Resolution Q4

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 4, Q4

Resolution: “Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

Personal notes:

  • Determine key tasks this week;
  • Ignore unnecessary items;
  • Act with purpose.

Not gonna lie, writing this blog was difficult. Took a lot of Resolve to get here: One year commitment; How much to reveal each week; How honest to be; 5 am Monday morning; etcetera. To be honest, I wasn’t always completely honest; some things were better left unsaid, or said over quiet conversation. Most posts were transparent, some weren’t – especially Chastity. Chastity was best left unsaid, or said to my wife over quiet conversation. What I can say is this, when I started this project, I didn’t realize the Resolve it would require to get here, but I’m glad I committed to you, and I’m glad you had the Resolve to help me through. In fact, the only thing that kept me going was you. Thank you. Stating a goal publicly was one thing. Knowing folks were reading this was another.

Resolve to perform what you ought. Over the year, I realized this project was something I ought to do. I was holding onto too much anger from the past and became anchored to it. For me, it was the military; I defined myself in that mold and didn’t achieve my goals. It’s hard to write, but for the past 10 years I’ve felt guilt and anger. I was ashamed I wasn’t with my closest friends at the times of their greatest peril. I’ve shared this with a few folks, and a good friend once told me: “That right there is something you need to just get over.” He was right but, until this year, I didn’t have a framework to get over it.

Quitting is easy. I’ve thought that many times. I’ve thought about quitting this blog. Every other week I’d say: no one’s reading this nonsense; who cares if I don’t finish; half of it is crap anyway. The problem with Quitting is that it is easy, and it feels great in the short term. Quit something once and it’s terribly easy to quit again; it becomes a drug of choice. I’m not talking about quitting a miserable job/relationship/situation, I’m talking about quitting ‘the good’ — where you give up on the good in your life because it becomes difficult. Stray onto that darker path and it’s increasingly difficult to get right. Quitting becomes subconscious; self-destructive decisions prompt others to quit you.

Resolve is a hard one, especially compared to the short term rewards of giving up, but if you choose to persevere, there are rich rewards. Perform without fail what you resolve. I view this year as one of the most rewarding I have had in a very long time. Resolving to take a year of reflection has truly helped put a lot of this pain behind me and helped gain new appreciation, and love, for friends, family and life. Getting there was not easy; but I can say without fail, I’m glad I did it. Everything has changed for the better: not over-confident, not over-sure, not perfect, but grounded, happier and in a place to navigate life without self-destructing. For me, the key to Resolve was making it public, finding support, and forcing repeat. Repeat until it becomes habit, and Resolution becomes Disposition.

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Next Week

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 5, Q4

Frugality: “Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; waste nothing.

Personal notes:

  • Only purchase necessary items;
  • Be cognizant of cost;
  • Give special attention to Christmas presents.

Great to keep this one in mind as the Holidays approach. Drinks, dinners, presents, decorations, trees: the list goes on. Focus on being generous and charitable; don’t focus on buying the biggest and shiniest. 

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Resolution Q3

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 4, Q3

Resolution: “Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.”

Personal notes:

  • Determine key tasks this week;
  • Focus on these tasks;
  • Dutifully and purposefully complete each.

Checking each item off my list this week, I successfully cleared the schedule, paid some bills, hit the gym and tied up loose ends, all to great satisfaction and contentment before leaving on vacation. Feeling pretty good, I thought Resolution was a piece of cake. Then, while on vacation, I saw and heard examples of Resolve that made me realize how insignificant my list was.

What would you do if diagnosed with cancer? Without hesitation, my friend’s wife underwent a double mastectomy; resolving to be there for her children. Another good buddy, this one in the military, read me a transcript of a Russian soldier in Syria. All soldiers share a common thread, and my friend choked back tears as the Russian fought until the end, refusing to be disgraced and paraded in his uniform.

Admittedly these examples are extremes; guiding lights in the dark sea of uncertainty. But our lives are sometimes broken down into overwhelming lists and tasks, some important, often not. We work each day to cross items off our list and resolve to muddle through, but at times our lists cloud the truth. Getting the groceries and cleaning the house are not just tasks but in my case, steps to provide love and stability for my children. It’s always important to remember what greater good these tasks serve, and be aware when these tasks become a disservice.

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Next Week

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 5, Q3

Frugality: “Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; waste nothing.”

Personal notes:

  • Only purchase necessary items;
  • Be cognizant of cost;
  • Give special attention to groceries.

Sadly, summer is gone; on the upside, summer was expensive. Perfect time to practice Frugality and get back into the habit for Fall.

Hope you had a great holiday weekend,

Patrick

Resolution Q2

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 4, Q2

Resolution: “Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.”

Personal notes:

  • Act like you would if someone challenged you.
  • Do not approach things mildly when you could approach it decisively.
  • Deliberate purpose in everything.

Resolve is a tough virtue to master. This week, however, I can record an accomplishment; my wife and I, finally, after 4 years of talking about it, signed our last will and testament. Wahoo! Big stuff. Time to pop the champagne — no joke.

Ok, maybe I joke, but if anything, this experience has taught me that true determination does not materialize in a week. Resolution takes time; writing takes time. There are days I sit in a corner, mumbling like Winnie the Pooh, “Think, think, think”. To me, this blog is a test of resolve; each week I practice, hoping to prove my determination, and maybe improve my writing, too.

But that’s all we can do, practice; and give over to the idea that time is a concrete component of resolution. We shouldn’t suffer anxiety when big, important undertakings aren’t solved in an afternoon. The truth about our last will & testament: my wife and I made no headway until we broke down the 1 daunting task into 14 manageable steps. We wrote out a list and began scratching off smaller items with ease. This one change broke the impasse and our resolve came to fruition.

Resolution

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week Four, Q1

Resolution: “Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

Personal notes:

  • Act like you would if someone challenged you.
  • Do not approach things mildly when you could approach it aggressively.
  • Be indomitable; not lackadaisical.
  • Act with purpose in everything.

Fuck this hurts. All the pressure is on my neck. Pain shooting down my back. Eyes hurt. Can eyes hurt? I don’t know. Focus dummy. Need to get out of this choke. Try one more escape. Damn. He countered. I’m gassed. Got nothing. Choke is tightening. All right, I’m done. Waaaait a minute. Is he talking shit?

I can’t explain the rage that exploded inside but I can tell you that at that very moment I violently threw him over my shoulder. If we were in a bar, I’d roar like the Hulk and pretend to throw a tree like a Scotsman. But why focus on a moment like this? Because those 5 minutes sum up one of my greatest weaknesses in life: the failure to use resolve unless directly challenged.

Why is it so difficult? Why does it take a lack of oxygen for my brain to wake up? Am I alone in this? Is Resolve a muscle? Do I need to focus on it at the gym? Whip it into shape? Maybe. I guess that’s why we’re here.

In the weekly email I asked you to come up with a long term goal. What’d you do? I signed up for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and paid for a year in advance. Another goal is this blog. Write for one whole year. To cement the commitment, I invited a group of close friends to follow along. Nothing keeps you honest like peer pressure and the risk of wasting money.

Some observations:

  • Find something that will help you build your resolve. I specifically focused on martial arts as a means to bring focus and discipline back in my life.
  • There’s a lot out there. Groupon is a fantastic place to start. Do something.
  • When I joined, I was surprised how many moms were in the Jiu Jitsu class. Don’t restrict yourself to what is expected or typical of your demographic. Experiment. Expand.
  • It felt good to share this blog with close friends. To be honest, I was nervous and embarrassed but forced myself to bite the bullet. Their surprising words of encouragement and support were heartfelt and motivating. It was a kind reward. Don’t be embarrassed to share with those closest to you. 
  • Don’t be your own obstacle. Sometimes, just getting there is a victory. I intently walked to the Jiu Jitsu school but then walked right passed it. About a block away I stopped, turned around and forced myself to go in and sign up.
  • It feels good to stand tall.

With this blog we’re choosing to change who we are and build a better life. This is not without setbacks. Last week I had a few failures. The key component missing in Order was Resolve. I’ll spare you the joy of finding an accountant – wahoo midlife excitement – but it felt great to get a win. As for legal stuff, I got yelled at for using LegalZoom. Apparently it’s much better to find an actual lawyer that deals in Estate Planning. Friendly tip, Family Law is a euphemism for Divorce Law. Made for an awkward phone call.

In the end, I’d love to hear your own thoughts below. Share your comments. It may help with your own process. It certainly helps me with mine. 

-Pat