Dangers of Arbitrary Goals Featured Image

Setting Arbitrary Athletic Goals

Recently a business partner of mine and mentor, Greg, opened up about some of what was going on in his life leading up to what he now does professionally. That has prompted some of the community that we are a part of to inquire about what led up to what I now do now. There is a lot of overlap in what Greg and I do, and he taught me the SEO skills I needed, but also a lot more. There are some parts of this story that are more public and some other pieces that haven’t been, but I have been sorting out what led me to join OMG Machines and specifically why I have chosen to pay as much attention to learning from David Mills as I have.


I realized that I was dangerous, nearly crazy, and that I hurt myself and others regularly. I was also a new dad, and I wouldn’t risk not figuring this stuff out.


Starting to Understand the Problem

The initial problem that became clear to me back in 2014 was that I had been operating on things in my life as far as goals, in an arbitrary way. Even so far back as wanting to be an athlete, vs any other career, it turned out that decision was mostly based on the family I grew up in. Then, because of that arbitrary goal, and how focused I was on it and how much I identified with it and how much meaning I placed in it; when that goal went away, I had literally no method of sorting out that frame and those associations. I didn’t even have language to talk about it, or even think about it. At 23, I dropped out of college, out of all society that I knew, and moved up to Alaska to work in a remote fly in fishing camp as a guide.


I didn’t leave school because it was hard, I just didn’t have any reason left to get credits and grades. It wasn’t that I was bad at school, it was quite the opposite. I understood that if I could spend less time on the school part AND ALSO not worry about eligibility, then I’d have an advantage over other athletes. Whatever resources I had could be spent on preparing to be a pro athlete.



I went about setting up most of my athletic situation like this. I also didn’t have as a goal to be a good player. I knew some good players didn’t become professionals. I wanted to play in the NFL. That was it. I didn’t care if I got a lot of stats in high school, because those wouldn’t help me at the next level of college. I had to go to college because the NFL wouldn’t take players who didn’t go to college, so my hand was forced to go to college.


I needed skills and ability, so I practiced developing those. In college, the same. I not only needed those skills and ability to play in the NFL, I also needed to exceed a threshold for size, speed, jumping ability and strength. They measure those in what they call a combine. So I spent much more time preparing those abilities than I did on trying to get more playing time, or worrying about how many balls were thrown my way.


There was one other distinction I understood as a wide receiver that helped me allocate my resources better than other folks. As a receiver your one job is to catch the ball. You hear that all the time if you watch a televised football game. On the surface, that seems pretty easy and straight-forward, but in practice a lot more comes up apart from catching the ball. Getting “open” and getting noticed by the quarterback and being familiar to the quarterback are all necessary to even get a ball thrown in your direction.


So after I learned how to catch a football, which is taught wrong all over the place, I then focused on playing against the top defensive backs to hone my skills of getting open. I worked before and after practice with quarterbacks who wanted to either warm up, warm down or just wanted to impress anyone watching with their arm skills.


Either way, allocating more resources to this extra work was something that I could do because I didn’t have to spend as much time or effort in school, because I’d learned it was about grades and not about learning or understanding school subjects. It was about a teacher assigned a grade.


When I understood that, and that those were actually the “rules” of school, that I wasn’t breaking any rules governing school, I was actually doing exactly what all the teachers and administrators needed me to do… then I was more free to put effort into my athletic career.


I’d like to say I understood all this back then. I did and I didn’t at the same time. I have an understanding of it now that is much more complete and transferrable, but at the time, it just looked to outsiders like I was “smart” and a “good athlete”. Those two things are particularly harmful to believe. Those beliefs completely cut off a large area of life and thinking that hold the keys to success. If you’re smart, you can get cut off from understanding you have incorrect beliefs and if you are a good athlete, you get cut off from understanding what you did to excel in your sport. The choices you made upstream of the hard work and perseverance and skill development.

The Power of Language

As I mentioned, I didn’t even really have language for this back then. The power of language became apparent to me when I’d attend camps or get to hear high level coaches and trainers speak about terms and concepts I’d never heard before. I’d listen to a defensive back coach working with college cornerbacks on keep their hips low so they could swivel and change direction. I didn’t know high school coaches teaching this, so when I encountered a defensive back who didn’t keep his hips low, I realized he couldn’t change direction quickly. That gave me an advantage I could press to win our battles on a field. It wasn’t just that I was bigger and stronger, but that I knew what to look for. Those sorts of things opened up to me. Being smart and a good athlete though, gave me pleasure, and also utterly restricted me from even seeing certain very important things. Those sank their way into my mind and became an invisible framework that bound me for decades.


My athletic career ended in Laramie, WY in 1998. Not on the field, but in a hospital room. I say that because after the surgeries on my leg to repair damage, I was able to run and jump nearly as well as I could before. I had to sit in that hospital bed with my foot turned around at a 90 degree angle to what it should have faced for about 36 hours while the infection in my body from a turf burn was cleared up.



It gave me a lot of time to think. I missed a good friend’s funeral, who a couple days earlier had died on the football field, no more 15 feet from me with a brain injury. This all coming a week or so after pro scouts attended some practices and talked to the players who caught their attention. It was a lot to sort out, but what I think I realized was that i didn’t know for sure that this sport career was all worth it anymore. The pain and injuries, sure, but just the whole commitment of it. The time, the focus. I didn’t drink alcohol or use any drugs, I didn’t really date or chase girls, I just built and built to this point where I really didn’t know anymore if that dream and goal of playing professionally was worth it.


Looking back, there is a lot more I realize. I realize I am glad I didn’t take even more hits to by head and concussions. I realize that I’m glad I can walk normally and that the surgeries were performed in a way that hasn’t required ongoing work. I also realize that while I was an athlete, I was nearly addicted to it. The level of commitment, focus, and all that are very close to the psychological issue of addiction. I really didn’t know who I was if I wasn’t an athlete. I was quiet and introverted. I didn’t have a college degree. I didn’t know how to approach girls. I could fix machines and build buildings, but those didn’t engulf me and help me understand who I actually was. As close to an identity as I maybe had was Christian, but even that got mixed around with churchy people and I knew all the repressed urges and guilt that seemed to define church christianity where I’d grown up didn’t fully match with me either.


So, I rehabbed my leg. I went to Alaska to be a fishing guide and dropped out of everything I knew. I was reckless. I went to grad school literally at the drop of a hat. I worked odd jobs ranging from law enforcement to substitute teacher to sales. I returned from my first day of being a park ranger on my first arrest for marijuana smoking fishermen, to a communal home for park employees that were smoking weed. Things just didn’t make sense.


For probably 15 years, I responded to opportunities without much thought. I’d almost “given up the game” of thinking much. I read a lot. I had framework or talent for remembering and regurgitating what other people came up with. I sought out thought leaders and gurus. I went to high powered university graduate schools. I’d do goal setting workshops and came away feeling juiced up but something down deep inside knew that the goals I’d just set were pretty arbitrary, and largely influenced by the pump up style inspiration that led up to the actual workshop. I made some money. Sometimes a lot. I didn’t plan well. I didn’t strategize much at all. I didn’t have much of a method for deciding what I was going to do and I kept looking. I seemed to rely on a confidence in being able to figure things out on the fly. Being flexible and being able to build relationships with people.


When a story would come up in conversation about me building a cabin and living off grid in Alaska, or that picture of me as the only guy on a bus full of Hawaiian Tropic bikini finalists in Vegas, or grad school at Harvard, people kind of reacted in a way that should have given me a clue about all this. Randomness, and cool-ness almost went hand in hand in those reactions. Sure some people would write me off as someone they might not want to do business with, but sure as hell wanted me at their next party as their recklessly talented and lucky friend who was still well spoken. I sort of assumed an identity based on that feedback. Not that I was going for it, but that I got a lot of it and it sort of shaped how I saw myself. While most of us make our minds up about what to do in an arbitrary way, I took it to an extreme for someone still within most guidelines for sanity and social norms and the feedback shaped how I saw myself. If I would have been paying attention to that distinction earlier, I may have dug myself less of a hole to get out of.


Luckily I got my utilities turned off when I was 37, on me, my daughter and a pregnant wife, and I went looking for a way to fix what was most apparently broken in my life; income. Even more luckily, I found what turned out to be much more than some new valuable skills with which to make money. I found the raw materials and methods of understanding success.


The founder of the company I bought training from had a lot of the answers I needed; David Mills. Those answers came in the form of questions, just like a big game of Jeopardy. How do you know what is true? How do you know what is important? What is good? Where does bad come from? You know, the things we all need to fully figure out in life before we can even hope to make good decisions, and yet there is literally no focus on answering these questions or even thinking about them properly in society or academia.


I want to save people from approaching life the way I did, for as long as I did. It’s taken me years to sort out a lot of bad ideas and bad thinking habits. Until you’ve got these methods and boundaries set up properly, there is a lot of junk that can creep in to your life. I understand now what led to much of the pain, loss, disappointment and such that I’ve experienced through major events in my life. People might say I made peace with events in my life, but it was much more than that. I still do screwy things, that are damaging, but at least now I know those come from bad thinking on my part and contradictions I’m holding in my mind. There is a great degree of peace, in general, that comes from that alone.


I’ve spent thousands of hours sorting through the material David Mills teaches in OMG Machines, and through the Law of Implication brand name. It has been worth every minute, and I don’t plan on stopping. I realize I spent way more time than that being influenced in other ways and the frameworks that were built earlier in life needed to be fully tested, and either dissolved or bolstered. That is where the work comes in. Not in listening and learning to regurgitate. That was the whole model that was academia, and it has taken a lot of work to get to where I currently am with sorting out those contradictions. As long as those contradictions exist, they will influence my decisions and even what I consider considering.

I’ve had to check myself a lot with how close I feel to somehow “finishing”. I have wanted to be done and wanted to “get it” and such. Pass this test and now be a PhD or some other such thing that is granted by peers or authorities. Hell I even considered finished my PhD in Psych as some way to feel like I was ready try and give back and talk and teach this sort of thing. It doesn’t work that way though. There have been times where I even caught myself remembering, nearly point by point, the arguments on a 3 hour webinar, so that I could assess how close I might be. The trap of learning and of having the right answers to questions you knew were coming.


There was such a strong goal and framework for learning that it has influenced how important it seemed to get rid of the bad ideas. Learning was learning, and I had been told I was good at learning and so therefore, learning must be good so that I could be good. What was hidden in that round and round, was that all learning seemed good, and dissolving bad ideas through understanding contradictions held only a very small place in my priorities and importance hierarchy. It kept slipping in and out, un-noticed as an invisible hand guiding my actions and focus. “Learn more”… Seeking and building understanding has some overlap with this distorted goal of learning, but it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of clarity.


Until I am inoculated from bad models, ideas and frameworks that are out there already in our minds… I’m still careful with the footholds I have. I’ve watched myself do things that didn’t line up with what I knew was true because I got caught up in other frameworks that seemed more important because they were presented well. Even after I began to see this, I have made poor decisions and spent resources recklessly.


Understanding marketing and conversion, I’m constantly amazed at how reliably or predictably our brains do things. Associating with frames and identity, how screwed up understanding importance typically is, how overconfident we are with the method of thinking most of us use most of the time is.


Every day I work on building understanding and getting rid of contradictions. I focus on bringing in healthy ideas and questions and I focus on detoxing my mind of contradictions it holds. It would be silly to really focus on much more than that. I know any number of the wrong beliefs I have could totally wipe out success. I have watched myself do this time and time again.


It scared me that a once world caliber athlete, who got through grad school courses at Harvard with little real effort and who made $30k per month in my 20s without the internet could still nullify it all because I held contradictions in my mind. The beautiful thing is, that I realize this is the thing to focus on. I get to spend the rest of my life building understanding and helping others to do the same.

Zen and Pickles

Zen and Pickles

Zen and Pickles-

During college I picked up a book called Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Cool title, the book was pink and I knew a decent amount about wrenching on motors, so I thought I’d give it a read. As I went through it, I quickly realized that book was about a lot more than motorcycle maintenance, and then again, it wasn’t.

For a long time that book has stuck in my mind for some reason. More than most books I’ve read. There was one central concept that jumped out at me from the story, and that was quality. The author’s attempt to understand and know quality. It eventually drove him insane, but a few rounds of electro-shock therapy zapped him back into a functioning state. Strong overtones of the premise of Icarus and flying too close to the sun.

Pirsig, the actual author of this story within a story, and his previous life “Phaedrus” character, approached things differently. Romantic vs classical philosophy exemplified. Two approaches to thinking and being that seem to be at odds, but that always seemed to lead toward one another.

The problem that eventually drove Phaedrus insane was that he wanted to clearly be able to cut a line that divided quality into good and bad. To know the exact thing that would differentiate good qualities from bad. To understand the difference between the two, even beyond being able to clearly identify what has quality and what does not.

Confusion, Trying to Know the Un-knowable

I’m not abundantly trained in academic philosophy and my vocabulary on the topic is limited, but this situation that Phaedrus created, was ultimately un-knowable with the methods he was using. A universal and specific cleaving line of quality wasn’t reachable. The quality of hardness may be good in a piston, but bad in a crankshaft…  Then that meant the purpose determined which qualities were desirable, and so it was a very context dependent situation, which for Phaedrus, and his model of thinking, seemed to move every time he tried to put a finger on it. So in an attempt to keep slicing to pull apart the layers of questions that would lead him to truth, he eventually went in circles and was caught in a nearly endless loop of thought that lead nowhere but madness.


There are some interesting quotes about insanity that bounce around in my mind. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.” is one of my favorites. People tend to do this sort of thing in life nearly all the time. The problem is two-fold. Our brains are machines and need conscious input to change methods. Our brains also tend to function on methods that don’t tend to lead to a foundational understanding.

In a way, ZAMM (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) helped me “see” how properly messed up a lot our thinking is. How improperly we use our brain. How over-confident we are in our ability to think clearly.

Through that, it helped me come to sort out some of the stuff that had bugged me for years. Brilliant people, with huge brain power, resources, advantages and knowledge that were addicts, destructive and miserable. Simple farmers and mechanics who lived in abundance, happiness and peace. This seemingly endless quest to be told what to do, while at the same time rebelling against authority. These paradoxes point to a fractured understanding of what is really going on here.

Method of Thinking and Method of Knowing

Another thing this book really opened up for me was how powerful and how limited metaphors and analogies are. The entire book was written as a model within a model, where a story was told that seemed to uncover lessons and truths, but that was all framed again within a story with frameworks and filters. The illustrations pointed at things the author wanted us to see or investigate, but that ultimately were not the actual thing to be uncovered.

Most people I talk to, who have read the book, think it is about radically different things. Again, this so very close to giving us a key insight into what is really going on with the world and with us. We understand so little of the way our brain perceives things but we 100% trust what it is telling us.  That leads us to believe that we know what is going on, because the brain is telling us what is going on, including believing blindly that we understand how the brain works on problems, even though we have never properly thought it through. That’s dangerous.

The cultural norms of unresolved confusion

As a competitive athlete in a somewhat violent sport of American football, I realized how much of what we do in life is much more confusing than we observe. We have rules in one part of our life that let us run full speed head on into one another, trying to hurt each other… but “outside the lines” government says it is illegal… unless you represent the government and therefore have a license for violence again under the rule of law, which is ultimately determined by a single judge… So we grow up surrounded by this scenario, I put on a certain uniform and I can hit people and get paid for entertaining.  People buy my uniform and wear it and tackle people in the front yards across america. I take off the uniform and I can’t do that or I’ll go to jail where I actually can’t get paid. I put on a different uniform and I can arrest people.  I take off that uniform and it’s kidnapping.  I put on a police uniform and I’m not a cop and that is a crime.  It’s like tying a towel around our neck with a clothes hanger and claiming we can fly.  We have grown up pretending so much that we now believe it all.  All in our mind.  Much of it very arbitrary.  All these different rules without any seeming organization to the whole thing.

In school, the offer of preparing for life, has been morphed into preparing for a job. That morphed again into preparing for college. That has now moved beyond being prepared toward qualifying for competitive schools, which moved again into grades. Other factors helped move things this way, but now, somehow, a score on a test is what our kids think they are trying to “get” from school.

By now, the country is full of people with the cultural norm of arbitrary rules. The United States for instance, has, as a concept, the Rule of Law. Far from being what actually exists, there are laws, then case laws, and then cases go to trial, lawyers are involved, juries are chosen who seem favorable to either side, and ultimately, a judge governs what is allowed based on how that judge interprets and recalls all these legal frameworks. Our entire country operates on the principle that we can’t know for sure.

It’s not that surprising that people are driven to mental illness and drawn to extremism. At least they have some absolute boundaries and absolute freedoms. Kill a man and you’re a murderer. Kill ten, you get slapped with mass-murderer. Kill ten of the same type and you’re a serial killer and probably need “help”. Kill 100,000 and you are either a conqueror or a liberator, depending on which side you were on. Arbitrary.


Far from having all the answers, I realized that a step before the answers is a question. Likely a series of questions that are positive, lead to understanding and are knowable in some way. The book helped me not be so confident in what I believed. It helped me see how messed up we can get by trying to go all the way down a road that is ultimately circular.

For a couple decades after reading, from time to time a memory of the book and the characters would come to mind as I was assessing my life and my thinking. I’d gone to school for decades to learn facts, and hadn’t ever been trained to think properly. How ass-backward was that? In a way, what came out of this type of pondering was that I needed to know what question to ask and to work on. I needed to know how to work on questions. I needed to be able to prioritize which questions were important and knowable. Those were the right questions, at least to start. They led, as all questions have to either lead or be based on, “how do I know what is true”. Without that, we are without a foundation, and may very well find ourselves much like Phaedrus.

From where I am now, the book is a great illustration of the place most of us live, most of the time. The pickle of being stuck in confusion and blurriness. The precarious edge and dichotomy we try to balance. The yearning for a model to blend classical with romantic. A desire of to dissolve the madness of having two goals at the same time. Being able to enjoy the experience and understand the nature of it, all at once. A search for a method of using our minds that doesn’t lead us to madness and insanity.

21 Pickles Dissolving Contradictions Featured Image

21 Pickles

21 Pickles

Looking back on life, I have found myself in a pickles from time to time.

Not the juicy, tangy variety that we have in our fridge, but metaphorical pickles.

I suppose a common understanding of what I mean by “pickle” is a good place to start. The way I mean it, a pickle is a situation we can find ourselves in that we don’t immediately know a way to remedy. Why should we want to remedy it? Well, pickles also tend to be unpleasant, either for us or for people we care about. The other angle on what I mean by pickle is that in some way, we are responsible either for creating the pickle, but most certainly we are responsible for getting out of it. A pickle is a situation that we must dissolve, or fix through our thoughts, understanding and actions.

There’s definitely a common thread behind these situations. Not just between the pickles, but also between those of us who have found ourselves in pickles from time to time. We generally could have done something different, ahead of time, and the pickle wouldn’t have ever come to be. That element, the element of a mistake, mis-step or a lack of understanding will be talked about as well.

My intent in sharing these 21 articles in the next month, is that we can come to understand that most of the pickles in our lives are under our influence. A lack of framework or understanding is at the nexus of the problems we create in our own lives. I don’t have all the answers and certainly don’t know everything. There are, however, certain things that are knowable and certain strategies in life that are correct and that work reliably.

Most of these pickles illustrate a lack of successfully implementing a good life strategy. They pop up because something was done without a full understanding of the implications of those actions (or lack of actions).

As I am now a Dad, and a Husband, and my primary offer in the this world includes understanding, communicating and teaching, this series is aimed at helping people relate. Relate to their own life and experiences. Helping people relate to me and these situations and frameworks. Ultimately, I’d love people to be able to relate to others as well, in a in a more positive way, armed with better frameworks and less errors cooked in to their heuristics, or ways of operating.

I hope you enjoy as much as I grimaced!


21 Pickles Jar

This had better work

This had better work


So, I was climbing from rafter to rafter, on my hands and knees when I got that special ring. The one I’d programmed into my phone attached to my wife.

“Hi honey!”

“Hey babe, just so you know, I know you’ll figure this out…”


“I wanted to give you some time before Matea gets home to figure out what to say, but the utility company just came and turned our water off.”

“Uh, Ok. So our water got turned off?”

“Yeah, I just wanted to give you a few hours to figure out what you’ll say. I’ll see you when you get home. I love you….”


Did I mention my wife was pregnant?

Did I mention that we had been married only a few months?

Did I mention that attic I was crawling in was 153 degrees?

Did I mention that I drove my orange 1972 International Travelall home, thinking the whole time that if I’d have had a few hundred more dollars I’d have just gassed up, packed up the family and gone north?

I decided that this time I wouldn’t try to escape.

Starbucks opened at 4am.

I needed internet and a plugin.

My laptop didn’t work if it wasn’t plugged in.

There was no internet connection at the house.

I needed starbucks. It could let me find a solution.

Google it.

I have a problem, how do I solve it, Google?

I found a solution that Google recommended.

I could afford it if I sold my truck.

I loved that truck, so maybe a title loan?

Ok, title in hand, I got 6 months to pay back the $1,500. It bought me 3 months of payments on the program.

Ok, game on.

It was kind of like coming in in the fourth quarter of a playoff game on 3rd down.

There wasn’t time for warm up or thinking things through…

This had better work…


Erstwhile Reckoning- Dissolving Contradictions

An Erstwhile Reckoning

An Erstwhile Reckoning

It can be quite uncomfortable to open journals you wrote in 7 years ago.

“What the hell was I thinking?”

“That conclusion doesn’t even make sense.”

“How long did I spend even writing this sentence about this insignificant thing?”

I’ve recently cleaned up a lot of my junk. Old paperwork. Random tools. Strange website domains I bought. Odds and ends I hung on to thinking they may someday be just the thing I needed to make some “final” push to somewhere, maybe Valhalla.

It’s just so hard to read that crap I wrote and thought about! But it is important. I thought about it once, and I may very well be just as screwed up now as I was then.

I have to be able to scrutinize my choices today and evaluate whether I am still just as screwed up as I was then, because…. I thought I was right when I wrote and thought those things, and I was quite wrong.  That was a big lightbulb or me. How certain I felt about being correct had nothing to do with actually having correct knowledge.  That meant my process for feeling confident was screwed up or based on the wrong conditions.  There was a problem with my thinking process.

I mean beyond the writing, just the way I thought. The importance I placed on things. How I arrived at conclusions. What I was trying to create and achieve in the first place. Reading it and knowing I thought it and wrote it is so embarrassingly painful that I had to create this piece.

And here’s the thing… I kinda know that what I’m creating now will be just as hard to look at in a few years as what I just dug up from 7 years ago.

I’ll know more things. I’ll have crossed off a lot more dead ends. I’ll understand what is good, true and important to a much greater degree than I do now. That is the point of me sharing this. It’s about progress and perspective of building a process.  Not so much how much you know, but making damned sure that you have a reliable process for understanding what is true.

-Figuring out how to know what is true

-using that method regularly is the only “secret” of success

-growing and avoiding the dead ends and contradictions

It’s not always about building a better mousetrap. Sometimes it is about understanding that you don’t really want to catch the mouse in the first place.  Meaning that catching the mouse isn’t really going to make your life much better.  I know I’ve spent countless hours on things that led nowhere.  This helped me realize I didn’t really have a good process for understanding what is important.

Getting screwed up in what you are pursuing is a major problem I’ve encountered and created in life. I wound up achievment and quite bad at figuring out what to achieve. In a very head-scratching circumstance, it turned out I was pretty good at creating situations I set my mind to… It seems a lot of us are good at accomplishing goals.

David Mills, a mentor of mine used a great illustration of this in one of his trainings.  I think most of us are familiar with with the “Three Wishes” scenario, where you find a lamp, rub it and a djinii pops out and grants you three wishes.  I remember playing this when I was younger with friends as a way to day dream about things I wanted in life.

Wish 1: “I want a million dollars.”

Wish 2: “I want a castle.”

Wish 3: “I want…. MORE WISHES!”

This is where you’d have to adjust the rules somewhat, or it wouldn’t work as a game any more.  “You can’t wish for more wishes”.  At this point, looking at this game now, I realize it is critical to understand what is important.  You’ve got limited resources and you’d better get things right about what to spend your wishes on…

In David’s example he pointed out a fundamental problem that we all have, which is over-confidence in our ability to think properly.  He posed a interesting wish that I have never heard anyone say when playing this game as his number 1 wish. “Why not wish to get the other 2 wishes “right”, meaning wishing for the correct things to make your life ultimately good and happy?”.  Further, why not wish for a perfect method of thinking to always be able to get the correct answer?  I mean if you have a reliable method for always getting the right answer, then your only issue is asking the right question!  And… you can ask the question, “what is the right question to be working on?”.  If you had a way to get those answers, your life is just pretty much completely set at that point.  Abundance, peace, calm, growth.  Anything you came up with as important.  This scenario pretty much sums up most people’s lives of struggle, complacency, redirection, ups and downs.  We don’t know what our three wishes should be, even though we’ve all been playing this game our whole lives.

Now back to more examples of how screwed up my thinking used to be, but how powerful the mind is in getting what we want…  I’ve taken actions based on a goal to be righteously justified in some argument, I wound up exactly where a righteously justified person would wind up; alone.

Most of the world seems focused on helping you get what you want. The marketing world at least. Manifesting some vision. Achieving some goal. Living some dream. The really huge Problem is, at least for me, I wasn’t all that good at choosing what to want!

I started noticing that I wanted things I’d seen in a commercial. I started thinking of myself as some character in a book or movie. I started trying to fit myself into a model that story tellers, advertisers, writers and preachers have created. I wanted to be like Han Solo, like the Terminator, Like Harrison Bergeron or like the biblical character Joshua.

We don’t have a very good in-borne method for figuring out what we should be trying to create. We aren’t all that inherently good at figuring out what is important.  I came to realize that primary to having a life that was good, I needed to understand good-ness.  I also figured out that instead of memorizing more and more facts and building random frameworks, I needed a method and process for knowing what is true, and I needed to let go of thinking that I already had mastered that method.

Another huge problem, nobody is even talking about this either… there are all these messages everywhere about how to get the results you want in 90 days… Whatever results you may want.

The implicit idea cooked into this is that we know what we want.  Whether it’s based on your environment growing up. What television shows you watch. What your best friend’s household was like… Not about figuring out the “one thing” that would completely change your life if you get it right…. Sorting out “Importance”, is very important, and leads to very different pursuits.  Our brains notice something, a question gets assumed which is “if I noticed this, it is important” and then the brain works on trying to achieve that mini-goal to get the results in the advertisement.

It kinda turned out that I was better at creating things, than I was at deciding what I should create. A lot of the people I have come to know and gotten close to, fit into that same description. It was a fundamental shift and awakening in my life when I realized this.  At first I noticed a contradiction, which I’ve talked about here.  This experience was really un-nerving and dis-concerting. “Oh wait… I can create nearly anything I want… so the real question I have is what should I want in the first place….?”  I don’t have a good method of figuring that out reliably, but at the same time I am spending all the time in my life on other things than figuring this out.”  I certainly didn’t have a way of sorting that out that isn’t heavily influence by what pump-me-up movie or book I had just read.

I found myself wanting to take action and then asking myself, “is this really going to make things better?” Charging in to battle, fully capable of conquest, and asking myself, “is this even the right battle to fight?; that’s where I found myself.

Like the paraphrased scene in Swingers with Mikey and Trent. “You’ve got these big claws baby, you can just take what you want…” Yeah, but do I really want this….?

Knowing I could win, but not knowing what fight I should fight…. That was a question worth figuring out.

You may be able to see the problems cooked into this. A heckuva lot of folks I talk to aren’t overly concerned with their ability when it comes down to it. Think about that in your life. Are you really worried about your ability to do something? It seems a lot more like what we are all concerned with is figuring out how to get committed to something that is going to be worth it. Let that sink in…

If you are considering the validity of this concept, then you are confident in your ability to discern. Consider where that confidence can lead.

Our main problems seem to involve CHOOSING the right problems to work on more than how to resolve those problems. But even in that, it means we don’t have a good method in figuring stuff out, but… we tend to be damned confident in our ability to make it work if we can sink our teeth into it. A lot of us have many of the things we think we want, but our lives still stink in tons of ways. We somehow aren’t very good at knowing what things we should want.

In that question, I really want to try to draw attention to how much we achieve and how much we hold on to, fully based on a belief about who we are. Not an ideal life, but how we turned out.  Our identity.  About how the “deck was stacked” to create “us”. About “how we are” versus how we really think we want things to be. That difference in your day to day and what things should or could be.

We all have some silly concept of potential. That’s all potential really is. Realizing that we didn’t get our priorities right in where we spend our efforts and what that error might actually mean. Your car, your lifestyle, your income and job, your happiness; your “in the mirror naked” look.

Those are the kind of things I’m talking about. We tend to be good at getting what we see clearly. Our brains are so wicked powerful in achieving the visions we place before them without contradiction. The successful people we see in media who won’t even consider that they are wrong, who won’t consider they poured effort and focus and years into something potentially conflicted. Those folks guide people to not resolve conflicts. To follow blindly. To not think or know how to think. They have built frameworks of success that are so cooked into our society that elements of them are taken for granted.

It’s based on certain people like this doing well, and apparently succeeding, so we follow along assuming they know what they are talking about. To believe we should just put our head down and act instead of understanding. Maybe you were born in the right time, at the right place with the right personality and connections to just let it ride… Maybe not though, and… I’d sure rather guarantee that I’m not screwing up huge by driving even faster off the huge cliff just around the corner. Doubling down on your current whim isn’t the secret to success, no matter how good that meme sounds in the moment.

It’s likely you can connect visions you have of your life with what you actually experience on a daily basis. I thought I’d be a husband and a parent. I thought I’d have a good relationship with my folks and family. I thought I’d do something important someday. The problem is that our visions aren’t created by us and those visions aren’t created by people who have our best interests in mind. We don’t have a great method of filtering visions out that are dangerous. We accept them as ideologic based on popularity and a whole host of triangulation our brains do to make sense of the world.

The problem is, we hold visions in our mind that aren’t good, true and important. The problem is that we have contradiction in our beliefs that aren’t resolved and we have no method to even tell us we need to start looking. We pour effort and intention into connecting with out vision and we don’t dissolve the things holding us back or understand the things that are pointing us in the wrong direction. Getting that vision right is so critical. Getting rid of blocks is equally important. It’s time to sort out both of those blocks.

Building a Quality Site Base for White Hat SEO


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Yeah, so I’ve actually been asked now a couple of times about what things I’ve done to utilize the proper method of knowing and understanding, right, with LOI. The, along the way, right, I first was exposed to certain things from LOI back in 2013 and [00:00:30] probably 2014 early in the year I had the experience where I said you know kinda my mind “broke” so to speak. And it broke due to realizing that someone I trusted offered a way to know what is true and [00:01:00] that did not immediately change my behavior to act in a way that that was important. There was a certain way my mind understood it was important but it got kind of classified as okay, that’s one more thing I can learn to add to what I already know, how I already operate, how I already [00:01:30] know to make money or make friends or enjoy my life or whatever it might be. It was something that I treated that way. But that was not the thing that kinda broke my mind so to speak, or that was the way I phrased it when I talked to David Mike. The thing that broke my mind was that I realized [00:02:00] I did not have a good way of knowing what was true because I had evidence, personal experience evidence, that I did not understand what was important, because I had a year worth of, or whatever, [00:02:30] 9 months’ worth of behavior that did not, that there was a contradiction in.

Now what wound up happening, and I talked about this in another recording that I’ve done that you may find here on my channel or my website so to speak, the, what happened after that break also again was not, [00:03:00] okay now let me go in here and try to replace whatever it is I do to think about what’s important or good or true, right. What wound up happening was that as time moved on more and more behaviors or systems of behavior in my life began, I don’t know that they [00:03:30] necessarily broke down more, but I noticed more and more of the problems with them. More and more problems, I became aware, I noticed more of the problems I had in communication with my wife or my family, my kids, you know, my parents, with business partners. And I believe, though I don’t know for sure, that one of the reasons [00:04:00] that I began to notice that was there was that seed of doubt, but also of knowing that I for whatever reason needed even more evidence to override the current system I had or work with the current system I had before I would say, okay I need to go do something completely different, [00:04:30] I need to develop a method of knowing what’s true. Not just develop it, understand it, use it, practice it, and utilize it to build what I know about myself and the world and things.

One of the first very, very practical examples or opportunities I had, I guess, or was forced to have, here nearing [00:05:00] the end of 2017, right, about 2-3 years later after a lot of this kind of you know, has been building and you know, I’ve been learning intellectually, so to speak, these things. They were like kinda trying to fit into my old model as opposed to replacing the old model. But David was talking to me about the direction that a business I work in that he built and designed called OMG Machines, [00:05:30] was going to move forward into next year and he, you know, and he, we talked and he came up with you know a task and a direction for me to build, create, training that he very specifically wanted called Building a Quality Site Base for White Hat SCO. And [00:06:00] there was something in you know, having talked to David and knowing David now for several years that I understood was a very specific request, it was not a “hey go do some training about White Hat SEO” or something. There was not any ambiguity about exactly the title he wanted applied to that. And there was something about that specific request made of me from someone [00:06:30] I knew understood how to know and who also knows to some degree that I’m familiar with his training and the method and all that sort of thing, that I applied that method to understanding what each of those terms in that title, that I needed to understand them properly. And at first I wanted to go off to the races, because I knew how to do SEO obviously, [00:07:00] I’ve ranked hundreds or thousands of sites. I’ve been teaching SEO and the people who have learned what I’ve taught have been able to replicate it. I learned it obviously from Greg Morrison, who is the original SEO in the OMG Machines company. So I wanted to just go ahead and say “oh I already know this, let me just get to it” because I know kinda what White Hat is I kinda, you know, [00:07:30] I obviously know how to build because I’ve got some construction, I’ve built websites, so I know building, I know SEO, you know, I know what White Hat is because it’s something different than Black Hat, but that task I slowed down to the point of saying, “okay, do I really, really know for certain [00:08:00] what SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is, which is the term that I felt most comfortable and confident with knowing, right.

And that feeling of certainty I put aside to say okay if I am certain, I should be able to build this understanding up from, properly, using a method [00:08:30] of knowing where, you know, if you get to a question, you take the question apart and see if there are component parts to it and you can start to build pieces of that question that at a certain point you can get to a foundational understanding because you know the opposite of that thing can’t be true, right. David began, so to speak, or got to a point where [00:09:00] epistemology wise he was able to build things from I am conscience of something, because the opposite of that, which is I am not conscience of anything, or I am conscience of nothing, that can’t be true, that’s a non-starter. So I applied that method to understanding SEO, and I’d [00:09:30] already done a lot of this work, but I hadn’t been ruthless with it, I hadn’t taken the time to completely develop exactly what that is. And you know, we work in Google right now, that’s the main company with search engines that we’ve kind of prioritized our training around but in order to do search engine optimization you’ve also got to understand what a search engine [00:10:00] is and, you know, how they’re built, and how they’re made and what they do, and what their purpose is and why people then would use a search engine. And all of these things had to be developed for me to even properly understand what the term that I thought I knew best, which is SEO, actually is. And I actually, in the training, if you’ve been part of the OMG training and you’ve listened to it, [00:10:30] you understand how I actually have realized that even that term winds up kind of blinding people to what we’re actually doing. And so have, you know, developed some alternate terminology, not obviously to be the word police, but conceptually speaking, most people have an idea about what optimization is, that term, what it means kind of, whether [00:11:00] people describe it with the exact same words or not, they have a concept of what optimization would be. And, it actually the truth of what we’re doing and the behavior, the method, of ranking on Google, isn’t limited to that term, optimization, right. It’s even more closely related to building and [00:11:30] anyway, I did that with each of those words, so to speak, in building a quality site base for White Hat SEO and spent probably, not that the hours mean much, but actively working through dialog like this where I would record my thought, get that thought transcribed, [00:12:00] re-listen to my audio while reading the transcription and pull out things that I didn’t fully describe property or were still had, you know, they were ambiguous in some way, they could have meant a couple different things, and spent, you know, the better part of probably 40-60 hours doing that work actively. And then obviously the time [00:12:30] when I wasn’t actively working on it I had the question as the only goal I had right then to understand so my subconscious was cranking on things and coming up with more creativity and the questions that I could ask to dissolve some of the fuzziness. And for me this experience now has been so profoundly different from other things [00:13:00] that I felt certain about that it’s going to be a real building block for me to feel that this method is what needs to be used for me to understand something.

Now one of the things that I’m working on at the moment with this, with that question, is there are times when you can’t [00:13:30] take 80 hours to know what a sentence means, you know, it is just in practical use, you know conversations don’t span years, often. You know, sometimes they do obviously with people you have long-term relationships with, but the neat thing is that so much of the right questions, and even the right answers, have been built, and we have training for it, in [00:14:00] David’s LOI material, that we can kind of shortcut a lot of that stuff. But I would really hazard people against thinking that you’re going to learn this in the way that many people, at least in the west, or people in my groups, think they learn something, which is to fit it into their model of behavior and their framework and paradigm and all those [00:14:30] words that are kind of pop culture and self-improvement. It’s not even changing a paradigm, the entire model of understanding is different. It’s not, you know, thinking there’s going from no scarcity to, you know, abundance, that’s kind of a shift in a paradigm, that’s shifting a single concept. This is a foundationally different dimension. [00:15:00] In the current series David is working on dimensionality of being able to know what’s true and from knowing what’s true being able to understand what’s good and understand what’s important, and thereby prioritize effort and time and attention spent on things that are more important than others and thereby improve your life.

[00:15:30] I’ll continue to build these out, these are probably gonna be among the first recordings that I am going to start building the content I’m putting out on the web with. I’ve got literally hundreds of hours of this sort of thing in my computer, but it’s so, this may seem rough and fractured and disconnected, but it’s a lot less than it used to be. So [00:16:00] there’s quite a bit of sense of improvement that has come, not just from practice, but of being able to shift how it feels to build properly, to build understanding properly, to have that feel like it’s the right way to do things. Now what I would love to be able to get to, and this, and [00:16:30] I say this because me speaking this way, at the moment, may not outwardly appear or seem to someone not familiar with this type of thing, to be the most important thing that they need to dig into and figure out in life, because they may already have a PHD or two, they may already run a multi-million dollar company, [00:17:00] they may already have, you know, a list of people they call friends that are important, you know, and famous or popular, or whatever it might be, and several of those things I’ve done too, but it was not proof that I knew, that I really knew anything. It was just kinda proof that I was doing some things that worked, but they didn’t work every time. So [00:17:30] what I want to try to move toward is a way of getting the attention on understanding that this method is the most important thing that everyone needs to have in their life, which then leads to the question which I know that David, at least, has already been working on, which is how do we make [00:18:00] this look more important than anything else to someone who does not already have this method?

So, that’s my recording for right now, I wanted to kinda capture that. I just had a conversation with my wife about a couple of these things, she’s like, well go record those, because I tend to carry a tape recorder around with me a lot and many times have conversations that I wish that I could [00:18:30] go back and pull out and somehow utilize, but I’m working on that more and more and that’s going to be the basis of a lot of the content that I put out in this kind of realm, which is, again as I say, this is the most important thing to know. It’s also because I understand that, and getting more and more to the point where I feel it [00:19:00] all the time, it’s now, I get to utilize that because I’m also getting you know, building better and better systems so that money is not a limiting factor in my life. It’s not a bottleneck that I have to do things that aren’t, wouldn’t otherwise be a priority, because of. So, yeah, I could just con, these kind of stream of consciousness [00:19:30] things are not necessarily just rambling but they are ways to kind of continue to build the context around how this might work in your life, because it’s how it has worked in mine, and sharing that experience in some way I hope will help people to continue to put, you know, more effort into than might otherwise [00:20:00] seem normal, like if something’s really exciting, and it feels really important it sometimes doesn’t seem like it’s hard to go do. Whereas, you know, it’s like oh man I gotta get up and go do this thing I don’t really wanna do, but I know I need to do it so I kinda trudge off and kinda put that emotional effort into, that emotional effort tends to fade away the more [00:20:30] this, it doesn’t all just make sense but in some way, and this is one of the things I’m working on after a conversation I had a couple of weeks ago now, is what that feeling comes from of, yeah, I know I need to do it and it’s important but it doesn’t feel important, doesn’t feel good or right. And then, also then what those feelings of excitement and importance and [00:21:00] you know that kind of thing come from. So that, you know, I can kind of dissolve some of those wrong ideas or concepts that I have.

Anyway, I will sign off on that. Take care, God bless.

I Get Up- Joshua Fletcher

I Get Up

“He who works with his hands is a laborer.

He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.

He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”

St Francis of Assisi


To know the art, is to know the artist.

Joshua Corson Fletcher

Joshua Fletcher Fletch Attic Photo Phoenix



Precariously balanced above the ceiling of a homeowner I didn’t even know, I took a gamble and reached into my pocket for a vibrating cell phone.  I was hoping for some good news from my new and pregnant wife.  I didn’t even know Natalie’s voice well enough yet to know what the call was about, even after our exchange of pleasantries.

“I wanted to give you some warning.  Our water got turned off by the city today.  I’m OK.  We knew we were behind…  I can take a shower at my Mom’s house….  just wanted to give you some time to explain this to Matea…  may not understand… don’t want her to be scared.

147 degrees and I couldn’t feel any heat in that attic. Knocked out and woke up all at once.  Like flipping instantly out of one reality and into another.

How did I get here?

How long had this been coming?  The slippery slope of entropy had finally gotten it’s grab on me.

Am I one of those stories people talk about; why is that guy driving an old beat up truck around Phoenix in the summer to fix people’s insulation?

I’ll send you a report and bid in the next couple days, Mrs. So-and-So.

At 45 miles per hour, top speed, it would take me an hour to drive this orange SUV home. Yeah it was orange.  I hadn’t figured much out in the 37 years leading up to that point, but I could get this right in an hour….  ha, right…  maybe after a few beers I’d have some ideas about what to do.

Except I had promised.  I really had, before God and Country.  Right in front of that minister who worked for me while stealing my clients. Even had witnesses; the most hopelessly sweet and interesting drug addict and his porn star wife to witness, I had promised my wife to take care of her and our family.

What in the f*ck had happened here?

Wrong question.  And I really shouldn’t cuss.  I was a dad now.  And my dad didn’t cuss.  Except on the job-site. It was probably that stripper I tried to marry who got me arrested and emptied my bank account, or the corporate attorney with sexual anorexia, maybe it was broken legs and walking around on someone else’s tendon, or building that off grid Alaska cabin, easy boozy A’s at Harvard, the Dallas Cowboys pro scout?  I couldn’t know.  And mostly it was only on me to get it right.  But those PUA camps in Vegas?  Discovering my superpower, a liver capable of processing un-Godly amounts of alcohol every single day while protecting my brain and it’s ability to communicate with other brain-bodies in a fantastically impressive and depressive fashion.  I mean I was broke and broken, but I was some kinda talented individual.  I just wasn’t quite ready to start living, like for real living.

I needed that beer.  Pretty bad….   I could just open the water valve and turn it back on when i got home.  That would fix it.  It wasn’t stealing because I would pay it back anyway, and I hated the friggin government even though I had arrested people before.  How messed up was that?  Pot brownies for desert from a hard day of arresting a fisherman smoking weed?  Maybe that was my point of departure.  Shit.  Nope.  It was time to stop.  I needed to understand what I had missed along the way.

I Get Up- Joshua FletcherShut up idiot.  You don’t need to try and understand.  This is just life and it’s time to hustle and get some more work lined up.  Except I was horribly talented already and I was still here in this mess and now there were people I love in it with me.  Well, ok, I’ll hustle and get some work and then I’ll figure out what I had wrong all along.

I bet the internet will have some answers.  Probably from a bunch of folks who don’t know anything and are just techno-used-car-salesman types who don’t even need a car to sell.  I’d seen people selling dreams before.  I was one of them.  I sold myself on the dream of staring in my own reality TV show.  Watching me play out daily scenarios in my life then telling other people the stories.

I had about 8 months until we had a family of four.  I had $238 in the bank, that is, after I deposited this $99 check.  A couple things saved me that day.  My wife #1.  She didn’t blame and didn’t hold this against me.  Number 2 was a lesson I had learned from my Dad and from his Dad before him.  There will come a time when you are alone, and you are going to have to fix whatever it is that breaks, yourself.

Alright Billy Mills, you wanted to run from behind and try to see how far behind you could get and still wind up winning.

Ok, that’s enough.  Let’s see if I remember how to run….