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  #101  
Old 07-18-2014, 08:01 AM
Craig Ballantyne's Avatar
Craig Ballantyne Craig Ballantyne is offline
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He was no British Gentleman, but my old man taught me a lot of lessons, and I wrote this for him a few years ago.

The Chair

Home/Family / Lifestyle / Motivation / Self Improvement/The Chair



by Craig Ballantyne
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The chair is where my father sat,
On sunny summer days,
Beer in hand, shirt undone,
The paper had his gaze.
The grass was never greener,
Than in my memory,
The shade was always coolest,
On the days he sat with me.
The Willow tree kept him in comfort,
It wept in gentle breeze,
Weíd sit there without speaking,
Happy in each otherís company.
The tree has grown in time,
And the years had taken toll,
The chair has been replaced,
My father had grown old.
He no longer gets to sit there,
He lies at rest instead,
But place a chair under that tree,
And itís like heís there again.
A chair, a tree, a father,
You have these in your life too,
Though they may not be the same things,
They matter much to you.
When it comes time to count your blessings,
Remember this in lifeís race,
The things that really matter,
Exist in plain view of your face.
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  #102  
Old 07-18-2014, 08:09 AM
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PeterJankowski PeterJankowski is offline
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Really nice Craig. Thanks for sharing
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  #103  
Old 07-18-2014, 08:43 AM
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I agree with Peter......nicely done and a great tribute to your father! Mine passed away 3 years ago, Wednesday.......
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  #104  
Old 07-18-2014, 10:16 AM
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Craig Ballantyne Craig Ballantyne is offline
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Thanks Peter and Rob.

And Rob, sorry to hear that. Stay strong!
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  #105  
Old 07-19-2014, 12:45 PM
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Craig Ballantyne Craig Ballantyne is offline
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A really great NYC gentleman website to get you in a "people are great!" mood is this one...I check it out twice per week:

www.Facebook.com/HumansofNewYork

The book is also great.
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  #106  
Old 07-19-2014, 06:15 PM
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Craig Ballantyne Craig Ballantyne is offline
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Sunday will be Device Free. Here's my article on it..

***
In military jargon there is something referred to as Mission Creep.
According to Wikipedia, it is ďthe expansion of a project or mission beyond its original goals, often after initial successes. Mission creep is usually considered undesirable due to the dangerous path of each success breeding more ambitious attempts, only stopping when a final, often catastrophic, failure occurs.Ē
Recently, Iíve suffered from Internet creep. No, I havenít had any interactions with Anthony Weiner. Iím referring to the slow expansion of time spent on email correspondence and website surfing into my daily schedule.
Blasphemy, you say. Is not your editor supposed to be the epitome of schedule discipline and restraint when it comes to productivity?
Well, yes, and I take the responsibility of being a good example to our readers very seriously. Hence the need for an intervention.
My most recent experiment was based on an idea that Matt Smith and I have been discussing for a long time. I call it the Device-Free Day.
The experiment was run on a Sunday. I didnít use a computer or turn on my Ē phone for almost 36 hours (from Saturday afternoon to Monday morning). No email, no text messages, no checking NFL scores online. Nothing. It was wonderfully liberating. I plan to do this at least once per month.
Granted, for a few ETR readers, this might not be a big deal. But for the majority of readers, going that long without access to email or text messaging is akin to withholding breathing from their daily routine. I can assure you, however, it was not that difficult. Iíll prove that to you below with a step-by-step plan on how you can do the same.
The benefits are numerous.
Avoiding the sirenís call of the Internet gave me much more time to think, to reflect in introspection, to plan some big projects, to spend time with family, and to read the books that have been piling up around me thanks to my overzealous Amazon shopping habits.
One of them was the educational and entertaining, Daily Rituals, by Mason Currey. I love this book. Itís an amazing anthology of the daily habits kept by famous authors, painters, and composers from history. Many of them exhibited strange and wonderful behavioral quirks. Some were extreme disciplinarians, others were substance abusing, obsessive-compulsive geniuses that drank themselves to death or at least suffered from wild excesses. Many of them make my habits look downright normal.
It also revealed how dedicated these artists were to their craft, often working five years or more just to finish one book! It was incredibly inspirational Ė and even if youíre not a writer, youíll find great motivation in their perseverance and persistence towards their goals.
But youíll also discover that even three hundred years ago, our literary heroes were dealing with procrastination every day. Instead of email, they spent hours answering letters instead of working on their novels. Others engrossed themselves in multiple newspapers, and would today likely cycle through a series of online websites to get their fix.
Ultimately, they all found ways to combat their vices enough to create works of fiction, musical compositions, and other works of art that have stood the test of time.
Thatís the role of the Willpower reset Ė to give you the discipline and defense against the many time vampires of modern society that will help you get more done.
By taking a device-free day, youíll experience mental clarity. Ideas for projects will bubble forth when you donít have your attention diverted to your inbox, or as you sit in anticipation (read: desire) of a new text message to satisfy your attention deficit issues.
Taking a holiday from wireless connectivity will help you identify the gaps in your defense and weaknesses in your day. At what time are you most itching to access your favorite news sites? When are you on the cusp of madness to get access to your inbox? By knowing these truths about yourself, you can shore up your defenses and modify your routine to be more productive.
Youíll also discover the power of batch tasking and how transition time, back and forth from email to work to email to work is robbing you of hours of productivity each day. While the reality of a device-free day is that youíll return to an email inbox filled with more messages than usual, youíll also realize that you can whip through the correspondence in a short time, much less than you would spend on a normal day checking email several times.
Ultimately, youíll experience incredible liberation from a device-free day. It will reset your willpower so that, for at least a few days after, it will be easier for you to avoid checking your inbox, Facebook account, YouTube, and favorite news websites as often as you had been last week.
Of course, this all sounds easier said than done, right? Well, let me give you hope that it will work for you.
First of all, I donít suggest trying to do this on a Monday when youíre traveling for business to an important meeting all the while having three kids at home (with at least one of them sick, of course), and an overwhelmed spouse that wants to hear your voice. Likewise, I donít recommend a device-free day on the morning after a hot date when you want to keep the spark alive.
Certainly there are days that are best for trying this experiment. These tend to be later in the week or on the weekend.
Everyone can pull this off provided you plan and prepare for what we know will occur. You just need to establish a series of practical considerations that will enable this to work.
If you worry that you will succumb to temptation, as I nearly did late in the afternoon when the desire to visit ESPN.com was almost overwhelming, there are simple steps you can take to stay strong.
First, make your commitment public. Share this with your friends and family the day before. This will also help manage their expectations with respect to your response time on any messages that they send you on your device free day.
If necessary, hand over your devices to a gatekeeper. Have them stored under lock and key so that you canít get at them.
That said, make sure everyone important has an emergency contact for you. Have your Ē phone forwarded to another number where you can be reached. I still use a landline. My immediate family knows the number. Everyone else can wait.
You will also need to have any relevant phone numbers, meeting places, and content to review printed off from your devices so that you donít suddenly find yourself trying to remember where you were to meet your wife for lunch or the details of a specific project that you want to work on.
Finally, be prepared to deal with the aftermath. Youíll need to set aside time for the extra work that youíll come up with for yourself. Being liberated from technology will allow your mind to work properly again. Youíll be more creative than you can remember yourself being in a long time. This will lead to many good ideas that will need implementing when you are ready to return to your already busy schedule. Consider this a good thing, but be prepared for it.
Listen, you can cut the cord, so to speak, yourself or you can pay $350 per weekend to attend a digital detox camp in the woods. I think youíll agree that the DIY approach is better, and certainly cheaper.
Likewise, you can do a willpower reset with anything in life. If you think youíre drinking too much caffeine, take a weekend off to reset your intake and identify the times of day where strong habits have been built and desires are overwhelming. Once youíve identified these obstacles, come up with at least two solutions to overcome them in the days ahead.
The simple connection of cause-and-effect can liberate you from almost any negative ritual in your life. If you find your progress in life hampered by the control of digital devices over your time, plan ahead for a device-free day this weekend. At the very least, youíll actually get something done and remember what it was like to be alive back in the 1980′s. The retro experience will deal your mind a load of benefits.
Tell me what ďdetoxĒ you plan in your life and how it will make you more productive.
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  #107  
Old 07-20-2014, 12:18 AM
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LeslieM LeslieM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Ballantyne View Post



The chair is where my father sat,
On sunny summer days,
Beer in hand, shirt undone,
The paper had his gaze.
The grass was never greener,
Than in my memory,
The shade was always coolest,
On the days he sat with me.
The Willow tree kept him in comfort,
It wept in gentle breeze,
We’d sit there without speaking,
Happy in each other’s company.
The tree has grown in time,
And the years had taken toll,
The chair has been replaced,
My father had grown old.
He no longer gets to sit there,
He lies at rest instead,
But place a chair under that tree,
And it’s like he’s there again.
A chair, a tree, a father,
You have these in your life too,
Though they may not be the same things,
They matter much to you.
When it comes time to count your blessings,
Remember this in life’s race,
The things that really matter,
Exist in plain view of your face.


This was a beautiful way to honor your Dad's memory, Craig. It inspires me to try something similar for my mom. Thanks for sharing it. Leslie
P.S. that is a great tree!
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Last edited by LeslieM : 07-20-2014 at 09:38 PM.
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  #108  
Old 07-21-2014, 01:04 PM
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Craig Ballantyne Craig Ballantyne is offline
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Some good BG progress over the weekend and interactions on dog walks. Also calming The Impatience Beast within with some yoga. I read these two books yesterday:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=1&theater
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  #109  
Old 07-21-2014, 01:13 PM
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Craig Ballantyne Craig Ballantyne is offline
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Yesterday I had another Device-Free Sunday. Thatís where I avoid all electronics. I donít use my cellphone or my computer, and I try not to watch TV (I only watched a little last weekend because it was the World Cup). It makes for a relaxing day filled with friends, family, Bally, and books.


If you havenít tried a Device-Free day since getting your first cellphone way back in the 90′s, I highly recommend that you do! Youíll love itÖand YES, the world still goes on without you plugged into the Internet all day.
Relax, youíll enjoy it.
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  #110  
Old 07-22-2014, 12:53 PM
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Craig Ballantyne Craig Ballantyne is offline
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"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." - Maya Angelou
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