Nap Time

Napping is a bit trickier than just falling asleep.

It’s a wonderful way to refresh the brain and body if done the right way, but it takes some practice.

Once I’m in bed, I tend to want to stay there for a bit.

Some famous people hold an object in their hand, so that once they fully nod off, it falls and wakes them.

But often I feel like more than a micro nap, and curl up for half an hour, only to wake up more tired and grumpy.

You would think that something as natural as sleeping wouldn’t take practice, but it does.

Just like anything else, we have to practice it to be able to integrate it into our lives.

And I think it’s about time I did.

Grind Softly

More work doesn’t mean better outcomes.

Overwork is a great way to burn out though.

Working out more doesn’t mean faster gains.

But it is a good way to injure yourself.

Forcing our way through the jungle is a lot more work than slipping through it.

Work smart. Work often. Work consistently. Those are all great ways to get what we want.

But grind softly, and the flour will be fluffier.

And it won’t taste like blood and sweat either.

Answers

We don’t need more questions.

We want answers.

We don’t need more luck.

We want chancers.

We don’t need temptation.

We want discipline.

We don’t need to paddle.

We want to dive in.

We don’t need an audience.

We want dancers.

Step by step

That’s how it comes together.

A blog.

A party.

A relationship.

A home.

A vision.

Step by step.

Don’t trip up by taking two at a time.

One is more than enough.

Step by step.

We march on.

Big Tips

We don’t tip in the UK because we have solid employment laws.

I never liked tipping, but I’ve changed my mind, now I have a little more money to spend, it sure is nice to give it back

In the States, when someone’s livelihood depends on that tip, it sure is a lot easier.

I found out recently that some people like to have a minimum amount they spend on tipping each year.

Imagine that!

These crazy people are looking for ways to give their money to other people — just for doing their job!

Why wouldn’t you, if you had it too?

And it’s that’s the sort of attitude that gets you that extra little bit to spend.

If you want a bit more cash, The Universe just needs to know that you know how to spend your money right. Sharing it about. Helping people that don’t have it, or could do with a little more.

There’s always more money — that’s how the economy works.

It goes around.

I your rent is paid, do us all a favour and spread the rest far and wide.

It’s a pleasure to share our privilege.

Priorities

Before we were busy little bees, there was only one priority.

Literally.

Priorities as a word didn’t exist.

We could only have one priority at a time.

Maybe technology changed that. Perhaps we changed that in our haste to Get Important Things Done.

But multi-taskers are only fooling themselves.

There can only be one priority at a time, and when we try to juggle too many, the rest will tumble to the floor.

When priorities clash, there is only the priority and then everything else.

Which one we choose can change everything.

Dancing

Whoever said dancing is poetry in motion obviously didn’t like dancing very much.

I can’t think of a more boring way to describe it, but let’s give it a shot.

Dancing is the story of four feet and a single heartbeat.

Dancing is passion.

Dancing is timeless.

Dancing is humanity at its finest, moving through chaos together.

Dancing is connection.

Dancing is failure in tandem, legs akimbo and toes bruised.

Dancing is vulnerability.

Dancing is one step away from crossing the brink and never coming back.

Dancing is falling forever.

Dancing is fear and fun all wrapped into one.

Dancing is love in motion.

Why Me?

Why was I born into the richest country in the world?

Why have I lived in peace my whole life?

Why was I educated for free?

Why did my parents love and care for me?

Why am I surrounded by people that love me?

Why am I smothered by opportunity?

Why do I have so much choice that it’s paralyzing?

Why am I the lucky one?

Why are you?

Because we knew you would make someone else lucky too.

Quickie

Good work happens quickly.

Good work happens slowly.

Good work happens one little piece at a time.

We don’t need to meditate for an hour a day to find our focus.

We don’t always need to grind for weeks and years to fulfill our practice.

We don’t need to write a book a day.

We don’t need a billion dollars to make the world a better place.

A minute, a word, or a single dollar is enough to change it all.

It’s not the size of the deposit that counts, it’s how often we make it.

Participate

Who wants to be a teachers pet?

It wasn’t cool in school to sit at the front.

It wasn’t cool to participate.

So I didn’t.

But there’s nothing wrong with participation.

Participation means living life fully.

Roll up your sleeves and get mud under your fingers.

Participation is cool.

Who wants to participate?

I do.

I

Dog balls

There’s something magical about a dog’s ability to chas a ball.

They just don’t stop.

They just go after it.

Gleeful jaws.

Frantically wagging tails.

To a dog, every challenge is just another tennis ball to find; to treasure ; to drool on

Because when you’re committed, every moving object is a tennis ball in disguise.

Howwewwewwwoooooowl!!

Conflict

Can war be creative?

We think of conflict with as negative but that’s rarely the truth.

Conflict can be positive.

Conflict can be creative.

Conflict can help to create the space for diversity and opportunity, if we approach it the right way.

Conflict is inevitable. It means that we are in motion, and movement always creates friction.

The least productive and most harmful type of team environment has conflict at all, because it is artificial harmony.

The conflict still exists, but suppressed.

Conflicting opinions and ideas are an opportunity to learn, build trust, and make things better.

While war is always unnecessary and horrific, conflict is often an opportunity, if we choose to respond to it with openness and be open to working together to resolve it.

What a grim world it would be without conflict.

Just enough.

Often it’s just enough to say nothing.

And that can be much more powerful that saying an awful lot of rubbish.

Doggedly

There’s a lot we can learn from our four-legged friends.

If only they could tell us what that was.

Walking the dog through Victoria Park one sodden afternoon, I watched a pair of canine chums stretching their legs.

Well, one of them was. The other one was t too interested in moving his legs at all.

A Siberian Husky and an English Bulldog.

Two very different types of stubborn on display.

One will never stop running.

The other wouldn’t budge his bottom for a battalion.

The same attitude can look wildly different for different people, with wildly different outcomes.

Yet at their core, they are the same.

Both doggedly determined.

Not to mention adorable too.

Omniscient

There’s a big difference between knowledge and wisdom.

Back when knowledge was trapped in reams of paper and hoarded behind horn-rimmed spectacles, the only person with all the knowledge was a bloke called God.

We used to think that omniscience and omnipresence translated to wisdom.

We were wrong.

Knowledge used to be something to treasure, and wise was the person who realized the power it held.

Today we walk around with all of human knowledge in our pockets; The answer always a mere finger breadth away.

Yet, we seem as unwise as ever.

We dismiss knowledge as fast as we can find the next opinion.

It’s hard to believe that there were this many flat-earthers before the internet. Maybe they just kept themselves quiet.

Now that knowledge is cheaper than a steak frites, what’s the price of wisdom?

Belate

Do not delay what you can do today until tomorrow. 

The chances are you won’t do it then either.

If it isn’t a priority today, that is unlikely to change tomorrow.

Unless it’s due tomorrow, of course.

Better to spend the time figuring out why it’s not a priority, and whether we need that to change to reach our goals than to stress ourselves further by pushing back deadlines and shoehorning in work. 

It is usually more useful to belabour our priorities than belate our work.

Treat

Depriving ourselves of reward is dangerous.

The reward at the end of the long hard day; the treat, the break, the nap, the cuddle, the drink, the shoes, the bling — it’s all part of the journey.

If it keeps driving us forward, the treat is just as important as the hard work.

If you’ve earned it, you gotta treat yo’self.

Otherwise earning it becomes harder next time.

Signals

The human body works a bit like a satellite dish.

Or a cell phone tower.

It has dozens of different receptors, all tuned into our environment, listening for cues about what to do next.

The signals they pick up trigger all sorts of reactions in the body, as it adapts to handle that environment better.

We’re lucky enough to have a great degree of control over the signals that our bodies receive.

What signals are you sending yours?

Precious

Death isn’t sad.

Losing someone we love is sad.

Leaving things unsaid is sad.

Spending time unwisely is sad.

But death itself is necessary.

Would the time we have be as precious if we had much more of it to burn?

Abundance

In the future, everyone will be unemployed.

Everything will be free.

We shall want for nothing, except strife.

For what are possessions we have not earned but the trappings of another’s victory?

The only gift we can give to someone who has it all is a challenge. And for that, they will always be grateful.

Because without a struggle, nothing has value.

New Growth

The first stage of growth is acknowledging that what we think about a problem is probably completely untrue.

And then admitting the solutions we have are probably totally misguided.

The next step is asking for help from someone who has what we want.

But their advice always falls on deaf ears if we are not ready to reassess our beliefs about the problem.

Those misconceptions and fixed beliefs are weeds that block our garden from growth.

We must always clear the old growth to make room for the new.

Gainz

Success isn’t always measured.

It should be.

It’s all too easy to get lost in the urgency and importance of the present or the vivid visions of the future.

The danger there is that is forget how far we’ve come. Or worse, dismiss it.

This can be very harmful for us and deadly to our goals.

When progress seems slow and the path looks long, don’t neglect to look back on your journey and congratulate yourself on how far you’ve come.

As Dan Sullivan points out: The gap is easy to see but we have to take time to measure the gain.

Raindrops

Rain is different in the desert.

For starters, there’s a lot less of it. 

One can go weeks without so much as a splatter of rain.

The plants shrivel and wilt, retreating into the earth. 

The parched dirt rises to float around our ankles and waists, a perpetual haze that clings to the skin, the clothes, the hair.

Everything is dust.

Then, the sky darkens.

The grumbling, pot-bellied clouds creep over the horizon and lurk, teasing the arid earth below until it aches for a sip.

When the clouds finally split, the whole desert trembles with the thud of that first raindrop.

Every torrent starts with a single drop of rain.

And that single drop carves a river that carries us all forward.

Eternal Practice

One would think that after years of doing something it would get easier.

And some days it does feel like that. Probably more than we might care to acknowledge.

But all daily practices — music, health, fitness, focus, creativity — must get harder over time.

We continually challenge ourselves to improve. That’s the point of the practice: it never gets easier.

We just get better at pushing through anyway.

Limbs

It was a wonder to me, when I was younger, how people could act so crazy when their team scored.

But it looked like fun, so I decided to give it a go.

It took me a while to get into it, but after a few years it became a natural response.

There’s nothing like it.

Limbs flying everywhere.

Fountains of beer foaming down around your ears.

The roar of the crowd heating the very air.

Swept off your feet in a heaving mass of humanity exploding in ecstasy.

A moment of unadulterated, childish joy.

Limbs!

D-Light

There’s nothing like a bit of sunshine.

After the long winter grey.

Summer’s dawn is not meant for couch bathing.

It’s an outdoorsy kind of a day.

Threes

Repeated often enough, even the wildly unpredictable starts to follow a pattern.

We are so used to witnessing those patterns of change that we hardly even notice them.

Better still, they become cliches, or jokes, or stories.

Identifying those predictable patterns in the ever-changing, perpetually unpredictable void we inhabit gives us a big advantage.

It can also provide some solace and comfort when things take a turn for the worst.

That’s life, we might say; c’est la vie.

One of my favourite is the rule of threes.

Whether it’s a city bus or a fuck up, you can bet they’ll come in threes.

So if you’ve only stubbed your toe twice today, you’ve got one more coming.

And if you’re waiting for a bus — wait for the second one — it won’t be long and will have spare seats.

Experience

Life doesn’t get easier. 

It gets harder. 

The work gets harder.

The volume of paperwork increases. 

The bills get bigger. 

The responsibility grows. 

Over that time, our muscles get weaker and our brains get fluffier and our habits get stiffer.

But after a few decades, there aren’t many problems we haven’t tackled before. 

Knowing your enemy — and knowing ourselves — is key to defeating them.

Surviving through all those experiences can make some pretty big problems look surmountable.

The more challenges we face, the more challenges we can face.

Knowing that you can find a solution: That’s experience.

Dimes

The government wants you stupid.

The farmers want you fat.

The factories want you to sit on your ass,

Eating a bunch of crap.

The shops want all your money.

The bankers want it too.

The media wants your attention;

Eyes stuck to the screen like glue.

The Ad Men want your data.

The Boss — he wants your time.

And they all want you to pay for the pleasure,

Down to your very last dime.

Level Up

Life is a lot like a computer game.

Not an easy one; You only get one life to use and no respawns.

Not a hard one either; There are hints and people to help us everywhere we look.

Most people don’t want to play a game where you just press one button over and over again. That would be boring.

We want a challenge. We want to level up and get cool new items.

For some reason, many people don’t seem to be able to translate that desire for a challenge into the real world.

When learning a skill gets hard, most people throw in the towel.

They don’t want to level up.

They see the big ‘Boss’ challenge at the end of the level and think, “No thanks, I’m good on this level.”

It’s never long before that gets boring.

Accept the big challenge. Get beaten down a few times. Get frustrated. Learn to overcome the obstacles. Upskill. Level up.

Otherwise, it just gets boring.

Mirror

Many people do not know that narcissism is a special type of word.

It comes from the story of Narcissus, which was written two thousand years ago.

It’s about a young man who loves himself so greatly that he ends up pissing off the Gods.

They curse him to fall in love with his reflection, and he withers to death, staring at himself in a puddle. Then turns into a small daffodil.

That story—and Snow White—have given mirrors a bad rep.

Mirrors can do lots of things besides keeping our hat hair in check.

If people spent as much time staring at themselves in the mirror as they do on social media, the world would probably be a better place.

Mirrors can help us improve our exercise form.

They can help us improve our form in life in many other ways.

How many chances do we get to look ourselves in the eye and ask, “How are you doing?”

The answer might surprise you.

Ins and Outs

For every win there is a loss.

And every loss becomes a win.

For every smile there is a frown.

And every scowl can spark a grin.

For every ill deed brings a blessing.

And every kind act spawns a sin.

We can’t just hope for ins and outs.

Without the outs and ins.

Rediscovered

Does everything have to be empirically proven to exist?

We’ve forgotten so much ancient knowledge in the last hundred years by insisting on scientific evidence.

We refute anecdotal evidence as hoo-haa and wiffle-waffle until we subject it to rigorous empirical enquiry.

If the woo-woo stands up to the numbers, we rebrand it as groundbreaking innovation.

This is wisdom like, drinking water and eating vegetables prevents us from getting sick.

Or understanding that burning stuff is bad for the environment.

Or the knowledge that practicing meditation helps us to be more present and focused.

Even science admits that the most certain we can ever be about anything is, “very highly probable.” And we’ll almost certainly be wrong about it in three hundred years.

When it comes to living a long and healthy, satisfying life, the best advice must surely come from a hundred thousand years of experience:

The anecdotal evidence.

The old wives’ tales and the cliches.

The stories that stick around.

Wisdom loves a story and doesn’t care much for facts.

Just do it (now)

There’s not much sense waiting to do much.

The clocks always ticking.

Washing the dishes.

Putting a wrapper in the trash.

Writing down an idea.

Calling a friend.

Telling someone you love them.

Just do it already.

Then you can stop thinking about it.

Well Deserved

If you’re wondering whether you did something special or important to be so lucky, to be blessed with so many fantastic people who love you, to have the opportunity to live however you want in a garden paradise full of flowers and trees and cute animals, you did. 

Want to know what it was?

You showed up for the challenge.

Glad you made it!

The Rainy-Day Book

Before the internet, we had to go looking for entertainment.

It didn’t just fall into our lap with a buzz.

We used to have these little cards with numbers and symbols on them in red and black, and there was no end to the games you could play with them.

We used to have scrapbooks and knitting needles, craft paper and colouring pencils, sticky clay and multicoloured crayons.

We used to have board games and battleships and gaudy clothes for dressing up in.

We used to have a Rainy-Day Book.

The Rainy-Day Book was filled with fun games and craft activities any child could do, with adult supervision if it involved scissors.

On days it rained — and we never had to wait long for those in England — there was still something to be excited about because it was a chance to explore the Rainy Day Book and find some new fun.

The Rainy Day Book was for the days the weather didn’t turn out as we’d hoped.

And there was a “Bumper Book of the Outdoors” for the days when it did.

Hot Dogs

They say the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. 

If you’ve ever surprised your partner with a pizza, you’ll know that this is true for all sexes.

Food is vital. Food is love. And free food?

Free food is a money-maker.

That’s why Ikea sells meatballs at a loss, and Costco has been selling a $1.50 hotdog (with a free drink) for 35 years.

Those meaty treats are so important that companies are willing to lose money on every sale.

When inflation irradicated the margin on their saucy schlongs, the Costco executive team suggested increasing the price to $1.75.

Jim Sinegal, CEO at the time, had a terrifying response: “If you raise the price of the effing hot dog, I will kill you. Figure it out.”

And they did.

$2 might not be much to pay for a hot dog.

But going the extra effort to do something special and sell it at $1.50 is what sets a business apart — and keeps people coming back.

All it takes

Getting a little bit better every day can look like a lot of different things.

And they don’t all involve sweating or struggling.

Sometimes it can be enough to simply acknowledge how far we’ve come, how many things we’ve got to be grateful for, and how awesome all the things we’ve got to look forward to will be.

And that’s all it takes.

Plateau

A day spent doing nothing much at all isn’t a day wasted.

All the ups and downs and hustle and bustle make the uneventful lulls all the more pleasant.

As we climb life’s the peaks and valleys we often reach broad plateaus. These are a great chance to stop and enjoy the view.

Not necessarily to look back or forward on our journey.

But simply to appreciate the lack of a gradient to negotiate.

Stupid Baby

You’ll hear people say the funniest things about themselves if you listen closely.

Some of the things people say aren’t even funny — they’re troubling.

Especially because how we speak about ourselves is closely linked to how we feel about ourselves.

Our self-talk — the conversations between the voices in our head — and our real talk — the way we talk about ourselves to other people — all impact the way we act.

When someone’s being vulnerable while telling a story, we often get a glimpse of how they talk about themselves, which can be a shock.

We may hear things like, “I’m such a fat idiot,” or “I’m such a stupid baby,” or “I’m a terrible person” as hyperbole, but the terrible truth is that usually, that person has been saying those things to themselves for years. Long enough for them to start believing it.

Once my running coach whispered in my ear, “Cheer yourself on like it’s someone you love,” and the realization that I hadn’t been broke my heart.

Be kind to yourself.

You deserve to be loved by everyone you spend time with, including yourself.

Better Than

There are many opportunities to get one over the voices in our heads.

We must seize these opportunities because what we say about ourselves eventually becomes true.

If seeing is believing, then speaking is becoming.

The brain voices don’t have the best manners, especially when no one is watching, so I like to relay a positive message whenever possible.

Whenever we say greet another human, we ask, “How are you doing?” or “You alright?” or something similar.

The easy answer is “fine” or “alright” or “good.”

But recently, I started replying, “I’m great,” or “fantastic,” or “excellent,” even if I wasn’t feeling particularly awesome.

And wouldn’t you know it, it wasn’t long before I actually was fantastic.

Or rather, it wasn’t long before I realized that I already was fantastic, and always had been.

A lot better than just ‘fine,’ anyway.

Sphincter

Getting called an asshole is never nice, but there’s a flip side to everything.

Assholes are essential.

They’re one of 50 or so sphincters in our body that mostly prevent us from making a mess everywhere and embarrassing ourselves in public but also help us see and control blood flow to the capillaries.

A sphincter looks pretty much the same everywhere in the body, and everyone has them.

Just like there’s a king in every thief and a thief in every king, there are five dozen sphincters in all of us.

Voluminous

The idea of a molecule still boggles my noggin. 

There are billions of these tiny things flying around, filling up whatever space they find.

Gas molecules whizzing and fizzing and crashing into each other.

Liquid molecules sloshing and sliding over each other in a race to fill the corners.

Solid molecules shaking and flaking off to leave their dull musty scent in the room.

This expansive nature rolls all the way up the food chain:

  • The time we have available to complete a task will determine how long it takes to complete the task (Parkinson’s Law).
  • The space we have available for luggage in the car will always be filled with luggage.
  • The time we have booked for a meeting will always be filled, even if it’s talking about something unrelated to the agenda. 
  • The distance from the nearest toilet is exactly how full our bladder is; the closer we get to a toilet, the more we have to use one. 

These are just some of the Universal Laws we have uncovered to date.

Many more will follow. 

Return

It always takes a little while to adjust to being back home after a spell away. 

There’s comfort and relief, but also a slight echo, the feeling that something has changed despite everything seeming the same.

Our adventures so recently swept into the past, already a fading memory. 

Was it all a dream? 

My Way

The only real success in life is being able to live the life we want.

If we have the freedom to choose what a rich life means to us, we have already succeeded.

Congratulations!

Marbles

I heard an interesting story about trust the other evening while driving home.

A teacher in the story used a jar of marbles to reward the class. She added a marble to the jar when the children made good decisions and removed a marble when they made bad ones.

When the jar got full, they got a reward.

The storyteller, Brené Brown, used this jar as an analogy for trust.

When people show up for us, when they decide to care about something we care about, we put a marble of trust into their jar.

When people don’t show up by failing to protect something we care about — a secret, a value, a person — we remove a little marble from their jar. 

Sometimes we empty the jar on the floor.

Or add a whole bag of marbles.

We also have a marble jar for ourselves. 

We fill up our marble jar when we show up for ourselves by keeping our promises and having conviction in our values by practicing them relentlessly.

When the jar gets full, you get huge rewards.

Theif

With practice it is possible to put an idea so succinctly that it can teach and heal our wounds in one.

These words by the wonderful, caring, charismatic Jason Reynolds are such words:

If someone steals your shirt, we must assume that they needed it; that they lacked a shirt.

When people try to take knowledge, to restrict information and take the opportunity of empowerment from us and our children by banning books and restring knowledge, it is because they lack that opportunity; they lack the empowerment that such knowledge brings.

And for that, we can only feel sorry for them.

Packing

There are certain rules that we can’t avoid, especially when travelling .

The rules for a long road trip look something like this:

  • Whatever available space we have will be filled
  • We will forget something important
  • We will forget something unimportant
  • We will bring at least four items we never use
  • Most of the food will go uneaten
  • The car will never be perfectly packed
  • Delays are to be expected
  • We leave early or late but not on time
  • Speeding only works if we never stop

This list is inexhaustible and will be updated soon.

Kind & Useful

We don’t often get to see the real family life of our leaders, least of all the POTUS.

I’m sure like any other loving father, Obama has argued with his teenage daughters, his wife, his mother in law. Possibly even the dog.

But like any loving father, he’s comforted them when they cry, listened when they worried, and passed on the wisdom of his years in the hope they will escape the pain of learning those lessons through experience.

We are lucky he has gifted them some of that wisdom to us through his speeches.

Mr. Obama’s advice to his daughters for a successful life?

“Be kind, be useful.”

That’s all it takes. There isn’t much more to a good life than that.

Oh — “and be fearless.”

Because that’s what it takes to be kind and useful.

Tolerance

The word ‘tolerance’ has been spinning around my head the last few weeks, ringing in my ears.

We preach that tolerance is a virtue, but it’s often far from it. 

Tolerance is a weakness, a mask by which we claim virtue.

We cannot tolerate something or someone without, on some level, thinking that they don’t belong there in the first place.

We cannot tolerate the pain and suffering of humanity or the destruction of our home without, on some level, agreeing that it must be necessary. 

We do not tolerate immigrants. We welcome them.

We do not tolerate xenophobia. We fight it. 

We do not tolerate warmongering or wanton destruction. 

We must take action against it because “Tolerance is the virtue of a person without convictions.”

We do not tolerate change. We should expect it. 

We must strive for the change we want to see in the world; Change that meets our values.

When we have conviction, when we have strong values, we cannot tolerate people or actions that go against them.

Without conviction, we can tolerate anything.

But is that anything to be proud of?

Cobra Cash

People act when you flash the cash but often not in the way we expect.

One of the first recorded examples of this on a big scale was in 1800s Dehli when the British Government placed a bounty on the local cobra population to try and keep them at bay. 

That worked until some enterprising locals began breeding cobras to cash in on their corpses.

The cobra cultivators made copious currency until the Government discovered the con and cancelled the cheese.

The cobra farmers discharged their captives into the city, increasing the population.

There are lots of examples of this in history. 

We are surrounded by people and companies offering us incentives to behave in different ways. 

Which are the ones that we’re choosing?

And which are the ones we haven’t noticed? 

Step and See

We don’t have to know to progress.

One of the most paralysing cycles we can put our brains through is forcing it to choose before it’s had time to see.

A vision helps to show us the way, but even when we have a vision, we frequently reach a fork in the road and cannot see where it leads.

There is no option but to choose a path and take a few steps forward along it.

Maybe it’s a dead end. Maybe it’s a shortcut.

We simply won’t know until we walk a few paces around the corner.

The same applies when we lack a vision; perhaps more so.

When the forest looms tall, blocking our view and casting deep shadows of uncertainty across our path, we can only clear them by moving forward along it.

Take a step forward today and see.

The view might not be as we expect.

We may even find ourselves trudging back down to take a different path.

But at least we’ll have seen for ourselves.

Lady Pink

It was a normal busy Saturday morning at the gym, until she walked in.

Dressed to the nines in baby pink.

Pink velore tracksuit.

Pink running shoes.

Pink washout hair.

Dark pink nails.

Amber pink wraparound shades.

And a white handbag, the word “PINK” set in glimmering fuschia sequins across the front.

She trotted up to the treadmill in front of me and hopped on. It was clear she was no rookie.

They say it’s bad manners to talk about a woman’s age, but I’m no gentleman.

Lady Pink wasn’t a day under 75; probably several hundred over.

After 20 minutes or so, she stopped the machine, slung her handbag over her shoulder, and trotted off to another area of the gym.

I hope I have that much swag when I’m 80.

Lady Pink of LA.

Keep on rocking.

Done by Work

Often a small to-do list is enough to do good work.

We turn up, do the work we meant to do, and then clock off.

But challenging work is an untameable beast that rarely lets spare time slip by without a chase.

On those days when it rears its ugly head, blistered with unexpected fires and draped in dropped deadlines, we don’t do work; Work does us.

And it’s never very gentle about it.

Mudslide

It’s not about how much weight we can lift.

It’s not about how many times we can lift it.

It’s not even about how far we can carry that weight, although all these things are important measurements to track.

It’s about how much control we have when we’re doing it.

Often, it’s much harder to slow down and control our actions than it is to let fly.

Everyone can go fast in a mudslide.

But what happens at the bottom?

Cheapskate

As an old lady once told me, “Pay cheap, pay twice.”

A cheap deal often isn’t worth the price. 

Here are some things not worth cheaping out on:

Vegetables.

Meat.

Homes.

Safety.

Insurance.

Health.

Learning.

Values.

Time.

Trust

When we lit to ourselves, the first person who gets hurt is us.

Trust isn’t just something we have in other people. Trust in others always starts within us.

When we keep promises to ourself, we build that trust.

When we break our word — even we’re the only person who heard the promise — we lose trust in ourselves.

We don’t just lose trust in our abilities and our judgement.

We lose faith in ourselves.

A daily practice helps us keep a promise to ourselves every day.

Sticking to a workout plan builds our confidence for the same reason.

And a new diet only wants that badge when it becomes a lifestyle, not a detox.

We all deserve to trust in ourselves.

If you’ve lost it, one little promise a day is enough to earn it back.

Seaside Strum

As I strolled along the boardwalk of Morro Bay, CA, a gentle melody drifted past me, wrapped around the squawks of seagulls and the tang of sea salt.

It was definitely a guitar, but it sang with a strangely empty, gentle twang that I couldn’t place.

On the corner of a weather-beaten candy store bursting with sticks of rock, I found the guitarist.

Slung over his shoulder was an ancient Gibson semi-acoustic, the frayed tails of the strings curling around its neck.

The guitarist’s tobacco-stained fingers danced across the frets, tapping out a melody. His other sleeve hung loose down his side, empty.

I stood and watched for a while as the one-armed guitarist hammered out a riff that would bring a tear to John Lennon’s eyes.

The song ended.

“That’s a damn good sound you’re making,” I said, dropping a handful of dollars into his hat, as one must always do when we have enjoyed a busker’s performance.

A smile cracked the man’s leather face in two, and he nodded to the empty sleeve.

“Always making up for it,” he said, and began to play his next tune.

Arrival

There’s no need to rush.

There’s no need to hurry.

We’re already where we need to be.

We’ll get there when we get there.

Rest

There’s no shame in taking a rest day.

Taking a break or a day off can sometimes feel like a lost opportunity, but the reality is, we need to take a break to grow, to adapt, to let our minds and bodies breathe.

Work hard. Rest frequently.

These two are not mutually exclusive.

They are immutably paired.

Mind Muscle

Remember that adage about how we only use about 10% of our brains?

It may not be biologically true, but there’s something to it.

Our bodies are built for survival.

To survive, they can and will do things we don’t understand — with or without our permission.

An elephant can be pregnant for anywhere between two and three years. The variability is because if her body detects danger or an unsafe, stressful environment, it won’t allow her to give birth.

Mountain free-climbers report ‘blacking out’ during life or death situations, returning to consciousness to find themselves on a safe ledge several feet above where they remember.

When a human mother sees her child in danger, she can tap into a reserve of inexplicable energy and strength to save them. So can fathers and daughters.

This hysterical strength is both well documented and little understood. It also inspired The Hulk comics.

Scientists aren’t sure exactly what causes these sudden bouts of superhuman strength.

The truth is that we all have much, much greater potential already in us than we realize.

And we don’t have to wait until it’s life or death to discover it.

Immortal Words

Every action starts with a thought; it’s true.

But not all thoughts become real.

The words we say are more real but are fleeting, floating away on the wind.

The moment we write a thought down, it becomes more real still.

And when we sing it?

Well, those words are immortal.

Hopeless Fun

We have the most fun creating when we’re not worried about the outcome.

Children making a sandcastle city or a leprechaun trap might worry about whether it will work, but the adults helping them don’t.

They know the chances of a catching a little ginger fairy are pretty slim. They know the castle will get washed away by the tide. But they get just as much out of making them as the kids do.

Nobody needs to pay us to create for it to be worthwhile.

Spending time making something with someone you love is the payoff.

The figure written on that cheque is: Priceless.

Uncomfortable Work

Not all work is equal.

Not all jobs will help us improve, even if we have the same title — or a better one — than the last role.

We can seek out work that challenges us, or we stick to what we know and feel safe tackling; comfortable work.

We can rise to meet the obstacles that block our path and take responsibility for doing the job well.

Or we can hide behind other people and hope everything goes to plan.

Taking on work that we don’t know how to do, that makes us uncomfortable, and that forces us to think differently is how we grow.

Seek out uncomfortable work, and progress is unavoidable.

Rigorous Authenticity

There’s some great advice out there for addicts.

And in the words of Chance the Rapper, “I think we’re all addicted.”

Whether it’s opioids, food, or work, we all have our little monkeys strapped to our backs, whispering in our ears.

This quirk of human psychology can be a powerful tool or a devastating weapon, depending on how we use it.

A famous drug addict, Michael Brody-Waite, discusses this in a TEDtalk about turning his addiction into a foundation for success.

The first thing he mentions is rigorous authenticity.

Getting addicted to honesty, especially when it hurts, pays off.

Warren Buffett mentions authenticity is one of three defining characteristics he looks for when hiring:

  1. Integrity
  2. Intelligence
  3. Initiative

Integrity is the most important because if someone has the other two but no integrity, they will likely screw you over.

“If you’re going to get someone without integrity,” Buffett says, “you want them lazy and dumb.”

Authenticity. Integrity. Honesty.

These values seem a far cry from the nefarious business world we are sold, but they always pay off.

Because as Buffett notes, “If you take the high road, there’s always less traffic.”

Harmony

To start, every team plays like children’s orchestra: Terribly.

A ramble of mistimed twanging.

Some promising notes and occasional symphony, but overall, a cacophony.

The more we play together, the longer we spend learning our roles and our timing, the stronger the team becomes.

Sometimes it happens swiftly.

Often it takes months.

But eventually, always, teams that stick with it and learn to play together start to play in tune.

That victorious harmony swells, and drowns out the naysayers and the cynics.

The finale is gloriously deafening.

One Perfect Day

If you could have one perfect day, would you trade it?

Would you trade it for all the rest, as imperfect as they are?

One perfect day for 30,000 imperfect ones?

I don’t think I would.

Context

It’s all too easy to let our routines and practices lean on context.

Timing, location, technology, and people all create our context, and it’s natural to pin our practices on those pillars.

When our context changes, it takes time to adjust those habits. Change them all at once, and we might even be left floundering.

That’s where values give us direction.

A writer writes regardless of the context: With a keyboard, a pen, or scratching in the dirt of a prison cell floor with a stick.

An artist paints on canvas, on walls, on skin, and on the sides of an invading army’s tanks.

A leader leads at home, at work, in a restaurant with friends, and on the pockmarked streets of a shell-shocked town.

Changing context is not an excuse to forego our values and practices.

It’s an opportunity to reinforce them.

Just in time

When something becomes a habit, your brain won’t stop reminding you to do it.

That can be a good or a bad thing.

In this case, it’s a good one.

Community

Most heroes go unsung.

We often don’t appreciate how much impact we those around us. These aren’t huge acts of generosity but rather everyday moments of kindness and solidarity.

Letting someone merge or jump in the queue ahead of you.

Pointing out that someone’s tire is flat or they left the window open before a long trip.

Holding the door open for someone with their hands full.

Stopping to let a stranger pet the dog.

Picking up someone else’s litter.

Popping round for a chat with an elderly neighbour.

Every day we have millions of moments to influence our world, to uplift our community, to leave somewhere better than when we found it.

These are the little moments of humanity that make a community great.

Don’t let the next one slip by.

Wise Words

It’s not always easy to tell the difference between bad advice and wisdom.

A lot of bad advice sounds like bad advice. But some of it is shrouded in such pretty words and thoroughly twisted rationale that it sounds like good advice.

Some of the most intelligent and well-rationalized words ever written turn out to be total rubbish after a few years.

The only thing that tells the truth is time.

Bad advice quite quickly reveals itself over time.

But wise words age well.

Often, they stand the test of a few hundred years or more and still hold true.

Only time can tell which advice is worth heeding.

But that doesn’t mean we should sit around waiting to find out.

Technical Issues

All the blessings of the Universe can’t prevent technical issues from trying to ruin our day.

There’s no point screaming at the modem or moaning at some poor support agent.

When there’s nothing we can do about it, the only thing left to do is nothing.

Default

It’s a myth that knowledge is power.

Information is only half the recipe.

Knowledge becomes power when we take action on it — when we put it into practice.

We become truly powerful when we develop the discipline to turn acquired knowledge into default behaviour; Habits, reactions, instinct.

Once you nail that, anything is possible.

Chowder

Great art is like a clam chowder.

You can find the best ingredients.

You can make it a thousand times.

You can sweat for hours over a steaming stove.

You can even win awards for it.

No matter what, some asshole with a bitter taste in the back of their mouth will still say it’s the worst chowder they’ve ever had.

Can’t please them all.

Don’t bother trying.

Just make the best damn chowder you can make.

Alright Alright

People say hello in lots of interesting ways.

In the UK, we say, “You alright?”

To reply, one says, “Yeh, alright. You good?”

In North America, we say, “How ya doing?”

This small difference caused me to get a lot of funny looks on my travels.

Whenever I asked a North American, “You alright?” a quizzical — and often alarmed — expression would run across the person’s face, and they would give themselves a quick body scan.

”Why — do I look OK?” they would ask, quite concerned.

When people in North America first started to ask me, “How ya doing?” I would tell them.

They were rarely expecting it.

Eventually, some busy soul — after politely waiting 15 minutes while I explained why my roommate’s cat was responsible for my exhaustion — told me that in North America, “How are you doing?” just meant hello.

It didn’t mean the person actually wanted to know how you were doing.

If wanted to know how someone was feeling, perhaps if they looked under the weather or in need of help, one would ask, “Are you alright?”

Cheerleader

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a marching band or a cheerleading squad following us around to encourage us when we’re down?

It sure would make getting out of bed easier. 

The elevators might get a little crowded, though. 

We do have a little cheerleader inside ourselves, though.

They’re not very loud, at least not at first, but they sure have some important things to say.

They often get drowned out by the miserable, defeatist within us. Or the insatiable ambition.

But it’s important to give them a run out every so often. We must be our own cheerleaders.

Celebrate the little wins.

Celebrate the big ones.

Keep a folder full of copies of the ‘nice things people say about you.’

And read it often.

It’s a big one!

Fun Space

Why are boxes so satisfying?

Why is a well-organized dinner table such a joy to behold?

Buildings. Hallways. Backpacks. Tents.

A soaring cathedral dome lifts our souls.

A secret compartment at the bottom of a hand-carved wooden box is deeply satisfying.

A functionally smart, astute design is a fascination.

Why is the clever use of space so satisfying to the human heart?

Maybe it’s because we aren’t supposed to be living in little boxes; Maybe it’s because we are.

Maybe it’s because time and space are all we really have to explore.

No greater dome than the night sky, after all.

And no safer spot than nestled up in a tent in the rain.

Stretch Goals

Learning how to stretch makes everything easier.

When it comes to building muscle, length is strength.

Most muscle injuries occur because the muscle is stretched beyond its limit. We reduce our injury risk by gently improving our muscle’s ability to stretch when needed.

We roll around on the floor in weird positions until our muscles are just as confident stretched thin as they are bundled tightly together.

When building ourselves, we must also stretch.

We must stretch ourselves so that when Life stretches us thin, we can pull ourselves together without snapping.

We must set goals that require us to grow — stretch ourselves — to fulfill them.

We must stretch our brains by putting them into strange, uncomfortable positions and exploring for a while.

We must stretch our hearts by welcoming those with spiky edges, even if we don’t think there’s room for them.

And after a little groaning, we’ll often find there is far more room to grow than we thought.

Foolish Kings

Only fools and kings want war.

In many cases, a foolish king.

No tax can cover the cost of war.

No reparations can clear the debt.

The fool has nothing to lose.

The king has everything to gain.

Only fools and kings want war.

Nobody else can afford it.

Next Game

Are sportspeople coached on what to say in their post-match interviews?

For a while, I thought so. I’m certain most of them have media training. They all say the same thing:

Yes — we’re very pleased/disappointed with the win/loss.

What’s important is that we worked hard as a team.

Sometimes things happen we can’t control.

We have to play our best and play for each other.

That victory/defeat is in the past now. Our job is to focus on the next game.

We have to put that game behind us and get back on the training ground.

We must prepare for the next game.

Maybe there are PR people behind the scenes telling them what to say. Perhaps they learned it from watching other top performers speak. It might just be how they all think.

But, whether they believe it or not, they all say these things because that’s the mindset it takes to compete at the top,

And saying is believing.

Why Train?

Why do we train?

Why do we spend hours working on our mobility, speed or strength when we are not in competition or paid athletes?

Life isn’t physically very demanding.

Most people barely walk a few thousand steps in a day. The heaviest thing we ever carry is a suitcase — most of which have wheels.

We can go further, faster, by sitting behind the wheel and singing a song (the singing is optional) than anything in history

We never have to worry about picking up something heavy because everything around us is designed to be easy to take home; it’s a grab ‘n go world.

So why do we train? Why do we practice?

We train for the time that Life calls on us to act.

We practice for the moment we don’t have time to think.

We prepare for the day that the people we love need us — and not just for helping our parents carry the shopping (although that’s a decent enough reason).

We train hard so that when Life calls upon us to stand up, to fight, serve, lead, and protect those we love, we can shoulder that burden with ease.

That is why we train.

To the Whistle

There’s nothing like a last-gasp chance. 

The clock ticks relentlessly.

The players scramble. 

A disproportionate number of goals, points, games, and matches are won in the final moments. 

Much of the time, the winner isn’t the player or the team with the best skills and the most money. 

The winner — the team that scores the final goal — is the team that plays to the final whistle; The team that fights to the end, regardless of the mounting odds against them; The team that doesn’t lose concentration or relax until the deed is done.

Not to the end of official time. Not to the end of overtime.

We play until the final whistle blows because until the lights go out, we always have a chance to win.

Scripted

Ever wondered how celebrities are so calm and collected on a chat show interview?

It’s not their natural flair for conversation or some superhuman wit.

Their jokes may seem off-hand; their remarks flippant and spontaneous; their demeanour relaxed.

That is an act—a very well-scripted show crafted solely for our entertainment.

The best of the best don’t just walk out on stage and deliver a hilarious stand-up routine or perform or win a national spelling bee.

People don’t have natural talents. There may be some activities that we are physically more suited for, but physical limitations can rarely hold back a human with a conviction and the discipline to execute it.

People who make it to the highest levels of anything — ANYTHING — spend hours and days and months trying to improve. They create habits and routines and spend almost all their waking hours working towards that goal.

Why don’t they just say that?

Why do they talk about ‘finding your passion’ and ‘talent’ and ‘God’ instead of the countless, boring, repetitive, lonely hours they spent building it?

Well, that would ruin the show, wouldn’t it?

Magicians never reveal their secrets, after all.

Incrementality

Most astounding feats don’t happen overnight. 

We may experience rapid growth once we start training or learning a new skill. 

We call these “beginners gains.”

Going from zero to one can produce some very satisfying results in the short term, but these quickly wear thin.

All the greats — people and businesses alike — must settle for incremental growth at some point.

We must accept that progressing beyond the same stage that anyone can get to requires gradual but constant progress.

Sometimes the increments are so small we cannot measure them day-to-day. 

Nevertheless, over time those little daily steps add up.

They compound. They become us. 

And before we know it, we look back, and all those tiny little gains we eeked out while feeling like we weren’t getting anywhere have amassed into something quite spectacular. 

Incrementality is the only way to reach lofty goals.

Brick by brick. Step by step. Lift by lift.

Day by day.

Idea Jam

Good ideas are like London buses.

Big, red, open-ended, and moving obnoxiously fast.

There’s usually a maniac behind the wheel too.

When we want one, there is rarely one around.

But if we stop and wait for a minute or three, several will appear at once — all headed to the same place.

Good ideas come in threes and fours, blocking the highway and disrupting the flow of ideas.

Best to board one or wave them all on as soon as possible, or we’ll end up in creative gridlock.

Nice Swing

The other day I tried golf for the first time.

Let’s just say the professionals make it look a lot easier than it is.

Most people have tried crazy golf but that’s hardly the same thing.

We weren’t even playing proper golf under the great big sky, but virtual golf in an underground bar.

The clubs and balls were very real though.

Twisting the body into spring while swinging a pound of metal around your head is not a natural movement.

Then trying to unwind and hit a tiny ball while not bludgeoning yourself or some innocent bystander in the head is virtually impossible.

At least for the first few strokes.

The concentration required to produce anything other than property damage when wielding a golf club makes one realize why people spend so long trying to master it.

And what a great excuse to spend the day walking outside.

Book Learning

I remember one parents evening many years ago when my biology teacher called me out in font of my parents.

She remarked that memorizing and learning were not the same thing.

This was the same teacher who, on the second day of Senior Biology, pointed at me and at the closest seat to her on the front row, perched on the end of the ancient, pen-scratched lab benches and said, “This is where you’re sitting now, loudmouth.”

It took me a long time to figure out what that meant about memorizing. She had been talking about making connections between things. But we weren’t learning for that.

We would slump in the classroom or hunch over a screen and read and listen and when they asked us, “Do you understand?” we would nod our heads and mumble yes and move on to the next thing.

For many years, that and a few more reads was enough to get me through school. Memorizing. And connecting.

But it’s not enough to do well in life. Becoming great at anything requires much more than reading about it.

To be really good at something, we must perform the act of learning.

We must practice.

Napkin

Occasionally a great idea will pass us by and bump up against us all.

But we have to go out looking for the best ones.

Even the great ones on tv never seem to stick the way we want.

And when we stumble over a good one, we must seize it as quickly as possible.

The best ones never stick around long.

Write them down as quickly as possible.

Even a napkin will do.

F.U.D.

There’s a term that marketers and salespeople know that underpins most of the buying decisions we make (or don’t make).

F.U.D.

Fear. Uncertainty. Doubt.

When up against another competitor, one tactic is to insert Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt into the prospect’s mind about the capabilities or integrity of the competition.

Business-to-business that seems fair game.

But F.U.D. isn’t limited to the corporate world.

The psychology of selling is fairly simple. People buy when they’re in pain, or they want to feel good.

To move away from pain or move towards pleasure.

Almost all media and content we consume is designed around this concept.

The news job is not to inform us of world events. It’s to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt so that we come back the next day to watch it again.

Putin is a great example of using fear, uncertainty, and doubt to get elected. Trump did a pretty good job of this too.

Halitosis isn’t a medical condition. It’s one of the best uses of F.U.D. in a marketing campaign in modern history.

Next time you see something that makes you doubt yourself or scares you, don’t worry too much.

It’s just business.

Wu Wei

Success in life is often misunderstood as our ability to exert our will upon the world.

Any addict will be able to tell you that forcing our will on the world is the fastest way to rock bottom because it’s ego-driven.

The Universe does not care for our ego. Nor does it bend its will.

Due to our seemingly God-like ability to shape the world, we can be forgiven for thinking it does.

But don’t be fooled by the sailor who claims their spells have called up a favourable wind.

Instead, we must surrender the outcome.

We must put up our vision and ask the Universe, how can this become?

Confuscious and his peers called this Wu-Wei: Effortless action; Being at one with what we are doing; getting ‘in the zone;‘ reaching a ‘flow-state.’

That is what Bruce Lee meant when he said we should ‘be like water.’

We follow our road, regardless of how well-paved it is.

We do not let our feelings about the terrain or the obstacles it presents divert us from our path. We are the path.

We don’t build a wall to block the wind.

We build a windmill to harness its power instead.

Double-Full Flop

Good ideas don’t just come from anywhere.

The brain is not a machine.

We can prime it and fuel it and grease the wheels and kick it into gear every day for a year, and we will still draw a blank on some days.

Not every workout feels great; Even the ones where we make progress.

We can’t hit a PB every time.

Even Olympians have bad days. And bad runs.

We can practice a Full-Double-Full-Double Full for four years until it’s perfected, and when it comes to competition day, our legs just don’t want to play.

Life is unpredictable. That’s what keeps it interesting.

Some days, we just need to stick the landing.

Know Knot

There are few things worse than not knowing. 

Our brains have an incredible capacity for imagining the future — imagining several futures all at once. But they are not so good at telling which future is actually happening.

Our partner’s phone is dead.

Our child is late home from school.

The taxman keeps calling.

There’s a weird lump in our armpit.

Suspicious activity was noticed on our account.

Was that chicken cooked properly?

That cough sounds bad.

None of these things are necessarily bad.

They might be bad omens — and certainly are in many stories — but the reality is that these most often prove to be innocuous once we know why or how they happened.

The scary part is the knots our brain will tie itself up in trying to figure out what’s to come next.

Tangled and weaving back over itself, each turn squeezing our frontal cortex tighter and tighter until our temples strain from the pressure.

Once we know, that terrible knot unfurls on the ground into a heap of old rope.

Even when it’s bad, it’s not as bad as the knot of not knowing.

Expectations

Expectations can be dangerous.

They are one of the most powerful ways to manipulate human behaviour.

If we think something is expected of us, we’re more likely to do it (or not do it). The fruits of these expectations are called ‘societal norms’ and ‘etiquette.’ 

The expectations we hold for the world are so powerful that they even shape our experience of it, regardless of the reality.

Expectations are particularly dangerous when we hold them for other people. We call these expectations ‘biases.’ We are often unaware these are being set.

When we set expectations for ourselves that we can control, we are more likely to live up to them. But often, we are not aware that these expectations are being set either.

When we fail to live up to our personal expectations, we break a promise to ourselves and get depressed.

When we set expectations about how others will behave, we leave ourselves open to frustration and disappointment.

People rarely behave the way we expect because their experiences have created very different maps of expectation in their brains than in ours.

A safe bet is to constantly challenge expectations about ourselves and not expect anything from others.

Yesterday

Yesterday was a dream.

An old shirt donated.

Something created.

Tried to get stronger,

And stretch my legs longer,

And failed at not getting frustrated.

Never mind: that day’s done.

This day has begun.

A new start — unmitigated.

.

Judged & Ignored

People often have trouble recognizing me and it’s probably because of that invisibility spell.

Even my Mother has struggled on occasion.

Maybe people’s mental image of me differs from how I actually look. I wonder if that will be a problem.

It feels like a curse.

That invisibility spell was cast when I was a teen who didn’t want to be judged or attacked.

It felt like being ignored — slipping through life without anyone noticing — would be the safest option. Even if that’s true, it took me a long time to realize that it wouldn’t make me happy.

At some point, we all have to decide whether to keep hiding our individuality to prevent it from getting us into trouble. Or to let it flow out and be judged; To be loved and hated as we love and hate it ourselves.

We can hide and still be judged. And we can reveal all and be completely ignored.

In all likelihood, the reality will involve being both criticized and ignored by some while simultaneously being adored and imitated by others.

I suppose neither really matters — as long as we can live with it.

Battle On

Some days are easy.

We slip through our tasks like a bar of soap down a slip ‘n slide slathered in coconut oil. 

Other days, we slog. 

The day’s dirt rises in a nipple-high sludge that crushes the ambition from our chests. Beloved beds call us home.

Those days are not for winning.

But we must keep the wheels turning so that tomorrow they may move a little more freely.

Victory those swampy days is living to fight another day.

Battle on.

Tactical Narcissism

If there’s one thing we can rely on people to do, it’s find something to argue about.

The most striking thing about all civil wars — at least to everyone watching from the outside — is how similar the two sides fighting are. 

This sketch from Monty Python is funny because of this absurdity. 

All modern religions are variations on the same theme, and the closer they are, the more animosity between them.

It’s human nature to engage in feuds and ridicule those we share borders with. Freud called this the “Narcissism of small differences.”

We spend so much time fighting about whether this means more than that, or which method works best, that we end up killing each other and simultaneously both failing at the thing we’re arguing about.

Take wellness, for example.

A quick search on “how to lose weight” will uncover seventeen different, equally convincing ways to drop the pounds. And they all swear blind that the rest are hacks and scams.

Meanwhile, we are all getting fatter and sicker.

How much progress would we make if our experts stopped arguing about tactical differences and put that energy into improving the world instead?

Squat

When was the last time you sat on the floor?

As babies, we spend most of our time on the floor. 

Our bodies are designed to go through all these wonderfully weird movements daily: Squatting, kneeling, rolling over, lying on our back.

Then, at about six or seven years of age, we sit in an office chair (or a miniature one) and don’t get out of it again until we get into our wheelchair to die.

When was the last time your hamstrings touched your bum? 

Our body is designed to squat from the day we’re born until the day before the day we die. 

Isn’t it a shame that we lose that most basic function of these wonderful machines we call home?

Fortunately, we can get it back anytime we want to use it again (although it does take a while to grease the ol’ joints again).

Bend over.

Touch your toes. Hold on to those big juicy ones if you can reach them.

Squat as low as you can go.

Plonk that ass on the grass. 

And get up again.

Do that every day, and you’ll be roly-polying with the toddlers at any age.

Lucky Wind

What is a treasure hunter without a treasure map?

Lost.

What is an academic without a discipline?

Lonely.

What is a routine without a purpose?

Prison.

In the words of Seneca the Younger — an Italian enslaver 2,000 years ago — “If a man knows not to which port he sails, no wind is favourable.”

Without a port, a destination, a goal to focus on, we are doomed to battle the storms on the high seas forever.

Without direction, we are at the whim of every gust and squall; none can help us on our journey.

We will struggle against them all, with never a breath of wind in our favour.

Even if it seems impossible, even if we’re not sure what awaits us there, we should pick a port so we can hoist the sails with purpose.

Then, only time stands between us and our arrival.

And we have at least a small chance of catching a lucky wind.

U-Turn

We all walk a path.

Some are uphill.

Some wind and wander. 

Some go in circles.

When we find ourselves on the latter path — spiralling and expiring but getting nowhere — we must change direction. 

That path cannot take us where we want to go.

As comforting as the road may feel under our feet, as friendly the scenery may look, that is because it is familiar; We have passed this way many times before.

The only way forward is to strike out on a new path.

Sometimes, that may mean changing our minds completely.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

That’s the best way to be right a lot.