The Question We Sometimes Ask Ourselves

Question:  Does it matter?

Answer:  Make it matter.

Whitebeltblogger (or just use anonymous, it doesn’t matter — wait… it matters because this quote is all about what matters.)

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Excuse Me, Excuses

No More Excuses

Do you remember a time when you’re supposed to do something but eventually you talked yourself into not doing it?

In that case you have successfully come up with excuses.

I wasn’t supposed to use the word “successfully” since inventing excuses will most likely won’t lead to success. But I can’t think of a better word.

Hey! Wait a minute….

Did I just come up with an excuse right there? Can you see how it’s so easy for us to come up with excuses?

So… before moving on, let’s rewrite the sentence above without using the word “successfully.” Here it goes:

In that case you have successfully come up with excuses.

Whatever you have told yourself back then, those are just excuses.

(Right on. Using the word just to describe excuses minimizes its significance.)

Moving on….

Why do we make excuses?

Here are some reasons:

  1. We think it’s impossible.
    Before the 1950s, when Roger Bannister was able to run a mile in less than four minutes, people think it was impossible.

    But when he did it, not long after, a lot of runners was able to do the feat that was previously thought of as impossible.

    Seeing Roger Bannister did what’s supposed to be impossible instantly removed the limiting belief the other runners had.

  2. We think it’s beyond our current capability.
    It might be true — for now. The thing is, if we don’t try, how will we know what our capabilities are?

    Eventually we have to start doing and stop procrastinating. Might as well do it as soon as possible because we can’t take back time.

  3. We think that it’s not worth it.
    Maybe. Maybe not. But how are we suppose to know if we don’t do it in the first place?

    For instance, there had been times when I don’t feel like going to the gym, but I force myself to anyway. Afterwards, I feel good about what I did. (Add to that the wonderful effect of endorphins to our body.)

    If I haven’t gone to the gym, I can simply dismiss it by saying things like, “I can go tomorrow,” or “It’s just one session, one session,” when what I should be saying is: “Stop making excuses and just do it!”

How can we overcome excuses?

Method 1: Just Do it.
The most simple and direct way as you have read above is by just doing the thing we’re supposed to do.

Just Do it. Don’t over-analyze. After a while, by just doing it, you’ll begin to become engaged in the task. That’s the power of momentum.

Method 2: Counter excuses with reasons.
When we create excuses, we’re using our creativity in an unproductive manner. Why not use our creativity positively. Let’s come up with reasons.

For instance, let’s think of a simple task, such as cleaning our room. We can come up with excuses not to clean it, such as:

  • I’m the only one who sees my room.
  • In a few days it will be all messed up again anyway.
  • It’s a waste of time. I’d rather surf the net.

Let’s forget about those excuses, and come up with reasons why:

  • A clean room looks nice and makes me feel better.
  • If a relative or friend visits me in my room, she won’t be disappointed.
  • Eventually I have to clean it, so might as well do it now while I’m not busy.

Remember: When you’re making excuses, you’re focusing on the negatives. When you’re making reasons, you’re focusing on the positives. Be positive.

Summary

It’s easy for us to create excuses. When we come up with excuses more often than not we don’t take appropriate action.

We can fight excuses firstly by just doing the task that we’re supposed to do without any rationalizing, and secondly by countering those excuses with reasons why we should (or must) do it and focusing our attention on those reasons.

Photo credit: Fabio Venni

Fulfill Your True Potential —Take Action Now

Sometimes you ask yourself: “What am I doing?” when the more appropriate question would be: “What am I not doing?”

—Whitebeltblogger (or just use anonymous, it doesn’t matter)

What am I not doing?

  • Exercising: be strong, being weak sucks.
  • Earning more money: money can be used for good, don’t believe others that say money is inherently bad — they’re probably broke.
  • Reading: knowledge is useful, those who put-down intelligent people like you and me are just too lazy to work on themselves.
  • Insert your kind of stuff here: your awesome explanation.
  • Being your own hero: you don’t need other people’s approval.

What are you waiting for?


Take action. But I shouldn’t be saying that, right? You’re the only one who knows what’s right for you. Be awesome — no … you already are.

White Belt Blogger Is Back

The Journey Continues

Yes, I’m back. Although only few days have passed since my last post, I’m glad to be back.

Why all the excitement?

I’ve been known to blog daily in the past. Not that I won’t blog again for consecutive days, after more than two months of daily blogging, I found it unsustainable.

Well I can really force myself to blog daily no matter what, but I realized that it’s not going help my blogging in the long run.

In the past, I’ve written twin posts regarding blogging and not blogging every day. In this post I’m going to give my comments on what I written back then.

Comments on the blogging every day post

Because only a few bloggers do it, posting every day will make your blog stand out. Some of the most popular sites/blogs on the internet gives it readers fresh content every day, even if the content was written by a guest blogger.

Yep, only a few bloggers do it (I was once of them), and I admire their efforts. The thing to note about the big sites, though, is their posts are written by multiple writers or guest bloggers, so there’s no need to worry if you can’t match their output.

People read blogs on the internet either to be informed or to be entertained, or both; so give them what they want.

I agree that we should write to give service to our readers, but do you really think that your blog is the only one they read on the internet? Most probably not. So, take it lightly, most of your readers will understand if you won’t be able to post daily.

Blogging is a form of writing. That said, blogging every day improves your writing skills. However, to improve your writing, you need to learn more about the craft as well (e.g., read blogs about writing).

Yes, blogging every day will definitely improve your writing skill, but so does blogging regularly, although not a daily basis.

Having the desire to write even a short post every day, develops your self-discipline. Self-discipline leads to a higher self-esteem.

Hmmm. To think of it, my self-esteem hasn’t dropped when I stopped blogging daily. But here I am blogging, probably to maintain my self-esteem.

Before you write something, you need to think of something to write first. That being the case, blogging every day develops your creativity and thinking skills, which are invaluable in daily living.

In my experience, blogging every day improved my thinking skills. On the contrary, we can think of things to blog about without writing them at the same day; thus, providing more time for research and idea enhancement.

Comments on the not blogging everyday post

When blogging ever day, there is a possibility that you may experience burn-out and in-turn associate blogging with discomfort. That said, write posts less often when you start seeing signs of burn-out (e.g., fatigue, irritation, etc.).

Yeah, I did experience it, albeit slightly. I didn’t know that I’ll be following my own advice not long after.

If you don’t blog every day, it will not become a commonplace activity — and you’ll feel more excitement when you’re about to write a post.

It depends on the individual. On my side, though, blogging every day hasn’t decreased, in any way, the fulfillment I get after I click the publish button.

If you blog every day, there’s a chance that your readers will only be able to read your latest post. Most people don’t live on the internet, and also, there are other blogs out there that they also enjoy reading.

Similar to what I mentioned above. In my experience, however, readers still read my previous (but not so old) posts.

There are days when you might not be able to think of an idea for a blog post. In those days, you may take a break if you want, instead of feeling frustrated.

You won’t really run-out of ideas, they’re everywhere, but the question is whether your idea is already ripe enough or still needs some refinement through further research and thinking.

Blogging every day won’t really improve your writing skills, unless you make an effort to do so. That is, practicing with the goal of improving your skills. It’s called deliberate practice, by the way.

I still agree with this point. If you were new to writing, like I was before, blogging every day will greatly improve your writing skill. But there will come a time that you’ll feel your skill has plateaued. The solution: try something new.

So what now?

That said, I’ll still write post when I can. It might be on consecutive days, or it might be not — what I want now is flexibility. I haven’t mentioned yet that realizing I have the option not to blog every day made be happier person.

Before, there were days that I was forcing myself to blog even though I haven’t slept enough. I’m not saying that we should avoid challenging experience like that, after all it develops mental toughness.

Knowing that blogging every day is only an option, and not an absolute rule that might be followed rigidly makes me feel better. I feel like a white belt blogger again. 🙂

5 of My Previous Posts Summarized

Just Write

I’ve written about writing summaries before in this post (Item #2). Summaries are great in two ways:

  1. Summaries recap the main points of the post.
  2. Summaries can be of great help to busy readers who don’t have the time to read your full post.

When I started blogging, though, I haven’t gotten into the habit of writing summaries yet. In this post, I’m going to summarize five of my earlier posts that doesn’t have summaries. But first….

Disclaimer


I’ve linked to my previous posts through the summary headers. Reading those posts, I would say that I could have written them better. So, don’t be surprised by their quality, just in case you tried to read them. 🙂

It’s Easy to Criticize, Hard to Create


There are two types of criticism:

  1. Valid criticism
    Is when people point out at our mistakes and flaws without an agenda. They are the ones who want us to improve.
  2. Criticism for the sake of criticism
    Is baseless (illogical) and insignificant. People who get a kick out of putting others down does this type of criticism.

We remember the names of people who create things and add value to our lives, but not their critics.

FOYS – Focus on YourSelf Principle

The main idea behind the FOYS (Focus on YourSelf Principle) is we need to focus on our own lives instead of minding other’s business or personal lives.

FOYS does not mean that one must be selfish. On the contrary, if you set out to make your life better first, then you can better give back to other people.

There are three important areas in our life that deserve our attention:

  1. Health/Fitness
  2. Finance/Career/Business
  3. Relationships (family, friends, etc.)

Endure Discomfort Today to Feel Comfort Tomorrow


We must make sacrifices today for a brighter tomorrow. Reflection is needed from time to time, noting if we’re doing better or not in our lives.

From the post itself:

Remember: Doing something is better than doing nothing. Some people like to make huge plans, they even get started, but after awhile, their initial enthusiasm is gone, and they go back to their old ways. Remember the story of the tortoise and hare? Being persistent leads to success.

Two Types of Personal Change

There are two types of change that happen to people:

  1. External change
    Change that gives visible results (e.g., better/healthier body, more money in the bank, etc.).
  2. Internal change
    Emotional and mental changes that happen to us (e.g., having a more positive outlook in life, learning a new skill such as playing the guitar, etc.).

Neither is more important, for the reason that they affect each other. For instance, positive changes in our physical appearance can improve our emotional well-being (external to internal change).

Another example is when changing our outlook in life leads to better opportunities, such as meeting more people or earning more money (internal to external change).

Two Downsides of Comparing Yourself to Others


We tend to compare ourselves to other people in areas of our lives such as wealth, looks, relationships, etc. In those cases, we can either be better or worse than other people.

Being on each side has its consequences:

  1. When we are inferior to others.
    When we’re on the lesser side, we might feel jealous of the other person. In that happens, it’s better to shift our focus in making ourselves better so that we may improve our current situation.

    In short, don’t get jealous, get better.

  2. When we are superior to others.
    Our main challenge in this instance is that we may become complacent.

    And when we’re complacent there’s a possibility that we’ll stop improving ourselves. When that happens, let’s look for inspiration or be challenged by people who have achieved greater things than us.

From the post:

Remember: Even though we may deem ourselves superior to others in a particular area, there is always someone better than us, whether that person lived in the past or is yet to be born in the future.

Summary


I wonder who summarizes a post about summaries. That makes this section unnecessary. (But I’ve written it anyway.) 🙂

Photo credit: Sean MacEntee from Flickr.

When Reading Becomes a Form of Procrastination

Procrastination

I like to read, and I do it a lot. I read books, ebooks, and blogs. Recently, I asked myself a question. When does reading become another form of procrastination?

Some fluff (you can skip to next section if you want)


I heard someone saying, “How can reading be a form of procrastination? Reading is a worthwhile activity. It’s much better than watching TV and playing video games.”

I understand what you’re saying pal.

Teachers tell us to read. Self-help gurus also tell us to read. Even celebrities that don’t read but want to look good tell us to read.

“So, how come you said that reading is a form of procrastination?”

Life isn’t all about reading you know. Students go to school. Employees go to work. Parents take care of their kids. Animals eat or are eaten. Trees, well … grow.

Oh shoot! Am I rambling again? This post is starting to sound (or read) like those fluffy blogs that I don’t want to read even if someone pays me to read them.

It’s time to switch to no B.S. blogging mode.

When does reading become a form of procrastination? (Straight no B.S. answer.)


Procrastination is when we’re not doing what we’re supposed (or want) to do; we can be procrastinating without being idle, for example, when we do a lighter activity (such as reading) to substitute for a more difficult activity (such as [insert difficult activity here]).

Are you reading instead of writing blog posts? … yes? Then you’re procrastinating.

Are you reading instead of jogging outside? … yes? Then you’re procrastinating.

Are you reading instead of spending time with your kids? … yes? Then you’re also procrastinating.

5 step solution

  1. Realize that life isn’t all about reading.
  2. Limit your daily reading time (for example, two hours.)
  3. Read only what is necessary (or what you can’t resist).
  4. Make a todo list, including the task that you’re supposed to do.
  5. When the time comes to do the dreaded task — just do it.

Easy, isn’t it?

Blogger’s note


Writing can be a therapeutic tool (gosh, it sounds like that I need therapy). At first, I wasn’t sure if I’ll publish this post. It was supposed to serve as a reminder for myself; just in case I read too much again, ignoring other tasks.

But since other people may find it useful, even if it’s only one person (who knows it might be you), I decided to publish it publicly.

Photo credit: Danielle Scott from Flickr.