Having a good answer to this question is more important that you might think.

Compassion for all

02/21/2016

You included.

If you wrote down the things that you say to yourself in your head—the critical, judgmental, harsh things you say reflexively—you would be horrified.

What if you countered those hash statements with ones of compassion and understanding? What if you trained yourself to show compassion proactively?

How would that make you feel after 30 days?

Don’t be selfish

02/19/2016

Why would you keep your gifts from the world?

I know it’s scary, I know it’s hard, and yes, you might fail.

But that’s kind of the point.

The bad news is you’re falling through the air, nothing to hang on to, no parachute. The good news is there’s no ground.

— Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Introduce two people who need to know each other.

Then two more, and keep going until you remember how dope your network is, how fortunate you are to know so many amazing people, and how great it is to have such abundance in your proverbial rolodex.

[This post is inspired by Ivo Philbert, Nkrumah Pierre, Michael Roderick, Pam Slim, and the other generous and thoughtful connectors in my life.]

The security and privacy debate continues to rage on in Silicon Valley. While discussions have been taking place for years in technology and academic circles, the very real implications of weak security were thrust into the spotlight most recently with the Snowden leaks.

Moral and practical considerations aside, there’s some interesting research around how people behave when they’re being watched—when they know they’re being watched, that is. The “I don’t have anything to hide” argument simply misses the point.

Alas, in 2016, true electronic privacy, security, and anonymity is largely an illusion. This doesn’t mean that all is lost. I would encourage everyone interested in this topic to spend some time thinking about why privacy matters.

Maybe not today

02/16/2016

Have you ever read a book that was recommended by others, only to find yourself let down by its content? Have you ever found yourself shocked at the power of a book after you read it the second time?

On the other end of the spectrum, I have books in my collection that I’ve read dozens of times, and I get something new each time.

I have no idea why it happens.

But it’s probably worth creating a routine where you read (or listen to, if you love audiobooks like me) important books—and yes, podcasts—regularly.

If you’d like, you can start with this one.

I was walking through Harlem last month and passed by a father and his child. The father was unloading some things from his vehicle, and his adorable offspring was attempting to scale the small, snowy mountain that had accumulated behind the car.

The child (who couldn’t be older than…however old children are when they climb snow mountains) was sharply scolded by his father and admonished against future, unsanctioned mountaineering expeditions.

I’m not a father and have very few ideas to offer about good parenting. As well, it’s entirely possible that that there were very good reasons for this child being instructed not to play in 36 inches of pristine powder.

But I can’t help but feel like the father could have used a therapeutic snow day. Maybe I’m judging. Maybe I’m a big kid. Maybe.

***

[This post if dedicated to my parents who let me play in the snow. Actually I’m from Florida, and we didn’t grow up with snow. But my parents did let me play in—and alarmingly, eat, according to photographic evidence—the dirt.]

Your tactics don’t define you.

Well maybe they do for you, but I’m arguing that they don’t have to. The way you do what you do, of course, can illuminate your character, but there is not always a direct correlation there.

There’s certainly power in seeing yourself as the kind of person who [insert commendable thing], I’m not denying that. That’s an important part of changing your psychology when you’re trying to foster a new pattern of behavior.

But it’s dangerous to define yourself (an ongoing self-narrative) by the things that you’re doing (potentially short-term tactic) to reach your goal(s). Tactics may change as you get closer to a goal, and you also run the risk of forgetting why you were trying to reach a goal in the first place.

Be clear (with yourself) and check in (again, party of one) often.

Mysterious Mind

02/13/2016

I don’t understand how my brain works.

I know how certain parts of it are expected to operate, but the vast majority of what takes place behind my eyes is an utter mystery. Sometimes I’m pleased with its output, sometimes I’m horrified by it.

Despite this, it’s an uncontested fact that focusing its attention pays enormous dividends. Not just the intellectual equivalent of staring at an object in space, but rather the thoughtful and sustained consideration in a particular direction. This—the careful contemplation of a topic—often yields surprising insights.

I can’t shoot like Steph Curry or write like Ta-Nehisi Coates, but I know that being effective at virtually any task worth repeating requires more than simply hoping in the direction of an unspecific outcome.

A million dollars

10/06/2015

What would having an additional one million dollars change for you right now? Since my site isn’t frequented by bankers and the wealthy elite, I’m going to assume your answer is, “a lot.”

What about $100,000? $10,000? Every dollar counts when you’re building a company like I am. But what matters most, it seems, is how we conduct ourselves in the absence of the thing we think we need.

When someone wires me the cash for my first million-dollar deal, I’m not going to pack up for the day and buy a Ferrari—I’m going to double down and ensure that I don’t have to wait as long for the next million and then the next.

No sense in holding back the million-dollar work ethic on this side of the cash. The work is still (and will always be) the work.