How hackers made my day…

Entrancestrategies

Something very fishy was happening with my yahoo email account…..  My phone kept showing “incorrect password… verification failed”  over – and  over- and over – …

detective

I don’t consider myself easily alarmed so this sort of thing frightened me a little.  I went to the setting on my phone and erased my yahoo account from there.  I guess I thought it was just the phone access point that hackers were trying to breach.

Ohhhhh –  how wrongwas I….     password

So needless to say, about a month later – just long enough for whomever to run their non-stop cryptography programs – EVERYONE in my yahoo address book received an email which described me as robbed and stranded in Kasigstan or Stochlinoyevski

or Kiev,                       tanks

needing $2,750.20.  Now, trust me, it’s not that I don’t want to visit what are probably utterly beautiful…

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How hackers made my day…

Something very fishy was happening with my yahoo email account…..  My phone kept showing “incorrect password… verification failed”  over – and  over- and over – …

detective

I don’t consider myself easily alarmed so this sort of thing frightened me a little.  I went to the setting on my phone and erased my yahoo account from there.  I guess I thought it was just the phone access point that hackers were trying to breach.

Ohhhhh –  how wrong was I….     password

So needless to say, about a month later – just long enough for whomever to run their non-stop cryptography programs – EVERYONE in my yahoo address book received an email which described me as robbed and stranded in Kasigstan or Stochlinoyevski

or Kiev,                       tanks

 

needing $2,750.20.  Now, trust me, it’s not that I don’t want to visit what are probably utterly beautiful and exotic (for me) lands, far far away.

kiev cycles

 

BUT… I’m not there right now, and I wasn’t then.  No one robbed me, or kidnapped me and I don’t know why I would need the extra 0.20 cents,

flying dollarsthough I’m reasonably certain I could find a way to put the $2,750 to good use……….

Truly worse than the email was the outcome of the hackers stealing my entire address book, my “sent” files, and basically rendering my email useless.  I was incapable of not only warning everyone but I also was no longer receiving emails or able to operate from the program at all.  I was lost in an strange universe.  A dimension unknown to me…

alien world  or perhaps just a part of south Florida I had not yet visited….

Fortunately my back up email was untouched and I quickly changed the passwords to every account I own.  Which – by the way – needs to be over 15 characters long, include one or more capitals, make a few of them numbers, at least one unusual character, no spaces… in case you’re interested in protecting your own email (and other) accounts.

security

I don’t know what other fallout there will be from the incident, but if I may say, the violation, embarrassment and frustration I felt couldn’t come close to the amazing recognition and awareness of my friendships!!!  I must have received what seemed like HUNDREDS of phone calls, texts and one-on-one warnings that my email was compromised and that they would still be happy to help me out if I were in fact in Kiev and in trouble….

rescue

I can’t tell you how uplifting it is to have a hacker poll your address book and tell you who your friends are….

Thanks everyone,

(Not…) From Russia with Love,

!FR001EH Film From Russia With Love

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“Speak only if it improves upon the silence.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

Recently, someone I know  wanted real advice and asked me, “how can I change my life?”

sunrise

Reading between the proverbial lines, I think they were referring to becoming happier with whatever career choice they were trying to make, plus wanted a “how to get fit for dummies” book.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying it isn’t a smart question.  It’s just a complicated one.  Somehow we have managed to hope that change is the catalyst for happiness… and suddenly happiness becomes elusive.  It hides in many forms.  We change our careers, our physiques and our relationship choices, so we can impact  our satisfaction with life.  Actually, it’s quite true… but ALL of it needs to happen.  Every aspect of these factors interact and are influenced by one another.  Health and happiness seem to be inseparable. Happiness appears to affect success and career satisfaction.  Everyone I ever met who becomes healthier also becomes happier.  Every single person.  Health, however, can take more than one form and ultimately both types of health, physical and emotional, seem to be immutably attached to real happiness.  Thus, there are TWO key points that I believe act as a fulcrum for the branches of happiness  that matter most:

  1. Be careful about what you put in your mouth……
  2. and about what comes out of it.

I once heard: “Watch your thoughts; you are always listening.”  By the way, YOU are not the only one that’s listening.  Beside’s the next-door neighbors eavesdropping sad dogand the co-workers you complain to…. have you noticed how everything,….dogs, cats, horses react to how we say things?  Words matter…. and that’s firmly attached to how we think.

There is so much evidence that the metaphysical will manifest the physical. Many of us have proven it to ourselves time and time again; yet somehow we manage to forget and fail to communicate with ourselves and others in a powerful and positive manner.deathandlife  Positive communicators are usually confident, successful people with high-self esteem and report maximal achievement of happiness in their lives as well as maximal satisfaction levels with their bodies and their career.  The two most sought-after conditions of success.  Chicken and egg, you say??  People with naturally great physiques are going to have superb levels of confidence.

fitness

Ok.  I’ll grant you that, but is it possible or even probable that they’ve never had a bad day?  Do you know of a fabulous athlete with a story about how disease, divorce or some natural disaster struck and “…their bodies & popularity just seemed to abandon them…”?   Chances are, if we understood just how much our thoughts (and therefore words) influenced every outcome, we would purposefully never have another negative thought.

Predictably, negative communicators tend to be under-confident; they often exhibit low or a lack of self-esteem which correlates quite strongly to varying forms of depression.  Interestingly, behavioral (psychotherapy) changes have been found to be a more successful form of treatment and resolution compared to pharmacotherapy (the prescription of drugs).

Im not listening

 

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”

-Lao Tze

 

Truly very simple equation. Thoughts+Words X Eating Right = HAPPINESS

Watch your thoughts & words.

Be aware of what you put in your body.

Happiness is the destination.

 

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“The biggest mistake we make, is thinking change is hard,…or immediate…” Deepak Choprah (in Super Brain)

Remember your first bite of fresh-baked cookies?

cookie-bunny

The  smells of sugar and spices and chocolate,  the warmth of the oven, the hustle & bustle of the kitchen… amazing what we store as experience.  Equally memorable, at least for me: my first ride on a horse (okay… it was a shetland pony), my first dog, my first fall from a tree….  Our experiences and the way we store, recall and respond to those experiences becomes our life, and “life shapes who we are”…or does it??

I believe the reverse may be truer.  Whether intentional or not, WE very much shape our lives with far greater force than life shapes us.  How else does the world end up with such different humans when we are really all experiencing the same events?  I’m pretty sure I saw the same lame superbowl that everyone else did….

simpsonssuperbowl    So if we see the same games, go to basically the same schools, get stuck in the same traffic jams,… why don’t we all have the same lives?   The things we believe about ourselves are the product of a stream of beliefs created by stuff we tell ourselves:            I’m smart – I’m stupid – I’m creative – I’m bad at math – I’m a perfectionist – I’m sloppy – I can dance – I can’t sing – I’m fat –            all of these characteristics are only true because we make them so; because that’s what we are thinking and that’s what we’ve convinced ourselves to be.   So we can change them too,… if we so choose.

C’mon.  Seriously.  Believe me, the other old saying; “You can be anything you want to be.” is really quite true.  Some kids get a head start playing chess or doing math puzzles at 4, but they gotta play hockey with the kid that started practicing at 3.  Just try it; run an experiment.  Always been bad at crosswords?  Pick up a beginners book and start practicing. Save the New York Times puzzle for next week.  Learn a new language? Try Rossetta Stone, your i-phone app, talking to neighbors…

Or not.  No one is forcing you to change anything, except of course, time.  It is the one thing that keeps moving. Changing.  In one direction.  So you can resist the inevitable forces that come with evolution, or you can continue to grow, change, shift, allow the new things that move into your life bring new experiences, perhaps new understandings to you.  Perhaps learning how to grow and evolve with change will make life not only easier but a happier experience.

There are no guarantees…. that’s why life is worth living every day, every moment, with all your heart.

…and by the way if you’ve not been paying attention (like me..) the Olympics are right around the corner.  This is their official song.  I’m cheering for all of them…and a couple of guys from the US bobsled team that came and visited my barn…and made friends with a horse called “Manoffire”

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“An overnight success is 10 years in the making.”

I was trying to wade through the sea of information that describes how one is considered “successful”.  In the google-dom of “success”, many interesting concepts arise.  Chris Seper wrote a great blog entitled “7 Ways to Build  Better Humans” so I skipped to the pertinent material:

  1. Use a Personal Trainer  (I LOVE this idea… how cool would it be if we all had our OWN…)
  2. Learn to Brief a Court Case  (then we wouldn’t need lawyers….ooooooo…..cool)
  3. Watch “Meet the Robinsons” (Kid Optional)
  4. De-Emphasize Professional Sports  (and do what…. TALK to each other…..????)
  5. Read: ‘The Five Dysfunctions of the Team’  (uh boy… add to reading list….)
  6. Floss Your Teeth in The Car   (THIS is totally key to the new world)
  7. Be Ready to Adapt & Seize the Moment  (yeah, like black Friday at Walmart)

I was at Chris’ blog because I was reading Richard Branson’s “How to Find a Fulfilling Career” and Craig Ballantyne’s blog “Re-Inventing Yourself”… all written about 12 days after I had waxed semi-philosophically about the same subject (see previous blog) and I was checking out my views vs the experts….

Admittedly, what I found most humorous was how comfortably articulate millionaires are when they speak about understanding the fear of change…. now, there are a few 7+ figure bloggers out there that might have run up and down the ladder of fiscal pain, but the ones that are writing are generally the ones that made it back up.   Frankly, (… I know, I know, your name’s not Frankly…)

.Leslie

 

very little applies to “everybody” .   None of the most important stuff comes from a book.  A lot of really great stuff comes from experience; different people’s experiences. Which means it might not work for you. Which means it might be completely useless to follow the old school rules of mentorship and apprenticeship. I have no idea.  I bought a book called “The Art of War” and downloaded another by Napoleon Hill, but I didn’t read them. Maybe I ought to….

What I can tell you, for – absolutely – sure, is that the more you do something…. anything…. the better you get at the “thing”.  Whether that is criticizing yourself (or others), or finding better ways to be happy, practice more and it will manifest. The more time you devote to a skill, your health, creating new habits, being positive, the easier it becomes and the more likely you are to seeing more of those things come back to you in your life.  Everything I have ever accomplished, my education, my earlier athletic record, the  racing successes, were each the result of years of groundwork, mistakes and achievements.  Whether I realized that at the time or not.

Metaphorically, we spend years creating gardens, planting seeds in soil that has been carefully prepared. We feed and water those plants and nurture them as best we understand. The sun is akin to the passage of time in life.  It will shine regardless. It doesn’t care which plant grows, it will nourish the weeds as well as the flowers.  It seems extraordinarily obvious that we would be most fruitful at being gardeners of happiness and peace.

gardens

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“The value of achievement lies in the achieving.”—Albert Einstein — To D. Liberson, October 28, 1950. AEA 60–297

He is telling us to enjoy the journey.  The journey is 99% of life.  Take sports, for example.  Football season has now extended to the entire year, spring training, pre-season games, season, playoffs,  and then…. yes….the ultimate objective:

Superbowl.

superbowl

Ummmmm…. how long did that last?  And what percent of us remember much of anything past the half-time show?  In fact, I know guys (whom shall remain nameless to protect the guilty) that remember what team won, based on the main star of the half time show. Anyway… my point is simply that of 365 days, the objective boils down to 1 of those.  If you didn’t enjoy the other 364,…. well that seems like a poor choice of 364 days….

unhappiness

Whether you achieve early or later, the end goal becomes the “already achieved”, the springboard to the next project.  How many of those young prodigies, the CEOs that accomplished unfathomable results,  do you know that sat at home after reaching lofty goals, watching TV when they were 35? 55? 75? How many rags-to-riches-to-rags-to-riches stories have you read? The objective became redefined, along with the path.  We don’t really derive happiness from the end game, partly because sometimes the objective changes, hopefully because we have fundamentally accepted it’s the journey that is the fun part.

It’s just that often the journey becomes challenged by the value of the prize; even outside of intrinsic value (such as the purse in a horserace) particularly if there is more to be gained than meets the eye.  The goal becomes influenced by those that have even more to gain than the one pursuing.  Foraying into horseracing is a perfect example of a byzantine lifestyle.  An algebraic sport it is entertainment for people who recognize that numbers are only part of its equation,

…which is why betting becomes less perfectly predictable and then by algorithms of shrewd bookmaking, highly profitable.  It is also, for the moment, what seems to be the fragile house of cards under our sport.  Somehow we have come to depend more heavily on the idea that parimutuel income and handle mean more to horseracing than horses or racing.  The wheels of time continue to revolve and thus evolve what is happening in our world of thoroughbred racing.  This unusual anachronism that is our industry will have to find a new platform on which to survive and continue it’s journey.

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How, then, does one re-invent themselves?

I am a firm believer in the invention of our “self” as the most important endeavor we can ever embark upon.  The first pass, however, does not determine the outcome or even the number of remaining inventions.  Success in one domain does not automatically apply to other areas and can involve hard work, failure, even a few broken bones both figurative and literal.  Interestingly, more and more people describe and act on a desire for re-creation of “self”, despite the deep dark recesses of unknown challenges; despite not knowing if it is practicable.

“Try not.       Do or do not.       There is no try.”      Yoda  (Star Wars)

 The key to success is not simply effort, or resilience or focus.  It is nested in the incubator of the hunger to learn, to experience life, to grow beyond the confines of what is assured.

guarantee equals jail

Life is short, as is often pointed out…

Einstein once apologized for still being around.  He assured the interviewer that there was indeed a remedy for his persistent existence.  Be mortality inevitable, as it were, the question becomes more persistent:  ” If not now, when?  If not this, then what?”

Einstein

The biggest challenge in achieving great success is in the ability to master something completely new.  That said, if we are to fulfill our greatest potential we have to start thinking differently.  We are not chained to our current capabilities.  When we realize we can change, improve, evolve our abilities we bring our game, our self, our life to new levels.  I am deeply grateful for all of my mentors, academic and otherwise and am extremely privileged to have been allowed to pursue the education that I possess.  I will always revere that dignity and in the same breath, will not permit that achievement to hold me hostage.  I made a decision to become something vastly different.  Hospitals changed to Horses;  Research was exchanged for Racetracks.  Falling down (and off) was imminent, at least sporadically.

fall

Failure is an inevitable outcome during the process of learning.  Failure can be viewed as defeat, in which case it will consistently be a reason to stop trying.  To quit.  

“The moment we believe that success is determined by ingrained ability we will be brittle in the face of adversity.”    Josh Waitzkin

Or, failure can be viewed as part of growth. Setbacks are merely springboards from which we learn to improve.

Failure

I kinda like that guy, Mr. Jordan……

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Life is Too Short for Food to be Fast

A friend of mine is dying.  Well,… I suppose to be exact, dying faster than the rest of us, and considerably earlier than originally planned.  I have lost family and many friends already, and the rate at which they are disappearing seems to be accelerating (a testament to the inexorable march through calendars that I prefer to ignore).  No more birthdays for me; the absence of cake notwithstanding.

M cake

I can’t help but believe that the faster we try to make life move around us, the more quickly we move toward the end. Particularly when it comes to two things that consume the vast majority of our lives:  occupation and food, or activity and fuel.  The former, we are served most purely by our passions.  I have written about this already (previous posts below) and, of course, have more to say (later).  The concept here is best expressed in a poignant commentary by Steve Jobs.

Regarding the latter, and arguably more difficult to change, dietary habits are locked up by mountains of nutritional misinformation. Incredibly both in the human and the horse industry, we recognize more and more drugs bear less and less answers.  Small factions of those worlds are beginning to grasp that health, healing and superior performance lie in real nutrition and very fundamental fuel (food) sources.  Fruits vs Fritos; Vegetables vs Vinnie’s Pizza

fruits and veggies                      junk food

Ok… so I’m a little biased, but geez the stuff on the right is even the same color!  There’s just no way that is going to be cool for helping you last a few extra eons.

I suppose it’s a little like wanting everything, but somehow I believe there’s value in life.  Much of that value is in living as healthy a life as possible for as long as we live.  I’m grateful I’m able to be around for my friends when life isn’t lasting as long as we had hoped.  I just wish we had all taken better care of each other, earlier.

 

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Baby, it’s cold outside!

Entrancestrategies

It’s not so much how cold you are, but how long you are cold for….

There is that necessary travel, (house -to-car-to-next building) which can be so formidable that the warmth of a bed is not just sanctuary, it’s self-preservation.  In fact, traipsing across the cold bathroom tile might be the most painful point of the day.

Not to make light of that point of view, but there really are more challenging experiences.

 Image

Facing cold days are like thinking about changing careers.  It’s absolutely NOT comfortable.  In fact, it feels a little like choosing to work in an office (or let’s say….. hospital?)  job to galloping horses.   The view of the Universe is a very different experience when what faces you upon rolling out of bed is a DAY of frigid temperatures, nose running, ears aching, fingers curled into something that no longer resembles hands with opposable thumbs…

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Baby, it’s cold outside!

It’s not so much how cold you are, but how long you are cold for….

There is that necessary travel, (house -to-car-to-next building) which can be so formidable that the warmth of a bed is not just sanctuary, it’s self-preservation.  In fact, traipsing across the cold bathroom tile might be the most painful point of the day.

Not to make light of that point of view, but there really are more challenging experiences.

 Image

Facing cold days are like thinking about changing careers.  It’s absolutely NOT comfortable.  In fact, it feels a little like choosing to work in an office (or let’s say….. hospital?)  job to galloping horses.   The view of the Universe is a very different experience when what faces you upon rolling out of bed is a DAY of frigid temperatures, nose running, ears aching, fingers curled into something that no longer resembles hands with opposable thumbs.   Funny how thumbs change everything…and it’s not just about superheros, but they helped make it popular.

Image

After all, Batman was Bruce before he was Batman,… Superman was Clark.  Heck, Ironman was Tony.   Fortunately we don’t all have to change our names or costumes when we re-invent ourselves.  Having said that, it would have been a bit of a problem if I had shown up to gallop horses in my labcoat.  But I digress…..each of us are really transforming every day into a Superperson, leading lives of constant challenge from the underworld, multiple badguys to overwhelm daily, and are slaves to our i-phone (or Droid depending on your political affliction).   The hero that grows inside of us is first born of what we love and how we choose to pursue what drives that passion.  Sometimes that hero is hidden because we imagine rejection, failure, insult, scorn, but not because we don’t want to wear the suit.  But then you ask yourself,… “is this where I want to be – forever?  Does this make getting up in bad weather better than staying in bed? Does my Superhero suit still fit?”

Cold weather sucks, suits sometimes suck.  We have all been uncomfortable now and again.  It’s unavoidable.  It’s just a matter of how long we are willing to be annoyed.

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