January 23, 2016
January 1, 2016

Discipline

A necessary trait in my resolved pursuit of simplicity in the upcoming year is discipline; a trait I haven’t exhibited at high levels in almost twenty years. Many of my successes in the years since are best described as the result of any combination of luck, circumstance, general interests, or various natural talents or proclivities that have served me well. I work hard, I try to work smart, but I don’t always work disciplined. Tonight, I’m reminding myself what it means to exhibit self-discipline to see if there’s something that I can learn from 15 year old me.

December 31, 2015

Simplify

My resolution for 2016 is a familiar one: simplify. We all could benefit from significantly fewer complications in our life. This year I’m going to concentrate on the ones that I can control, so that I can have more time managing the ones that I can’t. Our winning lottery ticket is out there waiting for us, best make sure we’re ready to take it.

November 2, 2015

Multiply

After you experience the gift of a first child, it’s difficult to imagine how you can love anything more. Later on down the road when you find out another is on the way, it’s striking how difficult it is to overcome the feeling that you’ll have to divide your love between the two kids. But in reality, all that happens is your love multiplies in unimaginable ways. Welcome to the world, Aubrey!

October 25, 2015

Life of Mind, Life of Heart

Two of my favorite podcast personalities, John Siracusa and Merlin Mann, got together for a 10-part podcast this summer (and now, more on the way) and I enjoyed every minute of it. I’ve been going through the final episode over the last few days and there’s a two minute stretch about nineteen minutes in that gave me some insight I never expected to hear from Merlin. The stretch begins and ends with these two great collisions of thought:

Faith and science are a sort of chocolate and peanut butter that we have to keep in completely different parts of the house.

I think you can have a life of the mind and a life of the heart and I do not think you have to sacrifice either.

October 23, 2015

Love What You Have

I compare constantly. I do it inwardly. I do it outwardly. Sometimes I even do it vindictively.

Earlier this week, I read some incredibly convicting words from Mike McHargue, writing for Donald Miller’s Storyline Blog:

When we stop comparing, life stops being a race to a finish line and becomes an adventure we share with others.

The entire post is great, so if this is an area of struggle for you, I encourage you to take the time to read it as well. It’s short and to the point, but the words and truth contained therein will serve me for many years to come. I’d like to revisit those words any time I feel myself veering into pride or envy with the hope that they might recenter my focus on fulfilling my purpose in this eternal story.

As Asher Roth so astutley declares in ‘G.R.I.N.D.’: “happiness isn’t about getting what you want all the time, it’s about loving what you have”. Amen.

September 16, 2015

This Quiet Dude

I don’t spend as much time in quiet thought as I once did. Nothing about this is particularly revelatory – it’s an inevitability of choices I make – or made – every day; some big, some small. I’ve recently been more conscious of it though, and some recent musings by M.G. Siegler got me thinking about it even more:

How much time in a given day do you spend not doing anything but thinking? If you’re anything like me, it’s basically none. Instead, any break I get in between what task I’m doing, I’m on Twitter, or Instagram, or Messenger, or checking email, etc. Any respite in a day can now be plugged by any number of things since we’re always connected to the internet.

And so it goes.

Social media and the internet are, in recent history, huge distractions for me, but less so every passing day as the demands of work, parenting, husbanding, and friending1 occupy more and more of my time. Like Siegler, I love the opportunity that writing provides to be still, be quiet, and think, but I just can’t seem to get myself away to do it. And yet, I can’t help but wonder if I might be a better employee, a better parent, a better husband, and a better friend if thinking, reflecting and subsequently reacting to my performance, my strengths and weaknesses in those areas, occupied just a bit more of my time. Give me some time to think on that and I’ll let you know what I come up with.

  1. Unfortunate result of trying to be clever with my words here.  ↩

August 8, 2015

Parenting is Joy

We stumbled upon Joy for our daughter’s middle name, but now three years in it almost seems providential. Whenever I think about how hard parenting is, how infinitely more unmanageable the decisions and social pressures make it feel, all I have to do is spend a morning or afternoon with Reagan and it all fades away. And it’s so much more effective when I fully focus on the moment, just me and her, and let everything else just exist in its proper space away from us.

Relationships are hard and, undoubtedly, Reagan and I will endure our fair share of struggles. Long ago I gave up on a simple, straight line of happiness. But through the fog of the disagreements, misunderstandings, and inevitable low points, I see a forever relationship, a daughter who, I hope, knows that I will always be here, will always do everything and anything I can to see her crack that wry grin or belt out that loud cackle; to see her tilt her head up with a big smile on her face and say “silly daddy”. That, to me, is joy.

July 31, 2015

Parenting is Hard

Parenting is hard. The ramifications of seemingly small decisions we make every day ripple into an unforeseen future; and yet, treating every decision with such gravity paralyzes our ability to parent with confidence and stability. To make matters worse, we don’t make it easy for each other, sharing our collective misinformation and imposing our silent judgements in our own not-as-subtle-as-we-think passive ways. I am as guilty as anyone else.

Let’s try harder. Let’s try harder to be supportive, understanding, and sympathetic. Let’s remember that parenting is as hard for everyone else as it is for us, for you, for me. Most of us are just trying our best and, when it’s all said and done, what will end up mattering most to our children is that we did try. Because parenting is as much about the effort as it is the final grade.

June 30, 2015

Make It

Like many, the carrot that keeps me working toward my professional aspirations is that I might one day “make it”. For various reasons that I hope to one day expound upon in greater detail, I do not expect ever to be rich and my psyche has shifted to an almost contented resignation to that fact. And while I recognize the important role our market economy plays in fostering the inherent spirit of innovation that burns in all of us, I sometimes wonder if our businesses might be better, might make our society better, by surrendering to some similar resignation. What if, instead of making greater and greater profits, we could all be content with simply making a living. What if we could all just get by doing what we love doing and trading that for the goods and services we need that others love just doing.

From Om Malik’s excellent, Gone Fishing:

About a year ago I met a shoemaker in Italy. We got along famously, despite the obvious language barrier. He is as analog as they come, and when I asked him if I should help him set up an Instagram account or a Facebook page, he looked at me and said, “I want to make shoes for people who love shoes. I don’t want to run an industry.” He knew exactly how many shoes he could make in a month. And thus he knew how much money he could make in a year and what he could do with his life that wasn’t spent making shoes. His story has stayed with me, and as I have embarked on a process of simplification and cleansing of excesses from my life, I always ask myself, “Why is this important, and why should I spend my time on this?”

I am not very aggressive in saving for retirement, partly, if not mostly, because I yearn so much to enjoy some of what I have now. Maybe I’m wrong and maybe I’ll regret this philosophy one day. Or maybe I won’t.