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This week Bridget welcomes Paul Shirley, former NBA player, published author, and founder of Writers Blok, a communal workspace for writers in Los Angeles. Paul talks about the role sports play in helping us learn to fail, operating at peak capacity, how having too much free time can be paralyzing and why being a people-pleaser is both his biggest asset and greatest weakness. Paul and Bridget debate whether cavemen had more free time than we think they did, discuss overcoming internal resistance and agree that setting constraints on your life is helpful. Be sure to check out Paul’s podcast Stories I Tell On Dates.
My father was a remarkable man. Over the course of his long life, he met very few men whose will was stronger than his own. Here’s the story of one of them:
Shortly after World War II, Dad was ordered to the ancient Northern Nigerian city of Sokoto to serve as the Assistant District Officer (that is, as everyone else’s general dogsbody) in the British Colonial Service. It was his first posting, and the culmination of a childhood dream that had as its origin the adventure books of Edgar Wallace and the stories of his hero, Sanders of the River.
When I was entering my teens, nineteen out of any twenty English boys you picked would have known of Wallace, and most of them would have known who Sanders was as well. Those who did not, had simply not yet got around to reading the eleven books that Wallace produced, between 1911 and 1928, featuring his hero, the legendary District Commissioner Sanders, together with Captain Hamilton and Lieutenant Bones, the soldiers commanding his detachment of Hausa Police, and Bosambo, the wily Monrovian who Sanders plucked from the jungle to be his right-hand, man, who then became Chief of the Akasava, a tribe until then rent by internecine feuding. As I found out later in life, kasava (manioc) is the staple food around Forcados, where Wallace was stationed for part of his term in West Africa. The simple addition of an “A” to this common Nigerian word makes it a thoroughly acceptable and relevant tribal name. But I digress. [Note well: The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree in this regard.]