Look at Your Life, Look at Your Choices

My wife and I had a long discussion about technology and not being in the moment. I was asked how long can I go without my internet connected phone or computer? Am I addicted to social media, constant updates, and instant validation? Where is my mind?

It made me question if technology has made us more selfish, self-absorbed and anti-social? Are we less aware of the world around us? Have we lost true intimacy with others?

Her observations on my behaviors shined a light on how I’ve been for the last several weeks. Which is to say, not in the moment and definitely in my own little world.

The discussion reminded me of something I had saved a while ago. Spoken-word artist Richard “Prince Ea” Williams has a pretty cool video addressing this very problem.

Our choices define us. It’s a choice to constantly be on the computer or on the phone and not in the moment. My brother-in-law likes to use the phrase, “Look at your life, look at your choices.” He says it in a joking manner much of the time, but it’s also a good step when evaluating one’s actions.

We make choices all the time about how we react to the world around us. Do we retreat? Do we keep our head down and our eyes on our phones or do we make a point to pay attention?

Again, I’m reminded of another video. Author David Foster Wallace was asked to give the commencement address to the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon College. This is Water made an impression on me, but I haven’t listened to it in a couple of years. This video adaption illustrates the most important point of his speech: you get to make the choice. He advocates switching off the default settings focusing on how unfair everything is and taking control over your thoughts to be more aware, and, in turn, well-adjusted and less selfish.

Finding happiness is often a choice to be happy. I’m constantly accused of being a “glass is half-empty” kind of guy. I get asked repeatedly why I can’t be more positive. It’s a choice. My plan is to try and make some positive choices in my life.

I will actively choose who my friends are on Facebook. My default setting was to friend people I used to be friends with, old work buddies, high school friends, college friends, etc. Now, I’m going to go through my friends list and decide just who I want to see in my feed on a regular basis. I want to surround myself with smart, interesting people I like and respect. Anything else just adds stress.

I’ve already culled my Twitter follows, but my default has been to have it up constantly. Evaluating my addiction, I’m using it under the guise of learning what’s going on in the world but in reality I’m just distracting myself. Plus, rarely does checking my feed add one ounce of happiness to my life.

Focus is important. I need to focus on my family first and the rest of the world via technology a far away second. I get distracted far too easily. I need to focus on what matters. Focus is also a choice.

Choosing the right path is ultimate decision.

Let’s choose to be mindful, present and happy. I bet we get a ton of creative work done.

Start Fresh and Create

Start fresh and create #haiku

A photo posted by Sean McDevitt (@seanpmcdevitt) on

Look at your life, look at your choices

My wife and I had a long discussion about technology and not being in the moment. I was asked how long can I go without my internet connected phone or computer? Am I addicted to social media, constant updates, and instant validation? Where is my mind?

It made me question if technology has made us more selfish, self-absorbed and anti-social? Are we less aware of the world around us? Have we lost true intimacy with others?

7 Things You’ll Need in 2017

Good riddance to 2016 and good fortune to you in 2017.

Nicholas Bate knocks it out of the park with this list of things you’ll undoubtedly need in the new year. I’m partial to all of it, but my favorite is the first one because I’m absolutely terrible at it.

1. Focused Attention. This is your greatest asset. It has limited battery power and limited bandwidth. Remove distractions and use it with deliberate intent to meet your goals.

Drowned in Silver Moonlight

Carrie Fisher has died and I’m incredibly sad. She suffered a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles.

Here’s how she wanted her obituary to read:

On Tuesday, December 27, legendary actress Carrie Fisher, 60, was found dead, drowned in silver moonlight and strangled by her own brassiere.

It comes from a conversation she had with George Lucas during the filming of the original Star Wars.

She was more than Princess Leia. She wrote about her struggles with mental illness and drug addiction, was a pretty famous script doctor, and was utterly beloved for it all.

She will be missed.

Debbie Reynolds, mother of Carrie Fisher, died the day after her daughter. If you haven’t… go watch Singing in the Rain.

As they often do, celebrity deaths come in threes. George Michael passed away on Christmas. He had an amazing voice. I remember fondly the Wham! and Faith years. However, for me two covers stand out as incredible showcases for his talent: Somebody to Love and I Can’t Make You Love Me.

73 Questions With Neil Patrick Harris

Vogue did a new 73 Questions video with Neil Patrick Harris. Just like the Emma Stone one, its scripted and silly, but kinda fun. The popcorn thing made me laugh.

At least this one was actually filmed at NPH’s house which was incredibly cool. I love that he has the booth from How I Met Your Mother.

Who will play the Inauguration?

The short answer: no one.

Itay Hod, reporting for TheWrap:

The Trump transition has been struggling for weeks to secure A-list talent for the inauguration celebration. The only person confirmed to perform at the event is Jackie Evancho, a 16-year-old former “America’s Got Talent” contestant. She is set to sing the national anthem before he takes the oath of office.

This is beginning to feel like a Sun City protest.

One Breath

My daughter found this on Tumblr and I thought I’d share the entire post.

Last summer I went to see my doctor about a leg injury. She asked me how I was doing in other parts of my life and I broke down crying, confessing I was suffering from a serious bout of depression and anxiety due to losing my job, losing my grandfather, and general stress in life. She let me cry for a minute then said:

“How far into the future can you see?”

“What?” I said.

“How far into the future are you certain of what is going to happen to you?”

“Umm… I don’t know? A few months maybe?”

“Really? That far?”

“Maybe? I don’t know. A few weeks I guess.”

“Ask me how far into the future I can see.”
“Okay… how far?”

“One breath.”

“One breath?”

“That’s it, one breath. I am only certain for as long as it takes me to breathe in and out once. After that, it’s a mystery. You can make plans for the future, but the truth is that leaving here you could be hit and killed by a bus, or tomorrow you could meet the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with. Nothing is certain. When you’re overwhelmed by anxiety just take one long breath in and out, and do it again. Don’t worry about what’s coming next. Just one breath. Do it now.”

I took one long breath in and out, surprisingly calmer.

“Sometimes doctors have worthwhile advice,” she laughed. I smiled. And I took another breath.

I play this conversation over and over in my head whenever my anxiety takes a hold of me. It helps.

One breath.

Christmas Time is Here

Christmas time is here #haiku

A photo posted by Sean McDevitt (@seanpmcdevitt) on

The Moon is Right

Austin Kleon points us to this Forbes article from a while back outlining just how much money Sir Paul McCartney makes each year for “Wonderful Christmastime.” Suffice it to say, it’s a lot.

Released in 1979, the ditty was written, produced and performed by the knighted Beatle. He even played all the instruments himself. As a result, he receives royalties as a songwriter and performer, and doesn’t have to share the pieces of this festive sonic pie with anybody else.

So just exactly how much money does the song generate per year?

“The song is what we in the industry call an evergreen, because it gets played all the time,” explains entertainment attorney Bernie Resnick. “[McCartney’s] publishing royalty check every fourth quarter probably has a lot of zeros on the end.”

Another industry source puts the number in the $400,000-$600,000 range annually. By way of a back-of-the-envelope calculation, that means McCartney has seen about $15 million from the song since its release. That’s a bit less than what McCartney earns in an entire year these days from royalties on songs recorded by himself and with Wings and The Beatles.