#Trust30 Day 31 - Image

Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mess up your hair. If you are wearing makeup – smudge it. If you have a pair of pants that dont really fit you – put them on. Put on a top that doesn’t go with those pants. Go to your sock drawer. Pull out two socks that don’t match. Different lengths, materials, colors, elasticity.

Now two shoes. You know the drill.

Need to add more? Ties? Hair clips? Stick your gut out? I trust you to go further.

Take a picture.

Get ready to post it online.

Are you feeling dread? Excitement? Is this not the image you have of yourself? Write about the fear or the thrill that this raises in you? Who do you need to look good for and what story does it tell about you? Or why don’t you care? -Matthew Stillman

[I thought yesterday’s #Trust30 post was the last one of its kind, but now I wouldn’t be surprised to find another one in the inbox tomorrow. This might be my last one, regardless.]

Doing outrageous things to draw attention to myself, such as dressing up like a madman and posting a picture on the internet is something that I tend to avoid, probably because I like to be thought of as serious. At least that’s the image I tend to portray (I have a hidden comedian side too, but it doesn’t come out all that often). Besides, dressing up weird and posting a funny picture on the internet would make me a lot less nervous than posting a link to this*. Dressing up is much less personal to me than letting people hear me sing, especially when I can tell that I was holding something back (I do like the guitar part on the song. It took me a while to come up with all those licks).

Anyway, I understand the need to do things outside my comfort zone. I can’t remember who said it (my guess is Seth Godin), but it is good to “do something outrageous once in a while just to show yourself that you can.” It pushes you out of your comfort zone and helps you overcome your fear of looking ridiculous, a real fear that many of us have. People are often well-rewarded when they can overcome this (Lady GaGa is an example that comes to mind), so the advice is something I should follow more often.

I’m working on it.


*The HFC Theme Song was written and recorded in Boston in 2005. Thanks to @TimDowning for the help, and to all those who contributed photos (mostly my mother). 

#Trust30 Day 30- The 10-Year Text

Speak what you think now in hard words, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Imagine your future self, i.e., you 10 years from now. If he/she were to send you a tweet or text message, 1) what would it say and 2) how would that transform your life or change something you’re doing, thinking, believing or saying today? –Tia Singh

[For anyone who doesn’t know, a text or tweet only gets 140 characters, max.]

Pssst! Do it…Get up and make a SPLASH! You'll be glad you did. #trust30 Day 30

There’s my tweet. It is a reminder that no matter what I need to do over the next 10 years, I need to jump in and do it with enthusiasm and confidence. Have fun and be bold. Let the results be what they will be—I’m going to let myself out of the box.

And once I’m out, heaven help us all…

Trust30 Day 13 – Surprise yourself

[Want to know more about these #Trust30 posts? Click here]

I will not hide my tastes or aversions. I will so trust that what is deep is holy, if we follow the truth, it will bring us out safe at last. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Think of a time when you didn’t think you were capable of doing something, but then surprised yourself.  How will you surprise yourself this week?” –Ashley Ambirge

This question brings back a memory of a time during my sophomore year at college when I had gotten a little behind in my classes. I was still passing all of them, but was struggling to keep up with the material and assignments. It seemed like everything I did was at the last minute and all of my assignments were being finished just in time (JIT). JIT is a good system if you are a manufacturer, but not if you are a student.

I specifically remember one Sunday when I  had to write a paper that was due the next day. I hadn’t even started the research, and I remember thinking there was no way I was going to get it done. At that time, I didn’t write as much as I do now, so I was really slow. It took me forever to write anything and because I was slow, I didn’t like writing. Sitting there staring at a page was intimidating and I hated it.

If I could have, I probably would have put off working on the paper for another day, but there was no way out of it. The paper was due the next day and the teacher wasn’t taking late assignments.

Shortly after lunch, I drove my car to the library. I drove slowly, dreading the next several hours and thinking of how I would be imprisoned in the library all afternoon. To make matters worse, it was a beautiful spring day with lots of sunshine. Warm spring days were a rarity in Pullman, so it was doubly depressing to be headed for the library. There was no way around it though, so into the library I went.

The paper came together gradually, but it wasn’t easy. Around midnight, I went to the computer lab to type the paper. I was nearly finished at 1:00am when my computer froze. My heart did too. Oh, no. I didn’t have it backed up on a disk either. I buried my face in my hands. All of that work—down the drain. A tangle of nausea grew inside my stomach. I was already exhausted and ready to go home and get some sleep. The deep sense of dread grew stronger as I hit the reset button on the machine.

Miraculously (and I mean miraculously), when the computer restarted, my paper reappeared too. It was just sitting on the screen as if nothing had happened. If you had been watching me, you probably would have seen a look of complete disbelief pass over my face before tears of joy filled my eyes. Talk about relief!

I quickly backed the file up, not wanting a repeat of the heart-stopping drama. Half an hour later, I finished the last few edits and printed it out. It wasn’t the best paper in the history of my time at Washington State, but in my mind, it was certainly one of the most memorable. Although the incident did not help me break away from my JIT system, I did come away with a new confidence that I could pull together something at the last minute if I had to, which was a pretty good lesson to learn.

[This week, with visitors coming into town for a few days, I’m going to surprise myself if I get three good articles written for the blog in addition to these #Trust30 posts. Check back to see how it goes.] 

#Trust30 Day 11 – Imitation is what?

[To find out why I am writing all these #Trust30 posts, click here]

Imitation is Suicide. Insist on yourself; never imitate. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Write down in which areas of your life you have to overcome these suicidal tendencies of imitation, and how you can transform them into a newborn you – one that doesn’t hide its uniqueness, but thrives on it. There is a “divine idea which each of us represents” – which is yours?” –Fabian Kruse (the Friendly Anarchist)


Emerson’s quote is a pretty absolute statement. By trying to be someone else, you lose yourself, and you might as well no longer be alive. The great ones know this. They are inimitable, with a style that sets them apart. As soon as Elvis opens his mouth to sing, you know who it is.

The concept reminds me of learning to play the guitar. At one time in my life, I aspired to be a musician. I spent hours trying to play songs in the same way that Eric Clapton and others did. I grew frustrated when I couldn’t reproduce the sounds I heard. My fingers moved too slowly, my tone was not clean enough and eventually I gave up trying.

Looking back, I would approach music very differently.

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#Trust30 - Day 9 - Too scary?

[To find out why I am writing all these #Trust30 posts, click here]

Today's Quote:

The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

And the Prompt:

Emerson says: “Always do what you are afraid to do.” What is ‘too scary’ to write about? Try doing it now. – Mary Jaksch

Hmm. It’s one thing to answer a question like this in private, with your best friend or confidant, but when you start expecting me to write about something like that in this space, I begin to question my wisdom in accepting this writing challenge.

Some of the things that are “too scary” to write about are things best kept in confidence. At least they are things that I am not ready to share in a public forum. However, I will try to give you something, because you have been kind enough to come here to read this.


It took a while, but after staring at this screen until the white page permanently stained my retinae, I found my topic: love.

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