Simplify Life With My Rule Of Three

Having a baby was the best thing that ever happened to this overcommiter. It meant I had to let go of all the illusions I had that I was going to get to those 117 projects, commitments, opportunities, dreams, and distractions.

Anais Pics
Maile, Anais, and I in front of my parent's house in DC

When you have a baby, it quickly becomes obvious that you can really only do two things if you’re the 9-5 breadwinner: 1. Do your job and 2. Be with your family. If we sort that list by priority, instead of time, it’s 1. Be with your family and 2. Do your job. Either way you slice it, that’s about all you have time to care about effectively.

Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you get to do a third thing. What’s your #3? It took me some time to let go of the illusion that I was going to be able to do more. I barely have time to 1 and 2.

So there’s only one choice left for me in life: What’s my #3 going to be?

My #3 is music. It was my #1 for a long time, but I’m much happier with it as my #3. Because I love it so much, and am so attached to the dream of making it, I let go of everything after it.

My #4, was a dream I nursed of making a name and business for myself doing Web work. And I do keep a very small bit of freelance Web work going, but knowing that it’s not my #3 means I don’t torture myself about not doing more speaking, writing the book, and starting the business.

Family Time Rocks! In The StudioI still have my 4, 5, 6, 7, 8… and I get to them when I can. But I don’t fret over not getting to them anymore. And having a baby is the best excuse in the world to turn things down, guilt-free. It’s so easy now to say, “I would love to, but I can’t”. As Bob says,

Life is sad
Life is a bust
All ya can do is do what you must
You do what you must do and ya do it well

If I want to stay up a little later, I don’t wonder what I should do. I do my music. And I love it. It’s what I want to be doing and my time is scarce, so I’m more strategic about it now that I ever was when it was my #1 and I didn’t have any deadlines or need to be efficient and resourceful.

So even if you don’t have a baby, I bet you have a job and a family. And if you’re wondering how many other things you can be truly effective at, it’s 1, not 3, not 7, not 34 or 117. So stop expecting that of yourself and enjoy saying no because it means you get to do what you must do, to be who you want to be.

Cut the agonizing and the chaos from your life by answering this: If ou can only do one thing with your hour of free time a day (when you’re lucky) what is it? Because everything else is distraction.

Search For Infinity


Almost a year ago I kicked off FOK DUB. Then I met Sara, we formed Newspaper and Trumpet and Family Time Rocks!

Then in Nov I had a beautiful baby girl named Anais Sky and in all of this, FOK DUB dun got forgot. But as I look forward to 2010, it’s FOK DUB that makes me happy… using the Web to get it out, using social media creatively, bringing my secret stages and dream gigs online, and climbing my own personal Mt. Everest.

The tension is in time, the calendar. Family first. Maile and Anais are 1 and 2, but 3 is me and in the few hours left in the week there isn’t room for lots of big plans. What big plans is there room for? Continue reading Back To FOK DUB

Book Idea: "The Digital Ambassador"

“The Digital Ambassador: Connecting possibilities.” It would be about brand you, and how the Web can be used to discover and define yourself, to serve, connect, lead, and learn with your people and potential.

How well does your online presence represent you? Most people don’t even show up. Some people show up as random, occasional participants. A few people have bothered to represent themselves and have a compelling Web presence.

And then there’s the Digital Ambassadors. They are fully engaged with living online and off, leading the pack, and making the most out of the brave new world wide Web of people and possibilities.

Jimmy Fallon's Twitter pic

Jimmy Fallon (though I am not a particular fan) and his Twitter pic are what spring to mind. Who else? Buster Benson, Chris Sacca, Gary V, Chris Brogan,  Seth Godin. These guys (of whom I am a big fan) get that being online, taking the time to share yourself and connect with your communities is the best way to a full life and meaningful work.

So the book would be part philosophy and ideology behind Web presence, a manifesto for the brave new world party, and part how-to manual for utilizing all the amazing free and ubiquitous connection tools that the Web is becoming.

These are the game-changers, having fun with the fact that the future of the Web is about how you live in public, not being afraid of it, but embracing it, with all its telescopic connections and crazy post-modern irony.

These digital ambassadors are determined not to be the tools of the new tools and are constantly bringing the WWW back into the service of exuberant spirits, human complexity, and the explosive potential of connectivity.

I am determined to be one of these people. I am well on my way. I will write about it, share it, and connect through it. The term, I believe was coined by my mom calling me the digital ambassador, for helping her to use her computer and the Web. But for me it’s my WWW heroes.

I’ve thought of starting a user-centered social-media tech-support type venture (should I ever leave my day job) that would be a natural extension of what I spend most of my time doing for myself and everyone around me anyway: helping artists, educators, non-profits know themselves and do cool things with the Web.

Now I’m thinking “book.” Print, .pdf, free, whatever…it’s about thought leadership, sharing my breadcrumbs of wisdom, experience. I want to articulate what I seem to spend most of my life doing. For now I think the book is a good start. What do you think?

J Chaplin In The Big City

I don’t remember much, but I woke this morning from a dream in which I was wandering around NYC, aimless, comical, like Chaplin, Keaton, perhaps even Harpo.

I had the sensitive, innocent, mischievous look of a man with nothing but curiosity and attraction to guide me, the comical little movements, unrequited and longing looks at all the disconnected people, buildings, stores, phenomenon, the optimistic magnetism of one trying to connect with everything only to be quickly followed with the sad thwarted look of a man turned away by everyone, finally resolved, each time, into the plaintive, content look of one who settles for his own little adventures, trip of emotions, hope of finding a woman who cares, a simple returned glance, a friendly smile, a friend or at least partner in melancholy among the homeless, the old, the children, the animals.

I was full of perfectly awkward gestures, little slips, contained modest movements…attempts to dance with the city like a big crude partner that keeps whirling me around, stepping on my feet, crushing me against the walls, the others, paying me no attention.

It ended with me sitting on a stoop, in a lonely corner slightly away from the crowd and it was all in black and white, silent.

Dancin With Dizzy

I dreamt I was watching a show on the history of Jazz, and was immersed in it. On a train rocking along going back through the tough times of the 20s, 30s, 40s in black and white. From desperate poverty and outright racism came a song and dance that was more than victorious. It was Jazz. I don’t remember much but the end now (though there was a scene in which uncle Ted entered, with which I shared a moment of sympathetic adoration, comprehension of what Jazz was).

I was in a club watching Dizzy Gillespie perform at the end of his life. When I got there, I sat at the bar. Someone gave me some weed. I took a seat at the front of the spacious place across the empty dance floor from the band, where Diz stood leading. I fumbled with the weed b/c it was mixed with tobacco, separating it out as I could, but having a hard, distracting time trying to be inconspicuous. A guy next to me obviously wanted a toke, watching me, what I had. Finally I managed to half-way sort it out, but gave up, distracted again by the music, the performance.

Diz was having a great time and I became enthralled with his masterful mischief. At the end, the band had stopped but he was still scatting along, doing a little dance. I walked along with him as he sang and shuffled his way back toward the bar, across the big, clean place. As we approached the end of the empty floor, and our conversation –at least one other person was now hovering, wanting to talk to him– I asked him if he possibly remembered meeting Eric Molin. A subtlety pleased look of recognition came over him.

As he smiled back at me I told him that was my dad, that he had left me his trumpet –I got goosebumps, and pointed them out to Diz– and that dad had studied with the same teacher, Dizzy’s first, at which point his expression became a bit less comprehending. I said, “I love you Diz,” as I backed away, and the supremely celebratory scat and shuffle now became mine as I left him, singing my bebop, doing my little dance.