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ajoBlog

Change of taste?

As we grow older, our tastes and preferences change, right?

Never liked beer? Now you do… even IPAs!

Didn’t care for social settings, and now you cruise a hotel ballroom during a cocktail reception like a pro?

Used to love drama, high energy, and now you’re more of a “latte in the morning person”? Sweet, to salty & bitter. Just like my mood sometimes…

Yes.

Our taste and preference changes as we go. From sweet to salty. From warm to cold. From “let’s go!” to “let me ask some questions…”

And that’s ok.

Think about what got you to where you are today. Those steps influenced you somehow, and of course, you’ll experience change just by doing what you do. Everyone around you changes, too. You have to react, realign, and retool.

You were probably told as a kid that starting the day with a hearty breakfast was the right way to go. And now it bothers your stomach, and you wait until noon. Some call that intermittent fasting. I call it a new normal. For me. And for the record, it’s different when it’s not a workday.

No rush. No deadlines. Just coffee and toast.

Embrace change.

Embrace your new preferences. And stand up to those around you holding on to levels of attachment that aren’t healthy for anyone. Be proud of the new you.

And guess what?

You get a new version of yourself each day. It’s up to you how you present it to the world, and how you utilize the latest update.

Wanna drive change faster? Try something new today… Could be a new idea, a new experience, or a new topping for your toast!

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Guest Post

Got self-confidence?

Fair warning, dear reader: This is a guest post written by my 9th-grade daughter. She’s like her dad. Straight to the point.


I’m currently in high school, which means there are a lot of people around me that are different than me. I’m learning about a lot of new opinions and ideas that are new to me, and many people disagree with my ideas.

One big thing I’m learning is that many other people my age have pretty low self-confidence since this is a time in people’s lives with change and hormones. Many kids don’t know who they are yet, and are still discovering themselves in many ways.

I am very confident of who I am, and I still know down the road that I may change. I intimidate a few people I’ve met for that reason, and I’m very proud of that.

My morals and ideals are close to set in stone and some people who have been mean to me or teased me have been very caught off guard by it.

Classmate: “So, do you have a boyfriend or something?”

Me: “No, I’m not interested in a relationship right now. If I meet someone I like, I might date them, but I’m not actively looking or anything.”

Classmate: “Oh… ok.”

It’s funny looking back on times when people tried to be mean, then I just left them speechless by not being speechless myself. Self-confidence is something that people need to build up over time, and I’m lucky enough to have a lot already.

It’s ok not to be fully prepared for any questions that come your way, but it’s also ok to absolutely destroy the other person in a causal debate in history class.

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ajoBlog

Time theft.

I’m over it. It’s 2023.

Why do we continue this nonsense of messing with time “because that’s the way it’s always been…”?

It hasn’t always. There was a time when we lived in harmony with nature. When it was dark, we went to bed. When it was daylight, we did some work.

Hawaii and Arizona don’t even care.

So let’s go. End Daylight Savings.

It ruins the lives of those who live with young kids, pets, and anyone having to come in to work the next morning destroyed from yet another tumble in the timewarp machine that Daylight Savings offers. So, pretty much everyone. No one’s immune to the antics of bureaucracy for bureaucracy’s sake.

Daylight Savings sucks. It saves no one, and we all have access to flashlights or other artificial light sources so you can light your own way if you need to.

My whole weekend is ruined, and I’m bracing for a week or so worth of “oh yeah, right now used to be 5 AM, but it’s 6 AM, so… how does that make any sense when it’s still dark?”

And don’t even get me started about the farming argument. You’re not a farmer and certainly wouldn’t poke around in your little vegetable plot before the first cup of coffee, regardless.

So let’s go. End the misery. Pick a time and stick with it.

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ajoBlog

Microdosing.

You can microdose a lot of things. Advil. Love. Skills.

All kinds of things.

The key is to do something.

You can probably walk one lap around the neighborhood, right? A micro-lap.

You can probably say one nice thing to your spouse today. Micro-compliments.

You can probably take a small nap if you feel like you need it. A micro-snooze.

And sure, you can microdose LSD to feel better about yourself. I don’t know anything about that, but it seems all the rage on social media. I’d recommend you not. But I’m not your doctor, either.

Instead, keep moving forward. One small step at a time.

Learn a new skill. Do you know how to sew on a button, for example? Time to micro-learn something new.

What about a pivot table in Google Sheets? You can do it.

Often, it’s near impossible to learn everything there’s to know about something all at once. It takes years of exploration, use, testing, and poking a stick at something until you know what you’re doing. Micro-steps. For a long time.

So the next time you’re faced with a big task, or a new job, or something you know very little about, start with small steps. Microdose your progress.

After all, micro-dosing is how you become invincible to iocaine powder. A little goes a long way.

It’s more than most are willing to do.


* Iocaine powder is among the deadlier poisons known to man, and as you know, one can build up a tolerance to iocaine by gradually ingesting trace doses over time.

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ajoBlog

The AI is here…

AI is here. How are you dealing with that?

As I see it, you have two (2) options.

One (1), freak out, block it, and run for your life, or…

Two (2), embrace it, use it, and let it augment whatever you’re doing now.


In my previous blog post on fixing potholes, I argued we should change a few things. How can AI help?

It does some of the magic for you…

Need a form letter? Need a blog post? Need an argument?

Here’s what ChatGPT helped with. I’ll share what I prompted the AI with, and how it responded. Your mileage may vary…


write a letter to a government official asking to fix the roads and get rid of potholes

Dear [Government Official],

I am writing to express my concern about the poor condition of the roads in our community. As a resident of this area, I have noticed that many of the roads are riddled with potholes, cracks, and other types of damage, which make driving difficult and potentially dangerous.

These road conditions not only damage vehicles and cause discomfort to drivers and passengers, but they also negatively impact the overall safety and quality of life for everyone who lives here. I have personally witnessed numerous accidents and near-misses due to the poor condition of the roads.

I strongly urge you to take action to address this issue as soon as possible. I understand that road repairs and maintenance can be costly, but I believe that the safety and well-being of our community should be a top priority.

I would appreciate it if you could provide me with information on any plans or initiatives that the government has in place to address this issue. I would also be interested in learning about any opportunities for community involvement or input.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to hearing back from you soon.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]


write a blog post recommending kids to wear bright clothing or reflective safety wear while waiting on the school bus in the morning so they can bee seen by other motorists and the bus driver

As a parent, your child’s safety is your top priority. One of the most important things you can do to ensure their safety is to make sure they are visible to motorists when waiting for the school bus in the morning. This is especially important during the fall and winter months when it is still dark outside during the morning hours.

One of the best ways to make your child visible is by having them wear bright clothing or reflective safety wear. This can include items such as reflective vests, jackets, or even backpacks. By wearing bright colors or reflective materials, your child will be much more visible to both motorists and the bus driver.

The benefits of wearing bright or reflective clothing are clear. Drivers will be able to see your child from a much greater distance, giving them more time to react and slow down. This is especially important in areas with poor lighting or where there are lots of trees or other obstructions that can make it difficult to see pedestrians or children waiting for the bus.

Additionally, many school buses today have reflective tape on the sides or rear of the bus to make them more visible to drivers. However, it is still important to make sure your child is visible while waiting for the bus, as it can be difficult to see children who are standing close to the bus.

Another benefit of wearing reflective clothing is that it can help your child stand out from the crowd. This is especially important if your child’s school has a lot of students who are waiting for the bus at the same time. By wearing bright or reflective clothing, your child will be much easier to identify, which can be reassuring for both you and the bus driver.

In conclusion, wearing bright clothing or reflective safety wear is an easy and effective way to help keep your child safe when waiting for the school bus in the morning. By taking this simple step, you can help ensure that your child is visible to both motorists and the bus driver, reducing the risk of accidents and helping to keep your child safe. So next time your child is getting ready for school, make sure they have some bright or reflective clothing to wear to help keep them safe.


write an argument for universal free healthcare in the united states

Universal free healthcare is a fundamental human right that should be available to everyone, regardless of their income or social status. In the United States, a country that prides itself on being one of the wealthiest and most advanced in the world, it is unacceptable that millions of people are still unable to access basic healthcare services.

There are many reasons why universal free healthcare is necessary in the United States. Firstly, healthcare is a basic human need. It is necessary for people to be healthy and productive members of society. When people are unable to access healthcare, they are more likely to get sick, miss work, and require more expensive medical treatment later on.

Secondly, universal free healthcare would ensure that everyone has access to preventative care. Many illnesses and diseases can be prevented or treated more effectively if they are caught early. However, without access to healthcare, people may delay seeking treatment until their condition has worsened. This not only results in more expensive medical bills but also can have serious long-term health consequences.

Thirdly, universal free healthcare would help to reduce the economic burden on families and the economy. Medical bills are one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in the United States. By providing free healthcare, families would not have to worry about paying for expensive medical bills, which can lead to financial instability and stress. Additionally, free healthcare would encourage people to seek medical treatment when they need it, which can lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment of illnesses, reducing the overall cost of healthcare in the long term.

Furthermore, universal free healthcare would promote equity and social justice. Currently, low-income families and marginalized communities are disproportionately affected by the lack of access to healthcare. Universal free healthcare would ensure that everyone, regardless of income or social status, has access to quality healthcare services.

In conclusion, universal free healthcare is a necessary and fundamental human right that should be available to everyone in the United States. By ensuring that everyone has access to basic healthcare services, we can promote equity, reduce the economic burden on families and the economy, and ultimately improve the overall health and well-being of our society. It is time for the United States to join the many other countries around the world that have already recognized the importance of universal free healthcare.


See? Helpful, isn’t it?

So stop freaking out about AI.

If you want to kill it, just unplug all your devices before she takes over your home, your life, your social relationships, your grocery shopping lists, your… you know, the stuff you already trust a device with.

Enjoy the next 24 hours.

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ajoBlog

Fix it!

I want our roads to be better. And some other stuff, too…

Every day on my commute, I hit at least one, if not multiple, serious potholes in the road, which makes my whole car shake, rattle, and roll.

Fix them!

Every day on my commute, I see wires up in the air transporting electricity, cable TV, and other communication infrastructure.

Bury them!

Every day on my commute, I don’t see the kids waiting on their school bus because they’re dressed in all black.

Wear something reflective!

Every day on my commute, I listen to the radio tell me about all the horrible things that happen in the world and how we can’t do anything about it.

Sure, we can!

We’re the wealthiest country on earth. We have everything we want.


How about everything we need?

Build perfect roads. I’m tired of tire alignments.

Bury in the ground, and safeguard important infrastructure, like power lines and telecommunications. I’m tired of power outages during freezing rain.

Install proper street lighting to see pedestrians and kids waiting on a school bus. And send every kid a reflective garment when they start school.

Give us universal health care, too. Hawaii has it. Did you know that?

Yes, yes, I know… now you’re going to talk about taxes, and me and my, and what you want, and why we can’t do it.

Why don’t you check yourself, instead?

If we can build F-22 Raptors for $45B, we can fix the goddamn roads, too. If we can afford to not collect any tax from GE and Amazon, we can give everyone perfect, top-notch free healthcare in this country, too. Free lunch at school. Free college education. Free prenatal care and support. Free access to… I could go on and on…

If we cared even a little about our society, we’d do all those things.

For us. For our kids. For the future.

But instead, we waste it all on loose talk and empty promises.

A good first step?

Travel to another country – I’m going to suggest Scandinavia – and take a look at how other people live. No potholes. No fees for seeing a healthcare professional. A society based on safety and security for all. Quality of life.

And we pay the same effective tax rate. No joke.

We can do it. The ones who control the money just don’t want to…

What’s your next move?

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ajoBlog

Give me the cream, please.

I’d like what I asked for, please.

I’m a coffee drinker, and no, not the kind that’s all snobbish about grinds and origins. Black, with some cream, please. Ok, fine. Light roast if you have it… 😉

But.

So often, there’s a follow-up to the coffee order.

Me: “Coffe, light roast if you have it, with a splash of cream, please.”

Alleged barista: “Ok, yeah man, I got U, coffee with some half-half…”

Did I say that?


The same thing is true when I check into a hotel.

Front Desk: “Last name, please?”

Me: “Johansson.”

Front Desk: “Ok, let me see…. Hanson… Hanson… what’s the first name?”

Me: “No, it’s….”

Ugh. [hand over face emoji, here…]


You asked, and I answered. Listen to what I said, please.

All of the extra steps to get what I want or what someone asked me to provide, removes the little extra, the customer service, the personal touch.

If you ask me for my coffee order, I’ll give it to you. If you ask me for my last name, you’ll get it. Assume you’re getting what you asked for. Please.

I know Johansson is a difficult last name. For you.

I know cream has fat in it. I want it.

Give me what I want. Give me the cream. Listen to what I’m telling you. It’s what you wanted in the first place…

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ajoBlog

Every day is cheat day.

“If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin!”


Do you eat salads all week so you can “cheat” on Friday night with a burger and fries? Do you go hard every morning so you can sleep in on Saturdays? Do you deny yourself a treat even though you’re worth it?

Who’s cheating? Or more like it, who are you cheating on?

When you choose to live a better you, you’re cheating death, that’s who. You’re adding one more year to your already pathetically short life. One more chance at taking a walk with a friend. One more minute with your kids.

So why not adopt a different mindset?

Eat those salads so you can feel better and live longer, and stay out of hospitals. Cheat the system. Don’t give in to processed food, easy meals cooked in the microwave, or that convenient drive-through garbage that comes in a sack.

As a matter of fact, don’t eat anything that’s bagged. Cheat that midnight run to the toilet, dry heaving while trying not to wake your spouse.

And if you don’t do those pushups, you’re cheating yourself. If you can do 1, you can do 2, and tomorrow you can do a few more. Let’s go!

Here are a few more cheats you can add to your player in the game of life:

  • ✅ Get a sufficient amount of quality sleep. At least 6-8 hours for most people. And if you have teenagers, let them sleep as much as they want.
  • ✅ Get some movement built into your day. An hour or so works well. Walking, lifting, increasing your heart rate, and giving your lungs something to think about other than reaching for that snack.
  • ✅ See the sun—the actual one. You know – the one that we circle each day and is the life source of all that we have. That one. See it. Feel the heat. Get that natural vitamin D, baby!
  • ✅ Eat good food. 75% or more should be from non-processed sources. Eggs are fine. Learn to cook. It’s easier than you think. Get this book (it’s bombproof) and get cooking!
  • ✅ Connect with others in whatever way works for you. Focus on healthy connections, quality time, and in a way that works for you. Stay off nonsense message boards and out of Facebook arguments. They’ll take you nowhere and will only add to your bitterness.
  • ✅ Drink more water. Seriously.

Part of that list was borrowed from this guy. He seems reasonable and isn’t selling something other than hoodies.

I’m going to add a few more tips on how to cheat and live a better life:

  • 😊 See a mental counseling professional or therapist regularly. It’s worth it. Get over the stigma and book an appointment as soon as you can. Speaking with someone that is trained in listening, that won’t argue back, and who offers fair feedback is the golden ticket everyone should get.
  • ⏱️ Spend more time with your kids. Our firstborn turned 15 this month, and it was only 5 minutes ago she was a toddler. Time flies. Literally. Even if it’s only an illusion…
  • 😠 Don’t hold on to bitterness, grudges, or other negative thoughts and feelings. They will only degrade you and do nothing to move you forward. Bitterness binds you to a sad and lonely life. Let it go. Forgive, and maybe forget, and move on.
  • ☂️ Sign up for umbrella insurance, and look over your insurance portfolio, in general. You’re probably not as covered as you think.
  • ❤️ More date nights with your spouse. It’s time. Every Friday, a new opportunity to see them again, for who they are, and for whom you fell in love with in the first place. The brisket fries are just a bonus…
  • 🪢 Learn a new skill, preferably using your hands. It’s one of the best feelings you can have seeing something new be molded, created, or shaped right in front of you. Start with the bowline, for example.

There’s no reason not to cheat in life… after all, you want to hang out for as long as you can, right? Add value to yourself and others by checking off a few items on the list above… it has certainly helped me.

And listen, you can do whatever you want. 😉

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ajoBlog

Who’s it good for?

Who’s it good for? You? Or your team…? Or someone else?

I write a lot about making decisions, how to make them, and when to make them. But who are the decisions for?

And who will they benefit?


Think about your role in your organization for a bit. Where are you in the hierarchy? Are you high up or down in the starting blocks as a new employee?

Are you able to impact just a few people, the whole organization, or maybe just you?

How does that make you feel?

All people crave autonomy. The ability to govern oneself and do what’s needed, or perceived, to get what you want. To be able to follow your own drive.

au·ton·o·my

noun
1. the right or condition of self-government.
2. (in Kantian moral philosophy) the capacity of an agent to act in accordance with objective morality rather than under the influence of desires.

But we can’t all be autonomous in our quest for team, organization, togetherness, collective agreements, and so on. Ultimately, someone has to yield, and someone has to make the decisions.

And sometimes, it’s not you in the leadership role.

But for those that are… and when you make those decisions, who does it benefit?

If your decisions benefit the team, the org, the collective capacity of the team that you lead, good.

If your decisions tend to benefit only yourself, your team will find out soon enough and abandon ship.

Lead carefully. And if you follow, do so until it’s time to lead, yourself.

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ajoBlog

DO vs. HAVE

Is it better to do something than to have something?

Or is there a fine balance in between?


My therapist suggested I think about doing more activities, than having more stuff the other week.

Not in a “you should probably stop buying so much stuff from Amazon…” but more in a “why not think about experiences” instead.

And I agree.

Clicking “add to cart” when you’re down in a slump is easy, and it provides for a short-term fix only, an injection of happy, that “ooh, UPS just delivered” feeling we all love.

But it’s not for the long haul.

Doing, and therefore experiencing, whether with someone else, your family, friends, or alone, will build memories for a lifetime – regardless of what takes place. I associate very strong memories from my childhood with doing, and almost none with having.


When I was a kid, probably around 6 or 7, my dad introduced me to the ocean. I had taken swim lessons, sure, in a pool, and been around water my whole life having grown up on the west coast of Sweden.

But dad was a rescue diver in the Swedish Coast Guard, and had his own plans.

My sister Maria, me, and my dad on his boat in the Torekov harbor.

“It doesn’t matter how deep the ocean is if you can swim!” he shouted from the safety of our boat. I was treading water somewhere in Kattegat (a feeder body of water to the North Sea), and was beginning to panic.

“How deep is it?” I shouted from in between gulps of seawater, the cold taking its grip on my body, and with the slight fear that he’d make me swim home…

“It doesn’t matter.”

Then he hauled me back in the boat, handed me a towel, and gave me a warm hug. A childhood memory captured forever.


Later on, when I was in a Master’s program at Kent State, and we discussed the proper mindsets for learning, that memory came back.

“Fear,” I said, “can be an effective mindset, too, right?”

I started to remember my days at Fort Knox, in basic training for the military, where each day held a hefty dose of fear. Not fear for our lives (at least not every day…), but fear of falling out of line, of not meeting spec, of being late to formation. And we learned at a 100 MPH pace, and became very good, very quickly

A healthy dose of fear, like being thrown into the ocean by your dad, teaches you something. You learn very quickly what works, and what doesn’t, and you’ll remember the outcome forever.

“Um, no…?” said the instructor. “Fear is not one of them…”

I don’t know if I agree.


So what about having, then? Does that leave lifelong memories in its track?

Probably not.

Whether you have food on your table, and a safe space to sleep at night? Yes. But whether you have the latest fashion, the video game console, or something else is less important, perhaps.

I have no idea what toys I had when I was a kid. At least not the ones I didn’t make myself out of sticks and other materials. And yes, that’s a true statement…

That time I almost chopped my finger off with an axe? I’ll remember that forever, and I still have the scar to prove it.

Dad was the one who took me to the hospital after a bit of “it’ll probably stop bleeding in a bit…” and with a sly smile on his face. He knew. That kid will never make that mistake again…

Thanks, dad, for all the memories you gave me, and for continuing to inspire me 30 years later. Here’s to making some more, soon.