Who you are is what you have to offer


Scaffolding your actions

  • Dad wisdom: Who you are is what you have to offer
  • Focus: Scaffolding action
  • Fitness: The safest way to rev to 100
  • A book, a quote, a dad joke

Dad Wisdom: Who you are is what you have to offer

One of our dads shared this line from his therapist. It’s a good one. I don’t know what it means to you but here’s how I’ve been thinking about it:

There’s what’s below the surface and three’s what we take action on. They don’t have to be the same thing.

Philosopher Alain de Botton describes the Romantic idea of emotions as an 18th century European invention that spread widely — and is still in use. A meme, in other words. The Romantic take on emotions is that they’re neither important nor deserving of much reflection. So, when feelings emerge, they typically burst through unedited — as if they’re some higher form of truth. “I’m just telling you how I feel!”

Is sharing an unedited, unexamined version of emotions a truer form of honesty? Or would it be better if we could sit with emotions internally — in all their glorious volatility — and then choose actions that best match who we want to be?

These thoughts are inspired by a recent Dad Strength call.

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Focus: Architecture for action

I have this idea for a flexible office space, like WeWork — but weirder and somehow even less financially viable. This would more be like CaveWork. Here, you have the option of moving through various layers of de-connectivity, deeper, deeper into the cavern. The deepest layer would have a physical attendant to take calls, so that family members could come and get you in the case of a true emergency. Otherwise it’s just you, a notebook, a whiteboard, and brown noise. The next layer up would let you type notes into a document but — still — no internet for you! The most superficial layer would have room for creative collaboration with others in a less stringent but still focus-oriented environment.

Behavioural economists might describe this idea as choice architecture. This arrangement doesn’t force you to do anything per se but instead provides a path of default settings. Every layer deeper into the cavern reduces choice — but you’re the one choosing not to choose! Here, the architecture reduces the need to rely on discipline.

Until some startup is eccentric enough to create CaveWork, you and I will both have to ask how close we can come to replicating it in our own lives. And, where we may have accidentally built the inverse.

Fitness: Breathing The safest way to rev to 100

If you are just getting back to the gym after a layoff or injury AND you have ants in your pants, here’s a tool that you’ll want in your toolkit: hard isometrics.

Here, you’ll push against a fixed object, like the pins in a squat rack. When in doubt about range, choose the halfway mark, where you’ll be able to get the highest level of output or just before your sticking point.

Going to 100% on a squat? Risky AND highly technique dependant. Going to 100% on an iso squat to pins? Surprisingly safe AND accessible. Try this reps of 7-10 seconds — and for 3-6 sets.


“Most of what makes a book 'good' is that we are reading it at the right moment for us.”

― Alain de Botton

Dad joke

Did you hear about the man who ate a clock? It was very time consuming.

Especially when he went back for seconds.

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