Create your world

Creativity

  • Creativity is in all of us. It is the most powerful force in the universe. Only you can create your own success.
  • You can creatively tell a story, create sentences as if out of thin air, this is how creativity works. It is a language.
  • As you learn a skill, it becomes a language, once you can perform that skill without thinking it allows room to be creative.
  • Novel creations arise from the combination of different skills.
  • There is a connection between the creative process and happiness.
  • The structure in the brain related to creative thought.

Creativity, a force of nature that resides in all of us. You have it, I have it. I am using it right now to construct this sentence out of thin air. I didn’t copy these sentences, I came up with them creatively.. It is the single most powerful force in the universe. It can move mountains and divide oceans. Via creative thought humans have changed this world and is still doing so today. Humans are the only beings capable of this power, the power to create, the power to create their own destiny, their own world. You design your life. You alone have the ability to realize your dreams, to think, to plan and to work towards your goals. Creativity has led to scientific breakthroughs, billion dollar business enterprises, cures for diseases and more. Galileo Galilei used it to create the first telescope to observe the stars and conclude that the earth was not the center of the universe. Michael Angelo used to create the famous smile of the Mona Lisa. Anne Frank used it to endure suffering as she created her famous diary. Today, it is the most sought after skill in business and entertainment.

If you harness this force you can harness your future.

Creativity is not just reserved for the select few, but resides in every human being. It is what makes you human. The sad truth is that most people have lost touch with their creative side. Why is that? Why do so many forgo on the opportunity to create their own lives, their own fortunes? Some of the greatest companies have spent millions in what could possibly be the next big idea, the next new innovation. Some succeed and some do not. Why the difference? Those who succeed seem to have supernatural creative talent to invent the most innovative ideas yet. How did they do it? These are the questions that have plagued people for many centuries. How did Mozart write such sweet symphonies? How did Steve Jobs create the iPhone? How did McDonalds create the greatest franchise in history? It has caused much envy in those that strive for creative genius. What is creativity and how can we find it in ourselves again?

Many view creativity as a gift, a talent, but that is a common misconception. Every single human possess the ability to be creative. It is a unique difference between us and animals. It is the force that has lead to art, science, philosophy, innovation, the industrial age, the space age. It is the one force that leads to a successful life.

Here is the proof. Most people learn a language at some point in their life, usually during the toddler stage. As we age and practice our  language we become more proficient. Initially a toddler will say just one word at a time. They will point and say; “Dada, Mama.”  At around two years of age they can say two word sentences. “Dog woof, I want, Kick ball” and so on. This is the first creative ability we see, to take the words they have learned and creatively add them in different order to give new meaning.

This is my Definition of Creativity: to use the tools that you have learned and create something new.

Maybe a toddler speaking two word sentences is simply prompted by their parents. As time goes by and they expand their vocabulary. Soon they will be able to put together three word sentences and so on. At 15 Anne Frank wrote an ageless diary. At age 34 they might write a blog post. This is truly the first time they exhibit creativity and that is just the beginning. Soon they start telling imaginary stories to their parents with great ambition. Have you ever seen a toddler tell you about something they saw, or something that happened. They are full of emotion, very animated. It is truly a sight to see. They are so happy in that moment.

You do this on a daily basis. You string together words as if out of thin air to convey an idea or a story. By your teenage years you know thousands of words and possess endless possibilities of expressive ability. You can string together any combination of words, you can give a touch of tone, metaphor and syntax. These deeper forms of expressive ability comes with practicing the skill of language. We have become so skilled at speaking that we take for granted the creative power of language. We can even communicate with body language.

Creativity doesn’t stop there. As we age and develop new skills we also develop new languages pertaining to those skills. Have you ever heard doctors speak in medical terms. They have their own language, incomprehensible to the patient or their family. When talking to the patient they have to switch over to layman’s terms. Their language is based on scientific concepts, of the knowledge they have accumulated over thousands of hours of study. Same with plumbers and musicians, mathematicians and movie directors. You name it, any craft has its own language. An apprentice will struggle with the terminology and understanding, but in time they can join the creative discussion with the masters. With study and practice in each discipline you inherently adopt that  unique language. The language of music involves understanding rhythm, tone, octaves,  chords and more. It depends on how you apply this knowledge creatively to produce new music. Many musicians simply rehearse known songs, but a select few use these songs to create their own. 

“Good artists copy, great artists steal.” – Steve Jobs.

By studying the current art and the individual genres one can creatively combine these and build on previous knowledge, stand on shoulders of giants to create the future.

Knowing the language is crucial to performing any job adequately. You cannot walk into a courtroom and expect to speak to lawyers on their level without prior study and knowledge of the language of law.

What does science say?

Through scientific studies they have shown that expression and generation of language can be contributed to a particular part of the brain namely the Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas. They are small collections of millions of neurons, one in the frontal cortex and the other in the temporal cortex. They are located in right brain lobe, the Wernicke’s area sits slightly behind your right eye and Broca’s reside slightly above your right ear. The Broca’s area is famous for a disease named Broca’s Aphasia. People with this problem can not generate speech, they are very capable of understanding language using the Wernicke’s area or even reading and writing, but when it comes to speaking and formulating the words they sound like a broken record.

Brain Imaging has been used to see what happens when Jazz musicians play music to each other. Jazz is largely made of hundreds of individual licks or “words” which enable a Jazz musician to creatively mesh together these licks as they feel comfortable. Another Jazz musician can pick up on the key that is played, the tempo etc to “speak back” with their own set of licks. They create new music on the spot, one musician plays a few phrases and then the other picks up and plays a few more and so on. A study was done by placing one Jazz keyboard player in the fMRI machine and the other outside with a guitar. To no surprise the fMRI machine revealed a massive amount of brain activity in the Wernicke’s and Broca’s areas. The conclusion? Music is a form of communication!

Side note, an fMRI is a machine that works by picking up an increased amount of oxygen in the body. This implies an increased blood flow meaning increased neuronal activity . The theory is that when the brain uses neurons more in a specific region it will need more oxygen to fuel those cells, therefore it requires an increase in blood flow to deliver more oxygen. Therefore in areas of high activity, one will see a flare on the fMRI scanner.

Every artistic expression is a form of communication. Movies convey an idea, music a feeling, paintings a visual representation of a thought. True artists combine all these emotions and language to convey an idea. So how does a skill become a language or a creative expression of the skill?

How does one go from simple skill acquisition to creative ability?

It takes a little while and a lot of practice for a skill to become a creative language. When a verbal language is first learned (specifically a second language) an fMRI will show activation throughout the entire brain, your brain has to work hard to string words together in a new language. On the other hand, when native speakers or fluent adopters of that language gets brain scanned it shows mostly concentrated activity around the Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas.

At this point we have established that we all possess creativity. Creativity is also what arises from practicing tools that make up a skill. Becoming fluent in using those tools is likened to speaking the language of that skill. Once you can perform these tools flawlessly you are ready for the final step. The exciting step of creative play.

Here is another example illustrating the above. Remember the first time you learned how to type, it was a struggle, it went slow, you had to deliberately think of where to place each finger for every single letter. This period is known as the skill acquisition phase. It is very taxing on your brain, you engage with full concentration to guide your fingers. Once you have acquired the knowledge of how to strike each letter with your different fingers you enter the next step. The step of practicing those tools. This is the transition phase where you build muscle memory so to speak in your brain. By practicing those movements your brain makes millions of new neuronal connections. I imagine the brain devotes new real estate to that one skill you are learning. After lots of practice, once you have reached the point of typing fluently, you can almost do it as fast as you think, your fingers simply just glide along the keyboard as you think of the ideas in your head.

How do you know you have reached the creative point?

It’s easy, with the speak-as-you-do test.

It is when you can think of something other than how to perform the activity while you are actually engaged in that activity. It is like a musician playing their instrument or a driver in command of a vehicle who is able to speak at the same time. Have you ever driven a car and spoke at the same time. This is proof that the skill of driving is programmed into your automatic memory, you can perform the skill flawlessly and engage in a secondary activity at the same time. A more complicated example is a musician who is playing their instrument and talking at the same time. 

To take the driving example a little further. When driving to a specific place for the first time, you have to concentrate, you have the music turned down, you are engaged in looking at the street names, estimating distance, if you are using GPS, you hang on to every word the voice says. With time you will be able to drive to that location with less effort. With each subsequent time you have to concentrate less and less. There comes a point when you are so used to the route that you can guide your car there without a single thought. Have you ever arrived at your destination and not even remember anything about the trip home? “Did I even stop at that that red light?”

Creativity has been historically crucial to the development of the human race. Every innovation, every scientific discovery was the result of creative thought. Why do we engage in creative thought? Many scientists have tried to get to the bottom of this. They have tried to figure out what it takes to be more creative, to achieve greater creative success.

The key driving force behind creativity is curiosity, and the resultant effect is happiness.

Let us discuss the driving force behind creativity first. Children have a propensity to be very curious about the world around them. As toddlers, they see a multitude of foreign objects and experiences that spark their curiosity. Have you ever watched a toddler in a new setting. They walk around in constant amazement. They push on things, pick up, pull, throw, bounce, observe. Their curiosity captivates them. They ignore the rest of the world and go to work on discovering their new foreign land. This curiosity is what leads them to ask why things are the way they are. They strive, seek and do not yield (Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson) until they discover an answer to their curiosity. This curiosity is what has led scientists to ask the same question and make marvelous discoveries.

But, Humanity frowns.

Unfortunately there comes a time when a child’s curiosity gets lost. We get older and we get distracted. It may have to do with getting oversaturated and desensitised by new phenomena or it may just be that “responsibility” gets in the way. A kid goes to school and suddenly they have more on their plate. They have deadlines and tests and are subject to failure. The biggest destroyer of creativity is the fear of failure. They age and go to college, the requirements are enhanced. They get a job and by that time, by their thirties they have completely forgotten the amazement of discovery. Their curiosity is replaced with mundane television shows and repetitive activities.

 

There is a small group of people who retain their sense of curiosity. They are called scientists, inventors and renaissance men.

A scientist is merely someone who asks the question. “Why?” The same question in the child’s mind. “Why does this happen, why is that the way it is?” They get to the familiar why-state. They ask “what will happen if I did this?” It’s an exciting time of rapid learning. Their little mind questions everything around them. Unfortunately we have two different types of parents. There are the ones who try to answer their child’s questions, they draw from their previous knowledge and give the best answer they come up with. This can be exhausting though, and they get to a point where they can no longer give an answer. Then there is the pivotal point where they dismiss their child’s answer. They say the dreaded words. “I don’t know, you will learn it in school one day.” The child agrees and forgets the question all together. They get used to this response. Whenever another question creeps up they dismiss it, hoping now that someone will teach it to them at a later stage. Then there are the parents who try to teach their child. They have some success but when that pivotal point comes, they do something different. They take the time to show their child how to figure out the answer. They set up an experiment or they open a book or search for a video online. They teach the child how to learn, instead of wait to learn. These are the kids who will create their own world.

The sad part is that we lose this sense of experimentation. We stop asking what would happen? We stop trying to experiment with our lives. There comes a point where we feel we have figured out most of life’s mysteries, we get set in our beliefs and stop to question them, we stop entertaining the other argument.

I was once told that the day we stop asking why is the day our inner child dies.

A child is naive to the world, they do not know their limitations, they don’t even understand the concept. They do not understand failure. These are the roadblocks to inhibiting our curiosity. The internal struggle. What if I sound dumb by asking why? I don’t think I am capable of learning how to do that. I’m not cut out for this. I wasn’t born with that talent. Does this sound familiar?

Get out of that funk. Stop believing there is no more to life. Walk up to the cliff and jump. Start today, experiment with your life, push your limits, ask why. Be naive like a child and instead, rekindle the belief that anything is possible.

If curiosity is the driving force behind creativity then why is happiness the result? Have you ever seen a child during creative play, they are in a zone of complete happiness. They appear to be in constant awe, a perpetual state of amazement. The same occurs in adults who have creative success. When you have mastered the tools of an art and engage in creative play it brings a good deal of happiness. The discovery of creative play is a moment to moment discovery of true joy.

Let’s get scientific again.

Are you familiar with the term Dope? It’s slang for something is exciting or good or even spectacular. It’s also slang for a street drug that causes feeling good. I’ve never tried it but it must be incredibly good if people are willing to lose their lives to it, but that’s another story.

The word Dope is closely related to the word Dopamine, a neurotransmitter in our body. A neurotransmitter is science slang for a molecule that acts on another cell to provoke a response. In the brain dopamine causes euphoria or happiness. Dopamine is most widely present in the caudate nucleus and the frontal cortex. These regions of the brain are thought to be greatly involved with creative thought. The frontal cortex can perform a number of activities that are unique to humans. These include computation, abstract thought, time awareness and creativity.

For example, using our frontal cortex we can predict future events based on our current actions. Animals cannot predict or envision a possible outcome, they only learn via experience. Animals may seem like they know the consequences of their actions. Dogs don’t poop in the house because they were told the adverse outcome of such an action. This behavior is based on classical conditioning. They associate an adverse outcome with a learned behavior, they avoid A because it results in B, they avoid pooping in the house because it results in a beating. Humans on the other hand can learn by conditioning AND observation. A toddler sees their friend get in trouble for A and receive punishment B, therefore will not perform A. A toddler will also avoid performing action A if they have already received punishment B. You also know it’s not wise to run across a freeway, you might get hit by a car, it’s not wise to touch hot stove, you might get burned. 

The frontal cortex aids in computation, mathematics and logic. It is able to derive possible future outcomes based on current experience. By using abstract thought we use our frontal lobe to deduce what may happen in the future if we act a certain way right now.

The frontal cortex also allows us to think creatively, it helps us to combine our current skills to create something brand new. The fact that the frontal cortex uses a lot of dopamine which gives pleasure explains why when we think creatively and produce something new with satisfying results we get a surge of dopamine i.e. a feeling of pleasure. Once you get motivated to start producing something new after learning a few new skills you will see what I mean. When I write a new paragraph, play a new guitar song, taste the bread I baked from scratch, I get this ecstatic feeling of joy. For that moment I feel on top of the world. For that moment I feel capable of anything. Are you catching my drift?

So how does creative play lead to happiness? There are 3 types of happiness. The first, instant happiness. This is the person who achieves happiness in the short run, eating a tasty burger, laughing at a joke, having sex or doing drugs can provide a quick burst of dopamine.  The quick onset of a dopamine rush quickly fades. They look to the present to provide happiness. Then there is the person who tries to achieve happiness in the future, they go out to the club to try and find a mate, they work towards a promotion meaning more money with possibly more happiness. They look to the future for happiness. Then the third type is the one who engages in a creative task that provides enjoyment. This is also instant happiness but it is built on years of practice. As mentioned before when you practice a skill to the point of creative play you will find this happiness. This is the type of happiness that drives you to continue practicing that skill, each session is a pleasure in itself. Eventually you will get so good at it that you achieve both happiness in the present and in the future. This type of happiness is self driven, it feeds into itself by making you better at the skill you are trying to acquire and as you get better you derive more happiness from it. It’s an intrinsic reward. (Drugs, paychecks and a start on the forehead are extrinsic rewards). This is the difference between the three types. The immediate and future happiness only lasts for a short while, they are subject to desensitization. This means that when you take a drug for example you slowly get used to the effects. You eventually require more and more of the drug to get the same effect. Getting a promotion is only rewarding the day off the promotion. Creative happiness fuels itself, it provides intrinsic pleasure that perpetuates it’s own motivation.

What do the philosophers say, or what gave them happiness?

Aristotle loved to argue. He argued that because man is a rational animal, having the ability to reason is what makes man different from animals. He believed the ultimate happiness is the man who exercises this virtue, to Reason. To reason gave him the greatest happiness which makes sense because he practiced philosophy which is comprised of making arguments and solving problems. I’m sure whenever he engaged in reasoning and debating he was using all the tools he built to creatively come up with new arguments. His ultimate happiness was in his ability to create philosophical arguments.

What does my dog say?

Whenever I play fetch with my Labrador Shaka, it is no surprize that he is at his happiest when chasing after his ball. It is in his genes, it’s his instinct to hunt, because that is what ensures his survival. He drops the ball by my feet, wags his tail and barks until I throw it again. He loves the chase. Most of the time he is already running by the time I throw it. Just as a dog is in his happiest moment of exercising his instinct to hunt, humans are the happiest when we engage in our unique instinct. To create.

——-

“Good artists copy, great artists steal.” Do not simply copy others but create something new. Every artist commits copyright fraud. That is how creativity works. You take little bits and pieces from all the artists who influence you. You study them, you practice them, you make them your own, you steal them. Then the creative part happens. You take all these things you’ve learned and you string them together in your mind in a way that makes sense to you and you create something new. I am guilty of this crime, but unlike a common thief I stand up and I thank all the great philosophers who have influenced me. My theories are not my own but a conglomerate of great theories which are already out there waiting to be rediscovered. I am simply trying to forge connections between ideas, to make sense of my own actions. I try to find a pattern in the abstract. This is why artists can feel irrelevant. They feel as if it has already been done by someone else. I want to tell you today, it’s okay to steal, please take my theories and apply them, mull them over, mould them to fit your belief structure and make them your own.

Sam Walton, the founder of Wal Mart said it himself, he stole the best ideas from the most successful businessman.

The mastery of two or more different disciplines will inevitably give birth to something new. Music is a great example. There are artists we get to know and love in a certain genre. After some success and many albums and songs later suddenly they will disappear for a while. What happened? They are studying a new genre. Not long, you see this, artist-x featuring artist-y. That’s it, two separate different genres of music, suddenly combined. This is the creative process. Artists will often take melodies from the oldies or classical music and merge them with elements of modern music. This happens in every field. It’s very evident in medicine. With so many sciences combined you often see a mechanical device borrowed from a totally different discipline implemented in medicine to perform something better. Our gut resembles the plumbing and piping we find in our homes. The tools that surgeons and gastroenterologists use just so happen to resemble the tools plumbers use.

It doesn’t take talent to be creative, it simply arises from hard work and practicing different disciplines. In the next chapter I will discuss the fallacy of believing in talent.

 

The Importance of Play

Do you play music or do you play with music? What is the difference? We were always taught, don’t play with your food… but isn’t being a Chef really just playing with food, playing with flavors and colors and combinations? Almost anyone can play music. Just take two pencils and start tapping a beat, that’s music. The fun part comes when you get to play WITH music. You can learn to play a famous song on the guitar, note by note, chord by chord, congrats, you know one song. On the other hand you can learn a few chords, arrange them to a new strumming pattern, new order and viola you can create tens of hundreds of new songs. Which would make you happier? Playing one famous song or playing endless you-songs? 

A relationship between two people is so much more fun when play is involved. Do you play with your spouse, do you try new combinations of chords and licks to get a rise out of her, to make her smile or cringe or jump for joy?

It is only when at play can one can be creative!!!

Think of telling a story. If I met you face to face and have you tell me how your morning was. There are two ways of telling the story. One is simply recalling the facts. The second is playing with those facts. What can you add to make them more fun for yourself? Maybe use emotions and see how they affect your lister, or large hand motions and see how engaged your listener can become.

 

 

I am Doctor Zee

What’s the meaning

What’s this feeling

What is it I am to know

Why this thought creeping

What am I seeing

What seed I am to sow

The question that looms

What to do

Without an answer soon

Only time will tell,

Depends on how bold

My story may unfold

I am here to tell

When I finally figure out

How to become rich

I’ll pay you my dues

No doubt

Share my wealth

To help your health

Is my goal no doubt

So share with me

Your secrets to see

To help save you

And me.

Lucky Luke

There was lucky Luke, a loathsome lone outlaw, he gained fame for his six shootin game. He was feared in the west and anyone knew best, don’t mess with Luke, let him ride.

For luck was on his side.

With a six shooter pistol before the rooster crows, he would knock of ten. A lucky bullet shot one, two, three in a row, and then,

the crowds would erupt at his display, with luck on his side Luke saved another day.

“Leave luke alone, leave luck on his side. Live long live well, let lucky luke ride.” they would cheer.

………..

How much of success depends on luck? Is there a way to make more luck? What is luck and where can it be found? Do you need luck to answer that last question?

Many failed startups will argue that the one thing they were missing was luck.

Many bronze medalists will argue they weren’t lucky enough to have the right genes.

Many B-students will proclaim the lack of luck of not having good parents therefore good teachers therefore a good education.

We speak of luck helping many successful startups like twitter, paypal, uber and airbnb.

Is this true? Can it really be that Michael Jordan simply had the luck of exceptional genes, specifically aligned with the times and the Bulls to produce the greatest basketball player known to man?

It may be so, but this type of thinking may kill motivation. If success depends on what genes you are born with, and you think you didn’t get those genes, then why try to become successful? If all you need is luck, then what is the point of working towards a goal? If you don’t strike it lucky you might as well give up now right? Wouldn’t it be better to just sit and wait patiently for luck to find you?

I’ve mentioned before that we may be different from animals in that we are capable of abstract thought as well as capable of creating new ideas. We can create tools and objects with our hands. So, can we create luck?

Luck is an abstract idea, therefore is possible to imagine in our minds. It would be hard to prove outside of our thoughts. It may not be very easy to create with our hands, create in a chemistry lab or in a workshop, so maybe we will try a different approach.

Maybe it is possible to find luck. A famous historical figure would argue “I am a strong believer in luck and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”

Maybe not “create” luck, but instead search for it. The fun is in the search. You won’t know what luck you are searching for until it finds you. The luck game is based on odds. What are your odds of striking it lucky? Of landing in that right spot at the right time to hit the jackpot? If you are sitting on your couch watching netflix all day, chances are you might not find that perfect moment where everything is aligned. Your chances are low, the odds are against you.

Now what if you deny yourself the pleasure of sitting on a soft sofa with soft soothing tunes coming through a network of speakers? What if instead, you get up, search the internet, find an opportunity and get after it. In which scenario would you increase your odds of striking it lucky, of finding that golden opportunity?

That’s what is meant by the “goldmine is between your ears.” The amount of luck you gain depends on what you set your mind to.

Let me put it this way. You may be able to increase your chances of getting lucky if you expend more energy in seeking your goal. The harder you work and the more time you put in, the greater your odds of striking it lucky.

We don’t know how much luck played a role in every famous success story but they do share one thing in common. One thing that invariable plays an integral part in the equation of success.

Every underdog movie shows this sequence,

“Cue the montage music!”

The hero of the story gets defeated on their path. It leads them to start working harder than ever. Rocky would wake up every morning before sunrise and get out and start running. A montage of training clips flash by to the beat of an inspiring minor chord progression. The film director zooms in on the straining face of Stallone. A macro lens spies a bead of sweat emerging from his anger and rolls down his forehead in a slowmotion bliss. The third Act begins with the hero facing his opponent with confidence, built on endless practice.

The moment of glory, the moment of joy, that second been forged, by work and work, work employed.

Michael Jordan even admits that his luck came from endless practice. He said that early in his career, after every game he played, he would remember several mistakes he made. Then, instead of going out to celebrate, he would head to the gym, practice those moves or free throws over and over and over. The next morning he would come in early and do the same before practice. That was putting his heart and soul into what he loved. That was him ensuring he would find “luck” in the future of becoming the greatest ballplayer of his day. Watch the video below and tell me this. Were each of those points he scored due to luck?

“To air is not human” – go to 13:49

………………….

The bandits loathed his luck. They envied his hand. There was only one way they could make a stand. They once heard a rumor that luck sits in the soul. They had to strike there in order to gain full control. In a devious plan to give reprimand. Held him down, they sliced off his hand. In a foul swoop a dried clover, his six shooting days were over.

…………………

You see, the misconception lies in the perception of where luck comes from. Are some people just favored by the gods? Are some just born lucky, to strike it at every turn? We tend to jump to conclusions without the background story. We invoke magical thinking to answer questions about where success comes from. We fail to see the progression that lead up to that grand success.

Every success story shares the same thing, the hero started somewhere, had a dream, then started working diligently towards it, practicing endless hours.

That is the hard part though, I get it. How do you get yourself to work ten thousand hours toward achieving that ultimate level?

The trick is to focus on the journey, to focus on the habits you have to form to ensure you have no choice but to reach your goal. Let me give you an example.

If you are trying to lose weight, stop trying to set a huge goal. Don’t say “I want to lose fifty pounds.” Instead, ask yourself, how will I lose one pound? Make it a small goal. Chances are, if you can lose one pound, you may be able to lose two. If you can lose two, you can lose three and before you know it, fifty! Ah, but wait a minute, not so easy.

How do you lose just one pound?

Try this. It is better to try and fail, than try at all. So try the first thing that comes to mind, just one thing, thought of it yet? Now, execute. Do that one thing with all your effort. Give up drinking soda for example. Completely give up soda and see what will happen. Weigh yourself Monday, no sodas through Sunday and weigh yourself again. See if you’ve lost an ounce, maybe a pound?

Studies have shown that by drinking just water for one week straight will result in positive weight loss. I can positively tell you that extra weight will be history, evaporated into thin air.

Keep it going my friend.

Finding the method to loose weight does not depend on being lucky, it simply means you searched until you found it.

…………………….

Luke secretly knew that the key to success

was not in luck or those who are blessed

forged in steel he made a new hand

trigger and all avoid tempting can’t

with his new hand by his side

saved another day,

lucky Luke shall ride

……………………..

Rare moments occur around us all the time. I consider these lucky moments, to witness that perfect mix of luck and chance.

You have to look for these moments. We dream of the last second three pointer to fall through the hoop and save the entire season, but we have to be realistic. Think of it this way, you are lucky to be alive, what are the odds that your exact DNA makeup has ever existed before, almost zero right. You have never existed before. You are the only you. How lucky is that? So every moment you encounter is unique to you. By searching you will find more of these moments.

When I garden and I dig up some earth worms I would call the kids over to come look. There’s that magical moment when they realize they are holding an earthworm in their hand. You can see the joy in their eyes, the curiosity overflowing. I feel lucky to be alive to witness such a perfect moment.

Found some #worms #kids

A post shared by Marthinus Zeeman (@drzeeman) on

The other day I happen to discover a birds nest with little babies inside, I was able to get some video of it, what a moment.

……..

So in the famous words of a legend gone old, “do you feel lucky punk?”

Marthinus Zeeman

 

Seasons will change

Remember where you came from

Remember what you’ve become

It’s okay not to belong

Keep building your own kingdom

 

Every day when you wake

Breathe deep and seize the day

Count back from five

Do not delay

Forget the pain and ache

that’s life I say

 

Think and stare through the floor

Gather your courage,

And make the day yours

 

This one life given to you

Don’t waste it, don’t snooze

Let your success soothe

pain endured and soon

 

Seasons will change

And time moves on

Seek and strive on

You’ve got many to prove wrong

 

The Force is in you.

Yesterday I posed a question on what is the difference between humans and animals? It seems as though animals act based on a prewritten script, a blueprint of instructions. Their instincts determine their every move. Humans on the other hand seem to have a choice of how to react. Some may say that we are “determined” to act in a certain way exactly like animals do, but some may say there is something in us, somewhere in our human brain that can think, weigh the odds and make a choice. I mentioned that, as we lead our lives we are constantly acted on by external forces. The course your life takes directly depends on how much you push back, im talking about another force, one from an internal origin. 

Watching my kids grow has been a pure delight. There is a moment, around one year old, that your child will suddenly make their first choice. I think this is the moment your baby becomes a toddler. “Toddler” say it with me, it has a little playful sound to it, makes your tongue dance in your mouth. They come with many surprises at this age. 

You see, a little baby depends on their parents for everything. When they get hungry, they cry. The parent will come rushing in with a bottle to save the day. They soil their diaper. The parents look at each other, the first one to give in rushes in to save the day and so on.

Then comes that magical moment. Around one year old you may place a good nutritious variety of food in front of your darling baby. She will pick up a few pieces of food and suddenly, without warning, toss them to the floor. What just happened? You turn your attention to them, scoop a spoonful of food and aim for their mouth. Their response, “neh” and turn their head at the last second just in time for the spoon to come crashing into their cheek. More food on the floor. This also happens to be the dog’s favorite day in child development. So where did this sudden choice come from?

Let me explain.

As we grow, we come to this realization, that we have a choice in what we eat, what we do and how we react. A toddler keeps growing and learning about choices, they learn what they like and what they don’t. Many times it may seem absurd what they choose to do, but hey, even if they are eating off the floor, at least they are eating, right? It is the parents duty to help guide their child to discover new truths of life, like broccoli really isn’t that bad, or they can slide down the slide on their own. They also learn that crying for everything is not the best reaction but instead to ask for help. 

I’m struggling with my three year old right now, trying to teach her to ask for a snack instead of cry for a snack. When she stubs her toe or gets a scratch to wait instead of crying, wait, waaaait, and the pain will eventually go away. Crying is the response a baby shows to feeling discomfort. It is in learning how to better deal with discomfort that they grow.

I tell this to my patients as well. Especially someone trying to lose weight or kick a habit. There is no magic pill or exercise, to lose weight you just have to push against the discomfort of feeling hungry. To stop smoking cigarettes you have to push against the discomfort of withdrawal. To get that gym body you have to face the discomfort of going there in the first place. 

Our path in life may only depend on these two forces. External forces and your internal force. External is what happens to you, internal is what you make happen. For example, if you walk outside and suddenly it rains. The rain is the external force. You may decide to go back in the house and get an umbrella or risk a few drops and dash like a madman to the car. That is the internal force that helps determine your response to the rain, how you choose to react.

External forces are out of our control. The weather, what happens in the news, the driver that ignores the red light and crashes into another. Some of us are very preoccupied of what may happen in the future. We check the weather report, we try to predict the stock market, we try to imagine what will happen if we say this or that to her or him. Some of us just take one day, one moment at a time. I’m not the one to say which is better but I embrace these changes instead of grubble. 

If it’s sunny out I run outside and enjoy the heat on my skin. If it’s rainy and stormy I run outside and enjoy running against the resistance of the wind and the sting of the rain drops.

Depending on what you believe, these external forces may just be random occurrences in our lives. Internal force is within our control. So ask yourself, would you rather be concerned with what is in your control or what is outside of your control? We decide how we react to external forces, the decisions we make, the actions we take, the mood we exhibit.

There is a flaw in the argument though.

How much of what we do is taught to us by our surroundings and circumstances? How much of how we react to external stimuli are simply prewritten by our previous experience? It is hard to say. Some of us believe that our decisions are in our own hands, some are okay accepting the fact that we are predetermined. Some like to think that these forces are subject to the metaphysical or religious but that’s another discussion.

The argument of determinism takes a different stand. It assumes that we are no different from animals, that we simply react based on a prewritten script, that our actions are merely determined by our genes and previous experience. Determinism goes as far as stripping away our free will. 

If we cannot choose to act a certain way but instead the choice is made for us by our god or our genes we must therefore have no free will to choose to make a decision. What? So both religion and Darwin had it wrong? 

This is an important issue in the legal system. The question of criminal responsibility routinely creeps up in the judicial system. It is the goal of a lawyer to prove their client’s actions were due to external forces. When I was in Afghanistan I caught wind of a famous court case where two F 16 fighter pilots had their sentence of manslaughter reduced on the defence that their actions were influenced by “go pills.” They were taking prescription amphetamines offered by the Air Force at the time which was a routine practice for pilots to help them stay alert on long missions. An unfortunate incident happened where they dropped a bomb on friendly forces killing several.  Amphetamines blamed for Friendly Fire.

Despite the flaws in the legal system we have to remember that external forces may just be out of our control. Once we accept that we can start clearing those anxieties from our daily lives. Try giving up checking the weather, checking the news or trying to predict others’ behavior. 

Look back at your life and try to see what forces have acted on you and how you chose to respond. Which of your actions then led to good things and which led to bad? Now that you have that separated in your mind, try and think, were all those actions, with good or bad outcomes, made  entirely by you? Were you ultimately the one that chose to stop trying diets or stop working out or working on your relationship or working for the sake of working? 

So what if another person’s decision directly affects your life?

If your boss demands you to do something, if a parent restricts their child or a Jewish man is held captive by the Nazis, it means that their life circumstance was determined by someone else’s decision, right? Consider this, from the worker or child or Jew’s perspective they were merely acted on by an external force. The choice they have is in how they will react to their suppressor.

The amazing story of Viktor Frankl illustrates this beautifully. He was an Austrian Neurologist, Psychologist and Holocaust survivor. As a concentration camp inmate he discovered these truths about our lives. He said that “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in a any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Man’s Search For Meaning

So hopefully we are a little closer to understanding ourselves, maybe you are just as confused as I am, but it’s worth a try to see life this way, to take responsibility for our past actions and consider the effects of our future decisions.

With that I leave you to watch Star Wars and really think what is this force within you.

The force is strong with this one.

Marthinus Zeeman

 

The times

The time is ripe the time is frugal

The time has come

For me to blow the bugle

The times have steered me

Guided me to see

Patience has made me a virtue

For free

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Beal street

Walking down Beal street

Started thinking

What is life and

Why I am sinking

Walking down Beal street

Looking for answers

What can change me

What am I seeing


Walking down the mississippi

And who do i see

The king’s alive

He’s shaking those hips

Walking down the mississippi

And who do i see

The king’s a leading

The many, the free

Walking down the mississippi

And who do i see

J’s a walking

On the water with me

Walking down the mississippi

And who do i see

Jay’s a walking

Rapping to me


What is bitcoin

WhitePaper

Above is the white paper. This was written by a guy who nobody knows who he is. Described in this paper is everything one needs to know about it. Unfortunately it cannot predict the future of its product.

Let me explain my experience with it thus far. I met my old army buddy for a hike one day. Deep in the Sierras he explained the basics of the coin. At the time he pondered whether it will hit $2000. 10 days of hiking led discussion later we left the Sierras to reunite our phones with the internet. The first piece of news, bitcoin increased to a little over $2k. My friend was ecstatic. He made money by hiking. I finally got a job and saved some money. Instead of paying my credit card off I bought bitcoin on a hazy night. At the time a coin cost $4500. Within 2 months the value of what I owned doubled and then some. Not much later the value tripled.

I discussed my experience with a few people. I sent several of them a small percentage of bitcoin. I hired an app developer and paid the initial down payment with bitcoin. I bought coffee with a fraction of coin. All transactions were done via email. None of the transactions lost a percentage or a transaction fee. The transactions occurred as far as from Hawaii to India. The rest, to different US states and some right here in person. All transactions were instant. The only transaction fee occurs when you exchange bitcoin for any other currency. Most folks did not convert to conventional currency. Every single person saw their gift increase in value. The developer received a generous bonus and replied with a smiling emoticon.

How it works?

Every transaction that occurs between two bitcoin addresses are recorded in the network, it’s public knowledge. What remains private is the identity of who holds the address. Perfect anonymity. When a number of transactions have been recorded a group of computers or “miners” go to work. The bitcoin algorithm WhitePaper determines a randomized math problem that involves all the characters that define the transactions. These characters are the bits that contain the information regarding the transactions. Date. Time. Address. Amount. Etc. the data is then scrambled and the computers go to work again. This time the goal is figure out the solution to to the math problem that results in the information being unscrambled. This takes an immense amount of energy. The fastest computers in the world are working together on this. We know this because the reward for the computer that finds the solution is to write that block of transactions coupled with answer to the math problem into eternity. It then gets added to the block chain. The end of the block is coupled with a scrambled version plus the answer of the last transaction in the previous block. This way each block added in succession is linked to its predecessor and so the entire block chain therefore can never be reversed. Unlike banks a payment can be recalled with a good enough argument. The block chain has no conscious therefore cannot be convinced via reason.

Now why all this effort?

The reward for recording a block into eternity is one bitcoin. This bitcoin is then in possession of the miner and they can elect to sell it or keep it or turn it into dollars.

Here’s the catch.

There’s ONLY 21 million bitcoins available!!! Right now about 16 mil have been found. It is similar to what happened to real estate in Hawaii. There is limited land that is very desirable. So over time the land value in Hawaii skyrocketed due to its scarcity. With a known limit of bitcoin and knowing that eventually all will be mined investors in the coin are betting on the eventual scarcity to continue to drive up the price. So far it has worked. It has out performed the stock market by all measure.

The miner. You can buy a mining machine for as little as $4k. The catch, it eats energy. In several states and other countries specifically China, solar farms are being built to support the energy demand. Bitcoin is essentially a representation of an amount of energy used.

What’s going to happen when all the coin has been mined?

There will suddenly be an immense amount of solar farms with nothing to do but provide green energy. Services will be paid for across continents with zero transaction fees. There is no such thing as over draft fees. Banks may loose income from less transaction fees. The government won’t be able to tax payment. Transaction fees between bitcoin and conventional currency may sky rocket. Tips for your waiter won’t be shared with the rest. I may pay off my credit card, although so far the increase in value has outpaced the 15% interest rate on the card.

Good luck. Buy at your own risk.

according to the WhitePaper;

The incentive can also be funded with transaction fees. If the output value of a transaction is less than its input value, the difference is a transaction fee that is added to the incentive value of the block containing the transaction. Once a predetermined number of coins have entered circulation, the incentive can transition entirely to transaction fees and be completely inflation free.

It may be a good idea to invest in mining?

Remittance. The act of sending money home by a foreign worker. This money flow makes up a huge chunk of 3rd world foreign income.

Records App 1

Page 1:

The user login with their email & password or choose to sign up.

If matching email & password then go to page 4. 

If (sign up) go to page 2.

Page 2: 

A user can type their email address and a unique password and reenter the password. If a unique email and matching pair of passwords entered and (confirm) go to page 3. 

If anything otherwise give an error message and allow the user to try again. 

(back to login) go to page 1.

Page 3. 

New users have to enter all the data fields (except the For the doctor section) and if (confirm) go to page 4. 

A doctor using the app also has to enter all their info (including all the info for the For the Doctor section). If a doctor doesn’t enter ALL this information then give an error message and allow them to try again. 

If the doctor entered all their information completely and (confirm) go to page 4. 

There will be two lists created as users enter the above information. A general user list and a list of doctors. This will be relevant later (on page 12).

Page 4. 

This will serve as the Home Page for the App.

Here a user can view their own records, request, share or get a summary of their own records. 

Whenever another user shares their records with another user, for example if a patient shares their record with their doctor, the doctor will be able to get to those linked records from this page by clicking (linked records).

Another example is if an elderly person shares their records with their son or daughter to allow them to take care of their medical issues. 

If (request my records) go to page 5 and after page 7 (this is the “request” pathway)

If (summary) go to page 10

If (share my records) AND a user has selected one or more records then go to page 5 and after page 6 (this is the share pathway). If no records were selected give an error message that reads no records have been selected. A user may also share their “summary” record.

If (linked records) then go to page 12. 

A user should be able to “share” their records with doctors or other users. 

A user may only request records from a doctor, hospital or clinic.

A user may view records of other users who have shared their records with them.

Once a user purchases a summary of their records, this summary will be uploaded and displayed here on this page in the top left corner of the other records. 

The rest of their records will be displayed next to it here on the screen.

If a user clicks a record then highlight that record.

If a user [click and hold] a record then maximize that record to a full screen view and allow the user to resize the record, zoom in and out and scroll to other pages of that record. 

Page 5.

Here a user may search for a doctor (this list would be made up from all the doctors that have previously joined the app). I also want my company to be able to add doctors and clinics etc to this list manually. 

If a user does a search and no doctor is found they can enter the name & location manually. This is only for the purpose of requesting a record. My company will add this doctor’s name to the list manually for now. 

When a doctor’s name is searched and found and selected (by highlighting the name) OR a doctor / clinic / hospital name has been entered below AND the dates of treatment has been selected AND (confirm) is clicked then go to page 6 or page 7 depending on what pathway the user is on.

A user may also search for other users whom they desire to share their records with. 

If the user is on a “request” pathway then show the Doctor/Clinic list (this list will be maintained by my company, this list will only contain doctors and clinics/hospitals names). Once selected and (confirm) go to page 7

If the user is on a “share” pathway show a list that includes both doctors and other users of the app. Once selected go to page 6. 

Page 6: This is a popup that reads “user name (the doctor or user that was chosen) can now view your records.

(return) go to page 4.

Page 7: the agreement to obtain records. Display the agreement document from my company.

(agree) go to page 8

(disagree) go to page 4

Page 8: the user will sign with their finger. This signature will be saved and imported onto the document displayed on page 7. The patient’s information including their name, date of birth etc will also appear on this document. My company will then send this document to the clinic / doctor the request was made to. 

It is important that the App compiles this document to avoid my company from having to fill out any part of document. A copy of this document with the signature and user name and information will be uploaded to the patient’s documents displayed on page 4. 

(confirm) go to page 9

If on the “linked records” pathway and (confirm) go to page 14.

request pathway: (confirm) send an alert to my company that a user has requested their records.

Page 9: A pop up message reads “Your records will be promptly requested…”

(return) go to page 4. 

Page 10. 

This is for the In-App purchase of having the medical record summarized.

If the user clicks (agree) then they will be charged a certain amount and taken to page 11. 

If (agree) then send an alert to my company that a request for a summary has been placed.

Page 11. A pop up message reads “your records will …translated…”

(return) go to page 4.

Page 12: Here a user will see a list of names of people who have shared records with them. For example a doctor will see many names of all the patients that have shared records with them. Alternative the son/daughter of an elderly parent will see their parent’s name here and will be able to view their parent’s shared records.

The search function will allow a user to search other users who have shared their records. For example a doctor may search a list of their own patients to find their records.

If a name is highlighted and (view records) go to page 15. If no name is highlighted then give error message and allow the user to try again.

If (return) go to page 4.

A doctor may also add a patient’s name here (only doctors are allowed to do so at this time)

The doctor can enter the patient name, date of birth etc and when all this information is added and (add link) is clicked then go to page 13.

Page 13: Pop up window that shows the text information with the doctor’s name, NPI # and DEA # and text that reads “I am Doctor…” Only if all the information is entered and the user clicks (agree) then go to page 7, then 8, then 14 (this is the “link” pathway).

Page 14: Pop up  window that reads “your linked records….”

(return) go to page 12

Page 15. This shows the records of the user that shared their records with you.

These should be able to be zoomed in and resized etc as on page 4. 

(return) go to page 12

Every patient a puzzle

There always seems to be a puzzle to solve. Each patient presents with this or that. After swapping a few stories we come to find out it was actually these and those that were really the problem.

To find these and those one have to try and search for them on a daily basis. The search happens within the data. The data generated by each patient. The point of the search is to find a pattern in the data.

The pattern is the key to the puzzle.

Guitar

Guitar

In the end it’s just a toy, a toy that has brought many joy. Maybe it has a soul, character, a personality. It already has a body, neck and a head. It can make you feel, it can make you feel, alive. It can inspire, bring masses together.