Showing posts from March, 2016

Just Pull the Trigger

Today we have more options than ever before. From what to eat, to what to wear, to how to get around the list of choices is almost endless. In a lot of ways that’s really great - for the first time you can get incredibly tailored experiences that match almost exactly to your specific wants and needs. But it isn’t all good. Having so many choices is actually an incredibly daunting reality because now you have to consciously make those choices. At each decision point, there is some level of stress involved in evaluating the options and selecting just one from a potential myriad of them. With exponential increase in decision points, there is a possibility for exponential increase in stress, something your average American is already up to their eyeballs in. In a vein related to the low-information diet recommended by many people such as Tim Ferriss, this environment has added increasing value to the skill set of being able to make a decision and stick to it. To transcend analysis par

Understanding Privilege

It's time to stop blaming poor people for being poor. There is a bullshit misconception in this country that a person can become whatever they want, so if they're poor it's essentially because they're too lazy or too stupid to do anything about it. In reality the vast majority of poor people were just born without privilege. Yes I too have heard the bits of narrative evidence that are flooding your mind right now - the rags to riches stories we all love to tell ourselves - but the simple fact is that while there are examples of some people who have beaten the odds in awful situations, they have beaten the odds . For everyone else - you know, the vast majority of us that are not child prodigies - the odds largely determine the outcome. I'm not saying that hard work isn't important or that it doesn't play a role in the outcome, that's certainly not true. What I'm saying is that it's relatively easy to get your marathon time down from 5 hours to 3

Designing a Photographic Memory

Some people are born with photographic memories. Most of us, including myself, are not. Personally I have an especially difficult time with rote memory, which is memorizing something that doesn't follow any particular logical pattern, such as the English spelling of the word corps (pronounced "core"). Like really, who in the hell decided to put that P there? Anyways if you're like me and worry about what you might forget at the perfectly inopportune time, there's good news: this problem is largely solvable. What I have found is that I don't completely forget the particular information that I need, I just don't have it in focus at the right time. For example let's say it's Tuesday evening and I check my calendar for the following day. I realize that I have a very short window on Wednesday to eat lunch between different client engagements, so it's important that I have food at the office and don't have to go pick anything up. I go ahead a

How to Change the World in 90 Seconds

If I could give someone only a single piece of advice, it would be this: Make someone's day today. Repeat every day. It's about as simple of an idea as there's ever been, yet it has the power to change the world all the while costing you practically nothing. Often times I find myself so caught up in grandeur notions of "changing the world" that I forget the world is really a small place when you break it down. Each of us holds the power to have an incredible effect on those around us if we open our eyes to the possibility and put in just an ounce of effort. Hold the elevator door that extra second. Ask your cashier how their  day is going. Tell someone in your life how proud you are of them. Give someone a real hug. Buy the person behind you's cup of coffee. Share an interesting article with someone it made you think of. Remind the world that we're human. Take a minute, literally right now, to stop and think about the last time someone comple

Success = Positioning + Opportunity

“A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.” - Bob Dylan I figured it's important to frame the conversation with a definition of this elusive "success" we all talk about. So far I haven't come across an answer that resonates better than this quote. What I've come to realize over time is that building good habits and eliminating bad ones is the primary driver of success. There isn't one specific thing, this unicorn we all seem to seek, but instead consistent small steps forward. Now I think it's important to understand the differences and relationship between habits, position, and opportunity and how they relate to "success." Habits  are actions that you consistently take and that can be intentionally designed. Often times it is the sum of many good habits and the removal of bad ones that positions someone for greatness. Position  is being in the right place at the

Online Voting - Duh

You can do all of your banking online. You can review medical lab results online. You can buy drugs online. You can send people pictures of your junk online. You can buy your groceries online. You can hire someone to do just about anything online. But you can't vote online? Really? I thought we were living in 2016. I thought what made this country so great was its commitment to the democratic process. If I remember correctly, we're the country that invented  the internet. So why exactly can't we vote online? It sure seems like a government who truly wanted active participation from the people would make this their first move. I realize many people's initial reaction to that idea is fear of the "security" risk. Those people, however, I would argue are naive. We put a man on the moon nearly 50 years ago - are you really going to tell me we can't figure out secure online voting? GTFO. No instead we insist that you take time out of your day, a wor