Deliberate Living

We all wear A LOT of hats. You are an employee, you play a role in your community (city, club, or religious organization), you have hobbies, you are a friend and a family member. Those are a lot of roles, and yet, you are the same head beneath each hat. Together it adds up to one life. Your life.

The trap many of us fall into is trying to manage all of our hats at once. Our work needs to be completed (on time, on spec, on budget), our friends and family members need to feel supported (and they, in return, support us), we attend meetings for our social obligations, all the while remembering to take out the recycling on Thursdays, feeding and watering the pets.

Even if you have above-average time management skills, perfect work/life balance, and do a lot of biohacking (joking… kind of… ehmm bulletproof and truBrain), you will eventually reach your limit. Like the Project Management Triangle, you can only stretch yourself so thin before everything begins falling apart.

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Generational Hazing in the Workplace: What Millennials Can Do to Stop the Negative Feedback Loop

We all know millennials are our laziest workers. The speaker paused as the room filled with silence. You know it’s true—you work with them every day. Even you young people here can’t deny it. That’s why we need to create these opportunities, because the millennials are not going to seek them out by themselves.

I couldn’t believe what I heard. I asked myself: did that really just happen? A cultural stereotype was legitimized by a government employee at a state-sponsored event filled with local business leaders. That’s when I realized the missing piece in the whole workforce-education equation: we have multiple generations working together, each with their own unique background, behaviors, and beliefs.

We talk about bullying and hazing in schools, but rarely do we talk about how the older generation imposes the exact same behaviors on the younger generation, in plain sight.

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Agility in the Skilled Trades

I’ve been working in the skilled trades for two years, building apprenticeships in the Midwest for Mechanical Systems Inc. Before 2016, I had never owned a pair of steel-toed boots, wore FR clothing (flame resistant), or even driven a pick-up truck. I use all three, daily. … The last nine days, I was in Wisconsin working a turn-around. As I was thinking about what I wanted to write about this week, my thoughts returned to the workers and their unique insights into productivity and work/life fulfillment. The following is a collection of agile skills I’ve picked up in the last two years that I would not have learned if I had never left the comforts of my office.

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Thoughts and Reflections upon Reading My 1000th Book

Several years ago, a friend who studies Eastern philosophy shared a parable about a monk who, after their death, awoke in a room covered wall-to-wall, floor to ceiling, with books. The monk went to a corner, reached to the top shelf, grabbed the first book, and opened to the first page. The monk sat with the book and upon finishing the last page, they returned the book to its place and grabbed the next one on the shelf. The monk continued until they had read all the books in the room. Only then were they allowed to move on to their next life.

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Luck is(n’t) Everything

 We all encounter luck, both the good and the bad. Despite the many positive and negative events we all live through—seemingly at random—most people rarely recognize the luck they have or know how to capitalize on it. …there isn’t a way to get more good luck, but we can learn how to recognize lucky breaks and prepare for the times when it feels like everything around us is falling apart. Whether it’s good luck or bad, these strategies will help.

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The Accurate Manager: 4 Essential Leadership Lessons in Your 20s

Most managers fall somewhere on the spectrum between micro-managing helicopter parent asking for updates, approvals, and gossip at all hours of the day, and directionless, distant, and completely absent, leaving their employees to fend for themselves. Too much or too little management is a drain on both the employee and the manager. The Accurate Manager falls somewhere in the middle (depending on the team) and uses their energy efficiently. This way, their employees can grow into their roles, leaving ample time for the manager to focus on their most important tasks.

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The Secret to Happiness Is in Our Differences

When you look for the differences, you discover your personal balance: the place where you connect with what you’re doing. It’s like doing yoga poses; your center of gravity is different from the person next to you. If you did EXACTLY what they did, you would fall over. Because life and career satisfaction isn’t about finding the next thing that will make you happy or doing the exact same thing your star co-worker is doing; it’s about finding the balance that will give you sustainable happiness throughout the entirety of your life.

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What to Do When Your Expectations Do Not = Reality

Never EXPECT your version of reality to work out exactly as you planned. Instead, expect that you will need to revise your plans. Instead of spending your energy and willpower on things you can’t control (like the event that caused you to change your expectations), transfer that same energy to focus on how you are going to adapt your plan to the current (real) reality. 

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The Top 15 Lessons I Learned in My 20s

Lesson 1: Don’t Worry About What You Can’t Control
Lesson 2: There is Always a Solution

Lesson 3: Set One Goal for the Day

Lesson 4: Fail Often

Lesson 5: Read More and Read Diversely

Lesson 6: Spend Less

Lesson 7: Avoid Debt (Including Student Loan Debt)

Lesson 8: Never Pass Up an Opportunity to Learn Something New

Lesson 9: Go Out of the Classroom, Get Your Hands Dirty

Lesson 10: Stop Complaining
Lesson 11: Getting Drunk Isn’t Worth the Hangover

Lesson 12: Be Kind (even if you think someone doesn’t deserve it)

Lesson 13: Everything is a Gift

Lesson 14: Always Do Your Best

Lesson 15: Respect Others Because You Respect Yourself

**Bonus Lesson 16: Never Sacrifice Your Values** (W/ A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT)

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What an Old Japanese Folktale Can Teach Us About Career Satisfaction

The Stonecutter is one of my favorite Japanese folktales. Its author and date of origin are unknown, and it is likely several hundred years old. And there’s a good reason why it’s still around: the message in the story can be applied to anyone at anytime in every career. … Instead of saying, I’ll be happier if... look at all the ways you can be happy in the position you are in now. At times, we are so focused on getting to the next step in our career, we miss the meaningful opportunities that are already waiting for us. There is a lot of power in a stonecutter, but sometimes you have to become a stone mountain to realize how important and powerful the stonecutter’s hammer and chisel are. 

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3 Reasons Most People Never Find their Perfect Career

According to the most recent Gallup State of the American Workplace report, 67% of U.S. employees are disengaged at work. Looking closer, 16% of employees are actively disengaged, meaning, they are miserable, and their efforts often result in the destruction of what their engaged coworkers are building. The other 51% are simply "not engaged" and are "just there". They are unattached to their work and workplace. They're doing their time, unenthusiastically, without energy or passion. This means that roughly two-thirds of Americans wake up every morning to spend most of their day doing something that isn’t meaningful or fulfilling.

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What's Holding You Back Is Inspiring Your Competition

Yesterday, someone told me about the New York Times Bestselling novel they have brewing inside them. The only problem is, they can’t start working on it until they have a vintage mahogany table to write it on. And a new laptop. And can afford to move to the perfect house in the country because the city is too loud for beautiful writing. 

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Nootropics: 14 lessons I learned from my 14-day experiment into the hidden world of smart drugs

Nootropics, by definition, are cognitive enhancing supplements that (claim to) improve concentration, enhance memory, and boost mental stamina. Ahhhh… you might be thinking, nodding your head with a conspiratorial grin, the old ginkgo balboa and cup of coffee trick

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What Arthur C. Clarke, Leonardo da Vinci, & Cognitive Psychology Can Teach Us About Discounting Ideas and Connecting the Unconnected

“The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.”

- Arthur C. Clarke

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Finding Your Purpose in the Gig Economy

This month, we’ve looked at how your purpose, skills, and lifestyle connect in your perfect career. That’s great for some people, but what if you haven’t found “the one” yet? I get it, you’re waiting around to find a job that does it all for you. The good news is, we are living in a gig economy, meaning, you don’t need a traditional job anymore and you can find your perfect connection in multiple jobs.

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Why You Shouldn’t Follow Your Passion

We’ve heard it so many times, it’s become a cliché: follow your passion. Commencement speakers tell graduates it’s the golden rule for happiness and nearly every building I walk through, someone has the words thumb-tacked to a spongy cubical wall for inspiration. Since we’re all familiar with the expression, tell me, what is passion and why should you follow it?

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