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Alertness

An immovable object meets a irresistible force and a big bang occurs. Inertia meets excitement, pessimism runs into optimism and neither remains the same. Change occurs even when , or especially when, we aren’t expecting it. I can be convinced, packed, loaded and heading down a certain path and find that the trail ends abruptly. I can detour around the fifteen foot wall, I can try knock it over, I can try climb over it or I can backtrack and try a different path or backtrack and give up. The only unacceptable option for me is to retreat and give up. As long as I am moving, I am making progress. When I drive, I am opportunistic and often make turns at lights or in congestion so I don’t reduce my momentum. When I am working on a project and hit a snag, I admit to feeling frustration seep in and my ambition seep out. If I am alert, I remind myself that the frustration is an opportunity to learn and that my motivation shouldn’t be hinged to progress but instead to effort. Easy to say, harder to do.
The road forward shouldn’t be a safe straight trajectory. I learn much more when I am disrupted and challenged by unexpected barriers and mysterious options. As a impatient imperfectionist with a serious destination bias, I struggle appreciating the journey. But all that I really have is the next stretch of trail before a turn or dip appears and focusing on a finish line that is out of sight reduces enjoyment, possibilities and growth. A finish line mentality also makes me single-minded and blind to other ways and it seems causes an increase in effort as I miss obvious and hidden signals and shortcuts.
In a race following someone who is slightly faster or more fit can lead to improved times and maybe a personal best but getting caught up in beating other runners creates the wrong focus. I am running on an unknown course this weekend and am reminding myself to be alert for hazards, pay attention to markers, enjoy the snot bubbling elevation changes and enjoy challenging myself in relation to the results I have accomplished in previous runs. It may not be perfect (for sure), it may not be pretty (likely) but it will be positive regardless of how or where I finish ( I recognize that there is a part of me that sees another first place as some other kind of validation and need to keep that ambition tempered.)

If I need a reminder this weekend of the immovable object and irresistible force, there is a great likelihood that we will encounter bears on the route. This past week black bears and grizzlies have been seen enjoying the sunshine in the open meadows and trudging up some of the logging roads. Knowing that there is something dangerous around the next corner or the next will be a strong prompt to stay in the moment and learn something from each step.

My training over the past couple of weeks has focused on proper for and good equipment. Even when I am experimenting with new shoes or an new idea, I need to think about the process and if my posture and carriage is getting the maximum results from all the effort. The difference between success and less than success can come down to a blister or a blistering start. It can be challenged by a desperate need or bias and the idea doesn’t gain roots because it was seeded haphazardly.

Like most of my work and my recreation having a strategic plan can be useless. Knowing my strategic position; some future preferred state and staying pointed in that general direction can allow the race or practice to be interesting, efficient and still leave room for leaps over logs and leaps of logic. In ideation and trail running, iteration is generative. One step builds on the next and attaches itself to the delta of previous changes. One step becomes 1000 becomes 10K and word becomes a phrase becomes a sentence becomes an idea that synthesises to another idea and creates something that has the same grit and dirt of both but smells and feels oddly different than might have been expected.
As I head out early tomorrow morning with some excitement and apprehension I will be reminding myself to be alert for changes, be ready with resources (bear spray and nutrition) and be ready for a lot of unexpected challenges and unexpected opportunities.

Make Today Remarkable by being alert,

B

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Calculated Frenzy

One of the definitions of madness includes the idea state of frenzied or chaotic activity. I have some routines that serve me on the micro level. My mornings from 5am to 8am are all very similar. My dietary state , my physical and mental health are all better when  I stay close to a routine. I end most days with a consistent practice that, for the most part, ensures a restful sleep. In between I have moments of accidental madness and periods of calculated frenzy.

I try to shake things up where I have some measure of control. My travels are opportunistic rather than planned. I don’t take the same route two days in a row. If walking, I meander and try to be observant (even though I have a destination in mind). If biking, I take a different loop. If driving, my options are limited but still varied. This practice seems to step me out of the rut of sameness and leaves open the possibility for some madness.

As a procrastinator, I usually have a looming deadline that creates some calculated frenzy that I find  exhilarating. I do worry that my best work might not arise from the pressure but not enough to take a different approach.

The impact of working with others, especially those who have a different agenda or those who answer to a different authority means that unexpected accidental chaos can occur. I do get frustrated and can feel anxious by delayed responses and too much paralyzing collaboration. Strange that where someone sees collaboration as an organizing practice, I find it can be fruitless and mediocre.

I know my frenzy isn’t anything like yours. I understand that where I see beauty in change you may see chaos. It is likely that some of you live a heart pounding frenzy that I somehow have avoided. I would be interested in hearing how you handle or create madness in your life.

Make Today Remarkable, for someone you love,|

B

 

 

 

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Challenge the Process

A continuation from yesterday’s post regarding  Kouzes and Posner Five Practices from ” Leadership Challenge”.

I begin by confessing that I am not really a process guy. I tend towards variation on a theme and so I try not walk home the same way twice in a row. I still get home but following Dr Seuss’s advice I get to say;”And that is a story that no one can beat And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street.,

That said, challenging the process can still be daunting. The bounded rationality of success however limited fixes the path. Process is just the path that others have discovered that takes us from A to R  supposedly efficiently and effectively. But locking into ABCDEF…R reduces the possibility of discovery, excitement and improvement. Maybe ABDLR works and we create something valuable and unexpected along the way.

Go for a meandering walk today and see  if you come back with a story like;

seuss

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Where Will You Be?

In 8760 hours, where will you be? Will you still be striving to be more than the day before or mired in status quo ? Will you be fitter or fatter? Will you be living in the same place or somewhere new? Will you be getting up with purpose or dragging your butt out of bed? Will you be in a relationship or solo? Will you have learned a new language, to play the guitar or would you have found excuses not to?

In the first hours of the new year we can create a direction to head and a strategic position we want to occupy in 365 days. Inertia begins with doing nothing, just for today and ends with having done nothing. If you are completely happy with all aspects of your life (rare) you can survive and maybe thrive doing nothing. But, if you have grave or even niggling concerns the muck and mire of sameness and stuckness will be over your knees if you do nothing.

Write yourself a note today, dated January 1, 2017.

Dear Me, Today I am in a continually evolving and loving relationship. I am fitter at 62 than you were at 45. My health is excellent because I choose to be aware of my nutrition, my ailments and my tendencies and I make better choices. I am nearly fluent in French. I am excited by the value I get to bring to each day through my vocation and avocation. I live in a world that is safer, cleaner and more caring because I am contributing and I have surrounded myself with people who have the same goals.

What your note includes and how you understand it  is your business. Share it with someone if you want or not but recognize that if you desire a preferred future, it is up to you. Don’t wait for or blame anyone else.

May 2016 be your best year yet,

B

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Are You Living Your Life?

Are you living your life or merely passing through it? The world presents each of us with this great gift, every day. Each morning that I continue to breathe, there are possibilities – new challenging and exciting. Putting my head down, burying my head in the sand, eyes shut tightly doesn’t change the world but it changes how I live in it.

In a few hours another page turns and an arbitrary marker (January 1,2016) begins. This is the best time, or at least as good as any to begin living your life to its fullest potential. In the first week of the new year – do 7 things for the first time, meet 7 people that you don’t know, walk 7 miles, read 7 chapters, share something 7 times, say “I love you” 7 times, celebrate 7 remarkable things.

May 2016 be filled with possibility, passion, prosperity, and problems in perfect proportion.

B

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Curiousity Didn’t Kill the Cat

You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over. ~ Richard Branson

When you stop being curious, you begin to dig your own grave.  For some the hole gets completed quickly and they mercifully pass. For others they drone into a life full of blah and stifling boredom.  Just behind your right ear (about 10 cm ) is the curiousity bone ( Latin – curiosulus). Every morning before you head into the world, take the index finger of your left hand and rub vertically on the the curiosulus for 30 seconds and wonder what unimagined event, idea, opportunity or challenge might arrive in your field of vision today. Take the next 5 minutes to ponder how that instance might change your disposition, position or opinion.

After activating curiousity, it needs a bit of care and feeding so you will need to to repeat this exercise at 11:21 and 19:37. Just before you go to bed take the middle finger of your right hand and massage the curiosulus horizontally. This embeds the new ideas and memories into your bank and creates fresh space for tomorrow’s adventures.

Make Today (and tomorrow) Remarkable, by being curious,

B

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The Unexpected Still Happens

Even on my best days I have unexpected challenges and opportunities. Knowing which are which and how to move forward is tricky. In 2008, I made a resolution to stop being a self righteous martyr to lost causes. I haven’t stuck to that very well and can still be blinded by tilting windmills. When my vision isn’t clear, I tend to ‘stick to my guns’ and plow ahead even when the unexpected suggests a different path. There are at least 4 reasons I refuse to detour; ego, lack of knowledge, fear, stubbornness – as I wrote those there are likely many more.

Detour

As of today, I am going to watch for the big Detour Ahead signs and take the turn, just to see where the road takes me. I can always return to the bump in the road and charge the way I was going.

solutions ahead

I am going to be open to the idea that the new route is offering a better way and if I ‘give it a try’, I might find a solution to the problem or a remarkable aspect I hadn’t considered.  I am going to (try) to see detours as opportunities to see something new, learn something else, and as an opportunity to improve.

Make Today Remarkable, by taking a turn,

B

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Belief is a Choice

Belief is a choice, like trust and bravery. Trust and belief are choices, once made become invisible. If you make the choice to not believe, it is always the lens you view the world through.

On November 3, 1929, Robert Ripley  drew a panel in his syndicated cartoon saying “Believe It or Not, America has no national anthem. “Despite the widespread belief that “The Star-Spangled Banner”, was the United States national anthem, congress had never officially proclaimed it.  By a law signed on two years later, by President Herbert Hoover, “The Star-Spangled Banner” was adopted as the national anthem of the United States. That was the beginning of Ripley’s real fame.

The 1930s saw Ripley expand his presence into other media. In 1930, he began a fourteen-year run on radio. Ripley recorded live radio shows from underwater, the sky, caves, snake pits, and foreign countries. The next year he hosted the first of a series of two dozen Believe It or Not! theatrical short films. In 1932, Ripley opened his first museum, the Odditorium, in Chicago in 1933. The concept was a success, and at one point there were Odditoriums in San Diego, Dallas, Cleveland, San Francisco, and New York City. By this point in his life, Ripley had been voted the most popular man in America. He asked millions worldwide to believe or not – make a choice.

Choosing to Believe Changes the View. (2)

Once you choose to believe – 2+2=4, Man landed on the moon, Jesus is the risen Lord, your partner loves you … all forms of opportunity presents itself because of the lens you are viewing. Some choices are or we think are empirical like the earth is round and we can use ‘evidence’ to analyse and decide. Some are philosophical like helping the poor is laudable and we opt for the one that fits with existing values. In love emotions can be the measure that tips the believe scale. Loyalty, faith, experience and intuition contribute in varying measure to the choice, depending on the circumstance and occasion.

Regardless of how the choice is made, once made a new viewpoint opens and we see this world with brightness.

This choice, like all our choices can be reversed or altered, for an equal number of combinations of reasons. Today, choose to believe that you are loved (you really are). Fake it if you must. In every situation today make the choice to believe that you are admired, accepted and adored. How does this one choice change your day? How would making a habit of believing change your life?

Make Today Remarkable, by choosing to believe,

B

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Completion

What are you deeply devoted to completing today? On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being completely committed, where are you? If you aren’t at 10 what will it take to get to 10?

Is there something that you have been putting off, procrastinating about, but needs your utmost attention?
We all make lists (at least I imagine everyone else does too) and then cherry pick the easy stuff and transfer the frogs to tomorrow’s list. Take a look at your list for today (or make a list) and rank your commitment 1-10 for each item. Now tackle the biggest challenge first. Whatever you need to do to make this assignment your priority; remove obstacles, write the first line, run the first 500 meters, pick up supplies or whatever excuse you are using should be bitten off.

One of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s most famous quotes ends ” Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now” While inspirational it isn’t all that helpful.
I think the beginning of the passage “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” makes sense of the begin it now challenge.

That is why your commitment needs to be 10/10, so hesitancy doesn’t wrap its warm blanket around your shoulders. It isn’t quite as simple as saying you are completely (10/10) committed but almost. Accountability and practice will improve execution to 100% over a very short time. Holding yourself accountable -good or having someone hold you to account – better will make your statement a self fulfilling prophecy. Not stating your firm deeply held conviction can fulfill a different and dangerous self perpetuating prophecy.

Make Today Remarkable by committing completely.