The other side

Between the years 1991 and 1999 there was a tv show I watched named “Home Improvement”. The series was a comedy about the the Taylor family told through the perspective of the patriarch Tim Taylor . Every week Tim would navigate a family issue in a pretty funny way. Often Tim would turn to his next door neighbour Wilson for some advice and as a sounding board. Wilson would stand on the other side of the fence with his face half hidden by the fence and tell Tim a story and offer some insightful wisdom about the situation the Taylor family was in.

I loved Wilsons mystery (the audience was only permitted to see half of Wilsons face), stories and advice. Wilson had a PHD in language and would often begin his stories to Tim by explaining the etymology of a word or phrase.

Tim: What a mess. [Wilson is barbecuing]
Wilson: Hi Tim!
Tim: Hi Wilson. Boy does that smell good. Baby back ribs?
Wilson: No, no, no. Squirrel. I tell you Tim. This is what it’s all about. Catch of the day cooking. Sun setting. Men standing around the campfire, telling stories. [Tim sits on the back porch]
Tim: Mind if I tell you a story, Wilson?
Wilson: Campfire’s lit, good neighbor.
Tim: Jill doesn’t get the job she wants, I tell her not to feel bad, she gets angry.
Wilson: Hm-hm-hm-hm. Hm-hm.
Tim: Alright. So then I tell her what she should do, she jumps all over me. And then walks away.
Wilson: Sounds like you were having an asymmetrical conversation.
Tim: Asymmetrical?
Wilson: Hm.
Tim: How d’you spell that?
Wilson: Let’s just say one-sided. You see Tim, by nature, men are problem solvers but Jill didn’t want you to solve her problem. [Tim comes over to the fence]
Tim: She didn’t?
Wilson: Oh, no, no. She just wanted you to listen while she shared her feelings.
Tim: Just stand there and listen? W-wouldn’t, wouldn’t that be like not doing anything?
Wilson: Sometimes the best thing you can do, Tim, is nothing.
Tim: [Grunting] Oh. Jill got mad at me because I didn’t listen to her!
Wilson: No, I think she got mad at you because you blew up the damn dishwasher.

Script excerpt from The Home Improvement Pilot Episode.
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Wilson used the word asymmetrical to explain to Tim what was going on, Wilson gave definition but did not stop there. Defining what is going on helps but it is and should always be a starting point for humanity. I think about gender when I think about definition and why do certain parts of the population fail to recognize more than two genders.

Defining a person gender is difficult primarily because a gender is a social construct not a biological one. Society and roles in that society determine ones gender not their sex at birth. There are within the North American culture about 68 genders. Gender is how a person identifies within a culture and it matters because identity matters, it is part of who you are. I was born at a time when people born with male sexual organs were assigned a male gender and people with female sexual organs were assigned a female gender. This mattered because as the male or female grew up they were demonized for participating in acts that were designated for one gender or the other. Only men work outside and act as protectors and only women wear makeup and play with dolls and cook and clean.

Defining gender helps, however only defining gender can hurt. We need to know why you or I are the gender that we identify with. Often when we do a self review we find that we are not the gender we were assigned at birth.

Understanding the why is important we could all do well with our own Wilson type of neighbour and friend.

Is it better really?

Prior to joining the military I was unfamiliar with the expression., “if you are not 15 minutes earlier you are late”, I was however very familiar with the expression, “better late than never”.

Is it really better to be late to something than never show up at all? I think the answer is always yes. Of course it is. Why is it better to be late than never? That is a better and more layered question.

Being late to a function brings judgement to others that were on time or early to the function. One thing that is almost always considered when judgement is past is intention of the party being accused, ie john wasn’t late for his appointment he simply didn’t show at all, he obviously doesn’t care about this appointment at all. When we arrive even if it is late we show that we did care and intended to make it to the appointment.

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What effort is applied when we simply abandon a pursuit? No effort right? You quit when you do not show up at all versus showing up late. Quitting is not good. I know that there seems to be a movement now called “quiet quitting” and quitting seems to be in style but it is bad to quit. Rest is fine and often needed but if you are doing something good you should never ever quit.

Survival can be summed up in three words — never give up.

Bear Grylls

Change direction, but never give up. Rest but never give up. Regroup but never give up. When you simply do not attend something you have given up.

What happens now? I have been a basketball fan since my father put a hoop up in my driveway. Love watching playing and coaching basketball. Basketball is played in 4 quarters and many analyst of the sport say that the 1st and 4th period of a game have 80% of the action in them. of the 80% 60% is usually in the 4th period. If you simply miss a whole game you will miss 100% of the action if you are late you may still participate in 80% of the action. Sometimes the best part of an appointment happens later than the start.

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Finally never doing something is not trying and trying is important for a person’s mental health. Trying something healthy is important for someone’s mental spiritual and often physical health.

So Is it better to be late than never? Absolutely it is but it is best to be on time, but if you are running late be sure to still arrive and arrive safely.

Once you realize this…

I was working at a job that I enjoyed, however promotion was not on the horizon for me or my colleagues. The inability to rise in my role compelled me to look for other opportunities, I applied for a role that had what seemed like a clear career path. I was called in for an interview and told by one of the hiring managers that the interview went well. This was the day after the interview, three days later the same hiring manager let me know that the company went in another direction. I was not devastated but felt rejection and was surprised at how much I felt. I thought about how I could’ve interviewed differently and what questions I may have gotten wrong on the interview. Honestly, I was a little surprised at how much rejection like that affected me, then I read an article that had an excerpt in it. The excerpt explained what it meant to surrender the outcome, and just how powerful this was.

We cannot control many things, I could not control the way that the hiring managers at the software company looked at me and my resume and experience. Understanding that helped me deal with rejection. Now I take a moment and review all situations to understand what is in my control and what is not. That is what surrendering the outcome means. When you surrender the outcome you understand what you can control and focus on that. The outcome matters less than the journey to get to that outcome.

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I coached little league and I would tell the players that, “win or lose doesn’t matter what matters is how we play the game.” This is a lesson I myself learned early on in life but quickly forgot as I grew up. I became more concerned with the outcome in the form of a paycheck or praise promotion and recognition. I lost focus of what was in front of me and what I could control and moved it to things I couldn’t control like the perception of myself in others and their recognition.

This year is a good time to teach ourselves that, we can only control what is right in front of us and we are foolish when we focus on things that we cannot control. Three things we can control are

Mindset

Be positive

Attitude

Treat others well

Actions

Work Hard

Make it count

It is January 2nd 2023 here on the east coast of the United States of America. Happy New Years!!

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I have asked a few people now tow questions. Did you make new year’s resolutions and if so what are they? My wife wants us to travel more (loved that answer). Others want to get in better shape and many do not make resolutions. When someone tells me that I always ask why and the answers seem to fall intoone of two categories.

The first category is one of resolve versus pragmatism. Those folks understand that they may want to change but will not change. In this case I would argue that the want is not sufficient and perhaps a good resolution this year would be to find motivation. Last year I heard some many people speak about the why. There was a book written by Simon Sinek in 2011 titled “Start with The Why”. The book is for leaders and deals with inspiring the culture of the work place were that leader works. For anyone who lacks motivation I encourage you to look into the works of Simon Sinek as well Eric Thomas and Les Brown. These guys can help get you motivated, some of the biggest fires in the world were started with the smallest sparks.

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The second category one of significance of the date Jan 1st. The argument is that Jan 1st is just another day. I find this argument a little more interesting than the prior one however at it’s heart it is also a matter of motivation. I was very young when I first read and was confused by the phrase;”today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Really confused.. My birthday was the first day of my life, not today however the rest of my life was something new and different. After sorting out what that meant I felt empowered. The silly turn of phrase empowered me and gave me hope. Everyday I was able to look at it as a new slate carrying forward my knowledge but also looking towards new accomplishments. That phrase put me in the mindset of growth.The growth mindset is one in which we make our seconds, minutes hours and days count. The days are not arbitrary and meaningless if we use them. Days spend building bonds with family and friends become meaningful and future loving memories. Days that are spent learning and building are days that bring reward and satisfaction.

If you haven’t already make those resolutions and if you have hold your head up hgh because this year 2023 will be an awesome one for you!!

It’s that time of the year

I love sharing on this blog.I really do. I am not the best writer in the world and this post gives me some much needed exercise. It is good to be consistent and reliable and I try to write at least one post on every workday however it is also important to take some time off.

Time off is good for rest and recovery. Here in the United States there seems to be a large amount of our citizens that are workaholics. Did you know that average worker in the United States works 1 767 hours a year? Now the rest of the world averages 1 687 hours. What is 100 hours? That is almost 2 and a half work weeks. What is 2 1/2 work weeks? that’s two on week vacations and one half a week vacation a year. Or two one week vacations and some days off for health.

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Vacations give us time to increase mindfulness, heart health and reduce our stress. It is important to take vacations, and we all should do it. That being said I am taking a break from this blog.

Again I love posting here everyday but I will not be posting here until the new year 2023 baby!! I may do some reposts though. WordPress is full of some amazing talent and that needs to be shared. (we will see about the reposts)

Thanks for all the likes, the comments and the shares this year. I love people, espically amazing ones like all the people who read comment like and share this blog.

Happy holidays everyone. I will see you next year!!

Purpose

I was in my twenties, I had just gone through a pretty rough divorce, and I was dealing with what being a single parent meant. Honestly I felt a little lost. My mom gave me a copy of a book called “The Purpose Driven Life“. The author of the book explains that no lives are accidents all lives matter and the creator of the world has plans for those lives. What then are the plans? One major part of the plans involves service to others.

Everyone has a purpose in life and a unique talent to give to others. And when we blend this unique talent with service to others, we experience the ecstasy and exultation of own spirit, which is the ultimate goal of all goals.

Kallam Anji Reddy

Last month my wife and I went on a road trip and we visited the towns that i grew up in. It was interesting and tough. Towns i remembered as vibrant and full of life were empty and dead. I wondered how this could happen in such a short time and I realized that it happens when community breaks down and at he heart community is people helping people.

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The world is an incredible place however it can be inhospitable and cruel and when we do not fulfill our purpose which is helping others, we become cruel and the world can grind up and kill a community in a very short time.

Helping others can be exhausting but we should never quit doing it. Because it is exhausting we should also take care of ourseles and ask others for help when we need it.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm… As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands. One for helping yourself, the other for helping others

Audrey Hepburn

Take care of each other and yourself.

Chasing Rabbits

Yesterday, I posted a tweet on Facebook. Someone on Facebook argued against the tweet’s argument. Foolishly I tried to explain what the Tweet meant and why it had merit. Then I began to chase rabbits concerning arguments and the reconstruction of arguments. I read about premise conclusion, logical structures and critical thinking. While chasing rabbits I thought about public discourse and the pursuit of knowledge. I also thought about how often we can seem to get nowhere in society when we cannot agree on truths that seem to be evident.

There is a movie called “Don’t Look Up”. In the movie there is a meteor coming to earth, it is a planet killer and there is a debate in the public about the existence of the meteor. Immediately I would like to argue that society would band together and address this issue however there is currently some surprisingly large population of the public who do not believe that the world is experiencing climate change 10 % of Americans. The United States is also responsible for 14% of the worlds carbon pollution. The United States is second in carbon pollution to China.

So what happens when we cannot agree on truth? Usually chaos. The problem may however not be with how the truth is presented but maybe how it is received. Critical thinking is the process for Objective analysis and evaluation to make a judgement. One exercise that many people suggest for strengthening our critical thinking skills is the talk to a six year old exercise.

if you can’t explain it to a 6-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself,”

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This is a great exercise for me sometimes when I feel myself engaging in some overthinking. By explainng our positions to a six year old we may see where we have some lack in understanding and can focus our efforts on that.

So when you catch yourself in the middle of big problem just try explaining this problem to a six year old.

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How to

In his book “Outliers” Malcolm Gladwell goes over a study by Anders Ericsson. The study reviews musicians and their performance in the study Ericsson comes up with the “10000 hour rule”. Ericsson realized that all experts have one thing in common and that is practice and the number of practice hours to become an expert is 10000 hours.

The readers of Outliers dropped the book and started practicing. Some reached the 10000 hour limit and were not experts. Was the rule wrong? Not really. The authors of the study came back and made the rule more robust. That link will take you to the article but if TLDR the answer is that practice must be good and involve teaching and learning.

Every place that I have worked has had campaigns for charity, some of the campaigns allow employees to choose the funds that they can contribute to. When I review the funds I always look for funds that have low admin costs. This way I feel like money is more effectively being used.

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There is a new movement now though called Effective Altruism. Effective Altruism EA for short is a movement and a community.

Everyone wants to do good, but many ways of doing good are ineffective. The EA community is focused on finding ways of doing good that actually work.

excerpt from the EA website

The world is bad off right now, and can do much better. Governments are not picking up the slack and doing their jobs (which is to provide for the people that they govern). Because governments ar not taxing correctly (Billionaires pay less tax than the working class) and lack funding to provide for the welfare of the nation altruism is very important and often comes from the working class and poor. It is important to doante to charities that provide the biggest bang for your buck.

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Education always seems to be the key and this is no different. Know what your charities do and how they do it, if you can get involved beyond just writing a check. You will be helping yourself more than helping others and with education you will be effectively heling everyone.

What did it really cost?

When my generation gets a tear in their jeans or a stubborn stain on the sweatshirt more often than not that item of clothing is discarded and a new one purchased. Last year the average American disposed of 81.5 lbs of clothes! The idea of clothes that are thrown away is called fast fashion. The movie “The True Cost” is a documentary that lays out the fast fashion trend and just how damaging this is for the world.

Basically I can throw away and buy new clothes because I have never paid the true cost of fashion. My family and I ate at a casual dining chain restaurant and the portions were insane. We had way more food on our plates than we could eat. The price for the food didn’t break the bank either and it probably should’ve (it was a lot of food).

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There was a store that opened in downtown Amsterdam by a dutch non profit and the store had two price tags on the products. One was the market value and the other was the real cost. The real cost was markedly higher than market cost. How does this happen? There are all kinds of reasons we do not pay the true cost of something upfront. Some commodity costs ares subsidized other costs are pushed to other parties however, if you believe in synchronicity or the principle of correspondence you understand that everything is connected and we collectively pay the true price for consumption over time.

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What can we do then? simply put consume less and consume responsibly. Instead of throwing out a ripped pair of jeans consider mending them or having them mended. At a restaurant that serves more food than you can consume consider ordering less or splitting a meal.

Being a responsible consumer can go a long way but we must also educate ourselves. I had no idea textile waste was such a large problem. I will never throw away a pair of clothing again. There are places to donate clothes and ways to repurpose the clothes too. But you have to educate yourself.

Lets all be responsible educated and respectful.

December 2022: Waves — the Art of Practice

I am sending all the positive that I can muster to this writer. Very soon the waves will be off the hook and you will ride the point break.

Anyone older than a New York minute knows that bad stuff happens seems to happen in waves. There’s a year or three where everything goes ass-over-teakettle: skin cancer, fractured ankle, job loss, death of a beloved pet, divorce, heat wave/drought/flash flood, new wrinkles that you think are from sleeping hard on a creased pillowcase but […]

December 2022: Waves — the Art of Practice