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Sunday Reboot — November 26, 2023

I've long been fascinated by the concept of weekly roundups. They've always felt like a great distillation of thoughts and intentions for the coming (or closing) week, and while I've enjoyed reading them from other writers, I've been hesitant to start my own through some irrational avoidance of "copying" someone else's awesome idea for myself.

But, the more I think about it, the more I realize that being inspired by someone's good idea isn't disingenuous. It's just another route for personal growth. It's not about "copying" someone else's idea, but taking what you find valuable or interesting and making it your own; all of which puts Steve Jobs's oft-used Pablo Picaso quote into useful context:

"Good artists copy, great artists steal."

So, inspired by Tim Ferriss's 5 Bullet Friday, Brett McKay's Odds & Ends, and The Monday Kickoff, I present to you my Sunday Reboot: a weekly meditation on the things I'm pondering, consuming, and creating to help me focus my thoughts and prepare for the week ahead.

Pondering...

"Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call 'life' was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again." — Steve Jobs

Speaking of Steve Jobs, I just came across this quote of his while reading Tools of Titans, by Tim Ferriss (in case you can't tell, I'm on a bit of a Tim Ferriss kick right now). I've been struggling with anxiety lately (more on that below) and severe impostor syndrome, so this quote hit me hard.

As I get older, my definition of success has changed quite a bit, and I've been having trouble with the fact that, until now, I have optimized my career for a 20-year-old's definition of success. It is a demoralizing thought, and one that has done wonders at sapping me of my sense of self-worth.

This quote is a good reminder that we create life.

It doesn't just happen to us.

I can always change my output. Turn the page. Write a new chapter. Insert more metaphors. The path I put myself on 20 years ago doesn't have to be the path I keep following today. I'm not stuck, I'm just ready to create a change.

Listening...

Did you know that "Math Rock" was a music genre? I didn't either. I think I'm still used to wrapping most early-2000's indie bands up in the "emo" label.

The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place by Explosions In The Sky has been my go-to album lately. Explosions In The Sky is a fully instrumental band, reminiscent of The Appleseed Cast (sans vocals, obviously), so they are great for both reading and working.

Highly recommended.

Reading...

I tend to read a lot of books, all at the same time. I like reading according to my mood and interests, and there's always an unexpected bit of synergy between seemingly unrelated books. At the moment, Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss and Good Inside by Dr. Becky Kennedy are the two I am enjoying the most.

I have been in an on-again-off-again relationship with personal growth over the last few years, but the two things I am trying to improve right now are my parenting and my action. I'm pretty good at internalizing advice and incorporating it into my way of thinking. It's been valuable from a philosophical and emotional aspect. But I'm not great at the follow-through.

Learning something and applying it on an intellectual level is one thing. Learning something and taking meaningful action is an entirely different beast. I want to get better at the latter, and Tim Ferriss has collected some of the best advice for exactly this sort of thing.

Struggling...

When I was a kid, I struggled with crippling anxiety.

I distinctly remember feeling scared, short of breath, sweaty, and shaky every night before bed, and not knowing why. Turns out, those were anxiety attacks. There's nothing more terrifying as a child than having chronic anxiety and not knowing what anxiety is. I had a constant sense of dread and no name for it; and if you can't name it, you can't treat it.

Over time, my anxiety subsided, but not because I learned how to manage it. Turns out, real life has fewer exams than school does. The relative predictability and control of an early adult life quelled that constant sense of foreboding, but those triggers were still there.

Cut to today, and all my old stress seems to have come back. Between the unyielding worry for the safety of my children, a high-stress job with constantly expanding responsibilities, inflation (and some more inflation), and the never-ending stream of mass layoffs in the tech sector, every day feels like one big test that I'm on the verge of failing.

But, thankfully, I have a name for my tormentor now. I have resources that I could have never even dreamed of as a kid, and thanks to things like therapy, meditation, mindfulness, and exercise, I actually have some hope of learning to to properly manage my anxiety rather than just escape it.

Creating...

I want to be a writer.

I suppose my freelance income would say that I am a writer, but I have always wanted to enshrine my writing on dead trees. So at the moment I am working towards two simultaneous goals: publishing an article in a real-life print magazine, and writing a book that I can physically pick up in a book store.

I'm learning how to write query letters at the moment. Turns out, as good of a writer as I think I am, I suck at proposals, so it's something I'm skilling up in. My perfectionism (also known as procrastination) is rearing its ugly head here, though, so I'm trying to short-circuit that instinct and just ship.

I'll learn as I go, and get better as I put the reps in.

By this time next week, I intend to have submitted at least one book proposal and one article proposal (and to hold myself accountable and face my fear of looking like an idiot, I'll publish those on my blog for all to see and judge).

Let me know if you have any advice, yeah?

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This is post 005 of #100DaysToOffload