Remove Gray From Where It Doesn’t Belong

A strategy for living more “black and white” in a world quick to acknowledge the “shades of gray”.

The idea that life is composed of many shades of gray is popular and is repeated often. It is very much a cliché and like many clichés that are repeated many times over, its meaning has expanded. The original intention of the phrase becomes detached from the original meaning as it is repeated from person to person. Soon enough, people are hearing and repeating the phrase with no base understanding of the original idea and intent behind the words. It is said in a manner that makes one feel like they understand an idea that they may not fully grasp or appreciate. 

When looking externally, as in the case of a person looking out into the world, the concept of life being many shades of gray is accurate and succinct. As a single person in the world, one looks out into a vast sea of other people with varying perspectives, cultures, beliefs, and experiences. To try to project one’s ideas of what is right and wrong onto others is inconsiderate of all of the diversity that we are lucky to have. These are the gray areas that inform our view of the world. We, as people participating in the world, are affected and impacted by these shades of gray. 

In trying to observe the surrounding world, there are shades of gray that cannot be argued against, but what about when we turn the view from looking outside of ourselves, to looking within? 

When looking internally, one is not trying to assign order to the surrounding world; instead, they are trying to understand how they will interpret and react to it. In turning one’s view on themselves they are looking at their perspectives and opinions that are informed by their own culture, beliefs, and experiences. They are looking at how the outside world is interacting with and affecting them to sort out how they want to exist and respond to the world. When turning one’s view on themselves, there is limited value in continuing to acknowledge gray areas; to entertain gray areas in the context of oneself is potentially detrimental to one’s own progress and growth. 

When deciding how one is going to respond to the world or when one is constructing a Philosophy by which they are going to navigate themselves through life, there is no room for entertainment of “gray” – such reflection requires one to drive to “black and white” answers. 

Continue on if you’re not on board yet. 

Basing one’s Philosophy on shades of gray leaves the Philosophy itself vulnerable to influence from the outside. Each indecision left in one’s Philosophy is a crack in the foundation that the external noise can fight through. Without one making a decision for oneself, they risk allowing the influence of others to direct their path. “Gray” is easily manipulated. It is soft and malleable. Exactly as buildings are built on firm, strong concrete foundations rather than sand, so, too, should an individual base their own Philosophy on a hard, strong foundation. “Black and white” Philosophical ideas are a concrete foundation whereas the “shades of gray” are sand. Whereas “black and white” is decisive and direct, “gray” will leave one lost, confused, and without direction.

Below is a strategy to successfully remove the gray areas of one’s Philosophy when looking within and helps in sorting through how one is going to exist. 

Know and understand what needs a decision by knowing what directly affects you.

This strategy hinges on the base understanding that one is looking at how the external world is interacting with their own internal values and Philosophy; ultimately sorting out how one is going to respond to the external world. Only what directly impacts a person requires a response. Anything that lives outside of a person and does not impact their world does not require one to have a strong opinion on it. 

The definition of what does and does not affect any one person is based on one’s goals and Philosophy. Each person can choose what does and does not affect their world, but the analysis must be honest.

Determine the degree to which you are really affected by it. 

There are going to be topics that one encounters that are going to hit close to home and other topics that play out at the fringes of one’s existence. It is important to understand that there is a scale on which the goings-on of the world is going to affect an individual and it is important to place different topics on this scale to understand what the real impact to oneself is.

If an issue doesn’t play in one’s backyard, it is not close enough to make a meaningful impact on a person in the context of this reflection. 

Have the depth of research, analysis, and decision be consistent with the degree to which you are affected by it.

Some things will directly impact one’s core beliefs while other things will be a mild inconvenience to the fringes of one’s existence. The key is to have very strong and well-thought decisions on one’s core beliefs while allowing those other things that only affect the fringes of one’s Philosophy to be of lesser concern. One cannot spend incredible time and resources digging into those things that hang around the fringes of one’s Philosophy, nor should they. It is pulling attention and resources from the larger, more impactful issues facing an individual. The fringes are far away from one’s core and do not require a lot of attention. Decisions and opinions on these matters can change without much impact to one’s Philosophy.

Remain open – know that one cannot have all the answers. Life is about continuous learning.

The promotion of “black and white” versus accepting the shades of gray carries with it connotations of arrogance and ignorance. This idea of drawing lines in the sand when it comes to one’s interaction with the world and the world’s interaction with one’s Philosophy is a paradigm shift when talking about this topic.

It must be understood that it is impossible to be unchanging and that as one grows there will be things about their existing Philosophy that do not ring true with the person they are growing into. There will be time and opportunity to tweak one’s Philosophy and interactions with the world as their perspectives and experiences grow and mature. This leads into the next item:

Don’t be overly vocal about your decisions.

When one is highly opinionated and very vocal about those opinions, they paint themselves into a corner both as they are viewed by the world and as they view themselves. The more vocal one is, the more challenges they put in their own way when they want to change their path. Not only will they need to sort out the change wanting to be made but they must deal with the pressures they have placed upon themselves to maintain an image. 

Everything discussed thus far in the Transmission is about looking within and there is no discussion of taking one’s beliefs to the outside world. Even if one does choose to put their thoughts and beliefs in front of the public, it does not need to be in a combative manner. One does not need to take a position of one versus all. It is this approach to weaponizing ideas that makes people rigid in their ways because they are removing options – they have taken a combative stance and now must continue with that position to maintain their status. 

Make one’s position known through carrying out one’s plan – let actions do the explaining to others. There is no advantage to over-communicating one’s intentions when compared to simply executing on those intentions instead.

When making changes, move from one decision to another.

Finally, the way in which one makes changes to their Philosophy must be addressed. As one grows and reflects on new information, there will be times when one will realize that their existing Philosophy needs updating. The approach to incorporating changes into one’s Philosophy must be to move from one strong foundation of decision to another. When one has done the work to get out of the gray area, the fog of indecision, they must be careful not to re-enter that arena when faced with information that challenges their held beliefs. Before one leaves a belief behind in favor of a new iteration, they must have that new iteration sorted out and ready to go. Avoiding the gray area is to keep one from being too vulnerable to external influence. Changing out old beliefs that no longer work for new and improved beliefs is healthy and a part of growing. One must be careful that they do not lose their way in the transition period.


Appreciate life’s shades of gray but understand when and where those shades of gray must be appreciated. The shades of gray are responsible for many great things when looking at the larger picture of the world. The many beliefs, perspectives, and experiences unique to each individual offer numerous opportunities for the larger population as a whole; however, with all of those perspectives being communicated between individuals, it may be difficult to find how one is to navigate the world when considering their own path and Philosophy. It is in these instances where those shades of gray are causing confusion and frustration. Removing the shades of gray for oneself provides clarity and drives focused progress where continuing to entertain shades of gray internally serves to increase one’s exposure to manipulation by the surrounding world. Such people will feel lost and out of touch with themselves. It is beneficial to drive to a “black and white” answer for oneself and how one will interact with the world. It is important to understand, though, that these decisions are made for oneself and are not intended to be projected onto others.

This is the proper application of another cliché – “live and let live”. To live ourselves we must be led by our own Philosophy and beliefs and we must allow others to do the same. The interface of two people’s Philosophies must be handled by each individual. The line between the two must not be crossed for it is the projection of one set of beliefs onto another that encroaches upon each individual’s ability to live themselves.

The shades of gray are great and beautiful from a global perspective, but as an individual navigating the world today, the gray areas must be clarified to something more understandable and actionable for an individual.

Yours in strength

-Jersey

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Reputation and Trust

“My reputation precedes me”

Trust and reputation are interesting topics to think about. Both are going to be impactful to one’s success and their relationships with others, but they are two things about oneself that live entirely in the minds of others. In the end, one’s ability to be trustworthy and that reputation that precedes them is hinged upon how others perceive them. 

Neither trust nor reputation can be directly affected. In fact, attempting to directly affect trust and reputation will likely have the opposite effect than desired. In trying to bolster one’s trustworthiness one runs the risk of losing themselves as attempting to do things that are seen as trustworthy to others will likely result in taking actions that are untrue to oneself. This is because actions are being taken to appease another rather than serve one’s own wants. The same goes for reputation. To attempt to construct a specific reputation in the eyes of another one is going to be attempting to create a specific effect rather than stay true to one’s character and values. 

The fact that neither trust or reputation can be directly influenced makes them derivative characteristics. That is to say the value of one’s trust and reputation are derived from the actions that one does take. It is said that perception is reality and that is no more true than in this circumstance. The perception of the outside world is paramount in defining these qualities of a person. 

This is somewhat unsettling. In today’s climate of cancel-culture and the social power afforded to others via social media, it is an interesting thought that some of the most influential pieces of a person’s success live entirely outside of that person. 

Trust and reputation are two things that can take a person years to develop and take minutes to destroy. Both trust and reputation are fragile in that way. One lapse in judgement is all it takes to tarnish what one has taken years to build. 

What is the larger point here? I am not writing a Transmission to complain about the fragility of reputation and trust. Instead, it is worth noting how one builds a favorable reputation and proves to others that they are trustworthy. 

The secret is to not think about it or make either reputation or trust a concern. That’s it. Allow your actions to speak for themselves. Don’t attempt to prove your trustworthiness or attempt to fabricate a specific reputation. These qualities are more subtle and are products of many other things, as was stated earlier. 

The best way to gain the trust of others is to be authentic. To be true to one’s character makes them transparent in a way; others are able to see through the facade and into the core of a person. Authenticity can be felt just as inauthentic actions are. Authenticity breeds consistency and consistency makes trusting another easier. Authenticity and consistency breed natural actions further cementing one’s trustworthiness. It is easy to trust another when they are dependable. 

The best way to build a reputation is to have strong values and to live to those values relentlessly. Similar to trust, consistently living to one’s values will speak volumes more than taking sporadic and inconsistent action toward one’s values. When attempting to appease others, one’s reputation will weaken. A strong reputation is built in the same place it lives – in the minds of others. Allow others to form their own opinions. It is the Initiated’s job to lead them to the correct opinions through unrelenting adherence to their values. 

Rebuilding reputation and trust is another part of this too, especially if one has either damaged the view of themselves to others or if one is attempting to make changes in their lives and need to change how they are seen by a larger population. Again, consistency is key and focusing on one’s path to achieving their goals is the best way to show others what one wants them to see. Note; however, this one universal truth – others will take longer to notice the changes made than it will take for one to see the changes within themself. Other people will be slow on the uptake. They do not spend as much time with you as you do with yourself. They will not see all of the changes one makes. They are generally less interested in others than they are in themselves. All of this is fine – it just needs to be understood. 

At the end of the day, the changes being made and the reputation trying to be rebuilt is for oneself anyway. The reputation held by others is their reality, not the individual’s. While it is true that trustworthiness and reputation will impact one’s opportunities in life, a damaged reputation can be overcome with enough time and conviction to one’s path. 

The overarching point of this Transmission is that while trust and reputation are not entirely within the grasp of an individual, their actions affect how others see them. It is also in how one views themselves that will inform how they present themselves to the world and will influence the face that they share with the world. When one lives in line with their values, they have a greater chance at painting a favorable picture in the minds of others. One who is in lock-step with their values carries themselves differently, they have confidence and conviction, their decisions make sense. People pick up on these subtleties and it goes a long way in informing their perceptions. 

There will always be a small subset of the population that cannot be won over. These are the people that will forever be an enemy. These people deserve no attention and must be dropped from one’s mind – they are not worth the effort needed to try to change their mind. 

By living to one’s values and having a conviction in their Philosophy, they will create a favorable reputation and will be seen as authentic and trustworthy. Having strong character will open up many opportunities and will make it easier for one to navigate through the world.

In this instance, strength begets further strength. The momentum afforded by a strong reputation and a high level of trust can be brought forward to further one’s opportunities. 

Yours in strength

-Jersey

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Strategy and Unbalance

Unbalance will beat balance when there is a goal and strategy being pursued.

Balance in life is an idea thrown around often. It is commonly thought to be the answer to fulfillment and happiness by way of maintaining an equilibrium between all of the demands that are put upon a person. Remaining balanced is seen as the way that a person keeps their life “in check”, so to speak, not allowing any one area of life to take up an unreasonable or unhealthy portion of their time.

Balance is compromise. Said another way – balance can only be achieved through compromise. When balance is the goal, compromise is the method by which one is able to reach that goal. Prioritizing balance is a symptom of one who does not have a larger goal in place nor a strategy to achieve it. Without a goal or strategy, a person is simply existing. There is likely a lack of drive to achieve anything beyond comfort and contentment and so balance becomes the default goal. 

When there is a larger goal or purpose in a person’s life there is a drive to achieve a specific end. To achieve that specific end they will need a strategy. That strategy will specify the steps and actions needed to make progress toward the goal. Such a strategy will not focus on balance but rather on progress. Driving progress creates opportunity for unbalance and it is in an unbalanced state where real progress is made. 

Unbalance will always beat balance when there is a real goal being worked toward. It is because the unbalance will allow a person to be selective in their pursuits – to say “no” to all things that don’t support or align with the goal being pursued. Focusing one’s resources and abilities toward a single end will increase the effectiveness of those efforts where spreading one’s limited resources across many pursuits serves to make the impacts of those same efforts less potent. 

Below are the tactics and considerations needed to make an unbalanced strategy work effectively:

1. Have a clear, specific goal and know the strategy.

Strategy was discussed in the introduction but is important enough to be repeated as the first consideration. Unbalance is to be used for a specific purpose and that specific purpose must be known and understood in order to keep efforts in alignment with achievement. 

The idea of balance is thrown around in response to those who do not use unbalance as a tool but rather those that are too far unbalanced without having a larger strategy in play. Consider the advice given to workaholics – those that live and breathe their work while other aspects of their lives are left in disrepair. Often the workaholic does not have great relationships and their health is in need of work. Their work is their addiction and their addiction negatively impacts other areas of their lives. This subset of the population is extremely unbalanced and it is not a healthy existence. The problem is not simply that they work too much, though, it is that they work too much to the detriment of everything else around them. Said differently, it is not the amount of work they subject themselves to, it is that their work does not support anything outside of simply working more. 

2. Understand the degree of unbalance to be pursued.

Think of unbalance as a circle within which someone operates. The center of the circle is perfect balance and each step away from the center is a radius increasing the level of unbalance in any one direction. There should be a specific number of “steps” that one is comfortable taking away from perfect balance before they cross a threshold into an area that works against their goals. This is the threshold of strategic unbalance to harmful unbalance. 

The degree of strategic unbalance is defined by the goals and strategy put in place by any one person. There is no standard deviation from the center that is applicable to all people but rather the deviation must be defined by each individual.

Going back to the workaholic discussed in point 1, let’s take another look at their habits. We discussed that the problem is not the amount of work that said workaholic subjects themselves to; rather, the issue is that work is an addiction that controls them. Work is often done at the expense of other things like health and relationships. 

Now, what if a certain person’s strategy is established to be that unbalanced? What if a person has very aggressive goals and their strategy to achieve their goals is to be extremely off-balance to the point that they resemble a workaholic? Would that change anything?

It would. In this instance, the workload taken on is intentional and supporting a larger goal. An extremely unbalanced strategy can be effective if there are very specific goals being pursued and the timeframe of such extreme unbalance is defined. I wouldn’t recommend sacrificing health and relationships to achieve a goal, but I cannot speak in definitive terms for all. 

3. Make focus cyclical and put other disciplines in maintenance mode temporarily.

Humans cannot focus on too many things at the same time without performance slipping and so we must decide what few disciplines of our strategy we will focus on at any given time. When it is decided that one will focus on a select few disciplines, the others must go into maintenance mode while the chosen disciplines are built. This will allow progress made elsewhere to be maintained while building specific areas of focus. 

It must be understood that maintenance mode must be temporary. Maintenance is not progress and so one cannot allow certain disciplines to go into maintenance mode for too long or else that area will start to atrophy and begin to regress. It is important that one’s focus in an unbalanced strategy be cyclical – focus must shift on a chosen interval in order to ensure that all areas are being developed without losing ground in any one area. 

Cyclical focus is how one is able to grow in many areas while benefiting from the focus afforded by an unbalanced strategy. Whereas prioritizing balance will make everything of the same priority, cycling focus in an unbalanced strategy allows for a defined and meaningful level of priority and; therefore, the ability to truly excel in many areas. 

Wrap Up

This Transmission is an important part of the Initiated Lifestyle to understand. It is one thing to be motivated to do more and work harder, but one must also prioritize and understand how to work smart to get the most impact from their efforts. 

The ideas of an unbalanced strategy – having and understanding goals and strategy, defining a degree of unbalance, and cycling focus – are all basic ideas needing to be understood to lead both oneself and to lead a team. As a leader one must be able to see the larger goals and strategy and understand how the tactics being employed work to support that larger mission. Cycling focus, prioritizing efforts, and unbalancing resources to address specific issues are all tactics used by effective leaders, people, and teams to make the most efficient and effective use of resources. 

Unbalance will always beat balance. It is the difference between being effective in a few areas at a time and being ineffective in all areas at once. 

Set a plan and keep resources fluid enough that they can be shifted into those areas that need them. Cycle through the different areas of focus until all areas are built to where they need to be. It is a process. Meaningful change is not quick but takes discipline and time to build.

Yours in strength,

-Jersey

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A Life With Integrity

The common definition of Integrity provides only the smallest piece of the concept.

To define Integrity as simply acting to a moral code or as acting with moral uprightness would be to miss the real power of the concept. While these definitions are not incorrect, they fail to capture the full scope of what it means to live with Integrity. To act with Integrity is to direct all actions and decisions to be in line with a moral code or set of acceptable behaviors; whereas to live with Integrity is to unify all areas of one’s life in alignment with a clear vision of where one wants to go. It is this idea of unity and completeness that is the real power Integrity.

A Short Metaphor

When a building or structure has integrity it means it is complete and structurally sound; it is built to spec combining all of the required components to make the structure stand safe and be equipped to perform its intended function. A structure’s integrity depends upon all features of its construction starting from the foundation, to the steel, to the wall systems, windows, interior, roof system, etc. Anything that is built on or within the structure must appropriately interact with all other parts for it is all of the pieces of the building that makes the final product safe, lasting, and fit for purpose. 

To reach that end, a building’s design is first based on the requirements of what the structure will be used for as the structure’s intended purpose will inform many of the design considerations. From there, engineers must consider the location of the structure, the construction schedule, and the budget. The combination of these criteria come together to inform the final design product that will be built. There exists an ideal combination of these criteria to optimize both the design and construction efforts to support the final goal of a safe and functioning building that can be built on time and on budget.

These same considerations that architects and engineers give to building design should be considered by each person that is planning and building their life. 

Defining the Criteria

A fulfilled life is a compilation of many components; some being direct ties to the Initiated tenets and some that are interpretations, applications, and implementations of those Tenets. Regardless, the fulfilled life for any person considers the many aspects that must support and integrate with each other to build a life that is more than the sum of all of its parts.

Consider some of the following things that are typical staples of descriptions of the “perfect life”. Consider the time and effort required to only maintain these different areas let alone excel in each of them:

  • Family
  • Relationships
  • Career
  • Financial stability
  • Physical ability
  • Physical attractiveness
  • Mental strength / Intelligence
  • Community
  • Hobbies
  • Travel

It is the integration and interaction of these things that come together to provide the full scope of what one’s life is intended to be. It is the application of Integrity that will optimize one’s efforts toward each area in support of the integrated whole.

Again, this list is general as each person must define their own goals and further define the level of importance assigned to each item in order to bring into focus what that ideal life will look like. One must visualize what that perfect combination will feel like, look like, sound like, where it is, and when it will be reached. From there, one can begin to build their plan to get there considering the role each one will play and how it will interact and integrate with the others.

This concept of Integrity is often overlooked or marginally implemented in constructing one’s plan. Understanding how all of these pieces will fit and interact with each other is important. It is often an oversight as it is the Integrity of the plan that will determine how close one will eventually come to that vision of their ideal life. 

On Limitations

A truth that must be accepted is that each person’s ability to achieve everything that they want will be limited by their ability to capitalize on their resources. Many do not have infinite resources available to them and even if one found themselves with unlimited financial or personnel resources at their disposal, they will still not be able to buy themselves more time. This is to say that one’s lifetime is finite. Delegating tasks and to create time to dedicate elsewhere is a good strategy, but time remains the universal limitation that all must aim to maximize.

Understanding and exploiting Integrity is the idea of unifying all resources and actions toward the same end. Spent resources that do not provide equivalent or exceeding returns must be limited as it will be a violation of the Integrity one seeks to build.

The Fallacy of Balance

Further to implementing Integrity is the understanding that perfect balance should not be pursued as the goal in building an integrated whole. To try to build all parts of one’s life equally and concurrently will be deciding to fail at all parts equally. Balance is only reached at the end of the pursuit, when there is no further building to be done. It is the point of contentment; of homeostasis – all parts have found their spot and no further adjustment is needed.

Instead, it is more beneficial to one trying to build their life to do so in an unbalanced but controlled manner; the idea being to delegate one’s resources more heavily to a smaller number of pursuits at any one time to maximize the gains from their efforts while other areas are put in maintenance mode as to not lose ground. Cycling through each area of the plan over a period of time allows one to build all of the pieces into the larger end picture. 

The degree of unbalance and the frequency of this cycling of focus is determined by one’s strategy.

This concept speaks to a larger unified expenditure of resources. Each action taken that is not in line with the larger goal violates the Integrity of one’s life. Optimizing one’s Integrity will afford them the maximum return on investment and will work toward the ideal combination of all of the parts and pieces. 

Further, by having a larger plan in place that bounds all actions those unbalanced actions will support the trend headed toward the peak of achievement.

Tying it Together

Integrity is the single Tenet that ties all of the other Tenets together. It is the driving undercurrent that makes the Initiated Lifestyle work. Without such Integrity toward a single vision, the Tenets will be disjointed and lacking the optimization to make the Initiated Lifestyle comprehensive. 

Integrity may be the most important Tenet to understand and implement as without it, one’s strategy will be plagued with inefficiencies and make the entire pursuit of the Lifestyle far harder than necessary. 

Integrity is required to optimize the strategy while the strategy is how one is going to get to that peak compilation of all of the Tenets. 

Build your life with Integrity and take advantage of the integration of efforts to compound the strength and potential each affords.

Yours in strength,

-Jersey 

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Lessons Learned Under the Bar Part 2

Here are four more lessons the iron is teaching. Are you listening yet?

Last week’s Transmission looked at three lessons the iron teaches on self-reliance, excuses, and discipline. It doesn’t end there. In its own ways, the iron teaches lessons that touch every corner of life. Here are four more lessons the barbell is teaching.

Growth

A barbell provides resistance. Through continuing to conquer the challenges of the iron, one begins to realize that only through overcoming challenge will one grow. A barbell that does not get heavier does not forge further strength. Continued strain against the weight forces the mind and body to either strengthen and overcome or get crushed.

Some avoid challenges in favor of comforts and content; however, there are no gains made in comfort – there is no drive for anything to change. Change is prompted by discomfort and is accomplished by the overcoming to regain balance. The Initiated individual understands this and continually seeks challenge. By continuing to seek out the challenges just as they continue to put plates onto the bar, one knows that they are growing and making progress toward a goal. Sore muscles are a reminder of the work put in just as the soreness and weariness that follows a challenge overcome signifies growth and progress made.

Time

Strength takes commitment and dedication; but it also just takes time. It does not come quickly nor easily. The path to the end is not a straight line. Career, stress, injury, etc. all impact performance in the gym and are a part of the game that must be endured. How one makes and protects the time to train and recover will correlate to their progress in the gym.

In today’s age of instant gratification and participation trophies, many don’t know failure. Many expect their successes to come faster than what may be reasonable. They expect some reward for simply showing up. There is no drive to put in the time needed to come out ahead. Strength does not play by these rules and neither does any other meaningful pursuit – there are no shortcuts. Repetition after repetition, session after session, one must approach challenges with intensity and purpose to cut one’s teeth and develop the skills needed to win.

Commitment

Gaining strength requires commitment to and belief in a plan of action. Commitment to a training block is needed to run the block through to the end and determine the validity or effectiveness of the block through analyzing results. If continually looking for the next best program or jumping from one training ideology to another, gains will be stunted and one will not be able to learn what does and does not work for them.

This is true of all things. If one continuously jumps from one pursuit to another, they are not allowing sufficient time to see one course of action through to the end. There is value missed – one will never learn how to close on a pursuit. There will remain some level of unfinished business if one does not commit to seeing things through to the end. 

Perspective

Stay after the weights long enough and one will eventually reach a level of strength at which the current weights lifted were unimaginable when first starting. As one has learned more about how to train, eat, sleep, lift, warm up, etc., they will begin to set their sights on higher weights – weights that were not in the realm of reality when first starting. Perspective shifts as experience is gained and ignorance wanes. 

Any new pursuit carries a learning curve. Through lifting one begins to understand that focused effort, education, and application will result in progress. One begins to gain clarity through the challenges they have overcome. This clarity builds with strength, as confidence and ability continue to build.


The barbell’s power is in its simplicity. With no purpose other than existing, it manages to command respect from those who understand its language. It tests and builds into strengths the same weaknesses it exposes. 

The iron shows a lifter what they choose to seek. 

Seek the truth.

Yours in strength,

Jersey

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Speak the Initiated Language

The language influenced by the Initiated tenets says more than what is communicated by the words.

Language – the words and phrases used in communication have a circular relationship with one’s philosophy; one influences the other. How one assembles their thoughts and communicates them both displays and informs their outlook.

The Initiated language is a product of the Initiated tenets. Strength, discipline, integrity, and leadership bleed through the words spoken by those living these principles. The language can be characterized by a driving undertone of action, strength, and fairness.

Strength. Confidence.

If there were only two words to describe the idea of the Initiated language – it would be strength and confidence. As wide and ambiguous as this description may be, it is easy to spot when listening to such speech. Strong communication and confidence are closely related; building and reinforcing each other.

Strong and confident language can be displayed in many ways. Whether it be fair statements to communicate ideas or calmness and collectedness in a disagreement the underlying strength and confidence of the words are felt without having to be directly addressed. The language is utilitarian: it is efficient, direct, and clear in its purpose to communicate an idea. There is no need for exaggerations or hyperbole – the language communicates what is rather than what may be wanted.

Thoughts project ability rather than limitation – a sureness that resistance will be overcome. There is a confidence in the speaker’s abilities which will, in turn, strengthen such abilities when put into practice; not unlike a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Strong language does not include passive verbs like “waiting”. The Initiated language speaks of action and pursuing what is wanted or needed. Words of passivity are replaced with words of action and intention. The Initiated will pursue information or materials needed to complete their objectives – they do not wait for someone else to provide for them.

Strong and confident speaking is shown in a person’s ability to make statements and assemble arguments with efficient use of words. By explanation of the converse – a lack of confidence often results in an individual rambling and will result in a person providing unrelated details to the idea they are trying to explain.

Ownership.

As leaders and adopters of the concepts of Extreme Ownership, Initiated individuals assume responsibility and ownership of a situation without searching for a convenient place to shift blame. Statements made come from a place of responsibility and self-reflection on the role the individual played in allowing for the situation to unfold as it had. This will be immediately followed by actions that need to be taken to resolve the situation and further the actions that will be taken moving forward to ensure that this does not happen again.

Belief in these concepts are heard in the communication and recapitulation of events. When analyzing a loss, the analysis and discussion seek to find mistakes and shortcomings. One does not search for the faults of others but rather how they can take different actions moving forward to ensure that the lapse in leadership does not result in similar situations again. Responsibility is taken upon the individual to make the changes necessary to strengthen themselves and their team.

This section focuses on loss or unfavorable situations because this is when ownership is tested most – it is easy to take responsibility for a win. The key in a winning situation is to remain humble. The Initiated do not seek the approval or applause from others – they are able to provide that for themselves. A job well-done is gratification enough and the Initiated individual would rather pass that praise down to their team for they understand that without a strong team, a leader cannot achieve the successes they are celebrating.

Emotion.

Emotion is the antithesis to logic. A highly emotional situation rarely fosters sound decisions and communication. In speaking the Initiated language, an awareness and pursuit of emotional intelligence is key.

Remaining level-headed and on topic regardless of the conversation is a strength and necessary skill to effectively communicate. Allowing emotion to bleed into language will change the words and phrasing diminishing the overall effectiveness of communication. This will diminish the impact and efficacy of the transmission of concepts from speaker to listener.

Maintaining control of communications and remaining centered leaves available all of the tools one has in their toolbox. The first person in a conversation to lose their composure will lose their position. Remaining centered supports one in their navigation of a conversation and having their tools available will support their arguments and ability to outwit their partner.


The Initiated language is more a philosophical concept than maybe a typical definition of language . The influence of the Initiated tenets informs much of the underlying concepts discussed above. Using language with undertones of strength, power, and responsibility will command respect from one’s peers and will further strengthen one’s own perspective of themselves and their abilities.

Speak the Initiated language – use it as a tool to reinforce the Initiated tenets as well as help communicate our tenets to those not yet Initiated.

Yours in strength,

-Jersey

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Strategy and Tactics in Action

The follow on to our last Transmission – we explore the application and practice of strategic and tactical planning.

In the last Transmission, the concepts of strategy and tactics were discussed as the two necessary pieces of a bulletproof plan to success. This Transmission will describe how these concepts are applied in both a team and in an individual setting along with some suggestions for how one can maximize the effectiveness of each.

Team Setting

A team setting for purposes of this discussion implies that there are many people organized into some hierarchy to provide clear custody of responsibilities. By definition, the hierarchy will have higher and lower level members. As noted previously, the spectrum of responsibilities in strategic planning to tactical planning shifts from one to the other as one moves from the top of the hierarchy to the bottom – more on this later.

A large challenge to overcome in a team environment is the dispatch of information throughout each of the team members. Each team member must have an exposure to the larger strategy allowing each member to buy into the team’s mission as well as understand how their specific role feeds into the larger strategy of the team. This creates a sense of ownership and understanding amongst the team members and fosters collective strength in team values.

At the lowest levels of a team, there must be an expectation set of taking tactical action. These boots-on-the-ground members of the team are responsible for planning and executing their responsibilities as dictated by the larger team objectives. These members must be provided the latitude to make decisions to maximize efficiency and resource expenditure. To allow for success in these endeavors, these team members must be provided the understanding of how their decisions and actions will add or detract from the overall team mission which enforces the importance noted of each team member having exposure and visibility to the larger strategy at play.

Above the lowest-ranking team members are the tactical planners. These tacticians are responsible for putting the tactical plan together for their team and to disperse the specific tactical objectives to each of the subordinate team members. The responsibilities at this level are to bridge the gap between the strategy and the field conditions and to tie the tactical pursuits into the larger strategic pursuits. This level is responsible for overseeing and managing tactical resources both materially and in manpower.

At the highest level of the hierarchy, and subsequently the furthest removed from the tactics at the field level, are the strategic planners. The highest level of the hierarchy should refrain from dictating tactical approaches for that would violate the principles of decentralized command and result in sub-optimal tactical planning. This will not be due to lack of tactical abilities, but rather from lack of intimacy with field conditions and resources. It is not the job of strategists to think tactically. It is imperative that the strategic thinkers are thinking strategically while incorporating the feedback they are getting from their lower levels or field units.

Of course, this is an oversimplification for explanation of the concept and the success of a team depends on many other things. In the real world, a team will contend with disengaged members, personality clashes, etc.; however, I would posit that if a clear hierarchy and delegation of responsibilities is established and maintained early, engagement across the team will increase over the course of the mission.

For the Individual

As an individual, the same principles of strategy and tactics will apply toward a mission or goal; however, the application will look different. As there is no hierarchy to separate responsibilities, time intervals will serve to delineate the hierarchy described above.

As a single entity, the individual will be required to be both the strategic and tactical planner. Note; however, both roles cannot be filled at the same time for there are different goals to be met by each process. As described above, strategy comes to form in a general flow with a defined end goal. The boundaries and ground-rules are set within the strategy. The tactics are the specific moves that will carry the mission from one milestone to the next along the larger path of the strategy.

It is the time interval on which an individual plans tactically and strategically that will determine which form of reflection and pursuit one is working on at any given time. Strategy shall be set and reviewed on longer intervals in the magnitude of years where tactical planning is generally done on weekly and monthly intervals; depending on the overall scope and length of time of a particular mission.

This is shown in the construction of a 10 year goal. Such a goal will will be of significant enough scope that there will be intermediate milestones set to provide context and frame of reference for the rate of progress being made. Without such milestones, it will be more difficult to understand how one is tracking toward the larger goal.

Driving to these milestones will be the work of the individual tactics employed to address each challenge along the way. Without intermediate tactics, it will be hard to make a strategic plan that provides the flexibility to compensate for the conditions of life.

As a side note, if a 10 year plan does not require milestones and tactics, the goal is far too small in scope and the reader should ask themselves why this goal cannot be achieved in far less time.

Challenge yourself to pursue large goals both for yourself and with the teams you lead or influence. Commit to a goal that is just outside of your current comfort level, then put a plan together to crush it.

Yours in strength,

-Jersey

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Strategy vs. Tactics

Discussion of strategic and tactical planning, the differences, and why both are needed to ensure success.

Accomplishing significant feats require time and effort. In order to challenge and change the status quo one must commit to the process and construct a plan of attack as lacking an appropriate plan increases the chances that the mission will not be successful. A plan is comprised of a balanced combination of strategy and tactics to engage the long term goal through a sequence of smaller steps. Both are needed to remain task focused and realize success.

Definitions

Defining the difference between strategy and tactics will do much of the heavy lifting toward providing the required context for this discussion.

Strategy is the high-level roadmap employed to get from the current position to the completion of a mission. Starting with wide swipes and developing further, a strategy will begin to orient one on their path to mission completion. The strategy will provide order and sequence to circumvent pitfalls and begin to bring context to required techniques and resources. A good strategy continues developing to strike a balance between specificity in direction of action and the ability to freely maneuver as real-time conditions dictate. The strategy should provide a clear picture of the finish line and define the outer bounds to confine and direct the tactics employed toward the end goal.

Tactics, then, are those individual maneuvers, techniques, and systems put in place at each step of a larger strategy to secure incremental progress toward the final goal. The latitude left within the outer bounds of a strategy is navigated using tactics. Tactics are more task focused and a short term plan on how to navigate the current opposition and support the overall strategy. Tactics are more direct and tangible actions and are dynamic in considering the changes taking place in the field.

Interaction of Strategy and Tactics

The interaction of strategy and tactics should now start coming into focus. Strategy provides the boundaries that tactics will operate within.

Balance is key as a strategy that is prescriptive will become too rigid and remove the flexibility necessary to make real-time decisions in the field. A strategy too wide will not focus the tactics employed and will allow tactical efforts to be exerted in too many directions diminishing the ultimate effectiveness of the efforts.

Strategy and tactics are relevant in all situations and environments in which there is a goal to be met.

They may have won the battle, but we will win the war.

This saying depicts the interaction of strategy and tactics in successes on the battlefield; the original example of the larger concept discussed here. Thinking of war as the overall strategy employed to bring ultimate success, the battles are seen as tactical wins that serve that larger purpose.

This also implies that tactics may be volatile in the short term and that a win or loss in a tactical pursuit does not dictate the larger success of the strategy; which is true. The level at which one looks at tactics is from a closer viewpoint than one looks at the overall strategy. Tactics are considered on a micro-scale whereas strategy is on the macro-scale. Tactical engagements may be won or lost but will ultimately aim to trend along the larger strategy. Without vision of the macro, the micro will inevitably come off course.

To be ultimately successful and rise above the volatility of tactical wins and losses, strategic and a tactical perspectives are required to ensure that the tactics are serving to progress the strategy. Without regular review and study of both levels of planning, the overall concentration and effectiveness of the tactical efforts will be diminished. The awareness of these ideas and the interconnection of the two will put one ahead of their opposition. Effectively building strong strategies supported by strong tactics is the recipe for sure success.

Strategize well and attack using strong tactics to ensure victory.

Yours in stregth,

-Jersey

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Stop Working Out; Start Training

Working out is not equivalent to strength training. We explore the differences.

To build muscle and strength one has to put in focused time and effort to see results. Consistently lifting heavier loads for more repetitions pushes the body to adapt; to rebuild damaged muscles stronger than they were and to make the neurological changes increasing the efficiency of motor skills necessary to perform the movements.

The quality of commitment to these ends is a core factor in determining the level of success one reaches in their pursuit. The difference between working out and training may seem subtle, but the differences will become significant the deeper one goes.

“Training” immediately invokes a sense of purpose and intent. To be able to train, one must first have a purpose for their pursuit. This purpose must be something substantial – it must be tangible with clear definitions of success and failure. The training plan is directed at achieving this purpose. It would follow that there is something being trained for.

By making the mindset shift from “working out” to “training”, the individual trips to the gym and time spent under the bar are referred to as training sessions. They begin to be incremental steps in support a larger end goal. Training sessions become deliberate and goal oriented. The training sessions will carry a gravity and significance.

When adopting the mindset of training for strength, the pursuit of the goal becomes encompassing of factors outside of the gym as well, where real strength gains are made. A complete training plan will look at diet, sleep patterns, and habits amongst other things. There is nothing off limits that cannot be tweaked and improved upon to give an individual the advantage toward achieving their goal. Said another way the larger purpose is held paramount over the sacrifices that are needed to reach the set goal. To achieve anything, sacrifice is necessary.

When training, one will need to work on their weaknesses to build them into strengths. The uncomfortable and un-fun become required activities to fortify the body and mind. When simply working out, the individual’s strengths may continue to be exercised to the detriment of weaknesses as there is no larger reason to train them. There is no drive to muscle through the un-fun lifts. There will not be meaningful progress made.

Working out is viewed as an activity and therefore does not imply the breadth of scope nor the significance of purpose that training does. Lacking a plan, there may not be continuity between workouts; that is to say, they may be unfocused as there is no inherent structure to sequential workouts. The workouts are not compounding on each other, diminishing the potential for results.

As a tenet, strength must be held as a value to the individual, not a priority. Training will set the correct mindset to embrace the challenges and train weaknesses in support of the larger goal. Take control of the time and efforts put into strength training to maximize the results.

Stop working out. Start training.

Yours in strength,

-Jersey

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The Archetype of the Initiated

The archetype of the Initiated is a product of its tenets – strength, discipline, integrity, leadership.

There is an archetype of the Initiated. The associated qualities of the Initiated’s four tenets are manifested in the Initiated few. This Transmission describes the archetype and how each of the core tenets are interpreted in action. This will help identify our Initiated brothers and sisters as well as provide a model to those that are training to align with the tenets of strength, discipline, integrity, and leadership.

Strength

Strength may be the most deceiving tenet. Many may define strength by a physical feat; i.e., pounds lifted. The Initiated holds a far wider definition of strength that includes mental and emotional strength in addition to the more obvious physical strength.

Mental and Emotional Strength

The Initiated rely on themselves first and foremost. The mental strength and fortitude required to take ownership of their values is trained. Mental strength is held in the highest regard and is unwavering in the face of opposition. The Initiated advance their position when confronted by resistance and remain confident in situations of uncertainty.

Emotional strength is regarded equally to mental strength. Without such emotional strength, the Initiated would succumb to the weakness and impulsiveness of their emotions. It is understood that emotional response is not reliable; emotions cloud judgement and produce poor choices. The Initiated drive to logical responses in lieu of emotional outbursts.

Continued learning, analysis, and challenging one’s thoughts and beliefs is systemic to the development of the Initiated; it is the training regimen for mental and emotional strength. Independent study, reading, and journaling are all habits attributed to successes in improving current mental and emotional strength.

Both the emotional and mental strength are exemplified in the Initiated’s attitude and approach to problem solving. They are not victims and do not acknowledge thoughts of defeat. This strength is the foundation from which their world is perceived.

Physical Strength

The Initiated live, breathe, and eat strong mind, strong body. A strong body is the vehicle by which the other tenets of the Initiated are delivered. The body is the outward manifestation of the strength within.

Achieved through work like lifting weights, calisthenics, or chopping wood – the Initiated forge their physical strength in many ways. The physical struggle required to break down and rebuild muscle works to sharpen mental and emotional fortitude the same as it does to fortify the physical form. The reciprocal nature of physical and mental strength is understood and exploited to produce maximum effect. The Initiated recognizes and understands the power to be found in this relationship.

The Initiated train; they do not work out. Strength training is approached with purpose. Whether it is training for competition or training for the rigors of the world, the Initiated train with both intent and intensity. The value of a strong, able body cannot be overvalued. The Initiated train their weaknesses until they become strengths. Training is not driven by ego or vanity – it is a means to effect more power into their challenges.

Discipline

As discussed in previous Transmissions, the Initiated forge bulletproof discipline that drives them to achieve. The Initiated have identified uncompromising values; their unnegotiable terms that they will not sacrifice. Things such as training, learning, and reflection are held to the utmost importance to the Initiated. When challenged to make sacrifice, these Principles are not to be bartered for time spent elsewhere.

The Initiated hold themselves to the highest standard of excellence and expect their output to be of a caliber acceptable to themselves; the job gets done right the first time. These qualities make the Initiated predictable, dependable, and reliable. They are trustworthy and understand the importance of such trust. These qualities are a source of pride and are protected. This builds the reputation of the Initiated individual.

The Initiated show up. They show up regularly, on time, prepared, and ready to perform. It is internalized that consistent moves made with intention will compound into large dividends. They are not afraid to put in the work for those things that they want and will stop at nothing short of achieving their goals. It is the reliance on themselves that drives the initiated to work harder, longer, and with more focus than their competition. The Initiated do not expect favors from anyone and know that for good luck to come, they must put in the work to make it so.

Integrity

The Initiated operate to a code; their own code. The philosophy of the Initiated includes the objective to be better and do better. This requires doing those things that must be done to do right by their peers.

Uncomfortable, hard, and challenging are acknowledged feelings but quickly set aside instead for actions of purpose, righteousness, and character. Integrity is upheld in the face of adversity as the Initiated knows what is right and takes actions toward that end.

Integrity rejects the easy way and the Initiated do not pursue the low-hanging fruit. These values are demanding and their ethos requires they rise to the occasion. These characteristics translate to all tasks and challenges placed before them. Challenges are faced head-on with no reserve.

Leadership

The Initiated are leaders in team settings, in their community, and to those not yet known to them. The strong values and the commitment and determination to live consistent with their values drives action. This action is often an unspoken inspiration to those around them. The Initiated influence their surroundings, commanding better performance from everyone they come in contact with simply by living to their values.

People respond to the values of the Initiated and the authenticity brought to the pursuit of their tenets place them in a position of influence and leadership to those around them.

The Initiated lead from any and all positions and can fall within any team setting to fill the roles required. It is not a hit to the ego of the Initaited if they are not a leader by title; rather the Initiated understand the power they have and can lead and influence from any position.

The Initiated understand the importance of trust in leadership and work to build a level of trust amongst their peers. They protect this gained trust and nurture it. It is this trust that makes them successful leaders.

The Archetype

The Initiated few can be identified from afar. They are the individuals who push themselves to be better. Each identified weakness becomes a priority to be addressed; each area of ignorance an opportunity to learn.

They speak a language of strength and action. They are confident in their abilities to learn, adapt, and overcome. As such, the Initiated carry themselves with a great deal of respect for themselves and their abilities.

The Initiated can identify those cut from the same cloth and they take care of their own.

Be the Initiated.

Yours in strength,

-Jersey

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On Discipline, The Driver of Achievement

Principles and goals are worthless if the discipline to achieve is not forged.

The Initiated defines their philosophy based on Principles and will find a community that mirrors them. This has been discussed; see Evaluate Principles, External Influence: The Community.

Once Principles, values, and philosophy are defined, it is time to get to work on building the resolve and skill to realize their potential. One of the guiding qualities dictating the success or failure of an individual on their path is the discipline with which they approach their challenges.

On Discipline

Discipline is a characteristic, a core concept of a person. It is something that must be pursued, it must be built. Discipline will become stronger over time, but is subject to regress if left ignored. Discipline is the drive behind intentional movement toward a goal. It is the focused exertion of effort that drives one to accomplishment.

The Initiated are on a path that forges bulletproof discipline for it is this discipline that will be relied upon when taking on the challenges that are ahead. The resolve to achieve, push forward, and improve requires that discipline outpace growth.

Motivation, and it’s Deception

Motivation feels like discipline to some; but motivation is truly the antithesis to discipline. Motivation is a feeling and manipulates emotion to influence action. It is variable, fleeting, and unreliable. Motivation is not the tool to reach for to achieve consistent results. Discipline will be around when motivation is long gone. Discipline has the staying power to remain.

Consistency brings results. As discipline is woven into the fibers of the Initiated’s being, it is always with them; available to be called upon when facing adversity.

Discipline and Challenge

It is easy to be disciplined when there is no opposition. It is in the face of challenge that the Initiated’s mettle is tested and determines whether the individual has the discipline to persevere.

This opposition wears many masks and makes itself known in a number of ways. The surroundings, relationships, and factors that are outside of one’s control can all put up challenges to achievement.

Opposition is also found in solitude. Deflating self-talk, poor self image, and poor resolve will challenge discipline from the inside. It is important that the Initiated fight these inner demons with the same intensity with which they push back against external opposition. The Initiated must be equipped to be their own support to continue that drive to the end.

On Success

It is the Initiated alone that will determine whether they succeed or fail on their path; the responsibility to achieve lies squarely on the shoulders of the individual. Without discipline, the Principles and values that have been defined are nothing more than dreams.

Principles are not easy to live by. Worthwhile Principles are not intended to be easy. The very establishment and commitment to the Initiated’s Principles is a commitment to challenge oneself and achieve.

Rely on yourself. Rely on Discipline. Achieve.

I’m pulling for you.

Yours in strength,

-Jersey

External Influence: The Community

Community, the primary external influence, can be optimized.

Last week’s article Evaluate Principles discussed the evaluation of those Principles and corresponding values that direct one on their path. A personal philosophy built from such Principles will frame one’s decisions and actions toward achieving their goals. The necessity of evaluating Principles is predicated upon the influence of the surrounding environment to ensure that such external influences do not negatively alter such Principles.

It can be conversely said that in a silo it is a simplified process to define one’s Principles and to act upon them; however, it should go without saying that people do not each live in a silo insulated from the surrounding world. There are constant influences from the environment that attempt to pull attention and a following to their perspective. Both complimenting and conflicting ideals are passed around as fact from any outlet or person interacted with daily. The impacts from such a volume of available information will challenge the beliefs of anyone, regardless of the level of discipline one brings to their pursuits.

The most impactful external influence on a person will be from their close communities – those people or things that one respects and/or interacts with on a daily basis. As such, one’s community must be evaluated and carefully managed to ensure the surrounding community is providing the necessary support toward the realization of personal Principles and values.

A community that shares similar Principles and values to an individual’s will pay dividends in the form of:

  • Reinforcing personal philosophy and underlying Principles.
  • Help to clarify those parts of a personal philosophy that are under development or evaluation.
  • Explore one’s Principles to tighten up and make more concise the Principles held.
  • Push an individual to remain true to their Principles and achieve consistent with their values.

A community that does not share similar values will generally do the opposite of the above and will test the discipline and resolve of an individual toward their goals.

To say that discipline will defeat the constant challenges of an unsupportive community is a hard truth to actualize. A solid community is important when discipline waivers. If the community does not share similar Principles and the discipline to drive toward them; there is no support for the individual. An outlier will be tempted to work their way back to the majority, eventually.

Each person will rise or fall to the level of their surrounding community.

This quote should be considered for the weight of what the words truly say. The community that is built around an individual will either accelerate or challenge growth. It is important to be selective in who is invited into one’s community for the impacts that they will have.

To some, this article is a call to action, as it should be – to take a look at those who are in their community and evaluate their surroundings. A community is a tool in the initiated’s toolbox. A community is not a crutch nor is it a scapegoat for current circumstance. One should give back to their community more than they take. One’s community is not essential to their success; but it can be of great advantage. If one’s community is not pushing them to be better than they were the day before; that individual should consider splitting ways with their current situation in search of a new community.

With this said; allow the closing thought to be as follows:

Do not loathe being a lone wolf;
but also do not strive to be one, either.

Thank you for allowing thebeardreport. to be a part of your community.

Yours in strength,

-Jersey

Evaluate Principles

Principles are the bedrock of philosophy and must be evaluated to remain true to their origins.

Principles are the foundation from which a person’s values are established. They shape decisions and perceptions of the surrounding world, provide a personal navigation system, and define good from bad. A person’s Principles are the essence of what a person is and what they stand for. Accepting this, the significance and importance of personal Principles becomes obvious. So too is revealed why opinions are shared so quickly and often by the surrounding world.

Authority figures and common people alike share ideas of right and wrong. The world is quick to share opinions and reactions to current events, the actions of other people, and any and all other happenings. A person’s Principles are woven throughout their commentary. With increasingly more avenues by which individuals are able to share their commentary; it is understood that an individual’s Principles are under constant barrage of competing and complimenting ideas. It can further be understood how Principles can be unintentionally altered when meeting such a volume of outside influence. Personal Principles; therefore, must be reviewed and evaluated regularly to maintain clear alignment with philosophy and goals.

Useful to the discussion is breaking down major categories of Principles:

  1. Internal – Internal Principles are those Principles that are the bedrock of a personal philosophy. These play the largest role in shaping a strong individual’s world view. These are held with the utmost conviction and are the most clearly defined to the individual. These are the unnegotiable Principles of the individual.
  2. External – External Principles are the principles held by the surrounding community. These are the principles that are broadcasted by others and are responsible for challenging personal values. Those weaker of conviction will allow these external Principles to dictate their values, actions, and perceptions.
  3. Pseudo-Internal – External influences are unavoidable and will act upon the internal Principles of an individual. Pseudo-internal Principles is a term coined to define those Principles that are made to feel important to an individual but are ultimately a conflict of internal Principles with outside influences. These Principles often feel unauthentic when pursued and cause internal conflict and confusion as they are regarded as important; however, are not of true importance to the individual.

The first goal in evaluating principles is to resolve all pseudo-internal Principles. As discussed above, these Principles are corrupted internal Principles and must be recategorized into an internal or external Principle and from there accepted or rejected. If identified as an external Principle, it must be identified as one that can either coexist with internal Principles or one to be avoided. Resolving pseudo-internal Principles removes uncertainty and doubt in an individuals philosophy and values.

Second to this is the goal of validating and prioritizing the values being pursued. While a person’s principles generally do not change much; the attached values and the pursuits of these values will marginally shift and morph as an individual grows. It is through this evaluation process that the opportunity to optimize efforts is realized.

There are potentially difficult realizations and decisions that will be revealed through this process. The nature of external influence is that it comes from the surrounding community, potentially from those people that are in one’s inner circle – those closest to an individual. If expectations have been established between an individual and their surrounding community, explicitly or otherwise, it may become realized that those expectations will ultimately not be fulfilled if they conflict with the Principles of the individual. These conflicts must be addressed and resolved in order to move forward.

Regardless of what is found through this process, the importance of performing these steps cannot be compromised by the findings. The resulting decisions must be made with conviction, confidence, and purpose in order to realign one’s values with their Principles. This is critical to forging on the path toward the life a person wants to live.

Evaluate Principles and remain true to self.

In the follow-up Transmission, External Influence: The Community, I take a closer look at the role and impacts one’s community can have on values.

Yours in strength,

-Jersey

Thrive In Discomfort

The initiated do not avoid discomfort; rather, they seek it.

What is discomfort and what is its significance to people?

Discomfort is a feeling that goes hand in hand with challenge, unknown, and resistance. Discomfort is the antithesis of human nature. Humans seek comfort – it is the reason we live in houses, invented air conditioning, and go swimming when it’s hot. When humans feel uncomfortable, they want to change something to resolve that discomfort and return back to “normal”.

People have been developing products and services for years in an effort to address a point of potential discomfort for their customers. As this continues, it becomes increasingly easier to find fast and easy solutions to problems. This is not an issue in and of itself – specialization of products, trades, and skills have freed up the time of others to pursue different paths. The problem; however, is that it soon becomes too easy to seek comfort – and who wants to be uncomfortable?

Discomfort drives change and growth. The active avoidance of discomfort stunts the engagement of a person to the world around them. By hiring a handyman, a person loses the connection with their house. By taking their car to the mechanic for any unusual noise, they don’t understand the thing they rely on to get to and from their job each day. By choosing to sit in front of the television instead of getting in exercise, they lose their coordination and fitness.

Without feeling lacking there is no drive for a person to enact change.

Why would there be? If one is comfortable and happy, what reason would there be to step out of that comfort zone? It is the desire to resolve discomfort, to overcome a challenge, that is the drives a person to take action. Without this sense of discomfort, people become content and stagnant.

The initiated must remember to seek out new challenges, find discomfort, and attack it head on for they know how much there is to learn about the world as well as themselves in going through struggle. The initiated person is not scared to marinate in discomfort for a while – it does not overcome them. They are willing to chew on a problem, analyze the situation, come up with a plan, and proceed with a solution.

The more this practice is repeated, the more confidence is built. Therefore when faced with future challenge, one can pull from this experience and confidence; it is a compounding skill. There is self-trust built in knowing they have developed skills and tools needed to come up with a plan and overcome any challenge unfortunate enough to cross their path.

On the flip side, a content, comfortable person becomes stagnant. They do not have the desire to seek out new challenges and instead live in their comfortable bubble, consuming, with no outlet for their energy and creativity. These people are content to be the same person for the rest of their lives, or so they think.

This is not the way. Stagnation will catch up with these people eventually and they will eventually look for change.

Familiar with the term “mid-life crisis”? A mid-life crisis is nothing more than a realization of such deep stagnation that a person must make a big, often irresponsible, gesture to feel like they are taking back control of their lives.

Life is the longest game you’re going to play; it is also a game where there is unlimited potential to grow and get better. Like anything else, it is all dependent upon the amount and quality of work put into it.

Go out and seek discomforts. Struggle to lift heavy weights, challenge your mind, ask questions. Be humbled by trying something new. Learning does not stop with the completion of formal schooling nor does achievement of goals mean the game is won.

Be engaged. Be active. Move. Learn new things.

Thrive in discomfort.

Yours in strength,

-Jersey

The Intentionality of Vinyl Records and Parallels Drawn

The ritual and intention in listening to a record and a parallel drawn to all media consumption.

Vinyl records have been experiencing an increase in popularity over the past 10 years after being sidelined when the compact disc took over. These bulky, immobile, 12″ disks requiring a phonograph, storage space, and special cleaning regimens to keep them playing right are again a relevant medium by which to listen to music.

Some people like them for the sound quality of the “pure analog sound”. Some like them for the history and uniqueness as no two copies of the same album will sound the same. Some just think they are plain cool and retro. These all hold some truth, but that is not what I hold to be the most significant quality of vinyl records.

The significance of vinyl records is the intimacy and intention that is required to listen to them.

There is a ritual associated with playing a record. First having to sort through shelves to find the record; pull it out of the sleeve, clean it, place it on the turntable, prep your needle, get the record spinning, drop the needle, and walk to your chair to listen. Twenty minutes later you’re back up repeating the cleaning and setting process for the B-side.

Each play of a record damages the grooves just a small amount until after enough plays, the sound quality begins to diminish. It’s a living copy of the music and it should be enjoyed for each play it gets.

There is engagement and appreciation in the listening that is harder to find in other music formats. There is intention behind the act of listening – a required level of purposefulness. It requires more focus than other formats.

Drawing a parallel from here to a larger view of media consumption the importance of intention is highlighted.

Consumption of television, social media, etc. continues to grow. Much of this consumption is done without intention or purpose and as a form of relaxation or unwinding. It is comfortable and easy; which is appealing. It doesn’t require much thought and allows the brain to turn off. Consuming in this manner without a purpose is essentially dead time, time forfeited without gain, and should be minimized appropriately in order to maximize growth potential.

Maximizing time and turning it into something fulfilling is the goal. Use available time for something that is going to be a benefit presently and in the future. I invite you to find a hobby that can be built upon over time; something that builds knowledge or a skill, something that keeps you up, moving, and off of the couch. This can be anything that requires purpose and intention to do. The benefits are abundant.

Let me know what you’re doing to keep yourself busy and engaged with intention in the comment section below. It may be helpful to the next person.

Yours in strength,

-Jersey

Amass Choices to Remain Nimble

Choices are needed now to create flexibility later.

The Sunday Transmission thought of the week:

The surest way to increased stress is limited choice.

How often do complaints about a commitment get thrown around? Pretty fucking often – whether joking or serious, the feeling of being stuck in a position is stressful. The idea of having few alternatives and having to stick out an unfavorable situation drives up stress and having choices with steep consequences is limiting. Either situation may force the brain to make compromises and justifications in order to make it through such a situation.

This week I am reminded of the power in having choices. Specifically, choice in income and financial stability.

Anyone paying attention to financial advice or interested in personal finance has undoubtedly heard about diversifying portfolios and multiple income streams. While powerful in practice, it is too narrow. From a wider perspective, this is really a promotion of choice; as in, when one income stream or investment dries up or goes sideways, you’ve got the other diversified options to lean on.

The future is unknown and to put on the blinders and follow one path is potentially setting up an eventual realization that the walls have closed in and there is no reasonable or quick way to pivot. Responsibilities, expenses, and time are working against you and the later on you may be, the harder it is to change course.

Always aim to provide yourself choices and you reduce the risk of getting stuck without an alternate path. Keep your eyes up and scanning the surroundings for potential opportunities and lose the blinders – else you are only hurting yourself.

Yours in strength,

Jersey