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    You cannot teach an old dog new tricks

    May 14th, 2010

    “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

    I wrote this common saying down shortly after my brother died. I’d always thought people would become peaceful and serene when confronted with a terminal illness. I felt a strong sense of disappointment and sadness when my brother died because he had acted the same way – actually worse – in the last few months of his life.

    Later I realized we can only do what we know how to do. He’d lived his whole life acting the way he did, and to expect anything different from him during his most trying period was unrealistic.

    This site isn’t about him. It’s about me.

    My behavior during this period was a return to my darkest past. While I congratulated myself for not doing drugs, I displayed every other inadequate behavior.

    When the emotions came I didn’t have enough practice using my newly found tools. So they weren’t the tools I reached for first.

    When I wrote this saying down I was first realizing the importance of becoming familiar with my tools.

    The only way to become familiar is through use. By using the tools before the shit hits the fan, I train myself to reach for them first when chaos happens.

    Surrender surrender but don’t give yourself away

    May 11th, 2010

    “Surrender, surrender, but don’t give yourself away.”

    I was a freshman in high school when I first heard this line from a Cheap Trick song. I was going to meet a girl at a desert party, and the police shut it down. I saw some kids I went to school with and jumped into the backseat of a car. I can still remember being squished into the backseat of a ford Capri along with two large speakers traveling through a mountain pass and hearing this line for the first time.

    That night was also the first time I did LSD. I was so stricken by this line, I went out the next day and bought the album, but it never repeated the acoustics of the small car and loud sound.

    Within a few months of that night I was doing LSD on almost a daily basis. I was thrown out of school for constantly ditching classes. I had begun the process of escaping into my mind.

    I had surrendered to my insecurities and embraced my fantasies. The drugs became my ticket and my excuse.

    Over the next 20 years, I sold myself away repeatedly. And cheaply.

    Even when I managed to get off the drugs, it was only as a result of surrendering my individuality.

    Today this tells me to go with the flow, but never forget who I am. I’ve forgotten this many times.

    Quote from the Cheap Trick song Surrender on the album Live at Budakon

    Are You Living A Fear Based Life?

    May 7th, 2010

    Fear of being alone keeps us in relationships we’ve outgrown.

    Fear of rejection cause us to avoid meeting new people, drive people away or walk away from people before they can reject us. Then we judge them harshly so we can avoid being honest with ourselves.

    Fear of responsibility leads us to keep jobs beneath our ability.

    Fear of censure leads us to not standing up for ourselves and causes us to associate with people who aren’t really worth our time.

    Fear of failure leads us to settle on lives that aren’t fulfilling.

    To avoid exposing our fears, we blame others for our miserable boring lives.

    Some of us avoid taking responsibility for our lives by giving “God” the role and then when we feel under-whelmed by our boring lives chalk it up to “God’s Will.”

    When we attempt to settle in relationships, jobs, and our future, we are choosing a fear based life. Settling means choosing a fear based life.

    The only way to overcome these fears is to walk through them. Define who we want to be and what kind of people we want in our lives and the walk through the fear to create the lives we want.

    To create the lives we desire and deserve.

    Fire ready aim

    May 6th, 2010

    “Fire, ready, aim!”

    This reminds me life’s about action.

    Think about how in the war movies that we’ve all seen, how they fire their artillery. They’ve got the guy that crawls up there to the front with his binoculars, and he’s looking out with the radio and the binoculars, and he gives off some numbers and the people in the back with the cannon fire the thing.

    The forward observer watches where it lands and says, “You want to move a little bit to the left, a little bit to the forward,” and gives them some more numbers.

    They fire again. The forward observer looks out and says, “Fire for effect,” and then they just let the whole barrage go.

    What they’re doing is they’re firing their cannons to aim their cannons. In the artillery, they have a whole line of those cannons back there. They’re not all firing for the observer to watch. It’s one cannon firing so the observer can see where the shells are landing.

    While that’s happening, all of the other cannons are getting ready. Then once the first cannon knows where it’s aiming, all the other cannons aim, and then they all start firing.

    It’s about going out and creating a mess, which I’m pretty good at, and then looking at the mess and saying, “How can I do this better?”

    It’s about going out and taking action, then looking at what we’ve done, spending the time doing some introspection, taking aim, and then moving forward.

    That is so powerful. I think that for many years I got caught up in everything had to be perfect before I could do anything, caught up in indecision.

    With this model, the fire, ready, aim, I’m able to just go out, get something done, build up some momentum, and ride it to completion.

    To get anything done you must overcome hurdles

    May 5th, 2010

    “In order to get anything done, you must overcome hurdles.”

    Hurdles have been a major problem in my life. For many years, I got very little done. I realized this was because I looked at hurdles as insurmountable walls.

    For example, on one of the first books I ever wrote, I was unable to visualize the entire book. And yet, I was able to visualize each chapter individually. I had no idea how they’d fit together, but could see them separately.

    So, what I did was I set myself a goal that every day I’d write a chapter. Then after I had all of the chapters done, I’d figure out how to put them together.

    This allowed me to get these books done without getting trapped by the hurdles.

    Looking back, I think in a lot of cases I’d made these hurdles bigger than they really were, because I was afraid. I was afraid of finishing the book and putting it out there were people could see it. I was afraid of not living up to my standards or not being profound enough.

    Hurdles allowed me to avoid risks.

    Once I got to the point where I just worked my way around the problem areas, I found myself finishing projects

    At that point, I no longer could hide. I needed to step up and say, “Hey, here this is,” and take responsibility.