Getting an A for Effort: My New Yardstick to Life

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Getting an A for Effort: My New Yardstick to Life
Like most people I’ve had periods of time where I’ve gone through a slump at some jobs in the past. I’d often reflect on my various efforts and note that they had performed uncharacteristically less well than I normally would. I would brood far too much and soon find myself dejected and questioning my capabilities. However, some time later, in at least one case, I learned information that certain environment variables were not aligned with my efforts. Or, to put it more bluntly, certain folks in the organization were not aligned with my efforts and their counter efforts were at least partly responsible for my lack of success. This isn’t to say these people were against me; only against my efforts. This could have been for a valid reason but the lack of transparency in these organizations prevented me from ever knowing the real reason. [1]

As I recounted this incident I came upon an article on why majoring in humanities can help one live a better life. The article talks of Socrates and his advice that lies at the heart of the humanities, which is to question everything in life — including the definition of success. The conventional definition of success is to focus on outcomes: what metric moved due to your efforts, what quantifiable number – be it money or otherwise — did you achieve. However, as Einstein said, “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” Wise man that Einstein but reading the article and Einstein’s quote reminded me of a lesson closer to home.

Growing up my father was always the number one student in every subject and grade. I reiterate — he was number one, not ever number two. (I’m suddenly reminded of Ricky Bobby from Talladega Nights). Throughout his elite class at university my father topped all his classes. However in his first job he was passed over repeatedly for a promotion due to the company’s arcane promotion criteria. My father was shattered by this outcome and vowed from then onwards to no longer focus on being number one but rather only doing his best. He became fond of quoting a phrase from the Bhagavat Gita — “Do your duty and leave the rest to God.”

My father told my sister and me this story repeatedly when we were growing up to ensure we got the point but I didn’t appreciate the wisdom in that advice until this recent period of introspection.

I’ve blogged before about the role luck has played in my career and the fact that so many good outcomes could have easily gone awry had certain environment variables gone against me. Hence I usually don’t claim any credit for the successes I’ve had in life. My family often says that I’m too modest but I am simply seeing the truth of these outcomes. What I realize now is that my approach essentially stresses the same things my father advised me at a young age: focus on the inputs and take credit only for that. And just as I can’t claim credit for successes so too can I not take blame for failures. I can only ask myself in each instance “did I do all that was possible and to the best of my abilities?” If so then the outcome is what it is and I can be proud of my input.

With this in mind I no longer brood over past failures, regardless of if others were working against me in the situation. I only reflect to see if I did my best and in a manner I am proud of. As such the colloquialism “Getting an A for effort” is going to be my new yardstick to life. I’m going to ensure that achieving that “A” is a real accomplishment, by comparing the inputs of those I respect and are the best at a task, but I will only measure inputs from here onwards. [2]

Mind you, this may not fly with the yardstick a job requires me to meet but that’s alright; more important to meet my internal yardstick and lose the job than to meet someone else’s yardstick for a job and be miserable while still working there.

Socrates, Einstein, Papa — thank you.

[1] Many people complain that what they dislike most about a particular job, or work environment, is politics. I’ve blogged about politics before and said that it is inevitable as a company grows because humans congregate and subdivide as they work in larger groups. However, this isn’t the right answer. What people usually perceive as politics is opacity of a decision making process. Hence, transparency is the antidote to politics and this is why transparency is the most important value of a company as it grows.

[2] I came across a fascinating article on how some athletes are genetically predisposed to higher performance in some sports; debunking the 10,000 “rule” of practice makes you an expert in any field. This is a good caveat on comparing too much with others and expecting that you will do as well in everything you undertake. So compare but don’t obsess over it.

Cross-posted from

Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Five Ways to Burn Fat While You Sleep
Wouldn’t it be great if you could lose weight while catching a bit of shuteye? Good news – you can! Here are five handy ways you can burn fat while you’re asleep.


Drink a casein shake

Whilst proteins such as whey are perfect for a post workout boost, their rapid-absorbing nature means they’re not as effective before you hit the hay. Instead, choose casein protein if you want to boost your overnight fat burning. Casein is a gradually digested protein that can take your body around six to eight hours to break down. This means your metabolism will be kept active throughout the night, and you’ll wake up feeling energetic instead of starving.

Casein’s fat burning credentials were confirmed in a Dutch study, which discovered a boost in overnight metabolic rate following consumption of the protein. Similarly, researchers at Maastricht University found that casein enhances overnight protein synthesis, which helps to repair and strengthen muscles. When you consider that every extra pound of muscle burns 30-35 calories every day, this is an added bonus of this super-protein that should not be ignored.

Sleep more

That’s right; one of the most effective ways to shift those pounds while you sleep is to quite simply get more of it. With our hectic schedules nowadays sleep is often neglected, but if you want to lose weight that needs to change. Don’t believe us? A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that overweight people on average got 16 minutes less sleep per day than their regular-weight counterparts. It doesn’t sound like very long, but over time that difference builds up.

So why does sleep help keep you slim? It’s all to do with the hormones leptin and ghrelin. Leptin helps to regulate your energy levels and keep your appetite low, while ghrelin stimulates hunger and often initiates the need to eat. The results of a study conducted at the University of Wisconsin found that participants who got more sleep had reduced ghrelin and increased leptin levels, which helped to control their appetites throughout the day.

Eat cottage cheese before bed

Eating food before bed is often seen as taboo when it comes to dieting, but this is actually dependant on what kind of food you choose. Avoiding food completely before sleeping can actually have the opposite effect, as people who wake up feeling hungry are far more likely to binge on food at breakfast. A small snack of cottage cheese before bed is a great choice as it is rich in – yep, you guessed it – casein protein.

As an added bonus cottage cheese contains the amino acid tryptophan. A study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that tryptophan improves quality of sleep, and reduces the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. This means cottage cheese will keep hunger at bay throughout the night, and ensure you sleep for a decent amount of time. What’s not to like?

Resistance training

Whilst sleep alone is great for encourage weight loss, there are some exercises you can do before bed that will help the process along. One of the best approaches is some pre-slumber resistance training. Burning fat is all about boosting your metabolism, and resistance training is great for this. In fact, according to a journal published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition, subjects who performed resistance exercises enjoyed a higher resting metabolic rate for an average of 16 hours following their workout.

This resistance training session doesn’t need to be excessive. A simple weight lifting routine will suffice, even if it doesn’t push you to the limit and leave you breathless. It’s well worth following this up with a casein shake; as mentioned earlier this will ensure consistent muscle recovery throughout the night while you sleep.

Eat small meals throughout the day

‘Eat little and often’, is a favourite tip of trainers and dieticians the world over, and you’ll be glad to hear this is a great way of boosting your nocturnal weight loss. Eating small meals frequently throughout the day serves to keep your metabolism ticking over, and will ensure your body continues burning fat throughout the night. Of course, these meals need to be healthy and nutritious for this technique to work!

As well as boosting your metabolism while you’re asleep, this frequent eating method will ensure your appetite is kept in check, which should reduce any cravings you have when you wake up in the morning.

Read more:

How looking good can be bad for you

Check out on Twitter for daily health and fitness inspiration

5 worst health mistakes you are making

Green – The Huffington Post
Inspired Freedom Vanishing Art Photography Exhibit Helps to Save America’s Precious Wild Horses

Photo: “The Great Divide” by Kimerlee Curyl

If you’re traveling through or live near Tulsa, Okla., in early October, you won’t want to miss Kimerlee Curyl’s Freedom Vanishing, a special photography exhibition in support of America’s legendary wild horses, at Aberson Exhibits. Proceeds from the event will benefit Return to Freedom American Wild Horse Sanctuary and the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, two leading nonprofits working to save and protect America’s remaining wild horses, which are under aggressive attack and rapidly disappearing from government-managed, citizen-owned wilderness spaces.

A rising fine art photography star, Kimerlee Curyl has intense passion for and connection to the spirit of the wild horse. Her inspired images express the horses’ archetypal spirit and remind us that freedom is precious and can be taken away in an instant. Curyl has photographed some of the world’s most beautiful horses, but her true passion is spending time on the rangelands, embedded into enormous herds of wild horses. She hopes to inspire others to appreciate these creatures’ beauty and take an interest in helping preserve their ability to survive in their natural habitats.

Curyl has been the premier photographer for Return to Freedom American Wild Horse Sanctuary for seven years. “Kimerlee’s dedication to wild horses on the rangelands, where they continue to fight to survive, has helped inspire programs and photography of wild horses internationally,” says Return to Freedom founder Neda DeMayo. “Her work bears testimony to the emotional world of these magnificent creatures.”

Before she focused on wild horses, Curyl photographed famous horses, more lucrative work that was out of sync with her spiritual path. “Whenever I see simple tasks such as leading a horse not done in harmony or fairness to the horse, I feel so saddened,” she says. “When the human’s goal becomes more important than the horse’s needs, I feel hurt. I’m too sensitive to take a paycheck and walk away from a lot of what I have seen in previous years, and it was making me ill.”

Curyl now has a more modest paycheck but a more extraordinary life. “Success for me is having harmony with the horses in whatever we’re doing,” she says.

“Kimerlee’s work is very Zen,” says Aberson Exhibits creative director Kim Fonder. “She creates space for the wild horse in her photographs, encouraging viewers to create space for the horses in their minds and hearts. That’s powerful.”

Curyl’s photos reach people. “She captures the true wild and precocious essence of horse in a picture that surely tells a thousand words — or more,” says Susan Watt, Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary’s program director.

Every year, the federal government rounds up thousands of wild horses with low-flying helicopters, causing them to stampede into corrals and pens. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) states that it:

“protects, manages, and controls wild horses and burros under the authority of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. As an agency that administers the public lands for multiple uses, the BLM works to ensure that herd populations across 10 Western states are in balance with rangeland resources and other uses of the public lands.”

But who is managing the managers, and what is our land being used for?

“These round-ups are far below the standard of humane treatment of animals that most Americans will tolerate, yet these tactics have been used for decades far out of public view,” DeMayo says. “As a consequence, there are now more wild horses stockpiled in government holding facilities than live free in the wild. If we don’t act to stop these cruel practices, wild horses will soon be gone forever.”

Oklahoma and New Mexico may soon reopen slaughterhouses for wild horses. “I have listened to and read the arguments from those pro-slaughter with an open mind,” Curyl says. “I have watched video footage of a horse being slaughtered so that I could speak from a place of knowing and further understanding. These images will haunt me forever.”

“Our nation’s wild horses are on the front lines in an ongoing battle over public land use and the allocation of our natural resources. What they face now, we face next. Their only crime is that no one profits from their freedom,” DeMayo says.

Sanctuaries are the only remaining places in North America where wild horses are safe and protected in wilderness habitat. “Imagine a place where, as far as the eye can see, miles and miles to the horizon, you can view America as it was 300 years ago,” says Dayton O. Hyde, founder and president of Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary.

“Imagine a place where wild horses run free across endless prairies, hooves striking thunder, manes and tails flying in the wind,” Watt says. “This is one of the last great wilderness prairies where wild horses live out their lives in peace and run free. What we do here makes a huge difference.”


Photo: “Rockstar” by Kimerlee Curyl


Kimerlee Curyl Photography (

Return to Freedom Horse Sanctuary (

Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary (

Aberson Exhibts (

Curyl’s Special Artist Talk and Invitational Benefit Dinner will take place on Wednesday, October 2, and an artist reception and opening will he held on Thursday, October 3, at Aberson Exhibits in Tulsa. The gallery is open from Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Stay tuned for a feature and interview with Curyl celebrating The Year of the Horse in the January 2014 issue of Organic Spa Magazine and my upcoming interview with Curyl on The Huffington Post.

A portion of proceeds will benefit Return to Freedom Horse Sanctuary and the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, two leading non-profit organizations working to save and protect America’s remaining wild horses. Large format fine art Sugar Cane prints are eco-friendly and museum quality. Please contact Aberson Exhibts for more information and pricing.

After Colorado Floods, 4 More Found Alive And Well
DENVER — Four people who were listed as unaccounted for in the Colorado floods have contacted authorities to say they are alive and well, leaving two people who haven’t been heard from and a third who is missing and presumed dead, officials said Tuesday.

The number of confirmed dead remained at eight. The Larimer County Sheriff’s Department said the four people called authorities after their names were made public on Monday.

“That was the intent, right?” sheriff’s spokesman John Schulz said.

Schulz said deputies still hope to hear from the two still listed as unaccounted for.

The floods, which started in earnest on Sept. 12, caused damage across nearly 2,000 square miles. Nearly 2,000 homes were damaged or destroyed along with more than 200 miles of state highways and 50 state bridges.

No official estimate has been released on the cost of the floods.

Vice President Joe Biden flew over some of the damage on Monday and promised that federal aid won’t stop even if the federal government shuts down.

“I promise you, I promise you, there will be help,” he said after his tour in an Army Black Hawk helicopter.

The floods are also blamed for spills of about 27,000 gallons of oil in northern Colorado oil fields, including two mishaps found over the weekend, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission said.

The commission said it is tracking eight notable leaks, 10 other locations with some evidence of leaks, and 33 places where oilfield equipment appears damaged but no evidence of spills has been spotted. About 1,300 oil and gas wells remain shut down.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for the Kersey area in northeastern Colorado, saying water from recent rain will continue to move down the South Platte River on Tuesday.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it had approved $22.1 million in individual assistance, most of it to help people to repair homes or find temporarily rentals. More than 15,600 people have applied for FEMA relief.

Good News – The Huffington Post
One Puppy vs. Lemon vs. Mirror vs. Yoga vs. The World
Loki, the puppy, fights a lemon, faces himself in the mirror, gets the hiccups, learns new tricks and even does some yoga on the side. Is there anything this guy can’t do?

Though this dog seems to be healthily progressing into adulthood, it is important to note that introducing a dog to citrus can have damaging effects like vomiting or diarrhea. Nevertheless, puppy reactions to lemons can be adorable — still, it’s a good thing these loving owners only let Loki smell and not eat!

Vai FitnessBlender

#alkalinity #alkalinitymovement #7.2 #sevenpointtwo


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