Category Archives: General

Getting back into writing

For awhile now I’ve been thinking of getting back into writing, and I’m starting to get my juices flowing again. But having been away from it for some time with any great consistency is showing me I am a little rusty.

I have started writing some posts, but end up saving them as drafts. This is harder than it looks. When I am in a good flow, I can usually just let things fall on the keys. But like all things, when you are away from it for awhile, it can take some time before you get the “flow” again. Writing is no different — it can take some doing to get your brain to catch up with the keyboard.

However, there is no substitute for experience, and what it will take to get back into writing will take me to simply write, and write regularly. It is not about finding the right keyboard, the right mouse, the perfect pen or the ideal notebook. No, you only need to write, and write consistently.

Time to get started pounding those keys.

Read of a crashed Toyota Corolla.

Saying goodbye all over again

At the end of November 2018, I wrecked my Toyota Corolla. Of course, I did what any person in my situation would do: I went out and bought another Corolla.

Hey, the first one was a great car. Maybe the second one will be even better.

Some things just aren’t meant to last. Last weekend, my wife was rear-ended by a driver while she was stopped. I’m still navigating the ever-so-fun waters of insurance after an accident, but from the preliminary estimates, my car is totaled. I didn’t even make it two years with that car. In fact, I’ve barely driven it the last seven months thanks to the pandemic.

So much for the memories.

Thankfully, my wife and daughter who were in the accident, are mostly fine (the wife is still recovering, but isn’t 100 percent yet).

As for the car, it’s kind of a symbolic end for me. When I bought the car, I was a big mess. I was unknowingly severely depressed, still in shock from the death of my mom. I needed transportation, found it, and kept moving on.

Mom had a red van. Dad didn’t get rid of it until about a year after she passed away. At the time, I found it fitting that it was a red car. I realize I’m reaching in the symbolism department here, but it meant something to me. The red car came to me in a time of pain. And the red van stayed at my parents’ house for another year, and every time I saw it, I ached a little inside. I was so happy when I found out he had sold it, because I knew then it would be easier to move on.

And yet …

I almost wish I could sit in that van again. Maybe I could smell the residue from her perfume. Maybe I could hear the laughter of the grandkids who got in that van for a weekend getaway with the grandparents. Maybe I could see her again.

It’s October. My first child was born in this month. My mom died in this month. A car, and all its symbolism has been added to the list.

I have missed mom so much lately; icing on the layered cake of a truly insane year.

So yeah, I think my days of small cars are out. I don’t have any real reason, other than it’s time to make a change. I’m in no rush. I can take my time with a clear head and a more-healed heart, and replace the vehicle when the time is appropriate.

As silly as it sounds, saying goodbye this car makes it feel like I’m reliving the loss of mom all over again. Thankfully, I think I’m in a much better spot to weather the storm.

Making the present

Let the past die. Kill it if you have to. It is the only way to become what you were meant to be. — Kylo Ren in ‘The Last Jedi’

In July of 2019, there was an app that exploded in popularity across the internet. Appropriately named FaceApp, users could snap a picture, then alter the image using effects that could change their gender, add a smile where there wasn’t one, or modify their style.

But on social networks around the globe, one of the things people were most poised to do was use the aging feature and post the result of how the app predicted they would look like in the future.

I had to try it. I snapped a picture of myself (included here for reference), and then used the app to age me into a senior citizen. The result took me by surprise.

Picture of old man after using FaceApp.

I looked at this picture, and a thought initialized with a question only I could answer: “What does this guy wish he would have done different at my age?”

It’s possible this was the most important image I looked at this year.

Over the past few months I’ve been scribbling on notepads thoughts about my future. Since my mother died, I have been taking stock of my life. Am I were I want to be? What should I have done different? What does the future look like? What steps do I take today to try and reach that future?

Granted, there are things that are always out of our control. I will not worry about such things. Instead, I’m taking issue with the things that have been in my control. If I am honest with myself, and I mean really honest, I have had some fairly regular failures.

Yes, we all have failures. I definitely believe that failure is necessary for growth. But what I’m talking about here is consistent failures: mistakes I keep making over and over again.

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. — Romans 7:15

Whether its health, career, spiritual growth, finances, or family relations, I feel I have a pretty good handle on what I should be doing. I have read many books. I have tried many self experiments. I know what has the greatest impact for me in a variety of areas of my life, and I also know what doesn’t work that well.

However, I am never consistent. I typically go through long periods of being fully on or fully off. I call it my “switch,” and I’m always toggling back between a fully open or closed state.

I am exhausted by the switch. It is something I am always waiting to turn on or off, instead of something I am actively pursing. I am done with this.

It is easy to look back at the past year and see the good and bad. I am finding it much more difficult to look back a decade do the same review. Not to say I can’t remember the past decade, but rather it’s difficult to look back at the past and see it all too well.

All his life has he looked away … to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was … what he was doing. — Yoda in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’

Since I have moved away from where I grew up and lived half my life, I have felt like I have had my feet planted between two worlds. Instead of using one as the foundation for the other, I have been kind of stuck between the two. It wasn’t too many years ago that I was considering moving back. I would find a job, move the family, and then continue on with life. But the door for a move like that closed, and I stayed put. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it is almost like the door closed for a reason. I needed to go ‘all in’ where I am in life now, but I didn’t fully see that then.

I do now.

This is time of year when people typically make out their resolutions or goals for the upcoming year. I am no different, and often post them online, then do a review at the end of the year. There’s great power in attempting the start of something new at a set moment in time that is meaningful to you like the beginning of a new year, month, or a special date. (Related: check out the awesome book “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg.)

I have goals for everything I have mentioned here. I have deep desires to reshape almost every area of my life. But this time, I’m not going to publish these goals. I have them written down, and I will review at a later date. Until then, I will do the work.

If there is one thing I will publish publicly about how I hope my future will become, I will put it simply as this: My goal is to be unrecognizable at this time next year versus who I am at this moment. I am ready to put my past behind me, and move toward a more consistent and stable future.

The only way I will get there is to have my mind on today, and start making my present. Otherwise, the future will end up like it always has, and I’m no longer happy with that.

Here’s to a new year, and to making the present. Have a great 2020!

Dear men: It’s time to grow up now.

Disclaimer: Lest this comes across as me being better than anyone else, I assure you that I have done plenty of stupid, idiotic things. Many I wish I could go back and undo, but I take solace that I have learned from these things, and in turn, tried to better myself from my past experiences.

When I was in high school I became good friends with a girl that was a year younger than I was. She ended up becoming one of my closest friends. Over the years, we shared deeply intimate things with each other, and have dealt with some heavy problems together in our lives. When my mom died, even though my friend lives across the country, she was and is still there for me to give me strength.

She was a lot of fun to spend time with. She was artistic, loved listening to The Eagles, and was into super heroes (specifically, Wonder Woman). We talked for hours and hours on end. I think we were just normal enough, and still weird enough, for each other that it made a great friendship.

We were never romantic. It was, in a very pure form, friendship.

Because of my relationship with her, it helped me to understand friendships with the opposite sex better. As an adult, I have gravitated to find more male relationships in my life so to better understand how I relate to the world with men who have shared similar experiences. But I do still have friendly relationships with women, and I’ve learned some very interesting things over the past few years. And now, I’m so pissed off about it, I simply want to vent. I’m fairly sure this will never reach the audience it should be read by, but on the off chance it will, here it is.

Dear men: please stop. It’s time to grow up now.

Of course, there are plenty of men out there who this doesn’t apply to, so please feel free to ignore.

But for those of you who just can’t help yourself, I say it again: It’s time to grow up now.

In the past few years I’ve seen some pretty awful things done by men. Here’s a few lovely ones.

  • During a divorce, a man drained his wife’s retirement account to which he had access.
  • Another man routinely threatens violence against an ex-wife as a form of control.
  • I’ve heard man, many accounts of alcohol causing problems in a relationship, until the woman is finally driven away because she couldn’t take it anymore.
  • I’ve seen men who can’t keep a job, refuse to do anything to better themselves, or drag the women in their life along a hellish financial nightmare.
  • I know a man smokes around his children even though he knows they have asthma.
  • And a story I’ve heard more times than I can count from so many women that I’ll paraphrase it this way: “We’re through, but he won’t stop texting or calling. I fear it will never stop. He’s always so mean when he texts me, and because we have (children/property/etc.) together, I still have to keep communication open with him. I wish I could never hear from him again.”

What these “men” don’t realize is that they are leaving behind a legacy. Their friends have all heard these stories. Their children see everything they do and soak it all in. Their employers shake their heads in disbelief.

So in case I wasn’t clear: Dear men, please stop. It’s time to grow up now.

I recently went to a funeral for a former mentor of mine. It was honestly one of the best funerals I have ever attended. There were magnificent stories about his passion, his devotion, his dedication to his craft, about his spiritual discovery, and about his relentlessness to enjoy life with character and dignity. I came home from his funeral with a newfound fire. His funeral was absolutely inspiring to me, and re-lit something I felt I had lost in the last few months.

Although we’re in a time of morning for the loss of my mother, I am highly inspired by my father. He had an unwavering love for my mother. Mom once spent several months in Colorado away for schooling to become a nurse practitioner, and upon her return he had hung a giant sign on the side of the house that said, “WELCOME HOME LINDA.” I watched him defend my mother’s honor once in an ice cream store when some jackass said something inappropriate under his breath. He was always stable, took care of the household, and the kids, and even though he really doesn’t give two hoots about football, showed up at every game I ever played in.

Men, I implore you: It’s time to grow up now.

There are men who have gotten completely screwed by the system. Because courts tend to favor the mother when a relationship ends, I’ve seen men get the real short end of the stick. I know men whose former loves have taken away everything from them in a very unfair way. This is a reality that exists. But I’ve also watched these same men go through these trials and keep their cool as I watched with amazement. Frustrated, yes. Broken, absolutely. But the ones I’m thinking of have done so with a level of dignity. They know they are being watched, and want to come out on the other side of their problems stronger, and with their character in tact.

Those are not to whom I am writing to. To you men who can’t seem to get your life together, who have made substances your main form of entertainment, who have absolutely no direction in life and aren’t even making steps to find it, this is for you. Surround yourself with men of good character, and discard the waste.

Men, there’s still time to make a new legacy, one where you’ll be remembered not for what you tore down, but what you chose to let go of and rebuild.

It’s time to grow up now.

Alone, together

It is interesting to have children of varying ages under our care. My oldest daughter is 11, my youngest daughter is 9, and my son, the “baby,” will turn 4 next month.

There was a time when my daughters were inseparable. We have such sweet pictures of them playing together, laughing, having a great time. One favorite picture of my daughters has them asleep in one bed, one with an arm straggled across the other, sound asleep. It’s a lovely memory, and I’m happy we have it captured in digital preservation.

Of course, as they have gotten older, they have grown apart. The oldest daughter is expanding her social circle and learning to grow in a complicated world. The youngest daughter has ADHD, and her interactions with others can bring challenges with family and friends alike, and we’re constantly testing different strategies to help raise her in a manner where she can get along peacefully. The problem with a disorder like ADHD is that, unlike the afflicted who have a physical representation of an illness — crutches, wheelchairs, or obvious physical impairments — the lack of physical reminders can make it easy to forget that she has challenges that others simply do not face.

There’s a lot of tension between my two daughters. On the flip side, my son is still a ball of cuteness. He’s playful, he’s sweet, and even his tantrums can be funny to watch. Sure, he can be a handful at times, but most of his faults can be glossed over for a time because, like I mentioned before, he’s still the baby.

The more I observe the different dynamics between my children, the more I can’t help but think about the troubling adults of this world. We seem to be losing civility and the ability to embrace our differences at every angle. Venture online, and just about every comment section on any public forum devolves in a short amount of time to name calling and dismissiveness.

It appears to me that social media seems to be at the heart of all of this. We’ve grown apart physically as a people, and when the majority of discussion ends up happening online, it’s amazing how that feeds into a downward spiral of negativity. I’ve heard this called digital courage, where someone feels brave enough to engage in name calling and vitriol that ultimately leads to the disintegration of relationships. There are things we would never say to someone else face to face, but take it online, the outcome is different. We disagree, we fight for a few paragraphs, and poof — I guess we won’t be friends anymore. See you later, jerk.

But man, my latest photo looks like a million bucks. I’ve got eight likes already.

This isn’t limited to online interactions. There are family members and past acquaintances I haven’t talked to in years. I have tried to extend an olive branch, but when nothing is reciprocated, what can I do? In turn, I end up more bitter than before, and the wounds create a thicker scar. Nothing is resolved, and no healing ever comes.

I am easily as at much fault as anyone. I have online connections who are also within a reasonable geographical distance from me, but I’ve done nothing to attempt to get together and have in-person dialogue with most of them. In turn, I feel more isolated than ever before.

This isn’t how I thought adulthood would be. I envisioned I would have a group of regulars that I would interact with. Our families would get together and share dinners at each others’ homes. Our children would get to know their children. I would always have someone to go see a concert with. My wife would always have a close confidant to hang out with for a ladies’ night.

But, that’s not how this is all working out. And honestly, I’m not sure how to fix it.

Please don’t read this as some kind of sad pity party or anything like that. I live a happy life, and I’m excited for what the future holds. I just find it truly amazing how lonely and isolationist adulthood can be, even when you’re often surrounded by so many people. Perhaps the really sad thing about this is, I know for certain that I’m not alone in my thoughts on this.

I suppose what I long for, what truly aches at my core, is this sense of a loss of community. We’ve lost it in our neighborhoods, our friends, our families, and especially in the last frontier, online.

Maybe someday we’ll figure out how to live together and truly bond with others. But for now it seems we’ve learned to master how to live surrounded, but alone.

Mission accomplished

When I started the year I had but one goal: to pay off all our debt in 2018. As of Friday, June 15, 2018, that goal has been met.

I haven’t written much in this space this year because I’ve been very busy working on that goal. Instead, I’ve been journaling about our debt free journey at

There’s a good chance I’ll return to writing more here in the coming months, but for now it’s time for a little breather before I get back on the horse. I still have more to say on the BabyStepper site, if you’re interested in reading more about this amazing journey we’ve been on the last 21 months.

Here’s to a great rest of the year!

One year later: moving

It was one year ago today I moved my family from Lawrence, KS to Kansas City, MO.

If I am completely honest, I spent the first six months feeling like I was living in exile. I was born in Kansas, and had lived there most of my life. I lived in Lawrence for 16 years before the move last year. It was both easy to do because of my daily commute, and incredibly difficult.

The hard part was in the beginning. I was afraid we made the wrong decision. We didn’t know anyone. The kids had no friends, and my wife was in completely new surroundings. Nothing was familiar. Actually, that’s not entirely true. Nothing much changed for me except going from a 50-minute commute down to 15 minutes. I still worked with the same people, I know my way around the city pretty well, and I blend into new environments with ease. I thrive on change and unfamiliarity, and my wanderlust had been in overdrive for awhile before we left.

Most of my family seemed a little in shock at first. Little by little, we started exploring our new surroundings. We’ve found new favorite places. We met new people. We learned how “these people” (Kansas Citians) are, culturally. We probed, we absorbed, and we adapted.

I can’t pinpoint an exact time when I realized things were going to be OK, and that there was no looking back, but I can remember some events. It was little things, really. Like when my wife said, “I got to the store without using my phone!” It was when my daughters found new friends in the neighborhood. It was pictures of my son playing in a stream during homeschool outings.

It was when I saw smiles. Smiles were a good indicator that things were going OK. Smiles put me at ease.

A friend of mine recently mentioned that he perceived I had some animosity for Lawrence and/or Kansas. I played it off a little, stating my position. I made some justifications. And then, I thought about that statement for the rest of the day.

He’s right; I have given off that vibe. I realize now my feelings since moving were a little misguided. It’s classic “Who Moved My Cheese?” and I got sucked right up in it. You see, I didn’t want to move. I love Lawrence, and it was a fantastic home. I got married there, and my three children were born there. My current career path was born there. In many ways, I truly became a man there.

I just wasn’t meant to stay there, and it’s taken me some time to reconcile that. I believe I have.

Sometimes when we’re coming back to our place after a family outing, my son (currently two years old) will begin to notice familiar surroundings. I am not sure what he sees. Is it the trees? Is it the street signs? I have no idea.

But when those items come into focus to his little eyes, and the mood hits him just right, he will perk up and exclaim, “It’s home!”

It sure is.

Goodbye, Lawrence

Goodbye Obamaville

It’s things like this that make Lawrence special in its own, odd way. From the story:

It has taken me awhile to write this post, but I’m really glad I waited until I was fully ready.

Of course, it’s not like there was a time limit on this sort of thing. But when you live in a place for as long as I lived in Lawrence, KS, it feels like I owe her a goodbye letter.

What a ride. I moved away from the only area I had known as home from the southeast Kansas area to Lawrence. in March 2000. I was working as a reporter for a small-town newspaper in nearby Eudora, which had a familiar feel to where I grew up, but Lawrence was a whole new experience for me.

Streets were unfamiliar. I got lost a lot. I didn’t understand this whole thing about the Phog. Why is there a guy standing on a corner of Mass. Street with a sign that said “Honk for Hemp?” Who is this dude that walks around town with the black beret flashing everyone the peace sign? What about that guy who pushes a cart around downtown with a mannequin?

There were strange things in Lawrence, and I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first. That first year was rough. I didn’t know anyone, and I mostly stayed in my studio apartment — which cost twice as much as the same type of apartment back home — watching movies I’ve never heard of from Liberty Hall. Not only could you rent movies from there, you could go see a movie on the big screen and grab a beer while you did.

But with KU having the appeal that it does, I soon learned that some guys from back home were going to be renting a house together. My lease was ending, and I was asked if I wanted to live with them. My life took another turn after that. I bonded with these three excellent men. We had amazing discussions about music, philosophy, religion, politics, and women. We played music together. We sharpened each other. It was fantastic. Lawrence’s culture helped foster an environment where four men could come together and grow in such a spectacular way.

And then I met the woman who would become my wife. She has since has told me it was a longtime dream of hers to move to Lawrence. A former military brat, she lived in Manhattan, KS. for her high school and undergraduate college years, but made the move to Lawrence to pursue her graduate degree.

She got the degree, and I got the girl. Eventually I got a job working for the City of Lawrence. Up to that point, I was driving elsewhere for my work, but it was that job that made me really feel like I was turning into a townie. I loved that job. I loved living and working in Lawrence. I put my heart into it, because Lawrence had my heart. We had a kid. A few years later, we had another. We bought a house. And then we added one more kid for kicks.

I really thought I was going to live in Lawrence forever.

But around 2012, things started to shift. A friend invited me to come apply for an open position and work with him at the City of Olathe, but it took me awhile before I could muster the guts to do it. Could I really leave working in town? But the opportunity to work with a group of people who were doing some more advanced work than I was doing alone was too good to pass up. I got the job, and went back to commuting.

It was the beginning of the end of my life in Lawrence.

I ended up moving from that job after a few years, and left the public sector. I began to see a bigger picture: there was much more opportunity for better wages, more things for the family to do, and less expensive housing if I was willing to move away from Lawrence. I felt a pull to Kansas City, but the decision didn’t come easy. We would have to sell our house, and move the family to a totally unknown area. I wasn’t sure I could leave, but I wasn’t sure I could continue to stay. I tried to find a job where I could work from home and stay in Lawrence, but nothing panned out for me.

We put our house on the market. It was under contract in six days. And on July 23, 2016, we left Lawrence for a new life in Kansas City, MO.

Leaving wasn’t easy. But I’ve had some time to really think about it, and it was the right decision. Lawrence’s housing market is overpriced. The job market is depressed job market (unless you want to get into food service, hope you like Mexican food!), and there doesn’t appear to be a vision for where the city will go in the coming years. Add to the mix that the city is in a state where the leadership is driving the state finances into the ground, and the prospect of the city becoming anything more than it already is doesn’t seem good.

That said, there are things I really miss about Lawrence. We left many friends behind. I miss my familiar haunts — places like Amici Italian Market and Deli, and Munchers Bakery — and the many wonderful parks we would take the kids to play at. I loved the group of bright minds at Lawrence Coders, a group of developers who live in or around Lawrence. Their insight helped shape my career.

If I think about it too much, I get a little angry. Why didn’t the city I love so much take its amazing potential and turn into something magnificent? The disparity between wages in Lawrence versus Kansas City is obscene. And according to the number of cars I saw on the interstate with Douglas County tags, many others had figured out that there was better money to be made elsewhere.

But, the move wasn’t just about money. At least, not fully.

Shortly after we got married, my wife took a job for the Lawrence newspaper throwing these ad-filled newspapers to everyone who wasn’t a subscriber to the actual newspaper (it was really just analog spamming), and in exchange we would get a discount on our cable/internet bill.

I helped her do the work, and we got assigned to a fairly nice part of the city on the west side. I noticed something about the houses we threw those paper to: there was often no one at home. There we were, spamming people at 6 or 7 p.m. at night, and these big beautiful houses had no one at home. I finally figured out why: they were off somewhere working to pay for the house they had in Lawrence, but weren’t home to enjoy it. That experience made me realize we weren’t going to be one of those people, and when the time came to make a decision, we chose moving over a life of commuting.

You cannot save time. Time is a resource that is spent whether you like it or not. But you can make choices to spend less time doing the things you hate and more time doing what you love. I wanted more time with my family, so the move was essential. I wasn’t going to throw almost two hours away every weekday to commuting anymore. I was done.

I loved Lawrence. It’s a city that taught me so much about myself, about how it’s OK to be different, about how to really love your community, and about how to stand up for what matters in a way that has dignity.

In the months since we’ve left, I’ve had moments where I find myself missing certain things here and there. I realize this is a good thing. It’s the sweet pain of love.

And so, Lawrence, goodbye. I really enjoyed my time with you. You will always have a special place in my heart.

A photo posted by Eric J Gruber (@ericjgruber) on

Forty lessons learned by 40


Today is my fortieth birthday.

This is going to sound strange, but I love turning 40. First off, I love that black (my favorite color) is the theme for turning 40. Secondly, I love the wisdom that is starting to come with age. I’ve got these white whiskers in my red beard, and I love it. I embrace my aged look. I like to think of it as patina. 

I truly believe I’m embarking on the most exciting decade of my life.

As is common with this age, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the lessons I have learned over the years. Let’s just get into it. 

  1. Celebrating birthdays is kind of silly. We should really be celebrating my parents who brought me into this world, kept me alive, and raised me in a safe and loving environment. 
  2. I haven’t had a greater thrill in my life than seeing each of my children being born. If I could bottle up the emotions that accompany watching that experience, I’d be a wealthy man.
  3. It is far cheaper to buy an expensive item with quality, than to buy several cheaper items of poor quality.
  4. Once when I was a kid I asked my dad what makes a curse word a curse word. He told me it was the connotation that society places upon a word that makes it a curse word. I reject that idea. I think a four letter word is trivial compared to telling someone they are worthless.
  5. Don’t air your dirty laundry online.
  6. Learning to play guitar is forever cool.
  7. Never wear pleated pants.
  8. Student loans are evil.
  9. If you’re too comfortable, that’s probably a bad sign unless you’re on vacation. Don’t get too comfortable.
  10. Fear can be an incredible motivator for self improvement. Embrace it and use it to your advantage. We must move in the direction of our fear.
  11. Don’t worry about what other people might think about you. They’re not living your life; they don’t know what you are going through at this moment.
  12. I have never gone wrong dressing nicely for an interview.
  13. Visiting other cities, other states, and other countries taught me to appreciate the life I have at home so much more.
  14. If something, or someone, seems too good to be true, it’s a very strong possibility that is exactly the case.
  15. Never use your children as a weapon.
  16. Don’t love things, because you are only a natural disaster away from losing it all. Then you will find out what really matters, and it isn’t your possessions.
  17. If you don’t have at least one vice, I don’t trust you.
  18. There are things I’ve said and done, all the way back to my childhood when I didn’t really know better, that I still feel awful about saying and doing. The tongue is a sharp sword, and the mind an incredible snare that can remind you of your worst transgressions.
  19. Beating yourself up about the past has no value. Move on, grow, try to not make the same mistakes in the future.
  20. There are people who come into your life who are toxic. Get away from them; they are poison to the soul. Some will come disguised as co-workers, some as friends, some as family. Get rid of them.
  21. There are people who come into your life who will change your life for the good. Some of them are teachers, some of them are co-workers, some of them are friends or roommates or family. These people are nectar to your soul, and you’ll miss them always when they’re not a regular part of your life.
  22. Time off is essential.
  23. The best things in life aren’t on a computer screen.
  24. If you write a book, the mileage you’ll get out of that will amaze you.
  25. Always tip 20 percent unless the service warrants less.
  26. Consume less and create more. The world needs your creations.
  27. If you come up with an idea of something you want to try and someone tells you “that’s a terrible idea,” them screw it and try anyway. Best case scenario is your idea is successful. Worst case scenario is your idea goes no where but I bet you will learn a lot from the experience.
  28. Experience is an excellent teacher. This can be a hard pill to swallow.
  29. Your spouse is your mate; don’t turn her into an adversary.
  30. You are going to figure out that you are wrong about some things. When you are given the choice between embracing the truth and “sticking to your guns,” don’t be an idiot.
  31. Don’t get too wrapped up in politics. No, really. 
  32. The best way to handle a compliment is with, “thank you.”
  33. The best response to someone who has lost a loved one is “I’m so sorry for your loss.”
  34. Never auto schedule posts to social media.
  35. Yes, riding a motorcycle is as dangerous and as fun as it looks.
  36. With a few exceptions, there are no bad decisions. Rather, there are decisions and then you need to figure out how to deal with the outcome.
  37. You have to work really hard to be a true failure.
  38. Date nights are important. Don’t neglect them. They pay off dividends.
  39. Figure out what you want, and go after it. Beware of the things that will try and stop you. 
  40. Don’t put things off. Nike’s “Just do it” isn’t only a marketing phrase but rather, a philosophy.

Two books for vacation reading

The holidays are almost here, and you may find yourself with a little time to crack open a book. Here are a couple of suggestions that are both quick reads, but packed with excellent philosophy.

QBQ: The Question Behind the Question

Author’s website

Overview: This is a book about personal accountability both in work and in life. QBQ is one of my favorite books because it pings at your brain to always be thinking about the struggles you face daily. “Is there something I can do to make this better? What role can I play that can benefit a greater purpose? How can I own problem and turn it into a solution?” 

Warning: This book may give you a low tolerance for people who whine too much.

The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials Into Triumph

Author’s website

Overview: This is a fascinating book about the merits of stoicism. “How can I face adversity (without complaining) and see it as a benefit? What kind of person welcomes struggle?”  History is littered with examples of people who embraced stoicism and ran with it to change their lives and the world. Based much on the writings of Marcus Aurelius, the author invites you to look at the obstacles in your life and see them for tremendous opportunities to reach another level in your own personal development.

Please let me know if you end up reading any of them. I would love to know what you think.

Author’s note: I originally published on an internal blog for work, but I also wanted to share here also.