Sweep once

It’s incredible what you hear and see when you are awake. Yet, it’s only when I’m working odd shifts and sleeping odd times that my creativity flows enough to pay attention. In any case the Buddhist proverb is spot on right now:

“When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

I self study, and right now I’m into some interesting stuff, Strategy, Stoicism, Ego, and Anti-Fragility. Without really knowing it, I’ve stumbled upon some authors that I’d love to make personal mentors. Particularly, Ryan Holiday, Tim Ferris, and Nassim Taleb. I don’t know how I initially came across Ryan Holiday, but his books all fly by and the topics are awesome. I quote him constantly. Trust me I’m lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator opened my eyes to the way the news/marketing works in the modern age, and then I was hooked. I blazed through Growth Hacker Marketing, The Obstacle is the Way, and finished Ego is the Enemy today. To be fair, I did get some on kindle, but not unlike The Matrix, I’ve been using audible to get the ideas into my brain faster. I’m no longer wasting commutes to work, they are personal development time. Ok, enough with the free advertising for awesome writers. Instead, here’s an idea that stuck and was played out today.

Ryan brought up the idea of cleaning up your life, in terms of some self-help group for workaholics. The very Zen idea is that one does not simply sweep once and expect the floor to remain clean, you must do it today, and tomorrow, and the next day. It is an ongoing thing. This harkened back to my kung fu training as a teen, and immediately resonated with me as something that “I wish…”

You see, it’s my chore to keep the floors clean in the house, and I love to stretch out time between cleanings, only to realize it’s a large, large task once the floors are very dirty. Nobody wants to make a habit of an arduous task, but the proof/the improvement/the growth, is in doing that thing anyway. It may suck, but do it anyway. This is such a great lesson for me, to teach my increasingly spoiled lil kiddos, and heck, anyone wanting to complain. That’s life. You don’t get to sweep once, you must keep on sweeping…

#FFW

So what.

So you want to be an author or writer or blogger. So what. There are so many voices out there and social media has turned a mirror to society. Everyone can literally live in their own world all day every day and spend countless hours and millions of finger-miles scrolling through feeds and stories and timelines. Does any of it accomplish anything?

Whew. Fear not, this is not a negative rant about the futility of the modern age. Quite the contrary, this is a philosophical crossroads.

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”

Henry David Thoreau

As I’m preparing (actually preparing and mapping out posts) for this blog and some future writings, an all important question came up, “Who am I?” Where have I been, what have my experiences taught me about life, is any of it relevant to others? These questions led to more questions…Can my life serve as a lesson? Since you can’t change any of the events that have happened in the past, how can you use that knowledge to make from this moment on a better, more meaningful existence? The trail of questions continues and I continue to jot them down as they come because if I put aside vanity and ego and take an objective look at myself, am I sitting down to write without having stood up to live? Thoreau doesn’t live in the modern age where millennials have their quarter life crises live on Facebook before finishing college.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around for a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

It can’t just be me that feels the incredible pressure of modern society, can it? [rhetorical]

What does any of this have to do with anything? Internal and external barriers will tell you to pump the brakes. Out for a run on the track or trail you might catch yourself saying, “Whar am I holding back for?” You may not be that self-aware yet, but the next steps are to trod on anyway…. You don’t feel qualified to teach on a subject, teach anyway and find the gaps in your knowledge real time. Trust me, they are there, and they will change with every student.

Don’t feel like you have anything important to say? So what. Work on your craft, hone your skills, take stock of who you really are and tell stories. People live for stories, and your authentic self shines when you relate to your audience personally. Ask yourself, who am I really? Secret: You are more than what you do.

Put in the work, realize that it will take time to build a solid foundation. Fill in personal development gaps. Go out and win, consistently. And in inevitable defeat find the wins there too. You are on your way.

#FFW

What walls?

In theater, there is a concept called the 4th wall. It’s the artificial division between the the audience and the actors onstage. They are “in” the play, while the audience is “out” there in the real world. The aside is a deliberate, and sometimes surprising breaking of that artificial wall. The characters come out of character and talk directly to you in the audience, often pointing out something you might have missed. If you are a child of the 90’s Zach Morris’s “Time out” will come to mind.

In life, we build constructs that divide “us” and “them.” In small business, you sometimes make use of this artificial division and look official by having the website and the emails and perhaps a product or two, but maybe it’s just you and a partner hustling on the weekend and doing it all out of a garage or living room. The wall of “official” is like the 4th wall.

Tonight I contacted a small business that I LOVE! Field Notes Brand makes the best little portable notebooks, and their attention to materials, details, quality are all very impressive! I had an idea that I think would be great on their notebooks and I pitched it to them. Well, really, I have it to them freely because I don’t want anything in return besides consideration and if it’s a quality idea, that they do what they do best and make my idea come true with a very awesome notebook.

Will it happen? I don’t know, but it’s a lot more likely now that it’s out of my head and into the hands of the artists. Like a reverse aside I ignored their wall and offered them a free idea. This is small, but it’s a small step of courage. Asserting yourself in this manner, time and time again is a recipe for owning the space you are standing in. Claim the air you are breathing and make your voice heard. Change the world, start now, right now!
#FFW

Coming soon

There is power in action. It’s almost always self-serving. Action begets more action in a positive feedback loop. The more you do, the more you believe you can do. In fact the busiest people tend to have the most capacity to get more done because they never succumb to that sense of being “too busy”. They simply get down to the business of getting things done. In a sense, I knew this would happen. If you’ve ever read anything by Nassim Taleb (The Black Swan, Fooled by randomness, Anti-fragile) you’d know that change and variability play a huge role in our lives. Although in retrospect we often ascribe a narrative to our lives, that narrative may only exist retrospectively. In the moment we still live the quantum life, like Schroedinger’s Car, half this, half that until we choose our path, or randomness and variability choose us. Either way, this beautiful mess of life flows like Frost suggested from Parh to path, continually diverging I the proverbial Yellow woods. This blog is step one. It is a meta-space, an active reflection in real-time, but it is not the next step. It will run parallel to the next step and, eventually will become the main treatise, but a diversion of action is necessary to build a more compelling tale. The next step will reflect a literary device that I once loathed, but now see as quite possibly the most important stage in development. Rather than get ahead of myself, I’ll let the words of Emma Watson sit here…

These are exciting times.

#FFW

“The less you reveal the more people can wonder.” -Emma Watson

Steps 2 thru…

Lao Tzu did say that “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

At the very least we attribute it to him, because who really knows what someone said so long ago. Did he have a blog archive? ūüôā

That said, nobody ever really addresses the 2nd thru 1000th mile steps. What sustains and drives us forward in our endeavors? Action will give you the determination to get up off the couch and make the first step. The excitement of¬†starting¬†isn’t foreign to any of us. If you’ve ever been to the gym, think of January at the gym… People are¬†starting. They set a resolution and are out there making it happen. Does February look the same? Have¬†YOU made it that long?

You made it off the couch. That counts for something. But now is not the time to rest on your laurels (What’s a laurel?) Now is the time to set up a system. Systems save us from ourselves. It takes time for a habit to become ingrained, so your system is what keeps you going when the excuses start.

Free Advertising: Check out this book on Habit Stacking

Changing your life doesn’t have to be a gargantuan effort. It can be a series of small lifestyle changes, that over time, turn into what looks like an epic metamorphosis.

“Opportunity¬†is missed by most people because it is¬†dressed¬†in overalls and looks¬†like work.” – Thomas A. Edison

Preview for next time, here’s a secret weapon that’s been doubling and re-doubling my productivity, and doesn’t get in the way. Any obstacle, at this beginning stage of transformation, could be enough to stifle progress, so we need a tool that works for us…not the other way around.

Your Secret Weapon

Until next time, keep up the action.

#FreedomFromWish

 

First blog post

This is my very first post. The¬†stock photo is beautiful, so I’m keeping it. This site is the answer to a challenge.

Have you ever heard yourself utter the phrase “I wish…”

Fill in the blank with some unfulfilled desire, want, dream deferred, or pipe dream for that matter. That phrase lets you consider the prize, but connotes defeat. The wish is a trap.

Action is the antidote of a wish. Action is making something happen. This site may start off as a humble, unassuming blog, but it is a first step in building an empire. Chew on these philosophical treats:

“The¬†journey of a thousand miles begins¬†with one¬†step.” – Lao Tzu

“If you want to escape the burdens that oppress you, you should not be¬†somewhere else, but¬†someone else.” – Seneca

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Face reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it to be.” ¬†– Jack Welch

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” – Michael Jordan

The voices we allow into your lives will change us, shape us, mold us. If we are not careful, the music we hear, the political advertisements running the background, the fear-filled media could slowly strip away our strength. Only through focused, diligent attention can we actively choose our destinies.

Right now, you can make the choice to take responsibility for your life. You will no longer have anyone to blame, but you will be able to look back on your days and see something amazing that you made, and never again have to utter the sad phrase, “I wish…”

#FreedomFromWish