thoughts on life

How to Make a First or Lasting Impression

If you want to make an impressive first impression with someone, show them how smart, brilliant, and accomplished you are. Share with them your resume, income, and job title. If you want to make a lasting impression, treat them with kindness. I have met hundreds of very accomplished, wicked smart, and talented people over the years. [...]

How to Tell Someone They're Totally Wrong

In a recent article, I wrote about an interesting application of the 80/20 rule as it applies to musical songwriting. I had no idea it would generate so much backlash. There are so many lessons to be learned and taught from the response. I thought it would be instructive to go through it all. As a [...]

The Paradox of Paradox

I find the word paradox fascinating. Definition: A paradox is a statement that apparently contradicts itself and yet might be true. Most logical paradoxes are known to be invalid arguments but are still valuable in promoting critical thinking. A paradox I’ve noticed in my own writing is how sometimes I will knowingly contradict myself. One of [...]

The Blame-Oriented Corporate Culture

Something just went wrong; really wrong. What’s the first instinct you and others have? In many company cultures (and in many family, marriage or parent/child relationship cultures), the first order of business is to decide whom to blame. Much of corporate politics (not to mention governmental politics) is based on this principle. “I don’t want [...]

Succeeding at the Edge of Discomfort

When you look at the top performers in every domain, all of them share one thing in common. They live their lives at the edge — at the edge of discomfort. All growth comes from this edge. It’s a thin line between success and failing. This is especially apparent in the weight room. I’ve been [...]

Choose Your Words Carefully

Over the last decade, I have continually found myself intrigued by a field I never thought would interest me: linguistics. In particular, I’m fascinated by how linguistics intersects with psychology. The words you use profoundly impact how you think and behave. Here are a few examples. I often encounter clients who tell me there is [...]

The Red Line

In every system, there’s a point where the system can not do more. In a car, this limit is denoted by the gauge that measures the engine’s revolutions per minute (RPM). When you step on the accelerator, the RPMs zoom up. However, you’ll notice the top end of the gauge is marked in red. This [...]

The Perceived Detour

Sometimes, life throws us an obstacle. In the moment, most people’s reaction (mine included) is to get irritated at the obstacle and at the detours needed to overcome it. To paraphrase the late Steve Jobs, all the “detours” (my word choice, not his) make sense in hindsight, even if they don’t in the moment. Through [...]

Ad Hominem Attacks on Greta Thunberg

Over the last week or so, I’ve been watching people’s reactions to 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg. A year ago, she led a protest of one person (herself) against the lack of action world leaders have made versus climate change. She recently led a protest involving upwards of 4 million people around the world for [...]

The Culture of Elitism

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the cult/culture of elitism. The entire premise of elitism is hierarchy. Those who are “elite” are presumed to be better than those that are not. Those who aren’t “elite” often feel “less than” their counterparts. An Ivy League degree makes you more elite. A larger bank account makes [...]

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