The discovery of our heritage provided a huge surprise that I should have seen coming.

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My girlfriend and I have often talked about having kids. It’s fun to speculate: What they’d look like, if they’d get her smarts, my sense of humor.

Coincidentally, my family bought us a DNA test last Christmas. It was a mildly awkward present to receive. It’s wasn’t like we lived in Alabama and “needed to be sure”. But we didn’t think anything more of it. It would be a fun exercise, to find out what we are and if we have healthy ancestors. We both swabbed the inside of our mouth and sent it off for analysis. …

Life Lessons

Recognize the subtle signs of waste to avoid feelings of despair and lost potential.

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If you are thrilled with your life, I encourage you to stop reading now. I can offer you little more. And I suggest you make no changes.

Given the odds of you being “very happy” are a mere 14%, you likely have room for improvement. A key component of sadness and a lack of fulfillment is its aftertaste, regret, feelings of self-blame for time wasted, for the potential that went unfulfilled.

The most haunting decisions aren’t usually acute: the decision to go streaking, to spin the slot machine a few more times. They are slower burning and insidious. Their damage…

Entrepreneurs should be thoughtful of their strategies with rewards programs

Man thinking on his cell phone.
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The U.S. treasury faces a continuing crisis of the dollar. Most dollar bills only last 2–4 years. It costs 5–10 cents per note to make.

This cost isn’t a factor with $50 and $100 bills as it is a tiny percentage of the cost. But with one-dollar bills, it is a full 5–10%. Meanwhile, a one-dollar coin costs four times as much to manufacture but lasts 30 years longer.

The math checks out. Seeing this opportunity, the government passed the Presidential $1 Coin Act in 2005. …

Dissecting the nature of a highly effective post-mortem estate.

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How do you make money off a dead person? You can’t sell them at a restaurant. There must be a way, without going full Weekend at Bernie’s, pretending he’s alive to stay and party at his mansion.

Self Improvement

Become a master of first impressions by being likable, trustworthy, and respected.

Woman smiling on a first date.
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I wouldn’t recommend you wear bright colors and perform a mating ritual before shaking someone's hand. I would also question the wisdom of launching into your totally justified opinion of the Chinese Communist Party. But you already knew that.

The entire concept of first impressions is irritating. It feels like an excuse to be even more judgemental than we already are. A flubbed joke or bad mood leaves us eternally branded in the mind of another. Yet we have little choice in the matter. Quick assessments are born of necessity, not casual preference. A first impression often lasts for months…

Some details on the coming year of my life.

I try to do a new update every six months, just to give some insight into the goings-on in my life. I’m at my 1.5-year mark here on Medium so here’s the latest. I have a surprising amount of good news, to the point that it makes me anxious. There’s always this lurking superstition that if things have been this good for this long, I’m due for catastrophe.

I’m fully vaccinated as of two weeks ago. The second vaccine hit me like a truck (it was Pfizer). …

How to pair up quality, quantity, and variety to achieve content success.

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Michael Jackson was sued for plagiarism in 1994. The plaintiff was a random woman, Crystal Carter, who claimed she’d already written the song “Bad”. The case was laughable and failed miserably in court. But the deposition involved a rare interrogation of Jackson’s creative process:

Attorney: How many songs were on the Bad album?

Jackson: I think nine.

Attorney: How many songs did you write that weren’t published on the Bad album?

Jackson: I wrote between 60 and 70 songs.

Attorney: How many songs are on the Dangerous album?

Jackson: I think 17.

Attorney: How many songs did you write?


Self Improvement

People shouldn’t be choosing between the best of two mediocre options.

Woman practicing painting in her studio.
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I grew up on military bases, immersed in the Navy SEAL community. My father served as one for more than 30 years. Outsiders often assume these soldiers walk around, looking like cauliflower-eared MMA fighters, carved from limestone like ancient athletes. In reality, you wouldn’t recognize most SEALs from the casual gymgoer.

The recruiting process selects for a number of things but above all, those who won’t quit. If a person is of reasonably sound mind and body, and willing to endure, trainers will mold them into a top .001% warrior. …

Self Improvement

Gamification is a science-backed way to change your life for the better.

Man multitasking, doing a plank while looking at his laptop.
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Self-help is often a parody of itself, offering instant solutions to complex problems. So many self-help books are less about self-help and more about making money for the writer. One can’t blame the writer either. The industry exists as a contradiction, one that people are deeply skeptical of, but also willing to open their wallets for.

Tony Robbins stands no chance against proper gamification. It outperforms any motivational speech, many times over. Facebook doesn’t hire armies of psychologists and social scientists because they need mental health counseling. They do it juke to your dopamine systems in new unexpected ways.


Self Improvement

Contentment is achieved through a fundamental acceptance of reality and all its players.

Boy jumping from rock into his father’s arms.
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So many people don’t live. They are more like amateur dead people, unmoving prisoners, chained to a pale existence, statues of people that could have been great. Their aura of self-defeat pulses and washes over everyone around them.

The demise of their aspirations is a lack of trust, in their life, the people in it, and, above all, themselves. Higher levels of trust are correlated to happiness, better health, and higher productivity. Yet people still think of trust as this fragile thing that is confined to relationships, that you build up over time like a bank account. …

Sean Kernan

Quality over quantity. That guy from Quora. Enjoy? Follow for more. Open to gigs

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