Sunday, June 14, 2015


I’m so very tired of the “oh, woe is me, it’s Monday” attitude. Whining about Monday does nobody any good. It’s old hat and probably hasn’t been funny since Shakespeare said, “forsooth, thy Mondays sucketh”. Fine, he probably didn’t actually say that, but you catch my drift.
Let me bottom line it for you: if you approach your Mondays with a crappy attitude, very likely you’ll have a crappy day. This gives you a massive head start on a crappy week. And a crappy month. Etc. Secondly, the “I hate Mondays” attitude infects (and likely annoys) others and that’s not cool.
Try this on for size instead: realize that you have an opportunity to start fresh. A week is a pretty good platform from which to launch a new initiative or gain some momentum on changing up your life. Find some joy, a bit of fun, and maybe some challenge in whatever it is you do throughout the week. It may be nothing more than the chance to provide for you and yours, but that is noble as hell and deserves the very best in attitude and effort that you can put forth.
I get it. I look forward to my weekends too. I get to spend time with my kids (who I only see once during the workweek). I have the chance to relax and recharge. That time during the week, though: that’s when I focus on providing for them, and it makes me happy as hell to be able to do that. So focus on during your best with right now, rather than staring out the window and daydreaming about going out on your neighbor’s boat for a lazy Saturday.

Lastly: if your week is so consistently miserable that your only solace is your weekend oasis, you may want to rethink your life some. I don’t necessarily mean toss away your nine-to-five gig, though that may be a good idea for some. Do try to at least change your attitude.
Please and thank you.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Why The Walking Dead Is Awesome

The Walking Dead is one of the most popular series on television, as well as being among the most critically acclaimed. There’s something to be had for everyone… terrifying, rotting zombies, blood, gore, action, heroes, villains, and beautiful women; to say nothing of top-notch writing, artful directing, and richly drawn characters.
You will often get well-wrought metaphors as a part of that mix. Sword-wielding Michonne had been separated from her group and was walking amongst the zombies with her two “pets”... a couple walkers she had rendered harmless through a few strategic swipes of her sword. She encounters a walker that is a mirror image of herself (violent content warning on this one).
Michonne’s fear and anger bubble to the surface, then burst out. She had realized that she was, for all practical purposes, one of the walking dead at that point. She was wandering the countryside among the zombies, keeping pace with them, as if they were her new group of comrades. Something snapped, catalyzed by the sight of her zombie “twin”, and she realized she simply couldn’t go on like that anymore. She had to be human again.

A recent episode (shown March 15th, 2015) played with the theme of courage versus cowardice. I won’t spoil any of the plot points, but suffice to say, the theme played out in a very a very stark fashion, in such a way that the episode didn’t end well for everyone.

What speaks to me the most about The Walking Dead is that it is, ultimately, a survival story. Hope is given, then taken away. People die, often unexpectedly and horribly. Good people are forced to do terrible things in order to survive. Some manage to find the better, nobler parts of themselves as they walk this post-apocalyptic landscape. Others become the basest sort of human. The core group of the show… Rick, Carl, Daryl, Michonne, Carol, etc… have bonded together as a de facto family; each watching out for the other, relying on one another for the courage that only comes from hope. The other side of that coin is where you’ll find someone like The Governor. This is a man who, as far as I can tell, was a family man and more or less a faceless corporate drone pre-apocalypse, but quickly transformed into a wrathful autocrat in order to survive. The central lesson of the series (in my view at least) is that it is possible to retain hope, nobility, and courage even in the darkest and most dire of circumstances while finding the better part of yourself.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Your Montage Moment

We all love the Rocky movies, right?
My favorite parts of those movies (and I imagine that many of you will agree with me) are the training montages. Rocky gives his all to prepare for his next fight. He does one-handed push ups, he runs up the museum steps and takes hardcore shots to the gut.

Here, by the way, is the Rocky training montage that my friends voted as their favorite:
Just kidding, That’s Turkish Rocky.  Here’s the actual winner:
So you can create your own montage moment.
First, Decide exactly which mountain you’ll climb, what it is in your life that deserves and/ or needs that extra push (for a few suggestions, see above).
Second, imagine exactly what you’ll do, that extra effort you’ll put forth. It’s easy in the case of any fitness initiative… just see yourself working out to your limit. In the case of a home improvement push, picture yourself painting, dejunking, whatever it is you need to do.
Third, pick some music. It certainly doesn’t have to be the very familiar Rocky training music… in fact, you should choose something else entirely (after all, this is your montage, not Rocky’s). Pick a song that pumps you up, that gets the juices flowing.
One suggestion is this muscular hunk of metal… between the lyrics and the music, you may no longer need coffee in the morning.
That’s just one suggestion. There are many more songs out there. What’s your favorite?

Basically what I’m suggesting here is a an advanced (and much more fun) form of visualization, one of the bedrock techniques of motivational speakers and self improvement gurus throughout the years.
The key is to take that emotion you created in picturing your montage… the enthusiasm, the excitement, the triumph… and bring it into the world and live your montage.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A very short story

I frequently correspond with a young friend about subjects such as goals, motivation, and life in general. Last week she emailed me a meme:
If you could go back in time, what advice or words of wisdom would you give to your younger self?
"Would love to hear your answer to this one actually..." she wrote.
My reply:
I think you already know my answer, but see below. Part of this is true.

We stood toe-to-toe. Looking at him gave me the sensation of looking in a mirror… his face was thinner and free of the lines that the last few years had wrought, but I was, in the end, looking into my own eyes. His jaw dropped and he took a half step back.
“Calm down, dude,” I said, nearly shouting to be heard above the din of the music and the crowd. “I’m not your evil twin, okay? I’m here to help.”
He shook his head. “Help? How?”
“I have two things to tell you,” I said. I paused. “Are you listening?”
He nodded.
“First… you’re going to have to choose soon. You’re going to have to choose between everyone telling you to be practical and go after the money and the white picket fence and the BMW, or going after what you know you really want. What you know you should do. That practical money-chasing shit will not end well. You take your own counsel. You decide what path to take. Do you understand me?”
He was quiet for a moment. “I do,” he finally said.
I smiled and clapped him on the shoulder. It somehow made perfect sense to treat one’s own self in such an avuncular fashion.
“What was the second thing?” he said. “You had two things to tell me?”
“Yeah.” I looked past him, towards the dance floor. “See that girl?”
He turned to behold a beautiful young woman, small but lithe, with long, flowing chestnut hair. She danced alone to “Take On Me” near one of the huge speakers.
“You should ask her to dance,” I said. “You will never see her again, but you will always remember her.”
“I can’t dance,” he said to me.
“I have a feeling she doesn’t care,” I replied.
He looked at me, wordless, unsure what to do.
“There’s one way to find out,” I said.
He gave me one last look before he approached her. I watched for just a moment as he spoke to her. Her smile was just as beautiful as I had imagined over the years.
I turned and disappeared into the crowd.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


dis·par·i·ty  noun 1. The condition or fact of being unequal, as in age, rank, or degree; difference: 2. Unlikeness; incongruity
It usually starts small.
A twinge of frustration that comes up out of the blue.  A fleeting moment of sadness for no discernable reason.  A vague feeling of regret that’s almost always there, lurking, somewhere in the back of your mind.  Sometimes you feel a little off and you don’t quite know why.  Something’s just not right, but you don’t quite know what it is.
You might get lucky one day and be confronted with what’s bothering you (though that event might not feel terribly lucky at the time).  That nagging little voice suddenly is suddenly right in your face and you are seeing, in living color and full relief, just what’s been nagging at you.  Whatever the case, you realize that your life is not in harmony with what it should be, could be or with who you are.  You have a disparity. Your life is not congruent with what it could be.
Those uncomfortable feelings (and rest assured… they will grow over time) are a strong sign that it’s time to change.  They are definitive signals that it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and onto the next level.  

in·er·tia: (noun)  1. Physics The tendency of a body to resist acceleration; the tendency of a body at rest to remain at rest or of a body in straight line motion to stay in motion in a straight line unless acted on by an outside force.  2. Resistance or disinclination to motion, action, or change.
There’s a problem, though.  You’ve been in that comfort zone of yours for so long you’re finding it almost impossible to get off the launch pad.  You feel overwhelmed.  You don’t know what to do or where start.  You’re finding it almost impossible to move your tachometer off zero.  
Inertia is at hand.  And inertia is a bitch.  It’s like cement overshoes in a mafia movie.  It weighs you down until you feel like you can’t move forward or even stand.  Even worse, inertia sneaks up on you, as if you’re the proverbial lobster in a stockpot of boiling water. You don’t realize what’s happening until it’s almost too late (note the almost).  One day you wake up and find your precious comfort zone has shrunk to the point that it’s as constricting as a straight jacket.
That’s the bad news.  I have some good news for you, though.  Since inertia is largely a state of mind, it is controllable and changeable.  Make no mistake, rising above it won’t be easy.  It may take everything you’ve got and then some.  This is also good news, because you’ll finally get to find out just what you’re made of… and if you truly give this your all, you’ll quickly learn that you’ve been selling yourself short, probably for a good long time.
It’s time for a revolution.  It’s time for your revolution.

rev•o•lu•tion (noun) 1. a complete and forcible overthrow and replacement of an established government or political system by the people governed.  2. a sudden, complete, or radical change in something.
No, I’m not talking about setting up a bloody coup d'etat to overthrow a government.  What I do mean is a radical change in your own established order.  Whatever you’re doing now is not working, so it stands to reason that you need to run your life in a radically different way.
The first thing you’ll need to do is get in touch with your motivation, both good and bad.  We all understand so-called ”good motivation.  I’m all about encouragement and positivity, both of which have a place here (we’ll get to that a little later).  Right now, though, it’s time to channel your inner bad ass and call in the psychological shock troops. Make your negative emotions work for you rather than against you.
What do I mean?  Delve into your regret, both in what’s already passed you by and what will if you don’t get off your ass.  Get mad. Get furious.  And use it all.
  • Think about the promotion you didn’t get because you failed to give your all at work.
  • Think about the relationship that died because you were afraid of getting hurt.
  • Think about the dream you keep putting on hold because your fear of failure continues to hold you back.
  • Think about how you’ll feel a year from now if you don’t step up and give it your all.
  • Etc.
  • Etc.
  • Etc.
Getting a little agitated right about now?  Maybe a little pissed off? Good. Let’s keep going.
Now think about those people who pushed you around and put you down.  Are you going to let them:
  • Keep doing whatever it is they’re doing to you?
  • Are you still going to feel bad about it, thereby continuing to let them run your life?
Let’s consider what you’ve had enough of in your life.  Think about what you’re sick of:
  • Being poor.
  • Being out of shape.
  • Wasting time on things and people that don’t matter.
  • Saying you’re going to do things and never doing them.
  • Wasting your potential and living a life that’s ten steps or more below what you deserve.
  • Missing out on opportunities.
  • How your comfort zone has gotten smaller and smaller over the years.
  • How your standards have slowly slipped.
Now let’s shift into a more positive mode.  
  • Who are you?  Are you the kind of person that just gives up and lives a mediocre life?  I think you know the answer to that.
  • What do you want? What do really, really want, so bad you can taste it?
  • When do you want it?  I mean specifically.  Spoiler alert: someday is not an acceptable answer.
  • Where are you now? Do a brutally honest assessment of your current situation, in all spheres of your life.
  • Why do you want it?  What truly drives you, what motivates you from deep inside your core?
  • How are you going to get there?
Take your what, your when and your how and start making a detailed plan.  Then you need to aggressively execute that plan.  No, I’m not talking about some vague blob of words like “I want to rich” or “I want to lose weight” or “I want to be happy”.  Definitive goals, clearly stated:
  • I will lose 20 pounds by a certain date.
  • I will save up $xxx by xxx date.
  • I will publish xxxx by xxxx date.
Take each goal.  Break it down into teeny little bite-sized pieces.  Knock it down a hunk at a time on a consistent basis.  Yes, I know we’ve all heard this before, but apparently there are those among us that need a reminder.  

re·spon·si·bil·i·ty (noun) 1. the state or position of being responsible 2. a person or thing for which one is responsible 3. the ability or authority to act or decide on one's own, without supervision
I’m going to ask you to do something hard now.  I’m going to ask you to take responsibility.
Sure, it’s not your fault that your significant other left you high and dry, emptying out your bank account in the process.  It’s not your fault that your parents constantly put you down and made mincemeat out of your self-esteem before you even hit puberty.  It’s not your fault… but it’s still your responsibility to overcome whatever it was and move past it.  Even if you played no sort of role in whatever happened, you still have the responsibility to:
  1. Choose your reaction.
  2. Deal with it. Deal with your emotions and deal with the situation.
  3. Or better yet, use it to make you a better, stronger person. Turn that bitterness into some anger that you can use to fuel your own personal revolution.  Turn that anger into the positive forward motion that will enable you overcome that inertia

In the end, it’s past time to go all out and get the life you know you deserve… as it’s so often said, if not now, then when?  If things are rough, if you’ve been knocked down one too many times… it’s time to take back your life.  Start your revolution today.