Beach view from Fripp Island

Projects, Process, and the Deep Cleanse

I heard a story once about a mechanic. Calloused and worn, his tired hands were stained deep with grease and grime that told the story of his hard work. Though the water would run black when he rinsed his hands, the gritty industrial cleaner in his shop bathroom removed just the surface dirt and made little difference to their appearance. He took vacation once per year and it was always the same. His parents had left him and his sister a small cottage by the sea – it was a single room, the kitchen not more than a lone burner
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When I Grow Up

I have been thinking a lot about a conversation I had with a friend recently – moreover, though, how I can’t help but feel that I have had this same conversation with dozens of people, and that I often wonder how many times a day this same conversation takes place. It takes many forms, but, at its core, the message is always the same. ‘I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.’ And though this dilemma carries with it a connotation of youth, I find that many of the people trapped within it are, ironically, not
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Creating a Vacuum (or, when to move on)

Careers and relationships are curiously similar, I think, and as a pair are quite unique in how we approach them. We dive headfirst into these commitments with only partial information – information which, more often than not, turns out to be inaccurate. I don’t mean to imply that job openings and potential romantic partners are intentionally misrepresented (though, I’ll admit, they sometimes are). I mean to say that they are simply two aspects of life that must be understood experientially – initial descriptions and appearances suffice only to lure you in, and you’ll only truly understand them by experiencing them
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Jealousy, Relationships, and the Voices In Your Head

The brain is a wondrous instrument – it builds detailed mental models of how our world functions, storing a dizzying array of information based on historical observations that we’ve made. The purpose of these models, or schemas, is to provide us with a framework for decision making prior to committing to a given course of action. It allows us to play out a scenario within the comfort of our own minds – it’s a sort of forecasting system, a Dopplar radar for social functions, that is designed to add a degree of predictability to our world. When you’re invited to
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Facing Reality

Flick, flick. Nothing. The power was out in my apartment. In the middle of June. Awesome. I walked out the door and down the hall, finally coming across a neighbor on the floor below me. “Hey man, is your power out too?” I asked. The neighbor shook his head no and that’s when my mind began to put the pieces together. The piled up mail on the counter. The voicemails on my phone that I hadn’t checked in days. I walked back into the apartment, took a deep breath, and fanned out the mail like a deck of cards. I saw
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Building Blocks to a Happy Life

I’m a great worker. I haven’t always been that way, but a combination of better-defined goals and a genuine love for my job has made it relatively easy for me to sit down and crank out a solid six hours of productive work per day. But six weeks ago, I examined my day-to-day life and I realized that this was the only constant that I could point out – the only action that was reliably repeated day in and day out. I believe that most highly successful people have routines. Moreover, I think that routines are a way of defining yourself
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Yesterday you said tomorrow

Life’s Biggest Secret

The remarkable thing about life is that you are the master of your mind, the undisputed main character in an epic journey through this world. Command your mind or your body and it will obey. You can use this power to shape your future as you see fit; your legs will walk to the gym even if you’re lethargic, your vocal chords will produce sound even if you’re nervous to speak up. But, for all of the incredible features that come standard on the Human Body, autopilot is not one of them. In the absence of instructions, your mind and
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Knowing Yourself (and, some exciting news)

Despite a decent night’s sleep and an IV bag of iced coffee, I found myself feeling awful today as I sat down to try to get some work done. My mind was foggy and I simply had no energy to get myself going. For the past day or so, I’d been craving particularly bad food and at the moment, a cheesesteak, sour cream and onion chips, and a gallon of Arizona iced tea was sounding pretty good. Against my better judgement, I left the office in search of some food. As I stomped through the streets of downtown Chicago in
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Bored, Stuck, or Feeling Adventurous? 50 Randoms Things To Do

If you find yourself staring at a wall or otherwise fending off boredom, it helps to have a list of activities to reference. I’ve given you a head start below with 50 random activities and challenges to expand your mind, meet new people, and possibly alienate your friends. Some are easy, like go karaoking (#25). Others are a bit harder and more time intensive, like buying and operating a hot dog cart (#18). All are fun. Report back on your progress (with photos, please). My List of 50 Potential Things To Do If I’m Bored
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