Blogpost, self-reliance

5 Advantages I Have Over Bill Gates

Recognize as you begin to read that I am fully aware that Bill Gates has far more advantages over me. However, if all you do is dismiss the points below, then you forfeit access to the gift that comes from reading to the bottom.

  1. Years – Bill Gates probably doesn’t have as many years left on the planet as I do. It’s possible that I could have some tragic accident but in lifespan possibility, I have the upper hand.
  2. Scrutiny – I have the major advantage of fewer eyeballs watching. When I make a mistake, it’s possible that no one knows or is affected. When Bill makes a blunder, it’s possible that it could be broadcast worldwide.
  3. Expectation – Uncle Bill has far more people counting on him for their livelihood and well-being. He’s also set the bar extremely high for himself. Sure! He can kick back and vacation for the rest of his life but any project that he takes on needs to be epic.
  4. Villains – It’s far easier for me ward off leeches and frenemies because there are very few people in this world looking to sponge off of someone at my station in life. Mr. Gates, on the other hand, probably has a team of people who are in charge of defending, deflecting and disabling threats inside and outside his circles.
  5. Ceilings – Billy boy has far less room to improve in his areas of core competence. He’s already been the “best in the world” at one point. The chances of his returning to that level is unlikely.

Obviously these are all based on the simple premise of finding the weakness in something that most people would consider a strength. With the exception of time which is an opponent that we all must face; fame, responsibility and talent are all things that people desire. Am I just trying to blow sunshine up my own rear end? Hardly! This is an exercise in perspective. It’s an extreme one to be sure. Finding the chinks in the armor of someone who revolutionized the computing world and is now a humanitarian isn’t easy. However, each of us has our own advantages and disadvantages. One of the greatest is our own perspective. Rich people make themselves poor, strong people make themselves weak and beloved people feel alone because of their perspective on what they see from the world. The reverse can also be true and any gradient in between.

So it’s really on us! We have to see the world in a way that helps us move forward or lifts us up rather than holds us back. There’s evidence for both. If you look long enough, you’ll find all of the reasons why you’re disadvantaged, unlikely to succeed and useless! The same is also true that if you look long enough, you’ll find all of the reasons why you’re special, a juggernaut of talent and resourceful! It’s all in the perspective that you decide to take and no matter what anyone else tells you, you can discount them. It’s all happening upstairs! So whether you’re Bill Gates or not, you’ve got advantages that need to be used for the betterment of your life and the people that you care about. See them, believe them and be them!

Think differently! (whoops isn’t that an Apple thing?)


Blogpost, self-reliance

All You Can’t See

In non-Covid times, my brother and I would go on an annual Appalachian Trail hike. The beautiful views, camaraderie and reconnection with nature were all good reasons to embark on the hike. One very good reason not to go is the first mile of the hike. It is almost all directly uphill that slopes at 25-45% degrees. It is the hardest part of the hike and it is right at the beginning. Once you get to the top, the world opens up in front of you and you can see for miles into Pennsylvania and New York State. It is truly magnificent! The remainder of the 20+ mile hike is far from easy but it is lined with intermittent views that consistently leave you in awe. The bulk of the price that is paid for those views upfront.

This is a concept that is peppered throughout our lives. Many of the rewards that we are looking for are hidden at the tops of steep climbs. From the bottom, it is impossible to see what the effort will produce for you. However it is plain to see the struggle, difficulty and labor in front of you. So most people don’t start climbing. Having been up that mountain several times, I know the payoff that is coming. In many of the situations that we encounter in life, the payoff is less than guaranteed. The secondary problem is that those endeavors also usually require something that you’ve never done before. This is again will stop many people before they start.

The things that can’t be seen before the start are all of the reasons to begin. The possible rewards are surely something. More importantly is the person that you become at the end of that path. While it’s easy to view ourselves as static individuals, we aren’t. You are a totally different person than you were five, ten, fifteen years ago. Keeping that in mind is crucial. Who will you be five years from now based on deciding to “ascend” or not? There is no doubt that either way, you will still be you. However the paths that you choose will impact what version of yourself shows up. Don’t just look up the mountain and see the climb. See yourself on top and envision how much more of your best self will be available from there.

See you at the top!


Blogpost, self-reliance

Trauma or Possibility?


I had blood all over me.  I didn’t know where I was.  It was the coldest that I’d ever been in my life.  I couldn’t see a thing.  All that I could do was scream.  Luckily help was nearby and I was able to calm down.  It had been a difficult trial but I was alive and in the hospital.  Just when things seemed as if they would be OK, a complete stranger came along and chopped off a quarter of my penis.  All of that trauma happened in the first twenty four hours of my life.  Despite that very rough beginning, I’ve done quite well for myself.

This story is at least partially true for almost all of us.  We were all thrust into this world naked, afraid and unable to speak, read or write.  It is not something that we give much thought to because it happens to everyone.  However birth (or creation) is a messy and traumatic business by all accounts.  Not just the human producing ones but also the birth of companies, relationships, art or anything else.   There is always that starting point of conception that is magical and exhilarating.  Eventually that moment is replaced by some form of hard labor in order to get the creation out into the world.  Just because it’s painful, doesn’t mean that it’s not worth it.  The narrative of the present day is about safety and comfort.  Our world has had most of its sharp edges taken off.  While I’m all for vaccinating against the next Bubonic Plague, there are some struggles that are important for people to go through.  Not all pain is trauma.

As you conceive the next dream of where you’re going or what you’re doing, do a little pre-trauma planning.  Like a person that is preparing for a marathon, it is important to understand your “quit points”.  Quitting is not shameful if it is done for the right reasons.  A broken leg is a justifiable quit inducing occurrence.  Cramps are a nuisance to be fought through.  The difference between trauma and possibility is perspective and the next few steps that are taken.  Expectation that everything will be easy is a sure fire way to turn every problem into trauma.  Traumatizing yourself with things that should be expected is recipe for disaster.  Imagine freaking out because your newborn child couldn’t walk.  It’s a process not a fully completed miracle.  Take the possibility and run with it.


Bathroom Logic

IMG_2726To my toilet, I’m either a dick or asshole.  To my shower, I’m varying degrees of dirty.  To my mirror, I’m vain or self-obsessed.  And you can just imagine what the toilet paper thinks of me.  All of these perspectives are completely accurate but taken from a narrow view

Each day we live our lives and show particular sides of ourselves to people.  None of them is 100% accurate but also they are not 100% inaccurate.  We cannot control other people’s perception of us.  That is in their control.  What’s within our control are the actions that we take and the words that we use.

I’m completely comfortable with my toilet thinking of me as an asshole.  However that’s not the message that I want to send to everyone.  Being the person that you want people to see takes effort and forethought.  Decide to give your best to the people who matter.  That way you know they’ll be there when you’re at your worst.

Have a great day people.



The Pepsi Challenge

pepsiLast century (specifically in the 1980s) Pepsi had commercials and other advertising with the “Pepsi Challenge”.  An “unbiased” consumer was asked to try two different colas and give their preference.  Of course the on-camera participants always chose Pepsi.  Perhaps it was what they truly liked or the entire thing was rigged in some way.  In all honesty it doesn’t matter that much to me because I preferred Pepsi to Coke without the seeing choices of others.  It does make for an interesting discussion on why we choose the things that we do.

In a given day, you have literally thousands and possibly millions of choices to make.  Some of these choices are simple and probably automatic.  For example “Am I going to wear clothes today?”  No matter whether the answer is yes or no, it is an easy choice based on your daily life.  Other choices are much more complex and require major deliberation.  Choosing to go to college or the military is life-altering and for many would demand some time and attention.  In the middle of the automatic and grandiose decisions are many moment to moment choices that need to be made by you.  There are many people who treat these mid-level choices as though they were huge.  Others put all of their choices on automatic pilot letting others decide for them.  The worst scenario is that people forget that they are choosing at all.

In each moment, you have choices and some of the most important are about how you are going to feel.  Believe it or not, it is a choice.  If you are feeling sad, it is a choice.  Perhaps there are very good reasons for you to choose that but it is your choice.  By taking the physical state of your body, your mental focus of the moment and your inner dialogue, you determined the feeling that you were going to produce.

So now I put a new “Pepsi Challenge” on to you.  Let’s call it the “Huryk Challenge”.  Can you choose to feel good in all circumstances today?  No matter what life throws at you, can you CHOOSE to feel good.  You do not need to like the circumstances but you choose your feeling despite the poor situation.  I challenge you.

Choose to have a great day!



You Won the Lottery! Don’t Waste It!

Are you saying to yourself, “I didn’t win the lottery.  If I did, I surely wouldn’t waste it.”  YOU DID WIN THE LOTTERY but we’ll deal with that in a moment.  It’s easy to look with contempt at the people who seemed to have it and then lost it.  Examples like MC Hammer, Mike Tyson and Kim Basinger are ones that pop into my mind.  They all had millions of dollars coming in yet they went bankrupt.  How could they let this happen?  There are all kinds of reasons: mismanagement, overindulgence, lack of a defined plan or stupidity.  It seems really simple.  If I were to win the lottery, I’d be able to keep it all together.  It would be easy.

So now to the point, you did win the lottery.  You won the “Birth Lottery”.  If you’re reading this, then you have access to the internet and probably live in the US, Canada or Europe.  You weren’t born into slavery.  Through your life, you’ve probably been loved, fed and educated pretty regularly.  Although you don’t have as much as some people near the top, you’re so far ahead of the people at the bottom that it’s a joke.  Starvation, malnutrition and imminent death are probably not on your worry list for today.  So since you won the birth lottery, what are you going to do with it?

Your perspective on your life will determine heavily what you will do with it.  You can choose to see your place in life as a burden or difficult.  Or you can realize that you already won the lottery and not waste it.


The Greatest Lie That I Was Ever Told

On December 29th 2001, I was told the greatest lie of my life.  It was told to me by one of my dearest friends.  He told it to me because he knew that it would give me the confidence to do something that I normally would not have.  I am thankful every day that he told me that lie.

The night before on December 28th, my friend and I went out like we would on any other Friday night.  We ran into his younger brother, another friend and the friend’s sister.  The sister and I talked for a long time that night.  Although I was very interested in her, I didn’t ask for her number or anything.  However the next day, I was told that she was very interested in me and wanted to do something with the group again for New Year’s Eve.  So later that evening, I called her up in order to make plans for all of us to go out again.  That’s when I found out that it was a lie.  My friend had conjured up most of the story just to get me to call her.  She was going to Philadelphia for New Year’s and had no plans to go out with us again.  However she was happy to hear from me and the rest is history.  She is now my wife and we’ve been married for 10 years.

Although it was a lie, it was more valuable to me than the truth.  It took away the fear that normally would have paralyzed me into inaction.  The lie made me act.  It made me believe with certainty that I was going to be successful.  It was a placebo of the best kind.  I had taken the drug of self-confidence and it work magic on me.

There are so few things in life that are absolute.  Perhaps the “truths” that you’ve been telling yourself haven’t helped you very much.  The divide between the truth and a lie is often completely based on perspective.  If you’re going to lie to yourself or believe the lies of other people, be sure that they serve you.