☝️ Upwarding #20: Hyperfriendly dogs, Killer home workouts, Experience density, and Uncertainty Handshake alternatives, 3-minute mindfulness, Replicating whole life, The end of the rope…

Welcome to this week's Upwarding newsletter. My blog, with more in-depth content, can be found here.


We adopted our first dog, Blitz, after finding out he had cancer – he was given less than three months to live.

Surrounded by love and three energetic boys, Blitz forgot he had cancer, and lived almost 4 times as long as projected, dying for unrelated reasons.

To say I loved Blitz immensely would be an understatement. I missed him so much that my mother-in-law painted this picture of him so I can remember him every day.

Which got me thinking: why do we love dogs so much? I discovered it’s because dogs have a genetic mutation that limits their intellectual abilities (let’s be honest, they ain’t dolphins) while massively increasing their gregariousness/sociability. It’s a trait that explains how they ended up becoming pets about 14,000 years ago. Read more about it here.

*Note: My mother-in law-does commission paintings. Contact me if you’re interested!


The challenges we are facing during the “coronavirus shutdown” are deeply related to our feelings of uncertainty. We don’t know how long we’ll be holed up in our homes. We don’t know whether we’ll have a job or retirement portfolio at the end of this. Rather than try to resolve the uncertainty (see the quotes at the end of this newsletter), perhaps you can learn to be more comfortable with it. Start with this meditation by “davidji”.

By the way, this guy sounds like he is 30 years old but looks like he’s 60. Something is up!


Two more home workouts you can do in 10 minutes or less:

1) 5 pushups, 10 mountain climbers, 15 jump squats. Repeat as many times as you can for 10 minutes.

2) Maximum reps for 45 seconds each, followed by 15 second rest: Pushups, Air Squats, Burpees, Crunches, Plank, Alternating Lunges, Jumping Jacks, Bicycle Crunches, Mountain Climbers, Side to Side Squats. *Note: modify intensity by changing the portion of each minute that is work/rest. 37 on/23 off, for example.


We’re in the middle of proving, yet again, why individual investors in the stock market do so much worse than a stock market index (by between 2%-5% per year). Panic selling is everywhere.

It’s a good time to journal: how do you feel about your investments right now? We’ll face panics like this again in the future and it will be useful to see how your risk tolerance evolved in real time during a crisis. Chances are you’re more risk averse than you thought.

Don’t time the market!

Random Thoughts

I got better at drums in my two weeks of jazz camp than I did in four years of taking once per week lessons. Why? I got about 70 hours of practice in two weeks.

We tend to underestimate “experience density”. A friend of mine is an absolute master at beer pong, mostly because he had a beer pong table in his dorm room in college and played every night for a year.

Conclusion: if you want to get better at something, you should massively up the rate of your practice. To improve at public speaking, give 20 speeches a week, or a thousand speeches a year (more than most people would give in a lifetime). To improve at free throws, don’t just watch youtube videos about it, practice 100 shots per day.

My mom baked cookies at least once per week when I was growing up. Just ask my friends how good they were!! She left Mrs. Fields in the dust…

How might this apply to something you’re working on?



“The mistake is thinking that there can be an antidote to the uncertainty.” – David Levithan

“Let go of certainty. The opposite isn't uncertainty. It's openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides.” – Tony Schwartz

Stay well,