Millionaire Magic

Want to make a million?

That question is relatively new, as society goes.  Back when we all scratched each other for ticks, we didn’t worry about accumulating cash.  We wanted babies and power.

Even a few hundred years ago the idea of individual ambition was far-fetched.  Only your lords and royalty were allowed to be ambitious.  The rest of the herd could only rise so far, success was measured by your belly.

Today’s society allows us to be ambitious, to take chances, and accumulate wealth without great fear of it being swept up by his highness.  Maybe our Uncle will sweep some up, but that’s in exchange for intangible goods.  Another story.

So, let’s make a million.  Here’s two recipes, tried and true many times since the invention of the Renaissance.  First, take an ordinary substance, like water.  Second, take a dash of technology, like sugar, food coloring, or a spice or other natural element.  Maybe a combination of all of these.  Then create a story about your new product and weave them together.  PRESTO CHANGO!  You have a product that can make you a million.

We are surrounded by such magical products that have made many millioinaires, and indeed, global mega-corporations whose reach extends deeply into all of our lives.  But what does it say about us, as a society, that we are willing to exchange some of our wealth for a bit of their magical product.  What does it say about comparing societies, perhaps some allow more magic than others?

The moral of today’s story is that we as individuals, and we as a society should question everything.  Value should be of a lasting and improving sort, not something that merely subtracts from our current existence.

And what’s that second recipe?  Let me know if you want to know – and I’ll tell you!  Here’s a hint – Ben Franklin is one of the first to put it to use!


Yoga’s Dark Side

Yoga is a form of behavior that I enjoy.  You can do it anytime, anywhere!  Even while you’re reading this.  Go ahead, yoga your hips!  Hips down, lumbar up, stomach in, shoulder blades back, roll your upper arms outward, and there, you’ve got it!

The spirit of yoga is one of liberation; it is something that you can own in its entirety, a way of thinking that liberates you from the many things that trap us.  Many think we have to run or push weights like crazy people – you don’t.  They think we have to follow crazy health-compromising diets – you don’t.  The others think they have to spend lots of money and do what everyone else is doing in order to lead a high quality life – you don’t.

But there are many yoga studios and companies out there that have taken the spirit of yoga and shaped them to their own ends.  There’s a studio in my city where you ‘have’ to go to be seen.  You have to wear the right clothes, and you only hang with the right people.  There’s another where the rooms are always hot, and the attractive male teachers have to take their shirts off so you can see their tattoos.  A yoga brand of studios has trademarked their super-hot practice sequence.  And there are even clothing companies carving out a yoga niche – if you aren’t wearing their shirts, you aren’t a true yogi!

As a born and bred capitalist, I can see the good in all this.  Such marketing, both strategic and tactical, shows that this is a large enough market that it merits aggressive attention.  It may also help to spread the word about yoga, which in itself should be a good thing.

But yoga is more a mental state than a form of exercise.  At its very foundation, yoga is being still, listening to your own body, and BREATHING.  Yes, yoga is breathing.  You practice breathing.  It sounds crazy, but there it is.  Your lungs, your diaphragm, throat, all those bits are important to our health but usually forgotten.  Yoga, first and foremost, focuses on breath!

So, the next time you buy the proper clothes to go to a yoga class, or rush to be seen with the right people, do yourself a favor.  Think about what those things mean to the world, and what possible other good things you could do with that money, or your time.  Then close your eyes, and do what’s right.



Raining bears

There are supposed signals of society’s coming apocalypse.  Some religions talk about fiery rain and frogs that speak French.  I think I’ve spotted another one of the signs, one that the prophets didn’t see coming.

In business news the other day the hot company to watch was one selling people teddy bear icons for their phone.  Now, if you purchased a cute icon because it brightens your life, I certainly respect your decision.  Would I prefer that you learned how to make your own cute icon?  Oh, yes.  And if you had purchased a real teddy bear instead, and given it to a child, that would have been even better.

But for a company to carve an economic niche from this trivial service seems beyond the boundaries of imagination.  For serious investors to look at such a company as a viable long term growth target is even further beyond reason.

So what are we to conclude from this sign of the apocalypse?  Only this.  Instead of saving for our futures, instead of sending our hard-earned dollars to those we love or those in need, we would rather decorate our phones with customized teddy bears.  It tells me that we have given up on our future.  We have forgotten our loved ones.  And we don’t know anyone in need.

So, the next time someone asks you about the signs of the coming apocalypse, remember to tell them this.  It’s going to rain virtual teddy bears.  They’re already here!