300 Word Memories #2 – Perseverance

perseverance
TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
February 27, 2017

“We acquire strength we have overcome.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.”
– George Bernard Shaw

It seems that no matter where one ventures in life, no matter where one attempt to make berth, there’s always going to be obstacles in the way.  Sometimes, these obstacles can be overcome with perseverance and determination.  Other times, it is not so simple.

Whether it is family, work, business, school, relationships, it seems that each of these areas always has something to offer for growth that keeps us on our toes, although many times we might not see it, or even want to come to terms with it.

Living in a society in which governments overlook freedoms, schools overlook education, businesses overlook quality, the medical establishment overlooks health, religion overlooks morality, it’s no wonder many people disappointed with what life has to offer.  In great part, people’s point of views and virtues are literally molded, from the ground up in clay-like fashion, by these very institutions.

Regarding this disturbing trend, regarding those pulling the strings, Edward Bernays, the father of public relations, once had this today, which he shared in his book Propaganda [review here]:

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard ofIn almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”[1][Bold Emphasis Added]

Such truly is the state of the world, and has been for nigh a century.

If the groups socially engineering these changes were not morally bankrupt, then many significant issues would be a lot simpler and perhaps better.  On the flip side, though, one could also argue that there would be less to learn as a society, and as individuals, if these obstacles opportunities were not available.  Of course, this is not to give silence to evil acts nor to justify them.  This is simply to point out that from every obstacle, there is something to be learned, and we usually learn the most when we are put to the test in keen fashion.

There are times that no matter what we do, it seems like the storm is coming, and we will be in its path, no matter what we do.  When that time comes, we need to be resolute in our character, and realize that facing obstacles, no matter how tough it may seem at the time, will always yield a more robust individual repertoire.

Only by weathering the storm do each of us as individuals end up being forged by the fire, like a sword that is cast ironclad, but in our case, we are cast in the profound lessons of life.

Only by being aware of the door opening, may we find a new path.

And only by walking through the fire will we know that we are immune to the flames.

Stay strong, because you are forged by the very thing that the Universe is made of.  And since we are each a reflections of the Universe, as the Universe is boundless, so is our resolve.

________________________________________
Sources & References:

[1] Edward Bernays, Propaganda, pp. 37-38.
________________________________________
This article is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.

Advertisements

300 Word Memories #1 – Growth

future
TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
February 24, 2017

Earlier today it became known to me, through the expertise of John Taylor Gatto that decades ago Harvard used to require students in the liberal arts department to write 300 word passages in order to hone their writing skills.  The effect of this was phenomenal, and was noted years after this particular generation of graduates made their way into the workforce.

Gatto noted that those individual students who were exposed to such an idea and who were urged to execute it correctly found growth as writers that nobody could have even fathomed.

In small part, this idea can be corroborated by me, to a certain extent, through my work in reviewing books.

Nigh three years ago my skillset in writing reviews was average at best.  Although this fact was known to me, it didn’t deter me to attempt to grow as a writer/reviewer at the time.  Naturally, the only option that seemed reasonable at the time was to write more, and do more reviews.  At the time, admittedly, it seemed rather simplistic.  However, we all know how much we learned by doing, so it didn’t seem like it was such a bad idea.

Now, a handful of years later, it’s been quite the journey in being able to grow as a writer/blogger in many ways and be able to relate my ideas in a much more incisive and cogent fashion.  Realizing this a few months ago, it was rather inspiring because, having seen a few of my older reviews, it became quite apparent that not only my suspicion of my work being ‘so-so’ of the past correct, but my suspicion of growth through using the mirror of time – the past – also helped me glean some satisfaction in the fact that the hard work was paying off, even if at times it seems rather sluggish.

Having gone through this mental growth-spurt of sorts, am appreciative of having this obstacle be in my path, and in choosing to make it an opportunity for a jump off point, because it’s helped me grow in more ways than would have seemed possible in the past.

In any case, may the next obstacle opportunity on my path be sizeable, because the growth experienced from immense obstacles opportunities is much greater than that experience gained from smaller ones.

May you always be ironclad in your passions, and relentless in your resolve.

_________________________________________________________
This article is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.

Book Review: Three Moves Ahead by Bob Rice

3movesahead
TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
February 6, 2017

Three Moves Ahead by Bob Rice is a solid synthesis regarding the seemingly disparate aspects of business and chess.

Rice reveals many core aspects of Chess theory and gameplay that can and do apply to business in everyday life.

Weaving the reader into myriad historical business ventures – both successes and failures – the author illustrates what made these particular businesses succeed or fail, and goes to underscore the essential Chess tactics that were involved in those scenarios.  Furthermore, Rice journeys beyond that to show the reader how even more can be gained from further introspection if one carries out that additional mental weightlifting.

The analogies Rice employed in the book to compare the subjects are rather adequate.  Admittedly, some are much stronger than others.  Still, Rice gives the reader ample information to chew on regarding the similarities between chess and business.

A noteworthy point is that, even if the reader isn’t an avid player at all or knows nothing of the game of chess, the author explains himself rather well and is easy to follow as he seamlessly flows from topic to topic within the book.

Three Moves Ahead is definitely something to ponder for business-oriented individuals who are seeking ways to grow.  But even beyond that, the principles of the book can be applied to other aspects of life depending on how creative the individual uses what Rice delineates in the book.

If you’re looking for an additional book along the same lines, but with more Chess flavor to it, go on to read Garry Kasparov’s How Life Imitates Chess: Making The Right Movies, From the Board To The Boardroom.  It’s kind of similar to this book, but from the opposite side of the spectrum.  For me it was more enjoyable than this one, although because am coming at it from a chess perspective than a business point of view.  Still, both complement each other rather well if you’re looking to see ‘two sides of the same coin’.

Book Review: How Life Imitates Chess by Gary Kasparov

lifechess
TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
February 1, 2017

How Life Imitates Chess by former World Chess Champion and grandmaster Garry Kasparov does an incisive job of showing how life is a mirror for chess.  Or is it the opposite?

Filled with much erudition regarding the intricacies of life, How Life Imitates Chess sifts through the data points, or perhaps ‘life-lessons’ is a better term, which helped him grow as a chess player that became a grandmaster, but more importantly, as an individual.  Each of these life-lessons helped him grow in countless ways, regardless whether it was facing dismal defeats, or manifesting intensely resounding victories.

To that effect, Kasparov makes it a point to go into why constant self-analysis is essential not only to survive in the world, but in fact to thrive.  Self-awareness and peak performance go hand in hand, as some of you may know.  Because of this Kasparov urges everyone to become conscious of their individual inherent decision making process and strive to polish it to become wiser.

Some of the varying components featured in the book are the myriad fascinating stories of individuals, chess matches, companies et al., which are used to drive home lessons to be gleaned from the events that took place within those instances.

Another notable point mentioned in the book is the importance of not becoming your own enemy.  In one instance, the author noted how it’s important to find the nascent stage of a crisis before it becomes a full-fledged crisis.  This might seem obvious at first blush, but we’ve all seen our mental state – or that of someone else – be overridden by emotions, which therein overrides our logic.  And not being able to use logic is downright disastrous since your mental precision is only a shade of its true power.

Furthermore, when an individual get emotional, not only does the amygdala go into overdrive, but “…the logic center processors [neocortex] get almost turned off and blocked.  Adrenaline, hormone levels, and blood pressure rise, and our memories become less efficient.  We begin to lose our ability to communicate effectively, and we turn to a form of autopilot to make decisions.”[Emphasis Added][1]

Hands down, my favorite part of the book, although admittedly there were many intriguing points, was how Kasparov relentless speaks about having to question everything.  As he warns:

“Question the status quo at all times, especially when things are going well.  When something goes wrong, you naturally want to do better the next time, but you must train yourself to want to do it better even when things go right.”[135][Bold Emphasis Added][2]

This reminds me of poker, as well as many other things in life, where a person might make the most ridiculous and stupid choice, and still get rewarded.  If an individual chooses not to question their actions, they will simply not grow. Someone may make a very poor choice, and still end up winning untold sums of money.  When such is the case, individuals rarely if ever opt for introspection to verify that they were correct.  The assumption is that if the money is won…then the choice ‘had to’ be a good one.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Moreover:

“Questioning yourself must become a habit, one strong enough to surmount the obstacles of overconfidence and dejection.  It is a muscle that can be developed only with constant practice.”[3]

Another additional point brought up by Kasparov  was about the vital significance not only to move out of our comfort zones, but also to challenge ourselves in creative ways to push us into new boundaries.

Regarding this, Kasparov minces no words:

“When we regularly challenge ourselves with something new – even something not obviously related to our immediate goals – we build cognitive and emotional “muscles” that make us more effective in every way.  If we can overcome our fear of speaking in public, or of submitting a poem to a magazine, or learning a new language confidence will flow into every area of our lives  Don’t get so caught up in “what I do” that you stop being a curious human being.  Your greatest strength is the ability to absorb and synthesize patterns, methods, and information.  Intentionally inhibiting the ability to focus too narrowly is not only a crime, but one with few rewards.”[4]

This book almost has shades of being a self-help book, almost.  The book isn’t that, but it’s so versatile, and the book harpoons so many little nuggets of knowledge that it can certainly be used as such a tool.

In plainspeak, if you’re looking for a book that delves into Chess, Life, Business, while also searching for gems of wisdom that may help you become a sharper, stronger, and more intuitive individual, but also dives into the importance of quality actions via precise decision making, then ruminate upon this book.

_____________________________________________________________
Sources & References

[1] Christopher Hadnagy, Unmasking The Social Engineer, pg. 166.
[2] Gary Kasparov, How Life Imitates Chess, pg. 135.
[3] Ibid., pp. 34-35.
[4] Ibid. pg. 170.

Book Review: The I Ching Or Book Of Changes by Brian Browne Walker

theiching

BreakawayConsciousness
Zy Marquiez
August 2, 2016

This book  – The I Ching – is a veritable crash course into what can take place when people pay attention to the small intricacies in life.

As in life, this book offers much to learn from, if one just so chooses.  It’s not for no reason that this book has been held in high esteem by sages and mystics going back thousands of years.

Of those sages, perhaps the most notable is Confucius who ironed out his teachings and insights from this particular book.

In any case, as the book hints at in its introduction, this book can be seen just as another book or it can be viewed as something more. 

Just as with any other stepping stone that offers opportunity for growth, this particular book is no different.  In fact, its insights and advice are not only reasonable, but they resonate quite well for many reasons.

The beauty of this book lies in its simplicity.  Throughout its length the book takes an approach of meaning towards everything.  From every event, every instance, in every day, there is something to be gained from it.   However, will undoubtedly depend on how the individual so chooses to act.

With clarity and depth, the book will help the individual traverse through life by showcasing wisdom in more than ample situations.

Another benefit of this book is how it’s far easier to read than other I Ching books, at least for me.  That is always pleasant for someone that’s always attempting to keep things simple.

How this book helps you will be determined ultimately by you, the reader – the individual.  For me, personally, if am having trouble with certain circumstances, its helped me reassess my thought process and take a step back and be able to not only take my time, but relax, and thus allow my-self the precision of thought needed to take the next step in life.

That, and that alone, is priceless.  The beauty of it is that, the book offers many more gems than that.  It’s certainly a must buy for everyone in my opinion, because knowing human nature, we can all benefit from it.

Hallowed Angel


Hallowed Angel

That soft symphony enchants my senses
Spiraling my emotions each out of control
Amatory temptations blossom ever more
With every second she caresses my soul

All of those words charmingly resounding
Written carefully from the outset of the nib
Impeccably sung by the heart of an Angel
Yet composed sweetly by a young cherub

Soft and yet graceful this Angel sings forth
Pure elegant tunes coming from her heart
A sacred seamstress of poetic perfection
Her voice, purity – a Heavenly work of art

Venerated forever, she sings melodiously
Using all of the notes I have come to love
Gazing at her singing I then realize slowly
This Angel is more than I could dream of

Celestially precious this Angel I have met
Angelic perfection upon me she bestows
May the spirit she bares always be eternal
As the seraphic heart that within her glows

By: Zy Marquiez