Weekly Highlights #15: Outside in the mountains, If–, belief, big decisions

Happy Thursday!  I wanted to share a few reflections from the last week…

Grateful for… quality time outside.  This past weekend, we drove the mountains and spent the day camping with old friends.  We cooked and shared a meal, sat around the fire, played simple games, and enjoyed being outside.  The kids explored, found sticks and rocks, went walking, and spent the whole day eating and happy.  It felt like the first time in a while we spent the whole day relaxing with no need to rush off to something new–it was great.

Outside in the mountains… so relaxing.

Reminded of…  a favorite old poem:  If– by Rudyard Kipling.


If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!


Amazed by…. the new world record in the marathon.  Eliud Kipchoge lowered the world record in the marathon by 78 seconds–by far the largest drop in the last 50 years.  Interestingly enough, he was a part of the Nike Breaking2 project, which used tactics illegal in competition to try to help the competitors break 2 hours in the marathon.  Makes me think about how important belief of something extraordinary can be in actually achieving it.  You can read about the new record here.

One way to make a big decision… I was talking with a few friends this week about grad school.  Several younger coworkers were asking mentors (who had not gone to grad school) how they should think about the decision.  Such an interesting question:  a personal decision, that is a huge investment, with lots of complex factors, where it’s tough to measure the results.

And, there’s lots of reasons not to go:

  • Tuition is expensive–and that doesn’t count lost income or the increased tax rate you’ll have as you pay off loans
  • Most knowledge you’ll gain can be found quicker and cheaper through Khan Academy, an online course, a few books by top professors, or a quick curation of your twitter feed
  • Most people you meet will not be in your industry, or provide any benefit to you in your career

Knowing all this, one simple, effective way I’ve heard of thinking about the decision is this:

“Is this an investment that the person I want to be would make?”

Hat tip to Sally Blount, former Dean of Kellogg, for the framing.

Stay encouraged and have a great week!


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