Don’t Defer Your Goals to the New Year

File:DoomsdayClockWatchmen.pngPlease don’t defer your goals to the New Year. If you do, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice. There’s no better time than now. As I shared last week in my post about the Jellybean Life, we only have so many total days to spend on this earth.

Therefore, you must choose how you spend your time wisely.  I’m sure we all can agree that not taking action while waiting for some arbitrary day is not a good way to spend it.

Over the last 3 days, I kept hearing people say stuff like:

  • I am going to start my job search in the New Year
  • I am going to lose this Thanksgiving weight in the New Year
  • I am going to pay off this credit card debt in the New Year
  • I am going to start my blog in the New Year

We have a little more than 31 days left in 2013. Our most valuable resource is time.  Why waste 747 hours and 55 minutes (it’s 8:05 pm as I write this) waiting for the New Year?

Every second, every minute, every hour, and every day of your life counts.

 

 

How This Man Washes Dishes on Thanksgiving

photo (3)How does this man wash dishes on Thanksgiving?  

Very graciously. I don’t do much talking. I play some classic holiday jazz music in the kitchen and keep a strong cocktail within arms reach.

I wash as many dishes as I can until someone relieves me.  I always turn down the first reliever, but once the second reliever offers to step in and take over, I hightail it out of the kitchen as soon as I can.

Before I bust that move, I dry and put away as many dishes as I can, sweep the floor, wipe off the counters, and give my wife a big kiss telling her she did a great job hosting.

Then I’m ghost.

 

How This Man Boils Perfect Eggs on Thanksgiving

File:Deviled Eggs - 3-23-08.jpgThis Thanksgiving my wife is making the deviled eggs. Usually, I don’t have much to offer when it comes to helping her cook. Today, however, I was pleasantly surprised when she asked me about my trick to boil eggs.

It’s not really a trick, it’s more of a system for boiling eggs. I do it whenever I boil eggs and get just about the same result every time: perfectly boiled eggs that are easy to peel.

All I do is put the eggs in a pot of cold water; just enough water to cover the top of the eggs.  Then I bring the water to a boil with the eggs in the pot.

After that, it’s super simple. Just turn off the heat and let the eggs sit in the water for 10 minutes.  I always use the timer to make sure I remove the pot of eggs precisely at 10 minutes.

Finally, I run cold water over the eggs within the pot to create steam within the eggshell. The steam created within the eggshell and cold water then makes the egg super easy to peel.

That’s it.

Although my wife can boil eggs just fine, the fact that I have this system made me worthy of seeking advice from today. I felt like the “boiled egg” hero as I carefully explained my trick to make perfectly boiled eggs.

Now I’m not sure if all men boil eggs like this, but all men should. Especially if they want to become the “boiled egg” hero in their house just like I am today.

On Thanksgiving Do You Prefer the Exception or the Rule?

On Thanksgiving tomorrow you will either experience the exception or the rule.

The rule for Thanksgiving is a big family dinner with turkey, dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce and all the other fixings.  The rule for Thanksgiving is watching the parade and football.  The rule for Thanksgiving is taking time off to spend with family and friends.

The exception is the opposite.  The exception is having dinner alone or with one other person.  The exception is eating dinner out at a restaurant.  The exception is Chinese food for dinner.  The exception is watching reruns of Law and Order.  The exception is working overtime.

Which type of Thanksgiving experience do you prefer?  What type of life do you prefer? Do you enjoy experiencing the exception or do you complain about it?

Shout Out to the Person Who Pushes You When You’re Tired

File:Statue of the Tired Man.JPG
Statue of the “Tired Man” by József Somogyi located in Makó, Hungary near the local museum.

It’s easy to quit when you’re tired.  When I reach the point of exhaustion, I always try to push myself to keep going. Sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t.

On the days that I think I can’t, when there’s someone there to give me that extra kick in the but, there’s a 99% chance that I find the strength to rise to the occasion.

I’m sharing this because of my experience tonight with my son at wrestling practice.

Practice consist of a 90 minute drilling session followed by 30 minutes of live wrestling. After that, there is another 15 to 20 minutes of conditioning. For a 7 year old kid, this feels like an eternity.

If that’s not enough, my son then “chooses” to climb a long rope up to the ceiling to top off what’s already a tough practice session.  Most days this is routine for him, but today he wanted to quit at the end.

In the spirit of teaching him a lesson on pushing himself when he’s tired, I encouraged him to dig deeper and keep trying to pull himself up the rope. What usually is a 60 second activity then turned into a 20 minute pouting fest.

However, when it was all said and done, my son pulled it together and found that little extra something he needed to get to the top.

On the ride home from practice, he surprised me by thanking me for pushing him and not letting him quit.  I smiled from ear to ear, because the last thing I wanted was him to be upset with me for being too tough.  I think it’s safe to say he learned the lesson.

That was the moment it hit me.  Everyone needs someone to occasionally push them when they’re tired.  Everyone occasionally needs a little tough love.

Yes, more often than not you must be able to push yourself.  The reality, however, is that having someone there to push you gives you a big advantage.

So tonight I want to give a shout out to all the coaches, parents, spouses, and friends who eliminate quitting as an option.

I want to give a shout out to those who see something in someone when they don’t see it in themselves; then give them the tough love needed so they can see it too.

I want to give a shout out to anyone who has pushed someone to keep going when they thought they couldn’t.

You’re an unsung hero who deserves recognition for doing what you do.  You don’t get much credit for being the asshole who delivers the tough love.  Yet, without you, many of us couldn’t keep going. So please keep doing what you’re doing.  The world needs you.

Two Important Lessons Learned 25 Days into My Daily Blog

File:Escribano.jpgI committed to writing this daily blog 25 days ago. Since then, I’ve wrote one blog post each day without fail.

There are two main things that I’ve learned since starting:

1. It takes more than 25 days to form a habit

2. The key to the daily blog is to sit down and write

Lesson 1: Blogging is not Habit forming

Habit formation is more difficult than attempting to reach some mythical milestone of days.  At one point, I was convinced that there was a 21 day rule to create a habit.  It turns out that this is a myth.

The reality is that you just have to force yourself to do what you said you were going to do. When I sit down to write a blog post it has nothing to do with it being habitual. Since my family life requires flexibility and adapting to change, there is no way I can set a specific time of day to write everyday.  As a result, the only thing I can count on is that sometime between 12:00 am and 11:59 pm I must FORCE myself to sit down and write a post.

I put “force” in all caps because this is literally what I must do because it’s often very hard for me to overcome this inner voice that tries to talk me out of it.

There is nothing magic about it.  It’s sheer will power to drag myself into my office and put my fingers to the keyboard. After 25 days, I don’t notice anything with this process changing or getting easier.  It’s brute force today just as it was on day one.

Lesson 2: Just Sit Down and Write

When I sit down to write, at least 50% of the time I have no idea what I’m going to write about.  Today is the perfect example.  All day long I used my idle brain cycles to think of a topic.  Nothing stuck.  Nothing motivated me.  I just couldn’t think of anything I wanted to share.

So when I sat down at my computer at 7:53 pm to start writing this post, I was flat out stumped.  I gazed at my screen for a little over 30 seconds, then I just started typing. Then,  waalaa!!!

This is not the first time this has happened either.  Time and time again I sit down thinking I have nothing to share.  All day my anxiety builds with thoughts that I will end my daily blog streak without breaking my 45 day in a row personal best.

Then I force myself to just start writing and suddenly I get inspired.

After 25 days of doing this, I can now say I trust myself.  Not only do I trust myself, I trust the process.

The Tough Loss vs. The Easy Victory – What Do You Choose?

boxingGiven no context, I’m 99.9% sure you would choose an easy victory over a tough loss.  However, let me provide a bit more context and see if your choice remains the same.

The tough loss provides you invaluable experience.  The tough loss grows your skills immensely. The tough loss humbles you and teaches you what you need to work on to get better.

The easy victory provides you with very little experience.  The easy victory doesn’t help you improve your skills.  The easy victory teaches you nothing about what you can work on to get better.

What’s more, this particular competition is not a championship or playoff type situation and there is no money on the line.

Which one would you choose now?

Do you value winning over learning? Do you value gaining confidence over gaining experience? Do you value racking up stats over racking up skills?

Obviously, there is no right or wrong answer.  However, if you’re honest about your answers, your choices will tell you the type competitive culture you’re comfortable with.

The Jellybean Life – How We Spend Our Time

Today I watched a viral video titled “The Time You have (In Jellybeans)for the first time.  This video has over 3.4 million YouTube views, so there’s a chance that someone has already shared this with you.

Just in case this is new to you like it was for me today, here’s the skinny.

It’s a 2 minute 45 second video that provides a visual depiction of how we use each day in our life.  It does this with various displays of vibrant jellybean art. A few of the surprising stats revealed by the narrator and displayed with jellybeans are that most people spend:

  • 1635 days eating, drinking and preparing food
  • 3202 days working
  • 1099 days commuting and traveling
  • 2676 days watching television
  • 564 days caring for others

This video is very well done and worth watching.  Please check it out below.  I hope you get as inspired as I did to get more out of each jellybean:

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An Easy Life is Not a Choice For Most

judgement-dayThe choice to live a hard life vs. an easy life is a luxury I failed to acknowledge in my response to my wife’s statement about waiting for the easy life. There is a much larger percentage of society who live a hard life by default.  We all know this, but many (myself included) often fail to account for this population as we pontificate our 1st world problems.

While I do subscribe to the pull yourself up by the bootstrap way of thinking, I’m not naive to the fact that you first need bootstraps before you can pull yourself up by them.  Unlike many in my community, I was fortunate enough to start life ahead of the game.

I am a third generation college graduate on my mom’s side and a second generation college graduate on my dad’s side.  Both my father and mother poured everything they had into me to help me grow into a productive member of society.  My wife also has a similar story.

This upbringing sometimes clouds my view of the world.  I sometimes catch myself criticizing those who struggle in life .  I criticize  because I judge them based on what I perceive as bad decision making. I criticize because I perceive them as lazy. I criticize because I think they can change their circumstances by simply working harder.

Yet and still, I cannot let myself fall into this trap.  The trap of thinking that I’m better than others because of the sacrifices of my parents and grandparents.  I have no idea how I would respond to the adversity of being born into a hard life. I never had a silver spoon by any means, but I sure didn’t have a wooden one either. I have no right to judge anyone’s struggle.

The Point in Life When Things Get Easy

Tonight, my wife made a statement that I found rather thought provoking.  She said in an unusually melancholy voice…”I keep waiting for the point in life when things get easy.”

My immediate response was that I didn’t think we were at the point in our lives where we wanted easy. She wasn’t in the mood to entertain my response and left the room before I had a chance to expound.

What I was trying to say, however, is that if someone wants an easy life they could have it by simply accepting their current circumstances as is.  They could just be satisfied with life as they know it.  They could avoid change at all cost, and live life without ever rocking the boat.

You see, my wife and I are entrepreneurs and just like 99.9% of all entrepreneurs, we’re the total opposite of this.

Entrepreneurs think life as we know it isn’t all it can be. Entrepreneurs are ambitious. Entrepreneurs crave change. Entrepreneurs yearn to rock the boat.

Entrepreneurs just don’t do easy. 

Easy may sound good.  It may even smell and taste good too, but easy sure doesn’t feel good to me.

I don’t know if I’m looking forward to the point in life when things get easy.  That may mean I’m almost dead.  What do you think?