Equilibrium

After all, you had the amount of body fat and lean body mass that you had because they were the optimal amount to keep you at the optimal temperature given your environment. Then, without changing your environment, you forcefully overrode your body’s attempt to maintain these optimal levels in order to change the level of fat mass you have, and accidently your lean body mass.

~ Brad Pilon from, https://bradpilon.com/muscle-building/weight-training/will-you-lose-weight-and-keep-it-off-if-you-diet/

That first sentence is sublime. As far as I can recall, it’s the sentence which best describes everything I know—from both knowledge and experiene—about controlling one’s body composition. As I wrote previously in, Exercise, “I am the sort of person who…” has been the gateway each time I’ve been able to affect my body composition. Each time it’s been because I’ve changed my behavior or my environment (or both.)

At the beginning of this week, because I am the sort of person who looks ahead for the major goals and hurdles of the coming week, I realized I needed to get two runs in before Friday; I can’t count on running at the end of the week on Friday, Saturday, nor Sunday. (Monday is the first day of the week for me.) I planned to run Tuesday and Thursday. Wednesday night, because I am the sort of person who makes a plan for tomorrow as part of preparing to go to sleep, I realized it was going to be chilly, wet, and drizzling around 7am when I was thinking it would be nice to go for a run. Fortunately, because I am the sort of person who enjoys running in the chill and drizzle the weather forecast didn’t faze me. And Thursday—this morning—, because I am the sort of person who follows through on plans, we were out the door around 7.

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Words matter

But it isn’t just institutions that are guilty of enervating the gems of our language.

~ Brett McKay from, https://www.artofmanliness.com/character/habits/143606/

A simple piece that makes a clear statement. I find that the less I talk, (and the less I write—for example, by not posting at all on any “social” media,) the less I have the urge to abuse words. So much, maybe even all(?), of my overwrought language was driven by desperate grasping to get people to like me. These days? The grasping is certainly no longer desperate, and my communication has vastly improved because of it.

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Create a space

Today I’d like to share an idea for getting things in order: just as I recommend for decluttering your house, create a place for everything that matters to you.

~ Leo Babauta from, https://zenhabits.net/place/

When you first hear this idea—for physical things and for the things “in” your life—it sounds insanely hard. If you manage to push through that initial resistance you find out that the problem isn’t the things in, or “in”, your life. The problem is that you let them in. And then you realize, that you didn’t actually let them in, you invited them in.

For me, solving the problem is not about my ruthlessly removing things. (And to be clear, thoughts this post I’m talking about physical things that are around me, people around me, ideas around me… everything.) Solving the problem is not about my ruthlessly trying to keep things away. No. The real problem is to identify and then resolve the urge. The urge to want more. The urge to collect. The urge to—I think—try to fill some sense of need.

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Systematic abandonment

To that end, Drucker recommends that executives routinely take part in “systematic abandonment.” Every few months, an executive should do a reevaluation of all the organization’s practices, looking at everything the organization is doing and deciding anew if the organization should stop or continue it.

~ Brett McKay from, https://www.artofmanliness.com/character/behavior/peter-druckers-question-for-eliminating-practices-that-no-longer-serve-you/

Drucker was writing explicitly in the context of business executives. McKay does a nice job of showing how those principles which serve executives so well, work equally well in one’s personal life. I didn’t have this process—this guiding principle from Drucker’s work—identified clearly in my head. But I have it firmly implanted into how I instinctively do things.

I’ve had more than one person make the joke, “Craig, how many clones do you have?!” (I like to jokingly reply, “Yes, I have several clones, but none of us can get the others to do anything we don’t want to do ourselves.”) I accomplish a lot. While I have a number of clear advantages—such as where I was lucky enough to start in the game of life, luck in biology, and luck in opportunities I was shown—those aren’t the truly magic ingredient. The magic ingredient is what I don’t do. It doesn’t matter what specifically it is that I don’t do; Each of us has to make those decisions for oneself. What does matter is that I am willing to regularly and often spend a prodigious amount of time examining what I am doing, and how I am doing it. And then ruthlessly cutting away things that I should stop doing.

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Tranquility

I have a sequence of daily prompts for myself. The other morning it was, “Am I an energy-giver or -taker”. (There’s more to each prompt.) I thought about the prompt—as I do with each one, every morning—and something new occurred to me related to this prompt…

Whether I’m an energy-giver or -taker depends on what mood I’m in! There seem to be at least 3 moods. OVER-REVVING: Too many ideas, or a new/big idea, on my mind. Interacting with me in this mood really drains people. There’s just too much information flowing from me, and it’s too fast for anyone to follow—energy-taker! DEPRESSED: I know well what this mood is like. I’m no fun to be around… soul-crushing for others to be around me in this mood—energy-taker! …and finally, TRANQUIL: This is the state to be in. It’s also the state where I have the energy and space to be sufficiently aware of the people I Interact with. Only in this state can I listen.

Sure, “3 moods” is an over-simplification, of course. But it feels like a simple and useful pre-flight check: “About to interact? Which mood am I in? …and how can I shift to tranquil if that’s not where I am.”

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Self-delusion

Delude not yourself with the notion that you may be untrue and uncertain in trifles and in important things the contrary. Trifles make up existence, and give the observer the measure by which to try us; and the fearful power of habit, after a time suffers not the best will to ripen into action.

~ C. M. von Weber

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Vulnerability

I had no choice but to let my guard down and be vulnerable for the first time. Shockingly, rather than drive my employees away, it drew them closer. Young team members actually pulled me aside and confessed that they used to think I was “superhuman,” meaning I was unrelatable [sic]. Now that I was showing my vulnerability, they said, they would follow me anywhere. The lesson: Rather than striving to be superhuman, I would aspire to be less “super” and more “human.”

~ Linda Rottenberg

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Power

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.

~ Alice Walker

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Since I’m guilty of this, I often try to catch myself having power. One way I do this is to journal; If I write down, “Yesterday I did these 12 things, and people said such-and-so about my having helped them,” that’s glaring evidence that I’ve affected the world by exercising my power.

Another way I try to catch myself is to zoom farther out and look for longer-term successes. So if—for example, just sayin’, askin’ for a friend—one feels they cannot affect change in the world, but the evidence after 7 months is that one created the spark that ignited a community… well, maybe I—err, not me, my friend should stop thinking they have no power.

And instead start asking: What could I do in the next 5 minutes?

My answer: I could write one blog post which might inspire someone else!

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