Surrounded by clutter

Thoughts on Possessions: How to Deal with Clutter

Clutter: What do I Really Need?

Looking at the New Year just a few days away, I think to myself: what possessions do I really need? How can I reduce the clutter? What should I do with things I don’t use?

The new year is a great time to create motivation for change.

One of the things I want to change in 2018 is to remove distractions.

With that in mind I though to myself: if I removed one material possession, each week, would I notice a difference? Maybe.

There are many ways to decrease the amount of things I don’t need. I can sell them online, donate them to local charities, or if they are in bad shape, throw them out.

While I think a path to limiting distractions is to decrease clutter, it could be hard to figure out what remove.  It will take time evaluating things I don’t use or need.

In the long-term, these can be obstacles; acting as distractions while taking time away from goals.  I always recommend starting small, picking one room and seeing what you don’t need or don’t want.

Final Thought

The more we free ourselves from distractions, the more time we’Il have for the important things. The more action we take, the more we want to take action.

Patience to manage life's hurdles

How to Have More Patience in the Face of Failure

Patience in the Age of Instant Gratification

Since failing out of Pharmacy School I’ve had to have patience in the recovery process. For me, patience is a combination of persistence and discipline. With these two attributes, I’m hoping I can execute my vision.

In an age of instant gratification for a lot of meaningless actions, I find it hard to have patience. So one of my goals is to work on having more patience.

The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.
― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

Aspects that can Effect Patience 

Have Patience with Yourself

I am my own worst critic and I often get frustrated when things are going as fast as I want. But I’m working on this and I think it’s a key aspect to achieving personal goals. I can plan events, have timelines, and milestones but things go sideways along the way. It happens. Things can fall apart and I could fail, and I did.

Sometimes the fear of failing can prevent me from starting something, or confusion during the action (am I going in the right direction with a goal), can cause frustration and test my patience.

This is when my patience will be tested, will I keep going or will I give up? This doesn’t apply to tasks that have measurable outcomes, I have to be realistic and evaluate my skill set against the task. If the task isn’t working then I have to do an honest evaluation of that task to see if it was right, then readjust the task.

Doing an honest evaluation of the task and your skill set is important. If I’m not a runner and I want to run a 6-minute mile in 30 days, it’s not going to happen.   But If I give myself realistic milestones then I can work on reducing my time slowly and see if the training that got me from 9 minute miles to 7 minutes applies if I want a 6-minute mile.

Patience Builds on Itself

There is no silver bullet or life-hack to build patience, it builds on itself. Imagine patience as a snowball rolling down a hill. The more you keep the snowball moving, the bigger it gets. This is the same for patience, start with a little patience and keep it going and eventually you’ll have more than when you started.

This would be contrary to today’s instant gratification lifestyle but you’ll see greater results if you have the persistence and discipline to keep at whatever you’re doing.

Competing with Society

As I work on being more patient, society around me may be working in the opposite direction. Instant gratification is, almost by default, a normal way of life. Looking at smartphone usage, we are designing a lifestyle of instant gratification. It’s going to be a challenge to not let social pressures influence personal perspectives.

Reduce Stress

I’m hoping one outcome of this experiment in patience will be that I can remain focused in my tasks and not be stressed. In times when I’m not receiving instant feedback or instant results, I want to be relaxed and collected.

Missing Success

Going back to the competition with society, constantly looking for life-hacks and shortcuts in life make it easy to find mistakes and failure. I think of this as a Google search, how many times do you go beyond the first page? The second page? Not often I bet, I’ve been working on going through a few pages before I stop and refine the search parameters.

I can imagine working on something only a few times and giving up, but what if that next try worked? If I gave up, I would never know. Plus, when is the right time to give up? I might have a timeframe in my mind that is completely unrealistic to the goal.

This is why patience (and honest self-evaluation) is necessary today. A key to doing well in life, in my opinion, is the ability to be persistent and disciplined to keep going when others stop.  I had this mentality going into Pharmacy School so I should carry that mentality when leaving.

Looking Outward

I think it’s important to look outside myself to see if my perspectives and goals are realistic or if they are consistent with each other. Patience comes into play when researching and reading other perspectives and doing an honest self-evaluation. This cannot be an instant process, it takes a lot of introspection and time but it’s important to achieve what I want.

The creation of the world did not take place once and for all time, but takes place every day.
― Samuel Beckett, Proust

Final Thoughts

With patience, mistakes and failures, won’t feel as devastating as they would with the instant gratification mindset.  Patience can provide an emotional and physical relief from the stress of needing everything now.

Potential for Passion

Passion – Why Following it is Bad Advice

Following Your Passion

That seems to be great advice until you think about it.  What if I don’t have a passion? What if my passion is basketball and I’m horrible.  No matter how much training, it’ll never happen.  This happens more often than not.  I’ve been searching for my passion after failing out of Pharmacy School.  I’m not sure what it is yet but I know what it’s not.

What is Passion?

How do we know if we have a passion for something? Is it a sense of excitement when performing an action? Is it a sense for an idea of something?  I think excitement for an action or idea is short lived and empty.  The true passion is with persistent and consistent work.

I think true passion come after the action.  It is when we’re dedicated to an action or idea.  The hours or work involved to seeing this action or idea realized is the passion.

What does it Mean for Me?

It’s what keeps us going towards that goal when you feel like giving up. It keeps us motivated and inspired. Yet, I may fail and gain little from following this.  If you’re lucky, and your passion is basketball and you’re good at the sport then you might have a shot.

People say to follow your passion, but I think we should follow what we’re good at doing.  What happens when you try to follow is as a career? You get a long resume with a lot of different jobs as you’re trying to figure it out.  Time goes quickly and we can never get it back.

If you’re one of the lucky ones that knows your passion, keep it as a hobby.  If you’re like the rest of us, you have that focus and dedication inside you already; use it towards what you’re good at doing.

Instead, cultivate a mindset of purpose. Find what you’re good at doing, find what you like doing, see if there is a need for your skill, and see if you can get paid for it.  When you can answer these questions, you’ll find a direction for your vision.

Steve Jobs is a popular example of this.  His passion wasn’t computers, it was eastern philosophy and mysticism.  Computers was just something to make money.  Yet, he was good at finding talent to execute his plans.  If he followed his passion, he may have ended up owning and operating yoga studios.

Final Thoughts

Here’s the hard truth, there is no special passion waiting for us.

It has to be created and maintained, like a garden, if you want true results.  The good news is that we have the opportunity to create and maintain a passion starting now.

Priorities

A Brief Thought on Priorities

Think not so much of what you lack as what you have: but of the things that you have, select the best, and then reflect how eagerly you would have sought them if you did not have them.

– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

A Mental Stretch from the Daily Grind

Sometimes it’s good to take a moment out of our busy lives to see how things are going. To do a mental stretch to see what’s happening.  During this time, we should be taking time to look at our daily lives and see what we are spending time on: cleaning email inbox, daily mindless actions, “autopilot” through the day (I’m guilty of this sometimes), spending time on social media, or watching television (I’m looking at you Netflix). 

Those who choose to have no real purpose in life are ever rootless and dissatisfied

– Seneca, Shortness of Life

Evaluating your Actions and Setting Priorities

When listing at our actions and what time we’re devoting to them, we we end up looking at are the things we are prioritizing. 

We often think of priorities as the really important things we need to do.  When looking at our daily lives, they tend to really be the actions we devote most of our time and attention. 

So instead, I challenge you to take a look your actions on a weekly basis (using an electronic calendar helps).  See how much time you give them. 

Do you consider the actions with the most time as your priorities? If so, then you’re on the right track.  If you don’t, then what you’re looking at your real priorities.  This would be the time we look to see how we can shift our actions around.  This is so we can give the most time to the most important things.

Final Thought

Your priorities should be the things you need to do each day, the little steps you’ve designed in helping you achieve your vision. 

Pharmacy

How to Deal with Failure: Life After Failing Pharmacy School

All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
― Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho

Right but for the Wrong Reasons

Looking at the envelope addressed from the School of Pharmacy, I knew in that moment my life would never be the same.  I was right but for the wrong reasons.  Thing’s in my life aren’t fundamentally different, but my perspective on things are different, in a good way.

Establishing New Goals

Exploring how I use my time and what actions should get my time, I’m working on getting my life organized again. I am also looking at things I think I should have learned but haven’t, reading the classics to astrophysics.

I am trying to be more open to new and different ideas while trying to figure out new goals.  Before I can have new goals, I need to have a vision of where I want to go.  Creating a vision statement is another topic but it’s something I need to work on before I can create goals to achieve that vision.

For now, I see a few options; one option is to go back to school.  A huge red flag on any application is failing Pharmacy School.  It shows an institution took a chance on you and it didn’t work out, so what’s to prevent that from happening again?

I think taking on a masters program part-time may ease my transition back to this lifestyle.  This could also help me build academic credibility.  I reached out to a few schools regarding their masters programs and they recommended applying as a part-time student to build an academic foundation for future work.  One you can show you can do the work, going full-time or working towards completing the MS or applying for a Ph.D. is a real possibility.

I’ve been thinking about getting a mentor, someone to help me refine my vision (if I can remember what that was).  Having someone that can provide unbiased advice based on their personal and professional experience is a valuable resource.  My issue right now is, I don’t know what I want to do.  Sometimes having too many options can show you down.

Outlet for Growth

Outside of working on my goals, or actually creating new goals, I created this site.  This site is designed as an outlet for helping me explore new ideas, express and share frustration and disappointment.  You can see that failing professional school isn’t the end.

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to see how people not involved in professional school don’t understand the impact of failing.  There’s a lot of mental and emotional investment just getting into the school (applications, interviews, school selection, moving, paying). That investment only grows once you’re there.  The program becomes an intense lifestyle, failing that feels like failing yourself, others, it really can be a crushing experience

 

Fear Scrabble Blocks

Thoughts on Fear in the Face of Failure

Shapes of Fear

Fear takes many forms: loss of things, loss of acceptance, and loss of feelings.  My focus for this post is the fear of action.

The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.
― Mark Twain

Fear can be a trap if I let it. Consequently, I fell into this trap after failing Pharmacy School.  I didn’t want to put myself out there because I was afraid of failing again. It can prevent me from growing or trying new things.  Fear can hold me back from contributing to other people and opportunities. As a result, it could prevent me from a living happy, satisfied, and fulfilled life.

Fear is the opposite of freedom: it is not liberating; it is constrictive.

Overcoming Fear

When trying to figure out what I want to do with my life, I have to ask myself: where do I want to be? And, what am I afraid of? These questions seem easy to answer and I might get something superficial. But they are some of the hardest questions I had to ask myself. It makes me look at what I think is important, what my priorities should be based on what I think is important, and potential obstacles (fears) on my path towards my vision.

In effect, fear of failure creates a manufactured fear of starting or completing a task. What can hold me back are these manufactured fears that keep me from doing what I want to do or not do.

This sounds like something we know is true but it’s hard to face when looking at fear: fear is a choice. When faced with a decision and knowing my personal vision and my goals, the fear goes away. I am more confident when I have a roadmap for how I want my life to be.

Final Thoughts

Learn from my mistakes. Now, not tomorrow is the time to figure out what you want from your life. Because it’s up to you, no one can figure this out but you. Once you have an idea of what direction you want to go, it’ll be time to stop being afraid of whatever is preventing you from reaching your goals. Start with the small goals, start with the excess things in your life. See some improvement, even if it’s small. In the end, you’re the master of your fear.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
― William Ernest Henley, Echoes of Life and Death

 

James Madison

Founders Lessons for Today’s Age

I like to read about the Founders and came across this from the New Yorker:

James Madison, who wrote the first drafts of the U.S. Constitution, sponsored the Bill of Rights, and served as the fifth Secretary of State and the fourth President, was America’s least fun Founding Father. He was also the shortest, standing roughly eye-to-eye with George Washington’s collarbone, and his unadorned black suits were forgettable next to the great general’s tailored uniforms. Madison went to the College of New Jersey, now Princeton, rather than to William and Mary—Thomas Jefferson’s alma mater—because his health was too poor to withstand the heat and humidity of lowland Virginia. There, his most daring shenanigan was writing jejune poetry in the school’s “paper wars” between rival clubs. (“[She] took me to her private room / And straight an Eunuch out I come.”) Apart from a brief flirtation with a teen-ager named Kitty—a flirtation guided, if not induced, by Jefferson, Madison had an uneventful love life. Alexander Hamilton had already married and strayed from Elizabeth Schuyler, in what would become America’s earliest scandal, by the time that a forty-three-year-old Madison, with the help of Aaron Burr, Martha Washington, and a cousin willing to ghostwrite love letters, wooed Dolley Payne Todd, a widow in her early twenties. Dolley, who was fond of turbans and rescued George Washington’s portrait before the British burned down the White House, was definitely the most fun thing about Madison.

The rest continues on their site: New Yorker

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