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So far Rich Howard has created 2 blog entries.

Opiate of the Masses

Karl Marx’ famous quote is essentially that religion was a dulling distraction to prevent people who lived in a cruel world from rising up in revolt and taking control of their lives. But in today’s age, even if that were true then, there is another that is true today.  There is a new opiate that insidiously enslaves people to a lesser life.  What is the 21st century opiate of the masses?  Distraction.  Texting, email, Facebook, TV, radio, Instagram, and all other twitter-like instant messages that say “HEY, HEY!!!!! Look at me.  I’m more important than whatever else you are doing.”  The pull is addictive.

THE major obstacle that must be overcome in order to creating a life of wealth and well-being, substance and satisfaction, love and enjoyment is a lack of focus and intent.  This generation of twenty-somethings has grown up with electronic interruptions as a part of their life.  It’s not new to them.  It’s a part of them.  We don’t know to what effect just yet, but the early indications aren’t encouraging.  Though anecdotal, my observation is that relationships are the first casualty in this new era.  There are numerous and complex reasons why marriage is being delayed in today’s emerging generation.  I propose that micro-selfishness is doled out like opium with each text or email and creates an addictive need to be entertained.

Entertainment, a passive enjoyment, is not investment.  Relationships require investment and when things stop being entertaining, it’s time to move on.  Distractions prevent focus.  Added up over a short lifetime, these distractions promote a shallowness that doesn’t allow for the creation of an interesting person.  How many times, for example, have you observed families in restaurants looking at their e-gadgets instead of engaging in family conversation?  Doesn’t that evoke a sadness in you?  It does for me because they may not ever come to know the overwhelming satisfaction that springs from family interaction.

Secondly, the skill of being present, focusing one’s mind on one thing, appears to be underdeveloped in society.  My kids used to say “But we’re developing the ability to multi-task.”  Uh, no.  You’re practicing switching quickly from one thought to another versus the much harder task of focusing on one thing.  Can you listen to music while studying? Sure.  What kind of music, headbanging? Can you respond to an email while talking with another friend? Sure.  But what kind of friend and what kind of conversation?  Of course the answer is you can do all those things.  But there is a cost that isn’t always obvious.

The cost of choosing one course of action is not choosing another.  It’s called opportunity cost.  Therefore, constantly being tied to the net and available to your sphere 24/7 is costing you depth and focus, privacy and independence, substance and purpose.  How do you know whether you’ve paid those costs?  The sad part is you don’t. You simply don’t notice.  How do you know if you’re shallow?  You may say, “Well, that may be true for some, but not me.”  Ok, fair enough.  But how do you know you’re not eroding your ability to be substantive?  You may lack the focus to see for yourself and make a sound judgment.


In your Ironmen group, take your phones and put them on the table.  First one to check email or take a call buys beers on Friday.  Or, on Sunday, turn your phone off all day.  No emails or calls unless you initiate them.  Or, read for two hours straight without checking anything electronic.  Practice focus.  Decide to engage fully in the moment without hedging that something else might be more important.

To your increasingly substantive character,

Dave Marr

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By | September 1st, 2017|Personal, Relational|0 Comments

Captain of my Soul


I recall being about 38 when I achieved relative independence from the enslaving qualities of youth – poverty, ignorance, arrogance, conflict, victimhood, and arrogance (yes, twice). Of course, you overthrow one master for the confines of another, but hopefully one more benign and a bit more cooperative. Ignorance and arrogance are as deadly a despot duo as can exist to which I can truly say I needed to overthrow that unruly team. That is the theme of today’s message: For you to become the man God has intended you to become, for you to fulfill and extend your potential, for you to achieve something that will bring you respect and satisfaction, you must have a revolution of the mind and spirit.

And how do you do that? A declaration of resolve. You have so much potential, but in today’s world of distraction it will take significant motivation and resolve for you to choose a book over a video game, a run versus a beer, a conversation instead of a text. If you were enslaved in oppression it might be easier to find that consistent resolve; however, in this day of easy living, it’s very difficult. How will you find the resolve to make something meaningful of your life and stick with it?


Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the Pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll.

I am the master of my fate;

I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

Though I am not beaten

With rod held in scorn,

I too appreciate

The fact that I was born

In the mild waters of indifference

I jostle amidst the crowd

Head anointed with comforts thus

I emerge face up-turned and proud

Beyond this place where distractions play

The siren’s song of strife

I stand firm and resolved

To bring meaning to my life

It matters not the allure or static

Nor chance’s dice that roll,

I decide what goes inside

For I too am the captain of my soul

David Lawrence Marr

Gentlemen, let me say that lessons continue long into life, the mountain continues ever upward. I am 54 and continued to be humbled by my past arrogances. Just today, I had some feedback on perceptions of who I am that was disturbing. My personal goal in life is to be a catalyst for positive change in the lives of everyone I meet. And here, today, I got feedback of just the opposite. Here’s the point: We are put on this planet for goodness sake. Feedback is designed for improvement, even if it isn’t positive. In fact, positive feedback doesn’t help as much as negative because it tells you you don’t need to improve versus you’ve got a ways to go. Listen, as Einstein said, “God doesn’t roll dice”, therefore, you being here isn’t some happenstance mistake. You are the Captain of your Soul. To where do you sail?

An Ironmen group of three men meeting weekly will provide you the forum to declare your resolve. It provides the accountability you need to your future self to make you the captain of your soul. You have set goals for the year which is now halfway gone. Have you kept your resolve to keep up with the discipline on your physical goals, your personal goals, your relational goals? Are you moving forward on your financial goals? What about your spiritual life?

To your continued success,


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By | January 27th, 2017|Personal, Spiritual|0 Comments