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Five-O-U

50UThere are plenty of nicknames for the police.  The most common comes from the city of Chicago where the badges were made out of copper.  So eventually the name “copper” became associated with the job.  That of course got shortened to the word “Cop”.  Whether it is the fuzz, popo, Five – O or any other version, the code is usually developed by someone who is doing something wrong and trying to hide the discussion of the over-watching force.  So with all of that code in mind, it is probably time to Five – O – U.

In a combination of code for police and text speech, I’m suggesting that you police yourself.  It’s easy to put the responsibility onto someone or something else.  Police, parents, teachers, trainers, coaches and so many other overseers can be used to keep us away from our lesser self.  However the only person that is there 24/7/365 is YOU!  So the absolute best person to put on watch is you….”BUT THAT’S HARD!” I can hear it now.  The cries from the people that are only half committed scream through the silence of inaction.  Somehow we delude ourselves into believing that the time when we’re on our own counts less or not at all.  Those calories don’t count, the skipped reps or workouts don’t count, the lies that I tell myself or others about what I’ve done or not done DON’T Count!  This is at least partially true because in many cases our internal police have been asleep on the job for so long, they don’t even recognize the things that should count.

So the challenge has been put forth, Five – O – U!  Police yourself!  You’re the one who reaps all of the rewards and pays all of the prices.  If there are people who care more about your results than you do, take a long hard look at what you’re doing because there is an imbalance somewhere.  Remember that you can only control one person in this world and you should!

Make today great because you can!

Pete

Blogpost

You’re a Plane, Not a Helicopter!

takeoffI have a friend who has pretty strong anxiety about flying.  It’s actually not so much the flying but specifically the taking off and the landing.  Proximity to the ground is the cause for most of the anxiety because hitting it in some unwanted fashion would be a real bummer.  I’m not sure how she would deal with riding in a helicopter.  With the liftoff being so instantaneous when compared with a plane, I’m not sure if it would be easier or harder to deal with.  I’ve never been in a helicopter but my guess is that the sensation of it is very different.  Since I’ve never been in a helicopter, I just assume that most people haven’t been either.

Despite that fact it seems as though people have a generalized desire for the Helicopter experience in their lives and work.  The overwhelming feeling that I get (and sometimes have) is that success should require effort for sure but then you just lift off from there.  While I recognize this is irrational, it does not stop people from wanting it.  The lottery winner type story seems almost ingrained in our consciousness to the point that it overrides our rational brain.  So it is time to embrace the fact that we need a runway.  As humans, we’re generally not going to reach the heights of our potential in a “straight up” way.

As you go out into the world to make big things happen, realize that you need to build a runway.  Reaching the highest heights is difficult when you’re running into trees, rocks and walls.  You need to clear a path for yourself to take off.  This may take a finding a new location or lots of elbow grease.  Regardless, building a good runway is better for the process of your takeoff rather than expecting your plane to be a helicopter.  The world tends to work in specific ways, so lay the groundwork and eventually you’ll be “ready for takeoff”.

Enjoy your flight!

Pete

Blogpost

We Lived In Castles

castleAt certain point in history, in particular parts of the world, the wealthiest people such as kings lived in castles.  I’m sure many people have fantasized about living in a castle.  The fantasy probably does not mirror the reality of what it was like hundreds of years ago.  By comparison, the comforts of most of our modern day houses outshines castle living.  Castles were made of cold stone without heat or air conditioning.  Although they served as protection from the elements in some ways, there was no escaping the fact that survival was the order of the day and not comfort.

In the past month, I’ve challenged myself to take cold showers every morning.  This has been an eye opening experience for a variety of reasons.  Although I started it for a variety of health benefits, it has actually been the change in perspective that I’ve noticed the most.  The key to making it through the cold exposure is control.  Not control over the external world but control over the internal world.  Recognition of the discomfort that you are in and finding a way to become comfortable with it is a revelation.

WE LIVED IN CASTLES!  The wealthiest people used to live in a discomfort that we don’t really understand but they survived.  The human body, mind and spirit are actually set up to endure much greater discomfort than we put ourselves through on a daily basis.  The thing is that we’ve lured ourselves into the comfort trap.  We’ve trapped ourselves into a 10 or even 5 degree window of comfort.  It’s not the circumstance but rather our perspective on it that traps us.  We believe that we cannot handle the discomfort, so we live as if it were true.   The space between where you are and where you want to be is filled with the discomfort that you think you’re not ready for.  So the question becomes, do you want to live in comfort of your present life or in the castle of your dreams?  Neither of them requires your circumstances to change, the latter requires that you do!

Get moving!

Pete

self-reliance

The Boy Who Cried Wolf (Revisited)

BoywhocriedwolfCautionary tales like “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” seem to be less prevalent than in the past.  Perhaps that is just my perception or my own implementation of life lessons to my kids.  I remember exactly who told me this story and for what reason.  It had the desired effect.  In third grade, I would frequently “not feel well” in order to be sent down to the nurse’s office.  Once my visits became frequent enough, the nurse recounted the story of the boy who cried wolf.  My visits to her office became more legitimate.

Although the moral of the story is extremely clear, it might be worth a revisit because it could go further.  In the end, the boy gets hurt because the townspeople don’t believe him.  His dishonesty lead  to pain because it short-circuited the system that was intended to protect him.  While this moral has served me and countless others well, let’s go further.

The boy not only put himself in peril, he also robbed himself.  He robbed himself of the experience of watching how the townspeople dealt with wolves.  His deception was a short term diversion that took away his long term solution.  If he had been diligent in his duties, he may have seen that scaring off the wolves was something that he could eventually do on his own.  Developing this skill set over time could have saved his life in the future.

This revisited moral is possibly even more useful than the original now.  The world is full of alarms, warning devices and security systems that keep us safe from “wolf attacks”.  However with all of this “protection” are we going to be ready to act when things go sideways.  If we are always providing our young people with a “safe space”, will they know how to handle themselves when real dangers show up?  Hope is not a strategy.  Hoping that the systems in place will be enough to cover all eventualities actually leaves those on the inside helpless.  So don’t hope that nothing will happen, take steps to prepare for those possibilities.

Systems can be great and it is completely fine that we depend on them, until it’s not.  Following the credo of the Boy Scouts, “be prepared!”  You don’t know what is coming in your future but if you never consider what’s possible in either the positive or the negative, then you’re bound to be unprepared.    We’ve all got exactly one objective in life: FCO (Figure Crap Out!).  That’s it!  You don’t deserve a problem free life.  You can only create one.  Not by eradicating all problems but by preparing for so many eventualities that you’re never caught by surprise!

Get ready people!

Pete

Uncategorized

Obvious Words Now Intentionally Tattooed

Things are obvious until they’re not.  Then they become obvious again.  The world was obviously flat until it wasn’t.  Now it’s obviously round and some people want to go back again.  Obviousness is not a measure of truth but an accessibility to proof.  Meaning that the proof is so easily accessible anyone can see it.  The problem with the obvious now becomes that everything is now easily accessible.  Both the proof of the true and the false can be found with a few swipes of the finger.  Like a bank vault filled with half counterfeit and half legitimate money, it is no longer the receptical that matters.  We are going to basically the same place for most of our information.  It is our ability to discern the fake from the real that matters most.

zeusPersonally I am not interested in making my beliefs, your beliefs.  I put my words out there in the hopes that they resonate with some people, not everyone.  For example, I’m not sure that they exist but I think it would be really cool if there were people who still believed in the Greek gods like Zeus.  It’s obvious to me that those gods don’t work for me but for someone else, they may work great (provided they’re not hurting others).  One of the keys to this life is figuring out what works for you, not what the “best practices” or “top ten tips” are.  No one else can live your life and therefore no one else should.

Whatever it is that you decide to do, you need to OWN IT.  If you believe in it, don’t shy away from it.  The words that you say, especially to yourself are important.  They are almost important enough to tattoo on your body but make sure that first you tattoo them in your mind.  Obvious Words No Intentionally Tattooed!  Whether it’s a dream or a lifestyle or relationship, you must OWN IT.  Regardless of what the rest of the world wants.  Because the rest of the world is not your world.

Oprah Winfrey Network Internal Technologists was the original name that I had in mind for this post.  I’m an odd bird but my oddity is mine.

Thanks.  Make today your day!

Pete

Uncategorized

Be a M.O.M.

meaningI was heartbroken!  Disappointed!  Slightly angry and my self-esteem had definitely taken a hit.  It was 1998 and my best friend and I had just returned from a month in Europe.  The trip had been amazing!  Despite the US playing horribly, Schaef and I had enjoyed a great World Cup.  We had toured England, Spain, France and Germany seeing five World Cup matches along the way.  The only downside to the trip had been that my girlfriend and I were never able to connect on the phone.  Either we were traveling or she was working but we kept missing one another.  Then when Schaef and I got home, the worst possible scenario came true.  She was breaking up with me and was possibly seeing someone else.

After a month of pure joy, I was paying the price with pure agony.  My life had basically fallen apart.  I had lost my girlfriend, my place to live (we were moving in together when I got back) and my future (in my head marriage was the next step).  Now I was left with nothing and all alone to build things back up again.  As much as I would love for the theme song from Rocky to start playing in the background and tell you that I got myself right in about a week, it took about a year.  The details of my rise from the ashes are not as important as the recognition of who/what turned me into ashes.  The person who was responsible for my agony was me and the tool that I used to inflict it upon myself was meaning.

There are many things that happen throughout life.  Although some may have positive or negative connotations to them, most are subject to interpretation.  It is not particularly the situation that causes the most pain but the meaning that we associate to the event.  My breakup meant all kinds of things at the time.  It meant that I was worthless, hopeless, helpless, lonely, a loser and a bunch of other things.    It took time to gain perspective and put new meaning onto that experience.  It was freeing, challenging, educational and the best thing for both of us.  Obviously this all came with time but it didn’t need to.  That experience did not need to be so destructive, had I been a Master of Meaning (M.O.M).

At the time, life happened to me more than I influenced it.  For better or worse, the events of my life would happen and THEY made me feel good or bad.  This is of course nonsense.  The events of our lives can influence but do not completely control how we feel.  Any event can be made to feel like it is positive or negative based on the meaning that we attach to it.  A million dollars is nothing but currency with pictures of dead presidents on it.  How someone reacts to receiving a million dollars is based completely on the meaning that they attach to it.  For many it represents possibility, happiness and freedom.  For others it means obligation, mistrust and greed.  The meaning that we put onto any event is crucial to how we feel about our lives.  Our habits of making meaning will make our lives seem like it is heading in one direction or another.  Until we take our power to decide, we are at the mercy of circumstance.  That is a difficult life to lead!

What will today mean for you?

Pete

 

Uncategorized

Smeagol vs Gollum

In the movie “Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” is one of my favorite scenes from any movie.  It is a conversation that the character Smeagol has with his alter ego Gollum.  Peter Jackson and his crew did a beautiful job with the scene.  It was shot as a conversation between two people even though the two exist in the mind of one person.  Gollum is obsessed with reacquiring the power of the ring while Smeagol fights to regain his life from the grips of that obsession.  This scene resonated with me because at times I feel that type of conversation going on in my own head.

Inside of my head I have two voices battling for my attention.  One says all the things that I fear and want to avoid.  It not only points those things out but it also tells me that they are bound to happen.  The other voice tells me that everything is going to work out and that I have nothing to fear.  Neither voice is particularly right.  However believing the first paralyzes me and it was the one that I listened to most in younger years.  Believing the second has gotten me to do more than I thought that I could.

For a moment in the “Two Towers” Smeagol is able to banish Gollum from his life.  However he resurfaces later in the movie much like my own antagonist.  It is a battle that I know will most likely never be won completely.  However with each successive day, I find new ways to unlock myself and others from the paralysis.  The fear is not stronger but giving up is easier than doing what needs to be done.  So the combination of fear and complacency is a two headed monster that squashes our dreams for the future before we even begin.

Love you Dr. Knowles!

Pete