Confronting reality 👀

Goal setting is like game setting. You start at level 1 and graduate into unforeseen directions.

If you’re lucky, you’ll ping-pong forward, making leaps and bounds.

But more often than not, declaring your ambitions acts as a compass, guiding you with mere suggestions on how to proceed.

The lighthouse may tease what’s ahead yet what remains murky is only cleared up when confronted in reality. 

Still, the opposition throws roadblocks, trying to flip your resiliency into a foot-dragging laggard.

On, in, or around — you’ll find a way to build a bridge or crush through the wall with a persistent hammer. Give into the resistance, and it will proudly celebrate your inaction.

The goose gets bones via experimentation, the same way an athlete strengthens their body through bicep curls or a monk jogs the brain through meditation.

Even the machine evolves to beat a chess master after learning from its own failed iterations. Wrongs accumulate until they make it right.

The choice is yours to either show-up and move or yield to imperious anticipation. It is recommended that one spend less time pausing and more time living en medias res.

Effort investigates the self and paves the road of life with a bunch of guesses. Fortunately, those assumptions appear to get more accurate with time.

3, 2, 1…action!

‘If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree.’

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“If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree.”

Jim Rohn

Abraham Lincoln on writing

“Writing, the art of communicating thoughts to the mind, through the eye— is the great invention of the world.”

— Abraham Lincoln

Henry Rollins: The One Decision that Changed My Life Forever

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Talent is overrated. Hard work, discipline, grit, and consistency are attributes that increase your chances of getting what you want.

Luck is a matter of being specific about your goals and two, putting yourself in a position for good things to happen. It is the accumulation of small and steady risks that make the biggest difference and change your life.

For Henry Rollins, that meant taking a bus from DC up to New York to see his favorite band, only to go on stage and sing with them. To his surprise, they called him back later for an audition and became the band’s lead singer. In other words, he caught his lucky break and escaped a life of minimum wage jobs.

Some people get lucky by default. Their network leads them into opportunities because of the sheer dazzle of their last name. For others, hitting the jackpot it is the result of striving to achieve a very specific effort and finding those [easyazon_link identifier=”1101986395″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]luck circles[/easyazon_link] that help you make it happen.

Luck draws on the law of magnetism

Luck may be a random phenomenon but it works like a magnet, gravitating toward those hungry enough to take chances.

Success is an accumulation of little efforts that build on top of a grateful perspective, a practice of modesty that keeps you doing what you’re doing. Says Rollins:

“I don’t have talent. I have tenacity. I have discipline. I have Focus. I know, without any delusion, where I come from & where I can go back to.”

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If you’re struggling to get started, do it badly

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Perfection is the antithesis of inspiration; it prevents you from getting started.

The trick to getting going is to do it badly. Be intentionally messy.

Producing crap isn’t the end-goal. The point of taking small actions is to create enough momentum to feel like we’re winning.

What sustains persistence are small improvements. You’re looking to go from one pushup a day to two the next week. You’re trying to walk five thousand steps a day before graduating to six thousand. You’ll need to write one-hundred words day after day before developing the muscle to get down two-hundred words on a consistent basis. By the way, there is no such thing as writer’s block!

Do small things to get started — not matter how poorly — to avoid second-guessing yourself and to prime the motivational pump.

Fear is never as bad as it seems

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Most fears are irrational.

When we let what we’re scared of drive our decision-making, we seek safety which mostly means inaction. Like algae, we prefer to stay local, isolated from the from the sun that feeds us with its light.

So how can we get where we want to go when a constant state of dread lies in our way?

When stuck in doubt, heed the words of Stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger: “We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.” The amygdala exaggerates our anxieties.

If we’re courageous enough, we’ll say yes and do it anyway.

Fear is both natural and artificial; if used wisely, it can be the impetus for action.

Inspiration porn

Inspiration porn. Food porn. Why is that we must see something before we engage with it?

The notion of action and the anticipation of taste are more tangible than the outcome. It is not necessarily the doing or consumption we seek but rather the imagination that foresees its conclusion.

In the midst of the action, we forget why we started in the first place. The idea already contains the happy ending, even if it’s fictional.

MLK Day: “This ‘Wait!’ has almost always meant ‘Never.’”

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“This ‘Wait!’ has almost always meant ‘Never.’”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

His message: Own up. Take responsibility now. No fence-sitting.

So many of us hesitate, waiting for mass acceptance. Believe in what’s right and push for it. Don’t wait.

Stay connected to the big picture view

Don’t be afraid to look back (photo by Wells Baum)

Your business is still a work in progress, as is your health and relationships. Even the democratic experiment is still in action.

What’s your credo? What’re your criteria? What ethos are you trying to build for yourself over the new few years?

If you can’t recall your goals in the first place, consider treating your work etc. as if you were starting anew.

They say starting is the real challenge. But even more difficult is popularizing a good idea that’s worth seeing through.

Follow in your own footsteps 

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Prescriptions work until the placebo runs off. If you’ve ever followed someone else’s formula, you’ve experienced its vulnerability. The path may work for a while before the magic wears off.

The road to success is individual. No person’s rise to the top is the same. There are too many variables at play — your wealth, health, nationality, and network.

The only way to emerge from the shadows is to make fresh footsteps. Don’t be the extension of someone else’s story. Write your own instead.