Writings by a younger, less handsome man who shares my name

[Image of reluctant valentine]
If you’re anything like me, Valentine’s Day is not exactly your favorite day of the year. The pressure is on, Romeo. Juliette is watching you like a hawk to see just how much you really care. And your brother, Lonelio, is feeling even worse. After all, he’s going home alone tonight.

I felt the heat when I was a 19 year-old college student. I was dating a wonderful, low-maintenance woman who nonetheless expected a good show from young Blake. And I put on a damn good show, if I do say so myself.

But I sure was reluctant to do it. I wrote all about it in my college newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, in an article called “A Reluctant Valentine” (see below). I laughed when I read it again today, and I’d thought I’d share it with all of you reluctant lovers and Valentines out there. Read more…

Saying no imageWhat would happen if you gave up the one thing in your life that’s most important to you?

Think about it for a minute. Imagine ending your marriage. Leaving your job. Closing your business. Abandoning your labor of love.

Would the next chapter in your life be better or worse than this one?

It’s a terrifying question. So terrifying that most of the time, we’ll do anything to avoid it.

It’s also one of the most powerful predictors of our future.

Because when we believe that whatever we have now is as good as it gets, we draw the boundaries of our future. Nothing better can happen to us when we don’t believe there’s anything better out there – when we accept what we have and tell ourselves to be grateful for it.

Great negotiators understand this. They know that what makes for strength at the negotiating table has nothing to do with the money in our wallets, the strength of our resume, our influence over others or our family name. Read more…

In your most important relationships, what happens when things go wrong?

Do they spiral out of control? Or do they whirl and spin and shake, only to settle firmly where they belong?

Physicists talk of stable and unstable equilibriums, and relationships obey a similar physics.[Image of bowl]

A stable equilibrium is like placing a marble in the bottom of a deep bowl. You can jostle the marble and shake the bowl, but no matter what, the marble will eventually return to where it started, as stable as ever.

An unstable equilibrium is what happens when you turn that bowl upside down and place the marble on top. As soon as you touch the marble or nudge the bowl, the marble careens off the side, onto the table and eventually drops onto the floor.

You can put the marble back on top of the bowl, but it’s precarious. The smallest disruption and it’s on the floor again. The equilibrium is always at risk. Read more…