Learning to kick my porn addiction

It’s not what you think but kudos on the click bait headline, huh?

This addiction started in high school with the occassional purchase of a magazine or two. Eventually it led to keeping them in my binder during class. No one new about it. I would keep them under my bed for a time before discreetly discarding them. These were Success and Entrepreneur magazine amongst other business magazines, doer porn if you will.

Eventually my addiction led to books all similar but enough to hit my fix. There is something relaxing in knowing you can change your life in as easy as 5 seconds.

The core of these books parallel most pseudo spiritual gurus. You are to blame for any number of reasons. Not enough goals, too many goals, not specific enough, not realistic or any other in an endless line of finger pointing at you. Easy to buy as most of these individuals are charismatic and likeable so it must be us?

Most of us who consume(d) this media easily buy the self blame rationalization especially given we live in a culture the perpetuates the myth of the lone hero or how people pull themselves up by the bootstraps. There isn’t much literature, discussion or appreciation on the men and women behind every successful person. Reality and truth are often far different from what we read, watch and hear.

Recent spins to this genre now included pesudo sciences such as social science and elements of psychology. A lot of these studies we are told about rarely if ever duplicate. Of course I’m all for people helping people feel and more importantly get better, but to promote something as being scientific when it doesn’t hold up to scientific methodology benefits only the people promoting it.

Part of us senses the bullshit but, another part conditioned such early childhood is taught to accept without impunity. The rise of dissenters with in the scientific and mathematic academy is a blessing to all of us. They force honesty upon the dishonest. Hard to do when self delusion and rationalizations fill most people’s days.

I for one work to remain open minded but, more importantly skeptical. Trust but, verify as they say. As to my addiction, I’ve stopped buying those magazines and reading their online articles. Most are merely business version of the gossip magazines in grocery stores. No doubt I’ll feel better and perhaps become more of a doer myself.

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Corporations Don’t Care About Social Issues

They exist to make money for their investors/shareholders. More recently that has been replaced with building wealth – which is a ponzi scheme of sorts requiring book like essays. Ultimately ever single thing they do comes down to selling you something.

Apple doesn’t care about your creativity, Gillette doesn’t care about toxic masculinity, all the companies selling beauty or personal care shit that women are excessively guilted into consuming don’t give a damn about how beautiful you feel or look. It’s all about the money.

Part of me has this sense the main reason many people have this repulsive reaction to Kevin O’Leary is he speaks the truth and you know it but, simply don’t want to acknowledge it. We like our billionaires to appear like they care.

Certainly Richard Branson or Elon Musk are more palatable than say a hedge fund manager who brags about jacking up prices on medicine. Deep down we know they are as self serving they just sell themselves to us in a more digestable way.

Yes, a commercial can have social commentary but I have yet to see any major traditional corporation back up their commentary with factual social change initiatives. Do we see Gillette sponsoring anti-bullying initiatives? I haven’t researched it but, suspect they give more to the organizations that traditional encourage these toxic behaviors than those who don’t. I’ve never heard of Gillette sponsoring chess matches or spelling bees?

Remembering that corporations simply don’t care about us and only care about money before getting all riled up over an advertisement concocted to cut through the noise would serve to bring peace to all of us.

 

Balance

Chances are when here balance you either think of equal amounts of time or visualize a scale balancing weights in an equal manner. The key word here being equal whereas balance in essence is far more complex.

Yes, English  or language in general is dynamic and fluid with definitions changing with cultural changes but, I think it can be lazy to hide behind that rationalization when more suitable words exist.

For years I’ve struggled with my perception of balance being equal. Giving equal amounts of time to this pursuit or work or relationships. My natural tendency is towards more relationship time which has consistently short changed myself. Rarely do I utter the word promise such that when I do people know it. Words have power.

Bringing myself back to the topic at hand balance is fluid. Life isn’t one dimensional. Part of the delusion of popular culture is that if we have this ideal schedule of a set amount of time for everything meaningful to us that we will bring balance or more importantly peace. However, experience shows us often harshly how deluded we are in thinking such ways.

The result is we are constantly physically exhausted while mental running on a hamster wheel. Chasing many things and feeling like we never give enough to any one thing versus just figuring out what is important in the moment. Technology may have added to this confusion, realistically it is our application of it.

My only approach to this is striving to be more present and aware by simply being involved in whatever I may be doing. If I’m watching a TV show and scanning my tablet I always end up rewinding because I miss something.  Even as I write this the word focus comes to my mind for what I wrote a couple sentences ago.

Balance I think, isn’t possible in an equal manner. What is possible is being present in the moment. Sometimes work will take precedence sometimes life but, presence will make sure I truly am living.

Simple Is Not Easy

There’s a quote by Jim Rohn, “It’s simple, not easy!” He emphasized the easy part with great effect. Regularly I ponder this which is a good thing for a man who tends to intellectualize and analysis probably more than he need to. Returning to trusting my natural intuition is one of my ongoing struggles.

In business as in living there is a place for analysis but not excessive analysis. Getting caught up focusing on the minutiae is convenient, safe and a chickenshit way of avoiding things overall.

Things are always simple, we know this and struggle against our inborn nature to seek out the easy. Society has evolved around serving up easy to us 24/7. It’s easier to call for take out dinner than to make one though making one can be rather simple. it’s easier to talk or arguing about exercising than putting on our shoes then going for a walk. It’s easier to talk about eating less than actually eating less. Easy is lazy, simple is not.

What is simple in my life right now but not easy? Take the first step to accomplish it. That’s all I must do. It’s what I did to start Aikido. I sent an email, simple. Then called the Sensei. Next was showing up at the dojo. At any point there easily would have been a dozen or more emotional or time consuming ways to easily avoid doing that but I did it. Food for thought.

So today I must remind myself of the beauty in the hardship of simplicity.

The Key to Creating a Successful Daily Routine

There isn’t one.

Guess I just burned my opportunity to sign a book deal in the personal development, self help, personal growth or whatever newly minted terminology is being used to keep others feeling inadequate and line the pocket of some morally questionable hack. It’s okay I have no plans to become another in a long line of hucksters.

Realize first that we are conditioned to not only follow authority but also to seek and openly trust those we think are offering us truth of some sort. We aren’t taught to think for ourselves or to question. Inherently we know to question. Every mom with a young child who is pushed further past what she thought was the limit to her sanity on an almost daily basis can attest to that. The word why becomes a four letter word during those years of growth.

When you read something such as how this techno-oligarch meditates standing in a one legged flamingo pose which brought revelations about the latest hyped innovation it feels warm, fuzzy but on a deeper level a bit contrived if not outright false. People often tell their most pivotal or perfect days rarely do they share the crappy days. Also, keep in mind that  what a person who is at the top of whatever their field is doing today most likely wasn’t what they were doing to get there.

The real path to building your routine is always going to be to journal. We learn self knowledge gleaned in reviewing and planning our days, weeks or months benefits us far greater. Keeping our mind open and trying new things is wonderful but if we don’t record or analyze what works for us then we create our own eternal hell.

How you journal is also up to you. Obviously it should include some level of expectations for the day and a review of how you did, etc. Even that can be debatable. My mom tells how her mother would write on anything she could get. This most likely was as much about her meager country roots and living through the depression. She recounts how she would write the events of the day between the lines of the local newspaper and wishes she had kept those. Simple things like Bruce (my grandfather)took a load of steers to the market today or rained today, etc. Journal keeping doesn’t have to be grand it just has to be honest.

Jump Roping My Way to Mindfulness.

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With the post seasonal thickening upon us plus what is shaping up to be a more typical Canadian January my mind as circled back to my exercise regimen. As I jest about the thickening my mind contemplates why so far I haven’t shown much weight gain given my consumption though I suspect it’s simply carrying more lean mass then I recognize. Plus it doesn’t hurt to be tall plus have a large frame, yay me!

In addition to being broken it had become clear to me I was on the hamster wheel with my spin cycle that would involve increasing intensity, mileage and time commitment simply to eek out the same results. Nothing beats moving your body as nature built it to be moved outdoors. Which is far more challenging. However, with the cold upon us not to mention darkness at 5 am still the least safe and palatable thing for me would be walking.

A few days ago I dug out my old jump rope which I bought when I lived in Toronto back in the early 1990’s. We’ve had an on again off again affair but it still stays with me and has held up well. Don’t get me wrong I was never a fancy jump rope guy. It was sporadic at best or a warm up before serious weightlifting. Still the intensity to my system makes it a favourite of mine. I believe Bruce Lee commissioned a study and the person who conducted it equated 10 minutes of jumping rope to a half hour of running. I’m not Bruce Lee nor can I do 10 minutes of straight jump rope.

So, I have begun as I always begin small intermittent sessions. Initially I tried to force the rope around myself which not only tried my patience it exacted a toll on my injured shoulder. This can’t be right? I thought.

Eventually I remembered a tip from a Youtube video in priming yourself mentally by rotating your wrists in the circle. I’ll save the clear Aikido analogy for another day. Good jump rope involves you jumping up and down not flailing around. Your wrists do the work of moving the rope and with mine having the ball bearings in the handle this amplifies quite well.

When I do spin cycle or elliptical, etc. my mind always wanders. I have never had the single focus even during hiking that I did lifting weights. Maybe I wasn’t doing things right, perhaps these activities are simply not my thing. Certainly my mind rarely drifted in the dojo during physical training.

The lesson that jump rope has shown me is if I’m not present and aware then the result is fast and my shoulder tires or at worse gets pain. If I stay present remember to relax, breathe and simply to remember to rotate my wrists and jump things go pretty smooth.

I mean I’m not Rocky Balboa here and I will trip up but, I get back at it. The rope doesn’t get thrown aside just as life doesn’t get tossed aside. All I can do is get up, keep jumping stay present, aware and mindful while trusting the process.

Integrity

One of my biggest questions of late has been is it possible for me to live my life up to the level of integrity I wish to? Life isn’t clear cut nor is living. Is my idea of integrity actually my own or has it been warped by social and religious conditioning during childhood? Deep philosophical questions with realistically no immediate answer or rather no blanket answer.

With age I’ve come to believe that certain ideologies are more fluid then we are taught or believe. Experiences have shown me the more rigid or certain people are in regards to others the more fearful and usually disconnected they are. Many examples exist of which I’m at a loss given my tendency to veer off into unrelated discussions. The simplest one are people who discuss all the jobs out there while ignoring costs of living, etc.

Don’t get me wrong I’m no social justice warrior nor am I a globalist or anti-globalist. While I’m interested in Taleb’s idea of localism there are a great number of issues facing us as a whole that need to be dealt with; yet, aren’t. We are distracted away from the deeper issues far easier than we should be. Some days I feel like the cat chasing a laser pointer dot on the wall.

Guess the gist of what I’m getting at is simply accepting that Integrity isn’t one dimensional and most likely simpler than I perceive it to be. Things like when you say you will do something you do it. When you say you will be there for someone, you are. Showing up on time for events, etc. These little everyday things that we have immediate control over perhaps is the only integrity within my control.