Tag Archives: life changes

Congratulations… Now Stop Being A Wuss.

iPhone09-2 225

Monday, 7:55pm
Reno, NV
But it’s all right… in fact it’s a gas…” (The Stones, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash“)


It’s time for another orgy of graduation rites across the land…

… and, in honor of it all, I am re-posting my now globally-notorious big damn rant on the subject. This was one of the more popular posts I’ve written, so it deserves an annual rediscovery.

So, without further ado… here’s the third redux of that post:

Nobody’s ever asked me to give the commencement speech for a graduating class.

That’s probably a good thing. I’m pretty pissed off at the education system these days, and I might cause a small riot with the rant I’d surely deliver.

See, I have a university “education”. A BA in psychology. (The BA stands for, I believe, “bullshit amassed”.) I earned it several decades ago…

… and while I had a good time in college (height of the sex revolution, you know, with a soundtrack that is now called “classic rock”), made some lifelong friends, and got a good look at higher learning from the inside…

… that degree provided zilch preparation for the real world. Didn’t beef me up for any job, didn’t give me insight to how things worked, didn’t do squat for me as an adult.

I waltzed off-campus and straight into the teeth of the worst recession since the Great Depression (offering us Nixon’s wage-freeze, record unemployment, an oil embargo, and near-total economic turmoil)…

… so, hey, I should have a little empathy for today’s grads, right?Continue Reading

The Rest Of Your Freakin’ Life, Re-Redux

Tuesday, 1:31pm
Reno, NV
Hey, you bastards, I’m still here!” (Steve McQueen as Papillon, floating away to freedom…)


First off… do not be alarmed if the design of the blog seems to be morphing — the programmer is fussing with the new design in real-time. We’ll get it all sorted out very soon.

Second… I’m re-publishing — for what has become a tradition on this blog — a portion of one of the more influential posts I’ve ever written.

What you’re about to encounter is a slightly tweaked way of looking at the best way to start your new year…

… but that tweak makes all the difference in the world. I’ve heard from many folks that this particular technique finally helped them get a perspective on where they’re at, where they’re going…

… and why they care about getting there.

So, even if you’ve read this post before… it’s worth another look. Especially now, as you gaze down the yawning gullet of 2012, trying to wrap your brain around a plan to make the year your bitch.

This is a critical step for entering any new period of your life. To keep your life moving ahead, you need to set some goals, dude. And most goal-setting tactics, I’ve found, are useless. Worst among them is the traditional New Year’s resolutions (which seldom last through January).

This tactic I’m sharing with you (again) is something I’ve used, very successfully, for decades…

… to reach goals, to clarify the direction of my life, and to change habits. I first shared it in the old Rant newsletter a few years back, and I’ve hauled it out here in the blog on a regular basis.  It’s timeless, classic stuff that will never let you down.

So let’s dive in. Here’s the relevant part of the post (slightly edited):

“Goal Setting 101 And
The January 15th Letter”

Yeah, yeah, I know a chat about goals can quickly turn into a boring, pedantic lecture. But then, so can a chat about space flight.

And, in reality, both space flight and your goals are VERY exciting things.

Or should be.

It’s all in the telling.

What I’m not going to discuss are “resolutions”. Those are bogus pseudo-goals that have the staying power of pudding in a microwave.

No. It’s merely a coincidence that I’m suggesting a review of your goals in January, just after the New Year’s supposed fresh start.

I mean… Continue Reading

How To Murder Stress, Part 1

Tuesday, 3:29pm
Reno, NV
I can’t seem to face up to the facts, I’m tense and nervous and I can’t relax…” (Talking Heads, “Psycho Killer”)


What’s the matter, Bunky?

The news got you down?  The economy keeping you up at night?  Are sales in the toilet, creditors stalking you, clients not returning calls, the sheer angst of living in a modern tech-drenched world chewing holes in your gut?

Would you like to hear how grizzled veterans handle the evils of stress?

It’s good stuff… because, as everyone should realize, you don’t get to BE a grizzled veteran if you can’t handle stress.  Cuz that shit will eat your ass alive and send you to an early grave.

In fact, this is easily one of the fundamental tools for surviving the Bidness Never-Ending Cage Fight.  I noticed, in the first years of my freelance career (when I was searching semi-desperately for clues on how to become successful), that there were biz owners who were having fun… and there were other owners not having any fun at all.

Age had nothing to do with it.  Nor health (though the fun-havers consistently were in better shape).  Nor gender, nor — and this is important — how successful they were.

The difference was simply how they handled stress.Continue Reading

Step One Of Your Shiny New Life

Wednesday, 9:04am
Baltimore, MD
Don’t follow leaders, watch the pawking meters…” (Bob Dylan)


Do you like change?

You know that most folks hate and fear change, right?  It’s all so unpredictably messy, and rudely forces you out of your comfort zone.

Bleah.  Yuck.  Keep it away.

Well, guess what?  Successful entrepreneurs love change.

More specifically, they love the opportunity to alter the way things are… both within their market, and in their lifestyles.

If you’re limping along on anemic sales, and suddenly a new tactic or project jacks response through the roof… that’s a good change.

If you roll out a hot, fresh campaign (aimed at demolishing competition and hoarding all the market share to yourself), and it bombs… that’s a bad change.

However, you can’t enjoy the first without risking the second.  Which kinda defines entrepreneurship in a nutshell:  You do something, there’s a reaction, and you deal with the gains or losses.

Maintaining the status quo is never a valid option in biz.  You keep moving and adjusting, like a parade negotiating twisting streets and weather changes.

You set up camp and settle in, though, and you’re like the Donner Party.  I’ve seen many businesses eat themselves alive, trying to avoid change.

There is stress inherent in both situations.  When you resist change, the anxiety and internal turmoil builds and festers.  When you engage with change, you are constantly flushing out the bad ju-ju, keeping your system in good working order.

It’s kinda like early dating.  I viscerally remember staring at the phone with Susie Q’s number in my hand, completely freaked-out over the looming possibilities.  Still, it was better to dial her up, mumble and fumble the conversation and face the consequences…Continue Reading

The Rest Of Your Freakin’ Life, Redux

Thursday, 2:39pm
Reno, NV
Hey, you bastards, I’m still here!” (Steve McQueen as Papillon, floating away to freedom…)


I’m re-publishing, below, a portion of one of the more influential posts I’ve ever put on this blog.

It’s just a slightly tweaked way of looking at the best way to start your new year… but that tweak makes all the difference in the world.  I’ve heard from many folks that this particular technique finally helped them get a perspective on where they’re at, where they’re going…

… and why they care about getting there.

Most goal-setting tactics, I’ve found, are useless.  Worst among them is the traditional New Year’s resolutions (which seldom last through January).

This is something I’ve used, very successfully, for decades… to reach goals, to clarify the direction of my life, and to change habits.  I first shared it in the old Rant newsletter a few years back, and I’ve hauled it out here in the blog on a regular basis.  It’s timeless shit.

Here’s the relevant part of the post:Continue Reading

Who Do You Trust?

Friday, 3:33 pm
Reno, NV
When the world is a monster, ’bout to swallow you whole…” (R.E.M., Can’t Get There From Here)


Quick post today (I promise).

It’s about a HUGE freakin’ disaster lurking behind many entrepreneurs right now…

… like a snarly ugly googly-eyed monster sneaking up on your ass with fangs bared and claws clutching.

Some of you, right now, can feel its hot fetid breath on your neck.


You know what this beast is?

It’s the Great Unknown Future that most marketers are facing right now, as 2011 comes galloping around the corner.  And there are no fangs sharper, and no evil hunger more devouring than a recession-addled economy (licking its chops as it creeps up on you).

Now, here’s a free piece of advice from a grizzled veteran of 30 years in the biz world:  I’ve successfully navigated at least 3 huge (and at least 3 other less-huge but still extremely painful) recessions since I began my career as a marketing expert.

I’ve done it alone…

… and I’ve done with the help, mentoring, and insight of folks who had been down that road before.

And I gotta tell you:  It SUCKS to do it alone.

And having a little solid, experienced help watching your back can almost immediately transform your progress.

In my consulting practice, I see a lot of lonely cowboys wandering the marketing range, trying to figure everything out on the fly. They have no one to shuck and jive with… no one to bounce ideas off of (so they never get honest feedback)…Continue Reading

Intelligent, Educated Savvy

Wednesday, 11:56am
New York, New York
Truckin’, like the Doo Dah man…” (Grateful Dead)


Sorry for the little vacation here from the blog.  I’ve been hunkered down in “launch mode”, on the road, and ministering to various biz projects…

… all of which have messed with my “sit down and write, dammit” time.

I’m actually handwriting the first part of this post in a hotel room, just before heading to La Guardia to fly home after a week in the Big Apple.  (Those of you following me on Facebook may have seen pics of the dispicable weather display we braved to watch the Jets b-slap the Vikings on Monday Night Football.  We spent 4 solid days in meetings, while the city basked in perfect Fall splendor… and the one time we ventured outside, thunder and lightning and a deluge of biblical size dumped on our sorry asses.)

(Still, it was worth the drenching.  Great story to tell whenever anyone needs one-upping on weather disasters…)

By the time you read this, I’ll be back in exciting Reno, catching my breath.

I am one bone-tired road dog, I’ll tell you what.

And I can’t wait to be sitting back at my cluttered desk, writing.  Dammit.


… quick post here, just to get the blood moving again.

I was thinking about this subject while reading up on the gossip whirling around the online entrepreneurial community.  It’s starting to jive with the blistering political attacks dominating the mainstream news cycles…

… and it’s scary.

The details of the gossip don’t really matter.  Rumors come, rumors go… same as political movements and all other fads and moments of temporary insanity.

But there is an overriding theme here that will never go away:  Continue Reading

It's All Fun & Games Until…

iPhone09-2 253

Saturday, 2:48pm
Tampa, FL
Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean?” (Monty Python)


Special treat today on the blog.

Another guest post by our good friend, colleague and former stand-up comic (before his new career as killer copywriter), Kevin Rogers.

(Kevin is also the head writer for my Stable O’ Copywriters project, where you can find a recommended freelancer who meets my strict standards of professionalism — and who has my ear for consultations: www.carlton-copywriting.com.)

This cat is funny.  And every time Kevin and I hang out, I’m reminded of two things:

1. Nearly every top marketer and writer I know personally… has a shockingly-acute high-end sense of humor. (This explains the comraderie you see among the best in the biz.  We make each other laugh.)

2. And… there are awesomely valuable insights to life and success available in studying lessons in tales from the “vice squad”. (Meaning, that part of living well which includes hanging out, challenging the boundaries of sobriety, and squandering time laughing as hard as you can for as long as you can.)

Being funny won’t make you smarter.  And it doesn’t bestow an automatic deeper understanding of human behavior.

However… if you pay attention… Continue Reading

More Free Goodies Than You Probably Deserve…


Sunday, 7:57pm
Reno, NV
It’s alive!” (Baron Von Frankenstein, kickstarting the Monster)


We’ve just fired up the Simple Writing System blog (www.simplewritingsystem.com/blog)…

… which means a stunning (and unprecedented) pile of free tools, tactics, advice and insight can be yours…

… just for the grabbing.

This is an all-out assault on reason and logic.  We’re just GIVING AWAY stuff that — not too long ago — would have cost you a pretty penny just to get a quick glimpse of.

We’ve created a beast here, and it’s name is FREE.

Here’s just a small taste of what’s piling up over there (that you’re missing out on if you haven’t signed in):

  • A free swipe file of “home run” ads I’ve written (which few folks outside the target markets have ever seen)… can be in your tool kit tonight.  This swipe file, alone, is causing hearts to skip a beat among marketers and freelance writers who love to rip juicy headlines and sales angles from proven ads.  (Removes any guesswork on who/what to rip.)
  • A short (but frightenly powerful) series of special reports channeling the best “how to make the sale” secrets I’ve ever used.  (I used to keep this stuff classified, only bringing it out during high-paid consultations… and here we are giving it away.)
  • The actual video (torn directly from the masters hidden in Frank’s inner sanctum) of my “How to persuade, influence and sell the shit out of anything… using the simplest stories you can create” presentation at Mass Control.

What?  You didn’t see that presentation?

It’s marketing theater at its finest… Continue Reading

Life Lessons From Burning Man


Wednesday, 8:53pm
Reno, NV
Make no mistake… this is an exercise in radical self-reliance…” (Burning Man survival guide)


No, I’m not at Burning Man this year.

Just couldn’t pull it off, because of random acts of viciousness and distraction ladled upon my poor vulnerable head by the universe.

Visited last year.  Might go next year, too.

I’ll see this Burn, though, through the sky-cam there in the smoldering Black Rock desert, if I see it at all.

However, just thinking about that amazingly unique event generated a familiar thought about survival.

I call it “The Hard Knocks Lesson Of Three’s“.

It applies to stuff like attending an event like Burning Man… which is a week-long freak show in the middle of the playa, way the hell in the middle of the northern Nevada desert.

Nothing you’ve ever done in your life, to this point, can totally prepare you for the experience.

One day before the event, the desert is a wasteland, free of humans.  One day into the event, it’s suddenly a Mad Max-styled city of 40,000 partiers who stay up all night torching stuff and dancing themselves into madness to blaring trance music (which goes 24 hours a day out there).

Lots of art, and street theater, and comraderie, and general naughtiness ensue, at levels you simply are not prepared for.

Experienced Burners report it’s a very raw, pure form of fun.  But daunting fun, at first.

You gotta bring every drop of your own water and food (or barter for it from others — no money is allowed inside Black Rock City)…

… and you’re on your own dealing with the sand storms, the brain-melting heat, the absolute lack of basic resources, and all the other details of maintaining good-animal health in the middle of Hell.

Trust me, it’s something that has to be seen to be believed.  People arrive from every corner of the globe, eager to get the party started again.

Burners take the self-reliance code to heart.  They truck in everything they need, and truck it back out again when the show’s over.  No trace is left of the massive city, or the party.

This once-a-year bacchanalia has been going on since the 1980s, with little or no mayhem or tragedy.

Self-reliant partiers.  It’s a concept.

The lesson, however, applies to all sorts of new experiences.  Like starting a new job.  Or putting together a market launch of a new product.  Or engaging in a new course or mentoring program.

Here’s what I’ve found:Continue Reading

All testimonials and case studies within this website are, to the best of our ability to determine, true and accurate. They were provided willingly, without any compensation offered in return.

These testimonials and case studies do not represent typical or average results. Most customers do not contact me or offer share to their results, nor are they required or expected to. Therefore, I have no way to determine what typical or average results might have been.

Many people do not implement anything I teach them. I can't make anyone follow my advice, and I obviously can't promise that our advice, as interpreted and implemented by everyone, is going to achieve for everyone the kinds of results it's helped some of the folks you read about and hear from here achieve.

The income statements and examples on this website are not intended to represent or guarantee that everyone will achieve the same results. Each individual's success will be determined by his or her desire, dedication, marketing background, product, effort, and motivation to work and follow recommendations. There is no guarantee you will duplicate results stated here. You recognize any business endeavor has inherent risk for loss of capital.

© 2004-2014 John Carlton. All rights reserved.