Choices, Choices, Choices

Life is an endless smorgasbord of choices.

Every second of every minute of every day we are faced with the daunting task of forming – and forever, thereafter, owning – a decision.

While some choices may be more pivotal than others, all our choices – from whether to have the sole or the filet to whether to pursue a career in finance or in law – shape us.

They define us.

Sometimes they chain us.

Or, that is what I once so thought.

Choosing” used to intimidate me. It wasn’t the option, itself, that scared me, it was the process of accepting one thing over another.

So, out of fear of regret, I chose nothing.

Until the day I realized that doing nothing was even more fettering than choosing something – anything.

The pendulum began to swing. While no longer bound, I found myself making decisions less methodically.

Some of those decisions were met with immediate gratification. Others resulted in unforeseen challenges.

But not one choice contains even an inkling of regret. Not one.

That is because I now know that all of my decisions are still unfolding – collectively.

And they are all malleable.

Once I stopped looking at each choice as a separate and finite event and start viewing all of my decisioning as an evolutionary process, I concluded that choices aren’t terrifying after all. They are welcoming.


59 blog posts down – 306 more to go…

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

Is that all you got?
Might I suggest a bit more training?
Or, perhaps recruiting an army?
Because it takes a lot more muscle than that to knock out a Stoic.
“Knock me down, it’s all in vain
I get right back on my feet again
Hit me with your best shot
Why don’t you hit me with your best shot
Hit me with your best shot
Fire away”
– Pat Benatar
58 down – 307 post to go…

“Some have Hopes and Dreams; Some have Ways and Means.”

Yesterday, I stumbled upon another great quote on my friend, Janet’s Facebook page:

“Some have Hopes and Dreams; Some have Ways and Means.”

This is a verse from a song by Bob Marley fittingly called, “Survival.”

It got me thinking about what it takes not just to survive, but to thrive.

Ways and Means provide the wherewithal – making it easier to ride out a storm.

Hope and Dreams fill us with the patience to wait for the clouds to break, and the belief that the sun will eventually emerge.

But it’s from Conviction and Self-esteem that we derive the strength and courage to withstand the winds, brave the thunder and to dance in the rain. And that is the difference between surviving and thriving.

57 blog posts down – 308 left to go…

Let ‘Em See What They Did to You

One day, when I was about 8 years old, a little boy who lived across the street from me decided to throw a rock at my back.

I ran home crying in pain.

I told my mom what had happened and showed her just where the rock hit.

When my mom saw the welt on my back, she became enraged.

She said, “I want you to go back outside. You need to go to his house and show his mother your back. They need to see what he did to you.”

The last thing I wanted to do was to go back out there, let alone, to lift up my shirt to show them the bruise on my back.

Nonetheless, that is exactly what I did.

And, after pulling my shirt back down, I walked back home with an apology in tow.

It wasn’t until years later did I realize the significance of that day.

My mom was right. In order for people to understand the consequences of their actions, they need to look directly at the damage that they’ve caused.

Some even need the image etched in their minds as a constant reminder not to inflict pain. I know. I know. It’s surprising just how many people require visual cues simply to act with decorum.

Of course, I no longer need to lift up my shirt and expose my back in order to show my wounds.

They can see them in my backbone that their bruises help form.

56 blog posts down – 309 more to go…

To Avoid Criticism: Do Nothing. Say Nothing. Be Nothing.

Some people are very outspoken. Critiquing seems to be their forte – regardless of whether or not they have knowledge on the subject.

Then there are those, like me, who are the complete opposite.

I was always considered to be more of the “inspoken” type. I kept my words to myself. To me, hurting someone feelings wasn’t worth giving even an honest, yet instructive, opinion.

Even when it came to defending myself, I often kept silent.

Being non-confrontational and seemingly agreeable makes one very likeable. Perhaps even lovable.

But, I realized it also makes one very “walkalloverable”.

So I slowly started letting words leak out.

Some escaped in order to defend myself. The “walkerallovers” did not like it very much. Neither did the opinionated.

I lost some friends and gained some battles.

Other words found their way into industry articles about financial injustice.

While those words earned some accolades, they also invited criticism.

Some say, “with age comes wisdom.” In my experience, with age comes confidence.

Today, I’d rather be judged than remain silent and fight instead of surrender.

And I’d take shouldering all of the criticism in the universe over doing nothing, saying nothing and being nothing.

55 blog posts down – 310 more to go…

And the Needle Returns to the Start of the Song

Einstein has been credited with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

That doesn’t sound like insanity to me.

It sounds like life.

I go to bed every night expecting to wake up and experience something different from the day before.

I even listen to the same song over and over again hoping to be struck by a different chord or lyric. Sometimes I find new inspiration in a worn out record. Sometimes I don’t.

But just like in life, when the music becomes monotonous, I simply move the needle.

54 blog posts down – 311 more to go…

Comedy is Humanity’s Bandaid

I read an article the other day where Matt LeBlanc was quoted as saying, “Comedy is humanity’s band-aid.”

My first thought was, who knew that Joey from “Friends” could be so profound?


But, the more I thought about it, the more I wished it was a cure.

53 blog posts down – 312 more to go…

Never Chase. Replace.

My friend Janet is an endless source of inspiration.

This morning I saw the following motto on her facebook page:

“Never Chase. Replace.”

As soon as I saw it, I knew I found today’s blog topic.

This is a truism that can be applied in many facets of life.

In love, never run after a deserting heart when you can fill the void with a more deserving one.

When investing, never chase a stock. Let it fall to you or find one that hasn’t begun its climb.

People are so preoccupied chasing missed opportunities that they fail to see the ones staring them right in the face.

Resisting the chase is not easy. Believe me. It’s the letting go that makes it so difficult.

But once we do, we often find that the replacement transcends the original.

52 blog posts down – 313 more to go…

Why? Why? Why?

I hate being reminded of the existence of evil in the world.

Or having to process how bad things can happen to good people.

Because it makes me resent my favorite, word: “why“.

There is nothing more mortalizing than asking a question incapable of being answered.

Nor is there anything more human.

Why Poem

51 blog posts down – 314 more to go…

The Big 5 0

This post marks the 50th daily rant of a Stoic.

I don’t know what amazes me more – the fact that I have accomplished writing 50 blog posts in 50 days or the fact that 50 days have already gone by since I undertook this challenge.

I have to admit, when I impulsively made this new year’s resolution 50 days ago, I didn’t fully grasp just how much of commitment this would entail.

Between raising a family, rebuilding a business and learning the law, the last thing I needed was an additional daily task.

Believe me.

Little did I realize just how therapeutic “biting off more than I can chew” could actually be.

The sense of accomplishment is empowering. Now that I’ve made it to 50, I know I can make it 365. Every day I am just one blog post closer to feeling like I can conquer anything.

Since I was a child I’ve been deriving pleasure from capturing a day’s thought on page. But having the chance to share these musings with my kids takes that joy to an entirely new level.

This blog is not just a challenge I unwittingly agreed to accept. It is a daily reminder of how fast time moves and how precious the moments truly are.

50 down – only 315 more to go…

The Failure

Today I had a million things to do.

Well, not quite one million. More like 999,999 – including conjure up a blog post when, to be honest, ever since Wednesday’s tragedy I have been at a total loss for words.

Instead, I decided to share some quality time with my 12 year old son. Just the two of us.

Instead of his typical conversation of video games and Star Wars, my son surprised me with a completely unexpected topic of conversation. He wanted to discuss his future vocation.

He began by telling me that instead of a scientist, he now wanted to be an entrepreneur. But what really took me for a loop was when he asked me if I would still be proud of him if he failed.

I told him that there has never been a day when I wasn’t proud of him and I can’t, for the life of me, ever foresee one.

He asked, “What if I tried, but ended up becoming a janitor and living in your basement?”

I explained to him that if he was a janitor, living in my basement while pursuing his entrepreneurial vision, I’d be even more proud of him than had he given up on his dream by taking some meaningless yet cushy corporate job.

Taking a janitorial job in order to support your vision is not called, failing. It is called persevering. And it is the most important ingredient to success.

My only advice would be what my mom gave me when I took a stab at cocktail waitressing the summer before my junior year of college: “wear gloves when cleaning the tables.”

49 blog posts down – 316 more to go…

There Are No Shortcuts – Only Traffic Avoiders

Once upon a time, when I lived in Manhattan, I would escape to the Hamptons during summer weekends – along with millions of other New Yorkers.

The traffic was usually insane. There were times when a 3 and 1/2 hour car ride took over 7 hours – especially if you attempted to drive Montauk Highway during peak hours.

While the hours were often being killed with laughter and good tunes, there was always an implied competition – among every car headed east – to arrive within the best time.

Even at the bars, typical Friday night pick up lines conversation starters were, “how long did it take you to get out here?”

Because making good time was a crucial part of the weekend’s festivities, in between jokes and switching CDs during the trip, we often found ourselves searching for ways to make better time.

There was even a guidebook that was published which claimed to reveal the best shortcuts for avoiding the motorized crawl on Montauk Highway.

But of course, none of these were real shortcuts, for everyone knows that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. So I adamantly refused to call them shortcuts. Instead, I would refer to them more appropriately as “traffic avoiders“.

Anyone who knows me can tell you how annoyed I used to get when someone would improperly label a “traffic avoider“, a “shortcut“.

While I am all for avoiding congestion, I simply do not believe in taking shortcuts – ever.

Instead, I believe in the journey.

In business, as opposed to jumping on crowded trends, I prefer to set new ones.

And in life, just like my old Hamptons’ excursions, I take the scenic route to avoid driving with the breaks on.

48 blog posts down – 317 more to go…

Sometimes all it Takes is a Silly Facebook App to Recognize Why Some Fights Need to Go the Distance

Facebook provides a wealth of can’t-live-without knowledge.

I mean, what would we do without knowing what became of the child stars of the 80s, how proficient we are at recalling Seinfeld episodes, or seeing what we would look like as the opposite sex? SPOILER ALERT: Most 80s child stars became fat drug addicts, I score a 100% on every Facebook Seinfeld quiz and I’d be a really, really hot guy.

Because, like horoscopes, Facebook apps predict with pinpoint accuracy, I play along. I don’t know how they do it, but Facebook apps just know us so well – perhaps even better than we know ourselves.

It is for this reason that I was overjoyed when a Facebook app recently described me as “a lioness who never gives up, even if it is sometimes difficult.”

Until I saw this, I was convinced that it was stoicism preventing me from throwing in the towel.

Now I realize that while stoicism may provide the perseverance, it’s my children that give me the motivation.

Sometimes all it takes is a silly Facebook app to be reminded of why some fights need to go the distance.

47 blog posts down – 318 more to go…

If You See Something, Say Something

Yesterday’s events serve as a reminder of how much evil exists in the world.

While it will likely never be eradicated, it can certainly be mitigated simply by not ignoring the warning signs.

Silence allows malevolence to fester. It also guarantees repeat offenses. It ensures that rapists will continue to rape and cheaters will continue to steal.

If you see warning signs of mental illness, say something.

If you become aware of inappropriate conduct, say something.

If you notice corporate fraud, say something.

Civilization can no longer afford to maintain an attitude of nonchalance.

We need to have each other’s backs. If we don’t watch out for one another – no one will.

It reminds me of a relevant quote by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a man who happens to also write a lot about stoicism. He says:

“If you see fraud and do not say fraud, you are a fraud.”

Whether it’s by my own complacency or via the threats of others, I, for one, will never again allow myself to be muzzled. I’d much prefer to “say something” and ruin a bad guy’s day.

46 blog posts down – 319 left to go…

Fairy Tales and Happily Ever Afters

Growing up, I never doubted fairy tales and I always believed in happily-ever-afters.

Even when I was old enough to know that fairy tales were too far-fetched to be real and that happily-ever-afters were the exception rather than the rule, I still believed.

I believed because I wanted to believe.

Believing gave me comfort.

Believing has a way of making a sometimes cold world feel warm.

I was still single at 33 years old. Although I never felt lonely, I noticed myself growing cynical.

I began to doubt everything I thought I knew.

If fairy tales are frauds and happily-ever-afters are myths then maybe people aren’t inherently good and the world is blatantly cruel.

Cynicism is the dreamer’s kryptonite. It weakens the soul and devours the spirit.

Little did he know, but my husband didn’t rescue me from loneliness, he saved me from disenchantment.

He helped me to believe again.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, today’s post is dedicated to my husband who renewed my faith in the world.

Sometimes, when life gets in the way, I forget to thank him for this precious gift.

While I may not get to spend all my days conquering evil, discovering my missing glass slipper, watching forest animals clean my kitchen or awakening from a coma by a kiss, I continue to believe. And that’s all I really need.

45 blog posts down – 320 more to go…

Call Me Crazy. Please.

The label, “crazy” often gets lumped in the insult category – as if being crazy is something to be ashamed of.

Dreamers are constantly being called crazy – not because they are deranged, but because they are imaginative geniuses who others can’t quite understand.

Wasn’t it Steve Jobs who once said that it’s the people “crazy” enough to think they can change the world are the ones who actually do?

While listening to the Greatest Showman soundtrack, my daughter and I became crazy-addicted to the song, “A Million Dreams”.

I close my eyes and I can see
The world that’s waiting up for me
That I call my own
Through the dark, through the door
Through where no one’s been before
But it feels like home
They can say, they can say it all sounds crazy
They can say, they can say I’ve lost my mind
I don’t care, I don’t care, so call me crazy
We can live in a world that we design
‘Cause every night I lie in bed
The brightest colors fill my head
A million dreams are keeping me awake
I think of what the world could be
A vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all it’s gonna take
A million dreams for the world we’re gonna make

If being crazy means designing a world out of a million colorful dreams, then, call me crazy to ask, but why would anyone ever want to be sane?

44 blog posts down – 321 more to go…

Worrying Won’t Change the Outcome

This morning my daughter and I were having a conversation about anxiety.

I told her that all worries fall into two categories: those within our control and those in which we will never have control over.

Worrying about things within our control can be immediately eliminated from our psyche. Don’t commit a crime and you you’ll never have to worry about going to prison. Live an honest life and you’ll never worry about getting caught in a lie. Don’t try coke and you’ll never have to worry if you’ll be addicted. I could go on and on.

Unfortunately, it is easy to fall prey to worrying about the things beyond our control. Those types of worries are much harder to manage.

When I was pregnant, I worried about everything – the things I couldn’t control and even the things I could.

I worried about how every move I made would impact this child that was growing inside of me. Exercising made me paranoid. I scrutinized every morsel of food that passed my lips. My husband bought me a meat slicer and a frozen yogurt machine so I would be able to eat deli meat and frozen yogurt without worrying about digesting harmful bacteria. I once called my OB in hysterics after googling the ingredients of the cough drops I had just eaten. I found myself constantly reading horror stories in pregnancy chat rooms – worrying about everything that could possibly go wrong.

It was awful.

Until the morning I awoke to a post-it note that my husband had placed on my computer.


While I’ve eliminated all worries that can be controlled by my actions, I still need a post-it to remind myself not to waste the present fretting about an outcome that I don’t have the power to change anyway.

43 blog posts down – 322 more to go…

The Visionary Versus the Industrialist

Entrepreneurs come in two forms.

They are either visionaries or they are industrialists.

Visionaries create. Industrialists capitalize on a visionary’s creation.

Visionaries are inspired by the product whereas industrialists are driven by profits.

Despite Microsoft going public years after Apple, Bill Gates became a billionaire much earlier than Steve Jobs. Jobs was busy envisioning and building products that people wouldn’t come to realize they needed until some day in the future – all the while Gates was focused on fulfilling immediate market needs and generating short term profits.

It is also not uncommon for visionaries to find themselves being exploited by industrialists.

An industrialist can pirate a visionary’s invention. He can even make off with his money. But there is one thing that the visionary possesses that is unplunderable – his ability to create.

Creativity is an innate characteristic that cannot be acquired. One is either born with it or he is not.

It reminds me of a quote by Nikola Tesla, “I don’t care that they stole my idea . . I care that they don’t have any of their own.”

Industrialists may have bigger bank accounts and larger companies, but the visionary owns something much more valuable and something that money can never buy: an endless pool of ideas and ingenuity.

And nothing is as grand as the innovation gifted to society by the visionary.

Neither the industrialist, nor civilization, can survive without the visionary.

42 blog posts down – 323 more to go…


The world is filled with misguided rivalry.

People are consistently battling the wrong enemy.

A sports team’s opponent is not the other team on the field.

A corporation’s competitor is not a company with a similar business model or product.

The real adversary is not found on the battle field, in some ballpark or on the exhibit floor of an industry trade show.

Our opposition is not one another. Nor is it something that can be touched.

It is time.

Every aspect of life is a race against the clock.

We are only limited by the numbers of hours in a day and the amount of days in our lives.

Athletic prowess only counts while the clock is still running.

All products are eventually obsoleted by better ideas, more advanced technology and changing needs.

And victory can only come to those who recognize the real enemy.


41 blog posts down – 324 more to go…

Time for Some Hardball

Baseball makes me really sentimental. It awakens all kinds of emotions – feelings of patriotism, pride, hope, unity, innocence and nostalgia.

I cry at every baseball movie. I teared at my very first glimpse of how green the field was at Yankee stadium. I sobbed uncontrollably during the first televised baseball game after 9-11.

I wept when my husband handed me a 2003 World Series ball, and 7 years later when we took our son to his first major league baseball game.

Like an old song, a ball game has the ability to instantly transport me to another time.

I can close my eyes and suddenly I’m an 8 year old kid watching a Yankee game with my grandparents, or I’m 17 years old and playing in a high stakes co-ed counselor softball game during color war.

Although, as a spectator, I’m quite the emotional wreck, I can assure Tom Hanks that I never ever cried as a player. I am very well aware of the golden no-crying-in-baseball rule.

While I’ve enjoyed playing softball in my later years, I stopped playing hardball at 10 years old. It was a conscious decision. I wanted to go out on top.

At the time, I was playing in little league. Since back then there were no female little leagues, I was forced to join an “all-boys” league. There were 3 other girls who signed up with me. We were all placed on different teams.

Each girl ended up quitting one by one.

Except for me.

I stuck it out for the entire season – even though I hated it. Well, I liked wearing the socks that came with the uniform. Other than the cool socks, it pretty much sucked.

The boys never let me play and no one would ever talk to me. My name was, “Ugh, the girl.”

Then one day my entire family came to watch me sit on the bench play. The coach refused to put me in the game until my Dad came close to smacking him during the 8th inning.

I was put in left field.

It was bottom of the ninth and we were up by 1 run. There were 2 outs. Bases were loaded and the count was 3:2. The opposing team had one strategy: “hit it to the girl.”

On the final pitch, the batter swung and knocked the ball straight out to left field. All the boys on my team started screaming, “Ugh, the girl. No, not the girl!”

As the ball headed my way, I closed my eyes and started wishing I was back on the bench.

I don’t know exactly how it happened, but with my eyes still shut, the ball fell right into my open glove.

Everyone cheered and I was carried off the field.

I haven’t played hardball since that day.

Maybe I should.

40 posts down – 325 more to go…