How to tap into the amazing superpower you were born with.

When I was a kid I loved watching Saturday morning cartoons. Especially cartoons about superheroes. One of the defining characteristics of a superhero is their signature superpower. Like super strength, super stretchiness, super spideriness or super soup-making abilities.

But all humans have an innate superpower that enables them to transform into an amazingly powerful human. That superpower is your ability to evolve.

This is not the type of evolution that a species experiences over a series of generations. Like when humans lost their tails. Or the way texting is going to evolve us into a species with super pointy thumbs.

This type of super evolution is available to every human during their own lifetime. Which means that you have the ability to dramatically transform yourself. No phone booth or super suit required.

You can transform yourself physically, through exercise and significantly increase your strength, endurance, flexibility and pain tolerance.

You can transform your thinking through self-education, reading, classes, accumulated experience and knowledge.

You can transform yourself mentally, by developing your resilience, grit, and determination.

You can transform your income by learning how to provide ever-increasing value to others.

You can evolve into a more compassionate human by recognizing the evolutionary journey others are on.

You can develop tremendous courage, kindness, and creativity. As well as other positive attributes that don’t start with a C or K.

As a human, you can develop great strengths in any area of your life. Your potential is unlimited. So think like a superhero. Because you have the ability to evolve into the most amazing human you can imagine.

Key Takeaway

Your ability to evolve is your great superpower. Push yourself to grow and improve every day. Recognize that strain, pain and adversity trigger your growth. Embrace challenges that force you to adapt. They are gifts that continuously generate a better, stronger, smarter version of yourself.

*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 new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

Spend quality time with people who know things you don’t.

From the moment you were born you were programmed to grow stronger and smarter every day. Which is why you don’t come out of the womb with a driver’s license and a scalpel.

One of the most important ways you become a stronger, more capable machine is by simply interacting with other people. In fact, you learn more from other humans than from any other source. Even if you have a killer set of encyclopedias.

When you engage with humans they add:

  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Insights
  • Perspective
  • Confidence
  • Connections
  • Resources
  • Joy
  • Entertainment
  • Ideas
  • Tools
  • Support
  • Kindness
  • Happiness
  • Inspiration
  • Motivation
  • Charcuterie (Definitely spend more time with anyone who offers a solid spread.)

Key Takeaway

Seek out human interaction. When you spend time with people who are ahead of you on your development journey they naturally pull you forward. Make sure to share with others too. You have gifts and knowledge that offer great value to those around you. And everyone improves in the process.

*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 new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

What great lessons would you learn if you met the ideal you?

Life is a choose-your-own-adventure game. Every moment of every day, you get to decide what you do next. You choose action vs non-action. You choose the type of action. You choose where you are. And who you are with. You even choose which way to put the toilet paper roll on the holder. Which determines whether or not you are a heathen.

Imagine that with every choice, you are splitting into multiple versions of yourself. There is a version of you that said yes and no, who did and did not with every choice you ever had the opportunity to make.

Every one of the possible choices led to a different possible you.

Now imagine that once you reach the afterlife, you are all there. All of the iterations of you spawned by different decisions converge at You-a-palooza. Even Death Row you would be there, fresh from the electric chair. You would recognize them by their hair. And the spark in their eyes.

Super You

You would meet the version of you that accomplished the most and made the most good decisions. You would meet the you who took the most actions, who put themself in the right place at the right time, and spent time with the best people.

Think about how that person compares to the you that you are today.

Would you be very alike, or very different?

What could you learn from them?

This is a semi-creepy photo that semi-represents the Multi-You Concept.

Now, consider what you can do to get closer to that version of yourself, starting today.

Would you:

  • Take new actions?
  • Make different decisions?
  • Update your goals and decision-making criteria?
  • Move?
  • Change jobs or careers?
  • Start that personal project?
  • Volunteer and give?
  • Create a business?
  • Take a leap?
  • Not be afraid?
  • Exercise?
  • Hang out with different people?
  • Stop a bad habit?
  • Pick up new hobbies?
  • Study?
  • Read?
  • Ask questions?
  • Put the donut down?

Key Takeaway

There is a best version of you. You have the opportunity to get closer to that person every day. Consider what they are like, who they are and what they do that makes them so great. Compare yourself to Super You. Let them guide you. And close the gap between the two of you every day.

*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 new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

The important life lesson we can all learn from rivers.

Last week I crossed over 2 rivers I have crossed a thousand times before.

But this time the rivers were different.

Completely different. (Like Stand By Me River and Sidewalk in Front of The Viper Room River.)

I was farther north than I had ever seen the rivers before.

If it weren’t for the signs on the bridges that told me what rivers I was crossing I would have never recognized them.

They were much smaller bodies of water than they are farther downstream.

They were more like creeks.

And if you only knew the creekish version of the rivers you would be shocked to learn what they transformed into 50, 100, or 200 miles south.

I took the fact that this happened with two different rivers as a universal reminder that this is what happens with all rivers. (Even Joan and Philip.)

It was also a reminder that those rivers are like you and me.

We all start small.

But we are designed to grow, strengthen, accumulate and expand as we go.

We get smarter and more capable. We grow in our knowledge and experience. We expand our skills and capabilities.

As a result, our influence, access, and impact grows.

Our potential, momentum, and power increase.

It’s a wonder to witness in someone else.

It’s an amazing feeling inside yourself.

But you have to reflect to recognize it.

Just like visiting the river upstream.

Key Takeaway

Keep going. Keep flowing. Keep growing. Just like the river does. You’ll become more impressive, more impactful and more useful to others as you travel your journey.

*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 new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

Why I love my gaps and you should too.

I’m willing to bet that you are not as great as you want to be. If you are, you can stop reading here.

(I see you are still reading. Which means that either I was right, or the brakes on your eyeballs don’t work.)

You may not be as fit, rich, successful, kind, patient or brave as you wish you were.

In fact, you probably fall short of your ideal on a lengthy list of skills, states, and attributes.

That’s a gift.

The gap between where you are now and your ideal provides the motivation to act. It provides the motivation to improve. It creates the silent force that propels you. It fuels your hunger, drive, and growth.

And ultimately, your gap helps close your gap.*

*If The Gap at your local mall has recently closed it’s not your fault. Unless you were the manager.

How to know where you are on your improvement journey.

Anytime you try something new you will be bad at it. Or at least relatively bad at it. And I don’t mean like Michael Jackson or George Thorogood.

But when you are trying to develop your skills and abilities there is a useful way to think about your improvement journey.

Simply focus on increasing the percentage of times you get it right.

At first, you may get a specific technique or execution right 1 in 1000 or 1 in 100 tries.

This means that you’ve moved your percentage from 0% to 0.1%, or from 0% to 1%.

That’s amazing progress.

In fact, it is the most important progress of all.

Then just keep going.

At 2% you are 100% better than you were at 1%. Or at least that was true according to old math.

Now, focus your efforts to increase your success rate from 1 in 100 to 1 in 10. 

Then advance to 5 in 10.

Next push yourself to 9 out of 10. Like the dentists who recommend Crest toothpaste.

Then keep pushing yourself until you can nail 99 out of 100 attempts.

Key Takeaway

Self-improvement is a percentage game. You’ll likely never get every task right 100% of the time. But get as close as you can. Pay attention to your performance percentages. It is the easiest way to track your progress. Keep pushing yourself. The challenge is fun, rewarding, and most importantly, quantifiable.

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

+For more tips and techniques for your self-improvement journey check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

Make the most of your magic ingredient.

Yeast is like magic. It is the secret, almost invisible ingredient that makes bread rise. It creates action and life. It creates transformation. And alcohol. And stank.

But yeast only works if the conditions are favorable. If the environment is too cold it won’t activate. If the temperature is too hot it kills the yeast that makes the magic. #TooHotInTheHotTub

The human spirit is like yeast. It is your magic ingredient. It is the will to win. The drive to succeed. The hunger for more.

The human spirit fuels your resilience and determination. It is the force that will transform you into something even more remarkable tomorrow. Something far more remarkable than bread. Or beer.

But just as yeast needs the proper conditions to activate, so does the human spirit.

Remember

If you are a business owner, leader, parent, teacher, coach, or the person who runs Fight Club, you are responsible for creating the environment.

Your most important job is to make sure the environment doesn’t kill the magic ingredient.

Great people won’t stay in a toxic work environment.

Great athletes won’t stay to play on a negative team.

A lion tamer won’t stick his head in the mouth of a stressed-out lion. (At least not more than once.)

And most importantly, a poor home environment will prevent children from growing into the amazing adults they were born to be. We can’t let this happen.

Key Takeaway

Create an environment that lets the human spirit work its magic. Or seek out a supportive environment for yourself. And magic will surely follow.

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

For more, check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

The reason you make mistakes is because you are human.

Easter is not about eggs.

It’s not about baskets and bunnies.

It’s not about bonnets and brunch. (Despite the Pavlovian response I just had to the word brunch. #drooling)

Easter is about forgiveness.

Easter is a reminder that we all make mistakes. That we all fall short of the ideal. That we often offend or disappoint others through our actions or inactions.

We are imperfect humans. Despite our best efforts and intentions, we don’t always do the right thing. (Sorry Spike Lee.)

The human mind is the most complicated of all machines. Our outputs are not always logical. Just ask Will Smith.

Remember that you are on your own learning journey. And so am I.

Canceling a human for making a mistake is a mistake.

You’re only human. You’re supposed to make mistakes.

-Billy Joel

It is far better to celebrate growth and improvement through the infinite Earthly game of trial and error.

Forgive others. Forgive yourself.

Key Takeaway

You have been forgiven by a higher power. That is the great news of Easter.

Pass it on.


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

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

Do you process your feedback for growth or defense?

When you receive feedback from the world you process it with one of two devices in your noggin.

  1. Your Growth Processer
  2. Your Defense Processor.

The Growth Processer says: I have the ability to get better with this feedback. I can learn and improve and enhance my abilities and capacity. It acknowledges that you have room for improvement, and you have discovered an opportunity to press your advantage further. Think of this as the Billy Joel Processor. Because it starts evaluating feedback by saying, You may be right. I may be crazy.

The Defense Processor says: I should not change. I am already where I should be. The world doesn’t know what I know. There are important reasons for doing what I am doing and I need to defend against change or modification. I need to build a wall to protect my processes, decisions and style. Because they are not only as good as they ever need to be, they are better than anyone else. Therefore, I need to defend against decay. Think of this as the Donald Trump Processor. Because like Franks Redhot, he uses his defense processor on everything. Which offers a sense of confidence and superiority. But it prevents all possibility of growth and improvement. (Because just imagine how many times his hairdresser offered up a less imaginative hairdo.)

Real-World Example (But not from the MTV Show.)

If you are part of a race team you have to always be looking for ways to get faster. Speed is growth in racing. Everything that ultimately leads to speed should be sought out, embraced, and accepted. It’s simple. It’s scientific. It’s how you get better faster.

Key Takeaway

Always look for opportunities to improve. Find the valuable gems in your feedback. Consider everything. Think like a race team. Seek out and soak up everything that presses your advantage forward. It will help you get a little bit better every day.

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

+For more ideas on personal growth and self-improvement check out my book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

10 things I have learned from writing 700 blog posts.

Back in the fall of 2015, I knew I was going to launch my own business. It was such an exciting adventure that I decided to document it by starting a blog. But like so many big ideas (and Band-Aids on freshly washed hands), I didn’t know if this blogging thing would stick.

Well, it stuck.

Today I am proud to say I have published 700 blog posts. I don’t know many people in the 700 Club, besides Pat Robertson and Jim Bakker. The whole point of the blog was to share what I have learned. But through the process of writing this blog, I have learned a lot too.

My Learnings From Writing 700 Blog Posts.

I do this a lot.
  1. To do something big simply start with something small. The 700th post is not really that important. The most important one was the first post. Just like an estate begins with a single dollar put away, you need that first post, or first step, most of all. If you have a goal (of course you have a frick’n goal!) take the first step!

2. I found my writing voice. I started my career in advertising as a copywriter. So I wrote a lot. But I wrote in the voice of the brands I worked on. Writing this blog has allowed me to dial into my own writing voice. Most people who know me would say my writing voice is exactly like my speaking voice. (I am one of those people.) I simply write this blog the way I think and the way I talk. That’s my style. Once you find your style, writing becomes easier. It just flows out of you. Like pee.

2.5 You can write anything you want in your own blog. (See the last 2 words of the last paragraph.)

I started the blog when I started my business. Both have grown into healthy adults.

3. Develop your good habits. I never think about whether I am going to write in the morning. It’s totally automatic. Like that Pointer Sisters song. Writing is a strong habit for me. Sunday through Thursday morning I am in my office writing by 6:10 am. I write until 7 or 8 am. On Friday and Saturday mornings, I write, read or exercise. Studies show that it takes an average of 66 times to create a habit. Then you don’t think about it anymore. You just do. Today I just do. Like Whitney Houston in So Emotional.

4. A blog lets you take control. The world is full of gatekeepers who are trying to keep you out. They are trying to not let you in up in da club you’d like to be in. I prefer to make my own club. I love musicians who put their music on YouTube. Artists who put their work on Etsy. And Dancers who show off on TikTok. Blogs let writers show off what they can do without anyone else getting a veto vote. The most beautiful thing about technology today is that it empowers you to create and share. So, create and share any way you can.

5. You can be read around the world. I publish my blog on WordPress. This platform is read all over the planet. Today, my writings have been read in over 120 different countries. That’s pretty crazy. This past Valentine’s Day I wasn’t scheduled to publish anything. I was just going to enjoy being in love. But I had an idea on my drive to work. So as soon as I got to work I sat down and hammered out that additional idea and posted it right away. Within 2 hours that idea I had on my commute had been read in 30 countries. That’s wild. That’s WordPress. (That should be their new tagline.) (No it shouldn’t.)

A circle of my people.

6. It’s not about who you know. Before starting my blog and launching The Weaponry, my advertising and idea agency, I read The Little Black Book of Connections by Jeffery Gitomer. In his book, he writes, ‘It’s not who you know. It’s who knows you.’ I took that to heart. By writing this blog I have been able to reach and connect with far more people than I could have met on my own. This has brought opportunities my way that I never would have had without the blog. That compounds over time. Like Compound W.

7. I think differently now. I have always been a creative thinker. I have always had a lot of ideas. But by writing a blog and needing to have new ideas to share 3 days a week you begin finding ideas everywhere. When I was a kid Tootsie Roll had a commercial with a jingle that said, “Everything I think I see become a Tootsie Roll to me.’ And the kid in the commercial saw Tootsie Roll-shaped things everywhere. Now, I am like that kid. Except, instead of seeing Tootsie Rolls I see business lessons, creative lessons, marketing lessons, and the ever-popular life lessons, everywhere. My finder is finely tuned to detecting lessons because of the blog. That has been one of the greatest gifts of writing this thang.

8. The Blog Was a Gateway Drug. I didn’t know it in the beginning, but the blog was just the start of something bigger. Eventually, all that writing built into more. I have now published a book, and have more books in the works. I don’t know how far this will go. I guess we’ll find out together.

The first time I held my own book. I didn’t know yet not to cover up my name.

9. Getting Paid To Write. All the blogging I do is free to read. I have never made any money directly from any of my blog posts. But people who read the blog encouraged me to write a book. So I did. And while writing a 50,000-word book is more challenging than writing a 500-word blog post, it is a natural extension of what I have been doing for 6 years. Three months ago I published my first book titled What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? with Ripples Media. Now I get paid a royalty every time someone buys a book. Which is exciting. Because it demonstrates that I am providing others with value through my writing. Which is rewarding in multiple ways.

Me at a recent book talk at the Milwaukee Athletic Club.

10. Getting Paid to Speak Throughout my career I have spoken to many different groups. But since writing my book the opportunities have mushroomed. Despite having written 700 blog posts, it was the next step of writing a book that has made people seek me out for speaking engagements. Today I have paid speaking engagements lined up into August and September. By paid engagements, I mean that I am either being paid directly to speak, or the organization I am speaking to is buying books for attendees, or some combination of the two. The key learning here is that I wouldn’t have these opportunities through blogging alone. But I wouldn’t have written the book if it weren’t for the blog. Which means that first, you have to get started. Then you have to keep pushing yourself to the next level for greater rewards.

Key Takeaway

A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. And to get to 700 blog posts you have to first write one. But if you create a good habit it will compound over time, leading to bigger and better results and open doors to new opportunities. I don’t know where all of this will lead. But I am certainly glad I started 6 years ago. I encourage you to start that thing you have always wanted to do by taking that critical first step. If you have already created a good habit and developed some positive, value-creating work, ask yourself what’s next? Keep challenging yourself to take that next step. And make it worth writing about.

> For more of my lessons on blogging check out these past posts:

What I have learned about blogging after 200 posts.

12 things I’ve learned from writing 300 blog posts.

+To see where all this writing has led check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say?

Start with 1 blog post and you just may end up with your own book in 3 formats.