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Archive for March, 2011

Taking Ownership of Your Happiness: Sunday Musings 3/27/11

Sunday musings…

1) Time. Struggling with the 3 hour time zone difference between Cleveburg and San Diego. 4 days is simply too short to be comfortable in either zone.

2) Moonscape. I can’t decide if the foothills between San Diego and Ramona look more like some exotic scene from a Ray Bradbury novel, or a Chunky candy bar.

3) Open. Hotels are like hospitals, or at least they SHOULD be. Who ever heard of a 1000 room hotel in a convention city whose services are only open M-F?

4) Community. We had a spirited discussion over dinner last night about the Main Page here chez Crossfit and its place in the Crossfit community. It was kicked off by a well-known, universally beloved CF Cert “Flowmaster” who bemoaned the tone of the conversation. It’s his contention that it’s less hospitable here now.

Like so many things Crossfit our little world here on the Crossfit.com “comments” section, what I have called the Crossfit Dinner Table, our little world has changed these last 5 years. Some evolution…an occasional revolution…always change. In the beginning there was Crossfit Santa Cruz, the original HQ, the mystical, magical mecca which now exists only in our memories. The Crossfit community consisted of only the CF SC trainers and athletes, all of whom had physical access to Coach. A little web site in 2003 attracted an equally little following, one which grew to include a few thousand people when I arrived. Without the option to join your own CF SC you hung out here.

Friends were made. Heck, we have two pending nuptials among couples who literally met HERE! It was a good, magical place. Kindness abounded, and even the snarkiest of snarks, like the mystical, almost mythological Matt G., had a hidden heart of gold. It could be tough love, but it was always a kind of love. Now? Well, that particular part of the CF community has moved to Affiliate gyms, Affiliate blogs, and to some degree Facebook. Fractionated, sectional, and no longer a universal whole, the community is now more like the CAtholic Church: everyone is doing Crossfit with Crossfit somewhere, but each somewhere is not chatting with somewhere else.

So, whither the Main Page of Crossfit.com? I love it here. Heck, without the Crossfit.com comments section there would be no “bingo”. But things change. There is evolution. The community grows and it moves, splits and separates as it re-connects in new, unplanned ways. Truly, I have no insight on this question, and after much back-and-forth last night we were collectively without a consensus.

It will be a question to be answered by two people only, if an answer is to be had at all.

5) Happy. I met a profoundly unhappy young woman last night. She’s not depressed, and she appears to be otherwise healthy, but she is quite unhappy with a couple of very substantial parts of her life. Worse, she feels powerless to change this. Indeed, she feels oppressed by this unhappiness. As an outsider (she is a friend’s client and I’d never met her; I’ll likely never see her again) her core problem was blindingly clear:

She had relinquished ownership of her own happiness.

Few of us ever have ownership of the substantial aspects of our lives. Almost no one ever really owns a business, and most of those who do really just own a job. The majority of people work for someone who owns their job. Outside of work a surprising number of people own very little of their relationships; they allow others to drive, and their satisfaction and happiness is driven by others. They are the cheese to everyone else’s grater, little bits of themselves shaved off so that someone else can be happy.

I don’t think it has to be like that. I think that YOU own your own happiness, and that is what I told this young woman.

I think that YOU own your own happiness, or at least enough of it that it should take some very powerful force to take it away from you. It’s OK to move toward happy and away from unhappy. Really. You may not arrive there right away; heck, it may be a really long drive. But you own your happiness, and if you won’t start moving it’s the rare and fortunate person who will be driven to “happy” solely by someone else.

You can’t buy happy, and sometimes happy is hard and too-long in the arriving, for sure. Don’t let some someones control all of your happiness. Don’t give away the control of happy.

Take ownership of your own happiness.

I’ll see you (let’s hope) next week…

Posted by bingo at March 27, 2011 6:41 AM


Readiness: Sunday Musings 3/13/11

Sunday musings (little thoughtlets)…

1) Grammar. A missing article? Man, steer clear of my blog.

2) Time 1. So much great stuff, so little time. Kelly Starrett’s Mobility.com is just so cool, and I just can’t get it into my schedule. Sigh…

3) Time 2. If daylight savings is a boon to those afflicted with seasonal affective disorder, what does it do to night owls?

4) Time 3. I have a few really good CF friends who have become very busy, and I just don’t hear from them as much as I did once upon a time. I wish they had a little more time for me, because in general that’s all I ask of a friend.

5) Time 4. The day after is worth the rush to secure the last seat on the plane the night before.

6) Vaccine. No, I’m not gonna talk about THAT kind of vaccination. Uh uh…no way. What I’m thinking of is stress inoculation, a “vaccination” against stress. I was traveling home with a colleague who was complaining that he is falling out of love with long, slow distance exercise (he bikes), while at the same time lamenting his stressful life (he, like me, is an eye surgeon).

The good news for my colleague is that he landed in a middle seat between two Crossfitters (shout out to John, an LA SWAT operator on business in Alliance). We talked at some length about the CNS adaptation to stress, how one can actually train this response by purposely placing oneself under physical duress. You know, like doing a WOD.

I know I could find the science to back up my anecdotal evidence and experience, but I don’t have the time. Here’s the bottom line: if you train at the limits of your ability, continually force yourself to execute something at that razor’s edge, there is a carry-over to essentially any stressor.

“Fran” carries over when it hits the fan in the OR.

7) Ready? I guess this one could have been another “Time” note, when is it your time? It always arrives. Your time, that is. A problem arises when your time either arrives when you are not ready, or you move as if it’s time but it really isn’t. Or it might be your time, maybe, but whether or not it is you just aren’t ready.

That even confuses ME, to be honest, even though I just wrote it!

Here’s what I mean by that convoluted koan: there is an intersection between readiness and opportunity, a coming together of the right thing at the right time such that something really good happens. For instance, you may have a singularly brilliant idea, something so far ahead of everything else in its space that it will be revolutionary. But the timing is off; you aren’t on the LEADING edge, you are so far out in front that you are on the BLEEDING edge. YOU might be ready, but it’s not yet time. Think the Apple Newton, or, you know, Crossfit ca. 1999.

On the other hand there may appear an opportunity which by all accounts is pretty much EXACTLY what you need right at that exact time. But you aren’t ready. A perfect job opens 2000 miles away, but the love of your life has 2 years to go for a degree. A trusted friend on the cusp of a success for the ages urges you to quit your “dead-end” job, the one that is paying you so much that you really can’t walk away from it just then to take what might be the dream job working with a friend.

Or it might be something as simple as not being ready for a “standard issue” life step like college right after high school. Here I think, is the teachable moment: sometimes the hardest thing to do is to identify that one half of the equation has not reached a point of readiness, whether it’s the “you” part or the “opportunity” part. Failure to identify this almost guarantees that execution will fail, or at least be very unsatisfactory. Once this mis-match has been identified, however, rational choices can be made. Strategy can be mapped out and tactics chosen.

Sometimes the best of these is to simply soldier on despite the fact that one part or the other isn’t ready (think Crossfit). Other times it’s best to drop back and re-group, prepare to re-engage at some time in the future if and when readiness and opportunity intersect (think Apple and the Newton). Either way, whether it’s you not ready for the world or the world not ready for you, the first step is to not ignore the fact that SOMEBODY isn’t ready.

And that it’ll turn out just fine when they are.

I’ll see you next week…

Posted by bingo at March 13, 2011 11:47 AM

Sunday Musings

While looking at the “compare to” link for today’s Main Page Crossfit.com WOD I came across an older Sunday musings. Thought you might enjoy it, or enjoy it again.

Sunday musings…

1) “Art without Commerce is a hobby.”

2) Border Collie. The obvious inspiration for the Everready Bunny.

3) Rational Self-Interest. Have you read any Heinlein? If so you know exactly what I mean when I write TANSTAAFL. If we examine much (all?) of what we see or read about and drill down to the bottom, isn’t it fascinating how often we see the underlying self-interest that informed the action?

Much of modern Economics, especially Behavioral Economics of course, is centered on this essential premise, that events and behaviors can be understood or predicted based on the assumption of rational self-interest.

Altruism, behaviors that are truly counter to rational self-interest, if it really exists, is the fly in the ointment. How to explain altruism when so much else, indeed almost ALL else, can be so accurately explained by rational self-interest?

4) Sorry? It’s rather amazing how many apologies to which we’ve been subjected lately, eh? Famous athletes, movie and rock stars, politicians, all proffering “heartfelt” apologies for some indiscretion or another. But are they sorry? Sorry for what they have done? Or is it something more…I dunno…less? Regret, perhaps.

There’s quite a gulf between regret and true remorse. Remorse is a deep emotional response that touches on shame. Regret, not so much. Regret is a more superficial emotion, a sadness or maybe a disappointment, more closely attached to rational self-interest whereas remorse is more akin to altruism. Remorse is more outwardly projected: I’m sorry for the effect on the OTHER. Regret much more inward, more centered on self. Think about the last few very public “apologies” you’ve heard or seen recently. Any true remorse?

How does one apply this difference in every day life, other than as a determinant in how we feel about the news we read? Well, regret lends itself to strategy and tactics, a certain calculus or cost/benefit analysis applied to the road ahead, or applied to the fall-out of the road behind. Rational.

Remorse on the other hand seems to me to be purely reactive. Not amenable to planning because whatever we’ve done to prompt true remorse, to be truly sorry, to feel ashamed, is nothing one would ever make a rational choice to do. We FEEL sorry, we don’t think it. We feel the pain of the other and we feel truly sorry for our part in it.

And there, my Brothers and Sisters, is where the line between regret and remorse lies. That outward extension of ourselves toward the other, so easy (I think) to see it when it’s real and so obvious when it’s not. Just as regret could be seen as a form of rational self-interest (I’m sorry I got caught), we might think of remorse as emotional altruism (I’m sorry I’ve let you down).

To remember our remorse for actions in the past is to remind ourselves of the presence of others as we act now.

I’ll see you next week…

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