Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Ground Game

I hate the idea that I have pulled a metaphor from football. It isn’t that I dislike sports exactly. It is more that I don’t feel anything for that world since I stopped playing sports years ago. To improve this, I am going to use ground game metaphorically in the sense of combat. When a guy in a fight drops a guy to the floor and proceeds to beat the shine out of him, that is a really strong ground game. Also, if an offensive line of a football team is great at running the ball (as opposed to passing) they have a great ground game.  
Lately, I have been saying that I have a solid ground game to mean that I have the basics in my life sorted out. The job is solid. The house is clean. I have good transportation. I can afford my bills. I eat well enough. I have clothes on my back. The grass is mowed. The kids are cared for. I am feeling well physically. I am feeling balanced emotionally. Spiritually my house is in order. 
In life strategy, I would say having a really good ground game is the building block on which everything else is built. There are really three pieces of the puzzle here: Physical, Mental/Emotional, and Spiritual. If any of the ground game is out of whack it blows the others off their axis. We live on a spinning world. Coming off your axis is not a good look.  
Physical needs are a huge part of the puzzle. Obviously, food, water, and shelter cover the basics. That isn’t always easy to accomplish. Most of us live from paycheck to paycheck. Any slight disruption in the delicate balance of our finances can throw us completely off. Because of that I will qualify a job and secure finances as a physical need. Sure, it can be argued that this is an emotional need- security-, but in this case you cannot satisfy the emotional need without making the physical (fiscal) happen.  
To this end, I present Rule #3: 
Live significantly below your means. 
I have yet to get into Dave Ramsey, but I often hear the man is a genius. I will check him out eventually. I believe that he gives the exact advice. Ideas of significance though vary from person to person. I want to explain what I mean by this.  
Affording your bills is great. Keeping your bills, your daily expenses, and your fun under 50% of your total income is living significantly below your means. Having the ability to earn double what you need doesn’t come easy. I found it much easier to start cutting away at my needs than to double the amount of work I do. 
This also means that I don’t miss any chances to honestly earn. When the door opens for me to work overtime, I run through it. This is a decision I have made on a high level. The only thing I have to figure out week to week is exactly what my schedule will allow me to work. I take the maximum.  
This also means I really heavily control my budget. I don’t do everything I can do. I once wrote about Spartan Thinking. I have been applying that more and more to money and to emotions. Cutting down has been one of the best decisions of my life. Cutting away needs both physically and emotionally has been beautiful as well.  
Physical needs go beyond money. We all yearn for being healthy and free. While I work a ton of hours, I really enjoy the rewards of my job and it doesn’t tax me emotionally. Keeping the cars running, the house clean, and the yard mowed give me a similar sense of satisfaction. The hard work I put in comes with a sense of physical well-being. This bolsters the emotional.  
Physically it is also important to take care of yourself. You don’t have to have defined abs, but most of all you need to really be happy with your own physical appearance. This goes down to keeping your hair cut in a style you enjoy, doing your nails, and dressing yourself so that you feel attractive. Beware of anyone who wants to control how good you look. They are insecure and toxic. Run.  
Emotional and Mental needs are a lot trickier. Even though we are all one species of animal, the human brain is a complicated mass of tissue. I am grouping Emotions and Mental needs together although many people see these as very different. I don’t believe they are. I believe they are two sides of the exact same coin.  
Personally, I have a need not to be idle or bored. I made the mistake of praying for an interesting life. God really answered that prayer with gusto. I never get a chance to get bored. I keep myself engaged by pursuing hobbies when life is calm. Mental stimulation is not a problem.  
Emotionally, I have a serious need to feel in control of myself. I mentally and emotionally meditate on possible outcomes of situations so that when they come to pass, I don’t have to process. I know my feelings. I know how I want to react. This is how I maintain my composure through even the most stressful of events. 
Some people mistake my cool, calm, and collected demeanor for a lack of passion. Frankly, one of the very first things I realized in life is that there are very few people that have opinions worth caring about. This ability to dismiss my detractors and ignore the shade they throw keeps me mentally healthy and emotionally happy. It takes a lot of practice. Sometimes I have to talk myself through my own reality.  
Perception is reality. I am absolutely certain that there are people out there who believe I have genuinely wronged them. From their perspective, I am a horrible person.  From my point of view, I go out of my way to be fair and kind to everybody with rare exception. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. I have never been in a position that someone has brought me proof of how I have wronged them that I have not attempted to make right. Metaphorically, I sleep very well at night. (The truth is my insomnia has nothing to do with a guilty conscience.)  

All of this basically adds up to the fact I am at peace with myself. I like who I am. I believe in my motivations. I work to keep my heart and mind set on the right path- as I see it anyway. Mentally and Emotionally my ground game is very strong.  

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