Quotes To Consider

Objective judgement, now, at this very moment.
Unselfish action, now, at this very moment.
Willing acceptance—now, at this very moment—of all external events.
That’s all you need.

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 9:6


You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along!'”

Eleanor Roosevelt


You could spend your whole life waiting on the mountain to move, but it’s waiting on you. (From “Make It Move“)

Johnny Lang


The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky


In a world where comfort is king, arduous physical activity provides a rare opportunity to practice suffering. (From How Exercise Shapes You Far Beyond The Gym)

Brad Stulberg


A straightforward, honest person should be like someone who stinks: when you’re in the same room with him, you know it.

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 11:15


To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.

Steve Prefontaine

(This quote has become something of a personal mantra.)

Quotes To Consider

Embracing Discomfort

“The problem is that when you run from discomfort all the time, you are restricted to a small zone of comfort, and so you miss out on most of life.”

Discomfort can be good for you. It can teach you what your limits are. It can also improve your ability to withstand discomfort in the future. It can expand what you know.

What does being uncomfortable mean though? How would you define a situation in which you feel discomfort?

It’s not a black and white situation to be honest. It can’t be answered simply or easily. A safe answer would be “any time you’re outside of your comfort zone.” But that too is hazy, vague and needs to be defined further. Could we include “pain” in the definition of “discomfort?”

Pain is sensory. We feel pain. It hurts. Does discomfort have to be painful? Yes, at least a little bit. Experiencing pain is definitely outside the comfort zone. The next questions would be, What causes pain, and why is it of benefit?

A broken bone is painful. Childbirth is painful. A headache is painful. Stepping on a thumbtack or lego is painful. Exercise is also painful, or can be, but has tremendous benefits to one’s well-being. How is this possible? Without exercise, we lose muscle as we age, and this is deterioration, which can be very painful (I’ve experienced pain from muscle atrophy). However, we can exercise to rebuild muscle. At first it may also be painful, but once we change our habits we start rebuilding muscle and it helps us in a number of ways.

Stress can be emotionally painful. Can stress also be of benefit? Long-term stress has been shown to be detrimental to our health and well-being, but in small amounts stress can help us focus, perform at a higher level than normal, and overcome obstacles that we might normally avoid.

I’ve challenged myself to embrace discomfort more to see if it can help me grow. My areas of focus are exercise, diet, reducing alcohol intake, and trying to embrace and use the stress from my job to improve the quantity and quality of work I produce.

What brings you discomfort, and how can you embrace it to improve yourself or your situation? Comments please.

A few articles for further reading:

 

 

 

Embracing Discomfort

Make It

I was recently moved from reporting to one manager to another. Actually, the new manager was a director. The day I received confirmation that I was now reporting to him, he resigned… Talk about feeling completely adrift. I had reported to four different bosses in the last year or so, and the director would have been the fifth. And I was again without guidance from up the ladder.

I was also suddenly very aware that I could become an easy target for a layoff if I didn’t take charge of my own destiny. I could no longer look comfortably to anyone else for direction.

My plan was simple, the program that I drove was now in my hands so I began the task of making wholesale changes to it. I wanted to make it my own rather than just run it. I’m deep into the planning stages now and things are looking bright after the previous haze and gloom.

It will be the end of 2018 before the program can launch as it is dependent on other efforts at the company, but I feel like I’m finally making progress. I’m creating process flows, preparing metrics to share with leadership, creating graphics and training material, and generally taking matters into my own hands.

I’ll post updates about my progress as I get closer to the launch date of the new program, but what have I learned?

Don’t wait for guidance! Seek it out. Be aggressively creative, and make sure you keep important people in the loop. If you’re trying to help the business and its customers, no one will tell you to stop. They may correct your course, but chances are they won’t stop you. And if they do, perhaps that’s not the company or manager you want to work for.

Make It

Habits Of Success

Over the last year I’ve read dozens of articles on productivity, developing positive habits, how others drive themselves to success, etc. Many of the articles have similar advice for the reader, so I created the list below to show the habits that were most often recommended. The list itself has many one-off items like “be curious” and “take enormous risks,” but the ones in the list below are common to multiple articles. These are the ones that many people seem to consider the best habits to cultivate.

HABIT
# OF TIMES RECOMMENDED
Read (educational content)
6
Exercise (hard physical activity, health)
5
Listen to Podcasts (learning/uplifting content)
3
Meditate (includes Focus, Mindfulness, etc.)
3
Wake up early and get started (Early productivity)
3
Make lists (GTD, 4DX, Use Evernote, OneNote, etc.)
2
Take no days off completely (Read, check email etc. while on vacation)
2
Minimize distractions (aka don’t multi-task, don’t over-analyze)
2

I found that through my own personal experiences the habits that have helped me the most are reading, exercising, continuing education, and making lists (and scheduling my week ahead of time). Eating well and getting plenty of rest also help. As does reducing alcohol intake…

As for scheduling my time, I have recently moved to the Full Focus Planner by Michael Hyatt. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s been very effective for me. It has been the most successful replacement to the checklist style to-do list that I used in the past. Also, I found that my analog planner worked better for me than my digital planners. I just use it more consistently.

How about you? Do you practice any of the habits on the list? Which ones work best for you? How do they help during your day/week to increase your productivity?

Habits Of Success

Quotes to Consider

Below is a small collection of quotes I’ve gathered from books I’ve read recently. Granted, what I’ve been reading lately seems depressing based on the quotes below, I strongly encourage everyone to read each of the books from which these quotes were taken as they will educate and enlighten to the realities and possible realities of our current world.

Marcus Aurelius

“It’s quite possible to be a good man without anyone realizing it. Remember that.”

From “Meditations” 7:67

Viktor Frankl

“When a man finds that it is his destiny to suffer, he will have to accept his suffering as his task; his single and unique task. He will have to acknowledge the fact that even in suffering he is unique and alone in the universe. No one can relieve him of his suffering or suffer in his place. His unique opportunity lies in the way in which he bears his burden.”

From “Man’s Search For Meaning,” p. 77

Todd Rose

“Contemporary pundits, politicians, and activists continually suggest that our educational system is broken, when in reality the opposite is true. Over the past century, we have perfected our educational system so that it runs like a well-oiled Taylorist machine, squeezing out every possible drop of efficiency in the service of the goal its architecture was originally designed to fulfill: efficiently ranking students in order to assign them to their proper place in society.”

From “The End Of Average

Steven Pressfield and Shawn Coyne

“The professional masters how, and leaves what and why to the gods.”

From “The War of Art

Quotes to Consider

GETTING HEALTHY

The last couple of years I’ve been plodding toward a healthier version of myself. In 2017 I signed up at Planet Fitness and have been relatively good about working out from two to four times a week, though not without the occasional lapse.

I wanted to get in better shape and improve my fitness for the long-term, and started out with no desire to become a body-builder. I don’t lift heavy weights, though the weight is increasing little by little as I build strength, which was my primary goal. My secondary goal was to lose about 25 pounds. I didn’t look all that bad, but I had a gut that I really wanted to get rid of.

What I actually learned over the course of the last year was that changing my eating habits was the hardest part of dropping weight. I had been more successful quitting other vices than I had in adopting a healthier diet. However, I recently made a change to another area of my life which dramatically affected the foods I was able to eat for around six months. I got dentures. That process changed my life in ways I did not expect.

BACKGROUND

I was not born with good DNA where my teeth are concerned – or were concerned. I was also not taught at an early age the benefits of good dental hygiene. I don’t blame my mom. I just didn’t adopt an effective daily cleaning routine. Therefore, by the time I entered adulthood I was already struggling with the ramifications of poor dental hygiene and mediocre dental DNA. Looking back, about every 3-5 years I’d need to lose another tooth. Infections and impacted teeth weren’t uncommon. I tried hard as an adult to fix the issue, but I simply started too late to get ahead of the problem.

In the last four or five years I’ve been thinking about dentures as a solution as the semi-annual visits to the dentist for cleanings turned into quarterly, alternating visits to the dentist and periodontist. However I was timid about getting dentures because I knew it would be expensive. (I’m also a cheapskate…) A poor reason to put off healthcare or dental care, but still, I’m guilty of making the decision more than once.

Finally, though, I’d had enough and the ongoing treatments and solutions sounded less and less appealing. They also took more and more of my time. Dentists and Periodontists love to tell people to keep the teeth they were born with as long as possible, and I tried to do that, but eventually I made the decision to go all the way and address the root of the problem once and for all. I didn’t realize it at that time, but plodding toward a healthier lifestyle was about to get a rocket-assisted boost.

SURGERY ONE

In October, 2017 I had my first round of surgery – removing my back teeth. This was a total and complete body-pounding. I cannot tell you how hard it affected me physically to go through not only the surgery, but the healing process afterward. The first week afterward was pain management, the second week was a little less of the pain and more of the starvation that comes with having only front teeth to eat with. I could eat, sort of, but I had to use muscles in my jaws that I had never used before so at about the 10-14 day mark I thought my jaws were locking up due to the soreness… I was scared for a day or two, but it eventually passed.

I also ate Advil and Oxycodone like candy to deal with the pain in the early days. The foods I could eat were not all that different overall, but I had to make sure I let the gums heal so I stayed with soups and softer foods. Salads were out. I had no back teeth with which to grind leafy greens, so vegetables had to be soft. After a few weeks I was able to eat things like chicken or the occasional steak again. I had lost a little over 10 pounds by this time by eliminating fast food and large lunches out during the work week, and I’d cut out soda pretty much all together.

SURGERY TWO

In January, 2018 I had the front teeth removed and started using the new temporary dentures.

My dentist told me that the second surgery would be easier on me physically since the front teeth had one root and the back teeth had two or three roots. I was ready to complete the process and get the temporary dentures, give my gums enough time to heal and then start preparing for implants. However, the second surgery didn’t really go as easily as I’d been led to believe…

Where I had been in the chair for an hour and a half for the first surgery (pulling the back teeth and having bone grafts to prepare for implants), the second surgery lasted around three hours according to my wife.

After the removals and bone grafts the periodontist was frustrated that the dentures didn’t really fit quite right and my wife ended up hauling me to the dentist across town so he could help with the situation. I was still heavily sedated and bleeding… The dentist got everything fixed properly and sent me home to recuperate.

I awoke that evening with a soreness that I had never known before. I could also eat even less now because the dentures sat on top of gums that were still stitched up and swollen and very, very sore. It was basically a liquid diet for the first two weeks after surgery two. That’s when I lost the other 15 pounds.

I could go on and on about how the gums change over time, or how the dentures need to get adjusted by the dentist to go along with the changes in the gums, or a lot of other things, but I won’t. What I’ll say at this point is that I’m working very hard to keep that weight off. I’ve learned that portion control is king. Eating a lot more veggies and a lot less meat is also a big part of my success.

I also couldn’t work out at Planet Fitness as much as I wanted. I really didn’t have much enthusiasm to add additional soreness to my body… But I’m happy to say that I’ve kept off that 25 pounds, I’m back in the gym two or three days a week adding muscle and getting fit, and I’m eating a LOT better than I used to.

It’s taken months to get used to wearing dentures. It’s been the hardest thing I may have ever done for myself, but it’s been good for me in the long-term. I feel better than ever because I’m eating a much healthier diet, I’m working out regularly, and my self-confidence has never been higher because not only do I feel better, I look better too. I guess the silver lining is that being forced to do something is sometimes the only way some people (me) can make a change they know they need.

 

GETTING HEALTHY

Haiku: BRANCH

Behind me, the fork.
I chose the wrong branch and found
Civilization…

(I thought today I would participate in The Daily Post challenge word of the day. I submit my humble attempt at haiku, which is a reference to the Robert Frost poem about two roads diverging in a yellow wood. Unfortunately in my poem I chose the wrong branch in the road and found not trees – and branches – shading me from the sun, but the streets and buildings I tried to leave behind.)

Haiku: BRANCH