T E S O

Too busy to get organized?
What a conundrum.

Contrary to what we think when there’s a massive to-do list stacked in front of us, taking the time for thoughtful planning and organization will ultimately give us more time, it does not steal it away.

T E S O

People skills

The need for specific skill sets fluctuates with the overall need of the economy. At scale, that need has been digital skills.

It’s no wonder millennials face a roller coaster of emotions when deciding on ‘developing a set of skills’ or ‘finding a career’. We’re in a transition phase.

A few generations ago (and still today), going into Tech was all the rage. “We need coders and programmers!” People doing people things was on the decline. After all, robots and machines will soon be able to do people things, too.

To the computer flocked an entire workforce.

Now, I’m no computer geek, and thus, I rejoice.

A gaping void exists in the workforce where once it was overcrowded. Our world now needs more People People, for the first time in a while.

Learn to communicate a difficult or complex message, empathize with emotions, strategize, inspire the people around you, and compete. Being human sets us apart in the digital age!

Reward Thyself

Why is it that when we reward ourselves, we are almost always choosing to do things that are only a reward in the short-term?

Good workout today?
Reward thyself: Cake and Ice Cream
Result: must commit to a grueling workout tomorrow (one we probably won’t do).

Finished project at work?
Reward thyself: 12 pack of Busch Light
Result: Unproductive next few days, stress about being behind on the next project.

When we intend to ‘reward’ ourselves for doing something well, maybe we’d want to choose the route of compounding returns.

Something of lasting value.
Reward thyself with ANOTHER thing worth being proud of. Be good to you.

Flying with feet

To fly, we need wings.
To begin to fly, feet!
Think, every flying thing has feet or wheels, yes?
Birds, planes, insects, people with jetpacks.

Thus he cried,

“I traded my feet for wings! 
No doubt a mistake, but why?
Without feet I can’t get to running,
Which I MUST in order to fly!”

Creativity is no good by itself, with no action or learning.

All effort and do and order are a waste of time and energy, with no thoughtful reflection to pair it with.

No person embodies all of one or the other, though. And rarely, is our mix of the two, balanced enough to be effective at both. But it’s true, the greatest of our human achievements come from the far end of one spectrum or the other. The eccentrics.

The great balance.

We need both the imaginative spirit of the drunkard artist, AND the staunch discipline of the conservative.

Our synergy is obvious, if only we’d see our roles, and choose to work together.

If you’re a doer, I’d best find a creative and make friends… else you’ll never fly.
If you’re a creative, put down the brush for a minute when the doer finds you… else those wings will be a waste.

Many Worlds

We might be living in too many worlds.


Magically-engaged in a passion project, he hurredly leaves his desk, zips to Whole Foods on a Lime Bike for a to-go box and a 6pm Allegro Americano, then heads without pause to a shared workspace, mingling with other entrepreneurs until the wee-hours of the morning. Wishing the night were longer, he taxiis again back to his high-rise for a few quick hours of sleep. 


Anxiously pushing to finish the shed he’s been contracted to build, he thinks, above all, about his son arriving home from college soon. At home, his wife readies the grill and proudly slips her Eagles jersey on. It’s Monday Night Football, and soon, voices and banter from the whole family will fill their modest 3 bedroom home to enjoy a few too many Bud Lights and endless supply of laughter.


Border collie at his side, he enjoys waking up at 4:45am and strolling a middle-cut path of the road in a quiet, wooded neighborhood with more horses in site than people. Contemplating clearing and tilling, for a market garden, some recently purchased land, he enjoys the moon and stars from the back-end of the dark night.


Each in their own world, like so many others, these men might find a consistent joy.

Adding a social app or the national news to any of these paintings, and their nostolgic perspectives might fade.

Our minds aren’t often capable (yet) of comprehending the overload of environmental stimulation that we allow it access to.

Inter-connectiveness draws us in, then it ties us up in a knot.

It could possibly be that our mental capacity has not biologically adapted yet to be able to understand the complexities of EVERY regional culture + weather pattern, physical environment + city size + social norm + family dynamic + unwritten rule … the list goes endlessly on.

It’s ok to have your world, and to let other’s have theirs as well.

Before criticizing someone for their lack of personal diversity or cultural understanding, it’s worth considering that less than 40 years ago, talking to someone in another city meant writing a singular letter and waiting days or weeks before hearing back. That bought us a little time to reflect and maybe comprehend another’s experience.

While our physiology has been adapting for millions of years to outside stressors, our minds are trying to go from living within a few mile radius village setting to being able to empathize with the entire planet in the matter of 40 years.

Most of our minds are already on overload.

Be patient with one another.

We’ll catch up, but it’ll take some time.

Introvert AND Extrovert

Redefining our realities is a common theme in our digital world.

Imagine taking every social construct we know to be true, and duplicating it with a  digital reality. Each platform like a new dimension. We can be whomever we choose to be, and not one world needs to have likened carry over.

Each of us, existing in multiple dimensions, multiple realities, with multiple versions of ourself at once. All, however, with a singular, all-knowing mind.

The real life one.
The Business Facebook Brand one.
The World of Warcraft one.
The Instagram one.
The Twitch one.
The I’m-gonna-catfish-somebody one.
The Music.ly one.
The anonymous-shit-poster one.

Each taking on different character roles, thus making it possible, for the first time ever, to be both an introvert and an extrovert at the same time, simultaneously.

Feeling schizophrenic lately?

schizophrenia definition

It’s no wonder we have identity crisis’.

We don’t know who we are. And uncertainty, of all things, causes the default response mode to our limbic systems (fight or flight) to perceive uncertainty as a threat.

Defensive.
Aggressive.
Depressed.
Anxious.

No composure.
Remember, it’s ok to role play from time to time, but don’t forget to bring it back to real reality more often than not.

nineeleven

It’s not what it once was.
Nothing ever is.

I think back to the tragedy that caught the Nation’s attention 17 years ago, and the way everything stood still, collectively suspended, in awe. Together, in awe.

Maybe the last time we stood collectively about anything.
Neighbors that hadn’t spoken in years, sharing tears.
Family who’d procrastinated making phone calls, chatted all night.
Games stopped.
Drama stopped.
Walmart probably didn’t close.

Schools stopped teaching (or testing).
Children didn’t stop learning, though.
I was a child in 2001—a 5th grader.
I learned a great many things that day. There’s a lot I still have not learned.

Are we wiser than our former selves?
Who was the enemy?
That fear, for months following, made every other small issue disappear.
How could anyone do this to innocent people?
We are innocent people, but we are not AN innocent people.
What will it take to unite us again? 

Many of our enemies are faceless, big and small. A great many heroes emerged that day and for years after, many of whom are also faceless.

To the faceless, uncommon humans, the hero sort,

Thank you for your courage. Thank you for freedom.

To anybody living courageously in the name of something truly just, at any time, thank you.

Our Intellectual Paralysis

The sort of person that can’t wait to learn something new,
to expand my mind into uncharted territory, that’s me!

Spending all day thinking about thinking,
and toying with the ready-to-pop potential that each author boasts,
I can’t help but buy the book.

All the hours of the day
I spend thinking about all the new things that
I could be learning.

And so I sit. And so they sit, those books, as heaps of useless words,
like a junkyard of 8-tracks and CD’s in a world of iPhones.

It’s a wretched, frightful thing to own a vast library
of books,
most of them never opened.

The thirst for knowledge,
That chalice of existential meaning,
Is more like the Holy Grail than any of us would prefer.
The path is rugged and daunting.
The commitment, great.
The detail, mundane.
The time, tiresome.

The chance, the lesson, the reward?

is Areté

Pick up the next book you see,
and start now.
It’s always worth it.

Trusting Our Vision

We should never feel guilty for staying true to our vision.

In the process-of-progress, it’s difficult for people to conceive in their mind the same outcomes that we have–our vision.

Any great vision is too complex for bystanders to fully comprehend. Spend no time or energy pondering the side-comments or evaluations of those who do not understand the bigger picture.

Those who do understand our vision, we need to hear, heeding their advice if necessary.

Maybe, it’s worth revisiting our vision. Especially so, if we never took the time to make sure it was the right vision in the first place.

The Calling

a poem by Jakob Gollon

You must not follow your heart.
You must not follow your heart.

For if you do
you’re sure to find,

its madness knows no walls.

Mountains have tried the pursuit of such,

and down to dust they fall.

Scattered bones, the Sirens call,
no footsteps in the sand.

Trails of crumbs are blown about.

None to guide the needing hand.

Do, though, chase along,
but do it not for cause, please son,
or reason

or for truth.

Take the reigns, and carve your way,
if the chase so howls your name.
Bludgeon the doubt that creeps within,

and find out why you came.

But if you’re the coward that heeds my bell,

and heavy flows the fear in you,

Then please my boy, start home at once,

By air, by boat or train.

‘cause your heart wandered lost
way long ago,
and your whole pursuit
will be in vain.

Time or Money?

What sort of value are we providing to our personal relationships?

Take for example, the father who pays $100/week to send his son to a top-notch baseball trainer. That father might make the assumption that his investment in his child is a valuable gift, but in what way?

There is value in that experience, specific to sports skills, but the financial investment by the father adds only abstract value to the relationship that he has with his son. No matter how much it costs, it’s merely a money-gift, and the recipient can’t always quantify that.

Take now, the father who spends 2 hrs/week playing catch with his son in their yard instead. The relationship value added here is not abstract. Time or Money?

Aim

What we seek, we might find.

Or rather,

What we do not seek, we will never find.

Intent on discovering all of the ways that the world is plotting against you?

Why? Sure, there will be plenty of hardships for you to discover. But we all battle them. Honestly.

What about the task at hand? Does it serve us to stress the perils?

What would happen if, instead of dialing in on the negativity in our lives, we decided to adjust the scope, and we centered ourselves on optimism?

Where the cross-hairs intersect, calculated or not, is where we will hit.

Every single time.

WE NEED TO BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT OUR AIM.

We might miss anyway, but surely we fail without attempting to be purposeful.

The people in our inner circle can inspire us, or, they can play host to our pity party. 

Music can serve to free us from our chains, or, it can bind us to sadness and despair.

The internet can serve to educate us, or, it can rob us blind of our time, hour by hour.

Pending chaos.

All hinging on what we are aimed at.

5 Quotes on the Bedroom Wall of a Mercer Basketball Player

Here are the 5 quotes that hung on handmade posters all over my bedroom for years, and are still hanging in my garage now, on the plywood wall between my stand-up work table and my pull-up bar. They may mean very little to you. They may change your life. If even one person experiences the latter, this post was worth it. I hope they spark a fire in you like they did me. After reading this, tell me your inspiring habits, I would love to read about/share them. #masteryourcraft


1. HBDYWI

How bad do you want it?

I’ve been quoting this with my little brother, James, who plays basketball at Ohio University, for years. So, maybe Eric Thomas heard me screaming it once and decided it’d be good content. I don’t know. It’s also the first tattoo James and I got together. Left hip.


5 Quotes on the Bedroom Wall of a Mercer Basketball Player

Savor a Blessing

Unless I forget to brush my teeth, each night I savor a blessing.

By attaching something that I struggle to make routine (pondering gratitude) to an act that I do every day (brushing my teeth), consistency with the latter becomes practical.

Think hard on your day for just one minute or two. How fortunate were you today? By your standards? By the standards of a homeless child? By the standards of a woman widowed by war? What blessings do you have to be thankful for? If you cannot find even one, your perspective is probably out of wack. Adjust.

Think about how wonderful a life you live, that blessings, maybe small, come daily, and rarely do you have to sacrifice comfort and convenience unless you choose to.

Some will never know the blessing of choice, or the blessing of free thought.

Revel in that while you cook dinner tonight, or during a shower, or what have you.

Brush your teeth, savor a blessing.

True Impact

Nobody ever gets an accurate reading of their contribution to the world.

Did people applaud you? Will they hold you in higher regard?

There are no hard statistics on true impact.

You’ll never see a graph or chart that depicts it.

When you die, the real imprint you’ve left behind will never be quantifiable.

How far down the line will one act of kindness go? Will the elementary school kid that you coached in hoops become an NBA star one day? Will that NBA star fund a neighborhood development program back where he grew up? Will that neighborhood produce a morally sound mother that births a world leader who eventually solves our sustainability crisis and saves the planet?

One small deed done yesterday might change the world 200 years from now, but nobody is going to give you the credit.

For generations to come, your acts of kindness, your courage, are like a stone plunging into a lake.

The initial splash depends on the size of the stone, but the real impact is in how far the ripples will span.

You’ll be at the bottom of the lake before the last wave brushes the shoreline.

There’s no glory in it for you.

Yet, oddly enough, we all know and feel that it’s the right thing to do:

to serve others.

I have to do this

Are you a “high achiever”? A “go-getter”?

Do you have to-do lists longer than The Pan-American Highway?

Heavy eyelids?

The self-talk usually goes something like, “I want this so bad. I have to do this.”

Most people quit at this point. But you won’t. You’re an animal. You’re a machine! You’ll never quit!!

You just set the track record for the first lap of the 1600m run.

Though, hmm, nobody ever won the gold because of a fast ‘Lap 1’. Now what?

How do you follow-through on goals or drag on when you’re exhausted? Perspective always helps.

I don’t need to give you stories of the rampant poverty all over our planet.

You don’t HAVE-TO-DO anything.

You GET-TO-DO it.

That alone could be the elixir to your anxiety.

This should apply to some 90+% of Americans, as we are majorly above the poverty level in comparison to most human beings on earth.

Be the GET-TO-DO type of person.

Now, go. Do.

Get it in writing

Your boss says you might get a promotion.

A new business partnership is on the horizon.

The admissions department rep thinks you’ll get accepted to Harvard.

They can all be agreed upon, and exciting to anticipate or daydream about, but they carry no validity or value until written and signed.

Gotta get it in writing.

Getting your thoughts locked permanently into existence, and written down on paper, is as important to your life as any deal or letter of acceptance.

A great idea at 3am is meaningless if you’ve forgotten it by 8.

I cannot under-sell you on the importance of getting enough sleep, but sometimes, even when you’re laying in bed ready to fall asleep, or tossing and turning at 3:34, you’ve got to get up and grab a pen.

Got an idea?

Get it in writing.