One afternoon my wife and I were moving a few things around in our garage. Suddenly the largest, blackest, hairiest shape I’d ever seen sprinted across the floor. It was like a loaf of Panera bread wearing a poorly constructed fur coat and ugg boots. We had a rat. A large, easy to Google and terrify yourself even more, honest to goodness rat. The worst part was that it hadn’t run out the garage door. It had simply relocated to a different shelf under which to hide and rat multitask. Had it sprinted out the door, I would have assumed it was going on an adventure, perhaps with a talking dog and I would have moved on with my life, thankful for the many lessons that rat had taught us. I went to Home Depot and got as many different rat traps as I could find. The only thing they had to have in common was that they had to end in rat murder and I needed a body. I was not looking to rehabilitate this rat on some farm upstate where he’d have fields to run about with his rat friends. I also didn’t want some poison I couldn’t trust to finish the job. If this was an action movie, I planned to shoot the rat multiple times to make sure he was dead and take his gun with me. If that bothers you because you are a rat activist, my only response is that you should really call yourselves, “ractivists.” You’re missing out on a pretty awesome opportunity. You’re welcome.

(Today is a guest post from Casey Lewis! He's a regular contributor to this site and is awesome!) As a dreamer and entrepreneur I tend to go hard. When there’s rubber on the road I only know how to go one speed. Fast! But I’m learning that the...

I hate to brag. People are constantly telling me, "Hey guy, who's face is in every email you send out and splashed prominently on the header of your blog, you're too humble! Live a little!" But most days I refuse, content to live in the Internet shadows. A quiet pixel cobbler, working in silence on tweets and blog posts. Today though, I will brag. I will tell you proudly of a New Year's Resolution I have kept for close to four decades. Pray tell, what could this be? What feat am I about to share? Brace yourself, winter isn't coming, it's already here, but the knowledge I am about to drop on you is heavy like Marty McFly warned.

Empty Shelf Last January I started something called "The Empty Shelf Challenge." The goal was simple, "Read more books in 2014 than you did in 2013." Instead of just casually reading, I challenged people to take a photo of their empty shelves and then add each book they finished over the year to it. There are now 4,477 photos of books people have read on the Empty Shelf Challenge Pinterest board. I only read 12 this year. Ross, from the Twitter image above, crushed me. Why did I read so few? Because I made four mistakes:

There are four types of non-fiction books in the world. 1. The books you buy but don't read. 2. The books you read but don't finish. 3. The books you finish but don't engage with. 4. The books you engage with. Most people are like me. They have shelves full of books they buy but don't read and books they read but don't finish. A lot of people actually finish reading books but they never engage with them. Why? Because the scale of difficulty increases as you go down the list.

The only way to find your voice is to write. Only fear doesn't tell you that. Fear tells you that you shouldn't write until you have your voice figured out. Fear tells you that other writers all know their voices perfectly. Other writers have well sculpted points of...

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