Posted in things to do

Sunset in Style

Naples, Florida is my favorite town. There are so many thingumbolimbogs to do which you can’t do other places. For example, we have the most beautiful sunset! I was talking to my friend Robert, he asked me if I ever saw the sunset having a drink and dinner at Gumbo Limbo at Ritz Carlton Beach Hotel. I had to confess I never did it, and so I went to check it out. It was an amazing experience. The food was delicious, the staff attentive and accommodating. The view of the susunsetnset is breathtaking. I had a nice dinner at Gumbo Limbo, then I decided to indulge my taste buds even further, I went to Terrazza Restaurant for Cappuccino and Tiramisu that beats all the competition. I love how cappuccino always comes with the cinnamon and sugar stick on the side – fancy.  capuccino

Tiramisu is my favorite cake. I tried it in different restaurants and in different countries. Terrazza restaurant never disappoints. I like how this Tiramisu has thin slices of delicious chocolate on top of it.

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Posted in Self- improvement

Get That Job, Date, and Contract with Good Communication Skills

The best job, date or contract gets the person with the best communication skills, not necessarily the most qualified and knowledgeable applicant. The ability to communicate effectively with family, friends, colleagues, superiors, subordinates is essential. Let’s explore together the top communications skills that will make the biggest positive impact in our lives.

The ability to listen. The ability to listen and pay attention to what is being said is critical. We all want to feel relevant, important. We tend to interrupt and insert our opinions and facts. Let’s take the time to practice active listening: pay attention, ask clarifying questions to better understand the other person. When we fully understand the other person and the situation, it is easier to make the right decision, take an appropriate action.

The ability to correctly interpret the body language. The tone of voice, the posture, the eye contact will tell a story and sometimes quite different from the one you are hearing. We must take it all into account before we make a decision.

The ability to be clear and concise. Good communication means saying just enough. Talking too much does not make us clearer it makes us appear insecure. It is a good idea to prepare in advance what we are going to say.

The ability to connect and be friendly. Through a friendly tone, smile and positive disposition we will encourage people to like us and to open up. People will not buy from us or hire us unless they like and trust us.

We must be confident. It is important to be confident in all our interactions with others. It will make us appear knowledgeable and dependable.

We must have empathy. When we disagree with another person it is important to show that we understand the other person’s position or point of view.

We must have an open mind. We must enter the conversation with a flexible mind. It is possible we made a mistake. The goal is always to benefit from the right decision even if it means changing our position.

Treat people with respect. People will like us more and will be more willing to work with us if we are respectful.

The ability to give and receive feedback. The feedback must always be constructive. Telling somebody they suck will not help the other person to improve.

Posted in Health

Let the Food Be Our Medicine

The first thing I hear from the veterinarian when I bring a sick pet: “What are you feeding him?” I think the vet figured it out! The million dollar question family doctors should be asking their sick patients – what have you been eating?

We are what we eat. Our bodies are made from the nutrients we extract from the food. Our body is like a house; we can build it with good, quality material, or we can save the effort and use whatever we can find. Average adult body loses roughly 300 billion cells every day and must replace them.

CDC scientists published a paper in the Archives of Internal Medicine demonstrating that people who were eating well, who were active and nonsmokers were 80 percent less likely to have any major chronic disease. There is no pill invented so far that can reduce the risk of premature death by 80 percent!

Our genetic makeup does not necessarily control our life or our future. Epigenetics is a process by which the genetic function changes. Epigenetics is a sort of a switch that can turn a gene off or on. Food greatly influences epigenetics.

It is important to choose quality food. Throwing “organic” into the product name became a marketing ploy. Organic potato chips are as bad for you as ordinary potato chips. The healthiest food is the least processed food like lentils, broccoli, blueberries, avocados, almonds…- the food with one word ingredient. The longer is the ingredient list the more processed the food becomes.

Food can cure diseases. Any disease can be alleviated/treated by consuming the right food. During the Age of Exploration (between 1500 and 1800), it has been estimated that scurvy killed at least two million sailors. Food rich in vitamin C cures and prevents scurvy. There are many such examples.

In order to keep our body and mind strong we need to provide our bodies with the most healing foods and God-given natural remedies available.

Posted in Community

Commissioner Answers My Questions

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Penny Taylor was very kind to meet with me and answer few questions, below is a brief recap of our conversation.

1. Does collier county “live within its budget”? How important is it to have a balanced budget?

It is important to have a balanced budget. Collier County government does a good job budgeting for the year. With property values rising for the fifth straight year and the county’s tax base increasing it is a good time to take care of the backlog of repairs that were not addressed during the recession starting in 2007. We must keep in mind, our population is growing and the taxpayer expects our level of service to be maintained.

2. What is your position on the off shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico?

I don’t support it. Accidents do happen.

3. How important to you is to protect our environment? Now there are more harmful chemicals allowed in the drinking water.

Environment is very important. People come to Collier County for the clean beaches and clean air. We have to protect the environment and we must develop with that in mind.

4. What is your position on the big farm polluters and the ensuing red tide problem?

If you look at the data you will see the sugar industry’s discharge is better south of Lake Okeechobee than what comes into the lake.  The sugar producers figured out how to clean the water. Now, north of Lake Okeechobee we have the cattle farming industry, and Florida is the second largest cattle producer in the United States. The pollution that comes from the cattle industry is a problem. The solution is to clean the water coming into Lake Okeechobee and from the North, as well as cleaning the water as it exits from Lake Okeechobee.  Everglades restoration needs the cleanest water possible.

5. What do you do to create more jobs in Collier County?

We need to bring 21st century manufacturing and technical jobs to Collier County.  I support Governor Rick Scott’s initiative for job creation.  We have to diversify our economy.  We cannot depend solely on tourism.

6. If the small businesses are the largest job creators how do we protect and encourage small business growth?

Small business will benefit through  a review and possible adjustment of specific regulations.  Regulations are important, though.  State and local incentives help small businesses.

7. The rent keeps getting higher, the salaries are not keeping up. How do we insure affordable housing for the workers in Collier County?

We were just discussing the issue of affordable housing last week. Taxpayers, developers, and the County must come together to solve this problem.  Not one entity should shoulder it alone.  One solution can be to have land already zoned.  This makes it easier for the developers.

8. How do we keep our taxes low?

We have done it.  We went through a recession and our taxes were not raised.  In the future, we will probably have a tax increase to address the many challenges we are facing today.  For example, infrastructure building and storm water management are high on the list of priorities.

9. How do we reduce crime in Collier County?

Our Sheriff does a good job in Collier County patrolling the neighborhoods through neighborhood policing.  However, there is a problem with prescription drug abuse that needs to be tackled through education and law enforcement.

Penny Taylor was very helpful and she definitely has my vote!

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Posted in Community

Meet the Neighbors: Art Petrosian

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Let’s meet all the great people in our community! My friend Art was gracious enough to give me this interview.

Question: Art, please tell me about your educational background.

Art: PhD in physics from Princeton University.

Question: In what industry do you work here in Naples?

Art: Aerospace and defense.

Question: Which company and what is your title?

Art: Cobham Aerospace Communications. I’m a director of Engineering.

Question: You are a busy guy, do you have time for friendships?

Art: Any successful manager has the ability to designate time for his personal life. Some choose to do that, others choose not to do it.

Question: What is a restaurant or a location in Naples that you visit most often?

Art: I prefer locally owned and operated establishments. A good example would be Capriccio restaurant in Naples.

Question: Did you vote in the last presidential election?

Art: Absolutely not. It would be an insult to my intelligence.

Question: Have you voted in the local elections?

Art: Yes, I did.

Question: What is the biggest problem facing Collier County right now?

Art: I can think of one – corruption.

Question: Can you give me an example?

Art: The misuse of publicly trusted power in operation of Naples Municipal Airport. I’m an active pilot, I can estimate the expected altitude for the initial or final approach. Flight plans of visiting airplanes are being purposely diverted for the convenience of wealthy people. For the last 18 years there has been no consideration for adjustment of operation of Naples Municipal Airport to benefit Collier County and Naples residents. The airport maintenance is still 100% financed by the residents of Collier County and not the wealthy visitors. The Collier County officials are sworn to serve our residents disregarding the income level.

Question: What is the biggest challenge in your career?

Art: There is absolutely no mistakes allowed in my business. If a doctor makes a mistake one person may suffer, if we make a mistake many people will be affected.

Question: Do you volunteer in the community?

Art: Yes, Florida International College and Lorenzo Walker Technical College.

 

Posted in people

How to Tell When Someone is Lying to Your Face

Without innocuous white lies, the social interaction would be a cross too hard to bear.  We also have a tendency to exaggerate the truth to impress the listeners. Most likely the vacation your friend was telling you about was not as rosy as they would like you to believe. Debunking those little lies is not the purpose of this article.

As babies, then as children we were brought up with the notion that lying is bad. When we lie, our body is placed under unnatural stress. The body will always try to relieve this stress through the body language. Some of us are nervous by nature, but even skittish people will reveal a different kind of nervousness when telling a lie. We are looking for tells, for body movements in clusters (2 or more tells) as a response to our question. We will ask the same question in different ways and once again look for tells.

Ask important questions face to face when you can observe the other person. Here are few tells to look out for:

  1. Pause in reply when the answer should be obvious. If I asked you if you robbed a bank two years ago, your reply will be instantaneous- “Of course not!” It’s not an ordinary event, you will remember robbing a bank. But if I asked you what you wore on this day two years ago you will pause to think. Even then, most likely you will not remember.
  2. Verbal/nonverbal disconnect. Our bodies are wired to match the verbal and nonverbal responses. If you detect the mismatch most likely you are hearing a lie. For example, saying how sad you are and smile at the same time.
  3. Hand to the mouth or eyes. The natural tendency to be truthful will propel a person to cover the eye as if trying not to see the lie, or block the mouth from uttering the untruth. If in reply to your question you see the person lifting their hand to mouth or eyes it is a tell they maybe lying. Again the tells must be in cluster of at least 2 to be significant.
  4. Throat clearing, visible swallowing. If a person clears his/her throat or visibly swallows prior to answering the question this is a tell. The reaction must be physical – extreme nervousness and produced dry mouth.
  5. Hands to face/head activity. If a person in response to your question lifts the hand to face, ears, hair, head -it is a tell. If a person licks or bites his/her lips -it is a tell. If you ask a question that produces anxiety, the autonomous nervous system goes to work by draining blood from the head region and hands producing uncomfortable itching, or sensation of being cold. Rubbing hands as if trying to warm up is a tell.
  6. Grooming activity. Another way that people dissipate anxiety is through grooming. The man may straighten his tie, or adjust his glasses. The woman may rearrange her skirt, or adjust her hair. If you ask an important question and the person reaches to rearrange the glass of water, pencil, or the cell phone- it is a tell.
Posted in people

Being Used or Maybe Just Being Useful

We all revolt at the idea of being used by someone. “He is using me for sex”, “She is using me for my money”…

Humans are social creatures, we evolved to survive and thrive in a group where we supplement each others strengths. If, in a group, there is a healthy balance of give and take such group as a whole will survive and get stronger.

In an unhealthy relationship, or a group you can detect psychological manipulation and exploitation of weaker members with intention to seize the power- give nothing and take everything. The manipulator will attempt to exploit the victim’s good nature, sense of duty or obligation.

It is important to distinguish a healthy social interaction from a psychological manipulation. Here are few manipulation tactics to watch out for:

  1. Distortion of facts. If I asked you: “Did you buy milk today?” There is only one honest answer. Watch out for evasiveness, excuse making, blaming the other party, withholding of key information, exaggerations and understatements.
  2. Intellectual superiority play. If you find yourself in front of an “expert” with all the right facts bulling you into making a decision, it is a good idea to postpone making that decisions.
  3. Raised voice and negative emotions. Have you ever called a company to complain about the product you have purchased? If you did, you were using a form of aggressive manipulation to coerce the company representative to give you what you want.
  4. Negative surprises. This technique is popular in negotiations. The other party unexpectedly receives news that puts you at a disadvantage and asks for additional concessions.
  5. No time to think. If you are caught in a situation where you have to make a decision right away, think the dealership and buying a new car, the other party is trying to manipulate you to take a less attractive deal.
  6. You are made to feel inadequate. The manipulator wants you to believe you deserve less.
  7. The silent treatment. The silence can be used as a form of leverage making you doubt your position.
  8. Deliberate frailty to elicit favors.