Nobody thinks of a single square when they talk about building blocks. A block by itself can be strong and useful, but its greatest potential comes from being part of a set. By itself, a block can’t build anything.

One of my son’s favorite toys is his set of building blocks. Playing together on the floor of his room this week, I began to see his battered old blocks in a new light. Taken alone, each block has equal dimensions, size and weight. They are all faded and worn. While some blocks look less abused than others, the history of their life together is clearly visible in shared scratches and chips.

It is easy to see where the damage comes from; my son’s talent for building is second only to his flair for dramatic destruction. In his imagination these blocks have served as stepping stones over lava pits, crash barriers for race cars, jungles wrecked by dinosaurs and a myriad of buildings destroyed by transformers, giants, tornadoes and all manner of fantastical creatures and events. But despite their scuffs and bruises, he finds his way back to building them up day after day.  

His blocks are a community. Alone, each block is a simple thing with a common shape. Only together can their collective strength and impact be realized. Though the scars that they carry may seem significant when they are separated from the group, the wear blends together and fades away every time they build something new.

I have seen the world through the eyes of the lone square; my shortcomings and limitations seemingly insurmountable. The truth, however, is that no block has to be alone – we can surround ourselves with others whose strength and courage build us up. Community is the key to construction. Our greatest form can only be found when we come together.    


My wife refuses to eat white chicken meat without BBQ sauce. For seven years now I’ve made space on her dinner plate for the customary pour of sauce, regardless of what else might be served along with her meat. The smile that stretches across her face every time she dips her bite ensures I’ll be doing this routine well into old age. Our list of tried and yet-to-be-tasted BBQ sauces is long, mostly due to our son’s love for dark chicken meat… no sauce. While our little family does its bit to keep the poultry and BBQ sauce markets humming, I can’t help but wonder about the sauce. Her stubborn sauce.

 What is stubborn sauce? When the extra that is supposed to compliment the main becomes more important than the main itself, that is stubborn sauce. It’s easy to see how silly stubborn sauce is when we witness a child reject their hamburger because it doesn’t have ketchup or toss a piece of toast because it doesn’t have jam. But the truth is that the impact of stubborn sauce goes far beyond our plates and stomachs.

My stubborn sauce is not edible. For me, it is a part of my history; the part that describes how and why relationships and dialogue became so important to me. I have been so concerned about sharing those details that I end up undermining the power of my story as a whole. The more I insist on having my stubborn sauce, the less I get to enjoy sharing my story. It is no different than my wife and her healthy white meat. The photographer who never submits a photo because it isn’t perfect knows stubborn sauce. The blogger who fills their DRAFTs folder but not their live blog knows stubborn sauce also. Anyone who ‘would have’, ‘could have’, ‘should have’ or ‘may have’ has stood in line with me, hungry for our portion of stubborn sauce.

Yet like every good bottle of BBQ sauce, stubborn sauce can run out – if you let it. The only thing standing between white chicken meat and my wife’s digestive system is her. It is her choice. The only thing standing between me and the full potential of my story is the same… me.

Me.Now. is not about what was, but rather what can be. It is about realizing that stubborn sauce does nothing except take away the opportunity for each of us to enjoy something great. One day somebody made a hamburger for dinner and imagined a wonderful quiet evening with a beer, a burger and their favorite TV show. When they opened the fridge, imagine their disappointment when they discovered there was no ketchup. Rather than give up on the night, that person reached across the mayo, mustard and relish to grab a tall red bottle with SRIRACHA on the side. Did they know how it would turn out? Nope. But trying a new sauce is always better than losing a hamburger.


I’ll never understand why I chose to run my first (and only!) ultramarathon at 31 years old in the sweltering heat of Thailand. Maybe it was the result of too many Singha beers and sweaty nights after living 2 years in Thailand’s capital city, Bangkok. Maybe I should blame my triathlete friend who found the race, gave me the idea and promised to run with me. Whatever the reason, I found myself standing at a starting line with 200 runners, one friend and a random Japanese tourist decked in Hello Kitty attire at 5am on a steamy morning in 2012.

An active runner since high-school, I learned early on that my running talent is utterly average. I continued to run through college and my late 20’s mainly as a means to meet girls and prevent the proverbial man-belly. My health history in Thailand had been less than ideal, plagued with instances of food poisoning, foot injuries and a scary stint with Dengue Fever – a mosquito born disease that cost me significant weight loss the previous year. I suppose this race offered me an opportunity to reclaim some of the magic I felt had been lost to a desk job, entering my 30s and suffering a handful of health setbacks.

Victory – that feeling of winning – is an important motivator for all of us. It gives us the sense that our time and effort counted for something. History teaches us that, ‘to the victor go the spoils,’ and we are encouraged to pursue, ‘Victory at all costs!’ With all the pomp and rhetoric, the real value of victory is lost. Thinking that victory is a conclusion diminishes its utility for the future. Rather than treat victory as a single achievement that marks the end of an endeavor, I propose that we consider victory a mile marker on a larger journey for growth.

My first few steps after the starting gun on that humid morning in 2012 were a victory for me. Every morning run, epsom salt bath, healthy dinner and supportive word from my wife gave me hope and encouragement to train another day for a race that was way out of my league. Before the race ever began, the workouts alone had returned me to health, brought me new friendships, inspired others to exercise and given me renewed confidence. All these were victories, too. 

50 kilometers later, after 5 grueling hours running past Buddhist temples, through banana plantations, coconut groves and white sand beaches I crossed the finish line. The race was one of attrition; nearly half of the runners had dropped out of the race by the time I had finished. The heat, distance between support stations and challenging terrain favored tenacity over form. Looking forward to my complimentary Thai massage and chicken fried rice, you can imagine my surprise when I was called to the stage and awarded the 3rd place finisher medal. While my amateur running career started and ended that day, my journey continues and I always remember to celebrate the victories.


There is a special, productive relationship between evolution and revolution. In preparing for this post I was surprised to find that a number of articles argue the opposite – that revolution and evolution are diametrically opposed. Technocrats, theologians and even anarchists agree that the benefits of evolution contradict the benefits of revolution, and vice versa. Realizing that each person will come to their own conclusions, this post is dedicated to those willing to consider revolutionary evolution as a path to great achievement.

Evolution is defined as, ‘the development of something from a simple to a complex form.’ Evolution is a slow, steady change agent that seeks continual improvement. Consider your daily routine as an example. With each new life change, our daily routines are impacted and we suffer a period of transition: a change of season, a new job, a new child, etc. Few sit down and create a plan to account for the changes. Instead, we trust that a new routine will evolve naturally over time. Evolution is the guarantee that perseverance will yield improvement.

Revolution is defined as, ‘a forcible overthrow in favor of a new system.’ Unlike evolution, revolution is the deliberate choice to pursue something new. When we find ourselves in a situation that we do not want, where we do not thrive, or where we feel confined, we always have the option to revolt. Similarly, if we find a new system that we prefer (new job, new partner, new place) we also have the option to revolt and leave the old behind. Whether expressed as words, actions or both, revolution is the promise of freedom.

The partnership of both concepts together gives us the confidence to persist (evolution) and the freedom to change course (revolution). While conventional thought dictates that we must choose between the two, the greatest success awaits those who can leverage both. Nowhere is this truth more apparent than in goal setting.

Too often, the journey of goal setting is neutered down to simple pass-fail criteria; Meet the goal = pass, Miss the goal = fail. I argue that goal setting is revolutionary evolution at its best! A person makes a New Year’s resolution to lose 30 pounds. During their weight loss routine, they discover a passion for running – EVOLUTION! Their passion connects them to a new group of friends and inspires a new healthy lifestyle – REVOLUTION! One year later, the person’s body has been transformed to support their fitness but they only lost 20 lbs. Pass-fail criteria has no place among great achievements.

 In 1968, an engineer named Spencer Silver was ridiculed when he did not meet his goal to create a powerful new adhesive. Despite repeated demonstrations that his new adhesive had value, his career and reputation suffered because others judged his goal to be a failure. Six years later, a colleague named Art Fry attended one of Spencer’s demonstrations and realized the importance of Spencer’s new invention. It was immediately patented and trademarked as The Post-It Note. That ‘failure’ now earns the company 3M $1 billion a year.

Evolution will bring revolution, and revolution lays the foundation for new evolution. Trust your journey and seek out those who recognize the value of your effort. Failure is a simple concept for simple thinking; it does not account for growth, challenge, or impact. Me.Now. has launched a revolution against simple thinking. All are welcome to evolve with us.