Friday, April 28, 2017

FINISH!



In my last post I talked about STARTING. This post is dedicated to FINISHING! After you get used to starting things, get in the habit of finishing them too! Once starting is a non-issue, all of a sudden finishing can become the next hurdle! It's easy to begin something (or many somethings) and never finish anything!

I know from personal experience I have challenges finishing things. Two main things hinder my ability to finish:

  1. So many ideas, so little time. 
  2. The devil's in the details.


(1) So many ideas, so little time... I find it easier and more fun to brainstorm possibilities, especially when I get inspired by a new idea. I love the feeling of that creative energy, which is so much easier when it's just a dream and you don't have to worry about any actual details of implementation, leading to completion.

(2) The devil's in the details... Once the broad-strokes have been brushed, all of the minutia churns into a shitstorm of incompletion on more projects than I can count. Sometimes other people have gotten caught in those storms which can cause some hard feelings. In our heads it seems totally natural to move on to the next shiny object, but to those who may have gotten dirty down in the trenches with you, they don't necessarily hear what's going on in our brain, so they may be left in the dark, feeling abandoned and a little bitter for the time they spent on your project abortion.

I learned a few things about myself along the way regarding finishing. No, I still don't always complete all of my projects. Yes, I still get distracted by shiny objects. And, yes, I can still frustrate people who are collaborating with me, as well as those who are anxiously awaiting my next creative endeavor. So, no I'm not perfect...But I'm better than I have ever been and I plan to keep improving!

Here are 5 tips on how to FINISH:

1) When you think of that NEXT great project, instead of shelving the one you're working on now to entertain the new shiny object, write it down and put it in your "Great Idea" folder. Then get back to the completing the project in hand before spending time on the new idea.

2) Make a "to-do" list of the details that you need to complete.

3) Make a timeline. Create a schedule of when you plan to get those things on your "to-do" list done.

4) Probably THE most important tip is to Set a overall project Deadline (then you can work backwards to connect the dots for your timeline)!

5) Know when to quit. Not every project needs to be completed. Yes, it's true, not all endeavors need to see the finish line. Some things are best left on the cutting room floor so to speak. 


Know what to Start, what to Finish and what to walk away from. Whatever you do be sure that you are Enjoying the Ride!


Keep going,
~Craig


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

START!




If you wait until everything is perfect, you will probably never start! One of the (many) things I do is run a martial arts academy and if I had a dollar for every time I've heard someone say, "Before I start training, I want to get into shape first"  I would be rich! Those people almost never start.

No, we have to START first, often before all of our ducks are in a row, before everything is perfect.  To start means to take action, to do. Breaking out into the unknown is scary, especially in a world where we are infused with so much information. The information can (falsely) give us comfort and make us feel as if we are actually doing something and/or making progress. It can also give us a sense of being overwhelmed (a.k.a. analysis/paralysis). Another symptom of having access to an overload of information with little or no actual experience is criticism (a.k.a. the armchair quarterback). Which brings us full circle to folks not actually starting...

I've talked to countless people who want to start their own journey in things from businesses to blogs and most fail to do the THE most important step necessary to success... STARTING! That's right simply take the first step. Remember the second, third and forth steps won't matter if you never take your first!

When is good time to start? NOW! Today's day and age is perfect for aspiring newb's in pretty much any field! Why? Because of the ease of entry. It is simpler than ever to get the information and resources needed to do whatever you want to do!

You want to be a writer!? The software you need to write it, publish it and distribute it is free! No longer do you need expensive equipment and a publishing contract with some huge firm to accomplish your goal of being a writer. You have access to everything you need to produce, publish, market and distribute your own book, petty much for FREE!

You want to play music? You can learn any instrument free on youtube, buy it cheap and have it delivered to your doorstep from ebay, access (free) apps that will provide you the rest of your band (electronically), then edit, engineer, produce, publish, market and distribute your entire album as well as build your following, all for free (or pretty darn close to it)!

You want to be a journalist? You can wait for New York Times to hire you, or you can write the next world changing story, post it on your free blog (like this one), get your word out, build your following and change the world.

I could go on, but you get the idea. Never in our history has it been so easy to do these things! However, you have to START! Don't wait until everything's perfect! Do it now! Don't worry, you can correct and refine as you go.

Make a plan, refine it as best as you can, and get it out of your head and into the world, then make the necessary changes and corrections as you move forward!

Yes, it takes courage, a little planning and tenacity, but you can do it!

and... Keep Going!


All the best,
~Craig


Monday, April 24, 2017

Being Tough vs. Effective



I was listening to an interview with Rickson Gracie and he said something that I thought was pretty insightful. He talked about the difference of being tough vs. effective. Being tough, Rickson stated is about your mentality. Being effective is about your skill and technique.

I suppose you could describe those two things by using other words, however the point that I got out of it is that you can be tough and not efficient or effective at something. Efficiency and effectiveness comes out of proper strategy, tactics and technique.

Obviously, one should strive to have toughness, efficiency and effectiveness. And, lets not forget ethics. What is the intent behind why you are doing what you are doing?

Being tough is good, however being tough, efficient, effective and ethical in everything that you are doing in life gains much better results. Not to mention it enables you to have a better chance to not only survive the long haul, but maybe even enjoy the ride a little more. 

In martial arts / tactical training try to learn how to accomplish things with less effort and violence whenever possible. How can we be more efficient and effective rather than using only toughness to try to compensate for lack of strategy, tactics and proper technique?

Now when the sh*t hits the fan in life, do whatever you need to in order to accomplish what is necessary (within ethical parameters of course), be it survival, business or brain surgery. However when you are training, try to learn the knowledge and skill necessary to help you accomplish things more efficiently and effectively in ways other than just the brute force of "trying harder." As a matter of fact, sometimes being tough and/or trying harder isn't enough

So what are you doing to become more efficient, effective and ethical in those areas of your life that you want to excel in? Change your perspective to look at the situation differently, so that you can leverage not only your toughness, but all attributes at your disposal. Work smarter and harder, be tough and effective!

Keep going!


Best,
~Craig


 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

11 Tips to Stick to an Exercise Schedule




1) Train for Life 

We were meant to move, so don't over complicate it. You were given one body this time around and if you don't take care of it, where are you going to live?




2) Doing Something is Better than Nothing

Waiting until your schedule is free and your life is perfect to begin your Olympic style workout basically means that you won't be training any time soon, if ever. Do something, anything!



3) Find Something that Works for You

Yoga, martial arts, Pilates, Zumba, swimming, running, lifting, step aerobics, dancing, hiking, biking... whatever! Find something that works for you. Try to get some strengthening, stretching and cardio... and breathe dammit breathe!


4) Start Small

If you are just starting, go easy on yourself: Slow at first. If you've been training, but get injured or life happens and your training lapses: Start back up slow. Don't just rip back into your old workout. Dial it back a few notches for a week or so, before ramping it up.


5) Don't Be So Hard on Yourself


Life is a marathon not a sprint, do things that are sustainable. Think of the big picture. Have fun and don't wreck yourself!


6) Being Fit is Different than Being Healthy

Yep, they are different. Fitness is relative to the activity you are doing. Being overall healthy is being fit for life! Your fitness isn't worth your health!


7) Develop a Habit

A lot of consistent little things add up to big things. If I'm running late and feel like skipping a workout, I'll talk myself into running a few blocks rather than not doing anything at all, so even if I don't get my usual 3 to 5 miles in, I at least did something! It helps me keep my habit.



8) It's Not About the Thing, but the Things the Thing Helps You to Do

I train so I can live a happier, healthier, better life. I have to continue to remind myself of that, or I'll go head first into my ego to wreck myself doing the thing, rather than the things that thing is helping me to do!


9) Push Yourself

Wait a minute, didn't I just say "don't be so hard on yourself?" Yes I did... It's alright to push yourself in a healthy way, just like competition can be healthy if it is done in a balanced way. Listen to yourself. Your body will tell you to move faster or put more stress on. If you train in a group, w/a partner or a trainer, let the momentum carry you to new heights. This occasional push will enhance your overall experience keeping you on track. Challenging yourself is necessary to staying engaged in your training. 


10) Stay Motivated

Surround yourself with inspiration! Whatever works for you! That could be people, reading an article, posts (like this) or book; watching videos, teaching someone else, learning something new, buying something that helps your practice (be it apparel, a prop, whatever); have a goal and when you achieve that set a new intention; enter a competition... But keep it all in balance! Remember healthy vs. fit!


11) Everything Has a Season

Just like the seasons change, so should your training! Things change, you change and the way you workout has to change if you are going to continue for the long haul! If you are 50 and still trying to workout like you did when you were 30, you are setting yourself up for failure, injury and disappointment. If you were in peak condition (for you) before your 2 week vacation in the Bahamas, and now you find that it's two months later and you still haven't worked out; that (micro) season is done as well! Make sure your workouts and expectations are appropriate for the season you are in.


BONUS Tip!!  



12) Keep Going 

This one is simple not easy!



Be well,

~Craig








Friday, March 24, 2017

The Bahama's a Stone's Throw Away



First night on the boat was a blast! Ended up hanging out w/the crew. We went to a local place they called 'the fish fry' (catchy I know). And what a place it was! We were the only non-locals. It was like one of those bazaars you roll into overseas. People everywhere! Music blaring! Motorcycles and cars rolling through the crowd. Fish shacks lined up back to back along the water. A crazy place!

We went to 'Sonny's', a favorite of the sailors.  Sonny and his wife are in their 70's or 80's and are down there everyday selling their specialty conch delights! He was very proud of his place and was a wonderful host!

After grabbing a bite to eat and a drink or two we headed to a soccer game. The rest of the night went by quickly. A great start to my travels!



The water here is so beautiful! Shades of bluest blue and greenest green... unbelievable! We set sail for a few hours. It certainly is a beautiful sight seeing the ship under full sail! 8.5 knots, the rock of the boat, warm sun, nice breeze... Good for the soul!






After a day of relaxing on some of the most incredible beaches known to man. Sapphire water, powered sugar sand and no other people for miles I swam back to the boat to watch the sunset!



You'd be right if you're thinking that these pics don't do this moment justice. If you haven't experienced a sunset out on a sailboat in the middle of the Caribbean don't wait! Life's too short to miss out... 





Captain Rob (Yes, many Capt. Ron jokes ensued throughout the trip!) gave us an astronomy lesson with his wicked cool super laser pointer! It was really unbelievable! (Yes, I do think it was the same one that Auric used on Bond in the 1964 movie Goldfinger).





Captain Ron... Oh, I mean Capt. Rob


The moonless sky was so clear that you could easily see the milky way! There were so many stars out that some of the constellations were hard to find! It was like being in a planetarium only better!


This morning climbed the rigging up the main mast to the crows nest some 90' feet up. Palms sweating, heart pounding, jittery... Breathe, go hand over hand, focus on now! One step at a time. Keep going, don't stop, you'll make it! If someone can do it, I can do it too!


Kyle (one of the sailors) climbed this like a monkey. He felt at home just 'hanging' around. Crazy! Me, not so much! =)

   The view up top was breathtaking!

 We sailed through a place called 'Current Cut' part of the Eleuthera Islands. They said it was rather technical to navigate it. It's only about 300' wide at the waterline, however underneath the water, the "cut" is less than 125' wide at high tide. This cut allowed the keel of the ship to pass without grounding. Captain Rob made the pass look effortless. 



Later that day we arrived at Glass Window. It was once a natural rock bridge that separated the  Atlantic and Caribbean Ocean. The stark difference is profound. Master & Commander meets Captain Ron. Beautiful! The cliffs were incredible. Maybe 120' or so. You could see for miles!




The moon pools were cool too! An area where the ocean cut away the rock into these circular formations, like bird baths. At night they reflect the moon in each pool... Thus the name! Too bad I didn't get to see that!





After hiking back to the beach I took a quick dip to cool off and then swam back to the boat. Much to my delight, the crew rigged a Tarzan Swing off the aft mast of the ship. Much fun was had by swinging 20' or so off the rope and into the warm turquoise water! It was like being a kid again! The day wrapped up wit a jam session with the crew and guests! Another fantastic day sailing the Caribbean!

Sailed through the night and anchored off from Rose Island where we snorkeled (OMG!), swam some more, chilled and saw Gilligan's Island! Yes, that's right, I did say Gilligan's Island! The very island they used for the main picture of the original B&W series. Later, when they went color, they used an island near Hawaii.

 If you look close, you can see Mary Ann making banana cream pie!
  

Sailing was great! It was pretty much what I was expecting. I'm glad I finally did it! No, I didn't touch on much of what I did on this trip, you only get a flavor! Many things will stick with me for a lifetime, but my favorite has to be sitting on the deck watching the sun set and the stars come out! There aren't words to describe that! 

It was cool sharing that world for a while. The crew had something going on that was addictive. They loved what they were doing and it showed in everything that they did! Vibrant! Alive! The ocean and sailing is deep and rich in history and tradition. The skill each of the crew demonstrated was impressive. We admired seeing them in their element... and being a part of it even if only for a moment.

After getting off the ship, I stayed a couple days at this fantastic place called 'A Stone's Throw Away', another place that I recommend you go if you ever get the chance! You won't regret it!




Well, that's it for now intrepid travelers! Thanks for sharing some of my journey! Until next time! Remember...

“To know the universe itself as a road for traveling souls.” 

~Rolf Potts

All the best,
~Craig

Monday, March 13, 2017

Charlie's Pigs Feet




By this time, I see that my plan wasn't going quite as I... well, planned. After checking in on the boat, I head to the local convenience store to buy some provisions before getting back on the boat later that afternoon. I forget it's Sunday, so the place is closed, however Othello (I assume the owner) lets me in anyway and lets me grab what I need. Nice guy.

I notice that all the stores here have thick iron bars on all of the doors and windows. The gas station is equipped with bulletproof glass... Hmmm... Although that isn't really any different than many of the places not too far from my place at home, none the less, it makes me more aware that I look like a tourist, complete w/backpack. At least I'm not toting around a bunch of luggage!

I tip Othello for letting me in his store when it was closed (he didn't have to do that!). Feeling the pings of hunger, I realized I haven't had anything to eat all day. So, I ask Othello where there was a good place to eat around here? He directs me to a local place called Charlie's Stadium Cafe'. It's literally around the corner. They call it the stadium cafe' because it is built in the front part of an old sports stadium. Anyway, Othello says it's a favorite local place.






I walk in. It's empty. There are a couple gals working there who greet me. They say something and then grin and laugh. I can't understand them very well because I haven't quite picked up their accent yet. They repeat what they said, directing me to a booth. I sit.

Yet again, they address me in that sweet island dialect. No menus. They just apparently are asking me what I want to eat. I'm looking for some local cuisine. I think I understand them. She is saying something sauce or soup. Local? Yep. Local. Ok, I smile and nod. A few minutes later out comes a huge bowl of soup... Pigs Feet with Sauce.

Oh... NOW I understand what she was saying! Yuck! Boiled pigs feet in soup... Lucky for me it comes with bread.

Yes, I was looking for something local, but this was a bit too local for my taste. Well, at least it came with some bread!

Not wanting to be rude, I was committed to giving it a try.

I quickly realized that I didn't even know how to eat pigs feet! Do I pop them in my mouth and eat them whole! They looked like a mass of hooves, with bone, grizzle and fat. I didn't see any meat on them what so ever.

I look down at the heaping pile and think, "of all the times for there to be huge a portion..." Well, here it goes. I shovel a spoonful in my mouth. It tasted like salty soup. As long as I didn't think about what I was eating it was alright. I munched the hooves around in my mouth, biting off all of the stuff that I could swallow with out choking. Then, after I bit off as much of the chewable tissue I could, I gingerly spit out the remaining hoof into my hand and put it next to the bowl. I continued this process until I went through half of the bowl. My stomach only turned twice threatening to eject my efforts back onto the table. I held strong...

The waitress, Rachael came back to ask me  how everything was? I said great (of course). I finished the "sauce" off by dipping my bread into it. The soup portion was pretty good, but after eating about half of the pigs feet, I was done.

When I was settling my bill, I got a chance to talk with my waitress. I told her that it was my first time eating pigs feet and I admitted to not even knowing how to go about it. She told me that I was doing alright. With the sweetest smile, she went on to tell me how their restaurant is known for their pigs feet in sauce.

Where ever I go people are proud of their heritage, their food, accomplishment, beliefs and values.

I smiled, thanked her and left a tip on my way out.


~Craig



Friday, March 10, 2017

No Entry Twice

Graffiti painted sign just outside of tourist district in downtown Nassau, Bahamas

For those who don't know me yet, I'll tell you that one of the things I've wanted to do since I first saw a Windjammer Brochure in 2000 is one of these Barefoot Cruises! It was something that I'd dream about, much like a Buffet song, it would help out during times of work stress. A fantasy outlet! Time came and went and before I knew it it was 2016! Yep, 16 years later. A lot happened in the middle of those years (as all years!), but in June, I finally said screw it, I'm going! I just had a decent sized contract come in. I was doing alright on bills and I had enough in my bank account to put a down payment down on the trip. I'll tell ya folks, hadn't I paid that down payment, I wouldn't have gone. Yet another year would have passes by.

So what's a barefoot cruise? Great question! A barefoot cruise is a trip on a small sailing ship (in this case a 125' twin mast schooner). This particular boat will be home to 8 crew and 16 passengers. Flexible, relaxed island agenda. Sailing to the small places with minimal tourists, maximum awesome! No big cruise ships here! Unbelievable beaches, water and hidden coves to explore, minus the hustle bustle of crowds and touristy routes.

I wake up slow, wash up, pack my gear - 12 days, one backpack. That includes all of my clothes, 6 books (BTW, that's about 3 too many!), my journal, toiletries, electronic gear, flip flops, hat, etc. Yep, everything I needed... and more!

For those adventure travelers who are interested, I'll write a blog about what I packed and how I fit it all in to my ONE CARRY-ON luggage piece! Yes, you skeptics it is possible, I had MORE than I needed for the trip. I could have cut a number of items out and have been fine! Don't believe me?! You'll have to catch that blog to see how I did it!

When I travel, I like to walk when it makes sense. This gives me a better feel of the area, the people and helps me to connect with the experience more deeply. I planned this aspect of the trip when I booked my hotel. It looked like a reasonable hike from my hotel to the marina where the boat was docked.

That morning I repacked my flip flops, put my merrells back on , grabbed my gear and headed down the road. By the look of the map, it was a straight shot from the hotel to the marina. Only about 1 1/2 miles. If I kept the ocean on my left and went just passed the bridge to Paradise Island, I'd be there in less than hour.

I walk straight through the tourist district downtown Nassau. I can see the huge ocean liners docked in the water. Each one holds thousands of passengers! A slice of hell if you ask me, but to each their own. The shops I passed by were no doubt catering to the people who came off those ships: Gucci, Polo, Ralph Lauren, Dakkar... You get the idea.

In a few short blocks, I was in what probably was the old tourist area of town. Boarded up buildings, for sale signs and gang graffiti replaced clean facades, new pavement and tourist cash.

Step by step I followed the ocean shore until I finally came to the marina. I found that it is best to look like you know what you're doing when you are wandering around (maybe a guy thing!?). However, don't be afraid to ask questions. In fact, this method seems to work so well, that two different people asked me for directions. When I got to the marina someone asked me which boat was mine! (If they only knew how much I get lost!)

I could see what had to be the boat's masts. It was the only ship in the yard that had old school twin masts standing high and proud 100' in the air. I confidently go through the gated entrance and walk out on to the dock toward where I figured the boat was. My deduction proved correct.

As I approached the ship (I use boat and ship interchangeably, we'll cover the differences later!), what I assumed to be the crew were buzzing around doing their thing. They were much younger and more relaxed than I had pictured in my mind (which is pretty much the norm now-a-days!).

I walk passed the "only board if invited" sign, on to the gang plank to talk with someone. I figured I was more than invited, I paid a good deal of money to sail with them. No sooner than my big toe touched the deck, a young blond gal in her late 20's / early 30's (every year that goes by, I have a harder time judging peoples age!) about had a stroke, trying to shoe me off the boat. She had the same demeanor as the "Do NOT Approach" lady from Westside who thought I was a homeless person asking her for money. Click here for that funny story!  In a blink a couple of the other crew members start in on me as well. Although they were a bit more "even keeled" (pun intended). I slowly back off the vessel, which seemed to put the young gal at ease.

"Boarding time is 5pm." The scruffy ship hand said.

He looked a lot like a modern version of one of his predecessors from "Black Sails."  Later, I would find out that his name is Ben. He was jovial enough as were the entire crew once I got to know them.

"Yea, I know, but it said we could stow our gear here anytime after 11am." 

"No problem." He says looking my name up on his wadded up piece of paper with the passengers names on it.

I thank him as he explained where I could go to get some some provision. I start walking off, but I see he's not putting my gear on board. I ask about it and he replies,"Oh, we just leave it here dockside. Don't worry, we'll keep an eye on it."

Oh, no no noooo. Me no likey likey! So my pack w/all of my stuff, clothes, keys, a fair amount of $$, electronics, travel and hotel info, etc... left dockside, literally inches from being knocked in the water or someone walking away with it!? I don't think so! Call me paranoid, but no, I don't feel comfortable with that! So, I do an about face, pick up my gear and walk back to the marina.


"Yo, Craig!" A voice calls out after me.

He says it twice before I turn around to talk.

Ben tries to assure me that it's cool and the bag will be fine. I on the other hand am not about to leave all my stuff there unattended. I nicely decline his offer and tell him I'd feel more comfortable having my gear with me.

I'm sure he and the rest of the crew are talking about the uptight tourist, but if you ever been stranded a few thousand miles from home w/o your gear, you'd understand!

More later,
~Craig