Bread and Circuses

“Bread and Circuses” are what the Roman poet Juvenal used to describe the gladiatorial games of ancient Rome. In a political context, it was generating approval not by excellence in the performance of the leader’s civic accomplishments, but rather a mere diversion by satisfying our needs for a full belly and our desire to be entertained.

There is no doubt that this happens still to this day in our country, but perhaps whats worse is that we willfully do it to ourselves.

How many of you follow that sports team or that TV show (even worse so reality TV) and react in a visceral and emotional response to what you see on your screen?

How often has your day, week, and sometimes an entire season of your life been ruined by the lack of success of a team you don’t even play on?

But why? Why do we allow ourselves to get this emotionally involved in someone else’s story?

It’s quite simple, really; It keeps us from admitting that we aren’t living ours.

Like the Romans, you see, we enthusiastically devour all the bread and circuses thrown our way. We dive deep into binge-watching, often hours at a time, the latest Netflix drama. Every Sunday, we give up our entire Sunday to watch every single game that comes on only to turn around and complain we don’t have enough time to chase our dreams.

And in doing so, we find ourselves in a very odd paradox; we willingly chose to fail.

“There is no Ark, because no one built one, even though everyone felt the storm.”- Jordan B. Peterson

We know all the things we must do.
The hard things, but the right things.

We know we should take the time to show love to our spouse.
We know we should take the time to play with our kids.
We know that we should work out.
We know that we should eat healthily.
We know we should chase our dreams.

Ah, but Stranger Things debuts next week, and you can watch the entire season in one gluttonous setting. Or, from pre-game to post-game, we can plant ourselves on our couch every Sunday, lifting a finger only to move the beercan to our mouth and getting up when our bladder compels us too.

Instead of taking part in our lives-our victories and our defeats, we find the couch and cheer on others who do not cheer for us. And when the lights go down and the crowds go home, we are left alone to face this truth. No one is here for us because we couldn’t bother to show up for ourselves.

Someday isn’t on the calender for a reason.


Q1 and you.

Where are you right now? No, I don’t mean physically. I mean where are you in regards to accomplishing your goals for this year?  You know the ones you made in that dead space where nothing productive really happens between Christmas and New Years.  Somewhere along there, either on a couch or in drunken ecstasy, you set resolutions to make 2018 your year!

So where are you? I ask because Valentine’s day served a dual role. Not only was it a day to either tell someone you loved em or to wallow in the fact that you are currently single, it also happened to be the midway point in Q1 of YOUR year. Do you have any clue how close you are to making that resolution come true? Or, are you still as lost as when you were drunk in IHOP on New Years Day?

Statistics state that 92% of you are still feeling lost. That’s right, just 8% of folks achieve their New Years resolutions. But why? Why do we continue to strive for greatness every December only to have forgotten about our goals by Valentine’s day? Why do we settle for the absoluteness of failure when we all know it should be finite?

I mean think about it, nothing is more American than the come from behind underdog story! We love to hear tales of the little guy or girl who was knocked down by defeat only to rise like a phoenix from the ashes to snatch final victory from the jaws of defeat! So why don’t we do it ourselves?

In a 90 minute movie, the hero doesn’t have time to forget their motivation. In life, not so much. Sure time waits for no man, but as the saying “Days are long, years are short” implies those long days cause us to lose sight of our goals in all the mess of everyday living.

How can you be focused on your goal of losing weight, starting the company, or loving your spouse when the car broke down, lil Timmy has the flu, and the boss is breathing down your neck for the TPU report?  Then one morning, in the middle of all of that living, you wake up and instead of losing weight you’re up 5lbs, your company seems as attainable as a unicorn, and you haven’t hugged your spouse in a month…

Then, as you feel your sanity slipping away, you accept defeat just 7 weeks into the year. Doomed to repeat the cycle again. It doesn’t have to be this way. This is your Q1 wake-up call!  So let’s get down to work, shall we?

Everyone has goals; it’s the plans they lack.

Everyone I have ever met has a goal. But the vast majority of them have zero plans in place to accomplish them. From weight-loss to small business startup, success relies on the following three things.

  1. Planning.
  2. Showing up.
  3. Consistency



As we were instructed in the Army “failure to plan is planning to fail.”  Even in an organization that has Murphy’s law etched into its soul ( No plan survives first contact) we planned, and planned, and planned some more.  Why? Because when you force yourself to plan out all the possibilities, good and bad, you won’t be quite as shocked when that first contact comes; and trust me, it’s coming.  With a plan, you are prepared for it, even the unexpected because you expected something to go wrong. The flip side is that when you don’t formulate a plan when you get punched in the face for the first time it does more than just bruise your ego. It knocks you flat on your ass.

Showing up:

If people were paid for talking we wouldn’t have a broke person on Earth. It is easy to talk about an idea. It is easy to say what “would, could, or should” work. The difficult part is stepping up to the plate and risking striking out in front of everyone you care about. But what you need to remember is that even if you strike out, you’ll get another at-bat and you are only one swing away from the game-winning home run.


Of the three I think this one proves to be the most difficult for people to do. Even though it’s a small number of people who will create a plan, those that do find it relatively easy to do at first. With a plan in place, we can typically even get them to show up. They are even motivated to be there! But what finally does them in is the failure to be consistent after that first punch in the jaw.  I call this the Mike Tyson effect.

Back in his prime his opponents would have a plan, they would show up, but Iron Mike was the punch in the face they just couldn’t handle. So much so, that he made the famous quote “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth!” That my friends could be the story of life.

Those hard times are coming. The times where you feel like the breath has been knocked out of you. When you are down on one knee and life is laughing at you. When you are overwhelmed by the enormity of everything you have to do, and everything you want to do. Those days when you lose a battle and go home with your tail tucked between your legs. It is in those moments that you are one night’s sleep away from the what will define you. The next day, bruised, battered, and doubting, will you show back up?  Or will you say it’s not in the cards right now and quit under the justification that “someday” you’ll do it?

If you chose the latter just remember Someday isn’t on the calendar for a reason.