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The question will save you from disappointment

Photo: PM Images/Getty Images

Wouldn’t it be nice to experience greater fulfillment in life?

Everyone has aspirations and dreams, but they don’t always think things through. Worse, they don’t stop to examine their underlying motivations, and where they might lead.

I’ll bet you know people who are unhappy in their careers. They complain about their bosses, the commute, office politics, and more. Maybe this applies to you?

“How did I get into this mess?” you might ask yourself.

The answer often has to do with money, the expectations of others, and unexamined goals. …


The wounds and loss linger, but so does the love

Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

When I was ten years old, something in the backyard knocked on the window to my bedroom.

It was around midnight, and it startled me awake. I scrambled out of bed, ran down the hall into my parent’s bedroom, and shook my father’s shoulders.

“Dad! Something’s outside my bedroom! It knocked on the window!”

My father, groggy-eyed, squinted at me and said, “Oh Johnny, it’s probably just a dream.” He crawled out of bed and walked me back down the hall to my bedroom.

“Fear tastes like a rusty knife and do not let her into your house.” …


This crucial state of being is necessary for successful creators

Photo by Egor Myznik on Unsplash

Are you familiar with flotation isolation?

It involves floating on your back in a specially designed sensory deprivation tank of water. The tank is soundproof to prevent noise distractions.

Floaters experience minimal sensory stimulation, including the sensation of gravity. It’s completely dark inside the tank. Just you and your thoughts.

Flotation (or isolation) tanks are used for restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST). The idea is that dark, quiet isolation in near-zero gravity is therapeutic, helping with conditions like anxiety, pain, and stress.

Do sensory deprivation floating tanks work? According to some research, yes.

An article in heathline.com notes:

“A 2018…


Number 4: Copy everyone else

Photography and artwork by John P. Weiss

If I could start over as a writer, I would never have begun with a blog.

I know, that sounds crazy, right? All the experts tell us how important it is to own your own digital real estate.

The gurus warn about the vagaries of social media algorithms and the unreliability of different platforms. Think Google Plus and Periscope.

The experts tell us to launch our own blog, where we control the content. They point to endless blogging courses online. Not to mention vendors like WordPress, Squarespace, and others, all vying for your money.

And then there are all the…


Lesson 2: Focus on your greatest passions

Illustrations by John P. Weiss

When I was 13-years old my Dad had a heart attack in front of me.

We were at home in the living room and I was watching Star Trek on TV. Dad was reading in his chair, then suddenly leaned forward.

My mother walked into the room and immediately noticed my father’s pale face and perspiration.

“What’s the matter, John?” she said.

“I think it’s my heart,” Dad replied.

We moved Dad over to the couch and Mom called 9–1–1. Dad looked up at me and said, “Keep a stiff upper lip, Johnny.”

Thankfully, Dad survived his heart attack. Years…


Nobody is born to blend in

Illustrations by John P. Weiss

Do you know what it feels like to be different or outside of a particular group?

Most of us, sooner or later, experience the feeling. Exclusion at the hands of others is never fun.

Near the end of my 7th grade school year, the private school I attended announced its closure. My father made arrangements for my transfer to another private school.

The new private school was exclusive and catered to well-to-do families. The first day of my 8th grade school year was disorienting and stressful.


Your dreams don’t want you to get ready, they want you now

The late artist Rick Howell. Photo (used with permission): Eric Swanson

Sometimes the most insignificant moment can change the whole trajectory of your life. That’s what happened to Rick Howell.

Rick used to manage a stock brokerage firm, but his true passion was landscape painting. Late one afternoon, Rick was driving home after a long day at the office.

A scruffy guy in an open-top jeep pulled up beside Rick. The jeep guy had a dog on the seat next to him. He didn’t look like he had much, but he looked free and happy.

Free and happy.

Two things that Rick, at that moment, realized he wanted for himself. Managing…


Guess what happened when I deleted all my social media content?

Illustrations by John P. Weiss

Last Fall, I deleted all the content on my social media platforms.

I was inspired by this blog post from Corbett Barr, founder, and CEO of Fizzle.co. In the post, Barr wrote that he was deleting all his social media content, and many of his blog posts, videos, podcasts, and more.

Barr wrote, “I’m going to consolidate my online life and define a new vision for my next decade on the Internet.” In a follow-up post, Barr noted:

“It’s not natural for every thought or scribble you’ve produced to exist publicly for everyone to see for all time. …


How a little chaotic experimentation can help you grow

Illustration by John P. Weiss

It all started with pencils. As a little boy, happiness for me was a sharp pencil and a blank piece of paper. My favorite birthday and Christmas gifts were drawing pencils and blank sketchbooks.

As my drawing skills improved I became less dependent on the pencil eraser. Eventually, I graduated to drawing with a black ballpoint pen. To this day, ballpoint pens are my favorite drawing device.

Later in life, when I moonlighted as an editorial cartoonist for several newspapers, I drew my cartoons with pen and India ink, for greater permanency.

Fast-forward to the present day, and I craft…


How isolation and coyotes can improve your life

Photo by Lian Tomtit on Unsplash

In December of last year, I took a long walk with my two dogs, despite a light dusting of snow outside.

The air was crisp and the sky overcast. A few quail, with their silly topknot plumes, chirped and clucked as they ran for low foliage cover. My dogs spied them but were distracted by something in the distance.

The fur on my smaller dog’s shoulders began to stand up, and he let out a low growl. I squinted down the street and spotted movement between a patchwork of shrubs.

Two coyotes stood motionless, eyeing my dogs and me warily…

John P. Weiss

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