Shoot First, Aim later.

Quick!  What’s the last thing you’ve done today?

Chances are if you’re reading this, it wasn’t much.   You might be procrastinating right now!

A lot of the complication in beginning a task usually comes with the plan, we generally never really get to that stage.  If you’re a person like I am, that gets easily overwhelmed by looking at the project as a whole, this might lock you in a state of procrastination to keep your mind from thinking about the project as it induces anxiety or fear.it helps to break things down.

It helps to break things down to formulate the plan, but that’s not this is about.  This about the stage before planning, this is about getting started.   The problem with formulating a plan is you need a semblance of what the task might be like.  This is where you shoot.  Without a plan, with nothing more than knowledge of the task needing to be done, shoot.  Do a thing, the first thing.  Don’t write the plan, don’t think about the plan, just do whatever the first step in your head might be.

By shooting first, you’ll begin to immediately grasp the situation and control where your “bullet” (thought/task) is going.   You’ll understand what isn’t helping the project and you’ll be able to adjust the course and aim.

 

 

Excuses

Starting this post was a battle in its own.

“Your stories aren’t good enough” sent me on a 30 minute quest to be a better story teller, True, there may be helpful resources out there, but nothing quite as good as practice.

“I’m not focused enough” took me down a 10 minute trip of getting a cup of tea, to get in the writing mood and spirit of penmanship.

Was it necessary?  None of it ever is, the important part is putting the pen to the paper, the fingers to the keyboard, the click to the clack.   In a world where I anticipate everything to be perfect, a master plan laid out before any work begins, it’s not always true.   Maybe that’s tapping into the creative side, do artists spend a lot of time planning before jumping into their work, a question I know not the answer to.

These past few days I’ve been making an effort to be more mindful of one thing in particular: my anger.   It seems that as the day went by, I would find myself chasing a rabbit hole of thoughts and feeding a very angry wolf, ultimately preventing any work from ever beginning.   I would get so worked up about something I would forget what the original thought was entirely.

I enjoy the game Minecraft.  In this game you can, well, mine.   One of the rarer stones to come by is the Diamond Ore, it’s a grey stone with little specks of light blue spattered throughout it.   In the quest for customizing my environment, I decided to make a Minecraft lamp that twinkled in the night.   This process in itself isn’t that hard, you get some wood, make a box, carve out little sqaures for a blue transparency or acrylic that fits in the reciprocating holes and put a light bulb in the center.

On the journey to come to this conclusion, I had convinced myself that I needed an arduino project board.   This is the beginning of a series of excuses that prevented me from starting the project and ultimately leaving me locked in a state of anger, where I sat festering for a time, before I realized I had completely forgotten about the project.

The heart of this problem, excuses.  They are deterrents that will run you down a rabbit hole so deep you can’t even see the light anymore and it got me wondering, how many opportunities in life have I passed up because of an excuse that worked just right?  How many businesses never start because of an excuse in the way ?  (We cant do X because we don’t have Y).

There lies the difference between two types of people, the ones who makes excuses and the ones who get things done.   The ones who make excuses, only have excuses to share.  When triumphant after completing a task, where once there would have been excuses, there are now stories.   They usually start with something such as “Did I ever tell you about a time when?” and a series of events that were in the way of the hero completing their task, but they didn’t stop the hero, no.   The hero prevails.

Be the hero, slay the excuses, tell a story when you’re done.

Taking Notes.

Taking notes, in my opinion, is the corner-stone between success and failure.

 

A process can not evolve if you do not know what has changed.

If the only notes that were kept are in your head.

With mental notes, they’re great for a day, but you’ll find that something important will arise and completely erase all the progress you had made.   With adequate notes, you can always pick up right where you left off.

Identifying a great idea, heck, even just an idea and differentiating it from a thought is a subtle skill that will take you far.

What’s the difference?  An idea must be written down.  When read later, it will take you somewhere.  It might incite a series of thoughts or actions that will help you push the ball a little further, day after day.  Communicating an idea to a team-member, or even to yourself, will help incite more progress.    An idea may come in the derivative of “I should plant tulips”  Which can ultimately be chalked up to an actionary ” Buy Tulips.

A thought will have no direct bearing on your progress.  Thoughts can float away seamlessly.   A thought may be something like “That tulip is beautiful.”

There’s a very subtle difference between the two and often one leads to the other.

Being able to take notes on your ideas and incorporating the thoughts in a meaningful manner is a skill well-learned.    Let’s take the Tulip example one step forward.  It was first the thought:  “Tulips are beautiful.”  This lead to the idea ” I should buy Tulips”  and you can record it in your notebook as such.

“Buy Tulips.   Tulips may help improve the environment and improve the flow of creativity.”

Now that the idea and thought are safely recorded, you can forget it about.    This is where the next critical part of note taking comes in.  Note-reading.

It’s important to have one database or repository for your notes.  Returning day in and day out to both harverst old ideas and return fresh content.   You will be able to store resources you learn along your journey, maybe where the cheapest Tulips are, the best time to plant tulips.

When diving into new topics, you can brainstorm in your notebook and create a comprehensive resource for yourself (or others) so you won’t need to revisit it.

Where can I buy tulips?

When should I plant tulips?

Which tulips are hardiest?

By taking the time to research the items later, you can leave the answer directly in your notes, with a link to the reference websites for more details.   This guarantees at a later date, after the information has been long purged from your brain, you can quickly digest the information and in a matter of moments be thrust back to the height of all the progress you’ve previously made without having to do the hours of research again.

Trading Hours for Dollars

Trading Hours for Dollars.
It’s a common tactic, it’s the most common of all for pretty much everyone.  It’s typically referred to as “getting a job.”

There’s a flaw with this, in that you’re not only sacrificing your hours for a few dollars.   You end up sacrificing your thoughts, your spirit, your soul.  The greater things that you have inside that just can’t be accounted for by any monetary figure.   If you stay at it too long, you’ll find yourself empty.

It’s one of the things you don’t realize is happening, but after a year, two years, three years, maybe forty, you look back and think “where did all the time go?”  You might find yourself surrounded with more luxurious items, adorned with fancy clothes and jewelry but completely void of all the spirit and heart that you started the journey with .

It’s not always this way, it’s not a universal truth or necessary evil of all jobs, no.   It is, however, the common experience for many.    There are a few methods to get around it.

You can start your own business, this is very demanding, often more so then having a job.  There is a key difference though, it’s a constant learning experience and period of self-discovery where you must ask yourself important questions to make decisions for the better of the business.  They’re not always the right decisions and that’s okay, life’s not always right, but often you’ll find everything is okay.

Though it may take up all your time, you’ll find yourself awake with more energy, excited to get more work done, to get to that next e-mail, call that next client, make that next doo-dad, whatever it is you’ve done to find yourself self-employed and call yourself the boss, it’s exciting, it’s invigorating, at times down-right terrifying, but definitely worth it.

You could ultimately get a career in a field that you’re passionate about, I find a lot of struggle in this and I imagine most might as you must know what your passionate about.  Some people have it cut and dry and know from day one exactly what they’re in love, but most of us don’t.   Again, this comes with the journey of self-discovery that we all must make.

So the question you really have to ask yourself when you get out of bed to trade your hours for dollars in the morning, isn’t “how much is my time worth?”  It’s how much of your soul are you willing to give away and never get back.

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start writing!

I know it’s customary for most wordpress blogs to delete this, but I’m keeping this one.  I feel it’s the birth of something new, or rather the rebirth of something old.  It’s been ten years since this blog was offline and I was lucky enough to snag the domain back, though I’m not sure anyone would ever have wanted to touch it.   So here’s to trying again.  Second times the charm.