08 June 2013 by Published in: Uncategorized 29 comments

I’ve been told that my gruff demeanor is off-putting for some, so consider this to be my effort to showcase a softer, gentler Blake. You may imagine me holding a tubby tabby in my lap as I write it, if you like, while wearing flowing linen yoga pants and a dashiki. Whatever floats your particular boat.

By way of introduction, I had a long discussion the other day with a buddy of mine about how much I’ve changed since moving to Mexico, and he’s right. I have.

I’m a lot happier.

The secret to happiness, I’ve discovered, is having enough.

Or rather, feeling like you have enough.

NEWS: A brilliant new book review and interview on THE GERONIMO BREACH with Simon Jenner. Worth a quick read!

It’s the exact opposite of what’s propagated in the U.S. – a hyper-consumerism that requires that the population never feels like it has enough. Of anything. Money. Possessions. Success. Power. What fuels the big engine is an unhappiness tied to constantly wanting – no, needing – more. It’s engineered that way. You’re bombarded relentlessly with the same message. You need better. More better. You deserve more. More more more. If you don’t have more, you’re deficient. And if you have to borrow from your future to get that more now, that’s the American way.

The problem is that being a product sponge is good for those selling stuff, but not so great for your sense of self.

What happened since I moved to Mexico is that over the years, I’ve adopted the prevailing philosophy down here, which is being happy with what you have. Valuing your time more than possessions or money. Feeling like you already have everything you need, so you don’t really want anything. It’s a paradigm shift – one that’s critical to self-satisfaction. Because you can have everything, but if you want more, you’ll never be truly happy. Very Zen, with a jalapeno twist.

I met a guy the other day who’s worth hundreds of millions of dollars. He’s a hard charger, has homes all over the world, runs a successful company he founded. He spent most of his time telling me all about it. It was important for me to know how prosperous he was, and how much stuff he possessed. What’s interesting is that even with all that, he spent the majority of the discussion trying to impress me. He obviously wasn’t happy, and grew unhappier as it became clear that I didn’t give a shit. Because, well, all that idiocy really really matters.

To him.

I’ve hit a point in my life where I’m satisfied with what I have. I like my car. I like my house. I like my love life. I like my health. I enjoy writing probably more than I really should, but that’s a guilty pleasure. I’m doing exactly what I want, in the manner I want to do it, on my own terms. I’ve got enough.

I don’t know why I’m writing this blog. The idea of abundance coming from within isn’t earth-shattering information. Certainly nothing new. But for whatever reason, the other day I woke up and realized that I already have everything I want, and when you have that feeling, that sense of not wanting more, it’s freeing beyond belief, and I wanted to share.

Now to more mundane matters. I’m working hard on covers for Upon a Pale Horse, and writing Black after taking a few days off to plot the rest of it (code for boozing). Should be done in another week or two. I’m not pushing all that hard to get er done. With 21 novels out, I’m pretty sure that the world has enough Russell Blake books to absorb for the time being.

Now go buy some of my crap so I can roll around in hundreds and mock my numerous enemies and critics. That bar tab’s not going to pay itself. I may not want more, but I’m pretty sure the barkeep does by the way he’s been giving me the evil eye lately. So help a brutha out. I’d recommend Blood of the Assassin as a good place to start. Reads pretty well, I think…



  1. Sat 08th Jun 2013 at 5:49 pm

    When you achieve the magic figure that allows you to fill your swimming pool with money an swim around in it , would you mind diverting the rest of the crappola buyers in my direction. I decided I quite fancy eating again this month and so far no takers. It’s not as if everyone has bought my books previously or sent me $1000 to have them signed by actual hand ( the robot one broke down), so there’s a little room for buyers to come and at least let me start digging a pool or an escape tunnel to the antipodes.
    Thanking you in advance for your understanding Russell.

    • Russell Blake  –  Sat 08th Jun 2013 at 5:53 pm

      Well, unfortunately, as the dollar continues to drop in value, it requires more of them to keep me afloat. Until things stabilize, I’m investing everything in tequila and black market liver futures. I’m sure you understand.

      • Mongol  –  Sat 08th Jun 2013 at 11:07 pm

        Only way to roll…

  2. Sat 08th Jun 2013 at 6:14 pm

    What did the unhappy millionaire do for a living? What did his company do?

    • Russell Blake  –  Sat 08th Jun 2013 at 6:50 pm

      He’s in the vacation biz. Timeshares, from what I can tell. Truthfully I started tuning out after a bit. Sort of a blah blah my estate blah blah vacation home blah blah jet blah blah blah.

  3. Cy
    Sun 09th Jun 2013 at 6:48 am

    The millionaire guy was trying to play marbles with you. By that I mean, he was telling/showing you that his marbles were bigger than yours AND that he had more of them too!

    Problem [for him and others like him] was you just wouldn’t play [grin – ha ha ha].

  4. yoon
    Sun 09th Jun 2013 at 10:52 am

    You were right when you told me that “softer, gentler Blake” sounded too flaccid and boring. You could have included the lesbian horses version of your PH cover to give it more life.

    • Russell Blake  –  Sun 09th Jun 2013 at 11:15 am

      Everyone’s a critic. Although that cover is classic. I’ll be using it in an upcoming blog. Trust me on that.

  5. Sun 09th Jun 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Your gruff demeanor is off putting? Huh. I never would’ve thought that. But since you’ve gone all Deepak Chopra and have us visualizing, I see you more meditating wearing the lime green man thong with the tabby cat sitting nearby looking superior.
    Might as well get more use out of the costume since you’re not dancing for dollar bills anymore.

    • Russell Blake  –  Sun 09th Jun 2013 at 5:33 pm

      I never said I won’t dance for dollars anymore. It’s all a matter of the night, and the offer.

  6. Sun 09th Jun 2013 at 2:33 pm

    The old cliche (and you know we love ’em) applies: it ain’t about having what you want, it’s about wanting what you have. The multimillionaire dude was obviously insecure and wanted adulation and envy more than the actual stuff. Glad you denied him his fix. You’re my hero. BTW I’m following your model (as well as I can) just released my 8th book in 13 months and things are picking up. Cheers and vaya con Dios.

    • Russell Blake  –  Sun 09th Jun 2013 at 5:32 pm

      I’m certainly no stranger to cliches, as anyone who’s read my scribbling knows.

      Glad it’s working out for you. I predict better days ahead.

      It’s not about shorting the other guy his attention fix. It’s about deciding what you find important, and leaving all the rest of the BS behind. Life’s too short.

  7. Old Git
    Sun 09th Jun 2013 at 7:35 pm

    Synchronicity on that feeling, Russell. I was only saying today, to a friend I see rarely, that I’m happy with my old-yet-cherished car, am happy with what I have and can’t think of what I really would like to buy when I’m tempted to indulge in retail therapy.

    I have an old accumulated kit of tools to potter around with — if I need something for a job I buy it, but this is rare. I have made my surroundings natural. On a base level it means I have more or less arrived…need little to enhance my life further.

    But if you *do* decide to give it all away and run off to join a weird cult, give me all your material worth and I’ll spend the money on tequila, hookers and recreational aids in your memory…

  8. Sun 09th Jun 2013 at 9:58 pm

    As long as ebooks are not on the list of things people don’t need to be happy, I’m down with your philosophy.

  9. Robert Jones
    Mon 10th Jun 2013 at 11:43 am


    I like your style. The so-called superiority through money has left a lot of people short handed when it comes to happiness that doesn’t require something “more”…not to mention the constant ego fix. Congrats on denying that dude, BTW.

    Not sure where all the huge power players will go once they own everything and the man-cattle they’ve robbed for so long have nothing left to buy whatever they are selling.

    I wonder what they would do if we all decided to turn a deaf ear to all the crap coming at us through advertising and the media? Would they blow up something big in order to regain our attention? Inflate the price of gasoline to $10 per gallon to punish us all?

    Screw it. I’m investing in some flower-power underoos. I’ve already found a good deal of happiness through writing. And there’s a cat frequently laying next to my computer when I’m writing. She digs that creative vice. So I guess I’m well on my way 🙂

    • Russell Blake  –  Mon 10th Jun 2013 at 12:00 pm

      I’m not particularly religious, but it does seem like that old saying, it’s the love of money that’s the root of all evil, has some merit. Money in and of itself isn’t good or bad – it’s merely a store of value (and that value can buy power). But the need, the desire, for more and more and more, is the antithesis of the peace of mind required to attain happiness.

      Note that I’m not saying that being prosperous is bad. I’m saying that never being satisfied is a disease, a malignancy that ensures that no matter what you have, it won’t be enough to fill the hole in your soul.

      In the end, nobody gets out of this alive. I happen to believe that our job on the planet is to make ourselves happy – because nobody else is going to do it for us. The job of advertisers is to convince us that we need their crap to be happy. The job of bankers is to convince us that borrowing to buy that crap is smart. The job of government is to convince us that it’s reasonable to give non-productive bureaucrats almost half of everything we earn from the sweat of our brow. It’s a form of enslavement. How many people go through their lives, paying the bank for their car and their house, purchasing a never-ending stream of crap, paying a boatload of taxes, and wind up with little to show for it at the end? Or if they do manage to create some prosperity, they’re still not happy, because they want a bigger boat or three more homes or even more money or power?

      Seems rather self-defeating to me. There’s no room for happiness if you’re a hamster on a wheel constantly racing to get more, on a road to nowhere.

  10. Robert Jones
    Tue 11th Jun 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Couldn’t agree more, Russell. It’s an insane and counterproductive system humanity has adopted. And that article about everything being rigged has stuck a bit in craw since I read it, so thanks for that one…LOL!

    But that stuff has been going on for a very long time. We are just becoming more aware of it. And the perps are getting more ballsy with their open defiance of the very laws they’ve created.

    We might have to live in this, but we really don’t have to adopt it’s ways. The more focused on that crap we are, the more of a beacon we become to have more of it crammed down our throats. We can tune into our own rhyme, or someone else’s. And if they own 99% of the marbles and still aren’t finding any satisfaction, there’s an internal flaw in that system of thinking.

    I’ve seen people with very modest incomes buying into the “happiness is more” theory, running around trying to live life like it was all some type of business–not having a clue about what they were doing, but having no time for anything that might relate to actual peace of mind. At the very mention of something as simple as reading a book, I’ve had some of these people say they have no time, laughing at such an idle notion.

    The walking dead are truly among us.

    Sort of laughable to see how many of them actually found time to write a book and slap it on Amazon, though. Just another version of Lotto.

    I guess the bottom line is when money replaces brains and does your thinking, it’s a free choice, but the instincts you were born with are sold as well. And that crazy running around with no time for the little things that matter only increases with that sort of success. The difference being, you’ll have lots of marbles with comparable friends to play the game with–but when they screw you over, it won’t be personal, just business.

    • Russell Blake  –  Tue 11th Jun 2013 at 4:08 pm

      You know, at one time in my life I was totally into the more thing, so I understand how insidious it is, how pervasive the message is in all walks of life. Career, house, car, investments…everything revolves around the idea that you measure your self-worth by your accumulations. So what happens when you lose a fortune? Or discover that you have a terminal disease? You never see a UHaul at a funeral, and what goes up can definitely go down.

      I see a lot of Americans down here in Mexico who thought they were rich up until the financial crash, and now are devastated – all that wealth they’d received by virtue of the market and housing going through the roof was erased, and now it’s just them and their meager possessions again. It’s a common story. And they’re really bummed. As in, life changing bummed. But the truth is that nothing actually changed except their expectations (unless they dug themselves into debt mining their imagined wealth). Yet 5 years ago they were ecstatic, and now they’re miserable.

      I have a buddy who bought into the same myth before moving down here. He did the whole thing. Boat, airplanes, vacation homes. Lost most of it in the crash and ensuing carnage. But since moving here, he’s never been happier. What he discovered was that all those possessions were not assets. They were obligations that shackled him as surely as though he’d been chained to them.

      I’m delighted with my literary trajectory thus far. Whether it doubles again from here over the next year or two, stays flat, or declines, I’ll still be happy. It’s not like I’m living any differently than I did when I moved here, and I can’t see myself living larger even at double or triple the income. For me, it’s about proving something and doing so on my own terms. I don’t buy that I need acceptance from the literary establishment, or that because I’m selling well right now I’m superior in any way to my peers who aren’t, or that because I have a fatter bank account than my neighbor I’m better than him. And I don’t require a movie deal or X millions to feel vindicated. I’ve had big money, and it’s way overrated. I mean, it’s not, but it is. The improvement in your quality of life with 10X the money isn’t necessarily even a 10% improvement, much less a 10X. It entirely depends on your perspective. If you’re happy and satisfied and well adjusted, it’s not about the money or the accolades. It’s about doing what you want and enjoying it. That’s the only thing that matters, because time goes by quickly, and at the end of the road, it’s not how much you accumulated, it’s how much you enjoyed the journey, because the only guarantee is that it will be over soon enough.

  11. Tue 11th Jun 2013 at 7:35 pm

    Appreciate you sharing that philosophy, Russell. Lot of wisdom there.

    I think for me, I launched my business with the idea of making good money. But as I went for so long with so little, and with barely a vacation at all, I just got to where material things mean nothing to me.

    If you handed me ten million dollars right now, I have no idea what I’d do with it. I hardly want anything.

    But what I do want is security. I want more in the bank and a few more things paid off. And yet I know that to want these things is to essentially lack faith in whoever it is you choose to believe in.

    And based on that idea, I’ve never NOT had enough in the past, and I’ll probably NEVER have too little in the future. But what I’ll probably always have is the idea that I need more just to sleep better at night, when no amount of security can ever relieve those concerns.

    Ultimately, in my opinion, that’s a faith thing, since as you so well said: Even if you had millions, one bad doctor’s report and you’re going to be scared out of your mind.

    • Russell Blake  –  Wed 12th Jun 2013 at 2:14 am

      I’m not arguing a case for altruism. Of course the money matters in mundane ways. But not in soul-changing ways. It makes a difference in terms of which hospital you die in, or which restaurants you dine in before you do. But in the end, destination’s the same, and anyone that argues differently is a douche.

      Not that I have an opinion or anything.

  12. Robert Jones
    Wed 12th Jun 2013 at 12:21 pm


    I can sympathize with the scenario of loss. I had a career in graphic arts. Not Wall Street money, but with no kids, the wife and I were doing just fine…until a car accident took me out of the running. I can still draw, but it takes me forever. I can’t meet anyone’s crazy deadlines like I used to. So it was either take my time and attempt something in fine arts, or hop aboard my second love of writing.

    It was an easy decision because throughout my chosen career as an artist, writing was becoming increasingly more interesting to me. Sort of a progression into a different form of art.

    Meantime, we lost just about everything but our sanity. And since my wife was injured in the same accident, we had nothing to really fall back on for very long. So sanity very nearly went out the window for a while there as well.

    Sometimes life doesn’t leave you with many choices but to start over. It’s when you really have to pick up the pieces and see what’s left of yourself. And if you’ve been looking for yourself as a reflection of your bank account, or all the “stuff” you’ve accumulated, guess what– it can all disappear very fast.

    Sure, you can be miserable, scared, go crazy with regret, but is that who you are? More importantly, how will any of that actually be helpful?

    If you have dreams and asperations, you have to pull them out and start working toward them. If you don’t, when would be a good time to find out what’s inside of one’s self worth salvaging? A good time would be when you had a nice comfortable life but the “MORE” attitude had you too busy running around looking for material good. All that inner substance stuff is just a waste of space. Clear it right out and fill it with more accumulated cash and pretty baubles.

    Russell, you’ve done well. And deservedly so. The other lost sheep who misplaced their lives should try to follow your example on some level and quit complaining. Life keeps shifting and changing. And unless you’re up there in the 1% who own everything, a little planning and inner substance can go a long way toward discovering personal satisfaction once the party ends.

    But I tend to think that it would be even worse if some irreversible tragedy struck the 1%. The not being able to get more for them alone would probably send them over the edge…even if their bank accounts had enough for them to live happily, but more modestly, for the duration.. Modesty, not an option there. But would make for an interesting story. From a writer’s POV…don’tcha think?

    • Russell Blake  –  Wed 12th Jun 2013 at 9:44 pm

      From what I’ve seen of the 1%, they always manage to come out on top.

  13. Fri 14th Jun 2013 at 6:36 pm

    The secret to happiness is to do something for which you’ll be able to reward yourself with a nice cup of tea. Do it, then have the tea. When your list overwhelms you, think about all those nice cups of tea that await you in your future.

  14. Ron
    Sun 16th Jun 2013 at 11:53 am

    I enjoyed your comments in the “secret of happiness” blog entry. I agree 100% about “having enough” and the consumerism one gets hammered with in the US. When I reached my epiphany, I retired early and moved to Honduras. It’s lovely, the people are happy, in spite of their troubles…it’s…refreshing.
    Thanks for your thoughts and putting it so well.

    • Russell Blake  –  Sun 16th Jun 2013 at 3:42 pm

      I’ve spent some time in Belize, but not Honduras. Heard it was dangerous, as is Belize (Belize City is a nightmare, Ambergris and Caye Caulker nice). You out on the islands?

      • Ron  –  Sun 16th Jun 2013 at 5:59 pm

        I was on Roatan for three years, but I like the mainland better. I’m up in the mountains of western Honduras. Little place called La Esperanza, Intibuca. As a retired ship captain, I went inland carrying an oar until someone asked me what it was, that’s where I stayed! (kidding)
        Seriously, it’s very safe here, though San Pedro Sula has bad crime…but the rest of the country is awesome!

        • Russell Blake  –  Sun 16th Jun 2013 at 9:28 pm

          Nice! I have been meaning to check out Roatan. But I’m actually pretty happy in Mexico. Although I’ve started spending more time in Argentina. Probably will up it to 3 mos a year as of next year. Love BA and Mendoza. World capital of eating and drinking.

  15. Thu 04th Jul 2013 at 1:19 pm


    You’re spot-on as far as your analysis of American culture. I’ve had this idea of writing a story about just this idea, a dystopian piece where the United States has morphed into the Corporate States of America. People no-longer have names, they are simply known as Consumer Unit 1234, etc..


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