See you on the other side for Orange bands and beer was my declaration to the world Saturday morning as I embarked on conquering the final physical goal of the year. ToughMudder NY/NJ 2012 which became so much more than just an Orange band and a beer; it became a symbol life, love, and pursuit of possibilities.
I dedicate the Orange band for my best friend’s father who passed this year, for my good friend’s cousin who has cancer and is making it through, for my best friend’s wife who has cancer and is fighting, for my parents who bore me, raised me, and hardly get to see me. For my friends who support and teach me, the Brothers who keep me on course, the acquaintances who contribute to my life in ways they will never know, and my wife - Paula - who does all these things and more! Her beauty is the first star I see when I wake, and the last I see when the day’s work is done. She among all is the sun to my moon, grounds my being, and makes me a better man. Paula, my goddess rode out with me to battle yesterday at what she thought to be an ungodly hour to see me at the finish line. She would be rewarded, and more on that later.
In January I set out upon the New Year with a list of goals that would contribute to my life's experiences by reinforcing my already strong foundation, provide me once in a lifetime situations, push my boundaries, and put me on a path to discover unforeseen possibilities. It was my desire to learn about the world around me that took me to the cliff, but action that drove me forward. I joined New York Road Runners and completed 10 races in 2012. I also completed 3 ½ marathons, several 10 mile cross country races, a single 18 mile race, participated in NYC 5 Borough Bike Ride, joined a spin class, and tried to celebrate each run with a scotch & cigar. Not only did I push to excel in the physical but expanded in many other areas. I read 18 out of 26 books thus far, took a hot air balloon ride for the first time in my life, started talking to people in the elevator, realized my greatness, completed 6 great speeches at Toastmasters, started 3 great groups where leaders come together, ran a symposium of 30 unique souls, and so much more. What I did was push past my boundaries on all fronts and followed through on my word – to be the most interesting person in the world.
I wanted to meet the most interesting man in the world back in January. When I arrived at the finish line for the ToughMudder this weekend, I found it was me! Who do I aspire to be? Me! Congratulations to me and thank you to everyone around me for helping me accomplish my goals and dreams in 2012! Without all of you, I would not be who I am today.
Stay thirst my friends.
P.S. And for my wife's reward mentioned above, I save 1/2 my beer that I worked all year for, ran 3 1/2 marathons for, invested countless hours training, ran 12 miles today for, climbed countless obstacles for, suffered through ice water for, bathed in mud for, and was shocked repeatedly for! Why? As we are both responsible for the success in my life, we should celebrate the success together! I love you Paula.
Here is my latest project speech for Toastmasters. Currently a work in progress, delivered once, revising, and working on memorizing. Enjoy.
“I am the punishment of God…If you had not committed great sins; God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you.”
Destroyer of civilizations
He was all of them, He was Genghis Khan!
Good evening fellow Toastmasters, or should I say descendants of Genghis Khan. No other man in all of human history has had such a profound effect upon the modern world.
--Fact! 1 in 200 people is a direct descendant of Genghis Khan
--Fact! Genghis Khan laid the foundation for the greatest empire the world has ever seen, from the Danube River in Germany, South to the Himalayas, and all the way to South China Sea and Korean peninsula.
The question before you this evening is whether you can conceive a more effective strategy to build an empire, control a conquered people, and ensure the survival of one's own line. No matter how gruesome the stories are, I can assure you the stories are true and extremely effective.
Temujin was born around 1165 in a world very different from ours. There was one rule - kill or be killed. Temujin's story begins with his father being invited to break fast with a local tribe, where he is then poisoned, and killed. His mother was subsequently abandoned by everyone and left to support Temujin and his 3 step brothers. At the age of 13 we catch a glimpse of the raging monster within:
Picture this, Temujin is standing on the bank of a river, fishing. As he reels in a fish, one of his older brothers swoops in like a bird of prey and relinquishes Temujin of the spoils. To Temujin this simply will not due and proceeds to firmly plant an arrow in his brothers back. Lesson learned: do not cross Temujin.
It is worth to mention what the environment looked like if you were a Mongol at this time in history. There are roughly 600 thousand Mongols, 200 thousand which are warriors, and 200 million enemies. Staggering numbers! There was a very real sense that the Mongols could literally be drowned by conquered populations. The one answer was to make the populations less dangerous.
The campaign to Break
We fast forward to the year 1215 where Temujin is crowed as "Genghis Khan", otherwise known as the universal leader, after he successfully sacked the capital of China, Beijing by using woman and children as shields. Total deaths racked up in China - 15 million.
In 1219 Genghis Khan sends a diplomatic mission to the Khwarizmi Empire where his mission is killed. Genghis Khan demands that the Shah Muhammad bring the men responsible to justice. The Shah answers by beheading Kahn’s messenger.
Genghis Khan quickly takes control of the campaign personally, orders 200 thousand warriors into the Khwarizmi Empire, otherwise known as modern day Iran, and proceeds to sweep through the empire one city at a time. Some people are captured to serve as human shields for the next city and every other man, woman, and child is slain, every animal killed, every tree cut down, every city raised to ashes, every field salted, and all the skulls piled into pyramids. The program was so effective the Dynasty ends abruptly. Within 2 years there are no surviving members of the Khwarizmi Empire. Total deaths 15 million.
"The greatest happiness is to scatter your enemy, to drive him before you, to see his cities reduced to ashes, to see those who love him shrouded in tears, and to gather into your bosom his wives and daughters.”
By this time, enemies would surrender by the thousands so as not to face the hammer of Genghis Khan. But the education was not yet complete.
Several years later the Tanguts of Xi Xia revolted providing a canvas for Genghis Khan to paint his masterpiece of success. With 50 thousand troops, Genghis Khan sent his generals to lay waste to the land with these orders:
--go out and make a slave out of every man smaller than a wheel
--kill every man larger than a wheel
--rape every woman and every daughter
After some time the generals returned and Genghis Khan asked for a report. The assessment provided by the generals was bleak. Here is what they said, “the people are suffering, there is death and destruction all around, and the people are broken.” Upon listening to the generals, Genghis Khan instructed them to go back out and do it again.
Upon the generals’ return, Genghis Khan asked once again, “how did you find the people?” The generals responded, “the people don't mind it so much anymore”. “Good” was the reply from Khan, “their will is broken and they will never rise up again. Pack up and move out.”
These tactics yet gruesome allowed the Mongolian Empire to control 2 continents with limited resources. If you have 2% of a population remaining, terror works and you will have no revolt. Therefore, breaking the will was extremely effective in allowing a group 400 times smaller than the conquered population to rule. In the end, 35 - 40 million deaths ensured survival of an empire and the universal ruler, who is still among us today. Thank you.
Today's post comes on the heels of just completing my very first trail run (running on a hiking trail / a.k.a. cross country running), a grueling 10 miles in 1 hour and 29 minutes. The run was also the very first time that I ran with a backpack full of water and may I say I did not appreciate the additional weight but very much enjoyed the thirst quenching water.
If you are like me, running can be exceptionally boring at times and an extreme mental challenge at other times. Very rarely does a poor performance root itself in physical ability or limits. Of course there are those times that a 95 degree air temperature and humid weather does in fact affect my per mile pace but for the other 90% of the time, my performance is tied directly to my mental state, confidence, and self image of being great.
As I continue to progress as a runner I have realized there are situations that can have an extraordinary effect on reinforcing my confidence and improving my mental state during a run. A year ago I didn't understand the power of a clap, the electric charge of a high five, the pure elation of a crowd cheering. The magic of a little act of support can change the outcome of the run.
There is a similar situation that can happen on the hiking trail. I am an avid hiker and therefore have been at both sides of what is referred to as trail magic. Trail magic is a small act of kindness that happens while on a trail for either days and months or while on the trail for just a day. This trail magic may manifest itself as a book left in a lean-to (shelter that has three walls, roof and one side open) at the exact time you finished yours the night before. In a ride from an absolute stranger to a near by town. Or in my case, being saved by a fellow hiker when I was found passed out on a rock from heat exhaustion. The hiker shared his limited water and supplies, spending the afternoon with me until he walked me back to my car! Trail Magic!
I know what your thinking, what does running, hiking and trail magic have to do with each other. Well, today worlds collided during my cross country run when on mile 7 I was struggling to continue because I hurt, was tired, and didn't think I could finish. When all of a sudden, coming around a bend I noticed a girl on a bike riding in front of a man who was running the opposite direction. I remember thinking, there is someone out here just like me! At that precise moment upon the Gentlemen seeing me, he yelled out "My Man, you are a superstar! Keep it up". He then proceeded to give me a high-five! Those two short sentences and high-five did more for me than all the conditioning in the world could have done. I just received my own special magic. A mix of runners high, trail magic, support, you name it and I felt it. He gave me the confidence and the charge to push on and see my goal through no matter what. Trail magic! Twenty minutes later, I finished, a champion in overcoming my mind!
Driving home I could not stop thinking about my experience and the role support and positive feedback plays in personal and professional realms to nurture success. What if I could provide a little bit of trail magic for the people in my life. A word, a gesture, an action can be all that stands between good and greatness. Why accept good, when great is there for the taking and all it took was a little bit of trail magic.
Yesterday I had a wonderful day of exploration and learning at the Guggenheim. I present my unedited thoughts.
Exhibition of art requires surrounding context. Idea here is to surround a painting with words on the wall, context, journal entries, basically meta-data. Display of the words could be shown in 3D around the work, drawing lines if there is a connection, like a mind map the disappearing to focus the viewer on the work. Just like an audio tour …
Publishing the previous experiments would greatly help comprehension. Timeline of the artist’s work and how they explored a new color, feeling, texture etc. and then see the element incorporated into a piece
A Break, A departure, Tastebreakers
A recipe for exploration, 1 large coffee, museum, notebook, and an over active mind #MindOnFire
Information modeling is art
James Sweeney, "a museum should be a vital organism, ..., it should constantly prof the observer to reach out from the familiar to the unfamiliar"
If you try and capture a particular thought, idea, then focus upon a certain group of characteristics is necessary, more light and information on a smaller area, the background loses focus, importance except for context, and finer detail can be seen and personality explored.
How could I mix color, light, sound and smell to the words I am writing here to convey the full experience of thought. Expressionist where you can see the brush strokes, more information as where abstract changes the focus of perception. Maybe not so much on light but to focus on thought, feeling, emotion
The uncertainty principal, Rineke Dijkstra
Revealing the real self, peel back everything we hide behind, to capture the emotion and importance of the moment. After birth pictures, bull fighters
What is left of the mask after a transcending event. Capturing the inward gaze
Expectations, social norms, accepted ideas all influence art, communication, and behavior. Change in periods can also be captured in art to identify the coming of social change, or a change in thought.
The frame is like the peeling back of reality to glimpse the world through the artist’s eyes. Damn, I wish I had a sketch book, something like dark grey stone and chafed wood to show reality being peeled back to reveal this alternate perception. Ideas for frame.
Capturing the available information and shaping it through your lens. Manipulation, painting
Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Your words have the power to create or destroy. Learn how to articulate your real self
Layering perceptions upon a canvas. Nature around where he was standing, wavy brush strokes of excitement, urgency to capture the fleeting glimpse, and imaginary world . Like cartoons. Just so happens he paints in layers. Paints the wind, captures nature
Artists must do more to improve. Always exploring how to communicate but there is no perfect. For perfect leaves no room for improvement and challenge. Since man is a goal oriented machine this idea of perfect is at odds with who we are.
Idea, can you grow Chinese characters into the tangible objects they represent while still holding some of their form.
Art exhibition, vertical, horizontal, and then comes out as multiple versions are created, changes made etc. To really capture the process of thought.
White is the absence of information where black has all information. Explore this later.