5 for friends 9/30

Quote: “Once a year, go someplace, you’ve never been before.” – Author unknown. I’m not sure when I first heard this piece of advice; likely it was during High School around my Senior year. But, with that mantra it has spurred meditating underwater falls, exploring underwater-cave systems, and even finding out that gator really does taste like chicken.

Book currently reading: Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance by Alex Hutchinson
More or less always has been on my reading list, as it does cover what the physical limits of humans are and how thinking is the most significant moderator or what limits or expands our capacity. 

Article worth a read: How to Craft a Perfect Email My guilty pleasure as an adult is scouring LifeHacker for essential tips on how to be a human in the real world. Today’s article hit me in a big way after handwriting letters, and interpretative dance email is my favorite mode of communication. Mostly because of the asynchronous nature I can pour a stream of consciousness out and can whittle away the excess and eventually understand what I mean around the same time as I hit send. Despite the ads more often than not this was a reminder of what I should be looking for and can speak to the contender for Quote of the week: Writing is 80% organizing your thoughts 20% actual writing. From Malcolm Gladwell, whose new book will be arriving at my door soon. 

Small Purchase: In the grand scheme of things, I question how small is my purchase; because it relates to the most excellent game of all time Magic: The Gathering and my decades-spanning collection. To the point over the weekend, I went to my local game store to play in the pre-release event for Throne of Eldraine (the 82nd expansion). For the small cost of a trip to the movies with popcorn, I spent my Friday evening with great friends of mine that I have not had time to see in months. The gameplay and format have been the best I’ve seen since my all-time favorite set from 2014 (Khans of Tarkir). $25 paid for just over 4 hours of pizza, exciting games of magic, and stories of harrowing victories and defeats we could still laugh about all night. 

What am I working on:  This month continuing in alignment with my goal of training to complete a Spartan Beast (last piece of the Trifecta) without too many injuries. So, my 3rd month at the Hive has my body starting to adapt to the high volume of reps under heavy load. With my increasing aerobic capacity and marginal strength gains, things are coming up Milhouse! Month 4 is my time for putting together my ever-improving endurance and will power to finally tackling the often neglected skill gymnastics.

Slowly but surely each WOD or trip to the globe-o gym will include 1 or more bodyweight movement. The aim is to work on pacing and strengthening my core and stabilizer muscles.  

2min bike
10 Hang Power Cleans
10 OHS
10 Kip Swings
10 Alt. Step Ups
Lateral Burpees
Overhead Squat OHS (95/65)
Chest to Bar Pullups C2B

Achilles used: Return

The feeling that comes when returning to something that once brought you joy is a powerful one. In this case, my feelings are matched with sheepish chagrin knowing I stopped creating posts for years. Solely because a person I immensely respect (Tim Ferriss) started an email newsletter of a similar list format.
Wisdom and the drive to want to continue growing as a more consistent and coherent writer does mean getting better at the style that matches how I like to add value to my friends. With no further preamble, This is the return of My Five for Friends. A report of sorts of the books, articles, and insights that I have been consuming and would send to my friends as an email whenever finding something that made me think of them.


“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”- Neale Donald Walsch
This week’s 5 for friends inspired by this age-old quote that sparked the sentiment that has led me to so many misadventures. As cliche as it sounds, the only memories I can say I ever regret, stand out because “I just want to be comfortable.” drove those decisions. So it brings me back to this quote and the notion getting comfortable with uncomfortable.

Book I am currently reading: I Hear You: The Surprisingly Simple Skill Behind Extraordinary Relationships by Michael S. Sorensen

A remarkably short read about a crucial part that is required when having a conversation with someone. Taking a moment to validate what they are saying; it doesn’t mean you have to agree or just parrot back what they said before answering. Suggesting to recognize why are they talking to you, many times it’s not for advice as much as needing a sounding board. It was precisely the subject I wanted to go on a deep dive with after spending a weekend in the mountains meeting with old friends with a fair amount on their minds.

Small purchase: A new (heavier duty) trunk organizer with dividers. This month I have been under the hood of several cars that were not my own to either change flat tires, brakes, oil. Opening my trunk crammed with training equipment, books, board games, tools, and hiking supplies, I knew where everything was, after a smidge of digging. But, an old fashion cleaning was in order, so others can find the boxing gloves on the left and not rummage through different party games to get to the tire iron.

Article worth sharing https://www.fastcompany.com/90408773/4-things-you-should-do-instead-of-team-building-activities

Again this week has been predicated on how I’m easily influenced by my friends (there I said it). This admission is how my minds work when a friend brings up in conversation an opinion I want to know more. How this deep dive start was when my friend admitted they hate forced team-building activities. While the new acquaintance on our mountain trek loved the camaraderie and always looked at the intent leads to good outcomes. My viewpoint was more in line with this article’s suggestions if you’re going to do something stupid with your coworkers at least make sure it has meaning behind it.

<currently working on> I want to complete the Spartan Trifecta. For the last several months, I have been attending CrossFit 2 to 3 days a week. Now I still have issues with the capricious rep schemes of CrossFit in the macro, but that is for another post. To reach this goal three months ago increasing my aerobic capacity, endurance, and maintain my strength. There are a lot of paths to get to the fabled to become a great all-rounder. Training at Black Hive, while I already have a membership at a globe-o gym to reach my goal is more costly. Despite having a great deal of training knowledge, you can only go so far when you train by yourself. I need to learn how to eat the elephant. Something books, podcasts, and music can inform and share experiences of but does not teach you. I recognize as a competitor; I need coaches to show me things I’ve never attempted and other people to show that it isn’t impossible.

My hope is this brings you some value and insight as I learn to be a little more concise with my thought and work on other projects.

All cost must be paid

Recently I concluded another meeting with a loosely affiliated group of friends; Friends are in every respect brilliant, ambitious and so much accomplished than I. While what I bring is advice from a codec of social science research and recall of several hundred books and studies, like a Mike Ross that was fascinated by psychology instead of law. Also not posing an associate clinical psychologist to assist a hotshot. Is that too meta? I’ve been consuming a lot of caffeine in between meetings and understanding why I have chosen the life of a Salary-man while moonlighting as a performance coach; instead of continuing with my masters… I don’t have a good answer, and it continually feels more contrived with each book on the subject that I read regarding imposter syndrome and Dunning-Kruger effect. Alas, a rant for another catchy title. Mostly because today’s writing exercise is to connect the importance of strategy and why most people even high performer only understand half of it. 
While en route for this meeting over coffee, a former student of mine called with a crisis (met girl, no want to go med school, no away from the girl.) Marshaling my thoughts to address his plight with the empathy he needed and to avoid doubling down on an emotional decision; my infallible advice was instead of a pro/con list asking can you walk me through a timeline of what this change looks like? Okay not so infallible advice, essentially it’s “what do you want? please explain why” Only that’s what people no matter the age need to hear when they feel strongly about anything. My next trick of that afternoon was making another mental shift for the conversation I was walking into; so, with a chuckle and apology for wrapping up a call in my car that crept into my group’s coffee meeting with me, “I forgot how true it was, all cost must be paid.”

We shared a laugh over this mostly because it was said in a joking tone and everything that comes out of my mouth is often a reference to something else. So, an explain came referring to a game we all played a lot, Magic: the Gathering… where a phase in the game is dedicated to accounting for and resolving any ongoing effects. We shared laughs as we nostalgically remembered games narrowly won or lost because opponents or ourselves overlooked some detail during a turn. The real-world equivalent to the upkeep is checking your budget at the beginning of the month: get paid, pay recurring expenses i.e. housing, food, etc, do what you planned with the rest. 
More examples were also made comparing the magic system used in books The KingKiller Chronicles, Stormlight Archives, and alluded to my yet to be written Tao Te Pokemon to highlight no matter how intelligent, ambitious, or connected people can make plans but success and failure often come down to how well the resources were managed. Since it is hard to win the day or save the kingdom when you run out of your competitive advantage at the wrong time. The meaning was clear. Our meeting was all about tracking progress on the monthly and quarterly projects we stated we wanted to accomplish.

Truthfully that day’s mastermind topic came from an epiphany when putting myself in my student’s shoes, and what an instructor explained to me one day. Unexpected costs will inevitably add up and often cause the death of long-term plans. It felt especially true while guiding the conversation with two professionals attempting to change the culture; and, being aware the two share the same habit I have: take on too many projects at once, with whatever is finished get listed as a win, what’s left to be punted until the muses strike again. I would like to say there’s nothing is innately wrong with this hyperactive approach, heck the most prolific thinkers in history admit to a voluminous approach. There is a caveat we discovered while reverse-engineering the process. Without a greater goal, you’re working towards the common thread can be a haphazard grabbing of low hanging fruit gets completed first. Why our alliance of high achievers came together, to keep us accountable and produce more meaningful work. 
After years of taking meetings, the lesson clients have taught me is the struggle to have to abandon an approach that brought in results in the past. Thankfully it also uncovered a more important question: how good are you at strategy? Not just planning, but setting objectives, what to prioritize (and not to prioritize), what resources are available, and how viable or long term is this.

A lot of smart people believe is a Harvard Business Review article their support team reads, not them though, so often I don’t get a call until disaster is looming, too many projects are being juggled, and not enough manpower to get through the unfinished backlog. Why? Because the crucial part of a strategy that was missed is rarely plain so the costs aren’t tangible. No matter your ambition, moxie or skill when taking on an assignment/project these costs add up and eventually will be paid. An important lesson for anyone to learn for students and seasoned managers alike. So I leave you all with a way of thinking comes from spending my work and play thinking of it like a game: Time, money, emotional/mental energy, and often enough physical things from a car or some piece of equipment. These are not worth zero dollars; no matter how reliable your car is or limitless your energy is when you’re young.