Hi, I’m Brian Alger. I’m a Canadian writer, educator, entrepreneur, and musician.
This site is a gathering place for people interested in self-improvement, creative practice, and human potential. My aim is to explore the most significant and substantial aspects of the human journey to cultivate a practical and useful wisdom for living.
My work is primarily relevant to those of us, like myself, moving through the second half of life. In a simple sense, this refers to those of us age 50 plus. In a deep sense, however, the second half of life is not about chronological age. It is a depth concept characterized by an innate drive to seek a deeper sense of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment in life while simultaneously increasing the quality of our participation, contribution and belonging in the world. From this perspective, it is possible to be 30 years old and already in the second half of life.
The underlying ground of my work is lived experience and finding creative ways to broaden and expand what can be known, felt, and lived. I experiment with insights and ideas myself. Moreover, I believe that the universe is fundamentally good and that the purpose of being human is to pursue that which is good for self and others at the same time.
The underlying question that guides my work is: “How can we live a life worth living?”
My career path in life has been rewarding but also divergent and stressful. Life is not always fair. We all must move through periods of adversity in life. I have been fortunate to have enjoyed my share of success, but I have also had to endure a few periods of stress, anxiety, and depression. I have learned that there is meaning within suffering that can broaden and expand the experience of being alive in surprising ways. Wellbeing, for example, has nothing to do with the avoidance of adversity or living a life of perpetual happiness. It is about resilience, learning, and the pursuit of wisdom.
Most of what I write is for myself; that is, my writing originates in an innate desire for self-understanding and self-improvement. I don’t think I have all the answers. I’m not a guru with unique wisdom to impart. What I have is a lot of questions coupled with an abundance of curiosity. I share my work here because it is a way to find interesting and creative people inspired by similar questions. I present it on a public platform because it is a powerful way to correct my own misjudgments and hopefully help other people out along the way.
The Three Pillars
The intersection of self-improvement, creative practice, and human potential is how I explore the question of a good life.
Self-improvement is about pursuing a practical wisdom for living inclusive of awe, wonder, and mystery as well as difficulty, hardship, and suffering. It is the way in which we become more fully human and humane. Every individual life consists of a unique confluence of experiences, events, conditions, situations, and circumstances that coalesce into a unique course of life. Self-improvement is about lived experience and the pursuit of that which is good for self, others, and the greater flow of life at the same time.
A creative practice is the foundation of our ability to respond to significant life events with insight and wisdom. I believe that creativity is a vital life skill that improves learning, doing, and being. The purpose of a creative practice is to improve the quality of lived experience, rather than just reading about it. A creative practice helps to develop the insight and skills required to navigate the confluence and vagaries of everyday life.
Human potential is about transformative power, the rehabilitation of the transcendent, the preservation of mystery, and our ability to inhabit a deeper consciousness of the good in life. In other words, human potential is focused on how we can lives lives that are good for self, others, and the Earth at the same time. In the end, human potential is dependent on our ability to deepen our love and sense of connection with the great flow of life that animates this planet.
The three pillars are used as categories to organize my articles.
Why is it called, “The Frontiers of Experience?”
A frontier is the outer limit in a field of human endeavour. There is a vast chasm between knowing what to do and living it. It is in this mercurial space, the edge between knowing and doing, that creativity flourishes. If part of our desire is to live a life worth living, then finding ways to bridge the divide between knowing and being is vital.
Our experiences in life are all we can lay claim to; that is, the unique confluence of events, situations, and circumstances provide the essential raw material from which we make decisions and choices that create our course in life. Our primary task in life is to craft a life worth living that is good for self and others at the same time.
Lived experience is a phantasmagoria of thoughts, emotions, attitudes, ideas, habits, reactions, beliefs, and behaviours that influence and coalesce into a unique life course. Some of our actions are conscious and deliberate while others are subconscious and mindless. Regardless of our level of awareness, the decisions and choices we make, not the events themselves, determine the nature and quality of our journey in life.
I use “the frontiers of experience” to symbolize the nature of our journey in life.
The Standard Questions
Why another self-help site? There are many sites dedicated to self-help. This work represents the culmination of my life’s work. It is the work that matters most to me. In addition, it seems to me that if we had the solution to self-help there would be no need for an industry. This is obviously not the case.
What is unique about this site? In business terms the question is usually, “What is the unique value proposition for this site?” My focus is to be authentic, genuine, and practical. I do not claim to be unique.
I am averse to self-help as a means to capture fleeting emotional states such as feeling good or happiness. Nor do I believe we can have anything we want in life. For example, “The Secret” is an immensely popular, but I believe it is superficial and deceptive. And have grown tired of the standard advice: a) control your thoughts; b) stay positive; c) set and achieve goals; d) visualize success and it will be yours; e) you attract your intentions; f) don’t fall prey to self-doubt or insecurity; and worst of all g) if you focus on your intentions you will eventually get what you want. If this actually worked, we all be rich and happy. We’re not.
What gives you the credibility to write about it? Nothing. I don’t think I’m special. I don’t have all the answers. Nor do I have special credentials. And my experiences, like everyone else’s, move through periods of relative calm alternating with the turbulence of adversity. All I have is an insatiable curiosity to delve into the full force of life and struggle to find better ways of living.
Who cares? I do. Beyond me possibly no one. I do this work for myself first and foremost. I don’t have a target audience. I don’t have a minimum viable product (MVP) to offer. I don’t care about search engine optimization (SEO). I don’t have a business plan. While I do hope my work provides even a modicum of value in someone else’s life, this is not something within my control – nor does it need to be. I follow the philosophy of, “art for art’s sake.” If no one cares about it, I will continue to do the work anyway.
Why might this work matter to you? I don’t know, but I can offer some guesses. In a general sense, perhaps we share a passion for self-improvement, creative practice, and human potential that is useful, practical, and grounded in lived experience rather than academic research and theory. I risk by venturing into various realms of “expertise,” attempt to decode the obtuse language that ideas are hidden behind, and try to make connections with other domains of knowledge.Creativity flourishes when wisdom and living become the same thing.
Curation of Good Content
Another purpose of this site is to curate my favorite content created by other people. This includes, books, videos, courses, TED talks that have inspired me along the way.
Can Other People Contribute to this Site?
No. At least, not right now. I have done this in the past, but this has never worked out very well because it is little more than a superficial marketing relationship. My time is more valuable than this.
However, the idea of building a team people around the mission of living a life worth living is appealing. But I don’t know what that looks like right now.
Is There a Business Here?
Right now, this site is self-funded. While I can imagine a great deal of potential for offering various products and services, it is premature to consider a business at this point. At this point it is purely a vocation.
However, I do know this:
- I have no imagination for allowing advertising on this site, even at the expense of my own income. My goal is to make this site self-sustaining without the need to resort to advertising.
- Independence matters to me. I do not work for a publisher, magazine, or editor. I don’t do freelance writing, nor do I sell my work to other publications.
- I can see the possibility of integrating affiliate programs down the road, but only those that are of high quality and trustworthiness.
It costs a significant amount of time and money to run a website devoted to high-quality enduring content. Admittedly, it would be nice to be able to run this site on a cost-recovery basis, but at present that is not possible.
Ultimately it will be my readers that determine if there is a business here not a business plan. And that is the way it should be.
This website supports The Nature Conservancy, a non-profit organization designed to protect and preserve natural habitats. If the site becomes profitable, I will donate 5% of net revenues to it.
How Can You Follow My Work?
The primary way I communicate with you is through my newsletter. Your email is never shared, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
You can contact me using the Contact Form.