Which do you choose: Bed Bugs or Butterflies?

Which do you choose: bed bugs or butterflies?

My wife and I recently stopped over in NYC for a few days, one of our favorite places to visit for… well, oh so very many reasons.

One thing I find annoying about visiting major metropoles, though, is how much effort it takes to choose how to look at things.

Perspective is everything, as we know.

And realizing that we get to choose our perspective about everything often takes a long time. Some folk never actually realize it’s their choice at all, which is really sad.

And with so much mass media and “reality TV” sensationalizing everything they can in order to sell more commercials (there’s no such thing as “impartial news” in most societies – they are in the game to make money, which is done by selling commercials, and they can only sell commercials when people are watching or reading, and they can only get people to watch and read through shock tactics and pulling at your heartstrings), it’s no wonder that so many people in the Western World have such a negative perspective towards life. Especially if negativity is all they surround themselves with.

So it didn’t really come as much of a surprise when we suddenly realized that we, too, were getting caught up in the whirlwind of worst-case-scenarios as we talked about things.

Even the little things.

In just one conversation ants, bed bugs and cockroaches wormed their way into the forefront of our minds and we became concerned and worried.

It’s not normally the kind of perspective we subscribe to, by choice.

But here we were focusing on the dark stuff.

When that shift backwards in our perspective hit us we immediately justified thinking that way with “Well, NYC has them all!”



But so does Florida, where we live.

(And such creatures are quite a bit larger in Florida than they are in New York City!)

Nothing wrong with acknowledging the existence of “danger” and being aware/ cautious of what could go wrong with our trip (such as finding ants or cockroaches in our shoes, for example. As happens in Florida quite often with ants at the beach and palmetto bugs in buildings.), but when we start overbearing our living with those minutely frustrating issues, it means our perspective is no longer based in reality, but is focused on negativity.

And that’s not healthy.

Maintaining a positive mindset – not necessarily all guru-fancified happy-g0-lucky waves of the universe sort of positivity, but just keeping good and bad in a more realistic balance – takes years to become habit yet can be undone in a matter of days, and then begins that slow, arduous climb back into the real world.

As happened to us.

Hearing ourselves fearful of ants, bed bugs and cockroaches was a little disappointing, so it didn’t take but a moment to counter our negativity with something more balanced:

“Well, NYC has birds, butterflies and smiling pansies, too!”

A giggle later and we understood we had been swept up by the common mindset of large, competitive, “look after #1” cities that pervade a lot of the thought-based input we feed ourselves everyday through various media.

Take a moment.

Right now.

Think about the words you use to describe and compare.

Are they generally dark and negative, or do they brighten those around you and put a smile on your face?

Focusing on either one exclusively is never a good thing, but how well are they balanced? Zig Ziglar, Earl Nightingale and Toby Robbins all agree on this: what you focus on the most is what you become. Focus on the negative, you become a complainer – tired and old – someone people get fed up with and don’t want to be left alone with at a party. Focus on the positive, you become an influencer – a breath of fresh air – someone people want to be around.

So remember this:

It is ALWAYS your own, personal, individual choice which perspective you dwell on the most.

Which do you choose:

Bed bugs, or butterflies?


Living the dream! Really?

Dear #ClassicalMusic Fan,

Are you living the dream?

We all are.

But be careful about those who claim to be.

Because they’re not.

All they’re doing is trying to convince themselves that what they’ve achieved in life so far is fine, it’s wonderful, it’s all they need in life, life is great!

But it’s a facade.

They have not achieved the life-plans they set out to (probably didn’t set up some SMARTER goals or sign up for Michael Hyatt’s 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever, and it’s too late now for another year!), and life does not look as rosy as they had imagined. Far from it. So they spin some cliches and mantras that are supposed to sell you into buying their products and services, when in all reality, they are selling a fantasy to themselves.

You don’t need a coach that is “living the dream.”

And you don’t need a jeenius who claims they can help you live your dream.

You need an honest, focused-on-you, unsalesmanlike coach who will tell you things as they see them.

(And not through rosy glasses, neevuh.)

As you prepare to set some realistic, actionable, and exciting goals for 2018, make sure you engage the right accountability help to [possibly reset them], see them through, and possibly even achieve far more than you thought was possible.

That’s the kind of coaching I offer.


Why wait any longer?

Get a passionate, prestigious, committed coach that will help you accomplish much more in the real world, not a dream world!

Living the dream?

Time to wake up, my friend…



Looking for inspiration? Meet Ray

Dear #ClassicalMusic Fan,

This is Ray.

Last year alone, he lost 53 pounds.

And… he paid off $400k in consumer debt.

For real.

Ray’s story is here — you’ll want to tune in because the goals he set for himself were BIG, and he hit every single one. The best part is, they were goals he was “going to do” for years…

Intention is great. But it only gets you so far.

You need a PROVEN SYSTEM to turn that intention into sustained motivation to actually stay on track all year long.

That’s what Michael Hyatt’s 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever is.

And believe it or not, Michael’s course was the magic that turned Ray’s life around.

Ray is not alone. There are tens of thousands of women and men who have gone through the Best Year Ever framework and found major transformation…

Check out their stories of achievement here:


You are not mediocre (Check out Natalee’s story) — so don’t live a mediocre life.

Get Michael Hyatt’s 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever and finally accomplish the goals you’ve always dreamed of.


By the way:

The kicker is… Registration is only open for a few more days. Don’t sit on this decision; just jump in! You are worth the investment. http://bestyearever.me/a19455/2018byesales


Which camp are you in?

Dear #ClassicalMusic Fan,

I think there are two camps of people out there…

One camp is people who drift through life, occasionally guessing at how they’re doing along the way. Their journey is a roundabout wander, a walkabout.

The other camp is people who live thoughtfully. They measure their life progress and take intentional steps to improve. Their journey is a walk toward their fullest potential.

The secret to being in the thoughtful, intentional camp?


Here’s what I mean: To improve in the various areas of your life, you first have to measure where you are in each one. It’s the only way to grow with intention.

I bet you’re saying, “OK. I want to be in that camp!”

Me too.

So let me share with you the best life measurement tool out there: Michael Hyatt’s LifeScore Assessment™.


It’s a quick, free, online self-evaluation that gives you an overall LifeScore™—and exactly the information you need to measure, improve, and reach your highest potential.

Which camp are you in?

Start measuring today. Take the assessment.

The assessment is only available for a limited time!

Michael usually just rolls it out for a few days each year, so take advantage while you can:



Being, Relating and Doing

Dear #ClassicalMusic Fan,

Lifescore Assessment

We’re pretty much all familiar with goal setting.

Most people in the Western World do some sort of goal setting this time of year – or a few weeks later over the New Year celebrations.

But do those goals last? Are they achieved?

Not usually.

Why not?

Well, just how meaningful are those goals? After all, they tend to be the same ones over and over and over, year after year after year, right?


What if we could actually make difference-making goals based on where we are in life, as opposed to where we want to be according to peer pressure, the media, and ads?

Not just try to be SMART (which isn’t enough: our goals need to be SMARTER) when setting goals, but actually basing our goals on things that really mean something to us, individually, rather than the trendy, lazy version of “diet, exercise, earn more,” etc.

What if there was a better way to being, relating to others, and doing life?

Well, first we would need to understand what that means.

What does that look like?

How well am I being myself, relating to the world around me, and just how well am I doing at work, play and surviving?

Over the past several years Michael Hyatt has been working on a tool that produces a Lifescore Assessment based on exactly those three elements: being, relating and doing.

I’ve just taken my fourth assessment in four years (I was in the first beta test cohort when it was still an excel spreadsheet), and I am thrilled with the result!

What’s your Lifescore?

It’s a free tool available to anyone with an internet connection, and you can take it now…

It’s only about 10-15 mins without thinking about it, maybe 20 mins if you put some serious thought behind each scenario.

Take your free Lifescore Assessment now:


I’m pretty sure you will be pleasantly surprised with the results… or, at least, pleased to identify a couple of areas you need to work on in 2018.

According to the pie chart above you can see the effect of the goals I’ve been setting over the past couple of years (those are the big slices), and next year I’ll be getting back to composing for my intellectual and emotional development (now that my father’s terminal illness is no longer a priority for me and my family). Clearly I need to work on a couple of other domains, too, and I will probably focus on improved financial stability, as well.

My wife will be pleased!

(That missing slice is a domain I chose not to measure, because it does not apply to me.)

So, what is your Lifescore, and what areas of your life will you be setting goals for in 2018 to make it your best year ever?!

Take your free Lifescore Assessment now:



For real: you are about to lose internet access

Dear #classicalmusic fan,

It might be happening now in the USA, but other countries that do not already filter their citizens’ access to the Internet will soon follow.

The big communication companies in the USA that were chosen to supply you with Internet access (now only four, but that’s still not a monopoly cohort, apparently) have been big-time lobbying the government for a few years to let them control what you see online.

In other words, only their content.

Private, proprietary, commercial content only.

And that will severely limit the access you have to what’s going on in the world.

Different parts of the country will see different content, different news, and different perspectives, including political. Both you and I will have to pay for our websites to be shared with… each other. And we’ll have to pay more if we want our sites and videos to load quickly.

Net neutrality” as it is known, is in danger of disappearing, and that’s bad for humankind and bad for classical music: Those big companies produce their own entertainment, which mostly does not include classical music anymore.

  • Imagine losing access to videos of your favorite repertoire and performers.
  • Imagine losing access to concert details.
  • Imagine losing online access to “The SPB!”

This is not scaremongering, nor is it conspiracy theory.

It is for real.

Here’s a simple explanation of what New Neutrality is.

Over the past year I have been lobbied myself by several organizations (including Adaptistration and Fractured Atlas) to support net neutrality and stop the big companies controlling our access to the Internet. We succeeded in staying the motion a few months ago but the issue is back and a vote will be taken next month, deciding once and for all who controls your access to content on the Internet: no-one, or private for-profit companies.

Please take this seriously.

An open Internet is important for fans of classical music because it is important for everyone.

If you believe as I do, I urge you to contact your elected officials in Washington to let them know where you stand on this issue.

Call Congress here.

Email your Representative and Senator (I usually get a reply in writing within a couple of weeks).


Your government should represent you, not decide for you.


Is it a pipe dream to want to be The Best?

Dear #classicalmusic fan,

In a society that craves accolade and attention it is disheartening to see so much about music reduced to competition, technical perfection and sales.

On the other hand, when we focus on the music and its multitude ways it impacts both communities and individuals, we actually see a very different approach to life… of which music is just a part.

Rather than chasing the substantially arrogant pipe dream of being “The Best!” perhaps it is time we started looking to being the best fans of classical music we can be… whether we’re performing or listening. There is a big difference between being The Best and becoming the best we can be.

Becoming The Best is temporary, an illusion, and only means you (or someone else) judges you to be better than the person sitting next to you. At least for today until someone else comes along who is 10% better than you are. It is then devastating when someone comes along who doesn’t care how good you or they are, but it turns out they are ten times (1000%) better than you. I’ve seen people crushed by the realization that they weren’t as good as they were led to believe (especially musicians who arrive at a music college). Although they may have been The Best in their limited sphere of influence, it turns out that there is a whole wide world of passionate folk who seem to be far more accomplished.

You don’t have to be particularly good at what you do, but you can still be The Best at it…

Think of a chess tournament among a troop of monkeys.

One of them is The Best!

Until Levon Aronian turns up.

On the other hand, if you choose to be the best that you can be, it no longer matters (quite so much) what those around you are accomplishing or capable of. Don’t get me wrong: surround yourself with others who are striving to be the best they can be, as well as those who have achieved a good level of accomplishment, as they will help motivate you in your own quest. But the burden of sharing live music with others shifts from an outward image-based comparison to an inner desire to discover the “more” behind There’s more to music than music.

It becomes our own private responsibility to dive deeper and achieve more than we ever thought possible, not for the sake of those we share music with, but for our own peace and understanding of how this world actually works.

And how we can communicate emotion with each other when words fail us.

One of the problems with today’s Western World in particular, is the self-esteem boosting trend of the late 80s and 90s.

As Simon Sinek said, Millennials are struggling at work because their parents “gave them medals for coming last.” I’m no Millennial, but most Gen Xers who spent their teens in the USA suffered just the same misguided brandishment: I once received a medal for sitting in the fourth chair (of eight) of the third clarinets in Regional Junior Varsity Band III. I still have it (buried in a box in storage, otherwise I’d have taken a picture). And wonder why I ever got it. Sinek observes that one of the many downsides to overtly disproportionate praise is that recipients actually feel worse, because deep down they know they didn’t deserve a medal.

I was relieved to hear someone explain it to me that way.

The push to become The Best builds arrogance, entitlement, and does society no favors at all.

The push to congratulate and praise everything we do is just as bad.

We all need encouragement to be the best we can be, and we need honest guides to show us how to travel that path: folk who say “Good job! Now let’s work on this…”

It’s funny that Rose Mallare and I just spoke about that in my podcast’s latest pilot episode.

Listen to it here: