Rewriting History

Being a little bit geeky I have a whiteboard and markers at home. I have used it to keep track of my numbers - which has been especially important as the year has gone on! (I am pretty certain that by the end of the year my dreams will be decorated with tally charts and punctuated by the beep of the timer.) I have tended to make some incidental notes on the whiteboards as the mental juices start to flow but these incidental notes have been wiped off almost daily, otherwise I have kept a running view of up to three weeks.

Last Sunday (when I first journalled this piece), the day signalled the end of week 37 and coincided with the end of space on the whiteboard. As I wiped it off the thought occurred to me that maybe there ought to be a hint of sadness at the ease with which that much works is cleared away. But actually I found it quite satisfying, having done the work, to set up a clean sheet for the next phase. The sweeping away of a footprint doesn't remove the fact of the journey. And while I keep a daily record/journal of this trip, actually, losing it would not be a singular disaster. So long as I remember what day I am up to, and chalk up the reps for that day, the rest doesn't much matter.

I am an inveterate hoarder. OK, so not full on psychological disorder but I still retain sh...tuff far longer than is entirely necessary, imbuing it with characteristics of settings or people that accompanied it originally.

I'm not up to this magazine archive by the dunny is limited to the last three months!
So with that in mind it feels a little odd to be saying that the notes don't matter. but it's true. Ultimately, they don't. It is all very well retaining records, and certainly they can be useful to those who will but mine them, but that is only recording what has actually been done... and that's what really matters most - doing it in the first place.

I think this is an application of something that Nietzsche was getting at when he said "the will to a system is a lack of integrity". Systematisation of thought and deed takes the individual out of the mix. it ignores the sweat and angst; pleasure and pain; cries and sighs. All of that fallen aside in the note of a number. 

My outlook has shifted since I was younger and as a part of that shift I can acknowledge the use of the records - indeed I have made use of them myself. But in something like this exercise it is important to remember that it is only constant forward movement which matters, the measures along the way are the clues that signal the movement for you, the bushes that whip past your window in a blur. - Photo by Mr Bones
I should remove the qualifier, it is not just "in something like this exercise". We should always remember the point of the exercise. As I have said at other times, repeatedly, "context is crucial". Doing something for its own sake can have merit but it is also fertile ground for the growth of dogma and bureaucracy. Doubt me? Next time you're at work, have a look at your quality standards and what is done in its name.

I'll keep doing the burpees because, at heart, it is the doing of the burpees that matters. The fact that [as at last Sunday] I am doing 270 tomorrow means that I completed the 260 today. That's all I need. But I still keep records, why bother?

It's not just about boring people with progress updates...although that is one reason

Because there is a vast difference between needing and wanting. And we all need reminding of that from time to time. Especially at this time of year!


Between writing and typing this, our contingent of merry burpeurs in Singapore have hung up their burpee pants having completed their 100 days. I feel some remorse for being instrumental in them starting in the first place, I am proud of them but mostly I am proud for them, no matter which marker they set out to hit (and all of our other achievers within the team). It was great to share part of my journey with them. They have been good company in our Facebook group but more than that, I love seeing people achieve and get the most from their time and these boys and girls...sorry, ladies and gents(!) have given me cause to smile for that reason. Thank you!

Yes, that means you!


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