Be prepared yet accept detours

I was with my wife at a seminar for moms to be. The nurse was asking questions to each father to know what were our expectations, our dreams, our fears.

I was one of the last in line. I was prepared with a nice answer, but she let me say only the first part, then she stopped me and asked me a question that was outside of what I expected.

My ego was a little depressed because it lost the opportunity to show up, but that’s the whole point: Being prepared, studying for something, is only a part of the job.
If we get attached to the outcome or even to the time spent working for it, we’ll be disappointed by the events.

What we must do is prepare for the worst and accept what’s to come. Because ego will be always there, trying to lure us into thinking that expressing is a right idea, but no: We should learn to mix our ideas into the world, flow with it.

Not because we want to hide ego, not because we want to avoid confrontation or to be assertive.
No, because ego can only add value to itself. If we are stuck to our idea it means ego is in the way, it means we can’t grow that idea anymore because we’re not willing to change.

Ego is a chance to learn how let go, how to accept detours and enjoy them.

Change is hard for one good reason

There’s a reason why change is hard.

Real change goes to the roots, it requires being in the midst of the war, it requires responsibility.

Real change doesn’t start with what you did wrong, but what I did wrong, what I could do better.

Real change is not pointing fingers to others, it’s an understanding that the real change cannot be prosecuted by outsourcing the problems, no. We are the problem and as such we should look first at what we did wrong.

Real change is hard because it behaves like a chain of command. Even if the lower soldier in command has made an error, it’s the higher chain that should be considered responsible.

Until you accept this, until you put yourself in the midst of the battle, under the lights of judgement and with the understanding that the first thing to change is you, until this you won’t have a real change, only a fake one.

It might last a while, but it won’t last forever.

Every year adds up

When you know someone for a long time chances are you have some kind of prejudice, some kind of automatic storytelling that’s happening in every interaction. That’s why communicating becomes harder each time, because you need to take off a layer for each year, for each unresolved issue, for each word you kept inside.

Leaving a job

I was listening to the Tim Ferris Show and there was this woman that said something very interesting, two things stayed with me after the podcast.

First: We might have a promotion, a new job, but if we’re not prepared, if we don’t have all the skill set, we might not be a good fit. And that’s fine.

Second: “I am good at doing what I do, just not here”. It was a phrase along these lines, but the concept is the same. Being “Bad” at something doesn’t equate being bad entirely.

Focus on work that matters to you, works that stimulates you, don’t be afraid to back off.

Good intentions

I remember when my grandpa died. I got the news through a call phone from my mom, I was in car, heading to work in a client’s office.

Just like many other examples my grandpa died after a glimpse of perfect recovery from an illness. He died few weeks later, when nobody would’ve expected it.

Those where the times when “Where the hell is matt” was still a thing, and what he did to me that video was to inspire hope, a boundless hope that humanity might still be united under one ideal of love. So utopian and so beautiful. The songs for those videos are all made from the same 4 chords, in similar sequences.

Those chords are what I’d call “pop emotional chords”. They touch something deep within you.

That day I listened over and over that song, trying to keep in my mind that yes: this death shall not be useless. I will make the best of my time, I will be the best person I can.

What I wanted was to mark that day, to be a lead for my grandpa, to make him proud of who I would become.

I remember that after a few days from the death my eyes stop on a book. It was the last book my grandpa read, I hand it to him and retrieve it before his death.

He told me he loved that book. I said to myself that I’d read it, as a token to my grandpa, but I never did.

It occurred to me many times, yet I never even tried to open the book or to take it off the shelf.
Good intentions do not always become a reality, they are just lying thoughts, idealistic ideas of our minds. They can become a reality, they have the power to do it, but we do not always allow it to happen.

At the same time we do not become bad people if we don’t succeed in our good intentions. I still try to be the best person I can, I fail almost daily, but I try almost daily. And though it can’t be considered a success worldwide I know for sure that this is what a good intention into action is.

I will read that book one day, but for now that is part of the idealistic thoughts that come through my mind and I accept that I’m no worst than yesterday, but no better than tomorrow.

Everything heals

From time to time we feel we are doomed to fail, that chances are above and beyond us. That we won’t stand a chance.

In those times it might even happen that all happens in the way we wouldn’t expect nor desire, we feel hopeless.

Yet, after years we survive. We can survive losing eyesight, we can survive losing an arm. There are people like Alex Zanardi that can reinvent themselves after losing the legs. Something that, for many people seems incredible.

But it’s not. It’s real. The difference is that some people do not surrender to chance, they accept it and embrace it. The see the breaking change, the disaster, as part of their lives from there on. It’s not a one day thing. It takes months, years maybe, to eventually come to the conclusion that your life from now on won’t be so bad.

And it all revolves around our identity. How much do we want to keep it fixed like it was before the change?
We can’t save that image, in fact we are so tied to it that only the people that find a way to unbound themselves really succeed.

Everything heals, in a way or another, but from that to be happy, to be productive, to be effective, you need to let go.

A snapshot in time

Yesterday we were all reunited with my wife’s parents, watching videos of their youth.

Seeing people 10-20 years apart can make a big different. You get too see a visual change, you see them young and then you look at who you know now.

That snapshot in time takes many informations. You see a young girl playing, but more than that you see that playfulness, that will to play, to engage with others, to simply not care.

When we’re young we don’t care. But while we grow up something changes. We sacrifice part of that freedom, we put up a mask, a social mask. Partly because we got burnt many times, partly because we want to avoid getting burned again, and partly because that’s how the world works.

We can instantly see how time changes people. How many layers were put to become who they are now.

At the same time we know that there’s no turning back. Reverting a mask is no easy deal. It takes time, it takes humility and patience. More often than not we changed into something we partially like. What we don’t see is that the mask, or even the armor, we put on, can’t be easily removed. It is now part of who we are. In the new videos this will be our starting point and we can only add more masks to it, we will hardly remove them.

The question is: For what? Why do we do this, why do we care so much about appearance, fame, status when we were happier before?
To protect, to avoid being hurt. What if we took pride in who we are and took that risk, that chance, to simply be authentic, to go and show the world what we have for them, in full resolution and color?

What would happen then?

It looks like a failure until it’s not

Today I decided to re-add some silicone to my bath, there were some angles that got mold too easily and I wanted to reinforce them.

I bought a tool that should ease things out so I started applying it. Line by line, row by row in my shower.

The result was… a mess. I’m not an expert but wanted to try anyway. I realized after doing the work that the applied given with this silicone paste was not ideal and I spread some of it over the shower walls.

The look was terrifying, but I thought “I can’t leave it like this”. So I started removing the excess for quite a long time until I decided to give up and let it harden a little bit, in the hopes of an easier removal.

I remember thinking “I did a mistake, it’ll leave the bathroom like shit forever”.

On the second round it was still a mess but removal was easier, while I was removing it I realized that there was hope.

On the third round the shower looked almost normal. Not quite right but not so bad either.

Tomorrow I’ll do the last round, but this reminded me of how miserable is a success when you look early, how distant the mountains are when you start trekking, how hard something is, so hard it seems impossible, until you do it.

Force yourself

For a while I was sure that the best way to achieve something was to do it with pleasure. When you take pleasure into doing things they come out better, more polished, more refined.

There’s a limit though: You can’t always be in that mood, in that passionate interest. So what will you do?

Will you surrender waiting for the next tide of passion to come or will you try anyway?

How do you know if you’re procrastinating? How do you know when you’re lying to yourself and you’re taking time to avoid the struggle?

How do you know if the tide of passion is mind trick?

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