The best way to win is to cheat

Well, that’s what the internet told us anyway when we were researching the prisoner’s dilemma. Why, exactly, we were researching the prisoner’s dilemma at work is a story for another time.
Of course in the classical prisoner’s dilemma there is no winning, only losing. Well, unless you and your fellow prisoner have such trust that neither of you admits to the crime. But boy, that’s a lot of trust. A lot of trust. I’m not sure there is anyone that I trust that much, or ever have. But never say never! I’ve learned that lesson the hard way.
Made me wonder though … if you could cheat, and get away with it, would you? If you’re in competition and your judge no reps you for something you think is legit, you know how to deal with that: get over it and move on. Quickly. But if you’re in competition and your judge calls a rep good that you know wasn’t, or miscounts in your favour, what do you do then? Do you do another rep or just let it go? Hard to say … especially when sometimes I get called for no reps by one of our coaches and I think the rep was good (sometimes it’s legitimately hard to tell if you’re short changing the movement slightly, especially when you’re moving fast). So the reverse could also happen. Of course, sometimes you just KNOW your chest didn’t quite touch the bar, or your head didn’t touch the ground, or you missed that double-under. Well, cross that bridge when we come to it, I guess.
Made some more headway at work the second half of the week, actually laying some solid groundwork for what is to come. And merging several different documents into a standard statement of work template, which I thought would take me 20 minutes and instead took the better part of two hours. Well, so it goes.
But I’m excited. On Monday I have two interns starting: one is going to work on a research project I’ve wanted to throw a resource at for over a year, namely researching the commercial possibilities of doing a market day concept in the townships (just because people are poor doesn’t mean they’re not aspirational … quite the opposite). And what better way to generate revenue combined with education about, say, proper nutrition? The other is going to help me do a business assessment and recommendations for our little Wines with Heart, which has struggled in the marketplace ever since I’ve been here, which completely blows my mind. Everyone drinks wine, and the value proposition is a classic more for the same that should have widespread appeal: buy the SAME bottle of wine for the SAME price, and some of the proceeds go towards charitable causes in the winelands. So, we’re going to figure out what’s wrong.
And, once I nail down that SOW and the corresponding paperwork between Heart and Heart Capital, I’m going to get to work on that activity that I love almost as much as lifting heavy weights – business model crafting, and with Greenpop. Could life be any better? Oh, wait, yes it could.
Whatever it was that I did on Monday that jacked up my back (which is actually shorthand for my psoas because that’s really what’s injured/reinjured/still injured at this point), really took me out of commission. Thursday was a scheduled rest day, and contained acupuncture to prevent me from training anyway. I said I was feeling a little bit tender, and when Kim asked if I was doing heavy back squats (the day before I had done what I thought was a conservative 20 rep max at 57kgs/125lbs … back squats hadn’t hurt me LAST week after all), various things floated through my head: “Nooooo….” “Define heavy ….” What I eventually wound up telling him was “I think it was the handstand pushups on Monday.” Cuz that sounded cooler than “It might have been the band-assisted strict pullups.”
Do stupid stuff, stay injured. I know, I know. I’m sure it’s just the exuberance of youth, but Kim understands me in a way his father doesn’t seem to. Neither of us “does” rest very well. Immaturity, yes. But it’s like telling an overweight person to go cold turkey on the sugar. It’s just HARD.
Friday I wanted to train but woke up, saw the workout, and rather than thinking “oh, looks like fun!” I instead thought “oh, God, my back!” so I took another rest day.
Saturday I still felt a little bit tender but much better so instead of lying at home feeling sorry for myself or staying at the Biscuit Mill chatting for another hour and a half, I did make it to the gym. My plan was a light technique day, mainly focused on fixing my jerk which has been absolutely abominable lately, probably because I rarely practice it. I got some unexpectedly awesome coaching from Chris (not unexpected that it was awesome but unexpected in that he’s usually doing his own thing during open gym and not available to lie around for 20 minutes giving you technique tips). But it felt awesome, and FAST.
I was chatting to Beatrix about the many different kinds of pleasures you can get from training. She seems to get really fired up when she trains. I don’t, actually (except when I do heavy squats, which I haven’t done in a while, haha!). There is a little Pavlovian reaction to hearing the clock count down to start but for the most part training you go, but it doesn’t get me riled up the way a competition does. But there is a pleasure in adrenaline. A pleasure of finally learning a new skill or hitting a PR. The dopamine bliss after a tough metcon. The pumped up feeling after lifting heavy weights. The wind rushing by your face as you sprint, especially if it’s cold outside or dark.
Training, doing things other people can’t do or won’t do, because it’s too hard or too painful … well, maybe we feel a bit smugly superior sure, but maybe we’re also just addicts.
So I caught myself twice in the last week being proud of something and then realising it wasn’t actually anything to be proud of at all. The first was when I was on chat with Hes, saying how I’d put my body on the line for my team (essentially I’d throw myself in front of a bus for the people to whom I feel loyalty). She pointed out that I had, in fact, done so. Noble? Maybe. Stupid? Also maybe. Then, one of the other qigong students asked me how long I’d been doing it and I said about two months and he was very surprised because I’m almost at his level and he has apparently been doing it for nearly a year. So of course the competitor in me felt proud and then I immediately felt a sense of shame … this is about learning a skill, not about learning a skill faster than the other people. This need to feel better about myself by comparing myself to other people is something I don’t really care for about myself, actually. But in some ways I play it up. Hmm.
Sometimes you just have to laugh. The photo above is of the door to my apartment complex. Yes, it is almost completely blocked by the scaffolding. Only in South Africa.
  • “I want to win. I don’t like to lose.” – Jeff
  • “He’s mad sneaky. He’s an American.” – Anton
  • “It’s true though. You could be friendly. But you’re still an American.” – Anton
  • “Oh she’s American! That explains it! …. I thought she was from Joburg.” – Anton
  • “And whose fault is that [the lack of beer in the office]? Well, at least you man up to it!” – Jaco
  • “Today is Thursday? What’s tomorrow?” – Zaheer (yes, he really said this)
  • “Planting trees is not going to work unless those trees are buried in the sea.” – Jeremy
  • “I think we’ve found her Kryptonite.” – Jeff
  • “You know what is my life goal? To beat Jeff at the number of quotes on your blog.” – Anton 


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