Tag Archives: health

Defence Against The Dark Arts (Bullying)

DarkArtsDespite being a 41 year old man, I really like the Harry Potter movies and watch them regularly.  My wife would say that it’s because of Emma Watson but that’s not quite the truth.  The story itself is what draws me in.  It’s a pretty classic story of good vs. evil with enough twists and turns to make it unique.  I’m also very interested in young people and how they learn to find their way through the world.  Obviously completely fictitious but in parallel to the real world, one major failing of Hogwarts is to maintain a consistent Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher.  In that world, the imminent danger of Voldemort made that post important.  In our much less magical world, the danger does not come from a completely evil dark lord but rather other young people trying to find their way in the world.

Just prior to sitting down to write, I was watching the Today Show and their guests were the parents of the twelve year old girl who killed herself in Rockaway, NJ.  With an eleven year old son and many young people in my life, I truly feel for these parents as they’ve gone through the worst pain that a parent can bear.  That story is not fiction and no matter the result of the lawsuit, it will not end completely happily.

I do not believe that social media is inherently bad or evil.  It does create a loosely guarded gateway for evils to be perpetrated.  While most of the focus is on stopping cyber-bulling and the perpetrators, I’d suggest that young (and older) people need to learn how to defend themselves against the dark arts of bullying.  Let me say here, I am not condoning bullying in any way shape or form.  Schools and organizations need to respond to these types of actions.  Unfortunately the adults in a child’s life can only protect them so much.  At a certain point, a child (or adult) is going to need to know how to protect themselves; not just from bullies but from friends, strangers, rejection, failure and loss.  Knowing how to cope with and defeat these “dark arts” is crucial but rarely taught or even discussed.  The two best Defence Against the Dark Arts teachers were Remus Lupin and Harry himself.  Both were effective because they were practical in their approach.  They did not deny that their students might face dark times like Dolores Umbridge.  The beauty of the Order of the Phoenix is that students organize in order to protect themselves because they know that danger is out there.

InvisibleIn the real world, young people are increasingly living their lives in a virtual world where the perceived becomes as important or more important than the real.  So they are fighting in a world of perception when they are still learning how to perceive themselves.  If you know of someone who is struggling to manage the world, here are some starting points:

  1. Keep your phone/iPad/etc. in another room while you sleep.
  2. Do not log onto your device of choice for the first 30 minutes of your day.
  3. During that 30 minutes, take about 15 to do the following:
    1. Write down or think of people, things, experiences that you’re grateful for.
    2. Write down or think of the positive things that you’d like to have happen today (things that depend more on you than other people)
    3. Write down or think of the person you want to be in the future.  Don’t get caught up in the space between where you are and where you want to be.  Allow yourself to be in the future.
  4. After you’ve made these first 3 a habit, add in some form of body movement.  Enough to get your blood pumping above a resting rate.

The point behind all of these items is to focus your mind on the things that matter most to you before it gets distracted by the desires of others.  Decide what it is that you want out of your life/day before anyone else gets to add their input.  If you need a helping hand, my email address is pete@hurykunlimited.com.

Have a great day people!

Pete

Trauma or Possibility

LHVMarathonI had blood all over me.  I didn’t know where I was.  It was the coldest that I’d ever been in my life.  I couldn’t see a thing.  All that I could do was scream.  Luckily help was nearby and I was able to calm down.  It had been a difficult trial but I was alive and in the hospital.  Just when things seemed as if they would be OK, a complete stranger came along and chopped off a quarter of my penis.  All of that trauma happened in the first twenty four hours of my life.  Despite that very rough beginning, I’ve done quite well for myself.

This story is at least partially true for almost all of us.  We were all thrust into this world naked, afraid and unable to speak, read or write.  It is not something that we give much thought to because it happens to everyone.  However birth (or creation) is a messy and traumatic business by all accounts.  Not just the human producing ones but also the birth of companies, relationships, art or anything else.   There is always that starting point of conception that is magical and exhilarating.  Eventually that moment is replaced by some form of hard labor in order to get the creation out into the world.  Just because it’s painful, doesn’t mean that it’s not worth it.  The narrative of the present day is about safety and comfort.  Our world has had most of its sharp edges taken off.  While I’m all for vaccinating against the next Bubonic Plague, there are some struggles that are important for people to go through.  Not all pain is trauma.

As you conceive the next dream of where you’re going or what you’re doing, do a little pre-trauma planning.  Like a person that is preparing for a marathon, it is important to understand your “quit points”.  Quitting is not shameful if it is done for the right reasons.  A broken leg is a justifiable quit inducing occurrence.  Cramps are a nuisance to be fought through.  The difference between trauma and possibility is perspective and the next few steps that are taken.  Expectation that everything will be easy is a sure fire way to turn every problem into trauma.  Traumatizing yourself with things that should be expected is recipe for disaster.  Imagine freaking out because your newborn child couldn’t walk.  It’s a process not a fully completed miracle.  Take the possibility and run with it.

What You Wanted Is Here

SearsBefore Amazon, there was (at least in my world) the Sears Catalog.  It was a huge “magazine” that had just about every product in the Sears store.  It was a place that my brothers and I would peruse some time before Christmas to find things we wanted.  I remember that I always focused in on the guitars.  They weren’t overly expensive at the time and I fancied myself as a future guitarist.  Despite my desire, I never told my parents nor did I save up money to purchase one.  In hindsight, I really didn’t want the guitar.  I liked the idea of the guitar but if I had truly wanted it, I’d have found a way.

That’s the way that life really works.  Look down and look around.  For the most part, the things that you have are the things that you really want.  They are your musts, non-negotiables, have to haves.  People often think that they have wants but most of the time they have dreams or fantasies.  I have a fantasy of weighing 170 lbs again.  Unfortunately I don’t really want it.  If I did, I’d be there.  My weight is a direct reflection of my true wants: taste, dietary freedom, comfort food and convenience.  When I truly start wanting that ideal weight, I’ll take the actions that will get me there.  Until then, it’s not true.  I don’t want it unless it’s easy.

The things worth having are never easy.  Value is usually associated to scarcity or uniqueness.  This is a tough thing to remember in a life of convenience.  There are so many good things that are easily accessible that we bury ourselves in the good, foregoing the truly valuable because it’s inconvenient.  What you wanted is all around you.  If you truly want for more, you’ll find a way.  In five years will you be surrounded by more mediocre trinkets?  Or will you have something better?  In the end you’re going to find the ultimate thing that you’re looking for is that best version of you.  It won’t come easy and it’s not in a catalog or on Amazon.  So get what you want by being who you want to be.

Have a great day!

Pete

Other People’s Crap

dumbanddumberLiving with a teenage boy can be disgusting.  Having grown up in a house with three brothers, any one of us had the ability to make everyone else leave the house based on a bodily function.  We were delighted by our own disgusting-ness.  Since the offensive odor belonged to us, we were almost immune to it.  Eventually we all turned into civilized human beings but I’m sure there was some real doubt from my mother for a while.  I’m sure that most mothers occasionally envision their sons growing up to be lifelong bachelors.  Not by choice but by necessity.  Her grownup boy would be alone in a one bedroom apartment playing video games, farting and giggling.  He would be completely nose-blind to his effect on others.  Luckily most boys figure out their effect on others and keep their crap to themselves.

The things about other people’s actual crap is that we generally don’t have to deal with it.  It’s a private thing that they must take care of.  However when it comes to their figurative crap, it’s easy for you to see what they should do with it.  Think of it now.  All of the brilliant things that you’ve thought up for other people.  It’s a pretty pervasive thing.  I’ve worked as a garbage man where my coworkers had “great ideas” for the government, the boss, that CEO or the president.  The crap is so much easier when it’s not yours.

So maybe it’s time that you write down the solutions to that other person’s crap.  Write a nice little letter or email to Jane or John Doe.  Sending the message will be easy because their address (physical or email) is the same as yours.  You’ll be intimately aware of all of their issues because they’re the same as yours.  The letter is your chance to be separate from the issues and come from the outside perspective.  What would you tell a friend, colleague or loved one to do with your situation?  You’d know how to help them wouldn’t you?  Sit down, take the time to actually write out one problem and one solution.  DON’T FIX EVERYTHING AT ONCE!  Just one.  Start small.  There will be more crap tomorrow.  It’s not going anywhere until you do something about it.  Because other than your mom, no one’s cleaning up after you.

Get sponge and bucket!

Pete

The Championship Photo

ChampionshipPhotoIn this country and around the world Champions are lauded for their accomplishments.  Usually the scene of victory is filled with a trophy to be kissed, confetti falling, champagne popping and players/fans rejoicing.  The reason that this scene is so easy to recreate in one’s mind is that it is pervasive throughout sport.  Depending on the particular sport, one could be even more specific about the scene.  Regardless of which championship is one there is an invisible specter that is ever-present but has seemingly been forgotten by many who are watching.  The fruits of the labor are on full display but the labor often gets overlooked.  In a world where instant gratification is becoming more of the norm will we be seduced by the empty triumph of getting the small reward now or choose the labor that creates real results?  The answer is that both will happen.

There will be many people who get swept up in the power of the “Now Economy”.  They will take the short term rewards and overlook some of the long term consequences.  It is not a surprising phenomena that people take the easier path.  On a biochemical level, our reward system is easily seduced by the immediate regardless of its hollowness.  It takes time and training to override this system.

The greatest of all time were able to train themselves to be long term greedy.  Rather than giving in to the temptation of the moment, they put in the work now in order to reap the benefits later.  Often that was months or even years later.  The prize at the end may have been what drove them but the process of attaining greatness is won daily.

Each of us has the power within to choose.  There probably won’t be a championship trophy at the end for most of us.  Our accomplishments won’t be on ESPN.  It will almost all happen on the inside.  The triumph will be over self and circumstance with only a few fans (friends and family) there to celebrate.  Will you be able to hold your head high based on what you have done?  Or will you be looking down at the path of shortcuts that you took to run yourself in circles?  You have the power to choose and you’re choosing right now.  Choose wisely!

Pete

 

Your Part of You’re Problem

ObesityIt’s Mr. Baxter from 7th grade science class that started my tendency toward being a spelling/grammar Nazi.   Two times receiving a 99.5% based on spelling errors was enough frustration to get me to pay attention.  I fully recognize that language is a fluid and live thing.  Every day we can influence it for the better or worse.  Outside of church, very few people are using “thine” and “thou”.  These words have been morphed and replaced with their more recent counterparts.  Change is not my concern.  It is laziness and apathy.

Widespread education and technological advances have democratized access to knowledge and the overwhelming response of the public has been indifference.  There was a time in this country when only a select few could hope to become educated.  The huge supply of knowledge seems to have caused an equally huge plummet in demand.  While this lowering of expectation has happened in the realm of language, it is just as obvious in personal health, civic responsibility and many other areas of life.  As the challenges of life have become easier, we seem to be less inclined to meet them head on.  Instead we have found a degree of comfort in social proof.  If “everyone else” is holding a low standard, then it makes us feel that we are OK.

What if you were the one to hold the line for yourself?  Not to tell the world that it is wrong but to do what is right for yourself and those around you.  If you held the line on your health, your marriage, your relations with people or yourself; what kind of a ripple effect could you have on your family, community or even the world?  Even if no one else took up your particular cause, how would it feel to be the answer to your own problem?  Deciding for yourself, exactly what you would and would not stand for could be liberating.  Rather than looking at those around you to find the path of least resistance, you could look inward to find the strength to hack out a new trail.  Our world is filled with more possibility and less hardship than every before, so are you going to sit there and bask in the glow of what our forefathers built?  Or are you going to do your own work?  The choice is yours!  And that is probably the biggest kicker of all, we get to choose to step up or not.

So I hope that you find within yourself a desire for better than most.  Be a leader by doing first.  Utherwhys whee May knot bee aybl two reklame wut weave lust!

Make today better.

Pete

 

 

Biting the Cow’s Ass

GalileoIf you go to a fine restaurant and order a steak, you will probably enjoy a fine meal and receive no side-ward glances from anyone.  The location and timing are everything.  On some level you must realize that months earlier, that steak was part of cow.  If you got dressed up, went out into the field and bit the cow’s ass, you’d definitely get a reaction especially from the cow.  There’s a place and time for almost everything.  Getting that combination right is the difference between being cheered and ridiculed.  To a certain extent, Galileo was considered a “cow-biter”.  The things that he was saying and doing were so far ahead of their time that no one understood them.  He was even excommunicated from the church for his beliefs.  People were not ready to hear what he was saying because they were too invested in their worldview.

The entire world is never going to cheer or ridicule you but it feels that way when those close to you do either.  In order to become the best version of yourself, you will need to change some things.  While some may be subtle, others may be drastic and misunderstood by your “world” (friends, family, colleagues).  The people close to you are invested in who you are now.  That better version of you is something that they might not be ready for.  Your actions may force them to see things in themselves that they do not like.  That’s not your burden to bear.  It is your job to decide if you’re a cow-biter or Galileo.

Can you see a future that you want to create for yourself?  If you’re a true believer in that future, then don’t worry about the people who think you’re a cow-biter.  They are invested in your yesterday and you’re using today to build a better tomorrow.

Sink your teeth into today!

Pete

 

Your Life in Sexual Terms (Uncomfortable content, you’ve been warned!)

strawberryIt’s a longstanding phrase in advertising, “Sex Sells!”  It sells things that have nothing to do with it whatsoever.  Sex or the perception of sex has been used to advertise cigarettes, alcohol, deodorant, shampoo and so much more.  The reason is that it works.  If someone is able to link your desire for sex to their product, they’ve increased their chances of making a sale exponentially.  So with this all in mind, I’m going to try to sell you on your best life in sexual terms.  This sales pitch will start with the less desirable and move up from there.

Rape – Acting on your desires without any thought to the impact or desires of others is rape.  You do things that you know are wrong but you just don’t care.

Fantasizing – All of the action happens inside your head and stays there.  It’s perfect because it’s all imaginary.  You can have anything that you want and be exactly how you want to be but in that moment, it’s just you ALONE!

Masturbation – Desire with a little action is masturbation.  You’re one step up from fantasizing.  You’re actually doing something that will produce a result.  But let’s face it, you’re still alone and you’re still not doing what you really want to be doing.

One Night Stand – You’re another step up the ladder!  You’ve gotten that thing that you’ve been hoping for.  This is a good sign but you know it’s basically meaningless.  A temporary band-aid over the bigger desire that you have.

Porn Sex – You’re doing something like what you want but you’re mainly showing off.  You know there’s an audience and it’s obvious that this isn’t who you are.  Once the spotlight is off of you, you’re going back to your normal life and it’s not as glamorous as you want it to be.

The F*#% Buddy –  This is a comfortable situation.  It’s meeting a good number of your desires and regularly enough that you don’t feel like you’re going without.  It’s a good place to be but you know it can’t last forever and you’ve got needs on other levels that aren’t being met.

The Committed Relationship – This is where you want to be.  It’s good for you and good for the people around you.  There’s a compounding return on the weeks, months and years that you’ve put into this.

Now that we’ve defined the terms, let’s apply them to an area of one’s life.  Let’s use personal fitness.

  • A person who does not care about their fitness at all is raping themselves.  Over and over acting only out of desire and never thinking of consequence.
  • A person who sees fit people and thinks about how they could be or used to be is just fantasizing.
  • The person who joined a gym but never goes or goes only when they feel like it is masturbating.
  • Training for and running a 5K is a one night stand.  It’s not going to last.
  • Entering a fitness challenge at work is porn sex.  Without the spotlight, it’s just not happening or at least not to the level that it is.
  • Personally I’m in a F*#% buddy relationship with my fitness.  I do it when I feel like it.  I’m not committed to it.  It’s convenient but not committed.  I’m missing out on all of those connections that would take it to the next level.
  • The fit person is in a committed relationship.  Not particularly to the type of exercise that they do but rather to their body.

Apply these labels to any area of your life.  It could help you to realize that you’re raping your career and you really don’t want to be anymore.  No matter what your situation this is a tool to help you examine where you are and where you want to be.  ENJOY!

Pete

If you’ve got suggestions for other possibilities, leave them in the comments.

 

The “Gymcensus”

gymmirrorIt’s January 9th and the gyms are getting less crowded by the day.  The “Gymcensus” is almost over.  With the holiday season having just ended, the story behind Christmas should be in mind but I’ll recap just in case.  The story of Christmas starts with Joseph bringing Mary, his betrothed, to Bethlehem to be counted for the census.  Due to the large influx of people, Joseph and a very pregnant Mary were forced to stay in a stable because there was no room at the inn.  In that stable Jesus was born.  Then he and his family had to flee in order escape the wrath of King Herod who intended to kill the child.  Now we have created the modern equivalent.

The Gymcensus is a slightly skewed reenactment of the story of Jesus.  After the holidays, all people who want to believe that they will be fit this year must travel to a gym.  They must go as often as possible during the first few weeks of the new year in order to be counted in the Gymcensus.  Since it is so crowded and there are a limited number of elliptical machines, people are forced to lift weights or run.  At that point these people must flee the gym because they are afraid that exercise might kill them.  Either that or they flee from their friends that they told about the gym commitment because they cannot face their “failure”.  While this depiction of a New Year tradition may be comical, it does not need to be so pervasive.  Most gyms give you the tool that you need in order to stay through the census and actually become more fit.  That tool is the mirror.

The mirror is an underused tool in and out of the gym.  In all honesty, the trip to a gym is completely unnecessary.  The main action that needs to happen is to look in the mirror and come face to face with your opponent.  Once you have looked your opponent in the eye and sized him or her up, you’ll have a very good idea of what he or she is capable of.  Then all you need to do is beat your opponent by 1%.  Perhaps I grazed over that too quickly.  The only person that you are competing with is you!  You just need to start by doing a little bit more than the lazy version of yourself would do.  If you do that, then you’ll gain momentum.  DO NOT COMPETE WITH A PICTURE IN YOUR HEAD OR A PHOTO IN A MAGAZINE!  You’re setting yourself up for failure by doing that.  Only compete with you, the you of today.  Don’t take part in the Gymcensus!  Use the mirror in your gym, bathroom or wherever to regularly challenge your greatest opponent to be better.  If you don’t, then no one will.

You’re not here just to be counted, you’re here because you count!

Jocko Willink does an AMAZING job of illustrating a more intense version of this lesson when he talks about the “man in the cave” in his interview with Tim Ferriss.  It’s worth a listen.

Pete

Delicious Poison

Princess Bride“I’ve spent the past few years building up an immunity to iocane powder!” -The Dread Pirate Roberts/Wesley

It was a strategic maneuver.  Obviously Wesley knew that at some point he would be faced with a situation where drinking poison would save his life.  However since iocane is odorless and tasteless, the experience was not done for enjoyment but rather protection.  If Wesley had been alive in modern or realistic times, he would have had a greater number of choices to kill Vizzini.  It just would have taken years and not moments to kill him using a soft drink, ultraviolet sun-rays, fast-food and stress-laden office job.  If you haven’t understood any of this post yet, stop everything and watch “The Princess Bride” right now!

Now that you’re back or never left, it should be obvious to most that our lives are full of possible poisons.  Some can be instantaneous killers.  Others take years to grab hold and choke the life out of people.  Why are we surrounded by so much poison?  Because we want to be!  We really don’t want the literal or figurative death that they carry but it is usually an unwanted side-effect to some deliciousness.   I use the word delicious to describe some positive feeling sensation associated with a negative action or product.  It does not specifically have to be a food/drink.

The delicious moment trumps the long term poisonous effect.  It is all over our society: food, drink, relationships, entertainment and the list goes on.  I’m sure that it is not impossible but it would definitely be difficult to go “poison free”.  So I would not ask that of anyone.  Since I mainly write this blog to challenge myself, the challenge that I lay before you and I is to give up two delicious poisons this week.  Tuesday (8/25) to Tuesday (9/1).  Leave a comment with your two and be honest with yourself and me if you drop the ball.  It’s not failure, it’s data!  You’ve learned something about yourself.  My two poisons are: Iced Tea and ice cream.  I also promise to leave a comment if I fall short.  People who know me will recognize the difficulty of this.  Can you give up Facebook, unnecessary cellphone use, your anger, that cup of coffee or cigarette?

“Never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line!  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” -Vizzini

Pete