thoughts on life

Social Hierarchy

When I was at Stanford, I took a class on social hierarchies. I remember thinking it was fascinating how social hierarchies influence perceptions of self and others. At the time, I had very little experience with social hierarchies outside of the academic arena. In high school, seniors (fourth-years) were revered and freshman (first-years) were lucky [...]

Mistake vs. Judgment Call

Sometimes, your decisions do not have the positive outcome you wished for. It’s tempting to think that a bad outcome = a bad decision. This is an inaccurate over-simplification. It’s true that some decisions are outright mistakes. Other times, a decision is merely a judgment call. Being rude and disrespectful to your clients is always [...]

The Purpose of Fear

The biological purpose of fear is to help the human body avoid pain. If you’ve ever burned your finger by touching a stove, you know what I mean. When you get too close to a hot stove, something you KNOW will cause you pain, it’s beneficial to feel fear. It prompts you to take action [...]

Living Life on Your Edge

You can live a safe, predictable life, or you can live a wild, chaotic, unpredictable life. The former provides you with a sense of safety, and the latter a sense of excitement. Living your life on the line that separates these two extremes is what I call “living life on your edge.” One secret for [...]

Progress Over Perfection

I have written previously about the benefits of striving for excellence rather than perfection. Perfection is based on an external standard – an impossible to achieve one I might add. Excellence is about striving to be the best you can possibly be. The standard is one set by yourself. The goal is to be YOUR best [...]

Job Interview Reject = Billionaire

Four years ago, my old college dorm neighbor, Brian Acton, was looking for a job. Up until that point, he had spent 11 years at Yahoo in a variety of engineering jobs. He landed an interview with Twitter — but they didn’t give him an offer. He interviewed with Facebook — and they too did [...]

The Downside of Looking Good

I’ve written extensively about my time working in McKinsey’s New York office. However, today I will share with you something I learned outside of work while walking the streets of Manhattan. I grew up in San Diego, CA. It’s a warm city where temperatures range from 15 to 23 degrees C (60 to 75 degrees [...]

How to Make a First or Lasting Impression

If you want to make an impressive first impression with someone, show them how smart, brilliant, and accomplished you are. Share with them your resume, income, and job title. If you want to make a lasting impression, treat them with kindness. I have met hundreds of very accomplished, wicked smart, and talented people over the years. [...]

How to Tell Someone They're Totally Wrong

In a recent article, I wrote about an interesting application of the 80/20 rule as it applies to musical songwriting. I had no idea it would generate so much backlash. There are so many lessons to be learned and taught from the response. I thought it would be instructive to go through it all. As a [...]

The Paradox of Paradox

I find the word paradox fascinating. Definition: A paradox is a statement that apparently contradicts itself and yet might be true. Most logical paradoxes are known to be invalid arguments but are still valuable in promoting critical thinking. A paradox I’ve noticed in my own writing is how sometimes I will knowingly contradict myself. One of [...]

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