When the alarm went off this morning I went through my normal morning routine. Once out of bed I did something just a little different. There was a lot on my plate so I wanted to get a jumpstart on the day.
Before I started making the bed I grabbed my phone and fired up a great audiobook I’ve been listening to – Think Again by Adam Grant. Here’s the summary of the book from his website:
Intelligence is usually seen as the ability to think and learn, but in a rapidly changing world, there’s another set of cognitive skills that might matter more: the ability to rethink and unlearn.
The entire time I was going through my morning routine I listened to the ideas from this book. What caught my attention was how fresh and clear my head was to soak in many of the concepts. As I listened I could see spots where I could have acted differently and had better results. It gave me ideas on how to take on certain tasks throughout the day ahead of me. Throughout the day there were spots in which I was able to work in little nuggets I’d taken away from the book this morning.
What I’m most grateful for is a perfect metaphor for today. I listened to the book when my lint filter was dry. There wasn’t any garbage getting in the way and the ideas were able to flow properly. Even as I type now my brain feels cluttered, keeps going back to things throughout the day, and doesn’t seem to have the processing power it did early in the morning. I’m thankful for taking time to soak in thought provoking ideas when I had a clean lint filter.
Thinking back I don’t recall many times when I’ve been grateful for waking up on the couch.
When I woke up this morning I couldn’t help but smile as I got up, shook some life back into the arm that had fallen asleep, and twisted the kinks out of my back. Throughout the night I woke up a few times from laying in positions different than normal. The sleeping bag I was in and out of all night kept alternating my body temperature from too hot to too cold. All in all it wasn’t one of the best nights of sleep ever. Still, I smiled and was grateful for sleeping on the couch.
Last night the boys and I had a great time watching a movie and some TV together. We were talking and joking around throughout and enjoyed the “dude” time. Dominic and I both started to Peter out and decided to head off to bed. Gavin wore his disappointment on his face and helped me see a better solution.
Instead of going to bed I grabbed my sleeping bag and a pillow and the boys did the same. We crashed “sleepover” style through the living room and watched TV until we’d all drifted off. It was pretty awesome!
I’m thankful for waking up on the couch this morning as it reminded me of the awesome time we spent together last night and they way we found a way to stretch it out a little bit longer.
I know I’ve blogged about this a bit before, but it’s so awesome as a parent to see your kid really getting into something. Seeing the way Dominic has thrown himself into snowboarding has been fantastic to observe.
Last winter he took snowboarding lessons and fell in love with the activity. He started saving up for a snowboard last year and bought the board, bindings, and boots on his own. Dominic paid for his own ski pass through his refereeing dollars as well as through taking on other odds jobs and selling stuff on eBay.
Once the board arrived he would put it on, go outside in the summer, put it on top a blanket and practice as much as he could. He had different things he wanted to try and practiced them in the heat of summer, the exact opposite of today.
This year Dominic joined the snowboard team and has had a blast learning more about boarding. Watching him grow through each event was been so rewarding. What the the state’s upright or not there was always a smile on his face when he got to the bottom. Each time he’d watch for ways to grow and improve.
Today was State, the last event of the season. Seeing how much fun Dominic had in all three events was pretty awesome! I’m so grateful for the opportunity to experience him living a passion like this.
It is easy for me to get my mind in a bit of a slump for a day. One thing doesn’t go as planned, the next thing is a little off, and next thing I know I’ve let the day snowball.
Today I’m grateful for remembering that each moment is an individual opportunity to choose my attitude, my perspective, my emotions, and my perspective. Just because one thing doesn’t go as planned or I make a mistake or I choose a poor attitude doesn’t mean that the day, hour, or even minute are shot. Even in that moment of imperfection it is an opportunity for me to learn and grow – a reason to be grateful.
Each moment is a unique opportunity to live into my best self… even if I wasn’t living into it a moment ago. Then is gone, the future is not a guarantee. Live in the now.
My morning routine is pretty straightforward. Wake up, turn on my bedside light with my eyes closed. Lay there and let my eyes adjust through my eye lids for 15 seconds or so. Open my eyes, reach for my book, and read the page for the day. Set the book down, think on the reading for a moment. Reach for my phone, re-read my 2021 framework and then my dream list. Take a deep breath, get out of bed.
When I start my morning with a thought provoking reading followed by reviewing my values, goals, dreams and other short lists my mind is very active. I see the concept I just read about and envision how I can live it. Simple. Easy. Just save that thought in my backpack for later and then pull it out when needed. Execute the concept flawlessly in the heat of the moment the first time. Repeat. Easy. Simple.
Ahh… the benefits of philosophy in a vacuum. So very simple.
Reality seems to offer a very different set of challenges. There are other people involved. There are emotions involved. Variables not discussed in a book seem to change the calculus of the solution. That simple, easy, and flawless execution dreamt about while laying in bed? Not a chance. While in bed the concept is a dream, in reality the concept is action. The action is always so much more difficult to execute than the dream.
Today I was reminded of the difference of my early morning philosophy and reality on several occasions. In some cases I did not act in the way I’d envisioned and thought about. In other situations I executed almost how I’d imagined. Had I not practiced in the morning I would have most likely failed all in action today. By having reality rough me up a little today I was able to see the areas I need to work on. I was able to see progress – both already made and in the future. Experiencing the difference between early morning philosophy and reality today reminded me to practice more completely in the morning, to envision the action happening and not just think of the concept in a vacuum.
At the core of it I am thankful for both thinking on how to act and then actually acting in reality. If my mindset stays focused on growth I can find ways to improve and grow. If I get frustrated at either side my progress will stagnate, then wither, and then die. I’m grateful for remembering to cut myself some slack for my imperfections while also holding myself to higher standards. It’s kind of a weird dichotomy, but if I stay the course I’m excited to see where it grows.
Over the past couple of years when the temperature dropped below zero Becky and I would opt for an indoor run instead. Not only have we moved that dial a bit, but we’re wearing less layers than we would have been wearing at significantly warmer temperatures.
This morning was a chilly one! Based on the air temperature and wind chill we were at -6. We kind of both looked at each other and shrugged. Becky then pointed out that the 50+ year old guy we watched on the video last night was shown surviving in Alaska and being out and about in the wild when it was -45. If he can do that cold we can easily do this, right? And off we went.
There were times on the run when I was a little chilly, especially at the beginning. By the time we’d wrapped up our miles and were back on our street I shucked my shirt and jacket as I was sweating. When we got to our house I couldn’t help but chuckle at the sight of my shirt and jacket both showing frost and ice where the sweat had been just a few minutes earlier. The ice in my beard was a little extra thick and took longer to thaw than some of our past runs.
At the start of our run I just kept thinking about Richard Proenneke living in his 45 degree cabin, spending time outside in -25 to -45 degree weather. Me spending time in my 58 degree workshop/office and running for a small handful of miles when it’s -5? In perspective it really wasn’t that bad. It’s really about acclimatizing to our surroundings.
I cannot choose the weather or the temperature, I can only chose how I react to it. Remembering that it isn’t that cold, that I can get used to it, and keeping the right perspective can help me not only survive it but thrive in it.
This past Friday the boys and I watched a video a good friend had shared with me. Mike (my friend, not me talking about myself in the third person 😉) said this one was right up my alley, especially with as much as the boys and I enjoy watching Alone. Not only did I enjoy it immensely, I loved it so much that it was fired up for an encore presentation tonight so Becky could see it too!
The video is Alone In the Wilderness and is focused on the first year (of 30+) in which Richard Proenneke moves to the Alaskan wilderness and builds a cabin by hand. Did I mention he also built his own tool handles, fireplace, cooler, sled, and hinges? Watching him craft a cabin out of the wilderness was mind blowing and inspirational. The entire time he also shot footage of the beautiful national park all around him in views that looked th
The entire movie is a balance of so many of the passions in my life. As I think of how I choose to live my life this year (& moving forward) I can’t help but see many ways in which this movie will help guide me and my actions.
I’ve written many blog posts inspired by Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. My paperback copy goes on all vacations with me and has been read many times. So many of the concepts run through my brain on a very regular basis – though my actions don’t always live into them. Regardless, it has become one of the guiding lights of my joy, gratitude, and mindset.
Throughout Meditations and scattered across many of the Stoic books, newsletters, and articles I read have been a few names. One in particular seems to appear more often than others. When I see this specific name, Epictetus, I smile and prepare my mind for exercise.
When I’ve been tempted to read his Discourses I’ve felt a knot in my stomach as I’ve been told it is difficult to read. As such I’d picked up a copy a couple of months ago, read the first pages, and then decided for some lighter fare. After wrapping up Into the Wild and intermittently reading The MeatEater Guide to Wilderness Skills and Survival I was ready for another book to add to the rotation. Discourses by Epictetus popped into my brain, I took a deep breath, and started to read.
To be sure, I am taking my time as it is dense. I’m only a small handful of chapters in and have a long ways to go.
That said, my mind is already blown with his ideas and writings. It is readily apparent that Epictetus is at the core of Stoicism. So much to take in, so much that has quickly taken hold, and actions and thoughts have already been adapted thanks to the initial chapters of this book.
I’m so grateful for finally taking the plunge and diving in!
There was some time spent in the kitchen today. Between cooking for today, cooking for tomorrow, and cooking my lunches for the week there was a lot of activity going on in the kitchen. More than a couple of times I paused and realized there were some valuable lessons to be learned from my time creating in there. Some include:
Taking on too many tasks at once adds extra stress and typically takes longer than a well thought out plan of one activity at a time.
Recipes and guidance from others are incredible places to start, but the best creations come from adding some of our own ideas to the mix.
Taking time to complete a project in advance when there is extra time is preferred to waiting until it must be completed with a deadline looming.
Just because you think you have enough of something doesn’t guarantee that you actually do.
Life is full of surprises and curveballs – it is up to me to decide to face them, or even welcome them with open arms, with a smile or a scowl.
What a delicious way to learn and remember great life lessons!
The boys had a pretty sweet Scout meeting today and had the opportunity to enjoy some broomball. I took the opportunity to run to the grocery store quickly before they needed to be picked up. With a couple of minutes to spare I pulled in to pick them up. They were having so much fun that they all just kept right on playing. No worries, enjoy boys! I remembered to pack a book 😁. I was grateful for the opportunity to sit back and read thanks to remembering to grab a book on my way out.
Great joy can be found in the most mundane of tasks when I choose the right mindset. For whatever reason I was actually fairly excited to clean the floors of some of the rooms in our house. I took great pleasure in knowing the goal of the activity. I knew what needed to happen to get it done. I was able to see progress towards my goal. There were several times when I could have taken a short cut but instead chose to do it right. I was active and moving. For much of the time I had a great audiobook playing on my headphones while I was cleaning. For whatever reason I just really got into cleaning and thoroughly enjoyed it!
What I grateful for from this experience is a story to remind myself of the choice I have to make when I have a task in front of me. Whether unique or mundane there is great joy to be found in doing it if I choose the right attitude and live into my best values.