I’m Hoping You Can Learn from My Mistakes
I turned 38 years-old today. Looking back on a myriad of past mistakes and bad decisions, here’s my birthday present to anyone interested — 38 lessons that I wish I’d learned much earlier in life.
Just Give it a Try Already
“If we magnify blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier,” wrote John Wooden. And while most of us would agree that this is good advice, very few of us actually practice it.
Aside from one Thursday in November, we rarely stop to recognize our blessings, instead choosing to fixate on a litany of petty misfortunes. In a culture where criticism (the harsher the better) receives far more exposure than praise, it’s easy to fall into this trap. …
No More Divisiveness. Or at least, Less Divisiveness.
“You go out into a world where mankind is challenged, as it has never been challenged before, to prove its maturity and mastery — not of nature, but of itself,” Rachel Carson challenged in her final farewell to the world. “Therein lies our hope and our destiny.” And just as Carson warned then, we face many of these same challenges today. With a divided nation, again people need to choose whether to face reality with courage or find solace evading the truth. …
The Biggest Thing Holding You Back is Yourself.
“We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are,” wrote Anaïs Nin, echoing some ancient wisdom. The idea that the world as we know it is merely a collection of our perspectives, biases, and stories can be a life changing thought.
For some, these thoughts and stories propel them forward. But for the majority of us, they do the opposite. They act like a fifty-pound weight we need to lug around everywhere we go.
Consider some of the stories and thoughts that run through our heads, holding sway over our actions each…
There’s no secret. Anyone can do it.
“What we do now echoes in eternity,” said Marcus Aurelius. It doesn’t matter where you are today or what choices brought you to this point. Today, right now, we all have the opportunity to make changes and improve their lives.
Right now, there’s something that you want to improve. Something’s bothering you in the back of your mind. You know you should do something about it. But try as you might, you just can’t bring yourself to take on that challenge.
Putting it off is easy. Complaining without taking responsibility is easy. For many people, these behaviors are their default state. …
Don’t Let a Mistake Define You
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new,” said Albert Einstein, echoing Theodore Roosevelt’s advice that, “The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.” And yet while we all recognize the truth in these words, it doesn’t make those mistakes any less painful when they happen.
Maybe you were rushing and didn’t give that report a final review. Maybe you accidentally hit reply all on a sensitive topic. …
We’ve Decided to Go Another Way with the Position
Let me start by saying that we appreciate how you’ve heightened the civic engagement within this country. Your involvement spurred unparalleled levels of voting in this year’s election. Not only that, but it brought to light a lot of harsh truths about this country. Clearly, we have a lot of work to do.
That being said, we simply cannot allow you to continue in this position any longer. The future of our country remains paramount. …
Manage Your Behaviors. Don’t Let them Manage You.
“Anxiety,” Anaïs Nin wrote in her diary, “makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you.” And as Seth Godin said, “If you’re drowning, you make a lousy lifeguard.” Stress creates a bell curve effect — some is good and can be a necessary catalyst for action. But too much and we hit a topping pint. Soon our decision-making begins to suffer and we take actions that we’d never do with a clearer mind.
When we’re stressed, we tend to think more in the short-term. We stop considering long-term consequences and only focus on the rewards. It’s why we struggle to avoid junk food and a few drinks after a tough day. …
Your Vote is Your Voice. It Matters. Use It.
“The first lesson is this: take it from me, every vote counts.” — Al Gore
One afternoon in 1842, as Henry Shoemaker was working on a farm in Indiana, he realized that he’d forgotten to vote. Having promised his vote to Madison Marsh, a Democrat running for state representative, and not wanting to miss out on his civic duty, he saddled his horse and rode twelve miles to the polling place that afternoon.
When he arrived, there wasn’t a ticket available that listed the combination of Democrat and Whig candidates that he wanted to support. Unwilling to be deterred, he borrowed a penknife and cut out names from a few different tickets. He ended up with four pieces of paper that he wrapped together to cast his ballot. …
You operate a small business with five employees, all of who make $20 per hour. Your business is doing well, no real problems. But unemployment is up and other similar businesses are hiring reliable workers at $15 per hour.
Is it okay to cut your worker’s hourly rate to $15 and match the market?
Most people say no. When Daniel Kahneman ran a similar experiment, he found that 83% of people saw this as unfair. It seems very wrong to cut someone’s salary while the business is doing well.
But what if we changed the situation slightly?
Consider the same scenario, but as employees leave, you hire on replacements at $15 per hour. Is that okay? …