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IFX Group 2003 Web Log

2003 Blog Entries
  1. Unique. (January)
  2. Vacation or Holiday. (February)
  3. Reload. (March)
  4. Lost? (April)
  5. Real Wealth. (May)
  6. Cell Phone Ignorance. (June)
  7. Round Years. (July)
  8. Travel without reservations. (August)
  9. Two years in the real world. (September)
  10. Procreation Paradox. (October)
  11. Value. (November)
  12. Comfortable. (December)

January, 2003 - Unique.

Every person on the planet who possesses the ability for conscious thought has one thing in common - they know at least one thing nobody else knows. At first glance this may seem like a trivial thing, but it is likely the single most important resource of the information age.

Without a unique idea or thought the entire Internet would not need more than one single web page. Instead everyone brings something unique to the mix. One very important benefit of the Internet is the ability for us to bypass all traditional physical traits that would have otherwise placed filters on our ability to listen and hear something unique.

Ask yourself if you would feel comfortable talking to a stranger in public about what you learned today. How about asking them what they learned? What if they had downs syndrome? How about a person in a wheelchair? How about a person of ethnic origin that you otherwise would have ignored? There has been a lot of media effort put into combating prejudice in modern society, but it still exists.

How many of the really important new ideas are being actively blocked because the source is too unique? Maybe it starts with you telling another person one new and different thing you learned each day.


February, 2003 - Vacation or Holiday.

It seems strange that people of the United States use the word Vacation to describe time off and the rest of the English speaking world uses the word Holiday. If the root of the word vacation is vacate, meaning to leave behind or empty, then what are they wanting to vacate? On the other hand the word holiday means leisure time away from work, devoted to rest or pleasure.

Maybe there is a reason why so many people in the USA say they need another vacation to recover from their vacation. What word do you use?


March, 2003 - Reload.

Sometimes my computer gets too bogged down with all of the stuff that gets installed and never quite fully uninstalled leaving behind little bits of nonsense here and there. This makes everything get slower over time and ultimately creates a virtual time machine turning the modern high speed computer into a low performance antique version of itself. In the end, the only way out of this time warp is to start fresh and install just what is needed. At least it is possible to learn from the mistakes and avoid the problems discovered the first time around.

It would be nice to be able to do this with life when the weight of history starts to feel too heavy. Too many people have come and gone and left behind a legacy they don't have to bear. All of these bits of nonsense here and there tend to clog our lives and add weights to slow our progress. Or do they?

You could adhere to tradition by picking up the burden of all those who came before you and trudging through life squashed by the weight. Or you could reload by learning from their mistakes and climbing that mound of history to reach something not possible by those who came before you. The choice is up to you.


April, 2003 - Lost?

Travel in the United States is amazingly affordable right now. It does not matter if you take plane, train, ship or auto for an hour, a day or a month. The economy needs you and the memories will last a lifetime.

There are a wide range of traveling styles. Some people like to travel in high luxury while others like to rough it. Both kinds of travelers appear to meet in how they deal with being lost. It is true that being lost can be a source of stress. Mistakes navigating unfamiliar territory will eventually happen to everyone. How we react to being lost is where our true feelings become visible.

Every day in our most beautiful national parks and scenic locations there are people openly venting their travel-related stress at each other. Why does it matter if they got lost along the way if they still get to their destination?

Old Faithful still erupts whenever it wants even when park rangers try to predict a time. The Grand Canyon does not close up if you don't get there on schedule. Even the flowers still bloom even when there is war in the world.

Enjoy the trip along with the destination. Lost is not permanent.


May, 2003 - Real Wealth.

Wealth and Money. There is much wisdom available on the difference between money and wealth. The sad part is that it is so deceptively easy to get caught up in the accumulation of money that this wisdom is lost in the noise. Sometimes a little perspective can help.

The old saying that you can't take it with you certainly applies to money. But it is much simpler than that; money is temporary. Imagine that all of your money, retirement investments and bank accounts were erased leaving only the debt that you owe to others. What would you do? Selling or trading any tangible assets you may have will help for a little while, but what about a long term answer?

Just ask those who have survived depressions, crashed economies, nationalized banks and even complete monetary system replacements in different countries around the world. Those who survive and do well when all of their money is gone have something better than money. The best survivors in the worst times have knowledge, tools and the skill to use them.

The value of a tool in the hand of someone who knows how to use that tool well goes up when the value of the money in your pocket goes down. This is true wealth that survives the worst economies in the world.

What are your tools? Do you know how to use them well?


June, 2003 - Cell Phone Ignorance.

Be aware. The cell phone is relatively new to society and it is obvious our mannerisms on a home phone just don't fit in public. The latest example was today while waiting with a large group of people right before lunch. The woman two chairs down decided to call her lawyer. She was totally oblivious of the rest of the room full of people listening involuntarily to her soap opera story. She repeated the whole story in detail to each new person on the other end, but in reality the group of people hearing her story was much larger. The interesting part was not this poor woman's sad story nor her ignorance of the group, but how the rest of us in that room were forced into the embarrassing situation of listening to her personal story over and over again.

Maybe a lesson could be learned from the citizens of Tokyo, Japan. This is a city where nearly every man, woman and child have a cell phone. But in public places like restaurants it is common to see the universally accepted slashed red No circle with a cell phone image in the center. At least they can eat in peace.


July, 2003 - Round Years.

It is fascinating to see how people react to different birthday anniversary dates as they pass. The most common excitement is with birthdays that end in Zero. Yes, the first Zero is special because of the physical trauma involved with birth itself. But is there really anything all that special about the remaining decades when compared to the years in between? Some say it is an easy milestone marker.

Maybe a better way to mark life's milestones is not with the calendar, but with the friendships we find along the way.


August, 2003 - Travel without reservations.

There are as many different kinds of travel as there are people traveling. Taking the road less traveled is a nice way to avoid huge crowds and long lines, often discovering things not found in any travel brochures.

There is a revolution happening in the United States travel industry that is seeing a change in the way people travel. This is visible in the lower volume of recreational travel by air and the higher number of people taking to the highway. Maybe this is why recreational vehicle (RV) sales are growing even when the rest of the economy appears to be sagging.

Why do people gladly spend thousands or even hundreds of thousands of Dollars for this option? The answer is simple, convenience and control. Name one other method of travel that affords the traveler the choice to go almost anywhere they desire on a whim and be able to stay for a night or a week without a huge amount of planning and no cost to change your mind at the last minute.

Add to that the benefits of not having to pack or unpack at every stop, no need for 'do not disturb' signs on your door and the freedom to be just as social or anti-social as you desire and you get the picture. Travel by RV is a form of travel that easily molds to the needs and desires of the traveler. If you desire to see a lot of the country side, stopping at every historical marker and view point, this is a great way to go.


September, 2003 - Two years in the real world.

It has been two full years since the rest of the world broke onto the soil, major headlines and daily discussion topics of the United States of America. This is the world those who live outside of the USA have known and followed all along. What has changed in your personal life? Are things better or worse? Has there been any change in how you view the feelings, comments and actions of those who live elsewhere?


October, 2003 - Procreation Paradox.

It is a fact the overwhelming majority of the people on this planet today are here as a direct result of someone else procreating - their parents. If this event is so common, why is it so awkward to discuss this one topic with our parents even decades after the 1960's sexual revolution? It is often easier to discuss the most intimate details of our private life with total strangers than it is to bring up the topic with those who started our life.

Here is the paradox. The very act that resulted in our birth is the one thing that we find so hard to discuss with those who did it. This blockage replicated over all generations and social groups means that we all are very likely missing something important.

It is impossible to learn from the mistakes of others if we can't even talk about it.


November, 2003 - Value.

When people ask who you are, what do you say? Do you tell them about the job or title you have? Do you tell them about the education or experience you have? Do you describe yourself with the money or things you have collected?

How would you describe yourself if you were not allowed to use any reference to your current or past employment, education, material or monetary possessions?

How do you describe who you are to yourself? What are you worth? What value do you bring by just being yourself? You may be surprised to find out how much more valuable you are to others than you realize. What is your value to them?

The best way to get answers is to ask. While you may be able to get clues and different perspectives when you ask others, remember to also ask yourself. Looking inside will help you find out who is in there. It is amazing how many people have not taken the time to find out who they are for real without all of the facades and public faces.

Once you know who you are, life gets much less frustrating and the whole world changes for the better. Are you ready?


December, 2003 - Comfortable.

What does the word comfortable mean to you? Is it a physical place or a state of mind?

In traveling around this and other countries, it is clear the definition of the word comfort is quite different to each person and each culture. There are some who are perfectly comfortable just sitting on a beach watching the waves roll. There are others who experience the same scene and only notice the sand in their shoes and the wind making a mess of their hair so they miss the beauty right in front of them.

What if that comfortable place of your dreams really was not a place at all? What if it was something inside that describes how you feel about yourself?