Three problems with the world


I have this super smart friend named Craig. Smart, yes, nice, yes, but don’t attack him or he’ll break your hand. Literally. Not unlike me.

Anyway he was saying that all the world’s problems can be boiled down to a lack of one of two things: energy, or education. Think about it: with unlimited, non-polluting energy you could build houses, desalinate water; all sorts of such things. And with proper education things wouldn’t fall into decline because of disuse or non-care. Education is broader than “know how,” it’s also “know when,” and taking initiative, and responsibility, and being conscientious.

I was mulling this over in the back of my brain for much of the week until right around Friday night when I was talking to someone about war, and life, and unfairness, right and wrong and I realised: there is a third problem with the world. Bad people.

Now you know how it is: sometimes bad situations make good people do bad things. And then there is self-perception vs perception of others; if you do what is right for group A it may be very VERY bad  for group B. It’s not unlike that whole Star Trek notion of the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the one …. That’s a value judgment and it’s possible to come down on different sides of the issue, in good conscience. Like, you know, the company that refuses to reissue invoices that are incorrect and rather threatens and insists that you pay the incorrect ones, or else.

And then there is just malice and ill will. Like being a bully. Or refusing to honour a contract that doesn’t suit you hoping your ass won’t get dragged into court. Actually just unethical.

Notice the statue doing a pistol!

Notice the statue doing a pistol!

Craig was also saying in his careers he has seen bigger companies refuse to pay smaller ones …. Just for fun. To see how they’ll react. Like a cat playing with a mouse.

Lovely, eh? Well, remember: elephants seem a bit put off by mice.

So there we go: all the world’s problems can be distilled down to a lack of energy, education, or ethics. As a working theory, I’m happy with it so far.

But it helps to understand different perspectives. There was something I was struggling to understand; like I really just didn’t get it at all. It was actually obvious, right in front of me all along, Katharine had even told me to look for it, and it wasn’t until someone else pointed it out that I finally got it. Well, I can be slow on the uptake sometimes.

Flying 'pineapples' at the Greenpop party

Flying ‘pineapples’ at the Greenpop party

Funny time of year; the weather can’t decide what it feels like doing. Sunday it was hot … like 38-43 depending on when, where, etc. For my American friends, that means it was indeed 100 degrees in the shade. I started the day with a beach workout (Sandy Helen!!), followed by a dip in the ocean then a couple-hour stint at Sandbar, and eventually followed by a massive feast at Craig & Caryn’s house, complete with homemade rooibos iced tea. They also had aircon and a cave-like house. Thursday & Friday felt like full-on autumn with a chill in the air, trees starting to turn, and autumn lilies blooming. By the weekend, it was hot again!

Dreadful; that heat! Monday morning I somehow managed to get dressed and make it to the gym to perform the 300s workout, men’s version. I might have waited until my hands were more healed from Saturday’s stupid heavy hang power snatches, because trying to do pullups without using your pinkies is a bit harder than normal! The upshot was that I was not able to complete the workout as fast as the Hollywood actor. But whatever; it was a darn sight better than the Filthy Fifty workout I attempted Friday morning which was an epic fail. I think I’d not eaten enough the day before. Funny how that works.

But also: a chipper is very much a head game. And when your head is elsewhere it’s not a good thing. The previous day’s “Prowler/chest-to-bar Helen” was much better.

Early morning clouds to greet me on my way to the gym

Early morning clouds to greet me on my way to the gym

It’s all fun & games until the rest of my life affects my training. Once or twice is one thing; that’s normal if you’re not a professional athlete. But on a regular basis? Not.

One of those things you should do in almost all situations is consider them, and whether your emotions, actions, etc are something that you actually understand and agree with. Like where does rational thinking end and fear begin? What are you actually afraid of? Why?

Are you really listening or just thinking of what you’re going to say next? Are you really justified in your position or is it just that your ego doesn’t want to allow you to back down?

For better or worse, I think through these things all the time. ALL the time. I change direction very quickly; I can recall a few examples off the top of my head where staff members have argued me into changing my position. Not because I didn’t want a fight, but because I hadn’t thought of it from their perspective, and having done so, concluded that they were correct.

Ugly, beautiful, scary, or safe? All depends on how you look at it. #Woodstock

Ugly, beautiful, scary, or safe? All depends on how you look at it. #Woodstock

Great quote from the awesome HBR blog: “Think of a crowded movie theatre. Before yelling ‘fire!’ consider the risk of people being trampled to death trying to exit the theatre, or consider that even if they do make it out alive they’ll probably run frantically in ten different directions before collapsing, exhausted.”

Same post, another great point: “Keep in mind what the psychologists have pretty much proven: when it comes to sustained effort at a high level, positive feelings are infinitely more successful than negative.”

A very interesting week for me! I’ve gone from having a roommate being a sort of notional thing, or thing I wasn’t sure exactly how it would work out (cuz people in your space is just strange, and has the potential to ruin a friendship!), to being not only normal-feeling, but actually positive and comfortable.

Not yet ripe, but nearly!

Not yet ripe, but nearly!

And I’ve had a good number of people, from a wide spectrum of my life, offer emotional support. Almost at random. It’s weird to get great doses of love when you least expect it. Just reminds you what is valuable in this life … relationships.

Sometimes I can be blunt, and if you get between me and something I want I will do my very best to shove you out of the way. But there are few things that I value more than dedication (to whatever! But pick at least one thing and be passionate about it!), honour, loyalty, and trust.

No one can take your honour, or your ethics, or the respect and trust of the people whose respect and trust you have earned.

Like this. You are born with some attributes; others you work for and cannot be taken from you!

Like this. You are born with some attributes; others you work for and cannot be taken from you!

Conversely, these things cannot be bought or traded.

Also, the status quo can and should be rejected if it’s no longer suitable. This came up in the WAPA context this week, and I know that what I said really impacted Sam because she told me the next day she’d spoken to Dominic about it. Inertia is a powerful thing, but what is more powerful is force of will. That’s why I’m now a competitive CrossFit athlete and no longer a couch potato.

And this is also why, I’ve now learned the hard way, if you don’t understand the athlete in me, you won’t understand me. I’m not compromising that again. Birds of a feather flock together. Or, do crazy workouts together & eat massive quantities of healthy food! I was talking to one of the guys who trains at CCF this week, who said he could never do what I do (train by myself). It’s true that you miss some things this way, but, I’m not alone. I’m never alone. Some of my moral support is in Cape Town, some is at my ‘home’ gym in California, and some is in Johannesburg.

Don’t forget: the matrix is a hologram. Support in one place means support everywhere.

Speaking of which, a shout out to the lovely Hesphia Short on her birthday today! Sadly I couldn’t be there because I’m in Jozi for the day; finishing my prep for the week ahead and looking forward to an awesome braai tonight.

Oh! This was a good week for yet another exciting reason. I met the third person in the world whose vision of Wi-Fi is the same as mine. Interesting times ahead.

When it rains, it pours. That’s all.

  • “I swear, these shoes are hazardous!” – Lara
  • “I need to clean up my blood. I can’t just leave it on the equipment.” – Ellie
  • “What a crazy cult! She should have just joined CrossFit. It’s cheaper!” – Ellie
  • “Scientologists have a weird thing about people who push back.” – Caryn
  • “The thing is, there are rules and laws for a reason. And when people don’t follow them, you tend to get upset.” – Craig
  • “Your life can change so fast if you just work at it.” – Jeremy
  • “That doesn’t look like snatches. That looks like strict pullups.” – Richie
  • “I could find no way to describe this person. So I just used ‘colourful.’” – Marnus
  • “That’s why he brought cake. So we don’t kill him.” “Well, I can’t eat the cake. So I might kill him.” – Anita & Ellie
  • “I don’t like the whole way he’s approaching this!” – Rudolph
  • “Telecoms is too sordid for me.” “Telecoms is too sordid for me too. I’ll stick to CrossFit.” – Anita & Ellie (lies!)
  • “I wonder if that sounds half as underhanded as it probably is.” [pause] “No. It’s not so bad.” – Ellie & Tim
  • “I mean, that’s just stabbing yourself in the …. Everywhere!” – Tim
  • “I couldn’t do what you do.” – Graham
  • “Why not?” “That would mean that you’re sadistic.” “Well, I kind of am!” – Mark & Ellie
  • “You set off the alarm yourself, and you panicked?” – Anita
  • “Cowboys? Yeah, no, I think not.” – Ellie
  • “Well the ‘1014 glue cable’ is done.’ – Tim
  • “It’s like a clown shouting at you if they use 14 point Comic Sans!” – Adam
  • “I woke up today and there was a hamburger in my purse.” – Lauren
  • “Dogs should wag tails, not the other way around.” – Ellie
  • “Stop worrying about what you have to lose and start focusing on what you have to gain!” – Chris
  • “They signed a deal with the Devil.” – Rudolph
  • “She’s trying to take over the world. One computer at a time.” – Jeremy
  • “I’m not used to him being right.” “Lol.  True. He’s a bit out of left field.” – Ellie & Sam
  • “I heard that he called Dominic.” – Sam
  • “When we saw how many documents we had to review, we decided that we all needed cake.” – Ingi
  • “I think it is unless for some reason you think it’s not.” – Sam
  • “An oil tanker beaches off Clifton; that’s going to be at least 17 million cups of coffee right there.” – Rolf
  • “Why is that under our privacy policy?” “I don’t know.” – Ellie & Sam
  • “OK. I’ll bring one Canadian and one American.” – Katharine
  • “Long before goats were a digital craze, I would sketch them in my school diaries and dream about owning a few one day. I now own one. Fernando. He’s a riot.” – Jeremy
  • “Do you not eat shrimp heads?” “I do. You taught me that.” – Ellie & Katharine
  • “The war’s in your head.” – a wise man
  • “Seriously, with the amount of traffic that’s here, you’d be sober by the time you got to the roadblock.” – Ellie
  • “This is how I say goodbye to my friends.” – Byron
  • “It’s so peaceful here, with chameleons falling from trees.” – Rudolph
  • “It’s reality. There is no black or white.” – Craig

One comment

  1. I’m glad I eventually read this. Some times I get overwhelmed by long posts, but it was really insightful

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