The Pursuit of Happiness by Aristotle — Tell us what makes YOU HAPPY!!!

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“Happiness depends on ourselves.” More than anybody else, Aristotle enshrines happiness as a central purpose of human life and a goal in itself. As a result he devotes more space to the topic of happiness than any thinker prior to the modern era. Living during the same period as Mencius, but on the other side of the world, he draws some similar conclusions. That is, happiness depends on the cultivation of virtue, though his virtues are somewhat more individualistic than the essentially social virtues of the Confucians. Yet as we shall see, Aristotle was convinced that a genuinely happy life required the fulfillment of a broad range of conditions, including physical as well as mental well-being. In this way he introduced the idea of a science of happiness in the classical sense, in terms of a new field of knowledge.

Essentially, Aristotle argues that virtue is achieved by maintaining the Mean, which is the balance between two excesses. Aristotle’s doctrine of the Mean is reminiscent of Buddha’s Middle Path, but there are intriguing differences. For Aristotle the mean was a method of achieving virtue, but for Buddha the Middle Path referred to a peaceful way of life which negotiated the extremes of harsh asceticism and sensual pleasure seeking. The Middle Path was a minimal requirement for the meditative life, and not the source of virtue in itself.

In conclusion, according to Aristotle, what is happiness?

  • Happiness is the ultimate end and purpose of human existence
  • Happiness is not pleasure, nor is it virtue. It is the exercise of virtue.
  • Happiness cannot be achieved until the end of one’s life. Hence it is a goal and not a temporary state.
  • Happiness is the perfection of human nature. Since man is a rational animal, human happiness depends on the exercise of his reason.
  • Happiness depends on acquiring a moral character, where one displays the virtues of courage, generosity, justice, friendship, and citizenship in one’s life. These virtues involve striking a balance or “mean” between an excess and a deficiency.

Happiness requires intellectual contemplation, for this is the ultimate realization of our rational capacities.

Tell us what makes you HAPPY!!!

Credit: Pursuit of Happiness

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Train, Eat, Rest, Repeat – The Benefits of Deadlifting

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1. Increased Fat Burning

Alwyn Cosgrove, a personal trainer and fitness author, recently wrote about a study where: “Overweight subjects were assigned to three groups: diet-only, diet plus aerobics, diet plus aerobics plus weights. The diet group lost 14.6 pounds of fat in 12 weeks. The aerobic group lost only one more pound (15.6 pounds) than the diet group (training was three times a week starting at 30 minutes and progressing to 50 minutes over the 12 weeks).

The weight training group lost 21.1 pounds of fat (44% and 35% more than diet and aerobic only groups respectively). Basically, the addition of aerobic training didn’t result in any real world significant fat loss over dieting alone.”

Lifting weights and resistance training will burn more fat than just dieting or dieting with cardio exercise alone.

2. Better Posture

Deadlifting increases your core strength and adds to core stability, according to Robson. Deadlifting targets all of the muscles responsible for your posture and enables you to keep your back straighter during regular daily activities.

3. More Muscles Worked

The Deadlift works more muscles than any other exercise, including the squat. The lift engages all of the major muscle groups, according to exercise physiologist Kevin Farley. If you need to do one exercise, this is the one to do. The Deadlift works your lower and upper body, including your back muscles.

4. Increased Real Life Lift

When you do other lifting exercises, like a bench press, for example, you’re not doing anything you might really do in real life. When are you ever going to have the need to lay on your back and push something in the air — unless you’re giving your two-year-old “flying lessons.” The Deadlift develops the muscles you need to actually carry something, like a bucket of water, those heavy grocery bags or your neighbor’s dining room table.

5. It’s Safe

The Deadlift is one of the safest weightlifting exercises you can perform. You aren’t going to get pinned under the weight or have to worry about it pulling you over backwards. If you get into trouble, you can simply drop it…making for a loud bang, no doubt, but no damage. You also don’t have to have a spotter to perform this exercise.

6. Improved Grip Strength

According to Outlaw Fitness: “Deadlifts are renowned for their ability to build massive amounts of grip strength, and for good reason. Your fingers are literally the only things connecting you to the weight of the bar. Your forearms have to work incredibly hard as you progress in weight to keep the bar from falling out of your hands. Subsequently your grip strength grows by leaps and bounds.”

7. Increases Hormones

Now don’t worry, these aren’t the hormones that will make you more emotional! Instead, by doing at least 8 to 10 repetitions of Deadlifts with significant weight, you can increase the amount of testosterone and growth hormone produced by your body. Testosterone increases muscle growth and improves muscle repair while growth hormone, which is produced by your pituitary gland, promotes tissue healing, bone strength, muscle growth and fat loss.

8. Cheap and Easy

A lot of exercises require a lot of equipment, special shoes or whatever. Not the Deadlift. Just a bar with some weight. Pick it up. Simple. You can usually find freeweights and a bar at a thrift store – or being given away by a friend – making it even cheaper.

9. Increased Cardio

Believe it or not, doing 10 repetitions of Deadlifts will increase your cardiovascular ability. You might want to make sure you have somewhere to sit down when you’re done!

10. Prevents Injury

The Deadlift can help prevent injuries by increasing the strength of your muscles around critical tendons and ligaments. Supporting joints with strong muscles is crucial to preventing injury, especially in the hamstrings and lower back, according to Outlaw Fitness.

Credit: Life Hack

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Artsy Fartsy – Follow your Dreams (Banksy)

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Banksy’s Follow Your Dreams piece appeared in the Chinatown district of Boston in May of 2010. The image displays a fatigued painter beside the painted words “Follow Your Dreams” in capital letters. The phrase becomes secondary to the word “Cancelled,” which is sprawled across the empowering message. Banksy gives the male painter a typical black and white color, while the initial words appear in a green tint. The word “Cancelled” is done in white capital letters housed by a red rectangle, resembling a stamp. The placement of this work on Essex Street, in the low-income district of Boston, gives the piece a deeper meaning, a commentary on class stratification.

Location: Boston

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Happy National Fast Food Day!!! (Nov.16th) – Tell us your favorite Fast Food Meal…

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Survival of the Fittest – Traits of Mentally Strong People

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We live in a fast-paced world. There are fewer guarantees and more uncertainties these days. Thankfully this also means that there are plenty of opportunities, too. People who learn to welcome them as they come are the ones who are keeping up and making progress in the turbulent times we live in today. Usually these people are mentally strong and manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in ways that set them up for success in life. If you are wondering whether you are a mentally strong person, here are 25 signs that show you have nerves of steel:

You avoid conflicts

The true mark of maturity is when somebody hurts you and you try to understand their situation instead of trying to hurt them back. Holding grudges has never been a solution to problems, nor has anyone achieved anything out of it.Instead of spending your time hating people who hurt you, you choose to let go of the pain and learn from the incident. Even in the harshest stress factors, you choose to stay calm and you try to handle situations smoothly. You think that raising your voice is a sign of weakness.

You don’t judge or envy

You’ve hardly ever made assumptions without first being fully aware of the situation. You avoid believing in the negative stuff that you’ve been told and you don’t resent other people’s success. You celebrate other people’s success and don’t grow jealous when somebody is better than you in a particular area. You know that success comes with hard work and you are willing to work hard for your achievements.

You are open to receive the help of others

You are not trapped by your ego. You are not afraid of asking for help if you are in need. You are confident to admit that you don’t know everything and you are open to ask for help in order to learn.

You apologize when necessary

You are not worrying about losing face when you apologize when you’ve said or done something wrong. You don’t fear admitting your own mistakes and are ready to suffer the consequences from them. That makes you a responsible and honest human being.

You are open to other people’s opinions

You handle different opinions easily- you don’t reject them because you believe that the opposite of what you know may be true for someone else. You embrace diversity and are ready to listen to what everybody has to say.

You are selfless

You love helping others and you don’t expect anything in return when you do something good for a friend. You know that a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.

You know you can’t always please everyone

Although you are a kind and genuine being, you are aware that you can’t always make everyone happy. You know that spending time on yourself is as important as containing a good relationship with the people around you but are willing to say “no” when somebody tries to steal from your time for yourself.

You know that the world does not owe you anything

You don’t feel entitled to things in life. You are willing to work hard for achieving your goals and you know that your world is what you make it. You don’t take anything for granted and are thankful for what you have.

You embrace change

You don’t try to avoid change and understand that it is inevitable. You welcome positive change and are willing to be flexible because you believe in your abilities to adapt.

You follow your heart

You believe that you can’t go wrong by following your heart and instincts. You understand that by doing that, you’re helping your soul grow and you are never sorry for following your heart.

You forgive yourself

You know that being angry at yourself is not going to take you far. Instead, you are willing to forgive yourself and by doing that you are able to learn. Leaving the past where it belongs instead of dwelling on it is the key of moving on and making progress.

You use your time wisely

You value your time and believe that by killing time, it actually is killing you. You fight procrastination and choose to spend your time productively.

You handle crisis calmly

You remain calm and clear of thought during a crisis. Good result of anything comes out when it’s done with a peaceful and a calm mind.

You are not co-dependent

You don’t rely on others to do your work and by doing so, you maintain a healthy relationship both personally and professionally.

You know you are responsible for how your life unfolds

You believe your own happiness and success is a byproduct of your own thinking, beliefs, attitudes, character and behavior.

You know that gratitude is the best attitude adjustment

The more goodness you see, the more you create, and the more good things you have to smile about. Happiness doesn’t start when “this, that or the other thing” is resolved. Happiness is what happens now when you appreciate what you have.

You know that you don’t have to be perfect

You believe that when you spend too much time concentrating on everyone else’s perception of you, or who everyone else wants you to be, you eventually forget who you really are. So you don’t fear other people’s judgments because you know in your heart who you really are and are not ashamed to show your real face to the world.

You know who you are

You are at peace with yourself and you aware of what you want to achieve. You have certain limits that you’ve established for yourself and you’ve embraced them because you know well that that is who you are.

You expect less and learn more

Although things don’t always go as you’ve planned, you’ve realized that this is what life is about. You don’t always get what you’ve wanted and that’s a good thing because you learn from this experience and keep going.

Credit: I Heart Intelligence

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Happy National Guacamole Day!!! (Nov. 14th) – Health Benefits of Eating Guacamole

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Unsaturated Fat

Guacamole provides a healthy dose of unsaturated fat, the type of fat beneficial to your health. Unsaturated fat lowers harmful blood cholesterol, and a diet rich in monounsaturated fat — the kind found in avocados — also lowers blood pressure, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Making your guacamole with one avocado provides you with 19.7 grams of healthy monounsaturated fat.

Vitamin C

Eating guacamole also boosts your intake of vitamin C, as avocado, tomato and lime juice all provide the vitamin. Guacamole made with one avocado, one small tomato and the juice from one lime contains 45.8 milligrams of vitamin C — around half the recommended daily intake for men or slightly less than two-thirds of the daily recommended intake for women, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Getting enough vitamin C keeps your skin healthy, and strengthens your blood vessels, tendons, ligaments and other connective tissues.

Vitamin E

Eat guacamole as a source of vitamin E. This nutrient helps keep you healthy, slowing oxidative damage to your cells — damage associated with aging and disease. Vitamin E also helps regulate cell communication and controls the level of inflammation in your body. Each avocado used to make guacamole contains 4.16 milligrams of vitamin E, or 27 percent of your daily recommended intake, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Eating guacamole helps prevent the nerve damage and muscle weakness associated with vitamin E deficiency.

Preparation and Serving Tips

Get creative to use guacamole for more than the traditional chips-and-dip snack. Guacamole pairs well with whole-grain bread and vegetables for healthy sandwiches, or makes for a nutritious topping for sliced cucumbers, red peppers or other vegetables. For a lower-calorie version of guacamole, try substituting mashed edamame for some of the avocado in your recipe — each cup of edamame contains 189 calories, compared to avocado’s 368. Adding edamame to your guacamole also adds protein, potassium and folate to your meal.

Forget Me Not – Ol’ Dirty Bastard [November 15, 1968 – November 13, 2004]

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Russell Tyrone Jones better known under his stage name Ol’ Dirty Bastard (or ODB), was an American rapper and occasional producer. He was one of the founding members of the Wu-Tang Clan, a rap group primarily from Staten IslandNew York that first rose to mainstream prominence with their 1993 debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).

Jones was often noted for his trademark microphone techniques and his “outrageously profane, free-associative rhymes delivered in a distinctive half-rapped, half-sung style”. His stage name was derived from the 1980 martial arts film Ol’ Dirty and the Bastard (also called An Old Kung Fu Master, starring Simon “Ol’ Dirty” Yuen); Method Man articulated its relevance on track 5 of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), stating there was “no father to his style”.

Credit: WikiPedia

Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version

Happy National Sundae Day!!! (Nov.11th) – Beer-and-Bacon Toffee Sundaes

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Beer-and-Bacon Toffee Sundaes

Ingredients 

1/2 cup diced bacon (about 4 slices)

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup stout beer (I like Founders Breakfast Stout)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 pints good-quality vanilla ice cream

1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Sea salt, for sprinkling

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Directions

Put the bacon in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring, until very crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels, reserving the fat in the pan.

Add the brown sugar, corn syrup, beer, butter, heavy cream and a pinch each of kosher salt and pepper to the pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until slightly thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Scoop the ice cream into bowls and spoon the toffee sauce on top. Garnish with the crispy bacon bits, toasted pecans and sea salt.

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