I’m Hoping You Can Learn from My Mistakes

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Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

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.

  1. We almost always know what we should do to get what we want. We just rarely do it. We don’t want to pay the price. Recognize that there’s always a sacrifice that comes with achieving something of significance.
  2. Trying to keep score in a relationship is a recipe for disappointment.
  3. Action isn’t just the effect of motivation. …

I don’t know…

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Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash

With Covid-19 vaccinations becoming more available, many companies are facing a critical question: Should they mandate vaccines for their employees?

Dr. Fauci has said that until 75% of the nation is vaccinated or recovered, we should continue to wear masks and social distance. Yet around 40% of people are still reluctant to take the new vaccine. It’s not just the typical anti-vaxxer lunacy. Large groups of people worry that the approval process was rushed and others are simply concerned about trying something new.

Given that dichotomy, it seems as though we’re still a long way from getting back to normal. Worse, it will continue to spread the disease and delay economic recovery. …

“If I wanted to be president, I told myself, I needed to act like one.”

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Photo by Library of Congress on Unsplash

“Oh, let’s not be petty, seeking sincerity in memoirs doesn’t make much sense,” wrote Polish poet and Nobel laureate Wislawa Szymborska, adding, “It’s worth asking what version of his self and world the author’s chosen — since there’s always room for choice.” And as anyone who’s had the misfortune of reading Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue (who knew you could fit that much BS in one book?) or Lance Armstrong’s It’s Not About the Bike (why rely on hard work when there are steroids?) knows, this skepticism is often warranted.

So it was with some reservation that I started reading Barack Obama’s memoir, A Promised Land. Maybe I’m biased by the YouTube-comment-forum-come-to-life that is today’s politics. Or maybe Obama’s leadership style shines especially well given the incredibly low bar set by the subsequent administration. Whatever the reason, it reminded me of just how fortunate we were to have him as a leader. …

And Knowing that Will Make You a Better Leader.

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Photo by Judith Prins on Unsplash

“What is common to many is taken least care of, for all men have greater regard for what is their own than for what they possess in common with others,” wrote Aristotle. Two millennia later, Garrett Hardin would put a name to this behavior — the tragedy of the commons — and offer the following example:

Picture a pasture open to all. It is to be expected that each herdsman will try to keep as many cattle as possible on the commons. Such an arrangement may work reasonably satisfactorily for centuries because tribal wars, poaching, and disease keep the numbers of both man and beast well below the carrying capacity of the land. Finally, however, comes the day of reckoning, that is, the day when the long-desired goal of social stability becomes a reality. …

We Don’t Need to Understand. We Already Understand.

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Jurgen Appelo

You don’t worry about the laggards.

There are many valuable lessons in Everett Rogers’s Diffusion of Innovations, but a key one is just that. You don’t worry about the laggards.

As the graph shows, new ideas go through five stages of user adoption: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. The innovators are eager to try new ideas. They’re critical to any change effort — willing to take risks, understand the importance of the occasional setback, and happy to question the status quo. But given the low percentage of the population, they’re not enough. …

Whether they help you or hurt you is your choice

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Photo: Stephen Leonardi/Unsplash

“If you’re trying to succeed in a job or a relationship or at a task, you’re either moving forward, falling behind, or standing still. There are only three choices,” wrote Seth Godin. Whether you’re starting out, starting over, and looking to take that next step in your career, these same three choices apply.

Easily said. Yet not easily done.

Finding a new job is hard, regardless of your age or background. Starting one is even harder. Changing careers, or even taking a new position within the same industry, brings a whole host of new challenges. …

2000-year-old advice for a better you in 2021

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Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash

You don’t need another article about habits.

I started writing that very thing. Until I quickly realized there’s no point. You don’t need it.

If you want to start a new habit, pick up a book by James Clear, BJ Fogg, or Charles Duhigg. They’re all good. And they all have pretty much the same message.

Start small. Set your environment up to support you. And do something every day.

There’s more to it than that. The books are a little longer. …

Player, Coach, Father, Husband, Son, Leader, Ass Kicker

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Kevin Greene was a leader. In his 15 years in the NFL, and his many other years coaching and raising a family, he earned that designation many times over. As Dom Capers, his coach in Pittsburgh and Carolina, described him, “He influenced everybody that he was around. Everyone had a tremendous amount of respect for him because he not only produced as a player, but because as good of a player as he was he was an even better person.”

Failing to make the Auburn team as a punter, Greene played intramural football before making the varsity team as a walk-on defensive end in his senior year. While undersized, he made up for it with commitment and grit. As he once said, “I wasn’t the biggest, I wasn’t the fastest. But as long as you have a motor, you have heart…that will overcome any physical limitations.”

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Photo by Kendal on Unsplash

“Ensuring the right dose of the right drug reaches the right patient at the right time by the right route is the minimum standard by which a pharmacist reviews every medication order for every patient,” the American Pharmacists Association states in their publication on patient safety. And yet, when the Justice Department recently charged Walmart with fueling the country’s opioid crisis by filling thousands of suspicious prescriptions, their defense was that they can’t be held to this level or responsibility. They claimed that they can’t be expected to “second guess” doctors. …

The Best Way to Learn is from Others’ Mistakes

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Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

“I’m going to give you some coaching.”

That was my boss’s opening before he tried to offer some ham-handed advice that was largely unrelated to the issue at hand. Although after that initial statement, there are few things he could have said that wouldn’t have been met with my immediate scorn and derision.

He meant well. It was just a poor choice of words. Which, if you work with people, tends to happen a lot. Generally people mean to say the right thing. …


Jake Wilder

Enemy of the Status Quo.

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