All of the Greats Take Losses

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I never thought of losing, but now that it’s happened, the only thing is to do it right. That’s my obligation to all the people who believe in me. We all have to take defeats in life.”

— Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali was “The Greatest.”

Everyone knows that, but there’s something that seems to be lost in the deification of the man born Cassius Clay: he wasn’t unbeatable.

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The Work Is What Matters

“The world is divided into people who do things and people who get the credit. Try, if you can, to belong to the first class. There’s far less competition.”

— Dwight Morrow

As Ryan Holiday writes in Ego Is the Enemy, John Boyd is “one of the most influential strategists and practitioners in modern warfare,” yet he’s “someone most people have never heard of.”

The fact that Boyd is unknown is fitting, because his lasting legacy is a speech he gave to scores of young officers that has come to be known as the “To Do or To Be” speech:

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Is Enough Ever Enough?

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Let’s talk about money.

Most of us have some sort of financial concern. Some estimates show that nearly 80% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck and 61% can’t cover a $1,000 emergency. Wages have stagnated, but the cost of everything else has continued to rise meaning that purchasing power hasn’t really moved in four decades.

It takes an annual income of one-third of a million dollars to buy a home in San Francisco, which is fascinating considering the median household income there is about $83,000. It’s not just the coasts, either. Real median household income in New York City is just under $51,000 but in the entire country it’s $59,000. Considering how expensive everything — housing, food, transportation — is, that’s not very much.

Have you ever felt like if you had just a little bit more money it would make an enormous difference? The problem with that thought — one that I’ve had many times — is that the goalposts continue to move.

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The Twitter Reckoning

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For those of us that are old enough to remember rotary phones and Columbia House music for a penny, we remember a time when everything was slower. Television news was on once or twice a day and the Sunday newspaper was thick enough to use as a step stool. Back then, it took a long time for news to travel and for movements to pick up speed. Things like Watergate or Iran-Contra unraveled slowly, over a long period of time.

That’s no longer the case.

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When It All Goes Wrong

“This too shall pass

— Persian adage


Monday morning. The start of another week.

After a Friday and Saturday of perfect sunny, 80-degree weather, Mother Nature’s mood darkened. It turned wet and chilly, just a bummer of a day, so we turned it into a lazy Sunday.

Things became worse overnight and I was even awakened a few times by the sound of the wind and the rain battering my house. This was the weather in a bad horror film. I thought about worst-case scenarios. When you’re a homeowner, everything is cause for worry because everything is expensive and time-consuming.

Shortly after waking up, my wife called me into our daughter’s room.

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A “City Slickers” Birthday

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Last month, I turned 38-years-old.

I don’t immediately think of myself as a man in my late-thirties. I’m still struggling with the idea that I’m an actual adult.

It’s not that I feel 18 or 22, but like almost everyone else, I think of myself as some vague, younger version of me. Age has a way of sneaking up on you like that. It’s like growth spurt or a change in your weight. You live with it every day, so it’s gradual to you, but then you walk by a mirror and a different person is looking back at you. I still can’t believe I’ve been married for seven-and-a-half years and have been in the same relationship for thirteen years. I still think of the early ’00s as just a few years ago.

As Gertrude Stein once said, “We are always the same age inside.”

As I received well-wishes on my birthday, I couldn’t help thinking about City Slickers.

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