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    Archive for June, 2008

    Semper Ube Sub Ube

    Thursday, June 12th, 2008

    From the Latin… Translation (kinda): Always Wear UnderWear

    Twice today someone asked me, “But if you feel confident and visualize getting what you want, don’t you believe that you will, at least, increase the probability that you’ll get it?”

    The shortest answer I came up with was: No.

    The longer version is this story:

    I started a program of heaving weightlifting last fall. Typically, I only do the deadlift, and I try to lift as close to the maximum amount I can handle for 1 repetition and no more.

    I also began keeping a meticulous journal about my inner state prior to each workout. So, before I’d hit the gym, I’d have notes like, “VERY excited! Ready to tackle a new 1-rep max!” or “A bit under the weather,” or, “I’d rather be napping,” or “Okay, I guess,” or “Good energy,” etc.

    On the days that I set new personal records (I’m up to about 340 pounds… and I weigh in at 143 at the moment), guess what thoughts I was having.

    If you guessed the positive, full-of-energy, ready-to-tackle-anything thoughts, then you clearly haven’t been reading this blog 😉

    10 times out of 10, a new personal best was on a day that I felt weak, tired, injured, distracted or otherwise “negative.”

    “OH!” my one friend said, “So the way to set a new best is by feeling negative.”

    The fact that I set PBs on “weak” days doesn’t mean that “feeling weak” leads to PBs… because I had 50 other days where I felt weak and did NOT set a personal best.

    That’s a subtle one so let me say it again… setting a PB when I feel week does not mean that feeling week leads to PBs… and the proof is all the other days I felt weak and did not set PBs.

    To highlight the distinction, substitute “wearing purple underwear” (which I don’t own), for “feeling weak,” like so:

    I set PBs on days that I was wearing purple underwear, so clearly, wearing purple underwear is the cause of lifting more weight! (Except that on other days when I wore purple underwear, I didn’t set a new record.)

    My other friend had a different explanation. “Ah,” he said, “your subconscious had a counter-intention to overcome your bad feelings.”


    How ’bout this: What I think when I’m doing the deadlift doesn’t squat (a weightlifting pun for those who got it).

    I’ll leave it to you to see how this same idea carries over into the world of “creating what you want.”

    The Three Stooges of Truth…

    Saturday, June 7th, 2008

    All truth passes through three stages:

    first it is ridiculed;

    second, it is violently opposed;

    third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

    Arthur Shopenhauer

    I don’t remember when I first heard this quote, but I can’t count high enough to list the number of times I’ve heard it tossed into conversations in the year since, oh, What the Bleep came out.

    “Why are people so critical of your movie?” a genuinely confused viewer asked William Arntz, one of the Bleepin’ producers.

    “Well,” he said, chin thrust forward. “All truths go through three stages…”

    Much of the audience murmured in agreement with the truth of this axiom about truths.

    The error Arntz made — along with hundreds of others whose ideas have been equally if not more stridently ridiculed, including everyone involved with The Secret and people who claim to cure cancer by putting something in your butt that’s akin to a Dyson vacuum cleaner with a turbo — is that Shopenhauer was saying:

    a) All truth was originally ridiculed
    b) Item X is true
    c) Therefore, item X was ridiculed

    But what Arntz and the others are saying that Shopenhauer is saying is:

    a) All truth was originally ridiculed
    b) What I’m saying is being ridiculed
    c) Therefore what I’m saying is the truth

    I’d like to visit Shopenhauer’s grave. I’ve never seen anyone actually spinning theirs and I’m sure it’s quite the sight.

    The list of “truths” that were ridiculed and later turned out to be hogwash (no offense intended to the wash used for hogs), is legion.

    And, speaking of Shopenhauer’s grave, and I was, Shopenhauer was gravely mistaken.

    I’ll let you prove him wrong by commenting with your favorite truth that was not ridiculed on its way to acceptance.

    But given how readily we nod our head in agreement when someone makes some statement about “The Truth” (thanks to our mind’s having an amazing ability to instantly find confirming examples and then not look for counter-examples), it might be more accurate to say:

    Most statements about the truth pass through three stages:

    first they are seen as being self-evident;

    second, they are opposed… much to the consternation of true-believers, by people they call cynics;

    third, they are ridiculed… and then the former true-believers say they always knew the statement was bullshit, anyway.





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