My Blogging Reality – Part 1

To cut to the chase this blog has to evolve to its next iteration. I am in year 5 of this endeavor and to be blunt it has not gone as well as I had hoped. Now to be clear, what that means is I set goals for myself when I started this. I think it is important to have goals when you start an endeavor; it is a framework in which to operate. Don’t read this wrong, I have had many successes with this blog but in the end my objectives aren’t being met.
So when I started, I adopted the correct approach to creating online content – I focused on a niche – Anxiety. I have anxiety it is something that I am passionate about but I dedicated the blog exclusively to it and it did well, then the pandemic hit and it did even better. However, my interests were not exclusive to Anxiety and committing to creating 3 pieces a week, I needed to post about other things.

The second iteration of the blog came about, I started to post about things that interested ME, not necessarily the reader. This often only works if you have a large core audience, essentially you are asking people to become interested in you the creator not the content exclusively. This is a big ask, UNLESS you have tens of thousands of subs, at 300-500 meh.
Now in terms of metrics I scaled with other creators. As an example, I am subbed to some bloggers who have 30K subscribers but muster maybe 200 likes a post. At 600 subscribers, I muster 5 likes a post. In comparison my audience is more engaged but it’s not just about audience engagement. There are other factors at play here, 2 specifically.

FIRST: Are people actually reading the posts? SECOND: Do have the ability to continue to create at the pace I am. In both cases, the answer declined over time. Each year has seen less people actually reading this blog and me running out of things to post about. I mean 3 posts a week, how many times can I talk about my workouts or anxiety without this becoming a vlog?

So here we are in year 5 of the blog. The goal for the end of year 5 was a few thousand subs (I was hoping for 2500). A steady readership of 10% – 25% per post ( % of subscribers) and more interaction to inspire more posting. Its did not happen. This is not a plea or a criticism of those subscribed, it is a reality check. So now I find myself nearing the end of the 5 year plan. Had I achieved the goals I set out I was going to create a website and do much more branding and employ outside help to propel the blog further.

It appears that isn’t going to happen, so I am in the process of reimagining what I want to do here. That is the current journey of this blog and where I am at. May is a month where I will be traveling a lot, and it will bleed into June. The posts will likely be sporadic but by the end of June, the next iteration of the blog will be in place, whatever that is.

For those of you who read regularly I truly thank you. I will post another update soon.

Once more into the breach – U.S. Politics

So I am going to try to keep this short but I want to be clear I will be ranting slightly. Biden has announced his bid for reelection and as many of you know Trump is running as well. So once again the U.S. voters have a choice between bad choice A or bad choice B. I am not interested in arguing the pros and cons of either, I have heard it all. From mean tweets to cognitive decline on and on and on and on. So we are going to get another round of this B.S. it’s been over a decade now.

In the U.S. the 2 party system has largely failed. We are in extreme debt, beholden to antiquated international organizations that have little to no benefit for the American people. The 2 parties have created a polarized citizenry that is at each other’s throats. There is no middle ground anymore and the fault for this isn’t exclusive to one party or the other they are both culpable.

You see this is how they stay in power. They pit you against the other side you are compelled to vote not because you believe in the candidate or that they will do a good job, but because you cannot allow the other side to win. U.S. voters go along with this decade after decade stuck in a fog of apathy that is undermining our social constructs and keeping us entangled in global institutions set up after WWII, nearly 80 years ago.

Regardless of who you vote for, please vote !

What we need is viable 3rd, 4th, 5th parties that consume parts of the voting bloc. As many of you know I am a libertarian but as the largest 3rd party in the U.S. we can, at best, command 3% of the vote in any given election cycle. My hope is that will change in my lifetime. I would like to see a viable green party, a constitutional party, a more robust libertarian party. This would finally break the strangle hold of the 2 party system that is driving the U.S. into the dirt.

Not in 2024 sadly, we get more of the same. Horrible choice A, or Horrible choice B and the loser here will be the American people. More division, more anger, more resentment and the hole we are in gets deeper. Maybe this will be the year you break the cycle? Maybe this year instead of voting for a democrat or republican you start supporting other candidates.

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The concept of Hanlons razor

“Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”  

hanlon’s razor is an aphorism that is very hard to remember but its so true. You could replace “stupidity” with “ignorance” but the net bottom line here is you can’t always assume the intentions of others are a result of I’ll intent.

Simply put, some people say things and do things that impact you negatively and they don’t understand they are doing it. As people with Anxiety this situation probably happens to us more so then others. I know I have had people say things to me that have really bothered me . I internalized it like so many of us do and it flavored how I interacted with those people and what I thought of them going forward.

Now there are cases, actually many, in which people do say things and do things from a place of malice. These are disturbed and or just extremely toxic people. I work tirelessly (as tirelessly as I can) to rid myself of such people. Sometimes though you can’t escape them. A toxic family member, a horrible boss they are everywhere.

However, most people are not tuned into mental health issues. Moreover, they are not in tune to the nuances, depths that vary person to person, and the current scope of the issue. This is where hanlon’s razor theory is very important. If we assume that people are coming from a place of malice, we eliminate opportunities to educate first, and perhaps gain allies.

Let me be clear, as many of us who suffer with mental health issues (regardless of scale) it is not our job to educate people. That said it should be our endeavor to not assume those who impact us negatively are doing so with malice. Remember halon’s razor, it may very well be that the person is unaware or suffering themselves. I don’t encourage anyone to go beyond their comfort levels but at the end of the day we all have to find away to exist and hopefully thrive in the world.

Sometimes extending the benefit of the doubt can net you positive outcomes. Hang in there, one day at a time, you are doing awesome.  

Finance Tip: The secret weapon to starting a new business.

This isn’t going to be a long post but let me be clear there is a lot of nuance that goes into starting a business. There are a couple of key components though that you will not get from places like fidelity, Forbes, your financial advisor etc. Now this may seem like common sense but you would be surprised at how many small businesses fail because people follow their passions and do not think deeply about the concept highlighted below.

Do things for people who no longer want to do those things and have the money to pay someone else to do it.

A very simple example of this is cleaning the house. When many people get older or get to a point where they have disposable income, they seek to purchase time. Purchasing time simply means you pay people to do things that you no longer want to do so you can do something else. These are not complex financial concepts here. This isn’t something you need to pay a finance professional for either. It’s rather simple really and if you can do this the likelihood of you having a successful business is high.

If what you are selling gives people more time to do what they want = income.

Can you provide a good or a service for someone that they would have to do themselves but they no longer want to do it?

That is the secret weapon. If you start a business with that premise, you will likely find yourself in a situation where you can derive a good income. The jobs won’t be glamourous of course, from landscaping to house cleaning to dog walking to grocery shopping. This is a luxury purchase really but it can be scaled. Think about the businesses in your area and the services they need that they may not want to do. As an example that small house washing business who is doing something the homeowner doesn’t want to do, might not want to do their own booking keeping.

This is different from the old concept of “solving a problem” for people or businesses which is a good way to start as business as well but relies completely on the notion that the entity you want to work for can’t do it themselves. The secret I am giving you now is very lucrative, it’s doing something for other people they do not want to do.

You can make a nice living doing this, because let’s face it everyone has something in their life they simply don’t want to do.

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How I stay in shape over 50: A new Spring Jump Start

So spring is here, in my world in my small town in New England we are looking at mid 70’s today. It will be back in the 50’s this weekend which is par for the course but spring is here. So during the pandemic I got myself in very good shape, dropped nearly 30 pounds and refocused my training back to strength.

I’ve learned a few lessons along the way and one of the most important things I have learned in my now near 40 year fitness journey is changing workouts regularly is highly beneficial for making progress. Some say you never do the same work out twice, I don’t subscribe to that but I do stagger workouts. Meaning I will do a routine for 6-8 weeks then shift to something else. It’s worked well for me.

Now for many, spring is a time when you kick start your workouts. Some people walk more, some start taking yoga classes, work in the yard etc. If you want a quick jump-start to your fitness journey this spring I have a quick and easy plan for you to achieve it. You should continue to do more low impact movement (get your steps in) but the jump-start is every 48 hours do squats for the next 6 weeks.

Don’t Skip Leg Day !

Start with a lightweight and do 5 sets of 5 reps. If you complete the 25 reps, you increase the weight 10 pounds. Do this every 48 hours, if you are too sore one of the days skip that 48-hour cycle but you only get 2 of these so pick wisely. So you do this for 2 weeks and on the next 48 hour cycle you are too sore, sick whatever, you act as if you did the squats so you don’t work out again for another 48 hours. This gives you a 96 hour (4 day) recovery window should you need it.

Do this for six weeks, and do not start with a silly super lightweight either. Pick something you know you can handle but will be a moderate challenge. In 6 weeks, you should see some decent results. Your cardio should be better, your legs should look better and your confidence should be higher.

Squats when done with a moderate to heavy weight engage several of your “systems” and inspire great anabolic effects. Keep eating the best food you can and getting as much sleep as your lifestyle will allow. If you start this now you should be done by Memorial Day and you should feel great!

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Someday isn’t on the calendar

There are many holidays on the calendar. Most of them we just let pass without much fanfare. Groundhogs day, Flag Day, Super Tuesday, Evacuation day, Arbor day and many state and local holidays. One holiday “Someday” isn’t on the calendar.

How many times have you referred to “someday” in your life or your private thoughts? What day did you mean exactly? Next March? Two weeks from now? Someday is cop out really. The value of time cannot be measured. If you find yourself referring to “someday” more and more it might mean you aren’t doing the things you really want to.

The next time you say to yourself “someday” actually give it a date. “Someday I will go to Ireland”. When exactly? By putting a date to your “somedays” you begin to eliminate this mindset completely from your life. You begin to do the things you want to do, pushing out things that have lesser value, to you.

Remember, the most valuable commodity on the planet is time. It doesn’t care about your gender, race, religion, ethnicity or age. You have a limited amount of it and you should be tasked to do the things you want to do within the time you have.

Someday isn’t on your calendar, maybe it should be.

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Oscar Wilde

Wisdom from the past:“Punctuality is the thief of time.” – Oscar Wilde, From -The Picture of Dorian Gray-

Once again we harken back to the past to pull out some wisdom on the value of time. As I have said in posts before here Time is the most valuable commodity on the planet. No one knows how much time they have been allotted. Your race, religion, gender, sexuality, aren’t relevant to time, it doesn’t care. How you spend your time is of course the trick isn’t it? How do we spend more time doing what we want, instead of spending time doing things we would rather not be doing?

There are of course many avenues to pursue to achieve the aim of maximizing your time. No one can really tell you the path to take, only you know what it is you truly enjoy doing. The quote from Wilde above is a little misleading. It is after all Oscar Wilde so we have to take his wit in historical context. If you don’t know who Oscar Wilde is, check out this site

What I glean from his quote is that when you invest effort in someone else, like being punctual because someone is waiting for you, you sacrifice your own time that you could spend on doing something else. That something else can be anything really. Yes that includes dressing up as one of your favorite movie characters !

The point here is creating opportunities to spend your time the way you want to should never be taken for granted. Meetings, appointments, deadlines… Are they all necessary? Are you beholden to a regimen of time management that benefits other people?

Look at how you are choosing to allocate your time. Take a week and write out how many hours during that week did you exchange your time for someone else. Work, chores, you name it put it on the list. Of course if you do that, you’ll be exchanging your time to accommodate someone else’s request, mine.

Please be punctual….

How to make more money and perks at work

So it’s been a while since I have done a “working” piece. Quick recap, at prior roles I have been a manager who hired and fired staff. Now it’s been a minute since then but not that long ago. So take my advice here with a grain of salt. Now what I am about to reveal isn’t rocket science, you could probably come to the same conclusion. BUT as a former manager I can tell you the people who had these items I always tried to do more for.

Gender, Race, Religion, Sexuality it didn’t matter to me. If you had these traits, I tried to pay you more. I without a doubt favored staff who exhibited these traits. I know that’s probably not politically correct but I am being real here. I’m telling you right now your manager at work values these items as well. So what are these magical traits?

Soft Skills

I know you have probably heard this buzz phrase all over the place recently. It’s the intangible traits that are exhibited by the individual. These are without a doubt some of the biggest factors in your success or failure within a role. You not only have to be aware of them but hone them in to capitalize on them. I work for money so I can afford to do the things I like to do. I’m guessing you are very similar, so here is a list of a few “soft skills” that will help you make more money at work and get more perks.

  • Dependability: You show up every day ready to work.
  • Positive attitude: This is self-explanatory
  • Communication: It’s not just sending the email, its ensuring that people understand what you mean.
  • Adaptability: If someone is out, can I look to you to fill in or do I have to ask someone else?
  • Conflict Resolution: Conflict happens; can you resolve it internally or at the first sign of trouble are you emailing HR?

Now these might be vague but I think you get the gist. The point is most employees have a few of these traits (less and less these days it seems) but some have many. Now some people call them names a “beta” or “brown noser” as a manager my name for them? MVP. These are the people I rely on the most and any good manager worth their salt will make sure those individuals are paid well and cared for.

As an example, I worked with a woman we will call Pam. Pam reported to me directly. She had great soft skills she really excelled at her role it was a pleasure to have her in my dept. I had another person I will call Heidi. Heidi was generally a pain in the ass, but Heidi did one specific task better than anyone else and that made her valuable. I needed her, or so I thought. So one day Heidi tells me she needs 3 weeks off to prepare for her sister’s wedding. I try and be sympathetic to her but I simply didn’t have the ability to “give” her 3 weeks off. See she wanted it above and beyond her PTO time.

Take every minute of paid time off you get, leave none on the table.

I told her I couldn’t do that and she should put in a PTO time off request for any time she needed (she didn’t have 3 weeks btw). Heidi emails HR, tells them I was rude (because I said no). I get the call from HR, I talk to them, they get it and they handle it. 2 weeks go by Heidi says nothing things are working as per normal. Heidi comes in at the end of the day and quits, saying she HAS to have the time off for the wedding prep and if I won’t let her go she is quitting. I say as little as possible.

She leaves, I let HR know. Now luckily Heidi wrote a resignation letter. It wasn’t flattering to me, but it wasn’t horrible either, this is important later. Next work day I start cleaning up Heidi’s desk and taking that work. Pam asks what’s going on, I tell her Heidi is no longer with the company. Pam starts intercepting people who would normally come see Heidi and she begins to do her work (I never asked, I was going to get a temp). I thank her, and this buys me time to get a qualified temp which I do 2 weeks later.

I get an email a month later, Heidi wants to come back to work. I tell her “sorry the position is filled” which leads to a meltdown along the lines of “I’m sorry I was under a lot of stress, etc., so on”. I refer her to HR, the temp is working out, I offer them the role and they accept. Pam’s review comes up, I give her a stellar review due to the Heidi situation. I went to the CFO and asked for a special 5K bonus to be taken out of my dept. budget, which reduced my annual bonus (part of my comp was a % of the amount I was under budget). I gave her a 6% raise, the highest I could at the time and give her 3 “Oh shit” days.

Those are days when something happens randomly and you don’t want to use PTO but you are stuck. Think flat tire, furnace goes out during the night you get the picture. Basically 3 days I cover for her, she gets paid, we don’t use PTO. This wasn’t official policy but a lot of managers did it. The point of all this? Pam stepped up when I needed her to because that’s who she was. I rewarded her with as much as I could for doing it. Heidi? She left voice mails crying for her job, which she never got back.

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How to be a better man: Dealing with women at “the wall”

So quick disclaimer: This post is part of a series I do that give wisdom to heterosexual men. If you find this helpful great, if you are offended please be clear that is not the intent. I don’t know you, so I do not create blog posts to upset you.

So that out of the way what is the wall? In the world of relationships the term “The Wall” has become a meme that describes the point in which females begin to age and decline. This happens to men as well but it is most associated with females in the current discourse. This can loosely be tied to the decrease in hormones both sexes experience as they approach mid-life but the context of the meme has evolved beyond the biological application.

Simply put when someone his at the “wall” their appeal is declining. I have seen numerous blog posts and videos in the “manosphere” discussing when this actually happens to women. Some say it’s when their “clock” starts to tick. A nod to the past incarnation of the wall meme, essentially, when a woman feels the desire to settle down and have children. This isn’t all women of course but the general theme seems to be most women experience this.

I am not a female so I can’t speak to the biology directly but I do know ovulation happens once a month and is not infinite and over time, this biological process slows down. More over what has happened in the current social construct is women have been assigned categories based on their age by many in the “manosphere”. I think labels are problematic myself but I understand navigating the dating and relationship world in 2023 is a lot different than it was in 2003. Many men, rightly or wrongly believe women who are 35+ are fast approaching the wall and are potentially lower value mates.

This wall is not going to be torn down, it is undefeated.

Now I cannot speak to this directly. I personally have found plenty of older women attractive but a man peaking in his mid to late 30’s might not feel the same way. So how do you deal with women at “the wall”? First, you should not dismiss them outright due to their age and you should not capitalize on the current social narrative that essentially portrays these women as desperate for a man.

In all of your relationships with females, but specifically for romantic relationships with aging females you have to work on being as direct and honest as possible. Therefore, it may very well be that the meme is true, the older she gets the more desperate she becomes to settle down. What is wrong with that? I do not see the issue really, I understand the motivation clearly actually. What I don’t understand is the many men in the manosphere that seem to hold a grudge against these women who desire that.

Do not date them then. You see what happens when you are direct and honest is everyone is empowered. She is crystal clear what your expectations and wants are. It is up to her to communicate to you what she wants. You see one of the greatest triumphs of feminism is the fact that women now own their outcomes when it comes to relationships with men. If she isn’t clear, or expected something different then what you were willing to provide that is on her now. You do not have to spend hours trying to figure it out, you get to be honest with her and if she isn’t up for what you are, you swipe to the next one.

Women approaching the wall are not taboo, do not discard them. Women who are not honest and clear about their expectations for the relationship they want with you are taboo. Run from them as fast as you can. Remember hook up culture is okay if it’s consensual, anything goes IMHO. Just be clear though, as women age they often desire different outcomes. That doesn’t make them bad people or damaged, it makes them authentic. So give them the same authenticity in return, tell them what you are up for and what you aren’t. It might work out, might not but at least this way there is no B.S. everyone knows the deal.

“The Wall” comes for us all and it means different things to different people based on their life experience. Who knows, if you are lucky, you might find someone who is really cool and you share a lot of desired outcomes, you can hit the wall together.

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