Why Should You Read This Book? Because somewhere in your life you gave up on a goal or a dream because of a dis-empowering belief. You believed you were not good enough, smart enough, fast enough, pretty enough, charismatic enough, or rich enough. Or maybe you were born in the wrong country, with the wrong parents, and as the wrong gender. Maybe your timing was off, or the market conditions changed underneath you. Whatever the reason, there was some external factor "out there" that is the cause of all your pain and suffering. If only things were different! If only you won the lottery! Only then would you be able to be able to create the life you wanted....
In an age where the internet is the ultimate university-at-your-fingertips, some people choose to skip class, pass notes, or doodle. Call it truancy 2.0, the desire to not show up and/or engage with the new social, business, entertainment, and educational opportunities that smartphones and ubiquitous internet access affords us.
My mom beams with pride when she tells the story. "Rick could do double digit addition in his head in kindergarten." I'm not going to lie. Seeing my mom so happy feels great because she's gone through a lot of challenges in life. Over time, it fueled my own sense of pride that I was one of the brights spots in her life, particularly during the darkest of times.
Many people say that they would love to write a book before they die. On 11/11, I finally get to turn that goal into a reality. It's incredibly exciting and scary at the same time because it is the end of but one step on the rest of my journey in this lifetime. Here's hoping I have the strength and stamina to see this through...
One of the reasons that I'm so optimistic about our future is that we, as individuals and as a collective species, are nowhere near the point where we've tapped our full potential. How could we be when billions of people are getting by on dollars per day and we still don't have ubiquitous access to broadband internet and electricity? But it goes beyond economics and technology. Here's a quick, top of mind list of every area of life that still has huge, upside potential.
I fell in love with poetry while I was completing my BS and Ph.D. in materials science and engineering. It was more than just an escape valve from the stress of my technical studies. It was my way of exploring life through words. Trying to capture a powerful human emotion, a memory, or a scene in a Haiku format became a fun game. And like any creative endeavor, once you started the flood gates continued to open up. I found myself needing to keep a journal with me at all times, and would often stop several times along my bike commute to campus to capture ideas, phrases, or sentences.
- "I wake up at 3 AM so that I can get a few hours of studying in before work."
- "I bike 14 miles on work days and 40 miles on my days off."
- "I'm the only pharmacist with a medical board certification."
- "Yeah I'm a few years from retirement, but I plan to work into my late 70s."
I never missed an opportunity to visit Samuel Adams gravestone whenever I walked along the freedom trail in downtown Boston. Like many of the founding fathers, I deeply respected the principles he stood for and lived by. And yet his tombstone did no justice in representing the impact that he made upon the world. If it wasn't for the nearby placard, his entire existence would be summarized by a name and his birth and death year.
Among the other tombs, the stories of everyone's life were condensed down to a name and two years. What a pity, given the richness that each one offered.
Forward progress is made through a combination of steps and leaps.
Steps are the smallest possible actions necessary to keep moving. They build and maintain momentum. They are the daily and hourly actions that create and reinforce habits. They are the unglamorous daily grind, sometimes resulting in reaching the intended destination and sometimes resulting in getting stuck in a rut.