The Life Squared Challenge

Life Squared

In last week’s extended Friday edition of The Daily Chalkboard I wrote about how cool it is to be square. I’m sure the title was enough to raise an eyebrow or two among some of you as you began reading, given the connotation of “being square”. The idea of a regimented, unwavering, un-cool and disciplined lifestyle has often been associated with being labeled a square. Compared to being free spirited, creative and open to new ideas, being square just doesn’t hold much appeal for most people. I get it. Nobody wants to feel like they are not cool. But there’s another way one can look at being a square.

Let me suggest that you begin by throwing your perception of being a square out the proverbial window along with any other pre-conceived ideas you may have of what it means to truly be liked and successful in your life. Often these perceptions we learn and adopt have been conceived by someone with ulterior motives involving the desire to gain power, control and persuasion over us. This is one of the reasons that the idea of being square has received such a bad rap to begin with. Compared to a life of sex, love and rock and roll being a square doesn’t hold much appeal for the average person. But as many have discovered, there can be a heavy price to pay when letting others do your thinking for you. So, let’s begin with a clean slate, or in this case, an empty chalkboard, if you will.

There’s a difference between being regimented and being focused, being uniform and being disciplined, and between being a square and having a “well rounded” lifestyle. The fear and dread of being the round peg forced into the square hole has stuck with us for a long time and unfortunately been turned into a mindset of fear adopted by many when it comes to their consideration of ending up mismatched with a job, a peer group or any situation in life that does not appear at first glance to be the best fit for them. Often we relegate good, sound principles to the trash heap just because we’ve been told they’re not cool and we should. I encourage you to consider all things for yourself.

The idea of living your life by walking a path focused on being squared away isn’t a new or original idea. My introduction to it was years ago, when I was given a book by William H. Danforth titled, “I Dare You”. The book was a challenge to me to be the best person I can possibly be by giving equal importance and attention to four important facets in my life; the Physical, Mental, Social and Spiritual elements of being a human being. The book, while being a great primer for getting your “shtuff” together and being a good example to others, is a bit dated in light of how society’s sensitivities have changed over the years. After all, it was written in the 1930’s, during the American Depression, when many people were feeling the economic woes of political and financial policies gone awry. Jobs were tough to find, people had little hope and the news was full of negativity and despair. On the other hand, perhaps is beginning to sound somewhat familiar to you.

The fact is, life happens and whatever it brings to our table, or doesn’t bring, there’s no excuse to be anything but the best we possibly can be. Whether this is for the sole purpose of setting a positive example to ourselves or our peers, the fact remains that regardless of how bad others may view things, we alone have the power and the right to control our thoughts and actions, and therefore to change things for the better. My purpose, as I have determined it should be, is to help send a message to anyone who will listen to or read it, that true success starts with a thought that then migrates to an action, with the outcome being whatever we have determined it will be. This has to be accomplished through the application of our whole being. Success is a journey that requires we be “squared away” physically, mentally, socially and spiritually. These four things make up who we are as individuals and how seriously we are received and accepted by others. It is cool to be square and I challenge you to begin thinking in these terms if you haven’t already been doing so.

Consider yourself having been challenged. You have four areas of your life that need to be considered, nurtured, grown, attended to and balanced if you truly wish to be happy and successful. I call this “Finding Your Smile”. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how young. Your economic and social status holds no restriction to your ability to participate in this challenge. If you accept it and follow through you will see results that you can be proud of because you have decided to make adjustments and changes in your life to become the best person you possibly can. This is when you will truly find your Smile. What could be better than that?

Over the next few weeks I’ll share the details about how you can put together a personal program to get yourself squared away. This is going to require a commitment in time spent both in thought and action on your part. It will require some changes in your habits and how you choose to spend your most valuable asset, your time.

Don’t kid yourself, this won’t be easy and you will be challenged. I’m going to be honest here and tell you up front that most people who begin probably won’t see it through to the end. Exceptional people are not normal people. Exceptional people don’t follow the rules, they make them. Exceptional means just that, you are an exception to the rules that apply to others. You are anything but a square, although because you have the guts and desire to lead a life of discipline and focus you may appear to be to others who are not.

I feel something needs to be clearly stated at this point. This is a sales pitch, but not the kind you may be familiar with. What I want to sell you is you, and your ability to be a better, more focused, happy, secure, successful individual who will make a difference in the lives of others.  I promise you I won’t be baiting you with teasers for a full, more detailed program, and then attempt to switch you to some “inner circle” that pays a monthly fee to get the rest of the plan, along with my multiple thousands of dollars in “bonuses” for one low monthly payment that somehow always seems to end in a seven. I personally deplore this type of tactic and feel in many cases it walks a very thin ethical line. I cringe at the thought of so many well meaning people getting sucked into some redesigned money pit formula created for the purpose of enriching the thought guru who cooked it up or borrowed it from elsewhere. Most of these self professed gurus have purchased the plan from some other person anyway while doing nothing more than peddling it under a different product name. We have way too many of these folks, well meaning or not, operating within our midst. I’m not one of them. Yes, I too have to make a living, but I’ll tell you up front when I’d like you to pay for something. I won’t tease you and then dump you like a bad date because you won’t or can’t pay up. This is yours, free and clear to make what you will of it.

I will say this though. If you feel it’s good or bad or can be improved in some way I’d love to hear from you. No one is perfect and I can learn as much from you as you, hopefully, will learn from me. If you feel this information can help someone else you know, whether a friend, colleague, associate or family member, please, by all means feel free to share it with them. Send them a link to my page here so they can begin their personal journey to getting their “shtuff” squared away. If you have questions, please ask. If you have comments, please share them. All I ask is that you be civil and positive in your comments and concerns. I truly want to help you find your Smile and the best way I know how to do this is to be smiling myself, so please don’t make me frown, unless you’ve got good reason for feeling you should.

What you are reading is a true reflection of who I am and what gets me up in the morning. No, literally. I write each of these pieces in the morning, right after I get up. I prefer it to a doughnut along with my first cup of coffee and my body thanks me for it. But more about that later. The Daily Chalkboard is one of my personal disciplines and the focus for my desire to help make this world a better place. I’m just one guy with one voice and an internet full of people like you who I hope to virtually touch with caring and love in a positive and meaningful way. That’s my motive, my purpose and my challenge. Help me meet my challenge by accepting your own Life Squared Challenge.


“I simply write what I feel, because it matters to me. Hopefully some of it will resonate with and matter to you as well” – MDD

When It’s Cool To Be Square

Life Squared

In last week’s extended Friday edition of The Daily Chalkboard I wrote about how learning to read has helped shape my life. Once a poor reader, I was fortunate to end up with a grade school teacher who took the time to help me decipher the mysterious symbols that make up the English language and put the magic and power of reading literally in the palm of my hand. It began my journey to a greater understanding of the world, the people in it, and how our perceptions are shaped by those who challenge themselves to make it a better place to live. What I didn’t understand at the time is just how the valuable underlying lessons I was being taught would eventually shape my direction in life.

As I was being patiently tutored by a caring teacher who took her time to find the potential in an awkward, over talkative kid, with few friends, and a passionate desire to be one of the popular students, I was learning a valuable lesson in what it means to accept a personal challenge, to challenge others, and the importance of being a good mentor.  Inside that boisterous, energetic little boy was someone with a goal. It just took the right person to help me discover and channel that goal in a positive and meaningful direction.

We are all mentors to someone. Most often it’s our children; or a spouse, our friends, team mates, co-workers, or the stranger in the street who observes our interaction with them or others as we go about our seemingly mundane daily tasks. We are all unwitting mentors whether we desire to be or not. Each word, action, interaction and step we take has an effect on someone either physically, mentally, socially or spiritually. Our responsibility extends beyond our self and into our surroundings. Each person we associate with is affected by our actions or lack thereof. Each life we touch is another opportunity and challenge for us to leave someone with a favorable impression.

As related in last week’s editorial I was the recipient of a book that has reinforced my understanding of the importance for each of us to challenge ourselves to be the best we can be. The book, written by William H. Danforth, the founder of the Ralston Purina Company, is titled I Dare You!, and has shaped my understanding of how to become the best person I can be through a simple process of balancing four important areas of my life. The book, written in the early part of last century, is somewhat dated in its use of language and reference as compared to today, but the essence of the book remains intact as a formula for a success driven life. The book can still be purchased today and I encourage you to consider obtaining a copy for yourself. If you do, read it and consider how your adopting its straight forward and simple method for challenging yourself to be the best version of yourself can positively affect your life and the lives of others.

In short this simple book lays out a lifestyle that makes being square really cool. If implemented in a disciplined manner it will improve your overall well being and balance in four major areas of your life. These make up a square whose sides are comprised of the Mental, Physical, Social and Religious facets of an individual’s life. If your life is in balance, the assumption is that each side of the square will be equal, not skewed by one or two sides being longer or shorter than the others. In other words if you have your life “Squared Away” you will keep all four sides of your life equal. Your physical health, education, social interaction and spiritual endeavors will be in balance, therefore making your life complete and square.

This is where the challenge comes in. Few people can truly claim to have a balanced life. We can all improve in at least one of the four areas identified in Danforth’s square. By the way; take a look at any product packaging from Ralston Purina and notice the checkerboard motif which is their trademark. That trademark came from the culture of a balanced life that Mr. Danforth encouraged within the employees throughout his company. It’s an interesting legacy to a man who accepted the challenge by his teacher in grade school to be the best version of himself that he could be. I can personally relate to that story as I’m sure other readers of this article may as well.

Consider taking up your own challenge to make being square cool in your life. Not so many years ago the connotation of “being square” was a derogatory remark used to describe someone who was too regimented and unbending to enjoy life. We’ve come around full circle it seems. Today there is mounting evidence that even within the most seemingly laid back company cultures and pundits of spontaneous creativity there’s an acknowledgement that self discipline and personal challenge are the keys to many success stories. Without focused direction it’s impossible to navigate a course for reaching your desired goals. Being square just might be the roadmap you are seeking to help you stay on the path to your desired destination. What could be squarer than that?

When I learned to read I was also taught a valuable lesson about how important it is to have the right mentor in my life to help me reach my desired goals. If it wasn’t for someone who took the time to be passionate about helping me in my time of need things could have turned out much different for my life. If it weren’t for the countless mentors I’ve had a privilege to know, and observe, and read about, I would not have the examples upon which to base my personal challenge to myself physically, mentally, socially and spiritually. Mentors are important and, wittingly or not, we all end up being a mentor to someone. Our example makes an impact on someone’s life every day. There’s always someone watching and listening who we influence intentionally or otherwise. By making it cool to have your life squared away your mentorship will be the example needed to challenge others to be the best they can be.

As a mentor it’s my goal to share something with you each week that is helpful to your becoming the best version of yourself. It’s my passion and desire to help you find your “Smile”, which is to say, find the thing that drives your passion to connect with others and create a better community and world. You’ve got it in you, whether you realize it yet or not, and I believe in your ability to make an amazing and positive difference in your life and the lives of those around you. So, let’s work on getting you squared away. Shall we?


“I simply write what I feel, because it matters to me. Hopefully some of it will resonate with and matter to you as well” – MDD

How Reading Changed My Life

The Power of the Written Word

I have a confession to make. I wasn’t the best of students in grade school. I was slow to learn how to read for whatever reason and because of this was held back a year in second grade.

When I was growing up, in the mid-sixties and seventies, this was something that could have a devastating effect on a young student and determine how a person’s intellectual, not to mention social status, was perceived by their peers, teachers, parents and friends. The power of early success or failure in school academics and sports is what hung many a young student’s later role in his social circle in precarious balance. Try as we may I don’t think we’ve moved too far from these notions and perceptions in the past fifty plus years in our public school system.

It wasn’t until something happened along about seventh grade that things begin to change for me. It was never a matter of my dislike for school, attention span or lack of an ability to absorb and learn. It may have had something to do with the fact that I’m more of a right brained, creatively visual learner than an inside the box, follow the crowd, type guy. I also think it had much to do with some of my teachers that weren’t so quick to give up on a kid that was a bit different than the rest. It’s a lesson that has stayed with me to this day. We celebrate diversity, except when it comes to how people learn and excel. Our public education system isn’t the best at identifying and handling the students that don’t tow a middle line in the learning spectrum.

For whatever reason I ended up an honor graduate out of high school and then it was off to the military where my education continued in many different ways. But that story is for another day. What I really want to explore is importance of one particular skill and its contribution to the continued opportunity to learn and grow throughout your life. This skill is the ability to read, comprehend and extrapolate meaning and concept from the written word. It’s what I originally struggled with, was able to overcome and it has been the fulcrum on which my personal education and desire to be a mentor is balanced.

If I could somehow magically give every person a special gift, it would be the gift to read and write well. To read is to expand one’s mind beyond the walls of social and physical limitation, to write is to put in one’s own words and share their personal understanding and relationship to the world around them. Reading and writing are the true gateway to freedom. Without it we would not be able to understand the importance that each of us holds in this world and the responsibility we have to care and nurture each other. The strength and power of the written word can never be taken for granted. It changes perceptions and people’s lives every single day.

I’m very concerned about how younger people and everyone in general currently perceive the importance of the written word. Today, we write in shorthand, listen in shorthand, watch in shorthand and act in shorthand with much of the imagination going by the wayside. We are viewers not participants in a society that would rather let someone else do the thinking for them than exercise their right to personal  thought, opinion and action.

If you need an example you need not go any further than music videos, which became popular when I was in school. It used to be that a particular song would be a reminder of a certain time and events in a person’s life. When you heard it you would be transported to a moment in your life when the song was popular and it would act like an audible snapshot for your memory, taking you back to relive a point in time that has personal meaning and importance. When music videos came along they uprooted much of this by creating a link between another person’s imagination and creativity and the song in question. Your imagination was replaced by the visual cues created by someone else. I know this might sound a bit trite, but in reality what it did is dumb down a person’s ability to imagine anything other than the strong visual imagery of someone else. We learn visually much faster than any other way, besides hearing, and we’ve been schooled in other people’s corporate brand and marketing oh so very well.

When a person reads a book, whether it is a work of fiction or of fact, they are given the opportunity to mentally visualize and exercise their own unique imagination. Watch a video or a movie and it’s done for you. A percentage of personal enjoyment and creativity is missing.  Is it any wonder that people who enjoy reading find themselves disappointed when a favorite book is made into a movie? It’s not the same as they imagined, and imagination is what helps to satisfy our need to be personally creative.

Reading also helps to level the playing field when it comes to the perception of social, educational and cultural similarities and differences. My personal feeling is that a good book on a subject of personal interest will do more to excite a person’s desire to learn more about the world around them than watching something with the visual cues already established. Read a book and your curiosity is piqued. Watch a movie or program and your sense of having been there and done that is falsely established. Living life vicariously is a poor substitute for personal discovery and exploration.

Books don’t require any special set up or apparatus to enjoy. They are physical and engage a reader in a tactile way, where watching a video does not. The very act of turning a page, actually physically doing something, makes a book a better tool for learning than a video. The more senses a person engages while learning helps in the retention of ideas and concepts. Reading also improves the abstract and critical thinking that is necessary to creating ideas of one’s own.

So, where am I going with all this? I am encouraging you to read more, and to realize how important that reading is to  young and old alike. A book can transport a young person to worlds of imagination and reality that they would never otherwise conceive for themselves. A book can release an older person from the loneliness and isolation that physical limitations introduce. Read yourself, read to your children, volunteer as a reader in school, read to an elderly person whose eyesight may not allow them to any longer. It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give someone. Your time, your voice, your companionship, combined with the strengthening of their imagination will not be forgotten. In essence you will be creating your own living legacy.

Now I’d like to share a personal example of how a book can be powerful enough to change a young person’s life. When I graduated from high school I was the recipient of an odd little award.  The official title of this award was “The I Dare You Award for Qualities Of Leadership”. This award came with the challenge to “Aspire nobly, Adventure daringly and Serve humbly.” It was accompanied by a book written by William H. Danforth, founder of the Ralston Purina Company. Written over eighty years ago, it is considered by many to be among the best self help books ever authored. You can still purchase it today from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Mr. Danforth helped launch the American Youth Foundation in 1925 as a resource for encouraging young people to become the best they can be in life. I believe it’s the first self help book I ever read. I haven’t stopped reading them since. It changed the way I began to understand my personal ability and responsibility to contributing to the well being of others.

If a book can change the way a young person thinks and acts for the rest of their life it is powerful indeed. If a book can change an adult’s life to be the best they can be for the rest of their life, that’s just as powerful. I encourage you to consider beginning your own library of books that will act as a personal inspiration to you. Here are a few suggestions:

The Power of Focus by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen & Les Hewitt

The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander & Benjamin Zander

The 360̊ Leader by John C. Maxwell

Blink by Malcom Gladwell

Selling The Invisible by Harry Beckwith

Maximize Your Potential, (part of the 99U series), edited by Jocelyn K. Geli

If you have a special book that has helped you in your personal growth please feel free to share it with me. I’d love to hear your opinion on the importance of reading along with your personal story of how reading and writing has affected your life.



“I simply write what I feel, because it matters to me. Hopefully some of it will resonate with and matter to you as well” – MDD



The Summer Of Our Discontent

Sometimes it takes a fall

Our nation has been rocked by some acts of extremely tragic and devious ugliness as of late. From one end of this country to the other we’ve been witness to the negative side of humanity and its ability to divide the hearts and minds of not only a nation but the citizens in individual neighborhoods as well.  To say that it has thus far been a summer rife with protests in support of pride, prejudice, peer pressure and politics would be grossly understating the mood demonstrated as of late.

People are angry, hurt, fearful and furious with what they witness, feel and know to be wrong.  To watch the nightly media feeding frenzy you would think that we’ve all gone mad and nothing can bring us back from the brink of self destruction. Thankfully, that’s a lie.

Yes, there have been an over abundance of despicable acts demonstrating man’s capacity to exercise selfish hate and oppressive power and control. But there have been just as many, if not more, wonderful acts of kindness and heartwarming examples of giving, forgiveness and love. Our views have been slanted by the information we are fed, and overwhelming that information is bad.

It’s no secret that negative information sells product and opinion much more effectively than good information does. The seedy underbelly of humanity appeals to more viewers and readers for some reason than the good things that surround us. The nation’s marketing media moguls don’t miss a beat in inundating our minds with all that is heartache and hand wringing while ignoring the many examples of happiness and hope that abound. It’s a rigged game which keeps us on the edge of our seats and on our knees in fearful penance for a society gone wrong. It’s time we stood up, you and me, and proclaimed “enough is enough!”

This is our own fault. Perhaps if we didn’t promote and nurture the morbid habit of immersing ourselves in all things fearful, hateful and negative we wouldn’t have such skewed views about where this country is headed. Let’s be honest, we are gluttons when it comes to willingly ingesting crap. Where’s the good in this? Oh, wait. If we desire good things we have to create them. Don’t we?

Perhaps if we suggested, possibly even demanded, that local, regional and national media give equal eyes and ears to the positive that happens around us, we wouldn’t feel like we were on a sinking ship with fewer lifejackets than passengers.

Perhaps if we took time to realize that willingly drowning ourselves in a sea of negativity will not produce positive change, only more strife and pain, we’d be willing to take action to promote the positive more often or even step outside our discomfort zone and create it.

To be clear, I am not advocating or suggesting that we ignore the problems we face in our society. In fact I’m advocating just the opposite. To put it bluntly I am suggesting we get off our collective asses that we willingly plant in front of the TV or any other personal electronic leash of choice and actually do something positive and helpful. We’ve gorged ourselves enough on the voyeuristic watching of news about other people doing very bad things that the media and so called entertainment industry selectively choose to feed us. It’s simple really; Garbage in results in garbage out. As a society we are a perfect example of becoming what we choose and allow ourselves to ingest.

If you want to find good things you have to look for them. Believe me, they are there. They are not only there, they are abundant and not difficult to find. Our country abounds in people doing good things and helping one another out of shared interest, compassion and love. This cuts across all perceived boundaries of race, religion, lifestyle choice, age, sex or social status. Our main stream news media just chooses to ignore most of the good in favor of dishing up another heaping serving of sensationally negative news. Get yourself involved with the good and you’ll get a different picture of what the truth really is.

A society, country, community, neighborhood, family or relationship will always have its difficulties and challenges. It’s how these challenges are approached, understood for what they are minus the overstated drama for personal delight or deceit, and solved for the good of everyone involved. We are better than this. Let’s prove it to ourselves and everyone peeking through these windows disguised as television and computer screens.

I have an assignment for you. The next time you watch the actions of despicable people played out in the main stream media, pay close attention to the number of passersby who take the time to whip out their electronic leashes to live stream the action in hopes of capturing it all for, well, for what? The first instinct for many seems to be to video what goes down instead of doing something positive to prevent further harm or mayhem. How does that help? It just continues to feed the media’s insatiable appetite for negative material and society’s insatiable appetite to see more instead of doing more to solve the bigger issue at hand.

In my opinion it comes down to education, self discipline and training.  Better educated, self disciplined and trained individuals act differently than those with no education, training or discipline. The habits we form determine how we act in any given situation. This goes for anyone whether they are individuals charged with protecting and keeping the peace or the people who find themselves confronted with bad situations.

As a society we should all be better trained to compassionately protect and serve one another.  The habits we pick up as we are educated determine how we will act in any given situation. These habits are taught to us from a young age and unless something comes along to modify these habits they become what we fall back on when the crap hits the fan. If the habits we develop are learned by watching and listening to current main stream media how can we not help but be in the shape we are in right now as a society? Think about it.

What I propose to you is that you take charge of balancing the negative you see and hear with an over abundance of positive thought and action. Don’t wait for someone else to do it for you. We are all counting on you to show us how to make things better. Here’s the kicker; you are we. And if we don’t get it right together, then nothing will ever change. I’m sure that you are familiar with the saying, “be the change you want in the world.” Now’s the time my friend; go and do good things in the world, and while you’re at it, make it a habit that you can share. Here’s hoping you find your Smile.



“I simply write what I feel, because it matters to me. Hopefully some of it will resonate with and matter to you as well” – MDD



Where is the life we have lost

Since the invention of moveable type and printing presses, no greater technological advance in communication has assumed such a strong position in helping people spread news and views to more people further and faster than the information highway of zeros and ones.  But as with many marvels of the modern world the ushering in of the age of the internet has served to both bring humanity closer together and tear it asunder.

If you’re anything like me one of my first acts of the day as I swing myself out of bed in the morning is to reach for my personal information device. Let’s not kid ourselves here. To call these things phones is akin to referring to formula one race cars as commuter vehicles. They are precision information dissemination devices.  They are the new window on our world and fewer people around the globe are without them with each passing day. They have become a major force in not only how we communicate but how we understand and relate to one another.

I’m an information junky. I love to discover new things, communicate with new acquaintances and be informed as soon as stuff important to me happens. I don’t subscribe to a paper, find the local news about as interesting as drying paint and prefer the ability to interact instead of simply react to the world at large. My personal information device allows me to do this. In fact if I want to create or become the news I can do so from the palm of my hand, 24 hours a day, from nearly anywhere in the world. It’s as terrifying as it is amazing.

Let’s address the amazing first. Within seconds of a personal or natural disaster emergency responders can be dispatched and the world can watch the drama unfold. A person with one of these devices can share with the world what is happening in real time. Viewers can listen and watch whatever is considered newsworthy by the person wielding one of these devices. There’s no excuse to not know what’s going on in your neighborhood, across town or across the vastness of oceans. It’s always on, and always ready to provide the curious with information.

What about the terrifying aspects of being hooked into the information highway? It’s just as easy to share things with the world that are meant to horrify and hurt as it is to share helpful information and healing insight.  With any number of political and dogmatic driven fanatics around the globe, the horror of missions carried out for the purpose of mass mayhem and terrorism stare us in the face, and we barely blink as we soak it all in as it happens. The question is does it serve a greater purpose to constantly and willingly expose ourselves to the stress inducing information we have available to us day in and day out? It’s literally killing us.

I believe in the basic freedom of speech. It’s part of the liberty that makes the country I call home so appealing to me personally. I also believe that this freedom can be abused and used against people if they allow it. Freedom does come with a price. Sometimes this freedom to expose ourselves to things on a daily, if not hourly basis is harmful to our ability to make rational and sound decisions. Not all information is accurate and true. Much of what we see and hear and read about on our little personal information device is little more than distraction, keeping us from accomplishing those things that will help us make things better for ourselves and those around us.

We are a world obsessed with wanting to know and experience everything through this little window on the world that we hold in our hand. Used in moderation and with self control this information can be extremely enlightening and helpful. But it is difficult in as world of promoted excessiveness to think or act in terms of moderation. I feel if we want our lives, our mental health and our freedom from fear and anxiety to remain intact we have to be more disciplined in our acceptance of the information that is handed to us every second of every day of our lives.

Lay some ground rules for knowing when you’ve absorbed enough information. Know your limitations when it comes to stress brought on by information overload and put a stop to binge watching or reading.

Select carefully what you spend your time immersed in on the information highway. Set both a time limit and a genre’ limit on the information you absorb each day. Balance the negative with the positive and don’t get sucked into the drama, real or manufactured, that will keep you from being more productive on a daily basis.

When you are in the presence of family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances, silence and put your personal information device away. Not only does texting and info trolling take its toll on those who choose to exercise their freedom to do so in unsafe situations and surroundings, it also takes a toll on meaningful communication with the people you are with. I can’t think of a worse turn off than trying to hold a meaningful conversation with someone who insists on diverting their attention away from your discussion to their phone every few minutes. Simply put, it’s selfish and rude.

Have a frank discussion with those younger loved ones who may not yet understand how important relating to real people in their lives is as compared to endlessly immersing themselves in the unfolding opera in the palm of their hand. Create some real life activity diversions that involve eye contact, personal input and physical exertion. It might just open up some unexpected new interests that are yet to be discovered.

The freedom to have information at our fingertips is a wonderful thing. It’s the overuse and abuse of this information that can lead to unhealthy physical and emotional stress. Picking and choosing what to absorb, how much and when to let it into your life is a responsibility that we all need to consider. TMI, or Too Much Information, is a social disease of increasing epidemic proportion that each of us must self inoculate against.

Maybe beginning the day with a nice mind clearing walk instead of reaching for a mind numbing ride on the information highway isn’t such a bad idea.


“I simply write what I feel, because it matters to me. Hopefully some of it will resonate with and matter to you as well” – MDD

Positively Inspired

We Must Be Truthful

As I’m sure many of you reading this are aware, it’s not easy to stay positively inspired day after day. Personal issues aside, we are assaulted constantly by a barrage of bad news and negative influence through local and national news outlets, murky moral messages sent through our popular entertainment outlets and through the actions and attitudes of people who struggle under the weight of a society more predisposed than ever to the perverse and to playing up the bad in spite of the good that exists all around us.

Let’s be honest. The fashion of the day is cynicism and despair. It’s worn on the faces and attitudes of those around us like an emotional straight-jacket. We get up in the morning, turn on the radio or TV and proceed to willingly allow ourselves to be strapped in to the binds of a world gone bad as described and, dare I say, even promoted through a monetarily motivated media machine. You can be sure this beast is bent on keeping you strapped in to the sensationally negative news that fuels the engine of sound bites and sixty second marketing moments that punctuate the chaos dished out in sickeningly larger portions. We are treated to an ever increasing smorgasbord of sensationalism being peddled as informative and important.

 The solution of the media market is more of the same. Their major backers, the corporate interests, who pay for the dynamic sound bites and visually appealing interludes, have figured out that it’s pretty darned lucrative to tell you to pop a pill or purchase a product to make it all go away. Sadly, the commercials have become the relief between the servings of mayhem and horror, bad news and bickering that has become the norm for what we call news and entertainment.

Fortunately, there’s a solution available to anyone brave enough or bold enough to implement it. Turn off the noise and distraction that permeates your thoughts and controls your actions and feelings. I mean this literally and figuratively. Don’t listen, look or otherwise participate in the feeding frenzy at the trough of a corporately controlled machine that calls itself news and entertainment.  What pray tell are newsworthy about two political pundits verbally pounding each other while ignoring issues that will solve problems instead of creating more? What’s entertaining about sitting down nightly to feast on negative programs that disgust and play up the seedier side of humanity? These things we are being fed by those that control the airwaves and our minds serve to kill us physically, socially, mentally and spiritually through stress, despair and fear. They play to our weaknesses, not our strengths.

Turn it off. Turn it all off. It’s killing us as a society, as families, as humans who have a need to care and trust and love. The fashion of the day is lust, greed and fear, and it comes in the form of an emotional straight jacket that we don every time we allow these negative messages to come into our lives.

If you want to be happy, content and fulfilled you must make a decision to be so. No one forces you to watch and listen. We all do so because this is what we are taught is normal and acceptable, and after all, everyone else does it, so it must be okay, right?

So how does one stay positively inspired in a media world bent on dragging us through hell?

Here’s a list that will point you in the direction of creating an attitude and personality of positivism.

  • Turn off the noise. Make your new habit one of freedom from the electronic leash that keeps you tethered to negative news and programming. Instead read a book on how to personally improve yourself and those around you. Take a walk and enjoy the benefits that exercise will give you physically and mentally.


  • Don’t participate in the negative talk and actions that permeate many work places. It’s no wonder so many people hate their jobs when there isn’t any other reason to be there than to make enough to pay for those pills and products that you’ve been convinced you must have in order to fit in. Be a positive influence by making it your goal to share something uplifting and positive each day you come to work. A smile is often enough to let people know you are out to make a difference.



  • Set goals to change your life for the better by helping others change their life for the better. Volunteerism is a great way to begin this journey. If you wish to feel better about yourself, start by helping others feel better. Become a giver, not a taker. You will be amazed at the results.


  • Look for positive solutions to problems. When you do you will be contributing to the well being of our world. You may also find that the solution you come up with is one that others have passed by and never even noticed. This is how progress is made. In fact it’s the only way progress is made!



  • Be determined to succeed and being the change you desire in the world. Everything starts with individuals, like you and me, who decide to take it upon themselves to create a better world. It’s not some other person’s problem. It’s ours, and until we admit it and make the transition from being victim to leader, nothing will change or get better.


  • Accept responsibility for your thoughts and actions. None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes. It’s when we compound those mistakes by not allowing ourselves to admit our problems and not accept help in solving them that we stumble and fall.



  • Be tolerant of those around you. Not everyone understands the value of being a giver instead of a taker. Lead from the middle and do it by being the best example that you can. Set the example of tolerance, integrity and honesty and never waver in your mission to help others discover the virtue and strength of these three characteristics.


  • Share goodness and spread it where ever you go.
  • Listen before you think, think before you speak, and always speak to share honestly and openly out of love, not anger or fear.


Today’s news and entertainment appear to be designed specifically to serve the economic and political purposes of those who have a controlling interest in the airwaves. Fortunately most of us can still choose whether to be a part of it or not. We can even choose to fill those same airwaves with our own brand of positive information and share it in a spirit of love and concern for the well being of our fellow travelers in life. That’s what I’m hoping to do here.


Turn off the negativity and choose to stay positively inspired. If you truly want to be happy in this life this is your first step to realizing that goal.



“I simply write what I feel, because it matters to me. Hopefully some of it will resonate with and matter to you as well” – MDD

Finger Pointing

A PeaceThat Comes From Fear

It’s always them. It’s never me. I’ve got it all figured out. Don’t believe me? Just ask all my good friends and the people I choose to hang out with and who share my same thoughts, ideas, preferences, prejudices and beliefs. They are right too. We’re not too shy to let you know either.

It’s always them. They are the ones that are the cause of all the problems that make me upset, fearful and angry. When I get together with my friends they agree with me. We agree that it’s always them and somebody needs to do something about them.

It’s always them with their odd lifestyle, customs, religion, beliefs and things I don’t care to understand, or even try to comprehend.  They are the trouble makers of the world. How much do I know about them? All I need to know from the things I choose to read, the people I choose to listen to and the things I choose to believe are right.

It’s always them. They always think they’ve got it figured out. They get together with people just like themselves and talk about us. They plot to take away what is ours and destroy us and our families and our way of life.  They always think they are right when I know I’m right.

It’s always them who are upset at me, angry at me, fearful of me and my friends and the way I choose to live. They are always trying to make me understand them. I don’t need to and I won’t because I choose not to.

It’s always them who make me out to be different or some kind of monster because of my lifestyle choice, my beliefs and my religion and who I choose to associate with. They read their propaganda, listen to their political, social and spiritual leaders, hang out with people just like them and think that they are right.

It’s always them; they upset me, anger me and make me afraid. Why can’t they change? Why can’t they be more like me? If they were, I might actually get to know them and maybe even like them.

It’s always them. It will never be me because I choose to think for myself, just like my friends do. We agree it’s always them, because if it isn’t, then that means it could only be us, and I choose not to think about that.


“I simply write what I feel, because it matters to me. Hopefully some of it will resonate with and matter to you as well” – MDD