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These (Seven-League) Boots are Made for Walking
Or- Holy guacamole, we're one!
This is the fifty-second weekly issue of Think. Read. Write. Repeat.
We’re officially one year old.
First, I want to thank all of my readers. Whether you are one of the forty-three email addresses I started with or one of the nearly 700 people who joined along the way, you are a part of the TRWR Tribe, and together we are committed to ‘Getting Better at Getting Better.’
TRWR is read nearly 5,000 times per month which I find pretty mind-boggling.
I want to tell you about a few changes I will be making for year two, but before I do (and speaking of change) I’d like to share the story of one of the greatest songs you’ve never heard.
In 1975 at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys California, the Curtis Brothers, Rick, and Micheal were recording demos of two new songs, Seven League Boots and Blue Letter. They were joined in the studio by Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks whose first and only album as Buckingham Nicks had recently tanked. The pair had been released by their label, Polydor Records.
Stevie sang lead vocals on Seven League Boots:
When you listen to it, you’ll probably think it’s pretty catchy, but it seems a little off. It might even remind you of another song.
Seven Leauge Boots didn’t make it on the Curtis Brothers’ album, and of course, Stevie and Lindsay went on to join Fleetwood Mac where they later recorded Blue Letter on the band’s eponymous 1975 album.
Seven League Boots languished for seven years until Stephen Stills heard the demo, recognized its potential, and asked the Curtis Brother’s permission to mess around with it.
While this was happening Stills was going through a divorce and, needing to get out of L.A., joined friends on a sailboat for the South Pacific.
He drew from that experience to rewrite the words, change the chorus, and then recorded Southern Cross with Graham Nash (David Crosby was in jail when the album version was recorded).
The song appeared on their album Daylight Again, and reached number 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks in 1982. It was CSN’s last top-40 hit
The point of this story is that there is always room for improvement.
That brings us back to the changes afoot at TRWR.
First, what won’t change:
TRWR will still arrive in your inbox promptly at 6:00 a.m. every Thursday morning.
What will change:
Think: I will try to keep the Think category more succinct and will focus on one theme per month. The theme for September is Time.
Read: While I reserve the right to still recommend books (especially my book, Tough Rugged Bastards if the DOD ever finished reviewing it) I plan to recommend articles from other great substack writers that will be a quicker read. If you have recommendations please send them.
Write: This segment has been the least well-defined. Moving forward I will provide a journaling prompt based on the monthly theme. You know you should be journaling, it’s good for you. If you refuse to journal, consider it a topic to contemplate.
Repeat: I will try to limit myself to one really great quote. It’s hard. I am a quote lover.
If you are saying to yourself, Hey John, it sounds like you just want to do less work, I refer you to a quote I, as a quote lover, love that I was introduced to by my friend Joe McCormick, the author of Brief and Noise. It comes from the French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal: “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.”
Being succinct takes work, but you are worth it.
But wait there’s more:
I will also be launching a separate monthly Substack titled Walking Point which will deep-dive into the topic of the month and will provide some actionable items to help us Getting Better at Getting Better.
Walking Point will be a slightly longer format and will arrive on the last Sunday of the month hopefully when you have a lazy morning to read it.
Look forward to the first edition of Walking Point on September 24th and as always, please recommend it to family members or friends that you feel would benefit from joining the tribe.
In case you’re curious (and you should be) seven league boots are an oft-appearing trope in European fairy tales. The enchanted boots allow the wearer to travel 7 leagues (roughly 21 miles) with one step. The boots were often given to the hero by a magical mentor to aid in the completion of a journey or quest.
PS. You haven’t heard the last of the Southern Cross, seven-league boots, or heroes journeys. They will be the topics for October, November, and December.
PPS: Here’s the full Seven League Boots
Read. Do Hard Things
By Steve Magness
“Smart and wise all at once, Magness flips the script on what it means to be resilient. Drawing from mindfulness, military case studies, sports psychology, neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy, he provides a roadmap for navigating life's challenges and achieving high performance that makes us happier, more successful, and, ultimately, better people.” (From Indiebound)
I haven’t written much about rucking lately. My time was limited in Guam, but I did manage to borrow some dumbells from the hotel gym for a few early morning rucks with Worth Parker.
I have been enjoying the posts of readers rucking I have been tagged in (Ivan Duke, Benny et al.). I’m always stoked to see you getting after it. Please continue to tag me.
Here are two opportunities to join rucking challenges. Both support fantastic causes and both start tomorrow. You can find them on Facebook.
I’ll be out there. What are you waiting for?
Words of wisdom from those who said it best:
“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time. – Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace.
“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late. – William Shakespeare.
“Lost time is never found again. – Benjamin Franklin.
Thanks for reading Think. Read. Write. Repeat. See you next Thursday!