Hello! Welcome to MarkFord.net
This is the open-for-inspection half-way home for my writing!
What you’ll find here are essays, stories, book chapters, poetry, and journal entries, as well as words and images from others that I want to share.
The bulk of the essays will be about business, wealth building, and personal productivity. But there will also be things I’m equally or more interested in, such as art, education, economics, physics, philosophy, psychology, neurobiology, fitness, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Since much of what you’ll be reading here will be early drafts of work meant for publication I welcome any comments or suggestions you might have that will help me strengthen them.

Reading is more engrossing than watching movies, TV, or videos. It takes more energy. It demands more attention. It requires imagination. And all of that is both pleasurable and useful to the brain. One of the particular advantages of reading is that it is easy to pause and reflect. How often, when reading a book, do you put it down for a moment to ponder some thought suggested by what you just read? This doesn’t happen when you are at the movies. It doesn’t even happen at home when you have a remote control in your hands.

Two of my siblings married people whose native language was not English. One was French. The other Spanish. The French-speaking mom spoke French to her children when they were young and they grew up bilingual. The other mother did not and the children know very little Spanish.

Some people think that exposing your children to two languages may inhibit their academic growth. But studies, including this one, discussed in this article on Wired.com refute that.


#1: For Rand Sutherland
In our universe
Beaming brightest in the void
He held the center
And kept us by jocund tugs
In some close constellation

#2: For Michael Puma
Child of violence
Father to laughter and ire
Brother to kindness
Friend of intemperate foes
We are bearing you with us

#3: For Joel Nadel
Tempest and Torrent
Nothing could stand in your way
To some abhorrent
Except those lifted by your force
And thus carried by your sway

#4: For Joan Ford
You braved all the storms
You never anchored leeward
When calm seas returned
Your ship was taking water
I came too late to save you

#5: For Frank Ford
Dreamer in Latin and Greek
Teacher, playwright, scholar, geek
Rejoice in what you gave us

It is a burden to hate your enemies. It takes energy, sometimes a great deal of it. Hate (as well as envy, its little sister) distracts you from other, more productive endeavors. And it eventually consumes the best part of your self.

This is true in all aspects of life but is perhaps least forgivable in business. Business decisions should be rational. They should be somewhat intuitive but not encumbered by prejudices or other negative emotions.

I know businesspeople whose careers have been greatly hampered by envy and/or hate. RP and SA are two examples. They seem to spend half their creative time tracking the activities of competitors whose success they resent. They are always hoping to find evidence of wrongdoing or weakness or failure. I can’t help but think that if they spent the same time and energy improving their own products and promotions, they would be much richer men.

For the most part, envy and hate are self-destructive. But they can be very effective motivators. Read the biography of almost any successful person and you will find at least some evidence that they were, at one time or another, motivated by a negative emotion. If, for example, you read Arnold and Me (by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first American girlfriend), you will understand how much Arnold’s amazing accomplishments were fueled by his childhood impression that he was the least favorite son and needed to “prove” himself.

You can’t erase the envy, resentment, or other base feelings you may have had in the past. If they have motivated you to be successful, you can be thankful for that. But if you want to have a happy life, to prevent them from eventually eating you up, you must find a way to stop hating the people you associate with them.

Find a way to forgive them or, as Jesus recommends, to love them. As Nietzsche said, “learning from one’s enemies is the best way to love them, for it puts one into a grateful mood toward them.”

Life Isn’t Fair

May 23, 2012 in Good Reads

The fastest way to get me to stop reading an essay is to begin it with a conversation between mother and child. I’m glad I didn’t stop reading this one by Susan Fuji, published in Early to Rise, the newsletter that I wrote for ten years as Michael Masterson.

What Do You Mean, Life Isn’t Fair?

By Susan Fujii

“What do you mean, ‘it’s not going to be fair’, Mom?” my eldest daughter asked.

That weekend we hosted an Easter egg hunt and champagne brunch for several of our close friends and their children. My eldest Kung Fu Kid was so excited to have her friends come over, and yet she was very caught up with the concept of “fairness”…she wanted to make sure that the hunt was “fair” and that everyone would find the exact same number of eggs.

At all of the local Easter egg hunts here in the Bay Area, the “competitions” are managed so that each child is only allowed to find a certain number of eggs, usually three or five. This makes it “fair” for everyone, and no one leaves disappointed.

Today, kids are often brought up to avoid any exposure to “bad” things like “failure” or “disappointment”. At school, if you bring a Valentine, you must bring one for the entire class. If you pass out invitations at school, you need to invite everyone.

While I admire the fact that no one wants to disappoint a child (I don’t either–I’m not an evil meanie!), unfortunately this doesn’t prepare them very well for real life as an adult.

Because (as we all heard our parents tell us when we were little), life isn’t “fair”.

And that’s the truth.

Click to continue reading “What Do You Mean, Life Isn’t Fair?”

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