Posted this elsewhere
Happy New Year Rant. I really like “A Christmas Carol”. Whether a play, a movie, or a TV show, I really dig the Ghosts of Past, Present, and Future. This time of year I watch it every time I can. Scrooge kills me, and Tiny Tim and the Christmas Goose are part of my normal speech metaphors. I admit it is weird, but that is just a start if we want to explore that rabbit trail. Which I won’t. Anyway, been mulling over some ideas from this and in church yesterday one of the speakers brought up this very topic. He was talking about the Ghost of Christmas Future in the a larger sense life wise. And he said why do you worry so much about meetings in the future that you are going to miss anyway? Or don’t want to go to anyway? Helmet fire...Now my church is not charismatic, but I really almost jumped up and yelled “hell yeah!”. That wouldn’t have been cool but you might be seeing where I am going. You see some people are like Scrooge, they are actually in a really good place but are so mentally focused in the wrong directions that they make themselves and everybody around them miserable. And some are really in a bad way like Tiny Tim, but limp around with a great attitude but aren’t going to change anything. And not even mentioning lots of other permutations and combinations of multiple mental approach flaws that hang people up. So what I believe is we can tend to get caught up and fucked up by Ghosts. The wrong Ghosts, and while lifting weights is and has been one of the least important things I do in terms of intrinsic value, it has always given me a clarity and discipline on planning and execution that has carried over well into the rest of my life. And Ghosts, particularly two of the three in A Christmas Carol, will kill you. First, let’s look at the Ghost of the Future. I have friends who coach state championship teams, command aircraft carriers and Nuclear Sumarines, lead Seal Teams, are very successful surgeons, and are big money Wall Street Types. All have a plan, but they don’t obsess about the plan, they obsess about executing it efficiently and optimally every day, and taking that day’s inputs and adjusting the plans for tomorrow and next week and next month accordingly. Getting so focused on the future that it steals your focus on today is dream crushing. I had some big goals in life. I made many of them. The ones I failed to achieve, and they are also many, turned out even better because better things happened. Not because I stuck to the plan, but because I adjusted the plan correctly when things changed. And I hate meetings. And I knew I wanted to avoid them when I retired, so I made a plan to do that. And unforeseen things interfered. But I had contingencies ready. And I got to a better place not because of the plan, but because I didn’t let the plan become the purpose. As Bill Murray says in Ghostbusters, “More a guideline than a rule”. One of the best things I ever learned to do in programming was to stop putting weights on my cycle plan. I used to put 16 weeks of sets, reps, and weights on the sheet. And 9 attempts. It became an ax hanging over my head as I generally failed to carry it out for one reason or another. And the Only thing I ever diddled with was the attempts. Foolishness at the highest level. But there wasn’t social media or the internet to help me, just an occasional phone call with Louie. When I started to plan the lifts, the rep range, and leave the weights off things changed. I chose the weights on the trend and the previous week. And after doing this a few cycles I got really good at picking the right ones. Which is a nice skill to have on meet day. A guy who never qualified for the Men’s Open moves up a weight class and qualifies at 40? Not because of the plan, but because of the execution being better. Yeah, ignoring the Ghost of the Future is that powerful.
And the only thing worse than the Ghost of the Future is the Ghost of the past. The only thing different about today then yesterday is on a calendar that says 2018 not 2017. Really not that big of a deal. But all across our country people act like they have a new start today. Do they really? Or are they just jumping into a new mental model of who and what they are and are going to do? So why not let go of your assumptions and chains you are dragging behind you? Unless you are dragging them in a field for conditioning... A year ago if you asked me I would say nfw can you run and lift effectively at the same time. If you asked me about rucking I would have laughed. If you asked me about taking your body back a few notches size and strength wise I would have glared at you and called you a @fitter. And yet Alex fucking Viada upset my mental applecart, and then DVS and Jay ran the steam roller over it and set it on fire with a Hookah pipe. And guess what?I am not convinced, but I am not caught in my past with the blinders on that my one way is or was the only way. And maybe there a lot of other ways. Because our mental constructs are written in our memories, but just like a Sheet of paper with 2017 on it, you can decide what mental model you are in or tear it off and be in another. And if it fails, or works only 25 or 63 or 85%, you learned something you can use. Or adjust from. Because you are are not running double blind high N studies in your life or training, you are the crash test dummy with N=1, so let the Ghosts of the past go.
There is one good Ghost. And that is the Ghost of Present. The only thing you can directly control to an extent is the Present. What you eat, lift, Condition, tan, save, invest, apply for, prepare for, Love, or who you prioritize, call, meet with, or reach out to, is on you. Today. A good friend works at Check 6,a huge operations safety company that uses an Aviation Safety Approach to Operations Management. They most important thing is holding a brief at the start of every work week and workday, and an immediate and thorough debrief of all failures. Not because the plan is sacrosanct, but because adjusting and controlling the operation is. And you do that today. Can you learn from the past? Yeah, you have to, but it doesn’t need to become dogma. And your old dogma tends to become wrong over time. Trust me on that. As a friend says “Don’t let your Dogma mess up your Karma”.
So happy New Year. Be intentional about today. Have a plan based on your knowledge and experience, but embrace helmet fires, upset Apple carts, and letting go of your anal retentive mental model.
“Be the Ball Johnny, I mean Tiny Tim!”
"Start slowly, then ease off". Tortuga Golden Striders Running Club, Pensacola 1984.
"But even snake wrestling beats life in the cube, for me at least. In measured doses."-Lex