February 15th : Only Bad Dreams
“Clear your mind and get a hold on yourself and, as when awakened from sleep and realizing it was only a bad dream upsetting you, wake up and see that what’s there is just like those dreams.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 6.31
It’s important that when we are upset, we take the time to figure out what exactly is upsetting us. More often than not, we are not reacting to fact, but to our interpretation of the facts. This mistake is a key feature of the fundamental attribution error.
Robbie mentioned over dinner last night that to take things personally is to be self-centered. Not everything is about you…
February 16th : Don’t Make Things Harder Than They Need to Be
Life (and our job) is difficult enough. Let’s not make it harder by getting emotional about insignificant matters or digging in for battles we don’t actually care about. Let’s not let emotion get in the way of Kathēkon, the simple, appropriate actions on the path to virtue. – The Daily Stoic
Similar ideas here. A book that had an early influence on me is Crucial Conversations (and a thank you to Neil Rampe for reminding me to read the sequel, Crucial Confrontations!). I’m paraphrasing, but it speaks of reminding ourselves what the end goal is to our conversations. This helps us stay on path with the responses we use, instead of going off into insults or retreating into silence.
I feel that today’s message in the same spirit. We must be able to separate the message from the messenger. Issues we might have with the latter should not taint how we react to the former. Do your best to always assume benevolence.
When you are part of a team, sometimes you need to be told something you don’t want to hear. Conversely, you might have a teammate that you don’t particularly like. In either case, it’s useful to remember that in the end, we’re all working towards the same goal. This will help us stay focused on succeeding together.
February 17th : The Enemy of Happiness
“It is quite impossible to unite happiness with a yearning for what we don’t have. Happiness has all that it wants, and resembling the well-fed, there shouldn’t be hunger or thirst.” – Epictetus, Discourses, 3.24.17
I’ll be happy when I have a gold medal around my neck.
By this standard, high probability you won’t be happy. Why put your state of mind at risk this way?
Something we’ve already touched before : even if you succeed, you have no guarantee of happiness either.
A big thank you to Robbie for being the connector to the dinner last night. Neil Rampe lived up to and exceeded his reputation of being an amazing individual, both personally and professionally.
- Share and recreate vs talk and reproduce. A concept from Landmark Worldwide, which had many parallels with the Crucial Conversation stuff. The ability to connect as it is related to effective communication is something I will definitely need as I move forward with The Open Project.
When learning a new skill, you start completely uncoordinated. So many joints and no idea how to make them work in harmony, like an orchestra where nobody has decided on what to play yet. This is when your instructor/coach/conductor works on decreasing the chaos. Set the rules against which the skill will anchor itself.
At this point, you are now a robot. Your skill is confined to the exact manner you know it. This is not robust, since sport is not predictable. New opponent, new environment, new time of day, new equipment…What you need to do now is to reintroduce chaos. This is uncomfortable, but helps teach you how to adapt and intelligently break the rules.
I’m starting to think the same should be said about all learning, really. An apprentice coach needs to be given some instruction, or else they are overwhelmed with information and don’t know what to focus on. Once this is settled, we need to challenge the apprentice by placing them in new situations, with different teams, with language barriers…