Learning to be Bored

Learning to be Bored

My senior year of college I lived with three of my good friends in an old house in Albany, NY. The three of them had bedrooms upstairs and mine was downstairs. One day, I walked out of my room and saw one of my roommates sitting on a burgundy loveseat we called the “murder chair” because of its crimson hue. Continue reading “Learning to be Bored”

Social Media: Where I Post What and Why

Social Media: Where I Post What and Why

Like many people my age, my first experience with social media was MySpace. Technically, AOL chat rooms were before that, but that wasn’t really social media. I would only chat with individual people (chat rooms were a mess) and the anonymity of a screen name stopped me from posting anything too personal.

I posted inconsistently on MySpace. It wasn’t until I migrated to Facebook in 2005 that I started consistently putting my life online for the world to see. Back then the wall was a huge text block that anyone could edit and I didn’t worry about privacy because the only people on Facebook were my college friends.

Over time Facebook grew and I became “friends” with family members, coworkers, people I met at conferences and old classmates. Whenever I posted things to Facebook I would overthink it, trying to think about who is going to see it and what they’re going to think.

As a result, I left Facebook for a few months. In that time, I discovered Twitter and Reddit, where I could connect with people who had shared interests. I ultimately returned to Facebook, but now what I post there is very different. My life is spread out online in the following way: Continue reading “Social Media: Where I Post What and Why”

Using Vacations to become Resensitized

Using Vacations to become Resensitized

Growing up as a Catholic, one of my favorite parts of the faith was Lent. During this period, Catholics choose something to deny themselves for 40 days in preparation for Easter, when we celebrate Christ’s resurrection.

Like a lot of Catholics, I started by giving up the obvious things like chocolate and other treats. However, the most impactful Lent I ever had was when I gave up cursing. I love to curse (did then, do now), so it was a meaningful decision. What I didn’t realize until a couple of weeks into my decision was how sensitive I would become to other people cursing. Continue reading “Using Vacations to become Resensitized”

An Open Letter to the 1,000 Job Applicants I’ve Rejected

An Open Letter to the 1,000 Job Applicants I’ve Rejected

I’ve been working as a recruiter for the last year and a half. In that time, I’ve rejected over 1,000 people who have applied for jobs. There are a small number of people who we have given feedback to, but the grand majority of folks get rejected and never find out why.

Here’s a chance for me to speak back to you all.

Before I begin, let me say that I don’t speak for my organization. I don’t speak for all recruiters. My experience is my own so I can only speak for myself. Continue reading “An Open Letter to the 1,000 Job Applicants I’ve Rejected”

The Parable of the Old Man and the Icy Trail

The Parable of the Old Man and the Icy Trail

An hour north of New York City there is a small town called Cold Spring. Many people from the big city like to hike in the areas surrounding the small town because of how easy it is to access from the local commuter rail.

One day, a man from the big city decided to go hiking the day after a rainfall. The weather would keep away many of the people who would usually hike on a Saturday morning, leaving the man all the room he needs to reconnect with nature and himself.

He decided to take the big loop, a nine-mile trail that had beautiful views of the Hudson River halfway through where he could stop and eat his lunch.

It was winter and there were patches of ice throughout the trail, but the day after the rainfall was unusually warm so the man didn’t worry about it. Continue reading “The Parable of the Old Man and the Icy Trail”

Looking Back on 9 Projects I’ve Abandoned (including this blog)

Looking Back on 9 Projects I’ve Abandoned (including this blog)

My wife and I wrote our own wedding vows. One of the biggest laugh lines in hers was, “I will support you in your many hobbies.”

It was well known among my family and friends that I was a serial dabbler. I experimented widely with interests in games like poker and chess, endurance races, writing projects, cooking, and all sorts of other things. The rate of new hobbies has slowed in recent years as I have settled in on activities that truly interest me and have abandoned those that haven’t.

In the interest of reflecting on my own experiences, here is a list of my nine favorite abandoned projects. (NOTE: Many of these projects still interest me, so I reserve the right to bring them back to life.) Continue reading “Looking Back on 9 Projects I’ve Abandoned (including this blog)”

Learning Chess Taught me how to Predict People’s Behavior

Learning Chess Taught me how to Predict People’s Behavior

I’ve been playing chess on and off since middle school. The ancient Indian game of kings and queens has taught me a lot of lessons, but the most useful off the board has been the ability to predict how people will behave.

When I was first getting serious about chess, I found that one of the most useful exercises I could do to improve my game was replaying old grandmasters’ games. The key was that before every move I would think to myself, “What would I do in this situation? Why?” Then, I would see what the grandmaster would do and if it didn’t match up, I’d try and figure out why they made those moves.

The act of comparing my expected result with the actual result helped me refine my sense of how these players thought. When playing against people in real life, I would extend this exercise to notice how their body language was associated with their moves on the board. Were they sitting forward or back? One could be a sign of aggression and the other of hesitation. These simple observations helped me make crude models of where that person was and how they are likely to react to the way that I play. Continue reading “Learning Chess Taught me how to Predict People’s Behavior”

How I Learned to Stop Bullshitting Myself

How I Learned to Stop Bullshitting Myself

About a year ago I was on a crowded New York City subway on my way back from work listening to The Art of Charm, when I heard something that broke me.

The guest said, “How can you be honest with other people when you aren’t even honest with yourself.” I started thinking about they ways in which I wasn’t being fully honest with myself and my thoughts landed on my calendar. My calendar was a reflection of the intended on doing, but was doing less of every day. I wasn’t exercising before work like it said I did. I wasn’t going to events after work like the app detailed. This misalignment was indicative of larger misalignments in my life, ways in which I was claiming to live one way and was actually living another.  Continue reading “How I Learned to Stop Bullshitting Myself”

Six months ago I set out to be more intuitive. Here’s how it’s going. 

Six months ago I set out to be more intuitive. Here’s how it’s going. 

For the last handful of years, my wife and our close friends have gotten together to ring in the new year. We reflect on the year that has passed and share our thoughts for the upcoming year. For some people they take the form of a resolution. For the last few years, I’ve given up on the ideas of resolutions and started thinking in terms of yearly themes instead.

When I set resolutions, I would be like most people and lose focus on it as the year progressed. Then I got really good at achieving my resolutions, but I would have all this extra time and would lose focus on maintaining what I’ve gained.

Having themes has allowed me to think more broadly about how I’m viewing my life and keep me motivated when I achieve goals. Here have been my themes for the last few years (including this year and next): Continue reading “Six months ago I set out to be more intuitive. Here’s how it’s going. “

I Hold my Stress in my Stomach, I Hold my Strength in my Limbs

I Hold my Stress in my Stomach, I Hold my Strength in my Limbs

When I am anxious, sad, or emotional, those feelings concentrate in my stomach and emirate outward toward my chest. It feels like there is a giant corkscrew inside of me and it’s slowly turning, wrapping up my intestines like spaghetti around a fork. 

When I’m feeling really good, those feelings start in my fingertips and toes and grows like roots across my limbs. I can feel the ligaments and sinews in my arms and legs stretch with delight in being their full selves. 

When I don’t know how I feel, I drop into my body. It always knows.