May 282014

The more information is shared, the faster progress accelerates. Yet, most people hoard and keep information secret, because they believe such info is the source of their power. The idea of “need to know” has an Achilles Heel, namely the assumption that the information gatekeepers really understand who have the need to know what.

The truth is lots of things should be shared far more freely than they are. No, I’m not advocating that everything should be shared with every terrorist-wannabe. But I do suspect that if we could increase information sharing and information interconnections by 80%, we would see a much larger increase in the pace of innovation for society as a whole. The internet is clearly an empowering revolution. Countries like China, Turkey, and others who are trying to slow it down for their own populations will do little but slow their own country’s progress in the end. It is inevitable.

Not sure what I mean? Consider these 7 minutes of thoughts by General McChrystal, a central figure in recent conflicts:


This applies more to your life than you realize. The more information you find, mine, refine, and share at work, the more you will become invaluable and succeed.

I.M. Optimism Man 

May 192014

If you pay any attention to the news or any survey on the topic of safety, people feel less safe now than they did in the past. I believe the perception is seeded and watered by CNN and all the other all-news-all-the-time networks that sell fear, first-and-foremost. People tune in for “fear uncertainty and doubt” stories, and tuning in is what drives ad pricing power.

The truth is that the USA, and most of the countries of the world, are far safer now, than at a time only a few decades ago. But, because the networks must make money, they sell gloom and doom 24-7.

Consider these 5 facts:

1. In the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, an average of 433,000 people died each year globally from “extreme weather events.” That figure has plunged to 27,500 per year because we have better communications and better understanding of how to adapt and cope with difficult challenges like hurricanes. That’s almost 1,000,000 more people surviving every two years. The world is a safer place, even though the ABC weather man is always getting pelted by hurricane force winds.

abc hurricane coverage

2. No one has died from a new nuclear weapon attack since 1945. No political scientist from 1950 would have predicted that. Nuclear arsenals remain locked. The world is a safer place, even though Fox News keeps coverage going on Iran sanctions whenever a saber is rattled.


3. A flu pandemic in 1918 killed as many as 100 million people. Today, flu deaths are rare and pandemics don’t happen. The world is a much safer place although bird flu made for great ad sales at MSNBC. Could a pandemic happen? Perhaps. But does selling this fear, year in and year out, help us, or just contribute to the background stress?

flu pandemic

4. America averaged about 21,000 murders per year in the 90s. That rate has dropped nearly 20% to 16,000 per year in the 2000s. Give or take, that’s about 50,000 citizens not killed, but CNN covers every grisly, spectacular event, to ensure that we don’t feel one bit more secure, while simultaneously informing us about the power of the Ecoboost V6 engine in the Ford F150.


5. In 1950, 23 Americans per 100,000 died annually in traffic accidents, according to the US Census. That traffic fatality rate fell to 11 per 100,000 by 2009, even as traffic has grown more challenging in our biggest metros. Due to the declines, nearly 350,000 more Americans would have perished from 2000 – 2009. CNN missed this good news story too, covering only the unfortunate events when a school bus is rammed by a train.


We are safer in so many ways than ever before, but CNN and the others don’t let us feel that way. If you want to be an optimist, you have to look at the news and see it for what it really is. It doesn’t cover the longer-term, slower moving stories of important progress and improvement, defaulting to fear and sensationalism.

I personally think its a terrible shame that a lot of kids no longer play outside because mom’s don’t feel safe. Keeping one’s perspective and situation awareness is crucial if you choose the enlightened path of the optimistic few.

I.M. Optimism Man

May 152014

So this is interesting. We are awake about 16 hours per day. Only 14 hours are “alert and vibrant time” because there is always some wasted time, especially at the end of the day.

How you choose to invest (or spend, or waste) your time matters a lot. My philosophy is found in many of my posts, such as this one — Red Pill Clarity.


Enter Facebook and the other social media players that gain billions based on your engagement. The prediction (and charts) show that 2014 will be the year that the average active social media user will hit 4 hours of daily social media engagement. That is almost nearly a third of one’s day, and the new young moguls want more!


Lets not forget the great time killer of the last 50+ years – T.V. The average American watches T.V. 34 hours each week – that’s pretty much 5 hours each day. 500 channels of stuff and nothing good to watch, but watch we do.

Granted, we can assume there is overlap – people play on Facebook and Instagram while watching T.V. – but its a fair guess that 6 – 7 hours of a 14 – 16 hour day are chalked up to consuming shows, posts, and data that will not matter two weeks from now.


Face your own reality instead of the averages:
I would simply suggest keeping a log of how much time you spend on social and T.V. for a month or two. Then consider what you could do, if you cut that time in half. How much better shape could you be in? What could you create?

I.M. Optimism Man

PS> I “get” that social media helps keep you socially connective and active. But too much of anything – Facebook, Snapchat, chocolate, weight lifting, basketball, even water – is bad for you.


I suggest understanding how much time you will allocate for Facebook (and other social media) and T.V. and then sticking to your decisions. Everything in moderation, and planning your use of time in advance, makes for genuine achievement.

May 102014

Many people, perhaps most people, relax from the daily grind by vegging out in front of a television and getting spoon fed mindless entertainment.

But does that really refresh you? Does it change you? Does it change how you think? Does it expand your possibilities?

You have a choice to try more, do more, think more, be more, if you want to.

I would bet Randall Munroe spends less time than you do in front of the TV. I find the freedoms we have incredibly fascinating. The internet lets us connect with people so easily, to create a new circle of friends and associates in just weeks. In our newly interconnected world, all barriers are obliterated. Please watch this short 7 minute clip, and then consider what might be a better way to refresh your mind after the daily grind.


Why not be all you can be?

I.M. Optimism Man

Bonus PS> One of Randall’s comics from his website:


May 042014

America is a society built on impatience. And impatience can sometimes – only rarely – be somewhat of a virtue. People with ambition are impatient for progress and it helps a fortunate few. America’s impatience has helped it become the only true superpower.

jenny-mccarthyHowever, there is a dark side of impatience, and many Americans seem to not to see it. Get rich quick schemes are everywhere – yet don’t really work. Lose weight in six weeks or less, without much effort, magazines proclaim – this doesn’t work either. Jump from one career to another – or one spouse to another – until you find what you want – well, that doesn’t work either. There is proof everywhere that impatience is not the road to true success.

Yet, people, silly people, want to believe there are effective shortcuts when in fact, there are none.

Our society’s Achilles heel may in fact be lack of patience. Wall Street is a perfect example, where titan companies lose billions of dollars of market cap valuation because they missed a quarterly earnings announcement by 1% versus analyst expectations. Yet these same analysts are often just guessing when they create those expectations. As a result, executives make damaging decisions to “fix” quarterly results, like dramatically discounting deals to customers when discounts were not needed, training customers to wait for fire sales when there really is no fire. Yet, if these same executives owned their own corporation privately and did not report to the whims of the investment crowd, none would act so impatiently and irresponsibly.

You can see it everywhere. Kids in high school are suddenly taking steroids to become stronger and faster atheletes quickly, even though the science clearly shows that there are dire health implications. People go on diets eating nothing but protein and fat that damage their health, in part because they have poor will power, but primarily because they lack patience to lose the weight at a healthy rate. It is a crazy crazy world and impatience’s dark side is very real.


A wise person is one that exhibits patience when patience is the right thing needed. There are few shortcuts to becoming a nuerosurgeon or for that matter a great salesperson. It takes lots of time, and experience, and learning, and patience.

The more patience you have, the more likely you are to succeed instead of giving up. Time, patience, and a little water carved the extraordinary Grand Canyon. If you decide to accomplish great things, these too will take steadiness on purpose and more patience than most can muster.

There is an interesting phenomenon in regards to patience. Careers that take the most time to train – neurosurgeon for one – are usually great longterm careers without a glut of people in the field. The reason is lack of patience. Few have the patience to study for eight more years after graduating from high school even though, if they had, it would set them up financially for life. Patience and sacrifice are closely related.

The good news is that there is great opportunity for the patient when you live in a land of the impatient. Zag when the others zig. Choose to be extraordinary. Combine initiative and creativity with patience, sacrifice, and resolve. It will yield extraordinary success.

I.M. Optimism Man