Can you help my studentS?


Clif's rabbit. Nothing to do with this post.  But she's a cute rabbit. 

Clif's rabbit. Nothing to do with this post.  But she's a cute rabbit. 

As most of you know, I get to teach a class every semester. It is probably the consistently most gratifying professional experience of my career so far. 

This year, my students are publishing a crowdsourced book. Here is how it works. 

They came up with a fictional product (an alarm clock that starts brewing your coffee when you hit the snooze button) and now they're looking for smart people to give them ideas on how they'd market the book.  You have $10,000 (not literally) and they want to know how you'd launch and market the product in the US. 

Want to throw your hat in the ring? I would greatly appreciate it. 

Submit your answer here

You rock. Thank you. 

more shallow


Pretty German cows.

Pretty German cows.

I remember a time in my life when my mother thought I was spending way too much time on a landline phone with various female potential romances of mine.  It seemed like a very impersonal way to communicate with someone to her. She might have been right, even though it should be noted that I literally "cold called" my first girlfriend to ask her out. To that day, I had actually never directly spoken to her in person. 

Besides the fact I spend way less time courting women via landline phone these days, a lot of things seem to have gotten a lot more shallow in my life. Maybe in our lives, assuming I am not the only one who feels this way. 

I certainly spend less time on the phone. Everything is an iMessage now. Or an app.

Even my formerly technophobic mother makes all her calls to me via Facetime. We're still trying to teach her to not answer Facetime video calls when walking out of the Sauna. And by we, I mean me.  

Social media is everywhere. A quick check of Facebook here, a tweet there, Instagram this and such...the list goes on. 

I read fewer books and newspapers now, but probably consume way more information in aggregate via the web and podcasts. Sadly, I know to retain much less information.

I sort of used to speak four languages. Now I speak 1 1/2. 

Meetings come and go. There are too many of those, too. Sometimes at the end of the day, I don't even remember all the meetings I had.

Between my various email accounts, I probably get 300 emails per day. Mostly that's my fault, nobody forced me to make "running an online community" a hobby. 

My life seems more shallow now than ever before. Most days I am perfectly ok with such. Most days I don't even recognize. 

Then every once in a while I look back, and I recognize that somehow  my life has gotten to have a whole lot less depth, not more. 

I shouldn't be ok with that.

Why am I?

Maybe I need to get a landline phone again.

 

hot yoga

Today I did hot yoga for the first time in many years. And actually, I liked it a lot more than regular yoga as despite my inability to hit just about any pose, I feel like I am getting a good workout in. The class was 90 minutes long, which seemed a bit overkill considering I was pretty much going in and out of consciousness starting at the one hour mark. Let's see if I can actually make this a weekly habit now. 

Who else does hot yoga? What do you think?

Btw, I've written about yoga a lot here on this blog. Never with any level of substance, consistency or intelligence for that matter. 

http://www.themarioblog.com/posts/no-yoga-talents (2003)

http://www.themarioblog.com/posts/train-through-monestry (2003)

http://www.themarioblog.com/posts/picture-moments (2004)

http://www.themarioblog.com/posts/headache (2004)

http://www.themarioblog.com/posts/steam-room-yoga/ (2005)

http://www.themarioblog.com/posts/out-of-place-at-yoga (2005)

http://www.themarioblog.com/posts/singles-yoga (2006)

http://www.themarioblog.com/posts/portland-corepower (2008) 

I am going to be doing more posting on here again, even if they're just short posts like this. It's good for my mind. 

this is not normal, right?

Ever since coming back from Europe, I've been rocking a Lufthansa sleep mask at night. It goes well with my anti-grinding retainer and helps fight the light coming in from that street post outside my window. 

The other day I came home and was surprised that Otto didn't come and greet me at the door. Of course, I was immediately worried. Then he started coming down the stairs, very gingerly. Why?

Because he had decided to try and put on the sleep cap he saw me wearing and now couldn't figure how to get it off. 

Here is picture proof. This is not normal, right?





Are you self-iterating enough?

When I was two years old, my mother grew frustrated with my father, kicked him out of the house and that was the end of their marriage. She was now a 22 year old single mum. Everybody was mad at her. It wasn't easy, but it was the right thing for her. And I.  

German school sucked, especially someone with average intelligence like myself. So I became an exchange student in England, France (twice) and ultimately the US.  

After my freshman year of college, I went back to Germany. I got bored. So the next year I ended up spending all summer in Spain. 

After I graduated college, I found a good job in Missoula. But I wasn't learning enough so I moved to Seattle and worked for free.  

I had a great job and a pretty girlfriend the first time I lived in LA. But LA just wasn't right for me. So I moved to Portland.  

When I lived in Portland, I had a great job, a beautiful girlfriend and a really nice loft. But I felt like I could do more professionally, so I moved back to LA to start my own agency.  

In LA, I wanted a bigger challenge next to work, so I trained and did an Ironman. But when I came back, I was super burned out from everything. So I asked my boss if I could work part time. He agreed. 

After my grandmother died, I felt the strong urge to spend more time in Germany to (amongst other things) be with my grandfather who I didn't feel should be alone. I continued to work for the same ad agency as a part-time employee - in Europe. 

When my last relationship failed, I went on a 48-state road trip across America as a full-time entrepreneur. 

When I recognized that due to a complete lack of a common sense life/work balance, being an entrepreneur was particularly unhealthy for me - I decided to take a job and move to Montana. Oh, and I still didn't like LA.   

Right now, I have a more fulfilling job than before. 

Right now, I am spending more time doing things I love than before. 

Right now, the girl I am dating is a better fit than the girl before. 

My life now is better than a year ago.

My life two years ago is better than my life 5 years ago.

And 5 years ago was better than 9 years ago.

Don't get me wrong. I am an optimist and feel as if I've largely found great joy in the majority of my years. At times, I've also struggled immensely - no doubt about that. 

But I do believe that life just keeps getting better. Sometimes that betterment happens due to incremental changes while other times it happens because of major iterations. 

Last year, I spent just about every waking moment with entrepreneurs. There were two- or three factors they mentioned as their keys to success. One of them is the ability to constantly re-invent their business - the buzzword being iteration. 

Us humans, we actually iterate better than any other species. That's why we run this world.  Actually I see it all the time. Something really bad happens, like an illness, or a death in the family and then people use it as an opportunity to re-invent themselves. They usually end up much better for it. 

But, otherwise, I don't see many people re-inventing themselves. Why do most people only do it when something really bad happens?

Are people just really happy? Is everything perfect? Or are they too scared? Do they feel bad? Obligated? Guilt?

Anyhow, I think the idea of continuous self-iteration is really interesting and incredibly beneficial.

It seems to me that people aren't doing enough of it. 

 

find your good

There are good days and there are bad days.

There are days when you go to bed feeling good about that day, and there are days when you don't. There are days when you accomplish what you wanted, and there are days when you don't. There are days when you eat healthy and exercise and there are days when you don't.  There are days when you ask out that girl, and days when you don't. There are days when you talk to the people you love, and there are days you don't. There are days when you're an awesome dad, and days when you're not. And most importantly, there are days when you go fishing and there are days when you don't. 

Most happiness stems not from the impact of others, but from your daily actions. 

Figure out what your good is, and then do more of it. Every day. Whenever you can. 

Why not?