The Standard Pace is for Chumps

The standard pace is for chumps. – Kimo Williams

I was listening to a Tim Ferriss podcast with Derek Sivers while driving between trailheads during my recent backpacking excursions throughout northern California when that quote hit me like a sack of bricks.  You can read the full story here on Derek’s site, but the Sparknotes version is this:  Sivers had called a local recording studio to ask a question shortly before starting at Berklee College of Music.  The studio owner, who turned out to be Kimo Williams, answered, “The standard pace is for chumps…I’ll bet I can teach you two years’ of theory and arranging in only a few lessons. I suspect you can graduate in two years if you understand there’s no speed limit.”

Continue reading The Standard Pace is for Chumps

Real Life Grad Degree

Note: This post is about a year in the making, but better late than never, right?

About this time last year, I made it to my first post-graduation college homecoming.  I relished the opportunity to catch up with friends, see how they were all doing, and enjoy meals and drinks as we reminisced throughout the weekend.  A good number of my friends were had either recently completed, were finishing up, or about to start grad school.  Some went to law school or a masters program straight after graduation (and one into a PhD soon thereafter) and others were set to start on an MBA after a few years out in the workforce.

As I looked back on all that I’d done since our graduation in 2012, it was a bit crazy to me that a good number of my friends still hadn’t started life outside of school.  On the flip side, a good number of my friends now held a graduate degree, something to which I can’t lay claim.  While neither scenario is inherently better than the other, it was something that got me to thinking. Continue reading Real Life Grad Degree

I Will vs To Do

I’ve admitted before that I’m a big fan of To-Do lists.  Whether its batching together a bunch of smaller tasks to knock out all at once or breaking down a bigger project into bite size pieces, they’re a surefire way to line things up and knock them down.  When structured properly, putting checks in all the boxes generally means you’ve completed whatever it is you set out to do.

The other day, though, as I went to write out my daily to-do list, I caught myself pausing for a moment.  I was working my way through Tony Robbin’s Awaken the Giant Within at the time and something clicked inside my brain as I went to put pen to paper that morning. Continue reading I Will vs To Do


I’m a graduate of a Jesuit college.  While I’m not necessarily a religious guy, the Jesuits have left their fingerprints all over my life.  I’m most thankful for learning about discernment.  In the Society of Jesus, discernment is huge.  The process of taking time to think and reflect deeply leads not only to a better decision, but a better understanding of how you arrived at that decision and which values and principles in your life led you to it.

Like many things, I know the value of discernment, even if I don’t always practice it.  As I’ve unpacked my mind over the past few months, I’ve tried to use it more and more.  The process has really helped me clear up my thinking and make some big decisions.  As I took the time to reflect on a host of different decisions I was facing, I was able to extract the core beliefs that permeated each one.  I came out the other end of the process with not just solid action steps, but a much better picture of who I am and how I want to shape my life.

Continue reading Discernment

Get Bored (Mental Fasting)

Back in college, I went on a summer camping trip with some cousins.  As one of my cousins and I sat around the fire sipping on some whiskey, our other cousins were constantly clamoring for something to do to keep them entertained.  My cousin turned to me and said something along the lines of, “The lack of ability to just sit and be bored is the mark of a lazy mind.”

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Peaks and Valleys

In a prior post, I mentioned the recent Team USA vs Team Canada game in the World Cup of Hockey.  I’m going to revisit that game to draw out another lesson learned.  By the end of the first period, Canada had clearly asserted its dominance and seemingly sucked the will to fight out of the American team.  What was surprising wasn’t that the Americans were losing (Canada had come in as the favorites), but the manner in which they were doing it: Canada wiped the ice with us in that game. Continue reading Peaks and Valleys

Grit vs. Skill

Before the USA got shellacked by Canada at the World Cup of Hockey, USA forward TJ Oshie remarked:

“If it comes down to 100% skill, they win.  100% grit, we win.”

The United States has thrived on that grind it out, never give up, underdog attitude.  It’s why we love the Rocky movies, every sports fan recognized “Do you believe in miracles?!” from the 1980 Miracle on Ice, and why grit and determination are so highly prized in our national psyche. Continue reading Grit vs. Skill


Another one of Ramit’s Seagull Theory topics that has been running around my head recently has to do with routines.  I read this Dan John article years ago and have revisited it often.  Not too long ago, I came across this article from Nat Eliason, the idea I drew from it being to regularly schedule shallow work.  At work, the Navy has what’s called Planned Maintenance System (PMS), which is a system of regularly scheduled maintenance checks to maximize the life of our equipment.

For whatever reason, these three sources have been mingling together in my mind, especially over the past week.  As I try to settle back into a routine post-deployment, I find myself longing to incorporate these things into various parts of my life. Continue reading Routines

Gossip in the Grain

I’ve come across the topic of gossip a few times over the past 24 hours.  Based on Ramit’s Seagull Theory, I think it’s fitting to muse on it for a while.  The first mention was from James Altucher’s podcast interview with A.J. Jacobs.  They were discussing some of the lessons AJ learned from his experiment in Living Biblically.

AJ mentioned that one of the lasting takeaways came from his efforts to refrain from gossiping.  As he made the conscious effort to refrain from doing so, he found that his way of thinking completely changed.  By not allowing himself to participate in gossip, he found that his thoughts stopped wandering toward that path. Continue reading Gossip in the Grain

I Did a 3 Day Fast. Here’s Why and How and the Results.

I’ve spent a good amount of the past 5 years doing Intermittent Fasting, experimenting with 16/8 and 20/4 splits.  It hasn’t been a full-time thing or a means to gain muscle or lose fat per se, but I’ve found it useful to keep my weight under control with pretty minimal effort.  I’m sure if I committed to a mass building or fat loss plan, I could reach those goals effectively and efficiently with IF, but to be honest, I just wanted something easy to do that would keep me from getting fat while still enjoying the occasional (ok, weekly) burgers, burritos, and beer. Continue reading I Did a 3 Day Fast. Here’s Why and How and the Results.

Incremental Improvements = Compounding Results