Destination.

No matter what we are all moving in some direction and will end up at some destination. Often our destinations can be loosely based on an idea such as “I’d like to get into better physical shape by March.” This idea is based around attaining some form of betterness through physical activity but has no clear destination. Other destinations are more apparent and thought out such as “I’d like to visit all fifty US States between July of 2019 and July of 2021 and must stay in each state for twenty-four hours to count it as visited.” That is a well-defined goal with a timeline and sub defined goal to make the experience equally measured.

Tonight I want to share about a destination I am currently working towards. It’s a project in my backyard that has been staring me in the face daily since we moved in. Repairing the weather-worn pergola in our back yard so that we dare to invite guests over for summer bbq’s and I can have an outdoor space to read, write, and lounge about. This is a very selfish goal that I want to complete so that I can reap all the rewards. As I have been working towards repairing the floor I have realized this is going to be a larger project than expected.

I have been surprised each time I remove a few more rotted floorboards from the base of the pergola how much water damage has taken place where I couldn’t see until the floorboards were gone. As of right now, I will need to remove the entire base of the pergola and start over again. Is this what I had expected when starting this project? Not at all. Is it something that needs to be done to guarantee quality and extended use and satisfaction? Yes, and when the work is all done it’ll be even more relaxing to relax under something I repaired/built with my own hand(Not a typo).

Our lives and our journeys never tend to go as planned, there are always bumps in the roads that may require a few extra steps to reach our desired destination. We are always in control of how we react to these extra steps or unprecedented situations we are placed in our decision on how to act will shape how we move forward. Whatever your destination may be, decided today that a few detours along the way can’t hurt your progress toward where you want to be.

Digital Vomit.

When I thought up the idea of writing at least Three Hundred Words a Day every day I thought that thinking of an inspirational message connected to my day to day activities would be easy. Little did I know that this task would be harder than I could have imagined. I have been stumped many nights over what to write that might help others to see life in a better light and be easier on others and be easier on themselves. It is a challenge for me writing something every day that makes sense and doesn’t come out as what I call “digital vomit”.

Digital Vomit is simply defined as posting something just for the sake of posting it. A post that has no real meaning or purpose and posted just for the potential views along with the hope that you’ll keep the algorithm from the internet in your favor. That’s what I do some nights just to get my post up and my checklist checked for another day. This isn’t what I envisioned when I started out this project and it’s been hard to recognize this is what I do just to get by.

What I had hoped was a simple day to day activity for my own personal growth that I could share with others to inspire them. I feel that I fall short of this goal a few nights a week, I hope to change that. This week I will be putting more effort into my posts to see how I feel about my work, as we all know to put more effort into something usually yields increased satisfaction with your output. I’m hoping for a week with less digital vomit and a week of sharing posts that can inspire others in their personal journeys.  

This is a personal evaluation of my progress as a writer, storyteller, and person who shares inspiration. Am I the best at my craft? No, but I am better today than I was January 1st and that is what matters to me. Here’s to a week of improves posts and better storytelling.

Puzzle.

One of the most frustrating hobbies I enjoy is setting up and completing puzzles. Puzzles are able to keep me entertained for hours, keeping my mind active and problem-solving abilities ever increasing as puzzles require repeated attempts before success at times. I’ve also found that doing puzzles with others encourages collaboration between friends and team success’ are great for strengthening friendships. More folks should work on puzzles and here’s why.

Completing a puzzle on your own builds focus, endurance, and helps you build confidence in your ability to complete a project. Allowing yourself to spend time each day working towards the completion of a challenge can be incredibly satisfying. Puzzles can test our abilities in problem-solving because they can have simple tasks with easy flow or times of trial where you hit a wall unsure where to go and what moves are next. After some time and reevaluating the next moves you are able to find the next steps and complete the task at hand or puzzle.

Should you decide to work with others in order to complete your puzzle it can encourage a number of needed skills in modern workspaces. A few things that I’ve learned from working together with others on puzzles is that conversation flows naturally if you are willing to talk openly about what you have in your hand and ask where it might be able to go. Resulting in the ability to collaborate together to achieve the task faster with quality results. It allows you to express the challenges openly and see the end result with additional minds with the same desired outcome.

Often puzzles can be viewed at as boring and tedious busy work that waste time with limited results. However, the end result is not solely a beautiful image built of many pieces but a series of moves towards an end goal. It allows for better opportunities to learn new skills in problem-solving that are hands-on until completion. Try out a puzzle today by yourself or with someone else and see what life lessons you learn as you piece it all together.

Detours.

Tonight on the drive home we took a different route than we normally do. We took a detour that was a little slower than the normal route up the interstate but it was something new that yielded the same outcome meaning we made it home. Life is filled with detours and alternate routes that can lead to the same destination you originally set out on. Many of us have been taught that there is only one ladder to success, there is only one path to follow and this is incorrect as there are many ways to reach the same destination.

I love going on road trips and finding the most unique way to reach the desired destination I had planned. These routes often have a random assortment of stops that can be educational, entertaining, and satisfying. Whenever we take a detour we take every opportunity that sounds entertaining without any debate we just say let’s give it a try and pull over. We’ve had some good, great, strange, and not repeatable experiences that have helped us tell better stories after our adventures are over.

Day to day life is very similar in the fact that we are always able to choose to take the opportunities that are presented to us potentially seeing a different route to success. What holds us back? Our fears of stepping outside the status quo, failing, or embarrassing ourselves. Being able to look at an alternate way of doing things isn’t something to be afraid of, sometimes the detour is the best door. People are remembered for the things they’ve done that stand out and the risks they take.

Looking back on the detour we took on our return home we were presented with less traffic, more wildlife, better views of the mountains, and a new way of getting home. We are grateful for taking the chance on new route home and look forward to taking chances in our day to day lives as we look forward to successful detours.

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.

Goal.

Once you set a goal what is your actual endgame? Are you willing to put in the work to see it from inception to fruition? Can you visualize yourself along the journey working through the ups and downs, are you prepared to fall, then rise again to the next wave of challenges ahead? It’s easy to set a goal, the hard part is the steps in between where you have to stick to it and work for your desired outcome.

Tonight we watched “Free Solo” a visual tale of Alex Honold as he prepares to free solo the freerider route on El Capitan. Watching Alex interact with his friends and family as he worked toward his goal was very interesting due to the fact that he remained vocal about his desired outcome and the risk that accompanied his lofty goal. Throughout the film, you watch as he experiences injury, personal preparation both mental and physical, doubt, and finally the completion of his goal. The way the film is shown allows the viewer to experience the actual scale of the challenge and find themselves sweaty-palmed and ready for the next movement on the journey.

As we decide on what challenge we want to accept we need to recognize the challenges there will be. The road will be ready for our feet, but will our feet be ready for the different objects along the way? Personally, the best way I’ve found if I am ready or not is by doing the thing I want to do. If I want to be able to run a 10k I need to start running a few times a week at various distances, recording my time, preparing my mind and body for each step along the way and acknowledging that there will be good days but there will also be bad days. Days where I do not want to run, I can choose on those days if I am going to walk my needed distance, a combination of walking and running, pushing through the pain of the run on that day, or just avoid it altogether.

At the end of the day, week, year, or years how you decide to start and complete your goals are entirely up to you. You can allow these goals to stand at the front of your priority list or have them as passive companions to other worthy pursuits. Either way, you decide how to set out and complete your goal. The key is to set small manageable goals as you start out, then after you get better at achieving your goals set larger loftier goals that stretch you a bit more than your previous accomplishments did. Don’t limit your opportunities because you fear failure, embrace failure to allow for more opportunities to see your goals from dreams to destinations.


Reading.

Last year I challenged myself to read as many books as possible by reading at least thirty minutes a day. I made it my mission to read those thirty minutes anywhere I could which led me to read on the train, airplanes, early in the morning, late in the night, and once on the side of the road. Reading helped keep my mind active, and my interest in personal development consistent. I learned to enjoy reading different types of books, with different outcomes. Some were business related with life hacks on optimizing my time. Others were stories that helped me escape the day to day stress that I was living with but taught me life lessons through the fictitious works designed to make readers think about situations in a different light.

All the reading that I did last year inspired me to continue reading this year, but to start writing more to share what I was learning and my take on the life lessons I was reading about.  Mankind has been writing for about ten thousand years now, meaning that reading has been around roughly the same amount of time. Early on reading and writing was a skill held by religious leaders, the wealthy, and often self-taught intellectuals who kept the skill hidden from said leaders to avoid punishment. We have progressed from times where few had the opportunities to learn how to read and write to today where we do our best to teach each other how to read and write daily. What a world to live in where we have printed and digital copies of written works by many who wrote publically and secretly for the benefit of mankind.

I wrote that small thought on reading and writing as a reminder of how fortunate we are to have the ability to read and write today. That nearly anyone who wants to learn these skills has the opportunity to do so no matter their race or gender due to the progress we have made in society. There are those who try and hold back these opportunities from others but the desire to learn can outsmart the ability to withhold said information.

Today, be grateful that you can read this. Remember that reading for fun or pleasure isn’t a waste of time but an investment in your mind.I’m not saying read thirty minutes a day as I did for a year but I am encouraging you to find time to learn, read an article, full out a crossword, and find a way to engage your mind daily in the learning process.