Life Engineering

Individual Excellence Blog

The Blog is where we create color and detail around our content through illustrations, stories, life events, and more. Our focus is to help individuals, leaders, and organizations achieve excellence.

What Abraham Lincoln taught me about failure In 1831, Abraham Lincoln failed in business. In 1832, Abraham Lincoln was defeated for state legislator. In 1833, Abraham Lincoln tried a new business, and failed. In 1835, Abraham Lincoln’s fiancée died. In 1836, Abraham Lincoln had a nervous breakdown. In 1843, Abraham Lincoln ran for congress and …
Control vs Influence If you’re talking about your own life, control is what matters. Self-control, or self-discipline, is fundamental to your ability to succeed in anything. But if you’re talking about the life or lives of others, control is an illusion; influence is what matters. Whether it’s with your kids, your employees, your peers, or …
As I’ve continued writing my book, Escape Velocity, I keep thinking upon this notion of microcosms. For more on what I call “The microcosm approach to success,” see the following two posts: Making the most of microcosms (how to use microcosms to achieve large objectives) Controlled Failure (how to fail on your terms) There’s an …
Controlled Failure As I mention here, we should be failing on a regular basis. I want to fail. To not fail usually means I’m not pushing hard enough. Not trying new things. And there are vital lessons that we learn when we fail that can only be learned through failure. The road to success is …
Making the most of microcosms A microcosm is just a small version of something much larger. It’s usually very similar in the most important regards, but much simpler. Kindergarten, for instance, is a microcosm of college (the macrocosm). You couldn’t drop off a kid in college and expect them to do well. They must first …
Joannie Rochette – an emotional night Joannie Rochette, a 24-year-old from Quebec, was a 2009 World Silver medalist and a five-time Canadian champion who came to the 2010 Winter Olympic games in Vancouver as a top contender in women’s figure skating. But only two days prior to the start of her event, she learned her …
Change blindness and the all-of-a-sudden syndrome As human beings, we tend to fall victim to the “all of a sudden” syndrome. All of a sudden, I’m out of shape.All of a sudden, my finances are a wreck.All of a sudden, my product is late.All of a sudden, a relationship is broken.All of a sudden, I’m …
Peaks and valleys Peaks and valleys. Life is full of them. The important thing to remember when you’re in a valley is that you won’t stay there forever. Valleys are temporary, even when they seem to last an eternity. Inevitably, you find yourself back on top again. Sometimes, just remembering that can be the encouragement …
Shaun White and the real story of his success What on earth is the Double McTwist 1260? It’s where you flip diagonally two times in the air, and simultaneously spin for three and a half rotations. It’s a crazy, high-risk, highly complicated, and totally unbelievable move. Shaun White invented it and showed it to the …
Are you failing on a regular basis? I hope you answered yes. Because if you answered no, then it means you’re not trying hard enough. You’re not trying new things. You’re not pushing yourself. You may have even become complacent. So comfortable with where you are, that you’ve established a life of stasis. Stasis is …
Anja Paerson – we fall and we get back up Anja Paerson, image by Doug Mills / New York Times Among the stories of Olympic athletes at the 2010 Winter Olympic games, one that recently caught my attention was that of Anja Paerson, one of the most decorated downhill skiers in the world. Anja Paerson …
Petra Majdic proves perseverance pays Petra Majdic – motivation through perseverance. 2010 Olympic Games – Petra Majdic shows her mettle. Image from topnews.in Cross Country Sprint star Petra Majdic, from Slovenia, was favored to win Wednesday’s gold medal finals at the 2010 Winter Olympic games at Whistler. That is, until she suffered a terrible accident …
Lindsey Vonn – Olympic example Lindsey Vonn – Olympic achievement through hard work. Image from CalgaryHerald.com Of the many champions at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver Canada, the story of Minnesota’s 26-year-old Lindsey Vonn is one that inspires me. Today Lindsey Vonn won the downhill gold on the 2,939-meter course at Whistler Creekside with …
There is beauty all around Early this morning I was on the way to the gym, when I suddenly turned the corner and stopped dead in my tracks. There had been a light fog and the sun had just broken through, casting beams of light that streamed down onto the neighborhood. I quickly pulled over …
Seth Wescott – gold medalist, honorary Life Engineer Image from article at missoulian.com Yesterday was an amazing day watching 33-year-old Seth Wescott win the gold medal in the snowboard cross event at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. He’s a true example of life engineering, for while he was the defending gold medalist, having won gold …
Seashells and opportunities Last week I was in Los Angeles, California. My kids had made me promise to bring home some seashells, so at the end of the week I made it to the beach and began my search. I was soon dissatisfied with the meager offering of common, broken, picked-over shells available on the …
This single principle can have an exponential impact on how much you get done in life. It's a productivity powerhouse that, once understood, can be a game changer.
The principle of scarcity The principle of scarcity is simple. We tend to place the highest value on things that are rare. Gold, diamonds, vacations, winning the lottery—you get the idea. We tend to see far less value in things that are more common or are readily available, but that may actually be substantially more …
What dealerships know about motivation What do dealerships know about motivation? A lot. Car dealerships are experts in the art of motivation. It’s an exact science for them. They’ve invested tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars in perfecting the practice. The whole experience from the moment you walk into the dealership door is …
The art of barrier-busting Late last night I was at the gym working on my shoulders and pondering an interesting aspect of weight lifting. In weight lifting, you work and work to overcome a plateau, a particular weight barrier, only to be immediately confronted with another one. And no sooner have you overcome that, when …
Change your life by changing your thoughts Your mind is extraordinarily powerful. Without even thinking about it, you breathe, digest, circulate blood, release endorphins, feel, hear, taste, and see. All these things are processed instantly and automatically within your brain, with no apparent effort. Enough processing occurs within your brain and without your attention to …
My new book: Escape Velocity No, this is not a book about physics. At least not entirely. Escape velocity is a term that describes the speed and momentum necessary for any object to escape the gravitational pull of the earth (or whatever planetary system on which it sits). But this principle applies to more than …
Efren Peñaflorida wins CNN hero of the year In case you were not aware, every year CNN hosts a special awards ceremony where they honor a special real-world hero. Heroes are nominated every year, and then the public can vote on the hero of their choice, who is awarded in a special celebration. This year’s …
Sacrifice is hard Now that I’m officially unemployed, our family is having to make sacrifices. I’ve never not had a job, let alone been let go involuntarily. And for most of the lives of my six terrific kids, I’ve had not just any job, but terrific, well-paying jobs. Now all of a sudden, certain luxuries …