Aug 032020

Here’s is an awesome comic from the website / webpblog xkcd — if you have not seen Randall’s work and wit, definitely check it out at

Recently, I’ve decided that I want to lose some weight. There is nothing super unique about having such a goal, I know, in an America that is trending toward XL. I’m a believer in making sure you have a written “why” to go with a goal and mine is straightforward: I really want to be a super-spry old guy, most spry old guys tend to be slim and trim, and I figure it’s a bad idea to start becoming spry when you are actually, officially old. Today, I still feel as young, enthusiastic, and energetic as I did when I was 25, although my vertical while playing hoops is less than half of what it used to be, but who knows if that changes when your grandkids are hopefully born someday. My grandfather raced me in a 60 yard dash when I was in grade school and I want to do the same.

But COVID hit, schedules, gyms, hoops, racquetball, squash, all that stuff got torpedoed. No excuses, right? So I started my home version — bought some weights, fixed up the treadmill, got a rower, cleaned up my mountain bike, started tracking calories with the MyPlate app. I’ve been now doing this routine for months, and my weight… wait for it… has not changed an ounce.

I just realized that one of the things I espouse all the time is the definition of crazy: doing the same things and expecting different results. For the last 90 days or more, I’ve been doing the same things and nothing has changed: Losing the 10 – 12 pounds is not happening. There is only one logical conclusion — do something different, do something more and / or eat less, or all of the above. Find a Plan B that actually shows measurable progress in reasonable time. Wishful thinking and misguided expectations are not changing a thing.

When you want something, and the Plan A that you are repeatedly trying is not working, it is time to face the reality and make some changes. Why is something so obvious so often forgotten? Maybe I need to find some stairs to spend 3 sessions on per week… seems like a good social distancing idea.

Here are my original observations from a post in 2011: Crazy Expectations. And one more worth reading about Embracing Change.

Nothing is impossible if it is 100% within your own circle of control. Eating and fitness sure is in my little circle. I know that I can!

I.M. Optimisman

Aug 022020

Humility used to be (and still is) one the finest aspects of being a good human. It has been on the endangered list for some time, but social media may send it the way of the dodo bird or the Tasmanian tiger.

Social media networks, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, have taken on a life of their own: we know have the digital twin of ourselves online, but these digital recreations are exaggerated. While the good side of social media is that it helps people stay more connected, most only post the best moments of their lives, because the regular moments are often, too average, too regular. This candy-coat-my-life phenomenon seems to have a natural gravity of its own. People seek the extreme and pictures are often retouched and filtered to the point that no color reflects reality. No one has a blemish, everyone is tan, and a number of people look slimmer than they are in real life. The only exception to candy-coated is the other extreme, when someone goes public with a torrid affair or an egregious deception, perhaps in a fit of rage or revenge, but these posts are few and far between. 95% of normal life never appears.

Other catalysts that warp the digital picture are FOMO (fear of missing out) and the human inclination to competition. The result is that many posts highlight trivial items like the new Louis Vuitton just purchased, or the truly excessive vacation while it happens. Others see this and begin to think this is normal, so they join in, spending their savings or credit card limits with over the top purchases and vacations too, followed up with the obligatory posts.

The end result is that nearly everyone appears to be bragging about themselves and their fabulous lives on social media, which is extremely efficient at popping up the brags on everyone else’s smartphone.

In the middle of all the consumerism and braggadocio, being humble is crucially important to live a good life. Consider these wise words from Malcolm Gladwell, the best selling author of the Tipping Point, Outliers, and David and Goliath, during his current class on

Malcolm Gladwell on Humility

Social media, in its efforts to connect us, is also tearing the fiber of what makes us good. Narcissism is now playing 24/7 online. I’m not saying quit all social media cold turkey, but we need to see it for what it is and treat it like beer or wine. Having a little, every now and then, isn’t bad, but partaking in copious amounts — paying too much attention to your “likes” and “comments”, feeling jealousy about someone else’s jaunt to Cabo or Tahiti, paying too much heed to other people’s commendation or condemnation, and making it the center of your view and perspective on life — is incredibly dangerous to your own state of mind and wellbeing.

Three quotes to consider:

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.
— C. S. Lewis

Humility is really important because it keeps you fresh and new.
— Steven Tyler

Humility with open more doors than arrogance ever will.
— Zig Ziglar

Stay humble.

I.M. Optimisman