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.

Just Get Started and Put in the Work

I’ve read a couple of articles recently that finally made things click.  The first was Seth Godin’s Your Best Shot:

A fast start is often overestimated.  If you’re truly capable of delivering world-class work later (as opposed to merely stalling), you might discover that in a world of quick hits, your ability to keep showing up with work that gets better and better is precisely what the market wants from you.  The people who are swayed by the fast start and shiny new things aren’t going to stick with you for very long, are they?  Promises, kept.

The other I can’t track down right now, but the gist of it was this: not everything we produce is worthy of polishing.  Instead of getting caught up and paralyzed by feeling the need to put something perfect out in the world, recognize that to become great at something requires that we spend years putting in the reps.  Just like in working out, not all of those are going to be pretty, but some days, it’s just about getting the work in and having faith that somewhere down the road, that work will pay off. Continue reading Just Get Started and Put in the Work

Input Overload

I spent about 6 hours total today – spread out over 2 chunks of time – throwing all my thoughts and ideas on my personal financial plans onto a legal pad.  At the end of today’s thinking and writing, I’m left with 6 full, hand-written pages of stream of consciousness.  When I go back to re-read them in a day or two, I’ll find that I reached some conclusions and solidified plans based on thoughts I’ve had racing around my head for weeks, if not months.  It’s been long overdue and I’m excited to repeat the process over the next few days for other areas of my life to repeat the success I found today.

All this was possible because I carved out a chunk of time and stopped inputing more information into my brain.  I can become obsessed with learning.  I’m a Pocket super-user, saving articles to read (ok, devour) later.  Over the past 2 years, I’ve been in Pocket’s top 5% of readers.  Add to that a few books a month, other online reading, and hours of podcasts each week, and I’d hit a Tipping Point where I had too much coming in and not enough time to process it all into useful output. Continue reading Input Overload

The Power of Journaling

I started journaling in November 2013 after my first deployment.   I have a section for my life in general, one for business and finances, and a third for my health and wellness.  I’ve been hit or miss with how often I do it, sometimes going months between entries.  I’ve recently committed to journaling each Sunday and, even when I’ve missed a day, I typically make it up a day or two later.  I’m finding that weekly or bi-weekly is a good check-in to reflect on my week, what I’ve been thinking about, and establishing a history of my thoughts and thought process.

Even when I’ve gone months between entries, being able to look back and read about how I felt in the past has been invaluable during some dark times.  Whether it was relationship problems or work stresses, being able to go back a few months or even a few years and read about what I was going through always provided a sense of relief.  Even if I was going through something similar again, being able to see that I had made it through rough patches before and knowing that I’m a better person today than I was back then helped ease the pain. Continue reading The Power of Journaling

Life Policy Statement

I was recently re-reading an article by Joshua Kennon on How to Write an Investment Policy Statement when the following couple of sentences jumped out at me:

“Take out a piece of paper, grab a pen, and get ready to jot down a few notes.  Think about these things over the coming days and week, then put aside time to actually complete the final investment policy statement, which you review quarterly, semi-annually, annually, or bi-anually to ensure you are still on track.  By making decisions when you are calm and the world is in order, you won’t be tempted to stray when there is blood running in the streets and television reporters are breathlessly screaming about the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 collapsing.” [emphasis mine]

I’ve long been very good with my personal finances.  I can figure out what goals I want to work toward, work the numbers back to determine what I need to do today to achieve them, and weather the storms that come.  While I still need to codify my formal investment strategy in writing, because I’ve been deliberate about the process, I’ve experience fantastic results. Continue reading Life Policy Statement

License to Chill

I’ve got a license to chill.  And I believe I will. – Jimmy Buffett

What’s the right balance between charging hard and kicking back?  That’s a question that I’ve been struggling with for the past few weeks.  My ultimate goal is to create enough passive income to do whatever I want.  And I want to do a lot.  I want to travel to places steeped in history.  I want to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail.  I want to pack a canoe and spend weeks paddling around and camping.  I want to learn to sail and do some island hopping or the Great American Loop.

A while ago, I came across a quote I really liked: You’ve got to earn the right to sit back and chill.  At what point, though, do you earn your license to chill? Continue reading License to Chill

Damn, I’ve Got It Good

Every day (ok, almost every day), I write in my Five Minute Journal, making note of 3 things I’m grateful for that morning and 3 awesome things that happened when I look back on my day at night.  While it’s been a practice that’s really helped me turn things around from the rut I was in last year, I liken it to focusing on individual trees of a forest.  While it’s great to appreciate the beauty of each individual tree, every so often we need to step back and appreciate the forest as a whole.  Recently, I had one of those experiences where everything came together and I was able to look at my life and recognize that, damn, I’ve got it good. Continue reading Damn, I’ve Got It Good

Incremental Improvements = Compounding Results