Rogue One

I got to see Rogue One last night.

It was a solid movie. Rogue One was interesting, well paced, well written, acted, and directed, and had sympathetic characters. It did not blow my mind, I’m not going to buy it on Blue Ray but I also don’t want those two hours of my life back.

There is some footage from the original Star Wars sprinkled through the movie and I thought that was fun. However, I have mixed feelings about some of the CGI “actors.”

If you like Star Wars at all you will like Rogue One. That said, it is pretty violent with many fire-fights. I’m not sure how old I’d want my kids to be before letting them see it.

If you listen, the movie asks an important question, “What are you willing to face annihilation for only a chance at success?”

Muslims & Terrorists

Link: Zinc Video Muslim Terrorist Statistics

Apparently the folks at Zinc only upload videos to FB. It’s a short video (1:13).

Let’s lead with the fact that banning people because of their religion is quintessentially unAmerican.

Just like Trump, but to a different direction, this video misses the point. The Muslims killing Muslims e.g. ISIS, would claim those being killed are not Muslims.

While 106,000 is a small percentage, it is a large number. It looks nice to say 0.006% of Muslims are terrorists and makes a useful point but it is missing the larger point.

Having seen how badly people misinterpret Christianity from the outside, I am reluctant to make any statements about what a religion is or is not. With that understood, it is my understanding that the actions of ISIS are justifiable under the Quran and Sharia law. This not to say it is the only perspective one can take but that it is a perspective ISIS and their supporters can support from text and tradition.

This leads us to the larger point, What is Islam?

What is happening right now is a battle for the meaning of the faith. So when 1.6 billion Muslims are mentioned, what does that mean?

The video also treats Islamism as a spontaneous movement devoid of context. The West (US, UK, et al), Russia, and others have acted to the detriment of people living in areas with high concentrations of Muslims. That is not the sole reason we have our current troubles but it is part of it.

Showing Up

I was driving into my internship when I started thinking about Jiu Jitsu. Specifically I was thinking about the belt system and the way that my school awards them.

Typically you will see five colors awarded: white, blue, purple, brown, and black. Each of these belts receive stripes as the student progresses. In my school they add three belts between white and blue so that the progression is white, yellow, orange, green, and then blue. Stripes on the white belt are each awarded after 10 reasonably consistent days of attendance. Yellow and orange are also awarded based on attendance. It is not until awarding the green belt (the equivalent of a four stripe white belt in many other schools) that my school promotes on skill/understanding.

This is controversial. Some folks would say that promotion based on anything but Jiu Jitsu skill is not legitimate, that this practice is just trying to egg people along and make them feel good. Frankly, I had some misgivings about it as well. I have no misgivings now.

The reason I do not have any misgivings now is I see how much more there is to Jiu Jitsu than Jiu Jitsu. To be successful in this art, one must have personal resources e.g. diligence, humility, and resilience. If a player must possess the skill to execute a technique (e.g. an arm bar) to practice the art, and possessing diligence or humility is also necessary, then why would diligence not be specifically encouraged? If you don’t show up, you can’t learn. Rewarding the new student with promotion based on executing the most important skill, i.e. showing up, is absolutely logical. Once that skill has been largely acquired and demonstrated then the next thing to test is the student’s proficiency in the gentle art.

This is what I was thinking about on my drive in.

One cannot be successful in life if one does not show up. I know for me, I often see only the failed attempt rather than also seeing the fact I was there attempting. No, just trying is not enough but trying is ESSENTIAL. I have found significant objective achievement in the areas where I measure success by how much and how consistently I have engaged the process.

If you are kicking ass focusing on nothing but the goal then keep kicking ass! If that’s not working for you you might want to try committing to diligently showing up and engaging the process. It has done wonders for me.


The next day one of the black belts earned his first stripe. Three years of Jiu Jitsu since his belt. My professor spoke at length about how the black belt had earned this stripe. The way we start is the way we end, showing up.

The Gospel of Powerlessness

Gospel -> Good News
Powerlessness -> Lacking the authority or capacity to act.

Cicle of Interest Influence Control

I have great news for you! You have no power!! I have even better news! No one else has power either!!

If you find yourself speaking to our current president, President Obama, and you are talking to him about The Issue (The Issue is a topic that has impact on people and that only President Obama has power over the outcome) that is a big deal. Let’s say you have the “correct” perspective on The Issue but the president does not. Since you are speaking with THE president you have the opportunity to actually change something. If the president will just not listen to reason it will be frustrating. This has real consequences and the president is not being reasonable!! The Issue is within the president’s circle of control and, for the moment, the president is within your circle of influence. There is a lot riding on that interaction.

Contrast that with a discussion between you and an acquaintance on The Issue. While your acquaintance is within your circle of influence, neither of you have any influence or control over The Issue.

This is good news!! The outcome of that interaction has no importance and will not change what happens with The Issue. Therefore, there is nothing to lose! You have then only an opportunity to share an experience, see if you can learn from the other person, and see if you can communicate your ideas. It is an opportunity to explore The Issue and exercise your brain. And because no one has power, nothing bad will happen if the other person’s perspective remains unchanged.

A word about communication. Communication means that the concept in your head is constructed in the other person’s head. It does not mean that the other person agrees with that concept once it is there.

Good News!! You have no power! The pressure is off!