The boy who hung the curtain rod

February 25 2015

I went downstairs to bring the workers coffee. When I returned, the boy, age 16 or 17, was standing on a table hammering enthusiastically. He had set three fixtures in place, and the curtain rod rested squarely upon them. Great work — except he was standing outside.

“What are you doing?” I asked, somewhat perplexed to see adornment of this kind hanging on a building’s exterior. “Have you ever seen curtains…

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The best gifts you can give

December 08 2014

Time.

For others and for yourself.

Give yourself the time and space to reflect and just be. No expectations of what should happen or what must be done.

We get so caught up in the day-to-day, making lists and checking obligations. We forget to step back and see, “How lucky am I? How did I end up like this?” It’s important to count the steps you’ve taken and recognize the…

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Autonomy (I will teach you to be rich and have a perfect body and find the love of your life)

December 01 2014

There is one faucet wheel left in the kitchen. When you turn the water on or off, it drops with a loud CLANG into the tin sink. I’ve offered to have it fixed. “It’s not our house,” they say. I’ve been living here for just over one year; they’ve been here for seven.

I live among the people I work for (and with). Not only have I…

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No one has it figured out

November 17 2014

A large number of Nepalis work or study abroad.

Recently I found myself speaking to a young man preparing for his first year of college. He was scared as hell, understandably so, leaving behind his family and everything familiar to attend college in Louisiana. This would be the first time he traveled outside Nepal.

I was 17 when I left the cornfields of Longmont, Colorado for Manhattan’s…

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The paradox of our age

November 10 2014

I found this printed on a banner hanging in a teahouse in Nepal.

We have bigger houses but smaller families;
more conveniences, but less time.

We have more degrees but less sense;
more knowledge but less judgment;
more experts, but more problems;
more medicines but less healthiness.

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back,
but have trouble crossing the street to meet our new neighbor.

We built more computers to hold…

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The art of the pitch

October 14 2014

I’m not an investor or angel, but I recently received an email from a stranger looking to raise significant funds for his seafood company. This eager entrepreneur quickly launched into the background of his fish farm, detailing his motivation and financial goals. In his excitement, he failed to do background research on my work and interests.

While I can’t claim I’ve secured millions for a start-up (yet…), I’ve raised my fair share…

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Hard times are gifts.

October 07 2014

There are moments you’re sick or tired or bored.

You’re not sure whether to stick or quit. It’s unclear whether progress is being made. Patterns seem hardwired, destined to repeat. Nothing makes sense, and the future is uncertain.

You’re questioning your work, your decisions, the motives of people around you. You’re questioning yourself.

These are the defining moments. This is when you find your passion and what really matters.

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Which weakness is your greatest asset?

September 08 2014

This question was posed at a dinner, an exercise in framing.

Our mind is brilliant at creating new definitions, but they’re not always to our advantage — especially when it comes to self. Thoughts can easily turn negative, centering on weakness and deficient. Doubt can color even the most promising of opportunities.

Over any length of time, a constant may acquire a new meaning. For instance,…

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Surefire ways to get attention

August 12 2014

I spent a good chunk of my early career worrying about finding the right kinds of business, attracting smart clients, generating the best PR. I’d worry if my work was good enough, if my talents and skills were evident, if my angle was unique.

Through trial and error, I realized there are two surefire ways to catch the attention of an audience (they’re fickle and quick to move on, so you have to be powerfully concise and to…

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“You’re too fast.”

August 04 2014

The monks have pointed out I talk fast, walk fast, act fast, eat fast, think fast. This is in stark contrast to everything they do. American culture and competitive spirit has turned me into a shark. I’m afraid that if I stop, I might die.

I know I’m not the only one who thinks this. Every entrepreneur can wake at 2AM and think of something that needs to be done.

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