Image Credit: Luc Viatour “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”  ― Albert Einstein

Image Credit: Luc Viatour

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
― Albert Einstein

That’s one of my top 63 favorite quotes (the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song, in it’s entirety, is also on that list). I honestly believe that everyone is a genius in one way or another, and you can’t disagree with me because Einstein said the same thing, ha!

Personally, I consider myself very skilled at getting along with people. If you put me in a room with East Coast and West Coast rappers…I would probably hide under the table and cry, but if you put me in a professional setting with someone really, really annoying, I can definitely work with them in a productive and positive manner. That’s one (of the many, ’cause I’m awesome) ways that I would consider myself a genius.

htwfaipI recently read a book by the late, great, Dale Carnegie. You may have heard of it, it’s a little pamphlet known as “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” It’s fairly popular, according to the cover of my copy that was printed in 1982, there had been over 15 million copies sold since it first came out in 1936 (which puts it in the same league as the Golden Books classic “The Poky Little Puppy.” It’s also sold 75 million copies less than the Fifty-Shades series…that fact makes me sad…). It was one of, if not the first books to really look at how to succeed at the art of getting along with people.

It all boils down to two pretty simple ideas:

  • Actually, genuinely care about the other person
  • Don’t be a d-bag

Even though the key ideas are simple, I still took quite a bit away from it. Here are a handful of quotes that I found useful from “How to Win Friends and Influence People” (HTWFIP) by Dale Carnegie:

Don’t criticize condemn or complain:

Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.

“A great man shows his greatness,” said Crlyle, “by the way he treats little men.”

Arouse in the other person an eager want:

If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.

When we have a brilliant idea, instead of making others think it is ours, why not let them cook and stir the idea themselves. They will then regard it as their own; they will like it and maybe eat a couple of helpings of it.

Become genuinely interested in other people

Did you ever stop to think that a dog is the only animal that doesn’t have to work for a living: a hen has to lay eggs, a cow has to give milk, and a canary has to sing. But a dog makes his living by giving you nothing but love.

Be a good Listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

A person’s toothache means more to that person than a famine in China which kills a million people. A boil on one’s neck interests one more than forty earthquakes in Africa. Think of that the next time you start a conversation.

These are just from the first half of the book. There are more fantastic observations about arguments, respecting others opinions, and how to get others not only willing, but excited about doing what you need them to do.

You can get the book for cheap on Amazon or look for it at your local used book store.

What are your best interpersonal tips? Have you read HTWFIP? What was your biggest take-away?

Source: Carnegie, Dale. How to Win Friends and Influence People. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1937. Print.

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gpashave

Full disclosure, this post is 100% inspired by this article from the Artofmanliness.com

Before I begin talking about my journey of self discovery through shaving with a safety razor, I need to tell you about my “beard.” I use quotes because my “beard” isn’t exactly Chuck Norris-esque. If my face were an empty canvas then my facial hair would be the paint thrown about by Jackson Pollock with no regard to regularity or the natural symmetry that God intended for a man’s face.

All that to say, my facial hair is colorful, thin, and patchy.

Because of this I’ve had a much easier transition to shaving with a safety razor than folks like Brian Wilson or Chuck Norris would.

Now back to my story… Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve worked at my current job for almost 3 years. In those 3 years (we’ll round up because 2 and 2/3  years sounds petty), I’ve filled out 32 expense reports and managed about 12 separate budgets. Now, here’s a secret that I probably shouldn’t share on a public forum that my supervisors can see: until about 3 months ago I still had no idea how our freaking accounting system worked. All I knew was on each line, next to an expenditure on every report, I had to put down 10 numbers in a pattern that went X-XXXX-XXX-XX. Until about 3 months ago I’d just play mad-libs with numbers (if you know a way to spell fart with numbers, let me know).

http://wfiles.brothersoft.com/4/4_8_15_16_23_42_64711-1920x1200.jpg

The accountant didn’t like this for a cost code either…

I know what you’re probably thinking; “Man, I hope he’s being facetious because otherwise he should have been fired 2 and 1/3 years ago.” And yes, I’m exaggerating a little. But that’s still a pretty low, wanting me to get fired?!?! I have a wife and 2 dogs to provide for, you heartless jerk! But I really did have to spend extra time every month going back and looking at which numbers went where, probably doubling the time I spent on those dang things.

Now, I also know what you’re probably thinking if you aren’t a jerk: “What changed 3 months ago?”

That’s an excellent question and I’ll tell you – I got placed in charge of a bigger budget with more expenses. So instead of having to use the cost codes a couple times a month, I had to use them half a dozen times a week. Suddenly, it all started to click. I realized that my co-workers weren’t super-geniuses (sorry guys just being honest), they had just had more experience filling the numbers in.

Now lets skip to a seemingly completely unrelated story…

My wife and I also just recently laid sod (with a lot of help from our parents and friends). We knew nothing about it and it seemed very daunting to try to go from an ugly dirt lot to a green oasis in less than a week. We did a little bit of research, though (seriously, not much; we probably should have done more) and we’ve successfully gone from the Sandlot to Paradise Island:

Dang, that yard's hot!

Seriously, be impressed

 

So if you’re anything like me, you are probably starting to wonder why I’m sharing all this. After all, this post is already knocking on the door of 400 words, which is a little bit of a stretch to read on your phone while sitting on the john.

Here’s the point –  almost 25 years in (it seems petty to say I’m 24 and 3/4 years old), I’m finally starting to realize that most of the “experts” on things have just had a little (sometimes a lot) more experience at things that seem daunting to me. And eventually, just like me, they had to jump in with both feet and learn by doing. They just had to completely immerse themselves in whatever it was, be willing to screw up (apparently putting 1-2345-678-90 as a cost code just confuses the accountant), and learn from their mistakes.

It’s empowering and depressing all at the same time. I know that I can do almost anything (minus dunk a basketball or throw a football well, I’ve come to terms with that), which is awesome. But… I can do almost anything – which means its my own fault that I haven’t invented a television set that automatically turns the volume up when your wife is about to ask you to do the dishes.

Have you ever just jumped into a new project/skill/job with both feet? How did it turn out for you?

A good friend and fellow blogger of mine, Rob aka mcdeadmeat, has a blog that is much more refined, deep and more smarter than mine. I really look up to Rob as a Christian, husband, outdoorsman, and fat cat owner. In that vain, you should check out his blog Wandering Thoughts,

I bring up my friend for two reasons.

1) He and his wife are awesome and he can grow a pretty legit face beard.

2) I’m stealing one of his ideas and thought I should give him at least a little credit.

Every Friday, Rob posts what he and his wife/friends/enemies/mother in-law are doing for the weekend.

So with all that said, here’s my weekend.

Tomorrow I’m going rafting with some friends and co-workers down the Arkansas River courtesy of Echo Canyon Rafting. Word on the street is we’ll be going over some class 5 rapids. According to people who are prone to exaggeration, “we’ll be rafting on sections where people have died” so you know it’s either going to be awesome, or way over hyped!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Niagara_Falls_with_Mist.jpg

Just as a point of reference, this is a Class 5.5 rapid

After rafting, my wife and I are hoping to pick up a dog run for Leonidas and Swarley. Swarles Barkley has been escaping our yard daily almost as if he were a ghost dog who could move effortlessly through walls (Great idea for a screenplay btw) so we’re hoping that this will either a) break their spirits or b) at least make it more difficult for Swarlos to escape.

Sunday should be fairly laid back, we may go on a hike or clean up around the house but mostly, we’ll just relax.

Finally, since we have a three day weekend we get to hang out Monday as well. Laci will be leaving for her company’s last tour of the season. I’ll be meeting up with my family to honor our veterans and all those who gave their life for our freedom in the most American way possible: meat and guns!

So that’s my weekend, it should be fun.

How about you? What will you be doing to make the most out of your three day weekend?

It seems like months ago when my wife and I decided to do a 2.5 day juice fast…actually it was almost a month to the day, my how time flies. We started starving ourselves the juice fast Friday afternoon and finished it Sunday afternoon. We weren’t able to go the full 2.5 days mostly because we were weak and burgers sounded really good after church. Here’s the break down as best as I can remember it.

Friday night we purchased everything for the Juice fast (you can see the list in my last post here).

Saturday morning we made smoothies, they were delicious but they definitely weren’t bacon and eggs.

I had to work most of Saturday so my amazing wife brought me some juice she made, it was really good…but not nearly as filling as a Philly cheese steak.

That night, we had some smoothies and followed it up with some more juice.

Sunday morning, we had some more juice.

Finally Sunday afternoon we broke our fast…with Five Guys, Burger and Fries.

In my travels across the internets, I have learned the real secret of blogging; if you don’t know what to write, make a list. So, I’m going to finish up this post with my top 10 7 lessons learned and observations about juice fasting.

  1. I was never actually hungry, I just missed eating. It was surreal, I actually started getting cranky because I wanted to chew something.
  2. It was more expensive then I would have expected. We probably dropped $50+ when it was all said and done for one weekend that’s crazy!
  3. Water is your friend. Juicing is a lot of work, especially trying to keep the dang thing clean so sometimes, when I was getting the munchies I’d just chug some water and it’d get better.
  4. Prepare for some bathroom visits. That’s all I’ll say about that one…
  5. Berries make any juice more delicious. It’s the truth.
  6. Frozen bananas may be great for smoothies but they’re a pain in the keister to peel.
  7. 5 Guys, Burger and Fries is a delicious way to break your fast, but it kind of makes the whole thing seem pointless.
http://www.cityave.org/listings/user_media/logo/images/167.jpg

High cholesterol has never been so delicious!

So that’s the long and short of our juice fast. In the end, we both agreed that we’d be willing to do it again, but we would want to do shorter 24 hour fast a couple times before working up to a longer one. Also, we’re thinking we’d be a little smarter about how we broke the fast. I have a feeling that it’s a bad sign that I ended both posts about juice fasts with a picture of a cheese burger.

 

This is a transcript of a real conversation held between my wife and I this morning. (I took out all the lovey dovey stuff for you, you’re welcome).

Laci: Nathan, I’ve been thinking, I want to start eating healthier.

Nathan: You could try doing a juice fast this weekend.

Laci: Yeah we should do that!

Did you catch that? My wife, being a black belt persuader, took advantage of my morning grogginess to change my very decisive “you” into a warm and fuzzy “we.” Now because of a 45 second conversation both my wife AND I are beginning a 2.5 day juice/smoothie fast.

For the next few days I'll be outsourcing all my chewing to this machine.

You may remember a few months backwe borrowed a juicer from a co-workerafter I was scared straight by Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. Laci insists that she has more energy since we started juicing. I haven’t noticed a big difference but it probably doesn’t help that I usually wash my juice down with a side of eggs and bacon. So “we” decided to kick it up a notch and see how we would feel after a full weekend, Friday night through Sunday.We went to the store and got everything that looked juiceable and healthy:

  • Gala Apples
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Cucumber
  • Pears
  • Black Berries
  • Strawberries
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Coconut Water
  • Almond Milk
  • Pineapple and Mango Juice
  • Vanilla Yogurt

Total Price: $40.45 ~ ouch, at this price I had better come away from this weekend with super powers!

As we were leaving we started talking about Star Wars and since my parents lived close by we stopped by and picked up IV, V, and VI (the only ones that matter) and headed home to make some smoothies for dinner.

And that’s how I got where I am right now, watching A New Hope, drinking a smoothie, and wishing I had a cheese burger.

Or even better, a cheese burger between a grilled cheese sandwich bun.

I’ll update through the weekend with how close I am to starving to death…and any good juice or smoothie combinations.


Have you ever done a juice fast? Any suggestions? Any idea what combination of juices will give me super powers?

Just an FYI in case anyone was wondering (I know you weren’t but if you pretend then it’ll humor me) Man of the Couch will return next Wednesday. Work has gotten in the way for the last few days and will continue for the next few as well.

Thanks!

People always claim to be morning or night people. These two groups are constantly feuding. I know in my home I am a morning person and my wife is the farthest thing from it. When we first got married I almost had to wear sparring pads so I could defend myself if I said “good morning” too cheerfully. Don’t feel to bad for me, this is just my life threatening yolk to bear.

Over the last year and a half my wife and I have evened out and almost reversed. She is now much better at waking up without cussing out the alarm clock and I am more likely to roll over a few times before sitting up…and then laying back down and going back to sleep.

The problem with this is mornings are the time that I feel most productive. When I get in to work early I almost always get more done and enjoy myself more. I’m pretty sure that if I could be in by 8 every morning I would have found a cure for the common cold, written a concerto that would rival those written by Mozart, discovered three new species of miniature kangaroos, and figured out this whole “pop and lock” thing the kids are raving about.

That typically doesn’t happen though.

http://images.sodahead.com/polls/002485583/3128110299_The_Office_US_version_season_4_answer_2_xlarge.jpeg

I figure if I'm watching The Office before I go into my office I'm just psyching myself up

Even when I do get up early I’ll usually use up all that extra time by taking forever to eat my breakfast (frosted mini wheats ftw) and watch random ridiculous T.V.. Pretty soon, even though I woke up at 7 or 7:30 I’m still not rolling into work until 9:00 or later.

So here is my new small experiment. I’m going to make sure that I am in bed ready to pass out by 11 every weeknight for the next 2 weeks AND that I am awake and out of bed by 7 each day. i’ll leave the T.v. off and will limit my recreational reading. At the end of two weeks I’ll look back, see if it was worth the trouble and go from there.

Are you a morning person or a night person? What’s your typical routine look like first thing in the morning on a work (or school) day

I’ve been running for more than 3 weeks now, I’ve clocked well over a dozen miles, and I have spent more than 6 minutes total stretching. I do believe that makes me an expert. Now, in my many many travels I have noticed something: miles seem to quadrupal in length when you’re running.

Let me explain. I feel like I have a fairly accurate sense of distance. When people ask me directions and I tell them the building is “about 3 miles down the road” they can rely on that estimate. People will constantly tell me “Nathan thank you for those accurate directions, your mile markers were extremely easy to follow.”

But when I’m running, everything is thrown off. Both my sense of time and distance. Last week I was trying to push myself. I figured I had been running for a couple weeks, I was ready to kick it up a notch. I decided I’d run my own personal marathon – you know, no big deal. I began running, I ran so long that the seasons changed around me. I ran so long my beard and fingernails grew a noticeable amount. I’m fairly certain I ran from coast to coast multiple times. I figured they would make a movie about me that was like a combination of Forest Gump and Chariots of Fire… At the very least I figured I had run 4 miles. When I got back home and checked my phone though, I had run 1.1 miles in just over 10 minutes.

I still don’t like running…


This post has nothing to do with jazz, I’m just a sucker for alliteration. It does, however, have everything to do with  juicing.  We’re currently borrowing a juicer from a co-worker so if we don’t like it and don’t want to stick with it we aren’t out a couple hundred bucks.

I feel like the benefits of juicing are pretty well known.  If you don’t know then here’s a simple yet highly scientific formula:

Juice+excercise+radiation = Superhero

exercise+radiation-juice = Side-kick

Aside from not wanting to be a lame sidekick, we are also interested in the nutritional benefits. It’s a quick easy way to take care of a couple servings of fruits and vegetables. Something we’re both not very good at. Plus I watched “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” and it scared me straight.

http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com/

The moral of the story: if you want to be skinny and buff drink juiced fat people

We don’t really know much about juicing and what is and isn’t good to juice so we just went to the store and bought anything that looked super healthy.

Here’s the recipe we totally made up created:

Nathan and Laci’s Awesome Superhero Juice

Look at the poor ingredients, they have no idea what’s about to happen to them.

  • a clump of spinach
  • 6 carrots
  • half a cucumber
  • a head of broccoli
  • 5 apples
  • 2 peaches
  • a fistful of blue-berries

We juiced it all up and made enough for us each to have a glass for the next 3 days. It definately wasn’t bad, kind of like eating grass mixed with apple sauce…but in a good way. By the third day (yesterday) it started to taste a little funny so from now on we’re going to make enough for 2 days at a time.

mmmmmm it looks like absolutely nothing appetizing

So far it’s been fun, I haven’t felt my superpowers developing yet but it’s only a matter of time. I’m hoping for super speed and strength but I won’t be picky.

UPDATE – Please note, apparently freshly made juice like this doesn’t last long even in the refrigerator. We didn’t experience any nasty symptoms from keeping it for 3 days but after learning more, we found out that you should consume juice within 24 hours after you make it.

 

Have you ever tried juicing? Any suggestions on recipe’s or good websites for juicing?

Welcome

I'm lazy by nature. Left to my own devices I'd spend all my time watching Saved by the Bell reruns and playing Super Mario Bros. But, that's no way to live so I'm trying to do more things, become well rounded, and if possible, more awesome. I've gotten a lot better but there is always room for improvement.

I hope you'll join me.

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