Stop Doing That

Just because you used to love something, does not mean that you are obligated to keep doing it long after you stop loving it. In fact, you are likely doing that something a disservice by not pouring your all into it.

Worse still, you may be preventing someone, somewhere, from doing that something you are doing and no longer loving. It could be something that they would really love and you are taking up their space.

So, if this is you and you are no longer in love with what you do, stop doing that.

Your Biggest Fan

Who’s your biggest fan? Do you know? Is it you? Are you your own biggest fan? If not, why not? Perhaps, you should be.

My bet is, you are already your own harshest critic (I know I am). You are perfectly willing to play the role of your own devil on your own shoulder. A never ending loop of negativity when things go wrong or you mess up. You have no problem taking the lead in recognizing your failures and doubts.

Why not, then, make it just as easy to give yourself a pat on the back for the jobs well done?

Not in a self-centered and egotistical way, mind you. I’m not talking about any sort of grandiose illusions here. I’m simply saying that you should be ready and willing to take a step back and recognize and take note of work you feel proud of. And, to graciously and humbly accept, when others recognize it as well.

And, if there is a bone fide reason for your self-criticism, then let your inner fan motivate you to do better next time.

Personally, I keep a “yay me” file — a plain text document named “yayme.txt”. A love letter, of sorts, to myself. Whenever I do something I’m proud of, I write it in this file. Whenever someone has given me a standout complement, I write that in this file too. If a reader sends me a nice email letting me know I’m appreciated, here’s where it goes.

Whenever, I’m feeling the inner critic begin to rear it’s ugly head, I open up this file to find my biggest fan reminding me of how much I have accomplished and cheering me on to the next victory.

Your free will donation of any amount helps to support a full-time independent writer. I also note it in my Yay Me file. Thanks for reading!

No Limits

Stop raising bars. Stop pushing envelopes. Stop stretching limits.

Because, you see, here’s the problem…

Whenever you raise a bar, you create one to be raised.

Whenever you push an envelope, you believe one exists to be pushed.

Whenever you stretch a limit, you acknowledge that one is there.

What if there are no limits to stretch?

What if there are no envelopes to push?

What if there is no bar to raise?

If the bar was real how could you raise it?

If the envelope was there how could you stretch it?

If there was a limit, how did you push pass it?

Perhaps, the fact that you were able to raise, push, or stretch is proof that these things were not there in the first place?

What if you lived a life where these things did not exist? What you that look like? What would that feel like?

Wanna find out? It’s easy.

Live your life like there are no limits and no one will be able to stop you. There will be nothing to hold you back and nothing to push against. There will be no way for anyone to stand in.

The only limits are the ones we create. So, stop creating them.

I’m a writer. Writing is how I make this world better, friendlier, stronger place. If these words improved your day, please let me know by contributing here.

Shaping The Light

Think about a lightbulb. Soft, white, diffused light. It speeds in all directions, illuminating the room. Unfocused.

Now, place a mirrored cup around that same light, point the cup’s opening at a specific point, and now you have a spotlight. Focused in one direction.

Now, start to constrain that opening. Shape it as a cone. You have a beam. A laser. A beam powerful enough to burn a hole in any object it is directed at. Extreme focus.

Same energy. Just shaped in different ways. And, once shaped, its strength, intention, and purpose is changed.

This is you. This is your time. This is your attention. This is your energy.

The same energy that you currently spread amongst the many tasks you are now doing, can be focused to put a real, deep, burning, hole right in the center of the one thing you should be doing.

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Your Dream Life

Let’s be honest. You are not really looking for your dream job. Well, that may be what you say you are looking for or even think you are looking for. But, in reality you think said dream job is an automatic path to your dream life.

Well, I hate to break this to you, but since we are being so truthful here… Nope. Not only do the two not come together in a big value pack of happiness, but you might find that they are often at odds with each other. That, in order to build one you have to sacrifice and compromise the other — at least for a while and possibly forever. This is not to say that one can’t lead to the other or be built at the same time. This is to say that such cases are rare and you should be prepared to make the tough choices when they come.

For example, you may decide to take that very comfortable job driving someone else’s dump truck. You enjoy it quite a bit and it is something you always wanted to do. You are paid well enough to do it too. You get paid vacations and time off, good benefits, nice retirement savings plan, etc. It may be really flexible time wise too. It may allow you to send your kids to a good school and buy the spouse nice things. You can afford a nice house. Basically, it is what you dream of when you dream your dream life. And this is OK. You have chosen to drive someone else’s dump truck because that allows you to live your dream life. Fair trade, right?

That is still someone else’s dump truck.

But, in order to build your dream and buy your own dump truck you will have to give up some of that dream life — at least for a while. You may have to take a steep pay cut, give up the idea of vacation or time off, pay for your own health insurance, maybe even downsize the house.

But, hey, you are at least driving your own dump truck.

My point is that these are all choices. Most of the time they are hard choices. Sometimes one has to choose between their dream job and their dream life. But they are choices all the same.

But, sometimes, with the hard work, the compromise, the sacrifice, and right choices, and a wee bit of luck, one can arrive at both. But that’s all on you too.

I’m a full-time independent writer who works hard to bring you quality reading and ideas here daily. If you enjoy what you see here, please consider a free will donation of any amount.

Your Dream Job

Your dream job will only exist if you get out there and work your nethers off and build it. No one can give it to you. You can’t be hired for it. There is no interview process and it won’t magically appear one day. A dream that is your dream can’t be taken or provided. If you want your dream job the only one that can will that into existence is you.

You may be saying, “Hey, my dream job is to drive a dump truck. Surely, I can learn how to drive one and get hired doing that for the rest of my life.”

Sure. This is true. But if you are being hired to drive someone else’s truck dumping someone else’s loads for someone else’s dump truck business then it is not your dream job. You just happen to be doing the job of your dreams for someone else. Your dream simply fit well into someone else’s bigger dream.

That’s OK. There is nothing wrong with that if it makes you happy and pays you well for the rest of your life. But, that is not your dream job. That is a dream job that you were lucky enough to be hired for but a dream that can be snatched away from you at any time. And any dream that can be taken did not belong to you — was not yours — in the first place.

Want to turn it into your dream job? Work hard, save money, buy your own dump truck, build out a model for sustaining customers that need loads hauled and dumped, and charge a price that will allow you to live comfortably and save a little extra for the rainy days, and figure out how to do that for the rest of your life or until it no longer fulfills you and makes you happy. That is the only way to make a dream your dream.

Only you can dream your dream. Only you can make your dream reality. Only then can it never be taken away. It can fail. It can falter. It can remain fantasy for ever. Or it could be the most successful in human history. But that’s all on you.

I’m a writer. Writing is how I make this world better, friendlier, stronger place. This is my dream job. If these words improved your day, please let me know by contributing here.

The Farmer

I was on a flight to Washington DC. This was the first leg. Minneapolis to Milwaukee. I was rushing out, last minute, to be with my father. A medical emergency. His heart had decided to fail. The doctors were unsure why. He had been admitted for further testing and, well, to keep him alive. Not my best day at all.
My row mate was an attractive young lady. Early thirties would be my best guess. Long dark thick hair pulled up and back to keep it out of the way, lest the strands have their way with the frame of her face. And that face! Sturdy. Midwestern. A lesson in beauty through strength. I could see the glimmer of stories unfold before she even began to tell them.
Small talk ensued. I told her about the reasons for for my trip to DC. She offered her heartfelt concern. I wished not to dwell and asked her about her trip — as much out of distraction as interest. I’m glad I did. She too was headed out to DC.
“What is bringing you out to DC?” I asked.
She explained that she was a Farmer. Had been all her life. Like her Father. She lived in a small town she was certain I had never heard of. In the northwest corner of Iowa. She worked a piece of her father’s five hundred acres. She belonged to an independent farmer advocacy group and was going out to DC as part of this to talk to legislators about ious issues. This was her first time doing so. She was excited about the trip and experience.
I said, “Wow. That’s awesome. I never would have pegged you as a farmer but I have tremendous respect for it. What do you grow?”
She explained they had decided to start experimenting with organics on her portion. They had some preliminary success with a couple of crops and were expanding this year to more. She explained in laypersons terms the ious challenges and why it is so different yet exciting. That her father had even started experimenting a bit with the animals he raised too.
“I don’t pretend to know much about farming but I have read a bit and know what tremendously hard work it is.”, I stated. “I mean, especially as an independent family farmer. From Big Agra to diminishing returns you must be beset on all sides. What keeps you doing it?”
“You gotta love the land.”, she said. Her whole tone of voice and body language changed when she said it. There was an unassuming yet palpable passion behind every word. “Not just the way it looks. The way it feels to be in it. To be a part of it. I wake up before sunrise every morning just itching to get up to my neck in it. The smell too. I smell like shit all day but that shit is part of the land and the land needs it as much as it needs me. I go to bed each night broken, exhausted, yet thankful. Not just thankful for the three showers I need to wash it off me but for the chance to do it all over again tomorrow. I love the land and my place within it. You have to.”
“You have to love the land…”
This farmer realizes that the relationship with her work, like any good relationship is, and should be, reciprocal. That the work, the land, would not be as good without her commitment to it. And, in turn, it returns that commitment to her. And, because of her intimacy with it, it returns that much more.
This. This passion. This love for what we are born to do. Whatever that is for each of us. Like her, our days should be filled with it. Every moment. We should wake up each day inching to get up to our necks in it. To be covered with it. To be a part of it. To be intimate with it.
As a writer, I have to love the words. I desire to wake each day and get up to my neck in them. I want to be covered with their stench. I want to end each day broken and exhausted from them yet anxious in the anticipation of my return to them tomorrow. And, by loving the words, they return that commitment to me. I have to love the words…
How about you? How about your land? Do you love it? Do you need it as much as it needs you? Why? Why not?
Want to know what you should be doing with your life? Find the shit you want to be covered in. Start there.