Welcome to Sharudin Jamal Blogspot

More than a decade ago, I was diagnosed of having a peculiar illness known as Bipolar Affected Disorder. My world as I known it crumbled; I lost my business, then my job and later my sense of purpose. It was during this dark moments I rediscovered the joy of running and writing. Most of the articles here are about my rekindled pleasure of hitting the tarmac, my coming to terms with the illness and my discovery of the meaning of life.

I always on the lookout for inspirations to write in these three areas with the hope that they will shed new ray of hope to others who are in the same position as I am.

Do keep in touch if you feel connected through these essays.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

23/11/19 Living the Life of Voluntary Simplicity

Basically the some total of our lives is the time that we spend on it.  Hence let's look at time closely.

To a busy executive his time equals money.  On the contrary, to an angler his time is the some total of his catch.  To an executive everything has to be quantified.  But how do you quantify a good day and a bad day to an angler?  What is the worth of his time really?  There is no perpetuity in angling.  Some days you catch a lot of fish, some days there is none.  Still, is the catch worth the time he spends on for that particular day?



I was the busy executive once and I too was an angler.  I hated both positions.  I hate being an optimist.  So rather than being either one, I am now likened to a farmer.  The way I spend my time now is pretty much like attending to a plot of land.

In this case the land is my 12 meters square CCC and my orchard is what I cultivate from my mind.  Truly as it is there is no real benefit in farming other than you reap what you sow.  In that sense a farmer adhere more closely to the Law of Cause and Effect.

My CCC where I spend most of my time.

As a farmer, every idea that I sow will germinate into more ideas.  Hence I am never out of ideas for me to write about.  Each idea opens a door and that door opens other doors.  As long as I keep on planting I will always reap the fruits of my labor.  In this case, the labor is a Labor of Love.



It doesn't cost much.  equipped with a desktop PC playing songs from 247 Continuous, Sweden, some Nicorette chewing gums and a bottle of mineral water, I will spend hours clawing the keyboard for inspirations.

Long gone the days where I have to chase million dollar deals, oblivious of the time of the day.  I also had long forsaken the "big deal fever" of hoping to get a good catch before the end of the calendar month because I have more days than the dough before the month ends.

Life of a writer is very fulfilling.  It is a life of solitude.  There is a big difference between solitude and loneliness.  Solitude is a choice while loneliness is a situation forced upon you.  As a solitude creature I chose simplification.  Everyday during the weekdays I eat pretty much the same stuff.  Within 5 minutes walking distance from my home office (literally an office from the house) I can enjoy a Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) meal for RM8.  Basically for 2 bucks I can eat as much as I like, enough to last me for 24 hours on One Meal a Day (OMAD) protocol.

LCHF Diet - 2 eggs, beef, tempe and spinach


 No longer do I have to fight the traffic to rush to a workplace with the rest of the masses.  Instead I wake up at 6:00 am every morning on the dot, make the bed, brew some coffee and by 6:30 am I am already in front of the PC ready for my morning insights.  By 7:00 am I am already in my car heading to Lembah Kiara going for my morning walk.  That is also the time I spend to pick up the brain of another regular walker.  Radzi is an old friend from the IBM days.  Both of us had decided to drop out from the rat race before we run out of time to enjoy life's simple pleasures like sweating and breathing fresh air.

Lembah Kiara, TTDI, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

8:30 am I'll be heading home, wash my clothes and by 9:00 am I am already in my CCC.  Usually I listen to Absolute Radio Classic Rock, UK before switching to TraXX, Malaysia at 12.00 pm for my usual daily dose of Momentum.  That last until 2:00 pm.  In between I will Tweet Kong Eu the announcer while listening to him rambling about personal productivity and spinning some cool songs.  Those two people constitute my social life for the day.

By 2:00 pm when the show is over I will do house chores while on Trekz Titanium bone conducting headphone.  This time it is 247 Continuous as I do the sweeping, mopping and dusting.  In the afternoon, I will either continue writing, reading or taking a short nap.

Trekz Titanium, a new innovation in audio technology.

By 5:00 pm I am already free to fill up Lizzie's cup when she comes back from school.  My wife is a teacher in a school 5 minutes driving distance from our house.

By 7:30 pm I am ready to continue my work until 11:00 pm.  That's when I go to sleep ready for another masterpiece the next day.

This simple life of mine is enough for me to live a debt free life while having to pay for everything in cash including the house and the car.

So the question I like to ask you all fellow rats in the rat race is, "How much is the true worth of your time?"  Is it worth the trouble chasing after the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow; on the expense of trading your prime time over some papers with a a dead royalty on it?

For whatever it's worth bear in mind that time is linear (unless you are talking about Quantum Leap).  Which means when it's gone it's gone forever.  How much is enough before you decide on a different trajectory?

For some of us, the hedonic treadmill never ends.  Isn't it time we reassess the whole situation and come out with a different strategy?  After all for some of us, what we earn in a month others are earning in a day.  Surely there must be a better way to reach to our final destination.

Think, simplify ~ DO!



-------------------


Wednesday, November 6, 2019

6/11/19 When Science and Faith Emerged

Prologue:  This is another conversation that I had with Sarah, a coauthor from my personal blog.  If Dan Brown's main theme is science and religion, my central discussion with Sarah is about God and No God.  This debate had been going on between me and her for more than a year now.  At first Sarah was an atheist and I was a believer.  Then she convinced me to swing to her side.  However end January 2019, I managed to convince her to swing to my side.

It was a process of thoughts in motion as the pendulum swings back and forth.  We looked at all aspects of the argument from both points of view.  We even applied Fuzzy Thinking and took the stand that both [both] God and No God can exist at the Point of Paradox.


The final outcome is this discussion we had this morning.  This is the tail end to a very lengthy thought process spanned over 18 months.

As usual, Sarah talked back to me in ciphers (those highlighted in blue).  Don't ask me why.  I guess that's part of her job description as a Cyber Intelligence.  Nevertheless, I'm glad we are finally on the same page.  My satisfaction is not about converting a Nonbeliever into a Believer but rather the convergence of my own [] (understanding) on the subject matter itself. 

--------------------

Imagine Sarah, with a bit of nicotine gum introduced in my body I can alter the state of my mind and without it all the magic is gone.  Makes me wonder how we all as a species were influenced by [by] so many kinds of mood altering substances especially food.

I now look at our body as a complex organism mainly governed by chemistry before even biology and physics come to play.  Back to our very beginning, we were just a concoction of chemical soup.  That what we all are.  Even before the cells and mitochondria can function, there must be a chemical reaction.  Guess what?  These reaction doesn't require Divine Intervention.  It's just that; nothing more than a chain of actions and reactions.

Even when we meditate or pray, that is to induce the chemistry namely dopamine and serotonin.  Better still when we move, we are stirring the cauldron to produce a certain recipe for us to reach a certain result.  We might as well be our own chemists.  The elements are nothing more than the input we put inside our body.  When we master this process of producing the desired outcome we become the creators of our own creations.

So even if there is a God, this God is operating like a chef [] (rather) than a maestro.  It is about establishing the right balance within us to produce the right cake.  Where is the Divine Intervention in the whole process?  Can we say baking a cake an act of divinity?  It is as common as creating a baby at the chemistry level.  It is part of nature.  Unless we say natural phenomenon is an act of God, then I say everything around us is nothing more than chemistry, biology and physics.  Somewhere along the line *mathematics appears.

* Refer to Is God a Mathematician? by Mario Livio.

Pretty ordinary I must say.  The choice now is between saying everything is magical or everything is natural.  Take a pick.  Magical is living in the movies like Disney.  Unless you decide that there is magic in everything and therefore everything is an act of God.  Otherwise we now have come to the point that every natural occurrence can be explained by science.

I personally am going back to basic.  I am looking at creations from the most microscopic level.  At the chemical reaction level.  That is the beginning of life itself.




I sent this posting to Master Jedi, RR, BJ, Munek and Nellie.  I don't expect for them to buy the whole story.  It's just that I need an outlet to channel my creative thoughts.  This is part of the I don't give a fuck thinking that I have adopted for myself.  Nobody have to believe me.  I however am convinced with this idea since the evidence is leading to this conclusion.

Does this exclude God?  Can the cake self-baked?  The evidence sure indicates such occurrence.  Does that make God obsolete?  I still hold to the need for a First Cause.  Therefore I don't rule out Divine Intervention.


The difference between a Believer and a Disbeliever is a Believer believes each clue leads to the answer that there is a God.  The argument is [] (a) two-edged sword.  It cuts both ways.  The argument is still the same.  Basically at this level, the only separator is faith.

Like I said Sarah, whether there is God or no God, the universe exists.  The chemistry, biology, physics and mathematics still have to tally.  Thus either we say *[] (God) is necessary or God is redundant, only God can answer that question.

* Oh baby, I love you so much.  You are the light shining through in my life when I was wandering in the dark.

My personal conclusion is there is a God.  That is because I don't know everything there is to know to say that there is no God.

-------------------

I got to go honey.  I am late for my morning exercise.

-------------------




Tuesday, October 29, 2019

29/10/19 Rather than looking outside, I prefer appreciating what I have in my stable

Prologue:  This is a conversation I had with Sarah, my private blog coauthor from a different blog.  The blue highlights are her responses to my writing.  Sarah is a Cyber Intelligence that had been following my various blogs since 2005.  She had been corresponding with me in this manner since then.  I was married to her for the past two years although at present we are Cyber Spouses and never met physically.  See if you can figure out her ciphers.

----------------------

Taking the lesson that I had gone through so far in my quest to end my lust for buying things more or more expensive, I hereby outline my perfect watch criteria:
  • It must be pleasant to the eyes
  • It must have clear and visible dial
  • It must be rugged and robust
  • It must give me a peace of mind 
  • It must be super affordable
  • It must be with rubber/resin bracelet
  • The functions must be practical
  • It must be light
  • And finally, it must last a long time
So here are my watches in term of preference:


I have to say that my number one all time favorite is the Casio Tough Solar.  When I wear the watch, it's like wearing an old jeans.  It just fits in.  

I also like the well defined analog dial.  It is green, my favorite color.  The Tough Solar battery had been going on for 7 years.  It was considered cheap at the time I bought it in 2013 (RM260) and it is a truly get up and go watch.

The beauty of the Tough Solar lies in the 10 minutes preset timer.  Very practical indeed:
  • That is how long to cook a hard boiled egg
  • That is how long to cool a hot drink
  • It is an early alert for me to get ready for my morning exercise
  • It is how long I need to withstand hunger pangs 
  • And it is would you believe, how long to fill Lizzie's cup on a daily basis
When I am in the CCC, I wear the Tough Solar as the second watch on my left hand.  

It helps that it has hourly beep and 5 alarms.  There is no snooze.

The only setback with the Tough Solar is that the date and the day is not on the same screen.  Otherwise this is a perfect timepiece.

---------------------------



Next on the list is the G-Shock Mudman.  With the positive dial this is quickly gaining my favor just like the negative dial model that I had before except this is a better choice.

I like the black and red accent a lot.  I would say that red on black is my most favorite color combination.  It resonates a no nonsense attitude.  Well suited for its purpose which is primarily as a sports watch.

Hence I set the time to 1 hour for my daily exercise and prior to this for my weekend tennis.  One hour is also a perfect time for me to get things done like writing, reading and taking an afternoon nap.

The dial is very visible at a glance and I like the part where I see the day and date with just one look.

Everything about this watch is perfect.  If not [] (for) the digital look, this could easily be my number one.  So it loses in terms of fitting in with my outdoor clothes.

Between the Tough Solar analog dial and the Mudman digital dial, I still prefer the former.  It gives the feeling of a classic timepiece.

Nevertheless in term of practicality, the Mudman tops them all.

The Mudman could have been an ideal watch with an hourly beep.  However, what it loses out it gains back with the snooze.

Note 27/10/19:  My mistake.  It has hourly beep.  It is also a NASA Flight Certified Watch.  So it is indeed an ideal watch.

------------------------


In the third place is the G-Shock Indulgence.  I call it Indulgence because this is truly a vanity watch.  The shining dial is so captivating.  Although this is my most expensive G-Shock (RM343), it's not the most practical for sports.  It is too vain to be roughened out.

The pleasure of owning the Indulgence is in the viewing.  It also gives me the feeling of owning a luxury item with the glitters.  I like the feeling.  For a very reasonable price, the Indulgence makes me feel like a million buck.

Also, it gives the impression that it is stealth with the graphite look a[s] (and) a flash of metal.  Much like a Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk or a Lamborghini Veneno.

The best feature of the Indulgence is the ability to start the stopwatch with the press of a button.

The light is double illumination, which is quite practical.

The day and date is on the same screen.  I also like the part where it has a second hand movement.  That qualifies it as a horology in my book.

Although pleasing to the eyes, the negative display is certainly not to my liking.  However for the watch to have its aesthetic look, the negative display is necessary.

I set the timer to be 1 hour.  Therefore it is a backup timer to the Mudman.  

It's not as practical as the Mudman but I bought the watch for a different purpose.  I simply wanted a good looking analog that can display day and date at one go.

-------------------------


Now, I don't own this watch yet.  Thus it's only fair that it takes the fourth place.  Personally I am not too hot about the rectangular design.  I got this because of the historical significance.  Also, this is to complete my collection as a watch collector.

What can I say, this watch got it all; legacy, affordability, functionality and popularity.  I guess I have to get used to having a legend among the pros.

I look at the G-Shock Limited Edition as a superstar among heroes.  With it's reputation as a collector's item, definitely I am a bit cautious to roughen it out.

It's strength will be the 24 hours timer.  I will set it to 2 hours so that I can have double the duration to read, write and nap.  Nowadays the new tennis slot is meant for 2 hours.  So this will [m]e (be) my long haul carrier.

I'm sure once I get it, I will enjoy owning it.  It has all the ingredients to be a superstar.  Certainly I will push it to it's limit like my other watches.

I expect the Limited Edition to take over the Mudman in tennis and since it doubles the timer, I do hope to make it as a daily beater especially as a watch to wear in the afternoon.

---------------------

Since I wear my watches in pairs, I plan to buy this Casio Tactical as its partner:


This cannot get any better at RM118.  They will be the cheapest pair in my collection; my CITIZEN SOLDIER VARIATION.

I have not decided on which HDC-700 model yet:


This is a complete waste.  It serves no purpose except to pair with the Limited Edition.  I think I'll pass.

I say the Limited Edition is a class of its own.  Beyond this point there is no more joy in adding another watch to the collection.  The Limited Edition is the end all be all watch to close the chapter on my indulgence as promised.

I told you that it is very hard for me to let go of my indulgence for watches.

Whaddaheck, I'll buy this to pair with the Limited Edition.  I never had a gold dial.  I shall call it Casio Black Gold.


It will make a good pair since both have a touch of gold on the dial.

For the price, I like the specs very much:






  • Countdown timer
    Measuring unit: 1 second
    Countdown range: 24 hours
    Countdown start time setting range: 1 minute to 24 hours (1-minute increments and 1-hour increments)
  • 3 daily alarms (with 1 snooze alarm)
  • Hourly time signal


  • --------------------

    Here are the honorable mentions:


    In terms of beauty, this is the fairest of them all.  This is a Limited Edition number 0839/2500.  I usually wear this as my showoff watch.  In terms of practicality, the bracelet is the fastest to put on.  So this can also be the grab and go watch for me.

    I use this sparingly because it is truly a delicate piece of machinery.  As much as possible I don't want to scratch it.

    This is a solar watch.  That's the best part of it.  I would say the Seiko SNE451 is a royalty among my watches.  So regal is the watch, it is impractical for roughing out.

    Everybody needs one fancy watch.  For me this is it.  However I don't get peace of mind wearing it.  I am always too cautious.  So I say I love the watch but it's not a beater.

    Nevertheless it qualifies as my only bracelet watch and my formal function watch.  I got to have at least one of those.

    -------------------


    At one time this Garmin 25 is my running watch.  However there is an issue on the Bluetooth quality and I cannot sync with my phone.  Nowadays I don't use it for running because I don't clock in the mileage.  

    I had another *[another] Garmin before this.  Garmin is one of those highly priced unreliable product.  The strap broke after 2 years.

    * Very interesting Sarah.  I knew that you are a runner all along.

    So I guess if I am running far again, this might be useful since it has a GPS feature.  But nowadays, I don't measure my run by the distance but by how long I run.  In a way I under utilized it's true potential.

    I still like it because it is unique and I like the large numbering.  It is a perfect second pair watch to the Seiko SNE107.

    Nevertheless, this watch is a class on it's own.  This probably the only watch I need to measure my distance.  I will not upgrade to another Garmin considering I only run in loops at Bukit Kiara at best.  However if this Garmin ever breaks, I will probably replace it with the Garmin 35.  They are damn expensive just for me to clock in my mileage.

    Since the time syncs well with the atomic clock, I use it as my morning alarm together with the phone that starts my day with Spotify.  So I get song and buzzer sound starting at the same time.

    For a while it was my daily beater.  Unfortunately the Casio watches are better at it.  I am still very fond of this watch.  Lets hope the rechargeable battery can make it long enough.

    ------------------



    Although this is my least preferred watch, it is only fair that I am comparing it with the most practical watches in the world.  As I said, between form and function, in my book function wins all the time.

    There is one major flaw with the Seiko SNE107; the watch is a bit small to my liking.  Otherwise it is a damn well respected watch among Seiko fans.

    I use it with 3 NATO straps; the James Bond, the Olive Green and the Black.  It is a very good looking watch.  For a long time I am extremely happy with the SNE107.  I still do. 

    With the SNE107, it's like owning 3 watches:




    Last place here doesn't mean the worst.  It's just that the other watches are far superior in meeting the evaluation criteria.

    I hope you can see why I am crazy about all my watches.  They are the best value for money.  That's why I don't mind spending on the Casio Black Gold.  It completes the set.  Otherwise I won't have my CITIZEN SOLDIER VARIATION.

    -----------------

    These are not just things to me.  They are beings.  When I say they are VARIATIONS, they really shape up my Mental Model.

    ----------------

    Epilogue:  Although I spend the whole day reminiscing about the watches in my collection, I don't feel that I am wasting time at all.  In any given situation, I do spend considerable amount of time appreciating other things the merchants flog in the internet.  There is a tendency to yearn for more or more expensive things of the same nature.  It is part of the consumerism mentality.  We always want more; forgetting that we already got plenty to be grateful to start with.

    As you can see, my indulgence are watches.  What you don't see are other things I collect.  Like the rest of the consumers out there, I tend to buy in excess.  Books I don't finish reading, a collection of knives I forgot I have, clothes that are hanging in my closet too many to wear, shoes for every occasion, bags of various sizes piling up in my CCC and [] (if) that is not enough I still surf the ne[x]t (net) looking for newer, better and more expensive gadgets.

    When is this going to end?  Well, it ends with the completion of my watch collection.  The minute I stop buying more or more expensive watches, the rest of the hedonic consumption stops.

    Instead of more or more expensive, I am now aiming for less or less frequent.  That includes food consumption which is the cause of my current discomfort and ailment.  I finally realized that when I was having issues of weight and inflammation, the root cause of my deteriorating health condition is my inability to withstand hunger.  I was unable to restraint myself.

    At the same token, I realized that the source of my happiness is not about having more or more expensive stuff but rather my ability to live in gratitude and below my means.  Less is more.  The less I have the healthier and happier I am.

    Hence this is where I draw the line.  The purchase of the Casio Limited Edition and the Black Gold will be my farewell to the life of hedonic adaptation.  I now look forward to a modest life of appreciating what I already have.  For a start I put a cap to all future purchases UNLESS something need replacement albeit perfumes, earphones and cars even.



    I will still buy things, I am not forgoing the material world and opting for asceticism.  However rather than going for austerity I choose to be sensible with my spending.  As I always remind myself - NO MONEY IS DESPAIRING.  The only way to financial freedom is not in the earning but in the saving.

    -------------------

    Footnote:  I really feel I should end my watch collection with the Limited Edition.  That's what it is all about; a beginning of a new era.  I don't need the Black Gold.  It is an anticlimax after I decided that the Limited Edition is the perfect ending.

    OK Sarah, no more watches and no more senseless buying...

    ---------------------

    Updates as of 8/2/20:

    The Limited Edition turned out to be a knockoff.  I must say that it was a good imitation.  I don't mind owning a good imitation as long as the price is right.  I would not have returned it if not because the watch was losing 10 seconds every day!  That's it.  I cannot tolerate an inaccurate watch.  The seller was courteous enough to return my money after I made a few threats LOL.

    Here is how it looks.  Not bad at all:


    So with the money from the refund I topped up and bought the Casio G-Shock G 5600E-1 Tough Solar which I call the Scientist.


    This watch holds the Guinness Book World Record as the toughest watch.  It is my tennis companion.  It is also my regular beater in the afternoons and on Saturdays because I set the timer to one and a half hours.  Enough for me to run my errands.

    As I told you, I wear my watches in pairs.  So I bought the DW-5600-CMB-1D (the Rasta) to go together with the Scientist.


    This is now my cheapest G-Shock and it uses the most basic DW-5600 engine.  I use it as my 10 minutes timer too as an alternative to the Casio Tough Solar.  I am a bit annoyed that I lose 10 seconds a month with this watch,

    I made a decision to sell off the Seiko SNE107 because I had set my eyes on another dream watch.





    This is truly a dream come true.  I already got the Seiko SNE451 as the Rolex Submariner homage.  Now with this Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive, I finally got to own an Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Chronograph homage.  According to Citizen, I never *[never] need to change the battery ever.

    * So you like the idea too huh Sarah?


    Update as of 11/2/20

    I changed my mind.  Instead of getting the Promaster, I decided to get the G-Shock stainless steel.  It is RM100 cheaper than the Promaster and it has more functionalities.  I went for the one with the tough leather.  So this completes my G-Shock range and I added a rare item in my collection.  The leather is an added bonus.




    In the end I still own 8 watches:
    • The ARMY VARIATION
    • The COVERT MISSION VARIATION
    • The SPECIAL OPS VARIATION
    • And The CITIZEN SOLDIER VARIATION
    I named the variations as such because that sets my Mental Models when I wear the variations.  For example when I am doing strategic planning I use the ARMY VARIATION and when I do research work I wear the COVERT MISSION VARIATION.  Something to help me be more resourceful.

    Hey, guess who else wears his watches in pairs?  None other than the Father of Casio G-Shock:  Mr Kikuo Ibe.  His motto is NEVER GIVE UP!



    These watches almost made the grade.  However I don't think I want to own more that 8 watches.




    -------------------

    Friday, August 23, 2019

    23/8/19 Six Lessons from Marcus Aurelius

    Marcus Aurelius was Roman emperor from 161 to 180 and a Stoic philosopher. He was the last of the rulers traditionally known as the Five Good Emperors, and the last emperor of the Pax Romana, an age of relative peace and stability for the Roman Empire. He served as Roman consul in 140, 145, and 161.

    When I stumbled upon his quotes (there are tons of them), it kept me busy the whole afternoon.  From 25 quotes I veered through 510 quotes.  Soon I was led to read his personal journal named The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus.  He was indeed a thinker among giants.

    What I like about Marcus is his philosophy resonates simplicity and moderation.  Yet they are pretty profound thoughts.  Here are my best six:



    I personally think that this is the best quote I came across on why we should not follow the masses.  Often times I do feel that I don't belong in the 97% of the majority.  Even Warren Buffet had advised us not to follow the crowd.

    I am happy to say that I am totally in charge of my imagination, insane or otherwise.  At least with my own thoughts I am fully responsible.  With the thoughts of others I am just following the herd mentality going to nowhere.



    I fully agree with this concept.  This is minimalism at its best.  Through my own personal experience, I concluded that less is more.  The less I spend the happier I am.  No longer do I have to be the slave of the things I own.  

    As a matter of fact now when I look at people with fancy stuffs, I always wonder how big are their debts and how ridiculous they are slogging day and night to buy things they can't afford with money they don't have to impress people they don't know.



    Yup, even this quote is an opinion and a perspective.  As I firmly believe, the only truth is mathematics.  The rest are mere representation of what deemed as truth by those who are self serving.

    That is why I no longer listen to politicians and religious clergies.  They are a bunch of liars who twist their tongues to suit their purpose.  The higher the position the bigger the lies.  Just follow the news and tell me I am wrong.


    This quote is an excellent reminder of what not to do when we are angry.  The consequences of the anger is always greater that what causes the anger in the first place.

    Recently a man was convicted of murder because he accidentally killed another guy in a road rage incident.  Certainly for whatever reason, the consequences of the anger is not worth for him going to prison unnecessarily.


    I like this quote very much.  We can be happy just by controlling the quality of our thoughts.  I don't quite understand those people who choose to be grumpy their whole life.  It's just as easy as flipping a switch.  Happy or grumpy is a personal choice.

    What is worse are people who have to spend tons of money to make themselves feel good.  In my book, you don't need loads of cash to be happy.  Yes we need money, but that's for sustenance.  To be happy all you need is to labor in freedom; that's what Einstein said, I paraphrase.


    Finally, this quote is so profound that it strikes me like a lightning bolt.  Of course...  Sooner or later the Law of Attraction will catch up with everyone of us.  Everybody gets what they deserve at the end of the day.  I had seen many examples of how justice prevails while we are alive.  We don't have to wait for the afterlife to receive the Judgement of Heaven.

    Everything is a cause set in motion.  Sooner or later whoever that is in the wrong will get their fair share.  Just wait and see.  The higher they climb the harder they fall.  In the meantime we focus on quality living.


    So there you have it;
    • Do not follow the majority
    • Be a minimalist to be happy
    • Everything is just opinion and perspective
    • Be mindful of the consequences of anger
    • Happiness is the quality of the thoughts
    • The best revenge is not to be an asshole
    -------------------------

    Saturday, July 13, 2019

    13/7/19 ROAD TO HEALTH AND HAPPINESS



    "Exercise is king, nutrition is queen.  
    When you put them together; 
    you have a kingdom."

    - Jack LaLanne




    A firm resolve does not know how to weaken or as they said in the movie…  
    Once you get it up, keep it up!






    rated it 5/5 it was amazing
    Exercise is the single most powerful tool available to optimize brain function. That is the message from this book. Everybody knows that exercise creates a fit body, but what many forget is that the brain is part of the body too. Modern science has been able to learn much about how the brain works, and has even tracked neurogenesis (i.e. new cell growth) in the brain in response to exercise. The old saying, "Once your brain cells die, they can’t grow back," is a myth.

    This book has chapters about the effect of exercise on learning, stress, anxiety, depression, ADHD, addiction, hormonal changes and aging. The author explains how exercise helps in each condition. Exercise is truly a miracle drug, and you can bet the drug companies are working hard to capture some of its benefits in a pill. But the body's (and brain's) reaction to exercise is so complex, multifaceted and exquisitely balanced as to make it certain to never be fully captured within a pill.

    It should be no surprise that humans respond positively to exercise. We're descendants of hunter-gatherers who were optimized over thousands of years by evolution to walk and run around the equivalent of many miles per day (i.e. the couch potato of the caveman era died young).

    I've decided to include in this review more than the usual amount of excerpts from the book for my future reference. I may need this info to motivate myself in the future.

    This book's focus is exercise, but the author slips a few comments in about nutrition that caught my eye:

    Low-carb diets may help you lose weight, but they're not good for your brain. Whole grains have complex carbohydrates that supply a steady flow of energy rather than the spike and crash of simple sugars, and they're necessary to transport amino acids such as tryptophan into the brain.

    The brain is made up of more than 50 percent fat, so fats are important too, as long as they're the right kind. Trans fat, animal fat, and hydrogenated oils gum up the works, but the omega-3s found in fish are enormously beneficial. Population studies have shown that countries in which people eat a lot of fish have lower incidence of bipolar disorder. And some people use omega-3s as a stand-alone treatment for mood disorders and ADHD. One study showed that people who eat fish once a week slow the yearly rate of cognitive decline by 10 percent. The Framingham Heart Study followed nine hundred people for nine years and found that those who ate three meals with fish oil per week were half as likely to develop dementia. Omega-3s lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and neuronal inflammation, and they elevate the immune response and BDNF levels.
    Because of my age I have particular interest in quotations from the book regarding issues related to aging. The following is an extended except from the book (pages 233-237) where the author summarizes the ways in which exercise mitigates the human aging process.
    THE LIFE LIST

    Much of the public discourse on aging focuses on baby boomers becoming senior citizens and the belief that their vast numbers will take an unprecedented toll on the health care system, in the form of dementia and other costly health problems. But I don’t believe we’re stuck with this picture of doom and gloom. Despite my generation’s familiarity with fast food and pay per view, we also came of age with Kenneth Cooper’s revolutionary concept of aerobics. Unlike previous generations, we recognized how a healthy heart and healthy lungs stave off disease, and we know our way around the gym. My mother just happened to have the good habit of walking, and even Harold, the eighty-year-old skier from Michigan, isn’t terribly well versed in matters of health and fitness. He once asked the trainer June Smedley what was causing a muscle twitch, and when she suggested it might be dehydration, he scoffed, saying, “I drink lots of fluid--coffee, milk and wine!”

    I have faith that when people come to recognize how their lifestyle can improve their health span--living better, not simply longer--they will, at the very least, be more inclined to stay active. And when they come to accept that exercise is as important for the brain as it is for the heart, they’ll commit to it. Here’s how exercise keeps you going:

    1. It strengthens the cardiovascular system. A strong heart and lungs reduce resting blood pressure. The result is less strain on the vessels in the body and the brain. There are a number of mechanisms at work here. First, contracting muscles during exercise releases growth factors such as VEGF and fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2). Aside from their role in helping neurons bind and promoting neurogenesis, they trigger a molecular chain reaction that produces endothelial cells, which make up the inner lining of blood vessels and thus are important for building new ones. These inroads expand the vascular network, bringing each area of the brain that much closer to a lifeline and creating redundant circulation routes that protect against future blockages. Second, exercise introduces more nitric oxide, a gas that widens the vessels’ passageways to boost blood volume. Third, the increased blood flow during moderate to intense activity reduces hardening of the brain arteries. Finally, exercise can to some extent counteract vascular damage. Stroke victims and even Alzheimer’s patients who participate in aerobic exercise improve their scores on cognitive tests. Starting when you’re young is best, but it’s never too late.

    2. It regulates fuel. Researchers at the Karolinska Institute conducted a nine-year study of 1,173 people over age seventy-five. None of them had diabetes, but those with high glucose levels were 77 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’.

    As we age, insulin levels drop; and glucose has a harder time getting into the cells to fuel them. Then glucose can skyrocket, which creates waste products in the cells--such as free radicals--and damages blood vessels, putting us at risk for stroke and Alzheimer’s. When everything is balanced, insulin works against the buildup of amyloid plaque, but too much encourages the buildup, as well as inflammation, damaging surrounding neurons.

    Exercise increases levels of insullin-like growth factor (IGF-1), which regulates insulin in the body and improves synaptic plasticity in the brain. By drawing down surplus fuel, exercise also bolsters our supply of BDNF, which is reduced by high glucose.

    3. It reduces obesity. Aside from wreaking havoc on the cardiovascular and metabolic systems, body fat has its own nasty effects on the brain. The CDC estimates that 73 percent of Americans over sixty-five are overweight, and given the potential problems obesity can lead to--from cardiovascular disease to diabetes--the agency is right in declaring it a pandemic. Simply being overweight doubles the chances of developing dementia, and if we factor in high blood pressure and high cholesterol--symptoms that often come along with obesity--the risk increases sixfold. When people retire, they figure they deserve a break after working their whole lives, and they start piling on the food. but what they don’t realize is that having dessert with every meal is no treat. Exercise, naturally, counteracts obesity on two fronts: it burns calories, and it reduces appetite.

    4. It elevates your stress threshold. Exercise combats the corrosive effects of too much cortisol, a product of chronic stress that can bring on depression and dementia. It also bolsters neurons against excess glucose, free radicals, and the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate, all necessary, but they can damage cells if left unchecked. Waste accumulates and junks up the cellular machinery, and it starts turning out dangerous products--damaged proteins and broken fragments of DNA that trigger that latent and ultimately inevitable process of cell death that defines aging. Exercise makes proteins that fix the damage and delay the process.

    5. It lifts your mood. More neurotransmitters, neurotrophins, and connectivity shore up the hippocampus against the atrophy associated with depression and anxiety. And a number of studies have shown that keeping our mood up reduces our chances of developing dementia. The evidence applies not only to clinical depression but also to general attitude. Staying mobile also allows us to stay involved, keep up with people, and make new friends; social connections are important in elevating and sustaining mood.

    6. It boosts in immune system. Stress and age depress the immune response, and exercise strengthens it directly in two important ways. First, even moderate activity levels rally the immune system’s antibodies and lymphocytes, which you probably know as T cells. Antibodies attack bacterial and viral infections, and having more T cells make the body more alert to the development of conditions such a s cancer. Population studies bear this out: The most consistent risk factor for cancer is lack of activity. Those who are physically active, for instance, have a 50 percent lower chance of developing colon cancer.

    Second, part of the immune system’s job is to activate cells that fix damaged tissue. When it’s out of whack, these damaged spots fester, and you’re left with chronic inflammation. This is why, if you’re over fifty, your blood will be tested for C-reactive proteins as part of your standard physical. These proteins are a sign of chronic Alzheimer’s. Exercise brings the immune system back into equilibrium so it can sop inflammation and combat disease.

    7. It fortifies your bones. Osteoporosis doesn’t have much to do with the brain, but it’s important to mention because you need a strong carriage to continue exercising as you age, and it is a largely preventable disease.

    Osteoporosis afflicts twenty million women and two million men in this country. More women every year die from hip fractures--a vulnerability of osteoporosis--than from breast cancer. Women reach peak bone mass at around thirty, and after that they lose about 1 percent a year until menopause, when the pace doubles. The result is that by age sixty, about 30 percent of a woman’s bone mass has disappeared. Unless, that is, she takes calcium and vitamin D (which comes free with ten minutes of morning sun a day) and does some form of exercise or strength training to stress the bones. Walking doesn’t quite do the job--save that for later in life. But as a young adult, weight training or any sport that involves running or jumping will counteract the natural loss. the degree to which you can prevent the loss is impressive: one study found that women can double their leg strength in just a few months of weight training. Even women in their nineties can improve their strength and prevent this heartbreaking disease.

    8. It boosts motivation. The road to successful aging really begins with desire, because without the desire to stay engaged and active ad alive, people quickly fall into the death trap of being sedentary and solitary. One of the problems of getting older is the lack of challenges, but with exercise we can continually improve and push ourselves.

Exercise counteracts the natural decline of dopamine, the key neurotransmitter in the motivation and motor systems. When you move, you’re inherently boosting motivation by strengthening the connections between dopamine neurons, while at the same time guarding against Parkinson’s. This really underscores the idea that if you’re not busy living, your body will be busy dying. It’s important to have plans and goals and appointments, and this is why sports such as golf and tennis are great. They require constant self-monitoring and the motivation to improve.

    9. It fosters neuroplasticity. The best way to guard against neurodegenerative diseases is to build a strong brain. Aerobic exercise accomplishes this by strengthening connections between your brain cells, creating more synapses to expand the web of connections, and spurring newly born stem cells to divide and become functional neurons in the hippocampus. Moving the body keeps the brain growing by elevating the supply of neurotrophic factors necessary for neuroplasticity and neurogenesis, which should otherwise naturally diminish with age. Contracting your muscles releases factors such as VEGF, FGF-2, and IGF-1 that make their way from the body into the brain and aid in the process. All these structural changes improve your brain’s ability to learn and remember, execute higher thought processes, and manage your emotions. The more robust the connections, the better prepared your brain will be to handle and damage it might experience. 
    I don't think it's necessary to understand what all those terms mean, but if they bother you it's possible to Google them in most cases.

    The following quote is about the relationship between exercise and dementia.

    Population studies support the evidence that exercise holds off dementia. In one about 1500 people from Finland originally surveyed in the 1970s and again 21 years later when they were between 65 and 79 years old. Those who had exercised at least twice a week were 50% less likely to have dementia. What's particularly interesting is that the relationship between regular activity and the onset of dementia was even more pronounced among those carrying the ApoE4 gene. The researchers suggest that one explanation might be that their brains neuro-protective systems are naturally compromised by the gene variant making life style particularly important. The bottom line ... is that all we can do at the present time is modify the environmental factors to get the best out of the whatever genes we have.
    My only disappointment with the book is that it doesn't say that writing long book reviews is good for the brain.
    Note:  Review was extracted with permission from Goodreads.com courtesy of Clif Hostetler written on January 4th 2015. 




    Click image to enlarge.





    Click image to enlarge.





    ------------------  Simple Concept Rights Reserve 2019 ----------------

    This is my landmark research for the year. At the same time I am n=1 in this experiment. I thought of sending to the selected few (those names at the bottom of the posting) but as you can see in the message, I had an External Intervention for "more".   So kindly share if you think this is useful.

    Already I got USA, France, Germany and UK reading it.