Life Strategy

A Most Important Daily Habit

A Most Important Daily Habit

As the group prepared the camp, the dwarf Tyrion wrapped himself in his furs and leaned against an ancient oak that sheltered him from the biting wind.  A swift-running stream ran beside him, its waters as clear and cold as ice.*

He took a sip of wine, pulled out a book, and began to read.

As he became absorbed by the pages, a question from Jon Snow snapped him out of his reverie. "Why do you read so much?"

Tyrion began his answer in a seemingly-roundabout manner, pointing out the fact that he was a dwarf, and was born into a highly-esteemed, royal family. But as he continued, his reasoning began to crystallize, and he put forward an answer that we'd all be wise to pay heed to.

4 Reasons Why I Read Fiction (And You Should, Too)

4 Reasons Why I Read Fiction (And You Should, Too)

When people poke fun at me for my love of fiction, I know they mean it as a good-natured jest, but I do think it's indicative of an underlying mindset amid various adult circles.

I often come across people who say things like, "Oh, I stopped reading fiction in middle schoolNowadays I only read non-fiction.Or, "I do read fiction, such as [insert some work of classic literature], but I won't read mindless beach-reading material."

Now, there's no small merit in consuming non-fiction, and anyone seeking to grow in their craft, expand their mind, and partake in the journey of lifelong learning, would be a fool to ignore the genre. I also tip my hat to the iconic "classic" fiction writers such as Fyodor Dostoyevsky and John Steinbeck, as the stories and ideas they wove together do nothing short of make my head spin in wonder. 

But we shouldn't be too quick to throw genres such as fantasy and science fiction out the window, either. 

16 Tips On Giving A Public Speech

Growing up, few things terrified me more than public speaking. Given a choice between a fight to the death with Mike Tyson, and standing up in front of my 5th grade class, I would have chosen the former every time. 

Over the years, due to various roles I've been placed in, and also in my efforts to stop avoiding fear, I've given an increasing number of public speeches, and it doesn't look like it will stop any time soon. 

While I've by no means mastered public speaking, and still have a long ways to go, I have learned a few things as a result of scraping my knees, and from picking the brains of people who are wiser than me. Here are some of those lessons below: 

The Shadow Principle

"I'm curious as to your views on titles, and what they mean to you," prompted John, my father-in-law, as Kelsey and I were out on a walk with him one sunny afternoon. "Since you all have new positions now, does that affect how you view yourself or your work?" 

I'm extremely fortunate to know John. For one thing, he welcomed me into his family on Day 1 and has always given me the benefit of the doubt, something I imagine is not easy to do when a man begins dating your daughter. 

But there's something else, too: He's one of those rare people who, while only fifty-five years of age, strikes you as having done two hundred years worth of living. He's as wise as he is amiable, brimming with humor yet never lacking in sincerity. He served as a brigadier general in the military, and not without reason, as it doesn't take long for anyone with a shred of insight to realize that strong leadership and perception are baked into his DNA. 

He also asks great questions, which brings us back to his inquiry above. 

There are mean people in the world. And there are idiots, too.

The contractor ruins your life. Your client exasperates you by changing their request, again. The business professional never replied to your email. Your employee is being unreasonable. And for reasons unbeknownst to you, the world somehow allows Justin Bieber to produce yet another song. 

Everybody is mean. No one can ever do anything right. Everyone is out to get you. 

When someone behaves in a manner incongruous to the world you wish to live in, it's easy to immediately assign motive, and to desire nothing more than to throw the perpetrator into the scorching fires of Mount Doom. 

It's Not "You Are What You Eat"...

While the maxim "you are what you eat" is not without value, it misses the much larger picture.

Yes, food plays a role in what you become, but I think there's a better phrase to capture not only what you become, but also who you become:

YOU ARE WHAT YOU INGEST.

The people you spend time with. The books and blogs you read. The music you listen to. The various news and media bits that make you squeal in excitement to consume.