Looking for the Edge

A good way to feel like you’re missing out is to constantly look for new things to do. There is information everywhere waiting for you to come looking. You can’t escape all the new and exciting things. There are rabbit holes everywhere waiting for you to fall in. Not that going down all rabbit holes is bad, but too many is trouble. More information is not always better. More can be bad. In the wrong hands, more information is a distraction. And you don’t even know it. At least not yet.

New things have never been easier to find. Think about it. Phones shove information in your face at frightening speeds. Social media provides second-by-second updates of stuff you didn’t know you needed. Your friends tell you what they’re doing, making you feel like you need to do it too. More information means more confusion, leaving you less confident and more confused. Simple decisions are harder to make. And you are less effective.

Looking for more information or an “edge” over the competition is a bad place to start. It’s a heavy burden to carry–a constant pressure you apply to yourself. New information makes you feel like things should be better. For no reason other than you see different things. It makes you feel like what you’re doing isn’t good enough. Like things need to change. But you don’t know why. You see things done differently so you feel like you’re wrong. The more you look for new things, the more you feel the need to change. This is a dangerous cycle. Constant change never leads to consistent results.

I’m not saying that new information is bad or that you shouldn’t look for ways to learn. Lifelong learning is important. You should look for ways to be better. Good leaders learn something new every day. But be careful of the reason you’re looking for new information. Understand that new doesn’t mean better. What you’re doing now might be exactly right. And just because someone else is doing something doesn’t mean you should too. Or that it’s right. You learned that lesson in grade school. Follow it.

Look for ways to be better, but be careful. New information should be compared to what you already know. Before you change, think. Think about what you do well. Consider the new information. Does it improve what you do? Can you see a reason to change? If you do, change. If not, don’t. Never change to change. Change can be good. But change can be bad.

Copying others is a mistake. This happens all the time in sports. Coaches see successful teams so they want to do what they do. The practice plans. The drills they do. The plays they run. The words they say. Coaches do this so they can copy “successful” teams. They let results distract them. If a team wins, they are assumed to be successful. When winning teams do something, others try to copy. Or they are pressured to copy. Leaders ask, “This (winning) team does this, Why don’t you?” That question leads to disaster.

But copying someone never helps. If you copy, you don’t know one critical piece of information: the reason why. Someone who copies is imitating, not thinking. Anyone can copy. Few can think. Few can create. And even fewer understand what is happening. When things go wrong, you don’t want to be the coach or leader that copies. Copiers are caught flat-footed. Their teams are in big trouble because they don’t have a copied plan for their specific situation. It’s better to be the person creating plans and thinking things through. You’ll know the reason why. And you’ll be able to adjust if needed. As a result, your team will be better.

New information is good if it doesn’t distract you. Comparing yourself to others is the way to fall behind. When you focus on beating the competition, they will beat you. Competitors want you to focus on them. It’s the best distraction. Instead of focusing on what you need to do each day–like your competition does–you try to beat others. The better team focuses on what they control–their actions and attitudes. Winners focus on the process of getting better. Losers focus on what others are doing. Focusing on the process leads to victory over those distracted by the prize.

The Books I Read in January and February 2022

The Power Broker by Robert Caro

This book was well worth the six weeks I spent reading it. Its 1,200 pages were full of fascinating details about the life of Robert Moses, the most powerful man in the State of New York in his time. Moses’ life is full of stories we can all learn from. Robert was able to create a life that placed him above and outside the democratic system. This was a phenomenal read about an interesting man. It is worth the time. 

The Moviegoer by Walker Percy

Walker Percy tells the story of Binx, a young stockbroker from New Orleans. Binx spends his free time watching movies, chasing women, and looking for things to make him happy. Percy shows us that a life spent searching for happiness leads to failure. Instead of searching for happiness, we should strive to be alert and engaged with the people around us. It is a great story and an enjoyable read.

What Makes Sammy Run? by Budd Schulberg

The story of Sammy Glick is more relevant today than ever. Sammy starts his life like many of us do: young, ambitious, and willing to do whatever it takes to reach the top. The top, to Sammy, is success how he defines it. He wants more money and to have it all. This is a book every young and ambitious person should read so they avoid the same trap.

Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? by Dr. Mark Hyman

It’s not easy to figure out what to eat. There are more opinions about nutrition than anything else. Nutrition information changes and contradicts itself every day. Dr. Hyman’s book is one of the most comprehensive books on nutrition I’ve read. It talks about every food group, what we should eat, and why. Dr. Hyman illustrates the problems with the current state of nutrition and how we can achieve optimal health.

See You (Hopefully) Never, Social Media

2022 feels like a good year to eliminate things. Instead of setting goals to accomplish or trying to get more, I want to get rid of things from my life. This will help me focus on things that matter, like my family, reading, and being a better person. I don’t think there is a better place to start than eliminating social media. For everyone consumed by social media, it seems that few people talk about its consequences and ability to distract you. Social media does a great job stealing life. 2022 feels like a good year to get it back.

Social media slowly takes over your life, if you let it. One day you use it to connect with someone or check a game score, and the next thing you know you can’t go five minutes without scrolling Twitter. Or checking your Instagram feed. Or surfing Facebook pictures. That list can go on forever, but the point is that social media is a trap. A well-designed trap. It is a trap that slowly takes over your life. It has, at least, taken over parts of mine.

And that is the main reason I want social media gone. I’ve tried limiting my time on it and blocking it, but that hasn’t worked–all I do is bypass the time limits and scroll away. Maybe that strategy works for you, but it hasn’t for me. So my solution is to go all in and get rid of it. We’ll see what happens.

The more I’ve used social media, the more I feel used by it. The more time I have spent on social media, the more I realize that I am not the one spending my time; social media is stealing it from me. And I have yet to see any return on the time invested. It seems to me that social media is a bad investment. Like any good business person, a bad investment means one thing: eliminate it. It is time to cut my losses and get rid of a bad investment.

The Best Medicine for Longevity

Today’s health and fitness industries are crazy. Everywhere you look, someone has the solution to solve your problems or give you the results you didn’t know you need. One person tells you to eat certain foods. Someone else says an exercise is bad and what they think is better. Yet another person tells you to take a pill and your problems will disappear. And then you get on social media only to find out that everything you know is wrong.

I was listening to The Joe Rogan Experience with Dr. Peter Attia the other day and something they said struck me. Dr. Attia said, “The best medicine for longevity is exercise.” According to Dr. Attia—a physician focusing on the applied science of longevity— the best way to live a long life is to follow a well-designed exercise program. It sounds simple, and it is. But simple never means easy. I agree with Dr. Attia, but I would add that the best way to live a longer and better life is to exercise regularly and intelligently.

The secret to improving the quality and length of life lies in a simple tool: exercise. How you exercise depends on many things, but it is not complicated. It might mean taking a walk, lifting weights, or a combination of the two. No matter what you do, the answer is simply to exercise. The answer is simple, but it is difficult to do consistently.. 

The simple answer is, however, not the one the “experts” want you to believe. They want you to think that your longevity depends on a supplement, a piece of exercise equipment, or a pill. That way, they can sell you something and benefit. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have to pay for good things, but be careful who you listen to and what you think you need. What I am saying is that the key to living a longer, healthier life is simple. You need to exercise. And that doesn’t require money or talent. It requires commitment, work, and time from you. 

Instead of searching for new products or pills, you can live a longer and better life by exercising. You have what you need to start. You don’t need to keep looking for answers; you just need to start. Start doing something because that is better than doing nothing. Exercise doesn’t require new clothes, special equipment, or a gym membership. All it requires is commitment and dedication. 

Exercise is such a powerful tool for health and longevity. Exercise is life-changing for those willing to commit. It will always change lives for the better or worse. Those who choose not to exercise will not live the type of life that those who exercise do. If you want to live a longer (and better) life, the choice is obvious. So, start taking the best medicine for longevity each day: exercise.

The Best Books I Read in 2021

I read for many reasons. I read for self-improvement. I read to learn and to be prepared for life. I read to understand myself and others. I also read because I enjoy the quiet that reading requires. Reading physical books is an important part of my life.

I read and re-read some great books this year. Here are a few of my favorites.

Issacson, Walter: Steve Jobs

My first book of 2021 was my favorite. Walter Isaacson does a great job providing an insight into the life of Steve Jobs. It is a fascinating read about a creative, demanding leader who created some of the most popular products of our time.

Cialdini, Robert: Influence

If you’ve ever wondered why you bought something you never meant to or why you said “yes” when you wanted to say “no”, this book shows you why. Cialdini explains the key factors in influencing behavior. These tactics can be used for good or bad, so it’s important to understand them. That way, you’ll know how to use them and when they’re being used on you.

Kerr, James: Legacy

This is one of my favorite books. I re-read Legacy this year and I got more out of it than my first read. The All Blacks are arguably the most dominant sports franchise in history, and this book shows you why. It explains the importance of culture and how everything you do matters. I can’t recommend it enough.

Zinsser, William: On Writing Well

Writing well is a never-ending process. And being able to write well is never a bad thing. It doesn’t matter if you are at work sending emails, texting your friends or family, or writing handwritten notes. Being a better writer helps you and the person you are communicating with. Being able to get your thoughts on paper is not easy. This book helps you get better at it.

Newport, Cal: Digital Minimalism

Phones, computers, and TVs are huge sources of distraction, and they aren’t going away anytime soon. These things will continue to pull at your attention if you are not careful. If you want to be productive and get anything done, you have to learn to use these tools instead of allowing them to use you.

Miller, Zell: Corps Values

Another one of my favorite books from this past year. It is a short read, but it is packed with useful information. What you do and how you do it matters. In the book, Zell Miller discusses twelve “corps values.” A few of them are punctuality, neatness, discipline, and loyalty. A great read for anyone looking to get better.

2021 was a great reading year, and I’m excited about the books that 2022 will bring.

2020 Reading List
2021 Reading List

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