Kurt Bell

A life of courage, joy and independence.

Advice to others


 

The best experiences of my life
Were the falls where I’ve not recovered


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I was contacted today by a young man seeking work in another state. I thought I’d post my response here for other job seekers to consider. It’s a formula which has worked for me several times.

“Hi David. I think I can help as I have recently done the same thing. When I decided to come back to the United States I began looking for jobs on the Internet. I applied for many jobs online and put the word out with friends in the area where I wanted to live asking them to let me know if they heard of any good job opportunities. I was told about a very good job in Los Angeles. However, the job required skills that I didn’t have and I wasn’t fully qualified at that time. I then researched training and spent my own money taking business courses online in order to get the certification I needed. That took several months of evening and weekend effort. When I thought my resume was in good shape with the necessary certifications, I then sent a copy into the electronic filtering system for that particular agency. With the new technical keywords in place for my certification, my resume was picked up and sent on to the hiring manager who arranged an interview. I then flew to the United States twice at my own expense for two separate interviews. With no guarantees in place I was able to land the job and the big gamble paid off. Please keep in mind that I was fully prepared to accept failure in the event the interviews didn’t work out. That’s the key element in this story, a willingness to try and a willingness to fail, and then try again as many times as necessary while adjusting expectations to match whatever reality experience uncovered. I expect the same model will work for you if you want to work in Utah. Find out what the qualifications are for the job you’re after and then get those qualifications on your resume. Develop a concise, honest and complete resume and then send it to the people who are in charge of hiring at the place(s) where you want to work. When you get a bite, be ready to fork out your own money (start saving now) to drive or fly to Utah for an interview. I don’t need to tell you about the importance of a nice haircut, professional outfit and no displayed tattoos or excessive piercings. Do not tell the interviewer about all of the expenses and effort that you’ve made to get there. That stuff will come out in it’s own time and should not be a offered as a reason to hire you. The focus during the interview is what THEIR NEED IS and why YOU ARE THE RIGHT PERSON FOR THE JOB. if you can demonstrate that you have the skills, talent and ability for the role then you will probably get the job; unless of course there’s someone with better skills and ability than you, which is often the case and just another risk of the game. If you’re willing to follow this difficult, time intensive and costly formula then you can probably work at any job you like in any area of the world you desire. Good luck!”

More on the subject of education, work and living:
https://softypapa.wordpress.com/advice-for-young-men/


 

There’s worse things than dying
There’s surviving and giving up on life
There’s living without conscience
Denying the challenge of philosophy
Fellowship in excess
Consistency despite new knowledge
Rejection of consequence
Longevity is a mean and base measure of life compared with more meaningful standards of living


 

I’ll always regret the injury I do another. Let me never forget and carry it always like a heavy, rattling chain.

Note: the thought above is one that does not sit with me as it did when I first wrote it. I think the Stoic influence is causing this change and I’m skeptical of the attitude I once had on this subject.


 

Thank you for letting me know. I’m 50. I wish I could show you the view from this age. Everything looks so much different here. And what’s important is different, too. I remember being young and feeling pain for things that hardly matter anymore. I’m not saying that the things you are struggling with are unimportant or that the pain you feel isn’t real. I only wish I could share some of the peace that comes with age and ask you to be patient through the tough periods. I hope you have someone in your family you can talk to, or a teacher perhaps. I truly wish you all the best. Please let me know if you have any other questions. And Merry Christmas.


 

We do become the life we live.


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Everything is better with dog.


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Nothing crowds meaning so much as words.


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Every road’s a dead-end beside the stretch you’re currently on.


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Some of the best words I’ve ever read are those rare paragraphs of honest self-admonition penned by those seeking to convince no one other than themselves. These passages are as precious as diamonds among the hoard of humanity’s recorded treasures.


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The truth doesn’t care what you want it to be.


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Much money robs us of some comforting blinders. Opens our eyes to a fearsome truth. That money is no deliverance from our deepest pains. It’s just a comfort that we needn’t worry so much about paying for things we don’t really need.

With much money we discover we cannot hide. Can’t buy our way from dissatisfaction and resulting despair. And that’s a difficult place to be. As there’s nowhere to run. No hope when we’ve got it all and that’s not enough. At least when we were poor we could tell ourselves, if I just had more money.

Much money isn’t for everyone, though nearly everyone wants it. And I’ll take it too. Though first, let me prepare by learning to make do and be satisfied without.


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I’ve told my daughter several times how the perception of affluence has a way of wearing off. That privilege is a perishable sense. And that even the “good life” is usually revealed to be nothing more than “just life” in spite of fortune, fame or influence.
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The beach where I take my family is lined along the cliffs with multi-million dollar homes, complete with private stairs leading right down to the sands. One day last summer I was alone at the beach when I spotted an older man making his way down one of these exclusive stairways. After fumbling a bit with his locked gate he emerged on the sand and turned to walk a short distance to a nice spot of sand with a commanding view of the cove and the great ocean beyond. He passed me on the way and we exchanged hellos, and I noted his many accouterments for a satisfying few hours on the sand. He had a beach chair and umbrella, a small ice chest, a towel and a book.
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The man had his little camp set up in less than a minute and proceeded to sit, sigh, and gaze out at the little waves. After another minute he put on some dark glasses and continued to look straight out to sea, searching for dolphin perhaps, or maybe contemplating the horizon, or possibly considering his good fortune in life, and asking himself why it didn’t feel better than he thought it should.
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I wondered these thoughts as I remembered when the same thing happened to me. The week I became the luckiest man alive, was inducted into a dream life, and faced down the sober truth that there really is no such thing; that dreams are for dreamers, and that nothing more than reality ever awaits us beneath the thin veneer of whatever good fortune we happen upon today.
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I was twenty one years old and had been given a beach of my own. Twenty miles of California seashore with a river filled with salmon, sea stacks topped with conifers, mighty storms to keep me entertained and the blessing of more solitude and free time than even a hermit can properly handle. It was everything I could have imagined in life. My dearest dream come true. A humble cabin in the wilds just like my hero Henry David Thoreau had enjoyed during his two year sojourn on thought.
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That first week alone on the beach was a busy one as I moved my decrepit little motor home into place, hooked up utilities, cleared a spot to make a waterfront yard, and spent a whole afternoon gathering driftwood to fashion into yard furniture. When everything was done, and my dream home complete, I decided to take a break and to bask in a moment of satisfying reflection on my wondrous good fortune, amazing privilege, and – though I had no actual money – the deep affluence of my youth, health and optimism.
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I grabbed my beach chair, along with a snack, a book and my journal and stepped barefoot from my motor home onto the cool sand. I walked out onto the beach and began searching for a good place to sit, a little like a dog looking for the perfect place to curl up and sleep. I found a nice spot in front of the little river which is actually called ‘Little River’ and set up the chair where I could take in both the fresh water moving slowly before my feet and the salt water where the river poured into the waves. A truly magnificent view.
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Great waves blocked out the horizon by their line of foaming white, though the accompanying roar was sufficient energy to churn my thoughts and imagination. I sat, put my book and journal on the sand and nibbled my snack, giddy with the energy and wonder of what was happening, where I was, and the life I had somehow managed to engage. I was thinking of the potential. Not even noticing the beach. Consumed in the realization of a dream without yet living the dream.
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Finally my snack was done and I put the wrapper in my pocket. I thought about the book and the journal but decided instead to stare at the sea. The silence of my thoughts was a bit unsettling. So this was it. This is what it’s like to have a dream come true? I think I was waiting for some sort of revelation; a sudden secret to be revealed that only those who arrive at the giddy heights of good fortune are privileged to know. Nothing came. The river and the sea were beautiful beyond words, but no more lovely than before. My youth remained vital and strong, but it had been just so days prior when I was without an address and living on the streets. My mind crackled with ideas not unlike it had when I was a small child. My freedom was no more improved nor less impaired than before I had found this life. Nothing really had changed. Within a few minutes a noted the arrival of my old thoughts and worries, the companions which plagued me always, the characters changing with the years though the roles always remaining the same. While the great drama of my beach unfolded before me I thought of my classes, my exams, money, and how I would afford books for the coming semester. And what about that oil change I needed to do on the car. And just what was I to do for dinner tonight. The beach was gone then and my real life had returned.
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It would be decades before the lesson sunk in that my every circumstance in life had been nothing more than a circumstance in life. The years alone on the beach, the summers hitchhiking across America, my time as a millionaire, the years in Japan, and now my circumstance as a family man struggling to make ends meet, do what I perceive is right and good, and contemplating the end which will be here much sooner than I like to think.
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I wonder if such thoughts were on the mind of that middle-aged man I met at Shaw’s Cove? While staring through sunglasses at the calm sea horizon did he wonder why his exceptionally privileged life didn’t deliver more than mere reality? Why his wealth and status always distilled to nothing more than who he knew he really is? Was he cataloging and solving his problems in spite of his circumstance; letting worry overcome the sunset, the soft sand, and the sight of dolphins swimming by just off shore. Maybe he was facing down these truths, perhaps he was coming to grips with a reality more real than any dream life, or maybe he was simply taking a carefree snooze while his maid prepared his dinner, his gardener cleaned the yard and his accountant did his taxes.
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