The way out is through

The Coach's Notes #29

Hey, it’s 2020 and I’m back in the game with the Coach’s Notes. It’s been a while, I know.

But here I am, back with you and bringing you the more traditional round-up style, curated hypertexted adventure format where I share with you the things I’ve been reading, thinking, seeing, hearing and experiencing on my learning journey.

I’m in Trawsgoed, Wales as I type this and it feels good to be, 1) on the road again, and 2) actually cranking out another issue of the Coach’s Notes to send to you.

In preparation for what I want to do in 2020, I’ve revamped the Coach Clay website. I’m calling it an eAcademy because I want it to grow into a community of learning where not only me but also you and others share the things that you’ve been learning about on your individual learning journeys.

While I’ll be blogging there (of course), the main focus is on learning experiences in the form of micro-learning courses.

The theme of the site is primarily personal development and personal growth and being a better human (because that’s what I’m about). The topics will mirror what you might find on the Wheel of Life:

  • Mind and Meaning

  • Health and Fitness

  • Productivity and Performance

  • Fun and Recreation

  • Personal Growth

  • Higher Self and Spirituality

I might do something separate for leadership and impact.

Because I want this space to be a place for people who are truly passionate about learning and personal development, I’m making it an invite-only community, meaning you’ll have to be invited to join the community by someone who is already a member.

It’s going to be a 3-tiered site:

Tier 1 - open access to whatever is posted on the blog.

Tier 2 - become a member of the community (the only cost is your email), here you’ll have access to more stuff - audios, videos, and free micro-courses.

Tier 3 - a low monthly subscription fee (something on par with the cost of a cup of coffee), no lock-in fee (come and go as you please). At this level, you’ll have access to everything, including e-learning courses, some level of personal and group coaching and live workshops.

For now, the site is open access. Shortly, I’ll be introducing Tier 2.

If you want an invite, drop me an email and I’ll get you sorted out with an invitation to join the community.

Here are My Notes for this week

My intention words for 2020 are Wisdom, Connection, and Personal Growth. I’ve added a 4th word at the last minute (on my drive to Wales) and that is Play. If you want to know a little bit more about my intention words and why I set intention words instead of New Year’s Resolutions, then listen to the latest episode of our podcast, where Sarah and I talk about the words we chose and why.

They tell me ‘happiness is an inside job,’ but too many of us place our happiness markers on external factors like people, places, and things - factors we have very little control over, which means our happiness then becomes a yo-yo affair.

For true lasting happiness, you have to turn inwards. Epictetus and the rest of the Stoics laid it out: focus on the things you can control (which is basically your own mind) and let the rest unfold as it will.

Focus on the great adventure that is the inward journey to self. Nothing else matters - really.

Here are some other things you may have forgotten about life.

I have my happy

This video works for me on so many levels - like the importance of staying true to your values and vision, never compromising the truth of who you are, and that if you source from the right place, your happiness is internally assured.

Stop whining! It doesn’t help and no one cares.

Being steadfast in your vision but flexible in approach is a good mantra for success. As long as you have a clear view of where you’re headed, there are many paths that can get you there. If one approach doesn’t work, try another. Eventually, you’ll get to where you were aiming to go.

What is the ultimate goal of life?

Some say reality is broken because we lack a unifying goal to which all of our decisions and actions play towards. Once upon a time (and still for a shrinking few) the ultimate goal was/is to get into Heaven or (if you're “an away from” person) to avoid going to Hell.

Back then, when people believed in a Heaven and Hell, the stakes were high. Make the right choices in life and get rewarded with eternal life and heavenly bliss. Make the wrong choices in life and get banished to Hell and tortured for eternity.

Think about it, if you really believed in a Heaven and Hell (eternal bliss or eternal damnation) would you still make the same choices you do now? Would you change the way you live?

And now that the stakes aren't that high, what's to be gained by living a virtuous life versus a life of debauchery?

from Book I, Paradise Lost:

So Satan spake, and him Beelzebub

Thus answer'd. Leader of those Armies bright,

Which but th' Omnipotent none could have foyld,

If once they hear that voyce, thir liveliest pledge

Of hope in fears and dangers, heard so oft

In worst extreams, and on the perilous edge

Of battel when it rag'd, in all assaults

Thir surest signal, they will soon resume

New courage and revive, though now they lye

Groveling and prostrate on yon Lake of Fire,

As we erewhile, astounded and amaz'd,

No wonder, fall'n such a pernicious highth.

Growth and learning take place when you’re operating at the edge of your capacity.

Try it!

The way out is through examining and questioning your habitual ways of thinking, being, and perceiving. You can’t create change if you continue to do the same things in the same way. If you’re in a rinse and repeat cycle, you’re stuck.

To get unstuck, you have to something different. And I’ll let you in on a little secret, it doesn’t even matter what you do different - change one thing in a system and it affects everything else in the system.

One of my favorite things to do is take a walk in a place I’ve never been to before. I think about my problem or the thing I want to change while I’m walking. Just by examining the problem in a different environment automatically causes you to view the problem differently. Try it!

Here’s a super cool interactive exploration of Trust from Nicky Case, author of Adventures with Anxiety and We Become What We Behold. If you only have time to follow one link in the Notes today, check this one out: the evolution of trust, it won’t disappoint.

Last Words

Alright, my friend, it’s time for me to roll. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the Notes as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them to give to you.

Until next time, go out and do great things,


Share The Coach's Notes

A trip to nature, I might be gone for a while

Shaking off the dust and the grime of the city


All nature is doing her best each moment to make us well—she exists for no other end. Do not resist her. With the least inclination to be well we should not be sick.—Journal, 23 August 1853

Hi Good Folks,

Although I’m never not working, I’ll be on a camping trip over the next 2 weeks and am not sure what my connection to the Internet situation might be. So no Coach’s Notes for a couple of weeks. I may try to squeeze in an audio edition, but again getting it uploaded might be sketchy. I’m sure I’ll be tweeting and ‘graming where I can, so we can stay in touch that way.

I’m looking forward to getting back to Nature and decompressing from time. No pressure to be or do anything except chill and listen to the grass grow and embrace the “perpetual presence of the sublime,” as Emerson writes in his essay, Nature.


Ah! I need solitude. I have come forth to this hill at sunset to see the forms of the mountains in the horizon—to behold and commune with something grander than man. Their mere distance and unprofanedness is an infinite encouragement. It is with infinite yearning and aspiration that I seek solitude, more and more resolved and strong; but with a certain weakness that I seek society ever.—Journal, 14 August 1854

Although I won’t have the complete solitude of Thoreau, I will embrace the quiet moments where I can.

OK, I must get back to packing. Catch you on the other side of the trip.

Peace and love,


Illustration by Maurice Sendak from Open House for Butterflies by Ruth Krauss

Word of mouth is the best way to get my work out into the wild and help me grow. If you like The Coach’s Notes, please share it? New folks can subscribe here.

To be misunderstood

The Coach's Notes #52

Friday night it was late, I was walking you home we got down to the gate, I was dreaming of the night…Would it turn out right? How to tell you girl, I want to build my world around you…Wanna tell you that it's true I wanna make you understand I'm talking about a lifetime plan…

Reminiscing, Little River Band, swimming around on repeat in my head. This is one of my ‘pining for the girls’ song when I was an awkward ‘wannbe in love’ teenager sitting alone in my room listening to this track over and over again as I ran through endless scenarios of falling in love with, let’s see…




Kathy (I still bare physical scars from her)





Ms Boyd

The librarian, Ms Federico (i spent a lot of time in the library)



I was in love with a different girl every other week and Little River Band featured high on my playlist of love songs to pine to.

Listen if you haven’t figured it out yet, I am the most consistently inconsistent person you’ll ever meet. I have a butterfly brain that flitters from thought to thought, idea to idea, intention to intention. I hope you can handle that. I’d tell you that I’ll change, but I’d be lying to you. Besides what did Emerson say:

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with the shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradicts everything you said to-day.”

Ah but you are sure to be misunderstood.

Emerson again:

“Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”

And if I can’t be great, then what’s the point?

So my friend, if my inconsistency bothers you…read Emerson’s Self-Reliance.

This newsletter thing is a work in progress, an experiment in form and possibility. One of the things I thought about this week was how to make sure all of my digital endeavours join up. I’m spread out all across the Internet like stars in the universe. I need a home-base, and The Notes seem as good a way as any to bring it all together, especially since I’m writing on the blog again.

So what went down this week…


A Statement and a Question

I felt a bit scrappy this morning along with an incredible urge to walk around naked. There must have been something in my coffee to trigger a primal reaction.

Having watched Hamilton over the weekend, I now have the soundtrack on repeat in Spotify. Particularly the lead track Alexander Hamilton, also My ShotTen Duel Commandments, and Non-stop.  I admire people like Hamilton – people who are driven to a fault. They know what they want and are willing to move heaven and earth to get it.

Me, I’m way too laid back for that. I’m more of the Jimmy Buffet type in Margaritaville wearing my flip-flops and strumming my six-string.

Years ago I stumbled across this statement and question: 

It’s your life, what are you going to do with? 

Today, I contemplated this. I’m only a few weeks away from my birthday and I was wondering what am I going to do with the rest of my life?

Invite the Gods of Chaos

It’s amazing how much of life is routine.

I guess it has to be, otherwise we’d have chaos and chaos doesn’t make for good productivity and efficiency. Robert Spencer calls these routines power sinks as expressed by our habits – habits of being, habits of thinking, habits of doing, habits of feeling and habits of perceiving. But according to Spencer, these kinds of habits rob us of our power.

While they make our lives efficient, they also make our lives pretty dull.

If I compare my today with my yesterday, it’s pretty much the same. I drove the same route to and from work. And so far, I’ve sat at the same desk, done the same type of work, followed by a walk to Sainsbury’s for lunch at Starbucks. The variables – I had an egg sandwich instead of chicken, and a lemon-lime drink instead of a raspberry-blackcurrant drink. The coffee was the same in the same black thermos. I sat inside today instead of outside. Some of the people were different, some were the same (we’re creatures of habit after all and eat lunch more or less at the same time and there are only a handful of food options within walking distance of this office complex and industrial estate.

My thoughts were variations of the same handful of themes I think a lot about.

Perhaps I should start dicing again to breakup the monotony of my routines with randomness and chance.

And invite the gods of chaos into my life.

Desert Nights

Obama, ever the great orator. Many were singing his praises as he stepped up and gave a presidential condolence to the people of El Paso, something our current chief doesn’t seem capable or willing to do. 

My memories of El Paso are from a distance as I looked across the New Mexican desert at the shimmering lights of El Paso. I used to dream about escaping my Ranger School misery and disappearing into the city.

My jaw seems to be continually on the floor in shock at the state of madness we find ourselves in these days. The Chinese curse is most apt – may you live in interesting times they said – and boy do we live in interesting times. The rise of populist governments has me shaking in my boots a little bit. Politically the world is becoming more dangerous. There’s too much ‘you’re either with us or against us’ rhetoric going on. People are becoming tribal again and squaring off for war.

My broken body is slowly on the mend. I limped a little less today. I’m off to the doc tomorrow to see about my hand. I doubt that she’ll clear me as one of the wound holes has not completely closed yet and is still leaking out. It’s been 3 1l2 weeks now, when will it end?

Broken though I maybe, I’m back in motion again, so that’s good. I’ve captured some good sunsets over the last two days out on my evening walks (my only form of exercise at the moment as the gym is off limits until I get the all-clear from the doc).

Out of the blue

When you were younger did you ever have the feeling that you were headed for great things once you finished high school and headed off to university or into the world? Or did you feel like everyone else, but you, was headed for something great? And let me ask you this: at what point did you ‘jump track’ and realised after many years wasted, you were on the wrong track to begin with?

I got a chance to catch up with my friend Naomi on the phone today. It’s been an easy while since I last had any contact with her. Her face has cropped up from time to time on my social feeds, but that’s about it.  I like out of the blue calls like this. They’re interesting because you both have to fill in the gaps of time which causes you to reflect on what exactly you’ve been up to in the intervening time. 

Naomi is hardcore Gen X. She’s kind of on social, but not really into it. I think it’s FOMO, more than anything else’s, that spurs her on.

 Her go-to social is FB which, of course, according to marketing stats, is the place most Gen Xers hangout. My guess is FB reminds them of the old walled garden days of AOL. I have a love-hate relationship with the Face of Book. I much prefer Twitter, but if I want to reach people who fall in the same demographic as I do, then Facebook is the place to do that statistically. 

And just to be totally random with you, I bought one of these reusable Starbucks flasks…

the other day because I am determined to move more and Starbucks is the furthest coffee shop from where I work most weekdays. Gotta get those extra steps in, especially as I’m banned from my beloved weights. But we make do with what we have.

At breakfast, they took away my donuts

WB: Of course you’re mad. Why do you think they’ve gone through such lengths to confine you to the back pages of the Internet. If your ideas got out and went viral, it would be the death of nations.

SC: And so what, the people have a right to know, a right to decide for themselves.

WB: Please, don’t be so naive.


On rotation this week in my world of books:

  1. I started reading the Alexander Hamilton biography that inspired the musical. Ron Chernow is a great storyteller.  I love narrative history books. They really bring the his-tory alive.  And Hamilton is such an interesting character. I’m looking forward to taking a deep dive into his life.

  2. Zero Hour for Gen X - Matthew Hennessey

  3. Engaged: Unleashing Your Organization’s Potential Through Employee Engagement - Geoffrey Matthews

  4. Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture - Douglas Coupland

  5. Art Matters Because Your Imagination Can Change the World - Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell

  6. I Smell Esther Williams - Mark Leyner


On rotation this week:

  1. All I Wanna Do - Sheryl Crow

  2. Goodnight Saigon - Billy Joel

  3. The Fear - Lilly Allen

  4. Groovin’ - The Young Rascals

  5. My Shot - Hamilton Soundtrack

  6. Non-Stop - Hamilton Soundtrack

  7. Reminiscing - Little River Band


If you’ve ever seen my iPhone, you know that I have a gazillion apps! I’m an app fiend. I thought an app column would be appropriate so I can share some of the tools I use on my iPhone for productivity, creativity, and fun. This column might not appear every week.

I had to do a lot of video editing this week, so I took the opportunity to experiment with editing video on my iPad. The two video apps that come up most are:

  1. LumaFusion

  2. KineMaster

I like them both for different reasons. They’re both super easy to edit in, although KineMaster was not as intuitive to use as LumaFusion. For straight editing, LumaFusion has the edge for me. It’s intuitive to use and you can edit you audio. But for adding video effects, I side with KineMaster. It has tons of effects and transitions that are easy to apply to your video.

You will have seen all of my cat trauma on social. It all started when my cat went missing for more days than he normally disappears for. So we bought a GPS tracker for him. It’s super awesome. Now I can stalk him LIVE and see his activity and historical movements.

The blue lines show his movements over the past 24 hours. He’s a real wanderer!

After pouring through loads of reviews I settled on:

  1. Tractive GPS - the cat and a dog version, the collar is super lightweight and has the quick snap release so you don’t have to worry about your cat choking itself. Plus since it’s a GPS collar you can find easy if it does come off your cat.

And for a little bit of fun and wind me down, I’ve been playing the trading card game:

  1. Lightseekers - Happy to battle you up if this is your sort of thing, drop me email and we’ll link up.


Heck since I’m making lists. Here’s what’s been on the big screen and little screen for me this week.


  1. WU Assassins - just started this Netflix original series yesterday. If you like martial arts flicks this is a good jam.

  2. The Other Guys - very funny, cop comedy with Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Keaton, Eva Mendes (cameo Sam Jackson and the Rock).


  1. Hobbs and Shaw - didn’t disappoint on the action.

Amazon Prime

  1. New Girl - don’t judge me! We all have our guilty pleasures and this is my dinner time watch (yeah, yeah, I know i should be focused on eating and having conversations with the family - but we’re kind of like the Simpsons in my house - the TV is our after work wind down bonding time).


Ok this has turned into an epic edition of The Notes. Two things going through my mind at the moment, one…if I’m going to go this kind of length, then for your sanity and my sake, I’ll most probably, definitely only be putting The Notes out once a week. And two, with my expanded topics, I’m wondering if The Coach’s Notes is an appropriate title considering I’m neither overtly talking about coaching nor personal development. What do you think? Should I rebrand The Coach’s Notes? Or does it not matter?


Look if you’ve made it this far, give yourself a BIG round of applause. You’re a champ and I applaud you and appreciate you!

Much love,


It's time for a slacker revival

The Coach's Notes #51

People like to write in Google Docs.

I can’t say that I’ve been a real big fan of the platform myself, but then again I haven’t put it through its paces long enough to know if I’d like to play here on a more permanent basis (I’m typing this in Google Docs).

Why am I telling you this? I don’t know. I guess I want to hear from you whether or not you’re a fan of Google Docs? Do you use it a lot? If not, what do you use as your main word processor (do we even still call it that?). I’m in the process of streamlining my workflow in anticipation of ditching my MacBook Air and going all in on the new iPad Pro and working exclusively from that. From what I’ve read, iOS 13 is going to make it possible for the iPad to be a serious contender as primary computer for the first time especially with addition of a USB-C port.

I went dark on you last week (military/spy talk for no comms). I have a limited processor (brain) and it can only really solve/work on one creative problem at a time (maybe two). Anyway, I was so engrossed in this other project that I didn’t have the capacity to crank out the audio and links editions of the Notes. 

My bad.

Sorry if I kept you starring at your inbox eagerly waiting for those issues to drop. 

What was I planning? 

Well, basically, my media empire. You see, everyone keeps telling me that now, in the history of all mankind, is the best time ever to be a creator, craftsperson, artist, writer, musician, activist, or citizen journalist. We have the means of production and distribution of creative goods in our pockets.

And I believe them.

The trouble is the easy access also creates a lot more noise in which individual signals get lost.

That said, I also realise that many of my fellow Generation Xers are still grounded in the media we grew up with - print, radio, TV - and haven’t fully adopted our mindset to what the Internet can be as a medium in and of itself (those pesky millennials get it!).

The Internet is young and full of potential. But we need to fight against the pervasive herd mentality that dampens the true potential of the Internet. Sir Tim Bernes-Lee thinks we’ve already ruined his original dream for the Internet. He’s now off in Boston somewhere creating a new Internet (one where the Facebooks and Googles and Amazons can’t control your personal data, one where algorithms don’t dictate your experience and cloud your worldview)).

Ah kind of got sidetracked there for a second…Where was I?

Oh empire…I’m creating one. More on that later.

I watched Richard Linklater’s movie, Slacker, for the first time this week. I know. I know. Where have I been? If you haven’t seen Slacker, it’s one of the sources often cited in defining Generation X (although this would have been when we were in our 20s and very much in the prime of youth culture).  And that’s partly why I’m re-opening the Generation X dialogue because I think most of the stuff that’s out there now is our story as told when we were the youth culture, but now that we’ve moved into middle age, the chatter has stopped. Nobody is talking about us anymore, and for whatever reason, we seem to have let ourselves die out instead of doing what the Baby Boomers did and re-invent ourselves to stay relevant. 

We’re being displaced by the Millennials.

This has to stop!

Go read Zero Hour For Generation X

I think a lot of us are suffering because we don’t know who we are. If you’re still plugged into The Matrix, this won’t make sense to you. The Machine is taking care of all of this for you. But if you’re ‘woke’ (like the kids say), you may find yourself, like Alice, tumbling down the rabbit hole trying to make sense of what your life has been about and what it is for now.

Jack Davis:

Where once we were a generation in the Linklater sense:

 "I think the cheapest definition [of a slacker] would be someone who's just lazy, hangin' out, doing nothing. I'd like to change that to somebody who's not doing what's expected of them. Somebody who's trying to live an interesting life, doing what they want to do, and if that takes time to find, so be it."[17]

And striving to:

...attain a realm of activity that runs parallel to [our] desires, by abandoning cultural norms in terms of career and authority.

We suddenly found ourselves here as Rosie Spinks writes:

“…somewhere in the early 2000s, the slacker of popular culture lost ground to the striver. I am not immune to this thoroughly aspirational mindset, and you probably aren’t either. Whether we have side hustles, personal brands, gig economy jobs, or entrepreneurial leanings (I’ve had all four), to survive in the modern economy is to aspire to something much greater than what we are.”

In the process, we lost the idealism of slacker culture and I want to help bring it back. Throw away the dictionary definition of slacker or slacking and tap into what Tom Hodgkinson is doing with Idler (combining 1990s slacker culture with pre-industrial revolution idealism as spearheaded by a series of essays Samuel Johnson published in 1758–59. And also what Robert Wringham and friends did with The New Escapologist.

I haven’t totally flushed this out yet, but I suspect it will continue to unravel itself in these notes and on the blog and twitter and Instagram and such like.


Woman catches terrifying monster fish emerging from bottom of lake with her bare hands

When I first saw this headline in The Sun, online, I thought ok clickbait, but I couldn’t resist, which I guess is the nature of clickbait. So I did as I was influenced to do...I clicked. 

I’m miss it so bad.. 😔 #GetBit
Had a great day with @xtremeconcepts_ today! Check their page and my story to see what all we got into.
#Noodling #HandFishing #Grabbling #Realtree #Fishing #Grappling #Flathead #Catfish
August 2, 2019

It was a real girl, with her arm down a real giant catfish’s mouth. She’s 23, from Alabama, serious southern accent, and all of 5 feet tall. Her name: Hannah Barron.

My next instinct, driven solely by my maleness, was thinking - hot girl, wanna be Instagram influencer, looking for an angle or niche that’s different from the fitness models and the fashion models scrambling for likes. 

My curiosity got the better of me and I took a deep dive into Hannah’s profile.  And guess what? She is a real deal country girl - she hunts, fishes, noodles, just like her bio says and she’s been doing it, from the looks of it, since she could walk:

Credit: Instagram/hannahbarron96

If you’ve never seen noodling before, it’s an interesting way to catch catfish. Essentially you stick your arm into a catfish’s hiding hole until you “get bit”. Check it out. It’s pretty wild:

My conclusion: Hannah Barron is smart and authentic. She’s compelling to watch. I would classify her channel as AWOL - a way of life channel (Caution: if you don’t like hunting, fishing, or guns, probably best not to visit her stuff (it’s all about those things)). You can’t fake that. She has more pictures of her covered in catfish blood and hog guts than she does of her in makeup.

For your musical intermission:

On my reading list this past week:

Note: I saw Hamilton in London on Saturday, but I haven’t fully unpacked it yet so I will write about in another note or on the blog. My top-line thoughts: It was awesome. I loved the remix of Hamilton’s story. What a clever dude that Lin-Manuel Miranda is.

Oh and I nearly let this escape me. MTV turned 38 a few days ago. I must make a playlist of all of my favourite MTV video from the early 80s.

Alright, I’m going to skip on up outta here now. I’ll catch you out on the social web.

Peace out,


Word of mouth is the best way for independent artists to get their work out into the wild. If you like The Coach’s Notes, please share it? New folks can subscribe here.

It’s just green coloured paper

The Coach's Notes #50

“Either our lives become stories, or there’s just no way to get through them.”

- Claire Baxter, Generation X

It's time to unpack my brain. The big pause of a few weeks ago has left my mind fertile with ideas. If I don't unpack them soon, my head will explode and that could get real messy, real quick.

I've been thinking a lot about my generation this week and where we fit in or don't fit in.

As Matthew Hennessey said, we’ve been:

sandwiched between the twin generational behemoths known as the baby boomers and the millennials. Culturally, politically, socially, technologically, and economically, the torch is being passed from the older generation to the younger one or the one in the middle is mostly being ignored. With the baby boomers on the way out the culture is turning its attention to millennial needs, millennial tastes, millennial peculiarities and millennial preferences.

Generation X is at best an afterthought - when we are thought of at all.

We've kind of been forgotten (even worse than being lost) overshadowed by the millennials in just about everything. Apparently we're going to be the first generation to not have one of our own as POTUS. The millennials are just too hot and will get one of their pack in the White House before us.

Maybe that has something to do with us being a generation of slackers. I know I certainly wouldn’t want the job. Heck, I dropped out of the race to be a colonel or general when I left the military at the “five and fly” mark, which is to say I did my mandatory 5 years and then hauled ass out of there. And when I was knee-deep in the corporate salt-mines, I harboured no aspirations to be a top exec or a CEO. Hell, I don’t even like being the boss of my own company. I’d much rather be a Dharma Bum and a card carrying member of the “rucksack revolution.”

“I see a vision of a great rucksack revolution thousands or even millions of young Americans wandering around with rucksacks, going up to mountains to pray, making children laugh and old men glad, making young girls happy and old girls happier, all of ’em Zen Lunatics who go about writing poems that happen to appear in their heads for no reason and also by being kind and also by strange unexpected acts keep giving visions of eternal freedom to everybody and to all living creatures …” ― Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

Being a boss smells too much like the system. Don’t panic though! I know I have to play the game unless I want to go all Brill on you and drop out and off the grid completely. I love the Internet too much to do that!

"The world doesn't owe you (or me) any favours!"

I’ve decided today that I want to embrace my Generation X-ness. In fact, I’m happy to be the underachieving poster boy for Generation X. What’s wrong that eh? There are enough granola eating, save the planet, don’t eat meat people out there running around preaching to folks to be the best version of themselves. The world doesn’t need another voice (certainly not mine) to add to the self-help, well-being trope.

(Does that sound harsh to you? I don’t mean it to be. I’m just trying to say that I don’t have any answers, just more questions. For me, the thrill of the game is figuring it out for oneself. And that means talking to each other, challenging each other, supporting each other, sitting around the metaphorical campfire and sharing stories together that encourage us to think about our place in the universe.)

“We spend our youth attaining wealth, and our wealth attaining youth.”

In the spirit of embracing my Generation X-ness, I’ve started going back through the Generation X canon, starting with Ben Stiller’s classic Generation X film, Reality Bites starring some of my favourite Gen Xers - Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, and of course Ben Stiller.

“Oh, but what’s money to an artist, to a philosopher…it’s just green coloured paper that floats in and out of his life like snow.”

Side fact - when I saw Reality Bites for the first time, I immediately went out and bought a camcorder so that I could start making little mini documentaries like Lelaina does in the film. My desire to make videos was fanned even more from watching bucket loads of MTV Europe (it was 1 of 2 English channels I could get on German TV) when I wasn’t out in the field or deployed somewhere.

Oh and let’s not forget MTV’s Real World and the likes of Puck! The Real World also inspired my desire to make documentary style videos - ones that captured the everyday, the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Your Musical Intermission

As is my nature, I always like to go back to the source. The Generation X tag was brought to life by Canadian writer, Douglas Coupland in his 1991 debut novel: Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture

If you want to get back in touch with your inner Generation X self, then this is the place to start. Coupland defined us.

Fiercely suspicious of being lumped together as an advertiser's target market, they have quit dreary careers and cut themselves adrift in the California desert. Unsure of their futures, they immerse themselves in a regime of heavy drinking and working in no future McJobs in the service industry.

Underemployed, overeducated and intensely private and unpredicatable, they have nowhere to direct their anger, no one to assuage their fears, and no culture to replace their anomie. So they tell stories: disturbingly funny tales that reveal their barricaded inner world. A world populated with dead TV shows, 'Elvis moments' and semi-disposable Swedish furniture.

Remember how we took stick for opting for the McJob:

A low-pay, low-prestige, low-dignity, low-benefit, no-future job in the service sector. Frequently considered a satisfying career choice by people who have never held one.

I don’t want to spend my life collecting objects. I’d rather collect experiences.

You really have to wonder why we even bother to get up in the morning. I mean, really: Why work? Simply to buy more stuff? That’s just not enough.

The truth is:

The only reason we all go to work in the morning is because we’re terrified of what would happen if we stopped. We’re not built for free time as a species. We think we are, but we aren’t.

There are loads of gems in this book. Go read it.

The Bad Cigar Lady

Since feelings come first, the distance in my mind grows luminous with bright yellow faeries that drown in the human soul. One day I would like to return to Ever-Ever Land where sweetness is normal and the bad cigar lady takes it lying down. 

Courage is fear. 

And when the Spring returns, the robin outflanks the talented children so truly perfect like flowers of stone.

True Freedom

WeirdBoy: Hey man, when was the last time you looked into the abyss?

SoulCruzer: I'd like to think I was past all of that existential dread stuff. I mean I looked into the abyss and there was nothing there. Just a black hole.

WB: You sure weren't just looking into a mud-hole, Homes?

SC: No. It was the abyss alright. I saw no- thing, no point, no purpose, no meaning. nada.

WB: I saw some dude on YouTube talking about life being absurd and how if you didn’t gaze into the abyss you'd fall in.

SC: The absurd is not so bad. It means you get to make up your own meaning.

WB: I don't know man, sounds like a lot of work to me. Besides, how do you know if you’re right?

SC: You don't. But the point is, it doesn't matter anyway.


SC: It's true freedom.

Here’s great little Youtube find on leadership:

DICKS: Do you need to be one to be a successful leader?

Alright good people, it’s time for me to pop smoke. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading and thanks for your time. I hope you’ve had a pleasant week.

Peace and love,


Just in case there was any doubt in your mind, the Amazon links on here are affiliate links. All that means is I get a tiny commission from Amazon if you buy something through my link (doesn’t even half to be the book I’ve linked to). It’s seamless to you (i.e. doesn’t cost you a penny more) and helps me earn a couple of pennies for my efforts to entertain you.

And as always, if you want to help an independent artist grow, share The Notes with someone who may enjoy them too.

Loading more posts…