The benefits of open water swimming

It’s aerobic and anaerobic exercise.

Swimming is an all-body workout. It strengthens your muscles, heart, and brain. It’s better than any medicine out there.

Swimming is gentle on the joints. It’s the opposite of running, which is like putting your knees and hips through a meat shredder.

You can’t bring your phone into the water, so it’s a forced disconnect. No checking your phone when stretching or taking a breather.

It’s brain yoga. There’s a lot of stuff going on in the water that keeps your lizard brain firing. Will a shark eat you? Is the swell or current knocking you off track? Is that a fish or a turtle? A dynamic environment keeps you in the moment and gets you out of future thinking or past thinking.

Swimming in cold water requires more energy from your body to keep you warm and regulate temperature. That’s a workout in itself.

You will meet like-minded people and build a community over time. That’s good for your mental state mind.

Living close to the ocean is good for your health and longevity.

After the swim, you get to have a hot cup of tea and warm up.

Go.

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Making a change

“Nature gives you the face you have at twenty. Life shapes the face you have at thirty. But at fifty you get the face you deserve.” – Coco Chanel

When you are young you can hit the reset button and restart. Time is your friend and you have many lives.

When you get older you don’t have that luxury anymore, but you can still change direction and work with what you’ve got.

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And what is life

And what is Life?—An hour-glass on the run,
A Mist retreating from the morning sun,
    A busy, bustling, still repeated dream;
Its length?—A minute’s pause, a moment’s thought;
    And happiness?—A bubble on the stream,
That in the act of seizing shrinks to nought.

By John Clare

Golden hour
Alta Plaza, San Francisco
Evening light
Jacaranda Tree in bloom

Trusting your gut

Trusting your gut isn’t limited to the big decisions in life. It permeates our daily lives.

  • What to eat.
  • Whether to swim in the sea if the current feels too intense.
  • Deciding to exercise or take a rest because you don’t feel 100%.
  • Which books to read.
  • Who to trust and who stay away from.
  • When to leave and when to stay.
  • When to be quiet and listen.

Trusting your gut is all about the micro moves we make during the day.

The more you listen to yourself, the closer you get to who you are.

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Uncharted territory

Never sail into uncharted waters to avoid a storm. Boats are designed to handle stormy seas. They aren’t designed to run aground on a shallow reef.

Sometimes people borrow money from unethical lenders and ending up losing more than their business when things don’t go to plan.

Every winter, we read about a holidaymaker who takes the back road to avoid the snow traffic and congestion ends up getting stuck in the backcountry with a sad outcome.

Running from imagined danger can end up making things worse. 

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Time to pay it forward

“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,”

John F. Kennedy

Don’t ask why no one is helping you, or not taking a chance on you or not believing in you.

Instead, ask why you aren’t helping someone, or giving someone a leg up, or taking a bet on someone even when they still have a lot to prove.

Think back on your own career. Can you name somebody who took a chance on you? Hired you, introduced you, invested time in you, taught you, believed in you?

Pay it forward.

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Spooky places

There are certain places that always never feel good to me. I feel a sense of unease when it’s quiet, and the busyness of life isn’t there to distract me. Something inside the lizard part of my brain tells me to be on guard.

Sometimes I’ll walk into a house and or building and pick up the negative juju the instant I step into a particular space. It also seems to stick around, and it’s not like burning a sage bundle will make it better.

There’s a deep channel of water on my daily swim that makes me swim a bit faster and breathe a bit deeper on every inhale.

There’s a corner of the lounge in the house where I grew up that never felt right to me. You wouldn’t catch me alone in the room with the lights out, and curtains closed.

I believe that feeling that sense of dread is like a phone ringing and telling me to pick up. Maybe instead of avoiding those bad juju places, I should hang around and let whatever it is that’s knocking settle in for a bit.

The fray of the day

The best camera you have is the one you have with you.

The best notebook you have is the one you have with you.

When I have an idea, I jot it down in my phone via Apple notes. Pen and paper are more classic, but capturing a thought on my phone is so much more convenient because I always have my phone with me.

Working from home during COVID-19 means I’m at my desk and in front of my computer for a large part of the day. The upside of being close to my mac is that memorializing ideas is so easy when I have a keyboard at my fingertips.

The downside with walk & talk meetings or impromptu chats in an office, was that I didn’t immediately write down what had happened or what I needed to do next. Stuff slipped through the cracks. Ideas got lost in the fray of the day.

Writing something down gets an idea out of my head and makes it real. That’s a huge first step to getting it resolved, publishing it, or codifying it.

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Bootstrap and build it yourself

The quickest way for me to learn is to bootstrap and build something myself.

I have slowly built my website over time, learning as I go.

The upside of building my stuff is that I’m not reliant on someone else. I experiment and tweak things on my timeline. I own the schedule. If I break it, I know how to fix it or revert the change. If it’s a total screw up, I can ask someone can show me. Significant improvements to my site sometimes mean cutting and pasting bits of code from a google search result and then refreshing to see if it works.

If any WordPress developer peaked under my website’s hood, they would see the equivalent of a one-bedroom house with extensions like a loft, basement, and garage all stapled on that have not been built to code.

My father is also building his site, so sometimes it’s about us sharing notes about new intentional and accidental discoveries that pop up when we tinker with the website.

There’s no formal syllabus. The building roadmap is dictated by what I need next.

Building on the fly is like learning a new language. I prepared by attending some formal French classes when I lived in Luxembourg for a short period. None of that helped. When I arrived in Lux, I couldn’t even understand what people were saying, let alone have a conversation. I learned to get by over time by repeating phrases like ordering coffee, buying bus tickets, and asking for directions. These practical phrases were my building blocks.

It’s the same with building anything new. Look for tools you need to get from point A to point B. Then figure out how to get to point C. It won’t be pretty, but you’ll keep moving forward and being in control will empower you.

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Make a move

“Most decisions should probably be made with somewhere around 70% of the information you wish you had. If you wait for 90%, in most cases, you’re probably being slow…” – Jeff Bezos

In 1944, General Eisenhower, the Allied Supreme Commander in Europe, had to make one of the most significant decisions of WWII, and time was running out. He had already delayed the D-Day for a month, and he now set a date of June 5, 1944. The weather forecast for June 5 was rain and heavy seas. 

Less than 24 hours before the scheduled invasion, he gathered his advisers again. The weather forecast indicated that the rain would stop, and there would be clear sky breaks in the clouds in the afternoon on June 5. Still, his meteorologists predicted improved conditions for the following day.

Eisenhower decided to delay and changed the date for D-Day to June 6. 

Eisenhower made a decision and gave the order to set in motion the most massive amphibious invasion in world history; 4,000 warships, 10,000 aircraft, and 160,000 troops. Eisenhower had won his gamble with the weather, and within two months, Allied forces broke out from their Normandy beachheads and began their long battle march to liberate Europe.

* * * *

The problem with hiring people from large, slow-moving companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, Big Banks, Consulting firms, Big 4 Accounting shops, and top tier law firms is that long timer employees at these companies are conditioned to only make decisions when they have “all” the information. They are not comfortable operating in the grey spaces. They want it black or white. This ends up paralyzing their day to day decisions, and they get out-innovated in the long run.

Work with folks who move fast and comfortable making a call with incomplete information, and listen to their gut and data at the time.

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