Some anger, some mindfulness, and a pretty good dad joke

  • Fatherhood: Men and anger
  • Fitness: High/Low Training
  • Focus: a mindful glimpse
  • A book, a quote, a dad joke

Fatherhood: Men and anger

So much of masculinity — in the online world — is a culture of grievance. What we’re not getting. Why we’re the victims. What everyone else is doing wrong. So, I feel like I have to tread very carefully on the subject of anger and yet… I can’t avoid the topic. Anger is something that we all feel but may not be fully equipped to deal with fully.

I know a few things that don’t work very well:

  • Trying to override emotion with pure logic or problem-solving
  • Treating our most intense emotions as a higher form of truth
  • Lashing out
  • Committing to a path — intentionally or otherwise — in those moments
  • Refusing to feel the other emotions that may accompany your anger

I also know a few things that do work well. Intense exercise to dispel the cascade of stress hormones. Curiosity. Honesty with yourself. Routines and habits to help reshape your words and actions toward your loved ones into something gentle. Having robust enough physical health to deal with high stresses smoothly. And breathing. There is always breathing.

We talk about this stuff because it’s real and because the experience of anger often pulls us away from who we want to be — as dads and as partners. I’ll be moving to a referral-only model for these calls but will leave our sign-up page online for a little while.

So, if you want to join the conversation...
Click here and I’ll reach out.

Fitness: High/Low Training

Charlie Francis was a good athlete who worked like hell, thought deeply about the process, and still didn’t still quite make it. In other words, he was an ideal coach. Francis came close — the quarter-finals for the 1972 Olympics — where he was fast but not fast enough. The more talented sprinters who blazed past him never had to agonize over the details like he did — let alone communicate them to anyone else. So, while not making it all the way hurt, that pain became a gift when Francis began to put what he’d learned into a training system. When he died in 2010, he was widely recognized as one of the world’s great coaches.

Francis was a systems-thinker. While other coaches were obsessing over technique and run times, he was checking the kitchen cupboards of his athletes — and was sometimes known to buy them groceries. He found a massage expert that could keep athletes’ tissues within a perfect range of muscle tone — not too tense, not too relaxed. He considered the impact of training on indoor training surfaces on his Canadian athletes. He talked about sleep and rest and may other big picture things that were neither obvious nor widely discussed in the 1970s. However, what really differentiated Francis was what he didn’t do. Namely, he didn’t run you into the ground.

If you were a sprinter the 1970s, the odds were good that your coach was constantly asking you for more. More effort. More volume on the track. Better cardio through longer distances. And the odds are that you were tired — quite possibly too tired to ever run at your best. Francis recognized the value of hard work but he also began to ask what would allow sprinters to train at their peak and recover enough to repeat their performance consistently. It often turned out to be less. These evolved into the High/Low Method, where sprinters would run at between 95 and 100% of their best time OR keep things below 75%. He called the middle zone — 76-95% of your best time — a black hole. Athletes were to avoid it at all costs.

Top-end speed was a movement practice — precise motor skills shaped by a very specific set of physics. Low-end work was capacity-building. The middle is what gets people into trouble. You accumulate high levels of fatigue without the benefit of high quality practice. Having a great work ethic is important but don’t let fatigue be your North Star because there are better ways to navigate.

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Focus: A mindful glimpse

This will take one minute. Begin with a slow breath and ask yourself this: what is left in this moment when there is no problem to solve? This question is from mindfulness expert Loch Kelly.

By the way, I’ll be sending out the combined answers to everyone who filled in the survey below.


Book Recommendation

Speaking of anger, if your parents were not equipped to help you deal with it, you may benefit from Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents by Lindsay Gibson

Check out our (growing) book list

Submit your own recommendations here


“You will discover that essential wellbeing is not found by calming our minds or by changing our thoughts or attitudes, but actually by shifting out of our chattering minds and into a freedom that is already available.”

— Loch Kelly

Dad joke

I recently saw a Spanish magician perform. He said, “Uno, dos…” And then he vanished without a tres.

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