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 22 November 2016: The Way?

Point your kids in the right direction—
    when they’re old they won’t be lost. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 22, Verse 6, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

I just heard something astounding. I came across it while listening to the Tim Ferriss Show #201. It was the part where Tim shares an interview with Sam Harris about meditation. The astounding part for me is that Sam Harris expresses the wish that his young daughter experience psychedelics early enough in life to gain expanded insight. Later in the interview, Dr. Harris shares with Tim that the psychedelic experience can be either marvelous or like unto the most extreme form of mental illness one might ever observe. He indicates that even if one does have a bad trip, there is a chance that one will recover and at least experience compassion for those who suffer from mental illness. A chance?

I know Sam Harris, is published and in many ways much, much more successful than I. In fact, compared to Sam Harris, I am in the media world a cipher, a nobody. Still, I dare to espouse a totally opposite opinion.

My Sophie is five years old, soon to be six as I write this post. Would I gamble Sophie’s emotional future on some probability that she might not have a bad psychedelic trip? This does indeed sound like some worldly wisdom beyond my kin. But that dissuades me not:

18-20 Don’t fool yourself. Don’t think that you can be wise merely by being up-to-date with the times. Be God’s fool—that’s the path to true wisdom. What the world calls smart, God calls stupid. It’s written in Scripture,

He exposes the chicanery of the chic.
The Master sees through the smoke screens
    of the know-it-alls. (Paul’s First Letter to the Church at Corinth, Chapter 3, Verses 18-20, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

So I am out of date with the times. I’ll settle to be God’s fool as Sam Harris is the wise man of the age. I know that raised in the Spirit and by the grace of the God whose existence Sam Harris denies, Sophie can know compassion and great joy. So I will invest in discipline and jiu-jitsu for Sophie. I surely will not gamble her life on the luck of the trip.

And as for Sam Harris? It comes to mind that even Voltaire recognized the value of having a Christian tailor. And then at the end of his life, this great atheist called for a priest to administer the last sacraments. It ain’t over until it’s over.

Between Sam Harris’s bet on psychedelics for his daughter and Pascal’s wager, I go for the latter or better yet, I prefer knowing The God Who is There. The high when you reach that knowing is costly but free, filling the present and lasting forever.

The crux of the matter? Don’t get mad. Don’t just get even. Get ahead and above. Get high on the high that lasts forever. And bring the kids along for the ride. A really good trip.

Wisdom Day 21 November 2016: Holiday Word Watch

Watch your words and hold your tongue;
    you’ll save yourself a lot of grief. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 21, Verse 23, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

Facing the run up to the holidays, I think of times in family and work gatherings where certain of my words would have better gone unspoken. So I’ll try to listen lots more than I talk over the next few weeks. I’d like to generate no futile dust-ups between now and the New Year, and thereafter, of course.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry . . . (The Epistle of James, Chapter 1, Verse 19, New International Version, BibleGateway.com)

Wishing  you quick ears, a slow tongue, and a slow fuse as you head toward the festivities. And the clear head of sobriety:

Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler;
    whoever is led astray by them is not wise. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 20, Verse 1, New International Version, BibleGateway.com)

Wisdom Day 20 November 2016: Get Thrashed

A good thrashing purges evil;
    punishment goes deep within us. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 20, Verse 30, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

This passage jumped out at me this morning! When I first started listening to the Jocko Podcast, the BJJ talk struck me as a bit of a side show, sometimes a counterpoint to extremely heavy content.  Little by little, I became convinced that my 5-year old Sophie and I needed to sign up at Jocko’s Victory MMA Gym. Since then, some time and travel issues have interferred with our regular participation, but in the beginning I could see that striking, grappling, and BJJ were having a profound impact on Sophie: on her art, her attitude, her energy, and her plans for the day and the future. Now it dawns on me that Sophie and I need to get thrashed regularly on those mats. I can not think of a better purge for evil for us both. How often do we need to  be purged? Probably daily for me:

 . . . human evil was out of control. People thought evil, imagined evil—evil, evil, evil from morning to night. (The Book of Genesis, Chapter 6, Verse 5, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

And for Sophie?

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,
    but the rod of discipline will drive it far away. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 22, Verse 15, New International Version, BibleGateway.com)

Child Support Services would likely take a dim view of driving out the folly with a rod. But the mats? Another thing all together. And I would not need to be the thrasher! All around win!

Conclusion? Lot’s of Jocko’s wisdom likely comes directly from the mats. A mind purged of evil has room for wisdom and discipline.

Discipline = Freedom

Wisdom Day 11 November 2016: Blessed Blessings

The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed;
    those who help others are helped. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 11, Verse 22, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

Veterans Day and Day 3 of the transition to a Trump presidency, a surprise to many and for some a source of anguish, anger, and rage. Among those who read this post will be some who are committed to the principles of Extreme Ownership. For them the challenge is to own even this period of roiling ire. How? To lead by example and to remember it is not what we preach, it is what we tolerate that counts. We start with ourselves. We must tolerate in ourselves and others only words and actions intended to mend rather than aggravate rifts. Were we on the losing side? Focus on constructive thought and action rather than the desire to break everything. Were we on the winning side? Avoid all gloating and arrogance, both in ourselves and in others. Of course, we can not control the words and actions of those around us, but we can be courageous enough to refuse to enter into conversations, actions, and reactions focused on fanning the flames. Rather, defuse the explosive devices by finding a way to bless others, through our words, our acts, the way we look at people. Curses generate curses, but blessings bring a harvest of blessings. Ourselves and our nation surely need to be abundantly blessed, especially now. It is time for a new Armistice Day.

 

Wisdom Day 3 November 2016: Tree of Life

You’re blessed when you meet Lady Wisdom,
    when you make friends with Madame Insight.
She’s worth far more than money in the bank;
    her friendship is better than a big salary.
Her value exceeds all the trappings of wealth;
    nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her.
With one hand she gives long life,
    with the other she confers recognition.
Her manner is beautiful,
    her life wonderfully complete.
She’s the very Tree of Life to those who embrace her.
    Hold her tight—and be blessed! (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 3, Verses 13-18, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

Too long away from wisdom. Wandering hither and tither is a fine way to lose the way. I came back to be with Lady Wisdom, my own Madam Insight. I missed her tremendously. I mess up a lot without her around. It’s good to be back, and it’s very good to see you again. Come on in and sit a spell. We can visit some good books, big favorites of My Lady:

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Wisdom Day 29 September 2016: Discipline Just in Time

For people who hate discipline
    and only get more stubborn,
There’ll come a day when life tumbles in and they break,
    but by then it’ll be too late to help them. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 29, Verse 1, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

Being a fool by nature, I need a daily dose of discipline, or maybe several, to stay out of tough tumbles into tiger pits. But I just can’t make it every day to the psychologist, psychiatrist, priest, pastor, rabbi, imam or group meeting. But every day online I have:

The Word is Wisdom. Wisdom is the Word. Extreme Ownership put me back on a wise path. The fellowship of all the Troopers at zero dark 45 every morning helps me remember that, as Jocko says, Discipline = Freedom.

Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. (Paul’s Letter to the Church in Galatia, Chapter 1, Verse 1, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

I aim to own the freedom and connect for real with other humans in the pursuit of wisdom, short and long term.

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Wisdom Day 19 September 2016: Live Well

 

    Take good counsel and accept correction—
that’s the way to live wisely and well. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 19, Verse 20, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

Where do I find good counsel? Who will give me wise correction?

Tim Ferriss says we’re the average of the five people with whom we spend the most time.

So what do I do? My plan of action (first draft):

  • Identify the top five sources of wisdom I can access electronically. Jocko Willink is already at the top of this list.
  • Identify the top five sources of wisdom I can access in person. Hmm? That’s a tough one.
  • Invest my “disposable” time there, starting today. Not sure time is like income or modern diapers, but will give it a tumble.
  • Track the time invested and report it to an accountability partner. And that would be . . . ?
  • Track the results in the most difficult problem area of my life, finances at this point. Let’s see . . . What’s a good metric? Credit score? Total indebtedness? Increase in income? I’ll go for inceased income, at least for now.
  • Re-calibrate and repeat.

Can I do it? Will Tim prove right? Can I improve my average me? Stay tuned.

Wisdom Day 5 September 2016: Bonehead Way?

You don’t want to end your life full of regrets,
    nothing but sin and bones,
Saying, “Oh, why didn’t I do what they told me?
    Why did I reject a disciplined life?
Why didn’t I listen to my mentors,
    or take my teachers seriously?
My life is ruined!
    I haven’t one blessed thing to show for my life!” (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 5, Verses 11-14, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

I relate, but not done yet!
Still time for another step.
Discipline or folly?
Lots left to gain
or lose.
Wisdom!

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Wisdom Day 2 September 2016: Life Patrol

Jocko Podcast 38 is a great primer on how to get from A to B, at least it is for me. When Jocko began talking about going out on patrol with his two older children, memories came flooding back of land navigation times with my two sons. We called it hiking and camping. I like Jocko’s vocabulary better. It sets the whole outing in an operational context. And that is great for kids, I think. It lends a greter sense of uniqueness and purpose to the outing.

As I think back on my outings with my boys, I think of dead reckoning vs. contouring. I think of how we learned in our minds and bodies the real challenges of getting where we wanted to go and the true joy of achievement when we got there on our own two legs. Our own two legs?

What if lots more kids in our country could know the joy of getting somewhere tough on their own two legs? What if they could learn, like my sons and me, in their own minds and their own bodies the difference between dead reckoning and contouring? How beautiful and dangerous nature can be? The science of a good compass and true north? All the marvelous information in a U.S. Geological Survey topographical map? Magnetic declination? Night navigation when the stars are out? The constellations? How the Pleiades lead Orion across the night sky and arrive at the western horizon near day break in summer in our northern hemisphere just before full dawn chases all the stars away?

Of course, I was not out on patrol with Jocko and his kids. But I am sure they learned even more than I surmise. Not just the profound science of how to get where you want to go. Also things about themselves, their dad, sibling interactions under stress, the joy of reaching a tough goal when you’re out in nature, something never known when sitting at home. The strong but invisible link between lessons learned on nature’s trails and the wisdom needed to traverse the trails of life. Some pretty fine gifts from a father to his children:

So now you can pick out what’s true and fair,
    find all the good trails!
Lady Wisdom will be your close friend,
    and Brother Knowledge your pleasant companion.
Good Sense will scout ahead for danger,
    Insight will keep an eye out for you.
They’ll keep you from making wrong turns,
    or following the bad directions
Of those who are lost themselves
    and can’t tell a trail from a tumbleweed,
These losers who make a game of evil
    and throw parties to celebrate perversity,
Traveling paths that go nowhere,
    wandering in a maze of detours and dead ends.(The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 2, Verses 10-14, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

Further reading on life navigation:

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