Week 52 of 2023 has arrived. Life is change. A lot of the pain in life comes from resisting the change.
Time to walk over to your 4K Weeks poster and fill in another square. Done?
I'd like to think that I am open and honest with you in this newsletter...
And I would like to think that's why you read it....
And the reason you are here has something to do with your interest in a poster about mortality...
So, I feel compelled to tell you that my dad died this morning.
It was good. I am good. And those things are true because he was good. There was nothing I needed to say to him that I didn't get a chance to say, and there was nothing I needed him to say to me that he didn't get a chance to say. If death is unavoidable, then it was a good death.
There's just no reason to keep any of your feelings of love and appreciation inside. Share them with people while they are walking around. It makes life better... for all of us.
And if you have trouble getting started telling people how you feel, blame it on me... say "Some stupid guy with a newsletter said I should tell you..." It'll get easier as you do it more often.
The only legacy that matters is a legacy of love.
Last week I promised you some thoughts about goal setting... you can find those in the last section.
Take a listen to the audio version of the weekly newsletter. Usually coming in at around 15 minutes... try listening! If you enjoy it let me know and subscribe, rate it, and review it! (there is a bit extra context on goal setting in there this week)
Thanks for being here and reading! These blogs help me "Sharpen The Saw" and hopefully help you to sharpen yours!
Week 51 in 2023, Bob Schubert, husband, teacher, and father extraordinaire, decided to stop being a caterpillar and try being a butterfly. He was the best dad a boy and his siblings could have, and was patient and loving to everyone except for people who drive slow in the left lane. His son will really miss having lunch with him every week. We were lucky to have him. He was 4586.57 weeks old. (87.96 yrs).
Week 52 in 2007, Tom Brady throws his 50th touchdown pass of the season and the Patriots become the second team in NFL history to finish the regular season undefeated. (A shining example of being so good, no one likes you!) He was 1586.43 weeks old (30.42 yrs). (The first team to finish the regular NFL season undefeated was the Dolphins, in 1972. Good catch, J.G.!)
Week 52,of 2018, Patrick Mahomes becomes the second QB in NFL history to throw 50 TD passes and 5000 yards in a season. (A shining example of somehow being likable even when you are so good!) He was 1215.00 weeks old (23.30 yrs).
Week 52, of 1831, Charles Darwin begins his journey on the HMS Beagle. It is important to remember that it took two decades for him to make sense of it all and publish his theory of evolution. He was 1193.71 weeks old (22.89 yrs).
This Week's Quote
If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change. -Buddha
The only thing I will add is this: You have to keep working at it. You have to keep looking at single flowers and looking for the miracle in them.
What I am Consuming This Week
It's been a light content week this week. Lots of things that needed my full attention. Back at it next week.
The 80/20 Principle, by Richard Koch. I did start listening to this. Koch was a guest on the Tim Ferriss Show a while back, Audible recommended this to me, and I remembered him. It is really good so far... three chapters in. Lots of actionable ways of thinking.
Insta Nuggets: I have been trying to boil these down to good content that pushes you forward... but sometimes a hysterical meme will sneak through...
What I am Thinking About This Week
I promised this to you last week...
As the end of the year draws nigh and people are starting to think about new beginnings, I have been getting a regular stream of emails about how to best approach choosing a goal for the Year Goal Poster or the Massive Action Society.
First, I am sure a lot of you have some familiarity with project or life goal setting, making them S.M.A.R.T., (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) etc., etc., etc.
SMART goals are great, and I have no issues with approaching goals that way. But that way of thinking, born out of a business-product-focused, achievement-oriented environment, falls short in one key parameter when we are talking about a person and their life.
Your life is a project. It is a complex, multi-dimensional initiative that would require a department of 100 people to successfully bring to market. But... you are just one person, not a department of 100... and so, instead of trying to micromanage all the minutiae, you first need to make sure your trajectory is tilted in the right direction, and that requires small, daily corrections instead of large bursts of energy. We need to start a flywheel of positive reinforcement.
This is especially important if you don't already have your shit together. And I want to be clear... no judgement... that's fine... for now. Most people don't have it together, even when they look like they do. What isn't fine is being ok with perpetually not having your shit together.
So, now the how-to: You need to discover one or two daily actions that will consistently tilt you in the direction of the person you see yourself being.
Make a list of 5-10 things that either make you feel fulfilled, or are attributes of the person you want to be. (Sidebar: I heard this somewhere long ago... "If you want to be a better version of yourself, then every time you are faced with a decision, ask yourself what your ideal self would do, and then do that... pretty soon you will be that self.")
Here is a list for me:
Exercise, eating real food, writing, reading, making things, talking with my wife, playing piano, purposeful connection with friends, sharpening the saw, sharing knowledge, being grateful.
All of these things keep me pointed in the right direction... up and to the right on the life satisfaction graph.
Once you have that list, you are ready for the harder part... creating an objectively measurable daily action for 1-3 of those things. Objectively measurable means that there is no question if you have completed it or not. For example: Write three things I am grateful for in the morning and evening, vs. Be more grateful.
Now that you have decided on the daily action, the only thing to do is carve out the space in your life for it and then KEEP THE COMMITMENT TO YOURSELF! A nice hack to keep yourself from wimping out is to only allow yourself to change the commitment a week in the future, so there is no weaseling out in the moment.
If you feel like you have your life mostly in order, then you would want to focus on specific aspects of your life that you want to improve, and find the minimum effective daily dose.
This is what I did over the last few months with basketball. I knew I wanted to be more confident with the ball on the court, and so I decided to dribble a basketball for 15 minutes every day for 66 days. That experiment is over, but the gains I made in ball handling are still paying out. Now I am shifting the focus to daily writing.
15 minutes of focus on a skill that you want to improve is a great starting point. There is never a day that you can't squeeze in 15 minutes... (two or three times in the 66 days I was in the basement at 11pm dribbling a basketball in my pj's)... and it does seem to move the needle.
I hope that helps. If you have any specific questions, let me know. I would be happy to try to help.
Have a great week!
Thanks for being a part of the journey with us! Please tell me if you liked/disliked the blog this week. Ask my wife... those are the only emails I like to get!
Dad Joke O' The Week
What do you call a snowman with a six pack?
The Abdominal Snowman!