Daily Conversation #19 — Brandon Rettig

Brandon and I

Day #19

Today, for conversation #19 of 30, I talked with Brandon Rettig. Brandon is a good friend of mine so it was good to talk over a couple glasses of bourbon.

Firstly, I came back to one of the first questions I had asked in all of the earlier conversations.

I asked Brandon what one of his biggest goals in life. His response was typical of what most of us say: “Be successful, financially stable, happy.”

I’m not criticizing or even disagreeing with Brandon’s sentiment. What we both discussed and agreed on was that actually enacting this is a completely different story.

I think that the majority of us want the same things in life: to be financially comfortable and happy with what we’re doing. Personally, this is something that I really struggle with. I dream of finding a way to wake up everyday loving what I do and be able to support myself and eventually a family doing it too.

The biggest inhibitor of this is complacency. I’ll get back to this.

I asked Brandon what he would do with his life if he could make a career out of anything. Brandon said his biggest passion is exercising so he would love to be able to practice that and also inspire people to achieve their goals in fitness and otherwise.

I share this aspiration with Brandon. I’ve received really cool feedback from this project so I really want to find a way to make others pursue different hobbies: fitness, art, academics, etc. It’s extremely fulfilling to applaud others for striving to be their best and make themselves happy.

Like I said, we all want to be happy. Different hobbies and activities make us happy so I want to help everybody I can figure that out for themselves, mainly because I know how happy it makes me to write.

One of the later questions I asked Brandon was one of the biggest lessons he’s learned. His response was: “Whatever you’re going to do, do it to the best of your ability. Set the bar high. Why set your expectations low?”

I really agree with this. I always want to ensure that I’m doing my best work and only stopping when I’m proud of the final product. Sometimes I fall short of this.

In the previous conversations, I never asked how people ensured they lived by their own advice. I told Brandon I’d be a little harder on him.

I asked how often he actually lived by this lesson. He responded “Not all that often.” I asked what stopped him.


For all of my goals, complacency is easily the biggest object in the way.

Getting over complacency is deceivingly difficult. It seems like the answer should just be try harder. If it were that easy, I don’t think anybody would struggle with it.

Complacency is such a difficult obstacle because it isn’t a simple obstacle. It’s incredibly difficult to overcome because it’s where we stall due to comfort. We become complacent because we’re good enough and don’t really need to be better at whatever it is. That initial fire is gone. The fear of failing dissipates.

I don’t have an answer to solve complacency. Hell, I’m desperately trying to figure out how to overcome it as well.

One of the last things Brandon and I talked about was how a single incident can drastically affect our lives. I believe that a single incident can affect our lives, but I think it’s an accumulation of smaller incidents.

This conversation came up because Brandon is adopted. He said that, oftentimes, he’ll take a step back and be incredibly appreciative of the adoptive family that raised him. I really respect his perspective here.

For me, CF has had huge implications on me, though it’s a series of incidents every single day.

No matter what, however, one single situation can have huge ramifications on the rest of our lives. It’s up to us to how we respond.

If you don’t believe, you’re not gonna do it.

Maybe this is the solution to complacency. Maybe I’m not ever sure of myself or fully committed, I’m really not sure. I’m going to take a step back and really question how much I believe in myself and my goals.

Thanks for the awesome talk, Brandon. I enjoyed catching up over some good ole Jim Beam.

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