Empower Yourself. Don’t Flatter Yourself.

Courtesy Morguefile.

Courtesy dmscs at Morguefile.

I published a post on LinkedIn earlier this week. It’s about story-telling. Specifically, it’s about the need to tell ourselves the stories that give us the most power, not the ones that flatter us the most.

What’s a flattering story? Something like “I’m the greatest, and if other people don’t notice, that’s their fault.” An empowering story? “I’m the greatest, but I need to work harder to make sure my greatness is visible.”

You can’t control a lot of things in life. But you do have a choice. You can tell yourself the story that gives you the most power, the most control, the most influence to achieve the things that are important to you. Or you can tell yourself stories that, while flattering, are defeating. My LinkedIn post is about these kinds of story-telling.


Ronda Rousey Shows The One Thing You Need To Succeed

Courtesy a zuko1312. cc.

Courtesy zuko1312. cc.

I published a post on LinkedIn today, explaining how Ronda Rousey shows the one thing you need to succeed. That one thing? Committing to a goal without the guarantee of success.

People with track records of great success have this trait in common. They understand there aren’t any guarantees in life. Uncertainty is unavoidable. They do their best to turn the odds in their favor, but somehow they are able to work incredibly hard, even while knowing the ultimate outcome may not materialize.

When I think back to my personal successes, this characteristic shows up. Granted, I’ve not had anywhere near Ronda Rousey-level success. But it’s interesting that this idea of commitment in the face of uncertainty is universal.

For more details, read my whole post. Thanks.

At Home, We’re Human. At Work, We’re Not. That’s a Problem.

human linkedin 20150701Yesterday I published a post on LinkedIn titled “At Home, We’re Human. At Work, We’re Not. That’s a Problem.”

The post is about how we try to be superhuman at work. We pretend we don’t have weaknesses. We don’t behave or act like we do at home, when we’re most human.

I know why people behave as muted versions of themselves at work. It makes sense. My argument is the pendulum has swung too far. We’re too robotic at work. It has become a competitive advantage simply to talk and speak like a human being.

I hope you take a minute to read the post. I had fun writing it. I have fun writing all of these posts. I feel like writing has made me more aware, both of myself and the word around me. Writing makes me think more about my experiences, and how any lessons I learn from those experiences might help other people.

Thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate it.

How Jurassic World Is Good For Independent Filmmaking

jurassic_world_image_20150623Last week I published my first post on Medium, titled How Jurassic World Is Good For Independent Filmmaking. My post was motivated by a Mark Harris article on Grantland.

Harris’ argument was that Jurassic World is not just another example of major movie studios hunting for blockbusters. It’s more sinister than that. Studios want films they can build whole businesses around, in addition to filling theaters. The Jurassic Park series fits the bill perfectly.

I argue this shift will actually help independent filmmaking. As studios direct more resources toward the hunt for movie-inspired businesses, they will neglect independent films. That shift opens a void that new creative ventures can fill. And these ventures will more than capably fill that void.

See my post for the whole argument. I hope to publish more on Medium in the future. It seems like a good platform, with a lot of engagement and some really cool material. Enjoy.

Being Competitive Is Overrated and Overdone

linkedin_competitionLast week I published a post on LinkedIn about how being competitive isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Some people describe themselves as competitive. Other people don’t. This difference in self-perception creates conflict, fear, and anxiety.

The other problem is the separation between competitive people and non-competitive people is false. Everyone is competitive. The nature of life is to compete, whether it’s against other people, other businesses, or barriers to your own development.

Growth implies competition. Growth means overcoming a barrier or limitation. Everyone wants to grow in one way or another. And that means everyone is competitive.

Let’s get over the bravado of being competitive. At best, it’s meaningless. At worst, it’s harmful. See my post for more details.

You Tell Yourself Stories. Make Sure They’re The Right Ones.

linkedin_storyA couple of weeks ago, I published a post on LinkedIn about the stories you tell yourself. Stories help us make sense of the world. We’re wired to tell stories about everything that happens in our lives.

We take great liberties. Facts are few and far between. Many possible stories exist that align with these few facts.

Knowing the possibilities, you must tell yourself the right stories, the ones that empower you and improve your relationship with other people. Don’t sabotage yourself or others. See my post for more details.

Seymour Hersh Wants You To Get To The Point

Isaac Chotiner interviewed Seymour Hersh for Slate. Hersh is a journalist who controversially accused the Obama administration of lying about the capture of Osama Bin Laden.

Chotiner published an edited transcript of his conversation with Hersh as the Slate story. One really interesting part is when Chotiner tries to dive more deeply into an answer Hersh gave:

Chotiner: OK well it seems like the upshot of what you are saying, and correct me if this is wrong—

Hersh: I just said what I said. I don’t want to hear what the upshot is. If you have another question then ask it…

Hersh does not come off as a sympathetic character in this interview. But this is one part where I sympathize with him. Chotiner wastes a lot of words pushing Hersh in a particular direction. Hersh clearly doesn’t have patience for this.

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Growth Doesn’t Always Mean Getting Bigger

Red tulipsI just published a post on LinkedIn. The gist is that when we think of growth, we too often think of getting bigger. Certainly that’s the case for large, recognizable companies. Growth for them almost exclusively means increasing their size. But for smaller companies, or individual people, the most important growth comes from getting better.

If you want more details, head on over to LinkedIn to see the full post. Thanks.

Is Supermax Prison Worse Than Death?

supermax_20150507I read an article on NBC News this morning: Boston Bomber Tsarnaev Faces Prison Hell if He Escapes Execution. Then I had a natural question: is supermax prison worse than death?

What life is like in a supermax prison

I’ve had this thought before. One idea behind any death sentence is it’s the strongest punishment imaginable. But is that true? Are there some forms of prison that could be worse than death? The answer has to be “yes”.

If Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the man convicted of the Boston Marathon bombings, gets sentenced to life in prison, he’d likely go to the supermax prison in Colorado. Here’s how the NBC News article described the prison:

Prisoners spend about 23 hours a day in solitary confinement in 12-by-7-foot cells with a single 4-inch-wide window and walls thick enough to stifle any attempts at communication. A slot in the door is used to deliver meals and for any visits.

Amnesty International last year said the facility breached international standards for the humane treatment of prisoners.

“It breaks down the human spirit, it breaks down the human psyche. It breaks your mind,” former supermax inmate Garrett Linderman told CBS’ 60 Minutes in 2009.

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Sometimes I’m Sad Knowing How Much I Don’t Know

apple_and_books_20150503I have unexpectedly dedicated this year to personal development. I write more now and share what I write. I read more about career development. I listen to more podcasts.

I learn almost every day about something I previously knew very little about. Learning is exciting. I find new teachers, whether they’re authors, podcast hosts, speakers, whatever. I find new topics to explore.

It’s endless, which is fun most of the time. But sometimes it makes me sad, because I simply don’t have the time to learn about all the things I want to learn about.

An example of something I’d love to learn about

Let’s take the most recent example: storytelling. I listened to Tim Ferriss interview Jon Favreau on his podcast recently. Jon Favreau talked a lot about Joseph Campbell, the father of American mythology. I’m mildly embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t heard of Joseph Campbell before the interview. Or if I had heard of him, I certainly didn’t remember.

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