10 Ways You’re Making Your Life Harder Than It Has To Be (Borrowed From Tim Hoch)

By on Wednesday, June 28th, 2017.

1. You ascribe intent.

Another driver cut you off. Your friend never texted you back. Your co-worker went to lunch without you. Everyone can find a reason to be offended on a steady basis. So what caused you to be offended? You assigned bad intent to these otherwise innocuous actions. You took it as a personal affront, a slap in the face.

Happy people do not do this. They don’t take things personally. They don’t ascribe intent to the unintentional actions of others.

2. You’re the star of your own movie.

It is little wonder that you believe the world revolves around you. After all, you have been at the very center of every experience you have ever had.

You are the star of your own movie. You wrote the script. You know how you want it to unfold. You even know how you want it to end.

Unfortunately you forgot to give your script to anyone else. As a result, people are unaware of the role they are supposed to play. Then, when they screw up their lines, or fail to fall in love with you or don’t give you a promotion, your movie is ruined.

Lose your script. Let someone else star once in awhile. Welcome new characters. Embrace plot twists.

3. You fast forward to apocalypse.

I have a bad habit of fast forwarding everything to its worst possible outcome and being pleasantly surprised when the result is marginally better than utter disaster or jail time. My mind unnecessarily wrestles with events that aren’t even remotely likely. My sore throat is cancer. My lost driver’s license fell into the hands of an al-Qaeda operative who will wipe out my savings account.

Negativity only breeds more negativity. It is a happiness riptide. It will carry you away from shore and if you don’t swim away from it, will pull you under.

4. You have unrealistic and/or uncommunicated expectations.

Among their many shortcomings of your family and friends is the harsh reality that they cannot read your mind or anticipate your whims.

Did your boyfriend forget the six and a half month anniversary of your first movie date? Did your girlfriend refuse to call at an appointed hour? Did your friend fail to fawn over your tribal tattoo?

Unmet expectations will be at the root of most of your unhappiness in life. Minimize your expectations, maximize your joy.

5. You are waiting for a sign.

I have a friend who won’t make a decision without receiving a “sign.” I suppose she is waiting on a trumpeted announcement from God. She is constantly paralyzed by a divinity that is either heavily obscured or frustratingly tardy. I’m not disavowing that fate or a higher power plays a role in our lives. I’m just saying that it is better to help shape fate than be governed by it.

6. You don’t take risks.

Two words: Live boldly. Every single time you are offered a choice that involves greater risk, take it. You will lose on many of them but when you add them up at the end of your life you’ll be glad you did.

7. You constantly compare your life to others.

A few years ago I was invited to a nice party at a big warehouse downtown. I was enjoying the smooth jazz, box wine and crustless sandwiches. What more could a guy want? Later in the evening I noticed a steady parade of well-heeled people slide past and disappear into another room. I peeked and saw a large party with beautiful revelers dancing and carrying on like Bacchus. Suddenly my gig wasn’t as fun as it had been all because it didn’t appear to measure up to the party next door- a party I didn’t even know existed until just moments before.

I do this frequently. Those people are having more fun. Mary has a bigger boat. Craig gets all the lucky breaks. Ted has more money. John is better looking.

Stop it.

Always remember what Teddy Roosevelt said: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

8. You let other people steal from you.

If you had a million dollars in cash under your mattress, you would check it regularly and take precautions to insure it is safe. The one possession you have that is more important than money is time. But you don’t do anything to protect it. In fact you willingly give it to thieves. Selfish people, egotistical people, negative people, people who won’t shut up. Treat your time like Fort Knox. Guard it closely and give it only to those who deserve and respect it.

9. You can’t/won’t let go.

These are getting a little harder aren’t they? That’s because sometimes you have to work at happiness. Some hurdles are too difficult to clear by simply adjusting your point of view or adopting a positive mindset.

Do you need to forgive someone? Do you need to turn your back on a failed relationship? Do you need to come to terms with the death of a loved one?

Life is full of loss. But, in a sense, real happiness would not be possible without it.  It helps us appreciate and savor the things that really matter. It helps us grow. It can help us help others grow.

Closure is a word for people who have never really suffered. There’s no such thing. Just try to “manage” your loss. Put it in perspective. You will always have some regret and doubt about your loss. You may always second guess yourself. If only you had said this, or tried that.

You’re not alone. Find someone who understands and talk to that person. Reach out for support. If all else fails, try #10 below.

10. You don’t give back.

One way to deal with loss is to immerse yourself in doing good. Volunteer. Get involved in life.

It doesn’t even have to be a big, structured thing. Say a kind word. Encourage someone. Pay a visit to someone who is alone. Get away from your self-absorption.

When it comes down to it, there are two types of people in this world. There are givers and there are takers. Givers are happy. Takers are miserable. What are you?

10 Things You Should Never Say On Stage – Borrowed from Ari Herstand

By on Tuesday, June 20th, 2017.

1. We’re Having Technical Difficulties

Even if your guitar just caught fire. Well actually, that would be hilarious if you said it then. But when bands sheepishly admit it into the mic, it’s uncomfortable and kills the vibe. Technical difficulties are your fault. Even when they’re not. It’s your stage. It’s your show.

You should know your gear inside and out. If something is cutting out or screeching or feeding back, you should either know immediately what it is and be able to remedy it in 13 seconds or know how to quickly figure out what it is.

It’s your job, as the performer, to command the attention of everyone in the room from start to finish.

2. I Forgot The Lyrics

The worst is when singer/songwriters sing a line like “I forgot this next line la la la.” That is so annoying. Not funny. If you can’t memorize your lyrics then bring a lyrics sheet on stage as reference. Or make shit up on the spot.

The only thing worse than shitty lyrics is forgotten lyrics.

3. I Want To Thank My Girlfriend

It’s like having a one on one conversation with someone in the audience off the mic. Uncomfortable for everyone else in the house.

Leave her out of it. It makes you look whipped. If she did something truly awesome, then you can say something like “we’d like to thank our friend Sarah for getting this song into the hands of the music supervisor at Parenthood.”

If your girlfriend needs to be publicly thanked for her support then you have bigger issues you have to work out.

4. I’m Sorry

Don’t ever apologize on stage. It makes you look weak. I don’t care if you just dropped a baby. Don’t apologize.

Making excuses for your shittyness makes everyone in the house uncomfortable and feel bad for you. I hear it all the time: “I forgot the rest of the song. Sorry.” “I’m sorry if this song sucks, we just wrote it.” “I’m sorry there aren’t more people here.” “We haven’t rehearsed this much, it might suck.”

Own the stage. Own the room. Own your set. Or don’t show up.

5. Your City Sucks

Should be a no brainer, but I can’t tell you how many touring bands I’ve seen make fun of the city they are in – ON STAGE. It may be fun to joke about in the van, but your audience takes pride in their city. No matter if you think their city is cool or not.

Never say anything negative about the town you are in while on stage unless you want a beer bottle thrown at you.

6. This Song Is About My Grandma Who Died Of Cancer. Love You Nana.

Don’t depress your audience. You can play a song about your dead grandma, but you don’t need to tell the audience that’s what it’s about.

People don’t pay money to come to shows to be sad. They come to be happy. To have fun. To be enlightened. To be inspired.

If you can’t communicate the power of your song by just playing it, then maybe the song isn’t really that good.

7. I’m Broke

Don’t make your audience feel bad for you. It removes the mystique and coolness factor. You can say “help us get to the next city and pick up a T-shirt.” That offers an emotional appeal in a positive light.

But saying “we’re broke, so buy a t-shirt,” just turns your audience off.

Guilting your fans into buying your merch never works.

8. You Guys Suck

Even if 95 out of the 100 people are screaming above your acoustic set while smashing glasses and vomiting in the corner, 5 people are engulfed in your set. Never insult your audience. They always have one ear to you – even if you are just background music.

You may think no one is listening, but you’ll be surprised at how many compliments you get and how much merch you sell once you hop off stage.

9. Any Requests

You’re never going to get the songs that you actually have prepared and there will always be that one asshole who yells “Free Bird” as if he just came up with the joke.

Play your set as is. If someone drove 300 miles to hear one song, she’ll yell it out whether you ask for it or not.

10. How Does It Sound

This is a slap in the face to the sound guy. Never ask the crowd that. It should sound amazing. If it doesn’t, then it’s either your fault or the sound guy’s fault. Either way, you just pissed off the one person not in your band who can actually make you sound WORSE.

19 Things A True Gentleman Does Differently

By on Monday, May 29th, 2017.

Chivalry is not dead. The art of the gentleman is very much alive and kicking. There are still some true blue gentlemen out there who are keeping the noble tradition of genuine manliness alive. So what exactly constitutes a gentleman? Well, since the art of being a gentleman originated from ancient practices of knighthood, some of the principles of the old art form share similar values. Being a gentleman, much like being a knight, means a zeal for protecting those who are weak and defenseless. It means practicing utmost honesty and showing lots of compassion and empathy for others. In the modern times, the art of being a gentleman can be exhibited in the following ways:

1. Holding doors for women.
Men should always make the effort to hold the doors open for women. It isn’t because women are incapable of pushing doors open on their own, but rather a gesture of appreciation for a woman’s character and poise.

2. Practicing honesty.
Real gentlemen never tell lies. The finest gentlemen of the world are not in the game of deceiving people for personal gain. They never feel comfortable with manipulating people with lies and deception.

3. Protecting the defenseless.
A modern day gentleman has no problem with offering a helpful hand to those who are in need. Whether it be through charitable acts or friendly gestures, a true gentleman is always looking out for the little guy.

4. Offering his arm to a woman when walking.
A true gentleman will never leave a woman to walk alone. A real gentleman will offer his arm to a woman as a gesture of solidarity and togetherness. It also exhibits intimacy and affection for the woman.

5. Practicing punctuality.
A well-groomed gentleman is someone who is never late. Whether it concerns the meeting of important deadlines or the prompt arrival at gatherings and parties, a real gentleman understands that time is of utmost importance. Being late means that you don’t value your time nor the time of others.

6. Walking closer to the curb.
When walking on the sidewalk, a gentleman will always make sure that he is the one who walks closest to the curb. This is a defense mechanism so as to protect the women from the dangers and risks involved in walking along the vulnerable part of the sidewalk.

7. Accomplishing difficult tasks without passing it on to others.
A real gentleman doesn’t complain or moan about all the work he has to get done. He just gets it done. He also doesn’t like to pass his problems on to others because he understands that we all have our problems we have to deal with.

8. Waiting for other peoples’ orders before eating.
A real gentleman is patient, and he never digs into his meal even though other people at the table don’t have their food yet.

9. Keeping secrets.
The mark of a true gentleman is when he doesn’t betray the trust of others. Whenever secrets are entrusted to a gentleman, he acknowledges the importance of practicing full discretion and trust.

10. Keeping his promises.
A bona fide gentleman always considers his word to be bond. He knows that once he makes a promise, he must always fulfill it to the best of his abilities. Anything less, and his word is no longer trustworthy.

11. Exhibiting kindness and compassion to others.
These modern day gentlemen understand that kindness and compassion are scarcities in today’s era. That is why a true gentleman always acts as a shining light of hope in this dark world by always being kind and compassionate.

12. Offering his seat to women, disabled people, or the elderly.
Whether on the bus or at a waiting shed, a gentleman will never allow himself to be comfortable when he sees other people in discomfort – especially when these people are women, elderly, or disabled.

13. Offering a jacket when it’s cold.
Similar to the previous item, a gentleman shouldn’t be making himself comfortable when someone else is in discomfort. If his date is feeling particularly chilly on a cold night, he would willingly give up his coat for her sake.

14. Rejecting violence against women.
One of the most important aspects of being a real gentleman is understanding that women should never be the subject of physical harm at the hands of other people. Violence against women is always going to be wrong in the eyes of a gentleman.

15. Paying attention whenever spoken to.
A real gentleman doesn’t just tune people out when they get bored of listening to them. The modern gentlemen are great conversationalists who know how to engage people well during discussions.

16. Practicing basic table manners.
A gentleman knows how to act appropriately whenever in dining situations. Particularly during formal settings, a gentleman will know the basics of utensil etiquette and other essential table manners.

17. Respecting someone’s privacy.
Gentlemen never kiss and tell. They respect women and never feel comfortable divulging intimate and private information to third parties.

18. Picking up the check.
While not necessarily a big deal, a gentleman should always make an offer to pay for dinner. He doesn’t ALWAYS have to pick up the check, but the offer is absolutely necessary.

19. Helping a woman to her seat.
A real gentleman doesn’t just direct a woman to the direction of her char. He always makes an effort to escort her until she is in a comfortable sitting position.

What Happens When We Die?

By on Sunday, May 28th, 2017.

Humbling, Eloquent, Perfect

The Top 37 Things You’ll Regret When You Get Old…

By on Wednesday, March 29th, 2017.

1. Not traveling when you had the chance. Traveling becomes infinitely harder the older you get, especially if you have a family and need to pay the way for three-plus people instead of just yourself.
2. Not learning another language. You’ll kick yourself when you realize you took three years of language in high school and remember none of it.
3. Staying in a bad relationship. No one who ever gets out of a bad relationship looks back without wishing they made the move sooner.
4. Forgoing sunscreen. Wrinkles, moles, and skin cancer can largely be avoided if you protect yourself.
5. Missing the chance to see your favorite musicians. “Nah, dude, I’ll catch Nirvana next time they come through town.” Facepalm.
6. Being scared to do things. Looking back you’ll think, what was I so afraid of?
7. Failing to make physical fitness a priority. Too many of us spend the physical peak of our lives on the couch. When you hit 40, 50, 60, and beyond, you’ll dream of what you could have done.
8. Letting yourself be defined by gender roles. Few things are as sad as an old person saying, “Well, it just wasn’t done back then.”
9. Not quitting a terrible job. Look, you gotta pay the bills. But if you don’t make a plan to improve your situation, you might wake up one day having spent 40 years in hell.
10. Not trying harder in school. It’s not just that your grades play a role in determining where you end up in life. Eventually you’ll realize how neat it was to get to spend all day learning, and wish you’d paid more attention.
11. Not realizing how beautiful you were. Too many of us spend our youth unhappy with the way we look, but the reality is, that’s when we’re our most beautiful.
12. Being afraid to say, “I love you.” When you’re old, you won’t care if your love wasn’t returned — only that you made it known how you felt.
13. Not listening to your parents’ advice. You don’t want to hear it when you’re young, but the infuriating truth is that most of what your parents say about life is true.
14. Spending your youth self-absorbed. You’ll be embarrassed about it, frankly.
15. Caring too much about what other people think. In 20 years you won’t give a darn about any of those people you once worried so much about.
16. Supporting others’ dreams over your own. Supporting others is a beautiful thing, but not when it means you never get to shine.
17. Not moving on fast enough. Old people look back at the long periods spent picking themselves off the ground as nothing but wasted time.
18. Holding grudges, especially with those you love. What’s the point of re-living the anger over and over?
19. Not standing up for yourself. Old people don’t take sh*t from anyone. Neither should you.
20. Not volunteering enough. OK, so you probably won’t regret not volunteering Hunger Games style, but nearing the end of one’s life without having helped to make the world a better place is a great source of sadness for many.
21. Neglecting your teeth. Neglecting your teeth. Brush. Floss. Get regular checkups. It will all seem so maddeningly easy when you have dentures.
22. Missing the chance to ask your grandparents questions before they die. Most of us realize too late what awesome resource grandparents are. They can explain everything you’ll ever wonder about where you came from, but only if you ask them in time.
23. Working too much. No one looks back from their deathbed and wishes they spent more time at the office, but they do wish they spent more time with family, friends, and hobbies.
24. Not learning how to cook one awesome meal. Knowing one drool-worthy meal will make all those dinner parties and celebrations that much more special.
25. Not stopping enough to appreciate the moment. Young people are constantly on the go, but stopping to take it all in now and again is a good thing.
26. Failing to finish what you start. Failing to finish what you start. “I had big dreams of becoming a nurse. I even signed up for the classes, but then…”
27. Never mastering one awesome party trick. You will go to hundreds, if not thousands, of parties in your life. Wouldn’t it be cool to be the life of them all?
28. Letting yourself be defined by cultural expectations. Letting yourself be defined by cultural expectations. Don’t let them tell you, “We don’t do that.”
29. Refusing to let friendships run their course. People grow apart. Clinging to what was, instead of acknowledging that things have changed, can be a source of ongoing agitation and sadness.
30. Not playing with your kids enough. When you’re old, you’ll realize your kid went from wanting to play with you to wanting you out of their room in the blink of an eye.
31. Never taking a big risk (especially in love). Knowing that you took a leap of faith at least once — even if you fell flat on your face — will be a great comfort when you’re old.
32. Not taking the time to develop contacts and network. Networking may seem like a bunch of crap when you’re young, but later on it becomes clear that it’s how so many jobs are won.
33. Worrying too much. As Tom Petty sang, “Most things I worry about never happen anyway.”
34. Getting caught up in needless drama. Who needs it?
35. Not spending enough time with loved ones. Not spending enough time with loved ones. Our time with our loved ones is finite. Make it count.
36. Never performing in front of others. This isn’t a regret for everyone, but many elderly people wish they knew — just once — what it was like to stand in front of a crowd and show off their talents.
37. Not being grateful sooner. It can be hard to see in the beginning, but eventually it becomes clear that every moment on this earth — from the mundane to the amazing — is a gift that we’re all so incredibly lucky to share.