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Month: March 2017



Another IPS (Inner Peace Symptom):  an understanding that basically us humans are clueless when it comes to answering the Big Questions.  [Life-Its-Own-Self is a big Mystery.  Wonder and awe are appropriate responses.]


I confess:  I was that Question-Box Kid who kept asking adults the stumper “why” questions all the time.  It is not a good survival trait in a culture where young ones are supposed to watch and listen and learn.

I don’t think I was built for all that big-eyed, bated-breath wonderment stuff – the one where you go, “Oh, wow, Big Person, tell me what I need to know.”

I thought the Big Guys were keeping me from figuring out the all-of-everything.  It was all a conspiracy, I figured.  I was going to hammer the Big Stuff really fast so I could just go out there and DO stuff, just like them….maybe better than them.  Ha-ha!

Mario Boxes by Jodi Green via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
I was, I think, an annoying piece of work.  I survived my childhood mostly because I was surrounded by people who were too slow on their feet to catch and strangle me.


Later on, I finally did figure out that the WHY questions have no pat answers.  You can ask WHAT, WHO, WHERE, WHEN and HOW questions from sunrise to sunset and get some pretty solid answers from other people.

The answers you get to those kinds of questions are productive.  You can do stuff with them and make things happen.

WHY questions, on the other hand, are always….debatable.  They lead to arguments and dissension and lots of disagreements between people.   Wars have been started over differing WHY-question answers.

Big Question Mark by Benjamin Reay via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]


The thing is, the answers to WHY questions are not necessarily “right” or “wrong.”  Like the answers to the other questions, the answers to WHY questions either work or they don’t work.  The problem is the answers to the WHY questions only work for some people and not for others.

The answers to the WHY questions are always one Truth or another.  But, each person sees Truth in their own way and sometimes one person’s Truth will absolutely contradict another person’s Truth.

Finding the WHY-question answers that work for you are a lot of work.  The deal is, though, those answers are the absolute bottom-rock foundation for adding meaning and mana to your life.

The wise guys say that all the answers to the WHY questions are already inside of you.  For some reason, they’re obscured by assorted issues and assumptions and other-people stuff.

It’s the price of admission for coming into this world, that.  That’s what you get for coming into the world as this helpless little being that has to depend on all these other people to keep you alive.

Golden Admission Tickets by City Foodsters via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
(To avoid all that, the wiser guys point out, you would have to come into the world as a fully-realized being, already self-sufficient and smart enough not to say much.  That comes with a different set of problems that might end up with you getting burned at the stake or crucified or something.  REALLY not a good thing.)

Things being the way they are, it means that you have to develop “creative discovery skills.”  Since nobody else actually knows the answers that are going to work for you, you have to go find them your own self.   It requires you to ask the right questions.

Here’s a TEDx Tokyo talk by James Curleigh about “Asking the Right Questions.”  (At the time the video was made, Curleigh was the president and CEO of Keen Footwear.  He has since become Levi’s brand president.)  It really sounds like the guy asks a lot of questions too….


Creative discovery skills are actually just a matter of asking questions that look past previous assumptions.  The more forethought you put into the questions you ask, the better answers you get and the more options you uncover.

It’s kind of like turning over rocks and leaves and overturned boxes and such and finding out what’s under them, then taking all the stuff under them (plus maybe some of the stuff you overturned as well) to make a whopping cool new thing.

This is pretty much the definition for how scientists and inventors and artists and craftsmen and business innovators came up with all these fantastic new ideas and products that surround us today.


It’s a lot more fun when you can share these skills with other people.  To do that, you mostly have to just ask their permission to play in this new way and then invite them to join in.

When you encounter stuck-in-the-mud resistance, the best response is usually asking another question.

Keep asking questions until the other person starts thinking too…even if they’re only thinking of ways to block you.

Remember that they are doing you a favor when they try to block you.

You get to think about their objections and propositions and see whether you can find ways around them.   Their objections help you refine your own way of dancing and point out your mistakes or missteps.

Eventually, if you both stick with this way of playing, you may find some common place where you can stand together and start making something together.

There is a very useful communication skills article (as well as a very good video by Yashwant Schinde) on the Mind Tools Club website that you might want to check out.   You can click HERE to do that.

Mind Tools is an online educational/business training organization that was established in 1996.  It works with top global corporations as well as individual entrepreneurs and careerists to help them increase productivity, improve management and leadership skills and all that good stuff.

If you like what you see, you can even join the club for a not-unreasonable price. (The standard membership is $19/month after the first month for $1.)  You can also subscribe to their free newsletter.


You do have to watch out and make sure you’re not being a pest when you play this game, but sometimes even being a pest will get the other person off their duff.

If you get really good at it, their getting off their duff is not going to be because they are so mad at you they want to beat you into the dirt.  (You know you’re good when you can take off your running shoes and not bother with them any more.)

Running Shoes by Danielle Bardgette via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
Here’s a poem:


In the World, where most people live

There’s Science and Security,

Answers, Deadlines and Objectivity.

There’s hustle, bustle and activity.

Things happen “because” and “so that.”


And the people think

They can run from Death,

Not realizing that they are

Carrying him on their backs.


In the Real, where some people go,

There are questions and puzzles

And no thought and no time.

Things happen as they happen

And they are all connected

And the connections are all there is.


And Death is an ally

That helps you dance more deeply.

And when one day you’re done,

He’ll be the one to take you home.

by Netta Kanoho

Header photo credit:  Sunrise from Mount Haleakala by Brian Snelson via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]

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It has been said that fear is a sign that something is important to you.


Ted Gonder, director of MoneyThink, a Chicago-based non-profit that teaches financial skills and entrepreneurial thinking to urban high school students, assures us, “If we think of fear as an accomplice rather than an enemy, then we can be free to lean into it, and pursue our dreams, ideas and projects freely.

This counterintuitive mindset does actually make sense:  If the thing you are most afraid of is also the thing you really and truly want in your life, then you are actually a very lucky person.

You have a built-in guidance system that will tell you when you’re moving in the direction of your dreams.

(You’ll know you’re on the right road when your head tells you everything is just fine, but your stomach drops to the floor and you’re shaking very badly and there’s a no-no-no-no-no chant cycling in your head.)

If you are able to twist your head around enough so that you can see this, then a number of other ideas arise.  You begin to understand that:

  1.  Fear is a tool.
  2.  Fear is fuel.
  3.  Fear is to be partnered with.

You may even get the idea that you are going to have to walk into your fears and through them in order to get to where you really want to be.

You get to understanding that you have to want your dream more than you fear it and you’ll use the fears to help you keep on moving towards your dream.

GPS by Hernan Pinera via Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]


Here’s a YouTube video by Eddie Pinedo, “The Other Side Of Fear” with another take on fear.   Pinedo is a sought-after motivational speaker who focuses on athletic performance.  He also writes a blog, “Your World Within” and publishes weekly You-Tube videos with almost 11 million views, it says here.  (They are excellent.)

So, how do we do that?  How do we get to the “other side of fear?”

Twyla Tharp, in her book, THE CREATIVE HABIT, suggests that you look at the things that make you shake and shiver and that shrivels you into a quaking nubbin, and think about answers or antidotes to them that work for you.

Here’s me doing yet another Un-Seeing exercise:

“I’m not sure how to do it.” 

 [Ummm….when has that ever stopped you?  Babe, you don’t know how to do lots of things.  The things you do know how to do happened because you started doing them and then just kept going with it until you got good.

We are not talking about building a dam across Maliko Gulch or something.  If you try and it doesn’t work, you can try a different way the next time.  And the time after that. And the time after that.  If you do something badly, you will learn one way not to do it and that’s a start towards learning how you do it right.]

“People will think less of me if I screw up.” 

 [Not the people who matter to you.  Your friends will hug you.  Your kids will still call you “mom.”  Your parakeet will still sing to you.  It’s all good….]

“People will laugh at me.”

[So?  Laughter is a kind of communication too.  And if the people are laughing with you rather than at you, isn’t that a good thing?]

“It may take too much time.” 

[Could be, might can.  Putting it off doesn’t make it happen faster.  If it’s something you want to do, then make the time.  Ho’omanawanui, bebe…make time big!]

“It’s going to cost money.”

[Just living costs money.  Is it something you really want to do?  That’s the question.  Think of it as an investment in yourself.  It never goes to waste.  Even the things that didn’t work the last time turns out to be useful for the next project.]

“Gawd!  It is SO self-indulgent.” 

[An’ den?  What’s your point?]

“Somebody has done it before.”

[Uh-huh.  It’s all been done before, hon.  Nothing’s really original and every idea ever thunk will be thought again.  You can join the line.  Get over yourself.]

“I have nothing to say.” 

 [Now, that one is a lie!  You have lots to say.  Maybe nobody wants to listen, but that is not relevant when you’re just starting out the gate.]

“I’m going to upset somebody I love if I do this….”

[That could happen.  You’re still a good person and you have good intentions.  Your loves will understand or not, and you’ll do what you need to do to make it right if you make a misstep. 

But, not doing something because maybe somebody important to you will be upset  is giving that person too much responsibility for you and your life.  Why are you piling on your regrets on somebody else’s back, silly git!]

“I know that when I do it, the thing is never going to be as good as this idea in my head is.” 

 [True.  Toughen up, baby girl.  It’s better to make an imperfect dome in Florence than build cathedrals in the sky.  A dream that has stepped out of your head and is real in the world has more weight than all the ones that are still floating around in your head. 

Plus, if it doesn’t work, you can always try again to get it right.  And if you keep trying to get it right, eventually there it’ll be and then you can go share it with your friends.  A cool thing….]

“If I do it well, somebody will copy it and I won’t get what I deserve for it.” 

 [Ack!  That is so disgusting, Netta!  The whole point of making stuff is to get people to like it, use it, do whatever.  So what if other nimnuls copy?  It’s not like it’s your one and only idea, f’r pity’s sake!]

Twyla says, “There’s nothing wrong with fear; the only mistake is to let it stop you in your tracks.

So, what are your shadows?  What fears pop up every time you start dreaming a dream?  What would you say to them?  What might they say back to you? Play with it…and keep on walking.

Here’s a poem:




Fear it is that

Keeps us going back

To oracles and them,

And trying to make

Sense of a future

That’s obscure and dim.


The mists of time,

We think, hide monsters,

Even though we know

That probably they really

Aren’t under the bed.

Daddy said, Mommy said.


We have to see.

We want to know

How this thing or

That will flow, grow.

Desire, doubt and fear,

The three stomping feet.


And we forget again

What we always knew:

Change is the rule,

And not the exception:

Up and down and

All around, it changes.


We go on despite…

We go on because…

‘As how…we go.

And change’s alchemy works

Its magic once again

And we go on.

by Netta Kanoho

Header Picture credit:  Signpost by Anthony via Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]

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It occurs to me that it is probably not possible to convince humans to take a long-term view using argument or persuasion or logical thinking.

It seems to me that people focus on long-term because they want to or because they’re tired of hitting themselves upside the head all the time and really tired of having to climb out of potholes that turn out to be really deep and gnarly lava tubes.


You are not going to be able to talk yourself out of going for the short-term advantage if you haven’t developed a vision of The Big Picture.  And the real is that you are the only one who can do that for yourself.

Your Big Picture is not my Big Picture…or anybody else’s Big Picture.

Oh, yeah, you’ll nod your head at other-people wisdoms.  You may even try to make your walk like their walk, especially when you like the way their life looks from the outside.

But, if their vision really doesn’t resonate with you, doesn’t make you hungry, doesn’t make you fly, it never will get the kind of dedication and effort from you that can make it come real.

If the costs that admired one pays for their life is very high, you may not be willing to pay what they’ve had to pay for it.  So you quit doing your version of their vision and you tell yourself whatever it takes to get back to bed and pull the covers over your head.


Medieval cathedral builders labored a lifetime with the fruits of their labors still a hundred years into the future.

The 70-year-old farmer plants a tree his grandkids will sit under.

Parents of young children try to lay a foundation of values and attitude that will serve an adult 20 year later.

A craftsman knows that mastery of an art form takes a lifetime of repetition and effort — whether the work sells or not.

Why do they do it?  Because they want to.  Because they have to.  Because they can’t not.

Here’s one answer.  It’s a YouTube video, “Why Do We Do It?  For the Ride – 2015” published by Official Triumph.  (I just like it for the beauty of it.)


Visions can take a long time to manifest.  They take concerted, continued effort, often at the expense of here-and-now pleasures and even of other long-term goals and aspirations.

A vision makes a big displacement in your life.  It shoves everything else out of the way.  (Visions are very rude.)

When your head is down and your ass is up and you’re working on building the road to your dream  you may not see a lot of the roadside scenery.  Visions make you blind sometimes.

Queen Anne Counterbalance, 1934 from the Seattle Municipal Archives via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
You may have to break the ties that bind you to a life that does not have room for the pictures you are seeing.

You may have to explode the structures you’ve spent a lifetime building inside yourself to get  yourself ready for the realities of that dream.

You may have to initiate changes in your life that are uncomfortable or  downright painful.

It will take way more time, way more effort, and a whole lot of humping and hustle to build the road to your dream.

And even if you do all that, there is no iron-clad guarantee that the dream will come real.

You may not last long enough or develop the stamina you need to stay the course.  You may get sidetracked.

Circumstances over which you have no control can co-opt you.

Other people could betray you.  The world may change and open doors might slam shut or the detours on the road take you to places where you would rather not be.

Detour by Cody Jung via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
As you get deeper into the dreamscape of your own making you may find that the vision turns hazy or morphs into some ugly nightmare that makes you run the other way.

Visions must be large to be worthy of such commitment.  I suppose that is why it often takes a lot of time and thinking to develop a vision with meaning and mana.

And if they are large, then they’re going to take everything you’ve got to give to it and demand even more from you.


In his book, LIFE ON PURPOSE:  How Living For What Matters Changes Everything, Victor J. Strecher tells a story about Abraham Maslow, the founder of humanistic psychology.

Maslow was the guy who developed the concept of the “hierarchy of human needs.”

He proposed the theory that “self-actualization” was the ultimate stage in human development and numerous studies grew out of it that showed that this high point is, indeed, reachable only after more basic physical or safety needs were met.

This You-Tube video,  “An Introduction to Abraham H. Maslow’s A Theory of Human Motivation” published by Macat, is a short overview of the theory.

Macat is an on-line resource library that partners with the University of Cambridge to “empower development of creative and critical thinking.”  It’s a good site to explore.  They offer a free 30-day trial period for using their services and have developed programs for scholars and for business people.

Maslow’s book, TOWARD A PSYCHOLOGY OF BEING, became a classic.

According to Maslow’s motivation theory there are five interdependent levels of basic human needs that have to be satisfied in a strict sequence.  It says you can’t think of the next level until the needs at the lower levels have been met.

  • Physiological needs for survival and security are first. You need to stay alive and reproduce.  You need to feel safe in your life.
  • Social needs follow. Love and belonging are powerful motivators as well.  We humans do a lot for love and belonging.
  • Self-esteem needs are next. You want to feel worthy and respected.  Having status, all the signs that you are worthy and deserving of respect from other people, is a very real motivating force.
  • And then there’s self-actualization – achieving your goals and developing your own self-definition.

It makes sense.

If you’re starving, it’s unlikely that you’ll be using your creativity for more than getting the next scrap of food that will keep you going.

If you’re running from bombs and bad guys intent on killing you, there isn’t much time for developing your self-expression.

If you’re lonely in a world of hard, there probably won’t be a lot of room for joy and laughter and self-esteem.

Without self-esteem, there isn’t a heck of a lot of self-actualization possible. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to think about what you want to achieve if you’re mired and tangled up in all the unworthiness of you.


Maslow’s idea caught on.  The “me-generation” was born.

Self-fulfillment was the key to human happy, the theory said, and we took to it like dolphins in the surf.

Sometimes, though, it got to be like crabs-in-a-bucket when other people had other agendas that did not include the happy of you.

And then, in 1969, in the latter part of his career, Maslow had an epiphany. He said, “The fully developed (and very fortunate) human being working under the best conditions tend to be motivated by values which transcend his self.  They are not selfish any more in the old sense of that term.

Strecher marvels that Maslow, at the absolute top of his field, would change his hugely popular model and say, essentially, “I was wrong.”  (Perhaps it was because Maslow apparently cared more about his own vision of understanding what motivates humans than he did about the tangible achievements of his own self-actualization.)

Maslow began to study “transcenders,” visionaries who spent their time working on ideas and visions that were larger than themselves.

He discovered that these individuals made great innovators and reached higher levels of creativity.  They exhibited, he said, “humility, a sense of smallness, awe before the tremendousness of the universe.”

Maslow died before he could explore this idea further.

After his death, a wide-ranging book, THE FARTHEST REACHES OF HUMAN NATURE, that contained Maslow’s scientific and philosophical essays on biology, synergy, creativity, and cognition as well  as his thoughts on self-actualization and the hierarchy of needs theory was published.

The book makes me wish he could have stayed with us longer.


“Vision” is really the what, the picture of the future you want to create.  Visions that are worthy require purpose — the why.

Purpose answers the question, “Why do we exist?”  It’s basically about looking for a way to contribute something of value to the world in some unique way.

The how of it all determines the way you walk when you’re following a vision.  All the steps you take should automatically fall into line if you can develop your vision.

If you’re reading this, then it’s likely that you’ve probably got  your physiological needs, your social needs and your self-esteem needs (more or less) covered and you’re working on the self-actualization part.

Maybe now is a good time to think on bigger things than your own teeny self.  It’s exciting that it’s possible, isn’t it?

Here’s a poem:


It’s just a fantasy

And they tell me it’s not real,

Untested by time or happenstance,

Untouched by human hands and mouths,

Unbattered still by Is,

Unheralded by Was.

And they are right.


And yet,

This fantasy that’s come to me

The one that glitters teasingly

Has brightened Is

And tempered Was

And still it flies.


I cannot say where it will lead,

This dream of mine I’m building.

I cannot say what time will bring

Or if it will come real.

I see this unreality

Burns bright and inexorably

It flames away the dross

Of what has been.


I think I’ll choose to keep my dream.

I think it looks real good on me.

by Netta Kanoho

Header picture credit: North Shore, Molokai by Rosa Say via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

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Another IPS (Inner Peace Symptom):  an understanding that your own truth is based on what you feel or deduce from where you stand.  [So then the question becomes:  Where are you standing?]

It’s the human dilemma, it seems to me:  we each have this spark of the Creative in there and it demands that we do Something to deliver the gift that each of us is to the World.

There is even a built-in expiration date on the thing.  (We only get a certain amount of time here in the World, after all.)

It’s not that there aren’t guideposts, and training manuals and how-to books, and tapes, and organizations galore that are perfectly willing to tell you which way to go.  Everybody has an opinion, everybody has The Right Way.  Uh-huh.

“Stand” by Go to See This World Through Lenses via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]


It seems to me that the only thing that’s worth anything in all the blather is knowing that you are free to do whatever you want to do, just like everybody else.  It is a good starting point.

You get to choose which way you go from where you’re standing.  The rest of it you make up as you go along.

It does work better if you listen to your own heartsong.  It gets right lively if you dance when you can.  (Trudging along with your head down tends to be so disheartening.)

“Movement 9” by Pedro Martin via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

Since you’re just the messenger, the gift you are holding is the important thing in all this. Your  job is to make your delivery.  The world is waiting on you.

(If you step on too many toes, of course, there will be consequences and you’ll either handle them or not, but that’s just another part of the story.)

Your delivery-man  or -woman journey probably goes better if you can find your own way to dance.

Dreams and visions are a part of that journey.  Where you go and what you do is all on you.


It is always an option to be a non-starter.  You could just say no to all that effort and trying and turn your back on your mission.  Of course you can.  You’re free, remember?

The biggest problem you encounter when you give up on your visions and your dreams is that you will probably end up dissipating all this good energy that became available to you when you first started out.

When you decide to just give up, you are very likely to end up standing there in the middle of the road, scratching your head wondering how you’re supposed to share this gift you know you’re carrying.


The other thing about this journey is that, invariably, no matter which direction you choose to take, there will be a really big ball of knotted strings — your if-thens and your maybes and your buts and your can’ts — right in the middle of this road you’ve decided you’re supposed to be traveling down.

It is huge, this ball.  It blocks the whole road.

You’ll probably have to push that ball out of the way so you can get on down the road you’ve chosen to take.  (Every time you stop to take a breather, that stupid ball’s probably going to materialize right in the middle of your road again.  It’s what it does.)

It is H-A-R-D.  Yes, it is.

And every time the ball comes back and you’re standing there feeling disgruntled, you have to decide again:  Go on?  Stop?  Turn around?  Take the time to try to dismantle the ball (and watch it morph into some other recurring obstruction) or just keep on heading towards your dream?

You know, if you do give up on dreaming and visioning and all that and refuse to enter into or continue onward in the fray, it’s possible that you will get to be a rock that sort of sits there eroding in the wind and the wet.  Just part of the landscape.

Somebody may come along and turn you into a piece of a wall or something.  Maybe you’ll get to be part of some other road.

“Beach Rocks on Koki Beach” by Adam Theo via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]
Maybe that’s okay.  You’re useful.  You’re doing something.  And then you’re dead.  Right.

Or maybe you can transform yourself into a leaf floating down a stream, just cruising and looking pretty, bumping into things.  You’re already dying, but it’s a sunny day and it’s okay. Nothing much happens.

“Mango Leaves in Ching’s Pond” by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
You party with all the other leaves or sit around telling each other things and all that.  It’s cool.  Then you sink down under the water and turn to sludge.  Right.


There’s got to be a better way, don’t you think?  Here are some thoughts from motivational speaker Iyanla Vazant, speaking at the 2014 ESSENCE Music Fest, a “party with a purpose” that started in 1994 as a one-time event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Essence, a magazine aimed primarily toward African-American women.

It’s a YouTube video, “Iyanla Vanzant On Creating a New Life Vision,” published by Essence in 2014.

The Essence Fest, as it’s known locally in New Orleans, has become the largest event celebrating African-American culture and music in the United States.

And here’s a poem:


Daring to dance the tide.

(Won’t reach my dream-place ‘less I try.)


Daring to dance the tide.

(No question ’bout it,

Those scary waves are so very high!)


Daring to dance the tide.

(Stomach in knots but my hands are steady,

My heart’s already sailing on,

Going high and wide.)


Daring to dance the tide.

(Hey, heart!

Wait for me!

Here I come….


What a ride!)

by Netta Kanoho

Header picture credit:  “Maui Sunrise” by Angela Sevin via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]

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One day I stood up bravely and told a bunch of my friends that I was resigning as General Manager of the Universe.  They laughed so hard they were crying.  (Sigh!)

Nobody believed me.  I didn’t believe me.


My way through the world seems to attract a lot of control freaks of one sort or another, as well as people who seem to want  to be told what to do, so it seems that maybe there are lessons there that are mine after all.

Maybe it’s ’cause I do have “issues” about Authority-with-a-capital-A.

It seems to me that the need for control arises out of the fear that what you want is never going to happen unless you, personally, ride herd on the thing and keep it going towards your own personal vision.

It turns your whole road into a battleground, full of other people stepping on your toes, getting in the way and not doing what they’re supposed to.   And you go into battle mode because your fears keep telling you yours ain’t gonna happen.

You waste a whole lot of energy on that one, expending it on trying to get all these people out of your way!

The other part of that, of course, is that all the other guys are also trying to get to their desires and trying to do their vision, and you are in their way.  It makes this big, old roiling ball of crisscrossing strings that is an incredible tangle.


I suppose you could do Alexander’s Gordian Knot move where you whack the thing with a big old sword and bully your way on through.

The problem with that solution is you leave behind broken strings all over the ground and those strings are, every one of them, aka threads — the connections between everything in the Universe with everything else in the Universe.

They lie there writhing like a whole bunch of dying worms.  Not a pretty picture.

Battle of Issus Mosaic (from Pompeii) [PD-old-100]
Alexander, called The Great, left a mountain of skulls wherever he went.  He died early, having attained his vision, and failing to come up with some other one to take its place.

He brought great changes to his world and people learned new ways of walking as a result, and the world kept on going, growing, developing.


Alexander was also a catalyst that shook things up good, and maybe that was the gift he carried into the World.  The aka threads that Alexander cut reconnected, grew together in other ways and kept on keeping on.

Alexander, of course, was still dead but he got written up in all kinds of history books and like that and his life story gets inflicted on every wannabe billionaire who lives today.

I’m still working on it.  So’s the rest of the world…..

Here’s a YouTube video featuring the thoughts of philosopher Alan Watts, “Let Go Of Controlling Everything.”  It was published by HDvids101.

And here’s a poem:


He says he’s ready to quit:

He’s tired of the b.s. heaped on his head,

Tired of your issues and your wah-wah-wahs,

Tired of chaos and confusion.


He wants off this job that drags on and on,

An interminable rondel that goes ’round and ’round,

Apparently without end.


He’s tried, he says, tried and tried,

But it feels like he’s herding lemmings,

Trying to keep the little guys

From throwing themselves off some high plateau

Onto the rocks edging the shining sea below.


Every time he gets one cluster of lemmings headed right,

The other guys make a break for it…

Aiming for that seductive edge of nihilistic angst.


Oh, yeah.

It’s come to a head all right…

(Or some more earthy organ that’s

unmentionable in polite company.)

So, he comes to me…

‘Cause I’m Da Boss, right?

I am in charge – Big Mama to the forefront…

Little “g,” in control…uh-huh.


The job’s three-quarters done and he’s feeling done-in.

And me…I’m standing here flat-footed,

Looking at this thing that’s becoming

A cut-rate model for some stupid government contract –

Complete with asinine road blocks,

Replete with meaningless detour signs and side-trips into the absurd.


I am NOT dancin’ now.

I am standing here scratching my head.

I’ve gotta wonder:

Do I LOOK like a branch of Head-Trip International?

Am I the Bureau of Eat-Shit or something?


This is NOT the How!


Me, all I want is Done.

And it is on you, my braddah…

I backed you, and it looks like you are playin’ games!

You do not have my back

And that wind blowin’ up it is getting COLD.


So I’m just sayin’…and I’m saying this LOUD:


Tita is risin’…and it ain’t lookin’ good!

by Netta Kanoho

Header Picture Credit:  Defying the Gordian Knot by GollyGForce – Living My Worst Nightmare via Flickr [CC BY-2.0]

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My life-model is the Fool — the guy in the Tarot card stack who’s walking along cheerfully, heading off a cliff.  That guy is my hero.

He knows that it’s all one big iffy pile of ambiguity and he’s cheerful anyway.  I can live like that, I am thinking.

A while back, I developed a thing I call “The Fool’s Premises.”  I’ve lived my life pretty much according to these premises and, hey, it’s been a lot good.

I found that you can learn a lot from fools.



It took me a long, long time to get to that one.

For years I was always beating myself up because I was measuring who I am and what I am by standards set by other people.

I never measured up to other people’s expectations and desires and wants and needs.  I barely could keep myself from drowning in them all, running madly around trying to be everything to everybody.

It didn’t work.

And then, I decided, hey, I’m pretty good just as I am.

Well…a funny thing happened.  I was able to see where my strengths were, where my failings were and I could choose to use my strengths and compensate for the things I am not so good doing.

It works okay.

I am friends with myself now.  It works better.


Apparently there is some kind of conspiracy that wants to keep people from playing.  All that “this is se-e-erious, Netta!” tends to do is alert me to incoming not-fun ideas.

Hawaiians are supposedly notorious for developing the ‘alamihi-crab bucket syndrome.

See, the little black ‘alamihi crabs are really tasty eating.  To catch them, you set a bucket with an aku fish head or something in the bottom into the ground at night when they are most active.

They jump in.

The bucket keeps the crabs from getting out again because every time somebody tries to climb out (over the bodies of the other crabs), some other crab in the bucket pulls them back down.

Alamihi Crab by Blake Handley via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]

This is a metaphor for a human trait that seems to be ubiquitous.  Hawaiians just got a bad rep because we made up the bucket ploy to catch the little ‘alamihi, I think.

I decided I was not happy being an ‘alamihi.  I didn’t like being in a bucket.  I didn’t like my fate as somebody else’s dinner.

I figured that the best thing I could do was stay out of the ‘alamihi bucket and help other people stay out of it too.  Mostly that’s what I try to do.

It’s a funny thing, though.  When I tell people this premise, they tend to discount anything else I might say after that.

Play has fallen into severe disrepute, it seems.  The grasshoppers are losing to the ants.

Too bad.  All that ant stuff is really boring-looking.


Everything is impermanent.  That’s a given.

So, I went looking for what actually abides — what stays when everything else goes wonky.

 The wise guys are right:  the way you walk is the only thing that stays real.

So….I walk and I keep walking one-step, one-step, one-step.


This one grew out of understanding that my world, what I see and what I feel, is just mine.  Everybody else has their own world they see.

Because we are all milling around in the same place, everybody else’s worlds impinges on my own.  We are all connected and the connections pull at me when you move.

Very little of what people do actually is about ME personally.  They just live their lives and our connections and ties drag me around or trip me up as I’m trying to do mine.

So…if that is a truth, then, it means that mostly I can just keep going on with what I am doing and duck when something particularly nasty comes heading my way.

Not having to spend my days always angry or hurt about other people’s actions that trip me up sure makes it a lot easier to do my own walk.

Here’s a YouTube video published by the Oprah Winfrey Network as part of the SuperSoul Sunday series.  It features Don Miguel Ruiz and speaks about this very thing:

Don Miguel Ruiz is the guy who wrote the books about Toltec wisdoms, THE FOUR AGREEMENTS.


This thing developed as I was learning to walk without my husband Fred in my world any more.  When he died, it seems I was cut loose to go looking for a different kind of way of being that wasn’t so governed by Monkey-mind.

Fred died in 1997, after we’d been together for 27 years.  I still miss him a lot.  But, I don’t think I’d be living my life this way if he were still alive.

Here’s a poem:


F’r real, ya know:

I’m just foolin’ around.


See that card?  That’s the Fool…

The one with the nut with the

Silly grin all over his face?


His eyes look all twinkly from

The stars stuck in them.

He’s dreaming big.

He’s caught in mid-step,

One foot in the air

At the brink of some cliff.

He’s got this bindle on the stick

Held over his shoulder….

Probably lunch.

See his faithful little dog,

All sprightly-looking,

Gamboling along all over his other foot?


That’s me.

The sun’s shining.

The birds are chirping.

It sure looks like a messy ending’s

In the offing.


Awww…I know what the SMART ones say.

They keep trying to convince me that

The other card’s the better one,

The Heirophant, high-priest guy,


That one has this guy perched on some chair

That’s probably harder than

The cheap peasant benches

‘Cause somebody piled on the velvet cushions

Before they let the guy sit down.

He’s dressed in drag.

(At least, that robe thing of his

Sure looks like a bitch to drag around.)

And they’ve jammed this big old heavy hat or something

On his poor, balding pate.


He’s surrounded by crowds of folks,

Looking like they’re intently listening for

Profound pronouncements and proclamations from the poor guy,

And you’ve gotta know

They’re just waiting for one wrong move

So they can grab the schmuck and dis him down into the muck

They spend the rest of their time raking up

And they drown him in some horrid pool of yuck.


Oh, yeah.


Some choice that one is!


I think I’ve got it right.


Bet that fool’s got great balance.

Bet HE knows how to fly….

by Netta Kanoho

Header Picture credit:  The Fool by Herval via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]

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It’s the new “thing” — Letting Go.  Everybody who’s anybody keeps telling you that the only way to move forward is to let go of all that baggage you’re lugging around.   “The Simple Life,” hey, ho!  Minimalism rules.

They tell you, “Gee whiz, guys and girls…you’ve got a wagon train following along behind you with all the accumulated baggage of a lifetime and you’re pulling that thing around with you.  No wonder you’re so tired all the time.”

For the most part, that is probably a truth, you know.  People who have little day-packs can scoot along hiking trails a heck of a lot easier than the guys lugging around those huge mountain backpacks that tower over their heads.

Backpacker by dontdothisathome via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]


You figure that you probably do have to let go of at least some of that stuff.  As you’ve probably found already, if you’re a natural-born hoarder who tends to leave claw marks all over stuff you’re forced to release, even letting go of just one little thing might be really tough.

It’s likely that you’ll start remembering the back-story behind every itty-bitty thing or else you’ll recall the dreams you had for this thing or that.  Getting to The Simple Life could very well become an exploration and excavation into your life-story.

You may keep getting sidetracked by all those stories and perhaps you’ll never get to the part where you let go of anything.


So, finally, after much browbeating there you are, winnowing your way through your stuff and starting to feel good about making all that progress.  The space around you is starting to clear up and it really does feel good.

It’s a good thing to remember that some of the more enthusiastic of our wanna-be advisors ignore the truth that you do have to be careful when you start tossing stuff.   If you make it past the first little throw away and then start getting into the swing of it all, it’s relatively easy to tip into deep toss-mode.

Then it’s possible that anything or maybe even everything can go out the window.  There you are, at the height of minimalistic euphoria….

“Tossing out the bath water…heave, ho, hup!..OOPS!  There went the baby!”

Easy, there.  Take a breather.  You do not have to clear everything out all at once.


Here’s a three-part exercise that might help if you really are not making any headway at all.

Choose a target area that you want to clear. It doesn’t have to be a large area. It could be a small corner of a room.  It could be a kitchen drawer.

Part One is to pick up each object in your designated area and ask yourself these three essential questions:

  • Do I need this? (Be brutally honest here.  Do you really need twelve can openers?  Do you need that tacky-   looking tattered potholder?)
  • Is this useful? (Does it work?  Have you used it at all in the past six months?)
  • Do I still have a strong connection with it? (Do I love it? Is it uplifting eye-candy? Or is it some guilt-holding like that uber-tacky hand-me-down vase from your beloved old Aunt Martha, the one that leaked all over the dining room table the one time you used it.)

Depending on your answers to these essential questions, you can stick the thing into one of three piles – the YES pile (for the stuff you’re keeping), the NO pile (for the stuff you’re tossing) and the MAYBE pile.  If you’re a real pack-rat the MAYBE pile is going to be the biggest one of all.

Part Two of this exercise is to disappear the MAYBE pile.  Ask yourself the questions again for each of the objects in the maybe pile.  Keep asking until there are only two piles – YES or NO.  The goal is to end up with only YES things in your life.

Part Three is to find places to put the YES stuff on display or in some easy-to-reach place.  Understand that YES stuff that are packed in boxes stuck on high shelves are actually MAYBE or NO things in disguise.

Then, pack up the NO stuff and — this is the important parttake the NO stuff far, far away before the sun sets on your head.

If you are a natural-born hoarder, keeping the NO stuff for the Someday Garage Sale is just an invitation to collect more stuff.  Do not do it!

Renting out storage space for the NO stuff is cheating.  It is also very expensive.

Understand that these drastic measures are just a kick-starter.  Once you get the hang of disappearing things, you won’t need to be quite so deliberate about it.

Once you’ve gotten one space cleared, it does get easier to tackle another little bit and then another until the only things left in your life are the YES stuff.

(Maybe you haven’t noticed this, but these same questions work whether you’re looking at a thing, a person, or some situation that is bothering you.)


Victoria Moran, in her book LIT FROM WITHIN: Tending Your Soul For Lifelong Beauty, points out, “A simple life is not seeing how little we can get by with—that’s poverty—but how efficiently we can put first things first. . . . When you’re clear about your purpose and your priorities, you can painlessly discard whatever does not support these, whether it’s clutter in your cabinets or commitments on your calendar.

This is another good reason for understanding the why of the things you keep.

This YouTube video of a TedXIndianapolis Talk by screenwriter and blogger Maura Malloy, “The Masterpiece of a Simple Life,” points to a balanced way to get back to simple without losing what you love.

Here’s a poem:


Change is going to happen…

That’s guaranteed.

With me or without me,

Change is going to happen.


And it’s a very funny thing:

I can affect change

One, two, three…

And it’s a very funny thing.


When I put my energy there

Towards nurturing the good

Then the good will grow,

When I put my energy there.


When I put my energy there

Towards nurturing the beauty,

Then beauty will surround me,

When I put my energy there.


If I grow lax, letting things fall apart,

Get all lazy, losing heart,

That’s where the change goes

If I grow lax, letting things fall apart.


If I lose my way, if I grow weak,

Forget my path and forget to speak,

That’s where the change goes

If I lose my way, if I grow weak.


Change can’t be forced, oh, no, no, no…

You can’t push the river,

It just keeps it flow

Change can’t be forced, oh, no, no, no.


Going where it will, where it must,

Change still needs space and trust.

Time is the essence, a vehicle,

Going where it will, where it must.

by Netta Kanoho

Header Picture credit:  Clutter by staci myers via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

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It’s a cliche, of course.  Writers, artists, and performers of all sorts (including politicians and business speakers) are forever being told that they have to “find their own voice.”

The premise in all this advice is that each one of us is a unique individual with our own way of seeing the world and sometimes by speaking our own truths in our own way we can help other people find theirs.

Your “voice” is your style, how you present your own truths.  Those of us who want to communicate our thoughts to the world spend a lot of time thinking on that.

We spend a lot of time trying to figure out not only how to say our own say, but also we keep trying to figure out how to find an audience that will hear us when we do.

Communication is a two-way street.  There’s you doing the sending and there’s all those other guys doing the receiving (and talking back).

Here are some thoughts about this from a varied group of people who have been working in their craft for a while.

All of them have worked on finding their own voice.  Each of them has found and cultivated an audience who hears them.

Perhaps one of their ideas will spark some of your own.


Artist and online entrepreneur Austin Kleon, in his book SHOW YOUR WORK:  10 Ways to Share Your Creativity And Get It Discovered, had some hard-earned advice.  After years of trying to figure it out he says, “….now I realize that the only way to find your voice is to use it.  It’s hardwired, built into you.  Talk about the things you love.  Your voice will follow.

This YouTube video, “How to Find Your Own Voice,” was published by Bedros Keuilian, the president of Fit Body Boot Camp International, which is among the fastest growing fitness chains in the world, apparently.

Keuilian focuses on marketing strategies in his videos.  In this one, Keuilian points out the importance of being you.  (Everybody else is taken.)


As a writer, a speaker or an artist, your incentive for developing a voice is so that people will recognize you, listen to you, hear you.  Madman-writer Dan Harmon advises, Find your voice, shout it from the rooftops and keep doing it until the people that are looking for you find you.

In this YouTube video clip published by FidelWriting, Harmon is giving a talk at the Nerdist Writers Panel.  This bit of silliness is Episode 107, “Structure of a Sitcom.”  In his advice to young writers Harmon does a wonderful riff about storytellers….

Buried in the laughter is a truth:  Your voice is yours.  Don’t let anyone take it away from you.

This little gem’s from Roz Parry, a consultant in communication and team-building.  She agrees that the best way to find your audience is to speak with your own voice.  “You have to be true to your deep beliefs, especially in the face of adversity.  That way you attract the people to you who value you and what you stand for.  They come to you, not the other way around.


Finding and speaking with your voice is only half of the communication equation.  You also need to know something about the audience that your work attracts.

Swedish diplomat Dag Hammarskjold was the Secretary-General of the United Nations for most of the 1950’s.  Hammarskjold pointed out another truth, The more faithfully you listen to the voice within you, the better you hear what is sounding outside, and only he who listens can speak.”

Todd Henry is the founder and CEO of The Accidental Creative, a company that helps creative people and teams generate brilliant ideas.  He regularly speaks and consults with companies about how to develop practices and systems that lead to everyday brilliance.  He’s written three books:  ACCIDENTAL CREATIVE, DIE EMPTY and LOUDER THAN WORDS.

Henry says, It’s not the responsibility of your intended audience to adapt to you, it’s your responsibility to adapt your idea so they can receive it.” 

 So, how do you suss out your audience?  Listening is a big part of that.  So is research.

This Kickstarter YouTube video is part of a collection of helpful tips and advice from creators about common Kickstarter project questions.

In this one, “Knowing Your Audience,” filmmakers Karyn Parsons , the creator of “The Janet Collins Story;”  Adam Weber and Jimmy Goldblum,  co-directors of “Tomorrow We Disappear;” David Thorpe, director of “Do I Sound Gay?” and Malika Zouhali-Worrall, director of “Call Me Kuchu” tell how they worked to find and build the audiences for their crowd-funded projects:

Here’s a poem about getting the voice right….



When you get it right, when it all goes well,

And everything falls in place,

There’s a shift inside of you

That opens up another space.


You’re an empty, hollow flute

That the winds blow through and through,

And the words that appear on the page

Don’t even feel like you.


You think another voice

Has sounded through your throat,

And all the notes and pauses

Seem to effortlessly float.


The variations and the themes

Are from some other place,

Some other who in some other when,

Wearing some other face.


It is a comfort then

To understand and see

That the self you think you know

Is more than you think it could be.


The music of the spheres contain the songs you sing

Stop shrinking yourself small;

You’ll get big enough inside

To contain and reframe them all.

By Netta Kanoho

Picture credit:  Disembodied Voices by Jeremy Brooks via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]

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Another IPS (Inner Peace Symptom):  a tendency to get on with taking one more step in your right direction regardless of how you are feeling.  [This comes after “feeling your feeling” and accepting it.  Doing trumps feeling every time….]

It is a funny thing how if you keep taking one more step every day, eventually you get a lot of stuff done.  Things change because you make this move or that one.  The world reacts.  The people around you come or go.  Course-corrections happen.


So you’ve got a goal or a project you want to complete.  Others have done it, but, wow…it’s a whopper.  It looks like a mountain from where you’re standing and that feels overwhelming.  There’s probably not going to be an elevator, but if you’re in luck maybe somebody will have built a staircase.

Some of those staircases might be a bit hard to handle, however….

Suspended Staircase by Aaronth via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
If you already know how to get to your goal maybe you can make your own staircase.  Breaking things down into smaller and smaller bits allows you to stand a fair shot at accomplishing one designated step each day if you’re doing a thing that has already been done before.

You see how other people have achieved the goal you want to shoot for.  You decide what “manageable” means to you.  You systematically break down the big project into itsy-bitsy small steps and then you do them.

There will be glitches and days when it just doesn’t come together, but if you keep on doing one more prescribed step, then eventually you get to where you want to be.

One possible way to take that step forward is to put together an “if-then” plan as well as a “coping” plan.

Here’s more on that in this YouTube video,”What Small Change In Your Life Can Make a Big Difference,” published by BiteSize Psych whose Facebook page says his aim is to “revolutionize how we use psychology to better our lives, one video at a time.”

Pretty soon, you’ve got a new plate spinning on a new stick stuck on that stage where you’re in performance mode.  Then one day you look up and it’s a whole new world you’re looking at.

The thing about that kind of plan is that it only works if you want to do something that’s already been done before.

If you’re trying to figure out how to do something new and different, you’re facing a mountain wrapped in fog.  It’s sort of hard to even see the shape of it, much less carve out the steps to help you get up the thing.

Fog over volcano Mutnovsky, Kamchatka, Russia by kuhnmi via Flickr [CC BY-2.0]


Peter Sims, in his new book, LITTLE BETS:  How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge From Small Discoveries, explains that most successful entrepreneurs (especially those who started businesses with limited capital) have a tendency to take little concrete actions to discover, test and develop ideas that are achievable and affordable.  He calls these experiments “little bets.”

You make these miniscule little moves that will maybe work.

When they do work (and even when they don’t), the little moves provide you with information about the next little step to take.  Then you take that step.

If it works, you do it again and add another little bet to the mix.  If it doesn’t work, you try something else.

Because you don’t know what is actually going to happen when you are trying to do something new, you can’t analyze things too much at the beginning.

How can you analyze something you know little or nothing about?  You’d be shooting blind at a narrow target on some unknown horizon.

You, for sure, are not going to be able to develop an elaborate plan because you just won’t know all the factors that are going to be set into motion by your actions.

It’ll be slow.  It’ll be frustrating.  Sometimes it will be downright disheartening.


These different ways of stepping are sort of like the difference between cooking according to a set plan with a specific menu, recipes all picked out and all of the necessary fixings on hand in your own well-equipped kitchen, and winging it with whatever happens to be in your friend’s pantry and cupboards.

If you’re doing the set meal, it’s likely that you’ll be able to plan out how you’re going to get everything cooked in sequence, efficiently and well.

It’ll all get done and the results will probably be predictable.  You and the people you feed will know pretty much what to expect.

If you’re throwing stuff together catch-as-can, maybe it’ll turn out good or maybe not.

The result will depend partly on what is in those cupboards you’re rummaging through and partly on how good you are at improvising and playing with food.

Chunky Chili Cooking by Bob Peters via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
That example was tendered by Professor Saras Sarasvathy from the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia.  Sarasvathy is one of the few researchers studying how entrepreneurs tend to make decisions.

She says that the MBA-trained managers she teaches at the Darden School are likely to follow the methods used by the set-meal cook.

Their “procedural planning” approaches are highly dependent on making predictions about the future based on past experience.

Planning Close-up by Dan Foy via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
Detailed planning is the primary method used to try to predict things like consumer demand, financial costs, what market conditions are likely to be and from where the competition will probably come.  When a lot is already known, these methods work perfectly well.

However, many entrepreneurs, Sarasvathy says, are more likely to be like the improviser cook rummaging through the cupboards of a new-to-them kitchen.  They are more likely to be the ones who experiment and play and come up with new ideas that have never been seen before.

Success in the business world does depend on predictability and reliable results so there will always be a need for procedural, detailed planning.

However, in this world of accelerated change, it is also a very good idea to develop the ability to experiment and try out new approaches, to practice “experimental innovation.”


  •  Experiment.  Learn by doing.  Fail quicker and learn faster.  Develop experiments and prototypes to gather insights and identify problems as you build up to creative ideas.
  • Develop an attitude of playfulness and humor.  Let ideas incubate and hatch.  Suspend premature judging games and let the idea grow as it will.
  • Soak up life. Take the time to get out into the world to get fresh ideas or insights.  Reflect on and try to understand human motivations and desires so you can address meeting them in a new, cooler way.  Figure out how things work from the ground up so you can build the thing well.
  • Define problems, find solutions.  Use the insights you gather throughout this process to define the problems and needs you are encountering so that you can find the solutions that will resolve them.
  • Keep your hands on the wheel.  Make use of small wins to make necessary pivots and course corrections when they’re needed and eventually you’ll find a way to complete this project you’re doing.  (It probably won’t turn out exactly as you pictured it.)
  • Repeat, refine and test.  Repeat, refine and test.  Repeat, refine, and test.  Each time you do this you’ll have better insights, more information and a more complete framework for this thing you’re building.

Instead of a stately march, the experimental innovation mode is more like a goofy dance that sometimes actually makes it to Cool.

It seems to me that knowing how to waltz, tango, swing, and tap-dance as well as promenade can be a very good thing.  So can knowing how to wing it.

Here’s another poem…



I know I’ve heard the one about

The thousand-mile journey

Beginning with one step

At least a thousand times.

Everybody says it…

Over and over, ad nauseum,

Trying to get you to


The step that starts you on

The long, long journey.


Nobody ever tells you

There’s another part to it.

Nobody ever says,

“The path of a thousand miles ends in the heart.”

They forget to tell you that part.

And I have to think

How much EASIER it would’ve been to know

(As you started off on that thousand-mile walk)

That something so fine was waiting there at the end.

How do you quest when you’ve got no goal?

How do you even start?


Can you feel it?

Do you hear it?

Listen for the rest of the promise:

At the end of all the trials and tribulations

You will meet along the way,

The penultimate Holy Grail is one heart…

One all-too-human heart…

One glorious, beating, feeling heart

That’s open to the raw and scouring winds

Blowing through this old world…

Laying down the sound that powers your dance –

The sound behind compassion,

The one that invokes reverence, wonder and awe,

The one that bestows gratitude and untrammeled joy.


That back-beat, solid and strong,

Lifts up your tired feet and sets your body moving

To the pounding rhythm,

Whips right through you like a sonic BOOM-bada-BOOM-bada-BOOM.



Now you know.

Are ya gonna just sit there?

by Netta Kanoho

Heading picture credit:  Sunrise, Haleakala, Maui by blese via Flickr [BY-NC 2.0]

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THE COST OF GOALS (An Un-seeing Exercise)

THE COST OF GOALS (An Un-seeing Exercise)

High-performance coach and personal growth trainer Brendon Burchard does not believe in S.M.A.R.T. goals.  You know the ones: Specific… Measurable…. Actionable…. Relevant…. Time-Bound.

Burchard admits that S.M.A.R.T. goals work just fine, but he thinks they’re lame.  He says they keep us playing small.  He may be right.

Instead of S.M.A.R.T. goals, the best-selling author, whose books include THE CHARGE, THE MILLIONAIRE MESSENGER, LIFE’S GOLDEN TICKET and THE MOTIVATION MANIFESTO, says he wants you to formulate and get behind D.U.M.B. goals – Dream-Driven, Uplifting, Method-Friendly and Behavior-Driven.

Here’s his YouTube video, “How NOT to Set Goals,” that delineates his own take on goal-making.  It is a beautifully expressed, well-argued rant that gets you thinking way bigger thoughts.

As an internet guru who also coaches, Burchard is certainly impressive.  In 2015 Huffington Post called Burchard “one of the Top 100 Most Followed Public Figures on Facebook.”

He’s the star and executive producer of the #1 self-help show on YouTube and his podcast, The Charged Life, debuted at #1 on iTunes across all categories in multiple countries.

Burchard’s well-attended seminars include High Performance Academy, a “now-legendary personal development program for achievers,” it says here, and Experts Academy, a comprehensive marketing training for authors, speakers, coaches and on-line thought leaders.


The thing about goals that nobody (except creaky, ancient wise guys who were probably broke-ass mendicants on the side of the road) points out is that all of our goals are absolute mind-constructs.  They’re completely made-up, predetermined outcomes that we want to happen in the Great Someday.

Since nobody knows what the future is likely to bring, how can we know whether this outcome or that one (which we actually made up out of the limited knowledge we have) is the only good outcome?  The wise guys wonder about this.

They point out that there are many possible outcomes.  Some of them might be really great.  Others, not so much.  The wise guys tell us that being fixed on just one outcome could actually be quite limiting.

Many of us have experienced times when we’ve been exceedingly focused on a single desired outcome in our lives.

We fixated on achieving that one chosen goal or reaching that one predetermined milestone or grasping that one perfect opportunity in our careers and we narrowed our focus down so much that we become blind to and completely missed all of the other excellent goals, milestones, and opportunities that  also happened to be dancing around right in front of us.

Sage Silhouette by eflon via Flickr [CC BY-2.0]
We are bombarded every day with messages from the media and from other social networks and groupthink tanks that are constantly trying to tell us and sell us on how we, too, can be rich and famous and hap-hap-happy, just like the latest cool celebrity-type flashing across the sky.

Experts abound to tell us how we, too, can hack our lives and ourselves into a semblance of some version of a rich, famous, physically beautiful, powerful  persona living a life that is nothing like ordinary.  (How can we even think about being happy if we are merely ordinary?  Right?)

So, we make up these goals and then we focus and fixate on achieving them, using the goals to motivate us to keep on making our moves toward that better, brighter future that we imagine is just around the corner.

If we’re really good at working them, then we very often do achieve at least some of these goals.  We like to think that is a good thing.

However, the wise guys point out that fixating on achieving a future fantasy outcome pretty much means that we are not really looking at where we are.

In fact we’re so busy looking at and working toward that one specific sparkly future outcome that it’s unlikely that we will actually be able to just enjoy the moment in which we are currently living.


It’s sort of makes sense, that.  You only set out to “improve” things if you are not happy with the way things are.  What this means is that goals and discontent probably do walk hand-in-hand.

Once the goal is reached, of course, then you have this wonderful new set of problem-solving skills that sends you off to correct and make right yet another discontent.

Just because you’ve achieved your one, pre-set “I’ll-be-really-truly-happy-when” goal doesn’t mean that you can shut off the future-oriented mindset you used to get it done.

Have you ever noticed how the guys who are really good at reaching their goals always seem to come up with new and bigger and better goals to reach for?

They usually don’t stop after they’ve resolved their original discontent.  Instead, they just find more discontents they feel they need to fix.

If you fail somehow to reach your fantasy outcome, you are very likely to feel bad and may be prone to beat yourself up about it or lose all hope of ever improving your situation in the way you would prefer.

It becomes a whole other movie that is also not conducive to promoting happiness and contentment.


Fixating on narrow, pre-set goals (especially the ones that are pushed at you by the society in which you live) the wise guys say, is very likely to blind you to new opportunities for happiness that open up in completely new-to-you directions.

With your eyes locked onto your one ultimate goal, you are unlikely to notice any other possible path to happiness and success.  Like the racehorse wearing blinders, you can only see the track in front of you and the finish line at the far end.

Gallop14 by TheBobman via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]


One alternative to this laser-like focus on some already mapped-out trail is to become immersed in deliberate innovation and creativity, to look at the way the world is changing and to look for the paths that wander off into the untracked wilderness.  Then you choose to follow one to see where it might lead.

This YouTube video, called “Change the Game” was published by MindWerx.  It points to a way of looking at how the world is changing and how to choose paths to follow that may lead you to interesting places.

You’ll have to pay attention and learn to play with the life that is all around you.

All kinds of questions will come up:  Where does this trail lead?  What lessons can you learn?  Is this side-road a way forward for you?  Does this thing work?  What about that one?

As the 19th-century English biologist Thomas H. Huxley once said, we must “be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever or to whatever abysses nature leads, or [we] shall learn nothing.

Here’s a poem:


And this is the goal

When you play in the Real:

To find the still point

That is in you, sitting there

Obscured by World thoughts

And dreams and schemes,

And to stand there looking

Into the Void

Where yin and yang

Do their eternal dance of now.


To reach that high plateau

You have to slog through

Muddy bogs of despair and doubt

That leave your legs encrusted with

A thick layer of mud, which

Falls off in big chunks as

The hot sun bakes the mud boots off

While you climb up the steep slopes

Built by worldly ambition and pride.


And when you’ve climbed many a day and night,

And more, and more, and more,

Through buffeting winds and sudden storms,

Through chill and misty obfuscations,

Through illusion and through dreams,

You finally reach the top

And look out into that wondrous abyss

Of deepest warm mystery.


And wouldn’t you know it?

The next thing you have to do is jump.

By Netta Kanoho

Header picture credit:  The Finish Line Where Everything Just Ends by Amy Sian Green via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below and tell me your thoughts.









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