Blogpost, self-reliance

What You Need To Hear… Why Best Friends Matter

What you need to hear is usually not the same as what you want to hear. Generally we want to hear about how well we’re doing, how special we are or how we cannot be replaced. All of these are true to a degree. When all variables are considered, there’s a certain amount of truth to almost anything that someone tells you. There are, of course, some truths that have the power to change everything in an instant. The problem is that a force of that magnitude is overwhelming. It can destroy just as easily as it can create change. So the truth needs to come from a source that is trusted to a degree that malice is not even a consideration. That is the space of a best friend. They cannot do it often but it’s possible for a best friend to tell you exactly what you need to hear, right when you need to hear it.

Best of friends ready to travel together.
Older now but still have each other’s back!

I was lucky enough to have that experience this weekend. A truth bomb was dropped from a person that I trust with anything that I have, including my perception of myself. For a moment, he held up a picture of how he sees me. At first I discounted it because the message sounded a lot like things that I’ve said to myself before. But he stuck with it and it hit me. He was right in all of the best ways. Not because it was easy to hear but rather the exact opposite. It was hard to hear and the only reason that he was telling me is because he cares for me so much.

So now it’s on me! I’ve been told the hard thing and I know the magnitude of truth that comes with it. I could choose to discount it but that doesn’t serve me. So I need to lean into it. Learn from it and change. Many people in our lives don’t want us to change because they’ve become accustomed to a version of us that makes them feel comfortable. My friend wants the best version of me to show up! Shouldn’t I want the same thing for myself?

Thanks!

Pete

Blogpost, self-reliance

Notes from an ice bath

This will largely be a stream of consciousness as I am cold and have no time to self edit. Why do I do this? Largely for the health benefits and my knee which swells from time to time after years of soccer and running.

Yes! My toenails are green! I go for pedicures with my daughter once per month. I decided that getting a color was ok. Are you judging me? That’s ok. I love you anyway!

Normally I watch a video of David Goggins talking or something like that. It keeps me distracted from the cold. I decided to go in the opposite direction today and focus on the thoughts running through my head and put them out there into the world. So here it is! I’m cold but calm. I feel myself shivering but then breath and it goes away. My body can handle the cold. I know this because I’ve done this before. We are amazing creatures, humans, we can endure so much but often give into our own weakness because of its convenience or our disbelief.

This year has been hard. It might be the hardest of my life. Given into my own weakness? Yep, at times. Disbelieved my own resilience? Yep, at times. I’ve doubted a lot but I’m still here. Doing what I can to make the best of the now that I have. Trying to be a good example for my children and others. I shiver and shake for sure. Sometimes I cry! Mostly I look for the ways that this is a good thing. I don’t always see them. Overwhelm is part of it! But I breathe! Try not to let moments of weakness stretch out into minutes or hours, it doesn’t serve!

I care and I want to help. I’ve seen through my dating experience how easily things can get misconstrued. We tend to forget other people when emotions are high or we’re worried about being judged. Be resilient! Like all moments, this one will pass and you’ll be faced with the next thing. Time is up! This was fun? I don’t know but I enjoyed it.

Stay cool!

Pete

Blogpost, self-reliance

Reading The Signs

By no means am I a baseball fan but I attend our local minor league team’s games regularly. It’s an enjoyable activity with a low investment of time, money or attention. The players are not top level professionals. They are a few levels below and hoping to make it there. One of the more interesting things for me about baseball is the signs. Players and managers sending subtle or not so subtle signals to each other in order to be on the same page. Catchers probably send the most signals to the pitcher and do their best to hide them, so the opponents don’t crack the code. Due to the fact that everyone is competing, trying to get that subtle advantage is crucial. Teams need to be in sync and opponents want to take information if they can.

Most of us are not professional athletes nor even aspiring ones. We live relatively independent lives not particularly on teams but in different groups as we make it through our days. Despite the fact that we’re not usually competing, there are still signals all around us. The question is whether or not we see them and use them. Since I’ve recently gone back into the dating world, reading the signals has become even more important. I’ll fully admit that at times, I’m bad at it. Just like in baseball, pitchers and catchers develop a working knowledge of each other and the signals become second nature. In longstanding relationships, the signs can be so subtle that no one else would even notice. However as we meet new people and develop new relationships, “cracking the code” is something that must be done because people do not always say what they’re thinking. A hand over a mouth, folded arms, a slight shift of weight forward or backward can all tell a little something, if you’re looking.

Therein lies the most important factor: the receiver! The messages are out there, being sent. It’s whether or not the information is being received and acted upon. Or are we all just too engrossed in our own stuff or worse the computer in our hand to notice? Your signals won’t always match other people’s. So decoding becomes your job if you care enough to do it. As a species built on community, we need to communicate. Notice how those two words are similar. Do you want to pay attention enough to get the message?

Knock it out of the park today!

Pete

Blogpost, self-reliance

Can You Dig It?

It definitely didn’t win an Oscar! The Warriors is not that type of movie. It’s a cult classic that was banned for a while. The premise is that all of the gangs in New York City are going to unite in order to take control. This plan is hatched by the leader of the biggest gang, Cyrus. His speech outlining the plan is ended with several repetitions of the question, “Can you dig it?” It’s very late 70’s! Almost everyone in attendance seems like they’re along for the ride except the leader of the Rogues who shoots Cyrus and blames the Warriors. Cyrus had a vision but never got to see it through because he was shot down by a coward with personal agenda. It happens all the time!

Each of us has our own causes to move forward. It’s not usually a gang insurrection of a city. More than likely it’s a smaller scale mission but that doesn’t make it unimportant. Regardless, most of have people taking shots at us anyway. It’s usually not about us or our plans, they just “like doing things like that” as Luther puts it near the end of the film. Killing Cyrus, undermining others and poking holes in plans are much easier than doing something of note. Standing up and putting yourself in the crosshairs of others is not a comfortable place to be but if you believe in what you’re doing, that’s where you need to stand. On a scaffold, yelling “Can you dig it?” Maybe no one else will at first. Perhaps it’s all going to rest on your shoulders because nobody “digs it.” That’s alright! Can you dig it? Enough to be shot at, laughed at, rejected and humiliated because often that’s what it takes. Can you dig it?

If you can, then today is the day to start executing your plan. You don’t need every gang in the city to buy in at first. It needs to start with you! Can you dig it? Don’t try to do it all at once, even Cyrus was going one borough at a time. Can you dig it? Think of a plan that might work and then work that plan! CAN YOU DIG IT? If the answer is no, then no one else will either. So you’d better believe enough for a dozen people or more. Otherwise, no one is showing up to the conclave!

Come out to play-ay!

Pete

Blogpost, self-reliance

The Relative Feeling of Heat and Hard

It’s the middle of summer and a heat wave recently passed through. If the temperature dropped to 60 degrees, people would be throwing on sweatshirts and jackets because of “the cold”. In the middle of the winter, that same 60 degree weather would prompt t-shirts and comments on “the heat”. The 60 degrees is objective but our experience of it is not. We place our subjective observation onto the situation based on our recent past. It’s our relation to the facts, not the facts themselves.

Since my recent weeks have been filled with summer preparations for the upcoming season, I’ve seen this same phenomena with hard. Something is only hard in comparison to the recent activity of the individual or group. A mile is nothing when you’re used to running 5 or more. Humans have an amazing ability to endure great difficulty. We can make the hard, easy with the right amount of time and effort. Unfortunately the flip side to that coin also exists! We can make easy, hard with a lack of effort over time.

We all think that we want an “easy” life. The thing that we tend not to realize is that the easy is all based on our perspective from what we’ve done recently. There is no objectivity here! We’re playing the game of life from exactly one perspective that no one else can have. So whether it’s easy or hard, mostly that choice is up to you but it’s made through your actions over time. If you choose to take it easy, just remember that hard is waiting around the corner!

Have a hard day!

Pete

Blogpost, self-reliance

Potential Is My Currency… Kind Of

Through the years on this blog, I’ve talked about the different currencies that we use in life. There are so many but love, time, actual money are some that I’ve discussed here before. Sometimes we exchange them for like, other times we seek another in exchange. Regardless, we’re all wheeling and dealing throughout the day. As an optimist, one of the currencies that I deal with is POTENTIAL. I see it all around! From that dilapidated house that could be refurbished to the D student with a winning personality that’s just waiting to come out; I notice it all around.

The problem with potential is that it’s not truly a currency. At some point reality sets in the potential is either met or it isn’t. It’s almost impossible to know which potentials will become reality and which will come up short. Many are going to be disappointments and that makes it easy to become discouraged. It’s easy to do the analysis, know the low rate of return and hedge your bets. That’s the safe play and I get it! It doesn’t really excite though.

We live in a world that is becoming more analytical and skeptical. So potential is not something people have time for. They want results! Or else! Leaving yourself open to the possibilities that come with potential, also leaves you open to possible ridicule. Believing in the long shots and slim odds is what fools do. And I’m willing to take that moniker. Being branded a fool for believing is far better than never being wrong but feeling empty because there wasn’t any emotion behind it.

Smells like potential!

Pete

Blogpost, self-reliance, SoccerLifeBalance

Do You Want to Play?

Recently I had a conversation with a player. My compliment to him that he really looked like he wanted to play in our recent sessions. The recognition and statement were actually a culmination of work that he’d done over the past few months. Regardless it was obvious that he WANTS to play!

This statement may seem almost ridiculous. Everyone wants to play! That may be true that they would rather be on the field than on the bench. However many people are not willing to do the work to get there. They hope that whatever effort they put in will be good enough and get frustrated when it’s not. They act as if playing time were a divine right (lower levels, I get it). At the more competitive levels, practice is the player’s job and playing time is their bonus. Some people want the bonus and others don’t.

Everything that we want in life comes with some form of price. Perhaps it’s just time and attention. It’s not enough to want to something! The price for that thing needs to be paid. Bringing enough desire to the table is crucial to getting past the price. Everyone wants something. What do you want and are you willing to do what it takes to get it?

Put me in coach!

Pete

Salisbury 1994
Blogpost, self-reliance

A, AN, THE and getting what you want!

In our hyperactive world, the articles that we put in front of nouns may not seem to matter much. We’re concerned with the BIG things! So the difference between a one letter and three letter words doesn’t amount to much. That might be accurate in the majority of cases. However there are definitely times that A little thing can make all THE difference!

There are definitely times in our lives where we need a pen, an eraser, a word of encouragement or a little help. These indefinite articles that proceed the words tell the tale of intention. They are “indefinite”! There’s no thought put behind them. Any pen will do! The encouragement doesn’t need to be life changing! Just encouraging. Whatever it is, it’s good enough to do the job.

Definite articles on the other hand require more scrutiny and intent. Not just any pen will do! I want THE pen. There is a difference between the one that I want and all of the other pens in the world. Perhaps it’s the color, style, grip, cost, proximity or any other number of criteria. Regardless, there’s a separating factor or factors that make THE important!

Your job in this moment of so many choices is discerning when THE matters. I’ll admit it! In most situations, A/An is completely fine. The difference is not life altering. However there are times when settling for A/An is going to be something that you regret. A life partner, a job, a college, and so many other big A/AN’s are signing up for a world of hurt and disappointment. For sure, it’s possible to stumble into THE thing that you’ve always wanted when looking for just anything. However it’s probably good to have an idea of what you’re looking for! So that you know when you’ve found it!

Aim for the target, not a target!

Pete

Blogpost, self-reliance

My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend

If you’ve never experienced it, the comedy special by Mike Birbiglia “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” is on Netflix. It’s one of my favorite things to watch when I’m bored and want something on in the background. It recounts several instances within Mike’s romantic past and weaves them together in an artful way. It’s idiotic and sentimental and truthful and funny! Just like relationships themselves.

I’ve never been confronted directly with my girlfriend’s boyfriend like Mike but anyone who has ever been in a relationship (romantic or otherwise) knows that they run the gambit. Almost nothing is a surprise anymore and no one is ever 100% right. Instead we have craziness that cannot be predicted, even with people that we’d consider rational. So what do we do in the face of that uncertainty? Be certain about who we’re going to be.

The seas can be rough and toss us about but the compass still points north. It’s our choice whether or not we adjust our sails to head in the direction we set originally or let the winds dictate. We’re never helpless! Sometimes we’re overwhelmed, unsure, anxious and doubtful but never helpless. If confronted with your girlfriend’s boyfriend, there’s many ways to shed that problem. It doesn’t require that you “abandon the ship” of you. It’s a change of course, nothing more!

“So I’m scrambling…”

Pete

Blogpost, self-reliance

The Partially Blind Date

My grandparents met on a blind date. I’m not even sure if that is possible anymore since we are so interconnected. The idea that a person would be willing to walk into a date with no frame of reference in today’s world seems almost laughable. Despite what they may say, people usually don’t like surprises. They like surprises that they want. The true unknown is a completely different story. In our next day delivery, free returns, 5 star customer review culture, it’s hard to imagine that anyone would accept the “fully blind date.” However, it also seems that people like to believe that they know more than they do. No matter how well you know someone. It’s still a partially blind or vision impaired date.

All of our perceptions of people and situations are filtered through our own experience. So no matter how “objective” we think that we are being, we cannot fully let go of our biases and predispositions. Being judgmental and superficial is not new but those muscles have been put on steroids through major media and social media. We are not blinded by a lack of visible content. We are partially blinded by too much of a variety of cues, shortcuts and presuppositions. It’s so much easier than getting to know someone, over time. Assuming that we know a person based on their political beliefs, clothing preferences or social groups is a comfortable shorthand that we employ with new people. Our old friends and loved ones got the benefit of the doubt years ago. Now, we just don’t have time!

Perhaps we’re actually missing out on something. Maybe my grandparents were more fortunate than we realize. If I can avoid it, I’d like to find out who you are without mixing it up too much with who I think you are. By seeing people with “blind eyes”, maybe we would be able to let go of some of the frustration, anxiety and judgment that is so pervasive at the moment. We bring it to the table with us. Perhaps we could leave it behind. We’ve all got blindspots about our relationships with people. Even the person that you know best (you), you don’t know 100%. Recognizing that we’re at least partially blind might be a good step toward seeing the world a little better.

I’d like for you to meet someone!

Pete