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Two weeks is a long time

I argued with a friend recently that I thought two weeks was ample time to make a significant change in your life. They responded that it wasn’t. I tried to break it down into the potential free hours a person could have and illustrate that two weeks is a long time, more than enough to take you from where you currently are to where you want to be heading. Again, they argued.

You, dear reader, or fair-weather reader, can take this in for a moment. How often have you perceived two weeks as being a long time to wait? Probably not a huge amount unless you’re still south of thirty, but even then, if you’re missing someone or something or in anticipation, you feel that length of time and how vast it is.

Now take for example a stereotypical or “traditional” work week in the western hemisphere. Yes, salaries alter what that typically means, but for now let’s ignore professions like law, medicine and the film industry and look at the tried and true, overly referenced, 40 hour work week.

Two weeks is a long time

Viewing a person’s life in this manner, you’ve got your “standard” eight hour day, with let’s say an hour’s worth of breaks, a commute there and back (which could be of any length) and sleep. If you’re in a relationship or have children, you likely have other commitments on top. But beyond that, you have I’m hoping a good one or two hours a day you can commit to entering towards your goal or aim. You may need to sacrifice certain things, defer a load of laundry for a little while or not watch the latest episode of whatever show you’re enjoying, but think of how many hours you could possibly apply to getting yourself corrected and starting or completing whatever you need to.

Looking at it with digits

Conservatively that two weeks would amount to 14-28 hours of free time if you’re working daily. If you’re working five days a week, that could be expanded to 46 if you have two free days per week where the time was re-allocated to whatever you’re trying to do. Add two hours to both of those days and squeeze all you can out of that time and that’s 50 potential hours including your work and commitments you could utilize over a two week period to literally anything you desire to.

I’ll also imagine that you’ve got a ton of commitments in a professional field. Try to view the challenge to make changes or improvements as a short effort over a fortnight (not to be confused with that relatively successful game, “Fortnite”). The word is literally derived from old english for fourteen nights.

What you can do with a fortnight

Attempt to dedicate fourteen nights to incrementally go towards your goal (yes, that’s vague, but you can insert whatever you want to achieve or do in place of “goal”).

It’s often stated that it takes 21 days to form a habit, but I’ve also read some people say that it takes just 15 and variations between that. If it is 21, you’ll have gone through two thirds, if it’s five you’ll have covered it nearly thrice over. Make time work for you. It doesn’t slow down and it doesn’t bend according to your hopes that it may, but it can be harnessed and those two clusters of seven days can easily help you wherever you want to go.

Never underestimate the value of compounding and how your efforts towards your goal are vital. Do nothing, nothing changes. Do a little every day and you’ll surprise yourself with the volume of progress you can reach extremely quickly.

Be selfish briefly, focus on your goal.

Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t allocate the time to achieve your dreams. If you don’t, they just won’t happen and that’s fine. Isn’t it?

Two weeks is a long time if you make use of it and don’t allow yourself to be dragged down by people’s negative action and negative people.

Daily quote:

“Of all lies, art is the least untrue.” Flaubert

*** Like most things online it’s hard to say whether these quotes originate with the person they’re attributed to. Regardless, they’re a tool to hopefully inspire you and so does it matter as much as the point the words convey?

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Why as an artist you should be applying for arts grants

In any country that has them, but this is something that more artists than I can count either decide that they can go without or they solely aren’t aware of it. Either that, or they simply believe it’s a mind-bending prospect to write a simple proposal. It’s not.

Why as an artist you should be applying for arts grants

1. The world functions around the exchange of money for goods and services and while the idea of being a starving artist may seem romantic from the outside, being one and enjoying that journey you’ll soon find isn’t. A roof over your head and food in your stomach matter. It’s not that complicated of a concept.

2. Governments globally understand the healing power of art and the need for a society to expand their minds/escape. They offer these grants as part of their budgets, so why not throw in your hat?

3. A proposal isn’t as hard as it seems and if it doesn’t end up paying out to you, what have you lost? Some wasted time arguing with a loved one? A few more episodes to binge watch? It doesn’t take long to give a grant proposal a try.

The problem a lot of younger people assume is that they’ll be denied, this seems to have such an impact the people don’t even try.

What becomes a revelation is when you pass a certain age and these grants are no longer applicable, a situation I’ve now encountered. I’m a tad regretful of this, but I accept it. I kept warning myself of the constraints of time, but didn’t actually take heed of my own warnings and the years passed with distractions of different forms, as you’d expect, and I just didn’t. However, there are many available to me. Many which I shall apply for. My advice is that you should be applying for any and all categories that you qualify for. It’s not hard to see the reasoning behind why as an artist you should be applying for arts grants, it’s obvious.

Daily inspirational quote:
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Theodore Roosevelt

*** Like most things online it’s hard to say whether these quotes originate with the person they’re attributed to. Regardless, they’re a tool to hopefully inspire you and so does it matter as much as the point the words convey?

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Why waste time comparing yourself?

One of my main problems also was the fact that I wanted to compare to my more successful but now estranged friends. We hadn’t fallen out just moved in different directions and to different places. But since moving countries I put a lot of stock in how they were and to a degree, I suppose, pined for the time missed and the accomplishments I saw them achieve from afar. I asked myself, “Why waste time comparing yourself?” Because that’s what I seemed to keep holding myself back by doing.

I later started hearing great quotes like “Comparison is the death of joy,” and it made a ton of sense. Nobody has had your life. From your childhood, to your family, to your tastes, to your sense of self. You’re unique. Yes, organ wise and overall you’re likely a human (or a robot, this is being posted on a website), but your experiences, even when close to someone else’s, are entirely unique. So are your stages in life. When you’re ready or something happens to you, it’s not a milestone for anyone but you. It’s important to recognize that. We do have limitations in our days; physical and health constraints primarily influence those, but even they can be controlled to a certain degree if you eat well and exercise regularly.

We also tend to only compare our life situations in the Facebook era to how our friends, family and acquaintances are doing in life. Often ignoring them showcasing primarily things which happen positively and are brag worthy. But if you were to compare yourself to someone wrongfully imprisoned or a cancer victim in their teens… The notion that comparing yourself is beneficial is ridiculous. Judge yourself on how you feel about yourself and see what you need to fix or improve for you to be happy. Those acquaintances portraying a great life may have monkeys on their back that they will never disclose.

Sometimes you’re doing alright. Gain some perspective on where you actually are in life and who you can depend on, evaluate who you are as a person and what you can do to improve your life and others. If you’re not where you want to be, that’s when you need to start employing changes.

Why waste time comparing yourself?

And don’t let your time be wasted. Know when other people are wasting it. Informing them of that isn’t the smartest idea, instead know yourself and let them know know you’ve currently got too much on your plate. Don’t end up somewhere resenting your minutes being spent where you don’t want to be and don’t feel appreciated.

Daily inspirational quote:
“You cannot start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.” Michael McMillan

*** Like most things online it’s hard to say whether these quotes originate with the person they’re attributed to. Regardless, they’re a tool to hopefully inspire you and so does it matter as much as the point the words convey?

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Which is better? Day drunk or night drunk?

Which is better? Day drunk or night drunk?

There used to be a term known as the “working lunch,” one which I’m still impressed existed based on how alcohol can affect me.

Deeth stands off to the side watching their interaction.
EMILY: Have you tried the cherry?
MALE STRANGER: No, is it good?

EMILY: Absolutely delicious. I don’t usually go for flavoured yoghurt, I like to get the plain and add fruit, but it’s so tasty.
She walks over to Deeth, doing his best to keep a lid on his simmering anger.
DEETH: What the fuck was that?

EMILY: What was what?
DEETH: With that guy?
EMILY: What? The yoghurt?
DEETH: Fine, yeah, the fucking yoghurt.
EMILY: I recommended a flavour.
DEETH: You work for the fucking yoghurt company now?
EMILY: No, but —

DEETH: Then come up with better reasons to talk to strange fucking men. Don’t you dare disrespect me like that again.
EMILY: I’m sorry, I…
INT. NORMAN’S BEDROOM – THE DRAKEFORD HOME
Martin is watching a movie with Norman. Blaise enters the bedroom.
BLAISE: Have you done your homework, Marty?
MARTIN: Why?
BLAISE: Because I’m asking.

MARTIN: What does it matter to you?
BLAISE: I’m your father and I’m asking you. Have you done it?
MARTIN: Really, Dad? You’re telling me I have to do homework? When’s the last time you went to work?
BLAISE: Excuse me?
MARTIN: You haven’t made a movie since Mom died. It’s lazy. Stop using her as an excuse.
BLAISE: Don’t be so disrespectful.

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Nobody has the answers and unless we make huge advances in science they never will.

Let’s get one thing straight. Nobody has the answers and unless we make huge advances in science they never will. That’s a great starting point for us all to be aware of.

If you’re like me, you identify with the demographic of westerners in their 30’s. If not, obviously the same doesn’t apply but hopefully some of this advice will resonate.

People assume that there’s a predetermined path of how we should live our lives and that if we don’t, if we falter of veer away from what’s expected, that’s offensive, that’s tragic. It’s not.

Most people watch the news, indulge in some form of social media or watch something that presents the ideal nuclear family-esque life and while in many ways that looks wonderful. Arguably it’s not always what it’s cracked up to be. We all have issues, we all have problems, but we don’t allow the world in to understand that. Depression and pain aren’t sexy. Breakdowns, money worries etc. hardly inspire the masses. But they are real, and they are unpredictable.

Comparing isn’t helpful. Stop it.

What you need to do is to stop making comparisons using yourself as some sort of simple metric whereby if you’re not doing as well as a friend or an acquaintance, you’re inferior. You’re not. Your path, your set of choices, your life, all of that matters in its own right. Whether you find your story boring or inspirational is subjective. If people can enjoy music you think is absolute trash, why wouldn’t they necessarily be able to find your life intriguing and or amazing? There’s something you’ve done or will do that no matter how small it may appear, could be monumental. Keep putting yourself out there. Act like Chumbawumba and get up again.

Michael has the answers. He has a million dollars and three kids

Good for Michael. He’s the exception. Now move on. I’ve already told you that nobody has the answers and unless we make huge advances in science they never will. So stop ignoring me.

Also, while you’re at it, entertain yourself with some cool trivia by purchasing Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable book. It actually does contain the answers you’re looking for with questions you never knew you wanted answered.

Daily quote:

“They showed you who they were the previous year, don’t get amnesia this year.”

*** Like most things online it’s hard to say whether these quotes originate with the person they’re attributed to. Regardless, they’re a tool to hopefully inspire you and so does it matter as much as the point the words convey?

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Cutting yourself off from distractions

Cutting yourself off from distractions is the first step any internet savvy and loving individual must be aware to take yourself further. In order to meet my goal, I’ve decided to go on a social media and news restricted diet. I adore both, but they tend to soak up a huge amount of my free time and thus the only times I’ll be really using both will be to strategically further my plan to get in the black and get my life back on track. In my mind there’s nothing wrong with the term “engagement” as a metric to track how websites perform. It’s legitimate and makes sense. But depending on your goal, that term should be labelled “distraction” because your attention can only be placed in one area at one particular time.

How can you start cutting yourself off from distractions?

Start monitoring where you spend the majority of your time and from there determine what’s your best system. Some people can eliminate them altogether, for others it’s slowly phasing out or rationing. Keep a record of when you spend time on distractions and for how long. Eventually, hopefully, you’ll be taken aback by the time you’ve spent elsewhere and concentrate it upon where you should.

Place bets with friends, or give yourself ultimatums and deadlines. Use whatever you can to convince yourself. Remove things you enjoy, just follow something that will shock you into changing your own behaviour.

Addictive personalities

As you grow older you start to truly discover who you really are. And when you’re honest with yourself about your flaws and your faults you can start to address them. It’s often hard to see them at first, but as you grow you discover them. I’m aware of mine, especially with regards to distractions. I fall into them with ease often and so my personality tends to be an all or nothing at all approach. I do indulge every so often to satisfy the craving, but it tends to affirm what I thought about it being a problem – whatever the distraction is isn’t as great as the goal I have.

How to focus

You must determine your own rhythms and habits. Is isolation from distractions the key, or are you able to control your habits?

Airplane mode and solitude are great. Control and discipline. The understanding of what you can or cannot do to help a situation. If you’re worried about someone or something happening, are you the best go to or are the authorities? Can you provide the help needed?

Things must change in order to improve. Sometimes you have to disconnect from things you enjoy in order to further your aspirations.

The one guarantee in life is that things will not just get easier. People will get sick, nothing will be predictable. That’s why you have to put yourself in as good a position as possible, tell the people you love that you love them and view this life as a challenge that can be met.

If you actually starve yourself from the time distractions that social media provides, you’ll realize you’ve really not missed out on much. Whatever your focus, have that remain at the forefront of your mind and your goals. Most news isn’t something that will propel you forwards. While it’s important to remain informed, it’s more important to remain on the path to maintain your sights on what will take you and those you care about into a better position.

Distractions hold you back and end up a rabbit hole.

Cutting yourself off from distractions isn’t only a social media based maxim. It also extends to the wonderful world’s of YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video etc. Anything that soaks up more time than you can afford.

News media (both television and print) can also further send you down the path of concentrating your time on less important things.

Daily quote:

“The only safe thing is to take a chance.” Mike Nichols

*** Like most things online it’s hard to say whether these quotes originate with the person they’re attributed to. Regardless, they’re a tool to hopefully inspire you and so does it matter as much as the point the words convey?

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Long lists don’t get done – the art of setting tangible goals

You’ll always expand upon a list, it’s just what we do. What you need to do is find a way of tackling those lists. This is how it will be done, and ultimately you’ll need to always be accountable to your higher power (yourself).

We’re going to come up with a rule, if a list isn’t dealt with within 3 months, it’s archived and for all intents and purposes, we’ll refer to it as being ignored now.

Daily quote:

“Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.”
***

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Stop indulging in self-improvement advice

The help or hinderance evaluation principle

Life is fucking complicated. Anyone above 12 knows that. What most of us don’t take the time to consider with our actions and our decisions is the logical question, “Will it help or hinder what I’m wanting?” This is of course wide ranging and far from straight forward. Sometimes the right decision will spiral into complications, sometimes honesty truly isn’t the best policy and sometimes you have to mitigate in order to get the best possible outcome for you and your future. It’s a necessity to evaluate whether your decisions will help or hinder your goals.

Daily quote:

“Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no
longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.”Robert Tew

*** Like most things online it’s hard to say whether these quotes originate with the person they’re attributed to. Regardless, they’re a tool to hopefully inspire you and so does it matter as much as the point the words convey?

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How can I become a millionaire quickly or soon

The funny thing is people actually google or search for these phrases under the true naive belief that if there were a straight forward answer, a simple search query would deliver it to you. Just like what you see on the heavily curated site that is Wikipedia, yes, there are answers to be had. But there are millions of contradicting opinions and like Sean Carter stated, “Everybody can tell you how to do it, they never did it.” Proof is in something being brought to fruition, not in theory.

Now my arrogance or delusion (you pick) is strong enough to state that I’m confident, despite being heavily in debt, that once I have this set it and “forget it” method set up, it will flourish and money will pour in. Whether or not that happens has yet to be seen, but it must be noted that the fact that action is taking place puts me in a better position than the millions of people that waste their breath as opposed to line their ducks.

Daily quote:

“A year from now what will I wish I had done today?”

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Stoicism, Seneca, risk and Tim Ferriss

Stoicism, Seneca, risk and Tim Ferriss, Gary Vee, Ryan Holiday etc. too.

INT. CASINO
Sitting quietly at a high stakes poker table, Jacquelyn has two piles of chips in front of her. One is designated to keep playing, the other she has separated for her thus far huge winnings. The OTHER PLAYERS at the table are watching her closely through this tense moment as she reveals her cards. She has won the round.

Jacquelyn smiles ever so slightly at the victory, she has reached a funding milestone for her project.
A FELLOW GAMBLER, female, groans after losing her umpteenth game. The DEALER encourages Jacquelyn to add her chips to her winnings pile.
FELLOW GAMBLER: You’re a very cunning and smart lady, so hard to read. I saw your bet pile is separated from your winnings pile too, that’s the only clever approach.
Fellow Gambler looks down at her paltry pile of remaining chips.
FELLOW GAMBLER (CONT’D): You married?
JACQUELYN: No.
FELLOW GAMBLER: Perfect. Now you’re rich. You can have anyone you want and be anywhere, travel forever, live in some hot country.
JACQUELYN: I’ve already got plans for the money.
FELLOW GAMBLER: What? Judging by the way you played, investments I’m guessing.

JACQUELYN: It’s personal.
FELLOW GAMBLER: I say, to each their own, but if it isn’t something frivolous, you’re crazy! You only live once. Give this life some spice, have fun!
JACQUELYN: Another drink before I leave?
FELLOW GAMBLER: …Yes! Watch out for casino goons as you leave though. It’s not just a movie trope… I don’t think. Never won that big so what do I know?

This scene was removed because it felt too easy of a justification as to how Jacquelyn acquired such funds in order to launch the trials and experimentation. It felt too easy and although I would have loved to have seen it play out on film, I didn’t think it worked. I felt I didn’t need to fully explain to you dear reader how she managed to get the money together, that’s a piece of the puzzle you can debate.

It’s not enough to know you’ve done something wrong or are repeating a bad habit, you have to find a way to alter your patterns and behaviour in order to tackle them. If you find yourself unable to control your reactions you have to determine a way to manage them, because their impact on others poses a huge obstacle and in doing so does too to you.

Daily quote:

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” David Viscott

*** Like most things online it’s hard to say whether these quotes originate with the person they’re attributed to. Regardless, they’re a tool to hopefully inspire you and so does it matter as much as the point the words convey?