Money Can’t Buy Me Love

Money Can’t Buy Me Love

Bertrand Russell’s excellent book, The Conquest of Happiness, discusses why money can’t buy me love (to quote the Fab Four).

“It never occurs to him that the affection he is trying to buy is of far more value than the material benefits which he offers as its price..”

Very true. Many men try to shower a woman with cash and prizes (dinners, trips, etc.). And they become disillusioned when the woman does not reciprocate with her allegiance. But everybody  prizes their heart above all things. They will give you their time, their money, their votes…but their heart is another story.

If a man wishes to win a woman’s heart, he has to, ironically, focus more on himself—his excellence, his zest for life, his health, his attention to the details of greatness. Only then will an excellent woman open the door to her heart…checking to see if he’s knocking.

Do You Play the Audience to Others, or to Yourself?

Do You Play the Audience to Others, or to Yourself?

There’s only so much time in a day. The pyramids were constructed with one, grueling stone at a time. So you’ll have to start listening to yourself more if you want to construct a pyramid of greatness–nobody else will make it for you.

When you get up tomorrow, ask yourself what mountains you need to climb, what rivers you need to cross. Then get to work…get your hands dirty! Stay unwavered in the pursuit of the prize, the finish line that only you can see. And when you lay your head down at night, ask yourself if you accomplished what you set out to achieve.

It’s time to become your own audience again.

What’s the Best Restaurant in Santo Domingo?

What’s the Best Restaurant in Santo Domingo?

A good restaurant is a combination of three things: good food, great atmosphere, and reasonable prices.

Vizcaya in Santa Domingo meets all these requirements—and it does so well. It’s a Spanish restaurant that harkens back to the DR’s colonial roots. The restaurant is a winner. As a resident of Santo Domingo, I’ve tried nearly all the restaurants in town—Vizcaya takes the cake.

It’s one of the oldest restaurants in the city and it bleeds character.  Rustic on the inside, with the requisite Jamon Ibérico on the counter of the bar, it has all the signature Spanish dishes. Like all great restaurants, everything on the menu is excellent. My favorites are the garlic octopus, the parrillada platter, and the chicken cordon blue. Each meal comes with a complimentary basket of garlic bread. And don’t forget a jar of Sangria to open the festivities—what Spanish meal would be complete without it?

The only downside is that it’s in a dive of a neighborhood. But take a cab there and you will be none the wiser. From the inside, you’ll think you are in Madrird.

The Traits a Man Should Never Cultivate (Part 2)

The Traits a Man Should Never Cultivate (Part 2)

The second trait a man should never cultivate is nihilism. Again, not because this trait is inherently wrong, but because it weakens a man’s interactions with others. Truth be told, a man who is seeking knowledge will inevitably entertain a bit of nihilism. Any contemplation of the cosmos will lead to questions, many unanswerable. It’s only natural.

But we’re living in the here and now, down on planet earth. And we don’t have the final answer to what this means. So we’ll have to accept a level of ignorance. We’ll have to rely on the soft pillow of faith. Most people want the best that life has to offer (a beautiful body, spouse, great friends, etc.), so the goal should be achieving that.  Unfortunately, nihilism works against this.

Nihilism weakens a man’s passion for life. It undermines the wind in his sails, and it leads him into destructive behaviors. Also, it weakens his ability to lead other men. And leadership is one of the trademarks of great men. Most of the great men throughout history were those that improved the lives of others. They become our heroes because they helped us all in some way. In order to become this type of hero, a person should have a passion for life. Nihilism can mitigate against a passionate life.

Nihilism is also a problem for men when they interact with women. Women want a “man with a plan,” a man who burns with a desire to do great things. A leader who changes the world. When a woman hears too many existential questions from a man, she wonders (on a subconscious level) if he will be able to effectively lead a family. How can he lead her to a prosperous future if he is uncertain about the present? So over time, a woman will lose her passion for the nihilistic man.

So men, be aware of your nihilistic streak. It has a place in life, no doubt. But be careful about where, when, and how much you entertain it. It’s a problematic path that can potentially undermine your happiness.

You Better Come on Board This Train

You Better Come on Board This Train

“Girl, you better come on board this train, because I’m going to be rich.”

These are the words that Bernie Mac told his girlfriend when they were teenagers. Mac, just seventeen at the time, was already visualizing his future greatness. He already had his eyes on a prize. His girlfriend fell in love with his dream, and they were married for thirty years (until his death).

Do you believe in yourself to that degree? Do you feel that greatness is your destiny?

If you do, then you still might not achieve your goal. But if you don’t, then you surely NEVER will.

The Traits a Man Should Never Cultivate (Part 1)

The Traits a Man Should Never Cultivate (Part 1)

There are several traits that a man should never cultivate. Not because these traits are necessarily wrong, but because they bring him difficulty.  Interacting with people involves tact, a skillful maneuvering through a minefield of potential problems. In the next few posts, I’ll talk about what these traits are. But today I will start with one: self-deprecation.

Firstly, self-deprecation is bad because it weakens a man’s standing with women. In short, women seek a man with confidence. A man who has a sense of purpose, a goal, and the courage to rise up against a tidal wave of daily challenges. Self-deprecation works against the man’s image as a bold leader. If he was a great fearless leader, why would he be mocking himself?  This strikes a woman directly in the amygdala, resulting in a dying romantic ember. A woman wants her partner to have a grand purpose, so a man’s continual self-deprecation will mitigate against this goal.

Secondly, when a strong man comes up against a weaker man, self-deprecation will work against him. The weaker man is keenly aware of his own weakness. Therefore, the weak man never engages in self-deprecation since it highlights a painful reality: his ignorance, foolishness, lack of control, etc. Therefore, if you use self-deprecation around a weak man, the weak man will seize upon it and perhaps use it against you. He will add to it, thinking that you are a fool to be played like an accordion. He might even try to take advantage of you. In short, a smart man must always enforce his superiority over the weaker man, since the weaker man has no sense of justice.

So be wary of self-deprecation. As a man, it should be used sparingly and in the proper company. Only people who are capable of understanding its nuances should receive the virtue of its humor.

What Drives the Do-Gooder?

What Drives the Do-Gooder?

A strange person is he—the do-gooder. We’ve all met him (or her). The individual who pursues a philanthropic goal with an all-consuming passion. He announces his altruism to a crowded room, or to a person in private. And when business is down, he’s unable to let go of this strange desire to help. Being in the do-gooder’s presence can make you feel uncomfortable. Am I doing enough? Am I too selfish?

Yet strangely, at the end of the day, something is wrong. Instead of being proud of the do-gooder, we feel a strange kind of pity. Why is that? What gives?

The answer to this question is dealt with nicely in Bertrand Russell’s book, The Conquest of Happiness. Russell believes the philanthropist actually suffers from a form of psychological illness, entitled “persecution mania.”

“Another not uncommon type of persecution mania is a certain type of philanthropist who is always doing good to people against their will, and is amazed and horrified that they express no gratitude.”

Well put. The philanthropist frequently complains that his deeds are not appreciated. His benevolence is unnoticed by the state, the press, and powers that be. In doing so, he tries to illicit a sympathy from the listener. He’s merely reaffirming a long standing belief within himself—that the world has persecuted him unfairly. One way to hide an ugly truth about yourself is to present it as a beautiful lie.

Russell doesn’t touch on the female version of the do-gooder. That’s a shame. Some women use philanthropy as a form of makeup—a pretty façade, covering up their moral blemishes. If you question her ethics in the real world, she’ll point back to her good deeds. A classic red herring. Some men are unable to see the Enpassant, and it’s an easy checkmate.

So we should be on the lookout then. The philanthropist is often not what he or she seems, and we can easily fall prey to their machinations. Doing good is one thing, but making a show of it is a red flag.

What’s the Most Beautiful Baseball Stadium in America?

What’s the Most Beautiful Baseball Stadium in America?

I have traveled to 26 out of the 30 MLB stadiums (being both a baseball and architecture buff). I hereby proclaim a temporary winner. Drum roll please…

PNC Park in Pittsburgh!

PNC Field

What a field! The beautiful three rivers bridge, perched off in center field. The downtown skyline rising in the distance. The cool breeze, the cut grass – a true work of art.

What’s your favorite MLB stadium?

Why Should a Genius Be Limited to One Planet?

Why Should a Genius Be Limited to One Planet?

In 2012, the Mars Rover graced the red planet at a speed of 13,200 mph. A small contraption, built by an ingenious group of men, traveling to a distant world. At the same time, down on earth, an illiterate criminal was shooting up a liquor store in Chicago.

There’s a vast difference between these two kinds of “men.”

As America continues to spiral into debt (19 trillion and counting), some tough decisions have to be made. Do we invest in a space program? Or do we invest in public welfare? Who ‘s worthy of investment and who’s not? We can already see the rubber hitting the road on this topic in local schools, where football is favored over music programs.

There’s an argument that’s often made against space travel: “Why are we exploring other planets when we have so many problems on earth?” For me, that always sounded great. But now that I’m older, I no longer believe the lie.

The ugly truth is that many people can’t be saved—moreover, they refuse to be saved. Libraries are free, yet only half of Americans have read a book in the past year. It’s free to walk and do sit ups, yet 63% of Americans are overweight. Young women are offered grants to pursue careers in IT, yet most prefer to monitor their frenemies on Facebook.  These groups will always say, “Hey, what about us?” And their complaining will go on forever. But there will come a day when instead of making a crucial discovery, humanity will futilely be trying to help someone who’s incapable of change.

Enough is enough. The genius is a bow on the boat of humanity, crashing through violent waters to find a mainland in the dark sea. He’s leading the majority of humanity’s crew, most of which are willfully ignorant. It’s the courage of the genius that leads humanity forward, that pulls the caveman out of darkness.

Why should the mediocre people be favored over the talented? Why should the plebeian be given precedence over a Michelangelo? A Richard Feynman? Why should the average Joe be hoisted above the astrophysicist?

We should go to space and we should go often. Humans lived like apes for millions of years and it was not until a small group of men arrived, driven forth by a restless passion for knowledge, that humanity was able to ascend. Humanity would have continued, like a beast in the jungle, if a light was not ignited.

The next time somebody points to problems on earth, respectfully nod and tell them, “Why should a genius be limited to one planet?”