"It's 5:45pm. We'll just head upstairs and get some rest. Lets regroup around 8pm and go out."
The four of us headed up to our room. My friends laid down to take naps, while I worked on how I was going to get from Munich to Prague to catch my next flight.
At eight, we were going to meet up with one or two people from the walking tour of Munich we went on earlier that day and go out to a beer hall. They were going to meet up with us at the bar in the basement of the hostel at 8pm.
Well, 8:10 rolls around, and everyone is still asleep. 8:15, someone stirs and sleepily asks if we should go out or stay in. We decide we should go out, somewhat out of guilt for our new friends who were waiting for us.
I opened my eyes. It was dark. Really, really dark.
Oh, right. I still have my sleep mask on.
I took off my sleep mask. It was bright. Really, really bright.
I looked at my phone. It was 12:08pm. Uh.. crap.
I see myself as a pretty positive person. I believe people can generally do anything, if they decide to truly make it happen. One of my favorite retorts when someone says they can’t do something is “Not with that attitude!”
In 2008, my parkour friends and I realized that negative attitudes are really detrimental to our training. Every time someone says “That jump is impossible” or “I can’t do this vault,” it’s admitting defeat. And if you admit defeat, you’ll never succeed.
So we started playing a game called “Banana, Mango, Coconut.” We picked the three most common negative words people would say when training (can’t, never, impossible). Every time you said one of those words, you had to do ten pushups. (We ended up replacing those words with banana, mango, and coconut, respectively. “I coconut this jump! I banana do this vault.”)
It might sound silly, but I think this game went a long way in forging a more positive attitude on life. Even if there’s just a small chance of a positive outcome, if you preemptively decide on a negative one, there’s now NO chance of the positive outcome happening.
The very first time I did any serious public speaking was the final pitch at a Startup Weekend.
Preparing for it, I pretty much knew I was doing everything wrong (wrote out the whole talk word for word, was trying to memorize it, etc), but did it anyway, and... it was brutal. It took me 5 minutes to get through the first 45 seconds of my pitch, and during the Q&A the judges just said "No questions." I let my amazing team down, I embarrassed myself, and I embarrassed my employer... which was Startup Weekend itself!
(Un)luckily, one of my team was taking a video. A few days later, I finally brought myself to watch it.
TL;DR: I’m publishing a read-only version of my live To Do and To-Done list.
Transparency has been a big theme lately. The current #talkpay movement encouraging people to publicly disclose their salaries. Pushes for wearable body cameras to bring greater transparency to policing. Transparency into NSA’s surveillance efforts.
Transparency isn’t just a buzzword - it’s a powerful thing. When something hides in the shadows, it’s hard to see exactly how big or small it is. What color it is. Sometimes even what it is altogether. So your imagination fills in the gaps. And we all know that the details our imaginations invent are rarely accurate.
But when you illuminate something hiding in the shadows, you can suddenly see all the details. The monster is revealed to be just an everyday coat hanger.
On my birthday for the last two years, I've made lists of the Top 24 Things I Did At 24, and The Top 25 Things I Did At 25. It's a fun yearly tradition that I'm continuing. Hopefully, for every year I grow older I'm forced to do more interesting things.
So, in no particular order:
Okay 27. Lets rumble.
There’s a good chance you're reading this because I sent it to you. If I sent it to you, there’s a good chance you just asked me to introduce you to someone.
I’m thrilled to make an introduction for you, but they aren’t free. I don’t mean you have to pay me. It's just that many people don’t realize intros cost the introducer something.
Every time someone introduces two other people, they put a little bit of their reputation on the line. They spend some social capital. If the introduction goes well, it pays off! But if something gets bungled, it makes me look bad.
Introduction etiquette, while it might not seem like a big deal, is not an innate human skill. That's why I'm sending you this quick guide to establish expectations.