The Lifelong Learner :: Do what you can, with what you have, where you are -Roosevelt ::

Archive for January, 2010

Are you a Lawn Mower? January 26th, 2010
Marriage Test January 13th, 2010
New Frontiers: Emerging Markets Funds January 4th, 2010
Pleasing Everybody January 3rd, 2010

Are you a Lawn Mower?

Provocative statement, don’t you think?

Before I expand, remember, choose your friends carefully. Who you hang out with, that’s who you’ll become.

There are a lot of great life tips that I found in the book by Karen Williams. This one has had the biggest impact. I’ve extracted the important excerpts to make this post.

“Walt Disney used to say, there are three kinds of people in this world: Well Poisoners, Lawn Movers, and Life Enhancers. Hang with the Life Enhancers.”

1. Well Poisoners

“They’re the people who have something negative to say about everything. There’s no joy in their lives or in their words. They’re miserable inside, and they want you to be miserable, too.”

2. Life Enhancers

These “are the people who build you up. Everyone loves being around Life Enhancers, and you know it when you’re with one. They glow, they smile, they laugh — there’s a joy that comes from within. They’re quick to hand out compliments because they’re secure in themselves.¬† These are the people who are always feeding into your life, investing something of themselves in you. You feel good when you hang with Life Enhancers.”

3. Lawn Mowers

They “are tricky. They’re the people who get up every morning, get their mower out, and mow their lawn. They work to maintain their lawn, trimming and mowing only what’s required on their side of the fence — nothing more, nothing less. They don’t bother their neighbors. They’re living their lives, doing only what needs to be done, and leaving everything and everyone else alone. They’re perfectly happy with the status quo.”

Good stuff, right?

Yeah, I thought so too.

Let’s reflect a little.

“There is nothing wrong with hanging out with the Lawn Mowers, except that they don’t enhance your life,” said Pat Williams to Karen in the book.

I learned a lot from these three definitions. Most of all, I now have good names for the different types of people in the world.

Some Questions For You
: Question One
Let’s start with a question about yourself: Which category do you put yourself in?

Think about it for a while.

I think most of us have been all three at some point in our lives. Consciously or not, when you complain a lot, talk bad about your friends behind their back, gossip, etc.: you are a Well Poisoner. At work, you try to do all that’s required of you. You do it well. Same with your families and friends. You just enjoy being around them. You are a Lawn Mower. Whether you like it or not. It’s when you step outside the “circle,” and do something extra that is not required of you; when you inspire others; when you put pressure on others to improve. That’s when you can call yourself a Life Enhancer.

So which one are you now?

Or perhaps a better question: which one of the above actions do you do the most?

OK, you figured out which category you belong to. Are you going to do anything about it? You don’t have to be a Lawn Mover the whole life. There are always ways you can improve. Even if you are a Life Enhancer — but I’m sure you already know that.

We all mow lawns at some point. But do you really want to do that for the rest of your life? Be a lifetime mower?

Hmm… that does not sound good.

Question Two

Let’s move on to the second aspect: Who do you hang out with?

I’m sure we know people in all three categories. But with whom do you like to spend your time with? Who’s your first choice?

Do you remember what I said at the beginning of this post?

“Who you hang out with, that’s who you’ll become.”

My wife tells me that I shouldn’t group people. I think what she really means is that I shouldn’t reject any of them. True. I think we should respect every human being. Even the Well¬†Poisoners. But choosing who you hang out is different. You make a choice.

Tell me what you think about this.

, Karyn Williams (p. 167-169)

Marriage Test

When reading by Pat Williams, I found a few really good life lessons. One of them is a set of questions that you should answer about the person you are about to marry. Sort of a marriage test.

I think these questions are really interesting.

If you are already married, though, you’re stuck with what you have. There is nothing you can do.


If you are already married, read these questions. Try to do some of the things for your spouse. Try to make him/her better! Have fun together. Loving is hard work. And both of us have to work hard to make it happen!

Here is the marriage test:

Does he/she make you a better person?

Do you make him/her a better person?

Is this person growing in their faith (on their own, without your prompting)?

Are you ready to have 15,000 dinners with this person over a period of fifty years?

Does he/she challenge you physically? Spiritually? Mentally?

Do you have fun together?

Can you drive for ten hours on a trip and talk non-stop?

Does he/she recognise your dreams and give you wings to fly?

, Pat Williams, page 212

New Frontiers: Emerging Markets Funds

Here are some funds that offer diversified exposure to the emerging markets in Europe, Asia, Africa/Middle East, and Latin America. These are taken from the latest BusinessWeek, Dec 28th edition.

Sorted by 2009 Total Return

98% Europe, 1% Asia, 1% Latin America

70% Africa/Middle East, 30% Europe

100% Africa/Middle East

51% Latin America, 26% Africa/Middle East, 17% Europe, 6% Asia

50% Africa/Middle East, 25% Asia, 22% Europe, 3% Latin America

Pleasing Everybody

Just the other day, on a way from a bookstore, that quote appeared in my mind. Who said that? I’m sure I read it somewhere! A simple search on the web did not bring anything. But I did find something very related by Bill Cosby.

Does this affect me in any way?

Yes it does.

In a big way!

It stops me. It limits me. I don’t do things because of it!

Sometimes I hesitate, or don’t do something because I am not sure of how somebody else will receive it. I wonder, what will somebody think of me. Is this good enough for them?

Is it good enough for me?!

That should be the question I ask myself. If I like it, that’s a good enough reason for doing it.

Try to please yourself. To like yourself. To have faith in yourself.

When I start thinking about others and their reaction to what I do, that limits me, that puts pressure on me that I have to overcome.

I know. I should be stronger. But sometimes I am not. Or sometimes I give in to that “external” influence.

And that’s what’s wrong with trying to please everybody.

Trying to please everybody might stop you from doing anything!

So what’s better?

If something that you do pleases yourself, then that’s enough.

For instance, when you write a blog, this type of thinking comes up a lot. Especially when you gain some readership. What should I write about? What if I write about “something” and this and that is not going to like it. What will they think of me? I am going to look foolish/silly/stupid. Hmm.. Maybe I should write about something else. And on and on.

This loop is very dangerous.


You’re not in the business of pleasing others. You want to learn. You want to grow. You want to move ahead.

You see. It’s about YOU!

Why don’t you write about something that you like and you feel satisfied? And if somebody else does not like it? It’s your blog! The power of choice! He or she can choose to read something else!

Plus, if that somebody else will feel strongly about it, or see something really bad, then they will let you know about it.

I think we become too attached to something that we don’t really have. Something that we don’t really control. And that “thing” controls us! Don’t let that happen to you.

But it did.

It did to me.

But you can change it!

You want to be happy, right? You control your actions. Don’t be afraid to be yourself! And try to please yourself. (Others will like it!)

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