Life Is Not Meant To Be Lived In Default Mode

Do you ever feel like your life’s choices have been made for you? Do you ever just go with the flow? Do you make your choices based on what others think you should do? I’ve spent much of my life living in default mode. There’s something better and I’m breaking through to freedom.

bald-eagle-521492_1280 Default mode: Photo of eagle in sunset

In the computer world, default is a preselected option adopted by a computer program or other mechanism when no alternative is specified by the user or programmer.

Sometimes we fall prey to living our lives based on preselected options. We go into default mode. We go to college because we’re told it’s what it takes to be successful. We get married because it’s what’s expected by our culture and our families. We move to the city because we’re told that’s where the good jobs and exciting opportunities are. It’s all based on default mode.

My life has been filled with default mode decisions:

  • I went to college by default because I wanted a good career.
  • When career options didn’t look good with only a bachelor’s degree, I defaulted into the master’s program.
  • I became a speech instructor be default. My passion is more in music, radio broadcasting, and mass media, but community colleges offer more public speaking courses. I’m a default-mode speech teacher.
  • I got married by default. I was in my mid 30s and thought it’s what I needed to do to please myself and others.
  • I wound up back in Yakima, Washington by default because my ex-wife’s family lived here and I was trying to please her.
  • I became a single dad by default because my ex-wife was not able to care for our daughter.
  • I reamin in Yakima based on a family law court decision: default mode.
  • I bought a house in Yakima by default because I figured I’m stuck here anyway.

Life is not meant to be lived in default mode. I’m tired of having my choices made for me. I don’t want to live based on preselected options. That’s not living, it’s just surviving. I want to thrive. I want to break free. That’s why I’m making changes. I’m pushing through to the next level. I’m choosing my own path.

When I was younger, I had a dream. I wanted to break into the music business. I spent time in Nashville. I was working my way into songwriting. I ran out of money. I came back to Washington State by default. But I never quit writing.

So how do you break out of default mode? Simple. You take more chances. You work hard. If you stick with it, you’ll see results. Here’s what I’m doing to break out of default mode.

  1. I’m writing songs: Even though I haven’t written any songs for great artists, I’m still improving my songwriting craft with each new composition. My goal is to start my own music publishing company in the next two years. 
  2. I’m writing books: I’ve written several books including: A Train Called Forgiveness and The Happiness of Simple. My goal is to continue to write a new novel every two years and several non-fiction ebooks each year. 
  3. I’m blogging: I have a handful of blogs that I’m building including:,, and My goal is to create online courses and monetize my blogs in the next two years. My goal in three to five years is to be able to live off of my blogging and writing income. 
  4. I’m traveling regularly: I spend a few weeks each year traveling both regionally and nationally. I learn more with each journey. My goal is to continue to travel and relocate to my desired location in the American Southwest within the next 5-10 years.
  5. I’m paying off debt: I’ve stopped using credit cards so I can pay off debt and live debt-free. My goal is to be debt-free in five years.
  6. I’m living simply: I’m letting go of my preconceived ideas of success and learning to live simply. My goal is to downsize and become self-sufficient in the next five years.

What are you doing to break free from default mode? Have you tapped into your inner creativity? Have you let go of cultural expectations?

If you want to break out of default mode, I encourage you to start by tapping into your creativity. Whether you want to write books, movies, or start businesses, creativity is what it takes. If you’d like inspiration:

Join The Clan

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It’s All About Breaking Your Own Ground

You know what? I’m tired of looking up. I’m tired of listening to all the social-media influencers. I’m tired of the plethora of advice I get online about how I can succeed. I’m already successful. I’m on a journey and I’m happy with my journey.


Question to ponder: Do you think Martin Luther King, Jr. waited for the influencers above him before taking action? Do you think he simply followed the status quo? MLK broke new ground. He did it with persistence and dedication. If you want to be successful at anything, it’s up to you, not influencers. 

You’ve seen the promotions from people like Jeff Goins, Michael Hyatt, Chris Brogan, and a plethora of others. If you spend any time online, I’m sure you have. They all have a program to sell you that they claim will give you the power to become more productive and more successful. They can teach you the secret ingredient. Right?

Wrong. I love all three of the guys I mentioned. They all have great information to share. I’ve learned a little from each of them, but they have no secret ingredients. The only secret ingredients to being productive and successful are motivation and persistence. If you’ve got those two things, you have everything you need. From there it’s up to you to break your own ground.

Last month, I watched hoards of people Tweet and Retweet how great the programs from these influencers are. Guess what? While everyone else was ranting about them, I was creating new content, building new websites and networking with new people who believe in what I’m doing.

While everyone else was spending their time and money looking up at the influencers, I was breaking new ground at the base level. I was making new connections with people that are interested in minimalism, writing, and blogging. People that are my potential followers, or better yet, my potential partners. I was developing and I was rewriting the third book to my Cult Trilogy, The Track To Redemption

Then there’s SEO, search engine optimization. I’ve done my homework. I’ve learned the basics and then some. You know what? It hasn’t made much difference. You know what makes the difference? Fostering relationships with people who have an interest in what you have to share. You know what makes the difference? Creating great, original content everyday. It’s all about breaking new ground. You have to start at the bottom. You have to write your own story.

Looking up to the sky won’t get you into the airplane. Putting focus words into a machine won’t keep it running. You have to break new ground and make connections with new people. You can’t piggyback off influencers. You can’t depend on automated services. You have to do the work. 

It’s all about breaking your own ground.

I could write a call to action right now. I could convince you to sign up for my newsletter, or get my free ebook, so I can help you become more successful.

I won’t.

You can only be as successful as you decide to be. Nobody else can do it for you. It’s up to you. Stop buying into what others are selling you.

It’s your journey. Take control of it.

Get off you butt and start breaking your own ground.

Any questions?

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Shattering The Darkness

broken-549087_1280 Shattering the darkness: Photo of sun shining through broken glass

I’m tired.

I’m really tired.

I’m really fucking tired.

Do you know what I mean?

Have you ever spent your days,

from long before sunrise

to long after sundown,

spinning in seemingly

infinitive imprisonment?

It’s out of my control.

Have you ever been stuck

in someone else’s darkness,

struggling like hell to get out?

I’ve been stretched to the outer limits

of circumstances that I did not create.

My life’s been hijacked

by other’s inabilities

to care for their own kin.

I’m tired. I’m really tired.

I’m really fucking tired of being

a slave to a situation

created by weak-hearted fools.

Soon, I’ll leave with or without consent.

I’ll be traveling to a fairer place,

shattering the darkness,

screaming, “Freedom!”

on my way out.

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One Step Closer To The Complete Cult Trilogy

I sent The Track To Redemption, the third book to The Cult Trilogy, off to the editor in December. I’m expecting it back anytime. I’m aiming to publish the book by June. I hope you’ll join me on the journey.

railroad-164071_1280 Cult Trilogy: Photo - B&W railroad track

When I was a kid, I was in a cult. I was abused and mistreated. As a young adult, I struggled to find peace. I had a hard time forgiving the ones who were responsible for my childhood pain: the cult leader, many of his followers, my own parents. I even blamed God for my problems. 

When I was in my late 20s, something changed. I had an experience that I can only define as divine. I felt God’s presence in my life so powerfully that I could not hold back. I broke down and fell to my knees. I asked for God’s forgiveness. Then something wonderful happened. I forgave all those who had hurt me as a child. It was freeing.

Still, the process had only just begun. Over the next 20 years, I journaled about my past. I went to college and studied cults and their leaders. I wrote songs about my cult experience. In 2011, shortly after my father passed away, I started writing a book that would change my life.

A Train Called Forgiveness is the first book of The Cult Trilogy

I wrote a book that I never thought I’d write. In A Train Called Forgiveness, through the character of Andy Burden, I relived both my childhood in a cult, and the struggles I went through in my 20s. The book is fictionalized, but it accurately reveals what it was like to be a child in an extreme religious cult. It also studies the fear and paranoia that develops in someone who goes through such an experience. 

I thought that was it. One book. My masterpiece. But there was more. I wanted my readers to get a more complete understanding of the entire process of forgiveness. It’s not easy. Anger and hate can rear their ugly heads again and again. That’s when I realized that I needed to write a trilogy.

At the Crossing of Justice and Mercy is the second book of The Cult Trilogy

The second book of The Cult Trilogy, At the Crossing of Justice and Mercy, deals with something we all struggle with. Often, even after we forgive, we still hold resentment. We still wish evil on our enemies. It’s human nature. 

In this book, Andy Burden heads out on a journey to find his enemy. He struggles between the desire to personally forgive him or take revenge. Something happens in this book that leaves Andy shocked and living with a sense of guilt about his own actions.

The Track To Redemption is the third book of The Cult Trilogy

In this book we get to hear antagonist, Peter Smith’s version of the story, as well as Andy’s. There is a tension between the two voices. Something wonderful happens in this book. The process of forgiveness is completed through an act of self-forgiveness and sacrifice.

Peter Smith goes through an unexpected change. The book reveals what it means to truly forgive, to truly be forgiven, to truly sacrifice. After reading this book you’ll have a better understanding of how all the pieces of my journey fit together. I believe you’ll also have a little more insight into the heart of God.

Finishing The Cult Trilogy

I’ll be doing my final edits to, The Track To Redemption, over the next couple of months. If you haven’t read the first two books, I encourage you to read them. You can get started with some free chapters:

A Train Called Forgiveness

At the Crossing of Justice and Mercy

I hope you’ll join me on this journey. The Cult Trilogy is a captivating story with an important message for all. It’s an especially great series for anyone dealing with the need to forgive the enemies of their past. Will you join me?

Get the Whole Story

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