Tom Leu on the The Journey Podcast

Tom’s appearance on The Journey podcast with host, Kevin Polky from May 2020:

The Man Who Makes Sound Matter Pt. 1

“I have known Tom the majority of my life, close to 40 years. We played football together since middle school, lived together in college, were in each other’s wedding and now have had the opportunity to work together. He has an amazing story. This episode gives a glimpse into the earlier years of the good, bad and the ugly of the rocker lifestyle.” – Kevin Polky

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Tom Leu on the Recovery Rockstars Podcast

Check out my appearance on the killer Recovery Rockstars podcast with host, Kevin Zurek from January 2019:

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Tom Leu on the Open Heart Collective

Check out Tom’s appearance on The Open Heart Collective webcast/podcast from March 2018 with host, Phillip Ryan Block:

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Tom Leu on the Empower_Good Podcast

Check out Tom’s appearance on the Empower_Good Podcast with host, Joel Moutray from March 2018:

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CWT-6: Bathroom Books

Q&A on the Communichology™ of Pop Culture

Tom Leu: I love to read.

Ricky Midway: I know you do.

Or maybe it’s more accurate to say I love to learn.

Perhaps… reading may just be a means to an end for you?

Maybe. But that’s another conversation entirely.

Tell me about these books of yours.

Well, I have lots of books. Lots of great books full of great information. But I also have several “bathroom books.”

So are these “bathroom books” anything other than the obvious?

Nope, just books that may or may not be full of great information at the time of reading.

Books that you read, uh, while in the bathroom right?

If you say so.

I’m saying what I think you’re saying.

I’m saying that I frequently have serendipitous moments in the bathroom while reading my “bathroom books.”

Serendipitous moments? In the bathroom?

Yes. I’m just passing the time while taking in a bit of reading. And then it happens. Bang!

C’mon, you’re killing me here… IT happens? That’s banging…

It’s simple. I read something that blows me away. Something valuable jumps out of the reading that I wasn’t expecting. Something that stays with me and teaches me something. And I’m thinking: “How can this be? It’s just a bathroom book?”

And then it keeps happening time and time again right?

Yeah, that’s the strange part. After several episodes of this I start to realize that my bathroom books are every bit as important as my other books. They contain the same, if not, more useful information than any other book in my collection.

So playing devil’s advocate right now… the cynics out there are asking themselves, “WTF does this have to do with anything?” Books or bathroom books, who cares?

And I’d politely say that they’re missing the point entirely.

And so the point is to read more bathroom-type books?

No. The point is to be open to discovering the extraordinary in the ordinary… no matter where you find yourself or what you’re doing. The point is to keep your eyes open for new learning that can take place anywhere, at anytime.

Whether you’re in the bathroom, the bedroom, or the boardroom right?


Okay, I think I just found one… right here, right now, based on what you’re saying.

Good. That’s the idea. Seeing things from a slightly different perspective can sometimes change everything.

Kinda like the scene when Robin Williams is standing on the desk in “Dead Poet’s Society?”

Yes, exactly like that. But it’s hard sometimes. It takes work. It takes extra effort to find the different perspectives.

But most people are very attached to their world views; the way they “see” the world is predictably the only way it’s ever seen.

So true. Which is why most are unwilling and/or unable to do the work to “see” things from any other perspective except their own. And then they wonder why many of their interpersonal relationships are so often strained.

I believe this willingness to choose to see things from another person’s perspective is technically called [double-consciousness]. Is that right?

That’s it. And I think that’s the goal with all of this. Double your observation. Take a deeper look. See beyond the ordinary; just underneath the obvious. Consider another perspective; take in some new information; risk being wrong because we all often are; have an open mind. You never know what you might find. If we all did this just a little bit more, a little bit more often, we might be able to do a lot with a little, you know?

I know. And now I must go.

To the bathroom?

No, to find the proverbial “other” bathroom. The one that few others find.

Way to go.

**More Conversations with Tom archives.


CWT-5: Something to Prove

Q&A on the Communichology™ of Pop Culture

Ricky Midway: So why do you try so hard?

Tom Leu: Is this a trick question? Are there hidden cameras nearby or something?

Not at all. I’m serious… you seem so serious all the time with all you do. I’m genuinely wondering why you put SO much effort into your work? 

First of all… I know of no other way to be. Second, I respect hard work and dedication from those who produce it. And third, I guess I feel like I have something to prove.

To whom?

To myself and to others I suppose.

Honestly, isn’t it more about proving it to others than to yourself?

Yes, I suppose that’s probably true.

And that’s honest.

I’m trying. Contributing truth; even if it’s just mine, is what I feel I most compelled to do, and what I most enjoy.

You worry about your life contributions quite a bit don’t you?

I do. Very much.

Why are you worried? Doesn’t that rob you of the joy of being a creative person in the first place?

At times it does, yes. But I think I worry because of my fear of mediocrity. I’m deathly afraid of being average. I guess I’d rather not do something at all if my output is going to be just okay. I want to move people with what I do; with what I contribute. I want to be great. I suppose it’s all born from insecurity in some form or another. My experience is that perceived greatness (whether internal or external) temporarily quiets feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. But this is fleeting. The inadequacy and insecurity is hauntingly incessant and persistent at times. It creeps back in after some time, and the quest to produce greatness ensues once again.

That’s real honest! And kind of depressing as well…

It’s hard to admit, but proving myself good enough to others has been a lifelong process and pursuit. It is rather depressing at times, I admit.

I’d say it is for most people in one way or another.

Why is that?

Like you alluded to before, it all boils down to self-esteem, feeling like we’re good enough, and our basic need to be liked and loved.

Sounds very psychological doesn’t it?

Well, it is. Everything is. And that’s just the way it is.

And that’s the old Bruce Hornsby song from the 80’s.

Of course it is. And I knew that was coming…

Sorry, but it was right there. As you were saying…

So people want to be accepted, liked and loved at their core. And so they pursue acquiring this love and acceptance through many different means… thus attempting to “prove” to others their worthiness of this so-called love? Agree?

Agreed. But the irony is that once a person STOPS feeling like they’ve got something to prove is when they truly START to prove something. This is one of life’s great distinctions that I’ve only recently come to realize. This is wonderful, but it’s also way easier said than done.

Yes it is. But that’s the secret to ultimate success and satisfaction isn’t it? The ability to transcend the need to prove one’s worthiness to others (and ourselves actually) again and again?

Yes, but this is NOT the way of the world. In real life, everything is set up as a test. Pass or fail. Bad or good. Better or worse. Winners and losers. Successful and not-so-successful.

So how is a person supposed to persist against such a deeply imbedded and ingrained social expectation?

This is the hardest test of all.

And one that few of us actually pass.

The only ones who truly have a shot at passing this test are the ones who are aware that it actually exists; the ones who are aware that they are actually taking the test each and every day; and the ones who can arrive at the place internally where they realize they really have nothing to prove to anyone other than themselves.

I’m aware.

Then you’re on your way.

Guess I’ll keep studying.

As should we all…

**More Conversations with Tom archives.


CWT-4: Pop Quiz


Q&A on the Communichology™ of Pop Culture

Ricky Midway: I want to give you a little test.

Tom Leu: What kind of test?

A pop quiz.

I thought I was through with those things when I finished college?

We’re never through being quizzed and tested in life…

You speak the truth.

So just tell me the first thing that comes to mind when I say the following series of people, places, and things. 

What, is this some sort of Rorschach-style interview?

Call it whatever you want. Are you ready?

Let’s do it.




Relatively exclusionary.


A source of insight and explanation excluded from most religions.


A source of socially acceptable delusion and exclusion disguised as inclusion.


Often as fundamental as the Fundamentalists.


Fundamentally unsure about the nature of reality… past, present, or future.

Reality TV.

The new prime time.

Rockford, IL.

Primarily behind the times.

Los Angeles.

In time.

New York City.

Ahead of the times.

New York Yankees.

Old news.

Chicago Cubs.

The new New York Yankees.

“New York State of Mind.”

Timeless song.


Too much wasted online.

Social Media.

Personal Reality TV revealing in too much information.

The Internet.

More unnecessary evil will be revealed.







Bob Dylan.


Boz Skaggs


Ricky Skaggs

Don’t know.

Dr. No

Old times.

No Doubt

Ahead of their time.

King’s X

Good times.

Cleverly-creative idea.


Conservatively-exclusionary ideal.


Liberally-relative ideal.


The vehicle.


The difference.

Emotional intelligence.

The destination.


The ball game.

Well done. So what’s the moral of the story?

All of the things that you asked me about were loosely, yet contextually related to the next. And then it all sort of came together full-circle at the end, and became a six degrees of separation sort-of-thing.

Neat huh?

Yeah… because when you really think about it, most things in the world are more or less interconnected. All of creation is dependent, yet interdependent at the same time. Each of its own, on its own, yet deriving meaning from, and within the context of the other. All things are complex and commonplace; esoteric yet exposed; sophisticated yet sophomoric simultaneously. Such is life…

Congratulations. You’ve passed the quiz.

**More Conversations with Tom archives.