Archive for the ‘Set your Destination’ Category

SOS-Jujitsu So I’ve talked a bit about akrasia before.  Procrastination is one form of akrasia that I recently noted on Facebook is one of my super powers.  Or maybe it’s a weakness, I’m not sure.

But if procrastination is a problem for you, then here’s a little tip you might enjoy.  Let’s look at what’s going on when you procrastinate.

You are basically trying to put off doing something that needs to be done by finding other things to occupy your time.  This is what we mean when we’re too busy to do something.  You filled your time with something else and there was not enough time left to do the referred to task.

If you are this brand of ackratic – then you know what I’m talking about.  So instead of looking at the looming thing that really needs to get done, let’s look at this filler stuff.  What could it be, video games?  That book?  Um, speaking of book Facebook’s a filler par excellence.  Some people, I’ve been told, actually go into house cleaning mode for filler activity.  Now to me, that’s extreme!  What would happen if you instead replaced that filler, those task avoidance activities with other activities that you’ve been needing to do.

So here’s an example.  There’s a task I’ve been avoiding, and I’ve enjoyed watching myself go through mental gymnastics to avoid accomplishing it.  Last night was very bad.  So bad in fact that I made the statement that I’d really like to do some blogging.  So I decided to look in the mirror at me looking in the mirror of some of the crazy things we do to satisfy the now us at the expense of the future us.

Ah, but there’s the pivot point!  I really do want to get to blogging.  But then the excuses why and the procrastination starts up again.  Only your mind can only do so many iterations of this (like Inception).  So the inner avoidance of blogging is much weaker because my mind is so busy avoiding that much more imposing task.  So you pivot on that and actually use the filler time of the big task you are trying to get away from and actually do something you’ve been putting off for a long time.

And now there’s this blog post!  In the flesh (well, in the electrons!)!  Isn’t that cool how that works?

Now if you want to take this to the expert level.  You have a list of smaller tasks that you are avoiding and you whip this out when you need filler from a big task and you can knock out a bunch of stuff in your attempts to not do what you really need to be doing!  You can use procrastination (and akrasia in general) as a super power.

Tell me how that works for ‘ya.

I ran across this little video clip. It’s about a Chicago Nanny named Vivian Maier. In her spare time she would travel around with her camera in the streets of Chicago (and around the world apparently) and take pictures.

I guess the thing that amazes me is that we only know about her because a man bought a box of her negatives from an abandoned storage locker. That box contained about 10,000 negatives. He went back and bought more boxes off of the other auction goers. Now there is a collection of over 100,000 negatives. She took all these pictures, documenting her life and her journey – but not making a big deal out of it.

For some reason her photos captivate me. I don’t know if it’s because they’re in black and white and so crisp. Or that the people are so “ordinary” or that the composition always has a little twist if you look for it. Just very cool. And the way they were discovered and her unobtrusive back story just adds to the mystery.

The man who found that box of negatives has started piecing together a biography. He’s done a few art shows and is sharing what he’s discovered on a blog dedicated to Vivian Maier.

And here is the PBS segment that tells her story – although it looks like a full documentary film is being put together.

Watch the full episode. See more Chicago Tonight.

So what is my point? That your journey doesn’t have to go “big time” to have lots of value. Ms. Maier’s legacy comes to us only by accident. It’s that desire to leave something that can make a person think that drives me to chart a course. But you don’t take 100,000 shots in a weekend, or over a few months. It’s an accumulation of a developed habit, a discipline, a ritual that over time creates a body of work that can be shared. Maybe it’s not photos. Maybe it’s audio recordings, home made videos, a couple of pages of script, or a blog post – some form of journaling to leave a trail of breadcrumbs as a legacy to those who follow behind.

Do you feel that pull to accomplish something along these lines? If so, comment here and tell me about it. And if not, why not?

When talking about concepts and principles in life, if you listen for bits of wisdom, you just might find that many of these are similar. I’ve found this encouraging that certain thoughts have been highlighted by various teachers and philosophers in different circumstances and at various times. Even the idea that ideas aren’t original for the most part, isn’t, well, original.

  • Dave Ramsey describes many of his financial teachings as “nothing new, just packaged well.”
  • It sounds like the saying, “Everything Old Is New Again.”
  • Solomon would also add that there’s nothing new under the sun.

So, I’m starting to wonder if that thought is even original with Solomon… see what I mean?

One of the things I want to accomplish is to collect these threads of inspiration and highlight the nuggets of brilliance that run through them all.

I want to start off with one I’ve entitled:

Little and Often

This concept has been seen in many places, some are very old – like the saying, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Taking a single step isn’t that amazing for most of us. But that simple act of taking a step repeated faithfully over time will transport you to your distant destination.

In the area of exercise, I’ve appreciated Matt Furey’s concept of starting with “5 second abs.” Do you whine that you don’t have time to exercise? You’d look pretty silly to say you don’t have time for 5 second abs. But then the idea is that if you start consistently doing 5 second abs, you’ll start to realize it doesn’t take that much more effort to do 10 or even 15 seconds of exercise. You get that going on a regular schedule and you can expand to maybe a whole minute of physical activity. The point is to start ridiculously small and build a habit, then expand on the area you’ve already conquered.

My favorite time management guru, Marc Forester, uses the concept of little and often to overcome procrastination. When you have a document to write, you just schedule some time to get out the files you need to write or research the document, or even to open up the word processor. That’s it. Don’t commit to more than that. More times than not, once you’ve gone that far you will have enough inertia to actually get started.

I’m sure there are many more examples and areas of application for this principle in life. Just one more. Jim Rohn would say that this principle is the difference between success and failure. Failure is defined by him as a few errors in judgment repeated everyday. This is the principle of little and often used to your detriment. Success, on the other hand, is a few simple disciplines practiced everyday. This is the reward of little and often, it leads to success.
A similar concept to this is ‘ratcheting.’ But we’ll stop here for today.

So share. What small disciplines are you considering – or better yet, have you started recently? Do you think this would make a difference? Start a new habit by subscribing to this blog. Take a small action little and often to take that thousand mile journey. Let’s set our sails together!

It was at the end of December of ’99 when my father-in-law called me and told me I needed to pick up a book and give it a read. He thought I’d like it.

That book was “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”

It’s not a particularly well written book. But the literary prowess of the author wasn’t the point. The point was that it challenged me in the way I thought about money, success, “the evil rich”, having a J-O-B… it often made me mad enough that I had to put it down for a day or two to cool off. But once I got into the swing, my mind had been reshaped – I started thinking bigger thoughts.

That book led me to other authors and thinkers. I’ve collected wisdom from at least 10 “gurus”. The decade that pretty much covered my 30’s was spent creating a life outlook or philosophy.

I’ve been soaking and marinating in some great information. I see the world much clearer. But after 10 years, I think I began to suffer from information constipation.

Now this December comes right up to the 10 year anniversary of the launch of this journey and one of the big thought leaders in my wanderings, Jim Rohn, passed away. I had always imagined that I would like to find a way to get to one of his seminars and just shake his hand and thank him for the wisdom he’s put out in the world. I told myself the next time he had a weekend event or something, I would find a way to get there.

Well, that’s not going to happen. My lack of initiative to do that has sparked a desire to take the next 10 years and make it a personal decade of revolution.

The theme from the last decade was “Be.” Who was I? What did I believe? It was the decade before that in which I found my way to my Savior and settled life’s biggest questions. But this last decade was to crystallize how I was to travel between the “here” and the “hereafter.”

This next decade needs to be dedicated to the proposition of “Do.” Words and thoughts are great, and I live for them. But actions speak louder.

I’m not a man of action. But by God’s grace let’s see where things stand in December of 2019. Will you even recognize me then? Will you be along with me for the ride? Maybe you will have played an instrumental roll in propping me up and shoving me out the door – who knows?

I am saddened by the passing of a mind that I was inspired to know, if only through his books and CD’s. But I quiver with anticipation at the possibilities of the future. I’m putting a stake in the ground and picking up the next one as a walking stick.

I am ready for action – but I know myself well enough to know that I need to learn to move from dream to done…
Yoda: “Will he finish what he begins?”
Luke: “I won’t fail you. I’m not afraid.”
Yoda: “Oh! You will be. You will be.”

I know there are lessons out there to learn. The lesson of failing quickly and often in order to get into the swing of picking myself up and dusting myself off. That is the path to success. But in order to do that, I have to do something.

I have started some personal disciplines that I am confident will have public fruit. But there needs to be a navigational chart, a road map, a blueprint, a battle plan.  I need to decide on the Set of the Sail!

I just wanted to put this tribute out there to those I’ve learned from in the past. I want to do their memory proud by showing that their ideas are worth pursuing.

I’m ready.

While considering the prospect of reaching into the lives of others in the attempt to help people generate positive change in their lives, there is a need for some self reflection.  Who do I think I am to offer such advice – is it sage?  Does one need to be perfect in a sphere to offer opinion, counsel, or guidance?

I would like to share a concept I call the Bennett Syndrome.  It’s named after author and commentator Bill Bennett who wrote the book “The Book of Virtues: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories.”  After having this book publish and after speaking about about immorality and growing amorality within our so called modern society, it was uncovered that Mr. Bennett was a gambler.

This discovery lead many to question the concept of morality itself.  Could somebody espouse morals and not be morally pure?  Many would say no.  You can’t preach about anything you can’t do.

I couldn’t disagree more.

This is the same line of reasoning that says you can’t have a say in foreign affairs or military matters unless you’ve served yourself.  Unfortunately this line of reason is rather circular.  So would you say that I couldn’t speak on drug use unless I was a user myself?  In fact following this same logic – only those who are immoral could have any clout whatsoever to speak on morality – since they’re the only ones who have “lived on the other side.”  That’s absurd.

So all that just to say this.  I am on a journey in life.  I’m striving to improve, to change, to navigate my way through the waters I find myself in, to weather the storms of life.  Can I only speak to situations I’ve been in myself?  Must I finish my life before I can say anything about it?  I say no.  There are insights gained through synthesis that we don’t have to live through ourselves.  Can’t you look an someone’s situation and say, “Hmm, it would seem to me that their next step should be ______.”  Some would call that perspective.

So do I struggle to be organized?  Yes.  Do I suffer from acute and chronic bouts of procrastination?  I most certainly do.

Does this mean that I do not (or cannot) advocate vociferous action to be take by charting a course and setting sail?

As a financial mentor that I admire has said, “God makes me teach this stuff because I struggle with it every day.”

You can teach from a position of “been there, done that.”  And that is a very valid and valuable position to instruct from.  But there is also the “brother in arms,” struggle along side, I’m in there with you, “I feel your pain,” kind of teaching that has a respectable place and insights to offer as well.

That’s my opinion.

Do you have an opinion?  Why don’t you share it in the comments?