Why I do so much public speaking and why you should too.

Over the past 5 months, since first publishing my book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? I regularly get asked if I do any public speaking. The simple answer is an emphatic Yes! (And an emphatic Yes! is also the basic message of most of my public speaking.)

The truth is I never turn down an opportunity to speak if there is a chance I can work it into my schedule. Not just because I enjoy it. But also because it is my way of passing along all of the lessons, insights and encouragement that the world has shared with me. Plus, you usually get a free bottle of water.

UW Credit Union hooked me up with 2 bottles of water!

I enjoy offering motivation and encouragement. I like to teach and share lessons from my own experience. Which is why I think about the following philosophy when I am asked to speak at an event:

“The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The work of life is to develop it. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.”

-David Viscott

I also love to entertain. If I would have been born with more funny bones I would love to have been a standup comedian. (But alas, I only have the two not-so-funny bones in my elbows.) So when I get asked to speak I always try to find opportunities to make the audience laugh. And occasionally they will.

My recent speaking events include a book talk to a marketing association, company meetings, guest lectures, and 3 TV appearances.

Talk show talking with Molly Fay.

Over the next weeks and months my speaking engagements include:

A Career Day event for 8th graders. (A notoriously tough and attention-challenged crowd. I’ll probably resort to some potty humor to keep them engaged.)

Moderating a panel discussion Tomorrow morning I’m hosting a panel at American Family Field with some interesting and well-known panelists. (Which is sure to induce some panel envy.)

A talk in Cleveland for a large conference. (I hope they don’t throw any of those Cleveland rocks!)

Speaking to the leadership team of a very large household brand in Columbus. (Ok, so it’s really more of a Garagehold brand.)

Speaking to a conference in Chicago about branding. (I had to assure attendees that they would not be getting their hide seared.)

Several association meetings. (I’d like to create a talk titled, ‘Is there an ass in your ociaton?’)

• Guest interviews on podcasts

Plus, I have at least 5 other events in the planning stages.

Talking to the Milwaukee Athletic Club about how to carry 2 watermelons at once.

These speaking events are great opportunities for me to share what I know with the world. I get to pass along energy, enthusiasm and positivity. And I get to remind people that they are responsible for writing a great story of their own life and career every day.

I love the challenge of taking what could easily be a boring and forgettable event and turning it into something fun, entertaining and inspiring. Which is why I get so many speaking requests. And why I am often asked to fill the last slot of the day. (I’m the Keep-Them-Awake Specialist.)

Key Takeaway

If you have great experience and a positive perspective you should share it with the world. Look for opportunities to speak, educate and inspire. Not only will others learn from you, but you will learn from the experience too. The process of sharing with others forces you to organize and crystalize your own thinking. Which means everyone comes out ahead.

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

> If you are looking for someone to speak at your next event you can reach me at adam@theweaponry.com.

+To learn some of the life lessons I like to talk about, check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

12 important life lessons for new graduates.

It’s graduation time! Students across the country are thrilled to finally be done with classes, done with books and done with teachers’ dirty looks. But what they will soon find out is that the real life lessons start after school ends. Because suddenly your life becomes one big multiple choice test. And if you thought you were done with all that writing, here comes the big surprise:

Now you have to write the story of your own life.

Looking back, I can see that I have learned far more since graduating from Hanover High School in Hanover, New Hampshire and The University of Wisconsin than I did in school. In fact, I read more now than I did in school. I ask more questions. I study people and events, and people at events.

I have been collecting the best lessons I have learned since the day I graduated from high school. Then, during the Covid lockdown, I turned my collection of most valuable life lessons into a book called What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say?

I thought the book would help people like me who were trying to get the most out of life. I wanted to help my contemporaries maximize their happiness and success. I wanted to share some of my accumulated knowledge, inspire others, and make people laugh. Not necessarily in that order.

Since publishing my new book I have heard 2 responses over and over from readers.

  1. I wish I had read this when I was younger.
  2. This book will make an excellent graduation gift.

The positive response to the book confirms that the life lessons I pass along offer real value. For new graduates, the lessons will help build the life and career you imagined. Which is why so many people are picking up copies now, during graduation season to give as gifts.

My friend Kris picked up these copies for some special graduates in her life. Including her daughter Emma!

If you are a new graduate, congratulations! Welcome to the club! Here are a few things that will help you in your exciting next chapter of life. (And you thought you were done with all that reading…) (If you graduated last year or last century the lessons still apply.)

12 important life lessons for new graduates.

  1. Constantly Upgrade Your Thinking: You may have graduated, but you are not done growing. Never stop improving yourself. You are like an iPhone. You should constantly be creating better versions of yourself. Each one is smarter, stronger and more capable than the one before. (And now that you will start paying for your own phone you’ll want to put a screen shield and protective case on that thang. Phones are frick’n expensive.)

2. The best way to live a great life is to start at the end. By viewing your life from the end you can clearly see what you could have done and what you should have done. Do this now, while you can do something about it. And you will be able to turn your life into an epic story as big as your imagination. (And go to funerals. They will teach you more about life than death. Plus, there are always free ham sandwiches.)

3. It’s the first step that matters most. Far too many people dream about the things they want to do but never take a single step towards making it happen. Your dreams start with that first step. Take it. Make it happen. (And watch Hamilton. That dude did not throw away his shot.)

4. Let envy be your guide. Don’t get fooled into thinking envy is a deadly sin and try to squash it. Envy offers insight. Note the things you envy and truly want and add them to your life list. Then create a plan to make them yours. And get to work. (Sloth, however, is a deadly sin. Don’t mess with sloths, Sid.)

5. Your Success Is Directly Related to Your Contribution. Success is easy to understand. If you want more, contribute more. If you want to earn more money, add more value. If you want more social capital, add more value. If you want more political capital, add more value. It is the value you bring to the world that determines what the world offers you in return, Jedi.

6. Nothing will happen unless you make it so. JFK said, ‘Things do not happen. They are made to happen.’ Remember that action is everything. It is the difference between dreaming and doing. If you want something to happen you have to force it and will it to happen through your vision, action, and energy. This wisdom applies to friendship, entrepreneurship, and every other ship in between.

7. Kickstart your day with a smile. The first thing you should do every day, while still lying in bed, is put a big smile on your face. Science has proven that not only do we smile when we feel good, we actually feel good when we smile. Smiling is the easiest positive thing you’ll do all day. Yet it has the power to propel and protect you until you crawl back into bed at night. (So, if you haven’t smiled yet today, do it now, brown cow.)

8. Fill your attitude with helium. Life is unpredictable. One moment you feel like you are on top of the world. the next moment you feel like the world is on top of you. But a helium attitude rises anyway. Don’t let setbacks, curveballs, and negative people drag you down. Do what helium does, and just keep rising. Your attitude is everything in life. Make sure you fill it with the right fuel. (And if you ever need a good laugh, suck in some real helium and say ‘Luke, I am your Father.’)

9. Always bet on yourself. Don’t buy lottery tickets. Don’t bet on sports or horses. Instead, bet on yourself. Bet on your ideas. But on your intuition. Bet on your determination. And on your willingness to affect the outcome. Stack the odds in your favor. It is the easiest way to mitigate risk and set yourself up for an epic payout. (And add Take A Chance On Me by ABBA to your life soundtrack. It’s a real toe-tapper.)

10. Find your Sliver Mentors. Everyone will offer you advice. But only take advice from people who are already doing what you want to do be doing. And rather than have one mentor for everything it is useful to have many mentors for slivers of your life. Learn the tips and tricks of the people who behave the way you want to behave. Don’t listen to every voice in the wind. Instead, carefully curate the advice you accept from those who offer great examples. (And keep a good tweezer around for regular slivers.)

11. Ask For What You Want. Never be afraid to simply ask for what you really want. A closed door will often open when you show just how much you want to go inside. Remember, someone holds the key to unlock every locked door. (Don’t simply take what you want. Unless you look great in an orange jumpsuit.)

12. Don’t Build A Network. Build Friendships. Throughout your career, people will tell you that you should network. This essentially means you should meet people who can help further your career. This is bad advice. Don’t network. Instead, befriend as many people as you can. Prioritize developing genuine relationships. When you make great friends you will have a great network. Because when you make people the most important thing in your life, everything else magically falls into place. (And keep eating Lucky Charms. They’re magically delicious.)

Key Takeaway:

Commit to a lifetime of learning and growing. Get a little better every day. Read. Think. Make friends. Find people who can teach you. And always bet on yourself. The best is yet to come. But it’s up to you to make it happen.

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

+If a $16 graduation gift fits into your budget, consider grabbing a copy of What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? for a graduate in your life.

How to get the most out of any experience.

Every experience in your life has the potential to be valuable. Every day, every meeting, every interaction. From major holidays to kickoff meetings to casual conversation, there is gold to be found everywhere. But too often the experience comes and goes without living up to the potential it promised. This is the deeper message behind the play Our Town and the movies The Sixth Sense and Weekend at Bernie’s.

The best way to get the most out of any experience is to imagine it is already over before it has begun.

Before the meeting starts imagine you are walking out of it. Before you get in the car with another person imagine the drive is over. Before your guests arrive imagine they are leaving. Before you try that pick-up line imagine what the other person looks like when you are sober.

Then ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. What went right?
  2. What went wrong?
  3. What would I do better next time?

With this quick and easy pre-mortem evaluation you can ensure that you will:

  1. Make the right things happen.
  2. Fix what went wrong before it occurred.
  3. Do things better THIS time.

I use the simple evaluation technique all the time. And I use it on massively different types of experiences.

Before Christmas or a birthday, I imagine the perfect day, map it out and schedule the day to live up to my expectations. More detail is better. So is more eggnog and more smiling. Smiling’s my favorite.

But I also use this technique when I drive my kids to or from school. I think about the conversation I wish I had. I think about the opportunity to connect, encourage, or entertain as if it already slipped away. Then I make sure to connect, encourage or entertain while I still have a few minutes. And when the ride ends with my kids opening the door laughing I feel like we are winning at life. Especially if they remembered their backpacks.

Key Takeaway

Understand your opportunities before they are gone. Imagine the final outcomes before they are baked. Then adjust anything you can to align your actual experience with your ideal. Great events don’t just happen. You make them happen. And a little forethought provides the road map you need to a better ending.

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

+For more ways to create better outcomes, check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

Why you should surround yourself with people who make you better.

The most exciting project you will ever undertake in life is you. You get one opportunity to make one human as amazing as possible. And you have complete control over that human. Except when you get the hiccups or your arm falls asleep.

An amazing life can be defined and measured in a hundred different ways. But you get to choose your own definition. And the unit of measure. Better yet, like The Urban Dictionary, you can change the definition as you go.

But no matter what your self-improvement journey looks like, there is one rule that will never fail.

The best way to become a better person is to surround yourself with better people.

The right people will inspire you. Encourage you. And set a great example for you to follow.

They will share what they have learned. They will push you to push yourself further. They will show you the way. And challenge you to keep up.

The right people will open doors you didn’t know existed. They will demonstrate new techniques. Illuminate new ideas. And show you what you’ve been missing.

Better people pull you up. They suggest others to follow and learn from. They provide better criteria. And set new standards.

Spend time with others who will raise your expectations. Sharpen your thinking. And broaden your view.

Surround yourself with people who maintain good habits. Who will embarrass you for your bad habits. Who will expose your ignorance. And offer you better alternatives.

Spend time with others who reveal your strengths. Who will fuel your confidence. Who will help you strengthen your foundation. And who introduce you to more great people who will exert even more positive peer pressure on you. That is simply the best way to become your best self.

Pro Tip:

Thanks to modern technology and the Gutenberg printing press, you can also surround yourself with great people through books, social media, podcasts, or blogs. The principle is the same. And it’s a great way to augment your social circle if you live in Alaska, have awkward social skills, or live in a concrete dorm with a lot of bars, and barbwire that makes it hard to grab coffee. #ThereIsAlwaysAWay

Key Takeaway

Great people are contagious. When you spend time with them their greatness spreads. It inspires you to do and be more. They provide both a model and a path to follow. And they introduce you to more great people. Which has a compounding effect on your own self-improvement.

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

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

Tuesday is the most important workday of the week.

Like cogs in a machine, or tools in a toolbox, every day of the week has a different purpose.

Tuesday is the Do-Day.

After setting the goals and objectives for the week on Monday, Tuesday is the day to make things happen. Bite off big chunks. Pull the long levers. Create evidence of progress.

Tuesday is for tackling. Not tinkering.

Tuesday is for chopping. Not chipping.

Tuesdays should be spent in the shop.

Or in the lab.

Or at your desk and cranking.

Or on the pole and spinning. (If that’s the kind of work you do.)

As Redman said, Tuesday is time for some action.

There should be clear quantifiable evidence of progress by the time you turn off the lights Tuesday night. You should have sunk your treads deep in the soil of your workground, gained traction, and propelled your projects forward.

Tuesdays are great days to work alone. Put away your phone. Hold your calls. Forget about email for a day. And make some frick’n magic.

Spend as much time as you can afford in Total Focus mode.

Remember that scene in Elf when the rest of the workshop is disappointed in Buddy for only making 85 Etch-A-Sketches?

That’s a Tuesday mindset.

Key Takeaway

Tuesday is the difference-maker. Tune out the distractions. Get to your most important work of the week. And make things happen. The progress you make on Tuesday creates momentum that propels you the rest of the week.

*For maximum impact, share this message with your team on a Tuesday morning.

+For other important life lessons the universe is trying to share with you check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

To enjoy a happier life invest more time in your personal projects.

If you want a better, more interesting and more fulfilling life take on more personal projects. If you don’t, a disproportionate amount of your life will be taken up with your must-dos, and not your want-to-dos.

Personal projects allow you to take on exciting new roles in miniature. Because they let you dip your toe into a new world on a small scale. (Unless you have really big toes.)

Your personal projects are experiments. They let you test and learn. They let you take action and observe reactions. They enable you to adjust the variables to get new and better outcomes. No Bunsen burner required.

Your personal projects are small investments you place on yourself. With a small investment of time, money or energy you can generate significant personal returns, Jedi.

Matt Mullenweg says that WordPress, the platform this blog post is created and published on, was started as a project. It was simply interesting and enjoyable for him to develop. He never thought of it as a business. But that small project is now the hostess with the mostesss, as it now hosts more websites than any other platform in the world. Which allows millions of people to create their own personal projects.

My Projects.

I love starting personal projects. Here are a few of mine:

  1. I love to regularly print original t-shirt designs that interest me. That has evolved into a business called Adam & Sleeve, and a whole bunch of fun shirts I love to wear.
  2. I started an illustrated cartoon series called Kirky. Because I always thought that would be fun. And it has been. Thanks to Dan Koel for teaming up with me on this.
  3. I began writing a blog in 2015. This is my 726th post. But who’s counting? (The WordPress platform counts them automatically. Thanks, Matt Mullenweg!)
  4. I began taking on freelance advertising projects early in my carer. That eventually lead to me starting my own Advertising and Idea Agency called The Weaponry.
  5. A few years ago I volunteered to coach a middle school track program a couple of days a week. That evolved into becoming a high school assistant track coach at Homestead High School in Mequon, Wisconsin. Which led to me coaching a handful of other Milwaukee-area discus throwers and shot putters on the side. Which means that my side projects have spawned side projects.
  6. During the Covid lockdown of 2020 I started a manuscript writing project. That evolved into publishing the book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? with Ripples Media in December of 2021.
  7. Since the beginning of my career, I have regularly volunteered to give talks to college and high school students and professional groups. I have gotten pretty good at sharing a good and compelling story. Now businesses, schools, clubs, conferences, tradeshows and other organizations across the United States have invited me to come share what I know. (And I am always up for more.)
  8. I volunteered to organize my high school reunion last year. A few months later I was hanging out in Hanover, New Hampshire with fellow Marauders who I hadn’t seen in decades. Thanks to Covid, we all walked away with a new appreciation for our time together, and some fun new stories to share from our shared experience.

Key Takeaway

Take on more personal projects. They are highly rewarding investments of your time and energy. They are great experiments that let you test, learn and improve. They can add great joy. They can unlock new doors and offer you more control over your life and time. When you take on a personal project it has the potential to both add to your story and change the course of your life. All you have to do is get started.

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

+For more life lessons I have harvested, check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say?

Beware, the rewards switch with time.

There are 2 ways to think about life.

  1. You can focus on The Now.
  2. You can focus on The Next.

When you think about The Now you are encouraged to do the things that are rewarded now. Sleep in. Relax. Have fun. Indulge. Spend. Eat. Drink. And hang out with Mary.

When you think about The Next you do the things that are rewarded next. You wake up early. Work. Focus. Study. Save. Exercise. Build. Carefully monitor your food, drinks, and activity with Mary. (And Ben and Jerry.)

Focusing on The Now is immediately enjoyable. Focusing on The Next makes now less enjoyable in most ways. (Sorry, Charlie.)

But beware, the rewards switch.

In a literal blink, you are past The Now and into The Next. And what is rewarded in The Next is the opposite of The Now. Which is what makes life and the decisions you make so interestingly complicated. And it is why I encourage you to tie the following quote to your decision tree:

“It almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favorable, the later consequences are disastrous, and vice versa.

-Frédéric Bastiat, French Economist.

Key Takeaway

Always think about the long-term consequences of your actions and inactions. Invest your time, energy, and growth into a much larger payout in the future. A delay of gratification is most often rewarded with compounded interest in The Next. And it’s always well worth the wait.

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

+For more ideas on how to enjoy a better future, check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

The absolute best way to climb the corporate ladder fast.

Every year, throughout your career, you will gain another year of valuable experience. Which means that you will get a little bit smarter every year. This process of steady improvement could go on for 40 or 50 years. The accumulated knowledge makes you more capable and more valuable to your organization. Which leads to more responsibility and more income. Which is good.

The problem is that everyone else who started their career when you did is gaining knowledge and experience at the same pace. So while you are growing as an individual, you are maintaining pace with the cohort who began their careers when you did. Which is like the nuclear arms race. Only without the threat of global destruction and Olympic figure skater subplots.

The Key To A Highly Succesful Career.

The key to a highly successful career is to outpace your peers. This means that instead of gaining 1 year of experience and knowledge in 1 year, you gain 2 years in one. Or 3 years in 1. Heck, why not gain 20 years of experience in just 12 months? That’s what Doogie Howser would do.

How Do You Do This?

To pack multiple years of growth into one year you can’t simply rely on your own experiences. You have to borrow from others. Luckily, there are many ways to absorb mass quantities of knowledge and experience from others in a short time. And none of them involve cannibalism.

1. Books. Books are quite literally the lessons and experiences learned by others, captured and summarized for you. Which means that you can buy 10, 20 or 40 years of knowledge and experience for under $30. Crazy, right? (Do this.)

2. Workshops: Workshops are designed to put you through time-compressed experiences to help you improve your skills at a highly accelerated pace. During a workshop, there are eyes on you to make sure you learn how to perform a task the ideal way. You receive quick and constructive feedback. It’s the kind of feedback that may have taken you years or decades to receive on your own. Especially if you and your Swingline stapler are still stuck in the basement.

3. Coaching: Coaching comes in many forms. From actual career, business or executive coaches. From mentors. From experts who take you under their wings. Coaches feed you their knowledge and experience like a mama bird feeds a baby bird. Which means they are directly regurgitating their knowledge into you. Just not usually by barfing it in your face.

4. Podcasts: Podcasts drop knowledge like an audio college. Podcasts are often great knowledge aggregators that share insights, ideas and experiences from many different perspectives. It’s easy to listen to a podcast while doing something else, like commuting, mowing the lawn, or sitting at your child’s sporting or religious event.

5. Blogs: Blogs are full of smart, informative and actionable tips. They usually come at you fast-paced with dense growth nutrition. Eat that stuff up. If you need a blog to subscribe to I suggest adamalbrecht.blog.

6. Magazines: Magazines that are specific to your industry or role are extremely helpful. The great advantage here is that the knowledge is purposefully fresh and well-polished by a professional staff. There are many different topics covered in every issue which has the potential to add a lot to your knowledge base every month. Pro Tip: Choose magazines where everyone wears clothes.

7. Documentaries: I love watching a film or TV show about a successful person. It’s an easy way to learn what made them successful. Then simply start doing what they did. You just may end up with your own documentary.

Next Level

To gain the most knowledge and experience in the shortest amount of time, stack multiple knowledge sources. Read books, listen to podcasts, and attend workshops. Or any combination that works best for you. The pace at which you gain knowledge will quickly surpass your peers. It will turn heads. And make you seem like you are smarter and more capable than others in your competitive set. Then you will Usain Bolt past those in front of you. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can overtake others who are gaining one year of experience per year.

Key Takeaway

Don’t settle for the natural pace of growth and improvement. Accelerate your knowledge, experience and skill acquisition by learning from other people. The accelerated path is available to anyone interested. But far too few people take the opportunity. Be one of those who do. It’s possible to pack a decade of growth into one year. And you will feel yourself pulling away from others. And when you do, make sure to share what you have learned so that others can benefit from you.

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

+To learn more of what I have learned through decades of accelerated learning check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

If you have never run out of gas here’s why you should.

Have you ever run out of gas? I have. I did it on purpose.

I was in my early 20s and home from college for the summer in Vermont. It seemed like knowing how far your car could go on empty was a valuable life lesson. Did E Really Mean E? Or was the needle on the fuel gauge of my 1982 Ford Escort just the little needle who cried E? Inquiring minds want to know.

On a warm June morning, I planned my knowledge-seeking pilgrimage. I called a friend and told him that I expected to run out of gas somewhere along my route that morning. I gave him a specific time to come look for me. And to bring some fuel.

Then I left my parents’ house and drove down a quiet country road in Vermont. And if you have ever been to Vermont you know that a quiet country road in Vermont is a redundant statement. Or maybe a redundant redundant statement.

About 5-miles into my trip, I ran out of gas and rolled to a stop on the side of the road. Minutes later my friend arrived with some spare gas. I gave the car 1 gallon of petro from the classically red gas can. I fired the car back up, and drove it to the nearest gas station a mile or so down the road and filled the tank with 12 gallons of gas.

How Low Can You Go?

As I climbed back into my car, not only was my tank full of gas, my brain was full of new knowledge. I now knew how far my car could go on empty. I knew what my car did after it drank its last drops. I knew that a good backup plan minimized the impact of running out of gas. And I knew how far I could safely push things in the future. Or as Salt N’ Peppa said, I now knew I could push it real good.

I have applied this same limit-seeking approach to other areas of my life. Because I want to find my real limits. Not for limit’s sake. But so that I know what the possibilities are. I want to know how far I can really push myself before I can’t go any farther. Most people never do this. But we all should.

Key Takeaway

Explore your outer bounds. You should know where the real limitations are. Know when your car will really run out of gas. But also know your real limits are for strength, work, endurance, and pain. Find the edge. It is the only way to know how much you are truly capable of. It’s more than you think.

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

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

How to feel like a winner even when your basketball team loses.

March is a thrilling month for sports fans. The NCAA basketball tournaments for both men and women provide an exciting distraction from the weather that never seems to be as warm and Marchy as the March in my head.

The basketball tournaments, affectionately known as March Madness, are fun to watch. Until they aren’t. What we fail to remember each year when the brackets are announced is that of the 64-ish teams in the tournament, all but one of them will end their season with a loss. That’s bad news, bears.

I pull for 3 teams that made the tournament: my home state University of Vermont Catamounts, my current hometown’s Maquette Golden Eagles, and my alma mater, the University of Wisconsin Badgers.

All 3 teams lost this weekend.

UVM and Marquette lost in the opening round. The 3-seed Badgers got bounced by the 11-seed Iowa State Cyclones after our starting point guard went down with a brankle late in the first half. (I don’t know what the official diagnosis was, but it looked like something broke in his ankle.)

Yes, I was disappointed by the losses. But I have noticed something very interesting in my adulthood. Unlike the lingering, long-lasting disappointment of my younger years, my disappointment today is very short-lived. By this, I mean that I bounce from a loss very quickly. In fact, I would say that I consistently move past my team’s losses within about 10 seconds. Which means a major loss now feels more like a mosquito bite than a bee sting or a Pamplona-style bull goring.

The Secret.

I know that the reason I bounce back from disappointment quickly now is that I feel like I am winning on my own scorecard. I engage in many personal and professional challenges and competitions. My progress, wins and successes in those arenas help minimize the negative impact I experience when my teams lose.

Here’s a list of some of my current challenges and competitions:

  1. I own a business. As an entrepreneur and owner of the advertising and idea agency The Weaponry, every day is an exciting challenge to win and get better than the day before.

2. I have written a book. In December I published my first book titled What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? It features 80 of the most important life lessons I have learned, packaged as simple, memorable fortune cookie fortunes. Promoting the book and related speaking events are fun ongoing challenges. (I currently have 8 speaking events in the works and would be thrilled to do more.)

3. I am coaching high school track and field. The improvement of my shot putters and discus throwers at Homestead High School in Mequon, Wisconsin is a major outlet for my competitiveness. I am challenged to get better as a coach every day. I am constantly trying to improve my processes, systems and coaching techniques. And I have found that I have way more influence over the outcomes of my track athletes’ performances than I do with the college basketball teams I support.

4. I coach youth football. The growth and development of our now 5th-grade boys are way more important to me than the wins and losses of a college basketball team. Which means I can enjoy a Marquette win, but I quickly shrug off a loss. (I am talking about Marquette basketball. Their football team can’t buy a win.)

5. I work out. My personal exercise routine and its impact on my health, strength and fitness is an infinite game that I play every day. I get quick feedback and great returns on my investments in my health.

6. More books. I have more books in the works. Writing a book is a major challenge. So when you make regular progress on major challenges like this it is hard to get thrown off by an external event like a basketball loss.

7. Appalachian Trail. My wife Dawn and I are planning to hike the entire Appalachian Trail in a decade. It is good to have future challenges planned. It gives you something to look forward to. The planning and preparing for this type of challenge makes you feel like you have an ever-expanding life.

Key Takeaway

The best cure for sports fan sadness is to have wins in your personal life. Make sure you are still competing and winning. Set goals and challenges for yourself both personally and professionally. Create your own scorecard. Play your own games and win. Start a business, side hustle or volunteer organization. Exercise. Enter competitions. Write a book. Enter a race or any other challenge that makes you feel like you are pushing yourself to do more. These will keep you focussed on your own wins. Which minimizes the impact, duration and magnitude of external losses.

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

+If you’re interested in other messages on how to live a happier, more positive life, check out my book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media. Heck, reading the reviews alone sounds like a win to me.