Individual meetings

An individual meeting with your coach is essentially a performance evaluation, and in a performance evaluation the most important question to ask is, “What do I need to do to improve?”

Most student-athletes won’t ask. They’ll listen; they’ll argue; they’ll complain about their teammates; but they won’t be vulnerable. They won’t let go of their ego enough to ask, “Where am I failing?” It’s too scary.

Ironically, an entire individual meeting can go by without you getting the information you need unless you ask for it.

Social approval

It used to be that we would all go to a birthday party, bring a gift, and we would know if the recipient approved of it or not based on her nuanced facial expressions and body language.

Now we wait for ‘likes,’ and we wonder why we’re experiencing a mental health crisis.

Stop ‘liking.’ Start gathering. (Seriously, resolve to stop ‘liking’ altogether. The ‘like’ button was never built for social approval, but as a means for tech companies to get more of your attention.)

[Episode 3 of the new season of Black Mirror addresses this issue.]

Captains

I once knew two young volleyball players who made progress between December and February.

December and February: precisely the time they weren’t being held accountable to making progress. These two were eventually named team captains.

I don’t think it had anything to do with their progress, which was merely a symptom of who they already were as people.

Every person in their twenties needs one of these

A Roth IRA. Look it up.

Doesn’t matter if it’s Vanguard, Fidelity, or another firm you trust. Just get one. $50 is often enough.

There: I just made you hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of your life, assuming you invest in it on a weekly or monthly basis.

Call to thank me when you’re rich.

What gets measured gets managed

And, as college students, the most common measurable is your GPA. It goes up over time, not necessarily because you’re learning more–you may be, or you may not be–but because you’re measuring it, and what gets measured gets managed.

All well and good, but four years later what you were measuring becomes almost irrelevant. Then what will you measure?

You can run away from the fear this question provokes, or you can sit with it, thinking hard about it.

What I’m excited about this summer

This morning I sent the 29th edition of my newsletter, detailing what I’m excited about this summer. You can enter your e-mail below to get it. Note that you’re also signing up to hear from me regularly:

My newsletter is different than my blog: It’s less philosophical and more tactical, getting into the specifics of what I’m doing to live a better, happier, more meaningful life.

Below are some more details on why I write a newsletter at all.

_____

Despite the proliferation of digital communication tools, e-mail is still the most effective way to reach an audience.

When I write a blog post and post it to Twitter and Facebook, Twitter and Facebook get to determine who sees it. Their algorithms–which represent the companies’ interests, not mine or yours–determine who sees my writing. The algorithms show it to people who will use that post to stay on site for longer, and hence be more likely to click on ads, and hence make Twitter and Facebook more money. They then hijack my audience and require me to pay money to “boost” my post to reach the rest of them. It’s a clever strategy, and I’m still willing to play their game as long as the costs don’t outweigh the benefits.

However, e-mail is a medium that allows me to reach my audience directly, no middleman required. Some people subscribe to my daily blog via e-mail–which you can do on desktop in the upper left-hand corner of my site–but most people, for better or worse, would rather use social media. Hence, I’ve created another piece of writing that allows me to collect e-mail addresses, so that in the event Twitter goes belly-up, or Facebook decides it’s only going to let me reach 1/20th of my audience, I can still speak to my people directly. If I have an important announcement I’ll send it to my e-mail list first.

E-mail should be a permission asset, meaning that only the people who want to hear from me should be getting my e-mails. This might surprise you, given how much e-mail spam you receive from companies ever day. Spectrum might be thrilled if 10% of people open their e-mails, but I’m not happy unless 70-80% of people are opening my e-mails. If someone doesn’t open one for several months I remove her from the list, because she doesn’t want to get my e-mails, and I’ll do her the favor of deleting her.

This is an important lesson for marketing students, and I hope they teach it in our classrooms. E-mail should be based in generosity, not greed.

Fredonia’s goal

Is nothing short of “freedom.” Yes, Braveheart-style, Matrix-style freedom.

Fredonia is a liberal arts college. “Liberal,” comes from the Latin, “liberalis,” and “liber” refers to a free person.

Yesterday a student sent me a picture of the fortune inside her fortune cookie: “Intelligence is the door to freedom and alert attention is the mother of intelligence.” Spot on.

Free-donia, if you will.

Boy anxiety

Your body does not know what a boy is. It does not differentiate between “boy anxiety” and any other type of anxiety.

It’s possible to separate the two concepts in your mind: The boy on one side, and anxiety on the other. Deal with the anxiety, not the boy.

A great start may be to simply leave your phone in another room. A boy is made of organic matter; a phone is made of silicon and plastic.

Separate the two. Breathe.

Performance Center T-shirts

You can be made to wear one, but you can’t be made to want to wear one. Just like your boss can mandate a dress code, but you can’t be made to enjoy wearing a collar and slacks.

You can wear a professional outfit, but it doesn’t make you a professional until you choose to be one.

That is, until you choose to see yourself as a better version of yourself.

Asking for a 7-day program

The professional asks for a 7-day program. She’s committed.

The amateur asks for a 3-day program, unsure how often she’ll be able to get to the gym. She’s uncommitted.

A coach once described two of his athletes to me, whom we’ll call Adam and Zach. If Adam didn’t have a gym he would run out to the woods and find things to lift, find tree limbs to jump over, find hills to sprint. If Zach didn’t have a gym he’d tell his coach, “Sorry I’m not in shape, coach. I couldn’t afford a gym membership.”

The professional shows up 7 days-a-week, gym or no gym, sniffles or no sniffles.