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The Brian Project


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Version 1.03 (first version, 3rd draft)

This is one of those projects that will never be completed. It will always be a work in progress. It is informed by life events and edited as life works on me. 


My core purpose: To live a meaningful life and help others do the same.

  • Beliefs that inform this purpose:
    • Life events are going to happen whether I invite them or not. How I prepare myself for them and respond to them is everything. The primary thing I can control is my mindset and interpretation of life events.
    • Doing hard things stretches me. What was once uncomfortable becomes more bearable through trial and effort. At a minimum, this is the 'silver lining' or optimism I can find when in the midst of trials. It's how I can find meaning in struggle. It's how I can come back to feeling gratitude despite overwhelming circumstances.
    • Self-care and wellness is restorative and necessary to reflect on life events. These are the 'air pockets' between pushes. Like 'rest days' are important when weightlifting so that the body can recover, slowness and stillness are the mental 'rest days' that allow for reflection and meaning-making.
    • I am an instrument for the work of others. Through how I carry myself and relate with others, they are impacted. I think about this like a human hand: I can extend a hand to others, make a fist, create, carry, destroy, connect... Regardless of the form, I want to be aware of how I can impact others.

My core values:


  • Connection, friendship, intimacy, quality time, gratitude, love, trust, appreciating the fragility and value of relationship, focus when in relationship.


  • Self-discovery, curiosity, inquiry, wisdom, reflection, meaning.

Growth through challenges

  • Courage, bravery, adventure, getting outside, natural beauty, feeling alive and embodied.

Skill development

  • Achievement, progress, competence, experience, mastery, passion, recognition of effort.


  • Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, professional, relational/social.

(Name undecided... Maybe 'cohesive teamwork,' 'vision-oriented effort,' 'system oriented teamwork...' I don't like any of these yet.

  • Teamwork, respect, accountability, trustworthiness, responsibility, loyal opposition, justice, strategy, vision.

Guiding philosophy: Stoicism

Central concern/question: What must one do, or be, to flourish?

The goal: To live a fulfilled life with joy and tranquility.

5 Stoic Practices (drawn from 'The Art of Manliness' podcast and website):

  1. Visualize life without the things I love.
    1. Intention: to more appreciate my blessings, to feel gratitude for the things I do have.
    2. "Flickering thoughts" - don't dwell on this.
  2. Memento Mori - Remember Death.
    1. Intention: I will not live forever. Simply reminding myself of this helps me spend my time because it is a valuable and limited resource.
    2. How will I spend my time to live a fulfilled life?
  3. Set internal goals and detach from outcomes.
    1. Intention: To recognize what I can, and cannot, control and spend my energy on what I can.
    2. Set goals related to my own efforts, NOT results I am seeking.
  4. Welcome discomfort.
    1. Intention: To reach greater degrees of contentment and fulfillment through welcoming challenges.
    2. Embrace the grind: give it my all despite likely failure.
    3. Amor Fati: Love of fate. Not simply to become fatalistic, but to accept life on life's terms.
  5. Vigorously pursue character and virtue:
    1. Intention: Finding personal fulfillment AND enriching my community and society as a whole.
    2. What would my best self do in this situation?

Habits and Skills I wish to cultivate:

  • Emphasize physical health:
    • Exercise at least 5x/week
    • Track my nutrition at least 5x/week
    • Dance
  • A love of the outdoors:
    • Exploring new places
    • Walk/hike or snowshoe
    • Sail
    • Bike
    • Ski: downhill or cross-country
    • Climb
  • Actively pursue knowledge:
    • Reading at least 2 minutes every day for personal or professional growth
    • Podcasts
    • Listening to differing opinions
  • Creative pursuits (one of the following at least 1x/week):
    • Drumming
    • Wood carving
    • Poetry
    • Recording dreams
    • Working on my home
    • Sketching/drawing
    • Listen to music; read lyrics
  • Emphasize mental/emotional health:
    • Meditate for 20 minutes at least 5x/week
    • Write in my journal daily OR post on this forum
    • Reading at least 2 minutes every day for fun
    • Connection with my spouse at least 2x/week via vulnerable conversation, physical touch, or laughter
    • Connection with/training my dog at least 2x/week
    • Connection with family members at least 1x/week via phone, video, or in-person
  • Emphasize spiritual health:
    • Start and end each day with gratitude: right after meditating in the morning and right before bed
    • Pray; remember I am an instrument NOT the player
    • Ask for help
    • Amend 'The Brian Project' at least 1x/week
  • Emphasize professional health:
    • Be boundaried with myself: not allowed to check emails on the weekends unless absolutely necessary
    • Practice loyal opposition
    • Give and receive positive and constructive feedback
    • Engage in continuing education and professional development opportunities
  • Emphasize financial health:
    • Budget (this one needs a lot of work)
    • Dream and set goals financially; develop action plan to achieve these
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