Avoiding Burn Out – 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 @ https://steemit.com/@strangerarray.


We’ve all been there.

All Natural
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Catch up on All Natural:

Introduction to All Natural: Being 100% You
– featuring 
@sarahpaine and @strangerarrayWhat’s Good For Others Might Be Killing You
– Chapter One of All Natural: Being 100% You
Establishing Your Currency: Hint it doesn’t have to be money
– Chapter Two of All Natural: Being 100% You

Chapter 3 of All Natural: Being 100% You
– featuring @sarahpaine and @strangerarray

The other day I was sitting in a presentation and was zoned out.

People were discussing their thoughts on the topic at hand and I was just waiting to go.

My mind was elsewhere.

I was tired.

My brain just didn’t care and so I was unable to focus.

In this particular situation it wasn’t a case of “burn out”, but I was close.

Too close.

Close To The Edge
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At times we can get to this point in life because of the decisions we made.

The way we see it, when “burn out” happens, it is usually caused by one of two equal but opposite set of circumstances.

It happens when you are being a superhero (+) when no one asked you to or being a martyr ( – ) when nobody cares.

What do we mean by these terms?

The superhero tries to be everything for everybody in a positive manner. The martyr takes on responsibility that no one asks them too and then feels hurt when nobody notices.

Both are recipes for disillusionment.

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Let’s take a closer look at these two personalities and see where they go wrong and what to do about them.

The superhero:

Like we mentioned, the superhero tries to be everything for everybody.

This is usually done in a positive manner, but that doesn’t make it any less wearing.

The deal is that we think it is a wonderful thing to be able to help others.

However, the problem starts when someone tries to help people who don’t need it or don’t even ask.

Sometimes the superhero tries to step into a situation and provide a solution that is not needed or unwanted.

The superhero thinks they are doing a good thing, but they are not well received because they didn’t go through with the normal social avenues of providing positive help.

Another way the superhero comes to the end of their rope is when they try to do everything.

This can happen in a variety of ways.

The superhero may be masking their inability to say “no” with an overextension of their help.

Instead of having healthy boundaries, the superhero says “yes” to any and all requests and then tries to handle it all on their own.

Superheros have a tendency to not ask for help and this leads to having an undue burden.

Often, superheroes are good people who are well meaning and so they want to help.

But at a point, it is too much.

One person can not do everything all on their own.

The martyr:

Martyrs have done great things for causes in History.

But usually, these historical martyrs are standing up in the face of overwhelming injustice and taking the bullet for being in opposition to the oppressors.

In our day and age, there are not too many things that require such dramatic stands.

There are a few, but many people, especially people inclined to this type, take on responsibility that no one asks them too and then feel hurt when nobody notices.

The thing is that this too is a position of trying to help others, which is good.

But the martyr goes about it the wrong way.

Again, in their attempts to be helpful they may insert themselves into some conflict or other situation where their services are not requested or needed.

Instead of offering their help, they take it upon themselves to do what needs to be done.

Often these martyr types when taking on as much as they can and then some.

They will convince themselves they are doing good and that without them people would be worse off.

I think this is just masking insecurities and fear of not being valued by others.

Instead of having healthy relationships that have appropriate reciprocity, the martyr thinks they are able to give everyone their all and get nothing in return.

It is good to give without expectations for getting something back, but it is another thing entirely to refuse all attempts by others to repay you.

The martyr can not accept anything in return or they would no longer have their story of being needed to fall back on.

This also boarders on megalomania.

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The way out of both situations can be the same.

The first step is recognizing the tendencies and then taking steps to avoid the problems.

Helping others is great and should be done.

In the proper context.
Taking responsibility for everything, whether or not you should, isn’t helping.

Find ways to cooperate with people.

Do things with others instead of just doing them for them.

Taking time for yourself to get done what you need to be done.

Saying “NO” to people you care about for the good of everyone.

Don’t let your “default” answer be “yes” to requests from others.

Take your time in making decisions that commit your time or efforts and see if it actually makes sense for you to accept the request.

Saying yes, especially to things that stress you out, will stress you out.

So know your limits.

If you know something will make you stressed, find other ways around it.

But how?

Going Around Obstacles
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The best way to get around these sticky situations is by “Hitting the reset button”.

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.” – Unknown / Disputed

The above quote makes you realize that you need to make a change to get different results.

We think that the change that is best is to build margin into your life.

That might look like the taking of time to think about your answer before agreeing to something.

Or giving yourself a little extra time in the morning so you don’t rush out the door.

Whatever it is that is causing extra stress could usually be relieved if you had just a little extra time.

Our superhero and martyr or both usually stressed out because they don’t have the time to get done what they need to get done.

If they had some margin, some room for error, or space to take a break… then they could relax a bit and breathe.

“Nothing in life is as important as you think it is while you are thinking about it.” – Daniel Kahneman

When you realize this, then you can take your time to re-think about things at a slower pace.

Sometimes you may need an extra day or week, or maybe all you need is just one breath and heartbeat of pause before answering.

The point is to slow down.

And make a habit of slowing down.

All Natural people take the time to hit the reset button. This might be every morning for some folks. But for us sometimes it is several times throughout the day.

When things get overwhelming there is a choice how to proceed. Giving in and being upset is the easy way. Standing up for yourself is harder. But worth it.

Next week we will take a look at Playing Alone: Finding Individual Activities And Hobbies. Most all of us are busy and always up to something. Instead of relaxing and having margin in our life we go go go!

But what can we do about it?

Stay tuned.
Stay interesting.
Stay Strange.


Created by Michael Paine

Follow me @strangerarray and donate because burn out sucks!

Join me on the BitShares Decentralized Exchange
in The Billion Hero Challenge!

BitShares Title Block
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See the latest adventures and creations from my wife Sarah on steemit!

Also Check Out Some of My Other Posts:

Do you want to take out a loan to consolidate debt?

If you use my Credible Referral link, you can get a special offer if you take out a loan.

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 @ https://steemit.com/@strangerarray.

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

All Natural
Image Source

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.

Dream Vacation
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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.

Helping Others
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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.

Fat Wallet
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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?

Why 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.

Hang In There Cat Poster
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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 😉 .

Join me on the BitShares/OpenLedger Decentralized Exchange
in The Billion Hero Challenge!

BitShares Title Block
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See the latest adventures and creations from my wife Sarah on steemit!

Also Check Out Some of My Other Posts:

Do you want to take out a loan to consolidate debt?

If you use my Credible Referral link, you can get a special offer if you take out a loan.

Hello Win Column!

This post originally appeared on my other blog that pays me, and you if you want, to post and to comment @ https://steemit.com/@strangerarray.


This is one of my all time favorite phrases from the world of sports.

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For those of you who are not familiar with this phrase, let me explain…

Mark Holtz worked for the Major League Baseball (MLB) team of the Texas Rangers starting in 1981 as “broadcaster on Rangers’ cable games, then from 1982-1994 as play-by-play announcer on Rangers’ radio broadcasts.”

Mark Holtz
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My family moved to Texas in 1990 and one of the only things I had to hold onto in this transition was playing little league baseball.

In Indiana, back from where I moved from, there were no MLB teams and the closest team was a minor league team known as the Indianapolis Indians.

Now that we were in Texas, the Rangers were the closest team, and thereby making them my default favorite.

For more on why I am a baseball fan, check out:
Fifteen Ways Baseball Has Transformed My Life

Growing up in the heat of the Texas Summers, watching or listening to baseball was always a fun distraction!

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, the worlds of Mark Holtz would stick with me and encourage me for a life time.

His phrase “Hello Win Column” was Holtz’ signature closing phrase which he would exclaim after every Rangers win.

You see the thing is winning isn’t everything and for most my life it wasn’t even anything I thought much about outside of sports.

I did well in school but I didn’t try my best.

I wasn’t trying to win.

From one of my previous post:

“When I was in high school I had set the bar low.

Really low.

I was a classic underachiever.

The problem was I had low expectations of myself.

No aspirations in life.

No real plans.

I was just floating through life.

That was until one day I made up my mind to be different, to go for the win, to have no more 3 and outs.

This sent me down a path towards wanting to win.

Winning The Race
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After reading the book Pre-Suasion by social psychologist Robert Cialdini, I put the above picture as the background image on my cell phone.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

I was finally starting to take these words of wisdom to heart.

My life needed to change and I wanted to win, but I didn’t want to do it alone.

The exact place I first came across the idea of a “win-win situation” escapes me, but it is something that I am always looking to achieve.

I want to make deals, moves, and changes that don’t just benefit myself but are helpful and useful to those around me.

One such opportunity was something I’ve been meaning to tell you about and did.

Another opportunity has arisen and I want to it share with you too.

The thing is, I know this thing has “win-win” potential, yet I am not sure that it is quite as evident as getting money for doing something.

Let me put it this way, I will give you the opportunity and what you do with it can make it a win for you if you are looking for this sort of thing.

BitShares Title Block
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Many people on Steemit are new to the world of Cryptocurrency.

Steemit was my first type of cryptocurrency to earn and hold and watch grow.

But I had heard of Bitcoin and wanted to know more about blockchain technology.

My friend and fellow Steemian @mctiller introduced me to BlockTrades as a way to quickly exchange digital currency.

Soon I was able to have other currencies, but I didn’t know where.

I needed a place to send them.

That is when I found out I could trade cryptocurrencies on exchanges.

Now for newbies like me, exchanges can be a bit overwhelming to get used to, but once you get a grasp of things, that is when the hard part starts.

Deciding what cryptocurrencies to pick is no easy task and requires research.

Or you can just wing it!

But you might lose your shirt!

Realistically, you should only use money that you can afford to lose and for me this was the earnings generated from steemit.

All my steemit earnings were above and byond my normal income and other retirement plans and so I used them on the exchange markets.

I started on just one market, Poloniex, but have now gotten out of that one due to several issues other users have had recently.

Currently, I use a few others, but none with as much potential as BitShares.

If you follow Stan, “The Godfather of BitShares, Fast Bitcoin, and the HERO, then you already know the next thing I am about to tell you.

They are starting The Billion Hero Challenge which is one giant “win-win” situation!

Sovereign HERO
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A quick explanation is that they are creating a prize that will be backed by equity in BitShares’ currency BTS.

And for you to get the HERO, what better place to do it than the BitShares/OpenLedger Decentralized Exchange which “allows you to trade assets in real time, securely, with ultra-low fees.”

There you go!

I want you to join me in my quest to be a HERO!

The Marketing Campaign Behind the Billion Hero Challenge is just ramping up as they put out more and more and more articles to garner attention to the cause.

Soon enough the contest will be in full swing and I don’t want to be left behind and since I want it to be a “win-win”, I don’t want you to be left behind either.

Join me!

Stay tuned.
Stay interesting.
Stay Strange.


Created by Michael Paine 

Follow me @strangerarray and donate because together we can be HEROs!

See the latest adventures and creations from my wife Sarah on steemit!

Also Check Out Some of My Previous Post:

Do you want to take out a loan to consolidate debt?

If you use my Credible Referral link, you can get a special offer if you take out a loan.

As a reader of this blog you assume all risk related to the use of any information on this site. I am providing this information “as is,” and disclaim any and all warranties, whether expressed or implied, including (and without limitation to) any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for any particular purpose. In no event will I, or anyone associated with this site be liable to you or to any third party for any direct, indirect, accidental, incidental, consequential, special or exemplary damages, or financial loss, injury or death resulting from any use or misuse of this data. You should NEVER use any information on this, or any other site to make decisions that can result in damage to property, financial loss, injury or loss of life.

My Look at Steppenwolf (Possible Spoilers)

This post originally appeared on my other blog that pays me, and you if you want, to post and to comment @ https://steemit.com/@strangerarray.


Steppenwolf by the German-Swiss author Hermann Hesse is one of the most bizarre and fascinating books I have ever read.

Steppenwolf Art
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I don’t know the exact dates when I read it, but I think it was sometime in the first half of the year in 2011.

However, whenever it was, the story sticks with me deep in my mind.

As the story begins, the hero is beset by reflections on his being ill-suited for the world of everyday, regular people, specifically for frivolous bourgeois society. In his aimless wanderings about the city he encounters a person carrying an advertisement for a magic theatre who gives him a small book, Treatise on the Steppenwolf. This treatise, cited in full in the novel’s text as Harry reads it, addresses Harry by name and strikes him as describing himself uncannily. It is a discourse on a man who believes himself to be of two natures: one high, the spiritual nature of man; the other is low and animalistic, a “wolf of the steppes”.

This was of particular interest to me around that time in my life because I wondered if I was “ill-suited for the world of everyday, regular people, specifically for frivolous bourgeois society.”.

I had graduated college in 2008 and had yet to get a full-time job.

Also I had spent my time in college getting a degree in Social Studies because I want to know what makes people tick and how they function and how I could fit in.

In my years in college I would spend time wandering the streets on walks late into the night.

College was also the period of time in my life where I was exploring world religions and philosophy such as the “spiritual nature of man”.

All these factors resonated with me while I read Steppenwolf.

More Steppenwolf Art
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Struggling to cope with society, Harry, begins thinking about his own possible suicide.

Life can seem empty at times.

Harry then meets a young-woman named Hermine who “introduces Harry to the indulgences of what he calls the “bourgeois”. She teaches Harry to dance, introduces him to casual drug use, finds him a lover (Maria), and, more importantly, forces him to accept these as legitimate and worthy aspects of a full life.

This reminds me of something I came across last week in What will football be like in the future? (h/t slatestarcodex)

“And now boredom is their only enemy. And they get up in the morning and fight it every day of their eternal lives. Recreation and play sustain them. Football sustains them.”

Humans have long struggled with ennui.

Those who do should consider themselves to be so lucky.

In Steppenwolf Harry enters a Magic Theatre.

Here is where the novel gets weird, yet so very intriguing.

“The Magic Theatre is a place where he experiences the fantasies that exist in his mind. The Theater is described as a long horseshoe-shaped corridor with a mirror on one side and a great many doors on the other. Harry enters five of these labeled doors, each of which symbolizes a fraction of his life.”

Each door holds a fantasy store that is as captivating as it is strange.

Perhaps I have written myself into reading it once again.

Have you ever read Steppenwolf?
What do you think of it?

Stay tuned.
Stay interesting.
Stay Strange.


Created by Michael Paine 

Follow me @strangerarray and donate because step off!

See the latest adventures and creations from my wife Sarah on steemit!

Also Check Out Some of My Previous Post:

Do you want to take out a loan to consolidate debt?

If you use my Credible Referral link, you can get a special offer if you take out a loan.



What’s Good For Others Might Be Killing You – Capter One of 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 @ https://steemit.com/@strangerarray.


What works for some people might not be the best for you.

All Natural
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Don’t miss the Introduction to All Natural: Being 100% You
– featuring @sarahpaine and @strangerarray

Chapter 1 of All Natural: Being 100% You
– featuring @sarahpaine and @strangerarray

Sit still.

Be quiet.

Go to school.

Do your homework.

Pass all your classes.


Go to college.

Get your degree.

Get a job.

Pay off your college debt.

Buy a house.

Work your whole life to pay off your house.

Clean your house.

Have kids (to clean your house).

Buy a minivan.

Take your kids to practice.

Throw your kids birthday parties.

Worry about your kids getting into college and how you are going to pay for it.

Worry about retirement and how you are going to afford it.


Spoil your grandkids.


Sounds like your dreams. Right?

1950s Suburban Life
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Does anyone want to do this?

I am exhausted and a little depressed just reading it.

This seems to be the narrative that so many of us have been taught.

No one stated it quite that abruptly but they told us to follow the formula nonetheless. It seems that if you deviate from it then there is socially something wrong with you. Which is uncomfortable because fitting in is awkward enough already.

We are in our late early thirties and we have been married over eight years. We don’t have kids, but have been asked a million times if and when we would?

If you’re in high school the questions are: What are you going to do when you graduate? Which college are you going to? What major?

Or if you are in college: Are you doing an internship yet? What company do you want to work for? Are you going to grad school?

Or if you’re single: Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend yet? If so, are you going to get married?

And then like us: Are you going to have kids? Thankfully after about year six people have slowed down asking that to us.

Nothing is ever good enough for other people’s plan for your life.

This “American Dream” has existed for a while now. Is this the dream other people around the world have too? I’m asking because I don’t actually know.

I do know, however, that this formula is breaking down.

This Is Not Working
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The internet has changed what we know and how we view the world around us.

We see other options and alternatives to the traditional lifestyle of “get a steady job”.

There have always been alternatives but now they are understandable and accessible.

We see people make a living blogging.

Or fund their idea on Shark Tank.

People fill their dreams by starting up a restaurant.

Some people go into consulting.

There is a rising desperation to find a “better” way of living coming from our culture.

I have read more or heard more about location independent work/being an entrepreneur/startups than ever before.

I would almost think it’s a trend except I understand the value in these alternative lifestyles that has everyone so excited.

We are looking for more fulfillment in what we do day-to-day. We were once taught to look through the lens of the working man or essentially the serf but are now realizing that we can look at the world as the innovator/creator or the king or hero.

Here is a more serious, although a bit random, question?

Why are books like Divergent or The Hunger Games so popular?

These books hit a nerve. One that we all feel inside of ourselves.

As kids we are asked: what do you want to be when we grow up?

What a weird question. Think about it.

What do you mean, what do I want to “be”?

As though what we pick as a career actually changes our actual being.

This concept teaches us to link our identity to our profession or our work. There is nothing wrong with wanting to connect to the people who do the same kind of work you do but your work is not your identity.

If we make our work our identity then, for many of us, our identity is linked to something that causes us stress and anxiety.

Let’s be honest…so many people just go to work every day because they need the money. They wouldn’t choose to go there if they didn’t feel as though they had to.

Instead of seeing yourself as a nurse or a lawyer or store manager, we need to see who we naturally are.

That is part of what we mean by All Natural.

Being Unique
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As individuals, we are all unique.

We think that goes beyond that technically everyone is different because you cannot be two separate people. We know that there is more to being unique than that.

We all have a unique background that holds value to who we are today.

We know that our past experiences might shape who we are but they do not have to define us. We understand that life has nothing but curveballs and it will never be easy.

Yet we won’t give up, give in, or take no for an answer!

We want to be heroes.

We think in our own narratives that we can be and are special.

We know that who we are is important and should be shared with the world. But often times we are beaten down. We forget about our dreams. We surrender to the will of others. We get confused. We buy into the idea that we are just consumers. That we are just information to be gathered and harvested. That we are data.

Don’t confuse the data with the individual.

We want you to feel like you do not have to feel bad that you do not want to be the same as everyone else.

And the real truth is that nobody’s life is exactly that way anyways.

Life is messy.

There are moments in time where people can appear to have it all together. But those moments are snap shots and not the flow of everyday life. There is a constant flow of life between mountain top experiences and deep valleys.

We encourage you not to seek constant happiness and not to avoid pain and sorrow.

When the pleasant things in life happen: drink them in. Someone you know may be having a wedding soon. Go. Have fun. Enjoy it. And then hold on to the good memories. It seems that you have to work twice, if not more, times as hard to remember good things. But if we asked you to list 10 bad things that happened to you, they probably would roll right off your tongue.

And bad things will happen.

But there is no sense in avoiding them. The key is using these trials as points for improvement. Think of it like getting an “F” on a homework assignment. The wrong way to handle it is to let your negative emotions take over. Get upset. Blame your teacher. Pout. Rather, separate your self-worth from you result. If you got an “F”, that means you just didn’t know enough about that topic. That means you were deficient in some way.

Think about that for a moment. If you went to the doctor and found out you were deficient in Vitamin D, what would you do? Would you get mad at yourself and start to have negative emotions? Would you get angry or sad that your body was not performing at peak levels?

Probably not. Instead you would go out and find ways to increase your Vitamin D intake. You were deficient (a problem). And you fixed it by taking supplements (a solution).

Now back to the failing grade. Your knowledge on that topic was lacking (problem). Then you go back and find out where it went wrong and study to fix it (solution). This is important to not internalize and take personal the negative things that you encounter in your life.


While growing up we all have done our fair share of impersonations. You have tried at a foreign accent (Michael is terrible at this and won’t even attempt it). You may have played dress up.

Michael thought he wanted to be a school teacher.

In order to do this he followed the rules.

I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

Somehow I had decided I wanted to be a teacher. I decided I wanted to help young people. I wanted to help them avoid some of the mistakes I had made in my life. Also I hated school and thought I could make it different.

I didn’t.

To become a certified teacher I enrolled in the College of Education teaching certification program in addition to my undergrad degree. During the time there I had a few helpful classes and many unhelpful classes. Also doing this program delayed my graduation a year. For that last year I spent one semester doing classroom observation for 50+ hours. As if my last 16 years in school wasn’t enough observation.

Then the coup de grâce.

I was free labor for my last semester.

They call it “student teaching”. They recommend that I had no other jobs during the time. As if that was going to work. I had to support myself outside of working for free. Thankfully some very fortunate circumstances worked out for me.

At the time we signed up for student teaching we were asked our preferential school districts in which we wanted to do our time. I had recently moved out of my apartment and into my older brother’s house in the town where I was attending college. I did this because I knew I was going to be low on funds due to the need to work two jobs, one of which, the student teaching, was unpaid.

My first choice of school districts was the one within which I now resided. The closer the better because gas prices were getting higher all the time in 2007-2008. My second option was the school district that was my alma mater from where I graduated and was located in the area of my then part time evening job.

Anyways, when the semester started they handed out the assignments the first week of class to everyone.

Well everyone except for me and four other people.

Although not alone, I felt singled out. Out of 50+ students that needed assignments, I was in the 10 percent that didn’t get placed at first.

And so I waited.

And waited…

Finally the best possible thing in the world that could happen did happen!

I got assigned to a school that was no more than 5 minutes from where I was living! It was amazing and I was truly thankful for it because it was a huge relief to have some place that was close and easy to get to, would not take up much gas to travel to, and was an assignment in a class I wanted to eventually teach.

It was a 7th grade Texas History class. And it was a blast to do my student teaching there.

However, student teaching is supposed to be like the teacher’s version of an internship. Or so I thought. And like real internships it does not necessarily lead to a job.

At the end of college I felt like the whole process was a trick because I then spent 4 years on the substitute circuit trying to get into the school system as a full time teacher.

One day I was at my current job and helping a math tutor get to one of the areas he needed to go to help the students. I had been talking to him for awhile and had explained to him how I was certified to teach math but was not successful in finding a teaching position anywhere in the entire state of Texas.

Believe me I applied everywhere! Anyone else apply to Eden CISD and call the principle?

Then he asked me something I had never given much thought to: “Why should they hire you?”

My jaw dropped.

How dare he insult me with this demeaning question! In my mind I bowed up! Why should they I thought? Because I am certified and therefore qualified to do so. I FOLLOWED THE RULES.

But in reality I gave him some vague non-answer, “Uh, I don’t know…” But I did not forget this interaction and my underwhelming response. No wonder I never got hired I thought.

I had no reason why anyone should have let me be a teacher.

I didn’t know my why and I was relying on the fact that I followed the rules and therefore felt entitled to a job.

That is what was told would happen. That is what I believed.

Part of my problem with not having my why was that I was unsure of who I was and what I wanted to do. I had vague goals of helping others and making a difference in young people’s lives. I found out later I can do that in several other ways. However, at the time I was struggling to determine things like my teaching style.

As a student teacher I had the opportunity to sort of test the waters with different approaches. I had at the time already worked with kids at a drop off play-care place where there was not really structure but a chance to play make believe with the kids. Also I was a volunteer for a while with the kids Sunday school class at my church.

I had yet to work with middle school aged kids but felt confident in my ability to do so and wanted to do that once I graduated. When I got to the classroom my mentor teacher was super kind and eased the kids into a transition from her teaching for about a week with me helping and then to me taking the reigns.

Leading groups of people is a tricky thing.

I had ideas of what I wanted my classroom to look like, how we were going to proceed, what pace we would cover the material and so on and so forth.

Then life happens.

A room full of about 30 thirteen-year olds will change your plans pretty quick!

I made adjustments and tried out different things. I was searching for my teaching style and who I would be as a teacher.

It was almost like putting on costumes. I would try to be super strict. I would try talking loud (not yelling). I tried being a guide and assistant. I felt like I tried just about everything we discussed, read about, or could imagine to find what was the “right” way to be a teacher.

Then I stopped trying.

I was trying to be someone else instead of just being myself. And it was not working.

I decided to just do the things I knew to work because I did them before. I talked to the kids in my normal voice. I handed out materials in the way I thought was best. I did things my way and was being my authentic self. No more costumes.

We think you need to define success for yourself.

As we just discussed you are unique. In order to be All Natural more you have to understand what makes you tick. What gets you going? Is it money? Because at first blush most people will say: “I’ll do more if you pay me more.” Which may be true. But truly not everyone is serious about that. If you were to be real honest most people would rather “I’ll do less if you pay me more.” Now that sounds like what I would want.

Money has a long history that we do not care much to discuss it in great detail. Just know that the use of money has been around for thousands of years and it is not going away.

However, the ways in which we use and deal with money are constantly changing. Briefly U.S. Dollars used to be referred to as gold specie standard. This is a fancy way of saying that for all the dollars in the world, there was enough value of gold to “cash in” the dollars for the gold. Hypothetically. Some people would like to see the U.S. Government move back to this standard because they don’t have “full faith and credit”.

Realistically money now is just data.

When is the last time you saw your paycheck?

If you are like most people you have it directly deposited. The numbers in your account go up. Then they go down. But you don’t actually have any cash (usually). But that does not mean you do not have any money.

In fact, there is a new currency that you may have heard of called “Bitcoin”. Bitcoin is a computerized currency that is not linked directly to any nation-states. This may be a big problem or the best thing since sliced bread depending on who you are and what your objectives are.

I used to get depressed when our bank account was low and elated when it was a big number.

But being emotional about a number is silly.

You may have heard the popular expression that “Your net worth is not your self-worth”. And we believe that is true. The key is not just thinking that but living it.

That means not getting emotional when you are in a tight place financially. It also means on the opposite end of not being too happy when you have more money than usual. You can enjoy it; just don’t believe that it is you.

The point is that there is no need to value money above all other things. We will talk more about this concept in Chapter 2: Establishing Your Currency.

Have you accepted that What’s Good For Others Might Be Killing You?

We have established that you truly are unique, valuable in your own right and deserve to be comfortable with who you are. We have brought up why it is important to define success for yourself. And we have shown you that there is more to life than the “American Dream”.

Next week we will take a look at how we all can enjoy ourselves more!

Stay tuned.
Stay interesting.
Stay Strange.


Created by Michael Paine 

Follow me @strangerarray and donate because

See the latest adventures and creations from my wife Sarah on steemit!

Also Check Out Some of My Previous Post:

Do you want to take out a loan to consolidate debt?

If you use my Credible Referral link, you can get a special offer if you take out a loan.

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

This post originally appeared on my other blog that pays me, and you if you want, to post and to comment @ https://steemit.com/@strangerarray.


About 2 years ago, my wife Sarah and I, @strangerarray, started writing this little book to encourage living an authentic life.

All Natural
Image Source

We never quite finished the book then, because we were busy with our MBA program, but now we have the time and want to share it here first on steemit!

The book isn’t very long, but it shares our personal stories about how to live a better life.

Nothing in this book is earth shattering news, but more of a personal story about what we’ve found helpful and want to share with you in the hopes it can help your life too!

So with that in mind, please enjoy the following Introduction to All Natural: Being 100% You!

Helping Hands
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A notification. Someone sent me a Google hangouts message.



I knew it was my wife. And I knew I was about to fall asleep. Sorry honey, as much as I love you, I wasn’t about to answer the message. I didn’t have my phone within reach and the computer was all the way on the desk, a whole four feet from me!

In our over-connected world, it is easier than ever to lose sight of who you are.

With status updates and constant notifications vying for your attention, saying life is full of distractions is an understatement.

The other day I was at the grocery store. The cashier had her cell phone out and was texting. She stopped and put her phone down as I walked up. She greeted me pleasantly. Then processed my order quickly. Finally, she sent me off with a friendly “have a nice day” when the order was finished.

At first, my old way of thinking had me complaining “get off your phone and pay attention”.

Then I rethought it.

Why not?

I got the same if not better service than from people not on their phones. I mean the checkout process usually is boring and awkward. I know I have been a cashier myself. With cell phones everywhere I am not sure if the company just doesn’t want to fight it. Or if fighting against it is even necessary.

Speaking of phones I had an idea for an app or feature to be able to pause or delay receiving text messages for a specified period of time. Maybe this exists. Let me know if it does. If not, the feature could be used for times such as driving or sleeping at night, or while napping, while at work, or anytime you don’t want to be interrupted.

Think about it.

Phones can be an obstacle sometimes in relationships.

Online we all have carefully crafted and manicured profiles that are not always a true reflection of the person behind the screen.

There are countless selfies. Numerous braggies. Photos with all types of filters. Boards full of pins. Endless posts. Mountains of likes. Options to favorite or heart. The almighty share!

There seems to be no end to the ways we “connect” socially online.

But what about your life OFF-line?

How is that going?

Are you comfortable in your own skin? I know sometimes I’m not. Are you dieting and exercising? Sure, most of the time. Are you socially active IRL (in real life)? I try to be, but more often than not I am at home. Are you active in the dating scene or (un)happily married? We are thankfully happily married.

Why the 3rd degree or 21 questions you ask?

We want to get at something that is bothering us and maybe you too.

It is the lack of authenticity. We live in a skeptics dream world. Are those pictures photoshopped or filtered? Is that news, post, blog, list or quiz true?

Navigating the world can be tough at times. Often times we have someone we can go to for help or advice, but that is not always the case.

What do you do then?

We have an idea for you.

We want to let you know that this is about taking leadership of your own life.

We are not suggesting ways of fixing yourself but are offering ideas that have helped us on our journey.

The rest of this book will be full of our life stories and attempts at encouragement. These strategies and suggestions are not formulas to become successful. We have no secrets of the rich. No step by step plan to get out of debt. Or to lose weight. Or to get your romance going.

However, we think that when you are All Natural you will:

  • Improve your outlook on life
  • Build inner confidence
  • Make your life happier
  • Set yourself up to be more creative and positive
  • Free up your time so you are less focused on fixing yourself
  • And hopefully, encourage yourself to spend more time helping others!

We believe that is important to have a solid foundation of personal well-being.

We believe that you can achieve this with a little focus, determinations and good old-fashioned gumption. In our short time together, we will walk you through some of the major pitfalls we have experienced with hopes that you can avoid them. Or recover from them like we have. Healing takes time, but laughter helps.

We will begin with the first chapter on What’s Good For Others Might Be Killing You. In this chapter, we will show you why you are unique and should not try to live your life as someone else. Having mentors and role-models is a great practice. But when the rubber hits the road, you are responsible for your own life and its outcomes.

We will also propose a way to define success in your own terms. Other people may want to be millionaires, but do you? Do you have to own a house and have two cars and children? We explore alternative goal setting and living outside the norm. Lastly, we will encourage you all to live beyond the “American Dream”.

In Establishing Your Currency we implore you to rethink value. Monetary value. Social capital. Relationships. Time. Dreams. Drive. Adventure. There is more to life than living paycheck to paycheck. Discover with us why perusing alternative currencies 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.

Avoiding Burn Out speaks for itself. Most all of us have been there. We are beyond stuck. We are burnt out! There is no more gas left in the tank. There is no more juice left in the battery. Some other cheesy metaphor to make my point. In this chapter, we will explore how to stop being a superhero (+) and/or a martyr ( – ). To make this part of your life you will have to be able to say “No” to people you love and care about and it may take hitting the reset button (a time or two, or three…).

We want you to start building margin into your life. This will give you time for self-care.

Which leads us to Playing Alone: Finding Individual Activities And Hobbies. Here we will share why we believe that building margin into your life allows for leisure and why that is a good thing. We explore why you should play and discover what moves you.

Finally, we will close with some parting thoughts. Hopefully, on the other side, you will find value in being truly All Natural.

P.S. — The plan is to post one chapter a week every Saturday until the book in complete. Thanks and check back then!

Stay tuned. Stay interesting. Stay Strange.


Created by Michael Paine 

Follow me @strangerarray and donate because you are All Natural!

See the latest adventures and creations from my wife Sarah on steemit!

Also Check Out Some of My Previous Post:

Do you want to take out a loan to consolidate debt?

If you use my Credible Referral link, you can get a cash bonus if you take out a loan.