(Source: dekrazee1)




Dear World : Please stop producing interesting content for a few hours. I have got some work to do.

You will die, adjust your appetite for risk accordingly

Is the goal of life to:

Maximize its length


Maximize its quality

I am sure it is some balance between the two. But most of us do it backwards to the logical approach. When you are young - you have the most to loose if you die. A death at 15 deprives you of 70+ years of life. Therefore it makes the most sense to be safer when you are younger. 

However, as you age… you have less and less to loose. If you are 80 and you die then you MIGHT be depriving yourself (and your loved ones) of 0-15 years of your life. Therefore as you age it would make more sense to take the risks you (should have) put off when you were young. For instance… 80 might be the best time to take up extreme skydiving. 

But I find the natural tendency is to reduce risks as you age. You stop going new places and trying new things. You get a bigger safer car. You drive at or below the speed limit. Basically you minimize the quality to maximize life’s quantity. 

I guess this makes sense too… the older you get the more you have and therefore the more you have to protect. Death is a real deal because you have friends who have died or you know someone who is facing death because of some disease. You begin to realize how fragil life is. You have come to love life and in doing so you seek to protect it.

But I suggest we stop loving life. Stop hanging on to it so tightly. As it has been said we should “Hold on loosely, but don’t let go.” 

As we see less years in front than are behind, we should be partaking in more and more risky endvors. We should climb K-2. We should sky-dive. Get a motorcycle. Travel the world. Take a mission trip. Work less. Play more. Give more. 

Let us not morn the 75 year old who has a heart attack skydiving. We should morn the people who played is safe and spend the last 5 years of their life drooling on themselves alone in a nursing home. Let us celebrate those who die chasing their dreams to the end of the earth. 

Because… they sought to maximize the quality of their life. They sat aside their greed for life. They took their mission for what it was. To live, to love others; to take joy in the Lord and the world he has provided us. 

You will die. Adjust your appetite for risk accordingly.

Climbing K2 in 5 Easy Steps

Do you have a dream? Are you going after it? If not… why not? 

Life is too short. Going after your dream does not mean you have to quit your job (even if that is your dream)… it just means you should have some sense of what you want out of life and EACH day you should be able to articulate how that day helped you get to your dream. 

Even if you are only taking BABY steps to your dream… you are doing more than most. One thing is for SURE… your dream is not going to come knocking on your door and surprise you… You have to chase after it. It will not chase you.

Here are the steps to climbing your K2:


Make a list of the things you want to do.

Get a motorcycle?
Get your pilorts license?
Climb K2?
Run a marathon?
Get a PHd?

There is literally NO reason NOT to achieve goals like the ones above. Why? Because the steps to knocking these types of goals out are well documented. It is not to say that it is easy. But, just to say that IF you want it bad enough there is no reason not to have it (or be on the path to getting it). 


Schedule it! Google calendar rocks. Do some research to understand the steps involved in achieving your dream. Then break those steps down in to a calendar of events. This calendar should reflect your REAL life. Don’t plan to run a marathon in a month if you have never ran and you don’t have but two weekends to train. 

Start with big milestones and then work your way back into daily or every-other-day goals. Set monthly and weekly goals. Then AIM FOR THE DAILY GOALS. Don’t worry about the monthly or weekly goals. Only concern yourself with the daily goals. Your PLAN will ensure that by achieving your daily goals you achieve your big goals. 

When your friends or boss asks if you are busy - check your calendar. You may have an important commitment to your dreams. These items become the immovable rocks. It is really shocking how flexible the rest of your life can be. For more on this topic - see step 3.

STEP 3: 

Dump your old friends… Well not really but sort of. You have NOT achieved your goals yet right? So it is safe to say that doing whatever it is you do every day has not produce your dream out comes. Therefore - STOP doing what you are doing everyday it is NOT working. 

It is time to start hanging out with people who are doing what you want to do. You can keep your old friends… I mean who are you going to brag to when you achieve your goals. But achieving a new goal is all about breaking old patterns. If you want to become a champion surfer and you live in Nebraska… then it is time to start planning your move to Hawaii. You are not going to be a awesome surfer by going to the same Nebraska  bar with the same Nebraska friends. 

You don’t need anyones approval to begin achieving your goals. It is hard enough to convince yourself you can do something… it is really hard if you NEED your friends to be convinced too.

Chances are high - none of your friends have achieved your goal. Because one, they don’t believe it is important. Or two, they lack the motivation to achieve it. These people cannot be the source of your motivation. 

And it may be that your friends are not even people. You might be good friends with Facebook, Call of Duty, Twinkies, or your Marlboros. If these “friends” are not on your list of milestones to achieve your goal, then chances are you don’t have time for them. They are empty fillers between you and your goals. Get ticked off! Kick them out of your life.  

NOTE: Keep the friends who are supportive and can help you achieve your goals. These are true friends. 


Revise your list. If you have looked at the above 3 steps and made 15 excuses why you cannot do them… then be honest with yourself. You don’t really want that dream. It is a nice to have… not a gotta have.

You need to clear these items from your mind! Why? Because keeping that dream in your mind is just another reminder how you suck. It will be just one more thing you will never do (when you don’t really want to do it in the first place).  It will produce drag on your life and keep you from achieving the goals that really matter. 

Bottom line: Know your Gotta have’m dreams from your nice to have’m dreams. You don’t have time for anything but the Gotta have’ms. 

For example: Your goal is to be a foreign missionary to the Sudan. But, you have kids and a wife. The Sudan may not allow you to drag them along. And your wife says she will divorce you if you leave for several months. Basically there is no way you can have a family and achieve your dream. Therefore (and not to be too harsh) one of these things has got to go.

Do you love your wife? Do you love your kids? Perhaps you can get a divorce and plan your move. But, if you love your kids and wife more than your dream… time to be honest. You have traded one dream for another - and that is OK.

Stop beating yourself up about being a missionary to the Sudan. Clear it from your list. It is OK. We make tons of choices everyday that eliminate other opportunities.

Don’t listen to the you can have it all crowd. They are are most likely trying to sell you a car or something that requires debt. You cannot have it all because in doing so you will suck at everything. Instead being great at a few things. 


Now that you have a real list, a schedule, and real friends to support you it is time to execute your plan. When you STOP doing the things that do not support your dreams. You will find that you have tons more time and money.

Spend that money and time. 

This is the best part of the entire process. Achieving your daily goals provides a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Each day will inspire you to go after the next small goal… and if you have planned well you will look up one day and be on the top of K2. 

Thanks Mom!

(Source: carlop, via evangotlib)


Video Puzzle

It takes Joe Penna aka Mystery Guitar Man and friends 238 takes to create their latest creation, a video puzzle using four synchronized iPhones to cover ‘We Are Young’ by Fun.

His videos have seen over 310 Million views collectively, and have eclipsed 2.1 Million subscribers to YouTube Page. One of the keys to his craft is that his guitar is the star – he is playing his 6-string to songs while the video creations has seen creativity like the classic 80s song “867-5309” reworked into a video with 10,000 guitar picks.

Betterness - Economics for Humans

I have been talking to my good friend Brandon Wrightabout what we want to do with our lives. We both have this desire to create a company. But we have struggled for a vision that would be worthy of our lives. We have a lot of product ideas… but the product by itself is not enough of a vision to dedicate a life to. You only get one life. 

Q: What is a life worth? 
A: A freak’n lot!

But a few weeks ago we stopped talking about “products” and started talking about the culture we wanted to build And more importantly, we discussed the principles underlying that culture. 

What we came up with - is not complete - but very interesting. Perhaps even interesting enough to devote a lifetime to. It is based on the theology of Jesus Christ and an article from the Harvard Business Review called: Betterness - Economics for Humans.

Both Jesus and this article - attempt to recast the concepts of wealth. If you ask someone what constitutes a life worth living, most people will respond in ways that tend to maximize freedom and human relationships while minimizing material possessions. Basically given a choice most normal humans, at least the ones you want to be around, will choose family and friends over cars and cash. 

However… rational people realize that there is a connection between money and the ability to develop meaningful relationships and raise a family. The issue arises when we replace a human relational goal with the method used to support that goal (money). It is when we see money as the goal that we go off the rails and miss the opportunity to achieve REAL WEALTH.

But our entire society is set up to measure success by the production of monetary value. Perhaps the most important economic indicator ever devised is GDP. See the definition of GDP below.

Gross domestic product (GDP) refers to the market value of all officially recognized final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country’s standard of living;

Take special note of that LAST part of the definition. How can monetary value be the some total measure of a person’s standard of living? As we discussed above, human relationships determine how we perceive wealth in life. Rich and alone sucks just as much as poor and surrounded by friends. 

Let me put it this way. Could we measure a person’s health by the amount of money they spend on health care? Some of the sickest people in the US spend 100 of times more on healthcare than a healthy person. So monetary input does not seem to be a direct indicator of the output’s REAL VALUE.

There is an old management saying - you get what you measure. And if all governments and companies measure is money (another term for the value of output) - then is it any wonder why we are getting richer while simultaneously our perceived wealth is dropping. This fact is evidenced by survey after survey where people would not describe their lives as better than their parents or grandparents. We are getting what we measure money but not REAL WEALTH.

Some would say this is crazy talk after all the only thing we CAN measure is money. GDP as a measurement of a country’s standard of living has not been around for every. Would you be surprised to know that before 1944 there was not a tool like GDP to measure the economic output of a nation… So, if we can create one measurement we CAN create another. 

And that brings us back to the topic at hand… 

What if we built a company that sought to maximize the REAL WEALTH of its employees? Then what if the goal of the company was to allow as many people as possible to experience this wealth. So… like many companies the goal would be to grow. But, the reason for pursuing growth would be completely different. (If you are not a geek please skip the next Matrix reference)… What if the goal of the company was to allow as many people as possible unplug from the Matrix and experience REAL WEALTH. 

As Brandon and I discussed this concept we began to hypothesize about what principles would be required to build a company focused solely on the generation of REAL WEALTH. These are numbered for emphasis (not by importance)

1) NO DEBT - the company could not owe anyone anything. For example: Owing an investor means that you have created a Super Measurement (payback of investors) that will ultimately undermine the ability of the company to measure REAL WEALTH. But money is not the only form of debt. For example - if the company promises employees stock options or some share of future earnings - you are actually creating a form of debt based on monetary value. That debt will drive measurements in the minds of employees and that measurement will undermine the ability of the company to measure REAL WEALTH. 

2) HUMILITY - The company must understand the true definition of humility “Not to think less of oneself, but to think of one’s self less.” The company is not a non-profit. It does not discount its products or fees. It products are the BEST in the business. The purpose for producing these products and charging fees so the company can grow REAL WEALTH for as many people as possible. Discounting the value of products and services decreases the ability of the company to create REAL WEALTH. 

3) TOTAL COMMITMENT TO THE VISION: Every employee must understand the vision and take it to heart. When asked what most people would do if they won the lottery “helping others” almost always tops the list. In the heart of every employee must exist an understanding that they have already won the lottery and now they are working on that lottery-list starting with helping others… followed by doing what you are passionate about… so on and so forth. The goal of the company is to create as many lottery winners as possible. 

4) FOCUS ON CULTURE FROM DAY ONE: It has been said that you will not manage millions well if you don’t understand how to manage your pennies. This is true of culture. Every employee from day one must buy into the culture and its underlying priniciples. Culture is not something you create when you can finally afford it. 

5) NEW MEASUREMENTS: What if instead of rewarding employees when a sales quota is met… instead the company celebrates when a new employee is added to the company? What if the new person was hired - thanked the people who worked hard to make that happen? Crazy you might say… Why celebrate that… you might ask. Because the company has succeeded in increasing REAL WEALTH for a new person. Obviously sales are important because without them you cannot hire. But, if the focus is sales - then a important part of REAL WEALTH generation is missed… and the company slowly reverts back to to average and mondaine. 

Of course Brandon and I have a lot more to do as we define a vision that is truly worth our lives. I know this type of company is not for everyone… but let me ask this: Is it a company you would want to work for? I think it is worth my life to build a company like this. 

Breaking the Chains: Resolutions Done Right!

For most of us New Year’s resolutions are generally an epic fail. That is how they have always been for me. Generally spoken in earnest January 31st and forgotten by February 1st.  
You know the drill. We commit to lame things like going to the gym more or cussing less. It is not that these things are lame in themselves: they are not. It is good to go to the gym and if you did not cuss your dry cleaner that would be good too.

It is the singular nature of the of these “resolutions” that are lame. They don’t allow you to get excited about them and they don’t power up your imagination. In fact, these resolution tend to be the things you DON’T want to do… that is why we wait until “next year” to start them.  

My family and I no longer make New Year’s resolutions. Instead, we establish a family theme for the coming year. The theme should guide our decision making and help us to be the people we want to me. We don’t hang our dreams on a singular expression of an desired outcome. But instead, we define a goal that will inspire our creativity.

Last year we chose “Live Life With Intention” as our family theme. Put simply, each decision would lead to an intended outcome. Each decision would be a function of thought and intentionality. We wanted to stop doing things out of habit and start doing things that specifically conformed our lives to an intended outcome.

Did it work? Well we moved from our long time home of Little Rock Arkansas to Denver Colorado. Why? Because we have always wanted to live here and the only reason we were in Arkansas was because it was comfortable and our family was there. It was not intentional it was habit.

Which brings me to this year’s family theme. Well, actually, there are three themes (we are going big) this year. I am going to cover the first one in this post and hope to write about the others later. Drum roll please…. This years big idea is to:

Break The Chains - We are not going to eat a single chain restaurant for all of 2012.  

The Old Testament Bible put a lot of emphasis on what was and what was not to be eaten. There are lots of reasons for this (and I won’t go into them here), but one reason is worth exploring. The idea of a daily action that makes you aware of ones sub-conscious decisions and that awareness translates to many other aspects of ones life.

As I mentioned above… We moved to Denver. There are thousands of amazing restaurants in this city. Many are family owned and operated. They are the function of someones dream. Most people never get rich running a restaurant. They do it because they love it and that love seeps down into the food. Why would anyone choose angry food when we could eat happy food. The answer is simple: Laziness.

Eating fast food or at a national chain restaurant is not something any sane person would choose to do. We do it because we are lazy. We desire things that make us feel comfortable. It is nice to know the McDonalds burger is going to taste like crap everywhere you go. No surprises and no thought required. It is just an expression of the “cruse control” life we all live. We set the speed and move from one Saturday to the next.

Well this year we begin our grand experiment. We will consciously choose each place we eat at. We will not allow ourselves to “grab” lunch. We will not eat at any restaurant whose home office is out of our area code. We will become more conscious of our choices and it will make us better people and family.

This is not a resolution. It is a theme for 2012. I am already saying good by to my old friends Starbucks and Wing Stop. I will not see them again for a year (perhaps forever). But my imagination is exploding with ideas and places to go. I am excited about this “theme” because it will bring us closer to our new city and closer as a family. I think the Bible had it right - awareness can bring about significant transformation.

If you live in Boulder/Broomfield - I would love to hear about your local restaurant recommendations. Here is to an amazing 2012 and to turning off the cruse control.

What goes wrong when you “grow-up”

You lose your since of wonder. Did you know that if you have some dirt, sunlight, water and a seed you can have a tree few months? That is freaking amazing! What happens to us that we loose our since of wonder? Nothing in this world is so mundane that it is not deserving of our wonder and amazement.

Dropping by is something you have to plan. When I was a kid the only consideration for visiting a friend was proximity. More often than not, if I was walking by or driving by a friend’s house I would stop. Now planning and an invitation are required. I grew up with these guys we shared everything. I already know they are slobs (just like me).  What’s-up with the pretense?

Somewhere between 10 and 20 it becomes not cool to ask questions. In those ten years you gain an unhealthy awareness of yourself and how others perceive you. When you were ten it is not that you did not care what other people thought; you just were not aware they thought anything. I don’t want to “not care” I would prefer to just be “unaware” again.

Jesus really likes little kids. He would definitely like 10-year-old Dustin a lot more than he would like 36-year-old Dustin.  I would like to spend then next 20 years of my life unlearning all the things I learned in the last 20 years. For starters, I think will drop by a friend’s house today.