Imaginary world

70% of adults said they thought the world has become less safe for children since they were children.

But all the evidence has pointed otherwise.

By almost every measure the world is the safest it has ever been. Child mortality rates are better. There are less wars and refugees. Acts of violence is on the decline. Teens are safer and making smarter choices. We are seeing declines in teen pregnancy, STDs, and drunk driving accidents.

So, what is happening?

We are afraid of the imaginary world we have created in our minds rather the real world. It just feels more dangerous because we are constantly reminded by the amygdala to check the status of the world with our phones. Our perception of things rarely match with the way things are.

“In the beginning…”

Genesis is pointing out the order and structure of how things are done around here.

And as far as we can remember, we think the way things are often are how things always have been. Of course, we deep down know this isn’t true. But we forget when something like a car becomes so ubiquitous form of transportation, we are shocked to see other cultures go by foot.

“The way it is” is indeed a powerful force. Seducing us into believing that this is all there is. Get used to it.

This isn’t true.

While we cannot change what has happened, we can change what might be. When we develop this posture of “since we have decided” we invoking the powerful forces needed create change.

It’s always been a decision to lead, to start a movement, to create a ruckus. If you won’t decide, someone will decide for you. That request is usually compliance.


TK means “to come”. (No one really knows why writer’s don’t use TC.) It’s an old writers trick so you don’t get stuck finding out trivial facts like how tall is the tallest building in the world but can instead focus on writing the first draft.

It can also help when you are stuck like coming up with a CompanyNameTK. With TK, you can simply move on to get more work done.

TK makes it easy to search in any document. Simplifying the polishing process.

We think that we need to follow every step to complete our work. Order of operations matter but there is often room in which sequence. TKing offers a hack. We can put aside what may not be there for us in the moment and keep working.

The goal is to finish and with any project the details will often take the wind from our sails.

Castles made of sand

On a recent trip to Newport Beach, California, we came across beach art. Someone had produced beautiful patterns in the sand with a rake and a shovel to make something we can all enjoy.

I watched someone accidentally walk across it. When they realized it, they immediately jumped off but were quick to point out the ocean will wash it away soon anyway.

That’s the point.

Nothing is permanent. Art is to be observed and enjoyed. And for that moment someone gets to see something beautiful, understanding its inevitable fate by the ocean. Respect the art. Respect the work and effort. Regardless of the length of the piece. The artist is teaching us something when we are not mindful of what is around us–when we accidentally step on the piece or perhaps on purpose.

Impermanence is real for all of us.

No one builds castles made of sand and expects them to last forever. But for some reason, we write a sonnet and we expect it should transcend the lengths of time.


Take any polarizing topic today, and try to convince someone to switch their position.

Most attempts are fruitless. We are left asking ourselves Why? Why is someone so stubborn or unwilling to change? Why can’t they understand this or see it clearly?

That is because the recipient must have some kind of framework that allows something to be true. Otherwise, they will perpetually ask Why.

In order for someone to change their mind requires an admission of incompetence. What wasn’t true, now is. Because absolute truth is unavailable. We can always ask Why and land in a space we don’t have an answer for. Truth then is what we make.


Human beings are experts in wishful thinking. We can go to great lengths to obscure the truth to preserve ourselves. We can create imaginary worlds and systems based on invisible lines we draw.

Indeed, the greatest source of our suffering is the lies we tell ourselves. It’s fiction.

The key like most things is seeing the world as it is rather than as we want it to be. Which requires extreme awareness. Awareness of our thoughts, patterns, and why we think what we think.

If we scroll through our feeds, we are losing awareness.

When we are thinking about the next thing to say rather than listening to the person in front of us, we are not aware.

And when we want to ignore the truth, we are losing clarity.

Awareness is rare. It’s so easy to lose sight of this moment. Because the next is already here.


Social media has capitalized on our culture of individualism. Individualism is the invisible force that pushes us to think more about ourselves and less about social norms. Of course, not all of this is bad. We have seen great strides in bending the world towards equality. On the other side of the coin, the culture is also constantly reminding us to feel good all the time.

“Do what makes you happy.”

“Find your passion.”

And here, have a participation trophy.

There’s nothing inherently good or bad about these things. The illusion, the great lie, however, is that it is impossible to make ourselves happy all the time, even though social media says otherwise.

Social media didn’t create individualism. Individualism created social media. Because if we didn’t care so much about how we appeared to others or cared about the story people told about us, social media wouldn’t be a popular place to go.

What we read/watch/scroll/click has such an effect on how we feel.

We are missing so much on what life is offering by trying to fill a hole that can never be filled. When we contrast the good with the bad, the blissful moments of life are that much better.

Frankly, we are just too busy looking for peace when peace can be in every step.

The other road

“We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road — the one less traveled by — offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.” — Rachel Carson

This was published in 1962. And we are here 60 years later thinking we can still take the road easily traveled. As we are all are aware, that road gets less comfortable each day. More hazards, narrower margins for error.

What are we waiting for? Is this road really all that satisfying or is it just what we are used to?

The expectations

Most of us start the day with minimum expectations. After all, it isn’t every day you write your masterpiece.

Beethoven didn’t write Für Elise in one day. It was a string of many days that eventually lead to a work of art.

Your job today isn’t to write a book, but a page. One year from now, it’s a novel.

There is nothing wrong with the perception of a low bar. Just show up to do the work.

Under the microscope

The term Sick Comedy was popularized in the 1950s. The idea is that you point out the sick aspects that plague our culture.

When the highest-paid employee for the state of Utah is the Football coach, it’s comedy.

Sometimes I have been accused of being intense or saying things that get under people’s skin.

That’s because this blog is more than teaching about resiliency. Resiliency is not about chasing bad feelings and filling them with good. The opposite actually. It’s about learning to dance in the dark. Sometimes I might say things that won’t make you happy. But much like a comic, I will always try to do it in story form.