What is the greatest pain?

My daughter Ava and I went out for a mid-week dinner date on Wednesday night. She had qualified for her sectional track and field meet. Which in Wisconsin is the last step before the state championship meet. If she finished in the top 3 at the sectional meet she would make it to the state meet.

So the night before the meet we decided to go grab her favorite carb-loading meal from MACS Macaroni and Cheese joint. Which, in my opinion, should be the official restaurant chain of Wisconsin.

The Conversation

As we drove we talked about track and field. We talked about her upcoming meet. And we talked about life. Our discussion got deep. Like Johnny Deep. Or Deepak Chopra. During our convo, A.C. (Ava Claire) asked me the following question:

Ava: Dad, what do you think is the greatest pain?

Me: (resisting the urge to say T-Pain…) Physical or emotional?

Ava: Emotional.

Me: Regret

Ava: That’s exactly what I was thinking!

Me: In entrepreneurship, we say that failure is far better than regret. When I started The Weaponry I wasn’t afraid of failing. I was afraid of getting to the end of my days and having never tried to start my own business.

Ava: I love that.

Remember what Teddy Roosevelt said:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

-Teddy Roosevelt

Key Takeaway

Don’t be afraid to try. Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid to lose. Be afraid of regret. That feeling hurts more. And it lasts forever.

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How you think of your morning alarm makes all the difference.

What is your alarm clock to you?

Is it a warning?

A stop sign?

Is it a buzzer telling you that you are out of time?

Is it an annoyance?

A wet blanket? (gross)

Is it a buzzkill? (Or maybe just a Zzzzzkill?)

Is it a shot to the heart? And you’re to blame?

A necessary evil, heavy on the evil?

Is it like the lights flicking on at bar time telling you that you’re getting kicked out? (And revealing that the person in front of you is fugly with the lights on?)

Is it a call to tumble outta bed? And stumble to the kitchen. To pour yourself a cup of ambition. And yawn and stretch. And try to come to life.

The Alternative

Or is your morning alarm an invitation?

Is it the signal of the start of something great?

Is it like the lifeguard’s whistle, inviting you back into the water?

Is it like the opening bell at the stock exchange inviting you to make money and magic?

It is like a train whistle reminding you it’s time to move Engine Engine Number 9 down the New York Transit line?

It is like the national anthem, telling you to stand up straight and proud, reminding you of all you have to be thankful for, flooding you with the feels, and inspiring you to go write the next chapter of your story?

Key Takeaway

Your perspective is everything. Remember that every day is a new opportunity to grow, create, enjoy and improve. Make sure to fill your life with work, play, people, and places that are worth looking forward to each morning. And happily accept that invitation when it comes.

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What keeps me up at night.

I usually sleep very well at night. I think it has to do with expending a lot of energy during the day. I kick off significant human wattage between the rooster’s crow and the cricket’s chirp. As a result, when my head paperweights the pillow I am quickly in La La Land, like Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.

But last night I was up in the middle of the night for a couple of hours. I finally got out of bed and went down to my office to put some thoughts on paper. And in the dark and quiet hours of the barely-morning, I thought about other times when this happens. And I asked myself the proverbial/literal question:

‘What keeps me up at night?’

-Me

The Answer:

As The Most Interesting Man in The World might say, ‘I am not always up at night. But when I am, it is because of excitement!’

It is almost always because I am too excited to sleep. I get The-Night-Before- Christmas syndrome. Or I-Just-Spent-The-Day-At-The-Amusement-Park syndrome. The excitement of the day, or the days, months and years to come turn my machines back on like Randolph Duke demanded at the end of Trading Places.

Big and fun thoughts, plans, and possibilities are like crack. Or at least like a really great late-night infomercial that I can’t turn off. Pursuing creative ideas in the middle of the night makes me feel like Rumpelstiltskin. Only I get to keep the girl, the gold, and the first-born child. All of which is far more appealing than simply catching Zzzzs.

Explore Your Excitement

You have to find the mental candy to enjoy in life. I hope that you fill your days with enough fun, interesting, and exciting professional and personal pursuits that they spill into your sleeping hours. I hope you have interests that get your juices flowing even when the pump should be turned off.

Key Takeaway

Focus more on the wow and the wonder than the worry. Find the things that excite you in your work and play. Not only will those things make it easy to get out of bed in the morning, they won’t let you wait for the alarm. That’s a great way to face the day. Even in the wee hours of the morning.

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Why you should think of time as material to make an amazing life.

Earlier this week I got a text from a friend who read my blog post Getting the vaccine = Getting together =Getting back to normal. The text said, ‘It looks like you had an eventful day.’ Indeed, my Wednesday was eventful. All by design. So I responded, ‘I did! I’m trying to create an eventful life!’

Making It Happen.

It is easy to want an eventful life. Or an adventurous life. Or a life worth turning into a book, movie, urban legend, or highway-side historical marker. But the only way to make that happen is to make it happen. Kinda like the only way to invent Facebook is to invent Facebook. #FrickenWinklevosses 

The Material

While fine artists work with materials like paint, pencil, metal, and clay, there is another more valuable material we can all use to create art every day. And it’s right there on your watch, on your calendar, and in the sands rushing through your hourglass. And if you are Mick Jagger, it is right there on your side. (Yes it is.)

Time

Time is the greatest artistic medium of all. You can use time to create memorable moments, minutes and hours. You can create a beautiful day, a wonderful week, or an amazing year. By using your time well you can create your own beautiful, memorable, adventurous, eventful life.

You can use time to build a career, create a community or have a positive impact on all of the nouns around you. #PeoplePlacesAndThings You can build a business, develop relationships, create memories, or write a book. Heck, you can even write a blog post reminding people that they can do all the things they ever wanted to do if they simply use the time they already have.

Key Takeaway

Time is the material beautiful lives are made of. Every day at midnight you get a fresh delivery of 1,440 minutes to work with. Don’t waste them. Instead, make a plan for them. Create all you can with them. Remember, time is the raw material from which all great things are born. What you do with your time is the greatest decision you will ever make. Choose wisely.

Thank you for spending some of your time with me.

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The harder you work the luckier you get.

I’ll take inspiration anywhere I can find it: books, podcasts, even Snapple caps. I have a Hang In There Kitty! poster on the back of my office door. Yesterday I found inspiration on Spotify. A song came on that grabbed my attention with the very first line. Both the music and the lyrics were energizing. It had a good beat, and I could dance to it. I give it a 10 Dick Clark.

Here are the lyrcis. If you click on title you can watch a live performance. And the band name is fun to say.

The Luckier You Get by American Aquarium

The harder you work, the luckier you get
The more you get done, boy, the less you’ll regret
Write it down so you never forget
The harder you work, the luckier you get
The harder you work, the luckier you get


When I turned thirteen, my old man sat me down
He said, “Boy, there’s only two ways out of this town
A Greyhound bus that’s boot camp-bound
Or put your nose is a book and keep your ear to the ground”


So I set off to college, but it weren’t for me
So I bought a guitar and started playin’ for free
Wrote a couple hundred bad ones ’til I had two or three
That I thought were good enough folks might pay me to sing


I’ve heard far less “Yes”s than I have “No”s
Seen far less highs than I have lows
I’d rather get to the top steady and slow
Than end up there too fast with nowhere to go


The harder you work, the luckier you get
The more you get done, boy, the less you’ll regret
Write it down so you never forget
The harder you work, the luckier you get
The harder you work, the luckier you get

Key Takeaway

If you want to improve your luck don’t pluck a 4-leaf clover or amputate a rabbit’s foot. Put in more work. Good things seem to keep happening over and over to those who do the most to help their own cause. Prepare for good things to happen. Hard work is like a net that catches good luck. The harder you work the bigger your net becomes. And bigger nets catch more and bigger luck.

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Why you should embrace the bumps and the resistance.

Humans are full of potential. We are loaded with more energy and ability than you can possibly imagine. Unless maybe you are John Lennon.

Thomas Edison said, “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” It was that type of enlightened thinking that enabled Edison to invent both the modern light bulb and the ‘How many does it take to screw in a light bulb?’ jokes.

As you work to become all that you can be, like the United States Army, you will encounter bumps and resistance along your journey. It is important to recognize the full value they provide. Because humans are like matchsticks. #RobThomas We are meant to be set on fire. It is the bumps and the friction we encounter that create the sparks and the heat that ignite us. It is the adversity and struggle that strengthen us and bring out our best. Like Budweiser in 1984.

Key Takeaway

Embrace the struggle. Value the resistance. Don’t avoid it. Go through it. It helps reveal all that you are capable of.

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***If you think 3 asterisks are too many, you are probably right.

Do you have a pre-game hype ritual?

We’ve all seen pre-game introductions before sporting events to get the teams and the fans excited for competition. They typically involve some combination of lights, video, music, smoke machines, pyrotechnics, pom-poms, well-caffeinated announcers, and a deer. (Actually, the deer may only be a Milwaukee Bucks thing.)

However, hype routines should not be limited to sporting events. Because each day of your life is a game. Every day is a challenge to see how much you can accomplish. The more you can do to hit the day prepared to perform the more you are likely to achieve. #LetsDoThisThang

If there is one thing I am good at it is hyping myself up. In the morning as I drive to work I inspire myself with either an audiobook related to success or self-improvement, a podcast on the same topic, or music that gets me ready to perform. Sometimes it’s a cocktail of 2 or 3 of those elements. I would also be willing to bet there is more singing and clapping in my car than in the average Honda.

Once I get to the office, (or bust into my home office like I own the place) I launch my computer and crank up more hype music as I create my success list for the day. At the header of my list, I include a collection of my personal goals and personal success mantras. By the time my list is complete, I have worked up the needed attitude, energy, and inspiration to make the most of my day. I am like my own Michael Buffer. And I am now ready to rumblllle. #DingDingDing

Key Takeaway

Hype routines are not just for NBA players, boxers, and concertgoers. Pump up your own jam every morning with a routine that gets you excited and inspired to perform at your best. Remember, every day of your life is a game. Prepare your mind to make the most of it.

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

Are you surrounding yourself with the best people?

If you are growing and developing at a rapid rate, you are likely to outgrow your peers. That means outperforming and outranking friends and co-workers who are your age. It means that the professional group you belong to will someday feel less stimulating and helpful. It’s what happened to Doogie Howser in daycare.

As you learn, grow, and advance you will need new peers to support, inspire and push you. Seek out those who are already at the next level. Or 2 levels up. Put the power of positive peer pressure to work for you.

Jim Rohn once said, ‘You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.’ (Actually, I bet he said that a whole bunch of times because it’s a really good line.)

Attitudes and expectations are contagious. Surrounding yourself with ambitious and accelerating humans is like sharing a lollipop with someone who has Chicken Pox. (Or huffing with someone who has COVID-19.) You are likely to catch what they have. Which makes you more likely to do the things they do. Like UB40 said.

Key Takeaway

Pay close attention to your peer group. Seek out the best people to spend your time with. Find others who have been where you are going. Or people who are on their way now. You’ll travel farther and faster together.

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How habits help you do things you don’t feel like doing.

Excuses are easy to find. They are everywhere. Like Subway sandwich shops. And they can get you out of doing just about anything if you let them. But like James Taylor said, don’t you let them.

For years now I have committed to writing and sharing 3 blog posts per week, every week, for however many weeks there are in a year. (Which is like, 76 right? Or is that how many trombones lead the big parade?)

But today is Easter. And it’s a Sunday. (It seems like Easter falls on a Sunday a lot. Like Chick-fil-A cravings.)

Plus, I am on vacation. And I have a hundred other things I could be doing.

But, here I am, writing anyway. And you’re reading my Easter morning post. (Thank you!) Because I’ve developed a habit.

Habits destroy excuses. Because habits make actions automatic. They help you build momentum. Because once you get the flywheel turning you don’t need willpower, or discipline. You just do it. Like Nike. Or like one of Pavlov’s drooling dogs.

Key Takeaway

Turn your most important actions into habits. Science shows that by the 60th repetition an action becomes a habit. After that it is easy to keep your commitment. So develop your habits. Keep showing up. Keep coming back. Keep working, or writing, or exercising, or chopping wood, or whatever you have committed to do.

And special thanks today to my man Jesus. I appreciate you Bro! I’ve been using the Forgiveness of Sins you gave me everyday too.

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How to turn your setbacks into success.

Progress is not linear. It zigs and zags. It stalls. It reverses. In fact, progress moves like a good 1980s breakdancer. It often leaves you spinning on your head. And wondering why you are carrying around a large piece of cardboard, and a boombox.

But don’t fear the setback. Setbacks are a profit center. Because, like Alanis Morissette said, every time you lose, you learn. Which means that setbacks are full of education, growth and things you, you, you oughta know. They make you smarter and stronger if you let them.

Obstacles, challenges, and losses provide game film to study. They reveal weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and flaws. And they teach you how to strengthen your weaknesses so you can overcome challenges the next time you face them. Luckily, life supplies a Hong Kong Buffet of challenges to overcome. So you will always have more opportunities to put your loss-based learnings to good use.

Key Takeaway

Don’t lament the setback. Embrace it. Dissect it. It provides a very specific, high level course in personal or professional development. Enroll in that class. Take good notes. You’re sure to come out smarter and more prepared than you started.

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