Wisdom Day 11 December 2016: Skin-Deep Stuff

Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
    is a beautiful face on an empty head. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 11, Verse 22, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

Which brings to mind:

 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. (The Good News of Matthew, Chapter 7, Verse 6, New International Version, BibleGateway.com)

Have you ever shared some intimate, personal thoughts with an attractive face, only to suffer humiliation and a sense of betrayal when your words are fired back at you in an argument, possibly publicly? I have. Noooo fun.

Is physical beauty a guaranty of any virtue at all? Are there just plain ugly personalities that take any virtue or beauty of character as an affront that merits retaliation?

Is there some face, some attire you find attractive, exceptionally attractive? Is it possible to chart what’s behind the face and the threads from a safe distance, to get a sense of the true dimensions of the persona before getting within grappling range of demons, either in business or in bed? Fighting demons? It’s like wrestling pigs: Everyone gets filthy, but pigs enjoy it.

 

Wisdom Day 28, July 2016: Chaos Country Bear

When the country is in chaos,
    everybody has a plan to fix it—
But it takes a leader of real understanding
    to straighten things out. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 28, Verse 2, The Message, translation by Eugene Peterson, audio by Kelly Ryan Dolan, BibleGateway.com)

Does this get to the point? Is the country in chaos? Where is the leader of real understanding? Might he be found on the Jocko Podcast? God, grant us a miracle. And, Lord, if you can’t help us, please don’t help that bear: Russian bear, ISIS bear. The world is full of bears, at home and abroad it seems. It’s a tough job, baptizing bears!

Oh Lord, you delivered Daniel from the lions den,
Delivered Jonah from the belly of the whale, and then
The Hebrew children from the fiery furnace,
So the Good Book do declare!
Well, Lord, Lord, if you can’t help me,
For goodness sake don’t you help that bear.
(The Preacher and the Bear, The New Christy Minstrels, In Person, 1963)

 

Wisdom Day 22.a, July 2016: 30 Precepts of the Sages

I’m giving you thirty sterling principles—
    tested guidelines to live by.
Believe me—these are truths that work,
    and will keep you accountable
    to those who sent you. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 22, Verses 20 & 21, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

Thirty Precepts of the Sages, Thirty Sterling Principles! It just struck me this morning that I’ve sought for years to learn a myriad of principles, some by sevens, some by threes, and even 21 immutable laws. These are all great, so great, in fact, that they brought to mind the really immutable laws, the Big Ten, the ones that are so controversial they are more and more often banned from public display. When bureaucrats decide something is so dangerous it should not be available to the public, that becomes even more important to me, knee-jerk rebel that I am, or is that just Jerk Rebel? Rebel Jerk? Hmmm? Maybe all of the above.

Anyhow, such was the inspiration this morning, that I wanted to see what you think of this list of thirty that is much less in the bureaucratic cross hairs than the Big Ten are. These Thirty Sterling Principles, the Thirty Precepts of the Sages, begin in Chapter 22 of the Book of Proverbs.

One thing that really surprised me was the fact that the very first Precept of the Sages deals with the poor and the weak:

Don’t walk on the poor just because they’re poor,
    and don’t use your position to crush the weak,
Because God will come to their defense;
    the life you took, he’ll take from you and give back to them. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 22, Verses 22 & 23, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

In none of the many other lists of principles for success have I found the top item to be something about how to treat the poor and/or weak. This is a bit of a puzzler. By comparison to the tech leaders of Silicon Valley, among others, I am poor. But actually I can look all around and see people much worse off than I, both nearby and far away. Am I somehow walking on them, using my position to crush them, without realizing it? I don’t think so, but then maybe I deceive myself. I heard one time from a clergyman that “The terrible thing about self-deception is that it’s so deceptive.”

Taking Extreme Ownership may be one way of overcoming self-deception. Hearing The Message might also prove helpful, especially for grasping the Thirty Precepts of the Sages. The following are some resources to those ends:

Hardcover
Takeaways
Audio
Kindle
Slimline
Study
Paperback
Hardcover
Kindle
Audio

 

Wisdom Day 12 June 2016: Wise Counsel

Without good direction, people lose their way;
    the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.
(Proverbs 11: Verse 11, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

Since I am by nature a fool, I need lots of wise counsel. In some ways my IQ has been a stumbling block. Smart does not equal wise. Along with wisdom, I need inspiration as well as an occasional kick in the pants to actually put the wisdom into action. At JockoPodcast.com I get plenty of all three essential ingredients: wise counsel, inspiration, and the boot leather to the butt. Wishing you the same. Not always pleasant but can be quite productive.

Some sources of wise counsel:

Hardcover
Takeaways
Audio
Kindle
Slimline
Study
Paperback
Hardcover
Kindle
Audio

Wisdom Day 6 July 2016: A Brainless Act

Post Rated R: Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

Adultery is a brainless act,
    soul-destroying, self-destructive;
Expect a bloody nose, a black eye,
    and a reputation ruined for good.
For jealousy detonates rage in a cheated husband;
    wild for revenge, he won’t make allowances.
Nothing you say or pay will make it all right;
    neither bribes nor reason will satisfy him. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 7, The Message, www.BibleGateway.com)

When in doubt, guys, keep it in your pants. And if your super sex overdrive gets out of control, take the situation in hand: A bird in the palm better than lost in the bush. Enough said? But if you need a bit more wisdom to keep it all together, maybe you can find some in the links below. Oh, BTW, we’re talking Picides above.

Hardcover
Takeaways
Audio
Kindle
Slimline
Study
Paperback
Hardcover
Kindle
Audio

Wisdom Day 23, June 2016: Disciplined Instruction

Give yourselves to disciplined instruction;
    open your ears to tested knowledge. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 23, Verse 12, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

I always love it when my time invested seeking wisdom actually leads me to wisdom! Is that strange or what? How do I know when I have found relevant wisdom? Answer: When I know I don’t have it and must work to acquire it. You see, with me, wisdom does not come naturally. As mentioned in a previous post, I am by nature a fool. So if in my search for wisdom I come across something and say to my self, “Hey, self, look at that. Just like you!” then I have a pretty good idea I just slipped into foolishness.

Johan_Mouchet_Royal_Library_Copenhagen
Royal Library, Copenhagen, Denmark; photo by Johan Mouchet, Unsplash.com

Anyhow, when I was listening to Kelly Ryan Dolan’s awesome recording of Chapter 23 of the Book of Proverbs this morning, Verse 12, cited above, was one of several passages that grabbed my attention. I thought, “What is disciplined instruction? Is there such a thing as undisciplined instruction? Pondering this question brought to mind a success nugget from So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport. This MIT alum and MIT professor of computer science holds that all practice is not created equal. The practice that really counts is “disciplined practice.” In Chapter Seven: Becoming a Craftsman, Newport explains why in spite of years of practice he never became a great guitarist on a par with Jordan Tice. During a visit with, Tice, Newport realized it was not so much a matter of total hours of practice but rather a question of how much of the much vaunted 10,000 hours of practice was “deliberate.” In Chapter Seven, Newport credits psychologist K. Anders Ericsson with coining the term “deliberate practice” in the early 1990’s and credits Neil Charness, a peer at Florida State University, for his research in this domain.

Yes, So Good They Can’t Ignore You makes for a great read, and for me, at least, provides some pretty good insight into Verse 12, Chapter 23 of the Book of Proverbs, a verse which is otherwise known as Precept 7 of the Thirty Precepts of the Sages: Disciplined instruction is not just any instruction. It is first of all instruction that requires discipline, no insult intended to any reader’s intelligence, duh! That does mean, though, it may not provide you flow. It may require effort. It may in fact be the one thing you’d least like to do when you’re thinking about vegging out for an evening of TV.

So, the take away on disciplined instruction from this post? Among many possible answers to that question, I would say one big take away is that disciplined instruction may just save your ass, whereas a class on underwater basket weaving or the latest TV series likely won’t.

So “happy trails to you until we meet again:”

Meanwhile here are some good sources of disciplined instruction:

Hardcover
Hardcover
Takeaways
Audio
Kindle
Slimline
Study
Paperback
Hardcover
Kindle
Audio

 

Wisdom Day 11 June 2016: Wise Counsel

Without good direction, people lose their way;
    the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.
(Proverbs 11: Verse 11, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

Since I am by nature a fool, I need lots of wise counsel. In some ways my IQ has been a stumbling block. Smart does not equal wise. Along with wisdom, I need inspiration as well as an occasional kick in the pants to actually put the wisdom into action. At JockoPodcast.com I get plenty of all three essential ingredients: wise counsel, inspiration, and the boot leather to the butt. Wishing you the same. Not always pleasant but can be quite productive.

Some sources of wise counsel:

Hardcover
Takeaways
Audio
Kindle
Slimline
Study
Paperback
Hardcover
Kindle
Audio

Wisdom Day 14 May 2016: A Good Leader

The mark of a good leader is loyal followers;
    leadership is nothing without a following. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 14, Verse 28, from The Message, BibleGateway.com)

Does Jocko Willink have a following? I wish I could see the numbers charted day by day. The growth rate must be exponential at this point. Why the big success? Jocko is not a pop singer; he is not an actor; he is not a professional athlete. As far as I can tell, he is none of the things our society normally runs after in a big hurry. So why the success?

My take is that Jocko manifests wisdom in virtually everything he says, writes, and does. He may have foolish moments, but if he does, his wisdom is to keep those private. What basis do I have for these opinions? I read Extreme Ownership, the book he and his colleague Leif Babin wrote. I listened to Tim Ferriss’  interview with Jocko and other interviews since then. I have listened to every production of the Jocko Podcast. I look forward to every new release. I follow Jocko on Twitter. Jocko always talks wisdom. Maybe folks are tired of foolishness. Jocko is a welcome change.

As I experience what Jocko has written and said publicly,  I keep thinking of the Book of Proverbs, the premier book of wisdom for me. So for all my Jocko bros and sis’s, I hope to share regular insights from the Book of Proverbs. This is the first installation.

There are 31 chapters in the Book of Proverbs. Thus, there’s always a chapter for each day of the month. Today’s chapter is 14. The Message translation is one that really reaches me. The audio recording by Kelly Ryan Dolan grabs my attention. It makes me think. I hope it will do the same for you. To get audio, click the speaker icon toward the upper right edge of the chapter when you get to the page on BibleGateway.com: The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 14, The Message. I found plenty of great nuggets of wisdom in this chapter. Please let me know what you think, pro or con, believer or non. I delight in the dialectic and in Jockonian Dichotomy.

For your own copy of The Message resources, here are some choices:

Slimline
Study
Paperback
Hardcover
Kindle
Audio