Tetris like Life

    If Tetris has taught me anything, it's that errors pile up and accomplishments disappear.


    Mana (@damana) August 4, 2011

    This quote has been sitting in my drafts for as long as I can remember. My day job has been kept me really busy prior to a quick family vacation earlier this week and an upcoming work trip next week. I ran across this quote again and it seemed like the perfect thing to share.

    I am sure we can all relate to this quote as it seems like everyone always remembers when we missed something or made a mistake. It isn't that no one celebrates the wins and successes in our lives as well but most of the time those are short-lived and don't come around as often as we like.

    Go out and Create Something

    Looking for some motivation today? I might have something for you as I too was looking for motivation.

    Looking back through the many draft posts and odd saved internet findings. As I read through it now after not reading this quote for 3-4 years I am reminded how true it is. Simple yet true. I think back to where I was 1, 2, or even 10 years ago and most of what has made me to this point are what I have taken in from the world.

    You are the books you read, the films you watch, the music you listen to, the people you meet, the dreams you have, the conversations you engage in. You are what you take from these. You are the sound of the ocean, the breath of fresh air, the brightest light and the darkest corner.

    You are a collective of every experience you have had in your life. You are every single second of every single day. So drown yourself in a sea of knowledge and existence. Let the words run through your veins and let the colors fill your mind until there is nothing left to do but explode. There are no wrong answers. Inspiration is everything. Sit back, relax, and take it all in.

    Now, go out and create something.

    Jac Vanek

    The morning sun is when I feel the most creative mostly because you can’t beat a beautiful sunrise (October 2018, Carver Park Reserve, Victoria, MN)

    One Decision

    When you stop and think about it, one decision is all it takes. The list of what that decision might have been or could be a number of different things.  For example, your job, family, friends, or finances to name a few common ones.

    "You're always only one decision away from a totally different life"


    I really like that quote as it does ring true for myself and probably many of you. Well, at least the thought that a decision we made previously might have led us down a different path which then causes us to stop and think. However, other times it is something small that came and went. In fact, every day you are faced with some sort of decision that will lead you to the path you are today and not to the path you maybe could be on.

    One of the reasons I like that quote above is circling back to the life you want. You might think things haven’t turned out like you had hoped it would or you wish you would have done something different in your past. I am as guilty as the next person and I keep going back to things I maybe should have done or shouldn't have done. I am trying to get away from that as it isn't really healthy as you never really know what would have happened because you might have still chosen a different path again and been worse off.

    Small Steps Forward

    If you think about that quote again and think of it as making life choices to move towards a goal you would like. What is a small step you could take to move yourself to where you would like to be? You just need to start changing habits or creating habits that will move you to your life goal. That is the best place to start instead of thinking about what you might have missed out on because of the choices you made.

    While writing this I was reminded of a video Anthony Ongaro at Break the Twitch published which ties in nicely with this topic and is called One Small Change That Creates Massive Results. Check it out and follow his work for more great nuggets of information.

    How has it worked for me?

    For me personally, I tried to do this last year and I will say for 9 months of this year I failed at the approach of small steps as I was taking too many small steps in too many different areas of my life which resulted in ZERO changes. However, about 2 months ago I spent some time really thinking about what I wanted my future to look like. Not necessarily the big dream future as I have always tried to think about it previously but just looking out a couple months to a year for things like family vacations, job, and fitness.

    Second attempt

    Fitness and vacation goals were easy to think about but the execution in those required focus on a day in and day out basis. This is where breaking those things down into little bits I could tackle has really paid dividends. Really it was making small decisions of prioritizing if I wanted to move to my goals of vacation and fitness or put my resources (time/money) into something else.

    *It takes small steps to reach the top or your goal. Take your time step by step.*

    For careers, this is a more difficult task as it isn't something that can be changed instantly as you are more than likely not going to quit your job today and hope for the best. For me this probably too a lot more energy thinking about as I know what I am doing today isn’t necessarily what I want to be doing in 5-10 years from now. So instead of just trying to shoot for the stars now, I had to think about what is either holding me in my current role or preventing me from getting into another role or a similar role at another company. The answer was easier than I thought but one that is oftentimes hard to feel like you can accomplish… Money and Experience!

    This is where starting to take small steps today like saving more money as changes in careers might have you moving from a higher salary to a lower one initially. So making sure you can have more in the bank and in turn live off less will help make that move more achievable when the opportunity presents itself.

    Gaining more experience can be more challenging depending on if you are changing careers or just wanting a similar role at another company. Either way, you probably need to get more experience or else you would already be in that new role. In both cases this can come from volunteering, experimenting on your own time, or trying to see if you can gain more skills for your next role in your current role.

    As you can see from a career standpoint, it is definitely a bigger hill to climb but the process of taking small steps towards and the end goal of what you want is how you have to ultimately start it.

    Final thoughts

    What keeps me moving is making sure I make decisions based on what I value or believe in as well as trying to stay positive. Knowing whatever decision I make I will own and do my best to keep the ball moving towards my goal based on my values. I know if I do that I will less likely keep wondering what if as I will have better reasons and purpose behind the path I choose.

    Crash! Asphalt 1 - Eric 0

    I had a great post for you a couple of weeks back I was in a slump about running and getting motivated to get out and run every morning.  I was thinking now that I am back at it 100% and fully motivated it would be a great time to share but then this happened this morning:

    *Sometimes the ground wins*

    That picture was taken well after the run, a painful shower, and three bandage changes later.  Though that wasn’t it as I really twisted my ankle and have a couple bruised ribs (or that is what the doctor told me).  Also, my iPhone took a good fall on the pavement as I normally run with it and that was the arm that broke the rest of my fall.  Overall, nothing major was broken or damaged but I am a little slower moving today.

    You might be wondering how this happened and I wish it was a much more glamorous story.  I was running along like normal on the sidewalk but on a rougher part of asphalt and my foot must have hit a dip wrong and my ankle twisted bad and there was no coming back from that.  I broke my fall with my hand for the most part that was under my chest.  I quickly rolled over into the grass and said some choice words to the sky as I knew my iPhone was on my arm that broke the fall.  I got up quickly as well and noticed a lady stopped in her vehicle asking if I was ok.  I said I was all good and started to jog off.  After two blocks and I knew I was dripping blood from my hand and knees I decided to stop and just walk the remainder of the way home as I also knew my ankle was tender but probably not broken.  On the walk home I realized I had a lot of pain in my chest as well which ultimately is probably bruised or cracked rib.

    Sooo… stay tuned and I will still post it (probably Monday) as I might need some more motivation after I get all healed up.

    What’s success anyway? - Chris Sacca

    Seeing how it is getting close to that time of year again for College Graduations, it reminded me of this video I saw a while back where Chris Sacca gave an awesome Commencement speech to the Carlson School of Management back in 2011.

    “What’s success anyway? Is success about making the most money? No, money for the most part turns people into jerks.” - Chris Sacca

    There is so many good words of wisdom in the video that I wish I could have heard that exact advice when I was leaving school.  However, fast forward to today and I think the advice is still valid and the points that he is talking about are applicable no matter where you are in your life.

    “It all comes down to Happiness.  Happy people get jobs, happy people create, happy people win, happy people fall in love and raise family’s, they lead and change the world. Happy people get what they want because often happy people realize they don’t actually need much more than what they have and appreciate what they got.  Happy people are contagious.” - Chris Sacca

    I would really suggest you watch the whole video as there are a lot of good quotes and thought-provoking topics he touches on.  Four of the points stuck out to me as they are still so applicable today with everything happening in the world and how technology is continuing to change the way we do things and interact with people.  In the simplest form his words of advice and ultimately a way to be successful is Be Present, Be Helpful, Be Ethical and Be your Weird Self.

    *via Chris Sacca at University of Minnesota, 2011 : The Best Commencement Speeches, Ever : NPR*

    Another one of my favorite quotes from the video was that around GPA as I also share the same view-point as him.  Hope you enjoyed the video.

    “Your GPA only matters to people who have no other reason to find you interesting.” - Chris Sacca

    Quote of the Week - 04/18

    “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” - Dr. Seuss

    Running to Refocus

    Here it was 9:30 pm at night and I was just going to quickly finish writing a blog post I had started a couple of days back, but I was stuck and it felt like it was taking me too long to write.  It wasn’t just flowing out like some of the ones last week did.  Then I realized that it is getting pretty late and I really wanted to get a run in tonight.

    So…. I went for a run.

    During my run, I reflected on how I have been having so much momentum with this blog and I should have just finished that blog post since I haven’t made a post since last Friday.  Once I completed my run, feeling refreshed and motivated, I was reminded of a quote about why running appealed to Bernd Heinrich who was being interviewed in a video series titled “Why We Run” (video is at the end of this post).

    It appealed to me because I could do it all the time where every I was, no matter where I could always run. - Bernd Heinrich

    This year as I have refound my love for running I have tried to embrace a quote like that.  I have been running on some cold days and very dark nights.  However, for me, it is time well spent and the motivation I feel from going for a run is just too good to pass up.  Now I know I didn’t publish the actual blog post I was working on but I was stuck and needed to run away for a while.  In fact, as a result, of my run, I realized it helped motivate me to write/share something instead of having it feel forced.

    Now for a question, when you get writers' block, or writing seems slow, doesn’t flow, or feels forced how do you get through it or refocus?  Leave me your thoughts or tips in the comments as I would love to know how you refocus.

    via “Why We Run” - Salomon Running TV S03 E01 on YouTube.

    Power of the Habit

    I finally got around to catching up on some blogs and podcasts that I listen to late last week and I realized that two of them seemed to be touching on the same topic, “Habits”.

    Now each of them talks about it from different angles but both have made me reflect on the habits I have been trying to break this year.  Or even more specifically some of the good ones I am trying to create this year.  Some people might say well that really sounds like a New Years' resolution, but for me, it is more of a time commitment change in focus that will be ongoing.

    This brings me to the first blog that has been actually talking about it all year.  The site is called Break the Twitch and it’s creator Anthony Ongaro does a great job of framing this up in his post a while back called “How I Created Daily Action Steps to Achieve My 2016 Vision (And You Can Too)”.  There is actually a lot of good stuff in there about helping you create a vision for 2016 and follow through with it.  However, based on how I have been changing my habits this year the following quote resonated with me best.

    To eliminate a bad habit, we first need to establish a good habit to take its place. - Anthony Ongaro

    Then as I was running last outside last week and listening to The Tim Ferriss Episode titled Naval Ravikant on Happiness Hacks and the 5 Chimps Theory.  I would definitely suggest you listen to it as there are lots of good nuggets of information in that podcast.  For me, the reason it really stuck out again was this talk of habits and breaking habits.

    Learning how to break habits is an important/great meta skill. - Naval Ravikant

    He talked about the power of habits and that after you have broken a habit it helps teach you that all habits can be broken.  In fact, he said he break habits and creates new ones frequently.  One tip he had to break habits is a daily workout as he suggests it is very important to do some kind of physical activity at the same time every day no exception.

    He suggests further that it happens in the morning as it will lead to better choices as you have to make sure you get to bed earlier.

    I couldn’t agree with him more on the psychology of physical activity and having it be in the morning.  For me, I have been adding a new habit this year of running but not in the morning as he suggests but at night.  This isn’t the most ideal, and it does lead to some of the same things he mentions as leading to better habits all around.

    How about you, is there any new habits you are hoping to create in 2016 and in the process remove some bad ones?  I would love to hear about your success so far or what is holding you back in the comments below.

    Quote of the Week - 02.12.16

    “You weren’t born to just pay bills and die."

    My wife sent me this quote the other day and it really made me reflect on things so I thought I would share.  I decided to put that quote on a photo I took while hiking with a good friend in Colorado a couple of years back.  In fact, my wife bought me the plane ticket to go see my friend for my birthday and looking back it was a great present as it got me to do what I had been talking about doing since I left college but kept saying to myself I was too busy.

    I was more out of shape back then as I hadn’t gotten into the swing of running again but it was well worth it once we made it to the top.  It was a gorgeous day and the view from the top of Estes Cone was awesome.  Luckily, the trail we took, which started at Longs Peak Trailhead, wasn’t too strenuous and I would suggest it to anyone that finds themselves in the area.

    Here are a couple other pictures I took from the peak, hiking up, and from the base of the mountain to give you a feel for how high up we were.

    *Panoramic picture from the top of Estes Cone in Estes Park Colorado.* *Picture of the other Mountains around Estes Cone as we were hiking up.* *Estes Cone is the Mountain we hiked up to get the pictures above.*

    Quote of the Week - 01.08.2016

    This quote works perfectly for me as I end the first week in 2016. I know everyone has probably reflected on 2015 and they looking forward to what they will accomplish in 2016.

    Every day is a new beginning. Treat it that way. Stay away from what might have been, and look at what can be. - Marsha Petrie Sue


    The picture was taken in Lubec, ME at West Quoddy Head Lighthouse as my brother, sister-in-law and I sat on a picnic table and I sat and watched the sun rise at what is the Easternmost point on the United States mainland.

    Right now as I am looking at this picture now so much of my trip is coming back to me that I will start writing about now and publish soon. However, I want to keep this post brief as a quote.


    Quote of the Week - 02.02.15

    "To the world you may be just one person, but to one person, you may be the world." - Brandi Snyder

    Hat Tip to my lovely wife April Walker for giving me this quote.   

    Also, take a minute to check out the website she has been working on in honor of her mom and find out what Do it for Diana Day.

    Do It For Diana Card-001

    Quote of the Week - 01.24.15

    “It may be some comfort to know that these toddlers don’t really want to drive us crazy, they just want to understand how we work.” - Alison Gopnik

    Quote of the Week - 01.09.2015

    “You’re either the author of your own book or a character is someone else’s.” - Christian Macy

    This is one of my favorite quotes and I encourage you to watch Christian’s entire Ignite Boulder presentation as the whole thing is really good.

    As the first full week of 2015 is coming to a close I couldn’t help but think this quote was perfect as I started a new job on Monday of this week.  I am not starting a job in the way that Christian describes it in the video, as I gave my previous employer about a month’s notice and wrapped up all my outstanding tasks.  However, my new job was really me taking control of my career as the other options in front of me I wasn’t as excited about.  So I decided to take that step outside of my past 6.5 year comfort zone and I found another company that I could get behind, enjoyed the people I met and hopefully I will be able to do great things for.

    Quote of the Week - 12.05.2014

    "Happiness is not the absence of problems, it's the ability to deal with them." - Steve Maraboli
    This photo was taken on my second trip to Machu Picchu in December 2007.

    Quote of the Week - 11.28.2014

    "Never let the things you WANT make you forget the things you HAVE."

    Quote of the Week - 11.21.2014

    "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life's about creating yourself." - George Bernard Shaw

    This photo was taken on my first trip to the Boundary waters in October 2008.



    Quote of the Week - 11.14.2014

    “Just chuck it in the fuck it bucket and move on.” - A. Wise Person

    Hat tip: Paul DeBettignies' Instagram picture (@mnheadhunter).

    I saw this quote earlier in the week but seems applicable now as well on a cold Friday morning.

    How I forgot to write

    "Just because people are giving you compliments doesn't mean that you’re doing a good job." - Jory MacKay
    How I forgot to write by Jory MacKay- Very well written article and the quote rings true for lots of things not just writing.