Year of the Habit: July

Happy July to you fine folks. We’re halfway through 2012!

Let’s recap the year so far:

  • January: Started flossing every day.
  • February: Stopped biting my nails.
  • March: Attempted to read every day. Unsuccessful. Currently reading The $100 Startup.
  • April: Health nut month. Was Primal 80% of the days in April.
  • May: Tracked all of my expenses via Saver.
  • June: “No Wasted Days”. This was an abstract goal, and so it’s hard to quantify the results. Still, I consider it a success.

Here’s why:

  1. I moved out of my parents’ house, which has largely been a boon to my personal productivity. As I mentioned in that post, being out from under my parents’ protection has been instrumental in lighting the fire under my ass. I’m buying my own groceries. Cooking my own food. Doing my own laundry. It’s all very grownup like. The complacency of living at home is gone, and being on my own is much more conducive to getting things done.
  2. I’m in a band. Finally. About a month ago, I had a million dollar idea: “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a Facebook for musicians?!” I googled it, and of course, there is one. So I signed up and got a message about a week later for a local band looking for a bass player. Despite the fear of meeting up to audition with strangers, I learned the songs, met my fellow bandmates, and we hit it off. I’m thrilled to actually be in a band and playing music with people for the first time after ten years of playing bass. We’re rehearsing throughout the summer, and we plan to gig in the fall.
  3. I have a kick ass music podcast. Yes, this is sort of old news, but I’m really proud of it, and it’s still going strong. I’m not sure why you haven’t subscribed in iTunes yet.
  4. My advisor has declared my thesis “just about done”, which is huge. Stand by for more on that soon.
  5. I created the QLE VIP Mailing List and 25 Things: The Quarter-Life Enlightenment Manifesto. This is the first step in kicking QLE into high gear and making it better than ever. I’m sure you know this, but QLE VIPs are the people who care about the site the most and want to be the first to know about the latest cool stuff going on here. If you sign up (it’s free), you’ll get 25 Things as a thank-you present. And I’ll love you forever.
  6. I’ve begun collaborating with some brilliant folks on the Internet, which I’m both incredibly humbled by and excited about. Since beginning QLE last year, one of my main focuses has been to develop relationships with people and be somebody people wouldn’t mind doing something with. I can’t say much about what’s going on behind the scenes yet, but stay tuned.

When I look at the big picture and ask myself, “I’m 25. What am I doing with my life right now?” My answer is: I’m teaching karate, which I love; I’m playing music, which I love; I’m writing, which I love; I’m podcasting, which I love; and I’m doing it all out there on my own. I’m not saying I’m a paragon of success — far from it, and there’s still a long way to go — but it’s hard not to be content with and grateful for who I am right now. I’m still reaching for things, of course, and there are still things I want to achieve and things I wish I had… But those will come sooner or later, as long as I don’t give up. You can’t fail if you don’t give up.

So. Anyway.

In the interest of continuing to move forward and be awesome, July is going to be another abstract sort of habit.

I call it “Looking Outward”.

Sometimes, the solution lies within us and can only be accessed by creating an oasis of quiet. I’ve been trying to do this a lot lately.

However, I think that just as often, the solution lies outside of ourselves… but we’re often to busy looking inward to notice.

One of the things I tell my junior karate instructors is that you have to look outward if you’re going to be a good teacher. When you’re first starting out, you’re usually worrying about yourself: Am I saying the right things? Do I look stupid? Are the kids bored? Did I mess up?

You’re so busy worrying about YOU that you don’t even notice how the class is doing, which makes it very difficult to teach well. You have to stop blindly focusing on what you’re doing and look outward, at the students. When you do that, you’ll notice who needs help, and that will tell you what you need to teach. The lesson will unfold naturally from there.

I’m going to try to be a better observer this month. I’ll let you know what I see.

Thanks for reading! Want more? Grab the free QLE Manifesto. Perhaps follow me on Twitter. Need something? Email me.