Josh Irby

Live from Sarajevo

A life with no regrets

[This is the first post in a new series, Plan2Change, about the possibility and process of personal growth.] Regret is one of the most powerful human emotions—it tightens your gut, drops your shoulders, darkens your eyes, and fogs your mind. As poet John Greenleaf Whittier wrote, “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are […]

Building a Tribe without Losing your Soul

I am a writer. And like almost all other writers, I take great joy when my words encourage and influence others. In order to do that in today’s world, I need one thing—a tribe. You need one too, if you are a writer. The good news is if you want to build a tribe, there […]

The Dizziness of Freedom (Why you think about jumping when peering off a tall balcony)

Have you ever stood at the railing of a tall balcony or at the edge of a high cliff and the thought pops into your mind, “Jump!” Or, even worse, have you felt the urge to push someone else off? The French call this urge “L’appel du vide “ which is roughly translated, “the call of the […]

The Advantage of Ignorance

Here is an excuse we need to delete from daily use: “I don’t know what I am doing.” I can’t write a book because I don’t know how. I can’t start a business because I don’t know how. I can’t raise a family because I don’t know how. I can’t launch a project because I […]

Irresolution: You can’t win if you don’t finish

[Check out the other posts in this series: Indecision, Inaction, Impatience, Isolation] My father speaks in proverbs. His one-liners were conversational currency in my family. One of his favorite phrases was “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” While this might sound harsh to our “always-look-on-the-bright-side” culture, he has a point. You can’t win a race you don’t […]

Change Hurts (or What I learned from getting braces at 36)

For Christmas this year I got braces. My wife doesn’t think it’s a big deal. “Josh, lots of people have braces” “Yeah, in middle school! I’m 36.” This is actually my second time getting braces. About 25 years ago, I got braces to close a large gap between my top middle teeth. Afterwards, they gave […]

The Island of Isolation

[Check out the other posts in this series: Indecision, Inaction, Impatience.] If you were stranded on a deserted island and you could only bring one thing with you, what would you bring? Maybe you would bring a knife or a sat phone or a genie or a water purifier. I know what I would bring—someone else. […]

Impatience: There’s no Winning without Waiting

You can’t steer a parked car. If you want to accomplish something, you have to start moving. Inaction gives birth to nothing. But that is not the whole story. You also can’t steer a car speeding out of control. If we want to accomplish our goals, we need to start. But we also need patience. […]

Inaction: The Secret to a Disappointing Life

It seemed like a good idea 10 minutes earlier. But standing at the edge of a cliff staring at the sea 100 feet below, I was not sure. The cold water of the Adriatic beckoned and my friends chanted encouragements. Only one step was missing—I had to move. One of the shortest paths to disappointment […]

The Prison of Indecision

You know the scenario. The waiter stands at your table, pencil poised over his pad of paper. Everyone else has ordered and he’s waiting on you. Your eyes dart over the menu—chicken or steak, chicken or steak—trying to decide. At last, giving in to the pressure you blurt out, “I’ll take the pasta.” He walks […]