I am Doctor Z.

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

Over what to do

Maybe an answer soon

 

Only time will tell

how the dominoes fell

only time will guide my way

 

Depends on how bold

My story unfold

I am here to tell

 

When I finally find out

Where to find riches

I’ll pay you my dues no doubt

 

first have to Let go

willing to Lose All

death of the Self you see

willing to Forgo

base Desires

to Gain life everlasting

 

Share my wealth

for the sake of your health

Is my goal no doubt

 

So share with me

Your secrets to see

To help save you And me.

A Curse

The word “roof”

I used to pronounce “rooooophh.” The way english speaking people pronounce it. Or so I thought. Until I moved to the U.S. Here I was told it is pronounced “ruff” the way a dog might say it.

“Mirror” I used to call it a “mirror.” You know. M.I.R.R.O.R. Only to one day be corrected in calling it the right way. A “mierrorrr.” Sort of the way a cat might say it. Meaowrrorrr. I was so confused.

But, I adapted.

When I joined the army. I learned the way to pronounce, “drinkin” “swimmin” “divin” “runnin” no need to add the “g.” Forget that useless son of a “b.”

The army taught me the beauty. The art of “cussin” you see. Missing the “g” is no big deal. Missing the “g” is like a missing an 11th toe. Never needed it. Will not implement it. That’s the way of the army.

Cursing was new too. Have you ever tried to curse every other word of every other sentence of every other thought of every other interaction. Wait a minute I thought.

I don’t curse as much in my thoughts. Why curse when I speak?

The army ended. The cursing ended. The smoking ended. A new me started

That’s the way life goes. From a “cuss”, to a fuss, to a life lived long and loved

Keep on keepin on, times of longing gone, forget forlorn, times of promise to come.

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 right now. 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 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, 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

………………….

Back to Lucky Luke.

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.

There was a time when Usain Bolt was just learning to walk.

That is the hard part though. 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? Start with just an ounce.

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 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 ready to take a stand

Knocked off 10,000 cans

Practiced like a man possessed

with his new hand by his side

Diligence as a guide

Revenge like a wild fire

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.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BR4HK2ig6jV/?taken-by=drzeeman

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.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BTK_d8cAnsw/?taken-by=drzeeman

……..

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

How to choose

In a recent post I urged us to try and choose better actions. When confronted with different choices to try our best, and lean toward the choice that will have the most desirable long term outcome. Even if it means we have to work harder or give up something in return. By choosing the tougher choice we accept that we will have to face some type of discomfort for a little while. That is, if we are trying to reach a goal. Feeling hungry is a discomfort when we are trying to lose weight. The discomfort of not buying another piece of clothing or guitar accessory. To give in to the discomfort one would choose instant satisfaction.  Consider making decisions that lead to slow long term results as opposed to instant satisfaction. Exercise a little every day. Try to eat less fatty food every day. These are small choices that over time lead to drastic changes in your weight.

What about other discomforts?

When we are faced with opposition at the work place or with our family or friends, do we resort to our animalistic behavior of cowering in fear or reacting in rage? Or do we Control our emotions and think about the problem constructively?
It comes down to our human ability to consider the options, the possible outcomes of each and then to choose the better option.

This is called problem solving.

I’ve been trying to teach my 3 year old this skill. Instead of asking she will cry for things. I tell her, if you are hungry tell me what you want. If you want to go pee tell me if you need help. If you want to cry let me know so I can put you in the guest bedroom to do so. Then I can tell she thinks about the options for a second and stops crying and tells me she wants milk. That’s problem solving. Taking your options or choices and predict each outcome then choose the most favorable.

You might ask, how would I know if this or that will be the right choice?

You will just have to trust your gut and choose one. If it’s that difficult to choose, then making a choice is at least better than not. You have to accept that sometimes you won’t make the right choice and live with the consequences.

Here’s the trick though.

As long as you learn from those choices. Instead of calling them bad choices call them teaching choices because they teach you lessons.  Always try to To find the lesson taught to you by Life. Life teaches us lessons everyday, we just have to look for them.

Look only to your past when trying to learn from it.

Hopefully it wouldn’t take several mistakes to learn these lessons. That’s why it’s important to seek advice from those before you. Read books or talk to your leaders or elders. Watch YouTube videos, especially interviews with those who have made life a success. In those interviews you’ll get first hand explanations of how those before you did it.

So go from here my friend and consider your choices, but do something different, actually DO one of those options. Start now because in a typical day you may face hundreds of these.

As long as you are moving you have a better chance of moving in the right direction.

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

 

Creators, a correction

IMG_2651

Yesterday I wrote an article stating that time is the only thing we cannot create. Any physicist, especially a man named Julius Robert Mayer, will consider this blasphemy. Back in 1842 he created a law stating otherwise. The law of conservation of energy. It states that in a closed system, energy can neither be created nor destroyed, just transferred between different objects in different form. Then Einstein came along and turned this idea on it’s head by asking how relativity plays a role. I’m sure we can name a few more things and continue to argue, but the point was that, for our daily lives we are stuck with the same amount of time.

My other point that demands explanation is the question whether animals are capable of creating. As I was sitting on my porch this morning watching the sun rise and playing some tunes, I saw a little bird pick up a couple sticks. I hit an off note, my ears hurt and the bird turned its head in disgust. It then flew away, far away, to go build it’s home.

Wait a minute, build it’s home? Isn’t that creating something?

Let me explain.

There is a difference between spontaneous creation and recreating from a plan. Spontaneous creation comes from previous knowledge and hand motor skills to make something new. A certain set of learned skills are used in combination with your brain power and a few tools and walah you created something brand new. The other way to create something is to work from a plan. A builder looks at the architect’s blueprint and builds the home exactly the same way it was done before, nothing new.

I bet that most of you create something new every day. You open your closet and assemble your outfit. This is the process of making something new. You take previous knowledge and apply it to match your clothing and produce a new look. When you tell a story you recreate the experience in verbal form. You use your vocabulary, syntax, intonation, metaphor and walah, a brand new story told.

Here is the question.

Are animals able to create de novo? Are they able to learn skills to manipulate their environment and create something new? If you take a small finch egg, hatch the baby bird, feed it and let it grow and once released into the wild, it will automatically begin assembling a nest. It will build its nest exactly like any other finch builds theirs. This is because nest building resides in a blueprint somewhere in the bird brain.

Animals are born with these instructions. Their instructions determine their behavior. A finch is born with the instructions to build a nest. A baby fawn is born with the instructions on getting up right after birth and walk over to it’s mother for a drink of milk. A human baby is born completely dependent on its parents. A newborn will certainly die if not taken care of. As a child grows, they have to learn different skills. They have to learn to crawl, then walk, then speak and ask for food. My three year old has learned the skill of pulling a chair up to the fridge, opening it up and grabbing the remaining strawberries from the top shelf.

But…

For the sake of turning my argument upside down, we have found examples in the animal kingdom of creating de novo. Chimpanzees in the wild have been witnessed to take a stick, strip off all the leaves and stick it in an ant hill. The ants climb up the stick and the Chimp has a delicious snack. There you go. An example of an animal that can learn behavior from another animal, apply it to their environment, create a tool and use it. Chimp fishing for Ants

Do you still feel special?

Don’t worry, I don’t think any chimps will attempt to take over the world any time soon, but just in case, we have Mark Wahlberg to back us up.

The part that I find interesting is the satisfaction derived from the process of creation. In writing, film editing, building swings and climbing walls for my kids, it all gives me a sense of satisfaction. This is very peculiar. I see the power of creation as a very unique characteristic of human beings. I alluded to the idea that if an animal has the capability of metaphysical thought that they would see our brain power as a superpower.

This is what intrigues us so much about our animal counterparts. We see their abilities as super powers. The bee can see infrared, the hawk can see a mile far, the owl can see at night and the platypus can see electricity. Stan Lee, the co-creator of Spiderman, Iron Man, the Hulk and more would agree, he would definitely include some of these abilities in his superheros.

Unfortunately I can’t tell if a bee derives pleasure from seeing infrared, their antennas might buzz and their tail might wiggle when they see their favorite color flower but who knows? I can say this much though, my dog Shaka is obsessed with chasing a stick or a ball or a squirrel. As soon as he sees me hold a ball his tail starts wagging, he starts jumping around in anticipation. He hates it when I make him sit and wait after I throw the ball. His whole body shakes with excitement. He will run and fetch, run and fetch, run and fetch all day until his tongue drags on the dirt. He finds pleasure in the chase, the thing that he was born to do. He originates from the wolf who hunts for it’s prey. If wild dogs did not find pleasure in the chase they might starve.

The pleasure is in the creation. I wrote another article on this and how this idea may help depression.

This brings me to my point.

There are some things we cannot create. There are many things we can. Our lives being one of those. We are constantly acted on by external forces, pushing our lives this way and that. At the end of the day the change you make in your life depends on how much you push back. It depends on the decisions you make, from minute to minute ask yourself, does this decision contribute to my life?

Think about your misfortunes and success, is there a correlation to the decisions you have made in the past?

The ability to create is a very strong power. “With power comes great responsibility.”

You are your own creator, you owe yourself the responsibility. 

Marthinus Zeeman

 

 

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