scatterplot

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I wasn’t much for Statistics class in Graduate School.  The professor was a kind gentleman from Korea, with a very strong accent and a stronger mind.  He was funny, approachable, and a terrible teacher.  For some reason, he related each of his statistical models to studies or correlations for Viagra.

This was in the late 1990’s, so maybe using the Viagra model was shiny and new for him. Or, maybe he forgot we were all graduate students and not sophomoric young men.  I believe my final grade for that class was a B (might have been a C).  Thankfully, he graded on a curve, because my actual final percent in that class was 37.  Really.

I liked looking at scatterplots, even though at the time the method to create scatterplots hurt my brain.  I could interpret data quite well.  Constructing data, especially from disparate pieces of Viagra, I mean information, was another story.

Lately, I have been thinking about how scatterplots look.  How at first glance they can appear to be chaotic and disconnected dots, with no relationship with the other dots on the graph.  As you likely know, as the scatterplot is studied and interpreted, the dots have relationship to one another and to some larger thing.

Thinking can be a lot like a scatterplot.  Not the actual physical and chemical process of thinking, but rather thinking in terms of a metaphysical and existential pursuit.  How we look at various aspects of our lives or the happenings in the world, and they might seem to have little or not connection to other aspects and happenings.

But, upon closer examination, they likely connect.  How what I choose to do today can be connected to and influenced by what you do today.  How the choices we make and beliefs we hold are closer in relationship to one another than we likely know.

It’s not as obvious as Viagra.  It’s not always on the surface and readily seen.  And, I would challenge us to keep looking for connections in seemingly random and disparate events and relationships.

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Posted in brains, Coaching, Life, mental health, neuroscience, Taekwondo, Uncategorized

binary

 

It is extraordinarily frustrating to live as a black-and-white thinker in a world full of grey.  If we are limited to perceiving relationships, circumstances, and situations in an exclusively binary manner, we will likely end up either extremely happy or extremely upset.  The only logical outcome of seeing and thinking in two dimensions is to exist at one end or the other, happy or frustrated, depending on what is currently happening around us and to us.

Binary thinking tends to discount nuance and historical context.  Binary thinking tends to want answers to questions immediately.  Binary thinking has very little room or understanding for others to process information, or to see another perspective.  It disallows for others to answer a question with, “Yes, but…”

Oftentimes, this boxes others into corners.  When people are boxed into corners, their flight, fight, or freeze response is activated, and they tend to go on the defensive.  When this occurs, people tend to make decisions they don’t like or fully understand.  This is the space in which heated arguments happen and relationships are damaged.

Sometimes we arrive at decisions or understand something well in advance of others.  It can be frustrating to have to wait for them to “get it.”  The longer we understand or believe something, the more we can reinforce it in out thinking and behaviors.  The longer and more deeply we hold on to things, the greater our frustration when others either disagree or are slow to get on board with where we are.

Well, that’s just tough nuts, isn’t it?

Do we need binary thinking?  Certainly.  There are situations that are urgent and immediate.  Fire in the house.  Get out.  Also, there are times when people can over-think, and not make decisions.  This can hinder growth and progress.

I would argue that we need multi-directional thinking.  Read about that in the next post!

 

 

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Posted in brains, Business, Coaching, Leadership, Life, Uncategorized

horde

My podcast and audiobook libraries have grown pretty large.  At times, I get a bit overwhelmed by the amount of content available and left unheard.  I subscribe to twenty-one podcasts*, and have twenty-one audiobooks on my device.  Until this very moment, I was not aware that I had the same number of each, which is both cool and “yeah, whatever” at the same time.

Most of the podcasts renew daily or weekly, with a couple that renew monthly.  I listen to eight of them on a regular basis, and the rest occasionally.  I have listened to or am currently listening to each of the audiobooks.  Probably because I paid for them.

One of the issues I am having with The Horde is information overload.  I benefit from breadth at the expense of depth.  This isn’t a universal for me–I have listened to a couple of my audiobooks several times (notably, “Top Dog” and “The Talent Code”).

Another issue, which might not be an issue, is that much of the material presented in one source in The Horde parallels or reinforces information another.  Because I sometimes (read: most of the time) don’t discipline myself enough to slow down, breathe, and be still, I will merge information from one source to another.  I will start one podcast, for example, then switch to an audiobook, and then switch to a different podcast.  Sometimes this happens in the twenty-odd minutes it takes to drive to my school.

So, I have a goal for myself: Listen more to less.  Engage more with fewer.  Appreciate the breadth of information, and embrace the depth of knowledge.  Build up the myelin in my brain, so that I can actually use the information.

How about you?

*As of last evening, I now have 25 podcasts in my library, and 22 audiobooks.  Paring it down…

 

Posted in Uncategorized

vc

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A virtuous cycle is a chain of events that reinforces itself through some type of feedback loop, with advantageous or positive results.  As the cycle develops, it is strengthened.

Despite appearances, a virtuous cycle isn’t self-propagating.  If the cycle doesn’t receive input and energy, it slows down and stops altogether.  Also, if outside influences are acting against a virtuous cycle, more time and effort are needed to keep the cycle functioning.

Getting physically fit is an example of a virtuous cycle.  As we begin to get more physically fit, we feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically.  Feeling better, we are better able to make and maintain healthy life choices in relationships, eating and sleeping habits, etc.  This motivates us to increase our physical fitness, so we continue to work on our fitness.

Of course, if we discontinue the habit of being physically fit, we break that cycle.  That’s not to say our lives will automatically and immediately go to pot.  However, good leads to good.  We get fit, we feel good, so we continue to get fit.

Good leads to good.

What types of virtuous cycles are you planting in your life? In your children’s?  It might be an interesting exercise to draw out a few virtuous cycles, and then do spot-checks on a regular basis to see how well the cycles are running.

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Posted in brains, Coaching, Fitness, Leadership, Life, mental health, Uncategorized

starting

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I have been listening to a wonderful speaker lately, by the name of Graham Cooke.  A lot of his teachings have to do with our reframing ourselves.  Rather than seeing ourselves as starting from a place of weakness, defeat, sin, etc., we need to have a different mindset.

We need to start viewing ourselves as, Cooke says, in the image that God sees us.  That image is of us strong, victorious, righteous, and right with God.  Once we have that mindset, we will act accordingly.

During mat chats with students and team members, we often talk about seeing ourselves as champions prior to competing.  We talk about seeing ourselves as having already won, as being victorious.  Because we see ourselves in that light, our behaviors and training need to match the image.

So, we are beginning to train and learn like champions.  Rather than causing us to slack, this mindset pushes us to reach higher, to train smarter, and to give our best.  It’s making a difference.  Our focus is better, our training is more precise, and it’s a lot more fun.  It’s much harder, but it’s so much better.

So, what’s stopping you from having this image? Yeah, easier said than done.  Most good things and habits are.  But why not start today?  It’s so much better!

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Posted in brains, Coaching, Fitness, Leadership, Martial Arts, mental health, neuroscience, Uncategorized

step

Every weekday morning, I listen to the Joyce Meyer Radio Podcast.  This is part of my quiet morning routine, helping me get my mind around what’s important and not just what will cause me to be busy.  Apparently the majority of her audience is women, proving once again how much smarter they are than us men.

Today, she made the comment, “Each step [in our walk] is a decision.”  That resonated with me.  Whatever direction we are headed, it is our deliberate decision leading us.  We shouldn’t be surprised with most of the consequences of our actions, and we certainly shouldn’t be surprised when we arrive at our destination.  We’ve been heading there all along.

I get that along the way we will encounter people and situations we didn’t expect.  I also get that once we begin heading in one direction, we will need to make adjustments along the way on how to best proceed.

But let’s give ourselves the benefit of the doubt.  We’re pretty smart.  The vast majority of the time, we know where we are headed, and we have a pretty good idea what’s in store for us once we get there.  So, let’s decide to be thoughtful, prayerful, and vigilant before we set out.

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plus

 

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My beloved, Christine, and I are both in our forties.  As she often reminds me, I am deeper into my forties than she is.  In fact, I am so deep into them it is much easier to see fifty than to look back at forty.  It’s good, though.

One of the things that happens as we age is that invitations to formal events change.  It has been a while since we have been invited to a wedding.  It’s been even longer since either one of us has been invited with a “plus one” on the invitation, since we are now in our twenty-second year of marriage.

One of the conversations I have been having with my team is developing a “plus-one” attitude.  Rather than doing to minimum requirements, they should go at least one step beyond.  During our more intense training sessions, we will give the athletes a timed requirement.  For example, they will be required to do 100 perfect side kicks, each leg, in two minutes.

Many of them are at the point where this is getting pretty easy.  So, they should keep adding a “plus one” until they run out of time.  Not only does this increase their athleticism, it bolsters their confidence and mental agility.  I want them to keep pushing their ceilings, and to push back at me because they are just killing it.

“You think that’s going to be hard, Coach?  That all you got? Nah.  Look at what I’ve got!  Look at what I’m made of!”  When they get to that point, I know they are getting ready to go against the best in the world.

Where in your life can you add a plus one?  I would recommend in most areas, make small changes.  Those are easier to accomplish and easier to track.  Over time, those plus ones have a multiplicative effect.

 

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passion

So, then there’s passion.  We are often told to “follow our passion” in life, to do what speaks to us.  We strive to have passion in our marriages.  More often than not, we use the word passion to mean great, deeply felt emotion, sometimes romantic in nature.

If we look at the word “passion” in an etymological framework, we see that early definitions of passion had to do with suffering, pain, and enduring.  I don’t remember the last time I heard anyone give the advice to follow pain and suffering.  Nor do I remember it being a good thing to try to increase suffering in marriages and relationships.

So, what to do?  Nothing, really.  Keep using the word passion as it is in the modern sense.  The definitions of words evolve and change.  Maybe you can find something you are deeply interested in that won’t cause you a lot of suffering, or put you in a frame of mind where you have to merely endure it.  Something that you care deeply about, and are still able to keep your sense about you.

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meh

So, I don’t feel like “blogging” any longer.  I’m not very disciplined in it anyway.  Additionally, I have well under a million “followers” who read it.  And, sometimes I find my own writing forced.  So, I just am not feeling it.

Except. I still have some things to say.  Maybe a lot of things.

And.  Despite how I “feel” at any given moment, those things are going to be said.  Because if I acted on just my feelings, my life would be chaotic and dysfunctional.

So, there it is.  Darn it!  Or, yay!  See?  Neither one of those will make my decision.

What about you?  What do you have to say?  Are you saying it?  To those who need to hear it?

Or, are you selling yourself short.  Are you afraid that they will laugh at you, ridicule you,  or get angry?  Or, worse yet, ignore you.

Too bad.  You have something to say.  How do I know?  Because you are.

So, there.  Get on it.  The world is hungry for people to step out and step up.

 

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red

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Monday afternoon, I had an unexpected gift on my desk.  A bag of coffee!  In fact, the very one that is pictured above.  I had not had a very good day up until that point.  I was tired and had gotten behind on a few projects.

This past weekend, some athletes, families, and I travelled  to Indianapolis for a seminar, and on Monday I was pretty exhausted.  We left early Friday morning, and came back Sunday evening.  It’s a bit over 600 miles from my house, and with construction, rest stops, and traffic, the trip home took about 11 hours.

Additionally, I did not rest well Saturday at the hotel.  There was a wedding, and some of the wedding party thought it would be a swell idea to have a loud, drunken discussion in front of my door.  At least they were having a good time.

Sunday night, I slept fairly hard.  Waking up Monday, I did not feel well rested.  Going about my day, I was in a bit of a fog.  Mentally, I was working hard to prepare myself for classes and training.  Mondays tend to be twelve hour work days for me, which most of the time is fine.

Seeing that bag of coffee on my desk immediately lifted my spirit.  There was an anonymous note with it.  You can see it at the end of this post.

I’ve trying for a couple of days to create some sort of grand, life-changing takeaway from this kind act.  How the universe somehow shifted, never to be the same again.  Instead, here’s what I came up with: Thanks.

Thanks for being generous.  Thanks for knowing me well enough to give me some really excellent coffee.  Thanks for thinking of me.

I’m going to save that bag when it’s empty.  Maybe that’s weird.  I don’t really care.  That gift came on a day when, unknown to the giver, I was struggling a bit.  It totally changed my day.  I want to remember that.

Thank you.

 

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Posted in Coaching, Leadership, Life, mental health, world taekwondo academy
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Ms Megan and Ms Julia donated to Kicks for Cancer!  Thank you! Onward and upward! Gretchen has donated to Kicks for Cancer!  Thank you! Finn and Elise have donated to Kicks for Cancer!  Thank you! This team.  So proud of them already.  They have, to a person, "embraced the suck" of pre-season training.  Every session for Peak Poomsae ends with writing about how training went, how we can improve, and sometimes questions like these. 
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