Recipe for disaster

“I followed the recipe exactly how you wrote it.”

“Then how come I don’t like the taste of it?”

“Perhaps, your expectations were not inline with reality.”

If we follow the simple set of instructions then we will not leave any room for surprises.

I know what macaroni and cheese taste like but if I’m going to be delighted by it, you are going to have to deviate from the instructions on the box.

P.S. We are entering the last quarter of the year. Have you accomplished what you said you were going to do? For those who are stuck, perhaps the reason is you are looking for someone to tell you what to do next instead of making your own path.

The expert’s opinion

“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.‘” – Isaac Asimov

One of the most falsely perpetuated ideas in our culture today is that we should treat everyone’s opinion the same. That we should give credence to all views regardless of how outlandish they may be. That we need to hear all sides before we can make a decision.

I’m not so sure that is how we want to build our culture.

Each of us are only capable of being an expert in a few things. That’s it. And when we are not an expert at something, we should turn to the expert for their opinion. Listening to someone’s opinion who isn’t an expert can damage the culture. Google doesn’t make us experts. If anything, it only gives us enough language to sound like we know what we are talking about.

Popular isn’t the same as important here. Listening to something we don’t want to hear from an expert is different than what’s popular on Facebook.

This is not to say we shouldn’t educate ourselves. If on a scale of 0 to 10 on a subject I am a 2, push to become a 3 or 4. Be informed. But when it comes to a complicated subject like epidemiology and how viruses spread, we can’t all be experts. Know your limits. Smart people look for smarter people to enhance their views. Not some discredited doctor on YouTube using cheap lighting to scare the masses.

Stuck on repeat

We often invite more pain than what is necessary. We replay the scene and imagine the worst case scenarios over and over again. Causing more anxiety than what is necessary.

Here’s a trick that has helped me over the years: Experience the emotion you are feeling once and then move on. Give yourself permission to fully experience it.

When we try to soften the blow we drag it out. The thing about emotions is we are never done with them. One carries us to the next. So to fully experience one emotion helps us move onto the next.

(Obviously, this is much easier said than done.)


Putting our faith into something and finding out that it’s not true, is really difficult for our heads to wrap around.

What decisions were made in that lens would you have made differently?

Further, what is even more terrifying is seeing everyone else making assumptions that don’t align with how the world actually works.

Once you see it’s difficult to unsee.

The cost of a good idea

Because money is not what we need here.

We need a story, a narration, a vision written down in a way that others can see.

And that doesn’t cost very much.

Time, energy, emotional labor, perhaps some skill.

Good ideas don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.

That is why no one will remember the 50th Marvel movie but everyone will remember what it is like to watch Hamilton for the first time.

It’s far cheaper to write a really good joke than it is to put in special effects.

If you haven’t done the reading, why should we listen?

Sure we all have an opinion.

Even if we don’t have a degree or have done the research, we all have an opinion on most subjects.

Whether we are talking about US history or vaccination–most of us don’t have a doctrate on the matter.

So why should we listen to what it is you have to say?

The answer is simple. We probably shouldn’t be listening to someone who hasn’t taken the time to do the research. Because what we are hearing isn’t facts or well thought out arguments but believes.

If you haven’t spent the time outside the doom scroll, you are not as informed as you think you are. And if you are not informed, we should be thinking twice to who we are listening to.

Because no one seeks medical advise from a doctor who studied online using WebMD. No one wants legal council from a self-proclaimed lawyer because they watched Better Call Saul.

Light and fast

Adam, my climbing partner, and I climbed the Petzoldt Ridge in Grand Teton National Park. The climb is typically done over two days. One to approach and a second to climb and head back. We decided to go fast and light and not haul a bunch of camping gear to the base of the climb.

So we started at 2:00 am and headed up in the dark. We finished 19 hour later back at the car.

Here’s the thing about fast and light: You can’t take everything you want for every scenario you might encounter. But you don’t know what you will face.

You could find yourself in a rescue situation. You may miscalculate how cold or windy it is. Maybe a freak storm comes that you weren’t expecting.

So choices have to be made.

Knowledge and technique is something you can bring an unlimited supply of. That has to carry over in other areas of our lives.

We can’t bring everything but we can rely on our skills, our experiences, our decision making when we find ourselves in over our head.

Thanks Adam for the climb. That one was for the books.


Because our culture has become highly obsessed with the superficial, there are many who are willing to compromise their values to keep up appearances.

An easy example: Here in Utah, we are faced with an extreme draught. Yet, many of us are not willing to let our lawns die because we are afraid of how the house will appear. (This isn’t to water shame. I’ve posted my thoughts about how to address the water crisis in Utah.)

Some more:

We don’t give a parking spots closer to the door for the CEO because there is a medical reason. We do it to show status. The fact is that a CEO’s pay has increased 940% since 1978 and many are struggling to get by. Everyone has a problem with wealth inequality until you are the one benefiting from it.

A Gucci bag isn’t more durable than a bag from REI. We buy it because people like us do stuff like this. Regardless what’s less of an impact on the planet.

Speaking of the environment, many of us care about the planet but still eat meat. Agriculture continues to be the leading cause of carbon emissions.

We are all hypocrites. That doesn’t mean we still shouldn’t try to change our behavior. But if we are telling ourselves a story of status and use it as a measure to fulfill us, I’m afraid this conversation will fall on deaf ears. Change feels impossible until it arrives on our doorstep.

Writing something memorable

Name the most memorable Powerpoint presentation you’ve ever sat through?

What was memorable about it?

Probably nothing.

What we were drawn to is the presenter if anything. Not what they had written on a screen.

The culture conditions us to get our information from a tweet, a quick Google search. But that’s not what changes minds.

If you want to be memorable, DO SOMETHING WORTH REMEMBERING.

What it takes to win a gold medal

Usain Bolt has won 8 gold medals.

Do you know the time he spent running for those 8 medals was?

115 seconds.

That’s it.

15 years of training for 115 seconds of performance.

There is no such thing as an overnight success. What we have is decades of work behind the scenes before anyone notices.