Get up from the table.

When we are in the midst of receiving bad service at a restaurant, negative thoughts begin to circle like vultures. Add a touch of impatience and a dash of hunger to the mix and us humans can do and say some pretty nasty things to our waiters and waitresses. 

Yet, there’s an alternative. Instead of not tipping, saying something mean or raising a ruckus… we could just get up from the table and leave

That’s right, we could just get up and walk away. 

So, why don’t we? 

Because when we receive bad service and remain at the table it gives us someone to blame — the waitress, the backed-up kitchen, the manager, etc.

And, in many ways, that’s easier than getting up. 

Because, by getting up from the table and walking out, we’ve taken control of the situation. We suddenly become the ones responsible for what happens next. 

If I can give anyone any piece of advice it’s this –– always choose to get up from the table and walk away. 

When you find yourself in bad business engagements, in shitty jobs, in less than stellar friendships, etc… give yourself permission to take control. 

You remaining seated and retaining the right to point fingers solves nothing. It’s easier. It's less pressure. But, it solves nothing. 

You’re better off cutting your losses and walking.

By Cole Schafer. 


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On freezing hellfire.

There are moments when I feel a hellfire well up inside of me.

Sparking somewhere deep in my gut and rocketing it's way up and into my chest.

It's in these moments I must hit pause.

It's in these moments I must fight to freeze the fury that rages on.

For, if the hellfire reaches my mouth, others will be burnt too. 

We are dragons in that way.

Regularly we must make the choice to burn or keep mum. 

By Cole Schafer. 


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Chasing the inferno.

Like the volcano or the Phoenix, the creative process is an inferno that makes room for something new, something brilliant, something lovely.

It's messy. It's bloody. It's demanding. It's rigorous.

But, it's also human. 

We destroy things not out of hatred but out of love –– to till the soil and plant the seeds of our vision. 

So, when you find yourself feeling self-destructive don't panic. Instead, reflect. What vision are you subconsciously making room for? 

By Cole Schafer. 


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On chopping down trees.

We’ve heard (and re-heard) the Abraham Lincoln quote to the point of ad nauseam, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.”

It’s nice, in theory. But nowadays, the trouble isn’t in people refusing to prepare but rather people spending all their time preparing and not ever getting started.

Today, it’s initiative we are lacking. Not preparation.

There is a lot to be said for the person tenacious enough to just pick up the ax and start swinging.

By Cole Schafer. 


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Catch & Release. 

The dead fish on the wall fallacy is a misconception that the only experiences worth experiencing are those that last forever.

However, there is beauty in the catch and release. The fisherman that hooks the great big bass. Wrestles it for an hour. Pulls it from the water and into his boat. Admires it. Then, let’s it go. 

The catch and release serves as a nice reminder that for an experience to be worthwhile it doesn’t necessarily have to last forever. 

Maybe, we should stop mounting people and experiences on our walls and in our trophy cases. Maybe, we should stop telling ourselves that moment are only beautiful when they last forever. 

Maybe, we should be okay with the catch & release. 

By Cole Schafer. 


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Wax Wings.

Most fast moving successes have a pair of wax wings adhered to their back –– they’ll get the person, venture or project up in the air quickly but won’t keep it afloat for long.

Wanting to fly is not a crime –– but wanting to fly without putting in the proper time and energy to build a sturdy pair of wings is a death sentence. 

Don’t bring a pair of wax wings to this fight and expect to last the night. 

By Cole Schafer. 


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Read this if you're a complainer.

Jim started smacking his gum with his mouth wide open. Charlene heard the annoying sound and made a mental note to complain about it to Diana during lunch.

Over a salad, Diana listened as Charlene complained for fifteen minutes about how annoying Jim's gum-smacking was, which in turn gave Diana free range to complain about Doug in accounting who is a struggling mansplainer.

Michael, also in accounting and ironically a fellow-hater of Doug, overheard Diana complain about Doug's mansplaining and decided to join in on the complaining, "You're right Charlene, Doug is a dick."

From that day forward, the trio would get together at lunch and complain. They enjoyed it so much that they began paying extra close attention to the people in their office in hopes to find an event so complain-worthy it would take the cake for the daily lunch's complain session. 

Three years later, Charlene, Diana and Michael were still having lunch together. 

But, unfortunately, they had to find new people to complain about –– both Jim and Doug had gotten promoted because they spent the majority of their time doing actual work versus complaining. 

By Cole Schafer. 


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Sex on the beach.

Sex on the beach serves as a good reminder that some things in life are better off dreams than reality. When you close your eyes and think about having sex with a sun-kissed islander on an empty picture-perfect beach, it might seem sexy. However, the reality is anything but. 

Sand gets in places where sand isn't meant to be. If you're not careful, a crab or two gets thrown into the mix. And, whoever got the short end of the stick walks away with sand worn extra raw ass cheeks. 

The lesson?

Be sure the reality is as good as the dream. 

By Cole Schafer.


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Vietnam.

Fighting is useless if you're not gaining ground. It wastes time, energy and resources for nothing in return. 

Before you fight –– be it in life, relationships or business –– have a cause or objective in mind. 

Be very aware of what battle you hope the fighting will win –– what change you're hoping to make. 

Otherwise, it's simply fighting for the sake of fighting.

And, when you fight just to fight, nobody walks away victorious –– it becomes a race to the bottom. Who can run out of time, energy and resources first? 

I encourage you and myself to highlight the battles in our lives that are missing an objective and lay down our arms. 

By Cole Schafer. 


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No laptops on the beach.

Entrepreneurs are sold a pretty picture.

$2,000 laptop resting on sun-kissed thighs, ice-cold mojito in hand with a pristine ocean elegantly position in the background. 

Ironically, the picture-taker probably didn't get much done.

And, even more ironically, the picture-taker probably didn't have much fun. 

My thoughts? 

Make your work time your work time. 

Make your play time your play time. 

And, don't ever confuse the two. 

No laptops on the beach. 

By Cole Schafer. 


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What are you doing to keep from doing what you're supposed to be doing?

If we put as much time, energy and creativity into our work as we did coming up with ways to avoid our work, we’d be prolific. 

Scrolling, masturbating, tweeting, cheating, drinking, smoking, eating (sugar & fried foods), complaining, answering email, refreshing email, creating unnecessary drama in our lives, bad-mouthing those doing well and ranting about things we can’t change are just a handful of the many clever and creative things we do to avoid doing real work that will create impact. 

When you find yourself being unproductive, it might help to take a closer look at what you’ve been productive at –– there is good chance that if you can’t find the time to do good work you’ve spent most of it doing something in the pile above

Be very aware of the things you’re doing to keep you from doing what you’re supposed to be doing. 

By Cole Schafer. 


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7 ways to communicate better.

  1. Share something only when it adds to the conversation –– there is nothing wrong with thinking out loud, just save this more verbal thinking for yourself when you’re alone in a car. 
  2. Remove buzzwords from your communication (especially in business).
  3. Listen more than you speak –– in addition, don’t think about what you’re going to say while other people are speaking (it’s rude). 
  4. Remove the fluff –– fluff is nice in pillows and comforters, less so in conversation. 
  5. Be present with the person (or persons) sitting across from you –– the conversation going on in your phone or email inbox is irrelevant because that person is not in the room. 
  6. Pay extra close attention to point number 6. 
  7. After the conversation, reflect on what was said –– many people lack awareness when it comes to conversation and as a result don’t realize when they sound arrogant, blunt, brash, wishy-washy or ridiculous… by simply reflecting on what was said and how those around you responded you can tremendously improve your communication. 

By Cole Schafer.


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Using the right metrics.

Most of us are currently in the gritty process of sifting through the junk to discover the right metrics to gauge our life’s success.

Unfortunately (and fortunately), it’s not like Track & Field –– the person who runs the fastest, jumps the highest or throws the furthest doesn’t walk away with the gold medal.

There is no universal metric. You can’t measure the success of a social worker the same way you would measure the success of an investor or entrepreneur. 

Instead, we must take it upon ourselves to choose our own metrics. We can measure our impact by how many people we’ve helped, how much money we’ve made, how much money we’ve given away, how present we are, the quality of things we’ve built –– the list goes on. 

There is no wrong answer. The only wrong answer is comparing your success to someone else’s success –– especially if that someone else is using a different set of metrics. 

Again, it’s difficult comparing the social worker’s success to the entrepreneurs or investors. So don't. 

By Cole Schafer


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One-hit wonder.

The trouble with creating a hit is that you’ll want to do it again and again and again.

When you hear the applause, it suddenly becomes less about the act of creating and more about the act of recognition.

Creativity is a process born from a place of selflessness.

It’s born from a selfless vision the creative has that she wants to share with her fellow humans.

Unfortunately, when this process becomes selfish and the creative begins sitting down with the sole intention of creating a hit… the energy changes. The muse stops showing up. The genius finds another home.

And, the creative becomes that which she feared the most –– a one hit wonder. 

By Cole Schafer.


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Steel Toes & Validation.

I realized how much I relied on outside validation when I quit my job and started my writing business.

Oddly enough, I’d catch myself looking over my shoulder from time to time thinking, “I wonder if I am doing this right?”

It was counterintuitive feeling that wasn’t unlike running backwards. 

For years, I had been programmed to seek the validation of teachers, coaches, parents, bosses and society. Then, suddenly, I was stuck in a room alone and I was the only one that could give myself the validation I was looking for. 

For the first time in my life, it had to come from within. 

Seeking validation from others is tricky because there is never enough to feel fully satisfied.

For example: you can tell the body-builder with abs that she’s not fat 1,000 times but until she believes she’s not fat, it’ll never be enough.

Writers, marketers, creators, entrepreneurs, bodybuilders… eventually all of us have to dig deep and feel around for the validation buried somehwere inside of us.

Until then, finding confidence in our work will feel like treading water in steel toe boots.

By Cole Schafer. 


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Look out, bus ––

You will be tempted. 

You will be tempted, at times, to play it safe. 

You will be tempted, to not give me and everyone else in this world everything you’ve got. 

Because giving everything you’ve got hurts like hell. 

But, what hurts worse, is getting hit by a bus. 

And, what hurts worse than getting hit by a bus, is getting hit by a bus without having given this world everything you’ve got. 

We’re here for a short time, honey. 

And, for some people, it’s a hell of a lot shorter than others –– after all there are a lot of buses. 

So, don’t play it safe. 

Give this world everything –– give it everything you've got before you go –– Splat.

By Cole Schafer


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Call yourself out on your bullshit.

Our bullshit never starts out as bullshit. It begins with a piece of adversity or jealousy or insecurity that snowballs into a ridiculous story we tell ourselves –– and as we tell it and retell it over and over again the snowball eventually starts to stink. 

Here are some bullshit stories we tell ourselves to mask our own jealousy, insecurity and unhappiness:

  • Dave got the promotion because he has an MBA and I never had money to get mine. 
  • Sandra has a great ass and is in the best shape of her life because she won the genetic lottery. 
  • Mark was able to successfully start up his own business but he has always gotten lucky. 

When reading these objectively they sound absurd and completely ridiculous. Yet, all of us have been guilty of telling similar stories to the bullshit ones above to ourselves when others are doing interesting successful things we wish we were doing ourselves. 

What’s funny, is that if we were to narrate the stories we tell ourselves out loud alone in a room, many of us would not be able to finish them without shaking our heads in disgust. 

I would recommend doing this.

Next time you catch your mind piecing together a story as an excuse for why so-and-so is successful and you’re not or why [fill in the blank opportunity] didn’t work out for you, write it down, lock yourself in your room and read it out loud over and over and over again. 

By the second or third time through you’ll be calling yourself out for your bullshit. 

By Cole Schafer.


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Mastery.

Triumph is a rose never held by the fiddler, the finagler, the hobbyist and the tyre kicker. 

It’s a rose that only comes to those who have the grit to bite the goddamn bullet and crack a few teeth –– those courageous enough to stick their necks out and commit years (and in some cases light years) to what they were put on this Earth to do. 

Triumph is a rose felt and seen by a brave few –– a handful of renegades willing to risk their lives, their money, their reputations, their happiness to cross the chasm –– it has no patience for the jack of all trades (master of none). 

It wants one thing and one thing only: 

Mastery. 

By Cole Schafer.


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