Killing Doubt

Parody of a scene from one of the greatest films ever made (The Princess Bride).
© the respective owner(s)

DOUBT: You must be that little American brat I taught a lesson to all those years ago. You’ve tried to overcome me your whole life only to fail now? I think that’s about the worst thing I’ve ever heard. How marvelous.

(ZERO stands up after a knife thrown by DOUBT hits him in the stomach)

DOUBT: Good heavens. Are you still trying to win?

(ZERO falls back against the wall)

DOUBT: You’ve got an overdeveloped sense of determination. It’s going to get you into trouble someday.

(DOUBT draws his sword and lunges at ZERO who weakly parries the blade, into his left shoulder. Again DOUBT lunges at ZERO and the blade is deflected to ZERO’S right arm. The next attempt at a blow, ZERO blocks, and drags himself upright.)

ZERO: Hello. My name is ZERO DEAN. You tried to kill my dreams. Prepare to die.

(He continues to move forward, but slumps onto the table. DOUBT goes on the attack, and ZERO blocks four blows – and starts forward again.)

ZERO: Hello. My name is ZERO DEAN. You tried to kill my dreams. Prepare to die.

(Five more of DOUBT’s blows are handily parried.)

ZERO (louder): Hello! My name is ZERO DEAN. You tried to kill my dreams. Prepare to die.

DOUBT: Stop saying that!

(DOUBT attacks again. ZERO blocks it again, and then stabs DOUBT in the shoulder. Then DOUBT takes a swing at him, which ZERO ducks to come up and stab DOUBT in the other shoulder. Then he advances quickly into a flurry of blows.)

ZERO: Hello! My name is ZERO DEAN! You tried to kill my dreams – prepare to die!

(He knocks DOUBT’s sword aside, and slices his cheek.)


ZERO: Offer me money.


ZERO: Power too – promise me that!

(He slices DOUBT’s other cheek)

DOUBT: All that I have and more! Please!

ZERO: Offer me everything I ask for.

DOUBT: Anything you want.

(DOUBT attacks, hoping to catch him by surprise – but ZERO grabs his arm and stabs DOUBT in the stomach)

ZERO: I want to succeed with my integrity intact you son of a bitch.

(ZERO plunges the sword into DOUBT’s gut, finishing it.)

Killing Doubt

Your attention please

“You just want attention.”

People say this as if it’s inherently bad. It’s not. There is nothing wrong with wanting attention.

Attention is the basis of all marketing and advertising. Attention is what can make or break a product or company. Attention is what every good cause desires.

And if the price of a 30 second Superbowl ad is any indication —

— attention is extremely valuable.

The important part about attention is not so much in wanting it as much as where and what you choose to direct the attention to. Motivation matters.

There is a huge difference between desiring attention solely for your own personal benefit (and ego), and wanting attention in order to have a positive influence on the world at large.

Sadly, many of the people getting the attention — see the tabloid rack or any reality TV show, for example — don’t. And it’s disgusting.

I have a memorable name and an interesting story, and I would be a fool not to use it (where applicable), but I have no interest in fame.

My only real interest in money, beyond just meeting my basic needs (or the needs of my family when I have one), is as a resource to have a larger impact

With one exception…

I also want to bring back the dinosaurs in order to create a giant dinosaur theme park.

But that’s IT!

*And if I still have your attention, please check out these great people, pages, causes, and companies I’ve helped put a spotlight on in the past. These people would love your attention, too.


Your attention please


I take pictures, and I love doing so, but it’s not my life.

I love to travel, and I love adventure, too, but those are not my life either. And I love writing, creating things, and making people laugh.

These things are simply pieces to a much larger puzzle to me. Something that I am more passionate about.

And that is using the unique combination of these, and other skills I have, to make a meaningful and significant positive difference in the world.

But there’s no job title for that.

So no, I don’t really want to be a “photographer” or a “writer” or an “artist”. I truly love these things, but they are simply pieces of something else.

And I have always, always felt this way. I have always felt like I was trying to fit into some premade mold.

While it can work and satisfy many, it doesn’t work for all.

I see the mold. And I can make the mold work. I can even be comfortable in the mold.

But no matter how comfortable I get, I will always feel like there is so much more that I can do.

Not not just “can”, but “should”. That my purpose isn’t to indefinitely play a role that someone else has written. That my purpose is to create my role and then live up to it.

And I know I’m not alone in feeling this way.

I’ve done the “one thing” multiple times. My journey was funded by the one thing. The one thing was comfortable, I did it well, and I could have done it forever, but it was never truly me.

Sometimes life isn’t just about finding that one thing you can do and then doing it the best that you can. Sometimes it’s about taking the individual things that you are good at and using them in a way to create something that is much larger and more powerful than the sum of its parts.


“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” — Vincent Van Gogh

It’s not easy. But I’m convinced it will be worth it.


Supplemental Reading:



Filling in the blanks

  • They didn’t call me back…
  • They didn’t wave…
  • They didn’t reply to my email…
  • They didn’t return my “wink”…
  • They didn’t like my post…
  • That person is staring at me…

It must be because… __________.

Don’t fill in the blanks for things you don’t know the true answers to with negative things that you convince yourself are the truth.

When we don’t get feedback from an event, we often fill in the missing information in a way that becomes our own version of the truth.

We then refer to this “filler” as if it is the reality of the situation, when it could be far from it.

So beware of filling in the blanks.

Either find out the truth or let it go. Because believing something negative that isn’t true, can not only have a significant impact on how you respond to a given situation, it can also have an adverse affect on your work, your relationships, and your sense of self-worth.



Filling in the blanks

We are surrounded

CONTENT ADVISORY: This blog post is a major change-of-pace from my usual fare and also contains strong language. Many people have applauded this post, but you may find it a turn off — and that’s fine.

It is complete bullshit that inauthentic assholes without an ounce of integrity keep rising, while others who try to do right are left to struggle.

I am so tired of seeing douchebags in the news and on the cover of magazines. I am tired of seeing people get famous for being narcissistic assholes.

I am tired of having my privacy violated from all directions as if it is for my own good.

I am tired of seeing the rich get richer and crooks get rewarded with bonuses.

Steal a fountain drink and go to jail. Rob millions of people of billions of dollars and get a bonus at the end of the year.

Get caught smoking crack, even McDonalds would fire you. But if you’re a high-ranking member of the government — where it is your job to be a responsible and trustworthy extension of the voice of the people? No problem. “Everyone makes mistakes.”

I am tired of seeing others get rewarded for cheating the system and playing into people’s fears or making promises they cannot or do not keep.

I am tired of “12 ways to get…”, “3 simple things you can do to…” and “Try this one simple trick…”

This is just manipulative and it’s over-the-top ridiculous.

We are surrounded by bullshit.

Why do we keep buying into it? Why do we keep rewarding the people and companies who do this?

There are so many truly good, truly talented people in the world who are truly worthy of promotion, and yet I need to see the fact that one of my friends “likes” that the (cancer-causing) McRib is back at McDonalds while others promoting health, kindness, love, and integrity starve for exposure?


Go seek out someone who hasn’t sold out.
Go seek out someone who appears authentic.
Go seek out someone who doesn’t manipulate people.
Go seek out someone who could use the exposure.

Go HELP THEM. Not the people or companies who sit back and manipulate you and keep getting away with it.

Stop rewarding the people and companies who abuse and take advantage of you.
Stop letting your life be dictated by a box or a product.
Stop letting people convince you that you need things you don’t. That you will be happier with more. You won’t.
Stop wasting your time following someone else’s idea of the ideal life.

Focus on your health and well-being.
Focus on becoming a better person.
Focus on finding ways to make a positive difference in the world.
Focus on finding truly positive role-models and heroes.

You have exactly one life to live to do everything you ever wanted. Stop wasting it caught up in things that don’t matter.


The following comic (XKCD 137) supplements this post nicely:

XKCD 137


Supplemental Reading:

We are surrounded

Marketing and media manipulation

Dear marketers, media, and advertisers –

There is a huge difference between fulfilling people’s actual needs and preying on people’s weaknesses or desires. Marketing doesn’t have to be so manipulative.

Don’t try to sensationalize it. Don’t create conflict where none exists. Don’t promise me miracles. Don’t try to bait and switch me. Don’t feed on my fears. Just provide me with the facts. Let me make up my own mind. Stop all the bullshit.

Want to fill a niche? Want to fulfill people’s needs? The answer is integrity. We need integrity in marketing, the media, and our relationships now more than ever.

Prove to me you’re honest, authentic, and have integrity, and you will have a loyal customer/consumer/friend and someone who will work on your behalf to provide honest word-of-mouth for life.

That is far more valuable in the long run than meeting your short-term & short-sighted goals, monthly quotas, and quarterly reports.


Marketing and media manipulation

Marketing and media manipulation



Integrity does not involve feeding people’s egos in an attempt to manipulate them into getting something you want. Integrity is not being nice with the expectation of reward. Integrity is not preying on people’s weaknesses to meet your own needs. Integrity is not making promises you cannot keep. Integrity is not withholding key information until you have won someone over by fueling their desires. Integrity is not waiting until they’ve signed the dotted line to reveal the fine print or legally manipulative part of the contract.

What those things encompass can be described quite simply as inauthentic, offensive, and manipulative. In a word: bullshit.


Integrity does not involve feeding people's egos in an attempt to manipulate them into getting something you want.


Is there anything I can do to help?

"Is there anything I can do to help?" is a magical question.

“Is there anything I can do to help?” is a magical question.

Sometimes people have a difficult time asking for help (they are either not comfortable with it or simply don’t know how to ask without appearing selfish or needy). And sometimes people are so independent they don’t even think to ask for it.

And whether or not someone takes you up on your offer, simply asking if you can help is a supportive gesture to show that the person you are offering to help matters to you.

Helping others is not only a great way to build friendships and improve relationships, it can also improve a person’s day, project, or experience beyond measure.

Never feel bad for offering to help someone and they decline your offer (for any reason). Some people are also not very good at recognizing the intention or the thoughts behind a supportive gesture.

Helping people is awesome.


From a comment: Better yet, don’t even ask. Just do.


Sometimes people don’t look like they could use the help — so it’s not obvious how to help. But by asking, it helps answer the question.

I am one of those people who has a difficult time asking for help. I’m very independent. I feel that if I can do it myself, even if it takes me longer, then I should probably just do it myself. And I also don’t like to appear needy. (Hey, we all have our “things”.)

So when someone asks me if there is anything they can do to help, it can help me get over that “hump”. It also opens up a dialogue that can help strengthen a friendship or relationship.

While there is never anything wrong with trying to help people, there are times when people would rather do “it” themselves than have someone else do “it” for them.

And there are times when people will actually take offense at you doing something for them that they can/want to do themselves. While I don’t think taking offense at helpful gestures is the right thing to do, this is also why I think asking can be helpful (in those cases).

There are also times when we think the best way to help is by offering “advice”, but advice isn’t always the thing that’s truly wanted or most helpful. Especially advice that is given in a “this is what I would do” way, without regard to the context of a person’s journey. Because even our best advice that might help most people, doesn’t necessarily work with all people (the square pegs in the round holes, for example).

And there are times when we think we’re being “helpful”, when we’re really not. Such as when someone tells us they’re depressed, so we say, “Cheer up!” or “It’s always darkest before dawn!” (these things sound nice, but are not particularly helpful to a depressed person).

I think Allie Brosh in her Depression Part 2 post covers that exceptionally well.

“My fish are dead.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll help you find them. Are there any clues where they went?”
“I know where they are. The problem is, they aren’t alive any more.”
“Let’s keep looking! I’m sure they’ll turn up somewhere.”

When people don’t understand the real issue, they tend to offer advice that doesn’t fit the context of the situation. So again, helping people without asking can sometimes lead one down different path than the recipient of the “help” wants to go.

That said, I totally understand the sentiment. I do open and hold doors for people. Or try to find ways to help people when I can (especially when they are obvious). For example, every creative type could nearly always use a hand getting more exposure. People who write stuff like love to be acknowledged. That sort of thing.

See also: Is there anything I can do to help (if so, contact me)


Is there anything I can do to help?