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The Gold List - A journal written by David Sherry

Attack of the Shingles Virus

Sunday: I woke up with this aching pain deep in my scapula and shoulder muscles. Like I had been cutting the grass and went to pull-start the lawn mower, yank it, and *WHAM*.
 

I’ve been working out a ton, so I thought, maybe I had overdone it. I told myself it was one too many pushups during the BBG workout I’ve been doing with my girlfriend. (Yes, that’s Bikini Body). But I’ve been in great physical shape, hitting yoga frequently and eating well from all the healthy options here in Southern California. 
 

Monday: I had a dull headache that wouldn’t go away, but I thought was connected to the neck and back pain. I couldn’t focus. I booked a massage with a sports therapy specialist for Tuesday to work out the knot that was sitting back there. This was probably a mistake.
 

Monday evening: I started to see a rash. It was on the right side of my chest. It was maybe a few inches wide with some small bubbles on it. Bed Bugs?


And suddenly all the things that were wrong came together to make sense. 
 

But let me back up a bit..
 

I booked a trip to Thailand with my two co-conspirators in Death to Stock. I met Shaun (who’s New Zealand based) in a Skillshare course 2 and a half years ago. The plan was to meet up in person for the first time ever and do so in a far away and location like Chiang Mai, Thailand. We were booked to leave the 10th of October. 
 

2 weeks before, I went to the CVS minute clinic for my travel vaccinations. The recommended series was for Tetanus, Typhoid, and Hep A. Two in the arms and one in the thigh. 
 

It was days after that I saw the rash.
 

Tuesday: That day I listened to an interview with Katie Couric. Both her husband and sister had died from Cancer. She talked about how 60% of men don’t go to a doctor, and most don’t even have one! Her husband had to go to her doctor when he started feeling bad because he hadn’t been in years.
 

We all think we’re invincible. Sure, we get all hypochondriac from time to time, but we just hop on WebMD it instead of actually going in to see a doctor.
 

It gave me the motivation to go in and see someone. I went back to the minute clinic. Because the CVS experience is so much better than going to a physician's office. You sign in on a touchpad, and if there’s a line they text you when to come back. They’ve got your info. They’ve got the pharmacy right there to fill the new prescription. They let you ask questions. They actually spend time with you here!
 

I’m curious and skeptical. I ask about things I read online. I asked if she liked working here more than a hospital? And the doctor didn’t condescend. She said it was so much less stressful working there, and she actually got to spend time with patients! She called my cell phone personally two days later to ask how I was feeling!
 

I remind her that I was just in the other day for vaccines. I take off my shirt. Immediately upon seeing it she told me it was Shingles. 
 

Shingles?
 

Tuesday-Friday:

It’s a good thing I went in when I did. The longer you wait the more the rash will grow. And the rash was spreading a bit, up my neck and on my back. Shingles shows up as a rash, but what’s really happening is there’s a virus that’s messing with your muscles and nerves, manifesting at the end on your skin. It’s a deep ache in your muscles, some occasional shooting pains, itchy..
 

And I’m off balance. 

Trust me, I fully understand that a bit of shingles is a such a minor thing compared to to the reality of most battling serious diseases or in deep poverty. I’m going to be fine in a week or two. But I’ve never known anything about what it’s like be sick like this. To deal with a chronic pain.
 

It’s the psychological change you’re not ready for. You’r just totally thrown off. You’re worried if it’s going to get any better Your irrational. You can’t keep any of the good habits you’ve been doing to be your best self. Your workouts, your diet, your sleep, your meditation and writing all go out the window. Last week was the first post I’ve missed in probably 8 months!
 

Vulnerable. 

And you feel like you’re weak. You need to be taken care of. You don’t have your arms around the world with a bit of control. You’re not longer leading, you’re being led. I cried walking to get food from a whole foods, not from the pain, but from the feeling of the total shift of place. I thought I was being looked down on instead of people looking up.
 

I canceled my trip. There was no way I could go through two 24 hour flights and switch to the opposite time zone twice in 10 days. And the risk of bacterial infection for my rash making me end up in a foreign hospital didn’t sound appealing. But I had insurance. And Thailand will still be there when I’m better. 
 

I’m incredibly lucky (owning my own business) to take as much time as I need, but will the business be ok? Will nothing happen in my absence? OR what if my absence isn’t missed at all? Will people believe that I’m actually sick? How can I be a man and not be strong? Quit complaining!
 

Empathy.

It’s only been about 6 or 7 days of pain, but it definitely makes you grateful. For being able to work out, for the times where you don’t feel this way. I’m trying to just be grateful. I’m back in Ohio and I’m grateful for family and friends. For my girlfriend keeping me sane and in good spirits. The people I’ve caught up with who shared positivity.
 

There are two tricks I think others can apply if you’re feeling down or are sick. 
 

The first is an ancient practice I read in a book. The idea is that if you’re already in pain, or suffering if you can give it a purpose. When you’re in pain, you say to yourself “Let me be in pain, so that others can be in good health.”
 

And then you breathe in all of the pain you’re feeling and give a big exhale imagining pleasure and wellbeing for others. 
 

Inhale all the pain for yourself, exhale space and well-being to others.
 

They do this with hospice patients, cancer patients, and others who are feeling down. It gives a purpose for the pain.
 

The other I realized because I had been stuck in a room for a few days, that just being in that place was part of what was making me feel bad.
 

If you change your place, you can change your state. 


Getting outside, walking in the woods, being around other people. It’s THE fastest cure for feeling down, sorry for yourself, or sick. I went to a cabin this past weekend. I went home Monday to Ohio. I’m going to be in different places to shake up my state.
 

Pause.

And now I’m in a brief life pause. The whole thing will probably only be about 2 weeks, so in the scheme of things, it’s not bad. So I’m taking the time to step back a bit. A forced pause. A time to read a bit, to wonder if I’m spending my time the right way. A reset before I jump back into my full on life.  

There's always tomorrow until there's not. And there's so much I want TO DO. 

Life, StoriesDavid Sherry
Your Life is Reinvention

You think things will stay as they are.

 

It’s a comfort to think that. But the truth is things don’t go according to plan. Life is change. And that’s not always a bad thing.
 

Look back. How many things have happened that you wouldn’t have expected, good or bad? Has your career gone “as planned?” Have you kept the friends you thought you’d keep? The relationship? Where you live?
 

We make decisions all the time that create our lives, and the paths we choose will take us down directions we couldn’t even imagine.
 

Bad luck happens. Good luck happens. Serendipity brings you to meet the right person at the right time. The world changes. You get fired. 
 

We’ve got to adopt an ability to create, thrive, and react to change. To proactively maneuver through the changing world.
 

Otherwise, life will feel like it’s constantly moving your seat right as you’re about to sit down.
 

Impermanence is the way of the world. So, the ability to actively reinvent yourself is one of the essential life-skills today. I’m writing a multi-part series on this topic. Because all parts need reinvention; your friends, your career, your relationship, your personal mastery.
 

They don’t teach you this in school. Your life is less of a “train leaving a station from point A to point B,” more of a meandering sailboatutilizing the wind at your back and or getting caught in the stormy seas.
 

This topic is important because we avoid reinvention when it will be our greatest ally. 
 

Life will ask you to do make a change nicely until it forces you out of your comfortable nest. Because reinvention happens when it’s needed.
 

I can think of countless examples. 
 

Mark Twain did a global comedy tour at 60 years old after going bankrupt. 
 

Steve Jobs was fired from Apple and then came back. 
 

And Michael Jordan played for the White Sox.

And Will Smith was a rapper. 

 

We think we can hold on a little longer. It’s like newspapers trying to keep their hold. We avoid reinvention by lying to ourselves about our story.
 

We avoid reinvention by trying to add concrete to the situations in our lives when instead they need uprooting. 
 

Often the moment you realize you need to reinvent yourself is too late. 
 

You realize you need to reinvent when you say to yourself “…now what?”
 

But that moment is later than it should be.
 

And I want to help you see signals and use them to your advantage before the smack comes.
 

And when you look back, you’ll laugh thinking about who you thought you were. 
 

And at where it all took you.

How to Build a Brand Vision

After I tried  Jeni’s Ice Creams, I began to expect something different from ice cream. It expanded the boundaries of what I thought ice cream could be. Now I fervently tell anyone when it comes up in conversation that “You must try this!” — they’ve given me a great product to show off to my friends, and a story to tell. 
 

I’m sure when Jeni was first starting out, her concept seemed like a huge risk. Who would eat Thai-Peanut Red Pepper ice cream? Or Ylang Ylang & Fennel? And will people be ok with the cost / quantity ratio? And do these ingredients have to all be so fancy sounding?
 

What Jeni had was a strong vision for who her company would be. AND a strong vision for who their customers would be. 
 

To think about how you can do this for your own brand or project, I have a few thoughts.
 

2 Elements of Vision. 
 

Every vision or strategy relies on two things.
 

The first is that you have to make hard calls about who you want to be. To make decisions that accept one way of being, by rejecting a different way of being.
 

With every decision you make about a specific direction about who your brand is, it gives you an opposing outcome of who you are not. It's sometimes, it’s hard to swallow these trade-offs. You could be reducing your total market size or alienating people. 
 

Regardless, what you don’t want is to be caught in the middle of two ways of thinking. To hedge your bets by pursuing two things at once. “Let’s put cheap and expensive options on the menu,” or, “we serve the vegans and the unconscious consumer.”
 

A hack here could be picking an opponent, and simply doing the opposite of everything that they do.

[ Make a list of all the things that you are, and what you're actively choosing to not be from those decisions. ]

 

By choosing who you are and who you aren't, you can concretely move in a specific direction.  You won't get plain vanilla here, no matter how much some people might say they want the option . 
 

Believe in a secret.
 

The second portion of your vision is that you have to havea secret, that only you believe in. You believe the world will soon believe this secret, too. An example secret is Airbnb telling potential investors that people WILL want strangers to stay in their homes, and in fact, enjoy it. Whereas the general reaction was that there was no way people would do this. 


[ Write out your secret and keep it in a box. It's your north star. ]
 

What’s so difficult here is that for the secret to be revealed, it needs the time for an idea to reach its full potential, even when it is counter to what currently exists as a paradigm. It’s tough to not turn back when the going get’s tough or when investors or friends are telling you you’re crazy. 

 

Change your customers

Meaningful brands
 change the belief system of their customer. Those who buy into Jeni's experience have changed their expectations, in an instant. 

When you change a customer's belief system, they can't help but turn to you because now the world feels obvious. It's why Apple fans won't even give a shot to a "Zune." When you change someone's beliefs you change the map or set of rules that they see, and once you see something you can't "unsee-it."
 

[ Making a list of 3-5 changes that you believe happen in your customer's lives when they try your product.  ]

The statement can look like:

“our customer started out believing _____
but now they believe ______.”


-----
 

They say that every business has buried treasure and that it’s your job to find it. This means, as an excavation crew, you’ve got to decide on a specific area or direction to dig (you can’t just dig part way all over the place), and you have to have a deep believe that there will actually be gold where you’re digging.


Pick a specific direction, and believe that there's gold.

Work/TechnologyDavid Sherry
New Rules

It’s all about the experience.

Today if you’re selling, you better have a killer product, a killer story, be connected to your audience AND put on a show.

See it’s all about the experience of the purchase. Tease me with a story. Create an emotional connection to your why. Bring in some real social credibility from influencers and then make it feel like I’m a selected aswinner for buying.

It seems like misinformation that “more businesses than ever” are being started. It’s still not an easy thing to do, despite the tools. Any market that has a bounty gets filled FAST.

That’s all shark tank is. Get rich off your quick product, leverage the mass appeal and hit the bank then get the hell out before you fall off the cliff.
 

Reinvention.

The cliff is always in front of you, but you can delay its arrival only through reinvention. A cycle that’s increasingly short. I heard Marc Andreessen talk about the “Unicorns” being scared of being disrupted. If they’re looking over your shoulder, the established companies ought to be concerned. 
 

Just look at Apple. The phone won’t cut it year after year. Just like the iPod needed to be cannibalized, we need the watch. We need voice and Bluetooth. They gave us the phone and now they need to get us to give it up for something else, if they should succeed. Even the key-noteconcept needs reinvention. Don’t get me wrong, they’re sitting on a massive war-chest but it can’t be spent it on what got them there. Google knows this but as we’ve seen with Moonshots it’s not easy. Thepay off could take a decade of investment, and who else has that type of capital to throw at the wall?
 

Trust.

The only thing that gives you some stability is trust. 
 

Unless you’ve built trust. Unless you’ve done something to deserve the mindshare of an audience over an extended period of time, your products won’t be given a shot. And this is something that Apple’s got, but as your phone and laptop battery goes south after a few months you start to lose some of it. 
 

Decades.

To hit it big or stay in the scene it takes work, there’s no coasting. You think a million Twitter followers will make you invincible but that just gets you the privilege and capacity to keep the reach through repeated new success. 
 

Think of Tim Ferris. Multiple 700+ page books. Hundreds of free blog posts. Investments. Companies. Hundreds of podcasts. Events, speaking, tv shows.
 

You’ve got to put in your time, over-deliver on value, over-deliver onproduct, tell a story, communicate like a human, and THEN you still won’t know if you’re doing it right. You still might not see fruit. 
 

The payout doesn’t come until way later. And I guarantee you’ll want to quit along the way. That’s because doing something with no payout where you’re giving your soul can feel like banging your head on the wall and believing that one day that wall will suddenly be freedom from worry. 
 

Relationships.

Like trust, it’s the relationships that give you some stability. It’s cooperation with your gang. Support from your tribe.
 

Most importantly, you need a relationship with your customers. Second, your team. Best to be picky about both. We still function in tribes. So go out of your way to serve others without asking for anything in return. Be the girl that makes everyone else around her look great. Support them through the struggle and you’ll build trust. 
 

And you still don’t know if it will pay. You never know if it will pay. 


My uber driver's brother was famous, or about to be. He was a lead onthe Fargo TV series and said that he turned down Fantastic 4 because he knew it’d go bust. He told me he’s spent 9 years getting to that role. He was smart about his time. He was strategic and maneuvered through roles, mostly as extras with each opportunity only slightly increasing in prominence.
 

And now he’s made it, but I couldn’t tell you his name. I forgot it immediately after he said it. Like I said where there’s cash the market gets crowded FAST. If you’re not reinventing you’re losing awareness. If you’re not connected, you’re only relevant when you’re giving your soul on the stage. 
 

Think about the last Spotify discover playlist you enjoyed. Name 5 artists from it.
 

It’s all about the relationship. We might play your song while we work but if we don’t go to the show, if we can’t remember your name, or list some obscure facts about the impact you’ve made then it’s not a long game opportunity. 
 

I’m telling you this because I want you to build something that matters. Something that has lasting power. 
 

You’ve got to be personal and create a connection. We think we should act like a brand. We think we should cover up flaws.
 

Is it so hard to just be honest? To share exactly what you’re doing? We crave it more than ever. Instagram isn’t helping us get there.
 

There’s no risk or vulnerability in Snapchat. But they had the right strategy. Like the rock bands of the 60s and 70s started, they began by making a splash publicly as Americas-parents-most-feared. The parents hate it so the kids will flock to it. 
 

Facebook was the cool thing to be on until it lost it. Ask any person under 16 and they’ll tell you no one they know is on it. But Zuckerberg is no idiot, he hedged his bets with Instagram, and when you hit the true scale he did you’ll be ok forever. Not to mention he owns where the relationships are, from messaging to your family photos. But this isn’t realistic for practically anyone. 
 

Most choose the short run. Most are looking to get what they can and then find out what’s next. How many people do you know are hoping to be in the same job they have now, in 5 years ?
 

 I’m not saying this can’t work for you, but it will be a rollercoaster with a ceiling. 
 

And I doubt you’ll get the satisfaction and significance you’d get by playing the long game, even though it’s a grind.
 

So that’s where we’re at today. A mad rush for the short-term gain. Heavily funded products looking to bang in and bang out with some cash as fast as possible. Thinking we can ride a success or get to one without the long-slow-grind. 
 

It’s a steep divide. It’s Inequality. Those playing the long game, stuck wondering if there’s a payout, and those looking for the next buck. And I can’t blame either group. 
 

It’s the Uber Driver. And it’s the Uber driver’s brother, spending a decade acting in obscurity before making it to T.V. 

 

Work/TechnologyDavid Sherry
Reflection: Shoe Dog

This book makes you question how things get made and what control means in our lives.
 

I’m half way into “Shoe Dog” — a story about the founder of Nike, Phil Knight. 
 

It reads more like a novel than a business book, which is compelling except sometimes it jumps into too many details about girlfriends or food. And his meetings are too poetic in nature, which makes you question their truth. 
 

But when someone builds a brand as big as Nike, as prolific as Nike, I gotta see what’s behind the curtain. Nike might as well be water in U.S. culture.


But maybe I shouldn’t have looked. It’s got me confused if this whole game of business has any real rules. 
 

Aimlessness as a path to a target.
 

Phil was an average runner and a slightly above average student. He went to Stanford for his MBA. During that time was when he first began thinking of a crazy idea to buy shoes cheap from Japan and sell high, following the FujiFilm model of entering the U.S. market. 
 

After a bit of time slogging in “the real world” in a day job he decided it was time for something else. And If he didn’t do it now, he’d never take the shot. 
 

He was an introvert, but he wanted to do the most-un-introverted thing possible: Backpack the world. 
 

At the time (the 50's/60's) this was harder than it looks. Sure, life was cheap “in-country” but plane travel was rare and we had just left a world war with many of the countries he planned to visit. 
 

Like many of my heroes: Steve Jobs, Kevin Kelley, Tim Ferris, Cal Fussman, he began with aimlessness. And, like them, he began by traveling the globe for an extended period of time. 
 

I’m not saying travel is a requirement for self-mastery, but I do see a pattern among those who are able to think different. And it’s not about the money, Kevin Kelley lived on rice and beans for years, sleeping in hostels abroad before founding Wired Magazine. 
 

It’s about refreshing your paradigm, gaining sociological insight, and getting to a place where you’re comfortable without the parachute.
 

And that’s when his idea came back to him. How do you think he came up with the name Nike? He had gone to the Temple of Athena Nike, in Athens. Nike means Victory, and Phil HATED to lose. Which was instilled by his famous running coach and business partner BillBowerman.
 

He and Bill founded “Blue Ribbon Sports” in 1964 but didn’t change the name to Nike until 1971. Seven years later!! Hard to imagine today’s startup world. 
 

While on his trip, he bought his first shoes from a chance meeting in Tokyo. The city was decimated by WWII and there was still an air of tension. But after setting up a meeting with Tiger Shoe Manufacturing, he made his pitch, lying that he already had a company set up in the U.S., with distribution! 
 

This was the old days. He lied many a time but there was no internet to back him up. And mostly they were white lies he could make true later. Break the rules then ask for forgiveness later. 
 

In Person Selling
 

Like any grassroots effort, all of Nike’s selling was in person. His salesman went Track-meet to Track-meet pawning the shoes off and boasting about how they’d improve your times.
 

Then the first store became a hub for runners. It wasn’t just about the shoes, it was a PLACE TO MEET. It was a community. They were all obsessed with running and spoke about it like religion. 
 

Many important meetings negotiating happened in Japan. Phil personally flew to Tokyo any time there was a miscommunication or error. It was a slog back then. Makes me wonder if we’re all hiding behind our computers today?  


DIY
 

Bill Bowerman was a DIY king. He was making his own shoes before they bought supply from Tiger. Every race he’d test out some new tweak to a shoe on one of his team members and see how they performed. The idea was simple, if you had an idea for an improvement, you just made it. 
 

Influencers.
 

It’s obvious, but it’s the influencers that really pumped up the brand for Nike. They lead the charge on endorsements, and it’s because they were in the “scene.” Bill was famous enough globally that it’s half the reason Tiger wanted to sell to them. 
 

And it’s big business. Influencers aren’t cheap. Nike is shelling out an easy $20Million for individual campaigns. 
 

Values.
 

I’m skipping ahead in their story. But there are two more things about Nike that stood out to me.
 

The first is how masterful and simple the brand is. Is there anything like it?? It’s Fucking beautiful. The swoosh. “Just Do It.” They whittled away at the stone for a long enough time that they got to purity. They reached a truth. My sense is this was in part due to Phil’s travels, to his interest in the no-fluff nature of eastern philosophy, and obviously pulling inspiration from something from 450B.C. It’s mind blowing what they’ve done from a brand standpoint. 
 

So far as I can tell, Phil really did “Just Do It.” Anytime it needed to be done...
 

Ruthless about values.
 

There was a time where Nike sold at Sears department stores. The story goes that this is why they stopped.
 

Nike had a “no-coupon” policy for all of the major chains they worked with. You could not run any ad, with a coupon for Nike shoes. Supposedly, some lowly manager didn’t heed this advice and ran an ad with a coupon at his local store.
 

Phil Knight immediately called to the top of Sears and pulled all of their supply. No questions or comments about it, this, to him, was a massive break of trust. This would cost Nike a this would lose money ( at least in the short term).
 

So the executives from Sears flew out to Portland to see if there was anything he could do to change their mind. Phil told them to wait in the lobby downstairs for the entire day, and never gave them a meeting. 
 

Many stars aligned for Phil to create his multi-billion dollar venture, from the people he met to some breaks. 
 

But one thing is for sure. He just did it, again, and again, and again…


*Oh, and apparently “Just Do it” was pitched by Dan Wieden, who admitted that it was borrowed from something a Utah murderer uttered as he faced a firing squad.

Work/Technology, BooksDavid Sherry
Are you Healthy or Unhealhty?

I was thinking about all of the purchases I was wanting to make today if I had more cash.

Here’s the *short* list:

  • Super 8 Video Camera
  • New backpack for travel
  • Videography lessons from Seth
  • Everything from John Elliot
  • Plane ticket to Copenhagen
  • Portable DJ speakers
  • Build of my personal website rebrand/revamp
  • Business Coaching (launching + sales)
  • Pro-active Doctor appointments / personal health research (23&me etc.)

 

When I look at this list, it got me thinking about the “why” behind these purchases. And you know what? I don’t feel bad about spending money on any of these things. Every item on here is a direct improvement of my life, rather than an empty purchase.
 

I believe these are healthy purchases. Every item, to me, is a type of positive investment in myself. And I’ll make those purchases every time.
 

Whether it’s how we use social media, how we act in our relationships, how we work, or how we spend money, everything is in the approach.

We can have a “healthy-why” or an “unhealthy-why.”

 

Unhealthy: You can take the approach trying to get something, trying to force something, trying to feel validation or fill a hole, grasp at something to make you feel less uncertain, more loved, or to take control of a situation.

Unhealthy Example: You get home from work, you’re stressed about your latest project. That date you went on, you still haven’t heard back from. So, you open Instagram. Subconsciously you think, “Maybe they’ll see this post.” — so you snap a selfie, post it, and refresh your feed every 10 seconds to watch the likes roll in, but mainly you’re hoping to see that one in particular…
 

Healthy: You can take the approach of trying to give, trying to make yourself better and healthier. You can approach things without needing them. You can approach things without trying to continuously grasp for them. 
 

Healthy Example: You get home from work, it was a stressful day but you decide to read to disconnect. While reading, you suddenly feel inspired, and decide to publish a bunch of new thoughts that were sparked to your Twitter or Medium. It felt energizing to think and share about these ideas, and you put down your laptop and go cook dinner. When you return to your laptop you see you got a bunch of likes + retweets, but it feels like a bonus to a feeling you already have.
 

The thing is, people can tell when you’re doing things to get something in return. People can tell which approach you’re taking, healthy or unhealthy. 
 

It’s almost like a weird energy that runs alongside whatever signals you’re putting out. 
 

Have you ever felt examples of this before? When you’re feeling like you’re in a really good place, and all of your communication is received positively? Doors are opening and things are going well, but nothing is forced?
 

It’s a paradox, the less you grasp, when things don’t *need* to happen for you to feel great, they tend to.


Things just go better when you take the healthy approach. 

 

Reflections on my Life at 26

The past six months have been some of the fullest months of my life.
 

Not just full in pleasure, (although living on the road has felt a bit like vacation) rather I have felt more acutely than ever the energy of the ups and downs, seen more clearly how general chaos of life, and felt more strongly the constant of change.

 

When I was 10 I felt like the days went by in large blocks. It all blurred together together in a numb sort of blissful passing of time, except for the occasional and minor storms of pain and anxiety. Being in Ohio, my life was structured around the seasons, the school calendar, and sports games and practices. 
 

At 15, I vacillated between a dry existence in school and brief playful encounters with friends, goofing off in class, or before a game of soccer. I began to recognize my own psychology, finding art, music, and books through an English class. I don’t think you understand the true concept of other humans being separate from you until you start to look inward. Thanks to Kurt Cobain, Siddartha, and the internet I was beginning my journey of reflection. 
 

At 20, I felt what I now see as an arrogant ignorance that allowed me to focus on my social life and study at Ohio State, as well as formulate some of my future focuses in the background without any meaningful manifestation of them. 20 was an age for living in a bubble similar to age 10, except for a bigger awareness of the outside world and a skewed perception on how it functions. 
 

Now, at 26 I feel more tuned in. Dialed into recognizing my own patterns, having more control and at the same time an awareness of the lack of control. I still have a wild imagination, it just lives within certain more realistic constraints.
 

I worry less about the happenings of the world, but more about the happenings of my own community and relationships that I can impact. I am more aware that my family have lives and paths of their own to follow.
 

What I really mean is that now at 26, I feel more ownership over my own life. A full ownership of the good and the bad. The accomplishments and mistakes.
 

I am actively aware now, of the fact that everything changes. That what happens to me is up to me, from my mindset, to my achievements, my hobbies and…
 

I must become competent.


This is what is so difficult about the transition from teen to adult. At some point you become directly aware of the level of your own competence. With money, within your relationships in groups, with your craft, with your knowledge of the world.
 

I can no longer hide behind my young age as reason for mistakes.
 

This transition is painful, but it is also a relief to settle into this autonomy, if you can build the self confidence to support it.
 

Taking decisive, important, and sometimes painful action is an essential skill for actively accomplishing my personal desires. 
 

I say “I don’t know” more.
 

I pursue more of what is an essential interest to me now.
 

I do less work in total but more work that is in a closer proximity to the work that matters to me.
 

I do a lot of small things that matter over and over again. My workouts, my diet, my writing, my phone calls, my photos. In a life without seasons, (skewed by travel) I can allow these habits to maintain the order. 
 

I want to surround myself more with everything that brings me meaning. I don’t care for the cheap consumerism. I don’t daydream about a fancy car. I have fallen more in love with people or companies that ooze passion.
 

Writing. Yoga and working out. Getting in cold bodies of water. Meditation. Reading. Writing and receiving cards. Walking, listening to a podcast. The feeling of creating, like photography. Sharing vulnerably. Building community. Teaching others. Poking the world with my work. Feeling moments of patient peace.
 

These are things that bring quality into my life.


Hopefully I’ll make it to 30! I know I’ll see a further opening of myself. Each age is a sort of revealing of what’s behind the curtain. Each age is a foiling of illusion of our own self perception. I imagine I’ll learn about what I think about myself and what others think of me. I think I’m organized, but I find that others do not. I think I’m generous, but I come to understand I am self focused.. and so on..
 

What has opened or changed in you? What do you fight for to have in your life? What brings quality?
 

What do you want to approach with intensity or accomplish?
 

As Pema Chodron said: 
 

“(life) It's like riding a train backwards. We can't see where we're going, only where we've been."


I don’t know what’s next. Only that I’ll be able to look back, and see that I will have changed.

Life, StoriesDavid Sherry
The “Church of (Insert Your Name)” + thoughts on spirituality.

 

The Church of David
 

He said, “Jews question everything, it’s ok to have questions, and I will address them to the best of my ability. Some things I may not have answers for.” 
 

This was coming from a teacher at my Jewish Sunday School I attended as a child. I think this sentiment was the only thing that kept space in my life for spirituality to grow on it’s own. It was almost like he was preaching the scientific method over a dogmatic “this is what happened.” When you give kids dogma, they’ll push back and rebel. When you give kids space, they’ll seek to learn more on their own. 
 

I used to joke that I follow “The Church of David.” Meaning, I just believe whatever I want at that time in my life. It’s pick and choose. The “Church of David” was creating what I want to believe, and just grabbing the best aspects from each religion and compiling them into one thing, with a few new flavors of my own. Maybe it’s telling of my particular personality, but at the same time, why not pick and choose?
 

So if you’re looking for a new group to join, in my religion if there’s heaven we all go there, I don’t really care about your sexual preference, and the religion changes with the times. Maybe our rules include upcoming technology. We can always re-evaluate the rules if we need to. All are welcome!
 

I’m still a happy member of this church. We can meet online if you’d like to.
 

Or, you can just start your own chapter of the “Church of (Your Name)” and then I will love you and encourage you for pursuing it. That’s the other big piece of “The Church of David,” to each her own! I’m happy for whatever makes you spiritually happy. 
 

If you do start your own church, let me know what it’s about, I would love to hear what you come up with that works for you.
 

Spirituality

Even if I’m not personally a part of any particular large-scale faith, I’ve been getting more spiritual over time. I think it’s improved my life. I cherish the moments when I feel spiritual. 
 

To develop the spiritual side of my life (and I believe we can develop this), I do a few things.


Diet. You can’t feel overwhelming gratitude when you’re blocked up from fast-food or you’ve just gorged yourself. No wonder why every major religion has days of fasting involved in their rituals. I feel more in tune with my emotions and senses when I’m not numb from over-indulgence. 
 

Practice. We can feel more spiritual by practicing the art of putting ourselves in a state of spirituality. Yoga and meditation are life-long practices for me that help me get there, but there’s many other ways to practice. It could just simply be thinking about things that you’re grateful for before bed or going on a run to a view overlooking the city.
 

Music. We know it’s part of the formula for feeling something. It’s why every religion includes it. Music puts you in an emotional state of mind over a logical one. There’s nothing wrong with intentionally using music to enhance your experiences. We do it on our road trips, when we ice skate in the Winter or when we work out. I personally create triggers with music, by playing the same song after every meditation. That way if I want to feel more zen or feel spiritual I can just put on the song and it takes me back there. 
 

Being in love. You can feel in love, for a moment, with almost anyone. I get this when I people watch. I remember riding the Subway in New York and practically falling in love every day. It would be the way a mother would help her child, how a guy carried himself, how someone mouthed the words to a song they were listening to. Little, unique moments that gave me a second of a feeling love. All in noticing the beauty we all have in the tiniest of moments.
 

To me, spirituality is being open to powerful moments in your life that we simply can’t explain with our simple human words or brain. It’s not necessarily that a higher power exists or not, but rather a feeling we have for the incredible things that happen all of the time. 
 

Spirituality is watching the ripples of water on a pond. The shared energy in a group of friends. It’s the wind as you’re watching the world go by in a car with the windows down. It’s a slight squeeze of a palm into someone else’s, or an impactful message from a friend.
 

Spirituality is love and gratitude.
 

Spirituality is a deep connection of our bodies and minds into the present moment. 
 

Spirituality is experiencing a special union with the world.
 

And that’s it. I personally don’t need that other structural stuff. Others might, and that’s ok, too.
 

I find when I’m feeling some type of spirituality in my life, things seem to align more often. The world becomes less complex and more elegantly simple. I have a more relaxed confidence and I notice the magic that’s around us.
 

I feel like I’m paying attention. 


In the “Church of David,” it’s ok to ask questions. 
 

And I don’t have all of the answers.

Culture, LifestyleDavid Sherry
Time Management

Time management…time.. management……
 

t i m e m a n a g e m e n t ……
 

I was fascinated with fantasy, science, fiction. Einsteins dreams, The Dark Forest, Sum, Elegant Universe. Anything where time bent. Anything where it’s abstracted. Where the fundamental rules changed.


Like in the book “Einstein’s Dreams,” where time moves faster the closer to sea level you are, but slower when you’re high up in the mountains. (All the rich people lived up in the clouds).
 

Or in the “The Dark Forest,” where you can hibernate to the future, and now the planet is made up of people from all different centuries.
 

Or in “Elegant Universe,” a theoretical physics novel by Brian Greene, where time moves slower, the faster speed you move.

I was fascinated because time is so hard to articulate when it comes to how we experience it.
 

To quote Brian Greene,

“Relativity challenges your basic intuitions that you’ve built up from everyday experience. It says your experience of time is not what you think it is, that time is malleable. Your experience of space is not what you think it is; it can stretch and shrink. “


We sleep and time zips by.

It slows down when we’re skidding our car straight toward a stop-sign at 35 mph.
 

We wake up in a new city after a move, and it feels like the week ahead of us stretches far into the unknown.
 

We take drugs to accelerate and then we take drugs to decelerate.
 

We’re in line at the bank and dying from it’s slow pace.
 

We’re on the beach with our friends for our birthday and the day is over before we know it.
 

Is the goal to live our lives fast, or live our lives slow?
 

I’m not sure.

I do know that when I travel, it feels like time slows down. Every day things are unknown. Every day I’m unsure what will happen or what I will see. I’m aware, and it makes me recognize the present. Being present means I’m not rushing my time. Maybe this is it’s true speed.
 

When I’m diving deep into my habits and routines, time speeds up.When we live in patterns, our brain fast forwards a bit; the commute to your job, brushing your teeth, going to the same shop you always go to. Patterns and routines make it hard to stay present, because our brain can go into auto-pilot. So we are in our heads and then we blink and we’re done.
 

When I’m having fun, time speeds up.
 

When I’m impatient time slows down.
 

If our experience of time is malleable, Is it possible to adjust the levers of our time? Maybe the goal isn’t to live a fast life, or a slow life, but one that has meaning in each moment. To have mastery of our time.
 

So next time I’m not having fun, and things are moving slowly, I could seek for a way to make things fun. Make something into a game, become vulnerable, take a risk, and then watch the time speed up. My adrenaline will help me. See how much energy there is in the time now?
 

And next time I’m impatient, I can become patient. Impatience is when we long for something to end. It’s a mental shortening of the amount of time we experience.
 

I could skip a day of routine and do something completely different. Instead of showering and brushing my teeth today, I’ll walk while reading and high five some strangers.
 

There’s no right answer here, only newly found options.
 

Press Play, Press Fast-Forward, Press Slow-Mo.…
 

My Notes from the "DO Lectures"

I wanted to share my notes from "The Do Lectures" with you all. 

P.S. - stay tuned for some more posts, on top of my weekly Wednesday post I've been writing more so I'll likely be adding as-created. 



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The Do Lectures, Key takeaways:
July 29-August 1 2016


1. To build and incredible culture and brand, you need to have an incredible soul and personality.
 

 A brand is simply an extension of the people working on it. The culture, the vibe, the personality, all of that stem from the founders and its team. Who I am, what I do, what my opinions are, these will all bleed directly into the brand.
 

Are you interesting? Then your brand will be. Are you bored, lifeless or lacking passion? It’s going to show. It’s imperative that we have soul, for our brands to have soul. Improving myself, keeping passion for life, exploring, all of these things are more important than they seem. 
 

They can feel it. 
 

2. Find a taboo, and rebrand it.

Is there something people whisper in the shadows and don’t discuss publicly? Is it outdated? There is your opportunity. 
 

Miki Agrawal, gave an amazing talk on this subject. She’s the founder of Thinx, which is underwear for women on their period. She took this hush-hush topic head on, and flipped the conversation. She did this in 3 ways:
 

  1. Innovating on product. Tampons have had basically zero innovation over the last century, she changed that. She’s envisioning a new future for women’s health. 
  2. An aesthetic makeover. It’s 2016, if it’s not sexy, it won’t sell. Nailing the quality of design and making sure every touch point felt relevant to today’s world is imperative. And as she said “We consider the F out of every design choice.” Not to mention half her staff were creatives. 
  3.  Relatable. Instead of approaching the topic being too P.C., or being scientific, she speaks about the taboo in plain english. She describes what it’s like to be a woman on her period. This making you cringe? Well, other’s are screaming, “THANK YOU. Finally!” She’s human. So are her customers.

 

If you have a soap box, you can speak for those who have been silenced. Getting pushback? That’s the entire point. When you speak for those who are silenced, unheard, under-appreciated, you’ll get raving fans who have your back. Leaning into the resistance will build you trust. We can repeat this formula, if we are brave enough...
 

3. Your “Say-To-Do” ratio.

How much do you say vs. how much do you do? It’s easy to talk. It’s hard to stay quiet and work in the background. 

Instead I can say A LOT with one large thing you’ve made. I can stay quiet for a year but then release a book. Don’t talk about your project, until you have that one talk that blows people’s minds at everything you accomplished.
 

I’m trying to cut back on social media. It’s too much time pondering, retweeting other’s words instead of writing my own, and consuming instead of making. Are we aware of our Say-to-Do ratio? 
 

4. Order → Disorder → Reorder

 Jedidiah Jenkins was your average lawyer, going to work, paying his bills, making his way. Until he decided he wanted more and quit it all to ride a bicycle across South America. He documented his trip, wrote about it, photographed, and is now a prominent writer on social media, set to release his first book. 
 

In life we’re always evolving. When things feel safe we’re in “order.” We shed the safety and fall into disorder, which is scary because you have no idea what will come after. 
 

And when you make it out on the other side, when you reorder, your life will look different than it did before. 
 

5. Be a speaker, not an attendee.

I think this is my new rule for conferences. It just seems like you get SO MUCH more value attending a conference as a speaker. First, everyone gets to hear your story, in a curated and quality way. You can move the crowd and get people to know who you are. 
 

Second, you get to meet and spend time with the other speakers, who are really the people you want to spend time with most. 
 

Third, you attend for free, and get other such perks (Plus you’re now an alumni of this ever growing network, which is sure to open doors). 
 

This isn’t easy, but the reward is 10x. 
 

6. Be an onion.

What was so impressive about the speakers and attendees at this conference was that they weren’t just specialists in one area. Miki, for example owned Thinx, but also a few Gluten Free Pizza restaurants. Andrew, who was an NHL Stanley Cup Champion, had a deep interest in environmentalism and science. While he was in the NHL, he helped organize the league to be more sustainable, got a degree from Harvard, and educated the public on causes such as gay rights advocacy. 
 

Ultimately, I want to be multi-layered. Yeah, I’ve got this DTS thing going, but I also have hobbies, friends, active interests outside of this work. The trick is to commit to many things, but one at a time. Meaning, you can have multiple active interests, you just can’t multi-task them all at the same time. Be present with each. Carve out your calendar to support a variety of passions in your life. 
 

7. Start with “How can I help you?”

If you’re trying to get to know someone, emailing cold, hoping to join an organization, don’t ever try the “pick your brain over coffee” thing. Always start with how you can help them. Suggest that you intro them. Ask if they need volunteers. Put in work up front and send it to them to see if it’s something they could use. Start with giving the value. 
 

I’m working to send an email or two a day with this premise. You can steal this from my email:

“I’m trying to get a bit more plugged in here, and since I really love your work, I thought I’d reach out to see if there was anything I could do to help or get involved in?*
If you ever need an assistant, spare hand, or help event planning etc., happy to try and serve where I can.”
  • *Caveat; It sometimes GIVES the person work when you ask “what can I get involved in.” Then they have to do the work come up with what that might be. Instead, If you know someone well enough up front, I suggest that you offer something you know they need. 

 

8. Holy Shit, We’re Alive.

How amazing is this??? 

We’ve only got 21,000 days in our adult lives, so use them wisely. I want to be aware of every moment I can. I want to stop and recognize how amazing things are. Find something that’s worth pursuing and pour your time in it.
 

Patterns kill our awareness. We stop paying attention, and the time starts to speed up. Every time I’m traveling it feels like time is slowing down. It’s because of all these new experiences, new awareness, and growth. 
 

Moving is Living.

 — 


So hopefully that was taste of some of the knowledge that was passed on.

Oh yeah, and,
 

Bonus: Stories.

The story is alive as it ever has been. Is there anything else in our human history that has had such staying power as the story? That’s all this conference was, speakers telling their story, attendees sharing their story. The winery sharing the story of the farm and how they farm their grapes. It’s why we buy in. And people PAID serious cash to get their dose, me included.
 

Have nothing to say? As Ben Franklin said, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
 

 If you can tell your story you can move people. If you can move people, you can make unbelievable things happen.