Fastmail is making a huge improvement to their email service with more advanced rules. I’m snappy to see this feature being added as it was one thing I’ve asked for on multiple occasions.
Seth Godin has more great things to share about working with a team and getting stuff done. Definitely worth a read.
I am reading a book called The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield. This book has been recommended to me so many times in other blog posts, podcasts, and other discussions that I finally caved and decided to dive into it. I just started to read it. I’m literally only about 20 very easy pages in.
The topic of Pressfield’s book is the Resistance. The Resistance is the thing that keeps you from accomplishing your work. It is the thing that stops you from even getting started. It pops up in various forms and not-so-subtly it takes over.
It is that force within us that when a great idea comes to us it says “No you cannot do that. You don’t have enough experience.” Or maybe for you it is the times when you have to write that big paper, finish that project, or start calling people so you can actually make a sale and instead it reminds you that the garage needs to be rearranged.
It chooses the garage. When we let It choose things for us we always lose. We lose because then the next time we remember our dream, that project, paper, or call we are reminded that last time we failed.
This is like a snowball effect. The momentum builds and suddenly it feels like there is nothing we can do to stop it. It is an avalanche that is racing towards us.
How To Fight The Resistance
The reality though is that we can stop this. We don’t need to have a massive plan for conquering the Resistance. In fact a big plan works against us.
You need a simple plan. The plan is this…just start.
That sounds too simple right? How can this giant avalanche of momentum be thwarted by simply starting? Because small actions, accumulated over a period of time, produce huge results.
The simple act of starting is a powerful action that I too often forget to take. I like to think of all the steps that need to be taken. I like to plan and organize. I like to be thought of as a great thinker. The problem is that thinking alone will not get me (or you) anywhere. Thinking must be married to action.
Pressfield writes in the opening of his book about his daily routine for writing. He walks the reader through his day and details how he takes away the choice of whether to write or not. For him it doesn’t matter. For those four hours he is producing. In his own words he says
“All that matters is that I’ve put my time in and hit it with all I’ve got. All that counts is that, for this day, for this session, I have overcome the Resistance.”
– Steven Pressfield in The War of Art
What can you do right now, today, to take action to overcome the Resistance?
Now go do it.
A couple of years ago I started hearing about this app called Day One. At the time everyone talked about how amazing it was, how beautiful it was, and how you could do so many things with it. I bought it immediately.
The app truly was beautiful but for one reason I did not use it. The app is a kind of journal. I did not journal. So I could not see how it fit into my life.
Then the makers of Day One came out with auniversal app for the iPhone and iPad. I again bought it immediately. I also thought that since I always had one of these devices with me I would journal more. That was not the case.
It wasn’t until I made a choice in my life that I wanted to start capturing more, writing more, and remembering more that this app truly started to make a difference for me. Once I shifted my thinking from “this app will change my life” to “this app can be a tool to help me accomplish something I am intentionally setting out to achieve” I found the true power, simplicity, and usefulness of it.
Day One has so many uses that I could go into: tags for journal entries, ability to take pictures, a beautiful timeline of your entries, an amazing way to search, the ability to add the weather of your current location, reminders to tell you to post, iCloud and DropBox syncing, location tagging, a quick entry menubar item so you can quickly jot a note down, and so much more.
How I Use Day One
What I want to highlight is it’s ability to just be my external brain wherever I am. It is a tool that I use to capture life’s little moments right on the spot. Whether I am at my computer, out on a walk and I have my phone, or sitting in a coffee shop reading on my iPad I have the ability to quickly jot down what I want to remember.
I am a person who likes to remember when I had some thought or when some event happened in my life. So having Day One automatically put my entry into a dated timeline is super useful. I can refer back to a date and find out what I was doing or what I was thinking or working through. I no longer have to remember everything.
The tagging system lets me quickly say that an entry is about some topic. I like to put quotes that I hear into Day One. Now I can go into Day One and search for entries with the tag of “Quote” and right there I have all the quotes I have entered into the app.
I also like to use Day One as a prayer journal, as a place where I can write about frustrating situations that I don’t want to be public, as a place to post about items that I might want to tweet or post about later, as a medical journal, as a journal for keeping track of times when my dog gets sick, and so much more.
Advanced Use of Day One
For the more technically inclined advanced users out there there is even a software tool Brett Terpstra has written called Slogger. It can take all kinds of Internet and social media items and automatically log them into your Day One app. So imaging getting all of your tweets automatically logged into this awesome journal where you are capturing everything that is going on in your life.
Why Not Just Use Evernote
I love Evernote! I use it every day for so many purposes and I wouldn’t be a very happy camper to not have access to this tool. However, Day One to me just seems more personal. It is literally like a log, book, or journal that I can look back on and know without a doubt that all the stuff in there is mine.
I love how I can see things in a timeline and go reference things that way. I like how my thoughts, quotes, prayer journals aren’t intermingled with all of the other areas of my digital life. Some note or really intimate life journal entry won’t get accidentally shared by me making a silly mistake like putting that note into the wrong shared notebook.
Maybe it’s just me but I like to have a separate app for this kind of use.
Go Get It
Other Useful Reviews, Uses, or Podcasts Related to Day One
Currently I attend grad school and am learning about Marriage and Family Therapy. I got into this field because as I have worked with teens over the last eleven years in youth ministry I have bumped up against some pretty difficult circumstances facing people. I wanted to seek out and learn more about how I could help people in life. Basically I wanted to help people get out of their yuckiness or learn how to reframe those challenging things in life. placeholder;
One of the greatest lessons I have learned in all of my studies is to be curious. When I first heard it I thought it was ridiculous. I thought it was some kind of hocus-pocus or some kind of sage advice every self-respecting professor had to pass on. I was wrong.
I kept hearing about the need to be curious and over time I thought there might be something to this. So I started to look at my life and wonder about things more. I spent more time contemplating why things were the way they were. I wondered why so many things or people stayed the same. I wondered why I hadn’t made the changes in my own life. I really started digging deeper and pulling back the layers on everything in life.
The next thing I knew this natural curiosity within me sprung up and I went from challenging old thoughts I had to developing a whole new mindset. When I previously would not have engaged people in conversation I now find myself seeking conversation out and trying to learn more about people.
You see, we can all go deeper. We can all be more interested in people, or businesses, or other topics if we just start asking more questions.
Here’s how you can develop your curiosity:
1. Remind yourself every day and in every interaction to be curious.
This may sound silly but it has really helped me to be intentional about the practice of curiosity. The days I have forgotten to remind myself of this value are usually the days when I seem to have the least enjoyable interactions. This isn’t other people’s fault, it’s my own.
2. Give yourself permission to NOT know everything.
Again, this seems obvious. The problem is that too many of us feel like we SHOULD know everything. When I start feeling like I should know everything then I start to feel bad about myself in interactions and act like I DO know everything. You don’t need to know everything. You can’t know everything. So know what you know, share it with others, and ask them about stuff they know about.
3. Give yourself permission to ask questions.
Why do we need permission to ask questions? Because we act like we DO need permission. Quit waiting for other people to give you permission to ask questions and just start. You’ll notice that once you start asking questions then other people around you will ask questions. More likely they will agree with you that they were wondering the same thing. Now you’ve found some common ground with someone. When we have common ground with someone we are then more likely to engage them in even more discussion and possibly even friendship. Who doesn’t want that?
4. Remind yourself in each interaction with someone that every person has something they can teach you.
Each person has a vast array or knowledge or skills that you do not have. Why not actively look for those opportunities to learn more about them. When you start to see other people as an expert in the things that interest them you will quickly learn just how in depth people can talk about their interests. When they share this knowledge with you it adds to your own memory banks and can inform you in the future about various decisions facing you. Who knows, you might even get to pass that knowledge on to other people in the future.
5. Make a list of questions you can ask people…then keep adding to it.
I am full of ridiculous advice today. This one really is one of my favorites though. As someone who has struggled with thinking quickly I have realized that I can more fully engage in conversation if I have already thought through questions I want to ask. When I am planning on talking with someone I will review some basic questions I want to ask and this frees my brain up to think more deeply about other questions to ask. Also, when I have a basic repetoire of questions I can ask anyone I don’t get stumped when I find myself in front of people I didn’t know I would be meeting or know nothing about.
6. Start asking questions.
What good would it do if you took all my other tips and didn’t do anything with them? So you might as well just start asking away.
7. After you learn something you didn’t know before write it down in a notebook or on your computer.
Notice that I didn’t say “journal it?” This is because for some reason all throughout my life I have had some kind of weird aversion to the word journaling. Yet I retain the most knowledge when I actually write stuff down that I have learned or am thinking about. I also find that I write notes down all over the place, I don’t have a specific journal where I put everything. I keep notes in my Moleskine, on post-its, in two programs on my Mac (one is called Day One and the other is called nvAlt, on my phone, in Evernote, and by recording them when I need to quickly get them down. The main thing to remember is to process what you have learned and have a way to externalize those thoughts so you can refer back to them.
What strategies do you have for staying curious?