Lazy Town

Ever have one of those days (or several days) where you can’t bring yourself to be productive, or as productive as you’d like? Happens to me constantly. Some days I’ll feel like I am on a roll, others it’s a struggle to get off my ass to perform basic functions (like eating and defecating).

Somewhat ironically to me, even though I think this is a common phenomenon, I am least productive on my most free days. When I have nothing going on work-wise, I would like to think I can use all that time to work on personal projects. But sometimes it just doesn’t happen. I’ll make some progress here and there, but not nearly as much as I would like, which then can lead to guilt, and a decrease in motivation. On the flip-side, sometimes when I know I have a full day ‘s scheduled, I am more efficient and productive with my time, and can focus on projects, both work and personal for their allotted times. Sometimes I get more done in thirty minutes on a busy day than I do in an hour of a open day.

Some days my lack of productivity is the result of something occupying my mind, usually something that I am looking forward to. Interestingly, other days that same thing can cause me to be hyper-productive. It seems to be a matter of how I direct my energy. If I dwell on that future “reward” and let it completely consume me, I am unproductive. However, if I use the “reward” as a motivator and distract myself with tasks and projects, I get more done and time goes by faster and I get “rewarded” faster.

It’s funny how I always look forward to days where I can do nothing, but those days often make me feel terrible. Whereas busy, productive days make me feel fulfilled, confident, motivated, and useful.


The Magic-est of Mountains

This is somewhat of an appendix to yesterday’s post, specifically the idea of it being better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

My friend Aaron once asked (from a book of questions) if I’d rather live a turbulent life, with really low lows, but really high highs, or a static life, where I was moderately happy all the time. At the time I opted for the static one, thinking it to be the safer and more practical of the two. Looking back I definitely would change my answer, and to be honest, I have no idea what possessed me to choose static in the first place.

Of course it’s all hypothetical, and one probably could make a compelling argument for either case, but I’m at a point in my life where I think all situations good or bad, are ultimately good, or rather can lead to good. The lows helps us avoid complacency, and helps us better appreciate the good. The lows allow us to learn and to grow. Without lows we’d all just a bunch of dumb rocks, but at least rocks have no capacity for intelligence so wouldn’t be expected to be anything else. Actually, one could argue that makes them perfect. In fact, yes! We should all aspire to, like rocks and vegetables, achieve our own individual potentials, and the only way to do that is to fuel our potential-chariot with the coals of our failure and sadness.

….sorry that got a little out of hand….

But relationships and love to play a big part in that. There is always something to be learned from a relationship regardless of the outcome, and with the right mindset, loving recklessly and unapologetically can only increase your capacity to love and be loved.

Happy (Belated) Valentine’s Day

This was meant to be a Valentine’s Day post but I had some issues with the site which ironically kept me from posting for two days after a post about writing every day… so without further ado, here is the V-Day Special. 

Next up on phrase interpretation/ dissection, “Never Settle,” specifically in the context of relationships.

Disclaimer: I have spent the majority of my 23 years on earth single, which could mean either a great deal or very little depending on who you ask.

There is a certain restlessness to this phrase that to me is consistent with today’s culture. I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting the best for ourselves, but do I feel like we all have an idea of what our we want in a relationship or in an significant other, but often that doesn’t image line up perfectly with reality. There is a tendency to pass up good opportunities in relationship or otherwise because we have this idea in our heads that somewhere out there is something better. We often get caught up in looking to the next best thing rather than what is right in front of us.

Here’s a list of thing you might consider settling for:

Settle for someone who makes you feel loved just as you are, but somehow also makes you want to be the best possible version of yourself.

Settle for someone who makes your feel like your love is enough.

Settle for someone who doesn’t make you feel like you need to compromise your values or your integrity to be with them.

Settle for someone who makes you want to wake up at 5am everyday just so you can see their face.

Settle for someone who makes you want to fix your bed in the morning.

Settle for someone who doesn’t mind your cheesy compliments.

Ok yea, so this is not a low bar to settle for, but again I never said it should be. If someone makes you “feel some type-o-way” as the kids say, see where it goes, ’cause I also think that people use “never settle” as an excuse to not pursue something out of fear. Don’t be every be afraid to love someone, especially for fear that they won’t love you back, or that things might not work out. I am a huge subscriber of the idea that is is better to have loved and lost that not to have loved at all. And genuine love in any form can only make the world brighter.


It’s About the Practice

As I’ve said before, I am going to try to write every day. For me, a big part of why I want to do this is just to get into a habit of creating something every day. My posts tend to be about random things I think about. While I’m proud of what I write as creations, I am not always super happy with the execution or with some of the details. By doing it every day, even if I’m not feeling it, or if I’m not satisfied with what I wrote, I am trying to become comfortable with that fear that so often holds me back.

I want to be ok with This might not work and People might not like this and This probably sounds stupid; all those little thoughts that stop me from actually doing. And when I’m done, I get a sense of accomplishment that helps motivate me to keep creating and to be more productive (even if no one else really even sees what I make).

What’s your practice? What is something you do or can do every day that you can take ownership of that could help you feel and be better?

Introversion / Extroversion

Whether because of our biology or because of culture, we as humans love to categorize stuff. We like to organize and generalize and put things in boxes so that it’s quicker and easier to think about them. Perhaps more than anything else, we love to do this with other humans.

Race, nationality, gender, sex, Myers-Briggs personality types, astrological signs, enneagrams; there are so many ways by which we try to fit individuals into boxes so that we can make assumptions about them without actually knowing anything about them. And while I think there is some merit to some of these classifications, their presence also has some potentially destructive consequences, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Anyways, I want to talk specifically about the designation of a person being an introvert vs an extrovert. I’ll start by saying that I do think these are real observable classifications, a person can be introverted or extraverted. However, I don’t think that the classification is an innate quality.

At least for this, I tend to fall on the nurture side of things (though as with probably everything, there’s at least a bit of both). Often I hear that the designation depends on “where you get your energy,” either from being with others or being alone. For a long time I considered myself an extroverted introvert; I could turn “it” on when I want to and be outwardly extraverted, but at the end of the day or if it goes on too long I’ll shutdown and retreat into myself.

Over the past year I have really had to push the limits of my extroversion, and have actually enjoyed doing so. I’ve come to think that introverts are actually just extroverts in denial. Deep down, most if not all, people crave connection, they crave community and belonging. However, interacting with other people is seriously hard. And because it’s hard, we fail at it more than we succeed. We have awkward silences where we feel like someone needs to say something; we say something that we shouldn’t have (or think we shouldn’t have); we come up with the perfect witty response a little to late for it to be relevant; we say a joke that falls completely flat. There is no shortage of perceived social shortcomings and so it’s no surprise that people want to hide away by themselves after being subjected such internal torment.

I just listened to Conan’s latest podcast with Stephen Colbert and they both talk about how energizing it is to have a good crowd and how demoralizing it is to have a bad one (they also talk about a bunch of other stuff that I think is really meaningful so check it out). Both in some way expressed how a good crowd, that makes them feel affirmed and heard, puts them on top of the world, while a bad crowded, that makes them feel separate and “other,” makes them want to quit their jobs. To me this is just social interaction on steroids.

“Extroverts” and “introverts” are subject to the same torment, where they differ is in their attitudes toward that torment. In my experience extroverts embrace tend to embrace it, whereas introverts deny and avoid it. Personally, I would proclaim myself to be in introvert because I wanted there to be an innate, unchangeable reason as to why I was socially awkward. I always admired extroverts because I sought social connection, but lacked the “gene” for it. In pushing myself to interact with others over the past several years, and especially this last year, I’ve noticed my perspective on my interactions shifting. Making a connection with another person is a privilege and it’s energizing. There are times at work when I manage to truly connect with someone, and have an amazing and productive conversation. That there is the “paycheck.” More frequently there are times when I try to connect and fail miserably, leaving me despondent. Those moments, those possibilities of utter failure, are what make interacting so hard. But keeping with the theme that I feel like I touch on constantly, when something is challenging that usually that means you are heading in the right direction.

A Case for Curiosity

I just read a paper on curiosity in medicine. It’s relatively short and I definitely recommend reading it if you get a chance. Essentially the author is saying that curiosity makes for a being better physician. I’ve always thought curiosity to be among the most valuable of ideals, and seeing it in the context of clinical practice was refreshing and encouraging for me. Medicine has a reputation of being primarily based on precision and cold, hard facts, but even in medicine, curiosity can be the difference between the good and the exceptional.

Curiosity is not a singular ideal though. One cannot be genuinely curious without also being humble, inquisitive, and tenacious. And the author of the article argues that being curious can make you more empathetic and caring (or at least makes you seem like it). If you care about something or if you want to figure out a solution to a problem you need to ask questions about it, you need to be curious. If you want to know what another person is experiencing, ask them about it (don’t say you can relate or that you understand), and not only will you get some insight into their experience thereby increasing your capacity for empathy, but you will likely be perceived to be more caring and empathetic.

So does curiosity lead to empathy, or does empathy lead to curiosity….. maybe they both lead to each other….. I don’t think it really matters. That being said I am a strong believer that curiosity is something that can be trained, taught, and strengthened, (and more easily than empathy) and the world would be a better place if we all practiced a little more of it.



I feel like I’m a bit all over the place with this one, at least more than usual, so I apologize. I would still love to know you thought though 🙂

Combating Complacency

Complacency looks different depending on where you are.

In driving, it’s not using your blinkers or wearing your seatbelt.

In the morning, it’s not making your bed.

In the bathroom, it’s rinsing your hands for 2 seconds instead of washing (or not washing at all).

In school, its rote memorization and studying (or teaching) to the test.

It’s not vaccinating your kids; it’s using social media as your “sources”; it’s forgetting your P’s and Kyou’s; etc.

When things become routine, when we start getting comfortable, when we take things for granted, we tend to forget to mind the basic, but important details. Don’t get me wrong, habit and routine are extremely valuable, but I think it’s important to check-in every once in a while to take a look at where we are going.

I’ve been giving into complacency in some of my obligations, but I’m trying to course-correct. For me fighting complacency is finding new ways to interact and connect with guests at the museum and patients on the streets; it’s being on-time with my commitments; it’s double checking and keeping my schedule; the list goes on. If I want to grow and develop I need to constantly be creating and innovating; complacency is in diametric opposition to that end.

What does complacency look like in your life? And what does it look like to fight it?

Dream Project

One of my dream projects, perhaps when I’m retired, would be to create my own museum. It would all about the human body, and would take guests through an Osmosis Jones × Magic School Bus-esque tour through different organs and organ systems throughout the body.

There are so many characteristics and functions of the body that are complex, but can be understood and observed in other contexts. I had some really amazing teachers throughout my academic career who made it easy to understand big ideas through relatable and simple comparisons, and once I was able to make those connections I would get super excited about the subject. The goal of my museum would be to evoke similar feelings in my guests. And coming up with creative ways to showcase how amazingly complicated, but reducible, the body is sounds like a lot of fun.

What’s your dream project?

Party Culture

Potentially unpopular opinion: contemporary party culture sucks.

I feel like there is some unspoken understanding that says the best nights of your life are the ones you don’t remember. There is a certain pride that goes with drinking alcohol to a point where you are no longer physically or mentally capable to function. Isn’t that kind of sad? We define some of the best moments of our lives as those that we can’t even remember what happened, what we did, who we were with, and how we felt. And then we relive and piece together those memories using 5 second clips on Snapchat and Instagram. If I am at a party, why do some friends insist that I black out or otherwise end up incapacitated. Why am I suddenly a lame-o if I would rather share a meaningful experience with people I care about instead of testing the limits of my metabolism (I have some ideas why, but maybe it’s too soon). I’m not claiming to be above any of this nor am I trying to tell anyone how to live their life, but I am trying to point out how ridiculous it kind of is.

All that being said if a certain lifestyle makes you happy, and I mean truly happy, then more power to you. If you resonate with any of this, where do we go from here. If you disagree or are upset by any of this, why do you think that is? Perhaps this has less to do with a culture of partying and more with culture of escapism. Everything feels better when we can forget about our problems, our anxieties, our fears, and our responsibilities, but there has to be, and are, better, less destructive ways to do that. Forgetting and avoiding is the easy way, but doesn’t fix anything; confronting and resolving, is much harder, but may fix everything. Pick your poison.

Thoughts on “The Spiderman Paradox”

In one of Seth’s recent posts, he talked about the famous Uncle Ben saying, “With great power, comes great responsibility,” and how rather than embracing their power, people end up repressing it in fear of the responsibility that goes with it.

Once again that theme of fear as the great inhibitor comes up. We’re afraid to stand out, afraid to make a change, afraid to challenge the status quo, because to do any of those things is to become vulnerable. By making a choice to be different we open ourselves up to scrutiny and to blame if things don’t work out the way we hoped. Or perhaps even more frightening, if things might turn out exactly as we hoped, then we are expected to take on more responsibility with a proportionately increased expectation to succeed. Win or lose, action comes with that burden, all we need to do is accept it. Fortunately, I think taking responsibility for one’s own actions is almost universally respected (which kinda makes me think about certain groups/ individuals who I have little respect for who want all the power and none of the responsibility). And to refuse that responsibility is to give in to powerlessness and inaction, at which point you are basically a vegetable. But even vegetables do as much as they can given their circumstance, so you’d actually be doing less than a vegetable. Think about that…