What it’s all about

Boco, Haiti – 2012

Welcome to Succeeding In Life…my attempt to leave the world a little better than I found it. I am Rick Thomas and I live near the Columbia River Gorge in the Pacific Northwest.

First, I need clarify some things about why this blog and what I believe:

  • My definition of success is a) discovering what you were put on this rock for…and I do believe we all have one clear purpose in life, b) determining what you can do with that purpose that helps others, and c) doing something about it.
  • Wish it were that easy. The single biggest thing that stands in the way between achieving this definition of success, or continuing to spin on a wheel like a Hamster, is our inability to believe we can get there.
  • I don’t claim to have all the answers, but you don’t need min because you already have them. You need the right questions to help you see them.
  • 13 Point Plans to Power Living, 5 Secrets to Success, 7 Successful Habits and the myriad of other “secrets” probably all work. And you won’t find those here either because I believe that finding your own recipe to success is much more gratifying, and ultimately more life-changing than the pre-packaged variety sold on late night TV, Sunday mornings or seminars.
  • Striving for this type of success will be a bumpy ride, guaranteed. If you’ve ever trained for a marathon, Ironman race, or similar, you’ll know what I mean. The transformation and redemption, however, is in surviving the training. Not running the race.
  • I believe in an infinite Creator that is beyond our ability to comprehend. And yet I experience Her in finite, minute ways that continue to remind me that our experience here is a passing moment that is to be cherished. I am also a follower of Jesus yet at times I loathe to call myself a Christian.
  • This world is a pretty screwed up place and we have a responsibility to do something about it. And I believe we do that by figuring out who we are and what we are truly capable of (back to my definition of success). AKA living authentically and leaving this world a better place than how we found it.
  • Experiences are way more compelling than accomplishments.

So, I live in the town of Washougal… The name is said to be derived from the native Cascade Chinook language, meaning Rushing Waters. The etymology is deeply prophetic to me in a spiritual sense, and I don’t think it is an accident that I ended up here. The moving waters of the Washougal and Columbia rivers are ever present reminders of the spiritual life that flows through all I am and do.

Hoh River Chromer

Hoh River Chromer on a fly

Historically a working town, Washougal is in transformation, however it retains it roots in the salt-of-the-earth hard working people that make up it’s core. People that don’t give a shit what outsiders think of their ’74 Camaro with hay bales strapped to the roof. They want what most people want; to be happy, to have a loving family, to be able to earn an honest day’s work and enjoy the fruits of their labor. We moved here in 1991 and built a house on property on the outskirts of town. We still live next to the family whose grandparents homesteaded this land. They have shared stories about the black bears that would visit every fall to feed on the apples and blackberries, claw at the rotting stumps for bugs and scratch their backs on the Newton apple tree that stands guard in the upper part of our property.

The Sentinel

The Sentinel

We occasionally still find remnants of farming history on our property like this threshing drive wheel that harkens back to a day when even in agricultural equipment there was an art in creating tools.

My wife tried to turn in into a succulent planter. Still trying...

My wife tried to turn it into a succulent planter. Still trying…

For the first fifteen years I didn’t like living here and kept telling my wife we need to move into Portland. She would always patiently reply, “Honey, I love you and I will miss you.” Needless to say, I haven’t moved and I can’t imagine moving now. I love this place.

I have led an unexpected life.  My dad was a white guy from New Jersey and my mom was a Puerto Rican immigrant from Ponce. He came from a long line of engineers and ended up running hospitals. She was a mystic and became a psychoanalyst at the age of 58. He was a self-medicated bi-polar Republican. She was a Sandinista loving socialist who occasionally drank whiskey and loved to watch Bill O’Reilly. Go figure.

I have traveled to, or have lived on most of the continents and I should have been dead several times over. Hence, I have written a memoir titled Saving Mijo (you can find my posted chapters on the menu bar above under the Memoir page).

My career has gone from engineering (an ode to my Thomas roots) to partnering in a manufacturing business, to creating a leadership and organizational development consultancy, to now serving as a business and investment advisor. And that is not even the stuff that matters.

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 8.18.25 AM

Either laugh, or cry. I’d rather laugh…

I am married to the most patient woman in the world. Really. I am also dad to three amazing young adults and despite the chaos and uncertainty of these times, they give me amazing hope that the next generation will do better than ours in making this world a better place. I love a good conversation about things that matter. I feel more mortal every day.

Enough about me for now.

What do I want out of all this? Just simply to know that this blog has helped you find your way in whatever incremental step it has, and that you are paying it forward. And if you are willing to share…even better. So, share a little here or elsewhere. And if you are willing to follow this blog and receive my updates, that would be appreciated also.

Either way, goodness comes from it.


Like what you are reading? Have thought of your own to share? Leave your info below to receive automatic updates on my posts and please comment. I do want to hear what you think. Thank you!

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