July 2011

Time Flies! Use your time well by avoiding meaningless busy work.

At every instant of every day, you are making a choice of how you spend your time.

You have a very limited amount of time, so your time is extremely valuable.

You can’t do everything you consider doing, or everything others demand of you.

You establish your real priorities in life by the way you choose to spend your time.

Whenever you spend time on some low-value activity you have chosen your priorities…

But have you chosen well?

I must figure out what I have control over and what I don’t have control over.

So what do I have control over?

I have some control on the choices that I make here and now.

In every 24 hour period, I try to make the best choices possible with the knowledge, the resources and the opportunities that I have.

Every minute, well not every minute but as often as possible, I try to become aware of my thoughts and my decisions. When I try to choose correctly at every moment, I should have a good and productive hour, when I try to choose correctly every hour, I should have a good and productive day, when I try to choose correctly every day, I should end up with a good and productive week, and month, and year and decade ….

What control do you have over your daily choices?

“It’s faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living. “

Oliver Wendell Holmes


“It is not easy to find something that will intrigue and bind your interest and enthusiasm.

This you must seek for yourself. “
Walter Annenberg


“I play to win, whether during practice or a real game.

And I will not let anything get in the way of me and my competitive enthusiasm to win. “

Michael Jordan


“I prefer the folly of enthusiasm to the indifference of wisdom. “

Anatole France


“Enthusiasm moves the world.”

Arthur Balfour



“Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved. “

Ralph Waldo Emerson


“Enthusiasm is the most important thing in life.”

Tennessee Williams


Why ?


Perfection of character is this: to live each day as if it were your last, without frenzy, without apathy, without pretense. ”

Marcus Aurelius (121–180)
Roman emperor, philosopher


“We come into this world head first and go out feet first; in between, it is all a matter of balance.



What is your Wheel of life looking like?

I’m angry. They wronged me, why should I forgive them?

They lied, they cheated, why should I forgive them?

Forgiveness is not a gift that we give to someone else.

Forgiveness for another’s act is a gift that we give ourselves.

We are the one who suffer  the anger when we feel that we have been wronged.

It is our own blood pressure that rises when we hold on to resentment.

Give yourself the gift of forgiving others, not because “they” deserve it,

but because you deserve the serenity  that comes from releasing resentment and anger.

Life is too short to hold on to resentment.

      We convince ourselves that life 
will be better after we get married, 
have a baby, then another. 
Then we are frustrated that the kids aren’t old enough 
and we’ll be more content when they are.

After that we’re frustrated that we 
have teenagers to deal with, 
we will certainly be happy 
when they are out of that stage.

We tell ourselves that our life will be complete 
when our spouse gets his or her act together, 
when we get a nicer car, 
are able to go on a nice vacation, 
when we retire. 
The truth is there’s no better time 
to be happy than right now. 
If not now, when?

Your life will always be filled with challenges. 
It’s best to admit this to yourself 
and decide to be happy anyway. 
One of my favorite quotes comes 
from Alfred D Souza.

He said, “For a long time it had seemed 
to me that life was about to begin -real life. 
But there was always some obstacle in the way, 
something to be gotten through first, 
some unfinished business, 
time still to be served, 
a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. 
At last it dawned on me that these 
obstacles were my life.”

This perspective has helped me to see 
that there is no way to happiness. 
Happiness is the way, 
so, treasure every moment that you have. 
And treasure it more because you shared it 
with someone special, 
special enough to spend your time… 
and remember that time waits for no one.

So stop waiting until you finish school, 
until you go back to school, 
until you lose ten pounds, 
until you gain ten pounds, 
until you have kids, 
until your kids leave the house, 
until you start work, 
until you retire, 
until you get married, 
until you get divorced, 
until Friday night, 
until Sunday morning, 
until you get a new car or home, 
until your car or home is paid off, 
until spring, until summer, 
until fall, until winter, 
until you are off welfare, 
until the first or fifteenth, 
until your song comes on, 
until you’ve had a drink, 
until you’ve sobered up, 
until you die, until you are born again 
to decide that there is no better time 
than right now to be happy… 
Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

So, work like you don’t need money.

Love like you’ve never been hurt.

Dance like no one’s watching. Anon

Here is a lesson in leadership from a crazy dancer…

When I was younger, I had heroes and I wanted to be like them.

I wanted to wear their masks.

When we choose an inspiring hero, it helps us grow personally up to a certain point.

Eventually, it is in our best interest to shed any mask and appear to the world with our own face.

Why ?

The effort we make to emulate our heroes can lead us astray from what we can really become.

Elvis was inspired by Dean Martin, but he had to become Elvis. Not a second-rate Dean Martin.

Ray Charles didn’t unfold his genius until he stopped copying Nat King Cole.

AC / DC admired the Rolling Stones but their music evolved into a different style.

The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin admired Robert Johnson, Muddy Water and Buddy Guy.

They eventually created their own respective styles.

There are an infinite number of examples in too many  fields for me to keep on writing. But I’m confident that you get the point.

Insist on being yourself!


Because everyone else is taken!


Take off your mask!

“What happens is not as important as how you react to what happens.”

Thaddeus Golas


As I was driving back from Burlington, Vermont, today, I had a flat tire on my car. As we started to fix the flat tire, one of the lock nut broke in a way that it was impossible to remove  the wheel. Trying to find a garage that is open for business on a Sunday afternoon is quite a challenge, especially in a small rural area. So we phoned CAA to get some help. When the guy arrived on site, he was unable to fix the problem for us. So, with his help, we manage to put some air in the tire and drive about 10 km while he was calling his boss to see if he could open the garage to help us out. Luckily for us, his boss agreed to come and help.

After almost 3 hours of delay, we were able to keep driving back home to Montreal.

Even if my family and I had a very good get-away week end, we were getting impatient as it was taking longer than expected to solve this problem. I had to stay calm and try to encourage the others in the car to remain as calm as possible. It is much easier to write and talk about calmness than to get everyone to stay calm. ( wife and teenagers)

When something happens, we  must stop ourself from reacting, and notice if our reaction is about to benefit us or disadvantage us. The way we choose to react can actually help us grow positively, regardless of the problem.

“There are two ingredients in the good life; learning, earning, yearning. “

Christopher Darlington Morley ( 1890-1957)

US writer


Once we have our basic needs met, what’s next?

Once your physiological needs, your security needs, your social needs are met, what’s next?

What’s left are our self-esteem needs and self-realization needs that must be fulfilled in order to be truly satisfied.

Did you notice that I didn’t write… in order to be truly happy?

The reason I take the time to specify the difference is that some people manage to be quite happy with very little.

Their secret?  They lower their expectations.

I agree with Abraham Maslow and his hierarchy of needs.

Remember his famous pyramid?

Remember the advice from the Judeo-Christian bible: “Man does not live by bread alone”

There is a lot of wisdom in these two concepts.

When you think of Maslow’s pyramid, you realize that you need to satisfy the basic needs in order to yearn for the top one.

You don’t believe me?

Why would you care about a good book or a good play when your belly is empty?

When your belly is full, then and only then you can understand that man doesn’t live by bread alone (Which is an image of our materialistic society).

You cannot eat more than three steaks a day. ( you shouldn’t if you want to live longer)

You cannot drink more than three bottles of wine a day. ( you will not be productive in our society)

You cannot enjoy all of your toys because your time is limited.

You cannot give your full attention to all your friends and acquaintances in the same week.

You cannot waste your energy pursuing your every desire when you are aware of all the opportunities.

So what’s the point of this post?

It is that as long as we are learning one thing every day… Life is worth it.

It is that as long as we are earning as much as we possibly can… We can expand our horizons.

And that as long as we yearn, we are fully alive in every possible ways.

Hope is the cure to many ailments.

“Any idiot can face a crisis – it’s day to day living that wears you out.”

Anton Chekhov


There is a lot of truth in this quote!

Sometimes, we are at our personal best when we are in the middle of a crisis. Somehow, we find the energy and the courage to fight when everything seems to be hopeless. On the other hand, the routine of the day to day can sometimes drain more energy from us than a big crisis.

Why would this be?   It seems to me that our focus is better and that we are less distracted when times are hard than when times are easy.

“In truth, each one of us since the moment of our birth has been given a death sentence, only the date is unknown. However, the fact of death is always present in the deepest part of our subconcious mind. Between the time of birth and the time of death , we do the best we know how.”

Chin-Ning Chu



This statement can be perceived as very negative.

Or it can be viewed as a great wake-up call that gives you a kick at the right place.

The choice is yours.

“Time is at once the most valuable and the most perishable of all our possessions.”

John Randolph


If this is true, why do we still waste so much of it in so many ways?

Success comes from doing things “right,” and doing things right is usually the result of first doing things wrong.

You are certain to make mistakes; the path to success is lined with mistakes and failures, just  keep  moving.

Successful people make a lot of mistakes, but they don’t quit, they keep moving until they arrive to their goal.

Fascination is one step above interest. You will learn more from being fascinated by life than you will from being frustrated by it.

In the last couple of years I have developped a childlike fascination with life and people.

I’m fascinated with so many things like foreign cultures, technological innovations, scientific discoveries, the vastness of the Universe, art and music styles, books, movies, and people from all walks of life.

What frustrates me every day? To know that I will not be able to see it all, to experience it all, to learn it all.

I guess this is why my biggest fascination for the last couple of years has been about the brevity of life and how limited our time is as humans. This is how I turned my frustration into fascination.

To make sure I keep myself fascinated, I keep a list of more than 140 goals and dreams to accomplish. These include books to read, cities to visit, new countries to discover, new skills to learn, old ones to re-learn, investments to make, new people to meet. I’m interested in so many different things that it would be too long to enumerate.

Today’s question for you is the following:

Most of the time, are you fascinated or frustrated with life?

One of the great illusions in our life is to be addicted to busyness, it gives us the feeling of being productive, but are we really? There are so many demands in our lives that it becomes very easy to lose focus.Then there is the information overload or all kinds of other activities.

It’s not always easy to SAY NO to less important activities when we should  SAY YES to our most important projects. It requires constant vigilance. Many years ago, I read a great book  that explain how to choose our priorities.

The title is First Things First  by Stephen Covey.

First Things First

I encourage you not only to read this book, but to study it seriously.

In my opinion, this is one of the best books on life and time management ever written.

The time that we waste will never come back.

I repeat; the time that we waste will never come back!


It is a sad reality but it is also a great wake-up call.

How do you make sure that you don’t waste too much precious time?

How do you keep the focus on your most important projects?

How do you know that you spend your time on what you really care about?

So how much connecting time do you have a week?

And give me a break, don’t talk about how as a couple you have minimal time together, but when you do, it’s “quality time.”

You need quantity time together to maintain a healthy relationship, with life partners, children and friends.

How connected to your partner are you?

To your children?

To your family and friends?

How much do you know about their lives at this moment?

About how they really feel about things?

About their fears, concerns, challenges and joys?

About dreams, goals and desires they have, and what you could do to help?

Week-ends are a good time to re-connect with people you that really care about.

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hope for.”



Most of us want more and more…

More material, more entertainment, more fun, more exciting experiences, more knowledge, more and more of so many things.

And this is our human nature.

The challenge for us is to appreciate each moment, good and not so good.

It’s time to appreciate what we have NOW, TODAY.


“With money you can buy a clock but not time”

Chinese proverb


With good health, we have the energy to be productive,
When we are productive, we can earn a good living,
When we earn a lot of money, we can afford more things,
With more things or resources, it can improve our quality of life, ( up to a certain point)

When our quality of life improves, we can become more generous,
When we become more generous, we feel good about ourselves,
When we feel good about ourselves, it contributes to our general well being and health.
If I keep reasoning this way, it seems that all this should have a positive effect on our longevity.
But sometimes it doesn’t.
It is difficult to admit or to accept, but we don’ t have control over a lot of things.

One of the thing we don’t have much control over is: Time.

So money can buy us a lot of things, but not Time.

But do you take good care of your time?

“I have a new philosophy. I’m only going to dread one day at the time.”

Charles Schulz, Peanuts, cartoon


A while ago, a lady went to a restaurant in downtown Montreal to celebrate her birthday with her husband , as they entered the restaurant, apparently they asked the hostess for a seat near the window to get access to a better view…

This is an excerpt of the Montreal Gazette July 17, 2009

“MONTREAL – One minute Thursday night, a couple was quietly celebrating a birthday inside the Mikasa Sushi Bar on Peel St.; the next minute, a concrete slab crashed through the glass skylight above them, killing the 33-year-old woman instantly.

Her husband of two years, also 33, lay next to her lifeless body screaming, “Ma femme! Ma femme! Stay with me!”

He pleaded for help, but other diners and staff were paralyzed with shock. Minutes later, sobbing and screaming, the man was loaded into an ambulance, his right hand wrapped in a blood-soaked napkin, two single tracks of blood running down his cheek.

“Her birthday was Monday, that’s what they were celebrating,” said the nurse, who spoke on condition that her name not be published. The concrete panel from the 18th floor of the Marriott Residence Inn crashed through the sloping glass ceiling of the restaurant, which lies directly below at street level, and hit the woman “directly” – while she was seated at her table, said Montreal police Constable Olivier Lapointe.”

The last thing this couple was expecting on that evening was a piece of concrete to fall on the woman’s head…  33 years old.   (12 045 days)

The reason why I bring up this story today is to show that when we have regrets about the past or worries about the future, we waste precious time and energy. We must focus on the present.

This is where our attention should be because this is where we have a little more control over what happens to us. This lady didn’t have much control over what happened to her that night.

Today, try to focus your attention on what you can influence and the rest will take care of itself.

I agree with the creator of Peanuts; we should only “dread one day at a time”

How many days do you “dread” in advance?

Today, I’m publishing my 500 th post on 36525 Days To Live.

I want to thank all you for your feedback, your comments and your referrals.

I’m trying to calculate how much time I have been investing in this project.

My estimate is an average of 30-40 minutes per post.

If my calculations are correct, this would add up to 250-300  hours of writing, editing and re-editing.

Is it a good use my personal time?

For me, Yes.

Perhaps a better question is…

Do I still enjoy using my personal time to write?

Without hesitation, the answer is YES.

The  MOST IMPORTANT question is for you:

Is it a good use of your time?

You can answer this question in different ways.

1) You can send me a comment.

2) You  can UNSUBSCRIBE. (If this blog is a waste of your time)

3) You can invite someone you know TO SUBSCRIBE and receive the daily post.


P.S.  I want to thank Clément for correcting my grammar  and typos in the last 12 months.

“Never mistake knowledge for wisdom.
One helps you make a living, the other helps you make a life.”


Sandra Carey



Beware complexifiers & complicators. Truly, “smart people” …simplify things.

Tom Peters


What you are about to read applies to most of us¸

Living isn’t complicated, feeding yourself  isn’t complicated, finding a roof over your head isn’t complicated, learning new skills isn’t complicated, making new friends isn’t complicated, It’s actually quite easy.

If what I’m writing is valid, Why do so many of us have the tendency to complicate very simple puzzles and transform them into very difficult problems to solve? Are we some kind of maso-psycho-slow-destructive-kamikaze unto ourselves?

When you meet with someone who tells you that something is very complicated,

First BEWARE, then RELAX because it’s probably not.

Will you try to simplify today?

“To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.”

Kofi Annan


It’s not always easy to choose because we must take responsibility for our choices. In my opinion, when we choose for ourselves, we increase our own personal  freedom  and we cannot blame others for what happens or what doesn’t happen to us.

Another difficulty with choosing is that when we say YES to one thing, we are saying NO to another thing because our time and space are limited.

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