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. 

Election Decision 2016: My America

Election Decision 2016: My America

Dear friend,

I'm writing you today because I don't know who I'm going to vote for. This election seems so crazy. I know I won't be able to live with myself if there is a huge crisis following the election or during the term of either the major party candidates. This seems like another case of damned if you do and damned if you don't. Clinton has experience Trump has hutzpah. Clinton will maintain the status quo and Trump will evidently stir things up. They both seem like slimy humans and I have a hard time believing a word out of either of their mouths.

Sure, I can go and vote for a third party candidate. Most people would say that's copping out and not picking a side. They say, "You got to stand for something!" Well as far as I'm concerned I stand for health, liberty, the pursuit of personal goals, and family. What else is there?

It's assumed and understood Hillary will only continue the policies of the Obama administration. Policies which intend to redistribute wealth, offer more social services and increase the size of government. Many of these programs sound expensive and risk creating a flaccid society of those expecting handouts. It doesn't seem fair or right for the government to target the wealthy to pay for services for the poor. I always thought the rich gave back freely to get a tax deductions! Maybe that's naïveté. I don't know what I would do with massive income. I'd like to think that I would share but chances are I would only look to improve my position further.  

Oops, wait I there it is. I think I answered my own question. There are two types of Trump supporters: Those who are either pissed off at Barak Obama and those looking to protect their own big money interests. I'd like to think I'm big money or will someday have big money but currently that's far from the truth. So for me right now, a vote for Trump is far from conservative. In fact it's quite radical and even potentially anarchist. 

I want to vote conservatively. Change is great but radical change is dangerous. This election is not about making America great. This election is about America's place in a modern world where we have to negotiate highly interrelated complex issues. In those situations I'll take experience every time. Brexit shows us what happens to people's judgement who are scared and confused. They vote to back out, to leave, to go back to the way it was. Well guess what? A vote no matter how powerful won't reverse the gears of time. We are becoming a global society. We can't go backward.

Besides, things have gone well for me during the Obama years. Even though currently he may be as controversial and deflated as a Tom Brady football, I'm not complaining. My own hard work, drive and commitment have paid off in recent years. Obama's policies did nothing to stop me. So today the last thing I want is upheaval, war, revolution, anger, hate, misogyny, or racism in the white house. I'll take my chances with a devil I know rather than the devil I don't. Trump, I really wanted to like you man, but you're a loose cannon buddy.

Letter to all ATF Trainers

Letter to all ATF Trainers

GOAL: To make us the most knowledgable, energizing, helpful and fun group of fitness professionals the world has ever seen. To accomplish this we must be on the same page with how we organize the facility and how we manage time within our training sessions. If we can become supremely organized and efficient then we cut out confusion and leave more room for having fun.

Organizing the Facility
Currently we have three rooms at our disposal. The black, blue and yoga/stretch room. Each has it's own strengths and weaknesses. First thing we will do is balance the equipment between the rooms. This will reduce the amount of back and forth needed to procure the necessary equipment for each session. It will also allow us to perform sessions in one place and will keep us more connected to our clients.

Next we will assign two trainers to each room. One senior trainer and one new trainer. Each of the two trainers will stagger their scheduling on the half hour so that sessions are never starting and ending at the same time. Adam may switch in and out of each of the rooms with the senior trainer to connect with the new trainers, new clients and supervise their development.

Time Management Within Each Session
We have one hour to deliver an excellent, transformative fitness experience to our clients. We must connect with them fully and address their specific needs in every session. If we miss these two points we have fallen short. The following is the bare minimum of what should happen in a personal training session:

  1. A hearty genuine greeting, "Hi (person's name). Good morning!" etc.
  2. Ask "Is anything tight or sore?" Then address as appropriate. 
  3. Circle the Joints Warm Up
  4. Warm Up exercises preparing them for what's to come. Pushing, squatting etc.
  5. Strength Training
  6. High Intensity Training
  7. Skill Work
  8. Mobility Work
  9. Quick assisted stretch by the trainer

Keep in mind the entire time you should be conversing with them and keeping the focus on them. Yes one of our goals in talking with them is to connect and become friendly. However we need to be the type of friend who LISTENS rather than the friend who continually makes the conversation all about themselves and the inane details of their life. This needs to be reiterated here now as the new trainers will need to be held to the same high standards. 

So here's how we will get all of the above into an hour. We are going to take our 8 Labors of ATOMIC and build complete, structured workouts around them. There will be a standardized warm up which leads directly into the strength training phase.  The warm up and strength training must be completed within 30 minutes. Then we go into the High Intensity challenge of the day (the Labor). This should be completed by the 45 minute mark in the hour. That leaves us with 15 minutes to work on skills and mobility. 

We will go over all of the above in detail. I want to clear up any confusion and address all questions and concerns. I'm sure there are some aspects I've overlooked and we will address those as well as a team.

What do you say Team? Are you with me?

Just Leaves on the Tree

Just Leaves on the Tree

Awareness is key to making changes in life. Our frustrations usually stem from our own shortcomings. If we can step back often enough we can start to get a clearer picture of what is happening around us. We can see what's coming from others and what's due to our own actions. Naturally we are drawn into stressful events and circumstances. Still we must not become trapped in them. We must learn from these experiences and continually come at the world with fresh eyes. Everything is different than it was yesterday. Everything is continually changing. The key, to guide yourself toward the state of better rather than worse.

In my travels I have studied many esoteric subjects and have come to realize that what worked for and was interesting to me is quite possibly of no interest or consequence to you. What IS of VALUE is the process I encountered on my path. I know there are many paths to self actualization, feelings of freedom, power, security, adventure, happiness etcetera. However as I look back I can now recognize what are now the branches in the tree that has become my life.

These are the branches and the amount of time I spent on each step are here in parentheses as a reference. I hope they are of some value to you.

  1. Read books on subjects of your own interest (2-4 years)
  2. Study with a master until you are ready to explore the subject on your own. (4 years)
  3. Move away from home into an environment which supports your dreams and challenges your resolve.
  4. Go for your goal completely. Cut the umbilical. Burn the boats. This took some time as I continually second guessed myself and had to reevaluate if I was making the right choices. You could do this in an instant and save yourself a lot of time. Although that's not as easy as it may sound. (4 years)
  5. If you succeed, continue on and set new bigger goals. If you fail, back off and try the next thing that interests you. Keep moving forward and look for other ways to attack you ultimate goal. (4 years)
  6. I dumped everything I owned and all of my net worth into an entrepreneurial project bolstered by my passion and designed to shuttle my ambition to higher levels. I.E. rather than going after a crazy big ridiculous goal I went after something closer to my accumulated skill set. Think island hopping in the South Pacific. I can't get the entire world to bend to my will at the snap of a finger but I can take control of one small area and then move on from there one step at a time. (started first corporation 2009.)
  7. Out of sheer pure blinding desire to succeed I enrolled in every type of program I could find that would support my goals. I studied business, organization, logic, spirituality, etc. Be careful not to get stuck or diverted on any of these subjects too long. Just like step 2 above there will be an expiration date on how much you study. Eventually you should understand enough to go into action and THINK FOR YOURSELF.  (5 years)
  8. Persevere and burry any and all doubts. This is the part that really sucks but will actually be the most important step you take. Here is where you find out what you are really worth. In this step you must cut loose all attachments to anything that slows you down. Not sadly you will loose relationships with people who you thought were friends and in exchange you will gain something much more valuable - allies. 
  9. Maybe one of the most beautiful parts about the above process is that it eventually loops back onto itself. I've found myself reading more again and revisiting helpful books from steps 1-7. You will see that your life amounts to something and at the same time be thankful there is so much more to experience.

Today we are but leaves on the tree of history.

Update All Social Media Profiles NOW!

Update All Social Media Profiles NOW!

Time to update everything! Can you believe it? It's time to update every single one of your communication platforms! ...and there was much rejoicing.

Yes, it is time to look at all of your social media and email and other communication platforms and update all of your photos, bios and other pertinent bits of information. Why? Because unless you are obsessive about keeping things current (which I am not and I'm guessing you aren't either) all of your photos and profiles are a mishmash of different photos you uploaded at some time or another.

So this means you have a different face or presentation on each one of the platforms. Which is fine! I know the popular opinion out there is that you should show a different side of yourself and communicate differently on each platform. This is all true, the format of each social media site suggests a different style of interaction.

So why go to the trouble to go through each one of them and update the profiles? I think there are many benefits to going through this process:

  1. You get a chance to update all the passwords at the same time, thus improving security and minimizing your exposure to hacking.
  2. You will be perceived as active on those sites (at least at the moment) and may be able to reconnect with the communities there. 
  3. PRO TIP: Do not use the same photo for all of the sites. You are welcome to do so but I'd recommend being a little more creative than that. I may even do a small selfie photo shoot with different expressions and colored backgrounds. Each background can then mirror how I want my image to be presented on any given platform. For example, I have a Facebook page I manage called ATF Outdoor Adventures. It looks a little weak if my profile there has a picture of me inside at a desk.
  4. By curating all of this content you are able to give a more consistent picture of yourself to the world. I believe what comes up today in the most basic internet search of a person has become not only a digital resume but a biography and even an epitaph.

So do this and have fun connecting with your the digital universe. Let me know how it goes!

Oh You Motorcycle Guys

Oh You Motorcycle Guys

I've got an old motorcycle helmet with the words speed and strength stenciled on the side in cheesy gothic print. As if riding a motorcycle isn't cool enough, you need to advertise your intentions while sitting at a stoplight or stuck in traffic. The helmet was not expensive. You have to pay extra to not look like a douche.

I guess speed and strength are admirable qualities. Characteristics the would be motorcycle rider would like to possess. Still they are just a minor part of an excellent rider's skill set. With my experience riding motorcycles I'd say awareness, patience and relaxation would make more desirable qualities. Speed plus strength on a motorcycle usually equals death.

Let's start a culture of patience where we can look for and find balance in our lives. As men we are still attempting to force ourselves into old stereotypes that no longer serve us. Speed is something for the racetrack and strength can be used in the gym, doing chores or in an emotional context to help your family and others. If you ride a motorcycle that's awesome but remember that you life matters and by thinking your helmet is cool when it's not cold be a fatal mistake. Pony up for the flat black and put a picture of you family on the inside.



In popular fitness nomenclature Power is often defined as the ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time. At ATOMIC we define Power as the ability to produce an effect. We then break down and define all the words in this definition. First we have Ability, the state of being able, means having competence, skill, natural aptitude or acquired proficiency.  Next To Produce means to make, create or cause something to happen or come into existence. An Effect consists of any change resulting from a cause. Therefore we can define Power as having the competence, skill, natural aptitude or acquired proficiency required to make, create or cause a change or result.

Power is the ability to make something happen fast. This can be an inborn trait or a skill you learn over time. In weight training the faster we can get a weight off of the ground and over our head the more powerful we are. Moving more weight in the same amount of time would define an increase in power. Similarly moving the same initial amount of weight in less time would also indicate higher power output. 

Analogies can be drawn between physical and mental power. He or she who steps up to a weight and fearlessly moves it through the range of motion of a given exercise may not be considered powerful at first. However if this practice is kept up year in and year out eventually the performance becomes impressive. The person who stays focused and committed to their goal of developing high level fitness most likely stays committed to developing the rest of their life to a high level.

When you decide to do something make it happen quickly. Don't doddle but put ideas into effect right away. Don't spend two weeks thinking it over and getting up the courage to get started. Just as in strength training you pick up the weight, do the work of moving it for a few reps, then set it down. You don't stand there holding it for ten minutes before you move. Train with an emphasis on leaning power and you should find ways to apply the same lessons to all ares of life. Rather than sitting at your desk web surfing you will get things done. Instead of daydreaming you'll make your dreams a reality.