Monday, August 1, 2011

Much too smart to be this d@mn dumb!

Hi folks, hope you’re well.  I am eyeballs deep in a very busy month.  It is an exciting time at our home.  My oldest is on his way to college in…get this…WEEKS!  It still amazes and confuses me that I am old enough to have a son who is going to college.  His transition has encouraged a bit of change for Mom and I too.  We’ve been busily preparing for the next phase of his life…and ours.  That’s where today’s topic came from…Much to smart to be this d@mn dumb.

I am a pretty smart guy.  I am not bragging and I am not apologizing.  It’s just an accurate statement.  I learn quickly, I gather data, analyze it and, professionally at least, I take that new found data and use it to the advantage of the corporation.  Makes sense right?  Of course it does!  We all do this every day, that’s what companies pay us to do.  That’s why we’re more successful than the competition…yaddah Yaddah…YADDAHH!!!

AND THEN….the work day is over and, all too often – not always but often - all that good book learning, all that knowledge and experience evaporates and suddenly I am dumber than a football bat. I go from highly valued business leader to beer swilling , whiskey drinking, knuckle dragging, doofus! (Remember that commercial where the really old grandma looking lady has the punch line at the end of the commercial “YOU’RE AN IDIOT!”???  They made that about me.)  Often times, I am barely smart enough to even find my way home.  I am completely capable of doing some of the dumbest things you’ve ever heard of.  It’s true.  I am guilty as charged. 

So without further ado here is proof that I am….

Much too smart to be this d@mn dumb….

1)      I don’t work out enough.  Now I know that lots of you don’t work out,  for many, working out is doing their job on a day in and day out basis.  However, for yours truly, my job, while intellectually stimulating, does NOT exactly qualify as a workout unless you count the occasional, “awww shoot I’m late for a plane, OJ Simpson sprint through an airport.”

Why does this happen?  Seriously….WHY??? I like working out.  I like the way I feel after I work out.  More importantly, here is the plain – completely – uncomplicated – simple - easy to understand - so straight forward a rock should get it - truth.  Are you ready?  Working out makes me better at ________________.  You can fill in the blank with whatever you want.  Here are some examples:
·         Working out makes me better at the office.
·         Working out makes me a better father.
·         Working out makes me a better lover.
·         Working out makes me a better friend.
·         Working out makes ME better.

They all work, every last one of them!  For me, you and your 18 closest friends and enemies.  Taking care of your body makes you better at….EVERYTHING!
I don’t save enough.    Now when I was growing up, I only knew one thing about money.  I wanted more of it.  With that simple fact came a commitment to working hard, and doing my best to doing better than the other guy.  Fact is, I add value to my fellow worker; I add value to my corporation and I have been paid reasonably well for doing just that.  Here is another fact. 

I spend too much. I save too little.  I passed economics.  I have a 401(k).  I have friends who are brokers and friends who are business owners, CEOs and Doctors.  I understand the math.  I get it, retirement is an expensive proposition. Best I can tell, I am a few bazillion and seventy three dollars behind on my retirement plan. I know.  I know.  I know…but…STILL….I…do…NOT…save…enough!

3)      Corporations don’t value your loyalty until they prove they value your loyalty.   Now, don’t misunderstand this one, I love my job, and this has nothing to do with the employer/employee relationship.  This one is about where we buy from.  How long have you been with your insurance company?  Electricity provider? Bank? Internet Service Provider? Cell phone provider?  Remember that I told you that we were shipping Kyle off to school.  Well, in the process of getting ready to ship him out, I’ve uncovered substantial savings just by reorganizing our relationships with service providers.  I have been a loyal buyer to many corporations for years.  It has cost me thousands and thousands of dollars. 

4)      I should be sleeping right this very minute.  Now most of us are of the opinion that we are part of the 10% or so of humans who ACTUALLY don’t need 7.5-8.5 hours of sleep every night.  I am much more like a 6.5 hours of sleep on a reasonably consistent basis kind of a guy.  This is why I am not infrequently exhausted and chronically looking for the right combination of caffeine, vitamins, minerals, herbal supplements and endorphins to kick me through the day, week, or month (not necessarily in that order).

5)      I should be working out my brain, the way I should be working out my body. One of the things that scares the beejesus out of me is getting old, really old, and having my mind go.  That really truly scares me.  What’s the best defense against the kind of diseases that attack the brain?  Exercising the brain.  I think I do a reasonably good job in this department, but while I continue to learn and grow, why does it all have to be about work?  I STILL can’t play the piano, STILL can’t speak enough Spanish, I love taking pictures, but don’t have a clue how to do it.  Enjoy a good bottle of wine, but know very little about it….there is so much to learn!   

That is just a few of the things that have been on my mind lately.  I don’t understand the dynamic that causes us to act in ways that contradict what we know is the right thing to do.  But we do, or should I say I do.  ROUTINELY! 

I really truly don’t get it.  I’ve read Kant, I know what cognitive dissonance is.  I could quote all kinds of fascinating, interesting articles.  I can tell you about Cialdini or Festinger.  I can draft a treatise on hedonism or…or…or…WHO CARES?????  Why do I do this?  Why do you do this?  How do you contradict your internal compass?  Are you embracing pleasure?  Avoiding pain?  Are you “busy”?  I claim all three and a litany of others, let me know if you need some and I’ll lend you some of mine. 

And now that I have acknowledged just a handful of my very long list of faults, I resolve to be a better guy.  I’m going to work out a little, save a little, think a little,….yup gonna do all that good stuff, and I think I’ll start right after I get about 6 hours of sleep…. Well dang, maybe I need to rethink this whole post….maybe it should have been “Dumb enough to know better and still keep doing it”  UGH…I yield…at least for today!


  1. Oh man, Rich, now that you've gone and exposed all the things you're doing "wrong" that you should know better, I'm going to be forced to do some self-evaluatin' myself. Because I'm competitive like that. Although I think you've enumerated my primary issues right here on this page.

    I'll take a closer look. After I take a nap to add to the 6 hours of sleep I got last night. ;)

    Seriously, great post, Rich!

  2. Its great Rich that you put it down on “paper” I feel like once its vocalized we are one step closer to surmounting what ever challenge it is we put before ourselves. I find it makes for a more easily embracing goal if I pick my poison and bite off a little bit at a time and with dedication I soon enough find myself swallowing chunks like a shark! Even research shows though that if we can’t make it to the gym regularly every little bit contributes to a healthy holistic state for ourselves.
    Even limited amounts of exercise can increase our health status.