Finding peace

Few things calm the soul and relieve stress like spending a portion of the day with a cat in your lap, preferably a purring one.

A chat about embracing Monday

Something about Monday gets a person questioning the whole deal. Ostensibly it’s the start of another new work week; ideally you’ve taken a couple of days to rest and recharge so you can dive with enthusiasm back into the tasks you’ve chosen for your livelihood.

So why does Monday have its reputation? You know what I’m talking about.

Maybe it’s time to wake up and embrace this life that you’ve been sleeping through.

The other day Wally Conger and I spent a fun hour talking about the whys and wherefores of my new book, A Scream of Consciousness: Wake Up and Embrace the Present Moment. You know, the one I’ve been mentioning here with the cover photo of Willow embracing a sunny winter’s morning.

We talked about the book, zombies, creativity, happiness and following through on the promise of being alive moment by moment. He also had some nice words to say about my previous project, Refuse to be Afraid, which seems to be more timely day by day. And Wally – who has a big new project of his own about to break out this week – has made our conversation available for free to his friends, and now mine.

I’ll let Wally take it from there. I hope you’ll click in the right places, enjoy the conversation, and sample the book(s) over there on the right rail.

The power of short books

Books are getting shorter. The Domino Project launched by Seth Godin and friends has been publishing a series of manifestos, as they call them, all fewer than 100 pages and 5.25″ by 7.5″ – and all of them pack quite a punch. They took it to an extreme Wednesday with the release of what they’re calling a “one-page book,” a poster detailing the federal budget.

My own A Scream of Consciousness and Refuse to be Afraid run about 90 pages, in part because, well, I said all I needed to say in that space.

In his introduction to his translation of Abandonment to Divine Providence, a k a The Sacrament of the Present Moment, John Beevers writes:

Short books often have great power. A few that come to mind are Thomas à Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ, the Communist Manifesto, Paine’s The Rights of Man, Rousseau’s Social Contract, St. Thérèse’s The Story of a Soul and, of course, the Gospels. There is a very human reason for this. Most people have neither the time nor the inclination to plough through a five-volume treatise. They want the message, whatever it is, given to them in as few pages as possible. This is no new phenomenon. Pamphlets may not give as much enjoyment as a many-volumed book, but it is arguable that they have had vastly more influence.

And it is not only the reader who is affected by a short book. Its writer is. The effort, whether conscious or not, to concentrate his thought into a hundred or so pages instead of a thousand, gives this thought a sharpness and urgency which would inevitably be diffused over many volumes.

I would heartily recommend the Domino Project books – Godin’s We Are All Weird or Poke the Box, Read This Before Our Next Meeting by Al Pittampalli, Anything You Want by Derek Sivers, or Do the Work by Steven Pressfield, for example – or of course my own humble efforts (see the right sidebar for previews).

I’m not going to suggest that these are as good as those books Beevers rattled off, but they do pack a punch, if I say so myself.

The Sacrament of the Present Moment, of course, plays an integral role in the ideas in A Scream of Consciousness. From the pages in the Amazon preview I think Beevers’ translation might be a little more accessible than the one I read by Kitty Muggeridge, but it’s the ideas of Father Jean-Pierre de Caussade that resonate in any case.

Happy reading!

Occupy your creativity

Each of us is given the power to create our lives. With your mind and your hands, you can create objects of beauty, useful tools, the great American novel, the next Big Thing, and, yes, wealth.

The only limits on this power are the limits you invent: I don’t have the time. I don’t have the money. I don’t have the talent. Some greedy SOB won’t let me. The government won’t let me. Corporate goons won’t let me. Illegal aliens are stealing my opportunity. Union thugs are preventing my progress.

You invented all of those limits, or you bought into the lie that “I can’t.” But you can.

What would you like to create with your mind and your hands? What have you already created? Let the rest of us see.

Create it. Share it. It’s easier than ever to do both.


Here’s your blank page. What are you going to do with it?

No matter how hard you try to surrender control, and how much you want someone else to make the decisions for you, what you do today is entirely your choice and your responsibility.

Being fearless

From Seth Godin in Linchpin:

Fearless doesn’t really mean “without fear.” What it means in practice is, “unafraid of things that one shouldn’t be afraid of.” Being fearless means giving a presentation to an important customer without losing a night’s sleep. It means being willing to take intellectual risks and to forge a new path. The fear is about an imagined threat, so avoiding the fear allows you to actually accomplish something …

The linchpin feels the fear, acknowledges it, then proceeds. I can’t tell you how to do this; I think the answer is different for everyone. What I can tell you is that in today’s economy, doing it is a prerequisite for success.

Refuse to be Afraid” doesn’t mean never feel anxious or scared. It means acknowledging the fear and bringing it under control to the point where you can move forward in freedom. Today, Refuse to be afraid.

A different take on the shirtless dancing guy: Convince a woman

This video from Derek Sivers is very interesting, informative and entertaining, but I see something slightly different than he does.

I love how Derek uses the imagery from a 2009 festival to explain how a “lone nut” becomes the leader of a movement and how important the “first follower” becomes, and I’m not alone. This is an acclaimed analysis with 1.1 million-plus YouTube views as of this writing.

But I disagree about the “tipping point,” where he says, “Now here come 2 more, then 3 more. Now we’ve got momentum. This is the tipping point! Now we’ve got a movement! As more people jump in, it’s no longer risky. If they were on the fence before, there’s no reason not to join now. They won’t be ridiculed, they won’t stand out, and they will be part of the in-crowd, if they hurry.”

If you’ve never seen the video, go ahead, check it out. It’s fun. I’ll wait.

There’s one crucial detail I think Derek missed about the “3 more” who give the dancers the necessary momentum to turn the little party into a crowd. Did you spot it? Because the camera is shaky it’s a little hard to see.

At least one of the newcomers is a woman.

It takes 22 seconds for the first follower to arrive, and almost a full minute before a third dancer joins in. But not until the 80-second mark, when the women join in, does the movement really take off.

Until the moment that the first lady starts dancing, it’s just 3-5 guys acting goofy. When she gets there, it’s a social event. The first female follower makes it more comfortable for other women to join, and you know how men feel about women.

Derek Sivers knows a lot more about marketing and running a business than I do, but I daresay his theory here needs a small amendment. Never underestimate the power of the opposite sex. The first female follower of a movement – or the first male to join a female-initiated movement – can convert a few folks dancing alone into a campaign.