Fear

What is fear? Why does it matter? How do I manage it?

Fear is a basic instinct that rules every animal. It is to protect us from harm. I get that, what I am working thru is when is fear ruling me and not allowing me to grow into my potential.

I live in fear every day. I do not have that fear which is clinical or manifest itself into on-going anxiety. When I get fearful, I get anxiety, but usually, that passes, because the fear causing event has expired or the event I made up in my head has settled down where I know I need to face the facts and not the fantasy that I made up.

This fear at its core is from many sources. I get fear first because I have a crappy self-worth image (I suck). I went through High School not doing any extra clubs or groups, because of fear. I got nervous and that stopped me. No one ever told me that was normal to have fear. I thought I felt it and I was not to proceed. I believed no one else had fear, so they joined the clubs and groups.

I once watched a TV show many years ago, some stupid show and watched a bungee jumper that was about to leap off a bridge into a river below. Before the jump, a person asked him, “are you scared?” He said I am very scared, but I do not let my fear stop me. This is safe, he believed and this fear was manageable. What? You can manage fear. Something, I never heard of… Right after that, I read a book title, (never read the book), called, “Face the Fear and Do Any Ways.” I guess I was too scared to read the book. However, just reading the title was the first green light in my life.

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” –Mark Twain.

Green, yellow, and red lights, damn. I still have fears, sometimes I call it resistance. I resist doing things as a form of fear. A common way I manage some fears is to use fear to motivate me (sad). In this example, I have two items; a report and its deadline. I have a week long deadline. I know I have a week so I am lazy (a form of fear, do not want to start), procrastinate (a form of fear, delayed start), and then my motivation to get this done is fear itself. Shit the report is due today (fear of deadline), need to get it done (fear of failure). So, at the last moment, I get very busy, get into the business of writing a report. I do a great job of getting it done at the last moment. Why? I do a great job at the “fear” end of a deadline, but why cannot I use that energy prior to the deadline. I use the deadline as a safety net, “I ran out of time, best I could do” (excuse fear). But, why, why, why? So, I set out to study me. Scary I know (more fear).

Two things that come to mind, first being the question, does it matter. Like writing this. I lack a deadline and very few people will read it, so why do it? The answer is I gave myself this task, and failing to do this will cause a regret (a form of fear). I have enough regrets in my life and want change (a form of fear). Will my regrets change me… or depress me? So where is the change agent to my fears?

Fear at its core is a lack of faith. Often in life when one attribute of my life is predominant, like fear, I need to find the opposite to exercise it so more of a balance is achieved. I am not talking about dualism, I discount that right away. I can give a working example. I have knee problems, so going to PT, they discovered my hips are not strong as they should be causing my knees to become overworked and ache. To solve my knee issue, I do hip exercises.

A faith example, I showed my writing to a special friend, she loves my writing. I believe she was sincere and not blowing smoke up my ass. The encouragement gave some faith to write some more. I feel I can do this (faith). I like what I write (faith as encouragement), will others (fear)? Life has shown me that very few people will give me faith, most will give me fear… Like Trolls that live under a bridge and write/say mean things about me. My mind pauses (spins) when this happens, is there any truth in their statements (corrective criticism), I will let that resonate and discount the rest or discount the troll completely. When I am very unhealthy, I spin it out of control and become totally discouraged and depressed (fear to lead to self-hate).

I am always looking for more examples or faith to reduce my fears. I pray and meditate (a little, trying to get better), that pumps up the faith side. I have done a fear inventory (listed it in AA’s step 4) and released it power over me (AA’s step 5). Other religious places of worship and others do it using confession and others use similar methods of releasing the power fear has over us.

We need a road map to work out our fears. When I share my fears, they lose some power. I share in a group, I get suggestions of the roads I should take. Suggestions are great, but not all roads will get me where I need to go, or at least efficiently. I take the suggestions and begin by taking a single step, then another.

I told some folks, I wanted to write about fear, but was too scared to start. I found like most of my fears, once I face them, they disappear. “Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. There was no one there.” –English Proverb.

I will finish with this quote…

“He who is not every day conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

 

 

 

Art inside the Artist

I like to think that I am mentoring a special friend who is becoming a wonderful photographer. I wanted to write a bit on how I could help her obtain the next level in her creativity. I realize I am really writing this to me. She will benefit, but this is really self-talk.

Ways to improve as a person who is also a photographer.

Do not compare your images to others on social media such as Facebook. That will depress you. Do not go after getting likes. Likes are what people do that like low-brow stuff, like watching “Reality TV”. If your friends are like mine, they rarely look to Facebook to edify themselves, look at what they post; meme’s, political statements (they should investigate the facts), cat videos and other time wasters. Facebook is an escape, not an art form.

Instead of social media, begin to seek out art websites more frequently to be inspired by artists. Study the masters. If you want to be better, study the masters, not trends. Example, HDR is/was a trend…

Go to museums and traveling exhibits to see work that is different from your own. This should be expanded to fine art, both 2D (painting, mixed media) and 3D art such as sculpture. I always become inspired after visiting an art gallery.

As a photographer discipline yourself to use a prime (fixed focal length), and different lens to force you to think outside your comfort areas. Avoid taking the same images; over and over. Yes, they are safe and are working for you— now!

Read books on art, design, and artists. Read about the master’s what was in their heads, what questions were they looking to answer. Trust me, they did not shoot random shit.

Start personal projects just for yourself. Yes, this is personal work, so it may or may not resonate with others.

Read tech sites to learn the latest hardware, software, and other items, so you see how to improve your workflow. Do not, I repeat do not get into buying gear and more gear to thinking it will make you a better photographer. Chasing the latest and greatest gear does not make you a better photographer. I have a big camera. I can shoot with an artist where they are using a camera phone. She will take more interesting and moving images. I could have technically better images, more pixels. Bigger cameras do not you an artist. Also, I hate when people like my images and ask me what camera I use? Please, it is not the camera.

Speaking of camera phones, use it, but not for more selfies. The best camera is the one that is with you. Because there is really no cost to using your camera phone, walk around and observe your world. Take a ton of images. Change your perspective, go low, high, turn the camera 45 degrees, change your composition. Chase shadows instead of objects. Find interesting perspectives. Shoot from the waist, instead of from the eye.

Ask what if? go do what if? share your successes and learn from your mistakes.

Twelve Steps

There are 12 steps In A.A. They are paramount to recovery. They consist of just 200 words in the AA’s Big Book on pages 59-60. When we arrive into AA, most of us wanted some relief from our drinking. We may not be ready to admit we are “alcoholics.” This simple program is not about getting our drinking under control, it is about living life fully without the need to have a drink or to use.

The program works on the real problem, being a broken human being; the solution is by utilizing a Power greater than ourselves.

It is a “we” program, not an “I” or “You” program. So the society and fellowship are important tenets to anyone desiring success. We cannot do this alone!

The word “alcohol” only appears once as the problem. References to deity (the solution) are mentioned nine times.

Step 1 – 13 words, 0 God
Step 2 – 14 words, 1 God
Step 3 – 20 words, 2 God
Step 4 – 9 words, 0 God
Step 5 – 16 words, 1 God
Step 6 – 12 words, 1 God
Step 7 – 7 words, 1 God
Step 8 – 18 words, 0 God
Step 9 – 18 words, 0 God
Step 10 – 13 words, 0 God
Step 11 – 32 words, 3 God
Step 12 – 28 words, 0 God

The heart of this suggested program of personal recovery is contained in Twelve Steps describing the experience of the earliest members of the Society:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

 

 

 

My system

“My System” has been revised many times over the years to fit my lifestyle. I added and subtracted many productivity apps. Today, I need an app that works on the web, OSx, iOS, and Android operating systems. Today I am using Todoist from todoist.com for my list management. The tool is excellent, and ahead of anything else I used. I am a premium user for just over a year (I am a Grand Master, in Todoist Karma).  “Todo” tasks are something I do every day and take seriously.

TODO Item

I define todo items that are not bound by double time constraints (start date/time with a required end date/time). I use calendars when there is a duration of a start and end time. For these durations, I use Google calendars.

A todo event is an action. It can be held to a day or time (but those are optional).

I add tasks at the simplest level possible. For example, If I were going to sell an item on eBay, it would not be one task (action). I would have a set of tasks. For example, I want to sell a camera lens. I would create with least four tasks: 1) prepare an item, 2) photograph item, 3) list item, and 4) if sold, package and ship item. To me, each task is a separate todo item or action. It is not just one task of “sell my lens.”

Naming Tasks

How I come to name tasks. In my corporate life, my manager would assign me a task, for example, “Start Style Guide,” he would ask for progress each week in our staff meetings. I would tell him, it is complete because the task “is started.” The task event title was poorly written. The task title was too “start” the task, and it did not include all the next logical or indicated steps. It should have listed any other tasks required. He did not get it, oh well. Today, I try to use action words in my todo’s.

Start Times

I have on my todo list to “walk my dog 7 AM”. Why do I need to be reminded?  My dog is good at reminding me. My day is full of surprises, and my schedule may change to have me work another problem, so the dog’s walk may not happen at 7 A.M. After 7 A.M., the text turns red, again a reminder that I need to do the task. I have many tasks recurring, my walking the dog is one that I do every day. Yes, I will get him out for a walk, but it may be long after 7:00 AM.

When I am walking my dog is when my brain gets a chance to decompress, and it reminds me of many tasks not yet captured. Since I walk and listen to music, podcasts, or audible books, ideas will pop into my mind, if I do not capture them, I lose them. Often these are details to a bigger task, but I must capture them. I use Google Now integration to todoist. I open my phone, and speak, “OK Google” to use voice to text technology. I say something like, “create note” and it will recognize my words, and prompt me for the text for the note, I will say something like, “re-read page 118.” I use Google Now in two steps for better results, if not it will often just open a web page with search results when I want a note created. The first time you will try this you will need to choose Todoist from the list of apps.

Goals

I have goals and themes, but they are not set in Todoist or Google Calendar, but in the default notebook in a single note in Evernote. Goals are listed by five years, one year, or smaller, such as seasons. Then the goal is reviewed when I sense I need to, such as when I take the time to focus. The goals and themes get applied in my todo projects. I have a year goal to read 52 books in 52 weeks. I have a recurring todo task to remind me each day to read 20% of the book I am reading.

Projects and labels and filters

Project sample:

Label sample:

Filter sample:

Projects

Projects are big for me. I have like 26 projects. Some projects do not hold tasks, they are set in all CAPS and have sub-projects (which does contain tasks). Seeing all caps reminds me not to add a task to that project. For example, I have a Fitness project nested in the PERSONAL project and inside the Fitness project is a project for each day of the week. For Monday, I have like four tasks for some weight lifting. Each task contains the “lift”, the reps-weight, followed by a comma for the sets. I have a label for what area I am working, in the example, this is my chest. I use prefixes for my labels, “F-” for fitness, “S-“ for shopping and many other labels.

Labels

Labels are important to cross reference items. The above example is for Monday, it has labels (F-Chest), not all chest exercises are done on Monday, using labels I can see all chest exercises.

I also color codes, for example, stores that I use are in blue. I buy some items from to a particular store. So when I arrive at Vallarta (a grocery store), my shopping list is filtered on only items that I have identified that I need from that store.

When a store has a wishlist feature like Amazon. I add the item to the wishlist only (because prices change). I should create a todo item to cleanse out old wishlist items and make it recurring, like every six months.

Filters

I use filters to cross check other items, like what is coming up on Tuesday, so if I have a change to my routine, I can be aware of items to clear or finish prior. I also, use “No Due Date” filter to see items that do not have a due date, so I check them regularly and add due dates. I created a monthly task to review those tasks if any. If is funny, that I use tasks to remind me to do other tasks.

My todo lists examples

A todo date constraint example

To apply for a job. I have it set to every weekday, but not constrained to when I do it in the day.

A todo date constraint example with a time constraint

To take out the trash barrels on Thursday evening. It is constrained by a date (Thursday) and time. It does not have a duration of time (a start and end time, that would be a calendar item). I can take them out anytime in the evening. So, my do list item looks like “Take out Trash Barrels, Thursday 7:00 P.M.”

A todo example with start and stop time constraints

This example becomes a calendar item because it is a start and end time. Calendar items are required so that I not have conflicts, such as being in two places at the same time. I have a meeting starting on Tuesday, at 6:00 pm and it runs to 8:00 pm, but first I have dinner with our speaker (4:30-5:30). I add travel if required. Traveling, in this case, is about an hour, so it is a calendar item.

Reminders

I use reminders to help me sort items during the day. I can create one item with a time 7:00, next item, 7:01 and so on. I priorities for sorting as well.

Location Reminder

I may have many items to do when I arrive, but since they have no time order, they are a todo item. I may have them geographical based and or time-based. To visit my storage unit to pick up some item my daughter wants which may have a location reminder, and is triggered when I arrived in the area. I use this method when I know to visit my storage unit but not sure when I will be visiting. Sometimes, it is a random thing, oh, I need to go to the storage to pick up that art piece, and I am reminded to get other items as well when I arrive.

Conclusion

My System is always changing and adapting to my needs. Some may think this is very too structured. I organize only when I want a return on my time.

Some items are routine, and others are unique. Lots of them are date based, and others are geographically based. I use each for the level of organization that fits. Also, I do not complete all tasks each day, if I get behind I just move them to the proper day or into the future as my schedule changes.

No Faith in…

I do not put my faith in big government, big business, big pharmaceutical, big food, or big education.

I do not follow the trend for commercialism, I do not pay more money for a popular label, I am willing to pay more for quality and other things that bring me joy.

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned to buy things they don’t want to impress people they don’t like.” (Will Rogers, 1879).

When I need something, I buy it, only when I can afford it. I hate when people call me up to sell me shit I do not want, do not mail me flyers, and do not knock on my door. BTW, I tell them I am “renter”, that sends them away.

I do not respond to marketing terms, such as, “Natural”, “Local”, “New”, “Improved”, “Lite”, “Reduced”, or “Natural Flavors”, whatever that is. Oh also terms, “Real” and “Fat-Free. I see that term on items that never had fat, like sugary candy (non-chocolate).

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Gluten Free and Organic are suspected as well. Not because you don’t need to know, but big food will place it on labels of all kinds of foods that have never included Gluten. Example, Gluten Free water, really? Speaking of water… I see this all the time… Pure Filter Water. If it the water is pure, why filter it? It is really just filtered treated water. Other oxymorons, like “Hot Water Heater”, it is a “Water Heater”, why would you heat hot water?

attachment_8ec74aea-38d5-47ce-9bee-de58f517f758

If the advertisement copy has words, like “secret”, “act now”, “limited offer”, “Lose weight fast”, “Value pack”, or have people endorsements, by popular athletes or entertainers, I take a pass. 

I want to be active in my life, by putting my money and time on things that bring me joy. For example, a freshly made coffee held in both hands that are both aromatic and tastes a little like heaven. 

Recovered verse Recovering?

Big Book Being Recovered

The Big Book in the first 164 pages uses the word “recovered” approximately twenty times; “recover,” twenty-five times and “recovering,” only twice, and then that is in the context of the newcomer.

The Family Afterward, p.122
“Our women folk have suggested certain attitudes a wife may take with the husband who is recovering.”

To Wives, p.104
“But many of the suggestions given here may be adapted to help the person who lives with a woman alcoholic — whether she is still drinking or is recovering in A.A.”

The Change

I am no longer doing the “think drink.” With that, I am no longer a “Recovering Alcoholic,” once the obsession to drink has been lifted. Doing so, can be a passage to being a “Recovered Alcoholic.” The some Alcoholics will say they are recovered after step two, they may have. But in my opinion, that may not always be true. They may want to believe they are in fact, but time will tell. For me, I understood the words and concepts of step one through step three, but in hindsight, I did not embrace it fully. That may still true today, that I do not understand it completely. I cannot know what I do not know. My sponsor tells me, he did not get all of step two until after 22 years of sobriety, which makes me pause to reflect. My last relapse happened by being scared about doing my fourth step. After being humbled by my relapse, I recommitted myself to the program and in time, moved on to doing my fifth step with my sponsor. At that moment, my obsession to drink was gone. I have not had an “obsession” to drink since, (my memories are still active and I think about it, but today I can easily dismiss those thoughts).

The Big Book does states “…we are not cured of alcoholism” (p. 85). We will always have this allergy of the body. We never become cured of the physical allergy. Once we take a drink the phenomenon of craving will be triggered. Using the term, Recovered is not a free pass to return to being a normal drinker. Whether you use, “Recovering Alcoholic” or “Recovered Alcoholic”, the second word is the important one to remember, that word is “Alcoholic”. Being a Recovered Alcoholic is conditional. We remain recovered by staying in fit spiritual condition (p. 85).

Having heard numerous discussions on recovering verses recovered, I like page xvii of the Big Book states, “It also indicated that strenuous work, one alcoholic with another, was vital to permanent recovery.”

The Doctor’s Opinion, p.xxv
This man and over one hundred others appear to have recovered.

There Is A Solution, p.17
Nearly all have recovered.

There Is A Solution, p.29
Further on, clear-cut directions are given showing how we recovered.

Working With Others, p.90
If he says yes, then his attention should be drawn to you as a person who has recovered.

To Wives, p.113
He knows that thousands of men, much like himself, have recovered.

Foreword to Second Edition, p.xv
In that brief space, Alcoholics Anonymous has mushroomed into nearly 6,000 groups whose membership is far above 150,000 recovered alcoholics.

The Family Afterward, p.132
We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others.

To Employers, p.146
An alcoholic who has recovered, but holds a relatively unimportant job, can talk to a man with a better position.

There Is A Solution, p.20
Doubtless you are curious to discover how and why, in the face of expert opinion to the contrary, we have recovered from a hopeless condition of mind and body.

Foreword to First Edition, p.xiii
We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.

The Family Afterward, p.133
We, who have recovered from serious drinking, are miracles of mental health.

Foreword to Second Edition, p.xvii
Their very first case, a desperate one, recovered immediately and became A.A. number three.

Foreword to First Edition, p.xiii
To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered is the main purpose of this book.

We Agnostics, p.45
If a mere code of morals or a better philosophy of life were sufficient to overcome alcoholism, many of us would have recovered long ago.

Working With Others, p.96
He often says that if he had continued to work on them, he might have deprived many others, who have since recovered, of their chance.

Quotes – From Alcoholic’s Anonymous meetings and other sources

Below is a list of my favorite quotes in the healing of this alcoholic, from Alcoholic’s Anonymous meetings, what I read or discovered, my goal is to get to 100, but I shared them as is totaling 59. They are attributed to the author when known.

Quotes – From Alcoholic’s Anonymous meetings and other sources

  1. “Face the fear and do it anyways.”
  2. “Great power is what keeps us sober.”
  3. “Life is on life’s terms.”
  4. “You cannot think your way into being sober – but you can live your life into sober thinking.”
  5. “If three third birds are on a wire and one makes a decision, how many birds are left? – Three.”
  6. “With one foot in the past and one foot in the present, we are only pissing on the present.”
  7. “I can read an Algebra book, but I won’t understand it, unless I work the problems and take the quizzes and tests.”
  8. “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the called the present.” – Kungfu Panda
  9. “I have found that the process of discovering who I really am begins with knowing who I really don’t want to be.”
  10. “When I stopped living in the problem and began living in the answer, the problem went away.” (Big Book Pg 417)
  11. “One day at a time.” ― (Big Book Pg 300, Big Book Pg 528, Big Book Pg 255)
  12. “Definition of an alcoholic is an egomaniac with an inferiority complex”
  13. “There is an island of opportunity in the middle of every difficulty.”
  14. “If we were to live, we had to be free of anger.” ― (Big Book Pg 66)
  15. “We must lose our fear of creditors no matter how far we have to go, for we are liable to drink if we are afraid to face them.” ― (Big Book Pg 78)
  16. “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
  17. “Pain is the touchstone of spiritual growth.”
  18. “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”
  19. “Remember: It’s ok to look back but don’t stare.”
  20. “Alcoholic drinking’s three stages: impulsive, compulsive, repulsive.”
  21. “Those who abandon their dreams will discourage yours.”
  22. “We can no longer be content with just getting by.”
  23. “I spent a lifetime in hell and it only took me twelve steps to get to heaven.”
  24. “Would you like to be right or happy?”
  25. “When I came to recovery I realized that being a child for 28 years nearly killed me”
  26. “We came to these rooms not because we drank a lot, but because we drank too much.”
  27. “Serenity is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it.”
  28. “Minds are like parachutes. They only function when they are open. “
  29. “Remember, don’t run so fast that your guardian angel can’t keep up”
  30. “The longer I’m sober, the drunker I was.”
  31. “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” (Winston Churchill)
  32. “The dark past is the greatest possession you have — the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them.” AA, 2001, (Big Book Pg 124)
  33. “I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see. I sought my God, but my God eluded me. I sought my brother and I found all three …” (Martin Luther King)
  34. “We had a new Employer. Being all powerful, He provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well. Established on such a footing we became …interested in seeing what we could contribute to life.” (Big Book Pg 63)
  35. “Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. Give freely of what you find …” (Big Book Pp 164)
  36. “… the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot … Above everything, we alcoholics must get rid of selfishness. God makes that possible.” (Big Book Pg 62)
  37. “Do not think of what you will get out of the occasion — think of what you can bring to it.” (Big Book Pg10)
  38. “Spiritual before material”
  39. “Life is in session”
  40. “All the intelligence in the world, won’t keep you from getting a lynching.”
  41. “Surrounding is joining the winning side.”
  42. “Going faster doesn’t make you less lost. It’s okay to ask for directions.”
  43. “A mindset of gratitude determines your mindset of happiness.” (Eric)
  44. “Between fear and faith, one will always win out”  (JB)
  45. “Remember to dance with the lady you brought to the dance.”
  46. “Turn your wounds into wisdom.” (Oprah Winfrey)
  47. “Behind every beautiful thing, there’s some kind of pain.” (Bob Dylan)
  48. “One Tree can’t make a forest.”
  49. “I have found that the process of discovering who I really am begins with knowing who I really don’t want to be.” (Alcoholics Anonymous)
  50. “For in meditation, debate has no place.” (12-12 Pg 99)
  51. “People may see me as John Wayne, but inside I see myself as Shirley Temple” (Eddie)
  52. “Gratitude lifts the weight of burden off your shoulders. (Jessica)
  53. “Those who leave everything in God’s hand will eventually see God’s hand in everything.” (unknown)
  54. “I was not the smartest kid in kindergarten, but I have been in the kindergarten the longest.” (Eric)
  55. “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” (Anne Lamott)
  56. “I get the opportunity to save my own life.”
  57. “Is it odd or God?”
  58. “Addiction is a monster; it lives inside, and feeds off of you, takes from you, controls you, and destroys you. It is a beast that tears you apart, rips out your soul, and laughs at your weakness. It is a stone wall that stands to keep you in and the rest out. It is a shadow that always lurks behind you, waiting to strike. Addiction lives in everyone’s mind, sitting, staring, waiting…”
  59. “A rising tide lifts all the boats.”