Filling Need with Deed

I strive to write clearly, but with the topics I write about, I am sure I fail sometimes. One ridiculously simple point that isn’t always clear: The title of my blog, makingtheplay.com. What does it mean to make plays? What is a play anyway? Hopefully this post will clear that up a bit.

I don’t feel the need to define play strictly. I believe you know the plays of your life when you encounter them. Sometimes they are explicit, such as picking off a pass in football or picking up a check in a restaurant. Other times they are less clear, such as openly honoring someone’s right to disagree or silently changing your experience of a situation by having an epiphany about it.

The importance of a play varies from person to person, and it varies from moment to moment for each individual. I like to think they all have unlimited potential. No play is too big or too small to be worthy of your effort.

Every moment of our lives, opportunities to make plays are available. We make some. We miss some. We move on in the present moment with new plays available for the making.

This past week, three playmakers in my family died. I wrote about my Uncle Jake last week (you can read that article by clicking to the link here It’s Been Fun). This week I want to write about Ron Block and my Aunt Susan Klaus Hoffman. You may or may not know them, but both made plays that were important to me. By discussing them, I hope to shed light on what it means to make a play.

Truth be told, Ron Block wasn’t part of my family. Not by blood at least. But I loved him, and he treated me like family. His entire family treated mine with kindness, so he and the Blocks are family to me.

As a single parent, my mom did her best, and her best was incredible. But she was human (although I think many would consider my mom Saint Kate with the love she has for the world), and after playing the roles of mother, father, and breadwinner, she didn’t always have time left to figure out how to take care of what she wanted for me. That’s where Ron and the Block family often stepped in.

My childhood memories are filled with times I spent with the Blocks. They drove me to countless games and events. As I write this, I have visions from their back of their minivan flooding my head (to be clear, there was a new minivan every year, and I hope more than a few of you are laughing your butts off at the thought of one of Dee’s new minivans parked next to Ron’s old S-10, both immaculately cleaned by Ron’s compulsive hand). Ron was typically at the wheel, unless of course we had been to the beach where Ron had imbibed plenty of fun (and more than a few Black Labels), in which case Dee drove back home. Anyone who knows Ron will have plenty of memories of Ron smiling and laughing as if the point of life was simply to smile and laugh, which very well might be the point of life. The man could celebrate, and he never needed much of a reason.

Once when Ron and I were celebrating at a graduation party, we had a conversation about my personality. I was a pretty serious kid at times (okay, that’s the understatement of the year, quit laughing people), and Ron noted that as I entered my early 20s, I was starting to loosen up a bit and have a little fun. I like to think I’m still on that path, and I like to think I learned some of it from him.

One particular memory of Ron has been popping up in my mind for years. One year Ryan and I had to make Pinewood Derby cars for Cub Scouts. Ron knew mom and I couldn’t handle it on our own. He was good with tools and had a workshop in his basement. So he took Ryan and I, and we designed, drilled, weighted, cut, and finished our cars in the workshop. Unlike so many parents today, Ron didn’t interfere with my design, weighting, or aerodynamics. He let me create and build my own car. He simply made sure I was safe with the tools. It was the perfect level of guidance.

I am pretty sure the design of the car was mediocre and finished with mediocre results, but today the process means much more to me than any result ever could. Ron thought about me and cared enough to step up and make a play. In my opinion, it’s one of the most beautiful things life has to offer: Someone sees a need and fills it with deed. It’s like a dovetail joint that brings together the spiritual with the physical, the intangible with the tangible. It’s common, yet when it’s experienced with great awareness, it seems miraculous. It’s the essence of making a play.

When Ron made plays for me, Dee, Rhondi, Ryan, and Darren should get credit for their assists (and they made their own plays for me too). They shared their husband and father with me, and that’s worth more than a small mention. Sometimes we can’t make plays without assists from others.

That’s where my Aunt Sue comes in. She certainly made her own plays in life, but she also made assists by allowing my Uncle Hank to be another father figure in my life. She and my cousins, Kyle and Tim, shared selflessly and included me in their lives in so many ways.

Aunt Sue also shared her family of origin with me. I have great memories of spending time with her brothers, sisters, and parents, Harold and Ruth Klaus. One of my earliest memories is of her marriage to my uncle at their family farm in Harbor Beach. Another is smelt dipping with Uncle, Harold, and her brother Tim. We fished for hours, then used scissors to gut the fish for what seemed like hours more, then fried and ate them. Talk about filling a need with a deed. It was a perfect adventure for a young boy.

When her brother Tim was a teen, he and Uncle Hank put up a basketball hoop that provided hundreds of hours of fun for me, and I’ll never forget fishing on Sanford Lake with her sisters Jackie and Linda. These were times they used their skills to make plays my mom couldn’t make. That is not a knock on my mom. It’s a nod to their thoughtful efforts to make the plays my mom simply couldn’t. It was filling a need with a deed.

Given all the memories of my aunt from my youth, perhaps it’s a bit ironic that one of my lasting memories of her will be her late-life battle with MS. Truth be told, it wasn’t necessarily the battle that impressed me; It was the grace with which she accepted her disease.

Early on in the course of the disease, she fought through pain and debilitated motion to continue making plays in life. She constantly sought to make contributions to her communities. When she wasn’t teaching a class of her own, she was working as an assistant, tutor, or volunteer. She was always active making plays in her community through the schools, churches, and other organizations. She lived to make plays that helped enrich others.

I am sure she had moments of frustration, but she rarely showed it when I was around. On the contrary, she often seemed to be at peace with her frailty. It was as if she understood: This is my path. It’s the only one I can travel, and I recognize that I am the one who must travel it.

It often seemed as if her greatest strength, her grace, was revealed through her greatest weakness, the weakness that eventually took her life. With her grace, my aunt displayed one of the key principles of what makingtheplay.com is all about. The situations of our lives do not dictate our experiences of them. They do not control us. We have creative power to construct our own experience and meaning of life. We rise above situations when we understand that our experience of life resides in our own awareness. Ultimately, perhaps life becomes what we can make of it. No situation is too big or too small. Every play has unlimited potential, and you may never truly understand the value another person attributes to your play.

Our biological frailty has taken two great ones this week, Ron Block and Sue Hoffman. Even though they are gone from the world, their spirit will surely live on in those who knew them. For me, I hope to remember them by making plays like they made for me. I hope to be able to see needs and fill them with deeds. I hope to understand life is what I make of it. And as I progress toward my own inevitable frailty, I hope to show grace and acceptance of what I can no longer influence.

If you’ve read this far, I thank you. Ron and Sue were certainly worthy of your time. Whether you know them or not, I have a humble ask. Make a play. Fill a need with a deed. Place Ron or Sue or someone else you know in mind, someone who made plays for you and has now passed. Grab your favorite beverage, and give a toast to them and the plays they made.

Prost. Cheers to Ron, Sue, and you and yours. May you make plays until the day you can’t, and when you pass, may your plays live on in the memories of your loved ones.

It’s Been Fun

Human resilience amazes me.

After a long battle with various ailments and pain, my Great-Uncle Jake died Sunday. We buried him Thursday. He was 87 years old. He was a fine man. A damn fine man.

To me, Jake always looked like Johnny Cash if Johnny Cash were a farmer. He was a big, strong guy. He had a great sense of humor and was quick with a smile and an unforgettable laugh.

If the world around us had ever sunk into chaos, Jake’s farm would have been a good place to be. Jake was self-reliant. He could grow things. He could fix things. He could hunt. When he wasn’t working on the farm “making hay while the sun shined” -as his eldest grandson Steve eulogized – he was working a second job in a saw mill or spending time with his family. He had an unstoppable work ethic and generous heart.

Jake walked a path in life that is hard for me to imagine. When he was 11, he and my grandmother (who was then 16) ran the family farm when their father died (he was trampled by horses) and their other brothers were off fighting World War II or running their own farms.

When he was 29, Jake (and my Great Aunt Mary Lou) lost a daughter. She lived 4 days. When he was 48, he lost his oldest son. Young Jake was 21 when he was cut in half by a drunk driver who plowed into the back of his semi as he attended to it on the side of the road. He left behind a wife and a 9 month old son (Steve, Uncle’s eulogizer, now a 39 year old PhD geneticist with a wife and 2 children of his own).

When I sat down for the funeral and read his obituary printed in the program, I’d forgotten about the young daughter, Marilyn. But I remember when Jakie died. I was 5, but I still remember my mom and grandmother and their seemingly unstoppable tears. It was the 3rd death of a 20-something male in my family in a 5 year span. I was only 7 weeks old when my father died, so it was my first memorable experience of despair.

But this isn’t about despair. It’s about resilience.

Our moods ebb and flow, and with the changes, our thoughts change as well. We go from up, optimistic, open, full of possibility, to down, pessimistic, closed, and devoid of hope. We then feel our thoughts. When we lack awareness, we blame the world for how we think and feel. When we are fully aware, we understand that we project our thoughts and feelings onto the world independent of the circumstances of the world. As John Milton wrote, “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”

Our experience of the world is what we can make of it. Most of us understand this at times. We have some say in how we experience life.

Yet certain situations seem to have a gravity to them, an inescapable force that sucks us down into it. The death of child is one of those. Uncle Jake lost two of his children.

To me, the most incredible part of the grieving process is our human resilience. While it is completely normal to grieve, it’s also completely normal to move on from it. Yes, when the loss is in mind again, the pain returns. Yet we always move on at times, often long stretches at a time, demonstrating that forces such as gravity do not exist in thoughts and feelings even though it seems as if they do. It’s in our nature to overcome what seems like emotional gravity. We have resilience. We nurture our own emotional crops.

My uncle understood this. You see, farming wasn’t just his occupation. It was his life. He used the dirt of this world as a fertile medium for growing the life he desired.

Once, when Steve asked why he became a farmer, he responded, “You get to be your own boss.” Despite all the lack of control farmers have over weather, disease, and soil, he still viewed himself as his own boss of his experience. He was a farmer. He was his own boss, the man with influence over the crops he cultivated. He did the best he could with what he had.

He understood this to the very end. At his funeral, Uncle’s pastor described his last rites and meal in the hospital before going home to hospice care. He asked Uncle, “Is there anything you want to tell Mary Lou.”

“It’s been fun,” Uncle said.

It’s been fun. Imagine that. After 87 years, under any life circumstances, could you have a better testimony about life? This was from someone who was forced into being the man of the farm at 11, lost two of his children, farmed for a living (and sometimes a starving), breathed saw dust in the mill all winter long, and fought the pain of those physical occupations for decades.

It’s been fun. What a damn fine man my uncle was to be able to see that. And yet, if we are being honest, he was completely ordinary and normal. He is a testament to finding the miraculous in the common.

For his last act of resilience, his sons Bill and Mike have taken on their father’s sense of humor. At the funeral, they laughed the laugh they inherited from him as they delivered a nod to the cycle of life only a farmer can truly appreciate, “He still has one more spring planting to do.”

As the procession left the funeral home parking lot to go plant Uncle in the cemetery soil, we drove past a last reminder of his life here on Earth, a life spent working the earth. Mike had driven his father’s old tractor to the funeral home and parked it in the lot near the road. It was the first thing I saw when I pulled up. It was one of the coolest and most fitting tributes I’ve ever seen at a funeral.

It was a fine tribute to a fine man. A common man yet a miraculous man. A man who used his life to point in the direction of our incredible resilience and capacity to enjoy life.

I have no answers folks. I won’t pretend to understand how the spiritual works here on Earth or beyond. I won’t tell you what to think, and I am fine with whatever you believe. But today I like to believe that Uncle drove his tractor to heaven, hopped out on two good knees, and firmly shook God’s hand. And I like to believe that God grasped my uncle’s big, powerful farmer hand in his own and gave it a worthy shake, the type of firm, respectful shake I practiced with Jake when Mom and Grandma tried to teach a father-less boy how men shake hands. And I like to believe God greeted Jacob Hoffman with the message I would speak to him if I had one more chance to tell him what I thought about his time in Earth’s dirt.

“You cultivated a damn fine life, Jake. Glad you enjoyed it.”

Possibilities

When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: You haven’t. 

-Thomas Edison


If, for a moment (or longer), we believe in matter over mind, then we are likely to believe that situations are too big, too small, or just right for us. Typically, this mindset severely limits our engagement. We tend to devote relatively low effort to activities we believe are too challenging or too boring for us. Further, if we believe in matter over mind, we believe our engagement is an effect of the outside world, so why give an effort to change what we are experiencing if we believe we are being controlled by something outside of us?

In contrast, when we understand that we live mind over matter, that the boring, daunting, or just right challenges in front of us are creations of our own minds, we gain freedom and possibility. In a mind over matter understanding, it is quite possible to be aware that if we aren’t controlled by the outside, then our thoughts and feelings of boredom and challenge are self-created. This can be the impetus for awakening to the idea that change is only a thought away, and with this understanding, we can begin to see what we can do to engage in the present moment.

Thus, attributes such as grit and perseverance are states that flow from the mind over matter understanding. Over time, as we persist with the understanding that nothing is too big or boring for us and attack life with the effort that flows from it, we appear to have grit and toughness.

The key understanding is this: The mindsets that create grit and toughness are available to us frequently if we understand that we live mind over matter. The more we believe we are bound by matter or matters, the more will will see limits in our lives, the more likely we are to quit. At these times, it pays to remember and believe Edison’s words: When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: You haven’t.

Mind over matter results in moments of clarity, freedom, and perhaps most importantly, possibility. When these moments are strung together, they appear as grit, perseverance, toughness, tenacity. Be awake to possibilities. They are endless.

The Can’t Pile

For years I’ve watched myself and others sort what is possible into piles: The Can Pile and the Can’t Pile. Sometimes this is done for seemingly good reasons, such as sorting into piles based on what I can control and what I can’t control. The thinking is, “Why bother with what I can’t control? Just let it be. Save my energy.” On the surface, it makes sense, but there is a problem with sorting like that.

When you sort like that, the Can’t Pile gets too damn big. Please do not limit your influence and possibility in this way.

Let me give an example. I was talking to a young softball player one time, and she was discussing how she controls the controllables and leaves everything else be. She can’t control it, so why bother?

I wanted an example, so she mentioned that she can’t control umpire calls, so she leaves them be and doesn’t worry about them (doubtful this always happens, but I love the effort). In other words, umpire calls are in her Can’t Pile.

This was curious to me, so I asked, “Do you think you can influence umpire calls?”

 She thought about it for a moment. “Yes, maybe. I can talk to them. Thank them for coming. Not complain about calls but rather ask nicely about calls and their strike zone in between innings. I think all that influences calls. If someone likes us, maybe they give us the benefit of the doubt. And people like it when others are nice to them.”

“So if we put umpire calls into our Can’t Pile, aren’t we limiting the true possibilities of our influence?”

She got it, and I hope this example suffices to make a point. When we sort too much into the Can’t Pile, we are limiting our influence too much. We can’t control anything (read the * below if you want more on my definition of control), but to me, we should operate under the belief that we can possibly influence everything to some degree.

Despite our lack of control, our influence is powerful. When we act on what we can influence, so many times we find that forces align to give us what we need and want.

While it is true that our influence is very small sometimes, a small influence can make a huge difference under the right conditions. And small influences over time can have rather large cumulative effects.

Thinking in terms of influence, potential, and possibilities will help open up new worlds to you, so please do not sort into Can and Can’t Piles. The Can’t Pile is too damn big and limits the possibilities you recognize.


*I know control gets confusing for people because I am now the, “We don’t control anything guy,” which makes me a freak in some circles but also seems to hit home in a profound way with so many people. So let me explain.

My definition of control is that to have control, one must control not only their action (or thought or feeling), but everything that goes into allowing that action to happen. I’ve yet to meet anyone who can demonstrate to me they even control something as simple as their consciousness. We are awake now, and we want to be. We don’t control it. It’s a happy coincidence, a beautiful alignment of what we want and what we’ve got, a coming together of forces to give me the illusion of control in this moment.

 If you think you control your consciousness, fall asleep right now and wake up five minutes later to keep reading this. If you can’t do that, the best we can say is that you have some influence over your consciousness, but it certainly doesn’t reach my bar for the definition of control.

The Point of Culture

Culture is a hot topic these days. It seems everyone wants to weigh in on its importance and how you are the average of your five closest friends. I agree, people tend to run in packs, but we certainly do not just end up the average of our five closest friends. So you need not ditch a lifetime friend who is down just to free yourself from his anchor. You cannot actually be buoyed by a new, higher rising friend. Change comes from within, and you have the potential to grow no matter who your friends are. Don’t buy the illusion.

Here is the point of culture: The point. The point of culture is to get as many people as possible constantly pointing in the right direction.

Remember that nothing from the outside controls our thoughts and feelings. We certainly have many consistent reactions that we seem to have conditioned over the years, but if you consider the physics and mechanics deeply, situations do not force us into any particular thought or feeling. There is always a possibility to override our past.

However, we forget this fact. We act as if we are forced into feelings or thoughts by some Jedi Mind Trick. We act as if this or that pissed me off. We believe momentarily that this challenge is too big for me. Each of us have moments when we feel like I can’t take it anymore. They are all illusions. The only Jedi Mind Trick that exists is the one we play on ourselves.

This happens because we don’t control our minds, and we forget things. We have limited capacity to think at any one time, and sometimes we are preoccupied with other thoughts. It’s natural, normal, and not to be fussed over. In those moments when we forget our own influence, it pays to have a culture around us that points in the right direction and reminds us what we consider important.

Being aware of illusions of control is essential in creating and building a culture. If you understand illusions of control, you understand that great cultures can’t be forced. The world of thoughts, emotions, and cultures is different from Newtonian physics. Physics can be forced. Discipline can be enforced. Doors can be shut. Gates can be closed. But these methods do not work in culture-building. Great cultures cannot be forced.

Great cultures evolve from the inside-out. Great cultures are created when members understand that the best they can do is point toward what can be accomplished, and this is no small task. Great cultures point in the direction of the inspiration, motivation, and greatness that already exists inside of us.

Rather than contemplating what rules they can enforce upon one another, individuals in great cultures look toward each other and ask, “What can I do for you? How can I demonstrate what is possible for us? What plays can I make for the team today?”

Great cultures point through writing, speaking, doing, and even silent proximity. Sometimes just being present with someone is enough to communicate volumes about our fundamental connection as living beings. We are not alone. We are powerful. We have purpose. Culture can serve as a reminder of those facts – not by force – but by pointing in that direction.

I don’t mean this as a commercial, but any one of these 3 elements can influence a culture that has slipped into blame, control, limits, and conditions.

Be aware of illusions of control. Nothing outside you controls you, and you are fallible. It’s part of being human. You are unconditionally important, powerful, and influential. Move along now.

Be awake to possibilities. What can you do?

Be alive with action. Do what can to make a play. Then make another play. Get after it with reckless enthusiasm. Point others in the right direction with words, action, and presence. Be a part of a great culture today.

Mental Toughness Reserve


“We all have possibilities we don’t know about. We can do things we don’t even dream we can do.” – Dale Carnegie


I love this Dale Carnegie quote. It’s a concise and elegant way to state the second key factor in making the play: Be awake to possibilities.

Yesterday I wrote about the potential to realize or actualize greater mental toughness in an instant (read Going to Failure here). Imagine how strong you could be right now if you gave up the notion that mental toughness has to be built and instead adopted a new understanding: Great levels of mental toughness are available to you this instant no matter what you’ve accomplished previously.

This is the essence of being awake to possibility. If you love the way things are going, great, but if you want change, be awake to the possibilities that exist for you right now. One of those possibilities is that you have a mental toughness reserve that you’ve never tapped into. You are stronger than you’ve ever imagined. That isn’t a cliche. It’s true.

Be aware that even when the situations don’t seem right for you, it’s just an illusion. You are incredibly strong and can persevere. You live above those situations and are surrounded by opportunities hiding in plain sight. All it takes to see them is a change in perspective, an awareness that the outside world doesn’t control your vision. Get attuned to seeing those opportunities and making the plays that exist. Do what you can, now. Be aware, be awake, and be alive.

The (Probable) Power of Positive Thinking

I’m a big fan of positive thinking. Why? It feels good. It’s as simple as that. However, I’m only a fan of teaching others about positive thinking if it’s done the right way. Unfortunately, I don’t consider most of what I see these days as teaching it the right way. So let me give it a shot. After hearing this explanation, I haven’t had one person say they used positive thinking less or less effectively, and the majority of people have actually been relieved to hear this view of positive thinking.

There is no doubt in my mind that positive thinking feels good; however, there is one catch. We aren’t always capable of it. Sometimes we seem to be tethered to a type of low mood or mindset. This is inevitable and not to be feared. Momentarily being incapable of positive thinking is a completely normal, natural state.

Now, I hope you are asking a question: Why wouldn’t we be capable of it? Two reasons. One, positive thinking simply isn’t in our thoughts all the time. Occasionally, we are preoccupied with something else. It’s inevitable. Two, sometimes we can think of something positive, but we have a hard time believing it. In other words, we don’t trust the positive thought or we are momentarily trusting a negative one more.

For many people, they hear about the power of positive thinking, and they go out and try it. Sometimes it works great right off the start, and other times it doesn’t work for people. For those who find it works right off the start, they are often let down later and become confused when it doesn’t always work. I have found that this is especially true if they’ve been taught, “It’s really easy. All you have to do is think positively, and all your dreams will come true!”

Often when people believe the power of positive thinking is always supposed to work they believe they are broken or weak if they can’t use it all the time. This belief that they are broken or weak feels terrible, and they often resort to what I call kicking their own ass for being weak or broken. Kicking ones own ass for believing oneself weak or broken feels even worse than just being weak or broken.

Now, in future posts and (hopefully) videos I want to explain more about why the power of positive thinking is variable, but for now, I hope it is enough to say we aren’t always at our best mentally. This is normal. The up and down ebb and flow of thought is completely normal and inevitable.

Sometimes a good positive thought simply won’t occur to you (just as sometimes you lose your keys, forget a name, etc.). When the capability returns, and it will return, you will be back to feeling better.

Other times, you will simply be down and won’t even believe the positive thoughts that appears in your thoughts. Some people have learned to stick with it in this situation and fake it until they make it, but I have found that for me the best I can do is to understand that the down period of my thinking won’t last. It never does. My capability to put positive thoughts in my head and believe them always returns. Always. Knowing that the power of positive thinking will return is freeing and reassuring even in my lowest moments.

Finally, one last observation on positive thinking. You do not need to be capable of your best thinking to be an excellent performer, and this is true even for mental tasks. Performance is deeper than positive thinking alone, and if you understand that you can perform excellently under less than optimal positivity, you will gravitate toward higher levels of consistent excellence. If you doubt that you can perform excellently even when experiencing negativity, keep this in mind: Because we are all susceptible to the ebb and flow of thought, the only alternative to this belief (that you can perform excellently even when experiencing negativity) is to spend time believing, “I can’t do it now. I really can’t.” I doubt if too many high performers spend much time dancing with this thought. High performers understand that they are truly capable of greatness even if it doesn’t seem like it in the moment.

Keep in mind, I’m not suggesting you turn toward chronic negativity, just don’t sweat it when you aren’t momentarily thinking at your best. You can still be great.

In summary, use the power of positive thinking when you can, and don’t kick your own ass when it momentarily doesn’t occur to you or doesn’t work for you. Trust that it will return. It always does. And trust that you can be great even when momentarily down. If you understand this, you will maximize the effectiveness of your possible positive thinking.

The Ego Climber

I found this quote almost 21 years ago when I was 23 years old. It was written well before that , but it so accurately described my sense of urgency at the expense of living in the moment that I almost thought Robert Pirsig wrote it for me. I think it is a beautiful description of a tension we all experience at times, and for me it is a reminder that my goal is internal and within reach.

I’ve had different favorite parts at different stages in my life. Currently, I think my favorite part is that I realize what I want is all around me.

Thanks for reading and sharing. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


To the untrained eye ego-climbing and selfless climbing may appear identical. Both kinds of climbers place one foot in front of the other. Both breathe in and out at the same rate. Both stop when tired. Both go forward when rested. But what a difference! The ego-climber is like an instrument that’s out of adjustment. He puts his foot down an instant too soon or too late. He’s likely to miss a beautiful passage of sunlight through the trees. He goes on when the sloppiness of his step shows he’s tired. He rests at odd times. He looks up the trail trying to see what’s ahead even when he knows what’s ahead because he just looked a second before. He goes too fast or too slow for the conditions and when he talks his talk is forever about somewhere else, something else. He’s here but he’s not here. He rejects the here, he’s unhappy with it, wants to be farther up the trail but when he gets there will be just as unhappy because then it will be here. What he’s looking for, what he wants, is all around him, but he doesn’t want that because it is all around him. Every step’s an effort, both physically and spiritually, because he imagines his goal to be external and distant.

By Robert M. Pirsig, from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance