January 20th : Reignite Your Thoughts
(…) the reminder here is that no matter what happens, no matter how disappointing our behavior has been in the past, the principles themselves remain unchanged. We can return and embrace them at any moment. What happened yesterday – what happened five minutes ago – is the past. We can reignite and restart whenever we like.
Why not do it right now? – The Daily Stoic
A key message I often repeat, after getting disappointed with a race result : Don’t deny yourself the anguish, but as soon as you can, move on.
You need to feel the loss, because there is potential lessons and motivation to be had here. You must also refocus on the following task, to avoid being blinded by the past.
January 21st and 22nd : A Morning Ritual and The Day in Review
Many successful people have a morning ritual. For some, it’s meditation. For others, it’s exercise. For many, it’s journaling – just a few pages where they write down their thoughts fears, hopes. In these cases, the point is not so much the activity itself as it is the ritualized reflection.The idea is to take some time to look inward and examine. – The Daily Stoic
“I will keep constant watch over myself and – most usefully – will put each day up for review. For this is what makes us evil – that none of us looks back upon our own lives. We reflect upon only that which we are about to do. And yet our plans for the future descend from the past.” – Seneca, Moral Letters, 83.2
In both cases, deep introspection is recommended : one on yourself, the other on your actions. I think of what I’ve recommended more than a handful of dragon boat teams I’ve been involved with : What is the team ethos? Once you know this, every other decision is significantly easier to make.
Look into yourself : why do you pursue sporting excellence? Are your reasons genuine?
Look at what you’ve done today : are your actions aligned with your goals? Are your reactions appropriate? How can you improve on this day?
January 23rd : The Truth About Money
That’s what Seneca is reminding us. As someone who was one of the richest men in Rome, he knew firsthand that money only marginally changes life. It doesn’t solve the problems that people without it seem to think it will. In fact, no material possession will. External things can’t fix internal issues. – The Daily Stoic
It’s a common saying that if you want to experience happiness, you are better off investing your time into cultivating meaningful experiences, versus buying more material goods. This is something I believe in, though this comes in to offer some nuance.
Results suggest that material and experiential purchases deliver happiness in two distinct flavors: Material purchases provide more frequent momentary happiness over time, whereas experiential purchases provide more intense momentary happiness on individual occasions.
We should not discredit the happiness of possessions, but we must recognize that the feelings will only be temporary, since it doesn’t affect your soul. Experiences, though, also appear limited to the immediate occasion. I believe this is a failing, not of our memory, but of our introspection. Put simply, we never do it. This would also explain why many seek out material goods instead of experiences, despite knowing better : it’s hard to put value on memories if you never take any time to look back on them! (sorry, no link for this one, I can’t find my source material anymore)
So what happens when you win the gold? Well, if you were one to value the medal itself, you’ll get a big high, which I’m sure will feel great, but you are left in a dangerous position. You need to continue winning medals to get your pleasure, and without it, you probably won’t stick around in the sport. If, instead, you valued the experience of it all – the training, the road trip with the teammates, the thrill of competition – you have a better chance at longevity.