Here are the 3 types of opportunities available to you now.

Opportunities are the seeds of success. Just as the acorn becomes an oak, opportunities can transform into happiness, wealth, fulfillment, or success. And like little pigs, musketeers, and Charlie’s Angels, they come in 3 types:

  1. The opportunities that find you.
  2. The opportunities that you find.
  3. The opportunities that you create.

The first kind falls in your lap. The second kind you catch. The third kind you make.

If you wait around for the first type, you may wait forever, like an airline customer service representative.

The second type you need to look for. And you better be ready to compete for it when you find it. Kind of like parade candy. Or the t-shirt shot out of a cannon at a sporting event that isn’t even your size.

The third type will have no competition. Because without you it doesn’t exist. Like your next business, book or baby. This includes connections, creations, innovations and organizations of all types. Basically anything with a tion in it. Because the suffix tion turns a verb into a noun. Just like opportunities empower you to make things with your actions.

Key Takeaway

Keep your eyes open to find opportunities. But more importantly, keep your mind open to create your own. Because those are the most valuable and available variety of all.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

How to use worry as a powerful force for good.

Yesterday I listened to the Ed Mylett Podcast interview with Matthew McConaughey. I recently finished McConaughey’s audiobook Greenlights, which I thought was more than alright, alright, alright. And I was interested in hearing more color.

The interview was good. The answers were good. But I found myself preempting M&M’s answers with my own. In other words, when Mylett asked a question, before letting M&M answer, I considered the question as if I was the one being asked.

There is great value in considering how an interview subject’s answers differ from your own. It offers an interesting contrast in perspective and philosophy. It’s kinda like hearing how different contestants on The Family Feud answer the same question. Only without the buzzer and big red Xs telling you that you are dumb.

Deep into the interview, Mylett asked M&M, ‘Do you worry?’

I thought this was a juicy question. So I paused the podcast to contemplate the question myself. And I found my own answer interesting. Because it was a 2 part answer.

The simple answer: Yes, I worry.

  1. But I don’t worry about things beyond my control. If I can’t do anything about the subject I let it go, like the girl from Frozen. I expect that I can deal with whatever happens when it happens. But I won’t spend time fretting over what that means until it means something.

2. I use worry as an active ingredient. I worry myself into action. And typically, I worry myself into pre-emptive action. As Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel said, only the paranoid survive. And like Beyonce, Richard Hatch, and the band that sang Eye Of The Tiger, I’m a survivor.

I often worry that my actions are not enough. I worry that something will go wrong if I don’t prepare. If I don’t do my homework. If I don’t invest my time and energy properly. Then I get to work.

I worry that I am running out of time. I realize that time is my most precious resource. (Well, that and my 10 pints of blood.) In order to accomplish and experience all that I want and avoid regrets, I have to make great use of my time.

I worry forward. I worry productively. I worry with an outcome in mind. And I use that worry to help create the desired outcome. But I don’t worry that I said the wrong thing. Or that people won’t like me. Or that I didn’t lock a door. Those things have all happened. And I survived.

Key Takeaway

Used correctly, worry is a great tool. It prevents regret and pushes you to achieve more, out of concern for the alternative. But if you can’t do anything about the situation, worrying in place is of no use. Focus on what you can do to prepare, and what you can do to respond. But don’t waste a moment of your life worrying about outcomes you can neither influence nor control.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

What happened when my seatmate read 4 pages of my book.

Last week I had a work trip to Columbus. People will often refer to the city as Columbus, Ohio. But because C-Bus is the 14th largest city in the U.S., I go first name only. Like LeBron. Or Covid.

On my flight back to Milwaukee I sat next to a real Yinzer from Pittsburgh named Nicole. (She was actually wearing a Yinzer t-shirt. That’s representing!)

Nicole Bakewell is an engineer and was traveling to Milwaukee for work, to meet with a client about some robotic warehouse improvements. That’s some cool stuff, Mrs. Roboto!

Nicole asked me what I did for work. I told her I led the advertising and ideas agency The Weaponry. Then she asked what I was doing in Columbus. Which was a fun question to be asked. Because I had a story.

I asked Nicole if she had heard of the new bar in Pittsburgh called Pins Mechanical. She replied, “I love that place!’

I continued, ‘Well, I am also an author, and wrote a book. (Which is required to be called an author.) And I was invited to be the keynote speaker at Pins Mechanical’s parent company’s annual meeting.’

She said that sounded cool. Then she asked what my book was about. But instead of telling her about it I pulled a copy of What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? out of my backpack and handed it to her to see for herself.

She read the front and back covers. She said she thought it sounded really interesting. So I flipped the book open to chapter 12 and invited her to read that 4-page chapter, titled, Never Give Up.

A few minutes later she finished the chapter, turned to me, and said, ‘Wow, I feel really inspired!’ Can I buy this on Amazon? I said yes. But I can share a payment link to buy the copy in your hands right now.

She said, let’s do that!

She bought the copy and has emailed me that she has been reading and enjoying the book. And Nicole and I are friends now. Which is the real win.

But I also enjoyed the opportunity to share my book with her. I loved that I was able to serve up a small taste test of the book. One chapter. 4 pages. Make or break. Thumbs up or thumbs down. Win or lose. And 4 pages in, Nicole told me she felt inspired. That was extremely rewarding. Thanks for the feedback, Nicole.

Key Takeaway

When creating a product or service, make sure you create something so great that it performs well when sampled. If so, you have a winner. And you will sell as much of your offering as you can get people to try. If not, go back to the lab again and keep working until your taste test wins every time.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

Here are the 3 inspiring words for my next tattoo.

I don’t have any tattoos. At least none that I know of. But I like to think about what I would get inked in my epidermis if I was into such things. This little exercise keeps me looking for significant words, images and icons with the potential to provide a powerful, positive and long-lasting impact on my life. Yet, because I only think about it, I save money on both the inking and the laser removal cost when I realize the tattoo artists I hired didn’t use spellcheck on their work.

If you asked me today what tattoo I would get, I have a quick answer. There are 3 words that I would have written under my eyelids so I could still see them when I am wearing a turtleneck or asleep.

The 3 Words:

Opportunities Never Cease

I love this phrase. It is the optimist’s motto. It is the pessimist’s hope. It is the entrepreneur’s crack. It is the start of every great story.

This phrase is a great reminder that you can change the trajectory of your life at any point. You can improve. You can reinvent. You can shed your skin. Heck, you can even shed your backyard. Or your aquarium.

There are always great new opportunities:

  • To create new things.
  • To develop new relationships and improve or repair old ones.
  • To learn, grow and transform.
  • To establish a great habit.
  • To create wealth and prosperity.
  • To improve your attitude and outlook.
  • Create your legacy.
  • To have a positive impact on others.
  • To make minds sparkle.
  • To take control of your health.
  • To apologize.
  • To randomly write the word fart just to make people laugh.
  • To salvage a bad day.
  • To take the first step.
  • To drop the weight you have carried. (Both literally and figuratively.)
  • To discover how much you are capable of.
  • To start your winning streak.
  • To do something new for the first time.
  • To discover a new favorite.
  • To forgive yourself.
  • To reprioritize.

Key Takeaway

Opportunities never cease. Discover the opportunities all around you. They are gateways to growth and happiness. And they are the blank pages for you to fill with the great stories and successes of your life.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

We all make mistakes. Here’s how to make the most of them.

I recently had a talk with someone who had made a mistake. They didn’t break any rules or laws. The mistake was more of a personal accountability issue. It was like a failure on a mental fortitude challenge. The kind of mistake that won’t get you in trouble with the law, but it could get you voted off an island.

After discussing the mistake I shared 2 simple lessons with this person. Because there are lessons in everything. Kind of like high fructose corn syrup.

The 2 lessons:

  1. Know how The Ideal You would handle this type of situation. The Ideal You provides a north star for navigating all decisions.
  2. Allow this experience to help your self-confidence, not hurt it. This is the key difference between a learning and a losing situation.

When you identify a mistake and can quickly learn and adjust from it, the mistake is a win. A positive. A way to quickly get better. You fail fast, learn, and improve. It’s a basic success formula for startups and sitcoms with teenage casts.

When you make a mistake don’t continue to beat yourself up over it. Because then you deal with both the mistake and the loss of self-confidence. Which is a lose-lose proposition.

Mistake identification and correction should always lead to both growth and an increase in confidence. After all, you have just learned how to avoid the same mistake in the future. You are better equipped. You have more experience. And more knowledge. All of which should make you feel more confident. Like Demi Lovato. Or like you used Sure deodorant.

Pay careful attention to your mental trajectory when you leave a mistake. If you are still pointing down, you are mistaking wrong. You have already made your error. You have learned your lesson. You already know what to do better next time. So point your attitude arrow up and to the right. It is time for growth and improvement. Time to rise and shine.

Key Takeaway

When you make a mistake learn from it. Let the learning add to your confidence. Emerge from a mistake better and more prepared for whatever comes your way next. Give yourself permission to be an amateur at everything. Then just keep getting better with every mistake you make.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

Why it is so important to understand your dark side.

You are a good person. I know this, even if we have never met. Most people are good. I am willing to bet you are reasonable, friendly, and tolerant. At least most of the time. And I am fairly confident that you are not currently in prison. Because the restricted internet access that comes with that type of residence would probably prevent you from reading this blog post.

But even good people have a dark side. A side of them they would prefer never showed up. A side that is not patient or kind. Not logical or understanding. Kinda like that side of Michael Jackson that showed up in the Thriller video. And at the Neverland Ranch.

It’s not good to deny that you have that dark side. It’s best to understand it. It’s especially good to know what triggers it. Or what conditions make it favorable for your dark side to appear. Just as the full moon triggers the werewolf and pain triggers the Incredible Hulk, you should know your triggers.

Generally speaking, I handle stress well. I handle a heavy workload well. I handle little sleep well. And I think I would even handle falling down a well well. But there is one condition I always need to be aware of.

Hunger makes me vulnerable to a bad mood. I definitely get hangry and I know it. My wife knows it. My family knows it. So I am careful to eat regularly. I make sure to have food around, ready to save me from becoming a Hangry Hangry Hippo.

Make sure you know what brings out your dark side. Acknowledge it. Accept it. And take steps to prevent it. And when you can’t prevent it, do what you can to minimize your interactions with others until conditions have changed.

Key Takeaway

We all have a dark side. The key is to understand it. Know what triggers it or makes you vulnerable to it. Know how to minimize it. And how to reduce your exposure to others when your dark side conditions arise.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

How to tap into the great value of a room full of strangers.

A couple of months ago I had a meeting with a board of directors. When I entered the room a dozen people were already there. After I greeted the host who invited me, she cheerfully turned to the room and asked, ‘Does everyone here know Adam?’ This is a question I hear often at my witness protection program meetings.

But I had studied who was going to be in the room. I always prepare for such meetings. From my prep work, I knew that I wouldn’t know anyone but my greeter.

And I loved that.

In that meeting, I was introduced to 12 new people in the town I live in. (Which is kinda like being the defendant in a jury trial.) I met leaders. People who were involved. Successful people. Board members. Good people to know. And suddenly 12 unknowns became known to me. My life improved as a result.

While some people dislike going places where they don’t know anyone, it is among my favorite things. Right behind being in a room where I know half the people. Like at my friend Molly’s recent birthday party.

Molly and I have a lot of friends in common. But she also knows a lot of people I don’t know. Because, as Digable Planet said, she’s cool like that. The great thing about a room half full of friends is that the familiars introduce you to the unfamiliars. By the end of the evening, I had met 14 new people. (Well they weren’t really new people. I could tell they have been people for a while. But they were new to me.)

It all adds up.

Meeting 14 new people at a party or 12 new people in a business meeting is a greater reward than it appears. Because when you meet someone new you are suddenly just a degree away from their friends, families, coworkers, and business associates. Which always leads to an interesting yet unpredictable way of improving your life.

If you conservatively assume that everyone knows 500 people, when you meet 10 new people, you are now a single degree of separation from 5,000 new people. This increases opportunities for new and better friendships, partnerships, introductions and recommendations. You never know when and how those associations may prove valuable. But experience has taught me that the value always appears.

Key Takeaway

Most great opportunities come from humans. The more humans you are connected to, the more opportunities you will enjoy. That’s why a room full of strangers is a room full of value. Take the initiative to make as many new friends as you can. They are among the most valuable assets you will ever collect.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

My exciting new opportunity with one of the country’s hottest new brands.

A few weeks ago I was watching an interesting video reel on Instagram. It was a clip from the Pat McAfee Show, featuring a conversation between host Pat McAfee and former NFL linebacker and Green Bay Packer great, A.J. Hawk. The former NFL stars were not discussing football. They were talking about a bar. And not one made of chocolate. Or soap.

The bar in question is called PINS. And to call it a bar is an understatement. It’s really a massive entertainment space. Yes, it features large and well-stocked bars. But it’s also loaded with fun activities, including duckpin bowling, and high-end pinball games. Hence the name PINS. (I don’t get to drop the word hence nearly enough.)

Pretty cool, huh?

Pins also offers bocce ball, ping pong, giant Jenga, life-sized beer pong, foosball, arcade games a slide, ring toss thingies, and fire pits. In other words, it’s more like a party than a bar. Or maybe it’s half bar, half party. Like a Barty.

McAfee was not just discussing the bar, he was raving about it. He described the atmosphere at the PINS in Indianapolis as electrifying! He said it was amazing! And he said it was huuuu. (I assume he was saying it was huge, but someone cut him off. But maybe he was saying it was Hugh. As in Hefner. Which would be an innovative new-school /old-school complement in one.)

A lot of ball action here. But check out that ceiling art!

Hawk replied that indeed, he knew all about PINS. In fact, his son had his birthday party at PINS in Dublin, Ohio. (Because PINS is entertainment for all ages until little kids’ bedtime.) Hawk also shared that the guy who created PINS was from Columbus Ohio, where Hawk lives.

The rest of the crew on the show chimed in with more praise and accolades for PINS, and McAfee concluded the segment by saying, ‘Thank you Columbus. And thank you to That Guy!’

I was excited to see the segment and hear these great testimonials about such a popular new brand. Not just because I love great new brands. And not just because I love Columbus, Ohio where I lived for 7 years. But because of my exciting new opportunity.

PINS has 9 locations across the Midwest and South, with 6 more locations planned. Including locations in Atlanta and Austin, slated to open this year.

Let’s Talk!

PINS CEO and Founder Troy ‘That Guy’ Allen and Director of Engagement Erin Frum, contacted me to ask if I would speak at their annual meeting. Well, more accurately, Erin invited me to speak. Troy just told me I was going to be speaking as if I had no decision in the matter. Which was just as well, because being involved with a hot company like Rise Brands is a no-brainer. (Or what I call a scarecrow decision)

Pins, whose full name is Pins Mechanical Co., is owned by a great brand creation company called Rise Brands. Their claim is ‘We create kick-ass brands.’ Indeed they do. To date, Rise Brands has created 4 great brands including Pins Mechanical Co., 16-Bit Arcade (an old-school arcade game bar), Weenie Wonder (think Chipotle for hot dogs, not Magic Mike), and No Soliciting, a members-only club. (Which is another good reason not to be dismembered.)

Me and That Guy, Troy Allen and some serious blinds.

The meeting and my keynote are next Monday in Columbus. I am thrilled to share some learnings and lessons from my book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? to help the team become even greater. Thanks for the invite Troy and Erin. And thanks to Pat and AJ for making this opportunity feel even cooler than it already did.

I’m ready for you Rise Brands! See you Monday!

Key Takeaway

Keep adding value. People love great people, places, and things that enhance and enrich their lives.

+If you are looking for a speaker for your next event you can reach me at adam@theweaponry. Although I probably don’t have any more speaking availability until July.

The best way for you to read more is to think smaller.

Reading is great for you. It is like exercise for your brain. At the beginning of the year, people often make a commitment to read more. The percentage of people who want to read more is even higher among people who are inclined to read a blog post about reading more. And while I am no mind reader, I’m guessing you are among them.

We are now in the first week of April. And a check of my book log (which resembles a book a lot more than a log) reveals that I have completed 11 new books in 2023. At this pace, I will complete 40 new books this year. (Which means I am at least moderately proficient in both reading and math.)

At the beginning of the year, I set out to read 24 books. My literary diet is made up of 12 physical books and 12 audiobooks in 12 months. Or one of each every month. And I have done a good job of keeping pace.

But Wait. There’s More!

I have discovered a fun new way to pack at least one extra book into each month. In addition to my full-sized book each month of between 200 and 350 pages I am also adding a great shorter book. These short books range between 80 and 150 pages. While I use the term ‘short book’, the books are usually of average height. So I should probably call them thin books. But I won’t.

I have found there are a lot of great shorter books. They are quick reads packed with a lot of wisdom. And because of their length, they offer more enjoyment than work. I think of them as my monthly dessert books. Yet without the calories. Or chocolate sauce.

If you want to start reading, or read more and faster, look into adding great short books to your bookshelf, or audio queue.

Here are a few short books in my collection:

Key Takeaway

Short books are enjoyable to read. They make you feel productive. Fill a shelf at home with them and you will find yourself revisiting them frequently.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my 290-page book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

The easiest way to help good things happen.

Last week I was at an independent bookstore on vacation in Seaside, Florida. I love a good independent bookstore and try to support them whenever I can. Lord knows they need all the help they can get. Because their competition is built like an Amazon.

I bought a copy of The Body by Bill Bryson. And I asked the woman at the front desk if they carried The Tiger by John Valliant. After clarifying that the book was not about Tiger Woods or Tony from Frosted Flakes, she looked it up for me. Then she let me know that it was sold out, but added that it definitely looked like a great book that they should restock quickly.

Then my wife Dawn added, ‘My husband is also an author of a great book that you should carry.’ The woman turned and smiled at me and asked, ‘Really? What is the name of your book?”

I said, ‘What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? It features 80 life lessons the universe is trying to share with you.’

The woman lit up and replied, ‘Oooh! I am going to look that up today. People on vacation love reading self-help books.’

She then asked me for my information so she could look into the book.

And just like that, I had another opportunity to expand the distribution, readership and impact of my book. It’s easier than you think. The hard part is simply initiating a conversation about the person, business, product, service, or cause you support.

People enjoy reading my book on vacation. But then again, you can enjoy anything while relaxing in warm weather surrounded by palm trees, while wearing something cute on your head.

Dawn dramatically improved the odds of the store carrying my book simply by suggesting it. During sporting events, there is a tracker of the probability that one team will win or lose the competition based on the current score and the time left to play. Imagine that same tracker offering the odds of the store carrying my book. Before Dawn mentioned my book the odds were zero. In the moments afterward, the probability increased dramatically. Whether that was 10%, 50%, or 99 Luft Balloons, I don’t know. But even a 10% chance is infinitely better than 0.

Key Takeaway

Promote the people, products, businesses and causes you believe in. Tell people about them. Share your good news and recommendations. Awareness is key. And a word-of-mouth recommendation is the most valued endorsement because it is a first-person testimonial tied to your reputation. A simple no means you move on to the next thing. No harm done. But a yes or tell-me-more changes the future. And changing the future prospects for the better is what we are all here to do.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

++ If you find yourself in Seaside, Florida stop into Sundog Books. The store is fun and smells like books and beach. And ask them if they carry What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? It’s a great book to read on vacation.