The Warrior Ethos

Let us be, then, warriors of the heart, and enlist in our inner cause the virtues we have acquired through blood and sweat in the sphere of conflict—courage, patience, selflessness, loyalty, fidelity, self-command, respect for elders, love of our comrades (and of the enemy), perseverance, cheerfulness in adversity and a sense of humor, however terse or dark.

—Steven Pressfield, The Warrior Ethos

Reaching for the stars with a shovel

Manual labor seems to lose it’s appeal with each generation.

That sounds like an old man thing to say, but I’m serious though.

My dad is tough and works way harder than I do. He’d tell us stories about how his dad was tough and worked hard. See the trend?

Dad has always gotten his hands dirty and come home needing help getting out of his muddy work boots. And he’s the strongest man I know. Growing up there was no doubt on the playground whose dad could beat up whom.

(Confession: I had to look up whether it was “who” or “whom”).

Anyway, school yard bragging rights isn’t the point here.

Some make this silly statement:

Work smarter, not harder.

To that I say, “Why not both?”.

At face value comparing physical vs mental labor is a false dichotomy. Both have complementary value to building character.

Working with your hands and your brain yields better results than using either in isolation. (Tweet it)

There’s no way I made it this far on my own. A good wife and a gracious God continue to play no small role in that. If I hadn’t done the painful, gritty work in the ditches back in high school, I wouldn’t have the fortitude to work as hard in the school of life.

This morning I had the opportunity to ask Josh Duhamel (of Transformers fame) a question about being a dad on HuffPost Live. Here it is:

How do you plan to encourage your son, Axl, to dream big, while doing the dirty work it’ll take to get there?


You can watch the clip for his answer (around 05:50), but here’s the gist of it.

It’s probably our biggest challenge as parents to teach our children that none of this just happened. I don’t want to raise a kid who feels entitled to anything. I want him to understand the value of working hard and getting an education.

What a guy. And not an easy question for a dude who’s only been a dad for 7 months. Although he handles being sharted on like a champ.

How are you encouraging your kids (and others) to dream big while doing the dirty work it takes to get there?

P.S. I wanted to ask a Transformers question, but that got shot down.

31 Choices I Will Never Regret

Most people reach a big birthday and talk about 1 of 2 topics:

1. Stuff they regret
2. Stuff they want next

Since today (April 5th) is my birthday and 31 years isn’t all that impressive here’s a different take on looking back.

These are some choices I will never regret in no particular:

1. Getting married
2. Having kids
3. Eating bacon
4. Night rock climbing
5. Converting to Mac
6. Using my nickname
7. Drinking coffee
8. Reading for fun
9. Playing video games
10. Swimming competitively
11. Not playing sports on Sundays
12. Eating ice cream for dinner
13. Working out with my dad
14. Attending Texas A&M for freshman year
15. Homeschooling in high school
16. Buying LEGOs as an adult
17. Letting my kids believe in Santa Claus
18. Going to Disneyland
19. Anniversary getaways without the kids
20. Every dollar spent on LK
21. Paying for piano lessons
22. Two sets of braces
23. Sunday afternoon naps
24. Collecting coffee mugs
25. Laughing at Dilbert
26. Learning to solve a Rubik’s cube
27. Saying “yes” when it was scary
28. Saying “no” when it was risky
29. Discovering bacon pancakes
30. Learning to swing dance
31. Trusting Jesus as my Savior

Life is too short to live in regret. Be proud of where you came from. Have hope for the future.

What is something you don’t regret?

No One Ever Said

I’m a compulsive tech addict as much as anyone, but no one reaches a pivotal moment in life (graduation, wedding, birthday, or death bed) and says…

I wish I checked Twitter one more time.

I should have spent more time playing Angry Birds.

I never liked enough food pics on Instagram.

I’m a failure at complaining about Facebook changes.

I will cherish all the text messages I sent to other friends while at coffee with someone else.

Put your doggone phone down.

Don’t let your smartphone make you dumb.

(Preaching to the man in the mirror.)

There is not enough…

There is not enough time.
There is not enough money.
There is not enough sleep.
There is not enough margin.
There is not enough stillness.
There is not enough intelligence.
There is not enough words.
There is not enough prayer.
There is not enough exercise.
There is not enough… of me.

I’ve been hustling on the side, surviving on fumes of sanity, and minimal sleep for a long time. I have big dreams and a plan to chase after them.

Last night I hit a concrete wall. Metaphorically speaking.

It was a collection of a bunch of little pebbles compacted together into a boulder that hit my shoulders out of nowhere. Like a ninja with a sledgehammer. I felt ready to break down and cry or punch a hole in the wall, but my son needed to get to a baseball game and the girls hadn’t eaten dinner yet. Suck it up, Daddy-o.

There is not enough of me.

I know in my head that I can’t do everything, but the gravity of that realization hit my heart like a ton of bricks.

There is not enough of me.

If I think about what excellence looks like in every facet of life (marriage, parenting, faith, fitness, finances, career, creativity) any one of them is a full-time job. You might do a few well, but the others suffer from lack of attention.

There is not enough of me.

The to-do list continues to grow and is close to becoming a book at any moment. There is so much to do and so little time, money, energy.

There is not enough of me.

And then the words of my wonderful Savior come to mind repeatedly as my sanity threatens to snap.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9

There is not enough of me. And that is okay.

There IS enough of HIM.