Archive for the ‘Mindset’ Category

13 Personal Rules

One of the most valuable tips I’ve gotten from Craig Ballantyne (among many) is to create your set of personal rules.  It’s freeing to make some decisions for yourself ahead of time, decide what you will and won’t do, so that you can use your brainpower on more important things.

Craig’s rules govern a lot about how he goes about his day and how he creates content. Those rules work for him. I followed his example and wrote my own rules. I think mine are bit more generic, save a few, but they resonate with me and make me happy.

Here are my 13 personal rules: Read On…

30 Day Challenges

I have always liked the idea of improving myself, setting goals and reaching them and seeing what potential lies inside of me. But I don’t know if others have that same curiosity. I think there’s doubt in peoples’ confidence of their ability to change permanently and therefore they don’t want to waste the effort.

That’s where 30 day challenges come in. They make it all a game. There’s no long term commitment – you only have to try for 30 days. What’s 30 days in the course of your life (especially if it can possibly change it forever)?

This comes from my experience with Lent. I gave up coffee for Lent, which was the hardest thing I’ve ever given up. I felt awful for a few days, dazed for few weeks and finally felt better after about 2 weeks without my daily coffee. Now, Lent is long over and I don’t drink daily coffee. I have it occasionally and when the mood strikes, but not daily. I don’t want to return to that dependence and those flu-like symptoms if I don’t have it.

Would I ever have tried to go without coffee if not for the “safe space” that Lent provides? Probably not. I want that experience year-round. I’ve given up other things in my life and sometimes they come back and sometimes they stay out. I have given up all animal products, TV, facebook and alcohol as examples. Animal products are still out, but TV, facebook and alcohol are back, but in a much reduced capacity. And that’s the beauty! Kicking something out of your life and going without helps you to reset your level and realize just how much you might be overindulging so that when you take it back in, you can adjust it way down as you see fit. Read On…

80,000 Hours

After writing yesterday about how to quantify changing the world, by a weird twist of fate, I stumbled upon Tim Ferriss’s interview with Will MacAskill. He started a non-profit called 80,000 hours. The premise is that each us has 80,000 hours to give in the duration of our careers – 40 years x 50 weeks x 40 hours = 80,000 hours. What are you going to do with yours? What kind of impact will you have?

I bought the kindle book and read it immediately. There is a ton of good information inside, including how you can do a ton of good by just ‘earning to give’, which means, stay in your job and just donate to the most effective, life-changing charities you can find (he helps with that too).

You can also switch careers or build career capital. The book was really interesting. I’m really glad someone is thinking about how to research how every person can do the most good in the world. Read On…

Changing the world

What actually constitutes as changing the world? There’s got to be some line in the sand, right? I mean, painting your house red is technically changing the world, right? What criteria or measurement do you consider to say you’ve changed the world?

I think to count, you must have affected the lives of a critical mass of people. They don’t need to know they’ve been affected – plenty of people don’t have polio and have never and will never thank Jonas Salk for that.

After 50-100 years, one family of four can lead to be hundreds of people, so wouldn’t that be a critical mass of people?

I think this means that if you can positively affect change for one family and help ensure that the change has lasting effects over the next 50-100 years, you can say you’ve changed the world. Is that too far? I don’t think so. It sounds reasonable.  Read On…

Pretend

Sully loves to pretend. He gets on my back and pretends I’m a car and drives me to the grocery store to get groceries. He gets out at the store, shops and then gets back in and drives home. He gets out at home and then presents me with all of his purchases. It’s awesome.

One thing I learned from a parenting book recently is that kids don’t pretend for the sake of pretending. They are mimicking what we do. They are doing what we do, as closely as they can. They aren’t pretending for the sake of pretending.  Read On…

Running Goal

I want to run the Ann Arbor Turkey Trot 5K at 24:00 minutes. My previous best is around 26 minutes and I know I can beat it. I’ve been running around the neighborhood for 3 miles at a clip. I think I can beat it by Thanksgiving and post a decent time.

There are 150 days until Thanksgiving. I am going to beat 24:00 minutes in the Ann Arbor Turkey Trot 5K.

Vacation is over

Today we had our final day at the cottage. It was probably the warmest and clearest day so far, so we spent it at the beach. It’s sad to leave a long vacation, but it always feels nice to get back to what’s familiar and back to your routines, especially now since you’re more rested and rejuvenated.

Choose How You Feel

Last night, we were up late at a concert about 1 hr away, so we missed out on at least 4 hours of sleep we would normally get. I remember the words from The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and Flip the Gratitude Switch by Kevin Clayson that when you wake up, you set your own mood.

If you wake up after 3 hours of sleep with kids waking you up, you can choose to say to yourself, “that was the perfect amount of sleep and I feel 100% ready to start my day” or you can say “ugh I feel terrible – today is going to be terrible, I should just call in.”

This isn’t new age BS. If you actually say these words to yourself, you manifest a better attitude which affects how you feel. It’s hard to overcome, but it’s effective if you avoid saying the negative and try starting with something positive. Read On…

Brief Interval

What we make of our life, the sum total of thoughts, emotions, words and actions that fill the brief interval between birth and death is our one great creative masterpiece.

I just started listening to this book called “The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science”. I know, what a title. I was sold by the reviews though. I love meditation and I can tell how my days begin to suffer if I don’t set aside at least 10 minutes to breathe deep and observe my thoughts. Read On…

Process-focused

At work, I try to focus on the big picture, looking at the process by which we accomplish work. Sure, you can ram any given project through, but how sustainable is the process? Is it solid or flimsy? Is it constant or ever-changing? Is it even documented? Do the affected parties even know what it is?

I think an important part of succeeding in any setting is not caring as much about the results, although you should care (your boss will),  but to really focus on how work gets done. Write it down. Talk about it with everyone involved. Does it make sense? Are there unnecessary bottlenecks? Any opportunities to eliminate steps?

Once you do that, you have the chance to scale up your work. You can fly through projects much faster with a solid, consensus-built process.