Old Man Strength

Don’t take shortcuts.

I like lifting heavy things.

The gym, you can find me there.

Lots of weight.

Every day.

Warm up. Push weight. Cool down.

Eat. Consume.

Warm up. Push weight. Cool down.

The rhythm builds strength.

 

Old man strength. That’s what I call it. That’s what I want. The fathers, they have this ridiculous strength. They can lift more weight. They can outwrestle. Outlast. I work hard and hope

Warm up. Push weight. Cool down.

I’ll get it.

Warm up. Push weight. Cool down.

Eat. Consume.

Warm up. Push weight. Cool down.

 

Don’t take shortcuts.

 

I like lifting heavy things.

The home, you can find me there.

Lots of weight.

Every day.

Dirty diapers. Do dishes. Bedtime.

Feed. Give.

Dirty diapers. Do dishes. Bedtime.

The rhythm builds strength.

 

Fatherhood, that’s what I call it. I do the things that need to be done. I don’t like doing all of them, necessarily. But my disliking is subordinate to the strength of my purpose.

 

I must lift more weight. Survive. Work hard and hope

Dirty diapers. Do dishes. Bedtime.

I’ll make it.

Dirty diapers. Do dishes. Bedtime.

Feed. Give.

Dirty diapers. Do dishes. Bedtime.

 

There are no shortcuts.

Warm up. Push weight. Cool down.

Lots of weight.

Dirty diapers. Do dishes. Bedtime.

Every day.

Giving yields the greatest gains.

I am the strength of my purpose.

 

I am you

What we are

I am you

There is no me

I am.

You hear me,

And I speak.

You feel me,

And I am here.

You see me,

And I am.

It’s black. Filtered light. Grey. White. The lungs expand, sucking in air. I become alive. The eyes open, taking in the light. I become aware. The neurons fire, recognizing my bedroom. I become human.

I am not I, I am you.

I look toward my wife and become a husband. I hear my children waking and become a father. I build my house as I walk down the stairs. I take it on. I become. I am.

Only without you, I do not exist.

I get into my truck and become a driver. I am not a driver, I am the driver, the one. I are many.

I participate in labor and become a worker. I am. Maybe you know. If people listen, I am called their boss. If people do not listen, they are called my boss. But I am.

If I are you, then we are we, and the table turns on its head. The upside down place. We are here right now, you and I, I and I, we. The mirror lies because it only shows us what we want to see. Go and look. See.

What belongs to I belongs to we. Shared. The language means something. Our lives mean something. But alone I mean nothing. As a we our lives mean everything.

So share. Be kind. Share. Respect. Help.

Because when you do it, you’re doing it for you.

Not because I am I.

But because I am you.

 

Swinging

Why can’t I be like that?

The popular crowd gets drunk and drives around with baseball bats. They hang out the car window and swing away, smashing merrily down the road. Sometimes the mailbox gets run over. That is even better.

I start drinking to be normal. You see, I have this constant narrative running through my head. I want to drink enough that the voice goes away, just for a bit. I want a break. My head hurts. Nobody else seems to mind the messed up situation we are in. Why can’t I be like that?

The successful crowd gets funded and starts companies with weird names. They call themselves CEOs and drive around in Beemers and Audis, blinging flashily down the road. Sometimes the status gets televised. That is even better.

I start working to be successful. You see, I have this constant narrative running through my head. I want to work enough that the voice goes away, just for a bit. I want a break. My head hurts. Nobody else seems to mind the messed up situation we are in. Why can’t I be like that?

What is this? Stop it. You can be whatever you want. Drunk. Criminal. Successful. Full. Empty. You get to choose. The labels, they’re just people, just like you and I. Nobody is popular. Nobody is a CEO. People are not their status. People are people.

You get into trouble when you label people. Projecting your own assumptions onto others is a recipe for disaster. Don’t do it. You can’t be like that because there is no “like that,” it’s all in your head.

We find ourselves in each other, becoming those we imitate. Swing away.

Stephen King

Homework, in progress from Stephen King’s book “On Writing.”

He must get up, run, but he can’t move.

The last step creaks, jolting Dick to his feet.

“Jane?” he asks.

“Hi, Dickie.”

“Jane,” Dick says, “what are you doing here?”

“I missed you, Dickie,” Jane whispers.

Dick instinctively moves behind the dining room table. “You’re not allowed to be here, Jane,” Dick replies.

“I missed you, Dickie. I missed you a lot.”

Dick sees the knife. He circles the table, moving as far away from his ex as possible.

“It wasn’t nice, what you did to me,” Jane says. “You took Nell away from me. Took my house away from me. Had me locked up in… that place.”

Jane circles the table too. The knife tip scrapes the wood.

“That… place, Dickie. Do you know how they make you shit in that place, Dickie? You shit right out in front of everyone. Like an animal. Do I look like a fucking animal, Dickie?” Jane growls.

Yes, Dick thought. Yes, dear God, you look like an animal. But he didn’t dare say it out loud. “You don’t look like an animal, Jane. You look beautiful.

“Fucking liar!” Jane shrieks, slashing at the air. “You’re full of shit, Dickie!”

“Mommy…?” Nell asks, frozen at the top of the stairs.

“Nell! Oh baby, come to Mommy!” Jane says turning toward her daughter’s voice.

Dick’s world slows down and he steps outside of himself. Old scars flare the pain of the past roars back. The last time the three of them were in a room together a judge was sentencing his wife to 20 years without parole for nearly beating him to death with a bat while he slept. The doctors had to tell Dick what happened after he wakes from surgery to repair his fractured skull. His parents had to tell Dick that Nell saw it all.

Her daughter’s words distract Jane, and Dick snaps into himself. He’s got one chance. The tea.

Dick grabs the pot of tea from the counter and flings it at his ex-wife, striking her in the head with a thud.

Jane drops to all fours screaming in agony as her skin and hair melt together.

Nell. The stairs. Dick leaps up the steps to Nell, “Honey, let’s go.”

“Daddy…?” Nell repeats. “Mommy…?”

“Nell, we need to get going, Mommy is sick and we need to get help,” Dick doesn’t mention, doesn’t know who the help is for.

Below, Jane is clawing back up to her feet, hands feeling for the knife. It’s too close, they need to escape.

Dick lifts Nell over his shoulder and descends, three steps at a time. At the bottom of the stairs, his ex-wife snags a piece of his shirt.

Clinging

What do you want?

Forgive me, Father,

For I have sinned.

I pursued the goals of Others,

At the expense of my Own.

I pushed to the limits,

To the detriment of my Self.

I’m not special,

The only skill I have is an ability to work harder, to outlast.

I cling to this belief.

So

I refuse to give up,

I endure.

I race, seeking proof.

Never stopping to think.

If I succeed?

I’ll be alone.

 

Be careful what you ask for.

 

“What makes someone your friend?” I ask.

Somehow I forgot.

“They pick up the phone when I call and we’ve had some laughs,” he says.

“That’s a great definition,” I reply.

I haven’t answered the phone in months.

 

You might just get it.

 

I can’t tell if you’re my friend. I like what you say. Am I in a funnel? This feels artificial.

Are we all just funnelling each other?

 

Time slips through fingers like dust,

And blows away.

 

Be careful what you cling to.

You are special.

You might just get it.

#altMBA8

There this beautiful button in the top right corner of this WordPress publishing site. It says, “Write”. It’s a command. It’s an opportunity. I take it.

After writing The Barrel I finished reading Austin Kleon‘s “Show Your Work“. What a wicked book. Today I started pre-reading my course materials for the altMBA in January 2017 (#altMBA8 whoot whoot!) and started with Austin’s “Steal Like an Artist“. It made sense. It’s odd how the universe works sometimes, I talk about stealing from Austin, then read his awesome book which basically says “steal this”. In case you’re wondering I’m telling you that I’m psychic.

I’m working at using my newfound psychic powers to locate as many tribemates (struggling to find a suitable term for future classmates of the altMBA) prior to the course start. It’s not that I have time to kill, quite the opposite actually. I intuit that the longer and deeper we’re connected the better our work will be. Judging by the people I’ve soft stalked so far, some right to the back end of their websites (sorry, Margo @ thatseemsimportant.com and Mario @ IdeaMensch.com), there are going to be A LOT of peak performers in the group.

I have clicked every clickable link on the altMBA website and still have no idea what kind of projects we’ll be working on. All I know is that it promises to be:
1. Hard
2. Awesome
3. Work

I’ve mentioned once or twice that I’m good at work. Now, this isn’t bragging. I consider it the opposite, since I’d love to brag about being able to drain NBA-style 3 pointers all day without trying. That just doesn’t happen for me, I came to terms with failing to make the NBA about 19 years ago. The altMBA looks to be a perfect fit for me since it appears that all you need to survive (there is no pass or fail, you only live through it or you don’t) is the ability to do vast amounts of face melting work. Game on.

I’m going to link this post out to the altMBA and share the heck out of it on Twitter looking for other #altMBA8 tribemates. This might not work, but I’m going to have fun doing it. If you’re in the tribe, hit me up on Twitter @JamesFlawith or email at james@lilworkersafety.ca  and get this party started and answer me this:

Why did you apply for the altMBA?*

*I stole this question from Margo Aaron who has an AWESOME website, check it out!

~James

The Barrel

So many people have started here. Great people. Famous people. Unknown people. This blank page, this blank screen. Nothing separates us. Sure, we have our differences, but here, at the beginning, we are all equal. We are all staring down the same barrel into ourselves. It’s inspiring. It’s terrifying.

How do you know you’re not a writer if you don’t try to write?

Why this isn’t scary. It’s not scary because you can’t screw up. Go ahead, try. If fear of failure is stopping you, write about your fear of failure. Use it. If lack of “original” ideas blocks you, write about the ideas you’re ripping off. Here I am, stealing from Austin Kleon right now.

Think about this. How many unknown writers do you know of? What is the risk?

I will tell you the truth. There is another fear. Fear of success. Fear of being held accountable and responsible. If you don’t write you’ll never have to defend something you’ve written. If you don’t succeed there will be no pressure to level up and do more, do better. If you choose this path, you are hiding. Hiding is not an option.

In order to succeed you must believe that you can succeed and, more importantly, that you deserve to succeed. Don’t we all deserve to succeed? What’s stopping you? Write them down right now, those things that are stopping you. Done? Now, kill them. Take your pen and scratch them out. Done. Nothing stops you.

Maybe you don’t have a story. “What do I write, I can’t think of a story?” you say. Then don’t write a story. Document what you’re doing. It’s as easy as that. You do things, you live your life, you have some skill of some kind. Write it down. Instruct, teach someone else how to do that thing you’re good at.

I’m learning how to write. I am also learning how to teach people. My goal is to contribute to society at scale. What contributions would I like to make? I want to eliminate mindless, unnecessary work. I want to inspire people to become self-aware, to stop working for a wage and start working for themselves. I want to teach people. I want people to believe in themselves.

What do you want?