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To blog or…

Why Blog?

Be curious, not judgmental.

— Wald Whitman

I attended the Digital Architecture Design Day conference today and was inspired by one of the keynote speakers Eric Schabell who talked about sharing thoughts and ideas to educate, inspire and ignite a conversation.

This got me thinking about how i’ve always felt a tendency to help and educate people with things i’ve learned and also have a (healthy) thurst for knowlegde and understanding and simply to write things down. But i never took the time to share my thoughts and ideas to enable this in a more structured way.

So the proof of the pudding is in the eating and i’m going to use the coming year for exploring blogging and see what comes out of that.

My blogs will mostly be about my work as an Architect at bol.com, my experience with basketball and training kids, living with the auto-imune disease called ‘graves disease‘ and what i’ve done to cope with it, movies, family and my second favorite sport crossfit.

So here goes.

Teaching Crossfit: online courses

After i got my Crossfit Level Trainers certificate i was adviced about taking a few extra online courses to broaden my horizon and dive deeper into topics not or partially covered during the training course. In this blog i wanted to write about which online courses i took, what i thought about them and how it helped me during training.

There are a bunch of online courses but the once i took are:

The courses

In general the courses are not cheap compared to what they provide. The anatomy for example is 120$, i understand the busines model behind it and it’s very lucrative but the value for money is in my opinion a bit off and should be reduced by 20-25%.

The good thing about the online courses is that you keep access to the material and that you can print a certificate when you complete the course. However i would have expected more material to be available for each course. For the scaling, for example, it would have been nice to have a downloadable overview of all the excercices with variations of scaling options.

The courses themselves are well structured, take you step by step through the course and provide to-the-point information with lots of visuals and video’s. Especially the scaling was well done with relevant examples.

At the end of each subpart of the course you take a quiz consisting of about 8 to 14 questions. The questions themselves are not that hard, if you can understand and read English properly. Otherwise it might take a bit more time. What is sometimes a bit frustrating is that you have 1 question wrong and you have to take the quiz all over again before you can move to a next block. And then the questions are exactly the same, so it’s technically possible to not read anything and just do the quiz ‘mastermind’-style. But then again, who would do that. I would like to have seen a bit more of a coursera-style where you get maybe 3 or 4 tries before having to wait 24 hours. Also having a variation in the questions as to keep you on your toes would be an improvement

The questions for ‘spot the flaw’ were a bit different because you got videos of people working out and you have to tell if they did it wrong or how many did they do wrong/right. Most of them were okay but with the kipping pull-up it was very difficult and i only got it after 5 or 6 times. At that moment i was just going up or down 1 because i simply couldn’t really see it well. Which can be illustrative for real-world workouts. Sometimes you just can’t see properly.

So all-in-all decent courses, well structured with good material and examples but if you really want quality from people and making sure that a certificate actually has more value then there is plenty room for improvement.

Courses Applied

So how relevant and valuable are these courses in practice? For me personally the scaling course was the one i found most valuable and that’s because in my class if have to scale a lot. The course really helped me with some basic principles for scaling which i can apply to almost anything. Also coming up with a few options for injured athletes and and just having to think about how to scale what for whom has been really helpful.

The spot the flaw was decent and it added a bit of value. However most flaws were addressed during the CFL-1 course so i knew most of them. So this was more of a repetition which is always good. However, as mentiond above, i miss a good overview and was expecting that here.

The anatomy course was a more difficult course, or at least more timeconsuming. There’s lots of (for me) new things to learn and know and from my experience if you don’t use terms on a daily basis you tend to forget. And that is my concern here. It helps me in terms of having more anatomical background and understanding how and why things (don’t) work. Especially the ‘lever’ part will give you some more insight why certain positions work better. But if you aks me in 2 months to name all muscles around the hip & femur, or the 4 joints in the shoulder or all parts of a vertibrea…..i probably have to look stuff up.

Next steps

There are 2 courses still on my list

  1. Masters: in my class there are a few athletes over 40 and i’m just a tad over 40 myself so having a bit more knowlegde and background for that category will certainly help me.
  2. Running: i don’t really like to run and for me it’s a weakness, and i want to see if i can improve and also help others improve there running with some tips&tricks.

There are more online courses that are interesting but like i said, they cost money so i’m spreading the costs a bit. But they certainly have their added values and relevancy that you can apply or at least learn from. So have a look and have fun learning.

My Battle with Graves Disease, part 7: setback scare

When i got back from vacation at the end of august i felt relaxed, ready to go to work. Then i opened my inbox and my first thought was: ‘why can’t things run smoothly for a short while’. The first day back and i already lost my relaxed mindset.

Shortly after i started feeling a bit tired, started sleeping worse, had some trouble with my stomach and thought i felt my heart pumping a bit harder. And more troublesome, i lost a bit of weight. So all sorts of alarmbells went of with my history of graves disease.

Some symptoms like a tight chest and trembling hands were not present. Was this a setback? Was this the moment of truth where all my hard work went undone and my thyriod was in overdrive? This in turn also led to a bit of stress which didn’t help at all.

Last week i asked for a bloodtest, and when you get called back the same day or early the next, you know you are in trouble. So i again was a bit anxious and tried not to think about my phone.

No one called! Was i off the hook? I wanted to know the result because if you are in the ‘range’ you are fine theoretically, but you could also be just on the edge. So when i called and heard that everything was fine (0,51 / 16.8) i felt relieved. I already saw myself going to the hospital and talking about ‘nuking’ my thyroid. Not a pleasant foresight.

But why did i have some symptoms? Well, it occured to me, and i already knew it a bit, high stress after a relaxed vacation puts your body and mind in a terrible mode. Everyone knows too much stress is incredibly bad for you, but knowing what to look for and seeing the first signals can be difficult. Especially when some sings are the same as graves disease. And we are good at making excuses that nothing is going on, things will pass. Not taking care of yourself is the worse decision you can make.

So as a result, i decided to build in more moments of relaxation and a bit of meditation, during the workweek. For me a good signal is tightness in my stomach so breathing deep and relaxing my abdominal muscles is the first things i need to focus on. I have an app on my phone with guides meditations which worked well in the past so i’ll start using that again. Just being aware this can happen is the first step, but you have to be always aware which can be tiresome.

For my next vacation i have to figure something out as to not get into a high-stress situation righ away (or any time for that matter). You can’t run away from work (at least not without consequences) so how you manage yourself is all the more important. This in combination with changes i mentioned in my previous blog should put me into a good starting position. But for now…i’ll just try to breathe and relax.

Stay healthy, always keep learning!

Digital Minimalism: free your mind

As mentioned in my previous blog i got a lot of reading done. This book was also a great read, and more, a call to action for myself to evaluate how technology and social media impacted my life. The book is called ‘Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World’ by Cal Newport.

The gist is to value conversation over connection and to use technology to support what you value important, not what technology companies want.

The book is not about abandoning technology but to use it in the best way for you, but also with the goal of not feeling the need (addiction) to know what’s going on all the time through your smartphone and social media.

The term ‘slot-machine’ comes up a few times and has to do with the urge to refresh all of the time by swiping down (like a slot machine). This is what tech companies use to trick you to come back. A pshychological trick to generate dopamine, a feel good mechanism. This combined with the Fear Of Missing Out (FIMO) is a perfect mix for what is best described as an addiction.

What struck me more was the relation (based on research) between the introduction of smartphones and the rise of anxiety amongst kids, including a rise in suicides for that group. Apple (and other companies) may have done a great job at developing a smartphone, but, inadvertently has caused a social addiction with unknown (and knowd) consequences.

As a parent it’s something that i have to explain to my kids and hoping that they make the right decision. It’s not about keeping them off smartphones or social media or games. But more about the consequences when there is no balance in how you use it in your daily life. Not an easy taks for parents, since kids need to explore and be creative in their own way. Unfortunatly, being stuck to a (mobile) screen is not going to help them achieve that so for now we have to set some restrictions.

Our own system how to limit time involves 4 ‘coins’ which represent game/screentime. 1 Coin = 1 hour of game/screentime. Which for us works really well if you start early, then it becomes part of their system. How long we can maintain that system when the oldest goes to middle-school…..

After reading the book i was even more convinced we need to change things around. So what i did:

  • Removed facebook and linkedin from my phone (not my account)
  • Removed most apps i never used
  • Removed the games (which also apply the ‘dopamine’-trick)
  • Put app i steel feel relevant in a map, so not to clutter the screen.
  • Designated 2 nights as ‘no-screen’ (tv/netflix/app/games) night for everyone. In stead, do something else like reading or board-games or anything else but screentime.
  • Stop listening to music when i’m riding a bike to work (although it feels like relaxation, your brain does not)

Still on the list is to go out for more and longer walks, although that requires a bit more planning. The books describes walking (long walks) in nature as a great way to relax and clear your mind. It does this by proving some great examples, like President Lincoln. But the first results are already in, i don’t miss facebook at all. I don’t miss linkedin at all. I do check those accounts on a laptop now and then, but especially the added value of Facebook is close to zero. Also screenless-nights are more relaxing and i go to bed earlier often.

I would really recommend this book to anyone, but especially to people who use their smartphone for everything all of the time. I (You) don’t want to be that guy/dad that pays more attention to a screen than to his family. So hopefully, just like my battle with graves, i am able to change my lifestyle for the better and not just a temporary thing. Feeling less stressed and not worry all the time what’s going on in the world is more importat than ever.

Range: generalists triumph!

A vacation is always a good way to read a few books from your to-read list in a short period. I managed to read 5 the past 2 weeks, 2 of which i wanted to write a blog about. This blog is about: Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein:

Amazon.com: Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World eBook:  Epstein, David J. : Kindle Store

The idea is basically about having broad experience, even of several (different) domains/crafts, is just as relevant and even more important than (hyper) specialization which seems to be the focus of todays education & work.

Learning, sometimes it involves putting experience aside entirely

He mentions people like Roger Federer, Charles Darwin, Elon Must and a bunch more as an example that you don’t need to start (at a very young age) focussing on 1 thing but that the experience of other domains and crafts help you further along and to come up with ideas you otherwise wouldn’t come up with.

Part of the book is about education which focusses on short term succes, mostly by assisting students with procedural tricks (just do it this way, than it will work out). But research suggest that it does not really help them in the long run. Students don’t have to try really hard to figure things out. While research indicates that this is wat would help students later on, they can make connections themselves because they have been forced to think harder. This however would result in lower grades and frustration in the short term and that would result in angry parents and frustrated kids.

Also, we expect kids to know what they want to do when they are 18/19 and have to choose the next educational step, when often they don’t even know who they are and what’s important for them. It might be better to allow kids maybe 6 years in college with more options to choose different topics like economics, social studies and sports academy as to experience more things. A great quote from the book i take to heart about choosing what to do next:

Here’s who i am at the moment, here are my motivations, here’s what i’ve found i like to do, here’s what i’d like to learn, and here are the opportunities. Which of these is the best match right now? And maybe a yearw from now i’ll switch because i’ll find something better

Equally with sports (and music), parents tend to want to focus too early on 1 thing ( or too much in my experience). However, the book remarks that having a broader experience in sports (and music) helps kids later on much more because these experiences come together at a certain point and they often come up with different and better solutions.

The difficulty is getting a broad experience and even more so, the time to get that experience.

The idea of the book is that with ‘range’ comes connectivity of ideas across domains and thus solutions to problems that a hyper(specialist) wouldn’t come up with. A striking study was regarding the idea when it’s best to get a heartattack. The common idea is at a cardialogist-convention. However, the study showed that it is best to get a heartattack at that moment but not at that place, you have a higher suvival rate at the hospital because you get treated by people with other experiences and they solves things differently. This is something called:

Overlearned behaviour, that is, they have done the same things in response to the same challenges over and over until the behaviour has become so automated that they no longer even recognize it as a situation-specific tool

The book also challenges the assumption that you have to be young to come up with your best ideas. It’s shows that it’s just as likely that with experience in more domains/functions you’ll come up with ideas at a much later age.

The books provides great and amazing examples where a different perspective solved a problem and was thought of by people who had ‘range’. It gave me new perspective on my own career and choices i can make. So try something different, work, hobby, sport, music, read a book about something you never thought of and get inspired and to end with a quote from the book:

Trying things is the answer to find your talent

My Battle With Graves Disease, part 6

How i feel

Since my last blog about graves disease i kept check on how i feel and how much i weigh. Feeling agitated and losing weight (and not sleeping well) are primary indicators something is up.

So far so good, despite COVID-19 being around. My weight has been rather stable, between 96 and 98 kg. Most of the time i felt fine, no trembling hands or feeling rushed all the time, no fast or pounding heartbeat.

I did however have a short period of stress, mostly due to work. And the way i feel when i have stress is similair to graves symptoms. Sleeping less well, chest a bit tight, not able to relax. And because i can’t always tell the difference, it adds a bit to the stress. But i always fall back to my weight as an indicator and trembling hands. So if they are stable, so am i….sort of. If i’m not sure i can always get tested but then you’re too late of the test is ‘positive’.

The other positive thing is that i’m now medicine free for 1 year. I’m however a bit sceptical, the last time i went without medicine was almost 2 years and the disease came back. I try not to think about it but i have to be aware of it.

Results

I wanted to share the last 2 rounds of results (sorry, it’s Dutch but you get the gist of it) from the past half year.

TSH

Free T4

As you can see (and if you know what you see), the results, epecially the last two, were very good. Moslty because my TSH value is a bit higher. I have one more test coming up this year and after that i’m ‘fired’ (again) from seeing the endicrinologist. Then it’s just checking bloodwork twice a year.

Intermittent fasting

As you may have guessed from my previous related blogs i’m a big proponent of trying to eat as healthy as possible (but still enjoy it) and have a healthy gut. I cut out gluten and dairy (cow) products. All because that is most likely causing the disease, triggering the immune-system due to a leaky gut as a result of gluten and traces of food entering your body.

So when i read about intermittent fasting my curiosity was peaked. I won’t go into what it is and all the benefits (both alleged and backed by science and research). There’s tons of sites and youtube video’s covering this topic. The main reason i wanted to try is to give my gut more time to rest and heal. We have adopted a certain eating pattern that, as hypothesized, is not fitting our biology. And because we eat a lot and can eat at any time we don’t give our body, especially our gut, time to rest. It is busy digesting and not resting, or healing.

I was also wondering about the link between auto-immune diseases and intermittent fasting, and potential benefits. I’ve found a few resources that cover that topic and all mention that it can help reduce inflammation. So this implies not eating for a longer period, say 16 hours, helps your body heal and can reduce triggers for inflammation.

These are just a few sources so always be critical of them but intermittent fasting seems to have the research on it’s side. I’ve been trying it for a month now, trying to do 3 or 4 days a week 16/8 (16 hour not eating, 8 hours where i can eat). I’m not reducing the amount of food yet to keep up my bodyweight but i might experiment with that a bit, as long as i don’t loose too much weight.

I found the experience quite positive, when i get up i simply don’t eat yet. Just some water and tea. Even when i work out in the morning, i don’t eat and i have to say it seems to work a bit better. I don’t feel more tired working out (crossfit), quite the opposite, i seem to have a bit more energy.

What i do experience, since i’m still eating the same amount that breakfast and lunch are close together so i usually eat a bit less at lunch. The other tough part is to not eat after 18:00. I would like to have a small snack sometimes but i can resist the urge. So far so good and i’ll keep this part of my arsenal.

My suggestion, read about it, try it and see for yourself how it feels for you. Who knows…you might discover something. Never stop learning.

‘Nine Lies About Work’ – challenging assumptions

I love to read books that challenge assumptions and that make me rethink certain topics. Overdiagnosed by G. Welch, Guns Germs & Steel and The Last Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond and more popular, Freakonimics (and it’s succesor, superfreakonimics) by Levitt and Dubner. Especially in my battle against Graves disease i’ve learned to be very critical about what the conventional wisdom is.

The Third Chimpanzee
Guns, Germs, and Steel
Freakonomics (New Edn)
Overdiagnosed

So recently i came across a book with the title ‘Nine lies about work’ by Marcus Buckingham and Ashely Goodall, which immediately caugt my attention. The book is essentially what the title says, 9 ideas that we take for granted about work but are wrong. I just finished reading it and i’m still processing the content and ideas. But i wanted to write a bit about two of the lies that were explained.

Nine Lies About Work

Lie #1: People care which company they work for

This lie is basically about the fact that people might join a company because of the company, but stay at a company because of the team they are in, even if they don’t like where the company is headed. But even more, if the company is still great with lofty goals but the team sucks, people tend to leave.

I sort of knew this one because the people you work with directly influence how you percieve work. So working for a (on the outside) great company, let’s say, Space X, might seem nice but if the people you work with are a*$!es and/or have a different workethic then you, you won’t last very long, even if it’s a long nurished dream.

Working for a large e-commerce company in the Netherlands for almost 10 years on the other hand has also shown me that if the company culture and vibe is great than working on a team that’s not fitting might not be such a problem. Moreover there are quite some opportunities to change teams and to make work more interesting by doing side-projects.

But in the end it’s mostly about the people your working with that influence how you percieve and enjoy work. So working for the best team in the worst company, keeps you at the company more than the other way around.

Lie #6: People can reliably rate other people

This lie is about the fact that people can’t objectively rate other people based on some method or concept. I guess almost everyone has been through some sort of yearly review cycle and based on the outcome got a smaller or larger raise. But the question is always, how do a select bunch of people rate you but don’t really know you and often only see part of what you do.

I guess in my experience that’s only a problem if people have been given a low score. In my company what they do is collect information from lots of people i work with which should give a decent image of how i perform and how people see me. But this does not mean they are correct, in my view of course. Those people usually see only a part of me and is greatly influence by if and how my work affects them. If it affects poorly or we could not get along, then you get ‘poor’ data. Is that bad? Depends what your manager does with the data.

A good measure is how many people give the same input. If everyone says you, for example, are a poor communicator, then there’s something to it. Even if you don’t see it that way. It’s how others percieve you that greatly impacts your effectiveness. Luckily my last ‘review’ people gave feedback that was all over the place (mostly positive).

But being reviewed, although needed to a certain extend, is somehow always a bit weird and looming. I just started seeing it as a way to improve, even if i don’t always agree and try to take the emotion out of the review and look at the facts. But then again, my last (and only) poor review was 7 years ago.

Final thought(s)

There’s one other lie that is interesting, and that’s lie #4: The best people are well rounded, which is more about the idea that you need to be allrounded to be succesfull. Which in my opinion is most certainly not the case. There are very few people who excell on different levels. But i started reading another book called ‘Range‘ by David Epstein and it’s about

Plenty of experts argue that anyone who wants to develop a skill, play an instrument, or lead their field should start early, focus intensely, and rack up as many hours of deliberate practice as possible. If you dabble or delay, you’ll never catch up to the people who got a head start. But a closer look at research on the world’s top performers, from professional athletes to Nobel laureates, shows that early specialization is the exception, not the rule.

So curious to read how lie #4 and this book relate to eachother but my guess it’s about that the best people are often specialists in a certain field but how you can become a good specialists does not mean you have to specialize early (as a kid) but do more ‘allround’ stuff which takes Roger Federer as an example.

The book (Nine Lies About Work) was a good read and these type of books keep me critical about things that seem ‘normal’. That’s all we can do these days with all the traditional and social media avalange of data, information and knowledge that enters our brain on a daily basis. We have to make sense of it and that requires critical thinking and being prepared to change your mind.

(This is a nice blog about the book: https://medium.com/melting-pot/nine-lies-about-work-are-they-really-lies-acdf1354b423 which shortly touches on all lies from the writers perspective)

Teaching Crossfit: making small steps

When i decided to take the crossfit level 1 trainer course, i also had the intention of teaching people. And although i already had my first real time teaching crossfit, it still felt like a trial and not yet real. So now that the corona-rules are reduced to the point where we can start working out again in the box, the classes i was supposed to give also started up again. So i was anxious and excited to start and see how people reacted to me but also about me teaching people the right things.

The good thing is that i got in contact with the people from Exist, who setup their box at the beginning of the year (next to their martial arts training) and were looking for a trainer. This means the box is young and inexperienced when it comes to Crossfit and also the people training there are not well known with Crossfit. So this gives the me opportunity to learn to teach in a relaxed environment.

Snatch

One of the things i wanted to try is to teach the snatch, or rather, let people give it a try without disastrous results. Because the snatch is one of the hardest things to do well and also to teach well. There are so many things to look for and for me it was about trying to spot and correct basic flaws like stance, grip. Seeing also that my hip-flexibility is limited (and i’m working on it), showing the quick drop in a deep squat position after the pull is hard.

CrossFit | The Snatch

To prepare i looked at dozens of youtube videos. The list below is in my humble opinion the top 3 youtube video’s to study.

But studying and teaching is -unsurprisingly- quite different. The other complicating factor is the fact that the group consists of people who have never heard of the snatch before or have done much work with the barbell. Which is fine, and the burgener warmup works well (although we did each stage 20 times), but handing them the barbell was tricky.

You see people thinking when making the move, hesitating, extremely flawed, sometimes even frustrated. My job is then to make small corrections, just 1 or 2 (mostly don’t pull the arms too soon and stance) and set them at ease. Even so, a lot of them don’t really have good control over their back and are more flexed or extended instead of a neutral spine. But after a while most of them got the general idea and also the appreceation of having learned something new. For myself it was a very good teaching moment in the sense that you have to be patient, you can’t expect people to do even a half proper snatch after only 1 hour training if they’ve never held a barbell before.

Pull-ups

The next week we had an EMOM (buddy workout) of 20 minutes, 5 pull-ups and 20 situps. Now teaching a pull-up, again to some people who have never done it, is also hard. You have to have good shoulder and back strength and good muscular control. So i had them start with just a 20 second hang. For some this was already hard, and if so, you know you have to scale way down to, in this case, a box for assistance.

The Kipping Pull-Up - YouTube

For woman it’s often harder since their upperbody strenght is often less then men. Since the group was so diverse, it took more time to get everyone the proper scale and to show the movement. Again a good teaching moment, show all the scaling options beforehand, and then start with hanging, scapula pull-ups, etc…

The nice thing is that when they got going everyone had the proper scale and did the movement ok. One guy who was light and strong, just almost did them strict altough not always extended the arms when coming downwards. I gave two athletes some small tips like try to ‘fall through”when coming down and ‘push away from the bar’ and they got pretty close to kipping pull-ups right away which was cool to see.

Another nice thing happened after practice where i was asked what she could do to get a pull-up done without having a bar at home to work with. Besides the standard answer like practice, (ring)rows, i gave her the advice to come in a bit early and just hang and work a bit on scapula pull-ups. Just a few minutes before every practice. It’s not just about strength it’s also about neurologic training. The other advice i also gave her was to be patient, don’t expect a pull-up really fast, just try to do a bit more every workout.

Next

The good thing is that i can teach every week on tuesdays (2 classes) to get more experiece. The groups consists of mostly the same people with some variations so that also helps because you know peoples capabilities and limits and it helps build a certain bond.

When i’ve got a few months under my belt i’ll write an update on what i’ve experienced so far. I’ll also actively point out some do’s and dont’s to people which i’ve also written a blog about. If you have to learning moments from your first period as a (crossfit) teacher/instructor and things you would have liked to tell yourself when you started, let me know. Always interested to learn.

The Value of Friendship

My wife and i had a discussion about our friends, or lack of and how this evolved over time and what we expect from friendship.

When you are a young kid, making friends is somehow easy (although not for every kid), you just walk up and ask if they want to play, and most of the time you’ve got a playfriend. At a young age your friend-circle is based on neighbourhood, school and sports, and somehow kids attract eachother in this context and thus make up their friends circle. And you just take if for granted.

Once you get older and move to high-school and beyond, different sport, different ‘something’, you meet new people and make new friends. You most likely will loose your earlier friends, not on purpose but it just happens. You also might meet someone who becomes a real friend for life.

At some point in your life your social circle is rather fixed and comfortable and with all that todays’ world asks of you (or you think it does) you’re not usually open to extending your ‘close friend’ social circle. Maybe now and then introduce a new ‘mate’ but not a real friend.

Then you get kids and/or get married, proper jobs, sports, etc.. and then life gets even more hectic making it harder to make new friends. Because it sometimes feels that most people in the same situation are not really open to making new friends because they are too busy and already have a certain circle of friends.

We are in the situation where our friends-circle is rather small, not because of choice or lack of trying. One close friend, for some reason, simply broke off all contact and i haven’t seen of spoken to him in 3 years. Another friend moved to another town an hours drive away. In the beginning we tried to meet and our relation was rather good. But the thing was that the initation of a meeting was one-sided, i was always the one setting it up. So i thought i’d wait for them to go first…..in never came and another friendship gone.

I recently came across and old friend and when we met it was good to meet with deep discussions. We went to movies, came over to eat, etc… but again, i was the one initiation the meeting. So i’m waiting for him to go first.

My wife has the same issue, she used to have good friends from sport and work but at some point they got into relationships, moved to other work, etc..and she was the one initiation the contact and trying to meetup. But when she waited for others to call her…..well, she feels lonely sometimes. Luckily she has met a real good friend with which she has great contact. But it’s franky only 1 real friend.

Now she can call a bunch of people for a meet and they would happily go for dinner or something. But she is the one who has to call, she almost never gets called. Which makes her wonder if there is something wrong with her. Of course nothings wrong with her but why don’t these people just call or whatsapp to ask how things are? Laziness? Do they expect to get called? Too busy?

Then we started to look around a bit in our street and it appears that more people have this situation. 1 neighbour seems to only have 1 couple as real friends, another mostly goes to mom/dad or 2 friends somewhere else. Other neighbours don’t seem to get any visits at all from friends.

In todays social media context it seems that everyone has a bunch of friends, and when you don’t you get an uncomfortable feelinf, but that’s a mirage if you look closely. Now there are certainly people who seem to have a large group of friends which is good for them. But i would guess that most people do not have a very large group of friends. I would also guess that a lot of people, especially my age-group and with kids needing less care, would like to extend their social circle with some proper friends with which you can talk about more than the latest movie. But other people have to be open for it.

I hope that my wife finds a new friend with which she can meet and do things with. I guess it also depends on your expectation of friendship and what you value. We both value a but of reciprocity, genuin mutual interest in eachothers life and well-being. Certainly not someone who knocks down the door every other day, but someone with whom you can regularly meet, do fun things with but also have a good in-depth conversation with.

Myself, i’ve got a nice small set of friends and they also call me (sometimes) and even with a small set i also am quite busy with work, kids, sports, family. So i can image that other people are too, which would explain the difficulty of making new friends. And maybe i also give off a vibe which makes other people hesitate to even attempt to start a friendship. More over i like a piece of quit as a part-time introvert. So i will make an attempt to be more open to these kinds of relationships. There’s no shame in asking someone to grab a coffee, and don’t confuse this with asking someone on a date.

I’m curious how you experience friendship and what you value. And always open for advice….

Life is better with friends! #friendship #life #friendsarefamily ...

Crossfit Level 1 Trainer, what happened next?

Since my last crossfit post quite a few things happened, some even unexpected so let me give you an update.

Online Courses

One of the things i closed my last related post with was with the fact i wanted to do some online course to supplement my CF-L1. So i took the following courses:

I liked the last one best because it gave me some new insghts on how to approach scaling. I’m still looking for a ‘cheatsheet’ which includes all scaling options for most of the common movements though. They are relatively cheap and not really difficult but i recommend not to do too many in a row and apply your newly learned knowledge first before moving on.

Response

After i posted my CF-L1 certificate including a link to my blog i got a lot of great responses. From work a few people actually asked me for tips and tricks.

But an unexpected but fun thing was that someone from work asked me (and a collegue who also does crossfit) to share my experience through a podcast. You can listen to it here. This also got quite some positive response all around.

How to get started as a trainer

I got some great reactions from my crossfit box and people working out there. Many asked me if and when i would start teaching crossift there. But at my box there currently isn’t any spot left. But the owner knew some people who just started a box so he got me in contact with them. And after i had a chat with them we quickly came to an agreement that i could start there on tuesdays from 18:00 till 20:00 (2 classes).

Although this is great, i have to be aware that this is something i do (for now) next to work and family. I was very open about this and told them that i have to see how this works out and we should evaluate after half a year. Because it’s not just something you can take a break from, once you start you have to be there every week the whole year. Of course vacations is something we can plan but it’s still a commitment.

Moreover, at home this wasn’t an easy conversation because it means that they are affected by this, even if it’s just a tuesday evening. Which means my wife has to cook, take care to the kids, etc… Fortunatly the kids are more selfsufficient now so it becomes easier. If they were younger i don’t know if i would have done it. But for now i get a chance to experience being a crossfit trainer.

My First Class

Thursday evening 18:00, 12 march, my first class. I was a bit anxious but the first of the two classes was cancelled. The second one had only 3 people coming in. The first thing you try do to is size people up and try to match the workout to what you think they are capable of. And if you don’t know the people that’s damn hard. The other difficult part is timemanagement, especially if there is no seperate clock in the room.

The environment also takes getting used to, the box is a bit small and shares the room with a brazilian ji-jitsu class which is very noisy. It also lacks machines like rowing, skiing or airbikes, understandable, since they just started and had to invest a lot. So basically everything is new…. i guess i won’t stand out as much 🙂

All in all the workout was good, i got complimented on the clear instructions and positive support. For myself i think time-management and spending a bit more time on the flow of the hour needs work. I thought i would get enough practice under my belt but then…..corona happened.

So hopefully i can can pick this up on the first of september and even sooner. I hope to write another blog on my experience on learning to coach crossfit not long after. For now, stay healthy and safe!

Overload on the (large & small) screen

Last week i read an article regarding an opinion about the just released image stills from the upcoming movie Dune. The title contained the word ‘underwhelming’. I felt irritated and it was mindboggling that someone formed an opinion based on a few images. Also because i just watched a vlog from Quinn’s Ideas with his opinion about the costumes and he, as i, was positively impressed.

But it got me wondering about how it is that certain people who either have a job reviewing movies and tv-shows or do it as a hobby seem to be so harsh or critical in their reviews.

Another exampe about the movie Underwater:

“The Abyss meets Aliens with a bit of The Poseidon Adventure, a lot of Pacific Rim and a dash of The Meg in this subaquatic sci-fi that offers nothing more than the sum of its references.”

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/underwater_2020

I’ve seen this movie and i thought it was quite a good movie, but it also gave me a sense of deja vu. And i have that with other movies or tv-shows sometimes as well. Have you ever noticed sometimes that a certain storyline keeps popping up in movies or shows, or certain monologues or jokes. Why is that? And then it sort of (obviously) hit me. I’ve watched so many movies and tv-shows in my life that it’s very hard to surprise me with originality, even with original shows.

Basics of any story

Any story has a few basic elements:

  • Characters
  • Setting
  • Plot
  • Conflict
  • Resolution

The ‘hero’ always has to conquer something somewhere to get to the prize. It’s as simple as that, so any tv-show or movie in essence is composed of the same elements. So it’s only normal that if you watch enough they can seem similair.

Growing up in the eigthees

When growing up we had 1 tv and i remember wanting to watch the A-team which my parents wouldn’t allow because at that time it was percieved as violent. Later i got to watch it. And together with Knight Rider, cartoons on sunday morning, the Bill Cosby show, etc. i started my tv journey. But there weren’t a whole lot of tv-shows and the availability of screen-time was very limited to a few shows. We played more outside then.

Only in the ninetees when we got a second (small) tv i started watching some more tv-shows. And when i moved to live on my own it increased some more. Not so much in hours a day but more in accumulated tv/movie time. It was where i think in retrospective i already started noticing some similarities.

Golden age of tv

Now with the dominance of companies such as Netflix and Disney+ and the quality shows that they produce it’s very easy to spend an entire evening watching 4 or 5 episodes. Thus racking up more accumulative hours of tv-experience which means it gets harder to find shows that are worthwhile. Especially if you’re getting older.

Statistics

I started looking up some statistics and found the following sources

Infographic: The Golden Age of TV Fiction | Statista

The above graph shows that from 2010 untill 2017 over 2000 shows were made. That has not decreased the past few years, i can assure you.

Above is a screenshot of IMDB and shows that it has information of over 1.2mln titles which most likely is not complete by a long shot.

There have been made so many shows (incl. cartoons) and movies that anyone with a few years of screen-exposure will at some point get a deja-vu.

My trackrecord

So thinking about my own screen-time exposure i can only guess. I wrote two previous blogs [1][2] which already contain for over 60 to 70k minutes of screentime. I would not be surprised that with all the movies and shows i’ve watched i’ve racked up more than a few million minutes (which is about very roughly 80-90k hours).

So it is inevitable that you would come across dialogue, scenes, characters, plot, etc…, that sounds and looks familair. But this also means that your standard of being surprised becomes higher and higher.

Critics Beware

And this goes for move/tv critics as well, whom, i pressume, have watched way more tv-shows and movies than i have (and many of us). Of course they are often quite right in their critique. I follow rottentomaties.com and most of the critique is valid up to a point. The very bad movies are often bad, the good are mostly good.

But they have to understand that when they watch a movie or episode they will always compare them with others, even subconsiously. This is not always fare, because in their eyes it might be repetitive or boring or ‘been-there-done-that’. And for people with (much less) screentime it might be a new experience that they will miss just because someone wrote a not-so positive review.

So my advice is to not be put off my bad critics for something that you think is good. See for yourself and make up your own mind.