Week 26 of 2023 has arrived. Halfway. Which means... THERE IS STILL TIME! And I am here for it.
Time to walk over to your 4K Weeks poster and fill in another square. Done?... Ok, look ya'll... it's half-time, and we're only down by two...
I'm going to put on my best Ted Lasso mustache (yes, you can find the history of Ted's mustache by clicking the "mustache" link) and run with the halftime analogy. There's a glass half full of time left on the clock, and all we need is a refreshing little sip of optimism!
I have said it before, and I will say it again...this whole brand is all about the time that remains, not the time that has passed.
If you haven't much to show for this year yet, there is still enough time left in 2023 for it to be "the year that changed it all" for you. What is today you going to do for tomorrow you?
Thanks for being here and reading. It is vital to "sharpen the saw" as a regular practice. I think of these emails as a way for me to sharpen my saw and help you sharpen yours.
Week #26 in the year 1996, Jay-Z releases his debut studio album "Reasonable Doubt" later to be included in Rolling Stone's top 500 albums of all time. He was 1385.71 weeks old. (26.57 yrs)
Week #26 in the year 2007, Tracy Letts' Pulitzer Prize winning play August: Osage County premiers at the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago. He was 2190.57 weeks old. (42.01 yrs)
Week #26 in the year 1916, Mary Pickford becomes the first actress to sign a feature film contract for over $1,000,000. She was 1263.14 weeks old. (24.22 yrs)
Week #26 in the year 1971, Muhammad Ali's draft evasion conviction is overturned by the Supreme Court. He was 1536.29 weeks old. (29.46 yrs)
This Week's Quote
"Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment; full effort is full victory." Mahatma Gandhi
It's a hard thing to reconcile in our measurement society. It's a hard thing to explain to a basketball team of 10-year-olds.
Winning isn't the yard stick.
It seems like mealy-mouthed "Everyone gets a trophy!", when in fact, sometimes the loser deserves more of our respect than the winner... ...And Mahatma Gandhi, with his timeless wisdom, is only in our awareness because of survivorship bias. How many countless warriors, full of unimpeachable integrity, have been crushed to dust under the grinding wheels of empire? Where are their quotes?
It all comes back to Stoicism for me... You can't control the outcome, only your inputs.
And so... if you fall down exhausted from the effort, knowing there is nothing left in the tank, right as the buzzer sounds, does the score matter to "the things you can control"?
It seems a bit crass to mix Gandhi's struggle to liberate his countrymen from the yoke of empire with a sports metaphor... but... it's halftime, and I have never faced an existential foe. Most of what I know of struggle... and winning and losing... has come from sport. I'd like to think that if I hadn't been born with this silver spoon that I would still have courage, but we will likely never know.
Effort. That is the yardstick. Did you try? Are you trying? Could you manage to try a bit harder today?
These are the questions that you should be asking yourself,
without judgement, but honestly,
And yes, to the skeptics...on the rare occasion that the most skilled person is also the hardest working, they win. And it's beautiful. But it's also rare. In many domains, "hardest working" is synonymous with "best"...then we retroactively call it "talent" because that stings a bit less than "they did the work, I didn't."
What I am Consuming This Week
The Rich Roll Podcast: #755, "Neil Pashricha, Cultivate Happiness and Live an Awesome Life." I really liked listening to the Neil and Rich talk. Neil has a super interesting backstory, and I need to hear about strategies to "win the morning, win the day, win the day, win the year" regularly.
Atomic Habits, James Clear. This is one of the foundational "habit hacking" books. I have read it three times, and one of those times I highlighted every actionable, "how to" sentence or passage, kind of like a "Jefferson Bible" for habit formation. Clear also has a super interesting and inspirational backstory... and his regular emails are very thoughtful and inspirational.
Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male is Struggling by Richard Reeves. I have had this book in the list before. I finished half and then set it aside for a bit. Now it is back to my bedside table again. There is a very nuanced argument being made here, and one that both sides of the political divide in the US should be taking very seriously. Nuance doesn't play well these days, but no modern, urgent and important issue is without nuance. So, if you read the subtitle above and gave it a "tut-tut", you should read this book next. And if you read the subtitle above and said "damn right" you should read this book next.
The Tim Ferriss Show, #677: "HERESIES" One of the big threads in the Of Boys and Men book above is intellectual honesty and integrity. This episode of the Tim Ferriss Show is a super interesting experiment in open discussions about unpopular beliefs. The guests all talk about beliefs they hold that are heretical and then they challenge each other. It's good.
What I am Thinking About This Week
"All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger (it's impossible) but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition, and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, and not the strength to suffer."- Niccolo Machiavelli
I found that quote printed out and taped to the inside of a planner that I used daily about 15 years ago. That was back when we had very few successes that we could point to as evidence of our abilities.
The younger man that printed that quote and acted on it is much different than the man I am today, and it has only been 15 years.
On one hand it is silly for a 46-year-old to take the same risks as a 30-year-old. The landscape is different, the timelines are different. On the other hand, I am not sure it is ever wise to act from a position of fear and scarcity.
And in my experience, that is increasingly what happens as people age... They focus (I focus) more on building taller fences around the things they have built, and less on building new things.
Things change. That's what they do. Being afraid of change is like being afraid of death. They are both inevitable, so you might as well get comfortable with them.
I want to be a builder of new things until the end. I enjoy the freedom and the security of the things we have built, but I don't want to spend all day "protecting my comfortable situation."
As nice as it is to be able to sit under the shade of a tree that I planted years ago, the fact is that I like planting trees more.
And that means being comfortable being uncomfortable .
Kevin Kelly said "Don't try to be the best, try to be the only." And the only way to do that is to keep growing and changing.
So, I am going to focus on building the future, not on building taller fences around the things we have already built.
Have a great week!
Thanks for being a part of the journey with us! Please tell me if you liked/disliked the email this week. Ask my wife... those are the only emails I like to get!
Spencer, Owner of 4KWeeks.com
Dad Joke O' The Week
What's the difference between a labrador and a marine biologist?? One wags a tail, and the other tags a whale!