An Important Lesson On Accepting the Unexpected

We all want things the way we want them. We want control of our lives and our surroundings. Life is not so perfect. Stuff happens that we can’t control. When it does, we often get nervous, frustrated, or angry. But there is a way to begin to overcome these reactions.

When I made the decision in October to move my emphasis from Hip Diggs, my blog about minimalism, to this site, I had certain expectations of what this site would become. I started prescheduling content just as I had at Hip Diggs. I made a vow to keep the site simple. But most importantly, I thought my new goal was to turn this blog into something that would become popular and financially successful.

Learning to Deal With Unexpected Events

One reason that I am moving away from blogging about minimalism is simply that my writing was suffering. Articles became expected arguments for living simply. I needed a fresh perspective. During the same period of time, there were several unexpected events that happened in my life:

  • The death of my stepfather
  • The death of our head sensei at the karate school
  • My ex-wife’s mother became ill and moved to Seattle for better care
  • My favorite mentor and colleague passed away
  • And more recently, another sensei suddenly passed away

You might say it’s been a difficult year. But rather than reacting negatively to these events, I’ve reflected upon them. This reflection has led me to an unexpected result. I made a last-minute decision…

Our Second Annual Trip to San Francisco

A few weeks ago my daughter and I took our second annual Christmas trip. We went to San Francisco. During that trip, I began to reflect upon my life, my writing, my blogs. Here’s what I’ve slowly been coming to understand. I’ve let too many outside forces gain way too much control in my life.

For me, life tends to wax and wane from productivity to self-reflection. But for the past 5 years it’s been very unbalanced. Writing and blogging are part of who I am, but I’ve let the desire to be productive override the more important need for self-reflection. Here are the two biggest things that got in the way:

  • Productivity: Writing and blogging can actually become a negative aspect of one’s life if they are not done in balance with other healthy activities. Productivity itself has played a negative role in my life at times. Too much is too much.
  • Social media: Sharing writing on social media helps us to gain an audience, but it also can take our focus away from the self-reflection that we need to live a simple, yet fulfilling life.

An Unexpected Turn of Desire

After Annie and I returned from our Christmas trip, something happened. I began to return to some old habits that I’d almost left for dead. This led me to the realization that self-reflection is still an important process that I’d let slide.

I’ve decided that this year will not be the year that I’ll push to build into a popular and financially succesful blog. Instead, I’ll be returning to some old habits that I believe are true indicators of success.

  • Reading: I used to read hundreds of books each year. Since I started blogging six years ago, I’ve read very little in comparison. This year I’ll return to reading. Specifically, I’ll be reading books on philosophy, martial arts, and success.
  • Journalling: In December, I started reading more. This naturally led me back to journalling. Keeping a journal is something that I did for many years, reflecting on life and what I was currently learning. Blogging and the Internet took my focus away from journalling. I’m taking it back. There are some things that are better written in private.
  • Meditation: I’ve never been big into meditation, but I have practiced it some in the past. I’ll be making a point to spend more time in meditation this year. I set a goal last year to reduce stress in my life. I was successful. I believe that meditation can help me continue on that path.
  • Exercise: I’ll specifically be focusing on martial arts, walking, running, and riding a bicycle.

This will be a year of self-reflection and exercise for me. Each year, I watch as millions of people try to squeeze self-reflection into the week between Christmas and New Years. That’s silly. Self-reflection should be a habit we keep every day of the year.

What to Expect from My Writing

So what does that mean for my writing. It’s simple. I may post a little less often. But I will also post articles based on the reflective habits I’ll be practicing. I will continue to post about creativity, productivity, simplicity, and success. I’ll continue to work toward creating courses. But I’ll be doing all of this at a slightly slower pace and in real time.

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