Physicality = Mentality = Spirituality

 

Here we are in February, and I can reflect upon two New Year’s Resolutions I decided to make in late December:

  1. Adhere to every Greek Orthodox fast day in 2018
  2. Lose some fat

No, these two things aren’t unrelated. And I have done both before. But this year, I felt that I needed a little spiritual cleansing as well as physical cleansing, which often lead to mental and emotional cleansing. It sounds esoteric, but to paraphrase  Alexander Juan Antonio Cortes (who you should follow if you’re in any way interested in fitness):

Physicality = mentality = spirituality

Everything is connected. I’ve written about the benefits of fasting before, and I stand by my assertion that “When I’m not worrying about the food I consume, I start to think about the other stuff I consume.”

I’ve also discussed my thoughts about physical fitness, and how it helps improve other aspects of my life. It’s amazing what a little self-discipline and enforced unpleasantness can do–let’s face it, lifting feels good, but there are some days when you just don’t want to go to the gym.

strength01

Lastly, I’ve discussed how the only way to get anything done and done well is to get obsessed and stay obsessed. Ruthless focus is what you need. At least in my life, when I haven’t been obsessed with something, I just kind of meander around.

This isn’t a post to brag, although I’ve been pleased with my results. Instead, I’d like to hopefully inspire anyone reading this to

So let’s put this all together. First, we’ll go over what I’m doing, and then we’ll go over what I’ve learned. Continue reading “Physicality = Mentality = Spirituality”

Be A Tyrant

Be A Tyrant

“Sharing is caring.” “Everybody gets a turn.” “All of our contributions are valuable.”

These and other cultural traps are well-meaning, especially for children who need to be taught compassion. But if taken to their extreme conclusions and universally applied, they can stifle individuality and lead to a passive, overly accommodating mindset.

You have a vision. You have something vital to tell the world.

Are you going to listen to everybody’s suggestion? Are you going to make every tweak somebody else thinks your vision needs?

I say no. I say, if you believe in what you’re doing, it’s better to be a tyrant.

I don’t mean you should imprison or execute everybody who stands in your way, as tempting as that sounds. I mean that you should pursue your vision with a ruthless determination and only ask a few trusted individuals for their unvarnished take on what it is you’re doing.

Yes-Men and No-Men

Nobody likes yes-men. What’s more, yes-men aren’t useful. Whether in your job, your art, politics, or in your family, yes-men feed into groupthink and are awful at helping you recognize blind spots. They’re really just buttering you up because they want something in return.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Logic would then seem to suggest it better to cultivate skepticism, contrarianism, and being argumentative. In short, to be–or to surround yourself with–no-men.

No-men are people who aren’t afraid to “speak truth to power,” as the cliché goes, reigning in bad ideas and pointing out the blind spots and other errors in a visionary’s plan.

But what about the visionary?
Continue reading “Be A Tyrant”

The Cranky Guy at the Head of the Table: A Philosophy of Fatherhood

Father and Son Silhouette

Sometimes I hate being the disciplinarian to my son. Nobody likes to be the grumpy guy that’s always saying “no.” But somebody has to do it, and that somebody should be the father.

The amazing thing about children is that they instinctively understand boundaries and norms, even as they test them. Even after receiving a stern rebuke and maybe a time-out or two, my son still loves me. More importantly, he doesn’t fear me.

This is the way I want it to be.

I don’t want my son, or any of my future children, to ever be afraid of me.

I want them to be afraid of disappointing me.

Why?

Because the end result will be that they will end up disappointing themselves. And I do not want anybody to bear that shame. Especially my children.

A father and his small baby son fist-bumping

A large part of my parenting philosophy involves combining the stern with the tender. Once whatever disciplinary action is over, I act like it never happened. I never want my boy to think I’m angry at him per se, only at what he’s done.

And another important part is this: I do not believe in corporal punishment.

All children need structure, but boys especially. Not in the helicopter parenting sense, and not just a set of rules, but a set of expectations and standards. I want my son to be self-sufficient. I don’t want him freaking out over every skinned knee and banged elbow. When he hurts himself, I stay calm. If it’s minor, I tell him he’s a tough guy and that the hurt goes away by itself. If it’s major, I calmly tell him the same as I tend to his wound. Afterwards, he gets back on his feet and right on with being his playful, risk-taking self.

Discipline Flow Chart

Does this reinforce cultural stereotypes about gender and masculinity?

You’re damn right it does. Continue reading “The Cranky Guy at the Head of the Table: A Philosophy of Fatherhood”