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.


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.