Steph Curry tries something new for the offseason

“Basketball you are consumed by for nine full months every single day. In the playoffs, every game feels like two regular season games in one. You need to just be able to turn it off.” – Stephen Curry

Golden State Warrior point guard Stephen Curry’s workouts are legendary. No matter what city he’s playing in, the stands fill up well before the game to watching him go through his insane pre-game routine. He worked himself out of “pretty good” into “unanimous MVP.”

After winning his third championship in the past four years, he did something different the summer of 2018. He rested. He shut down his body to give it a break. No basketball, no lifting weights, nothing. Three weeks, nothing. Then he slowly returned to physical exertion with biking and yoga.

The other side of the persistence coin is to persist with rest and recharging. You have no idea how stressed you are right now, how tired and worn down you are right now, how badly you could use some rest. And you won’t until you stop.

If you’re playing the long game, recovery times are the shortest path to maximum passion, engagement, productivity

These ‘persistence recharger’ rests ideally happen daily (breaks during the day), weekly (some time devoted to shutting down), quarterly (workday days off), AND annually (at least a week solid away from all of it).

If Stephen Curry can pause for three weeks, so can you.

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Four quick steps to being at your best


  1. Only pick what you love
  2. Try it out
  3. Keep trying it out
  4. Do what helps

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Discernment and the gift of decreasing energy

As we age, research shows that we get happier. And despite bodies wearing out, seniors are the happiest of all of us. One reason is that as we age, we don’t have as much energy as we used to.

We can’t do everything. But we can do some things. We have to discern where to put our finite, decreasing energy. This gift of limited energy doesn’t allow us to run around willy nilly doing everything anymore, only what matters, only what we were born to love.

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What happens when monarch caterpillars stop eating?

Laura's Butterfly

As soon as a monarch caterpillar is born its primary job is to eat. It eats and sleeps, eats and sleeps. Along the way it molts (sheds its skin) five times. It eats so much it even eats its shed skin. It gains 2700 times its original weight.

We’re a consumer society. It was the solution that businesses came up with after World War II to keep themselves in business, and the government did its best to help out, hoping to avoid another Great Depression.

It worked. Today, we consume more than we ever have: obesity, consumer goods purchases, energy consumption, waste generation, entertainment consumption are all at the highest levels they’ve ever been since we first showed up on the planet.

When we consume we feed a hunger – literal or metaphorical. Now that we have enough food to eat (if you’re reading this, that is), this hunger is usually emotional.

Back to the butterfly – once it has eaten enough, it forms a chrysalis. 9-14 days later it turns into a butterfly and takes to the air. It no longer needs to eat enough to gain 2700 times its weight. In fact that it would be a pretty bad idea. They need to travel light to make it to Mexico. They start leaving in September.

That’s what monarchs do. What do we do when we stop eating?

When we’re done consuming and trying to fill a hole there’s a period of waiting and unknown that can be quite unsettling. It’s the visit to the underworld in the Hero’s Journey. We can refuse the call and go back to eating, consuming, preparing. Or we can enter our personal chrysalises and “wait without hope” as T.S. Eliot wrote. If we’re brave enough, we’ll find that, “the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.”

Because after we’ve stopped blindly eating like the caterpillar, and we’ve waited in the darkness like the chrysalis, guess what comes next?


“I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope

For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,

For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith

But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.

Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:

So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”

-T.S. Eliot

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Do what helps


We love to do lots of things. We’re full of passion. When discerning which type of passion to follow, look at what will help the most beings. Do you care about your family, your friends, poor people, nature, animals, autistic kids, seniors, the environment, your community? Whatever you care about outside of ‘singular you’, pick your passion that will most help that group. Don’t just pick what you love. Do what helps.

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A New Way to Assemble Mr. Potato Head


“The arm goes on the second hole up on the left side! No, one hole lower. Turn the arm around!”

And so it goes in the ‘Assemble Mr. Potato Head’ collaborative team building activity. One person is blindfolded, the other team members look at a picture and tell the blindfolded person what piece to pick up and where to put it to replicate what’s on the picture.

It’s a fun activity, and great for honing team communication. The attempts and results that teams experience in collaborative team building activitiesare often predictable for me – I’ve seen it all (almost). Yet part of what I love about this work is unexpected innovation.

Kaiser Permanente did it differently. In all the years I’ve seen groups assemble the venerable plastic spud, they always verbally tell the

blindfolded person where a certain piece is and then where it goes.

This time, they let the blindfolded person pick any piece at random, then told them where it went. Every piece was ‘the right one to pick up’. The person without sight is given a 100 on the test. The most vulnerable person is in charge, is ‘right’. This is a simple tweak of genius.

If we want to influence someone to do what you want them to do, if we want to change the world, we start where the other person is, not where they should be. We visit them in their “home”, their most comfortable way of doing things. We tolerate our discomfort in the service of change.

Brain science tells us this is true for the brain as well. If we want to help an emotionally hijacked person out of it, the first step is to meet them, without fear, in the hell they have entered. Then we can show them the way out.

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Are you happy when you’re right or when you’re wrong?

Carol Dweck says we have two mindsets: fixed and growth. In the fixed mindset we’re happy when we’re right, when we know something. In the growth mindset we’re happy when we’re learning. In order to learn we have to not know. In order to learn that we do not know, we have to be wrong.

Fixed mindset people are less happy and successful than people with the growth mindset. Do you want to be happy and successful or would you prefer not to be? It starts with the answer to this question: are you happy when you’re right or when you’re wrong?

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The endless no

katie-moum-394599-unsplashLiving a life of passion means saying no, no, no, no, no. Endless ‘no’s.

All in the service of serving yourself that thin slice of the pie that is what you were born to do well meeting what you love – one ‘yes’, your passion.

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Only pick what you love


We have millions of options. According to folklore, you can “be whoever you want to be.” But only a few of those options will speak to us.

Others may tell us how good we are at something. But that doesn’t mean it’s a passion. It just means it’s a talent.

Don’t just pick what you’re good at. Don’t just pick what you like.

Pick the place where your talent and your excitement meet. Pick your passion. Life is too short to waste. Only pick what you love.

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What’s even better than direct experience?


Direct experience is how we learn. If we don’t do it, we don’t learn it.

Even better? Repeated direct experience, including pauses. When we pause, we learn from our direct experience how to do what we do better by seeing our failures clearly (with kindness).

Then we try it again and again and again. Play and persistence together help each other out to help us grow.

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