The power of choice

“I have to.”


“I choose to.”

No matter how hard we try, we can’t control external forces. They are outside of our control for a reason. If you live in this world, things are going to bump into us (and we will bump into them).

However, you always have the ability to choose.

Sure, we may not like our choices we have available to us. But…

If we don’t choose, then someone or something else will for us.


Guardrails don’t restrict us from having fun. They keep us from making decisions that would mess up our futures.

It turns out, we are not very good at making decisions with the long term in mind.

Capitalism reminds us that if you need a quarter inch hole that a hammer and nail are just right around the corner.

But without guardrails, we are now facing the largest opioid crisis in human history, fake news and climate change.

That’s because we made decisions that didn’t have the future in mind. Perhaps, we didn’t know then but we do know better now.

Climbing The Grand

Recently, we took a trip up to the Tetons. The goal was to climb The Grand via Petzholdt Ridge.

Unfortunately, we did not reach the top and had to bail halfway up the route. Route finding issues were the main factor (we had already climbed the crux of the route).

While it wasn’t the result we wanted there are plenty of lessons to learn from the experience.

The most important being if you are only picking objectives that you know you can get the top on, you are not trying hard enough.

Some trips are just fun, while others provide a valuable education.

Your dream trip

Dream is a tricky word here.

When we say dream we are now positioning it as something we think about when we go to sleep at night.

Perhaps if you want to go on your “dream trip” start calling it your “next trip”.

Start a fund. Book a flight. Make arrangements.

Then it can’t be a dream anymore, it’s now a reality.

Dreams are great. We need them. But dreams have a funny way of amplifying the narrative, “That will never happen.”

Scheduling conflict

There are two types of schedules:

Yours and mine.

Schedules rarely line up. It is always inconvenient for someone else to work around yours.

Which creates conflict and tension.

Understand that when we are asking for something we are really asking them to work with our schedule.

Feeling fresh

Detail your car and now you appreciate it more.

Give yourself a haircut and some new clothes, you feel like a million bucks.

It’s amazing when we clean up something, we are more likely to take care of it.

People naturally gravitate towards cleanliness and order.

As the stakes raise

The west is on fire.

Reacting to this tragedy has had a terrible cost in suffering, loss of life and dollars.

We are now living with the consequences of decisions made 40 years ago.

And now, the window continues to close, we must act.

The cost of making decisions back then were much lower. There was time to change the course. Today, we don’t have that kind of luxury.

It is much more difficult to pass something like the Green New Deal today then it was back then. Partisan politics are the worst they’ve ever been.

Here’s the thing…

We take less risks as the stakes are raised because the cost of making a mistake is much higher.

Ironically, that may be why we’re stuck. Over and over again, we’ve taken the safe, predictable road. A posture of, “Not my problem.”

Take risks early. The cost of failure early on is much cheaper at the beginning.

The cost of being wrong is too high now.

The social dilemma

All of us are aware of the divide that is growing between Democrats and Republicans.

It should be no surprise to discover that the partisan gap for political values is the widest it has been in 20 years.

The only way it seems to stand out is to sound a little louder, take a little bit more of an extreme view. And over time we create a chasm of Us versus Them.

To make it worst, we look at the other side and wonder how can someone be so blind. (I mean look at my news feed, it’s obvious what is going on here.)

The thing is, they are not seeing what you are seeing. That is by design. To show people what they want to steal attention is what social media giants do.

The fact is, fake news travels six times faster than the truth. Until we pick an axiom the discourse won’t have an opportunity to catch up.

Happiness advantage

What can we say about 2020?

This has been a year for the books and it continues to wear on each of us. Some worst than others.

The thing is…

We all want to be happy. Yet, many of us are not. Even in the safest, richest world we could ever imagine, we have more unhappy than ever. And yes, circumstances have made it even more difficult to be optimistic about tomorrow.

We know happiness can’t be bought or controlled. It can’t be won with status or by gaining power over others.

The pursuit of happiness isn’t about trying to control the outside forces and make them work in our favor but rather how how we interpret them.

It is a condition that we can cultivate. A posture we can adopt. When we can win the inner battle, control the narrative then we will improve our quality of life.

Peace follows. And I can’t think of way to bring more happiness than that.

Which commitment?

24 hours per day.

That’s all you get.

And you are already committing six to eight to sleeping.

And then you have a mortgage, bills, putting food on the table…

So you have to commit another eight to working at a job.

Not leaving much room to make other commitments.

Like art and community and connection…

There are only so many commitments one can make.

Choose wisely.

If you are saying yes to this what are you saying no to?