“Why hasn’t this problem been fixed?” I asked. “It’s been going on for years.”
I was sitting down with a mentor. We were discussing a problem that I was experiencing and trying to resolve. I had a few ideas but wasn’t sure what to do. It was an institutional problem — not one that I created, but rather one that had existed for some time.
“That’s easy,” my mentor quickly said. “Someone chose a solution that didn’t fix the underlying problem.”
There is always an easy solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.
— H.L. Mencken
I had just finished writing a tax opinion for a sophisticated client. It was near the end of the fiscal year, so my mind was swirling with thoughts of accounts receivable, bonuses, and which clients could pay by December 24.
I had all of three minutes to stop and reflect before the next meeting would start. It only took 10 seconds before I asked myself the question that was buried underneath the legal jargon.
“Am I crazy?”
I wasn’t thinking about being crazy for practicing law at a big firm, but about something else.
“Am I crazy for wanting to…
Leading people would be so easy if everyone listened to everything the leader said. We could tell everyone who the leader is, then let the leader tell everyone what to do. All would follow the leader’s instructions. Pick a good leader and everyone will succeed.
But nothing works that way. It’s rare that someone hears instruction and then follows it diligently. It’s rare to have to only tell someone once. It’s also rare that everybody can agree on who’s leading. And you might be thinking that good leaders are not easy to find.
So how can we give our words…
A bloodied young man walks up to an old Buddhist monastery. He seeks protection, but also revenge against the men who killed his family. His last hope is a hidden school that is rumored to teach exactly what he needs to know. He desperately pleads with the gatekeeper to allow him to enter and train with the teachers. The door closes, though, after a quick rejection.
In that moment, the young man faces an important choice: accept the rejection as his fate, or dismiss the rejection and treat it as the first step in his training.
The young man, admirably…
“If I eat just one of the Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls, it won’t affect me.”
How many times have I had that thought? Too many.
I’ve had other thoughts, of course, that aren’t productive. We all have thoughts that don’t help us at all. So why do our own minds betray us?
In the race of thoughts inside my own head, there are three that not only lead to a dead-end, but somehow lead to a circular track of doom that is impossible to leave.
Impossible that is, unless I replace them. Replacement is a subtle sleight-of-mind that accepts…
I recently took one of the silly stories I told my kids and turned it into a children’s book called CinderToot. I used the writing, publishing, and marketing of CinderToot to teach my four young kids about starting a business, being an entrepreneur, and executing an idea.
My dream was to work with my young kids in every phase of the process. My oldest is 10 years old, and the youngest is 3. However, while writing and creating the book, I realized that my kids are horrible business partners. Here’s why.
No matter how many times I remind them, they…
One year ago I was writing a book on reinventing yourself. The only time I could carve out to research and write was 15 minutes early in the morning.
Fifteen minutes a day. That’s it.
The rest of my workday was filled with drafting legal documents, reviewing the tax code, analyzing intellectual property issues, and answering clients. Plus, I had a wife and four kids, taught at a law school, produced movies, and wrote articles online.
You might be thinking the same thing that a good friend told me: “That book will take you 10 years to write — if…
Two types of faces were on the rink. One showed sheer joy — a young man who had worked and toiled and then triumphed unexpectedly. The other type was the veteran champion, who had suffered his first loss, but marveled when he saw what it took to beat him.
On February 22, 1980, the United States beat the Russian hockey team in what many have called the “miracle on ice.” The Russians had beaten the Americans 13 days earlier by a score of 10 to 3. The Russian team consisted of veterans who had rarely lost in 20 years. …
Most people want to lead but aren’t sure how to start. It’s easy to wake up, start the day, and then get whisked off into the current of mediocrity. At some point, we get so caught up in keeping our head above water that we don’t have time to think about how we could improve or influence the lives of others in order to help them.
It turns out it’s easy to influence others. There are simple skills that we can learn in a few minutes that can instantly improve our ability to lead effectively. …
“You have to read this book I just checked out from the library,” my wife said.
My wife’s last two book recommendations were The Martian and Orphan X. I loved them both. But I don’t read fiction much, as I read all day as a lawyer and have a stack of nonfiction books waiting for me to find time between being a husband, dad, lawyer, producer, writer, and professor. But when she mentioned a new recommendation, she had my attention.
“I just read the book to the kids. They loved it. You really need to read it. …