Investing in Loss

The view of Pike’s Peak from the top of the climb. Credit: Jordan Hayes

My forearms are burning. I open and close my hands a few times, observing the frustrating sensation of having them respond at about half the speed that I’m requesting of them. Over my left shoulder is a spectacular view of Pike’s Peak, far below me a group of climbers – some onlookers, some stealing a moment of shelter in the shade – but the view that’s really capturing my attention is the rock formation six inches in front of my face.

My right hand – and by hand, I mean some portion of a few of my fingers – is gripping onto a rock just barely within my reach. My feet are resting on a natural shelf cut into the mountain, the route above me jutting out towards my torso, pushing me into a backwards-leaning posture that feels, well, about as unnatural as leaning backwards off the edge of a cliff.

It’s my first time sport climbing.

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Building Blocks to a Happy Life

In most cases, it really is that simple.

I’m a great worker. I haven’t always been that way, but a combination of better-defined goals and a genuine love for my job has made it relatively easy for me to sit down and crank out a solid six hours of productive work per day. But six weeks ago, I examined my day-to-day life and I realized that this was the only constant that I could point out – the only action that was reliably repeated day in and day out.

I believe that most highly successful people have routines. Moreover, I think that routines are a way of defining yourself – of prioritizing your life, of improving certain areas, and of maintaining others. A routine consists of a series of habits, and habits are the building blocks of a personality. Continue reading

Life’s Biggest Secret

Yesterday you said tomorrow

The remarkable thing about life is that you are the master of your mind, the undisputed main character in an epic journey through this world. Command your mind or your body and it will obey. You can use this power to shape your future as you see fit; your legs will walk to the gym even if you’re lethargic, your vocal chords will produce sound even if you’re nervous to speak up.

But, for all of the incredible features that come standard on the Human Body, autopilot is not one of them. In the absence of instructions, your mind and body will remain in the default state of Doing Nothing. It will not make friends for you if you don’t socialize, it will not find you a new job if you don’t seek out opportunities. Continue reading

The Importance of Being Interesting

I don’t always read blogs – but when I do, it’s BAExpat.com.

I was sitting in my apartment the other day listening to opera and reflecting on the importance of being interesting.

I can see how that statement might come off as pretentious. Let me clarify – I wasn’t just sitting around, listening to opera on iTunes, and casually pondering egotistical insights.

There was actually a live opera performance happening in my living room. Continue reading

Drunk Pregnant Women, the Paleo Diet, and Why I Hate Studies

I feel that this post is the most important one I’ve ever written, and I hope you read it. Below I lay out a framework for making important lifestyle choices.

There’s been much ado in the news recently regarding a Danish study about drinking during pregnancy. Before you rush to organize your local mother/fetus pub crawl, let’s talk a little bit about the purpose of studies and why you should often ignore them.

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Knowing Yourself (and, some exciting news)

Some much-needed rays of sun on my road trip.

Despite a decent night’s sleep and an IV bag of iced coffee, I found myself feeling awful today as I sat down to try to get some work done. My mind was foggy and I simply had no energy to get myself going.

For the past day or so, I’d been craving particularly bad food and at the moment, a cheesesteak, sour cream and onion chips, and a gallon of Arizona iced tea was sounding pretty good. Against my better judgement, I left the office in search of some food.

As I stomped through the streets of downtown Chicago in search of satiation (I know…I’m supposed to be in Buenos Aires, but more on that later), some road construction forced me to take a detour past the river. I walked out from the shadow of the buildings and the sun hit me – and the feeling was almost indescribable. As my body began to drink up the rays, it hit me that I had barely seen the sunlight in nearly three weeks. Continue reading

Some Thoughts on Trust and Relationships (and when both go bad)

A photo from a trip I took to Patagonia. I love this quote. PS. You know you wanna Pinterest this…

I see a constant stream of Facebook status updates about people hating work and desperately craving the short vacation that the weekend brings. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about trust and how it affects your personal and professional lives – two things that often beg escaping.

A few months ago, I decided to outsource some administrative tasks for my business – tasks that I’ve been doing for years. It was an enormous relief at first – the cost was low and the contractor was highly rated and highly recommended. But over the past few months, I’ve noticed a series of mistakes that have eroded my confidence in the quality of the work.

I realized today that I have a near-constant feeling of anxiety nagging at me. See, your brain is enormously active and attentive even when you’re on autopilot – despite the fact that I may be deeply engaged in another important activity, like the latest episode of Mad Men, my subconscious is vigilantly aware of the fact that I’ve entrusted an important task to an unqualified individual.  Continue reading