thoughts on life

Why Smart People do Stupid Things

Consulting firms prize people who are logical, analytical, and rational. However, smart people routinely make “stupid” decisions. Here’s why. Smart people are like Superman. They have superhuman abilities (in this case, intellectual). BUT, also like Superman, they have an Achilles’ heel — a vulnerability and weakness that can bring even the most superhuman of us [...]

Deep Perspective

When I was at McKinsey, one of the biggest reasons clients cited for repeatedly hiring McKinsey was: “perspective.” Clients would say that the firm helped them see their own businesses in a new way. At the time, this seemed like a somewhat amorphous reason for spending a few million dollars in consulting fees. However, as [...]

Life is Long

I’ve heard Warren Buffet speak in person. He talks a lot about the importance of maintaining a great reputation. In his words, it takes a lifetime to develop, and only a minute to destroy. In this respect, life is long. It serves you well to have a good reputation with the people in your world. [...]

Life is Short

Earlier this month, I received news that my grandmother was in her final hours of life. I flew out to Asia to try and say goodbye one last time before she passed away. She died a few hours before my flight landed. The prior month, one of my uncles lost his battle with cancer. The [...]

Success Is Simple: Show Up

American movie director Woody Allen says, “80% of success is showing up.” For most of my career, I thought this statement massively oversimplified the path to success. However through many life experiences, I think there’s a surprising amount of truth in the statement. The reality is that most people simply don’t show up for many [...]

The Secret to Building Relationships

  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the ability to interact with other people. People skills are incredibly valuable, both in your career and personal life. One factor that gets in the way is feeling intimidated by other people because of their role, background, or another factor. I’ll give you an example from my [...]

Talent is Not Enough

For most of my life, I assumed that the keys to a successful life were simple: 1) do well in school; 2) get a good job; 3) work hard. Those were my operating principles as a child, in college, and in my early 20s. As I got older, however, my beliefs were constantly conflicting with [...]

New Year, New Goals, Old Habits?

As we enter yet another new year, I can’t help but feel a little jaded. Every new year, millions of people set new goals, only to give up on them by March 15th. I know this because I analyzed the sales data of companies that depend on New Year’s resolutions for a sales boost — [...]

The Greatest Gift on Earth is...

The greatest gift on earth is presence. Being present means showing up physically, and devoting your undivided attention (emotionally, mentally, and spiritually) to another human being. It is being there for another person when they’re facing the worst day of their life. It is being there with someone in their most triumphant moment. It is [...]

Good Decisions vs. Luck

Today I’d like to discuss something profoundly important regarding decision making. Ninety-nine percent of people do not grasp these concepts, as they are subtle and nuanced. My question is this: What makes a decision a good one? It’s a simple question. Most people say a good decision is one where there is a good outcome. [...]

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