Confession: I Wrestle with Mountainous Self-Doubt

Every time I try my hand at an artistic or creative endeavor, I am immediately met with the voices. “What the hell are you doing? Why are you wasting your time? You should be doing something more useful. Nobody will ever want to read this.” And seemingly every time, the voices have won.

One of my goals for 2017 was to write publicly, but deeply embedded in that goal was the desire to overcome this demon. What I’ve realized is that the first step to doing that is being honest with myself. This isn’t "practicality" I’m dealing with here. It’s mountainous self-doubt.

Read More

Intentional Words - In Memory of Richard Norman

Superbowl Sunday had us on the edge of our seats. It wasn’t the TV though, that had captured our attention. It was something much more important and final. Grandpa Richard was breathing his last breaths of life. At 81 years old, he had been diagnosed with advanced stomach cancer. Months later, he was in hospice. And on that night, the finish line was quickly approaching.

He breathed a heavy sigh, let his shoulders drop, and shook his head. He gritted his teeth in frustration and for several minutes we just empathized together. And just when I thought all conversation was lost, Grandpa whispered something that changed my life.

Read More

What You Should Do With Your Life

December 13, 2013 was graduation day. I had been envisioning that day for what seemed like forever. The previous semester, I snuck into a graduation ceremony just to visualize the end result and gain some extra motivation. On several occasions, the clock would strike 2:00am the night before a big exam, and I’d catch myself wondering, “how am I ever gonna make it?”

I asked that question more times than I can count, and somehow I always seemed to find an answer. But there was an even bigger question that was weighing on my mind and I'd always assumed that if I ever made it across that graduation stage, I would be able to answer it. I had convinced myself that at the end of the day, I wouldn’t just be receiving a degree, I’d be receiving the answer to my question. “What should I do with my life?”

I went one for two.

I marched proudly across that stage, thankful that my name had been called (and pronounced correctly). Some combination of joy and relief welled up inside me as I took hold of that degree, and yet… something was missing. I still didn't have the answer I was looking for.

Sure, I had a cushiony job lined up in Boulder, I seemed to be on the right track with my relationships, I had a general plan moving forward. And yet the question remained, “What should I do with my life?”

Read More

Who Are You Living For?

“Live intentional.” It has a nice ring to it— may even sound a bit trendy. It could be right up there with "practice mindfulness."

But truth be told, trendy buzzwords are exactly what I’m trying to avoid. Part of the reason it has taking me so long to start writing publicly is that I often find myself caught in a tension . I want to write stuff that’s compelling, inspiring, even entertaining, but I don’t want to ride the trends. I don’t want to be typical. I don’t want this to be just another “lifestyle” blog claiming to have the answers.

One of the biggest questions I asked myself while conceptualizing this website was, “How do I write the way I want to, inspire people, and give good advice without coming across like an arrogant, white guy pretending to have it all together?”

Read More

Life Without a Car

In May 2015, I left my engineering job in Boulder, CO to start a fellowship program for The Breakthrough Institute, a think tank out in Oakland, CA. Bekah and I were also getting married in September of that year, so I decided to sell the CRX to give us a few extra dollars to help.

Things didn't change when I moved back to Colorado. We stayed a single car family for a year and a half before upgrading to a second car. Of course, seven days after getting the second car, we were in a hit-and-run that totaled the vehicle. 

This is a story about being a single-car family and what we learned along the way.

Read More

Make Better Resolutions

Did you write your New Year’s resolutions this year? If so, how's that going for you? If you're like the majority of people, you're probably not doing too well. 

It’s no secret that humans are historically awful at achieving our resolutions. It’s not until the next New Year’s that we realize we didn’t end up where we wanted, if we can even remember where that was supposed to be in the first place. It’s estimated that only about 8% of the population is successful in achieving their resolutions. Perhaps even more startling is that 38% of people are hell-bent on not making resolutions at all. Some might argue the reason for this is that resolutions are just too hard, so why try?

If you’ve failed to achieve your resolutions in the past, or already this year, don’t be too hard on yourself. There’s ample psychological literature out there letting us know that human beings simply aren’t well-equipped to tackle long-term goals. To summarize, our brains prefer short-term feedback as opposed to long-term feedback. We don’t handle a delayed response very well and would prefer to get the satisfaction immediately.

Some might see this as a free pass to Netflix binge your January/February/Year away, but I’m here to tell you that there’s hope for us yet. We just have to be more intentional in the way we set our goals. Here's 8 ways to do that.

Read More