In our daily activities, it’s easy to forget that life isn’t about what happens to us at work. It’s not about the latest current event or news article. It’s not about binge watching the latest and greatest television series. It’s not about accumulating ‘likes’ on Facebook, ‘followers’ on Twitter, or wishing we had the life of an ‘influencer’ on Instagram.
When you talk to people who are nearing the end of their lives, they don’t wish they had spent more time on social media and the internet. They don’t wish they had worked more. They don’t wish they had spent more time binge watching television shows. They don’t wish they owned more stuff.
So what do they wish for?
I wish I could take credit for title of this post, but I stole it from the end of Steve Blank’s commencement speech to the 2019 graduating class at UC Santa Cruz. I would urge you to swing by Steve’s website and read the speech in its entirety, or watch the video if that’s more you’re thing. Here’s the link to it – https://steveblank.com/2019/06/18/u-c-santa-cruz-commencement-speech-2019/.
Even though I have never personally met Steve, I have a lot of respect for his writings, what he has done for the tech entrepreneurial community, and his public service, which he discusses in his commencement speech. Living in California, the stories he has written about his time spent on the California Coastal Commission have been very informative. It has made me more aware and appreciative of the natural beauty of the California coastline, and the effort that it takes to protect and keep it that way.
Steve’s writings are always full of good insight, such as this one on the failings of the current generation of start-ups (and this one too),. Very few people in the tech community have the courage to call out the need for change, but this is a story for another time that I’ll hopefully get around to posting about soon.
In the meantime, getting back on topic, Steve covers four important lessons he learned while working on the Coastal Commission. The lessons aren’t just for the college graduates. They are life lessons that all of us can benefit from.
I’m going to close this post the same way Steve closed his speech. Here are his words to the graduates, which are words we should all keep front of mind as we go about our daily activities:
Graudates, as you set out on your own extraordinary adventures, remember the measure of a life is not time or money. It’s the impact you make serving God, your family, community, and country.
Your report card is whether you leave the world a better place.
Near the beginning of this year, I decided to add meditation to my morning routine. Numerous books I had read recently talked about the benefits of regular meditation, so I figured it would be worth trying.
I started by doing unguided meditations, which pretty much involved sitting quietly on the floor with my eyes closed for five minutes. Since then, I’ve transitioned to doing guided meditations using the Headspace app, which came recommended by a close friend.
After doing a few weeks of unguided meditations, and now using Headspace for almost 3 months, here are my thoughts on the activity.
My latest life experiment is taking up the practice of meditation. Since practicing meditation appears regularly in my readings, I wanted to explore and experience it first hand. Some of the benefits I read about from those who meditate consistently are peace of mind, a sense of calm, and ability to focus on the important things in life. I don’t know about you, but those all sound like pretty good things to me.
I’m too early in my meditation activities to say that it has made an impact or changed my outlook on life significantly. I’m reminded regularly by the guided mediation app I use, Headspace (which, by the way, I think is great and really enjoy), that if we are only interested in the results from meditation that we defeat the purpose. The process of meditating and self discovery is the purpose.
One of the recurring themes I have picked up on from my first 45 days of meditation is being present, being mindful, living in the moment. It hadn’t occurred to me prior to meditating how hard it is for us to truly do this on a regular basis. It’s so easy for us to get caught up reliving our past or being anxious about the future. What’s interesting is that we can’t change our past, and we can’t control how the future unfolds. The only thing we can control is what happens now, in this moment.
Over the last 5 years, I have dramatically altered my consumption of mainstream media. The leading influences in driving that change were Neil Postman’s work Amusing Ourselves to Death and Ryan Holiday’s Trust Me, I’m Lying. These two books enlightened me as to how mainstream media and technology – the internet, our smartphones, social media, etc. – were affecting me, and our society at large. The messages in these books are not weakening as time passes. The messages are getting stronger and becoming even more relevant.
A couple of years ago, Seth Godin wrote a great post that reinforced the messages of these books titled, What’s the next step for media (and for us)? Seth admits that it turned into a bit of rant, but I don’t fault him for it. I agree, and here’s why.
It’s always great to get to celebrate with someone when they achieve a major milestone in their life, especially when they’ve worked hard and waited a long time to get it. Such was the case with Amanda’s boyfriend Bryce who recently became a firefighter with The County of Los Angeles Fire Department. He graduated just before Thanksgiving as a member of the 152nd Recruit Class.
I had the opportunity to attend the graduation ceremony, which I’m glad I did. It was a great event, and most likely the only firefighter graduation ceremony I’ll ever get to go to. The ceremony had all the usual speeches, pomp and circumstance that you would expect at a graduation, but it also had a few entertaining surprises as well.
If I had a category for it, I’d file this post under ‘What was I thinking.’ We did it. Last November, we brought home a puppy.
It’s possible both Lisa and I may not have been thinking straight. We had just driven back from Las Vegas that evening and were feeling pretty out of it. I could also pin this on Abbey. She’s been persistent about wanting us to get another dog. When she gets to the point of really wanting something, she’s relentless and wears you down. So maybe that was it.
No matter the case, nearly a year after the loss of Blake, our one and only, the original family dog, we’ve added another one to the mix. Maverick has become a permanent addition in our house.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with diet. I’ve done things such as near elimination of refined sugars and reducing my intake of carbohydrates to see what effects it has. I’ve also added intermittent fasting where I go between 12-16 hours, and sometimes longer, between dinner and my first meal of the day.
One item that intrigued me was fasting. A good friend had done 48-hour fasts and talked about the benefits that it offered. 48 hours seemed like a long time to go without eating as I had never gone much beyond a day between meals. After doing some research, and watching an interesting documentary, The Science of Fasting (available on Amazon Prime), I decided to give it a shot. Here’s my experience, what I learned, and whether it is something I’ll attempt again.
Before reading further, be aware that this is not medical advice by any stretch of the imagination. I am not a doctor nor am I a nutritionist. This is just a recounting of my experience and what I learned that should be used purely for your informational purposes.
I’ve found that the best way to stay on track with my fitness and diet routines is to set goals, and then to state them publicly. Having measurable goals keeps me focused, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with setting up a bit of accountability to go along with them.
In 2018, I had three primary goals – working out, walking, and diet. Three priorities is a good number and about the most I can focus on at one time.
For the most part, the year went really well. Here’s a look back at the year that was, and a look forward at the goals for 2019.
2018 makes it 6 years that I’ve been keeping the blog. As I’ve done for each of the past five years, here’s a look back at the past year. We’re going to do the usual tour through traffic, number of posts, popular posts, performance to 2018 goals, and the goals for 2019.
For reference purposes, you can see the posts for of the previous years by clicking on any of the following years: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013.