When Your Wheels Won’t Stop Spinning

It’s late at night and something happened that is still bothering you.

You can’t get to bed. Your wheels are spinning.

You take those thoughts onto multiple tangents and 3am comes around without a wink of sleep. The initial thing that bothered you has now transformed into an even bigger monster.

Despite your best attempts to “forget about it for now,” it just won’t happen.

How do you work through it?

What can be done that will at least get you to bed?

Get up, go to your calendar and set a date when you can come back to your issue. Physically put on that at a certain date, you will sit down with yourself and have a conversation with the issue.

On that date, the issue can come back to fester within you once more.

Make an appointment and mark it as busy. Make it real.

Then go to bed.

My First Fiction Publication

As posted to my friends on social media

The first time I submitted a short story for publication, I received a letter back saying,
“We’re going to send you the letter of our International Office because it’s obvious English isn’t your first language.”

At sixteen, that hurt quite a bit.

However, I still wanted to be a writer and it took many years before I figured out what the magazine was trying to tell me: I wasn’t taking the art of writing seriously enough.

I finally got down to work, started writing consistently and putting it out there. I wrote for eight years on Tommy|Zor, started a few blogs of my own, which got enough notice to be asked to write articles for Lifehack and a few education periodicals. I continue to write every day on my own site.

Putting my chops to the test, I finally launched two books and now, my first published fiction novel with my long time friend Matti.

This book took us one partial re-write and three major edits before we got it right… but it’s finally here!

It’s an homage to the science fiction writers who influenced me, mixed with a heavy hand of religious discourse. If you don’t like either of those two subject areas, this book may not be your cup of tea.

If you’re curious to see the twist we put on the two, I can assure you it’s a knot that even a sailor would be proud of.

You can pick up the paperback anywhere online right now and the digital is an Amazon exclusive.

As a celebration, there’s also a Goodreads contest where you can win one of five copies:

There’s so much more in the pipeline (including two other novels that are in progress now), but this book is a reminder… and encouragement… that I’m finally on the path that my sixteen year-old self would be happy to see.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.ca/Immortal-Universe-Vito-…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

Chapters: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/…/t…/9780995035164-item.html…

Viral is the New Amnesia

The race on the Internet is to get the next viral thing.

It happens so often that people don’t even remember what the last big thing was anymore. You can make a reference and there might be some memory of it, but nothing actually sticks.

There are no points for longevity or even dedication. We just keep clicking from one viral thing to the next.

“That’s great,” we say.
The next day, we forget about it completely.

Content no longer needs to be meaningful as the goal is viral and no substance is actually needed. All that matters is attention.

I’m amazed at how many people comment (or like/laugh/love/sad) on articles posted on Facebook when they themselves haven’t read it.

Are we right to complain about distracted people (especially kids) when we’re the ones who keep feeding the machine?

Does anybody remember about the last school shooting they read about?

Yes, it’s sad they even happen… but do you remember the last one?

If we did, instead of waiting for the next one to happen, we might be inclined to hold vigil for its victims and their families.

I’m tired of fast media.

I’m tired of instant notifications.

I’m tired of endless clickbait articles with no substance.

Yes, technology is accelerating and there’s excitement about where it’s leading… but our consumption needs to slow down.
We need time to pause.
Content creators need to provide substance to people once again because if they keep going for viral — they’re going to be forgotten within the day.

It’s Only Good in Theory

Marketing works by playing into what we think would benefit us.

We put it together in our head and find ways we could apply it to ourselves. Then, whatever we bought into, goes unused.

The problem is the tactics of marketing have become so good that, without being provoked, we go searching for solutions on problems we don’t have.

In our heads, it’s something we would want… or want to pursue at some point.

When it goes unused, we go looking for something else.

In theory, we’re always going to get what we want.

In reality, we’re left unsatisfied.

When You Go on Autopilot

There are some days where go on autopilot, sleepwalking your way through it.

You don’t remember any of the decisions you made, or how you got from point a to point b, but you make it to the end.

It can be unsettling, or unnerving, depending on what caused you to engage the autopilot in your life.

If you have the proper habits setup, this never has to be a concern. You can go to bed, resting easy that you handled everything you needed.

On days you’re cognizant of the moment, take the time to ask if there’s any autopilot functions you need to re-program.

One Year of Blogging Daily

It’s been one year since I decided to write every single day on this site.

There were a few days I missed… but two days out of 365 is a success for me.

I’ve been writing online since high school, including a crappy Geocities website in 1998, teaming up with author Thomas Jast to create Tommy|Zor from 2004 – 2009, attempts at other blogs including ProductiveGrad and TheDailyWriter and a few Lifehack articles… but this was the first attempt to write online daily.

Inspired by people like Seth Godin, Cory Doctorow and John Scalzi, I thought – why not?

Writing daily has forced two habits: sitting down to write and making observations about the day.

I experimented with different methods, including writing by shorthand in a journal and then transcribing into a computer, and ultimately settled on the fact that when you write, the tool doesn’t matter.

Use whatever gets the job done.

The biggest surprise was never running out of material. By forcing myself to make observations during the day, I have been able to synthesize the musings in my head and clarify my thoughts.

It’s also been a lesson in self-reflection.

This was also the reason I threw on book reviews. In reading so much, I wanted a place to put my thoughts down while the content was still fresh in my head. Based on traffic, others are also finding them helpful.

As the year progressed, the need to write every day has forced it into a habit. From the moment I wake up, I’m already thinking about what I’m going to write.

Over the year, the traffic to the site has trickled… drip by drip… as a year’s worth of content has slowly piled up.

However, I find this daily writing therapeutic and will continue. Even if nobody visits the site anymore, I’ll continue to write.

If you’ve been following along, checking in from time to time, or subscribed to my email list… thank you.

Sincerely, thank you.

In the age of information overload and constant distraction, I appreciate you’re allowing a part of your focus to see what’s happening here.

Here’s to another year!

Re-Learning What You Lost

It can seem like ages ago we were taught something we trying to recall again today.

We’ve learned enough about neuroscience to know the brain likes to shut down pathways that aren’t in use anymore and therefore, it can seem like that information has gone in the trash bin.

Side note: It’s too bad other things we want to go in the trash bin never seem to make their way there…

However, you can re-ignite new pathways to find that information once more.

Your brain is a powerful organ, capable of much more than we give it credit for… and if you’re willing to change your mindset about re-learning something… it will come back.

Nothing is ever lost.

Just One More Thing

There’s always going to be just one more thing to do in life.

One more task to take care of at work.
One more chore to do at home.
One more email to send to someone.
One more article to check.
One more step to take in a career.
One more award to win.
One more dollar to earn.
One more…
One more…

Step away and take a moment to enjoy what’s happening around you right now.

You can always come back to that “one more” later.

The Nerds Have Taken Over

Back in high school, one of the nerdiest games you could play was Dungeons & Dragons.

I remember wanting to play, but absolutely no one wanted to touch that game with a forty foot pole. I did find a few people who enjoyed the game and we gathered every so often to geek out.

Computer classes and clubs were reserved only for the most hardcore nerds. It happened on the periphery while the rest of the school fawned over the athletes.

But something happened in the last twenty years.

As a joke a few years ago, I told students we should start a Dungeons & Dragons club at the school. By the end of the day, 30 students came asking me when it would start.

We started the club… to the tune of 48 members… who showed up consistently every week to play.

Silicon Valley and the high tech world is a beacon for just about anybody with the skills to work in the industry. In fact, it’s become desirable on my accounts.

Comic book conventions are overflowing, cosplayers (people who dress up as characters) has exploded as a scene and randomly quoting Star Wars in a public place will elicit a positive response from someone else.

The nerds have taken over.

I’m okay with that.

Let’s Stop Deconstructing Success

I’m tired of the literature out there right now that explains how a person can be “successful.”

The marker of success for all this literature is being a superstar (i.e. rich and famous)… or something close to it.

It kind of ignores other markers of success like… I don’t know… Gandhi successfully liberating India from the British… Martin Luther King Jr. successfully becoming the voice of justice… Angela Merkel successfully becoming the first female chancellor of Germany and holding that office for three terms… me successfully making it a night without eating a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts that have been teasing me on my kitchen counter.

These “success” books actually do more damage than harm because they only focus on the superstars and try to deconstruct their methods. Really, it’s just three steps:

1. Working hard
2. Building connections
3. Luck

The focus is always on the first two steps and how they went about it, but luck is always ignored.

Luck plays a part and will show up if steps one and two are taken care of first. No one explains this… and they certainly don’t explain that luck could take many years to appear on your doorstep.

Instead, you’re made to feel inferior because your marker of success (money) could be so much more if you just followed what others are doing

If we really want to build people up, then let’s focus on personal successes.

What is an accomplishment you can work towards today?
This week?
This year?

If you start celebrating those milestones when you hit them, you’ll always feel like a success in life.