I recently did a podcast with Carolina Panthers tight end, Colin Thompson.
Colin is salt-of-the-earth and the show was awesome…
BUT I did get some unexpected responses to it.
Here’s a video clip — do you notice something in the background?
Well, people in my DMs did and they weren’t shy about calling it out:
“Joey, what’s with the hourglass? Weird decor Lol”
“Is that a giant hourglass behind you dude? Ha”
Why, yes, yes it is.
I’ve got a thing for hourglasses and, when I say thing, I mean obsession.
I’ve been told by like 100 people over the years that it’s really weird, but when I tell them my story about why — they instantly get it.
Let me explain!
I’ve always surrounded myself with hourglasses, like the two-foot-high brass one behind me during Colin’s show.
See, it all started when I was a kid.
I remember “borrowing” the plastic hourglass from my family’s Scattergories board game.
I repeatedly flipped it over on our living room rug and gazed at its trickling white sand.
Back then, I didn’t know why I was so captivated by it, but I can tell you this:
When I flipped that hourglass and watched its falling grains of sand,
I felt AWARE down to the passing millisecond and ALIVE in the moment —
Like I was freezing time and cheating death.
As I grew up, I started using an hourglass for homework, chores, exercise, etc.
Many years later at my first corporate job, I stumbled upon an article about the people of Bhutan, a small Himalayan country with a surprising secret…
I could talk about the people of Bhutan (they’re fascinating) for hours, but here’s the gist:
Bhutanese culture requires them to think about death at least 5 times per day.
Pretty morbid, right? Well…
What if I told you that Bhutan is one of the happiest places on earth?
Yep… it’s true. Figure that out!
Perplexed by this, I began reflecting on my own inevitable end —
When my sand in my hourglass runs out… and I die. No more flip-overs.
It smacked me upside my head — my hourglass obsession finally made sense!
Surrounding myself with them forced me to contemplate the very thing that people most fear and avoid the thought of:
I remember thinking:
“My time here is too short…
I won’t fill it with fear.
I will leave a legacy.
I will do uncommon things.”
Then and there, I vowed to make each and every grain of my sand count.
As I lived and learned, I found that the uncommon things I did were most often:
Uncomfortable, hard, and, at times, downright painful…
But they were the most rewarding, added the most value to those around me, and resulted in the most personal growth.
Fast forward to a few years ago, my learnings exploded onto my notebook when I sketched a new tee for our community:
The Pain Tee
I knew that it wouldn’t be for everybody when I sketched it.
It’s a bold tee with an amazing hand-drawn hourglass that declares:
“Comfort is a slow death. Prefer pain.”
This tee became wildly popular worldwide…
And continues to inspire tens of thousands of people to exit their comfort zones and make their grains of sand count.
These people reject the softening of society, its shortcuts, and its victim mentality.
These people willingly do hard work way outside their comfort zones to create freedom, build legacy, and feel alive.
These people… are known as The Few —
You, me, and 100,000 people across the globe.
Who would have guessed that a little plastic hourglass from my childhood —
Would unite you and me on a mission to change the world?
I certainly didn’t…
But I’m eternally grateful it did.
To making our grains of sand count!