Q: Everything I do seems to fail. It makes me think the world would be the same if I didn’t exist. How do I get better even after trying extremely hard at everything?

A 22-year-old says, “Hey, I’ve fully tried every religion and philosophy there is. How come I can’t find Ultimate Reality or inner peace?”

Notice how on the Roadrunner cartoon the coyote only tries each costly contraption once.

Trying hard at everything could mean not giving the right things enough time and space to work. By time, I mean consistency—consistent learning, practice, delivery… And by space, I mean resourcefulness—keeping specifics open to modifications in terms of exactly how, where, with whom… Continue reading

I feel like everybody else is moving ahead in life except me. What should I do to feel better?

 

You’ve been sitting at a railway station, watching others come and go on trains. But you’re not really sure where you’re headed.

It doesn’t matter why everyone else seems sure. And you might never be. That’s ok.

The unbearable feeling of wasting life brings pressure just jump on any train. Continue reading

As an introvert, how can I write a “sexually confident” character?

Gradually…

And that would apply to all writing and characterization. Don’t take your first draft too seriously.

I believe characterization is everything in fiction. Seeing your characters come to life is what keeps you and your readers glued to the story.

So once your initial draft is done, I’d recommend going over it however many times it takes . . . editing/adjusting/adding/subtracting . . . until you can read the whole thing aloud and be happy with it. It’s during that process that you’ll really come to know your characters.

A character that’s most unlike you can be the most fun to write. I say push the boundaries. Freely explore exactly what makes you uncomfortable. Practice naturally building tension between your character’s ways and your own point of view. That natural tension can serve your story incredibly well.

Does anger lead to bad choices? Can anger ever be helpful?

Anger can do two things—one harmful, one helpful—both of which bring you fully into the present moment.

Harmful

Anger sets your focus on how you wish things were right now. It fuels itself on what you feel is unfair or wrong with your current situation.

But acting on that anger could conflict with what you want in the long run . . . especially if how things are right now isn’t ultimately that important.

Helpful

Anger can also heighten your intuition and instincts. If you ever have to fight for anything in your career (or elsewhere), anger can be a great source of power to draw from.

So, should you be brought fully into the present moment?

 

How do I know that I am taking the right steps to achieve my dreams?

If you truly believe your dream is your potential to reach, then every attempt at figuring out how can be a lesson. You’re never certain that whatever you’re trying is exactly the right thing to do. But belief in your dream and potential shows up as resourcefulness . . . trying everything feasible/viable/advisable/imaginable, learning, and always moving forward toward your overarching (yet often practically unclear) vision.

How to stay motivated for a long project, like a novel

The task is daunting if that’s what you’re focused on (especially once you’re done blasting through your first draft). But let creating that which is in you to create make you the artist you see yourself potentially becoming. That’s how to keep the fire of vision burning long after the joy of plot cools to tedium in the space of countless re-re-re-edits.

Either this is who you are . . . or don’t bother.

 

What are you bad at?

font-squareThe unclear dividing line for me is between things I have no natural ability for and things I’m afraid to just step up and try.

I’m not practical by nature, that’s for sure. I have no sense of territory, organization, or how to work a room or situation to my favor.

I’ll walk unaware past signs of obvious danger, my head tucked hopelessly up in the clouds . . . probably considering some unusual idea for a story I might be working on. Continue reading

What is the essence of sales?

When I was 20, I worked in this horrible little closet turned toner vat, basically breathing ink dust all day while recycling old printer cartridges.

I was thrilled when my boss had the brilliant idea to send me out with a stack of cash to go buy used cartridges from businesses nearby.

I hit the streets flashing massive grins, shaking slews of hands, and trying to amplify my voice and pitches to a superhuman level of charm. This went on for weeks. Continue reading

What is your motivation to get out of the bed every morning?

Let’s say I woke up this morning and somehow knew that all my goals would be instantly achieved if I could just get to my chair and turn on the computer.

That would mean the potential value I hope to bring the world would be brought, received, and undeniably impactful; it would mean all my relationships would be strong and deep; it would mean I’d no longer face even the compulsion to get angry, to eat badly, to sleep little, to drink too much, or . . . to go get high.

What an incredible motivation that would be! Continue reading