Very much like my current “garage to shop” project… which is big and is clearing itself up; my personal improvement project, my “how to define success” project, my The Emerging Man project, my “learn how to be an author” project, and now learning more about marketing… I can finally see “what it looks like to succeed.”
People might think that with all those “projects” I may have bitten off more than I could chew.
I have not.
When I started out on my little life journey in 2009, I was just trying to learn what “success” as a man was.
As I searched out men, ideas, and books about “how to be a man”, I started to grow.
I learned early, I couldn’t articulate it early, but I learned early on that “applying” what you learn, or think you’ve learned, to yourself and your life… is one of the major components of moving forward in your personal growth and understanding.
So, early on, I started to look at myself as my own Guinea Pig.
I would try to learn a concept, and then… actually try it out on myself… and then… assess what, if any, changes it wrought in me.
The first thing I learned in this grand experiment is that… it’s hard to find situations to “try” out your “new” skill.
If you’ve read my stuff, you’ve read about my younger days, and the handful of fist fights I was in, where I learned to stand my ground.
As a new “emerging man” searching out success, the manly books and articles out there have their requirement of a man being able to handle himself if confronted… that would be their sign of “success.”
But… in a civilized society, as an adult, you don’t really get an opportunity to go toe to toe with a guy… to see if you are brave or not… so how do you know? What does that look like?
I found, in order for my experiments to provide good feedback information, I had to search out, and place myself in some stressful situations.
I had “run ins” at work with approximately 3 men where I needed to stand my ground, I did, I did good. But to really know… I found a boxing coach.
Number one lesson learned there was… Yeah, I can stand my ground. Number two lesson learned… “You ain’t that tough Dave.” That lesson placed me squarely back into reality.
The experiment culminated with the last gentleman I had a run in with. By then, I had learned that a quiet, confident, “presence” when developed, and understanding how to use it… is a great… deterrent.
The experiment has taught me to realize the truth in the ancient Chinese Military maxim, set forth by General Sun Tzu, “It is better to win without fighting.”
So now I don’t worry about that component of success… am I willing to stand my ground, if attacked, if bullied, or just in a business meeting? Yep.
As I “applied” that new confidence in my manliness, I found the physical strength component, helps, but is not the do all and end all of manliness or success.
As I progressed, I found being my own Guinea Pig, or having that thought process, gives me the leeway to “try” things.
And in “the trying”, in the applying, in the assessing, I’ve found it creates a new, energy infused, emotion… ANTICIPATION!
The experiments are helping me to clean up my mentally messy picture of what I think success will look like as an author… just like cleaning up my messy “garage to shop” project.
And, as a solicited validation during some prayer time, God gave me this word to bounce everything off of…
WHOLEHEARTEDLY! No matter what I’m doing or working on, can I, and am I… working at it wholeheartedly? Talking to God, working my day job, or writing this article, if I’m doing those things wholeheartedly I am on the right path. It’s a great baseline measurement.
At my new day job [maybe after 3 or 4 years I’ll stop calling it my new job] I have to take a lot of samples throughout the night, testing them according to their baseline levels. It’s a lot of samples every day… every day testing… everyday capturing information that shows you what the current product looks like… versus the baseline… if the numbers are within range… it’s all good.
If not, the first thing you do is look at all of those numbers to see if you can spot any discrepancies.
My daily journal, is my personal guinea pig “numbers”.
During my “garage to shop” project, I added daily pictures, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so why not use them like short hand!?!
As I’ve grown past certain insecurities, the next experience brings up new insecurities, that I never knew I had.
“What does that look like?”
Well, recently I noticed that part of my issue with sabotaging myself in the past, is that, I think I’m afraid of what my personal potential could be.
Weird isn’t it? Being afraid to be the absolute best you, you could be.
I’ll have to run some experiments to see why that is.
My first question might be… “How do we determine what our potential is?”
I actually chose boxing on purpose as a healthy exercise program… why? Because I went through the mental exercise of determining what I COULD DO.
I asked myself, “How many 5’9”, 170lb, Mexicans are NFL Champs? None.
NBA Champs? None.
Baseball? Can you say Fernando? But there’s also The Mendoza Line.
“In Mexico, boxing is considered a major sport, having produced over 200 world champions in professional boxing. Mexico ranks first worldwide between countries with most boxing world champions and is the second country to have world champions accredited in all of the current boxing divisions.” ~ Wikipedia
COVID put the kibosh on my goal of having at least one amateur boxing match.
But I’ve kept up the weight lifting. I hit the heavy bag occasionally. And I follow some boxing coach Instagram accounts. That was a good experiment.
Biggs Burke on Twitter: “Don’t be afraid to start over. This time you’re not starting from scratch, you’re starting from experience.”
I ran into that quote a little while ago.
I’ve been applying it as I move forward on my projects. It helps.
One thing you do learn with all of the experimenting… is HOW TO apply your past experiences to today’s project.
It showed me that in the past I would look at a new project or job, and feel like… “I have to start learning all over again.”
That thought… placed me in the wrong position, and frame of mind.
I trust all of my past experiences now… even… especially… the bad ones… and I’ve learned how to take a minute when starting something new, and tell myself, “You’ve learned all that, you can learn this too, and you’re not starting from scratch, what thing in your past looks similar to this?”
My mind will then run through the mental files, and it usually comes up with… “Oh yeah, there was this one time…”
If you’re at a crossroads in your life… try approaching a change that is needed… in an experiment fashion, being your own Guinea Pig.
It will allow you to approach the change less fearfully because you can tell yourself… “This is only a test! This has been a test of… Dave’s, Jen’s, Brad’s… ability to face adversity. This is only a test!”