The most badass Rabbi in the world

a artsy picture of the cosmos

Something a little different over at From the Green Notebook.

Rabbi Mordecai Finley sits down to talk with Joe about the power of self-reflection and how it can lead to inner well-being and help reduce conflict in our lives. He also shares lessons from decades counseling couples, earning his black belt in jujitsu, and serving in the Marine Corps following the Vietnam War.

S3,Ep7: Rabbi Mordecai Finley- Finding Inner Well-Being

Marine Corps veteran, black belt in jiu-jitsu, thoughtful sage.

I love the military-themed episodes that FTGN puts out, but I’m especially drawn to the stuff that pushes the circle outward.

Diamond Dallas Page was a prime example.

There are great things to learn from our own, and the recent podcast on “the battalion commander effect” is a good example.

But there is so much more out there.

I found myself drawn to Rabbi Mordecai’s thinking and methods. This episode is especially interesting to anyone interested in self-improvement, productivity, well-being, and self-discipline.

There were two things that stuck out to me.

The first was Rabbi Mordecai’s insistence that “you’re never too old.” He didn’t start jiu-jitsu until much later in his life when many of us are starting to pack away our physical hobbies and begin complaining about our knees. There are so many things in our lives that we cast aside as no longer possible due to our age.

Says who?

Says you, apparently.

How often do you hear lamentations from friends, family, or colleagues over not beginning some skill or hobby earlier in their lives? “

If only I had started when I was younger…” It’s never, “maybe I should start now.”

I’m just as guilty of this as others. It often takes more work and discipline to reach some of those goals (especially physical ones) as we age, but on the flip side, we have a lifetime of experience to apply to the goal. That’s something we often don’t account for. It’s not all about youth.

Take language for example. It’s “common knowledge” that children “soak up” language more effectively than adult learners. Everyone knows that, right?

Well it’s not exactly accurate. There is research that says adult learners may not be as handicapped at language learning as we think. This is because adult learners tend to understand how to better use their time in study and have learned different techniques that they can apply.

Children are just curious and willing to make mistakes. Adults are more self-concious.

The second thing that struck me was the Rabbi’s intonation to not “criticize, condemn, or complain.” This is sage wisdom that you may have seen before.

“Any fool can criticizecomplain, and condemn—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.”

Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

It is tried and true and it works.

The episode is worth the listen. You will find yourself inspired.

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In the military, you have time for 1, maybe 2 hobbies

Originally published in 2016.

If you take your job seriously in the military – which you should – then you likely only have time for one, maybe two hobbies.

It’s a dismal realization that was thrust upon me by a senior leader over a decade ago.

His chief hobby was Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He made it his hobby by ensuring he went to practice a few times a week, including Saturday mornings. He loved doing other things, like shooting, but given everything else he had to do, he had to choose which hobby got his attention.

The work week is consumed by work, often starting well before the sun rises and ending after it sets. Time at home during the week is characterized by reconnecting with loved ones, eating, and preparing for the next day before collapsing into bed.

On the weekend there are likely family obligations, house tasks, and basic errands that need to be done. In the moments that remain, there might be time for one, maybe two hobbies.

It’s a tough thing to come to terms with, because many in the military are ultra-ambitious. There are lots of things we would like to take up as hobbies, but we just can’t. The nature of the work requires a lot of time and energy, and there is only so much time during the week.

The only thing I have found helpful is carefully selecting the hobbies I want to commit to and then making the time for them, which often comes very early in the morning on weekends.

I am interested in knowing how others manage their hobbies, especially if a bulk of their time is dedicated to work and family.

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