All the action happens at 32 degrees.

Focus on systems, not goals. 

Since 2012, when I took a travel writing course, I wanted to write a book. This was my goal.

It is now 2021. The book hasn’t happened. I have pitched this goal. Instead, I made a system.

Why now?

I got so sick of myself not writing. It was too big of a goal to write a book and I felt paralyzed.

Like wanting eight pack abs, one goal for me was to show up and write. This goal wasn’t working. I didn’t have a well-designed system in place. I atrophied.

James Clear, the best-selling author of Atomic Habits, says that massive change occurs over time in small increments.

He tells the story of an ice cube sitting in a warming room.

At 25 degrees, ice is ice. Nothing exciting happens.

At 26 degrees, ice is still ice, yet at the molecular level, things are changing.

At 27 degrees, same story.

At 32 degrees, BOOM! Now we have water.

No one can see the small molecular changes happening in those 7 degrees of change. To the outside observer, it is as if all the change happens instantly.

Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the processes that lead to those results.

James Clear, Atomic Habits

Now I have a system in place. 

It took me a long time with other projects (photography, healthcare drug waste, comic strip, a children’s plush animal for a book) and sunk costs to realize what was and wasn’t working. And that is okay. Those previous experiences are all part of the building process.

I am writing.

The more pride you have in a particular aspect of your identity, the more motivated you will be to maintain the habits associated with it.

James Clear, Atomic Habits

It is motivating for me to look back and connect the dots. It is more exciting to imagine and plan for a brighter future. It starts now. When asked, “Are you a writer?” What do you say?

Thanks for reading,

Cory

Wrenching Season

Photo by Tekton on Unsplash

It is that time of year to take the cover off the bike, refresh the fluids, invest in new tires, find that 10mm wrench, and get to work.

There is a thing about wrenching that is very grounding. The physical turn of the wrench, the removal of bolts, schlepping of metal, and replacing gaskets and seals provide endorphins where I find myself returning to it again and again.

Regardless of the project, the wrenching process itself can be illuminating. With the proper diagnostic mindset, you end up finding out more about yourself in the process. The blood, sweat, and profanity of a pinched finger are essential elements.

“The real cycle you’re working on is a cycle called yourself.”

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Similar to wrenching your machine for improvement, journaling sharpens the mind. It is the process of self-reflection through writing. Similar to fresh oil in a machine, journaling helps clear the mind, improving arterial flow to the brain. The habit of wrenching your mind daily with pencil and paper provides profound creative bursts of insight. At the end of the wrenching session, you may feel as if you have solved all of the world’s problems.

Doggo (A Short Story)

Doggo waited, perched in her backyard.

She reviewed today’s to-do list:

  • Investigate Sniffy Spots
  • Hide bone
  • Chew shoes
  • Slobber on mail
  • Snooze
  • Eat pizza with family during Pizza Movie Night

Pizza Movie Night was something everyone in the house looked forward to each week.

This week will be different, Doggo thought.

Tail wagging like a metronome, she hopped up on the wagon, peering into the window.

She howled to alert the family about her decision.

Doggo drooled at the thought of pizza.

Cheese pizza.

Pizza with sausage. 

Day-old pizza. 

Oh, and pizza bones. Those are perhaps the best.

She floated to cloud nine.

Tonight will be magical, she thought.

The back door opened. Come on back in Doggo, said the girl. We saved you a seat right in the middle.

Her little heart went pitter-patter, tail wagging faster.

What a night!

End

Write

When you are happy, Write.

When you are sad, Write.

When you are feeling confident, Write some more.

When you are unsure and stuck, Write Again.

Keep Writing and then Write some more.

Reflect on what you Wrote.

No one ever has to see it.

If you do share, do so generously.

And Write again in the morning.

Keep on Truckin’

Love, Your Future Self

The Day I Took Cheese On A Walk

I woke up and saw the outside world was beautiful.

What a pleasant day for a walk, I thought.

I did not have a pet dog, fish, or bunny. The next best option was Cheese.

I brushed my teeth, tied my shoes, and removed Cheese from the fridge.

I cut a nice chunk and put it in my pocket.

I phoned the school, impersonated mom.

“My daughter won’t be in; she’s home sick.”

They said, “Ok.”

Cheese and I took a step out the door to adventure.

We went all over creation. We walked past the school.

We walked past the library. We even walked past the disco.

We walked all the way down to the river to have a seat.

I pulled Cheese out of my pocket.

It had taken another shape.

Someone walked by.

“Can you take our picture?”

They looked at me puzzled, eyebrows slightly raised. “Smile,” they said.

“Cheese!”

“Thank you,” I said and continued down the riverwalk.

Cheese and I picked a handful of flowers and journeyed on.

We marched back up the hill to home, Cheese and flowers in my pocket.

When mom washed clothes, her eyebrows slightly raised, puzzled.

The inside world was beautiful.

I went to bed.

Inspired by Shel Silverstein; Based on Real Life Events.

Cory