Ken Okazaki Blogging is serious business

30Sep/104

How I Killed My Pet Hamster

A little while back on a hot summer day I was planning on driving my family for an outing. I playfully held Stuart, our family pet of three years in my hands and let him run around in my closet shelves sniffing and licking everything he could find. He stopped and stared at me with his shiny black eyes. "I love this little fella", I thought to myself. As I placed him back in his cage my six year old daughter Suzi walked in and excitedly asked "Oh daddy, can I please hold him in my hands?" I was  annoyed because I wanted to get the children out the door and into the van.

"Not now, okay?" I replied.

"But I really want to hold him, and I haven't played with him for a long time."
It's true, it had been at least two weeks since she had played with him, but now getting out on time was more important so I repeated "Not now!" in a slightly stronger tone this time. She sadly turned and obediently walked toward the van.
When everyone was finally in the vehicle I placed Stuart's cage on the window sill where it belonged and quickly locked up before driving off.
Upon returning my wife discovered him dead, dead from heat exhaustion after being in direct sunlight in a room with all its windows shut, essentially creating greenhouse. A closer inspection confirmed what we had suspected.
My initial thoughts were that I felt very sorry for him, but then I recalled Suzi's last request before we had left for the outing.
How insensitive I felt. She would never be able to hold or play with him again, and I had denied her last opportunity.
That evening I broke the news to the children. I knew she would take it the hardest and sat next to her as I explained what had happened.
No amount of comfort could console her as she wept uncontrollably.

From that day on I'm reminded of Stuart when my children talk to me. It's so true how we as parents can so quickly judge what's important and what's not, forgetting to take into account the opinions of our children.

How I wish I could relive that day and let her play with Stuart before leaving the house.

There was enough time, there just wasn't enough patience.

Take time to listen, to play, and never miss an opportunity to love your children.

28Sep/107

Love Your Family, Choose Your Peers

It's a dilemma many of us face at some point in our lives: we want to grow and progress in a certain area but the people we hang out with just aren't into it, or sometimes are downright against it.
You know what I'm talking about: the new exercise routine, the healthy food diet, or the new direction you're taking in your lifestyle altogether.

You know that if you are going to make the kind of progress that you want, you're going to have to shed the things that hold you back, but your friends and family aren't something that you can just trade like baseball cards.
There's no easy solution when it comes to friends who you love but are holding you back, but you have to make some decisions.
The way I see it is as the title says: Love your family, choose your peers.
Your family are the people that God put you with, so love and respect them always--same with your friends.
But here is where you must make a distinction:

Your Peer Group

These are the people who you respect and want to be like, and who you want to spend as much time with as possible. When forming your peer group, which may take some time, strive to be the dumbest one in it. This is not to mean that you should try to be stupid, but that you surround yourself with people who are more skilled or smarter than you in some way.
Many studies have proven that whether we like it or not, we will become like the people we spend the most time with.

Choose carefully.

17Sep/100

Customer is King — NOT!

Anybody who's ever had a job has probably heard the saying "Customer is King", and the sad thing is that many bosses act like it. Many business owners will do anything to make that one sale, focusing solely on the customer at the cost of what's really his most valuable asset: his workers.

I've just returned from a business seminar in Austin, Texas hosted by Keith Cunningham. He taught and mentored Robert Kiyosaki and created most of the original content in the best-seller book Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

The four-day seminar had about 80 attendees, most of whom were business owners earning in the 7-figure range, so I figured that if they came to learn from from Keith, then he must have something worth learning. Keith's background is: entrepreneur, multi-billionaire, business mentor and educator.

We learned about accrual accounting, measuring the health of a company, finding trends, demystifying financial statements, and a host of other subjects pertaining to good business practice, not from a textbook standpoint, but from the voice of experience.

The grande finale however was not some magic formula or silver bullet secret to ultimate success theory, but a lesson focused on building the culture of your company. He cited Jim Collins book From Good to Great, and stressed repeatedly the importance of building and maintaining culture within the workplace, ensuring that your workers feel a sense of responsibility, respect, honor, and dignity both from you and from each other.

This culture will filter down to your customers, which will in turn result in better business results for your company.

Again, Customer is King -- NOT!

8Sep/101

Inception The Movie

A couple of weeks ago I watched the movie Inception in the cinema with my wife and some friends. The movie was fascinating, and the superb acting was enough to make it the blockbuster that it was.

I got carried away by the many layers in the intricate plot and amazing action sequences woven into a special effects heaven of an environment.
Some critics say that the plot is what sold the movie, attributing it's success to the originality and depth of the story.

But I had a different idea -- A Christmas Carol.

The main concept behind the "inception" in the movie reminded me of Charles Dickens' ghosts of Christmases past, present and future hard at work in his subconscious with the goal of altering his conscious decisions. They helped to give a new meaning to the events in his life, affecting his thought patterns and ultimately his decisions.

I believe that to a certain extent our dreams can have real meanings, and can be the effect of spiritual energies influencing our thoughts and actions.

This, I believe, is why the Bible speaks of "young men seeing visions and old men dreaming dreams" as a medium of communication in the time of the end.

I believe our minds are literally a battlefield for spiritual energies fighting for territory and control, much like the movie portrays, only much more real.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5
3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;