14 Random Thoughts on Training and Life

I've been trying to think of a specific topic to write about today, but my brain has been refusing to cooperate. I can't think of anything. So I'm just going to sit down and type whatever random thoughts come to mind. Let's see what comes out....


1. The ability to maintain focused attention (on anything) is quickly becoming the rarest commodity in our modern society.

2. Competence and skill are important, yes. But character matters more.

3. There are hills to die on, but you must choose them wisely.

4. Treating people as if they're going to die tomorrow really helps make a huge difference in how you behave toward them, especially when you feel they're being a jerk and your first reaction is to not play nice in return.

5. We love to make the excuse - and sometimes I think we genuinely believe - that the reason we don't do certain things is because we don't have the time.

You have time for just about anything. Time isn't the issue. It's what have you chosen to prioritize?

So the next time someone asks you a question for which your answer is a negative - ex. have you read that article they sent you, why haven't you responded to their email or phone call, have you checked out the awesome farmer's market they told you about, have you started going to the gym, etc. - rather than saying "Sorry, I haven't had any time to do that yet...." try being honest with them: "You know, I just haven't made it a priority." 

6. Don't offer someone a portion of your food or drink if deep down you'll begrudge them for saying yes. Put another way: it's possible to perform acts of love without actually being loving.

7. False humility can be just a prideful as overt self-adulation.

8. There are times to speak and times to remain silent. If in doubt, choose silence.

9. Don't ask a person what is most important to them. But rather, observe how they spend their time. 

10. I love this musing by Josh Waitzkin. I read it in his book The Art of Learning, when he's describing the psychological warfare nature of chess, and how he learned to draw parallels between his opponent's life tendencies and their chessic dispositions:

Great players are, by definition, very clever about what they show over the chessboard, but, in life’s more mundane moments, even the most cunning chess psychologists can reveal certain essential nuances of character. If, over dinner, a Grandmaster tastes something bitter and faintly wrinkles his noes, these might be an inkling of a tell lurking. Impatience while standing on line at the buffet might betray a problem sitting with tension. It’s amazing how much you can learn about someone when they get caught in the rain! Some will run with their hands over their heads, others will smile and take a deep breath while enjoying the wind. What does this say about one’s relationship to discomfort? The reaction to surprise? The need for control?

11. Both praise and criticism can be equally useful as driving forces for motivation and improvement. However - and this is a big however - becoming too obsessed with either will lead you down a dark path you never want to go down.

12. If you can't or don't want to do something for someone, at least give them the simple courtesy of calling or emailing them back. Don't be the coward who hides behind a non-response.

13. Many times you'll find people who are very disciplined in nurturing their mind but then completely neglect the care of their physical body. Or the other way around. You need both. While yes, it's better to do one than none at all, this doesn't change the fact that it's foolish to only focus on one.

14. Learn to say no.