Thursday, June 9, 2011

Emerson Post #7- Message

To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, that is genius. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

What is burning deep inside of you? If you could spread your personal message RIGHT NOW to 1 million people, what would you say?

That we are all vulnerable and we all need eachother. That true greatness comes from humility, and true excellence comes from diligence. That to expose ourselves to others takes courage, and that courage strengthens us and strengthens those around us. That emotion is endearing and empathy is empowering. That in being ourselves we become what others need.

That I have mastered none of these things.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Emerson Post #6- Goals

Our arts, our occupations, our marriages, our religion, we have not chosen, but society has chosen for us. We are parlour soldiers. We shun the rugged battle of fate, where strength is born. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Next to Resistance, rational thought is the artist or entrepreneurs worst enemy. Bad things happen when we employ rational thought, because rational thought comes from the ego. Instead, we want to work from the Self, that is, from instinct and intuition, from the unconscious.

A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. Its only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate.” - Steven Pressfield, Do the Work

The idea of “being realistic” holds all of us back. From starting a business or quitting a job to dating someone who may not be our type or moving to a new place – getting “real” often means putting your dreams on hold.

Today, let’s take a step away from rational thought and dare to be bold. What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to accomplish but have been afraid to pursue? Write it down. Also write down the obstacles in your way of reaching your goal. Finally, write down a tangible plan to overcome each obstacle.

The only thing left is to, you know, actually go make it happen. What are you waiting for?

I've always wanted to learn to play the piano. The obstacle for me has been the time it takes to make it pleasantly enjoyable. It's a daunting time sink. I don't know if it's something worth beginning for me, because I'm not sure I'm willing to dedicate enough time to it to become great at it. It's always on the back of my mind, but I don't have the wherewithal to make it a reality.

A goal I am in the process of achieving is getting my speed back for rugby. I love lifting weights, and as I became stronger I began to look at competition outlets. Obviously there was competitive lifting. It's appealing in the sense that it directly relates to the activity, but for me team sports and competition are where I have always felt at home. Rugby was something I loved doing and stopped due to a leave of absence related to a sabbatical/internship in school and a renewed focus on school upon my return.

I always wanted to go back and never did so I took the plunge last week. It's destroyed me so far, but it's been exciting to see a measurable change in myself. I'm getting my speed back and in a few months I should be highly competitive at my position. We'll see what time holds for the future, but after the first week things seem promising.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Emerson Post #5- Travel

If we live truly, we shall see truly. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Not everyone wants to travel the world, but most people can identify at least one place in the world they’d like to visit before they die. Where is that place for you, and what will you do to make sure you get there?

(Author: Chris Guillebeau)

For me my location of choice would have to be Asia. I haven't been there before and the difference in culture is very interesting to me. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance made me fall in love with the region. Being somewhere very different from you causes you to learn so much about yourself and exposes your beliefs that perhaps were so intertwined with yourself that you never saw them before.

To make sure I get there I will plan a trip down the road. It's on my list after Australia and possibly Macchu Picchu. Preferably it will be a trip that is several years down the road as I would like to spend a significant amount of time there as to not waste the airfare.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Emerson Post #4- Challenges

That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? . . . Shakespeare will never be made by the study of Shakespeare. Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Identify one of your biggest challenges at the moment (ie I don’t feel passionate about my work) and turn it into a question (ie How can I do work I’m passionate about?) Write it on a post-it and put it up on your bathroom mirror or the back of your front door. After 48-hours, journal what answers came up for you and be sure to evaluate them.

Bonus: tweet or blog a photo of your post-it.

My biggest challenge is getting it all to fit together. I'm doing decent at a lot of things but I feel in a transition right now. I'm getting better but not there. I know you never get there, but I'm on the cusp of really getting somewhere fantastic.

It's tough and focus on goals and taking it day by day is the way I need to manifest this. Busting out the daily goal board is probably in order.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Emerson Post #3- A Dangerous idea

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

The world is powered by passionate people, powerful ideas, and fearless action. What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family? What inspires this belief, and what have you done to actively live it?

(Author: Buster Benson)

The belief I try to foster in myself that everyone doesn't share is that you can do anything that you want to. In reading about great men, you find that limitations are more or less the creation of the self and not society.

To try something new is really more about overcoming fear. Obstacles are there, sure, but they exist to repel those who don't want it bad enough. The higher the obstacles the more special the goal.

Individuals have a way of getting wrapped up in this cookie cutter life. Get married, buy a car, buy a house, have kids, buy a bigger house, and retire. We find a job where we get paid well enough to live within predefined means. Consumerism provides us with a safety of new things to show off our "interesting" life. It's much more rare for the individual to pursue an interesting life on its own merits.

This idea came from reading blogs/books of successful people and realizing that my belief system and the opportunities that existed were largely lies that I had created for myself. In my life, it made me apply for a job I had no business applying for and getting it. I've taken sabbaticals at age 27 and done things just to see if I could.

I could always do more, but now I have more of a "why not" outlook than a "I can't" outlook and that has made all the difference for me.

Emerson Post #2- A Sentence

Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing. The force of character is cumulative. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

If ‘the voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tracks,’ then it is more genuine to be present today than to recount yesterdays. How would you describe today using only one sentence? Tell today’s sentence to one other person. Repeat each day.

(Author: Liz Danzico)

Good times with good friends, nuzzled around a productive workday.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Emerson Post #1- Fifteen Minutes

We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other. Our age yields no great and perfect persons. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live.

1. Set a timer for fifteen minutes.
2. Write the story that has to be written.

Fifteen minutes isn't very long to reflect on one's life or what one wants to say. So in that case I will just speak. Due to the brevity of time forgive the jumbled nature or my comments.

It's tough to say what makes one's life great. I don't think it's the same for everyone nor do I have the answer for everyone. The things I remember most about my life are the things I have done with others I care about. Friends and family are what make life worth living, and how we exist beyond our finite life. All things come to an end, but when we give of ourselves to others it stays with them and should we do something fantastic well perhaps it will change them enough for the better that the individual passes it on to others, and so through acts of kindness we can live on forever.

The human experience is so magnificent and yet so mundane, no? Regardless of how fantastic of a life one lives there is ample time for nonsense. Time spent doing things that don't matter or that we would rather not be doing. Why is that? Maybe we grow in these moments in ways we can't yet fathom. Do we develop patience, focus, wantingness? I can't say for certain.

Money can't be the answer for anything because at the end of the day it's just there and you always feel like you could have more. I don't see it as a limitation in my life. I have enough to do the things I want, and yet I strive for more. Perhaps, it's seen as a scorecard. That's Warren Buffett's premise. That we merely use it as a way to keep track of who has done what and so we feel that the more we have the better we won at life. There is some truth to this idea. Society pays us for our contributions, though it seems unequitable because we overvalue some things (athletics/entertainment) and undervalue others (education).

If I have one desire for those around me it is to live their dreams. It is so easy to get locked into routine and live it. To do the same thing over again. To find the best use for our paycheck, spend it, and get the next. Spend some time frequently questioning why you do what you do and try alternatives. We have a set time here and we may as well take advantage of it. I've found that our only limitations in life are those we instill upon ourselves. Hard things worth doing are hard to prevent people that don't want it bad enough from doing it themselves.

I used to believe that life was about finding what you are good at and doing that. I was wrong. There is no such thing as exceptional talent without exceptional effort. Any successful individual you read about has struggled to get where they are at. It is human nature to try and find the shortcut. There isn't one. You will not find unbridled success without developing a talent. Enjoying the cultivation process helps.

Take the time to believe in yourself and let others know you believe in them. Empowerment is something that is cheap and can have a profound impact. I'm very bad at this, so I apologize for my shortcomings here. When you see someone up against the wall help them see over it. Sometimes it only takes a change in view to continue to push.

Create something. Whether that be a blog, art, whatever, it keeps you on the edge of your seat. Do something because you can and because you enjoy it.