king of animal traps 

I recently watched the story of how Penn Jilette came to be one half of Penn & Teller through his obsession with collecting and studying animal traps:

“I showed my classmates my skill, they were impressed. But not impressed enough that I felt I could make it my whole career. 

So I broadened my horizons and I diluted my goals. 

And that’s how I got to be half of Penn & Teller.”

toastmasters

I have recently started attending and have already signed up to join a local Toastmasters club. My first impressions have been overwhelmingly positive: a community of people who have all taken the step to make themselves better at speaking and being confident. 

The thing I love about the club is the diversity of talent: members range from newbies like me to Distiguished Toast Masters (DTMs) who decades of regular public speaking experience, and there’s no agenda except for personal improvement. 

One of the DTMs gave a short speech last week about how Toastmasters changed his life. This really stuck with me. He explained that Toastmasters had given him the ability to speak clearly about anything when he felt like he needed to speak, not just to be able to speak all the time. This is awesome and something I am striving towards myself. 

rooster year is bad for roosters

“According to Chinese astrology, people in their zodiac year are believed to offend Tai Sui, the God of Age, and incur his curse. It is believed to bring nothing but bad luck. Therefore Chinese astrology followers pay special attention to their conduct every twelfth year of their lives, i.e. in their birth sign years.”

source

I was born in 1981 which is the Chinese Year of the Rooster and 2017 is also the Chinese Year of the Rooster. Luckily I found out from a friend about the curse of Tai Sui and I took some precautions before the lunar year began last week:

  • My standing desk in my home office has been rotated 180° to face due East (facing away from Tai Sui in the West);
  • Kitty gave me some bright red underwear; and
  • Kitty also gave me a jade rooster which I carry around in my pocket.

Here’s hoping these precautions are enough to fend off Tai Sui, only time will tell.

→ embracing the mundane

“It wasn’t until I committed to traveling a journey of intentional self growth that I discovered where life is really lived—in the mundane. Life is lived in those in-between moments we often hurry past. It’s in the car rides to school, standing in the grocery line with your son, reading to your kids before bed time, or clearing off the dinner table as a family.”

Eric Ungs ~ 5 Simple Ways to Live an Abundant Life through Self Simplicity

Becoming Minimalist is one of the few sites I follow on Facebook and I’m always interested to read their articles.

I also really love the article The Completely Achievable Path to Becoming a One-Income Family.

my perfect day 

Kitty asks…

“Describe your perfect day”

I overthought this one for too long. It’s actually easy. I simply stole this idea from Alain de Botton:

“when life’s knocked you around a bit and when you’ve seen a few things, and time has happened and you’ve got some years under your belt, you start to think more highly of modest things like flowers and a pretty sky, or just a morning where nothing’s wrong and everyone’s been pretty nice to each other.”

My perfect day would be one where nothing goes terribly wrong and everyone in my family has been pretty nice to each other. 

My question for K:

“Would you say your best days are before you or behind you and why?”

three choices

So here I was thinking that there were only two choices in any tough situation in life:

A) change it (fight)
B) leave it (flight)

But there’s actually three:

  1. change it
  2. leave it
  3. accept it (change yourself)

Having number 3 up your sleeve is a handy trick for the occasional tough situation but I’d advise against using it too often as it has been known to lead to complacency. 

one foot in the gutter

“It’s odd the way that, in spite of the exuberant appurtenances of fame, the undeniable and, let’s face it, enjoyable tokens granted by success, I’ve always had one foot in the gutter.”

Russell Brand

I’ve always thought Fatboy Slim’s album title ‘Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars’ is an apt description of life.

As Oscar Wilde famously said:

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”