Posted in Self- improvement

Is Institution of Marriage Obsolete?

A new study came out to challenge our deep-seated belief that marriage will make us healthier and happier. In the article, “The Ambiguous Link Between Marriage and Health”, published online in the journal Social Forces, sociologist Matthijs Kalmijn cites a 16-year survey of a nationally representative sample of more than 11,000 Swiss adults to make a point that there are no significant health benefits to being married. Many enthusiasts and promoters of single lifestyle ran wild with the idea that the institution of marriage is obsolete. Gays and lesbians seem to miss the memo and still cannot wait to tie the knot!

You are not alone. Love is all you need! We all agree it is important to have quality relationships. Good relationships affect positively our health and well being. Marriage is the ultimate quality relationship. You may be useless to the society, but you will always be important to your family. Good relationship and marriage inspires us to be a better person. Our government realizes the importance of marriage and a family unit. Married people enjoy many legal and financial benefits.

According to Pew Research Center marriage rates have declined since 1970. Overall, married adults have made greater economic gains over the past four decades than unmarried adults. The decline in marriage rates has been steepest for the least educated adults. Thus, college educated Americans who already have the largest incomes and who have had the largest gains in earnings since 1970 have fortified their financial advantage over less educated Americans because of their tendency to be married.

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Posted in Self- improvement

Healthy lifestyle and Spirituality

A good comedian once said: “Our fight today is not against Islam, it is against religion. No one’s head has ever been cut off in the name of atheism.” For me, spirituality is just another tool to take advantage of to enhance the quality of life. Like any tool, it can be misused.

Spiritual life should always reflect the progress of the society, advances in science and technology, in the same time it should help people to get in touch with the universal goodness and inner divine self. Spiritual life helps person to be a part of the community, a part of the family.

Spiritualism is a search for something sacred. People approach spirituality through religion, meditation, yoga, or personal reflection. Atheist is a person who does not believe in God. Agnostic is a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God. A religious person is someone who believes in God and follows the rules of the particular religion. There are estimated 10,000 distinct religions worldwide. Here are few reasons why throughout the centuries we embraced spirituality:

Spiritual people are kind. Many studies demonstrated that expressing gratitude is associated with positive emotions like optimism, generosity and compassion.

Spiritual people flourish. Spiritual people have positive relationships, high self-esteem and generally have meaningful lives. Spiritual people consider personal growth and fulfillment as a central goal; they focus on the internal values and work on becoming a better person.

Spirituality can provide clarity, gives you the ability to see and understand the bigger picture.

Spiritual practices help to focus attention and center yourself. Emotional storms, unpredictable circumstance and fears about the future will have less influence on you.

Spiritual practices improve the mood and fill you with joy.

Spiritual practice will help you live in the moment, enjoy the blessings you have right now. It will help to establish a much deeper relationship with the internal, divine you.

Posted in Community

My Conversation with Commissioner Bill McDaniel

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

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

It is important that we live within our means. I believe in government of the people, by the people, and for the people. The apathy of the voters allowed special interests to take control and government became “not for the people” as much. Local government has responsibilities: keep the community safe, provide infrastructure/roads, provide quality of life/recreation. Collier County lives within its means, but perhaps we overspend on extraneous priorities. 

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

From the standpoint of global economics, we are a petroleum based industrial society. In the future, perhaps in the next 50 years, the informational age will take over with its clean energy and new technology.  However, it is not sustainable today.  Oil, natural gas, and coal are important resources now. That said, I’d rather not see the off shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, it is harder to fix problems when we extract oil from under the water.  We can manage these regulations in favor of more onshore oil and gas extraction. 

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

Humans are the dominant species of the planet.  It is our duty and obligation to protect the environment, but not at all costs. How important is it to protect the environment – very important! Water is the substance of all life. We are doing a good job; collier county residents have clean and up-to-standards water. 

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

We had a noticeable red tide problem last year due to few months of unprecedented rainfall (19 inches).  It caused the fertilizer from the land to drain into the water. The problem was not so much the farms; although, we do need to take care of the quality of water up north that drains into the Kissimmee River which feeds into Lake Okeechobee. We also need to build the reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to curb discharges in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers.

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

We make Immokalee the economic epicenter, expand the airport in Immokalee  and build the necessary infrastructure. We also need to connect SR 29 with SR 80.  We want to move away from relying on natural resources to relying on our greatest resources – our people. With a good education our people can manufacture goods and services right here in Collier County and with good infrastructure we can ship our products everywhere else. We must stimulate non-construction related industry.

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

Government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Lately, the government hasn’t been for the people. We need to reduce regulations to 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?

There is always affordable housing available, but a lot of times people just don’t want to live in that location. We want quality wine on a beer budget. It just doesn’t work that way. Government should not be in the business of subsidizing the affordable housing. What we can do is to reduce regulations and the expenses to the developers and builders so they can make housing less expensive  and more affordable to the residents.

8.  How do we keep our taxes low?

We will be able to maintain our very low tax rate, if we adjust our priorities to those outlined in #1.

9.  How do we reduce crime in Collier County?

The sheriff is doing a good job. The crime rate in collier county is down.

Bill McDaniel was very helpful and he definitely has my vote!

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Posted in Health

Love or Substance…Break That Addiction

I keep falling in love. It is always this dangerous kind of love, addictive love. It is as if I turn off my brain, and fall prey to the tornado of feelings. Evolution endowed us with many gifts, one is our large prefrontal cortex, which gives us better ability to control ourselves compared to our ancient ancestors and the rest of the animal kingdom. We can think, we can choose not to react, we can plan, we can evaluate alternative actions. Just like we train our body to be physically strong, we must train our mind to be strong as well.

Here are few things we can do to take advantage of the fact that we got a brain and improve our self-control:

  1. Have a balanced life. Reduce stress by planning activities giving ourselves plenty of time for rest and play. Set up time to have relaxing healthy meals, set up time for exercise, set up time for work and friendships.
  2. Stay focused on your goals. “Plan your work, then work your plan.” Margaret Thatcher. We must have a plan, and we must stick with it. By planning we reduce the chaos and unpredictability around us. We become secure in our environment.
  3. Never overestimate our willpower, never assume. We may think we conquered our weakness, but the smartest thing to do is to stay clear of temptation. For example, if you are trying to quit smoking you must avoid the company of smokers, avoid stores that sell cigarettes…. And be prepared to do this forever!
  4. Change our thinking and behavioral patterns. We must develop healthy habits. It takes time and repetition to overwrite the bad habit with a good habit. Keep reinforcing (repeating) the good habit. Postpone the reaction, postpone the decision. Fight the impulsiveness by taking a deep breath and walking away without reacting.
  5. Get rid of automatic “bad” thoughts. A lot of times we become negative without even realizing it, a negative thought arises and we go with it. Do not suppress bad thoughts about indulging in unwanted behavior, instead replace those thoughts with the good thoughts of your goals and success. Think always positive.
  6. No redemption for bad behavior. If you indulge and overeat today, the trip to the gym next day will not redeem you.
  7. Notice things/situations that prompt you to indulge your weakness. Resolve the situation before you relapse. For example, after a stressful day you crave a cigarette, which helps you to relax. Take control, as soon as you start feeling stressed take a break, go to the gym, watch a movie, just stop. Find a substitution healthy activity to fight stress.
  8. Do not allow for loser mentality. Train yourself not to give up. The more you quit the easier it gets to quit again and again.
  9. Believe in your ability to achieve the goal.

 

Posted in Community

Meet the Neighbors: Dr. Tony Barringer

tbarringMy friend, Dr. Tony A. Barringer, was kind enough to grant me the interview for my blog.

Question:  Tony, is formal education important to succeed in life?

I would say that it definitely increases the likelihood for success especially if we’re referencing monetary success. The formal education allows one to get into the game when certain qualifying credentials are needed. It definitely allowed me an opportunity to escape the woes of the Southside of Chicago.

Question: What is your educational background?

I have a BS in Criminal Justice, a Master’s in Public Administration and a Doctorate in Criminology.

Question: What is the biggest challenge you faced in your career?

My biggest challenge is continuing to do the right thing when that might not be the most popular decision. I have vowed to not let any job cause me to compromise the core principle by which I live. To me, at the end of the day, all you have is your name and what you stand/stood for.

Question: What advice would you give to young people trying to decide in what area to specialize professionally?

I would always advise a person to follow his/her passion. Choose a career that excites you about doing it every day. The ideal job would be something that you would do even if you were not compensated/paid. I’m more driven by the passion to assist and help than I am about great fortune and wealth. Having said this, I feel that no one should be afraid to achieve and sell him or herself short out of fear of failing.

Question: Is it important to follow one’s dream even if financially it may not be feasible, or if there was no income potential?

This reply would be very similar to my response to previous question.   Enjoying what you do is invaluable. As long as you are honest with yourself about why you chose a certain career and you can live with that decision, it’s all good.

Question: Are you following local politics? Do you vote in the local elections?

To a point. I realize that local politics are the same issues that are on the national scene; just a smaller scale. For numerous reasons, I do not vote in local elections. That being the case, I am careful not to complain about the results. To me, that would be hypocritical.

Question: Can you think of one important issue Lee County is facing right now?

Law enforcement and Community relations. There appears to be a major issue with the minority community not trusting the “system”. This is heavily tied into the second major issue of racism and race relations. We definitely need dialogue in this arena.

Posted in Health

How to Achieve Positive Attitude, Peace of Mind

If you are one of those people who say: I will have fun when I finish college, or I will have fun when I have my dream job, or make lots of money – you are spending the best years of your life in misery hoping that one day in the future you may enjoy your life. Life is a journey, we should enjoy every moment of it right now. It is important to set goals and have challenges to stimulate us, make life more interesting. However, we must be smart and have everything in moderation especially the stress.

Here are few steps for a more balanced and productive life:

  1. Monitor your thoughts. Mind is like a garden where thoughts can be beautiful flowers or garden weeds. Thoughts are energy, the energy tends to transform in material things. Use this to your advantage – encourage positive thinking. Slowly begin to substitute negative thoughts with more optimistic ones. Stop worrying. We have 30,000-75,000 thoughts per day, most of them are nonproductive, worrying thoughts. If the thoughts don’t improve our state of mind, get rid of them.
  2. Be mindful. Live in the moment. Pay attention and enjoy the experiences you have right this moment.
  3. Always strive to be a good person, do the right thing. Be helpful.
  4. Have a sense of humor. Laughter is a great stress reducer. Be playful, don’t take yourself too seriously.
  5. Take care of your health: eat right, exercise.
  6. Slow down. Take time to plan your actions. Stop making decisions on autopilot. Take all the decision that you make automatically and reevaluate your actions, there may be a better solution.
  7. Connect with others.
  8. Be thankful for the good things in your life.
  9. Have goals; know where you are headed.
  10. Evaluate once a year your positions. Are you happy with your job? Are you happy with your relationships? Make adjustments- fix it or let it go.
Posted in Politics

Governor of Florida Job Back on the Market in 2018

November 6, 2018 we will be electing the new governor of Florida. Rick Scott ran for the post of governor in 2010 and 2014. In 2010, Rick Scott ran on a platform of growing jobs, downsizing government, drug testing welfare recipients and cracking down on illegal immigration. In 2014, he ran on a platform of growing jobs, more tax cuts, improving education and the environment. On those reasonable promises, we elected Rick Scott to be our governor.

Rick Scott had a bumpy start, as a new governor he proposed $3.3 billion in cuts to education, but then modified his position. He has promised to ask the legislature to double investment in digital learning initiatives.

Here are Governor Scott’s most noticeable achievements and failures:

Require drug screening for welfare recipients (Failure)

Create over 700,000 jobs (In the works)

Will fight to repeal federal health care law (In the works)

Enact tougher penalties for violating environmental regulations (Failure)

Eliminate the state’s manufacturing tax (Done)

Raise per-pupil education spending to an all-time high (Done)

Reduce the state’s communications services sales tax (Done)

Eliminate the state’s manufacturing tax (Done)

Reduce property tax (Failure)

Will fight immigration amnesty (Done)

Pay teachers based on performance (Done)

Eliminate tenure for new teachers (Done)

Expand use of nuclear power and alternative fuel (Achieved a compromise)

Will oppose and veto any tax increase (Done)

Reduce prisoner costs by $1 billion (Failure)

Make Florida No. 1 in higher education affordability (In the works)

Will not take the $130,000 governor’s salary (Done)

Do you remember the old cliche’ – despise the free lunch. Were we lucky to have Rick Scott work for us for free?