Category Archives: Books

The lie we love to believe about why we fail at our goals – #FinishYear 2012

Photo courtesy of graur razvan ionut via

This week, you are likely reading a variety of posts about how to follow-through, commit-to, or stick-with your New Year’s Resolutions.  You will also likely read posts about the pitfalls to our plans that cause many “resolvers” (is that even a word?) to “give up” by right around Valentine’s Day (a third won’t even make it to the end of January).

We are really good about making ourselves feel better about that failure.  We tell ourselves lots of things in order to soften the sting of not being able to do what we said that we would do, especially in the presence of such an overwhelming body of knowledge and expertise in the world on goal-setting and follow-through.

There is a lie that is being overlooked, and it is a lie that we tell ourselves every day – so comfortably, so naturally, that the perceived truth of this lie permeates most ideas about time management in general.

There aren’t enough hours in the day.

This is a lie. Continue reading


30 While 30: Day 205 – The eve of October – an update:

The short story?  I got my flu shot yesterday, and I don’t feel very well today.  If that shot gives me the flu … I will not be a happy camper.

Just wanted to throw a few blog/list updates out there even in my weakened condition so none of the 4 of you worry.

1. Next week, I think I have finally been able to devise a plan that allows for a more consistent writing pattern to make sure the blog keeps up to date.  I am on the downward slope of the year (we are past the 6 month mark) and lots of things are being done, just with my A/P class currently, my reading/casual time has been cut.  (I am strongly considering adding my textbook and lab manual to my reading list)

2. Tomorrow, I can eat meat.  But can I share a little secret?  There are times when I don’t even miss it.  Watched a documentary last night (Forks over Knives) about some interesting research about animal-based protein, and will be sharing a short review of that probably on Monday or Wednesday of next week.

(on a side note, I have realized that several times I have teased you about something upcoming on Monday or Tuesday, etc., and that it hasn’t always happened on schedule.  Rest assured, as of last night, if I say it’s coming, it’s because it’s already written.  Hope that will make me better at not counting chickens before they are hatched… now, back to point)

3. 5k #2 is in about 2 weeks.  I am feeling much better about this one than the one last month, and am aiming to be 5 minutes under last month’s time (which would place me at about 31 minutes or so).

4. Some upcoming topics on the blog (that are stewing around in my brain and in half-written posts):

-Lessons learned from being a vegetarian for a month (1st one was here – which was about Conviction).  Part 2 is about the Joys of Simplicity, and Part 3 about what it means to Crave.

The reasons why knowledge will trump education every time, as evidenced by recent reports in the Tennessean (local newspaper) about the increase in cost and relative decrease in benefit of a bachelor’s degree.

Addiction and brain chemistry (2 parts).  I am working on a couple of more professional writing posts, gearing up for #27 (Launch my Professional Entity Website).  This will be a 2-parter about how our habits impact our future, and now we know even more about the science of that.

I’ll see you all back here next week!


30 While 30: Day 138 – Never stop learning … because noone expects a Spanish Inquisition

Photo courtesy from

(Because of some recent warnings from my wife on copyright issues with blogs, I am trying to be more careful on what I use here at Thomsthoughts.  If you are interested in the clip from which this phrase was used, simply search on Youtube for “Monty Python Spanish Inquisition” … It. Is. Hilarious. … in a British sort of way)

Recently read this story about the United States post office.  In short, based on usage, costs, and business model, the USPS could go down to as low as 3 days of service a week within the next 15 years.

This got me thinking.  Why is the Post Office having so much trouble?

Well, lets look at what services the Postal Service provides, and how there are many different ways to do those things today versus yesterday.

  1. Sending packages – Aside from the impeccable service that the USPS provides to our military personnel overseas, FedEx and UPS, both privately run, publicly traded companies, are increasing market share in this process, often doing it cheaper, faster, and more reliably than the US Postal Service.
  2. Paying bills – I just payed my last bill for the month.  Let me tell you how these played out: 1) Electric Bill – hand delivered.  2) Water – mailed.  3) At&t (Cellphone) – iPhone app  4) Charter (cable) – online  5) Mortgage – online. 6) Lease payment – hand delivered.  One … one out of those I place in the mail.  All of the other have a less expensive or more convenient option for payment.
  3. Sending lettersUm … anyone heard of e-mail?  In conversation with a friend at work, she shared that while e-mail has been reducing the need for stamped mail in comparison to a year ago, that there is a certain “feel” to writing a letter in your own handwriting.  Did you know that you can make your handwriting into a font?  Granted, you’re reading a post from someone who has specifically on his list to write 30 handwritten letters to people that have impacted him.  There is a “feel” to it.  Even so, “feelings” aren’t the best premise for business growth … well, maybe for TUMS, not necessarily the US Postal Service.
  4. Mailing of contracts or other important original documents – Aside from #1 above, with the fact that overnight and express mail has been mastered by other private enterprises, many important documents have been digitized.  Several times even in the last week, as I complete graduate school applications and fill out a leave request form, I sign my name digitally, using technology through Adobe.

The point?

At one time, the United States Postal Service was the best at doing what it did … At one time.  It isn’t anymore.

Also in the last few weeks, Netflix (a popular way to get media – movies and teleivion shows – for home veiwing) reported that they were going to be raising their rates, as reported in a story here.  Now lots of folks are upset by this change in rates (increase of about 60%), but I will allude to how ridiculous that is in a minute.

Also recently reported, Redbox (oh how I loooooove Redbox) is increasing in it’s market share (as in 35% of total DVD rentals), demonstrating an effective method of renting movies with almost no staff, and relying on almost total automation.

But I have a question for you:

When’s the last time you stopped at a Blockbuster or Hollywood Video to rent a new release movie?

Yeah.  Seriously.  Remember when about 10 years ago, it would cost you $5 for a 48-hour rental, that would beat you up on late charges if you didn’t get it back on time?  (As I alluded to earlier … you netflixers … the increase really isn’t that horrible, is it? – and if you don’t like it, visit a redbox … or soon, stream from one)

No one expects a Spanish Inquisition.

Now, some people have the skill to anticipate market and resource changes and can capitalize on them.  Life Coaching is a great example.  This is a profession, largely unregulated from it’s similar or related professions (counseling, psychotherapy, etc.), that has exploded in the last 10 years or so, all based on the premise of helping ordinarily well-functioning individuals plan for their life and reach their personal goals.  It is a lucrative endeavor.

It’s not just that.  It’s Google.  It’s Hulu.  It’s Thirty-One.  Name them.  Name the businesses, ideas, and advances that weren’t present even 10 years ago.

You can’t ever stop learning.

Read a book. Take a class. Learn a trade.  Apprentice with a master.  Experience new things.  Consider your purpose.  Always commit to learning.

I consider myself a life-learner.  As I prepare two graduate school applications for a late fall deadline, I have those good feelings creeping up again.  Feelings of excitement and anticipation of sitting in a classroom and of listening to someone about something I may know little about.  I love learning.  I have a growing list of books that I am trying to read in this year.  I have subscribed to about a dozen RSS feeds, and dozens of Twitter’ers (sp?) because for a while, I though I was capped.  Sure, that sounds arrogant, but when you have excelled to a degree of plateau in your profession (independently licensed in a terminal degree) you tend to think “you’re there”.

Well, you’re never “there”.

Don’t be Blockbuster Video.  Be the next Redbox.

Don’t be the Postal Service.  Be the next Fedex.

Don’t be the person you were yesterday.  Be the person you will be 10 years from now … today.


(Disclaimer – In no way do I mean to portray a disdain for the honor and diligence of the US Postal Service.  My comparisons are simply a result of their current operational and business paradigms, not a testament to their continuing work helping people communicate with others and get things where they need to be)

30 While 30: Day 126(7) – Have a little help from my (blogging) friends…

(As it was mentioned over twitter, I am unsure about what happenned to this post.  Regardless, I am using it today as my Wednesday + “Book Review” post.  Enjoy!) 

Today, I wanted to share with you some of the blogs out on the interwebs that I am currently following (or attempting to follow).

In my progress on #26 and #27, I have greatly increased the amount of content I read digitally.  Not so much books (like I do with my Kindle app on my iPad – by the way which is awesome – especially while running on the treadmill … no annoying pages to turn), but moreso small batches of content, blogs, articles, and news.  All of this really in an effort to learn as much as I can in a short amount of time, find ideas for articles on this blog, and to increase my eposure to other ideas out there about personal development and change, especially as it relates to this year-long experiement I am enduring.

(Disclaimer: I do not endorse any of these officially, and to be honest, some of them are very new to me.  You are getting a real glimpse of where I am and what I am looking at, and at the stage I am at. Read: figuring out if these are even worth reading in the first place.  They are also in no particular order, and this isn’t even a complete list … yikes!) Continue reading

30 While 30: Book Review – The Love Dare

While most days, I am not a big fan of “trendy” Christian books (and by “trendy” I mean the books that tend to float to the top of sales lists, are adopted by major churches as curriculum, and are accompanied by multiple study guides – for adults, singles, children, or teens, etc.), however, in this project year, I have been found to be reading more and more of them (for examples: Love Wins and Radical).  Oddly enough, this desire to get caught up in some of the current titles namely is to continue to be relevant and to know a little bit about what lots of people are talking about when it comes to faith and popular thought on Christianity.

This week’s review is of one of those books, the Love Dare, by Alex and Stephen Kendrick. Though I am unsure which came first, the movie Fireproof (starring Kirk Cameron) or the book, the Love Dare, it is safe to say that these are intimately linked. Continue reading

30 While 30: Book Review – In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

Think, for a few moments, what your grandparents used to tell you about what they ate while they were growing up.  If they were anything like my Paw Paw, here is what they probably ate – lots of vegetables: potatoes, turnips, carrots … some bread (often from cornmeal), and a smattering of meat (most likely pork – it was the cheapest).

What’s something else you remember about your grandparents?  Well, once again, if they were anything like my Paw Paw, they lived a very, very long time.  It wasn’t just eating habits either, it was all those quirky things too.  Brushing teeth with backing soda, vinegar mouthwashes, Vaseline rubs.

While some of those things seem very much “out there”, here were some other truths about my Paw Paw.

1. You almost can’t count on two hands the number of heart bypasses that he had.  (I don’t mean to tell this story as to report that he was unhealthy.  Only the opposite.  He had two surgeries, both of which happened late in life, as in post-70, if I am not mistaken.  Also, I remember after the first one – I think I was around 10 – that he was up and walking multiple miles mere days it seemed, after the surgery.)

2. He was the fittest man I knew.  He was lean and had a full head of hair.

3. My Paw Paw died living until his last day, and the ripe old age of 98.  They simply don’t make them like that anymore.

So what was his secret – or secrets – for that matter?  Maybe it was the fact that he took about 500g of Vitamin-C each day.  Maybe, but also it was probably how he ate, and eating is what this book is about.  Eating like my Paw Paw … Continue reading

30 While 30: Day 91 – 90 Days in review

So, as I mentioned on Monday, I am one quarter of the way through my 30th year.  Seems as good a time as any to take a look at the list, see where I stand, and see where I am going, and how I can better make progress on some of the larger goals.

Here we are:

1. Read 30 books.

To be honest, this has been one of the easiest ones to get rolling.  To date, I have read 5, and am in progress on 6,7,8 (the Bible, Turbulence Training, and The Happiness Project).  I’ve been able to sort my list a bit, and am getting a general framework for the books next to read.  For instance, I am smack in the middle of a “motivation” strain, having already read Just Do Something, reading now The Happiness Project with Drive next on the list. Continue reading