The addict knows (logically) that they may be one dose away from death.

The gambler knows (logically) that they are one bet away from broke.

The smoker knows (logically) that they are one cigarette away from cancer.

It’s not for lack of intelligence that humans do stupid things. We know better. A person with diabetes knows that they shouldn’t be slamming down 7-Eleven Big Gulps. A person trying to get out of debt should not go out and lease a brand new car.


Leaving Boston was bittersweet. It was where I spent ten formative years in college. It was where I, a country bumpkin who was born and raised 1 mile away from 3 farms, got to immerse myself in city life. It was where Emily and I first moved in together, and it was where I proposed to her.

Losing a Habit Streak

One of the holy grails in personal development is the concept of unconscious competence. It’s the stage where something is so ingrained in you that you can achieve it automatically and without thinking. You probably already do this in several areas of your life without even knowing it. The classic example is driving a car from point A to point B. If you are an experienced driver, you can do this without remembering a single thing you did or saw along the way. Your unconscious mind took over, and you went into autopilot, succeeding without effort.

A Diamond in a Haystack

A swirl of hay

What would be more difficult and tedious than searching for a needle in a haystack? I imagine if one actually attempted this, it could take hours or even days of painstaking focus to sift through the noise before finding a needle. But why would one spend the time and effort to find something with so little value? This is why we use the phrase to indicate a pursuit not worth pursuing.

However, what if we changed the game?

"But, I just wanted to help!"

As soon as I think or say these words, I know that I've already entered the danger zone with my 6-year old daughter.

Of course, my intent is usually positive. I see her struggling. I see her about to make a mistake that would lead to a huge mess or perhaps getting hurt. So the next impulse thought is that she clearly NEEDS my help. And being the good and loving parent that I am, I should step in immediately and without asking to HELP her. Ha!

The Purpose of Pain

Imagine a pregnant mother telling the doctor that she didn't want any pain medications during the final, excruciatingly painful moments of labor. She must have a screw loose in her head, right? 10 years ago, I might have agreed. Modern science has given us all of these amazing tools in the form of medications. These allow us to skip over the bad parts (e.g., labor) and get right to the good part (e.g., the healthy baby). So why wouldn't you take the easy way out? Why would someone choose to embrace pain?

Why We Need to Lead

Imagine being able to make a phone call to your past self 90 days ago. Imagine describing the absurdity of toilet paper outages and how entire states are now being asked (and some forced) to quarantine. Imagine saying how some beer companies have stopped making beer and are instead producing and shipping bottles of sanitizer. Imagine trying to tell them that Trump was potentially going to send every American thousands of dollars a month just to keep the economy afloat.

Imagine the laughter from the voice on the other line. “Is this some prank phone call? What are you smoking?”

An Idea is Not a Commitment

Creativity can feel like a curse. There is simply not enough time in the world to turn each creative whim into an actualized thing you can see or hear or touch. Logically, we may only get around to a 100th of the things we can think because ideas are quick cheap, and the road to completion may take decades.

Still, it’s not to listen to the advice of William Faulkner and “kill your darlings.” My mind tries to hold onto all of these whims because I might be able to get to them “someday.” But someday never comes because there are a dozen or more new ideas the next day.