Archive for August, 2010

The great “Walmart Syndrome”!

August 28, 2010

I invented the “Wal-Mart Syndrome” this morning for you to consolidate your understanding of a wonderful new market phenomenon – a new pricing system for products and services in the world today. I want you to take advantage of it and save tons of money. Any poor person can start living in the middle-class by reading my “stuff.” All the old bets about pricing of commodities were off 10 years ago when China entered the market place with cheap, cheap, cheap labour. Adam Smith, the father of Capitalism writes in his famous book the Wealth of Nations, “Labour, therefore, it appears evidently, is the only universal, as well as the only accurate measure of value, or the only standard by which we can compare the values of different commodities at all times and at all places.” (Oxford World’s Classics, page 43).

Last week I shopped for good-looking shoes. I found a pair for $129 in a department store I will not name, a comparable pair for $39 at Payless and a beautiful pair for $18 at Wal-Mart, all made in China! My friend said, “No way, 18 bucks?” I said, “Yes, and how do you like my pants?” “Yes, I know, don’t tell me, you paid $29.95.” “No,” I said, “I paid $5 for the pants.” He looked at me with a big puzzle on his face, “But you have a lot of money, why shop at Wal-Mart?” “Well, buddy,” I spin, “I watch Clark Howard a lot and the savings “bug” got into me.”

I wanted to illustrate that Adam Smith was correct about China but not about you! China is becoming a wealthy nation because of cheap labour. You will not! You can become a wealthy person because of cheap pricing, something that didn’t enter “logical” Adam Smith’s equation – buying commodities that cost less than the cost of making them! This Wal-Mart Syndrome phenomenon will not last forever, so cash in on it while it lasts and shop in Wal-Mart (China will raise prices as soon as it completes the economic cycle of creating a wealthy nation). Don’t be one of the misguided individuals demonstrating against Wal-mart, who were convinced by disguised special interest political groups to kick Wal-Mart out-of-town. Be smart, shop for less. By the way, my “Wal-Mart syndrome” concept applies to everything you buy in the world for more than 50% discount. In my life it is everything (eg., I stayed in a 5 star hotel in Tel-Aviv for $100 per night!). Get smart! Enjoy life!

Culture and the recall of Toyotas built in Canada and the US.

August 27, 2010

I am 74. I have been a Chevy man until I bought my first Honda in 82 and a Toyota shortly after. I switched from American cars to Japanese cars in the eighties because my Impala, Malibu and Cutlass Supreme were not performing to my satisfaction and I read that American cars had six times more visits to the repair shop than the Japanese. Being a professor who taught psychology to America Honda employees, I was skeptical about their ability to adopt strict  Japanese discipline on the assembly line, feel pride in building Japanese cars, or get in the US the absolute job security that workers get in Japan.

For the next 30 years I alternated between buying Honda and Toyota imported from Japan only, with parts supplied by Japanese manufacturers only. Although the search for car purity was getting difficult, I did not touch Honda or Toyota assembled in the US or Canada with any part from local suppliers. Friends who owned American or Japanese cars commented that my psychological theory about the importance (and difficulty) of matching workers from one culture with product manufacturing from another culture, is, to say the least, not “politically correct” to express. One industrial psychologist friend said that I was a  Japanophile. Dealers, sales persons and family members didn’t understand what my fuss was all about.

I love my problem-free Toyota Avalon, all made and assembled in Japan. I read that most of the 10,000,000.00 Japanese cars recalled were assembled in Canada or the US. Honestly, I still don’t know if my theory is valid. There has never been research comparing the performance of Toyota made in Japan or elsewhere. My psychological theory about the importance of matching culture and product manufacturing is still just a theory, to be researched by a future PhD candidate in Industrial Psychology (call Dr. Kinarthy). Meantime, I drive cars that are trouble-free and I check under the hood after every service appointment.

Here are the cultural problems I experienced over the years of servicing my Japanese cars in the US and Canada: A missing or not tightened enough cap on the engine top,  a very small oil leak on the bottom of the oil tank (the mechanic overlooked the need for a new gasket, or not tightened it enough), a missing oil change sticker (a common neglect), not all fluid levels are topped off or checked as required, and a new air filter installed before one was needed. These are very small neglects easy to fix – but they are sometimes overlooked. I attribute it to culture!

Why is the sense of “Self” so important?

August 19, 2010

You can’t be happy without it. The sense of self is how you feel about your life when you are not thinking negative thoughts! There is feeling of inner ecstasy in your chest when you are in touch with your inner magnificence. All negative thoughts and feelings that exist in your mind are still there when you regain your sense of self, but they are naturally not activated. Sure, you can force yourself to say and act only positive until you regain the sense of self and become permanently happy, but there is a cost for that free will effort at becoming happy. Psychology says that if you become self actualized you tend to lose your old friends who see you now as weird. “I can accept you, Jack, that you have been smiling a lot today for no reason, but it’s been a month now – you’ve got to be acting out, you are not for real, you are crazy? Jack, you belong in the “loony bean.”

Society, culture and religion will “punish” you for being happy too long because if everyone became happy the institutions of society will lose adherents, police will have to let go officers, the church will have to change, “my God, we can’t let you regain your sense of self, Jack, you understand?” Being happy for years, I have experienced that “loneliness” personally.  I don’t have friends. The few that I do have possess a sense of themselves, so when we get together the interaction is exciting and meaningful for a whole evening.  And, if we have in our company individuals who do not have a sense of themselves, they feel bored and soon leave. I have followers, lots of followers, smart people who want to be happy, some become my friends, some struggle forever, it all depends on having an open mind. People whose minds are full of “stuff” like teenagers do, have to wait years before they can empty their minds of the “junk” they cherish when young. Eastern philosophy  students meditate to get rid of negative thoughts, Westerners fight! Psychologists teach clients  Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) to get rid of negative thoughts, but the technique is not spreading in society. People go to church to confess the sin of negative thoughts but they go home and spew negative thoughts again. There is no hope for happiness unless people gain the sense of self – and that can come maily from education that does not exist today in any society –  the teaching of true values!

Does having money makes you happy?

August 19, 2010

Yes and no, it depends on how much money you have and how much money you had before. If you are very poor and you get a job that pays for food, clothing and shelter for you, your wife and kids you are happy – for a while til you get used to it, make more kids and need – more money. If you are just poor and you get a better job that pays more money for better food, nicer clothing, better shelter and even education for the kids you are happy again – for a while till you get used to that and want –  more money.

Then something psychological  happens in you mind on the way to the Middle-class.

You have a decent job, may be even a career, your wife works too, the kids are well fed, have bikes, video games, friends. Oops! They watch junk on TV,  go to junk schools and learn about drugs, sex, gangs, violence, and  – a little Math and History. They come home alienated, bring home the pressures of growing up not having to work and mix them with your pressures of having to work too hard. You give them allowances, pay your bills, have some left for a stressful vacation or two – and with your spare time you and your wife start fighting for “Release,”  over trivia, sex, relatives, friends, the kids and  –  money. The Bible says, “Without money you are like dead, but extra money becomes the root of all evil.” You are not happy.

A Jewish friend reads to you the source of these ideas from Genesis, “Haani Nechshav Kemet,” and “Mamom ze Hashoresh Shel Kol Haavon.”  You finally understand that money that keeps you alive also makes you happy, but money you are wasting when people in the world are starving, brings out your negative base nature. You cannot stay happy. What has to change in your home when you have money and you want to continue to be happy is your sense of self.

For Alisha in the car financing business.

August 17, 2010

Thank you for following me on Twitter but I don’t respond on Twitter. I find its content and structure frivolous and limiting. You ask for ideas how to expand your business. Start with Chinese psychology. They discovered in 1952 during their cultural revolution that only 1 out of 10 people is equipped with the right personality to lead for significant success and change. They call him (fewer women) “pivot person,” while the other 9 are called “orbiters.” they struggle and struggle until they drop, living for the mere hope of doing better one day. Go to Google and study that issue. Remember an important lesson from the Chinese who say that Business in the West usually chooses an “orbiter” – to lead!

Alisha, do an experiment: Have your accomplice or two disguised in a room to report to you who is a “pivot person.” Get all your employees, relatives, friends, associates, on-line assistants, potential workers, anybody, at least 10 people in a room together and say, “I’ll be back soon.” But, be back an hour or so late. Your accomplices will discover and report to you that there were only 1 or 2 individuals in the room that organized something, or went to find you, or created a group game or a workshop. The “orbiters” complained that you were late to return, watched TV, some called you names (absent-minded, work too hard, irresponsible, forgot us, don’t care enough, etc.). Find the “pivots” to help run you business, it will take off like a rocket to Mars!! You know, the Sky is the Limits!!

Beyond the President and the Mosque.

August 17, 2010

For those of you who are watching the endless debates on CNN: Should the president get involved in the local issue of building a Mosque near ground zero? (who cares). Should the FBI or the CIA find out the source of the 100 million dollars earmarked for the project? (who cares). Does the US Constitution permit to build a Mosque near ground zero? (yes, it does, but who cares). Polls show that most Americans oppose the building of the Mosque (who cares, only Obama should worry about polls). Is the man behind building the Mosque less anti-American than Obama’s Reverend Wright was? (who cares). Senator Reed, the democratic whip, 3rd man in succession to the presidency is against building the Mosque (who cares).  Do the few Moslems who live in New York really need a 4th Mosque? (who cares).  Are political reasons influence the building a Mosque in that particular spot? (who cares). And all the other unimportant issues that people love to debate regarding the president and the Mosque (who cares).

Discard all these impotent issues and concentrate only on a simple psychological reality if you are practical. The Mosque will be built because the president says so –  he put 2 more leftist judges on the Supreme Court – and the Mosque is constitutional. These issues are interesting and the debates bring audience money to CNN – but they are meaningless to our future as Americans! There is only one issue to debate: Is the building of the Mosque good for world peace, good for America, good for Islam, good for Christianity, good for New York, good for Obama’s reelection, good for Saudi-Arabia, good for prosperity?

Any psychologist who does the analysis of the implications of a Mosque near ground zero, taking into account all the psychological, emotional, political, financial and religious ramifications in 2010 can come only to negative conclusions: Obama’s support for building the Mosque near ground zero will lose the Democrats votes in November and will threaten Obama’s chance for a second term as president in 2012. Future activities and sermons in the Mosque will slowly build up to greater tension and chasm between Islam and Christianity in the US and then the world. The Mosque near ground zero will become a rallying point for political Islam, the 4th most important Mosque in the world, after Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem and – New York!!!! (my main psychological conclusion).

Is that good or bad for future peace?

Christian and Moslem armies fought turf wars for 1400 years. This clash of civilizations is not politically correct to mention, but  Asia, Europe and the Middle East had change hands many times. Sometime the Moslems won, Spain, Turkey, and sometimes the Christians won, Palestine, Greece. Challenging the mighty USA in 2010 by building the Mosque near ground zero is a historical Islamic mistake. The United States is the only Christian super power nation left. Provoking it is a bad move by any psychological analysis of future relationships between these 2 great world religions, a Mosque near ground zero will not be seen by Christians as a move toward peace but as a political provocation: Islam is confronting Christianity in the city of 911, not a very smart Islamic move in this very real game of World Monopoly!

Does Obama deserves a second term as president?

August 16, 2010

I thought Bush was bad, what’s emerging is that Obama is far more dangerous to your well-being. He is the kind of charismatic speaker that can get you to vote for him for a second term as president – while the country is ruined, much worse off than before. Obama does things that if you did them your wife or husband will divorce you!

His administration borrowed and printed more dollar sheets than any administration in history – akin to a man taking money from your kids, refinancing your wife’s car, borrowing money against your and everybody’s future earnings, selling your nice possessions and obtaining 2 huge new mortgages on a home that need repairs – in order to support instead an extended family of 100 semi-skilled relatives looking for handouts.

All the job creation programs Obama thought of or approved during his administration so far require borrowing money from future Middle-class tax payers to pay the salaries of the poor and the very rich in the present – 2000 billion bucks! Warning: Government extra jobs beyond government basic jobs, leave no new infrastructure or permanent improvements in society, There is a Chinese proverb that says, “You give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, you teach his how to fish and you feed him for a life time.”  Obama should not get reelected president in 2012, but you know something – he will be reelected – his speech is so eloquent that he would tell you that without the “fish” he gave around people would have starved. This is akin to the man telling his wife not to divorce him because his 100 semi-skilled relatives are not looking for a handout anymore. “They are now looking for real jobs – and I deserve a second term to provide them those jobs!”

You fools!

The big “little things” that make a difference between buying a good car and purchasing a great car.

August 14, 2010

Sometimes my best postings on this “peaceful Revolution” blog comes from my real life experiences as a psychologist. My employee  drove my Avalon into the gate of my home property. The body-shop gave me a free car for 2 weeks. Here are some of the small differences that I noticed between good transportation and my high-end Toyota:

The model name: Model names such as Rabbit or Focus, as compared to Avalon or Lexus have a dampening psychological effect on buying a VW or Ford, as compared to a Toyota – subconsciously – driving a Jaguar gets more “looks” than chasing a rabbit, ha, ha.  New Yorkers don’t like to Focus on a Ford Pinto, ha, ha. What car company CEO’s don’t understand is that Model names affect sales. Model names of great cars are more psychologically appealing than model names of just good cars.

The windshield wiper: Of the many cars that I drove over 50 years, only my Avalon’s wind shield wiper didn’t need to be replaced and never squeaked – rain or shine. Check the wind shield wipers of old cars before you buy the brand – new.

Electric windows: A great car would have a button you “pull” to raise the window and the same button you “push” to lower the window. You don’t have to hold the button down or up to complete the job. A quick touch will move the window an inch down for air circulation on a hot day. A normal touch will start a complete cycle.

Turn-on or push button radio: I find the push button radio safer, faster and more convenient to use than the knob turn radio. When buying a new car, look for features that show the CEO leadership in selecting a designer with psychological understanding of driving behavior. There are very few in the business.

Garage door programming: Bad idea all together, good for the thief who steals your car but not for your home. Attach a standard GDO that comes with your garage door behind the sun visor.

The trunk: Great cars have more secure padding in the trunk, under the dash and over the battery, as if the manufacturer said to himself, “Quality is important whether the customer sees the part or it’s invisible.” The cost difference is minimal. Check the trunk, hood and below the dashboard of old cars. See if the padding is holding.

First air kit: Check the trunk, the bag should be secured in an open compartment. The bag should have at least 20 items you would need in case of an accident, flood, delay on the freeway, darkness, hunger, thirst, or getting lost in the country.

And finally, a ridiculous difference that tells it all: The size, place and number of the coffee cup holders. Most cars have 2 small identical size cup holders placed awkwardly next to the gear shift. Takes an effort to put a hot coffee cup in place in the morning before you drive to work or play. My Avalon has an easy accessible holder for a regular cup and a place for a large size cup, as if the manufacturer was saying to himself, “Sometimes this driver will get into his car with a cup of hot coffee, or with a bottle of cold coke but sometimes with even a deep bowl of hot cereal.”

These “little things” are inexpensive to add to any new car, but they loom big when you think of the very few car designers who understand driver’s psychology or a consumer’s motivation to not-buy-just-a-good-car.

Yes, I know, it’s a great posting. Thank you!

Coffee is an emotional thing!

August 7, 2010

Coffee is an emotional thing with me! I just posted something on love a few hours ago and I was going to wait till tomorrow for another posting idea when I walked downstairs and made me my favorite Turkish brew. The aroma, the bounce back to my office, the taste, even the slight spill on the way felt heavenly. Not at all surprising that Starbucks, that offers nothing else exciting,  made a career of roasting those beans. Can you imagine Canada banning coffee? Can you imagine coffee  riots?

How would this information help you?

When you are feeling down, drink a cup. The psychological rule is that 90% self-deprivation of emotional foods is better for your weight and psyche than a 100% deprivation. Drink a cup when you are down. It will pep you up emotionally, not just the caffeine. Drink a cup with friends, the triple stimulation will help even more. Drink your favorite blend but don’ exceed your limits.

Try my “Bots brew.” Drop a spoonful of fine grind Turkish coffee in a large cup of very hot water (strain the particles or let them sink to the bottom). Boil half a cup of milk, foam it with a hand-held mixer and add it to the coffee. The 4 minute effort  saves you $4.99. The emotional uplift is free.

What is LOVE? The final word.

August 7, 2010

In God’s universe there is the truth and what people say is the truth. Rarely do the two coincide with each other. Truth and belief are like water and oil. They never mix but the oil (belief) is always on top causing blindness in relationships. In life, men die for their beliefs, not for the truth. Knowing all this “stuff,” I should tell you what I believe LOVE is and you’d love it. Well, not this time. I will tell you what is love – the final truth. I know that I won’t attract followers, but those who listen will learn how to love passionately.

When physicists discovered the “big bang” they didn’t know yet if it just happened or it was pre-planned. They turned to the philosophers and were told that the Universe was pre-planned. Professor Albert Einstein said, “God doesn’t play dice with the universe,” meaning that things cannot exist without space to be in. The universe, love, consciousness, life, bodies, minds, souls, spirits, time, pleasure, pain, hunger, everything must have a specific space created for it to exist in, or it won’t happen. The physics concept of “space-time” was born. The Universe has a place. It is not homeless.

Most people live a life of “quiet desperation” searching for true love. They fail to find it because they look for love as a belief within culture or religion, not as a final word experience of truth. I will now tell you what is LOVE, the final word – and hope that I don’t turn you off because it isn’t what you like to hear. Love is an instant passionate spiritual, mental or physical attraction to the first person you see when you grow up that resembles the one whose face you saw every day, who cared for you and got you going in your early life.

God created the space for true love. When you meet a person that resemble the one who raised you, all your thoughts become to give yourself to that person. That is why it is so important to raise kids with love and discipline, and not with physical, mental or spiritual abuse lest they give themselves to abusers later on when they grow up! Sure, God also created the space for “Free will” but that battle is very hard for ordinary folks to win. Just think of  the people who are trying to lose weight, quit smoking, drugs or alcohol.