Making Progress….

This last week for at least the 439th time in my life, I have taken stock, rearranged priorities and set new goals. The occasion? I turned 76. Not a day for panic or euphoria but introspection. I have always found it good for the soul. 

In doing so, I have to look at my world around me. It would be foolhardy to consider it anything other than pretty nice. I need to lose a few pounds but that is inherent in any of my refits. I want to shave a few shots off my handicap. I want to get more involved in outside projects. I want to try to be a better husband, father and friend. But why?

Aha! We now talk about a thing called progress. Defined as: a forward or onward movement toward destination or goal. If you get there, it is a sense of achievement. If you fail, you are miserable. Why take the chance ? Why not just chill? Interesting stuff.

Personally I would be lost without something to shoot for. If I just sit around and read at least I hope I am learning something. If I lay down, my crazy mind is still processing dozens of thoughts looking for my next insight into this or that. Can I go comatose in front of the TV? Of course, but that is just a passing fancy. I really like being on the move and dying to get absorbed into something. 

Now I do believe in living in the moment. I can’t take back what happened 30 seconds ago. I have no idea what the hell tomorrow will bring but at least I have the expectation that there will be something new to learn or enjoy. And that is what keeps me motivated. 

Here in Fla La Land there are some who think I am nuts. Of course several of you will quickly rejoinder that is not only the Sunshine State. But many just want to exist. Their life by their standards is perfect. Don’t know what tomorrow will bring and I don’t really care. If it is you, I would probably stop reading right now.

I can understand this happening to the mega rich. When you have a billion why do you need another one?  Why do you need one more house, hot car or toy? I guess because it says you can. The hunt, the fight and the thrill of victory are intoxicating. Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett et al have found other uses for their energy and the world is a better place. Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk? The jury is still out. 

Our country is torn by inequality. Wealth, race, gender etc. But compared to what? In charting our progress we seem to rely on the metrics of wealth or fame. Who wouldn’t with a non stop barrage of ads saying you have to be this thin, this successful, this white or black to make the grade. It’s natural but does that make it normal?

Progress needs to be achievable but challenging. I go to the gym and someone says, I wish I could do that. Boy, Ted I wish I had your energy or your ability to write. Ted, you seem to have so much fun, how do you do that? I think you all know that I don’t have anything special. It is right there inside each one of us. Make your goals your own, not someone else’s. 

Probably a goal we all share is to be happy, which of course begs the question what is that?

I have searched for that definition for a long time. Contentment? That’s not bad but it still leaves me a little restless. I think I just want to matter. I want to feel I can contribute and in some small way be recognized for that. At some point in time maybe someone would say I am nice guy. I am not holding my breath on that just yet. 

When am I happiest? When I am making someone else feel good. Somehow, some way I made their life a little better. It could be at the gym or a gas station. A smile, a handshake (whoops I violated COVID protocol) and maybe even a hug. It doesn’t take much. 

I was able to finally return to hospice volunteering  after being shut out for one whole year. I know this sounds weird but I couldn’t wait to walk through those doors. The nurses and staff are some of my best friends. In an instant I met a large family whose patriarch was dying. We clicked and became close in a matter of minutes. There was an openness and honesty that was palpable. There wasn’t time to be wary and calculating. Maybe it’s life as it should be? 

I felt I was moving forward. I was so much luckier than before I walked in there. I was a fuller person if that makes any sense. I think I figured it out. Forget about my weight or my golf game or glass of fine  wine. Look at yourself as the benchmark,TTG. Tell your friends. Maybe a snippet here or there will help them. Not a bad goal to have. Progress? You bet!

As always 

Ted The Great


Reimagining happiness is almost hard-wired into Americans’ DNA, said Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside. “Human beings are remarkably resilient. There’s lots and lots of evidence that we adapt to everything. We move forward,” Here’s hoping!

When people are down they are less giving. When they give a lot they are more up. Go figure!

Less than 14% of the people in the United States say they are happy. That is down from 31% in 2018. Only 31% before all this mess?

7 Steps to Make Progress Towards Life Goals

  1. Determine Why You Want to Move Forward in Life. …
  2. Be Okay with Where and Who You Currently are in Life. …
  3. Strive Within Your Circle of Influence. …
  4. Stay Reflective During the Process. …
  5. Accept the Possible Setbacks. …
  6. Celebrate Your Successes. …
  7. Take Time to Enjoy the Amazing Result of Your Journey

      Sounds like a plan.

A Man Walks Into A Bar…..

And shoots everyone…. What seems like an intro to a classic joke turns out to be a tragic outcome. It could be a bar, a church or a super market. The most sanguine of locations sets the stage for slaughter. Once a rarity, it is now an all too common part  of our lives. 

People say how sad and move on. Adaption or aquiescence? Maybe if I ignore it, the aberration will just go away. We fail to dig down and find out what is causing this in some madman. Is that capacity for hate and anger endemic to all of us or just the few? 

At birth we have the capacity for both aggression and empathy. We are imbued with a sense of survival but also a desire for connection. We are by nature social animals. We want to love and be loved.The outcome of good or evil is a learned trait. 

 It is great to be part of a group, a town, a state, country and of course a fan of our favorite team. It is ignominy to be an outsider. If someone moves into our neighborhood we are welcoming but wary. Are they going to be one of “our kind” of people or are they going to try to turn my wonderful little life upside down? I get defensive and maybe angry. I could even hate that person if it goes far enough. 

Let’s start with that getting pissed off thing. Psychologists will tell you rage is caused by an event, a feeling you are not valued or the grandaddy of them all, injustice. Somebody cuts you off in traffic and you flip them the bird. What might have been simple faux pas gets to the point of road rage. 

Overlooked as inconsequential or shunned by your peers you are hurt to the core. Your Rodney Dangerfield moment where you don’t get no respect. What am I chopped liver? Some are hurtful and some are downright nasty in their putdowns. It’s what we do as we revel in “gotcha” moments. 

The cause of the day, year or decade is injustice. No matter how hard to you try to be reasonable you are convinced you have been screwed. It could be your status in life, your position in the company or just a series of failures that you blame on anyone else but your self. Some right. Some wrong. 

I get nailed for a drug charge and get sent away for forty years. A rich kid with a great lawyer pleads it down to a misdemeanor. Better yet I am arrested for trafficking when my customer was a rich kid from the burbs in his BMW. Does that sound just to you?

The world is against me because I am black, gay, muslim, Jewish handicapped etc. Many of these are not imaginative but real. Racism, sexism, ageism are there no matter how hard we deny it. I hate to tell you but the world is not fair. The bigger question is should it be?

Now I am a white male in a golf community with decent resources. I can opine on how hard work got me here but I would be stretching things a tad. A member of the “Lucky Sperm” club? You bet. A stable home life to grow up in? Check. Good schools? Yes. Good student? Maybe. 

Yes,I did have to have my wits about me and fend for myself on more than one occasion. Did I take chances? Of course. And yes it could have gone horribly wrong. Did unfair things happen to me? Sure. But people weren’t shooting up my neighborhood all night long? Was my father a drunk who came home and beat the crap out of my mother and siblings? Thank God that’s a no. .

My point is this. Don’t say you have experienced all of the above unless you have. I feel your pain is a bit theatrical. Have you really walked hundreds of miles to a border with your wife and three kids so as not to get killed or raped in your own hometown? Until you have been totally destitute, don’t be so quick to judge and dismiss.

But as in almost any disagreement, this is really a fine edge to be defined. There are two sides to the immigration story. Ditto racism et al. The needle bounces all over the place trying to find true north. And herein lies why we can’t make any progress. 

We are a highly competitive nation. We like to win. As a country, an athlete, a parent or a person. The opposite of competition is cooperation. But If I cooperate today I am seen as weak and yielding. You can’t compromise your position. Do not yield the high ground. Stick to your guns and sadly we have taken that literally. This can only go so far. 

The last time we had any cooperation across all party lines was 9/11. We were one and we were even one with most of the world. We shared and hugged and cried as one. We were partners. A friend told me one time that partnerships were wonderful until one side or the other feels they are being screwed. We got back to looking out for ourselves and the romance was over. 

We are at juncture and I don’t see the way out. Whether it is the US vs China or Russia or whites vs blacks or liberals vs conservative we have lain down the gauntlet. People are angry. People are disgusted. Empathy for the other side is a hard to find commodity. 

It will probably take something pretty bad once again to make us come together and collaborate. It might be global warming. When things get so desperate there is no other way whatsoever. It might be mass killings on such a scale that even the coldest soul has to take heed. I just hope and pray the guy walks into the bar and the joke is not on us. 

As always

Ted The Great 


We concentrate on mass shootings and mental illness. It is shown however that of the 120,000 deaths due to guns only 7-8% are directly related to mental illness. It is somewhat bizarre that we concentrate on mass shootings that total of several hundred victims in a year but do not even consider the other thousands that don’t make the news. 

In fact over 80% of shooting deaths are committed by persons who have many of the problems that nearly everyone has to manage at some point in life: anger, isolation, depressive moods, resentments, jealousy.

Anger is a condition in all of us. It can create heartburn or be a motivating force. It can cause us to wallow in self pity or provide impetus to do better. It is many times valid. How we tame or control it is another question.

Self esteem is a personal estimate of one’s worth. China does not like its position in the world. It is hell bent on being number one to make up for the Century of Disgrace. If one is confident of their self esteem they are more open to new ideas and contrary thinking. If they are worried about their image they will do everything possible to protect their point of view.