According to My Neighbor Bill

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Image by Filip Kalaj from Pixabay

This isn’t click-bait. It’s educational, so I won’t make you scroll through a whole article looking for the answer. It’s seven days. You can keep a catfish in a bathtub for seven days.

So says my neighbor Bill. Former neighbor, technically. He had to move, for reasons not disclosed. Just said one day, “Gotta go,” and that was the last I saw of him. It was several months after the catfish incident so I cannot accurately speak to a possible correlation between the catfish and the move.

What I can speak to, with a good level of authority, is the durability of a wild fish living in captivity. …


Skill, Happiness, and Productivity: The Holy Trinity of Workplace Success

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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Have you ever tried to build a bookshelf? Ever painted a bowl of fruit in watercolor? Re-roofed a shed? Changed the head gasket on a lawn mower?

Most things in life that require even a moderate level of skill are frustrating if you have no experience. A child unloading the dishwasher for the first time or learning to type on a computer is no different than a grown man trying to hang drywall for the first time. Tears are shed. Buckets are kicked.

But in time, as skills develop and efficiency improves, there is a level of pride and satisfaction that comes from being good at your job. …

I Should Be Charging Money For This Trick, But I Won’t Because I’m So Rich Already

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Image by Robinraj Premchand from Pixabay

Everybody has a humble-brag article boasting about how much money they’ve made writing on Medium, “$200 in my first month,” “$10,000 in my first year,” etc.


I’d like to condescendingly pat these small-minded amateurs on their soft little heads.

Their advice is always the same stale bromides: “write what you know,” “comment a lot,” “applaud and follow to build a network.” All very mind-blowing stuff if you discovered the Internet yesterday.

The trick to making money writing on Medium is the same trick to making money anywhere: please the client, don’t be a dick.

If you’re writing articles on Medium to make money, you’re putting in too much work. …

Control What You Can Control, Be Grateful For What You Have

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Photo by Attentie Attentie on Unsplash

There is value in competition beyond the spoils of war.

If you are determined and diligent in cultivating the skills needed to compete, you give it your all, leave it all on the field, then you can be proud of your effort and performance no matter the outcome.

Earn your competitor’s respect, regardless of who wins.

There are no guarantees — not in business, in sports, or in politics. We cannot control every factor or predict every outcome. No man can anticipate every move, every second- and third-order effect. We will win sometimes, and we will suffer many defeats.

Like so many things in life, it’s not the “what” that matters but the “how.” What you do for a living matters less than how you do it. What you say often matters less than how you say it. What you believe matters less than how you exercise it. …

Why Republicans Haven’t Issued More Coronavirus Paychecks

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Photo by Kevin Tadema on Unsplash

I panic early. I figure, better to get it out of the way, consider all the worst case scenarios, horde, stock up, shelter in place, and pray the storm clears quickly.

Our philosophy was, hope for the best, plan for the worst.

I was the first weirdo wearing a mask in Costco, in February 2020, because my wife hangs in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s risk expert circle on Twitter, and they were sounding the COVID alarm early.

It was embarrassing, actually. The masks. The gloves. The pallets of essentials. …

Idiocy, Partisanship, and the Unconvincing Mask of Do-Gooderism

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Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Maybe I’m skeptical of people’s true intentions. Maybe I’ve downgraded my view of humanity due to vitriolic partisanship in America the last few years.

Whatever the reason, I think it’s weird when people encourage others to vote. Here’s why.

Brain Surgeon Plumbers

Would you hire a plumber do brain surgery on you? It’s a rhetorical question, and I mean no offense to plumbers in positing it. For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t hire a brain surgeon to fix my faucet.

The point is, civics is a duty beyond the physical act of casting a ballot, and not many people live up to that duty. I remember my grandparents sitting at the kitchen table reading their ballot guides, their glasses on the end of their noses but squinting nonetheless, thinking, studying, flipping forward and back through the Bible-paper-thin voting guides, comparing bios and write-ups on candidates and ballot measures, and slowly, shakily, filling in their ballots (in Oregon, it’s all mail-in voting). …

The Goal Is Knowledge and Accuracy, Not Winning Arguments

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Photo by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash

Nobody likes a know-it-all. Nobody likes a smart ass.

But it’s better to be a smart ass than a dumb ass, and better to know something than nothing.

We live in a hyper-partisan world, where everyone claims to be an expert on whatever current event is trending in the news at the moment.

After a boy fell into a gorilla cage in Cincinnati and the beloved Harambe was shot dead, everybody on the Internet was suddenly a zoology expert, waxing biological about the parental practices and caring demeanor of western lowland gorillas.

Every election season, otherwise sane people you assumed were apolitical start vomiting partisan talking points as undeniable proof for why their guy (this time) is going to win. …

Wishful Thinking Isn’t Reality

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Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

I don’t know what’s going to happen on Election Day, but nobody else does either. Polls were off by a mile in 2016. The pandemic has been a disaster in terms of election predictions and voter turnout. But there’s no crystal ball telling how the 2020 election will turn out.

For those expecting a Joe Biden victory, here are some grounding facts:

  • Gallup shows 56% of Americans think they’re better off now than they were four years ago, a record high.
  • Trump won the election in 2016 with a 37.5% a favorability rating and no governing record. Today his approval is 41%, and his job approval is 44.4% with tax cuts, de-escalation of foreign wars, Middle East peace deals, record low unemployment (pre-pandemic), a thriving economy, criminal justice reform, renegotiated trade deals, and many other successes under his belt. …


New Isn’t Always Better, and New To You Isn’t Always New To Everyone Else

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Image by Joseph Mucira from Pixabay

As a kid, you wonder why you can’t inflate your bike tires with concrete or wash the dishes outside with a broom and a hose.

As an adult, you realize there are fully grown humans who haven’t realized that a new idea isn’t necessarily a good idea, or that an idea that’s new to them it’s necessarily new to everyone else.

These are important realizations in any workplace.

Being open to new ideas keeps businesses competitive and insulated against industry changes. …

There Is Value In Action & Destruction in Ease

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Image by WikiImages

“The strongest and highest will to life does not lie in the puny struggle to exist, but in the will to war, the will to power…” — Friedrich Nietzsche

Men today lack a war worth dedicating their lives to. We need combat, competition, risk, hard work, and an object toward which we can direct our training and skills and purpose.

This is not an advocacy of war in the sense of geo-political occupations abroad, but of striving with purpose in our daily lives.

We have it better than at any time in the history of the world.

Men used to earn a living with their backs: farming, ranching, mining, logging. By 1930, only half of American homes had electricity, most didn’t have a TV until the 1950s, people hand-washed clothes, grew their own food and baked their own bread for most of human history. …


Nicholas Wilbur

Fitness | Fatherhood | Philosophy | Advocate of Working Hard & Working Out | Strive, Don’t Just Survive

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