Daniel Catalaa

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Latino culture and healthcare

October 23rd, 2013 by Daniel Catalaa
1380 If you work for a large corporation or institution in the United States, you will eventually be introduced to the notions of "culture" and "cultural differences" and there will be an expectation that you will become aware of these concepts and be sensitive to them. Yet I have found that most trainings in this area are overly generic and lack specific examples. So you listen to the cultural sensitivity presentation and when you get back on the job, for the life of you, you can... [read more]

Viral belief systems

March 6th, 2012 by Daniel Catalaa

There are areas of our life over which we will freely admit that we have little control; however, there is one domain over which we universally take great pride in proclaiming absolute sovereignty: Our mind. We assure others and ourselves of our mental mastery with statements like "I will make up my own mind" or "I am free to choose".

Unbeknownst to us however, we may be hosting and catering to external beliefs that found their way into our head and that we... [read more]


January 2nd, 2012 by Daniel Catalaa

When we say we believe in something, what do we mean? In effect we are saying that we accept something on face value, without complete proof, and take it to be true.

When we state that 'we believe' we typically intend to communicate what we hold to be true but 'believing' is also used in unrelated ways. Statements about belief may denote probability of veracity, i.e. how likely we believe something to be true. This occurs when we say that 'I believe that I left the keys in my ... [read more]

Mental Hygiene

December 19th, 2011 by Daniel Catalaa

Imagine that you woke up in your home after a week-long slumber only to find strangers living in it. You do not remember inviting them in, yet there they are. They have been pillaging your fridge and have made noise late at night, they persuaded you to do unhealthy things, stained the carpet, left dirty dishes in the sink, and ordered things on your credit card. You also witness several of them open the door and letting in more uninvited guests. After recovering from the shock, it is unlike... [read more]


January 1st, 2011 by Daniel Catalaa

Sometimes we use a 'word surrounded by single quotes'. Other times we use words \"surrounded by double quotes\" transition very smoothly from one phase of our life to the next without even noticing that a change has occurred. Other times instead we are very conscious and aware that a big change just took place that will have deep and far reaching reverberations. The arrival and departure of illness in my life falls into this second category and separated my life into 3 distinct phases: ... [read more]

Remember to remember

August 22nd, 2010 by Daniel Catalaa

How can you 'remember to remember' if you have an unreliable memory to begin with? This is a circular problem, just like trying to find your glasses while you are not wearing them and everything is out of focus.

I bring attention to this topic because an improved memory allows us to capitalize on opportunities and to prevent the consequences of unwanted oversights. That is why I want to share with you a compilation of tips and strategies that I have refined over the years to o... [read more]

News Fasting

April 22nd, 2010 by Daniel Catalaa

There are two main avenues for growth. The first is introspection and the second is by connecting with others. The second, external, pathway is one that we explore every day when we seek out one-on-one interactions that occur in person or remotely. We also want to connect with larger groups, with a global community, to enrich our lives with the collective ideas and experiences they offer. In this respect, the news has been one of the main ways by which I have connected with the living pulse... [read more]

Inside out priorities

April 11th, 2010 by Daniel Catalaa

When our sense of self-worth becomes overly dependent on external validation, we are drawn to rescue others prematurely and to neglect basic parts of our lives before they are on solid ground. If you are a giver, you will seek to help others before time almost compulsively for what would seem to be a myriad of good reasons: to satisfy the hunger for connection, to feel appreciated, or to gain a sense of purpose. Reaching out too early may also be a way to avoid our own issues or, alternativ... [read more]

What I learned from my marriage

January 1st, 2010 by Daniel Catalaa

I got married very young, when I was 23 years old. The main reason I tied the knot was that I found somebody that I liked and wanted to be with her. A factor that precipitated events was that her international visa was going to expire and I did not want to see her leave and lose the opportunity to get to know her better. Beyond that, there was not much conscious thought that went into the decision. One of the main understandings that I came to later in life was that marriage is not the best... [read more]

Time management

December 31st, 2009 by Daniel Catalaa
1234 Towards the end of spring 2008 I was feeling overwhelmed by deadlines I had promised to meet and by too many things going on at the same time. I was jumping from one project to the other and was too stressed out to enjoy any of them. To give you an idea, I was averaging 10 more hours than usual per week at work, I was enrolled in two night time classes, I was training for my first sprint triathlon, and I was trying to do some online dating. Since experiencing wellness is my current top pri... [read more]

My Big TOE

December 13th, 2009 by Daniel Catalaa

I chose to read "My big TOE" by Thomas Campbell and review his book in this article because in it he undertakes a task of the highest order, to explain all of reality in one coherent theory from intestinal microbes to ghosts and from evolution to time travelling. As you may have guessed by now, the book is not about the anatomy of lower limbs. TOE is actually an acronym that stands for the "Theory of Everything" and it refers to the same pursuit that eluded Albert Einste... [read more]

Who are you

December 6th, 2009 by Daniel Catalaa

When we are asked the question "who are you?" we have been trained to answer with our name and perhaps our profession. If probed further, we may talk about our ancestry or where we grew up. Nevertheless, privately we know that none of this information really communicates our true nature or identity.

Admittedly, you may find yourself unwilling to share very personal information with somebody you just met, so you opt for more superficial and socially acceptable answers.... [read more]

Authentic Leadership

November 19th, 2009 by Daniel Catalaa

In this article I will be reviewing the book "Authentic Leadership" by Bill George that was given to me by my supervisor as a gift to help me along on my own personal journey to greater leadership. In the book George relates his experiences as manager and CEO of different companies and culminates with his ten years tenure at Medtronic, a company that manufactures implantable medical devices. The book is very timely given that the USA is at present experiencing a massive loss of we... [read more]

Notions of Time

September 15th, 2009 by Daniel Catalaa
1235 Here is an experiment that you can do to better understand notions of time such as past, present, and future. Place 2 large mirrors facing each other, about 4 feet apart. Then slide yourself in between the mirrors and tell me what you see. You will probably see in both mirrors your image replicated to infinity. The mirror in front of you together with all of its internal reflections represents your future, the mirror behind you represents your past. Now if I were to ask you \"Which one of thes... [read more]


August 1st, 2009 by Daniel Catalaa
293 Put philosophy centerstage in your life. This is the homemade bumpersticker to the car I used to own. Philosophy is the search for wisdom. Wisdom in turn is treasured because, when true, it allows you to live the best life possible. Philosophy gives, but philosophy also demands; it necessarily requires from us honesty, contemplation, internal coherence, and depth. Everybody has a philosophy (a... [read more]

How I get things done

August 1st, 2009 by Daniel Catalaa
1195 Effective people have built in systems and strategies to get things done, and the advice below will in fact help you to do more. Keep in mind however, that this article does not address what you should be doing to experience your best life possible (i.e. purpose in life, top values, priorities), just 'how' to get things done. Soften the target

During military campains one of the things the artillery does before an attack is to carpet bomb the opponent's fortifications to create cracks in ... [read more]

Somewhere in between

August 1st, 2009 by Daniel Catalaa
1232 A frog was merrily swimming about when a fish approached him and swam besides him. The fish slowed down to match the frog's speed and looked at him sideways from the corner of one of his big shiny eyes and derided him in a mocking voice: \"Look at you! You can't swim! You are so clumsy. You are not made for the water, you should not be here.\" The frog tried to ignore the fish, but the fish was so insistent that the frog decided to bring the whole matter to an end by hopping onto land. ... [read more]


August 1st, 2009 by Daniel Catalaa

Most of the trips you take in your youth are geographical. You visit places have experiences there and then report back to your family and friends through the pictures you took and the stories you have to tell. Later in life, mainly due to higher degrees of responsibilities, you may find yourself living a more sedentary life. So how can you keep on travelling? For me, meditation holds the answer.

A wrestless mind

When I close my eyes and start to focus on my breathing, that i... [read more]

The opportunities of illness

July 31st, 2009 by Daniel Catalaa
1200 At the age of thirteen I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and later with Crohn's disease. These are life-long chronic ailments that affects the intestinal track. Today my health is affected by these conditions, but I also enjoy moments of stability. In case you are in a similar situation, I wanted to share with you what silver linings I discovered in illness and the lemonade you can make with your lemons :o) Better use of time

Unless you are going out of your way to live in unheal... [read more]

Love and Conditionality

July 31st, 2009 by Daniel Catalaa

If you look carefully, you will see that every person has a unique and special way to love others, and that is what I would like to address in this article. For this discussion, when I speak about love I equate it to growth, whether physical or spiritual. Love is any action we take intended to help ourselves or others to grow. So providing morphine to relieve a patient's pain is loving but providing it to an addict is unloving. As this example illustrates intent and evaluating outcomes ... [read more]

Journey from adversity to joy

July 31st, 2009 by Daniel Catalaa

Sometimes we transition very smoothly from one phase of our life to the next without even noticing that a change has occurred. Other times instead we are very conscious and aware that a big change just took place that will have deep and far reaching reverberations. The arrival and departure of illness in my life falls into this second category and separated my life into 3 distinct phases: a healthy childhood, being very ill during adolescence and young adulthood, and the recovery of he... [read more]

Personal Development for Smart People

July 31st, 2009 by Daniel Catalaa
1237 Personal Development for Smart People, by Steve Pavlina (2008)

I admire Steve Pavlina because he took on the most complicated task before any human being: to devise a philosophy of life that is universal, timeless, and useful. The elegance of his teachings are in their simplicity. He conveys one basic message: align yourself with love, power, and truth, and good things wi... [read more]


July 31st, 2009 by Daniel Catalaa

Developing and employing your consciousness is the single most valuable investment you can make. If your current reading material involves romantic novels or time management, put down those books and start tuning into this message. Mental energy spent developing consciousness is orders of magnitute more beneficial than attempting to improve any specific life area be it physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual wellbeing. All of these areas will benefit from higher levels of self aw... [read more]

The 8th Habit

May 8th, 2009 by Daniel Catalaa

This is a book that I read to transition from the mindset of a file-and-rank employee to that of a manager. Many of the ideas presented in the book were applied in real time as I read about them, so it took me five months to finish the book. However, the lessons learned were tested out with real people and consequently became embedded at a much deeper level.


The 8th habit is the habit of leadership. Classically, leadership is viewed as a top-down attribute wher... [read more]

Professional Development

January 14th, 2009 by Daniel Catalaa
1199 Note: This commencement speech was given by Daniel Catalaa on January 14, 2009, in San Francisco, California, during the California Pacific Medical Center professional development graduation ceremony. Dear classmates and colleagues, I was asked to address you today to tell you how the educational programs and classes available at CPMC have positively impacted my professional life. But I want to do more than that; I want to tell you the story of what happens when an internal desire t... [read more]

Multiculturalism and Identity

May 1st, 2008 by Daniel Catalaa
1198 Note: This commencement speech was given by Daniel Catalaa in May of 2008 during the City College of San Francisco Health Care Intepreter Certification Program Graduation. Personal Introduction Dear students, faculty, families, and support people, I feel very fortunate to be with you today and to have been given the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of my classmates and this graduation. I would like share with you the personal experiences that transform a person... [read more]