Language you should remove from your vocabulary

two man and two woman standing on green grass field
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“In my Opinion”

“From my perspective”
….no crap its your opinion, perspective, etc….its coming out of your mouth. This phrase is some psychological game we play with ourselves and each other to soften the blow or present ourselves more humbly. It’s a waste of air and is an attempt to soften the blow of being direct. Being direct is more efficient and loving. I get the tactic of trying to remove defensiveness, but know that you are then shifting  gears to manipulate.
“May I interrupt”
Um, too late you just did. Its a lie, you are not asking permission you are asking forgiveness. If you are going to interrupt just do it.
Can I be honest with you? 
Can I be candid with you? 
No I want you to lie to me or speak in veiled comments
These phrases, and countless others, undermine your goal to be a clear communicator and add nothing to the conversation.
Take them out and you won’t regret it.
You will also stop being that weird/shady/slimy person that always interrupts a meeting with “can I be honest with you”……

Playing with House Money !$$$!

Playing with house money in concept and actuality has changed my life. There is more to the story…..but the term may be lost on some so I will do a quick explanation for all non-degenerates out there.

Lets say you are in Vegas and you are playing blackjack or craps… cash in with $200. 30 minutes later you look down and you see you have $500 in chips. What I do, and perhaps others do, is take $200 off the table and put it in your pocket and thus your now playing with house money….$300.

When I play with house money, both in Vegas and in real life, I play free. I follow the book (code for the spoken rules of the game) but I also break the book, IE don’t follow the rules. I sometimes play unconventional hands because I think the odds/payout is worth it.

Unfortunately, you and I lose site of this and start to think the $300 is ours and not the houses. We clam up and wet the bed at the thought of losing the $300…. losing perspective its house money to begin with.

Chances are, if you are reading this post you are playing with house money.

If you have food, family, faith, and some other foundational aspects you are set…the rest is house money. Your 6 figure job or aspirations is house money bro/sis! Your car payment and meals out and vacations and family portraits and Netflix and tequila and concerts and date nights and gym membership and ________ is all house money. You can survive on less, much less. We start to think these niceties are essentials and you can’t lose them. If thats the case you play in fear. You can’t enjoy shit unless you realize its house money. Take a shower and be thankful you have water running over your back. Eat black beans and rice for a week and think about what % of the world lives off that, hell throw Cholula on it and love it and question why you need steaks and lobster to begin with.

‘Scared money don’t make money’……so the rap lyric goes. I have seen this play out with so many people wanting more (better job, better $$ situation, path forward) but no appetite to risk. Risk what? It’s house money! Take it, its yours! You can’t take mine, I am playing with house money.

*There are for sure those who have not been dealt the right cards, thus they are playing from behind. To keep the analogy alive – those of us playing with house money should be conscious of how to bank roll others so they can get a seat at the table.

Mentality for the Marginal (& Pavlov’s Dogs)

A mentality for the marginal…you and I both suffer from this. We stare at our phones while wisdom leaves our heads. We are officially addicted to the trivial. Our brain has fidgets that didn’t exist 3-5-10 years ago. We are consumed by unactionable information that adds little to no value outside of being more versed for pop-culture conversations. What show are you watching? Did you hear about XYZ event? Can you believe said president said _____? All marginal. All shit. #AMAS

We have ‘news’ coming at us from all angles and we welcome it…we are Pavlov’s dogs. Pavlov in this instance is = Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Snap, we are their dogs, their slaves, their product. As the adage go, if its free you are the product.

Thus, going to put more effort and consciousness towards using mediums for meaningful transactions.

This likely means, but still to be determined:

* More blogging using WordPress

* Using Twitter but deleting it from my phone

* Stay away from Facebook + Instagram + Snap + others in this vein…AMAS

* LinkedIN TBD….need to refine use and notifications

* Feedly for following and curating meaningful content

More to come…..

On Living in the Atomic Age…Struggling with Fear

Fear is the absolute worst sensation I have known as a human. As a child, fear caused me to seek out my parents who could comfort and calm me down. As an adult the whole ‘mommy’ thing doesn’t work anymore….so then what?

The more you have, the more you can lose. I am not speaking of material things here…but family, friends, and even ‘your country’. Fear as an adult has a few affects:

  • I hate everything that causes that sensation…if thats people, if thats a car crash (greatest fear for my wife), choking on a chicken nugget (I have a 14 month old)….I go extremely primal and want to rid myself of the ‘that’…I drive, I dice chicken nuggets so damn small it looks like rice when I am down with it, and I keep those people out of my life.
  • We shutdown…basically live in a padded cell called your house, town, county, or country….I am not going anywhere, trying anything, going to public places that could draw out a looney toon, etc. “No way in hell is that going to happen to me!”

The below essay (visualized) helps bring me back to what is truly important. This essay, along with other straight gold, can be found in a collection of essays called Present Concerns by CS Lewis.

What I have learned buying a house

Buying a house is a big deal. Next to marriage, kids, and job it might be the next in line regarding big life events that determine the course of history for you and your family.

Buying a house exclaims many things, perhaps none more than: ‘Of all places I could live (in the US and even the world), I choose these coordinates! It is here where we will make memories, sow, reap, and dwell’. I could go on philosophically here…I won’t….rather, I want to share some practical things I am learning that can be broken down into a few categories.

My context:

  • Young 30’s + Wife + 10 month old child (4 months old when we moved)
  • I bought a townhouse when I was 25 (in 2006, worst time ever) in Alpharetta, GA. Lived with some dear friends for years to help me afford the place.
  • I have been at my job almost 10 years and have enjoyed a consistent, lively career thus far
    • I say the above because it comes into play on the finance side of things
  • Zero debt outside of my home…no cars, college, or crud that I am stuck paying off.
  • I am not in the 1%….meaning I am not making crazy money. Yes I make good money…so coming from that ‘opportunistic perspective’ is a privilege and I realize that.

Continue reading “What I have learned buying a house”

Best Practices – What Makes Them ‘Best’?

Sweet painting!
Not much to do with the post, but great art.

Remember being lectured by your mom or dad on the theme of peer pressure? ‘If everyone jumped off a cliff would you?” It’s a rhetorical question until you become a young professional, and then for some reason it flips…you are supposed to do what everyone does and its called a ‘best practice’. While I can’t explore all these dynamics at present, I can touch on the ‘just made up’ breakdown of the types of best practices that help me determine when to shut off my ears and go back to reading blogs on my phone.

  1. Gravity Best Practices – Some ‘best practices’ really are just good ideas/conclusions…like gravity. This is not a bad thing and I am grateful for wise people distilling down these ideas for non-experts like myself. However, gravity best practices go south fast when someone writes an article or does a keynote in the vein of ‘leadership’ and you could swear they are just reading those inspirational corporate posters from the 80’s.
  2. Lemming Best Practices – It’s hard to go against the crowd. If I opened a new restaurant, I would hire people to stand outside for the first month or so. Ideas often gain traction because of consensus rather than merit. Many, many ideas fall into this category. A non-exhaustive quick list includes: pet rocks, allowing 38million+ people into CA (water!), prohibition, and running an iPhone update the day it comes out. It’s important to not follow the crowd at times…we all know this, apply #1 type of best practice here.
  3. Hallmark Best Practices – Lots of best practices are like ‘Hallmark Holidays’, where someone is making money off of them becoming popular practices. These are the kinds to be leery of and perhaps the most common in business circles. A’la  self-proclaimed expert from Florida at the Inuit (eskimo, not a PC term) convention in Barrow, Alaska claiming there is a better way to make ice.

Unplugging this Holiday + Stop Getting More Dumb


I recently broke out some of my old musings. While thumbing through these old journals and blogs, I had an extremely humbling thought – I was more intelligent back then. This is extremely discouraging. As a ‘rising professional’, I pride myself on: getting better at what I do, learning from my mistakes, gaining mastery over my domain, etc. I have always assumed this would mean that my intelligence, along with my ability to reason, would grow with my career or life advancement. However, this is very far from the truth. A case could even be made that as one narrows down on a trade/skill, they grow increasingly unaware of everything outside of that domain, thus they are “more dumb” in other areas of life.

Continue reading “Unplugging this Holiday + Stop Getting More Dumb”

Are you a thief? I am. I stole a bunch of coffee.

When pulling into Starbucks this evening it hit me – I am a thief!

For years I have gotten to know many a barista as I have averaged about 1.65 coffee shops a day since college. With this has come ‘free coffee’. Free because thats how it was offered to me…but was it? Was it their coffee? Or…was it their shareholders coffee? Or their bosses coffee?

95% of the time it wasn’t theirs and I accepted it. I am a thief.

Continue reading “Are you a thief? I am. I stole a bunch of coffee.”

Book Review: Zero To One

What would it be like to have coffee with Peter Thiel (the author + founder of Paypal), John Maynard Keynes, and ‘insert cliche philosopher name here’?

That’s what this book feels like, and it’s a beautiful recipe for a delightful and thought-provoking read. It deviates from your normal book on entrepreneurship (thankfully) and challenges assumptions that many (Roy) take for granted.

Continue reading “Book Review: Zero To One”

Nerves & Business: Embracing Nervousness Daily

I had a communications professor in college who discussed embracing nerves as a central aspect to every speech/presentation you give. She framed up the conversation by saying butterflies are good so long as they fly in formation. I haven’t forgotten this, as nerves play an interesting role in my life and every time I give a speech/presentation or make a pitch.

I have seen nerves get the best of me (where I totally flop) as well as give me the fuel to give an impassioned presentation around seemingly mundane topics. Either way, I have come to love the role nerves play in my daily life.

How does nervousness intersect your daily life? Do you still get nervous? Do you enjoy it? Hate it?

Some brief thoughts around nerves, business, and their role:

  • Nervousness is good
  • If I don’t have nerves around something it is an indictment against my attitude in the matter.
  • The people that say they don’t get nervous before a speech/event/sales presentation/etc are either:
    • Lying
    • Or, they don’t care about their audience/others. Care, in this case meaning do they understand the weight of ideas? Are they understanding that they are stewarding other’s time? 
  • Do you get nervous when you meet people of rank?
    • If so, does that mean you value them more than other people? Not ideal.
    • If not, does that mean you are self-righteous and don’t view them as important? Not ideal.
    • What’s the balance here? 
  • When I look at others as being no greater & no less than myself is when I am at my best for their sake and mine.
  • Are your nerves based on peoples perception of you? If so, this is likely the paralyzing kind of nerves because it’s completely out of your control. 
  • If your nerves are based on the being the absolute best steward of the moment at hand then this is likely the kind of nerves that will enhance your performance and experience of the event