Lifestyle Podcast Post

What I’ve Learned: 45 Years

George Grombacher October 25, 2023

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What I’ve Learned: 45 Years

Thinking about what I’ve learned over the past year has become a favorite exercise of mine. On my 45th birthday, I went through that exercise once again.

From our differences, to what and who we stand for and against, I’ve got thoughts. 


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George Grombacher

Episode Transcript

What I have learned? Here we are. Here I am, on the eve, roughly speaking of my 45th birthday, and I’m wanting to tell you a little bit about what I’ve learned. So for the past five years or so around this time, I’ve reflected back on what I feel like what I have what I think, that I’ve learned over that past year. And it’s been a really, I think, a very worthwhile exercise, the more we can be thinking about, what am I learning? Have I learned anything? Have I improved? Am I stuck in the same place? Is that okay? How do I feel about everything, I think that being reflective, and contemplative and all those kinds of things is nothing but a really, really positive thing. So I’m fortunate and grateful that I’ve gotten into the habit of doing exactly that. The what got me doing it, the first place, there was a recurring segment in Esquire magazine, I don’t know if they still do it or not called what I’ve learned, and very short. And very, very cool. So I encourage you to check that out, you can just put into your favorite search engine, what I’ve learned Esquire, and they did a lot of them over a pretty short amount of time. So check it out. And so here we go. So on my 45th birthday, want to just kind of get into it, what I’ve learned. So in the spirit of, we need to be reminded more than we need to be instructed, I’ve learned that I am a writer. Over the past year, roughly retake, I’ve now written four books, and have several more that have already put a pretty good chunk in and or take a pretty good chunk out of however you want to think about that. But I’ve always known that I was a writer. But it’s been for lack of a better term kind of dormant over the past 2025 years. Just a brief little intermission there. But today, I 100% identify that I am a writer, I resist categorization, I resist titles and stuff like that. But if you were to say, if you were to describe me as a writer, I would 100% accept that. And I don’t know that that’s true fact, I know that that’s not true, I have a lot of other ways that one might describe what I’m doing who I am the kind of work that I do, but I will definitely take writer. And I think that the benefit that I’ve learned that reading gives you and I’ve written and talked a lot about this is that it helps you to find your voice. And in a time where I think that we’re all looking for wisdom and answers. Looking inside and working to find our own voice, I think is the appropriate correct starting point. When you write, it helps you to think because you start getting in the habit of thinking about what you’re thinking about. And when you start thinking and thinking about what you’re thinking about you do it more, you’re going to get better at it. Just like anything else. If you want to be able to do more push ups, the more push ups you do, the better you’re going to get at push doing push ups. So if you want to be a better thinker, I cannot advocate enough I cannot encourage you more than to get out a piece of paper and a pen or pencil or whatever. And just start writing. Start thinking about what’s on your mind and write down what it is that you are thinking about. Such positive powerful things. Certainly in my life, it has been, I’ve learned that I am an athlete, much like riding athletes, athletic competition, defined much of my youth much of my early, much of my childhood and into my early adulthood. So, and I’ve remained fairly active as an adult, when I retired from being a tennis player, trained with weights and have been active, like I just said, but this past year, I’ve really learned and again, if you were to refer to me as an athlete, I would accept that. But we need to get back into our bodies. We been everybody. So much of being knowledge workers, separates us from our bodies, versus doing a hard day’s work and sweating and exerting yourself through our jobs since we’ve too few of us do that anymore. I think that we’ve been disconnected from our bodies, and we’re so much in our head It’s, which is a good thing, but we need to get back into our bodies. So it’s something that I’ve learned over this year. And I’ve learned that I, that I am a competitor. I think that, like the first couple have always been a competitor. But I don’t know that I would have identified that way. But now I do I want to 100% identify as a competitor, I was extremely competitive and remain extremely competitive. But more so for lack of a more elegant term, closeted closet competitor. I’m coming out, coming out as a competitor as a highly competitive person who’s interested in competing. And I’m interested in competing in everything that I put my full effort and energy into, which is most things. So boys bend these things always been those things, but I didn’t consider myself to be any longer. But now I’m leaning back into them. And then leaning all the way into them. So writer, athlete competitor, thinker, all of these things, I’ve learned that three kids is better than one. How about that? How about that? If you would ask 2015 year old 20 year old 2530, even 35 year old George, three kids better than one, it would have been like no way, no way that three is better than one. I remember when my wife was pregnant with our second, I would ask everybody that I could that had more than one child that had two kids. So just two kids harder than one. And to a person, they said it’s twice as hard. It’s twice as hard. And I remember thinking there’s no way that it’s twice as hard. That is dumb. You’re just saying that. But I can tell you that it’s definitely not twice as hard. It is 100%, not twice as hard. It’s kind of like my thoughts on whether or not AI is going to take your job. If you’re a dummy that it will 100% Take your job. Well. If you are letting the tail wag the dog, then yeah, having two kids will be harder than one twice as hard. And having three kids will be three times as hard. But it’s not that I’m better at anything than anybody else. Even though I am better at plenty of things, then lots of other people. There’s plenty of people who are way better than a lot of other things than I am. Anyway, three kids better than one, maybe it’s not necessarily easier. But it’s by no means way harder with your first child. It’s a fog of war kind of experience, though I’ve never experienced fog of war. So allow me a little bit of leeway just to use the use the term. But it’s exhausting. It is an exhausting experience having one child, it’s terrifying. It just you don’t know what’s gonna happen next you don’t you’re ill equipped, you’re uninformed, even if you are incredibly informed, just not ready for the actual experience of being a parent. So there’s two, you start to figure some things out. You start becoming more of a regular human being again, you start sleeping a little bit more, you just figure things out with three, you figure out more things. So I literally just figured this one out last week, where I was looking at my baby daughter. So I’ve got three kids, right, I’ve got a seven year old boy, a four year old boy. And now it’s as we’re talking right here, a five month old little girl. And I was just watching her and realizing just what a wonderful, wonderful thing that babies are. To think that we all know. But with a little bit of experience. I don’t want to say expertise experience under my belt, I can 100% enjoy the experience rather than being crushed by it. So miles apart, but hopefully you understand what I’m saying. And these could be my famous last words, but you get the idea. I’ve learned what drives me and what drives other people who are like me, and that’s not everybody. We’ll get into that just a minute. I’ve learned that my prime directive the thing that drives me number one, as a human being is my need my imperative, my desire to reach my fullest potential to become the best possible version of me. That is 100% What drives me?

It’s what animates me. It’s what, just what does it money does not drive me, I want it, I like it. I enjoy it. But it does not drive me. It does not constant improvement is what drives me. And I’m glad that I finally figured that out. And I would can’t advocate enough or encourage you to do the same. Try to figure out what it is. That drives me if you’re like me, or you’re not, it’s all okay. But that is what drives me my prime directive number one, get better improve, realize my potential become the best possible version of myself. I’ve learned that people are different than me. Shocking, shocking. Yes. But I’ve just, it’s just become so clear to me. Like you, I’ve always known that there are different kinds of people, that there are different personality types. We have different preferences. We have different perspectives, we have different lived experiences. I’ve always known that you need to walk a mile in somebody else’s shoes and to view the world through their eyes in from their perspective. But over the and that’s all fine and well. Great. Okay, make sense. sort of know that over the past year, it’s become abundantly clear, abundantly clear, past couple of years, that there are so many people out there who think literally, the opposite of me, that view the world in a completely different way. It’s amazing. It is amazing, I guess. We have social media to thank for this. And I am so grateful that I am aware of the differences that we have the ability to share our viewpoints with the rest of us. So I think it’s really a good thing that we know where everybody stands, it’s a good thing that we know how people view the world and how they want to operate what they think is true and what they think is just and what they think is right what they think is wrong. But that so many people out there think completely different than me. It’s fucking crazy. It’s crazy. It is wild. Which leads me to the next piece of learning. I’ve learned that I need to be the change that I want to see in the world. Again, do you not know that? How did you not know that it’s like a bumper sticker. It’s like a yoga thing. It’s like, namaste. It’s like Be the change. It’s, it’s it’s Buddha, it’s Gandhi. It’s all these things. And I know, you’ve heard the words 1000 times, but to really learn it, to have that driven home, to accept it as truth, to embrace it, to step up and take responsibility for it. That’s what it’s all about. I’ve learned that needed to lead by example, not just in certain areas of my life, in all areas of my life. I think that a lot of this is a byproduct of becoming apparent. And shifting, having shifting seasons of one’s life, additional responsibility, you’ll either step up to it, or it’ll crush you, I choose to step up to it. And again, not just in some areas, but in as many areas of my life as I possibly can. I am flawed and limited and lacking. And all of these things I am a human being. But it’s my intention to lead by example, and to step up in all the different areas of my life. And over the past year, probably three years at this point, I’ve changed so many of my behaviors. I’ve changed much of my lifestyle doesn’t mean that I’m a teetotaler or a Puritan or anything else. It doesn’t mean anything just means that I am again, pursuing my prime directive of realizing my fullest potential of taking ownership over my behaviors and the impact that I have on others the week that I’m leaving, I’m committed to being an example, to myself, to my wife to my kids are committed to being an example to my community. And I’m committed to being an example to anyone else who happens to be paying attention. committed to being an example of what a successful person looks like. Doesn’t mean it’s always going to work. But you can count on me to be doing my best. Like I close the show with, do your part by doing your best. That’s what I’m interested in doing. I’ve learned that everything matters heard the phrase, don’t sweat small stuff. And it’s all small stuff. That’s total bullshit. It all matters. Everything matters. Especially the small stuff, people like me, people who truly give a shit that have. And I do have pure and honest intentions to make the world a better place to improve, everybody that I come in contact with to have a positive impact on them. That’s what I desire. That’s what I work to do. To people like that people like me, have been asleep at the wheel for too long, we’ve been assuming that other people are taking care of things. But it turns out that that’s not the case. The life that I want, the world that I want for my for my kids, for my community, demands that I take ownership demands that I look around and see where responsibility has been allocated, and that I take on whatever responsibility I’m capable of taking on. And then I pay attention to the small things, that I pay attention to the big things. Now, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to obsess over everything and let something small that could be perceived as trivial. ruin my day, all I’m saying is I will pay attention to details. And I suggest that you do the same. Otherwise, bad things will happen. And we will find ourselves down a road that we do not want to be down. And I’m not sure how anybody can argue with that. And you look at the state of us. Look at the state of humanity. You look at pretty much every level of of life. And we’ll talk about the United States. We are coming up short. There’s work to be done. And it’s incumbent on people who share my values. To do that work. I’ve learned that you need to know what lights you up, what makes you happy. Find something that you enjoy, and that you do that thing every day. I’ve learned that less is more. I’ve learned that smaller is better. Learn the local is better. It’s true of restaurants. It’s true of companies. It’s most certainly true of the government. Too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the soup. You know, a camel is a camel is a horse that was designed by a committee. I’ll take the Van Gogh over the ship created by AI, I’ll take my local burger joint over McDonald’s, and almost certainly take the decisions of my city council over the United States government. I’ve learned that you need to be aware of all the games that you are participating in much of life is an order game. We’re all playing these games all the time. Maybe you’ve never thought about everything that you’re playing in or taking part in as a game. You don’t need to. But it is much of life is an order game that has rules. There are other players, some of them are on your team. Some of them are combatants, you must know what games you are playing, you must know what the rules of the game are. You must know how you win, you must know when you’ve lost. You must know who you are competing against it all of these things. If you desire to get what you want. If you desire to have the life that you want God to know that you are a participant in games, and it’s better to be a playable character than a non playable character. If you’re not interested in just being carried along by the currents of life, which I can’t imagine you are if you’re listening to this or watching this. gotta step up know the rules of the game know how to win. I’ve learned that now’s the time. Now is the time to write your first book, or your first four. Now’s the time to start your podcast. Now is the time to start your family. Now’s the time to start being happy. Now’s the time to advocate for the future that you want. Now’s the time to advocate and start living the life that you desire. This is probably something that it’s hastened around this time of life when you’re 4045 50 years old. Call it a midlife crisis. Call it waking up, call it becoming more aware, whatever you want to call it. Now’s the time. Whether you’re 10 years old, and you’re a huge fan. You’re 20 or 30 or 40 or 50 or 60 or 70 or 80 years old.

Now’s the time to work. Finally, I’ve learned you need to make up your own mind. When it comes to who you stand with. I stand with God, stand with myself, my family, my community, my neighborhood, my city, my state. And then I’ll keep going from there mentioned a minute ago, that we’re seeing problems at most every level of society. When in major cities in the United States of America, you cannot drink the drinking water. We’ve gone we’ve gone awry, we’ve we’ve we’ve gone astray when he can’t send your kids to school, without being worried that they’re going to face some kind of danger. We’ve gone astray when we have horrible natural disasters, here in the United States, in Ohio, and Hawaii, and we spend more time talking about and arguing and fighting over things that are happening in a far distant place. Things have gone horribly awry. When we have people literally, literally overdosing every hour of every day in America, major American cities, and violence is out of control. People can’t find affordable housing or any housing at all. When we’re not able to provide enough food. For people who are living in the United States of America, things have gone awry. Figure out who you want to stand with. Think about the problems that you’re facing. You as an individual, your family, your community, start there, stand where you are. Stand with those people. Right there. Stop looking other places for people to stand with. stand for start standing with yourself. Then slowly work outwards from there right now. We’re skipping really, really, really, really important steps. It is sort of like being pennywise and pound foolish. And it’s probably I don’t know if that makes any sense or not. I think you get the idea though. It’s all right. There are plenty of things for us to stand with. Plenty of places for us to stand right here. Right where you are. Look in the mirror. Stand with yourself. Stand with your loved ones. Stand with people in your community who need you. Once you’ve done all those things, once you’ve done those things, once you’ve taken care of once you know what matters most to you. And you’re doing the work that must be done in service of getting what matters. Once you’ve done those things. Once you’re physically healthy, you’re strong, you’re mentally healthy, you’re strong, you’re financially secure, you’re strong, you’re on track to do everything you need to do, then start standing with other people start standing with places all over the world. I don’t care. I just advocate that you start with yourself. In summary, I’ve learned a great deal this year. It’s been an awesome year. I’ve got a great life, got a great family, Got a great business, got a great podcast. I’m grateful for everyone for allowing me the opportunity to do this. And I’m confident and I know that it’s only going to get better from here. Do your part by doing your best

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