Don't ask why.

Don't ask why.

Life is an organizing force that converts resources to energy in order to survive.

Although we may not be able to figure out what makes life possible we can easily witness how life behaves.  Life organizes and creates. Life itself is an organizing force. From the most basic structures of bacterial life that began 3.8 billion years ago several distinguishable traits separated them from the rest of the chaos of the physical universe.  As the law of entropy tells us that order is less likely to happen than order the fact that the bacteria were able to grow and replicate tells us that something significant was happening. Although extremely primitive these life forms can teach us a lot about our own motivations.  The bacteria organized the elements in the environment in order to grow, reproduce and evolve. I think it’s worth of note that these first life forms made do with what was available. They were able to survive and flourish at that time when by our standards today the Earth’s atmosphere was highly toxic.  Our takeaway, the conditions will never be perfect for our continued growth or progress.

The purpose of life is to survive against seemingly insurmountable odds.

Life on this planet has faced five mass extinctions in the past.(*3)  Yet somehow life has bounced back and continued on at a higher order of evolutionary complexity.  We now may be facing the sixth major extinction brought on by our own use of resources, fossil fuels, mismanagement of nuclear energy, etcetera.  If we don’t want to enter into the pages of history as just another extinct species we must strive for fitness with response to these new environmental demands.  As humans we must actively look for ways to adapt and prepare for what could be coming. Everything can now be organized improved and managed. From our own personal health, to finances, to work-life balance, diet, sleep, education or family, each one or combination could be thrown into crisis at a moments notice.  Yet no matter what happens or how bleak things may seem we have to acknowledge that life itself has been here before and gotten through much worse.

Set Theory and Exercise

Set Theory and Exercise

Set Theory and Exercise

Set theory.png

I’m interested in helping people to understand language so that they may take better command of their lives. I see evidence supporting this observation every day. Because we are careless with the terms we use to describe life and the things we do, we get less than accurate results. I believe we need to look at the language of exercise as precisely as we do the language of mathematics and science.

For example, let’s look at two words that get thrown around a lot with regards to fitness and getting in shape, exercise and training. For example, is all training exercise and when we exercise, are we also at the same time training? These two words when grouped into sets define categories where one set of activities represent exercise, the other training. By applying this logic to the definitions we can show that although these two concepts overlap there are distinct and discrete areas where exercise and training do not coincide. I know this sounds like some heavy shit but it’s essential for anyone who wants to understand how to make effective and lasting change.

The Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines exercise as: … 2a.) regular or repeated use of a faculty or bodily organ, 2b.) bodily exertion for the sake of developing and maintaining physical fitness, 3.) something performed or practiced in order to develop, improve, or display a specific capability or skill

Webster’s defines train as: 1a.) to teach so as to make fit, qualified, or proficient 1b.) to form by instruction, discipline, or drill, 2.) to make prepared (as by exercise) for a test of skill

So we can take exercise to mean: regular and repeated bodily exertion, performed or practiced in order to develop, improve, display or maintain fitness, a specific capability or skill.

Likewise, we can define training as: teaching, forming, preparing, directing or drilling so as to make fit, qualified, proficient, instructed, disciplined, prepared, capable or skilled.

The first thing that jumps out (and this is where the diagrams overlap) is the mention of the acquisition of skill. Both exercise and training claim to result in the practitioner acquiring some form of skill. That’s great news because time spent in the gym should add up to something over time. Acquiring and improving our skills means we will have something to show for all of our effort even if not visible on the scale or in the mirror. However, that’s what bothers me most about the idea of exercise. It claims to imbue us with skill although it doesn’t really tell us how or why. Maybe we will get better/loose weight/get stronger if we simply practice???


Let’s dive into this a bit further.

Exercise says you have to engage in regular and repetitive bodily exertion and that doing so will lead to the development of improvements in fitness and skill. The problem here is that the term is nonspecific on how this will be done. Additionally, it’s this discrepancy I believe leads to problems and ultimately injury. I always look at learning how to master your self (i.e. your body in this case) as analogous to learning a musical instrument. Yes there exists a tiny percent of the population who can self teach themselves how to play but the overwhelming majority learn and progress faster with some form of instruction. This is why one must train. Training teaches, forms, prepares and directs us so we may become fit, qualified, proficient, capable and skilled. How does this happen? Well, you need to seek out someone who knows what they are doing, talking about or professing. That person or institution can form, prepare and direct. Look at any reputable school or college and you will see training at work. If the program is well designed the student will emerge capable and skilled. This won’t happen by accident or just through the osmosis of showing up. Teacher prepare their students so they will not only have the ability to pass the test but to then leave the class with the qualifications to apply the knowledge in the real world.

I know this seems like a minor and obvious point but the difference between exercise and training leads to confusion and poor results. When people say, they need exercise, it usually means they have not moved their body for a few days and feel the need to get their heart rate up and sweat a bit. That’s all fine and good but only works for a time. In high school, we had to run to lacrosse practice held at a field a few miles from the school. This activity could definitely be tossed into the proverbial exercise bucket. No one ever instructed us on how to run. The coaches just said be at the field by 3:30pm. As a result I developed persistent knee pain and shin splints. This was in the days before sports trainers attended to high school athletes so either you got over the pain or you quit. Survival of the fittest as if being thrown to the lions. Only decades later after I took a seminar on running did I learn the proper technique and mechanics required to run without causing damage.

Have I made my point? Exercise is the slow road to understanding fraught with pitfalls and lessons learned the hard way. Training, by its nature, aims to accomplish improvements and developments by following a specified path of instruction. I encourage you to find the path and stay on it. May you grow and improve into your old age.

Why Do I Train?

I grew up an outsider, never fully fitting in anywhere. Training is the safe space I have built over the past 25 years. When I’m training I momentarily give my soul safe harbor from the ocean of reality. My first love was skateboarding, then lacrosse, snowboarding. In college I moved on to martial arts and more recently, strength training.

With training I have fought and continue to fight both internal and external demons. I train to confront the myriad of emotions swirling in my body from living in a world full of desires and stresses. I know I can not have every shiny new thing my eyes or heart desires. Therefor, every positive step I take internally manifests itself as a result in the outside world. Learning to improve form or technique may not only yield a PR on the gym floor but lead to improvements in other areas of my life.

So I train to confront what’s coming at me, to get through it all, to fight back and ultimately to survive better. I want to live better every day, to love more and have more confidence. I train to compete with myself as well as to stay competitive with the rest of the guys my age (and younger!). I train to get better, to stoke the fire of desire, to win and to conquer doubt and negative self talk.

When I train I communicate with nature and free my mind. When I move, I taste both the infinite and the divine. I free locked up and constrained energy. I release any and all pent up emotion and frustration. When I train I starve off the evil dark side and feed what’s good and light.

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year

Write, write, write, write, write. Iambic pentameter. Expand intelligence. Become a symbol. Decide and make moves. Create. Remember the desire to be in the game of creation. What’s next? Deepen connections. I’m just some nobody from a small town outside of Pittsburgh. Shit yea. I claim Pittsburgh like I grew up in the city but in actuality I grew up as far from the city as one could possibly imagine. In my youth I could see water out my window, a coil of roads and deserted industrial wasteland. I was viewing the fallout after and economic boom and subsequent collapse, an aftermath. There was some joy but often overshadowed by sadness and the actual clouds of melancholy. Not a lot of sunshine in western PA! Cue the Smashing Pumpkins soundtrack.

That’s a funny word pumpkins. Maybe I can write a stand up bit about Halloween in West Virginia where it’s better to fuck a gourd than to pump your kins. Hahaha! Man that’s so funny to me.

Yup I grew up outside of Pittsburgh, on an island. Man, I wish I could HAVE that back. Just fully HAVE that place to myself. I wish I could have the resources to bridge the gap between there and here. To have the money to provide for my family so that we can really thrive. Not that we aren’t, it’s just that in New York City it’s obvious that there are those who are doing so much better. Moving out of the city doesn’t make it any easier. You have to go so far out to decrease the cost of living you trade your life commuting. Ideally, we hustle and plan our escape but there’s a gravity and force field that requires a special code to unlock. You can hear it in the competitive discussions between mothers. What school are you sending your child to? Where are you going on vacation? Same as what neighborhood do you live in and what car do you drive? We have to be smarter. Don’t play the game. Crack the code and win…

Back to my home. Neville Island. I feel there is some secret locked in there. A clue to the combination. A benefit to me and my family. The beginnings of the code. A connection, a safety. Yet I know the feeling is not enough to go on. There’s a resource component, a decision, a jump into the infinite. We must fill the lack that was carved out there. The search for knowledge and stability. Buying all of the property in the neighborhood and then demolish the houses. Building a mansion in the center. What cost? How much would it cost to get someone to leave? How much would it cost to relocate the house to the center of the property? Put up fences and hedges and raise horses.

Therefore, what can I build? What can I create? Imagine something new? If I were to create a product or a service. Fulfill a need. Solve a problem. What’s my problem? How do I reach more people? What needs to change?

So I write. I consider. I allow my mind to wander. Maybe I am a magician. Maybe just a lost dreamer. Either way I am happy in this moment. Runes. The I-Ching. Spirit Animals. The path of the shaman. The Taoist. The Chinese martial artist.

We move without pushing or dragging our feet. We feel our way with poor eyesight and a strong sense of smell. Feeling and finding a pulse; a through-line a continuation. Deep in my lair. My alcove. My quiet place to curl up and rest.

Gong hei fat choy!!!

Get Your Weight Right

Get Your Weight Right

It’s a new year and everyone is of course jumping on the loose weight and exercise bandwagon. Which, as a personal trainer, is awesome. It’s refreshing to encounter so many people motivated to make some big changes. Many will loose a few pounds and an equal number will quit or fall off the wagon shortly thereafter. The ones who sign up to train with me should get results. I say should because just getting the workouts in is of course, only part of the equation.

Unfortunately, in the past I have shied away from giving diet advice. Maybe I thought it was obvious what one was supposed to do. Maybe I was afraid to provide incomplete answers as diet and what to eat is the essence of the omnivore’s dilemma. In other words, we as humans can eat everything but as individuals have vastly different reactions to foods. Therefor, it’s dangerous and challenging and daunting to go down the road with someone when they ask the question, “What should I eat?”. I’d love to be able to say, “You can eat whatever you want and most of it will kill you.”

To help answer the age old question of what should one eat (and how much), I’d like to give a little insight into how I make my choices. Here’s the catch. You need to calculate your daily nutrition needs based on what you weigh now and what you want to weigh in the future. It’s going to involve some math. I know. That kinda sucks. Math is hard. Look at it like this. Even if you don’t actually go through the steps to find your actual daily food requirements you can just as easily try what I’m suggesting for a week or so and monitor how you feel. Your mood, energy and waistline are the true barometer. OR you can go here: and calculate your daily caloric needs. So there you go! Now you know how many calories to eat now let’s talk food.

From the get, food must become more and more elemental. Meaning it should look like what it is. Meat looks like it could have been on an animal, vegetables even when cooked look as if you just cut or pulled them from the ground. If you can not cook your own food, then you will have to find places where you can buy exactly what you want a la carte. This is easier than it may seem. For real. I could pull this off at McDonalds if I was desperate. And that’s the operative word. You have to become a little desperate, a little insane, a little unreasonable. Just to prove my point in the Micky D’s example I just mentioned, you could order two egg McMuffins, throw away the cheese and the bun and order a salad with no croutons or dressing and there you have it. Protein, fat and carbohydrates. The building blocks of life.

The first step in conquering the world is of course conquering the self. For me the biggest holes in my self control come from what I put into my mouth. First and foremost in the form of thoughtless calories. From my laid back, Taoist philosophical perspective I’ve never been one to count calories. You know, just eat when you’re hungry. It’s not that complicated. However, I recently read a book that explained in detail how that in order to get “big and shredded” one must absolutely have enough of the respective macronutrients in the diet to support that physique and the corresponding look. Well duh. Looking like a shredded freak obviously doesn’t happen by accident or more people would be doing it. So if you feel you are ready, then now is the time to lean out by truly taking a hard look at the numbers.

Raw Word Slam

Raw Word Slam

I have to publish this today as it has been on my to do list since last week. My goal is to produce maybe one funny insight or unique thought. Maybe I can just show up to freestyle and brainstorm in this space and then choose to publish it anyway.

Here’s what’s happening right now. I’m typing away at my computer while listening to a “chill hip hop skateboard mix” in a Starbucks on the corner of 55th and Lexington in NYC. Twenty years ago I might have thought this sounds pretty cool. I can say it’s better than sitting in an office but how would I know if that is true? I haven’t had and office job in fifteen years. I can tell you this: The people in Starbucks suck, including myself. This is as much a symptom of New York city as it is simple plain old general suckiness of humans commuting during rush hour in general. But here’s the problem, I know that I’m nothing more than a victim of my own shitty perspective. I sit down to write hoping to change my perspective.

What if I told you a story about:

  1. Drug use and living in and around poverty

  2. The grizzly murder of a family pet

  3. A trip to a cabin that ends in tragedy

  4. A group of friends who go to Alaska for the summer

Words In 4 line stanzas:

So here’s the game: get that money and a taste of fame.  

Answer the question why and try to understand while I write out my blame

You got a level of need for acknowledgement and recognition.

Play your position, went to college for systems engineering

The years have taught me more than the weekends

And now I know there are no secrets

Just another grown up sitting in a Starbucks pretending I’m the meanest

Intermittent fasting so I can show of who’s the cleanest.

So now who’s the realest? Give two fucks and no shit.

With power comes great responsibility be careful what you do with it.

Happy and content. Sixteen bars for your ass and tits.

Thrown out on the streets like a tired piece of shit

Smelling so fresh when I bounce back in the booth

Dead already. Something big. Biting through with my tooth.

Love and sex two vastly different things with small overlap.

The cosmic serpent. The spiraling energy. We all must let go.  

I got 99 problems but they’re not the real problem.

A few generations later we’ll all be forgotten.

I fight and push sometimes just let go.

Here is my facility in NYC. Big pillars.

Enter my dojo of doom and death.

Tattoos and small business loans.

So sorry I just don’t care right now. I’m going into my mind.

My mind that rides on these animals.

Totem. Publishing. Fearful. Composed and upright. My song my poetry.

There is this tendency to shut down and turn off.

I still feel the power to get excited and follow through.

So happy. I was born that way. Optimistic.

Where does the shutdown come from? My ego my insecurity.

Music to skateboard to. Beats, rhymes etcetera. Selfishness.

Just ask me. Maybe this is how I can heal myself today?

The master says he was working on me. I’m now working on you.

Dear family you are so dedicated. My son interested in becoming.

Please let me help you. Planes of motion. Rotations and forces.

I will mix the medicine of my ancestors and contemporaries.

So many elements transforming and dissipating.

Quiet and Subtle

Quiet and Subtle

Sometimes you write with a passion to create and sometimes you write to vent and fill the page. This is definitely one of the latter. What can I say other than I’m psyched. I’m pumped. I can see that me life is a story and the outcome depends on how I choose to tell it. I’ve got everything at my fingertips and I guess that’s also why I feel as if my dreams are slipping through my grasp. I swear I glimpsed the infinite tonight. I saw straight through all of the illusion and saw the other side. Everything in the world was speaking to me as if to quietly and subtly say, “It’s going to be ok. It all works out. Don’t go down that road kicking and screaming.”

Oh but I do want to kick and scream a little.

Still I’m reminded of the process and how I’m a hip and happening 40 year old dude. Fuck all that we get better with age shit. We can keep getting better or we can give the fuck up and throw in the towel. I’m in the first camp. I see people out there in there 60s, 80s and above moving and living well. I’m pretty sure I’m healthy. Maybe I could drink a little less and maybe I could eat more greens but on the whole I think my bases are covered on the health and fitness category. Or at least I believe I know enough and behave out of that knowledge in a manner which lacks reproach.

What doesn’t lack reproach is my inability to comprehend how all the pieces fit together as events are unfolding. For example: On my way downtown to do standup tonight I had to push my way onto a packed subway train at 59th street in Manhattan. Rather than move in to make room people like to stand near the doors as it means they won’t be surrounded on all sides by people when the train leaves the station. I’ve done it hundreds of times. It’s fine if that where you want to draw your line ing the sand. I’m just trying to get on the train. This evening the coveted doorway spot was being held by a blond lady who was shielding herself with a gigantic purse. No big deal, I unshouldered my backpack and began to wriggle my way into the crowd. Then I felt an elbow push back. It was the blond. Ok I get it, nobody likes to be pushed but there also comes a time when the train becomes so packed you need to relinquish your doorway spot and move into the train. I could see two empty seats across opposite from where I stood so I knew there was plenty of space. The cattle were just getting grumpy.

Then to all in ear shot she says, “Stop pushing and get on the next train. I’m 9 months pregnant.”

Woah. Now it’s been confirmed. I am an evil person. Because of my selfish, creative, indulgent, fantasies and delusions of grandeur I have resorted to pushing pregnant women just to get 5 minutes of stage time. Nine month pregnant women to be exact.

In my defense, I’d like to state here for the record:

  1. I did not push. I merely wriggled assertively. I mean hey, I work out. You don’t want to really see me push.

  2. If you are pregnant don’t try to hold onto the door spot. Technically that’s reserved for those big enough and strong enough to deal with a little incidental contact.

  3. When it’s crowed as fuck, move in, make room and sit in the empty seats.

  4. I didn’t want to play this card but I feel it’s worth mentioning. This blond, big bag toting, nine months pregnant woman had a rock (actually 3 rocks) on her finger big enough to use as a sliding glass door on a shower. This ring could probably put a kid through private college. And all I’m saying, all I’m saying is this, you can’t have it both ways. If you want to be one with the people and get pity for being bumped around on the subway then be one of the people. Most pregnant women who walk onto the subway part crowds like the red sea because people in New York are not assholes who would EVER push a woman let alone a pregnant one. They would get out of the way and offer her a seat.

Weirdest thing about this whole episode was that after she announced that she was pregnant people around her offered her a seat and simultaneously commented, “Oh you don’t even look pregnant!” Crazy shit. Was she even pregnant? I’ll never know, I was sitting in one of the empty seats on the other side of the train. My embarrassment shrouded by the thick crowd of denizens making their way on the NYC subway.

The Way of Zen

The Way of Zen

Depending on what perspective we use to look at life one can arrive at wildly different interpretations of the same event.  From one angle there is something and then again nothing. Everything has it's dual nature: on and off, black and white, zeros and ones, yin and yang.  Here in this moment the rule stands that we must make decisions and take action.  We have no choice. Like the lyrics of the Rush song, even if you choose not to choose you have still made a choice. 

Keep in mind things are not themselves inert and static. Things have a beginning middle and end. Put another way things are also events.  Take the event of a chair coming into being for example. The thing, the chair must be manufactured and built before it can be placed at a table. There was an event that occurred to bring it into being and then it exists and persists for some time before experiencing the event of its destruction.

So here we are stuck in the middle.  We have enough to live but want more. We need but so much yet use lots and lots.  Through what lens can we experience the trappings of a life well lived, while not over consuming and remaining in a state of abundance?

I'll do you one better.  My choice to get on stage.  I repeatedly make this choice but can't exactly say how or why I arrive at this decision. I just know I have to do it. It's as if I'm viewing my life now from my deathbed and saying, "You'll regret not getting up there. You'll regret not throwing your hat in the ring." Yet I'm not funny and I can't write a joke to save my life. On one hand I could see an audience laughing at this insight but then they are going to want a follow up. They are going to quickly learn that I'm not doing a bit. That I actually suck and have sucked for a long, long time. 

Then you can get into the whole thing about being depressed and needing or not needing therapy. Two things I know to be true. One, if I get enough sleep I don't need no stinking therapy.  Two, on principal alone I would never kill myself.  I don't care how bad it gets, I'd rather see how it plays out. I'd rather pick myself up by my bootstraps and soldier on. I'd rather lean on my friends and family than throw in the towel. Because that's what life is all about. I'd rather push the limits of what it means to exist in the moment and keep throwing chips on the table.

Winter Prayer

Winter Prayer

Wind howels through the treetops.

Reflection of the sun dances on the water.

Smoke curls up to tease the sky.

May I be worthy to receive the medicine. 

The hawk screams.



There are no such thing as problems so don’t go looking for contradictions to this rule. It’s just the way of things. As a matter of fact, one’s inability to grasp this concept actually leads one to create and have problems. To clarify, there are no problems just conflicting circumstances that require investigation, analytical thinking and persistence. Once one gains thorough understanding appropriate action can occur. So you want to get the most out of life? You can never have it all unless you come to terms with the fact that everything changes and everyone does what they want and that after a few hundred years no one will remember who you where or care what you did. Depressing? No. It’s the definition of freedom. Develop the ability to see through to the timeless core of a situation and make decisions or even drastic changes when needed. Problems are nothing more than opportunities to find better solutions. Go on and poke the box, stir things up and see what happens. 

Notes to ponder on the Effective Executive

Notes to ponder on the Effective Executive

The knowledge worker cannot be supervised closely or in detail. He can only be helped, but he must direct himself toward performance and contribution, that is, toward effectiveness. 
Every knowledge worker in modern organization is an "executive" if, by virtue of his position or knowledge, he is responsible for a contribution that materially affects the capacity of the organization to perform and obtain results.
Such a man (or woman) must make decisions, he can not just carry out orders. He must take responsibility for his contribution.
Peter Drucker, The Effective Executive
I'm doing my best to get out of the way and let my staff operate at their own pace. The hardest thing about getting someone to start training is getting them into the facility. I'm doing everything I can to fill the place with people. Next we have to get everyone excited and enthusiastic about training. This goes for both the trainers and the clients. You can tell when you walk into a store and they recently had some sort of meeting to rally the morale. Everyone greets you and offers assistance. Sometimes it seems forced or too much. Maybe it's like a muscle and the more often you use it the better it functions. That's when you know culture has taken hold. Everyone knows how to behave because that's what the group expects. 
I almost shed a tear this weekend when I went into a bar to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers play. Nearly every person in the bar had some sort of Steelers gear on. The whole place was unified and the vibe was electric. I could feel my hometown pride swell and knew exactly what to say and how to act. That's what it's like being on a team. Everyone feels welcome and wants to contribute as much as they possibly can.

Looking for Opportunities to Change

Looking for Opportunities to Change

A lot of making progress has to do with assessing the present moment and comparing it to what has happened in the past. Looking at the present as well as being present are desirable skills and states of existence respectively. However simply acting with the mind of a child in the present doesn’t actually cover all of the bases you will need in order to be successful. Yes we want to approach challenges and obstacles with a sense of play and curiosity but we also will benefit from some serious analysis and comparison of the events in the near and distant past. Really what I’m asking you to do is develop a dynamic mind capable of assuming varying energetic states instantaneously and then being able to switch between them plastically and seamlessly. You have to be able to receive information, analyse and then act or react appropriately.

It all starts with simply recognizing how you behave. For years I wasted every Saturday and Sunday recovering from a hangover. It's amazing I finished college. Thankfully I realized the partying was not slowly killing me. One night in my sophomore year of college after taking an exorbitant dose of ecstasy, had an intense nightmare. I dreamed I had stuffed handfuls of pills into my pockets and I was attempting to walk through the halls of my high school unnoticed. I felt as if everyone was staring at me. There were so many pills in my pockets they started to run down my pant legs and spill onto the floor. Consumed by embarrassment I ran for the door pills scattering in my wake. I woke up quite scared and freaked out. I knew I wasn’t living up to my ideals or moral code. I didn’t want to hurt myself anymore. I was ready to make a change. Not long after, I came up with the idea of trying out martial arts. I knew martial arts involved discipline and commitment. That would be the opposite of how I had been behaving. By recognizing the pattern I was able to consciously implement new behavior. The key is to replace negative behaviors with more neutral and hopefully positive ones. Then monitor the changes and be willing to continue to make adjustments.

The Most of Life

So you want to get the most out of life? Woop dee do. What does that even mean? You can never have it all unless you develop the ability to change your perspective. No one person owns Central Park yet as a New Yorker at different moments I have felt as if I owned Central Park. No I can't put up a fence and kick everyone out. I'll never have a piece of paper that reads "Deed to Central Park owner: Adam Shuty". If you want to get the most out of life all you have to do is acknowledge the fact that you are actually alive. Yep that means something. If you are reading and comprehending these words you are in fact a sentient being capable of contemplating as well as adjusting your own experience. 

As I write these words I can confidently say that I have it all and have successfully accomplished everything I have set my mind to achieve. I feel as though I'm king of the world. In the same breath, with little imagination and a slight shift of perspective I can say that I am a beggar, a pauper, a thief, charlatan and hypocrite. What's closer to the truth is that we may be a combination of all of these traits. Rich in some ways flat broke in others. People talk about living the good life but ignore the fact that the good life can't exist without some amount of bad. The good life to me is the true life or the Truth life. 

I know people who were born into financial wealth and those who were born with next to nothing. There are those with great advantages and those who have had the deck stacked against them. I don't see measurable differences in either of these group's happiness. Yes there exist higher and better states of existence, consciousness and awareness but those states will only be achieved by the perspective change of the individual. These changes to be achieved must be actively pursued.

Here are the ways one can actively change their perspective for the better:

  1. Go to school or study a subject in depth. Once understanding has been achieved then one can use that knowledge as a lens through which life can be understood. The more lenses you have the more accurate view you have on the Truth of reality in front of you.
  2. Travel to another part of the word. Through travel we see how other cultures behave. Conversely we can then come to understand our own culture and behavior.
  3. Ingest drugs. This method is not ideal as the side effects of drugs can be more than detrimental. Regardless there is a lot of evidence out there that support the use of certain substances to create state change. 

To be continued...

First Meditation

First Meditation

I'm finally getting back into journaling and writing. It's amazing how we can get thrown off track. Well, I guess I have a good excuse. My life has been filled with business management and the raising of an infant. Now that the business is a little more under control and my son is older I'm finding time again to be more introspective.

Life, like the energy in the body, doesn't always flow the way we intend or want. Whether you call them chakras, energy centers or even nerve plexuses these areas of the body warrant our attention.

Without going too far into detail I'm offering this drill as a no tech assessment of your current state. It's just a check in but can improve energy, mood and posture.

  1. First of all look around. Where are you at the moment? Are you seated or standing or lying down?
  2. How does your body feel? Feel your feet on the ground and if seated your hips and back of your legs where they contact the chair. 
  3. Take a deep breath. Can you relax the muscles of your pelvic floor? Can you contract them? Investigate this area and notice how you have now become more aware of what's happening around you as well as inside your body. 
  4. Continue in this way. Observe the world around you then next take a deep breath into your belly. Upon exhaling can you contract your abdominal muscles? Relax again and breath normally. Work your way up the body, observe the outside and inside. Progress this way, breathing, contracting and relaxing until you have explored all the way up to the top of the head.
  5. Then let it all go and just observe.

This simple drill is both profound and powerful. Awareness leads to more and more understanding about how to navigate life. Look for other opportunities to learn and expand what you know. Never stop searching and never stop learning.

Chant Number One: Spell to Summon the Universe

I'm learning and learning and learning. Yet I can barely type or speak and I don't know a fucking thing about anything. I'm rattling this off with my slow ass typing ability. Still this will be my medicine. I would like to do it on stage at as a stand up comedian. I would like to put it into bars and make a rap song. That would imply that I wanted my thoughts and words to be organized into a palatable format. I refuse (at this time) to put in that type of effort. 

For now I'm going to rattle and vomit. I'm going to question and wait. I'm going to allow the gods, beings and entities and forms of the universe conspire in my favor. I call them forth to my aid now. I summon their power and cast this spell. I am free and we are free and this world will melt to nothing more than another concept or thought, which is all that it is anyway. These are my meditations. For I will never back down and I will never break. I'm here to unlock doors and shine light into the bullshit filled darkness. 

Becoming Prometheus

I’m in the basement of my apartment building and trying to get the laundry done. Not in the right frame of mind. Thumbing through instagram all of the things I'm not but think I'm supposed to become. Resenting those who present the most desirable version of themselves as a power move. The images scream "Look at me and my life. Here is my car and my hot spouse/abs/kids." All lies and trash. When and how will I ever cross that line. Life's stories told through the art of film. The third act climax. Maybe we are already looking for a more visceral way of catharsis and entertainment.

While alive we spend our time trying to make sense of a nonsensical universe. We all will die and everything we worked for someday will be gone.  Thankfully, fragments of our efforts live on through our contribution to society, our children and the woks we leave behind. Even after we are dead that addition you built on your house should bring value to a future generation. It's not an Egyptian pyramid but hey you left your mark!

As a forward thinking human I can empathize with the perils of future generations. Still I shed no tears for the dinosaur, Neanderthal or the Native American. Well maybe a few tears well in my heart for the Native American. We can romanticize about life in the Americas before Columbus. Sadly their civilizations and way of life had no chance. Inferior weapons and immune systems gave little resistance to the presence of Old World conquistadors. 

Much like the Old World contact with America, we now move rapidly toward a homogenized globe with homogenized disease and culture. All uniqueness and differences will dissolve. We will soon become one race, one society. An outward bound organism running out of space. Science fiction becomes reality. The Earth as a fruit ripens and send out seeds of life to search for other existences on other planets. Mars will be colonized, then attempts to reach far away earths will be made through hibernation chambers of frozen DNA. Once we can incubate a human outside of a woman's body and have robots that can raise the child to adulthood its game over for long distance space travel. We can begin to colonize the galaxy and beyond. We become the Ridley Scott's Prometheus. 

Maybe this futuristic idea can exist, maybe we end our reign much like the dinosaur in a transformative oblivion. The reptile never disappeared. It transformed into another roll in the hierarchy of existence. Humans undoubtedly will have to do the same. Maybe we will evolve to support a higher order life form. For now we fight to maintain our position at the top of the heap.

Write a Personal Mission Statement

You could do the same thing over and over again or you could analyze your life and attempt to make changes. Actually I'd argue that you can do more than attempt to make changes you can succeed. But where to start and what to do? The big names in self improvement from Napoleon Hill to Steven R. Covey agree life change can originate with a well though out personal mission statement. 

Here's how to write you first mission statement:

1. Read the following list of values and pick the top five that resonate most with you. You are welcome to do your own search and find your own values or get a brand deck and use it to find your core values. 

Core Values List

  • Authenticity

  • Achievement

  • Adventure

  • Authority

  • Autonomy

  • Balance

  • Beauty

  • Boldness

  • Compassion

  • Challenge

  • Citizenship

  • Community

  • Competency

  • Contribution

  • Creativity

  • Curiosity

  • Determination

  • Fairness

  • Faith

  • Fame

  • Friendships

  • Fun

  • Growth

  • Happiness

  • Honesty

  • Humor

  • Influence

  • Inner Harmony

  • Justice

  • Kindness

  • Knowledge

  • Leadership

  • Learning

  • Love

  • Loyalty

  • Meaningful Work

  • Openness

  • Optimism

  • Peace

  • Pleasure

  • Poise

  • Popularity

  • Recognition

  • Religion

  • Reputation

  • Respect

  • Responsibility

  • Security

  • Self-Respect

  • Service

  • Spirituality

  • Stability

  • Success

  • Status

  • Trustworthiness

  • Wealth

  • Wisdom

2. Take your top five and write a few declarative statements about yourself. For example if you chose "Stability" you might write, "I am creating stability in my life by making good decisions, creating a budget and connecting more with the friends that matter most".  The important thing is that you believe what you write and feel that your statements are positive, declarative and truthful. It's all about what you want to achieve and where you want to go. 

3. Now for the tough part: Read and study your mission statement every day. Update it as you see fit and keep working on it until you can recite it from memory. Through the effort and energy put into perfecting and memorizing, your mission will become ingrained into your thoughts and actions. 

4. Enjoy the ride.

Life Hack Top 10 List

Life Hack Top 10 List

Here's ten things you can do right now to drive and motivate both you and your business. Included with each point is a book which will allow you to delve deeper into each subject. Of course this is not an exhaustive list but if you haven't done the following and/or read these books you absolutely should! 

1. Write a Personal and Business Mission Statement
You need to be in alignment with yourself and where you want to go. A mission statement says “This is me! This is who I am and where I want to get to!”. The business mission statement does the same thing for the business. The business mission statement says, “This is who we are and this is what we are trying to accomplish together.” Without a clear vision both you and your business will sputter and go off in distracted divergent directions. Get clear on who you are and where you are going individually and as a team then get after it and get going!


2. Journal Daily
As a business owner and entrepreneur there are literally thousands of thoughts going through your head each day. You need to get out of your head and keep your mind sharply focused on the tasks at hand. To accomplish this, spend 20-40 minutes writing down everything in your crowded head into a notebook. It doesn’t have to be spell checked or grammatically correct. All that matters is that you dump your thoughts onto the page. Write and write and write everyday. Use this as a therapeutic time to say everything you want. If you need to scream your frustrations this is the time and place to do it. Don’t judge the outcome as most of what you write will be to clear the crap from your mind. If something of value comes up great. Write the gems down on a separate page and put it aside for further consideration later, but keep on writing. The benefit comes from dumping thoughts en mass rather than analyzing what you are writing for content value. 


3. Get 8 Hours of Sleep
If you are going after your dreams hardcore then you are probably burning the candle at both ends. Don’t fall into the trap of believing you need to get more and more done today. As a small business owner or captain of industry there will always be more work to do. There are tons of studies out there and resources that will support you in getting a good night's sleep. The benefits compound as you will be more effective as a well rested human rather than as a overly caffeinated sleep deprived workaholic.


4. Develop a Reflection/Meditation Practice
You don’t need candles, a guru or an expensive complex process. Just find the time to sit quietly each day, breathe deep and relax. Use this time to look over your life or to simply focus on nothing. The type A, accomplished, driven person will struggle with this the most yet here is where the hidden juice can be mined. At first you may need to convince yourself that you are only taking the time to meditate and reflect so you can be more effective later and that’s a fine place to start from. What’s great is that the longer you do this the more benefits you will discover. Don’t over think this step, 80% of highly productive and effective people use some sort of meditative practice each day. Statistically speaking you probably will benefit from this practice if not professionally then personally. 


5. Exercise
Come on, you know this one had to be on the list. If you aren’t exercising and taking care of your body then what’s the point of all your hard work? Without exercise our bodies will fail us sooner rather than later. We have to play the long game as human beings. We have to look at how our actions today will affect the future. That thinking when applied to the physical body means one thing only. Daily maintenance through physical training and exercise. Just like everything else, make a plan, schedule it and most importantly enjoy it!


6. Study Others’ Success Stories
Know that you are not alone in your desire for success. The world has been built on the ideas and elbow grease of visionaries. Take all of your passion and willpower and multiply its effects by studying the success of others. Everyone from inventors, to presidents, actors to athletes all had to overcome challenges in order to make their mark in the world. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. The path to success is actually pretty well worn. Look to others who have blazed the trail and take lessons from their experience. Even if you have a brand new idea that’s never been attempted before you can learn for others who accomplished the same feat. 


7. Post an Update
Sadly we can’t get recognition for what we are doing inside a vacuum or bubble so we have to break out and post something for others to see. Social media has dozens of portals for you to share your ideas. Even if you don’t have any earth shattering news to report, staying in touch primes your audience for when you eventually dol. Don’t obsessively interact with social media as that can hurt your productivity by waste tons of time and energy. Still you need to keep up the contact so that when you do have big news to share someone is there ready to listen. It’s a balancing act. 


8. Plan a Vacation
All over achievers over do the achieving part. That’s why they are called over achievers! One of the best things you can do to stay on top of your game is to plan and then go on a vacation. It is vacation time that allows you the perspective to plan your next big moves in business. When you live a life of go, go, go then you have to understand the importance of slowing down and turning off. If you can give yourself the downtime your uptime will be that much more up.


9. Prioritize and Eliminate Distractions
You need to stay on top of social media and email and your other daily to do items. However, you cannot and must not allow these things to distract you from your main objective and mission (see #1 above). Make work that drives you toward your mission your top priority. Let everything else come second and third. If you can’t put the time aside to do your most important work first then you can expect all of the other things you do to consume all of your most productive time. When you tackle the most important stuff first you put your best foot forward. 


10. Do What You Do Best
You got into your line of work because you are passionate and have a true desire to do what you do. Go and do that stuff now! Be fully engaged and excited and psyched that you are in the driver’s seat making strides toward your own goals and destiny. If you are a writer, write. If you are a fighter, throw punches. If you are an artist create. Whatever you do, do it with reckless abandon as this is the gift you were given and put here on this earth at this time to produce.


So there you have it, ten actionable steps (with books) you can take to make your life and work the way you want. I hope you enjoyed this post and grabbed up a few of the recommended books. Please let me know what you think in the comments below.

Do Our Decisions Define Us?

Do Our Decisions Define Us?

Now I don’t know much but I know what I know. Would like to tell you the story of my life but not sure that will do you any good. Seems to me the people who do great things have the luck of being born into extraordinary circumstances. Whether it’s their genetics, family or surrounding communities the cumulative effect is a human being who moves through life at an accelerated pace. I want to experience this myself but am unsure in writing a book I can get these lessons over to you. I’ve already accomplished a lot but as the years go by I can see an increasing number of constraints. Work and family responsibilities tend to compound over time. I want to get free and also provide a roadmap for you to do the same. 

But can it be done? I’m not rich or famous at this moment and somehow I hope to at least achieve the former. Sure fame seems to be desirable on some level but seems to be more for vanity and bragging rights. If I achieve fame I would only want it as a result of recognition for other accomplishments. Money on the other hand makes so many other things possible. Wise decisions make it easier to get from point A to point B. If I’m starting now with minimal savings how can I get to a point where I’ve done more and saved even more and then share that information with you? 

I already have a thriving business I started seven years ago. I’ve been in over seventy television commercials. What do I have to show for all of this? Some YouTube videos and $50,000 in savings. I’m 38 years old. I’ve been married a year and have a pregnant wife. Life is good and lots of new and exciting things are happening. Experience tells me that if I’m not yet an expert I’m on my way to becoming one. But an expert of what? Hunkering down into the experience of life and letting it wash over and through you. From one decision to the next we are choosing how to interpret what is happening to us and around us. Simultaneously we have to make decisions as to where to go and what to do next. 

Look at every decision you make. There you will find your DNA, the stuff that makes up who you are. Through observation of your mental states and how you navigate life you can begin to see what’s really happening to you, through you and around you. Every moment things are shifting and changing yet somehow staying on a course that started long before you were born. You can not sprout wings and fly but you can decide how you take your coffee. It’s in the individual moments, decisions and interactions that we have control over our existence. We can frown or smile or have no expression. We can read People magazine or study how to grow wealth or cultivate health. It’s in these micro decisions that we define ourselves. 

Remaining Unconquerable

Remaining Unconquerable

It's sad watching someone go. Even sadder to see them seemingly take their own life with alcohol or drugs of even cigarets. There are so many temptations to use external devices to cope and withdraw from the terrors of reality. It's too bad these same things also simultaneously destroy us. What's even more insidious is how they slowly creep in and blend with our lives and finally attach to our identity. We don't have to identify the addict with their addiction. No matter how angry we are and how much they disappoint us we can't go on punishing them. They got duped some time ago and presently the addiction will continue to hand out the punishment. 

Maybe they hate something or everything about life, are depressed, or see themselves as a martyr, a victim or all of the above. Whatever it is, it's a thick onion to peel and few of us have the time, energy or know how to get through to them on a level that will affect change. Can you imagine how someone must think who continually poisons themselves every day? It's quite extreme and to the more rational downright scary. What scares us most is how we can subtly see ourselves reflected in them. 

What if I was like that? Could I go that far out of control? What am I doing that's destructive to others? The mirror reflected back shows us some intense truths about our own existence. There can and should be so much joy in the world. As a matter of fact there always is. There has to be to counter act the darkness. But if we look into the darkness for too long or too often we start to miss the light. We start to believe there is only darkness. This is where we can become lost to it and consumed by it. And this may be far worse than any addiction of affliction.

You must develop a process for renewing yourself spiritually. The more darkness you confront the more you need a process to practice. I don't care what it is but try everything, mantras, meditation, exercise, yoga, journaling, walking, hiking, dancing, laughing, etcetera until you find something that works for you. That way when darkness clouds your world you are ready. You may not be able to destroy all of it or make it disappear. However your corner of the world will be a the least a little brighter, more pleasant and more livable. You'll stand up taller in the face of this evil and rest in the confidence that everything truly is ok.