Don’t focus on problems—focus
on Goals and Solutions.
My personal story of success
This is one of the most important
success principles in existence. Consequently, I have spent
much more time on it than others.
I write not only
about the principle, itself, but how and why it was so instrumental
in the creation of the Solutions Network.
You can and will
succeed, in anything, providing you can focus on your
goal and not dwell on the obstacles.
I learned early on that...
are those things you see when you take your eyes off the goal".
Everyone—everyday can find a reason
to not do the things that they need
to do in order to be successful in their chosen endeavor.
Whether it’s ASN or any other business,
the easiest thing in the world is to make excuses.
Want success? Get rid of excuses!
If you focus on doing the
things that you know need to be done, eventually you will have
the positive outcome you are after. When you focus
on your objective, obstacles simply become stepping stones.
When you focus on obstacles, they become brick walls and the
objectives that should serve to motivate and inspire you,
invisible. It bears repeating…
Obstacles are those things you
see, when you take your eyes off the goal.
Don’t focus on problems—focus on Goals and
I’m not saying
ignore problems. What I’m saying is give them only the
weight and concern they deserve and
only when they deserve it.
Do you have to go to court? The day of court, go! But
don’t worry about it for the prior 2 weeks.
Worrying accomplishes nothing other
than to create constant anxiety that diminishes your performance
on productive endeavors by sucking your energy and focus away
from productive thoughts and activities.
Worrying about finances? Don’t worry about
it… DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Every moment that you spend
simply worrying, is a moment that you are not working on and
focusing on fixing it.
ACT!... but Don't Worry.
worrying NEVER accomplishes anything! It’s the
time spent finding the solution that matters. There is
always a solution. It’s up to you to find it.
Don’t dwell on
the problems, concentrate on the goals, the things you have to
do. Then when you must deal with
the obstacles, do it- but not until it is necessary,
once it's dealt with? Get right back to work on
your objective. Get back to the big picture.
No Excuses—don’t let anything
HOW THESE PRINCIPLES CREATED ASN
WITHOUT MY PERSONAL ADHERENCE TO THESE...
ASN WOULD NOT EXIST.
story is absolutely true with no embellishments whatsoever.
ideas are useless without positive action".
ASN didn’t always exist. It
was once only an idea that required an enormous amount of work,
perseverance and absolute commitment in the face of many
obstacles and much adversity. That meant
focusing on the goal, not the
In 2000, the solutions network was
little other than the germ of an idea; an assortment of notes on
scratch paper and a couple of html pages residing on my
computer. I already had my law degree but hated the
practice of law.
As I had been one of the top students, I
had the honor of clerking for the dean of the law school.
It provided me the opportunity to see the complete practice of
law, up close and personal. It wasn't nearly as much like
my favorite television shows as I had imagined or hoped.
I had found that no matter how you
tried to practice, no matter how much integrity you had, a major
key to success in law was not to solve problems, but rather to
create them by creating billable hours.
Think about it, if
you are working on an hourly basis, as soon as you prevail, that
"job" is concluded; you are unemployed! On the other hand,
if you are clever enough to interject a new issue into the legal
mix, the opposing attorney has an obligation to respond, you, then,
have to respond to the response, they then respond to your
response... This is what's known as creating billable hours.
It is often a never ending cycle of income, in which, doing a
truly good job for your client, is often bad for your pocket
Even if you possess the
integrity to refuse to initiate this
despicable money grabbing game, you are forced to participate,
because as soon as the opposing attorney, creates a new issue,
you have no choice but to address it, or lose on the issue by
default. All the while you and the opposing attorney are
racking up billable hours at the rate of, at least, $200 to $500
per hour. Great money, but I
like being able to look in the mirror.
have always been about solving problems, not creating or
participating in their continuance.
That Wasn't for Me
Consequently, I decided not to
practice law. I decided that I was not going to participate in what
I see as system that is often little more than legal theft.
So, I did nothing other than an occasional
here and there and handled a few legal issues for a select group
of friends and acquaintances.
that time I was also performing as a
professional musician playing local clubs a couple of
weekends a month. Consequently, money was the thing I
needed the most but had the least. I wanted and needed
more money, but I insisted that I earn it on my own terms.
Problems vs Objectives
Oh yes, I also had a wife who was
about 7 months pregnant, could not work, and I, like many, had
no insurance (couldn’t afford it). Oh, and to top it
off... my home was in foreclosure. (as
God is my witness, this was my life)
I didn’t have much,
but I did
have what I considered to be a noble Dream. I was going to create the solutions
network, a company that would reach out nationwide and even worldwide to provide
the kinds of services and opportunities that could help anyone
who needs it. I knew it wouldn't be easy; I knew it would
take time... I also knew it was a great idea...
How could this NOT
A system that
allows anyone, no
matter their circumstances or education to join with us,
FOR FREE. A
system that lets anyone
increase their income and improve their lives by
simply by helping others improve theirs...
And it would never requires a
dime to operate...
could be created... How could
it possibly fail?
Deluded or Committed?
thought I was suffering from delusions of grandeur :-)
I didn't think I had any delusions.
I simply believed in the idea and to that objective I was absolutely
irreparably committed. Many friends and family
simply thought I should be committed! In spite of my financial situation I
I committed myself to focusing on my long term
objectives rather than my short term issues. I was
totally convinced that my vision was achievable and that everything
If I could actually create the system
couldn't even imagine how or why it
But there was a caveat...
It could succeed only if it were
Because my present circumstances
were so desperate, I
knew it would be difficult...
Not impossible, but Really
New problems were falling into
my lap like dominoes. One
problem creating another that
created another... Little income
caused foreclosure that caused
bad credit, which made getting
a new home for my family
exponentially more difficult...
and remember, at that time I had
no health insurance and a
say the least, my circumstances
were not conducive to the
planning and focusing on the
long term success I had
envisioned. I was then a
bit like a lamb surrounded by
wolves... focusing on anything
other than my eminent demise was
challenging, to say the least!
But I KNEW
everything would turn out fine,
with FOCUS... as long as I
could continue to do and
concentrate on the things I KNEW I needed to do,
rather than worging and concentrating on all the
"obvious" reasons I should
change course and
do something else.
The Solution Was Obvious?
Life had become chaos and
and the challenges I faced formidable. My wife,
wasn’t happy with many of the choices I was making. Even
though, my friends thought I was a reasonably
intelligent guy, they simply could not fathom how I could
possibly refuse to make they saw as the obvious
decision; Solve my financial issues by simply biting
the bullet to fall back on my legal education and start
racking in the
big bucks. But I
couldn't... I wouldn't!
How could I forgo a sure
thing and instead choose to live on the brink of losing
everything to pursue the creation of what my friends and
family perceived as, at best, a speculative
business "dream"; that not only had never been done...
but was still no
where in site.
No one understood.
But it didn’t matter.
I UNDERSTOOD and that was
enough! I was committed to making this happen.
I chose to concentrate on my objectives rather than
obstacles and the opinions of others...
As I mentioned earlier, at the time I was also a
and during this period of my life, music actually generated a large portion of
what little income I had. One Friday night as I left a performance at
about 2:00 am, I was convinced to take “one shot for the road”.
One of my worst life choices.
I had been drinking already, but not
to excess. But as I hadn’t eaten since about
10:00 am, there wasn’t anything to absorb my last “harmless”
The club was a quaint little bar in
the mountains and the road home wound round and round through
the hills and cliffs. That “one for the road” was definitely not one of my
better life’s choices.
While driving, all of a sudden
the alcohol hit me like a ton of bricks. I saw 3 roads as
I rounded a curve and totally lost control. I ended up,
upside down in a ditch, (if I had gone on the other side, I’d
have been off a cliff and certainly died). The car was
totaled, my shoulder had been slammed through the side window,
cut up horribly, (the crash bag didn’t inflate), I was knocked
Then the police showed up.
They took me to the hospital where I was bandaged up and then
carted off to jail. It turned out that my blood alcohol
level was .18. So, now I was looking at some very uncomfortable legal
My brother came to pick me up (my
wife couldn’t do it because I only had one car... and I
had just totaled it!).
due to my own actions,
my life just got even worse. I had
no job to speak of, No money, A big DUI, major Fines on the way,
Hospital bills, A license that I was about to lose because of
the DUI, an unhappy wife, a baby on the way, No car, a
home in foreclosure, etc…
But I did have,
at least, one thing I
hadn't lost yet...
My Goal. My Dream... and I would not...
COULD NOT let it go.
The Dream that Couldn't DIE!
My dream was bigger than ANY obstacle!
I had a dream to create a company that would bring y family
financial security and independence by
creating a worldwide opportunity
that would allow anyone to earn by helping others to earn.
Years ago I had heard a statement by
Zig Ziglar that
always stuck with me. “You can
get anything in life you want… if you help enough others get
they want”. This has always been the
precept of the solutions network.
It is the idea that
permeates every aspect of it. That was my dream and I
would not let it go, for anything.
My situation was now such that
almost anyone in their right mind would have changed directions.
Remember, I had a law degree. I could have given up the
dream and gone out the next day and gotten a high paying job and
solved all of my money problems by simply suing people.
But I just didn’t find that very exciting or fulfilling.
Most sane people would have re
examined their life, their situation, their choices and decided
it was time to change paths. What did I do?...
VERY moment I got home from jail
(about 9:00 am) I immediately
walked DIRECTLY to my computer, sat down,
turned it on and promptly went to work
transforming notes and thoughts
into a real company!
Think about it... After spending a night
at the hospital and then jail; after totaling my car, (with no
way to purchase another), while knowing I would lose
my license and face huge fines, while having an
even less happy wife, etc…
I realized I had managed to make everything exponentially worse…
What did I do? Instead of giving up the dream and taking the
easier path to most would seem to “make more sense” i.e. getting a job,
I rededicated myself to my goal and
simply worked harder, longer and faster!
I could have curled up in a ball in
the fetal position. I could have given up, I dare say many
would have done just that.
But I had this one
thought that WOULD NOT leave me...
you know this is a great idea. There is absolutely no
way it won't work. If you continue to
do what you know needs to be done; if you make the right
choices, you will get the right results".
It became my
mantra... Do the right thing, get the right result".
I could so easily have just
gotten a job like everyone else. Instead...
The moment I got home from my
"visit" to the
hospital and jail (around 9 am), I literally
walked into my home (that I was losing), sat down in front
of the computer and begin transforming my notes and ideas into
an actual website.
I worked 18 hours a day for about 4 weeks
straight. I did not let ANYTHING distract me.
My pregnant wife was furious (why didn’t I get a job?), my
friends perplexed (they "knew" I had better options), within one
month I had the first incarnation of the solutions network.
That was then... This is Now!
WE ARE NOW WORLDWIDE AND OVER 300,000 MEMBERS STRONG
our network of members has helped thousands become
homeowners, become debt free, perfect their credit, increase
their incomes, improve their lives… all without investment.
This all happened
because I focused on the goal... NOT THE PROBLEMS.
See Some of our HUNDREDS of
some of the many services that your website offers and what
they earn you.
To Start Earning From
I’ve never looked back since.
That’s not to say there haven’t been more issues, more
obstacles or setbacks… In 2006 I had a massive heart
attack (Thank God, I recovered fully
and am now in perfect health), in one span of 4 months
in 2007, my mother in law, then father in law, passed away in our home. I then had to
help my wife and children get through the horrible emotional
trauma this caused, not to mention the fact that I had cared
deeply for both of them and had my own sorrow to deal with...
Then, if that wasn't enough, during this time of distraction,
someone I would have trusted with my life, stole everything
that wasn't nailed down... Unfortunately, things happen...
If I had to bet, I’d bet I'll have to deal with more issues
and more setbacks.
It's not fair, but guess what—that’s
We all have set backs. Some big, some
small, some HUGE!
When they occur... we all have
the same choice...
Either overcome them... or let
them they overcome us!
see No Excuses
For me, when new problems occur, I will do
what I’ve always done.
Focus on the objective, not the
obstacle. Whatever the issue, I'll deal with it... when it's
time to do so and not one second sooner. Then, after I've
dealt with it, I'll move on.
That's the trick... don't worry about problems before hand.
When it's time to solve them, SOLVE THEM... then
refuse to dwell on them afterwards.
There's a time
to grieve, a time to plan... and a time to work.
DON'T GET THEM
I don’t care what you do, who you
are or what you want to accomplish… I assure you, there is no
business concept that is more important to success.
Focus on your objectives
not your obstacles.
to effectively move forward
if you are always looking in the rear view mirror.
WHATEVER YOUR DREAM YOU CAN DO IT
If you have a dream, don’t give up.
Don’t let anyone steal it or diminish it.
you’ve analyzed it and know it is sound, workable and
worthwhile for yourself and for the public... Do it! Don’t let anything stop you.
YOU CAN DO IT!...
But realize… that doesn’t mean that
there won’t be obstacles. THERE WILL. There will be set backs even temporary failures. That's
just how success works! (See
overcoming Failure). No matter what you do, things will not
always go your way. Just means that you have to deal
with them as best you can and when you must.
Don’t worry about them before necessary and don’t dwell on
them afterwards. What’s done is done. What will be,
You can substantially control your
future, providing that's wherer you keep
your focus. Focus on the objective and deal
with the obstacles when you must but not one second longer...
and never take your eyes off the dream.
I truly believe that the
Solutions Network is the ultimate opportunity; the most
potential, no risk of any type, no investment required,
ever. A unique opportunity that is all wrapped up in
the philosophy that the more people you help to get what they
want, the more successful you become.
That was my
objective and I believe that with the help of thousands of
wonderful members, we've accomplished that.
If you want to work with us in our
objective to help others, we will help you in any way that we
can. But whatever your
dream is, whatever you choose to pursue, realize that with
persistence and proper focus you can achieve it.
THE HAPPY ENDING???
Remember the home I was
losing? I wish I could say that I was so brilliant and
quick that I fixed everything at light speed and saved my home
and didn’t have to move my family. That would be the fairy
tale ending, but it would also be inaccurate. Some
might say a lie :-)
COULDN'T save my home!
No matter who you are or what you do, things do not always work out.
I was able to use the techniques that we teach for
FREE on your website, to
find another home; a home that we moved into with nothing down,
in spite of my newly acquired credit issues.
It was larger, nicer and a much better fit for our growing
family. I failed!... I
did not accomplish my objective!
However, because I
didn't give up, didn't put my head in the sand... because I
continued to move forward, I actually ended up with an even
See How to purchase a home with no money
and no credit.
The moral to that story? Even
if you don’t get exactly what you are after or accomplish
exactly your goal, as long as you keep your head up and
your eyes open things will still work out…
If you are reaching for
the stars, you will never come up with a handful of mud!
It all worked out
for the best, but only because I looked for,
expected the best. If I had, instead, buried my
head in the sand and asked "why me, why is this happening to me"
I and my family could have ended up in the street.
As Napoleon Hill said in his classic
book “Think and Grow Rich”, “Every
adversity carries with it the seed of an equivalent or greater
fact is that
If I hadn’t been in the process of
losing my existing home, I’d have never found and purchased the home that
ended up being so much better for my family.
We each hold our own destiny in our hands.
But it is up to each of us to grab it and mold it to our
Success really is within
the grasp of each of us. However, it always requires
positive action and a laser like FOCUS on our goals.
Otherwise we are certain to be fatally derailed by the countless
setbacks, obstacles and distractions that life wcontinuously
throws our way. Remember...
Deal with the present, focus on the future and
forget the past!
focus too much on your rear view mirror... You
is true of our lives.
where you are going... Not where you've been!
SUCCESS PRINCIPLE #2
There is never any
shame in falling
down... the shame is
in not getting back
In life, we
Proudly Brought to You by
part of the human
What's important is
not that we avoid
If we aren't making
and experiencing, at
aren't trying hard
is that we always
get back up.
We dust ourselves
off and learn what
we can from the
experience and then,
see more success principles
Vital Success Principle
Never Stop Learning!
Always be learning!
Even if you are lucky enough
to know EVERYTHING about
success or anything else, it
is always beneficial
reminded of what you know,
or to even hear the same
thing again, but in a
slightly different way.
To this day, I use my "dead"
time to continue to learn.
And I do it every day.
But I don't have time to
read. but I do shower,
shave and drive...
When I shower, I'm listening
to my Ipod, when I'm shaving
I'm listening to my Ipod...
When I'm driving I'm
studying... everything from
economics, to success
principles, religion and
The constant input of
positive and educational
information is a never
ending source of
inspiration, information and
unquestionably a big part of
the any success that I have
achieved. It is very
simple... without the
principles that I learned
and internalized from these
incredible books, I could
never have successfully
gotten through many of the
trials that life has given
See the article to the left.
If you want more, more
success or just more out of
life, the ability to get
through anything... attitude
and knowledge is the key.
As I said, I genrally do not
have time to read, but
I almost always have time to listen.
I have subscribed to
audible. The subscription
I use provides
books of my choice per
month. You can
subscribe or you can get
virtually any book,
Understand, I am
this article in order to
make a sale, I'm writing it
to give people an additional
important another path
to knowledge that can
improve your life.
The Best Business Books
that I list below, I have
either actually read or
studied via audio download
They are all great and these
principles absolutely work!
If you want more out of
life... If you want a
happier, more fulfilled life
read or listen to these...
First, a few
classics that we
have all heard
and Grow Rich,
Magic of Thinking Big,
Dr David Schwartz
Habits of Highly
Win Friends and
Millionaire Next Door,
The following are
books that I believe
will soon be
There are, of
course, hundreds of
but these are some
of the best.
Outliers, the Story
Winner's Brain, Jeff
Rules, Robin Sharma
Excuses, Brian Tracy
Leadership, John C.
50 Proven ways to be
Persuasive, Noah J.
Stay Motivated, Zig
Attitude is Everything,
Eat that Frog,
Called Work for a
Success Mastery Academy,
or Smart, Bo Peabody
of a Leader, John
is Overrated, Geoff
A few other books on
that I felt were
Short History of Nearly
Guide to American
Case for a Creator,
Guide to Capitalism,
Robert P. Murphy
Briefer History of Time,
SUCCESS PRINCIPLE #3
always do what you've always done... you'll always get what
you always got".
are each the sum total of our life's actions and choices.
If we are not happy with our circumstances, something has to change.
We can't do the same thing we've always done and expect different
results. If you are not completely satisfied with your
try something different. But the key is to actually
try. Great ideas and great
intentions are worthless... unless accompanied by positive action.
Do something that has a proven market, doesn't take too much
time and doesn't require monetary investment. see
why ASN works.
Universal Key to Success...
"Find what they want and give it to them"
Your ASN business has everything that
anyone could want. Home loans, insurance, mortgage negotiation,
gifts, health products, etc... and you make
money from everyone of them... PLUS, it never costs you a
penny to join or market your business. We give you everything from
free advertising sites, to free traffic exchanges (that also earn you
money), to professional banners and pre-written ad copy.
And it's all free!
ASN is not for
everyone. It has done great things for many people.
you see is real), having said that, ASN may not be right for
you. But the only way to really know
is to really try. No company provides more ways to earn,
easier marketing methods, all FREE. Just try see
what happens. You have everything to gain...
and because we never ask you for a dime, you have absolutely nothing
to lose. See
10 Reasons Why ASN is Better.
SUCCESS PRINCIPLE #4
Ideas and Great Opportunities are useless... Unless combined
with positive action!". B. Castro
No matter how great the opportunity or
will always equal earning nothing.
Success is not an
accident. Many people look at their doctor,
their realtor, their lawyer, the internet guru and say "he's so
lucky". or "He's so smart, I wish I could have done that", etc...
about Luck, Ideas, or Intelligence. It's about Action!
WHAT YOU DO is infinitely more important that
WHAT YOU KNOW.
Action is always the key.
IT'S A FACT: SUCCESSFUL people
are those who are willing to
actually do the things that UNSUCCESSFUL
ideas important? Of course. Are opportunities important?
Of course. But without action they are useless. If
you don't try... You Can't Succeed. see
why ASN works.
Your ASN business
has everything that any consumer could want or need. As a way to
make money, it doesn't get better or easier. No company provides more
ways to earn, easier marketing methods, all FREE. But like
any other business... You have to, at least, try. You have
everything to gain...
and because we never ask you for a dime, you have absolutely nothing to
lose. Even if you've done nothing but "claim
your check", you know ASN works. If you haven't? Don't
invest a penny. Just go "claim
your check". See what happens.
true measure of a man is not
determined not by
what he has… but rather by what
the Service you provide, not the
reward you receive.
You can get everything in life
you want... if you just help
enough other people get what
In the end, what we have and
achieve in life is simply a
reflection of the service we
gave. Whether it is what
you gave in the way of your
service in sales... The
benefit that your products gave
to the consumer, the lives you
saved as a physician. The
lives you enriched and shaped as
a teacher. The more we give and
the better we give, the more we
When the focus of your
activities are on the money you
will earn, it diminishes
the service you provide and the
outcomes you achieve.
On the other hand, if you focus
on providing the best options
and services to your clients...
when your heart is in doing the
best job possible for your
customer, they know it.
And soon, the world knows
it and they will be beating a
path to your door and money
worries become a thing of the
past. It all starts
with focusing on service.
No where is this more true than
with ASN. You don't earn
by taking, by high pressure
by anything other than
Concentrate on the services
that you are offering to the
public. You, literally
have the ability to change
With ASN it is simple, the more
you give, the more you earn.
The more opportunity you give
away, the more you will achieve.
If you are not consistently
placing yourself in a position
to fail, you are not putting
yourself in a position to
One of the biggest obstacles
to success is the fear of
people would rather wallow in
mediocrity than take the chance
of experiencing rejection or
failure. This is the bane
of sales people and business
entrepreneurs. But the
truth is, if you don't put
yourself in a position to
possibly fail, your are avoiding
any possibility of success.
If you are not occasionally
experiencing failure... You Are
Not Trying Hard Enough!
Fear of rejection makes us avoid
the sales call that can catapult
our careers. Fear of
failure keeps us from trying the
business that could have changed
our lives. Fear of failure
and rejection always serves to
paralyze and limit every aspect
of our lives.
If we want to succeed, we
must be willing to FAIL!
Every time we fail, we learn and
we make progress, (providing
we have the healthy
understanding that failure is an
integral part of the success
Ruth struck out more
than almost any player in
history... was he a failure?
Edison had over
attempts at creating the light
bulb before he succeeded...
was he a failure?
Failure and success go hand in
hand and are a part of each
other. You just can't have
one without experiencing the
No one ever has only successes
and no failures.
Similarly, no one ever has only
failures and no successes.
Unless, they quit!
you quit, the game is over.
Don't Ever Give Up!
Remember, just as with Babe Ruth
and Thomas Edison... Failures
are forgotten. What is
remembered are the
accomplishments that resulted
from your perseverance.
Failures are nothing but the
stepping stones to your success.
can't get to the success if you
stop taking the steps!
of the most important keys to
your future success in any
endeavor is DON'T BE
AFRAID TO FAIL!
Welcome it, relish in it.
Never forget that failure is but
a stepping stone, as Henry Ford
opportunity to more
intelligently begin again"
Vital Key to Success...
will to win
job and take
But life and
when we take
the time to
8 years in
2 to 4 years
But like any
and yes, it
get rich by
of years of
Defeat isn’t bitter if you don’t
is better to have a good life
than a great moment.
Small attempts repeated will
complete any undertaking.
hard to move ahead if you are
always looking behind.
Behold the turtle—who makes
progress only when he sticks his
have to take chances. The
only thing in life that is
absolutely certain is that if
you don't try, you don't
succeed. You don't score a
touchdown by trying to punt.
You'll never hit a home run,
trying to bunt. Obviously,
making one attempt never
guarantees, success... but
making NO attempts
always guarantees NO
the great hockey player Wayne
Gretzky once said "You miss
EVERY shot that you DON'T take".
have to stick your neck out.
To succeed, you have to risk
failure, and if in that attempt
you fail... so what? You just
try again. As Socrates
said, "there is no shame in
falling down, the shame is in
not getting back up"
Ruth, is remembered as the home
run king, not the
strike out king, but in 1923, he
not only broke the single season
home run record, he also broke
the strike out record. He
also held the record for career
strikeouts until it was broken
by the great Mickey Mantle.
many home runs do you think he
would have hit if he were
worried about the failure of a
all want to hit homeruns.
But we are also afraid of
striking out. The reality
of like is this...
you can't have one without the
Simply put, do you want to be
successful? Do you want a
life full of home runs?
Then you must swing that bat!
You have to go for the fences
and be willing to strike out.
Remember, you will never hit a
home run by trying to bunt.
Swing that bat. You have
to be willing to fail. You
have to be willing to fail,
OFTEN! If you miss, don't
worry about it. Be like
Babe Ruth, just keep on
is more important to have a good
life, than it is to have a good
Concentrate on those things that
are goal achieving, not stress
who fears failure
limits his activities and
limits his accomplishments.
Failure is only the opportunity
to more intelligently begin