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

Learn these valuable lessons and you’ll always have an ace in your back pocket

playing cards (aces) in jeans back pocket
Image by kalhh from Pixabay

The universe is constantly communicating with you. Opportunities to learn and become a better version of yourself can be spotted everywhere. You just have to know to look for them.

I played online poker and occasionally live poker for years. I also worked for almost 9 years at the organization that sanctions the card game duplicate contract bridge in North America. There are quite a few lessons to be learned playing card games that are applicable well beyond the table.

In this article, I will share 3 of the valuable lessons I have learned from observing card players.

It takes years to build a stellar reputation and mere moments to shatter it

In recent…


My motto was, “Drink to celebrate, not to escape,” but I quickly forgot that

a bar stocked with liquor bottles
Photo credit xololoungeMorguefile

“WT at 11 today?” my friend Randy texted one Saturday in mid-July. “WT” is short for Wildcat Tavern, the neighborhood bar where we normally meet every Saturday for brunch.

“I can’t make it today, Randy,” I texted back. “I’d like to, but I haven’t earned the right to go out.”

I live in a downtown neighborhood of a major Southern city, with plenty of bars. They’re like my living rooms away from home. I catch up with my many friends there. However, there’s a temptation to go out to the bars too much, which can hurt my professional writing career.


It may give you a sense of superiority, but it doesn’t get us any closer to herd immunity

hand, holding COVID-19 vaccine shot, puncturing a virus particle
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

“It just kills me how many SELFISH people there are in this community!” typed one angry resident in a post on Nextdoor. “Only in this city would people be so STUPID that there’s a path out of the pandemic, and they refuse to take it!”

About 15 commenters echoed the sentiments, calling the people who had not yet got the vaccine “idiots” and saying that they don’t care how many people die as long as they can exercise their “free-dumb” not to get the shot.

I can relate to this in some sense. I’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID for…


You don’t need that kind of negativity in your inbox — or your life

giant troll emerging from the sea
Image by ImaArtist from Pixabay

We all have that one aspect of our job that we wish we didn’t have to deal with — but we do.

For a postal letter carrier, that aspect might be vicious dogs.

For a shoe salesman, it could be smelly feet.

For a corporate office worker, it might be weekly departmental meetings.

For professional writers — those of us who write on platforms like this one where anyone can leave a comment — it would have to be trolls.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how you can eliminate one way they impinge on your life —…


When you reach a certain point in your writing career, it’s better to write less and aim for quality

hands counting from the number one to the number five
Image by Alexander Lesnitsky from Pixabay

One piece of advice new writers hear from writing experts is this: If you want to get serious about writing on this platform, shoot for a set number of times to publish per week. 5 (or even 7) is ideal, but if you can only write a few hours a week, pick a lower number. Pick a number that will stretch you, but which is achievable.

In the beginning, they’ll tell you, quantity matters more than quality. It’s better to publish 5 C-plus pieces a week than it is to aim for one A-plus piece in the same time frame…


Cutting them off sets you free — but what if it leaves you feeling empty?

woman holding palm out in front of her, as though to say “no” or “you’re cut off”
Image by Ana Krach from Pixabay

A big part of the reason we keep toxic people around is that we figure we can’t do any better.

Without them in relationships, we worry that we’d be single for life. Without them in friendships, we worry that we wouldn’t have any friends at all.

So we let them trample all over us in a one-sided manner. If we do something that offends the other — which eventually we will do, because we’re all human — we’re expected to atone for our sins. …


Your body may be telling you with less than one word

employee, head on his forehead, sighing, burned out at work
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Imagine working in an environment where you don’t belong for years, even decades. Subconsciously, you know you should get out of there, and your body sends you signals many times throughout the workday. Yet you fail to acknowledge them. You fail to hear the message in all those signals you’re sending yourself.

I worked in a field I didn’t enjoy for close to 20 years. I held several different jobs throughout that period. My body sent me the same signal at all of them, although it sent the signal more at some jobs than others.

I missed the signal at…


By someone who has spent the last 20 years of his life as a frequent restaurant and bar patron

Diners and servers at tables in a busy restaurant or bar
Photo credit Hello LightbulbISORepublic

I am so incredibly proud of my restaurant and bar service-industry folks as we come out of the COVID pandemic.

You were hit with reduced seating, limited hours, mandatory food purchases with alcohol, and all sorts of regulations that targeted your industry. You faced surprise inspections, sometimes multiple times a week. You lost employees to jobs in other industries.

And yet, you survived. You’re still here. That’s amazing. I want to see you do really well this year. I want it to be your best year ever.

Recently a general manager of one of my favorite restaurants asked me, “Paul…

Paul Ryburn, M.Sc.

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