Are you craving something (or someone) unhealthy?

Going back home after a good day at work today, I stopped by the Dollar Tree store and checked out a small pack of cookies. As he was scanning the item, the cashier at the register smiled and said: “Someone is craving sugar. I can’t blame you, it is hard not to.” It took me a few minutes to process that statement and by the time I had formulated a good response (really an excuse) , he was already attending to the customer next in line.

sugar cookie
Sugar Cookie

On my way out of the store, it hit me: I walked into the store because I was craving sugar, I had no other reason (my lunch was less than 4 hours earlier) to walk into that store if not to get something sweet to take home with me. I had no shopping list (unusual for me) and was in a hurry to get home, but driven by the sugar craving at an unconscious level, I stopped at the store for my sugar fix. I was saddened, but at the same time happy that it had come to my awareness.

To reach the optimum health goals I set for myself, I recently began the process of systematically substituting soda with green tea and that is producing really good results. This experience at the store made me decide to be more aware of and disciplined with my eating habits  I will do research on breaking sugar addiction and I will share the result of my implementation. I don’t expect it to be easy but I care enough about my body to know that it is possible and I will succeed.

You probably have had moments when you realized that you cared too much about something or someone who was not very healthy for you. What (or who) are you craving that is not very healthy for you? Think about it for a moment and decide to make a change. Your better tomorrow depends on you making that decision today.

Here is a good article on the causes of sugar cravings:

Saddleback Sunrise Speakers

Last Wednesday morning I woke up at 5:00 a.m. to prepare and go visit the Saddleback Sunrise Speakers, one of the oldest Toastmasters clubs in Orange County, California. I was well received and treated very well as a guest. In the true fashion of a great Toastmasters club, the Toastmaster of the day gave me a speech evaluator role which I gladly accepted. Evaluating a 15+ years Toastmasters’ veteran speech, I was surprised when awarded the best evaluator award at the end of the meeting. It was a great experience.

saddleback sunrise speakers

If you want to visit a Toastmasters club which is made up of experienced speakers and enthusiastic young men and women, Saddleback Sunrise Speakers is the club for you to go to. You will have a great time! The club accepted to have me as a guest speaker on Wednesday 4/10/2013 and I am excited because of the quality feedback I will receive.

If you love waking up early on Wednesday morning and can use a good dose of humour and fun to start your day. Saddleback Sunrise Speakers is the club where you belong. See you there!

Photo credit:

Can I have that with a smile?

Hello, welcome to Subway! That is the loud and warm greeting I get everytime I walk into a Subway store. I love to be greeted that way, especially when I walk in hungry and ready to exchange money for food. One element that has been missing in my interactions with the employees at the fast food restaurants I have been to recently is a smiling face when closing the sale. The service is good because I am hungry and I walked in to buy food but I don’t mind having the food with a smile. I am sure you too don’t mind.

Fake Smile

Today I walked into a Chevron gas station to buy a Snickers chocolate bar and even though I was wearing my biggest smile throughout my stay in the store, the lady at the cash register did not even make a small adjustment to the depressed and depressing look on her face. I hope for her sake she did not spend the rest of the day with that face.

I always spend my money with a smile, regardless of the situation. You would expect those receiving money from you to be happier than you would be. From now on, I am adopting the expression “Can I have that with a smile?” as my way to extract smiles (or laughs) from employees in [fast food] restaurants and [retail] stores. Except for a few exceptions, the cashiers at Walmart really need such a “smile extraction” tool.

Before you put on a frown, make absolutely sure there are no smiles available.  Jim Beggs

I will publish the effectiveness and impact of my new tool as I get results from its application. Do you have a specific method you use to get people to give you their smile? Would you share? Thank you!

Lessons from a stolen car

Last Friday morning, I woke up and went out jogging as every other morning. When I came back, I noticed that my car was no longer where I parked it on Thursday night. It was funny, I laughed as I began thinking about car-abducting aliens who had raptured my car. After making sure the car key was in my room and confirming with the car’s owner that nobody had come to legitimately take the car overnight, I called 911 to report the stolen vehicle. Note that the car is owned by a friend of mine, but was in my care.

Stolen Car
The recovered car as it I found it in the towing company’s yard.

The operators (lady) on the phone was very courteous and friendly, and she gave me the phone number of the Anaheim police to file my report with them. In about 30 minutes, two police officers showed up at my house, filed a report, and gave me my police case number. The report was filed before 9 a.m. and by 12 noon, I had a call to inform me that the stolen car was recovered and I could go pick it up. I picked up the car on Saturday morning and was excited about that happy ending of the case. As I thought about the experience last week-end, this is what I learned:

  • A positive attitude produces positive results. I had a good time with the police officers who came to take a report of the incident. We laughed and had a great friendly interaction. I was very positive that the car would be found. If not, I had already thought of the worst case scenarios and what to do if they were to occur. I was so positive they would not occur that they did not. But just in case, I was already prepared to deal with them.
  • [Some] Thieves do not value knowledge. If you are a thief reading this, then I am pretty sure you value knowledge. Thumbs up to you. I had the book “How to Get What You Want and Want What You Have: A Practical and Spiritual Guide to Personal Success” in my car and the thief did not take it away with him. If I was the thief, there is no way I would have left a book with such an attractive title. You would believe that someone who has to steal cars out of need would use advice in such a book. I was really disappointed in the thief leaving that book and if I could, I would find him just to give that book to him. It would still be up to him to read and apply the concepts in it.

Getting the car stolen was a great experience. Having it found and back within 24 hours was a miracle I am very grateful for. The forces of the universe are constantly working in my favor and I am humbled by how blessed I am. Have you had a similar experience with something you owned that was stolen? How did the story end for you? What did you learn? Tell us about it.

Peace begins when…

Yesterday, March 28th I was a guest speaker at the Founder’s District Division C council meeting at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Groove, CA. Great time! At the event, I met (among other beautiful people) Frannie and Norm Stein whom I  learned immensely from. It is amazing how much one can learn when he (or she) keeps quiet and listens.

During my interaction with Frannie, she shared with me her thoughts about what we can do to improve the quality of human interactions and by consequence, the quality of our lives. She introduced me with me the concept of “Spiritual Hospitality” which is basically about us surrendering ourselves (as a whole) to the people we interact with.

Her thoughts were well outlined in the following words:

  • Space. Both physical and non-physical space. Give people space to work with, wide margin for acceptable error. Define your expectations from the people you interact with, and be patient and forgiving.
  • Pace. The person you interact with might be slower than you expect, or faster. When that is the case, recognized that and try to adapt to the pace of the person you are dealing with. Easier said than done, but it is possible if you understand the concept and want to apply it.
  • Taste. More often than not, you will have different taste and preferences than those you speak to. Learning how to accept other people’s preferences and tastes is an essential aspect of spiritual hospitality.

As you might have noticed reading the above, “spiritual” hospitality has more to do with surrendering yourself than spirituality. When you learn how to tune yourself out and accept to completely give way (surrender yourself) to those you interact with, you would have become a good practitioner of spiritual hospitality. Peace begins when learn how to you get out of your own way and become a good host to those around you. Give them space, move at their pace, and accept their taste.

Thank you Frannie and Norm. You two are a great inspiration to me and a great visual of what my later days with a life partner will be like. I love you both!