Change’s in the Air

BODY

aerialI’ve been really impressed by a book that fell into my hands a couple of days ago. It’s the “Four Hour Body” by Tim Ferriss. Very quickly I’ve found a great deal of advice in it that can produce large changes. Eating cinnamon with carbs and drinking lemon water before ingesting protein are just a few snippets. I will post more as I read and test the recommendations on myself. In the meantime, check out fourhourbody.com. Cool stuff!

TAM update: I’m starting Level 3 bootcamp today and plan to stick with it religiously for the next 10 days. This workout has really been great so far in challenging new muscle groups and really helping me get leaner than ever. Also, I’ve made changes to my eating habits in a way that I am throwing away all fast carbs and sugar and instead upping my level of beans and nuts. Carbs digest very quickly and often leave me hungry and crashed. For a long term sustained feeling of fullness and energy, I will try this altered approach and let you know how it’s worked. So far (and it is only 10 am), I’ve had coffee with almond milk and cinnamon, cranberry oatmeal and a handful of almonds. I was hungry 30 minutes later so I had a small salad with beans, eggs (2) and nuts and all sorts of greens, peppers, etc. It was a small potion though. I followed with a large cup of red tea and so far I am feeling very satisfied but craving something sweet, an urge I am planning not to give into.
I am happy to report that my weight has not increased more than a pound over the holidays but, as motivated by sustainable and long lasting body redesign where my small albeit still present fat coat could be converted into solid muscle, I am seeking a way that works without having to make too many sacrifices.

Last night I took my first aerial arts class at a circus school. I’m not planning to work at a circus but wanted to find a way to challenge myself physically and man, did I ever find it! I have a new respect for circus performers for sure! Mere hanging from a trapeze for more that 3 seconds can be painful. Supposedly, we’ll develop immunity to this pain over time but for now it is all pretty hard. I am happy to say though that I managed to climb a rope by both using the standard climb and the Russian climb techniques (the latter being much harder, obviously!), which I attribute to our teacher’s clear demonstration and my competitive drive. Before the next class in a week my focus is on strengthening my abs that need a lot of conditioning to help me get on that static trapeze without making a complete fool out of myself (slow, controlled leg lifts and yoga’s boat pose are on my prescription).

JOBS/CAREER/CHANGES

I just read a very interesting article about the fear of career/job change that hit home. It was posted on Chad Fowler’s blog and the link to it is here: chadfowler.com.
The article basically talks about suffering form the Stockholm Syndrome, which is “a name given to the condition wherein hostages develop positive feelings toward their captors despite being held in negative, unfavorable and even life-threatening conditions. Victims of Stockholm Syndrome will even inexplicably stay with their captors even when given the chance at freedom.”

Since I do not wish to change the essence of Chad’s blog entry, I am quoting it for you all below (all in italics).

Hopefully nobody reading this is literally being held hostage right now. If you are, good luck!

For the rest of you, why might I suggest that you are suffering from Stockholm Syndrome? Because employment relationships can manifest themselves in this very way.

In the article, Love and Stockholm Syndrome: The Mystery of Loving an Abuser, Dr. Joseph Carver says that the following four situations serve as a foundation for the development of Stockholm Syndrome:

(quote)

  • The presence of a perceived threat to one’s physical or psychological survival and the belief that the abuser would carry out the threat.
  • The presence of a perceived small kindness from the abuser to the victim
  • Isolation from perspectives other than those of the abuser
  • The perceived inability to escape the situation

(quote)

Looking back at my own career (specifically some of the extremely intelligent people I’ve met who are stagnating in oppressive companies or positions) I have recognized that many of these people (and sometimes myself) have felt “stuck” for no obvious reason. Some people seem just plain crazy when you look at their skill sets, ability, and the low quality of work or environment they’re willing to put up with.

So I contacted Joseph Carver to ask his opinion. Could this be Stockholm Syndrome? He agreed. In email, he said “SS is most likely to develop when the employee feels trapped, perhaps by a high salary, fear of losing a career, or fear of humiliation.” So let’s look at his four conditions:

Perceived threat

Getting fired, being humiliated, not being a “top 20%” employee, not getting a raise. Employers wield a lot of perceived power over employees, especially for those in very traditional corporate jobs. The employer must be willing to carry out the threat. Every business is under the right conditions. It’s how businesses work.

Small kindness

Got a Christmas bonus once when you really needed it? Make a competitive salary? Great benefits? Get to work on a technology you don’t think you’d be able to work on elsewhere? There ya go.

Isolation from other perspectives

Again, a big corporate environment is ripe for this kind of isolation. If you work for BigCo, you learn to do things The BigCo way. The company’s organizational structure becomes a blueprint for your career progression. You start to lose sight of what industry pay and incentives look like since you have a homogeneous population to compare with. Unfortunately, from what I’ve seen even the best run companies create this kind of isolation of perspective and group-think. Charismatic leaders are particularly capable of creating a culture vacuum around a cult of personality.

Perceived inability to escape

According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, American adults spend by far more time working than any other activity. That’s a lot of your waking time being trapped in a routine. In a Stockholm Syndrome situation, the captor chips away at the self-esteem of the captive. So for most of our waking hours, those of us trapped in dead end jobs like these are exposed to environments which systematically destroy our self-confidence. Not only that, a persistent fear and feeling of failure makes it harder to actually explore the options for leaving the bad situation. The instinctive self-preservation reaction in this kind of situation is to work harder to try to avoid the perceived threat coming to fruition.
________________________________________
So, what if this describes your job? You owe it to yourself to find a way out. Hopefully recognizing the signs will show you that the real situation is far less grim than you might believe and that you have control over how you choose to spend the majority of your adult life.

I’m writing this for the many people I’ve met (and the countless I haven’t) that are senselessly stuck in bad job situations. Please stop wasting your precious time.

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