My name is David - thanks for visiting. Over the years I've done a lot of things, from electronics to property management. But the one thing I love to do is help people BECOME something in Life.

I was taught that my life is not just about me; it's about helping others. So yeah, if you want to sell real estate fast and/or make money with it, well - I can do that.

On the other hand, if you want to GO, DO, and BECOME something in this life, you're in the right place! This is our "Human Charter," to GO, DO and Become. It's why this blog exists. So get started!

19 December 2010

Poinsettia, A Floral Nice Guy. Mistletoe - Not So.

Todays update is another trek down the path of things we assume, but may not really know about. I threw this together, when I did a little reading about that Holiday plant we all know and love, the Poinsettia...

The story goes like this: The perennial holiday favorite, the poinsettia, is a deadly plant fit only to look at. One bite of its lovely leaf and the unlucky eater of it will succumb to a hideous, excruciating death.
Well... something like that.

70 percent of people polled were certain the poinsettia is poisonous, anyway. But, as it turns out, this is just another urban myth.

The Poinsettia, [i](Euphorbia pulcherrima[/i]), is a species of flowering plant indigenous to Mexico and Central America. It's name is derived from one Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Minister to Mexico. The good minister introduced the plant into the US in 1828, where it was hitherto unknown. It's connection to Christmas comes from a 16th Century Mexican tradition; in Mexico it is called "Noche Buena," the Christmas Eve Plant.

But the tale of it's lethality started back in the early 20th century when the young child of a U.S. Army officer was thought to have died from eating a
poinsettia leaf -- a story which was later retracted. But, as these things have a habit of doing, the toxic nature of the poinsettia took on a life of its own.
After all, who needs the truth when a good story is to be had?

But you urban pundits take note: According to the American Medical Association, ingesting poinsettia produces little to no ill effect. It may be mildly irritating to the skin or stomach and may sometimes cause diarrhea and vomiting if eaten. But you can say that about most of the plants and bushes in your own front yard.

Many other experts take sides with the plant, too.

- An American Journal of Emergency Medicine study of 22,793 cases showed no fatalities, and furthermore that a strong majority of poinsettia exposures are accidental, involve children, and usually do not result in any type of medical treatment at all.
- POISINDEX, a major source for poison control data, says a 50 lb child would have to eat 500 bracts (leaves) to have any kind of reaction at all.
- The Society of American Florists has also weighed in. They worked with Ohio State University to thoroughly test all parts of the poinsettia and concluded there are no adverse effects, even in large doses.
- In 1975, the United States Consumer Product's Safety Commission denied the requirement for warning labels for poinsettia plants.

As for your pets, the American Veterinary Medicine Association of America does not include poinsettias on its list of plants that are a threat to animals. The ASPCA likewise states that ingestion of poinsettias may cause mild gastrointestinal tract irritation, including drooling, vomiting, and/or diarrhea -- but nothing severe or fatal.

Mistletoe, another holiday favorite, is not so innocent. Mistletoe can do more than inspire the lovelorn to smooch beneath it. This parasitic plant, found in hardwood trees, can cause gastrointestinal distress, a slowed heartbeat, and other reactions if ingested. It's primary chemical constituents are known as 'viscotoxins' and although not thought to be generally fatal, it can cause severe reactions in humans.

In pets, mistletoe may cause gastrointestinal disorders, cardiovascular collapse, dyspnea, bradycardia, erratic behavior, vomiting, diarrhea, and low blood pressure. Yikes!

So the Poinsettia gets a bum rap... who knew? Because it is in the spurge family of plants, those sensitive to latex may suffer an allergic reaction to it. But overall, the old standby holiday decoration is pretty benign and can be enjoyed without much worry. So, make sure the mistletoe stays tightly fastened above your door, but fear the poinsettia no more.

17 December 2010

Niagra Falls Teaches A Lesson?

I was looking at some pics of Niagara Falls yesterday, from back when it was dammed in 1969. To be precise, the overflow that leads to the American side falls has a very narrow inlet, spanning only a few hundred yards. It was blocked up back in '69 to assess its condition and allow for work to be done along the banks.

It turns out that this part of the falls is actually a small side flow of the greater Niagara River. Its shallow and more of an overflow eddy alongside the more familiar Canadian falls. And in fact there are THREE falls... Bridal Veil, Horseshoe (Canadian) and American.

We normally see the image of rushing water flowing over the Canadian falls, a small boat full of intrepid tourists at it's feet and boom! - that is what we think of. But Niagara Falls is far more than this. It is actually a tight bend, a diversion, in the course of a river flowing NORTH (did you know that?), with side flows, rapids, eddys and whirlpools.

Below the falls is a huge mass of rocks and boulders, normally hidden by the cascading water. These have been deposited by eons of erosion, completely hidden from view. So, not only are there things we normally don't see above the surface, there is something grand happening beneath the water, too. Finally, it is all located smack dab in the middle of a built up, urban landscape. It isn't far removed from civilization at all. In other words, it is far more than our popular image leads us to believe.

Anybody familiar with this place probably knows all this, but Ive never been there.
So when I learned all this, I wondered: How many things have I taken for granted with only a small bit of information to go on?
I mean, here is one of the greatest wonders of the natural world and I know so little about it that I have mostly a wrong impression of it.

Worse yet, how many people, friends, cultural notions and a million other things am I not getting the whole picture on? It just boggles the mind.
I mentioned in yesterday's update that I had gotten my hair cut. My cosmetologist is named Miriam Garridos. Now, I don't know if she would appreciate me talking about her, but I'll risk it. I think she's worth it.

Miriam is from Central America. She is a legal immigrant who came to America with her son 12 years ago. They went through all the legal red-tape to make the move and have lived here since. She recently got her citizenship and works hard. She embodies the idea of opportunity knocking.

Ive really been thinking about this idea of Opportunity lately. Miriam, for example, hasn't had it easy. She is not rich, and she is not on the government dole absorbing taxpayer money. She works and takes care of her son. She pays bills and she jokes about the cost of heating. But I have never heard her complain.
She considers herself lucky to be here and to have taken advantage of the opportunities presented to her.

I'm sure she sees it simply, that she is DOING what she must to achieve her aims. I have not asked her about her dreams, but I'll wager she learned a long time ago that action makes things happen. I also suspect she sets more goals than dreams.

I cannot imagine her "playing the victim," complaining and blaming others for her difficulties. She knows that nothing good comes easy. She left her home and her family to make a new life here, after all... that alone was hard. But she had to do what was needed.

Brian Sher talks about this in his book, "What Rich People Know and Want To Keep Secret." He says the one thing which sets success apart from failure is doing things one doesn't want to do. You can't complain about things or stop because it is hard. You cannot blame others if they don't "make it happen" for you - You must GO, DO and BECOME, if you are to achieve anything.

I'm certain Miriam would agree.

16 December 2010

Opportunity versus Security

"Opportunity and Security are different things"

I read this today and I simply had to add it. I was waiting to get my hair cut and was reading ESPN magazine. The article this appeared in was about NBA players who go to the European and Russian leagues, when their NBA star contracts are let go.

Those players that go to Europe find that they are given 2 year contracts with a third year as option. But they can be let go at anytime - it isn't binding as it is here. Often the player must do a lot of diligence to learn about the signing team in Europe. sometimes they don't pay according to the contract, leaving a player wearing a big name on his shirt - but without his paycheck.

The alternative, of course, is to leave pro sports behind and fade into the crowd. Maybe a minor coaching job will surface, but bottom line its back in the herd for most of these NBA flash-in-the-pan players. Im not talking about the Michael Jordan type players - I refer to the almost nameless, everyday players out there. The Euro/Russia leagues offer a chance to keep playing and stay in the game.

The point of course is that there are few safe opportunities. Usually a lot of sweat, effort and occasional danger is associated with opportunity. Much of success is dependent on the individuals ability to lay the proper groundwork. It is said that a single adjustment is all it takes for people's lives to change to greatness. But no one promises that the adjustment would be easy to see, or handed to you wrapped in tidy packaging.

I tip my hat to those players who continue to GO, DO and BECOME, taking the leap over the pond.

15 December 2010

What are you doing to test yourself? How are you pushing yourself to greater things? In fact, ARE YOU doing this?

I have recently undergone HAZMAT Response training, wherein I (and my team) were trained to respond to the spill of hazardous, even deadly, chemicals. I mean, this was the real deal - we dressed in sealed space suits, we resolved toxic spill situations and for all intents, we saved lives. In the process, I found out what my associates were capable of, who "had my back," and when the chips were down who could be relied upon to act quickly, coolly and bravely in the face of a dire challenge.
This was very comforting and enlightening.

But it led me to wonder how many of us deliberately place ourselves in trying situations. I'm not suggesting that HAZMAT Response Training is the only answer, even if I think it would benefit anyone. But, ask yourself: "Am I forcing myself to do things that I am afraid of? AM I DELIBERATELY TESTING MY LIMITS AND TRYING TO REACH BEYOND THEM?"

If you are like most people - you are not. You move at a slow pace, you avoid risk and you look for the easy way to get somewhere. That is normal; it's what most do.

It's also why people don't leave the "dream phase" of their lives. We are told that we need to dream big, to be all we can be... but putting dreams into action requires us to often go into frightening territory. That part is left out of the promotional materials, somehow.

But it is this attribute, the willingness to face fears and challenges come what may, that sets the achiever apart from the dreamer. Every hero, every great and unknown success story, has this as an element of their life. Nothing was ever achieved merely by dreaming - it is the DOING that we remember. And while it may be fraught with dangers, real and imagined, it has to occur.

So again, ask yourself as you dream big, "When dreaming has run it's course, am I ready to face my fears, to sweat and to WIN?"