Friday, December 31, 2010

Quotes- Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Part 3

Part 1 can be found here.
Part 2 can be found here.
My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.
I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

I spoke about this earlier this week, the key to happiness is to focus on a small core set of values. Here Jobs describes it as realizing that with death we leave with nothing, so pursue what stirs our passions. It's important to note that he says to reevaluate your life if you answer "No" to the question "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" for too many days in a row. Everyday won't be fantastic so you must look at the path. Is the path the one you should be driving down? Does this lead to where I am going. One of the most practical lessons for me has been to construct your ideal life and build backwards to today. Does your path get you there?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

How I Lost 30 Pounds of Fat 2011

Howdy folks. Many of you read my story regarding How I Lost 30 Pounds of Fat over a period of several years as well as how I recommend others go about it. Many of you have asked me for advice based on these posts. So starting on January 17 we are going to do it together. I don't have thirty pounds to lose, but I would like to get to around 10% body fat which means losing 10-15 pounds of fat and would be the skinniest I have ever been. So without further ado here is the plan:

The Diet will consist of the following rules

- No white carbohydrates(this includes bread, potatoes, whole wheat, muffins, dairy, deserts, etc. etc.) only exceptions I know of are onions, cauliflower, etc. ie. non root vegetables

-Pick 3 or 4 meals for the week and repeat them This will help us maintain our diet and develop a no-thought routine that we can easily maintain.

-Don't eat fruit

-Eat breakfast and do it within one hour of waking

-20g protein per meal

-Cheat for 12 hours one day a week. Anything goes... anything and as much as you want

What we will not do:
-Count calories

-Not have our cheat day

-Go hungry

I will additionally be taking supplements to boost weight loss and engaging in ice therapy. If you would like more information on the diet or more details on the additional phases please email/facebook me. This diet and all that it entails can be found in the book 4 Hour Body. I recommend it for anyone wanting more background on the science behind the diet and additional information. If you have questions post in comments and I will answer. The diet starts Jan 17 if you would like to join in the fun. I will make some more posts outlining the best foods for the diet in the near future.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Quotes- Humility

Those who cannot feel the littleness of great things in themselves are apt to overlook the greatness of the little things in others.
-Kakuzo Okakura

I believe that the first test of a truly great man is his humility. I don't mean by humility, doubt of his power. But really great men have a curious feeling that the greatness is not of them, but through them. And they see something divine in every other man and are endlessly, foolishly, incredibly merciful.
-John Ruskin

American culture is one of independence. Carve your own path and live the American Dream; no one is stopping you. Yet the leaders that become truly great and develop lasting cultures are the servant leaders. Realizing you are not the first or the last, but one piece of the human experience allows you to harness the lessons, wealth, and knowledge of those before you and those around you. Learn to find value in everyone and everyone will find value in you.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Lesson in Simplicity

I hate Apple. I find most of their products inferior. They typically cost more, do less, and don't allow for customization or upgrades. For a tech guy it sucks, but there is a lesson here. Apple is successful because simple is beautiful. Take for example below the two remotes of Apple tv and Roku:

Apple TV Remote

Roku Remote

They both have almost the exact same functionality, but Roku is bulkier and has more buttons (five more to be exact). You don't need them. I used the apple tv yesterday and perfectly/intuitively navigated the menus using the remote in about 1 min. You hit what you think you should hit and it does what you want it to do. The Roku remote which I have used for several hours still makes me prone to make mistakes as I hit the home button instead of the back button or the menu button when I mean to hit the back button, etc. From a functionality point they are the same; from an ease of use stand point apple tv and its remote is better (I loathe typing this).

This lesson in simplicity is a metaphor for life. When we add things to our life we complicate it. It becomes more muddied, the choices make things more complex than we need them to be. Instead of adding more and more take a moment to reduce your buttons. Identify your core values for a great life. Then just press. Focus on the big things and the little things fix themselves.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Quotes- Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Part 2

Part 1 can be found here.
My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

Lots of great points made here. The most poignant for me is that life is a journey and happiness is a pursuit. If you aren't happy you keep pushing and keep searching. If you set yourself up to look for it, then it will come to you. Additionally, failure is one of life's greatest lessons. When we fail we learn more about ourselves than when we taste success. Failure either pushes us for success in our current field or causes us to pursue something else we deeply desire. Are not both outcomes ideal? Often, it takes a push for us to get started, a lesson. Ironically, most/all of the great men I have read about have had great failures. If you aren't failing then you probably aren't doing something innovative.

Part 3 can be found here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Quotes- 'Tis the Season

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

I hope for the weekend that you truly share in the joy of your family and friends. Blessed are we for we have much. Enjoy Christmas and God Bless you all!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Quotes- Learn from Others

Every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I learn of him.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

The world is so vast and diverse and the human experience so unique that no person can ever begin to encompass all that can be learned from life. It's impossible, and so we must learn from and rely on the experience of others. Everyone has something to teach us. Take interest in other people, you'll grow and most likely acquire a new friend.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Quote- You Are Not Your Possessions

That was one of many reminders in my life that you can’t buy your way into being someone interesting. Even if we ooh and aah over someone’s new car or gadget, our subconscious isn’t fooled. Deep down we know that purchases don’t define anyone...

What defines us is what we do with our time, both through grand accomplishments and our mundane daily habits.

A lot of people have the equation backwards. They do boring things so that they can have enough money to purchase what they think is extraordinary, and try to stand out that way. But it doesn’t work. We all know that status symbols are just symbols, and we instinctively try to peel back that layer of a person to figure out what they’re really about.

...I think money is great. It’s just a question of how to spend it. You can spend it on plane tickets and apartments in interesting cities, or you can spend it on Chinese-made items with luxury brand names on them. When you’re making that decision, just remember: it’s not the stuff you buy that defines you.

-Tynan You Aren't What You Buy

This puts into words one of my core philosophies. I've stated it before that value is in maximizing experiences with people you care about. I couldn't have said it any better so I posted the meat of the blog post from Tynan. I can't imagine a life where I work, buy stuff, work, buy more stuff, die. It's not for me. When we step out into the world and try something new those experiences illicit ideas and characteristics that forever change who we are. We become a new self. Transformation is permanent, a new object dwindles away from the day you purchase it. In buying my new car I've further strengthened that feeling. A month long trip to Europe and a new car were my two big purchases. I will have another vehicle, but my memories and my ideas that were created in Europe are changing me even to this day. What do you value?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Quotes- Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Part 1

This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?
It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

Part 2 can be found here

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Quotes- Ultimate Prize

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
-1 Corinthians 9:24

Reading this it would appear the most important nugget of wisdom is to run in a way to get the prize, ie. try your hardest. I used to think that as well, but then you look again. The defining part of this message is knowing what the prize is, and that is important. In fact, I was talking with someone yesterday about the pros/cons of moving away from your family for more money. It all depends on what your prize is (money or being with your family?).

So for one person the prize is to do the very best they can at their job sacrificing all else. Another may value quality time with family above all else; someone else is in between. You have to know what the prize is because otherwise you aren't even running in the right race.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Quotes- Live

He had decided to live forever or die in the attempt.
-Joseph Heller

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Quotes- Uniqueness

At bottom, every man knows perfectly well that he is a unique being, only once on this earth; and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvelously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as he is, ever be put together a second time.
-Friedrich Nietzsche

I'm reading On Becoming a Leader right now by Warren Bennis. One of the key tenets of the book is that great leaders fully express themselves and hold nothing back. Why don't we? I know at times I hold myself back for fear of social repercussions, and yet it's what we as humans are attracted too. Be unique, be real.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Quotes- Slow and Steady

Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up. Discharge your duties faithfully and well. Step by step you get ahead, but not necessarily in fast spurts. But you build discipline by preparing for fast spurts… Slug it out one inch at a time, day by day, at the end of the day – if you live long enough – most people get what they deserve.
- Charlie Munger

Charlie Munger long time business partner of Warren Buffett, is well known for not only being a great investor, but maintaining a long list of other interests as well. He's right, to do anything of value you must make slow measured steps. Big jumps will come, but our life and it's rewards are the accumulation of a lifetime of work. Small measured changes make a man not a flash in the pan change of course.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Quotes- Benjamin Franklin's 13 Virtues

Temperance: Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversations.
Order: Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; that is, waste nothing.
Industry: Lose not time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly; speak accordingly
Justice: Wrong none by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
Moderation: Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think you deserve.
Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes or habitation.
Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles or accidents common or unavoidable.
Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring; never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
-Benjamin Franklin 13 virtues

I'm currently reading On Becoming a Leader and Benjamin Franklin has been used quote a few times. He was a great man who's relationships with foreign dignitaries was a crucial cog in early America. A renaissance man he did a little of everything. A renowned ladies man and partier he didn't always maintain these virtues, but isn't that what a virtue is. Something we can strive for without ever perfectly achieving.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Quotes- Dogs

Dogs live faster than we do because it takes us a whole lot longer to understand unconditional love. It doesn't take a good dog nearly so long to figure it out.
- Unknown

Pets are great. They increase your happiness, health, and overall well being. It's actually been well documented. It's nice to have a buddy to come home to that is always excited to see you. Here's to our beloved four legged friends.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Quotes- Shake Them Haters Off

Don’t focus on the one guy who hates you. You don’t go to the park and set your picnic down next to the only pile of dog shit.
-Shit My Dad Says

There are 6.4 billion people on this earth. It would take you 292,327 years and some change to meet all of them. So why worry about what one person thinks? You shouldn't. Allow those you love to offer their criticism because they care about you. They want what's best for you, but don't for a second worry about the criticism of those you aren't close to. Chances are (read 100% chance) they don't have your best interest at heart.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Quotes- Patience

Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.

I hate waiting, A LOT. If I want something I go for it with aggressiveness. Sometimes though good things are worth waiting for, and when you finally get it; it's o so sweet. I have to remind myself begrudgingly of this often.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Quotes- Attitude Part 2

I believe the single most significant decision I can make on a day-to-day basis is my choice of attitude. It is more important than my past, my education, my bankroll, my successes or failures, fame or pain, what other people think of me or say about me, my circumstances, or my position. Attitude keeps me going or cripples my progress. It alone fuels my fire or assaults my hope. When my attitudes are right, there is no barrier too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, no challenge too great for me.
- Charles R. Swindoll

You ever recall an event with someone and they have an entirely different perspective? To the point that you can't believe they saw things that way. Perception is everything. The lens with which we view our world becomes our reality. Things are never black and white. We choose what we see and how we see it. Do yourself and everyone around you a favor. Look at the world as half full and share that joy with others. Good feelings and vibes beget more good things in our life. We attract what we perceive.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Quotes- Coco Chanel

Jump out the window if you are the object of passion. Flee it if you feel it. Passion goes, boredom remains.
-Coco Chanel

There is no time for cut-and-dried monotony. There is time for work. And time for love. That leaves no other time.
- Coco Chanel

Don't spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.
-Coco Chanel

How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone.
-Coco Chanel

Success if often achieved by those who don't know that failure is inevitable.
- Coco Chanel

A woman should be two things: both classy and fabulous!
- Coco Chanel

In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.
-Coco Chanel

I used to write a quote email for some folks that I worked with. One of the girls shared her favorite quote which came from Coco Chanel. I thought it was funny and collected a few more. She actually has a really interesting story and worked very hard to get where she did (are not all great successes this way).

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Quotes- Rising Above Mediocrity

Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.
-Albert Einstein

Only you know truly what you are capable of. To achieve something great requires you to perform above average. If you are just doing what everyone expects you to do where is the growth or the challenge. Rise above your expectations. Greatness is achieving what others said you could not.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How to Lose 30 Pounds of Fat Today

So my post on losing 30 pounds of fat was one of the most popular post I have ever had. Therefore, I wanted to do a follow up. What would I do if I wanted to lose 30 pounds today? Note that this is the biggest permanent lifestyle change I have ever made and therefore I feel that having gone through it I know what it takes. Note that this method would apply to any dramatic change.

Mentally Commit

This is often the most overlooked item and yet it is the most important. I would know that the journey is not easy by any means. In fact, I’ve gone 28 years with the same eating habits. That doesn’t change overnight. First I would make a list of why I want to lose 30 pounds:

• I want to look better
• I want to feel better
• I don’t want to die from heart disease the number 1 killer of Americans
• I want to be able to run around with my kids one day
• I want to feel confident in knowing that my body is at or near its best

This is important because my initial energy in losing weight will wane after about two weeks. So I have to have thought this through. Your want for something has to be defined and the core of why has to have been explored. I will also write out affirmations and post them on my bathroom mirror/computer/car to read every day because I know for such a dramatic change I will need the help. Examples include:

• I will lose 10 pounds in the next 6 months.
• I will not for the next thirty days (count this down). It’s not a big loss because I know at the end of thirty (count this down) I can have as many as I want.
• A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

Identify a Big Win

Next what I would do is identify for me what is the easiest thing to cut out that I know I want to change and will have a meaningful impact. For me this was soft drinks. Let’s assume I have three soft drinks a day. That adds up to 3,255 calories a week. A pound is 3,500 calories. So I decide I will remove cokes from my diet and instead drink diet sodas with zero calories. This is my big win. Just in doing this I will lose almost a pound a week and lose little. I will now focus on this big win for a month. Whatever else happens I will commit to this for thirty days. Other possible big wins:

• Two healthy food days a week
• No alcohol during the week
• Walking two miles a week

None of these changes are dramatic. For me eliminations in diet always worked best, but for some slowly adding in exercise has worked. In my opinion diet is easier because you just don’t buy it so you just have to not do something rather than exercise which requires you to do something.


After two weeks I will assess how I am feeling. Am I missing the cokes I have given up? This is my weakest point because the motivation and excitement has diminished, and I haven’t quite developed a habit. I consult with friends for encouragement and feedback on my progress. If this big win is just too painful then I may need to consider something else. Before I decide to quit I will read my goals and my affirmations and then realize that I only have to do this for 15 more days.
If I don’t remember what it is even like to have soft drinks and I don’t miss them at all then I add in another small change and reset my thirty day counter. Be very careful not to do too much too soon. We only have so much willpower and we don’t want to knock our path completely off course.

There are a few things I don’t recommend as well:

Just starting. The mental aspect is the most important thing you can focus on. In fact if you spent a week thinking about this and making notes I am not sure how possible it is to fail. You have to commit to it because this goes against the way you have lived your life up to this point. That is A LOT of time to reverse and it’s not something that will happen on a whim.
Doing too much too fast. This would be a fad diet or acquiring a trainer. This is the number 1 reason people don’t lose weight and keep it off. Lifestyle changes are what lose weight not fad diets. Diets are useful if you are at or near your ideal weight and want to hit a new maintenance calorie level. I tried diets when I was obese and I couldn’t make a complete 180 lifestyle change and stick with it. I was out of my comfort zone and the change was too much to maintain.

Keeping this a secret. The more people that know about your goal the better. This puts pressure on yourself to accomplish your goal. I highly recommend telling people that you know care about you because they will offer you words of encouragement.

Giving up before 30 days. You have to give something a thirty day period. The great thing about thirty day periods is that the end is near and it’s not really that far away. Once you identify your big win you really need to give an all out effort for thirty days.


I hope this has encouraged at least one person to give it a try. Most of the time after thirty days I no longer want what I had given up. I know after giving up soft drinks I felt better than I had ever felt. As for the journey overall, I will tell you first hand that it is extremely hard to do, but if you decide that you want it you can do it. Slow and steady will win the race.

Quotes- How to be Great

If you're thinking that the average person won't do this, you're right -- that's why they're average.
-Steve Pavlina

I remember thinking that if I found that one thing I was good at then I would be good without trying. It's the moviesque story isn't it. The phenom who just gets it. That doesn't exist. Michael Irvin was a great receiver and considered by many to have a natural talent, he just had it. What people don't talk about is how when he was growing up he would run every single day in a forty pound weight vest. A quote from Jason Garrett on a night with Irvin:

“So I meet him at the complex at 7 p.m. It’s 100 degrees. No one there but the two of us. I’m wearing grays (t-short and shorts). Irvin’s wearing his helmet, his shoulder pads, this big heavy weight vest he wore in practice and these hot rubber pants. We run metabolics, which are position-specific exercises. For receivers, that means running routes. And he’s running them.

“We do five sets of ten of these things. Not a lot is said. He runs a route, hard, catches the ball, walks it back, does it again. Stops after a set to swig some Gatorade. We’re doing 50, 60 throws, and after about throw 35, I’m sweating, I’m thinking, ‘I’m getting a little tired.’ He’s out there in his rubber pants and his big freakin’ weight vest running more routes. And I remember thinking, ‘This is why this guy is so good.’ And there’s not a soul there to see it.”

Gladwell, Godin, and a host of others have all said it. Being great at something isn't a gift, the mentality to pursue something so hard that you become great is the gift. Experts are made, and the road is not easy.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How I Lost and Kept Off 30 Pounds of Fat

It was 1993 or 1994. I remember clearly going to Texas Children's Hospital. I was scared because I knew I was going for tests and it must be serious because I was driving to downtown for said tests. I don't remember much about the day except for the explanation of my results I had high triglycerides and I would suffer from this for the rest of my life I was told. I was considered obese for my age and this was something I would struggle with through adulthood. I'm not 100% sure how I felt about the news at the time, but it probably wasn't like a million bucks.

I remember going home and being limited to two soft drinks a day (wow). Around May of 1994 my parents got a divorce. They fought all the time, and it was hardly amicable. It was really quite sad and painful. One effect of this divorce was that there was little time or attention to meals. I remember getting lots of fast food, which in an odd way was comforting. The turmoil of life around me was balanced out by the consistency of a meal. I can remember around this time getting egg mcmuffins on the way to school frequently. Looking back now I see that food became a sort of emotional crutch. If we were upset we got food, it's just what we did.

In 7th grade (1995) I believe I was somewhere around 5'4 or so and 180 pounds. This would be the largest I would ever be even to this day. It's tough being overweight in school, you get made fun of, girls aren't really attracted to you, and you just don't feel that great. Then things started to change. I started football which I loved with a passion. No matter what was going on at home, I could take it out on the field, and I would go hard. Playing made me start to at least think about athletic endeavors such as weight lifting and nutrition. I didn't make any drastic changes just small ones. Occasionally I would have a salad at lunch and I stopped drinking soft drinks. I recall just cutting out soft drinks made me lose ten pounds. I started to lose weight due to my increased activity and very minor changes in my diet.

By the end of junior high in 1997 I was leaner and more athletic than I had ever been. I had my first date and all that. Even though I was still technically overweight the loss I had already achieved 10-15 pounds gave me a huge boost in confidence. At the start of tenth grade I weighed somewhere in the neighborhood of 160. In highschool I began to increase my lifting due to football. I didn't lose much weight, but slowly started to replace fat mass with muscle. Diet started playing a role and I started to remove things from my diet such as fast food. By the end of highschool I weighed about 155.

When I started freshman year of college in the fall of 2001 I would play rugby for Texas A&M as a wing; which is reserved for the fastest players on the team. I was the third or fourth fastest guy out of about 50. I hadn’t turned into an Abercrombie model, but I was in better than average shape. It took 6 years. I went from one of the most overweight kids in my class to one of the fastest on my college team.

If you fast forward to today I weigh about 160 and have roughly a 12-14% body fat percentage. It took all six years. Diets don't work. I didn't do a fad diet. I made small measured changes over six years that I knew I could sustain for the long term. To this day I have an extremely healthy blood count. I apologize for not knowing my numbers, but my doctor told me they were "excellent". My triglycerides are in the extremely low range. My resting pulse is 72 or so and my blood pressure is around 76/112.

This isn’t unique to me. My brother had his own journey. He got up to 230 and now weighs 170, and he didn't play sports in highschool. You don’t have to copy exactly what I do, everyone’s path is different. He was as committed, and found the slow minor changes he could make to get fit.

Changing your lifestyle is not easy. It takes dedication and a commitment. You can’t 180 your lifestyle and all of a sudden be fit. It’s a commitment to small quantifiable changes. I don't know if anyone is in the midst of this, but if you are I understand. According to what doctors told me in 5th grade I should be extremely overweight (top 5%) for my age group. I should still have high triglycerides and be extremely unhealthy. Instead I chose my own path and changed my life; you can too.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
-Lao Tzu

Quotes- Fearless

When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is one of my favorites. Have you ever done something that you felt would be difficult or feared doing it and did it anyway. Often on the other side we realize the thing we feared wasn't worth fearing at all, and what was standing in our way was merely ourselves.

Quotes- What's Holding You Back?

When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is one of my favorites. Have you ever done something that you felt would be difficult or feared doing it and did it anyway. Often on the other side we realize the thing we feared wasn't worth fearing at all, and what was standing in our way was merely ourselves.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Quotes- The Path with Heart

Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn't, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart the other doesn't. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.
-Carlos Castaneda

Carlos Castaneda was an interesting individual. Regardless of one's opinion of him or his works his words focus on the simplistic pursuit of morality and happiness. Life is about doing what you love with people you love. Choosing a path with heart. It's that easy, and yet it never seems to work out that wayjavascript:void(0).

Why isn't is so simple? Part of the human experience is focusing on an end goal. Get to x. Inherently, it's what we do and yet life isn't like that. We don't judge a life by when it ends, but rather by the journey that was taken in between. It's very hard to do, but focus on the road. You choose the right road and you will reach the right destination; not the other way around.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Quotes- Thanksgiving

What if you gave someone a gift, and they neglected to thank you for it – would you be likely to give them another? Life is the same way. In order to attract more of the blessings that life has to offer, you must truly appreciate what you already have.
-Ralph Marston

One of my thirty day experiments was to list 10 things I was thankful for everyday in order to remind myself how blessed I truly am. Three weeks in I was overwhelmed at the realization of how fortunate and thankful I should be. To this day I consider myself extremely lucky and fortunate. Don't forget how blessed you are. Honestly, would you really want to be someone else?

Take tomorrow and this weekend to just share in the joy that is your friends and family. We are all connected in this great world and whatever energy we put out comes back to us. For all of you reading I wish you an excellent rest of the week.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How to Start the Job of Your Dreams Today

The first time I posted to this blog was January 28, 2009. This was actually the day I moved all of my posts from myspace over to their current location which you now read. The post on Lou Holtz is from August of 2008. So if we assume that start date I started writing this blog when I was twenty five and going in to my second year in big 4 accounting. Two years ago is a long time.

Looking back now I’m very glad to have recorded my thoughts, because I realize that we rarely remember much and what we do remember is highly distorted. For example, if you asked me to recall for you my trip to Europe last April and tell you everything I could remember, perhaps I could talk for an hour or two. Instead I journaled out the entire experience. Reading through the material I have hours upon hours of recollection. Many lessons I learned or feelings I had became muted by a faded memory, and reading through my thoughts rekindles my experience.

So when I started this blog the purpose of it was to record my journey toward discovering my life’s purpose. What did I want from life? I was coming out of college where I originally thought you were supposed to discover yourself and realized through my search that life is more about creating yourself.

If you had asked me my ideal job two years ago I’m not sure exactly what I would have come up with. It would have been something along the lines of a small business owner. At the end of the day I wasn’t sure. My resolve then was to pursue the things that interested me and to discover new and exciting adventures; which I did and continue to do. So I read quite a few books on small business, I subscribed to blogs by entrepreneurs, and I thought about and discussed these topics. Never knowing if I would ever use the information, nonetheless, I cultivated my interest.

And there is no dramatic montage here. In fact, my pace was slow and arbitrary at best, but I did SOMETHING. And over the course of two years I learned a lot. So yes the point of this post, in September of this year I found myself in a job that I found less and less interesting and more and more monotonous. I decided to check the job market. The market outlook for individuals leaving Big 4 accounting is actually very good. When I was searching I saw the typical jobs and actually got a great offer from a very good company above market price for someone with my experience. Now I must note that the story could have ended here, and it does for many. Get the good job work and succeed. Though occasionally, preparation meets opportunity…

I got a call from a recruiter who doesn’t recruit the standard big 4 market and decided to do one interview more out of courtesy than interest. In the interview I recalled my keen interest and study of small business and entrepreneurship. The recruiter then informed me of a position requiring much more experience (5-7 years) than I had, but perhaps with my background and outside interest I could land it.

I went and interviewed at aforementioned small company with less experience than the other candidates, and I wowed them. I discussed some accounting and finance improvements that could be implemented immediately to help the Company. Additionally, I outlined some financial metrics and spreadsheets that the Company could use to make business decisions based on financial information. This coupled with my self taught knowledge of small business and its problems allowed me to offer some beneficial suggestions. I got offered the job two weeks later.

Two years ago, I couldn’t have predicted I would be sitting in my own office about to give a financial presentation on the direction of a company I may soon have an equity stake in. But I am. And that’s life, we can’t know where it will take us. Instead what we can do is take our natural talents and interests and develop them. That way when the opportunity comes we can seize it.

We all are skilled for some particular job. And what that ideal job is you don’t know or you would be doing it. Instead may I suggest that you pursue your interests and discover what excites you and grows you as a person. Because perhaps one day when you least expect it, preparation will meet opportunity.

Quotes- No Regrets

Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.
-Sydney J. Harris

Have you ever passed up an opportunity only to have it haunt you for a long time? It's happened to me before. To the point that the torment of my inaction was far worse than any possible consequences. So I resolved to change that. I would just go for it. If it didn't happen fine; if it did even better. Don't be the old man talking about what he could have or should have done. Instead do it. Here is how I try to decide in the moment.

What’s the worst possible likely outcome?
What’s the best possible likely outcome?
Is it likely that I will regret doing this?
Is it likely that I will regret not doing this?
When faced with a hard decision (it’s hard because both outcomes are about equal) take the scary one.
Risks work best as a habit
-Tynan’s list of questions

Monday, November 22, 2010

Quotes- Friendship

Are not all lifelong friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling (but faint and uncertain even in the best) of that something which you were born desiring, and which, beneath the flux of other desires and in all the momentary silences between the louder passions, night and day, year by year, from childhood to old age, you are looking for, watching for, listening for?
-C.S. Lewis

True wealth is built from friends and family, from experiences and relationships — it is derived from a life filled with meaning.
-J.D., Get Rich Slowly

Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.

I value the friend who for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar.
-Robert Brault

I had an excellent weekend and it was the result of great times with great friends. If you don't currently have great friends in your life make that a priority; surrounding yourself with great people is probably the easiest and most well trodden road to happiness, if not the only one. To share joy and success with others is one of life's greatest gifts.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Quotes- George Bernard Shaw

Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
-George Bernard Shaw

A gentleman is one who puts more into the world than he takes out.
-George Bernard Shaw

The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them.
-George Bernard Shaw

All great truths begin as blasphemies.
-George Bernard Shaw

Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.
-George Bernard Shaw

He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.
-George Bernard Shaw

I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.
-George Bernard Shaw

I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation.
-George Bernard Shaw

Life contains but two tragedies. One is not to get your heart's desire; the other is to get it.
-George Bernard Shaw

She had lost the art of conversation but not, unfortunately, the power of speech.
-George Bernard Shaw

Some look at things that are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?
-George Bernard Shaw

Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.
-George Bernard Shaw

A famous playwright, Oscar, and Nobel Prize winner Shaw supported the challenge of status quo. I love quotes that sprinkle truths with clever phrases or thoughts, and Shaw often does that. Most importantly though he buttresses the belief that we are who we want to become and to free ourselves of our social or mental limitations is part of the human experience. Life is about creating yourself; there is no greater project, and when you die leave the world better than you found it. Be remembered through the accomplishments of others. To just change yourself has a limited affect. To change 10 people that change 10 more people etc. can change the world.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Quotes- Never Worry

Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.
—Marcus Aurelius

It will all be ok in the end. If it's not ok then it's not the end.

Don't take life too seriously, you'll never get out alive.
- Leonardo Di Caprio, Catch Me if You Can

Worry isn't fruitful because it assumes a lot. 1) You know what is going to happen and 2) Thinking about it will make it better. Neither one of these assumptions are true. Worry creates anxiousness which leads our fight vs flight response to wake up. This leads to stress which leads to unhappiness which waters down our quality of life. I remember in college I committed to not sweat the small stuff. It's small for a reason. I can't tell you any of the test grades I got in college, because they don't matter now. In fact most of the things we worry about have almost no impact on our future. As Seth Godin says don't give in to the lizard brain. If something needs to be done do it, worrying doesn't change the circumstance it just changes you; and not for the better.