On Endings

Last week, Michael Xander and I announced that after six and a half years, we have decided to stop publishing new interviews on our joint project, My Morning Routine.

One thing that surprised us after we sent out our final email containing the announcement was all the nice messages we received from subscribers in the minutes, hours, and days that followed. From someone telling us that they started their company after a conversation with an entrepreneur that they had contacted after seeing them featured on the site, to someone telling us that we had inspired them to create a project in which they interview people with Parkinson’s disease, to someone simply telling us, “Nice work y’all.”

Another type of message that we received came from people, many of whom we had interviewed or worked with in some capacity over the last six and a half years, who got in touch to congratulate us on our long run, and, equally, applaud us for ending the project while we were still “on top of our game.”

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The Ultimate Character Traits List

The character traits list below is broken up into positive and negative character traits, with definitions of each included.

On the positive side we have values-based traits such as honesty, integrity, and morality; traits that, I’m sure you will agree, are universally good. On the negative side we have traits such as dishonesty, untrustworthiness, and disloyalty; traits that, again I’m sure you will agree, are to be avoided at all costs.

But before we jump into the list itself, let’s get down to basics…

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Hello, New York

And I’m back in the room. Three months to the day since my last post, I figured I have some explaining to do.

Three months ago I accepted a full-time writer/editor position in New York City, and two months ago my wife and I made the move over from the Bay Area. It was an odd reality to be leaving San Francisco, the city in which my wife and I married and, five years earlier, I first stepped foot in the United States. We knew it was something we wanted to do—to make it on our own—but all the same.

Arriving in the depths of winter and renting a temporary apartment for a month so we could look for a place of our own once we settled in, we often joked that the lyrics “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere,” described our situation well—and we weren’t sure if we were going to make it.

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Making Your Priorities a Priority

We choose what to make a priority. While it may sometimes feel like we don’t have time for the things we really want to do, in reality we’re simply not making these things a priority in our day-to-day life.

We may tell ourselves, for example, that we want to become a top one-percent public speaker. This is a lofty goal, for sure, but it’s an attainable one—if we put in the work. But instead we decide that we don’t have the time to work toward this goal—we don’t have the time to attend public speaking classes, workshops, seminars, and the like.

Except, this isn’t true. We do have the time to do all of these things; we’re just not making them a priority. If we made our public speaking goal a priority, we could easily take the time to look up when and where public speaking classes near us meet every week. We could then configure our schedule so we can go to these classes on the way home from work—or we could even take a day off to attend an all-day workshop.

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Leonardo da Vinci, the Greatest Dentist of All Time

I’m currently making my way through Walter Isaacson’s biography of Leonardo da Vinci, as I noted back in November.

In a section titled The Skull Drawings, Isaacson touched upon a point that I’ve been unable to stop thinking about since. The drawings, which Leonardo did in 1489, show a human in various cross-sectioned forms. In one of the drawings Leonardo worked with a skull that had been sawed in half, top to bottom, then the front of the left half was sawed off, making it easy, Isaacson notes, to see how the inner cavities were positioned relative to the face.

To the left of the face Leonardo drew each of the four types of human teeth, with a note saying that a human typically has thirty-two, including the wisdom teeth. With this, as far as is now known, he became the first person in history to describe fully the human dental elements, including a depiction of the roots that is almost perfect.

The point Isaacson then made was that if there were not so much else to remember him for, Leonardo could have been celebrated as a pioneer of dentistry. Just think of that! Here is one of the most famous painters, architects, and—many could reasonably argue—scientists of all time, yet if all that was stripped away, he still would have likely been celebrated within another field.

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