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Artiste.

Art. 

&

Creation. 

These are fancy words. My analytical mind has a hard time making space in my brain for the realization that this might be what is missing from my life. 

It’s funny to think that thinking isn’t the solution. 

Instead it’s making. For an over-analyzer it always seems to catch me by surprise when I get around to creating and the next morning get the opportunity to look back at the product of my labors. It doesn’t matter what I’ve created, it only matters that I actually made something. 

I think I’m going to try to do a quick mini-challenge – starting at 5 days, then hopefully growing it week to week until its a everyday practice so that everyday I’m creating. 

I think that I get continually fooled by the messaging that more success will fill up the holes inside of us. 

It doesn’t.

So I work harder, read more, and generally plot on how I can reach some imaginary end point…which funny enough, seems to retreat into the horizon, the closer I get to it. 

Obviously a change is required. 

So here is to day #1. 

FOF

OFO

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Foggy Weather Thoughts.

2018. How fast it went.

I’m sitting here in my warm room, in sweat pants, after a shift at the hospital and just thinking about the future.

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Thinking about the future is one of my favorite past times. Which can be a  bit of a problem. Thinking, and hoping, and wishing, and planning the future can often be a replacement for actually taking action. I’m 34 this year. Do all of these sentences have something to do with each other? I’m not certain.

In certain areas of my life, I feel behind the curve. I’ve accomplished a good bit but sometimes I wonder if I’ve really done all that I could’ve. Or if more specifically, if I’m doing all I could in the right direction.

and this..to be honest..is the theme of most of this blog. One giant, where am I?

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I wonder If I’m building anything that will last the test of time. I wonder if I’ve spent too much time enjoying life and not enough working on problems or issues that mean something to me. I wonder if I have enough faith, or if I’m too afraid of risk. I wonder if I’m fulfilling my potential?

All these questions can be a slippery slope that leads from happiness to comparison to dissatisfaction, when in reality, I’m doing just fine. But when you have a culture of superlative success to compare yourself to, its easy to grow dissatisfied.

I don’t know what the answer is.

  • Is it.. removing all media/distractions from my life?
  • Is it ..doubling down and grinding myself into oblivion while trying to  find meaning in my work?
  • Is it being present?
  • Is it working less and experiencing more?
  • Am I thinking too much, not enough, or incorrectly?

Sigh.

Anyway, on the bright side of it all, 2018 has been an amazing year.

  • I’ve met a woman that I think I can see a future with
  • I’ve stopped (or significantly slowed) my over-saving and moved some of that money into the present to make concrete changes to my day to day life that have made me much more happy.

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New Deck yay!

  • Traveled a good bit and made some good memories with family and friends

And I guess the question, I keep coming to, as if my life is a double rainbow, is what does it all mean?

How can I find greater purpose?

How can I hear from God more?

How much saving is prudent? How much is greed?

How do I not get trapped by the day to day grind?

How do I keep dreams alive as responsibilities mount?

Sigh. So many questions.

Fly or Fall. Even if it means you gotta spend some time looking deep in the mirror.

-OFO

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Jump off the Cliff

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The two white guys are not me.

The last couple of days have have been revelatory.

In recent weeks I’ve been discovering that the man I want to become, is going to need some help. I need to be surrounded by people who are better than me. I need to be pouring myself into things that are more meaningful than just earning enough money for myself.

I’m never usually the type to make rash decisions. I usually prefer to spend weeks planning and plotting the possible consequences of each move. This, of course, can lead to stagnation and a lot of missed opportunities. I am really feeling strongly that I need to expand/Adapt or die (internally). Growth has always been my leading principle and although my second job is pretty easy, I think it may be time to spread my wings and seek more challenges.

On July 4th, I ran the Peachtree road Race (PTRR). The PTRR is a 10k run (6.2 miles) that winds down one of Atlanta’s busiest streets. During this race, just by sheer coincidence, I got the opportunity to run with a friend who has been training for this race heavily. He slowed down for me of course, so we could chat, and I found myself able to do much more than I previously envisioned that I could. This made me realize that I must lean into relationships that challenge me. That the feeling I have of not being “the smartest person in the room” is probably one I need to seek more and more of.

I know that I need to seek and pour into these relationships to step my game up.

A couple of weeks ago I got the opportunity to volunteer with a local church to help at a vacation bible school. Seeing how easy it was to put smiles on the face of children and help give them positive role models was deeply rewarding. I want to pour more of my life into helping and shaping the future.

 

Neither of these things are going to be as easy to do if I’m working two jobs that eat up 2 weekends out of every month.

I am at a crossroads regarding my life and how I want to move forward. For most of my adult life, I’ve worked more than one job. This has usually not been a problem for me. I’ve been able to navigate around social commitments  and make the most of the time I do have free.

My second job requires me to work another weekend, on top of the weekend that I already work for my primary job. If I want the growth that I think is available to me its going to require me to have more time to pour into relationships. To build, strengthen, and create relationships that will also demand things from me. These muscles have to used in order for them to grow.

I’m realizing I’m going to have to have faith to make the moves I hope to make and see a difference in my life.

Fly or Fall.

OFO

 

 

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Doing it messy.

This is a short one.

One of the things I’ve been repeating to myself this year is that I want growth.

By any means necessary.

I’ve noticed this tendency to make minor changes then stop when things get REALLY difficult. I’ve noticed this with exercise, with writing, learning french, and even with my relationships.

So I’m trying to remember to bear down. To push through. To embrace the chaos and the feeling that I’m falling off a cliff into the unknown. To come to terms with the fact that with so many moving pieces I’m not able to control things. That I may feel lost, helpless, weak, or stupid.

That’s not a good enough reason to quit.

Carry on. Push harder. Imagine the microscopic changes that are happening that are preparing you to be better tomorrow. But you have to do what’s in front of you today.

FOF,

OFO

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Comparison Trap

By all objective measures, I had a great day today.

Woke up at 5 Am to work out with a friend. Grabbed a chai latte after the workout.

Had the day off of work. Talked to my girlfriend before she headed to work.

Went to an orthodontic appointment and got my retainer tightened.

And yet somehow I ended up at the end of the day a bit irritated and perhaps ungrateful.

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How did I get there?

I found myself in the company of a friend who has had one of those amazing lives. Someone who has followed their heart and dreams and had to create a life and meaning without the support of the pre-specified narratives that the world gives you.

She’s had to carve out a life even with Family calling her crazy & Friends being unsure of whether her path made any sense. As a result of these bets, she’s been able to create a life that is unheard of – a life that is rare.

She really highlights one of my only regrets/failings. I find that as someone who has followed the rules, and excelled at the “traditional” pathway for life and career – there is a part of me that wonders what lies on the path of higher risk. I’m wondering how I can take bigger risks and keep growing. I’m wondering what I need to do today to ensure that I have more options, more happiness, and bigger rewards.

I’m going to work on choosing happiness 1st and being grateful for the gifts I do enjoy. Then get clearer about what risks/options are available for me to take and get after them!

I know I’m easily frustrated by stagnation.

I gotta grow.

FOF

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“Pic’s or it didn’t happen”

 

 

After almost 8 months without posting, here I am posting twice in one week !?

Nuts, I know.

But I think I’m actually doing one of the things that they always recommend we do after completing tasks. So here I am trying to document my self-reflection on what worked and what didn’t.

I’m on the back side of almost 8 months of consistent time spent chasing a goal. I’m both proud of the consistency but deathly afraid that I’ll lose the lessons and habits that I rediscovered during this time period. I feel like if I can memorialize the habits that led to my best performance I should have an easier time getting to productive spaces and hopefully to my goals.

So, I’m taking some time to document the things that I think were most effective and also set some new ambitious goals that I can monitor via this blog. I’ve been reading this amazing personal finance blog and one of the things that I was most impressed by was the drastic changes that he experienced within just 3 years and how the blog served as a witness to his growth.

It reminded me that what gets measured – gets managed. I think one of the things that is often missing in my life is the daily consistency and a clear link between the setting of the goal and the day-to-day efforts to make progress on the goals.

The other concept that I had heard of previously but hadn’t quite taken as serious as I should have was the concept popularized in “The Slight Edge” . The book says that every day is an opportunity to move forward incrementally. The problem with incremental growth is that it can be very difficult to see how one day’s work leads to the big results that your looking for. The truth is that those tiny daily disciplines and consistent, small improvements over time can yield exponential results.

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Easy Choices. Hard Life. Hard Choices. Easy Life.

I think in order to really see the progress that I desire I’m going to have to implement a couple of mechanisms.

  1. Mechanism for self-accountability  = This Blog
  2. Commit to same deep work schedule for self-improvement that I implemented for pursuing exam preparation = committing to weekly non-insignificant periods of time in the private study rooms in the library
  3. Set SMART goals with clear timelines (Use blog to document progress and think out obstacles)

So first, some foundation goals:

  • Publish one blog post Q week
    • This is the cornerstone of the new goals. Having an accountability mechanism via either this blog or the blog at www.Escapingretail.com will serve as the mirror for me to see what I’m actually getting done.
  • Monthly updates on progress on goals (Net worth, Mortgage paydown)
  • Spend at least 2 days/week at Library on Deep Work

Right now the actual goals that I’ll be working on are fuzzy. However, I’m confident that with time and focused attention I can clarify and solidify my action plan.

I think right now the biggest goal will be focused around answering the question: “How can I work 1 day less and keep the same income?”

The first phase will include a lot of information gathering, opportunity cost measuring, blueprint building and then pursuit of action.

I think the most important habit will be committing to doing the deep work.

Here’s to growth.

Fly or Fall.

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One Down.

Hola! Long time no see.

I’m finally getting to sit down and reflect on the last 6 months and the completion of a goal that I’ve been putting off for probably 2.5 years.

I decided to finally sit for a board certification exam last year around my birthday. I’d been talking about doing it for a couple years but had pushed back against some of the things inherent in taking the exam that I wasn’t a fan of.

I looked at the exam as a means of professionally extracting money and not providing a high return on investment in terms of career advancement.

And while I think this still holds true, sometimes, in the pursuit of a goal there are redeeming qualities that make it intrinsically worth pursuing. I think that this is one of those situations.

My day-to-day responsibilities at my job require me to be familiar with a variety of different disease states and their treatment. The world of healthcare changes rapidly and much of the knowledge I gained during pharmacy school is quickly becoming obsolete. whole guidelines that used to govern treatment of basic disease states like hyperlipidemia and hypertension have been wholly revamped or scrapped and new structures erected. As a clinician its my duty to remain abreast of these developments in order to be able to provide the best care.

An unintended consequence of the preparations for the exam was the discovery of the study habits, environments, and techniques that allow for deep work.

I’ve read the work of Cal Newport and always wondered what and how I could incorporate his practice of deep work into my career.

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Previous to this exam I was trying to use a coffee shop that I loved as the base of my operations for thinking, studying, and planning. While studying for the exam I started to revisit a library at my old school. They have private rooms available for use + slow internet that drastically increased my ability to focus.

The new environment made ALL of the difference.

Being in a space where (as a professional people-watcher) I wasn’t distracted by beautiful passer-by’s and cool playlists helped me to find my thinking groove much faster.

One of the new habits that I think I will be instituting is making the trek to these private rooms to think, read, and plan at least once a week.

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I’m sitting on the back end of the completion of the goal of taking the exam, and while I’m still not certain what the result is, I’m pretty sure I liked myself more in the hot pursuit of a goal vs. enjoying whatever the day held while trying to make piecemeal advancements on goals I had written down somewhere.

I’m going to get more aggressive in both pursuing my goals and reflecting and working on goals that will move me forward.

 

 

 

 

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