Week 4

This summary of the fourth week of 2022 is coming at the time I wanted to post it. I was still dealing with some lingering symptoms of my upper respiratory situation. It’s mostly an annoying cough, but I also get fatigued a bit more easily than normal, so I’m still making adjustments as needed.

Looking back on the past week, I am feeling some pride in myself (healthy pride, not the kind the Bible says leads to trouble) for pressing onward in so many ways. I still have room for improvement in several areas, but I know this and I am making adjustments in the fifth week already so I can continue to move forward. As I mentioned in the previous summary, this is the first year I can remember continuing to move ahead in spite of obstacles like being sick.

Core Focus of the Week: Plus one, plus one, plus one.

During the fourth week, I continued to remind myself that each day is part of a process of making 2022 my best year ever (hat tip, Hal Elrod). And none of this is about perfection. It’s all about progress. As I have heard Brian Johnson say, several times, in various Optimize.me pieces, “Plus one, plus one, plus one.” Similarly, another thought I have been keeping in mind is the Buddha’s “drop by drop, the bucket is filled.”

I continued with my predetermined processes, doing them as consistently as I could, with the highest quality I could bring to the table in the moment. During the fourth week, I started working to optimize each day by seeking opportunities to stack process steps. For example, listening to an Optimize.me content module on Stoicism, Buddhism, and “Conquer” module (typically anxiety or depression or procrastination) while I am making my first bathroom visit, doing a weigh-in, drinking my 8-ounce water, and making the bed. So far, I am liking the stack.

Drop by drop, the bucket is filled – the Buddha.

Up to now, I have gotten discouraged by smaller “imperfect” steps and then allowed that discouragement to be my excuse for not living up to my potential. This year, I am working on being mindful of every drop I can add to the bucket, every “plus one” I can add to my best version of myself. And looking at what I CAN do has been much more empowering than looking at what I could NOT do. I only wish I had given this approach a try about 25 years ago when it was first suggested to me.

But this year, I am reflecting on results, which is why I am doing these summary posts. If my only two options in this world are to grow or to wither away, I continue to choose to grow. Even if that means I am only growing by a 5-minute walk around my condo, or one new idea, or by two minutes of meditation practice, or by 15 minutes of reading.

In the fourth week…

  • I brought my bodyweight back towards a better number, which is actually close to the original starting point. Yes, on paper, this is embarrassing. But I am fighting 5 decades of bad habits and creating a new me, so I understand this will take time. That said, I DO need to focus more on mindfully eating and drinking more water.
  • I continued to drink more water than I did prior to 2022 and I am resolved to continue adding more throughout the day.
  • I made better food choices, more often than not.
  • I continued intentional walking, totaling another 2 hours worth.
  • I added another $10 to my savings balance.
  • I added another $100+ to my investment balance.
  • I continued investigating side hustle ideas, ruling out several more ideas already.
  • I continued to deepen and strengthen my relationship with my wife.
  • I consistently did my Miracle Morning SAVERS each day, and enjoyed Hal’s app for the 30-day challenge.
  • I read from 12 Rules for Life. I also received by new copy of Illusions, Illusions 2, and The Messiah’s Handbook. And I started re-reading Illusions.
  • I continued to engage with high-quality content about Stoicism, Buddhism, and conquering my anxiety, depression, and procrastination, learning about practices that will make me a better version of myself each day.
  • I enjoyed some additional Jim Rohn content, taking advantage of Jim’s proven mindset and philosophy towards life, to begin refining my own philosophy and mindset.
  • I laughed, deeply and often, each day because I made it a point to take advantage of the best medicine (I am convinced it is the best medicine for mind, soul, spirit, and body). I did not laugh as much in the past week, but I am refocusing on laughing more.
  • I continued learning about Buddhist teachings and taking time to deeply reflect on the Four Noble Truths.
  • I continued learning about Stoic philosophy.
  • I engaged with Psalms, Proverbs, and the Tao Te Ching, filling my mind with ancient, but timeless, wisdom. I missed one day, but otherwise have been on track.
  • I finished moving my Bite Size Wise podcast to Anchor.fm and have relaunched the podcast, including starting a series of episodes on the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path.
  • I re-launched my Illusions podcast on a whole new platform and will be starting real weekly episodes in the fifth week.
  • I enjoyed a dinner out with my in-laws to celebrate my mother-in-law’s birthday. The dinner, the restaurant, and the company were all amazing. A VERY GOOD evening.
  • I played guitar at church and very much enjoyed the weekend of playing, especially with the group on platform with me.
  • I unsubscribed from several podcasts that were centered on cynicism and too often, anger at the current state of affairs in the political context. And in their place, I found several other podcasts that teach history, or provide positive mindset inputs and new ideas to consider.

As I look back on that list, I must say, in both humility and honesty, that the week was definitely not perfect. BUT, I made some good gains again, moving closer to the results I want to create in 2022. Sure, I could look at the desired end-state and think I have SO SO SO far to go. But, I know from my history that it would only discourage me and give me an excuse to stop.

Instead, I will simply continue to trust my daily predetermined processes, do periodic check-ins to get feedback, and continue to make gains.

Are You a Weeble?

Have you ever had it happen that all the sudden you start seeing and hearing a word EVERYWHERE. I mean, it’s a word you never really noticed before and then BAM! All the sudden that word is everywhere you turn. It’s like the Universe, or God, or whatever you call the Source or the Greater Than or the Eternal Is, has decided you need to focus on learning something and is trying to get your attention.

For me, most recently, the word is “equanimity,” which means “composure, especially under stress or strain” or “the quality of being calm, especially when under stress.” Another way of looking at it is that you are centered and when something comes along to knock you off center, how quickly you can regain your composure, how quickly you can get centered again.

It makes me think of the old Weeble toys that were huge in the 1970’s when I was a small kid. The commercials used to say that Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down.

Weebles wobble.

At the beginning of the year when I first started learning about Stoicism and Buddhism, I bumped into the word “equanimity” for the first time that I can recall. And I basically learned the meaning and said to myself “That’s a cool idea, I should learn to do that more.” Then I did literally nothing to do that more.

And without giving it another thought, a few weeks later, suddenly “equanimity” is EVERYWHERE I look or listen.

I’m a hardheaded guy, but it doesn’t take a ton of bricks falling on me to get my attention. (Or maybe it does.) So OK, Universe / God / Eternal Is / Source / Greater Than, you win!

I will start to act more like a Weeble!

Today, I will make it a point to pay attention to how far off center I get when something doesn’t go according to plan. Today, I’ll start noticing how much and how often those kinds of things knock me off center. Today, I’ll start being more mindful of what things I allow to knock me off center. (Ouch, that one hurt a little as I typed it because it sucks to admit that I am the one who allows myself to get knocked off center for longer than it really takes.)

Starting today, I will begin learning to wobble, but not fall down. As much.

I hope you’ll join me in that learning.

Themes

Are you one of those people that sets a theme for the new year? Such as “Forward” or “Sparkle” or some other one-word framework that is supposed to be totally meaningful. I need to apologize to you, and I mean REALLY apologize. I’m sincerely sorry, because…

I never have been one of those people because I have never really trusted the power of such simplistic things. In fact, I’m ashamed to admit it, but I have quietly, and sometimes not very quietly, mocked the “themed ones.” Looking back over the years, I’m embarrassed by my willingness, maybe even desire, to look down my nose at such “silly” approaches to life.

BUT – and here comes the hard part – I must admit that I seem to be setting a theme (or maybe two) to the upcoming new year. After working through my Miracle Morning and Best Year frameworks for the past several days, I am noticing two words coming through pretty strongly.

The first is “VALUE” because it seems that, almost unconsciously, nearly everything I have listed for the results I want to create in 2022 revolves around the idea of adding value to other people’s lives. And also in my own. Whether that value is simply giving them a smile they wouldn’t get any other way, or a sincere compliment, or something much more substantial, it seems that I have almost unconsciously set out to add value to the world and the people in it.

And the second theme that seems to be emerging is “LEARN.” A good number of the results I want to create in the next trip around the sun revolve around learning more, and learning almost constantly. As I sit here typing this out and thinking through the idea of constant learning, I think I know why, almost unconsciously, I have set out to make this next year one of constant learning. Because I will then be able to create MORE value to add to the world (in general) and to the people in my life (in particular).

And even better, I have already realized that I don’t have to be perfect right now to create value for those around me. I just have to be willing to share. And as I continue to learn more, to grow, to expand my own awareness, to build my own capacity, I can simply share what I learn and trust that I will be creating more and more value.