Blogpost, self-reliance

Motion to Suppress

Most of my understanding of the law comes from TV and movies. Therefore it may not be completely accurate but for the sake of my discussion, it will be sufficient. A lawyer can have a lot of reasons why they might want to suppress evidence. The optimist in me would like to believe that evidence is being suppressed because it is not genuine. The pessimist in me knows that it is often a tactic used to exclude something valid but damaging. Although there is the common quote “the truth will set you free”, it does not apply to all people. Sometimes the truth will prove your guilt. Regardless, each of us has evidence of a myriad of things from our past. Who we are contains it all. However, since no one (even us) will know of or remember every single instant of our lives. The things that are introduced into evidence when we are arguing for who we are or aren’t become extremely important. Suppressing the right things at the right moment might be exactly the right thing to do.

As we go through our lives, there are patterns that develop. A trial is used to determine someone’s guilt or innocence usually for a singular instance of a crime. The truth of that one instance is based on sometimes minuscule pieces of evidence. However as we are determining who we are as people, it is the pattern of consistent behavior that makes us who we are. Getting drunk once does not make someone an alcoholic. Nor does holding the door open for a person make someone a saint. The consistent action tells someone who they are. While some acts carry the weight to supersede a lifetime of poor or good behavior, most of us are dealing in the aggregate. The compounding of results over time in order to determine an overall leaning. This leaning tends to impact our self-esteem, public image and host of other perceptions that are at best incomplete and at worst inaccurate. We are not a sum total of all of our actions, just the ones that we’ve given weight.

So give yourself the ability to “suppress” some of those things that you hold against yourself. The mistake that you made, the wrong thing that you said, the blunder that still bothers you. Please recognize that just because you’re giving yourself a clean slate, doesn’t mean that everyone else will. However, the relationship that you have with yourself is by far the most important. So in the court of public opinion, you may not be exonerated but perhaps you’ll not judge yourself so harshly. It’s both difficult and unwise to go through life without any mistakes or failures. However, they don’t need to be an albatross around your neck. Set yourself free from that weight and see how much faster you move forward without the burden!

This is your story! Dun dun.

Pete

Blogpost, self-reliance, SoccerLifeBalance

Ride the Moment

“Zardes will score in the 86th minute.” Those were the words that I said to the guy next to me as I watched the US Men’s National Team play against Qatar last year. Getting the timing and the player right were a bit of luck. However the momentum of the game was pretty easy to read. It’s often easier for people on the outside to see as it develops. Because momentum requires the person or people to exist in the moment. Most of the blunders and shortfalls in sports or life come from a diverted focus. Rather than staying in the here and now, the performer gets concerned with the outcome or some other factor that distracts from the moment.

There is no doubt that people want results! Rightfully so, they are not expending time, energy, focus and other resources to come up empty. However, one of the easiest ways to insure against results coming is to focus too heavily upon them. They are a part of the equation, no doubt! A form of fuel that keeps the engine running but too much fuel at once creates a grand explosion (or in performance terms implosion). We are prehistoric creatures built for prehistoric times. Our brains are built to help us survive in a tough environment of life and death. Now we live in a world that is often built on success or failure. The consequences that we reap are a form of reality that we’ve created. So are the pressure and the stakes. But they feel overwhelmingly real because that’s what we’ve made them. Since it is all in our heads, maybe it’s possible to control them in the moment. Put them on the back burner in the moment and stay in the moment!

The moment is all we get. Every single living soul gets the exact same amount of time, the moment. Quibbling over how many moments one person gets versus another is irrelevant. Many people have done nothing with a heap of moments while others lived fully with a select few. It’s not the number that counts but rather the focus, attention and stacking of the quality ones. In the end, your life is not measured in years. It’s measured in moments and people will remember them when you’re gone, if you made them count.

Now stop reading and make the next few count!

Pete

Blogpost, self-reliance

Whatever It Takes

That was the message on the back of a t-shirt that I saw recently. Obviously that’s not meant to be taken 100% literally. There are plenty of things that the t-shirt wearer wouldn’t do to achieve their goals. Most likely murder, theft and a variety of other caveats could be made to the very blanket statement. There are plenty of people who would rather quibble about the exceptions than buy into the spirit of the message. Why? The reason is that it’s easier! Criticizing and picking apart something is a much more comfortable task than getting something done. Much like my favorite quote from Teddy Roosevelt’s speech at the Sorbonne, “it is not the critic that counts!”

So let’s ignore the fine print for the moment and only deal in big bold letters that you put on the back of a t-shirt. What are the things that warrant that level of dedication in your life? What goals do you have that could incite that commitment? It’s easier not to ask that question! By far it’s much more simple to not try to discover those limits of your capability! Not because you’re going to get anywhere near to the fine print items that the nit pickers would worry about. Quite the contrary! It’s the comfortable situations that we’ve grown accustomed to. Risking the known for an unknown that comes with some doubt. It’s not about the fine print or sacrificing our code of ethics. More than likely it’s a risk analysis that spikes our fear response.

So figure out what it is that you would put that level of commitment into and then do it! Regardless of the critics! Regardless of the fear that you feel inside! It’s necessary to avoid becoming a “cold and timid soul”. The one fact that you cannot avoid. No matter what your particular goal is. Whatever else it might take, IT’S GOING TO TAKE YOU!

Whatever it takes!

Pete

Blogpost, posh, self-reliance

The Deep Dive and I Might Be an Alien

For some reason that I cannot fully explain, when something catches my interest, I tend to go to extreme lengths to understand and appreciate it. I’ve done a “deep dive” on a lot of things through my life based on passing experiences that could have amounted to almost nothing. But I decided to go far beyond the call of the moment and explore that thing to its depths. Below are a few examples:

  • In first grade, I received a flyer with a picture of Snoopy heading a soccer ball. Forty years later, I have been playing, coaching, watching and studying the game consistently.
  • In seventh grade, I went to a concert where the opening act was the band, Tesla. I’ve not seen them again in concert. However I know quite a bit about their namesake, Nikola Tesla. His feud with Edison and his work with electricity are just the tip of the iceberg on a fascinating man that I know a bit too much about.
  • After playing the FIFA video game for many years and finding it too easy to win the Premier League with teams like Liverpool, I decided to bring a lower league team up to the Premiership. Almost two decades later, I’ve made two trips to England, subscribe to the team’s streaming service to watch games, write blogs about them and have their crest on more of my clothing than I’d like to admit. No tattoos yet!

These are just a few simple examples of deep dives that I’ve made through the years. Teddy Roosevelt, the band Knapsack and so many other could be added to the list. Everyone has their own areas of interest. Often it is based on the influence of peers. Sometimes it is a societal thing that makes someone go “cuckoo for cocoa puffs” (never liked them). The reason that I bring all of this up is that I’m slightly worried that I’m an alien. There are so many cool things in this world! And it seems like we’re skimming the Cliff Notes!

In no way am I telling anyone what they should like. If the Dolly Parton, ornithology or the A-Team are your thing, then go for it! We have so much access and information at our finger tips but the lowest common denominator is where we often end up. It’s not about the deep dive! It’s the new trend of the moment that will be replaced tomorrow by another. Jumping from one puddle to the next, we have less bandwidth or desire to do a “deep dive” into anything. This isn’t bothersome to me because people are not studying the ins and outs of turtles as much as I’d like. My fear is that it’s going to become pervasive.

Perhaps if we’re not willing to take a deep dive into something, we’ll all become shallow copies of similar puddles. Therefore we’ll stop wanting to do deep dives on each other because we’ll know there isn’t much there. It will be easy to dismiss others after cursory interaction because we’ve met people like them before. We all have the potential of depth and maybe even a predisposition toward it. However it takes time, effort and focus. All three of these seem to be in short supply because we’re trying to get to the next thing faster. What if the thing that’s in front of us right now deserves a deep dive? Would ever realize that we missed it?

Dive deep today people!

Pete

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

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, 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, SoccerLifeBalance

Financial Offside

For many people, the offside rule is the most confusing part of soccer. The concept seems difficult and it can be tough to track in real time but overall most soccer people understand the concept. The problem is that in the heat of the moment, our vision gets skewed by emotion. I recall distinctly saying to a group of my players at the college level, “By the way that you complain, we must never be offside.” The comment wasn’t lost on them and they became more discerning about whether or not they were being honest with themselves about the calls being made. Being able to see the objective truth, rather than our preferred truth is extremely important in a lot of areas, especially finance!

The idea of financial offside is a simple one that most people should see as blatantly obvious. Yet much like the players that I mentioned above, we tend to get blinded by our emotions in many situations. The simple version of financial offside is “don’t spend money that you don’t have!” Again! Like the offside rule, there are caveats to this pretty basic concept. Things like mortgages and other loans are “money that you don’t have” but are often necessary in many instances. The financial offside rule is more about those unnecessary purchases that are made out of desire and not necessity. The “shiny objects” that are going to fill an emotional hole for a moment but most likely will not fill a practical need. If you have unlimited means, absolutely buy to your heart’s content. However, if you’re like most people, you probably need to be aware of the invisible moving line of your finances. It moves on a daily, weekly and yearly basis. The line is drawn at the last dollar that you have liquid in your possession. Credit blurs the line slightly. So being aware of whether, you’re over the line, approaching the line or completely onside is something that you should know. Don’t make the assumption that my players did! You’re not always onside, just because it’s you! Your emotional justification of the reasons why you’ve crossed over have nothing to do with the cold hard fact. When you’ve spent more than you have, you’re creating problems for yourself!

So here are two simple ideas that can actually help to keep you “onside” in your finances. They are similar to ideas that work in soccer.

  • Wait! – Lots of unnecessary purchases are made out of the emotion of the moment. Let the moment pass. If you practice this strategy on a regular basis, it will become easier. Delaying a purchase until you’ve considered the financial impact will protect you from poor purchases.
  • Pay attention – You need to regularly check in on your finances. They are not one of those friends that you don’t see for years and just pick up where you left off. Depending on who you are, the check in may need to be as often as daily. Being afraid to face the truth is no excuse and once you know the truth, planning is easier.

Finances are a scary concept for a lot of people. Just like the offside rule, they can seem difficult but I’m trying to help fix that issue. Later in the summer, my co-author and I will be releasing a book that explains finances using soccer as a metaphor. Financial offside is such a simple concept that it’s not included in the book but I figured I’d put the idea out there as a bit of a “teaser”.

Pete

Blogpost, self-reliance

Call Me “Mike”

When I played soccer in college during my freshman year, there was a player on the team from the Gambia named Ousman (pronounced “ooze mahn”). He was relatively quiet but an absolutely amazing player who had a rocket of a shot. Being in a new country for the first time, he did not always socialize with the team outside of practices and games. The one time that I do remember him hanging around someone asked about whether we were getting the pronunciation of his name right. The question “What do you say when people ask what your name is?” His response “I usually say ‘Call me Mike'”. His rationale to us was that it was easier for people to say. Even now, I’m not sure if he was joking or not because he only played that one year. However that incident came back to me this morning.

The strategy that Ousman used, is one that we all use from time to time. Change who you are in order to make others feel more comfortable. I’ll admit fully that I am guilty of it regularly. Now some of this cannot be escaped in the civilized world. We should not be our 100% authentic selves. Many of us would be walking around with wet pants etc. if we just reacted to our every impulse in the moment. More of what I’m talking about here is the tendency to be a “watered down” version of ourselves. Those little things that we do in order to fit in but that undermine who we are. The comfort that is gained usually doesn’t serve either person. Again, there’s a balance to be struck in all things but I am reminded of the passage by Marianne Williamson “Our greatest fear” (below). We do not serve others by playing small.

There is nothing wrong with being “Mike” if that’s who you truly are. However, if you’re Ousman, Fred, Ignacious, Isabel, Fahruz or anyone else, then don’t pretend to be Mike for the sake of others. Your individuality carries with it the power to inspire others and unhinge the doors that separate us. Perhaps the true incarnation of yourself will be too much for some people and that’s ok also. Our job in this life is not to fit in as well as possible. All of the people that you admire are held in that esteem because they do not fit in. They stand out! Embrace who you are because until you do, no one else has the opportunity to do so.

My name is Pete!

Our Greatest Fear —Marianne Williamson

it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other

people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

—Marianne Williamson

Blogpost, self-reliance

It Won’t Always Be Pretty

This is by far one of my favorite photos of all time! I’m fairly certain that I didn’t love the moment but I love the memory. My daughter was sitting on my chest and bam! Spit up on the nose, maybe up the nose and definitely a bit in the mouth. Luckily the camera crew got a quick shot of it. There’s nothing to do but laugh! She didn’t mean to do it and she was so darn cute, how could I be mad?

It’s not always going to be so simple to find the beauty in life’s “ugly” moments. We’d all (in theory) love to have everything come up roses but it rarely does. Also there is a bit of extra spice that comes with things that go wrong. Since 1998, when I attended the World Cup, my most commonly told stories are about the loss of a passport, filing a police report and getting pushed by a riot cop. I rarely talk about the games and I was watching my favorite sport with my best friend. Our desire for everything to go well and be easy is both unrealistic and inconsistent with our ability to find the good in bad situations.

So if you’re going through one of those moments when you have the “vomit” of life all over your face, rejoice in the fact that you’ve most likely got a good story for the future. Also it is good context for when things are going well. You’ll appreciate them that much more!

“Anything I’ve ever said is not as good as you”

Pete