Enlightened Conflict

in order to do what we want to do

October 20th, 2016





“We do what we have to do in order to do what we want to do.”



James Farmer Jr.




“Success doesn’t come to you – you go to it.”


Marva Collins






I have written a number of times with regard to passion and how I tend to afraid lose mind find soul lifebelieve it is misguided advice to ‘follow your passion’ … in fact … I wrote ‘don’t find your passion’  as one of my thought pieces.


I will not recount my concerns with it.


Instead let’s focus on this little gem: what we want to do.


What we want to do spans everything from some grand audacious objective to some small ‘I want an ice cream cone’ want.


But I don’t care where you are on that spectrum … if you decide to do what you want to do you … well … you end up doing what you have to do in order to do it.


I imagine this is a different version of ‘go get it.’


I am fairly sure the line “if you want something, go get it … period” comes from “Pursuit of Happyness.” But this is not about happiness this is about doing what you want to do.


Doing what you have to do is not a passive thought. It is not ‘bending the rules’ or ‘do whatever it takes to win.’ It is all about actively pursuing what you want … going after it and … well … go get it type attitude.


This attitude is fairly consistent in its aspects & overall formula. I say it is a formula because you need to do all three of the things I list below … not just one.

I tend to believe everyone knows these aspects and this formula … and actually agrees with them … but not everyone actually does them.

But here you go:Bad 27 7 doing shit


Work … or … doing shit.


What you want almost certainly never comes to you.

I can almost guarantee that anything you want you will need to go get. It will require you to do some work and do some hard shit to get to some place where what you want is within reach.


If you do not take any action there will be no ‘what you want’ anywhere in your Life.






Relentless & resilient.


Work and doing is, unfortunately, not enough. Some people would suggest you need persistence … I will not. I think you need to be relentless and resilient.


Relentless implies not just persistency but a real ‘go get it’ attitude. Fortunately, participate relentlessly in manifestation liferesilience is inextricably tied to that attitude.


Relentless people tend to be more resilient.


I say that because, truth be told, rarely is ‘working hard’ enough. Because even though you are working and doing … Life has a nasty habit of throwing obstacles in your way. And, let’s face it, it is always easier to find an excuse then it is to fight thru the obstacle <especially if the obstacles are relentless>. Resilience is kind of the engine for your progress … no resilience and the engine will stop.




Relentless and resilient may not insure Life won’t find some way to beat you down but it sure makes it more difficult for Life to do so.

Relentless and resilience keeps you in the game. It keeps you on the path toward what you want.





“It isn’t normal to know what we want.

It is a rare and difficult psychological achievement.”


Abraham Maslow






Give your best.


Not all work is created equal and not all ‘relentless’ is created equal. In other words … you can work long and hard and still fall short of what you want to do.



Never forget.do your best boy


You are the architect of your own fate. And the architects’ best tool is … well … doing your best.

And, unfortunately, you cannot know if the day you take off … or the day you decide to give something less than your best … is the day Fate decides to pay attention to you.


You have to give your best every day and every minute you can.


The other unfortunate thing is that rarely is ‘your best’ and ‘something’ <the outcome> immediate. It can sometimes take days, weeks, months and even years before you can see the results for your actions and relentlessness.


The only thing that is for certain is if you stop or give up you will lose it all.





That’s why this is a formula … you gotta work, be relentless and give your best to do what you want to do.




Here is the good news <because that all sounded like a shitload of work>.


If you really do all the things I just suggested and do what you need to do to do what you want to do … your success will be on your terms … and no one else’s.




“If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.”



Anna Quindlen




In order to do what you want we do what we have to get it.

work in progress i

Not only does good shit ‘just happen’ but you have to work hard to have good shit happen.


Most of us know that.



We all wish to that success, and gaining what we want, would just be a little easier on occasion.


The only solace I can offer is that if you do things on your own terms, you do what you need to do to get what you want and you work hard doing your best … well … that is the best tasting success you will ever be served.


is the fault in the stars?

August 21st, 2016

 fault mine




“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars/ But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”



Cassius in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar





fault in our stars dear brutus julius caserFate, fault and personal responsibility.


John Green made this quasi famous Shakespeare quote famous again to an entirely new generation.


John Green made an entirely new generation start thinking philosophically about fate … and how you deal with it.




I have written about fate and destiny before.


Personally I don’t think much about it. Mostly because … well … I kind of figure if there is such a thing as fate it is completely out of my hands <it is in the stars> and I would be better off getting out and doing shit … my shit in particular, seizing fate by the throat as it were, rather than awaiting Fate to stop by and tell me, like an odd little waiter, what I should or shouldn’t do.


But … yeah … some things are written in the stars. Some things are out of your control and they happen … even if you do absolutely everything right in your Life <which is, practically speaking, almost impossible>.


In his book John Green used cancer as what as written in the stars.


I could most likely list a long list of various shit things many people are faced with that … well … they certainly had no desire facing.


But the point of the quote is how we respond to what the stars fate us with.


Our choice, or non choice, to do something in response.


Our choice, or non choice,  to make the best of whatever it is we are faced with in life.


Our choice, or non choice, to say it is the fault of the stars or the fault of ourselves in where we go with whatever Fate has handed us.



fate is a motherfuckerLook.


Fate is a motherfucker the majority of the time.


A real bastard.



Why do I say that?




How often do we view Fate with a smile?


<not that often>


More often we view that sonuvabitch Fate with sadness and dismay.


More often we view that sonuvabitch Fate with a yearning to be able to better control circumstances.


And, on occasion, we ponder Fate as if we actually did something to deserve it.

We reflect & opine upon on our actions and suggest to ourselves “if only”, with regret, thinking that somehow & someway we could have mastered Fate and redirected it.


That somehow if we had acted differently Fate would have been different.


That somehow we could have rearranged the stars in the sky.




Stars are stars.body making a fault in stars




Fate is fate.


And Fate listens to no one but itself.


Sometimes fate is fate and you can’t do anything about it.


But here is what you can do.

Truly your own acts with regard to fate reside in how you respond not in how you can avoid.




Shakespeare certainly was pretty good about suggesting that your actions, and your decisions to become involved, can impact other’s Fate … and by not taking action you assume some ‘fault.’


And I buy that.




Fate is fate.


You can act and something good can happen … and something unintended bad can happen.


You can not act and something good can happen … and something unintended bad can happen.


Acts you take are rarely simple cause & effect.


Acts you take are also very difficult to find correlations with <note: cause and correlation are two very different things>.


I imagine some people reading the last few things I have written start thinking … well … Life sucks if you cannot be sure that anything you do is right or good.


They shouldn’t.




created my own worldNo one shouldn’t.


While Fate may reside in the stars … ‘fault’ in Life resides within us.


Fate will be fate and will be there regardless of anything we do or don’t do.


Let Fate own the stars.


But … Life is ours to own.


And it is our fault if we do not own it.


resilience, personal responsibility & progressively not getting stuck

March 10th, 2016

resilience tattoo




“Our humanity is not an attribute that we have received once and forever with our conception.

It is a potentiality that we have to discover within us and progressively develop or destroy through our confrontation with the different experiences of suffering that will meet us through our life.”


Xavier Le Pichon





“You’ll have to help yourself.”



Lemony Snicket






This is about us.


People. Individuals.




Let’s call it “the power of I.”

where are you moving better




And the fact we either grow or diminish what we have in terms of “I”.






That begs the question … what is the power each of us have?



I would suggest that your power is actually a reflection of your character <and its resilience>. Character actually begets all the shit we truly care about … resiliency, personal responsibility, integrity, morality, In addition … it is character that dictates whether, and how, you either progressively develop or diminish.


And therein lies the true power of I.



Yet, we face an inherent ongoing challenge to this power.



Character is not solid … it can get chipped.

What I mean by that is once you start taking shortcuts, the ones that appear to make the Life travel a little easier, a little cheat here … a little lie there… maybe a little taking advantage of the system … all of which chips a little of your integrity & character away.

That may not seem so bad … but character is a non-renewable resource.



In addition.


Each time you take a shortcut, no matter how small, and get away with it … it becomes even easier to decide to do it another time – that’s the slippery slope of character erosion.



Just think about what I just wrote for a minute.


You can be crappy at reading, writing and arithmetic … or pretty much anything that people bitch about all the time … but you can’t get along being crappy at Life itself.


And you certainly cannot get along with a crappy character.


You have to fight the good fight in Life, try and avoid the short cuts, and maintain your character and have faith, and courage, to keep character from eroding in the face of Life. Surprisingly … this is an ongoing fight day in and day out week after week.



Now. That said.


Character is a tricky thing to self assess. Interestingly … we all think we know ourselves well, but, psychological studies show otherwise.main thing dedicate


In fact, <unfortunately> most of us are somewhat deluded about ourselves.



And in that delusion we tend to be slightly misguided with regard to what we should do and how to do it <because the basic premise of who we are is flawed>.



This is really really important for us to think about because research has clearly linked social mobility to social and emotional skills. Emotional skills ranging from empathy and the ability to make and maintain relationships, mental toughness, delayed gratification and self-control all contribute to social mobility <and Life success>.


These research findings all point to the same conclusion — that character counts.


Now. Research also points out that character is developed not necessarily instilled <experienced versus taught>.



Research shows that people who overcome adversity and realize their full potential tend to exhibit many of the same traits.


Traits that can be thought of as a belief in one’s ability to achieve, an understanding of the relationship between effort and reward, the patience to pursue long-term goals, the perseverance to stick with the task at hand, and the ability to bounce back from life’s inevitable setbacks.


These various traits all fall under the broad heading of “character and resilience.”





That said.


If character is about experience then I get to bitch a little about personal accountability or personal responsibility.



Or … in other words … responsibility for your own actions.



Today it seems like a shitload of people suggest their actions, faults, any excessive unacceptable behavior, or any … well … generally heinous or unacceptable behavior … are a reflection of outside influences, society driven/motivated, challenging home growing up, poverty, ethnicity, or any experience that we can identify as ‘generated pain’ which inevitably impacted us irresponsibility made easyin childhood. Let’s title all of that under one big fat heading of “excuse.”



It is almost like no one, okay, far too many, wants to accept responsibility for their problems.



All I can think is that some people … this is what they learned. Which makes me ask … :who the hell taught them this?”





On the other hand … I know for sure that some of us learn that when you screw up it is on ‘you’ and no one else. This ‘learning’ teaches us that basically you can be frequently wrong, frequently stupid, frequently imperfect … but if you have been taught to be accountable … to admit it … you may get some shit from people but you will also be known as someone who is accountable for their own actions.


You assume responsibility for all the good and bad that you do.



This can be harrowing at times and incredibly rewarding at other times.






“If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.”




Anna Quindlen





And this leads me to destiny, fate … and resilience.






I believe we make our own destinies.

A destiny may await us but we need to go & do things, to make choices, in order to actually get to our destiny.


Every day we are presented with choices.


Some we don’t even recognize. Some we don’t even see <until they are past>.

Some we see and make a choice. Our destiny is a reflection of these choices … made and not made.


Making your destiny is hard. Because we see, and don’t see, choices and make, and don’t make, choices.



“Of course it’s hard! If it was easy, everyone would do it.

Hard is what makes it great.”

<For the Love of the Game>



This is a Life truth. Shit. It is true about everything we do <even making the perfect cup of coffee in the morning>.



And that is where resilience comes into play.



fail persist succeed resilienceBecause you will always have disappointments. You will always have dreams that don’t come true. You will always have bad shit happening. And you will always make some bad choices.


And in all of what I just wrote we have a habit of getting stuck.



You get stuck knowing what you already know.


You get stuck on what happened in the past.


You get stuck thinking about shit that you cannot do anything about.


You get stuck on disappointments, dreams that don’t come true and bad choices.



We just get … well … stuck.



Resilience is all about being able to overcome all the simple tragedies you face in life. Not the big dramatic shit just the everyday shit.







George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it.”





As far as I’m concerned, Shaw was a punk.

‘Cause you know what? Tragedies happen.

What are you gonna do? Give up? Quit?

No. I realize now that when your heart breaks, you gotta fight like hell to make sure you’re still alive. ‘Cause you are, and that pain you feel, that’s life.

The confusion and fear, that’s there to remind you that somewhere out there is something better. And that ‘something’ is worth fighting for.





Resilience really isn’t about hope or dreams or vision for what you want & desire and doing what you need to do to stay on that path.


Resilience is more about recognizing Life is hard and the practicality that if you want to make some progress and develop … you gotta fight like hell to not get stuck.



Simplistically you take personal responsibility for not getting stuck.growing up life challenge resilience


And you now what? You have to.


Because Life makes it really really easy to get stuck. You can get stuck on so many things it is scary if you think about it.


But you can really only get stuck if you let it happen.



Progress is, more often than not, in your hands. Which means your destiny is in your hands. That, my friends, is the power of I … the power driven by the engine of Character. Character is your destiny.


odd little waiters bringing things you don’t always like

September 20th, 2014

odd waiters and stones




“Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like.”


Lemony Snicket






I wrote thoughts on fate on sept. 22nd 2013 in a post called ‘seize fate’:





I mention that post because I used what Beethoven actually said … “I shall seize fate by the throat.”







That means Beethoven would have strangled a shitload of odd little waiters.

odd waiter glass




It’s easy to think of Fate as odd little waiters as some strange unknown people guiding our direction in life … often by giving us the unasked for dishes.



I like the thought that we have some destiny … some fate … awaiting us.


That there is some reason for being here.





















The struggle I imagine I have in my head with regard to this whole Fate and having odd little waiters bringing my fate to me is … well … that I like doing … and not waiting.




And the thought of permitting something theoretical like ‘fate’ or ‘destiny’ to take me by the hand and lead me somewhere doesn’t sit well with me.



And I also imagine that part of Life is figuring all this shit out.

fate meets coincidence


Fate is a combination of reacting <to circumstances thrust upon you like dishes you never ordered> and being proactive <thrusting yourself into and against circumstances>.




This also suggests the ability in shifting the course of things.






Whenever people attempt to shift the course of things … things can go horribly wrong.



But doing nothing … and not making the attempt?


fate seize by throat
Maybe just as risky.




Fate is more than assuming history … or what will be … has a shape.


Fate actually assumes in some way you have a role in shaping it.





“Fate makes demands of flesh and blood.

And what does it most often demand?

Flesh and blood.”




Russian proverb



And this means meeting the dreams of fate … flesh & blood … or what is called ‘Kairos.’




<kairos: http://brucemctague.com/where-time-and-destiny-meet >




Kairos is the ability to adapt to and take advantage of changing circumstances.



The concept suggests you can manage what fate has in store for you if you manage the circumstances as they arise.




This also suggests that fate has a whole kitchen of possible dishes to serve you … not just one. And depending on what you do and how you act and what you say … the odd little waiter may end up bringing you something other than what it thought it was going to bring you a moment ago.



This also suggests some boldness.fate waiters andreas




Not really that ‘fate favors the brave’ but rather having the audacity to believe in this wild and wacky and somewhat chaotic world … you can actually have a say in your fate.



This also means that even if you balk at the concept of ‘being bold’ … suffice it to say that fate favors those who actually show up:




Interestingly … it was JK Rowling who said something along the same lines …



“Destiny is a name often given in retrospect to choices that had dramatic consequences.”


J.K. Rowling



Showing up is what it is all about.




It seems almost weird to even suggest this … but … simply showing up can have dramatic consequences.







Even something as unspectacular as ‘showing up’ can be a choice which has dramatic consequences to your destiny.



We think of fate when looking in a rear view mirror.



And often we do so without thinking about the choices … and the choices WE made … led us to the place where we saw what we saw in that rear view mirror.



And I imagine we rarely think about showing up as a key choice with some dramatic consequences.







You know … I imagine we all have to believe in some way we are here for a reason.



And that is where Fate or Destiny resides.



Somewhere in that ever elusive ‘reason.’



What do I mean?




Fate and destiny are the end accomplishment.





But it’s kind of up to you to figure out what that destination is.





Unfortunately fate or destiny … well … they tend to be quiet fellows <or women>.




They tend to keep their thoughts to themselves.




Even worse?



They have a tendency to hide so you can’t sit them down and say ‘what is my fate?’ … ‘what is my destiny?’ … ‘tell me where to go’.





That makes life a little tricky because it makes some really important shit unable to be seen. So you have to make some guesses. Or maybe we should call it some ‘leaps of faith.’






I read somewhere there is the seen and the unseen.



That not all is certainty in the world because if there were … there would be no opportunity for faith.



In other words … there would never be any opportunities for a ‘leap of faith.’







Certainty sounds pretty frickin’ nice … but … it would also seem to be a pretty dull world without that ‘faith.’



<at least in my eyes>










Sometimes you kind of have to reach out … either with faith … or maybe out of sheer frustration … and grab one of the odd little waiters by the throat and say ‘here is my fate … this is my destiny … now go back to the kitchen and return this frickin’ dish.”’




So, in the end, maybe Fate sometimes does need to be seized by the throat.




“I shall seize an odd little waiter by the throat and order my fate.”




In the end.



You have a choice with regard to your fate …and that’s to show up and make some choices … make some leaps of faith.right thing wrong choice






I cannot suggest nor guarantee that all choices will be good or even guide you well … but making choices at least means your fate is a little less in the hands of some odd little waiters serving you things you haven’t ordered.





note: I also wrote this: http://brucemctague.com/coincidence-and-fate



back where we began

April 24th, 2014

beginning finished


“And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” – t.s. eliot



“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” – T.S. Eliot



Life has a set of rules we live by.

In fact … lots of rules.

Rules on how to live life … how to think about life … how to look at life.

There are so many rules it gets confusing.


Trust me.

They are all there … unwritten … yet etched in people’s mind and heads … because we live … well … in a community that functions because there is an understanding among its members.


Some may call it civilization … or being civilized … I don’t really bucket it in do your best rulesanyway other than in other Life has its rules and requires some responsibilities.


I imagine I am suggesting that some of those rules are good.

The responsibilities ones.

I will call it kind of the responsibility compass:


Be mindful of others.

Do the best you can.

Be the best you can.

Don’t kill anyone.

Don’t purposefully do the wrong thing.

Be honest <or maybe just don’t lie about anything big>.

Do the right thing as often as you can.




Some of these rules are confuxing <or are ‘confuxed’>.confuxed


They are fucked up <or they fuck us up> and they are confusing.



Because there is a lot of vagary and non specifics. There is a lot of room to roam within these Life responsibilities … or … uhm … our responsibilities to Life.

Within all these rules and responsibilities we not only have an almost infinite boundless area in which we have freedom to roam … but we also don’t have any specific rules in how to go about living Life … or even how to live life.

We also struggle because we want to use last year’s words … while next year’s words are awaiting to be spoken <but most of us can’t identify those words>.



Oddly … all of this vagary and boundaries are both boundless and restricting.


And maybe it is because we view these unwritten rules as too boundless we tend to begin building boundaries in the sense of constricting or measuring in steps what we do … or how we should view Life.


And maybe we shouldn’t view it that way.


While there are gobs of books telling us how to think and what to do … there is no ‘one way.’ There is no secret nor is there any magic formula.


That’s why life begins and ends and has something in the middle.


Something in which the only real destination that matters … or is real … is the end.

Everything else is simply a stop sign … maybe a yield sign … not a dead end sign.


So many people set specific destinations in life.

Goals .. milestones … whatevers.


beginning lamourOnly to find it isn’t really a destination … simply a rest stop on the highway. In fact … many of those destinations, which are desired and have been well defined outlined and tasked, turn out to be places we reach and as you take a look around with a satisfied sigh of completion … well … you end up saying …  ‘shit. I’m lost.’



You get there and say to yourself … now that I have made it here … what the fuck was I thinking … I want to go farther.




“We didn’t come this far … to only come this far.”




And then you start all over again.


It is quite possible that you … well … arrive back where you started <metaphorically … not literally> … and maybe … just maybe … you will actually know it … understand it … for the first time.


I stopped telling myself that I’m lost.

I’m not.

I’m on a road with no destination, I’m just driving with hope that I’ll find a place that I like and I’ll stay there.

I’m not lost, I’m on my way.




Life is never linear.

Life is perpetual circles and cycles.

beginning energy continuous

And yet we constantly try to make it linear only to be constantly disappointed when we end up back where we began.

And disappointed when the words we vocalize end up being last year’s words.


All I imagine I tend to think about is that, in Life, there is truly only one beginning … and one end.


Everything else is somewhere in between with some wrong way signs, some yield signs and maybe some stop signs … and I imagine that means most of us feel lost on occasion.


And maybe we should simply think we are … well … on our way.

Enlightened Conflict