Category Archives: On Life

Double or Triple the Lifespan of Dogs

dog food agingBurt Ward RobinOn episode 74 of Kevin Smith’s ‘Fatman on Batman’ podcast, he interviewed the original boy wonder himself – Burt Ward. You may remember Burt as Robin in the 1966 Batman TV show. Near the end of the podcast, Burt made a remarkable claim, which I have done nothing to verify. However, taking him on his word alone, I thought it was fascinating that he had found a way to double or triple the lifespan of dogs.

In a somewhat conspiracy theory narrative, Burt Ward explained that traditional dog food is the leading cause of premature death in dogs. He states:

Double or Triple the Lifespan of Dogs - Microsoft Word_2014-11-10_08-00-08“Large breads live 7-9 years. Right now, I have twenty-two dogs between 14-25, and they’re running around like puppies.”

“We first found a way by feeding them differently. Most people feed their dogs differently than we do, they put the bowl on the ground – you should never do that. You should elevate the bowl.

“Most people feed their dogs once or twice a day – you can’t do that because their bodies are not designed [for that]. We feed them five, or more, times a day… All of these things put together added three or four years to their lives.”

“…Dog food companies know something the average person doesn’t know, which is the more fat they put in dog food, the hungrier it makes dogs. This is all about money… so they [dog food companies] add a lot of fat to the food to make the dog hungrier, to make you feed more to your dog, to make you buy more dog food.

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“But there is something much worse. There’s something that is prematurely killing dogs in America, and that is dogs have an amazing ability to smell, they smell the high-fat content and they don’t like the smell, they don’t like the taste. So the way manufacturers get dogs… to eat their food… they spray it with lard. That lard is grease. That lard accumulates in dogs’ bodies, and it restricts the nutrients going through the body. And if you know anything about the ageing process, every day our cells die and they’re replaced, but if you slow down the replacement of the cells, you actually increase the speed of the ageing.

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“So we went out and spent a lot of money, 2.9 million dollars, to develop a food that – we didn’t add any fat, we just took human food and made it into dog food – low fat, dry on the outside, because we didn’t have to coat it with anything. And now, when dogs eat our food, and it goes into their intestines, that dryness absorbs the fat that has been built up over the years of eating other foods, and when they go to the bathroom, it takes it out of their body.

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“In four to six weeks, you won’t recognize your dog.”

“We don’t sell it in pet food stores because they want to charge $85 dollars a bag. We went to grocery stores… and we sell our food at cost. You can get a 33 pound bag for 33 dollars. And your dog can live 25 years like our dogs are living.” 

You can listen to the part of the podcast where Burt talks about this. He used a lot of loaded language to lead the listener to draw a certain conclusion, but I tried to omit most of that stuff and just leave the objective claims. His website is http://gentlegiantsrescue.com/, which I am not affiliated with, nor have I verified his claims. But if you want to check it out you can.

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Drowning in a Sea of Ignorance

Many of you may already know there is often a great disparity between knowledge and wisdom. Take for example a recent situation I had at an annual meeting for the building I live in.

My neighbourhood, and more specifically my apartment building, is comprised of high-income earning professionals — doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc., and therefore, one may think with such a concentration of intellectuals, common sense would thrive like algae under the hot sun. However, if you thought that, like I did, you would be wrong. As I discovered, common sense can be crushed by the obese weight of ignorance. I documented the experience in a little short story I’m calling…

Drowning in a Sea of Ignorance

The meeting was held at seven o’clock on a Thursday night. My girlfriend and I arrived early and found a set of seats about midway down the aisle. While browsing the Internet on our phones to pass the time, we took notice of the mix of people who funnelled in through the rear doors.

The room quickly filled with chatter as people took to their seats. Acquaintances made polite introductions to one another and laughed over small talk. Despite the familiar faces, most people did not know each other beyond holding open a door in the rain, or sharing an elevator ride. As I would expect is the case with many apartment buildings, we are a community of strangers.

There were several topics on the agenda for our building’s annual meeting. One of which was to discuss the issue of owners renting out their parking spaces to non-building residents. As it occurred to some, this created a potential security risk.

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Photo credit: midnight-vanburen.deviantart.com

“I’d like to open the floor for discussion,” the speaker announced.

“We cannot just allow non-residents access to our building,” a man said smugly.

I try not to make snap judgements about people, but we all do it. When analyzing the man’s purposefully stiff posture and very deliberate outfit, I began to unconsciously put him into a particular category. He had been the most vocal participant for the better part of an hour, and quite frankly I was getting annoyed. He spoke confidently and mostly went unchallenged.

As he was talking, I leaned over to my girlfriend and asked, “Who is this guy?”

“He’s this really pretentious painter who lives on the second floor,” she informed me. “I once overheard someone inquire about one of his paintings, and he told her, ‘You couldn’t afford my work’.”

man holding a sign that says, "I am a moron."

Photo credit: gawker.com

“Wow, what an obnoxious thing to say to someone.”

The man continued. “We have had several car break-ins and bike thefts recently and we need to keep ourselves and our property safe,” the stout man said. “I say we outright ban this practice.”

I looked around the crowd and saw people nodding in unison. It appeared as though this overly simplified and obviously ignorant assumption was gaining support. Up until that point, neither my girlfriend nor I had said a word, we remained passive listeners. I decided that I had heard enough and was going to offer the crowd an alternative to his one-sided ear beating.

“Do we even know this to be an issue?” I asked. There were some murmurs amongst the crowd, but I cleared my throat and proceeded. “If I understand this correctly, you’re saying that non-residents are the cause of the break-ins and bike thefts. If this is true and this is a real issue, then there are several solutions we could discuss rather than an outright ban. However, if they are not the cause, then we are not only banning something that doesn’t need to be banned, we are also wasting time discussing a non-issue.”

“So what do you propose?” the speaker asked.

“First,” I said, “we need to know if people are renting their stalls to non-residents. I mean, how many people are actually doing this? Second, we need to know if those individuals, if there are indeed some, are the cause of the break-ins and thefts. If a resident is renting their stall to a non-resident, then perhaps a simple registration would allow us to screen people and keep a record of who is coming and going from our building.”

“A registration?” the man scoffed in outrage. “Nobody fills out forms!”

“Then we can make a rule, if you don’t fill out the form, you don’t get the parking stall,” I suggested.

“But then we’re going to have a stack of forms and it will be too difficult to maintain,” the man said in disgust as if I made some horrible proposal.

“A stack of forms?” I questioned. “We have no idea how many, if any of us, actually rent out their stalls.”

“I rent out my stall,” someone from the crowd said.

“Okay, and who do you rent out your stall to, if you don’t mind me asking?” I said.

“My sister.”

“Okay, so we know of at least one person, are there any others?”

A half dozen people reluctantly raised their hands.

man shouting in a meeting

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“So if this ban goes through, we will not only be limiting the income of some individuals, we’d be denying a person’s sister — someone who they’ve presumably known their entire life — the opportunity and convenience to use an otherwise unoccupied space. At the very least there ought to be a grandfather clause to allow residents to continue to rent their stall to people they know well. If it is deemed necessary, we could simply ask these individuals, as well as future stall renters, to give us some details about themselves. In the event of a break-in or theft, and they are suspected, we can have a database of who they are.”

“You’re missing the point,” the man said. “We don’t want non-residents in the building. With their key fobs, they can access certain floors… it’s a safety concern.”

“With respect, I think I understand the point very clearly. And if I may, I’d like to point out that this fear-based decision may not have anything to do with non-resident stall-renters. If having superfluous access is the issue, perhaps we could limit their fobs usage to just the parkade.”

The groans from the audience told me I was barking up the wrong tree. Mind you, I do not rent my stall so either way the vote goes, I won’t be affected. The main reason I spoke up was to save common sense from drowning in a sea of ignorance. As a secondary reason, I wanted to speak up for those who may be absent from the meeting, or are too shy to address their concern in front of a room full of their peers, especially in the face of such defiant dissention.

“Don’t renters pose the same problem?” someone else said. Yes, I am not alone! As soon as I heard the sweet voice of reason amongst the crowd, I had a brief glimmer of hope. Common sense may be gaining momentum after all. The optimism was short-lived when I realized the voice was coming from my girlfriend, who was sitting beside me.

“Currently, owners are permitted to rent their units to anyone they wish,” she pointed out, “and no one has said a word about that. How is renting a stall any different? In fact, one could argue, renting an apartment to someone poses even more of a security threat since it gives the renter a reason to be in the same living space as everyone in the building. This could lead to more opportunities of crime for opportunistic criminals.”

“I agree,” I said in support.

“And what if we have an overnight guest,” she said, “—someone we trust — a friend over for a visit, relatives from out of town? Can we not provide our space to certain people in certain instances?”

“Of course, that is most certainly acceptable,” the speaker said.

“So lending out our space is permitted, but accepting a fee for it is not?” she pointed out.

“The two scenarios are a bit different.”

“How are they different? Moments ago we learned that someone is renting their space to their sister, for which it is certainly reasonable to accept a fee. The ban would effectively prohibit this exchange. Does that seem right to everyone?”

Since no one was brave enough to answer the question, the room fell into an awkward silence.

“Alright, I think we’ve heard enough from both sides to make a decision on the issue,” the speaker announced. “Let’s put it to a vote, shall we?”

Photo credit: www.nola.com

Photo credit: http://www.nola.com

After the final votes were tableted, the results were astounding. 54 people voted ‘Nay’, and a meager 10 people voted ‘Yay’. Shocking, I know. As my girlfriend and I later discussed the issue, we concluded the people who voted ‘Nay’ fell into at least one of the following categories:

  • Most people don’t rent their stalls so they did not have a dog in the fight
  • Despite the lack of evidence for the threat, most people would rather err on the side of caution
  • Most people who show up to these events (a small fraction of the building’s residence) are dumb people who want to feel important — the type of people who are unaware they are dumb
  • Professionals who spent most of their lives studying and have very little common sense

As we shook our heads at the fact the ban was passed with such overwhelming support, we realized three loopholes that are equally as dumbfounding.

  • Despite their best efforts to curb a potential security risk, there was no discussion as to how this policy will be enforced. Will it go on the honour system? As it stands, there is no way to know if people are renting their stalls.
  • Lending out your stall seems to be permissible, even if it’s for an indefinite period of time. In effect, this amounts to the same way it was before.
  • The rule, as it was purposed, only prohibits a resident from renting their own space to non-residents, but one can still rent their stall to a resident within the building. However, there is no rule in place that prevents this renter from subsequently renting the stall to a non-resident. In effect creating an easy way to circumvent this policy.

In conclusion, ignorance prevailed, but I hope with this post, I will spread the word of my cause and have common sense live up to its name, and be common.

Read Also:

EPISODE #17 – THE TRIAL OF SOCRATES

THE HANDICAP OF WEALTH

CONNECTING THE DOTS

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The 10 Business Lessons You Can Learn From Sherlock Holmes

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1. Master your craft

Sherlock Holmes is a master of deduction. Aside from his natural talents, he constantly develops his skills. Before you start a business, your skills need to be excellent. Whether you are selling a product or service, you should know how it works inside and out.

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2. Be obsessed with what you do

One marked characteristic of Sherlock Holmes is that he is absolutely obsessed with puzzles. He loves it so much that the police don’t even pay him for his consulting services; the thrill of solving crimes is reward enough. You hear successful business people say this all the time: you must love what you do. Most entrepreneurs would be willing to work for free, money is never the goal, it is the by-product.

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3. Keep your mind sharp

Sherlock Holmes thought useless information in his brain was like having boxes of junk in the attic, it only makes the stuff you need harder to find. Cluttering your mind with periphery distractions can derail your focus.

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4. Be observant

What makes Sherlock Holmes so great is that he notices things that others miss. Often times, the solution is right in front of our eyes. Train yourself to pick up on the irregularities whether it’s someone’s body language, a hidden agenda, or an upcoming trend. Always be ahead of the curve if you want to stay relevant.

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5. Have others admire you

Sherlock Holmes does what others cannot, and makes it look easy. Create a product or service that is so superior that others follow you. Be a trend setter, and don’t follow what everyone else is doing.

SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS

6. Be in the know

Sherlock Holmes once said, “It is my business to know what other people don’t know.” To be valuable in business, you have to know what others don’t know.

Sherlock

7. Be secretive

Sherlock Holmes doesn’t always disclose his motives and neither should you. Often we can learn a great deal of information when we don’t reveal the cards we hold. Even if you don’t know something, act like you do, this mystery will allure people toward you.

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8. Partner up

Even the great Sherlock Holmes needed his faithful companion, Dr. Watson. If your skills are so specialized in one area, they may be lacking in another. Recognize your deficiencies and partner up with someone whose skills complement your own.

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9. Remain objective

Sherlock Holmes is impassive while on a case, he only looks at what the evidence suggests. Whether it’s a negotiation or a tough decision, emotions can be your enemy in business. To keep them out of the boardroom, be objective in your dealings and don’t let emotions cloud your judgement.

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10. Always be imaginative

Sherlock Holmes thinks outside the box, that is how he can piece together seemingly ordinary and unrelated elements of a case into a cohesive story. One of the key elements in business is to constantly innovate and separate your business from the pack. This requires a constant stream of good ideas. Creativity is a soft skill and although it cannot be taught, it can be developed. Train your mind to think outside the box and be prepared to capture new ideas when moments of genius strike.

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Article by Edward Mullen

Author of The Art of the Hustle and Destiny and Free Will

Host of The Edward Mullen Podcast

www.EdwardMullen.com

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Connecting the Dots

connecting the dots

A couple years ago, New York Times put out a short video called The Umbrella Man. In it, the narrator revisits a particular theory that was once considered a possible explanation for the assassination of President Kennedy.

As the presidential motorcade drove down the street, there was a mysterious man in a black suit holding an open umbrella that was captured by a various cameras. At first glance, this man was just an ordinary bystander watching the parade, but upon closer examination, there were peculiarities about him.

  1. On the day of the assassination, it was hot and sunny, yet this man was the only one holding an open umbrella.
  2. This man was by himself.
  3. He was at a similar angle to the trajectory of the bullet.

Upon hearing all these facts, people began to conjure wild theories in an attempt to connect the dots. This must be our guy! One illustrator even demonstrated the complicated mechanics of an umbrella gun that the man must have used. After all, what other possible scenario would explain all the bizarre behaviour?

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One day, the umbrella man was asked to come forward and explain himself—and he did. With umbrella in tow, he testified in front of the House Select Committee on Assassinations in Washington DC. When asked why he was holding an umbrella, he simply stated that it was a visual protest to Joseph P. Kennedy’s appeasement policies when he was ambassador to St. James in 1938-39. As it turned out, the umbrella was a reference to Neville Chamberlain—Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1937 to 1940.

Who in their wildest dreams would have made that connection!

I hadn’t really thought too much about this video until I recently watched Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address.

Jobs stated that he had dropped out of Reid College after six months, but remained on campus taking random courses. One particular course that piqued his interest was on calligraphy. He was enamoured by the beautiful typography, which at the time he could not conceive of a possible use for such information. Many years later; however, when he designed the Mac, the information came flooding back.

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He explained how taking that class many years ago inspired him to include multiple type faces in the Mac. He said, “If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would never have multiple type faces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them.”

Destiny book cover soloIn my book, Destiny & Free Will, I look at examples like these—seemingly insignificant moments in your life such as a faulty alarm clock, a misplaced set of keys, and dropping out of college—each one could turn out to be a catalyst for a new and improved life. Much like the umbrella man, it may be impossible to connect the dots looking forward in your life, you can only connect them looking backwards. As Steve Jobs stated, “you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart…”


Article by Edward Mullen

Author of The Art of the Hustle and Destiny and Free Will

Host of The Edward Mullen Podcast

www.EdwardMullen.com

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The Handicap of Wealth

handicap of wealthIn terms of first world problems, the handicap of wealth has to be among the best problems to have. The idea is that your wealth can put a tremendous hindrance on your life by limiting your social and personal development. Since money solves many of your problems and makes life easy, you miss out on the developmental lessons such as work ethic, ambition, discipline, and even compassion.

Raising ‘good’ kids into wealth can’t be easy. We all want the best for our kids and provide them with abundant opportunity, but when does it become a point of diminishing returns? At what point do we provide for our kids and make sure they develop the proper character without them becoming douches?

I’m not rich yet, nor do I have kids, but I worry about this. Suppose you live in a big house, drive an expensive car, have millions of dollars in your bank account and your kid wants a new pair of shoes. What’s the play? Do you tell them ‘we can’t afford it’, tell them to get a job, or reward them only after getting an ‘A’ on their report card?

After giving it some thought, I think the best way to counteract the handicap of wealth is to make them work for things they receive. This will teach them the value of money, hard work, and discipline, as well as setting and achieving goals.

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The second thing I would do is enroll them into some kind of sport. Sports have a way of humbling a person because it requires hard work, dedication, and team work. To develop character, we have to go through trying ordeals. We must face competition and failure and then find a way to persevere. We have to learn how to deal with loss, not having everything go right, and how to accomplish a difficult task on our own merit.

The reason that sports are great is because success and accomplishment have very clearly defined goals such as winning games and championships. However, being socially successful is much more difficult to determine since there is such a grey area. It is possible to go your entire life without having character and not even knowing it.

So avoiding the handicap of wealth comes down to the same strategy that works for everyone else: be honest with your personal assessment, work hard, and set clearly defined goals so you can recognize your accomplishments.

Article by Edward Mullen

Author of The Art of the Hustle and Destiny and Free Will

Host of The Edward Mullen Podcast

www.EdwardMullen.com

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Be a Champion of Mind: The Wisdom of Kai Greene

Be a champion of mind kai greene“What am I doing with my life? Am I just going to some humdrum job that I don’t really want to be at, doing some minuscule task, getting paid to be a mindless drone? Or am I out there living life, on my terms, the way I want to live it, doing the things that I want to do?”

As modern-day philosophers go, you wouldn’t expect Kai Greene to fit the bill. He’s a professional bodybuilder who has won such prestigious titles as the 2009 and the 2010 Arnold Classic, and took 2nd place in the 2012 Mr. Olympia. He walks around with a hulking 300-pound frame of solid muscle, which is usually covered up by a red hoody. But beyond his physical prowess, Kai has an equally impressive attribute —his mind.

Kai looked at bodybuilding as a way to sculpt both his mind and his body. It began back in the 7th grade when Kai was introduced to competitive sports. His discipline and competitive drive facilitated his naturally growing physique. It wasn’t long before he had the desire to measure himself to others in competition. And so the self-fulfilling process began.

Bodybuilding was a tool that modified his behaviour toward achieving excellence. In 1999, Kai won the Team Universe competition, but was still disappointed with himself. He took a five-year break from competition and then returned to the sport to enter the 2004 Team Universe contest. Despite his hiatus, Kai came back to win that competition — a victory that rejuvenated his professional bodybuilding career.

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Upon winning the Arnold Classic (his first major title) Arnold Schwarzenegger asked him what it feels like to win, and Kai replied,

“It feels amazing, and I encourage anyone out there who ever had an idea, a thought about something that they’d like to accomplish, but they know that it would demand the best of their efforts, the most of their concentration, and everything they had inside of them in order to get there and make it happen, I encourage you to do it. And when you do, you’ll know exactly how I feel right now.”

It was statements like this that elevated Kai’s stature to a new level.

Despite his success, he still remains humble and motivated. Kai doesn’t allow himself to be blinded by the spotlight and the accolades. He stays true to his roots and remembers the thousands upon thousands of hours of repetition that got him there.

“…basic fundamentals being applied over and over and over and over again: getting up at certain time, doing certain things, cooking your meals, going to do your cardio, walking through the disciplines, keeping the checklist, and staying on top of them. Those are things that when you string them together you start to create a day of efficient action. The more likely you are to string those days of efficient action together, the more likely it will be that you can set up your own success.”

One such example of Kai’s humility is that he is an expert at posing, but still goes to a two-hour posing class every week. Kai’s poses are legendary too. Just watch his routine to Michael Jackson’s ‘Dirty Diana’ from a 2007 competition, which now has over 1.4 million views on YouTube.

In many of his videos, Kai delivers valuable words of wisdom in a smooth and deliberate way of speaking that is uncharacteristic of professional athletes today. His wisdom can be applied to any endeavour in life, not just body building or athletics.

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