I think quotes are one of the best sources of wisdom we have available to us, I keep a little notebook with quotes and thoughts on them with me most of the time.

Jack Kornfield:

“Pure awareness becomes colored by our thoughts, emotions and expectations”

 Achaan Chah:

“Ultimately things are just as they are-only our comparisons cause us to suffer.”


“Put attention on what is alive with freshness and vitality. Do not put attention on what is dead, repetitive or dull.”

Ecclesiastes 1:2-11:

Meaningless! Meaningless!”

    says the Teacher.

“Utterly meaningless!

    Everything is meaningless.”

What do people gain from all their labors

    at which they toil under the sun?

Generations come and generations go,

    but the earth remains forever.

The sun rises and the sun sets,

    and hurries back to where it rises.

The wind blows to the south

    and turns to the north;

round and round it goes,

    ever returning on its course.

All streams flow into the sea,

    yet the sea is never full.

To the place the streams come from,

    there they return again.

All things are wearisome,

    more than one can say.

The eye never has enough of seeing,

    nor the ear its fill of hearing.

What has been will be again,

    what has been done will be done again;

    there is nothing new under the sun.

Is there anything of which one can say,

    “Look! This is something new”?

It was here already, long ago;

    it was here before our time.

No one remembers the former generations,

    and even those yet to come

will not be remembered

    by those who follow them.

Nelson Mandela:

“It never hurts to think too highly of a person; often they become ennobled and act better because of it.”


“Live among men as if God beheld you; speak to God as if men were listening.”

“True happiness is… to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future.”

“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.”

“Shall I tell you what the real evil is? To cringe to the things that are called evils, to surrender to them our freedom, in defiance of which we ought to face any suffering.”

“All cruelty springs from weakness.”

Marcus Aurelius:

“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love …”

 “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”

“Nothing that goes on in anyone else’s mind can harm you.” So then, “Where can harm be found? In your tendency to see harm. Stop doing that and everything will be fine.”

“If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.”

And, the quote that pretty much guides everything in my world. It’s even on my business cards Unsurprisingly, also from Aurelius:

“You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.”

I could keep going for quite a while longer.

I really like good quotes.

Share some of your favorites with me.

Obligatory Christmas Blog

I actually really like Christmas.

I always have, but the reasons have changed over the years.

When I was a kid, Christmas was magical. I grew up in a small town in the mountains with parents who loved me, so there was all sorts of snow and Santa Claus and community events. My parents always made sure I was surrounded by people who cared about me, and this was never more apparent than Christmas.

For real, I’ve tried to tell y’all that I had no business turning out the way I did. My childhood was really good.

When I got older, Christmas became about getting stuff and going skiing with my friends from Texas

We moved away from the mountains when I was 12 or so and would visit during the holidays. My mom always made sure to get us some cool stuff, like a VHS movie we’d enjoyed or a video game we wanted. I had already turned into an asshole by this point, but Christmas was a cool time.

I wish I had spent more of it with my family.

In my mid to late 20’s Christmas represented uninterrupted time alone.

I would work a 16-24 hour shift on Christmas Day at the hotel, which bought me as much time off as I wanted. I would take Tyler to go see family in Central or East Texas, and I enjoyed that, but then I would come back to Lubbock and spend 4 or 5 days in my house, by myself. I really enjoyed this time without obligations or people, but how much I isolated myself was not healthy.

I am not sure when I got to a place of struggling to be around people, but it took me quite a while to break myself of it.

Which brings me to this Christmas.

I just spent a week in the same mountains I grew up in. I was with my wife and 2-year-old (I refuse to use months. Ooh, look at me, I’m 460 months old now). The only time I had alone was the few hours I spent snowshoeing, and even then not so much because I met some people up in the mountains.

Today, after spending some more time with family, including my in-laws who I am fortunate to really love, my 15-year-old and I are going to drive to Central Texas and see my parents and brother and whoever else may be there. By the time we get back, my sister and brother-in-law and their three boys will be here. I am looking forward to seeing them.

To round this week out I will see some clients and catch up with some people who are in town for the holidays, and then it will be time to get back into the weekly swing of seeing people every single day.

In short, there has been almost no down time or alone time this Christmas, and I could not be happier. I have enjoyed all of it, and it may be the best Christmas I have ever had. It has been about people, and I think this is how it is supposed to be.

It’s almost as if not being selfish has made Christmas magical again.

Imagine that.

No matter where or who we are, we can put what we want on a shelf and offer our time to others. I find I am always rewarded for this in ways I did not expect.

Merry Christmas, I hope you enjoy the day no matter how you spend it.

Being A Friend to Yourself

I considered wrapping up the whole top 5 thing with a post about the top 5 top ten lists I read this year, but thought that might be pushing it.

Think about the things that make for an actual good friend.

Not dumb shit like always being down to drink or them being someone who agrees with you when you talk about your significant other.

A really good friend, the kind who helps you be a better person.

Here are some of the things that come to mind for me.

Someone who will confront me

Someone who does not criticize

Someone who doesn’t tell me “everything will be okay” just to make me feel better

Someone who is willing to sacrifice their time when I need it, within boundaries

Someone who will help bring me back to center

Someone who doesn’t feed into my bullshit

These are the things I look for in people, but they are difficult to find.

The thing is, once you learn that you are not your emotions and you are not your thoughts, you can offer these things to yourself.

So much of our struggle comes from identifying with things that are not us, and may have nothing to do with us.

Realizing you are not your emotions or your thoughts allows you to confront them, to address the unfair or unreasonable expectations you might have of situations or people.

Realizing you are not your emotions or your thoughts allows you to address the constant criticism you may experience from them (really from your thoughts, but the feelings of shame and guilt you experience afterward perpetuate the criticism).

Realizing you are not your emotions or your thoughts helps you see how you attempt to soothe yourself and make believe everything will be okay, when you really need to realize they won’t unless you make some major changes.

Realizing you are not your emotions or your thoughts lets you give yourself time when you need it, without falling into self-absorbed neglect of your responsibilities.

Realizing you are not your emotions or your thoughts lets you bring yourself back to center and call yourself on your bullshit, because you aren’t caught up in believing that what you think and feel is True.

You still need people, don’t get me wrong. None of us are insightful enough or smart enough to be aware of all of our blind spots or weaknesses.

But, we can try to minimize how much of a stumbling block we are to ourselves.

The 5 Best Audiobooks I Listened to This Year

I lied. I forgot I had this one laid out.

Maybe this is the last one.

No more promises though.

Because I break them.

I am a believer in minimizing dead space, so I like audio books when I am traveling or driving around town or cleaning the house. These were my favorites this year.

The Tao of Seneca: Practical Letters from a Stoic Master

Not just this year, any and every year. Worth owning all 3 and listening to over and over. This was a collaboration between Tim Ferriss and a fan, and it is so well done.

Heidegger in 90 Minutes by Paul Strathern

Yeah, yeah, yeah, he got into Nazism, but Heidegger’s work on being is really cool. And he’s dead, so he didn’t get any money from my purchase.

Confession of a Buddhist Atheist by Stephen Batchelor

This is an excellent look into the historical Buddha and the myths and legends and fabrications that surround him. 16 hours on audio book- listen at double speed to give Batchelor the cadence of a normal human being and to finish it in 8.

Nietzsche in 90 Minutes by Paul Strathern

Not a huge Nietzsche guy overall, but Amor Fati and Eternal Recurrence are two of my favorite concepts. Strathern does an excellent job of distilling things down into very manageable chunks and gives you a good overview of entire philosophies.

Lying by Sam Harris

This is a very troubling book if you believe that white lies are acceptable, or if lying is something you do easily. Harris is a troubling guy for a lot of people, in no small part because of his dedication to honesty despite the consequences. This doesn’t mean he’s always right, only that he seems to always act with integrity.

Check out some audiobooks this year. They are way better than the radio or Sirius or talking to your kids.

About the only thing that beats them is silence.

The Best Podcasts I Listened to This Year

I think this is the last top 5 idea I have.

I really thought writing lists would be an easy way to blog on vacation, but they turned out to be a lot more work once I spent time looking them up and writing them and including links. They were a lot of fun though. Maybe my first yearly tradition for this.

This will be a list of specific episodes instead of just broad shows. There will probably be more than 5 too. Also, no links because these are hosted all over the place. If you have an iPhone, they are in your podcast app.

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History:

Blueprint for Armageddon I-VI. This may be kind of cheating because it is a series, but it may also be not cheating because having 6 amazing episodes is harder than having just one. Either way, I am going to do it again:

Wrath of the Khans. All of them.

Hell, listen to anything and everything from Hardcore History.

Waking Up with Sam Harris:

#30: Inside the Crucible – A Conversation with Michael Weiss.

#18: The Multiverse and You (& You & You & You…)

#22: Surviving the Cosmos: A Conversation with David Deutsch

#26: The Logic of Violence: A Conversation with Jocko Willink

#34: The Light of Mind: A Conversation with David Chalmers

The Joe Rogan Experience: Language warning on this one. Lots and lots of language.

#773: Dr. Rhonda Patrick

#804: Sam Harris

#847: Dan Carlin

#852: John Anthony West

#872: Graham Hancock and Randall Carlson

The Tim Ferris Show:

I am not even going to name specific episodes here, just listen to everything. There is something for everyone on this podcast, and it will improve your life.

A few I have listened to random episodes of and really liked:

The Portfolio Life with Jeff Goins

Bulletproof Radio

Mindfulness Mode


Welcome to Night Vale

Lori Harder’s Earn Your Happy

Podcasts are the best thing in the world, I love them.

Let me know if I am missing a good one.