All Or Nothing

April21

Internally I hit “all or nothing” as a thinking trap pretty often. What is all or nothing thinking?

Seeing things in absolute (black-or-white) terms, without recognizing the middle ground (e.g., success/failure, perfect/worthless).

For me this trap seems to emerge over self-discipline, my performance, and my health. It is a shitty trap to fall in as you take a small loss and turn it into losing the entire war. Combine that with high internal standards and being shitty at self-forgiveness and I can get some pretty critical internal thoughts or even depression.

All or nothing thinking has some serious pros though and as a tool, I do not think I would be where I am today without it. The hard part is trying to figure out if it is still effective, and if so when and to what degree. If you can maintain the “all” it can lead to high levels of achievement, skill, expectations, and drive.

On the negative side, the “nothing” can lead to loss of self-confidence, depression, being very tough on yourself, inability to do things just for fun, inability to relax, pushing your body harder than it should, and the feeling that nothing is ever good enough. It can also sabotage the effort you have put in just because you missed one little step that largely does not matter (ie perfection over progress).

I grew up with the concept that a failure of your health/body is a personal failure, and that seems to be where “all or nothing” thinking is most potent. I’d really like to get rid of that… Anyway, just something I’ve been thinking on lately.

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Self Discipline & Self Forgiveness

April21

How do self-discipline and self-forgiveness interact? If you are trying to be disciplined in how you pursue your endeavors how do you find the capacity to forgive yourself when you miss a day or “slip” in your self-discipline practice?

I am not very forgiving toward myself. I am very critical and internally I hold myself to very high standards. When I feel I have failed I am very hard on myself. I also tend to sway towards all or nothing thinking, and if I fail I feel that I’ve let down all the steps that came before that one. It can be a pretty brutal combination.

Someone challenged me on this recently and I have been thinking about it a lot… The questions I have rolling around my head are things like:

How do you balance self-discipline with forgiveness for yourself?
At what point does forgiveness hurt your self-discipline practice?
Can you be too kind or forgiving toward yourself?
What does self-forgiveness look like?
When does self-discipline become a lack of flexibility?

What is self-discipline?
I read a lot of short definitions from dictionaries and a lot of longer posts on blogs, here are my 2 favorites (they jive the best for me internally):

#1 – On the surface self-discipline essentially comes down to having a reason to do something and sticking to it for the long-haul. However, this is not just about the process of pursuing a goal. It’s more specifically about your ability to control your desires and impulses to stay focused on what needs to get done to successfully achieve that goal. As such, self-discipline involves committing to long-term gains without falling prey to instant gratification along the way.

And, they created a nice graphic to explain it (click to expand)

#2 – Self-discipline is the process of building specific habits over time that can help you obtain a desired outcome, objective or goal. In other words, it’s about taking small consistent actions that help you form the habits that subsequently help you attain your goal.

This sounds a lot more forgiving than the voices in my head. They have a more holistic feel to self-discipline, instead of a one lane road you are charging down and if you step off you fail it is about improvements here, then here, over there, and as long as you consistently improving you are going the right way.

Perhaps I have gotten lost in the weeds and focused too much on the small steps instead of seeing my progress on the big map and appreciating how far I have gone. IE, it isn’t a set of dominos I fail at if one doesn’t fall down because I will move forward the next time. That is a much kinder thought process than one failure = huge deal = you are failing at x.

One tidbit I really liked on a blog post this post by Kristen Lamb was the following:

Just like working out our biceps, we must be wise how we train our self-discipline if we hope for long-term success. If I wanted to build my bicep and I went to the gym and did 500 curls with a heavy dumbbell, then who is the REAL dumbbell? My arm would be sore and likely injured, and it certainly wouldn’t inspire me to want to return to work out. Self-discipline is the same. Don’t start Day One trying to have the discipline of a Shaolin Monk. That is a formula to fail.

This took a long time for me to learn, and I still struggle. I still try to zoom up to 100 and power through instead of applying a light touch and building the habit first.

Why is self-forgiveness important?
This was a hard one for me to answer as it is not something I am good at. I am reading a lot on this subject and psychologists say it is key to psychological well-being (which makes it sounds important ;) ). I am going to continue to explore this one and start trying a few things to encourage this practice (loved this read – highly recommended as all his writings are fantastic).

Why do I value self-discipline?
Because with practice I am able to better prioritize what and why I am doing something, avoid distractions, and get the things done which take me closer to my big goals. I am going to die, and I do not want to look back and see myself wasting time on things that were not important to me, or that I didn’t think deeply about why I was doing them. For me it is about deliberate action/living. If I am outside reading, it is because I love that and want to be there.

“Amateurs wait for inspiration. The rest of us get up and go to work.” ~Stephen King.

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Snowy Boulder Colorado :)

April3

A shorty beautiful hike on Saturday after Boulder got a dusting of snow (it was supposed to be a foot). We are both still loving it here, great town!

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Nice easy hike around Boulder.

March28

This weekend I went on a easy hike called Meyers Homstead Trail, or the Meyers Gulch Trail. It was a relatively flat hike with a wide path and the out and back added up to a total of 5.5 miles. Beautiful pine forest, old barn, etc. Highly recommend! Good one for kids too I think.

If you want something more challenging, Walker Ranch is right around the corner which is an 8 mile loop with some climbs and beautiful walks along the river. I see people fly fishing out there quite often.

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Business startup rates vs closures.

March2

Given the publicity and prestige given to startups and business owners you would think that the USA is in the middle of a huge entrepreneurship boom. The opposite is true, we are seeing some really worrisome numbers emerging around business startup rates (this is something I’ve been reading about through 2015 and 2016 and it has me concerned, still doing a lot of research).

4 scary facts!

1. The number of businesses being started has fallen for decades. For the first time in 2008 the number of businesses closing was greater than those being started. Why is this worrisome? New companies are the ones that create 95% of new jobs. Existing companies create very close to 0 jobs when you total it up. The number of employees at new companies versus established has dropped from around 3.8% to 2%.

Click to enlarge:

2. Between 2010 and 2014 only 104,600 firms were created. Between 1983 to 1987 ~500,000 were. We are in a downward trend and the question is why. Demographics? Internet? Changing employment needs or habits? What?

3. The number of metro areas with more business startups than closures has shrunk consistently over the last 40 years. Prior to 2008 80% of metro areas had positive rates, in 2009 that was only 11%. Even after the recovery from the recession only 60% have positive business startup rates (2014).

Click to enlarge:

4. Over time it also appears that much smaller number of metro areas are the ones responsible for the bulk of new firms and subsequent employement growth.

In 1983 to 1987 29 metro areas were responsible for 50% of new firms in the USA.

In 1992 to 1996 30 metro areas were responsible for 50% of new firms in the USA.

In 2002 to 2006 14 metro areas were responsible for 50% of new firms in the USA.

In 2010 to 1014 5 metro areas were responsible for 50% of new firms in the USA.

Given Americans relocate for jobs 50% less than a decade ago that means that the bulk of these advancements are happening in just 5 metro areas. You don’t even want to see the stats outside of metro areas as small town america’s business start rates are hurting really bad.

I highly recommend you read the full report that Economic Innovation Group put out. There have also been a lot of stories in the WSJ and similar over the last couple years. Thanks to EIG for some of the screen grabs I added to this post, really impressed with them spotting this trend and starting to bring attention to it.

PS. Apologies for spelling/grammer, super late when I wrote this.

posted under Business | Comments Off on Business startup rates vs closures.

My Baby Has Man Farts.

February25

See this cute little guy?

Since the moment we got home he has had man farts.

He wakes Lindsey up at night with his man farts.

He wakes Ben up at night with his man farts.

They are loud.

They are not baby farts.

They are man farts.

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Wow Mr. Trump.

February24

What an interesting time to be alive.

“Trump is a poor man’s idea of a rich man, a dumb man’s idea of a smart man, and a weak man’s idea of a strong man.”

Are we witnessing the rise of a new wave of nationalism? Is this what it felt like to be in Europe after WW2 and watch the rise of a new political movement in Spain, Italy, and Germany? Or, is this what it felt like in the quiet before the 1930s global depression and massive changes around the world due to economic chaos?

Is this going to produce a huge backlash and back to expanding FDR’s programs? Will the Democrats come back in 2018 and 2020 with big wins? Will this be the last death rattle of the modern Republican party or can they survive with Trump and his core supporters?

Or, is this just a minor event that will fizzle away? Will Trump be impeached in 100 days and back to typical? How much damage can Trump and his people do to the social contract & safety net Americans currently enjoy?

Or, is Trump and his team going to bring about improved prosperity for ordinary people? Will he smash the old system and actually provide something better for Americans? Will he remove FDR’s big government, remove the social safety net, and see America’s economy flourish because of that?

Living in this moment is a lot scarier than you read in a history book about the quiet before something big. The only thing I have to compare it to is September 11th, but that was quick, and then it was just a feeling of watching history as we picked who to bomb and the rest of us went back to our normal lives. It is weird & cool & scary to be in this moment.

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Calico Jack Gets Personality!

February7

It is crazy how quick Calico is getting some personality! He is doing great, and he had a blast meeting one of his other grandmother’s and auntie :). I love how much he looks like Winston Churchill when he squinches up his face.

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The hardest part is picking a path.

February1

I’ve read a a few hundred business management books and it is amazing the scope of possible options when you face problem x. The hardest part is to pick a path and apply good thought process to your choice. It is SO hard to apply that process and ensure that you are not trapped in the process/framework versus too chaotic and undisciplined! Quick story from a book I’ve been reading:

There is an old story about an Indian chicken farmer who lived outside of New Delhi. For many years, he successfully raised and sold his chickens to support his family. One morning, when he went to feed the flock, he found several dead chickens. Not knowing what to do, he packed a bag, took a train into the Himalayas, climbed a high mountain and found a guru.

“Oh, guru,” he wailed, “some of my chickens have died!”.

“What do you feed them?” asked the guru. “I feed them corn,” replied the farmer. “You must change their diet to wheat,” declared the guru. The farmer descended the mountain, took the train home, and changed the feed from corn to wheat. For several weeks, everything went fine. But one morning, he went to feed the flock and found several more dead chickens. So he packed his bag again, took the train, climbed the mountain, and found the guru.

“Oh, guru—more of my chickens are dead!”

“How do you give them water?” asked the guru. “I have wooden bowls that I fill with water,” replied the farmer. “Troughs!” declared the guru. “Go home and build troughs.” Again the farmer returned home, built troughs, and his flock thrived for the next several months. But one morning, the farmer found more dead chickens. Back to the guru!

“Guru! More chickens are dead!”

“How do you house the chickens?” asked the guru. “I built wooden chicken coops for them.” “You need a new ventilation system,” declared the guru. Back home, the farmer spent his savings to build a new ventilation system. For two years, his business was better than ever—until, one morning, he went to feed the flock and ALL the chickens were dead!

Back at the guru’s cave, the farmer cried, “All my chickens are dead!”

“That’s too bad,” said the guru. “I had many more solutions.”

Advice isn’t useless, but it isn’t a magical solution. Every path is different in life/business.

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Calico Jack = 1 Month Old :)

January27

It has been fantastic and so much fun :). The below picture is Calico’s face when I tell him about the time I fought all the dinosaurs in the world and that is why none are left. Super skeptical face.

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Trump Now President.

January20

It is now real.

Somehow a man who lacks the character or ethics to manage a McDonalds is the president of the United States of America despite losing by 3 million votes. This is the end of a long winding road caused by the Republican party being hijacked and held hostage by an anti-fact anti-intellectual movement. America is asleep in a puddle of tears as the “American Dream” slips even further from being a unifying vision for our country. One thing is certain, this is going to be a very interesting period in history.

Where is America headed?

I am still trying to be optimistic and give him a chance. But so far he has further solidified my opinion he lacks moral character and wisdom. I am hopeful that we as a country will get a few things out of this: move the USA to a territorial tax system for business/personal, smart corporate tax reform, and kill off the common core. I am incredibly afraid he is going to try to tear down the American safety net and hurt a lot of people (ie, social security, healthcare, public education, a minimum wage tied to inflation). I am also afraid he is going to cut taxes for the wealthy and increase inequality. I hope he passes something to empower more people to go to college or some type of post-secondary training (I’d love tuition to be capped at 20% of poverty levels or something).

Update… Week 1 does not bode well for the future of this country. Historically we have a long history of uninformed uneducated voters making bad decisions on the right and the left of the political spectrum. That makes me feel “good” about that situation as you can never say that democracy is powered by educated voting. The problem I am trying to get my head around is I am not aware of any situation in American history where a group is set on tearing down government entirely and then saying “look it doesn’t work”. Or had such a blatant disregard for science, expertise, and truth. I am really scared/curious if the USA will emerge stronger once the backlash hits, or if somehow this extreme right group can continue to brainwash uninformed uneducated voters to keep voting for them. I am very hopeful this is the beginning of the end and that in 10 years we will have a better safety net for citizens. I really don’t want to see WW3, a global depression, or a global trade war (which would probably cause a global depression).

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2016 In Review.

January8

2014 was the toughest year of my life, and while 2015 was MUCH better and WAY more fun… so many of the things that caused stress in 2014 were still there and still had to be dealt with. I had high hopes for 2016 finally giving me a bit more space to find my mojo but that didn’t happen quite the way I wanted.

All in all, 2016 was a bit exhausting. I was working 2 CEO gigs for 85% of the year, one of those gigs was booting up a brand new tech startup which is a challenge, our family bought a house and moved 9+ times while getting it ready to be lived in, Lindsey got pregnant and we had a baby in December :), and I had to deal with a few health scares. There is a lot of good in there, but it was a pretty intense year.

2016 felt a bit like this…
giphy-2

I sat down a month ago and made a big timeline of everything going on in my life from 2014 to 2016 by month. It is pretty crazy how much shit went down over that 3 year period. Even after reading it I feel pretty amazed I am still standing. I am very confident that 2017 will be a bit more relaxed :).

The Amazing
Lindsey and I have been married for two years and it just keeps getting better and better :). I made a great choice and I hope she feels similar. We found out Lindsey was pregnant on April 20th and little Calico was born on December 30th 2016. This is a pretty momentous change to our lives, and we are pretty excited :). I am incredibly excited to be a dad!

In February we moved to Colorado and by March had bought a house in Boulder. Lindsey worked like crazy to get the house ready and by July we were moved in. We are loving our house and it is so nice to have a home/office and be less nomadic for a while. Between February to July we moved 9+ times as we scrambled to find new places whent he house work was delayed.

What other fun stuff did I do this year?
– Lindsey and I went on a 2 week baby moon to Maui Hawaii which was needed. We also spent a few weeks in Key West and Florida visiting friends & family. It was great to finally introduce Lindsey to my grandma, even if we have to do it everytime she wonders who is in the car with her :).
– Lots of amazing hikes in Colorado with Daniel and solo.
– I joined Vistage early in the year, and EO toward the end. Both those communities have been great, and I trying to learn how to better execute on ideas. This is a huge focus of mine for the rest of my life.
– I’ve managed to cement my morning ritual and I hit 380 consecutive days of morning rehab, and 310 days of meditation. I am pretty happy with keeping that up amidst a pretty choppy year.
– I am back to doing workouts 4x a week which feels great! They are light workouts but it feels great to sweat. I am slowly accepting that medical peoples have no clue about my back, and it is up to me to figure out what I can and can’t do.

The Challenges!

Health:
2016 was not a great year in the health department, but it did end on a positive note :). In January I got hit with some liver problems due to some preventative meds they had me taking. I stopped taking them and was back to normal by late March. Then in May they saw some signs inflammation might be back so I switched back to a super strict Paleo AIP diet and I’ve been on that ever since (7+ months). In August I got a colonoscopy and they didn’t see any sign of the disease now or historically so that was great to hear! Halfway through the year I also got some tests on my adrenal glands and the doctor discovered I am pretty zapped and at the end of a long stress cycle (duh!). So they gave me a mountain of hippie pills to help put humpty dumpty back together again :). I am feeling better now from an energy perspective and I am looking forward to getting my mojo back.

Komorebi:
Site5/WWWH was sold in June 2015 and for the 17 months following that I have been working two CEO gigs, one booting up my new startup Pressed, and one at WWWH to oversee the transition to the new owners. That was very stressful/tiring and I do not recommend doing it. Saying goodbye to Site5/WWWH after spending 7+ years building and running it was tough. I hope it finds a good home, as I haven’t been too impressed with what has happened under the new ownership. I was able to line up new homes for 75%+ of the team too which I feel good about. And, I think another 10% to 15% found positions through referrals a few weeks later.

Trump:
Somehow the country elected Trump to be the president of the USA. Trump is someone I wouldn’t hire to manage a McDonalds bathroom, let alone hand a pair of childproof scissors too. God help us all :). I am still working through what this means… it has caused a lot of reflection on what the American dream is for me, and what it is for other people. I am a globalist, I have friends all over the world, I am someone who thinks this country needs a strong social safety net in FDR style, and I am dumbfounded to see the very people who need help in the modern economy vote for someone who is going to screw them over. Hopefully, from the ashes the country emerges stronger (at least we might get a territorial tax system for people/companies finally).

2017
I am really excited about 2017! It is going to be a great year :). You can read my plans/goals here (COMING SOON).

Onward to 2017, ARRRRRGGGGGGG!!!!!!
giphy-3

posted under Life Planning & Execution | Comments Off on 2016 In Review.

2016 Book Summary

January6

giphy

Since 2010 I’ve taken part in a yearly challenge to read 100 books. I love reading so this is not too hard. For 2016 I read 112 books, and they were mostly fun books given the nature of the year.

I do a big book summary each year too, if you want to take a look at past years for some reading ideas check them out here: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015. So what are my top books of the year?

If you only read 3 books this year I recommend the following:

1. Red Phoenix is a book based at the end of the Cold War and follows a North Korean invasion of the South and our response. It has echoes of Tom Clancy and I enjoyed it immensely.

2. Dawn of Wonder is an amazing fantasy book and I can’t wait for the second one. The premise is simple, a young boy as he suffers a tragedy and then as he joins a very elite military unit. Beautifully written, great characters, and just fantastic.

3. The Wolf of the North was a fantastic book and I can’t wait for the next one. Solid fantasy and beautifully written story with viking undertones.

Top 3 Scifi / Fantasy:

1. The Lives of Tao series. This is a GREAT science fiction series and very well written. Aliens crashed into earth and have been driving our evolution in order to get to a technology level to enable them to leave. At some point the group split into a group trying to help humanity and improve them, and another that just wants off the planet no matter the cost to earth. The aliens are a symbiotic relationship, and they combine with a human and can talk to them and effectively live forever. Which makes some really interesting topics on history when an immortal alien was inside the human’s head talking to them and giving them advice. Great series, highly recommended and I can’t wait to read more by this author.

2. The Black Gate Series is awesome fantasy and huge in scope. You see the world through a variety of characters that are slowly driven toward each other. Pretty unique world too.

3. The King’s Dark Tidings series. These are not the most complex, but boy are they fun. The main character is like a fantasy James Bond but a monk who seems to kill just about everyone. Fun world and characters, good for the beach.

Top 3 *Real* Books:

1. I was interested in learning how the USA passed a recent constitutional amendment so I picked up
Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. It was very well written and fascinating to learn about. I was also curious how it mirrored Cannabis and the path to legalization a lot of states are taking.

2. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life . This is a GREAT read and I love his website as well. I wish we passed this out to every student in high school or college.

3. The Rent Is Too Damn High: What To Do About It, And Why It Matters More Than You Think – This was a really interesting look at the cost of housing on Americans and the impact on the economy.

3 Honorable Mentions:

1. I read every book in the Gabriel Allon spy series. They are all very solid books and highly recommended.

2. The First Rule of Ten series, which is a fantastic detective series based in LA. The main character is a Buddhist monk and apart from the newest they are all amazing.

3. Waking the Kiso Road. This is a pilgrimage route in Japan I am thinking of doing and it made for a great read.

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Workout Summary 2016.

January6

For 2016, I did a total of 166 hours of tracked workouts. January was a total wash, but by February I was in Colorado and doing a lot more hiking (especially with Daniel). I moved into our house in Boulder in July and LOVE the surrounding trail network. I also started riding a cheap exercise bike I got late in the year and making sure I am doing “big” workouts 3x to 4x a week. It feels really good to sweat again :). Fun stats:

  • I hiked/walked 299 miles this year.
  • I biked for 25 hours this year (I just got started end of year).
  • Over the entire year I ascended 45,997 feet, which is less than last year but not too bad given I walked about half what I did in 2015.

  • I’d love to pick up Yoga again, I was doing it 3x a week, but medical peeps told me to lay off for now. I am starting to think they don’t know what they are talking about though. Ditto for running, they told me at the start of the year after another MRI that I shouldn’t ever run due to the pounding. I think I am just going to have to figure this out on my own.

    What are my workout goals for 2017?

    1. Continue my big workout + foundation training 4x a week (and do them before I start work). Plus my daily rehab practice.

    2. Figure out what I can do that isn’t going to tear up my back further (and that I hopefully enjoy as much as running). I would be ecstatic if I could do 3 to 5 mile trail runs, but that might not be possible. I am going to talk to a trainer and see if I can find someone who has experience with annular disc tears.

    3. Think on a big bike or walking trip and what I need to do to prepare for that. I am thinking about getting a folding mountain bike and doing a big ride in Europe toward the end of 2017 possibly.

    Past years: 2014 and 2015 workout summary.

    posted under My Thoughts | Comments Off on Workout Summary 2016.

    Meet My Son Calico Jack Fox :)

    December30

    Meet my son :), little Calico Jack was born on December 30th at 9.09am outside of Boulder Colorado. He weighed 8lb 8oz and was 21.5 inches long at birth. Calico’s name is inspired by the famous Calico Jack Rackham. We wanted to give him something fun and original :). It was my pirate name from an online pirate name generator I took a long ways back.

    The labor was super intense so he needed a few days to recharge along with his mom. We didn’t get out of the hospital until January 3rd, and poor Lindsey got discharged a day later than her son. She is still recovering but slowly getting there. She was amazing :).

    giphy-1

    posted under Family & Marriage | Comments Off on Meet My Son Calico Jack Fox :)
    « Older Entries

    This is bwb’s personal blog so he can share his thoughts with the world, however scary or silly they might be. Plus family and friends can track what I am up too, and where I am in the world.

    IMG_2539

    I am pretty simple. I love Mangos. I love the ocean, although mostly at sunset as I’m a ginger. I love to travel, eat exotic food, read, and use my imagination. I love creating and developing ideas into businesses, understanding how all businesses work, and building cool stuff. I am a globalist and see the entire world as my responsibility and playground. And, I am married to an amazing woman who makes life even more fun :)!


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