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I write about writing, ideas, creativity, intuition, spirituality, life lessons. Ex-college teacher https://www.buymeacoffee.com/paulryburn Twitter: @paulryburn

Especially when the “no” is entirely avoidable

employee holding up hand as if to say “no” or “stop”
employee holding up hand as if to say “no” or “stop”
Image by Ana Krach from Pixabay

Imagine frequenting a business for the first time, and within one minute being told, “No, you can’t do that,” or, “No, you can’t have that.”

Now, sometimes you can’t steer clear of that conversation. An employee calls in sick and you have to open late. An item runs out of inventory. A supplier is late with a shipment. Those kinds of things happen to all of us once in a while. Explained properly to customers, all should be well.

However, every employee of your business is a marketer. Every time they interact with a customer, they say something about your…


Like the dinosaurs, they’re a necessary step on the path

fantasy scene — pterodactyl and dinosaur
fantasy scene — pterodactyl and dinosaur
Image by Willgard Krause from Pixabay

I sat down at my desk, having just brought a calzone back for lunch. I was going to catch up on NBA draft night rumors during my lunch hour, but I caught a glimpse of an email from my manager.

“UREGNT — NEED WEBSITE PROGRESS UPDATE ASAP,” read the subject (her emphasis, not mine). As if she hadn’t communicated it enough already, she set Microsoft Outlook’s “Sent with High Importance” flag on the message.

So much for enjoying my lunch. I double-clicked the email to open it.

“Paul, I don’t know what is going on with the new website that…


How to tell the difference

The narcissistic smirk is a giveaway. Narcissists’ emotions are fake so they have trouble making a smile look genuine. Image by LovableNinja from Pixabay.

Malignant narcissists have taken the world stage over the past several years. World leaders and displaced royalty have spread one lie on top of another on top of another. A large portion of the public eats their lies up. Yet, because these overt types seek so much to be the center of attention all the time, their lying nature soon becomes evident to all who choose to see it.

Covert narcissists lie just as much as their overt counterparts. However, coverts tend to dodge the spotlight. They use self-deprecation to deflect attention away from what they are doing. …


What makes people tick?

psychiatrist or psychologist writing on clipboard
psychiatrist or psychologist writing on clipboard
Photo by Alex Green from Pexels

Recently I shared my opinion that every writer needs a folder of idea snippets. These are stories you’d like to tell, but by themselves, they just don’t come together as a cohesive article. Maybe the stories, standing alone, would be entertaining to the reader, but you don’t yet see how they’d lead to a valuable takeaway.

Don’t delete your idea snippets. They may be the perfect complement to another partial idea that comes along at a later time. Review your idea snippet folder regularly, and see if any of your snippets fit together.

Today I’d like to take that concept…


And really, on anyone who wrongs you

witch, holding a book as though she’s casting a spell for revenge
witch, holding a book as though she’s casting a spell for revenge
Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay

Have you ever been in the same room as your haters, and just felt the bad energy weighing down like the humidity on a hot, sticky late summer day?

It could be that they don’t even use words as their weapons. They just glare at you, shooting beams of hate right through you with their eyeballs. They try to make you so uncomfortable that you get up and leave.

If several of your haters are in the same place, they might point at you and gossip to each other. …


Even if your bank balance says otherwise

man, at desk with laptop, holding money
man, at desk with laptop, holding money
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

“That’s the kind of thing you have to do when you’re poor.”

“That’s how life is when you’re just barely getting by.”

Those were a couple of go-to responses my grandmother made all the time when I was little. Those would be her replies when we’d have blackeyed peas, which I always thought of as a side dish, as the main course for dinner. She’d also resort to those answers to justify not turning on the air conditioner until June, by which time my hometown of Little Rock averages a sweltering 89F/32C.

“Make do” was another favorite phrase of hers…


Conversely, a work mindset brought momentum to my side hustle

entrepreneur staring at a board full of ideas
entrepreneur staring at a board full of ideas
Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

Like many of us, I have a job that I do to pay the bills. I enjoy working there and my co-workers are awesome, but it’s not something I would continue to do if money were no object.

On the side, I pursue my passion, which is writing. Writing is something I will never stop doing, even if one day I have more money than Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett. It’s my connection to others. It’s something I hope to spin up into a full-time income one day.

Last week and the week before last, though, something just felt off…


It’s subtle, but their narcissistic mask does slip

a well-hidden narcissistic mask
a well-hidden narcissistic mask
Photo by Javardh on Unsplash

The people we usually think of as narcissists are brash, loud, demanding of others’ attention. They don’t care whose toes they have to step on to get their way, and they don’t even care if they’re seen stepping on toes.

Such people are known as overt narcissists because they don’t try to hide their true nature very much. They are usually easy to identify.

Covert narcissists are harder to spot. They don’t like having all eyes upon them, and they’ll resort to a little self-deprecation to get you to feel comfortable around them. …


“Bring little gaps of consciousness into your day” — Eckhart Tolle

a moment of presence — meditating at the entrance to a cave
a moment of presence — meditating at the entrance to a cave
Photo credit lauramusikanskiMorguefile

The only moment that matters is the magical moment of Now. Why would you want to be anywhere else?

Well, sometimes it’s necessary. The past is a great teacher. It’s necessary to step into the future to plan. However, most of us would benefit from spending much more time in the present moment than we currently do.

There are various ways to get present. Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle’s favorites are

  • Ask yourself, “Am I still breathing?” and come back to your breath
  • Feel the aliveness in one part of your body, then move to another part
  • Sense everything that is…

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