The Lies You’ve Been Told About Grief: And a New Model to Replace It.

The Lies You've Been Told About Grief: And a New Model to Replace It.

The five stages of grief, or in some texts seven stages, seems to me, to be one of the biggest lies ever fed to us in modern psychology. This one size fits all idea that we follow this path which leads us to an end goal with us being in acceptance at the end. They even go so far as to apply this model to all forms of major trauma, death, dying, divorce, loss, and rejection.

So here are the traditional stages, the Kübler-Ross Model:
1. Denial
2. Anger
3. Bargaining
4. Depression
5. Acceptance

Here is a modification into the seven stages of grief:
1. Shock and Denial
2. Pain and Guilt
3. Anger and Bargaining
4. Depression, Reflection, and Loneliness
5. The Upward Turn
6. Reconstruction and Working Through
7. Acceptance and Hope

While Kübler-Ross came out later in life and said the stages could occur in any order and sometimes people do not go through all the stages, the stages had already taken hold as a standard. Even in its improved form, I find it to be an oversimplification of grief.

So here is my model of loss and grief, I’m calling it the Balance Beam Model:

On how well you stay on your balance beam:
Everyone is a gymnast, and we all have our balance beam, all of us have different skill levels of being able to stay on the beam, and in the speed of moving through wobbles or getting up from falls. Some of us are born, or work our way, to having lower and wider beams, where we can wobble more without falling or just not hurt ourselves as bad when we do fall. But the key is that we are functioning when we are on our balance beam.  This balance beam represents our baseline for the intensity of emotion we can handle before we “fall off” or “stumble” and we are barely functioning or are debilitated.

Things that knock you off balance:
I postulate that rather than having stages, people have their go-to methods of negative emotions, how they deal with adverse conditions. These rather than changing type just vary in intensity until they fall below your baseline, where they just are less noticeable, hidden away in your mind, allowing for logic and positive thinking to take hold. The longer the time that passes, the easier to not think about the event, but they never truly go away.  Old events can rear their heads in unexpected ways in the future and will do so without regards to stages.
How events interact and a visual model of how we deal with grief.

Click image to enlarge.


Please tell me what you think. Is your experience closer to the Kübler-Ross model? Or the Balance Beam model?

Using Your Brain Instead of Your Pain!

Using your brain instead of your pain: how to let logic triumph in a crazy world.
We are living in unique times, and emotions are running very hot lately.  Every headline is meant to be sensational, where all ideas on a topic no matter how obscure can be found in seconds, a world where anyone’s voice can be heard equally, and a place where everyone you know has access to all of this.  This is not a bad thing!  It does, however, take more work on the receiver’s part to discern truth from falsehood, things that are useful and those that will mislead all while keeping your cool.


You need to train yourself not to auto-disagree, or auto-agree based upon your personal biases.  When you hear or read something that treads into water you don’t know, take the time to validate it, now this goes for things that you agree or disagree with.   If in a face to face conversation I usually just say, that is interesting, and look it up later.  If I know the person the person likes being challenged and/or is open minded, I question and might even look it up with them.


Just because one thing is true does not make another related thing false.  For instance: 1. IQ is not a complete measure of a person, it does not measure how successful a person will be; nor is it a one size fits all approach to intelligence.   2. IQ does have consequence and is one of the few ways we can quantitatively measure changes and differences to mental aptitude.  Both are accurate.  It is important to understand more than one side of an argument.  Instead of dismissing something, read up, ask questions, maybe you will find out something you didn’t know, or at minimum better understand where someone is coming from.



Even good sources get it wrong or hold a bias.  This does not mean dismiss them entirely. You should never assume any source to be 100% accurate or free of bias, to do so frankly is a bit culty.  We are human; we make mistakes, we learn, we change.  Listen to opposing views, draw your own conclusions, if it matters to you seek out all angles of the issue.


Do real research.  This can be hard with everything that is out there.  I try to preference .gov and .org over others.  I like to read things on PubMed.  Wikipedia can be a helpful tool to lead you to where real data might be, and a well-researched topic usually has a plentiful source list.


Everyone gets emotional, don’t dismiss a person’s feelings.  I am a relatively logical person when you look at the emotional-logical balance.  However, I tend to get more emotional when someone does not hear my logic or they are acting irrationally.  This can be reversed for the more emotionally inclined, they just want to be heard and want their emotions validated because they are feeling bad, they don’t want to hear facts at that moment.  If tempers flare, it is often best just to pause and come back to the conversation later after trying to understand their position.  Also see: How to Fight Like a Pro: Conflict Resolution and Forgiveness.


This New Year, Don’t Make a Resolution, Make a Plan!

2017 is here and with that there is a surge of energy in many places, new gym memberships, traffic to personal growth sites, people putting off what they want or should be doing. Last night I sat with a few friends, my eldest son staying up for his first midnight ball drop, and the subject of New Year’s resolutions arose. The consensus was goals are good, the habit of waiting to achieve your goals till the new year and ultimately letting them die is bad.

Help you to be a better person today then you are yesterday.
Get oriented. They are for all holidays, all seasons, a continual path.
What help you obtain this growth.
Need to be well defined so you can track your progress and you know exactly what you must achieve.
Need to realistic, start low and ramp them up if you are doing very well.
Are not written in stone. Life changes, adjust, but make new goals don’t just abandon them.

I always have several irons in the fire at any given moment as my family is working hard now for our overarching goal of early financial freedom. We are doing this primarily through base income growth, building passive income through real estate, and giving ourselves flexibility and more options.

So here are my Preliminary 2017 Goals. What are yours? What do you think of resolutions?

2017 action plan

How to Fight Like a Pro! Conflict Resolution and Forgiveness

How to fight like a Pro! Conflict Resolution and Forgiveness.

You encounter conflict in many ways, ranging from the business place to at home, from your boss to your children.  Learning how to deal with that conflict is an important part of life.  We can either be the person in the yelling fight who loses respect from everyone involved, or we can be the person who can take an interaction and grow from it with both people leaving the interaction feeling heard.  It is your choice.  When people yell and argue no one wins.


1.  Listen.  Instead of yelling back or instantly coming up with a rebuttal or deflections, listen to what the other person is saying.  This does not mean bide your time thinking up retaliations or how they are wrong.  Just actively listen to them and let them know they are heard.


2.  Understand.  Take some time if you need.  Step away from the conversation to logically process if you feel like you are in a place of anger.  Next take note of outside influencers, is this person tired, hungry, or stressed?  We are not at our best when under those influences and those triggers can make us say things we would normally would not.  Next sort through the things that they said,  try to put yourself in their shoes and understand where they are coming from and what validity their stance may have.  What things are just a disagreement of opinion? Or are they genuinely wrong or misinformed?  Do research to help find the truth if needed.  Very rarely do you have a conflict where it is all one person’s fault or one person is %100 correct.

How to lose weight when you suck at it!

how to lose weight when you suck at it, also useful for other things you are bad at like finances. How to get the results you want! weight loss lose maintenance

how to lose weight when you suck at it, also useful for other things you are bad at like finances. How to get the results you want! weight loss lose maintenance

how to lose weight when you suck at it, also useful for other things you are bad at like finances. How to get the results you want! weight loss lose maintenance

People struggle with different things in life, for me, the thing just so happens to be weight loss and maintenance. This article could also be called how to do anything when you suck at it.

Because it is all pretty much the same.

Everyone has things we suck at, the things that no matter how bad we want it, take a back seat to other priorities.  The challenges, that when we fail, we decide to flail around in the mud instead of getting back up.  These tend to be the things on the opposite end of our personalities.  The things that not only do we not enjoy all that much but in addition cause us to reduce or eliminate things that we do enjoy.  See: Whose life are you living? Is it time for a Priority Inventory?

On the flip side, we all have things that are easy for us.  Some of us have no problems getting out and being active, or not eating some random indulgence.  That, unfortunately, is not me.  However,  I am great at staying ahead of financial goals and nurturing my close relationships.  Those are easy for me.  It is not a chore to put effort into it constantly and they constantly rank high in my priorities.

When you are just naturally good at something, and you make the inevitable mistake, you have no problem getting back up and getting back to it.  It is easy.   When I impulse spend, I have no problems recovering, I don’t just slip into financial carelessness.  I have a plan that I don’t even really think about.  I minimize the damage, either with returns, sales, or cancellations and just continue on with my plans.

Abstaining from buying things is not hard either because I am always thinking about my goals.  When I see something I want like a new couch, I think well I would rather retire earlier, sitting on a beach, not in my house on that nice couch.

With all this wonderful restraint, why can’t I just put down the cake!

So how do you do something you are just not good at?

  1. Don’t take on to much to soon.  

    You cannot change your entire lifestyle overnight.  Weight loss is 70% diet and 30% exercise, and my suggestion would be to get control of diet and gradually incorporate exercise as you feel confident enough to stay on track with diet.  Exercise can make you very hungry and hurt weight loss, it is, however, very important for overall health.  Gradually increasing workouts also helps with not injuring yourself.  Here is a great talk from the doctor Michael Mosely.

  2. Integrate your problem area with something you enjoy or are good at.  

    When you are choosing what diet to go on or what exercises to do, remember what is sustainable for you.  If you decide to go on a juice fast,  remember this is a drastic diet and not a sustainable lifestyle.  So unless you already love drinking vegetable juice instead of a meal, it is even more difficult to transition to a whole other lifestyle once you are done with your fast.  I would choose something else.  The same goes for exercise, find what you enjoy physically and do more of it.  If you like the social aspect join a sports league or go to group classes.

  3. Accountability, Accountability, Accountability.

    You can know exactly what you want to do, and you can even have great success at it.  But you will stumble.  Having someone there on the same path as you will not only make it easier to keep to your goals it will also help you to get back up again if you are struggling.  I currently have three people each on a different journey with me (Diet, Fitness, and Motivation), and one professional (a life coach and consultant for health and wellness) I hold myself accountable to.  A new trend in accountability is electronics, there are social communities online, programs to help you with your journey (I use the free version of,  and devices to track you and remind you to get up and get going.

  4.  Keep your goals at the forefront of your mind.

    Set up a vision board.   Keep a journal.  Follow blogs that will fill your email and feeds with things that will keep you on track with your goals. Hint. Hint.

  5. Weight Loss and Maintenance is a lifestyle change.

    It will be something that will have to be something you keep in the back of your mind all the time.   The longer you work at it, the easier it will get.  Just like everything else the more you do it, the more skill you get, eventually, it can be one of those things that are easy for you.  You now enjoy things related to it, and have the tools to keep going.  Your brain will now have the ability to quickly analyze the costs and benefits of an action and choose the right way to go.

  6. Know the risks.

    There is a massive industry of people our there making money off of diet and fitness. There are new workouts and diets popping up constantly.  New gadgets to buy.  Fancy gym memberships. When in fact, you likely need nothing that costs extra money to accomplish your goals.  Make sure to do your research, find unsponsored reviews, consult a licensed personal trainer and/or a registered dietician. See: How to be Smart: When Everyone Wants Your Money!

These tips are set up to be used in conjunction with goal setting:

I can lose the weight! But I can’t keep it off!

This is the camp I am currently in.  Sadly, I have had more yo-yo weight losses then, I can count on one hand.  Something always happens which knocks my health off my top priorities and because I’m not great at it, I’m just back in the mud.  So I’ve decided to seek the fringes and am trying some not so typical things now.  Link coming soon, I’ve been up to some interesting stuff!

Six Rules for a Successful Relationship

6 Rules for a Successful Relationship, advice, dating, love, marriage

A healthy relationship is paramount to your happiness and wellbeing.  A good relationship builds you up and helps you achieve your goals. It is there for you when things get tough.  A bad relationship can destroy your self-worth and damage you severely.  No relationship is perfect, but once you both get these rules down pat, it really can be pretty easy to have an incredible connection where the sky is the limit.

  1. Make your partner a priority. Many people have a real hard time with this one.   People often put work or their children in front of their spouse, or even their friends.  Remember: your partner is the person you have chosen to build a life with.  You will change jobs or eventually retire.  Children move out of the house, and the best thing you can ever teach them is what a healthy relationship is.  Your spouse should be your partner in life, listen to them, if they say they need more time with you, make it.  If they need to set a limit on something, try to meet them.
  2. Do not say negative things about your partner to anyone other than your partner or a professional.  It reaffirms your negative thoughts.  It brings you closer emotionally to the person you are talking to and farther from your spouse.  Also, once you move on from the issue, it is more likely to be brought up again, and that will not help your relationship or your friend’s opinions of your partner.
  3. Get on the same page, set goals together or do something new together.  Feel like your drifting apart or have nothing in common?  Struggling to make conversation after you’ve caught each other up on the day? You can change that.  Find something you’re both interested in be it getting your finances on track to buy a house, planning a trip, or taking up a pottery class.
  4. Learn your love languages of your relationship and do at least one thing each day to tell the other you love them.  The power of positivity is strong.  If you want to be treated well, treat your partner well.  Let them know you love and appreciate them.  If you do not know what makes yourself, and your spouse feel loved you can always check out:  they have a free test to find out your love language.
  5. Pick your battles. Try not to sweat the small stuff. No one likes to argue all the time, and it is easier to jump from one fight to the next when you do.  If enough small things pile up into a real issue, have a conversation about how you would like to see progress on them.  Instead of focusing on what negative things your partner is doing, make sure to comment on all the positive ones.  See: How to Fight Like a Pro! Conflict Resolution and Forgiveness
  6. Change your response, not their actions.  Relationships give the opportunity for positive change within yourself. You can only control yourself, and they are an individual.  Instead of focusing on them doing something or the lack there of, bring your energy to finding solutions or peace with how things are. People respond much better to asking for help in a loving manner than complaining why they never do something.  Remember: Our partners can not read our minds, even if sometimes it feels like they can, you need to communicate your needs.