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Views: 900
Date Posted: Oct. 31, 11:57am, 0 Comments
Was there a chalk line around your body this morning?

This morning I stopped by a local convenience store for a cup of coffee.  The man who checked out before me ordered two tins of chewing tobacco and five Powerball tickets.

Handing him his loot and taking his money, the clerk asked "So, are you set for a good day?"

"I doubt it," he replied with a scowl.

It made me think of a line that Les Brown uses.  He says that every morning when he wakes up, he looks around his body.  If he doesn't see a chalk line, he knows it's going to be a great day!

If you are reading this, it is a fair assumption that when you woke up this morning, there was not a chalk line around your body.

So what sort of a day did you choose to have when you got out of bed?
Views: 946
Date Posted: Oct. 25, 11:51am, 1 Comment

There's a newsletter I see regularly called Life Optimizer

"A blog about how to live life to the fullest. It covers multiple aspects of personal growth such as learning, attitude, productivity, and relationships."

  Worth checking out.


A recent missive discussed the professional mania in Korea of the video game Starcraft.  This was the breeding ground for poker star Bertrand "ELKY" Grospelier, as you may recall.


I, of course, have less than no idea how Starcraft is played.  But I’m glad to find that many of the tips are also applicable to other fields. No matter what field you are in, you can apply them to improve yourself. They can help you become better at what you do.  Whatever you do.


Here's the post....


"I’d like to share what I’ve learned with you. For each point, I’ll give you relevant quotes from Starcraft resources.

Here are 15 self-improvement tips from Starcraft progaming:

1. Pay the price

Pros train 8 to 10 hours a day

There is no shortcut to success. If you want to be successful, you have to pay the price, be it with your time, money, or energy.

2. Study the best to internalize patterns

Studying the progames is a shortcut to figuring out the optimal actions in all situations.

Studying the best people in your field is essential. Why? Because it teaches you the right way to do things. But there’s more:

…merely watching very large quantities of pro games will help in establishing subconscious patterns.

Consistently studying the best people in your field helps you internalize patterns. Later on, when you face a certain situation, these ingrained patterns will enable you to make the right decision.

3. Do an active study

When deeply analyzing games it is crucial that you be actively pausing and thinking, asking questions such as: “What would I do here? Why does he make this move or idea instead?”… Actively compare your thought processes and decisions with what the pro actually makes.

Rather than just studying the best passively, be active and get involved in the thinking process. At every decision point, compare what you would do with what they do. It helps you understand how the best people think.

4. Experiment is your friend

This basic play is the result of countless hours of progamers playing each other and finding the most robust and powerful builds and styles.

How do you find the best strategies? By doing a lot of experiment. Experiment helps you refine your ideas and find the ideas that work.

5. Review your past performances

One important way to develop game sense is studying your own replays exhaustively… The primary benefit of doing so is to merge the details of your in-game perceptions where you are hindered by limited information with the accurate assessment of the replay. If you continuously compare your predictions with the real data, your predictions will definitely become better and better.

This is a good way to improve your decision-making ability. By doing this kind of review, you will be able to see gaps in your past thinking process. You can then adjust your assumptions to make better decisions next time.

6. Know what to do in every situation

Being fast is not about being able to move your hands. It is about knowing what to do in every given situation…

Some people think that being fast means moving faster than other people. But a much more important factor is knowing the right thing to do in every situation. Nothing wastes your time more than making the wrong decisions and doing the wrong tasks.

7. Find more efficient ways to do regular tasks

Given that you know what to do (see previous point), it does help to do your tasks faster. It’s especially helpful to find more efficient ways to do regular tasks since you will do them again and again.

In Starcraft, you need to use different buildings for different purposes throughout the game. Beginner players use their mouse to control the buildings. But good players use keyboard shortcuts that enable them to do things in a much faster way.

8. Take advantage of the situation

Do the map starting locations favor certain builds? Some have more open chokes, forcing them to do different openings. Thus you have better openings to take advantage of it.

Look at the situation you’re in. Does it have certain characteristics that make it suitable for certain actions? Is there an opportunity you can take advantage of?

9. Move out of your comfort zone

Another bit of advice. Never be afraid to lose. Try and go out of your comfort zone whenever you can. Losing if utilized correctly is a lesson to be learned.

…in order to keep improving your multitasking, you must keep playing players that are better than you, that push you, who make you struggle to even stay alive.

I like the way they put it. The point is, you must expand your personal capacity. If you keep doing things you’re already comfortable with, you’re not improving yourself.

10. Have a clear goal

To what purpose are you trying to improve at Starcraft? The only reasonable approach is to figure out your goal first, then make your means fit that goal…

Don’t waste your time by doing things aimlessly. Having a clear goal helps you make the right decisions. It helps you avoid spending time on unnecessary things .

11. Learn from those before you

If you want to be good at Starcraft you must study from those who have come before you. There’s no sense in trying to learn an accelerated 11 years worth of strategy on your own.

If you can learn from those before you, why should you learn things the hard way? Whatever you do, find as much information as possible from those who have done it. It will save you a lot of time.

12. Know why you do something

Thus there will come a point when you have a gap in your knowledge: you understand what is right, but not why it is right, and thus do not have the know how without a direct example of how to defeat inferior ideas…

Knowing what to do isn’t enough; you must also know why. Knowing why helps you adapt to unexpected situations because you understand the thinking process.

13. Dig forgotten wisdom of the past

Yet the best place to find unnoticed ideas and strategy is by studying older champions. There’s a lot of unknown territory out there to explore and realistically, almost nobody is going to look back in time to find ideas since they naturally assume everything has been learned and improved upon.

Many people look for good ideas in the present, but perhaps the best way to find good ideas is by digging the wisdom of the past.

14. Recognize good ideas when they show up

Did I have the ability to create that strategy? Absolutely not. But I recognized the value of the opening while others somehow did not.

Often you don’t need to find good ideas. You just need to spot them when they show up. Be observant and expect ideas in unlikely places.

15. Truly “get” something

Lastly, there is a significant difference between understanding an idea and truly getting it to the point where they can use that knowledge to react instantaneously to a new situation."

If something is important to you, don’t be satisfied with just knowing or understanding it. Immerse yourself in it until you truly “get” it, until you can use it to quickly react to new situations."


Take a deep breath.  And read that again.  Pick just one of the 15 tips and focus on making that tip a part of your day.  Tomorrow choose another tip.  In two weeks or so, you will be a better poker player. - JDW

Views: 974
Date Posted: Oct. 14, 12:37pm, 0 Comments

I spend much of my time reading, studying, thinking, wondering.  Often wondering if what I am reading and studying makes sense.  I look everywhere for answers, like turning over rocks to see what's underneath.  One rock - more like a leaf really - is something called Personal Development Course for Life by srinirao.  Here's a recent 'lesson."


Why You Should Stop Living in a World Based on Rules

As we all know the movie The Matrix has served as a profound metaphor for life throughout the personal development community. A while back I wrote about the 10 Signs that The Matrix Has You. Yesterday as I was going through a number of lifestyle design blogs and stories of bloggers/entrepreneurs who are up to really interesting things, I came to the realization that these people all had one thing common. None of them were living in a world that’s based on rules. Nina Yau wrotean epic post at the middle finger project which should read  [ I HAVE ATTACHED BELOW. - JDW] in addition to this because I think it complements what I’m saying. There’s a great scene in The Matrix where Neo asks Morpheus if he can dodge bullets and Morpehus replies “when the time is right you won’t have to.”  He explains to him that where other people have failed Neo would succeed because agents in the Matrix still live in a world based on rules and thus could never be as powerful as Neo could be.

A world  based on rules is inherently limited.  It’s limited by the structure that the rules impose on us.  From the time we’re old enough to understand what people are telling us we start getting a series of rules to follow. The other day my best friend was telling me about her 2.5 year old daughter’s confidence and charisma. Apparently at her day care she had one of the boys holding her water and feeding her grapes.  I couldn’t help but laugh, but as I write this I can’t help but think “maybe we could learn from her charisma.” Sure she might need some discipline but too many rules might not be such a good thing.

We get to kindergarten and there’s a set of rules on the chalkboard. As we get older we get even more complex sets of rules. In college you get a student handbook that is the size of a novel and you’d need a lawyer to interpret.  When you get to work there are entire departments designed to do one thing: make sure you follow the rules. Let’s look below at a few “rules” that we’re supposed to follow throughout the course of our lives.

  • Don’t talk to Strangers:
  • Go to school
  • Get good grades
  • Go to college
  • Choose a major that makes sense and will get you a job
  • Get a good job
  • Don’t challenge authority
  • Hang on for dear life to that job
  • Get married and have kids since all your friends are doing it. (Food for thought: Remember when your parents would say “if all your friends jumped off a bridge would you?” So now I should jump off a bridge because they are all jumping?)
  • Take less risks as you get older
  • etc, etc,

This structure and a world based on rules has limitation built into it. To make it worse more and more limitation keeps being built into it if you look at the pattern above. The more rules we create the more limitation we create. Too much structure and too many rules actually get in the way of a person’s ability to tap into their true potential. Too much structure seems to be at the root of many problems. Imagine if you had went to college and approached it the way Van Wilder did. If you haven’t seen Van Wilder, I highly recommend it because it is actually a very inspiring comedy.

Imagine if you got to spend a month surveying what was of interest to you and based on that you developed your course schedule. Imagine if you spent more time on social and extracurricular activities at college and got involved in everything that really interested you. Could we all be Van Wilder’s? I’m not saying we should be in college for a decade, but I think we could learn from his philosophy. I think that we would really find what we’re passionate about much earlier in life.

Have you ever noticed that when companies give their employees freedom to operate, remarkable things happen?  Last week I wrote about why the 8 hour work day doesn’t make sense and I’m guessing it will be my most popular post in a matter of time. There’s this small company you have may have heard of called Google that embraced the unlimited potential of its employees. Many of the Google products that are used by millions of people everyday were projects that employees worked on as part of the 20% time program at Google, which allows people to work on projects of personal interest for 20% of the time they are at work. It’s hard to argue with those results.  I’m in the fortunate position where I’ve been given a ton of freedom to operate and everything I do on my personal projects fuels my ability to do my day job. In fact I’m better at my day job because of my personal projects.

It’s time for a change. Throw your rule books away and start rewriting them with your own rules. Remove the limits that are built into the system and join the revolution that is occurring or get left behind.  Wake up from the Matrix, Unplug and shape it all the way you see fit.  - srinirao.



Now here comes the epic post from the middlefinger project by Nina Yau.


We’ve all heard that the unexamined life is not worth living, but consider too that the unlived life is not worth examining.” – Julia Cameron

Freedom does not come without a price … and pain.

Why would people not want freedom though? The freedom to choose to do what they love to do. The freedom to choose their careers and line of work. The freedom to make a difference in this world in however means they can, as unconventional as it may be. Unapologetic, pure and raw freedom.

The thing is, however, that when one really and truly wants freedom in their lives, there will almost always be a price to pay. Those who are willing to pay the price by standing firmly and boldly with the decision they’ve made in their lives are the ones who will ultimately realize this freedom. Those who deem the price too high will just have to settle.

Which will you choose?

I have experienced much pain, heartache, and sorrow due to my decision to live my life the way I need to live it in order to be happy. In order for me to realize my full potential. I am the only one holding myself back. No one else. And I need to be held accountable for my own happiness.

Before I go into the 3 obstacles one encounters on the path to freedom, let me give you some backdrop of how these 3 obstacles came to be.

I’ve quit a corporate day job once already, back in November 2008. And now, I’m quitting another corporate day job. Soon.

Can you possibly imagine the grief and confusion I’ve caused my family?

“But you’re so educated! All the years of schooling, what a waste to just quit just so you can “write” and “do art.” Those are just hobbies, not careers. Why can’t you just do that on the side and hold a respectable job at the same time?”

“Do you know the shame you’re putting on this family? What a disappointment.”

“I cannot believe you would do this again. What the hell is wrong with you?”

“Are you insane? Look at the economy out there! Your cousin can’t even get a job and here you are, quitting! Why do you have to do this?”

“You were not the daughter we thought you to be


And the list of berating continues.

Of course, I could have completely avoided this by locking my dreams up in a box, telling it to be very, very quiet and not make a sound, while I turn my back to it and walk away, never coming back to unlock it.

I could remain in a dead-end corporate day job, in an 8×10 cubicle breathing stuffy, stale air, deadening under a fluorescent light, and gazing out the windows to where I can breathe again.

I could remain in a position where I have to maneuver my meager vacation days just so I can take a break from something in which it pains me to remain in.

I could remain in a position where I am not much different than a pig in a caged pen ambling toward its trough for what little food it gets. This, I liken to The Trough Effect.

I could do all this and thus, ensure everyone is pleased and happy. Everyone … except me.

I’m Scared, But I’m Also a Believer

Truth be told, I’m scared to death. I’m scared of losing everyone that I’ve ever cared about because of a decision I’ve made that looks selfish and stupid to them. I’m scared that they are right, that this was all just a bad idea. I’m scared that I’m wrong, that I’m making the worst mistake of my life.

But I’m also a firm believer. I believe my life was meant to play out like this, that I was supposed to be thrown in the fire and figure out how to get through the burning flames alive. I believe I was meant to be extraordinary. I believe my life was meant to be more than just sitting in a cubicle for 8 hours a day, 50 weeks a year, 40 years of my life. I believe I was meant to do great things and to inspire and help others along the way. I believe I was meant to make a positive difference in this world, that I could somehow, someway, leave a legacy behind me when my life has come to an end. I believe.

One of the truths I’ve discovered while exiling myself from mediocrity so I can live an extraordinary life, is that one must truly want freedom in order to actually do anything about it.

If you just think “Oh, that would be nice … but I can’t. I’m too old/young/uneducated/educated/broke/rich to do that” then freedom’s path is not one for you. You must listen to yourself and what you are saying. You are the only one holding yourself back.

You may think it is your parents, your significant other, your relatives, your friends, your colleagues, and your peers that are holding you back from your dreams. But they are not.

You are your own person and so you must live your life the way you see fit. If that means upsetting a few folks along the way, it is the price you have to be willing to pay in order to realize true freedom.

The 3 Obstacles


Obstacle #1: Society

Society has led us to believe certain things about the way the world works and how we are to live our lives.

“Get good grades, and go to a good college.”

“Find a respectable job.”

“Get married and have kids.”

“Buy a house.”

“Now buy stuff to fill your big house with.”

“Work 40 years in a job so you can have enough in your 401(k) to retire comfortably. Then you can travel and have a good time.”

Is this all there is to life? Going by the books while each of us has cookie-cutter versions of one another’s lives? Whatever happened to living life radically, extraordinarily, passionately?

This doesn’t mean those who do lead such radical lives are all traveling nomads who live out of a backpack, have not a care in the world, and are in their 20s and 30s.

Those who do want to lead such lives can be at any age, any race, any religion, any country. Because when it comes down to it, it is your life and society be damned. They don’t know a single thing about what is innately good and best for you. Only you do.

Now go with your gut instinct, follow your heart, and never look back to the status quo. That’s where society wants you to be in. Resist.


Obstacle #2: Fear

Fears can be extremely debilitating. They can have us fail before we’ve even started anything.

Fears of the unknown, the ambiguous, the extreme. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of abandonment. These are all legitimate, and oftentimes, very real fears.

We must first acknowledge these fears. Ignoring them won’t do us any good but to prolong the agony and anxiety.

Then, and only then, can we start to take proactive measures to address these fears.

Say you wanted to quit your soul-deadening day job where you were absolutely miserable in. You wanted to follow your dreams of becoming a professional chef. You were always a foodie and loved cooking. At any given time, you were found in your kitchen, creating delicious concoctions, and if you weren’t there, you were at your day job, doing something you hated but because you had to in order to be a good little worker bee and please others.

But you had fears. You didn’t want everyone you loved to abandon you, to not support you. You didn’t want to fail horribly and come crawling back, now with your head hung low in shame while others jeer at you saying “Told you so! Idiot.” You felt you couldn’t handle these rejections. So you stayed where you were at. Unhappy but at least you didn’t ruffle any feathers.

These fears are real and must be battled fiercely. If you don’t, self-doubt and negativity will envelope you and slowly suffocate the creative self you were meant to be until nothing remains but the empty shell of your former self.


Obstacle #3: You

We give a thousand and one excuses as to why we can’t do something when that same energy could have been channeled towards finding ways we can.

Such excuses include:

“I’m too old to start my own marketing business. Don’t you see? I don’t have youth on my side.”

“I’m too broke to fund myself if I branch out on my own. I don’t have enough saved and I have too much debt to pay off still.”

“I’m too young and inexperienced. No one would want to hire me as their consultant when they’re twice my age.”

“I’m not tech-savvy and just can’t understand what all this “social media” is. How am I supposed to connect with my customers if I can barely use my Outlook?”

“I’m comfortable where I’m at. I may not be totally happy but at least I have my retirement taken care of, insurance, profit-sharing, and other nice benefits.”

You must realize the underlying true reason of why you feel you can’t do something. There’s a common thread to such excuses:  you.

You, and only you, need to decide what’s best for you and what makes you truly happy. Not your family, not your parents, not your peers, not anyone should tell you how you are to live your life. Their standard of happiness is not the same as yours.

If going to a 9-to-5 job every single day for 40 years of your life sounds like a really bad plan and way of living, then it probably is. Do something about it. Though you may upset many folks who think this is the proper way to make a living and take care of yourself and your family, realize that if you never even tried, you will never have known whether or not following your dreams was worth every risk, every rejection, every negative response. You could be living an extraordinary life rather than just dreaming about one.

The Realization of These 3 Obstacles

Realize that all 3 obstacles are inherently deep-rooted fears. They won’t just go away and they won’t be dealt with in just one day.

It is a continuous battle one must fight in order to realize true freedom and happiness. Is it worth the price you have to pay? You must decide whether or not it is indeed worth it.

And once you’ve decided, go. Go all the way, through and through. And never look back. Those who have done it before you – and have made it – are waiting on the other side for you.

From the middle finger project, post Fear, Exposed – Featuring Nina Yau


I'll be honest with you.  Many times in my life, going to a 9-to-5 job every single day didn't sound so bad. 

In fact, I might have thought that was the best option available.  Especially in an economic environment such as today's. 

But that's not my point.

My point is this...  Avoid negative self-talk.  Do not place artificial limits on yourself.  Face your fears.  Think you can.

Action today is the only course to success tomorrow.  Get started.

Trust yourself first.  Become your own hero.  - JDW

Views: 518
Date Posted: Oct. 8, 12:03pm, 0 Comments
So many others always seem to think they know what is best for us.  


Avoid Rheumatism

A centipede decided to ask the forest’s wise man - the monkey - what the best medication would be for the ache in his legs.

"That’s rheumatism,” said the monkey. “You have way too many legs. You should be like me; have only two; rheumatism rarely appears.”

"And what do I do to have only two legs?”

"Don’t bother me with details,” answered the monkey. “A wise man only gives the best advice; you solve your problem.”


Can I Help?

As soon as he opened the church, a priest saw a woman come in, sit in the front pew and place her head between her hands. Two hours later, he noticed that the woman was still there, in the same position.

Concerned, he decided to approach her.

"Can I do anything for you?” he asked.

"No, thanks,” she answered. “I was already getting all the help I needed when you interrupted me.”

Jesuit Anthony Mello says, "In a monastery the words ‘Don’t Speak’ are not written. It is written, however, ‘Speak only if you can improve silence.’”


I Know What is Right

A peasant was returning home when he saw a donkey in the field.

"I’m not just any donkey,” said the animal. “I saw the messiah being born. I’ve lived for two thousand years and I am alive to give this testimony.”

Alarmed, the peasant ran to the church and told it to the parish priest. “Impossible,” he said. The peasant took the priest by the hand and took him where the donkey was. The animal repeated everything it had said.

“I’ll say it again: animals don’t speak,” said the priest.

“But you heard it!” the peasant insisted.

“How foolish you are! You’d rather believe in an ass than in a priest!”


That Will Work for Us as Well

A tale by the Lebanese writer Mikail Naaimé can illustrate the danger of following other’s methods, as noble as they may seem.

"We need to free ourselves from the slavery in which mankind keeps us,” an ox said to its companions. “For years we hear human beings saying that the door to freedom is stained with the blood of the martyrs. We will find it and will get in there with the power of four horns.”

They walked for days and nights through the road until they saw a door stained with blood.

"Here is the door to freedom,” they said. “We know our brothers were sacrificed in there.”

One by one, the oxen began to enter. And only inside, when it was way too late, did they realized that it was the door to the slaughterhouse.


Deciding on the Destinies of Others

Malba Tahan tells the story of a man who met an angel in the desert and gave him water.

“I am the angel of death and I came to get you,” said the angel. “But as you were kind, I will lend you the Book of Destiny for five minutes; you may change what you want.”

The angel gave the man the book. As he was leafing through its pages, the man began reading about the lives of his neighbors. And he got discontented,

“These people don’t deserve such nice things,” he said. With the pen in hand, he began worsening the lives of each one.

Finally, he reached the page of his destiny. He saw his tragic end, but as he prepared to change it, the book disappeared. Five minutes had already passed.

And right there, the angel took the man’s soul.




From the teachings of Paulo Coelho

Views: 572
Date Posted: Oct. 2, 11:10am, 0 Comments
You might be surprised to learn I subscribe to Men's Journal.  Maybe it was the sub-head which got me attention: Live The Interesting Life.  I'm entirely up for that.  Always have been.
Anyway, there's an article - as told to Sean Cunningham - in this month's issue entitled The Art of the Corner: Inside The Mind Of Darrelle Revis.  The one page of copy is preceded by five pages of a fashion layout wherein the NFL star models much the same outfits I wore fifty years ago.  Tweed, vests, argyle, bow ties... very preppy.
Revis is considered the top shutdown defender in the NFL with all the physical tools for greatness but "the secret to his success has more to do with a fanatical devotion to understanding and outwitting his opponents."  I am thinking I can be as fanatical as the next guy.  Unless, of course, he is an actual fanatic.  Then I am not so sure.
Revis breaks down his craft into 10 elements.
Study hard.  Watch film for hours.  Study your opponents' body language.  Look for tells.
Quicken your step.  Flexibility is important.  Stay loose.  Get strong.
Gladhand the refs.  Treat the dealer with respect.  Be polite to all casino staff.
Trust your intuition.  Weigh your options as a student of the game.  Study your opponents and be confident with your reads.
Make a push.  Disrupt the other players' timing as much as possible.  Try to get the other guy out of his comfort zone.
Watch their eyes.  The eyes are the window to the soul, someone once said.  Which explains the propensity for sunglasses at the felt.
Play dirty.  We don't mean you should cheat.  We do mean bluff, donk bet, change the size of your bets, sneaky.
Ignore Peyton Manning.  Some of your opponents won't have a reliable tell.  Study them, but do not allow yourself to become confused.  You have to know what you want to do.
...and Chad Ochocinco.  Forget trash talkers.  They are just trying to get you off your game.  And you really, truly don't care what they have to say.
Forget mistakes.  "A favorite motto for DBs is 'Have a short memory.'  If you get beat, don't dwell.  Don't be yourself up.  It'll get you out of your game.  Move on."
Revis, who held out all of training camp, injured himself during the first game of the regular season. 
And he's been ineffective ever since. 
So, permit me to suggest some final words of advice: show up on time in shape to play your best.
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