Food for Thought

“Oh, no no no. Don’t eat Chinese food here [in Los Angeles,] The Chinese food will kill you! If I really want good Chinese food, I go to Mexico!” -Random Mexican lady talking to random black man

This is a conversation I overheard at 24 hour fitness. At first I thought it was such a cultural failure and wanted to respond with “Lady, there’s this place where you can get the best carne asada, it’s in China town! The secret to a proper carne asade is that it must be made in a wok!” But I refranied. But this really got me to thinking. Isn’t it crazy how globalized we are as a nation that Chinese food in Mexico is now seen as something that is normal There was a time when “ethnic foods” were only eaten by people of that ethnicity. Not only that, those ethnic foods weren’t available to the general public. There was no 99 ranch market, no Cardenas, no Hoa Binh, no Seafood City. In fact, Did you know just 100 years ago, a common present given to each other by people in New York was an orange? This gift was exotic because it came all the way from Florida. Now you can get THE BEST Chinese food in Mexico, you can get pho in Germany. (I have personally verified this on my last trip to Germany. Also, pretty bomb.) You can get KFC in Japan. Did you kno that in Japan, there is a tradition of getting KFC on Christmas? It’s so popular, you have to make a reservation in advance to be able to get a meal. Kurisumasu ni wa Kentakki!!!!! aka, Kentucky for Christmas! The world merging into a huge melting pot. Options are everywhere! But with this increase in options, comes a decrease in health.

Webster’s dictionary defines Food -(Noun) any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to maintain life and growth. In this sense, with all the processed foods and toxic repercussions, is much of what we eat really food? According to the dictionary, the answer would be no because food is something that “maintain’s life and growth” whereas what we put in our bodies nowadays are definitely driving us towards an early grave. Education won’t do much because we are a slave to our own genes. Our bodies are geared towards survival in the wild where we are not so readily susceptible to sugars and fats. Back in te day, when we had the opportunity to consume sugars and fats, we would eat as much of it in order to survive. Our bodies made it taste delicious so we can intake as much of these scarce resource as possible. Nowadays, one soda contains as much sugar as we used to eat in a week. Just some food for thought


What’s the problem?

“If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” -Albert Einstein

It is questioned if Einstein actually said this. I have some doubts about many question like this and the famous Thomas Jefferson quote “How the heck does twitter expect me to fit the declaration of independence in 140 characters? #FoundingFatherProblems”

Though Einstein may not have said the quote, the idea is interesting. If you take the majority of the time to define what the problem is, then you can begin to spend time solving the problem. You cannot know the solution without first understanding the problem. Today I had a communication issue with someone. I thought the problem was odd so I asked about it and received backlash. I worded my question incorrectly to make that person feel like I was questioning them. Going forward, I will ask questions accordingly. Always remember, what result you want from the situation. Is it better to be right or is it better to be happy? Even if it means being wrong, being happy is better than dealing with an unpleasant situation. The majority of people are stubborn, they will usually stick to their guns even after realizing they are wrong. Find the problem, find an appropriate solution, move on.



What is my value?

What am I worth? Everyone goes through situations where they feel like they have little value to offer to others. The fact is, there is no possibility that I know every single fact that you know and you do not know everything that I know. Whether it’s facts related to our mainstream subjects such as math, science, history, literature, etc. Cultural facts gathered from a lifetime of exposure. Wisdom that comes from experiencing situations that books cannot begin to grasp. Character from a lifetime of learning what’s right and what’s wrong. We are all so different and have something to offer to each other. I say this again and again but I always feel every single person potentially has something to offer me of value, if I’m willing to listen. Even the homeless man on the street corner knows something that could open your mind to a new world of possibilities and perspective. One of my old bosses used to send out texts to all 150 employees, every… single… day… At 6AM, a blinking light would come on my phone and I would see these words of motivation or words of wisdom. One day I asked him why he takes the time to do that when it’s likely most people will not read it because it is not relevant to them? He told me this. “Tim, every person is going through a different time in their life and I know the relevance of what I send does not apply to everyone. However, if one person that day, that week, that month,  that year- If one person gets something from it, then I will have made an impact that could lead to a breakthrough or an eventual change. And that makes it worth it.” This is a person that was focused not only on his business but on the development of others because he understands that if he brings other people up, it will inadvertently help his business.

“Never try and be better than someone else. Always learn from others. Compete only with yourself. Be the best you can be because that is under your control. If you get too involved with things that you have no control over then it will have an adverse affect on things which you do have control. ” -John Wooden


Try something new

What makes something remarkable? Something that is worth remarking about. The thing that’s going to decide what gets talked about, what gets done, what gets changed, what gets purchased and what gets built.

Imagine you are driving on the road and you see a cow on the side of the road. You might look for a second but you continue driving because, well, cows are not unusual. But if that same cow was purple. Suddenly, it holds your gaze a little longer and you might even remark on it. It’s novel, it’s different.

What is remarkable, is new. I think it is very important to get involved with new experiences. Bombard the brain with new experiences because those are the opportunities for growth. Scientists have found that learning something new can release a similar amount of dopamine as taking drugs. You can “get high” from learning. Embrace new experiences. The brain is an old machine and it’s main job is to conserve energy. And the way it achieves this, is through short cuts. The more you feed into the brain, the more your mind is able to look at the world through a new lens. Sometimes that just means getting outside of your office. Going out experiencing new events, new places, new eats, new people. In order to force the brain to see things differently, you must find new and novel ways to help the brain perceive information differently. The brain must be provided with something that it has never before processed to force it out of predictable perceptions.

“You can tell the size of a man by the size of the problem that has got him down”

-Eric Worre

This past weekend, I competed in a Toastmaster’s humor speech competition. It was my first time competing and I must’ve hatched a hundred butterflies for the occasion. I was nervous. It was an experience I was elated that I took part in and really gave me a lens into a new world. It allowed me to realize how many things I didn’t even know I didn’t know. There are so many things that I know I don’t know, like how to solve world peace, a safe way to get rid of toxic waste, global warming, but I digress. This recognition helped me grasp that there is even more that I don’t know I don’t know. The world is such a huge and wonderful place. Go out and experience it.

Choose your words wisely

Every day, I am setting goals as well as personal mantras to live by. I’ve come to the realization that the way I word my goals affects my ability to complete them. I have found that I am much more successful when I write my goals and values as verbs instead of nouns. For example, I can tell myself to have integrity when dealing with clients but it is hard to follow because it is not something that is tangible. Instead, a better value proposition might be to put “Do the right thing.” This is much easier to follow. Instead of be productive, put read 100 pages or answer 50 math questions, etc. Verbs are more effective because they are action plans and provide something that is clear to follow.

Language may have an impact on our own lives, but it has an even greater affect on others. Here are some subjective words I’ve found useful to avoid in conversation.

  • Obviously and clearly.
    • Many things in this world are not obvious and even fewer things are clear. Instead of saying “clearly it’s x” or “obviously it’s y” it may be better to use “it appears that x is based on y and z.”
  • Never and always.
    • Never and always are not precise and statistically improbable. Usually used as an exaggeration. Instead of “never” or “always,” give a definitive number or use “seldom” and “frequently.”
  • Actually.
    • In cases of Correction, actually signifies that the speaker is very certain the other person is wrong before an explanation is even offered. Meeting with a possible and so is not a good way to get results. Instead of saying “actually,” a better start could be, “I don’t believe…”
  • It goes without saying…
    • If something is important, then it definitely goes WITH saying. This is probably something to avoid using altogether.



Life in pieces

Yesterday I was asked during an interview, “How much time do you spend on the internet and social media?” Whenever I put deep thought into this question, I realize the answer is always, too much.

To a very extreme degree, we are all addicted to looking at social media and other items on the internet. Not only that, but what we are looking at is not only useless, but terrible content. We read stories about what the Kardashians are doing, what your friend on Facebook just ate, who just dropped the n-word, another cute cat photo. Well, ok the last one is awesome, but the rest, not so much . Imagine, if all the Facebook stories that you were looking at and all the random celebrity stories, and everything else was put into a book, would you read it? No. In fact, it would be the worst book ever. We have all these opportunities to read novels and amazing research stories that people have dedicated her life to. Instead, we pump our time into this quick fix drug of social media for a little bit of entertainment that has no value and will reap no benefits. Go dark, read a book. Stop cycling through those same 4 websites and apps like a drug addict.