2019 Mid Year Reset

Calendar July 2019Most folks have New Year’s resolutions, but I’m using the last half of 2019 – and  specifically July and August – to institute some new habits. If it takes 66 days  to train a new habit, then I’m hoping that  I can have some new behaviors in place by September. These habits specifically have to do with some relationship and productivity goals I set for myself after my Mid Life Reset retreat.

They are:

  1. Remove electronics from the bedroom. When we filled out our Spouse Survey (https://www.viewfromthetop.com/spousesurvey) in preparation for my retreat, my wife and I both said that we were spending too much time on social media, and not enough time being intimate in the bedroom. And that’s not necessarily sexually intimate, it’s wrapping up our day together, praying together, even falling to sleep together. Part of that has to do with each of us  bringing our phones to bed and checking social media from the time we hit the bed until the lights go out. In addition, I hate that – since my phone is my alarm clock – the first thing I reach for in the morning is my phone. As soon as my feet hit the floor, I swipe off “Airplane Mode” and start the deluge of email, news and podcasts. I’m most mentally focused in the morning, and would rather spend that  mental energy on important stuff, like personal and spiritual development. So I’m back to a real alarm clock as of July 1. My phone and my wife’s phone are both sleeping in the kitchen at night instead of the bedroom.
  2. No eating after 8:30. I’m a snacker. It’s easy for me to eat all the way until my head hits the pillow. And even though my snacks have morphed over the years from ice cream to almonds, going to bed with a belly full of food has lots of implications for sleep quality. I am a chronically bad sleeper,  so I want to do as much as I can to get high quality rest and recovery. In addition, I’m trying to widen my fasting window to 14 hours or so. I’ve been fairly successful with a 9am to 9pm feeding window, but I’d rather extend that to a 10am to 8:00pm window. Hopefully drawing this line in the sand will help.  I can tell you it was tough turning down my son’s home-made blackberry cobbler last night at 9pm, though.
  3. In bed by 10. Again, this is related to intimacy (see #1, above). My wife crashes pretty early, but it’s easy for me to sit in front of the computer until 11 or 12. My wife specifically asked that I come to bed early in her Spouse Survey. If this is a priority to me (which it is), I should do whatever I can to help make this a reality.
  4. No Alcohol. Last year I took a “Dry July” for a number of reasons (“On The Wagon“), and decided to do it again this year. I really like good wine and good beer (I don’t really care for spirits much). But in truth, there really isn’t any good physical reason for ingesting alcohol. Taking a break is good for my sleep, my budget, my stomach, testosterone levels and my attitude.

I know you’re not supposed to take on more than one habit at a time. However, I see these as all being related to my night-time routine. Success with my night-time routine will set me up for increased intimacy in my marriage and for success in my health and morning  productivity.  It’s worth trying!

Hold me accountable! Ping me on the socials (Twitter) (Instagram) and ask me how I’m doing.

Got any mid-year goals? Post below.

Living Forward, A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want

Living Forward Book
My Ragged Copy of Living Forward

I recently took a retreat weekend for a “mid-life reset”. (You can read about my fasting experience during my retreat at http://davidscotts.blog/fitness-over-50/hiit-and-run). I took several tools with me for the weekend, including the book “Living Forward” by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy. I’ve been planning this retreat for a long time. Case in point: I scheduled the weekend for May 29-June 2, 2019. I bought this book March 4, 2016. I guess you could say I don’t do anything on a whim.

Even though it took me two years to get to it, Living Forward didn’t disappoint. It was an invaluable tool for my Reset Weekend, and will be even more valuable if I continue in the plan it helped me create.

The book’s purpose is “ten chapters that take you on a journey through realizing your need for a Life Plan, the process of creating one, and the encouragement to make it happen. It’s all about equipping you to fill your days with the decisions that enable you to live a more intentional life.” (p. 22)

The Life Plan

Hyatt and Harkavy take you step-by-step through the Life Planning process with lots of examples. In fact, there’s an appendices that’s packed with examples. What you find is that although there is a defined process, it can be customized for your own preferences and life situation.

You start in classic Covey fashion (Stephen Covey, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”) by beginning with the end in mind. You literally write your own eulogy from the perspective of the people who know you best. Imagine walking through the crowd at your own funeral, eavesdropping on the conversations. What would you want to hear? Once you define how you want to be remembered, you begin working backward, planning to make that happen.

The next steps involve defining “Life Accounts”, the key relationships and activities that are a priority for you, and putting together concrete purpose statements and action steps to nurture those relationships into the the picture you defined in Step 1 (your eulogy). I won’t bore you with all of mine, but I’ll share with you a few that were important for me:

My Life Accounts

Wife / Marriage

Purpose Statement

As Stacey’s husband, my job is to know that she is loved in the same way that Christ loves the church. I encourage her, build her up, provide for her, serve her and lead her. Together our marriage is an insight into God’s love for our children and the people who come into our lives.

Envisioned Future

Stacey and I love to be around each other. Our weekly dates are full of fun and intimacy, both emotionally and physically. Because we’ve conquered our demons, we are able to help our kids conquer theirs. Our finances are in order, our careers are where we want them to be, and we have time to travel and serve others.

Bible Verse

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”, Eph. 5:25

Short Term Goals / Specific Commitments

  • Regular (weekly) text messages and affirming notes
  • Purposeful weekly dates
  • Tackle “to do” list of house problems

Finances

Purpose Statement

I will be debt-free by 55 and have a savings/investment plan in place to secure our future and allow us to help others.

Envisioned Future

Because I have worked in a career that excites me and pays me well, my income has doubled over the past three years. Stacey and I have been diligent and disciplined and used the increased income to pay off all our consumer debt and our house. We have begun investing in a VTSAX IRA and have put aside a full six-month emergency fund.

Short Term Goals / Specific Commitments

  • Quit going to coffee shops and use my office instead
  • Schedule  Tuesday night finance meeting with Stacey
  • Put our budget in a prominent location
  • Focus on additional income, either within current job, or new job
  • Finish taxes by July 15

My full list of accounts, in order of priority are: Self, Marriage, Kids, Career, Finances, Other Family and Church Family. Your accounts may be different, and your priorities may be different. They should be. And they will probably change over time. Your Life Plan is a living, breathing document that changes as the stages of your life changes.

A Vision for your Life

More than anything, Living Forward helped me envision a future for my life. A key step in the plan is defining an “envisioned future”. These words, spoken in present tense, opens your eyes to possibilities. My finances are not where I want them to be. They’re pretty screwed up. Although I’m fairly successful in my career, it’s not my ultimate professional destination. Creating my Life Plan helped me see the future clearly, and put me in the direction to get there. As Andy Stanley says, “Direction – not intention – determines destination.” A lot of us walk around with a vague idea of where we want to end up. My Life Plan has helped me set the course to get there.

Final Thoughts

My life is 2/3 over. I’m plotting out the last 25 years of my life and I want to make it count. But you don’t have to wait until you’re 50 for this to be valuable. It’s like compounded interest; the younger you start this process, the more valuable it becomes. Young men, young couples, could make such a huge impact in their lives, their marriages, their families, their communities by creating and regularly revising their Life Plans. I’m a fan.

You can purchase “Living Forward” using my affiliate link here. It won’t cost you any more, but will provide a little income for the blog.

I’m A Fasting Failure

I’m a fasting failure.

I took a four day retreat a couple of weeks ago (I’ll document that in another blog post) and as a part of that, planned a 48 hour fast. Why fast? A couple of reasons:

  • To help me focus. In many religions, including my own, fasting is  a way of prioritizing the task at hand, giving it the serious consideration it deserves.
  • For digestive reasons. I have some chronic digestive issues. I was hoping a 48 our fast would help me reset my digestion. I would then re-introduce foods slowly, hopefully identifying some of the sensitive foods.
  • Plain ‘ole discipline. I hear guys talk about 3 day, 4 day, 5 day fasts and wanted to see if I had the discipline to at least complete a 2 day fast.

Nope.

I did make it 40 hours, though, just 8 hours short of my target, and far longer than I’ve ever gone without food before.

Notes From My Fast Washout

I took notes during my fast: how I was feeling, if I was hungry, bowel habits, what I did consume, how I broke my fast. Here are a few things I tracked while fasting:

Day 1

  • Preparation – I prepared a couple of days in advance by trying to transition to primarily fat as an energy source. I cut my carbs back in favor of bulletproof coffee, avocados, fatty meats, and nuts. I also decreased fiber and decreased caffeine.
  • NOTE – after 3 days of prep, I found that I had lost about 5 pounds.
  • My last meal was 9 pm the night before. First day of the fast I started with a cup of water with a multivitamin, then one cup of coffee.
  • I can’t tell you how many bottles of water I drank, but next time I’ll just insert a catheter.
  • I lifted weights (chest / shoulder / triceps) for one hour. I backed off my normal weight a bit, but not much. Had plenty of energy for the workout.
  • Around noon my stomach was screaming, but an hour or so later I was fine.
  • I took a very long walk late in the afternoon.
  • The only time I really wanted food was when I cleaned out my backpack for my hike and found a dark chocolate bar in a pocket. Once I knew it was present, it was hard to get it out of my mind.

Day 2

  • I heard that Peter Attia sleeps amazingly well when he fasts. I did not. I had a horrible night’s sleep. Some of it was due to noise in the campground where I was staying, but mainly it was because I had to get up to pee so many times. Yep. Gonna get a catheter next time.
  • Absolutely starving in the morning.
  • Really tired (did I say that already?)
  • Started the day with green tea instead of coffee, then back to water, water and more water.
  • Very difficult to concentrate. Super foggy.
  • Tried my usual 20 minute HIIT workout. Had to settle for 10 minutes. Just didn’t have the stamina.
  • Again, lots of pee, but no bowl movement since the day before I started the fast (it would be more than 3 days before I had a BM again).
  • Broke my fast at 1 pm, 8 hours shy of my target.

My Break-Fast

I broke my fast with…beef brisket, which I know is weird for lots of reasons, but mainly because I live in Memphis and pork BBQ is king.

I ordered a pound of beef brisket with no sauce, and ate only a few strips. First of all, I wanted to introduce as little fiber into my belly as possible. I also wanted to keep running on fat as fuel, and brisket is a pretty fatty meat. I like lean meat, and would normally trim the fat, but not this time; I gobbled it all down. My second meal was at 6:30 pm and it was…beef brisket. Just a few more pieces. My breakfast on day 3? More brisket.

Finally had a BM at 10 am.

That night I had an amazing dinner with my wife of steak, lobster, asparagus and a zucchini/squash medley with a bloody Cabernet to drink.

Pros of Fasting

Reading through my notes, it all sounds negative. But there was at least one positive. Although I’ve blown it since, my digestive system really felt on point coming out of the fast. I generally have a lot of gas along with frequent BMs throughout the day. Though hungry, not having a rolling supply of gas in my belly and the irritation of my colon blowing up was a welcome change. The problem has been introducing too much, too soon. I’m currently trying to trim back some of the variety in my diet and simplify my choices, without a full-on fast. Another couple of days should get me where I want to be.

Next Time

I’m sure I’ll attempt this again. There are a couple of things I’ll do differently, however. First, I won’t pair an attempt at fasting with a reflective retreat. I had to give in to hunger because it was taking my focus away from the very serious work I had to do. Next time I’ll simply pick a couple of days – maybe Friday and Saturday – and dedicate them to not eating. But I definitely won’t pair them with another serious mental and emotional task.

Second, I’ll cut back on the friggin’ water. I really couldn’t stop peeing. I’m sure I was flushing plenty of electrolytes as well, which probably helped contribute to the fogginess.

Third, I’ll provide a better sleep environment. I was camping during the fast, in early Memphis summer. It’s hot, it’s noisy, and it’s full of bugs. Between the camping environment and the frequent urination, I couldn’t get any rest. Getting better sleep would probably help my mental function and energy level.

I’ll probably try another fast in the fall. Stay tuned for updates. In the mean time, have you tried an extended fast? If so, how long? Would you consider it a success? Why or why not? Chime in below, in the comments.

Ask Better Questions

Ask better questions

Things that make me want to scream:

  • Bending my fingernail backwards
  • Having a customer ask me for advice, then attempt to tell me how I should fix the problem.

This week, yet again, I had a customer ask me to look at a technical problem. She’s paying my hourly consulting fee, mind you, because I’m on site for a consult. She explains the problem and the proceeds to Google for an answer (using the very worst Google syntax ever), with the onsite tech guy sitting next to her pointing at results. I lean against the credenza in her office, meanwhile, waiting for them to give up and ask the expert they’re paying.

There are two parts of the problem: 1) Email has gotten mangled coming into her inbox and needs to be restored. 2) We need to keep this from happening in the future. We quickly discover the solution to #2 and fix it. The fix for #1 is a longer, more tedious procedure. We’ve exhausted the rabbit hole of Google results, and yet they just. keep. searching. In desperation and confusion I ask the question that seems obvious, but no one has asked yet:

What is the best possible outcome you could have?

She looks at me as if I have a third eye, or a horn sticking out of my forehead. After a minute it’s obvious she doesn’t have an answer to my question. Does she want the email restored? Does she want to step through the tedious procedure to fix the mangled emails? Does she want to skip it altogether, because it’s only a handful of emails? She’s had her head buried so deeply in the situation that she’s never stopped to consider what she wants to happen.

What is the Best Possible Outcome?

This is one of those questions as a consultant and troubleshooter that I have to ask over and over, because many people don’t really know what they want, or have lost sight of what they want, or keep changing their minds. They keep encountering the same situations over and over because they haven’t identified where they want to go.

Obviously, the question extends to the personal:

  • What is the best possible outcome of this relationship?
  • What is the best possible outcome of buying this car?
  • What is the best possible outcome of this conflict with my kid?
  • What is the best possible outcome of taking this job?

Take, for example, “What is the best possible outcome of this relationship?” Because you don’t know what you want, you can’t identify what the result of being in a life-long relationship with someone will be. Do you want to have kids?  What kind of values do you want those kids to have? Is your wife going to demand a certain standard of living? Will she remain faithful? Will you remain faithful to her? Once you identify what you want you know where to start looking for a wife. And, just as important, you know when to cut and run. This question will keep you from wasting time on people or things that aren’t taking you in the direction you want to go.

“What is the best possible outcome of this conflict with my kid?” It may be that you and your son or daughter won’t see eye to eye, but that the best possible outcome is that you model disagreeing well, and model grace in accepting a different opinion. Not knowing the best possible outcome will see you on the defensive, insisting on your way, even when it really doesn’t matter. The result being a broken, resentful relationship with your son.

  • What is the best possible outcome of talking to my ex on Snapchat?
  • What is the best possible outcome of tutoring a kid?
  • What is the best possible outcome of eating healthier?

Conclusion

This question, along with “What is the wise thing for me to do?“, can help you weed out the helpful from the destructive. The wise from the foolish. The wasteful from the resourceful. Take some time to sit down and identify some areas in your life that are vague right now. Are you looking at a major financial decision? Are you in a relationship that doesn’t have an end-game. What will your career look like 20 years from now? Have you set any longevity goals? Pick one and ask the question, “What is the best possible outcome?” and begin to shape your decision(s) based on what you see.

 

 

 

My Experiment With Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil

Bulletproof Brain Octane OilThis post is going to document my experience with MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil, specifically Bulletproof™ Brain Octane Oil.

I’ve tried “bulletproof” coffee quite a bit over the last several years using a tablespoon of organic coconut oil with a tablespoon of Kerrygold® butter in a standard 6 oz cup of coffee. After some recent study I’ve learned there is a chemical difference between coconut oil and true MCT oil that causes MCT to be absorbed more readily (for a description from the Bulletproof guys, check out this link). I decided to give it a try.

Why Bulletproof Coffee?

The first question I should answer is why upgrade my coffee?  I typically drink one cup of coffee right after my feet hit the floor. The only things I do before i drink my coffee is pee and drink a glass of water. And I drink my coffee black. I buy a lot of locally (Memphis) roasted specialty coffees and I don’t want to ruin them with cream and sugar. So why would I add oil and butter?

Bulletproof is a “bio-hack”, a way to upgrade your body’s performance in some way. And even though there are purported benefits like weight loss and appetite suppression, there is only one hack that I want: brain function. MCT, broken down into ketones, is supposedly a quick, ideal energy source to get your brain going in the morning. That’s what I’m after. I’d argue that that is the same reason why most of us drink coffee in the first place. If I can amp up the caffeine boost and get a sustained benefit, then count me in.

Day 1 (Saturday)

Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil arrived on Friday. Saturday morning I was excited to give it a try. I brewed a pour over of French Truck Coffee’s “Big River Blend” for my wife and I. As it turned out, we were out of Kerrygold butter. Huge buzz kill.

I mixed 2 tablespoons of MCT oil in 14 oz of coffee (Bulletproof’s recommended serving size is 1 Tbsp, but since I’m making two cups of coffee, I’m using 2) and used my mixer wand to blend it together. (You must do this, or you’ll have a cup of coffee with an oil slick on top). My wife and I sipped on the coffee, as usual, until it was gone. It had the same kind of “oily” feel on my lips as my coconut oil coffee, but didn’t have the coconut taste.

Results  – First of all, take note that “disaster pants” is real. Within an hour of finishing my coffee, it was time to go! Don’t mean to gross you out, but had a pretty loose stool. Not long after, my wife (perhaps not making the connection) told me her stomach wasn’t feeling well. (I hadn’t told her about this possible side effect and still haven’t. Shh…) I was a little crampy as well, but this faded within a couple of hours.

Second, I would say that yes, my brain was high functioning, but I was also to the point of being over-stimulated. This could be related to the coffee; “Big River” is a light roast and gives me a bigger caffeine jolt than my typical dark roast blend. I ended up with two cups of coffee Saturday morning (one light, one dark) and I could have been over-caffeinated. But I was edgy and super irritable, to the point of being a jerk. I’ve got to nail this down. If this is what bio-hacking my brain is going to do, then I’ll pass.

Day 2 (Monday)

Over the weekend I did some research on disaster pants. I found two things I could try to keep this from being so bad: 1) Take MCT oil in smaller dosages. 2) Get used to it. Most people adjust to the MCT oil and the very unpleasant side effects subside over time. Good news.

This morning I brewed a dark roast Rwandan through my drip coffee maker. I managed to get my hands on some Kerrygold butter this weekend, so I’m prepared for the full experience (well…except for disaster pants). I mixed 1 Tbsp butter, 1 Tsp MCT (instead of 1 Tbsp to lower the dose) and 6 oz. coffee. Sipped as usual while I got to work.

Results – It’s 12:45 pm and I’ve had a second cup of coffee now. My brain is in pretty high gear, and has been all morning. No, I don’t feel jittery like I did on day 1. Yes, I still had a pretty good BM about an hour after my first cup of coffee, but no cramps. Here’s hoping this gets even better. NOTE: I did not give my wife any MCT oil this morning. I’d feel really bad if she had an attack at work…

11 pm, no afternoon crash. Usually by 2 pm I need a hit of sugar and another cup of coffee or I’ll fall asleep on my keyboard. I’m actually afraid I won’t sleep tonight because my brain is still so sharp. Pretty remarkable for me.

Day 3 (Tuesday)

Today’s dosing was the same as yesterday’s: 1 Tsp Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil and 1 Tbsp butter in 6 oz coffee at around 6:30 AM. In addition to my first cup of coffee, I had a wonderful pour over of Dr. Bean‘s Burundi brewed by my favorite barista, @ethan,makes.coffee around 11 AM.

Results – Still had a loose BM about an hour after my first cup, but no stomach cramps. One thing I altered this morning was my breakfast. Today I decided to go to rugby practice, and – knowing what my carb needs would be – I scarfed down a baked sweet potato and had a sardine on toast for breakfast instead of my usual morning shake. Deep down I was hoping that having a solid meal rather than a shake would firm things up. Not so, unfortunately. But I’m only 3 days in, so I’m sure my body still has a bit to go.

Once again, my mind is still very clear as I write this at 10:59 pm after dragging in an hour ago from rugby practice and a two mile run. I had a bit of a crash at about 2 pm today, but part of that is due to a poor night’s sleep (I woke up in the MIDDLE of a REM cycle this morning, and it killed me) and part of it was because I was chained to an office chair all day in a warm server room. But again, it seems Brain Octane Oil has really cut through my brain fog.

[UPDATE Wednesday Morning] It appears I lied. Or, in political speak “mis-spoke”. I didn’t sleep at all last night, and as I lay on my pillow cursing Brain Oil, I realized that I had thrown off my experiment Tuesday. Looking at the prospect of two hours of high-intensity rugby practice from 6:30-8:30 pm, I stopped by my favorite coffee shop around 5:30 pm and grabbed a shot of espresso. Stupid, stupid move. I’m pretty caffeine sensitive and generally won’t drink coffee after 2 pm. Now I remember why. But that means that my clear, energized mind of 11 pm Tuesday night could actually be attributed to late afternoon espresso, NOT MCT oil.

Day 4 (Thursday)

I took the day off, at least from Bulletproof Coffee. I wanted to see if I could tell a difference in my energy level, clarity, and digestive tract. Let’s start with that last one, first.  I couldn’t tell much difference because we grabbed a dozen doughnuts for my son’s “birthday breakfast”. As it turns out, the fat from the fried doughnuts had essentially the same effect as the fat from the MCT oil. One and 1/2 doughnuts and I’m headed to the toilet. My body is just sensitive to fats. As far as my brain’s clarity, I could tell a difference. MCT keeps me just at the edge of “too much”. I mentioned in Day 1’s post that I was downright irritable, overly caffeinated. Although I haven’t been at that level since, I feel like I’m right at the edge of the cliff. And I stay there throughout the entire day. Thursday I didn’t have that feeling.

Friday (Day 5)

I’m back on MCT this morning. 1 Tbsp butter, 1 Tsp Brain Octane Oil in 6 oz of coffee.  I added my second cup of coffee (no MCT) around 11 AM.

Results – 1/2 hour after my first cup I was off to the bathroom. I’m beginning to think that this isn’t going away and I’m going to have to choose between a morning run to the toilet and a day’s worth of brain clarity. Or maybe I just accept it as the price of doing business.

But my brain’s buzzing today.

One more thing: I do notice a difference in appetite on MCT days. I’ve been continuing my morning breakfast routine for the most part: coffee at 6:30 AM, breakfast (protein shake, sardine on toast, a handful of walnuts, and a couple of avocado slices) around 9:30 or 10 AM. This week, however, I feel so dang full after breakfast that I don’t feel like eating for several hours afterward.

Monday (Day 6)

First of all, What happened to Saturday and Sunday?, you may be asking. Saturday and Sunday I took a short vacation with my wife to celebrate 29 years of marriage. There was plenty of coffee to be had, but no MCT. There was no guarantee that a blender would be available at our AirBnB, and frankly, the thought of two days of potential diarrhea over a romantic weekend wasn’t appealing to me.

So here we are on Monday afternoon. I had my customary first cup around 6:30 AM with 1 Tsp Brain Octane Oil and 1 Tbsp grass-fed butter. As I write, it’s 12:15 PM and I’m drinking my second, and last, cup of coffee for the day.

Results – At this point I’m glad to report no digestive distress. Perhaps taking the weekend off helped my stomach get back in shape. There’s still time in the day to lose my bowels, but right now they’re hanging in. Beyond that, I don’t have that “over caffeinated” feeling, but I’m well alert and motivated. Even though I wasn’t terribly hungry, I ate lunch (it’s a workout day, so I need carbs!). We’ll see how long my energy level keeps going.

Final Thoughts

I have now finished my first bottle of Bulletproof Brain Oil. Last week I ordered, and received, my second bottle. I’m pretty cheap, so that means I see value in it.

Here are a few final, most likely subjective, observations:

  • My mind is definitely sharper. This is probably the most subjective finding I’ll report, but I feel clearer. My morning work goes by faster. I don’t feel “foggy” in the morning. My ability to communicate verbally is easier (less grasping for words).
  • Stomach issues have gotten better. In fact, my overall digestive system feels better. I’ve been nursing some stomach issues for a couple of months now, easing foods in/out of my diet to see if I could pinpoint the source. I can’t definitively say that MCT oil has been the fix; I’ve been tinkering with lots of things in my diet. But I’m definitely better off.
  • I could live on one cup of coffee/day. That hasn’t been true in the past. I love coffee, and often need it to keep going. Usually by 2 pm in the afternoon, I simply must have a second cup. I’m now drinking a second cup, usually around 11 am, just because I like it. However, I don’t need it in the afternoon now; I’m still mentally sharp.
  • I am less hungry. I still keep my same eating routines, because I know my what my body needs nutritionally. But I often eat my breakfast and lunch begrudgingly because I’m just not hungry.

One final note: I’m still not taking the full recommended dose of Brain Octane Oil. I’m taking a teaspoon per 6 oz cup, instead of a tablespoon. I believe in a minimum effective dose, so if this is working, I’ll probably stay at this dose rather than move up.

Give Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil a try and let me know your results in the comments, below.

If you want to support the blog, grab it from my Amazon Associate link here.

The Best Question Ever

Ask It by Andy StanleyWhat if I told you there was a question that could change the direction of your life? This question can help you avoid some of life’s biggest mistakes in your relationships, finances, and career.

You can find the question in a book I read every few years, “Ask It”, by Andy Stanley.

Who this book is for

The question, and this book (and accompanying video series) has been a major influence on my life, and here’s why it’s so important to men:

  • Young men – Set the direction of your life with the future in mind, and avoid the mistakes of your parents.
  • Middle-aged men – Parent your kids with this question in mind. Starting over with a new marriage, a new job? Start by asking yourself this question.
  • Older men – You should be mentoring younger men. This question is a foundation of guiding the next generation.

What is the question already?

The question Andy poses is a filter for “every opportunity, every invitation, and every decision”. The question is,

What is the wise thing for me to do?

Or, more specifically,

In light of my past experience, my current circumstances, and my future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing for me to do?

In the 175 pages (22 very short chapters) Andy explores how this question affects virtually every area of your life: relationships, finances, time, sex and more.

Just so that it doesn’t take you by surprise, Andy is a mega-church pastor in Atlanta. That doesn’t mean that this is for the religious only; it’s practical advice for everyone. In fact, Andy lets you off the hook if you’re not a Christian.

Like I said, I’ve read the book several times (even when it was in its original incarnation as “The Best Question Ever”). I’ve listened to his sermon series 4 or 5 times, and watched the video series as well. I’ve read the book with my sons, given the book away to numerous young men I’ve mentored, and shared it with the entire group of college students I lead in my church.

If you want to look inside, grab a preview, or order the book, you can do that by clicking here. (This is my Amazon affiliate link, btw, which means it doesn’t cost you anything, but  I get a couple of cents for your purchase).

You can also watch the first session of the video series on Youtube here.

Wrap Up

At this point in my life, I have two big concerns: First, don’t screw up a good thing; I know too many guys my age that have come off the rails by making stupid decisions in the heat of the moment, and lost everything. Second, as a mentor, I want to keep younger men from making decisions that will lead to events they will regret for the rest of their lives.

“Ask It” helps me with both of those goals. Check it out.