about a middle-aged man, like myself describing his “aha moment” when he read an interview with Dan Rather in Esquire magazine. The article made a dramatic change in this man’s life. Rather was quoted as saying it comes down to TR (time remaining).
When you’re in your thirties or forties or even your fifties, time remaining can seem like Infinity. TR hits different people at different stages. But you get to your seventies, and you’re thinking about TR. Exactly how do I want to spend my remaining days? The middle aged man resonated with this article so deeply that he quit his job, got a divorce, and committed the rest of his life to pursuing the dreams he had always hoped to have achieved. He’d been living a very urgent lifestyle for many years to become a success in his chosen field, but now with the new thought of TR he went into complete overdrive to make it happen. When he was asked if he felt that he was any closer to achieving the success he thought he would accomplish after making all the changes in his life. He went silent for a moment and quietly answered no. Desperately wanting something is taking the enjoyment out of the journey. It can ruin their present moment and make someone run scared and work scared. This robs one’s creativity and they tend to not Act Naturally because they’re so desperate to achieve a particular target. So TR for the underdeveloped ego is like being a rat running on a wheel in a cage never reaching a final destination always running faster and faster trying to keep up but never really getting anywhere. Gandhi said “there is more to life than increasing its speed. ” The rat race for success has never been satisfying for more than just a few moments and then it’s on to the next attempt to find happiness and a sense of achievement with things and with other people. It’s good to have goals, but success isn’t just about getting things in life or just having a meaningful relationship. It’s important not to be discouraged by setbacks. All setbacks are really step-ups for something better. Keep a positive attitude and your faith unwavering. Do all the action you can do to achieve your goals and then relax knowing that everything will work out in the end, just like how the winding River will reach the ocean. I’ve met friends and Associates that have made goals but they lack to take action. Take action in the world, and the world will react. It Doesn’t always react the way our ego wants, but it reacts. To be a winner, you can start right now, your only true failure lies in the failure to start now. You get out of life what you put into it. No action, no results. So if your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it.

Two interesting questions that my friend asked me:
” If you had one year to live what would you do? Why are you not doing it now?”
Am I having any negative feelings right now? What benefit do they serve right now?
One mans formula for a successful life is have the desire, take action, and let go.
My favorite James Allen quote is “circumstances do not make the man, but rather, they revealed a man to himself. ”
Everything we see in our world is a reflection of what’s going on inside us, it’s a mirror image of your State of Mind.
Avoid the stinkin Thinkin and life just smells nicer and Rosier.
Obstacles we Face are real it’s just that most people fail to recognize the role they play in generating these obstacles.
The root of many problems is in our mind it is another opportunity to recreate our reality.
Ask yourself the following when faced with a challenge .
How big is this problem in the scale of things in life?
I found a way to increase my energy level whenever I stop myself from criticizing, complaining, or gossiping simply removing the stinking thinking made much more room for positive thoughts and this gave me a tremendous amount more of happiness.
But like everything else this is a constant practice. Like exercising one’s body one must be exercising their mind to remove and filter out unproductive energy-sapping negative thoughts. One way to increase one’s self awareness is through meditation and self reflecting at the end of each day before bed, also asking the positive people around you to keep you on track can make it fun.

Weekly Insights Learned.

Weekly insights learned.

I’m enjoying reading a book which contains an ancient Babylonian talmud quote. “Who is wise? One who can tell what will be hatched from the egg that has been laid. Not he who can see the future – this is a prophet. Wisdom is seeing tomorrow’s consequences of today’s events.”

Fear only exists in the future. So in dealing with fear it helps to shift one’s Focus a little to the present moment to avoid the paralysis of fear.

When ones emotions are involved, making decisions for the future clearly is difficult. Therefore one of the clues to be coming good at seeing the future is to learn to disengage from one’s emotions. That is perhaps why a wise doctor does not attend to their own close relatives. They would rather have an associate to whom the relative is merely a patient perform the diagnosis and treatment.
Recognize when external events will affect your business or life.
Learn to interpret events without emotion or ego. Ego is an enemy of effective decision-making learning to overcome it will help make more clear decisions on one’s future.
If you want to know more about tomorrow, you should study yesterday.
Learn how to identify the patterns in history, it will help be a partial guide to learning about tommorrow.

Asking yourself the question. ” what caused this thing to happen , and what will be caused by this thing.” Is a good practical habit.
For example when interest rates dramatically drop usually real estate and housing goes up within 6 to 12 months a long with other factors.
Making time to reflect, plan and study without distraction is critical in planning your future.
Setting aside a regular time once or twice a week and turning off all distractions and putting one’s mind on receive mode while maintaining Focus on the agenda creates remarkable future prosperity.
Clearly visualizing and verbalizing your future and who you want to be is a fun process . Imagining the perfect day and how you look and feel 10 and 25 years into the happy, bright future. Then I shape my present moment and take action in what I want to create in the future that I have realized . The greatest enjoyment is the present moment Journey this where all effective action takes place . I reflected on a statement from a book . ” Nothing in the future is better than this present moment now. ” This happy truth helps me to enjoy the journey that I call life.
I find that most men, including myself are goal driven. After one goal is achieved it is fun to keep playing the game. I want to be better than I was last year or last month or yesterday. The main categories of the game I play in is to grow my physical and mental Health, relationships, time management, career/creativity, finances, service and celebration. The best players are the ones with the greatest self-control and discipline to train and they make the training process part of the game. Getting older doesn’t have to mean one gets weaker. I want to be able to do more push-ups, sit-ups and chin-ups every year as I get older so this requires daily training . I want to have deeper and more present relationships and grow my finances and my service and contribution. I acknowledge perhaps I cannot run as fast as I could when I was 30 but I think I can run further. I’m much more confident in who I am and I’m also a happier man than I was when I was uncertain if I could make a living in my twenties. I’m the man I want to be, and I continue to evolve into a better version of the man as I learn and grow and laugh.

Carrying The Past

This video entitled “carrying the past” is based on an ancient Zen parable. I wish to thank Alistair Eagle for the shooting and editing, Marc Hurtubise ( the judgemental monk),
Hartley Carach (helpful monk), Liselle (the girl waiting to cross the stream).


Lessons I learned from the past 2 weeks from friends, books and observations about Art and Business:

” Three things that cannot be long hidden. The Sun the Moon and the Truth.”

This is one of my favourite Buddha quotes
Trust and honesty.
– It’s what people really want from a relationship whether it’s with a friend,  life partner, business/ partner employee or employer.
-People want to have transparency when dealing with a business. People want  “Open Kimono” , this is a new art series I am starting to work on.
-The truth is that everyone has exaggerated or lied or twisted the truth at least once. An example when I was a troublesome teenager my mother would often ask me during breakfast what time I came home last night and I would tell her I came home early which meant early in the morning to me and it meant some else to my dear mother.
-There are situations where this behaviour can be temporarily acceptable and other where one exaggeration can be a deal breaker and unacceptable.
-I have told my friends and loved ones that you need a very good memory to be a liar and it is simply to much work and pain.

These are some random photos from my cell phone over the last week.

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The balance and acceptance and understanding that somethings Constantly Change and some things Never Change.
Example of constant change: a business must constantly innovate in order to survive for the long term. There will be constant threats to your business.  You either accept some of the pain of innovation or reject it and assure poverty and pain for almost everyone all the time .
Example of the some things that Never Change: a business must be profitable in order to survive the long term.
I am making a life list of the things that will never change:

-I need to make decisions and make a judgement call on multiple things each day. This is important in Art and Leadership.
-The artist and leaders I admire the most make decisions fast based on the information they have. The indecisive person rarely makes the decision and if they do, often changes it several times.
-I use a pros-and-cons list to help me make decisions sometimes. I get a sheet of paper and make a vertical line down the middle on the left side is Pros on the right is Cons.  I place a numeric value on the weighting of certain pros and cons and totalling them up.  I try to make all my decisions and judgements based on what is best for the LONG TERM benefit and happiness of the people involved.
-Another very important exercise I learned about is to visualise and ask advice from the older version of myself. How would the 55, 65 or 95 year old me advise myself to do. Another technique I use is thinking what decision would the wisest people I know in history and religion do.
-I reflected that I grew and created myself to be a judgemental young man and that I should lose some of my pre judgements that only limit my openness when dealing with others.
– Example: as a young man I viewed all bald men as old and ugly now that I am bald. This judgement does not do me any good especially when I look in the mirror and say good morning to the good guy:)

Art Talk on Fathers day about “dreaming of Sponge Bob”

Father’s Day 2016, Lessons my father has taught me .

I woke up at 6 am with an amazing urge to write this note.

I did not really know I had a dad until I arrived in Canada when I was 5 years old. My dad had come to Canada to establish himself before we arrived. I wondered who is this man was that was buying me and my brother Legos and other toys and sleeping in my mother’s room.
My dad is like a sage to me he never showed anger or shouted or hit us as boys but he had our full respect and attention.
He is:
-Soft-spoken but always got our attention.
-Refers to me and my big brother as Good Sons and we called him Good Dad.
-Maintains a positive attitude and looks on the bright side; always trying to help people when possible
-Particularly good at fixing cars and heating problems at people’s homes. Helping others always gave him a sense of gratification.
-A good listener and gave good feedback in a kind and gentle way.

What he taught me:
-It takes two to have a fight or an argument so try to avoid arguments within your family and friends.
~Steel Boys never get tired. Being tired and lazy is mostly a state of mind.-If you have to fart while driving, roll down your window 1/2 inch it will act as a vacum and suck all the bad air out.
-To be honest with myself. This was Illustrated once when I caught my son lying and I told my dad to tell my son not to lie. Instead of saying that he told him that everybody lies and that is the actual truth. The truth is that everybody has lied. This is a long topic and I can get into it later.
-Joking and playing are fun and it’s okay to laugh at oneself.
-He showed me how to make things better in the different areas of my life , like health, wealth, relationships and knowledge and service.
-He let me win our running races and had me convinced I was the fastest kid in grade one to three.
-He taught me and my brother whatever career you choose, make sure you’re the best at it.  He taught me to love art and photography and to appreciate nature, science and mechanical things.
-He showed me what unconditional love and kindness and support mean. He taught me how to be an inspirational dad that lives his life with passion laughter and humour. I hope I can teach some of this stuff to my two boys.
~It’s okay to admire Beauty. It’s okay and  natural to look at a beautiful woman walking on the street while driving his car, even if Mom is right beside you.

Lessons I’ve learned from my two boys on being a DAD:
-Life is fun stop being so serious.
-Enjoy the present moments with me. They taught me to look into there eyes because they are always changing and growing. Really see and look at them.
-There’s always time to play and laugh and be goofy everyday.
-Be supportive but give them space especially when they become teenagers. A lot of times they need to learn from their own mistakes to understand things better. At the same time they need clear boundaries to avoid life-critical errors that may possibly jeopardize their safety and health.
-Be supportive positive and be practical. Boys need other role models, introduce them to other positive men that have a different style of raising children.

~Hip hop music sounds better loud!

– Stop being so judgemental, (I’m still working on this). The more you love someone the more judgement and expectations creep into to the relationship. Which can lead to more pain and disappointment. Try to let things go. Everything is going to work out at the end. Don’t baby them. Let them make their mistakes so they can learn from there hardship and have the greatest gift a parent can give a child, which I think is positive self-esteem.This comes from overcoming challenges.  Positive self esteem doesn’t mean arrogance and entitlement, it means to be confident yet humble and being Who You Are. Introduce them to new ideas, books, places, and people. This is just the tip of the iceberg on my lessons of being a dad I’m sure I’ll have many more challenges to learn from.

My parents and two boys have been the greatest blessing and gift I have ever received in my life.


Weekly Insights and Reflections.

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Weekly insights and reflections.
This week I had the pleasure of photographing Peter Legge in my studio. He is one of Canada’s top public speakers, the chairman and CEO of the largest independently-owned magazine publishing company in Western Canada. But the most important thing he’s a great gentleman and a fine human being. I was ready for my morning jog in front of the studio when he showed up 92 minutes early , he said he never wants to be late. We had a great discussion and during which time I thought to myself what a great life he has lived to date. When the art director arrived 30 minutes before the photo shoot was supposed to start we had already completed the job. This photo was for his next book, he has written about 15 successful books already that have motivated thousands of people toward positive change.
I like reading positive inspirational books I almost never read fiction books any more.

Learn to Acknowledge the Opportunities  to Improve  Myself.

According to Greek history know thyself is inscribed on the Ancient Temple of Apollo at Delphi . I try to practice doing a diary about 5 days a week. I call it 325 I read about this practice in a inspirational book. Before bed,I write 3 things that went well today. Doing this makes me reflect on the positive things that happen in my life and also makes me feel good, even after a tough day. Then I write 2 things that I could have handled or done better. Then I write my 5 top priorities I want to achieve the next day. Doing this after a few years has taught me more about myself and my bad habits than anything else. I learn to acknowledge my bad habits and study myself. One of my bad habits is a tend to get angry at times, it is one of the most destructive emotions. I a CEO once said”When the boss is out of control and angry the staff are in control.”
Anger is a negative attribute, its shatters your romantic, social and business relationships it is just really bad. Anger is one of the most negative emotions. It is okay sometimes to display anger when you have to get something done but it’s not okay to be real Angry inside. What causes anger is arrogance, show me an angry man and I will show you an arrogant man. Anger makes intelligence go down. High emotion equals low intelligence. It is okay to suppress anger and bottle it up, and toss it away. The best way to reduce your stress and those around you is to simply not get angry. Take three deep breaths, go for a walk, do something to get the energy out of your system and have a workout. Then reflect that anger always makes the situation worse and it does not improve anything. If you feel angry a lot it is a sign of your arrogance. The more one goes inside and only thinks of themselves the smaller everyone else is. We develop a how dare someone disturb me attitude. Self reflecting in knowing thyself is a great gift and adventure in life it is essential for one’s growth. Also realize no one is perfect so accepting that I’m a constant work in progress is important. I’m not superhuman and I also feel the temptation of unwise actions at times, reflecting on it before bed helps me become wiser  for next time. It would be even better to catch my unwise actions before I take them. Once I felt a little upset or angry at someone and I noticed I tend to feel like making the other person equally angry and hurt. This is just foolish childish behaviour. I have been doing this to those I am closest to and that will completely end right now.

One of my greatest victories over anger happened about 4 years ago. My neighbour from across the street, an elderly Asian lady who had always been polite and pleasant started kicking and banging on my newly painted front door. I open the door and she was swearing and screaming at me, claiming that one of my house guests had parked in front of her house. I told the car that was parked in front of her house was not mine. She also complained that my father had once parked in front of her house.  I got angry when she mentioned my father. I’m very protective of him, he is like a Buddha to me. He has never shown me any anger or raised his voice ever. Unfortunately I was not so self-restrained and I told her to get off my property. Afterwards I felt weak, foolish by the use of unwise words. My anger had diminished my  intelligence greatly. It is very important to me to be a good friendly helpful neighbour, but her fury and anger triggered my anger. I later reflected upon this with a group of men I used to meet for a mastermind meetings once a month. They all suggested we should have a house party and all park in front of her house. Then one person asked what would Jesus or the Buddha do?
The next day I saw my angry neighbours husband Lorenzo working in his yard. He was always outside the house and she was always inside. Lorenzo was always friendly and kind to me and my boys. I told him if anyone ever parked in front of there house just to call my phone number. His wife did not have to knock on my door and I apologized that I asked his wife to leave my property.  He said he did know why she reacted that way. I thought to myself perhaps she was robbed and had a bad experience when someone parked in front of her house in the past. I searched for an explanation why she had reacted so aggressively.
2 hours later I was enjoying watching a movie in the theatre room with my boys when I heard the loudest banging in the house I have ever heard. It was the angry lady again and she was really screaming! I came to the front door. She was even more angry than the first time using the most vile language and screaming at the top of her lungs. Asking why I had given her husband my phone number? At that exact moment I calmly looked into her eyes and listen then I thought what would Jesus or the Buddha do? For the first time I actually felt very strong  over the negative emotion of anger. I felt victorious, then allowed her to scream, insult and swear at me  in front of my 2 young sons. I said thank you and then invited her in for a cup of tea. I felt in my heart I wanted to genuinely helped her.
She spent about 2 minutes continuing to scream and swear as she walked back  across the street to her home. I then realized that she was probably a little mentally ill. Lorenzo had later confided in me and confirm my assumption, one day before he decided to move away. I think I would like to make this leason into a work of art.

Below is my newest work from my trip to Japan a year ago. 2 of the images have  an angry Godzilla.

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