Steve Jobs Commencement Address

Today marks the 12th anniversary of one of the greatest graduation speeches ever.  On June 12th, 2005 – Steve Jobs stood at the podium in front of thousands of Stanford seniors graduating that day.  He delivered an inspiring commencement address that has been shared and view tens of millions of times.  

Steve Jobs had a way of communicating and story telling that was second to none.  Whether it was keynote speech at a new product announcement or a graduation speech like this one,  Jobs knew how to really connect with people and inspire them to do great things.  His perspective on life, and living each day intentionally has motivated me to strive to make each day count.

“Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” – Steve Jobs

Warrior Dash 2017

After an 8 month winter hiatus it was time for another obstacle course race.  It was just a year ago that I participated in my first OCR, The Warrior Dash followed by another a few month later – Conquer the Gauntlet. As the weather has started to warm up, this was the perfect time for the 2017 Warrior Dash. 

One thing I learned last year was the the hardest part was the steep incline hills all over the course. While many of the obstacles were the same, there were some new ones this year – and even a water obstacle.  Overall, it was another great race, and I enjoyed running the course with one of my life-long friends.  We finished the course a lot faster than we thought we were going to, and hope to return again next year.

Here are a few pics from the race:

 

 

Warrior Dash 2017 w/ @spmag #warriordash

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How to Eat Healthy Food

Lately, in a quest to eat less processed foods, I’ve struggled to find something that I enjoyed eating that wasn’t filled with ingredients and chemicals that I can’t even pronounce. More specifically, I’ve altered my diet (but not really a diet) to consume low/no carb style meals.  This whole thing was originally inspired by the Slow Carb Diet from The Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss – so that is where I’ll start.

So a few years after graduating college, I realized that maintaining the same unhealthy eating habits I had at OSU wouldn’t work anymore if I wanted to be fit.  I was able to get away with eating whatever I wanted in college and high school because I was also very active with intramural sports and would go play basketball or football 3-4 times a week.  After graduating – I didn’t keep up the same physical fitness regimen, and added on some weight.

About the same time, Tim Ferriss released his second book, The Four Hour Body.  While flipping through the book, one headline immediately stuck out, “The Slow- Carb Diet I: How to Lose 20 Pounds in 30 Days Without Exercise.” A large portion of this book was dedicated to this Slow-Carb Diet (SCD).  It sounded great, but I’d never been a diet person so I was hesitant to even read it.   But I pressed on and was very intrigued by the concept.  I wanted to give it a shot.

The main rules of SCD are as follows:

Rule #1: Avoid “white” starchy carbohydrates (or those that can be white). This means all bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and grains. If you have to ask, don’t eat it.
Rule #2: Eat the same few meals over and over again, especially for breakfast and lunch. You already do this; you’re just picking new default meals.
Rule #3: Don’t drink calories. Exception: 1-2 glasses of dry red wine per night is allowed.
Rule #4: Don’t eat fruit. (Fructose –> glycerol phosphate –> more bodyfat, more or less.) Avocado and tomatoes are excepted.
Rule #5: Take one day off per week and go nuts. I choose and recommend Saturday. 

 So I gave it a shot and things went really well – I initially lost 10-15 lbs in the first 3 weeks.  I was actually pretty surprised.  But despite the great progress, I got so sick of eating eggs, salads, and naked burritos (no tortilla).  I never could find a few meals that I could eat consistently and enjoy – so I eventually phased out of SCD.  Neither my wife or me want to cook every night, or even every other night, so it became really hard to keep things going with the SCD.

A few years (and pounds) later I decided to revisit the SCD.  I knew that it worked for me in the past – and if I could just reprogram my taste buds to like certain foods, I’d be fine.  Plus I could still eat whatever I wanted on a cheat day (Rule #5).  This time around I was open to being more flexible and make exceptions to some of the rules.

However the real breakthrough I had was when I discovered the concept of “Meal Prepping.” The idea behind meal prepping is spending a few hours 1 day a week to prepare and cook your food for the rest of the week.  There are multiple ways to do this, but the path I chose was the following:  I would go to the grocery store on a Sunday afternoon, buy all my food I would need for the whole week,  go home and cook it, and lastly I would divide up the food across 7-10 meals. I usually only prepare 7-10 meals because I use these meals for dinner only (1 for each day of the week, and a few extra dinners to share with my wife).

 

Too much green? #mealprepsunday #bbqchicken

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When I first thought about meal prepping, I was kinda worried about trying to make a weeks worth of food at the same time, but I was really surprised how easy it ended up being.  The best part was that I only had to clean up the pots and pans 1 time, instead of 7 – that alone made it worth it.

Here are some of the various types of food I prepare:

  • Grilled & Oven Baked Chicken (BBQ, Lemon Pepper, Garlic)
  • Ground Turkey
  • Steak
  • Fresh Green Beans
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Zucchini
  • Squash 
  • Green, Yellow, Red Bell Peppers
  • etc.

Overall this has been a pretty reliable system for keeping myself healthy.  The idea behind writing this post is so that if I even run into problems or fall back into bad habits, I can look back on what has worked for me in the past.  

 

 

 

The Man in the Arena

On April 23, 1910, Teddy Roosevelt delivered one of the most inspirational and quoted speeches of his career.  Politics aside, the following except has impacted the lives of presidents, professional athletes, business executives and people from all walks of life around the world.  This is a quote I’ve come back to several times over the years.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

How to Pay it Forward & Help Others Escape Poverty

Poverty sucks.

Every day, people around the world are struggling to survive.  The developed world has little understanding of what people go through in 3rd world countries just to try and make ends meet.

Local entrepreneurs work hard all day, every day to provide for their families and communities.  However, these entrepreneurs are often stuck and cannot grow their businesses due to lack of access to affordable capital.

I previously wrote about one of my experiences witnessing extreme poverty.  It isn’t possible to unsee what I saw.  But, there is hope. There is a way we can help these entrepreneurs lift themselves out of poverty and change the world for generations to come.

It starts with Kiva.

Pedro’s Story

The short illustrated video below is a story about Pedro and his coffee bean business in Bolivia.  It perfectly explains the problem that many entrepreneurs face around the world.  It also touches on how Kiva solves this problem.

We envision a world where all people hold the power to create opportunity for themselves and others. – Kiva

When Helping Hurts

At one point or another everyone has seen someone begging on the street for money.  Different people have different reactions. Some common reactions are:

  • Roll up the car windows, lock the doors, and don’t look left or right
  • Pretend you are on the phone, or you don’t see them
  • Roll down the car window and hand the person some money or food
  • Sit still and complain in your car about how that person needs to get a job
  • Park the car, and go visit with the person to see how you can help them get back on their feet

The last bullet is a vary rare reaction.  Its not very often that people take the time out of their “busy” day to see if they can help the other person find employment or a way for them to climb out of the situation they are facing.  But this reaction is the one that is often most needed. 

The same thing happens all around the world when people go on mission trips to 3rd world countries.  We travel to these very poor counties and give them money & clothes.  We show up for a week and setup Vacation Bible School.  All of this sounds great, but what happens we we leave? 

We arrive back home and feel really good about how we donated so much money and clothes, and put on a VBS program.  But, the entrepreneur at the town market who makes and sells clothes is now struggling to keep his business open.  The local churches can’t attract the kids to their version of Vacation Bible School because they don’t have the fancy books, markers, and decorations like the people who were here last week on the mission trip.

This is a reality in many parts of the world.  So, how can we help people, without hurting them?

Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett wrote a book titled, “When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself.” This book was a huge wake up call for me.  It completely changed my view of how to really help people.  It is a must read for anyone involved with charitable giving and community service.

Is Microfinance the Solution?

In many situations, entrepreneurs like Pedro mentioned earlier, already know how to run their business.  But, they face a setback or they are at maximum capacity and need to borrow money in order to get grow their business, or get things running again.

However, many lenders in these poorer countries will charge exorbitant interest rates that make it virtually impossible for borrowers to pay back and make a living at the same time.  This is a huge problem, and that is where Kiva comes in with a solution.

Kiva connects borrowers and lenders from all over the world to help alleviate poverty.  But its more than just lenders and borrowers exchanging money. Kiva creates the opportunity to play a special part in someone else’s story. At Kiva, loans aren’t just about money—they’re a way to create connection and relationships.  

The best part is that after the loan is repaid, you can turn around and re-lend the money to another entrepreneur.  Loaning to these entrepreneurs enables them to grow a business and create opportunity for themselves and others as well. This creates a ripple effect, and changes lives for generations.  

There are millions of Pedro’s out there who could change their families’ lives forever by accessing an affordable loan so they could grow their business.  Pay it forward and help them escape poverty with Kiva.