Tag Archives: questions

Desire for Perpetual Triage

ERUnless you are brought to the hospital in an ambulance, the first place that you visit is triage.  It’s the station where the severity of your injury or illness is determined in order to prioritize treatment.  Broken bones take precedent over upset stomachs and so on.  People who can wait, often do, for long periods of time in the waiting room.  However no one stays in triage for very long.  Once your situation is determined, it is time to move on to get the help that you need or wait your turn.  Triage is not an outcome!

This is so apparent when dealing with a medical emergency.  No one would forego seeing the doctor so that they could stay with the triage nurse longer to describe their situation.  However when it comes to our lives, many of us seem to desire eternal triage.  Describing the horrible situation that we are in with excruciating detail to friends, family, classmates, coworkers and even strangers.  Rather than doing something about the situation that we lament, we pile on more and more description.  The unfortunate thing is that many people seem to want to turn their paper-cut into a shotgun wound.  This situation is at the forefront today because it is Monday.  A day that many people dread because it is just too far away from the weekend.  Does this day carry with it any particular issue?  No, it is just the story that we’ve made up in our heads.

So here we are at the door to the emergency room.  What are you going to do today?  Spend the entire day describing your issues to the triage nurse in order to make your headache seem like a stroke.  Or check yourself for bullet holes and if you need real help, go get it.  Or most likely, you can handle this on your own/with the help of those close to you.  Describing the problem with more clarity is rarely the answer.  Moving forward takes action, no matter how small.  Clawing your way toward a destination is far better than hoping it will be attracted by the sound of your complaints!

Today is an opportunity, not a punishment!

Pete

Dropping the D Bomb

YodaSome people get very offended by particular four letter words.  Others use them so much that they cease to have any power whatsoever.  Despite their semi-taboo nature, the things that they represent are quite common place.  The teeth of the matter can be taken out by substituting a word.  It’s the word that makes it vulgar and repellent.

By contrast, the word “DO” has almost no connotation whatsoever.  It shows up in so many contexts that its meaning is somewhat of an afterthought.  When it’s not holding up space at the beginning of a question, do implies some form of action.  Therein lies the problem with this seemingly insignificant word.  People are not afraid of the word, they’re afraid of what it represents.  ACTION that will take them out of their comfort zone or cause them to face their inadequacies.  Do may only have half the characters of the four letter words but it has ten times the bite.  People are paralyzed by their do’s.

So just like the foul mouthed people who drop the F bomb way too much, the key to reducing the potency of something is to increase the frequency.  DO until you’re not afraid to do anymore.  Give it a shot!  Try!  (That’s right Yoda, I said TRY!  Go F#%$ yourself.)  Succeeding/Failing do not matter anywhere near as much as the feeling that you have about who you are when you unshackle yourself from fear.

DO today!

Pete

Walking the Dog of Life

IMG_3421
Photo taken while walking my dog this morning.

Life can often feel a lot like walking a dog.  You’re getting pulled forward by a force that you only partially control.  All the while, you’re carrying bag of crap that you’ve picked up along the way.  If you don’t ever look up and enjoy the scenery, this can feel like a huge chore.  However if you’re able keep what you’re doing in perspective, it can be a truly enjoyable way to pass the time.

Have a great day!

Pete

America Needs to SOCCER!

pulisicMost of the time soccer is a noun but today I’m going to use it as a verb.  Of course when you are creating a new word, it’s important to define it.  Here is my explanation of the term.

The action of “soccering” is not the act of playing soccer.  We already know how to say and do that.  And NO!  It doesn’t mean acting like you’re injured when no one did anything to you.  The action of soccering is the real life application of the virtues that are possessed within the game.  In soccer, players must make real time decisions about what to do, based on the stimuli that they take in from both teammates and opponents in order to achieve the outcomes of simultaneously reaching a goal while defending their own.  The soccer paradigm puts the impetus of decision onto eleven individuals acting as a collective rather than following the pre-scripted orders of an overseer.  Although positioning and style of play may be directed, principles and judgment are the main directors of decisions.

America needs to soccer!  It needs to take back the very impetus that this country was founded upon.  Regular people doing things as a collective that move us all forward and protect us against failing.   We need regular citizens who want to be self-determining within the existing system and help to influence that system.  At the moment we seem to be overwhelmingly passive and extremely willing to look for someone else to be accountable rather than looking to be responsible ourselves.

We can soccer by trying to improve our lives and the lives of those around us.  We can soccer by changing our perspective from a “they” to “we” mentality.  We can soccer by doing the right thing even if we know that no one else will notice but us.  We can soccer by deciding to take a chance on something that might not work, rather than doing it “the way we’ve always done it.”  There are so many ways to soccer but the thing about soccering is that it has to start with you.  You can’t tell someone else to soccer.  You can only show them how by doing it first and being an example.

Below is a long description of the historical paradigms where this thought came from.  If you are inspired to do something right now, then don’t read the bottom, act now, read later.

Why do I believe that America needs to soccer?  The historical successes of the United States have in large part been attributed to a football paradigm.  Land acquisition and forward progress are the hallmarks of the All-American sport.  In the past, both politically and economically, we have pushed forward in the name of progress and it has served us well.  Manifest Destiny is the perfect example. Presidents and other decision-makers laid out a playbook for the American people to score a touchdown on the Pacific coast.  Americans led the charge across the continent through wars and promised economic success, the way football players might listen to a play called from the sidelines.  The Space Race, the Arms Race, the Cold War and Industrial Revolution were all perfectly suited to the football paradigm.  So why change?

The reason for change is that the football paradigm is fundamentally flawed in a few different areas.  The idea of neverending progress is unrealistic.  At some point stock prices level off, profits decline and progress slows and stops.  In a paradigm that preaches forward motion as the truest indicator of success, it is not surprising that we have: insider trading, big CEO bonuses for bailed out companies and strategic layoffs to protect profits.  Individuals, companies and the government have all pushed toward their given marker of success whether it be money, land, power or prestige.  These success markers are not inherently evil or negative but their acquisition without thought to the human equation has created an imbalance in our perspective on success.

There are also the separations in the football paradigm.  The coach is the one who calls the plays.  The offense scores the points and the defense stops the other team.  Although all are members of the same team, it is easy to point the finger at another individual or group when things go wrong.  In the Industrial Revolution this system was completely acceptable.  Henry Ford brought forth the assembly line.  He took men who were making fifty cents per day and paid them five dollars per day because of his efficiency.  People were more than willing to be a cog in that machine because it was a better life than what they expected.  They were linemen but were happy to be that.  Now with modern technology and globalization that deal doesn’t work anymore.  That deal is being shipped overseas and no one wants to be a lineman anymore.  Everyone thinks they’re a quarterback and expects to be paid like one.

America needs to soccer because you’re part of the problem and part of the solution.  You’re on the field.  The decisions that you make on a daily basis matter.  The President, the senator, the governor, your boss, your wife, your children, your friends, your teachers are part of it all but so are you.  So before you point the finger, point the thumb.  What can you do today to SOCCER?

Thanks!

Pete

We’re All Pretenders

IMG_3059Kids pretend all the time.  They turn sticks into swords, a backyard into a jungle and anything has the potential to be magical.  Then as we grow, it seems to be trained out of us.  We tend to see ourselves in finite terms.  Our limits are not those of our imagination but rather of our circumstances.  We don’t consider the impossible or even the improbable because it has been trained out of us.  Pretending is child’s play and most of us consider ourselves too mature to do that.  The truth is that we’re all pretenders, we’ve just bought into a more sophisticated game.

If you have a dollar in your pocket, take it out and look at it, try to come up with another use for it other than to purchase something.  Possibly a book mark or it could be folded to straighten a wobbly table.  Thousands of years ago, someone came up with the idea of money and got enough people to believe in it, that now it largely runs the world.  At home I have some Ecuadorian Sucre coins and bills.  They’re worthless to just about everyone in the world because Ecuador stopped using the Sucre years ago.  New pieces are used in the game that they’re playing.

There are systems that have been put into place for decades, centuries or millennia.  Learning to negotiate within those systems is extremely important.  However you must always remember that we’re all pretending on some level.  I’m pretending to be a writer.  If I do a good enough job, more people will buy into that role that I’ve imagined for myself.  If I do a poor job, I won’t get to play that game anymore.

So since we’re all pretending on some level, why not go out into the world with all of your guns blazing?  Pretend so hard on the things that matter to you that no one will doubt that you are exactly who you’re pretending to be.  The other option is to take the role that you’ve been dealt by your circumstances because your not willing to pretend anymore.  Acceptance of the boundaries of your life seems a lot like a cage.  The origin of the word pretend is Latin.  It means “before the stretch”.  It is the precursor to growth.  So keep pretending until you stretch to your actual limits, not the ones that were thrust upon you.

Have a great day!

Pete

 

You Don’t Know Me!

IMG_2967It was an absolute revelation!  Never before and not since had I ever seen a short part of a movie and instantly gone to Blockbuster to rent it  (Even more difficult to do now that BB is out of business).  The movie was Swingers and the scene was when Mike’s friends are trying to help him with his abilities talking to women.  The scene is mildly inconsequential but the idea could be life changing.

Mike had just failed at an attempt to make conversation with a girl at a bar.  He returns to his friends dejected, saying that “she didn’t like me.”  His friends, Trent and Sue (a guy), explain that he’s a bigger catch than he thinks (in a much more comical way).  They compare him to a bear and the girl to a bunny.  Armed with this new perspective and self-image, he goes back up to the girl and is able to get her phone number.  Watch the clip for the full picture.

This scene was extremely helpful from two perspectives.  First, I got a clearer picture of how I was presenting myself in those situations.  Second, I recognized that in those situations, the girl was not rejecting me but rather her perception of me.  I could do some things to influence that perception but ultimately accepted or rejected, it was only a perception.

The only person who knows every single: thought, action and intention of yours is you.  Keep that in mind at all times.  Your life is going to be filled with people who will pass judgment on their perception of you, not the real you.  So choose deliberately who you will and will not allow to affect your perception of yourself.  It’s the most important relationship that you have, so know yourself as best as you can.  Maintain a positive relationship and know yourself well enough to be able to predict your own behavior.  When someone gets the wrong idea about you, consider their perspective but only let them change your perspective on you if it’s in your interest, not particularly theirs.

You’re a big bear man!

Pete

Mr. Magoo, An American Idol?

MagooIdols are supposed to be held in high esteem, the very personification of the things that we want to be.  It hit me like a lightning bolt this morning that Mr. Magoo is truly an American idol for so many people.  For those youngsters out there, Mr. Magoo was a cartoon character whose poor eyesight routinely got him into precarious situations but he always escapes unscathed and sometimes falls into good fortune.  Feel free to watch one Mr. Magoo cartoon on YouTube.  Once you’ve seen one, you’ve basically seen them all (minus little details).  The overarching idea behind Mr. Magoo is that his problem would be easily fixed if he were just to put on his glasses but he wants to deny his problem rather than face it.

Although it isn’t pretty, this seems to be a scarily accurate description of how many of us live our lives.  We recognize our problem but are too damn stubborn, lazy or indifferent to do anything about it.  Seemingly our greatest hope is that we can meander through life blind to our inadequacies and not have them bite us in the ass.  While this makes for a mildly amusing cartoon, it is a disastrous strategy for living a life of fulfillment and progress.

Rather than turning a blind eye to your inadequacies, stare at them with crystal clear vision, even put them under a microscope if need be.  Decide what you truly want: to feel good in the moment or feel good long term.  If you want the Magoo life, then by all means turn the blind eye.  BUT if you want more from your life, then you and you alone will need to make the decision to systematically work on your areas of weakness until they can no longer hurt you.  Maybe it’s something as simple as putting on glasses but perhaps it will take years or even decades to overcome.  Regardless, it’s up to you to Magoo or not.

Pete

 

 

Wish You Were Here (and I wasn’t)

WishYouWereHereIt is not an uncommon thing at all to wish for a future that is yet to come or a past that is long gone.  Humans have the blessing and the curse to be able to mentally exist in the past and future while ignoring the present.  It is a blessing because it allows us the freedom to live in the most useful plane.  The curse is the propensity to relive or project the worst of experiences or possibilities.  At all times, the mind has the capability of transporting the self elsewhere.  With this ultimate power to determine much of our existence, surprisingly most people defer control to the moment or to their “monkey mind”.  Imagine if you will driving a car with no steering wheel.  The gas and the brake are great tools but without the ability to steer, one is at the mercy of the terrain and the tires.

So the key to moving forward in a direction of your own desire means developing a steering mechanism.  How long would you drive that car without a steering wheel?  Not long at all before you or someone else added that key component.  The key to your mental steering comes down to practice.  Pulling your mind in the direction of your choosing on a regular basis.  When it wanders, you must take control again.  Under no circumstances is this easy.  It’s easy to be swayed by right now.  It’s easy to run the patterns that you’ve been running for years or decades.  Those are the paths of least resistance but I assure you that they will not get you to your destination in a timely or comfortable manner.

So take this moment to decide.  Decide who you are now and who you want to be in the future (you can’t fix the past but you can change its meaning).  Once you have those in mind, start with a half hour each day where you think and act only in line with that vision.  If you mind wanders, bring it back!  As you get better and better at completing that half hour, it will begin to dump over into the other hours of the day.  Eventually the you from the vision and your reality will be one in the same.  The only question for now is, are you willing to take control?

Bon Voyage!

Pete

The Give Up Bargain

zeusLately I’ve been thinking a lot about the old school gods and their importance in the lives of our ancestors.  Although we have so many technological and societal advantages, there are some aspects to their belief structure that could be helpful if implemented.  I’ve joked several times that I may start worshiping Zeus and the other Greek gods because of their idiosyncrasies.  You’re less likely to beat yourself up over work snafu when your god is regularly cheating on his wife.  Despite the possible comedy arising from this, I don’t know that there’s much to it.  The main area that most of the ancient religions have in common is the concept of “sacrifice”.  I will be focusing on the non-human variety.

With a scientifically inferior way of understanding the world, our ancestors intuitively seem to have comprehended something that has become lost recently.  Despite the fact that their reasons for sacrificing crops, animals, etc. was founded in mythology, it is a practical lesson.  The recognition of giving something up in the hope of influencing the greater system.  I’m sure that the phrase “give up” came from the ceremonial act of giving a thing up to a deity.  As our world has more, we are less willing to go without.  We don’t see the point.  Our parents and grandparents worked hard for the prosperity that we now enjoy.  Therefore we “deserve” everything we have.  Unfortunately the word DE-SERVE, could be hyphenated and it means “from service”.  To keep that which we have, we must continue to serve.  Or to get more we must serve more.  At a certain point the words service and sacrifice tend to intertwine.

So the give up bargain is simple.  Recognize that on some level, you’ll need to give up something that you have in order to get that which you want.  Not in any religious context but in a more practical way.  Giving up your anger will allow you to find peace.  Giving up your excessive eating will allow you to find the slimmer you.  The reverse is also in play.  If you are not acting in the service of what you already have, it will eventually be taken from you.  You are not an independent force in this world/universe.  Your actions have consequences.  Giving and taking are two sides of the same coin.  Therefore they are linked.  Keep this in mind as you give things up.  The lottery mentality is a losing strategy because it applies in such a small number of cases.  Practical sacrifice and service of that which matters most to you.  When you decide what you want, also decide on what you’re willing to give up to get it.  Usually this bargain will involve trading now for later and so many of us are in love with NOW.

Give up today!

Pete

 

At War with the Rainbow

TestImagine it.  A soldier walking through a jungle in a foreign land just as the rain stops.  In the distance there is a rainbow.  All of the sudden there is an attack from the enemy.  The attack is repelled and the soldier marches on.  The next day the rain stops, rainbow, surprise attack.  This pattern continues for a week.  On the eighth day, the soldier comes upon a beautiful waterfall.  With the water plummeting from a height of over fifty feet, a mist above the surface of the water forms a miniature rainbow and soldier discharges his weapon several times into the falling water.  There is no attack, so the soldier is sure that the enemy is dead.  It is ridiculous, isn’t it?  The soldier believing that the rainbow somehow caused or could help the prediction of the attacks.  The truth is that we all do it at one point or another.

The combination of two things that have almost no association whatsoever is quite common.  An undefeated streak and an unwashed pair of socks.  Traffic and the driver in front of you.  School and learning.  WAIT!!!!  That’s blasphemy!  Especially for someone who has spent years as a teacher and vehement proponent of learning.

The problem is that in many ways the statement is true.  School and learning have almost completely been divorced from one another.  People recognize that at one point in history they went hand in hand.  However that relationship has decayed in people’s minds.  School has become a pariah that people only endure because they have to.  Learning has gotten mistaken for its cousin, information.  Since information is everywhere, people have no need to engage in the relationship with learning.  So this once inseparable couple is now separated and only feign a relationship “because of the kids”.

This is an extreme picture of the present situation.  While not completely accurate, it is not altogether inaccurate.  School is in a precarious position because it only ever came into being because of learning.  The point of school was to learn (especially how to think).  In many instances that has been replaced with “The point of school is to get good grades.”  Like the telephone game that many of us played as children, over time the message has gotten garbled and disjointed.  Politicians, administrators, parents and teachers propped up a system that only partially meets its expressed purpose.  Like the situation of rogue traders who bet on speculative numbers with the life savings of others, this could leave many people bankrupt.

So for now, my suggestion is double, triple or quadruple down on learning.  If it happens at school, GREAT!  If it happens elsewhere, GREAT!  Learn about the things that are important to you and the people in your life.  Dive deep into learning about yourself.  How you work.  How your mind works.  How your emotions work.  Not so you can be self-centered but you can find balance with the world.  Learning is not actually the hard part as it happens all the time.  The key is learning things that are useful and meaningful to your world.  So if you are still in school, don’t think of learning as drudgery.  Seek out those opportunities when school style learning overlaps with your life.  If you’re already done with school, realize that you aren’t done with learning.  Don’t try to kill the rainbow just because it was lumped in with something that you perceive to be your enemy.

Have a great year!

Pete