Don’t ever for one second believe that you are in control.

Posted: March 1st, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

About 9 1/2 years ago, a friend of mine was about to a begin working at a new firm. He pursued this position diligently, lobbying hard, selling his qualifications and the potential impact he could have on the company’s business. And when he was chosen, he was truly elated, as this position afforded him an phenomenal opportunity to advance in his career. So one beautiful late summer morning he woke up extra early, left his home in northern NJ and arrived eagerly at his new employer. Upon arrival, he was undoubtedly presented with stacks of forms from HR and left in some cubicle to fill them out alone. Then the first plane crashed into the tower. He left behind a wife and small kids, one just barely a year old.

This past Friday, the 15 year old son of friends left for an adventure as an exchange student. He too was undoubtedly excited about the wonderful experiences and opportunities that would unfold over the next 4 months. He would meet new friends, experience a new culture and elevate his Spanish skills to a new level. And then with in 24 hours of his arrival in Santiago, one of the largest earthquakes in  modern times struck Chile.  Fortunately, he was unharmed but the last that I heard, he has still yet to actually speak to his parents.

These are 2 personal examples of the world being turned upside down instantly; one caused by the senseless yet well planned action of a few men and another brought on seemingly at random by our very world. No one is immune from these exogenous events. They may not be life threatening but your life will be changed. While you can’t control external factors, you can control yourself. The only course of action is to simply accept the reality of the situation and respond appropriately.  Whether that is making a last call to your wife and telling her that you love her or working closely with others for a common goal. Regardless of the outcome, every situation, good or bad,  whether we realize it or not, presents us with an opportunity. It may not be the opportunity that we are looking for or one that we even want, but we don’t have that choice. However we do have the choice, or rather the responsibility to ourselves, to see these opportunities and seize them. Our lives are composed of a continuous stream of these moments. Don’t waste them. Make each one count. Make every moment your last moment.

Michael, you will not forgotten. Zach we all look forward to your safe return.

I don’t care if you don’t care.

Posted: February 18th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

No, I am not referring to the lyrics of Green Day’s Jesus of Suburbia. It is how I continually explain to my kids, my brother and even my parents that I will support, help out and get involved in various aspects of their lives, but they need to lead. It is their lives, their choices. If its important to them, then it is important to me. If they are not going to take a stake in something, make the required investment and demonstrate effort, then they should not expect me to take responsibility for it.

The other night my brother called up and asked me to come over and help him out with something. It was late, the streets were icy and it would have been really inconvenient for me to drive the 30 minutes over to his place. I asked him to look for something, with the intent of eventually trying to talk him through what needed do be done and then if he could not do it, I would come over. But it didn’t happen that way. He got annoyed and told me that he was not good at this kind of thing and he didn’t want to look for the wire that I asked him to find. So I said good bye and hung up.

The next morning he called again and told me that he didn’t appreciate how I acted or spoke to him. He was really angry. I said to him, “if you don’t care enough about your own situation to try and work through it, then frankly I don’t care either. If you call me up and ask for my help at 10:00 PM but can’t take the time or show some effort and look for the wire that you need to solve your problem, you can’t possibly expect me stop what I am doing and come over to your place.”

He calmed down and thanked me for explaining my position to him. So I told him what to look for and we began working through his problem. And it was my pleasure to help him out.

You can't get there from here, because you are already there.

Posted: February 3rd, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

My friend, Rabbi Amy Joy Small, posted an article that illustrates how we can long for and even try to chase down simplicity but never actually achieve it. She points out that it is not just about doing less stuff, but that we actually need to take time for ourselves, to replenish and regain our perspective. For example, after a challenging day, Rabbi Amy comes home and says that she wants to be a muffin maker in her next life (how many Rabbis do you know that not only address but are making plans for their reincarnation?). But then she quickly recognizes that this is simply a transient reaction to the frustrations of her day, which still linger, fresh in her mind. And with that, she lets go of both the day and its associated stresses.

I would take her concept even further. From my perspective it is not about doing anything, be it doing more or doing less; it is about how we, as individuals, choose to perceive our own situations in any given moment. For example, on Monday you hate your job and you are determined to quit. On Tuesday you are let go. On Wednesday you wake up and desperately long for the job that you were about to quit 2 days before. Would you feel different if you actually quit on Monday? The end result is the same, it is just your perception of the moment that is different.

I’ve written about how our science is unable to understand or even identify what makes up “reality”. Frankly it doesn’t (or isn’t) matter. Actuality simply is. Reality is an illusion, it is what we each choose to impart to actuality. My reality is not your reality. And its not hers or the cat in the box’s reality. While they are all separate and distinct, they share many overlapping points of commonality which conveniently provide us with a frame of reference in which can interact and share experiences. It is those shared experiences, the interactions with those we love and care about, caring about and extending help to those who we don’t and may never know and simply finding the value in a given moment which impart that elusive satisfaction into our own lives.

Lemonade: the movie

Posted: February 3rd, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

This is worth 35 minutes of your time. Things happen. Sometimes things happen that you just can’t control. Stop reacting and start responding. Don’t waste your time. Don’t waste your life. Close your eyes and sit quietly. Deep down inside you know exactly what you want to do. What you need to do. Hold that thought for the next 35 minutes. Watch this movie. Be inspired. Be inspiring. Technorati Tags: ,

Uninvited to the party.

Posted: February 2nd, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

An old college friend brought this poll to my attention. It was taken by phone and comprised of 2003 registered Republicans that were spread across the US. The actual results of the poll are not surprising to me, they just clearly illustrate the degree of polarization that has taken hold among the US population.

I was a life long Republican, but over the last several years, I have become increasingly uncomfortable with many of the positions that the party has adopted. Positions, which I consider so extreme, that I can no longer participate in the process, within that framework. That said, the Democrats have also staked out some extreme positions, all be it, polar opposite from their Republican contemporaries. And as a consequence, our political system (in the US) seems to be caught between the proverbial irresistible force and the immovable object. From my perspective, politics on both sides of the aisle, are increasingly defined by personal agendas, short-sighted reasoning and intractable positions designed to remake the social fabric of the country into their respective images. The system has devolved into a battlefield of a zero sum ideological civil war, where the biggest losers are the ordinary citizens, whose interests, these politicos ostensibly represent.

When our nation was founded, assuming the mantle leadership resulted in significant personal sacrifices for the participating individuals. Most left behind farms, businesses and families in order to serve their fellow citizens. Being human, they certainly had differing opinions, personal quirks and were undoubtedly subject to the same desires, prejudices and insecurities that plague us today. However they somehow managed, as individuals, to transcend their petty differences and personal weaknesses and embrace a commonality of purpose thus governing with higher ideals.

So where are those men and women today who can govern in that same spirit of unity for the clear benefit of the entire citizenry and our nation’s future? I believe that for the most part, these individuals are already in place. They simply need to remember why they are there in the first place and they too can cast aside divisive reactionary behaviors and move beyond petty agendas. However it is incumbent upon us, as citizens, to remind them of who they can become and what they can accomplish. Now lets do our part so they can do theirs.

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now easier and more convenient than ever…

Posted: February 1st, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

I am both surprised and humbled by the continual increase in traffic to this blog. To those that take the time to read it, I genuinely thank you. In an effort to make it both more accessible and convenient, I have set-up parallel feeds on Google’s blogspot service and the Wordpress hosted service.  If you find this blog useful, insightful or entertaining in anyway, I would sincerely appreciate it if you recommend it to a friend.

Again, thanks for taking the time to read Consensual Delusion. I look forward to your comments and suggestions.


What matters most.

Posted: January 25th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Last weekend, Number Two was Bar Mitzvah’d. Towards the end of the service, Number One, my wife and I, all had the opportunity to individually address Number Two and the 250 or so people in attendance. I took the podium after they both finished. As the  audience was enjoying my intentionally humorous dialogue, it was abruptly interrupted by something just short of wrestling match, described by one guest as “a refreshing and honest public display of family dysfunction”. Number Two turned off my microphone. Number One hijacked my “flowchart”. And on a live mic, my wife was insisting that my talk was too long. As a consequence, I only got to present the funny stuff, which while enjoyable to the audience, left me a bit unfulfilled.

So this past Saturday night, at a fund raiser, I was given the opportunity to finish my speech. I began by giving the audience the back-story that I provided above.  Then I delivered the ending, and as I always prefer to speak unscripted and spontaneously, this is approximately what I said:

“It doesn’t matter what your job is, how much money you make or how much money is in your bank account. It doesn’t matter what kind of car you drive, how big your house is or what town you live in. It doesn’t matter what your clothes look like or what the labels inside them say. Life by itself is essentially pointless. It is up to you to give it meaning. And all the people we care about, those that are with us today and those that are absent, all our family, all of our friends and our entire community; they are why we are here. We give meaning to each other’s lives. And that is what is truly important. That is what matters most.”

And then with uncharacteristic brevity, I just thanked everyone and left the podium.

So I told my kids what I did and what I said. And they kind of understood the message intellectually but I didn’t think it really resonated to their core. So I asked them this question. “If you were living in Haiti and came home to find a pile of rubble where your house had been, what would you dig for? Would you dig for your ipod or your macbook? For your new shirt or jeans? of course not, you would dig for your family, your friends or anyone else who might have been in the house. And you would not stop digging despite how tired you were or if your fingers were bleeding because those lives are our most important treasures.” And then they got it. They really got it.

The begining of the end or how regionalism can transform our republic

Posted: January 20th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Back in 1989, I came to conclusion that it was highly probable that the Soviet Union would fracture. Granted it was 2 years early but the signs were clear; overspending, rising nationalism, a distracted and overextended foreign policy and an uncontrolled shifting away from a centralized totalitarian government.

A few years later, during Bill Clinton’s Presidency, I became concerned that rising regional discord brought on by a tax system that was now shifting tax receipts between states, rather than applying those funds on a federally prioritized basis, would start the US down a similar path. My argument was that citizens were clearly more concerned about local issues and problems and resent their tax dollars being “exported” and applied to those of another state located across the country. For example, my home state of New Jersey, as a percentage of federal spending applied to each state, sends more dollars to Washington then it receives back. So effectively federal tax dollars raised in NJ are being sent to California to address their fiscal mismanagement when the money could stay local and be applied to NJ’s own fiscal mismanagement.

Yesterday, the people of Massachusetts, a traditionally liberal and democratic state, reacted en masse, along those lines. As Massachusetts requires it’s residence to carry health insurance or incur financial penalties (sound familiar), approximately 97% of the population are insured. Additionally, those whose incomes are low enough, qualify for subsidized insurance paid for by state taxation. So what happened yesterday? The people of the commonwealth of Massachusetts elected to put their interests first. They have a working system that effectively provides universal coverage and they are already heavily taxed; it is completely understandable that they do not want to subsidize health insurance coverage in other states.

To be clear, I am not judging or advocating any political positions. I am not suggesting that the US will fall into another civil war and “Balkanize”.  I am simply pointing out what I see as a trend that will undoubtedly have a significant effect on the social, economic and political landscape in the years to come.

The more enduring tragedy of Haiti

Posted: January 18th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Two weeks ago, 90 percent of the planet could not find Haiti on the map. Two weeks from now, 90 percent of the planet will have forgotten her. Two weeks ago, mothers were feeding their children biscuits made from dirt and cooking oil. Laying them to sleep onto bed-bug infested mats and tattered blankets. The make shift houses, constructed of piled cinder blocks, corrugated steel scrap and whatever else they could scavenge, provided some shelter from the harsh tropical rain but not from the swarms of mosquitoes carrying Dengue Fever, a deadly menace where their only defense is the acrid smoke of burning garbage that hung ever present in the hot, humid tropical air.  Two weeks from now, I can only hope, that they will have that much as the news cycle will have passed her by. And the world will turn its attention elsewhere. And then with out warning, somewhere else, the people who have the least will be beset by another truly horrific occurrence. And the world will come rushing in and slowly fade away. Again. And again.

Spanning the globe?

Posted: January 15th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | No Comments »

Every now and then I check out the analytic data on who is actually reading these posts and the results simply amaze me. Here are some stats from outside of the US over the last 30 days:

  • someone in Rogaska Slatina, Slovenia has been back 4 times in the last 3 weeks
  • someone in Jakarta, Indonesia started on my discussion of why I don’t like to use the word, God, and then proceeded to spend the next 11 minutes going reading my posts only to then come back for more the next day.
  • in the UK, readers reside in London, Bath, Leeds, Hailsham, Aberdeen, Aveley, Bristol, Kirkintillock, Edgbaston, Camberely and Nottingham
  • Scandinavia is represented by Stockholm, Kerava (Finland) and Trondheim (Norway)
  • My riff on the stupidity of war went over well with some new visitors in Sydney and Moscow
  • Additionally, readers from France, Spain, Germany, Croatia, India, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Denmark, New Zealand, Taiwan, the Philippines, Ecuador, Chile and Canada have all honored me by taking the time to read some of my posts.

Thank you all for taking the time to both read and think about my thoughts. I look forward to hearing some of yours. If you find a post particularly interesting or insightful, please pass it on to your friends.


Plagued by the meaning of the plagues. Or what would MLK say?

Posted: January 14th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Number Two chose this weekend for his Bar Mitzvah. He wanted it to coincide with our national observance honoring Dr. Martin Luther King and the continual struggle to bring equality to all members of our society.  He also chose it because it happened to be the passages in the book of Exodus where the God of the Israelites unleashes the first of the 10 plagues on Pharaoh and the people of Egypt.

He wrote an insightful D’var Torah, or teaching, that discusses the relationship of MLK and the struggle of all righteous individuals to move our society toward one of equality and Moses bringing the word of God to Pharaoh and the demand to let the Israelites go. Number Two put his soul into this lesson. He lives his life by simply not tolerating acts of inequality, oppression or cruelty. And that makes me proud.

My disconnect comes when he talks about the power of the God of Israel; a forceful “kick-ass” God who is portrayed as intent on sending a message to both the Israelites and the Egyptians.  My disconnect is not with my son, but with the actual the passage in Exodus 9:15-16 “I could have stretched forth My hand and stricken you [Pharaoh] and your people with pestilence, and you would have been effaced from the earth. Nevertheless I have spared you for this purpose: in order to show you My power and in order that My fame may resound throughout the world.”

In my mind, the plagues are acts of compassion, not a demonstration of force and vengence. The God of creation could have not only wiped the Egyptians from the face of the Earth, but from history itself, however they were his children too.  So we are witnesses to the sequence of  plagues, delivered as increasingly severe but measured responses, only after Pharaoh repeatedly rejects each demand to let the people go. Acts of compassion. That may not be the traditional interpretation or even the non-traditional interpretation, but its mine. And I would believe that is the lesson that was truly meant to be resounded throughout the world. What would MLK say?

Becoming a man (whether you want to or not).

Posted: January 14th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | No Comments »

This Saturday Number Two becomes a man. He will be called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah. If only becoming a man was that simple, my job would be done. At 13 years and 5 weeks I could send him off into the world with a clear conscience and the utmost confidence that he had been thoroughly prepared for what lies ahead. I know that sometimes he thinks that he’s ready to go out on his own and it would free up some of my time, but I just can’t do it.

Sorry Number Two, its not happening. Despite the fact that I am really proud of how mature, sensitive and confident you are, we still have some work to do. I still have some work to do. You see, I can’t really be a man until I actually have that aforementioned clear conscience and utmost confidence that I have done everything that I could to help you become a man. I guess we’re stuck with each for at least a few more years. And I’m going to enjoy every minute of them.

When the only tool you have is a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail.

Posted: January 8th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Our society is built upon information. The appropriate application of information can drive an economy forward, topple a government or save someone’s life. So it would seem natural that to be successful in our endeavors we should focus on acquiring more information. And acquire it faster than the next person. And react to it even faster.

This is our society; more and faster. Faster and more. A society that by definition is in constant transition yet is composed of individuals who innately crave stability. So is it any wonder that even in “good times” people feel unsettled? That they feel a need to escape? To self medicate? Or even abrogate a degree of self determination? Of course not, that is simply a consequence of being continually overwhelmed by a world that demands more and faster.

As we embark on the 2nd decade of the 21st century, how can we possibly cope with our own individual stresses much less advance our society when the processes we use were developed centuries ago? We  can mindlessly apply variations of the same things over and over again or we can re-imagine the future as well as our intertwined collective and individual destinies. We can continue to value ourselves from an an external perspective or we can shift our focus toward understanding ourselves internally. And we can continue to proclaim that we value life, free thought and liberty or we actually can. Its time to get some new tools.

2010 is calling. How will you answer?

Posted: December 31st, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

The good news: in the last 20 years the total number of armed conflicts across the globe has been reduced by almost 60%, the number of ongoing conflicts has dropped by 50% and the world’s displaced population has decreased by 16%.

The bad news: Globally, there are almost 80 wars currently being waged and of these, 29 are ongoing, sustained conflicts. The total number of refugees and internally displaced people as a result of war is currently about 42 million -which is equivalent to the combined population of the 44 largest cities in the United States.

Viewed from afar, statistics show conditions are certainly improving. Viewed from the ground, in a refugee camp, somewhere  in the Democratic Republic of Congo, each day is a living hell.

Hoping 2010 will be better, will do nothing to actually make it better. So take it upon yourself to insure that in some small way it is better. If you have a little extra, please pass it on to those who have nothing. If you have a voice, please use it for those who can not or will not be heard. 2010 is an opportunity to do something good. To act selflessly. To become something bigger than yourself 365 times. Make the most of it. Happy New Year and go in peace.

The Wildcat: turning weakness into strength by changing the game.

Posted: December 28th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

A few Sunday mornings ago, I was out early, driving Number 2 to see some friends. We began to talk about the day’s upcoming football games. This was the first week that Mark Sanchez was sidelined as the Jets’ quarterback, turning the role over to his back-up.  Number 2 expressed a degree of pessimism regarding the outcome. I told him that I thought it opened up a lot of opportunity to play unconventionally. To use the Wildcat.

If you are unfamiliar, you can read about the wildcat in the link above. Essentially it bypasses the quarterback and snaps the ball directly to the running back, effectively confusing the defense. Miami has used it extensively and effectively after the potential career ending injury sustained by their QB, former Jet, Chad Pennington. It works best against a truly disciplined and precision coached team like the Patriots. It completely befuddles them. As a digression, in my opinion, that is how the NY Giants beat the Patriots in Superbowl XLII: Eli Manning seemed a bit unsure what plays he was going to call, this instability actually worked for them against the highly prepared and mechanically precise Patriots.

Back to the car. As our conversation continued, I told him that he could apply the Wildcat to anything. He could change the game inside the game, turning disadvantages into advantages. The spirit of the Wildcat is to not just think bigger and broader, but to think differently. To unconventionally apply what is available right now in order to break through the status quo. The Wildcat is the leap of faith. It is the spark of invention. It is the path of the most resourceful and unconventional. And it truly does change the game.

When you hit a wall, encounter a problem or come upon a challenge which may seem too formidable to attempt, turn the situation into an opportunity. Become a game changer. Become the Wildcat.

war: what is it good for? absolutely nothing.

Posted: December 7th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Are we as a nation becoming desensitized to war? Desensitized to the physical and emotional damage, both immediate and delayed, that is  being sustained by our children, siblings and parents? Desensitized to what we are asking these men and women to do? To what we are asking them to endure day after day, month after month and year after year? Desensitized to the consequences of our actions as a nation as well as the consequences of our individual actions or inaction with regard to the events which are unfolding around us?

When will war become obsolete? When the thought of waging war becomes too horrendous to for nations, NGOs and individuals to contemplate. When the true effects of war are universally recognized and understood, both intellectually and emotionally. When we collectively and individually decide to look across the table, across the street, across town, across our country and across our borders and see people as people. As sons and daughters. As mothers and fathers. As husbands and wives. As people that love and are loved. As people without added labels, descriptions, qualifiers or other words tacked on that are designed to separate them from ourselves.

Unachievable? Utopian nonsense? Impossible? Perhaps today but who knows about tomorrow or the day after that. Someone has to be the first one. Perhaps that someone will be you?

Blind alleys and dead ends.

Posted: November 13th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

I drove number one to school today. On the ride over, I mentioned to him that I had started working on a new story. I asked him if he would read it and give me some feedback. He is always my harshest critic; I value his opinion as he is frank and his observations are generally both helpful and insightful. He asked me what it was about so I started to outline the plot. It is an experimental piece that may be categorized as “post-modern” fiction, where the varied writing styles are as much a part of the work as the plot. I did not tell him this, I just described the basic plot.

He asked me a few a questions and then told me that it did not sound like a literary work. I responded “Shakespeare’s works were not considered literary when they were written.”

He snapped back “So you are comparing yourself to Shakespeare?”

I answered him quietly. “No, you are comparing me to Shakespeare. I just asked if you would read my story.”

I have a problem with God.

Posted: November 9th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

I have a problem with God. Or more precisely, I have a problem with the word God. I believe it is a product of convenience: a word created by humans to describe the indescribable. An artificial semantic construct that subtly shifts the inconceivable into the realm of the near tangible. It is a word that allows us to apply convention to something that is not just far beyond our physical capability for understanding but something that is seemingly beyond our abilities of abstraction and imagination.

By assigning a linguistic, etymological or symbolic value to that which can not be described, we simultaneously limit its scope and define it in our own terms, dragging it into the world of matter and energy in which we reside. And I believe that is both supremely arrogant and more importantly, a disservice to ourselves as it inhibits our ability to connect with something that is paradoxical and life altering.

As previously mentioned, the universe that we all know, the universe in which we exist, the universe described by Newton, Einstein, Bohr and Hawking comprises less than 4% of what astrophysicists can currently measure. Physically, we have no choice but take up space and conform to the limitations of this tangible universe. However we are not just physical. Thoughts are not physical. Insights are not physical and love is certainly not physical. We just choose to define and relate to them exclusively in physical terms. And by doing that, we limit ourselves from truly being who we are and experiencing that which can not be described.

Fail 7 out 10 times and you are truly extraordinary.

Posted: November 2nd, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

I am not a big baseball fan primarily because it requires a large time commitment to really follow any given team. A regular season schedule is 162 games played from April through October. That is 5-7 games per week over a 7 month period. If you are a starting player, you are going to bat on average about 3.5 times per game which corresponds to 500+ “at bats” over the course of a season. A batting average or relationship of hits to at bats is one of the defining benchmarks in the sport.  The absolute best lifetime batting average belongs to Ty Cobb at .367 while Derek Jeter is ranked 65th with a .317 average.

So what is the take away from all of this? If you ask a random person how they would characterize someone who fails 7 out of 10 times when they are doing their job expect to hear words like mediocre, loser or pathetic. But in Baseball, failing 7 out of 10 times at bat elevates you to one of the best of the best. So in baseball as in life, persistence and consistency rather than perfection is what ultimately determines success and defines a person’s efforts. Go ahead, swing and miss -just make sure that you get back up to bat.

getting punched and getting insight.

Posted: October 30th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Due to illness, this was my first full week of sparring in the last 3. Early in the week, I was out of sync: my body was shaking off the ring rust and my mind was less focused, less in the moment than is required to both punch and avoid being punched. So as my mind was wandering and body was being beaten, I had a few of insights that I believe have a wider application than exclusively to boxing.

The first is the distinction between chasing and pursuing. When I found myself chasing, I inevitably lost my balance,  relaxed my stance and loosened my guard. And before I could reposition myself, my opponent would see the opening, hit me and knock me further off-balance. And then he would hit me again and again. He was pursuing, intelligently advancing his position by making the most of the opportunity at hand. In other words, he was capitalizing on my mistakes and weaknesses.

My second insight is embarrassingly basic; if you are going to stand still, directly in front of someone who is trying to hit you, you are eventually going to get hit. My innate style is to continuously move around. When I’m hitting the bags I practice punching while moving side to side, up and down and in and out. Never the less, on several occasions early in the week, I found myself squared off and just trading punches. A war of attrition may be advantageous in certain situations but it is not a productive, proactive long-term strategy. Even when you win you loose.

The last insight is not new, but frankly it probably enabled me to have to prior two. It is the duality of maintaining an unemotional composure so when something is not working, it can be clearly perceived and appropriate response can taken.  This is contrasted with the characteristic of continuously analyzing and understanding why something is working so the momentum of the situation can be maintained or even better, increased. Combined the 2 can be articulated more simply; being in the moment with out being overcome by the moment.