9 of 30

Work Jazz

What do you listen to while working? I love how music sets the mood.

When I’m reading or writing, I love some easy-listening jazz or rain falling by the window. It helps draw focus.

Exercising definitely needs a beat. Get my blood going. We’re getting strong now.

Drive in lame traffic, and I shuffle through Indies. I need the color and creativity in sounds to carry my day-dreaming. There’s so many other things I’d rather do than sit steering a tin box.

Great films have amazing music. The music shapes the moment. Directors and composers understand that movies are 1/3 video and 2/3 audio. We’re most engaged when the music embraces what we’re seeing. It helps us live the moment.

What’s your soundtrack?

Phones, TVs, AirPods, etc. We now live without quiet moments. We choose what we hear at any given part of the day. So then, how are we managing our moods? Poppa can only stomach so much Baby Shark.

Our sole defining quality is that we can change our environment. Stress is natural. When we’re intentional on choosing what to hear, we control our direction.

Take an active stance on life. Listen to what you need.

8 of 30

The Twilight Zone

The show ran from 1959 to 1964. We’d watch episodes as part of media class in school. I loved it. The key to my heart is a good unexpected twist.

Shift my perspective.

Two specific episodes will forever stand out: The Eye of the Beholder (1960) and Time Enough at Last (1959).

The Eye of the Beholder is a poignant reminder that beauty depends.

[Spoiler Alert] A woman has her entire face wrapped in bandages. She’s undergone the maximum allowable amount of surgeries attempting to make her look normal. The doctors and nurses describe her face as a “pitiful twisted lump of flesh.” Unable to bear the bandages any more, she begs the doctors to remove them early. They peel the bandages only to discover that the procedure was a complete failure and her face did not change. She looks like us…where the doctors and nurses all look like piggish, droopy, asymmetric Things. Normal society is where ghouls are beautiful, and so she’s cast back into the ghetto fringes of the city. [/Spoiler]

There’s beauty in everything. It’s all on how we see it.

Time Enough at Last is in the juxtaposition.

[Spoiler Alert] A bookish little man has tumultuous relationships with people. He retreats from the tribulations of society through his love of reading. After waking up as the sole survivor of a nuclear holocaust, he desperately searches for other survivors…and finds none. He’s at the brink of despair, but miraculously finds a library with all books in great condition and a lifetime supply of canned foods. It’s everything he really needs. With all he truly cares about finally at his fingertips, he bends down to pick up his first book…and his eyeglasses fall to the ground and shatter into a thousand pieces. “That’s not fair. That’s not fair at all.” [/Spoiler]

Life is but a series of events and how we adjust. Life just happens.

Stories define culture through the sharing of perspectives. It teaches us that everyone is living a life as beautiful and complex as your own (ie. sonder). Cities have two tales. History is written by the winners. Life’s richer when we can share more than just our own. Tell me about the others in your shoes.


7 of 30

Can you be mentored?

Ikigai – A Formula for Happiness

Roughly translated, Ikigai means “thing that you live for” or “the reason for which you wake up in the morning.” The term originates from Okinawa – the largest population of centenarians in the world. We’d be wise to learn life lessons from our longest living and most easy-going people.

The concept begins with four lists:

  • What you love
  • What you’re good at
  • What the world needs
  • What you can be paid for

As these lists converge, we find Ikigai.


My mom’s favorite aphorism is “ask a teenager while they still know everything.” Absolutism is a problem. It’s immature and makes us grumpy. Pump up the hormones and we can be teens forever.

It’s amazing how some of us don’t grow out of our teens. Moody. Unstable. Whenever I meet people consumed by negativity, I always ask “what are you fighting and why are you fighting it?” Define it, then change it.

Can you be mentored? Accepting mentorship means doing what you’re told. It’s mountains more than mere nodding and understanding. Mentors get you to wax a dozen cars…their way. Our only job as students is to have grit. Success is about not giving up. It’s not about being a bulldog…stubbornly holding onto what we’ve sunk our teeth into. Try, observe, adjust.

Some things we must unlearn. The world is always changing around us, so it’s not wise to cling to old irrelevant truths. Adjust. A fulfilled life starts with perspective.

“Do you think that’s air you’re breathing?” Quest on.

6 of 30


Of knights and noblemen, chivalry is the combination of qualities that make an ideal knight: courage, honor, courtesy, justice, and helping the weak. It’s some habits of highly effective people. Admirable. Just not sexy.

Picture a stunning lady in a red dress walking through town. A tall man with a lantern jaw swings his broad shoulders to hold the door open for her. She winks a thank you and makes way inside. Two steps in and a dragon dives from the tower, snarling smoke as it rushes to make her the next pretty meal. A short and skinny Asian dude leaps off his computer and thrusts a shimmering broadsword into the center of the dragon’s heart.

Which guy gets the girl?

The skinny slayin’ Asian. Dude’s got a better ice-breaker. He’s even got dinner ready if she ain’t allergic to dragon burgers.

Adoration and courtesy are great qualities, but those are about distance. Politeness is the death of attraction. We yearn to bond. And ain’t no better bonding than mutual reveling in the proverbial blood of our adversaries. We fall in love over hating the same shit.

When you know that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent, dragons become lizards.

Break the fantasy. We’re all a little broken. Ask not why is she so hot. Ask how she feels about Nickelback. No one is ugly. Some of us are just boring.

5 of 30

I wrote about high fives on my fourth post. I should’ve saved it for this one. Timing’s never been my strong suit.

Missed Opportunities

L’esprit de l’escalier. It’s French for “the staircase wit” – the predicament of thinking of the perfect reply too late.

Timing and execution matters. You got one shot, right?

Sometimes we miss. Our timing’s bad. We might not have been in the moment. It would have been so much better if I had said… So, we miss. We move on.

I don’t beat myself up over rejection. Trying and failing is a lot different than passing the opportunity. I’d rather give earnest effort and come short, than regret not taking a shot.

There’s no perfect moment. Everything can be improved. Try and miss is better than pass it by. Life is awkward. We dust ourselves off and try again…