100 Things I love.

Happy Valentine’s Day! I have been thinking a lot about love this weekend. Love is the most powerful and most positive emotion in our collection. To make the most of your time on Earth you should spend as much time as you can doing things you love, with people love, in places you love.

The first step is to know what you really love. Today, take an hour to write down 100 things you love. Not only will it force you to think about your favorite people, places, and things, it will serve as a guide, and show you how to live a life you love.

Here’s what I came up with. Surely there are many more things that should be on this list that I didn’t come up with in my limited time this morning. (And I’ll stop calling you Shirley.)

100 Things I Love (in no particular order, except the first ones.)

  1. My wife Dawn
  2. My kids Ava, Johann and Magnus
  3. My Mama, Dad and Sisters
  4. The rest of my ginormous family.
  5. My work
  6. Sweet Tea
  7. Hammocks
  8. Cliff jumping
  9. Road tripping
  10. Vermont
  11. Fishing
  12. Glacier National Park
  13. Boogie boarding
  14. Pizza
  15. Great puns
  16. Snowmobiling
  17. Laughing
  18. Making people laugh
  19. Mountain biking
  20. A great church service
  21. Great books
  22. Weddings
  23. Shawshank Redemption
  24. Lobster
  25. Hiking in the mountains
  26. Sunrises
  27. Black olives
  28. Elkton, Minnesota
  29. Thanksgiving
  30. Stompers
  31. Playing the card game Pit
  32. Throwing the discus
  33. Cheese curds (squeaky or fried)
  34. India
  35. Winning new business
  36. Running into people I know in random places
  37. Inside jokes
  38. My best friends from high school
  39. Outside voices
  40. The fresh tortilla chips from the Whole Foods in Dublin, Ohio
  41. Sabra Field art
  42. Wisconsin Badger football games
  43. Simon Pearce Glass
  44. Needing 4 wheel drive
  45. Montreal
  46. The Art Institute of Chicago
  47. Perfectly ripe pears
  48. Snowfall measured in feet
  49. My college track teammates
  50. Hilton Head Island
  51. ACDC
  52. Zucker Brother’s movies
  53. Canoeing
  54. Game night
  55. Roller coasters
  56. New York strip steaks
  57. Iceland
  58. My Madison Hall friends in ATL
  59. My funniest stories
  60. Investments that paid off
  61. Hearing that someone found value in something I wrote or said
  62. Energizing people
  63. Game of Thrones
  64. Real maple syrup
  65. Driving a tractor
  66. The smell of roses
  67. Handing out bonus checks
  68. A great quote
  69. The Patriots winning the Super Bowl (never gets old)
  70. Flip flops
  71. A great baseball cap
  72. Lifting weights
  73. My Dad’s Carmel Rolls
  74. A Red Sox World Series win
  75. Breaking Bad
  76. A military flyover
  77. Cheesecake
  78. The grand finale at a fireworks show
  79. A great performance by my kids
  80. My wife’s smile
  81. A great creative presentation
  82. Water parks
  83. Owning my own business (The Weaponry)
  84. Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream
  85. Discovering common friends (meaning finding out people we both know, not finding commoners and befriending them.)
  86. Raincoats
  87. Boots of all sorts. (Except the monkey from Dora the Explora)
  88. G-Shock watches
  89. Making my own t-shirts
  90. Making my sisters snarf
  91. The show Yellowstone (The park isn’t too shabby either.)
  92. The How I Built This Podcast
  93. Anything with Will Ferrell
  94. American Giant hoodies
  95. My Gerber tool
  96. My Kraken belt buckle
  97. Mount Ranier
  98. Manhattan
  99. Convertibles
  100. Overdelivering
  101. Campfires
  102. People who read my blog posts all the way to the end.

Key Takeaway

Fill your life with the things you love. The people, places, activities, feelings, food, and drink you love will lead you to a life you love. And life is too short to fill with anything else.

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

Don’t lose sight of the WOW!

Do you remember the first time you ever flew in an airplane? It was crazy exciting, right? Remember how the plane began down the runway, slowly at first, then gaining speed until the plane’s nose levitated. Then the rear wheels left contact with the runway and things got quiet, and smooth, and it all blew your mind?

I remember that. Then I started flying so much for work that I would read, work, talk to my seatmate or rearrange my sock drawer during takeoff. I had become immune to the magic.

Then one day about 15 years ago I recognized just how crazy it was that I could yawn through an airplane takeoff. That day I decided to become a born again flying virgin. Every time I have launched to the sky since then, even as a Delta Gold or Platinum Medallion flier, I have stopped what I am doing at takeoff, and experienced the thrust, lift and other-worldliness of the experience as if it were the first time.

Holy David Copperfield!

Today I remind you that the entire world is mind-blowingly magical. Unbelievable things are happening all around you. Look outside. The sunrise, sunset, skies and storms are all sorts are phenomenal.

Watching your garden transform from dirt to sprouts to vegetables and fruit is awe-inspiring. The way the foliage transforms each fall from green to red or yellow or orange is no less miraculous than the caterpillar becoming a butterfly.

That mobile phone that is surely within arms reach of you right now provides access to every bit of information and entertainment ever known And yet it doesn’t have a cord, or pipe or conveyor belt to connect it to anything!  Somehow it all flows through the ether. WTF?

 

Do you realize that the automobile you drive is like a magic carpet that will take you anywhere on the continent that you want to go?!? Imagine time traveling back to any period in time before 150 years ago and seeing the look on people’s faces as you drove by in your car! Even if you drive a Yugo.

Those clothes you are wearing were somehow transformed from plants or animals or chemicals or all of the above into something soft and attractive and shaped just like you! Seriously!?!

Humans

Don’t even get me started on humans. Humans are the most amazing, beautiful and complicated of all machines. And somehow we all stack into a set of our relatives like Russian Nesting Dolls. Which means you were somehow inside both of your parents, and their parents and their parents, and on an on until the beginning of humans! Even if you are not Russian! Nyet. I can’t fathom that.

 

All businesses, teams, organizations, nations are created by humans. Somehow we have figured out how to collect, organize and activate groups of humans to do amazing things together.  From dancing to designing and operating the International Space Station, we have found millions of ways to work together to create things that are totally unnecessary to providing food, shelter and clothing. How cool are we!?!

Dawn

Today is my lovely wife Dawn’s birthday. I have been awed by her since I first saw her. I will never forget that moment. Today we have a wonderful life full of amazing everyday adventures. We have three little miracles named Ava, Johann and Magnus. And I am thankful everyday for the indescribable joy that fills our lives. And it’s all because, on this planet of billions, Dawn’s life-path crossed mine 17 years ago. Thank God.

 

 

DSC_0076
This is what Dawn looks like at dusk in Paris.

So as you go about your day, don’t miss the Wow. It is literally everywhere. Our entire world is full of magic. It is easy to overlook. Because there is just so much of it. Even right next to you, today, at home.