Thomas Turnbull and Alan Palazzolo have put together a great book on Drupal's mapping features, appropriately called Mapping with Drupal.I found this book at the perfect time. For my outdoor site, PureOutside, I've recently installed Drupal and am building 2 new sections to the site that both include mapping. I knew that Drupal had some capacity to do maps but wasn't sure what exactly that was. I knew there was going to be a lot of research and scouring the internet for the information I needed, first on what was possible and then how to implement what I wanted. I wasn't looking forward to it so I put it off as long as I could, and then I found Mapping with Drupal.Meet the authorsBoth Thomas and Alan have years worth of experience with Drupal, building and maintaining website as well as module development. I was happy to see both authors were involved in module development because they'll have the inside track on information. They'll be informed of upcoming developments on the modules as well as the recent history of them. Many people these days can tell you what's happening right now but to make good decisions with your Drupal websites module roadmap information can be very important.What is Mapping with Drupal about?Drupal is a great Content Management System that runs websites. It's incredibly flexible and can do almost anything with the help of contributed modules from the large and growing Drupal community. Members of that community develop and maintain modules that give you the ability to build and display maps and geographic data. There are many different modules and they all do different things. Mapping with Drupal is a very clear step by step roadmap through the jungle of information about Drupal mapping. I've referred back to the book while building the soon-to-be-released mapping features on PureOutside.com.What's good?Casual ToneThe tone of the book is great. It's like you're sitting down with the authors having a chat about how to build a map on Drupal. That's exactly how I want it to feel. I don't want to be talked down to like I'm a little kid or have no idea what I'm doing on a computer. I felt they explained everything at a very good level for my skills.Well laid outThe flow of the book was easy to follow. The text moved back and forth from explanations to tutorials and back. This may not be the best layout for you if you don't want to do the tutorials throughout the book but that's really the only way to retain any information from the complicated process of setting up maps on Drupal so it worked well. The book refers back to previous sections where you set up other parts of the tutorials so may have to refer back to them if you don't read it in order. I needed to find out everything I could about Drupal and the mapping options so I read it from cover to cover and then went back and referred to the tutorials when I implemented anything on PureOutside.Very up to dateThe problem with a lot of Drupal information these days is that it's out of date. With the recent release of Drupal 7, it can be hard to find current information about the newest release. A lot of the tutorials or questions and answers out there refer to Drupal 6, even though it may not specify. I was getting frustrated trying to find Drupal 7 specific information. Mapping with Drupal is specifically for Drupal 7 which is impressive because it's so new. For me it would have been almost useless if it had been for Drupal 6 because so much has changed for 7. When there are big changes between 6 and 7, Alan and Thomas point them out and provide tips for moving between the 2.Clear tutorialsOne of the best parts of the book aside from the clear explanations of the main layout of the Drupal mapping modules is the step by step tutorials throughout the book. Without those tutorials I wouldn't have been able to implement my own maps so fast. I would have been stuck in OpenLayers configuration hell (OpenLayers is one of the not-so-simple map modules I'm using now). With the explanations and tutorials I was up and running in a day. The tutorials go through how to use the GeoField, OpenLayers, GMap and Location modules to get maps on your websites.PitfallsThroughout the book the authors have included small boxes of additional information to help you avoid the pitfalls that can helping when implementing new maps on your Drupal site. These are handy to know and will help you steer clear of bad decisions before you even have to make any.As a little aside there was a bit on how to manage maps as Features. I didn't know even about Features before reading this book. Features are one of the ways to bundle settings to use on a different site, in a different environment or share with other developers. I use my own "Ahhh" rating after I've read a book. I rate them by how many times I go "ahhhh, yes, that's exactly what I wanted to know." The more the better.Bad things?One example throughoutI was hoping for more examples throughout the book. Every section builds on the original example of mapping Drupal user groups. This is great and it was the reason I was able to implement my maps so fast but I think it could have used a little more. Perhaps they could have included more examples right in the book or have a companion website to include more examples. The benefit of this would be that if you're map configuration was different than the basic one they did the book, there would be an example for it. I learn really well through learning a concept and then seeing many different examples of it in action so I can spot the differences. Only one example makes this tough.Very technical for a new Drupal userThis isn't necessarily a bad thing about the book but possibly a disadvantage for new Drupal users. I doubt a first-time Drupal user would be diving straight into maps but they might try. I would highly recommend against that. This book (and setting up maps in Drupal) isn't exactly for new Drupal users. They could definitely do it but knowing more about Drupal Modules and Views are requirements for reading this book. I've been a Drupal user for the last year and there were some things that were over my head. Luckily the incredible Drupal community has made it very easy to find out anything you need on the internet. If you are like me, you will probably need to read this book near internet access so you can look up anything that comes up.Final VerdictIf you are looking information on the current state of Drupal mapping and exactly how to implement maps in Drupal 7, this is your book. They tell you the details and get you up and running fast. If you're looking for a light and fluffy read about the ideas in Drupal, or how to get started with Drupal from scratch, this probably isn't your book.With the tutorials, clear explanations and inside view of the drupal mapping module world, Alan and Thomas have put together an excellent book to get you show you the way to mapping with Drupal.
February's Challenge didn't go so well. I thought after how hard January's Challenge was, February's Project would be a breeze. The motivation was entirely there but something else was lacking.That something else was time. With how much I'm running right now for the Marathon training, there just wasn't a whole lot of time left for working on the guide every day for 2 hours and, well, life.The Mount Benson Guide Beta LaunchThe Beta launch for the Guide went well. I ended up putting it out a day later than I wanted it to but that was mostly to do with getting contact information from the beta testers and not whether the guide was ready. Over the 2 weeks of the beta test, the testers ploughed through the guide and gave me tons of good feedback.There was only one problem when I went to launch the guide to the public, I wasn't in town. I planned to launch at the end of February. The weekend before I had planned on ticking off the last few things I had to do on the guide and do a bit more testing before the launch. The only problem was that I wasn't in town that weekend. Friday after work until late Sunday night I would be skiing at a ski hill outside of cell reception. As luck would have it, I had "planned" another ski weekend on the Launch weekend as well. So much for looking ahead!I'm still getting myself organized from those weekends and the payment processor set up for the Guide launch to the public. Once that is set to go we can actually launch this this. It's been so long in the making, I can't wait for it to be released.I feel like I didn't get as much as I had wanted to get done this month but my time was definitely spent elsewhere. I learned a few things along the way.Time ManagementTime management can make or break projects. Any work I was getting done on the guide was crammed in and not very relaxed. I ended up having too many other things on my plate. Saying yes to a Toastmasters speech, a travel article and multiple long runs per week is a large time commitment and fitting in regular blog posts and time to work on a bigger product can push things over the top. I'm going to be very mindful to what I'm committing too over the next few months.My LimitsI came close to what my curent limits are in terms of different things on the go at once. I do like a variety of activities but when there is simply too much going on, I just feel frazzled and nothing gets done. I often resort to reading as a way of doing something but in reality it's not getting much done. I'm learning new things but it's not contributing to my weekly articles or the content for the guide I need to finish. Those things need larger blocks of uninterrupted time and those were very hard to find. Many days it felt like marathon training and blog writing were competing for the same blocks of time. Most of the time marathon training would win and I'd end up writing a small amount for the blog or not at all. I still have a month and a half left of marathon training so I have a bit of time left to work on the balance of my time but I will be glad when the training is over.My PrioritiesWhen there was too much going on, the only thing I could do was to try to find out what my most important item was. The only way I could do some work was to nail down a list of prioritized items, number one to number 4, and then start work on number one. By the next day that list would likely change but at least I had got one thing done. My current focus is completing my current task before something else takes my attention away. At the moment it seems like a dozen tasks are half finished and I can't focus on one long enough to complete it. I'm reducing the number of places I keep lists of tasks and only using ManyMoon for tasks and Google Calendar for scheduling. Nothing else. With everything in one place, either on the todo list or the calendar depending on what it is, things will be simpler.Calendar Your RealityI wanted to put everything I was doing in one place. I tried to put everything I was doing on a calendar but it got too messy and complicated so I gave up and went back to a combination of lists and calendars and other things. I finally realized that the calendar got messy and complicated when I added everything in my life to it because that's how it was. I was trying to add a lot to the calendar because there was a ton of stuff. Just looking at the calendar of what I was trying to do was leaving me overwhelmed. It was simpler just to do what popped into my head and hope for the best.I'm now working towards scheduling everything into Google Calendar and keeping it nice and clean there with the hope that when my schedule is nice and clean, my reality will reflect some of that!Next Challenge?I was going to try and do another challenge this month and take more photos every day but with how much I'm running for the marathon training, it's just not going to happen. After the training is over I may take up the challenges again as I liked the format and it was fun trying new things. I will let you know how that goes.
I try to mountain bike as much as I can. There is nothing quite like the feeling of being on the trail, in the flow of things, and not letting anything get in your way.Until you hit a rock or a tree.They're always there. Sometimes you hit them and sometimes you don't. I highly recommend not hitting either of them but how do you do that?Don't look at them. If you look at the rock, you'll hit the rock. If you'll stare at the tree, you'll hit the tree. You must look where you want to go, not where you don't want to go.I've found this incredibly useful in life as well. The more you focus on what you want and where you want to go, the faster you will get there. It's not even an IF you get there, it's a when. Simple as that. Don't think about all the crap other people do in the spare time. Turn off the TV, say goodbye to friends that don't get you stoked about life, and get thinking about what you want.Then think about more. And more. And more. Every single day, think about those things that you want. Start working on how you're going to get those things, achieve those goals and go those places. The more you think about them, the faster you'll get them.Go. Now. Start thinking.----UpdatesI'm using this space to keep everyone updated on what's going on with my projects.Spark Challenge UpdateI thought I would do an easy one this month by making my Spark Challenge working on the hiking guide product I'm launching at the end of the month for PureOutside. Apparently I don't have 2 spare hours each day to do that. Either that or I screw around a lot and I don't know where my time goes. Either reason is plausible. With so much running right now with marathon training, I have a lot less time than usual.Million Dollar Blog Project UpdateMy first product! The Mount Benson Hiking Guide comes out at the end of the month. I still haven't decided on the final name of the product but it will be about hiking Mount Benson in Nanaimo. Again, I can't believe it's taken this long to come out but it's finally going to be here.Traffic has been pretty steady on the site with the odd bump here and there than I can't really explain. I've been posting every week with posts that I schedule once a month so that helps with the traffic. Once the guide is done and I have a bit more time, I'd like to focus on getting a few more mega posts going. I really had fun doing the Biggest List of Ski Films in the World, and I'd like to expand that idea to the other sports I cover. Part of the fun is watching so many awesome film trailers while I'm researching the post!Latest AdventuresI've been out sailing a couple times since the last update. The weather has been off and on and not the greatest for sailing but it was just nice to get on the water. I'm trying to sponge up every tidbit of knowledge about sailing in anticipation of the VanIsle 360 race next summer, a 2 week race around Vancouver Island.I managed to get out this past weekend to do a quick overnight ski tour to Forbidden Plateau. We didn't have much time but we still got out for a nice adventure. Sunday it rained like crazy but we were still outside so it was worth it.Fitness: Marathon UpdateMarathon training is no longer killing me but it's still tough. Running 6 days a week is taking it's toll on my free time. I love running but I would like more free time to do other things. We're up to 26 kilometres for the long run this weekend.That's it for this edition of the updates. Stay tuned for more about the launch of my first product in the next edition!----img
January was hard. I didn't think I was going to make it through this challenge for the first week. I remember thinking that if only I could only do what I wanted to do, then things would be fine. But that's not how it works. Once a habit like eating certain things at certain times engrain themselves, it's very hard to get rid of them.January's challenge of no gluten, sugar, or coffee was the hardest one I've done so far. And yet, at the same time, I think it might have been one of the easiest. By the end anyways, I didn't even have to think about it. I had made a new habit thinking about what I was eating so much that it wasn't really conscious any more. Healthy eating just happened. It didn't start out that way though.The first week was really tough. I remember running up against my first piece of chocolate during the challenge. I tried. I really did. And then I ate it. Instead of focusing on why I shouldn't and all the benefits with sticking with my challenge my brain short-circuted, told me that I wouldn't last through the challenge anyways, and then put my hand on the chocolate. There's no way to resist after that. After a couple of instances like that I was wondering if I really could do this. I wasn't sure. I had to try. Just focus on one day at a time. One day at a time.The second and third week took a little bit of work as well but they got easier. The turning point was one day at work. Normally, I'm a huge sucker for free food. If it's tasty and free there is 0% chance I will turn it down. It's usually in my stomach before I've had a chance to think about it and possibly decline the offer.So there they were, sandwiches on fresh buns and cookies. A bunch of them. They were just sitting on the lunch room table, leftovers from someones meeting. I felt it. "Free Food!!!" my brain was saying and before I knew it I was opening up the plastic cover. Then the little angel on my shoulder kicked in (for the first time this month it felt like)."What are you doing?""But...""What is your amazing, fancy challenge about this month.""Right."And away I went. The interruption actually happened between trigger and response. It seems like if you can groom this break in the chain to happen, you have a chance to actually do what you want to do after a trigger happens. If the interruption doesn't happen, you're toast. There's no way you can resist. You'll just keep going the same as you did before. No change. So much for a challenge.Think about what you want your actual reaction to be and you'll have a chance. Your brain will do what you want if you tell it over and over. And over. And over. And over. And then a few more.Since that day, things went smoothly. Sure there were terrible food, coffee and donuts around but I held off. It was tough when I was hungry and the food of some delicious donuts came wafting through the office but I held one.Then I had a binge day at the end of the month. What a great idea! I think I made myself sick by eating too much. Chocolate, pizza, cheesecake, a burger, milkshake. Wow. Put that all together in a sentence and it sounds terrible. I may have gone a little overboard but it was sure tasty.What did I learn from all this?Focus on what you can do, not what you can't doIf you sit there and think of what you can't eat all day, then you'll go out and eat it. If you've ever ridden a mountain bike you'll know this idea quite well. If you look at the tree while you're riding, you'll hit the tree. If you look at the rock, you'll hit the rock. If you focus on the trail, you'll ride on the trail.I forced myself to focus on what I could eat and made that as delicious as possible. I also made sure I had enough to eat all the time. Being hungry with no proper food is a guaranteed ticket to the vending machine full of crap. This is where the habits come in. Making all the meals you normally make are habits. You'll need to adjust to remake these habits if you want to make new healthier things. Force yourself to find new recipes and make them a lot. Keep the good ones and toss the rest. Eventually you'll replace all your standard meals with awesome food.Make good habits easyThis one is dead simple but it can be so hard. It was in front of me the whole time but it took Brian from PhilosophersNotes to point it out in one of his notes. If your good habits are hard to accomplish, you probably won't do them. It doesn't matter how much you want to, if it's too much work, you'll bomb. Make it super easy. He puts his toothbrush within easy reach so when he's done eating in the evening, teeth are brushed and that's the end of eating for the night.For healthy eating, make sure there are tons of healthy snacks and food around. Make big lists of easy healthy recipes and make them ahead of time. Make large batches so you have leftovers if you feel a lazy day coming on. If something about eating healthy is hard, make it easier. If a bunch of friends eat out a lot and you don't want to, make them come over for a potluck, or just don't hang out with them during the initial stages of your eating challenge.Make bad habits hardIf something is very difficult to do, you probably won't do it. For example, if you smoke, only keep one package in the house and keep it in a safe under a pile of books in the back of your closet. You need to have lots of time between the trigger or the initial craving and actually smoking. The longer the better. It gives you time to think about what you're doing (And the little angel on your shoulder to react. She's a little slow.)Do not buy unhealthy food. Get rid of every single unhealthy thing in your house. If it's there, it will get eating. Don't go grocery shopping hungry. Always grocery shop with a list. Only buy what's on the list. If you haven't to drive half an hour and pay money for something that's unhealthy, chances are it won't happen. If the chips are two feet away from the TV, they're going to be gone in 5 minutes. Tell everyone about your challenge. Everyone at work knew what I was doing. Those donuts looked incredible but everyone would have said something about why I was eating a donut during my challenge.PatienceChange can only come so fast. When something is deeply engrained, it's going to take a while to change. Take things one moment at a time. Even a day can be overwhelming when you think of the whole thing. One minute at a time. Am I doing what I'm supposed to be doing this minute? Yes? Awesome. Next!Deal with each craving as it comes. You can beat them! Once that one is dealt with, give yourself a pat on the back and then move one. There will be more but don't think about that right now.Get to the end of the daySimilar to the idea above. Just get to the end of the day. That's easy right. It's only ever a few hours away. Just get to the end of the day and then the next will be easier. And the next even easier.Healthy Eating: Find awesome recipesThis one is specific to healthy eating. Find good recipes. If you don't have good healthy recipes, how do you expect to eat healthy. Healthy food just doesn't fall out of the sky. Read everything you can on healthy food and healthy living and then go get that healthy food. Stock your fridge and pantry with the healthiest food you can find and only eat that. Once healthy food is your only option, it's easy to make a choice between snacks or meals. Healthy or Healthy? Easy choice.February's Project Launch ChallengeI had a few ideas for what I wanted February's challenge to be. The clincher was that I finally decided to set a date for the launch of the PureOutside Adventure Kit for Mount Benson. It's a hiking guide for the trails on Mount Benson in Nanaimo. I've been pushing it around for the last 8 months and nothing's really happened with it. So as much as I hate deadlines, I put one on it. Guess what, it's happening. I'm working like crazy on it to get it to a launch-ready state and it's coming out March 2, whether I like it or not.That meant I won't have much time to work on another challenge this month. Finding time to work on the guide is hard enough as it is. If I had another fun challenge to compete with my attention, I know which would get done first. I decided that since this will be my first product launch, I'm going to use it as a challenge.The challenge has a couple different parts. The first is to actually launch this thing. It's been a long time in the making and I'm scared to put it out there it must happen. Nothing better than a 30 day challenge to kick it into high gear and launch the crap out of it. The second is to learn how to launch well. I'm sure things are going to be haywire right from the start and I know it's going to take a few launches to really get it right but I'll be devouring everything I can find on launching products. Conveniently, Tyler Tervooren's Bootstrapper's Guild is all about launching a product right now. I'm in the middle of that info so I'll be putting into practice what I learn right away!That's about it for me right now. Back to working on the hiking guide. If you have any tips on launching digital products, let me know! I need to know everything I can!
This post of the ongoing Goal Journal here on rcThink. Follow along with the progress on big goals I'm tackling right now.Spark Challenge Update - Health MonthSo far I've had 3 challenges and I'm currently in the middle of the 4th. It's been a very interesting experience having a goal a month of something new and it's the reason I've been doing so much of the activities from the challenges. October was writing, November was meditation, December was playing guitar and January is eating very healthy. I haven't set a goal for the end of the month yet because some of things I've been doing don't fit well with having an end goal. Writing was just an hour a day. Meditation was 15 minutes a day. Playing guitar was supposed to be 30 minutes per day until I found out I couldn't work my fingers after playing that long so I scaled it back a bit. January's healthy eating challenge is something that happens all day long.Coming off December's food binge it took a few days of struggle to get control over what I was eating. We still had a lot of treats from Christmas laying around and I failed at stopping myself. A little chocolate here, a couple cookies here. Being off gluten has probably been the hardest part. A lot of food from restaurants or that friends bring has gluten in it. I've had to say no to a lot of things. We have donuts once a week at work and pizza once a month and those were hard to turn down but as soon as I did it once, I found it easier after that. That and the fact that I told people at work what I was doing and they would be watching.The first Saturday after the end of the month is going to be a binge day. I'm going to eat pretty much everything, then I think it will be back to very healthy eating for the rest of February. This will be a challenge I'd like to keep going.PureOutsideBetween Corbett's Million Dollar Blog Project and Tyler's Bootstrapper's Guild, I've had my hands full for the last 2 months keeping up with blog posts and getting the new guide and newsletter sorted out. The first newsletter will be out at the end of January and the first trail guide will be out at the end of February. I'm very excited for both these things will update you more when they come out. A few things have helped get a lot more done in the past 2 months than I think I've ever got done in that time frame.Batch tasks - Instead of writing a blog post once per week on some topic for PureOutside, I've started to group the writing of a few posts together. I'll focus for a week or 2 on writing 6-8 blog posts and scheduling them. I've found this method much easier than switching back and forth from the guide to blog post writing every week. With all the blog posts scheduled for the next 6 weeks I can focus on working on the guide and not switch back and forth.Chunk time - I often get overwhelmed when I'm trying to think about too many things at once. If I can chunk down tasks to 20-30 minutes then it's much easier to handle those. I can see exactly what needs to be done and that's motivation to start it. Hat tip to Tyler (LINK) for that one.Schedule Work Time - Up until recently, I've just tried to work on PureOutside stuff whenever I can. I'll sit down here and there and do a bit of work. The problem has been that I can't get much done because I'm constantly trying to remember what I was working on and by the time I've figured it out, I'm off doing something else. Now, I schedule 1 hour a day every day of the week to sit down and work on PureOutside blog posts, technical issues or social media. This has worked very well because it's not a long period of time. I know I can sit for an hour to work on it so I'm more likely to start. Working on it every day keeps everything fresh in my mind.Monotask - The opposite of multi-tasking. I used to think it was fun and interesting to work on 20 different things in a given week. Now it stresses me out. When I saw how little I was actually getting done on each project I knew something had to change. Anything I start now has to be finished before I start anything else. Batching things like blog posts helps do this. I'll work on only blog posts for 2 weeks and then go back to working on only the blog. I have tons of things I would like to do but I'm trying to push them all into a cleanup project scheduled for later this year.Fitness: Marathon TrainingMy major fitness goal right now is to do well in the Vancouver Marathon on May 6th. I've got 4 months to train for that. It seems like a long time but with 13km runs feeling fairly long right now I've got a long way to go. I'm going to be documenting my fitness work here to give a bit of accountability to myself and to let everyone see what I'm doing.Last Week:Sunday: RestMonday: 5km easy runTuesday 6km speed workoutWednesday: 1 hour of floor hockeyThursday: 6km easy runFriday: Night skiingSaturday: 13km long run WritingIt seems like I'm writing more and more every week. And it feels good. I've never been much of a writer but it's flowing easier now. I used to be held up or not even start because I didn't have an amazing idea or know exactly what to say for my whole article. Now freewriting, an article framework or a intentionally terrible first draft are great ways to get going and it's easier to start. Starting is the tough part.Recent Articles:The Vancouver Christmas Market on Aviawest.com http://www.aviawest.com/blog/2011/12/vancouver-christmas-market.htmlPaddling, Hiking and Climbing Marble Meadows on PureOutside http://pureoutside.com/blog/2011/12/1338/Mount Elma Ski Tour on PureOutside http://pureoutside.com/blog/2012/01/mount-elma-ski-tour/Osprey Talon 33 Backpack Review on PureOutside http://pureoutside.com/blog/2012/01/osprey-talon-33-backpack-review/Good TunesDeadmau5 - 4x4=12I've been rocking out to this the past couple weeks. It's my goto music for working right now. Very few lyrics and wicked bass. Raise Your Weapon and Some Chords are my favorites. Great ReadsI've read a lot lately but some of these will be catch up from the last few months.UncertaintyJonathan Fields latest book is all about being courageous and creative in the face of uncertainty. A fantastic read that I'm about to start again to full get what he has to say about this incredibly deep topic.UnMarketingScott Stratten is the president of UnMarketing and spends way too much time online. Or that's what his website says. His book is about common sense strategies to get marketing online. So many people get all confused and stressed about marketing online and end up screwing it up big time. Scott sets you straight with his no BS approach and hilarious stories.Anything You WantA fun little read from Derek Sivers about how he set up his business and got to where his is now. There are some gems of unconventional business advice in there and is great if you're looking for a quick read about online business.Do the WorkAnother one from the Seth Godin's Domino Project, Do the Work was written by Steven Pressfield and is about the demon's inside us. It's specifically about the Resistance, a hidden force, demon or whatever you want to call it that prevents us from sitting down and doing the work. It's pretty much a manifesto of putting on your hard hat and doing what you need to do . If you're lacking in any sort of motivation I would highly recommend reading this.End MalariaA book of many essays by online influential, End Malaria has a bit to say about everything. If you are online running a business, you'll probably want to read this book. There is something for everyone in it. The best part is that most of the price is donated to help buy mosquito nets to stop the spread of malaria.The FlinchJulien Smith's latest book. He talks about everything you flinch at. Everything in this world that you shy away from because you think it might hurt you. Most of that stuff won't hurt you though so you're just wasting your time and you're life worried about what isn't going to happen. Another good kick in the pants if you want to get some work done.How to Travel Full TimeA great little book from Colin Wright. It's only $.99 and worth every penny. If you ever thought about travelling the world full time or are just curious abut the idea, I highly recommend getting it. If you sign up for Colin's paid Exile's letter you get his books for free.Poke The BoxA great one from Seth Godin about asking questions and doing great work. Along the lines of Do the Work and The Flinch, he asks us to poke the box more to see what happens. Be a rebel, a shit disturber, a nuisance. You might do something incredible.Cool SitesPhilospher's NotesI'm working my way through the first set of 100 Philospher's Notes right now. Brian Johnson has filtered through tons of philosophy books and brings you the main points from the best of them. There are awesome business and life lessons in there. Brian's chill demeanor and the amazingly good info that comes out of all these books gets me so stoked to live after reading or listening to them. You can get them in PDF or mp3 format. I've been listening to all the mp3's as I work out or clean the house. Some of the notes are so good I had to go by the actual books to by more.Hope you guys liked the new updates. I'll be posting about more as they come up as a bit of an accountability journal for myself.
About time I get this thing posted, it's almost half-way through January!The months go by so fast when you're super busy ( and having fun ). I feel like I just post a wrap-up and I have to start writing another one.December was an especially busy and fast-paced month. I even had a week off from my day job and it still felt like it was packed to the brim with awesome stuff to do.December's challenge was one of the reasons that it went so fast. I was trying to play guitar every day. I certainly didn't end up playing every single day, I did improve quite a bit from where I started. I'm still playing almost every day and love every minute of it.What can you really learn in 30 daysI wasn't sure where to start with guitar. The first day in December, I was so hopelessly slow and uncoordinated at doing any of the chords. I didn't think anything would change as I went through the month. Watching videos and thinking about guitarists in bands and how fast they move through their picking and chords on the guitar, I had to wonder if they were superhuman, or just born with some special skills that I just didn't possess.As I played day after day, I would get a little faster. Each time I sat down it was easier to hold the strings. I could hold them for a little longer. It was tiny amounts sure, but I could feel myself getting better and better after a few days would go by.I know 30 days isn't going to be long enough to be playing tough songs by the end of it but I was hopeful that I would at least improve.Unfortunately because of how much I had already planned for December, travelling, Christmas, skiing, New Years, hanging out with people, I found it extremely hard to keep up the guitar every day. I ended up only doing about half the days after missing a big chunk around christmas and it was very noticeable. Most of the time it's nice to take a break from what you're doing for a little while and then come back to it refreshed and re-motivated. Taking a break from guitar, thought, meant sore fingers.Playing guitar isn't like learning a language or some other act of willpower. You can sit down and learn things on the mental side for hours if you really want to. On the physical side of things you have a limit. You can only play guitar for so long before your fingers start to hurt so much you can't play.The nice part about this natural limit was that it was forced. I could not play longer than my fingers could hold out. It was easier to sit down and play because I knew there was a natural time limit for playing that day. Initially I could only play for 5 or 10 minutes. It got longer near the end. Accidentally taking time off meant that I was decreasing my time limit instead of increasing it. For every day that I didn't play, I would be able to stand the rough strings on my fingers for a slightly shorter amount of time. Many people say that the best way to learn is little by little every single day. Guitar forces this. It's the only way to learn it.What I learned playing guitar for 30 daysTime LimitsAs I said above, when you start off, you won't be able to play guitar for long periods of time. I couldn't at least. Someone with much more callused hands would be able to play for longer sessions right off the bat. I don't do much that would strengthen them naturally. Climbers would probably be able to play for hours!On the plus side, it forced a time limit on each session. This made them more relaxing. I feel like when I don't go for more than an hour or so doing something, I'm just making excuses and I should go for longer. I know this sounds silly. Most people can't concentrate on one thing for much more than 90 minutes. The little voice inside my head natters at me to keep going, even when I know I've had enough and it's time for a break. I've been experimenting with hard time limits on things. Much like in the pomodoro technique. It's nice to know that I only have to work for 30 minutes or 1 hour no matter what I'm doing. Sometimes I do get lost in something if I'm really into but I end up doing less of other things. I don't want to get sick of what I'm working on right now so time limits are a good way to keep things fresh.Best PracticesEverything in the world has best practices. There may not be one best way for doing something but there are always tips and tricks for getting the most out of your experience. You don't want to learn something the wrong way and keep those bad habits for the rest of your life. Learning on your own can be a fantastic way to try things out but finding good resources like websites, books or teachers to help you out can save you a lot of time down the road. The book I'm using to learn guitar comes with a DVD with videos and other resources to use while you're learning. You can watch the videos as you're playing to learn how to get the fingering correct and how exactly to do things. Words are amazing tools for teaching but often a picture or a video just makes learning so much faster.Nail the BasicsYou can't play guitar without learning the basic chords and ways to pick the strings. It's impossible. Also impossible is thinking that you can skip to the awesome part at the end of years of playing and be a rockstar guitar player. It doesn't work that way. If you practice every day for a couple years, you could actually get to be a very good guitar player. Playing for 30 days is not the same thing. I never liked things that simply required repetition to learn them. While it's not exactly the same every time, each chord is still the same chord. What I didn't know before was that it wasn't just mindlessly strumming the guitar over and over and over with the same chords to learn how to play. Actually learning something required deliberate practice. In this case, thinking about where your fingers are for each chord and moving them from chord to chord faster every time requires concentration. If you never increase your speed, you'll never become a better play. Sometimes it doesn't work and the note sounds terrible but you don't get faster unless you push.January's ChallengeI loved playing guitar every day and have continued to practice these first few days of January while I dive into my next challenge.I almost did this challenge for December but thought that I might fail before I'd even started. It would have been very tough and not a lot of fun. January is going to be month of eating extremely healthy. I'll be trying to follow the Paleo diet strictly for 30 days. The main idea is that I'll be eating lots of veggies, meat and fruit with very little sugar, coffee or gluten. I'm already entirely gluten free with what I've got in my cupboards and fridge at home but eating out is tough. It's rare to find a place that has a gluten-free menu and beer is right out the window.If you've gone Paleo, or are thinking about it, I'd love to hear from you. Let me know what your thoughts are about it. Maybe you could do a Paleo challenge for January as well?
The first every Spark Challenge is done. I spent October writing every day. Well, make that trying to write every day.Every day was a battle of time. What do I spend my time on? I could spend 2 or 3 hours of time on whatever I wanted before I left for work and after I came home. In between cooking, cleaning and hanging out with my girlfriend there was some time that I was free to do what I like. That's when the priority battle started. What should I work on? Should I be configuring the new section for PureOutside? Should I be writing more guides to sell there? Should I be writing on rcThink trying to expand my horizons and conquer fears? Should I be reading about what other people are trying to do and chatting with them about it?Even with a full-time job, I still find the time to do the things I love to do. The only problem is that the full-time job takes so many of my waking hours that I'm left with only a few for the awesome stuff.With that said, I think I did pretty well. I wrote 22 or 23 days of October. That's more than I've ever written in my life. Some of what I wrote got published. Some of it didn't. My rules for the challenge was that it had to be at least journalling. I spent the majority of it working on articles for PureOutside, which worked out well. That site is a priority for me and I also get to work on the challenge. I'm finding more and more these days, that I need to work on things that accomplish a few goals, not just one. Something that I write that can be used for multiple things, or I'm working on a mental goal and a physical one at the same time. Adventuring is always like that for me. Exploring outside is a great workout, I get some time away from work and machinery to relax and think, and it's great material for photography and writing guides. There are many beneficial byproducts from adventuring. That's my case for needing to do it and I'm stickin' with it.I'm proud of the fact that I wrote most days in October but I still think I could do better. To be honest, some of the days I forgot that I was doing a writing challenge. I was quite busy for a couple of the weeks travelling, with sports and other commitments that by the time I got home, writing wouldn't even enter my mind. When I remembered, though, I was all over it, totally immersed in Wordpress or Evernote on my laptop and typing away like mad. That leads to a couple of things I learned from the first Spark Challenge.Teh Learnings1. It gets easierThe Resistance was telling me writing every day was going to be like pulling teeth every single day. It was going to be like wringing a dry towel to get more water from it. It was going to be terrible. It wasn't like that at all.Every day I wrote more and more and while I was focused on writing because I was doing a challenge for the first couple days, I would flow into just writing to write after doing it for a few days straight. Doing it every single day and creating a routine is a huge part of being able to do it all the time. I couldn't get the same time every day to write but if I could wake up and remind myself I had to write at some point that day, it would usually get done. Days that I forgot to remind myself or were just to crazy to get an extra relaxed thought in edgewise were the ones where I dropped the ball and forgot about it. I can't think of a single day where I remembered but intentionally did not write. My mind was just elsewhere sometimes.2. You have to make timeThese new challenges I'm doing are things I don't do normally. There would be no point to making a challenge for going to work every day. I already do that (minus weekends). They are things that are tough to do every day because I already have commitments pulling me in every direction and other projects on the go that are splitting my time even thinner.I started just adding to do list items to my lists for writing but that wasn't working. It was hard to relate a to do list to the actual amount of time I had. The to do list didn't display things as a schedule or calendar. Oh wait, I have one of those. It's called a calendar and I use it for other things. I ended up sitting down with my to do list and my calendar on as many days as I could, at least once a week, and scheduling out some writing time. Surprising things happen when you look at tasks scheduled on a calendar.I always thought I had tons of time during the day to do extra things. I would give myself 10 tasks to do each day but wonder why I wasn't getting anything done. I had lots of time right? Wrong. I didn't have a lot of time. After putting all the little random tasks around the house and my full-time job, that left me with minimal amount of time to spend writing. What did I typically do with half that precious free time? I'd lolligag around on email, Facebook and all sorts of blogs. By the time I got around to writing, my time was up and I needed to move on to other things.If I was going to write then it was going to happen first. I had to schedule time to work on things and when that time came around I would sit down and write, nothing else. I wouldn't "warm up" by checking email or reading blogs because they just turned into time sucks. They're required yes but they can happen in little slivers of time I have here and there. Writing deserves a nice big uninterrupted chunk of time. Once I gave that time the respect it deserved, wonderful things happened. I got so much more done, and even though there was tons of email and Facebook messages around I felt much better about what I had accomplished.3. Nothing is perfect the first timeI get stuck in a rut sometimes with my writing. I start thinking more and more about what other people think about it and me, the writer. I worry about what other people are writing, how they're doing it and why it sounds so much better than what I write. As it is it every creative endeavor and really anything you start doing in life, I had to get over the fact that I'm not a top-notch writer yet. I like to think it makes sense and is relatively interesting to read but it's not quite a literary classic. I'm coming to grips with the fact that I'll never be writing classics. I just like too many things to spend the time to learn to write that way. If I wanted, I could devote all my time to becoming an amazing writer but then I wouldn't have as much time to adventure, take photos and experiment with new things I haven't even tried yet. That fact still stresses me out a little but I'm getting closer to fully accepting it. A question for you: Do you specialize or go shallow into meany different endeavors? Which is better?4. One at a time is bestAt least to start. Leo Babauta from Zen Habits has been pushing this idea for as long as he's written. One thing at a time. As soon as you introduce more stuff to the mix, things get diluted, forgotten, pushed back, lost. If you want to learn something, and learn it well, you have to focus on it. I feel like having at least an hour a day to do something could get you some traction in it. More would obviously be better. You don't want to burn yourself out right away but the more you can pick up in a short time span the more you'll recall later on. I remember learning to snowboard and only going to the hill once or twice a year. It took forever to get to a certain level. When I finally took a family trip to another ski hill and boarded for 4 days straight, I improved much faster than I had riding so sporadically. It was exactly the same thing learning wakeboarding, skiing, ultimate frisbee and sailing. The more time you can spend in it when you're first learning the better.There seems to be a critical point you get to along your path that you're no longer a newbie. You've got things figured out, you're no longer one of those brand new people trying to figure out what's going on. You certainly don't know everything there is to to know but you know enough to get you started and you know about what you don't know. Realizing there is a lot you don't know goes a long way to keeping you humble and hungry for more. No one wants to spend a huge amount of time learning something only to realize that's all there is, the learning is over.5. Let the squirrel do itI read an awesome article recently about writing or really doing anything in general. I can't for the life of me remember where it was though. They were talking about letting your squirrel brain do the writing. Often when you've learned what you need to know and you've thought about it enough, you can just let go and let your subconscious or squirrel-brain do the work. At this point it's less about conscious thought and just about letting go and allowing your brain to do it's work. You don't have to force it. If you've done your prep, research, thinking, interviewing and checking, it's all there there already. Just let it flow.I'm sure there were a bunch more insights that I had writing for a month but my brain's already turned to the next Spark Challenge.A month of meditationI've been hearing more and more about meditation as a daily practice for creatives. Brian Johnson from Philosopher's Notes talks about it a lot and Jonathon Fields mentioned it in Uncertainty as an anchor to clear thinking in the seas of crazy life. I made up that terrible metaphor, don't think Jonathon would write something like that. In his book, Jonathon talked about it as a great way to relax, clear your mind, organize your thoughts, and allow your brain to do some heavy, creative thinking all at the same time.I've always seen meditation as some weird fluffy thing that guys on mountain tops do because they have nothing else to do with their time but the more I read, the more it sounds like something that would benefit my life in many ways.I've started with the free sample Blissitation from Brian Johnson. It's 15 minutes long which I think is a perfect time to start off at. I know some start at 5 minutes but I found 15 minutes very easy to do. I'm almost falling asleep after that amount of time though, which I'm not sure is supposed to be happening. Along with the practice of meditating every day, I'll be looking into exactly how it works and the different types. In a couple weeks I should have another post up about what I've learned and how I'm doing with the challenge.Post YoursI hear about challenges going on all over the place and I'd love to hear about them. What are your rules? Is it 30 days long? What have you tried and what are you going to try next?I'll be tweeting every day about how things are going with the hash tags #sparkmonth #day1. If you're doing any monthly challenges, I'd love to see your tweets too.
One of the hardest things to do when you start something awesome is finish it.So many things can go wrong along the path to creating something awesome and doing great things. One of the biggest obstacles that can get in your way is yourself. You can make up million of excuses and sabotage your own projects like no other. Make sure that doesn't happen by practicing these habits with every project.Line up Values and PrioritiesIs it in line with your values and priorities? Why are you doing it?The first thing you have to look at when something new comes up is why you are doing it. There is so much going on these days and so many new things coming in through every input channel imaginable that it's hard not to latch on to every new thing that comes by. Twitter, gotta get on that. Facebook, have to have one. Google Plus, must update status. People are doing everything these days just to get attention. That doesn't mean you have to as well. Don't keep up with the Jones. Do what you need to do.Start with your major goals and priorities. Is your focus writing? Then why are you dabbling in video? Do you want to help people in a specific area? Then why are you tweet and facebooking about things other than that. Give me a really good reason why this new project lines up with the core of your values and priorities right now and then you can go ahead.Estimate then ScheduleI'm usually terrible with this one but I'm getting better and it's helping a lot. You have 168 hours every week. In that time you have to eat, sleep, relax, travel, hang out and deal with emergencies. All those things take up a lot of time. Are they in your calendar? No? That might be why you're trying to schedule 20 hours of work for yourself every day. This may work for a day or 2 but you'll kill yourself scheduling that much work. You want to have a good life right?Your calendar is your god with this. When you are looking at starting a new project first look at how much time you have. Up to your eyeballs in work for the next 3 weeks? Not a good time to start something new. Your calendar should tell you this. If it doesn't then you're not using it enough. For every task you work on, estimate how long it's going to take and then put it in your calendar. In your head you think you can do 30 hours of work each day no problem. Your calendar, and real life, will tell you differently. If it doesn't fit in your calendar, you're not doing it.Don't worry about estimating time. It's really hard. The last thing you know about some things is exactly how long it's going to take. Often it's after it's done that you know how long it's going to take. Make a guess, schedule it and get moving.Set SMART GoalsWe've all heard the SMART goals thing before. I heard it first in high school and totally disregarded it as some fluffy thing a teacher said that I'd never use in my life. Apparently I was wrong. If I took anything out of school this was probably one of the golden nuggets I should have remembered.SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. I'll do a quick run through if you were like me and weren't listening for that class in high school.Specific refers to how detailed your goal is. It needs to be specific, very specific. If anything, err on the side of more specific than less. Vague goals are junk. Your brain has no idea what you're talking about when you tell it you want to get fit, build an amazing business, or live an exciting life. Your subconscious looks at that and goes, "What do you mean?", and throws it out. Think about explaining your goal to a 5 year old. If they don't get it, it's not specific enough.Measurable basically means you know when you are done. How do you finish something if you don't know where your finish line is? Think of yourself as an employee asking "when do I know when I'm done?" Answer that for yourself and you'll be well on your way to making a measurable goal.Attainable can be a confusing one. It means you have to set a goal that's attainable by you, that you are able to achieve what you set out to do. How high do you set it? It mainly depends on time. You can achieve anything you want in your life but how much time are you willing to devote to it. If you want to climb Everest do you plan do it in 6 months or 10 years? I'd say nearly anybody could do it in 10 years with focus and determination for those entire 10 years. 6 months? You'd better be ridiculously strong and fit and have a ton of money. Big huge goals have an abysmal rate of success. Pick a smaller mountain and knock that off and then maybe look at the Everest goal again.Realistic is requirement that's similar to attainable. It's up to you to decide whether something is realistic for your. It comes down to your situation again. You may have some huge goal you want to tackle but with all the sports your doing, family commitments and little side projects you have on the go, you don't have time for that huge goal. It's not realistic. Clear off some of the other stuff and you might find that big goal becomes more realistic.Timely means deadlines. Yes, I hate deadlines too. Just the thought of them makes me think of writing papers at 4 in the morning the night before something was due at school. Not a fun way to create things. After school was done I had an allergy to deadlines. I kept as far as I could away from any deadline inducing activity. I got nothing done. Deadlines are like broccoli, they might taste gross but they're good for you*. I'm always amazed at the different in productivity on projects I have with deadlines and ones without. The ones without seem to drag on forever. The ones with deadlines are organized, moving and finished in a flash. One note that on deadlines is that they have to be intelligent. Having a goal to finish 80 hours of work in 2 days is just dumb. Make sure your goal fits in your schedule and you actually work on it and it will get done within the deadline.Chunk ItI love this one. Big hairy goals (and audacious ones if you want) are really difficult for your mind to comprehend when you go to do anything with it. You want to get fit? What does that mean? What steps are you going to take to get fit? When are you going to do those steps. Break it down to 20 minute steps. Not vague blocks that last a few hours, 20 minutes max. The less thinking and more doing you do when you sit down to work the better. That means laying out pre-defined chunks. You probably can't chunk a whole project. That's like planning your life 3 months in advance. Doesn't work. Chunk your weeks into hour blocks on Monday then chunk your days each morning.Set the Finish LineThis came up in the SMART goals. It's so important it deserves it's own point. I'll add one other important piece to it here. You have to set your finish line. Ask when you are done. If you don't know, it's not defined well enough. The key here is that you are limiting scope creep. You don't want your project to get bigger and bigger and grow out of control. Do the things that are required and nothing more. If anything that comes up that could be a cool feature or would be nice to have add it to a Maybe list. After the project is done, look at the maybe list and see if there are any features that need doing.Limit InputThis tip has 2 parts to it. You need to limit input to your brain and limit input to your project while working on the project. The first has to do with your valuable time. The more stuff you read, watch and generally take in the less you're working on your awesome project. Check your email only when you need to and cruise the news and social media channels after you've worked on your project. Only do what you've scheduled. Don't lie to yourself about reading blogs and tweets when you're just screwing around wasting time. Time is valuable, use it for your awesome project.The second part is limiting input to your project itself. When too many people want to give their input on something, it gets diluted and slides away from it's original awesomeness. Don't let that happen. Get some feedback once in a while to make sure you not doing dumb things while in isolation but once you've heard what you need, head back into the secret lab and get creating.Ship itNext to starting something, the most important part is finishing it. Seth Godin calls it shipping. Shipping, delivering, finishing, or the fat lady singing, you need to finish what you started. There is way too much unfinished stuff these days. I do it all the time, I'll see some new shiny idea and start a project with it and then when the novelty wears off, it sits there. The problem with that is it takes up space in your mind when it's unfinished. The clutter sticks around and you think about it off and on, distracting you from the important things.There are 2 things you can do after you start something. One is shipping it. This is the preferred option. Even if you just do a small project and then not follow up on any more ideas, it's still shipping something. Do small projects then if you want to pivot or turn around then you don't have a huge amount going on. You finish up your small project and you're done. Start something new. Pivot complete.The second option is to kill it. This is when something just isn't working. You don't want it to drag on and use up time and resources. You know there's no future in it. Don't let it sit around and take up mind space, kill it.Share it and CelebrateYahoo! You've finished something. You've put the work in, shipped it and it's done and gone. It's time to revel in the fact that you are ten times farther than most people get with their projects. Even if it didn't go well, remind yourself that you did something incredibly hard. You completed something. 100% is a good feeling. Give yourself a pat on the back, have a drink or some nice chocolate and look back on your accomplishment.Once you've relaxed a little and recognized your accomplishment, start more awesomeness.* I actually like broccoli but apparently some people don't. That must mean I like deadlines too.
This is the first post in a new series on rcThink called "Just Start It". It's an answer to what I wish I had whenever I'm starting something new. It's my answer to the question of "Where do I start?" for everything I know.My hope is to start an amazing resource for people wanting to start things like hiking, wakeboarding, computer programming or photography, all things I've started at some point and have got past the initial "I don't know where to go" stage.why start anything?Starting is the hardest part. Often you are forced to do something but there are many times that you can start things for pleasure as well. Some things I've learned because I thought it was required, only to learn later that I didn't need it.If you look at it right, learning can be fun. The more you know, the more you can do with it. I find the more I learn about different areas of life, the more I can apply those ideas to other places. Learning new things keeps life fresh and interesting. It can get you a new job, let you meet new people or introduce you to your favorite new hobby. The more you start new things the easier it gets.where's the end?Does there need to be an end? With learning new things you can set a goal if you like. You could learn a particular song on the guitar and then you're finished. You might just want to learn some computer programming to make a website for your new business and then you will be done. You may be trying out a new hobby for 30 days to see if you like it.I highly recommend trying something for at least 30 days to see what it's like. You might want to try a 30 day Challenge. Who knows where it will go from there? Maybe you'll love it. Maybe you won't. But you won't know until you try.where do i go from here?I definitely can't claim to be an expert in every single thing that I do. If you've moved past what I can teach you with my resources here, and want to continue, you'll want to look through the resources section. I've made my best effort to include some blogs, websites and people that would be excellent next steps on your journey. Take a minute to congratulate yourself on your accomplishment if you've made it this far. You've gotten past the hardest part of learning; starting.
I'm so far behind on the Trust30 posts, it's not even funny. I'm catching up though! 2 - 3 a day will keep the doctor away. Or was that apples?I never thought one little book could be so packed full of inspirational quotes, but Emerson has done it. Every time I read a new part of Self-Reliance, I get "anything is possible" goosebumps and start thinking about what I'm going next, what I'm going to do next, and what I'm going to write next. Then I don't do anything. What happens? I
prepare and plan procrastinate and then by the time I should have something created, something new has come along and I move onto that. Focus is a hard thing to come by these days.The newest prompt by Eric Handler is about your personal message.
To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, that is genius. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Oooh, it gives me chills.And then we're supposed to answer:
What is burning deep inside of you? If you could spread your personal message RIGHT NOW to 1 million people, what would you say?
Ooh, ooh! I've got my hand up. Here in the back row! Why don't you pick me teacher? I know my answer!My answer is http://pureoutside.com/blog/. I've started. It doesn't quite go to 1 million people but a few hundred, almost 1000 see it every month. They take the information from it and go outside. They go play, run, hike, ride, kayak and anything else they want to do outside. They move.The whole idea is to move. Outside. We have this incredible planet we live on that's full of amazing places, sights, sounds, animals and plants and yet we spend most of our lives inside. Away from the sun, away from the rain, away from where we came from. It's amazing how many people say they feel so good when they're outside. Their lazy-brain stops them dead in their tracks when they're making plans and tells them to go to the couch and watch TV. What a waste.When did you go outside last?
Right, so just as I think I'm getting the hang of this self-trust, deep introspection, write from the heart thing, Mary Jaksch (how do you even pronounce that?) throws a curveball.
Emerson says: “Always do what you are afraid to do.” What is ‘too scary’ to write about? Try doing it now.
Wow. I thought I had it figured. We'd get these prompts and I'd dutifully write out what came to mind after reading the Emerson quote and the prompt. I liked it. It got me thinking about things I don't normally think about. The quotes from Emerson are just plain dripping with inspiration that it's hard not to feel good about the future.But this. This thing that tells me I'm supposed to write about something that scares me, I'm not sure what I'm really supposed to do with it. I'll say I don't understand it. See, I'm totally procrastinating.I'm not sure if I was taught this way or it was just what I saw around me in the world but airing out that stuff that scares you wasn't something I did. I still try not to do it. I understand that it's good to get things off your chest, but any time something comes up, I veer away. I shove it off. I ignore it. I pack it away deep down inside and hope it never comes back up again.It always does.I'm learning that hiding what you're afraid of isn't the best way to accomplish what you want to do. If something scares you, you have to get it out of the way or it's going to turn into a scary beast lurking somewhere in your periphery all the time.Once you deal with something, it's not scary any more. Once you start taking steps to slay above-mentioned beast, things become manageable. Yes, running headlong into a dragon's lair with no training or weapons is scary. It's also dumb and not a smart way to do things. You want to be prepared. You want some armor and a nice sword and maybe a few days of training with the best sword-wielding dudes you can find. But preparation can also be spelled procrastination.The most poignant example of having to deal with something scary I can think of right now is actually a situation I put myself into. I even paid for it. And I was scared out of my mind.Travelling around New Zealand, I was on activity overload. There was so much to see and do. Having spent Australia counting my pennies, I could afford to let loose a bit. I was going to bungy jump or sky dive. I thought about doing both but, looking back, I spent a little more than I should have so I'm glad I didn't.Bungy jumping seemed easier than sky diving. Apparently it's not.I booked the jump at the end of my 3 days in Queenstown. I should have booked it on the first. I spent my 3 days in Queenstown worrying about what jumping 134 meters was going to be like. My time came. I laid out in the best swan dive of my life and plummeted towards the 6 inches of water at the bottom of the gorge. My eyes bulged out of my head as I thought I was going to die. Then it was over.And I was fine.The instant I realized I was totally fine I felt a huge rush of relief. I was stoked that had just jumped 134 meters for my first bungy jump but it was more than that. I realized I hadn't thought about anything past the jump for the last 3 days. Nothing. Natta. Zilch.I had also spent the last 3 days worrying about something that was absolutely incredible. Exhilarating down to the last meter of bungy cord. I couldn't think of anything else other than the big beast that was ahead of me. I was terrified of it. But it came and went. My eyeballs were still in their sockets and I still had all my limbs. Nothing happened. I even had a bit of fun.Every time I am scared of something and then I conquer it, I make a mental note about that triumph. The next time something scary pops up in my way I check back to all those times that I took my little steps and learned what I needed to know and beat those scary beasts into a pulp so I can get over what I'm afraid of. It's all about the baby steps and the little triumphs. It's all about remembering those things when the going is rough.Great things can be scary but they wouldn't be so great if any ol' person could do them, right?Comments: Tell me what you've done lately that was scary and how you got over it. Was it as hard as you thought it was going to be?
There will be an agreement in whatever variety of actions, so they be each honest and natural in their hour. – Ralph Waldo EmersonWhat would you say to the person you were five years ago? What will you say to the person you’ll be in five years? - Corbett BarrThis is another prompt from #trust30, a 30 day writing challenge that pushes you question what you're currently doing and to trust yourself.The previous questions have been deep thinkers and this one from Corbett is no exception.Five years ago I was entrenched in classes at university and was not exactly engaged in what I was doing. I was working hard at everything I did because I thought I was supposed to. I couldn't fail out of university because it was the "key" to the rest of life.While I feel like I suffered all the way through school, I did benefit from the experience. I got a piece of paper that says I can learn things and it helped me get a nice full time job. It also pushed me to question why I was there and if I really needed to do the school thing. Now I see that I didn't.I'm glad I got a degree because people thing that's what you should get when you're going to go somewhere in life. You get an education then you go do stuff. That's the formula. But I hadn't found sites like The Art of Non-Conformity, Location180, Location Independent and Thrilling Heroics. Once I found those, I was done. Done school that is.Back then I wish I could have talked to myself now. I would have told myself to keep going, try new stuff and be whoever you want to be.In 5 years the story might be different. There are obviously going to be things that I wish I knew right now. Things that I probably have thought about and dismissed. Things that end up to be incredibly important. I feel like I know the value of hard work more than I did. I know the good feelings that come from distributing or selling something that I worked hard to create. I know the feeling of control when I decide when I work on things, and I decide what goes out and where. In 5 years, I'd like to be able to look back and see that I was on the right track.What would I say to myself in 5 years? Keep crushing it.**View the rest of my Trust30 posts
Life wastes itself while we are preparing to live~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
It was too good of a quote to not write again.And to think about.And to live by.Jonathan asks us to stop preparing to live and do what actually makes us come alive. It's one of the most difficult things to start doing but is one of the most rewarding when you get some momentum going. Part of the job is to create a To Stop list. It's impossible to do simply add new things to our already busy lives. We must remove things that are not very important and replace them with activities that are much more fulfilling.There are so many things my life that I've been trying to eliminate and replace with activities and ideas that get me excited. One of the biggest things I decided not to do was watch TV. I watched TV most days before I left for Australia in 2009. After reading about what was possible when you make that small lifestyle change and seeing that I never missed it once while travelling, I decided to stay away from it for good. I do watch movies once in a while when I'm feeling burnt out or sick. It feels good to get lost in the story of a good movie sometimes.Another thing on my To Stop list is wasting time on the computer. I have so many small pieces of time during the day I could be using to create useful things. Most of the time it's just spent checking email, Twitter and Facebook. I have this mental block against doing work on the computer before I've checked my messages. I'm not sure why. It's become a habit that I forget about sometimes. I'll get on the computer and 30 minutes later instead of doing something useful, I've checked a few messages. Most of the email and messages are small and quick to answer but they all lead to a time-sucking hole of looking at other websites.I found when I started running in the mornings, it helped to get myself in the mindset of priorities. I would get up and everything I would be ordered by my priorities. Running and my health was a higher priority than work so it would get done first. Unfortunately work had a set time and that meant getting up earlier to run but I got used to it and learned to love the morning sillness.Remind yourself of your priorities when you sit down to do your work. Amazing work or the terrible infinite pit of time suck that is the rest of the internet? You choose.What's in your way to coming alive? Can you put it on your To Stop list?
After finding Chris Guillebeau a few years by a random link talking about how he was travelling the world and visiting every country before he was 35, I've seen him do some incredible things. The latest of which pretty much blew my mind. The World Domination Summit went far above my expectations for the non-conforming conference and it was the first time they put it together! Everything went smoothly and every time I turned around I met another like-minded person that had big, awesome ideas. It's no surprise that his #trust30 prompt is about travel.Travel - Chris GuillebeauEveryone has their place they would love to visit. Some people say Hawaii, some people say Paris, others say New Zealand. Regardless of where it is there is almost always some place that by simply hearing the name, they are whisked off in their mind to explore the nooks and crannies of their dream spot.One of mine was New Zealand. I got to visit in 2009 for a month and I've never had more fun in my life. I know there will be incredible adventures in the years to come but I will always look back very fondly at the time I had in New Zealand.This year, I was able to get over to Paris for 2 weeks to explore that area. It's already on my list of places to see for the second time. The week I spent in Paris was amazing and I can't wait to go back to explore further.For new places that I can't wait to see, Chile, Thailand and Switzerland are probably at the top of the list. I've heard and seen amazing things from all three places and it's just a matter of time before I'm sitting on a plane on the way the next one. My trip in 2009 cemented my resolve to travel as many places as I can. Not just for a vacation but to see and hear and taste and smell all the different cultures our world has to offer. With it so easy to fly cheaper these days, there is no excuse not to do some travelling in your lifetime.The entire world is open for anyone to travel now. Where are you going next?
Today is another prompt from #Trust30. Check it out and sign up.
If ‘the voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tacks,’ then it is more genuine to be present today than to recount yesterdays. How would you describe today using only one sentence? Tell today’s sentence to one other person. Repeat each day.
The first thing that came to mind when I saw this one was consistency. I aim to be consistent in my efforts to create the exact life I want every day.That's actually a lie because I thought of push and determination first. To do anything you really want to do you have to push yourself. You're not going to be 100% happy sitting around being complacent and letting things come to you. If you're lucky you might get something get once in a while. Most of the time you fall short of anywhere worthwhile. And it take determination to get to where you want to go. You won't get anywhere if you give up after a few hours or even a week. You must keep swimming.Push and determination can tire you out. You may not have it all one day and too much another.Consistency on the other hand can be mastered. You don't have to go 150% every single day but you must be consistent. You won't get lucky if you are haphazard in your method. Each day builds on the previous and soon you'll be much farther than you had anticipated. All by doing a little bit each day.One Strong Belief is the new prompt for today that really resonated with me. I'm reading through Ralph Emerson's Self-Reliance right now and this quote leapt off the page and begged to be pondered.
It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance
And the prompt which questions your real action with regards to the quote:
The world is powered by passionate people, powerful ideas, and fearless action. What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family? What inspires this belief, and what have you done to actively live it?
What have I done to actively live it? A tough question. And one that puts people on the spot when they talk about all the amazing thing they want to accomplish in their lives. Have they actually started? Are they working consistently towards achieving those goals?If they're like most people they're still just daydreaming.I'm not saying I'm one in a million and I've got everything figured out but I feel like I'm on my way. I'm on my way to cultivating the exact life I want by creating a freedom or lifestyle business like so many blogs talk about.If you're doing the same and you've mentioned the fact to your family and friends, you know the weird looks you get. You're familiar with the chuckles you get when your conversation partner realizes what you're actually trying to do and instantly dismisses it."That doesn't work.""You'll never be able to pull that off.""That's not normal."There's all kinds of responses I've heard when I say I'm building a website about the outdoors and I'm going to make a living off it eventually.I'm actually ok with the comment about it not being normal. It isn't. Most people don't start a business and try and travel around the world with it building it into something they love waking up in the morning to do. The other two comments, though, are ones that most people instantly think when they hear about the idea and I think they're wrong. First, it does work because people are doing it. And second, who says I can't do that. The gatekeepers in the modern world? All the people that are living their regular, comfortable, boring lives that will try and stop you every chance they get from shaking up the norm? Yes, it's going to be tough, but there's the beauty of it.Easy is overrated. Easy doesn't keep you up at night, stoked for the next day. Easy doesn't get you flying around the world, doing things you never thought possible. Easy doesn't introduce you to incredible people the world over, working just as hard or harder than you.I believe I can make my life into exactly what I want it to be.That is my One Strong Belief.
Just kidding! I don't really have 15 more minutes to live. If I did I wouldn't be writing on this blog for it. Makes me think why I'm writing on here in the first place...The prompt is from #Trust30. You pledge for the next 30 days to do blog, journal or create something each day over the next 30 days. Each day there is a prompt from an original thinker or doer. Each day you get the prompt in your email and you do your thing. Tweet it, talk about it, spread it around.It's all about doing your thing your way. Just as Ralph Waldo Emerson would have wanted it.Back to the 15 minutes to live. You set a timer for 15 minutes and you write the story that has to be written.I started blankly at this one for a few minutes and then I had it. What would I do with 15 minutes left, 1 year left or any finite amount of time left?Gather friends and family and head outside. That's all. I don't need any fancy crap or a big house or expensive toys (those are all fun, don't get me wrong). But when it comes down to it, if I'm outside with friends and family, I'm happy. That's all I really need. Once it starts pouring rain, I'd be happy to have an Arc'teryx Gore-tex suit though!If it went past those 30 minutes, I'd tuck into my life list and get those going. I've already done a couple this year and a couple are in the works for the next few months. Get'r done!Think about the things you'd do if you only had 1 year left. What is most important to you that you'd have to get it done? Where would you go, what would you do and who would you see?This is going to make you uncomfortable and you're not allowed to read on until you answer it. Why aren't you doing those things now?Time is running out.
I skied a lot this past winter. It was more than I normally ski in 2 or three seasons and I loved every minute of it.It was one of the terms for myself if I got new ski gear. I had snowboarded up until this year and was making the leap back to skis by buying a ski touring setup. That means you get skins to put on the skis so you can go uphill as well as downhill. They let you adventure in the backcountry a lot easier than snowshoes. I told myself that if I got this gear then I had to spend the time and effort to learn to ski well and get out and do it. There was not going to be any dust on my ski gear.Most of the my ski days were on the local resort mountain. I did do some touring in the backcountry but when you spend hours getting to the top and all you get is one run down, you want to make sure that run counts. I'd much rather be in the backcountry for the view and the lack of crowds but to get in sheer number of runs I hit the resort whenever I could.While I'm not an adrenaline junkie that loves to huck steep cliffs onto hardpack snow, I do like to get out and rip down the hill. That said, I'm fairly cautious when it comes to getting down the hill. I'd rather get down the hill in one piece than end up in a pile at the bottom.Even with my caution there were a few good spills this season while getting my feet on the new skis.A group of friends I headed up to a ski hill a little further than our usual hunt in search of some good powder. Near the end of the day (it's always near the end of the day) I hit a little jump that I had it numerous times before. I was tired and was leaning too far back and ended up in a pile at the bottom, breaking one of my ski poles in the process. Luckily it was the end of the day and we were just packing up to leave anyways.the mishapI had another mishap near the end of the day on another hill we went to.I was skiing with some of my family and everything was going great. The snow wasn't that good but the weather was holding and I was stoked to get in another ski for the year. I wish I had a great story to tell here but it wasn't. The ski patrol afterwards was also expecting a tale of some hardcore stunt gone awry.All I could tell him was that my cousin accidentally hit me in the mouth with her ski pole. Near the lift. Not going very fast. On a fairly flat piece of the run.It looks much more hardcore than it actually is, I swear!The ski pole cracked my right front tooth clean off up into the gum but for some reason it held on and was just hanging there. It broke the second tooth off about halfway. After a quick visit to the ski patrol shack we headed off down the mountain for a mandatory visit to the dentist. Normally I hate the dentist but I was anxious to see what was going to happen with the tooth that was currently hanging out of my gums. We got there and he delivered the news. The second tooth would just be capped. No biggie, covered mostly by the insurance I've got. Score. The front tooth was another story.There wasn't enough tooth anchored in to put a cap on. Being broken up into the gum meant that would have to remove it. There were two different ways they could do it. The first and older method was the bridge. They would file down the two adjacent teeth to slip a bridge over and the space would be taken up by a third tooth. It's a cheaper way to do it. In the short run. Because of broken bridges over years and other work involved they usually end up being more expensive. And it requires filing down my other teeth, particularly the other front one. I was down a tooth and a half, I really didn't want to be missing another half forever.The second option was an implant. It's a bit of a dental operation and a longer recovery time, but it can last a lifetime and is as close as you can get to another real tooth. Basically they put a screw in where the tooth root was and then screw a tooth in on top of that. The only problem is the cost. All said and done it will be over $6500 and insurance rarely covers implants.Because I like my teeth and I didn't like the sound of fiddling around with a bridge down the road I opted for the implant. So a few weeks ago I headed into the office and got a good portion of my face frozen up. After a few incisions, a bunch of pulling and some drilling, I had a fresh implant screwed in to the bone which had been built up with some cow bone. "We want this thing to last," the doctor says. I'm glad he feels that way!Fast forward to today. It's been just over a month since I got the implant in and it's healing well. The incisions to build up the bone have healed well and all the stitches are out. It's now just a waiting game until the implant heals in 2 to 3 months and I can get a brand new tooth stuck on there.abrupt learningSometimes things we learn aren't necessarily voluntary. They come at us sideways and show us things we didn't really want to see but are in no situation to look away at the time. We learn things about ourselves and others that we would never see in normal situations. I don't advocate trying to learn this way but there's always a lesson in things that happen, good or bad.it's not that badBeing tuned in the face with a ski pole can definitely catch you off guard. Having pieces of your teeth floating around in your mouth all of a sudden is never a welcome feeling and who really knows how to deal with that. After the initial shock wore off and we figured out what was going to happen next, I had a bit of time to reflect on my what was going on. Accidents happen all the time and most of them don't do any lasting damage. Sure things might get tough for a month or 2 but things will go back to the way they were and then everyone forgets it ever happen.Sometimes, things happen that change you forever. I'm not saying that I'm worse off in any way being one real tooth short but it's an odd feeling thinking that I'll never have that tooth ever again. It's gone. Forever.The important thing is that I remember it's not that bad. It's only a tooth. It's not an arm, a leg, an eye, my life. All things considered, a tooth is a very small body part to lose permanently. In the big scheme of things a tooth is nothing. No one really cares right now that I'm missing a front tooth and certainly no one will in the future when it's been replaced with a crown. I'm alive, I have all my limbs. Life is good.I read a post somewhere a while ago (I'm sorry to whoever this was) about zooming out when things get tough. There were 2 ways to do it, through space and through time. It sounds like a freaky science experiment but it's really just a simple mind game to get yourself going again.When things get tough stop focusing on yourself. Slow down. Zoom out. Think about everyone around you. Think about everyone in the area you're in. Does your little problem really matter? Think about everyone in the city, province or country you're in. Think about everyone on the planet. How bout now?Another way to look at it is through time. You've got some stuff going on. It's tough. You'd rather not be there going through it. Think about people 30 years ago. 50 years ago. 100 years ago. 1000 years ago. People didn't even used to have the problems we have today because they didn't have all the crap we have going on today. That makes us part lucky and part unlucky. I'd MUCH rather have to deal with what we've got going on today than have to deal with finding where my next meal is coming from, friends dying from the plague or running my ass off from a saber tooth tiger (not sure if those are real but insert any big animal that would want to eat early humans). I'm pretty sure you're problem is not quite like finding your half-eaten buddy in the woods and wondering if you're next.keep your head upNo matter how bad the situation gets, someone has had it worse. Do everything you can to affect a positive result on the situation but at the end of the day things are what they are. Often things are out of your control. If you can't change it, don't worry about it. Focus on the positive and the future. Don't stress about the past.keep on truckingWhat good does it do for anyone to curl up and freak out about what's going on. Nothing. Nothing at all. It just wastes the time and energy you could have used changing things you have control over or getting on with your life. Use the ideas above the get a hold of yourself, decide where you want to go from here and then get trucking. Don't look back. Like Dory says, "Just keep swimming."Just keep swimming.
What do you do when something doesn't quite do the job any more?That computer isn't quite fast enough to run those programs. That knife isn't sharp enough to cut through all those thick pieces of food. That car is starting to cost you more than it's worth.Upgrade it.My previous computer did the job when I bought it. I kept loading new programs and this and that and before I knew it, it wasn't very fast any more. Then the hardware started to go. It would run for a while then shut down at random times. At first I thought I could handle the frustration. I was saving up for my trip to Australia and I didn't want to buy another computer.What I didn't realize at the time was that every single day I'd be working on the computer and it would shut down or not save something properly. Every day I'd be frustrated with it. It would start to leak into other activities. I didn't want to do anything on the computer because it might shut down on me. I didn't want to do some of the things I love doing because my computer didn't work properly.One day I had had enough. My patience was gone. I was ready to throw the computer out the window. If it didn't have important files on it, I would have smashed it to pieces right there. Instead, I went and did something that I should have done long before.A shiny new computer replaced the old junker for 600 bucks. Not cheap but not very expensive either.I'd definitely say that the computer I got may or may not have been worth $600. It probably was. What was worth a hell of a lot more than $600 was my peace of mind. The feeling of sitting down to work on the computer and not having to worry about anything shutting down or getting erased is amazing. Now that I look back, I would have gladly paid 3 times what I did so I didn't have to worry about what I was doing every day.What do you have to deal with every single day that you could upgrade and stop worrying about? What price would you pay not have to deal with something any longer?
I don't think I knew how to spell wondrous before I wrote this post. Now I do. And... moving on.There are few things in my day that I use all the time and stuff look at them in wonder.Most of the things I see and use every day get boring pretty fast. They are new for about 4 minutes and then they just fit in with everything else around the house. Yes, they serve a purpose but they certainly don't ignite the same excitement they once did. My iPhone still does impress me regularly. Things like lamps, knives, pots, books, cameras, and couches, not so much. I'm happy that I have them otherwise I'd be sitting on the floor and trying to cook things in the sink but they're not that exciting.One thing I do look at every day and smile is the cheese slicer.See, I used to cut my cheese with a regular knife every single time. No matter how many pieces of cheese I cut, they would all be different. Sometimes they would be thick, sometimes they would be thing and sometimes they would be both. One side would be fat, the other fading off to nothing. Depending on the knife I used, some of the pieces fell off nicely, others would stick to the metal and would break into tiny bits with one pull.Then my girlfriend introduced me to the cheese slicer. It was love at first sight. The idea is simple. You slide the slider along the end of the cheese block and a perfect, evenly sized piece of cheese would come curling off. Wow.I sure wasn't looking for this incredible invention but it found me and every time I use it, I can't help by smile. Instead of cursing over umpteen more unevenly cut pieces of cheese, I can get on with my day knowing that they will all be perfect.Take a look around and see if there is anything that frustrates you even just a little bit. Can you change it at all and get rid of that frustration? Trust me, every little thing is worth it.
Why not try it?I just finished reading Undeclared for Life from Emilie Wapnick at Puttylike.Puttylike is all about multipotentialites, and the unique problems they face when interacting with the world. Similar to a polymath, renaissance man, or dilettante, multipotentialites are rarely happy doing one thing for long periods of time. They thrive on different activities and get bored when it's the same every day. Back in the Renaissance days that meant pursuing many different types of activities in many different areas like art, knowledge and learning, music and physical activity. Leonardo Da Vinci is credited with being one of of the most famous but there are many others. His contributions to science and art give you an idea of the breadth of activities he regularly participated in.When I think of pursuing the standard western tradition of going to school and then dragging through one single career path till retirement I get dizzy and go cross-eyed. I just can't see myself doing that (maybe if I wasn't cross-eyed). With an infinite number of incredible things to do in the world why would you want to limit yourself to working and watching TV? I can't fathom it.While I can't compare myself to Da Vinci, I think I regularly do a few more things than most people. Here's a bit of a list of what's been going on recently.My ActivitiesI regularly use the 2 monitors on my desk to code web applications, write blog posts and articles for my 3 websites, edit the photos and video footage I've taken.Right beside me sit 3 cameras, a waterproof helmet cam for action shots, a small point and shoot for the fast and light adventures I do in the backcountry and a digital SLR for more time-consuming but better quality photography that I've recently started to get into.To the other side is bin of tropical aquarium pieces from the 75 gallon fish tank I'm currently selling. I ran it for a few years but due to a recent focus on travel and a smaller home, I'm looking to get rid of it. I'm sure I'll get another one.Just behind me is a pile of outdoor gear that has been well-used this seasons, skiing almost every weekend then running and mountain biking during the week. Don't forget the snowboard that I used for 12 years up until last year and the wakeboard I break out every summer. Right beside the snowboard is a bunch of hiking gear that gets pulled out every summer for multi-day trips into the mountains and along the coast. My scuba diving gear will get brushed off when the water gets a little warmer as well, something I've been dying to do more of.I like the individual sports but played team sports for a long time as well. Elementary school was just the beginning when I played on every sports team they had. Soccer, football, volleyball, basketball, tennis, floor hockey. There really wasn't anything I did do then. High school got a little more focused with many days playing and practicing rugby and soccer. Now, days during the summer are spent playing rugby, ultimate frisbee and beach volleyball.Last year was full of trail running races and running the 47km long Juan De Fuca trail and while this year will be a little different the big adventures will continue.My computer and soon my walls are full of photographs I've taken travelling over the last few years. I've spent time in Mexico, the US, Australia, and New Zealand, with the majority of my time in my home province of BC, Canada. There will be many more to join them after the next planned trips to France and Thailand.I also have a day job writing online applications for the municipal government for the city I live in.The list may seem like a long one but most people have done many things in their lives. The difference between myself and most others is that they have done most things out of necessity, not voluntarily. They need to get a job to pay the bills. If they're tired of working, they plan a vacation on their vacation days that they have. If they need to de-stress they go to the gym or play a sport during the week. Weekends are spent recovering from the stress of the week.I didn't write this list to gloat. I merely wanted to show what's possible when you have goals in mind and push yourself to attain those goals. This isn't even a long list. Take a quick look at other lifestyle designers online and you'll find lists much longer and more interesting than mine. That's not the point though. I'm not trying to do more things than the next guy, I'm simply trying to do everything that I find entertaining. I guess you could say I have a goal to try everything. If I don't like it, then I won't do it again. But what if I do?If I hadn't tried something then I would have no idea what it's like. I would never have known what it feels like to bungy jump, travel alone, or go backcountry skiing if I hadn't got in touch with people that could help me and then done it. If you don't try you will never know.If there's something you've been wanting to try then go do it. With online resources like they are now, you can learn to do anything you want to do in a short period of time. If it's just money you're lacking, make that savings account, name it Awesome New Thing and do not touch it. Figure out how much money you need and put a bit away every paycheck. I'm seriously looking into a private helicopter licence right now. Yes, it's expensive but that's what saving is for. If you gave up on every single worthwhile goal you ever had, where would you be right now?For the Comments:What are the different things you're doing? Do they all fit together? Do you love doing them all?