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Optimism in the Face of Challenges

Boldly explore new ground and establish goals that might have seemed beyond your grasp at an earlier time

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In mid-2020, President Trump promised that a COVID vaccine was on the near horizon, a contention relentlessly mocked by the mainstream press. Then President Trump, to the relief of the entire planet, delivered multiple times on his promise.

Dr. Vincent Racaniello, Ph.D, a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University, nevertheless, has some significant finding.

Based on his studies, at 320,000+ different viruses currently infect mammals, and that doesn’t count other viruses that affect other vertebrate species. In all, the professor concludes that there are tens of millions of viruses in the world; a figure so large, it is unknowable.

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Starting today, and for decades thereafter, regardless of the breakthroughs in virus-related issues, other concerns will linger. Against this backdrop, optimism for oneself, for one’s family and friends, and indeed, for humanity, seems challenging.

Optimism: Now and Forever

A question for our era: In times of high uncertainty, is maintaining an optimistic outlook warranted or even possible? Yes. Research reveals that some people are apparently born optimistic; some individuals naturally exude optimism, often to the utter bewilderment of others.

Although it seems as if prevailing circumstances dictate how we will act and how we will feel, probing slightly deeper shows that that can be a false cause-effect relationship.

If you’ve passed a certain age and are thinking, “I have this big dream, but I’m too old,” take heart. If you’re in your thirties, forties, or fifties, mile-high goal achievement could still be in store for you – even if you’re past 60, 70, or 80! Why do I make such a statement?

Human longevity is increasing. Insurance actuaries indicate that you might live longer than you think you will. There’s no telling what you’re capable of two, three, or four decades hence. The legendary Grandma Moses became famous as a painter in her seventies and eighties and still was creating notable works of art past age 100.

Multiple Careers?

In Age Wave, Dr. Ken Dychtwald explains how it’s likely that you’ll have several careers within a lifetime, some totally unrelated to each other. After all, if you graduate college at age 22, you can work for 15 or 17 years in human resources or in training, not even hit your forties, work 25 years in another industry, and even receive your pension, and still work another 12 to 15 in another profession, and only be in your 70’s!

Some day soon, an octogenarian – an eighty year old – will be elected president of the United States.

As average life spans extend beyond eighty and ninety, and the health and well-being of the typical professional continues on at an advanced age, it’s not unrealistic to assume that you might achieve some spectacular goal in an arena of your life that is not even in consciousness for you at this moment.

Taking Root Long Ago

The seeds of what you might be doing twenty, thirty, and forty years from now are likely already in formation, if only at the cellular level! When I took the course Technologies for Creating, designed by Robert Fritz, author of The Path of Least Resistance, I encountered one of the most powerful affirmations of my life to this point.

Imagine, Fritz encourages, that everything that you’ve ever done is preparation for what’s coming next… All the successes, all the failures, everything that went well, all the things that went up in flames, and all of your experiences are learning to be applied for the highest good for what is coming in your life.

So, in a manner of speaking, you’ve incurred no down time – no wasted jobs, wasted years, or wasted efforts. Your life has been a laboratory of sorts, helping you to prepare for some grand good the likes of which might still not be clear to you.

To Boldly Go

As the philosophers say, the pattern of the universe (or, more specifically for your purposes, the pattern of your life) is right there, visible in everything you do. You have only to recognize how to work with your strengths and limitations, aptitudes and blind spots so as to transcend yourself.

Don’t live life as if looking through a rear view mirror. Boldly go where you’ve never gone before, and eventually set and reach goals that in an earlier time might have seemed beyond your essence, yet on some level, perhaps were within you all along.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Life

Authors Who Avoid Hasty Conclusions

Much of the information that we encounter, especially via the internet, is only partially true, if not completely bogus

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So much of the information that we encounter today, especially via the internet, is only partially true, if not completely bogus. As such, I admire the work of selected authors over the past few decades. They remind me to check out what seems to be common knowledge, for the truth the lies beyond it:

Self-help author Denis Waitley observed Albert Einstein always scored quite well in math and science. Some “historians” noted that his top grade of six on a scale of one to six dropped to a level of one from one year to the next, and they arbitrarily assumed he had started to flunk those courses. The school had reversed its grading system, however, to make the highest grade a one instead of a six.

For decades, no one had bothered to examine the original “evidence” leading to the proclamation that Einstein was an academic failure.

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Pop Trends

In her book, Backlash, author Susan Faludi told how “pop” market forecasters made a fortune by reviewing popular media, such as newspapers, television, movies and so forth, and then concluding what trends are looming in America. The extreme fallacy with this method of forecasting, Faludi noted, is that it tends to promulgate that which only a handful of editors, publishers and directors believe or perpetrate. No hard data supports the “forecasts.”

One such forecaster was credited with coining the term “cocooning” for the 1980s, where working men and women, particularly women, decided to spend more time in the household. Faludi shows that the assertion has no relationship to U.S. Department Bureau of Labor Statistics that indicated an increase in the number of women in the workforce and in the time each spent outside the home.

Nevertheless, corporations paid hefty sums to be told where we were all headed next. Because many other factors can obscure results, if the predicted “trend” then doesn’t help the corporate customer, it is rarely linked back to the forecaster. Such companies would do better, observed Faludi, to simply consult the U.S. Bureau of the Census, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and other sources that independently collect data, presumably with no bias.

Dastardly Dads?

Faludi also uncovered this: The “fact” that an epidemic of divorced fathers refused to pay child care, which is a falsehood that distorted reality for decades. According to U.S. Census Bureau figures, the great majority of fathers with joint custody of their children – nearly 90% – paid their entire support obligation, in full and on time. Some 80% of fathers with visitation privileges, but not joint custody, paid regularly. Only when the courts deprive fathers of both custody and access do support levels drop to under 50%, the figure mistakenly attributed to all fathers.

Despite the strong correlation between a man’s ability to have joint custody or visitation with his children and his willingness to make regular support payments, most legislators and judges didn’t seem to see it. Their automatic and immediate response in cases of nonpayment was to blame the male, instead of enforcing the man’s right to visit his children and encouraging father-child relationships.

By continuing to make the majority of child custody awards to women, the courts systematically disregarded the role fathers played and all but ensured that the children would have adjustment problems. Even if a man legally wins visitation rights, his ability to visit his kids isn’t guaranteed. Judges don’t often put uncooperative mothers in jail. So, fathers end up going to court repeatedly – a costly venture. Sometimes after many attempts to visit their children, some fathers withhold support payments to force what the courts will not.

The media, charging to no one’s rescue and in search of thirty second sound bites, label such fathers as deadbeat, or worse. Hence, the widespread misconception about the true nature of what’s going on in this critical arena continues even to this day.

Abounded Influence

In his acclaimed 1990 book, Agents of Influence, author Pat Choate debunked the myth that the Japanese, as a whole, significantly contributed to the development of innovation and technology as evidenced by their annual lead in the number of U.S. patents they had filed and obtained. As Choate explained, the Japanese tilted the economic playing field, via the ruthless art of “patent flooding.”

When a U.S. firm, for example, applied for a patent representing an innovation on which the Japanese wanted to capitalize, Japanese firms issued a flurry of patent applications that surrounded the technology at hand. Thus, the original developer or inventor could not market his invention  without getting clearance from the Japanese, who could tie up an invention in the courts simply because they held nuisance patents for a component or contributing element to the major patent.

After decades of such tactics, and with China included as a leading culprit, the U.S. government still has failed to install comprehensive, necessary protections to safeguard the toil and genius of the original American patent applicant. As such, our government has unwittingly contributed to the redistribution of billions of dollars in royalties and revenues to others.

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Life

Friends: Real and Imagined

Technology can aid humankind but if we are not careful it can diminish the quality of our lives

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Researchers from the National Opinion Research Center have found that people who watch a lot of television seem to be as psychologically content as people who have many friends.

These disappointing findings stem from the fact that, “the human brain evolved long before television came along, so subconsciously it recognizes any face it sees regularly as a friend, even if it is on the screen,” says Satoshi Kanazawa, Ph.D., author of the study.

Does the above explain why society remains in a stupor of overfed, undernourished, overweight, socially inept citizens? After all they are, indeed, getting their social and psychological strokes by tuning in to see their favorite “friends” each week.

Trending on PolitiCrossing.com: Tucker: Because of Joe Biden, it’s that simple

Stuck in a Stupor?

Technology can certainly be an aid to human kind but if we are not careful it can greatly diminish the quality of our lives. Technology distracts us from our own thought, daydreams, even our own imagination.

When we fill in the time from the car to the elevator and the elevator to the office, or from lunch back to the office, with a cell phone, we interrupt the opportunity for people to marinate in their own imaginations.

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