Your Soul Food for Friday Oct 7 ’22: Do The Right Thing- It Will Gratify Some People and Astonish the Rest

Happy Soul Food Friday!

This week:

  • What Can the Wisdom Traditions Teach Us About Winning and Losing?
  • Are We Civilized?
  • Kindness 101: Friendship
  • Why It’s Perfectly Normal to See Baby Puffins Thrown Off Cliffs in Iceland Each Year
  • Your “Before I Die List” with Robin Sharma
  • + Taking You Out With The Unbridled Joy Of Music (I Can’t Help Myself- It Always Cracks My Heart Open!)

In the past week, I had the privilege of speaking at the CIF Symposium where the focus was proper sportsmanship, not just by the student athletes, but by coaches and spectators too!

Thought you might value this perspective…

TOKYO, JAPAN – AUGUST 01: Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy celebrates sharing the gold medal with Muta Essa Barshim of Qatar in the High Jump on day nine of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 01, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

What Can the Wisdom Traditions Teach Us About Winning and Losing?

If we look at what have become an all too common cultural norm, be it in politics, business or personal life, it seems that winning at all costs has replaced the more humane and wise notion of winning- but doing so following the rules of the game and a moral imperative.

When we look the other way, ignoring fouls and other ethical violations, are we tacitly endorsing these behaviors at best, or enabling at worst, behaviors that are antithetical to our own betterment and survival not just as individuals but as a species?

In the wisdom traditions, using traditional martial arts as a proxy, we are trained to strive for personal excellence and the contest whether in the ring of competition on in the ring of life provides a “proving ground” to test ourselves not just versus another player or contestant but against our own best potential.

Here there are 4 levels of winning and losing, not just the binary winning and losing we have become all too familiar with today.

The highest level of achievement is an honorable win. Your win is supported by right conduct and if you know you did not win cleanly you self-report the foul or incident rather than hide it under the rug or play to the chorus of if it wasn’t seen, or can’t be proved, then it didn’t happen.

One level down from this is an honorable loss. If you lost but did your best and were beaten fair and square you honor both your opponent and yourself, and learn from the experience by being a gracious “loser”. Here winning still occurs through character development, investing in loss, and remaining focused on long term growth not just short term outcomes. Honorable losses build resiliency and forge a character of perseverance and grit.

Next comes a dishonorable win and obviously in last place comes the dishonorable loss where in spite of trying every dirty trick in the book you still get your clock cleaned!

Whether it is in Olympic competition against the best in the world, or a personal competition to better oneself, it would be useful to foster a climate/culture that underscores the importance of honor and humility in the “success calculus” or we find the win meaningless, transitory and ultimately not supportive of our individual or collective growth.

Daily Practice:

This can also play out in our day to day choices; doing the right thing for the right reason, the wrong thing for the right reason, the right thing for the wrong reason and the wrong thing for the wrong reason. I will leave it to you to discern the hierarchy and Faustian bargain this path takes us to when left to its ultimate conclusion.

Much is made of Alpha animals dominating their tribe and being willing to prevail over all contenders both inside and out.

Not as much is understood or appreciated about Alpha leaders, even in primates, modeling empathy and seeing their primary role as caring for and supporting their group not just terrorizing their peers and den members.

A real Alpha leader has the capacity to win at all costs but subordinates themselves.

I have heard altruism defined as “self-handicapping” for the greater good…

What kind of leader do you want to model, follow or create?

Let’s start now!



Are We Civilized?

Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts!

“Years ago, anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about fishhooks or clay pots or grinding stones.

But no. Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur (thighbone) that had been broken and then healed. Mead explained that in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt for food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal.

A broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts, Mead said.”

We are at our best when we serve others. Be civilized.

Kindness 101: Friendship
As part of the ongoing series “Kindness 101,” Steve Hartman and his kids are sharing stories built around themes of kindness and character and the people who’ve mastered both. His latest lesson is friendship.

Kindness 101: Students teach us all a lesson in friendship – CBS News

Why It’s Perfectly Normal to See Baby Puffins Thrown Off Cliffs in Iceland Each Year
Throwing thousands of baby puffins off a cliff is a yearly tradition for the people of Iceland’s Westman Islands. It’s part of what’s known as “puffing season” and is a crucial life-saving endeavor.

During puffling season, Icelanders save baby puffins by throwing them off cliffs : NPR

Your “Before I Die List” with Robin Sharma:

Sorry to bring up death in the title yet you and I both come with an expiration date.

Like it or not, we’ll all end up as dust. Soon or late.

Makes me think of Ted Leonsis. The tech titan, visionary leader and business disruptor.

He was on a plane when the pilot said it looked like they would crash. Just imagine. Actually, please don’t.

Face to face with the end, he reflected on the things that truly mattered. No accessories. Only priorities.

He considered all the things he didn’t do and the places he didn’t visit and the people he failed to meet.

He confronted his truest values and highest visions, reflecting on the busyness of life and how it causes even the best amongst us to stray from the mission.

Fortunately the aircraft landed safely.

In the terminal, Ted wrote out a list that would transform his life: a list of 101 things that he vowed to do before he died.

Within a few years most were done.

Yet here’s the opportunity for you to take a few pristine hours—hidden away from the world—to generate your list. Of 50 or 75 or 100 things you absolutely must get done before you pass into that great field of daisies in the sky.

It’ll help you identify what truly counts. So you can strip out the trivialities. And lead your most majestic life. Beginning (hopefully) today. Because now is a gorgeous time to start a better way.

Take You Out With The Unbridled Joy Of Music:

From 8 to 80, the love of music makes your heart sing


Guantanamera | Playing For Change | Song Around The World – YouTube

Thanks this week go to CIF Leadership, Kurt C, and Robin S for some of this week’s contributions!

Please Pay it Forward with Purpose…



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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has” – Margaret Mead

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