Gratitude is Easy

All ya gotta do is deprive yourself.

Wanna have the best lunch in what feels like centuries? Don’t eat for a week. Or, more plausibly, eat bare essentials for a week, and then eat “normal” foods again.

This is low-hanging joy available to anyone with a modicum of discipline.

on changes in people’s appearance – the reflex is too natural.

This reflex overrides any sense that the comment is often entirely devoid of substance and has been uttered by dozens of others too.

“Wow. A new beard.” What is the point of this?

I knew that until I truly believed that whatever I did was the exact right thing, I’d keep doing the wrong thing.

A lot of times when I think I’m being self-sufficient, I’m really just learning to live without the things that I need.

But if you keep something hidden away, all tied up, it’s hard to summon it when you really need it.

It was beautiful, no lie, to watch a person burn.

My mom had once told me that being a mother was made up of “reget and then forgetting about that regret sometimes.”

In my sunglasses, I felt like a movie star. I couldn’t see myself, which helped the fantasy.

“I’m okay,” I said, though I liked being asked.


is the joy in breaking it.

I’ve got a way to preserve the most precious resource of your fellow humans. Spouses, managers, friends, kids, parents, teammates, co-workers, enemies: it works for all of them. The catch is that it costs you some of your most precious resource. It may even amount to a net drain on the whole. Still, I think it’s worth it. You can give it a try the next time you have a question. All you have to do is suffocate your instinct to ask for help. In fact, do not ask anyone for his time unless you have first invested time to find what you need yourself. And that is the way to save people’s most precious resource.

Special Place

I reached a place today where I’d like to reside for a lifetime. Just after the initial .35mi climb, there’s relief when you turn onto xxxxxxxxx. The grade goes negative, and without any effort at all, your legs carry you forward. Pre-run I decided I needed to do more. I needed to run into the downhill instead of coasting. That’s where I found the place.

The places that actually matter are never suburbs v. cities or country A v. country B. True, those distinctions make some difference, but only because you let them, only because superficial details seem to matter when one is distanced from what’s going on mentally. That distance isn’t such a bad thing – it certainly allows one to exist in the modern world instead of a cave in India. Furthermore, better controlling the mind is incredibly challenging. As much as I buy the truth of “mindfulness” and that paying attention is all that’s necessary to eliminate boredom and illuminate the world, it doesn’t mean I actually perform these skills.


I relay this to you not to boast, but to remind you the strength of my weakness. The Friday we spoke was a “running day” for me. Unfortunately, a few hours after our conversation, it began raining so hard I couldn’t accurately decipher objects a few feet outside my windows. Worse still, my trusty iPhone SE, with the dope headphone jack, informed me it was 51 degrees, which happens to be the coldest temperature since I arrived in Ted Cruz’s great state a month ago.

No, I didn’t see this as any sort of “challenge.” I saw this as an excuse to push the run to Saturday, maybe even Sunday if the conditions remained unfavorable. I’m telling you, my weakness is so good at negotiating it could convince Kim Jong-un to unilaterally disarm. Just check some of these persuasive arguments:


Step to It

14, 13, 7, 4, 2. 2, 4, 7, 13, 14. Again and again and again. It’s not so bad except for 13 to 7. Mastering that jump cost me a few broken bones and pints of blood. The key, I now know, is to push off the black rock next the stairs with your toes instead of your heels, as is natural for novices. Once I got that down, I was able to put in a minimum of four hours per day.

The dividends have been life-changing. I chose the programming skill reward, which seemed obvious given economic trends, but apparently most people choose vanity skill rewards like charisma or sexual endurance. I now have a job at Google, a corporation that offers maximum schedule flexibility for Stepping, and money with lots of trailing zeros in my bank account.

It all makes me laugh that my mom had to essentially force me to start Stepping. All my life I’d tried to get better at things with practice, and all my life I’d failed to acquire any useful skills. Yet, the thought of moving up and down stairs so the NXQ3000 could alter my brain struck me as both stupid and dangerous. Now I get that my aversion was another personification of my “fear of success.” So glad that’s no longer a part of me.

For there is a learning formula and yet no commensurate method for unlearning the things we want to unlearn. Tragically, it’s trivially easy to unlearn that which we want to maintain (foreign language, musical ability, fitness, etc.). But the stuff that haunts us, the stuff we desperately wish to forget? Good luck.

Upon enduring radical change, particularly the negative variety, it’s natural to long for the way things were. With time, though, “radical” transforms into the new status quo; it’s simply unsustainable to indefinitely maintain a high-stress state – a defining characteristic of transitory periods. For better or worse, acceptance inevitably washes over us, which helps power our near unlimited capacity for adaptation.