Writing is a bit like exercise. If you don't write for a while, you get out of shape and it takes a while to get back into shape. It has been a couple years since I have put forth significant effort towards completing a new book, and I have been scared to get back to writing for the past two years. Writing a book is an incredible journey, but it takes so much energy to do that it can be as daunting as running a marathon.
Why am I starting over now? I am starting over because of where I am today. Thanks to the insights of friends and family, I know now that where I am today is largely a product of the choices I have made in life. There is certainly a component of chance and a component of God's providence to everyone's life, but out outcomes at the end of our lives are largely defined by our choices throughout. No one can choose the hand they are dealt, but everyone can choose to play the hand they are dealt to the best or the worst of their ability.
This past weekend, I chose to spend a lot of time watching YouTube videos. While I was entertained in the moment, I ended my time on YouTube feeling very empty inside. It was an odd feeling, but I have felt it before and it is similar to the feelings some of my friends describe when they describe anxiety; my chest was tight and it felt like the walls were closing in around me. I got on the Internet to feel better, but when I got off the Internet I felt worse. Why is that?
Today, I turned on an old TED talk with the late head of UCLA Basketball, John Wooden. I was not expecting to hear something new today, but that is exactly what happened. In the TED talk, John Wooden referenced an idea that fate is accurate more times than not, because fate is largely predicated on the choices people make in life.
Here's that TED Talk:
A week ago, a friend challenged me to publish a video in a week. I just finished filming the opening sequence a couple hours ago. As hilarious as that may sound, I know that I am not alone in my bouts of procrastination. Sometimes it happens as a product of poor planning. Other times (like this time) I come up with a new idea at the last second and have to rework the entire project in an evening.
In college, I spent many hours in the library, finishing projects in the nick of time. It took me several years to move my submissions from a minute before the deadline to an hour before the deadline. While I managed to pass my classes and earn my degree, I was always anxious whenever a big submission was due.
As it turns out, another individual had a similar adventure during his time in college. Here is a TED talk that speaks to the heart of procrastination:
What is hard work? Is it work that requires a lot of energy; work that translates directly into accomplished tasks? Is it mentally taxing work? Is it physically taxing work?
When it comes to working hard, I typically think of hard work as manual labor and as work that is measured by the number of tasks accomplished. I rarely consider mentally challenging work to be hard work, yet mentally challenging work is the hardest work for me to do.
It is difficult to have dreams, when the act of having a dream leaves you vulnerable. Perhaps this is what I find so difficult about mentally challenging work. While I don't necessarily need a big vision to accomplish manual labor jobs, I do need a big vision to accomplish mind work. Big visions create big opportunities for failure and success. The former of these two extremes often outweighs the later, in my mind. These are my evening thoughts for the night.
What does it take to start a movement? I have been pondering this question for weeks, and all I can say from the pondering is that I have more questions.
With all of that said, it has been a wonderful week this week. I have been using some time to create a series of vlogs, while maintaining the regular workflow of my real estate endeavors. Work is enjoyable, and I hope it continues to grow in a positive direction.
Every year (and in some cases every day) I feel differently about my life than I did the previous year or day. This year I feel much better than last year, while still feeling very at war with myself. Allow me to explain:
Sometime in the past 5 years, I was introduced to Simon Sinek and presented with the notion of finding my why. "Why do you do what you do?" is an of the prevailing question in Simon Sinek's book. On the surface, this seems like a wonderful question. Indeed, I thought it was a wonderful question for a long time. However, since that moment in time, I have come to the conclusion that it is a very difficult question to answer, matched only by the question, "who am I?"
The question of, "why" stirs up all sorts of thoughts and emotions that intertwine but do not connect. If I were to ask myself, "why are you writing a blog today?" I would be able to answer the question, but only in a form that was sufficient for the present moment. Before the hour was done, I would probably have a new answer to the question.
In any case, my present answer to the question at hand is that I have not written in many months, and I am looking to get back into the habit of writing. Rather than trying to write a book all in one sitting, I will be spending the next several months, just putting a few words down in the hopes that something will come of the dialogue.
With all of that said, thank you for your continued support in my creative ventures. I have yet to figure out what I want to do in life, but I have renewed clarity of what I do not want to do in life.
Until next time,
Welcome to the blog! I've republished some of my favorite entries from previous blogs (found in the archives) and I am constantly creating new content for this section. As with the rest of this website, I hope you enjoy reading and exploring the many ventures I am undertaking. Thanks for stopping by! - Chris