April 8

Punishment vs Reward


Writing should be fun and inspirational, but how do you do it more often. I often think of writing like exercise:

  1. It’s something I want to do;
  2. It’s something I need to do;
  3. It’s something that will benefit me;
  4. If I build it into my routine it becomes easier;
  5. It’s something I don’t have time for;
  6. I just don’t feel like it right now.

Number 5 and 6 can make you go years without writing. Either you don’t have the time or just don’t feel like it. A lot of people will set about to punish themselves. In almost every case, this is a bad solution and won’t work in the long term. Sometimes punishments can masquerade as time management or self improvement. Some examples of punishment might be:

  1. I’ll stop watching television;
  2. I’ll spend less time hanging out with my friends;
  3. I won’t play video games ever again.

Taking something out of your life that you enjoy isn’t a permanent solution. You might find yourself writing more, but you might also end up being more unhappy. Certainly if there are things that waste your time that you don’t enjoy, cut those out. That would be a reward, so go for it. Otherwise, think about rewards that work for you.

  1. Once I complete my first chapter, I’m going to buy myself that new pair of shoes I’ve been wanting;
  2. I’m going to watch an hour of television right after I write a poem;
  3. Once I’ve completed that short story, I’m going to play video games.

For those who have very little time, keep in mind the time where you wait. Almost everyone has to wait for something at some point. You wait for the doctor, the dentist, friends, business meetings, family members, husbands, and wives. For those who take buses, trains, or planes, you can write while you’re commuting. In all of this time you spend waiting, you might be able to get a full novel complete within 2 years.

Good luck, and starting writing again. Feel free to contact me if you want to chat about your next project.

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August 31

How I want to live my life

Cover of "You Only Live Once"
Cover of You Only Live Once

The common terms that I thought of when deciding how I really want to live my life were these.

  1. YOLO
  2. Live in the moment
  3. Live everyday like it were your last
  4. Carpe Diem
  5. Bucket list

I would like to break each one of these terms down, just a bit.

YOLO is You Only Live Once. This is a common expression that encourages a person to go out and experience life. Since it comes with no specific guidelines, you can apply it to anything you want to try. This is really about enjoying your life through short-term goals and quick pays offs. The good: sometimes you have to get out of your house, stop watching TV and playing video games. That is a YOLO moment.

Live in the moment is also mindfulness or right mindedness. This terms isn’t at all what many people think it is. Going to a bar and having shot number ten while spewing out “live in the moment” doesn’t actually make sense. Living in the moment means being present for whatever you’re doing. If a friend is talking to you, you are truly listening. You aren’t thinking of anything else, and you aren’t texting anyone. You’re just listening. That is living in the moment. It just means that to truly enjoy what you’re doing and be happy, you have to actively take part in that and nothing else. Count how many times a day you actually live uninterrupted in a specific moment. I’ll bet you don’t even need all the fingers on one hand. The good: if you’re using this term the right way, it’s basically all good.

Live everyday like it were your last is probably the easiest to understand. This is a guideline for life that suggests you live everyday as though you would die within 24 hours. Although it seems to make sense and many people agree with it, it’s actually a fools concept. If you were to truly live everyday like it were your last, you would surround yourself with all of your family and friends while  they cried uncontrollably and said goodbye. Instead, people use it as more of a YOLO. The good: same as YOLO’s good.

Carpe diem is seize the day. This is more of a business executive approach to YOLO. People tend to say this term more about accomplishing something. However, the term is still for short-term goals, and it was originally meant as enjoy the day, which is basically just YOLO. The good: this gets people away from the routine of their day-to-day and makes them do something different.

Bucket list is a list of things you will do before you “kick the bucket” (die). Some people make this list when faced with terminal illness. Other people just make this list because they want to accomplish everything they want in life. A bucket list is as selfless or selfish as a person makes it. The good: Although many items are short term goals on a bucket list, the bucket list itself is about accomplishing goals, wants, and needs over a long-term period.

1 year list

A 1 year list is my concept, based on the bucket list. The 1 year list is a list of 10 goals. I have 1 year to complete a goal from the time it goes on my list. Anytime I complete a goal, I add another goal, so the list always has 10 goals. My goals are selfish, selfless, long-term, and short-term. The only rule is that a goal isn’t a dream. It’s something that is obtainable through normal circumstances. In other words, if you want to make $1,000,000 in the next year, that is not obtainable for most people. Unless you’re already making close to $80,000 a month and can work harder to increase your earnings, it isn’t a goal. My list is below.

  1. 200 lbs Dumbbell Press: I’m currently pressing 160 lbs, and my body weight is between 185 lbs and 190 lbs, so this is easy enough to do within the next year. Occurrence: never accomplished before.
  2. Write 36,500 words: in the past, I’ve tried to write everyday. It doesn’t always workout, and then I end up with a defeatist attitude. I can’t write everyday, so why bother. This way, I never get defeated, since I can always catch up. I’m counting all writing that is for the public. This means that anything I write for money, this website, or future publications will count. Occurrence: I might have done this while in school. This was more than a decade ago.
  3. Run 520km: before you laugh, remember this is not all at once, this is over the course of a year. It works out to 10km a week. This is a reasonable and conservative goal, but it means running every week, which I don’t do now. Occurrence: never accomplished before.
  4. Complete French lessons: this is something I do in my free time. I learn French. I’m able to do it, but language is the one area where I’m a slow learner. I often put off lessons to do something else. Occurrence: never accomplished before.
  5. Visit my mom: she lives almost 4000km away, so it’s financially difficult to see her often. Occurrence: she moved several years ago, and I’ve only been to see her once.
  6. Family charity event: simply take my wife and kids and take part in a fund-raising charity event. Occurrence: never accomplished before.
  7. Get below 185 lbs: my current weight is about 187 lbs. I know this sounds easy, but I’m muscular and 6′ 2″. Losing a few pounds of body weight when you’re slender is actually quite difficult. Occurrence: I’ve only been under 185 lbs when I wasn’t lifting weights.
  8. Make a new friend: I know how this sounds, but most people who I truly call friends, I met when I was 19 or younger. I’m now 36. This might be my most difficult goal. I consider someone a friend when the two of us can hang out without anyone else there, and there is no business relationship. Occurrence: it’s happens, but hardly ever, definitely not yearly.
  9. Reunite with an old friend or family member: this is just reconnecting, in person, with someone I haven’t seen in a long time. Occurrence: it’s happens, but hardly ever, definitely not yearly.
  10. Help a stranger in need: this might be anything from helping a lost child find a parent to pushing someone’s car out of the snow in the winter. Occurrence: this probably happens more than I think it does. I never take note of helping someone, so I have no idea how long this will take.

That is my list. Judge it how you will, and feel free to write your own 1 year list. I’ve written a list of very achievable goals, most of which I’ve never accomplished before. I believe this type of long-term thinking is a better and happier way of living your life, and anything I write after the list is pretty much just a way of me getting my word count closer to 36,500.

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October 27

Meeting Goals

Empty Net
Empty Net (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For the last few years, I’ve been struggling to meet goals. The goals are simple, become a writer and get into shape. Neither goal is particularly difficult; they’re both just long and time-consuming.

I’ve never been what you would call overweight, but getting into really good shape would still take a lot of dedication, maybe 12 months of working out 6 days week. Well, I’m about 6 months into this schedule already. This wasn’t an easy task for me, since I’m not, by any means, a jock.

It’s easy enough for me to sit down and write here, but to make it my life and career is a longer goal. I need to treat it like exercise and just keep devoting time to it, no matter what. Right now, I’m going to volunteer for some writing jobs to build a portfolio.

As for this site (sonofsappho.com), you can expect to see stories, writing tips, and perhaps just general musings in the weeks to come.

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