Fight or Flight

We evolved to survive. Not forever, but long enough for the next generation to become strong enough to survive on their own and reproduce. Unfortunately, the environment in which we evolved in is drastically different than the one we live in. We weren’t designed for the modern world… hell, we weren’t even designed for an agricultural world. Many of the traits that increased the odds of survival in the past are actually harmful in the present.

20,000 years ago the fight-or-flight response triggered by a perceived attack was a very real need. Maybe it was a wild animal or a hostile neighboring tribe that triggered it and that flood of hormones allowed for quick survival. Sometimes our minds made mistakes, that rustling of wild boar in the bushes was really just a squirrel, but the odds of survival was greater due to the false positives. Being wrong 99 times but correct 1 time worked well.

But, we don’t live in the past anymore and the odds have shifted greatly. Not only are the physical dangers when we are out roaming the world nearly non-existent, we are constantly triggering our fight-or-flight in situations where there is absolutely zero chance of real danger.

Take, for example, Facebook. I’m guilty of spending too much time on Facebook. Not only do the constant likes and comments on my post make me feel good (yay, addiction!) but it places me in an environment where it feels dangerous and that I have enemies. It triggers my fear response, which gets the adrenaline going. It is a rollercoaster without the fresh air, a horror movie without the unnecessary topless women running around summer camp.

The chemical cocktail of hormones and neurotransmitters isn’t necessarily a bad thing (everyone knows I love a good serotonin rush), but the fight-or-flight response that we evolved with isn’t conducive with modern life. If I want to get a good night’s sleep, the last thing I should do is check Facebook. Seeing a “friend” who posts bigoted stuff is going to pump up my body for battle, not bed. By checking my phone (or even work email) at night I am sabotaging my own desires for a restful night sleep… or anything productive really. This response makes my relationships worse because I focus on the negative instead of the beauty of the world. I’m constantly on edge and stressed out because the system I evolved with is being over stimulated.

So, what can I do about this? Well, recognizing it is the first step, but overcoming it can take some work. As Robert Wright talks about in “Why Buddhism is True”, simply knowing that our mind is responding to evolutionary urges that no longer match our needs doesn’t necessarily lead to overcoming them (just look at food… I know my sugar cravings come from a time when fruit was the sweetest thing around but I still cram donuts in my mouth that destroy my body). What I need

What I need are practices, support, and an incentive system set-up to help me accomplish my goals. That means shutting off Facebook most of the time (particularly before bed), exercising more, reaching out to friends for support, meditating, and finding a way to make my health a moral imperative.

Sadly, I don’t have a lot of answers. I’m going to try to get control over my evolution though. That’s what it means to be human, after all. We have urges to reproduce, eat high-calorie food, be slothful, etc., but we can be stronger than our urges. We are not animals that live only to fuck, feast, and sleep. There is nothing special about reproducing, eating, or napping. Embracing our humanity means seeing these things for what they are, tools for happiness and by defaulting to them without conscious thought we are doing ourselves a disservice. It may feel good (because we evolution requires them to feel good) but that doesn’t mean they are good for us.

Got something to say? Wanna buy me a beer? There are many ways you can show support and connect with me! Send me a message anonymously via Sarahah or SurveyMonkey or email me. If you’re interested in a bike adventure I went on you can read my book! And I’m always accepting tips via PayPal or Bitcoin.

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What Kind of Life Employee Will I Be Today?

I’ve had a lot of jobs in my life. I started earning my income around the age of 12 when living in Gresham, Oregon. I delivered newspapers, sold sodas at the local park, worked in my grandfather’s rare coin shop, and mowed lawns. Since then, my “career” has been a bit unconventional (a full list is at the bottom of this post), but I’ve noticed my work style at each place usually fell into one of two categories: run out the clock and create value.

What determines how I approach a job seems to have little to do with the job itself. Take being a grocery clerk, for example. When I was 15 I started working for Safeway as a grocery clerk. I didn’t care about the job and I felt like I was just a cog in the corporate machine. I saw no opportunities to create or add value, so I just did what I was told. I was running out the clock each day.

That experience was very different than my time at the Good Food Store when I was 33. At GFS I was constantly looking for ways to improve the system and make life easier for all of us clerks. I felt like I was part of a family and my supervisors cared about me and would take my recommendations to heart. The social incentives were in place for me to work hard. I felt like being a value creator.

The reasons for my different approach during these jobs are many. Certainly, my age difference and life experiences played a big part, but I think the institutional incentives were a big factor as well.

I write all this because I’ve been thinking about what kind of employee I am within my own life. Are my days spent “running out the clock” until payday, vacation, the holidays, or death? Sadly… sometimes, yes. And on those days I’ve only hurt myself and wasted moments of my life that I’ll never get back.

On my best days, I am a value creator and that value grows exponentially. When I work to improve my skillset for work or read a book on a new subject or go for a run or eat right or write I am adding to my life, but it is more than addition because that growth acts like compounding interest. And, as Einstein might have said, “Compound interests is the most powerful force in the universe”.

Take my crypto investments, for example. Over the last 115 days, my cryptos have earned ~0.67% per day, which seems like nothing. That isn’t even a new penny for every dollar, but over time that daily growth becomes incredible. If that growth rate continues then a $100 investment becomes nearly $150,000 in three years. I don’t know if my financial investments will keep growing at that rate, but I hope my life can.

I don’t know if my financial investments will keep growing at that rate, but I hope my life can. If I can grow as a person by 0.67% per day than my body and mind and life will grow quickly. All it takes is a little time per day, a little focus, and a little perspective… 30 minutes a day or so dedicated to personal growth (and, of course, more time means faster growth). Every action I take plays off other actions I’ve made, exercise clears the mind and improves neurological function, reading books on new subjects increase creative solutions to old problems, writing publicly grows my network, meeting new people provides new opportunities and perspectives, etc. It isn’t necessarily important how I start being constructive each day, maybe it is a run and maybe it is meditation or maybe it is chatting with a friend, the important thing is that I actually start doing it.

I only have one life and I need to decide, am I just running out the clock as entropy takes hold or am I working to make this the best damn life I can?


Full List of Jobs (maybe?)

  • Age 15 – Grocery Clerk
  • Age 17 – Papa Murphey’s Pizza Maker
  • Age 18 – Lube Technician at a Honda Dealership
  • Age 18 – Papa John’s Delivery Driver
  • Age 19 – US Army
  • Age 23 – Go-Kart Track Attendant at a NASCAR themed track
  • Age 24 – Security Guard at Strip Mall filled with bars
  • Age 26 – Papa John’s Delivery Driver
  • Age 26 – Student Body Secretary
  • Age 27 – Intern for Economics Department
  • Age 27 – Student Body Vice President
  • Age 28 – Researcher for Non-Profit
  • Age 29 – Operations Manager for Non-Profit
  • Age 31 – Security Operations Manager for Private Security Firm
  • Age 33 – Grocery Clerk
  • Age 34 – Researcher for For-For Profit Organization

Got something to say? Wanna buy me a beer? There are many ways you can show support and connect with me! Send me a message anonymously via Sarahah or SurveyMonkey or email me. If you’re interested in a bike adventure I went on you can read my book! And I’m always accepting tips via PayPal or Bitcoin.

Bitcoin: 3BZQcA31awrYj7LAXmMY5armp5s1T2gpsL
Ethereum: 0x05F040cd6FB61377c375d487A37229359Dd6D976

Good and Bad

Today, I went for a run in the rain and it felt glorious. So much of our life is subject to our own perception. Whether something is “good” or “bad” isn’t an objective truth, it is a matter of how we handle it and perceive it. nearly everything can be a learning experience that helps us grow, and nearly everything can be destructive and make our lives worse.

The rain can strengthen us and help us refocus on the beautiful world around us. We become aware of new sensations and can observe them from a new perspective. Or, we can allow the cold and wet to make us miserable or become an excuse to allow our bodies to weaken. It is all in our heads.

Whether it is money, food, possessions, weather, or relationships, our minds shape our experiences and can find growth in nearly everything. We are not slaves to our emotions or our brains, they are tools that we can shape to our own will by changing our perception and language. It isn’t a crummy day because crummy connotates negativity, it is simply a day with certain physical attributes that we can find the beauty in and opportunities for growth.

Like what I say or have questions/comments? Is what I wrote worth $1 to you? There are many ways you can show support! Send me a message anonymously via Sarahah or SurveyMonkey or email me. If you’re interested in a bike adventure I went on you can read my book! And I’m always accepting tips via PayPal or Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Wallet: 3BZQcA31awrYj7LAXmMY5armp5s1T2gpsL

Should We Forget?

Today is September 11th and with the rising of the sun, my Facebook feed starts to swell with nationalistic posts from part of my past and anti-nationalistic posts from another part (and a handful of conspiracy theorists). I’ve talked about my relationship with this day before, and I don’t really see a reason to revisit that. But there is one thing on my mind right now, the unofficial motto of today “Never Forget”. While this is clearly a knock-off (tribute?) to “Never Again*” and the holocaust, it makes me wonder, should we forget?

Memories are valuable, but only if they improve the world by helping us make better decisions. If a memory causes us grief or hatred, then it does not serve a purpose and we should work to overcome it. If a memory traps us in the past then we should work to move beyond it. If a memory builds walls, divides us, dehumanizes others, and makes the world a darker place, then we should forget it. If a memory justifies future atrocities in your mind, then the memory is not a tool for good, but one for evil.

But, if the memory helps inspire goodness in your heart then hold onto it. If thinking about 9/11 makes you think about the bravery of the firefighters who worked tirelessly to help the victims of the attack, then use it to motivate bravery in your life. If the memory reminds you of the way your community came together, despite racial or religious lines, to help each other out with love and comfort and care, then use that event to inspire selflessness in your life. If you can look back on that day and realize that you have followed Christ’s example to love thy enemy and turn the other cheek, if you see that day as a moment of flawed humans who need love and compassion instead of an evil, inhuman “other”, then remember that day.

We must also ask, are there other memories or events that can inspire that kind of motivation without the temptation to hate or dwell on tragedy? Would it not be better to think about the brave women and men who are fighting raging wildfires to protect us in the west? Or the volunteers with the Coast Guard who brave the rough seas to rescue people? We have doctors that cross borders to heal the sick, we have families who risk everything to flee their home countries to make a better life for their children, we have heroes everywhere. Heroism doesn’t require an enemy or evil.

So, what will it take to move on? I wish I had a good answer to that.

What did it take for the US to move beyond the attack on Pearl Harbor? I’m not a historian but, unfortunately, it seems like vengeance worked. We had a feeling of superiority after slaughtering of hundreds of thousands of civilians to feel strong again. We were sucker punched and responded by blowing up the city block that the attacker lived on. I hope that we have moved beyond that, as a culture. I hope revenge isn’t how we move beyond 9/11. I hope we can someday have the same relationship with the Middle East that we have with Japan and that it won’t require more death.

Personally, I think that moving on is actually going to be more difficult in the modern age. We have social networks that overwhelm us and demand our attention, and many of these bubbles have become feedback loops of nativism and militarism. There are people who feel like perpetual victims of the attacks on 9/11, the day isn’t one of remembrance but one of feeling empowered to cause more harm.

I don’t see this kind of behavior from the men and women that actually served in the military though. They may put up a flag or share their story, but there isn’t a violent fetishism to their actions. No, it is my parent’s generation that seems to have difficulty moving on. Soldiers have seen the horrors of war and realize that there is nuance and subtly to world events. Even civilians of my generation understand this because they grew up and were educated in a time when Middle East politics were being studied and discussed. We recognize that 9/11 wasn’t a sucker punch by someone that hated the US for illogical reasons, it was the result of complex geopolitical actions that the US was part of. We share the guilt, and that is difficult for some people to accept.

My parent’s generation seems to see this from a very “black and white” perspective. They experienced the most horrific thing imaginable, someone put their children in danger or killed them. The sin of killing their child is, for many people, unforgivable. Instead of reflecting on Christ’s teachings they spout things like “Kill ’em all, let god sort ’em out”. To them, Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War” was right:

You’ve thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain’t worth the blood
That runs in your veins

Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

And if Jesus won’t forgive them then they must be inhuman and unworthy of human forgiveness. But forgiveness isn’t for the person who hurt you, it is for yourself. That is a great irony, by “Never” forgetting or forgiving we only hurt ourselves and our nation. We allow the memories of those events to make our future darker, to prevent love and understanding across nations and religions, to fill our own hearts with hatred and anger and resentment.

So, should we forget? I don’t know, but we should definitely forgive everyone involved, from the United States government to al Queda. All should be forgiven because that is what is necessary to make the future a better place. The past is lost to us, it is beyond our action, but the future can be shaped into a brighter place.

*There is something deeply uncomfortable about the US kind of ripping off the “Never Again” statement. As terrible as the 9/11 attacks were, there is simply no comparison between it and the Holocaust. Besides, “Never Again” is something to be acted upon to better the world and “Never Forget” is simply a mental state. It is a shittier phrase.


I can tell the quality of my day by my desires when I lay down to sleep. If I curl up in bed and want to just put on the sleeping meditation track on Headspace then I know it was a productive day. I have no regrets, my mind and body are at ease, I am ready to sleep and wake renewed for the next day. The warmth of bed helps my drift into slumberland and my conscience is clear, and the sleep is good. After eight hours I wake up slightly before my 6 am alarm and I’m ready to tackle the day.

But, if my day was wasted then my nighttime routine is different. I lay in bed and crave a podcast or audiobook instead of meditation and rest. My subconscious recognizes that I wasted the day, that I didn’t live up to my potential. Those missed opportunities drift around my mind and I grasp at any last thing I can to feel productive. Listening to something makes me feel like I am lengthening the day and making the most of it, but what I’m really doing is trying to make up for lost time… an impossible task. On nights like this I wake up throughout the night, sleep is difficult, and I wake without rest.

It becomes a cycle. Good days lead to good nights lead to good mornings. Bad days lead to bad nights lead to bad mornings. Soon, one day becomes one week becomes one month and breaking the cycle becomes more difficult. And before I know it, it has been six weeks since I went to the gym, a month since I study or practiced a foreign language or blogged. But when the cycle reverses itself the momentum is addicting. My good mornings lead to good days and I accomplish all I want and more.

I think tonight will be a good night, the second one in a row. I’ve worked hard, exercised, bonded, produced, and consumed. My mind will rest easy that I had a good day and tomorrow the beautiful cycle will start again.

Last Month

Dear lord, has it really been a month since I blogged? Blargh. This year is going by at a blinding speed and, to be honest, I’m not really proud of my accomplishments. The first half of the year went well, but in the last couple of months, I have had a really hard time getting things going. I’m kind of embarrassed at how this blog has become little more than me struggling to get things started over and over again.

Oh well, every day is new and focusing on the past won’t fix anything. I’m trying to go easy on myself, but I am a bit disappointed in how little I have accomplished. My writing has basically stopped, as have my studies and exercise routine. I continue to be amazed at how hand-in-hand everything seems to go. I seem to operate at 100% or 10%, I either have a full day where I meditate, write, work, study, read, run, lift, etc. or I have an empty day where I get nothing done at all, there seems to be no middle ground. The only thing I was consistent with was answering Sarahah questions because I really enjoy those.

This last month has been particularly difficult, in no small part because of some random life events that happened and I used them as excuses to slack off. I had a work trip to Greenville, my wisdom teeth removed, had a vacation in Charleston, a planned work trip to Orlando, and an upcoming vacation to Lake Tahoe. Yeah, that seems busy but in reality, it only accounts for about 21 days out of 42 days. So, half my time was taken up by events but the other half was my own, and I have done almost nothing. Instead of thinking “man, my time is limited so I better take advantage of it”, I thought “man, what’s the use if I can only get two days of productivity in a row at a time”.

Well, I’m going to try and do better. I have six days until I fly to Lake Tahoe and I’m going to try and improve my productivity. Instead of shooting for a good week or month, I’m going to just try and have a good hour or day. I know that betting on my motivation is not the best option, but I really don’t know what else to do. Most people that seem super productive advise me to set up incentives and systems that will get me what I want, but what if I really don’t seem to want anything? I made a list of “tasks” that I can earn points to buy things I want with, but the list of things I want is so freaking small. I don’t really like going out or playing video games, I don’t want to buy anything and I don’t really get pleasure out of Facebook or other social media (those are more like numbing opioids than pleasure inducing MDMA). Basically, because I’m not at risk of starvation or homelessness I have trouble incentivizing myself. I’m gonna keep trying though, because once you stop trying you might as well bury yourself in a coffin.

I made a list of “tasks” that I can earn points to buy things I want with, but the list of things I want is so freaking small. I don’t really like going out or playing video games, I don’t want to buy anything and I don’t really get pleasure out of Facebook or other social media (those are more like numbing opioids than pleasure inducing MDMA). Basically, because I’m not at risk of starvation or homelessness I have trouble incentivizing myself. I’m gonna keep trying though, because once you stop trying you might as well bury yourself in a coffin.


A couple of days ago I set up a sarahah form ( for myself to receive feedback from my friends. It is an interesting little service that allows people to leave anonymous messages for you and, like many random websites, I’m sure we will all forget that it existed in the next month or so. It has been kind of fun to receive messages though and I decided I wanted to respond to some of the ones I’ve received here.

So, in no particular order, here are what my friends have to say:

“Are you open to sex with a woman other than your wife?”
Yes, I’m open to it, but it isn’t a guarantee. My partner and I would have to discuss it. We are both comfortable with making out with other people and even some acts generally classified as sex (hand stuff, oral, etc) but actual intercourse hasn’t happened yet. We are open to it, but haven’t crossed that bridge yet. We probably will someday, it is just a matter of the right circumstances presenting themselves. My relationship with my partner is the most important thing to me and a situation that is equitable to both of us (foursome or swapping or something) would be more likely to happen. There is no harm in asking me directly though, and at the very least we can probably make out.

“I am intimidated to talk to you because you seem to be on some other level”
Oh man, please don’t be intimidated to talk to me. I’m kind of a hot mess and I have no idea what I’m doing. I can understand what you mean though, I know a lot of people (including some dear friends) who I feel intimidated by and nervous talking to because they are successful or intelligent or attractive. I see them at their best and compare it to all the internal struggles that I know I deal with. I feel very human and they seem superhumen… but in the end we are all just moist meat-suits wandering around a floating rock for a few seconds before death. So, don’t be intimidated… send me a message, say hello, ask me random questions (and maybe allow me to ask you questions)

“I wonder if you’re as generous in bed as you are in everyday life… I’d be willing to bet you are ;)”
I certainly try to be a generous lover, though part of it is a bit selfish. I absolutely love giving other people pleasure (especially oral). I love experimenting and learning what feels good to a partner and allowing them to relax and let me take control. Maybe it is the Dom side in me, but I like to be able to focus on my partner and make their pleasure my priority. One of the best parts of having had multiple partners is I’ve learned how different people are and how a variety of techniques can be developed to bring joy. I realize I am not the best judge of this though and I might be overstating my position, it would probably be better to talk with my partner or people I’ve hooked up with in the past (do you want a list of references?)

“I would be super curious to have a threesome with you and your partner”
Similar to above, we are definitely open to discussing that. It would depend on the specifics and involve some talking and moving slowly, but if you are serious you should provide a way for us to respond directly to each other. We like new experiences and are endlessly fascinated by bodies and the way they work for different people.

“I really enjoy your spirit and input through social media. You give me hope and make me think about what to strive for. Also, you’re super cute, which is awesome. Keep being you.”
Aww, thanks! I’m glad my presence has been a positive one on your life. I will definitely keep being me. And I appreciate you calling me cute, it is nice to receive compliments like that, I kind of beat myself up about my appearance sometimes and it is nice to hear that I am not hideous, I don’t think we compliment each other enough in this life and I don’t think there is anything wrong with noting when a friend is attractive (as long as you aren’t a creeper about it).

“Miss you!”
Miss you too!

The Magic of Music

The power of music to stir memories in me occasionally catches me off guard. A song can pop up on Spotify and my mind is transported back in time and my imagination swirls around foggy images of the past and potential futures that will never occur (at least not in this reality but almost certainly in a parallel universe). These memories are almost always focused on a person and the relationship I had with them.

Sometimes, the person or relationship was a relatively minor character in my story. For example, anytime I hear “Kryptonite” by Three Doors Down I think of a girl I had a crush on in high school. I don’t remember her name, I may have never known her name, I just know she listened to that song and I found her attractive. I wouldn’t be able to recognize her in a yearbook but she was important. In my mind she is superhuman, she is an archetype for my hormonal love that burned hot, quickly, and often throughout my adolescence. That song brings her to mind and her memory brings me back to my high school worries that I’d never find love or that I’d never be found attractive. It was also a time when I saw beauty in every girl I saw and fantasies of marriage and raising kids with them all bounced around my mind when I should have been paying attention to my teachers.

Sometimes, the person or relationship was an incredibly major part of my life. Whenever I hear a Dropkick Murphy’s song I think of a woman I loved in college. She was my first, real, adult mature love that could have become a lifelong relationship. With the exception of my current partner, my connection to her was stronger than any other and I still love her. A quiet sadness comes around when I think of her because I think about what could have been. We were compatible, the sex was great, and we helped each other grow… but the timing wasn’t right and our lives were on different paths. To stay together would have required compromise which would have lead to resentment and a bitter breakup. Instead, we parted ways and the sadness I sometimes feel always turns into optimism. Our relationship ending was an important lesson to me, that there is no “one and only” and that true love is not reserved for one person. We can love many, be happy with many, and it is better to stay true to who you are than compromise out of fear that you won’t find someone else.

Music is a beautiful art form that swirls inside of me and allows me to think about and digest my own life. It brings about random periods of reflection that likely wouldn’t occur without it. I try to continue to listen to new music and explore new genres, but I also try to stay true to my past and listen to the music that was important during different phases of my life. Whether it is the Beach Boys, Garth Brooks, dc Talk, Green Day, Saves The Day, Flogging Molly, Social Distortion, Flobots, William Elliot Whitmore, Bad Religion, Kid Rock, Kesha, Krewella or the Top Hits from each decade of my life, music is an important part of my existence and my mental health. Without it, I would have a much more difficult time dealing with and healing from my past.

Pea Protein!

Today, a 2-year supply of protein powder arrived at my house. 40 pounds of pea protein in a bag arrived at my door and really, I couldn’t be happier. It may seem kind of strange but this purchase represents a combination of personal identities that I really value.

The economist in me marvels at the efficiency of the purchase. By buying this product in bulk I reduced the cost of one serving of protein powder (30 grams) to about 23 cents. When I use Orgain each serving costs more and has less protein (about $1.25 for 21 grams) and even using a plain soy protein from Trader Joe’s costs about 40 cents (and was discontinued).

So, if I have one serving of powder per day I will save $340 per year over Orgain. But, this isn’t just money I’m saving because I can reinvest that into my future. I can put that money into a retirement account or buy bitcoin with it. Or maybe that just means I’ll take some extra time off each year. There is just such beauty in the efficiency of lower prices, it is literally saving moments of my life to spend on other things instead. Time is money and I just bought more time.

The stoic in me loves that I’m resisting the urge to focus on taste instead of nutritional needs. Part of being human is our ability to resist our carnal urges and do what is best for us in the long term. Sure, the protein powder doesn’t taste great by itself (though, mixing it with some cocoa and peanut butter powder or some fruit helps with that), but the point of food isn’t always to taste good, sometimes it is just to provide fuel and nutrients. There is value in making our lives simple and not always celebrating with rich food. Sure, there are times when a great meal is deserved, but those meals are even more enjoyable when they are rare. Food is a tool for human happiness and we shouldn’t let our hunger define our behavior. Balance in all things, but we primarily should eat to live, not live to eat.

The minimalist in me loves removing one more unnecessary decision from my life. I don’t need to worry about purchasing a major meal component for two years. That decision is made already. I enjoy the fact that I eat the same balanced meals every day, it is beautiful to me. For the same reason, I love only wearing the same jeans and t-shirts every day. My nutrition, like my clothing, can go on autopilot. I don’t need to keep up with trends or worry what other people think, instead I do what is healthy for me.

Putting decisions on autopilot helps make me a better person and more productive. It frees up mind space to write and create and enjoy the beauty of the world. A dollar saved on food is a dollar spent on adventures. Actually, I wonder what other food I can buy in bulk to save money and time. I think I can get my food and social costs down from about $300 per month to $200 per month. If I do that I put another $1,200 in my pocket each year. Yeah, that’s a good goal.

Here are the purchases I make regularly and it looks like there are some opportunities for savings:

  • Fresh produce (bananas, broccoli, onions, garlic, potatoes, spinach, kale, mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots) – I buy these weekly and probably can’t get them in bulk but I can start growing some of them in the garden to save some dollars, and gardening is fun
  • Frozen vegetables and berries – These I could buy in bulk (probably) but it would require a new freezer. I have to run the price of the freezer and increased electricity costs to see if this is justified… probably not.
  • Seeds and Nuts (almonds, chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, and brazil nuts) – These could probably be purchased in bulk and frozen to save some money if there is freezer space
  • Legumes and Rice (black beans, brown rice, kidney beans, brown lentils, pinto beans, red lentils) – I think this is the biggest opportunity for savings, I’d need some air tight containers
  • Spices (many) – probably not much savings here, I buy spices at the local Latin American market for $1 for several months supply
  • Nut milk (soy, almond, cashew… whatever is on sale) – Probably not any savings here 🙁
  • Supplements (creatine, beta alanine, taurine, ginseng, bacopa, choline, l-theanine, 5-HTP) – this is probably the best opportunity for savings, purchasing as a bulk powder instead of pills is super cheap, just need an airtight container to hold things in a cool, dry, dark place.
  • Non-edibles (toilet paper, dog food, paper towels, soap, toothpaste, etc) – I already purchase most of these in bulk using Prime Subscription so there is some good savings but it is worth revisiting.

Which brings me to my final identity that all this appeals to… self-experimentation. Life is about seeing what you are capable of and pushing the limits. Running marathons and living on pennies and climbing mountains and taking psychedelic drugs is part of the human experiences. Pushing ourselves to the limits and taking risks is how we truly live. It may seem silly to get all of this out of a purchase of protein powder, but each action we take reflects our life philosophy and those actions can either be explicit and analyzed or they can be unreasoned and based on primal drives.

6 AM

I am not a morning person.

When my alarm starts buzzing at 6 am it takes all my effort to get out of bed and as the haze of sleep starts to clear up I often ask myself the same questions.

Why wake up at 6 when I work from home?

I ran yesterday, why run today?

Can’t I just be more productive at night instead of pushing myself in the morning?

These are rhetorical questions. I know the answers very clearly… I wake up because I want my life to be more than what I’m paid to do. I wake up because yesterday’s run is part of a lifelong habit and not an excuse to be lazy today. I wake up because I know that I won’t be productive at night if I sleep in, that just isn’t how I work.

Every day there are two finite resources at work: the hours in the day and my motivation to be great. Both of these resources count down regardless of whether I am being productive or not. My drive to write, create, and exercise will be less at 5 pm than it is at 7 am, even if I don’t write, create, or exercise during that time. Mornings are where the magic happens, particularly when it comes to things I find difficult.

There are certain things that I know I will do each day, regardless of circumstances. Maybe they are things I love to do, like reading or listening to podcasts, or maybe they are things that I need to do, like work for pay. Either way, I don’t need to worry about getting them accomplished, they will happen even if I am low on motivation. It is the tough things that I need to knock out in the morning because those are the things that I’ll find excuses for or neglect in the evening.

Whether it is creating a new habit, running five miles, or calling my credit card company to ask for a lower interest rate, it must be done early or it won’t get done. The rest of my life, the habits I’ve developed and the work I know I need to be done can wait.

So, that’s why I wake up early because if I don’t then my life will drift along in mediocrity. I won’t meet my potential, I won’t experience as much of life as I possibly can, I won’t know my limits because I tried to push through them. Whether it is using my mind and body to transform my body or to write a book or to gain financial security, my mind and body are at their best in the morning.

It sucks sometimes, but truly living requires early rising and when you rise early there are plenty of hours in the day.