The best way to reach your goal

stairs

As you make a beeline towards your goal, watch the periphery for opportunities that may help you skip steps to that goal, or take you off to another goal that is even greater than the one you had in mind before.

There is no real path. Just an infinite number of possible points of opportunity connected together by a web of potential paths.

Failure in one leg of your journey is far from ending your journey.

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You’re an ice princess, I said to her. She was like Spock, but with breasts.

spock

It was my fault that I had mistook her sexual interest in me. It was casual for her, but not for me. Her lack of emotion about it surprised me, then it hurt me, so I looked at her blond hair, pale skin, and tall elegant frame, and said, “You’re like an ice princess.”

It was infuriating to me. I’m great, she should like me, everyone should like me. I waited for some lament, some regret, but she was calm and unbothered. Her heart and mind were separate on this issue. Like Spock’s mind versus Captain Kirk’s heart driven passions…passions that drove Kirk to leave his ship in the command of others because he thought he was the only one who could lead the away team. What a narcissist, right?

Leonard Nimoy passing away today has led me to think about all the unemotional people that have been in my life. They were usually unexcitable, usually unflustered, and different, at least from me. But the other side will always teach you a lesson, if you’re listening, of what you’re missing. If you’re politically right, the left is a lesson to temper your stance, because, after all, half the population can’t be crazy. And if you’re a strict vegan, then the other side, the animal eaters, are a lesson in how life is change, and people follow habits, because even vegans at some point in their lives didn’t care about animals, and ate them, right?

Point being, whether you’re heart driven or mind driven, it’s important to use both levers in cultivating your values, because our heart is what drives us, but our mind keeps us on the road. With my heart, I thought I had a relationship and I was making plans in my head, because I was hoping, without thinking of what was happening: Some chance encounters with someone who was sexually unrestricted. If I had been thinking, I would’ve seen, mindfully, and more clearly, that she was no more an ice princess than I was an immature fool. We simply make choices, and those choices don’t make us who we are, but they show us what we value, at a certain time.

Spock and Kirk worked together to accomplish all sorts of missions, despite their differences, and in fact, they were able to learn from each other’s differences. And that is what life is about. Getting the experience which makes you better rounded, so that your next adventure is that much more fulfilling, less reckless, and more open-hearted.

Good luck on your next adventure, Leonard. Good luck to us all.

The single best exercise in the gym

ronburgundy

I recall all the time I spent in the gym as a youngin. Two hours easily gone, almost every day. And the exercises weren’t even for fitness as much as appearances. We’re so busy today, time devoted to the gym is a super valuable commodity. Ron Burgundy was so pressed for time that he was forced to sculpt his guns at the office! I’m still trying to find that uvulus muscle of his…

Also, my title is a lie. I don’t have a single best exercise for the gym. What exercise you need depends on what you want. Big arms? Try a mix of testosterone-inducing squats and deadlifts mixed with bicep curls and tricep extensions and rows, all on the standard 3-sets per exercise with a minute or two rest between them. General fitness? Circuit-training: moving between exercises without rest, hitting all the major muscle groups, Men’s Health has some greats ones, see the Spartacus workout for a good example. Pure cardio, for a healthy heart? Interval sprints mixed with steady state running or ellipticalling or whatever interesting leg-gyrating machine your gym has these days (Except for the stationary bike, those are useless. A joke..but it would be my last choice of all the upright machines.)

But what if the gym is more than just exercise?

My time in the gym was back in the days before everyone had earbuds and their own personal radio station going in their head. When I was in the gym, we talked. There was a communion of sorts. Today, the gym is still a great source of connecting with like-minded individuals. You just have a slight barrier of rubber and plastic buffering you from hearing most everyone else. The trend though, is having a shared experience. We are shifting to Crossfit, and yoga, and even hot yoga (because yoga was just too easy, right?!)

But we’ve each got a life. Some of us want to get into the gym, do our business, and get back to our life. I’m definitely in that camp, now that I have so much more I want to accomplish than I did in my twenties. So what do I lose if I plug into my mobile and put a blinder to my surroundings?

We miss everything. Not only does sound get blocked, but what little residual attention we have goes to listening to our podcast, or music, or audio book. And for me, the gym is often the place I catch-up on that podcast or a few chapters of a book. The question is how much time am I actually spending in front of the screen or plugged into my earbuds?

To get this, we sacrifice that. And that could be something we didn’t even know we lost, because we just aren’t paying attention. An interesting conversation, a business opportunity, a romantic opportunity, or simply getting too distracted from what’s in your ear so that you can’t put 100% in your workout…whatever it is.  It’s gone.

Can we take care of both body and mind? Surely.

Just stay aware..and leave an earbud out and let a little life in.

Who are you voting for?

When someone speaks reasonably about unreasonable things, they are either a genius, or a madman. Cast your vote carefully. If a person talks about spending money they don’t have, putting value in something that has no inherent value, taking away your liberties to fight an unseen enemy to protect your liberties, find another person to vote for. Gridlock ends when we elect people, from president to state rep, who will do the right thing, not follow what was done before because that’s the way things were always done.

Remember: There are many who are thinking just as you are.

How to fix most all relationship problems

If I can’t live in the present, then I can’t love. Love is NOW. Living in a future of wants prevents me from sustaining love for anything, or anyone. And expecting love from someone who looks ahead, dissatisfied with himself or herself, is a losing proposition. And sure to make you unhappy in the process.

Taking off the blinders requires learning how to ignore

I have trouble sitting down to work sometimes. My focus is on many things, and so it is on nothing. Then I realized how to let go. And it was more than simplifying and prioritizing. It was the realization that I needed to acknowledge and then ignore many things. In order to get stuff done, I needed to ask myself throughout the day, day after day, week after week: “What do you want? What are you doing?”

The other day, I was returning from the bathroom to continue my writing and saw the new handheld vacuum I had purchased recently. I like tools, and this was a bright, shiny new one. Soon, I was unplugging it, having just swept the kitchen. I stopped suddenly and thought, “What am I doing? Why am I not writing?”

Vigilance is key

Neil Gaiman has a great analogy for making tough decisions in life. If your goal is a mountain, make sure your decisions are taking you towards that mountain, not away. The mountaintop is far so it’s ok if it takes you a long time to get there, as long you’re making your way to it.

My experience would make me add this to his analogy, “Make sure you’re not circling that mountain, neither going towards it or away from it.” To this end, I think it’s vastly important to reiterate to ourselves, “What do I want? What am I doing?”

The day I started ignoring things was ironically the day I took the blinders off. I looked up from the solid foundation I was laying and noticed all the options that were open to me, from professional to social, and then I decided to stop and ask, “What do I want?” It is overwhelming, but the possibilities appear around you, and it is the first step towards accomplishing what you want.

The saying that ‘ignorance is bliss’ isn’t true. We’re not animals. To achieve bliss we must be conscious of our surroundings and taking a stand and making choices and adapting. And this requires taking the blinders off and asking ourselves repeatedly, “What am I doing? What do I want?”

TED Talk Tuesday: Hiding behind the God-complex

In a complicated society, we give up to the God-complex, listening to the authorities who have all the answers, instead of facing the task of fixing the problem. Tim Harford tells us that when a problem persists, the method to fix it is simple: Trial and error.
Experimenting helped me find my perfect running gait.  Maybe we can use this method to improve bigger systems, on the scale of societies. Communities can be different and each type needs the leadership and experience of its citizens. If only we can use our humility to admit that we don’t have the answers and our strength to face our problems, fail, and try again. And the confidence to challenge the authorities who tell us they have the answers. By acclimating, we can continue to exist. By reasoning and experimentation, we will thrive.