Wrapping up 2019, Superhuman 2020

Hi Team, I wanted to take one last opportunity to share some thoughts before the year closes.


At the end of 2019, there are more options than ever for endless entertainment. Binging TV shows on demand, video games, scrolling social media, junk food, etc. The path of least resistance leans heavily toward consumption and away from creation. Doing work and creating art is fulfilling. The path of least resistance is not fulfilling. In the 2020s, people who exercise willpower, avoid distraction, and focus their attention will appear more and more superhuman.


Today I was pruning the rose bushes in front of our house. The activity reminds me of my favorite blog post from 2018: The Rose Bush Metaphor: How to deal with too many ideas and too little time. In the past few weeks I’ve been digitally pruning, too. I call that effort Unsubscribe from Everything. I try to cut out low-value email. What remains is a few select blogs from authors I respect. I let them into my inbox because I trust the content is always high quality. I can take a 10 minute break to read and digest one of these blogs.

Speaking of blogs, I was struck by the wisdom of Mr. Money Mustache in his recent post titled Let the Roaring 2020s Begin. He succinctly describes timeless wisdom he has personally lived during the past decade.

1) This Too Shall Pass: nothing is as big a deal as you think it is at the time. Angry or sad emotions from life traumas will fade remarkably quickly, but so will the positive surprises from one-time life upgrades through the sometimes-bummer magic of Hedonic Adaptation. What’s left is just you – no matter where you go, there you are.
2) But You Are Really Just a Bundle of Habits: most of your day (and therefore your life) is comprised of repeating the same set of behaviors over and over. The way you get up, the things you focus your mind on. Your job. The way you interact with other people. The way you eat and exercise. Unless you give all of this a lot of mindful attention and work to tweak it, it stays the same, which means your life barely changes, which means your level of happiness barely changes.
3) Change Your Habits, Change your Life: Because of all this, the easiest and best way to have a happier and more satisfying life is to figure out what ingredients go into a good day, and start adding those things while subtracting the things that create bad days. For me (and quite possibly you, whether you realize it or not), the good things include positive social interactions, helping people, outdoor physical activity, creative expression and problem solving, and just good old-fashioned hard work. The bad things mostly revolve around stress due to over-scheduling one’s life, emotional negativity and interpersonal conflict – all things I am especially sensitive to.

Mr. Mustache’s words hit home. I had just been thinking about how important habits are and skills are. The thought also reverberates some of my favorite books from 2019 including Ryan Holiday’s Stillness is the Key and James Clear’s Atomic Habits. These are both worth re-reading while thinking about the year ahead. I think we can all use more stillness in 2020. And, habits are way more powerful than New Year’s resolutions.


The twins are three years old now, and I’m trying to spend as much time as possible with them and my wife, when I’m not at work. I don’t think it’s possible to feel like I’ve spent too much time with them.

Outside of family and work, my 2019 was filled with running, reading and writing. I don’t expect this to change in 2020. I will work on the balance. Sometimes I feel pangs if regret for not pushing myself more in one or all of these areas. These activities are key for me for health of mind body and spirit.

The first half of my 2019 was strong. I ran my first half marathon (13.1 mi), turned 30 years old, and also ran my first marathon (26.2 mi). In April I was probably in better physical shape than all of my 20s. While struggling to maintain that level now, I managed to finish 2 more half marathons later in the year, the Seawheeze Virtual Half Marathon and the PV Half Marathon (I mentioned in the last post). Now I’m preparing for my next challenge, the Big Sur Marathon, next April. For me, the races are an effective way to motivate me to keep up the running habit. And race day is a lot of fun 😀.


Happy New Year! and thank you for reading. I appreciate all and any feedback. Please help me out, subscribe and leave comments.

Weekly Update – #18 – PV Half Marathon Approaches & Non-fiction Reading Updates

Hi everyone, I missed a month and a half of updates. I’m back!

Running

I registered for the Palos Verdes half marathon months ago intending to train for it starting months ago. Didn’t happen. The race is this coming Saturday, November 16th.

Two weeks ago the fear started brewing. Immediately after daylight savings kicked in, I kicked it into a higher gear. 6am runs every day while the family is still asleep. Some mornings are cold enough to put on running gloves, and some of them are spooky foggy. I managed to accumulate 31.4 miles in the last 8 days.

View from the hill overlooking Manhattan Beach

I probably won’t set a personal best in the PV Half, but I want to finish the race and still be able to move the next day. Feeling okay about that, not afraid anymore. Wish me luck on Saturday!

Reading

I recently read a few books.

Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday. This is not a meditation book. It’s a study of how ancient eastern and western philosophers thought about peace of mind, body, and spirit. It includes tons of stories past and present to show what stillness and lack-of-stillness looks like.

The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek. This is a business leadership book. It’s about leading in a way that’s highly sustainable, such that the business can run forever, and keep going once you’re gone.

Contrast infinite games with finite games. Chasing your competition seeking to “win” a game that doesn’t really end. Learning and fitness are infinite games. You don’t really “win” at learning or fitness.

I think thinking in infinite time frames is useful. How would you approach relationships differently and if you want the relationship to stay strong forever? You Might make business decisions differently if your goal is to sustain the business for the next 7 generations. Teams that think and act this way are often highly successful.

Getting Things Done by David Allen. This book is a little dated, 90’s. It’s a productivity book and it talks a lot about systems for filing and organizing paper records. It talks a little about email. I think the principles are still relevant.

For example, it talks about getting your to do list out of your head and into a system like email or an app. The idea is your brain better serves as a thinking machine, not an information storage machine. And if you use it’s cycles to try to remember a bunch of little things, you are doing it a disservice. Get all the junk out of your head, into your todo list app and calendar app. This principle is something I’ve been practicing, and it’s effective.


Thanks for reading and see you next time. I’ll let you know how the PV Half goes.

Weekly Update – #17 – Finally Running Updates!

After a wild summer, running is starting to make it’s way back into my routine. This is my first update since June 30th, 2019.

Plumeria flowers (our garden)

Before high school I did a little bit of track and field, competing in the long jump event. In high school, most of my athletic energy was focused on marching band. That interest faded in college, and nothing really took it’s place. Several years passed until 2018, the year I started taking running seriously. Around August 2018 I committed by signing myself up for the Conqur LA Challenge, a set of 3 races of increasing distance, starting with 10K and concluding with the LA Marathon. I finished that marathon race in March, 2019.

For this season, I’ve signed up for three new events:

The first race already finished. I struggled my way through 13.1 miles for the SeaWheeze Virtual Half Marathon. This is how it works. I chose my own route. I ran and I recorded the activity with the Strava app. Once I finished the run and uploaded it to Strava, I was notified of my position relative to other runners. In 6-10 weeks a medal will arrive by mail. Weird!

A slow pace, but a finish nonetheless.

I was not nearly as well prepared for this race as my last half marathon. And I didn’t have the boost that comes with race day adrenaline, since I was on my own. It took me 3 hours to finish. I kind of miss the buzz of energy that usually comes with race day. It’s really fun to be part of a big pack of runners. It just wasn’t the same running by myself.

Actifit says it took me 24,000+ steps to go 13.1 miles.

A few days after SeaWheeze I am still sore. I regret skipping the usual Epsom salts bath. Other recovery methods don’t seem to be as effective. Word to the wise.

I have a few months to ramp up and prepare for the Palos Verdes half marathon in November. I’m looking forward to it. Let’s go!


Hi, I’m Torrey. Welcome to my blog. If you’re new here, I document my running experiences to help new runners learn about running. If you find the information useful, please consider ^^^following/reblogging/liking^^^