Category Archives for Choices

Colin Kaepernick – kneeling protest

I’m reminded of the story of Esther, a woman from a oppressed minority who became queen because of her great beauty. When her uncle discovered a plot to further oppress her people, he came to her and challenged her not to be silent but to raise the issue with the king. He concluded his entreaty with these words “And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

She knew she could be killed for speaking up, but she did. The king listened to her story and stopped the oppression.

Some of Kaepernick’s words of explanation as to why he is doing this could be interpreted as “And who knows whether I have not attained NFL noteriety for such a time as this?”

May our leaders be as wise as the ancient king and hearken to the kneeling protest and work to stop the oppression.

Monday Morning Attitude Adjustment

This morning was Monday morning, only more so.

The sky was grey… I hadn’t slept well, and my body hurt all over… I just felt old.

So, as I went for my morning swim (by habit, of course… I certainly didn’t feel like going swimming), everything felt bad.

But, as I was doing my slow lengths of warm-up, I remembered something I had learned over many hours of practice in the pool. There are techniques you can use to change how you feel about your workout. I sometimes refer to this as “lying to yourself until you feel good”, but it is really more subtle than that. The idea is to focus on one small thing at time that could be thought of as good: “My kick feels really strong today!” “Just feel that water rush by my face!” “My triceps feel really powerful today.” After a few minutes of focusing on the positive, my whole attitude can change.

I know, from many hours of training, that these techniques actually can make my workout better. So, as I labored in the pool this morning, I thought to myself I really should try it.

But… a fleeting thought went through my head…. “I don’t want to feel better… I’m enjoying wallowing in my misery!”

Unfortunately, that made me laugh, and when I stopped sputtering (it’s hard laughing while doing lengths), I already felt better. And I did utilize those mind tricks… I did have a great workout (800IM, anyone?) … and I feel better now (and hopefully will all day!)

Changing non-discretionary activities in your life

Before I swam this morning, I had a conversation with another person at the pool about the Canadian Masters Nationals. It made me think about why I swim and especially the fact that I have been doing it consistently for so many years…

While I enjoy the competition and it motivates me to work hard during my swims, that isn’t why I started to swim…in fact, if the truth be told, two of the biggest reasons I swim are:

1) I like to eat …and the level that I swim at means that I can eat several hundred more calories every day

2) people who swim regularly have a much longer life span than others.

But, when it comes to getting up early 4 times a week and heading to the pool, the truth is that I never DECIDE if I have time to go, or if I feel like going, ….I just go, because it is what I do

And it made me think of other non-discretionary things in my life….

Some are obvious – e.g. sleeping and eating….

Others are habits that I have developed…like the swimming. Reading a portion of scripture every night before I go to sleep. Going for coffee with some friends….And for the last number of years – going to work for IBM.

So, as I get on with this next phase of my life, I pause to think….what are the new non-discretionary things I want to add to my life?

One of the possibilities is writing – I’d like to get to the point where doing some writing every day is just something I do….

Eating that frog? (that’s another story for another time)


And once I’ve chosen something, the question comes, how do we get to the point where something I choose to do becomes non-discretionary? I’ve been told that, if you can discipline yourself to doing something every day for 30 days, it will become a part of you. And, I suspect, that, if I am to keep to that discipline, I will need to enlist some help to hold me accountable for those 30 days to develop the positive habits that I CHOOSE to add to my life.