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International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

November 25, 2022 - Reading time: 3 minutes

In order to put a stop to violence against women and girls, it is essential to provide support and financial investment to feminist groups and organizations fighting for women's rights.

Demonstrations took place across the globe. Demonstrators gathered in Spain to voice their opposition to violence against women as well. Since the beginning of the official count in 2003, there have been at least 1,171 people slain in the country by their current or former romantic partner.

In Mexico City, the scene was essentially the same.

The percentage of women in Mexico who sought assistance at shelters for victims of violence increased by a factor of eighty percent during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Today was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, a day designated by the United Nations, which was observed by demonstrators all over the world.

A staggering 71% of women over the age of 15 have been victims of physical or sexual assault.

A demonstration in Istanbul that was demanding for an end to violence against women and for Turkey to return to a treaty that was intended to protect them was dispersed by the police. During the course of the march, the authorities detained a significant number of the demonstrators.

In defiance of the order issued by the authorities, the protesters attempted to march up Istiklal, which is Istanbul's primary pedestrian artery. The authorities had issued the order to prevent the rally on the grounds that it would threaten public order and security.

Why We Must Eliminate Violence Against Women

The most ubiquitous and widespread violation of human rights is violence against women and girls, which has its origins in gender inequality and discrimination, unequal power relations, and detrimental social norms. The murder of women and girls for reasons related to their gender is the most heinous and extreme form of this type of violence.

Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding it.

In general terms, it manifests itself in physical, sexual and psychological forms, encompassing:

  1. intimate partner violence (battering, psychological abuse, marital rape, femicide);
  2. sexual violence and harassment (rape, forced sexual acts, unwanted sexual advances, child sexual abuse, forced marriage, street harassment, stalking, cyber- harassment);
  3. human trafficking (slavery, sexual exploitation);
  4. female genital mutilation; and
  5. child marriage.

Gender-related killings of women and girls take place worldwide. 5 every hour... . That is the number of women and girls who are murdered by a member of their own family. It is time to put a stop to this ticking clock and get to work right away to put an end to violence against women and girls. Read the report I linked to on gender-related homicides of women and girls to learn more about the topic.

What's the Meaning of Christmas?

December 7, 2021 - Reading time: 2 minutes

It's really amazing how the real meaning of Christmas has been lost. I was looking for a photo to accompany this post and I put the word Christmas in, and of course, out of the first 50 results, only 3 were of the birth (one of them was Star Wars inspired with Jesus replaced with Darth Vader which I found in particularly bad taste), the others were Santa Claus, snowmen, gifts, etc.

Jesus replaced with Darth Vader

The same thing happens in our minds. With the mindless consumerism it is easy to loose focus on what it means. Here is a test, think about the birth of Jesus, and how much space it occupies. Probably at this point in the game, the 10th of December, we have already bought and wrapped all the gifts, we have planned the Christmas Eve dinner, the Secret Santa in our office is finished, and most importantly? Will we have pondered what the coming of Jesus means for us? Right? Hum, actually as I have repeated more than once, I am not a religious fanatic, I am far from being anything of the sort, but I have always been interested in talking clearly about the issues that deserve to be addressed, and Christmas is worth commenting on, and its importance.

The gospel narrates the following: "There was no place for them in the inn" (Luke 2:7) as we know, this is why Jesus was born in a stable. Well, that's exactly what's going on now. In the inn, that is, in our hearts, there is room for many things (gifts, New Year's Eve parties, dinners, etc. all of them very valid by the way, I have nothing against that), but the problem is that since we dedicate so much time to those activities we do not leave a place for Jesus in our inn (our heart) to be born.

And what does it mean, give him a place in our hearts? Pray a prayer on 24 at 12? No! We should do that but it's not enough. The idea is to let him be born and grow in our hearts. And how do we do that? It's easy, no one can love what they don't know, so let's start by knowing him. But to frame these ideas in concrete activities in our daily lives. You'll see how the themes will appear on their own, all that matters is your willingness to start dealing with it.

It's worth it, it starts this week, it starts today, it starts right now, and I assure you you won't regret it.

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Life and It's Inevitable End

September 5, 2021 - Reading time: 3 minutes

Today is the anniversary of my grandmother's passing. One thing about my life is certain, which is death, whatever I do, all of this will one day be over.

You always read in the papers and online that there are countries where people die in unimaginable numbers and I am thankful that I was able to be born and grow up in a country like ours. Where my grandmother got to be close to 90 years old and for the majority of those years lived a happy healthy life. This hasn't been the case for everyone that I have been close to in my short life. In this regard, the Pope once said in one of his talks that the untimely death of a person who is dear to us is an invitation, not to stop living, but to tend to life as soon as possible and work towards the fullness of life. The cliché of dedicating oneself to living as if it were the last day of our life. What this does not mean is to become a pessimists or drowned in depression, but quite the opposite. Instead it is a call to remain enthusiastic, finish our work well, seek to support those who need you, have ethics at work, because in that way, there will be nothing to fear if the time comes.

Continuing what the Pope said, I recall that he posed the observation that the world considers those who live long lives fortunate, but God, more than age, looks at the righteousness of the person's heart. Even before this life is over, those who welcome God can already live during their earthly existence, a foretaste of eternal life because it is the happiness to which we aspire in depth the heart of every person.

I was talking to a friend a while ago about the subject and she was telling me, yes, you may be right, but we're still young, when I'm 60 I'll be dedicated to changing my lifestyle. I told her, the day the tower of Pisa falls, which side do you think is going to fall toward? Obviously the side that's been leaning toward all of the time. Well, the same thing can be said about us, the day we pass, we will fall toward the side that we have chosen to live.

My dad, an extraordinary man used to say: "you don't die, the scenery just changes." In short, what he wanted to visualize is that life is not lost, it is only changed, and it is a change for good, because God always calls us at our the best time.

Don't be afraid of death. It will come in time, in the place and in the way that suits you best. In our lives everything has been so carefully arranged and planned except death, and death is the one certainty we have in this life.

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Attitude - Make The Impossible, Possible

August 18, 2021 - Reading time: 4 minutes

There are no impossible things, only inefficient people. That is, the sentiment that, given reason there are no possible tasks, rather people who make the possible harder than it needs to be. I heard the expression yesterday in a meeting and the phrase stayed with me, it got me thinking all night because it has a great application for life as a whole. There are many cases in which we have to fight every day to improve who we are, this begins from the moment when we get up, we start a fight against the inner slacker, those extra minutes that we tried to sleep through the snooze and then, forced to hurry, we try to do everything fast and often unavoidably wrong. The fight continues once we get to work, and we see that there are a lot of tasks to do, which we find impossible to finish, and when we start using the defeatist thinking that we will "do our best" without committing to doing anything completely.

Have you noticed how many ways we can make life more complicated for both ourselves and for those who live with us?

Perhaps our wife to whom has become accustomed to our bad character, our little ability to surprise her with some flowers, or a box of chocolates when we return from work, out lack of desire to help with the things around the home, or perhaps in our work, with our co-workers, to whom we send the hardest work, we treat them badly. Or perhaps it is the treatment to our parents, of whom we choose to forget everything they have done for us, and we hurt them with our unthinking treatment, we answer them harshly, we hurt them with our bad attitude.

Are we aware of our bad attitude? Is it impossible to change?

I don't think so.

In this life everything is possible, another issue is that it does not depend exclusively on us, but if we do not internalize it and we really believe it, we will not achieve anything, we will continue with the same way of being, of acting, of treating others, of working, thinking that it is impossible instead of committing to improving ourselves every day, and not to be the reflection of the inefficiency of the people who are in our environment, simply because everything easy is fashionable, everything that does not involve effort or commitment to success.

I know that it is easy to say: "yes, I'm going to try to change some things," but nothing is that simple, it takes more than good intentions.

more than good intentions

You may be wondering how to start -- to begin changing from this moment forward? It's not easy, but we already have the first part outlined, the commitment, the real desire to want to do improve. The next thing is to think specifically of three or four points where we know we can change, not tomorrow but now: for example: get up from this week forward at a fixed time and not give into the temptation of the snooze button. Another way is to buy a small gift for someone you love and haven't shown it to in a long time, and give it to them fondly, they can be your parents, your grandparents, siblings, a friend. Maybe it is somebody who needs to talk. The gift can be simply listening to them, dedicating time to them (the easiest way to be generous is to buy something, but the fact of dedicating time to the person, listening to their problems , implies a greater effort and therefore greater satisfaction). Finally we can make the effort this week not to lie or exaggerate (which is in truth the same as a lie), if we analyze ourselves well, we will see that throughout the day one tends to say not one, but several lies.

How can you be certain you are on the right track? To know if we have done well or not is easy, at the end of the day we can focus only on these three topics: punctuality in the morning, generosity and the struggle to tell the truth. At the end of next week you will see how it was not impossible, that it is not a fight to live better life. Rather it flows naturally when you set simple goals and work toward them.

Dealing With Problems That Arise In Our Lives

June 30, 2021 - Reading time: 3 minutes

Who hasn't had any problems in life? They are like the basis of every day life for some, and even if they are not we at least think about them when they appear. Do we know how to deal with them?

That is a question which I pose to myself every time I encounter one. By asking the questions I am given a chance to step back and analyze it in a way that allows me to take a proactive look at the problem at hand.

There are no exact rules of steps and procedures approved, however, there are facts that confirm that with a given reasoning, you will have a greater chance at discovering opportunities to resolve them. Optimism and hope can get us through many hardships. There's a reason that one of the best ways to deal with a problem is to internalize it and understand it, to know what the worst is that can happen to you, but to hope for the best out come. A very important variable that we often set aside is hope, solving the problem with that optimism of knowing that we will do well.

Perhaps the most important part of the previous paragraph is the ability to correctly identify the problem. Many times we define excellent solutions but for other problems, then everything is ruined. After that, identify their causes, study possible solutions or alternatives, analyzing each of them - their advantages and disadvantages. Finally we can come to a clearer picture to choose the best alternative. But of course, the matter doesn't die there. We still have to know how to implement it, and more importantly, know how to measure and control whether it turned out the way that we wanted or not.

As a corollary to this note I leave you with one of the phrases that Bob Knight (The General), one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time, said in relation to attitude, as well as the logical form of steps that in my opinion are recommended to solve a problem, when success is the goal they will be of no use if they are not accompanied with a good dose of hope and positive attitude: Many times adversity and problems can work in your favor. Instead of feeling a victim and feeling very sorry for yourself, using it as an excuse, you have to face the situation and get the best out of it. She is the only way for a team to develop the strength and character to compete at the highest level.

Success isn't a given, but when you focus on understanding the problem you are in a better position to solve it in a successful manner. Understanding the problem is also key in not loosing hope.

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There is Risk but Life Comes With A Map

April 28, 2021 - Reading time: 3 minutes

What are your personal goals? Business? Adventure? How Will you achieve it?

Starting a business without having calculated the risks, would be quite irrational and daring like trying to organize a hike on a mountain without having first consulted a map that tells us the safest trails.

When we go out on the road it is usually normal to know where we are going and consult a map to know how to get there. Life is an adventure, a journey that has a beginning and an end, like any travel we take in-between those two points. It can be a recklessness venture to live without knowing where one wants to go, so that we undertake the journey, not knowing where we will go. Life is something more serious than a road trip or a business or a mountain tour. But how many people have been thought to live the they want, how are they going to get it if they don't know the way there?

Our lives are left on many occasions at the mercy of events, appetites, interests. This is a bad way to be happy. To be happy it is essential to have a personal life project, to know where you want to go and where to go once you get their. We have to do it flexibly but be aware that small deviations in time can keep us away from the goal. I think it's worth taking the time to make a personal life project.

But how do you do it?

Where do we start?

There are three commonly agreed upon avenues for which we commonly focus: love, work and culture. Happiness is very close to the order in priorities, if it does not exist it ends up falling into place once the goals are being meet. Love deals with our relationships with ourselves and with others. We have to love ourselves before we can love anyone else. When we speak of "with others" there is also an order that plays a role, the first place must be occupied by the closest relationships: the family. The priorities for which we place on the satisfaction we achieve from work, that is work done professionally and in the best possible way, with effort.

Culture also occupies an important place, one of which we have worked toward building since the antique -- and I do not mean culture as consumption -- rather as a forming and enriching ourselves at a personal level. I won't be able to fulfill the culture aspect of my life the reading of the latest best seller, or by seeing the next big blockbuster released this summer. Culture does not have a time limit and does not depend on our success at work, it has much more to do with personal enrichment, learning and striving to have virtues such as perseverance, the use of time, justice, and social competences such as bargaining power, conflict management, among others.

Do you need a map? Make a plan. See where it fits and your life project should fit into one of these three areas and in this order: love, work and culture. When the order is disrupted we run the risk of negatively disrupting the happiness which we are attempting to achieve. Perhaps the best example is the unhappiness that many of us feel when we place work first and allow it to to take the biggest place in our lives.

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The Future: Gray or Green – You Decide

September 18, 2020 - Reading time: 5 minutes

Plants are essential for life on this planet but is their importance apparent? Sure plants surround us but are we able to see the forest through the trees? Have we lost touch with their role in our lives? There is a lot of "green talk" that some people in our society feel has become tedious, the "noise" gets blocked out and they look for other answers, "alternative answers" that align with their world view. One that might be drastically at odds with the facts. As it stands our future can go one of two ways: Toward a greener brighter future or a gray world where life as we know it will be changed forever.

Change doesn't need to be as dramatic as most are lead to believe. Yet, the COVID-19 lock downs that we have experienced are what many people fear a greener tomorrow will look like, that is not the case. Their is valuable information that can be gleamed from the pandemic that shows change in the way we live can have a dramatic effect on the health of the planet. Plant and wildlife both have been able to rebound in this time. That is, to say that a lot has changed in a short period with drastic changes, the same could be achieved if we implement smaller changes over a longer timespan. With the willingness to make small changes over a longer time we can make real improvements without impacting "life as we know it" in a less than dramatic way.

Covid-19 has upended almost every aspect of societies around the world in just a few weeks. “Climate change is much slower acting, but ultimately could be at least as disruptive,” said Michael Gerrard. ~ "What Can We Learn From COVID-19 to Help With Climate Change?" by Renee Cho on March 26, 2020"

What we are getting a small sample of what a future with climate change will look like. Though the shortages will not be as humorous as lack of toilette paper. We won't be able to expect the supply at out local grocery to normalize after the initial panic is over. Because the shortage will go beyond those in our society determined to stock up at the expense of others. Those short term shortages will be longterm.

It doesn't have to be though. The coronavirus pandemic has shown us that if we work as a whole things can be reversed.

Research by scientists at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory has shown that coronavirus-related shut downs are causing air pollution and carbon emissions to plummet in New York. Similar trends are being observed in other cities. It is likely these effects will be short-lived, however. ~ "What Can We Learn From COVID-19 to Help With Climate Change?" by Renee Cho on March 26, 2020

Researchers in New York told the BBC their early results showed carbon monoxide mainly from cars had been reduced by nearly 50% compared with last year. ~ "Coronavirus: Air pollution and CO2 fall rapidly as virus spreads" by Matt McGrath

green future

Here are some of the lessons we can take away:

  1. Lowering air travel lowers the output of greenhouse gas;
    • Digital communication which has been embraced more now than ever before may be a possible solution to reduce certain forms of air travel
  2. Science has been under attack for some time now and it is through misunderstanding that people use to entrench themselves in their beliefs.
    • Learning to understand and heed the warning that we are given is a key to improving our response to the tasks at hand. Many people assume that science is based on hard facts. That it is faulty when new information and techniques allow us to further refine our understanding and partially disprove past beliefs.
  3. That global cooperation is not only helpful it is required if we want to make any real headway. Pulling on the same rope only works when we all pull in the same direction.

A lot has happened this year. We have been able to gain a lot of new knowledge and see the benefits of both active CO2 reduction and the impact that a worldwide crisis would have on our lives.

We have the tools, are we willing to use them?

Don't let it end like this

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Staying Connected in Times Like These

July 3, 2020 - Reading time: 3 minutes

One of the most rewarding activities is having a good time with friends. Now with one restriction after another appearing through the coronavirus pandemic, this once simple task has become a challenge. And in times like these the the benefits are in drastic need. Spending time with friends serves not only to relax and help us, but rather to support and help them. This is the reason I have network of contacts.

It's important to grow your networking whenever you can and with network I mean actual physical people, not social media friends! These are all types of people, you need to think about the relationships you want to have tomorrow and start building them today. This goes for the business side of things of course, people prefer to do business with their friends. According to my high school career counseling, nine out of ten jobs are achieved by such contacts. And I can attest to this, my fiancée got his job out of college through the father of his best friend.

Here are some tips how to take advantage of our personal relationships:

Make a list of the 250 people most important to you: business leaders, community leaders, friends, and family. This can be anybody really. The list should contain anyone we can offer something to or who can help us or who we can help. Start cultivating these relationships. I am not just talking about calling people by phone. Create long-term relationships that are lasting. It is important to remember the birthday or hobbies of our friends and contacts. Remembering somebody on their birthday is a nice gesture and it is easy to reach out to them.

Identify your attributes and improve them. Determine what you can offer others instead of only seeking people out for what they can offer you. The more we can offer the more interested people will be in helping us.

Analyze events well that pertain to your social circle. This is important because in order for us to be accepted by our contacts, we must be aware of news, events, and among other things changes in the way things are done. In addition to providing you with information, this will give you material to start conversations in any situation.

Always treat everyone at the same level.

Nothing scares people away more than a negative person. Always be optimistic, think positive and show it in your conversations. Listen, however, and let others speak. Don't talk without knowing what is being discussed.

Create a good impression from the start. It is helpful to move to the introduction stage quickly. Talk about hobbies, children, health, or other topics that will put people at ease.

The people that have complained the most about the lockdowns that are going on were the people without many contacts to start with. Don't let yourself get shut in.