Thursday, March 31, 2011

You Are a Hero

Whose roll model are you?

No matter where we are, no matter who we are, we probably have someone who looks up to us, who tries to emulate us. This is one of the greatest gifts that anyone can give us.


Because when we realize we are modeling how to live for others it is a source of motivation to live better. When we realize that people want what we have it shows us the value of what we have. When we do not want to fail those who look up to us we will try harder.

It is important to not just look up to our heroes we also must remember those people who see us as a hero.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rules of the Spring

So if the strength of the spring is how it snaps back into shape, how do we do that in our own lives?

Forgive: When we get bent, get knocked out of place, we tend to get become frustrated with how we have screwed up. We need to forgive the mistakes we have made, learn from them and move on.

Recover quickly: Like springs we need to bounce back to where we belong with force and attitude. Slowly retaking the ground we lost feeds into the sense of failure. Snapping back to where we where before we the pressure gets us back on track and back to operating from a place of confidence.

Put the focus on what you want not what has happened: It is easy to spend our time dwelling on the mistake rather than the goal. The goal is in the future and is a blueprint for what we want to have happen in our life. The mistake is in the past and cannot be changed. If we are done learning how to not repeat it looking at it is a waste of our time.

Don’t be the event: We are not the things that happen to us, we are not our job and we are not our mistakes. Do not let your hardships define you. Our definition of self must come from within if we are to know what we want and become who we want to be.

In the end it is not the falling down that matters it is the getting back up the defines us.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Resilience of the Spring

A key skill in life is resilience. I am not talking about being hard or unyielding but rather the opposite. I am talking about the resilience of the spring. When pressure is put on a spring you can bend it and push it out of position. When that stress is removed it snaps back into shape. The resilience of the spring is not about never faltering, but instead is about recovering when we do.
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Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Break Stress Out

One of the hardest things to do in life is to keep going under constant pressure and the time when it can be the hardest is when the pressure lets up for a minute or two. This is what happened to me over spring break. Without the constant drive to make the paper and all that other school related stuff pushing me forward, the stress collapsed in on me.

The first few days of the break where difficult. Everything seemed a struggle. I fell behind in my fiction writing goal and that just made the stress worse. By Thursday I decided I was going to just take the week off. Rather then finding artificial ways to push myself, I just let myself relax.

The result is I feel recharged now. I have given the stress its time, I have fought it and I have come out the other side ready to fight some more. There is still a long way to go to where I want to be but I am ready for it.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Another Note on Consistency

A bit more on the topic of consistency now that I am feeling less frustrated with myself.

I should build consistency the way I have built confidence by being consistent. I have a touchstone for this already, this blog. I consistently write it every weekday and have for over a year. This is a place to start.

The next step is to create other areas in my life to be consistent. And I need to change my self image. I need to think of myself as some one who is consistent, who follows through and who is the person I want to be. If I can see myself in those terms I will succeed.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Being Consistent

So if I have one major hurdle to tackle in my life these days it is consistency. I am good at starting strong, and if I make it to the end I can finish strong, but in between I tend to let things fall apart. I get overconfident and slack when I should not and it bites me in the ass on a regular basis.

I need to find a method for keeping myself consistent. A system to help me stay vigilant in that what I am doing is what I need to be doing and that I am doing it to the best of my ability.

I have tried programs that track my time and I have used to-do lists. The problem with both of these is that when I feel myself starting to slip I just stop looking at them. If they do not put pressure on me then they are no good. So I have to create a system for putting pressure on myself.

Right now I have recognized the problem. Now to find a solution. I need to hit the ground running and be able to keep running. I can do good work but I have to keep doing good work.

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Saying No To Defeat

We have to learn to say no to defeat. We win when we are persistent, we win when we do not give up and we win when we put effort into achieving our goals.

We win when we decide we are going to win and when we make the effort needed to achieve that victory.

Victory that is truly meaningful and leads to our successes is hardly ever a gift.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Moving on the Path

Knowing what we need to do and doing it can be to very different things. In the act of doing we have to face our fears, commit to a possibility and act. However without taking this action, without putting ourselves out there and risking the untried possibilities available in the moment we will never move of our own volition. Instead we will only move in fits and starts as outside forces push us. In addition we have to think of what is most important, the destination or the path that takes us there.

Does getting what we want at the cost of our own morals and beliefs count as victory? Is that success or will the achievement be tinged with regret because of what we have done to get there? By betraying our values we can also change who we are and not in a way that is positive. We lose something of ourselves when we do things that go against who we are.

So we must be careful not to act just to reach our goals but to do so in ways that keep us whole as a person. This is the danger in taking short cuts. It is not enough to arrive at our journey's end, we must arrive where we want to be as who we want to be. But for there to be any type of arrival we must still act, we must plot the course and follow it.

Word count: so far I am only at 2500 words for the week, a long way to go to 150,000.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Wanting What We Have

There is a line from a song that is stuck in my head this morning, I forget the name of the song or who sings it but it goes something like this:

"It is not having what you want but wanting what you've got."

I love this thought. It is so easy to want the things that we don't have, to focus on the things that are missing and not on the things that we have. It is important to remember the things that we have in life, things we have worked hard for but that now are strewn about our homes, used but not remembered. That great new cell phone you picked up last year, that kitchen gadget that makes perfect guacamole, whatever it is we have it because we wanted it. We worked for it and now it is ours. When this process of effort is completed we quickly lose sight of what we have and turn our gaze to what we want next.

Remembering the value of what we have, the things, the memories and the skills is important to being happy.

Writing progect update: this is the beginning of the first day of my 150,000 words in a week chalange. So far I have hit 1,000 for today. Goal by tomorrow 20,000

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring Break Project

So spring break is here and my plan is to try to write 150,000 words in that time. Countable words will include work on a novel I have been meaning to start and hopefully the novel will make up the bulk of the words. Writing for and as well as blog entries will make up the rest.

The real goal here is not to squeeze out a set amount of words, but more to set the bar for what I can comfortably write in one week. Once I have this number in place I can start estimating how much work I can realistically do in a week. With this bit of data I can realistically start looking for more contract work as well as start working on magazine articles.

So throughout the week be looking for updated word counts with each blog post. Wish me luck.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Victory and Conquest

Victory does not mean conquest. Victory is the act of overcoming challenges. Conquest on the other hand is about acquisition.

Acquisition is the act of taking and as such is selfish. Victory can be had without our diminishing the progress of others.

There is another important difference between victory and conquest. A victor can enjoy their victory, a conqueror on the other hand is driven to find the next target. Conquest exists to feed its self, victory is the overcoming of a challenge.
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Measuring Successes

It can be tempting to measure our successes against those of others, however, due to the personal nature of success this is almost always impossible. Success is a measure of how well we have accomplished the things that we want in life. The key phrase here is 'we want.' Success is not measured by what the television tells us we should want, what our friends and family want for us, or what those around us are achieving. We are successful when we reach the goals we set for ourselves.

This is why it is so important for us to set goals that are realistic, achievable and that represent something we really want. If we achieve things based solely on what others have told us to want we will not find satisfaction in the achievement.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Recognize Peace

Moments of peace come to us every day. The challenge is not in finding them but recognizing when they happen.

The most common distraction from peace is worry. Dwelling on what has happened or what might happen is a sure way not to find the moments of peace we are offered every day.

Watching the now is not a skill that is easy to cultivate, but it does have its rewards. To be aware in the moment first give the past and the future their space. By willingly giving time to remember and to plan a place in our day for these distractions we can relegate them from the now to their proper place.

With our concentration freed up we can focus on the now. We can be aware of our feelings in the moment and enjoy the peace that has been there all along.
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Monday, March 14, 2011


Frustration may be the biggest enemy we face on the path to personal growth.

The problem with frustration is that as we try to change, as we do things differently and it does not work we find ourselves more and more convinced that change is impossible. Frustration acts like a fun house mirror warping and twisting little insignificant hurdles into big problems. As these small things fill our vision they consume our lives.

Frustration causes what should be a light load to carry feel like a huge burden. Carrying this huge burden makes us stumble, not because the problem is big but because our perception of it is. These are the times that we need to step back and reevaluate not what we are doing but the importance we are putting on certain aspects of our goals. Is the point that is hanging us up important or is it just a bump in the road? If it is just a bump, is there a way around it, another way to achieve the goal? If there is, great. If the source of frustration can be avoided without sacrificing what we want we can quit banging our heads against it.

Other times we must deal with the source of frustration. When this happens we must find new ways of thinking about the problem. If we keep thinking about it the same way we will keep finding ourselves frustrated with it. By finding new ways to approach the problem we can find a way to deal with it that works

Friday, March 11, 2011

Its Not Easy

The process of controlling the changes in our life is not easy. Here is a list of reasons why it is impotant:

1. Change will happen with or without us. If we do not try to steer the beast that is our lives we will only go where circumstance takes us.

2. By taking control of our life we can build our confidence and willpower.

3. If we do not work to make something happen we will not get what we want.

4. When we work for what we want we begin to understand what we want. This allows us to separate what we really want from what advertisers tell us we want.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Where Do You Find Yourself

When the day goes bad, when things don't work out, where do you go to find yourself?

We all have places, touchstones in out lives that let us remember who we are. These things, these symbols help us regain our sense of purpose when we feel it slipping away.

A powerful one for me is music. Listening to music gives me something I can lose my self in. A place where I can find myself.

We need these places that can bring back what is important to us when we are struggling, when things seem hopeless. It is the strength that comes from remembering who we are and what we want that can keep us going. Remembering why things are important to us reminds us why we are willing to suffer to achieve them.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Walking the Path But Seeing the Flowers

The more stressed we become, the more intent we are on what must be done, the harder it is to see the wonder in the world. Conversely without focus on the things that we need to do we will not get them done. So the skill we need to develop is one of keeping our actions focused while allowing our perception to be wide; to see the world but skillfully act along our path without distraction.

Distractions in this context are the things that move us from our path. There are other things that we encounter, things that are not part of our plan, not part of what we were expecting but are not distracting. Lets call them wonders.

Wonders are the little unexpected moments of beauty and joy that we encounter every day, and for the most part ignore.

An example: as I sat at the coffee shop this morning I watched a man walk away with his coffee. A cat was following him. They crossed the street together. It was very casual, just a man and his cat out for a walk, but it brought a smile to my face.

We need to see the wonder along the road to see the happiness in the world and enjoy it without getting lost in it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Keep Moving Forward

There is only one direction to go and that is forward. Even if we wanted to, we cannot go back to the past, we can not change what has happened, we can not do things differently then we already have done them. The only place to make changes to our lives is in the now, this is the moment of change, this is the time to get it right.

Knowing what right is isn't easy. Actually we can't know for sure what is right so we have to guess. It helps if we know what we want and what our values are since these two perspectives give us a framework to define right and wrong. Even without knowing what we want, even without knowing what we value there is still one question we can ask to help us understand if a choice is right: "Does it help me move forward without knocking anyone else down?"

There will be times when we are in competition with others for a job, a grade or a prize and it would seem in these situations that knocking the other down would be right for us. However, the right way to compete is to focus on our own skills not the skills of others. We move forward not by holding others back, we move forward by moving forward. By pushing against the wind we grow strong.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Looking at the Details

There is an area of my life that continues to cause me frustration. I have always thought of myself as a big picture guy, an idea man operating on the large scale. My philosophy has always been get the ball rolling and the details will take care of themselves. This works out sometimes. But if I want to make my life the way I want it to be I need to learn to look after the details as well.

With that in mind how do I teach myself to be detail oriented? I plan on doing it the way that has worked for me in the past, by focusing on one little block at a time. The plan is to start by working on the details associated with one or two areas of my life, creating the habit of paying attention to details in these areas. Once I feel comfortably attuned to details in these areas I will expand my focus to other parts of my life.

Like other changes in my life, as I gain confidence in being detail oriented I will start to be detail oriented. It will become part of who I am. Part of how I define myself.

The two areas I am focusing on at first will be my writing and scheduling my time. Over the weekend I began filling the calendar in my phone, blocking out time to do work during the day with reminders and prompts for certain tasks in certain time blocks. I have also added the mundane details of (i.e.: life, brush teeth, work out, eat lunch) details to my schedule to try to fit the things I mean to do in. My plan is for this detailed scheduling to be an ongoing reminder to be focused on details. Also I expect it to help create habits that are healthy for me, such as working out.

For me focusing on the details of writing means more rereading of what I write, more self editing, and paying more attention to grammar and style guides.

Does all this detail work excite me? Not really. Does it need to be done? Yes

Friday, March 4, 2011


There is a certain measure of ambition that must be present for a person to be successful, however, it must be balanced against compassion and reason. We must be ambitious enough to never be satisfied with what we have accomplished but compassionate enough to know when feeding our ambition will do harm to others; ambitious enough to work hard for what we want and reasonable enough to realize when the effort is not worth the gain.

Our ambition is our drive to do better. This may be measured in terms of wealth, standing, philanthropy, knowledge or fame. Ambition is more than just wanting these things, it is a willingness to work for them. It is the machine that turns dreams in to reality.

Ambition can also be destructive. When it becomes too intense, when the desire to have out weighs reason and compassion it can hurt people. The goal of ambition should not be greed but the betterment of one's situation.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Changing our lives requires bravery. I have said this before but it is important to remember.

Bravery is not the overcoming of our fears. Being brave does not mean we do not feel fear. Instead bravery is the ability to take action based on our intellect rather than our instincts when we are afraid.

When we are in a situation that causes us fear it is easy to default to instinct. Sometimes this is also the intelligent thing to do as instinct guides us away from pain. However, pain avoidance can go too far. It can lead to us creating larger problems for ourselves, or not achieving the things we want.

The pain we face in personal growth is that we must face our path. We must face the things we have done wrong and try to change them. In changing them we also have to face the unknown. Who will we be at the end of the process?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


It is one of those days where I am at a loss for a topic to write about. It does not help that I am under the weather and have a lot of home work to do.

However, despite circumstances, there are commitments we have to honor. For me one of those is my blog. Honoring our commitments is one of the things that we have to keep a focus on at all times when we make decisions. If doing what we want means that we do not do what we have agreed to do, then can we do it in good conscience?

Because of this it is important to be aware of what we are agreeing to do. In other words are we committing out of guilt or are we committing because we are willing to help. Are we willing to commit to something or are we coerced?

We should only be agreeing to the things that we are truly willing to do otherwise they can become hardships.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pushing Details

It seems like time and time again I use this space to talk about the subject of pushing ourselves to our limits. Why is this important? Why do I come back to this again and again?

I truly feel that I have not yet reached my limits of creativity, determination and ability. I could do better. Each time, with each project I need to do just a bit more. There is always another level if I look for it.

Unfortunately, I do not always push as hard as I might. I call things done too soon or let others handle the details once I lay out the broad vision. I have shown myself that I can accomplish things in the broad view of things.

Now it is time to push at the details.