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For those who didn’t get invited to the party

If you want to be considered, you have to present yourself for consideration.

Everything you get in life is a return on investment.

This is true not only for the artist who wishes to be known for his work or for the entrepreneur who needs to attract more customers, but it’s also true at the everyday level of being invited to weddings, receiving phone calls from friends, and not being the one who is forgotten or overlooked when acquaintances get together for casual hangouts.

The harsh, but liberating, fact of social life is that you cannot entirely depend on getting picked or being taken care of by the people whose affection you desire.

It’s harsh because we all know, or will eventually find out, what it feels like to be overlooked or left off the list.

It’s liberating because once we accept the fallible, and sometimes fickle nature of our social networks, we can put an end to the suffering that comes from passively waiting on other people to anticipate and satisfy our needs.

One of the most self-defeating assumptions to which we can adhere is the notion that attention only matters if it isn’t requested.

If you have a well-established track record of getting everything you want just by looking pretty, enjoy the good life (while it lasts).

But for the rest of us who know what it’s like to suffer in silence, I offer this simple reminder:

Speak up. Find creative and tactful ways for requesting the things you need. If this seems difficult for you, take some time to develop new skills. Challenge yourself by studying and practicing the art of clear confident communication. Never assume that you’ve read all the books, tried all the methods, and heard all the different perspectives. Learn, learn, and apply what you learn. Accept no excuses from yourself and refuse to throw pity parties.  

The world can be a very welcoming and accommodating place, but you have to be willing to engage it with a proactive and persistent mindset.

Get out into society and start making a case for the things you want, feel, and believe.

Make your presence felt. Make your voice heard. Make your perspective known.

Make your life the product of deliberate intent.


T.K. Coleman

Professional Optimism

“I get it, it’s nice up here. You could just shut down all the systems, turn down all the lights, just close your eyes and tune out everyone. There’s nobody up here that can hurt you. It’s safe. What’s the point of going on? What’s the point of living? Your kid died, it doesn’t get any rougher than that. It’s still a matter of what you do now. If you decide to go then you just gotta get on with it. Sit back, enjoy the ride, you gotta plant both your feet on the ground and start living life. Hey, Ryan, it’s time to go home.” -Matt Kowalski, Gravity

Some days seem to be better than others.

The recognition that those days count as much as any other is the essence of professionalism.

A professional is someone who knows that he doesn’t have to feel good in order to do good.

In this interview with Behind the Brand, Mike Rowe advises, “don’t follow your passion, but always bring it along.”

A professional knows that inspiration won’t always take the lead. No success story ever begins or ends with “I never felt uninspired.” Turning pro is about recognizing that moods, like seasons, move in cycles, and that the temporary absence of enthusiasm doesn’t have to mean the absence of effort.

In The Hunger Angel, Herta Müller wrote: “To combat death you don’t need much of a life, just one that isn’t yet finished.”

Meaningful work, including the inner work of personal development, can always be done. The decision to plant one’s feet on the ground and put one foot in front of the other is neither cheapened nor trivialized by a lack of emotional fanfare.

Freedom is not something we can fully experience merely by passively inhaling the universe’s air. Freedom must be chosen.  It must be embodied and expressed as the “the will to live.”

For the professional optimist, “I will” precedes “I feel.”

Create or die

“You’re not gonna get picked. Dick Clarke has passed away. He’s not going to call and put you on American Bandstand. It’s over. And it’s being replaced by the awesome scary responsibility of picking yourself.” -Seth Godin

The age of the non-entrepreneur and the non-artist is dead.

Our generation can no longer afford the luxury of such casual, vague, and oversimplified distinctions.

The world is becoming an increasingly smaller space for those who allow themselves to be defined as uncreative or “not-in-charge.” 

It is now a create or die world.

In truth, it has always been a create or die world. But the faster moving pace of today’s society is exposing more quickly than ever before the illusion of security as a passively experienced phenomenon.

We get what we create and nothing else. The power to shape the world is in our hands.

It’s always been this way, but fortunately, it’s becoming increasingly harder to lie to ourselves about that fact.

This is wonderful news. And I’m thankful for it. 

What are YOU thankful for?

And so he learned to read

“And so he learned to read. From then on his progress was rapid.”
―Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes

Reading is an act of self-determination.

To pick up a book is to take one’s destiny into one’s own hands.

When we read, we shift our lives from a reaction/response orientation into a context of creative autonomy.

Through reading we leave behind that world where we experience our choices as the effects of prior causes and we relocate to an environment in which we perceive events to be the effects of our choices.

The man who is free to read is free to write his own story. 

Don’t be fooled by pity


“Pity is the most agreeable feeling among those who have little pride and no prospects of great conquests.” -Friedrich Nietzsche 

If you choose to identify yourself as a victim, people will feel sorry for you (if you’re lucky), but they wont feel sorry enough.

No matter how much sympathy others may display for your sorrows, they will always return, in the end, to a place of focusing on their own problems and their own dreams.

Self-pity is like fool’s gold. it attracts a lot of attention, but ultimately, you can’t cash it in.

It reminds me of the toy money my parents would let me play with when I was a kid. It felt good to wallow around in it for awhile, but it had no real purchasing power. The moment I tried to do something practical with it, I immediately discovered how useless it was.

if you have plans to sit around feeling sorry for yourself, don’t expect a big payoff.

No one has ever created a life of beauty or bliss through brooding and sulking.

Pity has no power. Only self-determination has power.

Don’t be pitiful. Be powerful.




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