Sunday, July 11, 2021

Weekly Retrospective....

 


What I’m ReadingWe Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson                 

What I’m Listening To: Penitentiary Life podcasts by Wes Watson … 

What I’m Working On: Disappearing ...      

Where I’m Succeeding: Breathing ….          

Song Stuck in My Head: “In the End” – by Linkin Park   

Where I’m Struggling Staying focused     

 What I’m Grateful For: Family ….

Quote That Has Me Thinking“By my not doing what everyone else said, I have a better life because I didn’t follow the system …. I didn’t listen to the labels assigned to me. I made my own decision. And never looked back.” – Nikko Hurtado

What I’m Excited About: The grind …

What I’ve Been Pondering: The exit ….


Saturday, July 10, 2021

Danny Trejo Quote...

 


"I would rather shoot for the moon and miss, than aim for the gutter and make it." - Danny Trejo  


Sunday, July 4, 2021

Weekly Retrospective...

 


What I’m ReadingOne Decision by Mike Bayer                 

What I’m Listening To: Money Matters by Wes Moss podcasts … 

What I’m Working On: Disappearing ...      

Where I’m Succeeding: Getting stronger physically ….          

Song Stuck in My Head: “Fire Away” – by Chris Stapleton   

Where I’m Struggling Letting go     

 What I’m Grateful For: Grace ….

Quote That Has Me Thinking“When you find yourself in a room surrounded by your enemies you should tell yourself ‘I am not locked in here with you, you are locked in here with me.’ This is the kind of mindset you should have if you want to succeed in life.” – Bruce Lee

What I’m Excited About: A relaxing afternoon/evening …

What I’ve Been Pondering: How to be more productive ….


Wednesday, June 30, 2021

2021 Mid-Year Book Review...

 



 

1.      Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink: Excellent lifestyle creed from former Navy Seal Commander and current business owner/leader.

2.     Can I Retire Yet by Darrow Kirkpatrick: Easy to follow guide to determine whether you are ready to pull the retirement trigger or not, along with solid advice on how to realign your sites, if not.

3.     Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy: A rare fiction (although I found out later that the book is actually a historical fiction) read for me. The author’s basic writing style with minimal punctuation flows almost water-like.

4.     Gutless by Christian Finn: Thanks to a friend for this short, digital read on optimal eating, workout and lifestyle hacks to shrink your waistline.

5.     Younger Next Year Study Guide by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge: A great overview of how the human body and brain ages and how to extend health and happiness through the use of exercise, diet and positive thinking.

6.     MX4 by Christian Finn: My latest workout routine, punctuated by full-body, lighter weight, higher reps and drop sets. I started this routine on February 10 and will report monthly on my progress.

7.     Pachinko by Min Jin Lee: Historical fiction account of four generations of a Korean family and their fight against poverty and discrimination over the course of a century. A story of survival and evolution at the individual and familial level that will resonate with anyone with a soul.

8.    The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Morgan and Michael Lennington: Excellent guide for better organization of your goals so that you can achieve them more quickly.

9.     The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis: Great reminder that the enemy is always present and working on each of us in unique ways.

10.                        The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: 1925 novel set in New York during the jazz age about a mysterious millionaire trying to rekindle an old love affair. The main takeaway (for me) is that neither money nor setting can change who we really are.

11.  The Confessions of Al Ghazzali by Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali: An 11th century Muslim’s deep dive into his faith.  A reminder that God is truth and we will always find Him when we seek Him.

12.  Geronimo's Story of His Life by S.M. Barrett: Compelling autobiography from one of the last true hunter-gatherers and leaders of the Be-don-ko-he Apache tribe, known for its power, bravery and aggressiveness, which struck fear in the hearts of the citizens and government of both Mexico and the United States.

13. The Prophet by Khalil Gibran: Reread of one of my favorite all-time books. The beloved teacher of the city Orphalese shares his parting wisdom on all areas of life to his students before going back to his homeland.

14. Winning in Retirement by Motley Fool Wealth Management: Overview of the ‘Prosperity Trifecta’ and ‘Cash Carve Out’ strategy, both of which I will look into further as my own retirement beckons…

15. All About Asset Allocation: by Richard A. Ferri: Excellent pre-retirement read about how to segregate investments to ensure the best chance at desired long-term outcomes.

16. Cape Cod by Henry David Thoreau: A 19th century journey/journal through a more primitive Cape Cod. Thoreau describes a picturesque peninsula while traveling by foot and sleeping in lighthouses, isolated farms and fishing huts.

17. We Were Here by Matt de la Pena: Story of a young man running from and, ultimately, facing his past. Nice blend of different characters and a storyline all of us can relate to.

18.                        The Life and Times of Lazarillo de Tormes by Don Diego Hurtado de Mendoza: This ‘Golden Age’ Spanish novella is the story of a young boy of humble origins coming of age through apprentices with several benefactors on his journey to adulthood. Written in 1554, I particularly enjoyed seeing financial independence referenced in the final chapter: "Thinking how I should live so as to find some rest and save a little for my old age….."

19. Suspend Your Disbelief by Aaron Montgomery: Written by a close friend, this book is full of awesome quotes and life lessons that will resonate with anyone who have looked inward to learn from the lessons life has afforded each of us…

20.                       How To Be The Man by Chad Howse: Another vessel of life pointers from the founder of the Average2Alpha website that I am fond of.

21.  48 Days To The Work You Love by Dan Miller: I read this book less because I am looking for work in the future and more because I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. The author does a good job of describing what the right incentives are for moving towards careers more suited for the gifts we’ve been given.

Saint Augustine by Garry Willis: I read this while in, oddly enough, St. Augustine. Nice review of the controversial philosopher and theologian the northeaster Florida tourist city was named after. Considered one of the most prolific scholars by the early church, it was interesting to see someone so much more well-versed in the Bible than I also struggle with the palace of words that he built…

Monday, June 28, 2021

Mickey Mantle Quote

Feeling this today….

 

“If I’d have known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.” – Mickey Mantle


Saturday, June 19, 2021

Weekly Retrospective...

 


What I’m Reading48 Days To The Work You Love by Dan Miller                 

What I’m Listening To: Bigger Pockets Money podcasts … 

What I’m Working On: The Countdown (198) ...      

Where I’m Succeeding Letting you be you ….          

Song Stuck in My Head: “The Sickness” – by Disturbed   

Where I’m Struggling: Relaxing     

 What I’m Grateful For: The sacrifices I made and discipline I had when I was younger ….

Quote That Has Me Thinking"We must be exposed to danger, to adventure, to failure, to something that scares us to get what we want in life, and even to live a life we would deem as good." – Chad Howse

What I’m Excited About: The beach …

What I’ve Been Pondering: The future ….


Monday, May 31, 2021

Memorial Day....

 


"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived."General George S. Patton

 

"Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you; Jesus Christ and the American G. I. One died for your soul; the other for your freedom."  - Author Unknown

 

I lost my father on Memorial Day when I was young. He was the hardest working person I ever knew, lifting himself out of poverty and overcoming both his genetics and his environment to provide better opportunities for his children. As a combat veteran, I learned the pain of losing fellow warriors. Being a Christian also means I appreciate the sacrifice Jesus made for humanity. And as easy as it is in today’s world to get caught up in the grief of such loss, it does no one any good; Not those who are gone, and certainly not those of us left behind to carry on. Life is about moving forward. Good examples are a friend sending me pictures of his family and friends doing the ‘Murph’ Challenge, another sending me encouragement via the Bible App, others giving appreciation texts for my service, my lovely cousin reaching out to tell me she loved me and was thinking of me and an old Army buddy (thanks, Ragnar) sending me his annual ‘for the fallen’ dedication.

 

Being that Memorial Day has multiple reasons for remembrance for me, I celebrated my father, fallen American soldiers and my savior the best way I know how: by working and serving others. My employer was kind enough to let me focus on something positive and productive today and I was also able to put in a small garden for my daughter, who my father never knew, but would have been so proud of. 

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Life@Sea...

 


Ragnar putting in some shoulder work. 

Stay hard, Brother. 

See you in January…


Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Vulture and the Hummingbird...

 


I read a brief story earlier today about a vulture and hummingbird flying over a desert together. The vulture was looking for death, the hummingbird, for life. Soon enough, the vulture descended on a carcass and feasted. Shortly thereafter, the hummingbird touched down on a cactus, enjoying the nectar from its flower. This story was a great reminder that we almost always find exactly what we are looking for.  It also made me recognize how negative I've been of late. So this question is as much fo me as it is for anyone: What are you looking for at the moment?


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Ed Latimore Quote....

 


“There is no "better"; only things you choose and things you give up.”Ed Latimore


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

David Goggins Quote....

 


“And that’s the person I listen to. That’s the person who gained knowledge through suffering. And on the other end of suffering there is a world that very few, very few, have ever seen. It’s a beautiful world, cause that’s where you find yourself. “ – David Goggins


Sunday, March 21, 2021

Weekly Retrospective....

 


What I’m ReadingPachinko by Min Jin Lee and The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Morgan and Michael Lennington                 

What I’m Listening To: Afford Anything (by Paula Pant) podcasts … 

What I’m Working On: The Countdown ...      

Where I’m Succeeding: My Duolingo (Spanish) lessons – 176 days straight …           

Song Stuck in My Head: “Whoomp (There It Is)” – by Tag Team    (Thanks, Geico…)

Where I’m Struggling: Relaxing     

 

What I’m Grateful For: A friend I admire and aspire to be more like saying that I had changed his life….

Quote That Has Me Thinking"Some things are better off ignored than attacked. Attention is the oxygen of conflict. When you fight a problem, you breathe life into it. When you starve a problem of your attention, you suffocate it. In a surprising number of cases, the way to solve a problem is to ignore it." – James Clear

What I’m Excited About: Suffocating some things …

What I’ve Been Pondering: Truth ….


Sunday, January 31, 2021

James Clear Quote...

 


"Improvement is a battle that must be fought anew each day.

Your next workout doesn't care how strong your last one was.

Your next essay doesn't care how popular your last one was.

Your next investment doesn't care how smart your last one was.

Your best effort, again." – James Clear


Thursday, January 21, 2021

Tariq Ramadan Quote....

 


“The most dangerous prisons are those with invisible bars.” – Tariq Ramadan


Saturday, January 9, 2021

Jocko Quote...

 


“There is no shortcut

  There is no hack

  There’s only one way

  So get after it.” 

– Jocko Willink


Friday, January 1, 2021

2020 Book Review

 


1.     Startup Your Life by Anna Akbari: Great book to start the New Year off with. This talented author challenges readers to evaluate and plan their life like they would a new business. This entrepreneurial approach requires planning, ownership and the ability to ‘pivot,’ when necessary, just like any successful startup.

2.    Living Forward by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy: Recommended by a friend (thanks, Kelvin!), another exceptional book on looking inward for the answers to life you want. The importance of planning, looking to God for His guidance and then taking the time and effort to TRULY create a plan for your life is detailed in precise terms for anyone looking to live a better, more intentional life.

3.    The Seasons of Life by Jim Rohn: Wow! This just became one of those books I will read over and over this year. Rohn communicates the basics of life in a manner that is both nurturing and challenging. The metaphor he uses to describe our lifecycle is spot on and should really help us to understand how in control and responsible we are for our behaviors and, more important, outcomes.

4.    The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea: Phenomenal story about a Mexican-American border family whose patriarch assembles 4 generations of his clan together for a funeral/birthday party celebration in an attempt to unite, seek forgiveness and share final words of wisdom.

5.    The 10 Minute Millionaire by D.R. Barton, JR.: I bought this book less for the dramatic title and more to start learning investment formulas. I enjoyed the technical insight, common sense approach and disciplined, by-the-numbers rubric the author has designed and look forward to trying out this method.

6.    Mud, Sweat And Tears: A Survival Guide For Life by Bear Grylls: Excellent list of ‘best practices’ and quotes from a man who has lived a successful and exciting life, ranging from a career in British Special Forces, to climbing Mt. Everest to hosting one of television’s most-watched survival shows.

7.    The Silverado Squatters by Robert Louis Stevenson: The Scottish author’s very brief essay on his stay in an abandoned mining camp on Mount Saint Helena near Napa Valley. Unique writing style with lots of hyperbole.

8.    Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari: Excellent study of the evolution of homo sapiens. While I was initially turned off by the author’s anti-God angle, I pushed through it and am glad that I did. Very thought-provoking view on where we come from and where we are potentially headed as a race: the human race.

9.    Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin: Trend-setting book that was the forerunner of the F.I.R.E. (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement. The authors focus not only on good money habits (eliminating debt, living below your means, investing early and often) but also on being stewards of natural resources and good citizenship.

10.                    A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov: This author was a trailblazer for some of the greatest Russian authors (Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky and Chekhov). This tale is likely somewhat of an autobiography, though the author denied it. Excellent psychological study narrated from different perspectives of a charismatic playboy of the Caucuses.

11.  Recession-Proof Real Estate Investing by J. Scott: Good read about the different business cycles and how to profit and avoid problems in each one while dealing with real estate.

12. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra: Instructional book on the importance of understanding one’s own self and the laws of nature and then using that knowledge to create a harmonious balance with the universe to pursue your dreams.

13. The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli: Written for the then governor of Florence by the young political hopeful, Machiavelli provides his insight on the values and processes a ruler should develop and follow in his rise to, and maintenance of, long-term power.

14. The Design of Business by Roger Martin: Good book that details the importance of evolving a company’s thought process beyond ‘reliability’ thinking to include more ‘validity’ reasoning in project management and planning as leaders look to solve more complex problems in the modern age.

15. Keys to a Successful Retirement by Fritz Gilbert: Must-read for anyone approaching or just starting out in retirement. Great tips on often overlooked topics that can quickly derail post-work life, along with pointers on how to use all that new free time productively and with purpose.

16. Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy: Solid advice for those of us struggling to focus, finish and win at both work and life. An easy read with end-of-chapter checklist summaries to help readers quickly apply practical tips for quick wins.

17. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: Excellent story about a young man pursuing his ‘Personal Legend’ while meeting several interesting characters along the way.

18.                    Stoicism (Ancient Philosophies) by John Sellars: Solid overview of the development, history and timeline of the Stoic philosophies, to include the many authors who paved the way.

19. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius: The life philosophy of one of the great stoics, covering birth, life, death and everything in between. Some exceptional quotes to draw on for every area of life.  

20.                   On the Shortness of Life by Seneca (The Younger): Quick read on the importance of living and actually enjoying life, with several reminders of how quickly it passes us by when we do not focus on what’s important.

21. The Silence: What it is and How to Use it: by David V. Bush: Biblically based book on the importance of silencing our minds and being in tune with nature, our community and God.

22.                    The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss: Encyclopedia of best practices for shortening your workday/week or even ending your current career so that you can pursue your real passions.

23.                    The Art of Getting Money by P.T. Barnum: Nice reminder of some of the basics of accumulating and, more importantly, holding onto, a fortune. It’s amazing how these principles withhold the test of time, regardless of changes to political parties or economies.

24.                   Escape by Paula Pant: Fast read about the basic principles, including actionable specifics required, to retire early and live the life you want. 

25.                    Common Sense by Thomas Paine: Moral and political arguments presented in 1775-76 for independence from England and the establishment of a democratic republic.

26.                   The Smartest Investment Book You’ll Ever Read by Daniel R. Solin: Solid investment advice on how to use indexing to build a nice nest egg for retirement, including arguments against stock-picking and high-fee advisors.

27.                    It’s Your Ship by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff: Exactly what you would expect from a leadership book from a career military officer who turned the USS Benfold from one of the worst to the Best Damn Ship in the Navy within 2 years, while also inspiring his crew to take ownership of their performance and futures.

28.                   The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss: Another life hack book from the life hack master. Ferriss lays out the secrets (hard work and discipline for the most part…surprise!) for building your best body. My son and I followed his 28-day replicate of the infamous Colorado Experiment, with my son gaining – pounds of muscle and me putting a ½ inch on my arms at my age….

29.                   The History of Money in America by Alexander del Mar: Excellent book that details not just the evolution of paper, coin and other forms of money in America, but the motivations behind its coming to be and the long-term impact of those decisions.

30.                   Man Up by Bedros Keuilian: Leadership book from the founder and CEO of Fit Body Boot Camp. The ‘Immigrant Edge’ as he is known, cuts to the chase and provides direct, practical, and sometimes in-your-face advice about taking charge of your life in order to drive success in both your business ad personal life.

31. Theodore Roosevelt by Theodore Roosevelt: Autobiography of a man’s man that should be required reading for any American. Too many great quotes and principles to live by to list, so continue to check my blog. I love this guy and his kind is a thing of the past. It’s sad that we don’t have someone of his ilk around today on either side of the aisle to lead this country through the multiple crises we are dealing with. I’ve said before that I cannot stand our two party system and I find it interesting to know that two men ranked at the top of the ‘All-Time Favorite Presidents’ list (Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt) were both ideologically opposed to the parties they ran and served under as president. Theodore, as a Republican broke up major trusts, created national parks and won the Noble Peace Prize for ending the war between Russia and Japan as a Republican, and FDR knew that the majority of his policies as a Democrat were decimating his wealth (his biography was titled ‘A Traitor to His Class’) and was actually disappointed when he won a 4th term in office.

32.                    Future Shock by Alvin Toffler: Written 50 years ago (1970), this books speaks to the trauma brought on by fast-paced change and suggested actions to get ahead of this issue before transience, diversity and novelty overwhelm our ability to cope with day-to-day life in the age of technology.

33.                    The Willie Lynch Letter and The Making of a Slave: Recommended by a friend, this ‘manifesto’ of sorts, written by a slave owner in 1712, speaks to the methodology employed by slave owners to divide and keep slaves submissive. What is amazing is how often I’ve observed the practices employed in social, business and other relationships for all people.

34.                    What Motivates Me by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton: Excellent book that not only helps one understand his or herself, but also those on your team. Very thought-provoking read that I will attempt to use to help motivate those around me based on their personality types.

35.                    Mastering Creativity by James Clear: Short, insightful read on some best practices to increase your throughput in all areas by getting started, having a plan and not being afraid to fail.

36.                    The Way of Liberation by Adyashanti: A great reminder that we create the vast majority of our problems, and, our thoughts on reality aren’t reality. We should accept life (and people) for what it/they are and not be so judgmental of everything, including ourselves. Then, and only then, can we make progress. Deal with each challenge honesty and look at life as it is, not as we wish it to be.

37.                    Making Work Visible by Dominica DeGrandis: Solid advice on using lean Kanban flow principles to identify operational time thieves to maximize throughput in any operation.  

38.                   The Encore Career Handbook by Marci Alboher: Comprehensive guidebook for anyone looking for ideas on work for the next phase of life. Contains detailed perspectives and insight from those who have already been successful in determining how to use previous experiences to add value to both your personal life and community.

39.                    Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday: Insightful advice on how to be fully present in our busy day-to-day lives from a true modern-day stoic.

40.                   The Handbook of Epictetus: Concise advice on how to live a life of temperance, courage, wisdom and justice from one of the OGs of Stoicism.

41.           Atomic Habits by James Clear: Exceptional direction on making small, incremental improvements and gaining the compound interest over time that lead to massive improvements in all areas of your life.

42.                   How to Be a Stoic by Massimo Pigliucci: Rumination of the core tenants of Stoicism, with some nice sidebar ‘conversations’ with one of my favorites: Epictetus.

43.                    The E Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber: Entrepreneurial guide on how to use a ‘turn-key’ (franchise) approach to build and expand your small business.

44.                   The Autobiography of Malcolm X with Alex Haley: A very honest self-portrait from the well-known legend and prophet (no doubt as to whether his vision of the future was true or not). My personal take-aways include the need to constantly seek truth and to be willing to change when that truth conflicts with my current thoughts/approach.

45.                    Tales of Power by Carlos Castaneda: Fictional account of a warrior apprentice and the lessons he learns in the Mexican desert. Personal takeaways include never forgetting my ‘code’ and the need to silence that inner dialogue that is always attempting to subvert my better self. Also a great reminder that, although we cannot avoid pain and grief, we can chose not to indulge in them.

46.                   Work Less, Make More by James Schramko: Some excellent business and leadership hacks to help small business owners grow their ventures to allow them to spend more time doing the things they love.

47.                    Million Dollar Networking by Andrea Nierenberg: A detailed guide on how to create, maintain and nurture relationships and the fringe benefits they create in all areas of life.

48.                   Demosthenes by W.J. Brodribb: Biography of the great orator and statesman of Greece, which includes much of the history around the Macedonian conquests of Phillip and Alexander.

49.                   Wise as #@% by Gary John Bishop: Some excellent wisdom on the topics of love, fear, loss and success. My personal takeaway is that being successful isn’t something I’m working towards; it’s what I already am. And I mean that with complete humility. However, I continue to let past mistakes reverberate in my head. I have way more to offer the world when I play from a position of strength, not weakness.

50.                   The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway: I chose this (previously read) book for my last read of the year because of the symbols and metaphors that so represent 2020. And Hemingway, like always, lived up to the task. Good riddance to the sharks and the loneliness, but despite the anguish endured, we will be stronger for it. And welcome, Dry Land, as it represents hope and a better tomorrow. Like Santiago, we end this season somewhat ‘defeated, but not destroyed’ and look forward to our next great excursion.