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The Get To Principle


You’re born, and then you die. And in between you Get To do this thing called life!

This book is going to change your life. That’s a tall order, I know. But through some light hypnosis and entertaining storytelling, I’m going to re-orientate your brain -- and you’ll become happier in life. Are you ready?

To start, I want to say that I love being a human. The other day Brian, a colleague came into my office and said, “Hey, I just bought this organic almond butter at the farmer’s market. It’s got ginger pieces mixed in. It’s delicious.” He had a couple of spoons (making the rounds in the office) and handed me one. He opened the jar, and I scooped out a nice large dollop and put it in my mouth. Like peanut butter, but with the distinct almond taste, bits of the almonds crunching in my mouth, along with the tang of the ginger pieces, I closed my eyes and stood savoring that moment. How lucky was I to be having that sensational experience. Wow. I smiled, remembering that I was having a Get To moment. I love being a human!

This story illustrates a most basic yet powerful aspect of human life: The ability to Get To appreciate, with profound awareness, what is happening to us at any moment. This book charts my journey, living a Get To life and noticing the “miracles” that materialize. As you read or listen, you’ll start to incorporate this Get To attitude and start experiencing your own miracles.

It’s this “Get To” viewpoint that allows the essence of life to come alive. It’s what I call the Get To Principle. What I share here with you is not new. The Get To way of living is an age-old understanding handed down through every religion and belief system ever created, but with different names: “Christ consciousness,” “One with Allah,” “Being here now,” “Living in the moment,” “God’s grace.” It’s a way of life that monks and sages over millennia have employed to live a peaceful life. It’s what current-day, everyday people do to enjoy peace and have a richly fulfilled existence. I use it, and it has changed my life.

I didn’t always call it Get To, although I lived that mindset from when I was a child. The label for what I was experiencing came to me one day when I said to my young son, who had just asked me to play with him: “Hang on buddy, I gotta go pee first.” And as I neared the bathroom it dawned on me, “I don’t gotta. I Get To go pee.” And in that moment, I realized that every breath, taste, sight, smell, touch, every experience I have, I have because I Get To. Just being alive ensures my right to Get To. I’ll say this now and in some form over and over throughout this book, “We Get To experience the things we do, and it’s a magical thing.”

There are two aspects in the Get To Principle: You Get To do much of what you do while many people cannot. That Get To-feeling is filled with compassion for others and gratitude for what you have. The second aspect is that you Get To experience this life in the first place. Right now, as you are reading or listening to this book, this moment to moment experience that we humans Get To have is miraculous. It’s billowing out in front of us every second. Most scientists and spiritual leaders will tell you there is no past or future. There’s just one infinite moment happening – right now! So what is this thing called life? You don't have to answer, and I certainly won’t offer one, but that we Get To do “this” is mind boggling. It makes me smile. And recognizing this Get To Principle, I promise, will make you smile, too!

I am a bartender disguised as a business executive. I say bartender because some of the most formative years of my life came from behind the bar, whether at the MGM Casino in Reno, the Sheraton Hotel in San Diego, the swanky Tribeca restaurant in Beverly Hills, or the Wild West Club in Osaka, Japan. Who I am and my view on life has been shaped by those experiences. I believe a successful bartender has three key traits: They care, they listen, and they are trusted. And I have learned that this applies in any field or endeavor that involves working with others:  People don’t want perfect, they want you to be nice, they want you to care, and they want to trust you. Just as I aspired to be a successful bartender, I continue to aspire to be successful in life and I do that using the Get To Principle. I’m not rich, although as you’ll read, compared to Stanley in India I’m a bazillionaire. And as you’ll see, like everyone, I have had my many ups and downs, joys and sorrows in life. But using the Get To Principle has brought me to a point of sincere bliss and joy much of the time. Even when things suck, I Get To do that too. It’s very liberating.

The reason I am writing this book is that I want to share this idea and help bring peace to the world. Ok, maybe creating world peace is a little over exaggerated. Although it’s true that I love helping people and I especially love sharing the Get To Principle, I’m not all saintly with grandiose visions of changing the world. I am not a guru. In fact, I’m a non-guru. No, the factors that have me sitting here typing away are a bit more mundane.

First: I always wanted to write something a little more in-depth than the Babysitter’s Business Guide that I self-published 30 years ago. Also, I’m commuting to work four hours a day on the train (yes, in Los Angeles where it’s almost sacrilegious not to sit in traffic) so thought I’d put my time to good use.

Second: I recently listened to Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, “Big Magic.”  The book is specifically about creativity and Liz’s (yea, my pal Liz who I’ve never met) journey and advice on writing, especially after her hit novel Eat, Pray, Love. She talks about how creativity is in everyone, but most of us never act on it. She wrote, “On bad days when I felt no inspiration at all, I would set the kitchen timer for 30 minutes and I would make myself sit there and scribble something, anything.” She also advised, “Whether you think you’re brilliant, or you think you’re a loser, just make whatever you need to make and toss it out there.” And I came to realize the following: I’ve always wanted to write; although I don’t think I’m a complete loser, I’ve been afraid to take action; and I’ve certainly got 30 minutes a day to dedicate to sharing my vision to toss out there. So here I am writing this book: Toss!

On a side note, I use the word “fuck” and “shit” sometimes in this book. I use them as I might use them in conversation. They are such powerful words! I was afraid to use them because I want Oprah and Ellen to love this book so I can get on their book list or TV show. Wait, maybe Howard Stern will have me on his show? Just kidding. What I am finding is that simply writing a book with the intention to get published allows me to fantasize about being a famous author. It’s like holding a lottery ticket -- totally worth the buck. And, honestly, if this turns into a glorified memoir for my kids to read later in life, I’ll be good with that.

As I was saying, as I’m finding my writing voice, I find it effective to use those “bad words.” When I first started I didn’t, but then I said, “Fuck it, that’s how I speak so that’s my voice.” I Get To do that too!

The quotes at the beginning of each chapter were inspired by, or came directly from several journals I kept over the last 35 years. Some came from dozens of cassette tape “letters” I sent to my dad during my travels through Asia in the 1990’s. (I found them in the back of a drawer when going through the things in his house after he died in 2010.) Others are credited to someone specific. And, lastly, in cases where I don’t remember where I heard it but am sure I didn’t come up with it on my own, I credit Unknown.

Finally, at the end of each chapter I offer practical exercises using the The Get To Principle and the “Get To. Smile. Do it.” mantra I’ll introduce in Chapter 2. When you do the exercises, they will change your life by bringing you to great appreciation for the moment you’re living in. They’re really easy to do, but I know you may hesitate to do some of them. My advice is to jump .  . feel the fear and do them anyway. If you make the Get To Principle a part of your life and you see the small magical results as they germinate, you’ll understand why I’m urging you to take up the habits. You’ll want to make up some of your own, as well. The key is in noticing the small transformations that snowball into LARGE TRANSFORMATIONS.

Let me give you an example of how it works. The other day I woke up at 1 a.m. with a stomach ache. I knew what it meant because both of my young kids had spent the previous several days puking their guts out (sorry, but there’s not a prettier way to say that!), and I knew it was my turn. And by 2 a.m., I was on the bathroom floor with a bucket next to me. I will save you the details on that. When I emerged at 4 A.M., my wife asked how I was (she couldn’t sleep through the noise), and I smiled and said, “I Got To do that.” I was in awe of the human body, for one, and for two, I have a heated toilet seat and was about to crawl into a bed with the softest of down comforters. In short, I was grateful for what I Get To have and in awe of the magic I Get To call life, including the maladies of the body. That’s the Get To journey! Welcome aboard.  


Chapter 1  Get To Joy and suffer

There are billions upon billions of kindnesses, acts of love and compassion, and feelings of joy happening on the planet every second.

. . .