The Middle Way
The Middle Way
🏄‍♂️Lessons from Mother Nature, How Our Weakest Links Hold Us Back 🌊

🏄‍♂️Lessons from Mother Nature, How Our Weakest Links Hold Us Back 🌊


🔥Welcome to Volume #00113!🔥

I’m Christian Champ. This is ☯️The Middle Way Newsletter ☯️. It is a place where I write, explore, share, and invite you along for the journey.

If you enjoy the newsletter, please share it with your friends.

🏄‍♂️Lessons from Mother Nature, How Our Weakest Links Hold Us Back 🌊

Keep going. 

Don't stop. 

I repeated that to myself whenever daylight appeared. As soon as there was an opening, I paddled all out. Then, a gigantic wave would smash me backward.

I got spun around and thrown upside down. I felt like Zeus decided to fire lightning bolts at my surfboard. I watched boards break as the ocean showed us who was the boss.

Keep going. 

Don't Stop. 

The lineup was close but felt so far away. Stuck in the break, the ocean reminded me that my paddle hindered my surfing. I needed to get out into the lineup. The lineup is where we need to be to catch waves.

Welcome to day 1 in the water in Nosara, Costa Rica, at Playa Guiones.

The annual family trip kicked off with overhead waves. If I could order them, I'd ask for the big waves on day four or five. 

We control what we can control. 

Before I walked to the beach, my surf coach, Jordy, sent me a WhatsApp message: "Dude, it's MASSIVE today…BIG SWELL!"

The banger waves hammered home that if I paddled better, it would change my entire surfing experience. 

The waves made my weak paddling highly legible.

The waves weren’t trying to kill me; they let me know I needed to paddle better.

The lineup is just beyond the break. I need to reach it to get in a position to catch waves. The more I’m in the lineup, the more waves I get to catch. Paddling better allows me to get to the lineup faster and save all that energy I burn getting out there.

It is no big deal on a typical wave day, but the first few days weren't average. The paddle exhausted me, and plenty of times, if I paddled faster, I got rewarded by missing a set of giant waves raining down on my head.  

Changing my paddle radically alters my experience. I'm not cooked 20 minutes into a session. I'm not exhausted after catching 8 or 9 waves because getting back out is challenging. The entire experience flips upside down. I surf more, I'm tired less, I'm more zoned in longer, and I can get more reps each session. 

Ultimately, I get better faster and enjoy the experience by multiples.

We Need to Find and Improve Our Weakest Link

What else in life can we radical alter by changing our weakest link? 

What happens when we tighten up a critical skill and get 4x more reps and better than that for results? 

What happens when we listen to people and think about things before saying anything?

What happens when we sit down and write out things we are trying to figure out?

How does our relationship with potential outcomes and options change? 

What happens when we get better at starting the things we want to do, and that pushes us through to get more done? 

What paddling do we need to level up to change our lives? 

When we test minor tweaks, we can make the differences legible. We see opportunities for improvement when we observe what is happening around us.

By trying out different approaches, we can substantially change our outcomes. It isn’t always as clear as getting past the break, but we elevate our game once we see the changes we need to make.

🧠Things to Think About🧠

Seth Godin on Why Naming is Part of Marketing

Names matter. They make things legible, like the break or the lineup for surfing.

Names create.

Powerful names give us a story that we can hold on to.

A name is a hook for us to hang a story on.

We need to begin with empathy and a useful story… useful to the people who want to believe it, spread it, and use it to accomplish their goals.

Derek Thompson on Why Americans Stopped Hanging Out

There is a friendship and loneliness issue in the US. Like time on screens and devices, it only keeps growing.

This is a wild statistic on people trading people for pets.

One of the more curious trends to jump out of the data is that many Americans have traded people for pets in our social time. The average time that Americans spend with their pets has roughly doubled in the past 20 years—both because more people have adopted pets and because they spend more time with them. In 2003, the typical female pet owner spent much more time socializing with humans than playing with her cat or dog. By 2022, this flipped, and the average woman with a pet now spends more time “actively engaged” with her pet than she spends hanging out face-to-face with fellow humans on any given day.

Derek offers three reasons people don’t hang out: screens, business, or the breaking down in the community, which is all about showing up. There are fewer sports, religion, community, and friendships. There is more screen time and more depression.

When you put these three stories together, you get something like this: Face-to-face rituals and customs are pulling on our time less, and face-to-screen technologies are pulling on our attention more. The inevitable result is a hang-out depression.

Steven Johnson on Grace Hopper Programmed the First Computer

This is a story of complexity and simplicity meeting.

“It was no use trying to learn math,” she would tell her perplexed students when they complained that they were not taking an English composition course, “unless you can communicate it with other people.”

Grace read the audience and adjusted her approach. The same was true for talking to computers as it did for talking to different audiences of people.

“For some reason [I’ve] been able to explain things to people without necessarily using a technical vocabulary,” Hopper once observed. “I could switch my vocabulary and speak highly technical for the programmers, and then tell the same things to the managers a few hours later but with a totally different vocabulary. So I guess I’ve always been innately a teacher.” That skill made her a brilliant software designer, and helped inspire a generation of woman programmers who played a crucial role in the decades that followed: women like Gladys West, Katherine Johnson, and Radia Perlman.

🎧Things to Listen, See, and Watch 🎧

Casey breaks down his impossible dream of running a 3-hour marathon.

Couldn’t run anymore because he hurt his leg in a motorcycle accident and instead ran a bunch of marathons with the goal of running one in 3 hours.

Try - Fail - Try - Fail - Try - Fail and try again until there is no longer a fail.

In Marathon 13, he hit 3 hours and 1 minute, beating his former best time of 3 hours and 3 minutes.

“You don't just give up. You can't just walk away. You get out there and find that fucking dog,” to quote Casey.

Book encounters are when we think about something, and then, BAM, synchronicity hits when we see it in a book we read.

💣Words of Wisdom💣

"My proposed solution is simple: don’t waste a lot of time and money pushing kids in directions they don’t want to go. Instead, find out what weirdness they excel at and encourage them to do that. Then get out of the way." (Seth Godin, We Are All Weird)

"What is true, however, is complexity leads to unclear messages and leaves people with no direction for action—which leads to an inability to execute." (Rose Fass, The LEADERSHIP CONVERSATION)

"From my point of view, unconscious adherence to an expert-driven, empirical bias is the source of nearly all psychological, social, racial, political, economic, and ecological problems facing the world today." (Carol Sanford, No More Gold Stars)

"As a manager, your time is precious and finite, so guard it like a dragon guards its treasure stash. If you trust that the right outcomes will happen without you, then you don't need to be there." (Julie Zhuo, The Making of a Manager)

"Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing; a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished." (Esther Perel, The State of Affairs)

"When we think others have bad intentions toward us, it affects our behavior. And, in turn, how we behave affects how they treat us. Before we know it, our assumption that they have bad intentions toward us has come true." (Difficult Conversations)

"People can’t remember more than three points from a speech." (Kevin Kelly, Excellent Advice for Living)

"The simple communications practice—getting people to share stories, to be personal with each other—was in fact a tactic to ensure better decision making and camaraderie." (Trillion Dollar Coach)

"Facebook redesigns. Twitter redesigns. Personalities, careers, and teams also need redesigns. There are no permanent solutions in a dynamic system." (Eric Jorgenson, The Almanack of Naval Ravikant)

"What would it take to perceive a tree as a process rather than as an object, as a living–dying form that grows, ages, dies, and transforms?" (Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, In Love With the World)

🙏Thanks for Reading🙏

What is the paddle out that we need to improve, and it changes the game for us?



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