"The Man, The Mission, The Passion" Husband, Father, Attorney, CPA, Steward Leader, Entrepreneur, MBA, Author, Builder, HBS OPM 25 Class, Mentor, Teacher

Choices, Choices: Productivity or Postponed Pleasure?

discipline is choosing

I tend to wake early, in the predawn hours of the morn, a habit left over from my paper route days as a kid. What I enjoy most then is to sit quietly with a hot cup(s) of coffee and read my newspapers: the New York Times (provides coastal elite liberal bias), the Wall Street Journal (a sad, pale shadow of its pre Murdock purchase days, devoid of much if any investigative journalism and full of barely recycled press releases but a conservative bent to balance the NYT), and of course, my local paper, the Gainesville Sun.

BUT, as much as I enjoy my morning read, I rarely read the newspapers in the morning, usually reserving them for the evening. Why? Because I’m a morning person, my personal rhythm is such that those early hours are when my brain is sharpest, my energy freshest, I do my best strategic thinking, my clearest planning, gain the greatest clarity of vision. I know that I can read in the evening and still gain the same knowledge (I was raised to believe it is the patriotic duty of every citizen to remain informed about the affairs of the republic and this means from reliable sources, not internet rumor mills that traded in unverified gossip/propaganda).

Much of success comes from the ability to bend impulse to the power of one’s will, to manage and direct one’s moods, to appropriately prioritize the long term over the short term, to choose what you want MOST over what you want now.

Closing Quotes:

“Where I excel is ridiculous, sickening, work ethic. You know, while the other guy’s sleeping? I’m working.” – Will Smith

“Study while others are sleeping; work while others are loafing; prepare while others are playing; and dream while others are wishing.”
William Arthur Ward, 1921-1994

“Successful people have the habit of doing the things unsuccessful people don’t like to do. They don’t like doing them either, necessarily, but their disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose.” – Albert E. Gray (in his essay ‘The Common Denominator of Success’)

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier


Small, Smart, Slow

diet and exercise

What is your desired weight? Below are some easy, common sense (but not common practice?) tips on how to get there.

Eat Small: Portion Control is Key! It is all too easy to go on a “See Food” diet: if we see it, we eat it, if it is in front of us, we eat it. Because the “full” reflex is on about a 30-minute delay, we tend to stop when the food in front of us is gone not when we are full. At a buffet, I always grab a small dessert plate and use it as my entrée plate. I tell myself if I want more I’ll go back but I rarely do. Frequently at a restaurant I will ask that only half my meal be plated, the rest to remain in the kitchen to be taken “to go”.

Eat Smart: Acquiring nutritional knowledge is a must for anyone who wants to live long and healthy. Here is the Cliff Notes version: Leafy greens, fruits, veggies, whole grain breads, some nuts, if you eat meat, stay with fish, chicken, perhaps pork i.e. the light meats. AVOID: Processed Foods, Red Meats, Sugar (i.e. anything that sounds like or ends in glucose, also do NOT be fooled by such labels as high fructose corn syrup, concentrated fruit juice, evaporated cane juice, cane crystals, raw sugar or malt syrup).

Eat Slow: You like food? So do I! So let’s slow down and savor our meals! I sometimes tell myself I can eat as much as I want as long as I eat sloooowly! Taking small bites, chewing deliberately until the food virtually disappears, putting down my fork or spoon between each and every bite, frequently taking sips of water. I find I enjoy my meal much more, eat less, and give my “full reflex” plenty of time to kick in. You can think of it as mindful eating, meditative eating. Make leisurely eating a lifelong habit and you will live long and happy!

Two closing thoughts:

1) Do NOT diet! I mean, come on, the word starts out as “die”! When you diet or excessively or quickly cut calories, your body’s starvation mode kicks in and it conserves by burning fewer calories. Instead, eat small, slow, and smart!

2) Exercise is WONDERFUL for your health, both physical and mental, and yes, muscle mass burns more calories than fat BUT don’t count on exercise to lose weight: one chocolate cookie has more calories than the marginal benefit of an hour of exercise (remember, you have a resting metabolism calorie burn rate so it is only the extra marginal calories of exercise that really make a difference in getting rid of that cookie.) That said, if you have a job that requires a lot of sitting, get up and move around for 5 minutes every hour; not that it burns that much calories but it does do wonders to reduce the risk of heart attacks.

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier


Negative Reciprocation

couple fighting

Negative reciprocation is sending back the hurt received. It may be active-aggressive: raised voices, hurtful remarks, digging up past sins, angry accusations not fully meant, over statements (“you always do/say ‘x’” when the truth is less clear) or passive-aggressive: denial, silence or distancing/ignoring, refusal to engage constructively.

Breaking a cycle of negative reciprocation is critical if emotional growth is to occur, if a relationship is going to flourish. Caring for someone means we are vulnerable to them and unless we are centered and grounded, this openness to the possibility of pain can trigger dysfunctional defensive reactions that undermine the very relationship we need to nourish in order to be happy and content.

No relationship is problemless, that is just life. We all bring in our personal wounds, scripts and programing from our past of which we are usually not fully aware. The problem isn’t that there are problems, the problem is that we unrealistically want there to not be problems and we try to magically wish (ignore?) them away, hoping to avoid the work of diligently working through them, constructively communicating toward a resolution.

Stay in the calm zone, take time out’s as necessary, be willing to “go to the balcony” and dispassionately observe yourself, agree to “fight fair” (good books exist on the topic), avoid hitting below the belt or using your intimate knowledge of your partner’s vulnerability to inflict pain, stick to the real issues (often what triggers a flare up is merely the fuse to a deeper issue that has been building energy beneath the surface), avoid “you statements”, instead talk in terms of your feelings, being careful not to project your worst fears (i.e. express concerns constructively), take time to remember/emphasize the things you have in common.

Closing Quotes:

“What others do/say is their karma, how you react is yours.” – Proverb

“Forgiveness offers me all that I want; all that I give to others I give to myself.” – ACIM

“We are not punished for our anger, but by our anger.” – Proverb

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier