Self-Improvement

Personal Development on a Budget

Photo by  Samuel Zeller  on  Unsplash

I have another new-ish article over on Medium as part of my Secondhand Inspiration Project series called Personal Development on a Budget. If you get a chance, check it out.

It’s all about discovering various low cost, high yield ways that you can improve yourself, even when your money is tight or your free time is at a premium. The article was motivated by the following quote:

“Personal development is the belief that you are worth the effort, time and energy needed to develop yourself.” ―Denis Waitley

I hope you find this article useful. Be good.

https://medium.com/datadriveninvestor/personal-development-on-a-budget-6b2240709288?source=friends_link&sk=856c07dfd104dc438932e83b55db53a1

Introducing…The Secondhand Inspiration Project!

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What is The Secondhand Inspiration Project?

It’s a new mission I’ve developed over on Medium. Periodically, I pull together a post that starts with a motivational quote and goes wherever my musings lead. The idea was born out of my obsession with inspirational quotes and self-help books. This, mixed with a need to sometimes use prompts for my daily writing practice, sparked this initiative.

I already have several entries at Medium for The Secondhand Inspiration Project. My goal is to post some links to catch everyone up on this relatively new pet project. From there, I’ll be sure to update this blog after every new entry.

The first entry of The Secondhand Inspiration Project, Go Farther, was based on a famous quote by Wayne Dyer: "It's never crowded along the extra mile." Check out this post and just maybe it will provide you with a little secondhand inspiration.

https://medium.com/@adrianpotter/go-further-a7413df120a4?source=friends_link&sk=fbf834d3db736379c3c4c5ff057bec48

Fight Procrastination by "Chunking" Down Goals

The start of the new year is the season of big goals. And with these lofty expectations undoubtedly comes chances for procrastination to occur – especially with writing. “Chunking” down goals is a strategy I’ve used to dead procrastination in my creative life, especially with larger writing projects like manuscripts.

Achievers sometimes bite off more than they can chew. Procrastination is when you look at what's sitting on your plate and think: No way! It's too just big. I can't finish it.

I said plate figuratively, but let’s think about goals as if they are meals. Whenever you have too much to swallow, do what you’d do if you had ordered a large meal at a restaurant. Cut it up. Chop it into smaller portions. Eat it one small appetizing bite at a time, one manageable portion at a time. If needed, take some home to finish later - you don’t have to down the whole meal in one sitting, despite the peer pressure from others. But break that meal down to pieces you can handle.

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Like that meal, take intimidating goals and slice them into smaller chunks. If you look at those portions and they still seem overwhelming, cut them into even smaller chunks. Keep going until you get to a bite-sized morsel where you think, "yes, I can finish that." Then just eat it one chunk at a time. And keep going until you've finished the whole thing.

When you have a project that seems too big and you’re tempted to procrastinate, break it down. Then attack it one bite at a time. Savor each piece and appreciate that portion of the larger meal (goal). Swallow and progress on to the next chunk.

The Extra Mile

My dad used to repeat a hackneyed saying - I’m likely paraphrasing, but it was “it’s never crowded along the extra mile.” And though it’s trite, it’s true. You’ll rarely need to fight through a herd of people who are all willing to go above the minimum of what’s required.

For those pursuing success and personal improvement, the road might be long, but it won’t be crowded. Along the way, you’ll confront the silence of being alone on a lengthy journey. That silence is deafening. It’s so obnoxious and omnipresent that you’ll begin doubting the path you’re taking is the correct one.

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But don’t succumb to that doubt. Sure, double-check your roadmap or GPS to confirm you’re headed in the right direction. But don’t dupe yourself into believing that traveling along an unfamiliar path by yourself is wrong. You’re a trailblazer, creating new routes that others will follow in the future.

Also, realize you’re not alone. There are others going the extra mile. You just don’t always see them because they’re traveling it in a different field, career path, or sport than you are focused on. Yes, there aren’t a plethora of extra mile walkers, but we are here - trudging forward through challenges, sprinting towards a goal whenever conditions are ideal.

I’m traversing that extra mile in several areas in 2018 – creative writing, consulting career, personal fitness, and hobbies/side hustles. I will find out a lot about myself, both positive and negative, and will make improvements and adjustments in my life while doing this. I’m not completely sure it will all work out, but I’m willing to cast aside doubt and ambiguity to try. If you’re still reading my rant, then you’re probably contemplating doing the same. Just do it. Don’t procrastinate. Walk the extra mile in 2018.

Why Writers Run.

Since I’m training for a race in early June (and maybe another one later in the summer), this one hits home for me - The Atlantic‘s Nick Ripatrazone looks at why writers run. I definitely agree with the sentiment that, “the steady accumulation of miles mirrors the accumulation of pages...”

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/11/why-writers-run/415146/

Flame: The Lost Art of Listening

“The word listen contains the same letters as the word silent.” –Alfred Brendel

I am usually a decent listener. But yesterday I missed a statement by a co-worker that could’ve saved me two extra hours of work. Which would have translated to more time to write, workout, do errands, etc. I will never get those two hours back.

People don’t listen. They fail to keep their ears and eyes open, and this can leave them out of the game. Listening is like intelligence; everyone thinks they’re above average, even though that’s impossible.

We focus on formulating their response rather than listening to someone’s complete thoughts. Or fidgeting with smartphones instead of committing to conversation. Or passing judgement on the front end of a compound statement, not letting a person get to part where they agree with our sentiments.

I’m not pretending that I’m a perfect listener – as admitted at the start of this post, I fall into these traps, too. But I see this whole thing as the biggest bit of folly in modern society.

I get it - life is busy. It whirls by faster each day, and we never have a chance to catch up. We try to accomplish a billion things at once, and sometimes it works out. But active, effective listening isn’t something you can do on the fly. It requires a devoted, conscious effort.

The point of this rant - I am rededicating myself to shutting up and listening. I believe it will help me in my daily life, as well as enhance my writing. Will you join me on this endeavor?