Daily Ramblings – Motivation Monday

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It always seems impossible until it's done. - Nelson Mandela

Photo Credit: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/nelson_mandela_378967?src=t_motivational

Is there a task or goal you have that you are procrastinating on? You know you want to do it but you’re stuck. In the meantime, it keeps eating at you day after day. What do you do?

Like Nelson Mandela explains above, these tasks are not as big as we build up in our minds. The best way to handle a new task or undertaking is to learn how others have done it. Look for a tutorial on YouTube, post a question on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Ask your friends, your family members, your colleagues at work or church. It is highly likely that someone in your circle will know someone that can help or at least point you in the right direction.

I take a lot of online courses. I do this with a specific goal in mind. First, to learn something new. Second, to learn about something I want to know about that will help me achieve what I want. Recently, I took a non-fiction book writing course. It was terrific! It gave me a framework to work with. It provided key steps to take to write the book–the most important part being the creation of an outline. I discovered that once the brainstorming for things I wanted to talk about took shape, the writing of the book is actually pretty easy.

During this time I also had an epiphany. I took a look at my blog. In the last two years, I have easily written a book or two in content. So, I use my blog as the model. I write each section of my book and treat it like a daily blog post. Now, it’s a simple undertaking. Yeah, there are other unknowns out there like: How will I publish the book? Who will I get to edit the book? and other future questions, but the key, for now, is to get the content on paper. That’s what I’m focusing on now–content.

If you have any bucket list items, goals, or aspirations–don’t hesitate to begin searching for someone who has already done it. You’d be surprised. There are a lot of people in the world. There are a lot of people who post their achievements on YouTube and many other places. You’ll find out exactly what you need to find out.

The key to all of this is to act. You can talk about something, you can think about something, you can dream about something. If this is all you do, you’ll never get this thing done and you’ll be talking about it 6 months from now. Get off your butt and do something. You’ll be amazed how much you can get done if you just chop away a little a day.

This week is week 2 of the Kris Gethin 4-week to shred workout routine. I’m up to 40 minutes of cardio two times a day, along with a heavy-duty workout routine. I’m feeling pretty good and it feels even better when I’ve checked that second workout off of my daily to-do list.

I’m also reading some books, writing here and working on my book, and pursuing my spiritual interests. It’s going to be a great week!

Nothing is impossible folks. You just have to take a breath, visualize, come up with a plan, organize the action steps, set a basic timeline, and get to work. It’s that simple. I wish all of you a great week!

Until next time…

Dave

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Daily Ramblings – Spiritual Saturday

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“The cycle of creative action begins with the concept we carry in our minds of what we wish to do. The next step is to outline on paper some plan of how to accomplish this. The final step is action in carrying out the plan.”—Harold Klemp The Language of Soul

What’s Holding You Back?

I have found that simplicity is in everything if we look for it. It is so easy to go overboard on the things we wish to accomplish. The trite expression “paralysis by analysis” comes to mind. We “overthink” what we want to accomplish and take more time thinking about doing something than doing it.

Some folks call this activity resisting change or just plain resistance. Where does this resistance come from? Much of the resistance we feel when we want to change something in our lives comes from us.

Our brains love routine. The neural pathways that are responsible for our habits, good and bad, are built out of repetition. The more you repeat something the more you reinforce the neural pathway that supports the action and so on.

I have found that just jumping in and taking one small step toward our goals works. Regardless of how minuscule the action is, just taking that step can be the one thing that gets us moving in a dramatic way. Take, for example, writing a book. A book is literally a collection of words oriented around a broad topic and organized into chapters, paragraphs, and sentences.

When I was at the peak of procrastination on starting my book, I glimpsed at the number of postings on my blog. This examination brought about an epiphany. This epiphany was simply this: “If I can write 200+ words per day on my blog, I can surely do the same thing with a book. Subsequently, I began the book and currently at a 10,000-word count. Is the book perfect? No. But it has the solid beginnings of a good rough draft that I’ll edit and edit and edit again until I get my words down in a way that satisfies me. Taking a big task and doing little pieces of work on this task each day is one way to begin to solidify the change in your life and move forward on a project that you may have been staring at for the longest time. We begin to form a neural pathway, we reinforce that neural pathway, and over time, that neural pathway becomes strong enough that our actions toward a project are internalized—they become automatic.

Taking the Time to Plan

Think about something you want to do. It can be anything. Maybe you want to clean out your closets or the garage, maybe you want to start an exercise routine, maybe you want to set up a budget, or start eating better. Regardless what the project is there are action steps you can take to get this thing moving along.

Think About It

Before creating an action plan it is important to think about what it is you want to do. Visualize in your mind what the end state is. Where do you want to be? What does the finished project look like? What must be satisfied before you can say you’ve completed it? Do you see the way that garage or basement will look when you’re done?

Write it Down

The next step is writing down all of the things that must be done to reach the end state you visualized. The best way to begin this type of work is to brainstorm or free write about the project. Just collect a whole list of things you need to do in order to get project A from start to end point. Some folks use mind mapping techniques to do this. Others simply write down as many ideas or steps they believe need to be accomplished to get the project done.

Organize

Once you have all of your ideas or action items to complete your project, you’ll need to organize these action steps. There will be obvious first actions, secondary actions, and still other actions that must be accomplished in some order that makes sense and will move you forward in a fluid manner. If you still have no idea where to start, you can work yourself backward from your visualized end state to the beginning of the project. I learned this “backward planning” technique while I served in the Army.

Backward planning is nothing more than looking at each of your items and placing them in a timeline that starts with the finished picture of where you’ll end up when you’re done with a project. That point that you know that you are completed and there is nothing left to do.

You could put your final step as “clean garage”. Then start organizing items on this timeline that work back from the clean garage to your initial step, which may be something like pull all items out of the garage. There may be other items on your list like give this away to charity, put aside for future garage sale, or throw this item away. You may even have tasks that involve getting some items from the local grocery store before you start. Maybe “buy garbage bags”, “buy a broom”, or “buy a leaf blower” are on your list.

Some tasks depend on other tasks to be completed before you can begin working on them. For example, you can’t clean the floor of the garage while your car, snow blower, or lawn mower are in the garage. Subsequently, these “dependent” tasks require that another task is completed prior to engaging them on your to-do list. Once you have all of your items on your list in the order they need to be accomplished you are ready for execution.

Scheduling the Time

Some projects you will tackle will be large enough to eat up a few days or months of work. These projects will have action items that will take a few minutes, while others may eat up an entire afternoon. Now it is time to decide where to start and how much time you have to accomplish the task. Since you may have only a limited time to dedicate toward a project, given your other responsibilities, you may need to break some of the items on your project list into even more discrete steps. If I only have an hour or two hours to get something done on this project, I’ll need to ensure that I only tackle action steps that allow me to get these things done in the allotted time.

Making Adjustments

Many of us will allot too much or too little time toward an action step. This is common. Plan for it. If you begin working through an action step, you may discover that you need another tool, or you need more time to get this thing done than originally planned. That’s ok. Look at your action items and either break that task down into smaller tasks or adjust your schedule to accommodate the work you know you’ll need to get it checked off your list.

Completion

If you keep knocking items off of your action list, you will finish the project at some point. When you finish the project, reward yourself for a job well-done. You did it! Now, you can begin work on your next project(s) using the same process above. These steps are listed out below for your convenience:

  • Visualize
  • Brainstorm
  • Organize
  • Schedule
  • Adjust
  • Complete

Well, I hope this helped some of you. Have a great Saturday everybody!

Until next time…

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Thinking Thursday

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“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” – Dwayne Johnson

Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/dwayne_johnson_760902?src=t_work

Consistency. It is making choices about what we will do and then consistently working towards the goals we have decided to pursue. If you want to lose weight, you must exercise, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, and eat nutritious foods—consistently. You won’t lose weight if you eat right today and eat horribly for the rest of the week. You won’t lose weight if you exercise today and then blow it off for a month.

I don’t care what you choose to do. Once you decide, be as consistent as you can. If you want to write—write consistently. If you want to be well-read—read consistently. If you want to build any skill into your repertoire—build that skill consistently. If you want deep and meaningful relationships—contribute to these relationships consistently.

Consistent action is powerful. Watch the waves of the ocean sometimes. They never stop coming in. They erode rock. Watch the animals that visit your backyard. They are consistently foraging for food, working on their homes, and cleaning themselves. They are consistently scanning their environment for predators. There are examples of consistency everywhere.

Consistent action on the items you value will deliver tremendous results. Choose what you want to do, add in a little time each day to do something to work toward that goal and you will achieve it at some point.

Here’s my progress on reading, learning, and entertainment activities for this week:

Books:

Rediscovering Americanism and The Tyranny of Progressivism, Mark R. Levin – Just started this one. My brother sent it to me as a gift.

Ethics, Aristotle

The Shariyat Ki Sugmad, Paul Twitchell

Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe

Classes:

Western Heritage, Hillsdale College – Almost done with this one. A quick note: Hillsdale has updated their website and online courses. They no longer offer discussion boards, quizzes, or certificates of completion—FYI.

Documentaries:

Movies:

Venom (Another Marvel Movie) is scheduled to come out on the 5th. I cannot wait. This one looks terrific!

Fun:

The West Wing (Currently on Netflix) – Just finished this season again. I cannot recommend this series enough. I have watched it probably 8 or 9 times and still do not get tired of it. The characters are terrific and the acting and writing are terrific. 5 STARS!!

Ozark – Netflix (in the cue)

Jack Ryan – Amazon Prime (in the cue)

Interesting Apps:

Until next time…

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Wisdom Wednesday

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Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice. - Anton Chekhov

Anton Chekhov was a Russian playwright and the author of numerous short stories (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Chekhov). Today’s Wisdom Wednesday addresses the importance of applying what we learn.

With the huge amount of information available to us in books, the web, radio, and television, it is easy to become overwhelmed. When you take a look at the number of available, free online courses that information overload becomes even greater. When you begin looking for something to learn, your search could be motivated by a need to know something or to learn how to do something.

How do we internalize new bits of knowledge? We read about it, we take notes, we study the material. If we have enough information to use, we stop gathering information. If we do not have enough information or have other questions, we continue our quest.

It is easy to be sucked into “useless” learning. It can be entertaining to learn about a really obtuse topic that you will never apply but it should not be habitual. Who has that kind of time? Instead, we should focus on learning something that we can use. Perhaps you want to learn how to market your skills. Perhaps you want to learn how to write non-fiction or fiction. Perhaps you’d like to be a better public speaker.

Chekhov’s point is to apply what you learn. I like Merriam Webster’s word of the day. I want to grow my vocabulary and this is a great way to do it. I listen to the word’s pronunciation, I learn about the word’s origins, and I listen to the announcer’s use of the word in a sentence. Then I use that word for the day. This is a simple example of applying what we learn.

There is some learning that cannot be applied directly. I am currently reading Aristotle’s ethics. I cannot apply this information directly but I can use it when I am thinking or tackling an issue that I am struggling with. Learning about history is another example of this kind of learning. We read history to learn about what our predecessors did. How did they handle the problems of the day? How did they deal with reality? How did they tackle the challenges that faced them?

Next month I begin my year-long adventure into character building. I’m going to use the same model that Benjamin Franklin used to work on his character. He simply listed out the characteristics he wanted to achieve as a person and then he worked on one of these each month. After the first month, he would begin working on the first and the second characteristic. As he moved into the third month, he would be working on character trait one, two, and three. This continued until he had built all of the character traits he wanted to. This is an example of using previous knowledge and applying it to one’s own life.

Take a few moments today and figure out what you would like to learn. Begin researching all of the sources of information that apply to your topic of interest. Once you have isolated a few sources (online course, book, etc.) you can begin learning this new skill. Once you have tackled some of the content, try applying what you know to your day-to-day life. You’ll be amazed by the results and how quickly you assimilate this information.

I hope each of you is having a terrific week so far. As always, feel free to comment and pass along my blog to others in your network.

Thanks for visiting!

Until next time…

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Ted Talk Tuesday!

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Adam Grant brings to light the ability to join the ranks of “The Original” by making slight alterations to the way we do things. I think you’ll enjoy this one. It’s humorous, has some surprising insights, and shows that these folks are not much different from the rest of us–they just try more.

Until next time…

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Motivation Monday

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Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other. - Walter Elliot

Image above (https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/walter_elliot_190719?src=t_motivational)

I screw up all of the time. It is part of my nature. I used to get so frustrated about making mistakes that I literally stopped making any effort to accomplish things. I was so freaked about making mistakes I would never begin anything. This is the result of fearing failure.

After studying various folks like Edison, Ford, Franklin, Gates, Jobs, and many other greats, I discovered that everyone makes mistakes. It is part of the learning process. We have to make mistakes in order to learn how to do a new thing.

One of the things I have learned over time is that we are truly unique–each one of us. What may work for Joe over there will not work for Jane here. We all have to pay attention to what is going on and make adjustments to what we are doing.

I really enjoy the gym. I like to go and begin the workout. I like the feeling of walking out after my routine is completed. I like the feeling of accomplishment, the feeling of self-discipline, the boost to my self-esteem.

This week I’m following my protocol–daily reading, daily writing, daily learning, daily exercise, and daily spiritual activities. This works for me but it may not work for you. You have to try things out–learn what works–then stick with what you learn. Be aware, however, that what works today may not work tomorrow. We all evolve as we go. Our interests change, our bodies change, our capabilities change. These changes dictate that we alter our pursuits to accommodate them.

Embrace the change. Embrace the things that disrupt your day. Embrace the things that are out of your control. All of these things will make you stronger–less susceptible to the things that occur outside of your ability to affect or control.

The metaphor of this is living in the “eye of the storm”. There are all kinds of chaos in the world. People are chaotic and unpredictable. The weather is chaotic and unpredictable. Anything you cannot control that is outside of you is chaotic and unpredictable. All of this chaos and unpredictability cannot upset you if you control the one thing you can control–your attitude and reaction to these things.

If you remain detached from these things they cannot affect you. Expect change. Expect loss. Expect the table to be overturned. Do your best despite these things and continue moving forward. Persist. If you keep moving, keep adjusting, keep accepting, you’ll achieve what you want to. You’ll get where you need to go. Just keep trying.

Here’s to a great week ahead!!

Until next time…

Dave

 

Daily Ramblings – Thank you!

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Well, folks. I just returned from a phenomenal religious retreat!!

I wanted to drop a little note to thank those of you who chose to follow Daily Ramblings this week. I always get pumped up when new people follow my blog. I hope you are all enjoying the content and look forward to any questions, comments, or ideas you have about new content you’d like to see in the future.

For those of you who are new, my blogging schedule is this:

Motivation Monday

Ted Talk Tuesday

Wisdom Wednesday

Thinking Thursday

Spiritual Saturday

Sundays are Thank you days, Article Series (Series Sunday), and any other bonus content I feel like writing about. My Series Sunday will be released on the first Sunday of October. This series will be 12-months in length and will discuss character traits I am trying to work on and build.

I hope to see you there. In the meantime, enjoy my content. Feel free to drop me a note in the comments. I’ll do my best to respond quickly.

Until next time…

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Funny Friday

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Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday. - Don Marquis

Graphic from: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/don_marquis_107414?src=t_funny 

I hope everyone has a great weekend. I’m in Adrian, Michigan for an annual religious retreat. I will try to get something up for my Spiritual Saturday posting but can’t promise anything. We have a busy day scheduled tomorrow and I am running one of the workshops. If I don’t get something up tomorrow, I’ll definitely see you on Monday.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Until next time…

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Thinking Thursday

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An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. - Benjamin Franklin

Retrieved from: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/benjamin_franklin_141119?src=t_knowledge

I enjoy learning. I put a lot of time and effort into growing my knowledge, honing my skill set, and just picking up interesting pieces of information. If you’ve been reading these Thinking Thursday quotes it is all about what I am reading, watching, and the online courses I am taking. I’ve also begun adding some of the apps I use or try with recommendations if one of my readers is interested.

My words try to motivate. I like to teach others and pass along some of the things I’ve tried out that have proven to be effective. I hope you enjoy the exercise suggestions, different techniques for dieting, the book and class recommendations, along with the various movies/series I am watching. I want everyone to know that I am not an affiliate of any website, product, or service. I recommend what I try out and have used for the benefit of my readers only. I may opt to pursue affiliation in the future but for now, these recommendations are simply that.

I also want to take a few moments to thank all of the new readers that have begun following Daily Ramblings. If anyone has suggestions or recommended changes that you believe would make Daily Ramblings better, feel free. I can’t make any promises but will give every suggestion that is offered serious consideration.

Here’s my progress on key reading, learning, and entertainment activities for this week:

Books:

Ethics, Aristotle

The Shariyat Ki Sugmad, Paul Twitchell

Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe

Classes:

Western Heritage, Hillsdale College

Mini-Habits Course, Udemy – Great Course! I highly recommend it. I have read the book, so the course was sort of a refresher. The instructor is interesting and provides a lot of good examples on how to implement his strategies.

Designing Your Own Weight Loss Plan – Case Western University – Coursera – I do not recommend this course. It is outdated, and the instructor is very dull. If you are interested in this topic area I would recommend searching for another course. I could not get through it.

Documentaries:

Movies:

Black Panther – Netflix: I’m a huge Marvel fan and this one doesn’t disappoint. My sister was lukewarm about it but I liked it.

Fun:

The West Wing (Currently on Netflix)

Ozark – Netflix (in the cue)

Jack Ryan – Amazon Prime (in the cue)

U.S. Open Tennis (when I have time to catch a good set here and there) – I enjoyed this. The finals were exciting to watch and so was some of the match play I got a chance to see.

Interesting Apps:

I just discovered Curious.com. It has mini-courses, daily words, daily poems, interesting articles, daily content-specific podcast content, and puzzles like crosswords, up and down words, and many others. It’ll run you $9.99/month or an annual fee (can’t remember the price), but this is worth it. I have been playing with this for a week and really like it.

Until next time…

Dave