Brad's BikeIf I had only a short time to live (relax, I’m fine but you never know), how would I live my life differently? What would I do differently than I’m doing now?

My first thought is that I would exercise, eat healthy and sleep a lot. There’s an honor in living that way for me.

I would be with the people I love.

Laugh as much as possible.

I’d also like to play the piano again.

This is how I try live my life. Except for the piano. Because we only have a short time, even if we live a hundred years.

-Posted by Brad Black, EO’s co-founder and co-CEO

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Statue of monkeys There are many complicated issues that we confront daily. With many of these issues we are asked to be either ‘for’ or ‘against’. We seem to live in a world of extremes.

I think most of us live somewhere between yes and no most of the time. We are not creatures of black or white. It’s just not that simple.

Life’s decisions are largely a grey area. Reality is more of a compromise than a checkbox. It’s very difficult to be totally for something, or totally against it. Most people just can’t feel that extreme about anything.

I try to make my decisions on a case by case basis. I live in the grey area of being honest with myself. There are no easy answers in this life, and that includes blanket statements about belief.

-Posted by Brad Black, EO’s co-founder and co-CEO

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Girl jumping into a stream in YosemiteYou can’t make someone take a vacation. Vacation is optional.

Work is a good and necessary part of our lives, but when it becomes the whole focus, things gets lost. I work with passionate and dedicated people, and depend on them. It can be painful for a co-worker to leave for vacation, but I know we all need a break.

People need to be balanced, well-adjusted and happy. Work is important and so are family, friends, hobbies and whatever else inspires us.

I value time off. It clears my mind and recharges me for work/life. I also believe that vacation does the same thing for others – and tends to make happier and better people/workers.

I can’t make people’s choices for them. I can only try to persuade my few non-vacationing employees to take their weeks of vacation – to be anywhere but work.

Come on, take a break.

-Posted by Brad Black, EO’s co-founder and co-CEO

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EO values We search out suppliers of organic, natural and non-GMO ingredients. We are a B Corporation. Our intention is to be a responsible business. We choose to manufacture our products ourselves and to make them in a place where the regulations and taxes are higher than most places.

It’s difficult to run a successful business to begin with. Add to that the extra rules, certifications and supply issues that being a responsible business requires and you’re asking for at least double the work for less profit$.

Why do we do this? Simply, we make these choices because it’s how we choose to do business. This is how we want to spend our time at work every day/week/month/year/decade/life.

It’s about choices and how we make them. We want to work where we live. We demand clean and healthy ingredients in all our products. We want to work with like-minded people. We want to find people interested in sharing in the cause that we call EO.

-Posted by Brad Black, co-founder and co-CEO of EO Products

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flower in handHumans are imperfect. That’s our beauty.

I aspire to be 100%, and know I’ll very rarely exceed 90% (that even seems high).

But’s that OK.

Maybe perfection is holding the balance between awareness and action and aspiring to make the best choice in an imperfect world.

-Posted by Brad Black, EO’s co-founder and co-CEO

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You have to live it to know it

cat on shelfI had cats growing up. We also lived on a very busy road.

The cats that lived the longest generally got hit by a car early on and lived. After this they didn’t go near the road.

Some lessons can be taught. Some have to be learned by experiencing life.

We don’t always know which lessons are which. That reality can be difficult.

You can’t make choices for other people (or animals). They have to “drink the water” themselves.

-Posted by Brad Black, EO’s co-founder and co-CEO

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Hold On, This Is Gonna Be Crazy

airplane propellerDo you ever enter into situations that have the potential to drive you crazy? Calling your internet service provider….going to DMV….you know what I mean.

Traveling is like that. Just the concept of flying in an airplane is crazy. You are entering into a tiny metal tube with hundreds of other people that will then rise to 30,000 feet and fly at hundreds of miles per hour.

I do a lot of traveling. I have two tips for a nicer travel experience: take your time and understand that it’s crazy.

I find that giving myself extra time makes the whole thing easier. No rushing, less stress. Time to pack, time to get to the airport. Time to let crazy people do their thing. The whole experience is just better if you make the time.

And I’m prepared for the stressed out airline personnel, intolerable travelers, lines, hours of recirculated air – and to let it all happen with amusement.

-Posted by Brad Black, EO’s co-founder and co-CEO

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fruit sticker on the groundHate. It’s a hardcore word. It’s definitive, strong and image ridden with anguish.

That being said I do hate a few things, including the small stickers on fruit and vegetables.

They seem to be everywhere – because they are plastic and don’t degrade easily. I was recently four miles into the Yosemite wilderness and encountered these stickers littered on the trail twice. They are not uncommon to been seen on sidewalks where I live. They also make their way through the filters of many water treatment facilities to pollute the San Francisco Bay and other waters.

C’mon fruit/vege companies, can’t we do better?

-Posted by Brad Black, EO’s co-founder and co-CEO

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10,000 Photographs

A Japanese Snow MonkeyI have this habit. I take about 10,000 photographs a year. I’ve been doing it for 15 years now.

As I take each photo, I am simultaneously aware of four things:

1. How my eye travels across the image, 2. Light, dark and colors, 3. The composition/layout of the objects, and 4. The image finished and in a frame on my wall. These actions happen at once.

There is this essential step between intention and realization, it’s called action. We often talk about desire and intention: “I want to fly to Montreal,” is a simple example. The chances of going there are pretty high if I buy an airline ticket. Action is the step that connects the want to the have.

So when we want to create ongoing change in our lives, it’s often the action of habit that gets us there. Repetitive action needs to be habitual and without much thought. You just do it.

Desires like “I want to be happy” are not as easy to go pick up at the corner market. Happiness is found in those simple little habits that we develop over time, it is found in the actions.

Of the 10,000 photos that I take, I get extreme happiness from 100 of them – and that 100 will lead me to take 10,000 the following year.

-Posted by Brad Black, EO’s co-founder and co-CEO

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Being Brad

A picture of BradI’m reading this book on photography. It contains a challenge (by Leanne Shapton) – to take 250 photographs of one subject over a two hour period every day for a week.
The point is to allow you (the photographer) to exit the thought process and simply be with your art. Rather than ‘take’ a photo, to ‘receive’ a photo. To stop noticing the f-stop and see the subject. To become one with the process.
I haven’t taken the challenge yet. Still considering my commitment to it.

The whole point of it is to remember that I don’t always have to think (about it) and just be (with my art and actions). To let it come to me. The art of photography, the art of making soap, and most of all the art of being Brad.

-Posted by Brad Black, EO’s co-founder and co-CEO

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