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Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Gift of Baby Steps and Why You Didn’t Break Into a Full Sprint out of The Uterus


It’s June… who happens to be busting out all over (excuse that musical theatre reference). The year is almost halfway on the books, I’m way less busy during the spring and summer months… and so I’ve decided to start a bunch of new initiatives or amp up the time I’m spending on them.
  • Two new languages
  • Piano lessons
  • Songwriting (the technical side)
  • Writing or curating three new books
  • A new business
  • Trying to lose five pounds/gain it back in muscle (my spare bicycle tire is turning into a wheel made for a monster truck… #facepalm)
Don’t worry, it’s not too much... but damn it all some of it is just plain difficult. I like or love all of these new things. And I figure I’ve been talking about doing some of these things for years but if I don’t do them now, when am I ever going to get around to it?

Yes, there’s the risk of doing too much to be good at any one thing BUT in my case I don’t really watch TV and I’m a crappy gardener, so I might as well fill my time with something.

I had to check in with myself on some of the frustrating aspects of learning new things.

Languages for example: with our native language, we aren’t truly fluent and well-versed in speech until around the age of eight (some of us eighteen :) ).

It’s like when we were babies: you didn’t get pissed off at yourself because you were crawling and not walking. You were determined to brace yourself on the table and hold yourself up, until your leg strength and coordination were up to par with walking on your own. You took two steps the first time, three the next and so on. You didn’t break into a full sprint straight out of the uterus.

The resolution I set for myself—which may help you as well.

Break up my big goal into a bunch of mini goals. Essentially I put the target close and hit the mark with success (even if it takes a few tries). I can celebrate that success—which is much needed on the road to a big goal. After hitting my mark, I’ll set the target back a little further, increasing the difficulty incrementally each time. This metaphor can carry out in a lot of ways. And I’ve certainly done with this work before but without the same vocabulary and terminology. My edu-ma-cated hypothesis: I’ll hit my goals by giving myself the gift of clear, succinct baby steps. Another thought: It’s impossible to stay on your feet all the time. Falling in life is bound to happen. However, the fall is a lot less painful when taking baby steps, rather than when moving at lightning speed on a motorcycle that you don’t know how to drive yet.
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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Automating Your Life: Spend Less Time Doing Crappy Tasks and More Time Doing What You Love


So, I’m definitely on a productivity kick. How can I spend less time doing crappy things that I hate, and more time creating and doing things that I enjoy? Yes, things like unexpected doctors appointments, traffic jams, and trips to the airport will come up, but it’s still worth spending some time figuring out how do more things I like with less time (I swear my watch hates me and is speeding up).

I decided I wanted to learn how to create systems for my mundane tasks in order to  automate them, and perhaps even give them away for someone else to do. 

Automate definition: Convert a process to largely automatic operation

Why would anyone try to automate anything? To live richer, happier, easier lives (#booyah).

Technically we already automate tasks when we:
  • Go out to dinner
  • Go to the doctor (Really? you really want to go to medical school to learn to operate on yourself? Really? ;) ) 
  • Hire someone to do our taxes
Some things have to be done and can only be done by us. But other things, menial tasks that are about as fun as scraping nails on a chalkboard—they can be broken up, broken down, and given away. 

You don’t necessarily have to automate the whole job. 
  1. Pick three tasks inside the larger job, tasks that could very well be repetitious. 
  2. Learn how to do each task well three times. 
  3. Write dummy-proof detailed instructions on how to do the task(s) so you can teach someone else how to do the task(s). **Yes, writing the instructions totally sucks and can take a bit of time. But the time you’ll save over the course of a week, a month, a year by not having to do this task will be epic and allow you to spend more time on the people you love and more time on the things you love to do. 
  4. If you can’t afford to give these tasks away by paying someone, barter them away. “Hey Barry, I hate doing X but you love doing X. You hate doing Y but I love doing Y. Let’s switch and check in on progress at the end of the week.”
PS, yes there are apps and cool life-hack posts on productivity and automating your life. There’s lots of material and good info out in cyberspace.

You only live once. Might as well find ways to create more possibilities while you’re here. Bam.

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

What Kind of Investment Are You Willing to Make to Get What You Want?


Recently I was feeling a bit stagnant and stuck—like I wasn’t making the most of my time or my life. 

I realized I needed to get back into music… but I wasn’t sure how. A friend asked, “What kind of investment are you willing to make to get what you want?”

Damn. Good point.

There’s a YouTube instructional video for just about anything. 

Cool.  I once used YouTube to learn how to tie a Windsor knot. So, I started learning piano chords and proper piano fingering techniques from instructional videos. But it wasn’t enough—so I hired several teachers. I also decided to work with a world-class songwriting coach, and I’m putting in the practice. 

“What kind of investment are you willing to make to get what you want?” should be a daily question asked of oneself. 

Who has the reputation for being the master in your desired field of study, and can you find a way to train with them?

Learning never ceases, nor does the evolution of self. To create possibilities, we must continue to hone our knowledge-base even in our field(s) of expertise. Otherwise you stagnate and the lack of fulfillment creeps in—and truly, ain’t nobody got time for that.