Jon Giann poses some interesting ideas about self-worth

There are a lot of financial gurus spouting their ‘wisdom’ all over the Internet. Jon Giann describes himself as a “Self-Educated Multi-Millionaire Investor”, and while I don’t agree with everything he writes, often he is able to see through the hype out there and give some really insightful commentary on matters pertaining to economy, politics, wealth-generation and personal issues that might be holding us back.

This recent post on his blog is one of his best, and examines the idea of the misconceptions of what people are really worth. Don’t hold the typos in this article against him; it’s unusual and I’ve never seen it before.

He writes:

No, the world is full of ridiculous things to waste money on – jewellery, boats, Paris Hilton. We can rest assured that price tags in the modern era have nothing to do with value.

The second (very powerful) technique is to focus on how much value you’re bringing to the world. Look beyond the things you get paid for. Make a list of all the ways that you bring value to the world – to the contributions you make to the lives of others

The “Frankenfood” debate

Here are two trailers of movies that will have you at least thinking about what you’re eating and feeding your families. Watch the full movies – and it’s probably something you can’t afford not to do – and this just may change the whole way you shop and eat.

The first is Food, Inc. a 2008 documentary by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Robert Kenner.

This film looks at corporate farming in America, but much of it seems applicable to Australian audiences, with our food market dominated by our supermarket duopoly. It suggests the agribusiness models produce food that can be unhealthy, environmentally harmful, and abusive towards animals, employees and dissenters. This film is a must see!

Food, Inc Movie Trailer

The documentary film Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives (2012) by bestselling author Jeffrey M. Smith suggests that GM foods are causing many of the increases in previously rare diseases and allergies of recent times.

Genetic Roulette Movie Trailer

Genetic Roulette – The Gamble of Our Lives won the 2012 Movie of the Year by the Solari Report and the Top Transformational Film of 2012 by AwareGuide!

The evidence presented suggests that genetically modified and engineered foods may be major contributors to rising disease rates in the US population, especially among children. Gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, inflammatory diseases, and infertility are just some of the problems implicated in humans, pets, livestock, and lab animals that eat genetically modified soybeans and corn.

It examines the role of everyone’s favourite chemical company Monsanto, as well as the policies and actions of the United States’ FDA and the USDA.

The film may convince you to change what you eat, and whether you intend to sit quietly by, while the genetic nature of our food supply is changed – not to feed the world, so it is asserted, but to feed corporate profits.

Lament of the 21st century man

This recent article by Michael McVeigh in online journal Eureka Street ( paints a picture of both the burdens and possibilities facing males in the 21st Century.

He doesn’t mourn the passing of the age of patriarchy, but instead embraces an age of joint stewardship. He understands that his role is not to protect people by placing walls around them, but to allow them to flourish by ensuring they’re free to become their best selves.


Avoiding dementia

What is dementia?

When we think of dementia, we naturally think that only elderly people are affected. But increasingly we are seeing younger and younger sufferers.

The term ‘dementia’ describes a collection of symptoms caused by  brain disorders. It affects thinking, behaviour, memory and the ability to perform everyday tasks. First signs are often a deterioration in memory, particularly short-term, as in what was done yesterday, and there may be a tendency to forget words or names. There may be difficulties with complex tasks such as driving or managing money, which were not apparent before. Gradually dementia can affect general organisational skills, shopping, getting dressed, reading, writing and speech. In later stages eating and toileting can become affected.

There are several different types of dementia, the most common form being Alzheimer’s Disease. However there are a number of other forms and some researchers have identified up to 50 different variations.

The causes of dementia are still unclear, so there are at present neither cures nor definitive prevention measures. It is thought that there are probably a number of causative factors, probably working in combination. There is an increasing amount of research that suggests lifestyle and health characteristics may be key agents.

Can we avoid it?

Studies suggest that dementia-type diseases can start to take a foothold in the brain up to 25 years before symptoms start to show, so we need to be brain-health aware long before we reach old or even middle age. The Nun Study of Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease, a continuing longitudinal study begun in 1986 in the USA showed some significant findings amongst a population of similar environmental and other influences, namely Roman Catholic Nuns of a particular order.  Asked to write a biographical essay upon entry to the order about the age of 22 it was found that:

… an essay’s lack of linguistic density (e.g., complexity, vivacity, fluency) functioned as a significant predictor of its author’s risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease in old age…. Roughly 80% of nuns whose writing was measured as lacking in linguistic density went on to develop Alzheimer’s disease in old age; meanwhile, of those whose writing was not lacking, only 10% later developed the disease.

(Wikipedia: Nun Study at

What about for the rest of us, who don’t live in a controlled community?

Current thinking about risk factors identifies both modifiable and non-modifiable factors.

Non-modifiable factors include your genetics and your age, and are not able to be controlled or changed through changes in lifestyle or habits.

It is thought that modifiable factors can potentially change your levels of risk. These include diet, physical activity, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, level of social engagement, and whether you engage in mental stimulation.

As for all cardio-vascular functions, if you develop Type 2 diabetes, if you are obese, if you smoke, or if you use certain drugs, you could be at greatly increased risk. Recent research has also shown that repeated and untreated head injuries, including concussions from contact sports such as football or boxing are a major risk factor. These are often factors that seem to contribute to earlier onset dementia.

Drinking alcohol in excess may also increase the risk. There is probably no need to be teetotal, however; some research suggests that small to moderate alcohol consumption can actually reduce the risk. But no more than two standard drinks a day, preferably less, and have one or two alcohol-free days per week.

Depression can also be a risk factor for dementia. This is probably associated with chronic, lasting depression and the withdrawal from social contact seen in both conditions possibly plays some part. If you do suffer from chronic depression, try to alleviate the cause or, if this is not possible, seek treatment.

It is disputed how much diet plays in the development of dementia. It is possible that a high intake of saturated fats may increase the risk and that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables may reduce it. Certain healthy fats, such as those found in oily fish are supposed to be good for the heart and brain. In general doctors recommend following the national dietary guidelines.

They also recommend regular physical exercise – at least 30 minutes most days of the week. As the brain uses 20% of the body’s blood supply, the blood flow is important, and exercise gets the heart pumping. It may also stimulate further brain cell growth or resilience.

It is also suggested that exercising your brain may work, in the sense of “use it or lose it”. Certainly developments in the study of neuroplasticity in recent years have shown that new neural pathways can be created at any age. (Previously it was thought that no new brain cells and pathways could be after about the age of 25.) It is thought that keeping your brain active may build up or strengthen reserve or back-up pathways.

Think of the people you know in advanced age whose minds are sharp. Almost invariably, they are very engaged socially with their families, friends and their community. They also challenge themselves to learn new things – often doing courses and classes in all kinds of things, indulging in hobbies, learning foreign languages and other new skills, engaging in cultural activities. Just socialising with friends is valuable too, because being part of a group of good friends seems to be important.

Doing or learning something new builds new brain connections, so giving yourself new challenges forces the brain out of the ruts it may be inclined to get into as we get older.

Activities that combine social, physical and mental activity theoretically provide even greater benefit. Going for a walk with a friend could be beneficial because it combines all three types of activity. Dancing is considered extra beneficial because of its complexity.

However, any, all or none of this might work. The research at present can only give suggestions and these seem to vary by the day and the source. It might be good advice just to keep doing what you enjoy doing and what makes you passionate.

I’m just summing up the general information about dementia. Don’t take my word for it. This is a serious issue and this post does not claim to be medically accurate. If you have concerns about your own or someone else’s mental health, see a doctor – the sooner the better.

Information above was taken from several sources, but especially from Your Brain Matters: A Guide to Healthy Hearts & Minds, a pamphlet from Alzheimer’s Australia.



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