Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Nobody Is Holding You Back

Are there arms around you? No. Is someone actively sabotaging your efforts? No. Are they talking shit? That’s different.

They’re using their words to disagree with you or to pass judgment on you. Why give them power? If you need someone else’s approval to be happy you’ve already lost. If you keep talking about a struggle that doesn’t seem to exist, you lost. Who benefits when we give power to a seemingly nonexistent problem?





Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Repeat What Works

Have you been successful somewhere and thought time to change?

Imagine if Steve stopped at iPods or Bill stopped at windows 95.

Where are you stopping instead of persisting?



Monday, July 29, 2019

Easy For You To Say

People say things like:
“If you had kids you’d understand. 
That’s easy for you because…
If I had that opportunity I would have…”

We all seem to know exactly what others should be doing. How come then, is it so difficult for us to know what we should be doing sometimes?

Whatever your answer, work against it. It’s so easy to slip into the what if, work on the what now. 

Sunday, July 28, 2019

It Starts With I

I.

I what?

I will, I won’t, but surely, I must. In order to live we must take actions. What’s the point? That’s personal. 

For me, the point is a better life for those on earth. Do I know better than everyone? No, but I know that no sane person would ask for poison to be pumped into their home. But earth is home and we let poison get pumped into Earth everyday. 

Today, I will make more thoughtful actions.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Today Is It


Most likely not, but for millions, today is it. Even though you have a long life to live don’t let that be an excuse to not achieve something today. Whatever it is, no matter how seemingly insignificant, progress is progress.




Do the things.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Processed Sugar is a Drug

The definition of a Schedule I Drug in the U.S.
  1. The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
  2. The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical treatment use in the U.S.
  3. It has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
Sugar’s application 
  1. The way people consume it to excess is evident by our health issues and its wide use in many food items. Once you start eating sugar it’s hard to stop. It's readily available with no age restrictions.
  2. Processed Sugar doesn’t promote health at all, Sugar is toxic in the blood stream which is why the pancreas produces insulin, which prompts cells to absorb blood Sugar for energy or storage.
  3. I don’t know any doctor that would see a symptom and say, "Processed Sugar is the solution."
It’s clear to see how this qualifies. I’m not saying it’s only Sugar that’s causing our health issues, but as with almost everything, there are multiple causes. The number one reason for preventable death in America is heart disease. Obesity and nutrition are causes for heart disease. If we want to solve our problems we must go to the source. 


Thursday, July 25, 2019

Too Much Freedom?

Your elected officials think so. Why else would they have to pass new laws every year? 

What’s a law? A limitation on what used to be legal. More laws usually means less freedom. 

I don’t know what the solution is exactly, but I know electing officials that receive money from large corporations isn’t it. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Why Nothing Is Free

Everything has a carrying cost.

I was offered a free shirt and I turned it down. The person said “it’s free,” insistently. “How strange, why won’t this guy take the free stuff?” she probably thought.

Everything has costs above and beyond acquisition. Even storage of a T-shirt, minimal sure, but if you have enough shirts, what’s the point in another that you don’t plan on wearing?

Mental storage has a cost too. Now I have to think about this shirt, keep track of it, etc.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Consistently Me

Recently I’ve heard that we should have a different persona for everyone we meet. They used their children as an example, they’re different around their kids than they are when they’re in a business meeting. I get it but at the same time, I take issue.

I take issue with the fact that people want you to act or dress a certain way, you walk into a bank and the guys have suits on, why? Because that’s the way it’s been done. Well here’s what I know, without doubt, how things are done never lasts.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Wearing My Seatbelt

I’ll wear my seatbelt. Some people don’t, they say they drive safely. Slowly, so it’s no big deal. Whatever. I’ll wear mine just in case. Thanks.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Recently Relationshiped

You never asked them out, and now they’re posting pictures with their significant other. Sometimes it hurts to ask, but unless you have a preexisting friendship that will be put in jeopardy what’s the downside?

Rejection is part of a well-lived life, imagine never hearing no, it’d mean you never tested the boundaries.

If it’d hurt to see them go, then you owe it to yourself to try.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Dear Minorities

If you don’t want to be told what to do, this message isn’t for you. I’m telling you to be good.

Stop breaking the law. Work to change the law. If you break the law your likelihood of getting in trouble is way higher than if you were part of the majority. So for the same crime, you have less of a chance of a positive outcome. Be smart about it.

The system isn’t racist, there are racist people in it. The government isn’t racist, it’s what we allow. People marched, boycotted and died for what we have. What has your contribution been? I know I haven’t done enough, I’m betting most haven’t either.

Friday, July 19, 2019

What Do They Want?

Henry Ford said if he asked people what they wanted, they’d have said a faster horse. What they really would have said is they wanted a faster, more reliable and less expensive mode of transportation. But that isn’t as catchy.

People say stuff like, “Make something that people don’t know they need yet.” As if there are new necessities to life. As far as I’m concerned, there are no more necessities. Food, water, shelter, clothing, and arguably connection. Everything else is simply nice to have.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Youth, Not Time

It Isn’t time that’s the most valuable resource, it’s youth. Ask any billionaire if they’d give all their money up to be 18 again. You’d be surprised at how many of them would go for it.

You’re as young as you’ll ever be right now, don’t squander it on regrets.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

You Have to Eat

Or what? You’ll die? After how long?
Don’t listen to people that don’t have what you want regarding that specific topic.  My longest fast is just over 100 hours, I didn’t die and only broke it because my muscles started cramping so I knew it was time to eat.

The single person always has relationship advice and the glutton always wants to tell you how to eat. Find your specific role models, that have what you want and do what they’ve done.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Architects of Our Own Adversity

Do we make life harder than it has to be? I know I have. But because I can acknowledge that I’m making things more difficult I’m able to make them easier as well. 

Sometimes life will happen and a situation will seem insurmountable. It either is or isn’t. If it truly is, tough break. But more than likely it isn’t. So instead of wallowing, why not ponder? See the solutions and take action. 

Wants vs. needs plays a big role, always remember what’s actually required for life and what’s just nice to have. 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Getting What You Want

First, define what you want. 

Second, find out who has what you want. 

Third, ask them how they got it. 

Four, strategize and determine if what they did would work for you. 

Repeat steps as needed until you can make a plan that will work for you. 

Saturday, July 13, 2019

You Owe Nothing

Owe means to have an obligation to repay or pay something for what has been received. Do you owe something to your parents for having you and doing their “best” or probably not their best? This alone, as the title says, I think not. You don’t owe anything to your parents. They had you and helped you for selfish reasons. It made them feel good to create something, so they did.

When you are thinking of what you want to do in your life, you can’t worry about how it will make your parents feel. Unless you’re using their money, then that’s a different discussion but one you should have before taking a dollar. If they want you to be a doctor but won’t be going $200,000 into debt for a 10 year program, and doing the work, good for them, but you don’t owe them your future.

If you have a goal, and they don’t like it, too bad for them, you have to live your life on your terms and seek your own happiness. 

Friday, July 12, 2019

It’s Not For You

You’re perfect. You already know everything. You’re doing it. This isn’t for you. 

I do this for the person in need of guidance. If I could grab my 18 year-old shoulder and speak from the heart, these are the words I’d say. 

Maybe I wouldn’t listen, definitely not at first. But after a year of everyday content, I might have. You can’t change your past but you can change your future. Start today. Do the things. Find that 18 year old in your life and speak from the heart until they listen. 

If this is for you, be the difference. 

Thursday, July 11, 2019

If Everyone is Special

Then everyone is special. 

The fallacy that keeps being repeated starts off with the same premise but concludes that nobody is special. 

You are special. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Way Things Were

Eventually, we’ll say “that’s the way things were.” Can we hurry up and change then? If we know it’s coming, can we fast forward?

I long for the day that these and many more are true:
We used to put people in cages for flowers. No longer.
We used to put people in cages for trading sex for money. No longer.
We used to put money ahead of everything. No longer.
We used to pollute the earth. No longer.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Blackout Drunk

I knew I had to stop when I woke up in a jail cell. I’ve driven drunk before when I was out but never caused much damage. Maybe a scratch on the car or something. I’d wake up in a parking lot a mile from the event I was at. At least I knew better than to try to drive all the way home.

This time was different. I was home, safe, no reason to leave but I blacked out and got behind the wheel. Enough is enough. Nobody was hurt, but if I let this happen again, that may change. Certain things aren’t for certain people, alcohol isn’t for me.

Monday, July 8, 2019

The Smart Get Smarter

Knowledge is powerful and synergetic. Your understanding builds on top of itself. The smarter you get the smarter you’re able to get. Your best gets better.

I don’t know if the opposite is true, but day after day without self improvement means what? Do something today that you can build on tomorrow.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Where to Next?

Amazon knows. Netflix knows. Do you know?

Sears kept trying to sell stuff that people didn’t want. Toys R Us refused to lower prices and figure out how to grow. CD making factories shuttered because they thought the means to consume music was done evolving. Don’t be the person who ordered that last million VHS players right before DVD players went mainstream.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

All Connected

I don’t usually care what people do with their time. What they do with stuff though, that gets me. We waste too much. If someone says what they consume doesn’t affect others, they have to know that isn’t true.

If your actions, consume resources then they affect other people. What’s best isn’t what we’re doing, we know this and it isn’t going to change. But, and it’s a very important but, we can do better. Do.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Bring Your Own Napkin

Plastic grocery bags will soon be outlawed across the nation. Straws too. What about napkins? We already use enough paper in the bathroom, why must we bring it to the dining table?

Cloth napkins are a thing, better to be the first than the last.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Trust in Government

Why don’t we trust the government?

I like to distinguish between government and government officials. Government is the system we allow and officials are the people elected or hired.

I don’t trust some government officials because they take money from corporations and then pay them back with favorable contracts and regulations or lack thereof.

I don’t trust the system we have because it allows people, that aren’t elected officials, for example, police officers to cage other people based on laws that were very quickly passed but have proven embarrassingly slow to remove.

The system is flawed, almost everyone agrees changes are needed and YET our officials do nothing. What the fuck? The few rule the many.

So that’s it, just a short blurb on something that is probably going to be much bigger.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Give More

Life isn’t free, on the surface, it sure looks that way. But every breath we draw comes at the expense of the lives sacrificed before us. Gratitude, therefore, seems more an obligation than a nicety.

I guess some people don’t care, I can’t be one of those people. Every day people are giving more than they’re getting and that gap in reciprocity is how society functions. Thank you to the person giving more than they receive.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Pandering vs. Singing

Pandering to an audience is one thing, singing to the choir is another.

If you mean what you’re saying, you’re probably on the right path. Saying what the audience wants to hear but not being sincere, is another story. Whenever you’re making art you have to answer the question of who’s it for.

Is this for you or is it for someone else? If it’s for you, then as long as you feel good about it, great. If you’re making it for someone else, think of them first.

If it’s for someone else, look to what they’re consuming already and respect their choices.

You can pander, and probably get away with it for a while, but what I’ve found is the truth always comes out and if you’re on the wrong side of it, you may find future success impossible. If you want something sustainable, believe in what you’re doing.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Acceptance vs. Being at Peace

Acceptance means that you have taken action to allow something in. It doesn’t mean you have to be at peace with it. So I’d rather be at peace with something, it’s like the next step in acceptance. Probably leads to less stress and overall happier life.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

No Time Like the Present

If you were 20 and had 20 years to live, what would you do?

If you were 60 and had the same 20 years to live, would you do things differently?

People say it's time that they cherish, time is the most valuable thing, I think it's youth, that we covet. The only thing I know for sure is right now is the youngest you'll ever be again. Act accordingly.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Borrow a Dog

I highly recommend it. Unless you hate dogs, in which case, you’re probably a bad person. You won’t break it, you’ll have fun and the dog will probably enjoy spending the day, afternoon or hour with someone new too.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Sorry, No Change

Companies want to go cashless. Government officials are stepping in saying they can’t. What if the company say fine, we take cash but refuse to start the day off with any change. Then what? 

Will there be a law saying companies have to have a certain amount of change and of what denominations that change must be in at the start of the day? What if they give it all out, do they now have to send an employee out to get more change? And if they refuse, cage them?

How about this,  if a business wants to refuse cash, let them, it’s their business.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

No Time

We all get 168 hours each week. How can one person run a multimillion dollar company and another can’t seem to keep up with their bills even though their life depends on it?

The word, "priorities," wasn’t used widely until the 1940s. Priority - prior - the one before. The one before what? Whatever your objective.

Do The Thing. Singular.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Unsolicited Advice

People usually need a friend, not a counselor.

I’ve started asking, “do you want my opinion?” When I remember to at least. I’m not perfect but I’m working on being available, instead of a therapist.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Change Always Wins

The only thing constant in this world is change. Whether you do or don’t, change occurs. Change is constant, say you eat the same thing every single day and have the same routine, no matter what, your body will still get older. The sun will still damage your skin. Your telomeres will shrink over time, and eventually, you will die, as of 2019 science that is.

If you’re going to change anyway, why not make active efforts to improve your situation and the lives of those around you? I’m trying my best not to give unsolicited advice but it’s hard when the people you love refuse to love themselves.

This is where doing The Things comes into play. You probably know what you can do to better your life. You can better your mental health, physical health, finances, relationships and more. Seek wisdom and knowledge because, in five years, five years will pass. What you do along the way will determine your present.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Way Things Are

I often look at businesses and what they do and think, why can’t they just be better? Why not ask if I want a receipt before printing one out? Why don’t all grocery stores have self-checkout lines? How come waiters at restaurants ask if I need something while I’m in the middle of a sentence?

I don’t know why, so I ask. Cashiers say the receipts come out automatically. Grocery store managers say they may change, but not right now. Servers tell me that’s the way it is, they were trained to be bothersome, although they would never say it that way.

Where can we be better? What’s stopping us? Eventually, the old companies will die out and the new ones will start up. Companies like Netflix and Amazon will keep going until they decide, “that’s the way things are.”

Once a company or a person decides that change is no longer required or advantageous, then the beginning of the end is upon them.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Family Talk

How come people talk to there families how they’d never speak to a stranger? Someone you love, would die for and, would kill for, but for some reason, annoys you to death. Our attitude beats out gratitude sometimes and our tempers get the best of us.

Meanwhile, out in the world, a stranger seems to get the benefit of the doubt every time. We speak to strangers with compassion and understanding. We thank them in the warmest and most genuine tone. When our family members do something for us, they get a "thanks" that’s half-hearted.

There’s a practice you can start, constantly do nice things with zero expectations of reciprocity. How can you do something nice for everyone in your life every day? It can be something small, something large, whatever it is, do something. What’s the downside?

Friday, June 21, 2019

Ask

Nobody is self-made. Anybody that tells you they are is either lying or delusional. Even a lone hunter and gatherer living in the wilderness needs nature to provide. You’d also be shocked as to who is willing to help. When Steve Jobs was a 12-year-old child he asked Bill Hewlett for some electronic components, Mr. Hewlett, abided.

Steve Jobs said, “I’ve always found something to be very true, which is most people don’t get those experiences because they never ask. I’ve never found anybody that didn’t want to help me if I asked them for help.”

Seek the keepers of knowledge and wisdom, ask them for help.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

It Has Been Done Before

Whatever you’re trying to do, there’s a roadmap, not perfect, but similar. Even Bill Gates, the creator of the first software company, had a roadmap, he decided to license instead of transfer ownership. He didn’t invent licensing, but he used it. Henry Ford didn’t invent cars, but he made huge strides in the assembly line. Regardless of your goal, there are people out there who have done similar things, find them.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Finding Wisdom

What area of your life do you need help with?

Your current thoughts and actions have gotten you to where you are, less calamity of course. Will your previous actions, if unchanged get you to where you want to go? Probably not. There are people that seem to always be struggling. These same people almost never seek outside wisdom though. A fool never learns from their mistakes, the average person learns from their mistakes but a wise person learns from the mistakes of others. I refuse to be a fool, so I’ll at least learn from my mistakes but it’s wisdom I’m after.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Wish Them Well

There will be people that annoy you. People that lie to you. People that will affect your mood in a negative way. Wish them well.

Recently, I began a practice of prayer, not to a god, but to the Force of Goodness and it’s the darndest thing. There are people in my life that do things which bring me great annoyance or confusion. These aren’t attacks or on purpose, but like my dad refusing to change his diet or exercise. It hurts me to see him act so nonchalant about his health. I’ve discussed the science and shared information but nothing has worked. It got to a point where it would physically pain me to see him eating junk food or drinking soda. I knew I was the one that had to change.

I started praying for his happiness in the morning. The first day, my annoyance and pain went down. The second day, same thing. He drinks a soda every day by the way, which is 30 pounds of sugar a year but that’s neither here nor there. After a week, almost all pain and annoyance is gone. I understand that I can’t change his behavior, I’ve made peace with that, but by going further and actually wishing him well, it has released something, I don’t know what, but it feels great.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Bite-Sized Tasks

I try not to get overwhelmed thinking about everything a certain idea entails. I don’t think about my presentation to city council on banning plastic bags because I haven’t even formulated the concepts and ideas into a coherent and infallible argument. So I spend a couple of hours a week, getting to that point first. I don’t want to play out a scenario or waste energy on a hypothetical situation that may never even come to be. Sometimes we get lost in the what-ifs that we never even begin, paralysis by analysis.

I know that tomorrow will come with or without my help. All I can do today is become a better person so that I may greet tomorrow with a little more capacity. Abraham Lincoln said, if he had six hours to chop down a tree, four would be spent sharpening the ax. I’ve never chopped a tree down with an ax but I think an hour of sharpening and then thirty minutes of chopping makes more sense than four straight hours of sharpening and then two of chopping. Feel free to correct me if that’s the case. 

Sunday, June 16, 2019

How Are You?

Back to the bad questions. I feel like diving into this one a little deeper. This and what do you do irk me the most. I think it’s because we don’t want the truth most of the time. We ask in a superficial way. We expect “good” or “fine.” When someone responds too negatively or too positively, the asker is usually thrown for an uncomfortable loop.

I don’t like playing the semantics card on this one too regularly but I definitely go hardcore honest with my answer. I can say, “How am I? Well, I am because my parents had me and I have stayed alive this long.” That’s how I am, after all, but I know it’s not what they mean. There’s a word for people like that which I can’t think of at the moment. Honestly responding to this question though is great. Because I get to see who I’m dealing with. Did they ask superficially or with genuine interest?

I also tend to ask back a different question. I like “How’s your happiness?” I’m sure I’ll find another good question eventually but right now it’s good. People tilt their heads, blink quickly and respond. I like the conversation much more too. I’m sure others won’t copy my style, not yet. But it’s not about that, it’s about progress, slowly moving the needle to a more open, and accepted dialogue.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Write it Down

Ideas always strike, sometimes at the most inconvenient times. I try to write them down as soon as they come to me. But sometimes I don’t. Then the idea comes back to me, and I mull it over some more. This is why I think it’s important because I don’t want to spend time thinking about the same things. That’s wasting time. When I write it down, it’s out of my system and if anything comes up, well it’s probably in addition to previous my thoughts.

I also find that starting the writing process on an idea unlocks previously hidden thoughts on the subject matter.

When ideas start flowing, other ideas follow. When was the last time you had a good brainstorm? I haven’t used that word in probably 10 years. Well, good thing I started writing on this topic I guess. Pursue your goals, but before you can do that, you have to remember your ideas, when they come, bet on a record, not your memory.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Daily Dailies

What we do daily will determine what we do daily.

Your habits and mine will create the life that we’ve worked for. Things will happen to help and to hurt our pursuits, undoubtedly, but these will largely lean in the direction we’re leaning. The smartest workers, the easiest workers, tend to have the ability to continue working smart and easy.

It’s not how they got there that seems to escape us, but how they started. We see these people and say things like, “I can’t do that” well Henry Ford, the prolific employer, would have replied, “You’re right.” Self-belief isn’t enough though, what we need is action. Even a tiny, minuscule, small step in the right direction, that over time will lead to the same success we once thought improbable. In fact, I’d argue belief isn’t even necessary, just the right actions. When procrastination starts to creep in, I remind myself, to just do the work, hit my daily goal and move on to the next thing.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Avoiding What Needs to be Done

Seth Godin, one of my role models, asks his readers if we’re hiding. Hiding from the work that needs to be done. I know that I hide sometimes. I’ll sit down, open the laptop and get up quickly because I don’t have water. While in the kitchen, I see dirty dishes, that can’t stand, so I clean them. On the way back to the computer, I remember something and maybe get a little more off track, I ask myself, “What’s happening?” I answer, “I’m hiding.”

Why do some of us do this? I think everyone does. I’ve asked people about it, and getting started seems to be the hardest part, the first push up, not the last. The first word, not the last. The first step, not the last. Once we start, creativity flows, our bodies rise to the occasion and start moving, if only we could take that first step more often.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Where’s Your Map?

Whenever you’re going somewhere it’s always easier if you have a map. Even if you’re the one that made the map. Write out all of your goals. In my first book, I run you through an exercise. If you won $5,000,000 what would you do tomorrow?

I had ideas to work toward reducing waste and pollution on a grander scale. What I’ve come to realize is that there are people that have made this their life work. Great for them and I’ll carry the torch. There are many battles out there and we only have so much time and emotional energy. I have a daily and weekly map, my to-do list and my calendar that keeps me on task and working toward my various goals.

Justified Living

How do we live with ourselves? Every purchase has a footprint, some cost or effect that can be traced back to suffering.

How do we justify this? By saying things like, “The tree is already chopped down.” Or “It could be worse.” My goal is to make people be more thoughtful. Just because something is bad, doesn’t mean you should make it worse.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

What Do You Do?

I don’t ask people the question of “What do you do?” I ask, “what are you working on?” Half the time they look like they’ve just been asked to calculate the trajectory of a comet two light years away. Fast blinking usually means they’re thinking. I get a what do you mean. I repeat the question because it’s very clear, “What are you working on?” The other half reaping with the question, “Like where do I work?” The conversation goes many ways after this, but where it doesn’t go is to a boring place with no emotional effort. I think that’s better.


The best answer I can think of do my question, “What are you working on?” is, “Myself.” What a good answer. Then I ask how and we have a great conversation. Yesterday, I said “What have you built recently? at least get them in the mind frame of building things. If we don’t think about building something, do you think that it will ever happen by accident?

Monday, June 10, 2019

Asking Better Questions

Whenever I find myself in a new social situation, I always hear the same questions. Mostly, “What do you do?” and “How are you?” These are bad questions. They’re bad questions because they aren’t asking specifically what the asker wants to know. “What do you do?” should really be “How do you make a living?” and “How are you?” should be “What feelings are you currently experiencing?” I know, even these aren’t perfect but they’re better.

That’s my goal, to ask better questions. I like to ask, “When was the last time you made something?” I haven’t been able to use the follow up yet, “Don’t you want to?” because I need to figure out how to word it in a less accusatory tone. Of course, people want to achieve and create things but our current culture doesn’t really promote that. It promotes consumption.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Build it For Your Target Audience

If I write a personal development book and show it to people that read personal development and they say it’s bad then I need to change it. If I get 10 people to read it and 7 say it needs work, and this is what they read, then it needs work. If 7 of them say it’s great, then it might be ready. But, remember, it’s not true until money exchanges hands. If I show it to someone that hasn’t read a book since high school and they say they don’t like it, I don’t care, it’s not for them. Seth Godin, said shun the nonbelievers and he’s right.

Above all, listen to the cash register.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Trust in Business

Trust is crucial in any producer and consumer relationship. If people are looking for something in particular and the reviews are good, they’ll buy it. They don’t care how much passion, love or enthusiasm went into building it. All they know is they have a want or need and you have the solution. Do you have to do this forever? No. Actually, you don’t even have to do this at all. Sometimes people will just give something a shot and it works out.

How many people start building a business before testing it out, before talking to their audience? A lot. When they finish building it, nobody comes and they get discouraged. Well, if you’re doing something for someone, shouldn’t you ask if they want it in the first place? Maybe they’ll say “I just want it faster or cheaper,” great, work from that and go backward. If it was better would they be fine paying the same price? If it was a little slower would the be okay with paying less? Or maybe, they just want something because it makes them feel a certain way, figure out what that feeling is and make something that gives them that feeling.

Most importantly though, will they buy? If you put people in a hypothetical situation they’ll often answer in the way you want them to. Supporting and confirming your bias. But if you ask them to open their wallet and buy something, the story changes. Look for the truth in action, not words. The truth is a transaction.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Sometimes, The Customer Comes First

What happens when you build something you want to build and other people want to see it built? Success.

What if you build something you want for other people, but they don’t want it? You might be satisfied that you have built something but disappointed because nobody else wanted it.

What if you build something you’re not too thrilled about but people love it? You may feel unfulfilled or bad. They are satisfied and buy it. Crucially though, it allows you to build something for them again, and maybe this time, they’ll have open minds because of your previous work.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Strategy. Plan. Achieve. Have A SPA Day

A strategy is a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim. A plan is a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something. Achieving something is to successfully bring about or reach (a desired objective, level, or result) by effort, skill, or courage.

So yes, have a SPA day and become a little bit more of Who You Could Be.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Cocaine

December 31, 2012, I sniffed my first line. A friend had a habit of giving people cocaine on their birthdays. I was 24, had a mortgage on a three-story house 15 minutes from Downtown Los Angeles, and had been selling weed for seven years. What could go wrong? I took it and fell in love. I don’t say this to glorify it but to wave a flag of caution.

You may not get addicted to cocaine. What I’ve found to be true though is once you do it you get a lifelong craving for it. Every person I’ve spoken with that has done it once, has done it again, or would do it again if given the opportunity unless they’ve made a decision to never use that drug again.

So then why do I believe it should be legal?

It’s addicting. So is sugar. It ruins people’s lives. It...doesn’t, not really. Cocaine, although habit forming isn’t impossible to stop using. Even if the withdrawal hurts, you can’t die from stopping it like with alcohol. Cocaine used to be in soda, kids drank it. So what are we talking about?

Society wasn’t in chaos when Pepsi gave you that extra pep in your step. Coca Cola put it in their name for crying out loud.

Politicians use drugs to stratify society. I guarantee some of those mansions in the Hollywood Hills have heaps of cocaine, but those aren't the doors they kick in.

Lastly, cost. Peru cocaine costs $1 a gram wholesale. In the United States, $40 a gram is a good deal. Anytime someone can 40x their investment, in a matter of days, people are going to get hurt.

Cocaine isn’t for me. Neither is soda, sugar kills 300,000 to 500,000 Americans annually, cocaine kills about 20,000. But how many people are in prison because of drugs? Roughly 500,000. If you want a safer country, start with the drugs.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Not Looking For A Relationship

I’ve heard a lot of people say they won’t get in a relationship because they’re too much work or some other reason.

A relationship should be a net positive. It should propel you forward, not bring you down. 

1 + 1 should equal more than 2. A good relationship has synergy. I’m looking for a relationship but only if this is the case.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Mr. Excuses

Who is that voice that always has an excuse or justification? Or always has to say, “Well not always,” “what if something bad happens?”, “you can work out every day and still get cancer,” or my least favorite, “what if a bus hits you?”

Don’t listen to Mr., Ms. or even Mrs. Excuses. They’re full of crap. They want to keep you hiding, keep you from achieving what you can achieve. Why? I don’t know fully. Partly because the known is comfortable and safe. Our brains haven’t evolved for this level of judgment. They think if we get rejected by the group we’ll be outcasted and killed. When really, that’s when we get to live.

We get to live when we feel emotions. Self-doubt creeps in and sadness seeps out. “Nobody liked my post on social media, how sad.” You want to know what’s sadder? Not posting it in the first place. I’d rather be vulnerable than silent. When Señor Excuses knocks, don’t answer. Keep making progress and if that bus comes at least you’ll know that you’ve been living instead of hiding.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Strive for Greatness

“You look good.” I’d rather them say “you look great!”

Think about how you feel when you genuinely say that you feel  fine versus when you are able to say that you feel great.

This isn’t a “fake it till you make it” or “act as if mantra,” do the things that will get you what you want.

Some people really are okay being 20 pounds overweight, I’m not. I think acceptance can be used like excuses when it comes to health. I know I have and I don’t want to anymore. I say put the work in and make the change.


Saturday, June 1, 2019

Be Okay to Level Up

If you aren’t okay with this, you’ll never allow yourself to be WYCB. Get out of your own way and get behind yourself.

Moving forward you can be a different, more capable person. If change is coming anyway, why not be better?

Friday, May 31, 2019

Do What Works

I noticed myself saying, “Do what works for you,” more often than I used to. After some pondering, there’s a problem with this statement. What if their answer is “then I’ll do nothing”?

Nothing can technically be a plan because people can always try to stay how they are. Therefore, it would be better to say, “Do what works for the change you want to see.” If no change is desired, then you’ll still get inaction. However, it’s impossible to stay the same, so whether you like it or not, change is coming.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Doing Something Noble

What’s the most noble thing you can do? What would you gain and lose from doing this thing? Lastly, what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Coincidence


Coincidence is one of life’s greatest comedians.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Wants vs. Needs

If you have to think if you need something, then it isn’t a need. Almost everyday people buy wants. What’s interesting is how we inflate needs and we end up paying much more than we need to for a version of them.

We transform our needs, lie to ourselves really, and turn them into nice to haves, luxuries. We can live half a mile from work in a smaller place for less money, but we don’t. Refusing to downsize we say things like, “I deserve this.” Deserve though, doesn’t really mean anything. You paid for it. You’re getting it. Great, so what? What are you giving up for what you deserve?

Think about your actions, they affect others. By making better decisions, you do your part to make the world a better place and your life easier at the same time.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Loving Life

168 Hours: What do I love so much I’d do it for free? How can I get someone to pay me to do that? If there’s no obvious job title in an organization doing what I love (and often there isn’t). Ask yourself: “What’s a low-cost way I could start a business doing that, and get the cash register ringing quickly?”

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Nothing Works

I noticed myself saying, “Do what works for you,” more often than I used to. After some pondering, there’s a problem with this statement. What if the answer is nothing? Nothing can work. People can stay how they are. There may be a lack then when it comes to motivation.

What are you doing about X Problem? Nothing.

Well, I guess that works.

If I’m telling someone you have to find out what works for you, when trying to help them better themselves nothing can be a plan of action, or rather, inaction.

When it comes to X problem, do what works for you to solve it. Let’s say losing weight. If someone has lost weight before then losing weight isn’t the problem, keeping it off is. When it comes to keeping the weight off, do what’s works is justifiably nothing because they have no experience.

I’m working on giving less advice, less unsolicited advice for sure, but less advice overall. What I think would be better is to say, when you lose the weight, track every calorie, stay away from junk food and don’t eat past 6 pm. You can add in some other strategies or use a mix of these but figure out what works and do that.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Ignorance Exists

I say some things that may seem obvious, but for some, they aren’t. Ignorance exists, and unless we freely share information it will persist.

I’d love to see a world where education is free, where ignorance existed only by choice and not by design.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Change Makers

What type of person is making the change you want to see? Become like them.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Love What You Do

Many people leave work at work, but if they did what they loved, could they? Does a best selling author only come up with ideas from 9 to 5 Monday through Friday? If an idea strikes her on the weekend, does she write it down immediately or hope to remember it come Monday?

My purpose is to make people’s lives easier. I love what I’m doing. It doesn’t pay the bills, but someday, it might.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

What Thoughts Persist?

I have thoughts that don’t go away. No matter what situation I’m in, they persist. These thoughts, if aligned with my actions can be the kindling for a passionate life.

What you think about when you aren’t getting paid to think is what you should be getting paid for.

If you want to know your purpose, think about what you can’t stop thinking about.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Knowledge vs Wisdom

“To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.” -Lao Tzu.

“Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.” -Albert Einstein

Yet here we are, I do a lot of reading and writing. Writing turns out to be reading for yourself and others. In my constant pursuit of output, I must realize that my relationship with the reader should have a time limit.

I don’t know how long, however long it takes I guess. If these words are to instill action then eventually I’ll be preaching to the choir and nobody needs to be told that they can do what they’re already doing.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Information Overload

“What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.” -Herbert A. Simon.

This is something I’m trying to work on. For about two months, I haven’t read any news articles online or in paper. Minimal headline scanning in Yahoo’s homepage or Google News. It’s been easier than I expected.

I’m almost completely ignorant to what’s going on in the world and it’s awesome.

Why does this matter right now? Just in time Information.

I need to focus on what I’m working on. If my attention is being spent on inactionable information I’m wasting time even though it doesn’t feel like it. That’s the trap of doing things that matter, but that don’t necessarily matter right now.

For whatever I’m working on at the moment, do I need to be giving my attention to this? That’s the question I try to ask every time some new information is put in front of me.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Friday, May 17, 2019

Carrots and Sticks

You may have a goal, but lack starting power. Set a reward (a carrot) for yourself and a punishment (a stick). Some people, much smarter than me have condemned this method as it will only lead to short term results. But what if you only need to achieve short term results?

By a certain day, I’ll do X. If I don’t, then I’ll do Y as a punishment. If I do, then I get Z as a reward.

I’ve tried this out and so far I’ve held myself accountable. I don’t use it for things like lifestyle changes but if I say I have to study every day and if I don’t I have to volunteer some time for an organization I despise, I get the studying done.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

When Discomfort Comes

It’s common for people to say “Growth is on the other side of comfort. Therefore, comfort means no growth.”

If you’re focused on your mission, doing the things, I don’t think any of that should be uncomfortable. If you’re doing what you love, where’s the discomfort coming from? I think this saying has been perpetuated by people struggling just to struggle. The people that enjoy playing the victim.

If what you’re doing is uncomfortable because you’re taking too much, well that’s a different story. That’s a story that greedy individuals tell themselves and hope a term of philanthropy will absolve.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

5/15/2019 Wednesday Weekly

Another week down.
Good - Habits are good. Good nutrition and exercise.

Bad - Studying on the LSAT has stagnated. I’m feeling a bit too confident. Logic Games are solvable but I’m slow. Will be taking a diagnostic test on Friday to see where I'm currently at.

Ugly - Getting a case of the what-to-dos. I know that focus is what brings success, but focus seems to be in short supply.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Earphones Out

Be open to life happening. Available. When we close ourselves off to the world we miss more opportunities than we could ever know. An acquaintance got a limo ride for the price of a rideshare because he was available to the world. Usually, he’d have his earphones in, secluding himself from others while being exposed to them. Now when he’s out in public, he’s aware.

I don’t remember exactly how the story went but it involved him dropping off his rental, leaving and on the way out he struck up a conversation with a man next to a limo. The guy said, “How about a limo ride to wherever you’re going?” If he had his earphones in, he’d have walked right past the man. Instead, he got to ride in a limo and feel like a celebrity for $20. 

Keep yourself open, you never know when opportunity will reveal itself. 

Monday, May 13, 2019

Why Would They Point to You?

If a millionaire needs the best, who do they go to? What can they point to you for? Do you want to be great? How about great at something?

I don’t know if I want to be the best writer, speaker, activist, manager, etc. Therefore, it’s going to be very hard for people to point to me. This idea that we must choose only one though, is unproven. We can do many things in a lifetime.

The hard part isn’t doing, it’s choosing and staying focused. Pick a goal, don’t stop until you reach it or lose interest. I guess the first thing I’ll work on is what can bring me the financial freedom which will allow me to do the rest much easier.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Self-Made

What, no parents?

Nobody successful is self-made. Even the ones who had no mentors or role models still had customers. Before claiming you are or believing someone is “self-made,” ask how other people are involved.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Buying A Car

When it comes to buying a vehicle you can buy new or used. “New cars lose a ton of value right?” Usually, but not always. “Used cars have too many issues, I’d rather feel secure in buying brand new or at least with warranty.” Warranties are financial products, the only reason they exist is that dealerships and manufacturers make a profit on them.

If you live in a major metropolitan area you probably have a lot of dealerships competing for your business. My brother gets what he calls “paper cars.” In 2015 I saw this in action, he bought a never driven, basically new 2014 Nissan Note for well under MSRP and Kelly Blue Book. He could have sold it the same day and probably made a $1,000-2,000 profit. The way this works is looking at the newspapers for one-off deals. You have to be at the dealership early and sometimes literally sit on the car until they open, but once they do, the car is yours. Dealerships do this to get people in the door. He used to sell cars so he knows the trick, dealerships out one in the paper, with VIN as required by law but once it sells, every person after will be talked to about other marvelous deals, just not that one.

Buying used has a few issues but unless you’re getting a new car in the method above or something similarly priced, it’s the way I’ll go forever.

A lot of people get car loans and are immediately upside down in them, meaning, they owe more than the car is worth. This is something to look out for, especially at car dealerships that do their own financing. If your credit score is low and you can’t get a car loan with less than 5% interest, don’t get a car loan.

If you don’t have a car right now, why do you need a car tomorrow? Save money until you can buy a 10 to 15-year-old, reliable car with 10,000 miles max per year it has been on the road. I bought a 2002 Toyota Sienna for $2500 with 100,000 miles on it in 2018. It was in great shape mechanically, but I wouldn’t be turning any heads doing ng down the street. If you want to be better with money, understand that what you want and what you need are usually two different things.

The reason your financed car may be a terrible use of money is that these dealers will give you a car worth $5,000, according to Kelly Blue Book, which is what a lot of banks use to determine if they can finance your car, for $7,000 or more. If this happens to you, you’ll be locked into something terrible.

When I was in banking I tried to help a woman refinance her vehicle that she was paying over 15% interest on. She owed $8,500 and the vehicle was worth $3,500. She had never heard of Kelly Blue Book and thought it was a good deal. It wasn’t a good deal, she got swindled. Unfortunately, there’s nothing to protect people in these situations. A deal’s a deal. The car lot will even tell you, “You have bad credit, we’ll start you at 15% and in 6 months you can go somewhere else and refinance down to 5% or 8% interest.” Unfortunately, this isn’t completely true. A bank can only lend 100-120% of what a car is worth, because the car is the collateral, so unless she planned on putting a $5,000 down payment on that loan, for a car only worth $3,500, she’s stuck in a bad loan until she pays it off or works something else out.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Bad Things Will Happen

“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. They are like this because they can't tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own - not of the same blood and birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands, and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are unnatural.” -Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

True then and true now. Preparation is key. We don’t walk in front of others and give a presentation without practice, but we present ourselves every day in front of them without preparation or even thought as to what might come. Think of the possibilities and prepare for the likely ones. Your life will improve.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Gambling

Life’s a gamble. That’s pretty dramatic, but most of us have said it once or twice. I stopped gambling with money a long time ago, over six years. I was up, I quit while I was ahead and have never given the house back their money. But I haven’t stopped gambling.

Some people say walking across the street is gambling, I've gone further. Gambling recklessly is what I mean. Speeding, running red lights, going out to places I shouldn’t be at, driving drunk, etc. I’ve gambled with my life enough to say, that for at least today, I’m not gambling recklessly with it anymore.

That leads me to my last gamble, time.

Whatever you’re doing, you’re essentially gambling with outcomes. You can increase your probability but for the big things, there’s some luck involved. My job is to put myself in the best position possible, so when luck shows up my preparation will allow me to capitalize.

Whatever the game, you owe it to yourself to get better at it. Your money, life, and youth depend on it.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

5/8/2019 Wednesday Weekly

Another week down.
Good - Settling into my new place just fine. Life is good.

Bad - Nutrition, eating too much sugar. I’ve been writing a new book about what parents won’t tell their teenage kids. It’s different but I have two nephews who it’s dedicated for so I’m working through the temporary rough patch.

Ugly - Being distracted living with other people, still mostly doing my habits, but it’s getting tougher to stay focused. If it continues I’ll have to reevaluate my goals.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Struggle Everyday

Akin to when will you fight...

I’d rather struggle a little every day than not struggle and hope to be able to struggle a lot someday.

When you do some sort of work that you can build upon it makes the rest of your life easier. What can you do today that will make tomorrow easier?

It’s like eating right, today I’m going to feel like I’m missing out but someday when I’m 70 and can walk upright and run I’ll be grateful to my younger self. Depending on what it is, you might even pay for it the next morning.

When you think about doing something, it’s hard to ask if it’s going to be worth it. Our actions are supposed to make us happy, a lot of times they don’t. Short term sacrifice, long term gain.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Mental Peace

We sometimes fill our minds with noise because we don’t want to hear the negative voice(s). Maybe we’re stressed over relationships, finances or our current situation.

Why can’t we sit still and think our own thoughts anymore?

I remember driving in silence, no music, just my thoughts. Planning and processing.

You can only have one voice in your head at a time, that’s why when people talk over each other nothing registers. 

Music is not as bad as TV, but if we let it, as I used to let it, it will take your youthful brain and keep it preoccupied. Don’t think of your opportunities, put your favorite song on instead. It’s the weekend, just enjoy it, no need to think. You can’t live a life without music, take a listen.

Those who refuse to change are doomed to live the same. Be the person you could be, one choice at a time.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Daydream

Diane Barth wrote “Daydreaming: Unlock the Creative Power of Your Mind,” in 1998 and said we daydream around 30 to 40 percent of our waking hours. I know I used to, but I definitely don’t anymore.

After some research on Google I found David Evans article from 2017, “Is Your Smart Phone Stealing Your Creativity? Unlock Your Creativity Using Secondary Dream Time.”

Just as Wikipedia was made by stealing time from TV, daydreams had to go if smartphones were to be inserted. The constantly distracted brain can’t function correctly.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Great or Remarkable?

Before it’s measured it must be observed.

How do you get people to see what you’re doing?
Seth Godin says something remarkable is something worthy of making a remark upon.

Can something be great but unremarkable? Sure. So what’s the goal? Greatness or acknowledgment?

Look inward for the signs that you’re doing great things. Is it worth doing something remarkable only to be miserable inside? Even if the greatness is personal, even if your audience is small, even if you never plan on showing anyone your creation, if you think it’s worth the effort, do it. 

Friday, May 3, 2019

Just A Coincidence

We love seeing meaning in the meaningless. Coincidence is often credited to an outside entity. Why not credit the actors for their actions?

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Planning vs. Doing

Doing without planning is likely wasteful and imprudent. Planning without doing can be wasteful or prudent. 

Thoughtfulness allows us to create. It also lets us see if something is viable.

If I had six hours to write a blog post I’d spend the first 350 minutes thinking and brainstorming. I’d spend the last 10 crafting the final product.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

5/1/2019 Wednesday Weekly

Another week down.
Good - Came back to San Antonio, staying with some awesome friends. On my stuff, studying for the LSAT. Tracking calories. Being productive.

Bad - The heat that’s coming.

Ugly - See Bad.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

No System Wants to Die

Why don’t schools teach people what they should? Because then we’d find that we don’t need schools.

Why don’t hospitals refuse care to people that refuse to care for themselves? Because they like their money.

Why don’t politicians change the system? Because it gives them power.

Why don’t you do what you should? Because you like comfort more.

I want an easy life, but I have to understand that while some things may be temporarily uneasy, it will be much less effort if I do something about it now. When will you fight?

Monday, April 29, 2019

Seeking Wisdom

How does one find wisdom? By seeking it of course.

I like asking questions, questions lead to answers and answers lead to knowledge. Knowledge, when derived from good sources and applied correctly is wisdom. 

If one could only make wise decisions, what a life they’d lead.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Go All In

Go All In
What can you accomplish?
Why not do it?
Maybe more importantly, why do it?

“I don’t want to,” is an unreasonable reason but acceptable. To who? To you. So it’s good enough. Another acceptable reason is, “because I can.” So go all in. You already are anyway, in what? You tell me.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Slow TF Down

I’ve listened to podcasts at 1.5x and books at 1.75x speed. Now it’s 1x or 1.25x.
Some people say we should do more in less time, I know I have.

How about, doing less in more time?

Is it better to read one book, ponder it, and apply it or seven and hardly be able to recall the words? Wisdom’s power is unlocked when knowledge is coupled with action. If you haven’t absorbed the knowledge, wisdom is impossible.

A better life, a slower life, an easier life.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Perception Is Personal

I don’t like people that use straw man arguments. They use one or two examples of how your statement is wrong and thus making you have to qualify your statements with “generally” or “in most cases.” They slow down the conversation.

What I think, is you’re dealing with someone that doesn’t want a conversation. Not a back and forth, but a one-way showcase of their desired genius.

The way people take things shows us how their internal thought process works. It’s why some people get offended when none is intended. We often like to blame the orator, but in my eyes, the listener should seek clarity before concluding.

Can we speak in a way where we’ll never be misunderstood? I don’t know. But I know that asking questions is allowed, so I’ll ask first and decide second.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Live Within Your Needs

Needs. Not means. Repeated for emphasis, needs, not means.
How could one be financially ruined if they did this? We let desire run our lives. I’m guilty. Not perfect of this principle but pursuing it nonetheless. What for? Salvation.

Every product we buy has a cost, what have I bought since the beginning of this year? A pack of socks, a grey coat from Goodwill and one Grey T-shirt.

Consumerism and materialism are some of the driving forces in our economy. What happens when your creditor says no more? When the facade is revealed most of us will suffer for our greed. It happened in 2008 and in 2000, it will happen again.

Maybe it’s inevitable, maybe it’s by design. But I know this, it’s all of our fault. We stand by while others dig their own plots, all the while doing the same and justifying our actions by saying it could be worse. It could be better, your choice.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

4/24/2019 Wednesday Weekly

Another week down.
Good - Got the book publishing stuff pretty much down just need some help figuring out page breaks on it. The code looks correct but isn’t acting correctly, shocking. Finished How to Win Friends & Influence People in the Digital Age, tremendous. It’s from a Carnegie affiliate, and I recommend this rendition of the perennial classic. Speaking of, I started Ryan Holiday’s newish book Perennial Seller. I’m trying to slow down my consumption of information and spend more time thinking and creating, in that order. Habits are all good, coming back to San Antonio and I can’t wait. A really good week.

Bad - I caved and watched Game of Thrones. Good news, in the bad, is I went to watch another show I used to like and it wasn’t funny anymore. I’m at just over two hours of TV for the week, not bad at all.

Ugly - Your face =)