Big Table Brainstorming

A big kitchen table ready for a brainstorming session.

I love using index cards to capture goals/ideas. But when it comes to fleshing them out into full fledged plans, a single 3x5 or sheet of paper can feel a bit cramped. I’ve been discovering that I am most creative when I have room to expand, to lay out multiple sheets of paper, to color, to draw out shapes, to connect lines between major themes, to shuffle, to reorganize, etc. This is where I experience my ‘ah-ha’ moments. This is how I break through resistance. This is when I crystalize these thoughts onto paper.

Have you experienced this level of flow lately?

Bucket List Item Complete: 10 Minute Wall Sit

Rick Manelius doing a wall sit next to a chair

It’s official. After making my bucket list several months ago, I’ve crossed off my 3rd item: a 10 minute wall sit. Previously, I had only crossed the 5 minute mark about 3-5 times with my previous best being 7:50. Today I threw in an extra 5 seconds to go 10:05 so I could be absolutely certain that I didn’t stop short of my goal. Either way, I was exhausted yet exhilarated. No longer do I have to wonder if I could do it. I can, and I did!

Don't Confuse the Two

A man holding a newspaper over his head - flickr - Silentmind8

During a torrential downpour in NYC, people were grabbing copies of the NY metro newspaper to use as makeshift umbrellas. Clearly, the number of papers handed out does not equal the number of readers.

A decade ago, AOL used to send out an excessive quantity of CDs and 3.5 inch floppy disks in order to entice people to sign up for a free month of internet service. Most of these CDs/floppies were thrown out. But some individuals would collect them to use in their artwork or use them in other creative ways. Clearly, the number of free offers does not equal the number of people who will accept said offer.

Stop Waiting for the Party

MIT PDT 2003 pledge class party

800+ peopled stopped by in a single night. I know, because we had the signatures on our guest list to prove it. Yes, MIT was full of nerds and you wouldn’t consider it a party school. But Boston is a college town and that meant a lot of people were looking to have some fun on a friday night. We just happened to be one of many venues on that particular night.

What's Your Failure Threshold?

Safe dial - Leo Reynolds - Flickr

If you’re big into self help and personal development, you’ve probably heard the story of Thomas Edison and his famous 1,000-10,000 failed experiments on the way to inventing the light bulb. Clearly, it takes guts and determination to stay relentless in the pursuit of ones vision.

You’ve probably also heard the following adage: the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The point usually being made is that you’ve reached a dead end and must change course. This also takes guts because one may need to abandon the vision altogether.

Things I Once Believed

Santa Mug Shot - kevindooley - flickr

“Who’s your daddy?” While often used as a schoolyard taunt, it’s actually legitimate question of illegitimacy. After all, a university study concluded that up to 1 in 25 fathers are unknowingly raising another man’s child.

I love my mom, but my world flipped upside down when I learned my dad was one of those 4%. It was even more bizarre because I was good friends with my half-sister and half-brother and saw my biological dad on a regular basis. I was too blind, too naive, and too trusting to ever think anything different.


Image of a wrecked home - joeldinda - flickr


  • [with obj.] fail to fulfill or undertake (a responsibility or duty).
  • without obj. to renounce or relinquish a throne, right, power, claim, responsibility, or the like, especially in a formal manner.
  • to cast off

Life can be scary. And as a result of fear, we sometimes cling to those who offer some (real or imaginary) hope of solving our problems. This is not to say that we cannot work with or depend on others. That can be a very healthy way to achieve a goal. But it’s not healthy to knowingly place ALL the responsibility of the big decisions onto others.

The Copycat Conundrum

Snowflake photo by CaptPiper

Each snowflake is structurally unique. And yet, they all have 6 sides and the same exact name—snowflake!

In high school, we’re told that copying is bad, illegal, and YOU’LL FAIL! Then we create a standardized test and tell 30,000+ students across the state to write a 4 paragraph essay on the exact same topic. Statistically speaking, I’m shocked there are no exact duplicates.

How's My Writing?

Rick at the typewriter when he was young

One of my 2011 goals is to further develop my writing and communication skills. So how am I doing? Any feedback you can give would be much appreciated.


PS. I believe I'm in the 1-2 year old age range in this photo. I guess it was never to early to start a goal!