I wasted many years
chasing windmills and waterfalls.
Now I finally act my age, and my
friends feel uncomfortable when
I’m serious. So I play the clown,
the eternal court jester, the fool.
I’m a nightmare hooligan with a bloody
nose seeking the Book of Knowledge and
the Truth, if there is such a thing.

As a child I never saw a vision of what I wanted to be,
or if I did it was a fleeting glimpse. The poets told me

what I could be, my teachers told me what I should be,
now I only know what I don’t want to be. I don’t want

to be that passionless person in a cubicle or that
over-achiever in the corner office with all the toys,

but no soul, shallow to the core. I don’t want to be
the has-been who’s life ended years ago and now

they sit around telling the same old stories from their
glory days while they wait patiently to die. I saw

Old Man Time standing in a field. He showed me a vision
of who I am. It’s not who I wanted to be though. Is it too late

to cancel the show? Or can I rewrite the script
and try for another season?

My upper body (chest and triceps) are aching. I finally made it back to gym on Thursday after a few weeks of no weights. I’m back in the iron game.

Yesterday I was back at WH. Very productive day as ploughed through all of last year’s training, which gave me a good insight into leadership development journey the leaders of the business have been through. I’m really excited about working with them over the coming months.

I haven’t done much outside of working these past couple of days. It was good to see Sarah on Thursday as usual to record the next episode of the podcast. This week we got into a conversion about how following your passion is bad advice or at least according to the author of the article we read. I think if you just hang at the level of the platitude – pursue your passion or find your purpose and you’ll have a wonderful fulfilled life – is detrimental in most cases because it heightens a sense of lack and inadequacy which leads to unhappiness, anxiety, and depression. There’s more to the story, than just the lead!

I’ve continued binge watching Marvel’s Iron Fist. I’m a bit miffed that the writers of the Marvel Netflix universe have made all the main heros annoyingly shallow. They all have this character arc of naive, headstrong, overconfident, and blinded by a high minded crusade born out of some tragic event in their earlier childhood that resulted in the loss of their parents. Their sense of social justice seems only to fall into black or white, they seem incapable of comprehending the grey areas of life. I’ve ended up hating all of the main heroes by the end of the season – Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and DC’s Arrow.

Of course this probably hits a nerve because I believe all life is grey, there is never a black or white answer to anything. I don’t believe in a universal truth. Right and wrong have many shades. And I may be cynical to side with Machiavelli in believing ‘might makes right,’ but it has been my experience that that is mostly the case.

Spent half the day working on The Academy project. Steve is in Barcelona attending the Atlassian Summit. I crafted some of his documenting into a podcast and created a landing page for the Teamify project to capture interested party’s details. I had an earlier marketing meeting with Louise

The second half of the day I spent reading The Mentoring Manual by Julie Starr. Julie and I used to work together back when I first came over to England. She runs a company called Starr Consulting. She’s quite a free-spirited person. We share similar passions for learning and development, literature and travel. Anyway, I started reading her book for some background on another project on working which is setting up an in-house mentoring programme for a local company.

Just before dinner I had to take a quick nap. I had one of those dull headaches that sits just behind my right eye. Incidentally, I’m also having problems with eyes so I’m guessing the two might be related.

On a lighter note, I watched episode 4 Eight Diagram Dragon Palm of Marvel’s Iron Fist on Netflix. When I was about 8 or 9 I was really into the Power Man and Iron Fist comic. I was a big fan of Iron Fist because back then I had this fantasy love of kung fu. I used to love watching Kung Fu Theatre every Saturday afternoon and the going outside to play Kung Fu with my friends. So yeah, Danny Rand as Iron Fist fit right into that.

On a whim, I bought The Dinosaur Strength Training Notebook on the Kindle. I’ve been meaning to shake up my training routine and this looks like it has some good ideas in it. I read the first chapter – The Supplement Mindset – which is a rant against the supplement industry. Kind of reminded of the quite Ant was found of saying in Chanel 4’s Mutiny doc: “They say when ships were made of wood, men were made of steel.” Essential Brooks Kubik is making the point that men like Reg Park, Steve Stanko, John Grimek, and Bob Peoples, gained their mass and strength using the humble barbell and dumbbells without the use of supplements, but companies make more money selling supplements because you have to buy them every 2-4 weeks whereas once you’ve bought a basic home gym setup, it an potentially last you for life. Anyway, that first chapter was enough to persuade me to buy the book.

IMG_3145You can tell Ruth is away for more than a day. Everywhere I go in the house is a note instructing me on how to keep all the living things in the house alive while she’s away (and believe it or not there used to be even more notes when the kids where still home – I needed instructions on how to keep them alive too.

Bank Holiday Monday. And I have very much been in day off mode. I didn’t even bothered to get out of my sweats today.

I continued my way through Working and Thinking on the Waterfront.

Tease the people with “luxuries and vices” said Paul Henri Spaak. He was talking about how to rebuild the Belgian economy after the Second World War. Basically he said in order to rebuild and recover, the shops needed to be filled with luxuries and vices because people will work harder for toys and superfluities than they will for necessities.

That struck me as true. Think about how much effort and time we put into work to earn more money. To what end? To buy more stuff – a bigger house, a faster car, a bigger TV, high tech gadgets, luxury vacations etc. None of which we need. We need the basics – shelter, food, clothing – and these don’t have to be extravagant. They don’t have to be fancy, just functional and basic. And yet, it seems, that is not enough for us. We’ve been bullied into the consumer society, made to feel inadequate if all we have is the bare minimum to survive.

Surviving is for losers. Winners thrive.

Is that really what they want us to believe?

I finished reading Kim Addonizio’s What Is This Thing Called Love.  A few of my favourite poems in this collection were South of the Border, Body and Soul, Kisses, and Bad Girl.  I should probably go into some of them a little more in depth here, but perhaps another time. Overall I rate the book highly.  I like the realism and grittiness of Addonizio’s poems. She’s a poet I’d really like to meet in person, see if she lives up to the spirit I feel in her poems.

Yesterday was a perfect Sunday for reading. We were going to go down to Bristol for the day, but R’s dad is sick and bedridden and her mom thought it best if we didn’t come down. Plan B was to go see the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie that hit cinemas on Friday. I enjoyed the first one a lot and had high hopes that number two would be just as good.

I read some more of Eric Hoffer’s Working and Thinking on the Waterfront. I like the way he blends little snapshots of his day with commentary on what he’s been mulling over in his mind. He has a real bee in his bonnet against the intellectual class. He feels they have been a negative force in the development of society, that they are all vainglorious and ruin a country in pursuit of their own hunt for power and glory.

He has a very grim view of African Americans too (have to take into consideration the time period Hoffer is writing in, this particular diary was written between 1958 – 1959). Not in a racists superiority kind of way, but a negative view of what he perceived as the African-American’s ability to raise themselves above the inferiority complex that grew out of years of slavery in America.

I find something alluring, almost romantic about the way he lived as a writer. Hoffer is considered to be one of the twentieth century’s most important thinkers, yet he earned his living as a manual day labourer and longshoreman. He did his thinking while working and would scribble his words out during breaks and in the evening and his time off.

As he wrote:

“I need little to be contented: two good meals a day, tobacco, books that hold my interest, and a little writing every day. This to me is a full life.”

He wasn’t trying to achieve literary greatness, nor did he particularly consider himself a writer.  In fact, he felt having written and published a few books and being labeled a writer, that the title of writer was a burden.

To work up an appetite for an early lunch, we cut down part of a tree in the back garden that we’ve been meaning to do for ages. I’m sure our neighbours have been wanting us to get on with it too. The reason for the early lunch was so we could catch a matinee showing of the Guardians of the Galaxy 2.  There is a joy in manual labour, but sometimes I find it hard to relax into it because of my relationship with time. I suffer from that modern disease called FOMO.

Guardians 2 did not disappoint. It was action packed and funny. Some interesting themes explored like sibling rivalry and loving the one you’re with and the definition of family. I must say though mixtape volume 2 is not as good mixtape volume 1 in my opinion.

Mixtape Vol 1

Mixtape Vol 2

Sunday evening was an evening of lounging around. We watched two episodes of Channel 4’s Mutiny, a reality TV show that is recreating the 4,000 mile journey Captain Bligh had to make after his crew mutinied. I think it’s incredible what Captain Bligh did.