"The Man, The Mission, The Passion" Husband, Father, Attorney, CPA, Steward Leader, Entrepreneur, MBA, Author, Builder, HBS OPM 25 Class, Mentor, Teacher

What is Your Qomolangma?


Qomolangma is the Tibet name for Mt. Everest, the highest peak on the planet Earth. Every life needs a Qomolangma to scale; a goal, a purpose, an overriding passion to give full meaning to our existence. That mountain top can evolve and change over a lifetime; it can be specific or it can be a general direction but it does need to be or be in the birthing process.

My goal was always to “Live No Ordinary Life, to Live the Life Extraordinaire.” I wanted to avoid the mundane, the pedestrian. Now that leaves a lot of room for interpretation and that is fine. At a rather young age I looked around me and I saw all too many people living to the full extent of their incomes and then some. The moment they got an extra dollar, they upped their lifestyle to immediately consume it. Every promotion and pay raise instantly vanished into the maw of voracious consumption: cars, dinners, toys, vacations, entertainment. They were on an economic treadmill, their financial lives a house of (credit) cards that would collapse if they were to miss but one paycheck. 

That struck me as rather precarious and a form of self-imposed indentured servitude. I decided true wealth was choices and that to have savings created options and freedom. I lived a very thrifty life as a student, working 2 part-time jobs while going full time to school (one was a 24 hours a week graveyard shift, the other was property management which allowed flexibility). I was happy as a student so when I graduated and got my first professional job, I resolved not to change my lifestyle and save the difference, a decision that has contributed in no small measure to the prosperity I currently enjoy.

But the real point is that I had a goal, a purpose, a Qomolangma to scale that tied into my deepest desires and motivated me to bound out of bed every morning full of vim, vigor, and vitality. My eye was always on the mountain top.

Closing Quotes:

“The meaning of life is not a question we ask of life but rather a question life asks of us.” – Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankel, physiologist, holocaust survivor

“To give anything less than your best is to waste the gift.” – Steve Prefontaine, 1951-1975, champion runner

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” – Jim Rohn  

“All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible.” – Orison Swett Marden

“Everybody has their own Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb.” – Seth Godin

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier

Waste Not, Want Not


I was raised to be thrifty, that to squander resources, including time, was almost a moral failing. The proverb “waste not, want not” was taught to me at a very early age. Later on my role model was my father, a civil engineer who took a quiet pleasure in finding the most effective, efficient solution to any challenge i.e. the path that consumed the least resources while yielding the greatest possible benefit. 

As an adult I learned to avoid the trap of obsessive, compulsive frugality: time, energy, and mind space are also important resources so, no, I don’t save soap bar scraps. I also learned analysis from an overall system point of view and to ask more global questions: If the very process of recycling itself consumes immense resources, wouldn’t it be better to substantially reduce packaging at the very beginning of the cycle?

To this day I take delight in finding ways to do more with less, to find a way to advance multiple objectives with a single action, to stretch a dollar, to get the biggest bang possible for a buck.

Closing Quotes:

“The earth has enough for man’s need but not for his greed.” – Mahatma Gandhi, 1869- 1948

“A penny saved is a penny earned.” – Proverb

“For want is nexte to waste, and shame doeth synne ensue” – first use of the phrase in 1576 in THE PARADISE OF DAINTY DEVICES by Richard Edwards, p.88

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier

Beware the Narrative Fallacy

narrative fallacy

The “narrative fallacy” is our human tendency to weave facts into a story line, a narrative, that explains the world to us, that helps make sense of things, that aids our memory. All well and good but we are also inclined to orient the story to fit our world view and in the future we tend to pick out facts that best fit the story we have come to believe and ignore or weight less information that (confirmation or observational bias) conflicts with our preconceived story line.

Be it overly broad generalization or excessive simplification or simply beginning to believe your own press clipping, the wise remain skeptical and wary. The map is not the territory; the neater the explanation, the more cautious the experienced become.

Closing Quotes:

The narrative fallacy addresses our limited ability to look at sequences of facts without weaving an explanation into them.” – Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan

“I am responsible for the world I see.” – A Course In Miracles

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier