Fail, fail, fail, fail, succeed

Monthly Archives: February 2018

Don’t Buy Trouble Part 2

Don’t worry friendo, trouble will have no difficulty finding you when it needs to. In the meantime, don’t go looking for it.

If you find a lump, it doesn’t mean you have cancer. A headache isn’t always a cerebral hemorrhage – in fact, it’s almost certainly not. Tingling in your hand doesn’t mean you’re having a stroke. Forgetting your keys doesn’t mean you have Alzheimer’s disease. Sex with a stranger doesn’t make you HIV+, and a tremor isn’t Parkinson’s. See the pattern here? Take a deep breath and calm the fuck down – even if it is any of these things, you’re not qualified to diagnose it. Reading WebMd doesn’t make you a doctor.

Here’s the thing: there’s a process to being diagnosed with disease, and it make take multiple doctors and a whole variety of sophisticated tests to do it. Being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness is of course always possible, it happens to people everyday. It happened to me. But know this: if you or a loved one are diagnosed with a serious disease, you will need to keep your wits about you and remain rational so you can think clearly. Once trouble has found you, then, and only then, will you have no choice but to deal with it.

But until that time, don’t go shopping for it. Trouble requires a clear head and is not something to be taken lightly. Make no mistake, in this life sooner or later you are going to have to deal with it. Always be prepared, but for Christ’s sake don’t go around looking for it. What’s the matter with you?

“I’m Not Gifted, I’m Driven”

Even if you have no interest in extreme endurance athletes, there is no denying David Goggins is a very interesting human being with a compelling story. I recently listened to a conversation with him on Joe Rogan’s podcast – by his own admission he is the ultimate manifestation of the title of this blog: Fail, fail, fail, fail, succeed.

He said one thing that really struck me: Most people quit at 40%. Meaning that when most people give up because they think something is too hard & they can’t go on, they don’t realize that they have another 60% left in them. His point is this: we are all capable of so much more than we ever dreamed possible – we quit on ourselves too easily and are simply unwilling to suffer pain in order to achieve what we want. Now it’s one thing to read this in books or online, or to hear it in Ted Talks or motivational speakers. It’s another thing entirely to see someone who actually does it – over and over and over again. People like him and Courtney Dauwalter are interested in seeing how far the human body can be pushed, and it turns out that it’s a lot farther than previously thought possible. Yet they both insist that they have no special gifts – apparently their gift is their ability to control their mind.

What are we to make of this? I’ll let you draw your own conclusions…

Move On

If you make a mistake, do not perseverate on it.

Instead, think about it carefully so you fully understand what you did wrong, then think about how to prevent it from happening again. Let the bad feeling you have cement the lesson in your mind.

Then move the fuck on.

You’re not doing anyone a favor by beating yourself up and brooding on it. Here’s a very hard lesson it took me a long time to learn: there is no shame in making a mistake and learning from it. The shame is in making the same mistake twice.

Don’t Make A Mountain Out Of A Molehill

I’m much better at this than I used to be, but this issue can still trip me up.

If I feel overwhelmed by a problem, it can begin to take on more importance than it merits. When this happens I just need to step back and see the bigger picture – often this is enough to make me realize that things aren’t quite as dire as they first appeared.

Because here’s the thing: when I’m in the middle of a hot mess and desperate for a solution, the answer is usually a lot simpler than I think. 

The trick is to give yourself some space allowing you to see the issue from a fresh perspective.

The problem’s usually not as bad as it seems.

It’s Already Here

You’re probably holding it in your hand right now, and if not, my money says it’s close by. It’s an extension of our neocortex whether we choose to recognize it as such or not. And if we accept that supposition, then the process of assimilating AI into our biological intelligence is already well under way.

I am of course talking about our smartphones. Anyone who is old enough to have witnessed more than one technology induced paradigm shift seemlessly integrate into our culture will recognize the pattern. And this is how it always starts – a new technology fills a need, and although it seems novel at first, it quickly becomes assimilated into our day to day life. It happens so effortlessly most people don’t even notice it.

I see this as a good thing, although I recognize many will disagree. But it doesn’t matter, because there is no stopping it. Just as we have have evolved to this point, so shall we continue evolving. Our prefrontal neocortex can’t get any bigger without interfering with childbirth, therefore we will increase our intelligence artificially.

Welcome to the future! The changes in store for humanity are going to be far beyond anything we could ever have previously imagined. This is because we are about to become much smarter as a species – allowing us to grow in ways we are now unable to understand. And this isn’t something that is going to happen in the future.

It’s happening right now.

This Moment

Everything we have ever experienced and all we have learned has led us to this point. What is to come is unknown, and what we hope to accomplish is a dream that may or may not become a reality. All we really have is right now.

Knowing this, we understand that this moment is pretty fucking important and we should make the most of it – but what exactly does this mean?

Well, first of all, I think that simply living with an awareness of the transitory nature of life makes us more grateful for what we have, and that in itself helps us to appreciate the moment. Maybe feeling gratitude to the universe for this moment of life is how we maximize our experience. Because if you feel grateful, it’s a natural reaction to want to give something back – and the effects of that ripple out through the fabric of time.

Paradoxically, achieving a zen-like state where you are not actively trying to do anything, rather you are simply being in the moment, letting it unfold without any preconceptions – perhaps this is the way to make the most of the act of living.

Just letting life happen, and being amazed at the magic of it all.

The Scientific Method

A quick search on the definition of science yields this: “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.”

Likewise, the scientific method can be defined as: “a method of research in which a problem is identified, relevant data are gathered, a hypothesis is formulated from these data, and the hypothesis is empirically tested.”

My point here is this: we all look at the world and interpret it based on our perceptions and understanding. Often these perceptions are wrong – but how can we know? The easy way to deal with this uncertainty is to wait for someone else to tell you what’s true. That way, you won’t be bothered by pesky thinking – “someone who sounded like they knew what they were talking about said it was true, and it fits with my belief system, so I’m going with that.” The problem with this is twofold. First, you aren’t thinking, which you should kind of be ashamed of, or at least embarrassed by. And the second is this: by just blindly accepting something as true because it feels right, you are depriving yourself of using a tool by which you can come to your own conclusions about how the world works – which is the fun part! So what tool might help us with this problem? Pull up a chair and meet The Scientific Method!

You will find many variations on this process, but the basic idea is this: suppose you come across a problem, perhaps a conspiracy theory like, oh, say, the flat earth theory. How might you come to your own informed conclusion? You would use the Scientific Method:

  1. Ask a question (Is the earth really flat?)
  2. Form a hypothesis (I think it is flat!)
  3. Research the data (What do the facts tell us?)
  4. Test your conclusion (Can I prove my hypothesis wrong? Oy, What was I thinking?)
  5. Adjust your concept of reality accordingly…

For the purposes of this brief post, I want to focus on what I think might be the most important step – asking the question “Can I prove my hypothesis wrong?” Because this requires that you examine opposing viewpoints to see how your idea holds up. This implies looking at the world at bit differently – instead of looking for things to confirm what you want to believe, you are now actively looking for ways to prove yourself wrong. Welcome to the Scientific Method!

Thinking this way can actually make you smarter, and it most certainly will make you a more interesting person. It also has the added benefit of making your world a more interesting place, because now your reality is constantly shifting and growing. Even the most mundane things can begin to seem interesting and worthy of study.

Thinking can be fun – you can’t do it too much, and no one’s getting hurt in the process!

The Grand Pageant

Humanity in all of its splendor

Richly textured and colorful

Marching ever forward

The procession seemingly infinite

The succession of moments in which this drama unfolds

Will not last forever

Live now before its expression ends

These moments will not come again

Feed Your Soul

Find things you love and surround yourself with them.

Do something for someone else and pay attention to how it makes you feel. Repeat for full effect.

Make something. Express yourself.

Search for beauty in life and focus on it.

Actively seek out and discover new things.

Keep learning.

Appreciate the feeling of life flowing around and through you.

Know that it won’t last forever, and let that knowledge help you to appreciate it more.

One Of The Nice Things About Life

If you’re actively engaged and fully paying attention, you can just keep experiencing new things. The process of discovery and learning seem to be infinite.

It’s really cool – you end up feeling like you have an unfair advantage over everyone else who hasn’t lived as long as you.

It’s endlessly exciting to keep learning and be humbled by what you don’t know. But the key here is this: in order for this process to happen, you must be fully present at all times.

Veering Off Track

If you have varied interests, it’s easy for one area of your life to overshadow the others. The trick is to catch it in time before it completely overwhelms everything else. It’s a fine line to walk, and I’ll admit that I’m not always successful at it. So what do I do?

I just constantly try to be aware of what’s happening in my life and make adjustments accordingly. It’s easier if one of your interests is clearly more important than the others, because you know that’s where your main focus will always be. It gets more difficult to juggle when you are involved in two wildly different disciplines and they are both important to you. One is always vying for attention over the other.

Ultimately ones ability to stay on track in difficult times comes down to a single character trait, that, when coupled with desire, makes for an unstoppable combination.


Wishful Thinking

If you’re really clever and disciplined, you can keep a flawed system up and running for a long, long time.

But eventually entropy will take its toll, and you will find yourself facing a basic truth in life.

All things must pass.


It’s late, and I’m so tired I can’t write. But I had a big day. I accomplished something that I wasn’t sure I could. Perhaps more later – it’s kind of an interesting story with some important lessons.

Let’s just end with this – I really believe we are all capable of much more than we think.

With that I bid you a good night… more to come after I process this.

Why Criticism Is Good

Caveat: Before we get started, let’s note that it’s always good practice to weigh it’s worth based on the source.

With that out of the way, here’s the thing: although it can be a bit painful to be criticized, try not to say too much and just listen. Then, don’t dwell on it. In fact, try not to think about it at all for a day or so. This will allow you to come back and dispassionately think about what was said – it’s possible you might recognize an issue that can easily be addressed. And herein lies the constructive power of criticism…

You can’t get better if you don’t know what you’re doing wrong.

You’re critics might be trying to tell you something you can’t see yourself.

It Feels Good To Be Alive

There are so many ways that life can go south – in the ER your day is filled with one example after another of the infinite number of ways that things can go wrong. And go wrong they do my friend, sometimes very, very wrong – in the most tragic way possible.

So let’s take a moment, shall we, to make a rather important observation.

I feel good. I mean way fucking better than a 61 year old man has any right to feel. A man who survived what could have been a particularly nasty type of cancer. I know it won’t last forever, which I guess makes it even sweeter.

Can’t buy that folks.

Press On

You’re trying to create something, and it just seems like a big pile of steaming shit.

Press on.

You have an idea in your head of this thing you want to make, but you feel like you can’t get started.

Press on.

You’ve been working on something for a while, and it’s just not coming together.

Press on.

Realize that when everything is going wrong, it’s a good sign that you’re starting to get somewhere.

Remind yourself: If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. You might have to shed some blood to make your dreams happen.

Press the fuck on.

Decisions Part 2: What Is Worth Your While?

Is thoughtful self reflection a good use of your time?

How about practicing self-discipline?

Does writing something everyday do anything positive for your mind and soul?

What about creating art?

Or the process of learning?

Here’s what I think: All of these things seem like good ways to engage with the world, to actively grow and work towards self-actualization.

Seems like a good idea to me.