Monday, December 30, 2013

No need to reinvent the wheel

You know successful people. You have people you admire for their accomplishments. You have people who you are modeling yourself after. You are interested in accomplishing something similar to them. What are the things in common among them? What do they all agree on? The things they all agree on, the things in the center of that Venn diagram — that’s gold. That’s the center of the bullseye. Focus on those things.

Determine where what you are doing is in relation to that map. Determine how far you are from doing those things. Figure out what you would need to do to bring yourself in closer alignment to that profile. Find out how to do them. Make the adjustments in your actions.

It’s true that some things we can’t control. We have no control over our genetics, or our prenatal conditions, or our historical background, etc. But there are many things that we can change. Directed, focused application of time and energy toward smartly designed goals can change lives.

We are all standing on the shoulders of those who came before us. We are the beneficiaries of their knowledge, their effort, their accomplishments, their experience, their discoveries, their wisdom. They have gifted us with a head start. It is our job to continue the progress. Our contribution is to that legacy, and ultimately to all mankind. All our actions in some way impact the entire world. We are the next link in that chain. Our successors will continue our work after us.


Dave Roel.
Our job as adult human beings is to clearly define the path leading to a life of contribution, joy, and growth, and then to walk it.
- Steve Barnes

Friday, December 27, 2013

Romantic Music

When you talk about the history of music you will probably hear about the era's that music history is divided up into. The medieval era lasted from 1150 to 1400. From 1400 to 1600 was the renaissance era . After 1600 came the Baroque period and lasted until 1750.The classical period spans 80 years until 1830 until the Early Romantic period came along and lasted until 1920.

I would have to say that the Romantic period is the best of all. The music was ahead of its time. Beethoven served as the bridge from the Classical to the Romantic era. His later works were harshly criticized because they were just completely different and music was changing. Many pieces of popular classical music were not accepted at the time they were written.

One of my favorite romantic composers is Hector Berlioz who is considered one of the only true romanticists because of his life. Hector Berlioz fell in love with a woman who did not love him back. Because of this he decided to kill himself by overdosing on opium. Instead of dying he fell asleep and had a dream about being marched to the scaffolding because he killed the woman he loved. This dream drove him to write his most famous work Symphonie Fantastique. People didn't believe that someone could have written something so horrible. Some critics are quoted saying that "it was not music".

Music from the Romantic area has many specific characteristics that set it apart from all other music. It tends to contrast the extremes of the keyboard by playing on the lowest octave and moving up to the highest. The pieces are usually written in a minor key. Most romantic music starts out slow and beautiful, but can sometimes turn very fast and vigorous.

I believe in the preservation of classical music and I think that it's great that it is still being played today in concert halls for many people. I think it will take hundreds of years for the classical music that is popular today to be forgotten. 

Individual lines of development

So we have identified our four important life areas. We can now break down the broad categories of the quadrants into individual lines of development.

Individual-Exterior, body:

Health & fitness

Maintaining, enhancing, and restoring our health, vitality, and well-being. 



Diet & nutrition

Learning and practicing the principles of healthy eating. 



Exercise & activity

Learning the principles of effective exercise, and maintaining an active lifestyle.

Collective-Exterior, mind:

Education & skills-building

Obtaining the education and training we need to attain our goals.



Career & calling

Choosing a career, and working to become successful at it.



Finances & investments

Creating and maintaining the financial resources we need to stay comfortable and to support us in our life's path.

Collective-Interior, spirit:

Relationships & marriage

Building intimate relationships that are loving, enriching, and encourage growth. 



Sexuality & sensuality

Developing an intimate, meaningful, and fulfilling sexual relationship. Learning to appreciate the sensory experiences of the world we live in.



Family & children

Creating a strong, loving family and raising children who are happy, healthy, and well-adjusted.



Friendships & community

Developing strong, mutually-supportive communities, and establishing healthy friendships.



Society & culture

Contributing to and helping to create a healthy, just society and an enriching culture.

Individual-Interior, self / shadow:

Spirituality & personal development

Working to grow as a person, become more conscious, and attain higher stages of development.



Emotional processing & psychological health

Establishing, maintaining and enhancing our psychological health and emotional stability.



Values & worldview

Considering our philosophical positions on what is most important to us.

This breaks down the four important life areas into individual lines, so that we can refine our efforts more precisely.

Here's a cartoon.


Dave Roel.

We are the fruit of our past and we are the architects of our future.
- Matthieu Ricard

Monday, December 23, 2013

Interrelating goals

First, understand that you have chosen to make your life happy, healthy and balanced in a self-sustaining and honorable way. Second, understand that there will be fear. Overcome it. Third, get clear on your goals. Fourth, progress on your goals at the rate of 1% per week. Fifth, find others who will help you, assist you in your efforts. Sixth, stay motivated through love and faith. Seventh, teach others your path.

Every one of your goals interrelates with the others. For instance, your physical health gives you more energy to devote to your work and your relationship. A good, stable career contributes to a good relationship and assists you in maintaining your health. A good relationship gives you the emotional stability to be effective at your career, and motivates you to exercise. Every one of our important areas is connected to every other one.

Visualize your goals in each area, morning and night, in this way. Slowly breathe, and visualize them. Implant them in the deepest core of your being. Commit to these goals with every level of your consciousness. Particularly your inner child, and your inner elder, the part of you that is still age five, and the part of you that is the eighty (or ninety?) year old you will be. Connect your promise and commitment to these goals to those parts of you.

You might consider doing a visualization implanting while working out; visualization implanting during a cardio session or some yoga moves can be very powerful. (But be careful; some yoga moves and much strength training require full concentration.)


Dave Roel.
It's not that some people have willpower and some don't. It's that some people are ready to change and others are not.
- James Gordon

Friday, December 20, 2013

Things to keep in mind

Failure is always going to happen in our efforts. Instead of resisting it, yield to it and allow it, and bounce back from it. Fail upward.

As we progress, we will need resources. Some people try to manage and control the resources they need themselves. This can be done to a certain degree, but it's less efficient than pulling the resources as needed from the existing world.

Take risks. Safety is important, but taking risks is how you learn and grow.

Keep both micro and macro in mind. The system is important as well as the individual objects in it.

A map is best used as an orientation device.

Find others who are smarter than you.

Everyone has something you don't know.

Be ready and willing to adjust what you're doing upon new information, or for a new situation.

The bottom line is always results. Results are what matter.

There are no prizes for following the rules.

Don't confuse education for learning.

Here's a cartoon.


Dave Roel.
Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
- Joseph Addison

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The middle way

One of the best things I’ve ever heard is that life is a balance between too much and too little. The dose makes the poison. Anything can be beneficial or detrimental to us — it just depends on the amount. Too much or too little light, heat, nutrients, human contact, work, money, exercise, etc. Everything can be a cause of distress if we get too much or too little of it. For everything, we need to exist in a medium zone between the two extremes.

That can lead to some crazy justifications, of course. Some things are terrible for you in any amount, and some things you will never have to worry about getting too much of. Don’t be crazy. Be honest in your judgement. If you have trouble with that, find others who are trustworthy to help you with your judgement.

Struggle and effort makes us grow. If everything were fine and comfortable, we would never grow. There needs to be some resistance, in order to encourage growth. But if there’s too much hardship, too much difficulty, the system can be overwhelmed. Defeat is a possibility. Use judgement. Know what is too much and too little.

I wonder if they would ever do a story where they reveal that in every regeneration, the Doctor takes the appearance and brain structure of someone, an actual person, living or possibly dead, adopting that person’s appearance and brain patterns. That would explain the differences in personalities, temperaments, and even accents. I‘m probably not the first one to think of this.


Dave Roel.
We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world.
- Helen Keller

Monday, December 16, 2013

Guiding principles

Honesty. Live your life by honesty, starting with honesty toward yourself. Do not fool yourself about how much you've worked out this week, or how much bad food you've eaten. Do not establish dishonesty in your relationships. Very slowly, tiny dishonesties build up, and can lead to miscommunications, resentments, selfishness, etc. Eventually, relationships can be eroded with such abuse of trust. In business, you can usually only cheat someone once. Long-term money can be made by repeatedly dealing with people who can trust you.

Love. Love must start with yourself. If you do not love yourself, you will not maintain the effort necessary to move your life forward. Love is the motivator. Love encourages you to make a happy, healthy, successful life.

Persistence. Every day, work at improvement in career, health, relationships and psyche. Every day, exercise a little, every day, connect with your loved ones, every day look over your career goals and their plans for achievement. Every day is another day of training. The day you stop is the day you die.

Clarity. Be clear about your goals. Be clear about the body you want. Be clear about the relationship you want. Be clear about the career path you want. Find those who have accomplished those things. Talk to them. Learn the price. Decide if you're willing to pay it.

Balance. Don't attain success in one quadrant at the expense of the others. Health, career, relationships and self — all four, in balance.

Adopt these as your guiding principles and you will learn what is true about yourself.


Dave Roel.
Only in growth, reform, and change, paradoxically enough, is true security to be found.
- Anne Lindbergh

Friday, December 13, 2013

Helicopters on fire

A friend asked me if there was any way to pinpoint the moment of becoming conscious, of becoming awakened. It's true that satori experiences are very much part of the great spiritual traditions. But enlightenment is difficult to define. Becoming aware to the reality of existence can happen in an instant, of course, but mostly it's an ongoing process, less of a linear progression.

Becoming conscious of one's own consciousness is an advanced state for someone to achieve, and takes a lot of self-work. It means being aware and critical of your own biases and assumptions. That's extremely hard work to do, but truly is the core of philosophy.

Philosophy is understanding, understanding self and other. Philosophy is valuing, judging, taking perspectives and attitudes and arranging them in a particular configuration.

If things continue, what is the likely result? What is likely to happen in five years, ten years, twenty years, fifty years? Will things be better or worse? Does the world constantly get better? Does culture, politics, society, technology, etc., always get better? Will 2014 be better than 2013? Is there an app that will make everything better?

Our ideas of what is better are bound to our culture and values. Is every advance of technology better? If I want to send you spam, for me, that is what is better.

Good can become bad, and eventually does. Don't lose hope. Bad eventually becomes good, too. Either way, there's little you can do to affect it. It’s an illusion to think otherwise.

Wouldn't a cartoon hit the spot right now?

Disassembled from Junaid Chundrigar on Vimeo.


Dave Roel.
If you want to go somewhere, it is best to find someone who has already been there.
- Robert Kiyosaki

Monday, December 9, 2013

The List

I've decided that over winter break, I'm going to watch TONS of movies and TV shows I've never seen (or finished) before, since we get AN ENTIRE MONTH OFF (I'm not used to this, obviously). When I tell people this, a lot of them seem to think it's topical, or shallow, or it'll rot my brain or whatever, but honestly it's something I'm interested in. Plus, it's only topical if you want it to be. Media is genuinely what you make of it.

Regardless, here's the list, in no particular order:

  • The Alien series (Alien, Aliens, maybe not Alien 3 because literally everyone I've asked has told me to skip it, Prometheus)
  • Taxi Driver
  • Twin Peaks
  • Fire Walk With Me
  • Blue Velvet
  • Mulholland Drive (yes, I am on a David Lynch binge)
  • Rome
  • Carnivale
  • Sons of Anarchy
  • Doctor Who-- the earlier seasons, i.e. 1-4
  • Star Trek: The Original Series
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • Trainspotting
  • 28 Days Later
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Raising Arizona
  • Fargo
  • Weekend
  • Lost in Translation
  • In the Mood for Love
  • The Matrix
  • The Fifth Element
  • Metropolis
  • Gone With the Wind
  • Melancholia
  • Battle Royale
  • Children of Men
  • Attack the Block
  • Mary & Max
  • Lars and the Real Girl
More suggestions are totally welcome! I have a tendency towards sci-fi and things with well-written dialogue, and sad/emotional movies are not at all a deterrent for me.

Stay classy,

Why bother?

I've had many people resist a lot of my philosophy, saying that there's no point in putting forward the effort to change one's life. Indeed, the amount of effort required is enormous. Why work towards getting oneself fit, why work so hard to get out of debt, why bother putting in the work needed to heal a bad marriage? What's the point?

Without the motivation, our attempts to improve ourselves will inevitably fizzle. It's true, the modern world has undermined many of the traditional pillars people have usually relied on. The modern world has become somewhat untethered to traditional values, where truth and meaning and values are somewhat up for grabs. This can be a good thing in some respects, but can also lead to a certain fatalism. Why bother? What's the point? Under the relentless assault the world gives us, a value-free ethic will be insufficient to maintain the continual forward press needed.

So why bother moving forward, improving, growing? Why bother if the universe is meaningless, if everything is going to end as dust anyway? Why bother putting forward such enormous amounts of work to improve and grow?

Because you love yourself.

And if you can’t say that, then you know what you have to work on.

Your own love of yourself will motivate you to continue to grow, live, improve, get better. It will give you the reason to continue the effort. You love yourself, and you deserve a life of happiness and fulfillment.

That’s why. You’re worth it.


Dave Roel.
You don’t get to choose how you are going to die. You can only decide how you are going to live.
- Joan Baez

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Finals are looming.

And yet I’m finding it really difficult to focus on, you know, actually studying and getting my work done, and all that stuff.

Fortunately, I already took one final yesterday and one online ages ago, so I only have one final this week plus a group project/presentation due Friday. Guess which one I find more difficult.

The worst part is that it’s for a class that’s all about small group dynamics. I’ve learned a lot about them in theory, and it does make sense-- communication really is the key to everything, and most people abhor group projects for that exact reason. This also means that the usual excuses where group projects are concerned won’t be acceptable at all. My dad swears it’s, like, an essential life ability, but it’s difficult for me to take it seriously in a class setting. Since I want to be an urban planner, there’s going to be a lot of “group work” in my future, but I think that’s different. In a professional field, I’m sure everyone will be on roughly the same page in terms of knowledge about the subject and general goals, and that’s definitely a start. I think.

In any case, our project is on media as communication and I’ve sort of taken that in the direction of media representation, since that’s something I’m totally interested in. It’s a subject that’s so hard to break down into a small research paper-- which we, collaboratively, have to write-- because it’s so nebulous and a lot of things that seem basic to me (feminism 101, you might say) have to be explained and put in context before I can move onto my actual argument.

That said, I’ve discovered-- or rediscovered, in this case-- some really interesting documentaries in the process of researching my topic. I’ve watched Killing Us Softly for three different classes now and while I don’t agree with everything Jean Kilbourne says-- she seems to really take issue with plastic surgery and skinnier body types and I think that gets a little weird, but that’s a completely different story-- I think it’s a really fantastic breakdown of how advertising influences us socially. Each time I watch it, it has a different impact on me.

It’s only 45 minutes long, and regardless of whether or not you’re interested in it, you should watch at least part of it! Mainly because media influences all of us in ways we don’t really expect, and it’s good to be aware of that influence.

Here it is, for your convenience:

Stay classy,


Friday, December 6, 2013

Artists in the quadrants

In his book, Making Comics, Scott McCloud created a chart categorizing artists according to four intentions — what artists are most interested in, in creating art. His categories are:


The Formalist is interested in examining the boundaries of an art form, stretching them, exploring what the form is capable of. The Formalist is interested in experimenting, turning the form upside-down and inside-out, moving in new, bold, untried directions, inventing and innovating. Formalists are the cutting edge, the avant-garde, the ones willing to break tradition and established ways. Strict narrative or craft is not as important as trying something new and unexpected, playing with and breaking traditional concepts, getting to the heart of understanding what art itself is.

Individual - Objective - Artistry-first - Revolution-based  




The Classicist is the artist who focuses on beauty, craftsmanship, and a tradition of excellence and mastery. The esthetic experience of the art is what is important. Art is meant to move and affect an audience, deliver an emotional experience. Classicists strive to perfect their craft in order to produce the most effective work possible.

Collective - Objective - Artistry-first - Tradition-based




The Animist is devoted to the content of art, above all else. The Animist's goal is telling the story, conveying the message, as directly as possible. All the craft in art is in service to the delivery of the content. The goal of art is to effectively deliver its content, with as little that distracts from that job as possible.

Collective - Subjective - Representation-first - Tradition-based




The Iconoclast is interested in portraying raw, human experience in as honest and authentic a way as possible. Art is to hold a mirror to reality, and show the audience the hard, painful truths of existence. The Iconoclast resists pandering, comforting indulgences, or diluting the art, considering that to be selling out. Artistic integrity is critically important to Iconoclasts. Beauty, craft, and standard narrative may be cast aside in pursuit of the expression of the truth of human emotion.

Individual - Subjective - Representation-first - Revolution-based

Here are some examples, mapped onto the quadrants:

Here's Scott McCloud giving a talk where he presents his chart. (It's at 5:10 - 6:55.)

Here’s a cartoon!

Planet Four from Andy Martin on Vimeo.


Dave Roel.
All cultures impose conformity. Yet all benefit from the contribution of their marginal personalities — those who do not fit the mold.
- Howard Bloom

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Top 5 Psychedelic Bands

1.Pink Floyd- I am a gigantic Pink Floyd fan. When people think of Floyd they generally are reminded of the cover of Dark Side of the Moon or The Wall. I like to make it clear to people that when I talk about Pink Floyd I'm referring to the old material when the main creative force Syd Barrett was around. They are pioneers of space rock which is a sub-genre that includes many alien and robotic sounds to make the music trippy.

2. The Incredible String Band- This group is my favorite band. My reasoning for this is their very eclectic style was always changing throughout their active years. The band's creative minds are Robin Williamson and Mike Heron. This band isn't considered psychedelic in a traditional sense, but for the people that know psychedelic music, they are considered to have a psychedelic flavor.

3. Spacemen 3- This has definitely got to be one of the strangest names on this list. Spacemen 3 is a group from the late 1980s that specialize in having almost all their songs blend into one another and using very complex synthesizers and electronics to create their sound. The members went on to start other groups such as Spiritualize and E.A.R. (Experimental Audio Research)

4. 13th Floor Elevators- The leader of this band, Roky Ercikson, coined the term psychedelic rock in 1963. They are considered one of the first psychedelic bands to ever have existed. They're from Austin, Texas. They achieve their psychedelic sound by having one guy with a microphone make trippy noises into a bucket. Other groups that Roky Erikson started were, Bleib Alien, Roky Erickson And the Aliens, and he also recorded an album with Okkervil River.

5.Animal Collective- Animal Collective is probably the most mainstream and only band on this list that is still actively making music. They create some of the most beautiful sounds acoording to the psychedlic listeners, but can be considered hard to listen to by people that aren't familiar with the genre.

How can I find the time?

But with all the stuff I have to do, how can I possibly find the time to work on all four quadrants?

You can find the time to do something on your goals in all four quadrants, every day. It might be no more than five minutes for some of them, but you can do something in each quadrant, every day. Every day, tell your friends and family and significant others that you care about them. Every day — just a small note will do. Every day, work on your studies, or on increasing your employment prospects. Every day, do something for your health, maybe as small as a five minute morning stretch, or some very light yoga. Every day, do a small meditation / breathing session / centering routine.

If you do have the time, you can of course do much more extensive work — a full workout session, a full evening out with friends or family, independent reading of a book about your eventual line of work, etc. If you manage your time well, you can accomplish a great deal.

But you can also accomplish much with just the minimum of five minutes in each quadrant. Work towards improvement at a rate of 1% per week. This week, commit to doing 1% better in each quadrant this week than you did last week. This week, become 1% healthier, 1% more loving, 1% further on your career path, etc. And next week, another 1%. It seems like a small effort, but keep at it — those 1%s add up!


Dave Roel.
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.
- Leon C. Megginson

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Almost There

We're ending the semester and my first semester here could not be better. I love the campus, the people and all the new knowledge I'm learning. I got to sing in a choir for the first time, learned how to write a standard college essay, and was introduced to a great deal of new music.

I hope everybody isn't stressing too much about finals or studying for them. I've developed a strategy for balancing my study time with class. It can be a little difficult, but you do what you have to in order to make it work. I usually study in the library in between classes where it wouldn't be worth it to go home. I get a lot of work done this way because sometimes I have over two hours in between.

Other than the library there is many different alternatives. Sometimes I like to sit in the grass outside the campus and get my work done there. I feel like being in the outdoors helps me get my work done faster. Sometimes I will go to the park across the street from campus and study there. One great thing about Fullerton College is all the great areas they have to study, hang out, and various other activities.

My registration date is on Thursday and I have to come up with something in order to get it done. My registration date and time is the exact same time that my math class starts. My teacher is strict about electronic devices and I don't like bringing my laptop to school for obvious reasons. I have to come up with something like finding all the classes I need and have someone do it for me.

Stay Fly

Monday, December 2, 2013

'Tis the Season

Pointing out the irony of the fact that Thanksgiving and Black Friday occur consecutively has certainly been beaten to death, but the irony is increasingly striking to me as more people actually, literally DIE on Black Friday as a result of the shopping frenzies.

(Of course, when people do point this out, they often fail to mention that Thanksgiving did not go down quite the way most history bookssay it did, but the general sentiment of the holiday still stands.)
Wal-Marts in particular seem to host a pretty substantial amount of fatalities-- every year since I can remember, somebody-- usually a worker-- has died at Wal-Mart during Black Friday. For which I'm sure there are all kinds of explanations, but most stores, at minimum, experience a shockingly rude flurry of customers who treat the retail workers with even more contempt and disregard than usual. And they think it's excusable, or expected, or justified by virtue of the fact that the employees are paid to handle them.

My roommate recently started working at Old Navy, and she considers this past Black Friday to be the worst experience she's ever had. Which says a lot. But I can hardly blame her-- she was barely paid minimum wage to spend at least eight hours attempting to assist customers who screamed demands at her, or deliberately made a mess of the store in front of her with the assumption that she would clean up after them, or, on one occasion, physically tried to pull store equipment out of her hands because she apparently hadn't gotten the customer's clothes quickly enough.

That said, this kind of behavior isn't limited to Black Fridays, but it's certainly more frequent. And egregious.

Considering the literal mobs.

But I think it should make people appreciate service workers even just a little bit more, especially since they're so undervalued despite doing the work nobody else wants to do for barely a living wage.

Something to think about.

Stay classy,


Adding levels to the quadrants

We know that everything progresses developmentally. The progression of development can be broken down into identifiable stages, or levels. There are hundreds of developmental systems in the world, of course. Let's see if we can apply some useful developmental models to our four quadrants of health, career, relationships and self/shadow.
For the progression of physical fitness, I use Steve Barnes's Four Dimensional Performance Pyramid.
For the progression of career, I use William Torbert and Susanne Cook-Greuter's Developmental Action Inquiry.
For the progression of relationships, I use Knapp's Relationship Development Model.
For the progression of the self, I use Jane Loevinger's Stages of Ego Development.
With the addition of levels, we have added a useful dimension to our map, the stage progression of each quadrant — mind, body, spirit and self.


Dave Roel.
The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.
- Carl Jung