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Snapping turtle philosophy

There are moments, I tell you, when you feel life is futile. Case in point:

Me: "Don't let the cat out!"

Kids: "Yes mom."

Me, a few minutes later as the kids come in and out of the house 600 times for no reason: "Remember not to let the cat out! We're not back until tomorrow night, she won't like it if she's stuck outside."

Kids: "Yes mom."

Kids, a few minutes later: "Mom! Bec accidentally let the cat out!"

Sigh. And don't get me started on trying to keep the kitchen (or any part of the house, for that matter) clean-ish. Every now and then I do a thorough job of tidying up and cleaning and the place is sparkling and within minutes of people getting out of bed it's a mess again.

And what about the constant repeating, the incessant nagging to please not talk with your mouth open, make your bed, pick up your bag, don't be late, clean the cat litter, did you remember to vacuum the rug? It's like a treadmill, except more pointless.

But then, every spring, I am confronted by my snapping turtle. She comes around to lay eggs on top of my septic sand. She spends about 36 hours slowly digging and laying and burying. Turtles don't get their reputations from nowhere; it's a painfully slow process. Then eventually she goes back to the lake... and within hours the porcupines have eaten all the eggs. They leave a mess of broken shells behind along with some yolk (yeah, ew) and thoroughly destroy all that turtle's slow and laborious work.

Yet every year she comes back to do it again. The picture above is from this morning. She's looking at me with a somewhat unfriendly eye, but (call me crazy) I see defiance in there too. She's going to keep doing her thing because that's what she does.

I wonder sometimes if we don't ask ourselves too many questions about the point of life and our purpose here on earth. I mean, it's fine to have goals and ambitions and to strive to be the best you can be. But at the same time, a lot of what we necessarily have to do is horrendously pointless.

Maybe I just have to find a patch of sandy soil somewhere inside my soul and be more like my ugly turtle...

Why you need to hurt

With a nickname like that, I'm not allowed to quit just because I'm uncomfortable.

With a nickname like that, I'm not allowed to quit just because I'm uncomfortable.

An excellent passage from Seth Godin's excellent The Dip (page 31):

Weight training is a fascinating science. Basically, you do a minute or two of work for no reason other than to tire out your muscle so that the last few seconds of work will cause that muscle to grow.

Like most people, all day long, every day, you use your muscles. But they don’t grow. You don’t look like Mr. Universe because you quit using your muscles before you reach the moment where the stress causes them to start growing. It’s the natural thing to do, because an exhausted muscle feels unsafe - and it hurts.

People who train successfully pay their dues for the first minute or two and then get all the benefits at the very end. Unsuccessful trainers pay exactly the same dues but stop a few seconds too early.

It’s human nature to quit when it hurts. But it’s that reflex that creates scarcity.

Moral of the story? If you're going to go to the trouble of training (weights or anything else), might as well push past the unpleasant bits and get the benefits.

If you don't take it, it's on you

If you don't take it, it's on you

My inspiring quote for today, from The Obstacle is the Way, by Ryan Holiday (page 120):

Ordinary people shy away from negative situations, just as they do with failure. They do their best to avoid trouble. What great people do is the opposite. They are at their best in these situations. They turn personal tragedy or misfortune - really anything, everything - to their advantage.

But this crisis in front of you? You’re wasting it feeling sorry for yourself, feeling tired or disappointed. You forget: Life speeds on the bold and favors the brave.

We sit here and complain that we’re not being given opportunities or chances. But we are.

At certain moments in our brief existences we are faced with great trials. Often those trials are frustrating, unfortunate, or unfair. They seem to come exactly when we think we need them the least. The question is: Do we accept this as an exclusively negative event, or can we get past whatever negativity or adversity it represents and mount an offensive? Or more precisely, can we see that this ‘problem’ presents an opportunity for a solution that we have long been waiting for>

If you don’t take that, it’s on you.