*Last night, something totally awesome happened.

I was listening in on a Live Fire Starter Session conference call with fellow renegade Jonathan Fields and the incredible Danielle LaPorte, and was blown away to have the incredible opportunity to actually chat with Jonathan and Danielle about my blog and have them answer my questions! Wow.

I’ll tell you more about the details of the conversation soon. But as a result of our discussion (this one’s for you, Danielle!), I realized that this piece about me needed to posted immediately. Hope you enjoy :)

A Writer Upping the Ante

“…blog­gers, I chal­lenge you to express your­self more fully. This felt really great. Try writ­ing your own post like this. It might just be a breakthrough.”

And so concluded a unique blog post by Corbett Barr that I discovered this week and couldn’t stop reading.

In his post, 33 Things I’ve Never Told You (or, How to Re-Introduce Yourself and Kick Your Watered-Down Self in the Ass), Corbett opens up for the sake of self-expression and allowing his blog’s readers to get to know him on a very deep and personal level that he felt he hadn’t previously allowed.

Like Corbett, I feel that keeping a blog like mine can feel tough at times, for a few reasons.

I’m constantly pitted between allowing you to get to know me better through my writing and not wanting the blog to be all about me. You see, among all writers and bloggers in the world, the only thing that can really distinguish any sorts and styles and words of text in pixels on a screen is the personality behind it — the person who is actually writing.

It’s not pivotal to know who is writing the words for the words to have a genuine effect, but it helps more than it hurts, and can ultimately help bring genuine meaning and a level of humanness to the writing that it would otherwise go without.

Of course, writing a personal development blog on subjects like life and death, love and hate, the workings of our minds, and other “big picture” issues naturally brings about its own special set of critics — namely, the who-do-you-think-you-are?‘s who mistake my curious exploration of these subjects for attempting to outright, definitively tell you the “truth” or “answers”.

For me as a writer, writing is one form of my giving back and giving to others. It’s not that I have the answers, it’s that I hope it helps in some small way — in whatever way.

And so, here in this post I’ll accept Corbett’s challenge to express myself more fully. I hope you enjoy it and get to know me better. If you don’t enjoy it, that’s perfectly fine. But I do hope you will learn to own who you are, accept who you are, and like a Renegade begin to brazenly be who you are with little to hide and little to ever regret.

25 Things I’ve Never Told You

1. I just turned 25. And, I’m not quite sure what to make of that yet. If anything at all. Above is a recent picture of me and my 8-year-old god-daughter (I’m not a father!), Giana.

2. I believe DaveUrsillo.com is on the brink of becoming huge. One of my goals for 2011 is to see this blog become an “A-List personal development blog.” I feel that a tipping point is close. It has taken me literally thousands of hours of grunt-work and a million mistakes, miscues and missteps to get to this point — there hasn’t been one single magical moment of instant success:

  • no Digg front page stories,
  • no out-of-nowhere celebrity mentions that fast-tracked success (a la Kim Kardashian and The Daily Love newsletter).

But, I’m not sure I’d want that. I like the slow, steady, hard-earned growth. Approaching the 2 year anniversary of when I bought the domain name on a relative whim (May 2009) before quitting my last “real” job, I feel that 2011 is going to be a huge year.

3. Ursillo means “Little Bear” in Italian. “Ursus” is Latin and “Urso” is Italian for bear, while -illo is a southern Italian diminutive suffix, meaning small or little.

4. My book “THE QUIET LEADER” has been rejected nearly 200 times by literary agents across the country. I hope it will be rejected 200 times more. I love that statistic, because it will serve as terrific encouragement and motivation to other aspiring authors when the day comes that my book(s) on alternative leadership become international best-sellers.

5. I’m often battling anxiety, tenseness or discomfort in social situations. This has been the case since I was a child and would go through bouts of separation anxiety. It still hangs around today. Once I get warmed up in a new group or situation, the insecurity/fear melts away. But it’s almost always there to begin with.

6. I once traveled 10,000 miles for love, which seemed crazy before I did it, and disastrous considering how it ultimately ended, but in hindsight was well worth the experience — for 10,000 reasons.

7. My mom is awesome, hilarious, and an amazing cook. I owe 90% of who I am, how I carry myself, what I write to her capacity for compassion and caring. My dad is also hilarious — the William Shakespeare of the art of cursing — one of my best friends and probably the hardest worker that I know. I had a blessed childhood and couldn’t be more appreciative of my parents and who they are. I never take it for granted.

8. Politically, I’m socially moderate and traditionally conservative. I believe in love, peace, compassion, strength, and liberty. My conservative roots are based in steadfast beliefs in the importance of allowing people the freedoms to exercise genuine human nature — specifically, the freedom of choice. I think taxes suck and big government is an economic scourge, and ultimately encumbers and inhibits citizens’ freedoms.

9. Sometimes I wish that I was a better artist. I envy the skill of highly creative people like digital designers. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always tried to translate artistic vision into reality, but 99% of the time, whatever I come up with ends up looking like complete shit.

10. I think tattoos are pretty trashy looking, but I absolutely love them. To me, the permanence or “forever” nature of tattoos genuinely reminds me that nothing is forever:

At first you think,

“…that tattoo will be on your skin forever…”

And then you remember,

“Well, wait… my life doesn’t last forever. My life is finite, it’s limited… my body is just a vessel, a temporary one, and will be gone some day — we never know when. Really, nothing is forever.”

I think that revelation is beautiful. Also, tattoos can reveal a whole lot about a person — for better or for worse. I dig tattoos on rocker girls (not covered in ink), think that most tattoos on guys look like shit, but I have one myself, and want more.


Caught wearing Giana's headband

11. I was raised a Catholic and consider myself a Christian with a particular appreciation for East Asian spiritualities like Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. I believe that a universal Truth is weaved in every human religion and spirituality, but that each religion is inherently flawed — in many, many ways — because humanity is naturally flawed.

12. I once received a letter from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission naming me as a co-defendant in a lawsuit against my college. It was thrown out. But opening that letter really sucked.

13. I love Las Vegas. I’ve been 4 times in my life. I love the energy of the Strip. Pure at Caesar’s Hotel is my favorite bar/nightclub in the world. I don’t like to gamble and don’t gamble hardly at all, though. The one time I did was last September when an older dealer named Ed (who was completely awesome and hilarious) at The Mirage taught me how to play blackjack. I cashed out when I was about $400 up.

14a. My earliest known ancestor was a Roman general. His name was Caius Lucius Ursulus. He commanded Spanish mercenaries in the early 2nd century AD. However, when emperor Severus banned Christianity in the Roman Empire around the turn of the century, my family relocated from Northern Italy to Southern Italy to avoid persecution. They were peasants for centuries.

14b. Another possible ancestor of mine was an ancient rhetorician. I discovered this myself, completely by accident. In a text called “On the Lives of Rhetoricians,” ancient Roman historian Suetonius references a man named L. Statius Ursulus of Tolosa in the index of the text. The entirety of the text did not survive the trials of time, and the chapter on Ursulus was lost. However, centuries later, historian Saint Jerome of Constantinople would later addend Suetonius’ text and describe Ursulus as “…teaching rhetoric in Gaul with great reputation”.

15. I often pray, though more now in my writing than in bed at night. I believe in God or a “God-like” universal presence in our universe. I don’t believe God is judgmental, vindictive, angry — those are human traits. I believe God or the “God-like” presence in our universe is pure Love, forgiving beyond our human ability to ever understand, and a giver in ways that we on Earth have no capacity to truly imagine.

Halloween 2010 in NYC

16. I don’t care what you think of me, but it bothers me when my words, intentions, or actions are made out to be deceitful or sinister. That bothers me a lot. Especially because I somewhat torture myself with my dedication to goodness and high ideals. I’m used to people not believing in my mission or understanding what I’m trying to do with my life. At first it hurt me, but by now I’ve learned to use criticism and outright hatred to my benefit.

17. I drink. Rum, vodka, beer, wine, tequila, occasionally gin, seldom whiskey, but sometimes all of the above in a single night. I like to party. Even still, I’m the responsible one that keeps friends in line and often has to take control of situations between 2:00 and 6:00 AM.

When you spend every waking minute exploring heavy subjects, trying to understand life and human nature, you quickly realize how important it is to rock out and act like a dumb college kid on the weekends. It keeps me grounded, and prevents my head from proverbially slipping into my own ass.

18. I’ve grown to have a problem with “institutions” because institutions function primarily to retain their power, protect insiders, and isolate/marginalize outsiders. This trait reaches the likes of religious institutions, academia (colleges and universities), social clubs, political parties, and so on. Maybe that’s why I associate with so few of them? *lightbulb*

19. I love superhero stories. I grew up on comic books, TV shows and movies like Spiderman, GI Joes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers and X-Men. I wanted to be a superhero when I grew up (and I still do). They shaped my dedication to being a “Good Guy” and implicit conflict with “Bad Guys”.

20. I’m a romantic. At least, I used to be. In the last couple of years, I’ve reached an awesome place in my life where I’m wholly happy, at peace, and completely liberated to be single. I’m happily uninterested in dating life, relationships or any sort of romantic love. We often mistake love and romance for what becomes unhealthy attachment and addiction. I believe we wrongly assume that we are incomplete, “unwhole” or “lacking” without a romantic partner in life.

We are everything that we need, and a lover should only enhance that, while challenging us to learn more about others and ourselves.

21. I fear a world without the United States of America. I also fear that not enough people share this fear of mine.

22. I’ve never done an illegal drug, and I never will. You can call me a coward or “straight-line,” and I’ll tell you to screw. I realized a long time ago that have too little brain power to risk permanently damaging my brain with narcotics, even if it’s just experimental to “see how it feels.” I’ve witnessed the effect that many different drugs has had on people — that is experience enough to not have to endure it myself. As a child, I watched one of my best friends in the world turn to drugs, lose his direction and never come back.

Once, a girl I loved told me that I was missing out on seeing the world in amazing ways because I had never done a hallucinogen like mushrooms, acid, or LSD. I told her that I do see the world in all of it’s amazing ways, every single day — and that you can’t see it by poisoning my brain into believing you’re seeing things that aren’t really there.

23. I can fight when I need to. I have never needed to. I never desire it, but I am not fearful of it. I believe physical conflicts are no-real-winner, last-resort situations. Starting fights does not reveal or represent strength, only weakness. Goons in bars who pick fights are the bane of humanity’s existence.


Goofing around with cousin Lauren.

24. I am a good cook. A really good cook. I’m talkin’, medley-of-handmade-spinach-and-sweet-potato-gnocchi-tossed-in-a-light-butter-sage-sauce good cook. With my heritage being 75% Italian, it was natural that my mom and grandmother taught me all the basics. I’ve taught myself the rest. From what I’ve learned, cooking is 99% timing, and 1% ability.

25. I believe my writing will speak to millions. Confidence in my writing isn’t rooted in it being “mine,” but because it’s actually not mine at all:

I’ve realized that my ever-evolving understanding of life, of people and of our world has been similarly shared by thousands of renowned leaders, philosophers, and spiritualists over history.

I see the Truth in their wisdom in bits and piece of texts, writings, and lessons. I don’t believe any one person or group takes credit for this Truth — it’s embedded in a shared human consciousness, and is manifested into the reality of our world through men and women who dare to see it, to believe it, and to share it with others in their own ways, shapes and forms.

Well, that’s all for now. What did you think of this challenge to express myself more fully as a writer and personal development blogger? Maybe you know me better, and like me more, or like me less. The point is to use this challenging exercise to grow and to hopefully evolve my writing and blog. I think it might have even helped me learn more about myself.