The Birds and the Bees

Well now, it’s been awhile since I wrote a blog post but life often offers up little pleasures when one least expects it.   I woke up this morning to find the following article on our local news website.

The article is about a group of parents outraged…OUTRAGED…because the health text book  Freemont high school is using for 9th graders is too explicit.  The text book covers things like oral sex, sex toys and orgasms (sounds like a good class to me).

I think the parents of Freemont need to get with the program.   Kids in ninth grade are in HEAT and have access to the internet.  My 14 year old has probably watched more porn than a  traveling salesman.   When I need sexual advice these days I go to him.

Here are a few quotes from the article which had me laughing out loud.

“I want to let everyone know, if you think sex isn’t happening with your freshmen, you need to take your blinders off,” she said in public comment before the board’s June vote. “It’s happening, and it’s happening in the corners, in the bathrooms, in the cars, in the parks and even on the 50-yard line in front of everyone.”

LOL. Yes it is. IT is the SINGLE STRONGEST MOTIVATION WE POSESS.   You can’t possibly stop it. Didn’t Twilight teach you anything?

Here is another great quote from the article:

“Still, many parents complained that the book did not adhere to the family and cultural values of the community.’

WHAT? What community are they referring to? Freemont is a thriving city near the heart of Silicon Valley with a population of over 200,000. I assure you the sexual mores of the community include farm animals, ben wa balls and 50 shades of adultery.

And if that doesn’t convince you to sit down TODAY with your teenager and talk about sex instead of leaving it to a bureaucracy that still teaches CREATIONISM, keep in mind that your kids can and will find it all on the internet…in 3D.  Trust me on this one, I have done extensive field research.

The job of a parent is not easy because it is not what you say that will have the greatest impact on your children but who you ARE. One of my all time favorite quotes about parenting came from a Jungian psychologist writing about the psychic bonds between parents and their offspring, “Children will spend the first half of their adult lives unconsciously carrying their parent’s unresolved baggage.”

Woa.   The author (James Hollis) went on to say that this was the root cause of midlife crisis – kids taking on the unfinished business of their parents. According to Hollis, we spend first half of our lives trying to unconsciously fix our parents issues and when we get to middle age we gradually begin to realize it is not who we really are.

So remember, if you have sexual hang-ups and are feverishly trying to repress some deep dark desire, I got even money that says there’s a good chance one of your kids will take it on. Or perhaps I should say “get it on.”

sex ed

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Stuff Happens

So the other day I got a little feedback on my blog from a close friend who said, “Gee Tim (this is how they talk), your blog is a little dour”, and if that wasn’t enough he felt compelled to add, “And you seem to feel sorry for yourself a lot” (these were  my good qualities). This got me thinking and motivated me to put a few things into perspective (or what we humans like to refer to as “rationalization”).

We now know that we are born with a “happiness set point” and research indicates that our mood will not change much over the course of our lifetime.  Life’s wins and losses will toss your moods around like the S.S. Minnow on a three hour tour but overall, we humans tend to settle back into that same happiness set point.

What this means is that some of us are born with a sunny disposition that fixates on the positive and makes lemonade out of bankruptcy and jury duty while others will sink slowly into despair weeks after hitting the lottery.  Furthermore, there’s not much we can do about changing our happiness set point short of medication or a frontal lobotomy.

It is no secret that my happiness set point hovers just above “What’s the point?” and consequently, my overall mood tends to guide my attention to the darker shadows of life.   But I believe that any fixed mood brings with it a set of advantages and challenges.    Fat, drunk and stupid is clearly no way to go through life but regardless of your mood one must learn to recognize and manage your mood or else you may find yourself  meandering down a dead end road wondering how you got there.

One of those dead end roads is the societal belief that life is always about being a winner.  Our society is fixated on the image of success and “feeling good” and this relentless pursuit of achievement has got us all pretending to be someone we are not.  This can cause problems.  The belief that everyone out there is living the dream only further isolates us as people and traps us into believing our failures are indications that we alone are somehow defective.  Furthermore, this can cause us to bury feelings of shame and failure because we view them as defective emotions.  This buried baggage piles up and before you can say “middle –age” we can find ourselves diverting a good deal of our physic energy to keeping those demons at bay.

Let me share a story that can perhaps illustrate this for you.  A few weeks ago I was asked to give a motivational talk to a group of unemployed professionals.  This was a group of people just like me and you only by fate, bad luck or poor choices they suddenly found themselves unemployed during one of the worst job markets in history while simultaneously living in a part of the country where affordable housing means houses priced at $300,000.

I got to the gig early and mingled with the audience for about 45 minutes and their stories were heart breaking.  Some were 50 and 60 years old with kids in college while others had been canned after more than 25 years on the job.  Many believed their prospects looked grim and most carried with them a sense of shame and embarrassment.

At 9 AM the talk began and the host stepped up and introduced me.  I took the stage and for reasons still unclear to me, I decided to scrap my original talk and began speaking about failure to the audience.  Fifteen minutes into the talk I had them laughing and feeling better and I knew I was connecting with them.

I have many issue of my own and am far from perfect but one thing I do very well is speak.  I knew, as the talk progressed, that I was appearing to the audience to be a man of great talent and accomplishment.  It was at this moment of my presentation, when I was feeling the love and admiration of the crowd that I decided to do something I had never done before.  Having built myself up in their eyes as an expert in my field and a man of considerable talent and success I disclosed the following.

“I want you all to know that I am the king of failure.  I am 48 years old and the only picture of me in my high school year book is me sitting in detention. I flunked out of college earning a 0.0 GPA my last semester. I have been fired more times than George Constanza and was dumped by my wife on 3 separate occasion while stalking…errrr…I mean dating her.  And now I want to share something I have never shared before with anyone except with my closest family members.  In 2010 I filed for bankruptcy.”

I went on to explain the risks of owning your own business and being bad at math while running headlong into an economy that imploded in 2008. I then conclude the story with the following:

“I felt so ashamed of myself.   I felt like such a failure and didn’t want anyone to know.  I was certain that I was the biggest fool and failure walking the planet.  And it was these same feelings that caused me to sit in my basement playing Barbara Streisand records instead of doing what I needed to do to get back out there.  Eventually, life forced me get moving again because in the end I had no choice.  And here is what I learned from all that.  Don’t waste time beating yourself up. I assure each and every one of you here today that you are no different than anybody else out there, rich or poor, successful or homeless and you have no idea of the strength you possess inside yourself.”

As I was saying these words I could feel the emotion in the room.  It was pouring off people.  Heads were nodding, people were getting misty eyed (ok, some were asleep) and the room felt, for those few precious minutes, as if we were all in this crazy game of life together.

After the talk an amazing thing happened; people starting coming up to me and sharing stories of their failures.  Like Catholics in confession they unburdened their perceived sins to me. (note to Catholics – I don’t believe in sin)They approached me, thanked me and said things like:

“That happened to me last year”

“I lost my house and business”

‘I went through a bad divorce”


“I like to wear women’s’ underwear” …ok, maybe this last one didn’t happen.

I don’t know what compelled me to bare my soul like that in front of those people.  I frequently don’t know why I do these things.  But the effect was transformative for the audience.  It took their private failures and dragged those bad feelings into the light of day where they could be acknowledged, discussed and consciously processed.  You must feel it to heal it folks.

Talking about my failures created the space for people to look at their own failures differently.  It allowed the audience to shift their perspective from “I am a failure” to “Shit happens.”   It had a cathartic effect for them (and me) allowing them to release their feelings of shame and worthlessness that had been buried alive and dragging them down. It drove home the point that we are all the same.  We all win and lose, laugh and cry, live and die.

It was an awesome moment and one that I will not soon forget.  This blog, from the very beginning, has always been a vehicle for me to tell the truth about life as I see it.  I do consider myself to be challenged mentally and emotionally by this world often times, more than I wish.  However, I believe I am not alone and I assume we all harbor secret thoughts of our own inadequacies.  It is my hope that my honesty and humor and sometimes depressive view on life can offer, in its own zany way, comfort and hope for others and help ease their burden.

As I always say to all my clients, I get a lot of ideas, some will be really good and others you should never attempt.  Take what works and ignore the rest.

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Status is a Fickle Friend

Hello out there, a short but important post today to remind everyone that status and image are fleeting objectives that will ultimately leave you feeling lost and forlorn.  First let’s define status and image a bit more.

Image and status are important tools humans use to attract a mate and  gain influence over the community.   Look around your circle of friends and neighbors to determine what is valued and what is considered bad behavior; cars, clothes, jobs, weight, looks, your kids achievements, the amount of guns you own and your income are all forms of status symbols in our culture.

The community also spends considerable time policing and talking about the fluctuating status of member families or what we like to call gossip.  Gossip is a key function of keeping community members in line.

All well and good, but even though chasing and building status is wired into our DNA, it is also a recipe for unhappiness if we don’t’ learn to recognize that the endless pursuit of status will ultimately leave us feeling hungry for more.  This is one of the reasons why people who become financially ruined sometimes jump out of tall buildings.

Status can help us find a suitable mate and create opportunities for advancement but status, by its definition, is dependent on outside factors beyond our control. Any pursuit of status not tempered by wisdom and some semblance of intrinsic self-esteem is destined to leave you with an existential crisis.

Consider the article I read today about bad neighbors in Northern California because they continue to have lush green lawns in the middle of a drought.    The weather in Northern California has tunred the green lawn from a status symbol of wealth, success and community conscientiousness into a symbol of low character and selfishness.

And there in lies the risk of hitching your self-esteem entirely to the outside world’s approval and admiration. If you look throughput history you will see that fads and status symbols vanish faster than an Iraqi security force.

So be careful out there.   Its ok to pursue status and image if it helps you establish yourself or score a hot chick (or dude) but learning to feel good about yourself regardless of your lush green lawn and perfect teeth will help you sutain your happiness into later life.

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Random Thoughts

Today I am cleaning out the corners of my mind; some random thoughts and impressions from the last few weeks.

Evolution is Random

I am a little depressed since I recently read that evolution is not about evolving.  We don’t evolve, the theory went, but simply go round and round with  no apparent purpose or direction other than to stay two steps ahead of our competition.   Good times.evolution-cartoon-photos-27

The Power of the Family Cult

About a year ago I wrote a column equating growing up in a family with living in a cult and I stand by that argument ( ).  I read the below news item the other day about a woman who was stoned to death by her family because she brought shame to the family honor by stepping out on her prearranged marriage.   The father who participated in the stoning was quoted as saying,

“I killed my daughter as she had insulted all of our family by marrying a man without our consent, and I have no regret over it,”

WOW! Now if you think it’s just a story about a crazy family from Pakistan think again. We all have been conditioned EXACTLY the same way except the value coding is different in the U.S. and we have indoor plumbing. But our conscious choices about our behaviors are mostly a mirage. In Pakistan they have been conditioned to stone you to death for infidelity while in the U.S. you get half of all the marital assets.


Science is Chipping Away at the Meaning of Life

I read two articles recently about scientists that are working on electric brain implants. The first team is creating an implant that will make the brain more efficient. It will make our brains faster with greater facility to switch between different brain functions such as analytical thinking and playing candy crush. The team is being given millions of dollars which is confusing since there is already technology that has the same effect and it costs only $1.95. It’s called Starbucks.

The second team is creating an implant that will override the electrical impulses that cause Depression and PTSD!!!!!! Read that sentence again and think about the slippery slope this will put us on.   We already possess implants for butts, faces, breasts, male appendages and hair. We can whiten our teeth, suck out our fat, tan our skin and change the color of our eyes.

Now we will be able to speed up our brain, eliminate ANY Behavioral impulses that society deems unsavory (like stoning your daughter to death and skipping out on jury duty.) Take that technology to its logical conclusion and eventually we will be able to program the human body to look and act any way we want. Hmmm….what could possibly go wrong here?

And consider the debate that will ensue when world leaders meet to vote on which religion will ultimately be programed into everyone.   Like they said in the movie Highlander, “there can be only one”

My vote is for Humanism.


Parents are Stupid

Folks, if you are offended by the above headline then, as Jeff Foxworthy likes to say, “You might be a redneck.”  Or in this case, “you might be a stupid parent”.  Of course “stupid parent” is a redundant expression.

I was at a track meet last week and actually saw a parent yelling from the sidelines giving their kid instructions on how to run better.  The instructions were as follows:


“C’mon BREATHE!”


Now I don’t mean to be cynical here but if your kid doesn’t know how to breathe and run, winning a track meet might be the least of their problems.

Haha. Good one.  Except after a few minutes of feeling superior I realized that I am that same parent.  I have been “coaching” my son in baseball for years shouting things like “finish your pitch” and “swing the bat”.   Wow.    Parents, we need to back off and let our kids sink or swim (or breathe or not breathe) on their own.  That is what coaches are for.


It’s What You Say

Was at a party the other day and met a fellow guest who was introduced to me as a pilot from a nearby air force base.  He stated that he flies a plane that technically I will refer to as a “big one”” around and around the bay area for training purposes.  He was a very analytical thinker by my read.

To be friendly and build rapport (cause we were at party you see) I said energetically and with a big smile, “wow, you are the guy up there above my house all day.”

My message contained two communication pieces that humans need to decipher to effectively communicate with each other.

  1. The literal content –  “I see your plane above my house a lot during the day.”
  2. The emotional content – “Hi, I am being friendly and playful as a way to signal I want to be friends and am inviting you to do the same.”

His response to my playful statement,  “Sometimes.”

Breaking down his message further:

  1. Literal content – “Sometimes its me in the plane but its not always me in the plane because we have other pilots too.”
  2. Emotional content – “you are incredibly stupid as all civilians are but your wife is hot!”

Of course,  I am only assuming he had emotions.


And Finally

My own daughter (soon to be twelve) seems to hate me and I am at a loss as to why.  I know, all girls go through it you will say, but I am not so sure on this one.    At her best she ignores me and on most days she actively loathes me.   I know it shouldn’t bother me but recently I have been feeling she is bringing shame on my family and perhaps I have finally found a use for the rock pile in the back yard.

Two birds with one stone?


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Proper Procedure for Boarding Airplanes

This little tribute is dedicated to my wonderful mother-in-law who is winging it around the world as we speak.

As some of you know I do quite a bit of traveling and I truly hate the airlines.   I read this funny little blurb in a Dave Barry book about the proper way to board an airline and I thought it hit the mark

“Most airlines board by income level, starting with the wealthy people and working down the income ladder to the homeless.  Make careful note of your boarding group, which will be printed on your boarding pass.  Shortly before boarding time, a gate agent will make an announcement telling passengers that to facilitate the boarding process they should not approach the jet bridge until their group has been called.  This is the signal for everybody within two hundred yards, including people who are not even on that particular flight, to charge toward the jet bridge as though the plane is the last chopper out of a city being overrun by zombies.  You must join the charge or you will not get an overhead luggage space and they will have to check your suitcase and you will never see it again.”

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The Short History of Medicine

2000 B.C. – Here, eat this root
1000 A.D. – That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer.
1850 A.D. – That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion.
1940 A.D. – That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill.
1985 A.D. – That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic.
2000 A.D. – That antibiotic doesn’t work any more. Here, eat this root.

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Blog Talk Radio – Open Phones Today

Open phones today at 12 noon PST so call in with your question or comment.  Call in number 619.924.0757

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My Bad

If you have read his blog on a regular or semi-regular basis then you know I have been a bit hard on my parents.  But if you have read this blog on a regular or semi-regular basis then you know I also spend a great deal of my time being wrong.  So it is with great humility and emotion that I sit here before you (virtually) and admit that, once again, life seems to be reminding me that there is very little I really know.

I spent time with the old man yesterday and was marveling at his perseverance and the fact that he never, ever, complains or makes excuses for himself.  He has also willingly stood in the line of fire taking every shot from his kids while trying to be accountable for all past behaviors. He is one of the toughest people I know.

I am also learning that my mom and I share a lot of similar qualities and perhaps I was just a tad quick to judge.  I told my mom the other day on the phone that the older I get the better she gets.   I think if I were her back in the day I would have told my kids I was going for milk and never come back.  She has the heart of a warrior.

Me?  I have the heart of a worrier and the brain of a mad scientist.   I hope my kids will forgive me.  With each passing day I am stunned by how hard it is to be a parent.  And hold a job.  And remain gluten free.

For the rest of you, this much I believe.  It is not good for us to carry around anger and hurt feelings towards our parents.  We must do what we can to get to a place of peace and acceptance.   If not for them then for our kids because whatever emotion you harbor and carry, your kids will have to pick up that burden.  All unfinished business you have with your parent will manifest somehow in your kids.  That’s not opinion, that’s physics.

So from this day forward I will no longer be bashing the parents and will have to look elsewhere to vent my spleen.   Lucky for me there are still politicians in the world.

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Free Personality Assessment

Greeting Folks,

Below you will find links to two separate personality assessments. I am helping a colleague compile data and to do so, he needs people to complete his assessments (lots of people).  All results are confidential  (I don’t even get to see them).  I took the assessments a few weeks ago and they are fantastic and you will find the results very interesting and informative.  These would probably cost you upwards of $100 each to take in the real world so have fun  and take advantage.   Additionally, to help drum up interest I am offering a free phone debrief of your results if interested.   Simply complete the assessments then email me through the “Ask Tim” component of this website and let me know you would like to set-up a phone debrief.

Here is the invitation from me and my colleague…….

“I am working with a colleague in the UK to research the extent to which an individual can display seemingly opposite qualities in different contexts e.g. can somebody be both “introverted” and “extraverted” – or can they be “tough” and “compassionate”. We are looking to refute traditional “type theory” that likes to make you exclusively one (and not the other). We are also researching how using opposite qualities may boost an individual’s “emotional intelligence”.

After I have analysed the data, you will be emailed out a short personality report based on the 1st questionnaire and a short emotional intelligence report based on the 1st & 2nd questionnaire combined.

As it is for research purposes, both surveys do take between 15 and 20 mins to fill in.

Here are the links to the 2 surveys:

Many thanks in advance for your consideration on this.

Kind regards, Tim Hoyle and Stewart Desson

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Grinding it Out

Ok, I’m not gonna lie.  Its not been the best week and my motivation level is hovering somewhere between “what’s the point” and “we are all going to die.”

But I must keep posting so in an act of pure desperation I leave you this week with the lyrics to a song I have been playing over and over this week by Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush

“Don’t Give Up”

in this proud land we grew up strong
we were wanted all along
I was taught to fight, taught to win
I never thought I could fail

no fight left or so it seems
I am a man whose dreams have all deserted
I’ve changed my face, I’ve changed my name
but no one wants you when you lose

don’t give up
‘cos you have friends
don’t give up
you’re not beaten yet
don’t give up
I know you can make it good

though I saw it all around
never thought I could be affected
thought that we’d be the last to go
it is so strange the way things turn

drove the night toward my home
the place that I was born, on the lakeside
as daylight broke, I saw the earth
the trees had burned down to the ground

don’t give up
you still have us
don’t give up
we don’t need much of anything
don’t give up
’cause somewhere there’s a place
where we belong

rest your head
you worry too much
it’s going to be alright
when times get rough
you can fall back on us
don’t give up
please don’t give up

‘got to walk out of here
I can’t take anymore
going to stand on that bridge
keep my eyes down below
whatever may come
and whatever may go
that river’s flowing
that river’s flowing

moved on to another town
tried hard to settle down
for every job, so many men
so many men no-one needs

don’t give up
’cause you have friends
don’t give up
you’re not the only one
don’t give up
no reason to be ashamed
don’t give up
you still have us
don’t give up now
we’re proud of who you are
don’t give up
you know it’s never been easy
don’t give up
’cause I believe there’s a place
there’s a place where we belong


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