Popular

A mentor once told me, “Your twenties are for learning. Your thirties are for taking action.” It’s funny I remember that now, the day I turn 30 years old.

I’ve spent some time thinking about what it means to reach this age. So far, it’s been a humbling reminder of how long and short life really is. I’m lucky to have made it this far, yet there’s still so much ahead. When we reach a “milestone birthday” there’s only so much time for reflection before we have to ask, “What do I want the next 5, 10, or even 30 years to look like?”

Throughout my twenties, I made it a habit to write down any quotes or pieces of advice I came across that seemed valuable. Going through those notes now, I’m shocked at how many great pieces of wisdom I’ve collected. Certain pieces I wrote down years ago, but am just now beginning to understand. There are others I wish someone had told me when I turned twenty.

One of my favorite books is Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius. Besides its overwhelming amount of straightforward wisdom, I love the idea that the Emperor of Rome (the most powerful man on Earth back then) sat down each night and wrote advice to himself on how to be a good person.

Read more

Leonard Cohen’s first album, Songs Of Leonard Cohen, turns 50 this year. The late, great Zen poet was a master of his craft and a man who never let his creativity stop moving. When I listen to his lyrics or read his words, I can’t help but think, “Man I wish I’d written that.”

I can’t go back and steal his poetry, but I can use his philosophies for being creative. Cohen made a lot of beautiful music, but he also shared plenty of wise words on the craft of songwriting. Here are 11 laws of creativity I stole from Leonard Cohen:

Read more

The other day, I beat my girlfriend, Ava at Gin Rummy 7 times in a row!

Our tournament started a few months ago in the Galapagos Islands. Warm ocean water, friendly sea lions, and no WiFi (gasp!). So, when it’d get too hot, we’d find shade and play cards.

We traveled for 3 months and learned that we had to mix adventure and relaxation with real PLAY.

It wasn’t just cards. We’d go bowling. Find water slides. Only speak to each other in foreign accents. Anything to stay playful. Anything to be silly.

When I play, time becomes invisible. I forget about goals and lists. I become a human being. Not just a human doing.

Sometimes I forget to play.

Read more

As a music lover, I’ve always been drawn towards the darkness. Not the black-metal, hail-satan type of darkness, but anything that holds that unsettling urgency of angst or rebellion. I embraced the punk-rock mentality of Us vs Them from the get-go. My favorite albums were always the ones with the most menace. It was Zeppelin over The Beatles. Rawness over melody. It was that possessed quality in Cobain’s voice that kept me up all night, learning to play Nevermind from front to back on guitar.

There was never any casual listening in my bedroom. Music for me was an all or nothing endeavor. I didn’t dance. There was no swaying under the palm trees to a feel-good beat. I needed to be fully steeped in the sounds of the angst I felt. I needed to feel haunted.

But that was then. These days, it’s harder to connect with the primal scream of my youth. I do my best to keep up with the new stuff, and every now and then I’ll hear something different that turns me on. But it’s been awhile since I’ve felt fully consumed by the uneasy feeling of a record reaching up from the depths and shaking my soul. That grit and grime of over-distorted, palm-muted paranoia that seemed to expedite puberty.

Read more

I never knew how I’d react if a stranger were to pull a knife on me. Sure, I’d thought about it. We all have. Most guys—we’ve fantasized about it. We’ve all rehearsed that round-house kick to the mugger’s head. We’ve replayed the scene where we save the girl from the crooks in the alley a thousand times.   

We all love to think that when danger arises we’ll stand our ground and fight. However, it’s our evolutionary “fight or flight” response that gets the final word.  And here’s the thing about fight or flight: it’s designed to take thinking out of the equation. Thinking gets in the way of reacting. And for tens of thousands of years, quick and thoughtless reaction has been what’s helped keep mankind alive.

When the time came for me—when push did finally come to shove—I was reminded of how little thinking I had time for.

Read more