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.

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“Balance is important,” he said as we piled into the riverboat. It sounded like it might be the only English phrase he knew. He motioned with his hands from port to starboard and the packs of turismos split and filled the seats evenly on each side. “Balance,” he said again. “¿Entiendo?”

We were shuttled down the mountain from Monteverde, Costa Rica to get the river. One top heavy bus and a dozen travelers on a thin dirt road, speeding through green farmland and three-casita villages. Some passengers closed their eyes when the tires kissed the edges of the cliffs. I stared out the window, deciding if I was electrified or petrified.

I watched our driver brace himself before the bumps in the road came and relax his body into the blind turns that followed. He knew the roads well. He knew the balance.

How do you find balance while traveling?

I’m not talking about balancing all that extra stuff in your backpack you don’t actually need. How do you balance your priorities? How do balance your mind?

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When it comes to beating procrastination and overcoming excuses, this book is the bible. Steven Pressfield outlines ways to beat what he calls, “The Resistance,” in short, painfully relatable chapters.

For anyone that perpetually puts the most important work off, or struggles to start creative endeavors, this is the best books around. I keep this book facing out on my bookshelf as a personal reminder to keep fighting the good fight. Anytime I waste time with mindless scrolling on my phone or let busy work take priority, I think about this book and get back to what’s important.

For anyone struggling is writer’s block, start with this bo

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With the new year upon us, it’s time to look forward and define what we want out of the next twelve months. My New Year’s resolutions always look pretty similar to years before: learn a new language, write that novel, reveal the abs that hide behind my love for french toast.

But before we decide what’s next, we need to look back. What worked? What didn’t? Which habits are we keeping or kicking to the curb?

Early last year, I added one small habit that ended up making the biggest difference in my life. It was something I had naturally avoided for most of my life.

It was using the simple phrase, “I don’t understand.”

This year, my resolution is to say it much more often.

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The first thing I learned on my trip to Disneyland last week was this: It’s impossible not to smile on The Matterhorn.

There’s something about hearing the click click click of the sled climbing up the track into the black emptiness of the tunnel. The rest of your senses come alive in the dark—the damp smell of the moat waiting at the bottom, the touch of fear and anticipation of knowing that, after the last click, it’s a free fall plummet into the monster’s lair.

It surprised me that, even as an adult, the exhilaration of the ride gave me a stronger jolt of energy than a bucket of espresso. What surprised me more was that Disneyland was actually living up to its tagline.

What makes Disneyland, “The Happiest Place on Earth?”

Besides the fact that the melody to, “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” is being broadcasted onto the walkways, it’s that Disneyland lets us step inside a fairytale for a day. We get to feel animated.

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