Monday, April 27, 2009

How do we solve the health care problem in the US?

Extend Medicare to include everybody.  

Nationalizing health care is probably a better long-term solution following best practices from other developed countries.  However, this is probably unworkable given our entrenched special interests infrastructure - insurance companies, hospitals, phramaceutical companies, third-party administrators, equipment manufacturers, doctors, etc. 

So, why not take a small step first.  Medicare provides a workable foundation and it is already in place. Why not take advantage of it.  Prices and rates with suppliers would then be negotiated on a national basis.  Can you imagine the negotiating power we would have?

How do we fund this? The same way it is funded today but helped by a taxable income increase resulting from employers and individuals who don't have to pay for medical insurance anymore and savings from a properly, and freely, administed plan that can negotiate better pricing from suppliers.   

We could also continue the practice of offering optional private insurance to enhance the basic offering for those who can afford it.  

Would the quality of care go down?  Probably not.  But even if it does, wouldn't you feel better now that everybody can get the basic medical care they deserve.  I know, I would.

Friday, April 24, 2009

How much of who we are is DNA-based?

This is a good example for the 80/20 rule.

My opinion is that 80% of who we are is a direct result of our biology. Our personality, how we interpret things, how we learn, how we feel, our abilites, etc. - all passed on to us through our DNA.  The 20% relates to how the environment and our personal experiences add or flavor who we ultimately become. However, this 20% is directly dependent on the 80% for processing.    

That is why some people process things one way and others another way. Things like how we deal with a happy or a traumatic event,  how we learn another language,  or simply how we learn to ride a bicycle.  These experiences become more or less part of us based on our unique processing mechanisms - i.e., our bilogy.  

Learning who we are and how we best do things helps us be more efficient. We stop fighting against the current.  Life becomes simpler, easier, more productive, and more enjoyable this way.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What is the best way out of poverty?

Education.  

Once basic needs are met (i.e., food), the real way out of poverty starts with education. Education opens up possibilities.  Education creates resourcefulness.  Education creates ambition, then jobs, and, eventually, it attracts capital.  This ignites a virtuous cycle out of poverty.

Imagine a member of the Ixil people in the mountains of Quiche in Guatemala.  Imagine him looking down from one of those mountains to his empoverished village.  Imagine him looking at the valleys, the waterfalls, and those mountains that he loves so much.
 
Now imagine him returning home with a university education.  What do you think he would be thinking about?  Would he be better off returning home with money or food but with no education? 

What do you think would really effect lasting change?



Saturday, April 18, 2009

Why does time seem to last longer when we are young?

Presence.

Have you ever been somewhere where time seems to significantly slow down?  Perhaps when you were on vacation or visiting friends in some remote place .... suddenly time slows to a crawl, each minute takes forever, everything seems to unfold in front of you at a pace that allows you to take it all in.  At the end of a day like this, you somehow feel happier.... and seem to remember more of it.  Why?

Our modern obsession with trying to pack as much as possible in our limited schedules - work, family, careers, friends, children, TV, magazines, newspapers, radio, school, hobbies, sports, meetings, clubs, books, etc. - is actually having the oppossite effect.  Our to do list is always long and we are always thinking about it. We do not have time to just be, or to just think about life, or to observe the world around us, or to really be with the person we are with.  When we want to think about these things, we often realize that a day, a week, or a month have gone by without us noticing.   Children are experts at just being in the moment and enjoying every aspect of it.  

Be in the moment - time will slow down.

What is the most important thing for a new business to succeed?

People.   

A business is not usually a one-person show.  Identifying, recruiting and retaining the best talent is absoultely critical.  When you find the right people, when you treat them like owners, when you empower and trust them to take risks and make decisions, when they clearly understand what is expected of them, when you treat them fairly, and when you allow them to share in the rewards of success .... then the sky is the limit.

Most successful new businesses are not those that are first with a new bright idea or product but rather those where the founders already have experience in.  Not having to spend as much time learning a new business, gives you time to focus on more important things..... like People.


 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

What are the key benefits of traveling?

Travel has had a profound effect throughout my life.  After visiting  more than 60 countries around the world, perspective and acceptance are travel's greatest rewards.

Perspective:
It is absolutely true that travel broadens your horizons.  Traveling gives you the ability to look at things from a higher, more detached, perspective.  This higher perspective helps you see things more clearly to make better decisions.  Exposure to different ways of doing and seeing things helps you better understand how you do and see things. 

Acceptance:
Travel makes you realize that when it is all said and done, we are all really the same.  It does not matter if you grew up in a remote jungle or in a big city, there is a core set of values and behaviors that binds us all regardless of geographical location- things like family, helping others, etc.   

There are also things that people have developed independently in different geographies to better cope with specific needs and realities - things like culture, language, and religion. Travel makes you realize that none of these religions, cultures or languages are right or wrong - they just are.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What are the most important things you can do for your children?

Three things.  Love, Boundaries and Information.

Love:
It goes without saying, love trumps everything. Love fixes everything.  Love is the meaning of life.  For your children, love must be absolutely unconditional over all things....they need to feel it, they need to know is there.  This will give them strength.

And, on the more mundane side of things:

Boundaries:  
Clearly defining boundaries and consequences is critical.  Boundaries should be defined based on the values you would like to instill in your children.  Clearly defining the consequences for crossing these boundaries, is critical.  But the most important thing of all is to ALWAYS follow through with the consequences you define.  One word of caution here, be careful when you define consequences, in case you have to follow through.

Information: 
Restrict the information that reaches your children at ALL times.  It should always be age appropriate and in limited quantities.  Tightly control access to TV, Internet, magazines, radio, etc.  You will be surprised how what is in your head eventually becomes an integral part of who you are.  Protect your children's minds. 


Monday, April 13, 2009

Why are there so many divorces?

Easy.  
Control and Respect.   Getting married to somebody that you think needs to be changed and/or controlled is crazy.  People are who they are.  

In the long run, you must be able to answer YES to the following 2 questions to stay married:

1) Do you love them JUST the way they are? 
With all their flaws and/or crazy ideas, fobias, habits?  
Without ever needing to change them?

2) Are you willing to ALWAYS treat them with respect, regardless of the situation and/or how angry you are?   Are you willing to say that you will never call each other names and/or be disrespectful to each other in any way? Ever.

If you cannot say YES to both questions - find somebody else.