Three Fingers and a Bird

The True Story of the Profound Lesson I Learned in 1963 on a Barber’s Chair

Just eight miles south-southwest of where I thought John Wayne fought at the Alamo was a spot in San Antonio where serious thinking and deciphering came into my life.

Slightly west of the halfway point along the street I saw President Kennedy on the day before his assassination–between the San Jose Mission and Kelly Air Force Base–is a region where my father was considered “patron.”

Starting on the Southeast corner of Southwest Military Drive, and heading south for eleven blocks on Commercial Street, was the first of five business pillars of our community.

Three proprietors were the foundation of commerce on Commercial Avenue and gaining the kind of momentum two others, Joe Barry and Mr. Stacey had held for a number of years. 

The first was Raymond “Bud” Jones of the “Meal A Minute” 89 cent All-You-Can-Eat -Fish fame. Bud, who passed away in October 2018, opened his legendary restaurant in 1959 at the Military Drive/Commercial southeast corner. Today, this South Side institution still serves the All-You-Can-Eat-Fish for $9.75 with his daughter Cathy and family running it.

Joe Barry owned the Terrell Wells grocery and gas store that eventually became the original VFW Post 8541. My daddy, Walter “Corky” Dennis, would go in to buy a pack of Camels (later on, he graduated to Salem’s) as I would sit in the car and look at the screen on a front door. It was painted yellow and blue with a gingham dressed girl smiling with bread in her hands proclaiming that we should “Reach for Sunbeam Bread.” 

Mercy, did I have a crush on that pretty blond haired-blue eyed beauty! I wondered often if she was kin to Dorothy of Kansas and Toto fame. Perhaps a blond cousin?

Later on, when I became at least as good at ‘cipherin’ as Jethro Bodine, I figured her out. I deduced she was the older sister of another girl and her dog– the little tan one on Coppertone signs who was embarrassed about having her panties almost torn off.

Across the street from Terrell Wells Grocery was Stacey’s Barber Shop. With a prominent barber pole on the south front lawn, Mr. and Mrs. Stacey lived on the north half of their shop in a small white wood framed house.

It was a matter of honor, but mostly courage, to sit up high on the board placed on the white arms of the barber chair of Mr. Stacey. I proudly received my trims from the same man who had cut my great grandfather John’s, grandpa Jack’s and father Corky’s hair.

I liked to go there with Daddy. But Mom, not so much. Momma would always make me sit close to the front door as we walked in. It just did not seem quite right for a girl like Momma, to be in a barber shop. There was nothing really wrong with it. Other mothers and even Mrs. Stacey came in. But a guy could not really appreciate the “feel” of the place with women in there.

There seemed to be more laughter and the men could talk about men’s things like “baseball,” or “a missile crisis” when the women were away.

In early December, Dad took me in. Grandpa Dennis was in one of the waiting chairs at the far right end facing the barber chairs on the left.

Without Momma around I could penetrate farther in and get away from the front door where the Porky Pig, Zorro or Superman books were. Sitting between Daddy and Grandpa I could scan the cover of nearby True Detective magazines. Mr. and Mrs. Stacey would never allow anything more manly than that. But to a guy just about to turn eight, True Detective was very mannish. (Note: The word “Macho” had not been invented yet as far as I know).

As each customer walked in, they were passed an 8 x 10 black and white glossy of what was purported to be the “last picture of JFK before he was shot.” One of the barbers had bought it for a dollar at the drug store located next to St. Leo’s Church on South Flores Street during their 1963 Fall Festival and Tamale Sale. Dad let me look at it and I felt important.

“Okay, Jack, you are next,” said one of the barbers. He was talking to Grandpa, who got up and sat down in a man’s size barber’s chair.

I did not notice who just walked in. I was determining if Daddy would let me go next, after Grandpa, instead of him. If so, Mr. Stacey would cut my hair. Then my odds for getting a sucker were better. Some of the other barbers did not always remember to pass out the suckers. Mr. Stacey never forgot, plus he would let me choose the color. I would leave the yellows or browns for the poor kids that were stuck with the other barbers.

Richard Floyd, my step grandfather sat down beside me grinning.

“Paw Paw,” I grinned back. We hugged.

Paw Paw was a tall human being.   With only one good eye and a few good teeth, he was not much for the world to see, but to me he walked on water.

“What are you doing, gettin’ your ears lowered, Booger?” He waved his hand from front to back over his head.

“They only charge Paw Paw half price, because I only have half my hair.”

What a treat it was to have two grandfathers and a father in the same barber shop all at the same time.

“Are you ready for your birthday?” Paw Paw asked.

When Grandpa Dennis heard that, he called me up and reached in his wallet. He handed me a dollar bill.

“Grandpa didn’t forget your birthday,” he said. “You tell your daddy to get you something with this.”

Paw Paw saw what was going on and he pulled TWO dollars out of his billfold and handed it to me with Happy Birthday instructions to tell my Mom to get me something with them.

Three whole dollars in a matter of seconds and it was the most money I had up to that point in my life. (Note: That amount in 1963 is worth $25.36 today).

When I sat back down, secretly enjoying the $3 in my pocket, my mind immediately jumped to disenchantment. Suddenly, my brain realized what people meant when they said “bad luck or trouble comes in threes.” And it had nothing to do with the money.

I had been waiting for the third calamity to reveal itself ever since my beloved cockerspaniel Blackie died on November 4th and John F. Kennedy on the 22nd.  Within a little over a month’s time, there I was, in the middle of the prohibited end of the barber shop and suddenly going through trauma numero tres!

It was at this moment I discovered that BOTH of my grandfathers had three fingers missing from their left hands.

What was this? Why hadn’t I really noticed their left hands before? Or maybe I did, but it did not register until I saw them both in the same room. Or was it because I was almost eight and noticing more adult things? After all, I had just scanned the covers of two True Detectives.

For at least the next few weeks I was terrified of everything my hands touched. Perhaps this was some kind of omen or family curse? What were the odds? Two grandfathers with the same hands missing three fingers!

My Daddy, policeman Walter “Corky” Dennis, was one of the motorcycle escorts next to the President’s car on the Kennedy motorcade during his San Antonio visit the day before his assassination in Dallas.

Just in time for Christmas, Daddy explained that Paw Paw was only my step-grandfather, so it really did not count—-there was no family curse.

“You do not have to worry about it any more.”

Thank God for Daddy’s explanation. I didn’t know how much longer I could have held out keeping my left hand in my pocket everywhere I went. Each morning when I awoke, I would look to see if those fingers on that hand were still there. Somehow it would sneak out from under the pillow during my sleep.

Definitely, I would not dare do what the other boys were inventing in the cafeteria.   By placing a pencil on top of their middle finger and bending the adjacent fingers over the pencil, they could “shoot the bird.”

Not quite understanding what that meant, as far as I was concerned if I shot that bird it was sure to be a recipe for the family curse. I knew that bird had wings for a reason. Around me it was going to just have to fly away. I did not intend to lose my three fingers over a bird.
     

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

Idiots Who Think You Are Stupid

The United States has reached a point in our society where:

🔹You can actually quote exact numbers straight from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, documented literature from the Institute of Health and Vaccines…

…Idiots will still label you a “conspiracy theorist.”

🔹”Trust the science” is the most anti-science statement ever made…

…Questioning science is literally how you do science.

🔹A locked down nation with mask and vaccine mandates is stupid…

…When a wide open border defies all logic.

🔹A newspaper or television news broadcasts claims massive election fraud is “without evidence” or a “Big Lie”…

…But millions of Americans have seen foolproof evidence (including security cameras and phone tracking intelligence) presented repeatedly via social media, non-mainstream media, and as presented with the “2000 Mules” documentary by Dinesh D’Souza.

Don’t get us started. Here is the obvious as presented on social media by patriotic America:

IDIOTS WHO THINK YOU ARE STUPID

As of June 3, 2022 you can safely add 3% to each line item.
If you don’t understand this subscribe to CleverJourneys below.
Touche´
Biden, as a senator, actually proposed and supported the one on the left.
Both sets are idiots.
Democrat congressional representatives fleeing Texas to escape voting on anti-mask mandate.
Actual quote.

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What To Do If You Have the Mandate and Lockdown Blues

Special Note:  If you start having thoughts of wanting to die or harm yourself, seek professional help immediately, or let a loved one know. Or call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which provides 24/7, free, and confidential support.

When the COVID-19 Pandemic first appeared in early 2020, Jack and I were as startled as everyone by the strict restrictions of just going to the grocery store to buy toilet paper and food. After a few weeks, we both agreed “NO MORE.”

We moved to the country, lowered our living expenses (cut them over half), started an organic garden and became far more self sufficient (energy, water, food backups and redundancies). In a nutshell, we simplified.

While many people we knew were rushing to get experimental vaccines, buying hoards of masks, staying home and complying with lockdowns, we took the opposite approach.

We went on several roadtrips (Washington DC, Las Vegas, Colorado Springs, Phoenix, Graceland in Memphis, Pigeon Forge in the Smoky Mountains, Andy Griffith Museum in North Carolina, Ark Encounter in Kentucky and other crowded places) visiting 20 states.

We were a bit surprised to see both ends of the spectrum:

1. People wearing masks, gloves, headgear and wrapped in extra clothing just to walk outside to their mailbox.

2. Or like us, RVers, bikers, campers, and travelers enjoying America’s freedoms indoors and outside. We only wore masks per local establishment restrictions, but even then, like other patriots, it was minimal. We attended theater plays, saw movies, enjoyed concerts, explored museums and road amusement park rides.

Everyone experiences ups and downs, but the sadness we’ve been seeing from some people is like weather. It tends to come and go, and it can lift quickly if something positive happens. We made sure to focus on positiveness. We turned off the TV and especially mainstream media of any kind (radio, newspapers, magazine’s, etc.)

Those who took similar approaches seem to snap out of it—sort of like a rain cloud moved aside by the sun.

When It’s More Than Normal Sadness

But some people practically bolted themselves indoors and continuously watched the propaganda and news. Their sadness wasn’t a temporary occurance like a rainshower. It is full blown depression, like a season.

Depression moves in and stays for a while, most of the day, every day, for weeks at a time. It can affect your mood, your physical health, and the way you perceive just about everything. Rather than an emotional state, depression is a health condition.

Consider simplifying your life, finding alternative news sources (like CleverJourneys.Com), and improving your well being. Here are some suggestions:

1. Get moving. Any form of regular exercise boosts mood and energy. It’s hard to get moving when you’re feeling down, so start with small steps and build from there. Standing, stretching, or taking a quick walk around your house or neighborhood is better than being boarded up. And guess what? You don’t need to wear a mask! As a registered nurse of 40 years, I’m not about to wear a mask so frivolously. Just move!!!

2. Try meditating. Research has shown that medication can improve depression symptoms, but research shows you can equate the benefits of 30 minutes of meditation to the effects of one antidepressant pill. Of course, if your doctor has prescribed medication, you should continue to take it as instructed—but you can add meditation to your routine. There are plenty of apps that can help you get started, including Headspace, Calm, and The Mindfulness App. Or simply just go walk!

3. Go outside. Spending time in nature can decrease feelings of depression. It also exposes you to sunlight, which can help your body produce vitamin D. Low levels of the nutrient have been linked to depression, but soaking up even 15 minutes of sun per day can lift your spirits in the present and over the long term.

4. Foster close relationships. Nurturing your existing relationships with friends and family is one of the best things you can do for your health. But it’s also never too late to forge new bonds. How? Sign up for a book club, volunteer to lend a hand at your local community center or place of worship, take a group exercise class, or simply invite a neighbor to meet for a cup of coffee. As feelings of connection increase, depression often decreases.

5. Read. Simply pick up a book and read it. I say book, instead of reading on a computer or phone, for the sake of your eyes. Each day, I have a ritual of reading Bible devotionals and a few chapters in a novel. Library cards are a good thing. It is positive and good for the spirit.

6. Practice gratitude. Making daily lists of what you’re grateful for has been found to help lift mood. Even if you’re not able to write everything down, simply thinking about it or expressing gratitude to others can help boost happiness.

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Books to Help You Cultivate Positive Thinking

By Anna Charles

Positive thinking is one of the most beneficial habits a person can adopt.

The Mayo Clinic explains that it is an effective form of stress management and can improve general health. It can also increase lifespan, lessen depression and stress, and help build better resistance against diseases.

In trying times, you should try to see things in an optimistic manner. Positive thinking isn’t about disregarding struggles; it’s about trying to look at a situation with a less abrasive perspective. This will help you live a happier and more fulfilling life. If you want to learn how to think more positively, there are many resources, like books, which can help you. Here are a few that will surely guide you to see things with a better mindset:

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck

First on this list is a book by Mark Manson.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is all about learning to accept the circumstances you encounter and taking things in stride. Problems are inevitable but instead of feeling negatively towards them, learn to let go and not take them too seriously.

Iconic singer Freddie Mercury has said “I’ve lived a full life and if I’m dead tomorrow, I don’t give a damn,” which is the mindset Manson wanted to impart in his book. Knowing yourself, your strengths and your weaknesses can help you understand which challenges you can overcome and how. This will help you find constant and genuine happiness. It will also aid you in how to think more positively and productively.

Don’t Overthink It

Thinking and reflecting aren’t necessarily bad things, but when you tend to overdo it, it can lead to more stress and anxiety.

Don’t Overthink It by Anne Bogel aims to teach readers to stop overthinking on a daily basis. Overthinking can oftentimes feel like a pattern that is difficult to break and one that we have no control over.

But Bogel explains that negative thoughts can be changed to positive ones, even when you’re overthinking, using the many actionable strategies she lists in her book. Included inside is a framework that readers can use in discerning both small and big decisions. Simply following it can bring more peace, joy, and love into your life. This will not only guide you to breaking the habit of negative thinking but it will also help you find energy for things that really matter to you.

Happiness Becomes You

Tina Turner is a legendary name in the music industry. In her book Happiness Becomes You, she lays down the knowledge she has amassed throughout her life and career that helped her think positively. She tackles the many hardships she has encountered in hopes of giving people motivation to keep going.

Turner also taps into her Buddhist faith as it has kept her grounded for decades. She talks about how she turned her dreams into a reality and how to make the impossible happen. It details the many adversities that the singer was able to overcome before she found the success she has today. This book radiates nothing but positivity, and those who read it will learn a thing or two about how a good mentality can be a great help to achieving their goals.

Deep Kindness

One of the major aspects of positive thinking is learning to be less harsh on yourself and others.

Deep Kindness by Houston Kraft highlights the many ways readers can practice imparting goodwill. The book also explains how these principles can help you get ahead in life.

Kraft gives many exercises and prompts to help readers develop their sense of kindness and why it is important in today’s world. Not only will it help create a positive environment, but it will also help build a positive mentality by helping readers live a better and more fulfilling life. Through constant practice, you will find yourself acting more kindly towards yourself and those around you, making your mindset more optimistic overall.

Learning how to lessen negative thoughts can be difficult, but positive thinking is something many people need. Through learning to accept life’s challenges, spending more time on things you love, and being kinder to yourself, positive thinking can become second nature.

Guest Post written by Anna Charles for cleverjourneys.com

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The Donkey, Tiger and Lion Lesson

Grass is Blue?

The donkey told the tiger, “The grass is blue.”

The tiger replied, “No, the grass is green​.”

The discussion became heated, and the two decided to submit the issue to arbitration, so they approached the lion.

As they approached the lion on his throne, the donkey started screaming: ′′Your Highness, isn’t it true that the grass is blue?”

The lion replied: “If you believe it is true, the grass is blue.”​

The donkey rushed forward and continued: ′′The tiger disagrees with me, contradicts me and annoys me. Please punish him.”

The king then declared: ′′The tiger will be punished with 3 days of silence.”

The donkey jumped with joy and went on his way, content and repeating ′′The grass is blue, the grass is blue…”​

The tiger asked the lion, “Your Majesty, why have you punished me, after all, the grass is green?”​

The lion replied, ′′You’ve known and seen the grass is green.”

The tiger asked, ′′So why do you punish me?”​

The lion replied, “That has nothing to do with the question of whether the grass is blue or green. The punishment is because it is degrading for a brave, intelligent creature like you to waste time arguing with an ass, and on top of that, you came and bothered me with that question just to validate something you already knew was true!”

The biggest waste of time is arguing with the fool and fanatic who doesn’t care about truth or reality, but only the victory of his beliefs and illusions. Never waste time on discussions that make no sense. There are people who, for all the evidence presented to them, do not have the ability to understand. Others who are blinded by ego, hatred and resentment, and the only thing that they want is to be right even if they aren’t.

When IGNORANCE SCREAMS, intelligence moves on!

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

Majority of Voters Favor Ending Supplemental Unemployment Benefits

Forty-six percent (46%) of American voters know someone who is making more money by collecting unemployment than they could earn by working. Among those who know someone in that situation, 82% favor ending the pandemic related supplemental benefits and returning unemployment benefits to normal levels.

Seventy-one percent (71%) of voters favor ending the pandemic unemployment payments. A Scott Rasmussen national survey found that 19% are opposed and 10% are not sure.

Twenty-five (25) states have ended or set dates to end payment of pandemic-related unemployment benefits.

Throughout the pandemic, there has been a significant partisan divide on just about every aspect of the issue. Republican voters have consistently been more optimistic than Democrats. All the states dropping the supplemental benefits are led by Republican governors.

Among the voting public, support for ending the benefits is found across partisan, ideological, and demographic lines. A majority of voters in every measured demographic group favor ending those benefits. Support comes from 86% of Republicans, 67% of independent voters, and 59% of Democrats.

Additionally, among all voters, 68% believe ending the supplemental benefits will encourage people currently receiving unemployment benefits to take a job.

Learning to Develop and Trust Your Intuitive Intelligence

“A wise old owl sat on an oak; The more he saw the less he spoke; The less he spoke the more he heard; Why aren’t we like the wise old bird?

My maternal great-grandmother, Chickasaw-Choctaw Margaret Delitha Morgan taught me this wise owl quote in the early 1960s.

I had no clue what an “oak” was and it’s the one word in the saying that I didn’t grasp right away.  Over 35 years later, I took a week long course (and follow up classes) to become certified in Neurolinguistics Programming (NLP)…a wise old owl perhaps.

The summary below is from my notes in one of the classes. It’s been updated to provide up-to-date information.

Learning to develop and trust our intuitive intelligence is more important now than ever.

According to a recent UCLA study, we are exposed to a tsunami of information that amounts to over 174 newspapers full of data per day. That is more than 5 times the amount of information we were exposed to just 20 years ago. Included in this deluge of data are countless opinions, endless streams of expert advice and a myriad of gurus and guides telling us what we should be doing in order to live our best lives.

Besides the Word of God, the reality is that the only guidance system we need to assist us in living our best life is the wisdom held within our natural intuitive intelligence. When properly developed, it can and will lead us to the choices, ideas and innovations that will guide us towards what is truly in our best interest and help us create the highest good in our lives.

Intuition is a subtle language, so understanding the various ways it communicates makes having a deep and meaningful relationship with it rewarding, reliable and much more fun.

Intuition operates in our body and nervous system on levels that range from basic, binary, survival-based communications to complete conversations that are elegant, sophisticated, and evolved.

Level 1: Gut Instinct

Attributes: safety, security, and survival.

We have all heard of this level of intuition, and most of us can recall a time when we have recognized it or felt its presence in our lives. Gut instinct may be the best known and most mainstream interpretation of intuition, but it is only a small part of the entire intelligence system.

We should not depend on it alone to guide us to our highest potential or outcome. Gut instinct is simple, basic, and binary, which means it communicates through the feeling of opposites and uses impressions such as yes or no, stop or go, safe or unsafe, to convey its message.

When your gut instinct is operating, it will answer such questions as: “Is this choice/person/relationship in my best interest? Can I thrive in this environment? Will this situation meet my deepest needs?”

Level 2: Heart-Based Intelligence

Attributes: courage, compassion, and communication.

The intelligence in the heart encourages us to adopt the practice of courage, compassion, and care and use them to communicate and connect with all other life forms in our environment.

It guides us to what is appropriate to say or do in moments of need and allows us to connect and communicate in often unspoken ways and to bond with people, animals, and places in ways that cannot be described by words or rational thought.

This center of wisdom prompts us to ask the questions, such as: “Is my life filled with beauty? Do I love what I do? How can I discover my joy? What would I do if I were not afraid? Am I bringing the best of myself to my life and the world?”

Level 3: Visionary Power

Attributes: imagination, visionary certainty, and creative possibility.

The third level of intuitive intelligence is found in the mystical and often misunderstood power of extrasensory perception (ESP), expanded spiritual vision, lucid dreaming and other elevated psychic events. This is the level of intuition where extraordinary solutions, alternate ways of doing things, and groundbreaking new ideas are commonplace.

When this center of wisdom is active it guides us to ask questions such as: “What do I see as a solution or possibility? Is there something I am overlooking? What dreams do I have for my future that I haven’t given myself permission to make into reality?”

Level 4: The Connection to Universal Wisdom

Attributes: Universal awareness and unity consciousness

The fourth level of intuitive intelligence is the most nonphysical of the group. This intelligence is often activated during deep meditation or advanced awareness practices, and it is sometimes reported after near-death experiences or times of great stress or trauma.

The highest level of intuition that humans can reach while in physical form is the one that allows us to access the realm of all things and to become consciously aware of our connection to and ability to create with the intelligence that is the source of our reality.

When we are aligned with this level of intelligence, we recognize that all things in life are valuable and appropriate and that we have the power within us to change and heal our lives if we so choose.

Here there are no questions. There is only consciousness.

As you become familiar with these levels of communication, your rapport with this natural form of intelligence will grow, evolve and expand and it will not matter what the rest of the world is telling you to do. With the direct guidance of your own wisdom you will be able to navigate any situation with a sense of joy, ease and great satisfaction.

Wisdom in summary.

The Wisdom of Candace Owens

“I’m not far right. I’m free.”

JackNotes: Atomic Habits

Self improvement and how-to motivation by James Clear.

Executive Summary

The holy grail of habit change is not a single 1% improvement, but a thousand of them. It’s a bunch of atomic habits stacking up, each one a fundamental unit of the overall system.

Awareness comes before desire.

A craving is created when you assign meaning to a cue. It can only occur after you have noticed an opportunity.

It is the idea of pleasure that we chase. Desire is pursued. Pleasure ensues from action.

With a big enough why you can overcome any how. If your motivation and desire are great enough, you’ll take action even when it is quite difficult. Great craving can power great action – even when friction is high.

Being motivated and curious counts for more than being smart because it leads to action. To do anything, you must first cultivate a desire for it.

Appealing to emotion is typically more powerful than appealing to reason. Our thoughts and actions are rooted in what we find attractive and not necessarily in what is logical.

Suffering drives progress. The source of all suffering is the desire for a change in state. This is also the source of all progress. The desire to change your state is what powers you to take action.

Your actions reveal your true motivations.

Our expectations determine our satisfaction. If the gap between expectations and outcomes is positive (surprise and delight), then we are more likely to repeat a behavior in the future. If the mismatch is negative (disappointment and frustration), then we are less likely to do so.

Feelings come both before and after the behavior. The craving (a feeling) motivates you to act. The reward teaches you to repeat the action in the future:

Cue > Craving (Feeling) > Response > Reward (Feeling)

How we feel influences how we act, and how we act influences how we feel. Desire initiates. Pleasure sustains. Wanting and liking are the two drivers of behavior. If it’s not desirable, you have no reason to do it. Desire and craving are what initiate a behavior. But if it’s not enjoyable, you have no reason to repeat it.

Pleasure and satisfaction are what sustain a behavior. Feeling motivated gets you to act. Feeling successful gets you to repeat.

How to Create a Good Habit

The 1st Law: Make It Obvious

  • Fill out the Habits Scorecard. Write down your current habits to become aware of them
  • Use implementation intentions: “I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION]”
  • Use habit stacking: “After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT]”
  • Design your environment. Make the cues of good habits obvious and visible.

The 2nd Law: Make It Attractive

  • Use temptation bundling. Pair an action you want to do with an action you need to do
  • Join a culture where your desired behavior is normal
  • Create a motivation ritual. Do something you enjoy immediately before a difficult habit

The 3rd Law: Make It Easy

  • Reduce friction. Decrease the number of steps between you and your good habits
  • Prime the environment. Prepare your environment to make future actions easier
  • Master the decisive moment. Optimize the small choices that deliver outsized impact
  • Use the Two-Minute Rule. Downscale your habits until they can be done in two minutes or less
  • Automate your habits. Invest in technology and one-time purchases that lock in future behavior

The 4th Law: Make It Satisfying

  • Use reinforcement. Give yourself an immediate reward when you complete your habit
  • Make “doing nothing” enjoyable. When avoiding a bad habit, design a way to see the benefits
  • Use a habit tracker. Keep track of your habit streak and “don’t break the chain”
  • Never miss twice. When you forget to do a habit, make sure you get back on track immediately

How to Break a Bad Habit

Inversion of the 1st Law: Make It Invisible

  • Reduce exposure. Remove the cues of your bad habits from your environment

Inversion of the 2nd Law: Make It Unattractive

  • Reframe your mindset. Highlight the benefits of avoiding your bad habits

Inversion of the 3rd Law: Make It Difficult

  • Increase friction. Increase the number of steps between you and your bad habits
  • Use a commitment device. Restrict your future choices to the ones that benefit you

Inversion of the 4th Law: Make It Unsatisfying

  • Get an accountability partner. Ask someone to watch your behavior.
  • Create a habit contract. Make the costs of your bad habits public and painful

The Three Layers of Behavior Change:

  1. Outcomes: changing your results, e.g. losing weight. Most of the goals you set are at this level
  2. Process: changing your habits and systems, e.g. developing a meditation practice. Most of the habits you build live at this level
  3. Identity: changing your beliefs, e.g. your worldview or self-image. Most of the beliefs, assumptions, and biases you hold are associated with this level

The most effective way to change your habits is to focus not on what you want to achieve, but on who you wish to become.

Any habit can be broken down into a feedback loop of four steps:

  1. Cue: what triggers your brain to initiate a behavior. The bit of information that predicts a reward
  2. Craving: the motivational force behind every habit. You don’t crave the habit itself, but the change in state it delivers (e.g. you do not crave smoking a cigarette, you crave the feeling of relief it provides)
  3. Response: the actual habit you perform, as a thought or action. Whether a response occurs depends on how motivated you are and the amount of friction associated with the behavior
  4. Reward: the end goal of every habit. We chase rewards because they satisfy our cravings and teach us which actions are worth remembering in the future

If a behavior is insufficient in any of the four stages, it will not become a habit. Without the first three steps, a behavior will not occur. Without all four, a behavior will not be repeated.

The Four Laws of Behavior Change are a simple set of rules we can use to build better habits:

  1. Cue: make it obvious
  2. Craving: make it attractive
  3. Response: make it easy
  4. Reward: make it satisfying

We can invert these laws to learn how to break a bad habit:

  1. Cue: make it invisible
  2. Craving: make it unattractive
  3. Response: make it difficult
  4. Reward: make it unsatisfying
  • Practice guitar more frequently? Place it in the middle of the living room
  • Drink more water? Fill up a few water bottles each morning and place them around the house
  • “If I see stairs, I will take them instead of the elevator.”
  • “When I serve myself, I will always put veggies on my plate first.”
  • Can’t get any work done? Leave your phone in another room for a few hours
  • Watch too much television? Move the TV out of the bedroom
  • Only listen to podcasts you love while exercising
  • Only watch your favorite show while ironing 
  • Exercise. Exercise can be associated with a challenging task that drains energy and wears you down. You can view it as a way to develop skills and strength. Instead of “I need to go run in the morning,” say “It’s time to build endurance and get fast”
  • Finance. Saving money is often associated with sacrifice. You can associate it with freedom as living below your current means increases your future means
  • Motion: outlining twenty ideas for articles. Action: sitting down and writing an article
  • Motion: search for a better diet plan and read a few books on the topic. Action: eat a healthy meal
  • Want to exercise? Set out your workout clothes, shoes, gym bag, and water bottle ahead of time
  • Want to improve your diet? Chop up a ton of fruits and vegetables and pack them in containers so you have easy access to healthy snacks

Find gateway habits that lead to your desired outcome by mapping your goals on a scale from “very easy” to “very hard.”

For example:

  • Running a marathon – very hard
  • Running a 5K – hard
  • Walking ten thousand steps – moderately difficult
  • Walking ten minutes – easy
  • Putting on your running shoes – very easy

Your goal might be to run a marathon, but your gateway habit is to put on your running shoes. 

The point is to master the habit of showing up. You can’t improve a habit that doesn’t exist. Make it easy to start and the rest will follow.

The Cardinal Rule of Behavior Change: “What is immediately rewarded is repeated. What is immediately punished is avoided.”

The Goldilocks Rule: “Humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Just right.”

My Longtime Friend Died After Getting 2nd COVID Vaccine Shot

This is harsh, but I’m extremely mad. A friend (fellow Elvis fan) that I’ve known over 40 years died 6 days after taking her 2nd COVID-19 vaccine shot.

When I see dear ones post pictures and overjoyed about having these unproven and experimental vaccines injected into their bodies, I immediately think about Jews lining up to get into boxcarts to the Nazi camps to take “showers” when they were really going into gas chambers.

My friend was healthy. She was only 58 years old and so excited to share her accomplishment of getting her 2nd shot. I shook my head. Why? So you won’t have a less than 1% chance of dying (if for some reason you get it?). That defies logic.

Not only am I sad, but feel guilt that I didn’t do enough to warn her. She read my articles but it wasn’t enough. She’s gone. Forever. Needlessly.

Yesterday a smart man who worked for me at HEB for many years said after reading more about the dangers (including my articles) he and his wife cancelled their vaccine appointments. I was overjoyed. That makes 12 people who told me they are not taking it after reading the articles and some have known friends and family who died after taking them. No not all were elderly.

Quit buying into the media propaganda. The long terms effects of these shots are not likely to be good…and for what? The CDC doesn’t even know if they will “protect” for even a year and they are already saying a 3rd or 4th or annual vaccination will be required.

It messes with your immune system. It puts out proteins that your cells react to. It’s not really a vaccine because it contains nothing from the virus itself. How can you make antibodies against something that is not there.

This hasn’t been out there long enough to know the very potential long term effects, but we are just seeing the numbers of people dying soon after these shots.
No worries, for you skeptics. Big Pharma are already planning on $elling billion$ more for all the ailments you will likely suffer because of these vaccines.

I suppose you believed the fake news Russian Hoax, dossier, Kauvenaugh hearings, impeachment hearing evidence and no voter fraud in swing state cities too.

Again I’m sorry if this offends you, but hearing of these needless deaths is far more offensive, even more so than people bragging and celebrating their shots.

It’s nothing to brag about.

And then, I read this: