Monthly Archives: October 2008

Learning How to Lose

Today’s post on Seth Godin’s blog reminded me of the importance of learning how to lose.  I became aware of this at my first job after graduate school.  Soon after I started work I was asked to interview graduating engineers for a few job openings.  I knew plenty of technical questions to ask, but I didn’t know how to interview for those “intangibles” that make a great employee.  I decided to ask my mentor.  He told me the question he asks during an interview is “Did you play sports growing up?” 


In my mind I thought, “I guess we do have a pitiful softball team, but that is still a strange question to ask”.  So, I asked him why he asks that particular question.


He proceeded to tell me that he wants to make sure he hires people that know how to lose.  He said, “In the electronic hardware business, you will get defeated almost every day.  Those amoral electrons don’t care about your feelings.  If you don’t understand the design, or if you don’t have it laid out exactly right – It won’t work.  I want to hire people that know how to lose – people can handle defeat and get back at it the next day.  This industry is difficult, and I have seen many engineers crack.  The one thing that I have found that is fairly common with the ones that stick with it is playing sports.”  (I believe that other activities can also produce the same result of learning to lose – perfecting art, music, Mario cart – but playing a sport forces you to confront losing often and in public.


 I think there is a lot too learning how to lose.  Winning is easy.  We can all high-five our team mates, laugh with each other in victory, and share in the camaraderie.  Losing is where we actually learn something.  Your weaknesses get exposed.  It’s up to you to identify those weaknesses and address them to improve – otherwise you will continue to make the same mistakes, you will get frustrated, and you will quit.  Better to learn how to lose early.  The stakes get higher when you grow up.


Leave a comment

Filed under Observations


What I would have blogged about over the past month if I had the time…


Catalyst Speaker Summaries – I really enjoyed the Catalyst Conference this year.  I would give you all a quick rundown on the speakers but I have misplaced my conference notebook (I think it at the office).  Anyway, I really enjoyed Andy Stanley, Jim Collins, Craig Groeschel, Seth Godin, Matt Chandler, Dave Ramsey, and Tim Sanders.  I still plan on summarizing the notes I scribbled during a few of the talks.


Love is the Killer Ap by Tim Sanders. I am looking forward to reading his new book, Saving the World at Work.


New Neighbor – An Invitation to Join the Beloved Community by Leroy Barber.  Great, great book.  I wish I had been presented with the opportunity for Mission Year while in my 20s.


Jesus Wants to Save Christians by Rob Bell.  I have about 60 pages left.


The six part podcast by Andy Stanley titled “Taking Care of Business”.  I highly recommend this, especially Number 6  – Leaving Early.  My Sunday School class will be studying this once I get some notes together (i.e. in a few months I’m sure).


A comparison of Indian Guides Fall War Games Campout with my son Josh and the Indian Princesses  Fall War Games Campout with my daughter Claire.  Boys = inter tribe competition during the War Games, pine cone wars, playing with sticks in the fire, shooting guns and bow and arrows, Sleeping with their Big Brave (dad).  Girls = inter tribe competition during the War Games, hair straightening, looking for lizards, looking for shells, changing outfits, and turning half the cabin into a girls-only slumber party where the older girls look out for the younger girls.  The snoring in the dad’s side of the cabin was unbearable, compounded by dead ipod battery, so I took a mattress and put it in the bed of my truck and slept under the stars on Saturday night.  I know where I will be sleeping for now on…


Crossfit –  I have completed 90 days.  I took pictures before I started and pictures on day 90.  The physical difference is not as noticeable as I thought it would be.  I am a whole lot stronger and feel about 10x better than when I first began.  The workouts never get easier, but my recovery time is a whole lot quicker.  Great workouts and great community.


My sister’s art.  My sister has nine pieces of art hung at 801 Franklin.  Her name is Krista Colvin.  I really like what she has created.  I may go buy a piece or two myself.  Go check it out.


The four-part series I am putting together for my Sunday School class on Andy Crouch’s book Culture Making.  I will post my lesson notes once I pull them together.


Filed under Personal

My name is Larry, and I am a Crossfit-aholic

I have been traveling a lot over the past four weeks (1 week in Galveston, 3 days in DC, 2 in ATL, 3 more in DC).  I haven’t been able to get too many Crossfit workouts at the gym.  I have been supplementing with different body weight workouts while I have been on travel (timed:  100 pushups, 100 situps, 100 air squats or timed: 100 burpess and 100 24” jumps).  Before my current trip to DC, I searched for Crossfit gyms in the DC area.  I decided to give Crossfit DC a try.  I emailed the instructor, and he seemed pumped that a guest was interested in their Crossfit program.  The instructor is an amateur rower.  This is cool because I need help with my rowing technique.  He led me through a warm-up routine on the rowing machine telling where my stroke is breaking down (I’m not driving the first part of the stroke with my legs).  The WOD was “Fight Gone Bad”.  Here is a description of the exercise:


3 rounds of the following:

·         1 minute of Wall ball with 20 lb medicine ball

·         1 minute of Summo deadlift high pull with 75lb barbell

·         1 minute of 24” Box Jump

·         1 minute Push press with 75lb barbell

·         1 minute Row on level 5

·         1 minute rest


The idea is to count all of the reps you get during all three rounds (for the row you count calories burned and just add them to the score).  I scored a 247 which is 9 better than the last time I did Fight Gone Bad.


We cooled down with an ab complex.  Very row-centric.


It was very interesting to compare this Crossfit gym with the Huntsville Crossfit gym, and even better to compare the instructors. 


Crossfit Huntsville has the “Little Ball of Hate” vs. “Big Ball of Encouragement” in DC

Russell doesn’t give you a Crossfit HSV shirt until you earn it (usually your second attempt at Black Lung after 6 months) vs. the three shirts that I receive for just visiting this gym.

CrossFit HSV incorporates a good bit of strength training vs. more body weight exercises and heavy use of rowers and Pilates Boards at the DC gym.


Overall, I enjoyed the Crossfit workout at this affiliate gym.  I didn’t feel like an outsider because I knew the lingo and had suffered through the same workouts these guys have (Fran, Fight Gone Bad, Grace, …). I guess we are a “tribe” as Seth Godin describes us in his new book “Tribes” (He actually described the Crossfit tribe at the Catalyst conference with solid pictures of people lifting heavy things and hands with ripped calluses).


But wait, the fun at the new gym doesn’t stop there.  After the class, the instructor and the two girls asked if I was staying around for Yoga.  I told them no.  They then proceeded to challenge my “Fabulousness” (i.e. opposite of manhood) by saying things like “what, is it not manly enough for you”, and “what else are you going to do? Go back to your hotel and sit” and “Yoga can hurt just as bad as Crossfit”.  Well, I can be as Fabulous as the next guy, so I decided to stay.  I have no idea what really went on during the next hour.  It was a bunch of funny named stretches.  Here is a sample of the thoughts going through my mind during my first Yoga class:


·         This guy’s voice is really strange – relaxing, monotone – like  a male version of HAL in 2001 Space Odyssey (“Good morning, Dave”).

·         I am having a difficult time breathing through my nose with this head cold.  I guess hawking a luggy wouldn’t be the right thing to do right now.

·         Man, my feet really stink. 

·         I just stuck them way out in front of me, right next to that poor lady’s head. 

·         She just moved her mat over five feet, I should really start wearing socks with my running shoes.

·         This “dog” position looks nothing like the way I have seen dogs move.  (Funny mental picture popped in my head)

·         Rabbit, Dog, Child, Mountain, Noose – which one doesn’t fit?  Who is the guy that slipped that name in there.

·         I really need to pass gas right now, don’t make me do another partial squat thingy with my hands in the prayer position.

·         My torso does not bend like th…. OH My goodness, it really won’t bend like that.

·         I feel uncomfortable resting on my shoulders with my knees beside my head.  This just isn’t right.

·         Why does the instructor keep asking me to relax my face?

·         Is this move really called a Chimichanga?  I am STARVING!

·         Where did this music come from?  Craig’s ipod?

·         I think Russell should light a candle and put it in the middle of the mat for Crossfit.

·         And now we meditate for 10 minutes to close.  The only thought going through my mind was “Deep Thoughts, by Jack Handy – If it’s true that God lives inside of everyone of us, I hope he likes burritos, because that’s what he got for dinner tonight”

·         The lady that moved her mat is now staring at me.  What, I can’t laugh at a funny joke in my head?  What are you meditating on?  (Probably my feet).


I will admit, I was sweating pretty hard after yoga.  I also realize that I am not as flexible as I think I am (or ever should be).  I was worn out, but had a great (Fabulous) time tonight.  I can now check Yoga off the list of things to do once before I die.





Filed under exercise

Do What You Love Doesn’t Always Equal Making $

I saw Seth Godin present during a session at the Catalyst Conference last week.  I really enjoyed his blog entry this morning, so I thought I would share it with you all.

Maybe you can’t make money doing what you love

1 Comment

Filed under work

Invite Yourself to Lunch

Today at church our oldest daughter, Claire, asked the Youth Minister’s wife if our family could come over to their house to eat lunch.  Yep, she just invited our whole family over to invade their Sunday afternoon.  Debbie said they would be honored if we came over for lunch, but told Claire to make sure it was ok with us, her parents, first.  I had a ton of things to do this afternoon, but thought the idea of hanging out with the Akers sounded fun.  We picked up some tortilla chips, grapes, and ice cream sandwiches to go with the leftover chicken chili that Debbie offered.  The food was delicious and the company was great.  Tony shared stories from the senior high camping trip, I shared information from Catalyst, we all talked about their successful first year garden, and of course talked about our kids.  Claudia and Hannah played house, Joshua and Sam shot each other (and me) with Nerf guns, Claire played with the smaller girls, and Madison sat and conversed with the adults. 


I think we all need to experience lunch with our friends more often.  We are called to community and need to make more time in our schedules to just share (food, conversation, our time, our minds, our hearts, etc) with each other.  If Claire wouldn’t have invited our family over to their house, we would have missed this opportunity. 


Challenge: Invite a friend over for lunch or dinner this week.  Do it without any agenda except to just hang out with each other.


Note: we did have a conversation with Claire about the appropriateness of inviting herself places.  We didn’t want to crush her on this, but didn’t want her to make it a habit either.


Filed under Community, Family

GATR Publicity

I was on travel all last week participating in a demo with STAR-TIDES at the National Defense University in Washington DC.  There homepage now sports a picture of me (white shirt with back to camera) and Roy (blue shirt) describing the GATR antenna system to a three-star general.

STAR-TIDES homepage

We were also featured in Initiatives MagazineInitiatives is the bi-monthly publication from the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce that highlights noteable companies and other economic development activities in the Huntsville/Madison County Community. 

GATR Initiatives page 1

GATR Initiatives page 2

GATR Initiatives page 3

I’m sure there will be more to write about as we continue to grow.

1 Comment

Filed under GATR