Still Here - A Tribute to Charles Jefferson

"Don't look at me..."

I think towards the man sitting next to me, as we soar some 25-30,000 feet up in the air. Tears overwhelm my eyes.

"It’s not fair."

Those are the only words that cross my mind.

“It’s just not fair,” I whisper to myself as I finally give in to reality.

Charles is never coming back, and I have to accept that.

I look out the window, watch the clouds pass slowly by, and tears fall uncontrollably.

Seattle, one day earlier

I’m on a ferry to Bainbridge Island. It takes about 30 minutes to cross, and the ride is usually relaxing.

When the sun is out, the Sound is breathtaking in a subtle way. If you’re not paying attention, you miss it.

Ferry Ride - the Sound

I’m on my way to see Charles and Cyndy, two people who have been influential in my life and work. Two people that are family to me.

In times past, I’d head over to talk about big ideas and how we could make the world a better place to live.

But not this time. This time is different.

EHAS

I first met Charles and Cyndy at Cleveland High School back in 1998. I just started working in social services with homeless youth, and my boss asked me if I could attend a meeting there.

Cleveland staff were looking for alternative ways to reach “difficult” students. There were five of us in the room. I don’t remember what was discussed, but Charles and Cyndy approached me and told me about EHAS (pronounced ē-häs), their alternative program for students with challenges. I made an appointment to stop by and see their facilities.

EHAS was located down in the basement of the Madrona Church. I walked in and right away I noticed how comforting, really welcoming this place was.

The entire space was divided into sections. There was a classroom, a music studio, musical instruments, books, and various prints adorning the walls. It was a wide open space, and Charles welcomed me with a smile and asked if I was ready for the “dime tour”.

We all sat down, and Charles explained how EHAS worked.

Students would get suspended or expelled and be referred to EHAS. If students “cooperated” with the program, they would be reinstated back into public school.

What does “cooperation” mean?

I witnessed engaging dialogue about life, discussions about the nature of reality, politics, corruption, racism, self-empowerment, finances, building a professional network, and the power of the mind.

Charles talked about how music is the gateway, a universal language for the mind. After classroom discussions, there were some exercises, and eventually, youth would enter the studio and express what they learned through music.

Their teaching style brought the shy student out of her shell. Low self-esteem would dissipate over time and confidence would emerge in some who had given up. Some of the transformations were just flat out amazing.

At the end of every program, there would be a completion ceremony celebrating the students and their journey. Charles and Cyndy would explain the program to onlookers, pass out the music CD they produced in class, accompanied by a professional portfolio of their work.

Parents would marvel and share their perspective of their child’s journey and a Seattle Public School’s representative would speak. Some youth had probation officers who added their testimony, usually perplexed at the positive results themselves.

Through music, Charles and Cyndy reached hardened youth, and saw many of their students re-enter the public school system. But more powerful than that, their students left with a renewed sense of purpose.

Every person has a song

I remember Charles explaining what EHAS means, and it immediately stuck.

Everyone
Has
A
Song

In Native tradition, the elders say that every person has a song. Everyone has a purpose. Everyone has a voice inside, waiting to be expressed in a way only they can do it.

Charles and Cyndy found unique ways to help youth find it within themselves.

I was convinced. I soon joined their board, and not too long after, contributed my time for spontaneous, pop-in workshops for students and curriculum development.

Charles-isms

Charles happily played the game with youth. He had a great sense of humor and an infectious laugh. He also stuttered and would proudly declare it in front of students who suffered the same affliction to make them feel at ease.

Despite all the changes and new faces that came through those doors over the years, Charles always had his script down pat and adapted on the fly. As a jazz musician, Charles was used to improvisation, and it found its way into the classroom effortlessly.

He would start sentences with, "Once again," as if someone had violated a sacred principle and he had to retell the lesson. He also affirmed it when something was proven "once again."

However, there’s one phrase that will always be etched in my mind:

“We’re still here.”

He said it after Seattle Public Schools turned EHAS down for more funding.

He said it after getting low-balled on contracts despite the results they consistently achieved.

He said it while struggling financially after both he and Cyndy poured their heart and soul into EHAS over 18 years.

“We’re still here.”

It was a statement of defiance. You know that cockroach? The one that just can’t be killed, no matter how much you try? That cockroach would use this phrase.

“We’re still here.”

It was always “we” to Charles. He and Cyndy were a formidable team. They were complimentary in almost every way. Charles trumpet, Cyndy french horn. Together, they were a complete symphony.

“We’re still here.”

I always felt a sense of hope after he said it. I don’t know why, but it was the way he said it. It was a rallying cry. It made me want to fight even harder.

“We’re still here.”

No matter what the struggle was, “still here” was a sign of optimism, yet full of rebellion.

Dementia

I guess we all saw the signs. Charles would forget little things here and there. Cyndy talked about how his new prescription glasses never seemed just right.

“Oh, I guess they got the prescription wrong again,” Charles would sigh.

Things would slowly compound. I’d arrive for our discussions and he would greet me with a blank stare. Those stares got longer and longer over time.

Cyndy talked about times when they would drive to the store, and when she came back out, Charles would be sitting in the passenger seat -- of someone else’s car.

This was only the beginning of a difficult, trying Job-like ordeal for Cyndy and their family.

There’s no need to go into the details here. If anyone has ever experienced a loved one going through Alzheimer’s or Dementia, then you know how devastating it can be.

It wasn’t an easy takedown. Charles is stubborn and full of pride. He fought and fought, until he couldn’t fight anymore.

Soon, he was trapped behind blank eyes that came to life from time to time. His body soon followed, and now needs to be supported by a wheelchair permanently.

https://youtu.be/QxLVFZmhNsE

Can you imagine not being able to walk again?

Can you imagine your mind disconnected from your body?

Can you imagine not being able to do what you love? A jazz musician without his trumpet?

Deserve’s got nothing to do with it

Charles and Cyndy gave everything they had to others. All I could think on my plane ride home is:

They don’t deserve this.

Stories like theirs don’t end this way.

But that’s a fallacy. And that's tough to swallow.

In reality, the world is full of tragedy. People die in terrible ways everyday. Corrupt politicians and financiers exploit the masses with no consequence. Kids are forced to do things that are incomprehensible. Selfishness is the norm. And people who serve others, but barely scrape by themselves, die poor.

Life is NOT fair, nor is it meant to be. If societies can be set up to benefit certain people (and they are), and not others, there’s nothing fair in that. The truth is, Seattle Public Schools didn’t value the youth who slipped through the cracks as much as other students who had more "promise". The truth is, the "last" in class are the least valued as EHAS and other fledgling programs around the world continue to fight for those students.

“No child left behind” is a societal and political lie. For people who really believe in this concept, for the teachers and educators everywhere that tackle that responsibility, they are often overwhelmed with a tremendous burden with minimal resources and support.

The burden Charles and Cyndy hauled wasn’t fair to them, especially considering their compensation all those years. Especially considering the time and effort they put in. Especially considering the personal cost and sacrifice they made.

They bled for Seattle and its children. All their partners and funders, from the City of Seattle to the Paul G. Allen Foundation, have no idea what they gave of themselves. Sure, they could've dropped EHAS much earlier and fended for themselves, but they chose not to.

In the end, they couldn’t let go of all the troubled youth, even for their own benefit. They fought and fought until everything finally broke down. Until they broke down. And when EHAS closed its doors, it was without fanfare, celebration, or even a little dap of love.

They left quietly. Things fell silent. And all the lives they touched became a distant memory.

Not long after EHAS faded away, Charles’ reality began to unravel.

Still here

I’m visiting with Charles and Cyndy at the nursing home. Charles is present, as Cyndy and I catch up. Sometimes Cyndy interacts with other residents. She’s familiar to everybody.

I take out my phone and cue up my jazz playlist. We start with Miles Davis and John Coltrane. I place my phone on Charles’ wheelchair. “So what” permeates the room and Charles comes alive.

He has intermittent bursts of laughter, smiling, and toe-tapping.

Charles contorts his lips like he’s about to blow. I can hear his music teacher from long ago:

Don’t smile, pull back, pucker in the lips.

Keep your shoulders relaxed; not raised.

Play with confidence.

You must drive all fear out of your system.

Hit it hard and wish it well.

Cyndy reaches for his trumpet and hands it to Charles. Even in this state, Charles is giving his all to blow one last time.

I'm riveted.

Charles trying to blow one last time

We wait for trumpet sounds, but they don't come. Despite that, the mood livens up in the room for a few moments, and Cyndy smiles.

We both feel his presence.

Charles Jefferson is still here.

Cyndy

I saved the best for last. The love Cyndy has for Charles through all of this... there are no words.

The pain, the struggle, the confusion, all the sleepless nights, through thick and jungle thick... there are just no words to explain this kind of love. None.

Through all of it, Cyndy's still here, too.

I'm just in awe.

Cyndy+Charles

Epilogue

I wrote some of this post listening to 500 Drums, a piece Charles did back in the day. Charles had reverence for Native American culture (he had a bit in him, too).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJDaTPW3VBc

He always had a way to make everyone feel included and welcome. He was quiet and to himself when he wasn't with Cyndy, but still had a presence about him.

I hope to see him again, soon.

Update

It's been awhile since I posted something. In May, I made the switch from the nonprofit world to a tech startup based in Barcelona.

I write for Typeform, and it's been a great ride so far, and I look forward to more.

So I'll be back and forth between Spain and the States.

Until next time.

Paul


30 days to a new life

You may have noticed that I've been writing a lot more. Like, every day.

Well, I was challenged by a very good friend to write a blog post for 30 days straight. She challenged me to produce more work and get more ideas out there, because there's no good reason for me NOT to. She also believed that blogging more often would improve my writing, and teach me a few things in the process.

How could I say no?

So here I am, 16 days into this challenge and so far, she's right. I'm just over half way to 30 days, and I can feel the creative channels opening up.

30 days

Many times, we know what's best for us, but we don't challenge ourselves enough. I knew that writing every day would benefit me in so many ways, but I still didn't act.

A friend of mine just recently started a "no-grains" challenge. 30 days, no grains, no bread, period. He's aware of the benefits, but 2 days in and he's experiencing withdrawals. It's called a 'challenge' for a reason.

And that leads me to YOU. I'm sure you know of some behavior or activity that would improve your life over the course of 30 days. Is it around health, money, relationships, work, or planning and organization?

Take a look at the 8 Life Pillars:

8 Life Pillars

Which pillar would you like to strengthen? Use this framework to brainstorm some ideas and do a quick assessment of yourself. Then ask yourself....

What ONE activity or behavior that, if you were to do it for 30 days consistently, would have a powerful and immediate impact on your life?

Maybe it's eating less. Maybe it's exercising more frequently, or for longer periods of time. Like, instead of exercising for 30 minutes, you exercise for 60. Maybe you want to exercise for 10 minutes a day, every day, just to start.

Maybe you work too much, and need more recreation time each day. What ONE activity could you do every day to unwind or relax? What ONE activity will reenergize you?

Maybe you want to make to-do lists everyday? Maybe it's meditation? Maybe it's saying "thank you" in a unique way to someone new, each and every day.

I once was challenged by Joel Runyon to do cold showers for 30 days straight. Can you imagine how shocking that was to me the first time I did it? Doesn't matter, I did it, and was invigorated every day.

What can you do consistently for 30 days straight? What strengths do you already possess that you can bolster?

I challenge you

Let's face it. You're not challenged enough in life. You can BE and DO so much more. Potential is practically impossible to realize, so we all have room to grow.

So, I'm challenging you to do something for 30 days straight. You decide what it is. You decide when you start, BUT start this week. Find a behavior or build a habit that will have a ripple effect on all areas of your life.

Cold showers? Writing? Exercise? Meditation? Applying for new jobs? Validating a new business?

If you need more ideas, check this out.

Just pick something and stick with it. Daily practice and performing consistently are foundations for greatness.

If you need a way to track your progress, then use Jerry Seinfeld's secret to being a great comedian, and don't break the chain.

Let me know in the comments or use the contact form on this site if you want to be held accountable. There's nothing like making a public declaration to keep your feet to the fire (where does that saying come from anyway?).

Good luck.

Paul


Economic Empowerment

[dropcap type="2"]C[/dropcap]hapter 1 of Alien Aesop is now LIVE. This week I'm going to share some details about my "day job" and some projects I'm currently working on because it's not only instructive, but relevant to everything else I'm doing.

Today's topic of "economic empowerment" is so appropriate given my goal to have $50,000 in the bank by this time next year.Without further ado...

My Work

I currently work in the Economic Empowerment division of Rubicon Programs. Our job is to help folks transform from struggling economically to being economically empowered. What is 'economic empowerment'? Let's define both terms using the dictionary.

Economy:

economy |iˈkänəmē|

noun ( pl. economies )

1 the wealth and resources of a country or region, esp. in terms of the production and consumption of goods and services.

• a particular system or stage of an economy: a free-market economy | the less-developed economies.

2 careful management of available resources: even heat distribution and fuel economy.

ORIGIN late 15th cent. (in the sense ‘management of material resources’): from French économie, or via Latin from Greek oikonomia ‘household management,’ based on oikos ‘house’ + nemein ‘manage.’ Current senses date from the 17th cent.

Empowerment:

empower |emˈpou(-ə)r|

verb [ with obj. and infinitive ]

give (someone) the authority or power to do something: nobody was empowered to sign checks on her behalf.

• [ with obj. ] make (someone) stronger and more confident, esp. in controlling their life and claiming their rights: movements to empower the poor.

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Taking those two definitions and creatively merging them together I now define Economic Empowerment as:

Having the authority, power, and confidence to manage your resources to live life the way YOU choose.

Do you want to live life on your terms? Then you must learn to take control of your resources (finances, assets, health, and time) and manage them in a way that produces results and supports your goals. Doing this WELL is being economically empowered.

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How does Rubicon help someone become economically empowered? By offering a variety of services designed to get a participant on the road back to economic stability, and eventually to economic empowerment. These services include career coaching, housing coaching, legal services, financial coaching, and substance abuse services.

Career coaches help people discover their value and market that value to potential employers. Once work has been established, and someone has an income, then the housing and financial coaches get involved. If there are legal issues or drug problems that get in the way of reaching goals, then those services are rendered to participants.

Every coach and service provided at Rubicon is designed to help an individual eliminate any and all barriers to the ultimate goal of economic empowerment.

The most common barriers are:

[list type="pointerlist2"]

  • Mindset - The assumptions and beliefs that people have to approaching relationships, work, money, and health are NOT getting them the results they say they want. A new perspective and approach is warranted.
  • Attitude - If you have a bad attitude, then it can be very difficult for anyone to work with you. Whom would you rather deal with? A person with a bad attitude or a good one?
  • Legal Issues - Do you realize how difficult it is to find work with a criminal record? You may have the attitude that someone who commits crimes doesn't deserve to work, but do you see how that kind of thinking leads to more crime? People who are creating value in the world for others will decrease crime rates. People need to work.
  • Skills - Low or no skills is not something that can be fixed right away. It takes time, planning, and concentration to grow the right skill-set that is valuable to others.
  • Housing - This is obvious. If you don't have a place to call home, you think it's going to be easy to find and sustain work? How about the stress that this creates? People need housing.
  • Habits - We first make our habits, then our habits make us. Habits are behaviors that re-occur without consciously thinking about them. The only problem is that behaviors ALWAYS lead to results. If your current results are the opposite of what you're wanting, then you'd better train some new habits NOW or it's going to be a long, difficult life.
  • Transportation - If you don't have money or resources, how do you get to that job you want to apply for? How do you get to work? Transportation is a huge barrier for someone that have very little resources to spare.
  • Clothing - Ok, you got the interview, you have the job, and now they need you to look a certain way. You need the proper attire so you don't make a bad impression or sent home from the job.
  • Bad Credit - How do you get into an apartment with bad credit? How do you buy a car with budget-friendly financing options? Your purchasing choices diminish for every point you don't have on your credit score AND increases the likelihood of you paying more money in the end.

[/list]

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This is a sample of some of the issues that many of our participants face. Some have a few of these barriers, and some have all of them. Whatever obstacles they face, our job is to help them eliminate them one by one.

This is goal setting & getting 101. You set a goal, and every goal has barriers to overcome. The more difficult the goal is, the more barriers that person will have to overcome. Climbing Mt. Everest is significantly more difficult than running up a hill. Running up a hill requires less preparation, less planning, less training, etc.

You're much more likely to accomplish your goals with a competent team behind you versus doing it on your own. Strategy, hustle, and accountability is what Rubicon offers to individuals. That's the difference.

Workshops

The Financial Opportunity Center (F.O.C.) Workshop is offered to eligible participants once a month. It's a two week workshop that addresses many of the barriers people will face on their path to economic empowerment. Sample workshop modules include personal branding, crafting a resume that gets you interviews, building assets with your current income, dressing for success, communication and empathy, consumer law, and so much more.

The idea is to arm them with the tools, resources, and information that will increase their odds of finding work, getting housing, job retention, and building a strong financial foundation.

Risk & Growth

I've been working at Rubicon for just over 9 weeks, and it's been an incredible learning experience. I don't know if I've ever experienced work that's been challenging, enjoyable, and where no two days are EVER alike. But the time has come to throw my ideas out there, and see if I can outdo my success in Seattle.

I'm currently working as a Re-Entry Career Coach. My job is to work with the formerly incarcerated and help them find and retain work. I'm also to facilitate certain parts of the workshops we conduct.

Recently it was decided to have two workshops running concurrently, the regular F.O.C. Workshop and a workshop geared towards the re-entry population. The Re-entry Workshop has the same goal of economic empowerment, but sprinkled with additional niche specific modules. It's also a little more intensive and in depth on certain topics.

Since I will be facilitating parts of the new workshop, there's opportunity to develop curriculum and improve the existing one. Thinking about this gets me excited, and I'm reminded of when I was researching Rubicon before I started working there and came across their values list. Innovation was on that list, and it's one of the reasons I felt good about continuing the process of working with them.

When ever I see the word INNOVATION, I envision a company or organization that is at least OPEN to improving and growing. I'm glad to report that they're doing more than just giving lip service. The place is constantly bustling with changes and improvements. So if I see a way to improve the existing curriculum or deliver it, then I'm encouraged to organize and present my ideas.

Presenting ideas is a personal/professional challenge. If I don't make myself vulnerable to criticism and rejection, then I can never reach my full potential in work and in life. Risk is necessary for growth, and it's my own security that's always at risk whether it's the security of my comfort zone, economic security, or my reputation. When I decide to grow, I'm deciding to risk something.

This trek into the unknown requires vulnerability, and the unknown is where my best self resides - not the known. It's like that for you, too. Your best self is not known to you. You don't know her (or him), yet.

So it's time to take risks and put my best ideas out there. Sure, I use this blog to make myself vulnerable, but like anything, there are new levels of vulnerability that I will have to pass through to experience the fullness of life.

The Economic Empowerment Equation

I woke up the other day, out of a dream with three big ideas that will lead anyone to economic empowerment. For some time, I've been thinking about the context of the workshop and how to better articulate this to participants. The problem of economic empowerment and how people get there must've been lodged in my subconscious, and it finally presented a solution.

Anyway, this is what came to me...

EE EquationPersonal Power

Personal Power is the result of understanding who and what you are, and HOW you make things happen in the world. This is important because everything starts with you. It's about responsibility, integrity, keeping agreements, staying healthy, using your mind properly, and actualizing your full potential. It's about having vision and allowing that vision to inspire you each day.

If you don't understand who you are, how YOU operate, and how the world works, then it'll be an extremely difficult ride through life.

Get to know yourself and find out how to build your self-esteem FIRST. Learn your idiosyncrasies and put yourself in the best position to win. Rely on your strengths and develop your talents.

You were designed to actualize your potential because a half grown tree that bears no fruit is of no use to anyone.

Creating Value

Creating Value happens when you help someone change how people FEEL and that's why the symbol for creating value is the HEART. You can change how someone feels when you offer to CONNECT, ENTERTAIN, ORGANIZE, and SUPPORT. I recently wrote an article titled "How to be the MVP of your world" (the link will take you to the article). It's about how people create value for one another and was recently picked up by Google News.

If you become a master at creating value, you would never go without and EVERYONE creates value to some degree, but we can ALL improve, scale, or increase the quality of the value we deliver to one another.

I got this concept beat into my head over and over again by Jay Abraham. I first began reading and listening to him back in the late 90's and his ideas have deeply influenced my life and work.

Here's a short video of Jay giving a seminar in Japan. One woman took the advice from this one segment and earned $1.3 million dollars. Notice one word that comes up over and over again as he's explaining: CONNECT.

Building Assets

If you're exercising your Personal Power and Creating Value in the world, then the next step in economic empowerment is Building Assets. If you spend away everything you earn OR connect with someone one day and never follow-up with them OR you don't use your mind/body to its fullest potential then the process of building your assets and becoming wealthy cannot be achieved.

There are two types of assets: Tangible and Intangible. Tangible Assets (TA) are material resources, property, real estate, savings, stocks, bonds, businesses, art, collections and other investments. Intangible Assets (IA) are things like your health, special qualities about you, it could be a special skill or talent, specialized knowledge, your network, or a unique perspective or approach to life/business/relationships that no one else has.

(IA) creates (TA), then (TA) helps reinforce and develop more (IA).

As you're building assets, you will begin to accumulate wealth. Wealth is more than (TA) obviously. You could have billions of dollars worth of assets, but what good is all that if you're 40 years old and on your deathbed? Your health will always be your biggest asset and is one of the biggest indicators of how truly wealthy you are.

Updates

As I develop more ideas around my presentation for the workshops at work, I'll share them here. The concepts I'm working on are applicable to many people, not just a select few.

A couple of months ago I would've never written about economic empowerment, so the career path I've chosen for myself is having the effect on my life that was originally intended. I am also developing skills and strengths that will benefit me for decades to come, so I couldn't be happier about how this is all working out.

I've begun work on chapter 2 of Alien Aesop, so expect that in a week or two. Chapter 2 is gonna be a doozy :)

Here's to everyone's economic empowerment...

Paul "Poverty Killa" Campillo


I.O.I - A Global (But Curable) Epidemic

[dropcap type="2"]T[/dropcap]his week: What's a bigger problem than ignorance? Butt-Naked Abundance 2.0, Global Transformation One Person At A time, and a quick update. Weeks 44 and 45 have passed, and week 46 is right around the corner so I'll make it 3 weeks for the price of one. Let's go!

I.O.I.

I used to think ignorance was the source of ALL our problems including everything from health issues such as mental illness to economic problems such as poverty and famine. Perhaps ignorance is not the root cause in ALL cases, but you can always find it lurking close by.

The dictionary defines ignorance as NOT KNOWING and for the purposes of our discussion we'll add being unaware of some-thing to that definition. But unaware of WHAT?

When it comes to a specific problem, you could be unaware of many things including the very problem itself. If you can't define the problem, you most certainly won't solve it. You could be unaware of  what caused a problem to occur, and you could be uninformed about potential solutions as a result.

From my experience, the most destructive kind of ignorance is not knowing who you are - your strengths, what turns you on/off, your blind-spots, and the key people in your life that can help fill the gaps.

As for me, I know that I don't know a lot. I don't know any other languages but english. I don't know how economies work. I don't get why NASA went to the moon for a span of 3 years from 1969 - 1972 and never went back. I don't know how to code web apps, how to ride horses (even though I've ridden one before), where I lost my car remote, and why grass grows through concrete.

Yes, ignorance is potentially a BIG problem, but a bigger problem facing humanity is not just ignorance, but IOI. What is IOI? It's...

Ignorance of Ignorance.

See my sample 'ignorance list' up there? I'm very aware of what I don't know when it comes to those things. At this point, if I decide not to do anything about my ignorance, then I'm choosing to live with the consequences of not knowing - good or bad.

Consider this: IOI extends beyond my limited knowledge base because I also don't realize how the consequences of not knowing a particular thing will affect me.

Goodness, that was a mouthful. Let's try this...

1. I'm knowingly ignorant of something (how to cook lasagne, for example).

2. I'm also knowingly ignorant of how NOT KNOWING could benefit or cause me harm (i.e.).

I know, I know. It seems confusing and all convoluted, but the keyword to focus on in those two statements is KNOWINGLY. Being KNOWINGLY IGNORANT is an advantage over mere ignorance. Here's the key difference. I can consciously shape my destiny if I know what I don't know by choosing to either dig deeper into an area of my ignorance or not. I can only make that choice if I'm knowingly ignorant. If I'm ignorant of my own ignorance, then my options will always be limited.

You never know, I could get into a Slumdog Millionaire type of situation where $500,000 rides on knowing the difference between Keynesian and Austrian economics. Maybe knowing the difference between economic theories would help me solve world hunger? Maybe it'll help me get my next job or make me a million dollars? Who knows?

Here's the point: I'm very aware that I don't know the difference between those two economic theories, but KNOWING that I don't know gives me an advantage over not being aware at all. Being knowingly ignorant is an advantage over being ignorant of my ignorance because being knowingly ignorant gives me a choice - and a chance.

If I know that I don't know, I can choose to educate myself, gather information, learn new skills, research and explore. If I don't know what I don't know, then I can't begin to address anything until someone or something exposes me to my own ignorance.

Of course, I'm mindful of the fact that I can't know it all, and I don't even want to. The saying, "ignorance is bliss" has some merit and the burden of too much knowledge has been philosophized over many times. Being a "know-it-all" is also a waste of the remaining time I have on this planet. We're all bound to be ignorant to some degree, even though we can always do better.

Listen. You're IOI. We all are. So, try new stuff. Try different stuff. Expose yourself to new things, new people, new ideas, and new ways of seeing the world. Get out and explore. Get a taste of everything you possibly can so you can know what you like and don't like, what you love and don't love. At least know what you want to be knowingly ignorant about.

Ignorance of ignorance is unavoidable, but we can improve our awareness quotient (AQ) through travel, exploration, through exposure to new ideas and reading things outside our regular domain. Awareness of Ignorance or AOI at least gives you options to go further or not. AOI provides opportunities for growth and expansion, even if you decide not to take them, and those opportunities will expand proportionately to your awareness.

You'll always have a shot with AOI, but you don't stand a chance with IOI. And the only way you can deal with IOI is to push your limits and boundaries, go outside your comfort zone, and get more comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Think about this: Why would you explore and make yourself uncomfortable on your own? Why make yourself learn after you've already been to school, you've been to college, and you've graduated from your trade school or earned your masters degree? Why stretch yourself when everything is all good, and there's no apparent problems on the horizon? Why even address IOI, and move into AOI?

I'll tell you why in two words: other people.

If you go beyond yourself and continue to grow and develop yourself, you will be able to do more for others. You'll be able to connect better to others and strengthen already existing relationships. You'll have more options to make a difference in others' lives. And ultimately, what else are you here to do?

And if you choose to stay in IOI? Well, you won't have to look hard for IOI effects. Look right in your home, maybe in your extended family, at work, or in your community. Crime, poverty, exploitation, domestic violence, destructive competition, stress, depression, obesity, unhealthy relationships and many problems we face are the collective effect of IOI.

Choose to know, choose to grow. That's all.

Butt-Naked Abundance 2.0

I hate the first version of BNA. Some of my best ideas are captured in my journal, but never made it to the digital pages of that book. Ever since I've started 'reality blogging', I've decided that my personal blog would be my platform for Butt-Naked Abundance 2.0.

The whole point of Butt-Naked Abundance is to prove that anybody can generate abundance out of nothing, and in order to prove that, I have to prove it to myself first. That means living it myself and making a deliberate effort to implement the concepts in the book on a daily basis, not just when I feel like it.

You, dear reader, have been privy to BNA 2.0 all this time. You're witnessing the foundation, and when the time comes, the explosion. So, BNA 1.0 will not even look the same by the time 2.0 rolls out and I can't wait.

I'll be looking to reveal MORE of the strategies, tactics, and the "why" behind my efforts in the coming months, and they will be the basis of the next iteration of the book. I hope you stick around.

Global Transformation

I'm about to release "Global Transformation, One Person At A Time". It's a short manifesto on how we can change the world one person at a time. It covers how to do it from a strategic perspective, and leaves the tactics up to the reader. I always thought that sharing principles, showing the big picture, and developing strategies is far more important than tactical "how to's".

Once I read Krishnamurti say, and I'm paraphrasing, if you are asking "how" then you're just not serious enough or you don't want it bad enough. He wasn't talking about technical instruction, like building a house or fixing a car. He was referring to someone with a so-called mental block or psychological 'barrier' towards a specific goal.

"How do I stop being shy around women?"

"How do I follow my dream when it goes against my parent's wishes?"

"How do I leave this abusive relationship?"

Sometimes you just have to decide when enough's enough. When your desire is powerful enough, you'll stop asking "how" to do something and just start. So what are you waiting for??

Anyway, look for the release of the manifesto this weekend or next. If you read the 8 Life Pillar Manifesto, then it'll look really familiar, but with a few tweaks and updates.

Update

I started my work as a Career Coach this past week, and the training and information gathering is taking some time. I'm enjoying the work so far, and the people seem truly dedicated and professional, and they still keep it light. What more could I ask for?

Oh, and no more 60 hour work weeks for me -- I'm keeping a strict schedule. When the work day is over, it's over. Sure I still think about work after I leave, but it's not carrying over into my personal life like before - a sure sign of wisdom oozing slowly into my life :)

Since I started working, I put my coaching services on hold over at Wake Up Smiling. No need to overwhelm myself at this time, so I will phase that service back in as the book hits a steady flow. WTF needs my attention now, and I will spend some time on it this week.

I've been adjusting to my new schedule, including a commute, and I've given myself time to relax and get some perspective on where to fit the book project in my schedule. I'll have a better idea by the end of this week, and will spend this weekend knocking those two chapters out. The first two chapters have been the most difficult for me, because they set the stage for the entire book. Once they're finished, I think the rest will flow like water.

Finally, I'm considering blogging WTF (the book), and drip-feeding it on the blog over at Wake Up Smiling. I may have mentioned this to you before, but it's still on my mind. I'll keep you posted.

See ya next week (maybe).

Paul "AQ of 127 and rising" Campillo


Farewell Seattle (for now)

[dropcap type="2"]S[/dropcap]eattle? I want to thank you for everything. Thanks for all the memories, the wonderful relationships, and for accepting my quirky, unconventional, and sometimes difficult self.

You know that I grew into the man I am today because of you, right? We both kept our agreement to maintain continuous growth. As you evolved, I did as well. I admit, I didn't always keep pace with you, but your example stuck with me and kept me going.

Sometimes, I was ahead of the curve, innovating in unique ways and bringing fresh ideas to the table. You celebrated me when I did, and I know I made you proud.

But nothing compares to the impact of the wonderful people you keep within your beautiful city. Those relationships, the impact and growth we shared, and the memories have shaped and influenced me for many lifetimes. Sometimes I was too stubborn and wanted to do things my way. Sometimes I was the inflexible one. But I learned, and as I learned I became more understanding, compassionate, and accepting.

When I arrived I was quiet, introverted, and raw. I had no idea where I was going, what my mission was, or who would be a part of my journey. As I leave, I am open, expressive, vulnerable, but still raw :)  Can't shake everything, right?

What else can I say to you? What can I possibly say to all the people who have played a major role in my life? What words could even express what I feel in my heart for the many people I hold dear, but perhaps they don't realize it?

No words can do it justice. No words can express the gratitude and appreciation for all the gifts given and received. So I will end by saying to all the beautiful people who shared valuable moments with me, I love you all.

And finally, thank you Seattle for being the magical place where I learned to be ME. I'm in the Bay Area now, and I promise to give my best to my new community. I promise to make you proud of me (again).

Farewell, for now.

Paul "Seattle's adopted son" Campillo


Have Faith

Imagine...

You're a gardener and you live in a small village. A group of foreigners stroll into town one day to trade and barter with the locals.

As you walk from tent to tent, examining the merchants' offerings, a strange looking old man captures your attention. He's sitting in front of a table with small pouches of what appears to be seeds.

You walk over and ask him what he's got in the small pouches.

"These are magical seeds that will produce the toughest, strongest, most durable trees in the world. You can use these trees to build bridges and roads, heal physical ailments, make clothes, craft furniture, create cooking utensils, and construct musical instruments."

Then he adds, "But these seeds require you to have meditation master's level of concentration and the patience of a tortoise traveling thousands of miles."

"Many have bought seeds from me, but few have seen them come to fruition. You must follow my instructions exactly as I have told you. Only then will you realize the benefits of this wonderful tree."

Curious and full of ambition, you buy a pouch from the old man, and ask him for the instructions.

He pulls out a piece of paper and writes hastily the following words:

"Plant seeds. Water everyday. Have faith."

Sounds simple enough, but with an intriguing final instruction. Have faith? What does that mean exactly? You notice a few other villagers have bought his seeds, too.

Eager to get started, you go to open land to plant the seeds. After all, if these trees are everything the man says they will be, they must be a tremendous asset to the entire village.

And so everyday, you tend to the seeds you planted. One week passes. Then another. Then a month passes, then another and another.

And soon, it is the end of the year. And nothing has happened.

But you keep in mind that final instruction. "Have faith."

So you continue to water it on the days it doesn't rain.

Weeks pass. Months pass. Still nothing. Year two is done.

The neighbors who also bought seeds come to you. "You're still taking care of those seeds? The old man is tricking you. It's all a con."

You think about what they say, and consider it carefully.

What if he was just deceiving me? What if I'm just fooling myself and wasting my time?

But you remember this statement from him:

"But these seeds require you to have meditation master's level of concentration and the patience of a tortoise traveling thousands of miles."

So you decide to stick with it. And everyday, no matter what, you go to where you planted the seeds and continue to water it. Some people snicker, especially the people who have stopped tending to theirs. Others praise you for your commitment and dedication, but deep down they doubt anything will happen.

But regardless of what they think, good or bad, you will continue to water those seeds. Even if it's until your very last breath.

Two years have passed. Still nothing.

Now three years have gone by, not a thing.

Year four comes and goes without a hint, but you still persist. You've made it a part of your daily practice and it's a ritual now.

And in the fourth month of the fifth year something happens. A tiny sprout. A perceptible green leaf.

You wonder if your eyes are playing tricks on you, and if someone put it there to get you excited. You touch it and it feels so real. You are ecstatic but decide not to tell anyone...yet.

The next day, more leaves spring from the ground. And then you know that it's really happening. And then you think, even if it takes another five or even ten years to watch these trees grow, it will have been worth my efforts.

But then something so unexpected happens. You just can't believe it. One month after seeing the first, tiny green leaf, an abundance of stalks have grown to fifteen feet.

It's miraculous. They are growing so fast. The entire village is now in disbelief.

Two months later they are at fifty feet.

Three months after the first leaf sprouted and now the trees are nearly one-hundred feet into the sky, towering over the small village.

Soon the trees reached their peak, and the villagers celebrated and honored the one gardener who persisted, demonstrated faith, and never, ever gave up.

Oh, and the name of that tree? It's called Chinese Bamboo.

chinese bamboo


We > I

[dropcap type="2"]W[/dropcap]eek 9 and 10 are over, 42 more to go. As you can tell, I missed a week, and that doesn't mean that this will be a long update. SCOREBOARD: [box type="blank" class="bg-blue rounded-10"] [columns width="1/2"]

Total Earnings

Driving: $158

[/columns] [columns width="1/2" last="true"]

Bank Account

$221.40

[/columns] [/box]

Bank Statement 10-10-12
Bank Statement 10-10-12

Update

It's been an eventful couple of weeks for me. I went on Craigslist applied to contract with a couple of places that I feel would fit my skill set AND still do something that I would enjoy. We'll see what comes up.

I've also decided to go all in on my next book, and plan to release it December 25, 2012. Merry Christmas. I've just released a teaser video for the book:

And as for the book title, it could still change, but I like the direction it's taking:

WTF Book Cover Design

I've also did a final redesign of the 8 Life Pillars. Soon I will be brainstorming courses, workshops, and app ideas around this concept. It's gone from butt-ugly to its current iteration. Check out the progression from 2005 until today:

Made these first two in MS Word. The only difference between the two was the changing the language of Career to Service and Education to Learning. Service is all encompassing, more inclusive. And Learning sounds like a more active process than education. Thanks to my friend Mark for that contribution.

Here's where I wanted to make it more graphical. Of course, I was just beginning to play with design apps, but this was my first effort. Of course, the Base of this particular iteration only had the mind as our primary source of everything. Of course, after thinking about it, I changed it.

The second is not so much different from the first. The changes to the Base were made to reflect my understanding of what's at our deepest core.

And now I'm just getting fancier using some shading effects and shadows. Don't know why I chose yellow, but I was just creating.

That last version had too much going on in the actual pillars. Now I'm sliding my design to a more minimal look. Just the icon, and the pillar name at the bottom. I liked where it was going, but I wan't even remotely satisfied.

Then I thought, why not use actual pillars? Of course, going off the last few iterations I decided to keep using color to differentiate each pillar. If you haven't guessed, I was using the chakra color scheme that I associated with each particular pillar.Then I got tired of the colors, and wanted to make the entire design more uniform. Let the icons speak for themselves. Still kept the pillars, but it just wasn't satisfying.

Then I just got sick of thinking about it, and outsourced a design from someone experienced in these matters. I saw his portfolio and thought he would do an excellent job. Too bad he didn't...

Finally, I got rid of using graphical looking pillars. It was so unnecessary. I did use a stone type image to maintain the feel of the pillars. I felt really good about this one.

Then I figured, why the big ol' fat pillars? Why not minimize the design completely, and place the emphasis on the key areas? Done.

And now the final conclusion. I changed the Organization and Learning icons to something I felt was more representative of each pillar.

8LP - Final VersionMoving on...

The Cost Of Independence

In order to reach my goal, as I've stated, I'm going to have to multiply myself and my work. That means books, ebooks, courses, workshops, etc.

So that means an inordinate amount of time developing, creating, refining, editing, testing, researching, practicing and rehearsing. I realize the level of effort and commitment it takes to make this all work.

Writing a book is no easy chore. It requires a lot of thought, organization, and consideration for the reader. Developing a course or teaching anything that promises results requires the same amount of attention and effort.

And this must all be done to a very high level in order to reach who I want to reach, and do the things I want to do.

But I also realize that I can't do it all myself. Brainstorming with friends, talking it over with colleagues who are working on similar projects, and bringing in outside expertise to help refine the message are ideas I MUST be receptive to.

If you don't know me, I am very independent, and rely mostly on myself. And this has hurt me. It has cost me so much. This will NOT get me to where I want to go, and I will never, ever be able to accomplish anything of great significance as long as this software is running my system.

So this means I've got to ask for more help. I've got to reach out to others. I've got to network with a purpose. When I think of networking, it means giving. Lots of giving.

I've never had a problem with giving. I'd give everything I have to others, and never ask for anything in return. And I'm sure I'll continue to do that. But at some point I have to monetize my value whether it's asking for favors or getting a key introduction.

I've got 42 weeks left, and time is flying.

Independence is an important step to take in everybody's life. But it's still not the highest level. Interdependence, working with others, building and co-creating with a team (even if it's three people), is how we reach our highest potential. It is the ONLY way.

Dependence ---> Independence ---> Interdependence

I hope we're all moving in that direction, but as for me, it's time to take that step.

What's Next

More writing, more reading and research, more designing, more hustle, and more video.

Video is my next step, and until I get comfortable in front of a camera, my reach will be limited. And that means my growth will be stunted. There's nothing else I need to do to prepare for it. I just have to practice and do it everyday.

Have a great week and stay tuned.

Paul "No -I- in TEAM" Campillo


Do It Small

[dropcap type="2"]W[/dropcap]eek 8 is over. This week we'll keep it short, er, small. SCOREBOARD: [box type="blank" class="bg-blue rounded-10"] [columns width="1/2"]

Total Earnings

Driving: $117.00

[/columns] [columns width="1/2" last="true"]

Bank Account

$292.19

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Bank Account 9-26-2012
Bank Account 9-26-2012

Mistakes

Look, I've made my fair share of mistakes (ok, more than fair share), and sometimes when I look back I think to myself, "What the hell were you thinking?!"

And more mistakes are on the way, but I've matured enough to start to embrace and welcome them as a part of my daily practice.

When you begin ANYTHING that you've never done before, mistakes are to be expected. And the only thing that will keep you going when you're looking like a klutz or just plain stupid is your vision, and that deep desire to make it a reality.

Without a strong desire to reach your end goal, it's easy for mistakes to become failures.

And here's the difference between mistakes and failures. When think about the word "mistake" break it up so that it looks like MIS-TAKE.

Imagine we're shooting a scene from a movie, and someone messes up the scene by laughing or doing something goofy. Most of the time we'll have to shoot the scene over again, and this is usually called a RE-TAKE. We'll just retake the scene until we get it the way we want.

Mistakes work the same way.

When something goes awry, just do it over again until you get it the way you want it, because this is how EVERY GOAL WORTH ACCOMPLISHING is achieved. And I mean EVERY one. If we were always meant to be on course, without deviation, goals would be so easy to accomplish that they would lose their value.

But there is a big difference between Hollywood and real life in that you may not get to retake a scene with the same players again. Like if you get drunk one night and slap your best friend silly cause you thought they were someone else. Ouch.

Or you get an opportunity to pitch your business idea to high profiled investors and in the middle of your presentation you suddenly get the worst jock itch EVER IN HUMAN HISTORY. So you excuse yourself and return 10 minutes later only to find that they've moved on to the next pitch. Your opportunity of pitching to them is GONE. Well, for now, anyway.

Or maybe you're running for President of the United States and this happens:

Ooops. Yeah, COSTLY mistakes like those are hard to get a retake for, especially if what you've done is just flat out unforgivable. Rick Perry's mistake is hardly unforgivable, but it definitely knocked him out of the race. Will he run for president again? Probably not.

Could he get another chance? Of course. He would have to improve his presentation skills immensely, but it's doable.

Many people GIVE UP on their dreams because it's just tougher to keep on keepin' on, especially when it's difficult to see progress from all your effort. Absolutely it is.

But if you never give up, and never stop trying you will get another shot. If you keep faith, and maintain your vision, you will get a second chance (or more). Maybe it will happen with the same players or an entirely different cast, but you will get another turn. It's guaranteed.

But if you decide to GIVE UP, and don't learn from your mistakes and correct course, then you may find yourself leaving the world of mistakes into the realm of FAILURE.

Failure

Failure has a totally different vibe and feel from mistakes. Failure means it's over and done. It don't work. Kaput. Dead.

I wrote about this awhile back and stated that humans are always successful, and can never fail because we're just designed for success. But projects, programs, ideas, isms, businesses, and machines can and do fail often and many times we associate those failures to us.

"My business failed. I have to shut it down." is different from, "My business has to close down. I failed."

If your arm ceases to work for you then your arm has failed to work, but you can still function. If you happen to go blind, then your eyes have failed to work, not you. Wouldn't you consider Ray Charles a success? Or Beethoven, who was deaf?

Businesses fail all the time, but the question is how many businesses will you start-up and attempt to make profitable before you quit?

When it comes to humans, the closest we can come to failing is giving up or quitting. The day you stop trying, putting in any kind of effort towards your idea or goal is tantamount to failure.

But you're still NOT a failure, because one day, in one single moment you may decide to give it another try. THAT business failed, but you DIDN'T fail. So even failure ends up being another decision we make, or a series of decisions we've made.

Do we make mistakes? Yes, definitely, and lots of them. The right idea is to learn from them, correct course, get better, and improve. Over and over and over again. And sometimes, what seems like a "failed" effort may just be a glitch on the way to something bigger and better.

Once a scientist was working on a particular kind of glue that would ALWAYS STICK, and his "failure" turned into Post-It Notes.

And there's so many examples of this all around us. Even unintended innovations come from making mistake after mistake after mistake, and never giving up.

But failure is when your project is over. When something NEVER reaches a satisfying conclusion, and isn't going to. When progress just stops.

And who determines when something stops completely? Who decides when it's no longer feasible to go on or whether to continue to press on and improve on the last version of an app, book, process, program, or project?

You. Me. We all have the choice.

Everybody's Famous

Everybody's Famous Logo
Everybody's Famous Logo

Everybody's Famous was a company I attempted to build a little more than a year ago. I made so many mistakes, but perhaps the biggest one was trying to do way too much with very little resources.

I just wasn't satisfied with doing things small. I wanted to make it EXACTLY as I envisioned it, and I wanted it NOW. It seems my impatience and lack of foresight cost me money, momentum, and lots of time. Not good when you're working on a strict budget.

I could list many more mistakes around this particular project, but the point is, they are very correctable mistakes.

Is Everybody's Famous a failure? Depends on how it's perceived and by whom.

But it never even got off the ground, and to me that means I've still got a shot to make it work. Maybe that means it doesn't need to work exactly like my ideal vision of it works.

But in my mind, I have never given up on the idea, and just recently I started gearing up for another version of Everybody's Famous.

And that means that I will have to do it SMALL. Very small.

Doing It Small

Sometimes I can get lost in epic visions, lofty ideas, and big goals. It's easy for me to do.

But I'm reminded that even the biggest things are made up of the smallest things. As big as the earth is, it wouldn't even exist without the tiniest of atoms holding it all together.

Big things are made up of little things.

And the idea is so easy to get. You want something big? Well, it's made of of even smaller things. And those small things? They're made up of even tinier things.

And so on and so forth.

One small focused action a day, incrementally, can lead to the greatest of accomplishments.

One small act is a big deal.

The greatest of all baseball players began their journey with a simple game of catch.

The best actors in the world played the smallest of roles in the beginning, even if they were just messing around with their friends.

One of the defining moments of the Civil Rights movement was a simple act of taking a seat on a bus.

One small act. And then another, and another. And pretty soon, you've got a book. Or you've arrived at a destination you once longed for. Or you built a business called Microsoft. Or you received your first industry award. Or be the man or woman you've always wanted.

Whatever it is, no matter how far out of reach it seems, one small step will get you closer. Yes, progress may seem imperceptible and completely unnoticeable, but this cumulative approach will result in a new destination and the fulfillment of your destiny.

It always works. The Tortoise always beats the Hare.

Finally

I've been kinda busy lately. I have a few web projects I'm working on, but my main project right now is finishing up my new book. I haven't announced it on Wake Up Smiling yet, so you get a sneak peak at the new cover.

WTF Book Cover

Thanks to you all for watching me take these tiny steps. It may not seem like I'm progressing (especially if you're looking at that bank account), but I am learning everyday from my mistakes and all the insights I gain from taking steps into the unknown.

Oh, and I will hit my mark.

Paul "Doin' it small y'all" Campillo


Big Dreams & Paying The Price

[dropcap type="2"]W[/dropcap]eek 7 is finito. This week we're talking big goals, paying the price, and sacrifice. SCOREBOARD: [box type="blank" class="bg-blue rounded-10"] [columns width="1/2"]

Total Earnings

Driving: $457.21

[/columns] [columns width="1/2" last="true"]

Bank Account

$560.25

[/columns] [/box]

Bank Account 9-19-12
Bank Account 9-19-12

The Big Goal

It's always great to dream big, and fantasize about the kind of world you want to live in.

When you ask yourself what you really, really want, you may be surprised by your answers.

I recently did this exercise, and allowed myself to dream as big as I wanted, and was surprised that my imagination didn't necessarily produce super lofty goals because the desires I have seem to remain the same over time.

I won't list everything, but let's take a look at some of the highlights (not in any particular order):

[list type="pointerlist2"]

  • Have $50,000 in the bank by August 1, 2013
  • Speak in front of hundreds of people (I don't have to do this often, just a few times. I prefer smaller audiences)
  • Write three bestselling books (1 published traditionally, 2 self-published)
  • Travel around the world (Siberia, India, Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Philippines, Russia are top of my list)
  • Shoot a documentary
  • Go surfing, skydiving, canyoning (again), and sailboating.
  • Create transformational workshops, courses, and trainings around Wake Up Smiling concepts.
  • Build business ideas with strong teams (Social Tale-Spin and Everybody's Famous)
  • Create an 8 Life Pillar app
  • Build a strong network of relationships
  • Invest money in other people's start-up ideas and support them in their businesses
  • Live from my heart first, then my mind
  • Keep vibrantly healthy and in tune with my body
  • Be in a committed relationship to a woman that makes me wake up smiling
  • Earn at least $1 million dollars a year in income

[/list]

And that's the short list, even though the meatiest parts are up there. And looking at this list, I can say without hesitation that I really believe I can accomplish all of it. Of course, not all of those listed are "accomplishments" because building a strong support network of friends/business partners and being in a committed relationship with one person is an ongoing, continuous process.

Obviously, some of the list requires more detail and specific end dates, but I'll take care of that later.

The point is, this is my version of dreaming BIG, and I know that as I move towards these goals, more opportunities will avail themselves, and what I'll be able to accomplish will expand.

It's been my experience that whole new paths open up as I move into action and start making some serious progress, and then it's up to me whether I take those paths when they present themselves, or stay the course.

Having a list like this is great, and everybody ought to have one. But as I look at the list, a thought knocks me over the head...

Paying The Price

When I have big dreams and have set lofty goals, the one question that I forget to ask myself is:

What's the price I have to pay for 'x'?

You ever think of that? What's the price you're going to have to pay to get something? To achieve that? To accomplish such and so?

What price are you willing to pay to make that dream a reality?

Practicing, rehearsing, and building those habits is the price you have to pay.

The hundreds of hours of piano lessons you put in, so you can play competently in front of others.

The daily grind of speaking a language that sounds so awful coming out of your mouth that you wonder how you can continue, but still motivated by the idea that one day you will speak it fluently.

The exercising and walking each day to get your weight back to sanity or the torturous process of sculpting your abs for that beach body look.

The discipline of writing everyday no matter what, and posting it for others to see and critique, because you know your work will improve with time.

Or how about speaking in front of strangers when ever you get a chance because one day you want to be speaking in front of hundreds of people at a time.

Watch the following video, and then answer the questions that follow.

Many people know Hugh Jackman is from Australia, and is probably best known for his role as Wolverine in the X-men series. But many also don't realize that he's won a Tony award, and as demonstrated from the video, is a complete performer, meaning he can sing, act, and dance while hosting the world's most prestigious entertainment award ceremony.

Bravo, man!

But here are the pertinent questions:

How many hours of practice did he log to get to his current level of vocal ability? (FYI, his vocal skills will also be on display in the upcoming December release of Les Miserables)

How many hours of dance rehearsal and choreography has he put in to perform at this level?

How many hours of practice (singing, acting, dancing, and theater) do you think he put into doing this ONE SKIT, to pull off one of the greatest opening numbers in the history of the Oscars?

And finally...

What price did he have to pay to get to perform at such a high level?

Here's another example.

Legend has it that Stevie Wonder used to write a song a day, everyday. Now, he didn't use them all, obviously, and more of those songs never made it to an album, let alone a single.

But still, a song a day. And that doesn't include actually composing the music, editing, rehearsing, and playing with band members. Oh yeah, and being blind certainly has its drawbacks to the whole process, although he probably would never use that as an excuse for anything.

What price did Stevie have to pay in time and energy to hone his craft? How many hours did he invest into writing songs, composing music, rehearsing, forging strong relationships with promoters, managers, band members, and agents?

Think about how much frustration he had to endure? How many times did he get screwed over? What else did he have to sacrifice?

Sacrifice

Paying the price is one thing. This is what you have to give in order to get something. The bigger the goal, the more you'll have to give. Simple math.

But sacrifice is the other side of the coin. It's what you give up in order to get something. This includes abstaining from all the fun and enjoyment, and giving up some of the everyday pleasures and comforts that nobody sees, but then ignorantly suggest that it was talent that carried the our hero to stardom.

It's giving up the ski trip with your friends to focus on studying.

It's not seeing your girlfriend or boyfriend for long periods of time while you're working on a life changing project.

It's going to war for your country, forsaking all the comforts of home life and leaving your family not knowing if you'll return in one piece.

Here's a definition of sacrifice I learned some time back. I think you'll find it useful:

Sacrifice is when you give up something of value, for something of greater value.

If you're not giving up something valuable, then there is no sacrifice, just mere exchange. And you have to give up a lot in order to realize the big dreams that seem beyond your reach, and experience the awesome life you only fantasized about living.

What am I giving up? What am I willing to give up for this greater dream?

For physical health, maybe it's giving up sweets and the comfort that comes from NOT exercising.

For a successful and growing business, I will have to give up the ten great ideas I have and concentrate on just one. I will also have to give up recreation time, relationship time, etc.

To earn ridiculous amounts of money, I will have to give up the safety net of the past and make myself extremely vulnerable to others.

To learn a language fluently, I will have to give up the certainty I have when communicating, to sound silly, awkward, and embarrass myself while I learn.

To shoot that documentary, I will have to give up time with the people closest to me as well as every luxury, and travel to a foreign country to make a movie that may turn out to be a fruitless endeavor.

Making those sacrifice requires courage, incredible faith, and an unwavering commitment to the vision.

And even after all that, it may not even work out in the end. The endless hours, the tireless energy and effort you put into something, and everything else that suffered along the way while you pursuing your dreams may turn into nothing.

It's easy to see why many never make that big sacrifice, and that makes settling easier to do, even justified. Why take the risk if I'm not guaranteed at least a modicum of success?

Look at your own dreams. Look at your REAL VISION, and ask yourself, are you doing everything you can to get it? Are you willing to drop everything to go after it?

When I think about it, my answer is "no". No, I'm not doing everything I can. Not totally, and not with full abandon.

I see where I wavered, where I stepped off the practice field, where I succumbed to old habits, or just gave in and gave up.

Yet, I pick myself back up again. And I give up again.

I give up every time I don't pay the price. Every time I don't exercise, don't practice, don't rehearse, and don't focus on what "I say" is most important to me.

The Repetitive Questions

When ever motivation is low or when I need a kick in the pants, I'll have these questions posted nearby to remind me of what it takes to make epic sh*t happen.

What price am I willing to pay for my dream?

What sacrifices am I willing to make?

What's the price that I will have to pay for mastery or to be a high level performer?

And the practical side to all of this is in my answers.

I'm going to have to write for three hours a day, at least five days a week, and not one second less.

I'm going to have to start producing videos at least once a week.

I'm going to have to increase the intensity of my workouts.

I'm going to have to offer a lot of my work for free.

I'm going to have to join Toastmasters (again), and attend consistently.

I'm going to have to spend hours of concentrated time creating products, and the corresponding offers that g0 with them.

In other words, it's time to step the f*** up!

See y'all next week.

Paul "Payin' the Cost" Campillo


Just Because You're Good At Something

[dropcap type="2"]W[/dropcap]eek 6 is complete. Gonna keep this one short (I think). SCOREBOARD:

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Total Earnings

Driving: $141.00

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Bank Account

$149.11

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Bank Account 9-12-2012

Quick Story

My Dad is a weird guy. If you ever thought I was strange, then believe me, you ain't seen nothing yet. But I digress.

There are many things to admire the man for, but I'll choose one. He sticks by his convictions, no matter what. His integrity is rock solid, and is stubbornly unshakable. Those are mere words, but trust me, being around someone like that has some major impact on you, especially if you're around them a lot.

Case in point. My Dad fought in the Vietnam War, and he was happy to go and fight for his country. He would've gladly fought in the Korean War, but they wouldn't take him (too young).

Now, there's only one problem with this whole "fight for your country" scenario. Dad is a pacifist. I mean real deal, super non-violent pacifist. I'm not quite sure if he would actually hurt a fly or not, but he certainly wouldn't kill anyone if he had the choice. No way, Jose.

Adding to this drama, he just happened to be in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive in 1968. If you don't know what the Tet Offensive is, then look it up. It's considered by many who were there to be the turning point of the war. In other words, things got bloody for everyone.

And of all the times he's been shot at during this period, he refused to shoot and kill others. Yet, he wanted to stay there, work as a mechanic, and support the American forces in any way he could.

Coward? Nope, he wanted to be there. Pacifist? Yes, but still a patriot to the very end.

Now let's add one more interesting bit of trivia to the mix...

Pops was an expert marksman. He could take you out from a distance. You know, like, KILL SHOT.

Yet, he refused to use this one skill. And he refused to use it because it didn't jibe with his values. He maintained his integrity at all costs, even when his very life was at stake.

Here's the takeaway...

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Just because you have a skill doesn't mean you NEED to use it.

Just because you're GREAT at something, doesn't mean it will bring you joy and fulfillment.

And just because you've done a particular job for years or even decades, and you get paid well to do it, doesn't mean it brings out the passion and excitement that makes you feel more ALIVE.

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Thanks Dad.

The Flip Side

There's a flip side to this lesson, of course. Let me illustrate.

This past Sunday and into Monday, I have been working with a friend who has a phobia of driving on the freeway (Back in 2004-5 when I had a ton of coaching clients, I dealt with many a phobia).

Now, if you ever had a phobia or know of someone with one, then you know how irrational it can seem, but you also know how REAL that feeling is when the symbol of their fear is present.

And many times the symbol of a particular phobia is not even related to the actual cause of the phobia. For example, in her case, nothing traumatic ever happened to her on the freeway. It seemingly came out of nowhere.

And before we worked on it together, she had already met with a therapist for some time and also tried meds to no avail.

Just to be clear, she CAN drive the streets and backstreets just fine, but when it comes to getting on that on-ramp, anxiety levels rise. And if she gets on the freeway, panic ensues, and she drives 40-50 mph while frantically looking for the next exit (I know, I was with her when I did my usual baseline test).

Long story short, after walking her through some exercises, we got on the freeway and she was able to go further than she had ever gone since that first panic attack. She still had anxiety, and was almost in panic mode, but not with the same intensity.

After doing her exercises the next day, she got back on the freeway without me, and although she still wasn't going the speed limit, her anxiety levels dropped some more.

Today, Wednesday, I got the following text from her:

"Up to 65. Anxiety level 0."

It's been a couple of years since she was able to accomplish that feat.

I then asked her how she felt, and her response was, "It's indescribable."

AWESOME!

And here's why I bring this up. As I stated earlier, just because you're good at something doesn't mean you should keep doing it, especially if it doesn't make you happy, excited, and feel more alive.

But the flip side is...

What if you're good at something that you're currently not doing enough of (like knocking out phobias in hours)?

Maybe you ought to consider doing more of something because it happens to make you excited, happy, and feel more alive.

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What skills have you been shelving for another day, that bring out the best in you and others?

What knowledge do you have that you've been keeping to yourself, but if you put it out there, could impact someone's life in the most beneficial way?

What activities bring you more joy, more peace, more passion than anything and everything else, but you don't do them because more 'important' things need to get done?

What else do you have that's laying dormant, but when awoken, will bring more life and beauty to the world?

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Next Steps

I'm working on various projects now, with more paid work coming down the pipeline for Value Detectives, once folks get their material together.

I'm revamping Wake Up Smiling right now, which may take some time, but I'm excited about the possibilities.

I'm laying the groundwork for products I want to develop, doing the market research, checking my excitement meter, and forming mind-maps.

As things crystallize, I will post more specific details here.

Hope you have a WONDER-FULL week...

Paul 'Phobia Killa' Campillo