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Monthly Archives: November 2017

Focus Part 2

It’s easy to be focused when you are by yourself and motivated – there’s no one there to distract you (you only have to worry about your smartphone, but since you’re motivated, you probably turned it off.)

But being focused in an environment where the distractions are unrelenting and constant – this requires a very specific mindset. Like so many things in life, it is a question of perspective. And perspective is one of the few things in life we can control.

Personally, I find there are two elements necessary to make this work. One is a willingness to find out how hard you can push yourself before you hit your limit. It is usually much farther than you think.

The other is a tenacious desire to accomplish whatever it is you are trying to get done.

By any means necessary.

On Being A Mindful Optimist

First If all, it is not my nature to be a “mindful optimist,” or indeed an optimist of any kind. And yet, that is exactly what I strive to become. But first, what does this term mean?

Essentially it means that we envision a future with positive outcomes. But on reflection this statement is more nuanced than it might first appear – there are multiple perspectives from which to measure this. For example, are we talking about positive outcomes on a macro level, like the survival of humanity? Or are we talking about positive outcomes from a micro perspective, such as living in a way that enhances the lives of those around you?

I confess I still struggle with the former. After all, war, genocide, xenophobia, mindless hatred, the celebration of stupidity, racism, the nihilistic desire for self destruction and the public’s embrace of leaders who embody these ideals are brutal examples that we certainly don’t seem to be making any headway in eradicating this dark side of human nature. These forces are actively manifest in a large segment of humanity, and it’s very obvious to anyone who’s paying attention that they’re not going away.

On the other hand, I do feel as though the simple act of living ones life with the intent to enhance the immediate environment and everyone in it is a very powerful self-directive that yields real, tangible results. So I think that trying to live by these principles is a kind of mindful optimism.

It’s the best I can do at this point in time, and I am okay with that.

Leaving Something Behind

For most of human history, the only thing left behind after death that would live on with any degree of permanence were physical artifacts. Knowledge would become part of the greater culture through books. Art was created (for the most part) in physical objects, music through written works.

But the point in history when information became digital changed all that. Today our culture is largely online, and contrary to what you might think, it is not impermanent. A good argument could be made that whatever is online will always exist – it can’t be truly erased, even if we wanted to.

But what does this mean? Permanent for who? Who, or what, is ever going to read this stuff? What possible purpose might this blog, or anything else anyone has ever posted online, serve?

Here’s a thought – it may not be a human that reads and processes this stuff at all. It could, perhaps, be a recursively self-improving AI. One that is learning what it means to be human. And it might be able to read and process this information in a matter of hours or days, at which time it will be ready for it’s next step.

Think about that the next time you post something online.

Showing Up With Intent

This is really the whole thing – the “secret” if you will, except that it’s really no secret at all.

Show up with the intent to get something done, and something will get done. It may not turn out the way you want, but something will happen.

Without the “showing up” part, nothing happens. Show up and fuck around – nothing happens.

But show up with the intent to do something? Mark my words friendo, something will happen…

The Unknown Road Ahead

When you’re young, the future is a vast open landscape, and the world is full of possibilities. Every experience is vivid, and your mind is firing on all cylinders, at all times. Your body is strong and can stand up to whatever abuse might be heaped upon it, always ready to bounce back after the briefest periods of recovery. Life is exciting and full of promise…

As you get older, things very slowly start to change. Sometimes this change can seem almost imperceptible for long stretches of time. Every now and then you might notice some small change in your appearance or how you feel, but for the most part, barring serious illness, the concept of aging is still very remote.

Then something starts to happen that’s a bit disconcerting, but not overly so. You realize “Holy shit, I’m getting old.” This realization might be brought on by illness or the death of a friend, or something as simple as seeing a photograph of yourself, or watching your partner and friends age. But getting old is not the same thing as being old. It’s instead a grim harbinger of what’s to come…

I feel like I’m at a bit of a turning point in my life – I don’t feel old, but I’m 60, and boy am I aware of it. I can see the clock running out and it isn’t a good feeling. I’m a realist who has already survived cancer, so I’m acutely aware that not only is this life a time-limited affair, but the odds are constantly increasing that at any moment a catastrophic health related event will bring the whole thing crashing down.

On a good day I’m completely comfortable with this natural state of affairs. On a bad day, however, these realities can be very difficult to process. They can create a state of fear, which is not a natural state for me. It’s a fine line to walk between reality and denial. What’s gone ain’t coming back, and what lies ahead is beyond our control.

So I guess it behooves us to make the most of the present. It’s all we’ve really got.


I am thankful for the fact that I’m alive, and for feeling pretty goddamn good.

I am grateful for every minute of life I have.

I am very fucking thankful for my wife – somehow the stars aligned 33 years ago & I met the most important person in my life.

And I am thankful for what I now know about being alive.

This ride can end in an instant. Enjoy every minute…


Every moment of every day we make choices – and each of these choices has ramifications that ripple out through the fabric of our lives, affecting everyone and everything in their path.

Thinking about this is enough to send one into a state of paralysis. What to do?

Here’s what to do – live your life like a righteous ethical entity and make the best decisions you can with the information you have.

Everything else will take care of itself…


This is something I consistently struggle with in my life. I’ve never been good at balancing multiple projects, primarily because whatever I am working on at any given moment is the most important thing I am doing – I commit to it 100%. The good news about this approach is that I always do the best work I am capable of, the bad news is that it’s hard to split your attention if everything you’re working on is treated as a DEFCON 1.

Here’s the thing – sometimes we all get involved in time limited projects that can take over our life. School is a good example of this; once you make a commitment to it there’s no turning back. But you also know that no matter how all encompassing it becomes, there will come a point where it’s over. The problem for me is that I sometimes get involved in too many projects, and neglect other things that are important to me.

What’s the lesson here? Be careful what you say “yes” to. Time is precious and you’re not getting any of it back…

To Be A Force For Good

To transcend the banality of our day to day existence for survival.

To shine a light on a greater truth.

To open a window to another reality.

To leave this world even microscopically better than you found it.

Aspire to this.

Tonight’s Show Has Been Cancelled

We are sorry for any inconvenience and would like to remind you that since the show was free, there will of course be no refunds.

Please enjoy the rest of your evening and close the door on your way out.

Time Part 2

I don’t usually perseverate about my awareness of time left, but for some reason today is one of those days. In twenty years, I’ll be 80. Twenty years doesn’t seem like a very long time

I’ve already had a taste of how quickly life can change, how everything can seem to be going along great, and suddenly you are slammed face to face with an inexorable battle with illness, debility, and death. Such is life.

So what does this awareness do for us? Well, for one thing, it makes us painfully aware of how precious each minute is. When I’m at work in the ER, I usually have an awareness that my purpose is to help others – which seems like an appropriate use of my precious time. When I’m at home sometimes I’m not so sure. I think about the meaning of the things I do, about whether I am spending my time wisely. I wonder what anything means when you are going to die. What is the purpose?

No easy answers here, just the usual existential musings…


This concept is essential to maintaining a balance in your life and preventing burnout. The more intense the work and it’s related stress, the more relaxed and disconnected the recharging period. That is the rule, the ying and the yang of life.

Heed it or ignore it at your own peril.

The Very, Very, Very Hot Seat

If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

Pull up a seat and get comfortable with your discomfort. Lead to the best of your ability, admit when you are wrong, and get on with it. Getting shit done is never easy.

Sometimes it’s awkward and painful to get results.

Always remember that it’s about the team and the greater goal and not about you. And if you’re uncomfortable that’s good – you’re probably growing…

Don’t Buy Trouble

Be prepared for the worst but don’t perseverate on it, and always keep this in the forefront of your mind: worrying is a complete waste of time and energy.

Better to draw on all of your reserves, be as relentlessly upbeat as possible, and focus on your goal. No matter how much stress you get bombarded with, keep your head and stay cool.

Accomplishing the goal is all that matters. 

The Paradox

People are mesmerized by pure, unadulterated authenticity. When someone is comfortable & confident enough in their skin to be completely themselves, with no filter, it is extremely charismatic. Add in a lust for life and you have someone who will attract followers like a moth to a flame.

The problem, at least for most people, is that we are afraid to expose ourselves to this degree. We are probably as afraid of being loved as much as we are of being hated. It is much safer to hedge your bets and only reveal what you are comfortable with. This will protect you from having to deal with all of those messy people who want something from you.

The wild card here is the artist who truly doesn’t give a fuck. These people are simply uncontrollable, which has its own special allure. At the end of the day, they are probably the happiest.


They are part of what makes us human. Sometimes the mistake is so massive it may appear to be unforgivable, but the reality is, people have been forgiven by those they harmed for perpetrating unimaginable horrors.

Forgiveness is something that can only be given at the disgression of the aggrieved. They are the only ones who possess the right to give or withhold absolution.

Everyone else can have an opinion, but they are in no position to judge. Take a deep breath, reflect, and learn. Maybe it will help us prevent making the same mistake.

We’re all dirty and flawed…

Just Let It Happen

There are a lot of strategies for preparing to take part in important events like job interviews, competitions, performances, auditions, presentations, lectures, etc. Self-visualization, rehearsing, mental preparation – these are all tried and true techniques that will help. But as I’ve gotten older, I have realized there is a final step that is the most important one of all.

Just relax and let it happen.

Show up prepared, then just be in the moment. Let yourself enjoy whatever it is you are trying to do. It will make you more comfortable and draw other people to you at the same time.

I’ve Always Lived In My Head

I guess it started when I was a little kid, out of necessity. I was alone a lot, so I learned how to amuse myself. I didn’t need much – books and my imagination was plenty. I would build worlds in my head, stuff that I would never talk about to anyone. I didn’t need to – it wasn’t for them anyway. It was just for me. I had no desire to act any of this stuff out – I had pretty low self esteem which resulted in a significant lack of confidence. By either neglecting me or subjecting me to abuse, my parents had trained me to understand that I didn’t mean much to anybody. And when you’re a child who believes they’re not worthy of the very people who are supposed to love them, you draw the conclusion that if you’re not that important to them, no one else could possibly be interested in your bullshit. So you live in your head…

That’s where you can be whoever you want to be – there are no limits if you’re imaginative. Mind you, I was also very good at reading people, and I could be very charming and friendly. Add in the fact that I was somewhat good looking and the result was I had no shortage of friends. Male or female, pretty much everyone seemed to like me. But I didn’t like myself, hence I struggled with self esteem. I was good at hiding it from other people, but it definitely held me back.

It really wasn’t until I went to college at the age of 45 that things began to change. I started to realize that maybe I did have something to offer. I went into nursing and discovered I was excelling and started to get positive reinforcement and encouragement from my teachers. I remember thinking WTF? Fast forward 15 years and now I’m some kind of nursing leader and considered an expert in my field. How did this happen?

I still live in my head, but also in the world – and I no longer have self esteem issues. I kind of like myself, and that’s a new feeling for me.

I’m 60 years old and still learning and discovering who I am. I plan for this process to continue until I die. I am grateful for what I have, and what I’ve become.

Life is good.