August 23, 2019

Archives for March 10, 2016

The Anti-Motivation Strategy (Part 7): If You Tap This, You Don’t Need Motivation


I conduct CLE workshops on working from the inside out. The first exercise is “What do you already do?” The course materials explain it this way:

You find important clues about your Passion just by looking at how you arrange your life already. There are some things you do that go beyond the categories of work vs. leisure, personal vs. family or business, etc. You do them just because you want to, because you like doing them or you’re good at them (probably both).

Think about how you already spend yourself. What do you like to think about, read about, talk about, learn about? What headlines do you click on? What do your activities and projects at work or away from it gravitate toward? What role do you usually play at work, with family, in social settings? What are your hobbies and favorite pastimes? What shows do you watch, what magazines and articles do you read? What do you like to talk about? You get the idea. Write about it.

People wrestle with the notion of finding their “Passion” with a capital P. A lot of people don’t seem to have just one Passion, and can’t find it anyway. The exercise uses that term on purpose, then invites the workshop participants to move past the intimidation and stuckness it brings up.

What we’re after is something simpler, more accessible, and ultimately more powerful. We’re looking for what you do and probably have done all your life — not just the activities and interests you keep going back to, but how you go about doing them. Chances are, there are patterns that keep showing up, that display your signature way of thinking and acting and being in the world.

And here’s the key:
You don’t have to get motivated to do these things or act this way.
You do it because… well, that’s just who you are.

If you can tap into that, you don’t need motivation. You’re onto something far more compelling, something that will last — something I’ve come to call “personal ethos.” I define it this way:

Ethos is our characteristic spirit, as manifested in our beliefs and aspirations.

Our beliefs and aspirations come from inside, from the core of our being. They’re what make each of us uniquely who we are, so that we can recognize each other even if we haven’t seen each other for a long time. We’re after what lies underneath them, their source. That’s what I mean by personal ethos. Ethos is the unique fingerprint of our soul — something so primal, so embedded in us, that we don’t even know it’s on the agenda. But…

When it comes to how we’re going to go about achieving our goals
and getting what we want out of life,
ethos isn’t ON the agenda, it IS the agenda.

Motivation practiced the usual carrot and stick way, the stressful way, the cortisol-laced way, the brain damaging way… doesn’t trust what we’re good at and love doing. Instead, it rewards and punishes us into doing something else. If instead we can get in touch with our ethos, we don’t need to buy that approach anymore. Tap personal ethos, and we don’t have to get motivated to do things that matter to us, we just do them, from deep inside. Ethos fuels us from deep down at our roots.

Ethos is the sustained motivational wellspring we’ve been looking for.


More about personal ethos next time.

If you’re interested in exploring personal ethos for yourself, I wrote two books about it. Both are available as FREE downloads. For more, click the book covers.



One reader said this: “Running For My Life is a unique and thought provoking read. On the surface it is a story about a man with primary progressive MS reshaping his life through a+ strict diet and extreme exercise regimen. However, if you take the time to explore the pages, you will find that it is really a story about Kevin and about yourself. This book invites you to take a look inwards at your own limitations, and then holds your hand as you figure out how to push past them together.”


EthosEthos is a stand-alone version of Book Three of Running For My Life. It is a Personal Ethos Credo — the things I believe about it, and how I practice it.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Announcement Sheet, 3/10/2016

On Thursday, March 10, 2016, the Colorado Court of Appeals issued ten published opinions and 36 unpublished opinions.

Brooks v. Colorado Department of Corrections

Rocky Mountain Exploration v. Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP

Estate of Petteys v. Farmers State Bank

People v. Mazzarelli

In re Marriage of Rohrich and Gross

Department of Human Services v. State Personnel Board

People in Interest of E.M.

Lindauer v. WPX Energy Rocky Mountain

Rowland v. Division of Motor Vehicles

Foster v. Plock

Summaries of these cases are forthcoming, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Neither State Judicial nor the Colorado Bar Association provides case summaries for unpublished appellate opinions. The case announcement sheet is available here.

Tenth Circuit: Warrantless Search Condition of Supervised Release Not Limited to Sex Offenders

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in United States v. Flaugher on Friday, November 13, 2015.

In 2006, Walter Flaugher pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced to 57 months’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release. In 2014, the U.S. Probation Office filed a petition to revoke his supervised release based on several alleged violations. Flaugher stipulated to one of the violations, use of methamphetamine. The district court revoked his supervised release, sentencing him to 12 months and one day in prison followed by three years of supervised release. The district court also imposed a supervised release condition of submission to warrantless search, over Flaugher’s counsel’s objection.

Flaugher appealed, contending 18 U.S.C. § 3583(d) prohibits district courts from imposing the warrantless search condition other than for felons required to register under SORNA. The Tenth Circuit disagreed. The Tenth Circuit rejected Flaugher’s argument that the warrantless search provision applicable to defendants subject to SORNA is precluded for non-felons or felons who are not subject to SORNA. The Tenth Circuit noted that § 3583(d)’s “any other condition” provision specifically allows district courts to impose any condition of supervised release it deems necessary, as long as three limitations are met. This language does not preclude application of a warrantless search condition. The Tenth Circuit further noted that there is nothing in the SORNA warrantless search condition that limits it to sex offenders. The Tenth Circuit found that Flaugher’s proposed construction would render some of the text void or superfluous, and found that its own reading gave full effect to each of the words.

The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s imposition of the warrantless search condition of supervised release.

Tenth Circuit: ALJ’s Citations to Preamble to Regulations Did Not Violate APA

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Blue Mountain Energy v. Director, Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, United States Department of Labor on Friday, November 13, 2015.

In 2002, Terry Gunderson filed a claim for benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Act (BLBA), claiming that his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) was caused by his more than 30 years working for Blue Mountain Energy as a coal miner. Blue Mountain denied benefits, contending Gunderson’s COPD was caused by his 34 years of smoking. In the initial hearing on Gunderson’s claim, both sides presented expert testimony addressing the cause of his COPD. The ALJ found the experts well qualified and found their reports both well reasoned and well documented. The ALJ ruled that the expert opinions were “evenly balanced” and deserved “equal weight,” and concluded that Gunderson had failed to carry his burden of proof. The ALJ denied his claim for benefits, and the Benefits Review Board affirmed. On appeal, the Tenth Circuit remanded, finding that the ALJ failed to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act because he did not provide the reasons or basis for his rejection of Gunderson’s claim of legal pneumoconiosis.

On remand, the ALJ stated that the circuit court was requiring him to choose one party’s argument over the other and gave a cursory explanation of why he found one doctor more persuasive than the others. On appeal, the Board vacated and remanded the case to the ALJ, finding that the ALJ had misunderstood the directions from the circuit court and had not fully explained his reasoning or offer a scientific explanation of his evaluation of the differing medical opinions.

On the second remand, the ALJ made detailed findings concerning each doctor’s report. The ALJ discussed his reasons for finding reports more or less credible, including the physicians’ individual evaluations of the claimant in this case. The ALJ ultimately awarded benefits to Gunderson. Blue Mountain moved for reconsideration, requesting the ALJ to reopen the record so it could respond to the statements relied on by the ALJ and arguing the ALJ improperly determined the date on which benefits should have started. The ALJ agreed that he miscalculated the date and adjusted his opinion accordingly but otherwise denied Blue Mountain’s motion. Blue Mountain then appealed to the Board, which affirmed the ALJ’s decision, finding the ALJ had applied a correct legal standard to determine whether the claimant suffered pneumoconiosis and had permissibly relied on the preamble to the 2001 regulations as a statement of medical principles. Blue Mountain appealed to the Tenth Circuit.

Blue Mountain argued that the ALJ violated the Administrative Procedures Act by relying on the preamble to the regulations and thus giving the preamble the “force and effect of law,” and by refusing to reopen the record to allow Blue Mountain to submit evidence challenging the science of the preamble. The Tenth Circuit rejected both arguments. The Tenth Circuit first noted that the ALJ only referenced the preamble twice in his ruling, and used it only as a tool for evaluating the credibility of the experts. The Tenth Circuit held that the ALJ’s use of the preamble was lawful, citing many other circuits that had similarly agreed the use of the preamble is lawful. Blue Mountain unsuccessfully attempted to distinguish those cases, arguing the only difference between the ALJ’s first two opinions and its third opinion was the citation to the preamble. The Tenth Circuit disagreed, noting that the ALJ’s third opinion more rigorously analyzed the physicians’ reports and it was understandable that he would have come to a different outcome by evaluating the evidence thoroughly. Blue Mountain also argued that the ALJ gave the preamble the “force and effect of law,” but the Tenth Circuit found that the two passing references imply that the ALJ used the preamble as a guide, not a binding legal principle.

Blue Mountain also argued that the ALJ abused his discretion by denying its motion to reopen the record. The Tenth Circuit again disagreed. The Tenth Circuit noted that Blue Mountain was well aware of the preamble to the regulations and had ample opportunity to submit opposing opinions for the ALJ’s consideration.

The Tenth Circuit affirmed the Board and the ALJ.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 3/9/2016

On Wednesday, March 9, 2016, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinion and three unpublished opinions.

United States v. Apperson

United States v. Stout

United States v. Hinson

Case summaries are not provided for unpublished opinions. However, published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.