What changes?

[cs_content][cs_section parallax="false" style="margin: 0px;padding: 45px 0px;"][cs_row inner_container="true" marginless_columns="false" style="margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;"][cs_column fade="false" fade_animation="in" fade_animation_offset="45px" fade_duration="750" type="1/1" style="padding: 0px;"][cs_text]Nothing changes. Don't be fooled. Nothing changes. I'm speaking to information junkies. I'm speaking to people always searching for the latest information in their field. I'm speaking to you, from human to human.

Sure, technology changes, and continues to evolve. It might be good to stay up on that because it affects us all, but what about people? People don't change. Not really.

Selling

Selling hasn't changed. If you're looking for the latest tactics, the latest research, etc. you're wasting your time. Sales is about:

  • relationship building
  • trust
  • relevance
  • need
  • and maybe price

If you're going to sell something to somebody, then you're going work with those principles. No real need or problem? No sale. Not a relevant solution to their need? Bye bye birdie. No trust? Doubt they buy, but if they did, they're not coming back.

And a business is built on relationships, on returning again and again. If somebody doesn't return, do you have a real relationship? Do you have a business? Maybe, but it won't last.

Marketing

Marketing hasn't changed either. I don't care what name you call it by: growth, consultative selling, inbound marketing, etc. It's still marketing.

First, create a great product. Everything starts and stops there.

Then educate your audience. Don't expect people to know the benefits. Break it down for them.

Then demonstrate how valuable it is. Give people a chance to use it if you can. Let them see a demo.

And you get the word out through as many channels (cheaply) as you can. Ads, word of mouth or reviews (best), social media, email, billboards (ugh), or whatever.

Have those principles changed after 100 years of modern advertising? Nope.

People

Have people fundamentally changed in the past 2500 years? Don't think so.

Ever since consciousness miraculously appeared 60,000 years ago, we have been making up our reality as we go.

Does it surprise you when five people witness the same event that there's five unique accounts of said event? It shouldn't.

Does it surprise you when there's one religion, say Christianity or Islam, and there's 1000's of sects or different views on said religion? It shouldn't.

Does it surprise you when entire groups of people think a certain way and a different group thinks a different way? It shouldn't.

Does it surprise you when people want to hurt or kill other people who don't see the world the same way they do? It shouldn't.

Does it surprise you when people look to leaders to save them from all the threats in the immediate environment? This has been happening for thousands of years.

And does it surprise you when those so-called leaders exploit those so-called followers for their own benefit? It really shouldn't.

Death

Death hasn't changed. Physical death comes closer to all of us each and every day. For some, it comes faster than others.

Because of environment, some are born in extreme poverty or in the middle of war. No choice when it comes to parents.

Because of what people do to their bodies, pouring the worst chemicals into their bodies posing as food and drink.

Because of what people don't do with their bodies. They don't move around. They don't explore their limits.

But there's another kind of death. The death of potential. The death of love. The death of beauty. The death of innocence. The death of purpose.

These deaths are more profound. They turn optimism into cynicism. They turn gratitude into greed. They turn a child's mindfulness into automation. These deaths are the worst because, ironically, they still live amongst us.

It's not good or bad. It's just the way things are. Some things change, yes. But most things, especially human nature, not so much.

There's tremendous opportunity here. To grow as a species, to change against our very nature, and to really live life.

Let's accept that responsibility. Let's go.[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][/cs_content]


50:30:20

[nectar_dropcap color=””]M [/nectar_dropcap]exico City. Chicago. Two researchers digging into how emotion gets expressed in human language. They interviewed young (people in their 20’s) and old (people in their 60’s). Robert Schrauf, associate professor of applied linguistics and an anthropologist at Penn State, found something unusual in his study, despite the age and cultural differences of his participants.

“I found this surprising result,” Schrauf says. “Half of all the words that people produce from their working vocabulary to express emotion are negative. And 30 percent are positive and 20 percent are neutral.”

“And every single one of these groups, young Mexicans and old Mexicans, young Anglos and old Anglos, had the same proportions, 50 percent negative, 30 percent positive and 20 percent neutral.”

What does it mean?

According to Schrauf’s research (albeit limited in scope), the language that we use to express emotion comprises a 50:30:20 ratio (negative:positive:neutral). Obviously, this is a gross generalization, but still eye-opening.

Does this mean that we experience more negative and neutral experiences (on average) in our daily lives than positive ones? Maybe you can take note of your daily experiences.

Are these experiences regional or cultural? Are they a product of evolution or progress?

If humans do experience more “negativity” on average, is that by intelligent or biological design or is it a product of the environment that we created, perhaps haphazardly?

The world is meaningless

The outside world you experience is inherently meaningless. There must be meaning-makers to give the world, and everything in it, meaning.

A slap on the face could mean anything, depending on whether you’re on the receiving end or not. A slap could make you laugh (Youtube the Three Stooges), angry, or even shame (“I deserved that.”)

But SOMEBODY must give the world meaning or none of us would survive – and here’s where it gets interesting.

Somebody gives an event meaning. We’ll call this person the authority. People watch the authority “react” to an event, and depending on his or her reaction, others mirror that reaction.

We have the original meaning-maker, the authority. Then we have the “followers” mimicing what they see.

One person is using their imagination. The other is just observing their authority and following suit.

50:30:20 – a ratio that transcends age and culture.

Questions

Are you aware that you’re giving events meaning?

Are you CHOOSING the meaning you’re giving incidents/events or are you following/mirroring what somebody else has shown you?

And if you are aware that you’re consciously giving meaning to everyday life, and YOU ALONE have that power, why in the world would you choose to experience a 50:30:20 ratio? Why not a 10:80:10 ratio?

Put another way, if language has an impact on a person’s direct experience of the world, why would you purposely choose to have more negative or neutral experiences than positive ones? Wouldn’t you switch out so-called negative words for positive words to enhance your life experience AS SOON AS POSSIBLE??

I’m interested.

More on this later.

Paul


Superhuman

The following post is written by me (obviously), for me (not so obvious), but you know the old saying: if the shoe fits....

[dropcap]I[/dropcap] wonder what it's like to be superhuman. Does that mean I can do incredible things with my body? Strength and flexibility, along with deft skill applied to any physical challenge?

Is it supreme mental ability, the power to compute large algorithms in minutes? The ability to simplify the most complex problems into their most essential parts, so any moron can digest them in seconds?

Is it the ability to understand and empathize with people so well that it causes them to think you're a mind reader? Is it the ability give a speech or talk to a group and somehow, some way, everybody in the room thinks that you MUST be talking to them?

Or is it using the power of imagination to create new worlds, generate solutions to long standing problems, and to create great works of art?

A few blog posts back, I wrote that everything's made up, and guess who's making it up?

Who knows? But one thing's for sure - If you're NOT, somebody IS.

As Steve Jobs once said:

Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact:

Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you - and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. 

Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again.

The choice

Sometimes we have to be reminded of our greatness.

Sometimes the reminder has to be stated very bluntly, but once it sinks in, we have to make a decision.

Do we go back to sleep, live in the cloud of mediocrity, and consistently settle for short-term gratification?

OR

Do we challenge ourselves to be better humans each day? Do we aspire to greatness beyond what our own imagination is telling us? Do we go for being superhuman, which is far beyond what we intend to be as we walk out  into the world each day?

You have to want such things as progress and evolution. You have to want to sacrifice short-term gratification (short-term, NOT instant, because a pay check comes steadily every two weeks). You have to want something so bad that you take moon-shots (risks) instead of the standard and conventional.

Desire is key to this entire equation. Your "why?" will drive you to great heights or settle for the short mound that's right in front of you.

Whatever you do each day is driven by a reason, some overarching (or perhaps subtle) purpose.

1.) What do you consistently do each and every day?

2.) Why do you do THAT?

If you are satisfied with your reasons, then you're on course. If NOT, then you know what to do.

The best YOU does NOT exist...yet

Superhuman, the best YOU that could possibly exist, is NOT a myth, but it doesn't exist right now. Your best you is in the realm of the unknown, and asks you to leave the known behind and risk insecurity, doubt, and confusion. Your best self is undiscovered, and requires courage and perseverance to reach him or her.

It doesn't mean death-defying feats of strength or ability. It's not pushing the limits of your mind by making objects move through telekinesis. It's not going out and making 30 million dollars in two years, either.

It means you must be the best you in every moment of your existence. It means accepting pain (physical or psychological) as a growing tool. It means sacrificing comfort for productivity. It means doing one more set, one more rep, taking one more call, writing one more blog post, and making one more offer to somebody that can benefit from your products and services.

It ultimately means living the kind of life and lifestyle that makes you say, "I'm so fortunate to be alive today."

The question is, how long will it take you to get on YOUR path, and leave the conditioned, tried-and-true one behind?

It's not like you have 20, 10, 5, or even 1 more year of life guaranteed to you.

Time to make it happen NOW.

Let's push ourselves in 2015. We can do better than this.

Paul

Martin-Luther-King-Quote


One Step Closer

I was thinking the other day...

Life is hard.

I thought about this. Nothing seems easy. If I want to live, work is required. The expenditure of energy is necessary to get results. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. No action, no results.

Yes, life is hard, but withholding my energy from some person or project not only makes my life harder, it makes it less fulfilling.

What are you giving to life? What are you getting back?

Accomplishing anything worthwhile requires so much hard work.

If I want to accomplish anything noteworthy or worthwhile, then hard work is mandatory. There is no short cut, no easy hack, no magic pill to swallow. Busting my ass is the only answer to achieving anything worthwhile.

I think about the things I want to see in the world...

  • write a few books
  • create a magazine
  • develop a few apps
  • Tibet, India and the Himalayas
  • Siberia
  • perform on stage, either as speaker or actor
  • a stronger, healthier body

None of it is easy. There are no short-cuts. I have to put in the time and practice, the energy and effort to make it all happen.

All of these things require devotion. It's not a word I use very often, but if there's no devotion, then I'll never put in the time.

devotion |diˈvōSHən|

noun

love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause

What are you devoted to?

Most of the time, I don't WANT to do the hard work.

I don't want to do the hard work most of the time. I'd rather relax, watch a Youtube video or sports, read a book, or surf the internet. Who wants to work out and exercise? Who wants to write everyday especially when you don't feel like it?

I'm learning that when I face the hurdle of not wanting to do something, then I should find someone that does. In the connected world and economy that we live in, it's not that hard to find someone who compliments your skill set.

Stop whining about hard work and figure out what you're willing to work hard on.

Then find other people to do the hard work you want no part of.

Collaboration is a lesson I'm learning (the hard way).

Who do you know that can do the things you don't want to do?

It's easy to do nothing and be lazy.

Initiating a new project is exciting and invigorating, but after the excitement ends, real work needs to get done. It becomes easy to do nothing and get a little lazy.

But I've noticed something about my laziness. I'm lazy when I'm not clear on what to do next, and I'm not clear on what to do next because I don't have enough reasons to BE CLEAR. Kinda circular, I know.

Knowing your "why?" is crucial to doing anything in life.

I'm also lazy if I'm doing something I've never done before and I know my process is going to be very inefficient.

What if all laziness was a by-product of my inability to see clearly? What if laziness was simply a result of my own uncertainty?

If the next steps aren't clear to me, then I can be sure of one thing: I will definitely procrastinate.

Define the next steps with clarity. Be concrete. Write it down. 12 different people should be able to take what you've written down, perform the next steps, and produce similar results.

If you're being lazy or procrastinating then spend more time being clear. If a problem repeats itself or still confuses you, then spend more time defining the actual problem.

Clarity (easy to perceive, understand, or interpret) = Power (the ability to do something or act in a particular way)

The more CLEAR you are, the more POWER you will exhibit.

Remember that.

It's easy to quit when things get tough.

And it will get tough. I start a project and pretty soon I find that there's something or someone I don't know, something I don't know how to do, or a task that is beyond my current skill level.

Starting Everybody's Famous quickly taught me what I didn't know, and what I'd have to learn quickly.

  • Will this venture succeed? How can I validate a magazine, actually get people to fork over their cash for something that doesn't exist yet?
  • How will this magazine earn money? What's the business model? What will people pay for? What's the value being delivered?
  • What kind of corporation is it? LLC, C, S, or B?
  • Since the magazine requires content, stories from local communities, where will that content come from? How will we find those people? How do we tell compelling stories that engages just about anybody?
  • What other legal considerations, ethical questions need to be answered?
  • I'm not a journalist. I'm not a photographer or videographer. I'm not an audiophile. EFM is a multi-media magazine, so I'm going to have to learn fast. Each one of those statements comes with a bunch of questions, research, and activities.

I could be here all day listing everything I don't know about how to run a magazine or a business, but the point is, each one of these challenges are learning opportunities. And learning requires lots of mistakes. Lots of them.

In the beginning of learning anything, there will be a disproportionate amount of mistakes to what you do right. Know this and suck it up.

It's easy to quit when you suck at something, but anything worth doing is worth doing POORLY.

Do it wrong, learn, and grow. Just don't quit when things get tough.

But I don't know "how?"

I learned a few years back NEVER to ask how to do something until I've tried it first. I never realized that question could be used as a cop out from true action. I'd say 90% of the people who ask "how?" before any research or taking some kind of action are not truly serious.

I used to be like that, maybe not verbally but definitely in my head. I found over time that if someone has enough desire, has enough reasons to do something, they'll find a way to make it happen.

I also found that if I dug down deep enough into a problem or project that the next step to take was always within my line of sight. Even if I couldn't see beyond that next step, I always knew what the very next step was, and once I took it, then next one would reveal itself.

Stop playing around. You know what the next step is. The next step you need to take for your relationships. Your business. Your community. Be responsible and take it. Stop asking "how?" and just do it. At least Nike got that right.

Oh, and from now on, replace "how?" with "why?" to get to the heart of things. If your purpose isn't strong enough, it won't get done anyway, regardless of all the how-to books in the world.

WHY always beats HOW.

I can do so much better...

Really? You can have a better relationship, a better job, a better home, and a better life?

Then do something about it.

'Better' requires a little bit of faith. Faith requires a clear vision.

If you don't have a vision for your life and all your ideals - your ideal average day, your ideal relationship, your ideal job, etc. - then you won't act. You'll talk and talk and talk, but nothing will get done.

Faith and risk require a solid vision or plain ignorance. You'll go on with your sh*tty job and your mediocre lifestyle, but nothing will get 'better' unless you see things clearly and ACT.

So basic, but it's easy to get caught up in our own heads.

Besides, if you have a clear vision and are taking the necessary actions to see it through, you'll be able to put up with that sh*tty job a little while longer. Your time there is coming to an end, and you KNOW it. It's just a matter of time.

Can you imagine? Working that job and having no light at the end of the tunnel?

Having no vision sucks. Not acting at all is worse.

C'mon, let's do this. Life can be better for all of us, and you know it.

What's your next step?

For work?

In your relationships?

For your health?

For recreation and travel?

For learning?

For your money?

Clarity is one step closer. Take a step towards your vision today.

Even if it's tiny and miniscule.

Just one.

Paul


Now what?

I was listening to an audio book written by a business coach on the way to work this morning. She told the story of a client who accomplished her so-called dream job and the much coveted corner office. After a few months, her client began to feel empty inside, and was left asking, now what?

She thought she had everything she wanted, but what she accomplished didn't hold the personal satisfaction she thought she was looking for.

I know, first world problems, but I've witnessed the other side of the spectrum. I help people who have been homeless or formerly incarcerated get back on their feet, and many times they also end up in the same place - now what? They think they wanted the clothes, the car, a new apartment, a certain type of man/woman, but many end up in the same place.

Now what?

Now what? can become a serious problem if you don't know how to deal with it. Many get to the now what? space and turn to drugs, sex, gambling, binge TV watching, food, shopping, etc. If you don't understand that empty feeling inside, then a quick fix solution is to fill it up with something as fast as possible.

Stuffing your face full of food, smoking a little weed, flipping through channels or Youtube, and spending hard earned money on clothes you may only wear a few times are ways to fill the void inside. The only problem with these tactics is that they only mask the problem, but the truth is still waiting for you.

I experience now what? after every project is completed. I sometimes experience it after an epic blog post. I remember that now what? feeling when I came back from Europe and South America. The feeling comes and if there's no answer after the question has been asked, then I can get a little depressed.

Now what? is there to remind you that humans were meant to grow and evolve. It doesn't mean that you need to be working on something ALL the damn time. When I was in Europe I discovered my love for writing, worked on creative projects, and was free to travel when and where I pleased.

Nothing's changed since then because I still have those options, but my now what? feeling taught me to break from the norm, chuck the routine and live spontaneously - even if for a couple of weeks. I learned a lot about myself, discovered new worlds, and coming back to ordinary life taught me to want more.

Takeaways

How do you deal with that now what? feeling?

Here are a few things to remember:

  1. Now what? is a sign that you're ready to tackle a new project or problem. Ask yourself, what problem bugs me that I want to solve? Let ideas flow to you.
  2. Now what? could be a signal that you've lost sight of your personal vision, mission, or purpose in life. Call it what you want, but I believe everybody ought to be working on ideas, using their talents and gifts in unique ways to solve people problems. What are 3 big things you would like to accomplish this year? Next year? In the next 10 years? Use whatever timeline you want, just make it longer than this week.
  3. Now what? could be reminding you that what you're doing is not YOU. You're doing it because you think it will give you recognition from your boss, peers and colleagues, some dude or chic, or your parents. If you're not living life for YOU, then you may get that corner office, and in a few months be asking WTF?! Be yourself is the most cliche'd and BS advice given in the world, but powerful if carried out to its fullest expression. So, be your mutha f'n self! (I hate cliches)
  4. Now what? could be a time to sit with NO stimulation. Stop avoiding the void, and deal with it. The truth is sitting in the dark, waiting for you to face it. Whether you meet it sooner or later, it's there - the loneliness, the despair, the anger, and the I don't know what the f*** I'm doing feeling. The truth is undefeated, so taking drugs or some other escape is only prolonging the inevitable. Deal with your sh*t, head up.
  5. And finally, now what? could be telling you to relax and chill for a moment. Stop trying to make everything happen. If you're running solely off your head and not listening to your heart, you're going to have a tough life. Give in sometimes, and surrender to the almighty NOTHINGNESS. There's something powerfully peaceful in the VOID. It's just hell getting there.

Paul


The excuse killer

The desert

My dad raised me in an interesting way. He didn't have a ton of rules. He allowed me to choose what I believed in, religiously or politically. He explained that I was responsible for my life at age 10. He was still responsible TO me, but I responsible FOR me - my actions, behaviors and ultimate results.

I explained to a friend that it was like growing up in a desert. A wide open sea of dunes, endless sand, and my own compass. I could go in any direction I pleased. Sure, there would be consequences, but I was responsible. No one else.

This doesn't mean I didn't have structure. Even a desert has structure, but it felt like I had a blank slate, so to speak, to create whatever I wanted. As I grew into adulthood, I realized this was an advantage for me.

I didn't know it at the time, but he was prepping my mind to think without limits.

One day, I asked myself if there was something holding me back from getting anything I wanted. I found nothing.

Here's how my conversation went...

What's stopping you?

Fear? Nope. You have courage to deal with that.

Doubt? Uncertainty? With a little planning and faith, you can smash old limits.

Not smart enough? Don't worry, it's an action oriented universe - intellect won't make or break you.

Ignorance or inexperience? You can always learn something new to deal with ignorance. You can practice something old and get better and better, to deal with inexperience.

Mistakes and failure? You can learn from those, too. Mistakes are either lessons in how to NOT do something or they can lead to innovation, like post-it notes.

Lack of money? Can you produce quality ideas and do great work? Money always follows good ideas, great effort, and practical solutions to everyday problems.

Physical challenges? You can think about people like Stephen Hawking, Helen Keller, and Stevie Wonder amongst the millions who are handicapped to varying degrees.

How about your background? The area you grew up in? Too many examples to list here of people overcoming their environment, psychological background, and negative conditioning, but I love Booker T. Washington's story.

Your past? Sure, many people will look at your track record and judge you, but not everybody. Will that stop you from getting what you want? Your decision.

Laziness? Bad attitude? Addiction? Nope. If other people never overcame their own bad habits and vices, then I'd agree with you. I have friends, family, and colleagues that have successfully dealt with their stuff.

I know, I know. You're the exception. I thought I was, too.

Is most of life out of your control? Yup, but what do you have a shot at getting under your control?

Me.

You

So what's stopping you from being your best, having what you want, and living your ideal life? Unless you're physically restrained, caged, or dominated by others, then there's nothing holding you back.

Nothing, but you.

Can fear stop you? No, so stop blaming fear.

Thoughtless phrases like, "I'm sabotaging myself" or "I fear success" allow you to avoid taking responsibility. It's easy to place the blame on something abstract and untouchable, but what those phrases are really saying is, "I don't have a strong enough purpose."

"We have met the enemy, and he is US."

-Pogo

Reasons

If you're lazy, not excited about life, feel stuck, afraid or whatever else you think is holding you back, then there's one key ingredient you're missing that can help you overcome all that.

Purpose.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

without purpose nothing exists.

I'll say it another way. In order for something to happen in the world, in order to have a physical result or outcome, purpose must drive its creation.

What is purpose? Purpose is simply asking the question, "why?", and "why?" produces reasons. Those reasons either inspire you to action or leave you bored and demotivated.

There's just something special about "why?" - it gets to the depth of your motivations quickly. When you ask "why?", the reasons that drive you, the reasons that inspire or motivate you must come to the surface.

Purpose is powerful and revealing. If you think you're stuck, then ask why. You may discover from your reasons that you simply don't care enough to see something through.

Remember, nothing can stop you. Nothing's holding you back. You just don't have a good enough reason to act.

Start with "why?", and behold a new YOU.

Lessons

There really is only one lesson:

Nothing can stop you, but you.

Stop blaming the economy.

Stop blaming your boss, your job, your colleague or whomever.

Stop blaming your husband, your girlfriend, your lover, your mistress, your kids, your pets, and your family. Just stop.

Stop blaming nonsensical things like "self-sabotage" or "fear of success". They don't exist.

Stop blaming the past, past lives and karmic debts. Your present YOU is the issue. What are you going to do about it NOW?

Stop blaming politics, government, the state, police, judges, authority, schools, or religious institutions.

Stop blaming god or the devil. You have free will, a free mind, a choice to be (or not to be).

Instead...

Take responsibility for all of it. Yes. ALL of it.

What will you do to create a better [fill in the blank]?

You have a choice. To be? Or not to be?

To blame others, situations, or the past? Or to take responsibility for your life.

To love? Or to fear?

To really live? Or to pretend you're excited about life.

To be courageous? Or to be the coward?

To betray oneself? Or to remain true to you?

You decide.

Paul


Play a new game

I often think of death.

As my dad once said to me, "We all gonna die", but it's hard to really understand that concept and get it in my gut.

I know I'm not making it out of this thing alive and you know that, but do we really, really KNOW?

My time may come in the next 5 minutes, the next 5 months, or the next 5 years. Who's to say? Nothing is certain in life, everything is impermanent, and life isn't fair.

Given that death is certain for us all, the question then becomes...

how do I want to live my life? Not in the future, but right now?

This question puts my entire life in perspective. More on this later.

Games

I'm becoming more and more aware that everything's made up, and I say "more aware" because it's easy to forget. It's easy to forget that society, and all the games we play within it, are made up.

The games of education and school.

The games of service and work.

The games of acquiring money and stuff.

The games of relationships, status and cultural relevance.

The games of politics, religion, racism, sexism or any ism you can conjure.

The games of anything you can imagine.

When I say games, it doesn't mean that life is not 'real' or 'serious' to you. I'm not minimizing what anyone does on a daily basis, but I am saying that if you look at it deeply, see things with a fresh mind, then you may realize the absurdity of what we put ourselves through, each and every day of our lives.

I say it's absurd given the outcomes and long term effects of these games: people mask their feelings through drugs, escape through entertainment, or commit violent or criminal acts because these games are confusing and frustrating to play. Sometimes, people just want to have the feeling of 'winning', even if they have to cheat to get it.

Should the games people play, fun or serious, bring out the best in you or a lesser version of who you are? For me, I want to play a game that's worth playing, a game that helps me grow and allows me to be my best self, whether I win the championship or not.

Real life games

It's important to note that serious games also contain the same elements and principles of fun games.

For example, every game has an overarching goal. There are rules that govern the players. Sometimes those players wear a uniform and use equipment to play the game well. Judges or referees are there to enforce the rules. The coaches or managers are there to help guide you or give you a strategy.

There's a way to keep score and some kind of prize or award that people are playing for. And there's the perception of winners and losers - you may not use those terms given the context of your situation, but terms like 'success' and 'failure' still hold the same meaning.

To give a real life example of serious games in life, take a look at the following infographics (click twice to see them in their full glory):

Does-Congress-Look-Like-America-TakePart-Infographic-April-2012

In the first infographic, you can clearly see who's making policy (the rules of the game). Think about it. If you could make the rules of the game anyway you wanted, would you purposely give your team an unfair advantage? Of course you wouldn't.

Check the second one out: transparency

Remember who's making those policies from the first infographic? Now you see who is impacted. What do you think?

Racism

The 'racism' game is a good example of serious games.

There are players, and they have a uniform (skin color) so you know who's on what team, and the challenges or 'hurdles' a team must overcome is determined by their uniform.

There are referees and judges to enforce unfair practices, but those unfair practices ARE the rules of the game.

And there's a way to keep score.

Race-ism is the 'perfect' term to use because that's precisely what it is - a race. Whoever came up with that term 'race' understood the impact it would have on society, and the various 'teams' it would impact.

Imagine one team runs the race without any obstacles, hindrances, or the least amount of challenge. The competing teams have parachutes strapped to their backs to slow them down, oil slicks that cause them to slip when they run, or 3-5 foot hurdles to jump over. Who has a better chance of winning?

With that understanding, look at those infographics again. How is it possible that skin color determines performance, outcomes, and your ultimate place in society? It boggles the mind and is just not possible - UNLESS - the 'race' is fixed.

Choice

This is just one example of a made-up game we're choosing to play. Yes, it is a choice, but we can decide to keep playing this game, play a different game, or create a new game.

Some may balk and say, "We don't have a choice, this is the way it is", and I say bullish*t. Either you're creating or co-creating your reality, or you're NOT.

To say, "this is the way it is", is creating the reality of what you already observe.

To say, "this is how it is now, and we can change this", is creating the reality of your imagination. Being victimized is one thing, remaining a victim is another.

You have a choice to repeat what you experience or create something new - observation or imagination. Stay in observation mode and you will mirror what you see, day in and day out. Options will be limited only to what you see, hear, smell, taste and touch. If you live in a certain area all your life then your culture, the rules you live by, and the world you experience will be similar to what others experience from that area.

If you choose imagination, then the paths and possibilities are endless. The game of life opens up and you're no longer limited to other people's creations. You have to still act on your imagination to make it happen. Living in your head doesn't count for much in this life.

My opportunity

I'm creating a new game for myself. Here's what I know so far:

  • I want to work and have relationships with people that energize, support, and 'get' me
  • I want to do work that's meaningful, makes me look forward to it, and challenges me to bring my 'A' game everyday
  • I want to live in full self-expression, totally being myself, and put myself in situations that bring out my best qualities

I'm sure I'll add more bullets later, but three is enough for now. These three bullets alone cause me to reflect on my current state, and make me question the work I spend most of my time doing, the quality of impact I'm having, as well as my current lifestyle.

I will look at myself deeply over the next few days and will be making some tough decisions soon.

Either I can continue to recreate what I have already experienced, with the same players, in similar settings, and familiar story lines...

OR

I can begin to create an entirely new life for myself, one that really inspires me to grab the chance to create a new culture of work, and realize the opportunity to live life on my terms, not somebody else's creation.

Is the game you're playing bringing out your absolute best? Are you playing a game you don't care for? If not, will you create a new game for yourself, or continue as you are?

I'll ponder these questions. More later.

Paul


Find your passion

"Find your passion."

I agree. No matter what, experiment until you find something that excites you, makes you wake up smiling, and causes you to lose sleep.

This guy thinks that following your passion is bad advice - when it comes to earning money:

http://vimeo.com/85927282

Being passionate about a hobby or activity may or may not translate to economic value. However, being passionate about something you do can bring you immense personal value, and is a great place to start. Personal projects could eventually affect your pocketbook.

He makes a good point, but I'd like to counter with this:

If you're interested in making lots of money or being an entrepreneur, then I'd argue that passion is CRITICAL to your venture.

But not passion about an activityhobby, a job title, or social status, but being...

passionate about a problem.

You may have heard the phrase 'create value' before. That's just a fancy way of saying 'solve someone's problem'. Take the attention off what makes you feel great, and put your attention on problems that make people miserable (or unhappy, or hopeless, or bored, or disconnected, or whatever).

I'm saying be passionate about a problem then become a hero to all the people that particular problem affects. A problem doesn't necessarily have to be something that ruins a person's life, it can be seen as providing an experience that doesn't currently exist in their lives, such as Disneyland.

So be passionate about problems ONLY if you want to turn your passion into economic value.

Go ahead and be passionate about poverty.

Be passionate about homelessness.

Be passionate about corrupt politicians and government.

Be passionate about expensive taxi services. (Thanks Uber)

Be passionate about crappy restaurant service.

Be passionate about the lack of nutrition in our schools.

Be passionate about the incredible high school dropout rate in our country.

Be passionate about the slow internet service in the U.S. (Someone please take out Comcast, AT&T, et al.)

Be passionate about a problem that bugs or pisses you off so much that you're constantly seeking out other options. Chances are, you're not the only one, and there you have a market. If a problem bugs you, then you're your first customer.

And the sweet spot? Being passionate about what you do and how what you do helps alleviate another person's problem. If you get to this stage, you will experience some awesome highs along the way.

Questions

What problem(s) bother you?

What area of your life needs the most improvement? Relationships? Work/career/business? Health? Money? Learning? Why?

If a miracle happened and all of a sudden your life was almost perfect, what would have changed in your life?

Finally

Remember this: problems are screaming opportunities, waiting for someone to solve, alleviate, or improve.

What will you do to create some value in the world and make it a better place to live, not just for yourself, but for others?

Paul

be passionate about a problem


The Blatantly Obvious Purpose Of Life

[dropcap type="2"]I[/dropcap]f you've ever wondered what the purpose of life is or ever thought about why you're here then this post will shed some light on the topic and give you something to think about. Ready?

Great movies are great because...

According to IMBD, these are the top 15 movies of all time.  The list was determined by combining a high IMBD rating (some criteria they use) and an audience vote:

Top 15 Movies of all time

Whether or not you agree with this list, these movies are some of the best of the best. They have stood the test of time and represent what audiences want to see, sometimes over and over again. There are a few movies on this list I've seen more than one time.

What draws people to movies, TV shows, the theater, or a sporting event?

Why do people spend their hard earned money on entertainment, over and over and over again?

We watch, and continue to watch for one primary reason.

We watch for story.

What's so special about story?

When I first started studying "story", I was surprised to learn that story is essentially about transformation.

We watch story to vicariously experience transformation through its characters.

It doesn't matter if it's a movie, play, or some sporting event. This is why you root for certain teams, get attached to TV characters, or love going to the theater.

The common denominator is story, and we get sucked into watching where our beloved, and sometimes our despised players end up.

This phenomenon occurs because people are meaning makers and natural storytellers. People can't help but make up stories.

You make up stories about who you are, where you live, what God's like, and the world around you. You make up stories about what you can or can't do. You tell yourself stories about what kinds of people are safe, who to do business with, and who's successful or not.

We all do.

"My brother showed me how to fish." or "I remember when (name some event) and we all died laughing."- these are very short narratives, but still story.

And beliefs are just story disguised as personal truths...

"I'm not a morning person."

"White (insert any race) people are..."

"The government is..."

"Life is..."

Not only do you view the world as an ongoing narrative, but you are in fact THE primary author, shaping your own life story with every decision of your existence.

Your history (or her-story) is being written by you moment to moment whether you're aware of it or not.

Blame it on thousands of years of evolution or a miracle from God, but every human being is wired to see and interpret the world through story. Every single one.

The key that unlocks a killer story

As I began studying "story", I started noticing a pattern that runs parallel with our own lives. Story needs a main character, and that character must face some type of "conflict" or difficulty.

No conflict, no story. Period.

Fear.

Depression and anger.

People, circumstances, or environment.

Limited resources, ignorance, or low skills.

These are all forms of conflict, and they must be dealt with in order to progress or advance your own story.

This is an important point. Without problems to solve, you cannot evolve into the person you want to be. No obstacles or resistance to overcome? No growth. It cannot happen. You cannot aspire to greatness without challenges.

Without conflict to resolve there can be NO TRANSFORMATION. None. Zero. Nada.

You cannot experience that feeling of AWESOMENESS without going through some type of conflict. That wonderful feeling of being alive? That million dollars you think about getting or the body you want so badly? They're all waiting for you on the other side of conflict.

Can you imagine Sam & Frodo prancing through Mordor with no obstacles or difficulties? Can you imagine Rocky knocking everyone out in the first round without even breaking a sweat? How about Andy Dufresne NOT having to escape a prison through 500 yards of nastiness for a crime he didn't commit?

Would you still watch? Would you still care?

Deep down you understand that the main character(s) must struggle to overcome obstacles. They must experience a defeat or setback of some kind, and many times multiple defeats. You want them to have the courage to face their fears, to take on the villain and WIN, but they can't always win.

Conflict leads a character to either feeling more alive or to an experience of loss, maybe even death. Transformation works both ways.

As you go through conflict AND overcome it (or not), then a change takes place within you. As more and more changes take place then eventually a complete transformation can happen.

The path to transformation

What happens when a problem gets solved? Or an "a-ha" moment comes out of the blue? Or a mysterious stranger serendipitously comes into your life to give you a clue about your next step? Or a crisis is averted? Or a key relationship changes (for better or worse)?

When conflict is resolved, a shift takes place. How big a shift depends on how big the conflict or crisis was to you.

change ➢ change ➢ shift ➢ shift ➢ big change ➢ change ➢ small shift ➢ change ➢ small change ➢ shift ➢ shift ➢ BOOM!

TRANSFORMATION.

ButterflyLifeCycle

The caterpillar to butterfly is a series of small changes that lead to the complete transformation of the caterpillar.

Think about this. All those changes and shifts can't happen without CONFLICT or some type of challenge. Conflict must be met head on until its resolved. It can take many tries to get to resolution.

For the butterfly conflict is breaking free of the cocoon. For a tree, conflict is dealing with the weather and other elements that could potentially destroy it. For animals, it's other predators and the elements of nature.

For humans, conflict shows up through other people, the environment, nature and animals. But the toughest conflict to overcome is internal (inertia, fear, bad attitude, lack of confidence, low self-esteem), and that's where big transformations takes place.

What does transformation look like for you? You decide.

You could want a transformation in the amount of money you make, a new career, a change in look in body or style, a profound shift in perspective, the ability to do something with ease that once struck terror in your heart, or a new level of confidence.

Small conflicts can mean small cumulative changes. Eventually big changes are the result of all those small changes.

Big things are made up of little things.

What does that mean? It means you don't have to do it all at once. You don't have to do it all in one day. You can make a series of small changes that culminate in your own transformation.

Change the atom and you alter the universe.

Conflict is coming

Conflict is coming whether you want it to or not. Any goal worth going for inherently has resistance. You'd have to want absolutely nothing or be dead to avoid conflict altogether.

Life contains a series of conflict moments that you must face. If you cannot grow from them you cannot experience transformation and without transformation, you don't have a story worth telling.

Conflict is neither bad or good. It's merely a plot twist, a turning point, or a critical juncture in your story. Will you take the bait?

The origin of conflict

WHY does conflict exist in the first place?

Because of duality. Duality creates a relationship between two opposing points.

There's a here and a there. An up and a down, a black and a white, and a beginning and an end.

Conflict potentially exists in between any two points.

Life is basically a long journey between here and there. You start as a baby immediately facing incredible challenges. Going from crawling to walking, from not communicating clearly to language fluency, etc. From life to death, conflict is all those moments that give you the opportunity to either grow or wither away.

Conflict may seem non-existent, but it's always there, lurking in the background asking you to grow and become more. Conflict is how you learn, expand, get better, and hopefully become great. Conflict is also what causes you to retreat, regress, escape, run, and bring you a life of mediocrity and boredom.

Everyday you're making decisions on how to deal with conflict. The decision to be courageous or cower. The decision to get things done or succumb to laziness. The decision to try something new (knowing you may look silly) or NOT having that new experience.

Conflict seeks resolution

If the protagonist is bombarded with conflict and he/she decides to run from it instead of facing it, then the story is over. There's no reason to stick around when someone quits. Quitting is the end of the story unless more conflict is generated by quitting.

There's something to be said about persistence, in story or in real life. If someone fails, then tries again, then fails, then tries again, and keeps this process going until success is experienced, THEN WE HAVE A STORY WORTH TELLING.

Keep Trying

Conflict also persists. Notice that if you don't take care of something, it will find you at a later date. It's just a matter of time.

You can look at conflict in two ways. One is that conflict is to be avoided because it does nothing but cause problems for you OR that conflict is asking you to become more, to be everything you were meant to be.

This is the human story. This is nature's story. This is the story of the universe.

Good and evil. Love and friendship. Man vs. himself. Suffering and redemption. Man vs. nature. The underdog.

There are so many themes, so many stories occurring simultaneously that it's staggering to consider. We all play a part in its creation. We are all co-conspirators and players on this great big stage.

"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players" ~ Shakespeare

The only purpose of life

So what's the blatantly obvious purpose of life? Well, maybe it's not so obvious, but story holds many clues about the purpose of life. Story is universal, and story is ultimately about a character's transformation.

Can a person only experience transformation ONCE? Are you only allowed ONE experience of change?

No. We can have as many transformational experiences as we can muster. Sure, huge transformations may be rare but our ability to experience more of them is only limited by our time on this planet and our willingness to initiate lots of conflict moments.

How many unique stories can you live through and tell? How many epic stories can you write for yourself?

I'm talking about potential.

We all have potential. It doesn't matter if you're living next to a landfill in pure poverty, or a billionaire.

We're all even in potential.

Potential lies within all living things: an apple seed, animals, people, and every alien species in the universe. And within that potential is a possibility. A possibility for someone or something to become all it was meant to be. It may or may not get there, but the potential is there.

What is the potential of a single apple seed? One tree that produces fruit generation after generation? Or many trees producing apples for millions?

Whatever the potential of an apple seed, it seeks to actualize it.

Every year, an apple tree faces conflict in the process of realizing its potential.

[line]

It was a difficult winter. It was my first. I didn't think I'd survive.

My branches are bare. The wind chill sends shivers down my trunk. There are no animals nearby to console me.

I'm all alone, but I refuse to give up.

It's getting warmer and I will survive this dreadful cold.

The sun has broken through the clouds. I'm invigorated. I see movement in the distance.

I become stronger. My branches feel alive again and the leaves are blossoming.

Soon I'll be full of apples again, surrounded by all who benefit from my existence.

I never gave up.

Here comes my first apple, and I'm happy to share it...

[line]

Actualization. That's the purpose of life. To actualize your potential.

Life everywhere is seeking to be all it can be.

Aliens. Earthlings. Plants and animals. Each contains the seed and instinct to realize its potential.

What can you do? Who can you be? What does the best version of you look like?

Human potential

What about human potential? People can do all kinds of things. Erect impressive structures, build flying machines that take people into space, create great works of art, compose beautiful music, inspire one another to be their best, and put together large organizations that generate value for millions of people over and over again.

But ALL humans don't necessarily want to actualize their potential, right? When I was working with youth a few years back, inevitably I'd hear the phrase, "(Insert name of any youth) has so much potential!"

When did adults stop having "so much potential?"

Almond trees and fish are different than us, they can't make meaning, but people CAN. Generally nature can't choose to be less than they were meant to be. Have you ever seen a lazy flower? A tree that procrastinates?

Humans can make that decision.

And what happens when we don't seek to actualize our potential? What happens when we are less than average humans? What happens when we eat, drink, or smoke all of our problems away instead of facing them? Or watching lots of movies and TV to avoid doing something we know will make us better? How does conflict avoidance affect you in those moments? How does it affect your life? How will it affect your story?

If the purpose of life is to realize its potential, AND humans can prevent that from happening by choice, then what does a world look like where people thwart their highest potential every single day?

But for every person NOT choosing to unleash their potential there is always someone looking to get the most out of their moments. Every moment that someone chooses to be less than what they can be there is someone choosing to be more. And this is what makes human beings "must see TV".

Would you pay to watch a movie about your life? Do you think an audience would stick around after the first ten minutes? Would you? Are you actualizing your potential or impeding it? Are you taking risks, being vulnerable, and really putting yourself out there?

Are you initiating and embracing conflict or anxiously waiting for it to come to you?

Final thoughts

This is not a call for everyone to become a "Da Vinci" or "Booker T. Washington".

I'm also not telling you to be grinding out your vision every waking moment of your life.

This is what I'm saying:

We all have potential.

We are meant to actualize it the best we can. This is the purpose of life EVERYWHERE.

HOW we realize our potential is different for EVERYBODY. (This is your mission in life)

Your potential is essentially unlimited, since you can never stop learning and growing unless you choose not to (or you die).

Potential can only be actualized by facing conflict and resolving it, over and over and over again.

And every time you "level up" through every solution, you add more depth and awesomeness to your life story.

Is this too much to ask of humanity? Is this too much to ask of you?

Too bad. Now go initiate some damn conflict.

Paul "I come in conflict" Campillo