Your life should be awesome…

Grace inspects a caterpillar

Tell your parents, tell your friends, tell your co-workers, tell your children: Your life should be awesome. It can be–it will be–and it’s all up to you. So says, Neil Pasricha, author of “The Book of Awesome” and the blog “1000 Awesome Things.” The key, he says, lies in three A’s: Attitude, Awareness, and Authenticity. (It’s like this guy climbed up inside my head and could see what I was thinking…)

This short video from his TED presentation provides the background on awesome, the three A’s, and leaves you with a parting thought for life. And it’s all right on the mark.

“Look,” says Pasricha, “we’re all gonna get lumps and we’re all going to get bumps. None of us can predict the future, but we do know one thing about it: and that’s that it ain’t going to go according to plan. There are times in your life when you will get tossed in the well, with twists in your stomach and holes in your heart. And when that bad news washes over you and that pain sponges and soaks in, I just really hope you feel like you’ve always got two choices.

“One, you can swirl and twirl and you can gloom and doom forever; or two, you can grieve and then face the future with newly sober eyes. Having a great attitude is about choosing option number two, and choosing, no matter how difficult it is, no matter what pain hits you, choosing to move forward and move on and take baby steps into the future.”

There are some great moments in this talk and it’s well worth the fifteen minutes you’ll spend watching. (His example of authenticity is simply too good to spoil; you’ll just have to watch for yourself.)

Share it with friends and co-workers, but more importantly, share it with your kids. Help fortify them and give them the skills and the tools they need to face their lives with optimism and deliberation. Help the create–and then live–an awesome life.

Lily Donates to Locks of Love

Lily donates to Locks of LoveOver the past couple of years, several close friends have been diagnosed with some form of cancer, including a young friend of Lily’s. All of us feel a little helpless at times like this, naturally feeling that there’s little we can do outside of delivering some meals, helping care for little ones, and praying.

It’s also natural that kids would feel just as helpless, so you can imagine the excitement that Lily felt when she found out about Locks of Love from one of her friends. Locks of Love is a non-profit group that takes in donations of hair in lengths of ten inches or more and handcrafts hairpieces for children suffering from long term or permanent hair loss. The way they make these is pretty cool, in that they don’t require glue or tape to stay on, but instead create a vacuum seal against the scalp that only the child can break. This eliminates the worry about other kids pulling them off or losing them during sports.

So late last year, Lily decided that she was going to grow her hair long enough to donate. On Tuesday, having realized that it was finally long enough, Char packed everyone up and headed down to Bambu for the cut.

It’s been an interesting journey, one which has captivated Lily at every step of the way: She was thrilled to be growing her hair, thrilled that it was long enough to cut, thrilled to be able to make the donation, and thrilled with her new do.

This brief video captures the event:

Lily Donates to Locks of Love from Jim Cota on Vimeo.

Creativity Still Matters

Video cameras have become totally ubiquitous (I think that’s redundant, but it does serve to make the point.) Not only are tiny video recorders like the Flip and Kodak zi8 the new norm, more and more smartphones have the ability to record video, most of them much better than you would imagine.

So with all of this ability to record events literally at our fingertips, it should come as no surprise that we’re drowning in lots and lots of really bad recordings. Spend any five free minutes on YouTube and you’ll agree.

In my opinion, all of this crap desensitizes us so much that it’s easy to become overwhelmed when you see something that is really, really good. And the difference, I think, is in the creative process. These two videos were sent to me recently by my sister. Both were great ideas. One is beautifully realized, the other is just so damn good that it doesn’t require any sophisticated production at all.

Take a look. I’ll be interested to know what you think.

Embrace Life:

Embrace Life from Jim Cota on Vimeo.


On the Phone by Michael Milburn

That whooshing, watery,
radio-being-tuned sound
tells me he’s outdoors
on his way somewhere
and I’d better talk fast.
I can’t remember
the last time I phoned him
without dreading that countdown
to when he says, “I’m going
into the subway, Dad, got to go.”
Lately, he even calls me from the street—
a convenient way to keep
his keeping in touch short. He’s right—
I’d talk to him for an hour,
marching through my pent-up questions.
It tires me, wanting him so much,
the resistance with which he responds.
I bet there’s a girl out there
he’d duck into a lobby
to keep speaking to
as long as she desired. Instead,
he tells me that I’m breaking up,
and there’s a sound
as if he’s dropped the phone
into a rushing river, which then
pulls him in too, his life.

“On the Phone” by Michael Milburn, from Drive By Heart. © Word Press, 2009.