Availability, Creativity, and Momentum

I know I’ve been unusually quiet here over the past several weeks. This morning I stopped to consider how it could have been nearly a month since I last published a post to my personal blog. I made a few observations.

When I write something—and it could be anything: a blog post, an email, a handwritten letter—the three things I need in ample supply are availability, creativity, and momentum. I can usually make myself available if I say no when I ought to. It’s the other two that are often more difficult to conjure up. I’m envious of some of my friends who seem to have an endless supply of remarkable creativity. But even when I have a great idea that I’d like to explore I often find that overcoming the inertia in my soul brought on by life’s busyness and challenges is more than I can handle. This is where I’ve been this past month.

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The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

I recently read a great blog post by Greg McKeown of The Harvard Business Review Blog Network titled “The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.” He talks about a theory he calls the clarity paradox, which has four phases.

Phase 1: When we really have clarity of purpose, it leads to success.
Phase 2: When we have success, it leads to more options and opportunities.
Phase 3: When we have increased options and opportunities, it leads to diffused efforts.
Phase 4: Diffused efforts undermine the very clarity that led to our success in the first place.

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The Freedom to be Disinterested

Yesterday I read a compelling blog post by Andre Torrez in which he writes that he no longer tells people he’s busy. Instead he gets to the heart of the matter.

So the final piece I have been working on is never telling people I am busy. Because no, I am not busy. Yes, I have a lot of stuff to do, but I leave it at the office after work and on the weekends. I have many things I am interested in, but I can always make room for something if it is worth doing.

Rather than say: “I am too busy, I don’t have any time for X.” I realize I can be honest and say I am not interested enough in X to do it.

I see this as a huge paradigm shift. Instead of blaming my unavailability on my schedule, making it the villain and me its helpless victim, I could take ownership of the decision by making a value statement. Of course this approach could end up making me the villain, right? I imagine that’s why it seems so radical. Who wants to voluntarily put themselves in that position?

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Five Ways I’m Improving My Personal System

Ask anyone who knows me well (or anyone familiar with the INTJ personality type) and they’ll tell you I’m a man of systems. I’m constantly asking, “Does it work?” and trying to make improvements to eliminate any friction where I find it. Lately much of my mental and emotional energy has been channeled into trying to figure out how to live life well again. Change has been a constant in 2012. The routines, structures, and systems I’d built my day-to-day existence on for years have become outmoded. I’ve been focusing on five ways I can improve my personal system for the new season I’m in.

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Home of the Nice Guys

Ladies, I’m not saying you ought to settle. But you might find it’s worth giving a guy a chance to win your heart even if he’s not exactly who you thought he’d be. But if you do choose to turn guys down flatly, at the very least don’t follow that by publicly lamenting over the fact that you’re not yet married.

In the interest of full disclosure, I say this as a man who has finally found someone willing to extend that chance after years of being attracted solely to women who would not.