Step Into "What's Next" with Integrity and Intention
Yes, you read that title correctly. I assert that "stoicism is stupid."
To be clear, what I mean is, common English usage, lower case "s" stoicism is a pretty poor strategy for cultivating happiness while building a life worth living.
Meaningful living and work, without question, involves challenges, misfortunes, and invitations for shame and suffering. And "keeping a stiff upper lip" and grimly enduring such hardships will bring no feelings of peace, prosperity, or wellbeing.
On the other hand, capital "S" Stoicism, the ancient philosophy of life, has much wisdom and value to impart to those who strive to endeavor better. First and foremost, Stoicism asserts that excellence of character is all that is required to "live the good life."
Although virtue is sufficient, Stoicism also encourages us to strive to make both the world and ourselves "better" and also provides principles and practices for doing just that.
The video above is from a Facebook Live broadcast from the...
Teaching is what I was born for. Some of my earliest childhood memories are about sharing what I just learned with others.
What I've learned is that teaching serves the teacher as much as the student. It reveals what you truly understand and what you don't. This allows you to leverage your strengths while you develop your weaknesses.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to become a better teacher, and therefore, a better learner.
Teaching creates tension and leverages status. Good teachers do so ethically and with empathy. You simultaneously reveal incompetence while holding out the promise of competence in an endeavor that matters. Good teachers beget good teachers. They elevate and enhance the community.
Teachers make a difference. They...
What is productivity, really?
It’s not just “getting things done.” Everyone gets all sorts of things done daily. After a day of doing things, most are exhausted, But some get remarkable work done every day and appear energized by the effort. Wouldn’t you like to be one of those people? I decided that I did.
Since graduating from Seth Godin’s altMBA program two years ago, I built a brand, Creative On Purpose, and developed a successful and self-sustaining coaching program, membership site, speaking and workshop career, released two best-selling books on Amazon, and published over 100 blog posts and broadcasts.
And I’m just getting started.
My family, friends, fans, and followers frequently refer to me as “a shipping machine” and ask, “How do you do it?”
I developes something I call “The Process.” It involves these five steps: Vision, Mission, Goal, Strategy, and Tactics.
These are terms you might use all the...
My wife and I homeschooled our sons. We invested much of that time in cultivating a love for storytelling. The boys were not only avid readers but also developed a love for crafting tales in various ways.
They also had a knack for “inventing” words to “better” describe things that existing words just didn’t adequately capture. For instance, Spencer, our oldest son’s favorite thing to do was “celegrate.” Spencer wasn’t just “grateful to celebrate” birthdays and holidays. He “celegrated” everything from peanut butter sandwiches and naptime to family gatherings and outings.
When I asked our youngest, Emerson, how his day was, his response was, “productful.” With Emerson, “fulfilling productivity” rarely included his math and Spanish homework. More often it was all the “treasure” he collected and “forts” he built on his rambling adventures around our...
Shame is an invitation you do not have to accept.
There is no shame in sufficiency.
You can’t advance any endeavor without making mistakes. Getting things "right" involves going through a lot of "wrong."
And some of those "wrong" choices come with a heaping helping of regret. And when regret appears, you can be sure that shame is following close behind.
But here's the thing, when shame comes to visit, you don't have to extend it an invitation to stay for a week or even overnight. You’re not required to ask shame to lunch or tea.
Don't draw the shades and lock the door. That only encourages shame to hang around. And shame is very patient and extremely persistent.
Instead, meet shame at the door and thank it.
"Thank you, Shame, for coming by. Your presence indicates I have work to do. A mistake to own, an apology and amends to make. Sitting with you, for even a minute, will only get in the way of the important work I must do. So, thanks again for stopping by, I'm quite...
Creatives break things. It comes with the job. Things are as they are, and then the creative brings forth something new. Suddenly what was is no longer what is.
It so often happens at the micro level that you simply stop taking note. But sometimes the change is so profound that everyone notices.
Everyone used to have a phone hanging on their kitchen wall. Now no one does.
Voting was a white man's privilege. Now we agree that it's everyones.
You were born a non-walker and non-talker. Now you do both without a thought.
The status quo appears immutable. But your creative capacity is a powerful lever.
What are you ready to break? What will you make that's better?
Keep flying higher!
Many ancient philosophical and religious traditions speak to the importance of virtue. The ancient Cynics said it was all that was required to live "the good life." The Stoics said it was "sufficient." As a kid, I learned the Catechism of the Catholic Church which instructed that a firm disposition to do "the good" by practicing the seven virtues was required to get to heaven.
My experience is that the Stoics got it right. Virtue is its own reward and sufficient for a life lived well. Your mileage may vary.
Whatever your relationship with virtue, virtue matters. It matters a lot. Pursuing excellence as a human being means cultivating the content of your character for its own sake.
Of course, nurturing virtue also means extending compassion and justice to others. In fact, you enhance yourself most when you elevate the lives of others.
But is there a downside to virtue? The current display of "virtue signaling" by politicians, social...
Tactics are so numerous in the digital age. Analytics, metrics, ads, boosts, 7-step systems, hacks, tricks, etc. abound. And they're soooo bloody seductive!
So are the many invitations to develop technique. Blogs, books, YouTube videos, online courses, and famous successful people promising to "show you the way."
"The fog of craft." Getting lost in the weeds of tactics and technique. Stuck in the "just in case" learning cycle. Sinking in the quicksand of minutiae.
What's the antidote?
Stop succumbing to the seduction of "easy" and "later." Replace it with the power of "do" and "now."
Set a small goal. Develop a strategy. Choose the one smallest step you can imagine to make progress toward that goal. Align your goal, strategy, and tactic with your values, talents, and tribe. Then, go.
Progress is made by leaning into the work and learning through the process of try and test. Reflect and iterate. Rinse and repeat.
Bonus insight. The digital age is the age of...
Many conversations in 2018 informed and inspired my journey to develop myself through enhancing the lives of others. Each helped me develop and deliver my greatest endeavor so far.
These three had the biggest impact in helping me cultivate a greater sense of peace and prosperity, even when encountering “challenge opportunities,” as I sought to endeavor better.
“Make the world better by making better things.” — Seth Godin
“Engineer the smallest possible step.” - Marie Schacht
“If you are a force for good in this world, get your sh*t together around how you fund that.” - Michael Bungay Stanier
Hope something here helps you fly higher while making a difference in 2019!
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), is a relic of our prehistoric brain that has outlived its necessity and utility.
When we scuttled about the planet as just another species trying to get enough to eat without being eaten, FOMO was very real. Miss out on a meal when they come with dangerous infrequency could mean starvation and even death.
Miss out on a text, an email, or an online offer and you probably won't even notice. In fact, you may be better off.
Being intentional about where you spend your valuable time and attention and what you spend it on doesn't induce fear. It's empowering. It cultivates temperance and taste. It develops character and will.
Make better choices and make a better future.
Keep flying higher!