You Alive?

One of the tragedies of war is the extinguishing of young lives. After reading Cornwell’s Waterloo, I was appalled at how careless some of the leaders were with the lives of those underneath their command. Even when they knew their tactics were doomed to fail, they proceeded anyway at the expense of thousands of young boys still in their teenage years.

A child is a blank slate with so much potential. To die at a young age never experiencing the joys and trials of life could be one of the most calamitous mishaps in this world. Sad are those robbed of life without ever knowing what it was like to live.

When it is time to die, let us not discover that we never lived. –Henry David Thoreau

Possibly even more tragic is to go through life having never really lived. Time runs whether or not we are paying attention to it. We only get so much. And when it is gone, it is gone forever. To waste it is to throw away a gift more precious than any wealth one could imagine.

At the end of the day, can you say you used the time you were given to the best of your abilities? Did you muster up the courage to tackle the day, or did you choose to spend it on activities that were designed to pass the time? We must learn to pass our days intenton living, not existing. Don’t be the person lying on your deathbed, regretting that you wasted the one thing that you could never get back. Time.

Not Giving Up

A couple of years ago, I read the book The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. This week, I started to listen to the audio book for a little reinforcement of the message. What’s the message? How to identify and overcome our biggest enemy: resistance.

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What exactly is this enemy called resistance? It is anything and everything that prevents you from accomplishing what you set out to do. This could be procrastination, addiction, or even that little voice in your head telling you to quit.

I have been fighting resistance all my life. Even when I didn’t know there was an internal war taking place, resistance was still fighting. And the little voice in my head telling me to stop, that voice has been the enemy’s primary weapon. I can usually see the manifestations of this weapon during any endurance training such as running, or rowing. That innocent small voice in my head is the opening salvo in a game of psychological warfare. It starts out small enough, but in time it will take over all my thoughts. It amplifies all the pains I am feeling, whether real or imagined. The ascents and the descents become larger than what they really are. Even a soft breeze blowing in the wrong direction becomes an insurmountable obstacle.

Resistance wants me to stop. It tells me that my goals, no matter how important or noble, can wait until I am better prepared. Gone is the sense of urgency. It would be better to pursue these things tomorrow. But there is no guarantee of tomorrow. If I give in today, how can I guarantee that I will not throw in the towel again tomorrow?

Every great story on the planet happened when someone decided not to give up, but kept going no matter what. –Spryte Loriano

The endurance training I do today is a test. If I can win against resistance here, where else can I win? If I can conquer with my mind the desires of the flesh, if I can keep going when everyone else around me has given up, will I not be able to succeed in whatever venture I choose to pursue? Overcome resistance, and we can finish our projects, obtain our goals, and even achieve our dreams. Overcome resistance, and we can win the war.

Boldly Go

Last week I was able to catch The Joe Rogan Experience episode #1108 with Dr. Peter Attia. Joe Rogan’s podcast is consistently at the top of the charts and may be one of my favorite ones to listen to. I honestly think I learn something new every time I listen to it.

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In this episode, Dr. Attia talks about his open water swimming. He once held the record for the double-crossing of the Auau Channel (Maui to Lanai and then back to Maui). The over 19 mile swim took 11 hours and 45 minutes.

Can you imagine it? The swim was completed overnight to not interfere with shipping traffic. It was done at night, when God knows what is lurking or hunting in the waters below. Leaving the safety of the shore, you walk into the water and begin swimming into the unknown. There is no sight of land on the other side, only the open water.

You cannot swim for new horizons until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. –William Faulkner

The vision is clear in your head. You can picture the destination. You can smell it and hear it. You may not be there physically. But in your mind’s eye, you go there often. How will you get there? How will you make your vision a reality? You take that first step, then the next, and you keep stepping. That first step takes courage. It is only one tiny little step. But to build courage, you have to start out small. You have to take tiny little steps over and over. In time, your stride will lengthen and you will gain your rhythm. As you train daily in courage, your ability to go farther and farther from the shore increases. You will become comfortable doing the things other people fear.

Exploration across the land, the sea, and through space began with hope. There was a hope in something beyond the known. The known is safe, and to venture into the unknown takes courage. You hope the rewards are worth it. But without taking that first step, you will never know.

The Folly of Fear-based Choices

I have done some pretty stupid things in my life. One time, I bought a new car, because my old one had an oil leak. The price to fix it was about the same as one month’s payment on the new car. If I would have taken the time, I might have been able to fix it myself. I even got the name of a friend’s friend that could have fixed it for a case of beer. Instead of dealing with the problem, I ran away from it and ran toward a whole new problem (the new car).

The best thing I could have done back then was get the car fixed. Unfortunately, I was a little on the shy side and didn’t like to ask for help. Why? Who knows, and my avoidance of that problem led to many more financial problems down the road.

I haven’t done something that stupid in a long time. But I still occasionally dip my spoon into the bowl of stupid and partake of it. Usually, this has to do with my own insecurities. I don’t want to look foolish in other people’s eyes. And my perception of their possible perception of me drives me to do some silly things.

For instance, if we are talking and I don’t understand what you are saying, I will ask you to repeat it. If I can’t get it the second time, I might nod my head in agreement. This could be some valuable information, and now I am missing it. When I can’t connect the blanks later on, I have to go through the painful process of trying to reacquire it much to the dismay of the person that gave it to me.

The idea that someone would judge me based on my lack of knowledge, on my inexperience, or naivete is almost paralyzing. Yes, I know this is an ego problem. But it’s the truth. I try do anything I can to avoid it. Well at least until recently.

It has taken me a painfully long time to learn this lesson, but I have to stop worrying about other’s opinions of me. There’s a good chance, nobody is really even paying that much attention to me anyway. If my quest is knowledge, I can’t allow imaginary obstacles to prevent from obtaining it. I have to let go of my pride and remain the student.

Men go to far greater lengths to avoid what they fear than to obtain what they desire. –Dan Brown

The things we fear are often only a figment of our imaginations. It would be a shame if that is what is keeping us from pursuing the goals that would lead us to a better life.

Take Your Blows

Courage 12/19/2019

I remember watching the old Kung Fu movies growing up. It seemed like in every one of them, there was always an idiot. He was always messing up and as result was always being punished. The master never relented but continued the beating for each offence. I am sure a real life master’s hope would be that the idiot would finally learn his lesson.

The book of Proverbs is filled with many of the same instances. And though the idiot never learns, it should be a powerful lesson for us. There are consequences for our actions. If you make a mistake, you will most likely pay the price. Hopefully, the price is so great that you don’t make the same mistake again.

The feeling of pain is a great motivator to discontinue your current path. If humans never learned from pain, we probably wouldn’t be here today. But they did. They knew the consequences of touching fire, eating poisonous food, and provoking the wrong person/animal. They passed that knowledge down to us just like we will pass it down to the next generation.

If you repeat the same mistakes over and over again, you are an idiot. Yeah, I know it sounds harsh, but we all have to deal with the broken record eventually. If you don’t, you are neither helping yourself or the next generation.

Don’t be afraid to fail. Take your blows and realize they are essentially a learning tool. Learn your lessons so that you may be able to take on greater and more complex tasks. Be the intelligent person mentioned in Proverbs and gain the knowledge necessary to evolve.

Beat a scoffer and the naïve learn a lesson; rebuke the intelligent and they gain knowledge. –Proverbs 19:25

Train for Courage

Courage 12/12/2019

Those first two months in my new position at work was rough. Everything was new. My level of expertise was developed in a quick training plan. I had very little experience in the field to draw from. To present my work was daunting as well. What if I made the wrong call? It could have an effect on the livelihoods of my fellow co-workers.

But as the days went by, I developed a greater familiarity with the work I was doing. I continued to train on my own. I grew in experience. Now, I make calls with greater confidence and present those calls without fear.

It’s my theory that the better trained you are, the more natural courage you have, because you have a belief in yourself. –David Hackworth

What are the things you fear? Is it a rational fear, or is it something that you can conquer? If other people have found a way, then it is possible for you to find a way as well. Bring to light that which you fear. Become familiar with it. Train for the inevitability that you will have to one day face that fear. Prepare yourself now, so that you don’t shy away from it when the day comes. With courage you will be able to rely on your training and overcome the obstacle that stands in your way.

Useful Pain

Courage 12/5/2019

Right now there is pain. Physically, you may not be able to fill it, but it resides deep within you. What is this pain that you cannot feel?

There is a place you imagine yourself occupying. It is a “one day in the future” place, and today is not that day. You want it with all your heart. It hurts. This is the pain of not being where you belong. The waiting is killing you. What can you do but wait?

There is another type of pain. It pierces the mind, body, and soul. Like the first pain it is self-inflicted. It is the pain of breaking yourself down. But this is okay, because you are resilient. You tear yourself down. You heal. You grow stronger. You repeat the process with greater and greater force. You become tougher. In the beginning, this pain sucks. But as you grow tougher, you get used to it. You endure.

When it comes to the first pain of patience, you must endure as well. What you must not do is get used to the pain. You cannot allow yourself to become used to it. You have to let it hurt so that you do not become complacent and decide to live with it. Embrace it. Bear your cross and endure.

You know, the path to being tough isn’t easy either. But you might as well embrace this pain too. Get used to it. There is no becoming too tough. Continue to refine your complete being by challenging yourself daily. There is no easy path on this journey. So in this, you must also bear your cross and endure.

We all have our burdens to carry. Take it all in, throw your shoulders back, and keep your head up high. Enjoy the process and get where you need to go. All this patience and toughness will come in handy. Bear the pain now, and one day these two pains will bear you through your most difficult trials.

Be patient and tough; one day this pain will be useful to you.-Ovid

Dare Incrementally

Courage 11/21/2019

To build strength, you have to move heavy things.

To build endurance, you have to move a lot.

Neither strength nor endurance can be built overnight. You have to do the work over time. If you stop doing either one, you will lose it.

Courage is similar. Sure, there are some who can perform one great act of courage out of the blue, but they rarely survive it without paying an enormous price. To be courageous tomorrow, without ever doing anything courageous in the past, would be foolhardy. A more logical approach would be to build up to it. In time, your courage “muscle” will strengthen. You will be able to achieve feats you never imagined were possible.

Nothing will come from nothing. Dare for mighty things. –William Shakespeare

Dare today to move a little past your comfort zone. Be a little more daring each day and find yourself prepared when the moment arrives.

You or the Team

Courage 11/14/2019

A few questions:

As an individual what do you want to accomplish? Is it to excel beyond your peers and gain notoriety? Is it to feel you belong to the group?

How do your goals as an individual help the team? Could you go all in as a contributor and still achieve the level of success you are looking for?

If you can complete your mission on your own, why even be on a team? If you can take home the championship on your own, then do you really need a quality supporting staff?


Take a moment and think about the guy in charge. You get to own all the decisions. You can fly off into glory or go down all alone with the ship. You can be the dictator or the chief collaborator. Both leadership styles have seen success, and both have seen failure.

But if you’re not “the guy,” your role might really be more important. You could be the valuable member of the team that ensures its success. You could be the one that gets “the guy” where he needs to go which will only help you in the future.

We must often put aside on our own egos and aspirations and work toward the team’s success. If the team loses, no matter how great our own individual performance, the team still loses. The mission doesn’t get accomplished, and “the guy” might be looking to replace members on the team. Do your part. Your contributions will not be missed if you give selflessly.

A team will always appreciate a great individual if he’s willing to sacrifice for the group. –Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Teamwork makes the dream work.

Highway to the Uncomfortable Zone

Courage 10/10/2019

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. –Neale Donald Walsch

All of the above can be uncomfortable. All of the above can also have tremendous physiological benefits.

There is nothing wrong with being uncomfortable. If you get used to it, you may perceive life to be more enjoyable. You may become more resilient when faced with the hardships of life.

Life is about living, embracing both the good and the bad. Safe in the bed wondering if a lion is outside [Proverbs 22:13] is not living. If you truly want to live, then you need to move out of your comfort zone.