In the past, I didn’t want to be categorized.
Anything that may have put me firmly into a category — that would have given my identity weight and clarity — was to be avoided.
I’m getting into a particular show or book? Best pull back a bit so as to not become a ‘fan’. And if I do, best not tell anyone.
I’m spending a lot of time on the swim team? Well, I can’t take it too seriously, or else I’ll become a ‘swimmer’.
No, no, I’m not a ‘writer’. I just like to write.
And so on.
When we accept something into our identity, a lot comes with that decision. We take ownership of that thing. It changes us and we change it. We grow stronger in our convictions and more forthright in our lives as we take in the things we love and accept the categories that come with them. …
I’m of two minds regarding the tradition of New Year’s Resolutions.
On the one hand, I can’t find a good reason to knock a regular practice of re-inventing oneself, or at least one part of oneself.
The new year is a wonderful opportunity to take a new stand and to grasp at a new opportunity. To break a pattern and step into the unknown.
Yet, I’m frustrated at the mindset that implicitly comes with this practice.
When we designate one specific day of the year to change — to update our mind-software — it gives us a convenient excuse to put off making these changes at the moments that are best for them! …
What determines victory?
It’s really that simple. The most convicted party will always win.
Because the most convicted party is willing to forego anything and everything to win. Because conviction means giving up everything else except the object of your conviction. A value, a goal, a principle — it doesn’t matter what it is. Only that you are convicted enough to give up the rest of the world. To put your eyes on nothing else.
So often, we talk about sacrifice as if it’s a choice. “Are you willing to sacrifice for your goals?”
But this isn’t the choice that is set before us. …
I’m sure you’re familiar with the ‘Love Languages.’
It’s a system that attempts to categorize how people prefer to show and be shown affection.
The languages are words of affirmation, physical touch, receiving gifts, quality time, and acts of service.
I bring this up not to preface a contribution to the already bloated body of literature on this topic.
No, I instead want to give you an even simpler guide to effectively showing (and developing) affection. One that does not intend to nullify the system of Love Languages, but to add a critical missing element.
You see, there is one simple action that is a universally accepted currency of love. It deepens connections, signals affection, and nurtures both your soul and the soul that you love. …
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I could read.
Yet I’ve only recently become a writer.
It seems silly, when put in such simple terms, to have taken so long to adopt a hobby that is as simple as putting pen to paper. I could have been a writer at eight, ten, thirteen, eighteen, as I had wanted.
But I simply didn’t write.
The question of why was a plague upon my thoughts for all those years.
The answer is many-fold, but I’ll stick to just one part of the equation for now.
As I lay awake each night, hating myself for my failure to embark upon this one simple journey that was my most cherished dream, I wondered why, oh why, could I not motivate myself to write a single page? …
If you cannot bring yourself to do what you feel you ought to do, it is because you have not oriented yourself towards what your heart really wants. Towards what you are most passionate about.
This feeling of fighting for motivation is essentially the result of your mind and your heart being misaligned — one wants to go to point A, the other to point B, and neither can get anywhere without the other.
But this split — this refusal to cooperate within you — is not a natural phenomenon. Undisrupted, our mind and heart work quite well together. …
That’s not to say that you should always do nothing but listen.
But there is an indisputable and subtle power in hearing not just what is being said, but what is being communicated around you.
Blah blah blah, body language, mastery of tone, etc.
I’ll let someone with more expertise fill you in on those areas.
Today, though, I’d like to tell you about a different kind of listening.
Rather, listening to the person that you’ve likely spent the least time listening to, but has the most important information to tell you about. …
I see so many young men struggling to motivate themselves, and it is uniquely painful for me to see because I know their pain so well.
I remember spending nights, locked up in my room, staring at an empty page, desperately trying to write an essay, or finish a school project.
I remember pulling all-nighters in college and have nothing to show for it but self-hatred and doubt about my own value.
I remember being entrusted with important tasks by people I cared for and finding myself mysteriously unable to accomplish them.
I’ve talked a good deal about my struggles with motivation related to my writing. …
I recently climbed Mt. Washington, and aside from a mild case of food poisoning, it was actually surprisingly easy.
This is the latest example in a series of experiences that I would qualify as being easier than I thought they would be.
That is to say that I went looking for a challenge, something that might defeat me, and was then surprised to find that I was actually more than capable of taking on that challenge.
This experience is, at once, somewhat disappointing, and also invigorating.
It’s disappointing because part of me does want to discover a challenge that can beat me. And not just beat me once but beat me consistently. …
Last night, I slept on top of a mountain.
Two friends and I hiked up at sunset and enjoyed a great view of the valley below while we got wood together for a fire.
After sunset, we cooked a few steaks over the open flame and enjoyed hours of conversation around the soft, flickering amber light.
Talking in the dark, largely unable to see each other’s faces, staring into the hypnotic light of the fire, was a magical experience.
I chose to embark on this adventure despite, ten minutes before we were planning to leave, receiving a text from a client informing me of a problem with a newly launched program, and the desperate need for a fix. …