Perception is Reality

“Hey, dude….that bone through your nose just might be holding you back.”

Sorry. It’s the truth.

I always hated the expression that “perception is reality”. It never seemed relevant to me.  It was only shared with me in negative situations at work where I’d end up doing something that wasn’t overtly a screw-up, but due to the “perception” it was a bad thing. So I tucked that information away…for years….and then suddenly, a few weeks ago, it popped up again. But this time, it was me saying it to someone else.

So what is perception and what is reality? And more importantly, why are they related anyway?

Perception is your “internal reality”. It’s what you make of the outside world based on all of the input you receive. It’s what you believe to be true. People with altered inputs have altered internal realities. No one would argue with me if I said that someone who is blind or deaf perceives the world differently than others. And we all have altered inputs. We all hear, see, smell, taste and touch different things. Therefore, we all perceive things differently.

So, what is reality? Quite simply…no one really knows. I’m not going to get into any physics lessons here but if you simply agree that individuals having different perceptions leads to non-standard realities, then you must agree that individual perceptions are the only realities that we should worry about.

And here we are. Everything you say or do has an effect on the reality that others perceive about you. Regardless of your intent, you are held captive to the perceptions of others. And to complicate matters more, my perceptions of you are going to be different than someone else’s due to our different interactions with not only you but the rest of the world.

The lesson is to be aware. Acknowledge that the gap between intent and perception can be great. And that the broader that gap between the two, the more difficult it will be to convince someone to be aligned with you and the real message you are trying convey.

Specifically, what I’m trying to say is:

1) Dress as you want to be perceived. My rule was always to dress for the position you want and not the position you have. I’m all for self-expression. But, that being said, there is a potential price to pay. That tattoo on your face or trendy outfit will cause others to judge you. And depending on your situation, that judgement may be good or bad.

2) Be aware of how you communicate. Whether it’s spoken work, email or IM, your tone, choice of words and even punctuation and capitalization could send a different message than you want.

3) Be flexible in how you act. Be a chameleon. Different people will react to the same situation in different ways so you may need to bend a bit in order to line up with your audience.

4) Be clear. Don’t assume anyone knows more than the information you are giving them at that very moment.

5) Most importantly…read your audience. You might be sharing the most vital information you’ve ever had, but if they perceive meaningless garble, then it’s meaningless garble for them and you might want to adjust your message.

We can’t all agree on reality so just accept it. And then use that knowledge to change the perceptions of others around you in order to create a reality for them that benefits you both.


Easy Beef Jerky

I’ve recently started making my own beef jerky at home. Aside from the hardware necessary to form and dry the meat, the recipe has been the biggest component of research over the last few months. Listed below is my current base recipe.

You will need to use ground beef for this mixture. I settled on ground beef over sliced meat for a few reasons.

1) No need to marinade. I use all dry ingredients and after mixing can start the drying process immediately. I find this to be much more convenient.

2) All dry ingredients. This means no worry about spoilage if I take a jerky hiatus for a while.

3) Better jerky texture. I hate jerky that you have to tear apart using your teeth. You should be able to just eat it (think Slim Jims).

4) Price. Ground beef is much more economical. I’ve found the Costco 88/12 to be the best and at $2.99/lb. you surely can’t beat it.

Recipe (per lb.)

15 grams of kosher salt (about 1/2 Tbs)

1 tsp. of powdered smoke (if you insist on liquid, you can use the same amount)

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/5 tsp. Prague powder or 2/5 tsp. Morton’s curing salt

Hot pepper powder to taste (start with 1/2 tsp. and add as necessary)

I recommend getting all the way up to the hot pepper and then start tasting to get the right hot pepper mix.

Just pour the mix in either together or one ingredient at a time and mix with your ground beef. If you are using any kind of potent hot pepper powder like ghost peppers, be sure to wear gloves and possibly a mast as the stuff can kick up a bit.

I prepare batches of this mix in advance and store in 3 pound kits. 

There is no need to let this sit overnight though you can if you want.

Load into a jerky gun and then dry for 8-10 hours.


Bathroom Attendants

I don’t need any help in the bathroom. Trust me.

I’ve been doing well since I was about 6 or 7 probably. I haven’t spoken to my parents about this specifically, but my guess is that the biggest challenge was hitting the watery part of the toilet on a consistent basis. I wouldn’t be surprised if they threw in some Cheerios from time to time to assist, but this is just a guess.

And I’ll take a bigger leap and speculate that most other guys (and ladies) do just fine in the bathroom ALONE. So why do some places have these bathroom attendants there? It is a serious source of anxiety for me and it must stop.

Why? There are many reasons, but I will list just a few:

1) Quite simply, I don’t need any help getting to the toilet. I can find my way to the appropriate porcelain receptacle just fine. If I feel pressure in the front, I go to the ones on the wall. If I feel pressure in the back, I go  to the one behind the door.

2) While standing at a urinal, I don’t like the idea of a dude standing behind me….waiting for me to finish peeing. We all have different techniques and patterns in the bathroom and I don’t want to be judged. I’m not a fly-guy and I don’t want this dude to know my technique for de-dripping and zipping. It’s the simple.

3) I can wash my own hands. I certainly don’t need you to squirt soap in my hands for me and hand me a towel. I got it covered.

4) Don’t need your cologne offerings either. I planned ahead and put cologne on this morning. And if I hadn’t, I certainly wouldn’t be tapping into your Drakkar Noir or Hai Karate to impress some lady. Pretty sure if I’m coming here from the gym, I’ve got other issues.

And then there is the worst part. The part that (even if 1-4 were not issues) will consume my brain for the entire time I’m at the urinal….tip, or don’t tip….what do I do? It’s an awkward situation. One of two things usually happens for me. If I know that there is an attendant prior to going in, I will occasionally grab a single from my wallet and put it into my shirt pocket for and easy hand-off on the way out. However, if I did NOT know the attendant was there, I now have to rifle through my wallet in the hopes of finding a single. And the wallet most often has 10-20 random denomination bills that just got fanned out, as if to say, “I’ve got a shit-ton of cash, but I’m searching for a lone dollar for you.”


So what is the motivation on the part of the establishment to offer such services? Do they think a customer will choose their location over another due to the extra services being offered? It’s not like they’re offering blowjobs through a glory-hole. THAT would get me back over and over again. Something to consider if I ever open a place.

Getting in Shape (6th Post) – P90X

I just finished up week 1. This week was more challenging than the same week was last year…and I’m ok with that. Did just one substitution and only completed 2 workouts but I made the attempt all 6 days. I’ve got nothing to be ashamed of. I’m looking forward to improved ease of workouts next week. If that’s not the case, then diet or old age is to blame. I’ve ordered a heart rate monitor to assist in the cardio days to be sure I’m not overdoing it.

Getting in Shape (5th Post) – P90X

It’s been a while since my last post on P90X. I must confess, I did not finish. I made it 2 months and then used the excuse of “last minute travel” to quite. I thought if I took 5 days off, that the plan would have been null and void. In retrospect, I was wrong. I stopped because the program was way to demanding. 6 days a week is a ridiculous amount of time to commit for 3 months. I was 42 and really didn’t want to get into ripped shape anyway so I stopped. I tried to so my own kind of maintenance, but faltered in the end. Don’t get me wrong, I got in the best shape of my life so I know the program works.

So here I am again. I’m now 43 and I just finished day 4 of my latest run at P90X. Here’s what is going to be different…

1) I’m not going to be a victim of the program. If I need to take a day off, I will. That can be for any reason (plans to go out, too tired, not feeling well or other).

2) I’m going to listen to my body. If my quads are killing me from plyo, I’m not going to do anything involving legs including Yoga or Ab Ripper. I spent the entire last program (all 2 months) with my legs sore.

3) I’m going to substitute DVDs on days where I feel it’s necessary. Again, doing a disk just because the program says to but my body doesn’t is not going to be beneficial in the long run. Again, if I were trying to get ripped, that would be a different story, but I’m just trying to get stronger, more flexible and healthier.

4) I’m not just going to do this for 90 days.

Here was how things started this latest round:

Day 1 – Chest and Back -I didn’t make it past the half-way point this time. I did the first time through last year, but not this time. I think it had to do with my not having eaten enough food recently. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself. It could easily be a case of being a year older.

Day 2 – Plyometrics – I was dreading this DVD. I always have. Made it 1/3 of the way through it before I bonked. Again, food is the culprit (or is it?).

Day 3 – Shoulders and Arms – Finally, I make it through. I attempted Ab Ripper but my legs gave out right away.

Day 4 (today) – Yoga X – Not exactly….I substituted Stretch X instead. Yoga would have been killer on my legs so I opted for more stretching to give my legs a chance to recover.

I’m going to skip tomorrow this week as my next day will be Legs and Back and I need a day of rest to get my legs back to normal.

See you on Saturday…..

Getting in Shape – 4th Post (P90X)

Today is Sunday the 15th of August and I’ve just completed week 3 of P90X. I’ve learned a few things this week:

1) You’ve got to eat! Prior to P90X, I controlled my weight through calorie reduction. Can’t do that now.

2) Working out in the evenings is better for me. Week one was almost all mornings. Weeks two and three were mostly evenings and that seems to be better for me. There is the unfortunate adjustment that has to happen when you have something planned in the evening, but that’s way better than 5:30 am wake-up calls every day.

3) Protein supplements are needed. This is roughly related to #1.

4) I’m actually looking forward to Phase 2 now. This coming week is the recovery week and involves much less hard work. I really want to see what I can accomplish in week five now.

I had a few bad days towards the end of the week, but I attribute that all to my low caloric intake. That’s being remedied now.

Getting in Shape – 3rd Post (P90X)

I basically just completed the 2nd week of P90X. I’ve noticed a big difference in about 90% of what I did over the first week. The biggest improvement is in stamina. On day 1, I barely made it through the entire DVD. In fact, I was ready to quit after the first half. But then my wife said she was continuing on and that was all I needed to hear. We finished that first day exhausted. That first week was a very painful week. Every part of my body hurt every day. I was walking like an old man. The 2nd week showed a small improvement in weights or reps. I got to the point where I could do up to 8 cheating pull-ups. The first week I had to use the bands. I’m hoping for a few unassisted pull-ups next week.

I’m not a fan of Yoga X in the least. I don’t have the best balance and I always want to end early. But, I keep plugging away. Plyometrics is the best cardio work-out of the week for sure.

Next week is the last week of the hard workouts of Phase 1 and then we’re on to the recovery week. Though having Yoga in the recovery week doesn’t really make me happy.

Oh, and I bought a great pair of multi-weight dumbbells to use instead of trying to get the Bowflex to do some of the more awkward exercises. I’m guessing my weight numbers are going to go down a bit. That’s ok though. Form over weights wins any day.