Community: Share YOUR story with the rest of us

Over the past two years, more than 21K people joined my newsletter. And we’ve built a little community here on dariusforoux.com.

And over that same time period, 1,503 comments were placed.

That means one thing: You are not alone. And I love connecting with readers.

I’ve also replied to 3,626 to emails I’ve received on my blog’s email address. I don’t use this email address other than to connect with readers and people who want to republish my articles.

But I thought to myself: “What’s a better way to connect with readers instead of answering 1-on-1 emails?” So I came up with this page.

It’s simple; feel free to share your story, questions, thoughts, with me (and other readers) in the comments below.

Share your story with the rest of us because we’d like to get to know you.

  • Who are you?
  • Why are you here?
  • What have you learned that you’d like to share with readers?
  • Have you created something useful?
  • Or just say hi and share how you got here, of all places?

I have no problem with people who want to talk about their projects. In fact, I encourage everyone to create something. Just focus on providing value and not selling us shit we don’t need.

You can share your thoughts if you scroll down to the bottom of this page. Just start typing and hit “Post Comment”! No fancy groups or apps. Just an old school webpage.

That’s all! Looking forward to reading your story.

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96 comments

  1. Hi Darius,

    You know, you not only send us wonderful articles, but you do send links to few awesome, interesting and great books to read. I really like that.

    Keep going, keep rocking !!!

    1. First time reading your thoughts. Love the most recent article re: decisions. FYI, minor typo in “laughing our assess” off…

  2. Hey ! I’m Julian from France. I love reading your blog because it make me feel confident about the future and it makes me harness my fear of the unknown. Thanks to this blog I’ve learned to create my path with confidence doing the things I love. Also I’ve launched my business that I was to afraid to launch since many years ;). Thanks again and pleasure to read all your coming stuff to embrace the future.

    1. Hey Greg, there’s nothing you can join. I’m not into Facebook groups and stuff like that. I don’t see the value of daily communication. However, I do see a lot of value in getting to know readers. And you can do that right here, in the comments. Feel free to share your thoughts or respond to other people. That’s all. I like to keep things simple.

  3. Hey Darius and Friends!

    I’m a strategist and entrepreneur who found Darius via Medium just about a year ago (had to check, but it was last October!).

    I was drawn in very quickly by his writing both because the topics were relevant to my interests, but more importantly the style. I really enjoy how accessible and straight forward Darius is with his thoughts. In a the space of business and personal improvement, it’s easy to skew technical or preachy and Darius never suffers from that.

    That recent article on compounding is a great example. Straight forward and clear, which makes it easy to apply to your own situation.

    For me, the compounding effect really rang true in terms of networking. I’ve been focusing much more on this over the past few months and had many important reminders of how powerful our relationships with others can be. It’s completely obvious, but every person you connect with has their own network, so every strong connection you make has the potential to open up a whole new world of opportunities.

    Even knowing how valuable that asset is — maybe the most valuable asset you can have in business and life in general — it’s easy to neglect it when you’re juggling a million other things.

    This community page is a perfect place to add a new facet to that network.

    To share something with the community, my company works with founders and entrepreneurs and we have tons of free resources on our site to help with the most common problems we see folks facing: Defining you big picture vision, product/market fit, brand communication, business validation.

    If you go to our site and click on any of those topics, you’ll be able to download free worksheets on that topic:

    http://mapandfire.com/problems-we-solve/

    Happy to hear feedback on them too!

    Thanks for setting this up Darius!

    Clay

    1. Hey Clay! I’ve following you on Twitter too. Thanks for the support!

      Great example about the compounding! Networking is something I want to focus on more in the future too. A good network has huge value. Thanks for sharing man.

      And I like how you linked to your company. Hope folks get value out of it.

      1. Clay & Darius – thank you both for all that you do and contribute. For start-up, non profits – you are both a gift. Visit my most recent project at dailysober.com.

  4. Hi Darius, I’m Sam from UK and I’ve been following your blog mostly because of the productivity topics and insights you provide to help get more out of my life (personally and professionally).

    I’m developing a platform that we hope will encourage collaboration and accountability amongst likeminded people so that we can support you in going after your interests and goals constructively.
    The primary lesson I’ve learned from your content is to refine the things that are positive in my life and focus on my strengths to be the most productive I can be. Very liberating.

    Looking forward to reading more from you Darius and connecting with other likeminded readers in the community!

    Keep up the great work!

  5. Hi Darius,

    I have been wanting to write articles from past few days, but I feel blank once I put few words on paper, I start to worry about grammar or sentence formation and give up each time. Can you help me with this. What’s the better way to learn writing.

    I love your idea of connecting with readers.

    1. You must keep on writing. Also read a lot so that you get ideas and perspectives that you can use in your writings. If you are afraid of grammar and style you can use software like Grammarly. Other writing aids are also there. You have to search for them. The bottom line is never stop writing.Nobody is a perfect writer, especially in the beginning.

    2. I always remind myself of the classic Epictetus quote: “If you want to be a writer, write.” Writing is about your message, not the grammar. So I’ve trained myself not to worry about that stuff. If some know-it-alls comment on your grammar mistakes, they’re not your audience anyway.

      So, there’s only one way to learn writing: By writing more.

      1. Hi Darius, first of all thank you so much for your inspiring writing. I’m Judith from the Netherlands and I try to read as much as possible as well as write a little bit (if only for 5 minutes a day) in the daily hustle and bustle of a job and a family life with young kids. I think this comment is recognizable, except I don’t feel blank when writing because the words come pouring out. But it doesn’t have a purpose (yet). Since a few weeks I have been writing almost daily. I feel a huge urge to write, but I get distracted by thoughts like: for whom do I actually write this? Is this publishable? Is it original? Is it even readable? Hasn’t this been written by someone else already? What is the benefit of this writing (for anyone)? I’m thinking about starting a blog, but have so many doubts. What should it even be about? Do you have any tips to deal with thoughts like that (or maybe you’ve already written a post I missed about this subject)? How do I get more purpose/direction in my writing?
        Thanks for this great opportunity to connect with others!

        1. I feel the same, Judith. Very recognizable. All writers I’ve talked to deal with the same questions. So it’s safe to say that’s a part of being a writer 😉 You have to learn to manage your inner dialogue. My book, Win Your Inner Battles, is about that. Being a good writer is the only one part of the equation, overcoming self-doubt is the other part.

          And, I recently wrote about Imposter Syndrome (http://dariusforoux.com/overcome-imposter-syndrome/) In that article I talk about question’s like “What is the benefit of this writing (for anyone)?”

          Btw, writing daily is a pretty big deal. So that’s good. Now, it’s all about keeping up the momentum. Also, I’m working on an article about how you can start a blog in a day. That might help too.

          1. Thanks for bringing that article to my attention Darius, I didn’t get the chance to read that yet. Very useful! I’m looking forward to reading your article about the blog as well. Thanks for inspiring me! I’ll keep at it.

    3. Think WHY you’re writing. What is your message that will change the world? Is there something you HAVE TO say that the world may not hear from anyone else? Do you want to make this world a better place? If so, write. You’ll get better by practicing your craft each day. Start out by free writing and don’t worry about sentence structure. There’s someone out there who needs YOUR voice. Be brave.

      1. Hey Judith! I remember being there and asking myself, “What if I’m just repeating what others have said?” But I wrote anyway because what I wrote was something I couldn’t find elsewhere, not from the “practical” standpoint, but from the standpoint of experiences, life struggles and overcoming our fears daily. I remember the first time I got a comment. A person told me that he knew exactly how it felt and he thanked me for writing about my experiences as an online teacher. A few months into blogging, I decided to repurpose some of my blog posts into a book, and 30 people from the Internet bought it. Those were the people I’d never met before. I didn’t know them, but apparently what I wrote mattered enough for them to pay me. It was a small beginning of my small business. I’m sure you have something to say that your reader needs, but in order to find your reader I believe you have to connect with the person inside you, her wealth and her talent, and share courageously. I’d also say to think of your very best friend, write down what she feels like when she reads your blog post, how you could talk to her and what you could share with her that would matter to her only. That makes it easier to connect with your readers in the future. All the best to you!

        1. Thank you for taking the time to write this comment, it’s good to know I’m not the only one dealing with these kind of doubts. I like the tip to write for a friend, I’ll do that!

  6. Hello Everyone!

    This is Saurabh from India.

    Darius’s articles about Procrastination helped me to leave my previous job in difficult situations that I created by procrastinating. I’m happy to inform you Darius that I’ve successfully moved on in my life and now working in product management (which I love!). Thanks a ton.

    Keep writing. Keep Inspiring!

    Regards,
    Saurabh

  7. Hey Darius,

    I found your articles on medium early last year around March and I’ve been reading them on and off since. You introduced me to stoicism which I will forever be indebted to you for since It’s been a life changer for me. It’s also awesome to see how you’ve grown both writing wise and in the content you’re providing. Wishing you all the very best and further productivity!

    Regards,
    Amelle

  8. Hi everyone!
    My name is Czl (Cécile). I am a type designer from Costa Rica. Basically, I draw letters.
    I’ve found a tremendous amount of value in Darius’ writing. I love learning new things every day — but with the amount of information disguised in people trying to sell you stuff, I find it every day harder to come across new knowledge and information and ideas.
    All of the amazing content here has helped me focus on what matters. So skimming through the web to find good material becomes a task I look forward to (which is crucial to me, as I am an independent learner and my education relies on what I can learn online). I have also learned many things to keep my daily life harmonious — my career, my husband, our business, even managing the house. I love learning about productivity, philosophy, and focus.
    The advice here is amazing, and I’m really looking forward to learning about other people here!
    My biggest advice, for everyone, is:
    Consume less, play more!
    Stop mindlessly watching TV or social media or magazines. Start drawing, dancing, playing, making music or art or sports or making healthy food. Do anything you want — as long as it’s play and not consumption, you’re doing yourself and the world a favor 🙂
    I also want to share what I do, for anyone interested, at http://dribbble.com/czllebleu or at instagram @czl.lebleu . Our website is under construction, I might post it here too when it’s ready 🙂
    With love, Czl Lebleu

  9. I’ve been following your journey since the beginning, really enjoying the process of your writing unfolding and the topics that come to mind. It’s crazy how often I am ruminating on a subject that I feel almost alone in working through, and the following morning I get your email with some sound logic that often reassures me about my perspective even if nobody else around me is willing to think critically.

    I’m a web developer and digital marketing strategist, but I spend a lot less time on my own projects lately because I’ve been focused on creating revenue streams through ecommerce and developing funnels for my consulting work. I plan to return to my “center” after a few years of yearning in the career hunt (mostly failed) and begin writing some of my own material and even put together some courses. I always appreciate being able to follow other peoples’ journey as they branch out online and I’ve been preparing myself for quite a while to do something similar.

    There are so many voices out there but so few of them are coming from a true source and connecting with the important issues in life for the thinkers out there. Thanks again for putting your message out there!

    Portfolio: http://johnhampson.net
    Digital Marketing Agency: http://metonymy.org

  10. Hello Darius,

    Happy Saturday 😃

    I just wanted to say thank you because your articles and tips have helped me become more productive and organized.

    I really enjoy your your stories. You inspired me to read more and write more.

    Thank you for sharing your story and keep up the awesome work.

    Smiles,

  11. Hi…I am an artist and visionary executive who has for years proposed to my colleagues that staying positive keeps the creative mind receptive to bigger ideas and energy. I find in Darious’ messages a similar mindset. ..which I like to share with other artists. Done are artists with words…I repurpose Styrofoam to create sculptures of color using acrylics and pentil pens….as a conceptual artist. We are all artists of a certain nature.

  12. Darius, thank you for putting together this platform, and thank you for sharing your insights through your blog and courses. One of the most powerful posts you’ve written is Your Work Matters. In fact, I’ve printed that post out and now go back to it and read it on a regular basis.

    I love the concept of efficiency and usefulness because they remind me why I chose to be in business in the first place – to make meaning.

    My friend and I are writing a book that will inspire online teachers and coaches to run their businesses from the core, and one of Darius’s posts helped me find the right wording for the book: http://www.optedoutlife.com

  13. Hello, everyone!

    I am Jay–I am a London based web designer and a self-development enthusiast.

    I was introduced to Medium by a colleague of mine last year. This is where I found Darius. I found his style of his writing and content compelling and had to immediately ‘follow’ him.

    For the past six months, my passion for writing has grown. In fact, writing is something I had always wanted to do. However, there were two significant challenges: English wasn’t my strongest language of the three I knew. Secondly, I didn’t know how to write articles and write them effectively. I lacked the knowledge and confidence required to write.

    After doing some research on the topic, and additionally taking up the course on Effective Writing by Darius, last week I managed to publish my very first article: https://goo.gl/E6DZRK

    I am deeply grateful to Darius for sharing nuggets of knowledge for both–compelling writing, and self-improvement.

    It would be nice to stay connected with you all!

  14. Hey Darius! I’m Gráinne and I’m a content marketing manager for Buckets.co. I came across your work when I was looking for some productivity inspiration 🙂 What really drew me in was your writing style and your “zero fluff” approach to getting the right information out there in a way that’s really simple for people to apply in everyday life. I also love that you really *are* what you write about and the majority of your articles come from actual personal experience and growth. I’m looking forward to reading more, and it’d be great to collaborate with you some time!

  15. Hey folks. 🙂

    I am Ivan, I’m a IPMA certified Account Manager for a Silicon Valley startup, but more importantly, I’m an aspiring artist. 🙂

    I graduated from 3 musicals schools (piano, guitar & solo singing), am studying production and working hard to make better opportunities for realizing my dreams, here in LA. Hopefully, y’all we’ll get to see me out there one day.

    I’ve been with Darius almost since the beginning and what made him stand out is the fact that he actually interacts with all of us and is super organized. Some of his stuff played in part in shaping my own present, creating my own systems and becoming more self aware, overcoming some obstacles, while creating a foundation for a great future.

    And he knows this, as I reach out to him every time after particularly liking an article. 😀

    If anybody wants to know more and/or connect, hit me up on Facebook/Linkedin, wherever. I am Ivan (Grande) Devedzic.

    Cheers,

    Ivan

  16. Hello Darius,

    This is Anitha .hope all is well with you.
    Last Sunday I took my son for a dance practice which we community woman do annually for Halloween.ibwas down with allergies but since I committed to it I tool medication and also took some home grown fresh eggplants to share with the woman and snacks for the kids.once I got there within minutes a lady intentionally started picking on me saying oh u are always busy as if we are sitting idle what do you do Blah blah blah for 10 to 15 mins by that time I started feeling sick all over my body everthing from head to toe started hurting did not understand what going on she dumped the shit all over for me pick up.i am so hurt but I still stayed all through the practice gave her the egg plants I took and came home.but now I feel so down and hurt thinking what made her pick on me because I was always there for her so while searching for answers got to your blog it’s helping me a lot so some piece of advice to just help me to reach my peace

    Thank you and take care
    Anitha

    1. Hey Anitha! Glad to hear my blog has been helpful. Your story reminds me of this quote by Marcus Aurelius: “Choose not to be harmed — and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed — and you haven’t been.” I like to remind myself that no one can hurt you if you don’t let them.

  17. Hi Darius,

    I’m Gloria from Nigeria. I stumbled on your article last year on an app called ‘Pocket’. Ever since I’ve been an ardent follower and I always look forward to your mails in my inbox. I totally appreciate you.

    My best article is the one I read recently about compounding: doing too many things at a time and thereby spreading myself too thin. It was for me. I’ve been doing that not because I felt like a super human but because I need success badly: I’m trained as an Administrator and I run two businesses; a Writing and Editing Business and a Clothing Business. Now you may have an insight on how my schedules gets messed up most times.

    The article was timely. I’m restrategising. Thank you for always giving me something to look forward to. I like how practical your articles are. I make sure I share your posts with every friend I hold dear to my heart. I can’t be selfish to keep all these knowledge to myself.

    Cheers.

  18. Hi Darius, My name is Kay, I first want to THANK YOU so much for the great articles you write. I think I have read all your articles since June 2016. At the time I was going through a tough time of not knowing what the next step was for me. Your articles among other inspirational people and factors were essential to give my life direction. Like yourself, I thrive on leading a productive life, doing something useful/helpful for self/others, and learning new things. One of the best things I learned from your articles that among others helped with my productivity, was starting a journal. Journaling daily and setting weekly, monthly and yearly goals, helped me to focus and refocus, and reflect on my life more frequently.
    In addition to teaching Yoga, I recently started a business that reflects on my passion for training, and helping others to have a better and happier life. I offer decluttering/tidying services. As you know and mentioned in one of your articles: Declutter Your Life, Declutter Your Mind, clutter creates a dark cloud over our life. Tidying our life will result in a tidier mind, better decisions and a happier life. It feels like paradise to live in a tidy place. That’s why I offer my services under the title: Tidy Paradise. I want to help my clients bring home the joy of paradise and experience a peaceful and happy life. Thank you again. Please visit me at: tidyparadise.com and let me know if I can be of help.

  19. Hi! I’m Melanie. I live in Oregon, USA. I am a writer and have a small blog where I write on a range of topics including eating disorder recovery, depression, parenting, healthy living, and more. I’d like to write a book one day. I’m here because I just love reading your articles Darius. I first read your work on the Medium and found your site that way. Your writing inspires me. It helps me feel like my writing isn’t a waste of time and that writing a book is an achievable goal. So thank you for doing what you do!
    http://melsemptyjournal.blogspot.com/

  20. Thank you for sharing yourself with us and providing both the answers I needed and something I can aspire to. Just a big thanks after reading the first few articles I stumbled upon which are coaxing me out of that ‘imposter syndrome’. I look forward to digging through your blog a little more!

  21. Good morning,

    I am reading, and using a 2X4 up side my head about every other page, your Straight Thinking book. By the way, thanks for the give-a-way … anyway, I came across two rather conflicting passages in the book, and am wondering if I just read them incorrectly.

    The first stated that, “My girlfriend wanted to travel the world and live in different countries. I hate that idea.” But then you stated, “For example, I always wanted to travel the world and live in different countries”, further along in the book.

    I am totally confused, but trying hard not to think about it too much.

    Bobb

  22. OPS!!! I had intended to make an appointment with the Eye doctor a few weeks ago but, procrastination and my feeble brain won out. I guess that job is on the books for today! Thanks again for the insight into the mind and my side issue of procrastination. bobb

  23. Darius, awesome job on the book. Thank you so much for sharing it for free. I was able to connect to so many thoughts. Specifically, confirmation bias and heuristics, since I am a software tester and that comes into play. I love getting your updates. It lets me know that I m not alone and others have similar thoughts and are just trying to live a good life and be happy. You have inspired me a lot since I started reading your content over a year ago.

    I recently used your 10 steps to building a blog. Thank you so much. it saved me a ton of time. I am so guilty of getting stuck on details and style. So I took all your advice. It went live just a few days ago. http://www.basicmoneytalk.com/

    I hope you continue to enjoy your new challenges and continue to write to us.

    Thank you,
    Rich

  24. Hi Darius,

    Thanks for your articles and tips about life. It’s really useful for me.
    And I decided to write a journey starting from today.
    Thanks again.

    Regards,
    Thu

  25. I absolutely love your works. Here and on Medium. Every Article has something valuable to offer.
    Also, I love the animated images you use. I was never good with drawings. This feels pure art. Which software are you using?

  26. Hello Darius,

    Have you ever dealt with a difficult worker who is constantly angry and calls people an idiot in front of them once in a long while for no reason? He also talks allot of nonsense showing his immaturity and acts like a spoiled child. Most of the people at work would just ignore him but I did that a first. His ignorance pisses me off to the point of giving him the full insult treatment to put him in his spot. He doesnt learn so I would do it again. He doesnt do it often but when he does, I no longer ignore and say something. One time I put him in his spot, we didnt talk for almost 2 months. After that, he quit. He really is a big immature idiot with issues.

    I wondered if you ever dealt with someone like that or anyone and how you would respond to that in that scenario and trying not to quit?

    Thanks.

    1. Hey Dan. One of my mentors (who employs more than 500 people) once told me that the key to building a great team is to hire nice people. And at our family business, we have the same policy. So we don’t hire assholes just because they are great at their job. So, fortunately, I haven’t dealt with those type of situations. And if I did, I would probably fire that person instead of persuading him not to quit. Hope that helps.

      1. Hey Darius,

        Thanks for reply, I didn’t talk to the guy very much. He was full of drama so I tend to stay away. By the way, keep up the good work. I like your articles.

  27. Hey Darius,

    Your articles are very practical and sensible. I have a dilemma to share. I am successfully running my own Image Consulting (Makeovers & Personality Engineering) business from the last five years (career change at 30) and have build a good Image. I am already 35 years old and would like to diversify into something similar (celeb styling) which will help me grow my business more in the long run. However, for me to be able to add this new skill set into my current business and gain connections, the traditional route is to intern with someone senior in the industry and start from the bottom of the rung. Though I am ready to do that, keeping my ego aside, people do not want to hire me at this stage as they’re looking for folks in 20’s who can do the running around. Hence, I’m finding it difficult to make inroads in this new space. Seeking your advice.

    1. Congrats, Jasmine. That’s a great accomplishment.

      I would take a step back and ask, why do you want to go into celeb styling? Is it because you want earn more? There are always other ways. Or, is it because you love that field?

      Also, I wouldn’t look at the traditional path. Similar to Blue Ocean Strategy, I think it’s good to look at how you can do things differently. How can you disrupt the industry?

      If something doesn’t work, adjust. If we keep doing that, we achieve our goals eventually.

  28. Hello Darius,

    I was reading one of your articles about studying idiots and it reminds me of my two friends who deal with these idiots at their work. One would constantly call him an idiot in front of him including other people from time to time and the other a dipstick or something like that. I remember talking to my friends in a same bar and they both don’t say anything at all in front of those idiots.

    They would hear those insults and wouldn’t think of it as an insult but do two things. 1. They would ignore it completely plus think them as nothing and 2. They would study those guys.

    In the end, they pretty much know their issues and felt good about themselves witgout saying anything in return.

    It’s quite an article!

    1. I guess from their methods, learning from idiots can take you far. Just remember that its only business according to one of them. It’s amazing what one can learn from them, what do tou think?

  29. Hi Darius,
    It is sooooo strange how I came across your article on Repetition….GREAT article by the way. I turned on my computer and your web address was in my browser. I started to click out of it but I started reading your article and was HOOKED..lol. I am sure it was meant for me to read it.

    I have started a web site more of a blog site, geared toward a place where people can come and get inspired. I was on the verge of giving up but I am going to keep going…reading your article helped a lot. One of the poems I have on my site is Never Give Up…I need to read it over and over..repetition!!!

    The reason for me starting my site is I have been through a lot in my life and I want to be able to inspire others that are having struggles/challenges in their life. My website is not complete but I felt it I did not launch my site, I would have continued to procrastinate.. therefore, I took the plunge and launched and will continue to make changes.

    I would love to share some of your articles on my website… please let me know if its ok. Keep up the good work!!!

    1. That’s awesome, Jaye! Great timing. And I’m glad you like the blog. Sure, feel free to share. Good luck with your site. And let me know here on the Community page when it’s online.

  30. Darius,
    Great stuff. It’s as if I am reading what I want to become in 5 years. Hopefully sooner. I just hit the 100 unique users mark on my blog and it has energized me to do more. I am in the infant stages of my blog and working in the same niche. Timeliness is one of my core ideas behind what I deliver. I see that you have the same idea as well.

    The Nerd

  31. Hi Darius…I am a first time reader of your site, and much to my delight can encourage everyone here that it works! I am 78 years old, and have followed the ideas and pathway you advocate, without knowing that I would find someone else who thought the way i do. I always knew i wanted to travel and see the world, and realized i needed a good job, to make that happen.

    A college degree in Communication Arts with a teaching certificate was my first step. My first teaching job was in California in the 60’s. I enjoyed teaching, had a wonderful department head that got me through all the pitfalls of a first year of teaching; I really learned a lot about handling a classroom. I realized within six months, however, that I did not want to wait until i retired to travel, but having minimal financial resources i had to find a job that would pay my way to my adventure.

    I got a job teaching English with a private non-profit group, and took off for South east Asia. I went to Asia with the assumption that i would most likely never marry, as finding someone in their 20’s who had a vision of a life of adventure was not very likely. I loved working in a small village north of Saigon, living on the local economy, making friends with many Vietnamese friends, some who i am still in touch with 55 years later.

    I also met my future husband, an American Army pilot who was stationed in the area. He loved adventure also, and together we had a 50 year marriage, before he passed away. the love of my life and my best friend. Being a pilot, both fixed wing and helicopter rated, reading speaking and writing Mandarin Chinese, and being a good man, made it very easy for my husband to find work, after retiring from the Army; he was still in his 30’s. We lived in Nepal, where I taught at the American School, and held private English classes for those Nepalese interested in learning English. It was my way of getting to know and love the local people.

    From Nepal we went to Laos for five years. During all this time I was visiting museums, learning about different cultures, and traveling the world, Europe, Africa and South America. It was ten years of adventure, positive experiences and fun! Now don’t misunderstand, there were a lot of challenges, such as health issues; I managed to get almost every disease except malaria, there were several deaths, and some family issues to consider at home. Our parents were getting older, and although we came back to the States almost every year for a visit, we realized the time was coming when we would need to come home permanently.

    When that time came we decided to live in Montana, as my husband had been to school there as a young man, and had always wanted to return. I knew nothing about Montana, and thought it was just fine to move there. What a surprise I found! It was more of a challenge than any of my experiences overseas. Starting out with the fact that I could not get a job teaching, because I was over qualified for the schools, in the small Montana towns; they could not afford to hire me. I suggested I would work for what they could pay, but was told they had to follow the rules. I am not sure if that was true, or I was just a person whose background was just off the map for them. I certainly did not have a teaching background they were familiar with.

    What to do? While I was teaching in Laos, I had taken a course, via mail, in interior design in my spare time. As I always had a strong interest in the arts, but had never had the time or the place to pursue this interest. I passed the course, a years worth of effort, and worked in Laos with expats who were making permanent homes there.

    I never thought i would be able to work as an interior designer in Montana, but It was my good fortune to find an interior design business in a neighboring small town. They needed another designer, and i was ready and willing to go to work. This was really a miracle, as this opportunity would not have been available in any other small town in Montana! From there my interest in antiques developed, as so many of my clients were collectors, and I was always looking for just the right piece of furniture or accent piece. It was fun, challenging, and again a pathway I had not traveled before.

    Withing three years, I owned two antique shops, was running my interior design business, and participating in antiques shows all over the Northwest. My husband, had his own real estate business and was very supportive. We were having new adventures, as he was able to work with me when traveling to antique shows, all over the western states; he was my driver and muscle. :>)

    After eleven years in Montana, we decided to move to someplace with a more moderate climate, but a hot climate was not our choicel, Washington State was perfect. However, since we had seen so much of the world, but not nearly enough of the USA, we sold all our property, put our stuff in storage and took off, for three and half years traveling from Bar Harbor Maine to Key West and New York to California, We were buying and selling antiques, and visiting friends and family along the way. There were antique shows everywhere in the 70’s and 80’s, and we did at least two a month as we moved across the country, going back and forth, three times.

    While on this journey, we decided the day would come when moving furniture might not be a good choice for either of us, and we needed to consider the future. We both wanted to continue a life of adventure, but one appropriate to our middle age and energy level. I decided to join a major appraising association, take the classes, and become a certified appraiser. My husband went to school at the Gemological Institute of America, and became a fine jewelry appraiser.

    After three and a half years, on the road, we decided it was time to return to the West coast, and settle down. We have been here over thirty years, and had an active, interesting appraising business. My husband passed away a few years ago, and I was devastated, to say the least. However, after some time, I went back to work, and here I am in my 70’s still working, still learning and still traveling. I just returned from a trip to Eastern Europe.

    I hope this story, which I have tried to keep short, but have only been moderately successful in that attempt, helps reinforce your efforts to help people realize to never stop learning, never stop finding a way to do what you love. You just never know where your new skills, or your new adventure will take you. At the beginning of this story I mentioned I majored in Communication Arts in college. A skill that has come back to work for me these many years later, as my latest adventure is giving programs at local libraries, and different community organizations throughout the Puget Sound area, about how to handle an estate if you are downsizing or a relative has passed. It can be an over whelming responsibility. I’m still appraising, and I still do not know where I am going. :>)

  32. Hi Darius,

    I found you on Medium couple of weeks ago.
    It’s really nice to read you – even if you’re talking about common problems and topics – you are doing it on your own style – clear and very “readable”.
    What do you think about idea for translating your posts in my (Polish) language (on my blog)?.
    I see that many people in Poland don’t read Medium because of language misunderstoods.
    I wanted to write a weekly summary about the same problems seen from different Medium writers.
    So – Can I quote your articles (translated) sometimes?

    Best,
    G.

  33. Hi Darius. Thanks for the work you do inspiring others! I’d like to share a couple thoughts on ‘Perception is Reality.’ I’ll try to be concise, but may detour a bit.

    I’ve been experiencing acute anxiety for a while. Never had been this severe, but a recent, rocky relationship and its breakup have ramped up the cognitive distortions significantly. My ex is also prone to high anxiety, and often I’d feel unfairly projected upon. I’d try not to (emphasis on Try) take things personally, instead acknowledge the validity of their emotions as their real experiences and try not to in-validate them by judging them if i felt they were over-reacting or inventing something that wasn’t real.

    For instance, they once told me they felt I needed to be higher on her emotional investment ladder than their daughter, that they feel overwhelmed sometimes when we’re together because she only has so much attention and affection to commit. My first thought was “are you kidding?” but I realized this is their perception which is their reality. i tried to explain that I would never feel as though I need more attention or affection than their daughter. when we’re all together, i sometimes play with the kid, or read with them, so they she could have a few moments to herself, or cook or help clean without so that she and her kid could do other things. i want to be a part of their lives, a part of their family, not a dividing factor. In another instance, i was accused of sexually objectifying her. we often flirted in pretty direct, almost aggressively sexual ways (and this was mutual, btw.) our relationship had recently reached a one-year anniversary, and i was shocked by this accusation. I wanted to scream “I’m in love with you, the whole you, as a person, not an object! Do i not express and show Love more than enough to deflate notions of Just About Sex?” but i wanted to be careful not to invalidate their emotions or gaslight their perceived reality with any refutation. I wish I’d responded differently, but i think all i said was “if that’s how you feel then that’s how you feel.”

    Yet I would rarely receive the same in return. often in anxious moments, they’d tell me “you’re emotions are valid, BUT… you’re being extreme/your overreacting/I don’t like that” which would feel invalidating, then double or triple-down on the anxious moment… it was almost like a mantra for her. it’s a way of validating but then back-door judgement and it’s extremely volatile. i hesitate to label Manipulative or Abusive but at times it felt that way. got to the point where I’d auto-invalidate, gaslight myself, and mistrust my own perceptions. but my reality was my reality and even though i knew/felt some of my reactions were irrational, they were my realities.

    Conversely, when she’d share anxious feelings or concerns, I would listen and often adapt to their viewpoint, look at my behavior through their lens, even if i disagreed with their perception, and try to adapt. If it would create a better balance, promote a healthier relationship, i absolutely would do everything in my power to evolve and adapt. Again, that seemed a one-way street. My concerns would be met with “i don’t owe you shit,” or “i’m not here to make you feel better about your anxieties,” “you need to accept me for who i am not who you want me to be,” or “your emotions are valid, but…”

    ** I realize I’m painting an ill portrait and I want to acknowledge that although these dynamics were not isolated to one or two events, there was a lot of sweetness, light, laughter, support, thoughtful actions, all the things that make for good, healthy relationships. However, the nature of our anxieties and how they would clash, how we responded to one another, and the frequency of these extremes (for both of us) created volatile emotional environments. **

    Your article mentioned heuristics and the fact that we just can’t psychoanalyze everyone we meet in order to glean their motivations for behaviors. I don’t disagree, but I do believe that my partner misinterpreted and subsequently psychoanalyzed/marked me on many occasions which were, in my reality and my perceptions, unfounded. They snapped to heuristics rather than take a moment to try to understand a situation from a different viewpoint. In calmer moments after arguments, we’d often discuss Intent versus Interpretation. If I make an innocently intended comment about how sexy she is, sometimes it’s cute, sometimes it’s creepy (which, for a time, “creep” was a term of endearment, until it was a derision.) It’s not intended to objectify, just to compliment. But it can be interpreted as objectifying, so which Perception, which Reality holds more weight?

    I try to be sensitive to the fact that although i carry a lot of bitterness and anger, i realize our perceptions and personal truths are subjective, that Reality is subjective. And even with a lot of those negative emotions, i do my best to speak of them (“of” is the operative word, we haven’t spoken in months) with sensitivity and respect, and try not to judge their emotions, realities, perceptions, or behaviors (which isn’t easy to do; i’m not always successful.) and i never speak ill of them publicly; i keep my opinions and emotions confined to therapy and a few close confidants. But again, the concept of Emotional Validity can be divisive because the definitions of Valid are not mutually exclusive. Emotions are valid (and those perceptions Real) because they are real experiences. But they are not always valid because they may not be grounded in sound, cogent reasoning. They may feel cogent, even if you’re aware you’re making assumptions that may feel irrational, but they may not be grounded in the objective Reality.

    So I guess this all leads to the reason why I’m writing, to pose a question. You’re talking mostly about professional dynamics, not romantic relationships, I understand, but the ideas are related.

    There are two realities: the objective and the subjective. A rose is a rose. I may see beauty in it but if it makes you sneeze, you may find it repugnant. She’s terrified of crickets. It took me a long time to get her to acknowledge that, in all likelihood, a cricket is NOT going to jump into her mouth, nose or hair, lay eggs, etc.; it’s just going to hop and chirp because that’s what crickets do. It’s okay to be scared, it’s not weird, no judgements. Her fear is valid in that it exists. But the objective reality and logic, outside of her perception, is that the nightmares are unlikely to manifest.

    Oh, the question? When do we allow ourselves to accept that our perceptions are NOT reality? Not that we should obsessively gaslight or invalidate ourselves, but at what point do we acknowledge and realize that what we perceive, what we feel, may not Actually Be True or Real in the Objective Sense? How do we glean the Objective from the Subjective? Maybe you think someone’s a jerk because they don’t respond to your congeniality. In fact, they may just be shy and feel socially awkward; they’re not a jerk at all. Maybe somebody thinks I’m a creep, and that’s real to them, but I know I’m not. At what point do we stop conflating Subjective perceptions and Objective realities?

    As you point out, sometimes things are not what they seem. But if we hold so steadfastly to What I Perceive Is What Is (aka the cognitive distortion of I Feel It Therefore It Must Be True,) throw heuristics out the window, and accept a Reality other than or outside of our perceptions as what may be more Objectively true?

    1. Great introspection. I enjoyed reading that. You make good points.

      To answer your question: All the time! I continuously don’t accept that perception is reality. That was the point I tried to make in the article. We make judgments all the time. But we must always second guess ourselves. I think what you’re doing is great. You’re looking at the matter from the other person’s perspective.

      And what point do we stop? For me it’s clear: When it comes to people who are close to me, I never stop trying to understand them. And I’m happy to change my own behavior. But to people who are not close to me, I don’t care at all. Life’s too short for that. There is simply no time to please everyone.

  34. Hi Darius, I just read your new book, Think Straight. I will put a review on Amazon very soon, under my pen name, Nurmi. Windhover is the name of our sailboat. We sailed from Florida, had many wonderful stops and experiences and are now based in Santa Marta, Colombia, our favorite place yet! I loved the ideas in your book so I wanted to join your community. I’ve written a book but I need to go back and edit it. That’s why the book you just sent me, will be very helpful. Your new fan, Susi

  35. Hi Darius,

    This is Vicky from India. Your book “Think Straight” hit me at the right time. I went through depression due to some confusions in life, your explaination to how to think straight helps me to improve alot in me.

    Thanks

  36. Hi Darius, I just read your post “Price’s Law: Why Only A Few People Generate Half Of The Results”. Well-written and I agree entirely though did want to gather your thoughts about the majority allowing the minority mentioned to shine/be stars? At a personal level it makes great sense to find the field you shine in, at a team level though would the stars be able to shine without the support of the non? As I type this I think each team and individual mix will determine a different pivot point of benefit to stars vs non ratio. If you’ve had any thoughts on the subject would love to hear them!

    1. Hi James. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Good point. At some point in our careers, we are all the non-stars, like you say. And I agree. The balance is good.

      The real challenge is becoming a star. Will everyone become one? Skill, effort, and luck play a role.

  37. Hi Darius, I read your post about the bad mood and good mood this morning, right after something had pushed me hard into a bad mood! Your article helped me see what a bad idea was to stay there so I hopped out fairly quickly by helping someone do something. it took the focus off myself and put me right back in a great mood. So thanks for sending it on exactly the right day for me! Your fan, Susi

  38. I loved reading your medium posts and I have one question. I just finished college and I don’t know what to do in life? Any suggestions. I love to learn and read

  39. Hi Darius,
    I recently read your book ‘straight thinking’. The title itself has a clear meaning. Before the reading, I had not known the things such as pragmatism, cognitive bias and the touching message ‘do what work best’. I really appreciate your efforts to pen down your journey. I would also like to raise my doubts for friendly discussion. Some of your real life example are paradoxical but I understand that I have my own biased cognitive. There is always a question in mind which dictates everything,as we read more and more from different books the thoughts get allined to differnt percpective,- how to know what is my real perception? Would it be unique? Or I should keep developing it? Can it be static perception and if no then dynamic perception is good?

    Regards
    Kumar,
    INDIA

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