Friday, February 24, 2017, 12:24 pm

Cult of Crossfit—and why it may save us all

Today, a friend of mine posted a funny comic on the Facebook. It featured a man and woman stuck in an elevator. The guy is being smooth and suggesting they may as well get to know each other. The woman responds by telling him about Crossfit, and the last panel features the guy banging on the doors shouting for help.

Hilarious, because it’s true!

I have a few friends who Crossfit, and every single one of them absolutely loves it. And for good reason... every single one of them looks fantastic! However, the way they talk about it is not unlike when the Mormon boys or Jehovah Witness girls catch you at the edge of your porch as your trying to leave the house to run errands. They love it so much, they cannot wait to share it with the world... and with a religious fervor.

This is not a bad thing.

None of it, actually. The Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses possess a passion and a drive more than most of us will ever know. Whether you observe your faith or not, can you think of anything that drives you to the point you cannot wait to share it with everyone?

Then there’s the Crossfit people. My god, they look good! And Crossfit is work... I mean, actual WORK. There is nothing easy about it. But unlike any other program I’ve ever seen, they keep working. It’s hard work, and they LOVE it!

And have I mentioned how great they look?

Crossfit has stoked a fire in these people to be healthy, and it’s working.

Now, I haven’t participated in one of these workouts. I’ve been invited, and I’ve been told it’s a total shit-show and like going through hell. I, like most of us, think about that and haven’t convinced myself to join a club... yet.

And then there’s the financial commitment. But ignoring that for this moment...

Consider how many of us have joined a gym. How many of us have even hired trainers? How far do we get? Some of us, like myself, get to a target weight, exhibit reasonable gains, and find a level of happiness of where we’re at. Then either complacency sets in, or some change that strips the gym from the equation. Before we know it, it’s a month later and we’re lying on the sofa with an open carton of Do-Si-Do’s and washing it down with a root beer and binge watching the entire run of Sanford & Son.

I do NOT see this happening with Crossfitters. Ever.

Maybe I’m wrong, but there are a LOT of overweight and undernourished people out there. A lot of unhealthy people out there. A lot who my last trainer would call “skinny fat.” A lot of unhappy people out there.

And then there’s the group that’s so unhappy with society’s treatment of fat people they try to convince us that fat people are beautiful, making the right choices, and are entitled to keep on keeping on. But that’s another argument that’s already been made somewhere else.

Every Crossfitter I know appears happy... deliriously happy. Almost in that “O” face or an “I drank the Kool-Aid” way. And they keep getting more and more cut.

Seriously, they look incredible.

Now I find I’m thinking it may be time to join up. At one time, I was close to getting a six-pack and thought that was the dream. So, what am I craving now? An adonis belt.

Plus, if it’s truly about nutrition and regular exercise, why not?

It’s never too late, is it?

What i'm listening to:
Shock Shame
The Motels
Shock

Saturday, February 11, 2017, 5:35 pm

Making plans—breaking plans

I once worked for this lady who had a knack for asking questions about the most unlikely scenarios... only to have these scenarios actually play out. It was quite uncanny how the “crazy” she was able to conjure up came to life. Like something you might find in a movie.

Perhaps, at this point in my life, I have tapped into this. I feel like I can no longer make plans with anyone inside my social circle. I think that, deep down, I’m actually expecting them to flake.

I’m no longer ever surprised when the cancellation happens, but I am still continually disappointed. Maybe it’s me? I don’t know. Possibly.

Maybe I’m broadcasting that expectation, however subconsciously it may be lingering. So, if it is me, how do I fix it?

I get that I am not a “family guy,” and I no longer have to worry about how much money is available to hang out, but I’m afraid that somewhere in the last few years I lost something.

At one point, I was the Bigger and Better Deal. I never had to worry about others cancelling last minute.

Now, I’ll have to step out of my comfort zone and get that back. If that means I’ll have to make new friends, so be it.

I was raised to keep promises. If I say I’m going to be somewhere, I’ll be there. Yes, shit happens, but sometimes the shit isn’t going to get shittier if you’re not there—especially if there’s nothing you can do about it. If someone’s not dying (including myself) and Rome isn’t burning around me, I’ll be there.

I’d just like to have friends I can count on in a similar way. Money doesn’t matter. Bring your kids. I’ll pick you up.

But, nothing feels dirtier than allowing you to flake. It’s rewarding bad behavior. It sends the message that it’s okay to flake. It isn’t. It’s one thing if it’s a potential date and you aren’t really feeling it. It’s something else entirely if it’s someone you like and enjoy spending time with. Which brings me to that question for my friends: Is it me?

Do you treat all of your friends with the same lack of respect? Some of you, I believe that you do. What about your business? Do you cancel on clients and leave money on the table? Again, I know that some of you do. And that makes me sad.

Eliza Dooley was right.

When Siri is the only one who’s there for you, it makes you realize being friended is not the same as having friends.

At least follow this pro tip: If you don’t commit to plans, you never have to cancel.

On another note: I’ve finished ten books already this year.

What i'm listening to:
Voyager Head Underwater
Jenny Lewis
The Wall

Thursday, February 9, 2017, 5:16 pm

Local businesses revisited

There are few things these days I truly rant about. However, as someone who has seen so many “favorite” restaurants come and go... I’m truly amazed at just how many mistakes local businesses make.

Competing with chains is hard, or is it? Dealing with people is hard, or is it?

As a customer, I don’t think I’m extraordinarily difficult. I know what I like, and I go where I can expect it. Give me a great product with a smile, and it’s very likely I’ll drop $200 a month at your business.

Take that product away? I’ll take my $200 a month elsewhere. Take the product away with a smile and/or a lame excuse? I’ll take my money elsewhere AND tell my friends.

Currently, I’m reading a book I picked up at a conference called Reinvention Made Easy. It’s not your typical marketing book, in that it sugar coats nothing. The message can be summed up from the following quote:

Whatever excuse you choose for avoiding change, it will lead to your extinction.

So many business leaders seem to forget that what worked for them yesterday doesn’t always work for them tomorrow. I see them turn inward. I see them disregard their customers... occasionally going so far as to flat out tell customers they’re wrong.

Now, I may be mistaken... but it seems to me if you chase off enough customers, it may get increasingly difficult to pay your people, keep the lights on, and stay open.

Okay, so allow me to take a look in the mirror. The product in question is a tea latte. Can’t get enough of them. It doesn’t seem too unreasonable to expect to get tea from a coffee shop. Logical so far, right?

I mean, every coffee shop seems to offer them. Ones that don’t are the exception and not the rule.

And, for what it’s worth, this coffee shop is still offering tea. They’ve switched brands for the second time in a year on some quest that I’m not in the know on. The new tea is loose leaf, I guess it’s amazing. Great! I’m down to try new teas!

“Wait, no Earl Grey? Okay, I see the company offers something that offers similar flavor notes, yet is even more natural. Oh, you didn’t order that one. Okay, well make a tea latte with... um... that one. Really? What do you mean, no you can’t?”

Yet, I keep going back. They’ve been doing this for a year now. They switch companies. They run out of Earl Grey. They get some in. They complain about calling the tea latte a “London Fog,” because that’s a Starbucks drink, and “we’re not Starbucks.”

Well, Starbucks has a finger on the pulse of customers. Starbucks will still be here after you’re gone... in spite of the fact I’d MUCH rather support a local coffee house that I’d like... and that it’s becoming more and more obvious doesn’t care for me or my money.

Plus, as I mentioned earlier, I can get my tea latte at every. other. coffee. house. in. town.

I’m always sad when local businesses fail, but that does bring up another lesson from my current reader:

The value in failing is that it removes us from our false beliefs regarding success.

Profound.

Cheers, I’m going to get back to enjoying my latte now.

What i'm listening to:
The Wall Young Lust
Pink Floyd
The Wall

Friday, February 3, 2017, 9:48 pm

Mood

I want to see you, but I can’t call you. I want to need you, but I can’t have you.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017, 3:55 pm

Searching for Kid Chaos...

It’s sad that after spending so much time and energy (and money and other resources) being “social” and transforming myself into five pounds of fun in a ten-pound bag... that I’ve returned to my non-social and reclusive ways. I’m finding it’s like allowing a slow-carb cheat day turn into two, then three. It’s really, really, really hard to get back to that mindset, that lifestyle.

So. How do I find my inner Kid Chaos?

*blank stare*

Do I even know? Will I eventually lose the ability to be fun? I know that if what I’m doing feels unnatural, it’s not something I will continue. However, I remember all of those great times with so many wonderful girls.

I started out knowing nobody, and that is certainly no longer the case. While I crave the “fresh start,” my logistical situation does not lend itself to my getting this handled anywhere but right here, right now.

Actually, it’s time to take a step back. Start socializing again. There are some great tips in The Happiness Project book on making new friends... utilize those. In fact, there will be advantages to making new friends, and instantly “friend zoning” any new lady acquaintences.

And be present!

Being present is the constant theme that keeps returning in my notes, in my journal, and here. Why do I struggle so much to get out of my head? This anxiety is what I really need to get handled.

Kid Chaos is in there somewhere. I think some new friends may be just what I need to bring him back to the surface.

Saturday, January 28, 2017, 10:27 am

Stories: enjoy the journey

So, today I travelled a couple hundred miles from home to indulge in breakfast at my absolute favorite coffee shop. Sadly, the shop is closing next week, but the next part of the owners’ and employees’ journey will certainly be just as rewarding and exciting.

Having said that, I will certainly miss them. The service was always incredible, and I feel like I’ve connected with the staff here... in spite of the distance and the infrequency of my visits.

I’m currently reading The Happiness Project, and it’s providing me with some profound insights into myself and my life. It’s an admirable mission to strive for happiness, although it may oftentimes require a bit of soul searching. In it, the author has her twelve commandments she lives by and keeps returning to when encountering obstacles, the first of which is “Be Gretchen.”

Be you.

That’s powerful, isn’t it?

I have always enjoyed road trips, whether in small, fun groups or in solitude. For me, it has always been about the journey... not the destination. That’s not to say I don’t have dreams or goals, I’m just enjoying the ride. Sometimes, I’m afraid that the journey often distracts me from achieving the dream or the goal—a very real possibility, so I’m still striving to find that balance between enjoying the adventure and making progress towards something that will, at the very least, support my habit.

Which is why I’m okay with today’s adventure. It gave me a moment to visit some people I genuinely care about, and to wish them well. It gave me an opportunity to leisurely enjoy breakfast. I’m sitting in a rocking chair by the fireplace, just reading my book, writing this post, and sipping my Earl Grey.

Some days, life is pretty good. Actually, most days are if you take a step back and put each day in perspective.

Enjoy life. Enjoy yourself. Be you.

Monday, January 23, 2017, 8:27 pm

Insight from McD's

Last night I decided to take in a movie. I’m always obsessed with period pieces, and history, and pop culture, and history of successful (and not so successful) businesses, plus I always enjoy Michael Keaton’s performances... so I screened The Founder in a theater all to myself.

Keaton, as McDonald’s Ray Kroc, used a lot of inspirational quotes from history as he practiced persistence. I give you this quote, apparently attributed to Calvin Coolidge: (emphasis mine)

Nothing in the World can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

That really speaks to me. “Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.” Shit, that’s the story of my life!

Seriously. Like, I need that right in front of me at. all. times. I need that quote in front of me so I can get that handled.

Ironically, I used to practice persistence myself. No, it wasn’t to get what I wanted in life or business.

It was to get a girl. The girl. The one from high school that you can’t get out of your mind.

And I was such a chump at the time. Had I known then what I know now, I’d have interpreted “You are SO persistent” as “You are SO CLOSE!”

But no, I misread that and shut that shit down. And lost her.

It was many years later, before I finally had her, at the drive-in. Are the lambs still screaming, Clarisse? We fell in love that night, for one night.

Yet, I still have to get it through my head: persistence is NOT a bad thing. Persistence will get you what you want. More than talent. More than genius. More than education.

Press on.

What i'm listening to:
Going to Hell Absolution
The Pretty Reckless
Going to Hell

Tuesday, January 17, 2017, 11:41 am

Change is power

I’m getting used to this idea of the power of positive thinking. Occasionally you get these glimpses of it.

For instance, there’s a line from Bridges of Madison County that spoke to me... and has become one of the themes of my life.

If you look at change as something you can count on, then it can be a comfort. There’s not many things you can count on.

Combine that with the axiom mentioned in Mad Men:

Change isn’t good or bad. It just is.

It becomes apparent that change is, quite possibly, the only constant in our lives... maybe even the universe.

Which means change is to be embraced. Change is to be celebrated. We can change. We can have it all.

But it all starts within. I am committed to change myself and my life for the better.

I’ve got this. Time to hold my breath and jump right in.

What i'm listening to:
... But Seriously Another Day in Paradise
Phil Collins
... But Seriously

Friday, January 13, 2017, 4:43 pm

Without a cell phone

There’s this meme that pops back up on the Facebook now and again. It always makes me laugh, even though deep down it makes me sad.

I saw a guy today at the coffee shop. He had no smartphone, tablet or laptop. He just sat there drinking his coffee. Like a psychopath.

This is the reality we live in now. Seriously, what did we do before cell phones?

Today, I went out to run errands and grab lunch. About halfway to the grocery store, it occurred to me I forgot my phone at home. No big deal, this time I know what I need to pick up and don’t need to rely on the list in the phone, and I’m not expecting any calls anyway.

I didn’t really miss it... until lunch. On the occasions I eat alone, the phone is there to draw me into another world. Today, however, I just sat there. Eating my lunch. Like a psychopath. No, not really, but that meme was on my mind the entire time. It was nice to converse with other diners and people watch for a change.

Maybe I’ll leave it at home again. A reminder that there is a world outside of our pockets.

What i'm listening to:
Femme Fatale I Wanna Go
Britney Spears
Femme Fatale

Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 10:33 am

Literally...

Wow!

It’s also been ten years since I’ve set any sort of reading goal for the year and held myself accountable for that goal. That year I set a meager goal of 18 books. Looking back, I hit 16 of 18.

Not certain how I feel about that.

This year is definitely about rebuilding myself and my life and holding myself accountable. One realization that has helped me back into the proper mindset is this: I’m exploring a new business opportunity, an extraordinary, timely and trendy business opportunity. Successfully landing only TWO clients, will replace my income at my current day job. Successfully landing EIGHT, opens up the entire world for me.

Don’t get me wrong. While this appears simple, it’s not “easy.” There will be plenty of hard work, but it’ll be liberating to work for myself again, and no longer punch a clock that I spend the rest of the day watching... bored out of my mind because I’m not doing anything that excites me or builds passion.

To that end, this year, I’m setting the lofty goal of 50 books read by the end of the year. Ten years ago, I might have considered that totally unattainable, but I’m currently devouring information and books and I’m eager to learn how to better live and market myself doing so... so fifty, it is.

Ideally, I’d like to hit 50 early and see just how many books I can read in a year.

Plus, to hold myself accountable, I’ll occasionally check-in with posts like this, but I’ll also maintain a list to the right of books I’ve finished, in addition to the “Currently reading” that has resided there... forever.

One down...

What i'm listening to:
Dr. Feelgood Kickstart My Heart
Mötley Crüe
Dr. Feelgood
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