I haven’t been here in a while and for that I am a little bit sad. This is a season in my life where I just don’t feel like I have time to write in the way that I wanted to. And so I have changed or deleted expectations. I am in the process of building a new coffee business and I am in love with it. It could fail, hell at this point it looks like it is going to, but I don’t care and I am going to grind until I change my fortunes. For now I am going to leave tidbits that solve my own issues. Follow along if you would like but at the end of the day this is for me, this is my therapy and I am just putting it out there so maybe it sparks something for someone else.

So from here on out it is going to be short and sweet until I get some time for a little long form. I hope you don’t mind but really that is your choice.


Empathy is only the precursor.

Society has gotten so singular in it’s focus on happiness and empathy that we have forgotten they are the after and the before not the goal. Either the fuel or the byproduct but not the answer.

The goal really is compassion. That is the action. That is the outward expression of being empathetic and it requires some form of detachment. That is where the value lies.

Empathy is the emotion, it is the feeling you get when someone is in the shit. Empathy is required to be compassionate but they are not one and the same. For a long time I prided myself on being empathetic. I was always in the muck with people trying to save them and what I didn’t realize is they didn’t want to be saved. That is the problem with empathy it is exhausting. How many “empath’s” do you hear talk about how much of a burden it is to bare. And absolutely it is. What I am working on now is to find some level of detachment, to pull back enough from the situation to see the whole picture. Think of it this way, do you ever see a truck pull another truck out from being stuck in the mud by getting in the mud with it? Never.

When I can see more of the picture I have a better ability to actually be compassionate and support, rather than being raw from too deep of an emotional connection to the situation.

I am not saying there is any issue with being empathetic, it is actually a key in being compassionate. The problem is we have discussed it like it is the holy grail and it has left many of us raw, beat down and exhausted because we didn’t learn the skill of detachment which leads us to compassion which is what actually serves those we feel so much empathy for.

Feel free to ask questions or argue but I don’t feel empathy is the answer, it’s just the precursor. We need as a society to be less emotionally charged and more emotionally guided. We need to lash out less and utilize that energy to understanding. We need to move to compassion and understanding so that we don’t make everything an issue because we are feeling everyone’s feelings. Here is to hoping we can enter an era of compassion as the era of perpetual empathy and happiness hasn’t exactly panned out for us.

Well I guess resetting yourself isn’t quite like resetting a Nintendo. It isn’t quite the push of a button, blow on the cartridge and turn it back on type of situation. Over the last couple of weeks since my last post I have really struggled with imposter syndrome. I have asked all of the existential questions I am sure any writer asks at some point. Inherently it all comes back to “what am I doing?” and “does any of this even matter?”. A lot of these questions I am asking myself have stemmed from the injury. I know I have talked about how injuries are almost punished in sports, like I did something wrong because my body broke. I should have looked after it better, trained different, seen the misstep coming somehow. None of this is fair pressure to put on myself or anyone else for that matter, yet it is there none the less. But a lot of the questions I am asking myself right now also stem from the dichotomy and nature of writing for development. The goal is to share my journey, stay away as best as possible from being preachy and hopefully make an impact for other people while processing the things I am going through myself. That is all great until people start telling you that you have made a difference. I didn’t realize this until it happened a few times for me over the last month or so. Nothing big and grandiose but a quick text from a friend or a comment on a post goes a long way when you are new to this. That is exactly what happened to me. Now all of a sudden these comments have pulled me out of documenting or sharing my journey and thrust me into feeling like I need to make an impact. There is a pressure on me to write a piece that helps someone out of the rut they are in, gives them the epiphany they need or spurns them on to take the steps they need to. Well that’s a lot of pressure for a guy who barely feels qualified at times to walk his dog, never mind make a difference in someone else’s life.

So here lies the problem. I’m great at making things bigger than they need to be, expectations become my enemy and I talk myself out of writing, posting or producing any content that revolves around helping others or improving myself because I am not perfect, not even close. How stupid, that is the whole reason anyone reads and I believe it is the only way anyone helps others, by being broken themselves and sharing the journey. None of what I am saying is new, just like anyone else trying to help others. It is just said, written or displayed in a new order. Aa new format or subtle adjustment that triggers something in someone to go make the changes they have felt they needed to make. Now I don’t actually believe I need to be perfect. In fact it is painfully obvious to me and most everyone else that I am not, that I never will be and I know that is what resonates with those that have reached out to me about my writing. Yet somehow my monkey brain convinces me in the darkness that I shouldn’t bother trying because I am not perfect, it beats in to me that I am no where near it and then  me that smacks me with the knowledge that someone has already said what I am saying in a much more eloquent fashion. While that last part is probably true it doesn’t matter if we have no idea who that person is, if they don’t exist in our circles then them saying it doesn’t help any of us get better because we aren’t even aware of it. Which is the whole reason I started all of this in the first place, while there are people I follow that I love, that resonate deeply with me most of them are on the fiery and intense side and there are a lot of people that type of vitriol just doesn’t resonate with. Most of the people that inspire me are also so much farther down the path that when someone finds them they struggle to relate it to their life because the gap between them and who they are listening to is to big and they can’t imagine getting there. While it overwhelms and intimidates me too I think something I have been blessed with is the ability to extrapolate. I have gotten good at understanding just what taking the small steps means to the bigger picture and to getting where I want to go. I actually think I do a decent job of painting the picture for others too. Yet, at times this has crushed me, it has stopped me from starting multiple businesses and pushing for ideas that I now see others bringing to fruition with tons of success. It took me almost 18 months after paying for this domain name to make my first post. I think this is the way it is for most though, often our biggest assets are closest to our deepest flaws. They are two sides of a coin rather than opposite ends of a spectrum. Think of the problem I just displayed, the thing I think I am good at is also the thing that is holding me back. Talk about fucking frustration of the highest order.

Great. Really helpful Clint you are flawed just like us (you already knew that!) but what is the fucking take-away here? Well that is the question I am asking myself to be honest and while it is by no means smacking me in the face like some things have I get the feeling like the point is to display our journey. It is to put ourselves out there in a way we see fit for others to observe. So they can learn from our mistakes, find peace in the fact that they are not alone. Maybe we are a step or two farther down the path and this can help show them they too can move forward, even if it is almost imperceptible to start. You see there is no destination we are going to reach, that is a falsity we are sold. We are on a path, some more worn than others and we look ahead to those in front of us like they have made it but really they are just steps ahead on this path, packing it down, pointing out the potholes they have fallen in so we can hopefully avoid them and ultimately if we choose to pay enough attention making it a little simpler for us to navigate. While it isn’t always easy for me I will continue to display my journey of self-improvement and reclamation for hopes that it resonates with someone, anyone really because others have done this for me. The real point for me is not to be perfect but to always be striving for perfection in spite of the obvious fact that I will never get there. This journey is wrought with heartache, pain and failure. But it is also full of love, joy and fulfillment and like any journey worth taking or story we tell we need these things in equal parts for it to be whole and worth telling. So put yourself out there, it is worth it even if it sucks sometimes. Tell your fucking story.

As a product of the 80’s and 90’s I got to watch some of the craziest changes in our history. The gap from limited resources to an absolute abundance (now seemingly heading back to a lack), the advent of the internet, email and all of the things that come along with it. It’s been incredible, some of the most exhilarating changes in history have happened in my lifetime. But along with some incredible highs there have also been some terrible lows. Even prior to our current pandemic we have watched depression and anxiety skyrocket across all age categories, while we may live longer than our parents many studies are showing that doesn’t mean it will be in good health. Roughly 2.1 billion people are considered overweight or obese, almost 1/3 of our world’s population! Stats show that on average roughly 10kg of extra body weight leads to 12% higher risk of coronary heart disease and 24% higher risk of stroke. So while I appreciate all of the recent body positivity focus I believe it is at a detriment to many peoples cardiovascular health and I know that when I was unhealthy my mental health suffered immensely.

Now does that mean you need to go to the lengths that I do to affect my mental and physical health? Fuck no, but could a large portion of our society gain some traction from focusing on their physical health and mental toughness rather than their mental health? If I didn’t already give it away, I believe that is a resounding yes.

Now I am not sure as a society where things like toughness, stoicism and confidence became villainous but it is getting harder to find acceptance of people that fall into these categories. It is interesting to watch the world try to view all things as though they are opposites when really they are dichotomous. They are all on a sliding scale and our goal should be to keep them centered as best as possible. Our society celebrated and needed major toughness for many years especially through world wars and the great depression. This led to some incredibly prosperous times, but these were built on the back of competition and zero sum games. There was not a lot of win/win situations and many were focused on doing anything they could to maintain power, on pushing down others to keep their status. It was inevitable that we would shift away from this and without being conscious about this shift it has not benefitted us all that well either. We have traded our problems of machoism and emotional repression for fragility and false vulnerability. Now neither are good, I actually believe that machoism is often a mask of insecurity but fragility serves no one. Emotional repression creates more issues than could ever be tracked and fake vulnerability just keeps us seeking attention through over sharing and making no effort to solve our own issues. We expect someone else to do it for us. I hate to burst the bubble but never mind the fact that no one cares about your issues enough to solve them for you, they have their own shit and are ill equipped to deal with them. Most people are barely staying afloat themselves so how can you expect someone to come along and save you?

Enter mental toughness.

Many people hear the term toughness and strength and shy away from them. Through the years they have often been confused with power and abuse. Our vernacular has become so convoluted so I will do my best to differentiate how I use the terms here. I look at toughness and strength as qualities of duality. You must strengthen your body as well as your mind if you truly want results, as David Goggins coined it “you must callous the mind”. Toughness is wrought through perseverance and striving to become better but only with the right intentions can real mental and physical toughness be achieved. You can become physically strong and still be weak of mind which leads to an individual with little mental control who leans to anger and aggression as coping mechanisms. Alternately you can strengthen your mind but if you do not work on your physical state then the vehicle to take you where you want to go will break down leaving you with no ability to accomplish what you have set out to do.

This brings me to my argument for mental toughness. If you think critically, over the last 20 years we have heard almost exclusively to “focus on your mental health”, “you have to come first” and “you should be happy”. I know they seem pretty innocuous but I think these 3 sentences are what has been screwing us all along. They tend to be too ambiguous which just leads to a lack of ability to take action. How do you actually take action on mental health? There is about a million ways to do this and none of them make inherent sense, but inevitably it boils down to strengthening your mind and fueling it appropriately. When I bring this up I typically get met with some blank stares but it truly isn’t complicated.

You have 2 avenues to strengthen your mind and a combination of the 2 has proven for me to be the best. You must find stillness. Think meditation, prayer, journaling, mindfulness and visualization. I am purposely not including affirmations in here as I think until they are true, for me at least I just feel like I am lying to myself. I prefer to be honest with myself about where I am at and tell myself that I am in the process of becoming great. The other key to mental toughness is literally doing hard shit. At some point we have to take action. There is no getting away from it and this is where many people get tripped up. Don’t get me wrong meditation for me is at times the hard shit. I still have no idea how to keep my mind quiet and accept my thoughts. This is why it is a practice, the point is to work at it. But in the beginning my hard was 5 push-ups and 5 sit-ups every single day. That then progressed to completing 75 hard, the 4x4x48 challenge and literally just today I have signed up for a 100km ultra marathon. It is always a journey, a progression and I think it all depends on how far you want to take it and how fucked up you are at the start of this journey.

The second part of mental toughness is how you fuel your mind. No one buys a Ferrari and puts regular gas in it, so if you are want to be a Ferrari you probably shouldn’t be putting low grade fuel into yourself either. The simplest way to figure out where your fuel situation is at is to audit what you consume. Most people jump straight to what they eat which is a great place to start but is only a portion of what I am talking about. Obviously the more processed, fast and unhealthy things you eat the more unhealthy and inflamed you become. But consumption doesn’t just stop at food and drink it is also what you watch, read and listen to. Think of the last few songs, shows, YouTube video’s or social media posts you consumed, were they uplifting or inspiring in any way? If so you might be on the right track. Now don’t worry you can still watch Sons of Anarchy, just maybe don’t binge 4 seasons in one night, instead fill in the gaps with something a little more uplifting. I tend to listen to podcasts that focus on mindset and learning when I am in the car, I cleanse my social media feeds of any negativity and use them as a space to be uplifting and invigorating rather than focused on gossip and fake news.

Now I know I haven’t touched on the other two points. So let’s look at them quickly.

It is not wrong to say that you have to come first, but most people misconstrue the term. They think that their feelings come first, that they should get what they want first. It is actually your growth and development that has to come first. You have to improve yourself in whatever facet you want those around you to improve. It is not that you get yours before they get theirs. It is improving yourself so that you can give more of yourself to help those around you.

Lastly I urge almost everyone I know to give up on happiness. Not because it isn’t great but because it can be a byproduct of the effort and work you put in. Rather than chasing it let it come to you. Emotions are neither good nor bad, that is just a judgement we have chosen to apply to them. No, emotions are meant to be gone through and the harder we try to hold on to any of them the tougher it becomes, the stronger our grasp needs to be. Thinking happiness is the default was the underlying issue to all of my mental health struggles in the past. I felt like there was something wrong with me every time I wasn’t happy, so in order to find happiness I would chase the things I thought made me happy like drinking, food, movies and going out. What I didn’t realize is that those things should be the rewards for work put in. I learned that happiness is not found it is made on the back of hard work and holding yourself accountable to what you say you will do. It took me a long time of chasing happiness to realize that I could just sit with my other emotions and it would come around, and if I leaned into those other emotions and actually tried to work through them instead of running from them it would come around sooner and more often. Just like the sun rising it becomes inevitable. Some nights may be longer than others but the sun always comes up.

This is my argument for our focus to shift to mental toughness. I don’t know how many people it will resonate with but it resonates with me and it has literally saved my life. I am grateful every day for what I have learned around this and would love to have more conversations around it. Don’t hesitate to reach out and if you think someone else would appreciate this I would greatly appreciate if you shared it with them!

We often talk about our pain and tough times, our darkness, like it is a cave that we retreat into. But it dawned on me that maybe it isn’t a cave. Maybe like so many other things in our lives it is just our perception of it rather than the way it truly is. And man was this a big perspective shift for me recently. What if instead of that cave it was a tunnel? What if it was something you went through rather than into?

 While I much prefer writing about things I have fully tested I was so fired up about this mental ju-jitsu I just played on myself I couldn’t wait to share. I cannot find a lot of holes to poke in this theory and it gave me a pretty big pause when it dawned on me. I tried to prove it wrong and I just couldn’t, it actually made infinitely more sense than my philosophy around pain, trauma and dark thoughts which is that they are a cave we enter into, sit down to deal and then walk out of.

So hear me out. Like I said this is not fully thought out and I have not put the time in to prove this right or wrong. But what if it wasn’t a cave, what if it was a tunnel, just a tunnel of the variety that is so long and deep you do not see the light from the other end immediately. Or maybe it is just unfinished and all it takes is a bit of hammering and the other side will open. What if it was less of something you went into and came back out of, but was much more of something that you went through and came out the other side. I find this theory covers so much more ground in my brain. When I take this to the areas of fear, happiness, trauma and sadness in my head it just fits so much cleaner. It just feels right. The cave philosophy while not wrong just never sat perfectly for me and didn’t make sense as it always felt like when you were coming out of the cave you would just be coming out in the same spot you started from, that just never clicked in my head.

When you truly think darkness, of the emotions that create enough inner turmoil that we have to make a choice, you are never the same after those events. Whether you were an active participant or not. You do not journey back to your original spot. You travel through. Do some people get stuck when it gets really dark? For sure, but for those that find faith, discipline and will to guide them, like finding a headlamp they eventually come out the other side. No one dealing with pain and trauma is trying to get back to the way things were, they do not want to go back to the original destination. They want to journey anew, to find new places, emotions and feelings.

This also sat so well with me for the fact that I have for a long time now talked about having to “go through” your shit. You truly have to deal with it and there is no way around it. I used to say that you had to sit in your darkness but as of late that has been less and less in my mind and I have realized while it is good to sit with it sometimes, just like in life I deal with my shit much better when I am moving. So why not walk with it, or better yet run through it. We can go through the tunnel headlong knowing full well there will be some goblins and ghouls in there but we don’t have to sit around the fire in the cave with them if we don’t want to. We can just keep going. We can decide on the time frame that we would like to deal with them in rather than dealing with our demons passively. For a long time I would sit in my darkness, really I was wallowing but now I realize I just walked into the tunnel and sat down for a bit when I could have kept walking, it may have been dark but I didn’t need to lose all of my momentum and I would have come through my shit a little bit faster and maybe with some mental cardio to help the next time things get tough.

So I don’t know if it helps  create a different perspective for you but it definitely shifted some things in my brain. I love the idea of being in control of my feelings and this put a little bit of that control firmly back in my hands. Maybe it’s a little half baked but I am sure there will be time to suss it out. So expect more to come around this!