Discipline

discipline-for-Random Thoughts post

It has been a while since I’ve written anything philosophical as I’ve been writing mostly book reviews of late. If you read my last blog post on InspirationalBookReviews.com called Cant’ Hurt Me you might wonder what affect a book like this might have on your life. There are a lot of takeaways from that book but for me the primary ones include:

  • Toughen up – Both mentally and physically. If you read the book David Goggins uses a lot of physical challenges to toughen not just his body, but also his mind.
    • Are you seeking some kind of easy life where people throw money or accolades at you because you think you deserve it?
    • Are you expecting certain outcomes, that all work out due to your magnificent plans?
    • Neither of these scenarios are likely to happen and most likely you will be challenged on a daily basis and you will need more than a little toughness, perseverance, relentlessness, or whatever you want to call it to make shit happen.
  • Discipline – Get your lazy ass off the couch or chair and do something everyday that you can be proud of. This might be going for a run, practicing yoga, martial arts, Pilates, strength training, studying, writing, playing music or whatever floats your boat. Don’t say it’s too cold or it’s raining outside, just lace up the shoes and go do it. You can’t just hope you will gain some form of mastery or health sitting around thinking about it. You need to do it and do it over and over again, because that’s what discipline is all about.
  • Complaining – We have a litany of excuses such as my legs are sore, I’m just too tired, or I am just not feeling it today. Maybe something happened at work and we feel it necessary to complain about some perceived injustice committed against us. The list of things to complain about goes on and on and on. Stop this shit! Complaining about anything serves no useful purpose and will only drag you down and increase your level of despair.

The next little bit of advice comes from the book Unfu*k Yourself by Gary Bishop that I wrote a review for in July of 2018. Let me preface this with saying this is my list of stuff that pertains to my life and you can just insert your own list. Gary Bishop essentially said:

If it doesn’t serve your goals, then quit doing it.

The context that he was using that statement was around free will and he was saying if you want to know how much free will you have just try and stop doing all the shit you know you shouldn’t be doing. However for me I looked at it as more of a challenge to identify all the crap I was doing that didn’t serve me.

Now we all have a list of shit we need to stop doing because these behaviors don’t even remotely serve us in any capacity. My list of shit I need to stop doing, which is on my whiteboard as I write this includes:

  • Living in the future
  • Resenting people and situations
  • Letting my ego control my thoughts
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Caring about what other people think
  • Unhealthy habits such as drinking alcohol, smoking, and eating crappy food

This is by no means an exhaustive list for me as I continue to find ways to mess stuff up in my life, but it’s a nice start.

If any of this resonates with you I would love to know what your list of things you are going to give up that don’t serve you anymore.

I am a strong believer in incremental improvement, so you might start with just one of the items on your list. Maybe you are not exercising or can’t seem to get your work done on time, so the thing you want to stop doing is “procrastinating”. The incremental approach to un-fucking your life dictates that you start slow and go for a walk in the morning or go to work earlier than usual and work on your assignments. Now you are starting to build some self discipline that begins to replace your tendency to procrastinate. Guess what your life is getting better and it wasn’t all that painful or was it?

Giving up something also implies you will need to replace it with something else. This helps you fill the void left by abandoning that thing that didn’t serve with something that is either the opposite or a healthy substitute. So in my case some endless fascination with “Living in the Future” would imply I need to start “Living in the Present”. I’m not going to go into details about how I am doing that in this blog post; that is a topic for another day.

I wish you all the best!

Namaste

 

There is no destination

Ralph-Waldo-Emerson-Quote-Life-is-a-journey-not-a-destination

I am a Project Manager by profession, and as such I do a lot of planning for the future. One of the things we found over the years is that it is difficult to predict the future with any degree of accuracy and thus agile frameworks like Scrum and Kanban were born. Well if you can’t even predict what needs to be done and how long will it take for something as finite as a project then why do you expect to do this in a more complex scenario called your life.

I’m not saying you should not have goals or for that matter you should not plan things out that can be planned. The problem lies in having some stupid attachment to the plan while watching the failures accumulate as you doggedly follow a plan that is flawed. Like I said it’s good to have goals, but think of them more in terms of what you need to accomplish in the next couple weeks or a month instead of having detailed plans that span months and years. If you use an agile method like Scrum you would have a backlog of goals (Epics) and things you need to do to achieve the goal (user stories and tasks). Instead of making yourself crazy just pick a couple user stories from the backlog that will help you achieve your goal and focus on those for the next couple of weeks.

As your journey through life happens your goals will change, some may disappear and others will become more grandiose, and this is good even though it might not adhere to the plan you had in your head. Remember your not married to the plan, at best your just dating it. Life is unpredictable and when it’s all said and done the journey is your life. The plan is just a manifestation of your need to create some form of certainty in the future and deep down you know this is just bullshit. Let your belief in your goals or dreams drive you, but abandon the fucking plan. So what happens when you quit the long term planning game and focus on the short term; you might just find you will be living in the present moment and shit starts to happen for you and I don’t mean bad shit.

Eckhart tolle realize the present moment

Again dream big, have goals, and work towards them, but try just for a while to bring that planning into the short term as tasks that you can actually accomplish. I personally like Google Tasks because it shows up in Gmail and Google Calendar. I then see these tasks when I’m using my laptop, tablet, Chromebook, or my phone. Choose some things you need to get done today, tomorrow, and a week from now and leave it at that. I encourage you to stay focused on today and guess what all the rest of the shit begins to happen for you. Do this for a week and let me know if you start to see and feel the difference in your life.

Namaste

The Cure for Expectations

house_sitting_expectations

I recently wrote a review on the book UnFu*k Yourself where one of the authors rules for life was “I expect nothing; I accept everything”. As you think about this for a while it begins to make sense. Expecting things to turn out a certain way or for people to act a certain way is the road to disappointment. To start out with it takes you away from the present and instead you are living with expectations of the future. Let’s take a few examples:

  • While I’m driving I expect people to follow traffic laws. Little things like stop signs, traffic lights, speed limits, etc. Now this is one hell of a stupid expectation. When humans get behind the wheel of a car they turn into complete morons.
  • I expect that I will be recognized for my work at my place of business. Occasionally this happens, but never enough to live up to our expectations.
  • I expect that my significant other will appreciate the things I do for them. So what is it that they must do to live up to these expectations?
  • I expect that my children will be as motivated and driven as I am. That’s a real crock of shit.
  • I expect that my government will spend my tax money smartly and not build up trillions of dollars in debt. How silly is that?
  • I have expectations for myself surrounding being constantly happy or healthy. Set the bar high my friend and disappointment will find you.

These are just a few examples of how we all live with expectations that are literally sucking the fun out of life. There is no better way to mess up living in the present than by having all these stupid expectations. I’m not advocating that you don’t have dreams or goals, but be aware that if these are laden down with heaps of expectations you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Things rarely turn out the way you expect, often things turn out much better or much worse. You have so little control about how things will turn out, or what someone thinks of you, and planning on how things will turn out is a risky proposition. Do the best you can but don’t be so definitive about the outcome.

So what is the cure for this never ending life of expectations? I’m guessing if you read Gary Bishop’s book you know the answer. One little, but powerful word Acceptance is all you need to understand. By accepting things as they are, you are taking a big step towards living in the present. Give yourself a fucking break; you can often be accepting of others, but you can’t cut yourself some slack. If you can start living with a mindset of accepting life as it is, you will begin to really enjoy what you have and maybe even the things you do. Here are a couple of different ways to look at acceptance:

Acceptance-1Acceptance 2

You don’t need to throw away all your dreams or vision for the future, but don’t get so specific that you put yourself in a corner when things don’t turn out exactly as you expected. Throwing out those silly expectations leaves you open to a whole new perspective and to enjoy how things unfold. All of this can provide amazing levels of joy instead of comparing what happens to your expectations.

I will leave you with one other quote from Gary Bishop that really resonated with me.

“Plan for victory and learn from your defeats.”

Here are a few quotes on acceptance to ponder.

Happiness can exist only in acceptance. George Orwell

The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance. Brian Tracy

The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance. Nathaniel Branden

My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations. Michael J. Fox

Acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it brings something entirely new into this world. That peace, a subtle energy vibration, is consciousness. Eckhart Tolle

Namaste

Book Review – The 5 Second Rule

Mel Robbins

As I’ve mentioned before my book reviews are not meant to be a comprehensive dissertation about the book. I prefer to provide the simple premise and my own perspective about the writing.

5 second rule

The premise behind this book is that we have a tendency to talk ourselves out of pursuing good ideas because our primary focus is on protecting ourselves from things that take us out of our comfort zone. Mel Robbins talks about a hack that breaks this pattern of fear or procrastination by counting backwards from 5 to 1 and then taking action. This breaks the pattern of letting our mind talk ourselves out of doing something in response to the idea we have.

Most of this book is about having the courage to pursue your dreams and explaining all the ways to overcome sabotaging yourself. Let me say that for me the book was very inspirational, and may for you act as a trigger to start pursuing your dreams. She includes lots of quotes from readers on how they changed their life, and some pretty cool quotes on pages you can rip out and put on the wall in your home office for instance.

As much as I enjoyed the book, listening to her on a podcast or YouTube is equally enjoyable. Mel is an excellent public speaker. The YouTube video below is a good example of her excellent presentation skills:

It is an easy read that you could accomplish in a weekend, a little over 200 pages. I would certainly recommend it if you are considering making some changes in your life and need a little push in the right direction.

Namaste

 

 

One of life’s greatest pleasures

never stop learning concept on blackboard

We spend a good part of our life looking for satisfaction by acquiring things like bigger homes, expensive cars, and other possessions. Our quest for these things becomes our focus, believing that they will bring us happiness and pleasure. I’m not sure where all of this came from, maybe it is a result of our culture, but it often leads to a misguided approach to life.

As human beings we have an innate need to learn, which leads to self improvement, and yes happiness. For me and so many others, one of life’s greatest pleasures is learning. Think about the times you have been really happy. Maybe this was when you were pursuing a degree, studying for a certification, or learning something from your own studies or work. Unlike acquiring some material possession your pursuit of knowledge can never be taken away from you, it will not erode or decay over time. The pleasure you get by learning doesn’t wear off, but instead provides an infinite source of gratification.

Most of us can agree that goals are a good thing, they provide focus and direction, but make sure that learning is one of your highest priority goals. In fact those other material things are often the result of learning. Sure it’s great to have a nice car, a comfortable home, electronic toys, and whatever else you enjoy possessing. Unfortunately as you focus on attaining these things, once acquired they leave you with a taste for more much like any other addiction. One should also weigh the cost of what you might have to give up to acquire all these things. While learning costs you very little, maybe the cost of the book, and an investment of your time.

Take a few moments today and think back on a time when you were not obsessed with things, but instead spent your time learning about subjects that interested you. Can you think of anything that brought you more pleasure? It is never too late to change the way you think, modify your goals, and focus on the one thing that can bring you great satisfaction, happiness, and pleasure.

The very act of learning about things that interest you opens the door to everything else, creating opportunities go grow and to contribute to this world. Don’t misunderstand me I am not advocating you become a monk; I have material goals, but most of my goals are centered around learning for personal or professional development, and these are the goals that that provide the most pleasure in my life.

Namaste

Law of Attraction #2

law-of-attraction-5

In the last post Law of Attraction #1 I attempted to explain my macro level view of the law of attraction. I promised that I would try to explain how the law of attraction can be used to help you be happy and fulfilled in your own life. The overall goal for the law of attraction is for you to be happy with your life and to obtain what you want out of life.

For myself I have used the law of attraction to greatly reduce negative thoughts and increase positive results. Remember the law of attraction isn’t some feel good approach to life, although you will feel much better about yourself and others. The law of attraction is a state of the way things work and will exist and function whether you believe it or not. Here are a few ways to start using it to your advantage:

  • Take some time and think about what you want. These can be material things, something you would like to do, places you would like to live or visit, or work that you enjoy. Examples might include but not limited to:
    • A new car (Mustang GT)
    • My own business
    • Enjoying a vacation in Cancun
    • A fulfilling relationship with my significant other
  • Think about why you want these things in a positive way.
  • Write these things down somewhere that you can see them daily, focus on them, feel yourself receiving them.
    • Maybe you put them on a whiteboard, on paper, or some electronic form (computer, phone, etc.). It must be somewhere that will be visible to you as a reminder to yourself where you will focus your thoughts.
  • Do not think about what you don’t want. This is the hardest part because what you think about will be what you are attracting. Don’t fall into the trap that thinking about what you don’t want will motivate you to achieve something else, instead keep the focus only on what you want.
  • Every time you find yourself focusing on something you don’t want consciously make a shift and focus instead on what you want. This gets easier as time goes by and you begin to catch yourself thinking a negative thought and you will quickly remove it from your focus.
  • Begin to monitor what you are exposing yourself to. For me it was turning off the television so that I wasn’t wasting time watching cable news, which was only creating negative thought patterns. Use that time to feed your mind positive information and focus on what you want to attract.
  • Go with the flow, provide your input and advice, but when people don’t act upon it just accept it. Stop focusing on things you cannot change, go with the path of least resistance, it will always be easier to manifest.
  • Believe in yourself, in your dreams, and in the talents you possess. You are a unique creation and you have an unlimited potential to share your talent with the universe.
  • Finally practice being grateful. Being grateful reinforces the power of the law of attraction in a positive way. The power of expressing gratitude alone will only lead to a happier existence.

I think that is enough for today. I would love to hear what you are doing to use the law of attraction to improve your life. More to come on this wonderful subject.

Namaste

Personal freedom – from want to a plan

goal_setting

In my last post I defined what personal freedom is to me and how it is sought after by many of us, but how can it be realized? Certainly the path may be different for each of us as we have different skills, desires, and risk appetites. The one thing we can all benefit from is having some kind of goals that we can achieve which will lead us down the path towards personal freedom and financial independence.

I’ve always been a big fan of setting goals, and I have lots of experience doing it, which has led to continued growth both personally and professionally. I also realize there are limitations to goal setting and if not accompanied by action they are not very useful. So you must first decide that if I set a goal, than I intend to follow-up and do something about it. You will also need to think about your goals very carefully to ensure you have the right goals, because pursuing the wrong ones is a waste of time and precious effort. If personal freedom is one of your goals you will need to have smaller short-term goals that support it. One way to do this is to have goals that fit into at least two-time frames:

  • Less than 1 year
  • Greater than 1 year

In the past I had goals that were in three categories (< 1 year, 1 – 3 years, > 3 years), but it seemed that I was trying to plan out everything so far into the future that I really wasn’t sure what I really wanted and it did nothing but remove my focus on my short and mid term  goals. My advice is keep your goal setting in the 1 – 3 year range, anything beyond that is really speculating and doesn’t help you achieve results in the near term.

I would also recommend being specific on how you phrase your goals, and give them target dates so you have a set amount of time to achieve the goal. It is also important that you not have too many goals and goals that are due during the same time frame. While you want goals that motivate you, they must also be achievable, so be a little conservative at first when setting goals. An example of this would be say that I’m making $100,000 a year and I want to make $150,000 in within a years time. Maybe it would be more realistic to set the goal as $125,000 and if you exceed it, then great, but even if you get a promotion or a new job and you do hit the target you did great and you won’t feel disappointed with that pretty awesome 25% increase in salary. Here are 10 tips for setting goals:

  1. Make them a stretch but achievable with effort.
  2. Be specific in the way they are worded, making sure they indicate an outcome.
  3. Categorize them into time frames of < 1 year and > 1 year.
  4. Shorter term goals may support longer term goals.
  5. Make sure you have a target date to achieve the goal.
  6. Be sure and include personal goals as well as professional goals.
  7. Use some kind of task management system to break a goal down into tasks. I use something called My Life Organizer (MLO).
  8. Don’t create too many goals. When you have other ideas for a goal put it in a parking lot and think about it before committing.
  9. Make sure the goals you create are visible, so that you are seeing them everyday.
  10. Realize that your goals will change, some will be removed, and replaced by other goals as you learn more and come to various conclusions regarding what you really want to achieve.

One or more of your long-term goals will be related to obtaining personal freedom and it might be transitioning to being self-employed. Maybe personal freedom to you means being completely retired, but whatever it is you need to take some time to think about your goals. First determine what you really want and then work backwards to determine the goals that support your long term objectives. Here is an example of how this might look:

Short Term (less than 1 year)

Goal Target
Start playing guitar again 02/11/2017
Get a Brittany Spaniel dog 02/28/2017
Create Living Will and Trust 03/31/2017
Obtain XYZ certification 03/31/2017
Positive cash flow in my home based business 07/28/2017
Remodel Kitchen and replace flooring 09/31/2017

 

Long Term (greater than 1 year)

Goal Target
Start teaching project management online 03/31/2018
$3,000 income per month in my home based business 07/31/2018
Have 5,000 followers on my blogs 12/31/2018
Have 10,000 Twitter followers 12/31/2018
Have 10,000 YouTube followers 06/30/2019
Transition to self-employed 12/09/2019
Finish my first book 12/31/2020

Let’s say you wanted to manage your own business, do some writing, and teach project management in effect transitioning to being self-employed and having a lot more personal freedom than you currently have. Besides some of your personal goals you have some business oriented ones like having a positive cash flow in your home based business, increasing your social media presence on Twitter, YouTube, and your blog; all of these lead you to your ultimate goal of transitioning to self employment. This is merely an example, your own plan will be different and unique to your own situation and time-table.

You now have a starting point to begin taking action. You have considered what personal freedom means to you and have constructed a plan to get there, now you must start achieving your goals. Each goal will have potentially many tasks that go into achieving that goal, so your next step should be breaking down the goal into tasks and performing those tasks in a time frame that supports the target date for each goal.

I am personally committed to a business called MyDailyChoice that I will be working on to help me obtain personal freedom. Check it out if you have a few minutes.

In my next post we will go into more detail on goal setting and more importantly how to achieve them.