Knowledge is only a rumor until it is in the muscle
You are only as smart as the people you talk to. Travel, new places & new acquaintances fuel creativity & learning. Break routines, talk to people.
In the previous post I wrote about my neighbor and her beautiful garden. She’s always working on it. Her clippers are always in her right hand as she wanders through the garden. She’s a quick draw and will snip a dead shrub or feral branch in the blink of an eye. Her clippers are close at hand and she’s prepared.
Here’s lesson number two: Part of constant tweaking and improving is that you got to be prepared with the right tools. Make it easy to improve and tweak. Structure your day so that you have time to exercise, eat a good breakfast so you don’t snack on junk during the day, buy healthy food so that when you want to snack you have good food close by, set up filters on your email so that you give full attention to the right people.
Equip yourself with the right tools and it’s easier to improve day to day.
I have a neighbor with a green thumb. Her garden is wonderful. It’s like the one in the film The Secret Garden, but in California. It’s full of flowers and trees like roses, maples and nasturtiums. With the flowers come humming birds, dragon flies and bumbles bees. It’s a beautiful place to just sit and be. Here’s what I’ve learnt from her style of gardening: Always be improving. Whenever she’s out in the garden she does a little weeding, clips a branch here and there, tames an unwieldy mint patch or waters a thirsty lemon tree. Maintaining her garden isn’t done once a week, it’s an ongoing labor of love. The result is a wonderful living and breathing sacred place.
It’s a good lesson for work and relationships. Always be clipping and making small improvements. Small improvements accumulate like compound interest – it starts to gain it’s own momentum. Next time you are mindlessly checking Facebook, stop and ask yourself a question: Instead of infinitely scrolling to nowhere, where could you be clipping, weeding or watering in your own life?
I received a lot of feedback on my 9 exercise, dieting and sanity tips, so I decided to pontificate some more on the topic. I’m planning on turning these daily musings into a book, so this will be in the Mind / Body / Spirit section…which is basically the whole book! 😛
Eat slow cooked oats in the morning – prep them the night before in a slow cooker. The downside is that you have to clean the pot every day, but they are way tastier than instant oats…so you’ll keep doing it. Oats is a blood sugar stabilizing way to start your day and a full portion will see you through to lunch.
Write down positive mantras, be specific and say them out aloud daily. Use the notes app on your phone as a way for easy access. Keep tweaking them – it’s a fun dream boarding exercise and the list will hold you accountable. If you are brave then share them with your close friends and family – they will also hold you accountable.
Unfollow complainers, negative people and cynical people on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Only follow people on Facebook who are proximate. It’s not normal to be reading about someone you went to school with and haven’t talked to in over a decade.
Twitter is like the Ring of Sauron. If you get too close and don’t treat it with respect then it’ll consume you. Twitter is a powerful source of knowledge and wisdom, but it’s also filled with hate and darkness. Handle with care, choose wisely who to follow and mute the negativity. Don’t get sucked into the manufactured outrage and hot takes…Twitter can turn into a Kangaroo court very quickly which is unfair and cruel.
Don’t watch cable news…ever. It’s not news, it’s unhealthy entertainment masquerading as news. Breaking news is commoditized, it’ll find you if it’s important enough. If you have a healthy, hand picked list of people you follow on Twitter then you’ll get the knowledge you need versus the unhealthy news firehose.
Build up a rainy day fund of credibility with people you work with…so when the shit hits the fan or you drop the ball on something – you have a credibility cushion. If you are running hard and moving fast then the shit will hit the fan and you will drop the ball at some point.
Listen more, talk less and pause before you respond to a question.
The Nutribullet is the best and only juice blender you should use. People give up on juicing because the set up and washing up is such a hack. The Nutribullet makes it super easy to throw in some fresh fruit, veggies and water and get it done in under 5 minutes. I drink the juice from the same blending cup and the blades are safe and easy to clean. No fuss, no mess. Set it up at night before you go to bed so the morning is a like a well oiled machine.
Exercise and learning are cumulative. The benefits accumulate like climbing a stairway, one step at a time.
Watch a baby learning to walk. First it’s about tummy time which strengthens the neck and stomach muscles. Then it’s about learning to roll over, strengthening muscles and gaining a sense of gravity. Sitting up and crawling comes next to toughen up knees and strengthen the wrists and neck. The arms slowly get strong enough to grab a stool and hoist up the body. Pulling up and sitting down gets the legs working and toughens up the glutes. The first step finally comes after many tears, false starts, knocks to the head and LOTS of laughs.
What I love about the process is that baby never gives up. Failure is not an option or in the vocab and no amount of falling deters the kid. Every little milestone is celebrated with a toothless laugh and ear to ear smiles.
As adults we need to remember how we learned as infants. Small changes every day and results are cumulative. Don’t give up so easily! Practice, practice, practice. Laugh and celebrate the act of practice.
A couple of years back I was running every morning. I had a set route through San Francisco with a loop through the Presidio and a final climb up the Lyon Street stairs. The stairs connect Green Street to Broadway and are steep and tough on knees. After each run I’d get intermittent knee pain, and over time it got worse and worse. It eventually got to the point where my knee would swell and tighten up after every run. In spite of the discomfort I loved the endorphin kick of the run so I kept doing it anyway. It finally got to the point where I decided to see an doctor. It turned out to be a very quick appointment. Here’s how the conversation went:
Me: My knee hurts.
Doc: When does it hurt?
Me: After I run.
Doc: Where do you run?
Me: Through the Presidio and up some steep stairs.
Doc: Hmmm, does your job require you to run?
Me: No, I do it for my own enjoyment.
Doc: Okay, your knee is fixed. Here’s the deal…stop running up stairs and do some other type of exercise like yoga, or swimming. Your knee will be as good as gold.
Doc: Anything else?
My knee has been fine ever since. In today’s age of elective surgery, I’m constantly talking to people who are having shoulder operations, hip surgeries or knee surgeries because they refuse to stop a sport they love even though it’s grinding down their body.
Be flexible and kind to your body. You only get one per lifetime. There are lots of gentler ways to stay fit.