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Who’s Raising You?

None of us were taught everything we needed to know. We inherit not only the insights, but also the oversights of our earliest teachers.

Unless we wish to be confined to the limitations of our upbringing, some degree of self-socialization is necessary.

Literacy opens the way.

Through reading we acquire  the power to raise our level of intelligence beyond the predetermined settings of what we were raised to think and believe.

We can’t pick our parents, but we can pick our books. And I believe this is enough. For when we study, we become the mothers of our own mind and the fathers of our own fate.

Even If You’re Not Feeling Bubbly


One needn’t be cheerful in order to adopt a mature and self-determined stance in the face of creative challenges.

Succeeding isn’t always accompanied by smiling. And there’s much more to the creation of a flourishing life than the fleeting, fluctuating experience of having fun.

Sometimes we feel enthusiastic. Sometimes we don’t.

Thích Nhất Hạnh wrote, “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky.”

Unfortunately, we can’t always choose our feelings. Fortunately, freedom isn’t a feeling.

The power to develop and demonstrate mastery over our lives can be exercised in any mood.

Autonomy is a choice, not an emotion.

Even when we’re not feeling bubbly, we still get to define who are; we still get to decide who we’ll become.


Some party invitations suggest “BYOB” for “Bring Your Own Beer.”

I’d like to see one that says “BYOJ” for “Bring Your Own Joy.”

If we all did that, regardless of the event, life itself would become a party.

Sometimes the best way to have a good time is to make up your mind ahead of time that you’re going to have a good time.

“Will happiness be there?”

Perhaps not.

Maybe you should bring it with you just in case.


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?

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