Inktober 2017

I decided about a week into October that I wait participate in Inktober. One drawing, in ink, every day. It was a lot of fun and one of the conclusions I came to is that, if I can find a few minutes every day to draw a picture of Donald Duck, I can find a few minutes every day to do some writing.

Anyway, here are some of my favorite images from this year:


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Finish: Chapter Five – Leave Your Hiding Places and Ignore Noble Obstacles

“When we dare to focus, a thousand other things beg for our attention.” p75

I may or may not be watching an episode of the new Ducktales cartoon as I ironically type the above quote.

How to uncover my hiding places?

-Do I find myself going there accidentally?

-Do I have to play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon to justify why I’m giving it time?

-What do my friends think?

I think my biggest hiding places include Netflix, social media and a couple of mobile games I play. So…basically my phone…which is what I’m currently watching Ducktales on.

So my phone is a hiding place that I definitely need to work on…right after this episode is over.

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Finish: Chapter Four – Make It Fun If You Want It Done

 “Perfectionism believes that the harder something is, the more miserable something is, the better it is.

The fourth lie it tells you is: Fun doesn’t count.” p47

Ain’t that the truth.

“Perfectionism and fun are like oil and water. They don’t mix. Perfectionism thinks fun is a waste of time and holds no value. Unfortunately, most of us tend to feel the same way.” p48

But wait, he’s not done:

“We think that for a goal to be right and true, it must also be difficult. It must break us in the process or it’s not a good-enough goal. The only way we’ll know we’ve made progress is by the amount of blood, sweat, and tears we shed….

Conversely, if we have fun, the goal doesn’t really count. A dance class isn’t real exercise. Walking with a friend is too enjoyable. Frisbee is for hippies. Those things aren’t hard enough.” p49-50

Does he have your number too or is it just me?

This chapter has been the hardest to read, not only because of the above quotes and ideas but also because he encourages us to use a system of rewards or fears to motivate us to achieve our goals.

“In the past, have you been driven by fear or by reward? Are you inspired by the thought of sailing back into the harbor successfully or preventing a shipwreck deep at sea? As Jonathan Fields says, is your goal to push a failure away from yourself or pull a victory toward yourself?” p62

I had a hard time with this concept because I have a hard time being motivated by either. As I thought through this process though, I came to the conclusion that I am motivated by reward, not fear, and that my biggest problem is that I am impatient. I don’t like waiting to get something I want, a book, a movie, etc… and, in general, I don’t really have to. So, I really need to get it into my head that, just because I can get it now doesn’t mean I have to or that I should. It’s very un-American but I have seen it work in my life in the past.

What about you? Are you motivated more by rewards or by fear?

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Finish: Chapter Three – Choose What To Bomb

“Kids are a crisis. They’re a beautiful crisis, but they’re a crisis nonetheless. No one tells you this because they want you to have kids too, so that the species survives.” p32

That quote has nothing to do with choosing what to bomb, but as the father of a newborn, I very much resonate with it.

So, this chapter was about choosing what to bomb, what you are ok with being bad at. The idea here is that, in order for you to make time to reach your goals, you’re going to have to take time away from something (or someone) else so let’s be intentional about what we give up.

This is a conclusion that I actually came to before I read this book. I was making a list of New Year’s Resolutions one year and realized that, in order to add new habits and goals, I would need to subtract other habits. But it’s still a good reminder and not something I’ve sat down to determine what I’m giving up intentionally in a while.

The biggest things I think I need to bomb are; TV, Social Media and my games. These, while all good things, are the biggest time wasters in my day and if I want to get back on track with my weight loss goals and my writing goals, I need to drastically diminish the time I spend on all of them.

“Strategic incompetence is…admitting you don’t have time to do everything and something will deliberately go by the wayside during this season of your life.” p37

I’m really loving how this book isn’t as much about how to meet your goals as it is about killing perfectionism. That, I think, is the core issue when I think about myself and my friends and family that struggle with their goals.

“Once you get beyond the initial guilt of not being about to get everything done, choosing what to bomb becomes sort of fun. The stress of perfectionism gives way to laughter as you list the myriad things you’ll no longer accept shame about.” p44

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Finish: Chapter Two – Cut Your Goal In Half

“Most of us believe the old adage, ‘Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars,’ but that’s not how life really works. The all-or-nothing mentality of perfectionism tells us that close enough doesn’t count. The stars are not good enough.” p23

“Obviously,if your goal is to take medicine or something life-saving, by all means do not cut that in half. Or if it’s to not punch co-workers in the face, don’t start punching half as many as you desire.” p26

“Cutting your goal in half is kryptonite for perfectionism. It makes absolutely no sense and sends a bright flare into the night about your intentions. Not only are you refusing to give in to perfectionism, you’re setting yourself up for success before you’re even started.” p29

There are action steps at the end of almost every chapter which is a great way to turn the theoretical into the practical. This chapter, obviously, asked me to write out my goals and then, either cut them in half or double the time table.

For me this looks like losing 40lbs instead 80lbs, writing 6 posts a month instead of 12 for this blog plus three others that I contribute to and writing a book in two years instead of one. That last one was the hardest for me to reset because two years feels like an eternity.

I’m looking forward to seeing what comes of this. The book came out today and you should definitely order it.

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Finish by Jon Acuff – Ch. 1: The Day After Perfect

I’ve had the opportunity to be a part the Launch Team for Jon Acuff’s latest book, Finish: Give Yourself The Gift Of Done. It’s releasing next week and I’m in the process of re-reading it.

It only took me a couple of days to read through it the first time because Acuff is a very engaging writer and I wanted to get it done as quickly as I could for Launch Team purposes. Now I am re-reading more slowly so I can engage with his action steps more thoroughly and I thought I would share some quotes and action steps I want to take as a result of this book.

(By the way, you can pre-order the book here.)

Here’s some quotes from Chapter One: The Day After Perfect

“The less that people aimed for perfect, the more productive they became.” p4

“This is the first lie that perfectionism tells you about goals: Quit if it isn’t perfect.

The genius in this first lie is subtle. It’s not ‘when’ it isn’t perfect, because that hints at the reality that it won’t be. No, perfectionism tells you ‘if’ it isn’t perfect, as if you have the chance to run the whole rack and go to the grave with a 100 percent on your tombstone.” p9-10

“Why? Why would I encourage you to embrace imperfection? Well, for one thing, doing something won’t kill you. We think it will, which is why we compare our lack of progress to a train crash. ‘I couldn’t get back on track, my plans got derailed.’ A train derailment is a significant, serious accident. In many cases, people die, hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage occurs, and fixing it takes days if not weeks.

Do you know what doesn’t happen when you miss a day of your goal? Any of those things.” p10-11

“You will not be perfect, but do you know what’s even more important than perfection? Do you know what will serve you for longer than perfectionism ever could?

Moving forward imperfectly.

Reject the idea that the day after perfect means you’ve failed.

That’s just not true.

You get to try again.

Today, tomorrow, next week.” p12-13

“Some [people]…think the opposite of perfectionism is failure. It’s not. The opposite is finished.” p13

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The Sugarland Express (1974)

Sometimes, when I’m watching an older movie, it’s hard for me to catch when that movie is doing something no other movie has done before.

For example, by the time I had finally watched The Matrix, I had seen enough parodies and references to it that it didn’t blow me away the way it seemed to do everyone else.

The Sugarland Express is another example of this, although a more subtle one. This movie, like Dyel before it, is light on special effect with a focus on the characters and the plot than the trying to wow you.

But, Spielberg in his early days, was always trying new things, filming techniques, camera angles, etc… According to IMDB, the producers wanted Spielberg to get his feet wet with some simple shots first, but he dove right in with one of the most complex shots in the whole movie and pulled it off.

The other thing Spielberg did in this movie that had never been done before was having a tracking shot of a vehicle, going from front to back with the camera as the car is moving, including a 360 degree turn around the car with audio from inside the car as well.

This doesn’t seem that amazing because it’s common place to us. It didn’t even register to me that something unique was happening when I watched the movie but this won’t be the last time Spielberg sets new precedences for future movies.

Also of note, this is the first collaboration between Spielberg and John Williams (who would go on to score almost all of the rest of Spielberg’s movies) and it’s the first movie where there is a scene of characters watching old Looney Toon cartoons (another repeated motif).

-How would I rate it? Right down the middle, 3 out of 5

-Do I regret watching it? Not at all. It was a lot of fun.

-Do I plan on watching it again someday? Maybe one day.

All in all, not a bad movie and it is interesting to see seeds of what I’ve come to know and love about Spielberg being planted here.

Have you seen The Sugarland Express? What did you think?

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