Tag Archives: blogs



Last week I asked the wrong question in my blog: What is your definition of success? I wondered about happiness and about accomplishment and how the twain shall meet. But my real question was how do we have a basically fulfilling life. And I think the answer is that “meaning” is what leads to a sense of fulfillment and happiness. This is not exactly a news flash, so why do we spend so much of our time in the land of accomplishment, comparing ourselves with the competition, working toward a raise or promotion, and simply trying to just get shit done?

I started reading Martin Seligman’s new book Flourish. So far it answers the question of what leads to “well-being.” Interestingly, happiness is relegated to just one piece of the pie and this he calls Positive Emotion. Ya know: smiling a lot. The others pieces are Flow or Engagement, Relationship Building, Love, Meaning (which is something bigger than the self), Gratitude, and finally Success or Mastery for it’s own sake, which he calls Accomplishment. This is a much clearer picture of what it takes. It’s a nice check list. You can look at it and say, oh that’s why this month sucks: no relationship building. Or, what am I missing? No mastery. Got it.

Last week I was in a bit of a funk and for no apparent reason, it seemed. I was getting all kinds of accolades and juicy bits of success, which were meaningful because I love my work, and I was having terrific lunches with friends (relationship building), and my health was good and I appreciated it (gratitude). What was missing? Ah! No flow! Flow is a big part of my life when I’m writing – it’s about being so caught up in what you’re doing you don’t notice the time fly by. When mid-week I started writing 2 new comedy songs, things turned around.

One of the things Seligman talks about is how much energy many of us put into accomplishment, but it’s often pursued even when it brings no positive emotion, no meaning, and no positive relationships. There is a piece of this that is important and that’s mastery. This looks like winning for the sake of winning. This is a part of well-being, but in our culture of winner-takes-all it can become our main focus, swallowing up all our time without our stopping to notice that it’s not doing much for us in a big-picture-am-I-happy sort of way.

But how do we stop? The addictive nature of achievement is supported by the culture. Yeah, there’s meditation, there’s vacation, there’s really good and surprisingly cheap Chardonnay, and of course sex. And sometimes all together. But the next morning, many of us just pick up where we left off, go to work and spend the day grasping for more “success.”

A check list like this might help. Separating the bits of one’s day, week, year, life with a look at the pieces of the pie is helping me step back and see if I’m giving enough time to each part of the Well-Being cocktail. Like a Long Island iced tea, mixed properly, you won’t wake up each day hung-over, wondering why you’re depressed.

But one other thing I noticed in this plan is that almost all of it involves other people. Gratitude is often about others: Better Relationships and Love are (duh), “Meaning” which is caring about something bigger than yourself can be about saving the planet which is in part about caring for people and our future, and Accomplishment has something to do with what others think of you, or at least offers an opportunity to gloat/share/wonder with others. So I’m taking a look at what each of these on this checklist has to offer my life in connection to other people and to give that some weight and attention.

It’s the people, stupid.

Right now I’m on a plane with my cute kid (Gratitude), on the way to a Memorial Day vacation (Positive Emotion), to see family (Relationship Building, Love), writing this piece and finishing a song (Flow), and tackling my new music software (Mastery), while trying to figure out the formula for well-being and writing this song that satirically criticizes the upcoming federal budget cuts (Meaning).

Check, check check, check, check, check, check. With a flourish.

UnFucker of the Month Award

We launched an activist site this month called UnFuckitup.com. It’s from my song “I Didn’t Fuck It up” that was getting a lot of attention, and we decided to offer an award every month for the best UnFucker, someone who is doing something to UnFuck up the world. It’s been really exciting to see what people are doing. Very inspiring. My blog last week about achievement and success brought in some interesting thoughts, but the most common one was that success was having a meaningful and loving life. For the meaningful part, I am finding that most of us agree you can’t feel successful if it’s just about recognition, money, or climbing ladders where others tell you how great you are. It’s about feeling like you’re contributing to something you give a damn about. So for this week, I’d like to offer up some examples of that in our new website and let you vote on your favorite. Either go to www.UnFuckitup.com or read below. More on Success and Achievement as well as thoughts on Martin Seligman’s new book, “Flourish” in next my blog.

Vote For Your Fave UnFucker of the Month!


We have three that we love (though seriously, they are all great) – so go and vote (thumbs up for the ones you like) on www.UnFuckitup.com. The winner will be announced June 1st. And feel free to add more or wait til June 1 to get in the running for next month!

Got look at these three submissions:

1. Sandra – who is submitting her friend: I need to submit my friend Emma Kwasnica as the epitome of international unfuckery. Among other activism work, she responded to formula makers continuing to undermine breastfeeding by creating a global milk sharing network via Facebook. In the 6 months since, hundreds of babies have gained access to human milk and Emma continues to unfuck our society’s twisted views of breastfeeding. Your song has helped us so much in the past weeks to get through the hard unfucking work that needs to be done. You can check out our website hm4hb.net or our global facebook page http://www.facebook.com/hm4hb

2. Our very first submission from sk8r_punks_13 aka Allan Eaton, and whatever you think about the war, we love this guy because he is actively out there using his time and energy to be an activist for what he believes. Here’s his pic:

3. April who ran for office and wrote a book called The Truth Behind Running For Office. We like this because so many of you were moved by the part of our song that talks about being at the mercy of those who fucked things up. So here’s a way to deal with that – run for office! http://www.aprilbuonamici.com/