Monday, November 30, 2009

Called shots

Well here we are at another Monday evening. Time to take a look back at last week and see if we measured up to the tasks we set for ourselves. I think i have had a good week in that department though I must say the goals I set were not that rigorous.

last weeks goals

* Keep up with the posting schedule, 7 posts this week. Accomplished this one with out to much stress
* Start writing a new short story. A new story is started but i am not that exited about it. I will work with it a bit more and see if something comes out of it
* be open and honest with those I love. This was the hard one for me this week. I find I have trouble always being open with others. I try to hard to be self reliant and don't like to share my motivations for making the choices that I do.
* Go another week with out soda another week soda free
* come up with a new title for this feature trying out a new title today still not happy with it. Any suggestions people have for a new title would be welcome.
* create a new look for the sight well as you can see i managed to get this one done. I am still playing around with a few things and having to teach myself a bit about css in the proses. Let me know what you think of the look.

This weeks goals
* No soda for another
* Prepare to get myself on a schedule. This one is a bit of a stall because I am scared of failing at the schedule.
* Stop procrastinating even on little things.
* Find a place to volunteer.
* Develop a work flow pattern for when school starts

Living life with my goals out in the open last week was an interesting experience. There were times were I was week on certain goals and wanted to let things slide but knowing I had to come back here to day and report on my achievements made me stick to it.

I would relay like to hear about your goals for the next week and since i have a few extra Google wave invites I will be running a contest. Two commenters at random will be chosen to receive an invite.

My big news

So a while back I mentioned that I had some things going on in my life that I wanted to share with people in person before I put them on the blog. With thanksgiving over I have seen and talked with the people I wanted to and am ready to share my news with everyone here.

I am going back to school! I will be majoring in journalism, first finishing up some classes at my local junior college and then transferring to SF state to finish my BA. It will be an adventure being back in collage at 37 but this time I am going with a clear focus of what I want to achieve.

A common reaction to this is that journalism is dying. While it is true that traditional print media is having trouble adjusting to the digital age I feel that journalism is on the cusp of a major change. This change I believe will revolutionize the way we interact with data and the way it is provided to us. That said I do not claim to know what the final outcome of this change will be however I do know that I would rather be involved in shaping it then watching from the sidelines.

Being involved in the innovation and development of the new media landscape interests me, but that is not the reason I chose journalism as my new career. The reason for my choice was actually the result of the life mapping process I have been sharing with you. I sat down one day and began listing my strengths and weaknesses; my values, dreams, passions, and commitments. Once this was done I looked at it and began brainstorming ideas that I felt were in line with what I wanted while at the same time were a practical way to make a living.

I did go in to these proses with some preconceptions: I knew I need to change my life and I knew I needed to go back to school. If starting the process with a completely clean slate would have taken me somewhere else I am not sure but I am excited about my return to academia.

Have you made any life changing decisions recently? If so share them with us in the comments. Have a great day.

Friday, November 27, 2009

What I have been staring at this week 2

We start off this link fest with a bit of art and the artiest talking about her proses at Art from the Hart.

Why not start now
has interesting thoughts about home and what it means to us.

Gizmodo had this incredible stop motion animation from the New Zealand Book Council. While it is a beautiful and stunning piece of work it is also a bit hypocritical. How many books had to die to make this?

If you have trouble with homonyms like I sometimes do take a look at Alan Cooper's Homonym List to help clear up confusion. Quick, easy, and useful even if some of the definitions are a bit self indulgent. Not that I am one to talk after the Goal Post on monday.....

Enjoy the links and have a great weekend. Rember to come up with your list of goals for monday and have a great day.

Seeing improvement

We have talked a lot about passions this week and how we can use them to influence ourselves in situations that we find boring. We have talked about how to find our passion and how to use it to guide ourselves to the place we wish to be in life. I have noticed a change in some of my passions since I started my journey of conscious self improvement.

On thing I have always loved is the written word. Well to be honest it has always been a love hate relationship. Being dyslexic things like spelling have always been difficult for me, on the other hand books have been my constant companion since childhood. One of my dreams when I was younger was to be a published author and I have chased that dream on more than one occasion.

While I have always been praised by parents and teachers for the stories I have concocted I have never really taken the process of writing seriously. That has changed since I started writing the blog on a daily basis. I find myself more critical of my own work and more emotionally involved in the editing process. Before it was enough to get the idea from my brain to the paper while fine tuning the product was dull. I think a part of the change in my attitude is a growing sense of pride in what I am doing.

That growing sense of pride is something I want to hold on to and help develop into a more confident nature. I also am happy to note that I have begun to hold myself to a higher standard. The point of all this is that change is possible and subtle. You may not see it as it is happening but it is there. Take some time this weekend to look back on who you were a month ago and who you are today.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Being Thankfull for Adversity

This thanksgiving you will be bombarded with reminders to be thankful for what you have and lists of things people are thankful for. While it is important to remember how good we have it, thankfulness can be a powerful tool in other ways. Being thankful has the ability to change our mood, bringing with it clarity and calmness. One important time to be thankful is when we are facing adversity.

When times are rough it is hard; things do not go the way we played. It becomes easy to be bitter. I encourage you in times like these to set the bitterness aside and look for the lessons you can learn. By seeing what adversity can teach us and learning the lessons while in the midst of tribulation we can begin to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness even while we are caught in the maelstrom.

By creating this attitude of thankfulness we can find the calm to deal without hardships and the clarity to see the solutions for our problems. So I exhort you to be aware of the lessons you can learn from the trials you go through in your life and be thankful for them.

Have a great thanksgiving, be good to those around you and have a great day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Resource and obstacle card

Some times when looking at the problems of life I start to feel overwhelmed. It fells as if there is no clear solution when this happens. I do have a tool I use in this situation: Resource and obstacle cards. These are a great way to get a handle on the problem. The cards are easy to make and the process helps to calm me down and focus my energy on the problem at hand.

I start by making a list of the resources I have for dealing with the situation. I jot down every little thing that I can think of that will help me. Once that is done I start on a list of obstacles that must be overcome. Now I go back to the first list and start to categorize my resources making a new list were each category has its own color. Categories vary widely from problem to problem but some examples from situations past are time (resources that take up my time to use) money (things I could buy to help with the problem) and people (friends or family who have offered to help out with whatever is going on).

All the prep starts me thinking about what I have to work with and what I need to overcome. With my mind focused and ready to create a solution I begin the next step: cutting up my lists. Each color coded resources and obstacles are placed on the table. I can now begin to move them around, seeing how they may relate to one another. I jot down any interesting combinations that arise and keep going.

Now with a list of possible solutions I begin to think through each one and see which makes the most sense to me. Is it practical, is it realistic and how much of each plan I can do without having to burden others. Then I start to take the steps to put the plan in to action.

While I do not resort to this very often it is a physical model of my thought process when trying to solve a problem. When I find myself stuck on where to begin this definitely helps me focus and find a bit of firm ground on which to stand. What do you do when you feel there is notsolution for the problem at hand? Let me know in the comments and have a great day.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The personal compass Part 3: Passion

We talked a bit yesterday about channeling your passion in to tasks that we are not passionate about, but how do we know what our passion is? Where do we find it? And most impotently of all how do we use it? Hopefully we are going to try to answer these questions as we talk about the next point on the personal compass.

Our passions are the things that get us exited, that we want to know more about, that we fill our free time with. Our passions are the things that make use happy or that we cannot wait to do when we get a bit of "me time". Christine Hassler at the Huntington Post has this to say about passion:

Webster's defines "passion" as "powerful feeling" and "great enthusiasm." Further definitions include "emotions as distinguished from reason," "suffering," and "anger and rage." Passion is not logical; it does not express itself in tidy, left-brain career steps. Nor is passion easy. The road to passion or "great enthusiasm" may require some "suffering."

Passion may be a struggle and it may cause anger but if we are going to live the lives we want we need to make our passions a part it every day; work without passion is drudgery, relationships without passion are servitude and life without passion is monotone.

So how do we find our passion? Chances are you already know what you are passionate about even if not on a conscious level. Think about this you are in a crowded coffee shop and two people are talking at the next table. They are loud and you can't help overhearing what they are saying. As you sit there waiting for your latte you find yourself caught up in the discussion and then it happens one of them says something that is just plain wrong and you can't let it go. You turn and interrupt. Now my question for you is what were they talking about, what subject could get you to interrupt a total stranger? That is were you passion lies.

In the personnel compass passion is the counterbalance to our values which drive us to make choice based logic, on right and wrong. Passions are the fuel for our desires; they make us crave the things we do. They lead us to make commitments without thinking through the consequences. We need to remain aware as we plot our journey through life to balance out goals with both passion and values, and to make our commitments with the same balance in mind. In doing this we stay on the course we have set four our lives and every day we live this way will draw us closer to the pleasant little valley were we wish to be.

So what is it that you are passionate about, what drives you? Let us know in the comments, and have a great day.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The goal post

As I promised on Friday here is the first installment of the Monday goal run down. I know the name is a horrible pun and feel very self indulgent for going with it but some times self indulgence is necessary. I promises I will find a better title next week.

Last weeks goals
  • Cut out soda: this one when well another week without soda and I am not really missing it, I feel very good about this.
  • A post a day during the week: I accomplished this one as well and manged to squeeze in one extra
This weeks goals
  • Keep up with the posting schedule, 7 posts this week.
  • Start writing a new short story.
  • be open and honest with those I love.
  • Go another week with out soda(once I hit the month without soda free i will drop this as weekly goal and move it to a monthly schedule)
  • come up with a new title for this feature
  • create a new look for the sight

So what about you did you do your homework and come up with some goals for the week? If so share them in the comments and good luck with them, I know you can do it.

Passion gaming and work

This post was inspired by yet another musing of the chatty dm. Go over and give it a read whether you are a gamer or not.

I need to share a secret with you: I am a nerd. I love my gadgets, sci fi movies, fantasy novels, comic books and I still play D&D. For those of you unfamiliar with D&D or RPG's (Role Playing Game) of any sort here is a quick and very general primer. Think of it as improvisational acting. One person controls all aspects of the story save one: the main characters. This person is called a GM (Game Master) or DM (Dungeon Master) or Storyteller depending on whose rules you are using. The main characters or party is made up of the rest of the players; they react to the plot that the GM develops. In turn the GM reacts to their actions and in this way the story progresses. To make things more challenging and more realistic we use all those funny shaped dice to simulate fate and luck.

It takes a lot of time and effort to be a good GM and concoct a story that could branch in any way depending on the player’s action. On top of that you need to be ready to improvise when the party does something you never expected them to. I have been the GM for many different players over the years and love it but after reading Chatty's latest post found myself wondering why I do not use the skills I have learned as a GM to improve other areas of my life.

I spent many years managing restaurants and dealing with a staff of over 50 but I will be honest and say that I was not that good at it. Sure I could handle the rush and make an unhappy customer leave with a smile on their face but other management skills such as communication and organization were lacking. The problem as I see it is an absence of passion for the work I was doing. I had the organizational skills to put a campaign together, and at the table I could enforce the rules and communicate my visions of hydras and orcs to the players. However since I dreaded the job I did not put out the same level of effort in to it. All I wanted was to rush through the day to get back to doing what I wanted to do.

My lesson for today is that I must approach each activity in my life, be it work, play or relationships with the same energy and commitment as the things I truly love. While this may be hard or seem unrealistic the very act of acting exited about what we have to do will help us really feel exited bout it. As Gretchen points out at the Happiness project:

Although we presume that we act because of the way we feel, in fact, we often feel because of the way we act. More than a century ago, philosopher and psychologist William James described this phenomenon: “Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.” By acting as if you feel a certain way, you induce that emotion in yourself.

So when you or I find ourselves in a place where we know we are not performing to the levels we expect from ourselves lets agree to look to our passion and bring that feeling in to the activity at hand, give the important drudgery of life the same attention to detail we give to our pet projects.

Friday, November 20, 2009

What I have been staring at this week

So welcome to the inaugural addition of "what I have been staring at this week". If you can think of anything that I should be staring at next week let meknow in the comments section. have a great weekend.

The Chatty Dm had a talk about the changes he made in his life and how they have paid off.

At the Happiness Project Gretchen Rubin talks about some great tips to avoid nagging. While not all of them will work in every situation most of the are great advise.

I spent some quality time this week with Mozilla labs Jetpack gallery and found some good tools for reworking how I interact with my computer.

Now for something I look forward to every week Edmund Finney's quest for the meaning of life. One of my favorite web comics out there at the moment.

The state of the blog

I just thought I would take a moment today to look at were Up from the ashes is going and where I want it to go. This is supposed to be a story of my life changing and while I have some irons in the fire I haven't talked much about my plans lately. I think next week when I know a little more about how things are coming together I will be able to share some of those plans with everyone here.

Also I want to talk to a few people about those plans in person and I won't get a chance to do that until thanksgiving. Once that is done you will see more accounts of what I am doing to change my life and how it is working. Until then I will continue to lay the foundation here.

A change you will be seeing next week is a reoccurring segment on Monday in which I will talk about my goals for the week and look back and review how last week’s goals went. I would love if some of you folks out there reading this would take the time to share some of your own goals for the week in the comments. So think of that as your homework for the weekend, come up with a few goals and be ready to share.

Another feature that I will be unveiling latter today is a list of interesting links and readings that I have come across in the last week. I will try to do this every Friday in addition to my regular posting. So if you have something you think I should be reading let me know and I will give it a look.

Looking over what I have just wrought I would have to say that the lesson for today boils down to this, I can't do this alone. We need other people in our lives to help us change, to give us guidance and to share their wisdom. We need heroes and mentors and role models and friends. Who are yours?

I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Setting aside your doubts

The biggest stumbling block in the process of changing my life is doubts. I doubt that I can succeed at what I set out to do, I doubt my skills and I doubt the encouragement I get along the way. I am sure this not a problem that is unique to me, most of us struggle with our doubts. So how can we put aside out doubts and move forward?

I feel the first step in this is setting aside our fear of failure. We doubt our selves because we treat failure as a risk rather than a teacher. If we look to the experience of loosing as something we can grow from it goes from being an ending to being just another tool of self development.

The second tool for overcoming our doubts is to remember that it is better to fail by doing then fail by not doing. If we take no action there will be no result; that is guaranteed, if we take action, if we try to make a change then there is a chance of a positive outcome.

That said there is one doubt that when it comes to mind we must examine. When that nagging voice in the back of our head is saying “is this the right thing to do?” we must sit down and look for what that little voice is really saying. Sometimes what this voice says is I'm scared and in that case refer to the two previous paragraphs. Other time what the little voice is saying is this does not agree with our values we should not do this. Then it is time to redesign the action. Think about how the result your are trying for and how can it be achieved in a way that does not comprise who you are and who you want to be.

Doubts are the greatest single hazard on the journey to living the life we want. If we cannot find solutions for dealing with doubt we may never start on the journey at all. So I ask you when doubt rears its ugly head in your life how do you deal with it. Let us know in the comments.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Inertia in the age of instant gratification

Sitting down to write today is hard, I have been trying to decide on a good topic to share with you and nothing is coming to mind. So I did the only thing I could think of to get the creative process started: went and took a shower. Sure enough an idea came to me: Inertia. That is the problem I am facing today and what I need to talk about.

Here is one of the biggest problems I have with making changes in my life: I want to see results now! Not in a week or a month or even a year but today. I hate waiting for my hard work to pay off. We have to overcome our personnel inertia if we want to change our lives. This inertia is both a good and a bad thing. The bad: At the beginning it makes our job harder as the friction and gravity of our old habits hold us back. The good: When we have good habits in place that same force of personnel inertia will help carry us forward and keep us on track.

But what exactly is personnel inertia: simply put it is the tendency we all have to keep doing the same things we have always been doing. We feel safe and comfortable in our daily ruts even if we are not happy where they are leading us. No matter how hard it may seem we have to keep on trying to change and learning how to make the best decisions possible.

So as we push our selves along I encourage you to keep at it and keep working on the things you need to change. I know I will be. And if you have any tips or tricks for keeping motivation alive in the face of personnel inertia feel free to share in the comments below.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The personal compass Part 2: Commitments

We have already talked about the first point of the personal compass, values and now it is time to move on to the second: Commitments. Every day we make commitments to ourselves and to others; add to this the backlog of commitments we have built up over our lifetimes and it is easy to see why we never get anything done. However before we can start weeding out commitments we must understand there importance.

The question is how do commitments guide us in our journey to where we want our lives to be. The first part of the answer is simple enough keeping up with our commitments builds integrity and trust in those around us. Doing the things we say we will, when we say we will, helps to define us in the eyes of those we interact with. This is impotent because everyone we meet is a mirror of ourselves. By that I mean they are an opportunity for us to see ourselves as they see us. This will lead us living in accordance with their expectations. This is not something that happens consciously but on the subconscious level. So what can we do to use this process to our advantage?

We must make commitments that we can follow through on and do so with a clear conscious. To do this we must bring the commitment in line with our values and with our capabilities. At the same time once a commitment is made it is important to approach it with the proper attitude. When we agree or offer to do something for someone else we must do it of our own free will and not grumble about the task. A bad attitude towards a commitment will just create a negative reflection in the mirrors around us and that will infect our own personality.

So look at the commitments you have in front of you which ones can you relay fallow through on and which ones are out of line with the person you want to be? If some of them are too far out of line with where you want to be you may have to let people know that you can no longer do what you said you would. That said whenever possible honor your commitments and when you can't face the person and tell them up front why you cannot.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A small victory

I want to share a success story with you from my life.

Last Tuesday a friend of mine gave me a seven day pass to the gym where he works out. Tuesday to Saturday we went in and did our cardio and weight training together. Each time it was him suggesting that we go while I desperately looked for an excuse to just stay home. Sunday rolls around and he is too busy to go but suggests I go anyway. Now the old Quinn would have taken the opportunity to sit at home and play video games or watch TV (the remake of the prisoner was premiering which normally would have been enough to keep me glued to the couch), but instead I thought about how proud I would be of myself if I went. I got dressed, drove to the gym and did my work out by myself.

It may not sound like much but and it isn't when you look at the big picture. However it is a small victory for me and proof that I can change. It is one more brick for my foundation of success.

On a related note I have completed my week without soda and am going to renew that commitment. I even managed to survive a trip out for fast found on Saturday night by getting iced tea with my value meal. Successes is possible go out there and make it happen.

Have you had any small victories this past week? Share them in the comments below.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The path of our journey: Goals

A few days ago I talked about values and how they were the cardinal point on our personal compass. Today we are going to talk about why we need the personnel compass in the first place. The journey from where we are now to the place we want to be will be defined by our goals. Think of it like this: The end of each goal is the place where we make the next turn on our trip. If we do not know our north from our east we will get lost, the same is true in the journey of life without orienting ourselves to our personal compass we become lost in the wilderness of living. Without a compass we may become lost but without a goal we will not travel any farther.

But what exactly is a goal? It is more than a desire or a dream, it is not something we hope will happen, it is instead something we have put our mind to and said “I will make this happen.

Goals must be realistic: When we set unrealistic goals for ourselves we do not increase our motivation, instead we create an atmosphere of defeat. While striving for something that we cannot achieve may make us go beyond what we thought we could do in the end we will still have fallen short and our natural reaction will not be to say look what I have done but to look at what we did not accomplish.

Am I saying that we should not set large or hard to achieve goals for our self. No! Without challenges there is no reward and there is no growth. Without reward and growth there is no point in going through the hard ship of personal growth. So look at your big goals then break them down in to smaller steps. Set goals of accomplishing those steps, building momentum towards the bigger goal and then one day when you are standing on top of the mountain you have climbed you can look back and say "I did that and you know what it wasn't that hard or that bad. Bring on the next one."

So what are your goals? Share with us in the comments.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


So I have to say that I love my gadgets and web apps and when I find one that helps me meet my goals I am even happier. So I was quite exited this morning when I came upon Disciplanner. This little website lets you set goals and milestones you wish to reach and then track the time you are actually putting in to working on these goals.

One of the nice things is it lets you track both positive and negative goals. What is a negative goal? Well for example I play way to many online flash games. By setting a goal of reduce time playing games online and setting it as a negative goal on Dissiplanner I can see how the time I spend playing games compares to the time I spend actually pursuing my goals.

The other feature of the website that I like is it lets you set milestones or mini goals to help you stay motivated and focused on completing the bigger goal. In a way it almost feels like real life video game achievements to me. When I do something I am trying to do I get to earn the badge to celebrate. Simple motivation is sometimes the best.

So what tools or websites do you use to help keep yourself motivated and to track your achievements? let me know below in the comments.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Learning to succeed

Ok so it is easy to say I want to be successful in life but how do I start?

We begin to be successful in life by learning how to succeed at the little things. Over time a series of small successes grow in to larger goals being accomplished. With the accomplishment of goals comes confidence and sense of well being. With confidence comes the ability to tackle larger problems and make bigger changes in our lives.

For example I am trying to cut soda out of my life (again). So starting today I have decided I will not drink soda for a week. When I have accomplished this goal I will start on a new one while maintaining the victory I have already achieved. So what are you going to do this week to teach yourself how to succeed? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The personal compass Part 1: Values

Now with our life map draw. Now with our failures and victories laid out before us. Now with our rout through the territory of our lives clearly marked it is time to begin plotting our course in to the future. To do this we need to look at our compass to guide us. The north on the compass of our lives is our values. This is the point we alien our lives with and measure everything else against. We must understand what we value and why; or we will follow any cores that is laid before us with no heed for where it may lead.

Most of us take our values for granted; while we make dictions based on what we feel is right we do not take the time to ask the question “why do I think that is right?” To plot a course that brings us where we want to be in the future we must know what we value.

The only way to understand what we value is to look inside our selves. Sit for a few minutes each day and think about what is important to you and why. What holds value for you?

As for me I feel my core values are freedom, honesty and compassion. If the choices I make bring more of these things in to my life and the lives of those around me in am living within my values. I cannot say this enough; know what is important to you and why. These are your values; you must find them inside yourself. Once you have defined your values you can use them to set the other points of your compass.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Look For Your Limiting Beliefs

Since we are a bit side tracked from the discourse on life mapping I want to take a minute to talk about something I read. April Dykman over at Get rich slowly has a great piece to day about Knocking out the beliefs that hold you back.

No matter what your limiting beliefs, the steps to knock them out are the same. I only realized it in retrospect, of course, but the steps I took to grow my freelance business aren’t much different than the steps I took to overcome some of my other limiting beliefs,

We all have false perceptions that hold us back from achieving the things we want in life. In my own life this has been a recurring problem for me. I hold the belief that no matter what I try I will fail at it. This leads me to set myself up for failure and never expect success. Then when I do fail to reach my goals the belief is reinforced. If my plans to take control of my life are to come to fruition, I have to challenge and overcome this limiting belief.

Your limiting beliefs may not be as large or as obvious as mine but they are there. They are the little lies we tell ourselves or that society whispers in our ear that make us turn away from our dreams and turn to a life of regret and boredom. So get in the ring and knock out your limiting beliefs.

Now if you'll excuse me it is time for round one.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lessons learned from Google wave

Before I start let me confess, I am a big geek. I love technology, being on the cutting edge and role playing games so when I got a Google Wave (if you don't know what wave is Lifehacker has a good article here) invite I was quite exited. The first thing I did was try to find other gamers to talk with and play games with in this new online environment. This experience ahs reminded me of an important truth that is relevant to every area of my life:

If all you do is talk about doing something and nerve start you will always fail.

In the last two weeks I have seen many good ideas and projects suggested and then talked to death. Then I have seen individuals decided "I am going to do this" and create some amazing things. These are the people who are changing the face of gaming on the wave or maybe I should say creating it.

The lesson for us here is that if you do not act all the personal cartography will do you no good. If you are just standing in one place a map is just a pretty picture.

The fueter landscape of the workplace

While I have been talking about the personnel landscape and how we need to understand it to be able to change Michael Lind at Salon has had some interesting things to say about the future landscape of the job market:

But thanks to ever smarter machines, fewer and fewer people will work in the primary (field), secondary (factory) and tertiary (office) sectors. Most of the job growth will be in the "quaternary" sector of healthcare and other qualify-of-life services.

Take a moment and head over to Salon and read Why Dilbert is doomed. Having a map of ourselves helps us know where we are going but we don't want to get separated from the caravan of society.

Monday, November 2, 2009


I am writing today on subject that scares me. However it is something that I must look at if I want to move forward with changing my life. I have talked about looking back at our mistakes and our defeats and trying to learn lessons from them. Today I will take an example and show you what I mean.

When I was younger and had just been driving for a short period of time, I was late registering my car and received a ticket. Now being young and insolent rather than paying the fine and getting the car registered I got angry. I started saying things like “What right did the government have to make us pay for letting them know we owned something?” I played this game of righteous indignation on martyrdom for many months. This led to my license being suspended and having to go to my folks about a year latter asking for money to get my license back and register my car.

Now looking at this what can I learn about myself? I am stubborn. I knew what I should do but was unwilling to back down from a stupid position. This relates to another weakness of mine I hate to admit when I am wrong or in a position that makes me feel embarrassed. Now in my life map I know that some of my rough terrain is my unwillingness to change things and my habit of trying to cover up things I am ashamed of.

With those bogs and marshes penciled in on my map it is time to move on to sunnier places of my victory.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Life Mapping

To help me decide what I want to get out of life I have begun a process which I call Life Mapping. The idea behind Life Mapping is to sit down and look at where your life is and where it has come from. This process gives us the data to move forward in a positive and controlled fashion. The results of the life mapping process will be a plan for reaching your goals. It will illustrate the pitfalls that stand in your way and point to the easiest path to reach those goals.

The process of personal cartography is not going to be a painless one. This is the time to take out past mistakes and look at them, not to agonize over them but to find what caused you to make bad decisions in the past so that in the future you can avoid making similar errors. By the same token, take a hard look at the victories in your life and see what you did to make those happen. Between these two extremes you will begin to be able to devise the metaphorical terrain of your life.

Once you have the land charted it is time to give yourself direction. The points of the life mapping compass are Values, Desires, Passions, and Commitments. I will be talking more about these ideas tomorrow but for now here is a brief look at each point.

  • Values: the concepts and ideas that are important to you
  • Dreams: the big picture things you want out of life
  • Passions: the things that grab your attention and make you go oh yea that is cool
  • Commitments: the tasks that are required of us by our choices or by cultural mandate.

With these things in mind we can begin charting our course into our future by setting goals that are realistic and practical. Goals that will guide us on our journey to the life we wish to have.