jim harrison - off to the side
.......this life still lives within me and has presented unpleasant difficulties, including claustrophobia that is occasionally acute. It isn’t the hokum Daniel Boone-Robert Frost, city-country, civilization-wilderness thing, which is far too simple for actual humans, though it occurs regularly in our mythology, especially the aspects of the “mythos” that arise in television and movies. And low-rent fiction. You know, the guy has a pooch, a pet bear, says “darn it” a lot and can’t “abide womenfolk.” I mean something closer to the Portuguese notion of saudade, a person or place or sense of life irretrievably lost; a shadow of your own making that follows you, and though often forgotten can at any moment give rise to heartache, an obtuse sentimentality, a sharp anger that you are not located where you wish to be, an irrational and childish melancholy that you have cheated yourself of being married to a life essence that you have never been able to quite gather to yourself.
jim harrison - off to the side
“The ancient masters of Japanese Art were allowed to change their name once in their lifetime. They had to be very selective about the moment in their career when they did so. They would stick with their given name until they felt they had become the artist they aspired to be; at that point, they were allowed to change their name. For the rest of their life,they could work under the new name at the height of their powers. The name change was a sign of artistic maturity.” – Twyla Tharp
We all should strive to learn to be better at what we do.
We are all trading hours and minutes of our lives to do something. Whether it is building something, creating something, or watching a sitcom, all activities have the same cost. Moments of your life.
You trade them for that activity.
I like the quote above, because I like to visualize men in robes quietly working alone over a small desk that folds into their lap, while a warm rain falls outside an open window on green leaves. People who have dedicated those hours of their life to what they feel is worth the cost we all pay, and they work very hard to be great at what they do.
Once they become masters of their craft, they change their names, to remind themselves, I believe, of what they are and what they have worked to become. The name shows the cost paid.
My name is still the same, but I am working at it.
In the MBA program all we ever heard was shareholder value.
You must always maximize shareholder value, over and over, which is important, very very important, but we often forget that the shareholders are also members of our communities. Maybe it comes down to the definition of value, money is one, but another is sustainability, and the most crucial value is community, businesses should never forget they are part of communities.
It is all connected, and no business operates in a vacuum.
Some wise words from a businessman, Yvon Chouinard, who does it right.
I live for the moment. I'm basically a Buddhist-type person. I'm just here right now, and I don't think about what's going to happen a hundred years from now. I try to concentrate on what's going on right now.
But I’m really trying to run this company like it is going to be here a hundred years from now. That's what's important.
I had always tried to live my life fairly simply and by 1991, knowing what I knew about the state of the environment, I had begun to eat lower on the food chain and reduce my consumption of material goods. Doing risk sports had taught me another important lesson: never exceed your limits. You push the envelope and you live for those moments when you’re right on the edge, but you don’t go over. You have to be true to yourself; you have to know your strengths and limitations and live within your means. The same is true for a business. The sooner a company tries to be what it is not, the sooner it tries to “have it all,” the sooner it will die.
Growth isn't central at all, because I'm trying to run this company as if it's going to be here a hundred years from now. And if you take where we are today and add 15% growth, like public companies need to have for their stock to stay up in value, I'd be a multi-trillion-dollar company in 40 years. Which is impossible, of course.
So all of these companies that are going for the big growth, if it continues for any length of time, will outlast their resources and outlast their customers and go belly-up. And that's why these huge companies have massive layoffs all the time.
Since I'm trying to run this company like it's going to be around a hundred years from now, we have to limit our growth and keep it to what we call "natural growth." In other words, I don't advertise on billboards in inner cities so that kids buy our black down jackets instead of The North Face's. In fact, we hardly advertise at all.
We grow by letting the customer tell us. So when the customer tells us that they're frustrated, that they just got their catalogue and we're already out of a product they wanted, then it tells me that we're not making enough. We let the customer tell us instead of creating an artificial demand for our products. Any time you're making products that people don't need, you're at the mercy of the economy, you're at the mercy of whatever is going on. So we tried to avoid that situation.
If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don't even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery--isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you'll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is."
— Charles Bukowski (Factotum)
Quotes from The Fighter's Mind by Sam Sheridan
"It was understood that there was a winner and a dead man. Which makes my approach to training totally different if I'm going to die. It's impossible for you to train the same way, I don't care how much you practice, I don't care how sharp your sword is or what famous smith made it. If you go into a sword fight for points, you'll never obtain what I'm obtaining with a dull sword against somebody that's going to die." - Virgil Hunter
Life and death intensity matters and is valuable.
Nothing can replace natural self- discipline, nothing can replace time in a gym.
Fighters are born in the dedication to repetition.
The research shows that repeated social defeats not only affect the hippocampus's ability to make new cells, it affects serotonin levels.
- Sam Sheridan
Extremism is showing what is possible - Dan Gable
" He may be strong, but all I have to do during that nine minutes of wrestling is loosen one single wire in his brain, make him do something that isn't perfect, and he will fall apart. " - Dan Gable
"Everyone is the same for the first two minutes, everyone has a chance to win, but after that you start to seperate physically and mentally." - Marcelo Garcia
Jiu- jitsu is about dedication and knowledge.
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms."
"We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavour. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts."
— Henry David Thoreau (Walden: Or, Life in the Woods)
I am often asked what is the purpose or goal of what I post to this site, and the answer always surprises people, this is a travel blog.
Not a travel to other places, although that is part of it, but a travel through ideas, thoughts, and people.
Traveling through what people not only were, or are, but what people could be, it lets us see all the possibilities of being.
Books are amazing in that you travel into other people’s lives, sometimes their ideas, and often with biographies, the life of the subject and the life of the author, as every book is written by someone for a personal reason.
I read three to four books at a time, and I believe that allows me to learn faster, as I pick similar books, but often one will be fiction, one book of nonfiction, and then a biography, so that when I read one book and it starts to get stale or I stop absorbing, I can change the book and reset my mind.
Sometimes one sentence in a book seems to leap out at the reader, and this one caught my attention as I finished this book.
“Yes, Phil thought with a sigh, I have bypassed my life.” This is a sentence from the biography of Philip K Dick called I Am Alive and You are Dead by Emmanuel Carrere.
That is a big fear we all have, that we have bypassed our life.
It is a sad sentence, but powerful, as it always reminds the reader of lost moments, and we all have those times, but most of us forget them quickly, and it is not until something comes along, a sentence, a picture, or a song that we remember them.
I have learned quickly by not just learning from my mistakes, but also others errors, and too often, I think we let life slide past as we get preoccupied with everything but what is happening around us today, at this moment.
I find the world has a way of linking together ideas, as the sentence above was about the same time as I read the quote by Annie Dillard, “ How you spend your day is how you spend your life.” And these work together to create an understanding of how we lose track and control of our lives, and how something as simple as paying attention to that moment can make our lives better.
“How you spend your day is how you spend your life” is perfectly said.
David Mitchell (The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet) - great passage ( Think If Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote Prose)
"Gulls wheel through spokes of sunlight over gracious roofs and dowdy thatch, snatching entrails at the marketplace and escaping over cloistered gardens, spike-topped walls, and triple-bolted doors. Gulls alight on whitewashed gables, creaking pagodas, and dung-ripe stables; circle over towers and cavernous bells and over hidden squares where urns of urine sit by covered wells, watched by mule drivers, mules, and wolf-snouted dogs, ignored by hunchbacked makers of clogs; gather speed up the stoned-in Nakashima River and fly beneath the arches of its bridges, glimpsed from kitchen doors, watched by farmers walking high, stony ridges. Gulls fly through clouds of steam from laundries' vats; over kites unthreading corpses of cats; over scholars glimpsing truth in fragile patterns; over bathhouse adulterers; heartbroken slatterns; fishwives dismembering lobsters and crabs; their husbands gutting mackerel on slabs; woodcutters' sons sharpening axes; candlemakers rolling waxes; flint-eyed officials milking taxes; etiolated lacquerers; mottled-skinned dyers; imprecise soothsayers; unblinking liars; weavers of mats; cutters of rushes; ink-lipped calligraphers dipping brushes; booksellers ruined by unsold books; ladies-in-waiting; tasters; dressers; filching page boys; runny-nosed cooks; sunless attic nooks where seamstresses prick calloused fingers; limping malingerers; swineherds; swindlers; lip-chewed debtors rich in excuses; heard-it-all creditors tightening nooses; prisoners haunted by happier lives and aging rakes by other men's wives; skeletal tutors goaded to fits; firemen-turned-looters when occasion permits; tongue-tied witnesses; purchased judges; mothers-in-law nurturing briars and grudges; apothecaries grinding powders with mortars; palanquins carrying not-yet-wed daughters; silent nuns; nine-year-old whores; the once-were-beautiful gnawed by sores; statues of Jizo anointed with posies; syphilitics sneezing through rotted-off noses; potters; barbers; hawkers of oil; tanners; cutlers; carters of night soil; gatekeepers; beekeepers; blacksmiths and drapers; torturers; wet-nurses; perjurers; cutpurses; the newborn; the growing; the strong-willed and pliant; the ailing; the dying; the weak and defiant; over the roof of a painter withdrawn first from the world, then his family, and down into a masterpiece that has, in the end, withdrawn from its creator; and around again, where their flight began, over the balcony of the Room of the Last Chrysanthemum, where a puddle from last night's rain is evaporating; a puddle in which Magistrate Shiroyama observes the blurred reflections of gulls wheeling through spokes of sunlight. This world, he thinks, contains just one masterpiece, and that is itself."
— David Mitchell (The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet)
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“We all are learning, modifying, or destroying ideas all the time. Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire. You must force yourself to consider arguments on the other side.
— Charles T. Munger”
I recommend you read these, I did.
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