Thursday, August 26, 2010

Challenge Your Fears - Campaign for E-Literacy - A is For . . .

Introduction:  In a previous post, I wrote about challenging your fears to get what you want in life.  I want to let go of my fears along side you as you let go of yours.  So, I'll let you in on my program.

What I am challenging:  Incompetence.  One of my fears is incompetence.  I've had it all my life, and it will take more than one program and one challenge to exorcise it from my life.  But it is standing in the way of my want.

What I want:  My dream job.  To have that, I need strong self-esteem to weather any storms.  I need to live up to the abilities and gifts God gave me.  I need confidence.   

What my program is:  My first program is Campaign for E-Literacy.  What is Campaign for E-Literacy?  In a nutshell it is:  Studying twenty-six non-fiction ebooks from Project Gutenberg.  I will select the books by using a title from each letter of the alphabet.  I also must read all ebooks on my nook e-reader.  I am doing this all in the name of increasing my knowledge and competency in life.  And I am starting today.

My reasoning:  I will enjoy this challenge immensely--reading, learning.  I love both.  If one could make a living by reading, I would be a millionaire already. 

If that were not enough, here is a quote by John Kieran, an American journalist.  He once said, "I am a part of all that I have read."  I believe that.  So, if I read about knowledgeable, competent people writing about their area of competence, then I become competent, bit by bit, piece by piece, book by book.

A win-win.

Book choice:  What is first up in the Campaign for E-Literacy?  The letter A.  In this case A is for . . . Art of War by Sun Tzu.

Book reasoning:  It is a classic that survived millennia, and by that reason alone is worth listening too.

Format of the program:  I will post updates on my progress, interesting outside material I have read or learned about the subject/author/work, related books I want to read eventually, and the knowledge acquired thus far.  These will mostly be weekly and at milestones as I read through the book--i.e., the beginning of it, the quarter mark, the half-way point, the three-quarters mark, and the ending.  All of this will be posted on its own blog.

Conclusion:  That's it.  Consider joining me in reading the Art of War, in starting your own literacy program, or in challenging your fears.  I would love to know what fear you challenge today.

Let Go of Your Fears by Challenging Yourself

About Fear

Eleanor Roosevelt believed "that anyone can conquer fear by doing the things he fears to do, provided he keeps doing them until he gets a record of successful experiences behind him."

Who wouldn't want to conquer a fear?  Fears hold onto you; they hold you fast.  They keep you from what you want.  The problem is, you are holding onto this fear as much as it is holding onto you.  The only way to get what you want in life is to let go of the fear.

But how do you do it?  Well, you are off to a good start by just wanting to do something about your fears.  But a specific method to let go of a fear is an exciting one:

Challenge yourself--challenge yourself to challenge your fears.

Why Challenge Yourself?

Fear is a great motivator for bringing out the worst in you.  Challenges can be great motivators for bringing out the best in you.  Challenges excite you, and excitement is an important incentive to keep any commitment.  By embarking on a challenge, you do as Eleanor Roosevelt said--you keep doing the thing you fear until you have a track record of success.  This way the rewards are two-fold:  the sense of accomplishment and the release of a hindrance.

What Fear Are You Challenging?  

Pick a want first.  Something big.  Something you have wanted all your life.

Now, pick a fear.  Large or small, but it must be something that keeps you from your desire.

This is the fear you will challenge; the finish line is your want.  However, this is more of a marathon than a dash; more of a relay race than a solo.  Once you solve one fear, there are more in the way of your want.  And it can take many sessions to exorcise one fear from your life.  But think of it another way, think of it like Michelangelo saw his David--he chipped away at stone everything that wasn't David.  You have to chip away at everything that isn't your want; what you chip away is your fear.  If you do not take the chisel in hand, you will only have a hard block around your desire.  Challenge your fears, and you'll have your desire.

How Will You Challenge Your Fear?  

For your challenge to succeed, you must develop a winning program and winning mindset.  To do that, you must have interest in the challenge itself; it must excite you.  Take a while and think about what will keep your interest and what rewards you would like to give yourself.  Once you have that write it down.  Revise it.  Once it excites you on the page, once it makes you want to start right away, then visualize yourself working through it, visualize yourself overcoming struggles and the ennui, visualize yourself letting go of your fear, and visualize you receiving your interim reward, and finally, visualize yourself one step closer to your David and hand the chisel onto the new you as you move on to tackle your next fear-challenge.


If you want more in life, make it a point to challenge yourself--challenge your fears--more often.  But make sure to have fun doing it, so that the challenge is a reward in and of itself.

So tell me, what fear are you challenging today?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Restore Your Creativity Through Photo Journaling

Benefits of Creativity

I believe in the benefits of a creative life, and I am not the only one.  According to a study in an Psychology Today article, students "who were engaged in everyday creativity had a greater sense of well-being and personal growth than non-creative classmates."  Also, an Everyday Health article mentions that creativity can reduce stress and keep you healthy, all of which is important in maintaining a happy, healthy life.  

As a result, I've made it my goal to be creative every week.

This Week's Creative Goal

This week's creative goal is journaling--but with a twist.  We will do it with photos.

What is Photo Journaling?

Photo journaling is using a picture to represent a mood, a moment, an event, or even your impression of the day all summed up.

Why Journal?

For me, journaling allows me to let loose where no one can pass judgement.  Journaling sweeps away the debris cluttering up my mind--i.e., all the negativity and worries.  And it provides a clearer focus.  But there are more benefits than those.  Just do an online search for benefits of journaling and you'll turn up days' worth of reading material.

Why Photos?

I like the idea of journaling, but I often neglect it focus on my work--freelance writing.  But there are many reasons why people don't like to journal.  Writing may not be your thing.  You may think it is childish.  Or you may not know where to start.

That is where photos come in.  Pictures are around you every day, in magazines, on TV, and in your own photo album.  They stimulate you positively or negatively.  They can capture the essence of something in a way words cannot replicate.  And besides, photos are just fun.

How To Do It?

So, now that you know what photo journaling is and the reasons behind it, how do you do it?  How do you get your photos?

Take photos.   If you like to take photos or even just have the capability, do that.  You can take pictures of anything and everything.  In fact, create a bank of photos to choose from at a later date to save time. 

Find photos.  The other way is to find photos online, such as through flickr or Google.  Again, create a bank of images for later.  If you are going to put this online, be sure to abide by copyright rules.  However, quite a few places allow you to use their photos for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photo to the artist.

Where to record it.  Now that you have your photos, what do you do with them?  You can start a blog, paste photos into a Microsoft Word file, print them out and paste into a notebook, or use a photo album.

Captions and writing.  Add a couple words or a sentence to your photo.  Such as, My Bad Day.  Or, Excitement.  You can even use photos with your regular journal to combine the benefits of both techniques.
Which method works best?  That is up to you.  The key is finding something you want to keep up and that stirs you creatively.


The point of photo journaling is to capture and destress your day in a new way.   And you do that by stretching your imagination.  So, try it, have fun with it, and let me know how it goes for you.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Pursuit of Happiness

The US Declaration of Independence has an interesting line in it, concerning our right to the "pursuit of happiness."  Not our right to happiness, but our right to the pursuit of it.  I am in need of more happiness in my life--who isn't--but it is up to me to make it happen.  How?

Well, a few days back I published an article about just that called Stop and Smell the Roses.  One technique involved choosing an activity that gives you happiness and doing it that day, no excuses.  Well, I am adding a twist.  I am going to give myself several options to choose from to suit my mood and time constraints, and then I am going to do one.

These are my options for today:

  • Taking pictures
  • Sending link of my butterfly Flickr page to my friend
  • Watch a Tudor (Season 2) episode
  • Hand feed chickens
  • Repot a plant
  • Walk the dogs
  • Explore the small life at the pond
  • Download a song
  • Learn a new chord on the guitar
  • Go to a movie
  • Find freebies

All right.  So, we have the option list--what next?  The next is holding myself accountable through writing about it--in my case, blogging.  Every day, I'll post my option list, my selection, and any musings that relate to it.  That's it.  Simple, huh?

As you can see, it is not hard to pursue happiness instead of just waiting for it to come find you.  All you have to do is come up with things that make you happy, do one of them, and then either write about it in a personal journal or post it on your blog.  If you post it on your blog, consider sharing your entries with your friends.  Your friends may want to support your endeavors or even try it for themselves.  So let me know, did you pursue your happiness today?
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