Writing habits

Do you remember the first time you fell in love? Of course you do. Kind of like discovering chocolate for the first time, you just wanted more and more.

My first proper relationship was notable in that it was mostly long distance. Soon after we met I went overseas to study and decided to pour my heart and soul into keeping the relationship going. And a writing habit was born.

We were prolific. The amount of words written in letters, emails and text messages was at an almost Shakespearean quantity. Every single day, for months on end. Quality was highly questionable, but quantity was admirable.

This laid the groundwork for blogging and writing regularly for the rest of my life to date. I’m thankful. Thankful for the habit, thankful for this blog, and thankful my current relationship is in person.

What are the origins of your habits?

Happy Monday chimps.

Bail out mindsets and remedies

Sometimes my brain will flick a switch and bail out. Just like a wrestler tapping out of a choke hold, when my stresses build up and become too much, the brain seems to automatically hide from responsibility. It searches memories for simpler times and childhood. Sadness creeps in. The search for distraction and pleasure creeps in. It bails out of life. This happens quickly and quietly.

Inevitably when this happens, and when I take the time to look at my life, I will see a pattern emerging. Usually this “bail out” mindset happens when I haven’t looked after myself in one of three ways. Either I haven’t done any exercise in a while, I haven’t done anything artistic in a while, or I’m not sleeping enough. Or some combination of the three.

So yesterday my brain bailed out. So I ran in the afternoon….yes….endorphins! Then i went to bed early. Today I’ll try find some time to doodle on the guitar or work on the podcast….Yeah, the podcast I reckon.

Do what you can. Which is more than you think.

Discomfort and tequila

I just watched a motivational clip which told me I had to “embrace discomfort”.

This reminded me of a friend of mine who used to have a party trick. He would order a tequila with all the lime and salt as usual. But he would do everything wrong. He’d snort the salt up his nose, squirt the lime in his eyes and then drink the liquor. He would punish himself for our amusement, but I don’t think it was worth it.

I’m going to try and wake up early and be productive tomorrow despite my desires to lie in.

Embrace discomfort….while drinking responsibly….unless there’s comedy value.

Rehydrate…mate

My daughter once was hospitalized and became dehydrated from the sickness. Part of her recovery was to take rehydration formula. She got better, but we have bags of formula left in our house.

Like a teenager sneaking sips of his Dad’s whiskey, I have been pilfering the formula after my runs. I feel guilty, but I also feel great!

I’m going to have to invest in some man-sized rehydration packs because I am nearly out of my infants stash….which seems to be the good stuff.

If you feel groggy or tired or stiff, rehydrate…mate.

Working with what you have

I found myself lusting after some new tech.

New stuff. New and sparkly. The advertising sometimes works really well and convinces you that this widget will fix all the ills in your life.

Truth is, You don’t need more stuff. You need more focus, more consistency and to make use of what you have. How many drum kits or Stratocasters are gathering dust in peoples’ closets? It is a Tragedy of our times.

Instead of buying a new phone, start a band.

There is a valuable lesson here for work too. Don’t be fooled by new titles, new systems, and new tech which are promising revolutions. It’s far more likely you can organize and work with what’s already on the table and shape a change. You just have to care enough.

Dreaming to doing

I couldn’t sleep last night because of an idea. A business idea. The idea created adrenaline in my body which fueled my heart and my brain which developed the idea further which created more adrenaline! No sleep, but an idea nonetheless.

I have let a lot of ideas go by the wayside. This one I will try and develop though. That’s the hard part. An idea is easy to come up with. Making it work is a lot harder.

They don’t teach you calendars at school

Or maybe it was just that I wasn’t listening – either way, I think this should change.

Who doesn’t know how to keep a calendar? This sounds ridiculous, but it has taken me about 10 years to understand how to use and trust my computer’s calendar. At school, timetables were dished out at the beginning of term, pinned up on walls and referred to by everyone else around me. I could always ask my parents, teachers, friends what was coming up and what was due. I could remember a lot (well, enough) of what was important without needing a reference. The net result is that I never developed the skills to keep my own time. I have never trusted my computer calendars until very recently.

When you start using a calendar though, they build upon themselves. The more you use them, the more dependent you are on them, and then the more you will trust and use them again. You are invested, and that makes the whole system work. In this way calendars are a great example for projects in general. If you want to get a project started, then just start. The mental buy-in is what matters. The same thing seems to apply to relationships, exercise, blogging, working a job, keeping healthy.

That is what no school ever taught me – the importance of mentally buying into a concept, and that you can train yourself to do it in order to get something done.

Seems to me, this mental trick in and of itself is one of the most useful things in the world.

Behavior vs. logic

Behavior trumps logic. If you want to pay off debt quickly, the maths says that it is best to attack the highest interest amount first, then work your way down to the next highest.

However, it turns out that debt payments are not a maths problem, they are a behavior problem. Therefore the opposite (attacking the smallest interest amount first, and then using the payments from that amount to pay off the next smallest etc) is the best way to change behavior and cancel debt.

Small manageable victories are always more sustainable than large sacrifices, even if they are not scientifically going to get you to your goal most efficiently.

Complicated or Complex?

The two words are often used interchangeably, which is wrong.

If a system is complex, it means it has many components in the system. The complexity makes it hard to apply any hard and fast rules for problem solving. Think of a large company or organisation.

If a system is complicated it can be hard to solve, but they are addressable with rules and recipes. Think of a machine.

My next guest on the podcast, Dan Rogatschnig, did a masters degree specialising in this stuff and he laid it out for us during our chat.

Come and have a listen on Friday.