Tag Archives: determination

Non-Stop, Full Tilt, Every Day Mayhem


It’s probably not surprising that I enjoy a very well-done inspiration speech.  Certain people who truly have the gift – whether by virtue of being blessed by the gods of Olympus from birth or through, careful, meticulous practice over time – really capture my attention.  The ability to move inspire people to do more and be more than they thought possible just fascinates me.

But something about Ray Lewis’s speech struck a slightly different chord with me when I watched it.  I still had the chills and felt fired up at the end… but a few minutes later, I found myself pausing to think about what he said from a slightly different vantage point.  Ray starts off with:

If tomorrow wasn’t promised, what would you give for today?  Forget everything else.  Forget everything else.  Forget that there was any sunlight left.  What would you spend today thinking about?

The reason this got me to thinking was twofold.  First, it’s about taking nothing for granted today and if tomorrow is never promised, how will you live today.  Second, it also got me thinking about the motto of this blog: Relentlessly push yourself forward.  These two ideas taken together basically add up to an idea of going non-stop, full tilt, every single day.  All good things, right?

The Road to Ribblesdale
Photo Credit: Luc B via Compfight

But can we really do that?  Should we expect ourselves to really and truly do that?  I don’t mean that in some absurdly constructed argument sense where someone says, “No one would live that way since they would make horrible choices, spend all their money and live like lunatics if they 100% committed to that day being their last on earth!”  But what I mean instead is… can you go 100% every single day?  Furthermore, should you even try?

The reason I got to thinking about this was not to say that embracing utter sloth is somehow a good idea, but to wonder how to pace this effort… how to handle the daily ebbs and flows of time, energy and desire.  No one is going to be “ON” 24/7 – not even the most dedicated and motivated.  Burn out would be inevitable with a blistering pace like that.

But hard effort every day?  The best attitude you can bring to the table every day?  Doable without a doubt.  Will your best on a rainy Monday with all-day meetings be as good as your best on a sunny Friday with bluebirds serenading your every step?  Probably not, but that’s fine.  It’s the daily practice that matters.

And that’s where the importance of finding inspiration – whether in a speech, book, song or conversation with a good friend – matters so much.  For in those moments, you can see the possibility of moving a few steps past what you thought was your upper limit.  And when you get past those sticking points to a new, brave place… then you have progress and you have moved yourself forward.

I can’t say how this day will turn out, but I am going to take Ray’s advice and be “pissed off for greatness”… for I can feel a little bit more mojo pushing me to that place beyond what I knew possible.  Time to hustle.

Grinding Towards Beauty

So yesterday I decided to avail myself of being so close to a few of the most amazing national parks in the United States, if not the world.  The park of choice?  Zion National Park in Springdale, Utah.  This was really a two-part kind of initiative… because, you know… I’m all about efficiency!  YEAH!  OK, I really never thought of it at a two-part anything.  I just wanted to hike a park whose beauty I’ve long heard stories about.  I just wanted to seem like an efficiency ninja.

The mission was to hike the Angel’s Landing trail.  Now, being someone who likes to have a bit of an understanding of the challenges before me, I decided to read up a bit on what this trail was going to be all about.  This is what I found:

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Hmm.  “Strenuous… Long drop-offs… not for anyone fearful of heights…”  Plus look at that cheerful little illustration of the figure launching himself into the abyss off a cliff.  SUCH FUN!  Plus, I’m an elite athlete in great shape.  My legs are my strong point.  So, in other words… COME AT ME BRO!

So off to Zion I went.  I slapped down my $25 entry fee (good for 7 days, I may add, in the event you want to come back) and made my way to The Grotto area where the West Rim trail begins along the Virgin River.  And I defy you, my friend, to enter into that park, realize you are looking for The Grotto and not continuously sing about it a la Elvis Presley’s “In The Ghetto”.  Seriously.  Can’t be done.  Especially not after I placed that in your head.

The hike starts off just fine, rolling along the edge of the Virgin River and I was feeling mighty fine with high 60’s/low 70’s weather.

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Look at how happy and at-ease I am! Also, please notice, that I am at the bottom of the hike near the river.  This is not a coincidence.

Umm… and then you begin to hit the incline as the path turns towards the heavens and you begin your ascent.  Holy.  Freaking.  Cow.  It basically becomes an uphill assault on your body with much of the path twisting back and forth and always an exposed side with more of a drop than you care to think about.  Don’t get me wrong – with each passing loop up and up, the views get more and more spectacular.  I ‘m not sure I appreciated them as much as I could have on the way up since I went with my typical approach of going up any steep hill – head down, keep moving and no need to look far ahead because you’ll know when you’re done.

And that’s an important takeaway that has to do with more than just hiking.  As anyone reading this blog knows, I enjoy physical activity a lot, but I’m always looking to find the bigger lesson.  In this case, the approach I would use for a big, long hike up a steep incline is the same as any other big challenge I would face in life – you sometimes just need to put your head down and keep moving.  If you spend all your time looking only at the finish line, the only thought in your head will be that you have SO much farther to go… so many more steps… when will I ever get there… it’s just so hard.  Yeah, that ain’t gonna help with much of anything.  But the process of taking step after step?  Of just driving forward and grinding?  Provided you are pointed in the right direction, you will get there… so why worry about how much farther it’s going to be?  Process over end result can yield a huge win.

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The view from the pinnacle is always worth the struggle.

Well, this process eventually got me to the top.  I felt tired, but elated.  Look at me!  I’m at the top!  Wait, there’s a sign over there… ohh, Angel’s Landing is a little farther.  Only a 1/2 mile eh?  Wait a second… it’s over THERE?!?!?!?  And I need to climb up a cliff face using chains?!?!?

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Umm… yeah, probably not happening today.

I decided to pass up that final 1/2 mile.  I had a few woozy moments on the way up with a nice wide path – I wasn’t in the mood to see how I would feel while hanging off chains on the side of a cliff.

To make up for this less-than-heroic moment, I decided to jog most of the way back down – maybe 1.5 miles worth.  It went fast, smooth and I felt amazing by the time I got to the bottom.  Plus, I had the chance to pause and get one more shot of my shining face:

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It’s all smiles on the way back down.  Smile and really sweaty baseball hats.

It was a great experience that I really cannot recommend strongly enough.  The feeling of being up there and admiring all that amazing natural beauty is hard to put into words.  You feel incredibly small, but incredibly peaceful all at once.

In the end, I took away a few important thoughts:

1) As much as my legs burned on the way up, the payoff was amazing.  You never get the truly great experiences without a little bit of sweat equity.

2) Big challenge.  Head down.  Feet moving.  Don’t stop.  You’ll get there.

3) This didn’t fit my neatly detailed training for the day as I prepared for Tough Mudder.  I did not have my GPS tracker on to tell me exact logging of every step and detail and informational nuance.  Who freakin’ cares?  I got my butt handed to me in gorgeous weather in one of the most beautiful places on earth?  You have to know when data adds nothing but confusion to what should be a very clear path.

I encourage you to find some beauty and grind to get it… and along the way, you may just find beauty in the grind itself too.  I know I did.

The World’s Greatest Deadlift

If you were to research the heaviest deadlift ever performed in a powerlifting competition, you would come across a lift of 1,015 lbs by Benedikt Magnusson from Iceland on April 2, 2011.  In fact, our good friends at YouTube even have a video of the momentous occasion by this mountain of a man:

Sweet. Mother. Of. God.

He makes it look insanely easy and your jaw just sort of drops as you see that bar bend as if it were a plastic straw.  It’s incredible.  It’s utterly amazing.

And to me, it’s not the world’s greatest deadlift.  Not by a long, long, long shot.

See, today I saw the world’s greatest deadlift.  It was a full 700 lbs. less than what Mr. Magnusson pulled off.  Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense does it?

Here’s the the thing: the lift was from one of my absolute best friends, Sam.  What makes it the greatest deadlift I’ve ever seen or been aware of is that Sam has been through an absolute war with leukemia over the last several years.  I’m not even sure I can recall how all the rounds of treatment went, but if I’m not mistaken, it was something like:

  • Diagnosed with leukemia.  Goes through traditional treatment and chemo.  Leukemia in remission.
  • Leukemia returns a year and a half later.  Doctors change the game plan – Sam gets a donor stem cell transplant.  The process to prepare for a stem cell transplant is hell – utter and complete hell.  Your immune system is essentially wiped out with more noxious chemicals than you can imagine and when you are near death, they give you a blood transfusion with the stem cells.  The transplant put leukemia into remission again.
  • A year or so later… leukemia returns.  Again.  A stem cell transplant is currently the closest thing to a “cure” for blood-based cancers, so when remission kicks in, it’s usually a good sign that it won’t be coming back… unless it does.  Sam goes through the whole process and gets a second stem cell transplant with the same soul-crushing prep process.  Thankfully, it takes and leukemia goes into remission again.

Well, today I have a less-than-stellar lifting session as many of mine have been as I’ve increased my running.  This doesn’t put me in a great mood, of course… and then out of no where, a text message pops up on my phone, I see my buddy pulling that damn 315 lbs. up for a single rep and I’m completely, totally amped.  Because I know what that single rep means.  I know what the struggle has been for him.  And I know that while he has pulled FAR greater weight in his time on many an occasion, maybe this one rep was one of the sweetest.

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So here’s to Sammy (pictured front left from about… damn… 15 years ago) and the fighters everywhere who inspire us and put our own problems into proper perspective.  It’s not about the weight on the bar, but about the fight in your heart and soul.

Way to go, Sammy.  Way to go.

P.S.  Yes, that is me front right with actual hair.  Shocking, I know.

Every Step, A Building Block

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My trusty new kicks.  May they make me fly like the mythical shoes of Hermes.

As I’ve written about before, I made the totally awesome (or epically stupid) decision to do a Tough Mudder in Vermont in May.  Now, in preparing for that little life adventure, there was one thing I assiduously avoided as much as humanly possible… long distance running.  “Dearest Kevin… why pray tell would you avoid running when preparing for a race that involves around 10 miles worth of that very activity???”

Because… I haaaaaate it.  Good Lord, do I hate me some running.  Not sprinting or flying around on a soccer field or a basketball court.  That’s all good.  Oh no, I’m talking about just running over long distances and nothing else.  Where each landing footfall causes me to wonder why on Earth I am putting myself through such drudgery.

Ya feel me, dawg?

But my competitive nature won’t quite allow me to just blow this off completely.  I signed up for this race and damn it, I am gonna punch that thing in its smug face… umm… you know, if an obstacle course can have a face upon which to even have a look.

So the beauties you see above represent a new step for me – my newest weapons in the battle for running dominance.  Before you assume “running dominance” is an utterly insane assertion on my part to go from running-hater to super-elite-marathoner… rest assured, it is not.  Rather, I am running to dominate myself a bit and break through the mental barrier I have to it.

That began today with 2 mile of running during lunch.  Like many things in life, there were positives and negatives.  The positive?  My endurance was actually pretty good.  The negative?  The muscles in the bottom of my feet and lower legs felt like they were hit with napalm.  The BURN!  My God… the BURN!  I chalk this up to having done sprints a day or two ago in my minimalist shoes.  I think, absent that, I would have done a lot better today.  Also on the positive side of the ledger was that the shoes were actually very comfortable (napalm burning aside).

And the true positive of it at all?  Today was a fair number of steps (both physical and mental) towards getting better at something that has always challenged me.  Each step, no matter how painful, was a necessary piece towards preparing for my May race… and also part of my own process to fight through a difficulty I would rather avoid all together.

It sounds horribly clichéd, but this is where character is built.  If I’m not ready to push myself through 2 miles now, how will I ever be ready to do it for 10 with slopes, obstacles, water, mud and freaking electrical wires?  Each step builds on the one just before it and the best path is just to put your head down, don’t think about each time your foot strikes the ground and before long… progress… and not long after that… the finish.

But no finish for me just yet.  68 days and 12 hours to go… and many, many steps.

What I Learned at My Obstacular Trail Race

I’m someone who likes finding some new challenges for myself every now and again.  I like new stimuli since I can otherwise stagnate, so when my friend, Jason, let me know he was putting together an obstacle trail race to benefit The Wounded Warrior Project, I was 100% game on.  OK, maybe more like 99% game on.  I was there in attitude for sure… but I suppose actually doing a whole bunch of running BEFORE the race probably would have been a good idea and a finer example of 100% game on.

But I was able to recruit my brother (the gentleman with his eyes closed below) and our friend Tom (who ran a half marathon the day before this) to venture forth for 5 miles and 15 obstacles worth of mayhem-filled fun a few weeks ago.

The Spigot Warriors... a team to be reckoned with. Now if my brother can just keep his eyes open.

And I even learned a few things along the way.  What, pray tell?  So glad you (and by you, I mean me) asked!

1) Keep your head down.

I’m not great at endurance style exercise.  This is a combination of not really training that way and not being terribly well-built for it.  Both of these things can be overcome (the first by different training and the second through not letting this become an excuse).  So when I was in the midst of this race, there were a lot of moments that were difficult for me.  If there was one pretty useful trick I used to keep myself moving, it was to keep my head down.  This is actually a big part of why I wore my baseball hat and pulled that sucker nice and low.

If my head was down, I was only focusing on what I could control at that very moment: my next few steps.  Looking ahead to see how much was left to run did me absolutely no good.  Heck, it would have probably discouraged me if I thought about it all that long.  But those next few steps?  I could do those and I could do those every single time until I was done with the 5 miles.

This happens in life all the time.  If you have a daunting task in front of you… especially one that could take quite some time to address… it will never help you to look too far ahead because the only thing you have some semblance of control over is the here and now.  So crush the here and now and move onto the next step.  Keep… your head… DOWN.

2) Stronger teammates = stronger you.

Unless you are some kind of Shaolin monk with keenly-honed powers of self-mastery, the environment around us has a big a effect, both for good and ill.  If you work in an office full of people who are horribly negative and whose chief hobby is complaining about anything and everything… I have a hard time believing you will be all that productive (at least not without listening to your iPod all day long to drown them out).  If you lifts weights consistently with people a lot stronger than you are… lo and behold, you will get a lot stronger too.  I would contend you will also get a lot stronger than you ever would have on your own.

On our team of 3, Tom was the strongest on the endurance front BY FAR.  It wasn’t even close.  He could have left my brother and I in the dust multiple times, except many obstacles required a team effort to complete.  That being said, Tom was still at the lead of our little pack at all times… and he ran a freaking half-marathon the day before.  I kid you not.

The big positive is that Tom always being there pushed me and Chris to keep running just a little bit more and pressing just a little bit harder.  If Tom could keep running, so could we, damn it.  And ran we did… for 5 miles and for a total of 1 hour, 11 minutes.  I have never run that far or long in my life and if Tom wasn’t there, I cannot really say I would have done all of that.

3) It takes all kinds.

Dress the part. Or at least dress part of yourself.

I cannot imagine why anyone would have run this in purple short-shorts… shirtless… and with double pierced nipples.  I kept imagining the potential to be hurling yourself through an obstacle in the woods and there being that one branch sticking out  juuuuust the right way.  *shudder*  But hey, he was probably through that course in half the time I was, so who am I to judge?

4) I want more.

It’s sometimes the things you least expect that can interest you the most.  I finished this race, felt like my legs had been beaten severely by a gang of Muay Thai fighters… and yet I wanted to do another one.  As I noted above, I am in no way well-suited (at least not currently) for this kind of activity… but if there is one thing I know about myself, it’s that I need challenges to bring out my best.  This was something new… something hard… yet something ultimately fun that I can do with a team (and I like team stuff quite a bit).  I am already looking up 2012 events for things like Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, Warrior Dash and so on.  I know I will need to rearrange how I train, but I enjoy the chance to do so.  Sometimes a little forced evolution is good for the soul anyway.

In the end, the entire event reproved something I’ve long known to be true: competitive sporting events are never just a moment of physical activity, but are often very pure opportunities for learning a lot more about yourself.  I would definitely encourage you to give it a try.  You don’t need to be a hyper-competitive monster to enjoy these kinds of things, but until you’ve pushed yourself past a moment after moment where you wanted so badly to quit, I don’t think you will truly know yourself.

Keep your head down.

Nor’easters and Forced Perspective

It’s a lovely day here in New England… well, I mean it’s lovely if you look past the massive power outages, electrical wires draped across road, trees smashing into cars and the prospect of no electricity for up to week.  But beyond all that, it’s a lovely day in… October.  I need to re-check my calendar… huh, it really is October?  Hmm.

Snowtober damage
You mean your Octobers aren't like this too?

This above photo is a taste of what awaited me when I sojourned out of my house to see how things were today.  As extreme as that looks, it was not terribly unusual during my travel of about 1.5 miles to the highway.  Seriously.

This is the second time in the last several months that severe weather has caused a power outage which is supposed to last days.  Yesterday I made the best of it as the power went out during my lifting session in my home gym.  As my previous post shows, it’s amazing how you can get in a darn fine workout by candlelight.

But what all of this also does is force perspective upon many people yet again.  Sure, there is the initial levels of outrage over events out of the control of we mere mortals – just look at Facebook for anyone you know in my area for proof of that.  But then at some level, you are immediately forced into thinking about what is truly essential: food, warmth, shelter and the well-being of those you love.  Those rise to the top of the list in an eyeblink.

It’s also an interesting lesson in how far removed we are as human beings from truly having to rely on our own wits on a daily basis. Hell, we are so far removed from that kind of pure self-reliance that we create reality game shows to mimic that experience so we can watch it unfold in the comfort of our own homes.

Believe me – I have bitched a bit about this power outage too.  I think it’s natural.  It’s a horrible inconvenience… but it will go away and I will return to First World living.  However, I am hoping to get myself to step back and appreciate what I have a little bit more because I am only experiencing a few days worth of what far too many people experiencing constantly.  If the worst thing that happens to me today is my inability to watch the NFL, then that’s a fairly high class problem to have.

And if you are wondering how I am able to even get this blog post up given the state of power in the glorious Constitution State… my place of work still has power… and I am completely unsurprised by that. Nothing seems to stop this place. Ever.

On Being Smart and Pacing Your Passion

So I am doing my utmost right now to actually be smart. I know, I know… why start something so radically different for myself now? Isn’t it a little late to show up to that party?  Probably, but I’m also a crazy dreamer.

My decision to engage the rational and logical parts of my brain for a change (as opposed to the parts enamored with XBox, muscle cars and the supreme hilarity of Tosh.0) stems from a bit of a setback in my training program.  A few weeks back I was absolutely ROLLING.  Things seemed so free and easy and new records (at least on several on my important lifts) were coming almost every week.

Heck, I even was able to reach one of my all-time goals of hitting a 500 lb. squat.  I have video of it, but I am debating about putting it up just yet.  Why?  Because once I finish the set and realize what I just accomplished, I lose my collective mind like an utter fool.  In a positive way.

Ahh… but what cometh before the fall, my children?  Pride, of course.  I just hit a 500 lb squat!  Who knows what mountain was there to conquer next and yield to my steely will and chiseled handsomeness?  So I kept pushing at the same pace… umm… and I decided I should try to get ready for soccer… and I started sprinting a few times a week… and hey, wouldn’t it be great to be a little leaner too?  Yeah, yeah… throw that into the mix… plus the utter hectic pace of work.

Whether you realize it or not, everything I just outlined is a recipe, but not a recipe for some kind of completely decadent pumpkin cheesecake of goodness.  Oh, tut-tut my friends.  That would be crazy talk.  No, this recipe would be more like a steaming 5 lb. ball of rat poop.  Deelish, n’est-ce pas?

That’s when my lifts were going down instead of up.  And while I mean that in terms of overall performance, I also mean it like “I tried squatting that weight and on my 2nd rep, the weight went down but… uhh… it didn’t go back up.  Yeah, not so much.”

And that’s when the conundrum of this site’s very motto… “Relentlessly push yourself forward”… found itself a wee bit out of sync with how I was feeling.

And therein lies the issue for so many people with passion for something: how do you sometimes pace your passion?  This is a real sticky wicket for a lot of people who are all about weight training (especially guys who have an easy time letting ego, pride and machismo get in the way of using an ounce of simple common sense).  We can be excellent at going at something full bore, but what about then easing off the throttle and collecting yourself for the next round of fun?  Hmm.  Maybe not my best quality for sure.

What's that body?  You have something important to tell me?

What it really got down to was a lack of listening to the signals my body was giving me loud and clear to chill the hell out.

Our passions move us. Drive us. Give us the chance to risk big, fail big and (hopefully) win bigger than we could ever imagine. They should… no… must be celebrated and cherished.

But it’s also OK to give them a few moments of respite so they can soak up their energy anew and burn oh-so-brightly again.  They won’t hold it against you.

Staring Into the Abyss

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An interesting thing often occurs when I sit down to write up almost any blog post I do… a gnawing sort of feeling that, even though I may like what I’m writing, I haven’t the slightest clue whether it will resonate with a single soul out there on Teh Interwebz.  Needless to say, that can be a bit of an unsettling feeling because I do my utmost to ensure my blog entries are authentic – what you read is 100% pure me.  Straight, no chaser.

In that way, I can relate a touch to the famous quote by Nietzsche, “And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”  Now granted, I am not generally a big fan of Nietzsche’s work because what he wrote (these large and powerful texts full of bravado) stood in stark contrast to how he lived (meek and mild, blending into the background), but I do like the quote.  He may never have intended in such a way, but it often feels like how it is to sit down, stare at the open screen in front of me on my Mac and think, “Holy crap… is anyone really going to care AT ALL about any of this?”

Fortunately, some people do seem to care and have been nice enough to say so.  Thank you to all of you – you keep me going.

But there is the daily challenge for us all in many ways: looking ahead into a future we can only view as that same kind of darkly murky abyss where nothing is clear and a good long stare will bring about nothing but even more anxiety, hand-wringing and general bad mojo.  Seriously – it’s science.  I looked it up in the New England Journal for the Furtherance of Mojofication Studies.  It’s a very scholarly periodical designed for superior intellects like mine.

That’s why I realize a little more every day that the greatest triumphs are rarely a singular shining moment of transcendent excellence (although they surely can be).  It’s much more often a collection of smaller moments that will eventual grow, gain momentum and become something much bigger than you could really expect when first starting out.

To use a strength and conditioning example to illustrate.  When most people begin a serious exercise program, the gains come along at a fairly rapid pace as your body basically soaks up the new challenge and adapts to it, week over week.  However, this will slow or, if you aren’t terribly thoughtful in your approach, stop all together.  Once you’ve been doing something a while, new improvements do not happen nearly as rapidly, but rather, they develop as a slow build.  It’s only at the end when you look back you realize how far you’ve come and how much you’ve truly accomplished.

So for me, it’s just one blog post at a time and with each ensuing entry, hopefully something approximating a body of work will come into focus… and maybe a few more people will read it, tell their friends and so on.  I am still in the beginner stage where I should be a little smarter about getting my site a little more “pop” – no question about that.  But it still won’t change the fact that in order for this project of mine to grow… it’s a series of entries just like this one, day in and day out.

You may not have a blog, but I know there is something you are working towards as well.  We all have that “thing” that stokes our passions.  Put in the daily work as best you can.  I’m doing my best at it and some days are better than others.

Step up to that abyss, but don’t waste your time staring into it.  It only stares back into you and it’s not a staring contest you will ever win.  Instead?  Give it a quick wink and promptly kick it’s ass a little bit every day.

 

 

John Calvin: The Original Buzz Killington

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This distinguished-looking fellow on the left is one John Calvin and let me tell you something… I’m never going to invite him to a party at my house for 2 very important reasons.  First, he’s dead.  That truly puts a damper on any real chance of an invite to Chez Kuzia outside of some kind of freaky-deaky seance… and this guy doesn’t play that game.  The second reason is despite his importance as a historical figure in the Protestant Revolution, a major tenet of his philosophy was that of predestination.  So, in other words… your deeds and actions in this world really don’t mean squat because whether you will end up in Heaven or Hell was determined before you were even born.  Yikes.

So it’s not that I don’t invite people with differing views over to have a cold beer and watch a game.  Au contraire.  But a philosophy built around the notion that your actions in this world are for naught?  That’s not how to liven up an intimate gathering of friends, you know?  The guy was the original Buzz Killington (you know… the OTHER distinguished gentleman depicted in this blog).

In my wacky view of the world, there are meaningful choices to be made at almost any point in your life.  You can really choose any moment to change things up.  Sure, the change can be hard as hell to pull off… but it’s still there as an option to embrace if you make that decision… and not the LeBron James kind of “Decision” where you get to go on TV and wallow around in your own self-involvement.  Yuck.

I know that, for myself, change is never that easy of a thing, depending on what the contemplated change may be.  Obviously the bigger the change, the deeper the level of hemming and hawing on my part.  Even in the midst of all of that, I still find a tremendous amount of comfort and, dare I say, hope in the fact that choice and free will are always within my reach.

Take today, for instance.  I decided enough was enough and finally got my lazy-no-blogging-keister in gear and got this post up.  It became a matter of just making the decision to stop putting off blogging, stop accepting what (in the moment) can seem like perfectly fine excuses not to do it and just do it.

The funny thing is that my decision stems mostly from being generally fed up… a condition that find is perhaps one of the best catalysts of change.  You just need to hit that point of “Oh for the love of God… I can’t take it any more.  Let’s get cracking.”  That’s where I found myself as I returned from my work trip last week to Oregon, which went very well from a work perspective, but which was completely dismal from a sasquatch-spotting perspective.  I mean seriously… I was there Tuesday through Friday.  Not even a glimpse out of the corner of my eye?  Anyhoo, the reflection time during the travel gave me some impetus to get this blog back up and going.

Plus… you have to admit… it’s pretty awesome to juxtapose John Calvin and Buzz Killington together… and to use the word “juxtapose”. +1 for me.

Overcoming Our Intellect

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Greetings from 35,000ish feet.  I’m on my way back from Florida and despite the cramped conditions in coach here on Delta Flight 1580 from Atlanta to Hartford, I figured I would bust out my laptop and have at it.

 

As I wrote in my previous post, when I am out of my regular locale and on the road, I tend to find myself in a different (and oftentimes better) mindset than I had prior to my trip.  The effect of the change in my physical surroundings in the way my mind thinks is always noticeable.  What’s also noticeable is the fact that I probably don’t take advantage of this phenomenon often enough when I really need a kick in my creative behind.  It’s not like I need to hit up the beaches of Tahiti every time I need to reawaken my artistic muse, right?  I could just take a drive to someplace an hour or so away that I never go to and I should be able to reboot nicely.

But there it is again… that trend I often find myself slinking back into when my vigilance wanes… that trend of knowing things I like or things that do good for me, but then not actually taking much time to do them.  Habit is a funny beast, my friends, and it needs on your lack of awareness and any scrap of apathy that may fall off the table of your life.

Do you feel it as well?  That sense that you know the good for your life, want to pursue it and then find yourself on a proverbial (or maybe even literal) couch with 2 empty bags of pork rinds and a 3 liter jug of Mountain Dew carelessly tossed at your feet?

In that way, I find our species to be a peculiar one, where the gift of our vast intellect often works in direct opposition to what is best for us.  I mean, think about it for a second: how many other animals (outside of those damn cliff jumping lemmings) will engage in behavior that doesn’t serve it’s own good on this kind of scale?

We seem to do so because we can rationalize the bad choices and decisions with all kinds of fluffy excuses about why we didn’t hit the marks we really wanted.  Ain’t having the most advanced brain of any critter on the planet just grand sometimes?

But hey, I’m not one to get myself too mired in the negativity, but I do like to use this as a vehicle to keep myself honest and perhaps allow you to have that moment as well… because that’s what this blog is meant to be: an honest assessment of where I am, where I need to be and how I can help others in that exact same journey forward.  It’s not always going to be smooth and perfect, but every step of it is mine and that I really do like.