Blogpost, self-reliance

Are You Hot Water This Week?

NO! The word “in” is not missing from the title. It is exactly as it should be and you need decide right now, if you’re only going to be HOT water this week. Hot water is useful but it is a few necessary degrees short of boiling. I’m not the first person to use this analogy. Boiling water happens at either 212 degrees Fahrenheit or 100 degrees celsius. Anything less than that is just hot water. Boiling water gives off steam which has powered locomotive engines in the past. It is a separation point between ordinary and extraordinary. That little bit extra, one degree even can make the difference.

Water has no choice! If it is put into the right environment, it will comply to the demands of heat that is put beneath it. Humans are quite different. We have to give ourselves permission to boil most of the time. Each of us have a set of criteria that will create that extraordinary behavior. It is most likely different for the varied areas of your life. Regardless, let’s revert back to the original question. Are you just hot water this week?

The time to decide is now. If you wait until the moment, there is a good chance that you’ll come up short. You’ll be missing some key ingredient that will give you those all important final degrees. Set yourself up to boil now! You know who you are and what you need to succeed in almost any area of your life. Draw up a plan and then put it into motion. Have the mental, physical and emotional components of extraordinary action put into place. That way when the moment comes, you’ll be ready to boil!

Fire it up!

Pete

Blogpost, self-reliance

Short But Not So Sweet

There are many things in our lives that we wish were true. Many that we hope are true. The others that we know are true. The other side also exists of things that we want to not be true. Let’s cut out the wishing, hoping and wanting for just a moment and get to what’s true true.

You are a contributor to 100% of your successes and 100% of your failures. No one else can claim that much influence on your life. You are an accomplice in everything that has happened to you. That trend is going to continue until the day that you die. At a certain point then the realization needs to be made that any complaints that you have about where you are, should be laid directly at your own doorstep. So if you like where you are, GREAT! Pat yourself on the back. If you don’t, then you need to change you because no one else has the amount of influence that you do. Get to it. Today! You can’t turn this ship around on a dime but you can do it!

You’re up!

Pete

Blogpost, self-reliance

You Have NO Choices, IF…

It was one of my favorite films from the 90s. Then Russell Crowe released a movie with the same name in 2000 and almost no one remembers “Gladiator” the boxing movie. The movie is set on the rough streets of Chicago where an underground boxing kingpin rules the lives and futures of several teenagers. Most of the kids in this movie have to deal with some real life problems. (Spoiler alert) Toward the end, the main character, Tommy, is put into a no win situation where he either fights his best friend who has a possible brain injury or his girlfriend is going to be hurt by the thugs of the boss. High drama! A young Cuba Gooding Jr. delivers a strong performance where he tells his friend Tommy that he’s got “no choice” but to fight despite his injury.

The movie is obviously taken to an extreme in order to make for a good story. Everyone’s personal conflicts come together on a collision course because that’s how it was written. Our own lives tend not to be as extreme nor lacking in choices. It seems as though we are making choices all of the time because we are bombarded by variety. The truth of the matter is that if you are making a lot of choices, it means that you have very few commitments. In order to get high level results, you need to take a lot of choices off the menu.

Fitness, academia, career, marriage, athletics, and so many other commitments demand that the number of choices that you have go down. The higher level of these outcomes that you want, the more that the situation requires specific actions rather than any action. So choices reduce down to “what needs to be done.”

I hope that this does not come off as preachy because I am actually writing this post to myself more than anyone. The desire to “do what I choose” in a few particular areas has led me to dislike the results. The truth is that my desire for choice has undermined my results and put into question my commitment. Although I am not getting the results that I want, those old choice patterns has lulled me into a sense of comfort. The fear of giving up the things that I want right now is winning the battle against the desire for the things that I want in the future. At some point, it comes down to a commitment to the end product and therefore the path become extremely clear. The choices just disappear because the laser like focus allows for very little wiggle room.

Decide what’s important. Then don’t choose because it should be obvious what you need to do next!

I’m talking to me but hope it helps you too!

Pete

Blogpost, self-reliance, SoccerLifeBalance

The New POSH Path

The POSH path has been relatively well defined for over a decade. They recruit “young and hungry” players from the lower leagues with a sprinkling of experience for good measure. Especially under Ferguson, those young players who follow “the POSH path” end up developing into good professionals. Usually they move on to the Championship or even the Premiership. It has been consistent enough that it is not a surprise. Players know it and so do owners/managers from other clubs. The unfortunate thing about the POSH path is that the players who follow it end up moving up the leagues while the team has been consistently rooted to League 1. It could have been different but we cannot change the past, only use the present to create a brighter future.

Aaron McLean (jumping) congratulates Craig Mackail-Smith after he scored the winning goal for Peterborough during the FA Cup First Round game between AFC Hornchurch and Peterborough United at Bridge Avenue. Photo Credit Max Flego

Paths are caused by consistent foot traffic along the same track. Nothing will create a new path faster than crowd, in this particular case, a squad. The reason for the possibility of the new path is the academy players who are pressing their way forward to help blaze the trail. The young and hungry model is still in full force. However these young guns do not particularly see Peterborough as a stepping stone but rather their home. So moving to the Championship is still the goal but they’d rather bring their friends with them. Ferguson forecasted the direction of this journey before his last departure. Now all of the pieces are in place but as Morpheus said, “There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” POSH are in an ideal position to do what had always been the vision of owner, Darragh MacAnthony. They can get promoted to the Championship where they can keep most of their talent and stabilize at that level. That’s been the dream for over a decade. 2021 is a perfect time for the POSH and each of us to live into our dreams.

Even when the timing and ingredients are right, it can be difficult to break old patterns. After a certain amount of time, past results can seem like they are linked to the future like destiny. THE PAST IS NOT PREDICTIVE. The results of a moment ago have no bearing on the future. However our past can invade our future through our thoughts and action. Almost nothing else can hold us back from whatever heights that we want to reach. Our thoughts and actions need to be focused on the desired future rather than that unsatisfactory past. The path that will get each of us where we want to go is directly in front of us. We simply need to believe it, see it and then do it. One step at a time!

This year is a brand new opportunity for each of us. Whether you are a POSH fan or not, we all have the ability to tread a new POSH path. One that can take us to new heights. The other option to stay on the path that you are on. I am not here to judge. Only here to point out what is possible for those who are looking for a bit more. Today is a new opportunity. What are you going to do with it?

Up the POSH!

Pete

Blogpost, self-reliance, SoccerLifeBalance

Do You See the Goal?

The usual dimensions are eight feet high by twenty-four feet wide. That’s one hundred ninety two square feet of target. It’s no small thing considering a team of full grown men cannot cover it when standing shoulder to shoulder (depending on the width of the men). Despite the relatively large space that the ball has to pass through, goals are elusive. Games with three or more are considered high scoring. It is not so much the target itself that creates the challenge, it is all of the obstacles that stand in the way of the ball’s path. Ten normal defenders and a goalkeeper who can use her/his hands. The most talented goal scorers are worth their weight in gold. Their value eventually gets translated to their limbs but it starts with their eyes. They see the goal!

Ivan Toney shoots for Peterborough United. Photo by Joe Dent

At this point, a part of your brain is screaming “everyone sees the goals! It’s 192 square feet!” Unfortunately that’s what makes those goal scoring maestros so valuable. Most players do not see the goal. They see the defender, the goalkeeper, the disappointed face of their coach if they miss, the last three shots that went over, and so on. The vision that they have in their mind’s eye is not a clear path to success that they need to follow. Instead it is a neural pathway that is littered with past events or projections that they believe are partially related to a predictable future. Getting the ball into the goal would be a surprise rather than an expected outcome. The ability to believe in the newness of each attempt is a skill of extreme value.

Most people in the world aren’t trying to hit a perfectly visible 192 square feet. The area of their targets is much less defined and so are the defenders. However the greatest indicator of success or failure still resides in the mind of the person going toward the goal. Some goals are forgotten about because they’ve been mastered for so long. Tying ones shoelaces used to be something but now it is nothing. No defenders, no goal keeper, an open space to be hit with almost no effort. However that final exam, talking to that special person, starting that project: those goals are defended by giants. The goalkeeper is a jungle cat with hands. While the goalmouth itself is covered with well cemented bricks laid by a master mason. Or at least that’s what is represented in their mind. The truth of the matter is there are very few goals in this world that are completely defended.

The question truly becomes “Do you see the goal?” Not the entire general space but the little undefended area where you can get through. With your desired objective can you see past all of the obstacles and find the route to victory? Or can you build up enough desire and strength to muscle through the giants and the jungle cat and blast through the wall that stands in your way? Both are possible strategies but just like those maestros, first you need to see it. Then take the first step to get there. Even the simplest goals don’t score themselves. You need to act first!

Take aim!

Pete

PS Here is a video with the goals of Ivan Toney. He’s one of those special ones.

Blogpost, self-reliance

Level Up Your Hero Game

We all have a hero living inside of ourselves. The question is not whether it is there. Almost always the question is the type of hero and when does they show up. A hero is defined as a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. We all have that possibility within us but not everyone is willing to live the hero life. Let’s start at the bottom and work our way up.

The Stillborn Hero – Just like everyone else, this person has greatness within them but either don’t know it or choose not to use it. These are the saddest people to meet because it’s plain to see that they have more inside. They just can’t or won’t access it.

The Reluctant Hero – This is the person who will only access that higher level of ability when it is forced upon them. They don’t want to do anything special because it’s too much of a hassle. When the circumstances are right, they’ll save the day but they’d rather be in their secret hideout with their sidekick relaxing.

The Self Aggrandizing Hero – Although they do some hero work, they make it sound much bigger than it is. Saving a kitten from a tree somehow gets translated into saving the world.

The Mercenary Hero – I’m not completely sure if this is where they belong on the scale. However these heroes have great abilities that people recognize and laud them for. Unfortunately they come with the understanding that they’ll get compensated for their hero work. They’re not a sucker. The skills that they have are not for free.

The Small Time Hero – This may be my favorite type of hero. Their contributions to the world are nothing spectacular but they consistently show up to do that which is required of them. They save the world one person at a time but do it in stride. They don’t think of themselves as heroes but they definitely are.

The Super Hero – This is the one that we tend to make movies about. While there are no supernatural abilities being thrown around, these are the people that we remember forever. They give something of themselves at such a level that they inspire other people to be a better version of themselves. They might get compensated for what they did but that’s not why they did it. They acted out of selflessness, patriotism, or any other noble cause.

All of these levels of hero have their flaws. Even the super hero in the real world has an addiction to chocolate or some other vice but they act as a hero enough for us to notice.

Each of us is on this spectrum someplace (or maybe I missed some in the middle). Regardless of where you stand at the moment, do your best to level up! There is nothing wrong with staying where you are but if you didn’t notice, the world is hurting at the moment. The world could use a few more heroes. It doesn’t need to be every moment of every day. You can do your hero work in fits and starts. Do it at times where no one expects it. So as you go through your day today, look for opportunities to HERO UP! They’re all around you. Don’t wait for a spotlight in the sky because that’s impractical. Keep your eyes open for the people who need your special skill because they are out there. Villains can take care of themselves, the heroes need to step up for one another.

HERO UP!

Pete

Blogpost, self-reliance

100 Choices (Base Hit Mentality)

Most of us are not dealing with nuclear physics on a daily basis. Our decisions are not all that difficult. For the most part, we know what to do. Given the choice between drinking a Coke and a glass of water, we know which is the right one for our health and wellness. However we often make the wrong choices in many situations because we are overwhelmed by the emotion of the moment. Despite knowing the right answer, we make a choice that does not support our best interest.

Although the number is most likely incorrect, let’s say that you make 100 choices in a day. Most of those choices are not unique. They are the same choices you had to make yesterday, last week, and last month. It is more than likely that you’ve chosen the same way consistently. That consistency is great if you’ve selected the right thing over and over again. It’s digging you a hole if you’ve made the wrong decisions, perhaps literally.

More often than not, change is difficult because the emotion of the moment is too much for us to counterbalance with our will. So we stay the same. I’ve estimated a number of 100 choices in a day. Again, it’s probably not accurate and it would be a HORRIBLE idea for you to try to adjust even a quarter of those at once. So I am not going to suggest that at all. The plan that I am going to suggest is start with identifying.

Take some time today to identify as many choices as you possibly can. From what you have for lunch, how you treat members of your family, when you wake up, what you watch on TV, what you do when you have free time. Here is a starter list for you to build from. After you have this list, write down the choices that you are getting right. Then pat yourself on the back or whatever congratulations you feel appropriate giving yourself. Remember that you’re not perfect and whatever you’re getting right now is a foundation.

Once you’ve identified your foundation, look at the remainder of the list and start writing down the ideal choices that you should make. Don’t worry about changing any of them just yet. Only write down the option that would be best for you, your life and your goals. Once that is complete. Choose three that you are going to focus on for the week. Set yourself up to win. If it is a change in your lunch choices, then program a reminder into your phone for 15 minutes before lunch. If you’re trying to use social media less, put those apps in a folder on the third page of your home screen. Set up rules around when it’s ok to go there. You know you. So you know which ones need changing quickly. Don’t be afraid to go there because it is in the service of you. You deserve the best version of your life possible. Now you get to decide what is important to you in your choices.

Hopefully by doing this exercise, you get some clarity on the fact that you can control the moment. Making decisions before they come up in the day is key. If you wait to decide about eating the doughnut when it is in front of you, the odds against the right decision are high. So think of this as your grocery list. If you have a list when you go to the market and stick to it, then you can be efficient about your purchases and get it done. If you have no list, then you wander around the aisles and pick up things that you really don’t need. Choose what you want before the possibilities jump out in front of you.

The idea behind all of this is not that you’re going to hit home runs every day. You are aiming to hit base hits repeatedly. Although people may want the outcomes to be instantaneous and exciting, most of the things that we want for ourselves depend upon consistency. So you don’t need to swing for the fences, just aim for consistent base hits. That’s your winning strategy!

Have a great day or not. The choice is yours!

Pete

Blogpost, self-reliance, SoccerLifeBalance

The Offside Trap

Blunt honest, I’ve never been a fan. Although using the offside line to a team’s advantage is an extremely important tactic. Most teams that employ the trap tend to rely on it far too heavily. It is their defensive savior UNTIL it is their demise. From my perspective, defense is all about solving problems and neutralizing threats. The trap turns the multivariable problem of defending into a true or false question. Either the trap worked or it didn’t. When it fails, the team is engaged in the worst game of all, catchup. The success or failure tends to depend on doing one thing well or it all falls apart. The world that we live in is filled all kinds of multivariable problems that continue to get more numerous and complex.

Despite the fact that the challenges are more complicated than ever, we still seem to want the solutions to be simple. A drug exists to fix everything from short eyelashes to testosterone. The internet is full of people ready to tell you how to get rich quick. If anything is going wrong in your world, you can blame the politicians on the other side of the aisle. Despite the fact that these responses to the problems that we face may be convenient, they are not effective in the long term or come with dangerous consequences.

The trap is in thinking that the solutions are supposed to be quick and easy. Applying one size fits all responses to problems is bound to bite us in the end. This is all pretty obvious to say and probably to read as well but I know that I’m guilty of it. We want the world to simple but it’s not. And we want to always get things right but we don’t. The key to avoiding the trap is to stay proactive. Problems aren’t going anywhere and they’re not getting any simpler. Each day we can get ahead of our future challenges: communicate, learn something, don’t assume you’re right, take in differing perspectives, and don’t expect others to solve your problems for you.

The trap in soccer hopes for opponents who can’t break it and referees who will be in position to call it. That’s throwing away a large portion of the available influence on the situation. In life your opponents are going to be numerous and skilled, you need to be prepared for that. The officials in place are rarely going to be adequate. So you need to police yourself. The world is complex but I know you can handle it. Just remember, it’s always a trap!

It’s a trap!

Pete

Blogpost, self-reliance

Break Up With Yourself

A slap across the face, a bucket of tears, possibly even a few curse words thrown my way. These are all components of past breakups. Breakups are infrequently mutual, so at least one person feels like they are on the losing end. I’ve been dumped and I’ve been the dumper. Neither is particularly easy unless you have no soul. Despite the fact that it is hard, there are times when it is completely justified. Some people just don’t know how to treat another human being and it is time to say goodbye.

A breakup can be complicated by factors that make the connection linger. I once dated a coworker and that breakup made work difficult. Living together is probably the most complicated because someone has got to go. No matter what that sitcom with Pam from the Office might try to sell to you, living together after a breakup is no joke. However most people tend to live with the person who is most critical of them. Even worse, they can’t get away from them because that person is inside of their head.

It’s no surprise that the harshest critic is usually inside of our own head. That voice is usually a mismatched combination of different voices from our past mixed with our own self-judgement. Being self-critical is not difficult because we know our every shortcoming, fear, anxiety, embarrassment, etc. The issue is that neither party can leave. This is a true “til death do we part” scenario. As with any relationship, it’s possible to make it better but it requires the right communication.

How could you leave this good looking guy?

Since each of us has our own preferred way of communicating, it’s possible that one strategy will work better for someone than it does for another. My suggestion would be do them all and maybe increase the dose on your preferred way.

  • Write to yourself everyday. This doesn’t need to be a love letter (or maybe that’s a good idea) but it should be a positive narrative to you about yourself. Give the positive reinforcement that you would extend to someone that you care about. Also give thanks for all that you are and all that you will become. That’s right! Give thanks for things that have not happened yet. Keep it in the near future but still project outward from where you stand.
  • Tell yourself positive things. Again, this is a difficult thing to do when you’re on autopilot. So use that technology in your pocket for a better outcome. Record yourself talking to yourself in a positive manner about where you are and where you’re going. You may need a script and summon your inner actor to say these things with some emotion. Don’t say it monotone, like you don’t believe it. Put some feeling behind it. Once you’ve recorded listen to it twice or more per day. Ideally the two times would be right before bed and as soon as you wake up. However you may be embarrassed doing this with a roommate etc. Put in your earbuds and hear what you have to say.
  • Break the cycle of abuse. If you have a habit of using abusive language with yourself, inside of your head or out-loud. The first step is to get that voice to stop or at least detour it. Pay attention to the common phrases and when they come up. Practice thinking the negative thing and attach the inverse. For example if the habit saying is “I’m so stupid.” Flip the script by thinking the “I’m so stupid” and saying “when I’m not being brilliant.” Saying something out-loud gives it more power. The mixed message should scramble your brain a bit. If you’re also doing the other work, it shouldn’t be long until you’re talking to yourself differently.

I suppose I lied to you a bit with the title. You’re not truly breaking up with yourself. More than anything you’re training yourself on how to be a good roommate. If you want to stay in that abusive relationship for the rest of your life, then by all means stick with it. My guess is that if you’ve bothered to read one of my blogposts this far, you’re not going to stand still. You see the potential inside of yourself but also see the ways that you’ve held yourself back. Take off the anchor and propel yourself forward.

You can do it! I believe in you! And you should too!

Pete

Blogpost, self-reliance, SoccerLifeBalance

Neither Batman Nor Jüergen Klopp

Notice a simple fact. Robin did not name himself Batboy nor Batman Jr. Even when Dick Grayson rebranded himself as Nightwing, it was partially to come into his own. Only when he took over the role of Batman, did he also take on the name. In a fictitious city with fictitious people, a young man understood the need for him to separate himself from him his idol, mentor and hero.

Despite the fact that I am a fan of heroes (super or otherwise), there needs to be caution used by us mere mortals who idolize them. The role of the hero can take on several possible forms. Depending on the circumstance, they can also be counted upon to save those in distress. They can also give us a model to emulate in some way. Both of these roles of the hero have their place in real and fictitious worlds. The onus needs to be on the fan to wear her/his own metaphorical cape.

Although heroes are most well known for saving people, that role creates issues. People who are unable to save themselves are victims. Relying completely upon a hero to save you continuously (Louis Lane) is a strategy that encourages weakness, inaction and dependence. Most people are smart enough to avoid this trap. The perils of the real world for most people are also less sinister than that of a superhero. The supervillains are not around every corner.

Being a model to emulate is a powerful function of the hero. The issue here is that everyone is fallible. Even the superheroes within comic worlds have their foibles. More importantly, no matter how perfect of a model any hero might be, you will never be them. Regardless of your attention to detail or persistence, transmission of consciousness into another body is even hokey in the comic world. So watch YES! Learn YES! Emulate SURE! Worship NO! Deify UH UH!

Coming back to the real world and in particular the soccer world, there are plenty of players and coaches to choose as heroes. On the coach side of things, Jüergen Klopp is the flavor of the month/year. If you chose to do so, you could study all of his interviews, strategies and possibly get into his mindset. You could even get JK screenprinted onto your jacket, hopefully for JUST KIDDING. Despite all of that effort, no matter what you cannot be him. It’s an interesting question to ask, “What would Jüergen Klopp do with my U10 girls team?” An even better question is “What are you going to do with them?” After all of mental posturing that we might do in relation to our heroes, the equation always ends with you being you. All of your thoughts and actions get syphoned through the person that you are.

So rather than spending too much time trying to be someone else, envision the best version of you in the future. Like Serpentor from GI JOE, take the best from your heroes and develop a new version of yourself. As you progress through the process of becoming a better you, remember that you cannot be Jüergen Klopp but maybe you can replace him. That’s a better goal to have because it keeps you in the picture as you. You cannot be Batman nor Jüergen Klopp but you can take pieces from either in order to be the best you.

Be your own hero!

Pete