Beware the siren of comfort...


Putting aside the minor offences of breaking and entering, destruction of property, and theft (if you considering eating someone’s porridge wrong), Goldilocks’ real crime was instilling the expectation of comfort —

“ This porridge is too hot; this porridge it too cold; this porridge is just right”

“This bed is too hard; this bed is too soft; this bed is just right”

And for her efforts to be comfortable she doesn’t even confront the bears she burgled, but instead just ran away. I know they’re bears, but still… show a little backbone.

It isn’t just out of the blue I find myself maligning a cherished childhood story but instead it’s a transference after hearing about the membership response to an email from my local fitness club which was sent about the problems with the air conditioning. It never dawned on me that so many people required perfect conditions to engage in some physical fitness — to suggest an increased risk of heat stoke because the temperature was 27 degrees instead of 22 degrees is more than just being misinformed about the tolerances of the human body. Even after the air conditioning was fixed I overheard a member say they turned the temperature down because they like it cool when they work out (I wonder if even Goldilocks would say, “WTF?”). Maybe this has to do with the perceived rights that come whenever you pay for something — much like the person who overreacts when they didn’t get enough cold foam on their Iced Double Cappuccino with Caramel and Cold Foam… and then insists on talking to the manager.

I’m trying to wrap my head around people going to a place that by its very nature is meant to put their mind and body under stress, put undo burden on them (literally), and challenge them… but only if they are comfortable while doing it. Maybe it’s simply a misalignment of expectations or maybe they’re not reading the same pithy motivational memes that I am.

“If we're growing, we're always going to be out of our comfort zone.” (from the Internet)

“Most everything that you want is just outside your comfort zone.” (from the internet)

“To the degree we're not living our dreams, our comfort zone has more control of us than we have over ourselves.” (from the Internet)

Of course I want to be comfortable as much as the next person but it’s just a rest stop on an incredible journey for me — at the very most it’s a place to reenergize, catch up on your sleep, and plan for your next adventure. When we get too comfortable we stop learning, growing, exploring , and doesn’t prepare you for anything..

“Lean into the discomfort — because Mother Nature isn’t really that concerned about how comfortable you are when you get outside.” (I made this one up)

If my thinly veiled contempt for people who complain about the temperature is too cryptic, I’d like to suggest the following pen and paper exercise — draw a line down the middle of the paper; title the left side “What I’ve learned when I’m in my Comfort Zone?” and title the right side “What I’ve learned when I’m out of my Comfort Zone?” Take some time to fill it out and let me know if the right side isn’t more meaningful.

As a side note, it’s very hot out today.


Um... the ball is in the air

I suppose in a literal sense it would involve some heavy equipment, a relatively large crew, planning, co-ordination and enough time to make it happen, but in a figurative sense it seems “moving the goal posts” is comparatively simpler — at least it feels that way.


Moving the goalposts (or shifting the goalposts) is a metaphor, derived from goal-based sports, that means to change the criterion (goal) of a process or competition while it is still in progress, in such a way that the new goal offers one side an intentional advantage or disadvantage. (Wikipedia)

A situation that is frustrating to be sure.

Although I will say, its cousin “Moving the goalposts while the ball is in the air” will bring the toughest to a knee (sometimes pounding the ground and uttering those icon words, “Damn you, damn you all to hell.”). In this case it’s all about chronology, the goalposts get moved after you have initiated the activity(s) to meet the goal — you kicked the ball, it’s in the air, it’s on target… and then the goal posts get moved. Incredibly frustrating for the kicker (and her team), figuratively speaking.

There is no commentary regarding how to stop this from happening — the world is a dynamic place; something it will always be. The posts will move because someone wasn’t thinking, deliberately wanted to shift the posts for their advantage, lacked an appreciation their actions would impact what you are doing, had to react to a situation outside everyone’s control, et cetera, et cetera. It’s simply a truism that the posts will move; not always, but more than you would like.

Stay aware, over communicate and validate what you are doing will still achieve your goal, and as they say, never assume. And if the ball is in the air when those goal posts move there are two options that come to mind — figure our how to kick another ball very, very quickly, or figure out where the ball will land, have a plan to pick it up, and kick it through the posts before they move on you again. And remember, even if you miss scoring, you have still progressed the ball, and that’s the most important thing,

All figuratively speaking of course.


I am only one...

I am only one, but I am one. I can not do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.

- Edward Everett Hale


I hadn’t heard of Edward Everett Hale before, but experience has shown me the Internet is excellent for dealing with this sorta thing. Wikipedia tells me Edward Everett Hale (April 3, 1822 – June 10, 1909) was an American author, historian, and Unitarian minister, best known for his writings such as "The Man Without a Country", published in Atlantic Monthly, in support of the Union during the Civil War. He was the grand-nephew of Nathan Hale, the American spy during the Revolutionary War.

Now that I have Edward’s identity sorted out I can concentrate on what he supposedly said. I say “supposedly” because I’m fully aware I got the quote from the internet, and sadly, there has to be a small leap of faith in doing so. When I first read the quote I was absolutely certain it was the product of the me generation and humbled by the assumption those who came before us were not quite as smart as we are today (I mean electricity was a novel thing back then). Good thing we have the Internet — it’s a vast achievement that reminds us constantly we do not know all that much, and sadly, we’ve forgotten more than we dare to admit.

The exploration of the human condition has been an endeavour over the millennium so we probably shouldn’t assume Edward Everatt Hale was the first to put pen to paper regarding individuality and its innate power — although he does have a meme so he has that going for him. And because of it, I couldn’t help but put some thought into it.

I am only one, but I am one — a reminder that you are the fundamental building blocks for everything done as a species (or not done), and because of it, you have the potential to do something important.

I can not do everything, but I can do something — an acknowledgement and recognition that you have skills, abilities, and character, and you can achieve something. Alas, it’s also a reminder the universe is rather large, so you can’t everything or do not have the ability. However, there is no excuse in simply doing nothing.

And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can doa reminder to focus on what you have and what you can do, and not be distracted by lamenting or striving for what you can’t. Achievement will never be found if don’t focus on your strengths and abilities.

How does that song go again? Oh yes, “Two outta three ain’t bad”.

I am only one, but I am one — check. Can not do everything, but I can do something — check. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do — wait, what about identifying your weaknesses and developing a plan to improve? Oversimplifying, as I am apt to do, there seems to two philosophical camps; find your strengths and rally all your energy around them, or identify your weaknesses, develop them into strengths, and strive for balance (I belong in this camp). “Find what you are really good at and then go all in to make the most of it” — it’s pithy and I do like the ring of it. Maybe my approach has been wrong all these years, although arguable I haven’t done so bad.

I’m probably going to have to consult with the Internet again but in the mean time this is where I’ve landing —

I am, and that is important. I have talents to do something, and I will. I have been given a lifetime to figure out how to get it done, although it’s not as long as you think.