FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: Avoiding and Outwitting in 2015!!!

by Dave Markwell

“I understand that inside of me is a guy who wants to lie in bed and smoke weed all day and watch cartoons. My whole life is a series of stratagems to avoid and outwit that guy.”

– Anthony Bourdain

This is perhaps the purest and most honest interpretation of the battle between the contrasting angels in our human spirits that I have ever encountered. This battle is at the heart of our successes and/or failures in life. While we all have our own versions of “that guy”, he exists and can exert some powerful influence from time to time. He is one to be aware of.

At the beginning of each New Year, many folks set out to make “resolutions”. They declare a new path. They will do better and more. It is here that our insidious little “that guy” can derail our aspirations. He drives our bus back into the well-worn ruts of behaviors we don’t want. He tells us how warm our bed feels, preventing us from going for a morning run. He tells us that one bite won’t hurt, when we know that it will. He tells us we can’t…so why try. This rascal costs us money and friends and time. He can bring hurt and disappointment and shame. His voice tells the lies which undermine our potential. In short, he can be a real bastard.

On the other hand, we need this guy. We just need to understand him. He can work for us or work against us. Significant to this understanding is that we truly do NEED this guy. Opportunities are often shaded by risk. In these moments, we need our devilish little archangels to push us into experiences that will enrich our lives. Playing it safe all the time is not a very fulfilling life. Sometimes we need a daredevil to help us take that leap which will change our lives.

“Be careful, lest in casting out your demon you exorcise the best thing in you.”

― Friedrich Nietzsche

“That guy” is, also, a necessary piece of our unique characters. He picks our clothes and tells the jokes. He is not ashamed to cry or laugh. I enjoy some order, but a world full of well-groomed but, achingly dull folks is no place I care to spend much time. I like the odd balls. The world needs its weirdoes. They provide color and light and art and the things which make life worth living. “That guy” does this, too.

So, in 2015, I will keep a sharp eye on my “that guy”. I will only listen to his voice when he pushes me where I wish to go. I will avoid and outwit, except when I should listen to him.

And, while I enjoy turning the calendar’s page and try to do better each year, I am not a big “resolution” guy. However, one idea I recently stumbled across struck me that, if it went “viral” or somehow planted itself in our collective consciousness, would change the world.

The idea is to think of two solutions before expressing a complaint. People are very free with criticism, yet stingy with remedies. This solves none of the world’s many problems and, in fact, likely makes them worse. If folks turn their complaining energy into solving energy…man…what a difference it would make: A world of solvers instead of complainers…wow…powerful. This seems like as good a resolution as anything else I can think of…have a fantastic 2015!!!

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, whose first book is called “A Feel Good Life” (buy it on Amazon here). Dave also extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, you can “friend” Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]


3 Responses to “FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: Avoiding and Outwitting in 2015!!!”
  1. Shan says:

    Good one Dave, especially the idea to think of two solutions before expressing a complaint. This town suffers from an abundance of nattering nabobs of negativism. It blows me away that we – a waterfront community – can’t seem to get our act together. Imagine what could happen here if the collective dialogue shifted to the positive, backed by more people proposing and championing their solutions proactively through community involvement, rather than bitching and complaining about things. There is certainly no lack of opportunity for people to explore those avenues in our little diamond-in the rough on the shore.

    • Dave Markwell says:

      In my haste to “like” your response,I accidentally hit the wrong button on my phone. Have no illusions, I agree wholeheartedly and appreciate your contributions to making our city better!!! -Dave

  2. Shan says:

    Well Dave, I think we know where Emmett Watson’s surviving disciples of curmudgeonry live. I think we should change Des Moines’ nick name to Lesser-Seattle.

    Keep up the good work. I hope you will pontificate in a future article on this topic…

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