Money changes our expectations

I met some people recently that were upset about a guiding service because it wasn’t what was promised. Except nothing was promised. They assumed from previous experience that it would be exclusive—that they would be alone without others. As a result, they tore this guide down and started questioning the guide’s experience and safety.

Once we pay for something we expect to get something in return. Sometimes it’s an experience, sometimes for status, a handbag, or to fill our bellies.

And when our expectations are not met we are left disappointed. Which leads us to react in multiple ways.

We are not entitled to any experience just because we paid for it. Money is a story. Sure it can open doors of opportunity and possibilities. But in the end, the experience wasn’t ruined because of others, it was ruined because they created unrealistic expectations.

It is worth noting that money can improve the experience too. A $200 bottle of wine is different than $18.

Order of operations

Order of operations is critical when it comes to mathematics, chemistry, and assembly lines. It becomes so ingrained that we start building our lives around a certain order too.

At 16, you get a driver’s license.

At 18, you graduate high school.

In your 20’s you finish college.

Find your first career job after.

And so on.

Life is so much messier than we anticipate. And while finding a rhythm of a path well traveled can feel safe, it is often just a preception. Because rarely does the path go straight. It zigs and zags and backtracks all the time.

Instead of embracing the formula, we can instead dance with the chaos.

Laws and ideas

There are laws of the universe that we can’t argue with. We would be wasting a lot of energy to bargain with gravity. But since, in the context of earth, we can count on gravity to be consistent without compromise.

Which allows ideas to grow. Based on the current limitations and what we know, we can now make a hypothesis and create ideas from there. Ideas are totally different than laws. They can grow, change, and you can abandon them. Picking and choosing as you see fit.

Ideas are fiction. They are totally made up. Which means they can be rewritten. Laws, on the other hand, are immovable.

Can you not quit that job you really hate or are you just failing to imagine a world outside the devil you know?

Punching the clock

Punching the clock was first implemented in the 1700s by Josiah Wedgewood. Who is credited for kicking off the industrial revolution in Europe. He is also credited with implementing door-to-door sales, buy one get one free, the money-back guarantee, and catalogs.

This was only possible because of the pocket watch. Without keeping track of time, how could you get a warehouse of factory workers to show up at the same time? When Part B is waiting for Part A, you can see how important is to organize people to do their part to make mass production work at efficient levels.

But the pocket watch didn’t also kick off the assembly line, it also changed the way we think of time. No longer did time pass. It became spent, leveraged, and used. Time became a more apparent finite resource. It shouldn’t be a surprise to discover that time is actually the most used noun in the English language.


Ice climbing has a rating system. Water Ice 1-6 (WI for short). 6 is some of the hardest and more dangerous in the world. Each number goes up exponentially in difficulty.

Zion National Park has some of the wildest ice climbing in the world. In fact, they created their own rating system–made famous by the late Scott Adamson–called Pretty Damn Western (PDW).

Recently, we finished a trip down in Costa Rica to go canyoning. It was an absolute blast. This is our second time going and the canyons down there are absolutely world-class. On this trip, there was a log jam of other canyoneers. One party was very upset because it wasn’t to the guiding standards here in the U.S. I couldn’t help but think about the entitlement this person felt because they paid. (Quite frankly, such a small amount to what is paid here stateside.) Their reality didn’t match their expectations. They went with a guide with significantly less experience because pride had set in.

We become so sheltered that we forget how we do things is not the right way. As they say, “there are lots of ways to skin a cat.” In addition, Pretty Damn Western comes to mind. The canyons in Costa Rica are wild. It is a glimpse of what it was like 40 years ago here in Utah. The nearest rescue team was in Mexico. Bolts are hardly replaced and you have to jump off stuff to move efficiently. You have to take care of yourself. And while we so desperately are willing to trade so much of our time and money for convenience it isn’t how the other half lives.

HT to our guide Johan.

Playing in the ether

Gravity works. Pulling us to the earth’s core at a consistent rate. We can count on it continuing to work for the foreseeable future.

By contrast, capitalism works for some. The rules are not the same for everyone. Others are born ahead and others don’t have near the opportunities.

Most of the things in work in our post-industrial world is in the ether. Meaning they are ideas that we create.

So, if one is not working, we can change the way things work. Building something better that we can all be proud of.

Who do we serve?

Ideas like money and capitalism. The boss. Traffic lights.

We are often so focused on who is in our way until our appendix decides to flair up and incapacitate us.

Perhaps the better question is, who (or what) is really in charge here?

Two kinds of judgment

From a distance. The kind of judgment you pass about Rihanna’s song choices at the Super Bowl. The kind you make about the Game of Thrones ending. Doesn’t really affect you all that much.

Up close and personal. When we are directly hurt by the actions of others. This is the distracted driver who hits the back of our car.

It’s worth examining whether we are being critical of others because of how it affects our lives or are we choosing to be critical cause we are seeking something else (status)?