Effort.

When you want to accomplish something you have to put in the work or the effort to get the desired task completed. An effort is a hard thing to have at all times, the willingness to put your best foot forward and making things happen can be compared to a wave, rising above the rest, cresting, then falling back lever with the rest of the water around it. Often when we set out to accomplish a goal we are fully invested in seeing it through and can easily see ourselves at the finish line of our desired goal. Yet, after a few weeks of struggle as you find momentum within the challenge the finish line can be hard to visualize.

I am this way when I start out working on different projects, I put forth as much effort and work into the motion as I can and after a few short weeks start feeling the burnout. My efforts began to fall a bit less than desirable and my attitude changes from one of delight while working on my goal to one that has a little drag in the step. I’ve felt this on both personal pursuits and professional work done for different companies I’ve previously worked for. When you realize you are drained and unmotivated to continue with the project your output falls short of your regular quality work as does your attitude in general.

Am I alone in feeling this way? I doubt it. I’d guess that I’m not alone in feeling this way after putting in the effort in full at the start and attempting to sprint to completion and end up sprinting to burnout. We need to set our efforts at a pace that can be sustained and build endurance. Gary Vee has explained it best as he consistently reiterates putting in the work and preparing for a marathon and seeing the long game. I think he is right in reminding everyone that we can be better prepared mentally for the tasks and challenges ahead if we escape the mindset of the sprinter and build the mindset of a marathon runner. We’ll be able to stay on task longer and have a greater output if we do.

So be smart how you use your efforts, set up for the long game and the struggles and add them to your strengths as you grow.

Pass.

With this challenge, I have been looking for an excuse to skip a day of writing since I began writing a little bit each day. This challenge hasn’t been a terribly difficult one for me either. I just need a spark of inspiration and a small amount of self-control to complete the task. This self-control needed is a key element in me completing this self-assigned challenge. At times I can take up to an hour to type out my three hundred words all because I choose to get distracted by articles on my phone, dog and cat videos, and episodes of my favorite sitcom.

Distractions are one of my biggest weaknesses because I am so easily attracted to distractions. I have had the longest relationship with becoming distracted and veering away from completing tasks from childhood to now. It always seems like a lucrative opportunity to multitask and improve on my skills as a multitasker yet falls flat on the face every time I become distracted. When I allow my distractions to take the lead of my direction I fall short of reaching my desired goal or outcome without delay and often I fail to complete my desired tasks.

As this challenge has progressed I have worked to overcome my distractions better. To remain focused on my writing and accomplish my desired three hundred word outcome. This has been a hard thing for me to do yet as I have become better at it I have found myself more interested in learning new words and seeking a better way to relay a clear cut message that I hope will inspire others to live a better life. It would appear that at times I fail to do this as my writing can feel like a maze with no clear outcome desired.

One of my goals with this project is to become a better writer, a better storyteller, and a better marketer of my opinions in hopes that I will be able to attract a larger stage to share my stories on. This may not happen in a year but I’m committed to testing the waters and seeing where they lead me. Here’s to writing and finding a reason not to pass a day without writing a little better and learning a little more than I knew before.

Internet.

Try as I might tonight I cannot connect my laptop to connect to the internet at my house. I have been unable to connect to the internet on my computer for under ten minutes and have been annoyed with every minute of it. I have been constantly connected to the internet for the past seven years straight, minus a few days here and there but overall the internet has been my constant companion.

I am grateful for the connected world we live in. The internet has opened nearly endless possibilities for the masses to become connected and opened education opportunities wide open for people all over the world. From the poorest countries on earth to the richest we are connected and able to show one another what we do, and teach each other how to do things better. Historically, news of current events was delayed days, weeks, and months but today we are aware of current events within seconds of things happening and often we experience them live as live streaming is so easily available for us all.

We all live connected lives and often forget to disconnect from the digital connection and live in the moment. Life connected opens many doors, living a life connected to reality that is disconnected from the internet opens the mind. That sounds a bit too mindful for these little rants but it’s a real thought that I think more of us could take to heart. We need to be less connected to technology when we are driving, put our phones away and be present while driving. We need to be better at listening with our eyes and ears focused on the person speaking and less ready to click our thumbs back on the screens in our hands.

Living life in these moments is all we’ll really have to look back on. When you look back on life do you want to remember the high scores we had on those games we deleted on our phones or the great moments we shared with friends doing real things and interacting together in person.

Classroom.

As a child I was not a fan of being in classrooms. As a student I found myself bored and uninterested in the subjects I was mandated to learn. I wouldn’t say that I was a terrible student, but I wasn’t invested in learning the information I was required to at that moment. I appreciated my teachers and the time they would invest in attempting to shape my young mind, but I have always wanted something different based off my interests at the time.

As an adult attending university at times have been an uphill battle for me because of that mindset. I struggled even in subjects I was interested in all because of the rigid structure that higher education requires students to conform to. I had to break my mindset of the avoidance and distaste for classrooms and what they meant to me. That process took me two years of university education and thousands of dollars. I still don’t enjoy classrooms at all, but I am now able to listen better and learn easier behind a desk while being lectured at.

Learning for me was something that was never limited to classrooms. I was always learning outside of school either at home from books or out with my parents. I was and still am a questioner, I always want to know the “why” behind things, I want to understand the process and the mechanics that make things happen. From paving roads to the law process questions have been a tool I’ve used to learn a little about a subject and pursue what I wanted to learn or drop what I haven’t

Self learners tend to be able to pick up a subject and guide themselves to a working knowledge than a mastey of a desired subject. Many of the self learners I know are in a constant state of educating themselves and are often either early adopters of trends or find themselves in a constant state of catch up trying to rejoin the industry they are involved in.

Classrooms can be the best proving grounds for some along their educational experiences. For others classrooms can be places that dam learning and hinder the progress of different individuals. Each of us learn differently so find the place you learn best and excel in your education.

Pronounce.

I think more people than me have experienced a moment when you are talking with someone and they get a confused look on their face then question/comment on the way that you pronounce a word. I happen to know that there are times when I poorly pronounce a few words from time to time. It’s always a funny experience for people when I say a few of these words and they aren’t certain if I am joking or if that is really how I speak.

One of the funniest words that I mispronounce is usually Popeyes. Yes, I’m talking about the chicken joint. I have surprised dozens of friends when I mispronounce Popeyes for Pope- eyes and for some reason, I am constantly relearning how to correctly pronounce the word then shortly falling back to my incorrect pronunciation of the word. There are times when I am genuinely embarrassed that I fall back to a poorly pronounced word and there are other times that I just don’t care and hope that my friends can forgive me for my poor words.

I think that is a slight metaphor for life at times. We each have weaknesses that we know are there and try to change or adjust to a better practice or way of doing things. There are times when we stand strong and hold to said new idea or habit and there are other times that we attempt the change then fail a few times and decide that reverting back to our previous behavior. There are times when we understand that we are as we are and will be just fine staying as we are. Others often may see our shortcomings yet decide to pursue our friendship and accept us as we are.

Life is a challenge at times, we can mispronounce words or have a few shortcomings but people will work with us if they are true friends and are willing to work with our differences. As we would hopefully do for them as we get to better know them.

Women.

Today is for you, today is because of you and all the things you’ve done, are doing and will yet do. To the women in our lives who have built us into better humans, who have shown us how to stand tall, to laugh, to be brave when we are afraid, to talk when you need it, and to love. The greatest thing our world has are strong women who have risen up to break down barriers and injustice. Thank you for showing us a better way, one day at a time.

Today we celebrate each of you and your courage. Your abilities to stand tall when others would hold you back or beat you down. Thank you for standing up and making your voices heard, for showing us the world is better with women in politics, as business owners, as assets to society.

Thank you for rising up after each time you were told what to do and how to be. For your willingness to say what needed to be said, for standing together for equality and changing our views on what the world should be.

To the women who have pushed the boundaries of science, the ones who have run races organized only for men,  to those who have sat when some demanded they stand, to the ones who have taught in schools and in the home, the ones who have advised and lead the way when we needed them to, and to the ones who speak when we need to listen we thank you for being you. For helping us understand that we can be anything we want to be in this life, that the path to success isn’t always what we hoped it to be but can become what we need it to be.

To the woman who gave birth to me, thank you for giving me this life filled with opportunity.
To the woman who raised me, thank you for teaching me to be strong, to stand up and say what needed to be said, to love unconditionally, and to share my feelings when life was heavy. There are countless more things I could say, but I’ll save them for a future day.
To my wife, thank you for your patience, strength, willpower, and desire to build a better world for everyone.

To my countless friends and colleagues thank you for always standing tall, for showing everyone that the world is a good place that is becoming a better place because you are apart of it.

Old.

I don’t want to grow old. I’ll admit it to anyone who asks, I’m afraid of what happens to our bodies as we age. I’m afraid of forgetting the things that I love most, the memories with my loved ones, and memories from my favorite places. I’m afraid of falling and not getting back up without a semi-major injury, I’m afraid to lose the ability to walk. I guess you’ve figured it out I’m afraid to grow old.

Age is one thing that will constantly be with us, it starts the moment we are born and ends the moment we die. For the entire time we are alive people batch us into groups based on our age then share age-appropriate information with us as the general consensus sees fit. People never really know what they are doing as they age, because of the world around us is constantly changing and we are always playing a game of catch up. Never quite knowing everything that is happening around us leaves us perpetually behind.

Getting older is great for a few reasons such as getting a drivers license, becoming old enough to have a few drinks with friends, and most importantly renting a car when you travel.  These are little things that “just happen” as you age along with other things like buying a car of your own, buying a house, getting a spouse, and many more. Not everything about growing older scares me, just the unsavory parts that happen as your body falls apart.

I know that growing old isn’t bad for everyone and happens differently for everyone. Some people live nearly unphased by aging well into their seventies, others age a bit faster. I do not know how I will age, but I do know it scares me to lose family, friends, and pets to the fiend we all know as time.

Like I said before, I don’t want to grow old.