Gap Year

The “back side” of Pikes Peak. Site of this week’s Outdoor Ed session.

I imagine that many people are feeling like 2020 is a bust.

Personally, I’m planning on another 50 weeks of my current situation.

What’s it going to take to get myself through another year of this?


If you’re struggling then your pain might have something to do with trying to get back to the way things were pre-COVID.

I catch myself playing this game a lot. Was I really all that happy in the past? It’s a version of my self-deception concerning how “stuff” will make me happy in the future.

Regardless of the past, here’s my plan to create a better present.


First, assume no improvement.

  • The government’s not coming to bail me out.
  • The citizenry will continue to do silly things.
  • Science will figure things out but the distribution of their gains will take time => due to the quirks of government, the silliness of fellow citizens and the logistical challenges of a global pandemic.

This sets my mental baseline so any improvement in the status quo represents upside, rather than continual disappointment.


Next, stop making my life more difficult => creating unnecessary challenges is a personal strength, unfortunately!

  • Don’t bother persuading people who don’t want to be persuaded => focus that energy inward.
  • Let go of pre-COVID standards of achievement. 0% improvement is an excellent benchmark in a global pandemic!
  • Focus on the core components of a life with meaning => Connection, Purpose, Recognition (CPR).
  • Write down the five people closest to you and perform CPR on them. Making this your purpose will create a mutually reinforcing circle of connection and recognition. It sounds hokey but it will work well enough to beat your 0% benchmark!

If you have kids in your house then chill out with home school => my focus on outdoor education serves this goal.

Thinking a little deeper, chilling out more generally => probably a good thing. Every single person with whom I interact is facing greatly increased personal stress and uncertainty.

Right now is a good time to remember that optimizing each aspect of your life will make you miserable, as well as creating misery for everyone around you.


What to do?

Well, as I tell my kids, that’s up to you.

Personally, I’m trying to keep my schedule simple and repeat the week. Structure and repetition creates “head space” to reduce frustration (self-imposed suffering) and the clarity to see that my situation is giving me what I need (purpose & connection).

Side Note: the teachers who send me a written schedule, with links, the night before each school day are saints!

Simplicity works because if I’m going to suffer pointless, self-induced frustration then it’s probably because I’m trying to “get something done here!!!” while my kids are asking for help with a random home school IT issue. I’ve noticed that these issues nearly always happen between 8am and 10:30am.

During those morning hours, it’s common for me to be interrupted every 3-7 minutes. To do anything in that slot requires multi-day notice and a personal individual reminder to my household just before I start.

Like me, you probably have sections of your day, or life, which fall apart, regularly.

Don’t fight it. Accept it. Work around it.


Early photo of my son. 😉

The last time I had my life ripped out from under me was 2008/2009.

It was a biggie: loss of employment and a 65% contraction in net worth.


A big shift from a little arrival => similar to home school, a lot of household capacity is soaked up in a flash.

As an added wrinkle, we had a baby arrive 17 days before my professional life started to unravel.

90 days was all it took to go from “set” to “screwed.” This happens all_the_time. What’s different about COVID is we all got whacked at the same time.

There was an initial period of shock which was followed by a combination of mourning my old life and feeling sorry for myself. Eventually, I got to work re-creating the life I wanted to live.

If you’re unsure then simplify and give yourself CPR => connection, purpose, recognition.


Children have a wonderful capacity to give us recognition, and love.

Don’t have kids? Teach students.

Don’t want to teach? Volunteer in an environment that makes you deeply grateful each time you leave (my choice was hospice).

The inner goodness that arises from serving others helps free us from our need for external validation.

Good luck with your gap year.

What’s Your Superpower

One of the best parts of trying to get really really good at anything, is the challenge of the process is going to provide you with an opportunity to learn about yourself.

I’ve spent the last 12-months getting strong.

It’s a good fit with staying at home.


Right here! Some of the best money I have ever spent, but only if I get my life structure right.

Grinding away with my basement squat rack, I realized that I was probably enjoying this piece of metal more than the average 50-something person.

Routine, ticking boxes on a written plan, predictability.

Invert the previous line and you have the perfect recipe to ruin my morning => surprises, running on feel and random shocks.

Armed with self knowledge, it’s up to me to communicate and create a system to keep myself productive => written plan and a policy that we are flexible (but slowly, later and most certainly not today!).

So whether it’s a training plan, a home school schedule, a list of household cleaning tasks, a project management assignment… I need it written down.

Once that happens, “the list” keeps calling out to me, and I get a nice shot of endorphins each time I tick a box.


To execute, I need to keep it very simple – wake up (same time), spin on my bike, do my strength plan => then roll into household chores and get the kids rolling with home school.

All my non-family, post-dawn, obligations need to be in my calendar and 100% visible to my spouse.


My wife’s wired a little differently, she’s a “logger.”

While she smiles at my lists, I know that inside her phone is an electronic note that documents every bit of exercise she’s done during COVID. As a young swimmer, she’d log every single workout.

So she gets her fix from writing down what she does.

I get it, watching my savings grow was a big motivator in my teens and 20s.

When things “work” for you, you are going to have something simple that keeps you going. Pay attention to that thing and ask…

What was the structure of my life like when I was most productive, most engaged?



The dumbbells, above, sat around for more than a decade (!) until I bought a third-party training plan that required me to use them. I still only use them when required by the plan.

It’s worth remembering that the goal, of the squat rack and the DBs, was not to use the equipment. I bought the gear because I wanted to get stronger. The loss of strength from my early, to late, 40s was something I missed.

I wasn’t able to address my goal until I got my process correct.

In my case, the difference between wishing for a strong body, and having one, was the nudge I get from a written training plan that costs me $4.14 a week.


While success accrues to the athlete, the plan is often the difference between success and failure.

Despite living this reality => a good enough plan, done first thing daily => I’m prone to…

  • worrying about the specifics of the plan
  • dreaming about additional (expensive) asset purchases
  • tweaking the edges of the protocol
  • doing too much

Avoid your personal kryptonite!


  • What’s the real goal here?
  • What’s it going to take to achieve that goal?
  • How do we get you to do what’s required?
  • How do we get you to say “no” to non-core?

This process applies to every single thing in my life.

Being requires doing.

Valuable Options


Record prices, driven by easy credit, in a time of impaired fundamentals. I see this phenomenon happening all around us.

In times of uncertainty, I like to focus on maintaining:

  • The ability to change my mind
  • The ability to cut my cost of living
  • The ability to reallocate my capital

Holding onto these options requires careful, continual effort. For example, it’s easy to join a “tribe” with fixed views, or publish blogs (!), thereby making it much more difficult to change my mind later.

I try to be careful with what I write, say and think. An interesting tip I came across this year about knowledge…

Be wary of using current knowledge as a belief system.

I first heard this advice via the son of a surgeon. When the son finished his surgical training, the father shared that half of what he learned in med-school proved to be incorrect over the years that followed.


With capital allocation…

When I buy, I lose the option to “buy later” and create switching costs if I want to change my mind.

  • The ability to decide later
  • The size of my switching costs
  • The liquidity of my position
  • The impact on my debt capacity

The future value of the above is difficult to estimate, therefore, our minds tend to latch on to the perceived value of an immediate purchase.

We always underestimate the value of options.


Caution with your allocations at cyclical highs…

At the end of last year, I wrote about real estate in Vanity Markets, the key thing I liked about renting was the ability to change my mind later. The option to change direction became much more valuable during COVID.

A real-world example, we’re going to change the way we approach ski season.

  • We are not changing because I think I know what will happen.
  • We are changing to remove (some of) COVID’s ability to screw up our lives.

I wrote off a lot of money this year due to the virus. More importantly, COVID has been a continual drain on my time and emotion.

Money, time, emotion => you can earn the money back.

The time and emotion are gone for good.


So… we made a decision to ski local.

The savings are material: ski club, driving, ski passes, lockers and seasonal rental => my budget is 5% of last season’s actuals.

Besides saving money “now”, I get the psychic benefit of looking forward to adding back a “better experience” once COVID settles down. I’ve been watching myself for many years and looking forward to an experience is a key part of my enjoyment.

The ability to painlessly change my mind arose because I didn’t buy previously. I stayed variable in my discretionary cost of living. I followed this rule of thumb… Never capitalize luxury spending.

Longer version of the same advice… until your retirement is fully funded, focus on income producing assets (not ramping up current consumption).


There are other benefits.

  • By “going local” I give myself an incentive to teach my kids to uphill ski and camp on snow.
  • Knowing that I am saving (a lot of) money in one part of my life, reduces financial stress across all other areas of my life.
  • I also have a way to fill weekday afternoons, which have been challenging during online school: Morning school, Dad ski, Evening school, Bed. Do that Tuesday/Thursday and I give myself a mental respite from trying to fill the Noon-4pm slot.


A quick update on online school. My zip code contains several thousand CU Students, and all the frats!

Our positives are trending up, again. From Saturday’s paper…


and they aren’t testing students who live off-campus

I’m living in the hottest “COVID zip code” in Colorado right now. That said, if you were going to infect a bunch of Coloradans… we’re a healthy cohort! 😉

Because we were cautious “opening up” our bubble, there isn’t much change for us. The main challenge is we are in Week 26 of Home School.

It can be tempting to toss money (and other people’s time) at my “problems.”

During the pandemic, tossing my kids into the private education channel could reduce my short-term pain – if the angel of COVID flies past their new school without creating an outbreak.

However, one thing I’ve learned from six months of home school – the academic demands are easily managed by a policy of a-little-bit-a-day. The real challenge lies in the emotional demands of being around kids all day!

Similar to the ski example, I frame home school as paying myself to figure it out. I did private school math a few years ago. It would cost me significant time, and emotion, to earn the money for the private channel.

I’ll end today with the two best things I have learned about problems:

#1 => My “problems” will NEVER disappear => my mind simply focuses on something else. It’s my focus, not my problems.

#2 => I had better accept that I’m going to be chipping away at stuff daily, for the duration. While I’m chipping away, keep in mind the true goal is “better problems.”

Figuring out how to enjoy spending time with my kids is a great problem to have.


48-hour storm rolled through the state. Good news for our firefighters.

Hiking with Ghosts

Missouri Mountain. Yesterday, we turned around at a short down climb that, from this angle, is hidden just behind the summit. My son went through the five stages of grief over the following four hours. While demonstrating there’s no shame in backing off, I took advantage of the opportunity to talk about a few things.

In the mid-90s, I spent a unique Christmas morning under a full moon on top of Mt Cook in New Zealand. My guide was a young man called David. On the descent, he rappelled off the end of our rope. A common accident, which had no consequences because the end of our rope was only a couple feet off the ground. The mountains got him several years later when he was killed by a Himalayan avalanche.

Roll forward a bit and I was flying into Denali. As I was landing, the rangers were dragging a body bag across the snowy runway. They flew a young man out on the plane that flew me in.

Later that trip, I was shuttling loads between camps. I was solo and approaching a higher risk area near 14K. There was a commercial group nearby and I asked to clip into their rope to get past a sketchy area. The guide said sorry, but no. He was blown off a high ridge a couple days later when his group was caught out in a storm. He’d unclipped to help a client.

My biggest ghost is the father of my dead friend, Stuart. I met him shortly after placing his young son’s casket in a hearse. The depth of his despair as been with me ever since. He gave me a hug, which felt like his soul was collapsing into my heart.

My ghosts are always with me in the mountains.

What do they say?


My ghosts remind me that it is impossible to see the number of lives that await us.

Since my friend died, I’ve had many lives: financier, elite athlete, father, husband, entrepreneur…

Stu lost his lives, his children’s lives and his grandchildren’s… not a fair trade.

The magnitude of his loss grows as I move through my own life and have the opportunity to share the world with my children.


Yesterday, I didn’t tell my son about “the Dad at the Funeral.” It remains a difficult story to discuss.

Instead, I gave him a soft hug while telling him that I’d like to keep hiking with him for the rest of my life and that means we’re going to have to turn around sometimes when I don’t feel right.

He asked what scares me and I told him, “losing you.”

COVID Training

An example of what we can do => Outdoor Ed with Mom and Dad.

Training for an event, or striving towards a specific goal, is straightforward. Select goal, seek expert advice, simply your life and execute, while paying attention to how you get in your own way.

But what if the events are cancelled? What if the whole concept of “an event” has been put on hold?

Three key principles I keep in mind…

1/ Remember why you started in the first place. What was your core motivation before you got wrapped up in seeking external success/validation? Remind yourself of your core values.

2/ What’s your personal superpower? Where do you have the capacity to build, and demonstrate, mastery? This helps you sustain motivation in challenging times.

3/ Where do you want to be in 5 or, even, 10 years time? I laugh at myself with this one because my answer is nearly always… “the same as today, just a little bit better.” This is despite _knowing_ my life undergoes big changes all the time.


What’s your definition of normal?

While kicking those ideas around, I also like to consider different benefits of an active lifestyle…

Physical Health // By mixing in some housework, I can rack up 12,500 steps a day and not leave my property. So I have this one covered.

Mental Health // For many of my athletic friends, this is the true driver of their program, even more so for my pals with family trees, or personal histories, of addiction. Here’s what works for me => split sessions AM/PM with a goal of never getting so tired you can’t make tomorrow’s split sessions.

Make the goal tomorrow, while having the energy to meet your non-training obligations today.

Long-term Functional Strength // If you’re under 40 then this might not be on your radar. Watching my grandmother age, then die, put it on mine. I maintain a large reserve of functional strength. Today, it’s useful in the mountains. In the future, I hope it will help me maintain independent living.

Vanity & Sexual Function // These goals can work together, or be opposed to each other. For example, a well-constructed anabolic phase, will build muscle, increase my energy and boost my naturally occurring recovery hormones. All good.

Where things can get derailed is disordered eating, chronic endurance and body-image goals that incentivize self-harm. In that case, you need to get your head straight (mental health) before you’ll be in a place to make progress in other areas.

My favorite quote here is from an elite running coach… “sometimes my role is to build the athlete’s confidence to the point where they can leave competitive sport.”

Every single time you make a change to support your health… write down your reasons.

Once you’re healthy, you’ll forget why you needed to make a change.


Indian Peaks Wilderness. My wife took the pic. As I have a policy to immediately get a tree between me and any moose, I was heading back into the forest!

My first COVID-season is wrapping up in September and I’m planning for (at least!) another six month block.

I spent my 20s, 30s and 40s focused exclusively on my own achievement. It’s a challenging habit to shake!

COVID blew up all my plans for personal achievement. To demonstrate leadership within my house, I’ve been focused on what’s best for the team.

Within that constraint, there’s fun to be had. I simply had to get creative and use my project management skills for something other than winning races, making money or doing deals.

This is where Principle #3 comes in. It’s not simply “what do I want to be doing” in five years.

It is… “With whom do I want to be living in five years?

Up-skill your team.

If you can’t plan your season then plan your life!

August Diary

My main goal in August was to carve out an extra 20 hours per week to increase my focus on my family.

Three changes made that happen: (a) remove social media from my phone; (b) remove a web browser from my phone; and (c) take a break from publishing.

It worked exactly as I expected.

What I didn’t expect was I spend a large chunk of my “freed time” driving around Colorado. We hit a number of wilderness areas and summited our 1st Family 14er. A “14er” is a peak over 14,000 feet.

Good times.


In the end, our local schools didn’t open up but our university did.


Positives across the state trended down for August.

Good news and, yet another, reminder of the unpredictability of the virus.

The improvement got me thinking that imperfect mitigation measures might create strong results.

Something I’ve seen => successful COVID mitigation measures leave people with risk-fatigue in the rest of their lives. I’ve seen an increased willingness for (non-COVID) risk-seeking behaviors.

Might be a bit like the limits of willpower reserves.


Home school re-started last week.

The first 72-hours was the worst block of time I can remember since I was living with toddlers. The kids didn’t mind but I really struggled.

I wrote this down. It’s worth reviewing if you find yourself frustrated with your household…

When you start to think your solution is your problem, you need to reset your thinking. The easiest way to do this is via positive actions and spoken words.

My actions were to stop making things worse and clean the house.

Better this week and I’ll leave it at that.



August was the closest I can come to a cyber vacation. My screen time was down more than 50%.

Didn’t miss the chatter and, yesterday, nuked my Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Gone.

A question I asked myself, repeatedly, across the month…

Where do I want to be in five years?

August saw me reading more and exploring Colorado with my family.

A better use of time => iterate towards better.


The market is back at an all-time high.

Now is the time to write down your strategy for the next crash.

Mine hasn’t changed – I wasn’t able to fully execute my plan during the early COVID panic.

Wait and watch.

Fatherhood

Not sure where I picked up the tip but it stuck with me… always write like it will be your last interaction with someone.

This morning I asked my kids to cut their social circle in half for the month of August.

My son said he was already down to one friend. For one month, I asked him to limit himself to seeing his pal outside, on a bike, with a mask.

I said we’d know more after Labor Day.


What we don’t see => just like that, July is gone!

Today is the end of Week 20. I can remember when Bill G’s advice about a 6-10 week lockdown seemed so long that I doubted it was reasonable.

The speed of the summer passing is a reminder to take the initiative with creating the life I want to live.


“We’re going up there?!”

I got through most my summer essay topics. Saved a couple to get me going again in September.

I’d like to get the whole family camping in August. We will see if I can pull that off and get our oldest up a 14er.



Here’s a technique I use to motivate myself to give extra effort to my kids’ childhood.

Listen to people talk about the way they see the world.

When we’re under stress, and we’re all under stress right now, our deepest mental habits leak out. When it comes to deeply felt emotions, not much is deeper than negative childhood experiences.

So when you hear someone say things like: nobody likes me, I’m treated very unfairly…

…it is a reminder that our actions will endure long after we are gone.


Even if you only need the light for five minutes… there’s something exciting about waking up in the dark, putting on a lot of clothes and hiking with a headlamp.

What comes after => the death of our parents is one last time to own our lives.

Gordon Livingston has a great piece of advice, “set a date and put the baggage of your past behind you.”

Part of my kids’ kindergarten motto was “own it.” Never too late to start!

If you’re still having trouble then remember nobody is the villain in their own story. Each of us is trying to do our best, while being beset by the habits of a lifetime.

COVID is an opportunity to (re)set our children’s mental habits. They are spending a lot of time soaking up how we handle stress.

In our house, it’s been 100-weeks of Daddy-Time in the last 20 weeks.



The best decision I made for my COVID-kids was a little bit of school each day for the last 20 weeks.

A low bar, done first thing daily, gets results.


I’m not telling you what to do. I am sharing the choices I made.

Wealth and the price of money

One of my best assets – I always wanted to have hair like that!

I graduated from university in the summer of 1990. I didn’t know it at the time but it was an excellent time to start a career in finance.

The price of money has been falling ever since I graduated (1st Class Honors, Econ/Finance, McGill). My first real finance job was the most junior member of a very successful private equity team in London.

It doesn’t enter into popular consciousness but many of us have had the benefit of a 30-year tailwind. This tailwind impacts every aspect of our lives and, like oxygen, we’re largely unaware of it (while it continues).

For the first half of my finance career, a modest interest rate cut was sufficient to get everyone excited.



At this stage of the cycle, it takes a healthy dose of shock & awe to move, or steady, the markets.

It’s important to remember:

  • It is impossible to know the future in real time. If you find yourself saying the Fed is making, or not making, a mistake then you’re fooling yourself.
  • It is possible to assess the risk in the system => leverage, debt service, off-balance sheet liabilities, derivatives obligations, debt:equity ratios, months of cash on hand vs monthly cash burn rate… there are a lot of useful measures. You should know these measures for your country, state, county, firm, family and self.

I don’t want to comment on right or wrong. I simply want to share observations that, hopefully, will help you think better about money.


In my line of work, I hear a lot of themes.

I’ll share a couple themes and my counter-dialogue.

The market is so high, I need to sell or I will lose money.

  • Volatility isn’t loss – come back to this one in the next down cycle.
  • Constantly tracking the price of anything will cost you time, lower your return and lead to misery. See Fooled By Randomness, by Taleb, for the best explanation of why you should ignore the volatility of a good-enough portfolio (or life for that matter!).
  • My entry prices are 30-60% below current market. Instead of focusing on a fear of loss, I focus on the cash flow being generated from wise past decisions.
  • If you exit then you need to put the money somewhere. The benefit of a good position is you don’t need to figure this question out. The less I need to think, choose and act… the better.
  • Every positive action costs expenses, taxes and introduces the possibility for error.
  • Most the people who worry about money, don’t need to worry about money. Beware of using financial news as a distraction from what you really should be doing with your life.

Price vs Happiness vs Wealth

  • Price is an illusion – all assets move in cycles.
  • Price changes are not wealth changes.
  • If you build a habit of happiness with price increases then you will experience a multiple of pain with the inevitable declines.
  • Equanimity must be trained, and re-trained.
  • Financial wealth comes from productive capacity, which is the ability to give the world what it wants.
  • What does the world want? My world wants…
    • Cash flow generation
    • Saving time
    • Reducing hassle
    • To survive

When you create a lot of money (see chart above and, note our constant, longterm Federal stimulus), the money needs to go somewhere. When money “goes somewhere”, especially when debt is available on top, prices go up.

The effect is not wealth creation, the effect is asset price appreciation.

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool

Feynman’s rule on foolishness

In 2020, all this money creation might be saving us from disaster. At best, we’ll get a chance to argue in hindsight.

Don’t fool yourself by acting as if your wealth has been increased.

The risk in the system has been increased.

Seeking Good Enough

Thomas Edison comes alive on the page of a confident artist.

Finishing off my summer writing this week and this piece is my second to last topic.

COVID is a continual lesson in strategic humility!

Whatever we were thinking on Valentines Day 2020 has gone out the window.

For us, the replacement has been a basic week that is a lot like Groundhog Day => home school, at home, with work spread throughout and quick trips into the wilderness. It’s taught me a lot.

Kids => our kids are doing great. I shouldn’t fool myself that they need fancy vacations and a lot of variety. What they enjoy is a schedule of things that engage them. Engagement relates to doing.

For home school, if it’s important then get it done by 11am. Probably the same for me!

For all of us, not much positive happens after 5pm. There’s probably a danger hour in your house as well. I never regret shutting down the productive part of our day at 5pm.

Thinking about it => I can be tempted to use “the kids” has an excuse. A low stakes example might be how I stock my pantry.


The other lesson is I sure don’t need a longterm plan to be happy. My baseline happiness seems about the same – at least on the inside.

Working towards a plan does, however, give me structure and that’s a big help. I’ve been holding very tightly to my basic week structure.

Within my week, there are a small number of things that dominate my meaning equation. If you’re going to be tough on yourself then remove the choices that screw up the meaningful part of your life.

So my planning process is about (a) maintaining space for a small number of things I enjoy and (b) scheduling my commitments to others.

This is very different than my approach when I was younger => dream up huge goal, work like crazy.

Very different then a high-achiever seeking to compete on multiple fronts => cram it in, work like crazy.

Babies and preschoolers were so overwhelming, I was forced to make choices/changes. If you’re struggling with a young family then the struggle, the process of choosing, is a useful teacher.


Where’s the point of “good enough”?

As I get older, I find myself saying “good enough” a lot more.

As a younger man, I might have considered this process settling for less. It doesn’t feel that way. What’s happening is I have a clear idea of the work required to get a little bit better/richer/faster and I know that work is going to get in the way of what gives my life meaning.

These days, I don’t get meaning from more.


With planning => where are you seeking to go? how will you know you have arrived?

If the goal of the plan is to have something to avoid existential angst then own it. Own it and know that you don’t need to push yourself quite so hard.

If the purpose of planning is to “have a plan” then the plan itself need only be reasonable. Most days… tick the box. Occasionally, push the envelope.


The news cycle isn’t my friend. It’s a distraction from what gives my life meaning. It’s an easy way to pass time spinning my wheels on topics I can’t influence.

So, to sort out my thoughts, I need to address the fire hose of information flow that arrives daily.

The best technique I know for clearing the mind and setting priorities is a cyber-break => pull the plug completely for 7-14 days.

It’s wonderful and, while difficult to execute, the world has yet to miss my absence.

I’m going to try the “light” version in August => shutdown my computer after each use (it takes forever to boot up, major friction), remove Safari / Twitter from my phone (more friction), and take notes but don’t publish.

That’s probably 100 hours going back into my August. As well as creating time, it will create space because there will be less noise arriving.

Simple, not easy.


Similar piece from 2011 – based on a conversation with the most successful guy you’ve never heard of – despite having a ton of financial wealth, his mode of operation has nothing to do with money. I’d forgotten about his tutorial to me.

What’s the cost of a life with meaning? From 2016 – Pay The Price.

~100 posts during COVID and over 66,000 words published this year. Do a little bit each day and you’ll get somewhere.

How’d you spend lockdown? Wrote a book, educated my kids, loved my wife and got really strong.

Good enough.

Balance

You probably won’t end up with one of these in your closet if you pursue a balanced approach to sport.

I got a large eye roll when I told Monica that I’d been asked for some thoughts on balance. A moderate approach isn’t something I’m known for.

That said, I have some ideas that I’d like to pass along.

If you are going to lead an unbalanced life then you’re likely to know before you are 21. It’s going to appear in your temperament, your interests and your ER admissions.

You will serve your family well if you create alternatives for positive addiction => in yourself and everyone you live alongside.

So that’s my first tip => consider your alternatives.

Many “unbalanced” people have a history of highly unattractive alternatives.


Looking over from Mt Flora I caught my crew taking a selfie on an adjacent peak.

Here’s the pic they were taking. Mt Flora trail accessed from Berthoud Pass – a nice morning out.

In addition to alternatives, it is important to teach that there is zero personal cost from being considerate. In fact, you are likely to get more support, and freedom, in your quest-of-the-moment if you’re considerate to those around you.

#1 => Positive choices in which to place my personality.

#2 => An understanding that there’s no cost to consideration.

When I was hanging on (to my compulsion) so tightly that I was losing my ability to be considerate… I was giving away performance.


We started by hiking over Colorado Mines Peak. You can see the towers above my son’s head. A nice warm-up, two miles straight up from our parking spot.

What the heck does balance even mean?!

When I think about it, I can it take to two different ways.

Internal balance => serenity => yes please!

External balance => as a young adult, this would trend towards a desire to win at everything I touch.

  • Not going to happen, when performance matters, I need to make choices.
  • Extremely counterproductive when I try to “win” at my bad habits.

Some trippy clouds above Mt Flora.

In seeking that internal balance => serenity => being OK with the direction I’m heading:

  • Repeat the week – seek control of a simple schedule
  • Seek mastery – there’s satisfaction to be found in overcoming one’s self
  • Keep promises, most importantly to myself
  • Say no to non-core, most importantly to myself

Trust me about the ER admissions – that’s a clear sign somebody needs better choices, a change in peer group and a new direction.

Every morning is an opportunity for better.