I’m growing a company with an incredible team. We handle some of your most intimate moments. Companies often embody the characters of their founders. Who do you want running this company?
You want someone stable and resilient.
All the good intentions in the world won’t do any good if the leader crumbles under pressure. I believe the most common pressure is greed and biggest vulnerability is low self-esteem. Here are 3 reasons why I will weather the storm and withstand the pressure.
1. My life philosophy pertains to the trajectory of the generations that follow us.
Frank Vertosick published a book in 1996 called, “When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales from Neurology”. I read it when I was sixteen. Chapter 12, called “The Wheel of Life”, contained a passage that changed my life forever. Frank explains his rationale of cancer and delivers a few powerful messages:
“… we must remember that we are built to die. […] There is no biological reason why we could not be immortal. […] Nature chose not to populate the earth with static, immortal species. To do so would place all of life’s genetic eggs in one basket, running the very real risk that some drastic geological event could wipe out all life on earth. To prevent this, the gene pool must be in constant flux, changing at a rate fast enough to keep pace with any environmental perturbations that might arise.
Thus, all things must die. Death is not a flaw, a failure of biology, but an essential design feature for constant existence on an inconstant earth. Our downward spiral from youth to old age, like the upward spiral from fertilized ovum to developed infant, is stamped into our genetic code. […] The wheel turns—birth, youth, adulthood, parenthood, senescence, death—driven by genetic machinery set in motion so many eons ago. For all its subtleties and infinite beauty, life has but one purpose: to keep the wheel turning. […] Yes, each generation grows infinitesimally better than the one before it, but better at just a single thing: keeping the wheel moving.”
There are two ways to interpret this. The first: YOLO. The second: my genetic code, my existence, is simply a small passage in the ongoing epic that is the human race, the human story. Our DNA is designed to ensure there are more pages. Our consciousness dictates what is written on those pages. Our actions determine how many words we write, and, more importantly, sets the tone for those who contribute after us. My purpose in life is simply drafted from our genetic code and its use of recombination to give the next generation a chance to be better. Instead (“in addition to”?, I still would love to raise kids) of combining chromosomes with a desirable mate, I must combine consciousnesses with desirable teammates.
Irrelevancy after death absolutely terrifies me. To live forever, we must make an impact on others.
Thus, my pursuit to be a physician began – but not just any physician – a physician who wrote books and focused on preventative medicine. What better way to make an impact than to literally save lives? Five undergraduate years in a pre-med pressure cooker, an MCAT and a waitlisted admission attempt later, I had an inkling there was something bigger. I used my MCAT to get into a Human Nutrition master’s program while I spun my wheels to figure it out.
“We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?”― Steve Jobs
My ego wants to throw a rock in the pond and have those ripples reach shorelines long after I am gone. The Greats dropped boulders into the pond, made dents in the universe, made laser-engraved impacts. However, I don’t want to make just any impact. I want my impact to make the next generation infinitesimally better.
This thought process forced inspiration to hit and now I’m rolling my boulder toward the cliff. We’re creating a pen as smooth as the G2 to help you write your beautiful passage in the human epic, a pen that you didn’t know you needed – a pen called LegaciLife.
No amount of personal wealth or status makes a truly meaningful impact on others.
Do I hope our company will make the world an infinitesimally better place? Absolutely. If successful, will there will be substantial revenue? Most likely.
“Money doesn’t change men, it merely unmasks them.”― Henry Ford
Although we put paramount importance on privacy, I have no fear of being unmasked. You’ll see a person who finds it important to write a piece like this.
2. I have loved and been loved.
Love. The simple, beautiful antidote to insecurity.
I’ve fallen in love twice… three times if you count her dog. Long relationships. Four and a half years, and a year and a half, respectively – over half of my adult life. (Half is a weird word.)
The first one, well, was the first one. Boy, did we have our lives figured out, until we didn’t. The cylinders were all there though. We ignited with an eerily similar dissatisfaction with the status quo. Two dreamers decided to latch on to each other. We were a team, a great team – navigating the forests of undergraduate college years. We were two bears, encouraging each other up the tree. Then something confusing happened: dreamers became rational, and our foundation was not built on rationality.
Heartbreak and heartache. Finally, popular music made sense. You name it, there’s a song about it, and I played that shit on repeat. After the tribulations, one song gave me peace – it was one of my favorites even before the relationship but now it resonates in my soul.
“When everything’s meant to be broken, I just want you to know who I am.”― lyric by John Rzeznik from the song Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls.
Falling in love is like walking into a casino – flashing lights, rings of excitement, and the subtle awareness of the potential for euphoric gains or devastating loss. The adrenaline rush of putting your chips on the table, committing to this person for a period of time. I have several goals when I’m at the table: The first is obviously enjoyment – why get involved if the essence isn’t fun. The second is to walk away even, which is inherently a gamble.
In a relationship, I define “walking away even” to fully capitalizing on the opportunity of showing this other human who you are. When this person has seen your soul, can illustrate your tendencies, can fairly-accurately draw your map simply based off the direction of your compass, you win. This person will forever live at peace in your heart.
You can hope they feel the same, but that part is out of your hands; you left nothing on the table, except for the breadcrumbs and rose petals.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”― 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
I’ve always found this piece from Corinthians to be more pertinent after the relationship.
My second love, and her dog that also captured me, was the girl I thought I could never get. My ego, which was never particularly loud in the first place, was now completely silenced – no more whispers from my shoulder … I was good enough. She was a true princess, my princess – fiery, driven, and… quite challenging. The thing is – I love challenges. Her dog was her mirror image, with a tail – a terrier chihuahua. We would all go on walks; we would teach each other new tricks and they would show some of the most loyal, fierce love I have ever experienced.
Unfortunately, something else was a challenge and was something I cared for dearly… This company. This journey.
All my relationships, even the ones that weren’t vulnerable enough for love, have had benchmark communication – each more clear and concise than the last. No matter how difficult the circumstance, how obvious the inevitable crushing emotional response, we gave each other the respect.
The dust has settled for the most part. I’m currently growing my beard out to try to stay out of casinos for the time being. Maybe one of the most important things I’ve learned is I think I know what I’m looking for now. I’m at peace in my patient pursuit. I’ve told my family I’ve already met my wife, but in pieces – she’s a specific combination of traits I’ve been blessed to have encountered thus far. The puzzle will come together one day – currently some pieces are on the table, and the rest are on the shelf.
Now to shout out to the real OG, the girl who always texts first, the one who started it all – my mom. This woman, a former high school art teacher, instilled a rare confidence in her three boys through empathetic kindness and rational, reactive reassurance. She never pushed, but instead has been a trampoline that reflects on our hopes and dreams, with just enough bounce to push them a little higher.
The risks we take, the feeling of free-fall and uncertainty, has always been a little easier knowing there is indeed no net, but instead only a brief moment of safety, followed by a swift thrust back into the thin air. With every bounce, we grow our wings a bit more, flapping furiously on the way up.
There is no person on Earth we’re more excited to show we can fly than the one who put us on the planet.
To give you a glimpse into the incubator that is my mother, I secretly saved this quote from one of her social media posts responding to a friend of hers about advice she would give to young people:
“I think appreciating what you ARE and what you have RIGHT NOW is supremely important, and I think the way you achieve that point of perspective is to think ahead (clearly and highly specifically) and imagine who you will be and what you will have when you’re “old”. Then, compare to your present and wallow in appreciation and awareness! It truly helps to not only feel profound joy in your health, physicality, beauty, intelligence, vitality, and RELEVANCE, but it also makes quite clear what your ducks are and how to get them in a row. 🤣
Second, I would tell young people to trust they will be deeply loved by many people in their life and loved in profoundly different ways – romantically, platonically, professionally, politically, from afar, up close, parentally, realistically, unrealistically, etc…In other words, do NOT assume, the first time you fall “in love” or someone declares their undying love for you that “This is IT!”, the stuff of all the romantic fodder in music lyrics, movies, books, poems, lore… NO! Take the feeling for a test ride, enjoy the hell out of the adrenalin and flattery and newness, but do NOT act rashly, get married or think “this is what everyone is talking about; this is my only chance for true love”…Wait. Live. See what happens to that love after 3 years when the endorphins wane. What remains is the stuff of longevity – the test. And, maybe you’re not looking for “forever”. LONG doesn’t “win”. HAPPY “wins”. Oh shoot, that leads to a #3! 🤣
Figure out your very own definition of “happy”. Life is a series of compromises in designing a life that most fulfills YOUR needs – what your specific, unique bubbles of joy look like…”
<3. Love you, Mom. (Keyboard covers are waterproof, right?)
As a side note, I want to make my dad proud as well, but his reaction will be more of a really enthusiastic high-five. I honestly just want to buy my dad a nice dinner, somehow whoop his ass at chess and then convince him he needs to drink a kale smoothie every day. This might be a bigger life quest. Love you, Dad.
3. Health, and more importantly, wellness, is a priority.
My undergraduate degrees were in Physiology and Psychology. I then went on to earn a master’s in Human Nutrition. The degrees themselves don’t mean much as far as raw knowledge. However, they do represent a focused time period where my mind was actively exploring the respective fields, which has resulted in a fairly polished but still malleable process of thinking. In short, I think I have a pretty finely-tuned bullshit detector as well as a voracious appetite for empirical answers and a knack for seeking them out.
As far as the fields themselves, I wouldn’t have spent the time if I weren’t passionate about each. Tangibly, I’m fascinated by behavioral psychology and supercharging team dynamics. I get a dopamine rush when I’m part of team that is excelling in a particularly stressful situation. (I think that’s part of the reason I worked road construction traffic control for 8 years.) Physiology was important in my pre-med endeavors but ended up being the cart behind the Human Nutrition horse. Psychology decided to hop on for the ride. The interconnection between fields is obvious, but nutrition emerged as the all-important headwater for overall health and wellness.
My entire collegiate career essentially revolved around human optimization and sharpening the tools of resilience.
I beseech people around me to eat more fiber. I have a bulletproof system to consistently get more fiber. The only person who has ever fully implemented the system happens to already be one of the fittest people I know. Such is life in educational nutrition – you’re always second to the social media infographic or the genetically gifted dude at the gym. However, that is ok – why? Because I love a challenge.
Healthy food and exercise increase cognitive performance and mental resilience to outside stressors. Period. Full stop. In every RPG, every character wants to jack up their Constitution stats to increase their Hit Points and Resistances – it allows them to play longer and play better. Healthy food and exercise = more Constitution points. It’s a no-brainer but requires commitment to actually spend resources on Constitution points versus sexier things like Strength or Dexterity. (I’ll quit nerding-out, but some of you know what I mean.)
I cannot predict if my team will bite, but I will make every conceivable attempt to optimize my team from the ground up – the “ground” being wellness via nutrition and physical health, the “up” being healthy company culture and psychological dynamics. Of course we’ll use existing case studies of companies that already excel in employee well-being, but I want to ingrain and reinvent it at a level that is so effective that the methodologies have the potential to extrapolate into a subsidiary company.
However, I am no Chris Traeger. I do recreational resistance training but
hate need to get better at cardio. I love do yoga, but in my house, using a tutorial video at room temperature. I consistently drink my veggie smoothie, but I’m a sucker for dark micro-brews. I simply want to set lofty goals and experiment as a team to see what we can take to the next level.
I think my team will have an unfair advantage in every aspect of their already-talented lives, and the company will push new boundaries in the process.
Now you know a bit about the person steering the ship. The goal is the best possible understanding between your expectations and our commitments to those expectations. Rough waters are inevitable, but we will gracefully weather each storm that comes our way. We have immense responsibility to architect thorough safeguards, create well-trodden paths of communication, both internally and with our beloved customers, and, ultimately, provide a service we hope you find truly invaluable – a service that increases your capacity for joy.
It will no doubt be challenging, but…
I love a challenge. 🌱