A bunch of thoughts (Old Guy Introspection)

Thinking deeply about what goes on in (my) life is something I’d always done…

It can be arduous for sure…borderline painful at times but In the words of Popeye “I am who I am”

Earlier this month my wife and I were blessed with the birth of our fourth grandchild. When the text came announcing this surreal milestone…pure joy came to mind (no need whatsoever for deep thinking)…later on “sobering” raced right in there and now GRATEFUL. 

I’ll spare details of the birth of our first two grandkids except to say they were incredibly challenging (scary) events for our family…each time I think about them my deepest thoughts always come back to GRATITUDE! 

This is a note about GRATITUDE written of course to you because you have been a part of my life and journey to this day in March of 2024 as well as to my grandkids.

I don’t know of course if you or they will ever read it though…in light of the fact we “miss 100% of the shots we don’t take” here goes the elder guy’s thoughts…


If you’re reading this you have the single greatest gift one could ask for…

A chance to play! The opportunity to be in the game on this day…an opportunity denied to many!

If you agree, what’s next is a (deeper thinking) question…

What do we do with these minutes?

How do we maximize, optimize, learn, grow, share, contribute to ourselves and those around us?

As an example…what do you do after any sort of interaction with another? Whether friend, colleague, client, potential client, barista at Peets I find myself thinking about the interaction…

Who said what to whom? How was it said? Was it genuine or simply passing? I think about them and absolutely myself…my own overall vibe/demeanor. 

How did I get to that place? Why did they get to their place? Was there a way…any way to make the interaction more of a “win” for either of us?

The other day, after listening to a gent named Perry Marshall talk about AI (Chat GPT, Claude etc) some deep thoughts led me to the conclusion and then self described myself as…

The “Anti AI Guy”…even changing  my LinkedIn title to reflect this new/old thinking. (It was a wee bit of a bold move in these days of social media and one for which I’m already taking some good-natured flak from friends but oh well)

(Back to Popeye) I am who I am and believe deeply in the ever-present ongoing need WE each have for CONNECTION in real-time. Of course there’s a place for technological growth and of course (AI) has the opportunity to add to the human condition but so do each of us…today and each day we have the chance to play!

Grandkids (and of course you) if you’re reading this… 

PLEASE consider questioning and thinking deeply about your own reality, objectivity (or lack thereof). Ask yourself “why” your thinking is your thinking and then ask “why” again and even again!

PLEASE question and think deeply about the positive or negative impact and outcomes YOUR REALITY generates.

I’ve learned learning is available almost everywhere and all of the time so…

I do my level best to sift through, think about and explore things other people do or say that really impress (or discourage me)…genuinely consider perspectives they praise…ones I may have never considered, appreciated, or valued.

At the same time, I’m trying to understand, appreciate, and acknowledge the “atmospheric conditions” in their lives…we don’t know what we don’t know! 

While perfection continues to escape me I am resolute to do all I can to adapt, adjust, reconcile my thinking and perspectives with theirs because…

Like you…I have a chance to play today and want to be better this day than yesterday.

As an husband, father, grandfather, brother, entrepreneur, friend and member of the human race I’d like to 

  • Have more humility, show more empathy, have more respect 
  • I want to improve/grow both intellectually, and in my appreciation for the human condition.
  • I want to (with purpose), review/replay in my brain the events, actions, and communications I’ve had and continue to have…determining along the way the good, bad and ugly of my own actions…along with the same thinking and filters of others I’ve crossed paths with (at any time!)  
  • I want to stop doing things that aren’t me or who I really aspire to be… improving my strengths…managing/controlling my weaknesses all the while.
  • The “Anti AI Guy” wants to learn how to CONNECT better, COMMUNICATE better, APPRECIATE better, ENJOY better, INSPIRE better, LIVE AND LOVE better… family, spouse and beyond

Perfection escapes us all. I’ve mentioned my own lack of it earlier…my Dad spoke of it often. Springsteen sang “there’s just a meanness in this world” which is also true!

At this very moment in time the world is imposing on us a more devastating, heartbreaking, frustrating, deluge of hatred and polarization than I’ve ever seen…and I’m hardly young! There have been lines drawn in the sand by us all…

WE all now gotta find a way to erase and cross those lines. If not they will turn from being drawn in the sand to etched in stone…this is hardly a desired result!

Earlier today and once last week I was listening to a woman discuss “imposter syndrome”

Nothing is all inclusive though I’d say at our core, we’re all probably a bit like scared little kids…huffing and puffing up our chests…trying to fake through our lives. Some of us possess more genuine goodness and appeal than others but I want to better celebrate people for all they are, all they try to be.

Once again…evil exists of course! There’s no escaping it…it’s ugly, wretched nature has no bounds…WE all must do all WE can to fight those on that path…if WE want a better place for our lives.

“Think globally, act locally” was a phrase from my youth which I’ll apply here…

At the end of the day, in the final (actually ever-evolving) analysis…

WE (you, me and all civil folks) gotta strive to continually grow better, whatever “better” means to you!

Channeling Coach John Wooden now…it’s all about “reps”

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition 

When you start practicing introspective reflection, chances are…two pretty powerful things will happen:

First of which is…it will be hard…like working out any muscle dormant for a while.

Similarly…it will become easier…ultimately more enjoyable…enlightening and enriching too.

Chances are you’ll begin to see yourself in a different light…if you really are honoring this “chance to play” then play…

Understanding who we are and how we are…questioning our beliefs, limitations, values and our WHYs can be sobering though at the same time instructive…removing us step by step from any level of “imposter syndrome” we may have banging around in our brains.

Would it be a bad thing for yourself, those you love, your co-workers, staff and/or those with whom you share the highways of your life if your listening skills improved?

Would it be a bad thing for you (and those same folks listed above) if your ability to CONNECT, communicate and show genuine empathy exceeded the levels where they have been hanging out?

Once again…there are some bad, bad apples lurking around this planet though…

I do not believe they represent anything close to the majority of us. We are all human and since the days we lived in caves have essentially the same human needs…

We want to be seen, deserve respect, made to feel relevant and treated with dignity. 

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it

“Win the day” kids! 

One at a time!


P.S. (To quote Sir Issac Newton), never be afraid to “stand on the shoulders of giants”. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed ever to learn from others whose lessons are timeless. I did for this letter and do often otherwise

P.P.S. Dan Sullivan a very smart, innovative, respected author, thinker and coach said: 

“We retire old machinery, we retire old clothing, and we retire old ideas when they’ve stopped serving a purpose … and we retire ourselves for the same reason. In our current economy, however, purpose and age have very little to do with one another, except that lack of purpose makes you age faster.”

Back in June of 2020 I “retired” from my decades long career in executive search. As I counseled countless others during and since we can all do more, be more, CONNECT more, find other ways to serve more…to live life “on purpose”.

My email address remains: barry@bckassociates.com