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Close to Home

Well it has been a long time since I contributed to this blog. While I was on the plane returning to the Philippines, over the Atlantic, just off the coast of North Africa, I decided to try turning on the Internet. I almost wish I had not. I was hit by a flood of messages talking about a very strong earthquake that lasted for a long time in the Philippines whose epicenter was not that far from my home. I freaked out, right there on the plane. But eventually, within an hour or so, I realize that nobody was hurt, structurally all of the buildings were okay, and the damage had been relatively minor. However, finding something like that out in the middle of an 18-hour flight, when there is absolutely nothing one can do, is a little bit unnerving. However, following a relatively brief panic attack, I was able to regain my calm, relatively speaking.

Following a flight schedule shuffling, since the airport at my destination had been closed down, I eventually arrived in Manila in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. A portion of the reroute involved sending me from dull hot Bangkok and then on Philippine Airlines from Bangkok to Manila. Unfortunately, Philippine Airlines is a sad, sad substitute for Qatar Airlines.

I hit the ground running and for the last nine weeks have been pretty much nonstop working on helping my fellow managers.

Hectic though it was, I believe that it was a quite productive nine weeks. I think I was seriously able to help my compatriots and reduce the number of to do items on the list for opening the badly delayed property.

My regular listening to Stoic podcasts seriously helped me.

At the current moment, in the Philippines, a construction boom that has been ongoing for many years, has greatly exacerbated the problems of dealing with contractors on any project in the Philippines. It is very difficult to hire and maintain quality workers. You can’t even try to discipline them, because they will just walk off the job and go to another site. Which is weird, because one of the very common symptoms of being at the end of the project, is that the laborers visibly slow their pace of work. Because, of course, they’re worried about their paychecks ending. Yet they won’t hesitate to walk off the job if you annoy them.


I reached a tipping point just earlier this month. A badly delayed project, dealing with lazy, ignorant workers, undisciplined people, and pervasive dishonesty with hidden agendas. On all sides.

I took a deep breath and really THOUGHT to myself about this Stoic stuff I've been listening to and put it into practice ... huge help. I even had a guy blow up at me on site the other day and ... I calmed him down, got everybody on an even keel, and ... here is what is amazing to me ... did NOT freak out myself. Truly. I was stunned while it was happening. Empathy ... really works.

I heard or saw a quote the other day which I really liked. Having empathy tends to make other people less annoying. Seems to be very true to me.

Intermittent fasting really is working for me. Last week I was 79.8 kg. I am assuming about 9% body fat. 20.2 kg less than my low point 5 years ago of 100kg. That was lowest I've been since 5 years ago when I decided to change. I had a full blood panel about 3 weeks ago and everything was good across the board. Best results I’ve had for a long time. I cannot say definitively that IF is the cause ... but I have noticed over the last 4 months or so that my eating habits have radically changed. I am not that hungry most the time, when I do eat, I have a tendency to eat less, I can indulge in chocolate and pastries (to a moderate amount) and it seems to have no effect. And I don’t particularly want to have tons of chocolate and pastries anymore. A little seems to be enough.

My energy levels seem to be about the same, which is not wonderful. I still seem to only get about 8 to 10 hours of energy in a day where I can actually work, do yoga, workout, and generally accomplish things. But I can live with that.

I feel I need to tweak things still, but I am basically satisfied with where I am right now. I have read a couple of books on yoga and have been able to pick up tips allowed me to increase my flexibility noticeably. I’m happy about that. I have adjusted my magnesium intake so that I am taking magnesium supplements that don’t contain any calcium (due to chronic kidney stones). Now that I am back in Argentina for the winter, that will give me the opportunity to experiment with a little bit of protein intake and increasing the amount of free weight exercise I do. I would like to see if I can consciously increase my muscle mass in my lower body and my chest area. Can’t do that without protein intake 😊 .


Recently I was speaking with a close friend of mine about self-improvement in general. He said, and I agree with them completely, that the fire hose of information that is available about stuff like this is overwhelming. I agree completely. One thing that I mentioned to him, that is worth reiterating here, is about the concept of kaizen. Google it. Somewhere in my earlier blogs I spoke about a book on kaizen that I had read that is one of the few books that I really took the information on board. It is the concept of changing and very small increments. I think I can say without doubt almost anybody, that if you are going to try to do anything in terms of improvement, changing yourself, whatever, this is the way to do it.

So as overwhelming as all this self-improvement stuff can be, I do try to concentrate on my core values (which are in a constant state of minor tweaking). My core values come from Stoicism and minimalism. The areas in my life that I try to focus on are my health, my friends and relationships, and what I do for work. In that order. Well lately my work has come ahead of relationships but that happens sometimes ☹.

My health is first. My focus with my health is moderation, exercise, yoga, and meditation. That may sound like a lot, but they are all interrelated. And if your health is not good, how can you expect to make any headway on any of the other areas of your life that you’re concerned about.

I have realized that I have to beat the drum with myself. “Beat the drum” is a saying I picked up years ago in the corporate world. It means you cannot rely on telling somebody (including yourself) just once and expect it to stick. You must repeat the message constantly. And the way I do that with my core values is to listen to podcasts. I take about 60 – 90 minutes each day where I do listen to various podcasts. On Stoicism, statistics, business practices, whatever it may be. And it really helps.

BBC4 More or Less - Check it out

BBC4 More or Less - Check it out

Okay. Last item. I found recently a podcast from BBC4 radio, called ”More or Less”. And it is a podcast on statistics as heard or read about in the media. It is not boring, contrary to what one might think. It is in fact a relatively short but incisive look at the things people say in the media (especially politicians) and whether they are accurate or not. I enjoy listening to it, maybe you will as well.

As always, I hope things are well with my multitudinous (lol) readers, and I hope to be a little bit more regular on my blog articles while I am here in the southern hemisphere.

One other note. I did get a request by email from a reader if I could have a plug-in on my website that would allow the blogto actually be heard in audible format. I did indeed see your email, I did reply, and I will see what I can do in the next month or so about incorporating that on this blog. When I do I will send you an email personally about it.