Thoughts and Quotes (#Misconception)

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At every stage of our lives we make decisions that will profoundly influence the lives of the people we’re going to become, and then when we become those people, we’re not always thrilled with the decisions we made. So young people pay good money to get tattoos removed that teenagers paid good money to get. Middle-aged people rushed to divorce people who young adults rushed to marry. Older adults work hard to lose what middle-aged adults worked hard to gain. On and on and on. The question that fascinates me is, why do we make decisions that our future selves so often regret?

All of us are seemingly walking around with an illusion, an illusion that history, our personal history, has just come to an end, that we have just recently become the people that we were always meant to be and will be for the rest of our lives.

Why is this so? And why is it that most of us can remember who we were 10 years ago, but we find it hard to imagine who we are going to be, and then we mistakenly think that because it’s hard to imagine, it’s not likely to happen? It’s a pity, when people say “I can’t imagine that,” they are usually talking about their own lack of imagination, and not about the unlikelihood of the event that they’re describing.

The answer unto all this is time. Time is a powerful force. It transforms our preferences. It reshapes our values. It alters our personalities. We seem to appreciate this fact, but only in retrospect. Only when we look backwards do we realize how much change happens in a decade. It is as if, for most of us, the present is a magic time. It is the moment at which we finally become ourselves. Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished. The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting and as temporary as all the people you’ve ever been. The one constant in our life is change.

(c) 2016 viewpointsofandrei.com

We are stealing nature from our children

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We are stealing nature from our children. Now, when I say this, I don’t mean that we are destroying nature that they will have wanted us to preserve, although that is unfortunately also the case. What I mean here is that we’ve started to define nature in a way that’s so purist and so strict that under the definition we’re creating for ourselves, there won’t be any nature left for our children when they’re adults. But there’s a fix for this. So let me explain.

Right now, humans use half of the world to live, to grow their crops and their timber, to pasture their animals. If you added up all the human beings, we would weigh way much as all the wild mammals put together. We cut roads through the forest. We have added little plastic particles to the sand on ocean beaches. We’ve changed the chemistry of the soil with our artificial fertilizers. And of course, we’ve changed the chemistry of the air. So when you take your next breath, you’ll be breathing in 42% more carbon dioxide than if you were breathing in the 1816. So all of these changes, and many others, clearly show the magnitude of human influence on our planet.

So where does this put nature? What counts as nature in a world where everything is influenced by humans?

To my opinion, nature is not that which is untouched by humanity, man or woman. I think that nature is anywhere where life thrives, anywhere where there are multiple species together, anywhere that’s green and blue and thriving and filled with life and growing. And under that definition, things look a little bit different.

Let me walk you through it. There are certain parts of this nature that speak to us in a special way. Places like Yellowstone, or the Mongolian steppe, or the Great Barrier Reef or the Serengeti. Places that we think of as kind of Edenic representations of a nature before we screwed everything up. And in a way, they are less impacted by our day to day activities. Many of these places have no roads or few roads, so on, like such. But ultimately, even these Edens are deeply influenced by humans. Humans have just been involved in nature in a very influential way for a very long time. Since the creation of the world through all the changes that took place with this planet. National Geographic, Discovery Channel and other like TV shows reveal to us that even the remotest places we could ever think of – the Amazon, for one, is vastly inhabited by humans. Same is true with the other tropical rainforests. Humans have influenced ecosystems in the past, and they continue to influence them in the present, even in places where they’re harder to notice.

So, if all of the definitions of nature that we might want to use that involve it being untouched by humanity or not having people in it, if all of those actually give us a result where we don’t have any nature, then maybe they’re the wrong definitions. Maybe we should define it by the presence of multiple species, by the presence of a thriving life.

Now, if we do it that way, what do we get? Well, it’s this kind of amazing, in a way. All of a sudden, there’s nature all around us. All of a sudden, we begin to notice the tiny caterpillar munching on a leaf of a plant right under our porch.

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Or we begin to notice and see an empty lot with, probably, a dozen, minimum, plant species growing there, supporting all kinds of insect life, and it is a completely unmanaged space, a completely wild space.

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This is a kind of wild nature right under our nose, that we don’t give much care and attention, less even notice.

And there’s an interesting little paradox, too. So this nature, this kind of wild, untended part of our urban, peri-urban, suburban agricultural existence that flies under the radar, it’s arguably more wild than a national park, because national parks are very carefully managed in the 21st century. National parks are heavily managed. The wildlife is kept to a certain population size and structure. Fires are suppressed. Fires are started. Non-native species are removed. Native species are reintroduced so on and so forth. It takes a lot of work to make these places look untouched.

And in a further irony, these places that we love the most are the places that we love a little too hard, sometimes. A lot of us like to go there, and because we’re managing them to be stable in the face of a changing planet, they often are becoming more fragile over time.

Which means that they’re the absolute worst places to take your children on vacation, because you can’t do anything there. You can’t climb the trees. You can’t fish the fish. You can’t make a campfire out in the middle of nowhere. You can’t take home the pinecones. There are so many rules and restrictions that from a child’s point of view, this is, like, the worst nature ever. Because children don’t want to hike through a beautiful landscape for five hours and then look at a beautiful view. That’s maybe what we want to do as adults, but what kids want to do is hunker down in one spot and just tinker with it, just work with it, just pick it up, build a house, build a fort, do something like that.

In a world where everything is changing, we need to be very careful about how we define nature.

In order not to steal it from our children, we have to do two things. First, we cannot define nature as that which is untouched. This never made any sense anyway. Nature has not been untouched for thousands of years. And the second thing is that we have to let children touch nature, because that which is untouched is unloved.

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We face some pretty grim environmental challenges on this planet. Climate change is among them. There’s others too. But in order to solve them, we need people — smart, dedicated people — who care about nature. And the only way we’re going to raise up a generation of people who care about nature is by letting them touch nature.

 

(c) 2016 viewpointsofandrei.com

Thoughts and Quotes (#chaseyourDreams)

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“Do not just follow your dreams. Chase them like there is no tomorrow and that they will never return” -Andrei

Making the decision to chase your dreams can be a frightening one. Making large changes to your life and how you live it is never easy, but by breaking the path to your dreams down into manageable goals, you can make the transition a much easier one. Achieving your dreams is possible, you just need a good plan and all the strength and determination to run like hell in your pursuit of them.

In retrospect, as I’ve written in one of my posts here:  (https://viewpointsofandrei.com/2016/10/14/letting-go-of-your-dreams) that dreams are worthy pursuits as long as they’re consistent with what matters most to us now. Our values evolve over time, and so our dreams also changes to keep up with this evolution.

 (c) 2016 viewpointsofandrei.com

Play the hands you’re dealt.

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To start, let me just tell you that I am not a great poker player. I know the basics of which hand are good because I played simple card games as a kid but beyond that, I’m clueless.

Basically, (guessing I’m right) in a poker tournament having great cards increases the chances of someone winning the hand  but really doesn’t guarantee  them victory. Having a less than desirable hand doesn’t mean  you automatically lose either. There are other factors that go into winning.

You have to play the hand you’re dealt.

Unfortunately, you don’t get to trade cards with anyone else or pay extra to upgrade your hand. The cards you get are the cards you play. Each of us is dealt a hand when we come into the world. Some will have every advantage: happy family life, good genetics, a safe home, etc. They have been dealt a great hand. Others may be born into poverty, a broken family, child abuse, etc. They have been dealt a little tougher hand.

The important point to remember is that you cannot change the hand you’re dealt. You don’t decide what circumstances you are born into and it does no good to complain about them or expect that they will determine your success. Many people think that being born into money or prestige will guarantee their happiness. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Others will use their hard circumstances as an excuse for why they don’t succeed. They take a look at the hand they were dealt and fold immediately.

The hand you were dealt cannot be changed, but the way you play it can.

Like I said earlier, it is not the person with the best hand that always wins. I suppose that is one of the exciting aspects of poker. A great poker player can “defy” the hand he is dealt and, if he acts confidently, can get the other players to fold.

Some of the most successful people I have ever met were people who had been dealt some bad cards in their lifetime. Real bad cards. Cards that would have made me probably fold and give up. But they were able to take those cards and use them to put together a victory. They didn’t give up when others thought their hand was a sure lose. They found ways to use those cards for their benefit and growth. They learned from them and became proud of their hand. They owned it and ended up as winners.

“We are all dealt a hand and we have to decide how to play it.” – Voltaire

I have a lot of trials and hardships in life. Some times they came pouring in like rain. I know that I’ve been dealt some tough cards from time to time. Since I can’t change those cards, how am I going to play them? Am I going to fold or proceed in a timid manner? Am I going to accept them and still move forward towards my goals? Will I blame my cards for my misfortunes?

Every time, the answers are all up to me. And to you, too.

(c) 2016 viewpointsofandrei.com

#BUILD

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If you’ve seen the movie The Bucket List, then you probably was also inspired to have your own bucket list. Since the movie was shown in 2007, I suppose many people are now already on the process of fulfilling their respective lists. Or may be some few lucky ones have already accomplished their list.

For the benefit of those who have not yet seen the movie here’s a synopsis: The movie traces the journey of two terminally-ill men, portrayed by Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, who helped each other complete their bucket lists apparently before they die. The things they did included skydiving together, flying over the North Pole, visiting the Taj Mahal in India, and riding motorcycles on the Great Wall of China. But what ultimately brought both of them their greatest joys were not the things that money could buy. They were to do with the relationships that they reconciled with the people they care for.

Although it has been said that “you can’t really tell what a person is like till his coffin is nailed”; there are things we can each do that can shape the man on his dying bed, so to speak. What we have established, accomplished, shown, spoken, fought for, and many others we did in this lifetime, define who we really are. They define who we are to ourselves and to other people.

To me a bucket list is most FULFILLING when it is not just all about things physical or only about “I, me and mine”. Which led me to ponder on these 3 significant questions:

Imagine your funeral.

  1. Who will be there?
  2. What do others think you stood for?
  3. What will they say when you are dead?

To my opinion, the answers to these questions definitely matter after we’re gone. Even though it won’t really matter to us anymore by the time (we’re dead) but these impressions  will somewhat keep us alive in the hearts and memories of the people we’ve left behind. Our life is our legacy to this world.

Have you tried making your own bucket list? If you intend to make one, you could try to consider this:

Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Scout movement prepared a farewell message to his Scouts, for publication after his death. He carried it in an envelope marked “To be opened in the event of my death”. In it, he shared, “… Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best.”

Every single one of us I believe was given the great opportunity to be born and live in this world. Every single one of us is likewise endowed with different life circumstances at varying levels of convenience. However, as life sometimes wills, our lack (challenges, sorrows, hurts, frustrations, pains, et al) especially should not limit or restrain us from experiencing life and having the opportunity to make others experience life thru us and with us as well.

POINT: We should build or design our individual lives to include others.  Build on yourself and while you’re at it build also on your family, close friends, acquaintances and to the rest of the humanity within your means and your reach.

Instead of walls, build bridges that connect to people. Write a list that counts or if you already have one, modify it to have even just a little bit of impact to others.

 “LEAVE THIS WORLD A LITTLE BETTER THAN YOU FOUND IT”. At least to the people close to you. It doesn’t have to be the whole world though 🙂

Good luck!