Bassist - Music Director - Artist Augmenter
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A Grungy Romance And The Creative Flow

There’s a grungy romance to an empty club during load in and soundcheck.

The lights are up - fully illuminating the thin layer of grime that covers just about every square inch of a music venue. Employees sweep up beer cans missed by last night’s crew, techs run between backstage and front of house solving the same problems they did last night and the room is filled with intros and half-songs as artist try on a new room for size - directing their band to “run this song up through the first chorus”

It’s almost as if the room is balanced perfectly between memory of last night’s excitement and anticipation for later this evening

New yet more of the same 

I had just finished sound checking The Varsity Theater in Minneapolis, MN last night when I found myself in an inspiring conversation about creativity with friend of mine Katylin "KK" Strasburg

 Photo by Katylin Strasburg. Goofy face as it looks like I'm checking out Dan Rodriguez's butt by me. 

Photo by Katylin Strasburg. Goofy face as it looks like I'm checking out Dan Rodriguez's butt by me. 

Creativity seems to be a lot like running hot water from your faucet at home.” She said, describing a recent song-writing session she had been in. “When you turn it on, it’s probably going to come out cold at first. But once you get the stream flowing, it comes through hot. Your only job then is to keep the line open and the flow moving. From there, it’s an endless resource. Too many people stop of frustration or hold onto a good idea because they’re nervous that their creativity is limited” 

As the next band worked out a transition between two of their songs they’d be playing later, I couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened if they would have quit writing these songs when the creative flow seemed to be running cold not knowing that they were moments away from the spark. 

Like a dull club in the afternoon, 

Given a couple hours, 

There’s a chance for magic.  

The Limited Resource of Creative Energy

Often times, in the creative world, there’s confusion differentiating between resources that are limited and unlimited

I’m constantly having conversations with creative friends of mine about the fact that ideas and creativity are an unlimited resource that is regenerative. One idea leads to another and it compounds on itself. To read more about that, CHECK OUT THIS POST.

On the other hand, time and energy are a limited resource.

The fact of time and energy being limited is obvious, however, what we don’t talk about enough as Artist & Creators is “Creative Energy” and our need to be intentional with it. 

Now, In my mind, Creativity and Creative Energy (although tied in close relationship together) are two different things. 

I define Creative Energy as: “The strength and vitality required for sustained imagination and creative activity.” 

We’ve all been there, you’re deep into a session or rehearsal and you’ve hit your limit on Creative Energy. I swear I’ve had moments where I can almost physically feel the right hemisphere of my brain turning off. Sure, I can still push through and perform the songs but any innovation or creativity past that point isn’t going to happen by “working harder”. 

Side note: Discernment and awareness of Creative Energy is actually one of the most important roles of a producer in a studio session. Reading the room and knowing when everyone can push deeper, when it’s time to take a lunch break or even call it a day can make or break the creative process. A drummer and band leader friend of mine, Aaron Johnson, once said something I always keep at the front of my mind when I’m music directing, “Whenever you’re dealing with live performance and human output, you’re dealing with a limited resource.” 

Even those of you that aren’t musicians can easily fill in the blank by remembering a similar scenario in your own creative journey. I’ve been in plenty of brainstorming meetings where you can sense the moment the creative flow stops being productive.

Another misunderstanding of Creative Energy is that it also functions in a compounding way a lot like sleep. If you push yourself too far for an extended amount of days and weeks without intentionally recharging, our creative sub-conscious responds with things like “writer’s block” or even physically with burn-out.  

I was sitting in a green room this weekend when my friend, Matt Berry, shared what he called his “Peanut Butter Theory” with me. He started off by acknowledging that it’s a goofy analogy but somehow works as a helpful visual. He knows I'm a sucker for a good analogy no matter how nerdy.

Side Note: The analogy can be translated and used for multiple creative situations, his original one being in reference to a specific live performance scenario we were in, but what stuck out in my mind was in reference to this thought of Creative Energy for which I tweaked a bit here.

Our own personal Creative Energy is like Peanut Butter. Say you have one jar and you want to share it with other people via spreading it on a piece of toast and giving it to them. A few scenarios come to mind: 

Scenario 1: Your goal is to share it with as many people as possible so you focus on spreading the peanut butter thin to make it last. You’ve committed a piece to quite a few people and you want to keep your word. Unfortunately, some of the last slices you can barely tell that there is anything on them as you scraped the bottom of the jar for the final remnant of what used to be peanut butter. You’re intentions were based in generosity, you’ve held up your end of the bargain, but now all you have are a ton of people who will only remember eating a dry boring piece of toast. 

Scenario 2: You want to share your best with the world and you’re hyper aware of only having one jar. Because of that, you hold onto your peanut butter tightly and wait for the perfect moment. The perfect person. The perfect opportunity. Time goes on, a month goes by and you realize that “The Perfect Moment” never showed itself to you and you ended up not sharing it with anyone.

Scenario 3: You’re aware of what you’re personally able to give away and decide to function in a state of thankfulness and intentionality. You intentionally split it evenly within a number of slices that allows you to give a generous amount to each one. Matt went on to talk about the experience that you can most likely already picture in your mind: The peanut butter melting over the warm toast. Everyone eating it would enjoy the experience, your gift to them and the universe.

Artists & Creators: YOU GET TO DECIDE where your time, focus, and Creative Energy goes.

If you don’t decide (by setting goals, boundaries, “Not-To-Do Lists”, and daily creative disciplines) the focus of your time and Creative Energy will be decided for you. 

From my personal experience… 

the result is rarely sustainable.

"Sometimes you have to start writing to figure out what you think." - Daniel H. Pink
 Speaking of Writing... If you're into a good Irish Whiskey, we've been digging "Writer's Tears" lately. 

Daniel H. Pink recently released a book called “When.” 

I was listening to a podcast interview with him this morning describing his creative process when he said, 

“Sometimes you have to start writing to figure out what you think. Writing isn’t something you do when you have your ideas ready. It’s something you do to figure out your ideas” 

I can’t help but wonder if this is true for all creative endeavors. 

Sometimes you need to start writing the song to figure out what what it was supposed to be about. (Side Note: Some writers like Rivers Cuomo sometimes even complete a song without fully realizing what it is about)

Sometimes you need to start painting to figure out what your picture is supposed to be.

Sometimes, while I’m a session, I personally need to shut my mouth and quit talking about what a song needs and pick up my bass and just start playing to figure it out.

Sometimes you need to focus on the next small Verb before trying to figure out the big Noun. 

Generous Creativity

After getting back in town last night, Sarah and I hit up “Eat Street Social" for cocktails. 

As I was sipping their house take on an ‘Old Fashioned’ I realized it had a depth to it that I’d been missing in my Old Fashioned I’d been making at home and was curious about how they made it. 

I know that asking about a specific house special it is typically seen in the cocktail scene as the equivalent to asking a restaurant for the recipe to their secret house sauce but I asked anyway. 

Dan (our bartender) immediately turned around and walked away without saying a word… 

Shit... just another instance where my questions are annoying people.” 

Five seconds later, he returned with a pen and paper and proceeded to write down THE ENTIRE recipe for me, explaining each step as he went, including tips on what he thinks people typically do wrong when they’re making a simple syrup. 

After thanking him, he simply said, “No prob. knowledge is meant to be shared.”

I couldn’t help but wonder… how many times in the past I’ve tried to hold onto my ‘trade secrets’ in fear that I may lose my advantage over other people in my creative field. 

I wonder if that subconsciously cements a mindset of “scarcity” in how I interact with the universe. 

I wonder what would happen if I viewed my knowledge and creativity this week like a never ending flow that’s meant to benefit every one. 

I wonder what would happen to an entire community of artists, musicians, creators and entrepreneurs if we all committed to living more generous with the knowledge we uncover.

At the very least…

We’d all be drinking better cocktails.

Never Play For Free Again

If you're a musician, I think you should make a commitment to yourself that you will NEVER play for Free again.

  • If you're a singer-songwriter, NEVER play for Free   
  • If you're a writer, NEVER write for Free
  • If you're a consultant, NEVER give your advice away for Free
  • If you're an engineer, NEVER record an artist for Free

The problem with the word "Free" is that a lot of us define the opposite of "Free" as "Money"

  • I have a friend who let people download his latest album on his website without having to pay for it. All you had to do was sign up for his mailing list. I don't think he gave away his album away for Free
  • I know of a younger musician out of college that convinced a recording studio to let him clean up, wrap cables and make coffee for artists without the studio paying him. I don't think he was working for Free.
  • I know a singer-songwriter who constantly gets asked to perform without being compensated. They don't want to spend money so they'll make up crap like "it's a great experience" or "It'll be good networking". They're not truly looking to add value to him, just take, and he rightfully turns them down every-time. A few months ago, He was offered a spot to play on "TheRockBoat" [a music filled cruise going out of New Orleans with amazing artists and bands performing on board during the trip]. Their roster was already fully booked with the other bands by that point so they couldn't pay him, but they extended an invite, would let him sell his own merch and bring his wife. He accepted and I don't think he performed for Free

What I'm not saying, is that you should only do things if you're getting something out of it. 

It's a mindset shift of how we view the world, opening our eyes to hidden opportunities and realizing there is value outside of financial compensation. 


The artist that 'gave his album away for free' now has more people showing up to his shows in town than anyone else I know. The studio-musician friend now owns his own studio and is a sought after engineer. And the singer-songwriter that played the cruise made a ton of ACTUALLY beneficial connections, new relationships and new fans. (He was asked to play the same gig next year as a featured artist WITH financial compensation). 

Extended Thoughts: Ever say a word in repetition so much that you start thinking it sounds funny? That's what my brain and eyes are doing from typing the word "free" a bajillion times. Free... is that even a word? did I misspell it? Also, I don't want to overlook the thought of maybe, if we're playing a gig for the pure enjoyment of the music and people, we get something back from it. Maybe, if we volunteer our time out of generosity or for a good cause... we get something out of it. Constantly looking at the world as "what do I get in return" puts me in a negative spot fast. I'm constantly looking for balance. Sometimes just the enjoyment of making fun music with quality people is the return we're getting out of it.  Also: If you're someone in the position of hiring: NEVER ask someone to play for free again. NEVER. Honestly and selflessly look at the situation from their perspective and find a way to add value to their life. 
Don't stop taking photos!

I played music for a wedding recently with Dan Rodriguez, Aaron Johnson and André Rodriguez in St Paul, Minnesota. During a part of the evening when André was playing background music for a cocktail hour, I snapped a couple quick shots of him and took in the moment. Non of the rum-punch-sipping guests gave a single crap the craft, skill, and art that was going into these jazz standards. Just background music subconsciously making their evening more valuable.

One of the multiple reasons I've been enjoying taking pictures with film lately is because it KEEPS you in the moment. Most people think that the act of taking a photo hinders your ability to be present and fully experience the moment. In actuality, it's not the act of TAKING a picture, it's the act of REVIEWING the picture you just took that disconnects you. When you start looking at the picture(s) you just took, you're no longer here, you're in a universe that existed ten seconds ago. Those people and that moment are long gone, pull yourself back into the freaking present. The universe isn't going to wait for you.

Shooting film forces me to not have the option of the instant review. 

That said, I don't think you have to be nerding out with another hobby to get the same benefits.

I came up with an experiment in discipline when I was traveling with my wife Sarah this last fall and found it's result of keeping me in the moment while still taking a few pictures so massive, I've started using it in my everyday life when I pull out my iPhone camera during the week. Here's what I do: 

Say you're out to dinner with friends or (**insert any situation you find yourself in where you want to take a pic but stay in the moment **HERE**)

  • Pull out your cell phone camera and take a picture of the moment. Then...
  • Put it away INSTANTLY. 
  • Don't tap the photo album on the bottom left of your screen to go back and look at it. Turn it off and know that the enjoyment of reviewing it later will 10x your thankfulness for the picture AND the moment. 
2 Pro Tips: 1: Most likely someone will say, "Can I take a look [at the photo you just took]?" Just say you'll text them the pictures later that night or the next morning. Not only will they be cool with it, sharing photos with someone that you took of them is a modern and underrated 2018 curtesy.  2: What if I want to make sure I got a good picture? Start using 'Photo Burst' to make sure you got the shot. Don't know what that is? Google it. 

That's it! 

I guarentee two things are going to happen with this post. 


1. Some people are going to think it's too simple to actually make a difference so they'll write it off and not try it. 
2. The people that do commit to trying it out this week will find the benefits of this modern mindfulness discipline so rewarding in relation to how easy it is, like me, you'll try to assimilate it into your everyday life. 

If you give it a try, leave me a message in the comments and tell me about your experience. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!

"14 Inches From Boredom" or "Why is it so damn hard to put my phone down?"
  (Yes, I actually just took a break from writing this and measured the EXACT distance) 

The past few weeks, usually in green-rooms, there’s been a recurring conversation between my musician friends and myself and I’ve been trying to think of a way to invite you in on it. 

Here’s my plan:
- I’ll give a quick explanation what my friends and I have been talking about. (how it's a natural struggle of mine)
- I’ll give links to a few podcast episodes and videos (not my podcast… what do you think I’m running here?) that have been circulating between my friends and myself on this topic and it's connection to why we, as artist's and creators, need to embrace boredom.

This all starts with a personal weakness of mine

If left to my own nature, large amounts of my focus and attention during [what I call] the “In-between” moments of my day go straight to my cell phone. 

  • Waiting for my Americano to be made at a coffee shop,
  • every moment I’m not using my hand to wipe while on the toilet (and sometimes even during that if it’s a particularly rough day)
  • a moment between songs during a rehearsal or a session, out to dinner with Sarah and she gets up for some reason
  • or the most destructive: right when I wake up or am lying in bed before I fall asleep. 

ANY time my brain isn’t focused 100% on some other obligation, my body is trained to put an iPhone 14 inches in front of my face. 

By this point, it’s a reflex: Left-hand, back-left pocket, phone on… Instagram.

A couple months ago, the amount of my addiction was made aware to me in a way I didn’t see coming: 

I set up an appointment at an Apple ‘Genius Bar’ in Uptown Minneapolis because they’re currently offering a replacement due to a battery recall that causes the iPhones to die faster. I felt like my iPhone 7 should be getting way more life out of a charge so I went in to have it checked. The first thing he did was pull up my “Usage” under the Battery menu in Settings. After looking at it, he said something to the tune of “Dude, your battery’s fine. Look, it shows how many hours a day you’re using each app and how much you’re on it. That’s why it’s dying so fast.” It was 1:30 in the afternoon and the embarrassment of being pointed out the number of minutes (*cough*… maybe hours) I’d been on it that day was like slipping and falling on an icy sidewalk in front of a stranger in January. Yeah, we know everyone’s done it, they’re most likely not judging you, but you still feel like a jackass. My midwest ego preceded to feel the need to tell this stranger that… “Oh… I use it for work…” or some excuse like that. 

I know what some of you thinking right now, you’re like me and actually do use our phone for work. Let’s be real, your career depends on you staying connected to a certain extent. I’ll be the first to say that if you’re an artist, musician or creator of any kind, your butt better be on social media sharing your work where people can see it. You NEED to be intentional about your electronic communication with others. (If you take a week to respond to an email, regularly don’t reply to texts or phone calls, that’s not because you’re an “artistic” or “creative person” you’re flat out lazy)

 Candid tour photo, somewhere in Asia, by  @AlexKanePerkins

Candid tour photo, somewhere in Asia, by @AlexKanePerkins

That’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the mindless phone-scanning that I end up doing on a regular basis. It’s not the times I’m on Instagram intentionally building relationships with a community, It’s when I’m scrolling though pointless memes. I’m not talking about when I’m on facebook checking in with people, answering messages and being in healthy conversations… I’m talking about the pointless, constant, open-mouth drooling while my thumb swipes up kind of phone habit I’ve created. 

Sarah [my wife] was explaining to me recently the social ramifications of this that she’s learned of in her professional career. 20 years ago, before cell phones, we didn’t have as big of a need for this “Mindfulness” movement that you’re seeing today. Back then, when you were at a restaurant, you didn’t need to worry about being mindful because you were THERE! Wherever your body was and with whoever was in front of you. These days, we’re able to send our consciousness away from our physical location at the drop as quick as it takes to put my thumb on glass. I’m no longer having random conversations with the band in the green room, I’m watching my friend hang out on a beach somewhere. 

Because of the conversations I've had with my friends, I've realized I'm not alone in this. We realize that, if we’re going to make something of value and center ourselves in our creative flow, our brains need down time to process on a sub-conscious level. 

That’s why I’ve been experimenting lately with [what I’m calling] daily “micro-disciplines” to see what helps me function on a more intentional level. 

Some of the more successful ones as of late have been:

  1. Phone on “Do Not Disturb” (with tomorrow’s alarm set and plugged in on the opposite side of the room from my bed) an hour before bed.
  2. Phone off the first 1.5 to 2 hours of my day.
  3. Setting aside specific blocks of time in my day (once in the AM and once in the pm) that I check social-media INTENTIONALLY. Outside of that, no mindless reflex-checking.
  4. And the biggest no-brainer: All social-media notifications turned off. 

If any of this resonates with you and you want to join the conversation (or just awareness for the need of intentionality with these things) here are links to some of the podcasts we’ve been listening to. 

Give them a listen and I’d love to hear your insight, thoughts or personal daily micro-disciplines that you feel would help other artists and creators in the comments below.

(All links will open in Apple Podcasts that’s already on your phone. Scroll to the bottom for links if you’re reading this on your computer or an android device) 

"How Boredom Leads to Brilliance with Manoush Zomorodi"(Podcast: The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes)

"The Importance Of Boredom" (Podcast: The RobCast)

Non-iPhone Podcast Links: The RobCast, The School Of Greatness

Focus Graph For Creators
Focus Graph.jpeg

I was having coffee this morning with Sarah before she left for work and  she asked what my next moves were when it to comes to some of the new projects I’m releasing in the future.

After she left, I realized that I’ve had a ton of conversations with artists and creators over the past few weeks (Mainly because of THIS PODCAST EPISODE I RELEASED) talking about our future and one of the biggest questions most of us deal with: “What should I focus on RIGHT NOW?”

I also realized that a graph of this concept has been floating around in my mind for awhile so I decided to draw it up so I could finally see what my creative subconscious was telling me.

Ignotum Per Ignotius

Proactive vs Reactive: ANY amount of time spent focusing on the past (without  the intentionality to use it to create or learn for my future) seems to put me in a reactive state of intentionality & creativity. I’m a natural ruminator so this is a constant battle for me. 

Visualization vs Seeing: I heard a quote yesterday saying “The mind cannot differentiate between an experienced even and a perceived event.” I’ve performed a full set at Fuji Rock Festival in Japan in front of thousands of people about 51 times. 50 of those times happened before my body stepped on stage. Parts of my future have already happened 50 times in my head, I’m patiently waiting for my physical existence that’s stuck in this moment int time to catch up.

Perceived Ego vs Perceived Humility: Future YOU exists in the universe, visualizing NOW who you will become LATER pulls our future self into the NOW and puts us in a state of proactiveness and intentionality. That said, start talking to others about the badass that is your future self and you’re going to start seeing pushback as others project their insecurity on you. Maybe let the actions of your future badass speak for itself for now.

Today, I’m forcing my mind to play the long game. Some of my goals aren’t going to happen till I’m in my mid 40’s. That said, the majority of my focus is on the next thing I’m creating that I can take action steps on today. 

How to deal with setbacks, failures, delays, defeat, or other disasters.
JPEG image-D96785AE312D-1.jpeg

I'm a firm believer that "New Years Resolutions" (the 'year long' goals that we swear we'll hold ourselves to for 365 days starting tomorrow) DON'T WORK

Side note: It's for that reason that, for the past 3 years, I've committed to treating the top of each month (and subsequently the top of each week) as a a 'mini-new-years' to set my focus and goals for the next 30 or 7 days. To hear more about that, check out my podcast episode "A Bucketlist Big Enough To Live In" HERE.

That said, the top of the year is an incredible time where we naturally reflect back and look forward. 

If you find yourself in an introspective goal setting place in life, I read an article recently that I think you will find absurdly inspiring and a great kick in the ass. 

After reading this, I realized it was something I've done the past couple years when it comes to approaching setbacks, failures, delays, defeat, or other disasters... but it takes me freakin forever to get there sometimes. (Also talked about in the above podcast). 

Hopefully keeping this on the front of my mind will help me get there faster and more consistently. 

Side Note: I've added a few examples in with Jacko's that personally come to mind for me that I feel like people like us can relate to as well. They're marked with a "+"

“GOOD” by Jocko Willink, retired Navy SEAL Commander (Printed in "Tools Of Titans" by Tim Ferriss, p640)

How do I deal with setbacks, failures, delays, defeat, or other disasters? I actually have a fairly simple way of dealing with these situations. There is one word to deal with all those situations, and that is: “good.”

This is something that one of my direct subordinates, one of the guys who worked for me, a guy who became one of my best friends, pointed out. He would call me up or pull me aside with some major problem or some issue that was going on, and he’d say, “Boss, we got this, that, or the other thing going wrong,” and I would look at him and I’d say, “Good.”

And finally, one day, he was telling me about some situation that was going off the rails, and as soon as he got done explaining it to me, he said, “I already know what you’re going to say."

And I asked, “What am I going to say?"

He said, “You’re going to say: ‘Good.’ ”

He continued, “That’s what you always say. When something is wrong or going bad, you just look at me and say, ‘Good.’ ”

And I said, “Well, I mean it. Because that is how I operate.” So I explained to him that when things are going bad, there’s going to be some good that will come from it.

> Oh, mission got cancelled? Good. We can focus on another one.

+ That gig I was pumped about got canceled? Good. We can focus on another one.

> Didn’t get the new high-speed gear we wanted? Good. We can keep it simple.

+ Just insert ANY musical gear you can think of with the above one.

> Didn’t get promoted? Good. More time to get better.

+ No gig's this next week? Good. More time to get better.

> Didn’t get funded? Good. We own more of the company.

+ Someone else got the gig you wanted? Good. Go out, gain more experience, and meet new musicians.

> Got injured? Good. Needed a break from training.

> Got tapped out? Good. It’s better to tap out in training than to tap out on the street.

> Got beat? Good. We learned.

> Unexpected problems? Good. We have the opportunity to figure out a solution.

That’s it. When things are going bad, don’t get all bummed out, don’t get startled, don’t get frustrated. No. Just look at the issue and say: “Good.”

Now. I don’t mean to say something cliche'd. I’m not trying to sound like Mr. Smiley Positive Guy. That guy ignores the hard truth. That guy thinks a positive attitude will solve problems. It won’t. But neither will dwelling on the problem. No. Accept reality, but focus on the solution. Take that issue, take that setback, take that problem, and turn it into something good. Go forward. And, if you are part of a team, that attitude Will spread throughout.

Finally, to close this up: If you can say the word “good,” guess what? It means you’re still alive. It means you’re still breathing.

And if you’re still breathing, that means you’ve still got some fight left in you.

So get up, dust off, reload, recalibrate, re-engage, and go out on the attack.

And that, right there, is about as good as it gets.

"Good" by Jocko Willink, retired Navy SEAL Commander (Printed in "Tools Of Titans" by Tim Ferriss, p640)

Outside The Notesrob morgan
9 Ever-Present Distractions That Keep Us From Fully Living - JOSHUA BECKER

I stumbled across this article I read last year and I remember the ideas presented in it rolling around in my mind for quite a while afterwards. I have a feeling I'm not the only one that struggles with some of these... 

Our world is becoming increasingly filled with distraction. Information moves faster, louder, and brighter than ever before. Entertainment, social media, and marketing have never been so prevalent. They beg for our attention and our focus. In so doing, our minds are diverted from more important work.

We would be wise to adopt principles that help us live less distracted.

However, these distractions are easy to notice. We readily admit that we spend too much time checking e-mail, watching television, or playing games on our phone. After all, the battle plays out in front of us each day.

Far more detrimental to our lives are the subtle distractions that quietly surround us. They are not announced with blinking lights or beeping sounds. In fact, they have become so commonplace and ever-present, we hardly even notice their existence. But these distractions take residence in our mind and wreak havoc on our pursuits. And in the end, they keep us from living our lives to their greatest potential.

Consider this list of 9 ever-present distractions that often keep us from fully living. And recognize if any have taken residence in your heart.

1. The Promise of Tomorrow. Joshua Glenn Clark said it like this, “We waste so many days waiting for the weekend. So many nights wanting morning. Our lust for future comfort is the biggest thief of life.” It is not entirely foolish to look toward the future and plan accordingly. However, when we endure our days only for the sake of tomorrow (the weekend, the vacation, or the retirement), we miss out on the full beauty and potential of the present.

2. The Pursuit of Perfection. We ought to pursue excellence and pride in all we do. Our next step forward should be the right next step and it should be taken with as much intention as possible. But doing our bestand achieving perfection are rarely the same. When perfection becomes the goal, it becomes the enemy of progress—and in this way, it often distracts us from taking the essential risk of moving forward.

3. The Regret of Yesterday. To live is to experience regret—nobody escapes life unscathed. We regret our actions, our decisions, and our motivations. But no amount of regret can ever change the past and only those who have come to recognize and admit their imperfections are able to move beyond them. Call your mistakes what they are, offer an apology when necessary, and then move on. Don’t allow regret from the past to negatively distract from opportunity in the present.

4. The Accumulation of Possessions. The things we own require our time, our energy, our money, and our attention. Every increased possession adds increased stress in our lives. And yet, we continue to pursue and accumulate more and more and more. But more is not the answer. More has become the distraction.

5. The Desire for Wealth. Those who chase riches have misplaced their greatest potential and traded it to the highest bidder. Our lives were designed for contribution—to provide a positive impact on society for ourselves, our families, and those who live in community with us. Sometimes, our contribution provides financial excess. Other times, it does not. But either way, when our contribution to society becomes chiefly motivated by a selfish desire to accumulate riches, it has become self-focused. And we have lost our opportunity to live it to the fullest.

6. The Need for Notoriety. The life you live is the life you live regardless if anybody notices or not. Those who live lives focused on the need to be recognized for it are usually the first to take shortcuts to get there. Instead, find significance in the eyes of those who know you best—because in the end, that is all that matters anyway.

7. The Pull of Comparison. It seems, by nature, we feel compelled to compare our lives to the people around us. We compare our belongings, our appearance, our families, and our successes. But each time we do, we place our focus and energy on the wrong person. Comparing yourself to others will always cause you to regret what you are not, rather than allow you to enjoy and grow who you are.

8. The Appeal of Pleasure. Many of us are led astray by the appeal and pursuit of pleasure. “Why not?” we might ask, “what is wrong with the pursuit of pleasure?” And I might even agree, at least to a point. But here’s the problem, pleasure is a terrible teacher. The most significant lessons we learn in life are rarely received during times of pleasure. Instead, they are born out of pain. I am not contending that we should seek pain in our lives. But I am contending a life lived chiefly for the pursuit of pleasure, will usually seek it in all the wrong places.

9. The Presence of Indifference. The world is a big place and we have much to offer. Those who choose to live life as a victim will always miss their opportunity to give. Additionally, those who choose to adopt an indifference to the world around them will miss out on their greatest potential. But those who recognize need and seek to do something about it, experience a joy and fulfillment that can never be discovered anywhere else.

Our world is full of distraction—the most dangerous are those we do not recognize.

But our fullest potential requires that we notice distraction—and work diligently to overcome it. (tweet that)

Outside The Notesrob morgan
Rob Recommends: This Weekend's Reading Recommendation

I'm CONSTANTLY nerding out on EVERYTHING I use on a daily basis. From THE BEST PEN I've found to the only notebook I write in (yes, even some nerdy music gear I refuse to show up to a gig without) ... I've decided to start sharing some of them with you at the end of each week as you go into your weekend for those of you who would find it enjoyable. 

First things first... THE NAME IS TOTAL CRAP AND CHEEZY! But who cares... both words start with the same letter and that means it needs to happen. Now... on with this weeks recommendation.

"Reading is like leaving your house. You can go your whole life without making a habit of doing it, but you won't have much of a life if you don't." 

Some of you know my thoughts on books. If not, you can read short quips HERE

I NEVER borrow books, I never rent them from a library, I never read them on an e-reader and I have recently decided to not lend them out either (I gift them all the time instead). That's because I love to destroy a book, writing notes all over it and saving it for later referencing. I've been experimenting with highlighting (instead of underlining) and writing notes and thoughts in a designated notebook (instead of in the margins) 

I found that when I go back and re-read a book that I wrote in the margins, it doesn't allow me to experience it with a fresh perspective. My past thoughts take me back to the exact viewpoint I had when I first wrote them years ago and I end up getting locked in. 

I've tried countless highlighters and have recently stumbled on this one called the 'Hi-Glider'. It's a gel stick instead of the marker version that bleeds through most pages. Think: translucent adult crayon. They rule on even the thinnest of pages and it allows you to decide how dark you want it depending on how hard you press (unlike the standard issue markers I've used my whole life) You can find them on amazon HERE

Also Pictured: "You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life" by Jen Sincero. One of the top 10 most impactful books in my life. It helped me completely change my inner perspective of myself and redefined how I decided to interact with the universe. I got it at a dark time in my life mentally. 6 months later, I was on a private jet playing with Owl City. I'm not saying it's why... I'm not saying it's not... I'm just saying it's a game changer. I'm a better husband, a better human and a clearer thinker because of it. 

Read it this weekend and highlight the crap out of it. 


Podcasts I've Been Listening To Lately

Last Updated: 06/20/2018

In the Spring of 2017, I started a podcast called "Rob Morgan Is A Curious Person" and I often get asked what some of my favorite podcasts are that I listen to on a regular basis.

Due to the fact that I have the worst freakin memory when it comes to proper nouns, I decided to put together a list of what I've been listening to lately to share with you. 

Whether you're completely new to podcasts, looking for a place to start or it's already apart of your regular routine and you're just looking for something fresh, I hope this helps find a new favorite. 


In Regards To List Order: These aren't listed in order of recommendation. I'll be adding the new ones to the bottom of the list as I find them because... I'm lazy that way.

Rob Morgan Is A Curious Person - Come on... I had to right????

Rob Bell's "The RobCast" - This is podcast has kept my head on straight in some heavy moments.

The Tim Ferriss Show - This is everything

Building A Story Brand With Donald Miller - A business and marketing podcast that has been a career game changer!

Money For The Rest Of US - Trying to learn. Need To learn. $$$

This American Life - NPR Gold

Serial - NPR Storytelling at it's finest (road trip with this)

High and Mighty w/ Jon Gabrus - Hilarious and perfectly NSFW. (Not for those with young ears in the car as his intro is essentially saying F*CK 15x) 

Making Oprah - Because Oprah is the best thing to happen to the planet, learn how she happened to it. 

Song Exploder - Dissecting the creation of your favorite songs. 

WTF w/ Marc Maron - Long format interviews with people you've heard of. 

The Zane Lamprey Show - If you know about 'Three Sheets'  you know about this and we can drink together.

Revisionist History w/ Malcolm Gladwell - One of the smartest men alive breaking down ideas that could change the way you think about things. 

The Scotch And A Movie Podcast - Like Scotch? Like Films? You'll enjoy my friends as they dive into both. (I may or may not have been a guest on it once...)

You Made It Weird - Comedian Pete Holmes talking to people you may have heard of. Start with his interview w/ Noel Gallagher of OASIS.

The Liturgists Podcast - Faith and Spirituality for people turned off of faith and spirituality. You're in good company. 

LORE - Aaron Mahnke tells dark creepy historical stories that fuel modern superstition. Entertaining 30min. 

Armchair Expert With Dax Shepard - New to 2018 and an instant classic.

AKIMBO: A Podcast From Seth Godin - This is huge and changes the way I think about life and my career on a regular basis. 

Big Questions With Cal Fussman - The man who taught me how to ask better questions. 

Showcase From Radiotopia: The Polybius Conspiracy - Documentary style story for when you're on a roadtrip. Serial meets 1980's video arcade.