Fav topics: passion, purpose & productivity. Devil’s advocate. 🇩🇪 in the 🇺🇸. Past life: BigLaw, academia. Free course: do what you love → bit.ly/2Lbkl3g

Here’s why size doesn’t matter.

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I was about to go on stage before a hundred of my peers, presenting a workshop idea to them. Many people had lined up to present their ideas, and only a few of those ideas would be chosen by popular vote.

As I was listening to the people on stage, I started feeling more and more nervous and regretted my decision to take part in this idea pitch.

I had just recently left a highly paid and prestigious job (and my entire legal career along with it), moved to another continent, and started a business from scratch. …

Benefits based on science and experience

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Once upon a time, fiction was important to humanity. Our ancestors sat around campfires, gazed at the stars, and told stories of people long gone.

Fast forward to the 21st century and things have changed. A lot. We no longer have time to sit around, the stars aren’t always visible due to light pollution, and our souls are no longer fed by a stream of stories.

Whereas works of non-fiction get lauded and recommended, writers and readers of fiction alike might feel the need to justify spending time on what might seem like a frivolous pursuit.

For instance, I used to love reading fiction as a child and teenager. I recall spending many nights reading in my bed when I should have been sleeping instead. However, I stopped reading fiction soon after entering adulthood, instead opting for a seemingly more “useful” blend of non-fiction that boiled down to glorified instruction manuals, technical writing, and the news. …

Introducing Marriage 2.0 (now with fewer bugs)

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Is marriage outdated? My past self sure thought it was and never wanted to get married. Ever.

There are many things to dislike about the institution of marriage — its unromantic and unequal history, as well as its traditional limitation to heterosexual relationships.

Faced with the choice between a root canal or getting married, I happily would have picked the former. It is not that I was against finding a life partner. I would have happily shared my life with someone, I just didn’t want to get married to him.

When I was a teenager, people questioned my anti-marriage stance as unromantic. But can an institution that grew out of the necessity to re-distribute property really be seen as something romantic? …

What all the maps are missing.

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Photo by NASA on Unsplash

The only mystery in life is why the kamikaze pilots wore helmets. — Al McGuire // Coach

I was at a meeting with some of the smartest people I had ever met — a bunch of lawyers knowledgeable about Integral Theory (a meta-theory developed by Ken Wilber, who is often seen as one of the greatest philosophers of this century).

That’s when it occurred to me that our discussion was missing something. Our current conversation felt the same way a soup without any salt tasted.

We were talking about maps upon maps upon maps of understanding the world, ways of fitting it all together, theories upon theories. It was complex and getting ever more complex, a suitable task for members of a profession that thrived on the intellect. …

I played a Black character online, here’s what happened.

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“I can play Arthur.”

Nobody else wanted to portray him and I don’t think you can play a game that’s inspired by Arthurian legend without, well, Arthur.

When I wrote those words, I didn’t think that my character — Arthur from the Netflix show “Cursed” who’s portrayed by Devon Terrell, a Black actor — would soon get turned into the group’s punching bag.

Remind me if you have heard this before: a Black person gets hurt for doing something completely innocuous, while everyone else is given the benefit of the doubt.

Turns out, my naive optimism was completely unfounded.

Meeting 1: waking up an ally as a Black game character

Friend: “How was your…

Do you feel your music?

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Most people don’t have a rhythm of work. After all, a rhythm consists of beats and pauses. There’s some variety there. Otherwise, we lose interest.

Contrast that with the push-push-push of the working world. We think of productivity as something steady. Our conditioning tells us work is a relentless drill, not a skillful dance.

There’s no rhythm there, no art, no variety. It’s dull.

How could we do this better?

Recently, my friend Stephen Cull gave me the following brilliant advice (and kindly allowed me to include it in my articles):

“One of the intriguing attributes of exceptionally skillful entrepreneurs I’ve observed is a distinct disconnect from the rhythm most people are indoctrinated into. …

Dear 2182, just stay away…

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Photo by Andy Beales on Unsplash

Dear time traveler,

Pardon my rudeness but: You’ve got to be *bleep* kidding me! Why would you want to travel to 2020, unless it’s for some form of cosmic punishment?

In the future, have prisons been replaced with a one-way trip to April 2020?

Has a clever consulting firm — one of the Big Four, if they still exist — found some savings potential by realizing that governments — do governments still exist? — don’t need to spend money on prisons when historical lockdowns would do the trick just fine?

We will never know, or will we? I’m sure some rules are preventing you from disclosing that information to us. …

The best thing Churchill never said.

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Photo by Bradley Dunn on Unsplash

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” It is one of my favorite quotes. It’s usually attributed to Winston Churchill, but according to Quote Investigator, there’s no evidence he actually said it. Given that Churchill reportedly said things that were extremely racist even for his time, I’m happy to attribute these words to “Anonymous” instead.

With that out of the way, let’s apply this quote to your life.

Here’s what it can look like to go through hell:

  • Your doctor prescribed you a new diet. You’ve been on it for a grand total of three hours — and you’re already daydreaming of potato chips. …

Life lessons from quantum mechanics and Albert Einstein.

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Imagine there’s a mug in front of you. It’s ¼ full of tea. Is that a little or a lot?

I’ll give you a moment to consider this.

Bingo! The correct answer is: “both.”

If you drink it, it’s little. If you spill it on your white shirt, it’s a lot. It depends on the situation.

This reminds me of the wave-particular duality in quantum mechanics: Waves and particles are very different. Particles are finite things (like a marble), whereas waves are spread out (like an ocean wave).

As astrophysicist Paul M. Sutter puts it:

“You and me… have both particle and wave properties… depending on the situation, which is very very weird indeed.” …

Lessons from a legendary sorcerer.

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Photo by madatx on Unsplash

Merlin clearly had taken on too much.

When he wasn’t busy working his two full-time jobs, communicating with a pyromaniac dragon, or trying to stay alive in a kingdom where his magic was punishable by death, he was secretly keeping his boss alive from the biweekly assassination attempt.

It made for rather short nights and rather full days.

While the protagonist of BBC’s show Merlin (yepp, named after the legendary sorcerer) is a bit of a caricature, he makes for a good case study of someone who is habitually taking on too much.

After all, there are times in life when we all feel like there are way more balls in the air than we have hands. The question is, how can you identify those times before you burn out or drop the balls? …

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