Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday inspiration: be awesome, live in present tense

I stumbled upon Chris Strom's blog yesterday through Twitter.  He's the principal consultant at EEE Computes consulting.  And he's been writing a blog a day every day for past 366 days on topics that he did not know before.  Through this process, he wrote 3 books and he is on his way to continue learning the latest web programming techniques and to continue on his daily blogging streak.

It's really inspiring to see what he has done over the last year.  Chris Strom recounts how he started doing this:

"How did I do it?
Blogged every, single day. For one full year. 366 days. Every day. No matter what.
I honestly don't know why I started doing this. One night I had a brilliant idea and before I stopped and thought about how stupid it was, I publicly committed myself to doing it."

It was as simple as that.  He was able to write 3 books on topics that he knew nothing about by committing himself to write a blog every single day for a full year.  Rain or shine, in sickness or in health, whether he's off to a vacation or came home late from night out.  It was as simple as sitting down to answer the question that he thought of, find out facts about the problem, and answering them in his daily blog.

The reason why we get amazed by Chris' streak is because we are seeing the entire corpus of his work all at once.  But that's not what Chris wrestled with.  What he did was to focus on what he had to do now, what he had to do today.  To borrow his words, he "tricked" himself into being awesome therefore he had to be awesome everyday for a past year.  In other words, he was operating entirely in present tense.

“What day is it,?" asked Pooh.

"It's today," squeaked Piglet.

"My favorite day," said Pooh.

Chris references RadioLab's You vs. You episode on his blog.  It talks about elderly lady named Zelda quitting smoking in cold turkey after thirty years of smoking, and how she was able to match long term goal of quitting with immediate action of choosing between donating $5,000 to KKK or lighting up to smoke.  And guess where she got the idea of donating $5,000 to KKK.  It was Zelda's idea.  By prescribing her own medicine and committing herself to it, she was able to choose between two choices at each moment.  Again, she was also making her choices in present tense at each moment.

If we think about it, there are only presents.  Although our minds wander off often and think about what might happen in future or what has happened in the past, what really matters is what you do now.

Live in the moment.  Make a decision to do something awesome.  And do that every day.

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