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.

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.  

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.

Interested in more posts like this one? Check out my blog post here

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….

Anxiety issues – War, lawsuits and politics. (Rant)

Right now the world is experiencing an anxiety moment. We have the Russian invasion of Ukraine that is dragging on and on. We have lawsuits in the U.S. over mental health issues and gun rights and we have U.S. politics, which like it or not really affects everyone. This post is just going to air some of the issues out. Most of these things are making people more anxious and the net bottom line of the post here is, there is nothing you can do about it.

Let’s get the taboo part out of the way first. Former president Donald Trump has been indicted in NY. I know I mentioned Trump, the post is doomed from here on out. Here is the thing, I am not a democrat or republican. I did not vote for Trump (or Biden) and I will not vote for either in 2024. People have been going after Trump for years now. Some of it is complete B.S. (Russian collusion) some of it seems legit to me. I don’t know what is true and what isn’t anymore. Everyone is so biased and hell bent on getting “the other side” I stopped listening.

If he committed crimes, put him in jail but can we also go after all the other politicians in the U.S. who have committed crimes too? It’s not just Trump, regardless of how you feel about him. For my foreign viewers out there I want to be crystal clear to you on my opinion of the U.S. federal government. I believe it is among the most corrupt governments in the world. Between foreign influences, lobbyists, self interest….. It’s broken.

Vote
The U.S. needs viable alternatives to the Democrat and Republican Parties.

The battles over mental health and gun rights. So let us be clear about something. The 2nd amendment in fact guarantees U.S. citizens the right to “bare arms”. There is no getting around it. The context in which it was written IS VERY IMPORTANT. It was to ensure that the citizens have the ability to challenge their government should it become a tyranny. You know at the time they had just kicked a tyrant out and it was normal citizens, with their PERSONAL FIRE ARMS that did it. Is that still applicable today? Yes, it is. As I have said, the U.S. federal government is corrupt, I don’t trust them regardless of what party is in power.

Does that mean I should be able to run down the street with an AK-47? No. Does it mean I should have the right to own one to defend my home and property against illegal seizure? YES, that was the intent of the 2nd amendment. Most gun owners in the U.S. are law-abiding citizens. They have no problem with background checks, mental health evaluations etc to obtain a fire arm. The reality is, there are many people out there with a mental illness and they need help. I would rather the U.S. government send to the states billions in aid to help with the mental health crisis then send billions to Ukraine.

This issue keeps coming up, someone goes on a rampage and guns are to blame. Get rid of the firearms and that person still has a mental illness. So they use knives the next time (hello to all my UK friends, sound familiar?) so what we ban knives next? It’s like going to the Dr and telling her your foot hurts and she says “take an aspirin”. Yes the pain goes away but why was the foot hurting? The root cause isn’t fixed, so when people start talking about addressing the epidemic of mental illness issues in U.S. society I will take gun control more seriously. Trying to ban firearms is a waste of time, the constitution is clear on this it will never stick. More evidence of the corruption of the U.S. federal government, those arguing for gun control know it will not get past the Supreme Court, it’s a play on your emotions and it’s sinister.

Last, we have politics. In the U.S. the 2024 presidential election (which is Nov 24) is heating up now. Trump is being charged in NY. He is the leading candidate for one of the largest political parties in the U.S. Now please be objective for a minute. What would you say if, in the run up to an election in any other country, the opposition leader was being charged with crimes after YEARS of legal proceedings? The 2024 U.S. presidential election is going to be one of, if not the ugliest we have ever seen.

We have had some beauts in the past but do not think for one second this is it for Trump. He thrives in an arena where he has to fight and all of the people out there counting him out are a lot of the same people who said he could not win in 16, and he did. Things are going to get uglier here and for those of us with anxiety that isn’t good news. I wish I had some magic wand to wave and make it all go away but I do not. Buckle up and take care of yourself, the ride is going to get bumpy.

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Gandalf

The Wisdom of Tolkien…Again..

“Wise men speak only of what they know”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

We’ve all heard some iteration of this in some form in our travels. My father used to say to me many years ago “When you are up to your nose in poop, done open your mouth”. Of course he was more colorful in his prose. He was a Korean War vet and didn’t have much use for B.S. I guess he had seen enough over there to understand the value of his time.

I digress though….

So have you been in a conversation with someone or a group of people and there is that one person who refers to “they” or uses the term “they say”? These are the types of people Tolkien is talking about here. As an example, if we were to talk about personal finance I could hold my own with just about anyone that’s my area of expertise.

If for example we were talking about Astrology I wouldn’t know the first thing other than some cursory info on the solar system, or a guess at how many stars are out there… you get the drift.

Be mindful in your life who is speaking to what subject. It is true the older you get the more experiences you have and you can speak wisely on many topics. Another example… I can tell you and speak to how to jump start a car. Not because I am an auto mechanic but because I’ve had to do it several times in my life.

Not every wise person comes in the guise of the highly educated. A master’s degree is not required in all subjects to have wisdom in said subject. That said be wary of those who boast, who preface remarks, who use citations that don’t make sense, who refer to things that, in your heart you know just don’t make sense.

Tolkien is telling you wise men (and women) speak only what they know. Who are you getting your information from? Is this person a walking encyclopedia? Chances are they are wise in nothing at all, other than how to create the illusion of wisdom.

Interested in more wisdom from Tolkien? Check out my post here

Wisdom from the past, and present…

“Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.”
― Robin S. Sharma

Robin Sharma is an author who deals primarily in business leadership. His resume of companies he has worked with is not only notable but extensive. He is not a main stream name, many people have no idea who he is and honestly would never need to read his material. Like all good authors he, from time to time gives us a pearl of a quote. Let’s discuss it a little bit.

The quote itself is pretty obvious, how do we parlay this wisdom into the present? We are coming off lockdowns and travel restrictions and the narrative is “let’s get back to normal”. Do you want to go back to the routines you maintained prior to covid? Do you want to live the same year again?

Perhaps for you this is the time to continue the disruption of covid in a positive way. Perhaps changing your “normal” is a good thing. I’ve lived the same year multiple times, it’s easy because routine breeds comfort and comfort swallows time. Think of ways you can change your old normal. Travel more? Get a pet? Volunteer? ?

It’s a great time to change your personal narrative and not fall back into the old normal you used to partake in. Before you know it you will be 75, take me for example… I am closer to 75 now than I am 25. Don’t live the same year over again. Try something new, force yourself, who knows it might be the thing that at 75 you look back on and smile.

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Wisdom from a 50 year old (Me) – Coworkers are not your friend

Normally on Wednesdays, I do an anxiety piece but today I am going to give you some wisdom and a short story to back it up. The wisdom? You’re Co-Workers are not your friends. Now you probably knew that but it’s a broad statement that encompasses everything. You see any piece of information you give to a coworker can be told to someone else and potentially used against you.

Now maybe you know the people you work with well, maybe you are friends. What about the people they have on the periphery of their lives? So here is the story, I will try to keep it brief. I worked with a woman who was about my age at the time (early 40’s), I will call her Kathy. Kathy is a normal woman, of note here Kathy was Hispanic (2nd generation Mexican immigrant) now that is an important factor later on.

So we were in a common break room. People came in and out of there all the time to heat up lunch, get a coffee, kill 10 min…. you know the deal. So Kathy is explain to me and another coworker and issue she was having with her youngest son whom we will call Tommy. Tommy got in to trouble at school and according to Kathy when her husband got home he “got his belt and wiped his ass” (literally her words). I did not say much, my old man did that to me once or twice. I had earned it and he was old school, but I do not recall enjoying it.

Someone in the break room over heard the conversation and said “your husband actually whipped your child?” To which Kathy replied “Yes, but it is part of our culture we are Mexican and that is how the men discipline the boys”. Now I am listening to this and to be blunt not taking it very seriously. I honestly didn’t care, I do not inject myself into other people’s lives. Still Kathy was telling us a PERSONAL situation; we were coworkers, not her friend. The other person I was with didn’t say much they were just kind of there.

Surviving 2020 & covid
I just wanted a cup of coffee

The person who butted into the conversation? She worked in HR and her reply was “Well this isn’t Mexico, this is the United States and I am obligated to tell Child Services that I am aware of a child being abused”. I perked up quickly, so did the other silent participant in this now escalating tale of woe. So Kathy’s face turned to anger very quickly and she said “what happens in my home is none of your business.” Which I agree with, but the response from the person butting in, HR woman is what stuck with me and hence the premise of this blog post.

“What happens in your home is your business, until you decide to bring it into the work place and share it with your coworkers”

HR woman looks at me and the other silent participant and my heart sank because I knew I was now going to be inserted into this drama. It had it all, females who disagree, ethnicity references, child abuse allegations, and HR. I think I aged 5 years on the spot. So we disperse, HR woman storms off and Kathy calls her a bitch, to us, not to her and we go back to work. 3 hours later, I am called into HR. They ask me point blank did Kathy say her husband beat their child. I replied factually that no, Kathy said he “whipped his ass” and I provided the context that I assumed she meant he spanked the kid.

I couldn’t lie, I mean I could have but the HR lady knew I heard it, the other silent observer heard it and I didn’t know what he was going to say and I have a policy of not lying unless it’s absolutely necessary. That is all they wanted from me, I saw the silent observer the next morning and he confirmed they talked to him as well. Kathy wasn’t in that day, she was on a “leave of absence” which turned into a termination.

Now what I heard through the grapevine was HR in fact called child services and Kathy and family got a visit. It was determined there was no abuse etc. but Kathy exploded. She threatened lawsuits, called the owner called people every name in the book. She emailed myself and silent observer multiple times asking what we said, it was dramatic but short. I never found out the end of the story, but Kathy was let go. I assume she found another job and her life went on. The HR woman, I believe is still at that company, actually running the dept now.

So the point of all this is, even casual friendly conversations with coworkers are minefields. You can’t trust anyone at work. Do not share your personal details with people at work, and this is especially true now with social media. Someone can take what you say literally and it can get messy very quickly.

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Finance Tip – 3 quick ways to get more money

Below are 3 things you can do right now to get more money. These will not be side hustles, or huge amounts of money but they will save you money over time and thus increase your income and allow you to become more financially solvent. As a reminder any finance advice you see on this blog is my opinion only, based on my decades of experience in the finance industry. Before making any financial decision always obtain as much information as you possibly can.

  1. Consumption apps: What does this mean? Simple example the Starbucks app. If you consume coffee, food, gas and you frequent a particular place regularly you should see if that place has an app that offers discounts. So many of them do now, drug stores, grocery stores, fast food, sit down restaurants you name it. What many of them do is offer you discounts based on your purchases. If you are going anyway why not? Do not go out of your way to buy more, just keep your consumption at its normal level and take advantage of their promotions and you will over time save money.
  2. Health plan reimbursements: Many health plans have an annual reimbursement for gym memberships, and working out. If as an example you walk regularly, you can have your doctor sign a letter stating you do so and submit it to your health plan. Many health plans give a % back to you of your cost (gym membership, shoes) or have a flat reimbursement annually $100-$1000 if you prove you were exercising preventatively. This can mean basketball league, after work softball, a gym membership, a martial arts class, yoga instruction. Even several state sponsored and federally sponsored health insurance plans have this kind of reimbursement.
  3. Sell stuff you aren’t using: Old golf clubs, Clothes, kids toys, pets supplies as examples. There is an entire economy out there on EBay and craigslist (and others) of people buying and selling used items. It’s not hard to set up an eBay account and sell things, with the internet you can get a good idea of the value of items as well. It maybe that you have an old leather jacket in your closet you haven’t worn in years and don’t plan to. What if that sold for $75 on EBay?

Bonus Tip!

Look through your stuff and see if you can identify hidden gems. Have an old comic book collection? An antique watch? A vase from your great grandmother? Some of these items may be worth a lot of money. Ever see a show called the Antiques roadshow? Most of those people have no idea what they have, and who knows, maybe that random painting you have in storage is worth something….

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Anxiety 101 – Working on Discipline

If you have anxiety, depending on the day everything can slip. A bad day can set you back a week, a bad week a month and so on. Everyone has different triggers and this post isn’t meant to shame anyone. What it is intended to do is to give you 4 things you should be doing every day, even in the throes of a serious bout of anxiety. These are not fixes, but what they do is they create consistent actions and routines that will allow you to anchor yourself on the days (weeks or months) where you have crippling anxiety. Every other day these will be natural events, the list is not complicated or exhausted but they are MUST DO’S

The Mouth Routine: No this is not perverted… Twice a day, when you wake, and before you have to sleep you should be cleaning your mouth. The health benefits are for another post but how it makes you FEEL is what is important here. A clean fresh mouth is well, refreshing. What should you do for a “Mouth Routine?”

Brush

Floss

Mouthwash

Tongue comb or rake – You can brush your tongue as well, trust me on this one.

Vitamin D: I take a lot of Vitamin D. I’ve read a lot online about the importance of this vitamin and this post is not intended to be a science piece I did a post here many moons ago click it for an elaboration. If you are uncomfortable with Vitamin D fine, take a multivitamin. This should be done at the same time every day. I take mine at noon.

Consistent Sleep schedule: This is easier than it looks. I am not saying you have to sleep for 8 hours, I know most people can’t, particularly with anxiety. What I am saying, and you should be doing is going to bed and rising the same time every day. Sleep is how your body repairs. It’s critical for all aspects of your health and you need to create a consistent schedule for it. Mine?

Weekdays – Sunday thru Thursday: I am in bed screens off by 10:30PM. Even if I cannot fall asleep, I lay there. I get up between 4:30AM and 7:00AM depending on what days I go to the gym.

Weekends – Friday thru Saturday: I am in bed screens off by 1AM. I get up between 7AM and 9AM. I game, watch movies/shows used to go out will again after covid. Friday night and Saturday night I stay up but rarely past 1, and often in bed by midnight.

Human Contact: You need to talk to someone, touch someone, and have human contact (non sexually is the context here, but sex is fine but another post all together). Anxiety can be isolating and even if it is just some emails or a text you have to talk to someone every day. This may sound silly, but believe it or not there are many of us who can go weeks and not talk to anyone at all. You need human interaction, you need to “feel” and “sense” other people.

Ugh, Lists

Every day do these things. Do not wait, don’t make excuses start working on them. These will help you and give you confidence and self-worth. Anxiety can be crippling, isolating, desperate. Fight back with simple tools. Even if you only do one of the items above it will have a dramatic impact on you for the positive.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog! Please remember to like, subscribe and share I truly appreciate it! Want to see another post like this one? Click here.