on applause

The last note of the piece rings out and the piano fades to silence-

Hands clap together like the start of rain.


I have always been uncomfortable with applause, with that much energy directed towards me at once. I preferred to acknowledge the room with a wave of the hand and get off stage as quickly as possible, letting the next act begin.

But I’m realizing that appreciation and connection are reciprocal. There are two parts to the exchange – the offering of a rose, and an earnest acceptance of it.

With how interwoven social media has become with our daily routine, one would think that we have become better about appreciating and recognizing. To that I would say, unfortunately we have only become better at efficiently exchanging superficial acknowledgments.

Working on acknowledging, appreciating, and giving better applause.

progress

learning that plans are important to get the ship out of port, but being a good sailor is knowing how to navigate storms and surges

learning that experience is not measured in the number of successes, but the hours spent resolving failures

learning how to keep my head down, voice soft, and put in the work

learning that people are different and see the world differently on a fundamental level

learning that satisfaction and happiness are self-defined and amorphous

learning the joy in doing a little better every week rather than only landing big wins

learning that seeking constant crests is folly, and being comfortable during the troughs is the other half

we read these things in art and literature

and then we learn them

again and again

until we really do

goals & habits

“All big things come from small beginnings. The seed of every habit is a single, tiny decision. But as that decision is repeated, a habit sprouts and grows stronger. Roots entrench themselves and branches grow. The task of breaking a bad habit is like uprooting a powerful oak within us. And the task of building a good habit is like cultivating a delicate flower one day at a time.” 

I recently finished listening to Atomic Habits by James Clear on Audible – what an insightful book. It delves into how habits are made, and more importantly why some are accepted into continued practice while others are forgotten.

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” 

We often set goals in the expectation that because of this increased level of performance that we are asking of ourselves, we can will them into fulfillment. However this is not the case – in order to reach stretch goals, we have to purposefully design and implement systems to support their achievement. While the goal may be

I aim to gain 5lbs of lean muscle and achieve a sub-8 minute mile in the next month,

This is not sufficient in and of itself to achieve the stated goal.

“Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress.” 

What is needed is an implementable system, such as

I have planned out my workout and dietary schedule for the next 2 months, progressively ramping up so that by the end I will meet my goals. In order to make sure I stay on track I have identified what is required of me on a repeated daily basis. While I may have a stretch goal, I will apply the compounding effect of small improvements every to achieve it.

This approach also significantly reduces the amount of “willed pressure” that we exert in order to meet our goals-

“When you fall in love with the process rather than the product, you don’t have to wait to give yourself permission to be happy. You can be satisfied anytime your system is running.” 

If you improve 1% at a task every day, in a year you will be 37 times better. 37 times.
All it takes is a clear goal, a plan to reach that goal, and a system of implementing the required work on a daily basis in the form of small, repeatable habits.

While the goal may be a challenging stretch, the system should be easy.

“Some people spend their entire lives waiting for the time to be right to make an improvement.” 

I would highly recommend the book in its entirety, and have linked it below.

https://www.amazon.com/Atomic-Habits-Proven-Build-Break/dp/0735211299/

on doing

There are depths.

Make. Create something that was never there before and only you, with all your experiences and abilities, can bring to fruition.

Talk. Speak your mind with a burning passion; agree, disagree, but always keep an open mind and an optimistic heart.

Connect. Find similarities and differences, all the while remembering that everyone is just as perfectly flawed as you are.

Go deep and reach for the depths.