ya know what you should do….

I hate that. “You know what you should do…”. Always uttered by  busy bodies trying to make it seem like they’re helping with the problem. This usually happens in meetings or social groups when more than two people gather in order to plan to accomplish something. This certain someone usually comes to the meeting with four or five ‘great ideas’.

“You know what you should do,” they say with excitement, “It’d be soooo easy to do this and do that and go back and do that again, because it’s so ugly right now, and it wouldn’t really take that long or that much money to…” Wow. It took you all of 2 seconds to knee-jerkishly dream up that idea before spewing it out on the table for us to clean up. Thanks.

Here’s an idea. How bout’, instead of puking out these half-baked ideas, which are apparently so great, how bout’ you fucking DO THEM. Sure, tell us about them. Make sure they’re good ideas. But execute. Not so easy, right? Oh, that’s right, you never sat down and rationally thought through just how much money, time, and effort that would take. You never thought if it was worth expending all of that money, time and effort to achieve whatever result they you were suggesting.

I think this comes from school. The teacher liked you a lot more when you raised your hand and spouted off the most answers. The more bullshit you could verbalize in front of the group, the more brownie points you got. Way to go.

Don’t tell, do. Don’t suggest, do. Shut your mouth and take action. If you really need to collaborate with the group in order to do it better, please, go ahead. Other than that, tell us what you’re going to do, and do it. Suggesting is one thing but actually doing is another.  Do the aiki thing.  Get it done.

P.S. This post isn’t directly pointed at anyone I currently know. I have experienced these people before in my days and was just talking to my wife about them the other day. Ghosts from the past is who inspired this one.

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interview with Miles Kessler

…incredible interview by Eagle DeBotton. Miles Kessler is a good friend of my teacher, Vince Salvatore.  He’s doing amazing things in Tel Aviv right now at the Integral Dojo, which he founded. You can find out more about him here.  Many, many great points covered in this interview including, but not limited to:

  • Unless a shift in perspective takes place, it isn’t Aikido…
  • Aikido happens in relationship…
  • The natural occurrence of conflict between people who, if not self-aware, results in a chain of action/reaction. We play with this relationship in training.
  • Aikido is Jazz.  You can’t predict it nor keep it in a box.

So glad to see him online more and more.  Looking forward to much more in the near future.

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so much…

There’s so much negative shit out there in internet land that, if you want to find it, you will. The news delivers stories as negative and gloomy as the status quo will take. The two forces of motivation behind all human behavior are the need to avoid pain and the desire to gain pleasure. People will do more to avoid pain than they’ll do to gain pleasure. Media experts know this.

I’m not sure if our brains were designed to take in that much negative info all at once. Maybe we were designed to be able to handle negative shit that happened in our own homes, communities, etc., but here in the information age, we know in twenty seconds when a bomb goes off half way around the world. We see it and we localize it. Fear sets in and we live our lives in an anxious, nervous, frightened trance. It’s so easy to get consumed by it.

In Aikido practice, my teacher always says to focus on principles. Principles are what’s important. With that in mind, it’s great to have a personal philosophy and moral base of principles that serves as a compass, if you will, helping with wading in the waters of information. Without it, you’ll be lost, swayed by public opinion.  Until you have this, research and study may be necessary. However, if you have a solid moral, philosophical base, you can work with whatever information comes your way. You can believe it, exclude it, criticize it, or do something to try and fix it. Once this moral compass is in place, you don’t need to go looking for negative information. Trust me, plenty of it will come your way without searching for it. This doesn’t mean to close your eyes and hide from it either. It kinda boils down to just a few questions:

  • Is this information fo’ real? A lot of it isn’t. A lot of it is. Check the sources.  If it’s not, drop it and move on with your life.  If it is real, the next question is:
  • Is it worth doing something about? If you’re not going to do anything about it, drop it and move on with your life. Sitting there bitching to people about it without any plan of action will not change anything (plus, no matter how interested they act, people get sick of hearing you rant after a while). If you do determine it’s something you want to do something about, the next question is:
  • What can you do? If you can do something about it… Do it. Without getting arrested. That simple. Write the email, make the phone call, start the movement, support who you want to support, discredit who you want to discredit, whatever. Do it. Get it done. Then, move on with your life.

I think the key to this post is, control the information, don’t let it control you. Live your life. Question things. Be skeptical. But don’t get consumed by negativity. Take care of yourself, your family, and your close friends and community. Make your art. See beauty. Be curious.  There will always be people out there who will try to screw other people over en masse. Always.  Be aware of them, make others aware of them, don’t be a victim, but don’t let them control your state of mind.

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fear – a gift

I wrote a post a while back about, what I called, the snail brain. I kind of threw the post together after the idea hit me, and I’ve been thinking of it ever since trying to clarify my thoughts on it. What I claim it is, is the phenomena where you override your lizard brain’s survival instincts when you should really be listening to it. I think us humans are unique in doing this. I love studying conflict and fear, and my research lead me to Gavin DeBecker, one of the world’s leading experts on security. This guy owns a firm that provides security to Supreme Court justices, past Presidents, many of the world’s most famous celebrities, and other high profile individuals. His firm also provides a lot of protection to the CIA. You know you’re a bad ass when your company guards the CIA. Yeah, the ones who kill and assassinate people around the world daily.  He guards THEM. Predicting violent behavior and dealing with fear is what he does for a living, and he’s the best. Anyways, I was watching some of his interviews when I stumbled on the video below. Especially, check out the segment of the video around the 3:50 mark where he talks about the woman getting on the elevator:

What he describes is what I was trying to say about the snail brain. This woman got a terrible feeling about the sketchy looking guy on the elevator. In her gut, she knew that getting in the elevator with that man was probably not a great idea. But, she overrode it, and decided to get into the soundproof, steel cage with him anyways. As DeBecker states in the video, no other animal in the world would do that.

My research about DeBecker carried me to this video below. This is a first, and hopefully a last, on AikiLiving, but… brace yourself… it’s an Oprah interview with him. Yep, I couldn’t resist, because the story he tells explains this point even further:

Kelly, in the story, overrode her survival instincts several times and it lead to her being raped. Following that horrendous event, though, the one time she listened to those instincts saved her life. As much as I bash on the lizard brain, it does have a purpose. Fear could be a gift. Not anxiety, but fear. In the first video, DeBecker explains how ridiculous anxiety is and how it’s affected our culture. We’re a culture based on fear, really, and most of it is not necessary. There are times, however, when listening to your survival instincts could save your life.

Gavin DeBecker is an interesting dude, for sure.  He has some books out about fear and having the awareness necessary to prevent dangerous situations from happening.  He also has several interviews online that I highly recommend.  Watching that whole old-school Primetime interview is worth it too.

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did i just see that?

I’ve come to the conclusion that evil can only exist because good people have surrendered themselves from acting against it, tricking themselves into believing they’re wrong. If every reasonable person in the world didn’t care what bad people thought of them, and had the confidence to speak up and act against it, we’d be way better off.

What inspired me to write this is when my wife came home the other day from a trade show she was working at with her organization. There were a lot of kids and parents attending. She came home absolutely livid at what she witnessed there. There were a few different scenarios she told me about, but I’ll only go into detail about one in particular:

Apparently, there was a grandmother with a leash on her grandkid. GOODNIGHT EVERYBODY! NEED I SAY MORE? Deep breath… Gotta finish the story… Okay, so, she was ‘walking’ this kid and, of course, not paying attention. The kid was leaning forward with all his force trying to run up to a booth that he probably thought was intriguing, you guessed it, his grandmother let go of the leash, and the kid fell flat on his face. Not showing any concern for her kid, the grandmother showed the body language of extreme disgust for her grandkid. I mean, how dare he embarrass her by falling like that, right? To add insult to injury, the kids’ mother, who was walking behind grandma, hoddled up, picked the kid up BY THE LEASH suspending the kid in mid air, and drug the kid along, kicking and screaming. My wife felt horrible for not saying something. She did what I probably would have done too. She stood there, perplexed, not even knowing how to mentally process this gross public display of utter dysfunction.

As I grow older, I see how many problems come from horrible parenting. I will say, I’m not a parent, I’m sure it’s easier said than done, and I won’t go into it too much here. The point is, this kind of behavior is plain wrong. I don’t care who you are. My wife would have been fully justified in saying something. But then there’s the risk of causing a scene, or the parent getting hostile, or whatever. As I said, I probably would have done the same thing in the absurdity of the moment and stood there in disgust with my mouth open in disbelief while not saying anything. Why, though?!!

I am pointing out a huge flaw in good people. We need to be a little more outspoken. There are way too many good people in the world for there to be so many atrocities in it. If every good person called crappy people out on their crappiness, with full confidence and strength, I think the world would be so much better off.

I’m not saying people should have their noses where they don’t belong. I’m not saying we need to interfere with other’s lives in every way, instilling our ‘righteousness’ in them. People who do things like that usually seek out faults in others and are vocal about them from a place of incredible insecurity and hatred. In fact, do-gooders like this who nitpick and interfere in the personal lives of others should be called out on their obnoxiousness. But there’s certain things that are not to be tolerated. I don’t know how to define it in words, but I think we just know when that line has been crossed.

It’s all about conflict, isn’t it? Most reasonable people would rather live simple lives without it. I’m with them. Honestly, though, I think reasonable people need to be empowered to stand in their own strength and just say ‘no’ to certain things. Good people care way too much about what bad people think about them.

That’s where aiki comes in (yep, finally got to it). It’s HOW we handle the situation that counts. How do we do it to where it leads to the best outcome? Irrational people can be really nasty. When cornered, they have the tendency to pull out all the stops and can render your positive resistance invalid by ad hominem attacks, personal insults, witty statements, etc. That’s why we need to know how to say what we say when we school them in front of their friends. It takes clarity of purpose and absolute confidence to fight for good. It takes rational logic and knowing where and when to apply pressure. Taking personal responsibility for the world around us is a huge step in the fight against crappy people.

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