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

1 Reason You Suck at Your Job

Are you scared of losing your job? If so, you are going to suck at it.

Fear, while an important motivator in life, is a paralyzing factor when it comes to your daily work life (and other aspects, just talking work right now).

Fear is an unpleasant emotion induced by a threat perceived by living entities, which causes a change in brain and organ function and ultimately a change in behavior, such as running away, hiding or freezing. -wiki

Do you say statements such as “If I lose my job I don’t know what I would do”?
If so, you are backwards with your current mindset on what actually creates value for both yourself and your employer. In essence you have broken down your work to be:

work = Maslow’s 2nd Level 

If/when operating at the 2nd level you will be both myopic and miserable because you will not be able to see beyond yourself. Sure you may have a mortgage, spouse, etc to account for…however this only enhances your fear.  Fear will never produce a good work in you nor by you, rather only a selfish survival.

When you are selfish you are – > Unaware of others needs = Unable to proactively think on behalf of employer/customer/other = No Value

Sure you may keep your job because you are so skilled at survival you keep it….but you will still suck at it, and it sucks to suck.

Choosing Not to be Lame

Everyday I feel that I wake up ‘lame’ rather than vibrant, engaged, and ready. That just me?

Thus, each day I must wake up twice. Once from my sleep and again from my lame stupor. The earlier the 2nd awakening happens the better it is for me and all those who I come into contact with. If I am honest, somedays I don’t even wake up from my 2nd sleep. I carry my ‘lame’ self around fooling many of those around me. I cheat them when this happens.

I know I am being lame when:

  • I am being an asshole – I am consumed with self
  • Unable to think quickly – I am not engaged
  • Uninterested in all things – I am not seeing the bigger picture

To wake up I attempt to practice the following disciplines/activities:

  • Meet with someone first thing – Immediately I need to engage with someone in the real world, rather than crawl into my office/cube stuck with my own thoughts
  • Go for a run or hit the gym – Exerting effort and struggling helps me break the spell
  • Read and write – Helps me process and ask bigger life questions

This was on my mind today because I woke up lame. I didn’t really wake up until later in the day. I hate being lame. Hate it! I must choose the above disciplines/practices daily in order not to be lame daily.

Are you h(app)y?

We are a people addicted to the ‘new and nuanced’. This is not necessarily a negative assertion of who we have become because it’s who we have always been. Our wonder and amazement for such things is wired in. Whether staring at the latest gadget or gazing at the Swiss Alps, all of it brings intrigue.

With the rate today’s technology is cranking out the latest ‘new and nuanced’, you have to wonder if the intensity is too much for us to handle. Never before have we been inundated with so many intriguing things. Technology, by its very nature, is always changing, and when paired with the natural state of humans, can be very dangerous to our personal welfare. Is technology fostering a shallow sense of happiness for those who wield its power to meet their need for the ‘new and nuanced’? I believe it is.

Modern technology and our humanness is a perfect recipe for producing shallow individuals who lack deep-seeded knowledge about anything or anyone due to a burgeoning impulse to discover the next thing. While discovery is good, so is the need to explore that discovery further. You might say that the deep-seeded enjoyment of something can only be had after exploring it, sitting in it, resting in it, struggling in/through it. However, in today’s world, rather than patiently pursing such ends, we move on to the new. Our wonder has a shelf life comparable to the average YouTube clip.

So, what to do?

Here are a few tips just in time for the holiday season- one of the times we get most inundated with the ‘new and nuanced’:

  • Understand what technology is and does to you individually at a fundamental level. While technology is a great tool and makes for some great gifts, it can also be a weapon (in more ways than one). Don’t let it rob you of deep-seeded knowledge and enjoyment of life.
  • Even in the midst of the holiday craze, take time to sit and think about what you are learning, what you want to dive deep into, and how to go about doing that. The beginning of a new year is a great time for setting new goals and forming new habits!
  • Explore your discoveries! Let yourself sit, rest, and struggle and resist the urge to move onto something new right away. Enjoy where you are right now.
  • If you have a hard time thinking about such things,turn off your technology for a few days (not hours), pick up the paper and pen (older technology) and go to town. It’ll be well worth your time!