Building to Win

I have a friend who plans to run his first marathon in the summer. He has only been running for about a year. Back then, he was a smoker and knew he needed to start doing something to get into shape. So he started running. He committed his time to this endeavor. As a result, his mileage has gone up, his weight has gone down, and as far as I know, he stopped smoking. If he completes this marathon, it will be an amazing accomplishment.

Let’s recap his journey:

 

  • Made a decision to start running.
  • Made changes to way of life to accommodate for time.
  • Got friends and family involved. He even runs with his mother on a regular basis.
  • Made changes to what he puts into his body.
  • Became comfortable running longer and longer distances.
  • Entered first race and completed it.
  • Signed up for marathon and began training.

Each bullet point was a decision. Each decision turned into an accomplishment that validated his initial decision to get into shape. Completing them boosted his self-esteem. If you asked him a year ago about his confidence running a marathon, he probably would have laughed at you and thought you were insane just for asking.  But he built his confidence up mile by mile, day by day. He built it up every time he laced up his shoes to train, regardless of the weather conditions. Now, he firmly believes completing a marathon is possible.

Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment. –Thomas Carlyle

A marathon is a big deal. It is a big commitment. You don’t wake up one day and out of the blue decide to run a marathon without training. You start small and build up to it. The journey to running 26.2 miles at one time began with one step first taken long before race day.

Great achievements are possible. Make the decision. Do the work every day, even on the days you don’t feel like it. Get small victories and then scale up to larger challenges. In time this body of work you have created will be the preparation you needed to win the dream you started with so long ago.

Are You Hungry?

The prehistoric hunter didn’t get up in the morning, pop open the fridge and grab a little breakfast. If he wanted to eat, he went out and hunted it. If he didn’t make a kill, he did without. Most likely, his family did without as well.

Sun Tzu said, “In a desperate position, you must fight.” The hungry hunter had to fight for his food. If not, starvation. Death.

We have come a long ways from the ancient hunters. We no longer have to worry about not being able to eat if we didn’t make a kill. In many cases, you can still eat even if you don’t work.

When was the last time you have been hungry? Really hungry? All you can do is think about the next meal. You would do anything for it. When was the last time you have been hungry for something other than food? Were you really hungry? So hungry that you would do anything to feed that passion burning within you?

A hungry dog hunts best. A hungrier dog hunts even better. –Norman Ralph Augustine

When your hunger is sated, you become comfortable. The modern world we are living in today has evolved to allow us to be comfortable. Get too comfortable and you will become weak. You will lose the drive to go out and hunt for the feast that life has in store for you. It is time to get hungry. Become desperate in obtaining your goals. It is time to fight.

A Stewardship of Discipline

Temperance 12/24/2019

Your mind is a sanctuary. Without discipline, how can you rule your mind?

Your body is a temple. Without discipline, the home to your spirit and soul would be in disarray.

If you cannot rule your mind or your body, how can you expect to be a good ruler of anything else? Stewardship begins with controlling the things that are in your control. Start with the body and mind. Be a good steward in these two regards, and who knows how far your rule will one day extend.

If a man does not discipline himself, he cannot bring order to his home. -Confucius

AAR – Spartan Races & Medical Emergencies

Temperance 12/3/2019

After Action Review: Spartan Races and Medical Emergencies

Spartan Races

The Sunday before Thanksgiving, I ran my first Spartan Sprint. I didn’t know fully what I was getting into, and I didn’t have the best training leading up to the race. The day before, it rained for fourteen hours. Come race day, it was cold, windy, and muddy (ankle to knee deep mud).

As a team competing for the first time, we decided we were going to do this together. No man left behind. To go about four miles, it took us two hours. We were cold, exhausted, and smiling from ear to ear. Over the next few days, we were already planning our next race.

I went home after the race, cleaned up, and started moving furniture. After about two months, we were finally going to start living in our new house. By the time Sunday night rolled around, I couldn’t move a muscle.

Lessons learned after my first Spartan Race:

  • Get in better specific shape. I was not in my best physical shape. My training was off, and the training I did do was not tailored to obstacle course racing. My next race is planned for April 2020. In order to perform at an optimal level, I need to plan accordingly and then execute the plan.
  • Have the right gear. The night before is not the time to start planning what to wear. And when it comes to these types of races, I am now a big fan of “less is more,” regardless of the weather conditions.
  • Bring a full change of clothes. I live ten minutes away from this event, yet my drive home was miserable. I didn’t have a full change of clothes, and I was covered in a 2-3 inch layer of caked on mud.

Medical Emergencies

I took the next Monday off from work. I was dog tired and still had a bit to do before we could live in our house. My morning was casual, until I became a first responder to a medical emergency. Typically, we think of first responders as those who arrive on the scene in a professional capacity (i.e. EMTs, paramedics, police, and firefighters). But if you are in an emergency situation and have the ability to provide assistance in any way, YOU are the first responder.

The first thing I did was call 911. I then assisted the victim to ensure no further damage would take place. Later, as the trained professionals arrived, I helped pick up the stretcher and carry it up the stairs.

Lessons learned from this emergency:

  • I could have been more clear-headed on the phone. I was starting to panic and it was evident in my voice. I mixed up the last two numbers of the house address which cost an additional couple of minutes.
  • Over twenty years ago, I took a Combat Life Saver class. I have a rudimentary knowledge of what to do when your battle buddy’s guts get spilled out.* The only practical uses of the class back then was how to treat a hangover with an IV. Twenty years is a long time, and my medical skills are nearly non-existent. If I want to be any use to those I love, or even to those that just need help, I need to get trained. Proficiency in the basics is better than nothing.

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Miguel Cervantes said, “To be prepared is half the victory.”  When I think about my performance in the Spartan Race or in dealing with a medical crisis, I was definitely not prepared. And even though both those instances happened just last week, they are both in the past. There is nothing I can do to change what happened. But there are things I can change. I can learn my lessons and be better equipped for the future.

If you would not have a man flinch when the crisis comes, train him before it comes. –Seneca

 

*Not a lot you can do here. Lay him down and pile them back up on top of him and tell him to wait for help. Like I said, rudimentary knowledge.

 

Pleasant Words

Temperance 11/12/2019

When you hear the words, you are refreshed. Invigorated. They stir your soul like a pat on the back or a gentle hand helping you up. It is a cup of hot soup on a cold winter’s day. The heat goes down to your core and warms your very being. We all yearn to hear pleasant words. They are the words that confirm your choices and justify your actions.

Think of that dog with nothing but unconditional love in his heart. Pleasant words and that tail will show it. But if you speak out in anger, that poor beast will shrink away from you, put its tail between its legs, and lower its head.

We want to hear the kind words. They are powerful and have more effectiveness than any venom a person can spew. And as bad as we all want to hear it, we can be the ones speaking them.

Imagine they that struggle. Why beat them down when you can lift them back up? Or the bitter. You could return their bitterness, but what good would that do? Return their words with sweetness and just maybe the harshness of their words will dissipate. Regardless of the outcome, you will be blameless if you return their hatred with love.

To hold your tongue when you are being attacked with words takes great discipline. To not return anger with anger takes humility. And out of love and charity, we can freely give kind words, words that cost us nothing, to those who desperately need it. It might be the difference in their lives. It might bring them the health they need to keep going.

Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. –Proverbs 16:24

It Starts With Numero Uno

Temperance: 11/5/2019

In Lee Iacocca’s autobiography, Henry Ford III is described as a despot in control of Ford Motor Company. It was his kingdom, and he did as he pleased.

It reminds me of a previous supervisor. She ruled her kingdom with an iron scepter, yet she was completely disengaged from the actual business. She held her people to a high standard, yet she was exempt from holding herself to one. When major initiatives were being launched, she was conveniently on extended vacations far away from the action. She was a poor leader, who garnered no respect from her subordinates, peers, or senior managers.

I’m also reminded of my own experiences as a leader. I never received poor ratings, but I know my performance could have been much better. I didn’t have the discipline or the desire to know the business as well as I could. I only got by, which was far from optimal.

Remembering my own shortcomings is a good way for me to not lose my focus today. I need discipline in my life to succeed. As Jocko Willink says, “Discipline equals freedom.” When I once thought I was free, I was in fact a slave to my own fruitless whims and desires. I couldn’t trust myself to make the right decisions and I doubt anybody else could trust me as well.

Your kingdom may be a Fortune 500 company or the family unit in your home. Regardless of the size of the kingdom you would rule, you have to maintain your personal discipline. You cannot become lax and check out anytime a major deadline comes up. You have to continue to train in order to be ready at all times. It starts with numero uno. That is you, and it is me.

Would you have a great empire? Rule over yourself. –Publius Syrus

A New Day

Temperance 9/10/19

Whatever happened yesterday cannot be changed. Too many times the sun has gone down, and I was left wondering what happened. Or more often than not, what didn’t happen. The day got away from me. Time was squandered, and I would go to bed in disgust having wasted another opportunity.

But as a new day dawns, optimism abounds. We are given another chance to make progress. Yesterday is gone, but today, bright with its hopes and dreams, is here now. We can choose to make the most of it. We can redeem ourselves from our past carelessness, or we can let another day be lost forever. We will only get so many of these opportunities. What will you do?

With the new day comes new strengths and new thoughts. –Eleanor Roosevelt

11 Tips for Banking Your Time

Time is the coin of life. Only you can determine how it is to be spent. -Carl Sandberg

You only have so much in the bank. The sad truth is that there is no making deposits into this account to garner more time. Maybe with diet and exercise you can maximize your allotment, but even that is no guarantee.

Photo by Dmitry Moraine (@wildbook) on Unsplash

You will never know when the Banker closes your account permanently, but until then you can:

 Spend it wisely: “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” –Charles Darwin
 Keep it in perspective: “Today is the oldest you’ve ever been and the youngest you’ll ever be.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
 Balance as you go: “Lost! Somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered, for they are gone forever.” –Horace Mann
 No credit solution: “Of all losses, time is the most irrecuperable for it can never be redeemed.” –King Henry VIII
 Find the value: “Believe me when I tell you that thrift of time will repay you in after life with usury of profit beyond your most sanguine dreams, and that waste of it will make you dwindle alike in intellectual and moral stature beyond your darkest reckoning.” –William Gladstone
 Get a return on your investment: “I say, let no one rob me of a single day who isn’t going to make a full return on the loss.” Seneca
 Work on the micro: “Don’t count the days, make the days count.” –Muhammad Ali
 Remember you are the authorized user: “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you are the pilot.” –Michael Althsuler
 Settle up every night: “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
 Everybody else is at the bank too, so don’t be a turd: “Start every day off with a smile and get over it.” –W.C. Fields
 Savor every bit of it: “Do not spoil the wonder with haste.” –J.R.R. Tolkien

The sand is running. Cherish each grain.

Temperance 2/26/2019

If a man does not discipline himself, he cannot bring order into the home. -Confucius

You have only yourself to be blame if your house is in disarray. If you made this mess, then get some discipline and fix it.

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The Virtue of Temperance

Control. Discipline. Restraint. Call it what you will. But if you don’t have it, then life will be much harder. Rather than automating your life for success, your habits will be weak and detrimental. Temper your desires of excess. There is joy in moderation.

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Temperance 2/19/2019

True power. True wisdom. If you want it, Lao Tzu has the key…

Knowing others is intelligent. Knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.

_____________________

The Virtue of Temperance

Control. Discipline. Restraint. Call it what you will. But if you don’t have it, then life will be much harder. Rather than automating your life for success, your habits will be weak and detrimental. Temper your desires of excess. There is joy in moderation.

_____________________

Enter your email to subscribe to notifications from this site