Doing More With Less Since 1972

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Daily Stoic Journal – False Impressions

Am I in rigorous training against false impressions?

Yes I am!

Wait…am I? Let’s get real.

I see false impressions coming from a few different sources. There are false impressions that are purposefully made by others (“fake news”), there are false impressions I generate myself because I’m misreading situations (“bad comprehension”), and there are false impressions I generate myself because they fit with my inner worldview/narrative (“wishful thinking”). I think I’ll address these in reverse order, because that’s the order that I have the most control over.

*This is part of the Daily Stoic Journal I’m keeping, which is a companion to the Daily Stoic book. I’m on my 3rd time around reading this book, and can’t recommend it enough if you’re looking for an framework for living a happy life. I don’t (and won’t) post everything I write for this journal publicly, at least not yet. But this is one I’m good with letting out into the wild.

Wishful Thinking

The job here, and it’s a tough one, is to keep my own thoughts, preferences, and opinions in check. Do I perceive this as a good thing because it aligns with the way I think the world should work? Or because it agrees with the way I think the world actually works? Do I perceive it as a bad thing because it goes against the way I want things to be, or the way I perceive they are? Have I decided who the good guys and bad guys are beforehand, then try to cram everything into that narrative?

One thing I do try to guard against is taking events personally. I try to at least look at them objectively to see if they line up. An example would be when I don’t approve of something one of the kids does or says. I have to immediately realize this isn’t (usually) intended to make me angry–it’s to further their personal agenda, which will never line up 100% with the story I’m trying to write about my own life.

Does that mean I let it go? Absolutely not. It just means I try not take it personally.

Am I always successful in not taking it personally? I wish. But not even close. An example would be someone shirking responsibility. See…even in typing that sentence I used the word “shirk” instead of the phrase “not meeting”. I have to set aside my own feelings about people who shirk don’t meet responsibility to realize it’s something that is common in life, and something I’ve been guilty of myself countless times. But I do have to guard against taking that one personally, especially when it’s a responsibility to me.

In the instances I do take things personally, it helps for me to write them down and try to objectively see them through the other person’s eyes. That doesn’t mean that I always come down on the side of understanding why they did what they did. Sometimes I can still find a rational flaw in their motivation, or lack of motivation. But it at least helps me to find a rational flaw instead of a personal flaw.

And I’m not gonna lie–sometimes I can see no motivation from a person other than them getting what they want without regard for how others are affected. This is a real thing. It happens. And it’s another thing I’ve done countless times. Luckily, lots of people have been gracious enough to forgive me, and I can only make an effort to be just as gracious. But that’s not the topic here, so I don’t have to give myself that examination today. 😀

Bad Comprehension

Another tough one, but at least it’s easier to recover from this one. I can always go back and apologize for misunderstanding. I can always re-absorb the information with more concentration, research the parts I don’t understand, and try to get context. I think the important thing here is to filter out what actually matters and needs further study. A good rule of thumb here is probably to give anything that gets a strong response out of me a closer inspection. If it makes me angry, sad, or scared, I should probably try to understand it better to find out if my reaction is warranted.

I guess this is one reason why I prefer to be alone when something upsets me. It not only keeps me from doing something reactive that I’ll regret, but it also gives me a chance to figure out exactly what part of the event bothers me and decide whether it’s worth being this upset over. Spoiler alert–it’s almost never as big of a deal as I make it out to be initially.

The other side of this is things that make me happy. I try not to inspect these as closely and take happiness at face value. Still, there’s value in stepping back every now and then and making sure I’m not just selling myself the story I want to be told. Part of that is having trust in my own perception, and I’m gaining more of that trust in myself as I grow older and have more experience.

Fake News

I’m not using this term around the way it’s typically thrown around. I’m talking more about my ability to filter out all sorts of false information–a “BS Filter”. This is where I’m seeing the value of age and experience the most. Over the years, I think (hope?) I’ve gotten better at reading situations and people. I’ve learned that it helps me to look for motivation above all else. I feel like if I can understand what motivates people I can get a better idea of how their actions and words line up.

Take politicians, for example. Are there politicians out there who aren’t motivated by power and perks? I’m sure of it.

Can I name any? Uh…not with any certainty. In my experience, any politicians who don’t have these motivations aren’t likely to have risen to a level that would make me aware of them.

And the politicians are the ones that are actually pretty good at intentionally misdirecting impressions. Most of the people you have to deal with on a daily basis are amateurs at this.

Do I still get fooled? Yep. Does it happen as much as it used to? Nope.

History, both “history-history” and personal history, are a great source to start to understand patterns of behavior and begin to do some predictive analysis. I got a very late start on this in life, and I took some lumps because of it. But, luckily, I have a decent analytical mind when I decide to turn in on and focus, and I feel like I’ve made a lot of gains in the last 20 years.

I think the real key here is to be ok with other people having this “snake-oil-salesman” trait. I have to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s not their fault–they were either born with the tendency to mislead, or they learned it out of necessity. They are what they are, and it’s highly doubtful they could ever be convinced that this isn’t a trait they should foster.

As long as I know what they’re up to, I can manage my relationship with them appropriately. But I have to constantly continue “training against false impressions” by always paying attention and keeping notes.

Conclusion

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my life is that being burned usually occurs when unrecognized “fake news” is coupled with either “wishful thinking” or “bad comprehension”.

The remedy is to guard against all three.

I heard Cisco’s CEO talking about the need for STEM in education going forward.

While we’re giving lip service to focusing on STEM in our education systems, can we have a discussion about reading comprehension skills?

From my small sampling, a lot of the people who are already good at STEM were absent that day in school.

How to make sure your ideas DON’T win:

  1. Put opposing ideas into a box so that the people who would like to explore them will only be exposed those ideas while they are perusing the box. Your ideas aren’t there, so they won’t be seen/heard.
  2. Tell the people who are still listening to your ideas that all the ideas in the box are dangerous.

Here’s how you get to be a tough old man in two easy steps.

  1. Get tough
  2. Get old

The second one will take care of itself, if you’re lucky.

So just focus on the first one.

This isn’t so much a political thought as it is a sociological one. I think the best thing that could happen in 2022 would be for Joe Rogan to come out and say, “I endorse no one. Instead, I think everyone should vote for a candidate that doesn’t have an ‘R’ or a ‘D’ beside their name.” That would give these two major parties the wake up call they need along with plenty of time to get their ships straight before they throw joke candidates at us (again).

At this point, the only factor that keeps me from jumping from YouTube music to Spotify is the commercial-free YouTube. Google is just pouring on the censorship, and I cannot abide.

If you’ve ever voted for someone based on their ability to find political solutions to things like global health issues, please reach out to me.


I have a EXCITING and EXCLUSIVE investment opportunity you may want to learn more about. But hurry–time is limited!

Wake up in the middle of the night in a truck stop

Stumble in the restaurant

Wonderin’ why I don’t stop

Steve Earle “Guitar town”

I wish I had a hot cup of coffee, two over-easy eggs, a 2x serving of hash browns and a couple of pieces of toast for every time this happened to me.

Six Gap Training – Six Weeks Out

130.3 Miles | 9 Hours | 6,732 ft

1. Trust the training plan, and stick to it

2. Don’t be a slave to the training plan

A sage runner

I’ve been crazy busy at work, so haven’t been able to post a bunch lately, but this was a pretty big week

I was back at the Thursday Team Time Trials on Zwift this week with a new (to me) team–DIRT. It’s one of the biggest (maybe the biggest) teams on Zwift, and I have to say that I can definitely see the upsides with riding on a big team. I have another post around that brewing, but it was fun to get back into the TTT.

I got pushed for sure. Not to my limits, but it was a good beating after riding easy on Wednesday following that brutal Innsbruck race.

The plan for the weekend was to take on another big Zwift monster ride, the Mega Pretzel. About an hour into it I was already feeling the fatigue. I had plenty of time to cipher out the cause–big ride the weekend before, two tough races during the week, and a couple of weeks of going at it reasonably hard.

I decided to listen to my body and wrap this one up at around the three hour mark. That would still give me a decent amount of climbing for the day, and still put me at around 9 hours of saddle time for the week in addition to a couple of other workouts. But my body needed a bit of a break.

One of the benefits of getting older is that I don’t feel guilty about listening to my body. I mean, that shouldn’t ever be something you feel guilty about in solo sports, but it took this one a while to sink in for me. I’ve done it before, and I’ve not regretted it.

It’s getting real though. Heavy D sent me a message this morning reminding me that we’re 34 days away.

“What? I have 34 more days of this?!”

also

“What? I only have 34 days left to prepare?!”

On The Road To Fluency

The main advantage to being able to speak at least a little Spanish is that I get to be privy to both sides of stuff like this:

Pair of ladies with a couple of push carts gets on elevator speaking Spanish, and this makes the elevator really crowded.

They realize the elevator is going up when they try to push the buttons for lower floors, and comment (in Spanish) “Oh…I wasn’t paying attention. It’s going up.”

Two guys on the elevator comment to each other (in English) that there are ten other elevators, and they’re irritated that these ladies crowded the elevator up.

The ladies pay them no mind, but are laughing and talking (still in Spanish) about the idiots who think they don’t understand English and are talking…uh…mierda about them.

Ron Jon Cocoa Beach Sprint Triathlon 2013

Ron Jon Cocoa Beach Triathlon

This was a really fun event! Great turnout, with 80 first-time triathletes competing! How cool!!!

It’s really good to see the local scene grow like that. I know not everyone is going to get hooked and start training/racing a lot, but every little bit of growth is great. We have great weather for year-round training and a bunch of local and big-time events within a few hours of here, and that’s just the triathlons. The running and biking scenes are big too, so there’s always something to do.

If the turnout for the kids race is any indication, the sport is going to explode in about 10 years. And from what I saw, swim times are about to drop dramatically. These kids are fish…all of them. Competition at Olympic distance races is going to get tight. Hopefully that means there will be more of them soon. I love that distance.

Oh yeah…swimming. I didn’t do the whole race, but I swam on the Miles of Love relay team, and we won! I was definitely nervous because (1) I’m not a front of the pack swimmer, especially as a sprinter and (2) Everything changes when you’re on a team and the other two people are counting on your performance. It looks like the work I’ve been putting in on the swim (but I still need a lot more) is paying off. Luckily, the swim is by far the shortest leg of the event, so I didn’t have a huge impact on our time.

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I picked out a kid in the same color cap (relays and 55+) I knew would beat me at the start. He was a real swimmer–wearing swimming gear instead of tri gear. He whooped me pretty good; about 40 seconds. Luckily I found the feet of the 2nd fastest swimmer in our cap at about the midpoint and followed him most of the way in. I think he beat me by about 3 seconds, so I feel good about how I executed that. It was hard hanging onto his feet, even with the draft. But it was nice to let him do the sighting and just focus on staying behind him. Side-by-side, he’s definitely more than 3 seconds faster than me.

The best part for me was that I got to swim at the front of a wave instead of the middle. I relished that opportunity–probably the only one I’ll ever get. What a difference it makes when you aren’t being pummeled from every angle! The only real difficult part was navigating through a group of swimmers from the wave before ours. That’s when I lost the guy I was following, but we didn’t have far to go at that point, so I just pulled as hard as I could.

Transitions were super-smooth for our team. It’s really nice when you don’t have to do anything except hold your foot out and let someone else move the chip. Our cyclist (Tom) KILLED it. He was wearing a Go-Pro camera–check out the video! I can’t report on his leg, but the video speaks for itself. He didn’t get passed by anyone and had one of the top bike splits over all. Pretty good for a guy jacked up on Sudafed with nasty chest congestion!

T2 was just as smooth as T1. I felt bad for our runner (Beth) having to wait for the two of us to finish before she could start. I know how anxious I was, and I got to go first. Tom and Beth are both really competitive, so there was a bunch of nervous energy going on. I’m sure she was relieved to get the chance to just run. After T2, we hung out in transition and watched the minutes on my watch tick by as we waited for other relay cyclists to come in. Tom gave us a huge cushion, and Beth brought it home strong! It’s pretty easy to report on Beth’s portion of the race: It was a 5k. 5ks hurt!

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The most nerve-wracking part of the whole day was waiting results to be posted. That’s usually not something I even consider. I’m so MOP, especially since I’m not Clydesdale eligible any longer, that official results/standings just don’t have any meaning to me in individual events.

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A huge thanks to the organizers, lifeguards, volunteers, and Brevard County Sherrif’s Department for keeping us safe, hydrated, and fed for this event!

 

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