This Time It’s Not Personal

This post originally appeared on my other blog that pays me, and you if you want, to post and to comment @


“It is a kindness to ourselves, and contributes to the repose of our own minds, to extenuate and excuse the injuries and affronts that we receive, instead of aggravating them and making the worst of them, as we are apt to do.” – Matthew Henry

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I spent the majority of my early life taking things too personally and overthinking everything.

Now, I only take most everything personally.


I have made strides in not getting caught up in my own mental anguish by taking things that have nothing to do with me and making it all against me.

Instead of being so self-centered, I am a little less self-centered and try to be even less self-focused each day.

I don’t do a very good job of that.

But now I have learned not to be so offended by every little thing that comes my way.

“A fool’s displeasure is known at once, but whoever ignores an insult is sensible. – Proverbs 12:16 (HCSB)

What changed?

I had a journey of looking around me and realizing that I am not alone in this world and that I am interconnected and interdependent on others.

I realized that most everything I had at the time had been given to me by someone else.

I noticed that without the help of others, especially some days, I wouldn’t have had food to eat, a place to sleep, or anything else for that matter.

It is only out of the love, goodness, and kindness of friends and family that I am able to be here today.

If you know me, you may think my life isn’t too bad and I didn’t have it too hard growing up.

And you’d be right.

The thing is though, despite all the good things I had going for me in life, I was still able to mess it up.

I have always been good at things, and I was good at messing up my life.

However, that all changed.

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As part of a college World Literature class we read classic works of religious text.

We read excerpts from the Quran and the Bhagavad Gita along with other works such as the Epic of Gilgamesh.

One day, as part of the course, we were going to study the Song of Solomonfrom the Old Testament.

Our teacher requested that we bring a copy of The Bible to class for the study.

But I had a problem with that…

I didn’t own a Bible.

So one day while shopping at Walmart with my mom I asked her to buy me a cheap paperback copy of The Bible and I took it to class the next day.

We looked at the Song of Solomon in class, but otherwise I didn’t really care too much about it.

Later at home, I found in the back of it a “365 day Bible reading plan” and decided that I could take that challenge and accomplish something cool, because I thought, “Hey everyone seems to have heard of the Bible, but who has really read the whole thing?”

I seriously thought no one really read the Bible.

At that point, I realized that I didn’t know much about the Bible at all.

Not being a Christian at the time of starting the reading, I was curious to find out what the book actually said about God and Jesus and everything else.

I approached reading it as any other religious text that I had read in the course of my other studies.

However, little did I know what the Lord had in store for me through this process.

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I thought I knew something about Christianity and what it was all about. But I had to unlearn my misconceptions and prejudices before I could understand what it was really all about.

Over the course of reading the Bible in a year, I prayed for forgiveness of my sins and to accept the gift of Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior and for Him to come into my heart and be Lord of my life.

This was the start of the process to become less focused on myself and more focused on helping others.

“A fool’s way is right in his own eyes, but whoever listens to counsel is wise.” – Proverbs 12:15 (HCSB)

I had been foolish and thought I knew what was right.

But now I am open to listen to the counsel of the others, instead of taking comments and criticisms as attacks, I look for ways that they can help me grow.

Stay tuned.
Stay interesting.
Stay Strange.


Created by Michael Paine
Follow me @strangerarray and donate because we could all use a little change.

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Establishing Your Currency: Hint it doesn’t have to be money – All Natural: Being 100% You

This post originally appeared on my other blog that pays me, and you if you want, to post and to comment @

There is no need to value money above all other things.

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Catch up on All Natural:

Introduction to All Natural: Being 100% You
– featuring 
@sarahpaine and @strangerarray

What’s Good For Others Might Be Killing You
– Chapter One of All Natural: Being 100% You

Chapter 2 of All Natural: Being 100% You
– featuring @sarahpaine and @strangerarray

We’re not gonna lie and say “money is not important” or “money doesn’t matter”.

Because it does.

Especially when you don’t have much, payday isn’t for a few more days, you are running low on gas and you are not sure you are going to have enough to pay your bills.

Then money matters.

A lot!

But there is more to life than money.

Money takes up a big place in our brains, when we let it.

There is no end to all the hypothetical things that will happen if we don’t have enough and there is an equally opposite amount of dreams that could happen if we have a large amount of it.

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The poinit of Establishing Your Currency is to rethink value.

What is it people value most?

Money, right?

What about social capital?






There is more to life than living paycheck to paycheck.

Figuring out which of these or other “alternative currencies” matters most to you will help you to be All Natural.

Ultimately, we hope you find something of value worth trading with others to build up other’s lives above your own.

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We have all probably heard that “Your net worth is not your self worth.”

James Altucher turns that phrase on its ear when he said “Your network is your net-worth.”

A good and healthy network of family, friends, and other colleagues will be able to help you when you need it most.

This network could also be the most helpful tool in looking for careers or getting hired.

We hear it all the time that people who got hired did because they knew someone who worked there.

Having this network of people who are willing to vouch for who you are can make a big difference in your pocketbook.

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But let’s take a closer look at those other currenncies.

Sure time can be and often is traded for money.

But if you think about it, if it is that valuable that people are paying you for it, then maybe you want to use it a bit differently.

If you are able to earn an income where you don’t trade time for money, then that would be ideal to free you up to do other things that you find more important.

When you do have a job that pays by the hour or based on hours worked, then you need another strategy.

How well do you use your time not at work?

Do you make the most of your “free time” or do you waste it away waiting for the day to end so you can go to bed and wake up and do it all over again?

Finding worthy things to do with you time might be a struggle.

You have to think about things that you otherwise might not want to.

Let’s take a look at a common question that is all over the internet.

What would you do if money wasn’t an issue?

Often what follows this is some self-help-y type of motivation to find your true passion and follow your dreams and catch unicorns…

The question certainly has its advantages as a thought exercise and can help boil down what is important to you.

It can also be a mirror and reflect things about yourself.

Maybe things you may rather not like to admit.

Evaluating what you would do brings to the foreground questions most of us try to avoid.

Questions like: What is the meaning of life? What is worthy of pursuit?

Maybe even perhaps: Why do I even exist?

Or: Is there a god?

When I try to imagine a life where money is not something I trade precious moments of my fleeting life for in order to pay for things, I struggle.

What would I do instead with my time?

What would make a difference in other people’s lives?

What is worthy of pursuit?

What really matters?

Why even try?

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The thing that I come back to is the only thing that really matters to me.

My “why” is Jesus Christ.

Then comes the question of What?

What do I do with this?

The simple truth is to do this: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

And so I do the best that I can.

Which sometimes isn’t always very good.

But I try agin each day.

Share when I can.

And pray.

Other things in life that are possible “alternative currencies” are:


You have to give it to get it is a common saying.

Give people respect and see how it changes the situation or your outlook and see where that takes you.

You may be surprised to find that people might like you more if you take the chance to give a little respect instead of demanding it from them upfront.


Ideas can be valueable.

People need help coming up with new and innovate things.

Or ideas can make life more interesting when you come up with an idea to try something new or different.

At the end of the day, share your ideas for free, because it is better than trying to sell them.

People will see that you care about them and want to help.

Relationships / Networking

We discussed how knowing the right people can help you in finding a place to work.

But also having a good network and good relationships can help you in other ways too.

Being friendly opens up a world of experiences and plenty of opportunity to go places you never thought you would go.

The ability to get along well with others will return great rewards!

Volunteering / Helping

Another great thing to value is volunteering and helping others.

Even if it is only a small amount of time, the compassion you show can make a big difference in someone’s life.

It is easy in this world to get caught up with all the things that need to get done, but finding a way to get outside yourself and help someone else will always be worth it!

Caring / Sharing

Sadly people often don’t care about other people.

Actually caring about someone and sharing with them can create a wealth of riches beyond anything money can buy.


Gaining and keeping trust in others matters in having healthy relationships.

Without it, it is hard to build bonds and to get to a place beyond exchanging pleasantries and other surface conversations.

Inspiring / Encouragement / Motivation

People can often use a kind word to help them throughout their day.

In this world we have all sorts of negativity coming our way from every angle.

Be different.

Be the person people want to talk to because they know there is a silver-lining of hope in this world.

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We covered many different ideas of what could be an “alternative currency”, but there is sure to be more!

Whatever it is that you can come up with that matters to you can be your own most valuable thing and we encourage you to find ways to change your lifestyle to live for your currency.

Once you find out what moves you, it is important to look at what makes others move.

Finding ways to get what you want won’t work unless you help others get what they want.

There are tons of inspirational quotes on this such as this one from Zig Ziglar’s Secrets of Closing The Sale: “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

Sounds simple enough.

But do you have to actually care about others?

Yes to be successful you do.

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” – Philippians 2:3

Taking this path of life isn’t always easy, but we think it will ultimately be well worth the effort!

Next week we will take a look at Avoiding Burn Out. Most all of us have been there. We are beyond stuck. We are burnt out!

But what can we do about it?

Stay tuned.
Stay interesting.
Stay Strange.


Created by Michael Paine

Follow me @strangerarray and donate because money is my currency 😉 .

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Cowboys win! (A fan)

It starts

In the 10 Dallas Cowboys Predictions for 2014 by Brad Gagnon, Brad had made a prediction that “Tony Romo will have the best season of his career”. That is almost about all that Brad got right. The prediction of the Cowboys being 5-11 was almost the exact opposite. But Brad was not the only one down on the Cowboys before the season began.

After going 0-4 in the preseason (those games don’t count anyway), Dallas shocked the NFL with a regular season record equal to the best teams in the league. The Patriots, Broncos, Packers, Seahawks, and Cowboys all went 12-4. Not too bad of company.


Growing up in the 90’s I remember watching Monday Night Football with my dad. I would get excited when I heard Hank Williams, Jr. singing about all his rowdy friends (even though I didn’t really understand the implications of what that meant). It was a special time in the Dallas Cowboys franchise. They of course won the 1992 and 1993 Super Bowls back-to-back and then came back again in 1995 to win a third within four seasons. They had Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and my favorite Emmitt Smith.

At some point in my childhood, probably the 1996 season when the Cowboys were not Super Bowl Champions again, I lost interest in football. In elementary school we would play two-hand touch during recess. I remember being picked last several times (and last in basketball too). It was more about my physic than anything else. I was pretty much the shortest guy out there, but I was fast. I suppose once football became a thing in middle school and I wasn’t in, I was out.

In the Middle

Growing up in the world of middle America suburbia in Texas, you began to notice that football was really important to just about almost everyone. Or at least it seemed that way. I never even tried out for the middle school team. I think it was because I was too afraid of having to take a shower in the locker room at school. Not a big guy, not a lot of self-confidence.

As the years went by, I became more cynical of the football culture. Cynical of kids getting passed in High School so they could be eligible for the game that Friday night. I was cynical of much more of course but I just didn’t connect with the football world and don’t think I ever went to any of the games. The school forcing us to go to pep rallies to cheer on people I didn’t know and thought I didn’t like did not help. Plus where was the pep rally for the Mu Alpha Theta or English Honor Society?

The Awakening

Fast-forward about a decade and now things are a bit different. One major thing that changed in my life is I have become a Christian. Now I’m not going to go into the whole Christian and Football cultural thing that goes on. Why? Because my main point is that being a Christian my focus now is on Christ and I am not so concerned with just about anything else. I am no longer cynical about football, nor am I so jaded about the rest of our cultural short comings. Before I came to Christ, I was skeptical about the church and religion and all it entailed. I let other people’s problems shortcoming and sins sway me from having a true relationship with Jesus. I had thought that the church had let me down. I had thought my parents had let me down. I had everyone else to blame but myself. And then by the grace of God I learned one day that I can’t let hang-ups like that stand between me and Him. It is not God who failed me; it was the imperfection of a struggling world that was bringing me down. Christ saved me from myself and gave me a rebirth into a second chance at life.

So when you see a church with people in it who are not as perfect as you think they should be, remember that the church is where broken people go to get healing. We don’t (or shouldn’t) turn away sinners, but welcome them and allow God to change them. I once saw on a church marquee sign the saying “You catch them, I’ll clean them.” A bit fishy if you ask me. Sorry I had to. Jesus went to where people were and ate with sinners, prostitutes and tax collectors. He was not ashamed to go to the lost and not afraid what people said about him when he did. Oh to be more like Christ.

So what does this got to do with the NFL anyways?

This past year or so the NFL has been in some trouble. From the Frontline League of Denial documentary and the resulting Concussion Watch to the Ray Rice domestic violence issue, the NFL has come under extreme scrutiny. This is not the first time its players have ever had any off the field issues either; I remember Irvin got busted for cocaine and as a kid I didn’t even know what that was. So the NFL is bad, right? Well my comparison comes in here that just like the Church is not bad, even though there might be bad people (hopefully praying to change for the good) in it, the whole is not bad and should not be avoided just because you think it is full of hypocrites  (and as the old joke goes, “I don’t go to church. Churches are full of hypocrites.” The punch line was, “Come on in, there’s always room for one more!”)

So as far as the NFL goes, there may be guys who have done some detestable things who are involved in the league, but if all you focus on is the negative you miss out on all the positive guys who are still role models and generally good dudes. You could say you don’t like football, like I did, because of the preferential treatment players get, but you would be missing out on one of the most exciting reality TV shows on today. On every play the unpredictable can happen. The good thing too about being a football fan is that I now have something in common with a ton more people, just like catching up about any other TV show.

Football is my life

So how did I come to be a football fan again you might ask? Well it started with sports talk radio. My vehicle a few years ago had come equipped with a CD player and a standard radio receiver. My tastes in music had changed and the few CDs I still owned were not getting much play. I did not have a way to run a headphone cord from my phone to my car to play Pandora. So that left the radio. Over the years I had grown indifferent to most of the music on the radio and turned to the world of talk radio. It started with shows of a political nature, but after the 2012 elections I lost all hope in America’s electorate. The constant finger pointing and general negativity was not really helping my life be better so I cut it off.

But the silence was too much.

Enter sports talk. I remember my dad (you know the one I used to watch football with) used to listen to sports talk radio too. Coincidence? I think not. Sports talk is generally non-offensive. It is upbeat, especially after a Cowboys win and surprisingly not just about sports. There are usually several segments about non-sports material that are just as interesting if not more. So in case you’ve not guessed, I’ve become a P1.

From here it was a short jump to becoming a Cowboys fan once again. I had not really kept up with the NFL until this season. I would listen to the sports radio and hear of all the Cowboys news, because there is always Cowboys news. And I thought and have said, “The Cowboys are the most interesting team, win or lose.” So this year as the Cowboys turned the NFL on its head, my love for them reignited. So this is being published before today’s game results and you know what I’ll say it again, “The Cowboys are the most interesting team, win or lose.”

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P90 Update:

So it has now been 1 week of P90. Today, day 7, was a rest day so I am golden there. It will be hard to rest but I’ll manage. Honestly resting from exercising is easier than taking a rest from the rest of life. Got to work on that whole day of rest thing…

Anyways, I’ve not skipped a single workout, which I did not anticipate doing anyways. I did however eat three meals that were less than stellar on the healthy eating side of things.  I think I busted the 1000+ calorie mark on one or two of them.

So some take aways:

  • Usually for our evening meal we make enough for lunch the next day. On all three belly busting meals, none of the food was left over for later consumption. So I ate too much and then came up a meal short in my menu rotation. Double bummer.
  • After one meal, I had trouble sleeping and felt kinda nauseous the next day. A feeling I’ve had from a past lifestyle choice (if you know what I mean).
  • Most the healthy meals I’ve been eating have tasted great, but nothing beats the lure of pizza.
  • So ultimately, if I eat 15 of 18 meals that are good for me, I am not neurotic and cut myself a little slack despite Tony’s words of wisdom of “No cheat meals”.