Daily Ramblings – Daily Quote – Ayn Rand – Creativity

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Today’s Quote:

“A creative man is motivated by a desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.” – Ayn Rand

I like this quote. I like it because it suggests that we measure our achievements against ourselves. This is important because we are really the only measure to be worried about.

There is nothing wrong with competition. There is something wrong with pursuing goals that are pursued just to beat another. This falls into the realm of pursuing goals that really aren’t ours.

When I pursue a goal, I am not setting a measure against someone else. I am setting a goal to improve myself. This is what Ms. Rand is talking about. We can only measure progress against ourselves. This is owning a goal. Owning a goal aimed at improving yourself is the only goal that will last the test of difficulty, challenges, and time.

I have fallen into this trap in the past. I used to play tennis in high school. I was so competitive. For me, being a good tennis player meant beating everyone else. This is the measure we use to say this person is #1 or #2. I lost a lot, by doing this, however. I lost the benefit of trying to improve myself against myself. Perhaps, I could have focused on my first serve percentage, the strength of my second serve, my baseline or net game. I did work on these things, but not to improve, but to beat others. When I lost, I worked harder, but still lost sight of the importance of self-work, before worrying about beating someone else. I hope this makes sense.

I hope you have a great Wednesday!

Until next time…

Dave

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Daily Ramblings – Workout Diary – Day off

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I woke up this morning only to discover that I was out of workout clothes and had to do laundry. When I miss working out first thing, I know I won’t do it. Subsequently, I’m taking the day off. I’ll be back at it again tomorrow.

One of the most important things I’ve learned over the years is to avoid self-criticism. It’s so easy to say to myself, “Well, you blew it, Dave. You scheduled a workout for today and didn’t go. Not good Dave.” This doesn’t serve anything but make oneself feel bad, despite making great progress. So give yourself a break. There will be days that you are tired, sick, or just don’t feel like going. Don’t let the “not going” become a habit, but do give yourself the benefit of taking an unannounced day off. As long as you keep the long-term goal in mind (better health, better looks, longer life, etc.) is the key to this.

I wrote an article earlier today about working on infinite goals. Infinite goals, for those of you who haven’t read my Daily Quote posting, is a goal that keeps redefining itself as we gain proficiency in the task at hand. Exercising is one of those infinite goals. If I’m stronger today, I have to add to my workout tomorrow to continue along this path. Each time you make progress in the gym, you are that much more capable of doing more in the next workout. The finish line for your personal health never stays the same. The converse can also happen. You could be injured or suffer from a chronic illness. This does not preclude you from exercise.

A spiritual leader I follow broke his hip almost three years ago. He promotes exercise. Did the hip injury slow him down? Sure. But he still manages to walk every day. This is another adjustment to an infinite goal. The older you get, regardless of your level of health, will cause you to slow down. It will cause you to avoid certain exercises because your body is no longer able to withstand the stress it could before. These are all natural occurrences that cause each of us to adjust our fitness goals. You see how an infinite goal works? It is always changing in light of your strengths or weaknesses. Each time you evolve for the better or worse, your goals will also have to be adjusted.

I hope each of you has a terrific Tuesday!

See you tomorrow.

Dave

 

Daily Ramblings – Daily Quote – Susan Butcher – Quitting

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Today’s Quote:

“I do not know the word ‘quit.’ Either I never did, or I have abolished it.” Susan Butcher

Quitting has always held the connotation of loss or a lack of discipline or motivation. But quitting can be a good thing. Quitting a bad habit can be a great thing, if it is a habit that causes health issues over the long-term, or it doesn’t help you produce something.

Quitting can also be good if we are chasing something that we really aren’t interested in. I have been caught up pursuing a goal because I read it online and wanted to add that to my list of things to do. After a time, I realize that I am not willing to pay the price that the goal requires to achieve it. This is really about being honest with one’s self. Other people’s goals are not your goals. Quitting a goal then would be justified because it does not serve you or your purpose.

Your purpose is something that when discovered and embraced can change your life. Look at the greats like Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, or Stephen King. Each of these people found their purpose–their calling if you will. Not only did they live a life of successful pursuits, but also found what “woke them up every morning.” This should be our true goal. To find that “thing” that drives us, pushes us, and invigorates us. Once we find the thing that invokes our passion, nothing will stop us in the pursuit of these things. Use this as a means of setting the goals that are really meaningful to you.

Goals that are meaningful provide a benefit to us when we have met them. Goals like improving our diets or losing weight, learning something new, reading books, starting a journaling practice, and many others have life-long benefits. They also help us improve ourselves one step at a time. Some goals are finite.

Finite Goals are those goals that have a distinct beginning and a distinct end. Once you achieve them you know it because you’ve hit a number of books read or you’ve finished a rough draft of your book. Goals without end are what I call infinite goals. These goals have no end. These goals have little rest stops, but drive you to the next rest stop. Improving your health, your intellect, your spirituality, your internal character, are all examples of these infinite goals. Interestingly, when you hit a milestone with one of these goals, they improve your capability with the other goals and drive you forward.

This is one of the primary reasons that I read and re-read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey, every year. The framework he presents in this book involves self-improvement but on our characters. The internal character is the key to this methodology. All 7 habits are geared toward these infinite habits. As you improve each habit, your capability improves, and you can now improve that habit more. If you improve your ability in one habit, your capability to improve the other habits also increases. Thus, as you improve, your capability to do more improves, and you reach a new plateau to being working from, much like a spiral.

If you have never read this book, I highly recommend it. It is a life-changer if you really commit to the things it prescribes. All of the habits fall into the infinite goal category and will continue to add a freshness and motivation to your life. Once you’ve read it and start to apply what is within its pages, you’ll discover as I did that these habits are not a one-time thing, but a lifetime of work that will spur you on to ever-greater heights.

So, set goals that “wake you up”. Get rid of the goals that you have to “force” yourself to do. You can always come back to them. Work on those goals that you really want, and you’ll have less trouble pursuing them.

Until next time…

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Workout Diary

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Hello, and Happy Monday!!

Today’s workout was a good one. I had a lot of energy today and pushed hard through the routines for Day 7 of the workout routine I am following. It was another full body workout and I am finding that it is a great way to exercise.

I am used to doing a lot of splits. Splits are when you only work certain body parts during a workout routine and then work out a different set the next day and the day after that.

Here are a few examples:

  • Push, Pull, and Legs
  • Chest and Triceps, Back and Biceps, Shoulders, and Legs
  • Chest and Back and Triceps, Biceps, Shoulders, and Legs

As you can see the whole body is worked, but with more exercises and sets focusing on individual body parts. Advocates of split routines say you can get more volume in and give individual body parts more recovery time. Others, who advocate a full body routine say that the same volume can be attained, while also achieving overall health and better chances of losing stubborn body fat.

I don’t really worry too much about any of this. I’ve learned over time that we are all individuals. A supplement or routine that works for individual A may or may not work for individual B or C. The really important learning here is that you have to know yourself and monitor your progress. If you are moving steadily toward your goals, keep doing what you’re doing. If you do not then make some adjustments.

That’s it for today folks!

See you tomorrow.

Dave

 

Daily Ramblings – Daily Quote

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Today’s Quote:

“Progress has little to do with speed, but much to do with direction.” – Author Unknown

I have experienced a great many things when I begin to work toward a goal I have set for myself. Sometimes we learn that we are doing something the wrong way and have to adjust our direction to compensate for our ignorance. This is the bulk of what this quote means to me, but there is something deeper to contemplate.

If we ignore the quality of our work, we will appear to be accomplishing a great deal, but when one takes a few minutes to examine the work, we find that we may have taken a wrong turn somewhere and now have to go back to where we started. Think of it this way. Let’s say you are building a model. You know, a model of an airplane or a car.

The instructions have a set way to put this model together. We first have to ensure we have all of the pieces. Then we have to ensure we have the right paints, the glue, and an even a knife to cut away some of the flaws that are normal for plastic model pieces. Once we have completed our inspection, we then move to the instructions, which normally require us to pull apart some of the plastic frames holding the model pieces and begin painting them.

Once the painting is completed on all of the pieces, we can begin to assemble the model. There is always a set order of putting these model pieces together and the way that is prescribed is typically done in a certain order to make sure that the plane or car will go together in the order the manufacturer has suggested.

What happens if we begin skipping steps? We learn that we may have missed entire assemblies that are needed for the model or we discover that painting the model will be much more difficult if we try to paint it when it is completed. This is what I believe the crux of this quote means.

Don’t rush through. Take your time and put some thought into the daily requirements of meeting your goals. If you are writing, develop a process or procedure, a methodology that will keep you on track and help you avoid major problems later on. If you are building something, make sure you are following the steps provided by the manufacturer or the book you are using to build the table, the chair, or the bookcase you are putting together.

If we remain focused on the prescribed steps and we put our best efforts into each of these individual building blocks, we will soon discover the wisdom in doing so. Racing through something or doing something without the “heart” that the task requires will generally end up a dismal failure. Even if we do get lucky and finish the task, the feeling we have at the end is not the same as the one we feel when we know in our hearts we did a great job.

Take the time to put together a plan. Put your heart and love into everything you do. The end result will feel better and you will avoid a lot of missteps along the way.

Until next time…

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Workout Diary

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Today was a good workout. I did another full body routine today for the 6th day in a row and will take tomorrow off. Today’s work involved hitting all the body parts: Back, Legs, Chest, Shoulders, Triceps, Biceps, Forearms, and Calves. Each body part was hit with one exercise, with 5 sets of 10 reps, with 30 seconds rest between sets and 2 minutes rest between exercises.

After the workout was complete, I celebrated my first week doing a full body workout by hitting up Dunkin Donuts for an extra large coffee and a free donut (due to my veteran’s status). I deserved the “goodie” after a grueling week in the gym.

I hope all of my fellow veterans are being taken care of by their families and the local businesses. My hometown had quite a few freebies and I took advantage of them. I went to Denny’s for a free breakfast and then Dunkin’s after my workout. It was a great day!

See you on Monday!!

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Daily Quote – Arthur Ashe – Start!

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Today’s Quote:

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe

You can’t get much simpler than this. We are all someplace, with a certain collection of skills and talents. We use these skills and talents at a certain level of proficiency.

Each of us is unique. My skills and talents will be different than yours. It really is all about who will begin, who will use all their skills and have the willingness to try.

Many times, this separates those that execute and succeed and those that dream and do nothing. This secondary group wastes their talents because they are never used. Talents and skills that are neglected, even the ones we are given will degrade.

We are either moving forward or moving backward. There is no standing still.

So, do the best you can with what you have from where you are, and you will do well. You will learn what needs to be improved, what needs to be learned, what needs to be done.

It’s all up to you. Now go get it!

Until next time…

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Happy Veteran’s Day

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Today is the day we observe Veteran’s Day (a day early because of the calendar). I just wanted to say Happy Veteran’s Day to all of my fellow veterans. Only those who have served or are serving currently, know the sacrifices we have made to protect our country and those peoples across the globe that needed our help.

I also want to wish all of the Gold Star Mothers and Fathers, wives and husbands, whose loved ones have paid the ultimate price for the freedoms we enjoy. Your loss and their sacrifices will NEVER be forgotten.

Dave

SFC, Army Retired

Daily Ramblings – Workout Diary

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Was really out of energy today. I ground out the workout, but boy was it a chore.

This is something I want to discuss. There will always be ups and downs in your workouts. Some days you’re going to be on fire and you’ll make significant progress in the gym. You’ll be full of energy and you’ll wonder why the workout you just did was so easy.

Once in a while, you’ll have a day like I did today. Nothing is easy, every rep is hard, and you begin wondering why you even went to the gym. That’s ok folks. Just keep going. This is the key to progress.

Going to the gym on days like today is what makes me feel good about myself. I did the best I could do, despite my low energy. It could have been something I ate yesterday, it could have been my sleep, it could have been my water intake or any number of variables. Just keep going.

This is the one lesson I’ll pass on today. The day you wake up and don’t want to go to the gym is the day you go. This is the day you learn more about yourself. This is the day you push through a barrier, created by yourself.

How do I feel? Great. I went to the gym. I did the routine I was scheduled to do. It may not have been pretty, but I got it done. If you are ever in a position when you feel like, what am I doing? Why am I going to the gym? Why am I torturing myself? That is the day YOU GO.

You go because that is what we do. We go to the gym to workout. We go to the gym to improve ourselves. We go to the gym to prove that regardless of how we “feel” we go to the gym.

This applies to any habit you are trying to establish. Regardless of your mood, your interest, whatever–do the thing you committed to today. Every day will be different. Some days you’ll be on top of the world–other days you’ll be in the dumps. Do it anyway.

I hope everyone has a great Friday!!

See you tomorrow!

Dave