life lessons

How Do You Best Process Your Thoughts?

How Do You Best Process Your Thoughts?

I was on a podcast the other day to discuss how I work: my daily routine, regular and irregular tasks, social media, etc. We turned to the topic of my blogs (this one and my Stonemaier Games blog), and the podcaster asked me why I blog. There are several reasons, several of which are different […]


Outward-Facing Lifehack #3

Outward-Facing Lifehack #3

Quite some time ago, I posted a few blog entries about tiny things I can do that can make someone else’s job much easier. The last one I posted was about how to position your knife on a plate at a restaurant, and I have another server-focused lifehack today. Have you ever been at a […]


Do You Get a Flu Shot?

Do You Get a Flu Shot?

I had an interesting experience at the doctor’s office yesterday. I was seeing my primary care physician for an annual checkup (or, in this case, my 18-month checkup). After I checked in, a nurse steered me into an office and checked my vitals. While typing away at the computer, she asked, “Did you want to […]


Pet Peeve #69: The Least Effective Introductory Statement

Pet Peeve #69: The Least Effective Introductory Statement

This doesn’t happen every day. Not even every week or every month. But occasionally I get a message from a stranger that begins and ends with the following. Perhaps you’ve heard it too: “May I steal a moment of your time?” I think this may be one of the least effective introductory statements ever conceived. […]


What Healthy Habits Have You Maintained the Longest?

What Healthy Habits Have You Maintained the Longest?

Out of the many ill-advised things I do (mostly involving food–I eat like I still had the metabolism I did when I was 20 years old), I’ve maintained 3 healthy habits for over a decade: I’ve flossed nightly since 1999. I decided my freshman year of college that I didn’t want to wear dentures when […]


How to Cure Hiccups in 6 Easy Steps

How to Cure Hiccups in 6 Easy Steps

I got a case of the hiccups at the worst possible time this weekend. On Thursday, I strained my lower back, leading to me hobbling around like an old man and not sleeping well that night. It was feeling better on Friday, but while I was out at lunch, I took an awkward sip of […]


When Was the Last Time You Changed a Long-Held Opinion?

A few days ago I was watching an interview with Jerry Seinfeld in which he changed his mind about something he was discussing with Stephen Colbert. When it happened, Seinfeld observed–as he does–that people rarely change their minds on TV. It occurred to me that it’s not just on TV. From my perspective, it seems […]


Outward-Facing Life Hack #3

Outward-Facing Life Hack #3

I worked in a movie theater for a summer right before college, and I had a blast. I love movies, I love seeing people get excited about movies, and I love popcorn. It was a good fit. There’s one part of the job that no one at the theater enjoyed: Cleaning up a theater after […]


How Much Did the Tooth Fairy Pay You for Your Teeth?

How Much Did the Tooth Fairy Pay You for Your Teeth?

Based on prorated data from this 2015 survey of parents, most tooth fairies in 2017 pay about $5 per tooth. Kids have 20 baby teeth, so over the span of a few years, they’re netting about $100. Back in the late ’80s, I was getting $1 per tooth at best. So my net revenue was […]


How Do You Walk Away?

How Do You Walk Away?

I got some great advice the other day from a colleague. He had read one of my Stonemaier Games blog posts about the stresses of fulfillment, and he chimed in with his two cents: “I NEED to walk away for a while. Maybe it’s an hour, maybe it’s a day or maybe it’s a week, […]


Is Generosity an Indicator of Success?

Is Generosity an Indicator of Success?

In a recent episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Jerry Seinfeld asks Lorne Michaels (7:20), “How did you see in Jimmy Fallon that there was a talk-show host in him?” Michaels replies (I’m paraphrasing here), “He’s truly funny, and he’s incredibly talented, obviously, but he also is generous. I’ve been thinking about that line ever since […]


What Would You Say to Your High School Self?

What Would You Say to Your High School Self?

Every 2 years, my high school has an “Alumni Showcase” day when they invite graduates to return to the school to share their infinite wisdom with the students. I regretted not going 2 years ago, so I decided for sure I would go this year. Even though I was speaking to 14-18 year olds, I […]


Is Life Easier If All of Your Clothes Are the Same?

Is Life Easier If All of Your Clothes Are the Same?

Every morning/afternoon when I get dressed, I spend about 67 seconds selecting my outfit for the day based on my mood, activities that day, and availability of clean clothes. 67 seconds isn’t much, but is that time and mental energy I could better spend on other things? Steve Jobs (who I generally try not to emulate) thought […]


Repairmen Are People Too

Repairmen Are People Too

Friday was my dad’s birthday. Without realizing it at the time, I did something good that day that I learned from him. Much to the chagrin of my cats, my condo association decided to install a new alarm system in the building. So on Friday, an electrician showed up to wire in the new alarm. […]


The American Dream

The American Dream

A few days ago I was watching a Daily Show segment about the Illinois lottery when something struck me as very disconcerting. The segment focused on a middle-aged couple who had recently won around $250,000 in the state lottery. The focus of the segment was on Illinois’ current inability to actually pay lottery winners, even though […]


It’s Important to Try Things

It's Important to Try Things

I’ve been trying for months to derive some sort of life lesson for the story I’m going to tell here, but I haven’t figured it out, so I’ll just tell the story and hopefully it will mean something important. I was having lunch with an old friend at A Pizza Story, a Neapolitan pizza place […]


Tiny Houses and the Dream of Entertaining

Tiny Houses and the Dream of Entertaining

This past weekend, I helped a friend move into a tiny house. Specifically, he and his family (one wife and two sons) moved from a decent-sized house to a much smaller house. I think it’s around 900 square feet, plus a basement. For a while now, my friend has been reading a blog called Mr. […]


Is It Possible to Maintain Sexual Chemistry with One Person Forever?

Is It Possible to Maintain Sexual Chemistry with One Person Forever?

Given that I’m single, the question posed in the title has not occurred to me for quite some time. But yesterday I stumbled upon a riveting TED talk called, “The Secret to Desire in a Long-Term Relationship,” and it rekindled my interest in the subject. The talk, given by Esther Perel, is all about, our […]


The Worst Financial Advice I’ve Received from Smart People

The Worst Financial Advice I've Received from Smart People

Yesterday I was checking out after eating dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. I had enough cash to pay for my meal, but I commented that I rarely like to use cash when I could use my credit card, as it allows me to track and categorize all of my purchases. Every month I look […]


Why You Should Go to the Doctor When You Notice a Lump

Today I got a rather shocking group e-mail from a friend about a recent development in his life. I’m really grateful that he shared his story, and I asked him if I could post it on my blog so it might benefit you as it benefited me. He asked to remain anonymous, hence the lack […]


The Power of Asking for Feedback

The Power of Asking for Feedback

A few days ago I listened to a talk about asking for feedback. While I’ve been a big fan of the power of asking for feedback for a long time now (as a manager at my previous job, to my Kickstarter backers at my current job, and in general), the talk really opened me to […]


Pet Peeve #57: More Than One Question Mark or Exclamation Point

Pet Peeve #57: More Than One Question Mark or Exclamation Point

Let’s start off with some examples: Exhibit A: Hey, Jamey, did you get that e-mail I sent you this morning? Exhibit B: Hey Jamey, did you get that e-mail I sent you this morning?? — Exhibit C: Myra had the baby! Exhibit D: Myra had the baby!! — They’re subtle differences, to be sure, but […]


Wil Wheaton Explains Bullying with Compassion

I was a keynote panel member today at a funding session at a local university, and the experience reminded me of one of my favorite YouTube videos. It’s a video of Wil Wheaton (the host of a YouTube show about board gaming called Tabletop) serving on a panel at a gaming convention. A kid asks him […]


A Post About Ashton Kutcher?

A Post About Ashton Kutcher?

If you told me 4 years ago that I would post a blog entry about Ashton Kutcher, I would have said, “That’s random. Who are you?” (Because I probably didn’t know you then. I probably don’t even know you now.) Yet here I am. Do you ever find yourself clicking one link after another online […]