thoughts on life

The Horizon Problem

I’ve always been fascinated by the ocean. This was especially the case when I was at Stanford. At the end of every school year, I would drive to my parents’ home in San Diego. One year I decided to take the Pacific Coast Highway, a small two-lane road that hugs the California coastline — with [...]

How Smart People Destroy Their Careers

The #1 way professionals with high IQs destroy their careers is by having low emotional intelligence (or “EQ” for short). The workplace is a place where both logical and emotional interactions take place between you and others. High IQ people tend to overvalue the importance of IQ and undervalue EQ. If you have ever wondered [...]

Don’t Commit Assumicide

One of my writing mentors told me: “Effective writing is CLEAR writing.” If you mean what you write, and you write what you mean, you’re an effective communicator. When it comes to the written word, I’ve spent every day of my career attempting to write CLEARLY. This is especially the case in one-way communication like [...]

Pain vs. Suffering

It has taken me nearly four decades to learn the following distinction between pain versus suffering. At first glance, they seem the same. Pain does not feel good. Suffering does not feel good. The difference is purpose. If you’re enduring pain for a purpose, it tends to become a “growing pain” — the TEMPORARY pain [...]

Relationship Hygiene

Every morning and night, I brush my teeth. I’ve been doing this for most of my life. I know if I stop this practice, I will have dental problems. I do the same with my car. I take my car into to the auto shop for regular maintenance. I follow a similar process with my [...]

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 [...]

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