Zachary M. Taylor's Blog

The End of an Era

I've enjoyed sharing my thoughts on this blog and I may continue to share smaller things here in the future. However, for larger posts that I want to integrate photos and get feedback on I will use Medium. As much as I love my blog I'd like to have a way for people to comment on my posts. A lot of the things I post are original thoughts of mine, and I think it's important to bounce original thoughts off of other people to make sure they aren't completely crazy and to get other viewpoints that might educate/enlighten. Medium's comment...

Reflecting on My Week in Mexico

I spent last week in Tijuana, Mexico building a home for a family of three. The father’s name was Felipe, the wife’s Maria, and their approximately two year old son’s name was Steven. Throughout the week I worked with Felipe on his future house and grew close to the kind and gentle 38 year old man. Despite my mediocre public school Spanish education we were able to communicate surprisingly well with a variety of gestures and a few words basically limited to bueno, bien, mas, and gracias. I grew very fond of Felipe. Despite being so unfortunate (according to our...

A Numerical Argument For Being Selfish

I’ve had this argument in my head for a while, and I’d like to get it written down and hear what people think about it. To be clear, this is a thought experiment and I do not necessarily conduct myself or live my life in any way because of this argument. However, on the occasion that I do feel like I’m being selfish with my time maybe it provides me with some justification. Here’s the argument: Let’s say that there is a noble cause that I believe in. Let’s use solving homelessness as an example because it is massive and...

Jocko Willink, Relationships and Benjamin Franklin

I want to write a quick note about something I heard in the podcast The Tim Ferriss Show today. I’ve been taking some time the past couple days for some rejuvenation, and I’ve been listening to podcasts and reading blogs like a madman. I’ve been going through Tim’s old podcasts and came across one with Jocko Willink, author of Extreme Ownership and ex navy seal. One of the leadership principles/tactics that Jocko mentioned was the ability to take a step back from a situation and see it as if you are an observer, then once you have that big picture...

Cultivating Analytical Decision Making

I believe that repeated participation in an activity can change the way one thinks, and can train us to think in different ways. If this is true, then we should actively seek out activities that improve our thought processes. In my previous posts I talk about how meditation and weightlifting can cultivate a certain type of thinking (the growth mindset). Another activity that I participate in regularly is online chess. I theorize that chess builds decision making skills because of how analytical you must be before each move. You always have an initial instinct about what move you should make,...

Meditation, Weightlifting, and Mental Health

Many people consider weightlifting a kind of therapy or meditation. While I was lifting weights today it occurred to me how physically similar the two activities actually are. A common meditation technique that I perform and I think many others do too is counting your breaths in and out up to ten, then starting over at zero and repeating that process. Essentially what you are doing is counting physical movements in your body from one number to another higher number. This physical process is almost exactly identical to the physical process of lifting weights. While lifting, you are performing and...

Weightlifting and the Growth Mindset

If you know me you know I love lifting weights, and I often find myself thinking about how many principles that I apply to weight lifting are applicable to other aspects of life as well. When lifting weights it is essentially your goal to seek out failure. You want to lift until you can't do another rep and you fail on that last rep. It's at that point of failure that your muscles get bigger and stronger and you improve as a weight lifter. You can apply this same principle to life by setting goals for yourself that may not...