Ken Okazaki Blogging is serious business


Why Fear is Good

Believe it or not, I have uttered the un-thinkable. Fear is good. Fear has protected me throughout my life, and kept me alive for 30 good, well mostly good, years. It's given me respect for certain things and kept me far away from others.

I wouldn't want to be working with explosives, for example, with someone who has no fear of it, or sitting in the backseat of a car with a driver who has no fear of breaking the law. I lock my front door when I'm not home and before I go to sleep at night for fear of burglary.

I fear sickness, therefore I avoid doing things that could infect me and cause my body to break down. I fear hackers and scam artists, therefore I am skeptical about things I come across on the internet. I fear jail, therefore I keep the law.

Fear is Good!

But thinking about it little more, I realized that as good as fear is, and as necessary as it may be, there is something much better.

You see, all the fears I mentioned above can be categorized as "away from" values, or things that we move away from in order to avoid pain. But if I had a choice, I'd replace them with "toward values", or things that I would rather be doing.

So instead of keeping the law because of fear of imprisonment or other punishments, I can simply strive for "freedom."

Instead of avoiding sickness, I can achieve health. Instead of fearing failure, I can embrace success.

We all will eventually get tired of living with "away from" values for too long, and it just gets depressing. I have a friend, who whenever I talk to him about what he wants in life he starts out with a list of things he doesn't want. "I don't want to live with so and so, and I don't want to be stuck in this situation, and I don't want to be rejected, etc." That's living with "away from" values and will just make you depressed.

The next time you find yourself thinking or saying something that you don't like, think about the exact opposite. What is it you do want in life?

Picture a compelling future that will pull you toward your dreams and catapult you toward your goals, and most of all, LIVE WITH PASSION!


Didn’t Your Dad Teach You To Live Within Your Means?

Well, he was wrong. And this is why.

It's depressing. Everything is falling apart! Have you ever felt like everything around you is caving in? Your credit cards are maxed out, rent is late, and your mobile phone is costing you more than you can afford. If this has ever happened to you, read on.

That's when human nature kicks in. You instinctively start shrinking. Spend less, do less, eat less, be less. Thinking that this is going to help you get back on your feet, you instead find yourself in a poorer state then when you started. You have become less of yourself.

Now you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done if this is what you really wanted.

But I think you'll agree with me that you want more. You want to be more, do more, live more. You want to have more options.

Living within your means is putting a limit on yourself. It's tying a rope around your waist and attaching it to your house so you can always safely find your way back.

The length of the rope is your means.

Staying within it gives you comfort and certainty.
Stepping beyond it represents danger and excitement.

When you are within your comfort zone there is little reason to want more because you accept your new normal.
But it's people like you and me who know that there is more, who won't settle.

Applying the title too literally is not what I'm suggesting, although the fact that you've read this far tells me that it's served it's purpose. I'll explain:

When you find yourself under external financial pressure, don't shrink. Rather, expand. Use the energies that would cause you to shrink and channel it to your creativity and put it to work thinking of new ways to earn more.

External pressure is more effective than self-motivation for most of us to cause us to take action. I'll illustrate that below:

Let's say you want to increase your income by $300 a month.

So you make commitments and plans but things don't go as expected and at the end of the month you are still at the same level: just scraping by, making ends meet. You think: "Oh well, maybe next time."

Now let's switch it around.

You commit to increasing your income by $300 and to solidify your commitment, as soon as you get your paycheck you invest that amount to your plan for increasing your income. You now know that you are going to be $300 short at the end of the month, and start thinking about where it's going to come from.
You know you HAVE to get it or else you are going to face external pressure in the form of your landlord, credit card company etc.

This is where you have to fight the urge to cave in. Take those thoughts and fears and channel them to your financial creativity.

Then the bills come, the ones you can't pay now because you invested that $300 at the beginning if the month. You're teetering on the edge, thinking that this was a bad idea.

Then the magic happens.

The culmination of a month of figuring, thinking and worrying comes together to create something new. Something you wouldn't have thought of if you had not gone through this process.
The key to unlock the door to your financial difficulties.

Now this may seem unrealistic to you, but you will find hundreds, if not thousands of stories of success that happened as a result of strong external pressure, financial or otherwise.

Yours could be on the list next.

Now do yourself a favor and generate some strong external pressure that will propel you to your next level of success. Or, if you have personally experienced it, post your own story below.

Progress always involves risks.  You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first.  ~Frederick B. Wilcox

A ship in harbor is safe - but that is not what ships are for.  ~John A. Shedd, Salt from My Attic

Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.  ~Ray Bradbury


The Wise Man Adapts Himself to the World;

The foolish man tries to adapt the world to himself, therefore all progress depends on the fool.

I've spent too much of my life trying to adapt to the culture, the traditions, the unspoken rules, the taboos of my environment, and what I thought was right while having never evaluated them myself. Somehow I got the idea sometime in my life that everything around me is more important than me.

But then I started to lose myself. I started projecting an image of "right" on my peers and then on my own, very impressionable children. What I teach my children through my actions will stick for a lifetime, so I took a deep breath and stopped. Stopped judging, thinking, acting according to what was "right".

In effect I stopped adapting myself.

I wondered what would happen if I started just being ME and indirectly start adapting my environment to ME?

What's so bad about adapting my environment, my company, my colleagues to ME? Am I a bad influence on them? I don't think so. Could they enjoy partaking in my ideas, thoughts and initiatives? I do think so.

I feel better now. I feel like I have purpose. I feel like I have more to offer. I feel like I'm no longer walking on the edge of the cliff, but through the grassy meadow. I feel like I can spread myself like strawberry jam on the dry toast of everyday life at the office, and sprinkle myself like Tabasco on the pile of spaghetti I call home.

Let's see what happens from here on out. :)

Ps.  I think the kids like "foolish dad" better.


Didn’t Your Mother Tell You To Finish All Your Food?

Well, she was wrong!

The idea of finishing all the food on your plate goes way back to a time when they didn't know how to make food taste good, so they made a rule that you HAD to finish everything, otherwise you'd die of starvation!

No, all jokes aside think about this for a minute: when you feel satisfied, it's your body's way of telling you that you've had enough. When you feel full, your body is telling you that you ate too much. And what happens to excess food that's left on your plate? It's  thrown away.

So let's say that you serve yourself a little too much, and about halfway through the meal you start to feel full, but then your mother's voice pops up in your head says the old familiar "finish all the food on your plate" and you obediently shovel the rest down onto your already full stomach.

What just happened?! You dumped garbage right down into your body! That's right. The food that either should have never been on your plate or belongs in the trash is now in your stomach, doing you no good there at all!

My advice is: If you make the mistake of serving yourself too much, don't make another mistake by eating it!
(And start a habit of taking smaller servings and seconds if necessary.)

I know some parents are going to protest and say that their kids DO need to eat all the food that they're served, because they don't know what's good for them. Sometimes they may even lie (OMG!) and say that they're full when they actually just don't want to eat a certain food on their plate. (sneaky!) Myself being a parent I know what you mean.

So to parents I say: Use your own discretion, but for the love of God and your children, don't make a rigid rule or habit for your child of always having to finish their plate! Or you may pay for it later (in medical expenses)

Ps. To those who would argue that it's a waste of money to not finish your plate: How does that make sense? You already bought the food, cut it up, and cooked it, so how does it affect your bottom line whether or not it gets eaten? On second thought, your "bottom line" might get a little bigger if you do continue eating it! (and you can spend all your "savings" from scraping your plate on the next "get thin quick" product)


Thanksgiving Quotes To Ponder

With Thanksgiving just around the corner and more and more on my mind lately, I've done a little research and study on the subject and been truly touched after reading the accounts of the early Pilgrims and their endeavors.

Though I could talk about their story here, most readers already know it or can research it themselves, so instead I've compiled some Thanksgiving quotes which I feel capture the meaning and spirit of Thanksgiving, and some just for fun.


Happy Thanksgiving!

The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.  No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.  ~H.U. Westermayer

Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude.  ~E.P. Powel

Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.  ~Theodore Roosevelt

"What we're really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets.  I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?  -- Erma Bombeck."

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!
~Author Unknown

Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.  ~W.T. Purkiser

Do not get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. -Galatians 6:9