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I have recently encountered circumstances which have put limitations on time. Time constraints – the worse, Man.

My productivity has fallen and the thought crushes me. The results are showing up. What was once expanding and growing is now stagnant. It’s not that I’m not doing what I need to do, it’s that I don’t have the time to do it.

What makes my soul vibrate is being held at bay. I am discouraged to the point of tears.

If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes

Futility

Do you feel like you are banging your head against the wall? Road blocks are everywhere? Did you finally figure out the answer but can’t remember the question?

I have learned not to equate short-term results with long-term expectations. The reverse is true: Don’t base long-term expectations on short-term results.

We interpret our own reality. We define what we see and live by that vision. The perceptions we have created are difficult to let go of. Our brain tells us how to see the world. We live by that.

Embracing an open mind requires the desire and ability to put aside preconceptions. I’m letting go of other’s opinions and judgments. I’m considering challenges from a fresh perspective.

It’s possible there is different way to look at things. To do that, sometimes it is necessary to put to one side real or imaginary constraints. How is this to be done?

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The questions I ask myself: How can I look at this from a different perspective? What can I do to go over, through or around the obstacle? What options are practicable? Can I exercise more than one course of action as a solution to the challenge?

Life Is hard

My house is on a dead end street. This morning, a homeless guy was sleeping at the end of the cul-de-sac, using the guardrail as a pillow. I look at him and wonder what has brought him to this point. Addiction, mental illness? I could go out and ask him, but I would rather let him sleep and wander off at his own leisure.

I am thankful; thankful that the obstacles in my life are far less than his. My obstacles are surmountable; his obstacles are far greater. Whatever cards have been dealt, whatever throw of the dice I am allotted, I’m grateful I didn’t get his. How does a person climb out of abject tragedy? It seems that it could be futile; I don’t know.

Is Good Enough Good Enough?

We are creatures of habit; over time, our habits become who we are. The regimens of daily life become ingrained into our psyche. These regimens reinforce our guiding core values. Life can change, creating circumstances more difficult to negotiate. The challenges we may have to face need a change of mindset. This can become a tremendous challenge, especially when dealing with health or finances.

Most people do not want to work hard. Well over half of the workforce is unhappy with their job.

We stick around for the money. There is a possibility of a promising future. Job recognition, connections and prestige look favorable. There is availability of increasing your skill set. Then there is uncertainty. What are your options? Is the effort necessary to change your work situation worth the risk. This is a cost-to-benefit quandary.

Are you concerned about what others think? No one cares about how you feel or your set of circumstances. As long as you aren’t harming or using others, people don’t care. People are struggling with their own set of challenges.

We Can Change Ourselves

I have a friend who suffered horrific abuse as a child, as bad as it gets. Enough said. Through the years I have watched him face apparently insurmountable challenges. Self-image, self-abasement, self-doubt, you name it. The outcome of his life should have been predictable. The possibility of living like the homeless guy on the end of my street would have been likely.

He overcame everything thrown at him. He is happily married, owns a home, has two cats and two dogs and has become a responsible citizen. Who would have guessed. The odds were against him and he conquered his life.

Is good enough good enough? It is a challenge for those of us forging ahead in our journeys. We have a natural tendency to rest on our laurels. It’s natural to relax when everything seems to be going our way, not a lot of challenges, smooth sailing and easy driving. One of life’s inescapable truths is that change is coming.

The situation we are in becomes comfortable because it is place we know.

We want to avoid uncertainty.

Creativity

What is creativity? Imagining things that don’t exist, embracing original ideas and concepts.

The creative process is open ended and free flowing, like a jam session. One of the props of jamming is to come up with new and original ideas. I have always believed a band that is unable to be spontaneous is a band I have no interest in working with.

Everyday I sit down and spend time rethinking. I read books written by those who have gone before. They present some clear ways to move forward. Reading how-to-guides and watching You Tube videos is a great way to learn new techniques. They have been beneficial at the highest level. I investigate new ideas and concepts everyday. Most of those ideas are not my own.

Ideas are only ideas. Most are neither good nor bad; they are only ideas. I act on about one out of a thousand. The process is to come up with them, regardless of the source. It is completely possible to come up with many new ideas everyday. It is a practice of applying oneself, making it a priority.

Using creativity is a way out of the logjam.

Tools

I bought Search Optimization for Dummies a couple of years ago. SEO is crucial to expanding your presence on the internet.

Standard Operating procedure for me – buy a piece of hardware or software and wait two years before I figure it out. SEO For Dummies was the same. I would read a few pages, scratch my head, go blank and put it down. Then I would wait a few days, pick the book back up and repeat, ad nauseam.

When frustration with my circumstances grew, I sought out You Tube. I watched SEO You Tube videos for hours. There must be a blockage in my skull somewhere. The end results of all that content were vacuous stares at my lap top screen.

Then I tried the technique of subliminal learning. Before bed, put on the You Tube video, go to sleep and let it play all night. I am not too sure that worked.

Finally, I started reading about SEO from different sources. Cross checking those sources with my SEO For Dummies has been invaluable. I am beginning to comprehend this stuff.

Then I read that implementation of SEO usually takes at least two years to start working. I’m in this for the long haul, what’s two more years? Honestly, two years is probably being optimistic. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

There are lot of tools out there; find and utilize them. You know somebody who can help, ask them.

Mirroring

Parroting other’s techniques, habits and behaviors can be helpful.

As a kid, in order for me to learn to play drums, I would set up the phonograph behind my drum kit, and play along. I did not have much control. I would play so loud that the needle would skip on the turn table.

Time is super essential for a drummer. Knowing this, I picked up a metronome. In those days mechanical metronomes were the norm.

A Mirroring Tool

I would practice my rudiments and concert band pieces with this metronome. There was constant repetition, going over and over those exercises, struggling to hear the click. There never seemed to be any progress. Month in and month out, week after week, all effort seemed futile.

Finding The Solution

One day I was at the local music store and, behold, there was an electronic metronome for sale. It had a flashing light. Wow, a flashing light, that’s going to help so much. It took me about two months to save up the money from my weekend dish washing job. Back in those days, electronic gadgets were expensive.

There was a huge thrill when I opened the box and pulled out the metronome. It ran on a 9 volt battery and made a super loud click. That light flashed bright red, almost blinding a person if they looked straight at it.

The great thing was is that the click was so loud, it could be heard over the drums. It was louder than the old-school metronome. I would work with it with my full kit. It still wasn’t easy, but at least there seemed to be hope. Is there any human being who has the time of a machine? If so, let me know if you find them

One day, out of curiosity, for the sake of comparison, I decided to compare the two metronomes. I set the electronic metronome to 80 BPM, with that bright light flashing. Click, Click, Click. Solid, uncompromising time. Breaking out the mechanical one, winding it up and setting it to 80, it started counting. But instead of Click, Click, Click, it would count Click…click, Click…click, Click…click. That was a big disappointment. My first metronome could not keep a solid beat.

From that time on, the decision has always been to mirror using reliable sources.

Priorities

The definition of insanity: maintaining the same habits, expecting different outcomes. Clearly.

I am forced to rethink what my daily tasks should be. There are the benefits of re-educating myself and embracing new concepts. It’s what I have been doing but now has become streamlined. Each day’s question is – How do I use my limited time in the most efficient way?

One answer is to open my ears and eyes. There is an entire world of people who have gone before us. Focus in on those who have done it before and stand on their shoulders. Read more, listen to podcasts and watch You Tube videos. Absorb the traits being sought by learning from those who have earned respect.

I am learning how to empathize. That has taken years to work out, it isn’t a natural part of my personality. I realized that my speech patterns were being interpreted as offensive. It was never my intent to offend anyone. Humor for humor’s sake isn’t always the best path to maintaining working relationships.

I now take time out for experimentation. I do little experiments that are simple, things that involve no risk. As those tests prove practicable, I move on to more complexity and risk. The most simple experiment is to ask someone’s opinion. There is a possibility they might not give opinion, but most people like to put in their two cents.

I am working on new concept for Mackncheeze Music. I have shared it with a few people and need to share it with a lot more. So far opinions have been favorable; looks like I might have a green light.

Here’s the deal, If enough chances are taken even rare events can happen.

Forging Ahead

Come Hell or High Water, you know, you’ve heard it all before:

Sharpen your focus.

Measure what is measurable.

Ignite your passion.

identify your one thing.

Build your competence.

We win from within.

Convert turning points into learning points.

I’ve never given up, I have never stopped dreaming, I have never stopped believing. It’s all about the creative process.

Teddy Roosevelt once said, “In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

Most importantly, do something!

Clearing Out Space

I am not referring to cleaning the garage or reorganizing your closet. Do that if you need to, if it helps.

I’m talking about clearing out the space in your head.

That’s One Way To Clear Your Head

If you need to make a to do list, do that. That doesn’t work for me.

Actually reviewing your tasks and priorities may be helpful. If you need to assign yourself goals, do that. The important thing is to keep moving, what ever it takes.

Clearing out your head space is much more difficult than removing physical clutter. Life is hard. We have relationships to maintain, bills to pay and most of us have jobs that need to remain secure.

That’s a lot of stuff that can be in the way of dreams and aspirations. Your relationships may require the care of kids, parents or impaired loved ones. These are crucial priorities. It’s important to remember to find someplace for yourself. With out you and your strength, folks dependent upon you are lost. There has to be somewhere that you can rally, breathe and rejuvenate. Find it.

Another thing to do is to build powerful associations. Friends are important and a life of isolation can be detrimental. It is best to be around as many like minded people as possible. Seeking out mentors and teachers is imperative to moving forward. Environments of education and creativity are super important.

The Inner Narcissist

We have the power to create the special person we want to be. It is only natural to desire significance. We want the approval of our friends, those we work with and our family members. These desires are part of being human. There are biochemical triggers in our brains which enhance our inner narcissistic tendencies.

Healthy degrees of narcissism are acceptable standards of behavior. In a healthy family, the adoration and admiration of children is only natural. We carry those desires with us into adulthood. These traits and desires are potential mechanisms for enhanced performance.

Let’s be honest; we all have a predisposition to some form of selfish behavior. I’m alright with that and you should be too. The idea is to work with our natural dispositions. I want to allow those neurotransmitters to do their job and motivate me to excel.

It’s only natural we want maintain relationships. There is a huge investment in resources to keep friendships alive. We were made to be social. The importance of attaining goals requires time spent on doing tasks. Sometimes, we have to say no.

No, I can’t get together for drinks. No, I can’t come over and watch the game. I would love to hang out, but if I do, that is three hours of lost time, which I can’t afford. If you are my friend then please understand. You aren’t going to do all I need to do to reach my goals. It rests on me.

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