How to win more by loading your dice before you roll them.

The most successful people I know have taken significant chances. The universe is willing to pay out great rewards. But it requires you to put something on the line to prove you deserve it.

I first learned this lesson from a piece of cross-stitch art in my childhood home that said The turtle only makes progress when it sticks its neck out. You can learn a lot from cross-stitch philosophy.

The great barrier to success is your willingness to take a risk. Most people simply aren’t willing to risk enough to earn a great reward. They play it too safe. But the safe harbor you think you are anchored in is not nearly as safe as you think. (And there is very little safety in safes as Geraldo Rivera showed us.)

The relative lack of safety everywhere means that you should risk it for the biscuit. Always bet on yourself. But it is easy to lower the risk in your risky endeavors. In fact, there is a maxim I adhere to every time I take my chances:

Load your dice before you roll them.

Whenever you take a chance, like ABBA, take as much chance out of the situation as possible. You can do this by taking on opportunities where you have the greatest chance of winning.

Remember, not all playing fields are even. Choose to play on fields that are tilted in your favor. And tilt every board you compete on in your direction by knowing and playing to your strengths.

Take on battles where you have advantages. Lean on your relationships. People advantages are often the greatest advantages of all. Choose opportunities where your proximity is a strength. Compete where your category knowledge is high. It’s what Alex Trebek would do.

Count the cards. Know the decision makers. Do your homework. Study patterns. Start a business in a space where you have great expertise. Then do what hedge funds do and create situations where you win no matter what happens.

Key Takeaway

Take the chance out of the chances you take. Know your strengths. Play to them. You will significantly increase your likelihood of success. Which will ensure that you win more than your fair share of victories.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

How to share your best ideas all over the world.

In the fall of 2015, I decided to create a new blog. I had tried writing blogs several times before. Most of them didn’t go anywhere. I hoped that this new blog would be different. Like Nuprin. Or Zima.

Starting At Zero

I started at zero. Zero posts. Zero readers. Zero subscribers. Zero requests for me to write anything. It was just me and my computer, creating new blog posts out of cursors and keystrokes, the way Doogie Howzer used to do it before he met your mother.

I write to help readers learn a little, laugh a little and lift a little.

Adding Value

I just started writing lessons and learnings I found valuable and that I thought would be valuable to others. I shared what I was learning about entrepreneurship as I launched the advertising and ideas agency The Weaponry in 2016. I wrote about marketing and creativity. I wrote about positive thinking and self-improvement. And I wrote a story about a woman who tried to save me from salmonella poisoning and plane crashes at a Piggly Wiggly.

Developing The Habit

I felt like the Time-To-Make-The Donuts Guy from the Dunkin Donuts commercials of my youth. That guy got up every day, without fail, and would make donuts, day after day, because the world needed donuts. He had created a donut-making habit. I created a similar habit at 6 am every day. Only I was writing, not baking, glazing, sprinkling, and holing.

The Compounding Effect

The compounding effect of a habit repeated over time is remarkable. It often sneaks up on you, like the way you catch a unique rabbit. At the start of 2023, I looked at the statistics page on this little blog project and I noticed 3 things that surprised me.

Adam Albrecht Blog Surprises

  1. I have now been writing the Adam Albrecht Blog for 8 years. I determined this through rigorous data analytics where I took the current year (2023) and subtracted the original year of publication (2015).
  2. I have published 828 blog posts.
  3. I saw the world map of where my blog has been read.

Here’s the map.

By writing day after day for years the blog has been read around the world. In fact, it has been read in 170 Countries or territories. According to Google and The United Nations (of Benneton), there are 195 sovereign nations. (And one seven-nation army.) One of my favorite statistics is that there are 38 countries that have at least triple-digit reads.

Notable countries that are boycotting this boy’s blog:

  1. Iran (So far away)
  2. Cuba (Gooding Jr.)
  3. North Korea (De Janeiro)

I get that those countries don’t allow people like me to just wi-fi into their countries, spreading positivity and pop culture references. So I am not hurt.

But then there is Greenland. That large landmass in the north apparently wants nothing to do with me. This has been a source of frustration for me for years. I just can’t seem to crack the Greenland market.

French Guiana is the only other area in the Americas that is not down with the AAB (Adam Albrect Blog). I don’t know if it is their Frenchness or their Guiananess that is to blame.

The Lesson

I started this blog at zero. I have never done any paid promotion of this blog. Yet, the ideas I have shared here have been read by people all over the world, thanks to the power of the internet and the WordPress platform.

By writing at least 5 days each week for years I also developed habits, ideas, and stories that enabled me to write my first book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? In the book, I shared 80 of the best life lessons I have learned. But it never would have happened if I hadn’t first started this blog.

I have now published 2 books, thanks to the writing and publishing habit I developed through this blog.

Key Takeaway

The key to long-term success is to get started. First comes the action. Then comes the accumulation. Studying doesn’t get you success. Planning doesn’t. Goals don’t. Actions do. Habits do. Simply not stopping does. So get started today. And just keep going.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+If you found value in this read, please subscribe to this blog to have new posts delivered fresh 3 times per week.

The first and most important lesson of the new year.

Happy 2023! The beginning of a new year is an exciting time. It’s full of hope, opportunity, and college football.

The exciting news is that today has the potential to be an inflection point in your life. Today could be the day when you stop doing something that was holding you back. Like smoking, overeating, or cheering for the Houston Texans. Or it could be the day you start doing something that will change you forever. Like exercising, working on a major life goal, or making better friends. (Or maybe you write a blog post that amazing people read, which makes them want to subscribe to that blog, and share it with other people…)

But there is a simple truth that you must understand about the promise of a new year:

The year doesn’t make you different. You make the year different.

A new year is not a change agent. It is simply a new blank sheet of paper on which you write your life story, morning glory. Yes, your story can and should get better, starting today. But you have to make that happen.

Here are 6 things you can do to make this year different.

  1. Adopt Your New identity. Decide that deep down in your innards you are the person you really want to be. It is the first and most effective step to becoming your ideal self. Don’t say that you want to be, or will someday be like your ideal. You are now! You are an exerciser, a reader, an entrepreneur, or a Liberace impersonator. And then prove it to yourself every day by living into that identity. #SweetCandleabra

2. Surround Yourself With Better People. The people you spend your time with have a powerful impact on you. They are either tow trucks that pull you forward or anchors that keep you in the same old spot. Find people who are already doing what you want to do. Spend as much time with them as you can. And soon you will take on their best traits, habits and actions. Like in Single White Female.

3. Create Better Habits Habits are everything. You are a product of your habits. If you are struggling with a habit there is something in your process that needs to be adjusted. Keep adjusting your process, cues, and timing until you find something that works for you. To become a master of creating your own great habits check out James Clear’s book Atomic Habits. The book is phenomenal. And it has nothing to do with tiny nuns.

4. Read More. Reading provides tools, ideas, tips, and tricks. Books are full of motivation, inspiration, and any kind of ation you are looking for. Through reading and learning, you’ll discover better ways to do everything. Reading enables us to suck the knowledge and experience out of the brains of rockstars who have already done what we want to do, only without being arrested.

5. Get Scared One of the greatest gifts we have is the scarcity of time. When you recognize how little time you have to accomplish all that you want to, it should scare the fecal matter out of you. Then 2 important things happen. First, you pick up the pace. You realize that you need to take action now, or soon it will be too late. Second, the scarcity of time inspires you to take care of your health. You recognize the value of exercise, weight control and healthy eating to maximize your time.

6. Set SMART Goals. Goals provide direction, inspiration and a scoreboard. Give yourself goals to help improve your life and happiness. Give yourself habit goals to improve your daily life. And declare achievement goals to help you accomplish those big things you always dreamed of doing. Make sure your goals are SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Based

Key Takeaway

You have 365 days to make this an amazing year. As JFK said, things do not happen. They are made to happen. Declare your ideal identity. Surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to do. Constantly work on your habit creation and maintenance. Read great books and articles to acquire more tools and inspiration. Realize you are running out of time. And that this year is a gift. Act now to prevent regret later. Create clear goals related to your most important habits and achievements. Then work at them every day. And never stop. That’s how you make this year different.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

I don’t recommend getting signatures on the digital version.

A simple reminder to share your light with the world.

One of my favorite events of the year happened on Saturday night. (And yes, it was live.) My family and I attended the Christmas Eve service at our church. The highlight of the service happened at the end when we sang Holy Night. But the magic of the moment was sparked before we sang. Literally.

The best part of the service began when the lights in the sanctuary were turned off and the only light in the church came from the candles on the altar.

The pastor then picked up a candle and lit it with the flame from the center candle of the advent wreath. Then, the ushers lit their candles with the flame from the pastor’s candle.

Once the ushers’ candles were lit, (and I heard Usher singing ‘Let it burn…‘ in my head) they proceeded down the center aisle of the church. As the ushers passed through the church, the people closest to the aisle in each pew lit their candles with the passing flame. The light was then passed down each aisle, person to person, until everyone in the congregation was holding a lit candle.

Silent Night

Then we sang the soft and sweet carol Silent Night, by candlelight. The final verse was sung without the organ, acapella style. (Or is that the term they use to describe the Galapagos Islands? I always forget.) The result is a powerful and touching experience that is the pinnacle of my Christmas celebration.

The Reminder

The great reminder in this tradition goes beyond the birth of Jesus and the no-crying he made. It goes beyond the fact that the cattle were lowing. Which I assume means they were having a limbo contest. Which is a rude thing to do with a sleeping baby around.

The great reminder during the candlelight service is to share your light with others.

You have gifts that make the world better. It is in your kindness, your positivity, and your energy. Your light is the goodness you share with those around you. It shines in your smile, your laugh, your attitude, your determination, your resilience and your creativity. By sharing, your gifts become gifts to those around you. They inspire and comfort. They remind us of the powerful positive impact we can have on each other. And at the end of our days, that’s the only thing that matters.

Key Takeaway

Share your light with as many people as you can. Just as a flame passed from candle to candle can light up a room, when you pass your gifts you can transform the world around you. Your light has the power to positively impact your family, friends, coworkers, teammates and neighbors. But your light can also be passed down from generation to generation, far into the future, influencing people you will never meet. You don’t have to be rich or famous. You just need to pass your light along to one person at a time. Just like we do on Christmas Eve.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

At 9 o’clock Friday night I made a decision I will never forget or regret.

Friday night my family and I drove down to Chicago from Milwaukee. We had planned a fun holiday season weekend in the city. And when I say we planned it, I mean, my wife Dawn planned it. But I drove. And found parking.

The itinerary included restaurants and shopping. The central event was going to the The Nutcracker at the Lyric Opera House. Which is a funny name for an opera house, because I haven’t understood a single lyric of any opera I have ever seen.

Friday Night

After driving nearly 3 hours through snow and rain Friday evening we finally got to Chicago. We checked into our hotel and walked to our dinner reservation. Which was delicious. Then we walked back to our hotel. At 9pm, as the 5 of us relaxed in our hotel room we had to decide if we were done for the night.

It would have been easy to stay in our hotel room. After all, we had already had a long day of school, work, travel and walking. Plus, the room was comfy.

We debated our evening plan for several minutes. But we were on a family adventure in Chicago. So we decided we were heading back out into the city.

Adventure!

We had packed our ice skates for the trip, just in case the spirit moved us. And at 9pm on Friday night, it moved us. So I threw a duffel bag loaded with 5 pairs of skates over my shoulder and we urban hiked nearly a mile to the Millenium Park ice skating rink, which is right next to the Chicago Bean. (The magical fruit.)

Trying to show these sponges how to soak it all in.

We found a bench and sat down to swap our shoes for skates, Mr. Rogers-style. For the next hour, we skated and laughed and tried not to fall or get run over.

Christmas music played. The lights of the city skyscrapers rose high in the background. And there were Christmas lights twinkling everywhere. It was a magical night.

Me and Dawn, skating in a winter wonderland.

As I experienced the child-like joy of skating at night in the heart of one of the world’s greatest cities, 2 weeks before Christmas, there was a thought that kept running through my head:

I could have missed this. My family and I could have lounged on the beds in our hotel rooms. And watched TV. Or scrolled through our phones. Or simply gone to bed. And we would have missed this experience. An experience that didn’t cost a dime. It simply required us to get out and do it.

-Inner me (as told to Outer Me.)
That cone followed me around to warn everyone to stand clear.

Key Takeaway

Live while you can. Fill your days with experiences and adventures. Enjoy time with friends and family while you can. Because someday it will be too late. And you will wish you had.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

Why it is so important for your dreams to survive the pre-boil stage.

Success always sounds easier than it really is. You set a goal. You work hard. And you accomplish it, right? It’s all so so logical, and linear.

But the logic overlooks the most overlooked stage of success. The pre-boil. You remember. It’s the lesson we learned in science class. And it’s a lesson we’re reminded of every time we watch a pot. Because that mofo never boils.

When you boil water there are 5 stages to the process:

  1. You fill a pot with water.
  2. You place the pot on the stove.
  3. You turn on the burner
  4. The burner heats the water.
  5. The water boils.

4 out of the 5 stages of the process last only a matter of seconds. Like an Instagram story. But one of the stages takes much longer.

Stage 4: The Pre-Boil.

The Pre-Boil is the part of the process when you put in the necessary work to get the result. But you are not yet getting the result you are after.

You have to go through the pre-boil phase:

  • When you exercise.
  • When you want to lose weight.
  • When you want to establish a successful career.
  • When you want to be an influencer.
  • When you start your own business.
  • When you are a student.
  • When you write a book.
  • When you want to make a tasty lobster dinner.
  • And when you want to build Rome. (Because everyone knows that is not a one-day job.)

The Most Common Cause Of Failure

Most attempts fail because they don’t survive the pre-boil. Because during this stage the effort you put in is far greater than the results you get out.

However, during the pre-boil, your effort, work, dedication, and sacrifice are accumulating. Just like the heat that is accumulating in that pot of water on the stove.

The pre-boil is the price of entry. It is the initiation to the club. It is the test to see if you really want what you think you want. If you really want that dream to come true you must keep marching through the pre-boil. It is the only way to get to your goal.

Key Takeaway

All great accomplishments require sustained effort. The energy you exert is added to your account. But you won’t see the results right away. Know that. Accept that. And keep going. Success is a test. The universe holds back the reward to sweeten it. Which makes it worth both the work and the wait.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

It’s not too late to write your great comeback story.

Unlike L.L. Cool J, I love a good comeback story. The kind of story where you thought all was lost. That defeat was imminent. And the small amount of time left was not enough to support the amount of work left to do. We have great examples of these types of comebacks. And they are amongst the most inspiring human stories. Cue Eye of The Tiger.

But good comeback stories are not just written by big-time sports teams. Nor are they just for famous actors and rockstars who once got too deep into drugs or ice cream to remain hot and bookable.

Write Your Own Comeback Story Today

In fact, you can write your own comeback story any day. We all have days when it feels like we don’t get anything accomplished. We get sidetracked at work and don’t feel productive. We don’t get our exercise in. We don’t get much on our to-do list to-done.

But you can always do something valuable late in the day, or evening, or night to save the day. Like Mighty Mouse.

I am frequently surprised by how much I can accomplish in a late-day flurry of activity when I thought a whole day of productivity had been lost. I often sneak in a trip to the gym at 9pm, or I exercise at home as late as 11pm because I still can. I regularly read, write or work late in the evening. This not only helps me keep my commitment to myself, it also helps keep my momentum rollin’. Like Limp Bizkit.

Today is December 1st. This is the beginning of the last month of the year. And if you haven’t been highly productive in 2022 it’s not too late. You still have a full month to work on your goals. You have 31 days to create a new great habit. You have the same time to break a bad habit. You have 4.5 weeks to invest in a bucket list item. You still have time to start a business. To write a book. To plan and book that epic vacation. To start exercising. To go to church. To read a good book. To reconnect with someone you’ve lost. Or to find yourself. So let’s get going.

Key Takeaway

At the end of an unproductive day, week, month or year, let the scarcity of time create a sense of urgency to act. It is not too late. Make great use of your remaining time. The older you get the more you recognize the true value of time. Let those remaining sands in the hourglass inspire your comeback story. Tomorrow you will be thankful you did.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

Something I did 30 years ago rewarded me in a fun way this week.

A couple of weeks ago I got a very interesting direct message on Instagram. It came from the great Bleav in Badger Football Podcast account. Here’s what it said:

Hey Adam! My name is Matt Perkins and I’m the producer of the Bleav in Badgers podcast (and a fellow Hanover high school alum) and I wanted to reach out to you to first connect in general and then see if you’d be willing to come sit down on the show with us and talk about your story. Former badgers FB and captain Matt Bernstein and I sit down with former badgers (mostly football players but not exclusively) to talk to them about their journeys on and off the field. We’ve had a couple former track guys before (Scott Brinen most notably) and I was hoping you’d be interested in spending a little time with us sometime. We had AJ Taylor on a couple months ago and I know he’s affiliated with your company so I figured I would reach out. Thanks so much and hope all is well, and On Wisconsin (and go Marauders!)

-Matt Perkins

I love it!

I was thrilled at the prospect of being a guest on the podcast. And just as importantly, I was thrilled about talking to Matt about our shared-but-unshared experiences of going to the same high school in New Hampshire and the Univerity of Wisconsin, Madison. So I responded:

Wow! I love Badger Marauders!!! I would love to be a guest. And I have a lot of angles that I could talk about. I have many connections to the football program that will likely surprise you. Let’s do this!

-Adam Albrecht

Then the story got even better when Matt responded:

Awesome! Also, quick Marauder story – I was also a thrower and finished HS 2nd behind you in all the school records. I walked on freshman year to the track team at UW too but got cut end of first semester. Would love to connect! Shoot me your email and we’ll get something on the books

-Matt Perkins

WOW!

I was blown away to make this connection. Matt’s DM combined 4 of my favorite things:

  1. Hanover High School Marauders
  2. Wisconsin Badgers
  3. Connecting with new people.
  4. Instagram (Next to my Grammy, and Teddy, Insta is my favorite type of gram.)

Connecting

I reach out to people I don’t know a lot. Like a lot a lot. I love connecting dots and developing new relationships with people. Especially when we have something fun or interesting in common. But I do it so frequently that it is a real surprise when someone beats me to it.

Inspiration

Matt told me that my high school shot put and discus records served as a source of inspiration for him beginning his freshman year in high school. My discus record was also the New Hampshire state record for 12 years, including the years when Matt was in high school.

Matt Perkins became a great thrower too. He hit 52′ 8 in the shot put and 156′ in the discus. He was the state champion in both events. But he also crushed in the hammer, throwing 194′, and winning the New England championship. Which is wicked frick’n awesome!

Matt, in the sweet headband, went on to have a great career as a rugby player after his throwing career ended.

Offer A Model

It is extremely rewarding to know that someone saw what I accomplished, and it served as a model to follow. Because when you see that someone who lives where you live achieved something that you would like to achieve, it is a reminder that you have the same potential to do great things.

Set Good Examples

Every time you do a good deed, or accomplish something worthwhile, whether it is large or small, you are setting a good example for others to follow. This creates a lasting impact of positivity and success that amplifies the good you do on a daily basis. Thanks for reminding me of that Matt!

The Podcast:

We talked about a whole lotta stuff! Including our opposite attitudes towards our high school weight room.

Matt Perkins, Badger football legend Matt Bernstein and I just recorded the podcast. You can hear the podcast here. (Hear! Hear! to that!)

Key Takeaway

I am excited to say that Matt Perkins and I have developed a quick and strong friendship based on our shared history. If there is someone you’ve always wanted to have a relationship with, especially if they have had a positive impact on your life, reach out to them. You’re likely to have a lot in common, which is the recipe for a meaningful relationship. And at the end of our days, the only thing that matters is the impact we have on each other. Go Marauders! And On Wisconsin!

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

How to turn your social media feeds into powerful sources of good.

I am an unapologetic consumer of social media. I haven’t proven it with an egg timer, but I bet I spend more time on the socials than I do watching television. It’s a pretty easy bet. Because other than the political coverage last Tuesday night, I don’t think I have watched more than an hour of TV in the past week.

Social media gets a bad reputation. Like Joan Jett. But the social media you consume is a result of the choices you make, the feeds you follow and maybe the parental controls your caring Mom and Dad set. (Your welcome kids. And thanks for reading.)

I laugh when I hear how negative social media is. Because the social media feeds I follow are rich sources of positivity, creativity and humor. (Check out my Instagram story today at @adamalbrecht for a good giggle I found.)

I follow people and brands that share good with the world. I get inspiration, encouragement and awe from my social media. I use my accounts like magnets that attract the good, the beautiful and the motivational. And if the people or organizations I follow start sharing poo I delete them like a typo.

Mr. Goodbody said You are what you eat. Because the food you consume creates you. The same holds true of the content you consume. It creates your attitude, your energy, and your inspiration. Choose carefully and you can turn your social media into a perpetual force for good.

Key Takeaway

Don’t blame social media for being negative. You can find the negative if you want to. But you are the bouncer in your social mediaverse. You get to choose who gets in and who doesn’t. Think of your social media feeds as the people in your inner circle. Bring the uplifting, supportive and inspiring feeds in. Toss the negative, hateful and harmful elements out. You’ll be surprised to see how powerful and positive your social media force can be.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

For more, you can find me at @adamalbrecht on IG and Twitter. I’m active on LinkedIn, Facebook, and BeReal. I dabble on Snapchat and TikTok. And if you are a Badger athlete you’ll find me on Badger Connect.

How to have the best life possible.

I am always looking for insights and advice on how to live a great life. I look for wisdom and nuggets everywhere. I expect you share the same interest in life advice since you decided to read this article based on the best-life headline.

When I find golden lessons I like to share them with as many people as possible. In fact, I recently published an entire book full of 80 of the best life lessons I have learned titled What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? The book lets you consume a lot of actionable insight without consuming the 20 calories packed into those delightfully bland non-cookie cookies. And since there are 80 lessons, the book saves you 1600 calories. So it’s kind of a weight loss book too. (But not really.)

Another Book Recommendation

But I am not the only one who writes about the valuable life lessons they have discovered. Ray Dalio’s #1 New York Times bestselling book Principles is full of great lessons on both life and work. Plus, it is the only book I own that comes with two of those built-in bookmark ribbon thingies.

While there are many great lessons in Dalio’s book here is his simple summation of the entire work.

In order to have the best life possible, you have to:

1) know what the best decisions are and

2) have the courage to make them.

-Ray Dalio

The key insight here is that you have to constantly improve your decision-making ability and increase your courage. Which means that we are all on the Yellow Brick Road with the Scarecrow and the Lion.

Key Takeaway

Constantly upgrade your decision-making skills. Know your own guiding principles. Study the outcomes of your decisions to learn what works. And study the principles of others so that you can adopt their best thinking as your own. Then live life according to your own proven principles. They will not only lead to better decisions, but they will also lead to positive outcomes that will increase your courage to make the right difficult decisions in the future.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.