Wasted or Not?

The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom may seem a bit corny, yet, these are my reasons it was worth reading:

I always need to be reminded that…

  • I am not alone; we are all connected in ways we are unaware
  • I am much more than my mistakes and, they will work out for good in the big picture
  • My life counts more than I think
  • I am not an inconsequential loser or a nobody

Mitch Albom said he was inspired to write these books by an uncle who thought his life had been a waste. I wish I could thank that uncle.

One of the Most Useful Things I Have Ever Learned to Say

“What could I have done differently?”

The first time I used this phrase was in a case where I felt my partner had not listened to me. When I asked, “Can we talk about what just happened? What could I have done differently to have gotten your full attention?” he relaxed, said he was sorry, and gave me a suggestion that I still use…with unprecedented success!

The phrase removes accusatory language and doesn’t put people on the defensive, thus increasing our chances of staying in dialog and experiencing the thrill of cooperation.

I wish it were not the case, but most of us have multiple opportunities to work through relationship dysfunctions. This phrase is a useful tool.

(Dr. Dean C. Delis has a similar discussion about “No-Fault Communication” in his book, The Passion Paradox.)

An Antidote to Chaos

Because gathering carts at a grocery store is such a tedious and physically demanding job, I always try to take one or two back into the store so someone else won’t have to. Recently, I saw another person doing the same. Even though he seemed to be in a hurry, I stopped him and said, “I’ve never seen anyone else do that. What drives that behavior?”

“I try to always leave things a little better than I found them,” he answered, then recommended Jordan Peterson’s podcast to me.

He was correct to assume I would also appreciate Peterson’s common sense approach to life.


Here are a few things I love so far about Jordan Peterson:

  1. “Make at least one thing better every place you go.”
  2. “Tell the truth and act so that you can tell the truth about how you acted.”
  3.  An Antidote to Chaos as part of his bestselling book title (because everyone wants that)

And, also this…



Just a Comic Book Writer?

I didn’t go to a public library until I was in high school and read only a few books before graduating. Now, I am (thankfully) making up for lost time, but only realized recently how much I owed to comic books.

They were the door, not only to my entertainment as a lonely child, but to my curiosity, imagination, love of words, and creative inclinations.

Who can say what impact our talents have on others? Thank you, Stan Lee, for using your gifts…and for the reminder to value my own (even when they seem insignificant).

Feeling Ambivilent

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Some days I am unsure about everything.

Should I work toward a goal or let it go?

Should I feel good about myself or bad about myself?

Should I be kind to someone or let them have it?

Should I care?

On those days (lately) what works:

  1. Talk it out with a trusted friend who will listen until you ask for their advice.
  2. Don’t argue with the help they offer. Listen. Appreciate.
  3. Have confidence that clarity will come when I need it.
  4. Be kind while I wait.

Yesterday a book came in the mail that I had ordered several weeks ago. It was exactly what I needed to read. (Anything You Want, Derek Sivers)

The ambivalence brought important questions to the surface.

Ambivalence didn’t kill me.

What Would This Look Like If It Were Easy?

That is Tim Ferriss’s go-to question that led to Tribe of Mentors.

Do you know what your go-to question is?

You might be surprised.

Common questions that lead us nowhere fast…

  1. Why do things have to be so difficult?
  2. Why me?
  3. Are you kidding me?
  4. Why am I such a loser?
  5. Why is the world so screwed up?

But, tweaking those discouraging/cynical questions can give us the leverage we crave:

  1. How can I use this difficult situation to train for a better future?
  2. Why not me? How can I use my unique gifts and experiences to make a difference?
  3. Are you challenging me to be better and stronger?
  4. How can I transform my disappointments into maturity?
  5. What can I do to make a screwed-up world better for someone?

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Laugh at the Rest

Especially since laughter is, and always will be, the best medicine.

Derek Sivers, author of Anything You Want, asks himself, “Should I worry about this?” If the answer is, “I don’t know.” Then, he asks, “Will it make any difference if I worry?” If the answer is “Probably not,” he doesn’t worry.

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Superficiality Isn’t What It’s Cracked Up To Be


Appearances are not everything. In fact keeping up a superficial front causes more mental illness and dysfunction in families than anything else…even drugs and alcohol. Ask any therapist. We are only as sick as our secrets.

Reading Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolf reminded me of the complexities and contradictions we all carry around. The cool thing about Herman Hesse is how honest he was. That’s the kind of person with whom I love to hang out: someone who has quit lying to themselves about who they are and quit trying to “market”  and compare their ideal self to others.

Only when we quit the hype and/or hiding will there be real energy to improve.

And, this is the truest freedom.

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In Search of the Best Question

Tim Ferriss wrote his latest book, Tribe of Mentors, because he was overwhelmed with anxiety over a growing list of unanswered questions concerning his own life and productivity. To get clarity he went to his tried and true question, What would this look like if it were easy? which ultimately yielded this reply: What if I assembled a tribe of mentors to help me?

Now, he has not only achieved personal clarity, but helped me and countless others along the way.

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So often, our questions (as our prayers) tend to be ineffective due to an unhealthy inward focus on what is not working. When we get the question right, mentors, angels, and answers are free to appear.

(If you haven’t yet read the book, do so, and prepare for inspiration…and answers.)