Did the Film Wanderlust (and my Life) Have to Go That Way?

February 26, 2012

(or) Why Stereotyping is as Ineffective in Films as it is in Life

I wrote a screenplay based on my experience at Spa Samui, a holistic health/detox spa in Thailand. Thus, I was excited to see the film Wanderlust, produced by Judd Apatow and starring Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston. I laughed a lot and enjoyed many moments. It’s one of those films where you are pretty sure where it’s headed, so I’m not too worried about spoilers (though stop now and read this after you see it if you want to keep the suspense).

The film starts by showing us two versions of the miserable life you get when you focus on stuff and status—first in a New York City micro-loft and then in a suburban Atlanta McMansion. When our heroes head to the commune, it seems like a welcome respite. We see all that’s good in the world about sharing, living off the land, minimalism, free love, and connecting to nature. Your typical viewer might think this is all too good to be true, and the film-makers don’t disappoint. Sure enough, we learn that the leader turns out to be a conniving fraud and that the founder sneaks off weekly to a diner to gorge himself on meat. This perpetuates the stereotype that nobody really likes being a vegan and that the ideal of communal living is only an ideal.

I could criticize the writers if only I didn’t use some of the same conventions in my own script. The fact is that there are many people living their bliss in cramped studios in the West Village and sprawling McMansions in suburbia just as there are many vegans who actually dig wheatgrass and don’t crave meat. In a film, in part because there is so little time, it’s often most convenient to go for the stereotype. Yet in doing so, it sells the film, and more importantly, its audience short.

When Jennifer Aniston’s character starts to evolve and come into her happiness on the commune, it’s a beautiful metamorphosis. For the first time in her life, she feels a sense of purpose and bliss. So why must it end? Why, in the front or back of our minds, are we thinking that you can’t actually live here? Where will you send the kids to school (even if you don’t have any)? What about your 401k? What will you eat on Thanksgiving? And how will you explain this to your friends and family living in the “real” world?

This hits so close to home for me because I lived a version of this fairy-tale. I left New York City in December of 2006 for a two-month vacation. After spending three weeks on the island of Koh Samui–twelve days of which I fasted–I came back to America, sold my half of my literary agency and moved back to Koh Samui. I was there for six months straight (and more than a year in all) and everything fell into place.

I wasn’t living in a commune. It was more of a little town that had everything from million-dollar homes to $6/night A-frame bungalows. It had all the great things you associate with a commune (nature, yoga, healthy food) and yet also had all the conveniences (wireless Internet, air conditioning, a thriving economy). I lived with a woman I loved (monogamously) in an amazing house that was a two-minute walk from a spa on the beach with a world-class restaurant, a steam room and an infrared sauna, a book and video library, and a great mix of travelers, businesspeople, students and healers.

With the exception of the bedroom and living room, which had doors that locked, our entire house was outside. There was no front door, and I always laughed about how anyone could steal our pots and pans. I would get a world-class massage almost daily for $9 and then drink a fresh coconut that had just been knocked off a tree. I got in the best health and shape of my life, honed my guitar skills, and made incredible friends. And while a part of me enjoyed it and savored it, a part of me never really believed this was my life.

Watching for the catch? So was I, if only because I never could have imagined that life could be this awesome. You may be looking for the hole in the story, thinking that this all sounds great if you have a trust fund (which I don’t). Even though I was on vacation, I met authors Hajjar Gibran and Jon Gabriel and sold their books to imprints of Simon & Schuster. I could have stayed and lived a country club existence on a tropical island on $900 a month and had plenty of chances to earn income. If I wanted to, I even could have put some of those commissions in a retirement account.

As for the healers and health practitioners, I learned they were human. Some of these hippy-dippy types drank, smoke and wolfed down cheeseburgers. This only made me love them more. While we typically portray people who are health-conscious as preachy and hypocritical, keep in mind that none of these people were teaching anything that they didn’t believe in. You may hold the stereotype that a yoga teacher shouldn’t smoke, eat meat or road-rage, but of the dozens I know, I still haven’t met one who holds out him or herself as perfect. In fact, I never felt more accepted and loved for who I was. Most of my friends didn’t even know my last name, much less where I went to college, and affection came based on personality, not pedigree.

I’m still trying to figure out why I gave it up all to come back to a more “conventional” life in America. Now that I reflect more on Wanderlust, it’s not the film-makers’ stereotyping that bothered me. It’s my own. I’m sure my friend Mark England would remind me that it’s all my own projection. And I would agree. Because just like most viewers of Wanderlust were likely thinking that living in bliss would be too good to be true—that you have to come back to earth and live in the real world—I thought the same thing. And sure enough, I came back down to the real world and haven’t felt that awesome since.

I’m ready to feel that way again. I’m headed to Costa Rica tonight, Northern California in late March, Thailand again in April and North Carolina in June. Who knows where I may find that bliss?

When I do, this time I will know that I am in the real world.

And since I’m the director of my own life, I don’t need to follow stereotypes for the sake of brevity or convention.

When I find that bliss, I can, and will, choose to live in it.

 


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Unexpected Lessons from Improv

February 14, 2012

(or) Use it or Lose it Also Applies to Feelings and Emotions

Ten years ago, I was knee-deep in writing The Poker MBA and took a rare break to go on a first date. I mentioned that I played poker and was working on a book that showed how to use poker skills in business. Thirty minutes into what started as a promising evening, the woman said, “So what came first—the poker or the poker face?

I had become so adept at keeping my emotions to myself that this woman had no idea what I was feeling or thinking. She might as well have been having a drink with a robot. Since I write and talk so much about how emotion is the enemy to sound decision-making and negotiating, I had perfected this learned behavior. Particularly at the poker table, letting emotion get the best of you is a drain on your wallet. Moreover, showing those emotions gives your opponent an edge.

People who meet me now are surprised that I was a hyper-active and hyper-emotional kid. I would cry whenever my team lost a game. I would yell and scream a lot. I acted the way I felt, as opposed to the way I thought would be effective. There was tremendous honesty in the way I lived.

As life became more strategic, I learned to smile through the face of adversity. Integrating lessons from sports, poker and business, I developed skills to never let ‘em see me sweat. Part of it was practical. Another part of it was a defense mechanism, especially with women, when I wouldn’t want to let them know I was feeling hurt.

Words like stoic, balanced, unemotional, solid, unhinged all seem very positive in the context of poker and negotiating. When I don’t show my feelings, it’s a version of acting or hiding. It’s living strategically, rather than from the heart. What I learned on this date, and really uncovered in my Improv class, is that hiding emotion is a horrible trait for performing. And can often be just as bad for life.

I signed up for a 6-week Improv class at Westside Comedy to become a better speaker and workshop leader. I figured it would help me to think on my feet. I did what most of us tend to do—I chose to work on my strengths. I’m already skilled at knowing what to “say” when I’m on the spot. Finding the right words, in just about any situation, is easy for me. What I uncovered in this class is that I still have work to know how to feel.

The key to an Improv scene is emotion. Figuring out the who, what, and where is the easy part. It’s the why that really matters. We would do exercises in which we had to act sad, without using words. I struggled. At times we were told to act anxious, worried or surprised—without words—and I was clueless. Then it dawned on me that I had become so proficient at not showing any emotion that I almost never did. Like a muscle in which you must use it or lose it, I had lost it.

The other thing I uncovered is that I’m terrible at “space work.” We were given one minute to demonstrate a routine task without speaking, and I chose to make my morning smoothie. To do it well, you need not only to remember to open doors and jars, but also close them. It’s simple if you are grounded enough to reflect on something you do every day. And there again, I learned that I’m often so in my head that I don’t take the time to actually observe what’s going on at ground level.

Other great lessons that apply to both Improv and life:

-If you get stuck, say the truth.

-Look your partner in the eye.

-Listen. Pay attention.

-Say yes…AND…

My final class was last night, and I’m grateful for all that I learned. Our performance is this Friday, February 17, at 7 p.m. at the Westside Comedy Theatre at 1323-A 3rd Street Promenade–in the alley between 3rd & 4th. There’s no doubt I’ve become a better speaker. Time will tell if I’ve also become a better person.

I’ll know I’m on the right track if my next date forgets she is with a poker player.

And remembers she is with a human being.


Acting As If

February 8, 2012

(or) Teaching What I Need to Learn

I’ve moved so many times that my mom loves to ask me if I knew where I was when I woke up. If I was feeling the blues from a dreary East Coast winter, I’d decide sunshine was my savior and pick up and move. Then when I was living in warm weather (take your pick: Phoenix, Atlanta, Las Vegas, San Diego, L.A., Florida, Louisiana, Thailand), I would feel disconnected from my family and friends and pick up and move again. On the downside, I’ve learned the hard way about the proverbial: wherever you go, there you are. On the upside, I’ve learned to trust my instincts and feel lucky that I’ve been able to explore so many places, deepening my understanding of the world and of myself.

If you’re familiar with my 5-step model, you know how much emphasis I place on awareness. By definition, we can’t see our own blind spots, which means it requires extra attention to spot our own patterns. Having a coach or trusted friends to check in with is another great resource.

Just a few days ago, I found myself in a funk and reverted to some old, familiar tools. Feeling stuck and disconnected in L.A., I pondered geographical solutions. Then I distracted myself with life’s logistics. I shopped online for the best flights and ran a cost-benefit analysis on extending the lease on my house and keeping or selling my car.

As I’m sure you’re aware, most people teach what they need to learn. I’m no different. The first step in the model that I teach “others” is to focus on feeling. I urge you to ask the question: how do I want to feel? With the help of my friend and co-workshop leader Mark England, I’ve taken this to this next level by adding the word because after describing that feeling. Then after doing John Kehoe’s Mind Power course, I added the layer to act as if you already feel that way. When you say I want to feel, there is longing and desire. When you say it as if it’s happening, you tap into that vibration and energetically start to live it.

As life tends to go, just as I was thinking about the idea as if, I spoke to my coach about the plans for my geographic solution. When I told her that it looks like my days in L.A. may be numbered, she suggested to act as if they were. Then it dawned on me that when we know something is coming to an end, we savor it more. Think about people who have a terminal disease like Randy Pausch. Or think about your summer camp or holiday romances that you knew had a finite time. There is an ease, a natural desire to live in the moment, unburdened by the future. That feeling is available to us all the time.

There have been several books on “Last Suppers” on death row. Whenever my mom indulges in a decadent meal, she’ll smile and say that there were people on the Titanic who passed up dessert. Of course that very statement points to the pragmatic side of why some of us “think” we can’t live every moment as if it’s our last. We may associate living for now with being destructive. We’ve been taught that our choices for food are either tasty and bad for our long-term health or unappetizing and good for the long-term. And therein for me lies both the disconnect and the answer. There are amazing foods that are both delicious and nutritious. For lunch I made organic sweet potato fries cooked in coconut oil. If I knew it was my last meal, I still would have chosen them over McDonald’s fries. Whether I knew I was going to die in an hour or in a century, I’d play basketball or guitar rather than go on a drug binge.

Sometimes we (read: me) need to be reminded of life’s sanctity. Acting as if can be a great tool for creating urgency and it did, indeed, propel me into action. I re-connected with three great friends over the past three days. I saw my friend and physical therapist Dr. Yvette Flores sing at the Viper Room. I savored my Improv class that much more and said yes to an invite to see a comedy show after. I’ve been wanting to visit a friend in Oregon and that trip is now on the books. My friend Adam and I have been talking for years about attending an NBA game and we’ve penciled in a date. I’ve felt bad that my godson has never been to L.A. and we haven’t bonded enough. He flies in from Boston in ten days.

Thankfully I recognized my patterns of seeking geographic solutions and distracting myself with logistics. When I started acting as if, suddenly it didn’t seem to matter so much where I live. Because after all, wherever I go, there I will be. And since the only certainty is that I am here now, I choose to feel grateful, happy, connected, and loved…simply because I can.


Cam Newton vs. Greg Dinkin: Teaching Poker and “It Depends” for the Queen City Shootout

October 7, 2011

(or) If You Would Automatically Bet on Cam, You’re Not Thinking Like a Poker Player

Teaching poker to sixty people in Charlotte, North Carolina, most of whom were novices, was quite a treat. The leadership and vision of Jennifer Basara made this event happen. As the creator of the Queen City Shootout, Jennifer works tirelessly to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Teaching poker to Mrs. North Carolina...tough job.

I started my talk by asking the group who they would bet on if I was racing quarterback phenom Cam Newton in the 100-yard dash. “Cam,” they all shouted. Right away I knew the group was thinking: what in the world has this got to do with poker?

I rattled off a bunch of scenarios for this race and then told them that the answer to this question is the same as the answer to every question in poker:

IT DEPENDS!

Poker is about thinking and decision-making and I wanted to get them using those muscles. “What if I started 80 yards ahead?” I asked. That took us to our first lesson in poker: start with good cards. If every hand is a race, the best thing you can do is start by leading. But if you don’t know what’s coming on the flop, how do you know if you’re leading? That line of thinking has led many Texas Hold’em players to say, “Any two will do.”

I agree that unless you’re clairvoyant, you don’t know what cards are coming—just like you don’t know what horse or runner is going to win the race. But when you have a head start—which in poker means starting with good cards—you give yourself an advantage. Any two won’t do. For beginners, a good rule of thumb is to have a pair or two face cards before investing any money in the pot. Does that mean to always have a pair or two face cards?

IT DEPENDS.

If you’re not leading or you’re not the fastest/best runner/player, you need a big incentive to chase. In other words, if you don’t have a great hand, you need to be getting the right odds to invest money. If you were getting 100 to 1 odds, you might bet on me to beat Cam. The return justifies the risk because there’s some chance he could trip or pull a hamstring. In poker, you can play 7-8 suited even if you know your opponent has a pair of aces if you stand to win $50 and it only costs $5 to play.

Just when these aspiring rounders seemed to be catching on, I threw them another curveball. “The players who win the most pots in poker lose the most money,” I said. Poker is about maximizing wins and minimizing losses. Those who win the most pots play the most hands and have no concern for minimizing losses—so they lose. Poker, unlike craps, blackjack or day-trading, is not a game of action. It’s a game of patience and the ability to fold hands and only play when you have an edge is paramount to success.

Then I hit them with an expert tip. When the flop comes, instead of watching the cards (they’re not going anywhere), watch the other players for their immediate reaction. If their first instinct is to look down at their chips, it probably means they have a good hand. Of course no poker lesson would be complete without Mike Caro’s first rule of tells: “strong is weak and weak is strong.” I explained that a player staring you down and trying to intimidate you is probably over-compensating for a weak hand and bluffing. The player looking away, acting “weak,” is likely trying to suck you in. Is that always the case?

IT DEPENDS.

We wrapped things up with a summary of what it will take to the win the Queen City Shootout and earn a seat at the main event of the World Series of Poker.

  1. Use an “It Depends” approach for every decision.
  2. Start the race with a lead. Be patient and only play good cards.
  3. Only chase if you are getting a big incentive.
  4. When the flop comes, “fit or fold.” Only continue playing if your cards connect with the community cards.
  5. Be tight and aggressive. When in doubt, pump it (raise) or dump it (fold).
  6. Understand position and play more aggressively when you are last to act.
  7. Walk in your opponents’ shoes and think about what they have.

These guidelines are only a start. Add the desire to continually learn and work on your game, and you may be on your way to becoming a poker champion. Are these seven bits of wisdom enough to make you the winner of this year’s Queen City Shootout?

IT DEPENDS.


Direct Path to Success with Mark England and me this week only

September 7, 2011

After rave reviews from our emotional detox workshop, Mark England has extended his L.A. trip and we’re excited to work with you.

Our intention is to quickly get to the heart of exactly what you want and use tools to clear anything that may be holding you back.
We’re offering a “Direct Path to Success” package that includes the following:
1. A 75-minute session with Greg and Mark to clarify your goals, see where you are now, identify your challenges and discuss strategies for taking you to the next level.
2. A 75-minute session with Mark to re-program your software and belief systems and unblock anything that isn’t serving you. I’ve done it myself many times and it’s very powerful and liberating.
3. A 75-minute session with Greg to create a specific plan that incorporates the tools and techniques that you have learned into a practice.
Mark’s typical rate for 1 session is $240.
We’re offering this to ONLY 5 students now for a total of $175. First come, first serve.
To take advantage of this while Mark is still here, you’ll need to schedule your first appointment by next Wednesday, 9/14, at the latest.
You can reach Greg at 917-653-3247 or gregdinkin@gmail.com with questions.
More info on who we are what we do:
Five years ago, stressed-out, out-of-shape and unbalanced New Yorker Greg Dinkin arrived on the island of Koh Samui in Thailand to detox. Working with Mark England changed his life and produced the following results:

•  Lost 100 pounds.
•  Re-programmed his belief systems to align with his dreams.
•  Transitioned him into a new career path.
•  Found balance and peace living in L.A.

Mark England and Greg Dinkin focus on working with you to:
•  FEEL AWESOME.
•  Develop tools to re-program your software.
•  Detox limiting beliefs and replace them with empowering ones.
•  Use conscious speech + powerful words that align with your goals and mission.

Topics include:
•  A 5-Step Model for Loving Life
•  Emotional Detox
•  Meridian Line Tapping
•  Language Modeling & Clarification
•  Creating Empowering Belief Systems

Bios:

Mark England has been exploring and applying methods, philosophies, and techniques for Mental Liberation and Emotional Detoxification for almost a decade. His style has been heavily influenced by EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programing), Family Constellations, The Work of Byron Katie, and The Jedi Mind Sciences of John Kehoe. Mark loves to dance, laugh, free dive, and go on amazing adventures with amazing people. He holds a Master Degree in International Education and was a Sports Teacher in a previous life.

Greg Dinkin is a TED speaker, a champion poker player, an author, a salesman, a literary agent, a yogi, an entrepreneur, and above all, a teacher driven by finding the best process for success. By walking in the shoes of others and understanding how they think and learn, Greg is effective at making people better: better at business, health, sales, strategy, and life. Greg has an MBA and is a certified Health Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. He is the author of The Finance Doctor, The Poker MBA (Random House), and he collaborated with gambling legend Amarillo Slim on his memoir (HarperCollins).


A Geographic Solution Leads to Dink’s Greatest Hits

July 27, 2011

(or) Could a Change in Scenery Transform me into Soundgarden Guitarist Kim Thayil?

Over the course of running a literary agency for seven years, I had two employees. Both of them wanted office space, but my business partner and I didn’t think it was worth the investment. We shared the same view: if we could build a business from scratch working out of our respective cluttered apartments, it was clearly about work ethic and not setting. Close some big deals and then we’ll talk about an office. We didn’t get the space and neither of those agents lasted more than eighteen months. Did I learn anything from this?

How interesting that I’m working on a book now that highlights my history of looking for geographic solutions to problems. The essence is that wherever I go, there I am, and that moving isn’t going to solve any problems. Yet here I am, having just moved, and I couldn’t feel better or more productive.

I rarely procrastinate, I can’t stand clutter, and I love to play guitar and sing along with friends. So how could I explain that I’ve put off compiling a song book–lugging around loose pieces of paper and not having a list of my songs–for more than two years? Because I didn’t have a proper desk? Because my front door led to a hallway rather than a patio? Sounds kind of lame and, in fact, these are the very type of excuses I would call out others for.

My friend Hajjar taught me that there is no such thing as an objective reality. Nothing is real or has significance without the stories we attach. I could have stayed in my old apartment and continued to believe that geography doesn’t solve problems. Or I could have created a new story that points to clarity of intention, patience, and knowing myself well enough to put myself in the best situation to be happy. I looked for a place for more than six months, knowing that I wanted the following:

-A detached house with no shared walls and private outdoor space.

-A garden, an aloe vera plant and a compost pile.

-A quiet, non-transient neighborhood that made me feel grounded.

-Lots of natural night and an open, uncluttered feel.

-A separate space/nook so my “office” was set off from my living space.

No damn microwave.

I found this special house in Santa Monica, with all those things and more, for the same price I was paying for my old apartment in Venice. I’ve been here ten days, and the book, with 115 songs, has been copied and bound. I’ve been writing up a storm and feeling fantastic. While I know that moving won’t “fix” anything and that, indeed, here I am, I am feeling that being in the right home can lead to serenity and productivity…and we’ll soon see what else.

I was at the gym yesterday reading an article about Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil in the L.A. Times that affirmed my new story. “Thayil was reportedly feeling uncomfortable in the recording studio’s sterile setting, and it showed in his playing. To better re-create the comfy living room where he worked out his band’s punishing, sludgy guitar riffs, he had his own couch moved into the studio’s live room. He nailed his riffs after that. What’s the lesson here…? Making art requires the right setting.”

Does that mean my new house could turn me into Thayil on guitar?

For those who have heard me play, please stop laughing out loud. But I do have a new story about the importance of living in the right home and may need plastic surgery to remove the smile from my face.

If you have a desire to learn guitar, keep in mind that I’ve put together this list over the past fifteen years of songs that are both easy to play on guitar and fun to sing along with. With much gratitude, I present “Dink’s Greatest Hits.”

It only took six years, but I finally see why my employees wanted an office. They understood well before I did the importance of the right setting. Thus, I’ll make the same offer to them that I’ll make to you: write your favorite sing-along song in the box below and I’ll email you the complete list of “Dink’s Greatest Hits.”


When Someone Doesn’t Get it, That Person May be You!

April 1, 2011

(or) A Good Pass Is One That’s Received, but Why Make the Pass?

“Dewd, you don’t get it! You don’t even have GPS! How can you not have an iPhone? How can you not see how awesome they are?”

I gave Rob the same look I always do. He’s a heck of a salesman, so he grew even more incredulous. “You have no idea how much it will change your life! Get out of the dark ages! You’re a smart guy; how are you not getting this?

The concept of “getting it” comes up a lot for me. I’m a huge believer in the power of awareness because, without it, we don’t know that we need to change. Some people need to be scared into awareness by hitting a bottom or suffering immense pain. I’ve always believed that we shouldn’t have to wait for something awful to happen to take stock of our lives (become aware), see where the issues are, and then devise a plan to fix them.

The two words in that last paragraph which have really made me think are “change” and “fix.” Does anyone really need to change or be fixed? Better question: do I need to change or be fixed? Who’s to say that I and everyone else can’t simply be as is, without being made aware of our flaws. And to even call them “flaws” doesn’t reflect that our greatest weaknesses are typically our greatest strengths.

I’ve lost a once beautiful head of hair agonizing over how to make people get it. Since my basketball coach taught me that a good pass is one that’s received, I take the time to walk in the shoes of the receiver so I can fine-tune my message so that it’s understood. I take this concept so far that my ego gets caught up in making sure the receiver gets the message, that failing to do so means that my pass/delivery was flawed. That’s when I go back to the drawing board and think, think, think on how I can better present the information. The typical result is the other person still doesn’t get it and I make myself crazy.

Consider Rob’s pain in my failing to receive the message about the benefits of an iPhone. If his ego were caught up in it, he could blame himself, which would be insane because I’ve already made up my mind. But let’s back up: do I really need to change or be fixed? As it is, I have some solid reasons for not having an iPhone: health (I wrote a column about the many perils of cell phones, plus Tim Ferriss just documented the impact on sperm count in his book The 4-Hour Body), cost (plus I avoid fixed costs with contracts as much as possible), environmental impact of more bandwidth, and my desire to be more present, among other reasons.

Rob shakes his head because my lack of awareness–and here’s the big point–according to his perception, makes my life worse. The reason he’s willing to let this go is that it doesn’t impact his life much. Albeit not as fast as most, I can still text. I’m generally on time and get where I need to go. And there’s the rub. The desire to change or fix others by bringing them awareness (or having an intervention or sending them to a therapist or recommending a diet) is often driven by our desire to have others behave in such a way that is more beneficial to us. Selfish bastards that we are.

I’m sure you could hardly finish that sentence without thinking of dozen examples that prove it wrong. I’m only telling Bill to stop drinking so much for his own good. I’m only telling Susie to read that book because I know it will change her life. I’m (and this is me talking) only telling anyone who will listen not to use a microwave or artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup (and the list goes on) because it will make them feel and look better.

Let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water. Certainly if someone is hurting you physically or emotionally, you owe it to yourself to tell that person. People who love you often aren’t aware of what they’re doing and communicating gives them a chance to treat you the way you want to be treated. It’s usually a win-win.

I also still believe that in the right context, offering awareness for someone else’s benefit can be a beautiful gift. I know a guy who was smoking a cigarette on the beach and a stranger approached him and said, “So why are you trying to kill yourself?” This question was a catalyst to heighten his awareness, and he’s never smoked since. My brother told me that I say “I mean” too much when I speak and I’ve corrected this gaff and become a well-paid professional speaker. I read Dr. Mercola every week to become more aware, and it’s helped me improve my health and fitness. I’m still pro-awareness.

The difference is that now I stop to ask myself why I want to offer it. If it’s a gift to someone I love, I’ll offer it. But if it’s a request to change or fix something so that I benefit, I recognize that (through awareness!) and keep my mouth shut. Truth be told, I don’t think Rob gets how toxic and damaging iPhones (or any cell phone for that matter, especially if you want to have kids) are. I say this not to induce a debate on cell phones, but to point out that none of us really know what’s best for anyone else. Getting it could not be more subjective.

The next time you’re frustrated trying to make someone get it, ask yourself why it’s so important. Then ask yourself if anyone needs to be changed or fixed. Lastly, ask yourself who will benefit from getting it. Get my drift?