Detour on the road to success: Trusting intuition

Route 395 Eastern Sierras
Ca. Route 395, Eastern Sierras: Kathleen McCormick, 2014

In the United States we are a goal driven society. We often set daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals for ourselves. We strive to obtain these goals and then we beat ourselves up when we don’t. Do we ever stop to ask ourselves: is there a better way?

The interesting thing about life is that it is most interesting when we trust our intuition and end up somewhere that we didn’t expect. Listening to our intuition about what to do next is obscured by goal-setting. Intuition is often in direct conflict with goals.

Yes, goals are good to have to achieve something in the traditional sense but they often weigh us down and drive us forward into courses of action that we find no fulfillment in. Ask all those achievers who are secretly and sometimes not so secretly depressed. You can get somewhere and still be nowhere.

Money and status are the barometers of success in the developed world yet I often have observed that those with much less in other parts of the world often seem happier and have a much better sense of community. Let’s face it, success can be isolating; it can create jealousy and discord among one’s peers. I’ve found that the happiest successful people do their best to minimize the perception of their success. In a word, they are humble.

So, how do you get somewhere you want to go? Yes, make a plan but be open to the subtle ways that life can take you in a slightly different direction on a whim. The happiest people got somewhere not by clawing their way to the top but by putting one foot in front of the other and staying open to where the joy of what they were doing took them. It really is the journey not the destination.

And, when and if you get there, remember don’t be too full of yourself. After all, if you’ve had some fun on the way you really can’t take yourself too seriously.

That’s the best kind of powerful.

Meth in the heartland: One town’s story


I have written about how methamphetamine transits the globe and how it ultimately finds it way to users in the San Francisco Bay Area. The methamphetamine story is varied and complex. It will take a great deal of elucidation to get a handle on it. Nick Reding’s book, Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town, goes a long way toward doing this for the heartland. Redding does a great job of going back to his roots in the mid-West to describe how methamphetamine has become such a popular and, in many ways, essential drug in rural and small town America. The book is well-researched and contains many personal anecdotes regarding how this drug is affecting the people using the drug, their families and the communities to which they belong.

The book is difficult to put down. I highly recommend reading it. If you are not so inclined or need more reason to invest your time, Kevin Nenstiel, an author and English professor living in Nebraska, has done an excellent synopsis and review of the book. You can find it here.