thoughts on life

Tolerating Discomfort

The other day, a friend was praising me for my accomplishments. I felt the praise was not justified. Contrary to my friend’s perception, I attribute my success to two things: 1) the ability to learn from my mistakes; 2) a high pain tolerance (that’s needed to tolerate making a great many mistakes). Step back and [...]

Surviving vs. Thriving

You can approach life in one of two ways. You can focus on surviving, or you can focus on thriving. There’s a time and place for both approaches. Like most things in life, neither is inherently good or bad. These approaches are merely tools — to be applied in the appropriate situation. More than approaches [...]

Problem Talker vs. Problem Solver

When my oldest daughter was four years old, she would constantly blurt out all her problems. “I am hungry.” “I want my doll.” “I am cold.” She got very good at talking about the problems. She kept expecting me and her mother to solve all her problems for her. I finally got tired of this [...]

Past, Present, and Future

In my 20s, my mental orientation was on the here and now. I counted time in months and years. In my 40s, my mental orientation has taken on a much wider timescale. I spend as much time thinking about the past and future as I do the present. In many respects, they are one and [...]

Signaling

In about a year, my oldest daughter will begin to learn how to drive. As part of her learning process, I’ve been teaching her the various driver controls in the car, the rules of the road, and driving decision-making principles. One conversation, in particular, stood out in my mind. It was a conversation where I [...]

The Three Ways to Argue

There are three ways to argue with someone: Tell them why they are wrong Tell them why they are wrong, and why you are right Share a different perspective The first approach involves telling the other person all the ways their thinking is wrong, stupid, and clearly flawed. If you are in a debate competition, [...]

The Secret to Better Cooking

Over the last few years, I’ve been taking a number of cooking classes and have discovered a few big insights. Here’s the main one. The single biggest secret to better cooking is… Better Ingredients That’s it. On the one hand, it seems obvious. On the other hand, it can’t be that simple, can it? As [...]

Well-Educated vs. Well-Schooled

A few years before I was born, humankind achieved a remarkable feat. We landed a human being on the moon. The lunar module spacecraft used for the lunar landing mission had a mere 4 kilobytes of memory and weighed 70 lb (32 kg). Today, I have an iPhone in my pocket that has 268,435,456 kilobytes [...]

With Deep Gratitude

By the time you read this, I will be in my kitchen with my green apron on, cooking up my part of Thanksgiving dinner. I’ll be playing my favorite playlist on Pandora. I’ll be surrounded by friends and family. I’ll be monitoring the thermometer for my turkey to make sure it’s ready to be served. [...]

What You Said vs. What You Meant

In my four years at Stanford, I took approximately 45 classes to obtain two degrees. When I look back at which classes were most useful to me, there were five. 1) Introduction to Economics 2) Social Psychology 3) Statistics 4) Public Speaking 5) Peer Counseling I’ve used what I learned in these five classes nearly [...]

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