There Was An Error

There was an error
Mistakes are often made when running
Feet slammed their way towards the bastion
Guarded by ancient values injected into rustic minds
Rural men know little of firearms and deadly torque
Still, they spin their wheels toward a heavenly rendezvous

Disasters

The earth will feed you
The earth will eat you
You both have hunger
You both need food

The water will fill you
The water will kill you
You both have highs
You both have lows

The fire will guard you
The fire will char you
You both burn brightly
You both need fuel

The wind will cool you
The wind will fool you
You both love moving
You both need room

When you speak with burning lips
When you stare with cyclone eyes
When you feast on other’s work
When you sink in watery lies

Remember the damage you do

Grave Yard Blues

What is a life well lived
if not a bumbling, fumbling mess
of highs and lows and ebbs and flows
of love and hate and toil and rest?

What is a life well lived
but pain and joy and frowns and smiles
love and hate and chance and fate
and standing still and walking miles?

What is a life well lived?
Who amongst us is to say
what paints black the darkest night
or shines upon the brightest day?

What is a life well lived?
If I knew, I’d tell you plain,
but some things are not meant for knowing
others cannot be explained.

Are You Reaching?

A tree does not know in which way it will grow
It simply stretches for the sun
The birds and the bees
Fly hither and thee
Their purpose: what needs to be done
Moon in the sky, oh, celestial eye
What is it, the lesson you teach?
That each of us all, the great and the small
Must lovingly, faithfully reach.

Bruce Lee’s Biggest Fear …

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times. – Bruce Lee

In college, I took a semester-long course in Judo. I don’t know if you’ve ever taken a martial arts class, but the following format is typically observed:

  1. Learn new skill
  2. Drill said skill ad nauseam
  3. After nauseousness is achieved, continue drilling said skill
  4. Repeat

Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

The thing you don’t realize while you’re doing a drill 10,000 times is that it is slowly becoming more and more effortless. One sweaty repetition at a time, the skill becomes a part of you.

So, on repetition 10,001, when you hip toss your weary partner onto the mat, jump on top of them, and put them in a headlock without consciously thinking about what you’re doing, you realize why people still use the ad nauseam approach – it’s effective.

I used to read the above quote and think, “Ok, Bruce fears someone who has discipline.” That may be partially true, but I don’t think it’s the whole story.

The scary thing about someone practicing one kick 10,000 times is that the kick has become part of them … they don’t have to think about it … it’s automatic … it’s precise … it almost operates on its own. 

We live in a world full of distractions. It’s easy to get dragged in one hundred different directions. With that said, I’ll ask you the same thing I asked myself ….

What do you care about enough to go through 10,000 reps? 

Whatever it is, do that thing. Do it ad nauseam. Do it when you don’t want to. Do it when it’s sunny, when it’s raining, when the world is ending. And one day … one glorious day … you’ll do it without thinking …. on that day, pat yourself on the back  … you have become Bruce Lee’s biggest fear.

What Did You Find?

What you find is what you find
Though it may not be what you seek
What you hold is what you hold
Though it may not be why you reach
What they hear is what they hear
Though it may not be what you speak
What they learn is what they learn
Though it may not be what you teach

What they try is what they try
Though you may want the world for them
What they buy is what they buy
You can’t control how they will spend
All their time and all their mind
If you love them, let them go
Let them be, let them fly
If you’re needed, you will know

Who they love is who they love
Though it may not seem fair, it’s true
Who they judge is who they judge
Him, or her, or me, or you
When you take time to learn your mind
Climb up to the mountain’s peak
What you’ll find is quite divine
Though it may not be what you seek

Coconuts Don’t Grow In Arkansas

Coconuts don’t grow in Arkansas
But flourish when hung in the tropics
With metaphors, don’t get the heart involved
Or it might get hung on the topic
What was meant to connote
Descended to denote
When we said what God wrote
Was not that which we wrote
Heroes are villains that picked up and moved
What brought life to them will bring death to you
What message do you take away from this poem? Would you like to see more poems like this posted on this site?

Ms. Fat Booty and Other Life Lessons

Mos Def is one of my favorite musicians.

He wrote classic songs like ClimbMathematics, and the legendary Ms. Fat Booty.

Out of all the lyrics he wrote, one still stands out to me:

10% condition // 90% response // Survival Mathematics // The Number Man Psalm

For those of you wondering WTF that means, the Mighty Mos Def is highlighting the same rule that wise people have been speaking about and following from the beginning of time. Namely:

You do not control conditions. But you do control your response to conditions.

It’s easy … even natural … to complain about things we can’t control – the economy, the government, our mother-in-laws. But it’s far from effective.

How would your life change if you completely stopped worrying about things you can’t control? How would it change if you dedicated every ounce of effort to optimizing the things you can control?

Here’s a hint: FOR THE BETTER. 

In my opinion, there is only one thing you and I can control: our mind. Which is a good thing, because it calls all the shots. It decides whether you’re offended or not offended. It decides whether you’re happy or sad. It decides whether you’ll be miserable or grateful.

Always remember, life is 10% condition, 90% response. You cannot choose your circumstances, but you can choose how you respond to them.

Action Step: Take a piece of paper. Write down all the things you’re worrying about right now. Which of these things do you control? Highlight those MF’rs (mark out everything else) and focus all your energy and attention on them.

I Need To Tell You Something …

I have no idea how to run a successful blog.

Here’s something else I had no idea how to do … hit a baseball.

But, after a number of years of practice, I got pretty good at it (*not so humble brag*).

I know what you’re thinking … “What do you want? A cookie? You learned how to hit a baseball, dude. My six year old cousin can hit a baseball!!! What the hell does that have to do with me or running a successful blog?!”

The answer is: almost nothing … almost.

I vividly remember the beginning stages of trying to hit a hurtling sphere with a cylindrical tube … it was ugly.

The whole time, I thought: “Is this damn thing gonna hit me in the head? Why can’t I make contact? Do I look like an idiot right now? Am I bringing dishonor to my whole family with these shameful attempts at a swing? I hope my parents still love me after this performance.”

Welcome to my eight year old mind. The funny thing is that my 24 year old mind isn’t much different.

“Why should anyone listen to what I think? Who the hell am I to write articles? What if all these ideas I have are actually stupid?” And my personal favorite, “Do I look like an idiot right now?”

Every time I try to learn something new, these same old fears come up. That little voice in my head thinks I’m a buffoon. It’s hard not to listen to his opinion.

But I remember. I learned how to hit a baseball. I learned how to keep my eye on the ball … how to use my whole body to generate power … how to hit a fast-moving sphere with a skinny cylindrical tube.

And when I did, all the fear left … all that stayed was the satisfaction of a skill.

Next time you’re trying something and your little voice starts asking, “Do I look like an idiot right now?” Keep going, and remember …

There was a time when Einstein knew nothing about physics … when Shakira knew nothing about the truthfulness of her hips … when Maya Angelou knew nothing about poetry … and when I brought shame to my whole family in a North Little League batting cage.

Think of all the great things the world would miss out on if these people would have let their fears stop them.

Think of all the great things the world will miss out on if you let your fears stop you.

Action Step: When is the last time your fears stopped you from doing something? Did you move past them and keep going? Why or why not? Let me know here, reply to this post, or shoot me a message over on Facebook. I’d love to hear who else is worried about looking like an idiot.