Last week’s post about boiling frog syndrome got me thinking about boiling water and a concept that sports coaches often talk about. The idea of one more degree. Hopefully, our frog will have leapt out of the pot before it reaches 211 degrees Fahrenheit (99.44 degrees Celsius), if not, it will certainly be scalded, but not boiled.
211-degree water will eventually turn your pasta to mush, but 212-degree water will leave it deliciously al dente in 8-10 minutes.
211-degree water can contain pathogens and be unsafe to drink. The CDC recommends making water microbiologically safe by bringing it to a rolling boil for one (1) minute.
212-degree water can sterilize baby bottles or canning jars, 211-degree water just makes them really hot.
211-degree water has a ton of potential, but it takes 212-degree water to produce the steam that can power an engine.
211-degree water is only one degree shy of 212-degree water, but that extra degree is where the magic happens.
Often we stop just short of the level of effort needed to make big change.
Too often we give up at the precipice of success.
And conversely, we can become disheartened when we see someone else achieve the results that we want. It’s easy to miss all of the work that they put in to get them to the boiling point.
Sometimes we think that progress requires massive change when all it takes is the willingness to stay over the flame for a few minutes longer.
Or as Rudyard Kipling said in If, (The poem I have quoted more than any other because it is my favorite), the willingness to:
force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
The same boiling water that softens the potato, hardens the egg.
So don’t be a soft couch potato.
Also, don’t be a bad egg like Veruca
Be a good egg. Be hard. Boil on.
Read. Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson
This is a wildly fascinating book about a group of divers who, in the fall of 1991, found a Nazi submarine sixty miles off the coast of New Jersey, and worked to identify it and learn its story, even though the official records all agreed that there was no sunken U-boat at that location.
Thanks to Justin for recommending it!
This week I officially formed Walking Point LLC. This is the business I will use to provide individual performance coaching, organizational leadership training, keynote speaking, and eventually some level of veteran support activities.
On every patrol in the military, someone has to walk point and be the first to face the dangers of the unknown.
But, in our lives, it’s up to us. Each of us must walk point, I just hope to help.
In honor of this, I give you my latest carpe diem poem.
He rises from the dirt while the others are sleeping
Shakes the night from his clothes
He stirs life from slumbering embers
Rebuilds the fire for the others safe keeping
And sets out for the place where the sun will rise.
He moves steady and silent
Leaving markings for the others to follow
Muscles loosening as he travels
Machete an extension of his arm
Over the next hill, the horizon will burn red.
He’ll find the way, make the trail
Build a fire to guide and greet the others
His way is difficult and lonely
His reward is drinking from streams never tasted
And seeing first what no one else has seen.
Words of wisdom from those who said it best.
“Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow.” - Unknown
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela
“Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.” – James A. Michener
“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed no hope at all.” – Dale Carnegie
Thanks for reading. See you next Thursday!
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"If" is hands down my favorite poem. I had it printed out and put on the wall next to my desk during my last deployment. I spent many days glancing up at it for encouragement and pointing other Soldiers to it for the same
Another great week! I loved the idea of "shaking off the night".... And was very moved by the use of boiling water as a metaphor. Please forgive me for reverting to my time at school, but it is of note for me that it takes 1kcal to warm water 1deg C. So 100kcal to warm water from 0 to 100. But.... it takes 540kcal to warm water from 100 in liquid form, to 100 in vapor form. It does not even go up in temperature. The latent heat required to make it boil is 540 times what it takes to move it from 99 to 100. As it relates to self improvement, I believe one can be making gains, even if the metric (thermometer) does not show movement. And then, after a lot of effort put into the system, the water starts to boil - and the magic happens! Hang on!