GroundHog Day

In honor of GroundHog Day, let’s ask the obvious questions… “Really? 6 more weeks of winter? Isn’t that already a given? Who are we trying to fool Punxsutawney Phil?” Why does a rodent’s fear have any influence on the weather? How superstitious are we? Speaking of #BFM, how awesome was that 80’s exploration of the fantasy of second, third, millionth chances? Jump into that reality for a second and consider what it would be like to revisit a powerful moment in your life and try to change the outcome. Fate? Who needs it? Ran across a very interesting web video on this topic by Anna Akana on youtube. Her short is called Riley Rewind. In that little video Akana explores the opportunity to be a hero via time travel, to go back and save a suicidal girl in need of friendship. Not unlike the plot of GroundHog Day, this theme of attempting to correct regret is interesting, but brings up the more important question. How can we maximize our potential for making the CORRECT decisions given imperfect information? Funny how things connect, I’ve been listening to a great book on audible that addresses this and a number of other amazing topics. Algorithms to live by sounds very nerdy when you read the synopsis, but topics like “Stopping Theory” have so many applications to your daily life inside and outside of the Las Vegas casinos. Ok, if you’re following along, we’ve nerded out a bit, considered some heavy philosophical topics, and get to do it all over again tomorrow… that said, let’s take a deep breath and remember “Don’t Worry, Bill Murray.”

Keep Moving

This “dawned” on me in the still dark hours of one of the first few days shifts in a long time. As I’m pushing into a new month with new goals for fitness and early wakeups, I realized an important truth. It’s easy to build up courage to take the first step. Maybe “easy” is an overstatement. It’s tough, sure, but the real toughness has to do with gritting it out day-in and day-out even after the excitement of the “new” process wears off. This has to do with the New Year’s Resolution phenomenon whereby people start strong and fade as soon as ANYTHING gets in the way. This weakness can be trained out of you says the Navy SEALS, says the STOICS, says me. Jocko Willink, in Extreme Ownership, makes the case that “winning the day” involves not letting the little excuses like wanting to hit the snooze button, ruin your momentum. This means “keep moving” with your plan, with your direction, with your motivation. Don’t let the Devil see that you are up. Saw a related meme the other day, “Be the kind of man that when your feet hit the ground in the morning, the devil says, ‘Oh crap, he’s up.’”  I love the notion that you can out-hustle the adversaries out there that mean you harm. This requires motion. A rudder only steers a moving ship.

Road trippin’ 

Sometimes in life it’s the littlest of things. Escaping it all with my sweetheart and found some of the best candies with no wrappers to get in the way. I predict this road trip will be a blast!  Make the most of your weekend, folks!

Make a point of doing the things you’ll regret skipping! 

#FFW

The Pancake Simile

There is something special about the weekends. I love, love, love making breakfast for my bride and my kids! They don’t always want the pancakes or the eggs…they almost never argue about the bacon, because who doesn’t love bacon, am I right? The best part about it, is simply pouring my love into the food and then forcing my kids to take a couple bites. It’s fun and loving, then ‘dad voice’ reinforces proper table decorum and nutritional intake…AND then when it’s all over we can get down to the serious business of weekend play.

I realized one morning while pouring the batter onto the hot griddle that pancakes are a simile for some of my most guarded and protected dreams. I’m going to share them with you here because breakfast is meant to be shared, and it tastes better with company.

What’s a simile? (Oh, that wasn’t a typo, he meant simile but tricked me with a smile plate) A lot like a metaphor, right? To be fair, this could turn into a metaphor, but look at how cute that pancake smile is, and enjoy the story.

Ok, so pancakes as a literary device.

Making pancakes isn’t incredibly difficult. It just takes mixing things together in the right order and proportions, preferably with a recipe or the side of the box, and then pouring the batter onto the griddle and flipping at just the right moment to get a golden brown, not black or pale grey pancake. There are secret techniques to the flip, timing just the right number of bubbles in the batter, and so on, but the pattern is repeatable and each batch gets better and better. The science of it probably has to do with letting the batter “rest” a while before cooking so it isn’t too watery…this naturally happens as you go through the batches of the delicious golden coins. Time takes its effect and you get better pancakes.

Where is the lesson?

That first batch of pancakes is pure learning. They almost NEVER turn out right. Did you butter or spray the pan with some yellow can of cooking spray? Those first few cakes will be smothered in the slimy stuff and turn out thin, and oily, and some picky eaters may say inedible. Do you give up right then and there and order breakfast burritos? Heck no. You pour the next batch, and they turn out AWESOME! I just heard a stat on an audio book I’m using for the long daily commute: Talk Like TED. On the program, the author drops a stat that 90% of start-ups fail, but of those that fail, 80% of those with the wherewithal to try again build successful second businesses. That number is incredible! There will be sad entrepreneurs that take the first batch of pancakes as failure rather than information. To these folks that dreamt of the perfect pancake, one bad batch was enough to throw in the towel, and unfortunately, they’ll never realize the importance of ladling up and pouring the batter again.

Think about it this way, have you ever been out driving, looking for a new destination with a map, or map quest directions, or a GPS with out of date street maps? You think you’ve missed the destination and so you turn around only to find out you were just minutes away in the first place? You end up spending hours re-tracing and redoubling your efforts rather than staying the course while dealing with the few minutes of discomfort and ambiguity of the unknown. The second and subsequent batches of pancakes are proof that your staying power pay off quickly and nicely, and as you regulate the temperature, the timing, and the technique, every batch is better than the previous.

I ran across the following quote on Instagram and was drawn to the message. The future is unknown and possibly unknowable. Ask a Wall Street trader whether you can time the market, or pick the right stock at the right time? Likely you’ll get messages about hedging, diversifying, and other strategies that leverage preparation, robustness, and anti-fragility.  In much the same way, you don’t know if you’ll burn the house down or make the picture perfect meal, so you would do best to build the best YOU possible. If you can handle the kids complaining about the batter, or the food touching, or the lack of bacon, you’ll be well on your way to handling the other critics in your life. In reality, your response and reaction to the events of life is all you have, so spend your time and energy cultivating the best YOU possible.

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Mmm, now I’m hungry and motivated, how about you?

#FFW

Free Agency

Not sure if this method of embedding video is allowed or not, but I wanted to make this video available to any readers. If you aren’t an avid Shark Tank connoisseur, or haven’t watched the Mavericks play and seen their owner out there supporting the team, you may not know who Mark Cuban is. He’s a billionaire investor, entrepreneur, and star of Shark Tank. As part of a really awesome series called 30 Days of Genius, @chasejarvis interviewed some of the best and brightest out there. Since I’ve already bragged about how awesome @RamitSethi and @TimFerris are, I wanted to point out some brilliant points Mr Cuban made in this piece. His mindset is, “We are all free agents” and we should be #hustling every day as such. There’s no time or reason to sit back satisfied, because no matter how far you’ve come, nobody’s “made it” yet. The most hardcore entrepreneurs are driven by that unending drive to improve more. These creatives are driven not by a desire to be better than the next guy but to be better than their previous self. There is so much room for growth if you are interested in growing!

I share a lot of Cuban’s ideas about the real #Action living at the intersection of emerging technologies. My day job relies heavily on working on that razor’s edge between remerging and adopted technology and maintaining the lead. Most industries live an operate in that space, but Cuban has made a living seeing how to PROFIT from seeing into the systems before they are apparent to everyone.

For all intents and purposes, Cuban has “made it.” To us common folk he’s got all of the trappings of the rich life that we’d love to have. He, and the other 1%’rs out there have made me inspired to craft a recipe for you and the 99% other average Joes to #BuyYourWayOutOfBondage. This will take Cuban-like focus, willingness to be out there doing what has to be done day in and day out, but it’s an algorithm for sure. If you are interested, let’s start a discussion.

#FFW

So what.

So you want to be an author or writer or blogger. So what. There are so many voices out there and social media has turned a mirror to society. Everyone can literally live in their own world all day every day and spend countless hours and millions of finger-miles scrolling through feeds and stories and timelines. Does any of it accomplish anything?

Whew. Fear not, this is not a negative rant about the futility of the modern age. Quite the contrary, this is a philosophical crossroads.

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”

Henry David Thoreau

As I’m preparing (actually preparing and mapping out posts) for this blog and some future writings, an all important question came up, “Who am I?” Where have I been, what have my experiences taught me about life, is any of it relevant to others? These questions led to more questions…Can my life serve as a lesson? Since you can’t change any of the events that have happened in the past, how can you use that knowledge to make from this moment on a better, more meaningful existence? The trail of questions continues and I continue to jot them down as they come because if I put aside vanity and ego and take an objective look at myself, am I sitting down to write without having stood up to live? Thoreau doesn’t live in the modern age where millennials have their quarter life crises live on Facebook before finishing college.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around for a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

It can’t just be me that feels the incredible pressure of modern society, can it? [rhetorical]

What does any of this have to do with anything? Internal and external barriers will tell you to pump the brakes. Out for a run on the track or trail you might catch yourself saying, “Whar am I holding back for?” You may not be that self-aware yet, but the next steps are to trod on anyway…. You don’t feel qualified to teach on a subject, teach anyway and find the gaps in your knowledge real time. Trust me, they are there, and they will change with every student.

Don’t feel like you have anything important to say? So what. Work on your craft, hone your skills, take stock of who you really are and tell stories. People live for stories, and your authentic self shines when you relate to your audience personally. Ask yourself, who am I really? Secret: You are more than what you do.

Put in the work, realize that it will take time to build a solid foundation. Fill in personal development gaps. Go out and win, consistently. And in inevitable defeat find the wins there too. You are on your way.

#FFW