Danny Paulus

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Daniel, but I’ve always preferred Danny. I am a 51-year-old carpenter. Carpentry is my passion and I have been in the business for nearly 30 years. Besides my day job, I spend a lot of my time flipping fixer-uppers. In my free time, I love watching football, landscaping, and on the weekends I try to get up to my cabin in Northern Wisconsin to fish.

What is one habit of yours that helps you be productive?

I always put my keys and wallet in the same place, and it only took me about 35 years to figure out. Although, I’ve got to admit I still have multiple sets of keys because I still lose my keys now and again. It seems simple, but putting my keys and wallet in one place every day is something I’m in control of and I can be sure that I will not be rushing in the morning to locate those items.

What is your morning routine and how does it help you get the most out of your day?

My morning routine is crucial to getting my day started on a positive note. Every morning I enjoy my cup of coffee for at least 15 minutes with zero distractions in order to get centered and prepare for the day. I can never predict how my day is going to go, and if I do, it never goes the way I plan. Setting goals for the day while expecting that things may go awry, gives you all the power in the world and allows you to roll with the punches.

In the last few years, what lifestyle, habit or behavior change has had the biggest positive impact on your life?

This past year I made a lifestyle change in order to have a healthier diet and subsequently loss weight. For as long as I can remember, my lunch every day has been a fast-food burger, fries, and a soda. Now I drink green tea and pack a sandwich for lunch. I’ve lost 30 pounds, I feel lighter on my feet, and I have more energy at 51 than I did 10 years ago.

When you feel unfocused, what do you do?

I talk a walk around the block. During these past few months, it has been particularly difficult to focus, and walking outside always helps me. Breathing in fresh air and getting moving my body is a surefire way to get me back on track.

What is one piece of software or a web service that you get immense value out of? How do you use it?

Hmm… I honestly don’t know how to answer this question. I feel pretty old in the sense that I don’t know anything about software. Does Yahoo count as a web service? Yahoo email and calling by phone are the primary ways I communicate with my customers.

What is the one book you recommend most often and why?

I recommend the Pocket Outdoor Survival Guide for Short-Term Survival. I am sure a lot of people have heard of this book as it is a very popular survival guide, but its lessons have helped me on more than occasion. I spent most of my 20s living in Colorado camping, rocking climbing, hiking, and putting myself into dangerous situations, sometimes by choice, sometimes not. I learned so much from this book and I believe every young adult should be knowledgeable in basic survival skills.

What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?

Don’t take life too seriously. You can’t control it and you never know what’s coming around the next bend. I would advise taking advantage of every opportunity presented to you and try saying yes to things outside of your comfort zone, even if you are tempted to say no.

Also, get outside and go camping. In the woods, one can see how beautiful simple living can be there are no expectations of what one should be. It’s so blissful and pure, it reminds you of the bigger picture and lets you escape the world’s harsh realities.

What is your favorite quote, one you aim to live by?

Only you are responsible for your own happiness

I am not sure who originally said the quote, but this has been something my dad has said since I can remember. External factors will of course contribute to your happiness, but the reality is that no one person or thing is going to be responsible for your happiness, except yourself.