Week 3: Stop Thinking About It

This is part of my weekly project at self-improvement by following the battle plan found in “Forward Tilt: An Almanac for Personal Growth.” This book is incredibly valuable and only $0.99 on Kindle.

Alright, this last week or so has been kind of a gagglefuck. I was out of town for work part of last week and then we had Couchsurfers all weekend. It really messed up my routine (I know I am making excuses) but I think the break did me some good. I feel much more motivated.

So, quick update on Week 2. I basically did not accomplish anything that I set out to do (womp womp). But that’s okay. I can’t change the events of last week any more than I can change the 2016 Presidential election or the burning of the Library of Alexandria, all I can I do is move forward and live in the moment.

The focus of Week 3 is “Stop Thinking About It”. Basically, I need to do the things that I think about doing or say I am going to do. This week reminds me of a chapter of Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday called “Talk, Talk, Talk”. I probably highlighted more sections of that chapter than any other in the book, but this was my favorite passage:

The only relationship between work and chatter is that one kills the other.

Basically, if you are talking about doing something then you probably aren’t doing it. We all have projects and dreams and desires in our life that we talk about doing “someday”, at least I do. In fact, I have a list of things to do sitting right next to me that seems to grow every day. Some of them I can finish in a day and some require serious commitment.

Here is my current list:

  • Write “Forward Tilt” blog post (well hell, things are looking good right now)
  • Complete Coursera course on Nutrition (started)
  • Nude sunbathing in backyard
  • Transfer book into ePub/Kodo format
  • Record Audiobook
  • Complete Excel Course
  • Learn a foreign language
  • Complete “Yoga for Men” course on Udemy
  • Dig up weeds and junk by back shed and prep soil for gardening
  • Finish taxes
  • Study for driver’s license test
  • Register at the local VA
  • Find social groups (ideas: Freemasons, Unitarian Universalist Church, Softball league, Board Game and D&D Game nights at local comic shop, Running and Cycling clubs)
  • Locate a Half Marathon this fall
  • Try out new art mediums
  • Master a fire dancing technique (poi, staff, or hoop)
  • Clear non-work emails
  • Schedule a dental appointment
  • Learn to play a musical instrument
  • Mail books to friend in New Orleans
  • Organize tool closet
  • Transfer seedlings into bigger containers
  • Finish second draft of Linneria
  • Find a 3x a week workout plan

The action item for this week is to pick one thing that I’ve been thinking or talking about doing and do it. Seems pretty simple.

Unfortunately, I have a history of overplanning early on and burning out quickly. I’d like to say “hell yeah, I can get all these done in a week” but I don’t know if I have the mental stamina for that. Instead, I am going to pick one big project that will be my top priority and focus all my energy on completing that this week. I think seven days is enough time to accomplish the Audiobook recording of my book. That is probably the project that most accurately fits the definition of something I’ve talked about but haven’t done. I’m excited to report back in a week with my progress.

 

Weekend Off

This is part of my weekly project at self-improvement by following the battle plan found in “Forward Tilt: An Almanac for Personal Growth.” This book is incredibly valuable and only $0.99 on Kindle.

For the first time in a very long time, I took a weekend off from life. I don’t normally work for money on the weekends, but I do tend to schedule and structure my days. In the past, that structure has been necessary for me to complete projects, but I’ve felt so burnt out lately that I needed a break. So, between 5pm on Friday and 6am on Monday I had nothing planned that I wasn’t enthusiastic about, and it was exactly what I needed.

I didn’t write or blog or exercise or check my email (I actually didn’t turn my computer on all weekend) or complete any of the daily rituals that I feel like I must to complete, and now I feel energized and my brain is overflowing with inspiration and ideas and motivation. My weekend was mostly beer, naps, weed, and junk food, and my body feels a bit sluggish paying for those sins but my mind is sharp. A little time off can put things in perspective.

So, how did I do on last week’s Forward Tilt action item? Terribly. I think I really missed the entire point of the exercise. Instead of slowing down, I sped up. I tried to schedule big projects that I wasn’t necessarily passionate about each day and they ended up (mostly) ignored. Oh well, I can’t do anything about last week so I shouldn’t let it impact me.

This week’s Forward Tilt chapter is titled “Stop Thinking About It” and is a battlecry to stop thinking and planning and instead, just take action. The perfect time to apply for a job (or quit a job), take up a new hobby, start yoga or MMA, break up with a terrible partner, etc. will never happen. All you have is today to take action and make changes. As Morehouse says in this chapter:

“‘I’m going to’ and ‘I’m thinking about’ are dangerous phrases. Keep saying them and you’ll miss opportunities, delay action for weeks, and perhaps never do anything at all.”

This week’s action item is to pick one thing that I’ve been thinking or talking about doing and actually do it. Start to finish, this week. I’m not sure right now what that project is going to be, but I’ll update here when I figure it out.

Week 2: Slow Down

This is part of my weekly project at self-improvement by following the battle plan found in “Forward Tilt: An Almanac for Personal Growth.” This book is incredibly valuable and only $0.99 on Kindle.

It seems like we are always racing each other to get to some random objective. First up the career ladder. First to have ten children. First to make $1,000,000. First to retire. First to start your own business. We get stuck on a certain path because that is what “successful” people before us did.

But man, what is the use of racing around your whole life?

Instead of focusing on the end goal, we should be focusing on our daily lives and enjoying what we have around us. Yes, working hard is important, but that work should make sense. “Work for work’s sake” is waste, but if you are working towards bettering yourself or working to remove the pain points or working to find your passion, then that will get you far in life even if it means passing up a high paying job.

My favorite line out of this week’s lesson is, “I don’t care if you’re sixteen or thirty-three, because you’re not on any conveyor belt or timeline. The path you’re following is your own.”

The action item this week is to write down one thing that I want to do each day of the week to add value to myself. That value can come in many forms and will change with my mood, but my rough plan is this:

  • Monday: Begin recording Audiobook
  • Tuesday: Run 10 miles
  • Wednesday: Bike ride to the beach and relax
  • Thursday: Start a Coursera course on a subject that I’m interested in
  • Friday: Nude sunbathing in my back yard
  • Saturday: Register for a triathlon and begin training
  • Sunday: Attend a Unitarian Church Service

Week 1: The Two Biggest Secrets to Success

This is part of my weekly project at self-improvement by following the battle plan found in “Forward Tilt: An Almanac for Personal Growth.” This book is incredibly valuable and only $0.99 on Kindle.

This week’s lesson (practice? guideline? challenge?) focuses on the two most important factors in creating possibility in your life: creating value and signaling the value you created. This lesson comes at an important time for me. I just completed my first book and have been struggling with advertising it. I feel like I’m bragging if I talk about it more than just the original post, but maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe I should put more effort into advertising what I created and am proud of.

So, in answer to this week’s challenge, I am going to work on cultivating a professional outlet for my creations. I will also be writing daily fiction and putting it on my blog (my first creative love is fiction writing). Like Steven Pressfield discusses in “The War of Art”, in order to overcome Resistance we need to be a professional. I am a professional writer and I should act like it.

My rough plan looks like this:

Monday – Research advertising options Facebook and such
Tuesday – Create a professional page on Facebook, set up a Twitter account, update LinkdIn
Wednesday – Website Complete
Thursday – Set up Podcast
Friday – Wrap up loose ends or work on other stuff that came to mind this week