The First Noble Truth

In Buddhism, the first noble truth is that “all existence is dukkha” with dukkha usually being translated to suffering. But can also be understood as being incapable of being satisfied. That while there is the “common” suffering of old age, illness and death, there’s also this yearning or craving for more that we can’t satisfy.

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

Albert Einstein

We keep having these expectations and these hopes. We expect that this new shiny thing will bring us happiness, a new game, a new car, a new “thing”, a new relationship, a promotion, a bigger house, a vacation, etc…

But it never does. We’re always wandering and craving for these impermanent things and transitory states that are ephemeral. We continually grasp at the shadow of happiness, and are left disappointed.

Wisdom vs Knowledge

I feel like I write this blog post every few months. Or maybe I don’t actually write / publish it, it’s hard to know what I’ve been thinking about writing and what I’ve actually written(1)https://stephboisvert.ca/2018/04/08/wisdom/(2)https://stephboisvert.ca/2014/01/11/know-thyself/.

At some point in life you start to learn about self actualization & self transcendence and the paradoxical way that self actualization leads to self transcendence. Somehow, having a better realization of one’s self leads to a realization that there is no real “self” without everything around it. We aren’t this “self” in a vacuum, we are part of something bigger.

It’s a bit like if you think about the human body as a collection of cells. While yes, the cells are all distinct and unique(3)Just as everyone named Chad is “unique” but really they form tissues that form organs that forms a body.

The cell has no concept of me. It doesn’t understand what a “Stéphane” is. And yet, there is no Stéphane without cells.

Anyway, the original subject of this post wasn’t supposed to be on self actualization and that, but rather on how often we come to learn things, usually waves hands in the air “deep meaningful things” about the state of the world, consciousness or ourselves. On how to be compassionate or on how to self regulate or on how we always alternate between the victim, the saviour and the villain.

But that wisdom is ephemeral. We forget. Someone cuts us off in traffic and we forget about the actor observer bias and we just muter to ourselves about their incompetence.

It’s not enough to “know” stuff. We need to live it. We need to integrate it in our daily lives. And to me, that is true wisdom.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. https://stephboisvert.ca/2018/04/08/wisdom/
2. https://stephboisvert.ca/2014/01/11/know-thyself/
3. Just as everyone named Chad is “unique”

Flower update

An update on the flowers, including the latest flower bed addition to to speak (really just adding on to an existing one, see the first 2 images with the new look and the old look (don’t worry the pink flowers growing outside the bed are still there))

Why I haven’t been writing much

As I mentioned, I haven’t been writing much recently. The problem with the essence of a blog is that it’s allegedly an online diary. Now that works well and fine if you’re on livejournal as ZergMaster69 and no one has a fucken clue who you are. But the problem is that on a blog you’re exposed(1)that’s from 2015, but I said basically the same thing in 2017 and 2018 and 2018 again, and 2020 as well (you can hover over the footnote number to see the footnote inline). In real life you basically have a few set of archetypes you present yourself to the world with.

Take for example who reads this blog, there’s 4 general category:

  • Family(2)Mostly my aunts [Hi!]
  • Co-workers / former co-workers(3)There’s a bias here to former coworkers who worked at Automattic who potentially followed my blog vs current co-workers who mostly have no clue I have a blog
  • Friends(4)Current “real” friends
  • Random acquaintances(5)Folks from twitter, high school, university, politics

Now the problem here is that these people usually get wildly different archetypes and perception on who I am.

Let’s take my most popular post(6)Now there’s a longer story to that since I thought my parents knew, since I told my dad before we got married and asked him to tell my mom. He clearly forgot, so, you know, they learned from family members who use social media, I’m sure that was a fun time all around by far, I think part of it is folks love gossip, and that shit is ripe for gossip. I can only imagine family members(7)again, probably mostly my aunts sharing that via their chat group(8)potentially via fax machines. That post breaks the whole archetype I presented to family, (most) co-workers and (most) random acquaintances. I’m sure basically 0% of them would of guessed it.

I’ve mostly not mentioned anything related to poly since because well, again the whole archetype stuff. Unlike Facebook where I can pick and choose who sees updates(9)and I probably will do that to be honest on a blog, well, it’s all public. And let’s be honest, I don’t really want random family members to ask follow up questions on my recent heartbreak, then again, I don’t think anyone really wants to talk about heartbreak with family members no matter the circumstances….

Anyway, all that to say, fair warning you might have to endure some sappy emo shit on this blog for a bit.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. that’s from 2015, but I said basically the same thing in 2017 and 2018 and 2018 again, and 2020 as well
2. Mostly my aunts [Hi!]
3. There’s a bias here to former coworkers who worked at Automattic who potentially followed my blog vs current co-workers who mostly have no clue I have a blog
4. Current “real” friends
5. Folks from twitter, high school, university, politics
6. Now there’s a longer story to that since I thought my parents knew, since I told my dad before we got married and asked him to tell my mom. He clearly forgot, so, you know, they learned from family members who use social media, I’m sure that was a fun time all around
7. again, probably mostly my aunts
8. potentially via fax machines
9. and I probably will do that to be honest

Thinning the herd, in the garden and the office

Many vegetable seed packages tell you how far apart you should space, but also when you should “thin” the crops. It’s something I’ve always been bad at. I see a whole bunch of radish tops and I get excited and I don’t want to thin them out. I mean, firstly, mother nature doesn’t thin them out, so I clearly don’t need to.

Also, the idea is that really all I care about is the total amount of radish right? Not exactly that each individual radish is as big as possible, right?

You get this problem in the office as well, and I’ve been guilty of this in the past. The thinking goes that It’s okay to have some low performing folks as long as your total output is higher. It’s okay to tolerate mediocrity because the pain and the work and the impact on morale of going thru firing someone or going thru telling someone their performance isn’t up to par might not be worth it.

The problem is, when I had many radishes growing in close proximity none of them really matured, they were just some weird radish-like monstrosities.

And I’m sure you can figure out with the foreshadowing here, my thesis here is that the same happens in an office. When you start to accept mediocrity, you end up having more and more mediocrity.

It’s really tough and really challenging to have all the hard conversations about performance. It’s tough to take the time to reflect on why you hired these people, what influenced your decisions that proved to be wrong, what mistakes you made, how you could of better set them up for success. It’s really tough to accept that you made a mistake and you need to address it, that you need to then follow thru on firing those people (performance improvement plans rarely, if ever, fix the situation).

I haven’t always been able to do that hard work, and it’s always easier to see problems when it’s not you who has to deal with them, but hiring and firing is the most important thing to an org. It’s the one thing you should devote the most resources to.

Who you have on your team is more important than your team’s mission or it’s strategy. It’s more important than how you do things, it’s more important than the right leadership. Having the right people will let you improve your strategy, it’ll help you tweak your mission. Having the best strategy doesn’t matter if you don’t have the right people. So start pulling out the bad radishes as soon as possible.

Garden beds

I’m not sure if I did an update on the garden bed since the first one was built. We’ve now added 2 more. Only one more of them with the landscaping ties, the last one with fence board (we had more dirt and we didn’t want to really pay the extra for the landscaping ties on the last one. We’ll probably redo it in ~5 ish years if/when the wood starts to rot.

Garage

I love the re-store, it’s the habitat for humanity store where you can buy random building supplies. You never know what you’re going to find, but whatever it is, it’ll be a good deal and the money goes to habitat for humanity.

Anyway last year sometime I found these rocksolid garage floor coating for $50 a box (usually ~250). The reviews are a bit hit and miss, but most of them just mentioned that you’d need more than they said. So since I thought our garage was around 500sqft I bought 5 boxes which would allegedly do more than enough (625sqft).

Turns out our garage is more like 625sqft and putting just the right amount on was really not enough. You could see thru the coating to the floor.

It was a pain to get on and it took way longer to dry than they mention (they said 8-12h, but it wasn’t really ready even after 72h.

We got some more boxes after complaining to rustoleum and while it’s a bit better it’s still not great.

Anyway, here’s how it looked like:

We plan on adding another 3 boxes that we’re getting from rustoleum and we’re hoping it’ll be a bit smoother and less spotty. We’ll see. Either way, our garage is now ready to play ball hockey in.