Peaks and Pits

The past few months I have ended my day, each day, by reading Humans of New York (or during SXSW, Humans of Austin.)

If you are familiar with the blog it is likely that you share the same fondness for it and have adopted a similar daily or weekly ritual of your own. If you are not familiar with the blog, or the book, it is an ongoing collection of photographs of people that the photographer encounters around the city paired with a quote from the subject depicted.

While the photographer does not always reveal the question that prompted the response captioned on the photo, I’ve come to learn that often times it is a variation of one of the following:

“What has been the saddest moment of your life?”

“When was the happiest you have ever been?”

“What is your biggest struggle?”

The responses are simple, quirky, heartfelt, shocking, thought provoking and everything in between. I think that is what draws the fascination – the feeling of gathering an intimate detail or a small piece of insight about a stranger.

Reeling this idea back to a much, much smaller scale… It reminds me of a tradition I had with my friends in college. At the end of every week of senior year a group of us would go to dinner and take turns sharing “the peaks and the pits” of our week. The peak was the best moment and the pit, the worst.

That sounds incredibly cheesy, I realize, mainly because it is incredibly cheesy. But we grew to love “peaks and pits” because it gave us the opportunity to hear each person pinpoint their two extremes. It also forces you to really reflect on your own week. It’s interesting how easily you can gain insight into the trend of someone’s week by just watching which they struggle with more – identifying a peak or identifying a pit (OR narrowing it down to just one peak versus just one pit.)

I learned that asking a person to explain the best moment and worst moment of their week (or in HONY’s case, of their life) is a simple way to transform small talk into a genuine conversation.

And isn’t understanding people what success in this business is all about?





Colin’s Daily Affirmation (When Alone on V-Day)

Hello World. Colin here. Happy Valentine’s Day to those who care. Although a snowstorm grounded my girlfriend 1500 miles from me, love is still in the air, and I’m keeping positive.

Now, please kindly play this video before (or as) you read the remainder of this piece for the full effect. Because everyone could benefit from some daily affirmation.



Look, I can be a shark! (Watch out, Mark Cuban.)

Now… my whole apartment is great! (After getting kicked out of the first.)

I can do anything good. (But I like to do hoodrat things with my friends.)

I like my job! (Because I like a challenge.)

I like anything. (But pickles and mustard.)

I like my dad. (I owe that Cubano everything.)

I like my cousins. (Super artsy, know how to partsty.)

I like my aunts. (Shout out to Gayle and Dré.)

I like my Allisons. (I only have one of those, and I love that girl.)

I like my mom! (Mama’s boy for life.)

I like my sisters! (All three of them, fairly equally.)

I like my dad! (Again, because he’s brilliant.)

I like my… AHHH?!?! (I party.)

I like my hair! (When I wash it.)

I like my haircuts! (I do them myself.)

I like my pajamas! (Because clothes are overrated.)

I like my stuff! (But who needs stuff?)

I like my room! (And view of the Marcy projects.)

I like my whole apartment! (That’s true, now. I ain’t movin’.)

My whole apartment is great. (Especially the rooftop.)

I can do anything good. (As long as it’s mental, not physical.)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah. I can do anything good. (Try me.)

Better than anyone. (After a few beers.)

Better than anyone. (Try me.)


It may have taken a few months for me to get the hang of this city, but now it’s mine. I’m home, and this… right here… is livin’.


+ Colin