“Only lovers understand moments.”

image004I once wrote a poem and in the middle of writing it, the poem completely changed direction. One of the fresh, unexpected lines was “Only Lovers understand moments.” 

That line could mean many things. One meaning for me is that sometimes when we look back at our lives, some of the greatest, most powerful events in our lives were a matter of a few moments of inspiration, insight or bliss. 

Another meaning is that when you really love someone or something, time slows or stops, and everything significant seems to be communicated in an instant. 

But here I will connect those words to the question of just how Group Genie helps people make the best, most loving use of their lives. We actually come at this question from several directions, and we have a variety of materials that help people answer the question, “What is the best, most loving use of my time, right now?”

Here are five materials:

Path Management  This material contains a framework for looking at life as either a series of “loves” (things that are life-enhancing) or a series of “sleeps”—things that are bad for you. The ideal is to walk a path from love to love, and avoid the sleeps that pull you off the path of fulfillment.

Life Mission and Process Statements  This four-part, 16-page resource covers common mistakes and assumptions about life mission; how to create a mission statement; how to create a life process statement; and how to extend your life mission.

Choices Regarding the Empowerment of Others  Pondering these 18 different sets of choices can help you pick much more powerful ways to empower others and do good.

Wise Giving of Time and Money   This material includes two assessments, a piece on ‘supercharity,’ and also several ideas to help you do the most good with your time and money, as well as tips for avoiding fraudulent charities.

Life Tools   This is a whole program that helps you balance personal fulfillment, helping others and efforts to strategically repair and sustain the world. You could use this program to help support you to read and integrate the other materials.

I hope you will use some of these materials to help you create exquisitely beautiful moments — in your life and in the lives of others!

[The picture is from the cover of Tim’s 1998 self-published book Love Is Urgent.]

A Major Breakthrough: The Genies Have Landed!

The three genie lamps on a skate board.For a while Group Genie has had seven powerful world-changing ideas, seven “upgrades for humanity.” (Examples of past upgrades are: written language, coin money, laws, clock time, mass communication, and most recently the Internet.) These ideas are briefly described on the Huge Ideas page. What we didn’t have was a plan for rolling these upgrades out quickly. Our goal was to have a believable plan for rolling out all seven upgrades in one to two years! That’s incredibly fast, considering that upgrades usually take decades to spread around the world.

Now we have a viable plan! It only asks a person for three hours of effort — that can be done in 5-10 minute increments — and it asks a few dollars. In exchange, humanity will likely have seven major upgrades within two years.

Get a Permanent Endowment! (A New Group Genie Add-on)

IMG_7500bWhen I was young my parents encouraged me and my twin brother to join Boy Scouts. I stayed in the program for about six years. I still tell people that it was the best education that I ever had. I value it above my CMU education and chemistry degree.

Besides the fun and games and the camping experience, Boy Scouts gave me these skills that I have used throughout my life:  first aid, personal management (mostly some basic money management), cooking, canoeing and water safely, identifying poison ivy and other poisonous plants, and emergency preparedness. I didn’t realize until later that I was getting a permanent endowment of skills until years later.

Other parts of my permanent endowment came from other places. In my twenties I taught myself yoga from a book and later took a class in it, and have used that all my life since then. In judo I learned some self defense skills, but more importantly how to take a fall without getting seriously hurt. In some graduate courses I learned conflict resolution and negotiation skills. I taught myself some basic communication skills and also a counseling model that I later adapted into the Many-One-New model. I have that nine-step model memorized and have used it to help myself and other individuals on numerous occasions. Speaking of memorization, I learned some memory and visual association skills that I have used and taught to others. I remember one law student couldn’t thank me enough for teaching her skills that helped her prepare for her major exam.

The Permanent Endowment add-on is simply this: Make a commitment to learn two skills or habits a year. Pick any two practical skills to learn. Imagine how much better your life would be if you learned (for example) the following twenty skills or habits in the next ten years:

Yoga (for flexibility), Basic plumbing, Guitar, gardening, conflict resolution, active listening, Spanish or another language, an aerobic exercise habit (three times a week), self-defense, first aid, Stress management, two more computer skills that you don’t have, assertiveness, budgeting, political process and activism (Proof Through the Night), basic car maintenance repair, optimal dental hygiene habits, anger management, Wise Giving of Time and Money to charities and socially responsible investing.

What would be the impact of learning two skills a year? It would probably boost your self-esteem and sense of control over your life to have all these skills. It would probably save you money and time. Certain skills might make the difference in getting a job. A few skills might save your life, or a key personal relationship. Besides that, people with many good skills and habits get respect from others. On average, I think a person with more skills is probably much happier.

You may think that you don’t have the willpower to learn these things, but people who use the CLEAR Superprogram develop some form of ongoing personal support and encouragement. Having a support Buddy makes learning easier. Also, when you feel stuck, using the Ingredients of Empowerment list can help you identify any missing ingredients of change.

So what skill or habit can you add to your Permanent Endowment in the next 4-6 months? Just imagine if you kept it up for five or ten years, how much better your life would be! Why not make the commitment? And if you have children, why not talk them into doing the same?

Important Superprogram Change: The Ingredients of Learning and Empowerment

I made an important change to the Basic Program. I added the “Ingredients of Learning” Questions. The basic idea is that if you don’t first re-gather all needed ingredients for learning or change, then learning and change will be difficult for you — or impossible.

Most people, if asked to guess how many ingredients are needed for learning, would guess ten or less. In reality, at least 15 ingredients are needed. Sometimes as many as 25 are needed. If you don’t have all the ingredients for learning, it’s like making a cake without many of the needed ingredients. Please don’t ask me to eat that cake! The Ingredients of Learning write-up fully explains the importance of re-gathering the 15-25 needed ingredients.

If you ever bought a self-help book and failed to learn much from it — failed to really improve your life — the reason is probably that you lacked one or more of the necessary ingredients. That’s why this information is so critical!  And on a greater scale, if people learn to re-gather all needed ingredients, it will boost humanity’s ability to cope with current and future problems and crises.

[Photo credit: Michael Porter, Flickr Creative Commons, a.k.a. “Libraryman.”]

The Horses and the Hornets (A Parable about the World)

Once there was a large, beautiful meadow in which lived several horses and many hornets. As far back as the hornets could remember, the horses dominated the meadow. They stomped on the plants, turning a part of the meadow barren. They stomped on hornets, too, killing many.

Occasionally a hornet would retaliate, but most of the time the horse’s hide was too thick, and if the horse did notice, the attacking hornet was stomped on. This reinforced the belief that there was nothing the hornets could do.

When groups of hornets appealed to the horses, the horses were unapologetic. Some horses even gloated that they were a million times bigger than a hornet, so that it was their right to dominate.

Then one day, a hornet was sitting on a branch by the stream that ran through the meadow. It began to rain hard, but the hornet was mourning the loss of his sisters and brothers to a stomping horse. He wished that there was a way to fight back. As it rained, he watched the stream swell almost into a river. It began to tear at its banks with great force. This gave the hornet an idea. The words came to him, “Raindrops make rivers, and rivers can move mountains!”

He returned to the other hornets and explained that if they attacked in mass, they could make any of the horses run, or they could even kill a horse if they kept stinging it. When some complained that the horse could take a few stings and not be bothered, he replied, “Sting them in the eyes and ears and the tender parts!”

Soon an organized group of hornets set upon one of the largest and nastiest horses. They sent it flying! When it complained to the other horses, warning them that this was a dangerous precedent, they counter-attacked the hornets. It seemed grim, but the one hornet said, “If we stay together like a river flowing in one direction, we will overwhelm them!” He told them to keep using their stings, and to focus on one horse at a time, until they almost paralyzed it.

Finally the horses realized that being a million times bigger was not necessarily an advantage. They had a lot of exposed skin, a lot of exposed target. They soon came to the negotiating table to try strike an agreement. Some hornets wanted to destroy the horses completely because of past harm done, and because the horses tended to wreck things. But other hornets thought that if the horses followed certain rules and changed their behavior, they could actually do much more good than the hornets alone, and so it would be better for all who lived in the meadow.


Most people will probably think that the horses in this story are corporations, but they could be any large organization or government that dominates, does damage or oppresses. The hornets are people who at first don’t realize their power. But the difference between hornets and people is that we have at least four kinds of stingers: You have political power; the economic power of where you spend your money; your communication power, especially on the Internet; and also your power directly on the environment, for instance conserving energy or recycling. As raindrops make rivers, all of these stingers can have an impact on large, unfeeling organizations.

I believe that currently most people think that large institutions will always dominate. In fact, when I tell people about my program, they often suggest that I get the sponsorship of a large foundation, corporation or nonprofit. But that would just reinforce this belief that only big organizations or famous people have the power to change things. That just reinforces the roots of oppression. Instead, I ask you to trust in the power of your own efforts, perhaps supported by one Buddy, or a small group of friends. I say, “Trust in arithmetic, and the power of raindrops to make rivers, and rivers to move mountains.” With the other huge ideas, I am confident that first our own lives, and then the world can be transformed.

By the way, in some place I read that the corporations are the dominant institution of the planet. But part of our approach is that superprograms could become the dominant structure of the planet. That would be a good thing because it would dramatically boost people’s ability to learn and change. It would lead to a global power shift, power into the hands of individuals. And it could happen very fast because of viral internet communication. You could lead the way by participating or by volunteering.

[Superprograms are described in some detail on the Superprograms page.]

Intelligent Fast Failure and "008," the License to Fail

James Bond, 007, had the license to kill. Not a good thing, mind you, but it was vital to the security of England (and to movie theaters and popcorn sellers everywhere.) You may not know this, but Group Genie has “008,” the license to fail…on the way to creating an adequate global plan.

People in technical start-ups know that on the way to innovation, there will be many failures. So entrepreneur culture embraces failure. I found an older book about this, “Using Intelligent Fast Failure.” The main message was simple: You want to organize yourself to make intelligent attempts, allow for frequent failure, and learn from your failures, quickly. Be something like a guided missile that makes in-flight corrections. Articles in a Harvard Review on Innovation offer the same message.

What does this mean to you, the person who is checking-out Group Genie? Several things: tolerate some rough edges; give things a solid try; and then give us your feedback and suggestions. We’ve got to grow this from people’s actual use.

There is a Zen proverb that can apply to this situation: “The obstacle is the path.” Perhaps you could translate it as: The thing that isn’t working is the thing to address, on the path to transforming the situation. So please let us know what’s not working for you, and work with us on it!

Like James Bond, we have an urgent mission. It’s to spark a global chain reaction of empowerment and world sustaining lifestyles — ways of living that are “lovely” too: beautiful and fulfilling. James Bond was often equipped with some high-tech toys at the start of his mission. We are equipped with some high-leverage “superhero” innovations: the Golden Rule 2.0, Proof Through the Night, the Ai Sakai, Wide Wealth and especially superprograms. If these names are all strange to you, check out the “Superheroes” page.  You’ll find a lot of cutting-edge ideas and methods for transforming the world.

The tools are here. We need “agents” of change. Please give yourself “008,” the license to fail, as you experiment with these tools, or any other “upgrades” that come your way.

I’d like to say, "This week we changed the world. Next week, we’ll change it again!"

earth1In 1998 I created a game of empowerment called Mission Ball. There were four teams: white, blue, red and green. We actually did a test run of the program in Monroeville, PA. The teams functioned as support groups to do a variety of positive actions. When the teams met each week they added up their points and did some presentations. After they game up with the winning team, and also acknowledged special individual efforts, the four teams together yelled, “This week we changed the world. Next week, we’ll change it again!”

I want to reuse that slogan at Group Genie. I think it’s very powerful. The idea that a group’s actions can change the world a small but real amount. The idea that each week adds to the impact.

But to say it, there needs to be at least two people doing this program to make the “we.” So I need at least one other committed participant, but preferably a few others.

I really tried to simplify the program. If you’re interested or curious, just read the CLEAR Superprogram page. Then I’d suggest reading the Benefits page (which is in the drop-down off the Intro page.)  The benefits are much greater than people would expect.

So let me ask you, when was the last time you really made a stretch to change your lifestyle? Or made a stretch to help others beyond your normal ways of helping?  If you participate, this program can amplify your impact, since through the plan’s tools you can easily support and inspire others.