Blogpost, self-reliance

Amazon Doesn’t Work Like The Amazon (The Balance of Being Human Today)

RightNowThe past was a simpler time in many ways!  There’s no doubt about it.  The complexity of the world has jumped exponentially.  Despite its complexity, human beings remain relatively the same.  The complexity is around us, not within us.  So it is possible to keep the effects of the world at bay if we remember that we are part of the “natural order” of things.  In most cases we act much more like animals than machines.  Despite this fact, we expect ourselves to work similar to machines or want results to show up machine time.

Our ancestors understood that the amount of time spent hunting was far greater than the amount of time spent eating.  This proportion is a natural occurrence.  Obviously there would be times when a quick hunt would happen but it could not be relied upon.  The same was true of the harvest.  While the farmers did less “intense” labor than the hunters, it was stretched out over a longer period of time.  Again the time and effort spent obtaining the desired outcome was far greater than the time enjoying it.  However these proportions were in line with expectation.  So people prepared and adjusted for them.  Now we live in the world of Amazon, INSTAgram, SNAPchat and Uber.

These services and other recent cultural norms are not bad if they are kept in context.  The separation of modern expectations from “natural” phenomena is the key component to surviving the complexity of our world.  Trust is not one click away.  Overnight shipping is not available on love.  Physical fitness is not dependent on an application but rather dedication over time.  Keeping the expectations for the enjoyment of results in correct proportion to the necessary inputs to obtain those results is the key.  This balance can be difficult for people to maintain because the call of the modern context is so enticing.  Why would you spend months going to the gym when you can swallow a pill?

My hope for you is that you’re able to see past the false advertising.  Many of the things that you want are not available “On Demand” and that’s OK.  If everything were as easy as one click shopping, it would cheapen the peak experiences of life.  Time, struggle, intention, effort, passion and so many more ingredients are the appropriate price tags for what is truly important in this world.  It is those people that keep in line with their nature as humans who will avoid the trappings of the modern world.  So go out there today and get whatever it is that you want but don’t click on “one day shipping”!  Enjoy the process instead!


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McBride It!

I was going to post this a few days ago but thought that it made sense to wait until Mother’s Day.  Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers out there!

McbrideIn the modern world, there is a certain leaning toward being self-centered.  The pervasiveness of selfies in the social media world sends the message, “Look at me, I’m special.”  While I truly feel it is important for people to believe in themselves, things that go too far to one extreme tend to become their opposite.  Too much of a lifesaving drug becomes poison.  Too much focus on weight loss becomes anorexia.  Too much focus on the self becomes narcissism.  The key to balance is a counterweight.  Brian McBride seemed to have that balance figured out perfectly.

Now I’ve never spoken to Brian McBride about this.  So I’m not sure if I am representing his thought process but here is my outside view.  Whenever he scored a goal, he would kiss his ring in a form of homage to his wife.  This is only one of many reasons why I respected him as a player.  At the moment when all eyes were on him, his thoughts were on the person who supported him.  At a time when people point to themselves, their own name or have elaborate celebrations; his were a welcome counter example.

Each of us should be striving for whatever we deem to be “success”.  That could mean so many things that formulating a list would take forever.  Regardless of your chosen endeavor, none of us can make it completely on our own.  We all require support, encouragement, love and so many other ingredients that come from our family and friends.  No matter how big you get, McBride it!  When everyone one is praising you for how great you are, take a moment to pay homage to the person or people who got you there.  It makes the victory so much sweeter when you have people to share it with.  Maybe it’s even worth it to thank them now, before you’ve made it.  You’re going to need them on the climb!

Have a great day!


Blogpost, self-reliance

Don’t Marry Your F#@% Buddy

FBuddyIt’s so obvious on one level.  A spouse is someone that you are supposed to spend most of your days and the rest of your life with.  So choosing a person that offers a one dimensional relationship is absolutely ludicrous.  It would make for a very long and difficult daily road because all of the other areas of your life would suffer.  The sex would be great but what do you do with the other 23 hours 59 minutes of the day?  Most likely that extra time would be spent trying to makeshift a life with someone who should have been a guilty pleasure but has become a daily burden.

This is a description of a very extreme situation that is probably not realistic to most people.  Almost no one marries their “f#@% buddy” because it makes no sense and few of us would make that foolish decision.  The reason is that it is such a big decision that it would usually get sorted out before the cutting of the cake.  Signs would be so obvious that either self-examination or friends would intervene.  But what happens with the small things?  Marriage is a big decision or at least is should be.  The small decisions might be the ones that sneak through almost undetected.

Each of us has them, the guilty pleasures that we love probably more than we should.  Ice cream, chocolate, Youtube,  beer, physical affection and so many more are pleasureful things in their correct amounts.  However when we “marry” them and make them a central part of our existence, they wield an unbalancing power.  Just like the fictitious marriage that seemed so obviously out of place, relationships with items and experiences can create a burden in the other areas of your life.  It’s easier to dismiss because it is not a person that you need to take home with you.  It’s a thing, a moment in time that you deserve and the consequences will be dealt with later.

So now it is up to you!  Are you married to one of your “f#@% buddies”?  Then choose!  You don’t need to break it off completely (unless you want to).  The key is to put this relationship into its proper context.  See it as it really is and not let it take over.  Then you are available to marry the things and experiences that you really want!

Have a great weekend!



Once in a Lifetime

Once in a lifetimeIn 2002 my girlfriend (now wife) and I went to a Fleetwood Mac concert.  We had a difficult time getting to the concert because she had a broken foot and was using crutches.  The general admission parking was at least a half mile walk to the entrance, so I ended up carrying her on my back for much of the distance.  As the diligent boyfriend, I wasn’t going to complain.  However at the end of the show, she insisted that we try to get a ride back to the car from security.  We were told to wait at the security station for the van to come pick us up.  Alongside us was an irate woman and her boyfriend, that were also waiting to be picked up.  Phrases like, “He can’t go out there!” and “This is ridiculous that we’re being treated this way!” were thrown about several times.  It became evident to me that I was sitting next to Billy Corgan.  Although the Smashing Pumpkins had broken up, I was still sitting next to a relatively important celebrity of the time.  Despite my realization, I kept quiet until after we’d all been picked up by the van and he and his girlfriend had departed.  At that point, I spilled the beans to everyone else in the van.

It is pretty likely that I’ll never get another chance to meet Billy Corgan.  I can live with that.  Even though I fumbled a chance to have a few minutes of conversation with a talented musician, it was OK.  I wasn’t prepared to have that particular once in a lifetime experience that night.  It was completely by chance.  Many of the events in our lives happen by chance and we need to do the best that we can with those circumstances.

The other “once in a lifetime” experiences are ones that we do by choice.  We seek them out and plan them.  Marriage is the most potent for me personally.  We spend years searching for this person.  Then we spend months planning the wedding.  After all of the research and planning, half of the people in the US get it “wrong”.  This is not a judgment that divorce is wrong or these people are horrible.  It is more of an interest in the story that they tell themselves before they decide.  Perhaps if we had a better story about this once in a lifetime event, we would not have fifty percent of people opting out.

The story that we tell is about getting married:  the party, the dress, the friends, the family, the cake and the honeymoon.  The story that we need to tell ourselves is about the journey through life with a teammate who is there to challenge us to get better.  Someone that we can rely on and can rely on us when things get ugly.  We trade the once in a lifetime experience of choosing a special person for the dream of a special day that’s supposed to carry us the rest of our life.

Life is a game of chance or a game of choice; so choose wisely.  Read the previous statement over and over again until it sinks in.  Basically every experience that you have each and every day will be “once in a lifetime”.  Are they the experiences that you are choosing?  Even if they are chance encounters, how are you choosing to deal with that chance?  In a life with basically no “redos” what do you choose to do this time?

Have a great day today!  After all it’s your choice.