Sober. A.A. believes there is an enormous difference between bring dry and being sober. It is not enough to simply abstain. You need to heal and repair the damage to yourself and others. We talk about “white-knuckle sobriety,” which might mean, “I’m sober as long as I hold onto the arms of this chair.” People who are dry but not sober are on a “dry drunk.”
A “cult?” How can that be, when it’s free, nobody profits and nobody is in charge? A.A. is an oral tradition reaching back to that first meeting between Bill W. and Doctor Bob in the lobby of an Akron hotel. They’d tried psychiatry, the church, the Cure. Maybe, they thought, drunks can help each other, and pass it along. A.A. has spread to every continent and into countless languages, and remains essentially invisible. I was dumbfounded to discover there was a meeting all along right down the hall from my desk.
It prides itself on anonymity. There are “open meetings” to which you can bring friends or relatives, but most meetings are closed: “Who you see here, what you hear here, let it stay here.” By closed, I mean closed.
Dr. Doug McGuff, emergency room doctor, and co-author of Body by Science.
1. Drive the biggest car you can afford.
2. Never get on a 4-wheel ATV.
3. Roads are for cars. Do not road cycle or jog on public roads/roadsides. People are idiots, especially when texting.
4. Do not pilot a plane or helicopter unless you are a full-time professional pilot.
5. “Heel dust” – If you are walking down a sidewalk and are approaching a group of loud and apparently intoxicated males, cross to the other side of the street immediately. If confronted, run.
6. If your gas grill won’t start, walk away. Get a charcoal grill.
7. Feet first – Never dive head first into a pool or body of water until you have checked it out.
8. Never get on a ladder to clean your gutters, or on your roof to hang Christmas lights. If you can hire someone for less than you make per hour, do it.
9. If you are retirement age and plan on moving to a new home, don’t build it from scratch, buy it.
10. “Hell no” – If anyone tries to force you into your car at gun point, don’t cooperate. Just say “Hell no”, shoot me right here in this parking lot.
11. Bad Relationships – If you are in any personal or professional relationship that exhausts you or otherwise makes you emotionally upset or causes you recurrent distress, end the relationship immediately.
12. Don’t play the lottery. Unearned wealth will destroy you.
13. Be kind in every realm. Do not initiate force against anyone. Kindness matters.
Then, something happened. Another birthday, maybe. A breakup. Your brother’s wedding. His wife-elect asked you to be a bridesmaid, and suddenly there you were, wondering how in hell you came to be 36-years-old, walking down the aisle wearing something halfway decent from J. Crew that you could totally repurpose with a cute pair of boots and a jean jacket. You started to hate the bride — she was so effing happy — and for the first time ever you began to have feelings about the fact that you’re not married. You never really cared that much before. But suddenly (it was so sudden) you found yourself wondering… Deep, deep breath… Why you’re not married.
If you’re holding on to negative ideas — “husbands bad/wives good”; “marriage is suffocating”; or this one especially: “”f I become in any way a traditional wife, marriage and motherhood will swallow me whole” — you’re doomed. Doomed.
. . .
Too many women today unknowingly sabotage their chance at a happy marriage because they’re holding on to ideas they’ve been taught by the culture or because they’re afraid they’ll turn out like their parents. Ignore the culture, and forget about your parents’ story. Make your own story.
Love today has become a power struggle, largely because women have been conditioned to keep their guard up – as though men and marriage will swallow them whole. As Sandra Bullock once said to Barbara Walters, “I’d always had this feeling that if you got married, it was like the end of who you were.” That attitude is commonplace, and it’s the direct result of a generation of feminists who told their daughters never to depend on a man.
We live in a new world. But that doesn’t mean it’s a better world. Women are struggling more than ever with how to rectify their desire for independence with their desire for love. These two things can be reconciled. But you must first be open to ideas that sound blasphemous.
There are very few jobs that are truly just taking care of people. And most of them pay very poorly, if at all. So you may as well do it for your own family, where the pay is not so important. It’s ridiculous that we don’t think of taking care of a family as a career path. That’s a good path for some people. Just like earning a shit-load of money is a good career path for other people. In fact, those two types of people should marry each other.
Actually, this brings us to the real key to opening a successful yoga studio: marry one of those middle-aged divorced guys who hang out in the back of the room, struggling in downward dog, who have more money than God. You know who I’m talking about. Alec Baldwin is the Hollywood poster boy for rich-guy-marries-yoga-teacher, but he’s just the tip of the cliched iceberg. Keep your yoga studio running long enough to marry one of those guys and then they’ll fund it.
Oil chemistry and engine technology have evolved tremendously in recent years, but you’d never know it from the quick-change behavior of American car owners. Driven by an outdated 3,000-mile oil change commandment, they are unnecessarily spending millions of dollars and spilling an ocean of contaminated waste oil.
Although the average car’s oil change interval is around 7,800 miles — and as high as 20,000 miles in some cars — this wasteful cycle continues largely because the automotive service industry, while fully aware of the technological advances, continues to preach the 3,000-mile gospel as a way to keep the service bays busy. As a result, even the most cautious owners are dumping their engine oil twice as often as their service manuals recommend.
After interviews with oil experts, mechanics and automakers, one thing is clear: The 3,000-mile oil change is a myth that should be laid to rest. Failing to heed the service interval in your owner’s manual wastes oil and money, while compounding the environmental impact of illicit waste-oil dumping.
Every time you say “YES” to something you don’t want to do, this will happen: you will resent people, you will do a bad job, you will have less energy for the things you were doing a good job on, you will make less money, and yet another small percentage of your life will be used up, burned up, a smoke signal to the future saying, “I did it again.”
The only real fire to cultivate is the fire inside of you. Nothing external will cultivate it. The greater your internal fire is, the more people will want it. They will smoke every drug lit by your fire. They will try to ignite their own fires. They will try to light up their own dark caves. The universe will bend to you.
Not long ago, the psychologists Timothy Judge and Charlice Hurst conducted a fascinating study (5-page PDF). Partnering with the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth they examined the progress of more than 12,000 people for more than two decades. They were interested in all sorts of advantages and disadvantages that might impact whether a person winds up digging ditches or founding the next Apple Computer. Judge and Hurst looked at things like the occupation of the teenagers’ parents. Did they grow up in a blue collar home or a white collar home? Were the teens’ parents doctors and lawyers, or dropouts and n’er-do-wells? The researchers were also interested in finding out what kind of grades the teens earned in high school, and what kind of scores they received on their SATs.
Then Judge and Hurst compared all of these things to the annual income the teenagers were earning by their late thirties and early forties. In general, the results turned out how you might expect. The kids with the wealthy, well-educated parents who graduated near the top of their high school class tended to make more money as adults than the blue collar kids who figured out early on that formal school wasn’t really their bag.
But Judge and Hurst also looked at something else. This is where things get interesting. A unique subset of people in the study did not follow this pattern. By the time they reached their middle years, some sons and daughters of roofers and plumbers whose grades (ahem) made the top half of the class possible, still ended up making 30-60 percent more money each year than many of their more privileged peers. What this select breed of underdogs had in common was nothing but a unique set of personal beliefs (stemming from emotional stability, internal locus of control, self-efficacy, and self-esteem) about their ability to shape the future. Those beliefs translate into the ability to choose one course of action (entrepreneurship, less prestigious career path, etc.) while quitting others.
Chris talked to lots of people about this, but the clincher for him was the advice he got from Ron Morris. Ron is a highly successful serial entrepreneur whose latest venture is an entrepreneurial talk radio network. Having sold his business for a tidy pile of cash, Ron was constantly receiving pitches from entrepreneurs looking for start-up investments. Many of those came from kids who had just graduated from prestigious universities. He told Chris that if he had a choice between betting on a 23-year old who had just graduated from a top school, or betting on a 23-year old who had worked for a small business, all other things being equal, he would choose the latter. Better still if the 23-year old had founded a small business—even if the business failed.
For the past four years, I’ve been ordering the most unappatizing sounding item on the menu when I eat at nice restaurants. This counterintuitive advice from Tyler Cowen’s 2007 book Discover Your Inner Economist has worked surprisingly well. Cowen’s newest book, An Economist Gets Lunch, is a combination of practical eating advice like this, and also a history, economics, and science book about food. If there is one overarching lesson it is that looking at food through the framework of supply and demand can help you both understand our food system better, and also help you be a smarter consumer and get more out of every meal.
But Cowen is not an apologist, and he doesn’t argue that we can just deregulate our way to a better food system. In fact he has many words of support for policies and values often supported by progressives. To help improve both the long-term budget gap and the growing environmental problem, he advocates ending subsidies for big agriculture, and argues for a carbon tax. In addition, he believes that meat should be “taxed” for environmental reasons, and that one easy way to do this is to enforce more strict animal welfare laws.
In 2008 I got a book advance of $200,000, of which my agent took 15% and the IRS took approximately one-fourth. Still, that’s a lot of money, even paid out in quarters over the course of several years, and for a few months after I got that initial check–for the first time in my adult life–I mistakenly assumed that I didn’t have to keep track of how much money I was spending. Because surely this good fortune was the beginning of more good fortune to come!
There would be foreign rights sales, audio rights sales, fat old-school magazine payments for first serial rights when the book came out, maybe a film or TV option — not to mention all the paid teaching and speaking opportunities that having written the kind of book that a publisher would pay a six-figure advance for would undoubtedly bring my way. And then, too, there would be another payment of the same amount or more money for another book, a book I couldn’t quite imagine and hadn’t even started writing, but would definitely be able to write in a year or less after the first book came out because what was I, lazy? No, I was quick, quick like a blogger!
Without whining or belaboring, I will just say briefly that precisely zero of these rosy fantasies came to fruition.