Episode 25

full
Published on:

22nd Feb 2021

Re-Discover Lost Creativity with Robert A Belle

Doug and Robert discuss the process of creativity and the balance that must be found in order to reclaim it.

As we discuss, the key word is 'balance' ... most of us don't have the luxury of stopping our life to become creative. Unlocking our inner creativity requires finding a balance of daily life and new pursuits.

Connect with Robert at: www.RobertABelle.com

Doug's business specializes in partnering with companies and non-profits to capture overhead cost savings without layoffs to fund growth and strengthen financial results.

Schedule time with Doug to talk about your business at www.MeetDoug.Biz

<<Transcript>>

[Music]

[Introduction]

Welcome to the terminal value Podcast where each episode provides in depth insight about the long term value of companies and ideas in our current world. Your host for this podcast is Doug Utberg, the founder and principal consultant for Business of Life, LLC.

Doug: Welcome to the terminal value podcast. This is Robert, we have on the line. Although his screen name just screen name on zoom does not say Robert so I had to I couldn't cheat I had to actually be had to remember and but what Robert focuses on is actually helping authors with book launches. But, what we were actually going to talk about today is really how um how authoring a book while some people kind of feel like it's maybe quaint or outdated is actually still a really important part  of generating authority as a thought leader. So Robert don't let me talk the whole time definitely introduce yourself and let's yeah let's just kind of start a dialogue. 

Robert: Alright, great yes that's what happens when you have too many zoom accounts and you log into the meeting with a different one so that's that's on me. So I'm happy to be here. My name is Robert Bell, I professionally I'm a qualified accountant  but I branched out to break through the spreadsheets. I am a speaker, I am an author, I'm a coach, I am all things transformational. My focus is just to help people who are busy and unsatisfied with life live very abundantly.

Doug: And so that's actually I have a little bit of connection. There so my background is actually in finance and accounting particularly for technology companies and on the IT and systems side. So, It's kind of funny how yeah, there's just this inner desire to kind of break free from the spreadsheets. I mean, don't get me wrong I still like doing like doing detailed dorky analysis but uh but yeah there's definitely a lot of life outside of corporate IT accounts. 

Robert: Definitely, I can relate to that. I might, I still as I said carry the brand of an accountant although, I'm a champion of creativity now which is like the other end of the spectrum but I still carry my badge very proudly because you know what I believe that you know our professions, our qualifications, they're just one aspect of identity. So it's not, you're not who you're not someone because of the profession you do you're someone because of what you do. So yes, I might be an accountant but I also create.

Doug: Alright.

Robert: So I'm a creative regardless whether I'm a content or engineer.

Doug: That is, that's outstanding. Well, let's see. So let's actually kind of let's explore that a little bit kind of going from you know a traditional left brain linear type of role like finance or accounting or even like something like engineering. I think that would be another thing that would be very, very analogous into a more creative realm just because like for example if you're going to publish anything whether it's articles, blogs, books, videos, whatever there's a creative element and especially if you're trying to do it as an entrepreneur. You're good, you'll know by definition start off having to do a lot of it on your own. And so, in in your view what's the best way that somebody can go from hey I have a you know I have an adequate but boring linear job to I'm I have a creative instinct that I want to nurture and someday would like to be able to actually make a living off of it without needing to you know without needing to be on public assistance.

Robert: Yeah, I mean the best way to do that is first to step away from the job. A lot of us unfortunately, have wrapped up in the identities of our jobs and that was me. You know, when I was an accountant I took on the persona of an accountant. I wore glasses, I had my pockets squared, my pens I, because I wanted to be the best. I really wanted and that's what I saw people who do accounting and finance do so I just took on that persona.

Doug: That's the best thing. That just seems so odd to me just because you seem like such a cool guy. I really have a hard time imagining you nerding up.

Robert: Thank you. Thank you, that was that's why I call myself a transformational strategist, an expert because it was a transformation. I mean, I was quiet, I had the full persona but I just felt like you know Clark Kent. I just felt like Clark Kent and I was like no, this is just not me. I mean just like what you said I didn't have a problem with the workout doing. I love the analytics, I love getting into the detail, I love accounting for every single coin, every dollar etc. but it just there was a part of me is the more I realized I took on the persona of you know this analytical sort of person is the more I felt a part of me dying.

Doug: Yeah.

Robert: So the first thing you want to do if you want to move across that continuum is take a step back from your job. Take a step back from your profession and really take that journey to discover. Alright, so who am I outside of this profession? If I remove that label? How do you introduce yourselves? And I think a lot of us will be pretty blank engineers and accountants out there. I think if you don't call yourself an engineer accountant you'll be in trouble with trying to describe yourself to someone.

Doug: Well and I think that's actually I think and I'm really glad you brought that up because I think that's actually a really, a really important part of kind of the entrepreneurial transformation is you of course write the you know since I'm a linear analytical type too the first the first thing that I think about is I go okay so I've decided, I wanted to start this business that has negative cash flow and at some point I need to get that to where I can actually pay the bills and I'm not going to have people putting debt judgments in my name. But I think something that almost has to precede that is to really think about okay, I stopped thinking about myself as my job and I start thinking about myself in terms of whatever my mission is because I think that generally speaking if you're going to really be a successful entrepreneur there has to be some kind of mission that you're following you know and now. It's like you know it doesn't have you know it can still be modestly prosaic right. You know, it's like you know it doesn't have to be literally saving the world but you know it's you know but on the other hand right you know the people who say their mission is to save the world. Nobody can save the world but, anybody can make a meaningful difference in at least a handful of people's lives. Some people in quite a few people's lives and I think that really figuring out what that mission is, is a really important first step just because it's, it takes so long to get to economic viability. That it's like you know if you don't really have a firm idea of what's driving you the chance that you're going to be able to sustain is almost zero.

Robert: I don't know. 

Doug: Let me know your thoughts, that's my observation.

Robert:  Yeah, yeah, you, you hit the nail right on the head. You as that's what I was saying, you got to step back from your profession and figure out what this mission is. And, this mission is severely tied to a combination of your skills, your experience, yeah your passions, and also what values you can add. You know a lot of people say alright step away from your job and go after what you like doing. Not necessarily, you know I really have to put a big question there because when you started that journey, when I started my journey so if I followed what was my passion what I felt good in I'll be totally lost you know. I had to first rediscover, reconfigure myself to figure out the mission and my mission was to help people who are in a similar situation like myself, licensed professionals who have you know denied their creativity for all that time. So I help them move out of that analytical space now into that right brain sort of creative thing. So you got to find out what the mission is and mission is heavily relied to what I said your uniqueness and also what value you're going to deliver because the value is what will drive the cash flow. You can't generate revenue unless you're delivering some sort of value, you've got to stick to that. You can't necessarily follow the numbers I mean, terminal value sometimes things change and they're they're you know this technology shifts technology changes so you got to follow the value and in order for you to follow the value you got to solve a problem. In order for you to solve a problem, you got to identify with the people who have the problem and that's why a lot of people have a big challenge monetizing their creative ideas or being an entrepreneur because yes you have this great idea but you're not targeting it, you're not specifying who has the problem you you it's in your head it's worked out well and good and you just want to put it out there and hope everyone will find you at the stall you know in the whole big market right I mean that's that's not gonna work. It's like you, it's like you put in writing a book and put it on amazon you're pretty much shouting in silence. If you don't know, if you can't connect with the people who have the problem. Build that funnel you know, not necessarily like the sales funnel technical part of it but you got to build that connection to the problem right or you just be shouting in the silence.

Doug: Well and that's actually a kind of a really good conversation segue you know because of course one of the you know one of the key areas  that your business operates and or key segments you operate in is in book promotion, in helping people to get their books noticed which I think you know you know I've you know like many people I've been working on a book for a really long time. I'm hoping to actually get it out  but the thing that I keep wondering is alright so when I get that book out how do I get it noticed? And so I would love it if you could share some of your insights that way because I think that you know you the the normal things you'll hear are things like okay well you know it's like you either put like say a google AdWords campaign out or go on people's podcasts or you know it's there's you know all a whole lot of things that are you know that are very very time intensive and the the thing is you know it it may be that there's no secret formula, you know it may be that you either have to spend a lot of time, a lot of money or both but that's one of the things that I've always kind of it's always kind of felt like a mystery to me is that how do you really get a book promoted in a time and money efficient manner.

Robert: That's a great question. First, I can't claim credit for the company because it's not, it's not my company. I work. 

Doug: Fair enough. 

Robert: I'm a client of because we got connected to a company called book launchers that actually help people to write, promote, and publish a book. And I can tell you the self-publishing journey is a lonely journey. I mean hands up if you know someone who has actually self-published a book. It's, I don't know how your circles are but it can be a bit difficult finding someone who's actually gone through that process so when you started you're like okay where do I start, what what do I begin. You know, there's this there's no like cheat sheet if you want to call it that yes a lot of people are developing that but it goes back to what we were talking about earlier the mission.

Doug: Yeah.

Robert: When you're thinking about writing a book or publishing a book you want to, you need to realize that writing a book it's not just about writing. It's not writing a blog post, it's not writing a newsletter item, or featured post. Writing a book means you're establishing yourself as an authority in a particular subject area you know particularly if it's non-fiction right.

Doug: Yeah.

Robert: You're establishing yourself as an authority. You need to realize and identify so if I'm going to be an authority, who am I not authority to? Who's going to respect this? Who's going to value what I'm going to do right. The technicalities of yeah getting it published edit and so on that happens afterwards. You gotta first, identify you know what's my space. You know, what why do I want to be seen as an authority in this. I wrote my book you know blow the lid off, reclaim your stolen creativity you know doing a shameless plug you know increase your income and let your light shine.

Doug: No shame at all that's, that's how the world works. Nobody's ashamed about anything anymore so.

Robert: Yeah, yeah right. Yes, exactly. You know and I wrote that because I wanted to I wanted people to see that I'm authority in this and not just it's just  not my personal experience so I backed it up with scientific evidence, with lots of research, you know showing the great thinkers of our times were both analytical and creative the Einstein's the the Picassos I mean it was just startling. I didn't know some of these things so whether they were artistic, they also did a bit of engineering whether they were engineering they also did a bit of artistic work like Einstein. Actually just went to the lab when he got an idea and wanted to test a theory outside of that in his memoirs his wife says that he constantly played the violin in a piano endlessly and then when he got an idea he'd run to the lab. You know so he made you know best use of his right brain left brain if you want to call it that use. So back to the issue about publishing a book, so you need to realize and establish that first why do you want to be an authority in that space. Then the technicalities of it come in where do you publish it? Where do you promote it? You know, you know all those things and that's that's a whole different ball game but what drives all of that is who is your market? Who is your audience because listen yes everyone knows amazon is like king for books but guess what if the people who need to read that book don't really go on amazon? You know, you you kind of have a mismatch there and and I think that's what a lot of authors fall into that trap where they said all right my book is on amazon they log in every day refresh, refresh, refresh and the the buy isn't moving you know those analytics are just not moving and you got to realize is that the best way to get them. You know, so you talked about earlier promoting a book for example going on podcast maybe where your your your target market is right now is heavily in the podcast world.

Doug: Yeah.

Robert: They don't really read. They're odd, they're audible learners. You know the different ways of learning right visually you got to figure that out you know people say you got to get an avatar. You got to get a profile you know, I say do that but don't get too hungover on it because who you think you're targeting at first sometimes can evolve so you want to be a bit flexible.

[Music]

[Sponsorship Part]

Doug: Hey there everybody, I'm just taking a quick break here to tell you about the sponsor for this episode. So this episode of the podcast is actually sponsored by podcorn. Now for those of you who don't know, podcorn is actually a podcasting sponsorship platform so if you go over to podcorn.com what you will see is you'll see opportunities for either brands to sponsor podcast episodes or for podcasters to promote brands in exchange of course for sponsorship revenues this is actually really great platform for a couple of reasons:

  1. What it does is it really makes it possible to monetize your podcast in a pretty frictionless way the platform is very easy to use and;
  2. It  really helps niche brands to be able to reach audiences that are a lot harder to target by mass media and a lot of times will be really expensive so it's really a win-win all the way around.

So if you've ever had any interest at all in podcasting definitely check out podcorn.com. I hope you have a wonderful day and we'll get you back to the show now. 

[Back to the show]

Robert: So maybe they're auditory learners so you put your book on amazon and you don't tell them about it you gotta be in trouble.

Doug: I like that, I like that kind of sneak up approach. Well okay, let's let's actually turn the conversation back to kind of re reclaiming your creativity and because yeah I think that that really speaks to me. I think you know, in our pre-podcast conversation we were just you know talking a little bit you know you're just about kind of that transition from like say kind of left brain linear to kind of more right brain creative and the interplay between the two. But like one of the things that you know a lot of people point out you know I certainly am not the only the first person to think of this but like you know just about every kid has ever every kid you know who's like you know between 5 and 12 has creativity coming out their ears. And that at some point they have to turn into a grown-up and that creativity starts to wane. And you know, especially because you know my two kids right are 11 and 14 and so they're both at that at that point where they're where they're having to transition from being kid kids to being able to have grown-up responsibilities and what I keep thinking is okay you know I don't want them to lose that creativity but on the other hand they also have to be able to function in the real world. So that I would love to hear your, your insights out there partly for the benefit of the audience partly for my benefit because I'm trying to figure out how to strike that balance myself you. 

Robert: You know what and that's the thing it's a balance. And a lot of people don't realize it's a balance and yes every five seven nine year old just you know bursting with creativity and then as you said they need to become grown-ups. Unfortunately, no one teaches us and guides us how to find that balance. You know at that teenage right you you're looking at, surrendering your creativity right so that you can conform, that's what's happening you're surrendering your creative ideas so that you can conform so you can fit in you're trying to fit in. You're surrendering your imagination so that you can be included you know it's all about inclusion at that point in time because I mean who wants to be an island because all your life you've been growing up you can play with every child you know children can play with everyone right they can play with everyone then all of a sudden you realize okay these people are going that way those people are going that way and I'm left alone and no one prepares you for that. So you realize okay so this creative thing that I was doing before seems not to work on this side of life. Let me you know let me give that up and and finding that balance means you know as we grow older we need to make sure that we have those creative outlets that keep us refreshed. I mean look, you don't want to just be the odd one out every single time, right. It's, it's okay to have friends right and it's okay you know to have common ground but you should never forget what's unique and special about you. Finding that balance now as an adult when you get into your 20s and your 30s and so on it's about it's about moving it into everything that you do I'm using my example as an accountant so I'm still an accountant, practicing accountant, I'm, I'm, I mean good and regular standing you know but I find a way to weave my creativity and my uniqueness into it. For example right now, I'm doing a very big push globally for the accountant to become digital right to leverage heavily on automation on cloud-based applications to free up time from doing data entry and doing a lot of the analytics to adding value, to business partnering, to looking at the business, and seeing where can they you know stretch and just being a heir to the ceo or to the you know that entrepreneur or someone like that.

Doug: Yeah.

Robert: So that's how I'm used to to phrase it in. I can still speak the language of the accountant but, I can still speak the language of the entrepreneurs and the vision theorists. I answered your question directly, not quite and I'm getting into it right. Finding that balance is key and that's what I'm saying is finding. I can't give you a formula for it right, it's a trial and error situation where you find your unique you you have to be able to move your uniqueness into it. And one of the best ways to do that is taking on a project even as a teenager taking on a project that everyone is scared of doing like it looks like it's gonna fail that's one of the best ways for you to bring your uniqueness out and for people to value it but still include you, right. So let's say I mean you, you just come up with an idea hey guys how about we try this. I mean many people be like nah that's gonna fail if the opportunity presents itself you say hey let's do this um join me on this adventure let's try this project it's not necessarily gonna work out but let's do it to have fun you know let's let's relax ourselves let's do it to have fun. And in that, you know all of a sudden our defenses are just broken down we. 

Doug: Yeah. 

We let it down

Robert: When we know it's not something that's going to be assessed, that's something that's not going to be graded you know that's very key especially for teenage coming up. You know assessment opinion is critical because we live in a heavily test assess you know test assessment society. If you don't get a good grade, not going to get it to go college. You don't get it to go college, you're not going to get a good job. Don't get a good job, you're not going to get a good spouse. If you don't get a good spouse, you're going to be miserable the rest of your life. So it's a lot of pressure;

Doug: Yeah.

Robert: to perform.

Doug: Well it's so it's funny because yeah the um and of course since I was in the technology industry. There were a lot of people I worked with who are from India and every single one of them who I worked with had told me that that exact same sequence of pressure from this. Okay you have to study hard because if you don't study hard you won't do well on your test. If you don't do well on your test, you won't get into a good university. Don't get a good university, won't get a good job. You don't get a good job, you can't support a family. You don't support a family. So yeah, I think that there's, there's just so much pressure to conform and I think that the you know for, for all the listeners the real takeaway at least that I think that I'm I want to take away is that right it's not an either or right. You know, it's not the hey you have to live exclusively in the creative realm and forget about all that you don't have to worry about a ring living that'll all take care of itself. It won't all take care of itself. You are still going to need to have to earn, earn a living. Chances are you'll have to sacrifice sleep or something else you know or some other kind of recreational activity in order to do both an entrepreneurial creative activity and the thing that you do to earn a living. But I think, that's actually really, it's a really important balance to keep just because otherwise at least. What I experienced was you know, when you're going through college and you're trying to get your first what I call grown-up job is that you know you when you first come out of college, you have no money and no experience so that basically means you ostensibly do what you're told. And of course what you have to do is you have to do that for long enough to develop some real skills because like you said if you can't provide value, there's not really much of a point in being an entrepreneur. You know now of course there's more than one way to provide value one way you can provide value is among someone's lawn so they don't have to do it now. Your, the hourly amount you can earn from that isn't very high. And so a lot of people when they think entrepreneur, they want to be able to get into those higher value areas which is great but in order to do that you have to have a skill that justifies a higher amount of value and the way that you build that skill is usually by having a normal stodgy boring job at least for a little while so that you can build that skill level to where you can turn it into some kind of business venture that has a value-added component for people. And so I think that's, that's something that you I don't know if you meant to touch on it that way but that you did that really struck with me is that there's you know there's kind of this continuum that you have to have to do in order to really be effective at this. I mean let me know your thoughts. You can by the way feel free to tell me that I'm completely out to lunch and totally no.

Robert: I like the angle you've taken with that Doug. The continuum is key for it and even if you've got an as you said this real grown-up job it's about developing the skill and that's something very critical that we need to realize. So not because you are artistically inclined and you get a grown-up job means you're betraying your creativity absolutely not, right. It's about you understanding that job relationship. Why are you getting this job? It's not just to make money and pay the bills but, you see it's so ingrained in us that once you get the job. You got to stay here, you got to stay here no, you don't have to do that. You can get the job as you said to learn the skills. You learn how to interact with people. How does businesses work and let me tell you that's some of the best experience you can get because I work with creative entrepreneurs and one thing they tell me is like “I just want you to come help me get the books done. I don't want to do all of that. I want to focus on my creative stuff.” And, and I proverbially smack them in their face and say you got to wake up it doesn't work like that, right. If you're very creative you still need this business structure and analytical side, you have to get that done. If you're heavily analytical, you still need this creative side or automation is going to render you redundant and you're not going to have a job, right. So you have to have being in the middle and finding that balance is extremely, extremely critical. And there's a lot of science, I won't get into it but even being in the middle is healthier for you, it builds your brain neuroplasticity I mean there's so many good stuff that comes into it. But, I like what you said because you've got to understand that you know Warren Buffett says that “Accounting is a language of business.” 

Doug: Yes.

Robert: Any business whether you are a creative type or anything and I see that struggle a lot because people who are physically inclined said “Look, I just want a job at a school, I just want to do my drawing, I want to do whatever you know, school school”. You know there's so many people who made billions by not going to school. I was like alright you may have a point there but you need to see the other side of the coin, right. The other side of the point is about understanding how business works because the same art that you're making you're going to have to sell to these people who are in those offices. And if you have no clue about their psyche, their buying decision behavior, understand budgets, understand procurement, understand how to do a pitch. You know, you're going to be in trouble. You can't just draw your heart out and then stick it in the gallery and expect people to come seeing it and then someone will drop one million dollars in the painting. It's not gonna work. I mean, I'm using the extremes of creativity in terms of artistic but it's not just artistic right creativity's not just artistic. You worked in the IT sector creativity comes into that because you're seeing a lot of collaboration between AI you know and IT coming together etc right. So it's just about finding that merge part. What I say is that, in the creative journey, in discovering your creativity breaking out of whichever field nothing is ever wasted. I worked in corporate for years, I worked in corporate for years and nothing ever wasted because I learned to look back and harness what I learned. I learned to be objective. I actually went back to a lot of my bosses, a lot of my co-workers what did you see when I did this you know what came out you know and I got that 360 honest feedback some of it was really like you want to you know put your hands on someone but you need to get that. You need to be able to get that feedback to get objectively to see what are your skills what are your strengths and apply it now into your business. You need both you can't just say look screw this, it's not either or it's it's really finding that balance. 

Doug: Yeah that's, that that's excellent. That is outstanding. Well let's see I think we're getting close to time so give us a final thought for you know to to cap off the podcast and let people know how they can get a hold of you.

Robert: Great! Thank you. I've enjoyed this conversation. I guess, my friend my final thought will be listen I don't want to scare you but, I don't want to scare the listener but the machines are coming. The machines are coming, they're not coming to take over. I need you to understand that the machines are not coming to take over, they're actually coming to liberate you from doing mundane, repetitive tasks over and over and giving your ability to think, to create, and to explore, to really open up new opportunities. So someone who may be heavily analytical you don't need to fear, you don't need to hold on to it and I know particularly people in my field like finance and accounting. We want to keep the book so close to us that no one else can do it. You know the business comes to a halt, that doesn't work. We live in a very integrated society so you want to learn how to collaborate with people, you want to learn how to work with people and if you're heavily on the creative side keep pushing for your creativity. But also learn to get a structure around it because you can't be creative based on how you're feeling, right. You can't say today I'm gonna paint because I feel, I have the inspiration. No, you gotta learn how to break up your work so you keep moving,right. One of the mantras of my life which will be my closing statement is MAMI, m-a-m-i, It stands for minor adjustments that give major improvements. So even if you're creative you got to be doing something every day. So today, maybe you're looking at your, your analytics or maybe you're doing something else. You gotta you gotta roll up your sleeves alright. So just keep something every day, don't say “oh I'll wait”, “I'll take a trip around the world for 40 days”, and whenever inspiration hits me then I'll get started to work. It doesn't work that way guys, you need both your right brain and your left brain.

Robert: You can find me yeah on my website www.robertabell.com and I am Robert A Belle. Across major social media platforms: Linkedin, YouTube those are the main ones that i'm on. Also Instagram, Facebook you can check me there and let's hang out drop me a message and let me know what you thought about this, this podcast and share it with your friends so that Doug will be able to give some more tips that iI didn't quite loop too well.

Doug: Alright, excellent. Well I really appreciate your time and excellent conversation today and I hope that you and the listeners have a wonderful rest of your day.

Robert: Thank you so much for having me.

Doug: Yeah, likewise.

[Music]

Doug: Okay so following up on that conversation with Robert first, of all I had a lot of fun with that conversation that was really enjoyable. But second, I just really like to see his enthusiasm about refining your creativity because everybody has creativity when they're little and you when you have to become a grown-up it's easy to lose that and it's really important to rediscover that because everybody has some creativity inside of them. And the way that you discover and use and leverage that is really going to be a critical part of how you find that right balance in your life. You know, and now of course right you know in my business of expense reduction consulting over create creativity isn't necessarily you know necessarily an integral part of you know the nuts and bolts of my job. However, creativity is a part of how I relate with people who are the decision makers you know because of course right you know the people. When people do business, they don't just want to do stuff business with somebody who's competent. I mean of course they do but they also want to do some business with people they like and with people who they feel are relatable and I think that's where creativity really comes into play so especially if you're looking at an entrepreneurial career track or if you're in a corporate career track and you need to influence stakeholders being creative to build that rapport is just critically important. So I'm, I just want to encourage everyone to find your creativity and I'll, I hope you have a wonderful rest your day and an excellent week. I'll talk to you later.

[Music]

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[Music]

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About the Podcast

Terminal Value
An ongoing discussion about the future value of ideas and entities in our current world
'Terminal Value' is a Finance term that is used to represent the present value of all future cash flows, with the assumption of perpetual, stable growth.

However, the future is not as predictable as people like to think.

We also have seen that all information we receive is presented with an agenda. The result of this is a persistent 'us vs. them' mindset.

Since nobody knows what to believe anymore, we all need to build our own conclusions. This has created a high degree of anxiety and pessimism due to all the negativity that continues to flow from the media.

A key tenant of the Terminal Value mission is to bring attention to the people and organizations who are working to make things better.

Ultimately, Terminal Value is an ongoing discussion about the future value of ideas and entities in our current world.