There are many injustices, micro-aggressions, slaps in the metaphorical face etc. that get our emotions going each and every day. That person who cut you off in traffic, the guy who called you girl, the lady who held her purse a little closer than normal as you walked by, the customer who treated you like you hadn’t graduated kindergarten yet….there are millions of examples.

We can choose when we want to stand up and make a ruckus. We can decide when it is time to say something and say it LOUDLY!


The trouble is that if we constantly complain about every small slight we perceive in the world, people will soon tune us out…even those who agree with us. Conversely, people can’t read our minds, so if we always let things go and never speak up, it is likely that we won’t affect any change for the better. When to speak and when not to speak is key.

When you do find your moment. Don’t hold back. You have enormous power to be heard in today’s world…especially if you have built up a reputation and platform of being someone worth listening to. (Hint: That reputation isn’t built through constant complaining.) Is it time for you to make a ruckus?


Are you trying to create something new like Thomas Edison and the light-bulb?  Or are you trying to come up with an innovation like Henry Ford and the automobile assembly line?

Remember that even after Edison came up with the light-bulb…no one had electricity. There was no market for it. Eventually, the market for light-bulbs took off, but it wasn’t an immediate success.

Ford, when he adapted existing technology to apply the idea of the assembly line to he manufacturing of the automobile, there were already people who wanted cars…he was now able to offer them more cheaply than the competition who were building each vehicle one at a time.

We often think, “Oh, if I could just come up with a great invention, I would get rich!”. The truth is that you might not need to invent…just innovate!


It is January. Earlier this month, many of us were coming up with New Years Resolutions or perhaps goals that we wrote down. Something that successful people seem to have is a solid purpose in life. They can pursue that purpose with a passion. Note that I am using the third person. I am 43 and still don’t have a clue what to do with my life. There are many things I enjoy, but being transparently honest, there isn’t one thing that I am 100% sold out to, something that I can pursue with passion.

I like teaching Spanish.

I like working in my church.

I like blogging.

I like writing in general.

I like swing dancing.

I like reading.

There are many things I like, but successful people seem to have found that one thing that makes them get out of bed in the morning with excitement for a new day to work through their goals for bringing that thing to the world.

Perry Noble is my pastor. He has one thing that he is passionate about. He wants to see people meet Jesus Christ. Whether you love him or hate him is irrelevant here. His one passionate thing is clear. Everyone who knows him knows what he is about.

Howard Schultz is passionate about coffee. There may have never been another human being who cared so much about a coffee bean and what it could do to change the world. We wouldn’t have Starbucks in its current form without his passion. Again, whether you love or hate Starbucks isn’t the point. It is that he was passionate about one thing and that thing made him very successful.

Billy Graham really only preached one sermon in his life. He was probably the greatest evangelist of the last century. He had a singular passion for Jesus Christ that was contagious. Thousands of people came to know Jesus as their Savior through his work. His passion for what eh believed made him very successful with what he did.

The list goes on. Each successful person has found their passion, their purpose in life. I will keep seeking mine. I hope you will seek yours.


It is a new beginning every semester when you live in academia. After a break, I am back in the office today. The great thing about this type of lifestyle is that there is a new hope every few months. Students who were stressed about their failing classes back in November are now excited about starting something new. As a teacher, there are new students who I will get to know over the next 16 weeks.

For those of you who faithfully read Startstuff and aren’t teachers or students, you also have new beginnings. Even in a dead end job that seems to be the same every day, you can choose to make today a new start! If your workplace is always negative, decide today to smile at everyone no matter how mean they may be. Work to get that report in BEFORE your boss asks for it. Get the construction project done ahead of schedule to surprise and delight your customer! Compliment the people you meet today and see how it changes your interactions all day long!

Have fun with your new beginning! I will enjoy mine!


I just finished reading Starbucked by Taylor Clark. In his book, he describes the rise of the Starbucks corporation. One of the lamented points is how as the company grew from a handful of stores in Seattle to the tens of thousands of locations it currently has and growing more each day, is the loss of quality in the drinks themselves. When it started, baristas were proud craftsmen and craftswomen who artfully constructed the perfect cappuccino. While the company is great in the sense that as a business in a capitalist society, it makes a LOT of money from a handful of beans, some milk and a white cup with a mermaid on it. It has lost that sense of awe about the perfection of coffee it offered to its early customers.

So you want to start a “mom & pop” coffee shop? Here is some good news. Starbucks has paved the way for you. I don’t mean that  you should model your store after them…don’t do it!! Be YOU! They have brought coffee to the masses. People now know what a Latte, a Cappuccino etc are. So they have done some of your marketing for you. Now the world is looking for a real barista who can make a decent cup of coffee. Rent a location right next to a Starbucks if you can. Then be better than they are at the things that count. YOU can have better coffee. YOU can have better pastries. (Bake them yourself or contract with a local baker…just don’t be like the big company and ship them in frozen.)Make your location inviting to sit and stay awhile instead of moving people through the line as fast as possible.

YOU can change much more quickly as your customers needs/wants change. (Let’s face it, no one actually needs a tall, double shot, caramel macchiato.) If you find that your niche customer really prefers Jazz music over the top 40 stuff, then buy a few Jazz CD’s or put your Pandora/Spotify station on Jazz. YOU don’t need corporate approval. YOU can add chairs or a sofa. YOU can delete or add a drink if you want to. Most importantly be YOU!


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