The 4-Hour Body Book Review and Slow-Carb Diet Results (Before & After)

What if I told you that I lost 5% bodyfat and 13.6lbs in 30 days with no exercise and only dieting 6 days a week? That’s exactly what I’m telling you.


January 1 – February 7th (I forgot to take after pictures on the first of Feb.)

If you had told me a year ago there was a way to lose 13.6 lbs as well as 5% bodyfat in 30 days with no exercise, I would have laughed at you. In the past month however, I experienced this first-hand. This post explains which book I got the information from and how things happened.

Tim Ferriss is at the top of the list of podcasters that I listen to on a regular basis. Until buying his books at the end of last year, passive listening was all I had done. Now that I’m not under a self-imposed deadline to read a book a week, I figured 2017 is time for self-experimentation. Ferriss excels at this (a self described “Human guinea pig”) and advocates that people optimize their lives.

His second book, “The 4-Hour Body”  was published in 2010 and reached #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list. I purchased this book with a specific outcome in mind, rather than filling my mind with fitness information, I wanted a measurable result.

Derek Sivers, one of Ferriss’s podcast guests and founder of, is on record as saying

“If information were the answer, we would all be billionaires with perfect abs.”

I knew that having access to information wasn’t the answer, it was having a framework which I could consistently apply select information to my life.

If you’re wondering why you would pick up The 4-Hour Body, this is why. You’ll read a portion of the book and get an an actionable experiment to try.

One last mindset before I show you the nitty-gritty of my last 30 days. Arthur Jones, the inventor of the Nautilus Exercise machines, is the father of what Ferriss calls the “Minimum Effective Dose.” Put simply, this is the mindset that says that a certain input that creates a desired result is exactly what you do. Anything less and you don’t get the result, any more and there will be side effects. In order to build this mindset, Jones admonishes on pg 20:

“REMEMBER: It is impossible to evaluate, or even understand, anything you cannot measure.”

Feeling armed with knowledge, I set out on the first of the year to find out what I could change in one month following the Slow-Carb Diet.


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1.1.17: 222.0 Pounds // 24% Bodyfat // 122.0 Total Inches

Inspired by stories of people in the book and posts like “How to Lose 100 Pounds on The Slow-Carb Diet” I was ready. I stepped on the scale, calculated my bodyfat percentage, and found my “Total Inches” by measuring around my waist, my hips, my arms, and my thighs.

This is the extent of the rules I followed, according to the above-linked post:

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.

That’s it. 


30 days later I couldn’t believe the change.

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I did take this on February 7th (Oops!) but my Feb 1 numbers were: 208.4 Pounds // 19% Bodyfat // 112.37 Total Inches

I know I was able to implement this diet because I had a psychological “out” on Saturday. I ate everything in sight, the one saturday I documented for the video review came in at a whopping 6275 calories… Check out the video below and skip to 5:20 to see pictures of all the junk food from that day.


In conclusion, I only read a part of the book, but that was the minimum effective dose that I needed to get on track to where I want to be. I’m not to either my goal weight or muscle mass yet. But as I write this post on Saturday (“Faturday”) at a Panera Bread after eating two chocolate pastries and downing a Crystal Pepsi, I can honestly say I’m having fun with this experiment.

Keep Reading, Friends!


Why Should I Read | Ego is the Enemy


“Our greatest internal obstacle is our ego.” -Ryan Holiday

Ego: an unhealthy feeling of one’s own importance, arrogance.

Ryan Holiday, #1 bestselling author, writes on the topic of ego to address our addiction to the drug-like effects of buying into our own awesomeness.

Why would you pick this book off the shelves?  This book gives practical applications to individuals interested in maintaining their success and avoiding failure due to ego. 

We consistently find ourselves in three stages in life, aspiring, succeeding, or failing. In chapter 32, Holiday concludes a thought, “…ego makes all three stages harder, but it has the potential to make failure permanent.”

Holiday’s writing is highly influenced by stoic thinkers like Seneca and Marcus Aurelius. From a Christian perspective, this book is spot on, and Holiday points it out in chapter 9. He says that Christians approach the topic of ego by simply labeling it pride… and then agrees that you don’t have to be a Christian to agree that it is a bad idea all around. Over 2500 years ago King Solomon wrote,

Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.

Proverbs 18:12

He gets it.

In this week’s book review video, I point out that the idea that “you can be lesser, but still do more” is foreign to our culture and is worth reclaiming.

If you choose to read this book, you will be regaled with stories from throughout history of ego hindering the success of great men and women. Check out the three links below for a sample of the book: the first is the introduction and Ryan Holiday’s personal story; the second is a recording of a chapter entitled “What’s Important to You” one of the best of the book; the third is a review from Derek Sivers because he has 200 high quality book summaries on his site and he loves this book.

What’s Important to You

Derek Sivers on Ego is the Enemy: ” I wish everyone would read this”

I hope you choose to pick this book as your next read, I put it in the top 7 books I’ve read this year and will likely read it again.

Until Next Time!

Keep Reading Friends.



What is a Book? | The Inevitable

I’m currently listening to Country Rap. I’m not joking.

Check this playlist out.

If that isn’t proof that the world is changing, I don’t know what is.

Some changes are great, and we’ll discuss one here. Some changes are terrible, like that playlist I just shared.


My opinion in a shirt. 

Seriously though, we’re going to talk about a significant change predicted by Kevin Kelly in his new book The Inevitable. We’ll answer the question, “Who the heck is Kevin Kelly and can he predict the future?” approach the question, “What is a book?” and give some perspective as we move into an uncertain future.

Kevin Kelly writes about the technological forces in play in our culture and how they will shape the next thirty years. If you’ve heard of him before, this premise makes sense, if not, why is he suddenly our cultural psychic? Kevin Kelly helped launch Wired Magazine and was its executive editor for its first seven years. Wired Mag is dedicated to tracking and understanding the changes in the digital age.

Kelly has been in the eye of the storm when it comes to the changes technology has brought us over the last 20 years and is uniquely qualified to comment on the coming trends. Worth noting, he makes assertions on almost every page in this book, and some have come to opposite conclusions based on the same evidence. However, he raises a plethora of great questions in his chapters that are wonderful for making the reader trace the possibilities of potential futures.

One of my favorite questions that Kelly brings up is “What is a book?” He asks this question in the chapter on “Screening” so let’s examine what he means by this. To do so, come with me to ancient Egypt. For thousands of years, us humans were “People of the word.” While language and writing existed, it was reserved for the gods and kings, everyone else had to make do with memorizing information.


Hieroglyphics from my friends’ trip to Egypt (visit their site for the 20 Most Surprising Things About Traveling to Egypt)

About 500 years ago though, Gutenberg transformed the world in the space of a few generations with the invention of a printing press. Soon anyone who was literate could have their own ideas, pass along technical knowledge, or mount a revolution. This transformed human beings into “People of the Book.”

Exploding in popularity in the 1950s, the television was the herald of the age of screens. Today we see a profusion of screens every where we look, snaking around buildings, peeking out of our pockets, screaming for attention along roadways, they’re everywhere.

Kelly says we are becoming “People of the Screen.” This changes the way we experience information, and according to him we will cease to merely read words, we will also “watch words and read images” (pg. 89). Before you scoff, when was the last time you sent a text with no words, all emoji? Before you dismiss this out of hand, what about this video that summarizes the entire book of judges in 7 minutes and 29 seconds?

So before we pull back from this potential new identity, it may be worth exploring. And what better way to explore than to ask the question, “What is a book?” After all, if we aren’t people of the book anymore, and we associate books with knowledge, are we forsaking deep knowledge for an existence of sound bytes and video clips?

Kelly subscribes to the idea that a book is more than simply the pages and text. After all, is a blank “sketchbook” a true “book?” It has no content whatsoever. What about a “phonebook?” It has no narrative structure, and no one desires to read it in its entirety for information. We have machines for that. He says that a book is “a bunch of symbols united by a theme into an experience that takes a while to complete.” (pg. 91)

This sounds like a definition that could flow onto or live on a screen, and that’s exactly what we are witnessing.

So even if a “book” is able to live in a world of screens, and we are becoming people increasingly connected to screens, what saves us from death by soundbyte or asphyxiation from advertisements? Kelly predicts that as books flow into the ocean of the web, what will emerge is an interconnected, hyperlinked whole that will be something of a “universal book.” This, he predicts, will allow people to see the world as the series of complex interconnected wholes rather than merely isolated ideas.

Personally, this makes me excited, imagine having a portal to the sum total of knowledge of the human race. This development has enormous potential.

Others look at this type of trend (remember, there are 12 in the book) and recoil. Its easier to take it a day at a time, wonder when the next iOS update will actually be mandatory, and keep hitting “remind me later” until you upgrade your phone.

Kelly’s perspective on an uncertain future that we are facing is this, it’s better to paddle with the current because then you can steer around the rocks.

white water.jpg

If you’ve ever been white water rafting of kayaking, you’ll know that once you’re in a white water scenario, its unwise to fight the current. One must adapt to the situation, and roll with the flow. In this way, one can navigate dangerous waters with ease. Dealing with the world as it actually is.

Remember, there are 11 other trends like this to unpack in this book. Each of them could be their own book it seems. Or perhaps they already are.

Thanks for “screening” this book with me folks! Check out this week’s video for my personal screening of this same topic here:


Until next week!

Keep reading(screening?) friends!

Why Should I Read | The Richest Man in Babylon

If you’re like me, you too have tried to “get into” a finance course or personal finance book. You may be  realizing, like I am as well, that a failure to learn good financial principles compounds throughout your life and that not knowing what you’re doing is an incredibly bad idea.

Last week we talked about why stories drive change. This book, The Richest Man in Babylon by George S Clason, presents useful financial principles in story form. I won’t reprint the stories here, so you’ll have to settle for a quick bullet-ed list of the “7 cures for a lean purse.” The audiobook version is $1.95 and only 4 hours long too!

This book was published in 1926 a few years before the great depression. Clason was the owner of a prominent map company and applied the principles he writes about throughout his life.

This small paperback is the seminal work on personal finance and entrepreneurial thinking. These lessons address topics such as avoiding debt, seeking out mentors and protecting assets. The short, allegorical book struck a chord with Depression-era readers, who clamored for its easy-to-read financial advice and wisdom on building wealth.

This book is concise, it delivers financial principles in story form, and it provided a basis for many authors and speakers of the 20th century as they wrote books and delivered seminars on financial success.

You may actually prefer a change of pace from the dry financial tomes that tell us how to pay down debt, buy a home, invest in stocks or other strategies like flipping houses or starting a business. Then the stories of Arkad, Dabasir, and Sharru Nada  set in the exotic gardens of Babylon or the deserts of the Middle east will be a welcome change of pace.

Babylon from above

NASA photo of Euphrates River, along which Babylon grew up.

If that sounds interesting, and you want more than these 7 quick points to overcome being broke we are going to cover, then go get this book on amazon for 4 dollars for a paperback or 1.95 on audiobook.

Think about this for a second, Og Mandino, one of the most successful personal development speakers and authors of the 20th century called this book the greatest text on personal finance and thrift of all time and it’s 1.95 on amazon. The problem isn’t lack of information, people, it’s lack of implementation.

Another personal-achievement expert, Brian Tracy, explained in his book Getting Rich Your Own Way that Clason’s message, despite its age, is still valid today. “The book is a primer on financial success because its principles are simple, direct and effective,” Tracy says.     Pulled from Success Magazine, April 13, 2011

Here are the seven bullet points on overcoming a lean purse from the Richest Man in Babylon.

  1. Set thy purse to fattening
    1. Specifically, hold 10% of your income for your own future.
  2. Control the expenditures
    1. Live on 90% of your income or less and don’t deviate from the budget.
  3. Make thy gold multiply
    1. Straightforward, don’t let it sit there, invest wisely. Parable of servants matt 25.
  4. Guard thy treasures from loss
    1. Invest only where the principle is safe, where it may be reclaimed if desirable, and where you earn reasonable interest. Also seek counsel from wiser heads when investing.
  5. Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment.
    1. Own your home. Here’s the thing, I take issue with this one to some extent but in almost all cases it’s better to own if you can do it without debt.
  6. Insure a future income
    1. Provide in advance for your family and/or retirement
  7. Increase thy ability to earn.
    1. Build your capacity, study and become wiser and more skillful, and act as though you respect yourself.

Those are the 7 cures for a lean purse from The Richest Man in Babylon. The audiobook is 4 hours long and costs less than a cup of coffee. If you can’t handle some Thees and Thous don’t bother, but with experience comes wisdom and many experienced individuals highly recommend this book.

Why Should I Read | Switch

“Many people try dieting religiously, but only stop eating in church.” -Zig Ziglar

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard is the second book from brothers Chip and Dan Heath. Published in 2010, the book starts in a movie theater popcorn bucket, visits malnourished children in Vietnam, pulls out tree stumps in Miner county South Dakota, and even goes drilling for oil with BP.

Why all these stories?

This book takes it’s own advice and lays out a path for individuals seeking to create lasting change in themselves or their own organization. The reason for stories is apparent through each of their three main points.

*Note, I am going to relate each of their three main points to the reason why stories are helpful. However, there is much more depth to this book. Please click this sentence to read an excellent overview of this book on Derek Sivers site, he gave Switch a 9/10*

The brothers Heath begin their excellent treatise on change with an imaginative analogy. They equate the three principles of change within our own minds and environments to a “Rider,” an “Elephant,” and a “Path.”

First a quick explanation. The authors refer to the rational, conscious part of our brain as “The Rider” and the emotional, subconscious part of our brain as “The Elephant.” It follows, then, that “The Path” refers to our surroundings and habits.

So why stories?  “In almost all successful change efforts, the sequence of change is not ANALYZE-THINK-CHANGE, but rather SEE-FEEL-CHANGE (p.106).”

Without stories, life is a series of spreadsheets, bytes, and data points. The realm of machines, efficiency, and errorless judgement.

But we don’t work like that.

Consider this, on the market currently there’s an alarm clock named Clocky that chimes, and then scampers around the room. At 5:45am you need to haul yourself out of bed and hunt Clocky down. I do the same thing, when I actually want to wake up to my alarm, I put my alarm clock on the far side of my room. alarm clock

“Clocky is not a product for a sane species. If Spock wants to get up at 5:45 a.m., he’ll just get up. No drama required (p.6).”

If we didn’t need stories, we could ANALYZE-THINK-CHANGE like Spock and do the logical thing.

Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Sorry, unlikely to happen.

You and I need to SEE-FEEL-CHANGE in order for it to last, and we can use the Rider Elephant and Path to our advantage.

The Rider excels at analyzation and logic but is usually powerless against the Elephant. (Ever been offered a freshly baked chocolate cookie the day after you vowed to eat healthy?). Because of this, we can use our Rider to identify or SEE what’s going on but have to move on to the other two parts to get our act together.

The Elephant, extremely powerful and able to make us FEEL in exceptional ways, nevertheless doesn’t do a great job of thinking through what’s next. For example, social media is increasingly designed to elicit a FEEL response without a lot of follow up. (ever tried to have a logical conversation in Facebook comments?). Stop trying to think with your emotions.

Here’s the kicker, both of those formulas end in CHANGE. 

Yet if us humans try to “Spock” our way to life change we’ll keep hitting snooze because we spent all our time in analyzation, thinking with our emotions and the change we end up with won’t be what we set out to accomplish, it will be whatever comes just a little bit easier.

If we tell good stories, we can recognize and SEE the opportunity, we FEEL connected to the solution because of the story we are telling ourselves, and the CHANGE that results can be more in line with our original intent.

Our lives are designed to fit into narratives, and as human beings we recognize and connect to stories. You and I can use this to our advantage when we want to make change. 

Go check out the book, this is just one aspect of change. 🙂

Best of luck getting out of bed on time, friends! (Plus, Clocky won’t tell stories about you if you decide to rely on him).

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Why Should I Read | Eat That Frog

“If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that it’s probably the worst thing you’ll do all day.

According to Brian Tracy, “eating frogs” is a fun way to refer to overcoming procrastination.

Frog 2

There are 21 practices outlined in this book. All of them are immediately practicable for those interested in being more effective in the time that they have.

Do you fit this description?

If so, you may be looking for the “5 Easy Steps to Get More Done.”

I know I’ve clicked those articles before hoping there was some shortcut.

However, the one habit that could outshine all the others in the book may be the toughest of them all.

Here it is, start every work day by doing the most difficult task first.


Implementing this habit rids your day of procrastination.

As an interesting aside, the psychology of procrastinating is a fascinating topic. Here are two links, first to a fun Ted talk (Instant Gratification Monkey!), and second, a PsychologyToday article titled 10 Things to Know About Procrastination.

So to develop this habit, Tracy says there are seven steps that combine to maximize your capacity to scarf down that big, ugly frog first thing in the morning.

  1. Written List. This is a pre-emptive habit, ending your day or week by writing down what needs to happen the next time you start gets your subconscious mind aware of the next challenge to be faced.
  2. Reprioritization. The list you have has a number of first priorities, identifying them, and  using the 80/20 rule to identify what is the highest value for the effort. This is the first point in this week’s video.
  3. The choice. Select a single task that is among your highest priorities and has the most serious potential consequences from either getting it done or being left undone.
  4. Assembly. Still the day or week before, you’ll want to gather the information or tools you’ll need and put them where you can get started right away the next morning.
  5. Workspace. The final preparation piece beforehand, you clear your workspace so that it is only you and your frog.
  6. Discipline. This aspect is simply a willpower exercise, but if it is the first challenge of the day, your willpower hasn’t been depleted yet by distractions.
  7. 21 days. Tracy writes that if one will do these 7 steps every day for 21 straight days you will literally double your productivity in less than a month.

The way in which this chapter of the book ends is certainly motivating to me, and I hope it is to you too.

Develop the habit of doing the most difficult task first and you’ll never look back. You’ll become one of the most productive people of your generation.

So what frog are you going to eat?

Frog 1

Have you seen the video on this book? Click Here.

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Why Should I Read | The Fifth Discipline

Have you ever been scalded in the shower?

If you’re like me, you’ve pushed the handle all the way down to get the water to “heat up faster.”

I tend to get impatient and hop in the shower while it is still freezing cold, which generally results in me pushing the handle even further towards that red “H.

As soon as I get done gasping from the cold, I feel two drops of perfect temperature splash on my face before the water gushes out at what seems to be 170 degrees.


shower hand

Quickly pushing the handle back to cold, I try to avoid the streams of water, until the water gets back to frigid again. Then it’s a delicate dance of adjustments of the handle until I find the happy medium between skin-burning steam bath and ice cubes hurtling out of the shower head at me.

The lag time in the shower controls, and my groggy, early morning endeavors to adjust it with limited feedback is a great example of a system in play. Not only that, it demonstrates a system where the components are independent and the cause does not immediately turn to effect.

Peter Senge wrote The Fifth Discipline so that individuals who encounter problems in their organizations would first of all have the tools to understand what he calls “dynamic complexity” and be able to overcome challenges through the five disciplines, culminating in the final one, “Systems Thinking.”

The topic of “Systems Thinking” is what ties the five disciplines together into a full theory of the the “Learning Organization.” I know a number of engineers with a specialty in systems engineering and they have been immersed for years. For the rest of us, the concept of thinking of the world not as a series of unrelated events but a dynamic and complex system is a deep subject.

This one minute video from Peter Senge deftly sums up “Systems Thinking” in two words, connections and consequences. 

So why is this concept new to many? First of all, most of our traditional education process was based around the word “Analysis.”


  1. detailed examination of the elements or structure of something, typically as a basis for discussion or interpretation.
  2. the process of separating something into its constituent elements.

Nary a complex whole in sight! We constantly break things down to their base in order to learn them, and that is appropriate in many cases.

For example, remember learning to read? Breaking down ideas to their words and letters, learning them, then working your way up to ideas.

How about learning to drive? That’s a complex whole if there ever was one. Our society approaches it by teaching us first to learn specific functions, taking tests in a classroom, learning the various signs that we may encounter.

I’m not arguing that these methods are not effective, but they are a certain way of understanding processes. If we are to understand vastly complex systems, say the climate or changing the economy, we need to move beyond isolating a single action and assigning it undue weight during consideration.

Immediately on pg. 7 of the book Senge states of our situation as humans: “we tend to focus on snapshots of isolated parts of the system, and wonder why our deepest problems never seem to get solved.” He goes on, “Systems thinking is a conceptual framework… to make the full patterns clearer, and to help us see how to change them effectively.”

This idea of “Systems Thinking” goes well beyond business dilemmas, though that is what is covered in the book. I gave a quick overview of the five disciplines here in this video:

As covered in the second half of the video, there is a correct way and a less effective way to interact with systems. The natural effects of a system must be dealt with when trying to fix the situation.

If you’re highly interested in “Systems Thinking,” I strongly recommend this book. If you’re marginally interested in this topic, congratulations for reading this far! Here are a couple links that may be of interest.

How have you noticed systems at work in the world?

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Chapters of Life


Sometimes it hits you.

After 5 years, my time with TeenPact Leadership School has come to a close.


If you look back on your life you can identify different turning points that changed things profoundly for you even if they didn’t seem so significant in the moment. When I packed up for a week of government class in 2010 with some friends I never thought that things could change so much.

TeenPact, as I’ve written before is an organization that does a number of things. The 2014 season is the 20th year that TeenPact has been in existence, a ministry that formed in Georgia in 1994 after a prayer meeting in the basement of the capitol building. Over the years, the ministry has expanded to serving thousands of individuals in 40 states- their mission is this:

Our mission is to train youth to understand the political process, value their liberty, defend the christian faith and engage the culture at a time in their lives when, typically, they do not care about such things.

Just a week ago, I returned from Alaska where I had spent 11 days with the Alaska State TeenPact Class. This was a phenomenal experience with which to finish my time with TeenPact. The scenery was beautiful. This is Lake Eagle and Lake Symphony in Chugach State Park near Eagle River Alaska- this shot was 6.3 miles from the trailhead- totally worth the hike.


The new friendships I made were great, and the old friendships I had already were strengthened. Danny Sullivan our Program Director for the week and myself.


We had some fun extracurricular activities too (hiking, climbing, flying, sledding, picture taking, etc)








But all good things must come to an end. I am so thankful for the opportunities that I’ve had with TeenPact but the week had to come to a close.

The Alaska state class was the final class to finish the 20th season of the TeenPact state classes


TeenPact has taught me many things and I’ve changed immensely since 2010 when I was first involved.

One big thing that I’ve taken with me through time with TeenPact is a mindset of not losing opportunities.

With the fast-paced nature of a TeenPact class there are rare times that are not jammed with activity in the 4 day class. With a spiritual focus that overarches the entire week, one must as Ephesians 5:16 says:

making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

As we go through our time, whether at an event or simply living our everyday lives we need to be entirely aware of the opportunities that are passing by each of us. We can choose to take them or to let them slide. In a situation like TeenPact, the time is short and urgency helps to spur one on to action.

Yet so many times we blaze through time, a week, a day, an hour without capitalizing on the opportunities that were presented to us. This is something that pricks me, the value of time.

Our time is precious, and we dare not waste it on things that are outside our scope of purpose in life. This doesn’t mean that we never waste time, just that we must be aware of the fact that we have limited opportunity to make a difference.

This is not a Carpe Diem motivational post though, don’t seize opportunity for opportunity’s sake. Evaluate the chances based on your foundation, mine is the Bible, and take the path of the most impact for the Kingdom of Heaven.

So, while being bummed that my time with TeenPact as a traveling staff member is completed. I know that I took the opportunity to pour into those that were around me. Hopefully pointing others back to Christ.

I urge you to take your opportunities.


For those of you perhaps wondering what’s next for me, I am continuing my college studies with CollegePlus! and getting more excited by the day to invest part of my summer with Summit Ministries as a summer staff member. I’ll be out there from July 16-August 30th. If you haven’t yet, familiarize yourself with this ministry- their work is absolutely phenomenal.

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What are you doing with your Life?

What are you going to do?

Where are you going to college?

What kind of job are you going to have?

What are you going to do with your life?

If you’ve ever gotten sick of listening to people ask you these questions. You’re totally normal. Don’t worry, everyone ends up with these type of questions at some point in their life.

The good news is that there is a good way to answer. The answer isn’t in full, you won’t have a complete answer until you are done with your life. And that is good.

There is a very simple Three step Process that answers a lot of these questions. That process is simple, but it is not necessarily easy.

The simple process is this:

Define —> Learn —> Do 

In a short summary, the way it works goes like this. Define what you want, whether that is lifestyle, income, legacy, relationships, contributions, etc. Learn how to get that from someone who has that type of result in life. And Finally, go and do what they tell you to do.

Like I said, this process is simple but not easy. There are hundreds of ways to mess this process up. Only three steps! And yet it is contrary to what so many people tell you or ask you. Go check out those four questions that we started out with and notice that not one of them start with the first step in the process! If you don’t start with Defining what or where you are headed, how will you know who to learn from or what to do?

I think it is ridiculous how much pressure is put on young people to make decisions about the third step in the process with little to no thought put to the first two steps!

So what now? How can we remedy this? Why would I tell you about the Define —> Learn —> Do process and leave you hanging?

One tool that I have recently come across is a great book called PAiLS by Chris Brady. I read this book about a week ago, it was so chock full of truth that I read through it in only a couple days.


PAiLS is an acronym for P.otential & A.ctualization i.nto L.egacy & S.pillage. I won’t spoil the book for you, but each of us has potential to be great in our own way that we implement through actualization into our enduring legacy (with some missed opportunities becoming spillage). This can be easily visualized as a Potential pail pouring out into a Legacy Pail.

“Becoming all you can be will require all that you are.” -Chris Brady

So as we consider Defining our life, a concept from PAiLS is valuable. The idea from Brady that life is lived out in layers! This youtube video by Chris Brady (Click Here) goes into Layer idea for about 10 minutes and is a good overview of the concept.

This can be a great introduction for one to understand that simply answering the question of “Are you going to _____ college?” isn’t enough planning for their future. There needs to be two previous steps, first to understand if College is going to provide a pathway to the life you wants and second to see if those that you’ll learn from have the results that they are teaching about. And that is only one of the questions…. to find out what you’ll do, you have some other things to think about first.

“Our greatest fear should not be that we won’t succeed, but rather that we will succeed at something that doesn’t matter.”   – D.L. Moody.

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Learning to be Heroes

You can define a society by the heroes it keeps. You can also define a person by the heroes he or she keeps. Who are your heroes? Who are you modeling yourself after?  -Jeff Olson The Slight Edge

As individuals strive to be what we are created to be there are different avenues to pursue. Specifically there are three pathways of learning: #1 Learning by study, #2 Learning by Doing and #3 Learning from a Mentor.

#1 Learning by Study (Book Smarts).

This is the kind of learning that we commonly think of. Books, CD’s, Seminars, all things that I am passionate about because of the power of learning that they have! As we invest our time listening to a positive audio, perhaps even while doing something else, our brain can process that learning. Also, like we talked about in a previous post, the small actions add up to big results. This principle works in all areas, Reading 10 pages a day and listening to 15-30 minutes of audio for information is a simple thing to do. It’s unfortunately easy not to do as well. But the results are tremendous over time! 10 pages a day turns into a book a Month. 1 hour of audio a day on a certain subject after a year means you are in the top 5% of the world educated on that subject. Simply because there is no better way to take in information than our eyes and ears, this method of Learning has been championed. Seminars bring in, hopefully, the third type of learning so we will move on to pathway #2.

#2 Learning by Doing (Street Smarts).

If you’ve ever started a new job you understand this process. Our minds function in such a way that after a time of learning by study, we have a pressure to apply what we learned. Try listening to an audio of a leader talking about the benefits of a good attitude and then you’ll be able to, as Cassie Birtles says “Catch a grump off guard with kindness.” This is a FUN way of learning too! It feels good to put into practice the values that one has in their heart. There comes a time when book learning reaches a tip-over point and that knowledge has to be put into practice.

As a valuable aside here, putting a new discipline or concept into practice means that you will fail. Yes. I said it, you will fail. And this is good! the opposite of success is not failure, the opposite of success is quitting. Failure offers an invaluable opportunity for learning.

If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.  -Thomas J. Watson

If you still don’t believe me on this one, think on this quote by Wayne Gretzky:

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

At my current job in a restaurant, we mention certain promotions to each customer. I’ve found that only be doubling my failure rate (by talking to more customers) can I get a higher rate of results.

#3 Learning from a Mentor

There is a lot I could say about learning from a mentor, but Jeff Olson goes into this topic pretty heavily in The Slight Edge and is very concise.

Take a look at who your heroes are- write down a list and examine it. Ask yourself, “Can I become like them? Are these people doing the kinds of things that I aspire to do and living the kinds of lives that I aspire to live? Can they really help me become who I want to become? pg 151 in The Slight Edge

You are who you associate with most. Be very aware of the philosophy, values, income, and accomplishments of those that you hang out with the most.

You can read more about The Friends Effect on

Success has a lot to do with the learning that takes place before the action actually happens.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. -Abe Lincoln

The Three types of Learning are all necessary to become what you aspire to accomplish. Book smarts and Street smarts are great, but they are catalyzed and accelerated by finding mentors and friends that spur you on.

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