The Happy Life – Deciding

Life is filled with decisions.  What should we have for dinner?  I don’t know, what do you want?  I’m flexible, what do you want?  Some choices….like dinner…are not as tough as we sometimes make them seem.

Other choices are harder, of course.  Where should we go on vacation?  We could go to… or maybe we should… oh but that would cost a lot of…. that would put me way behind at….

There are lots of rational reasons on both sides of a question like one involving a vacation.  If you spend $2,000 on a vacation you might rationalize that you could save that money and spend it on something important like future college tuition, paying down some debt, stocks and bonds, or setting it aside for a new set of tires in the fall.

All of those are very reasonable and responsible options. But a nice vacation is reasonable and responsible too.  You’ve got to recharge the soul every once in awhile to remain happy and productive, right?

And so we are left with a quandary.  What to do, what to do….

Here’s an idea.  I call it the Deathbed test.

Years from now (he said optimistically) as you lie in your deathbed taking inventory of your life and struggling through your final breaths…..can you envision saying to yourself…”Thank goodness I bought those tires back in 2017. That was the right call.”

Or could you more easily imagine yourself reminiscing about that vacation you took and the amazing things you experienced.  The sights, the sounds, the smells, the food, the music……the people you spent time with.

Would you say…”I’m glad I won that argument.”

Would you say…”Thank goodness I never took that risk.”

Would you say…”Man, those were some great tires!.”

Or, as you lie there in the twilight of your days, with all the assembled wisdom of an entire life at your disposal, might you view winning, risking, failing, and being prudent differently than you did in all the moments that preceded this one?

Maybe the real choice is between whether or not to live a life driven by all the pressures and constraints you feel today…..or one driven by the standard you will no doubt apply in your final moments.

That moment is likely years away…..right?

Go decide.


(To receive notifications of new posts simply SUBSCRIBE using the form on this page!)

Throw a Wrench, Turn a Wrench

You have a theoretical wrench in your hand.  What are you going to do with it?  What is your instinct?  Throw it or turn it?


They ask the uncomfortable question.  They identify the elephant in the room.  They push people out of their comfort zone.  They are energized by change.  They are risk takers.  They identify the need.  They are idea people.  They like a dynamic environment.


They build teams.  They bring people together.  They develop relationships and people.  They focus on the details.  They solve puzzles.  They solve problems.  They set the standard.  They measure.  They track progress.  They execute.  They like order, efficiency and incremental progress.

Want your team to create something new and special?  You are probably best served by a mix of these two important types.  Sometimes you have to break it down in order to build it up again.   Two VERY different skill sets, right?

Do you have both of these types on your team? And which one are you, leader?   I would LOVE to hear about a disruptor or builder on your team or in your life.  You can change the names to protect the innocent if you like.  😉


…..and while you are here weigh in on the poll question on the right margin (if you are on a PC or tablet) or below this post (if you are on your phone)!


(Enjoying the content? Make sure you are SUBSCRIBED to the FREE newsletter that alerts you to new postings. And feel free to share content using the social media links if you know someone who might enjoy the toypic!)

Balancing Cheesecake and SW Airlines Jesus

I met a gentleman  of maybe 60 years of age on a Southwest Airlines flight flying home to Houston from somewhere.  He was from Guatemala as I recall.  His English was not so good but good enough for us to talk through most of a two hour flight.  He was a deeply religious man who was returning home to his family from his job working on oil pipelines in remote parts of the Canadian wilderness during the dead of winter.  We talked about his interesting work which entailed wearing cold weather gear akin to a space suit in order to battle the elements.

But more importantly he talked at great length of how important it is in life to maintain balance in all things….work, family, health, etc.

I admiringly refer to him as SW Airlines Jesus whenever I tell his story.

He had quite the spiritual quality about him.

When he asked me if I understood what he was trying to tell me about the importance of balance I shared this story with him.

Once upon a time, many years ago, the Catmull family went through a Cheesecake phase.  You know how it is….you get enamored with a particular recipe or dessert and it becomes your “go to” for a little while.

Well during this phase I became a big fan of the graham cracker crust that normally accompanies a cheesecake. In her quest to make the perfect cheesecake per my exacting (read that ‘ridiculous’) standards…my wife, Kat, increased the depth of the crust in the recipe ever so slightly.

MAN was that good!  I mean not just a little ‘gooder’….but a whole heck of a lot ‘gooder’!  What a great move by the cheesecake chef…

…and so she increased it some more.

And it got rave reviews!  And then some more….and more…and more….until finally we found ourselves with a graham cracker cake with a cream cheese frosting, basically.

It was not….gooder.

It was not good at all because the cream cheese in a cheesecake is not there for the purpose of complimenting the graham cracker crust.  It’s the other way around.
Continue reading “Balancing Cheesecake and SW Airlines Jesus”