TJ's Gym Weekly News 05/30/2019
Photo by Amy Perl Photography
Message from TJ:
Renewing My Moral License (Part One)
We landed at 11am from Florida on the second Saturday of Spring Break.
Exhausted from flying but loaded with adrenaline, we raced to make it to our Lyft to take us home from SFO. He was texting me, saying that he needed to leave, because it was taking us too long to get to him. The family barking behind me, I frantically called him.
"No problem, I'm just looping back around." I wish everyone could be this chill.
Chad chucked our bags in the back and let us all settle into our phones for the ride home. As soon as I opened my phone, I saw an alert from ESPN. "Tiger is Marching at the Masters."
I immediately started streaming it live. For the rest of day on Saturday and starting again at 7:00 on Sunday morning, I was completely transfixed watching Tiger Woods come from behind to win the Masters.
At some point on Saturday afternoon, Allison walked by. I said, "Tiger Woods might win another Masters!"
"Wow. He’s a scumbag," or something like that, was her reply.
For the rest of the weekend and into the next few weeks, I couldn't stop thinking about that comment.
She was right. He is/was a scumbag. Why and how did I get so easily fish-hooked into this guy's life? Why are some people, rightfully, completely disgusted with him due to his past, and some are carving his face on the sports version of Mt. Rushmore?
I say "people," because that's all I've been hearing about. What kind of person he is and what does he represent? Everyone agrees on his golfing prowess, but that's not what they comment about. They want to talk about everything he's overcome. Has he gotten a pass on destroying his marriage, wreaking havoc on his family, and proving to be a world-class liar? Some say yes.
Moral Licensing is the process of using past "good behavior" to justify "bad behavior." This works off of the concept that we all have a moral balance or bank account that we use for certain decision making. Others call this "Karma."
An example is having a "cheat meal." You tell yourself that you've saved up enough in the bank account to allow some frivolous spending, because you "deserve" it.
From a logical standpoint, this is ludicrous. If you have a goal, you stick with the plan that is currently working and has an obvious, data-driven outcome, until you achieve that goal. Anything else would be delusional.
You've got to love Vulcans.
The CEO of Bear Stearns played thousands of hours of bridge and golf during the crashing of that company. He usually made it clear that he was not to be disturbed during these outings. Weekend-long tournaments and outings were happening every week during 2007-2008. He was the president, became the CEO, and eventually moved up to Chairman of the Board. I don't really know what all of that stuff means, but it sounds like the buck stopped with him. By all estimations, for over 25 years, he helped build an incredibly successful company.
At some point he took his eye off the ball. I have a favorite saying that I use: "Businesses don't fail, entrepreneurs quit." To run anything, you've got to have an entrepreneur's mindset.
If things are going well, you can get distracted. I've been there. You start telling yourself that you've earned the ability to tune out or focus on other things. This simply isn't true.
If you get a dog and you get distracted, you're not allowed to not feed or care for the dog. You took on a responsibility, and that is that.
Vulcans are boring, though. We like shiny distractions. Especially the ones that hit our pleasure center.
Jimmy Cayne, Bear Stearns guy, was so obsessed with online bridge, bridge tournaments and golf that he logged his playing time into tracking websites so he could see how he ranked in the world with these two "hobbies" of his. It is documented that he was spending more time at bridge and golf than at running a major investment bank.
I'll bet he told himself he deserved it. After all, he had amassed over 1 billion dollars in assets. Moral License.
In just a few months, Bear Stearns went from having over $350 billion dollars in assets to being sold to JP Morgan for 1.8 billion, and was laid to rest.
What does this have to do with Tiger Woods?
It's not so much Tiger Woods as it is my complete disregard for past behavior in order to fulfill some kind of escapism. Did I break my own moral code? How did this behavior possibly translate into other examples of how I wanted so much to stay true to my course? Ten years ago I decided that Tiger Woods was a bad person, and I no longer wanted to consume his content. Ten years later, I dove right back in like I was high school and someone offered me a free pizza.
If a flow state is the goal and we've achieved that state before, how and why do we voluntarily remove ourselves and in some cases lose the map and motivation altogether?
Those are questions for next week, and maybe I'll have some answers.
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