Miss Perception…

…it’s not a beauty queen…

Monday through Friday I ride my bike through 10 miles of mixed Hills every morning just after sunrise.  It’s a full-on sprint. Each outing I ride at roughly 95% of my highest capacity for that course.

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On Sundays though, I ride a flat round-trip of 26 miles from Bonsall to Ocenaside, ending at the water’s edge where I take a moment to honor the sea before I turn back inland. My Sunday ride is not a sprint, just a steady pace in an enjoy the scenery kinda way..

For the 20 months or so since I have been using this protocol, one inconsistency has stood out on my flat, 26-mile Sunday ride, yet I had not figured out the reason for this inconsistency until a few days ago.

Despite that my route to the coats is flat, and that the wind is usually at my back, my return trip from the coast is always, ALWAYS slower than my ride going there.  I average roughly 19MPH headed west, and 17.5MPH on my return.

One might immediately attribute this to tired legs, and that might make some sense.  Also, stopping for a few moments at the halfway point to take in the sight of the ocean does me no favors. And there is the psychology involved with turning back — the dreary trip home mentality.  So, it’s easy to assume that my return trip would be slower and pass it off as the combination of a mental and physical letdown.

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One problem though, I’m an athlete. I train, eat, and prepare like an athlete, especially before my Sunday morning ride.  To my way of thinking, there’s no reason that my 13 miles coming back should be any slower than my 13 miles getting there. In fact, the wind is usually against me headed to the coast, and at my back on my return.  Still, I’m always slower on my coming back.

And equal distance. A flat ride. Proper nutrition prior to riding.  The wind in my favor on the return. So, why am I always slower on the way back…?

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Perception. Or should I say, misperception…?

You see, my flat ride is it really flat. I start at roughly 300 feet above sea level, and I end at sea level. Only now, after 20-months of riding this route, have paid attention to my GPS data.  Now 300-feet of an elevation change over 13 miles is almost invisible. To look at this bike trail at any point along the way, it appears flat.

But it isn’t flat, and 300 feet of climbing, even if it’s over 13 miles, will impact cyclists of any level, and I am only an intermediate cyclist.  This 300-feet climbing costs me about -1.5MPH on my return.

Of course this has nothing to do with cycling, and everything to do with human perception.

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For 20-months I have assumed this ride was flat – – and it is never been flat. And that, THAT makes me wonder what other assumptions I make all day long that are incorrect or that am completely blind to …? Indeed… Jhciacb

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The Great Peace…

One of my favorite compiled statistics from Steven Pinker’s, Better Angels Of Our Nature is this…

If you were born the day World War I began, and died the day World War II ended, you lived in the most violent period in human history.

However, if we extend that window just a single year on either side – if you were born 1 year before the start of World War I, and died just 1 year after the end of World War II, despite the millions of deaths from both wars, you would have still lived in the most peaceful time in human history.

That’s how peaceful we had become as a species by the mid-20th century; that the years prior to, and post the two World Wars were such a time of peace, that it adjusts and offsets the skew of the two greatest tragedies of that period.

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It’s easy to think we live in the most violent time on earth. This is part of why I believe the biggest crisis we face today is the crisis of perception – most people believe we live in extremely violent times.

Most people believe what they see, read, or hear – so long as that’s what they wish to believe, this included.

Historians though, social scientists, and even amateur body counters agree, we are living in the most peaceful time in human history. We have bounces, but the direction is clear… Jhciacb

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If you are not already a subscriber, please scroll up and do so.  Tell your friends about me — about what happens when I push the STOP button on the blender in my head. Oh, and there’s this from the child Elvis never knew he had, Dale Watson.  Enjoy…

 

Ass Chewing: It Leaves A Bitter Aftertaste.

If your job is to land jets on an aircraft carrier, it’s assumed that you are good at it.  That’s why you get a paycheck.

Say one day you have bad landing.  Your commanding officer witnesses this and gives you an ass chewing.  Your next landing is noticeably better, and your CO sees the difference.  He assumes that the ass chewing got you to raise your game, and now ass chewing is deeper in his leadership DNA.

Conversely, one day you have a particularly good landing – a textbook landing, and your CO sees it.  He’s delighted, so he praises your competence.  Your next landing isn’t as good, so he assumes his praise caused you to ease up on your attention to detail.  From this, he chooses to avoid praises in leadership style for its obvious detriment to the cause of landing jets safely on deck.

Here’s the thing; you’re there landing jets on small spaces because you’ve been proven competent at doing so.  On average, you always get the job done within the scope of expectations.

Truth:  An exceptional landing will almost always be followed by a lesser one.

Truth:  A poor landing will almost always be followed by a better one.

It’s the law of median effect.

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Yet much of our institutionalized instruction is rooted in the discipline of ass chewings.  Academia, sports teams, our military and so-on depend on ass chewings to raise their game.  Praise though, is used all too sparingly in these environments.

Turns out that in the big picture, praise may not raise one’s game all that much.  Still, praise contributes to a positive environment.

It also turns out that ass chewings don’t do too much to raise one’s game – and very often make for a demoralized environment.

One more truth:  Success in anything is rooted exclusively in intelligent training, and consistent practice over long periods of time…  Jhciacb

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Week Daze…

Nothing fitness related this week.  Working on several new fitness related essays for later this month, and for May.  In the meantime there is this from my personal journal, written last weekend. 

  Daze Of The Week

There are seven days in a week.  Though each day can be similar to the day before, the next day is sure to include some unique moment, fresh thought, or previously unknown experience.  Some of those moments and experiences will be good and some not so good.  Though each day of the week might represent something different to anyone of us, it’s fair to say many of us view each named day of the week pretty much the same.

For many, Monday is the daunting start of the workweek.  People often resent Monday for thrusting its blood thirsty hand through our chest, stealing the still-beating heart out of our weekend memories, and throwing it to the base of the pyramid.   Things at work might be accomplished on Monday, but often seem get done at a lesser pace for that resentment.

Tuesday it seems, is an unnecessary extension of Monday.  The primary difference between Monday and Tuesday is the rhythm of the day.  The weekend is all but forgotten and by Tuesday morning and the idea of bondage to the job has become easier to accept.  Tuesday is less sullen.  Things are likely accomplished at an increased pace over Monday, and the day might pass more easily.

Wednesday is hump day for many; the day that brings us past the tipping point toward the coveted weekend.  Wednesday is like Friday-light.  Wednesday morning we begin seeing the light of our impending weekend come into view.  That energy may prompt an increase in productivity during the first half of Wednesday.  Wednesday afternoon though, identifies a substantial roadblock between that blithe moment and the weekend – we’ll refer to that roadblock as Thursday.  On this recognition, productivity on Wednesday afternoon may be at a low for the week.

Thursday is just another unnecessary extension of Monday.  No, more like a sister moon to Monday.  How this chunk of Monday got thrown so far ahead into the week, scientists still don’t understand.  Thursday may be the longest day of the week.  However, Thursday is likely the most productive day of the week.  What else are you going to do all alone on that moon, except work…?

Friday needs no introduction.  Friday is at the top of the A-list of weekday celebrities.  Face it, Friday is the only day on any list of weekday celebrities.  Despite its probably low productivity, the mood is generally good on Fridays since nobody will have to see or deal with anyone else in the workplace again until Monday.  Friday is a celebration unto itself.

The perception of Saturday and Sunday differs much more for most.  There is less emotional gravity on the weekends holding us down.  Some degree of fun or relaxation is likely to be had – unless of course one has small children.  Then Saturday and Sundays become the other sister moons of Monday, and they are run by slave driver bosses much smaller than us.

Many flee on Saturday and Sunday, in different directions in pursuit of differing agendas.  Others just stay home and veg.  If nothing else, I’ll suggest that the weekend is a necessary pit stop to stay in the Monday through Friday rat race.   Regardless of how one spends Saturday or Sunday, weekends are a perfect distraction until Friday happens again.

Thus is the cycle of the workweek for the masses.  I understand that not everyone works a traditional workweek.  There is shift work, rotating schedules, technological intrusions on our soccer games, family outings, and meals.  But the days of the week are like puzzle pieces, and can be fit to replace one another for what is likely to be a similar conclusion regardless of one’s true work schedule.

When I was 19 years old Muppet Master, Jim Henson, told me that work is what we’re here for.  Through my many long and sometimes trying workdays, I have tried hard to remember and take regular inventory of that lesson.

The Colors Of The day

Since I was quite young, each named day has represented more to me than the place my life sits in the given workweek.  I’m not sure where this came from, but for most of my life when I envision the name of a day, Monday, Tuesday, etc., each of our seven days is represented to me by a color.  When I read, speak, or hear another speak the name of a day, I always envision a particular color in my head synonymous with that day, and I do so immediately.

  • Monday is red
  • Tuesday is brown
  • Wednesday is yellow
  • Thursday is blue
  • Friday is green
  • Saturday shares yellow with      Wednesday
  • Sunday is black

I can offer no explanation for the assignment of these colors in my head, but they have been there since grade school.  When I think of Wednesday I don’t think of hump day, I first think of yellow.  And so it goes for all the days of the week.  Each day is represented with an inherent color in my mind.  What these colors represent or why I may never know, they’re just ingrained in my psyche.

For those commenting this week, I am sincerely curious, does anyone else associate the days of the week with colors, or numbers, or anything else such as a car, super model, or breed of dog…?  I will be interested in your response.  Be well.  rc

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Please check back in 2 weeks to see what happens when I push the “stop” button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there is this from Sun Volt.  Enjoy…