Blogpost, self-reliance

Repeat Yourself, Continuously

As a father, it is almost my sworn duty to tell dad jokes. My grandfather was a well known joke teller in his neighborhood and the family. Most of the time when he would start telling you a story, you weren’t sure if it was the set up for a joke or not. Since his name was Pete, he would often introduce himself, “My name is Pete and this is my son, RePete.” He specialized in Polish jokes because we’re Polish by descent but he was always looking for new material. There were a quite a few that you would hear over and over again because they worked.

My grandfather, the joker!

Since we have so much choice these days, there is a desire for the new and unique. Despite all of this choice, I still find myself going back to the things that work over and over again: Shawshank Redemption, Knapsack and the Tim Ferris podcast with Robert Rodriguez. Predictability has its place in a world as volatile as ours. The important skill is being able to tell the difference between a track and a rut. The major distinguishing factor is that tracks lead someplace and ruts are formed because you’re just spinning your wheels.

So I suggest that you repeat yourself, continuously……..After you’ve decided who it is that you want to be. Consistency is a key to most endeavors. If you want to be a great version of yourself, that is going to require that you are a consistent version of yourself. Consistent action in a particular direction leaves tracks and people can understand who you are where you’ve come from. Unfortunately in our distraction culture, it’s easy to be led astray but the things that we believe are necessary tools. The latest thing is always going to be around because there’s always a new latest thing.

Even though he looked for new material, my grandfather knew which jokes worked because he had thousands of hours of experience. He didn’t recite poetry because that was not his thing except for that one about the guy from Nantucket…. But I digress. You don’t need to be all things to all people. You need to be you, everyday for the rest of your life. Make sure that it’s a decision and not an accident who it is that shows up.

Did I ever tell you the one…?

RePete III

Blogpost, self-reliance

Consistency to Comfort

The moment is forever burned into my memory. I was ten years old standing halfway up the hill that led into a wooded area that we always referred to as the “quarry.” My older brother, his best friend and another kid or two were all in a circle. Since my brother was involved this was an opportunity to do something with the “big kids.” I don’t remember the events that lead up to this event, nor anything that followed. The main memory is that it was my turn to try taking a puff off the cigarette that was being passed around. Although I had a variety of reasons to believe that what I was doing should be considered cool, my body revolted in a most violent way. I coughed, gagged and felt almost like I could throw up. That was the last time that I ever tried smoking a cigarette.

Despite the negative experience with cigarettes, I have the occasional cigar.

The combination of the human body and mind is amazing. As a united front, they can conquer almost anything including things that people would just refer to as reality. The key to the mind/body power is consistency. It has the ability to flip the natural script of any stimuli. The example of my first smoking experience is perfect. Other people had a similar experience but through consistency, took an uncomfortable sensation and made it pleasurable or even necessary. People put poisons into their bodies everyday and get pleasure from the process. Not because the poison is inherently tasty but because consistency can lead to comfort.

Many people and organizations have adopted the mantra “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” I’m not opposed to the sentiment especially considering the year that 2020 turned out to be. However this saying skips past the most important ingredient. Discomfort is not the goal, that can be self-flagellation or punishment if don’t haphazardly. The key is to be consistent. Consistently putting yourself into uncomfortable situations will bleed them of their power. For the past two years, I’ve been doing cold showers. They were difficult in the beginning but eventually the consistency of doing it everyday made them “comfortable.” By no means have the sensations of cold turned into warmth. Quite the contrary, the cold is still there in force but I am ABLE to find COMFORT in it.

The same is true of almost any stimuli that you encounter consistently. With today being January 1st, 2021, I thought it the appropriate time to draw attention to this fact. As people usually hope for change at this time of year, the ones who are successful will be consistent long enough that they feel comfortable with this new thing. There’s no magical potion that you can guzzle down to get the things that you want. It’s a drop every day until you can handle more. I inhaled too much smoke that first day and I’m glad I did. Decide what it is that you want and sip or inch your way forward.

This is the way!

Pete