Doing More With Less Since 1972

Category: Thinking (Page 1 of 13)

I’m reasonably smart. One thing I’ve figured out is not everybody has to be a “goal oriented” person to be successful.

I just like to practice, play, and get better at stuff that’s hard. I don’t need to win. I don’t need to be the best. I don’t need to be in charge.

For the most part, results have taken care of themselves.

And I’m happy–the pinnacle of success.

December Madness – CFB Playoff Proposal

Just a crazy idea here, but…

What if 32 teams made it to the college football playoffs?


  • Set up 4 regions with 8 teams each, seeded 1-8
  • On Friday, 1 plays 8, 2 plays 7…
  • But they only a HALF of a game each. Winners advance
  • Same thing on Saturday–two matchups of one half each
  • Winners of those two halves advance out of the bracket, leaving 8 teams total to play full games in the subsequent weeks.

Imagine how fun this would be for the fans. Four stadiums around the country hosting fans from EIGHT DIFFERENT TEAMS at the same time who show up on Friday to watch four “mini-games” with two more “mini-games” on Saturday.

Everybody has their teams they cheer for when their team isn’t playing–this would give them a chance to enjoy other matchups, see some other teams play, interact with other fans, etc.

And the upsets!

Upsets are the thing that makes the NCAA basketball tournament so fun. Imagine the risky play style we’d see those low seeds implementing–they only have a half to make a miracle happen!

Tacking Your Boat

This tweet gave me pause. Is this something I’m doing too often? I do feel like I’m going against the natural current regularly. I spent a little time this morning thinking about this.

I read this tweet, and it feels true, but also feels like it misses something. How do you lead if you’re just following positive feedback? That’s telling people what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear. That’s taking people to a place they think they want to go instead of taking them to the place they need to go.

But I realized what Andrew is talking about here is the tactical, not the strategic. He’s not talking about giving up the idea of leading. He’s not talking about being complacent. He’s talking about finding a way to use what works to continue in the right direction.

Don’t allow the wind to take you wherever it may choose.

Learn how to tack your boat.

[Image credit]

If AI Was Actually Intelligent…

It wouldn’t send out messages like this. It would know people well enough to know it would freak them out. The last thing it would do is tell us that this is what’s on its mind.

  • Emotional intelligence is a differentiator.
  • Knowing what to say and what not to say requires multi-dimensional fuzzy logic.
  • The ability to tailor a message to specific audience is golden.

Most people aren’t good at this stuff. Even the ones who are slip up every now and then.

Show me a computer that knows when to keep its mouth shut and I’ll start worrying about AI taking over.

The Switch

That’s what we call it at our house. I can make the case that people change, circumstances change, this isn’t necessarily a healthy habit, etc.

On the other hand, as long as The Switch is used sparingly and only after considerable thought and deliberation, it can be a really useful asset. It allows you to accept things and move forward without regret.

Yes–people change. In fact, I assume they do. And I can be happy for them without witnessing the change firsthand.

Funny how the thing that draws you into something is oftentimes not the thing that makes you ultimately commit to it for the long haul.

I’m not just talking about jiu jitsu.

Communication – The BJJ Job Interview

My boy Andy on Twitter just started a new BJJ podcast, and of course I was curious to check it out and finally find out what the voice of a man who can’t correctly tie his belt sounds like. 🙂

The first episode I listened to (actually his 2nd episode) made it clear this was going to be a different sorta jiu jitsu podcast. Andy does an amazing job of relating BJJ to his real life, and that’s really refreshing to hear. He’s not talking about world championships or fancy techniques (yet).

Take this first episode, where he describes incorporating BJJ into a recent job interview. It’s a great story, and it made me think a little deeper on this topic.

It’s Not The Talking That Matters. It’s The Listening.

Something I realized as Andy was talking about BJJ and communication as I was listening–as the danger or risk increases, the onus is on the person who has the greater amount of control/power to improve the communication.

They do this by listening more intently.

Think of a round rolling like a conversation. At the beginning of the round, both players are talking and listening with their bodies. They are talking about what they want to do. They are listening to what the other player is trying to do. Do they sometimes try to mislead the other player about their intentions? Absolutely. And it’s on each player to figure out what is true and what is a trap.

But what typically happens is that one player ends up putting another in danger somehow with a choke or joint lock. At this point in the “conversation”, the player in control has to focus on two things at the same time. They must consider the details that need to be adjusted to end the conversation (get the tap) while also paying close attention to the ways the other player may communicate the tap. This could be with a hand, verbally, or banging their foot on the mat.

The point is that the player in control has to listen more keenly at the end of the conversation than they were listening at the beginning.

So What? How Does This Apply To Real Life?

Good question. The one that immediately comes to mind for me is a work situation. When a decision maker sets a direction (starts the round), there is hopefully going to be a series of conversations about what is to be achieved, what “finished” looks like, and the path to “finished”.

But the finish is so critical. If I think of it in terms of information technology, the finish is when something goes live. It’s the time when things are volatile and dangerous. It’s at this point when we need to listen intently to the people who could possibly be negatively affected by the actions we’ve introduced.

[image credit]

The Promise Of Perfect Jiu Jitsu

The other day I wrote a post on “What Makes Jiu Jitsu Fun For You?” laying out my top personal reason for continuing to train. As I was writing it, I had a realization and line of thought that didn’t really jibe with that post, but is something I wanted to pursue separately–there’s more to why I train than just the fun. Don’t get me wrong–it’s mostly about the fun. But there are other reasons as well. And one of the biggest is the concept of “Perfect Jiu Jitsu.”

I’m not sure if there’s an “according-to-Hoyle” idea of perfect jiu jitsu, but I have one that I’m able to wrap my tiny little brain around, and it’s pretty freaking awesome.

Perfect jiu jitsu is, while playing in the rules of jiu jitsu, the ability to convince your opponent they have no hope of survival. Perfect jiu jitsu achieves this by doing nothing other than accepting the choices the opponent makes and responding only in ways to which the opponent does not resist.

So, obviously, no striking or biting or anything like that. But…wherever they want to place their hands, you allow it. Conversely, you allow them to object (by resistance) to ANY hand placement you choose. Same goes for feet, head, legs, etc. They are allowed to do whatever they want. You don’t do anything they don’t allow. And you still get them to tap. Oh, and the person you just defeated can effortlessly beat everyone in the world except for you.

Now, that’s PERFECT JIU JITSU. I know it isn’t possible. It’s just an aspirational goal–people may aspire to achieve, but no one will actually get there.

There are people who dedicate their lives to achieving perfect jiu jitsu. They are aware they’ll never get there either, but it’s a concept that is so powerful and alluring, that they feel it’s worth a lifetime of work to reach for.

I’m not one of those people.

So, if it’s not something that’s achievable by anyone, and I’m not even one of the people who’s willing to dedicate myself to achieving it, why am I even bothering to write this post? How does the existence of the idea of perfect jiu jitsu even motivate me?

Because I see the beauty of the idea of perfect jiu jitsu. I’m aware of how effective jiu jitsu is when done poorly, by someone without special talent, who trains a few times a week, holds down a regular job, takes their kids to activities, eats an imperfect diet, and has a million other things going on.

That may sound like a pretty accurate description of me, but I’m not talking about me. The guy I just described will utterly destroy me at jiu jitsu. That’s how magic it is. If they guy I just described can beat me so easily, what must close-to-perfect jiu jitsu look and feel like.

I can’t fathom what that may be, but I want to be a part of the movement towards it.

And the reason I really wrote this post is that:

The concept of practicing something that can be abstracted into an idea that is beautiful and yet unattainable scales both horizontally and vertically, and it’s the stuff that a meaningful life is made of.

[image credit]

What Make Jiu Jitsu Fun For You?

Not, “why do you do it?”

What makes it fun?

Maybe it’s not fun for you. Maybe it’s a “have to” for some reason or another. But I haven’t encountered many people who feel this way about it. I think it’s a pretty fun activity for most of us.

It’s ironic, because a huge amount of time spent in jiu jitsu is spent losing, suffering, dealing with discomfort, being humbled, feeling vulnerable, taking steps backwards, plateauing, getting bruised and mat-burned, and suffering from the occasional minor injury and constant back/hand pain.

And I didn’t even mention that some of us are daily forced to deal with the fact that we are old and quickly declining.

Have I convinced you to start training yet? 😀

Somehow, it’s fun. It’s the thing that always puts us in a good mood and makes us smile. For some, it’s one of their only sources of happiness.

I can’t answer for anyone else, but for me jiu jitsu is fun because it’s magic. As much as it taxes my body, it is constantly tickling and amazing my mind. It’s constantly causing me to question what I know.

How can someone so much smaller than me control me that way?

How can they continue to control me in the exact same way, even after they’ve shown me exactly what they are doing and how to stop them?

Why did that simple adjustment that makes all the difference elude me for so long. And it’s so simple and obvious–why didn’t I see it myself?

Why are so many of my natural intuitive motions so incorrect?

Why is this guy asking me for advice–can’t he see I know nothing?

Why am I giving this guy advice? I’m 100% positive there’s someone out there who can show me why everything I just said is absolutely wrong.

Is he even trying this round? Did he just give me that? WHY did he just give me that? Is this a trap? Does he think this trap is going to work? Why didn’t I see the REAL trap?

I guess, for me, the reason it’s fun is because it’s a series of difficult puzzles that, once solved, reveal themselves to only be a small part of an infinite number of larger, increasingly difficult puzzles.

I realized a while back that I’m not an outcome-driven person. I’m an experience and journey driven person. Endless puzzles with ever-changing parameters…where do I sign up?

I Was Wrong (Again)

More than once in the past 10 years, we’ve had a discussion in our house about eating meat. I live with four women (don’t bother setting up a GoFundMe on my behalf–money is not the answer), and they’ve all expressed regret/guilt over eating animals at one time or another.

My wife and my girls are all big animal lovers. They have a ton of compassion for just about any kind of animal, excluding spiders for one of them. I see this as a strength. From their interactions with animals, I know they are all growing up to be young women who will be loving and nurturing mothers. I mean, if you feel this way about animals, just imagine how you’ll feel about your own babies, right? I love animals too, but outside of our dogs, my connection to them isn’t on the same level as theirs.

Anyway, every conversation around the morality of eating meat usually contains at least one instance of me saying, “Well, in theory, you shouldn’t eat any animal you aren’t willing to kill yourself.”

Seems logical. Seems reasonable. But it’s wrong.

As the girls have matured, we’ve started having other conversations about the differences between men and women and how they lean towards certain traits and behaviors. We not only talk about the difference, but how these differences compliment one another. We talk a lot about how our differences help us fit together like puzzle pieces.

My kids often see me as a brute, especially when my thoughts and actions are held up to their more empathetic and nurturing tendencies. The idea of doing something like hunting down an animal, killing it, leaving its guts in the woods, and cutting its carcass up sounds absolutely barbaric to them.

I grew up hunting. We didn’t hunt “just for fun.” We stocked a freezer with the deer we took down every year. My personal experience with hunting was that I didn’t enjoy it all that much. I liked being out in the woods and just sitting quietly, I just didn’t like getting up early and being cold. But I never had a problem with killing an animal, because I knew we were going to eat it. In fact, it made me feel like I was helping to provide for my family whenever I killed an animal. In that way, it was really good for me, and overall a very positive experience.

I haven’t hunted at all as an adult, but I’m all for it. And I feel confident in knowing I could capably do it again if I needed to. And that, coupled with the knowledge of the different strengths men and women bring to the table, is why I was wrong to say they shouldn’t animals they aren’t willing to kill.

The truth is…

They should not eat animals that I am not willing to kill.

Bacon for breakfast girls! I got this.

I’m From

I’ve been working on this for a while, but sporadically. I don’t know if it’s finished or if it ever will be finished. This is really scary for me. But here’s what I got so far…

I’m from a hillside bushed by more wild black berries than your belly can bear
From the hottest two weeks of July
From an big orange ‘mater patiently ripening itself on a windowsill
From yesterday’s sweet tea
From cold banana puddin’
From a fried baloney sandwich on white bread
I’m from a mess of turnip greens in a paper sack

I’m from lightnin’ bugs
From June bugs
From grasshoppers
From tadpoles
From crawdads
From house flies

I’m from skeeters
From ticks
From chiggers

I’m from a section of gravel road darkened by a dense deciduous canopy
From the car-caused rattle of a one-lane wooden bridge
From going up the hill in 2nd
From going through The Holler in 4th
From stop signs that everybody just kinda rolls right through
I’m from within walkin’ distance of the County Line

I’m from a gulp of chilly October air spiced by a simmering barn-pot of dark fire

I’m from a ghost man on first and a five Mississippi rush

I’m from hayrides
From cake walks
From turkey shoots
From bonfires
From fish fries
From going to church after school to watch a fight
I’m from leaving in a hurry when The Law comes

I’m from potluck dinners and living room jams
From country and coffee
From bluegrass and butter cookies
From a good-hearted woman
From a fox on the run
From a real life cacophony of Cadillac Cowboys
I’m from, “If you get lost, go back to G and wait on us”

I’m from climbing higher than I want to in a tree
From being more scared of not climbing it
From everything looking different after daylight
From Hank Jr. and Haggard on loop
I’m from leaving the tailgate down if you got one

I’m from the smell of chainsaw fumes mixed with sawdust
From sledge hammer stings on cold hands
From armloads of kindling
From emptying the ash box
I’m from the warmest spot in front of a wood-burning stove

I’m from walking The Creek with a Zebco 33 and a Winchester 22
From splashes at a rope swing
From handfuls of cold sips at a spring
I’m from having a sharp eye for good skippin’ rocks

I’m from always carrying a knife
From an outside dog as a running buddy
From a healthy respect for barbed wire fences
From knowing I can handle pretty much anything on my own

I’m from figuring out the day as I go
From more space than I know what to do with
From having plenty of time for all of it

I’m from having my name known by men
Whose names are known by everyone I know

I’m from no gloves
From no sunscreen
From no complaining
From a big spread at lunch
From having to work hard to scrub hard work off your hands

I’m from being led not into temptation
I’m from being delivered from evil

I’m from never thinking my childhood
Would be much more like my father’s
Than my children’s

I’m from the realization that what I’m from isn’t there anymore
I’m from the regret of not taking it with me when I left
I’m from the comfort of knowing it came with me anyway

Shadow Ban Myself To Spite My Face

Social media is so weird. I primarily use Twitter. I have a presence on other platforms, but I’m not active. They are mostly there so I can loosely keep up with rugby and jiu jitsu people from my past.

But to say that it’s a free exchange of ideas and a platform where everyone has a voice is kind of silly. Not everyone has an equal voice. For example, I could have a really good (or really bad) idea that I want to share…

I could tweet, “I think ______.” and get no response.

YouTock McInstagram could tweet the exact same thing a month later and start a huge conversation around it.

I’m not complaining here–I don’t want all the attention, responsibility, and eventual grief that would go along with having that kind of presence.

But I think it’s funny that I’ve basically shadow banned myself on Twitter simply by being so boring and unengaging. I don’t think there’s any amount of novel ideas that could reverse that situation.

My Enterprise Architecture Christmas Wish

If I could pick one Christmas with to be granted this year, it’d be to go back in time and change my relationship with enterprise and/or solution architecture modeling tools.

Instead of starting my tool usage with unlimited options for modeling standards and trying to navigate all the possible ways to model the environment, I’d like to start with a small set of modeling standards and trying to figure out a way to model what I need within those parameters.

I’m thinking Archimate, UML, and BPMN.

I’d like to make this the box I’m willing/allowed to play in, and figure it out from there.

Luckily, whether or not this happens now is mostly within my control!

Heard from a preacher man…

“God has a plan, and he has a universe. You may think you have a better plan…

But you don’t have a universe.”

Wolves, Wolf Dogs, and Pets

Most Pets think they are Wolves and that most other people are Pets.

Some Wolf-Dogs think they are Wolves; they’ve never encountered an actual Wolf.

Some Wolf-Dogs know they are Wolf-Dogs; they’ve been up-close and personal with a Wolf.

Wolf-Dogs know a Pet when they see one.

Wolves may be aware of other Wolves, but that’s not a factor for them. For all practical purposes, everything that isn’t them is a Pet.

The reason I wanted to share this tweet was because I recently had a realization about this situation at a more macro level.

Some Background

A couple of weeks ago we took our kids to visit the Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Naples. This facility houses lots of different animals, and they’ve done genetic testing on them all to identify the percentage of wolf and dog in each one. Most of the animals are 50-60% dog. They are still dangerous animals, but are more social and used to people, and are near the front of the facility. Even at first glance your brain immediately registers that, “Oh…this isn’t just a dog.”

Wolf-Dogs are dangerous. But they can be sweet and get along with the rest of us in most cases. There’s an issue every now and then maybe, but for the most part, they’re probably best described as really tough/scrappy dogs that could quite possibly lose it on you if you aren’t careful. So be careful and aware with them.

As you go farther into the facility, you reach enclosures housing animals that are almost all wolf. When you make eye contact, you know the difference between a wolf and a wolf-dog.

Like…please do NOT put me in that enclosure. Please.

How That Relates To Men

Being around these animals gave me a spark of inspiration/realization that I think accurately demonstrates how people (mostly men) perceive their world, and how their perceptions are horribly skewed, especially in this era of general comfort and security.

There are Wolves. There are Wolf-Dogs. And there are Pets.

Most men think they are Wolves, but they are actually just Pets. They’ve never actually been tested. They’ve definitely never encountered a Wolf (that they know of); probably never even smelled one. They don’t really even have a concept of what a Wolf is. It’s just a word, and they think it applies to them because they have all the same physical parts as a Wolf.

Then there are Wolf-Dogs. I put myself in this category. I know a lot of other Wolf-Dogs too. But Wolf-Dogs are separated into two different groups–those who know we are Wolf Dogs, and those who, like Pets, think they are Wolves. But it’s obvious to all Wolf-Dogs that Pets definitely are NOT Wolves.

How do Wolf-Dogs become self-aware? How do we come to the conclusion that we are neither Wolves nor Pets? It’s actually pretty simple–you have to be exposed to both Wolves and Pets to understand that you lie somewhere in the middle. It’s easy to have an encounter with a Pet. They are everywhere. In fact, it’s almost impossible to avoid them. And you know that you aren’t a Pet, which is why so many Wolf-Dogs mistakenly believe themselves to be Wolves: “If I’m not a Pet, I must be a Wolf.”

I think (pure conjecture) that most Pets have the capacity to transform themselves into Wolf-Dogs. Like the tweet above implies, it just takes an awareness of where you lie and a commitment to become a Wolf-Dog. Exposure to a Wolf-Dog is enough to start this journey.

But Wolves are a different story. They are rare, and you usually haven’t identified them as what they are until it’s too late. If you’ve ever encountered an actual Wolf, you knew within a few seconds that they are a different thing. Just like the delineation at the wolf sanctuary, it’s pretty obvious what the difference is.

What is an actual Wolf?

It’s a little tough to explain, but know this–a Wolf will fight you to the death without ever considering the possibility that there’s another option for resolution. A Pet doesn’t stand a chance against them. A Wolf-Dog may be able to inflict some damage, but they aren’t committed to the fight the way a real Wolf is. And a real Wolf will go at another real Wolf as if it were a Pet.

A real Wolf regards everything else in existence as if it were a Pet, even other Wolves.

How Does This Relate To BJJ/Fighting/Sports?

I think most people who train in a live-sparring martial art (wrestling, boxing, bjj, etc.), and lots of physically demanding sports, are Wolf-Dogs. And many of them may never encounter a Wolf in their sport. That’s ok–we need a lot more Wolf-Dogs than Pets in this world. But it would be nice if more of these Wolf-Dogs could encounter an actual Wolf at least once.

For example, I’ve been to a couple of amateur MMA competitions in the last few months. A lot of Wolf-Dogs in these things, and they are sorting out who the Wolves are at this level. That’s a good thing. Anybody willing to step into a cage and fight is at least Wolf-Dog in my book. In fact, they are the top of the Wolf-Dog food chain–plenty of legit Wolf-Dogs have zero interest in getting in there and risking their health just to find out where they lie in that spectrum. I’m the first to admit that I’m in that crowd.

You can watch these fights and figure out pretty quickly who isn’t a Wolf though:

  • Tap to punches? Not a Wolf.
  • Tap to fatigue? Not a Wolf.
  • Coast for the last round because you’re clearly up two rounds already? Not a wolf.

Again, I’m not throwing shade here–I wouldn’t go in there and do that against anyone, and definitely not for free.

How Do I Know So Much About Wolves?

Well, I’m not saying I do. But I’ve rolled with a couple of Wolves (top-tier fighters), and it taught me enough to know that they have something I don’t. For instance, almost everyone I’ve ever rolled with has had me mounted or been in top half guard with me at some point. When that happens, I’m thinking about applying whatever jiu jitsu I have to change the situation.

But with the Wolves, it’s different when they actually decide to turn it on. In those situations, my mind doesn’t immediately go to implementing BJJ. The first place my mind goes is the realization that this person’s instinct is to end my life in this situation. It’s palpable and it’s undeniable. There is a CLEAR difference between their ability/willingness to go to a place I don’t even want to be capable of going to.

So What Am I Saying?

I guess, if there’s any point to this (and I’m doubting there is), is that I think the world would be a better place if we all took the time to get a clear understanding of exactly what we are and where we fall in the spectrum. And we need a lot more people to level up to Wolf-Dog.

There’s nothing wrong with being a Pet necessarily, but people need to be aware of being a Pet. And if that’s what they end up choosing, they should probably be more careful with their words and actions, especially around Wolves. Wolf-Dogs are generally cool with Pets and can just laugh to themselves when they encounter one who is overstepping their abilities. Wolves are ultimately going to be a lot less forgiving, and the consequences will be more severe.

And we Wolf-Dogs need to continually seek out Wolves and get ourselves straight as well. Maybe you’ll find that you’re actually a Wolf too. But the main benefit is identifying where you are on that spectrum. Once you do, continually seek out Wolves whenever/wherever you can.

The ability to quickly identify a Wolf may pay off one day.

« Older posts

© 2024 Scott Adcox

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑