Forbidden Fruit Status

Read time: 100 seconds

On the topics of classroom management, priests, parenting, or even Adam and Eve, I would like to talk about how suppression and prohibition consistently fail as a tactic of control.

Let’s say you are a substitute teacher, do you think threats and telling the kids to shut up is an effective form of classroom management? Do you think forbidding priests to marry and have sex is helping to prevent them from pornography addictions or “interactions” with altar boys? As a parent, do threats and very restrictive boundaries prevent your children from getting into mischief or make them more inclined to do those things? Did Adam and Eve eat the apple or not?

Folks, I’d like to talk about something I like to refer to as “forbidden fruit status.” When you elevate something to FFS, do you think people are more or less likely to do that thing? If you’re like me, then you believe in expressing the truth in all things. If you educate people and show them the truth in whatever topic you’re discussing, I think most people can make an educated decision themselves. Even if they do decide to do the thing you don’t want them to do, they will experience it, and learn from their choices, and the consequences will most likely be less than learning “the hard way.” The hard way being without any education in the matter.

An example would be talking to my future daughter about sex. Ideally, I wouldn’t want her having sex until marriage, but I know that is extremely unlikely. The way I would go about getting as close to this goal as possible is simply educating her on all the different aspects of sex. I would talk about the benefits and the potential consequences, which can be extreme indeed. Tell her straight up about STD’s, pregnancy, birth control, love, infatuation, relationships, social issues, emotional and physical benefits and consequences. I would tell her what I want ideally, but that the choice is hers and I support her decision and the lessons learned. Do you think she will be more or less likely to have sex? If she does choose to have sex, do you think she will be more or less likely to plan ahead, use birth control, etc? How effective would this be compared to flat out saying, no sex until you’re 18, period?

Take action now: If you’re a parent, think about all the ways you are elevating certain things to FFS. Do you forbid your children from doing certain things? How effective is it, really? I would encourage you to talk to your children about anything and everything that requires boundaries, and set them accordingly. Truth and education is your strongest tool. Use it to your advantage!

If you have read my other articles, you should be hesitant to take my advice without question…especially since I am not a parent!  Here are a couple studies which support my post 😉

LongTerm Behavioral Effects of Cognitive Dissonance. JONATHAN L. FREEDMAN. Stanford University

Forbidden Fruit: When Prohibition Increases the Harm It Is Supposed to Reduce. Dwight Filley

Pimp my Ride

Read time: 2 minutes

This is my car. Seriously. No I am not involved with the Asian mafia as some people have commented. Folks, this is the result of softball-sized hail. I’m going to explain why this seemingly disaster was one of the best things to ever happen to me.

The first reason is strictly monetary. I bought my car for $3500 from my aunt. It is a 1998 Acura Integra GSR. After the storm, I was paid $5300 and I was able to keep the car for a mere $500! I literally made money on this car. Plus, nothing feels better than not having to make car payments month after month. Consumer debt makes you a wage slave to your possessions.

The second reason is it helped in my social unconditioning. We are programmed to “keep up with the Jones’s” in this day and age. Where beauty and the latest greatest thing are highly sought and where old, ugly, and outdated is looked down upon. This was, for me, a huge step in getting out of this consumer-driven world. It is very humbling to drive around a POS vehicle where people gawk, stare, and even come up to me to find out what happened. While I highly recommend traveling and helping those less fortunate to get over your ego, this event has done wonders for mine.

The final reason is that I feel it helps when I am meeting with tenants. If I were driving around a nice shiny beemer, do you think my tenants would appreciate it or feel resentment towards me? By driving this crap car around, I actually think they feel sorry for me, and at least realize that I am “one of them” when it comes to worldly possessions. Plus they don’t see me as a rich bigot and will be less likely to stiff me on rent because in their eyes I’m a nice guy just trying to get by like they are. Which is true…for now. 😉

Take action now: Are you socially conditioned to believe you must have the latest, greatest thing to show off to people? Do you live your life seeking approval from others? Well, now is the time to stop living for others and live for yourself. Stop trying to impress others and just do the things that make you happy. Think of the last time you did or bought something for the sole purpose of wanting to “show off.” Realize that this life is not a competition, and that those who die with the most toys still die. Do not seek approval from others. True happiness comes from within. I know, it’s much easier said than done for a lot of people, but if you are one of those who struggles with this, I hope eventually you can come to this realization. I’m here for you if you need any support!

4/15/12 update:

I was hit by a car a week ago and ended up getting $2585.04 from the insurance and I got to keep my car!  My mechanic fixed it for less than $200!  I will still drive my car even though it will look even worse because the engine is still good.  The car with 9 lives! :razz:

6/20/12 update:

There must have been a leak in the coolant and I must have blown a gasket.  The car overheats.  Trying to sell it for $850 on craigslist to someone looking to build a racecar.  It is finally the end of an era…;-)

Free Grilled Chicken

Read time: 90 seconds

Do you remember a few years back when Oprah and KFC teamed up to offer free grilled chicken to whoever would print the coupon and take it to the restaurant? Perhaps you even participated in this as I did at the time. I also remember huge lines and KFC even running out of chicken.

What a total waste of time.

Take a step back and ask yourself how much your time is worth. Time is by far the most valuable resource we have. Check out this chart to see how the average American worker spends their day.


Are you willing to waste your precious life energy by waiting in line for a $6 bucket of chicken? How about black friday? People camping outside of Walmart just so they can waste their money on crap they don’t need. If they knew the exact day their life would end, how soon would that need to be for them to realize sleeping outside of a store is not the best use of their time? 3 months? 6 months? 5 years?

Look around at the people you know. How do they value their time? Are they glued to the tv watching America’s Got Talent? Are they waiting in line for hours just to buy some unneeded trinket? Show me someone who watches hours of tv all day and I’ll bet they are not financially free. How can you make better use of your time?

Take action now: Make a list of all the things you do in your free time in a column. On a scale from 1-10, rate how much joy these things bring to your life. Are you doing the things you truly enjoy, that bring you true happiness; or, are you vegging out in front of the tv “just because” or “because you’re bored.” Are you seeking escape from your life? Find the things that bring true joy to your life: spending time with family and friends, engaging in physical activity you enjoy, traveling, the list goes on and on. Don’t waste your precious life on things that don’t bring you true joy and happiness in this world. Carpe diem

On Congruency

Read time: 2 minutes

One of my goals on here is to be a credible source of information. Basically, if I haven’t done something personally or have direct experience in “fill in the blank topic here” I won’t act like an expert on the topic. If I’m bullshitting on here, I actually hope people will call me out on it.

One thing that I see all too often is so called “experts” in certain areas trying to give good advice, but actually taking advantage of people. Even some bloggers put up fronts and actually make their money in other ways or live their lives differently than they portray.

A big area in this realm is personal finance. There is a certain female “financial guru” who will give advice on saving and having a well diversified portfolio, but some basic research will show that she herself has less than 5% of her portfolio in the actual stock market. Do you think she made her money saving and investing in the stock market? Yeah right! She made it selling books and doing interviews and whatnot.

Think of any person in the financial arena who gives so called advice on personal finance. Did any of them get rich by snowballing their money or maxing their Roth IRA or 401k? While they may do that and it may have helped, the majority got rich through other means. Books, seminars, audio programs, interviews, ad nauseum. Congruency people!

The same goes with regular financial advisors (I used to be one). If someone has a lower net worth than you do, would you entrust your life savings with them? It’s lunacy!

Take any topic of interest. For example, health. Would you take diet and fitness advice from a personal trainer who was morbidly obese? How about relationships. Would you take advice from someone who’s been divorced more times than they can count? How about learning a new skill. Would you rather learn from an olympic champion, or some bum who didn’t even make their college team?

Look for congruency in all areas of life. If someone hasn’t walked the walk, don’t take their advice!

Take action now: Think of a “guru” or even regular joe who you take advice from. Could be a person you’ve never met or the guy you work with. Do a little research and see if they have actually accomplished what they are trying to sell you. If not, then don’t take their advice! Most wealthy people did not make their money in the stock market. (They might retain their wealth through it though…) Most healthy, fit people didn’t get that way by taking some magic pill and sitting around eating twinkies all day (although some do that and are blessed with a high metabolism). Look for areas that are lacking in congruency and take action to get them on the right track! There aren’t many true “quick and easy fixes” in this world. Buck up cowboys and girls and do the hard work needed to get where you want to be. You can do it!


The only thing we have complete control of in this world

Read time: 4 minutes

Sometimes, life really craps on you.  But no matter the situation, the only thing we have control of is our reactions.  I would like to share with you the law of the garbage truck.

How often do you let other people’s nonsense change your mood? Do you let a bad driver, rude waiter, curt boss, or an insensitive employee ruin your day?  Unless you’re the Terminator, for an instant you’re probably set back on your heels.  However, the mark of a successful person is how quickly that person can get back their focus on what’s important. Sixteen years ago I learned this lesson. I learned it in the back of a New York City taxi cab. Here’s what happened:

I hopped in a taxi, and we took off for Grand Central Station. We were driving in the right lane when, all of a sudden, a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car’s back end by just inches! The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and he started yelling bad words at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was friendly. So, I said, “Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!”And this is when my taxi driver told me what I now call, “The Law of the Garbage Truck.”

Many people are like garbage trucks.  They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment.  As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it. If you let them, they’ll dump it on you.   When someone wants to dump on you, don’t take it personally. You just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on.   You’ll be happy you did. So this was it: The “Law of the Garbage Truck.”

I started thinking, how often do I let Garbage Trucks run right over me? And how often do I take their garbage and spread it to other people: at work, at home, on the streets? It was that day I said, “I’m not going to do it anymore.”I began to see garbage trucks. Like in the movie “The Sixth Sense,” the little boy said, “I see Dead People.”   Well, now “I see Garbage Trucks.” I see the load they’re carrying. I see them coming to drop it off. And like my Taxi Driver, I don’t make it a personal thing; I just smile, wave, wish them well, and I move on.

One of my favorite football players of all time, Walter Payton, did this every day on the football field.  He would jump up as quickly as he hit the ground after being tackled. He never dwelled on a hit. Payton was ready to make the next play his best. Good leaders know they have to be ready for their next meeting. Good parents know that they have to welcome their children home from school with hugs and kisses. Leaders and parents know that they have to be fully present, and at their best for the people they care about. The bottom line is that successful people do not let Garbage Trucks take over their day. What about you?   What would happen in your life, starting today, if you let more garbage trucks pass you by? Here’s my bet.

You’ll be happier.

I often refer to the example of two people getting in an accident and both becoming paraplegic.  One becomes bitter at the world; hates himself, life, and his situation; this person becomes a shut in and loses a lot of friends and family simply because of his new take on life.  He lives out the rest of his life cursing his bad luck and in a miserable state.

The other person decides to make the best of the situation.  He realizes that his life is not over and that he can still find meaning and do great things.  This person starts a non-profit organization for spinal cord research and goes on to become a well-known motivational speaker.  He lives a rich and fulfilling life and finds meaning in helping others.

This situation is not that far-fetched and can easily apply to things not as drastic as a medical injury.  Are you bitter at the world and blaming anyone or anything for your current situation?  Or are you taking charge of your life and determined to make things happen for the better?  The choice is yours.

I recently fell off a roof and landed on my face on some concrete steps.  Lost two teeth, had 5 staples in my head, broke my elbow and wrist.  Despite my injuries, I realize things could have been much worse, and am thankful I am alive and (mostly) well.  This picture was taken just minutes after my accident and just before I went to the hospital.

Make the most of every situation.  Take control of the only thing you have control of: your reactions and attitude towards life.  When you start to see the garbage trucks in your life (or maybe you are one?) hopefully it will inspire you find the good in all situations.

Take Action Now:  Right now, think of someone in your life who is a garbage truck.  Seriously, stop reading and think of someone. Maybe you don’t even like this person very much.  But if you think about it, those negative feelings towards that person should turn to pity and then to compassion.  This person is acting the way they are because they feel they have no control, when, in actuality, they have complete control.  The next time you feel like dumping on someone due to a situation out of your “control,” take a step back and manage your emotions and reactions.  A phrase I like to use is “this too, shall pass.”  If you can control your emotions and reactions, I guarantee you will have a much happier and fulfilling life.  :razz: