Why Raising Children Is Fulfilling

Mar 16, 2010

This weekend I was at a seminar, and I randomly ended up sitting next to a student who had attended one of my talks two years ago. During my talk, I did an exercise where I connected people who could help each other. During dinner, he thanked me and told me he found his business partner that he still works with today during that session! Wow!!!! Amazing!!!!!

It meant a lot to hear that. It is nice to hear that one’s actions are making a difference.

The reality of speaking is that the impact is intangible and most people won’t track you down to share the impact you’ve had. In many ways, one must act on faith beyond simply measuring the audience’s initial reactions and people who come up to you at the end of the talk.

Raising a child is different. You’re with that child every single day for hours at a time. You see the little changes. You see him/her mimicking your actions. Your child literally would not be able to survive without you. Even if Halle were never to see me again, there would be a sense of fulfillment knowing that I helped make her life possible and was her care taker.

It is fascinating to observe my thoughts on family and career transform.

What I Learned After Lying Motionless in Dubai

Mar 9, 2010

Note: This entry is a journal entry to myself, which I’ve decided to share publicly…

I’ve spent the past few hours lying motionless on a hotel bed in Dubai.

My body hasn’t acclimated to the time difference yet, and it thinks it should be frolicking outside right now.

So, instead of fighting it, I’ve essentially chosen to meditate, despite constant pressure from the mind to relive every seemingly random moment of my life and philosophize about it.

The biggest virtue I will focus on in 2010 is surrendering my addiction to thoughts and stimulation.

The biggest addiction I’ve had in my life that I’ve conquered is addiction to sweets.

In high school, I used to have 1/4 of an Entenmann’s Marshmallow Iced Devil’s Food Cake every morning for breakfast. Then, I used to bring candy with me to school and eat it throughout the day. I was always “hungry”, I always carried food with me too. In reality, I was just having withdrawals from sugar.

Fast forward to today, ten years later. I’ve had a handful of desserts over the entire year, and it hasn’t really been that much of a struggle. I’ve been working on my diet since I was a freshman in college. I actually eat much less now. When I’ve needed to fast for 24 hours for my religion, it has been very easy.

One of the biggest reasons I wanted sweets in my life (beyond the addiction) was that I felt like having dessert was one of the best ways to suck the most joy out of life.

Today, I look at the world much differently. Addiction distorts one’s mind. If we feed our addiction, then we justify it. When we justify our addiction, it becomes invisible to us, which means we don’t appreciate its impact, and we don’t endeavor to solve it. Why else would people choose to eat foods that will without a doubt shorten their lives by decades in some cases?

Addiction takes away our freedom to act independently and think clearly. It takes away our ability to appreciate now, because we’re looking for our next fix constantly.

The biggest addiction of our generation is an addiction to constant stimulation. We get this through checking facebook a million times per day, watching our favorite TV show daily, constantly refreshing our email inbox, or just incessantly thinking about the past or future.

I used to feel that not having dessert was bad, because I looked at it as a loss of sweetness. In reality, it is the freedom from the need to have sweetness. Paradoxically, this sweetens every moment.

I now choose to have leverage over myself. The path out of stimulation addiction for me is giving myself the freedom and space to not think and therefore, be bored. We don’t realize it, but the discomfort of boredom has a major impact on our lives. We don’t fully appreciate it, because every time we start to experience it, we look for our next stimulation fix.

Erasing my food addiction didn’t mean stopping eating all food. It meant stopping eating food for the wrong reasons. Our body needs food to survive.

In the same way, thoughts allow us to function in the world. If we are alive, there is going to be stimulation. The problem is stimulation for the wrong reasons. Stimulation will never truly eradicate boredom. It will only temporarily hide it. The only true antidote to boredom is giving yourself the freedom to experience it. Then, as resistance comes up in the form of desire for the next fix, one must surrender that. One must constantly surrender each impulse.

Here are the costs I see to stimulation addiction in my own life:

  • I make BS excuses about why something is absolutely critical right now. In doing so, I make it OK to be stressed. Research has just shown extremely conclusively that stress is just bad for your health. It is almost silly for me to eat really healthy on the one hand in the name of being healthy and then prematurely age myself by justifying stress.
  • The addiction distorts my thoughts and sharpness. As a result, I don’t deal with feelings of jealousy, frustration, and anger as they come up. Instead, I justify how I don’t have enough time for them. In reality, I’m just not comfortable with how they make me feel.
  • They distort my sense of what’s important. So, instead of focusing what’s most important, I might choose to check my email, read a random article on the Internet, or do an activity that impulsively makes sense. As a result, I’m pretending to be busy, when I’m actually just wasting time, and sometimes even causing more damage to my life than benefit.
  • I lose integrity with myself, because I know that I’m being hypocritical. On the one hand, I’m trying to be a healthy person who does what’s most important, but on the other, I know I’m not completely doing what I know already works.

The daily exercises I can do to free myself from this addiction on a daily basis include:

  • Meditation for one hour in the morning.
  • Meditation for one hour in the evening.
  • Three 10 minute meditations throughout the day at 10am, 2pm, and 6pm.
  • One 30-second ‘refresh’ every waking hour.
  • Only checking email and articles at pre-defined times.

In other words, I commit to spending about 2 and a half daily to surrendering the addiction. Feels scary and somewhat impossible, but I can do it! I must do it!!!

My dream life is having harmony between my intentions, thoughts, and actions. Taking these steps would allow me to live my dream life.

Using the regret minimization framework of Jeff Bezos, not living my dream life would truly be a regret for me. The ‘time’ sacrifices that it would require more than make up for themselves in the long-run.

My Vision for My Life

Feb 13, 2010

I picture my life becoming exponentially more rewarding, loving, challenging, and more peaceful than it is now.

I picture truly living every moment. By that, I mean constantly having my actions be in harmony with what I know is best and what my soul says is best.

I picture constantly setting a new standard for myself that scares me (ie – Oh my God, how can I replicate this XYZ over and over? That is going to be challenging!)

I picture the distance between realizing my own limitations and courageously confronting them shrinking. In that sense, I picture the realization of my limitations as joyous, because it also means their dissolution.

I am aware that I have not chosen an easy life.

It will often mean doing the EXACT opposite of what I feel like doing.

When I experience a challenge, it will mean confronting it.

It will mean looking under the rug in every area of my life constantly even when I don’t won’t to.

It will mean swallowing my pride, ego, and overall desire to be “right”.

I feel that I am being drawn to something with incredible gravity.

Oddly, the closer to it, the infinitely stronger it becomes and the more rapid the pace.

It will mean eating what I know will give me energy when others are eating what won’t.

This vision of life has not been changing for me over the past 10 years. It has only become more clear.

I am thankful for the vision which I see.

I am grateful that I know that I have the ability to realize it.

I pray for the courage to walk this razor’s edge in life every single moment.

What happens to me is irrelevant. It is who I am when it happens that is the work of my life.

Thought Experiment: How would I have to live my life in order to be remembered for thousands of years?

Feb 9, 2010

  1. I would have to not settle for the expectations of others as a way to gage success in my life. I must go far beyond what I or anybody else thinks is possible.
  2. I must respect the body’s need for relaxation while drastically increasing the intensity of my ‘on’ time.
  3. I MUST have butterflies every single day for what I have to do. Every single day, I must confront internal resistances that say I should vedge out, stay safe doing what is comfortable, etc.
  4. I MUST use every single moment to make the best decision. Every SINGLE decision is huge.
  5. I MUST not harbor any judgments of others…

As I’m writing this, I just realized that the individual list items are NOT most important.

Here’s what I see very clearly now…

Looking at the list above, I see that I’m using the word MUST repeatedly and capitalizing it repeatedly. That’s just it. Everything that I know is important is now a MUST.

There is no thinking about it. There is only doing.

E-Myth Mastery

Jan 30, 2010

I started listening to the first two hours of E-Myth Mastery. I think Michael Gerber is an honest author who is able to explore the core passion that makes entrepreneurs so successful.

He admits that his life’s work of helping people build systems for their companies doesn’t solve the core need for entrepreneurs to have a passion for what they do.

Passion and dreaming are fluffy words, and they shouldn’t be. Their results are real and tangible.

They lie at the heart of what inspires people to rise above their circumstances to realize a vision that is bigger than them.

It doesn’t matter how skilled of an entrepreneur you are. The second you lose that fire is the second that your business slowly or quickly starts extinguishing unless you reignite it.

My fire is living every moment to its fullest and being able to authentically share my experience with others. This is why I speak. This is why I write. This is why I build.

How can we build a system so that no matter what we’re doing or how we feel our fire is always lit? That’s the ultimate system.

What I Think in an Argument

Jan 30, 2010

I am afraid of being called out and admitting to ‘it’.

I know I was wrong.

I just can’t admit to it, because I will cry.

I don’t want to cry, because it’s embarrassing and shameful.

Am I just a bad person who can’t do anything right?

So, sure, yes I could have been better, but you could have too. What about when you did abc? What about when you did xyz?

We’re both not perfect, so don’t call me on this. We’re both trying our best.

Unconscious feeling: I want you to feel how I feel. I want you to be at my level, because I will feel better about myself. As soon as I see that I’m getting to you, I will feel better. I will say whatever I need to say directly or passive aggressively until I get that result. I’d rather be right than take 100% responsibility.


If I’m being honest with myself, this is the process I go through internally to the best of my awareness. I’m not proud of it. I don’t know exactly how it became that way, but it is. I take responsibility for it, and I commit to grow.

I appreciate the institution of marriage. A commitment to the right marriage is a commitment to face those feelings we’re able to hide from every single other person in the world.

I am inspired by someone like Will Smith who says he will die before he gets divorced again.

Even though, I resist it in the moment like a mad man, I appreciate being held accountable.

I appreciate being forced to take 100% responsibility, because I certainly wouldn’t otherwise.

No matter how little sleep we have had, how stressed we feel, or how [insert other excuse]; we must take responsibility for our experience.

Every time our hurt shows itself is an opportunity to create a new pattern.

No excuses. One life.

Living a Legacy – Journal

Jan 29, 2010

The only way to truly live a legacy is now.

A legacy re-contextualizes how one relates to now.

This week was an interesting week in that regard.

I’ve had more energy and inspiration than I’ve had in a number of years.

Wanting to express this inspiration to myself, I’ve stayed up late journaling, working, planning and visioning.

Waking up for my 6:15 hype-up calls with Arel Moodie and Doug Fath on three hours of sleep was not easy.

Literally, the first thought that came to my head when I was thinking about going back to bed was, “Did I just identify my legacy for the hell of it? Am I going to ignore doing exactly what I need to be doing to be living a purposeful and meaningful life for me?”

Public commitment has power.

There is a very strong sense of fulfillment that comes from following through on difficult commitments made to one’s self. This follow through creates momentum and the feeling that one can do anything simply by committing to it.

When I think about my life, and what I stand for in every moment, here’s what I think.

I forgive myself for what I’m not aware of.

I hold myself accountable to what I’m aware of and I know I have the ability to do. Period.

I know that I’m capable of being in a peak state throughout the entire day or being in a resting mode when I need to be.

I am capable of eating only the most healthy foods in the most healthy ways.

I am capable of not taking out negative emotions (stress, hurt, anger) on other people directly or passive agressively, ever.

I don’t believe in balance in the sense that most people mean it.

I don’t believe in eating unhealthy foods to balance out the good foods.

I don’t believe in watching TV to balance out the stress from work.

To me, it is most balanced to maximize what is the most healthy for your life and minimize and eliminate what is not healthy.

I am not against enjoying life. There are just so many healthy AND enjoyable things. There is no need to choose things that are enjoyable in the short-term and detrimental in the long-term. As one of my friends likes to say, “Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels.”

My biggest personal obstacle to growth is taking 100% responsibility for every emotion I have and not projecting my pain on to those closest to me so that I can feel better about myself. I do not have a solution that consistently produces the results I want in the heat of the moment. I have been humbled over and over and over and over and over (and over) again and again and again in this area!!! I sense that the solution is probably a simple one that I’m choosing not to be conscious of for some reason.

I pray for the resolve and clarity to take 100% responsibility for my experience of life always.

I want to know what I’m capable of. I want to know what it feels like to hit the edges and then breakthrough.

Time Management in School vs. Entrepreneurship

Jan 27, 2010

The difference between ‘school’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ time management is the difference between night and day.

The core of the difference comes down to prioritizing.

In school, your professors determine what you do via homework.

In entrepreneurship, especially in the beginning, you start with nothing except your business idea, and you must decide what to do.

In school, you’re graded by how well you do the homework.

In entrepreneurship, you are graded on WHAT you do just as much as HOW you do it.

How do you prioritize your time as an entrepreneur?

Here’s to Our Legacy

Jan 24, 2010

More than anything else in this world, I am inspired by the ideal of being one of the leading examples of human potential that history has ever known.

I am immensely inspired by learning about history’s heroes – people that lived hundreds of years ago who still inspire people today.

I am crazy enough to believe that I can lead a life that will inspire individuals many generations past when I die. I believe we all can if we choose to.

For the past ten years, I’ve been working toward this vision without sharing it with more than a handful of people. I think it is now necessary to live my vision out in public.

It is necessary, because what was stopping me was other people’s imagined judgments like, “Seriously? Who are you to say that? What have you done? You slipped up and did XYZ today. How does that fit into your legacy?”

I’m not going to say that I’m at a level where people’s judgments don’t impact me. What I will say is that I’m at a level where I am not going to let these fears stop me.

Ultimately, to be a person of legacy, I need to expect more of myself than anyone else ever could.

I need to be ruthless in letting go of what doesn’t work and adopting what does. No excuses.

I can’t judge myself by results alone. I need to judge myself by who I am in every moment when no one else can see me.

I know I am willing to do whatever it takes.

I think if we all lived close to our full potential, society’s “largest problems” would become irrelevant because they would no longer exist, because we’d solve them so quickly.

We are not even close to our potential. So, we have our work cut out.

Carpe Diem.

My Greatest Gift To This World Is Inspiration

Dec 19, 2009

My greatest gift to this world is inspiration.

My greatest gift from the world is that I experience it.

Inspiration is proudly ignorant. It is ignorant to the world of reality, science, and past experience.

One pure moment of inspiration can make all of our past experiences irrelevant.

Inspiration makes me believe anything is possible. When I was a child, I believed I could fly. I wanted to fly. Then it was to be #1 in the world in tennis. Then it was to be a billionaire entrepreneur making a huge impact on the world. Now, it is personal growth taken to enlightenment.

Regardless of changing targets, inspiration has and always will be the source of the journey. The same exact feeling of inspiration I had when I was a child is the same exact feeling I have now.

I may not know where to go or how to get there in life, but I know in my bones, in my heart, that inspiration is my core. I trust it. It feels more real than my senses.

Although I may not experience inspiration in every moment, the comparatively few moments that has visited me in this life, have given me the faith to move forward, to keep the dream alive, always.