Experiments in Loving Life

Life is journey, let's enjoy it.

Archive for the category “Tuesday Inspirations”

Success and Failure

So I’ve been thinking recently that in order to be really inline with yourself you should have the ability to say, at the end of the day, either: I have been successful today. or I have not been successful today. I have failed.

For me. Today. On June 4th, 2013. This will be a 50% day. But hey, I’m getting better.

I thought if I shared what success on a daily basis would mean for me and made a commitment to post whether or not I was successful on Twitter every single day, I would be more likely to actually be successful. So here goes.

For me, being successful on any given day means that I have done 1 of a few different things.

1) Written at least 50% or more of a blog post. – This one must be paired with something else. But should still happen at a rate of three publications a week.
2) Worked on the development of a clearly planned website or web-app for 2 hours.
3) Learned “something” – Javascript, jQuery, PHP, Ruby,etc – for at least 2 hours.

4) Done something nice and active and mind clearing. – this should also be done in conjunction with another task. Preferably not  a blog post.

A 50% day is a day that I only do a blog post or only go for a run/something active or only do 50% of either of the other two tasks.

A 75% day is a day that I either do a blog post and something active or do only an hour of the middle two items and Both of the first and last.

While a 100% day would be a day where I successfully complete one of the middle two items and and any of the other two items.

A 200% day would be a day where I get both item 1, 2 and either one of 2 or 3 done.

So there’s my definition of daily success.

What does Success mean for you?

Also, as a side note, in order to be more capable of reaching success on a daily basis, I have put in my two weeks at my second job. No more 80 hours a week for me and no more delivering Pizza! Extra Life means Extra Goodies.

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Deep Breathing and Change

I won last night. For the first time in years. And I was elated. So elated in fact, that I lost to myself. There was a little bit of gloating involved. I teased Savannah just a bit. And rode my bike 2 miles roundtrip just to post a status update on facebook detailing my success. For somebody that is actively trying to pursue a lifestyle of contentment, simplicity, happiness and all around goodness, I definitely feel as though I screwed up last night.

But as I am becoming increasingly aware, everything is a process. Changing something as fundamental as a thought pattern isn’t something that you can just do overnight. Certainly it’s something that I can make an effort to change every night. And I believe that noticing those mistakes, those places that I am not acting or thinking or reacting in a way I really believe I should be acting or thinking or reacting is quite possibly one of the most important things I can do towards improving and changing those lifelong habits.

For instance, upon noticing that I was gloating and teasing last night, it would have been most appropriate for me to direct my excited thoughts towards more constructive outlets. At the very least it would have been more appropriate for me to just take a few deep, slow breaths.

In fact, taking a few deep slow breaths is one of the most effective things you can do to gain control of your mind period. Whether you’re stressed, excited, angry, frustrated, confused, terrified, or any other emotion, the simple act of taking 60 seconds worth (I like to shoot for 5 minutes) of deep slow breaths, 4 seconds in, 6 seconds out while thinking of nothing but your breathing or visualizing how you would like to be acting differently can completely eliminate all traces of cortisol from your body, What I really like about this exercise though, is that it seems to have the ability to completely reframe the current moment and brings a sense of clarity that is otherwise extremely difficult to come by.

Deep breathing is just a small step in the process but if you’re looking to change a habit I strongly suggest you give it a shot. It’s well worth your time.

~Austin

An Inspirational Life – Cameras

I’ve been struggling to decide what kind of order I want to cover this lifetime of Inspiration series with. Do I want to chronological earliest? Chronological latest? Just go with whatever stands out on when I’m writing the post? For instance, I’m from a piano bench today and that reminded me that at one point in time pianos/music were definitely involved in the inspirations of my life. And if I go chronological with the latest things first where do I start? Yesterday? Last month? At the latest major life altering moment?

What I eventually decided was that I was going to go with a significant items presented in a semi-random order, occasionally interjected with “inspirations of the week” coming in the form of songs, websites, ted talks, podcasts, videos, or whatever else have you.

And of course that leads me to a new question right? How do I decide what holds enough significance to warrant a blog post? I think I will handle that decision with two questions. 1) Did it have a lasting impact on me? and 2) Would I be living the life I am living now if the event/person/thing was not a part of my life? I feel that if the answer to either of these questions is yes, then it is significant enough to merit a blog post.

pianoinside

When I was writing the first version of this post I was sitting at a piano bench in one of the study rooms in a different building where I work and, it being Summer and me working at a University, it was naturally a fairly empty room. Just me and one other person. The other person was reading a newspaper so every once in a while I would hear the raspy turning of a newspaper page as everything rubbed against everything else. And the only other sound in the room was my pen on my paper and, here’s the part I found lovely, I was writing with my hands and notebook on the actual piano keys, and my foot on the sustainer pedal, so every once in a while I would shift just a little too abruptly and the piano would make some random combination of notes that echoed throughout the whole room. It was truly wonderful to have been there.
piano

Anyway, today’s Inspirational Life post is about a camera.

A number of years ago, about 10 days before Christmas, I picked up an incredibly old digital camera for the first time and took a picture of my cousin’s face. And then I took another one. And then a took a picture of the kitchen table. And then the popcorn bowl. And then my cousin’s face again. However on that last pass at my cousin’s face, she stuck her hand out to deflect the camera from taking her picture, accidentally hit the camera, and it broke.

And that’s my story.

No I’m just kidding. The camera broke, but in just those three or four pictures, I was hooked. I wanted to take more pictures so badly and my grandma on my mom’s side who had been bugging me about what I wanted for Christmas suddenly had something to go off of. A cheap digital camera please! And in the 6 months after that Christmas I took over 10,000 photos. Certainly most of them were crap but I still took 10,000 photos and in August of that year, almost 5 years ago, I bought myself a Nikon D80. The camera I still shoot with today. The camera I was shooting with when I decided to start selling my photography at the local farmer’s market. The same one I was using when I chose what school I was going to attend and decided to be a photography major. That one moment when I picked up the camera literally changed my life.

And how funny to think that one seemingly insignificant moment can completely change the road you are on and the direction your life is headed. Before that I think I wanted to be a math major or something. Talk about a diverging road. While certainly I have shifted and altered my perceptions and desires and changed my bearing numerous times since I decided to become a photography, photography is still a part of my life and recently once again something that brings me immense joy.

That same D80 is the one I used to take these pictures during my walk at Lunch today 🙂
nails

A couple of nails sticking outside of this fencepost seemed almost like they were just itching to escape the confines of their wooden coffins. I don’t know how long it takes nails to work their way out of wood but it looks as though the one in back has a significant head-start.

ladder

 

And this ladder appeared to go halfway up the building and then just stop. That’s interesting. A ladder to nowhere. Where does your ladder go?

I look forward to hearing about any of your inspirations! Please leave them in comments!

Thanks for stopping by,

~Austin

A lifetime of Inspiration

shoots

Sometimes Inspiration comes in oddly wrapped packages. An overheard compliment. Criticism. A smile. Roadkill. The ocean at 2 A.M. Illicit Kisses. Community Service. All these things have the power to represent some form of inspiration in our lives. All we have to do is tap into the universe and listen.

As I’m getting closer to going into my senior year I find myself thinking about things like,
“What do I want to do with my life?”
“Is this what I’m supposed to be doing?”
“Is my senior project going to take me where I want to go after graduation?”
“For that matter am I 100% sure of what my senior project is going to be just yet?”
“Am I prepared for this?”
“Am I good enough?”
“Can I do this?”
“Is my relationship going to let me do the things I want?”

And the list goes on and on.

Occasionally I think things like,

“I’m so excited to finally be done with these 4 years!”
“It took 20 years but I finally get to be an adult.”
“People will respect me soon.”
“I’m gonna have the best senior project ever!”
“Jeez I’m ready to be done.”

And other expressions of excitement to be at this point in my life.

But it is certainly clear to me that there are many many conflicting emotions bubbling around in my head. And so, what I try and make a point to remind myself is quite simply that I am indeed good enough to be graduating from college in 12 months. I worked hard to be here, and even if I didn’t take the most conventional route to get here, (transferring, changing majors, dropping classes, getting terrible grades for a semester, transferring back to where I started, spending 3 months trying to figure out what I want to do with my life, and just being generally conflicted) My life has still led me quite satisfactorily to this point. And regardless of what the future holds for me after these next 12 months are up, I can pretty much guarantee that it won’t be anything completely terrible.

By the way, I can see the question forming on your lips now,

“What does any of this have to do with inspiration?”

I thought that maybe I could tell you a story over the course of the month of May telling you about the different inspirations in my life that have gotten me to where I am today. I thought that it would be nice, not only to reflect on that, but to talk about how you can take inspiration from the everyday. I also thought that perhaps it would inspire some of you to reflect back on how you got to where you are today, and that’s really somewhere that you want to be. After-all shouldn’t we all be right where we want to be? And by the way, occasionally I feel as though for me, that’s playing the role of cashier at a whole foods grocery store or Food CoOp.

While I may not know exactly what I want to do with my life, I know that being a professional web developer has the potential to be extraordinarily fulfilling and that even if I don’t do that, there are plenty of other fulfilling options available to me.

I look forward to undertaking this journey of inspirations with you.

~Austin

rock steps

Oh by the way,

I took the first photo yesterday, it’s all my fairly grown up vegetable plants that I won’t have time to put in the garden this year.

And the I took the second one on a walk that I took yesterday with my friend Sandi 🙂

Inspiration #1

Hey guess what?!?

It’s the first Inspiration Tuesday Post!

And I’m going to start off by saying, have you ever met (or rather, have you ever heard of) Scott Dinsmore?

He’s a pretty awesome, and definitely an inspirational, person!

Here’s his Ted Talk!

I think that one of my favorite things that Scott talks about is the importance of finding that which drives you, that which makes you tick, and spending your time doing the things that you absolutely love.

In fact, Scott has created an incredible amount of resources regarding finding and living off of your passion at his website liveyourlegend.net.

Going through his course allowed me to learn much about myself, including what my strengths are, what I value, what I believe in, and more. Anyone looking to learn more about themselves and their passions would be well off to look at his work.

Have a wonderful evening!

 

~Austin

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