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The Truth About the Rat Race

What is the rat race?

The rat race is a metaphor in finance that illustrates the pointless pursuit to achieve some degree of financial independence, like rats in a maze that never quite make it to the cheese. Popularized by Robert Kiyosaki with his board game Cashflow and his many books, the concept became a concrete way to showcase how we can be financially trapped as the obligations in life keep exceeding what we earn, despite our persistent hard work. Read more!

Understanding What Real Risk Is (And How to Manage It)

A lesson from the Sonoran Desert.

The Sonoran Desert is home to powerful cactilike the Saguaro and the Cardon Gigante which are the tallest and largest cacti in North America. Did you know that the Cardon Gigante can even grow without soil on bare rock? The Cardon Gigante can withstand temperatures of up to 50°C (122 F)! On the other hand, the Saguaro flourishes during the summer due to its “thick waxy coating that waterproofs” it. All cacti are impressive. Just as the Black Spruce thrives in the tundra, these cacti thrive in the desert. Read more!

Restrictions: Resources and Time

“It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep, how hard it works for you, and how many generations you keep it for.”Robert Kiyosaki

In life, there are all sorts of restrictions. There’s federal laws, state laws, cultural norms, and every organization has its own set of rules. We are restricted (positively mostly) by these laws and restrictions. In art, we’re restricted by the canvas, in photography by the frame, and in chess by its rules. Useful restrictions and rules help keep systems from falling apart. Furthermore, they become the source of creativity. But what about money? Do we really see money as a restriction? Do we get creative around it? Or are we passive (and mostly unconscious) about it? Also, who restricts it? Without a doubt, restrictions of resources and time dictate much of how we go about life. Read more!

Marriage and Life

What marriage has to teach us about life.

Marriage has been under pressure. I hear a lot of stories about why some people don’t need the government or church involved in their relationships. Comments range from: “I’m spiritual, but not religious” to “I don’t need anyone or anything to show how committed I am.” It’s also no surprise that the overall rate of divorce is quite high. A good amount of people prefer open relationships, cohabitation, etc. I hear some arguments that monogamy isn’t biological. Read more!

What is Excellence?

What is excellence? What does it mean to you? Excellence is not about being perfect. It is a value: a state of ownership in your work and a mark of your craft. Unfortunately, in today’s busy world, excellence is sacrificed for speedy work and quick profits. Quantity over quality. I’d argue that excellence is no longer a priority. But why not? Do we perceive it as something too idealistic? Are we afraid to fail or to fall short? Perhaps it’s simply because we don’t really know what excellence is and how we can achieve it. Consider the following poem by Marge Piercy: Read more!

What is Leadership?

“May I stress the need for courageous, intelligent, and dedicated leadership… Leaders of sound integrity. Leaders not in love with publicity, but in love with justice. Leaders not in love with money, but in love with humanity. Leaders who can subject their particular egos to the greatness of the cause.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

What is leadership? There’s so many takes on it. It is a vague concept. But I think most of us know what it looks like when we experience good leadership. Here’s a story:

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9 Industrial Engineering Principles You Can Apply to Your Life

All fields of engineering are not only valuable but interesting. However, Industrial Engineering is perhaps the least understood. It’s never quite clear what one does. It’s an essential field that glues it all together, kind of like a liaison between engineering fields, business, and life. Most importantly, Industrial Engineering has many skills that you can directly apply to your life without getting too technical and can serve as guiding principles. Let’s explore these 9 Industrial Engineering principles: Read more!

Parenting and Life 2

Parenting has kept me in awe. To become a dad or a mom is profound. It’s difficult to explain. It’s a series of feelings you can hardly imagine before you become a parent. When you become one, it is such an honor, it’s so beautiful and permanent. Not only at birth, but ever after there’s a constant flood of feelings, learning, and challenges. And this leads me to ask the questions: What does it mean to be a parent? What is my role or duty as a dad? Read more!

How to Be More Confident

The 3 C’s to build more confidence

At a seminar, I once heard that knowledge can be divided in three ways: the things that you know that you know, what you know that you don’t know, and what you don’t know that you don’t know. We can definitely feel very confident in certain areas but not so much in others. Naturally, the more we know about a specific domain, the more confident we feel about it. Read more!

Character Over Skills

Why character matters most

Finding out how to develop skills, face setbacks, and continue learning is always both interesting and intriguing. However, I’ve noticed with time that character tends to have a more profound impact on anything we do. Character traits are fundamentally more important than skill-sets or degrees. Skills certainly help forge character, but it is character that persists despite setbacks and moves forward. Read more!

Finding Strength in Your Weaknesses

We’ve all experienced the most popular interview question ever: “What is your weakness?” About everyone prepares an answer to the question. And there’s certainly no shortage of advice as to how to answer that. I’ve heard answers like: “I’m a perfectionist, and it gets in the way.” Honestly though, I think that question might actually be more useful finding out how genuine someone is more than anything else. However, finding strength in your weaknesses is not only overlooked but often times simply dismissed as unimportant. So why do weaknesses/strengths matter? Let’s find out. Read more!

Chess and Life: The Real Value of Chess

Chess is an incredible game that teaches you many things. With every chess puzzle you struggle to solve, you can learn a little bit more about your own thinking processes, patterns, and biases. As we’ll see, chess can be very helpful in life too. Life unfolds as you make a series of decisions, just like chess. Read more!

The Best Advice I’ve Ever Gotten at School

Going to University offers a lot of benefits. These benefits are of course widely accepted in our society. Education is at the heart of how our society functions. It is who you get to meet, which friends you make, what skills you end up learning, and of course, the diploma. However, the best advice I got at school involved none of these. Read more!

The Best Advice I’ve Ever Gotten at Work

The work culture was great. It was empowering. We had the power to do what needed to be done if we could justify it. We had commitments at the beginning of every week and accountability at the end. Of course, we couldn’t always deliver on our commitments. Whether we committed to reasonable goals was another story. Sometimes I wanted more, sometimes I was pushed for more. But that’s not what the advice was exactly about. Read more!

9 Brewing Principles You Can Apply to Your Life

Brewing is a beautiful process that dates back as far as 5,000 B.C. It is believed to be the first and oldest recipe in human history. It began with ancient Egyptians, later medieval brewers, after with abbey monks, and it continues today by many home brewers and breweries across the world. As brewers learn and become more experienced by brewing many batches and refining their brewing principles, certain patterns begin to emerge. Brewing principles often mimic life and offer valuable insights. Consider the following for a more strategic lifestyle:
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Doing Nothing: How It Works, and Why It Matters

Queen Elizabeth II: “It doesn’t feel right, as Head of State, to do nothing.”

Queen Mary: “It is exactly right.”

Queen Elizabeth II: “Is it? But surely doing nothing is no job at all?”

Queen Mary: “To do nothing is the hardest job of all. And it will take every ounce of energy that you have.”

-Dialogue is from The Crown TV Series Season 1, Episode 4, 53m:59s Read more!

Parenting and Life

Modernity tries to convince you that having children is not good for the world. Intellectuals have unending arguments about why you shouldn’t have kids. They say: “It’s bad for the environment, humans are destroying the world,” or “We don’t need more poverty in the world,” or “Who wants to deal with a crying baby?” etc. They might be right, but they’re also wrong. Intellectuals always think they know better. Conflating the macro and the micro is not the same thing: whether or not you believe resources are scarce has nothing to do with the parenting experience. No amount of reasoning can help escape the wonders of what parenting brings. Read more!

Quick and Easy Guide to Keep Moving Forward

Often times we feel like we’re stuck. We want to move forward but, you know, it’s just hard. Sometimes I wonder: could moving forward be easier than it seems? Perhaps we overthink matters, or maybe we just complicate the way we approach different situations. Certainly, we might benefit from carefully strategizing a plan of action to solve certain problems. But this insight is not about that. This insight is a quick and easy guide to keep moving forward when every day obstacles keep us stuck and unable to make progress. Read more!

Being and Doing: Why They Can Have a Lasting Impact on Your Life

There is no doubt that understanding what being and doing is, their differences, and how they relate to each other, can have a lasting impact on the quality of your life. We live in an informational era where we are almost exclusively concerned with How-To’s, like how to fix your leaking sink or how to grill salmon. This makes sense because for the first time in history, we have so much access to information, that we can learn most anything and apply a lot of it for our benefit. The fact is that articles that are not How-To just don’t get enough traction. But what about a guideline or a How-To for a fulfilling life? There isn’t one because there’s no step by step on how to live life. Life is too broad, and being tends to be vague and hard to measure.
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6 Effective Ways to Leverage Your Life

“Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.”Archimedes

If you could change something in your life, what would it be, and how would you do it? It’s romantic to think that we can power through situations, but reality shows that’s not very effective. Often times we just want to work very hard, but that’s neither sustainable nor enjoyable. In some circumstances, will power is just exhausting and easily depleted. However, leveraging your life is not about trying hard, it’s about realizing you could do more and do better with levers. Think of levers as tools you can utilize to have a greater impact with less effort. If you set yourself to find and use these leverage points, you will amplify the quantity and quality of whatever you do. Read more!

Books are Powerful

My Top 10 Books.

King Ecbert: “I want to talk to you about books, Alfred.”

Alfred: “Books, Grandfather?”

King Ecbert: “Yes. If you are going to be King one day, you need to understand that books are just as important as swords or plowshares. These are some works by great writers that I read and translated from Latin as a young man. And this, this is a work by Gregory the Great. Now, he asks questions such as, “What kind of man he is or ought to be, who is to rule?” And um… “Can the occupation of power distract the mind of the ruler?””

Alfred: [stares quietly]

King Ecbert: “Yes, well, I can see that you’re bored already.”

Alfred: “No, Grandfather.”

King Ecbert: “No? Oh, well, that’s good. A king should know how to be bored and not show it. Good boy.” Read more!

3 Ways to Maximize Your Results

How to optimize results and avoid waste.

Imagine walking into a grocery store and noticing how neatly different sections are organized. Stores are compartmentalizing gurus. Of course, stores scrutinize where to place each aisle in order to make the most profit. They focus on ease of navigation and flow. For instance, you’re more likely to buy beverages if you first walk through the produce section. Costco will offer their rotisserie chicken for a bargain, but they have it placed all the way at the back of the warehouse. They know how to maximize results, and in this insight we’ll explore how you can benefit from this strategy too. Read more!

3 Simple Strategies to Face Difficult Situations

What can the tundra teach you about thriving in harsh environments?

We tend to believe that facing difficult situations is all about having thick skin. But is it? Could we face difficult situations better? The tundra hides an important lesson: there is always a way to face challenges in a more affirmative manner. In the most adverse weather, the tundra’s flora and fauna learns when to expand and when to contract. To grow as a human being requires adversity to a certain extent. To celebrate requires effort first. You must learn how to plant the seeds now that you want to harvest later. These 3 simple strategies to face difficult situations will show you how life thrives even in one of the harshest climates of the world and what you can learn from it. Read more!

26 Proverbs to Ignite Wisdom in Your Life

What do you get when you package the collective wisdom of people into a phrase? A proverb. The following proverbs are a collection of proverbs from most regions in the world. As you read them, see if any given proverb inspires you to change something, to widen your perspective, or simply to enjoy the wisdom civilizations have passed down to us! Here are the 26 proverbs to ignite wisdom in your life: Read more!

3 Simple Ways to Find Opportunity

How to accelerate your success. 

There’s way too much focus on failure. A not so old saying claims you need to fail X amount of times before you can succeed. Success and failure doesn’t have to be so binary. Furthermore, what’s intriguing about unexploited strengths and opportunities is how you can miss them. If you’re too focused on improving your weaknesses, you forget you have unique strengths. How can you find opportunities only by focusing on your weaknesses? With big projects, when do you exactly fail? Why wait until the final failure? Opportunities are vehicles to accelerate your success if you’re able to find them. Let’s explore 3 simple ways to find opportunity. Read more!

8 Overlooked Life Metrics that Keep You from Success

How life metrics can benefit you.

What metrics does society really care about? To this day, most of our work goes to achieving more or less the same old American dream. You know, the house, the car, and a big backyard. Most people generally will ask you what you do or where you live. This makes sense, because it gives an idea of where you currently are in the American dream. What doesn’t make sense however, is if you go about your own American dream differently and people disapprove. There’s a dissonance between societal metrics and alternative roads to success. So how should you go about monitoring your life? Read more!

4 Simple Strategies to Build Your Mental Strength

Did you know that coconuts can travel several thousand miles, float up to 110 days, land on an island, and still be able to germinate? Palm trees have withstood the test of time, going back to the Eocene period. What’s even more fascinating about palm trees? They can endure strong hurricanes! Can we learn from palm trees and tap into this strength? Definitely. We usually like figuring out complicated answers, but it only takes looking outside at Mother Nature to see how she deals with adversity. You’ll learn how to apply 4 simple strategies to build your mental strength. Read more!

19 Insightful Quotes Worth a Lifetime!

Quotes are inspiring because they have so much wisdom packed into a phrase. They’re like small reminders from free mentors of all walks of life for you to take. They can lift you up, guide you, and motivate you. A good quote can give you the worth of a lifetime! Here are 19 insightful quotes from people that one way or another have influenced and shaped our world:

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Doing vs Taking Action

How to take difficult action and keep at it.

Thunderstorms are highly unpredictable, fascinating, and intense. As the warm, tropical, humid air moves upward, it collides with polar cold fronts. It then quickly condenses into droplets that fall down, growing and crashing into each other to begin what could turn into a thunderstorm. The high-altitude clouds make the sky turn into such interesting colors. Sometimes a deep orange or yellow, and other times purple with a bit of a pink hue. With a bit of luck, you can see lightning from afar as the storm approaches. The nuances between doing vs taking action are subtle yet powerful, like an air mass that doesn’t collide with a cold front vs a focused thunderstorm.
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3 Simple Steps to Create a Personal Mission

How personal missions get you closer to achieve your dreams.

Imagine living several thousand years ago. There would be so many places to discover and things to learn. The maps would have blank spaces, because they were a work-in-progress. How big could the Earth be? What things would be over the horizon? The world was an undiscovered place, and the Europeans sailed out to find out. They went on missions.

16th century evangelists were going on missions. Explorers were going on missions. Conquerors, scientists, and friars set sail. All were serious about their missions. But it’s puzzling how they sailed so confidently into the unknown world. How could they know what resources they would need and how much to take? Where would they land? Did explorers have any systemic way to go about their missions? Read more!

The Upside of Symbols

How to leverage symbolism.

Anywhere you look you’ll see many symbols: political, religious, social, and commercial symbols. However, today they’re used almost exclusively by marketing. Companies understand the economic value of having recognized brands and the relationship we have with them. When you think of a brand, you have an image, a perception of its quality, and its service (among other things). Here’s a thought: Symbols are necessary. Nations have all sorts of symbols like national anthems, holidays, and their coat of arms. Even States have symbols such as the State’s bird, rock, fruit, motto, etc. Could we be ignoring the power behind symbols? What happens to people without symbols? We’ll see why we need to tap into the upside of symbolism. Read more!

3 Ways to Gain Perspective

Lessons from the Grand Canyon.

On a summer visit to Grand Canyon National Park, a park ranger told me: “You know, it’s about perspective. The Copper Canyon in Mexico is deeper and longer than the Grand Canyon, but it’s covered with vegetation. Here, the rock layers show perfectly, which makes it look much more massive. We also have the marketing going for us—the Grand Canyon.” Perspective, like the lack of vegetation in the Grand Canyon, can make a world of difference in how you perceive what you see. In other words, how to gain perspective is how to gain depth in your thinking, creativity, and problem solving skills. Let’s explore 3 ways to gain perspective.
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How to Be Practical at Work

Adopt a brewer’s mind.

It’s no surprise that computers are substituting a lot of human work and doing it with more precision and efficiency. And yet, we Sapiens want to become more productive and efficient. What exactly does it mean to be productive? Could my productivity be automated by a machine? For the first time in humanity, we’re facing this dilemma. While there’s much work to be done, and productivity is still of utmost importance, having a brewer’s mind offers some valuable insight and an alternative to blind optimization. Read more!

Math is Underrated

How math can propel action and make you a better thinker.

Math is underrated. Because of its analytical nature, we tend to perceive math as a nuisance. As a student, you might have demanded math to be more practical. Some students feel there’s little real-world applications of the math they’ve learned. On the other hand, teachers explain that math helps you become a better problem solver. But math goes beyond problem solving. Read more!

How to Enable the Growth Mindset

You have probably heard of the growth mindset. It’s the mindset that helps us embrace the inevitable hurdles we face. But the reality is that sometimes we don’t—it’s elusive when we’re struggling. Can we really have a growth mindset especially when we most need to? How do we enable this growth mindset? There is an excess of advice to be joyful, but we must also face the struggles that come with difficult learning, creative challenges, or starting something new. Read more!

Problem Finding: How You Can Become Better At It

We go through many years of school solving all sorts of things. Math, for example, is about becoming better at problem solving. Granted, we do depend heavily on our ability to solve problems. But could it be possible to find problems as well? Nobody wants more problems, yet everyone wants opportunities. Could they go hand in hand? How do some entrepreneurs, parents, or teachers manage to find problems and benefit from them? Perhaps work is not exclusively about solving problems but finding them too. And by no means is problem finding about inviting unnecessary conflict. It’s about the creativity of discovering unaddressed problems we’re not consciously aware we have. An unaddressed problem means there’s an unaddressed opportunity, and the potential to generate value.
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How to Compound Your Effort

The building blocks of work.

Building blocks don’t constitute much on their own. But put together they can create great structures. Building blocks are often used to explain the most basic unit something is built from. For example, the building blocks of DNA are the nitrogenous bases. The building blocks of a protein? Amino acids. The building blocks of physics? Atoms. Of course, scoping matters. Consider that the building blocks of sentences are words, but the building blocks of words are letters. You’ve probably heard about these analogies at school, but what’s more important is how they can be applied to improve your life. Have you ever thought about your hard work in terms of building blocks? Even more importantly: could you be building anything of substance with them? Let’s examine how to compound your effort.
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The Present is a Gift (So are the Past and the Future)

They say, “Don’t live in the past, or you’ll be depressed,” and “Don’t live in the future, or you’ll be anxious.” Some people say, “Live at peace in the present.” They say, “Live in the moment.” And “The present is a gift”. My question to you is: what do you think about that? Discarding the past or the future (as much as the present) is delusional. First, we must understand that each time frame has costs and benefits. No one is better than the other. Having said that: how can we embrace the benefits of the past, present, and future? And how can we better manage the challenges in each time frame to live a better life? Read more!

How to Get out of Your Own Way (and Tackle Any Challenge)

Like in football, we want to tackle our challenges head on. We want to find solutions and be proud of how we resolve to meet our challenges at each stage of our lives. You care about the meaning of what you do. But we’re often too much in our heads. To tackle your challenges you must go beyond (or below) this mindset. How to get out of your own way is all about integrating the rest of the body. As much as it’s beneficial to approach your challenges analytically, it can also interfere with simple truths. It’s easy to get too caught up either trying to figure everything out or become too busy—that is, occupied but getting nowhere.
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Choose Themes Over Goals

Following through on your New Year’s resolutions

Why are theme parks so magical? And what exactly do you think triggers those feelings? They can be a source of dreams, joy, and inspiration. A theme park is a specific type of amusement park that offers attractions that can be enjoyed by large groups of people. The parks’ rides, landscape, buildings, and characters are centered on a specific theme or story. Perhaps that’s what makes it magical. Like a theme park, we can leverage the power of themes to set our own mission in this coming year. Read more!

9 Chess Principles You Can Apply to Your Life

Chess is a beautiful game that is considered by many an art and a sport. It’s also one of the oldest games in human history. As chess players learn and refine their chess principles through time, certain patterns begin to emerge. Chess principles often mimic life and offer valuable insights. Consider the following for a more strategic lifestyle:
Read more!

The Fourth Degree of Gratitude

In the Three Degrees of Gratitude, we explored how to engage in different levels of appreciation. The first degree of gratitude is about developing a habit of saying thank you. The second degree is a state of being in which we express gratitude with a kind gesture. The third degree is about finding gratitude where it’s hard. We especially need to be grateful in difficult times. But is there a more active way we can exercise gratitude?
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How to Discover (and Use) Your Values

If I asked you what your values were, what would you say? If you knew them, would you know what to do with them? Say your value is love, or honesty: how does that help you? Values are indispensable in determining how you live, and how you can live differently. They become more valuable as you clarify what they are and resolve to exercise them. Values are our unspoken standards of the life that we want. We can learn to ignite our values if we invest time and effort to recognize and connect with them.
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Lessons from the Summer Season

How you can take more action without getting burned.

The summer season is radiant! After much anticipation, the temperature begins to rise steadily. Slowly, we get more light and more heat. In some regions of North America it gets very dry. In others, dark clouds turn into massive storms. Sometimes it’s both. But the sun doesn’t stop. Every day the sun rises relentlessly, and it showers rays of life that appear to expand everything they touch. Everything grows vigorously. Leaves and needles are in a growth spurt. Nature can’t seem to get enough of summer! Summer makes us feel alive. We feel alive because of what happens during this season: we get stretched. There are many lessons from the summer season to be learned! Read more!

Lessons from the Spring Season

Moving forward.

Spring season is breathtaking: Clouds gather in clusters of gray. The rain drops begin to drum on the soil. But suddenly the sun bursts. And just as fast, it’s gone. Dark clouds intensify in the distant background as the sunlight filters through like a thin film bringing vivid images. The wind gusts unexpectedly, bending trees and scattering seeds. And again, the sun bursts through the clouds. It’s hard to understand what spring is all about. Let’s explore what lessons from the spring season you can learn. Read more!

Redefining Struggle with Meaning

Struggling has a bad reputation. It makes us feel uncomfortable, and we just want to avoid it. But it doesn’t have to be this way. When we struggle, what we focus on makes a difference: are we focusing on the painful feelings? Or are we focusing on conscious growth? Often times, it’s the moments when we struggle that push us to stand up, to be our best, and to solve difficult problems. We have all heard the saying: “to step outside your comfort zone.” This reasoning implies that we move away from a place of comfort to a place of struggle. I find this phrase a bit misleading, and I’ll tell you why. However, moving into the learning zone seems to me a sound proposition. Let’s see how redefining struggle with meaning can make a significant difference. Read more!

Redefining Self-discipline (and Why it Matters)

Can you imagine what your life would feel like with more self-discipline? What would you do? When you take action on something that matters to you regardless of your immediate impulses—you practice self-discipline. It’s choosing to move forward to act on what you most care about despite hardship, and it feels really good. In fact, we could all use more of it. Every time that we practice self-discipline, we choose to reclaim our life. We pursue our dreams, act on them, and stay motivated when we don’t feel like it. We engage in self-discipline by exercising our willpower and focused attention to choose action over distraction. Read more!

How to Seek an Imperfect Life

“Imperfect is a chance for contribution, connection and improvisation. It’s a chance to see the humanity behind the moment you were spending so much energy creating.”Seth Godin

In 10 Empowering Principles to Live by, we explored that a set of beliefs is what we use to make sense of our world. We feel or think about something, and then our brain compares it to our cognitive map to understand the situation or generate meaning out of it. With time, we adjust those inner rules so that we can navigate our lives more effectively and with more clarity. But what does this have to do with seeking an imperfect life? Read more!

Lessons from the Winter Season

An Approach to Compassion

It’s winter, and for a few months now the branches have lain bare. Some mammals are hibernating and other species have migrated south for warmer weather. However, humans stick around, turn on the heater, cover up, and wait impatiently for spring. It seems as though winter is something to be endured—but it’s not. Winter has something special to reminds us: life is not just fast-paced doing. Life is also about periods of stillness, compassion, and responsibility. As we’ll see, there are many lessons from the winter season. There is wisdom and power behind it. Read more!

10 Empowering Life Principles

Deep down we all have a set of beliefs that we rely on to navigate our lives. These principles dictate how we process events, what it means, and how to feel about them. Your life principles determine our decisions, our attitudes, roles, strategies, and methods we live by. Here’s the thing: is your belief system helping to bring out the best in you? Read more!

Three Degrees of Effort

Have you ever wondered what effort is really about? Do you think about having to try hard, spend a lot of energy, and feel frustrated as a result? Well, effort is not just about trying really hard. Effort is about how we apply energy to get what we really want. The three degrees of effort is an approach to understand how to apply more strategic effort to act on difficult learning and challenging setbacks. Read more!

How to Engage Your Goals Effectively

Engaging your goals asking the right questions.

Do you ever think about how you think? Imagine if we were to portray your thinking process, what would it look like? Daydreaming? A constant chatter? We can’t engage our goals effectively that way. We need to improve our thinking to improve our actions. How we think matters because it affects how we feel and consequently, what we do. In the last insight we explored how to set and achieve goals, and the importance of making them exciting. Now we’ll explore how to engage your goals to make significant progress. Read more!

How to Achieve Goals

Find how to set and achieve your goals.

Have you tried to open a coconut with your bare hands? When I was ten years old this is exactly what I wanted to do. It was humid and it was hot at the beach, so I started early. I went searching for a coconut that looked like it had just fallen. I found one, brought it back, and started to work on it! My cousin and I each had one, and we began tearing every little fiber we could get to. After about six hours, I had managed to tear off about half of the coconut’s husk. I was exhausted and my fingertips were numb, but we were determined! We continued the next day. Once we removed most of the husk, we got to the hard shell. Read more!

Three Degrees of Gratitude

The first degree of gratitude:

This is when you say: “thanks,” “thank you,” or “I appreciate it,” and you really mean it. It can be a habit. And honestly, we can’t say thank you enough. It’s so easy and yet so powerful. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

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How Playing More Can Make You More Successful

Start, Stick, and Stay at Anything!

I was destroyed in a chess game. It was Halloween 1998 when I saw some friends playing chess over a bench by the courtyard. They asked me if I wanted to play and I said yes! I thought that I was going to beat them through my “natural” intelligence. I lost. Then I lost again. The following summer, I was determined to learn how to play. I don’t know why, but I was motivated to keep playing, and losing, for about 200 more games. That translated to about 60 hours of practice before I could finally win a game! I’ve probably played over one hundred thousand games since. Today I wonder: what happened that made me start, stick, and stay at it? Let’s look at how playing more can make you more successful. Read more!

Lessons from the Autumn Season

Looking Inward.

It’s fall season! The leaves are changing colors. Daylight is getting shorter, and the nights are getting colder. The leaves linger on the branches as they change, and soon they will let go. They will eventually fall and dance their way to the ground. The streets will be blanketed with tones of warmth. It’s winter squash time in all its splendor. Pumpkin patches are now open and pumpkin carving is happening. And while the leaves keep falling throughout this season—the spectacle of autumn invites us to look inward. Autumn is such an special season. Let’s look how lessons from the autumn season abound. Read more!

3 Powerful Ways to Reconnect With Your True Self

Do you remember how you felt the last time you saw a big animal in the wild? Did you experience that liberating feeling of being out in the wild? At Rocky Mountain National Park, I came very close to a massive bull elk while hiking. Not too far from the trail, the bull was roaming free about the woodland. Sensing me, the elk slowly raised his neck and held his head high revealing his huge antlers with strands of peeling velvet. We paused. Then the bull continued roaming and eventually moved on—brushing away freely into the forest. Could this elk help unlock the secret? How can you reconnect with your true self?  Read more!

How to Cultivate Yourself (Like a Blackberry)

In my last U-pick adventure, I came across some Triple Crown blackberries. I instantly noticed the abundance of huge red and black fruit hanging from the bushes. If you were holding one between your thumb and index finger, you would notice the little round obsidian seeds, that look much like grapes in a grapevine. When ripe, they are deeply sweet and juicy with a tart kick—which is typical of a blackberry. However, Triple Crowns have an even bolder, more intense flavor packed into their fruit.  Read more!

Why Growth Happens over Time

A Lesson from the Athabasca Glacier.

Glaciers are breathtaking. These giants shape the environment through rock abrasion. The Athabasca Glacier carves itself among the Canadian Rockies in an area known as the Columbia Icefield and measures up to 300 meters (980 feet) thick! When I stood there, it was hard for me to grasp that I was standing over such a thick layer of ice. It made me wonder how glaciers came to be and what we could learn from them. How exactly does a glacier become such a magnificent, ice-blue wonder? Read more!

How to Be a More Dynamic Person

Start Anything!

First, you must be grounded with your roots anchored deep in what matters to you personally. Perhaps you’ve even identified your ingredients of strength and passion. Now what? Being dynamic is your next step. You’ll learn how to be a more dynamic person, so that you can navigate confidently to pursue what you want. What would you do if there was nothing you couldn’t handle? This is at the core of being dynamic—feeling capable to move powerfully and trusting in your capacity to adapt, no matter the challenge. Read more!

How to Be Your Best Self

You, yourself, and chocolate cake.

Discovering who you are is fun. Becoming your best self, necessary. With the baking elements of a dark chocolate cake, we’ll find out just that. When baking, you’ll learn two things are essential: you need the ingredients that provide the structure (eggs, flour) and those that provide the moisture (fat, sugar). However, the ingredients alone won’t turn into a cake just by themselves—we need to stick them in an oven and bake them. The structure of the cake is what holds it together, but the moisture is what makes you want to eat it! How to be your best self is about structure, moisture, and a baking process. Read more!

How to Be Grounded in the Moment

Lessons from the Douglas-fir tree.

Trees are captivating. They spark wonder with their willpower to reach to the stars and withstand high winds. When established, they are able to survive forest fires and they can live for centuries! And all of this is possible in a single spot where the resilient seed once landed. You probably already know the Douglas-fir. It is the preferred Christmas tree because of its elegant conical shape.  They’re also a Pacific NW favorite. They dress up mountains beautifully with their vivid evergreen needles that contrast with the snow at the timber line. Most importantly, what can you learn from the Douglas fir? Can it help you learn how to be grounded in the moment? How does a little seed become a tree that can rise to towering heights of over 300 feet? Read more!

How Change Happens (and Why)

There’s always something we want to change. But do we? What happens between that gap: the moment when we desire to change and the moment when we begin the change? And sustain it. That’s the magic gap. There’s so many reasons why we hesitate to start. It’s exhausting. It could be uncertain. Or we could be too busy. Whatever the case, we must closely look at this magic gap. How does change happen? What is that driving force that creates decisive action to change?  Read more!

How to Use Labels to Empower Yourself

The upside of labels.

Labeling is one of the first things we do as babies. Our brain associates certain objects with words. We label the iconic red-round-sweet fruit as an apple. And after that it will be hard to think of it as anything other than an apple. Once we have enough associations stored in our memory, we begin to develop language. We start with one word. Then we move to a two-word sentence and so on. At some point in our lives, we begin to develop our sense of self.  As young adults we seek to develop our identity by labeling what we like and don’t like, if we are a morning person or a night owl. This becomes more complex in our teenage years when we seek to both fit in and explore. As we grow up we try to understand ourselves better, seek outside approval and constantly label ourselves to construct our personalities. Much of this happens by reacting to different situations. How to use labels to empower yourself is not only important, but necessary. Read more!

How to Be More Productive

What to do when you’re stuck.

A simple way to see what moves you is to revise your biggest accomplishments. Why were they so great? I’m sure that whatever you did, it was great because it mattered. Work that matters and moves you has two secret ingredients: you enjoy doing it, and it contributes to the world. Sometimes though, it’s hard to visualize your contribution. This is especially true in the corporate world—behind the cubicle with a bunch of papers often filled with meaningless metrics. Your computer desktop flooded with unused files. To uncover how to be more productive find out what moves you. Read more!

How to Be Yourself

3 Ways to Be Yourself

Did you know Galileo Galilei opposed the Geocentric view that Earth was at the center of the universe? He believed that Earth revolved around the Sun. In his time though, most educated people (including astronomers) didn’t think so. The Roman Inquisition revised his work, and accused him to be a heretic! His work arouse controversy. Fortunately for humanity, he followed through with his ideas defending his views. He was eventually tried by the Inquisition, found guilty of heresy, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. Read more!

Life Is like Coffee

How your life can benefit from coffee

Imagine yourself as a musical conductor. Picture yourself signaling at the symphony of coffee notes as you pour the ground coffee into the French press—awaiting the steaming water. Soon the kettle starts to whistle. Down the water goes, orchestrating fine earthy notes that dance around your living room at the beat of the baton. And only then does the coffee meet with the hazelnut cream—tempos of cocoa finish as you drink the warmth of this art. Life is like coffee! Read more!

How to Choose Language that Matters

Reframe your challenges with empowering language.

Let’s go back to High School, particularly to that Physics class. You might remember two important concepts we learned: potential energy (stored energy) and kinetic energy (energy in motion). A glass of water on a kitchen counter top has potential energy because it took energy to move it up. If it were to fall, that energy would (re)turn into kinetic energy and make it shatter. Language is no different, words display these properties. Words store potential energy at their core and they trigger emotions as kinetic energy. You can choose either disabling language or empowering language. Read more!

Being Unusual: The Art of a Flying Duck

Have you ever paid attention to a flying duck? I get to observe ducks a lot since they fly around my suburb quite frequently. What caught my attention though, is how sloppy they look when they fly. With their short body-to-wingspan ratio ducks try really hard when they fly! And if you have seen a duck land, you know it’s not easy for them either. But they still do fly—they’re successful and playful. Do you think we could learn anything of significance from a flying duck? Could ducks have something to teach us about being unusual?

Read more!