Week 30 of 2023 has arrived. Like a ripe blackberry, falling into your palm as you reach for it, staining your hand as one "drupelet" bursts open when you close your fingers around it.
Time to walk over to your 4K Weeks poster and fill in another square. Done?...
We have a blackberry patch in our front yard. They are ripening now... I picked and ate one on my way to work this morning. We planted the original plant our first summer in this house, nine years ago.
It didn't do much that summer, but I watered it and crossed my fingers. The next two summers, same story. The plants grew, but weren't that impressive, and still no berries.
And then... in the fourth summer... there were a few berries. not nearly enough to make it worth four summers of care. "Oh well, not all experiments work", I thought... "Maybe it is a bad spot to grow blackberries... next year I'll rip them up and plant something new."
That next summer, the fifth... everything changed... SO MANY BLACKBERRIES... and every summer since. Two summers ago we started telling neighbors to grab as many as they wanted because we couldn't possibly consume them all ourselves.
Things take the time they take. Imagine if I had ripped out those blackberries in summer four.
Thanks for being here and reading... I like to think of this email as my way of offering up a few ripe blackberries to the neighbors as they are passing by.
The 4K Weeks Brightsider- A Multicolor Extravaganza!
The 4K Weeks Fade to Black- Momento Mori, Anyone?
The 4K Weeks Long View- A Different Horizon
Week #30 in the year 1976, Henry "Hank" Aaron hits his 755th and final home run. Hammerin' Hank's record stood as the MLB career home run record for 31 years. He was 2215.14 weeks old. (42.48 yrs)
Week #30 in the year 1969, Neil Armstrong becomes the first person to step on the moon. He was 2032.86 weeks old. (38.98)
Week #30 in the year 1976, Nadia Comaneci, a Romanian gymnast, scores the first-ever perfect 10.0 in Olympic gymnastics history during the 1976 Olympic Games. At these the same games, she receives six more perfect 10s. See her performance here. Incredible! She was 766.00 weeks old. (14.69yrs) SHE WAS 14!!!!!
Week #30 in the year 1914, W.G. Grace known as the "father of cricket" plays his last match of club cricket at age 66 (Eltham vs. Grove Park) and during the match he contributes unbeaten 69 to a total of 155-6 declared . Talk about a super ager! He was 3444.57 weeks old. (66.06 yrs)
This Week's Quote
Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.
Man... ole' Honest Abe really was a quote machine!
This quote is the perfect follow up to the blackberry story in the opening of the email. Because... "Things take the time they take." only works when you have planted the right plant in the right spot. You need to make sure you put your feet in the right place.
All the "standing firm" in the world isn't going to make blackberries grow from a poison ivy bush.
And it's often hard to know where is the right place to make a stand, because making a stand usually comes at a personal cost, at least in the short term. And despite all the movies you have seen, most people who make a principled stand just get fired, or blacklisted, etc. It is usually thankless, and then people move on.
It's not easy, but your integrity demands it.
Figure out which things aren't up for negotiation with you ahead of time, and then if the time comes, become an immovable object.
What I am Consuming This Week
Know My Name, Chanel Miller. My wife got this book for me at the library. As a father of a daughter, a husband to a wife, a brother to two sisters, and a son to a mother, the least I can do is read this first-hand account. I am 25% of the way through, and the thing that has stuck with me most so far is all of the ways Chanel was diminished, degraded, dismissed, etc. etc. etc. after the rape. For a survivor of sexual assault, I would bet that second blindsiding punch is the most surprising. It is not an easy read so far.
Inner Cosmos, "What is Consciousness?" David Eagleman. This one was fascinating. The brain is just a big wet computer... "How do you run a whole bunch of information through cells and get consciousness? I don't know what it is about Inner Cosmos that is so compelling... I am just really fascinated by the miracle of us lately.
The Tim Ferriss Show, #680 Richard Koch, The 80/20 principle. Dude has an awesome voice, and this is an interesting discussion on a lot of topics. The Tim Ferris Show is probably one of the frequently game changing podcasts I listen to. Lots of the others are entertaining, but the Tim Ferris Show is the most like having a rolodex of mentors to listen to.
What I am Thinking About This Week
Controlling your opportunities.
My daughter is currently winding down a run of 14 shows of a musical in a local theater company. She's a teen, and is really in love with performing. That is clear - she knows it and we know it. I was in a band when I was younger (still am actually!), and I get it... there isn't anything that can compete with the high of performing in front of an audience.
But... the show is coming to an end, and like all creative pursuits, she is heading into the trough of sorrow which is a well known acquaintance to anyone engaged in creative work. She is handling it better than I do, and we were talking about what is next for her, and that got me thinking about opportunities and agency.
The next round of auditions aren't for a month or so, and so it could be a while until the next time she gets to do the thing that she so clearly loves. ...and a lot is riding on decisions that other people will make that she will have no control over.
A lot of life seems like that. We find ourselves sitting around waiting for other people to decide things that will shape the course of our possibilities and opportunities.
Is there a way to take back as much of that agency as possible?
Well, first of all, you don't get to choose all the things... You can't make a theater company put on a musical that you love and cast you in it RIGHT NOW! You rarely get to have exactly what you want, exactly when you want it, on exactly your own terms... And often that is the reason we don't try to grab the reins and steer the wagon.
So then the question is "what part of this is my favorite, and how can I create my own opportunities to do that part more often?". The opportunities you create will probably differ in a few ways from the opportunities other people control. But... you won't be sitting around on your hands waiting on other people.
Can't get a bar to book your band for a gig? Start busking downtown every weekend night.
Can't get a publisher to publish your book? Give it away for free as a pdf, or publish it yourself.
Can't get your boss to let you try that creative initiative? Do it at home on your own time and then show it around the office.
Can't get hired as an illustrator at Disney? Start illustrating your own stories and posting them online.
The thing most of these have in common is choosing the work over the ego.
So, to my daughter, myself, and all of the rest of you... what are you willing to give up, and what are you willing to take ownership, of so that you can control your opportunities?
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
Why couldn't Dracula's wife get any sleep?
Because of his coffin!