Small Things

Marcus Aurelius, last of the Five Good Emperors journaled relentlessly, reminding himself that you have power to control your reactions to the events in your life. Circumstances do not define you; your reactions to those circumstances do. “You’re better off not giving the small things more time than they deserve,” he remarked. This evergreen advice speaks directly to our generation. We procrastinate and put off DECIDING what our PRIORITIES are, and then wonder why we never realize our dreams. We take ZERO action, preferring to complain about the small things. Silent, Imperfect action will get you closer to the goal. The Good Emperor puts this more plainly than I’ve ever read elsewhere, “If it’s endurable, endure it. Stop complaining.” More than simply not sweating the small stuff. Sort out what REALLY matters to you, create priorities, and then focus relentlessly on THOSE things. The small things should fall to the bottom of the list and be ignored. Forget about haters, copiers, unkind people, unfavorable circumstances, and GRIND… Every.F’n.Day. Check out Mel Robbins on YouTube. Start by searching “Why Motivation is Garbage”, and then read her book The 5 Second Rule (book). Or…Do nothing. It’s your life, if you choose it.


Watch this YouTube video and try not to be inspired.

I’m not affiliated with the Be Inspired team, but my goodness, this compilation of motivational speeches hits on so many levels. I’ve read and listened to a number of these speakers and thinkers and authors already, but as a cohesive whole, the sum is greater than the parts. Former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink, author of Extreme Ownership, says at 12:52 “Take Ownership! Take Extreme Ownership. Don’t make excuses. Don’t blame any other person or any other thing. Get control of your ego. Take ownership of everything in your world. The good AND the bad. Take ownership of your mistakes, take ownership of your shortfalls, your problems, and the solutions that will get those problems solved. Take ownership of your mission, of your job, of your team, of your future, AND TAKE OWNERSHIP OF YOUR LIFE!”

You have 5 seconds. If you don’t decide to do this HERE and NOW, your brain will make an excuse to keep you where you are, where it’s safe, where you don’t have to change. Fuck that. Take ownership, right now in a real tangible way.

Stop. Take a deep breath. Hold it. Let go.

Did you feel it? The space between those two breaths?

That quiet stillness was yours. You owned it.

Maybe the rest of your day was pure chaos, but you owned that moment. And guess what? You can do that at any time you choose.

Choose to do it more often. This is just the beginning…

It’s OK to be OK

Ancient Stoic Philosopher, @Epictetus once said:

“Deliberate much before saying or doing anything, for you will not have the power of recalling what has been said or done.” – Epictetus

I have said and done many things to prove that statement correct, only to later realize that it doesn’t and shouldn’t be regret that follows #Action but a deep understanding that the choices we make make us. This quote stirs up some emotions in me from a heated discussion I had this weekend. An old buddy was in town and we met up downtown for some drinks after a concert. He’d met up with some random new people and everyone was having ‘New Acquaintance” conversations in a relatively loud bar. It came up in conversation that a majority of us were combat veterans, but one of the “New guys” was a patriot civilian with a passion for PTSD. In fact, I believe it was the first question out of his mouth to me. “Do you have PTSD?” The question didn’t really phase me, because although I’ve seen and been through some very intense training and real-life situations, I am very well-adjusted and have sorted out my emotions on the things I’ve done and seen. I do not have any lingering illness.

Like the image above, however I felt very alone in my opinion that “It’s ok to be ok.”

The guy kept pressing, and it was pretty interesting to hear his side of the issue. He ultimately came to the conclusion that he wants to make sure that vets get treatment and not outcast when they get back from combat, and if they need help, they need a better level of care. In the heat of the discussion, I had to think long and hard before saying anything because as Epictetus said, I know that words can’t come back. I wasn’t against everything he was saying, in fact, we agreed on plenty, but his tone… It was as if the man wanted every vet to be psychoanalyzed because surely, “You’re all fucked up when you come back.” Hearing that, I couldn’t simply say nothing. He needed to hear something from someone who’s been through hell and kept on moving.

You see, some people won’t talk about it. Some people will. Some will only talk to others who have “been there” and some people are ok. That demographic, the people who are ok, need to know that they are not somehow different, weird, or other than human. They should also not develop hubris and think that they are somehow Superhuman. He said to me, “I feel bad for your guys…” and I said, “That’s just it, You feel bad for me for having been through some of the most trying times of my life, and I appreciate the sentiment, but honestly, I feel bad for those of you who HAVEN’T been tested in such a way. You have no idea how strong you can be….” And I let that linger.

People who can handle incredible amounts of stress and life and death decisions are not liars who will hide their pain and emotions. The notion that EVERYONE is fucked up is false. Plenty of people can compartmentalize their experiences and learn, even grow from adversity. Check out Nassim Taleb’s Antifragile for a full treatise on the idea that it takes tests, and shocks, and struggle to become more than robust. Some things GAIN from disorder, rather than degrading.


@byreginatv posted this meme today, and it’s poignant. We all come from different places, and surely I can’t speak for everyone who’s had traumatic experiences, as we all sailed from different ports, but maybe if one other person reading this needs to hear that “it’s ok to be ok” then that’s good enough for me.

Life is an adventure. It can be interesting, terrifying, awe-inspiring, and downright difficult, but it’s important to realize that it’s precious. Our time here is but a breath, and it’s up to us to seize the moments we have any craft them into the stuff of dreams.

Engage, #Act, and keep up the #hustle.


Tonight we invest in ourselves

Tonight people all over the world get together at bars and clubs and pubs and the like to escape reality for a moment. Why escape? Better yet, why only a moment? What if the escape could be for good, and you no longer had to punch the clock on Monday? Would you forgo the over-priced drinks and music so loud you can’t even hear the people you are with…if you knew that a better future could come from hard work and #hustle now? Marcus Aurelius said, “Everything’s destiny is to change, to be transformed, to perish. So that new things can be born.” Put another way, “We all have two lives. The second one starts when we realize we only have one…” When entrepreneurs talk about having a “sense of urgency”, this is what they mean!

A fun and motivating Instagram company @millionaire_mentor posts positive, #hustle rich memes all day. Today this one:

Speaking of grind, time for some coffee and personal development reading. #hustle on you #Action heroes!


Human Doing

I’ve become a human doing rather than a human being. I don’t know when it happened but I imagine it’s been going on like this for quite some time. You see, I’ve got a fantastic to do list. To be quite fair, my #bulletjournal is awesome, it’s a combination planner/tracker/journal/note keeper that keeps my productivity running on all cylinders. Did you notice that all of those things I mentioned are #Action-oriented. 

David Allen’s Getting Things Done is an example of a productivity philosophy meant to address this unending stress we subject ourselves to. In his program the idea is to get the swarm of ideas out of your brain, on to paper, clarified and prioritized and then actioned on. There is a serenity in that thinking that speaks deeply to my inner go-getter. I can hear him shouting.”Heck yes! Get to work!” 

To do lists are awesome for getting things done because in the fog of “what should I do now?” Or after a disruptive phonecall, or kids spill or whatever cognitive trap you find yourself in, having the list to go back and re-cage is awesome. That said, you are just DOING at that point. There is an incredible feeling when you get into the groove or “FLOW” and are cranking out work. Some multi-tasters or task switchers are able to maximize and optimize their performance with a cup of coffee and a written plan. That is all well and good, but I realized that the high wears off and even the best laid plans in journals become stale and boring and repetitive if it’s all about DOING.

For that reason, built into my TO DO, is a distinct personal development section of TO BE. This didn’t have a title before tonight…it was simply a compilation of “dailies” that were bits of science, philosophy classical, western and eastern, and reflection on gratitude. That’s right, I’m using my own personal OCD-ADHD against myself to build personal development into my day as a purposeful TASK. I’m going to force myself TO BE a human being by leveraging my love for being a human doing. 

Can you help but grin at the idea of positively tricking yourself into being awesome, or at the very least more worldly and exposed to thoughts more meaningful than the latest meme or tweet?

In Antifragile, Nassim Taleb discusses how older things, books, ideas have withstood the test of time and proven, by not being replaced, that they are superior to the latest fad or trend. He goes into mathematical proofs that determine how long something will be around based on how long it’s been around and prescribes a diet of old world knowledge. In a lot of ways, his advice to avoid Neo-mania, is so counter-culture I can’t help but think he’s got to be on to something. I want to have the next big idea as much as the next Type A, go-getter MBA out there, but it would seem there is nothing new under the sun. 

Surprisingly, this thought doesn’t make me cringe or worry. If it’s all been done before there are lessons to be learned, and much like today’s labor of love on a new website…the answers are out there because somebody has seen this issue before. I might be mixing podcasts right now and can’t provide adequate attribution but an idea I heard yesterday suggested that the best performers seek Unions rather than Intersections. Excellence, then, is in integrating rather than  derivating. True creation sees what isn’t there and breathes it into existence. Copycats will later create completion and take your idea from 1 to n scale, but the Genius takes 0 and goes to 1. Attribution Peter Thiel Zero to One

Ok, tons of words tonight to say what? The world needs Human Doings but for personal development and sustainable mental fortitude and growth the #Action step needs to be purposeful TASKS designed to build yourself into the best Human Being possible. (At least that’s the story I’m telling myself this week…)

NEXT TIME: “Does truth really matter if the story works?”

Free Agency

Not sure if this method of embedding video is allowed or not, but I wanted to make this video available to any readers. If you aren’t an avid Shark Tank connoisseur, or haven’t watched the Mavericks play and seen their owner out there supporting the team, you may not know who Mark Cuban is. He’s a billionaire investor, entrepreneur, and star of Shark Tank. As part of a really awesome series called 30 Days of Genius, @chasejarvis interviewed some of the best and brightest out there. Since I’ve already bragged about how awesome @RamitSethi and @TimFerris are, I wanted to point out some brilliant points Mr Cuban made in this piece. His mindset is, “We are all free agents” and we should be #hustling every day as such. There’s no time or reason to sit back satisfied, because no matter how far you’ve come, nobody’s “made it” yet. The most hardcore entrepreneurs are driven by that unending drive to improve more. These creatives are driven not by a desire to be better than the next guy but to be better than their previous self. There is so much room for growth if you are interested in growing!

I share a lot of Cuban’s ideas about the real #Action living at the intersection of emerging technologies. My day job relies heavily on working on that razor’s edge between remerging and adopted technology and maintaining the lead. Most industries live an operate in that space, but Cuban has made a living seeing how to PROFIT from seeing into the systems before they are apparent to everyone.

For all intents and purposes, Cuban has “made it.” To us common folk he’s got all of the trappings of the rich life that we’d love to have. He, and the other 1%’rs out there have made me inspired to craft a recipe for you and the 99% other average Joes to #BuyYourWayOutOfBondage. This will take Cuban-like focus, willingness to be out there doing what has to be done day in and day out, but it’s an algorithm for sure. If you are interested, let’s start a discussion.


What walls?

In theater, there is a concept called the 4th wall. It’s the artificial division between the the audience and the actors onstage. They are “in” the play, while the audience is “out” there in the real world. The aside is a deliberate, and sometimes surprising breaking of that artificial wall. The characters come out of character and talk directly to you in the audience, often pointing out something you might have missed. If you are a child of the 90’s Zach Morris’s “Time out” will come to mind.

In life, we build constructs that divide “us” and “them.” In small business, you sometimes make use of this artificial division and look official by having the website and the emails and perhaps a product or two, but maybe it’s just you and a partner hustling on the weekend and doing it all out of a garage or living room. The wall of “official” is like the 4th wall.

Tonight I contacted a small business that I LOVE! Field Notes Brand makes the best little portable notebooks, and their attention to materials, details, quality are all very impressive! I had an idea that I think would be great on their notebooks and I pitched it to them. Well, really, I have it to them freely because I don’t want anything in return besides consideration and if it’s a quality idea, that they do what they do best and make my idea come true with a very awesome notebook.

Will it happen? I don’t know, but it’s a lot more likely now that it’s out of my head and into the hands of the artists. Like a reverse aside I ignored their wall and offered them a free idea. This is small, but it’s a small step of courage. Asserting yourself in this manner, time and time again is a recipe for owning the space you are standing in. Claim the air you are breathing and make your voice heard. Change the world, start now, right now!