July 2021


David Mamet, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, award-winning screenwriter, and renowned film director, teaches the art of dramatic writing in this Masterclass.

David Mamet was born in 1947 and raised in Chicago, Illinois. He attended Goddard College in
Vermont, graduating in 1969 with a degree in English literature but considers the Chicago Public
Library his alma mater. A prolific dramatist, David won the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1984
for Glengarry Glen Ross and earned a reputation for writing working-class characters and for his
trademark dialogue. In 1985, David and actor William H. Macy founded the Atlantic Theater
Company, an off-Broadway nonprofit theater. To date, he has written 36 plays, 29 screenplays, 17
books, and directed 11 films.

In The Sociopath Next Door, Dr. Martha Stout highlighted various ways of identifying a sociopath and Thirteen Rules for Dealing with Sociopaths in Everyday Life. In Outsmarting the Sociopath Next Door, She uncovers the psychology behind the sociopath’s methods and provides concrete guidelines to help navigate these dangerous interactions. 

Sociopaths are human beings who look like everyone else—so well camouflaged that their true nature may have gone unrecognized for years or even decades.

You are free to choose whatever action you want to take in life but you are not free from the consequences of your actions.

Sixteenth-century English Mathematician and Physicist Sir Isaac Newton theorized in his 3rd law of motion that “For every action, there is an equal (in size) and opposite (in direction) reaction. It is this action-reaction force that makes it possible for cars to move along a roadway surface. Every one of our actions has consequences, good or bad – Our habits, words, thoughts, affirmations, etc. You are free to choose whatever action you want to take in life, but you are not free from the consequences of your actions.

 Like in real life, our actions have consequences: If you work hard, what is hard will eventually work, but you will be cut short if you take shortcuts. What you give in life is what you get back, garbage in, garbage out; if you give out a positive, radiant, optimistic outlook, people would mostly reciprocate by being cheerful. Whether it is working hard, training relentlessly to master your craft, setting healthy boundaries, or getting things done. Actions always have consequences. If you cannot pay the price, you can not win the prize.

You cannot play with the animal in you without becoming wholly animal, play with falsehood without forfeiting your right to truth, play with cruelty without losing your sensitivity of mind. He who wants to keep his garden tidy doesn’t reserve a plot for weeds. – Dag Hammarskjöld

The more stuff you own, the more your stuff owns you.

Blogger Joshua Becker shares strategies, tools, and insights for becoming minimalist. In the more of less, he offers a plan for living more by owning less. Joshua writes “Not only are my possessions not bringing happiness into my life; even worse, they are actually distracting me from the things that do!”

Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from them. It’s for everyone who wants more out of less.”

Bibliotherapy (also referred to as book therapy, poetry therapy, or therapeutic storytelling) is a creative arts therapies modality that involves storytelling or reading specific texts with the purpose of healing.

I recently stumbled on the concept of bibliotherapy while I was reading David Burns Book, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy. Burns referenced five studies in which researchers studied the effects of reading a good self-help book without any other form of therapy. He wrote:

“True freedom is being without anxiety about imperfection.—Sixth-century Zen master Sengchan

Zen Buddhist monk Haemin Sunim argues that by only accepting yourself–and the flaws that make you who you are–can you have compassionate and fulfilling relationships with your partner, your family, and your friends. Love for Imperfect Things shows how the path to happiness and peace of mind includes not only strong relationships with others but also letting go of worries about ourselves.

Mindfulness is the practice of purposely bringing one’s attention to the present moment without judgment, a skill one develops through meditation or other training. The need to stay mindful and present can not be over-emphasized in our present age of always-on, tweet, sharing, and clicking world. We are busy doing nothing, running, chasing fame, the thrill and dopamine rush of vanity metrics such as likes, retweets, reshares, material things and we forget to stay in the moment, focus on the here and now. Mindfulness enables us to stay on the focused on what really matter.

A pioneer of the Western mindfulness movement, Jon Kabat-Zinn has spent more than 40 years studying, teaching, and advocating the benefits of mindfulness. In his MasterClass, he teaches you how to cultivate a mindfulness practice, reduce your stress, and soothe your thoughts with meditation and movement.

In Asian languages, the word for ‘mind’ and the word for ‘heart’ are same. So if you’re not hearing mindfulness in some deep way as heartfulness, you’re not really understanding it. Compassion and kindness towards oneself are intrinsically woven into it. You could think of mindfulness as wise and affectionate attention. – Jon Kabat-Zinn

According to Dr. Martha Stout in her thought-provoking book, The Sociopath Next Door: “About one in twenty-five individuals are sociopathic, meaning, essentially, that they do not have a conscience.” The Sociopaths are roaming among us and they do not have a label on their head saying they are sociopaths. They could be your colleague, your neighbor, spouse, child, parents, siblings, lovers, or even you.

 4 percent of ordinary people—one in twenty-five—has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. 

Martha Stout’s 13 Rules for Dealing with Sociopaths in Everyday Life

There are more sociopaths among us than people who suffer from the much-publicized disorder of anorexia, four times as many sociopaths as schizophrenics, and one hundred times as many sociopaths as people diagnosed with a known scourge such as colon cancer.

We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people—one in twenty-five—has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in twenty-five everyday Americans, therefore, is secretly a sociopath. They could be your colleague, your neighbor, even family. And they can do literally anything at all and feel absolutely no guilt.

“4 percent of the general population has antisocial personality disorder (ASPD, sociopathy, or psychopathy).”

Social Media is a means of interaction among people that facilitate the creation/sharing of information, ideas, career interests, insights, and other forms of expression across virtual communities and networks.

Social Media is by far one of the greatest innovations in the past 50 years and, like any invention, can be used for advancement or used for unintended purposes or consequences. For instance, Nuclear Energy can be used to electrify communities, or it can be used to create atomic bombs; books can change your mindset (Think and Grow Rich) or can be read/written to cause harm (Hitler’s Main Kampf or Karl Marx’s Das Kapital). Social Media is a great source of joy, entertainment; we meet most of our friends and even get married through the platforms, business empires have been built, and great ideas exchanged, careers built, hobbies formed and nurtured.

One in six smartphone users say it would make them uncomfortable to miss a day’s updates on social media.

 Kintsugi Wellness is based on the philosophies of Japanese life and is organized into four parts: Strengthen, Nourish, Lifestyle, and Heart. At the core of Kintsugi Wellness is Self-Care, we are all broken but we can embrace our imperfections through self-acceptance, self-love, and self-care.

“In Japan, rituals are an important part of everyday life. These practices are prompts that remind you of what’s important, and ground you in the present while honoring the past.”

Until you are broken you don’t know what you’re made of.—Ziad K. Abdelnour

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. It is similar to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, an embracing of the flawed or imperfect.

We don’t ship the work because we’re creative. We’re creative because we ship the work.

The Practice is based on the Akimbo Creative Workshop pioneered by author Seth Godin. Seth insists that writer’s block is a myth, that consistency is far more important than authenticity, and that experiencing the imposter syndrome is a sign that you’re a well-adjusted human.

“The practice is there if we’re willing to sign up for it. And the practice will open the door to the change you seek to make.”

I am a super fan of Seth Godin’s work and from reading his very insightful books: Purple Cow, Unleashing the Ideavirus, Linchpin, The Dip, listening to his podcast (Akimbo), reading his blog, and his other great projects such as alt MBA. The book is a compilation of 219 nuggets for creatives and writers.

“The practice doesn’t care when you decide to become an artist. What simply matters is that you decide. Whether or not your mom is involved in the decision.”