How Much Is It Worth?
Dec 2012 05

When I worked in private aviation and sold time on Warren Buffet’s fleet of jets, I learned a lot about the way that incredibly successful people think about their most valuable possessions. The reason that a successful businessman paid tens of thousands of dollars for a single flight with his family was not so he could tell people he was flying private, but so that he could know without question that his vacation started 15 minutes after arrived at the airport and their plane was in the sky.

The question that my former clients asked themselves before stroking a rather larger check to me was not “Can I afford to fly private?” but “How much additional happiness will this create?”

If we look at a transaction, not in terms of dollars, but in units of happiness acquired, it can change the entire outlook on the thought of “How much is this worth?”  There are experiences and moments that can never be truly valued based on the number of units of happiness captured or conversely, the number of units of hardship or annoyance avoided.

In a small way, I was thinking about this over my third cup of coffee this morning. When we moved into our new apartment earlier this year, it was an arduous process. Between the coop board and the moving company and delays in new furniture shipments, it wasn’t the smoothest few weeks. But in that time, I made a purchase that has proven to be the most valuable thing that I bought all year. I splurged and spent more on a coffee maker than I ever had before. I went top of the line and get all the bells and whistles. And while it felt a little bit silly walking out of the store knowing how much I just spent in dollars to buy an appliance that had another option 1/10th the price, it was my splurge and I wasn’t apologizing.

A solid 10 months later, I have enjoyed a freshly ground pot of coffee waiting for me every morning when I wake up. Most mornings I don’t even hear my alarm because I am already up from the smell of freshly ground Sumatra wafting through the apartment. In the quiet of the morning I can savor that first cup and focus on the day ahead. It is effortless and all about units of happiness acquired and as such, it is also the purchase that I made this year that, I don’t care how much it cost but I do know how much it is worth.

Some Thoughts on Hustle
Oct 2012 20

Last night I was invited to speak to the graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University studying to receive their Masters of Entertainment Industry Management. It was a fairly free flowing conversation with out very many prepared remarks and a lot of great questions by the students.

This morning, over my third cup of very black coffee, I am reminded at how much has taken place in my career so far and how, despite the sometimes hard to see trend lines in each project and initiative, the hustle has not been in vain. Some of the stories that I shared last night, I had forgotten happened until the question was asked. Some of the advice I gave last night after the session to some of the folks that came up to talk to me one on one was advice that someone else had once given to me.

There are a lot of reasons that I hustle. Some that I talk about, most that I don’t because they are just for me to know. But one thing that I am more and more convinced of is this: the deeper your conviction as to The Why behind what you do and how well you do it is directly proportional to the depth of your emotional, mental, and physical efforts to get to your Why.

Hustling for hustling’s sake is a ridiculous exercise in masochism. Hustling with a series of benchmarks and goals in mind is the unstoppable fuel behind becoming your best.

May 2012 27

“Good things come to those that wait” goes the saying. And, while there might be some truth to that, I prefer Abraham Lincoln’s version, ”Good things do come to those who wait, but only the things left behind by those who hustle.” And, this weekend, in a bit of a culinary hustle, I found an amazing new take on my favorite morning meal: The Two Day Breakfast Taco.

Not wanting to keep my new found discovery selfishly to myself, here is the recipe:

DAY ONE: Go out for BBQ with great friends. Order 1/4lb pulled pork or beef brisket more than you need. Take home in a to-go bag.


DAY TWO: Make Breakfast Tacos with the left over BBQ from Day One.

Enjoy pulled pork and beef brisket Breakfast Tacos with sunny side up eggs, avocado, tomatoes, cheese, and a little sour cream. Highly recommend pairing with a large cup of black coffee.

Apr 2012 30

On Thanksgiving, I fill my plate. Stacking white meat on top of dark, sweet potatoes on top of stuffing, by the time I take my first bite, my plate has some impressive height and width.

At the Whole Foods salad bar buffet, I fill my to-go box with just about as much green leafy goodness with a side of craisins as I can.

When I pour my morning coffee, I fill my cup to the top, no room for milk or any other substance to detract from how coffee was meant to be consumed: black.

As I look at the way I consume, I realized one thing: the amount I consume is decided when I pick the vessel to transport my meal or coffee. The idea of only filling half my plate or pouring a half cup of coffee doesn’t resonate with me.  And as such, I’ve learned that, if I want to have a lighter lunch, I need to grab the smaller to-go box or if I want to twitch a little less in the 10 o’clock hour, I should use a smaller cup for my coffee.

But, in this realization, the thought also came to me that the amount of awesome that we get out of any day, week, or new opportunity is directly proportional to the vessel of our expectations. Whatever size plate we show up with, we’ll fill. Whatever size cup we carry into it, we’ll get all the way up to the brim.

So, if that is the case, why not show up with a big plate and a huge mug and have ourselves a feast?

When you expect more than others you will work harder than others to make sure you get everything that you can see. When you carry a bigger plate to the buffet of awesome, it may take you a little longer to fill it up, but you’ll be able to see how to fit a little bit more cranberry sauce on your plate and, if we’re being honest, isn’t that what makes this buffet called life so great?

Apr 2012 15

I think I may have found them. The long awaited search could be over. Today, I had the best Breakfast Tacos I’ve ever had outside of Texas. My search has been documented HERE and HERE to find Breakfast Tacos in NYC, but today might be the day I call it off.

Today, I made the best Breakfast Tacos ever.

Three eggs, one link of fresh chorizo, grilled tomatoes, green peppers, and mushrooms, with sharp white cheddar cheese in flour tortillas.

So good I felt bad not inviting anyone over to eat them with me.

So good I might just give up on other people doing it right and rely only on Citerella to keep stocking fresh chorizo.

So good, the world’s cutest beggar almost made me share.