Not wanting tomorrow

I hate the Full Moon. Especially the pool room. We were in there playing pool and the game was on. The game where everyone watches. Even the ones who aren’t fans. Even I was watching it. I didn’t watch the game any other time but I was watching it this time.

Should we meet at the Full Moon? Someone asked.

Yes. Someone else said.

I went along for the company. I hate the Full Moon. But the people were good. I don’t know whether I hate it because I hate it or I hate it because I was there and I knew what I had the next day.

Getting up was like getting out of a coffin. Summoning the energy in each cell one by one. I stayed up late. Had to wake up early. To get to West End. West End was a train and a bus ride away. I’d get in the shower. Then get out, still tired. Have breakfast, still tired. Drive to the train, almost miss it. Get on the train, still tired. Walk to the bus, almost miss it. The bus would drive there and I pushed the button and got off. Then I’d walk down the street, look at the cafe’s. I didn’t drink coffee then. I should’ve.

I’d get in, check the emails. They were there. There was one I liked to read. Someone put the effort in to put together a few interesting things about the area. I read it. The others were worthless.

What would you like me to do today? I asked.

We’d like you to help Eliza and scan the records.

I picked up a box of records and took them to my desk. I’d open the program and plug in the scanner and start scanning. It was easy. One record, one scan, one down arrow press, repeat. I got so good I could watch YouTube whilst doing it. Scan, YouTube, arrow, record, scan, YouTube, arrow. That was it. Hundreds of times until the box was empty. Then I grabbed another box. Scan, YouTube, arrow. Records Officer, that was me.

You did this one wrong. She said.

How so?

She showed me. 

Okay, I said, I’ll fix the next one.

I fixed the next one. And did the same for the next.

You did these two wrong. She said.

How so?

She showed me.

She wanted it the way I was originally doing it. The way she showed me was wrong.

Okay, I said, I’ll fix the next ones.

I grabbed another box. YouTube, scan, arrow. I watched videos on Physics, videos on health, videos on weightlifting, videos on how to talk to girls. I loved the ones with Michio Kaku. He’s a Japanese physicist who knows how to tell a story.

The end of the day came. I’d been through 10 boxes, maybe 11. Everyone said their goodbyes and walked out.

See you tomorrow!

I went back to the bus. I had a physics quiz due at 5:30 pm. I went to the campus. It was the other direction from home. I got there at 5:15, did the quiz, passed, Michio Kaku helped. Back on the bus. The bus went to the train and then the train went to my car. My car was bogged. It rained heavily and I was parked on grass. I called my friend to help me out and we got out.

On the way home I drove past the Full Moon, still tired. I looked in the top floor window. I was there last night. Never again.

My alarm was set for the next morning. It went off and I summoned energy in every cell. Showered, still tired, drove to the train, still tired, got the train, got the bus, walked in.

Eliza started speaking.

You got these wrong.

Okay.

The power of a good conversation

George and I were walking along the pier. I started speaking.

Walking along the water is very nostalgic to me. I remember family trips with the water lapping up.

We kept walking. Talking and walking. His business is growing. He’s taking it step by step. He’s going to Greece soon. Time away to think about the long-term.

We went and got coffee and spoke about taxes. When you become a business there’s some rule about paying 30% of taxes. I don’t know much about taxes so I asked a lot of questions. Then it was time to go.

On Tuesday I was sitting at the coffee shop. A girl with blonde hair was to my left and a girl with brown hair and an English accent was sitting opposite. They were talking about their travels about dates they’d been on. There was this one guy, she’d known him for ages but it wasn’t like that. I was writing a great blog post by hand. The words were really happening.

The girl with the brown hair was cute. We made eye contact here and there. I kept writing. Maybe she’ll see me writing and ask me what I’m writing. Please ask me what I’m writing. I’d tell her. A blog post. I’m writing a great blog post.

I was thinking about a costume to wear to the gold theme party on Friday. Thinking and writing. I could go as Goldmember, the one from Austin Powers. Then the girl with the brown hair started talking about Goldmember. Did she read my mind? Please ask me what I’m writing.

She didn’t ask.

I finished my blog post. I typed it up and edited it. Then I packed away my notebook. It was time to go. But those eyes. The tan skin. The accent. I had no other option. The blonde girl started talking about my university. I joined in.

Yeah, but the sandstone is great.

She spoke.

Did you go there?

Yeah, for five years, I failed the first two.

What do you do now?

I have my own business, I write articles and make things online.

Oh cool, good to see things turn out.

Are you deciding to go to university?

Yeah, I’m thinking about it, I’ve got a few different options.

Where?

The conversation went on, not much.

I turned to the brown haired girl and spoke. What are you doing here?

She spoke.

What do you mean?

Are you travelling or studying or?

I’ve got dual citizenship so I can stay here but I’m really doing things day by day.

I smiled. In my head I smiled too. Dual citizenship means she can stay here. She’s cute. Please ask me what I’m writing.

We talked for a bit more. About 5-year plans, about 10-year plans. What a waste of time. I wouldn’t let my 15-year-old self make decisions for me now. I’m way smarter than him.

It was time for me to go. I slipped my arm through my bag and did the same with the other one and got up.

I’m Daniel. I reached my hand out.

The brown haired girl grabbed my hand and spoke.

Tatum.

Tatum? That’s a pretty name.

Yeah, it’s my actual name. She smiled. I felt it.

Nice to meet you too.

The blonde haired girl grabbed my hand.

Marissa.

I walked out, almost. Forgot to pay. I turned around and paid. Then walked out. I felt good. Tatum. That’s a pretty name.

She didn’t ask.

Some people get energy from talking. Some people avoid it.

When you have a conversation with the right person you feel it. You feel the energy. You’re sharing it. They’re sharing it.

It becomes more than the sum of its parts.

I felt it. With George. With Tatum. I could get by for a week on a good conversation. This week I’ve had two.

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Tell your people you love them

It's hard to imagine things 20-years from now. What will the world look like? What will we look like?

Will our family members still be here?

What will stay the same?

Humans are bad at planning for the long-term. It's no wonder, most of our history has required us to take things day by day. The times where food today was good but we might not have any tomorrow.

There's a photo in my Mum's room of a lady who used to live across the street. Margaret was a sweet lady, I remember talking to her when I was young. The photo is of Margaret in the hospital. I remember her family coming to visit several times whilst she was in the care unit. But even after living across the road from her for 10-years, I don't remember them ever making a single visit.

So why so much effort in the last moments of her life?

I'm not going to pretend to know but my best guess is, they were living their own lives.

Is this a bad thing? No. But what if the same amount of effort was sustained throughout the other years of their life?

It's because planning for the long-term is hard. It's only once things become a problem do we realise they're a problem.

A loved one falling ill seems so far away until it happens.

Life happens quick. Enjoy the short-term but don't forget the long-term.

Tell your people you love them.

I love you.

Horizon, ground, altimeter

The body shudders, the engine takes up half the plane

We’re sitting close, all of us, ass to back

We make a turn,

Now we’re on the runway

The trees start moving faster, the ground even more

Seatbelts! People fumble around their legs, reaching back, finding buckles

Out the window is a blur, we’re really moving

Wings cutting the air

You can’t see it but you know it’s there

Close the door!

It’s quieter inside but talking is still a shout

The wheels stop rolling, they’re not on the ground anymore

It’s smoother than I thought, big yellow cuts through the air

We head over the road, over the fields, over the ponds, you can see all of it,

My altitude meter goes out of the red, 1000 ft 2000, 3000

How’s the storm?

I’ll go around it the pilot says

I go over the steps in my head,

Horizon, ground, altitude, horizon, ground, altitude, horizon, ground, altitude

7000 ft is lock on time, keep your eyes on the meter

6000 ft is pull time

After 10-seconds we’ll be falling at 1000 ft every 5-seconds, just over a minute until creaming in John says

We pass through the clouds, we’re above them, 12,000 ft

Everyone starts checking each other one last time

My altimeter hits 14, time to jump.

The light comes on,

Open the door!

No one hears it

Open the door!

The door comes open

Out go the first two

Then the next one and a few more

We shuffle forward, Doily is strapped to my back, there isn’t room to stand so we keep shuffling

It’s our turn

My right foot goes against the door frame, my left foot goes on the edge, my hands are holding the side of the plane my hair’s in the wind and I can see the wing of the plane, except there’s no window this time

I do the checks, check in, okay, check out, okay, I look forward

Horizon, pause, up, my head goes up, I look over the wing, pause

Down, out!

We leave the plane, I get into the position and hold it, hips forward, arms out, legs bent and pointing

There’s no stomach feeling, just wind,

We’re floating, floating above a cloud

I do the checks again, horizon, ground, altimeter, horizon, ground, altimeter

The arrow turns to the left, 12, 11, 10, 9

We hit the cloud, terminal velocity through a cloud, it’s cold and wet

We come out,

Horizon, ground, altimeter, horizon, ground, altimeter, 8, 7, lock on!

I watch the altimeter closely, 6 is coming, the needle keeps moving, halfway, three quarters,

6 hits and I wave my hands, it’s pull time

Doily pulls it and the canopy comes out

The air rushes into it, fills it up like a deep breath to lungs

We’re floating still but the wind isn’t as harsh,

I grab on to the toggles, we guide it in

The ground comes to meet us, I pull my legs up and we slide in

Back on the ground.

We check the video, I didn’t have my legs in the right place

Doily speaks,

Don’t move your head so much, look at the ground with your eyes not your head

The ground’s boring, look at the air

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The sun came through the trees

We didn’t have to pedal much because the wind was against us. On the way there it was a battle. Two men on bikes against the wind. Two pedals equals one when the wind is that strong. The kite surfers were out and their kites were full of it. I kept peddling.

As you go along you can see the entire shore. All the water and the rocks. There’s a footpath the whole way along. Someone built this I thought. Someone made the right choice to build this. It couldn’t have been natural. A group of people put together and laid the foundations to make a path the whole way along. It goes for miles. Rocks upon rocks upon rocks. Now we were riding along it. You don’t notice these things but then you do and you can’t stop.

There’s a bend toward the end. The wind gets blocked by the cliff but then you hit the bend. You come around the corner and the wind isn’t blocked by the cliff anymore. You’re back to battling. We were battling. It was stronger than ever. The waves were washed with white. Once you hit the end of the bend you’re at the pier. We ride over the blue sign. No bikes on the pier it says. Someone told us once. Beautiful boys, there’s no bikes on the pier. She was a nice lady. We kept riding.

The pier used to be shorter. They wanted to knock it down but the community said no. Good choice. The rebuilt pier is 100 metres longer. You don’t notice it when you’re on it because it keeps going and you go with it. Then you get to the end and the sign shows the old pier and the new pier side by side and you can see it.

We get to the end of the pier and look out. It’s cloudy and the rainbow is over there. The sun is behind us falling fast. You can see Tangalooma from the end of the pier. My favourite island. Seeing it reminds me of all the times we’ve been there. It’s a good place. The ocean wind keeps playing with the ocean. I keep looking out as the island. It wasn’t there. The clouds were covering it. But I know where it is.

I turn to Sam.

Better go, let’s get dinner ready when we get home.

Moon in the sky

I walk outside, toothbrush buzzing

It's electric so it runs out every few days or so

Then I charge it and brush my teeth

The grass is a little wet from the evening dew

There's been rain lately so it's soft under foot

It feels good

real good

My teeth feel cleaner too

If you've got an electric toothbrush

You've got nothing to complain about

I look up at the moon and keep brushing

It's bright and full

Looking back down at me

only me

It's not only me but it seems like it

I want my teeth to be bright and clean like the moon

The sky is clear but my mind is full

Full of the buzzing of the toothbrush

My eyes dissolve into the sound

I adjust my pants and look into the yard

The timer will go off soon

I look back up and the moon is still there

One of those sights you could never get tired of

That girl you see from time to time

Beauty, real beauty

Just like the moon

The timer goes off

I rinse my mouth out and go to bed

Moon on my mind

The wrong metric of success

Dear Pauly, 

Many a man have drove themselves into the ground trying to chase after the wrong thing. Including me. 

More money than what covers basic needs.

The love of an evasive woman. 

Popularity amongst others. 

Stacy was a good girl, just not into me. I realised and got out of her house, slammed the door of the Sub and sped down the road. The speed didn’t make anything better.

A man needs to experience his first heartbreak. I don’t trust anyone whose never felt a wrench in their gut at the sound of someone’s name. 

Anyway, I tell you these these things because I somehow think it’ll help.

But in my experience, most of the best lessons have to happen first hand, then you can join the dots. 

Don’t confuse chasing after the wrong thing as success.

A man only needs a few things to get by. Some food, a mission, a deep love for himself, a place to sleep. Anything else is a bonus.

Keep creating Pauly. 

Talk soon,

Charlie

The most precious thing you can give someone

She was screaming.

You don’t know what’s happening Gregory!

You just wait Greg, I know what you’re up to!

More screaming.

There isn’t anything I don’t know Gregory!

I walked across the street. What was happening? Why didn’t Greg know? What did she know about Greg? There wasn’t anything she didn’t know. Was she an oracle?

I should’ve talked to her. I could’ve asked her about life. She could’ve help me figure it all out.

I pretended like I did.

Can I ask you something?

There isn’t anything I don’t know Daniel!

What’s the most precious thing you can give to someone else?

Give them a feeling!

What?

Something that penetrates their soul! Get deep! Really deep! Make it bubble up!

Make what bubble up?

You want it to be there in a year! In 5-years! When they’re in a cafe reading a newspaper and they look up and get nauseous thinking of the feeling! You want it to be so good it comes back! It always comes back!

I get it but why are you screaming?

Why do you think! Do you not listen! You’re just like Gregory! You don’t know what’s happening!

Imagining is almost as good as the real thing. Sometimes it’s better. Sometimes worse. Far worse.

She made me feel something. Unintentional or intentional? Who knows. She was talking to Gregory. Gregory didn’t know what was happening.

Her purple top left her stomach uncovered. And the pants she had on were dirty. Maybe she was crazy. Maybe I was crazy for taking lessons imaginary lessons from a screaming lady on the street. Gregory wasn’t. Gregory didn’t know what was happening.

Financial freedom has two extremes. One where you can buy whatever you want. The other where you don’t care about anything. She was financially free. Rich. Rich with the most valuable currency there is. Rich with effect. Effect on others. Effect on me. She had an audience. Everyone crossing the street was in awe. What was Greg up to?

Effect is precious. It can last an instant but be remembered for a lifetime. It can happen once and then again 1000 more times.

You could be sitting in a cafe in 5-years reading the newspaper. Look up for a second. Your stomach does a backflip. And it comes back, the feeling all over again.

How she smiled at you.

Or how she screamed from across the street.

Once you give a feeling to someone, it’s there. Always there.

Source: https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-most-pre...

Milk or water?

There are two cups. One of milk, one of water. Drink the milk and you get wealth beyond your dreams. Drink the water and you get knowledge.

Which do you choose?

I’d choose the milk.

‘Look Dad, a bird!’

‘Do you know which one it is?’

‘No…’

‘That’s a lark.’

‘There’s lots of them!’

‘Do you want to know what a group of larks is called?’

‘What?’

‘An ascension.’

‘What does asksenchen mean?’

‘Asension means to go up higher.’

‘Dad! Look how high the bird is!’

Acquiring wealth is fun but it’s nothing compared to the pleasure of finding things out.

Source: https://qr.ae/TUy4cd

Being 13 is tough

Dear Pauly,

Being 13 is tough. There's a lot going on.

You're getting to middle school, your parents are starting to talk to you about your grades more, your friends are growing up. Some of them even have girlfriends. Multiple girlfriends.

The worries never stop. The internet says you should be one way. Your parents think you should spend less time doing that thing you enjoy doing. You aren't very good at anything. School work is a drag. You can't keep up with your friends on the sports field because you're overweight. You try. But you can't. There's a cute girl who goes to the events you go to but you're too afraid to talk to her. Plus, she's taller than you.

I know these things because I remember being in 8th grade. I remember standing on the sports field looking at my friends with hair under their armpits. Then being extra careful to keep my arms by my sides whilst I took my shirt off. I kept the shirt in front of me so my stomach wouldn't show.

My hair was always a mess because I didn't like looking in the mirror. I didn't really care anyway. I'd go to class and cause trouble because I needed attention.

I thought, "I can't wait to grow up."

Some years passed. I started to grow. I got hair in the places.

But the worries were still there.

13 is tough but so is every other age. The worries never go away, they only change form.

When you're 13 you're self-conscious about your body.

"Why don't I look like the other kids?"

When you're 23 you're self-conscious about your job.

"Am I earning enough money?"

When you're 33 you're self-conscious about your body.

"Am I getting fat?"

When you're 43 you're self-conscious about whether you can pay for your kids' school.

"Am I earning enough money?"

When you're 53 you're self-conscious about whether you've spent enough time on the things you enjoy.

"Should I sign up for next weeks piano class?"

When you're 63 you're self-conscious about whether you've got enough time left to spend with your grandkids.

"The doctor said I should be taking it easy."

I'm not saying these things to scare you Pauly. But I'm not going to hide the truth from you either.

You're old enough to start thinking about what you can and can't control.

Put it this way. You can't control when you start to grow. And as much as you'd like, you can't control when you first kiss a girl.

Spending too much time thinking about these things will only make you more insecure. It's hard to understand now but I thought about the same things when I was your age. Thinking about them all the time only made it worse.

I want you to try something. Sit down and think for a minute.

What are the things you can control and what are the things you can't?

You'll probably find there's much more you can't control than you can.

But there's one thing you've got within you. One thing that will follow you from 13 to 23 to 33 to 103.

The story you tell yourself.

Now they don't teach this in school. Because it's really hard to teach. Everyone is still trying to figure it out. No one really knows how to explain it. Including me.

The best example I can give is that movie you love watching. You know the one we put on when I came to visit last.

What happens in the ending scene?

Jira becomes King.

But you know he didn't start there.

He started as a young boy. You remember him walking through the streets. The merchants rushing up to him and telling him to get lost.

All he wanted to do was grow up like his older brother, Leroy. Leroy the tall Knight with the beautiful girl.

What happens next?

Jira goes through the forest. He gets lost. He's stuck and doesn't know what to do.

Then what?

Jira decides to face his fears. He fails the first time. And the second time. Then still manages to end up on the throne. But now he's self-conscious about whether he's a good leader or not. There's always something.

You're probably thinking, "yeah, but that's a movie."

And you're right. It is. But I want you to think like Jira. Think like the movie.

You don't have to go through a forest.

But like how Jira ends up in charge of the Kingdom. You're in charge of the story. The story you tell yourself every day.

Being self-conscious is not a bad thing. It means you're thinking about where you fit in the world. Many people would benefit from being a little more self-conscious.

You can't control the challenges you face in life but you can control how you think about them.

You will grow taller.

You will kiss a girl. You'll both lean in and close your eyes. Your lips will touch. Then you'll pull away. And she'll open her eyes and smile. And it'll be beautiful.

You can lose weight if you try. It's hard. But doable.

Every time you think to yourself, you're writing your story. Some thoughts will be good, others won't.

But when you focus on the things you can control instead of the things you can't, you become King. King of your own Kingdom. Just like Jira. Except you don't need a crown.

I didn't get hair under my armpits until I was 18. And I was still 190lbs still at 22.

If you can lose weight, it's better to do it earlier. You can control that one. With food, movement and sleep. Write back if you need some help.

Talk soon,

Charlie

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Source: https://qr.ae/TUyysR

Food, story and service

That's why people keep coming back.

Keep the story going and they'll be back. They'll always be back.

No one comes back only for the good food, they come back for the story.

The story behind it all. The show and dance. Johnny serves it with a smile.

The food wouldn't be nearly as good without the service.

PS you can change the word food out with almost any product or service. Try it.

How to use your body to manage your mind

There was 3-hours until my flight. Austin to Cleaveland. I did a lap up and down the terminal looking for a nice cafe to write. I found one.

The seat I was on was high. My feet couldn’t touch the ground. They were dangling there. The table didn’t match. It was too low for the chair. My thighs rubbed up against the bottom of the table.

I starting thinking.

The world needs more well-designed chairs.

I had a good view of the planes and the rest of the walkway. People going places. Two guys at a table in front of me starting leaning into one another. As if one had a secret to tell the other. Then the one leaning in pointed across the cafe. I looked where he pointed.

There was another man. He was talking. I could see sounds coming from his mouth but not enough to know what he was saying.

The voice was familiar. He kept talking.

He was leaning over the rail with his elbows on one of the high tables. Sunglasses on, hat on.

I start thinking.

That’s Matthew McConaughey.

I looked away.

He started speaking.

This time I recognised the voice. I’d heard it the night before watching Tropic Thunder highlights.

It was Matthew McConaughey.

I was alone, 8000 miles from home and 10 feet from Matthew McConaughey.

I started thinking again.

I’ve got to go and say ‘Hi’ to him. He probably gets it all the time. But now’s my only chance. I’ll just go and say hello. No photos. Just hello.

My heart was racing.

More thoughts.

Why’s this happening? He’s just a man. A man like me.

He got up with his wife. They were leaving. I’d blown my chance.

Then they stopped. She went into the bathroom and he stood in the hallway.

I’m going. I could feel my heart in my chest. You know it’s a good time when it starts.

I went over.

‘Hi, I’m Daniel, I’m a big fan of your work.’

He stuck his hand out and grabbed mine.

‘McConaughey.’

‘I was watching Tropic Thunder last night.’

He smiled.

‘Where are you off to?’

‘New York.’

‘How come?’

‘Got some work.’

‘Have a nice trip.’

He smiled again.

I went back to my seat. My feet dangled.

I opened my journal and started writing.

Met Matthew McConaughey today. He introduced himself with one word. I said about 30.

I sat there for another 2-hours before my flight came.

Want to manage your mind?

You can do it by listening to your body.

If the body changes, your mind will come along.

It’s natural for your heart rate to go up in uncertain situations. Most people would write this off as fear. But the thing is, fear is caused by the same hormones as being excited.

Same energy but a different form.

Knowing this, the next time you get nervous and your heart rate goes up, you can remind yourself.

‘I know this feeling. I’ve felt it before. Instead of letting it hold me back, I’m going to use it to push me forward.’

The best thing?

It works in reverse too.

Raise your heart rate and you can change your mind.

Humans work best when they’re running away from something or chasing something. Either way, you better get moving.

Source: https://qr.ae/TUrkgl

Quality: the only universal criteria

The teacher would hand out the sheet with the boxes on it. Each box had words in it which were supposed to specify how you got a certain mark. The words were all the same with one or two changed in each box.

‘The student shows sound understanding of the topic.’ That was worth a C. Sound was the mid-tier. Not good. Sound.

‘The student shows great understanding of the topic.’ B.

‘The student shows exceptional understanding of the topic.’ This was the money. Enough of these boxes and you got an A.

I never got why exceptional was the word for an A. I thought it meant something like accepted. ‘Your work is accepted, here’s an A.’

When doing assignments I never paid attention to the criteria sheet. It was always overflowing with words. So many it lost its meaning.

All I wanted to know was what I had to do. What I had to hand in to not get in trouble so I could get back to gaming.

All my assignments looked great. I made sure of that. I had a thing for good looking documents. I’d finish a physics assignment and hand it in. A+ for aesthetics, B for content.

University was the same. More criteria sheets. More lack of reading. More reading the task sheet 6 times and asking myself, ‘What do I actually need to do?’

Then came creating online. No criteria sheets. Anything goes.

My first blog post was crap [TK — link]. Crap but honest. I tried to get my girlfriend to read it. She was good with words. Since then, I’ve probably had 6 great, 277 sound and 3 exceptional posts.

There are no criteria sheets on the internet. So it can hard to start making anything. ‘What do I actually need/want to do?’ Notice the addition of want.

There may be plenty of things you want to do. Too many. So it’s unlikely you’re stuck with a lack of ideas. Instead, a lack of direction.

The cure?

The universal criteria.

You already know this one.

People like things which are of high quality.

Things that teach them something. Things that entertain them. Things which suit the story they repeatedly tell themselves every day. Things that work.

If you’re a maker and looking for a guide or some criteria to adhere to, make it quality.

Everything else is up for debate.