I returned to my office three times today because of things I’d forgotten to do or take with me.

Not because I hadn’t considered the things, but because each time I left, I was thinking about what I needed to do after I’d left the office, and each time one of the things slipped my mind.

We each only have so much executive bandwidth with which to function.

I held myself up because I didn’t allow myself the focus to finish one task fully before trying to leap into the next.

Look closely and you’ll see people do this all the time.

Rushing from task to task without clear direction – often leaving chaos (and mess) in their tracks.

I try to catch myself when my mind races past the present, but it can be hard in a life so overflowing with distraction.

Be careful not to live too far into the future, lest you undermine your present.

The first time a toddler attempts to lie is a huge psychological landmark.

While it might seem counter intuitive to be proud of a kid covered in crumbs while they’re promising they didn’t raid the cookie jar, it’s actually one of the first indicators that they have developed theory of mind.

This is the point at which a child realises that their thoughts, emotions, beliefs, intentions and perspectives are seperate from those of other people.

Almost unimaginably, this is not our default mode.

It doesn’t occur to a young child to lie, because their natural state is to assume that you already know what they know.

When a young child gets worked up over something seemingly trivial, it’s often because they don’t yet understand that the wants and needs of others can conflict with their own.

When there is a dissonance between what they are experiencing and what others are doing, they can’t process it. The result, as all parents will know, is an intense experience of pain and grief.

We begin our lives assuming that humankind shares a singular, unified consciousness and every experience we have from then on slowly proves us otherwise.

So slowly in fact, that even some adults default back to this mode when the views of others don’t align with their own.

When their cognitive expectations aren’t met, when the perspectives of others stray too far from their own beliefs and desires, it becomes too much to process. The resistance they feel gives way to tantrum in the same way a toddler spits out its dummy when nobody’s paying it enough attention.

Finite games (winnable games with agreed constraints) and infinite games (games which surpass time and are played for the purpose of continuing to play) share only one thing;

Neither can be played by a party unwilling.

A game of chess is will never be played between two people uninterested in learning the rules, and nobody accidentally leads a healthy and active life throughout their 80’s.

Both games require active, willing participation.

There’s something spectacular about the first fully formed words which a child is able to piece together.

We all know the classics. My sister’s first (and still favourite) word was ‘No’. My partner’s first word was ‘Dad’, which she swears was a deliberate effort on her Mum’s part to make him feel specially requested by his little girl when her cries woke them in the night.

Mine were odd. At the time, I was obsessed with a little picture book full of animals and colours. My first words were from my favourite page, ‘Grey duck.’

If you, your children or anyone you know had an interesting first word, or were well trained to say something strategic, I want to hear it.

Moments like these are worth savouring.

Long story short, I’m trying to put on a little bit of useful weight. Skip to the bottom for the delicious recepie I’m using to jam breakfast back into my mornings.

Unfortunately, I’m not bulking up just for the hell of it. In order to continue being competitive in higher level jiu-jitsu competitions, I need to be stronger than I am.

As it turns out, this is harder do than I thought. First of all, getting strong hurts. A lot. Which doesn’t make training jiu-jitsu any easier either.

In spite of the pain, I’ve just started the Stronglifts 5×5 workout program. A number of muscly people I trust have reccomended it as a good starting point for building the type of strength required for jiu-jitsu.

The program consists of two alternating body weight workouts, each comprised of compound free weight exercises with the intent of progressive overload.

If that was gibberish to you (like it was to me a few weeks ago), what this means is that the program has you switch between two workouts which don’t involve any machines or special equiptment. You show up, lift free weights and progressively add a tiny bit more weight each session until you can no longer complete 5 reps at a given weight in an exercise.

Avoiding machines at the gym and focussing on free weights means there is a whole lot more balance and posture involved in the lifts. Because Each exercise activates (and agitates) a big portion of your body, so you have to focus on keeping your whole body activated throughout each lift, and need to focus on less total exercises to get results.

I’ve never been one to get motivated by superficial physical incentives. Muscles are nice, but if I were desperate for them I would have started going to the gym a long time ago.

I’m going to the gym primarily to hone the tools I take to war on the mats.

But what I’ve found out is that in order for all that work to mean anything on the mats, I need to pay a lot of attention to what I eat while I’m off them.

If I want to gain muscle mass, I need to be consuming roughly 4000 more kilojules than I’m used to eating every day and a large portion of that needs to be protein. At my current size, I’m simply not putting in enough food to offset all the energy I expend exercising. Which is a good problem to have. But still…

As someone mostly disinterested in the prospect of breakfast most mornings, this was a troublesome fact to uncover.

However, I think I’ve stumbled across something which is going to solve my problem; peanut butter protein shakes.

Luke’s Peanut Butter Protein Shake

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 scoops vanilla flavoured protein powder (whey or plant based)
  • 1 banana
  • 2 table spoons 100% peanut butter
  • 1 table spoon chia seeds
  • 1 table spoon honey
  • 1 date
  • 3/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 cups milk of choice

The best thing about this recepie is that you can prepare it ahead of time.

Just put everything except the milk into a container or zip lock bag and pop it in the freezer. When you’re ready to have it, empty the contents of a container into your blender, add your milk and blitz away!

I’ve prepared a batch of these in advance, and am now looking forward to each morning when I get to slurp down a meal which feels like a treat, even though it’s a necessity.

A typical school library houses roughly 8000 books, which coincidentally is about the same amount of books a new kindle can store.

That’s strange, isn’t it? That there exists a waterproof device capable of cataloguing the majority of human history, and it weighs less than a pancake. Let that soak for a second.

Image result for kindle paperwhite

If you loaded up a kindle to the brim and dedicated your life to reading a book on it every day until you’d finished them all, it’d keep you occupied for 21 years.

When you then consider that these 8000 titles would equate to only 0.008% of the 100 million or so books penned throughout history, it’s easy for your mind to wander into the incomprehensibility of the literary abyss.

This number doesn’t even include the 500 million newspapers sold every year, or the 840 million WordPress blog posts.

We are so saturated with information that sheer scale of what we will never be able to ingest is overwhelming.

Acknowledging this fact, accepting it, and attempting to filter through the noise anyway is all we can do.

There is too much available to justify reading anything which fails to captivate your attention. Feel no shame in reading twenty books four pages at a time, whenever you feel like it.

Get to work on your Tsundoku. Filter well friends, and enjoy.

Today I agreed to the terms of a big project with a mentor I value greatly.

We discussed objectives, expectations and a timeline. We scheduled meetings and identified the research I need to complete before starting.

I was warned not to work too hard over Christmas (a holiday I don’t care for), lest I spoil it for myself.

And at by end of our conversation we had a agreement;

On February 18th 2020 I will deliver the first 5000 words of a creative non-fiction text accompanied by a book proposal.

Exactly how this will go, at this point, is impossible to tell.

While the prospect a full length book is daunting, but there is no doubt in my mind that I can get the work done. What’s up for debate is whether or not it’ll be any good.

If it is, 2020 could shape up to be a year to remember. If not, there’ll be a whole lot of learning which gets done.

Either way, the possibility that I could be on the path to authorship as early as February excites my every fibre.

Watch this space. Big things are inbound.

Our attention is being bargained for constantly, but at the end of the day it’s ours to spend as we please.

Unlike some other popular currencies, attention doesn’t discriminate. We are each allotted the same amount each day, but we can choose how much value we charge for it.

For some of us it’s a challenge to resist the urge to give our attention away freely to every big sound or bright light which enters our periphery.

For others, selective focus on the things which bring them joy is as natural as breathing.

I might find it harder to conserve my attention than my neibour, but that doesn’t mean I have any less of it.

It only means I need to work harder to put my attention to work.

My Jiu-Jitsu team, Legion 13, won the state championship last weekend for both the kids and adult competition.

In the week since, it’s been interesting to see how bound together everyone feels.

There’s a unity which shared success can generate which is infectious and highly motivating.

Like shared trauma, shared success brings people together.

Successful teams relish the relief of success together through shared pride. In order to be proud of the team’s achievements, one needs to be proud of themselves and also their teammates.

By definition, the team is larger than any one of the individuals which make it up. Great teams relate to one another as such.

The social benefit of this shared success compounds as the team does better and better; the more unified a team, the higher their chance is of succeding.

We have seen this in every era of every sport; mythical teams who found success and went on to seem undefeatable.

That’s all a bit grand for our local Jiu-Jitsu club, but the comradery and respect amongst team members this week has been a privilege to witness nonetheless.

If you’re not involved in some team activity, sporting or otherwise, it’s worth considering seeking out a tribe.

You might be surprised by how much can accomplished in unison with others.

Image via the Legion 13 Facebook page

No matter who you are, there is something you do better than at least 80% of people.

It might only be eating burritos or killing cockroaches, but there will be something.

Whether or not that thing is useful to other people tends to determine how much you earn, who looks up to you and the types of people who will surround themselves with you.

Professional burrito eaters aren’t as high in demand as accountants, but they exist (and they’re incredibly strange).

If you plan far enough ahead and work smart, you get to choose what your thing is.

To forge a career, all you need is 1000 people or more who are willing to pay for you to do your thing. Which, with the internet, is easier than it has ever been.

Choose something you love, and persist in mastering it.

You’ll thank yourself later.