If you, too, need a fire under your ass, constantly

Lately, I’ve realized that I don’t just like motivational and inspirational videos, I need them. Because I also recently realized that what I do (write and direct) scares the hell out of me, and it takes a constant stream of motivational messages for me to keep having the courage to do it. So, now I’ve purposefully made positivity a part of my daily routine. While working out in the morning, I play a video or two from Marie Forleo, Gary Vaynerchuk, or Tony Robbins, and it helps point me in a good direction for the day. It helps fill my brain with thoughts of what I want, not what I don’t want.

Speaking of Marie Forleo… Following is a link to what I think is her best video (and they’re ALL good). It’s called “How to Get Anything You Want.” You have to give up your email address, but she doesn’t abuse it. You’ll only hear from her once a week, and the email is always beneficial. Marie is sometimes corny, but it’s part of what makes her awesome. You WILL want to fork over $2K to attend her online B-school. I haven’t done it, but I am seriously tempted. Anyway. I have followed her for so long now, I think of her as a friend. I just reread that last line and it sounds nuts. Oh, well.

Get Started With Marie Now

“Triple down on what you’re good at”

“Figure out what puts you on fire and you’re half-decent at and become tunnel-vision! And this is the biggest thing I’ve seen dividends from: Have the conversation with the person that’s holding you back. The reason most people are not doing that thing is that they’re worried about the opinion of somebody. Usually their mother. Usually their father. The reality is that your spouse may be holding you back. You have to get to a place where you’re doing you. Because the #1 thing that scares the f–k out of me is regret. You’re gonna sit there at 72 and say, “I wish…. I wish… I wish…” Figure out your thing–what you love to do–and stop making bullshit excuses.”

Gary Vaynerchuk

My favorite Tony Robbins video

Have you seen the documentary about him, “Tony Robbins – I Am Not Your Guru”? Although he and his methods are sometimes controversial (such as when he pushes a woman to call her boyfriend and break up with him in front of the entire “Date with Destiny” audience), it’s compelling. But whether or not you see the film, if you’re feeling unmotivated or dispirited, and if you want to make a change but don’t know where to start, this video above is sort of like Xanax. It calms you because it cuts through all the noise and gets to the core of the issue, as he sees it: “You don’t need to change. You need to raise your standards.”


Jimmy’s staring at election news, and I’m staring at this blank page. We’re so depressed about Trump, we’re barely talking about it. I feel like his election can only be a sign that the apocalypse is near. Maybe tomorrow morning this will seem like a major overstatement. I’m trying to focus on the thought that there have allegedly been a lot of times in American history when people felt doomed, yet they lived through it.

I don’t remember how I came across this book, “The Slight Edge.” I just want to get to the frog story that follows, that’s from the book, because it’s hopeful. But Olson’s premise is this:  you don’t have to be brilliant to get the things you want in life, you just need the slight edge. The slight edge is:  Simple productive actions repeated consistently over time. The little, seemingly undramatic, mundane choices you make every single day make all the difference when compounded over time. (I seriously don’t give a shit about any of this either–the world’s going to end!! Okay, wait for the frog story. There’s a LOT of weight being heaved onto the shoulders of the frog story! I hope it holds up.)



Olson observes that people don’t consistently do the simple things (put away a little money, work out for 20 minutes, read a few pages of an inspiring book every day, choose a salad over a cheeseburger, etc.) for three reasons: 1) While these things are easy to do, they’re also easy not to do; 2) You don’t see any results at first; 3) They seem insignificant, like they don’t matter. But they do.

He includes a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Do the thing, and you shall have the power.”

And now here’s the frog story:


Two frogs left the safety of their swamp one day and ventured into a nearby farm to explore. Soon they found themselves in a dairy, where they found a large milk pail. Hopping into the pail, they found it was half filled with fresh cream.

The two little frogs were absolutely thrilled. They had never tasted anything so delicious! Soon their bellies were full. Feeling sleepy, they decided it was time to leave–and that’s when they realized they were in trouble.

They had no trouble hopping in. But how were they going to get out? The inside of the pail was too slippery to climb. And because they couldn’t reach the bottom and there was nothing for them to step on for traction, hopping to safety was out of the question, too. They were trapped.

Frantic, they began thrashing about, their feet scrabbling for a foothold on the elusive, slippery curve of the pail’s sides.

Finally, one frog cried out, “It’s no use. We’re doomed!”

“No,” the other frog gasped, “we can’t give up. When we were tadpoles, could we have dreamed that some day we would emerge from the water and hop about on land? Swim on, brother, and pray for a miracle!”

But the first frog only eyed his brother sadly. “There are no miracles in the life of a frog,” he croaked. “Farewell.” And he sank slowly out of sight.

The second frog refused to give up. He continued paddling in the same tiny circle, over and over, hoping against hope for a miracle. An hour later, he was still paddling in his futile little circle. He no longer even knew why. His brother’s dying words clutched at his thoughts as fatigue tugged at his tiny muscles. “Was my brother right?” he thought desperately. “Are there no miracles in the life of a frog?” Finally he could swim no more. With a whimper of anguish, he stopped paddling and let go, ready to face his fate…

Yet to his surprise, unlike his brother, the second frog did not sink. In fact, he stayed right where he was, as if suspended in midair. He stretched out a foot tentatively–and felt it touch something solid. He heaved a big sigh, said a silent farewell to his poor departed brother frog, then scrambled up onto the top of the big lump of butter he had just churned, hopped out of the pail and off toward his home in the swamp.



What’s your attitude?

I think it’s sort of pathetic to consult psychics. That said, I consulted a psychic. Her name is Angel Eyedealism and I love her. She told me I should be “ebullient.” This was a year ago. I guess I wasn’t ready to hear it at that time. But recently I was listening to the recording I made of my consultation with her, and I was struck by this. Though I was fairly optimistic and positive, I was not actually ebullient (which is defined as cheerful and full of energy). My general attitude was more like “grim determination.” I decided that the difference between ebullience and grim determination is significant and that the trajectory for each will lead to significantly different destinations. So, my aim is to be ebullient. Sometimes, to get myself in the mood, I open my eyes super wide and smile, in a sort of crazed way, and say, “I’M EBULLIENT!!”

Curious to know what your current, prevailing attitude is. And where you expect it will lead you.

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Quotes from Seth Godin’s new book

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What do you care about enough to fix, or disrupt, or invent?

Don’t avert your eyes. Look at the opportunity.

It’s your turn to:  Ship. Speak up. Stand out. Build a following. Market a product. Make a connection. Solve an interesting problem. Write, sing, create, ask a question, launch a project, learn a new skill, help someone who needs you.

Looking for reassurance? It’s not here, and it wouldn’t do you any good if it were.

We’re capable of creating work that matters only if we’re willing to be uncomfortable while we do it.

We have to live with this paradox: It might work./It might not work.

If fear is able to keep us from showing up when it’s our turn, then fear has won the day and it will return again and again. Note the fear, welcome it if you can, but do what you should do.

To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.

The person who fails the most, wins.




Why we have to be flogged into being productive


There are so many posts on the Internet exhorting us to be more productive, but the reason we’re not being productive is because of the stupid Internet. And we can’t stop to reflect on the irony because we have to get back to clicking on other stuff. Today, I clicked through a slideshow of famous couples who’ve stayed together “despite the scandals they’ve weathered.” Who deserves to be flogged? I do. Guess who I want to flog me? Celebrities Who Have Changed So Much You Won’t Recognize Them Now!

Before the Internet existed, there probably wasn’t nearly as much written about productivity. Probably the only people who really thought about productivity were CEOs and efficiency experts. When I think about what life was like before the Internet, I picture us sitting in our houses, staring into the middle distance, with nothing to do. No distractions, nothing stopping us from writing a novel or learning guitar or whatever. But probably we were mostly at the mall or playing tennis. Just doing ’80s activities. It seems like heaven compared to today, being tethered to our computers and phones.

Did I already tell you about how, in the early days of the Internet, I sat next to a 30-something guy on a plane who confessed he was in counseling for his addiction to being online? I remember looking at him and thinking, “That’s weird.” I couldn’t relate at all. I wonder where that guy is now. If he was already addicted back then, he must be a basket case now. Actually, no, he’s probably still way ahead of us–he is probably taking regular, self-imposed breaks from the Internet. Which I think we are all going to start doing, for real this time, any day now. Right after we check Facebook.



Make a list of 25 career goals


Do some soul searching and circle the 5 that are the highest priority. Just five.

Take a good hard look at the 20 goals you didn’t circle. These you avoid at all costs. They’re what distract you; they eat away time and energy, taking your eye from the goals that matter more.


— Advice attributed to Warren Buffett, from Angela Duckworth’s book, “GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.”

How to get it done


Order the full-year “At-a-Glance” paper wall calendar from Amazon.

Hang it where you’ll see it daily.

Decide what action/activity you would most like to accomplish every day.

Make a big “X” on the calendar each day that you do it.

Try to create big chains of X’s.

I read somewhere that this is how Jerry Seinfeld makes himself write. Since hanging my calendar eight days ago, I’ve already written more than I had in the last two months. If you try it, let me know how it works out.