As credos go, it may be the most important...


There are reasons we needed to move seven cubic yards of gravel through 175 yards of forest to a meadow (that’s 160 meters for those of you who prefer the metric system). And because of this task, a number of facts got researched on the Internet —

  • Seven cubic yards of gravel will weigh between 16,800 – 20,300 pounds (6,616 – 9,205 kilograms)

  • You can use either a two cubic foot wheelbarrow or a three cubic foot wheelbarrow for this kind of work.

  • There are 27 cubic feet in a cubic yard

  • On average a cubic foot of gravel weighs 330 pounds (or about 150 kilograms)

  • Approximately six shovelfuls (heaping) make up a cubic foot

  • There are somewhere between 9 and 14 wheel barrow trips per cubic yard (depending on the size of the wheel barrow and how much gravel you put in it)

  • The maximum sweat rate for a trained athlete is about 2-3 litres/hour; this results in a 2-3% decrease in body weight (I’m not an trained athlete and definitely a “sweater”, so let’s say it’s more for me)

The pile was something we had been working on over the past couple of weekends and my goal was to move what was remaining so we could get onto other things — I affectionately call it Egyptian slave labour because it involves moving stone from one place to another without dying on the way.

With food and water to power my way, one pile got smaller while another got bigger — and as the day progressed, my sweat soaked shirt started to weigh on me and I needed to set the wheelbarrow down more regularly between piles. As I dumped the last load I said to no one, “I’m done”; I wasn’t making a statement but rather a realization that there was no more I could do.

I wasn’t finished moving the pile of gravel and I wasn’t quitting — I was just spent, and could do no more.  

When I came back to the small pile I tried to motivate myself to finish it off — there really wasn’t much left but I couldn’t; I had done my best and after giving it my all, I fell short. What else can you can ask when you have done your best and there was no more to give? (As an aside, is it me or does life seem like one big meme.)

I should also point out that all of this was accomplished while staying true to the Egyptian slave labourer credo, “Do it without dying on the way”. Because after all, there is always tomorrow and you’re still alive to make it happen.


Moments — shortcuts don't work

As the seminar was coming to an end she emphatically stated —

“Shortcuts don’t work!”


It’s not that I hadn’t heard this before, or that I don’t understand what it means, but for some reason it seemed to resonate with me deeply — maybe it was her enthusiasm, or maybe her conviction, or maybe because it was an informative seminar. The context wasn’t about finding a file on your computer faster (although important), but rather about how a whole plant food diet can offer a healthier and longer life. I think the catalyst to her saying what she did was when someone asked about taking supplements opposed to eating healthy.

With her emphatic pronouncement, she was trying to stress that something important (and worth doing) requires unavoidable work, and although you can always be more efficient and effective, you still need to put in the time. In this case it was a healthy diet, but it could easily be about developing expertise, building a business, or becoming an influencer.

It was push back on a world with growing expectations for convenience and requirements for instantaneous gratification. She offered up the important realization that nothing comes without a price — there’s rarely is a magic bullet.

Overall it was a very good seminar for my health and an excellent reminder regarding some of the other things I do.


12 rules for work — an antidote for chaos

As I am apt to do once in a while I'll just wander a bookstore aimlessly; I'll meander through the various sections and let the countless titles wash over me. On one such sojourn there was a title that caught my eye — in part because there were dozens of books stacked waist high but also because the title was so intriguing.



I flipped through the book thinking to myself that I definitely have to read this; then I checked myself because I already have three books on the go. Setting the book down I walked away knowing I would be back to pick it up later. Quite frankly you can never have too many books on the go and I should just accept it.

Shortly afterwards I couldn't help but think about what the 12 rules for work would be. The urge became so strong I had to sit down and write out the first 12 rules that came to mind. This is what I came up with in the order that they came to mind:

  1. Never forget work is much bigger than what you do.
  2. Although you are good at what you do, remember that doesn't mean you are good at everything.
  3. The person that you forgot about will throw a wrench into what you want to accomplish.
  4. When someone asks if there are any questions... ask one.
  5. Work is an intellectual pursuit, not an emotional one.
  6. You know your business when you know your numbers.
  7.  Nothing gets done without good people.
  8. You will get nothing done without objectives and expectations.
  9. It is better to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission.
  10. Measure as much as you can.
  11. Raise the bar once you think you know what you are doing.
  12. People don't pay for easy.

In no way is this a definitive list or even a correct one — what the list does represents is the first 12 things that came to mind for me. I'm definitely going to think about this further and deconstruct why I instinctively believe these are, at the very least, 12 very important rules.

I will get back to you.


PS — I would like to thank Jordan B Peterson for the inspiration.