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Dave’s blog

Fresh Solo Tracks

Sometimes I just need time alone in nature, with a chill in the air.  With music or an audible book, or with silence, it’s cathartic.  After a snowshoe with Cheryl and friends Tom and Cathy and the dogs, I took an evening solo for about 45 mins.  Making fresh tracks clears my head and I feel grateful. 

“This Isn’t Fair” Rolls Right Into Me

Lots of reports have been published about how the population has become angrier during COVID.  I tend to get resentful and indignant too.  In fact, my original draft of this post was going to blast a well-know brand for its frustrating service policies.  I’ve decided against that. 

A couple of days ago a weird thing happened to me.  As I was stopped at a light, a pickup pulling a trailer with a car on it turned next to me.  As it passed, the car on its trailer rolled off and into my car, pinning my door shut.  Clearly, the car had been improperly secured. 

Then it got even stranger: I decided not to get mad.  I took a deep breath and got out.  I was pleasant, and matter of fact, patient while we waited for the police to do their work.  

Objectively, resolving this matter puts an unfair burden on me.  It involves a 7-week wait to get my car repaired, lack of availability and adequate coverage for a rental car for that period of time, the at-fault driver’s insurance company deciding whether they are responsible to pay.  And all this falling on me to manage… I was just sitting in my car, not moving.  It ISN’T FAIR that the incompetence of someone else put all this on me.   

No, it’s not. And inevitably one day it will be ME causing this unfair burden for someone else.  Now that I’m thinking about it, my mistakes of inexperience and incompetence have hurt others plenty in the past.  Reflecting on my young self – learning how to do a new job, I made the lives of others around me unpleasant and worse.  Those pains I’ve caused were much more “unfair” to others than the experience I’m having with my car.   

Another ONE thing: Nothing

In my last post, I shared finding and focusing on the ONE thing that drives successful outcomes for me more than any other – that focus has been very powerful.  What about shifting gears away from accomplishing – to enjoying times of not accomplishing anything of “importance.”

On a beautiful snowshoe outside of Breckenridge, I got a lucky shot of my Havanese “Ziggy.” It’s a great image of being in the moment.

Lots has been written lately about Covid burnout, the need for vacation, the importance of recharging.  I am just beginning to explore the question, “How can I thoughtfully accomplish nothing so that I’m recharging?”  Can I shift my thinking about time off to believe that thoughtfully accomplishing “nothing” has value?  Don’t get me wrong – I screw around plenty, but I often feel guilty when I do.  I’m exploring how I can authentically, deep down, value being completely devoid of thoughts of the normal day-to-day to recharge. I’m finding it harder for me than work.  I must be doing it wrong.

New Year, The ONE Resolution

I made a New Year’s Resolution and have been trying it out. It is based on principles from two sources:

The foundation of my resolution is from The One Thing, and it’s related to work.  The One Thing’s main premise (my words) is that while we all strive to do many, many things (again, I’m talking work here) there is ONE THING, one activity, that if done well, drives successful results more than all the other things that we think we need to do – including things we want to do, maybe things we think only we can do… The ONE THING acts like the proverbial “first domino” in the sequence to results.  I have found that ONE THING for me, and am doing my best to apply discipline every day toward accomplishing it.

And this is where the second principle comes into play – the idea that Ego is the Enemy.

In order to focus on the ONE THING, I have to put my ego aside because my ego is happiest doing MANY things.  My ego reminds me that I am good at more than just the ONE THING, and my ego (all of me really) feels stimulated when I do many things.  Plus, my ego loves demonstrating to others my wide range of expertise and wisdom – when I do, my body is flooded with pleasant hits of dopamine!

So, the second principle requires that I put my ego’s desires on hold until I’ve accomplished enough of the ONE THING.

This seems to be working.  Of course, it’s just January 20th.

Flipping a Finger Injury

During a nice family walk on Christmas Day, I was tossing a miniature football with my sons and it hit a fingertip causing something called “mallet finger.”  It’s a condition in which the tendon detaches from the bone. REALLY?? This was a TOY football!  Anyway, it’s supposed to be painful, but in my case it’s just aggravating. The finger must be splinted for six weeks.

I acknowledge that this is a very minor injury and in the grand scheme of medical problems and life inconveniences, it’s is pretty small.

I’m writing about it because at first I found it strangely demotivating.  I would try to be productive but as I sat at my keyboard I couldn’t focus and I couldn’t get going. There was no rhythm to my work. I found that all very frustrating and quite strange, and then I compared myself (very unfavorably) to people who have truly life changing injuries and conditions.

This simple, minor process of reflection drove me to get a grip. I remembered that I had Dragon software installed on my computers and began dictating. That’s what I’m doing now. The rhythm is coming back to my work, and when this splint comes off, I expect I’ll still be dictating most of what I write.

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