To be completely honest, I’m too far gone (tired, distracted, buzzed, relaxed) to write an insightful piece today. It’s Friday, it’s the Summer, it’s my vacation weekend. I encourage you to take one as soon as you can – it’s good for you. How’s that for daily wisdom? Love you. Be back soon.
Your job will not take care of you when you get sick. Work will not bail you out of jail. Friends and family will. Put them first in your life. When embarking on your career, building companies or engaging in a hobby, make people a priority as a general rule. Culture and the success of your work stem entirely from the health, attitude and relationships of people surrounding the job. Treat them very well, take care of them – and perhaps they will do the same for you. The risk of taking care of others without the guarantee of a returned favor far outshines the risk of working eighty hour weeks alone.
Most of the people you know only relate to you in one environment. Work, dinner, parties, video games, home, yoga – one environment. A few more may follow you to a second environment. Very few – perhaps only a small handful – cross all boundaries. These people are your true friends – the relationships that cross time and space. We feel comfortable keeping people in little compartments of our lives, but it is important to let people out of those boxes and into other parts of your life. If anything, as an experiment. Who knows? You may connect with them on a different level. How can that be a bad thing? If you want to take a relationship to the next level or layer the connection more intricately, invite single note relationships to other places that play key roles in your life.
You know that gut feeling? The one that tells you to do or say something? The one that hits you like a hockey puck and knocks you over – almost without your permission? Yes, they call that intuition – and it’s a special gift. In the prehistoric days, intuition was the essential mechanism that kept us alert and alive in the wild. Today, it serves a far less animalistic purpose and yet still informs our judgement calls.
Acting on intuition can be a terrifying thing. No information, no data and no time to support your gut. What if someone judges you for it? What if it gets you into trouble? Takes you down the wrong road? What if you misunderstand your inner voice? What if you’re wrong?
You may not be right. But there’s no way to know ahead of time. That’s why they call it a risk. Many situations do not have time or the infrastructure for the kind of research most decisions call for. Sometimes you just need to listen to your belly and do something. It takes balls. Or ignorance. Or blind luck. Whatever it is, you don’t have time or reason to think. Just do it. And see what happens. Intuition can be a magical thing if used diligently.
Seems like such a silly little tool, but do not underestimate the power of pros & cons lists in helping you navigate difficult decisions. Simply getting your thoughts down on paper can help you better-objectify the situation. If you take the list seriously and generate genuine pros and cons in your brainstorming session, the visual key to how many thoughts land in each column can really help you clear the air and see the right choice. If you take your time and add to the list over a longer period, you will be surprised how objective the tool can be. I use pros & cons lists to assess almost all of life’s big decisions. As far as I can tell, none of them have failed me yet.
Sometimes it is not easy to pick between the comfortable and the random. We all have routines in some shape or form and find them difficult to break. Only when you break routine can you put your character to the test and grow as a person. The unknown may seem risky or distant from relevant – but you’ll never know for sure until you try. When forced to choose, always opt for the new opportunity (after, of course, you’ve done your due diligence). You have far more to gain from mixing up your life and taking chances on faith than keeping everything normal and under control.
Choose what you pay attention to. If your mind lingers on something that bothers you, that’s kind of your fault. You do not need to pay attention to it if you don’t want to. Same applies to good things. You can choose to ignore or focus on the glass half full. Up to you. Be stubborn enough to believe you can pay attention to what you want.
When you finally stop moving or take a break, your mind tends to press on and fill the work void with busy thoughts. Far too often, my vacations ripen with creative or intellectual juices. More momentum from busy days than anything else, I spend all of my free time theorizing, planning or creating the next big thing. Unfortunately, a busy mind is hardly restful. If you want a true break, you need to let go and stop thinking for a while. Zone out to some chill music. Go for a jog. Float down a river. Whatever helps your mind find a small measure of peace. With a completely rested mind, you will be surprised how many of your anxieties from before will disappear.
Tomorrow marks my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary. Not many people have had the fortune of being raised by parents who have stayed together that long. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for picking each other wisely and teaching me the value of a strong partnership. Thank you for making my brother and me a reality and putting up with our shenanigans. We all love you dearly and wish you many more years to come!
Money isn’t everything. Time, knowledge, happiness, autonomy, geography and output are all currencies that can be measured and prioritized in different ways. When job hunting, you look at more than just the salary – how much time you’ll get to spend with your kids, how far away it is, how much you’ll be able to learn and grow, what autonomy you’ll have and what you’ll be able to build. Sometimes, money is the most important and necessary thing to you. Other times, you might be willing to make a salary sacrifice to learn something specific or work closer to a place you call home. What matters most to you now? How does that affect your decisions? I find it useful to rank the currencies that matter at this moment. Do you need time more than money now? Do you want social outings more than the number of books read? Do you want a job that constantly teaches you new things or do you want an easy commute? Write it all out. Prioritize your life and make important decisions accordingly.