Small Things

Marcus Aurelius, last of the Five Good Emperors journaled relentlessly, reminding himself that you have power to control your reactions to the events in your life. Circumstances do not define you; your reactions to those circumstances do. “You’re better off not giving the small things more time than they deserve,” he remarked. This evergreen advice speaks directly to our generation. We procrastinate and put off DECIDING what our PRIORITIES are, and then wonder why we never realize our dreams. We take ZERO action, preferring to complain about the small things. Silent, Imperfect action will get you closer to the goal. The Good Emperor puts this more plainly than I’ve ever read elsewhere, “If it’s endurable, endure it. Stop complaining.” More than simply not sweating the small stuff. Sort out what REALLY matters to you, create priorities, and then focus relentlessly on THOSE things. The small things should fall to the bottom of the list and be ignored. Forget about haters, copiers, unkind people, unfavorable circumstances, and GRIND… Every.F’n.Day. Check out Mel Robbins on YouTube. Start by searching “Why Motivation is Garbage”, and then read her book The 5 Second Rule (book). Or…Do nothing. It’s your life, if you choose it.

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Choose

Watch this YouTube video and try not to be inspired.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QG2p53z67vk

I’m not affiliated with the Be Inspired team, but my goodness, this compilation of motivational speeches hits on so many levels. I’ve read and listened to a number of these speakers and thinkers and authors already, but as a cohesive whole, the sum is greater than the parts. Former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink, author of Extreme Ownership, says at 12:52 “Take Ownership! Take Extreme Ownership. Don’t make excuses. Don’t blame any other person or any other thing. Get control of your ego. Take ownership of everything in your world. The good AND the bad. Take ownership of your mistakes, take ownership of your shortfalls, your problems, and the solutions that will get those problems solved. Take ownership of your mission, of your job, of your team, of your future, AND TAKE OWNERSHIP OF YOUR LIFE!”

You have 5 seconds. If you don’t decide to do this HERE and NOW, your brain will make an excuse to keep you where you are, where it’s safe, where you don’t have to change. Fuck that. Take ownership, right now in a real tangible way.

Stop. Take a deep breath. Hold it. Let go.

Did you feel it? The space between those two breaths?

That quiet stillness was yours. You owned it.

Maybe the rest of your day was pure chaos, but you owned that moment. And guess what? You can do that at any time you choose.

Choose to do it more often. This is just the beginning…

Take.The.Stairs

PSA from my FitBit

People.

Take.The.Stairs.

If you have little ones, take them with you.

SHOW them how to live a healthier life.

Take them for a walk to the park rather than driving. Get some steps in

Your heart needs you to go first, make the effort, be the one that chooses to do something a little weird.

Make everyone standing around waiting for the elevator squint their eyes as you head for the stairs.

Take an extra minute or so to get your heart rate up because some day you may not be able to…you may not always be able to bound up the stairs like you can today.

Today you can, so please do.

Fitness is a series of small decisions. Life is about choices.

Take. The. Stairs.

Listen folks. I care about you, and I want you to live a better life. I want you to be free from the myriad diseases that accompany metabolic syndrome. I want you to have the energy and capacity to play with your kids, to run if a coyote sets his rabid eye on you one night. You have the power to change your life and it starts by making the tiniest, seemingly inconsequential changes in life. Today you can park a little further from the store, let the other guy have that spot he’s been circling for and you get a couple extra steps in. Your heart will thank you. Your kids will thank you. Future you will thank you.

Keep Moving

This “dawned” on me in the still dark hours of one of the first few days shifts in a long time. As I’m pushing into a new month with new goals for fitness and early wakeups, I realized an important truth. It’s easy to build up courage to take the first step. Maybe “easy” is an overstatement. It’s tough, sure, but the real toughness has to do with gritting it out day-in and day-out even after the excitement of the “new” process wears off. This has to do with the New Year’s Resolution phenomenon whereby people start strong and fade as soon as ANYTHING gets in the way. This weakness can be trained out of you says the Navy SEALS, says the STOICS, says me. Jocko Willink, in Extreme Ownership, makes the case that “winning the day” involves not letting the little excuses like wanting to hit the snooze button, ruin your momentum. This means “keep moving” with your plan, with your direction, with your motivation. Don’t let the Devil see that you are up. Saw a related meme the other day, “Be the kind of man that when your feet hit the ground in the morning, the devil says, ‘Oh crap, he’s up.’”  I love the notion that you can out-hustle the adversaries out there that mean you harm. This requires motion. A rudder only steers a moving ship.

Iron sharpens iron

Proverbs 27:17 

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

Metal ore starts out strong, but not as strong as it could be. Through the smelting process and quite literally “trial by fire.” In the crucible, heat, pressure, and repeated bearings by a skilled blacksmith, something strong becomes something much stronger. Iron begets steel. 

Today one of the resources I look up to for highly intelligent stoic wisdom took notice of some of the little contributions I’ve made to the community. We all take what we perceive and reflect it with our own sense of wonder and understanding. If something they say inspires me to say something that inspires you, you owe it to the world to spread that knowledge because you never know how you are sharpening the next person out there. 

Never wel yourself short or too cheaply. You have something outstanding to share with the world!

#FFW

#FWTT

I caught myself self-censoring today.

I’ve been doing it far too much lately.

In the name of being proper and a “good example” I’ve given away too much of my power. In a world filled to the brim with rules and regulations, the white hats don’t have anywhere near as much power as those willing to embrace both the light and the dark side.  In decision-theory, statistics, and mathematics, “degrees of freedom” reign supreme and models are judged on how much they can move without violating the rules placed on them.

In real life, degrees of freedom are our choices. If we choose to remain bound by our perceived understandings…and choose not to violate any of the “rules” society places on us, we can possibly remain a “white hat” but at what cost? In Star Wars parlance, those on the light side only get to operate within the “good” whereby the dark side can choose to exercise the darkness as they see fit. They have more degrees of freedom. They can act as “white hats” or “black hats” or “grey hats” if they choose. They are not as limited as those who only get to choose the moral route.

Today, a massive attack on the U.S. Internet happened. I’m sure we know who did it but the attribution will likely be hushed to prevent any #Action from happening. The world is in an odd state of tension. The Philippines renounced the U.S. this week and joined an alliance with China and Russia. Effectively, this reversal was a claim of independence from regional influence, but it’s an example of the tinderbox the political climate is right now.

What does this have to do with being a kick-ass, alpha male with nothing to lose? Everything. You are as free as you claim. While no man is an island to himself, his mind is his own sanctuary, and if properly maintained, the opinions of others are not of any consequence. You are free to cast off public opinion, and rule yourself! In fact, you are the only proper authority over yourself. Choose your degrees of freedom. Choose your side, and #FWTT.

It’s election season, vote. Which side of the Force are you on?

Take the Quiz Here

#FFW

Sleepless Nights

It’s not Insomnia, per se.

My work schedule has me working nights and my family doesn’t work nights. On my days off, I adjust to a schedule more like their so that I can see them more hours of these precious few days off. I wouldn’t trade this time with them for anything. This “Jet lag” cycle continues week after week, and the best way I know how to cope with this is simply to STAY UP for one mega long day on the first day, and then sleep when I’m exhausted following that first shift. What does that mean? About a 27-32 hour day that first day, driving home when I’ve already been awake for more than 24 hours into blinding rising sunlight and totally throwing off my circadian rhythm. On long enough days, I can literally “see” tired in front of my eyes as my body attempts to steal moments of Micro Sleep.

Curious what longer periods than this can do to your health? Check it out here: What happens when you don’t sleep?

The brain is pretty incredible, and we can see physically on EEGs what various phases of sleep looks like, in terms of our brain waves here. What I didn’t realize, and learned through trial and error, is that my sleeplessness is contagious…I’m not sleeping because my job mandates it, but the lady of the house is also not sleeping. She’s been finding herself staying up later and later in bouts of sleeplessness. We all do better in the home when Mama is well rested, so we need to find a solution to this newfound issue. I do my best to support quick naps and time away from the #hustle and bustle, but there are only so many hours in the day. Do any of you have any ideas that would help?

Until next time, folks.

#FFW

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