Thursday, September 30, 2010

Home Away From Home

Home can be more than just a place; sometimes home is people and a sense of comfort. We need to be able to recognize home when we find it. Home is the place we can go to recharge, the place we can go to feel safe and the place we can go when we need to be accepted. We have to find these places in our lives. They give us a chance to relax, to let the walls down. When we have a chance to renew our willpower we get a chance to regroup before stepping back into the hectic swirl of life.

These homes need to be more accessible then just the place we live. They can be a café, a group of people, or a gym. Starting our day rested is not enough. We have to be able to step into these homes away from home throughout our day. The revitalizing of will power and the injection of mental energy from just a few minutes at the coffee shop is amazing.

Life can easily overwhelm us and we all need safe places to retreat to when this happens. This does not mean retreating from the world or from the battle but more it means taking shelter behind the rubble that is strewn about us. These homes, these fox holes, give us a moment to reload, to know that others have our backs, and to devise a plan of action.

Find your home. Find your foxhole. Use them when you need them to help you be happy, strong and victorious.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Building on the Foundation

In this blog I have talked again and again about how confidence is the foundation that we build on when we change our lives. But a foundation is just a beginning; once it is poured and allowed to set we must keep building. The next stage of construction is to frame the building. The material of our frame will be action, and more specifically, well considered action. There is a place for intuitive action and that is not to be discredited, however when we are trying to complete a given blueprint we need to build in line with the design we have laid out.

Taking action can be scary. It means committing, and it means investing yourself in a process and rejecting others. No matter how confident we are, if all we do is stand on our foundation and scream our greatness into the wilderness we will still be wet when the rains come. I for one would rather be scared and committed now then cold and wet on a dark night.

We do need to choose our actions in a reasoned manner. We need to weigh the resources that we have against the gains we stand to make and the untried options that will be lost to us by expending those resources. Whether the action we are considering is a cross country move or asking for a raise, we need to weigh the gains and losses against each other in as broad a fashion as we can. And we need to do this quickly. When we over-consider our options and opportunity costs we can easily miss the moment to act.

When deciding to act it is often useful to also consider the possible follow-up actions. This way we do not become bogged down in a cycle of act-plan-act plan but rather our actions flow one from the next and we have less chance of feeling lost.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Peace of Success

How do we measure our accomplishments? Is it by the praise others give us or by worldly position? Maybe the yard stick is how we feel about ourselves or the good works we do to help others. But actually, the real basic measure of our success in life is the contentment and peace we feel on a day-to-day basis when we know we have been tested and come out victorious. When we gauge our successes by what others say we are never satisfied because once the warm glow of a compliment wears off we need another fix. The same holds true when we look to the things we own to show how successful we are. Things are transitory. They wear out and break down. Successes do not.

We need to understand that our successes reside in us. These are the things we have accomplished that no one can take from us. They are the building blocks of future successes and the elemental components of confidence. If we find ourselves looking for outside sources of stimulation to remind ourselves what we have achieved we are displaying a lack of faith in ourselves. By understanding that our victories are ours not just on the battle field but in every moment of every day we can find a peace of mind and heart that is hard to come by in this world.

The accumulation of victories and successes can form a vault of treasure that can sustain us through hard times. When we know we have overcome a hardship, on our own or with the help of others, we know we can overcome again. This understanding that we are survivors, that we are the unvanquishable hero of our own tale gives us the strength to laugh in the face of dark times and loss. We have crossed one river. We are capable of crossing others.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Places Have Power

There is an interesting trend I have noticed in the way I write. My style changes with location. When blogging at home I tend to be more long winded, when at school, my posts become shorter. This has led me to think about the unconscious impact of location on the way we behave. We may not see the rules that influence our actions as they happen but this is something we can still use. Think about a place where you behave in a particular way. What is it about this environment that makes you behave that way? Is it social cues? Is it training that occurred in the environment?

The good news is that when we find an environment that influences us to act in a way ithat is in line with our values and goals, we can harness that energy. We can try to reconstruct our mental condition in that place even if we cannot reconstruct the place.

One advantage of this is that we are behaving in a way we know we can achieve. If we can, for instance, refrain from procrastinating while in our office we know we can keep procrastination at bay in other places. The knowledge that something is possible gives us the confidence to not only attempt it, but to make the attempt without allowing failure to be an option.

Understanding how you behave in different environments can also help you learn how to avoid negative behaviors. By understanding what stimulates you to act negatively in certain environments you can either avoid that stimulus or you can learn to recognize it. When we recognize a stimulus in action we can see how our buttons are being pushed and in so doing get better control of our behaviors.

Places have power over us because of the rules imposed there, the social expectations that exist there and the training we have received there. This power can lead to both good and bad behaviors but if we learn to understand those behaviors and what stimulates them we can add one more tool to our tool box.

Editing project: we are back in production week hiatus mode again.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Lost Path

There are many times in life where we can feel as if we have lost our way. The path no longer seems clear and the question, 'what do I do next?' does not bring a sense of adventure, but instead, feels like a crushing weight. When this happens, we have to rise above the moment and remember where it is we are trying to get to.

The easiest thing, the thing that should be done first, is to return to your map. Figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are; think about your hopes, dream, passions, commitments and goals. Once you have yourself oriented you can begin to look for a new path to the place you want to be in. In order to have time to study the map it is necessary to retreat from the world for a bit. To understand what we want we need to have quiet time to contemplate our own inner landscape without interruption. This may be a hour in our room or a weekend of hiking. If we try to solve the problem of what to do next in the place where the problem lives, the compulsion to act can be too great. This sort of action can lead us to run blindly through the forest like the next victim in a horror movie.

By knowing where it is we are headed we do not make the current situation any better, but we do make the path out of it more visible. The path is the series of actions that will take us to what we want. This focus should not be on short term wants, but instead long term goals. It is when our eyes fall to the level of fulfilling our short term desires that we lose the path. When we find a high hill and survey the landscape around us we can reorient ourselves to the long term and once again benign moving toward the place we want to be.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Stand in the Breech

The process of personal growth requires us to put our emotions in harm's way. We must commit to being courageous and step out from behind our walls. As the enemy closes on us we need to draw our sword and meet them head on. The last thing we should do is hide. It is the willingness to confront the mistakes, hardships and fears in our life that allows us to grow.

When we hide behind the wall the stress does not go away. Instead it gathers and waits beating on the gate, storming the walls, and when we are weakest, when our defenses are down, it overwhelms us and drowns us in sorrow.

The alternative is to face each moment of stress as it comes. In doing so we free ourselves from the burden of being under siege.

Editing project: Putting an end to procrastination

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Listening to Advice

There are times when we need to seek the counsel of others. Sometimes a problem is too big for us to deal with alone or we do not trust our own opinion. In these cases a voice from outside, even if it says the same thing the internal voice says can help to clear the fog.

When we seek out the advice of those we trust we have to be prepared to listen. There is no point in seeking advice then discarding it when it is not what we want to hear. When we go to people looking for advice but expecting an answer we want to hear, we do so trusting in their wisdom. Their wisdom is not less when they do not agree with us. We must give their dissent the same respect we would have given their agreement.

This is not to say that we should blindly follow their advice, but instead that we should consider their position before we act on it or reject it. The value in asking for advice is not in finding agreement, though this can help to confirm and give us confidence in our actions; instead it may be in hearing a different point of view and seeing a different line of reasoning.

The editing project: Reclaiming the battle field

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Play! Dang It

The time to play is now. Well maybe not right this minute, but soon, today at the very latest. We spend so much time focusing on the things that have to get done, the must-do's of our life that often we only have time to plan the fun. By the time we get to it we are so busy trying to plan the next day, the next week, the next year, we can't enjoy the moment. Having fun and playing gives us the opportunity to relax in ways that sleep and rest do not.

Taking time to play allows us freedom and a chance to be someone else for a short time. When this happens we are able to not only set aside our worries, our cares and our troubles but we also have the opportunity to refresh our supply of willpower. While at play we are able to turn off our awareness of the propriety of our own actions. In play it is easier to act then to take action. Dr. Leon F. Seltzer comments on this in his blog Evolution of the Self at Psychology Today "While at play, our sense of limitation typically disappears, as does our self-consciousness and self-awareness. Immersed in such a world, we experience our essential freedom."

A lack of freedom is something we feel more and more as we grow older, as we become more responsible and have to take on new rolls in the world around us. As we grow older we set play aside as an ideal activity, something we no longer have time for. As this happens we begin to bring more stress into our lives. This stress just sits and builds getting to be more of a burden. By accepting that time to work and time to play are part of a balanced life we can find ways to let the stress go. As we do so our ability to work improves and our jobs and commitments become easier to bear.

So get out there and play, have some fun and lose yourself in the moment.

Editing project returns: Not dwelling

Monday, September 20, 2010

Turn Off the Ego

So another production weekend has come and gone. These weekends are full of hard work and many 'oh $h!t' moments, and as always, full of lessons that come from this type of experience. For me one of the key lessons I have been reminded of while at the paper is this: sometime we have to let our ego go in order to produce the best work we can.

The editing process on the paper differs from the one on the blog; every revision gets looked at and checked by three sets of eyes. You have to be prepared to accept criticism of every word, punctuation mark and idea. This is not done to diminish the writer, but instead to help create a paper that all of us can be proud of. Without being able to switch off our egos and listen to what others think of what we are writing we could not deliver the quality we are capable of together.

This lesson goes beyond the news room. There are many times every day when someone has advice, information or opinions about the work we are doing. We can greet these moments with anger at the hurt they might inflict on our ego. We can see them as personal attacks or vindictive nitpicking, but if we do we lose the opportunity to become better. By turning off our ego and accepting that those who work with us, whether in the office or just in the business of living, want us to turn out the best product we can we gain more then they give.

The opportunity to understand how others approach you and your work is a great chance to get under your own armor and have a deeper understanding of not just yourself but your relationship to the world. Think of it like this: when we throw a pebble into the lake we can see the ripples and this may be pleasing to us. Now imagine that the lake could tell you what it thinks of the distance and quality of the throw, your pebble selection or the time of day you chose to create ripples on its surface.

Our ideas are the pebbles we throw out into the lake of human consciousness. We do not just receive feedback from the lake, but instead every individual ripple can be a source of insight into the nature of our thought and the pebbles we choose to fling. However, if our ego is in the way we will only see hostility and not opportunities for understanding. Ego can drive us to create great things, but it is a selfish child that only wants praise and chafes at any correction. When the time comes to go big and soar high, let ego out to play, but when it is time to understand how to go bigger and soar higher, then lock ego in its room to play with its toys.

The editing project returns tomorrow!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fighting Your Way Out

Some times when everything is moving along fine you run into setbacks or reminders of areas where you are not achieving the results you want. This can be a blow to your confidence or it can be motivation to work harder.

If you are truly dedicated to the goal of creating the life you want you cannot allow setbacks and cruel reminders of your flaws to cripple you. This journey you have set for yourself is not an easy one. The ground is unstable; one moment you might find yourself in a pleasant valley then with a rumble and a quake the ground collapses from under you and you are lost in caverns of doubt and bad habits. If you stop traveling every time this happens you will never reach your destination.

What is worse is that there are monsters that live in the caverns of self doubt that want to rend the confidence from your heart and mind. These monster attacks come in many forms. "Why do I bother?", "I will never succeed", "If I don't feel sorry for myself who will?" We can run from these monsters trying to ignore our weaknesses and limitations but the wounds they inflict as we retreat will fester. We may not notice the disease creeping in to our bodies but some day these wounds that never healed will be yet another fault line to drop us back into the caves, and the monsters will be there waiting.

Fortunately the monsters are easy to hold at bay. Acknowledge them, let them know you see them there and start arming yourself to deal with them. The monsters have many names: Unemployment, Homelessness, Loneliness, Loss, Poor Health, and even Low Self Worth. These beasts may be the thing its self or the fear of the thing. Each monster requires the correct weapon to put it down. A commitment to job hunting or finding a job steals the claws from unemployment.

If we know the monsters that plague us then we can face them, develop strategies for dealing with them and overcome them. When we overcome them we build our confidence and on finding the exit to the cavern we find ourselves closer to our destination then we were in the pleasant valley.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wanting What We Have

It can be all too easy to focus on the things we want and ignore the things we have. Do not get me wrong, wanting is not bad but when it begins to eclipse the satisfaction of having what we wanted yesterday then there is a problem. The things we have brought into our lives are there for a reason. At some moment they filled a need or desire in our life. We need to remember both the need and the satisfaction so that we continue to treasure them.

This sounds like common sense but through media and our innate drive to satisfy our needs and wants it is easy to forget. We are trained to experience fulfillment in the moment of acquisition rather over the life of the thing that has been acquired. By being able to remember the want that was satisfied we can help ourselves to be happier, not by living in the past, but by enjoying what we have now.

The editing project is on hiatus for production week

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Dangers of Complacency

When we have been working on a course of self improvement and have begun to see some success in our endeavors we need to watch out for the tendency to become complacent. While I have often extolled the virtues of forming good habits, it is important to note that we also need to maintain our best practices.

Let's think of habits like a garden growing in eternal summer. The flowers bloom and the tomatoes grow, we reap the rewards of our efforts. However if we leave the garden untended for too long it becomes overgrown, weeds choke the beds and the tomatoes rot on the vine. Without attention our habits become sloppy.

Every so often we need to return to the work we have already done and make sure it is still up to standards. Pulling the weeds and picking the fruit will keep us from falling back into the bad habits we have worked so hard to get rid of.

The editing project is on hiatus for production week at the papera.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Into the Light

When we look at the night sky we are looking at the stars not the black void of space. When darkness and night come into our lives in a more metaphorical sense, why is it we can't react the same way? Look for the points of light . Don't get lost in the inky void of sorrow.

We tend to see what we look for in life. This is a tool we can use to change our mood and our expectations. When things go bad there are two things we can look for. We can look for the next crisis, the next place things can go wrong, or we can look for the next point of light.

Looking for where things might go wrong is a strategy that can keep us from sliding further into a hole. However, that is all it does. When all we are doing is hanging on to our position, the chance of things getting better diminishes. Think of it like being on the edge of a sinkhole. As the erosion continues we keep taking a step back. Sure we do not fall into the hole, but we never get farther from the edge either. The danger of falling is always there and always will be.

When the night closes in on our lives we need to look for the stars. Those points of light, the things that are still good, the things that grief and sorrow have not touched, that's where we need to focus to drag ourselves out of the shadowns. When the sinkhole swallows our house we need not to stare at the ruins but find new ground to build on.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Not Filler

There are times each and every day where we feel we are just filling time, waiting for the next important thing to happen. While it is true that some events, actions or projects might have more impact on the course of our lives than others,we also need to live like there are no filler activities.

This does not mean we should never find ourselves "just" doing one thing or another, instead we should learn to value the in-between times as much as we do the action times. This means giving our attention over to the moment at all times. Because we are only sitting and watching TV with friends does not mean we should let our minds wander. We should be in the moment enjoying time with friends.

This is not to say that having time to let our minds wander is wrong, but it should be the purpose of the activity not a misuse of it. When we allow our minds to wander off we should be in the moment as much as possible, and keep some small mental space open and aware of where we're drifting.

At the end of our lives we will not get back the moments we have spent killing time or waiting. We should make the most of every moment while we can. There is no filler.

Editing project: Getting what we want

Friday, September 10, 2010

The mind bomb

We need to be vigilant guardians of our own thoughts. Whether it is procrastination, stress or unreasoning anger they all start in the mind. Think of these mental states as big round black cartoon bombs with long fuses. The explosion is the action or lack of action that take while the fuse is mental process that leads us there. Whenever we see a behavior, an action or a reaction in our lives that we do not like the most effective way to change it is to learn what the fuse looks like.

Often the fuse runs through our subconscious and is hard to see but with some effort and vigilance we can find it. Once we recognize the thought process that activates a cretin behavior we can attempt to shut it down before the bomb goes off. The tool for defusing the bomb is what I like to think of as a thought process interrogation.

The idea is simple: we consciously question our thoughts to see if the pattern that leads to the unwanted action is reasonable. As I have mentioned before I have been known to be a habitual procrastinator. However I learned to recognize thoughts that signaled that I was about to put something off I should be doing. Now when I hear the voice in my head start to say I will do that latter I know to question it ask if the task is something I am avoiding or something with low priority.

The idea works for stress anger or any other emotional state that can cause us to act in ways we do not want. The questions are different in each case. Stress needs to be asked is there anything else I should be doing. Anger should be asked if it is reasonable and if lashing out will make the problem go away or make it worse. The questions that will work for you may not be the ones that work for me but if you find your own questions and get in the habit of asking them it buys you time to defuse the bomb and change the behavior.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Managing the boiler

Life can be hard, life can be unfair and life can be difficult. When it is we tend to feel stressed. Some stress is good. Without pressure and stress we have no reason to perform at anything more than a mediocre level, however when stress reaches an unhealthy level it can be one of the most disabling factors in bringing our lives to where we want them to be. Stress makes it hard to sleep and stress is distracting. When life is hard we need to be able to perform to the best of our ability and being overstressed will keep us from being able to do just that.

In the old days factories used to run on steam power, they would have a large boiler in the basement sending hot water vapor under pressure to turn the cogs and pistons that allowed production to happen. Everything was well and good as long as the boiler was kept at the right pressure. If it got to low there was not enough power to run the machines but too much and the boiler exploded shutting down the plant and destroying the machines. This is what stress is like in our lives and we need to learn how to manage the pressure.

Do what you can: Each of us has a certain set of resources, skills, money and time that we can devote to any problem we have. We need to figure out the best way to utilize those resources and then do it. When stress is mounting it is important to know that we have done all we can in order to meet our goals and our needs.

Don't dwell: When we are feeling the stress beginning to mount it is easy to start thinking about what we are going to do to solve it every waking moment. This is fine until you have plan, once you do putting your mind on the problem every single moment just reminds you that it exists. We need to be able to trust that the plan we have in place is worthwhile and concentrate on making it happen when it needs our attention. The rest of the time we need to go on with our lives.

Stick with it: When we are in a stress full situation we want it to over and we want it to be over quickly. That really only happens in movies and car crashes. Most of the situations in our life take time to change. We need to let things play out, if we keep trading one plan for another we will stay in the situation because we never see a solution through. If money is tight we need to work get paid and build our selves a budget. If we have a big contract to attend to at work we have to do the job, crunch the numbers and make the presentation. No matter what we have to stick with the course of action that will produce the results we want.

Focus on the now: When stress starts to build past the useful point it stats a chain reaction. We begin to see all ways things might go bad, the pitfalls and the situations that may result from failure. These are problems that may or may not materialize energy we waste on them now is energy we do not have to fix the current problem. What will happen will happen in its time and we can be ready for that if we put today's trouble to bed first. Focus on what is happening now not what may happen if things get worse. If you must have a contingency plan make it, wright it down and shove it in an envelope. Label it open in case of [[enter situation name here]] and file it away. If the situation arises go to your file pull out your plan and put it in motion. Once you have the plan stop dwelling on the possibility and get to work on the current situation.

Editing project: Create a network of support

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Notes from the editing project

I have been working on the editing project for over a month now and I have noticed something: as I come to the end of a new post I dread looking for that day's piece to edit. Then I find myself starting to come up with excuses for skipping the editing project. However as the excuses begin to form in my brain I shut them down and start sifting through the old posts and beginning to edit. What gives me the most satisfaction is knowing that despite my wanting to find excuses I still do the editing. This is an unexpected bonus.

The editing project has paid off in other ways as well. I have become much more aware of things like word choice and writing for clarity. It has also helped me with my work on the Oak Leaf. We spend more time editing then writing stories. Without the editing project already underway I think I would have felt much more insecure about my ability to copy edit for others in the class.

It is nice to see some of the principals I talk about here in action in my own life. The greater confidence that comes from achieving goals, pushing through even when I don't want to is also helping me to be rewarded and giving me a stronger sense of accomplishment then I expected.

The lesson here is that if the outcome is what we want the rewards are worth it even if the tasks that bring us to our goal are not pleasant for us.

Editing project: Random sources of inspiration

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Simplicity. Want. Need. Excess. We need to find balance and once found maintain that balance. Picture if you will a plank resting on a ball and you are standing on the plank. As you balance there things drift by you some fast some slow. These things are our desires, promotions, money, time with family, time to our selves, vacation new gadgets all of it just floating on by as we balance. Now some of it is close by and we can, with our much risk of tipping over, reach out and grab it. Other items are way out there and we must reach out far beyond what is comfortable in order to get our hands on them. And sometimes we reach too far and go tumbling off our ball, we buy more then we should and wind up losing what we had or we devote to much time to friends and create distance within our family.

The key to finding and maintain balance is learning when enough is enough. Like little children left alone with a bag of candy we are prone to gorge ourselves until we are sick. As we grow older we learn how to listen to our bodies, we learn what full feels like and that stopping when we are full is better than feeling sick for the next four hours. We need to learn to do the same thing with every aspect of our lives. Let me be clear here: finding balance is not about putting an end to want but rather to wanting reasonably.

A reasonable want is one that it is in our power to satisfy, perhaps not immediately but realistically without sacrificing things that are precious to us. However even reasonable wants will extend us away from center, from balance. When we move closer to something we desire we move away from other ways of filling the desire. As with all other areas of personal growth knowing yourself, knowing what you want and knowing what it is in your power to achieve is important. Personal honesty is the key to this. If we allow ourselves to know what we want and what we value staying balanced is easy.

Editing project: The power of helping others

Monday, September 6, 2010

Fighting the winds

As important as it is to begin a project all the effort we put in to starting is wasted if we do not finish. Just as it can be hard to start it can also be hard to keep going. Moving forward on any project can be like walking in to a wind storm. The gales of boring routine blow us, the zephyrs of new ideas carry us away and the cyclones of doubt drown us in hopelessness.

Routine is a tool we must become comfortable with if we are going to change our lives. Habits are self perpetrating constructions of will power. Think of them as little robots that do what they are programmed to do. To program these robots we need to show them what must be done over and over until they do it on their own, until we do it without thinking about it. To create these habits we need to be persistent and consistent in fallowing the routine we want to have as habit in our lives. Willpower is the way to avoid the gales, put our head down and push forward. Once we have created the habit we can stop pushing and let the robot do the work for us.

New good ideas seem to raise their head at just the moment we become disillusioned with the current task. However we only have so much energy and the temptation to start something new in the middle of an ongoing project is the worst possible way to squander that energy. The benefits from the energy we have expended in starting are not realized lest we finish. We do not get the scents of accomplishment or the reward of change in our lives if we leave projects half finished scattered along the path behind us. New ideas are good, next steps are good so we must find some way to save them. A note book or computer file that lists other projects you want to work on is a great tool. It can even be a motivator to finish. If we know what our next action is going to be we can move swiftly from one project to another. If we have a place to store the ideas for those projects we can find them quickly and avoid starting them as they occur in order not to forget them.

Hopeless can knock us to the ground and pin us there we need to find the strength to stand up. The falling is not what we should worry about we all fall we all slip and we all land our ass from time to time. When we do what keeps us down is not the fall we have just taken but the fear of the next fall. All the falls will we take will be inconsequential as long as the number of time we stand is greater. What is important is to not dwell on the failure or how hard the thing we are doing is but instead to focus on the goal. We need to know we are working on something that is worthwhile and yes it may be hard there may be no light in sight but we keep working. The cyclones may come and pick us up off our feat and we can lay on the ground and cry or we can charge them laughing.

Editing project: The hard truths of self improvement

Friday, September 3, 2010

Your success is not the same as mine.

This is my definition of a successful life: have fun and share that fun with others, learn and share that learning with others and to contribute to the ongoing human experience in a positive manor. If I can do all this then I feel I am doing something right. Living successfully is something you can only do on your own terms. Sometimes these terms will be in line with major social values, being a good consumer, a good husband or mother and so on. Other times it comes from a rejection of social norms. Seeking the spiritual over the material, choosing to be single over getting married or choosing to speak up and say society you are wrong in how you treat this group or that group. Most of us will find that success is a balance of the socially expectable and the socially radical and this is how it should be.

To find our definition of success we have to listen to our selves and be able to tune out the constant bombardment of society created definitions of success. These definitions are delivered to us each and every day through advertising, media and peer pressure. Our friends want us to succeed and that is good but they do not always know what we want or how we define our successes. The only way they will know is if we share with them what we want, if we are clear about what we are trying to accomplish in our life then the can help us or not as they see fit. Maybe or definition of success is far from theirs and they may take some convincing that this is the right path for us. Just as we hope that they will respect our definition of success so should we respect theirs and encourage the pursuit of it.

I hope you will take this long weekend and try to understand how you define success and start working towards that.

Editing project: Putting an end to procrastination

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Do don’t want

Wanting to have something is not enough to make it happen even though some people will tell you otherwise. It is a nice fantasy that if we want something enough we will get it. We will not get what we want without work. There is no force in the universe that will build a bridge between what we want and what we have and make them one and the same. We need to do the ground work and prepare our lives for the things we want to arrive in the way we want.

We do need to be realistic in this. We may want a million dollars and we can lay the ground work to get it, play the lottery for example but successes this way is not very realistic. Instead we need to do the hard work, learn to save and learn to make our money work for us. This is just one example. If we want to get in the habit of exercising every day we need to make the time, go to the place where we exercise, be it gym, front room or park.

If we are willing to take the first steps we will never see results, if all we do is sit at home and want to lose weight we are more likely to grab a bucket of fried chicken out of boredom then to have the pounds suddenly fall off our bodies. So what is it you want? Make a list. Now what can you do to today to make those things happen? Make a list. Which items on that list are too hard in comparison to the returns you get for doing them? Cross them off. Pick to and start doing. We have time in our lives to have the things we want and we deserve to have the things we want.

Editing project: Reclaiming the battle field

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Validation and willpower

It is nice when we begin to see validation of the choice we are making to better out lives. Last weekend my newspaper practice class put out our first issue of the school paper. It was a lot of work and late nights to get the stories edited, laid out and proofed again and again. On Monday afternoon we received the first issue from the printer and distributed it around campus. The validation comes in the fact that this was an extremely good experience. I am on the right track.

It can be hard for us to struggle to change, be honest with our self and work every day to make changes to our life and then suddenly we do something, achieve something or notice a change in ourselves and it is suddenly worth it. We know that work we are doing will pay off and we have made the right decisions. However to reach that point we need to persevere, we need to keep trying to make the changes in our lives that we know are necessary and we need to keep trying different tools and methods until something works.

This takes will power, something each of us only has a limited supply of. To conserve our will power we need to pick our battles. When we work on changing everything about ourselves every day we have no energy to make all the changes stick. IT is like trying to catch rain in a sieve we run around all day gathering drops of water but at the day the sieve is just wet. We run around all day doing this and that and it has to be done again the next day. It is better to take the changes we feel most importance and make them habits.

As we create new positive habits of the behaviors we want to have in our lives we do not need as much will to maintain that change. Let's think of each whole in our siv as an aspect of our lives we want to change. Each whole drains willpower so as we create new habit we patch the holes. Soon we have a bowl instead of a sieve, we may not have any more will power but we are more confident in our ability to apply it to create change and we can save it for the things that are important to us instead of just sloshing it around every were hoping something will come of it.

For me the habit I needed to create was being a good student. This took effort, I had to go to class and I had to do the home work. Each of these where habits I have had to create. These skills are important to the newspaper as well. The Idea of letting down my fellow staff, missing deadlines and not putting out effort is unthinkable to me now. However if I had not patched the holes of ditching class and slacking on my home work I would not have been ready to do my part in bring the paper to life. Keep an eye out for validation in your life it is a great motivation even if some time it to come in the form of hard work.

Editing Project: Good stuff or bad stuff and how we relate to to others