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Book 351 - A Year of Magical Learning

Reflection Title: Don’t be a Stranger to Yourself!

Book – Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell

Book Description:

Talking to Strangers is a classically Gladwellian intellectual adventure, a challenging and controversial excursion through history, psychology, and scandals taken straight from the news. He revisits the deceptions of Bernie Madoff, the trial of Amanda Knox, the suicide of Sylvia Plath, the Jerry Sandusky pedophilia scandal at Penn State University, and the death of Sandra Bland—throwing our understanding of these and other stories into doubt. Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don’t know. And because we don’t know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world. In his first book since his #1 bestseller David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell has written a gripping guidebook for troubled times.


Malcolm Gladwell is a freaking genius. I devoured this book in less than 2 days, I just couldn’t stop, and I loved every second from start to finish.

What I learned is that no one can solely trust the words that come out of our mouths, and that is especially true of ourselves. After finishing this book, I think I can safely say that the only thing that I trust in this world is a person’s actions. Your actions are the real presentation of your inner values to the world and everything else, including your words, are just fluff.

Have you ever heard the saying, “Show me your calendar and your bank account and I’ll tell you what you really value?”. This statement couldn’t be truer if you ask me.

We can say whatever we want to say, but do not trust those words alone. I’m not saying everyone in this world is a liar, but I am saying that a lot of people in this world don’t even know they are lying. If Talking to Strangers taught me anything, is that words can fool anyone, including, and probably most importantly, yourself.

For instance, before this journey I used to think concepts I valued the most were ideas like grit, fail fast, fall in love with the process, work hard / play hard, work-life balance, and eating the frog.

Did I my actions reflect any of those actions…not very often!

Let’s take trip back to pre-Emilia Chris. That Chris could have sat in a room with someone and spoke passionately until I was blue in the face championing the ideas around the importance of work hard / play hard mentality. If you asked me how I incorporated that into my life each day, I wouldn’t have had even the slightest clue how to respond. Sure, I worked, but did I work HARD? Probably not. At best I worked at a moderately challenging pace occasionally. Sure, I played, but did I play HARD? Definitely not. When I think of playing hard, I think of friends of mine that would fly to Vegas for a 48-hour gambling and drinking bender and then make it back to the office bright and early on a Monday morning ready to tackle the week. I’m exhausted just typing that last sentence. I’ve certainly done my fair share of hard playing in my day, but it took me like 2 weeks of bitching and complaining to recover and get back to my moderately challenging pace I naturally enjoy.

One could have called myself a stranger to my own self because who I said that I was and what I said I valued rarely matched what I did each day. If you are confused, join the club. My point is that we can say whatever we want, and may even truly mean it, but that doesn’t make it true. The only thing that makes something true or not is our actions, and mine didn’t match the words coming out of my mouth. Call me a liar, or just call me confused, either way I was not in alignment.

These days, I say I care about the values of balance, challenge, endure, learn, play, integrity, humility, and don’t do it alone. I say that my purpose in life is to live for 2 with my daughter while we focus on our mission to help as many people as we can find and experience a life filled with meaningful work and meaningful relationships.

Now, is what I just typed true? Let’s check my bank account and calendar…

The only things I spend money on these days are tennis, pickleball, running apparel and workout gear, tools to share my art with the world, books, my family, Clubany (the nonprofit dedicated to supporting my mission), and food. Food is the only thing that doesn’t fit any of my core values, purpose, or mission on that list if you ask me, but I can’t really escape paying for food. I could and probably should eat better, but that isn’t a value so I don’t really care.

If you look at my calendar, my day starts off with 2 hours of my first things first time blocked off where I learn, reflect, and move my body while living for 2 with Emilia. Then, the rest of the day is mainly filled with 1:1’s with my team where I’m helping to coach and teach them how to figure out their own values and bring them to life, and my evenings are filled with tennis, pickleball, and a standing nightly meeting with my ClubAny co-founder to talk about what we learned for the day. On most days, I find time throughout the day to spend with my family, do my monthly challenge, or do some wim hof breathing exercises, but those are usually not scheduled.

Now, do you believe what I’m writing to you, better yet, do I believe what I’m writing?

For that, I can proudly answer yes. I’m happy to share that Chris is no longer a stranger to Chris.

Question: Are your words and actions in alignment to who you say you want to be?



What is The Year of Magical Learning? - An Introduction

YOML Podcast Discussion - Coming Soon

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