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The Upside to being Stubborn

Back when I used to help Mystery run workshops, we had a division of labor. He did most of the teaching, I did most of the organizing, and he made most of the decisions. Our program was three nights in the field: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and two days of seminar. At one point Mystery decided that students could no longer take seminar and workshop during the same weekend. They would have to come one weekend for the seminar, and then the following for the workshop. This was great for local students, but a huge hassle for anyone traveling.

No amount of convincing would change Mystery's mind on this. I tried, of course, explaining that the reason we had fewer and fewer students was because no one wanted to fly out two weekends in a row. He wouldn't budge. Mystery is stubborn.

At the time this was frustrating, and even mind boggling-- how could someone so smart make such a bad decision and not listen to reason?

There's another side to being stubborn, though. When he was around twenty one, Mystery was a virgin who was bad with girls. Many young men have been in this position, and most of them never really solved their problem. But mystery was stubborn. He spent his last couple dollars every day taking a bus downtown so that he could go to nightclubs and observe the dynamics between men and women. He took notes, he pondered, he came up with theories, and he tested them.

Keeping Death In Mind


March 10, 2010. Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Late morning.

I pulled on my swim trunks, trainers, and a tank top and walked out of my little guesthouse room, sliding through the cramped restaurant strewn with tables, and out into the hot, dusty air of Phnom Penh. It's a hot day. It'll be good to swim after lifting weights.

I said, "No no, thank you" to the tuk-tuk drivers offering to take me somewhere in the city, pushed through the little crowd, and out onto the street. The streets in Cambodia more resemble alleyways than streets, and I navigate around people and vehicles.

I went down to the end of the street, turned left, and skirted along close to the local restaurants, half-tent half-storefront type places to get food. I stepped into the crosswalk, the Hotel Cambodiana rising in front of me. I check right and then left, and I watch left as I cross, watching for oncoming traffic.


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