An Ode To Stickin’ Around

Man in striped apron paints canvases in Bardolino
Eddy Klaus, Unsplash.com

I’ve been married for about thirteen years, been at the same company for nearly twelve, and pursuing the same art (writing) for twelve.

This may seem long or short depending on your perspective. All of those years in those areas of life have not been meadows filled with daffodils, but through the grace of God, mountains of encouragement from my writerly and non-writerly friends, I’ve stuck with them.

Recently, I wrote about how I haven’t been writing. How I’ve been uninspired and if I’m honest I felt that I wouldn’t miss much if I stopped. This would not be true but it’s how I felt.

This feeling has occurred multiple times with my art. But because of an awesome community and this nagging in my mind that just won’t go away I keep huffing and puffing along.

The reason I started writing again is twofold. One, because I want to publish a work of fiction. I have two books that I’ve been attempting to ship for a combined eight years. The second is because recently, I looked back at what has happened through the ups and downs of twelve years of chasing my craft.

I was astonished at their cumulative weight

Reading that list may have made you feel gross, like I was boasting, and I apologize. But what I wanted you to take away was that all of those mile markers happened because I stuck around.

There were failed starts, massive struggle, five kids being born (zero upon negative-infinity-absolute-zero hours of sleep) and all the while managing a full time job, and making sure that my wife and I have a strong marriage.

I wish life could be straightforward. I learn something, improve, and then move onto the next thing. But what I’ve come to understand is that sticking around for a while, staying in the game, and being downright stubbornly consistent can offer an opportunity to build a foundation then a first and second story and so on.

Are you thinking of stopping your art? I’d encourage you to keep working.

Who knows where you’ll be in twelve years?

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Why You Don’t Need To Be Disciplined This Year

Every once in a while I’ll get the itch to play the guitar again. I’ll start by learning an easy song, play it until my wife wants to punch me, then abandon it. It happens every time.

I knew each time was going to be different. Then it wasn’t. Months later the guitar is gathering dust, again.

Why is this?

calendarI listened to a podcast called 10X talk with Joe Polish and Dan Sullivan a while back and Dan said something that shocked me. He said discipline is a bunch of garbage.

To Mr. Sullivan, you can be disciplined but you don’t just get it at the store. It’s a description of someone that has formed desirable habits.

Whether you are a runner, writer, or worker, we all struggle from time to time. If you find yourself in the place of perpetual failure consider this. You don’t need to be disciplined. You need new habits.

Starting a new habit or kicking an old one can be extremely difficult. Here are three ways to help you make them stick.

  1. Journal daily progress. Make it simple. This doesn’t have to take you an hour.
  2. Ask a friend to be your kind drill sergeant and keep you accountable.
  3. Do it (whatever you want to form good habits for) with someone.

Kick discipline to the curb. Replace it with new habits.