WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE?

By Scott Thornton

Like many married couples, raising wonderful children and watching them grow into outstanding adults has been very rewarding for me.

But it leaves a query in its wake: OK. You accomplished that major life goal. What’s your next purpose on this planet? The witty answers you have already conjured up are OK for some, but they are annoying bluffs or distractions in this writer’s card game.

I ask this as my world — or at least my control of it — slips away. Am I destined to accomplish little in this life? Or is there greatness yet on the horizon? 

Am I destined to live in a dumpy apartment until they raise the rent annually to $2,000/month, and I am forced to sleep on the street?

Like you, I have worked hard all of my life. I have worked for Fortune 1,000 companies and others. I have worked 100-hour weeks, invested my own money and hours into helping others and starting businesses. But, at times, it seems I have failed to reap the common rewards.

 The road of life is windy and mysterious. Think you have it figured out, and time will tell you differently. This lovely piece of road once caused a radiator leak and flat tires for many vehicles.


I am the content type — thanks to God — but with a burning desire to improve myself on a daily basis. To reach goals, you must first write ambitious, but real-world goals. Then you construct a strategy of daily, weekly and monthly activities that will reach the written 6-month or annual goal. 

Despite being thankful and content with my current hand of cards, I know there is room for dramatic improvement. Where are the kings and aces in this game? 

Am I destined to just accept the circumstances that smack me in the head every week or two? My reply is hell no. In fact, I agree with Bruce Lee’s famous response to repeated frustrations in the movie industry. The famous Lee line is to the point and powerful: “To hell with circumstances! I make my own opportunities.”

This concept is for Type-A personalities only, and please bring a partner to help keep the books and cash straight if you launch your own business. 

As for true purpose, however, I find it seems to diminish as your age increases. It explains why grandparents retire and often feel lonely in their final years unless they have family close by on a regular basis. My children are currently out of the house now. That part of my existence is complete, and playing grandparent has not started yet. 

I’m fine with that and will not rush the arrival of grandchildren. It will happen in God’s time, and I am to spend my time on health, golf, running, reading and writing. But are those purposes? I think not.

The quandary continues for now…

FEAR TAKES A SWING

Hello fear, my old friend. I knew you could not leave the people alone.

Fear is an opportunistic and hangs out in the alley with doubt, indecision, shock, darkness, evil and death. They make up a rough crowd that is never far away in this world — even if you live in the best penthouse found in Shanghai, New York or Houston.

Fear and panic rule the day as they have many times. Even when technology and facts should control the stock market and our hearts, a moment of doubt can sink whole companies and end careers.

How long does all that take? About as long as it takes you to spit.

Look at the stock market today. What is causing the scare in China in the past week that was not evident 2-4 weeks ago? The facts remain the same. The biggest difference is the analyst who decided China-based corporations are no longer a viable investment. Then the rumor mill and competition, fear spread the move of 1-2 analysts. 

China’s market has lost about 25 percent recently. Fear and doubt have prompted the sell off there, and naturally the panic in that market has rolled over to other world stock markets, including Wall Street. The fall in the U.S. is the result of group panic, which is defies fact and common sense. Groups make people perform in odd ways.

  

Without the group in the area, studies show that one person may not panic. He or she may gleen the facts and act rationally to salvage a situation. But when placed with others who panic at a key moment, that same person will follow the leader and act rashly as well. He would rather sell his 100 shares of a solid company rather than hold it when others are selling as fast as possible.

While hard to comprehend from the retrospective classroom, panic is nearly inevitable in situations like this. It all comes down to doubt growing into fear growing into panic. Once you panic, smart decisions are gone, gone, gone. And so is your money if you played the fear game in August 2015.

Some days it seems being on the bench is the best place on Earth. Send in the clowns and end this irrational behavior, which is so reminiscent of rush-hour traffic on Interstate-10 in Houston. Going 70 miles per hour, one driver can cause accidents and gridlock by simply dropping their cell phone for 2 seconds and trying to retrieve it. 

By tapping the brakes, they start a panic of “don’t hit me” hard braking in the lanes behind and adjacent to the distracted driver. Then everyone is slamming on the brakes and skidding or colliding with vehicles they never expected to meet this way. The chain-reaction accident is identical to the stock market panic.

Best advice to avoid such drama? Don’t drop your phone. And if you do, ignore it until the engine is off. For stock marketeers, don’t be a follower just because an analyst is scared of 1 company or sector. Drop his advice and don’t listen to him again until your engine has been silenced for good.
 

A Good Friend is You

A good friend is hard to find in life. Once found, however, a friend is a blessing.

A true friend will not come to your home without calling when times are good. They will run over without calling, however, when times are bad. Even when you aren’t calling for help.

A true friend protects you when you cannot protect yourself.

They reveal options you may not have seen possible without their wisdom.

They say no when you should have. And they yell yes with when great things are happening.

Le Peep Rises Again In Memorial

I am sitting content at Le Peep, the delicious breakfas/lunch restaurant on Westheimer Road in Houston. 

Our waiter Tony has been impressive in his knowledge and customer service skills. You too can ask for Tony by name when you enter this Le Peep location; you will bewell served.

The food is universally appealing to all nationalities and all ages. Le Peep is well known as an escape destination with subtle sensibilities. It is not France on steroids from the top of the Eiffel Tower, but more of a tasty, relaxed visit to a chauteau in the Alps.

A few years ago, the Le Peep between Gessner and Bunker Hill in West Houston was part of a business expansion that included the demolition of a gym and its embedded businesses. Le Peep left West Houston with that demolition some 20 months ago.

Now the restaurant makes its return in the same location but now attached to a new, 14-story office leased to Air Liquide among others. Estimates place the re-Grand Opening date in late August, and with homemade breakfasts  certain to attract large crowds again.

West Houston has been figuratively wailing for a year and one-half with the demise of a quality restaurant, StarBucks, Bally’s gym and a nail salon. Finally there is hope once more in the eyes of the local residents and tenants.

Let the omelets begin.

IS THE SUN SETTING LOWER EACH GENERATION?

Morality, where for art thou — in 2015?

Clearly none of us are flawless gems in the eyes of God. Only the Lord knows if I am righteous and able to defeat the daily battle with pain, temptation, procrastination and selfishness that haunt each of us. Perhaps my many flaws will result in a less than blessed conclusion. 

Only my decisions, God’s will and time will tell.

As a generational whole, however, I fear that greatness has been achieved numerous times in history. By generational whole, I suggest that our decisions and impact as a group are in line with what is right for all, not just a select few. 

In the history of the United States, the generation of the Founding Fathers stands as a landmark of an educated time of action by moral men and with respect to God’s wishes. Was George Washington a saint? No. He couldn’t even keep his own teeth in place.

However historical documents reveal Washington was absolutely a man of God, and he was protected from from near-fatal shootings on several occasions during the French and Indian War. A small museum in upstate New York still has the jacket Washington wore in battle in 1752 — with numerous bullet holes riddling the uniform.

Only the foolhardy would debate George’s value to the country or the quality of his character. His generation is well regarded because of their loyalty, ethics, education and independence.  They were people of high morals and wisdom, capable of analysis, reasoning and solutions that benefitted not just one man — but all men.

In the 20th century, the men and women who survived the Great Depression and converted America into an industrial world leader — as well as the dominant military force on Earth — were known as the Greatest Generation. They were hard workers led by strategic and creative genius and heart for doing what was right for all.

Look around you today, friends. Who among us represents these virtues  and creates greatness in our society? Steve Jobs changed the world for the better until his death. Much of the technology world, however, is lost without Steve’s charisma and his brilliant devices to use technology. Thank God for Steve, but the chasm left by his death is substantial and has left millions looking into the Grand Canyon asking, “What’s next?”

Likewise Bruce Lee was a life-changing man to whom I am eternally in debt. He was the ultimate physical specimen with muscles bulging in places no else even realized there could be muscle. Beyond that, Bruce was also the best fighter on Earth and proved it on film and in real life against bigger opponents. A person  I played golf against recently attempted to insult me by stating Chuck Norris was the best ever. Playing as BruceLee1940, I reminded him that Bruce was able to defeat the amazing Chuck in their on-screen battle and impressed Chuck enough in their personal practice time that Norris is credited with saying no one could beat Bruce Lee in his prime. After a couple of birdies, my opponent agreed. But Bruce was more than a physical being; he cared most about helping people reach their ultimate potential — and avoid accepting the status quo. He was an incredible and knowledgeable writer on the human body, martial arts and philosophy. Even today, he inspires millions who are as passionate about Bruce’s. Like George Washington and Steve Jobs, to know Bruce Lee, you must read his writings.

Again I ask: Who, living today, represents the maturity and wisdom to lead today? In terms of groups, some will say lawyers are smart enough to lead our society. But attorneys and judges (former lawyers) are partially to blame for the laws that require this nation’s downward spiral. 

Politicians? These are attorneys, and I suspect 90 percent are not truly representing the needs of their local constituents. Too many deals, double crosses and arm twisting for an ethical man there. In fact an honest man would have to start a filibuster upon his first day in office and continue it for his entire stay in Congress in order to survive the political maneuvering that is available on CSPAN. 

I suggest you look lower and more down to Earth. More on that in the future.