Being Prepared In The Best of Times

“Let a man never stir on his road a step
without his weapons of war;
for unsure is the knowing when need shall arise
of a spear on the way without.”

In life’s journeys, we will have moments of calm seas, and also times of crushing waves.  That’s what keeps life interesting, right?  The difference between interesting and fearful, however, is preparedness.

Are you prepared to defend yourself or those you care for, should the need arise?

While I do think that self-defense and tactical aggression are important things that a person should know and learn, so as to have the ability to deploy wisely should the time come, today I am referencing a more common item that all men and women face, and that is their own state of physical fitness.

How often do we realize we are out of shape only after we have been tested and become aware of our own failure to be prepared to the best of our own physical abilities?

I know that I face that physical failure often.

Facing failure in exercise is not a bad thing, however.  For only once you have reached a point of failure, are you aware that there is more that you can achieve.  On the other hand, what’s not okay, is finding your limits far below what is needed, when an emergency arises.

So, I am asking everyone to do me a solid.  Test yourself today.  How long would it take you to get to the nearest first aid location, on foot?  How long could you hold off an attacker?  Could you climb that fence to save your son or daughter?  Find out now so that you can improve, instead of waiting until it is too late.

Let us know how you challenge yourself today. Bonus points for pictures.

Waking Up On The Right Side Of The Bed

Alice In Wonderland White Rabbit

“I’m late, I’m late. For a very important date. No time to say hello. Goodbye. I’m late, I’m late, I’m late.” – White Rabbit, Alice In Wonderland

How many of us feel like this at least once on a daily basis?

Is it because of a failure to plan?

Most likely it is.

We blame procrastination, society, expectations of others, etc., but there are countless resources out there to help you in planning and streamlining your time throughout the day. So many options that it can become overwhelming, honestly.

My advice?

Get. A. Daily. Routine.

Set your non-negotiables for the day, and then stick to them.  You may need to try some new things, and get rid of some old things, in order to make your daily routine as optimal as is achievable, but I will leave that up to you.

Here is Ben Franklin’s schedule, from way back in 1771:

5-7 a.m. Rise, wash and address Powerful Goodness! Contrive days’ business, and take the resolution of the day; prosecute the present study, and breakfast.

8-11 a.m. Work.

12-1 p.m. Read, or overlook my accounts and dine.

2-5 p.m. Work.

6-9 p.m. Put things in their places. Supper. Music or diversion, or conversation. Examination of the day.

10 p.m.-4 a.m. Sleep.

While I don’t exactly follow Ben’s routine (but maybe I should?), I do have my own morning routine set up, and it leaves me feeling like a productive force that cannot be stopped.  See below:

4:30 a.m. – Wake-up

Times may vary for these next steps:

  1. Take my weight.
  2. Drink 24 ounces of cool to cold water (I am considering adding lemon and salt, as per Aubrey Marcus’s recommendation in his book “Own the Day, Own Your Life: Optimized Practices for Waking, Working, Learning, Eating, Training, Playing, Sleeping, and Sex“.)
  3. 10 oz. of black coffee
  4. Read and journal on the day’s Daily Stoic entry.
  5. Stretching
  6. This one, I like to have started at 5:30, and that is to be either rucking, rowing, or in the gym.
  7. More stretching, post-exercise.
  8. More coffee, because coffee is good (usually 20 ounces)
  9. More water, at least 32 ounces, just plain water though.
  10. Write and respond to posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

8:00 a.m. – Start my normal day

So, in the span of 3.5 hours, I have taken in half of my daily intake for water, taken care of some business, and exercised, all while expanding my mind and outlook on life through reading and journaling.  Not too shabby.

Failure to plan means a plan to fail.  Do you plan your day?

Drop us a comment with your own daily routine, either for the entire day, or just the morning/evening.

Stepping Outside Your Door

Stepping Outside Your Door

February of 2006, I got a call from a head hunter, asking if I wanted to go work in Saudi Arabia. Called me out of the blue, as I was pulling into the shop of my employer at the time.

I said “No thank you.”

Thankfully, the recruiter was good at her job.

I took the plunge, and within a short 7 years, I had travelled to 6 out of the 7 continents on this Earth. I still have plans for number 7, just trying to figure out when and with who, and from where.

I took the chance and said yes to something that threw me into my life’s greatest adventure. It allowed me to advance much further within my career than I ever would have with my previous employer. I got to be a published author in technical papers. Paid to travel the world and perform multi-million dollar business transactions and services to customers. Met my wife. Had my son.

All made possible by a simple yes, and the willingness to step outside of what felt comfortable.

Make sure that you are willing to take those same steps. Make sure that your children are ready to take those same steps.

This life is what you make it. You can stay in a bubble and live a perfectly satisfactory life. But you can also reach out and grab onto those opportunities to expand your horizons. No matter what that experience might be, you will absolutely not regret it.

Take the next step.  Let us know where it leads you.

Self-Love: No, Not That Kind

Image may contain: cloud, sky, text and nature

 

Why is it so difficult for most of us to give praise to ourselves?  I mean when we really deserve it.

I tend to deflect any praise heaped upon me by others, because I don’t feel like I have “earned it”.  I feel like a fake.  A failure.  Which is pretty damn silly if I take the time to fully evaluate my life, and what I have accomplished.

The flip side of deflecting that praise, is seeking it out from others.

The words in the above photo are a line from the Havamal, a collection of sayings from the Viking age that was condensed into one poem as a means to preserve them.  I found them particularly relevant to something I have been going through lately.  Something that my hunch says, others may go through as well.

When we are in a group scenario, we often look for the weakest and strongest of the “herd”.  This is ingrained into our human nature of a desire to survive when things get bad.  Obviously, the strong members of the group will aid in the survival of the group.  The weak, the opposite direction.

When we find ourselves in the middle, we tend to do one of two things:

1.  Search for ways to raise our own status, through improvement.
2.  Or find ways to win the approval of the stronger members.

Option #1 is pretty straightforward.  Unfortunately, it isn’t often the first choice, because it requires work and discipline and solitude, quite honestly.

Option #2, on the other hand, is probably the easier choice…but definitely not the best choice.  I say this because when we focus our actions for the pleasure of others, we become short-sighted.  We begin to look for the easy fix.  The quick fix.  That sudden hit of dopamine that we may very well experience form an “attaboy” response from someone we admire. But that rush is short-lived.  Soon, we look for something else to provide that rush.  We begin absent-mindedly seeking out that response, instead of working toward the more just goal, of improvement for the betterment of the species.  We become a slave to the approval of others, and our own approval grows dormant and withered.

I belong to a group of like-minded men, who are all on the path to being better men.  The group is called the Iron Council, and until recently, I was a leader of an internal team inside that group.  And I loved it.

Unfortunately, I began to seek the approval of others for the work I was doing, including those I was leading.  That need for approval caused my own self-confidence and self-valuation, to atrophy.  The fault did not lie with the members of that group.  They probably didn’t even see it, for the most part.  However, I began to see it, and I began to dread the meetings, the work, the atmosphere.

What do we do when we find ourselves on that path that leads nowhere?  When we are using our energy and time on goals which are only a passing moment for those we seek approval from, but a lifestyle for those who seek those kudos, for the sake of kudos?

Well, I took a break.  I doubled down on myself.  I decided to make my own self-value a focus, until I felt comfortable enough that I could help others by leading, without abandoning myself.  Maybe I will be back to being a contributing member of the team, in the near future.  Maybe, I won’t.  The decision will be made for myself, and no one else.

How can we all seek our own approval, instead of that of others?  Well, for starters, we can read and implement the words of a truly great and scholarly man in history, Marcus Aurelius:

Don’t be bounced around, but submit every impulse to the claims of justice, and protect your clear conviction in every appearance.” – Meditations

That need for outward approval, is an impulse.  In order to overcome that impulse, we must all develop a firm understanding of our own guiding principles.  We must silence the noise of everyday life, and listen to our own internal voice.  Think of it as your mind’s Twitter account, if you will, where everything that comes up during the day, is commented on by your mind, in a reasonable and logical way.  Potentially more than 140 characters though, although brevity isn’t necessarily required.

And yes, I know that it is 280 characters now…

Take some time away from social media.  Take some time away from television, and radio, and hell, even the internet.  Pick up a book, take a walk, experience nature, or play with your 15 month old son.  These actions will ground you, and help you realize that this life is fleeting.  We are here to love our friends and family, do good in the world for the sake of improvement, and squeeze every ounce of positivity that we can out of this roller coaster of a life.

When you do all of these actions for yourself, and not for the nod of someone else, you will find peace.  And that peace will be the catalyst to your true growth.

Give yourself a pat on the back today.

Then, do something to challenge yourself, and evaluate how you feel afterward.  Don’t share with anyone.  Just….be.

Then do something bigger.

Wise Words Are Only Wise When Put Into Action

I have been absent as of late. Absent due to injury, confusion, and failure.

Injury: I sprained my knee while participating in my first GORUCK Light event, to commemorate the Battle of the Bulge.

Confusion: I didn’t know how to approach updating my progress, when I wasn’t making progress.

Failure: I failed to remember that consistency is key to success. Taking that extra step to reach 1% improvement every day is the only way to keep accountable when outside influence effects your ability to do what you have committed to.

Injury can’t be helped. Giving up, can be helped.

I’m not giving up. I will still reach my goals. And I will stay consistent going forward.

Week 2 Route and Totals

Week 2 route and totals are in the bag.  Here they are, along with Week 1 route as a refresher, and an overall map for frame of reference.

norway peninsula max distance
This map shows the key areas of my “travels”.  Norway/Sweden peninsulas, Oslofjord, Skagerrak, the North Sea, and the northeastern coast of England.

And with a little more zoom:

norway peninsula with zoom

And my Week 1 route:

week 1 route_insta

And now, what you have all been waiting for….

My Week 2 Route and Totals (cue Kermit The Frog screaming and shaking violently)

week 2 route_insta

Not bad for 14 days.  I’ll take it.

Skål!

And On The 9th Day…

We were given 100 KMs.  And it was good.

I still kind of kick myself for not pushing harder on Day 8 and reaching 100 KMs then.  I was a measly 4 KMs away.  Alas, it was not meant to be.

But I did celebrate by watching a kick-ass music video from Electric Wizard, called Funeralopolis.

Here’s the video, based off of the film Valhalla Rising with that evil dude from Casino Royale (Le Chiffre, played magnificently by Mads Mikkelsen)

Turn Volume Up To 11.  Turn Lights Off To Black Hole.

And here is my photo to commemorate 100 KMs, mofos!!!!!

100 km point

Stalking that 200 KM like a Viking Berserker.

Skål!