Category: philosophizing

2018 Reboot!

Let’s be honest; 2017 sucked. Moving on.


2018 is going to involve a return to taking care of myself… physically as well as mentally. I’ve really let that slip and I’m feeling it. Bad.

I recently took time to review what makes me feel good, mentally. One of the biggies is being productive; but not in the way of being-busy but of growing, learning, and creating.

So for 2018 I’ve decided to try to make something every day.

Most days it will be something small; that is OK.

Today I made this blog post.

2016 Theme: Level Up!

Well I feel like I’ve said this before, but last year sucked… here’s to a much better 2016!

I see I haven’t posted since Maddie’s 3-year birthday. Since then…. well, very little has changed. At least in 2014 I got several projects done around the house; 2015 not so much.

I did make some progress on building a home-based business, with Sproutwise Kids — had hoped to be much further along by now but I’m still happy with the foundation we have in place. We achieved profitability (without salaries anyway), and managed to give $591 to charities in the process. Good start!


So how about those 2015 goals?

I spent a good bit of time a year ago figuring out where my focus should be, in order to look back at the year with satisfaction. What I didn’t put in here was anything relating to Maddie; that is just the giant boulder in the middle of the room that we have to simply work around as we try to craft a happy life…

Here’s what I came up with:


1. Get SL to $200k in profit.

OK… in retrospect that was overly optimistic (though it’s not impossible to do that, given the right type of business and a bit of luck!)

But having that as a focus did help me drive hard in the right direction on a good many things; and frankly having something to work on building helped keep me sane through the long long long days and nights of tending to Maddie.

In 2016, I actually think we could hit that goal, if we execute well. (btw I keep saying “we” — building this business with my brother-in-law; so $200k profit would be split between us…)

2. Establish a Friend Rhythm

FAIL. But it’s still important to me; so it’s something I will work into my 2016 planning which is in progress.

3. Climb three V8’s

Well, I got one. (Technically a V8- but I’m counting it!) But I don’t feel bad about that at all. It was a fun goal to work towards, and it did have some great side effects — helped me focus a bit more on healthy habits; and got me to the gym a couple of times a week (which again helped my sanity).

4. Outdoors Time

Yes. And it definitely worked. More of that in 2016…

5. Grow relationships with 3 mentors/coaches

Hmm; not really. I ended up subbing this with “find some folks online to follow and learn from”. Not nearly as great as real relationships… it was what I felt I could do in 2015. Still need to think about where to go with this one.


level-up2016 — Time to “Level Up”.

Forget about New Years Resolutions… to actually get somewhere you need a system.

In retrospect that’s the biggest problem with my 2015 list above — it’s just a bunch of goals without any real strategies as to how I was going to get there…

To be fair, for each of these, in 2015, I did write up some strategies (separately) and I reviewed every month. Useful, and helpful, but I want to find a more effective way in 2016.

The one good thing about surviving the wasteland of suck that was 2015 is that I feel like I’ve truly regained my footing, and can rebuild a better life from here on out.

Maddie will continue to be a roller-coaster and time-sink… but I can work around it. No point in worrying about stuff outside my control.

So going forward I’m putting into place some systems to help get towards my 2016 goals… My theme for 2016 is “Level Up” — been experimenting with lots of things over the last 2 years or so… time to put the pieces together and effect some major changes in 2016. 1% better. Every. Single. Day.

Feeling like a 3-year-old

broken handLast Tuesday I quit working at The next day I broke my hand. Unrelated.

The timing is somewhat ironic though; I quit to help out more with Maddie’s continuing medical issues, and this definitely makes it harder to help.

Given that I’m very right-hand dominant, it’s been an enlightening week.

It turns out there are literally dozens of things that you think you have mastered — but you have actually only mastered doing them with one particular hand. Brushing your teeth with the wrong hand, for example, is awkward but still very possible. Hammering a nail, on the other hand? Almost impossible.

Eating with the wrong hand is odd; it feels almost like trying to handle a fork with thick leather gloves on.

But the one that really made me laugh was trying to use a knife.

This morning Sydney (age 3) and I made a PB&J sandwich together. And we were equally bad at it!

Handling the knife left handed, specifically… you just don’t realize how many subtle hand movements go into the simple act of spreading peanut butter… all the little angle changes… the pressure has to be just right… one slip either way and your either glomming it on in huge dollops or leaving bare spots.

It sounds annoying, but it was actually pretty amusing. And in fact it has been a nice week of mindfulness — I’ve paid far more attention to the little everyday things, since I’ve been forced to tackle them with the dexterity of a 3-year-old.


3 Great Reads from 2013

Quick thought tonight… just wanted to share three of the blogs/posts I came across in 2013 that might change your life.

Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 8.30.43 PM

1) Mr. Money Mustache

No, I’m not into mustaches, and yes, it’s occasionally a bit over-the-top. Still, face-punching aside, he often hits a false assumption square on the head… there are articles in here that can completely change your relationship with money.

Realizing that freedom (from money worries) is truly attainable, and within a decade if you decide that’s what you want, is an empowering feeling.

More than that, though, it’s about questioning the “normal” that you see around you every day. Sure, everyone works 50+ hours a week and buys a SUV and doesn’t have any time for their passions and waits for retirement at 65… but today (in America especially) you actually have very different options. If you dare.

What if you chose to create the life you really want, rather than pursue what you think is “normal”?

700-0457692) Jim Collins “advice for my daughter post” 

Lots of people talk about advice (financial and otherwise) in broad and hand-wavy terms. Sure, spend less than you earn makes sense. Sure, going with low-fee funds seems to make sense… but there are so many little details to wade through; too much to parse, sometimes,

In this one short read Jim lays out nine simple tactics that, if followed, will virtually ensure that you become financially secure and thus able to do whatever it is that you decide is worth dedicating your life to.

It’s specific, and simple, but it’s sound. If I had read this post 10 years ago, I would be fully retired right now. Wow.

lifestyledesign3) Raptitude, most anything in the “essentials” column.

One more blog about pulling away the false reality that has been pulled in front of your eyes… his greatest hits column has a few gems (that last one should be taken with a grain of salt; he’s not being literal about the “vast conspiracy thing”) but to be honest, most of what David shares here is worth the time.

Read it, close your eyes, and tilt your head back… breathe in an out deeply a few times and just savor the little moment of humanity he’s pointing out. Too often we go through our lives and miss all the living… his is a blog about experiencing this amazing world again.


Preview: Monthly Experiments

experimentI documented this briefly on my old blog, but I want to bring the conversation here…

I’m a huge fan of Monthly Experiments.

Try on a habit for one month, like you are taking a new outfit for a thorough test-wear… try it on, live with it for long enough to understand how it fits (or doesn’t) into what you want your life to be.

At the end of the month, decide whether to keep the new habit, tweak it, or let it go. With just a little experiment every month you can create an entirely new life by the end of the year. Groovy.

I can’t recall exactly where I picked up this idea; but I’m all about borrowing what resonates and learning from greatness. I do recall it was from a blogger talking about his “12 for 2012” around January 2012, and the fine folks at Zen Habits do a good job of it as well. Since then I’ve tried it out sporadically (more on that later)… this time it’s on.

How it Works

To make this really change your reality requires a bit more than the monthly equivalent of a new year’s resolution.

These are experiments.

First, you need to have an idea of what you hope to accomplish… just trying to see what it feels like? Wonder whether you can do it for a whole month? Wonder if just doing this for a month will have some external effect Zen Archery style?

All of these are valid… just know what you want to experience, so that by the end of the month you can learn and grow.

These experiments don’t have to be “every day”, but you do need to be specific about what you are setting out for yourself. Note: avoid vague things like “3 times per week” — if that’s the idea, pick a schedule: I will exercise on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays (for instance). It’s far too easy to let things slip to “tomorrow” when you are not specific on the front end.

Commit in public, if at all possible. State exactly what you plan to do, and how people can check up on you… and then hold yourself responsible for reporting on the results, whatever happens.

IF you bail partway through the month, that does not equate to failure — but reflect on why you dropped that month’s experiment.

Was is just not for you? Truly? Then do you know yourself a bit better now? Great now what’s next?

Was it just too hard? Why? Almost anything is possible if it is important enough… so have you learned something about your real priorities?

Live True

And finally, this is not supposed to be about trying to make yourself into something you think you’re supposed to be.

This is about learning how to become your true self, even if you don’t know exactly what that is right now. If after a month something does not ring true, then feel happy about setting it aside and saying “I am not a runner.” It’s also about learning to interpret the inner voices properly… if something keeps popping into your head, there is a reason for that — you will be more content when you find that reason.

My 12 for 2014

I have the beginnings of a list worked out… I only have to lay down the tracks one month ahead of the train, so this list will grow based on my first few experiments. Some may also move months as life dictates. In any case, here’s what I have so far:

Jan – Write every day (for public consumption)
Feb – Dedicate 3 hours/week to connecting with friends
Mar – Draw Every Day (and post online)
Apr – Short daily meditation
May – No TV or “random web reading” of any kind

Incomplete, I know… actually I have dozens I want to try out, and the hard part will be waiting until (for example) April to try out daily meditation… Still, I know it’s best to start with one and build momentum month on month.

So to be specific, I have 4 places at the moment for my daily writing to emerge. This is great for me, actually, as it lets me experiment with different styles throughout the week.

Here’s my current writing plan:

  • Personal growth experiments, inspirational ideas I come across, experiments in work-life balance, and projects I undertake (including thinking about a lifestyle business) will live here.
  • Everything I learn about startups as I try to help build Coursefork (my friend Brian‘s company) will be shared at 
  • My work writing will appear on the (soon to be renamed) Coursefork blog; these will be me in a jacket and tie, but still very much me.
  • Personal bits and pieces that don’t fit into one of those broad themes will continue to land on, as I need to get them out of my head.

Final Thought

The reason this is so exciting to me is that it is, at it’s core, about creating the life that you want. Monthly Experiments are a great way to move, one step at a time, from the life that landed on you to a life you will be ecstatic leading.

Life has a way of being amazing when you focus on what you love.

New Years: Pure Hope

11654306293_f179d6b03e_cQuick thought…

Tomorrow this blog will start for real; but I’m sitting here watching the countdown to the ball drop in NYC and I can’t help but share a feeling that hits one of the main themes behind “It’s Always Morning” as it exists in my head.


There are hundreds of thousands of people, right this very moment, in Times Square. Most have been there all day, at great personal inconvenience and perhaps cost. Others watch from home, and forego sleep to mark the moment…

Why? Why do we even take note of the sunsetting of one year and the birth of another?


That’s the thing. We are oddly wired as a species to look for the light at the end of the tunnel… there are always reasons we could look back at the year before and get depressed.

But… at least tonight… all of the millions of people around the world that are watching the countdown to new years are looking *forward* and not *backward*. Tonight, we believe.

We believe that the future will be better, that we will be truer to ourselves, that we can be the person that we want to be and make the change we want to see in the world.

And you know what? We can.

The world is an amazing place when we focus on what we love, what we care about.

Let’s create the lives we want for ourselves. Let’s create the world we want to live in.

(Image credit: John Piekos –