Escape the Rat Race: 47 Lessons for Every Twenty-Something (or Anyone Else)

Escape the Rat Race: 47 Lessons for Every Twenty-Something (or Anyone Else)

From time to time, my friends in their twenties will reach out to me. They’ll ask me questions about life. Some of them are more direct than others, but it’s always about “finding” themselves. It’s like they’re searching for something. 

I mean, Aren’t we all? 

Most of the time I think to myself, How can anybody, honestly, help anybody to “find” who they are? Let alone me. It’s such a loaded question. I mean, everyone’s situation is different and unique, mine included. But I get it. Most everyone is confused in their twenties: “Is this the right career? Am I going to get married? Should I buy or rent? What makes him or her so special? How can I do this? Should I do that?” On and on it goes. I can’t pretend to know all the answers to these questions. I won’t even try, but here’s what I do know…

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Morning After #2: I Wanted to Tell You, But Somehow I Couldn’t

Morning After #2: I Wanted to Tell You, But Somehow I Couldn’t

I’ve seen this play out a million times in my mind.

We’re on a small boat floating at sea. A dead silence surrounds us. Tikis hover far in the distance. There’s no waves, but palm trees are slightly waving. Our frozen drinks have umbrellas, just how you like them. You, well, look just like you. Glowing. I can’t see your eyes because we’re wearing sunglasses, but your smile says all I need to know. When I glance over, the sun dances off your nose—reflecting at the perfect angle each time, reminding me that having courage in that moment was a good decision…

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A Modern-Day Dating Problem: Two Questions That Need Answers

A Modern-Day Dating Problem: Two Questions That Need Answers

My knees aren’t wobbly yet, but this is about the time on any Saturday night when a glaze spreads over my eyes. Tonight, I’m more annoyed than entertained. I’m like a spinning top: where and when I’ll stop, I’m not really sure. I can’t spot one woman I’m interested in talking to. My ego keeps yelling at me, “No way, not good enough,” while my empathy reminds me, “You can’t do that. You know how that would end.” It’s sort of ridiculous when thought about out of context, but I trust my eyes, even if they are vodka-dipped.

An hour later, the top finally stumbles. “So sorry,” I say.

She looks up, smiling ear to ear. “It’s okay.” 

I ask, “Have I seen you here before?” 

“I don’t think so,” she says. 

“Well, hi, my name is Doug.” And just like that I’m spinning again….

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The Accident: Reflections, Details, and Lessons

The Accident: Reflections, Details, and Lessons

Here I am sandwiched between two blue marvels. Spinning like a mobile hanging from the sky, suspended above the ocean. As I float in the air, things seem to be moving much slower than one would expect.

It feels like a different kind of freedom than I experienced just moments ago. A waiting process that’s out of my control. Something I just have to believe in. Now I know why religion became so popular throughout time. In the grasp of no one and nothing, controlled by the uncontrollable, what else do you have to rely on? Right or wrong, being in this moment has made me realize that sometimes all you have is hope. Fate is your only destiny…

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How to Be Happy

How to Be Happy

You want to discuss happiness, right?

There’s a place we must start. Something uncomfortable I must share with you.

You’re going to die one day.

This is not a new idea. It’s actually not an idea at all. It’s a basic truth. One you’ll see or have seen pop up a lot in my work.

You see, happiness is not about what you do for work, how much money you have in the bank, or finding a life long partner. Happiness is about living. Living is about choices. And there will always be more ways to live than the one way you’re currently living. Universally, there’s no better teacher of living than death. Death enables appreciation for life. It forces you to understand there will be a finality to your life. So my method for being happy requires you to face the fact that you’re going to die and realize you have some choices to make before that happens. Don’t feel overwhelmed, though. My method is quite simple, you’ll see…

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Morning After #1: This Is Life

Morning After #1: This Is Life

Here I am—battered not beaten.

I know something is wrong because it’s nine o’clock in the morning and I’m still in bed. I find it odd that the only thing I want to do is share this with you, which is why I’m typing right now rather than sleeping.

My head is throbbing, and I’m wondering why I let those random girls seduce me into buying tequila shots last night. And then buying more, again and again. Seduction is a powerful thing. You see, I’m still alone. Now this is all I’m left with. A fraction of the man I thought I was. My subconscious reminds me that I should be grateful, though. I can only fight back with, Really?…

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The Dichotomy of Moments: A Mental Model to Remember

The Dichotomy of Moments: A Mental Model to Remember

It was day four of seven-day trip to Miami, and there I was: run down from travel, lack of sleep, and probably one too many vodka drinks. I was experiencing some kind of brain fog combined with lightheadedness, yet I found myself walking into a pool party at the Surfcomber Hotel in South Beach. There’s something about Miami that just seems to melt my brain, light my heart on fire, and leave me burning on pure emotion. Maybe it’s my most human form.

As I shuffled through the crowd, I had my own personal drummer inside my head banging away on the snares, hi-hats, and cymbals. He was using my cerebrum as the bass drum, and I was wondering how long I’d be able to take it. Then, of the corner of my left eye, I spotted the silhouette of an attractive woman. So I did what any single guy would do: I took a second look and side-stepped a few feet closer. It was on the third look that I realized I’d seen her before. As I squinted to make sure I was seeing clearly, she turned her head at the same time, and it was like a scene straight out of a movie. My ex-girlfriend, who I hadn’t seen in over five years, was looking me straight in the eye…

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5 Songs That Will Move You to Tears

5 Songs That Will Move You to Tears

Have you seen A Star Is Born?

Did it make you cry?

I watched it for the first time on a recent cross-country flight. My buddy was sound asleep next to me, and there I was doing everything I could to prevent myself from breaking down during the final scene. I even removed my earbuds because I couldn’t bear to listen. It was as moving a story as any I’ve watched, read, or listened to in a long time.

When my friend finally woke up, I asked him, “Did you see that movie?”

“Yup, it’s a tough one.”

To say I was fascinated by this movie would be an understatement. I thought about it all night. I couldn’t let it go. And everyone I talked to had the same reaction. This movie has moved everyone…

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