Shift your focus – fulfillment through work

It is easy to fall in trap of sitting down and resting. True, we need rest. But often rest turns from minutes into days. Thoughts are constantly harping on us to slow down and take time… as if there is nothing better to do then interrupt the progress we are making.

Why do we program ourselves to demand stillness? Why – when doing nothing always turns into doing something completely draining and unrelated that gets us nowhere. Nobody really finds pleasure in mindless browsing, half-focused watching of videos or checking news feeds. Yet that is what so many of us associate with rest.

So, let’s shift it – think of your life’s work when resting. Do not think of peace in the world, how others wronged you or what would be the best comment on whatever topic is actual. Think about challenges ahead of you and how you will be tackling them today. Push your focus toward work that brings you closer to your goals with the same zeal you previously pushed yourself toward stopping.

Do this, and soon enough you will see that the same power holding you back is now propelling you forward. We all become what we focus on and think about. All you need to do in order to live fulfilled life is to stick to the plans you made for yourself and think of them. Do not allow false promises to creep up on you – if laying down and doing nothing could make you happy, you would already be the happiest person in the world. You’ve tried it thousands of times already. You know it doesn’t work. So, try with opposite – try with not giving in and actually doing what needs to be done.

I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours -Jerome K. Jerome

I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours -Jerome K. Jerome

Stop waiting on inspiration and motivation. Take charge with discipline.

Fate. Destiny. Luck. We’ve all experienced the thrill of dice roll that nets us win. Situation where everything goes wrong. Situation where everything goes right. Like hall of fame basketball players that spend their whole careers chasing championships, only to end up with none. Like terrible players who win multiple championships by simply being on the right team.

Sure – we all dream about being lucky. Not doing anything while getting everything. It’s human. But when you scratch the surface, is that really what you want to be? Zero on someone else’s achievement? Lucky tag-along? Slave to circumstances?

If you do, then be aware that you are giving away control. The more time you spend allowing to be driven by outside forces, the less time you have to learn to drive yourself. You can’t have it both ways – the more you submit to circumstances the more they will influence end result and your emotions.

So, why don’t you take the reigns? Why don’t you stop waiting on inspiration and motivation – and take charge with discipline? Learn to love things that you need to do, and fulfill the need to find things you love. Welcome happy surprises but expect and rejoice only in hard work. Hope for the lucky break but do not depend on it.

Only you truly know yourself and what is it that you need. So, take control and vow not to wait on anyone or anything. You don’t need circumstances, people or planets to align. All you need is already within you. Use it.

Self discipline is when your conscience tells you to do something and you don't talk back. -W.K Hope

Self discipline is when your conscience tells you to do something and you don’t talk back -W.K Hope

To be motivated you need solid foundation. Otherwise, impulsiveness will destroy you.

Impulsiveness is good, when practiced in moderation. You need to give randomness a chance to drive you toward unexpected and unplanned pleasures. Sometimes impulsiveness will reward you, sometimes it will not – as with any gamble you never know. And that’s the exactly the thrill of it. The moment you try to seize control and create a winning streak, you are no longer enjoying… you are laboring.

Most importantly – know where impulsiveness begins and know where it ends. Because if you don’t, you’ll fall into same trap so many of us fall – giving impulsiveness free reign.

You need set boundaries to encompass what you represent. You must know the foundation of your character and what you stand for. You can’t make up rules and assign arbitrary meaning as you go or as it aligns with whatever you decided in certain moment. Life of abrupt changes can’t be led if you want to build. Anything non-trivial requires foundation so it can stand and function.

So define your foundation – what you consistently do for betterment of yourself and those around you. Split your day into part dictated by planning and part dictated by impulsiveness; and above all, stick with it. By all means, let there be expiry date after which you will reflect on your foundation and whether it is guiding your forward the way you expected. But in the meantime – do not improvise. Do not rationalize. Do not think.

Simply – do. Do what you are supposed to without doubts and questions. Lean on your foundation and follow your plan. You made them both for a reason.

 So live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now! -Viktor E. Frankl

So live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now! -Viktor E. Frankl

Keep perspective and you’ll keep being motivated

Everyone experienced a moment of revelation. Here you are at certain point of time completely understanding what you need to do. You see your goal with clarity and with determination you start going. You are prepared to do whatever it takes and the obstacles you are removing from your path show that you are serious about it.

Then you wake up next day, and suddenly realize that the spark is gone. That you no longer feel like doing what seemed so right and easy only yesterday. You tell to yourself that it is a fleeting feeling and that you only need to take a little break – you’ll get back to doing what needs to be done in few hours.

Suddenly, hours become days. Days become weeks. Weeks become months – and before you know it, it’s another year of your life gone by. By now you are also well entrenched in habit of doing things “tomorrow”. Why bother? You know you will do it eventually. Might as well wait for that time when you feel right.

The only problem is – you will not feel right. How can you feel right when you are giving away control? It is your brain and your habits. They shouldn’t control you, you should be controlling them. And only when you take control, the way you do when your perspective is clear, you will feel right.

Motivation is easy when you know exactly where you should be going. So, cling to your perspective for sake of your own sanity and good of yourself. Because if you don’t – circumstances, habits and others will choose for you. They will take over and tell you what is it that you should be doing. Do not let that happen, because nobody knows your dreams as well as you do. Keep your perspective, always and forever.

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be -Lao Tzu

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be -Lao Tzu

There’s a hole in my soul, I can’t fill it

We are all in the constant search for meaning. It’s part of human spirit – the need to matter and contribute something meaningful. Some of us are aware of it, some are not. But all of us feel it – that nagging feeling of emptiness inside.

Sure, we can try to numb it – but eventually it’ll always resurface in one way or the other. Defeats are temporary. Whether you’ll allow them to hold you down for a day, month, year… or a decade – in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter. You’ll only negatively impact yourself and people around you. Someone else from the global pool of talent will do what you were supposed to. And he will reap the benefits.

Understand that hole in you is there to stay. With every backward step you take – it will grow. With every step forward – it will shrink. You are built that way. You need to be part of something greater to function. Struggle in itself is irrelevant – whether you are fulfilling your meaning is the only thing you should worry about. And this is something you cannot fake. You can lie to yourself that you don’t care. You can allow laziness to destroy your dreams. But you can’t fill the void in yourself without honest and meaningful effort.

Hole will always be your sole responsibility. Others can try to help. You can try to help others. But in the end, fulfillment is a solo mission. Be grateful for that – majority is often a hindrance, not help. It’s OK. They are not against you – they are just trying to do what’s best for them. Help them if you can. Leave them if you can’t. But don’t dwell, don’t yell and certainly don’t start conflicts. It serves no-one and destroys you.

Focus on the hole in your soul. And work on filling it the best you can.

All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. -Samuel Beckett hole in the soul

All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. -Samuel Beckett

Stop distracting yourself

It is stunning to witness the impact of distractions in the world today. When you look at dynamics of everyday life you’ll see that most of us are not bound by hard limitations. Sure, we will complain that we don’t have enough smarts, resources or time. But closer inspection will almost always show that none of that is the real issue. The real issue is focus.

The biggest challenge is to actually allow ourselves to do what needs to be done. As soon as that hurdle is passed, everything becomes easier. Center yourself and start – and most often you’ll just keep going.

If you made commitment, honor it. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve promised something small or something big. What matters is that you stop allowing yourself to stress daily about things you’ve thought through multiple times. Understand that your brain wants to protect you – we are wired to always look for easy way out. But you should be responsible enough to recognize when easy way is not the right way.

Sure, rethink your decisions once a week. Set a time, sit down and see what you can improve. What is missing from your routine? What are the results of your work so far? Can you do something better – eliminate unnecessary tasks? Try out something new you haven’t so far? Ask and answer all the questions that popped in your head when you were about to perform work.

But in the meantime keep doing what you decided to do. Do not challenge. Do not procrastinate. Do not think.


You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do -Henry Ford

You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do -Henry Ford

Blogging the Journey, Damsel with a Drill, You are Awesome – The Star Blogger Award nominations

It seems this series of mine is starting to get real traction. How do I know? Well – I am receiving lots of emails through my Contact page. Majority is, of course, inquires on when I can feature certain blog (which I encourage). Then, there are compliments for what I am doing – I immensely enjoy reading those. Seems that people especially like the fact there is a prize for winning The Star Blogger Award.

Now, surprisingly, I’ve also started receiving hate mail. The first one was a real stunner… left me wondering – how do you find material to hate on blog roundups? But now that I’ve received second hate mail it seems reasonable to expect this. One negative email for every few positive ones. So, if it makes you happy to criticize – here is my Contact page again. Give it your best shot… and at least try to make it constructive. I really can’t do much with one liners that just say I’m terrible 😉

With that out of the way – let’s go to this week’s nominees.

Blogging the Journey by Ben Garow

I’ve met Ben few months back when I was restarting my own blogging efforts. He was doing the extreme version of that with establishing Through his second blog he wanted to fix what he perceived as mistakes made on the first one.

Honestly, after following his writing over last few months I don’t see that Ben is making mistakes. It’s only that standard problem of not getting enough traffic. And thus your work is not properly recognized. Kinda like title of Ben’s post – Everything is Amazing and Nobody is Happy – referencing rant by Louis CK. Blogging is amazing in a sense that so many people invest so much energy into it. But, in the end, one lifeless article buried deep on page 42 of  Washington Post will get more attention.

It’s good question if that will ever change. Regardless of answer, for me it’s clear that blogs like Ben’s are superior choice. Much better to read something someone invested his heart into; than to spend time on article that exists only because there was a deadline and free space.

Damsel with a Drill by Laura

First blog post I wrote was on how to buy a house that’s right for you. There is definitely something majestic about your first home purchase. And it better be that way considering the amount of money you are commiting to spend. One of the categories I wanted to blog about was home improvement. But 3 years later, and 10+ repairs after, I am still to muster inspiration to do so.

Looking at the great work Laura is doing, I doubt I’ll ever get into DIY blogging. It just makes more sense to link her articles and awesome photos than do those on my own. So, Laura, if you ever do a post on deck staining or water heater maintenance – count me in as collaborator! In the meantime I’ll highly recommend visiting what you write both as source of knowledge and inspiration.

You are Awesome by Angela Noel

Angela is a blogger that helps a lot in the community. She does exactly what header on her blog reads: “Celebrating Inspiring People and Interesting Ideas”.

Also, quality of Angela’s writing really stands out. With my blog – pick any post, start reading it and you’ll quickly deduce that I am not a writer. I obviously do something else for a living… and use blogging as a tool to communicate ideas and express myself.

With Angela – you can tell right away that she is aspiring author. Regardless of whether she is blogging about parenting, inspiration, society… her posts always have great titles, strong intros, with right amount intriguing questions.

Honestly, I can’t wait for her to start publishing books and travel the country on signing tours. Then I’ll get to hang on her blog and comment “I told you so” all the time. It’ll be marvelous.

Pass on nominations and vote

Please note that voting for The Star Blogger Award will likely open next week. I’ll reach out to all nominees ahead of time so everyone has time to prepare and invite supporters to vote.

Also, some of the past nominees started nominating blogs they like. This is exactly how I want this award to work. While ability to pick whoever I like is nice, it’s also quite lonely. So, I would definitely prefer to collaborate on nominations. There is much more weight in two people nominating.

Until next week!

You already have it in you. Turn tomorrow into now.

Tomorrow is the new day. It is a clean slate, a second chance. It doesn’t matter what happened today, yesterday or whenever in the past. Tomorrow is the new day that you can use to start fresh and do whatever you need to do so you can fill your life with happiness.

The only problem is that power of tomorrow is so big and tempting that many of us live in constant anticipation of it. There are few hours left in today’s day, there is energy in us, yet out of laziness we allow ourselves to say – tomorrow. Like dozen of hours will make a difference. Like we will magically wake up feeling ready to do everything we were supposed to be doing for the past year.

You already know that’s not going to happen. Learn from the past and dream about the future. But do your work right now. The only time you can influence is the present. You know you are already equipped to do what you are supposed to do. Stop blocking and lying yourself that you will feel better tomorrow. The only thing that will make you feel better is the sense of accomplishment. Knowledge that you gave your 100 percent, and not some meager output circumstances and excuses allowed you to give.

Tune out the distractions, close your eyes and remember. Remember the plans that you made, the path you are supposed to follow and the goals that are yours to conquer. Understand and accept that you can get anywhere you want but that you must start from your present point. No amount of resting, procrastinating or fooling yourself will move your from where you are. Only good, old, hard work and willingness to stick to it will.

So – do your work. That way when tomorrow comes, you truly will feel better. Not because you magically woke up in a better state, but because you can remember previous day and see that instead of giving up, you conquered the day. And that you are ready to do it again.

Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you -Thomas Jefferson

Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you -Thomas Jefferson

Doodle as I do, Traci York, Ida Auclond – new blogs for The Star Blogger Award

I promised that I’ll be posting these on Thursday. And it’s Friday… so apologies are in order. What I’ve learned though is that I need to tally votes a bit sooner (Tuesday evening). That way I’ll have more time to contact winner, arrange prize giveaway and write blog post. Let’s see if I manage to do it better in three weeks when we’ll have another poll.

My Instruction Manual, July 2017 Winner of The Star Blogger Award

It is my immense pleasure to announce that Keith won the first ever Star Blogger Award. He called his followers to vote in blog post, and that had big impact. It built him a lead that lasted until the voting ended.

Here is what Keith had to say when I presented him with The Star Blogger Award for July 2017 and $10 Amazon Gift Card prize:

Wow! I’m so grateful for everyone who voted for My Instruction Manual. It was a great honor to be recognized alongside other terrific blogs. I started My Instruction Manual to chronicle my own journey to be happier and healthier after my kidney transplant. It’s very rewarding that that others find it helpful too! Thanks to the How To Addict for giving back to the blogging community by setting up this award!

Congrats again Keith on your well deserved win! I look forward to reading your blog for many years to come!

Badge for Keith so he can brag about My Instruction Manual's win

Badge for Keith so he can brag about My Instruction Manual’s win

Doodle As I Do by Gemma

I’ve met Gemma through Reddit few months back and have been enjoying her posts ever since. Simply, Doodle As I Do is blog with terrific idea and execution. Instead of doing regular blog posts Gemma crafts a song that she then illustrates. I especially enjoy when she does it for one of her readers.

So, now that Gemma is on I think it’s great time to feature her work. Plus, definitely try to stop by her Facebook page – she often organizes competitions there for her readers. Whoever wins gets custom poem and doodle! Talk about creative prizes.

Here are the posts I’ve enjoyed most:

Traci York

Another fellow blogger that I’ve met through Community Pool. Luckily, I must add, as Traci is someone who you can often helping others. She does a lot of blog promoting, all while somehow managing to keep steady schedule of Tarot, Witchy and Inspiring posts.

I’ve joked that I need to nominate her for The Star Blogger Award so she doesn’t throw a curse on me. But in all honesty, she runs great and unique blog. I for sure am intrigued by idea to spark inspiration with a spell. And the weekly tarot readings she does are definitely something you shouldn’t miss.

So, do yourself a favor and check out Traci’s blog. Here are the posts you can start with:

Ida Auclond

Tagline is: “I’m not insane. I’m a writer”. So – you’ve guessed it – Ida’s blog focuses on writing. But, like me, she often explores other unrelated topics. Thus, you get a chance to read Ida’s thoughts on fathers, hobbies and life in general.

That said I think you’ll benefit immensely be reading Ida’s posts on writing. By describing her own battles while writing novel, Ida helps the rest of us. Now, my writing is nowhere near complexity required by novels. But I still find it very useful to read her thoughts on the subject. Like how she is handling editing process and emotional ups and down of it.

I especially recommend following posts:

Comment and come back next week

As I said in the first post – I appreciate suggestions that you send through comments. Commenting and pointing out worthy blogs saves me a lot of effort and time. So, if you operate a good blog… or know someone that does – please comment below and let me know.

Related to that I wanted to give special shout-outs to:

They both took effort to nominate and spread the word about The Star Blogger Award. Truly thankful for it!

See you next week!

Why be happy at all? Life is pointless anyway

You have probably heard some variation of negative life philosophies. They often focus on criticizing life and things you shouldn’t, won’t and can’t obtain. Lacking and terrible; you’ll never be good enough, they say. Then there is also a part about our existence being mere coincidence which can be erased by number of likely scenarios. If humanity doesn’t destroy itself that is. We almost destroyed ourselves in the recent past and as news tells us, some tough times are ahead.

So, looking from that perspective – why even bother? We all will die anyway. Even if we spend every waking hour of our life working and trying and giving our best and struggling against adversity and fighting disappointments, we will essentially end up in the same state as those who decided not to bother at all and went on with distracting themselves.

The core problem with negative life philosophies is not whether or not they are *correct*. The core problem is that they are built as an excuse. People who end up embracing negativity always first acknowledged that it is easier to give up than try. It obviously is. And once that easy choice was made, all that was left is finding excuses to justify the decision.

Don’t let yourself fall into this trap. The same way others pick pessimism you can pick optimism. Will making that choice be harder? Sure – but only for start. After someone truly makes positive outlook part of his character he is unable to let it go. For all those unhappy who need one small reason to get depressed, you have those who you can’t knock off happiness no matter what you try. Throw obstacles, frustrations and problems toward someone who is positively-focused, and he’ll keep evading and crushing them while laughing like a maniac.

It’s inspiring, really. Knowing that a persistent shift to the right state of mind is all we need to become unstoppable. That those unhappy ones laying around and saying “I don’t care” to everything offered are using exactly the same phrase that happy ones utter while facing challenges. So, decide to try and stay positive for your own sake. Ignore or deal with negativity of environment the best you can, depending on situation. And just keep going!

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. -Viktor E. Frankl

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way -Viktor E. Frankl

This post was inspired by life and work of Dr Viktor E. Frankl. Kind human being who survived Auschwitz and bore no ill will toward anyone. Not even to the neighborhoods who reported him and his family to Nazis. The same ones he treated as a doctor – both before and after the World War 2.

More yet, he wrote a great book – Men’s Search for Meaning. I highly recommend that you read it. Learn more about this great human being.