Living the Dream?

I’m going to preface this post by saying that lately I’ve been pretty emotional. I’m not sure why, but perhaps it has to do with the fact that in a few short years I’ll be a half century old. I’m starting to look around me and catch glimpses of my mortality in the rear view mirror. Oddly, it seems to be gaining on me every time I look.

For those that know me, I have a favorite saying. When I’m asked “how’re you doing?” I reply, “I’m living the dream.” Sometimes I get a chuckle, sometimes I get a sigh, and sometimes I get “Yah right, more like a nightmare.”

I’ve come to find that I can learn a lot about a person by how they answer this question.

I wasn’t Living the Dream

Years ago, when I worked at PB World (now gone), I worked with a CADD operator. Depending on the workload we all had and what time of the day it was, I would ask him, “Hey , how’s it going?

He’d reply with, “I’m living the dream, Tom. Living the dream.”

We’d laugh because most of the time it’d be funny. Sometimes, it wasn’t. Sometimes when there was a lot of stress in the firm (i.e. deadlines, layoffs, etc) it would take on a negative connotation.

Over the years I began to internalize that saying. At first I would say it blindly as a reply but then I began to clarify it. I started asking myself ask myself, “was I really living the dream” and “what is the dream?”

I came to the realization that I wasn’t living the dream.

What is the dream?

The dream can be many things. Many people think it’s related to ‘stuff’ like a house, car, and other shiny objects. It could be finding love or living in a different city or place from where you were born. For some other people it might be a career or job that they love, while others create things and making a living from doing it.

Whatever it is, it’s a personal dream. It’s what makes you happy and content.

But what is happiness?

That, my friend, is the correct question to ask. That is what you must internalize and clarify. Living the dream is just an abstraction of happiness and contentment.

I am Living the Dream

As I started to clarify the “living the dream”, I began to realize that for me it’s not about owning things. It’s about my life. My wife, children, and family. It’s about a fulfilling career where I get to work with the most talented and amazing people. It’s about the inspiration I get from the relationships I have. It’s about this blog where I can write to my hearts content. It’s about where I live, in the small mountains of New Jersey.

It’s about connectedness.

It’s about creating.



And lastly, it’s about love. It’s always about love. 

After all, what else is there?

Blog Updates

I recently moved Neural Market Trends back to WordPress and had to migrate close to 300 markdown posts back into a MySQL database. For the most part, it all went smooth until it came to the posts starting from April 2018. Not sure why, but then it refused to import them.

I had to manually import about 30 to 40 posts and the dates got screwed up in the process. This is why there was a set of old posts being reposted with new dates, which can be a very misleading problem.

Luckily I solved the problem (I edited the dates by hand) and did a little post reorganization. Of course, this touched off a massive reposting on my Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn channels. Sorry!

Brace yourself for a flurry of blog reposts today.— Thomas Ott (@neuralmarket) November 11, 2018

Going forward I’d like to post at least once a week, probably on Saturdays and maybe another post during the week. I have so much stuff to write about that it’s ready to burst at the seams.

Life is grand, isn’t it?

Humility and Equanimity in Sales

Dear Friend,

I’ve been meaning to write about the importance humility and equanimity in sales. From my personal past observations, it seems these are attributes only a few sales people have.

What is humility and equanimity?

Humility is defined as:

“a modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness.”

Equanimity is defined as:

“mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.”

The Monkey Brain

Recently I was enlightened by a sales colleague about the concept of the Monkey brain. It was from a book he read.

The Monkey brain is hubris, alphaness, fight, flight, any emotion or reaction that ties us back to the days when we started walking upright.

When you give a presentation, it’s the Monkey that says “you’re going say stupid things” or “you don’t look pretty enough.” When you sign a great sales deal, it’s the Monkey that says “YAH! I’m the King/Queen, nothing can touch me!”

The Monkey Brain is not enlightened. It is the attachment to this world, it is what prevents you from achieving moksha. It is what causes the downfall of many a Sales person.

Leave the Monkey Behind

When you are in Sales, you are essentially asking someone to trade resources (money) for something you have to offer. Your offer must be more of a perceived value to that person that they are willing to part with their money.

This offer. It can be anything. It can be a product or service.

You must sell it, so that your organization can survive.

It is the Monkey that goes out hunting for the tribe.

The Monkey gets scared if the potential sale appears to be falling through.

The Monkey parties when the sale goes through, just like if he killed food to bring back to the tribe.

The Monkey falls into the same traps every time, because it is the Monkey Brain.

You must leave the Monkey behind.

Humility and Equanimity

Humility is not of the Monkey, it is an understanding that you do not understand everything. Humility is looking inward to oneself and finding that Monkey, hiding in your emotional trees and quieting him. Humility means that you will try your best and do your best, but not let the Monkey control your fears.

Equanimity is not of the Monkey as well. When the Monkey wins, he is elated and thumps his chest. When the Monkey loses, he gets angry and depressed. In life, we will win and we will lose. We will learn and we will make mistakes. It is how we react to the good and bad that is equanimity. Our reaction must be the same, always.

We are doing our job when we win and we are doing our job when we lose.

Be Humble.

Be Equanimous.