Book, Writing and opportunities. Quick Update

Man, I’ve been neglecting this blog. Surprisingly, traffic has increased, without any type of promotion on my part. Guess, my content is timeless after all, eh?

I’m still writing. Still acting. Still working on my source of passive income.

Here’s what I’ve been up to:

1. Writing

I didn’t/don’t want to overcrowd this blog with more self-improvement/development/growth-oriented content than acting content. Even though, I’m not solely an actor. I suppose it shouldn’t;t matter since it’s my blog. Anyways, I’ve been writing for Untemplater. So if you’re looking for any entries from me, you can catch them there.

Also, I’ve been getting a lot of writing opportunities from numerous sources. I got to write a piece for the upcoming book, The Hood Health Handbook, which is an anthology of health information geared towards the urban/hip hop community. They’re striving to get people who would never read a book, especially one regarding health, to become more aware and informed. I was happy to contribute.

2. Moving to LA.

Why? Because as an actor, I’ve got to be there. I hate spending 2-3 hours in traffic, just to go audition down there. I can’t stand traffic. Also, it will open up numerous opportunities. Most of my friends and a whole lot of like-minded people are down there. Vegans/vegetarians, people with the same spiritual and scientific beliefs, family, etc. It’s a whole new adventure. I’ll be moving down before the end of this year.

3. Reading and studying

I mentioned previously on this blog that I was looking to set up a source of passive income. *Sigh* I would have liked to have started on that already, but doubt was sinking in, as well as a plethora of other (read: financial) problems. It worked to my benefit though. I feel like I can really offer something of value now. It’ll be health-related, as that’s been the focus of my study for the past few months. I’m working on a small book regarding eating healthy on a budget. It’ll include recipes and other resources. With it, I hope to offer people a new perspective and challenge the idea that eating healthy has to be expensive. A friend talked me into it and a lot of people have been encouraging me and said they’d like to have the information. I just got to do some more research in this area. I’m also waiting for the Hood Health Handbook to come out, so as to make certain that I’m not writing anything that they already cover in there.

4. Extra work

I couldn’t call myself an actor if  wasn’t doing some type of acting work. I’ve been doing a lot of extra work lately. Nothing major or anything special. I did do a music video and got a split-second of fame-yet to get paid for it though.

Maybe I should blog about the little extra gigs that I do. They’re nothing exciting though, especially when you’re sacrificing your sleep to do nothing on a set for 6-8 hours.

Stay tuned…

Should You Act? Why?

When the going gets tough in your journey to become an actor-or whatever you’re striving towards – you may find yourself asking this question. I remember reading in Audition- I think it was-  the author’s answer to the question. He said something like

If you have to ask the question, perhaps no, you shouldn’t be an actor. If you could be reasonably happy doing something else, then by all means, no, don’t become an actor.

Should is a word that I don’t like to include in my vocabulary. It takes away freedom of choice and kind of implies expectations and what not.

A better question would be, “Do I want to act? Would I like to act?” Or something along those lines.

A good follow-up question to ask would be, “What is my motivation?” This is your why.

As any actor can attest, your motivation is what compels you to act. So know that there is no wrong or right answer to this question but stronger and weaker. Whatever your answer, make certain that it is strong enough to sustain your fire and keep it burning while driving through the obstacles that you are likely to encounter along the way.

The Decision Contract

Success and failure are the results of the use of mind. Every success-motivated mind has been a decisive mind. Every failure-motivated mind has been an indecisive-mind. Only the dreamer who acted with decision on his dream brought  forth something new and valuable- Raymond Charles Barker

I’ve come to a point in my journey where I’ve identified those unpleasant moments that just seem to come with the package. Every career has them. Matter of fact, EVERYTHING has them! Parents may love being parents, but there are those times where dealing with kids may feel like more work than passion. The gift and the curse, right?!

I remember driving a member of my ensemble up to Big Bear. We were going to one of our weekly meetings and we had a discussion about the nature of the acting business. I think we got into a discussion about Heath Ledger or something and the subject of sleep. I was telling him how loaded my schedule was and how I wasn’t getting any sleep. He told me, “actors don’t sleep, it’s a fact of life!” I laughed at him and ignored his remark. I though he was just being negative and trying to avoid the fact that I would’ve gotten a bit more sleep if I didn’t drive him up there, because we were doing this more for him than for me. I told him that wasn’t going to be me and that I was going to get sleep. I wasn’t going to end up some sleep-deprived insomniac on drugs a la Heath Ledger or Michael Jackson. After all, rest is part of being healthy, right?! A healthy body with optimal health is definitely required for an actor. Our body is our only instrument.

Well, weeks, or months ago, I finally realized, yeah, to get ahead and seriously grind in this industry, you’re not going to be getting a whole lot of sleep. I wouldn’t say this is an objective view though. Maybe you’re not working two-different jobs and running to an audition on your lunch break. Maybe you’ve got a stream of passive income paying your way, or a large savings. Even still, the on-set hours are long and tedious. Endless rehearsals, repetitive practice, same take after same take.

Here’s the thing about decisions:

1.) You never really and wholly honor a decision until you’ve accepted the fine print.

Whenever we want to do something, buy something, experience something or someone wants to sell us something, all we ever hear about are the pros, the good parts. We seldom hear about the negative parts. Oh sure, we might hear, “it’s got a little scratch on the side,” or “it shakes a little, but they all do at times,” but we often must find out the negatives for ourselves. Maybe it’s due to the subjective nature of the words “pro” “con” “good” and “bad.”

The Fine Print

These things that lure us in stop looking so good when we experience our first unpleasant experience. But if you are fully committed to your decision then you should have come to accept “the terms and conditions of this agreement below.”

In the real world, this fine print is not always easy to find and know ahead of time. It’s an outlook, a prediction that is often hard to see-but not impossible- from the outside looking in.

Treat this like a real contract. Most people don’t know or can’t make sense of the fine print so they go out and hire a professional to make sense of it for them. So go out and ask someone in the field. Take them out to lunch and just talk about their experiences. Listen to their story, the failures and bad experiences they went through. People love to talk about their misery and how they’ve suffered. Go out there and test the waters yourself. Read a little about whatever it is that you’re looking to do or experience.

Do You Agree to the Terms & Conditions?

Once you find out or get a feel for what the day-to-day is like, come to accept them.

Once we come to terms with the day-to-day, our reactions usually lie somewhere along the 5 stages of grief. If you can’t come to the final stage of acceptance, maybe it isn’t the perfect fit for you.

I’ve come to accept that I won’t be getting very much sleep for the moment. Even if you can’t fully accept the conditions, you should be able to tolerate them while looking for something better. I don’t like having to go to casting calls after I’ve been at work all-night, so I’m working on building a passive income stream so I can drop my 9-5.

2.) You never really honor a decision until you’ve ‘burned the ships.’

Did you know the word decide comes from two little Latin words that literally mean “to cut off”?! Yep. To make a decision means to cut off other options and commit to one. If you could do both options, or however many you’ve got, then you wouldn’t have to make a choice and decide now would you?

To ‘burn the ships’ is not an entirely new concept, but one that most people aren’t familiar with. Basically, you cut off any areas of retreat to ensure you press on in any scenario, no “if ands or buts.” You sink or swim.

 In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill tells how a warrior faced a situation which made it necessary for him to insure his success on the battlefield. Basically, he and is army were going up against a powerful foe,whose army greatly outnumbered his own.

 Before the first battle, he gave the order to ‘burn the ships’ and told his men, “You see the boats going up in smoke! That means we cannot leave these shores alive unless we win! We now have no choice- we win- or we perish!”They Won!! Only by doing so will an individual be able to maintain the mind state known as a burning desire, which is essential to success.

Will smith said in an interview that the success of his marriage to jada (even though he had previously had a divorce) is that they can’t have divorce as an option. They both don’t even consider it. It’s non-negotiable. They have problems but work through them. He took his vows more seriously. He says, “they’re either going to be together forever or someone has to die!”

He also made a great point in another interview. He said when you create a back-up plan you also create the necessity for that backup. You are subconsciously telling yourself, “I might not wanna go through this, I don’t know about this, let me just create this backdoor so that I might be able to escape when the going gets tough.”

Likewise, Sun Tzu mentioned in his classic, The Art of War,  how it is necessary to create an image of retreat for your enemy so that they won’t fight as hard.

Decisions, Decisions

Tough decisions are a part of life. What makes decisions tough are the stakes, consequences, tradeoffs, etc.Regardless of how tough decisions are, your ability or inability to make decisions can stagnate or propel your ability to take action in life. Any leader will tell you, if you can’t come to make decisions quickly, you won’t be a very effective leader. Before making decisions, first, figure out whether you need to even decide at all. More than likely, it’s not that serious.

Real decisions are like contracts, they take real committment and people rarely read the terms and conditions. Because of a lack of attention to the fine print, they usually get in trouble later and regret it. Take your time and honor your committment. Don’t be in such a rush to sign onto anything either, especially when it comes to something as serious as marriage.

*In a future post, I want to suggest a simple decision-making model that I’ve learned from a couple of great books that has worked for me.

The Power of Failure

“You will fail. That’s great. Here’s a secret for you – that’s the only way you can learn. Learning has to cost you something.” -Stella Adler

In life, losing is part of growing. For organs to form during embryonic development, some cells must commit suicide. Without such programmed cell death, we would all be born with webbed feet like ducks.

Overcoming Success catch-22

In the novel Catch-22, a fighter pilot decides he no longer wants to continue flying combat missions. He realizes there is a high possibility that he can lose his life if he continues and so he decides that he has flown enough missions.

So he then goes on to talk to the military doctor and requests to be grounded. The doctor explains that he cannot ground him based on his physical health. The pilot then claims to be crazy so that he can be grounded for psychological reasons. Still, the doctor doesn’t buy it from the pilot or the other bomber crew members who all agree that the pilot is crazy.

The doctor calls this catch-22: The pilot isn’t crazy, he’s asking to be grounded, which is a rational self-preserving desire; however, he considers the other crew members crazy because they don’t ask to be grounded (an irrational life-threatening choice).

This paradox is a similar hurdle for anyone who wants to become really successful: the more people want to succeed, the more they try to avoid the very kind of experiences that will bring about the learning that is needed to be a long-term success.


NASA has used significant failure as an important qualification for selecting new recruits. When they were looking for potential candidates for the Apollo 11 lunar mission, they invited resumes from the American people. They first weeded out applicants based on academic qualifications but they still had several thousand candidates.

The next step was interesting. They weeded out all candidates who had not bounced back from a significant failure at some time in their life. The apparent premise was that a person who had failed and then gotten up again was a stronger contender then one who had never experienced failure.

The butterfly’s struggle

A man was watching a butterfly struggling to break out of its cocoon. After making some progress to work its way through a small hole, the butterfly appeared to simply stop its efforts. For some time it seemed to make no progress, so the man concluded it was stuck and decided to help it by forming a larger opening in the cocoon with scissors. Afterward the butterfly emerged easily but with small, shriveled wings and a swollen body.

It turns out that the struggle to emerge from the cocoon would have forced the fluid from the butterfly’s body into its wings, a necessary process for enabling it to fly. As a result of the man’s well-intentioned help, he had interfered with nature’s life-strengthening process. The butterfly was now doomed to never fly, but to crawl around with its swollen body and shriveled wing for the rest of its life.

We need failures in life to provide us with the opportunities to wrestle with the kind of challenge that can squeeze the life-giving fluid we need to strengthen our wings for successful flight in life.

Break Free at

Last year, a couple of talented Gen Y’s leaders in their own respects, came together to create a great new site,

To me, Untemplater is all about breaking free of the coventions that social conditioning pushes us towards and living a life of your design. Or as Untemplater’s tagline reads: Work Where You Want……Live How You Want……Be Who You Want to Be!

Untemplater launched in January to great response.

It’s a site that resonates with my own mindset and mission to inspire others to see their own best and dreams manifest. So naturally I reached out to them to and submitted a post for the site. You can read my post about breaking destructive and bad habits here.

Untemplater is always looking for writers. If you feel you vibe with their message, or any of the other topics they cover- which is very expansive-and have some quality content to share, you can submit to their content manager, the owl, here. It’s a multi-author site so your perspective would fit right in with the variety.

Empowering Words and Stronger Vs. Weaker language

As an actor, you’re taught to use active words instead of the passive voice. You want to use words that compel you to act rather more than not.

Whether you’re an actor or a person striving to achieve some sort goal, everyone can benefit from the power of words.

Words psychologically affect us on a subconscious level and in many other levels we may not understand. Though they vary in degree, your choice of words can help you significantly as well as hurt you and your endeavors.

Although there are much more, here is a list of some disempowering words and some empowering alternatives.

Not all of these words are that bad but as any actor or actress can attest to, some words are just stronger and some words weaker.

I found a lot of these in some of my favorite books like the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Rap Race and Revolution and you can find more active words in any thesaurus, especially The Actor’s Thesaurus.  

* Note-I’ll be gradually updating and adding to this list.*

1.Try– Whenever people fail at doing something, they love telling you they “tried.” Well, if you try to pay the rent, does that mean you paid it? And when you tell your landlord you “tried,” will he/she let you stay?

 Trying is a word for people who give up, because to “try” something usually means you gave a shot and that was it. People who continue to work at something ’til they get it, they “strive.”

2. Broke– Something is only “broke” if somethings wrong with it. Is something wrong with you? Or are you just low on finances?

3. Worry– Another unhealthy word and emotion. Are you “worried” (scared) or are you concerned?

4. Wish– Is there a Genie in a lamp somewhere? Are you at a magic wishing well? In real life, “wishes” don’t come true. Work does. Plans do.

5. Can’t– Saying you can’t automatically weakens you. But you’ve been conditioned to think of life terms of what you can and can’t do. Try to avoid saying “can’t” for a day, and see how hard it is to think differently.

In reality, because of the infinite potential of the human mind, there’s actually nothing you “can’t” do.

6. Maybe– is one of the favorite words of people who either hate thinking or hate making decisions. Either way, make up your mind and live in  the affirmative.

7. But- is another weak word. It automatically weakens the strength of any positive statement you make.

Ex.” I was going to go work out at the gym and lose some of these pounds BUT I ended up passing Jack-in-the-Box on the way and you know how things are with my undisciplined ass.” or “I was going to ask her out to the dance BUT I punked out, she wouldn’t give me the chance anyway.”

8. Rituals vs. Habits

“People tend to talk in terms of “good habits” and “bad habits,” but I prefer to think in terms of rituals and habits. Think about it. Whenever you hear someone say, “She/he has a habit of …” the thing that comes next is rarely positive. The difference between rituals and habits is that you choose to do rituals; you have some degree of awareness and intention. People tend to admire your rituals.” ~ Shawn Phillips

The Abstract

The Cookies

When I get off from work in the morning -yeah, I work the graveyard shift- I’m usually craving some type of sweets. One week it was candy bars, the next week chips. One week it was donuts, but lately it’s been cookies.

So I’m driving around town looking for a shop where I can buy some freshly made cookies. It’s too much of a hassle to make ’em myself, plus I only want one or two. As I drive towards the freeway, I stumbled upon Panera bread. Before now, I’d never heard, or been into a Panera Bread and I would usually frequent Starbucks in the morning. But on this day, I wanted to try something new. So I went inside and was hit with the aroma of their seemingly endless variety of baked goods. It’s hard to make a choice between everything, but I know that I wanted cookies. After getting my cookies, I took a bite out of their toffee nut cookie immediately.


If I had to describe the taste, I’d say the cookie was a fragment of heaven manifested in my hands as a snack. Those that have been there know the taste. Before leaving, I couldn’t help but chat up the artisan baker who had made my day. I told her how great I think her creations were and how fresh they smelled and tasted. After giving her my sincere gratitude, she told me, “thanks, I cooked them overnight.”

After walking out the door, I was hit with a flash of thought.


In my head, freshly made cookies had to be straight off the cooling rack. They had to be straight out of the oven, and maybe sat down on the table to be chilled-no more than maybe 40-45mins old! Maybe it was just me, but if anything was made overnight, or the night before, it was always considered a leftover in my eyes.  Not to take anything from the quality of her cooking because the cookies were GREAT! I just had to think to myself.

“Of course she’d have to make the cookies overnight. She has loads of things that she has to cook for the customers in the morning. Duh!”

The Abstract

It was then that I realized how often in life, we have these vague notions of abstract concepts. Ideas like success, love, power, wealth, health, intelligence. We think we KNOW these things and that we know them very well. That we have an idea what success is, what love or fresh is, but we rarely do.

Imagine I went back in there and argued with her. But how stupid would I look? We’re talking two different definitions of fresh here!

Imagine you were traveling to another country, or continent, with a totally new culture. You meet one of their people and as you point to your stomach, you say, “Food!” And they go and bring you a bowl of insects. Better yet, if you’re a meat-eater and they go and bring you some rice. WTF!?

Define It

It’s said that everything is created twice. One time in the mind, the second time as the physical manifestation. In order to realize our dreams and see our love, ideas and etc. manifest, we’ve got to smooth out the edges of these pictures and images in our minds that are slighty rough around the edges.

What is love? What is fresh? What is success?

We each see these ideas differently, so it’s imperative that you get clear and define them so that you’ll be able to recognize them when you see/achieve them. How else will you know them when you see them?

How are your cookies? Are they everything you thought they would be?