December 16 – Money

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Money can buy happiness to the extent of basically getting the bills paid for.  All of the research shows this to be true. As long as you can afford a basic standard of living…you can pay the mortgage or rent…you can pay to get the car fixed when it breaks down…you can comfortably keep the lights on…any extra money after that doesn’t seem to make people happier.  It seems that many people don’t identify with this though. Most of us want more.  

That is really good in a way.  People are thinking about their future.  They know that putting $100 a month…or even a week away for savings, just isn’t going to cut it come retirement age.  I calculated how much money I’d need at retirement (age 65) to carry me through age 90, if I consider the bills I’ll have, the standard of living, and inflation.  It’s about $1,000,000. That’s a million! I better visit my financial adviser soon, and adjust how much I’m contributing now!

By the way, I highly recommend putting some energy and thought into this.  Especially if you are self-employed…or don’t have a retirement plan through your job.  The earlier you start putting some away (even if it’s just a bit), the better. If you need a recommendation for someone to help you with this, send me a message.  You don’t want to be 55 years old, wondering why you haven’t started at least something. Start now.

I’ve never been truly driven by money that much.  I might have said differently, especially at different times in my life.  I remember thinking that I need  to have a lot more money at times.  But when I look at my actual behavior, it says that it doesn’t matter to me much.  If you’re wondering what some things are that you actually believe in…instead of sitting and thinking (which can be helpful too), try standing back and looking at your behavior.  As an individual, you tend to ‘do’ what you believe in.  We often think that we start with a belief and then we act it out.  But it’s almost always that we start with behavior…and we grow our philosophies and beliefs out of those actions.  Think about how that may be true in your life.

Anyway, I’ve never been driven to find a high paying job.  I’ve never attempted to buy a high priced vehicle. My house is small and affordable.  And even though it’s the holiday season, and sometimes I have hopes to afford better or more gifts for others…I always seem to make it happen according to what I believe in.  I always feel comfortable in the gifts or love that I’m able to share. I never feel unable to provide what I want to for the holidays. I suppose if I wasn’t able to do that, I’d have to adjust.  

I do often think about my retirement amount.  That does weigh on me at times. I’m not currently putting enough away to represent what I need in the future.  So, I am trying to figure that out. I don’t believe in just sweeping that idea under the rug. It’s on my conscience, so I should be abiding by it.  I’ll continue to work at that. But I do have other priorities or values to consider. Sometimes I value things other than work…and feel very content about that.

For the past two years or so, while my daughter was in pre-school Tuesdays, Thursday, and Fridays, I chose to only work on those days.  I chose to stay with my daughter on Mondays and Wednesdays.  It was a prioritization. I certainly could have chose work, and a little more money, and less time with my daughter.  She could have gone to pre-school Monday through Friday. I was more happy and content though to hang with her. I did have to work a weekend day here or there to keep up, but most of the time I made a 3 day work week happen.  

I also choose to not work in the winters.  That’s been the case for the last two years.  I have done snow plowing/removal in the past, but decided not to more recently.  Another prioritization I made is to give more time to my writing. It’s a passion of mine, and something that I want to develop.  Therefore, I don’t really work from about December 1 to April 1. Weather plays its part in determining those exact dates, considering my work is landscaping…but it’s close to that.  I do find small jobs here and there when interested, or feel the need for more income. But for the most part, I focus a lot on reading, writing, exercising, etc. I’m also able to be home for my daughter each day at 2:30 or so, now that she’s in kindergarten.  

I’m leaving a lot of money on the table.  4 months of work could lead me to more money…for sure.  I certainly could work another job in the winter…and might if I feel the need.  It’s really important for me to be able to have that as a choice.  I recognize that some might think it’s wrong to work a three day week.  Some would never consider that as an option. ‘I work, so my child must to go to pre-school every week day,’ is something I could have said.  Some would think it’s crazy to focus on a whim like ‘writing’ and choosing not to work for the entire winter.  I understand that. I have simply valued other things over money.  I believe that time with my daughter, following my passions, abiding by my conscience, and living on my own terms are more meaningful than money.  At times, those things may have to shift a bit. I’m aware that I’ll have to shape and prioritize differently over time, and that those things don’t come free.  I can’t take them for granted. It takes hard work to manage it all. But right now, I’m willing and able.

emailsig

December 15 – Love

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When infants are born, they have a good amount of dependency.  Where as other mammals can somewhat detach from their parents early on, humans typically hold on to that attachment for quite a long time.  Where as a baby fawn can stand up and walk around the first day that it’s born, a human baby usually doesn’t walk for an entire year after birth.  On top of that though, humans seem to need love. When research was done because of the high mortality rates at orphanages, the literature suggested that even when babies are given the proper nutrition, if they are not touched, held, snuggled…they stop growing…they can even die.  Love seems to be at the heart of that necessity.  

We have an immense amount of social drive.  We crave connection to social groups, and we need to be nurtured in such a way early in life.  

My daughter was born an entire two months before her due date.  We were fortunate in that the hospital we chose to use for delivery was equipped with a state-of-the-art neonatal care unit.  They facilitated couplet care, in which the mother and father are able to stay at the hospital with the infant in the room, until the infant is ready to go home.  One practice I quickly learned from the nurses was that skin-to-skin contact would be crucial now…that the literature is clear how beneficial it is for the baby helping them grow more effectively…and that it builds a strong bond within the parent/child structure.  This is love…growing a child.  With this knowledge, as soon as I knew it was a time I could hold my daughter, I’d quickly take my shirt off, lay down on the bed, and the nurses would carefully place her on my chest (early on she was connected to oxygen, a feeding tube, a picc line, and monitors so it helped to have others move her).  We’d then cover her up, but also maintain that skin-to-skin contact. She was learning my smell, my voice, my breathing patterns, my personality, and my love. I’ll never forget the love and emotion that I felt during those times. It was a connection that I’d obviously never felt before. My daughter sprouted up through that phase real quick, and is a happy, healthy 5 year old now.  It’s easy to see how love played its part in that growth.

As we age, the actual necessity for love seems to fade.  We can live without it, although it’s not ideal.  We certainly can’t thrive without it. And part of our self-actualization seems to transfer from ‘needing to be loved by others’ to more of a ‘desire to give love to others’.  Now that a child has grown into an equipped adult, they are now in a position where they can give back and provide love to others.

Love isn’t perfect harmony…and only rainbows and butterflies.  Love between two individuals hopefully comes with the knowledge and awareness that each can benefit from the other’s perspective, and that challenging each other’s presuppositions (in a caring and loving way) will lead to the growth and potential reach of each person.  Love involves honesty and truth. And sometimes dealing with the truth isn’t easy. It’s challenging and arduous. It’s realizing that you aren’t everything you could be. But the awareness and effort and growth together leads to the absolute best version of both individuals.  

emailsig

December 14 – Contentment

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Life can be a struggle.  It can feel like suffering and chaos and too much stress at times. One hopes that at the end of the the day, we can feel some contentment.  I use this word a lot within my writing, and truly identify it as something that we should aim for. I also write about fulfillment a lot.  These words are different than happiness, in that they include another element of some sort of achievement…and maybe a better word would be satisfaction.  

I hold a strong belief that we should be aiming to do more things that make us happy…more often.  I also feel that we should all consider more often how to do less of what doesn’t make us happy.  It’s a real adjustment that each one of us can make.  You check in with yourself and ask, ‘Hey…do you enjoy doing this?’  Now…that’s actually not the simplest question to answer. If you ask that question about your job, you’ll most likely come up against many elements about it that you don’t like…and many that you do. You may not enjoy your boss. The actual work may not be your passion. But, you may love the company of your co-workers. The pay and benefits might make you happy. The schedule might be perfect. Or, it may be the opposite.  It’s important to have this conversation with yourself though, or with your partner, in order to be able to articulate and be aware of what makes you happy and what doesn’t. I can do this with my work, and with all other activities that are in my life.  I can do more of the ones that are more happiness weighted.

In a deeper way though, we should be trying to find contentment within our lives.  And whereas happiness can be short term, self-indulgent, and trivial in the grand scheme…contentment comes from progress, connecting with others, and purposeful and meaningful experiences.  The phrase ‘being able to sleep at night’ comes to mind when thinking about contentment. It’s a pride and awareness that you’re on the right track…that your house is in order…and that you’re now able to try to help others.  

This doesn’t mean life gets easier.  In fact, it means you’re adopting more responsibility…you’re striving and reaching more.  And damn, you’re tired at the end of the day. When you hit the pillow, you crash…and you sleep like a baby.  You’re not ‘at your whit’s end though’…because all those experiences and behaviors are keeping you charged up.  The connections you’re making, and the progress on the path are keeping you satisfied and fulfilled. You’re aiming at something.  You’re trying to hit the mark. You’re also not ‘burning the wick at both ends’ because that wick burns out and doesn’t have enough for tomorrow.  

Contentment begins with self-awareness.  What will satisfy you? What will give you purpose?

Contentment is achieved by putting the answers to those questions into action.

emailsig

December 13 – Chaos

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Chaos will always be manifesting itself in our lives.  It’s part of existing. It’s more part of the opposite of existence…which is non-existence.  We as humans must deal with the vulnerability and fragility and impermanence of our form. ‘Life is suffering,’ as the Buddhists would say.  And a more fitting translation for that seems to be Life is impermanence, or stress…or chaos. The Christian doctrine provides the cross as a symbol of this.  I gain the most understanding though from the Taoist symbol of the yin and yang. That image effectively illustrates how even as we grow to build more order (opposite of chaos), truth, happiness, positivity, and contentment…that a piece of chaos will still be present.  We will always be susceptible to desire. We will always sin. We will fall off of the path.

Given this truth, I might as well stay off the path.  I mean…what’s the point right? If I can’t get to a life with just order…with no chaos…why continue to struggle and seemingly waste energy trying to grasp onto a fleeting hope of perfection?  First, it’s important for me to acknowledge that I can’t have one without the other. I can’t have existence without non-existence…permanence without impermanence…order without chaos. There is no true perfection or enlightenment…only the process or path of trying to become so.  

And yes, even realizing that, I should still try to stay on the path.  I should still try not to sin, and still attempt to bring order into my life.  Without that effort, the chaos in our lives compounds. The small, black-colored dot within the light side of the yin-yang starts to bleed out, and then it overtakes and saturates…until everything becomes dark.  This is hell. It is much much worse than ‘suffering’ or attempting to live with chaos and order. It’s 10X the darkness.

A bad break up with a partner involving betrayal can lead to sadness…depression even.  Chaos would certainly emerge here. And boy would it be difficult to stay on the path, and to keep confronting life on the path.  That’s challenging and admirable. But it’s the struggle to keep order and avoid more chaos. If that same individual decided to not stay on the path…and instead turn to alcohol and narcotics and more unhealthy relationships… the chaos compounds, and a noticeably different darkness emerges.  Again, this is hell. It would be very hard to come back into the light from even from just the betrayal and depression. But think how grueling a return from the other situation would be.  Many don’t return from hell.

Stay on the path my friend.  Keep fighting the fight. One foot in front of the other.  Keep mending your ark to float within the flood. Look to those around you, and lend a hand to help them out of chaos.  Encourage them to stay on the path, a hard as that may seem. Get really self-aware and keep an eye on how you may step off of the path yourself.  Get back on. Keep good company that will inspire you to stay.

emailsig

December 12 – Fitness

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Being physically fit, and practicing fitness is a huge factor in being and feeling healthy.  I try to keep fitness as a common theme in my life. It’s not if I’m going to exercise…it’s how. For the past year and a half or so, I’ve been mostly focused on weight training.  It’s a program that stems from Louie Simmons at Westside Barbell in Ohio. At its core, it’s lifting weights.  The dead-lift, squat, and bench press are frequently practiced. But along with that, it uses rubber band and chains to change resistance, weekly maximum effort lifts, specific periodization, dynamic exercises (where speed is involved), and a variety of accessory exercises that are always changing.  The training that I do is practiced in 3 week waves. Therefore, I do the same exercises for 3 weeks. Within that time, I try to add weight to the movements.

This method has really helped me gain a lot of strength.  Since the workouts I do are in particular tailored for athletes that are training for playing a sport, a couple people have asked me what I’m training for.  I’m training for life. Being strong…being fit…has led to functional strength within my everyday life. Within working around the house, which I do a lot, I feel much more prepared and capable.  Doing things like cutting and stacking wood have been much more enjoyable with the added strength and capability that I now have.

These workouts have also taken care of a lower back issue that I’ve had my entire adult life, and a weak and sore right knee issue after having 3 surgeries on it.  I was fearful of that at first, wondering if I should be trying to lift the most amount of weight possible on a knee that wasn’t in such good shape. But the controlled and focused movements have strengthened it, and improved its function in the rest of my daily life.  It was basketball, with all of it’s turns and tweaks and unpredictable movements, that was much more harsh on my knees.

But that’s not to say that basketball, or some other ‘fitness’ isn’t the one that you should be performing right now.  Everyone should be trying to be fit in the way that works for them. There are so many options out there for people to be a part of, and they all lead (in a variety of ways) to a healthier individual that is fit for life.  Here are some options:

  • crossfit
  • spinning
  • cycling
  • pilates
  • flow yoga
  • bikram yoga
  • running
  • zumba
  • olympic lifting
  • martial arts
  • swimming
  • recreational sports

There are a couple definitions of fitness.  One is the quality of being suitable to fulfill a particular role or task.  That speaks to our ability to perform all of the behaviors that our life has for us.  If we are fit, we feel much more capable of that performance. We feel happier in that situation too.  

Another definition speaks biologically and evolutionarily.  It says that fitness is an organism’s ability to survive and reproduce in a particular environment.  It’s Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’.  It’s natural selection. Here’s a thought that I wrote of yesterday: you are the culmination of everything that has ever happened with human beings before you.  All of their abilities and fitness within our environment, and our ability to evolve and reproduce a better human over time…has led up to this current moment with you right now.  What are you going to do with that?
Well, you’re going to be the fittest that you can be.  This is your responsibility. This isn’t only physical fitness.  It has to do with the entirety of human functionality. We could say that physical fitness is certainly part of that though.  But being fit in this way says that we’ll survive and thrive even, and reproduce effectively as a species…and that we’ll refine ourselves over time, setting up a healthier environment for the next generation. And that we’ll be creating genes and new organisms…new humans…that are more fit for whatever that environment may be.

emailsig

December 11 – Parenting

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I’ve been trying to identify and understand more recently…humans and society as the large scale identity that it is.  When considering where are as an individual, we tend to focus within a smaller scope, thinking of ourselves as the product of last generation…and the catalyst that will produce and move forward the next generation.  It’s most available to us to recognize the immediate past, present, and future. However, it’s so fascinating to consider yourself as the culmination of all of the history of human beings that came before you. You are the cutting-edge human…the one confronting the world at most immediate and present time.  As a parent, you are the embodiment of all of the knowledge and parenting skills from all of the parents leading up to you. You are so very sophisticated and elaborate. You contain a history of multitudes. You’ve arrived in this world, equipped with a certain ability to parent…it’s in your genes. And that confrontation that you have with our current, technologically advanced society…makes available all of the information that you need to develop into the best parent in history! It’s a real special ability. But I like to think of it more as a ‘responsibility’.

The care and support and development that you provide for you immediate child is important.  I’ll talk more about that in a bit. But that particular responsibility is just a microcosm of the large-scale duty of our generation to move the world forward in the most productive way possible, in order to be part of that history of human beings becoming more effective and efficient and functional in the world we have today.  Can you imagine? It’s your turn to play this ultra-significant part in the development of humankind. What more purpose and meaning do you need?

This stuff motivates the hell out of me.  Yes…within parenting…but also in fitness, in writing, in following my passions.  Everything that has ever happened…has led up to this current moment with you right now.  What are you going to do with that?

The practices and behaviors of current parenting are on one hand, highly sophisticated and just barely out of reach of parents, while on the other hand, very simple and traditional.  Let’s talk about the former first. It’s our children (not us as parents) who actually embody the most up-to-date individual that is weathering the conditions of the ever-renewing present moment.  Yes…we are part of that too. But we are already becoming dated… ‘out’dated you could say. This is somewhat evident in how children grasp onto technology so effectively, and how we struggle to understand what all the teenagers are doing right now…with Fortnite and Snapchat and all.  ‘I don’t get it…so the pictures disappear after someone sees them? What the hell is the point then?’ I heard someone close to me say these words about kids using Snapchat. Creating and using and making a utility out of current trends and technology is our children’s responsibility. They are confronting this present moment my revivifying the ideas and culture and traditions of the past, into a new and useful output in the present.  Remember, you did the same thing when you were young. I do my very best to respect and appreciate their contribution. And that’s not easy because I’m not that. It’s not entirely possible for me to get there. It’s easy for us to fall into the structured thinking of ‘kids these days’ or ‘get off my lawn’. That’s not showing empathy. That’s not trying to understand. We can and should try. It’s worth the effort.  And it’s especially beneficial if you have your own child.

 

Deliberate Reflection

Recently, I attended a Fall celebration in my daughter’s kindergarten class.  After enjoying some snacks together, the teacher had the students use some time for structured play.  There were 4 stations, and the students were able to choose which station they wanted to play within. My daughter and 3 other boisterous girls chose the ‘kitchen’ for their station.  I sat near them, and they asked what I wanted them to make me. They then pretended to cook and prepare me a meal, all while socializing and laughing…it was genuine play, and it was fun to watch.  

All of a sudden, my daughter walked away from the group.  And by the way, my daughter is very social…she really enjoys being talkative and engaged with a lot of others.  I thought nothing of it though…maybe she was getting a drink or another toy to bring to the kitchen. After a few minutes though, and pretending to enjoy my meal, I turned to face the rest of the room, as I had been facing the kitchen which sat in the corner.  I noticed that my daughter was now at the Lego playing station. There was only one other boy playing there. So, I went over to that station and started playing Legos with them. I asked my daughter why she left the kitchen station…just because I was surprised she’d leave the boisterous corner with all of her girlfriends, and go to a quiet station with just one student.  She looked me directly in the eyes and told me that she noticed the boy was playing alone, and that this boy doesn’t know how to speak English yet. My eyes immediately welled up with tears. I didn’t get too emotional though, and said, ‘wow, that was very nice of you.’

After speaking with the teacher, I found out that this boy recently arrived here from the Congo in Africa.  And…that he only knows a couple of English words now, but the students are proving to be very helpful in his language acquisition.  

I don’t bring up this instance to show how empathetic and insightful my daughter was in that moment.  Although, I do feel that it was a very special moment in which she demonstrated those traits that seemed to be out of a 5 year old’s grasp.  I speak about this because these moments (the behaviors we want our children to perform) happen all the time.  Some aren’t to this degree…some are much more enlightened.  It could be a child holding a door for someone else. It could be your child recruiting the help of your partner to get you the most special and fitting Christmas gift…because maybe you mentioned something about it back in June…and they held onto that.  Regardless of what this desirable and thoughtful behavior is, it warrants a response other than, ‘good job honey’…it warrants deliberate reflection.

I hear many parents, especially of toddler aged children, saying, ‘good job,’ to them probably close to 100 times in an hour.  It can be for the simplest and most mundane task. They pick up a toy…’Good job!’  They bit a teething ring…’Good job!’  First, I don’t agree with praise for every single thing a child does.  Sometimes the cartwheels my daughter does…absolutely stink! Now, I won’t be insulting or cold-hearted in my reaction, telling her that it wasn’t so good. But it’s not ‘Good job’.  Also, it’s very practical for an individual to discover the cause and results of their actions somewhat more organically.  We don’t need to say anything for every single behavior.  They will efficiently discover results, either by the value (internal or external) that their behavior delivers to themselves…or (and this is a more fitting and increasingly valuable response as they age) by how their behaviors have an effect on others around them…other peers…society…not screened and filtered by Mom or Dad.  One thing that makes me cringe is when I ask a child (for instance) ‘how do you like swimming?’ And after a second or two…when the child is almost ready to speak up, when they have gone through the processing and formulation of a response, which takes longer than adults…the mom interrupts the process and tells them, ‘say I like it!’  I get it.  It’s hard. But we need to let go.

On the other side of this is when your child does something that (to you) does actually justify reward or positive reinforcement.  Since that day that my daughter went over to play Legos with the student that was playing alone…I have sat her down, without any TV or other stimuli going, and discussed with her how proud I am of her for that behavior…what that behavior and understanding can also lead to…why it’s significant in other ways…why she should keep doing it…and how I love her for behaving that way.  I’ve done this 2 or 3 times. The first time was all of that reflection. The second and third time was really a short reminder of the experience and how I feel about it. It’s still deliberate reflection though…it’s not just a quick ‘good job’ while she’s watching a JoJo Siwa video. That type of parenting won’t result in behavior that you want.

This deliberate reflection takes about a minute the first time…maybe 15-20 seconds on the subsequent visits.  It’s a really effective way of having an authentic discussion with your child about how you want them to behave. They’re yearning for that conversation.  And you’ll appreciate the talk too.  

emailsig   

December 10 – Winning

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It is whether you win or lose…and it’s how you play the game.

I haven’t heard a parent say the original form of this phrase to their kid for a long time (it’s not whether you win or lose…), but I’m sure it’s still uttered every day.  To me, this is unfortunate. Of course, what it means is that within a game, the score doesn’t matter, and who is designated the winner and loser doesn’t matter.  What matters is that you play with good sportsmanship…basically that you follow the rules, and respect the opponents and whoever else is involved in the game, such as referees.  

That way of thinking, mostly emerging with parents and their very young kids at athletic games…quickly scales, and has dire consequences for the society at large.

When I think about this, I come to the conclusion that it originates within parents who don’t want to let their children get hurt emotionally after a contest.  I understand that.  But it’s just prolonging the ability to learn from a loss.  Picture a young child running over to Dad…sad look on her face…after a soccer game in which the score wasn’t kept (bad idea!). ‘We lost Dad!’ ‘Well, I’m not so sure,’ Dad replies… ‘I don’t know what the score was’ he says.  Listen, Dad knows the score was something like 10 to 1…ok?  ‘But Dad, we kept score as a team in our heads…and they got a lot more than us.’  Well, it’s not whether you win or lose…it’s how you played the game.’

No Dad…don’t say that.  It does matter. And especially in that this ‘losing’ moment for your daughter is actually a perfectly set-up teaching moment for the both of you.  It’s a great opportunity for you and your child to practice acknowledging, accepting, and working through a small-scale loss. We know that she’s going to have to deal with loss in the future…in and out of an athletic arena.  Therefore, it’s wise to introduce the idea early, often…now!

Last year, I coached my daughter’s pre-school/kindergarten aged basketball team.  It was at the very earliest level of development and play for these children. It was so fun…so fascinating to observe those children dealing with that experience.  Some of them couldn’t even get the ball up to the hoop (which was set about 5 feet high), they couldn’t follow the strict rules of dribbling, not traveling, staying in bounds, etc. We did scrimmage the other 3 teams that were practicing in the gym though.  At the end of every practice we would play against one of those teams for about 15 minutes. I heard some of the kids keeping score during the game. ‘It’s 3 to 1,’ they’d say after making a hoop. Or, ‘we’re losing 2 to zero!’ Immediately, I felt a little pressure, and I knew that at the end of this game, there would be a discussion about winning and losing.  ‘What am I going to tell them?’ I wondered. The truth. Not surprisingly, the very first question quickly asked by a couple players when we huddled up after the game was, ‘did we win?’ I couldn’t say, ‘I think it was a tie,’ or ‘I’m not sure…but everyone played great!’ Couldn’t do that. I’d say, ‘yup, we won 5 to 3.’ Or, ‘No, we lost 6 to 2.’ Believe me, it totally changed the looks on these 4-6 year old faces, and their body language.  They didn’t like losing. But, I’d lead them through quick discussions after they found out they won or lost, in order to help them understand why…and what they did to contribute to that…what they could do to win again, or to not lose next time.

I don’t like losing either.  In fact, I am very competitive in games, and try to win every single one if possible.  Even within the casual men’s league basketball I’ve played in over the years…I do not let the team I’m on lose easily.  I give a full effort to help the team win.  I don’t care if it’s darts, shooting pool, golf, ping pong, arcade games…anything.  I’m going to try to kill.  

Trying to win is meaningful.  Regardless of what arena your playing in, having an aim to win, means you’re striving for excellence.  That striving, that work and effort, that continual and consistent practice…makes you better at that game.  It also builds characteristics that are then applied to other games you play within life. And of course sportsmanship is important.  It’s crucial to follow the rules so that everyone you’re playing with will trust you and continue to play. You must respect the referees…or the rule enforcers…so that you’ll be ‘allowed’ to play.  You must follow some common moral and ethical behaviors so that others will like to play with you…even if you do win…and so that you’ll be invited to play in a variety of other games.

And by the way, striving for excellence makes the players around you closer to excellence too (teammates and opponents).  It’s known within sports that one of the best ways to get better yourself as a player, is to play against other players that are a level above you.  It allows you to perform and practice your known and functional movements and structures, while also keeping you on the edge of comfort, and challenging all that you’re doing…encouraging you to improve on all of that so that you can keep up with the level just ahead of you.  

This is also true within business…within relationships.  Do you want the 5 people closest to you to always be trying to win and striving for excellence?  Or do you want them to often be ‘ok’ with losing? Think about the effect that will have on you.  

Do you want your kids to think everything is a tie…and receive participation trophies? Or do you want them to win respectfully with honor with honor and pride, and lose with emotion and then learning and growth?  

Winning matters.  Trying to win matters.  And that means that there are going to be losers.  That’s ok. 

emailsig