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How do we find Meaning? September 28, 2015

Posted by shwaldman in Society.
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When I take a break at work, I tend to check my personal email. This often leads me to click links to blog posts and the like. Today, I was led down the path to LinkedIn and articles that members post there. Ironically, after coming across one titled “Here Is How to Get an Extra Hour a Day“, I came across another title that interested me: “How to Find Meaning in Your Career and Life” Eureka, I thought, someone figured it out…

But Alas, it was not so. In fact I found the article so frustrating that I had to comment on it, which I rarely do. The premise of the article was the following statement by Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl:

“The meaning of your life is to help others find the meaning of theirs.”

Now, for me to read this, I have an immediate and opposite reaction than the author and apparently many of the other readers of this post. So, this was my comment:

“I don’t want to be argumentative, but it seems to me that Frankl’s words are useless. If taken to imply that his statements is true for everyone, we are all just trying to help each other with no real progress. It is cyclical with no ending. It does not take into account the unique individual nature of ourselves and our lives. It also implies that we are in a better position than anyone else because we can help them (find their meaning). I am not saying I know how to find meaning, this is MY journey and I was hoping to receive insights in this posting, but alas I did not, only frustration.”

I am not sure why I reacted so strongly. I guess it was just so blatantly a false statement to me that it did not make sense why so many people would see the opposite. After further thought and re-reading it a couple of times, I was able to come to the conclusion that the statement could be modified slightly and made more simple to make it more true. Please share your thoughts if this resonates with you:

“The meaning of your life is to help others.”


For me, this makes more sense. It leaves it open for the individual to determine their “how” or “what”. The “How” is what we each need to find. It is something I think about regularly. I feel quite lucky to life the live I have. I feel inspired to see other people finding their way of helping others. We can all use help in some way. And I personally think that this is our journey. How will I help other today? Tomorrow? Next week?

BTW – In case you did not click the link and are wondering how you get your 25th hour in your days… stop clicking on useless links and spending hours browsing the web,  😉


What to do? What to do? June 1, 2012

Posted by shwaldman in Family, Fitness, Technology.
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It has been about ten months since my last post. And yet a couple of month before that, I said I was determined to post more consistently. What happened? Life, I suppose. But here I am back at it. I am still determined to make posting ideas and thoughts. I think it is valuable to be creative and express ourselves as individuals.

We all have our day jobs and sometimes it requires a certain level of mental effort and sometimes it involves significant creativity. And sometimes it doesn’t. Since my last blog post, I changed jobs. I was in a job that was getting mundane, repetitive, duplicitous. I found myself doing the same thing, day after day. I think that type of job does work for some people. But not me. I switched to a new job that has me changing who I work with, what applications I work on and what skills I need, on a regular, if not daily, basis. I am really enjoying it.

And yet I still find myself wanting to meet this goal of putting content out for others to consume. I have thoughts about producing videos, editing and maintaining family photo albums, and of course, writing about it and other things in my life. But the thing I have trouble with is prioritizing these things along with all my other daily responsibilities. I am constantly trying to find a to-do list tool to help me keep items like this in the front of my mind.

I struggle with these lists because they don’t have good reminder systems or prioritizing capabilities. What I finally realized this week is that there are two different types of lists that I need to maintain. And I think this is true for many people. There is one list of reminders of one-off items, like what errands to run this weekend or birthdays that are coming up. The other list is items that I want to accomplish on regular basis, like writing blog posts, exercising regularly and backing up my computer.

Almost all applications I have come across are great at the former. They are great making lists and outlines of ideas and thoughts I do not want to lose track of. And thanks to a recent twitter post by @danielpink, I decided to try a new app that finally meets the latter list this time. It is a simple app that says, what things do you want to keep in your mind and being reminded of every day or couple of days. It is called Wonderful Day. You get self motivational “points” by checking in for each item you have scheduled to complete on given days.

So, I have populated my list to blog on Mondays, exercise (Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday) and get a little yard work done on Saturday and Sundays. Once I get going on this process, I plan to figure out a good night to work on my video library and picture libraries and add them to my list. Clearly, readers of this blog will be the first to know how well it works for me. Wish me luck and please post comments about what tools or methods you use.

Book Review: A Dog’s Purpose By W. Bruce Cameron August 31, 2011

Posted by shwaldman in Family, Society.
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I admit, I do not read a lot of physical books. I listen to tons of podcasts and books in audio format. I have not read or listened to Cameron’s other books: “8 Simple Rules for Marrying My Daughter”, “How to Remodel a Man, “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daugther” (which resulted in the ABC hit TV show with John Ritter). My wife bought this book for me a couple of months ago when she had heard it was a good read. Knowing that it might take me months to get through, she even said she wanted to read it after me. (it will likely take her 1/4 the time it took me.)

I need say only one thing about this book… I finished it in under 2 1/2 weeks. For me, that says A LOT! The book was moving and suspenseful. For anyone that knows and loves dogs, this is a must read. The author took possession of this dog’s soul and was able to bring forward the story of several lives through reincarnation. There is no religious backing to this story, just the recounting of life through the eyes of a dog. Cameron does an amazing job of taking away all the preconceptions that human eyes would see and demonstrate the filter of the mutt, the Lab, German Shepard or whatever form this animal had through his travels.

Throughout this book, I felt for this dog and felt the anticipation of each next scene, the next event that would shape his/her life. I did not want to put the book down – always ready to see where the story would go next. As dog lover, it was funny to hear the sarcasm and superiority that this dog felt in his journey – mostly with respect to the other animals in the environment.

I am curious about certain takes that Cameron took on the dog’s life, memory and interactions. I would love to hear what other reads have to say about 1) how he/she interacted with other animals 2) how she was able to remember certain facts and 3) what was the time span of the story?

In any case, I am sure you will thoroughly enjoy this book.

A Dog’s (and Our) Purpose October 30, 2009

Posted by shwaldman in Uncategorized.
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I am not usually a big fan of these chain emails, but I found a connection with this one and thought I would share…

A Dog’s Purpose? (From a 6-year-old).

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle. I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.

Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I know why.” Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try to live.

He said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right? Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.

Take naps. Stretch before rising. Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you’re not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

Relaxing, Having Fun, and Letting Go February 26, 2009

Posted by shwaldman in Family, Fitness, Society.
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I came across this interesting article on the LiveStrong web site – Lance Armstrong’s Foundation for fighting cancer. It is rather long, but I think it has some useful content. The problem is that when you are stressed and not able to find time for fun things, what makes you think you can find time to read an article about it?

So, I thought I would take a small section out that I thought was a good taste of what you can find. The article takes a very personal six step approach to the problem. See if you can answer these questions:
1) What is fun (for you)?
2) What are some barriers to (you) having fun?
3) What beliefs are barriers to (you) having fun?
4) What are some strategies (to get you) to have fun?
5) What are some creative samples of fun activities (for you)?
6) What steps can increase the fun in your life?

The whole article is quite detailed and almost rigid, which to me takes the fun out of having fun. In the end, you have developed a chart that lists all the activities and can document when you have fun. But it may work some people, especially when you are in a depressed state and need a way to work out of it.