Tag Archives: Motivation

The Book Project, Vol. 2

(Image/timemanagementninja.com)

(Image/timemanagementninja.com)

You probably think I’m procrastinating. (And you’re technically correct.) But in the context of my life, things are right on schedule.

This is how I operate. I’m not defending it, nor proud of it. It’s just a fact.

Remember that one time I pledged you’d want me by June 1? Because I said I’d be in good shape by then? I didn’t even start seriously working out and altering my diet until a week before June 1. I can’t be entirely sure you’d want me today, but it’s at least 200-percent more likely than before. You’re welcome.

In April of LAST YEAR, I told you about the book I am planning to write. And I do have several thousands of words written for it. It’s not like the workout thing, where I literally did NOTHING I said I would for a few months.

But, still. I’ve been putting it off. And that has to stop. Now.

My 500-Words-Per-Day Strategy

I won’t know I can do this until I actually do it, but there’s nothing particularly daunting to me about the prospect of writing 500 words a day. I think it might help.

My favorite writer James Altucher preaches generating 10 new ideas every day. (It doesn’t matter what for. It only matters that you do it.)

Bestselling novelist John Grisham has published 33 novels in 25 years because he commits to writing at least one page daily, and sticks to it.

Perhaps the most successful comedian of all time, Jerry Seinfeld, set a simple target for himself: One new joke per day.

It’s a productivity hack to harness the power of momentum and reap the long-term benefits of incremental gains.

Writes Cathryn Lavery in the Medium post that inspired this one: Persistence creates luck and experience.

I know it to be true. Now, it’s time to apply it to finishing this book project which I hope will lead to new ones.

I am a world-class procrastinator. I will NEVER publicly admit all of the problems that have cropped up in my life over the years because of my tendency to put things off.

I am the captain of the ADHD squad.

And I am a little bit childish in that I prefer to spend pretty much all my time doing whatever it is I want to be doing, and pretty much never wanting to do things that don’t fit nicely into that little Things Matt Likes silo.

I can continue to use those things as excuses and never achieve goals I set for myself, or I can make small changes and slowly but steadily inch my way toward the finish line.

The key takeaway from going through the StrengthsFinder program in May was the realization that I need to sometimes protect myself from myself and structure projects and parts of my life in ways that minimize the negative effects of some of my (less-than-desirable) tendencies. In other words, in order to finish this book, I need partners.

A friend and co-worker agreed to be the person to hold me accountable to writing 500 words per day. If she does her part, and I do my part, the book should be written by the holidays. I am grateful to have people in my life who want to help me with this project. Much like the workout thing, one morning it was finally time to move. For book writing, today is that day.

Improve at something 1% each day, and you’ll be twice as good at that thing in 70 days. Improve 1% each day, and at the end of the year you’ll have improved 3,800%.

All it takes is repetition and the will to say yes every day. And like working out and disciplined eating, I can do that.

Which is good.

Because it’s time to scare the hell out of Bruce Lee.

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Follow the Yellow Brick Road

It might be long. There might be some scary shit along the way. Keep going anyway.

It might be long. There might be some scary shit along the way. Keep going anyway.

The words were piercing.

“I want to die—I can’t do this,” wrote the broken 26-year-old. The one with the cheating husband. The one who’s being abandoned. The one just trying to figure out how to breathe. How to pick herself up off the floor.

I don’t know this young lady. But I know what all of that feels like.

She writes:

“I gave him everything.

“I have nothing—I hate myself.

“I’m empty—I’m a shell.”

Attitudes are more important than facts. – Karl A. Menninger

Hopefully she doesn’t really want to die.

I certainly don’t want to die. But for the first time in my life, I can at least relate to the thought process.

Sometimes, something hurts enough where flipping the switch to the OFF position doesn’t seem like the worst idea.

But it’s cowardly. Selfish. Wasted thought.

It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, “Always do what you are afraid to do.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Absence of Hope

People feel this all the time. Hopelessness. It’s heartbreaking.

Because that’s one of the things we need the most—hope. Hope is how you persevere. It’s how you (insert cliché metaphor here) climb the mountain, break through the wall, conquer fear.

Hope is why we wake up in the morning.

Hope that today can be better than yesterday. That tomorrow brings the promise of unlimited possibilities.

Hope is why we educate ourselves and our children.

Hope is why we pray.

Hope is why we go to work.

Hope is why we love.

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul. And sings to the tune without words, and never stops at all. – Emily Dickinson

Motivational clichés are annoying. I know. But they’re clichés because they’re predominantly true.

When one door closes, another door opens.

When you get laid off from your job, you eventually get a new one. A better one.

When your spouse or partner leaves you, in theory, you eventually get a new one. A better one? I don’t know. But that’s my hope.

We build muscles by breaking them down.

We temper steel in fire.

Diamonds are formed under the Earth’s most-intense pressures.

If You Can’t Be Strong for You, Be Strong for Others

I don’t know much.

But I do know this: NOTHING eliminates fear, worry and stress in my own life quite like the news of someone else going through tragedy.

What were you worried about around 7:30 a.m. EST on Sept. 11, 2001?

What was bothering you on Dec. 26, 2004 when the tsunami hit the Indonesian coast?

How bad was your day last December when 20 beautiful children were fatally shot along with six teachers trying to protect them in Newtown, Conn.?

Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others. – Plato

People need you.

If everything’s great in your life, people need you. Help them.

If everything is total shit? People STILL need you. Help them.

Light Up the Darkness

You may not believe in fate. Or karma. Or that everything happens for a reason.

I don’t really know what I believe in that department. Nor do I particularly care.

I believe in math, though. In statistics. Are you getting spoon fed copious amounts of shit? Hang tight. Because good is coming to balance the math equation. To level the scale on the other side of the equals sign.

I also believe in being a good human being. In treating other people with kindness and compassion. With respect. With love in its most basic human form.

If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves. – Thomas Edison

It’s how I’m going to beat this.

It’s how I’m going to keep breathing.

It’s how I’m going to experience the sweet taste of whatever good thing is coming down the pipeline for me.

It’s how I’m going to keep my head up.

It’s how I’m going to be strong for others even when I don’t feel strong for myself.

Because we have LOTS of takers in this world. Shit tons of them. And I don’t want to be one. And I don’t want you to be one.

Find a way to give more than you take.

To be a positive force in a sometimes cruel world.

To light up the darkness.

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