How I Found Happiness In An Unexpected Place

Justin Zoradi

It was one of those days where everything sucks.

Portland had hit freezing temperatures all week. I had to scrape ice off my windshield while trying to warm up with reheated, 3 day-old coffee. The holiday season had barely begun and already, I’d been hit with a tidal wave of work and stress.

Now in my car, I was driving and beyond pissed. Anxiety, fear, fatigue, hunger.

This Is How Ordinary People Change The World

Justin Zoradi

Largely unnoticed in European history books is the tiny French village of Le Chambon. Mountainous, impoverished, and easily overlooked, the small town of Le Chambon represents a miracle of compassion.

During the four years of the German occupation of France in the 1940’s, this sleepy town assisted nearly five thousand Jews, most of them children, to navigate Nazi-occupied France into neutral Switzerland. Under the leadership of a local minister named Andre Trocme, hundreds of ordinary Chambonnais risked certain death to rescue, house, and forge identities for the Jewish refugees of World War II.

How Being Too Competitive Too Early Can Hurt You

Justin Zoradi

I know nothing about physics. My science journey ended in high school after a generous B minus in Chemistry my junior year.

But I was fascinated last week to read the story of Nobel Prize winning physicist, Peter Higgs.

Nearly five decades ago, a young Peter Higgs theorized that there was a particle that acts as the building blocks of the universe. He believed that a subatomic particle must exist that made matter clump together to form everything around us today.

His theory hinged on the existence of a so-called “God Particle” and while his ideas were good, they couldn’t be proven. Until now.

How To Improve Your Confidence In One Easy Step

Justin Zoradi

I’ll confess: I struggle with my confidence. Perhaps you can relate.

As someone leading an organization with a large vision, being confident in the way I share our story and raise support is a crucial piece to my work. But after all these years [...]

If You’re Not Scared, You’re Not Doing It Right

Justin Zoradi

I’ve been scared for the last 3 years…

Scared about the direction of my organization, scared about making sure I can pay the mortgage, scared I’m pigeon-holing my career before my 30th birthday. [...]

The Key To Happiness? Love Something To The Point Of Ridicule

Justin Zoradi

A while ago I stumbled upon an amazing video of a guy in New York seeing a limited edition train for the first time.

May sound irrelevant to you and me, but this guy is absolutely obsessed with trains and it makes for one of funniest videos I’d seen in a long time. [...]

Why “Grit” Is The Real Key To Success (Talent Is Overrated)

Justin Zoradi

Each summer, about twelve hundred young American men and women arrive at the United States Military Academy at West Point to begin four years of study. But before any of them sees a classroom, they go through seven weeks of Cadet Basic Training. By the time the summer ends, 1 in 20 of these talented, dedicated young adults will drop out.

A group of researchers wanted to understand why some students continued on the road toward military mastery and the others got off at the first exit. Was it physical strength and athleticism? Intellect? Leadership ability? Well-roundedness? [...]

4 Reasons for Optimism in Today’s World

Justin Zoradi

There is a lot of bad news out there. If you turn on the TV, the stories on the news describe grim economic times, a world at war, the breakdown of society, and a pending zombie apocalypse.

This type of news messes with our belief systems. More than anything it makes us afraid. Unless bomb shelters count, scared people don’t create much. They don’t create because they are pre-occupied with protecting what is closest to them. This is [...]

Why You Don’t Have to Be Radical, Just a Little Different

Justin Zoradi

If you’ve ever read a self-help book or listened to a motivational speaker, there is a lot of talk about how you should “blaze a new path” or “rewrite the rules” in your quest for significance.

They cite famous men like Steve Jobs (Apple), Richard Branson (Virgin), or Jeff Bezos (Amazon) as people who burned down the old ways of thinking and built an entirely new highway amidst the rubble of the old.

I’m inspired by those stories, but the reality is, very few of us are [...]

Your Big Vision Might be Killing Your Project: Why You Should Start Thinking Small

Justin Zoradi

I had lunch with a guy who pitched me on a plan to build 54 orphanages in Africa, one for each country. It was an exciting vision and I loved his passion. But from what I can tell, he hasn’t done any of it. His problem? He was wedded to a massive vision for impact and struggled with the idea of small change over time.

People often make the mistake of trying to do way too much, way too fast. This is your surest road to burnout.

Here’s a tip you’ve already heard before [...]

The Simple Step to Become a Remarkably Likeable Person

Justin Zoradi

I recently met a local Portland politician for lunch whom I’ve respected for a long time. I went into the meeting planning on asking him about his political career and to get some tips on a few communication questions I had. Basically, I was planning on talking about him for an hour.

Then something incredible happened [...]