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Life Principles Mostly Abused by Supervisors and Managers

Having been in the workforce for 16 years or so, I obeyed bosses, rose from the ranks, and became a leader of people in my own right as well. I have seen and tasted the heats and pangs of both subordinate and superior. When you are the boss and you are under fire, there are times you are tempted to defend yourself and utilize popular corporate principles to the point of deflecting the blame to your team members and causing a certain amount of humiliation on them. As a subordinate, I have been a victim of such deflection and, shamefully, I admit that I myself have used this type of defense mechanism to ensure that I was not on the losing side of the blame game.

So what are these corporate principles (or maybe even life's morals) that are often abused by managers and supervisors in order to pass the blame on the people they rule over, even if these supposed leaders are the ones at fault in reality? Ok now, sit back, scroll down slowly and read with focus; you may find yourself nodding in agreement with a grin on your lips (or you might gloat in guilt because you are on the other side of the coin).

1. Be proactive

Stephen Covey
Stephen R. Covey
I am a fan of the late Stephen Covey and one of my favorite books I have read is his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Do you know what it is that he put first on the lists of these habits? Be proactive! Yes, it is the same phrase you see as number 1 in this article you are reading right now.

Stephen Covey is correct in saying that its preferable to "be proactive rather than be reactive." It is proper to anticipate things and events before they happen rather than react to them (in panic) after they happen.

It is unfortunate that many lazy bosses have used this principle to put more weight and burden on the people they supervise and manage. When team members ask for clarification on an ambiguous task or direction and the boss' reply is "It is up to you to find it out," I believe the project is up for failure. If it indeed fails, the boss will scold them out and say, "You are not proactive enough!"

If you are such boss, haven't you told yourself that you too needed to be proactive - proactive enough to clearly explain what you want and with enough information so you can equip your colleagues in attaining their goal? If you demand pro-activeness from your subordinates, it is appropriate that you also be proactive in giving clear, detailed, and non-ambiguous direction, because pro-activeness is a mark of a true leader and not just something you preach to your subordinates.

2. Make your own inspiration and motivation

It is my intention to shorten my number 2 sub-heading because it is going to be long and large if I write it all out in there. Here is the complete clause:

If your situation does not inspire or motivate you, then make your own inspiration and motivation.

A very striking yet rousing concept, isn't it? Of course, it is. You should not wait for inspiration and motivation to come looking for you from something or someone. You yourself can be the source of your own inspiring and motivating scenario.

Suppose we remove the word "situation" in the clause and replace it with the word "boss." Now, imagine it is the boss who is saying that sentence. If I were the voice of reason to such boss, I would certainly want to ask him, "Isn't it the role of the leader to inspire and motivate the people he leads?"

I believe the manager or supervisor must be the primary source of good vibes among his team members. Inciting your teammates to motivate and inspire themselves, because you as the boss are not able to provide it, is a self-defense that incriminates your management style.

A quote from Michael Scott (played by actor Steve Carell) from the TV series, The Office, has this to say...

Michael Scott

3. Be part of the solution and not the problem

The full text of this Eldridge Cleaver quote is "There is no more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you're going to be part of the problem." During reports and meetings, some managers and supervisors would rephrase this concept as...

If you say to me a problem, make sure you already have (the perfect) solution to it.

Again, there is nothing wrong about this problem-solution concept. In fact, I advise not to dwell on the problem but to move forward and concentrate on the solution; you might want to read my article about The Art of Procrastination: Why Laziness is Pleasurable.

Here is the thing: Sometimes, if not most of the time, an employee or group of employees will approach the boss to state a problem and say their intended solution. Their purpose is not so much to get the boss' nod on the proposed solution, but to inform the latter of an existing problem that requires attention and ask for guidance and advice from someone they look up to as a mentor and elder whose ideas they deem may have more wisdom and logic. After all, that is how we see a leader should be - a guiding mentor and a wise elder, right?

Unfortunately, some managers do not see themselves as such; they rather stick to the job of approving and signing off proposed solutions than provide mentoring and sound advice to their subordinates. Talking to their colleagues, these bosses would say, "It is not my job to propose solutions. Do not tell me a problem of which solution you have not come up yet. State your solution, give your facts and figures, and if I have no questions, I will approve it. As simple as that!"

I believe the spoon has its use, not just for feeding yourself, but also for instructing, guiding, and directing. There is a reason why the term "spoon feed" exists, and I believe it has its own benefits to the feeder and to the one being fed. If you help your team members succeed, you ensure your own success.

4. The only thing constant in this world is change

This quote from the ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, is an excellent motivation for people to accept change as inevitable part and parcel of living and to adapt to it whenever necessary. Sadly, this kind and wise concept is also used by a lot of people, particularly those in the level of management, to justify their own fickle-mindedness and lack of definite direction.

In item #1, I mentioned how ambiguity in the workplace is defended by pushing employees to be proactive. In this section, I say that ambiguity thrives in a workplace where management encourages fickle policies with unrealistic and vague objectives. The more changes that are happening, the more ambiguous they get.

Stability resides in a clear and achievable goal; procedures are the ones that can be adjusted to attain it. Stick to the goal - you can change your methods but keep the original goal in mind.

5. Get busy, busy, busy

The Devil
This is the favorite principle of the certified task master, the type of boss who is concerned mainly with what you do rather than the value of what you achieve. He prefers quantity over quality.

So what does he do? He makes sure that you are loaded with tasks throughout the day, ensuring no penny is wasted on your salary. If he sees you idle or doing something he thinks is not related to your job, he adds another pile of workload on you.

It is his belief that if you are not doing a lot, you are not adding value to your work. In a sense, he thinks it is a reflection of his supervisory skills. Thus, he defends himself by pushing his subordinates to be busy, busy, and busy all day all the time - and he is effectively efficient in doing so.

There is a Christian saying about getting busy:

The idle mind is the cradle of the devil.

And I certainly agree with it...

Productivity is something ideal to see among employees. At the end of the day, however, the questions than will linger in your mind are: Did you achieve the goal or did you contribute to attaining it? Are you happy with your accomplishment[s]?

Photo credits:

Meme created by author. Photo from "MichaelScott" by Source, Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MichaelScott.png#/media/File:MichaelScott.png

"Stephen Covey 2010" by Stephen Covey - FMI Show Palestrante.jpg: Abras2010derivative work: Hekerui - Stephen Covey (author) - FMI Show Palestrante.jpg. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stephen_Covey_2010.jpg#/media/File:Stephen_Covey_2010.jpg

The Devil c/o OpenClips / Pixabay
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Nostradamus and The ISIS

Back in the mid-1980's, my brothers and I stumbled upon a television feature which was a documentary movie entitled, The Man Who Saw Tomorrow. It was about the famed French medical practitioner, Michel De Nostredame, more popularly called as Nostradamus who lived in the years 1503-1564. The movie was produced in 1981 albeit we were able to watch it a few years after, and it was not even a story on his biography - it was all about his predictions of the future. In fact, the man became famous because of his renowned predictions of the future and not for his medical practice.

Nostradamus' Prophecy

Among his incredible yet outstandingly accurate predictions are the following:
  • The time of his death
  • The date his body would be exhumed
  • The rise of a Franciscan friar named Felice Peretti to the Papacy as Sixtus V
  • The French Revolution
  • The rise and fall of Napoleon Bonaparte
  • The First World War
  • The Second World War revolving around Adolf Hitler
  • John F. Kennedy's assassination
  • The 9/11 terrorist attack in New York

The fall of the twin towers

September 11, 2001 - I was eating my late dinner (note that I lived not in the US) when my elder brother called my attention. He was waiting for the business news on cable, but instead of such, it was a live blow by blow coverage of 2 airplanes crashing and destroying the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York. As the news coverage progressed, it became apparent that what was happening was a terrorist attack. The name of Osama Bin Laden and his fundamentalist network, Al Qaeda, were brought up.
Osama Bin Landen

At that moment, a scene from my memory poked my mind. I told my brother, "Hey! Do you remember that movie we watched about Nostradamus' predictions? That scene about the destruction that is going to happen in New York?" Random yet clear words and phrases came to me from that scene in the movie:
  • King of terror
  • Out of the country of Greater Arabia
  • Strong master of Mohammed and law
  • Wearing a turban
  • Garden of the world the New City 
  • Man made mountains plunged into ferment

Perplexed and thinking, he agreed that the occurrence brought back the memory of watching that movie.

Later on, doomsayers and Nostradamus aficionados would have a lot of chitchat about the quatrains that pertain to the event. As with any other issues and discussions, the skeptics would have their counter-argument against them and their hullabaloos. The world moved on as usual.

Saddam and Bin Laden are gone but their ghosts live on

The main antagonists of the war on terror are now dead... And so we thought. Yes, Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden may be dead but the seed of terrorism and militant fundamentalism has been sown. As I see it, it looks like it is already starting to be harvested as well.

The ISIS, short for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or just plain Islamic State, is wrecking havoc in the Middle East and they are spreading the fire of violence as they expand their movement. In other parts of the world, pockets of terror wrought about by misled Islamic militants are being reported by the news media, happening even in non-Muslim countries like France, Belgium, Philippines, Canada, USA, and Australia.

It is also significant to take note that there are Westerners who are joining the ISIS, for whatever reason only they can reveal. In fact, the notorious Muslim masked man who is shown on news media beheading captured "infidels" is British. See this news report.

Nostradamus predicted that the last terrible war shall be fought on religious grounds and "it shall last seven and twenty years... And after which there shall be peace."

Here is an edited excerpt from the movie, The Man Who Saw Tomorrow, c/o Youtube user AScannerDorkly. Take note that the original film was made in 1981; most of the predictions in there particularly the ones that deal with religious extremism and the war on terror have not happened yet. Proceed to sequence 1:54 of the video if it does not start there.

If your curiosity is more than enough, I suggest you get out of your laziness and just look for it at your local video shop or buy it from Amazon or eBay.

The thought can freak us out. Whether you believe it or not, it is really up to you. My recommendation? Pray that the course of events will just jump to the part when there shall be peace.

Photo credits:

Nostradmus' Prophecy c/o en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nostradamus

Osama Bin Laden c/o Public Domain/ Pixabay
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The Art of Procrastination - Why Laziness is Pleasurable

Rest for a WhileThere are people who have mastered the art of procrastination. Their bodies have been honed to be competent at laziness, at putting off important activities to a later time, until no accomplishment has been achieved whatsoever. One way or another, all of us (not exempting myself) have trained ourselves in the art and science of sloth.

Personal experience and observation have taught me that, to develop the habit of procrastination, there are certain conditions that can exacerbate the temptation to be lazy. Of course, it is up to our decisions and choices if we are to give in. Philosophically speaking, we are human beings and we are the masters of our fate, we are not slaves to mere sensations and weaknesses of the flesh.

To better understand ourselves why sloth becomes so tempting, I have taken the pleasure of noting the reasons and conditions behind the lazy habit.

1. Expecting failure

When you are about to begin a task, act upon an idea in your mind, or push yourself to fulfill your heart’s dream, what formidable hindrance can hamper your motivation than to say to yourself, “This endeavor is going to fail (anyway); it will not work, so what the heck!” So what do you do next? You sit back or lie down, and keep on dreaming – yes, just be content with dreams.

Failure may or may not happen. Even if it does occur, there is always the opportunity to try again. If you take a look at the stories of people like Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Stephen King, Bill Gates, and many others – they are people who have failed... and failed miserably (if you do not know or are not familiar with them, better Google them up and search about their experiences of failure). What we all know now, obviously, is that they are people of renowned success.

You should prepare for failure, but it should not be the aim of your action. It can indeed occur; what you can do if it happens is to learn from it, rise from it, continue your journey, and do it for the mere love of the activity. That is surely way better than dreaming about it in your slumber.

2. Allergic to difficulty

In one episode of the cartoon TV series, Teen Titans, a martial arts master instructed Robin that, “There is an easy way, and then there is the right way.” Of course, not all easy is wrong and not all difficult is right; but to many of us, like Robin in the story, difficult and stressful tasks are something to be avoided.

One demotivating factor that pushes us back to our comfort zone is when we see that the activity before us is daunting, may incur stress and lay waste our spirits. If you connect this to item #1 above, you might say to yourself, “Why bother myself with stress and fatigue if in the end everything will just come to naught?”

Stephen Covey suggests that we should “Begin with the end in mind.” Focusing on the task itself can indeed look daunting, but looking on and anticipating a fruitful outcome can reinvigorate a tired spirit.

3. Discouraging environment

If you are surrounded by people who keep on saying to you: “You cannot do it, it will only amount to failure, there are a lot of people better than you who did not make it as well” or something like in that nature of thought, I can bet that the likelihood of you spending majority of your day in slumber or being a couch potato is strongly probable. These people saying all these demotivating messages are more or less couch potatoes and day dreamers themselves.

It is said that misery begets company, that it is contagious, and that its influence can affect anyone near it. Sloth is a kind of misery that is pleasurable to the body, the only misery that is deceivingly enjoyable.

4. Physiological condition

If you have diabetes, hypertension, anemia, or you are suffering from some kind of chronic fatigue or sleeping disorder, I cannot blame you for feeling tired, stressed out, and sleepy most of the time. Somehow, this condition can affect your ability to start and sustain an activity.

Medical intervention can help out in overcoming this circumstance, and it is advised that you seek it rather than to appear lazy in the eyes of many and prevent you from achieving your fulfillment.

5. Worry, sadness and depression

Sloth is one of the so-called 7 Deadly Sins or Vices. The Latin translation for sloth is Acedia, which in medieval times is a word associated with sadness, boredom, and depression.

When you are sad or you are in a state of self-pity, you are constrained to concentrate mainly on yourself and on the object of your sadness. You over-introspect and over-analyze the cause of your emotion, thinking about it and asking “Why” over and over again. So it is with worrying, but instead of “why,” the questions that distract your mind are “How” and “What if.”

Emotions like these have their purpose, but delving in them extraneously without any plan to get out of the situation can generate fear of the outside world, and can make lying in bed and locking yourself in your room all day long feel deceptively comforting and convenient. Besides, worry and being sad when not controlled can lead to depression, or despair at the worst, and this can be debilitating than the usual emotions.

There is the depression that is clinical in nature. In such a case, item #4 should apply.

6. Attractive distractions

You think that when you are doing a lot of tasks, when your mind is busy, or when you are physically active, you are immune from the vice of sloth and the bug of procrastination. I do not think so; sometimes, if not most of the time, busyness is so mundane compared to the really important events and people in your life.

Say you are watching TV or enjoying a rave party, but you have a school research project at hand, of which deadline is close by. You think the former is an activity worth enjoying on such scenario?

Demon of Sloth, Belphegor
Maybe you are a family man/woman who has put off spending more (and I say MORE) quality time with spouse and children because of “urgent” tasks at the office. Surely, work is important, but procrastinating against a wonderful time with family is not going to deposit excellent memories with your loved ones – the loved ones who will be present at your death bed! Leave your work at the office, I am sure it will still be there on Monday. ;-)

The challenge for most of us is not just to be busy and productive all the time, it is to spend our time on what really matters most in our life. One motivational question you can ask yourself whenever the demon, Belphegor, is racking your thoughts and emotions is this: What do I want people and my loved ones to remember me for after my death?

Here is a Youtube video by Brain Rot Animation on Sloth as one of the 7 Deadly Sins:

Photo credits:

Rest for a While c/o BizE-Ton / Pixabay

Demon of Sloth c/o wikipedia.org/wiki/Belphegor
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Books Were Not My First Literature

Reading Fatigue
It was not even comics, not children's books with hard bound pages, and not pop-up books. My first literature was television. To a pre-school kid whose only available books  at home were textbooks, newspapers, and magazines, these paper-made objects were just potential toys to be scrapped, torn, cut and turned into boats, airplanes, hats, and puppets (I did not know how to make paper puppets, though).

I learned the classic fairy tales, I got to know the heroes of old and the amazing creatures of modern superhero and science fiction because of the boob tube. Yet, it was the era when the television was treated as the "Idiot Box," because they said that the TV was for idiots and books were for smarties. I guess that this saying is now refuted by the present generation. Besides, if that were so, Sesame Street would not have been the most influential TV show among the kids of my generation.

Superman and the Super Friends were my favorites. There was also Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, starring Ice Man, Fire Star, and of course Spider-Man himself. If we are talking about superhero shows, then I should include in the list the New Adventures of Batman, and joining him were Robin, Batgirl, and Bat-mite. Who would forget the awesome Transformers and G.I. Joe, which were made into movies recently? There also were the Thundercats, Tiger Sharks, M.A.S.K., the Centurions, and many others. Oh, don't forget the super-robot animes from Japan that were fabulously dubbed in English. I may have to reserve a bunch of other articles in order to discuss all my favorite cartoon shows that gave me imaginative adventures and taught me about the reality of good battling against evil.

Growing up with maturity

Now as an adult, I have become a voracious reader and I love to follow an excellent story whenever I find one, whether it is written in a book, serialized on a TV series, or narrated in a critically reviewed motion-picture. Surely, I want my kids to be exposed to good reading and not just TV, movies, and Youtube.

Stories, whether they are fiction or about something that has happened in reality, are what make ideas become worth sharing. They inspire, they warn, and they push human beings to their limits. Humanity has evolved and has reached the level of progress we have now because we shared stories, communicated our ideas, and inspired others with the use of words.

I bet the best gift you can give yourself right now is to go read or watch a good story, and then live the story for yourself.

Photo credit:

Reading Fatigue c/o mozlase / Pixabay
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Things That Can Make You Feel Miserable Once You Reach 40 Years Old

A lot of events have happened in your life. You went through thick and thin, and you have gone through many Winters and Summers throughout the seasons. Looking back at your past, you believe that you have learned a lot of life's lessons. Regrets? You may have a few; you did what you had to do and saw it through without exemption (as Frank Sinatra and Paul Anka would say). Looking forward into the future, you see some brightness while you prevent the slightest speck of bleakness from coming in your thoughts. No, you do not want dimness to cover your sight of happy years ahead. Truly, you say that LIFE BEGINS AT 40!

Happy 40th Birthday

In our era of fast-paced movements and information sharing, with social media and high tech gadgets galore, reaching 40 years of age has become another challenging dose of both wisdom and burden. Your happiness will be your choice (as it was before), yet if you are not careful, worrisome thoughts can get in the way of it. I have listed 8 situations that can cause anyone to feel miserable upon reaching the age of 40.

8. You Are Still Single

You are not married or you do not have an S.O. (significant other). However you want to address it, you are (still) single and you are 40. All your contemporaries are either presently married or have been married. The thing is, your condition is more likely the product of your own choice, and you defend it to be so. What is annoying is that people around you think it is something you should worry about. Yes, you do not worry about it at all, it is they that want to see you worrying about it. Once this gets in your nerves, then you allow yourself to be in misery.

These people think that there is something wrong with your situation. Their best guess is that you have a misaligned disposition in life and/or that you have not accepted the real nature of your sexuality, that you are in a state of identity crisis which you do not deal with properly. Well, it is not so much of their fault to believe so; society's culture has dictated that marital relationships are inevitable and no human should be exempt (except if you decide to join a religious order with a vow of celibacy).

7. Childlessness

Ok, so maybe you are married; you have found your significant other. The two of you have been together for 7 years... 10 years.. Oh no, it is more than that; but wait, a question lingers among friends and relatives during parties, reunions, and gatherings. "When are we going to see the fruit of your love?." In other words, "When are you going to have children?"

Whatever the reason (which ranges from own decision, a physiological condition, or just plain fate), the thought that you and your S.O. are together for so many years but childless can cause an amount misery, and if not controlled, can lead to a strain in your marital state. That is why when I talk to married couples whom I know have been together for many years, I restrain myself from asking the same question. A little bit of understanding and consideration, People!

6. Your House Is Not Your Own

You either live with your parents/in-laws or you rent an apartment. For many years of working and earning, you still do not have your own house. Many people might say a meager worker's salary is just enough for the daily expenses, but I bet there are also people who forgot to plan and save for the future. The latter has more guilt than the usual, and it will make them feel miserable.

Another related aspect is the ever most coveted and aspired, CAR. Most young professionals will have the tendency to buy and get their most coveted automobile. They will save money, and for those who are impatient, they will have to loan for it. The thing is, not all people save or loan for a car, they do not see its importance at all and they are likely right in their decision. What happens is this, some people will grade your success by having or not having a car. You may own your house, you may have a lot of savings in your bank account; but to these people, you are as unsuccessful as their gardener in their backyard if you do not have a car.

Not having a car? Who cares, I can rent one anyway. Would you rather be CARLESS or the 5th one?

5. You Are Broke

You bought a car, maybe a number of them. The place you live in is your dream house and it is filled with furniture and appliances anyone can desire. You are up to date with the latest gadgets and you have them all. The ironically sad thing about your situation is - you are buried in bad debt.

Banks and credit collectors are hounding you. The people whom you loaned from are constantly reminding you to pay them back. Yet, your salary or income is just enough to pay for all the bills your lifestyle has accumulated. Where are your friends when you need them? Oh, there they are on the phone and some are even knocking on your door, calling your name and asking where is their money.

4. The Mirror Complex

You go to the gym to hone and sculpt your body. You visit your local beautician and let your face and hair have an overhaul. At the end of the day, you will look at the mirror and say, "I am getting old and I am not beautiful anymore." Studies may suggest that this occurrence can happen mostly to women, but the fear of losing one's beauty as we grow older can also affect the male species. The apprehension that you will no longer be attractive, particularly to your significant other, is indeed a paranoia that can cause misery to a 40 year old.

"Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder." I guess the burden of this "feel beautiful" spirit falls mainly on your S.O.'s shoulders. " He or she should make you feel beautiful or handsome. In case that he or she does not, it does not mean the case is the contrary. Your beauty is not beholden mainly in the eyes, but mostly in the heart and mind.

3. You Are Stuck in Your Job

For many long years you have worked in the company. You remained loyal even when others were not. You were unmoved, and no promotion whatsoever. Now, you feel your growth have stagnated. The sweat and tears you have sown and your toil and labor have not been rewarded at all. Many of your friends and contemporaries have now achieved some amount of prominence and success, and you envy them. You now think that you should have pursued your happiness and sought your wildest dreams when you were still in your 20's.

Envy is a green-eyed monster that is truly the twin of misery and loneliness. Do not let it get in your nerves. Yes, you are 40 and you are still alive and kicking. There are still a lot you can dream of and think of, just do not forget to act on them to reach their fulfillment. Once you do, please be careful on the next one.

2. Never Ending Job or Career Hopping

Steve Jobs said in a commencement address at Standford University, "You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle."

So it is what you did, you sought what you want to do with your life. Because you had not found it yet, you kept on looking because you could not settle for anything less. Now that you are 40 years old, you are still looking and you still have not found your dream career yet. You have a become a constant job hopper, shifting from one career to another.

No, I am not saying you should stop looking, but if you are not careful and not wise on your decisions, your seeking can cause strain on your spirit. It can drain your will and strength, and if it does, you may have to stop and settle for something you did not want in the first place. Be wise and shrewd, yet be meek and serene as well.

1. Your Health and Fitness

Doctors and health professionals advice people to have their usual body check once in every year. When you reach the age of 40, this body check upgrades from the "usual." If before you would just have blood and urine tests, this time you will need to have some extra tests to prevent some graver diseases such as cancer. As we grow with age, we become more susceptible to hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, and many others. These can indeed make misery a part of middle age living.

Reaching middle age also means getting heavier and accumulating some body mass. Your fitness is also under threat. Some physical activities may not be possible anymore, so your exercises are more likely to be toned down as well. You may have to check out what kind of workout can be suitable for you as you age. Also, some foods may have to be avoided, and your diet will have to be trimmed down too. No cause here to be miserable as long as you are conscious about it, but not paranoid. Take action rather than worry.

As a conclusion, it is really your choice if you want to feel miserable, just like it is your decision if you want to be happy or not. It all depends on how clearly you see things whether you are 40 years old or younger.

Photo Credit:

Happy 40th Birthday c/o Hans / Pixabay
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