Self Trust and Everything’s a Skill

I’ve been reading the Speed of Trust. One of the concepts discussed is self trust: the trust you have with yourself.

I have never deeply pondered trust in that way, i.e. how much do I trust myself? When I make a commitment to myself, do I keep it?

I now see how some people can totally lack self trust. They make goals and rarely keep them. They start things and never finish.

On the other hand, I’ve noticed changes happening over the past 1.5 years as I’ve focused on my own monthly habits. I haven’t always succeeded, but I’ve stuck with it. It isn’t easy, but I’ve persevered. And I have been successful in adding several new positive habits.

As I’ve progressed, I’ve noticed what I orginally considered increased confidence. What I see now is I’m also gaining trust in myself to identify a goal and work hard on it. I may or may not succeed, but, more importantly, I also trust myself to synthesize and learn from the experience. And, yeah, the ability to succeed produces an even better boost. I’m getting better at succeeding, too.

I’m also thinking about another concept from Dr Cobb: everything is a skill. Everything. And each time you do the thing, you’re reinforcing it positively or negatively.

How you work out. Washing the dishes each night. Letting someone finish a sentence before you respond. Spending non-digital time before bed so you can actually sleep at night. Breathing deeply while trying to be creative. It’s all a “skill.”

The concept makes me do things much more deliberately and mindfully. For instance, my habit this month is writing 10 minutes per day. I’ve been “about to start writing again” for several months. So this month I added it to my morning routine (after reading for 15min). I missed it yesterday. I didn’t want to get a streak of misses, so this was top of mind this morning. I know each day I do this, I’m getting better at “writing each day.” Regaining trust in myself in this area of life.

Wouldn’t mind rebuilding the online water cooler we had in the nomadlife days, either. That was cool.

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You’re never prepared for moving out. I ran into so many things that would have been useful to know ahead of time, so I cataloged them while pounding delicious chicken wings at LITM. (In retrospect, I should have gone to that bar more than 3 times in 5.5 years.)

I remember Dody used to write these wise list posts. Here’s an ode to the Dode.

Packing took me 3x as long as planned.

Home Depot medium boxes are a good size. Anything bigger is hard to carry when full. The medium box will very likely be over 70 pounds if full of books. Do it about 3/4 full, or better yet use the small box size. Media mail only charges you by weight.

Wrap dishware in clothes. Cups can go in socks.

Buy 3x as much packing tape as you think you need.

FedEx won’t be ultra careful with your boxes, even when you’re standing there and specifically request it. Pack appropriately. Home Delivery is priced decently and needs to be scheduled a few days in advance. There appears to be no way to schedule even a 4 hr window for pickup time, though.

If you can’t decide on an item, get rid of it. You won’t remember.

Buy a box of trash bags ahead of time. Makes it easier to carry stuff to recycling and trash.

Buy small spice bottles. You go through less of most spices than you think. Same for oils, sauces, etc.

Many electronics can be recycled at Best Buy and similar retailers. Here’s an example way to Google around to see what’s available. Same with batteries and light bulbs.

Media mail is best way to ship books. (See Home Depot note above for book packing tips.)

If you’re next residence requires a flight, Southwest let’s you check 2 bags for free, which will save you shipping money.

For something like a table, you can wrap it in a moving blanket and/or bubble wrap. FedEx doesn’t seem to care. But it will matter if you want it insured properly. You can also wrap it in a tarp. I shipped my table top and will get a new stand in SF. I should have measured the stand so I knew how to replace it. When the table arrived, it had a good size piece knocked off and a few dents. Shipments have a lot of machinery to go through, so be extra careful.

Get a tape measure ahead of time. Probably a drill, too, for taking stuff apart.

Having many small grocery bags is useful for keeping sets of small things together. Gallon and sandwich ziplocks are, too.

Get masking tape for incidental stuff, like wrapping a knife in paper towel.

Get a scale, especially if you’re doing media mail. They will refuse anything over 70 pounds.

And here’s a bonus Seinfeld + Fallon video:


A Multi-Coastal Update

Occasionally I email updates to the extended family. I’ve decided to archive lightly edited copies here. This one is from Sept 16, 2014.

I am currently sitting on Parnassus Avenue, midway up a hill that forces vehicles of all sizes to rev their engines, particularly when all you want is a second nap.

In any case, I made it. I’m officially a San Francisco resident. It didn’t happen without its woes. I’ll belabor those shortly.

For those of you who aren’t clued into the family gossip, my special lady and I “mostly” decided last fall to move west around this time this year. We “fully” decided in March when she accepted a teaching job offer.

So she’s midway through her second week at the new school teaching 3 and 4 year olds. What is special about this school is they spend 1 day per week in the “natural classroom.”

A natural classroom is a park. It is unfair how much extra time those kids’ childhoods will involve using sticks as weapons. At this point I should remind you that the accuracy of my interpretation of things is rarely perfect.

I’ll fast forward you through the summer:

A. 7 Weddings

B. Trip to Brazil for the World Cup. Saw the US beat Ghana. The only better sporting event I can imagine is a Packer Super Bowl.

Anyway, Mal got out here in early August for work and served as boots on the ground in our apartment search.

The apartment situation out here is brutal. BRUTAL. But we had good luck and locked down a solid spot in about 2 weeks. It’s in a wonderful location that includes the aforementioned mechanical choir singing from the hilly intersection 8 feet outside our windows.

Coming from NYC metro, I’ve chosen to take comfort in those late night sounds of buses accelerating uphill. (I wish I knew more about engines so I could make that sentence really come alive with emotional weight.)

I moved out of my apartment at the end of August. Meaning for the 2nd half of August I was gloriously bi-coastal. Moving taught me many things, but I’ll spare you those for now. (I did in fact write them down.)

After tying up loose ends, I got to SF on Sept 7 via Michigan for a wedding, which was a rib-breaking good time. That’s not a joke. The bride broke a rib falling off a horse.

She didn’t know until Monday, so it wasn’t serious.

Quick: what’s the first thing you do after moving across the country?

If you answered “fly back to the other coast,” then you were correct. That’s the result of A) a conference and B) exquisitely poor planning.

On the plus side, I had a few flights to check several bags for free (Southwest and JetBlue). No other plus sides.

So I officially moved here Saturday night, Sept 13. Turned on my phone and Hark! Peebles offered to pick me up. We had Indian food and then went to an empty bar, the same bar we first patroned during my first visit. Then I needed the kind of sleep for which our bloodline is renowned.


“Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment; full effort is full victory.”

– Mahatma Gandhi (via Don.)

Strikingly similar to Russell Simmons’ view on effort.


Grace and Humility

From Brian’s wonderful newsletter:

I want to call out two of the speakers:

Gary Bencivenga (the best copywriter in the world with more “unbeatable controls” than anyone in history); and Greg Renker (the top infomercial producer EVER and the man with a $2 Billion company).

I encourage all of you whenever you think about bragging about yourself or being envious of the success of others around you (or the accomplishments of anyone in your life), PLEASE go to gratefulness over envy…and thank your lucky stars for everything you have in your life and be proud when you have the opportunity to interact with greatness all around you.

Simply put, if you could have been on any of the preparation calls I had with Gary or Greg before “Titans”…or been on any of the follow up calls or e-mails since…what you would have heard and seen from these two giants is 100% grace and humility…and THEIR gratefulness for being part of such an amazing conference.

I occasionally fall into this trap. Grace and humility is a much better route to go.


It seems like the mailman comes every time I lay down for a nap. It’s amazing.



Good bye, New York

It was a good run.


From a story in the book, Speed of Trust, “There are no uninteresting things; there are only uninterested people.”


Kobe Quotable


Bryant bristles at the idea of parting gifts and teary-eyed salutes: “If you booed me for 18, 19 years, boo me for the 20th. That’s the game, man.”


While he retains his superhuman ­tolerance—“He has the highest pain threshold I’ve ever seen,” says his longtime physical therapist, Judy Seto—even Bryant knows that he can only push so far. He is coming off two significant injuries. His body needs to rest. Recently he saw a top nutritionist, hoping to find some magic diet that would restore his energy to its earlier levels, as if aging is but a matter of changing your carbs-to-protein ratio. “There are certain things that my body can’t do that I used to be able to do,” Bryant admits. “And you have to be able to deal with those. First you have to be able to figure out what those are. Last year when I came back, I was trying to figure out what changed. And that’s a very hard conversation to have.” Bryant pauses. “So when I hear the pundits and people talk, saying, ‘Well, he won’t be what he was.’ Know what? You’re right! I won’t be. But just because something evolves, it doesn’t make it any less better than it was before.”