cultivate grit

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Saafirhow to become a musician in 10,000 easy steps

I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why, I succeed. —Michael Jordan

Grit is sticking with a challenging goal in spite of obstacles. Grit is digging deep to find the passion in my everyday life. It takes roughly 10,000 hours to become an expert at an activity.

I cultivate grit when I…

  1. Achieve a goal that takes years of work
  2. Become known as a person who performs to his potential
  3. Overcome setbacks to conquer an important challenge
  4. Stick with my goals
  5. Finish whatever I begin
  6. Learn not to be discouraged by setbacks
  7. Become a hard worker
  8. Maintain my interests over a long period of time
  9. Don’t let new projects distract me from my previous projects
  10. Don’t allow circumstances beyond my control to prevent me from realizing my full potential
  11. Learn diligence
  12. Work daily on projects that will take years to finish
  13. Maintain my vision for where my life is headed from year to year
  14. Learn to think of life is more of a marathon than a sprint
  15. Don’t change my interests from year to year
  16. Stay committed to ideas and projects. Avoid becoming obsessed with a certain idea or project for a short time, and later losing interest in it.
  17. Discipline myself by practing a sport, musical interest, or other skill daily
  18. Develop ambition
  19. Maintain focus on projects that take more than a few months to complete
  20. Keep New Year’s resolutions very well

from Duckworth, Seligman, and Peterson, Copyright 20055 years ago


SaafirFriday, March 22

Those who attain any excellence commonly spend life in one pursuit; for excellence is not often granted upon easier terms. —Samuel Johnson

  1. CREATE BEAUTY. Create beautiful martial art. Earn my black belt in Tae-kwon-do. Learn the first five forms. Exercise for thirty minutes each day. Learn an entire Vinyasa flow.
    Take a half hour to practice a few forms. Meditate for twenty minutes.

  2. WEAVE A TAPESTRY of compassion. Stay happily married for fifty years. Be someone’s best friend. Go to my little sister’s track meets. Call my mom more often.
    Go to Hanans game. Call Latifah.

  3. CREATE BEAUTY. Learn enough about the history of jazz to teach it at the college level. Learn to easily distinguish jazz drummers.
    Practice the Sarah Vaughn songs. Listen to more Louis Armstrong.

  4. USE MY GIFTS of intelligence and curiosity to serve others. Learn enough about analytic philosophy to teach it at the college level. Study philosophy for ten hours each week and write a decent term paper. Earn an advanced degree in the social sciences.
    Get my papers form work. Decide how I will proceed in this class.

  5. DO GOOD WORK. Create the best youth development program in the country. Figure out how to use my strengths every day at work.
    Help out at the ALA. Write some notes for the meeting next week. Go talk to Judy “did you get the prelim comments?”
    7 years ago

CalissaLetting go.

I’ve decided this goal is not for me. I’ve always been the kind of person who expects a lot from myself and continually raises the bar until it’s too high. This goal isn’t helping. I feel tired and stressed to the point my body is sending out distress signals.

It’s just not contributing to my ultimate goal of learning to love myself.

Obviously I’m trying to take on too much. I think that’s because of the way I’m conceptualising this goal. It shouldn’t really be about multiple long term goals. The passion, focus and tenacity that are central to this goal should be focussed on just one project, like the professor in the original article.

Truthfully, I feel I am a determined person already. That’s probably why I find it so hard to let this goal go (it’s kind of like admitting defeat). Perhaps I’ll come back to it one day. 7 years ago


CalissaPassion and focus.

I had some doubts about my last entry. Specifically, I was unsure whether attending the artist talk at university had anything to do with challenging my intellect or cultivating grit.

Having attended the talk, I’m glad I did. It was one of the most fascinating talks I’ve attended in a long time. It was given by my old scriptwriting teacher and was about her current project, which involves turning a series of real life events into a television mini series. She discussed the problems of merging truth and fiction and the legal and ethical ramifications of this. It challenged me to see writing in a new light, exposed me to new concepts. And if there’s one word I’d use to describe my old lecturer, it’s passionate. Not only that, but simply by being who she is, she manages to infuse those around her with enthusiasm also. So the talk was very valuable in moving towards this goal.

I still feel that challenging my intellect poses a problem in relation to this goal, however. I can’t help but wonder whether simply undertaking to expose myself to new concepts is too broad an aim to really be useful when it comes to cultivating grit. Because another of the terms Saafir used to definte this goal is focus. I feel I need to focus on a specific challenge for my intellect. 7 years ago


CalissaTentative steps.

After that last reassessment, it’s going to take some time for me to settle into my new conception of this goal. I thought starting straight away might help that. So for tomorrow:

Pursue what I love (Finish Awakening. Get my work out there): Resume work on Chapter 13. Format Best Served Cold for ASIM (1 1/2 hours)

Challenge my intellect: Expose myself to new ideas on art by attending the artist talk at university

Nurture my spirituality: Meditate for 10 minutes. Complete a few more Artist’s Way exercises (30 mins)

Slow down (Practice Tai Chi regularly): Attend the evening class (1 1/2 hours)7 years ago


CalissaFurther reassessing.

I promised to do some thinking on this goal. Having read over Saafir’s first entry on this goal, I realised what the most important criteria is for me. It’s passion. Determination I have in oodles. But that only really means something if I’m passionate about what I’m doing.

I don’t consider myself a very passionate person. Perhaps that’s doing myself a disservice, but there you are. So there are few things that I feel passionate about. The things I do feel passionate about are what needs to be reflected here.

Those things are:
  • my writing
  • Tai Chi (although this to a lesser extent than some of the other things)
  • my relationship with my boyfriend
  • reading

So to go through all my goals:

Pursue what I love
Definitely in. The goal itself says it all. This covers my writing.

Respect my body
I do this because I have to. I do it because if I don’t I can’t pursue the things I am passionate about. I don’t think this is a goal for here.

Challenge my intellect
I feel a bit unsure about this one. Again I’m left wondering whether this is something I’m doing for myself or for others. And then I think about my reading. I’d say that definitely comes under this category. And given how much I enjoy problem solving, I can only conclude it must stay.

Enable myself
This one has to go and for a very simple reason. This goal incorporates all the little tasks and errands I do because I have to, not because I’m passionate about them. There is an element I’m still considering though, and that’s my work as an editor. I’m determined to work as an editor because I enjoy working with words and I’d hate to be stuck doing something I despise (which I’m increasingly thinking involves any other kind of work). What is that, if it isn’t passion? I think this will require some further consideration.

Nurture my spirituality
I’m choosing to keep this goal because I believe it is where passion rises from. Perhaps that’s due to the knowledge deep down that my writing and my identity as a creator is absolutely central to this. Exploring different philosophies and testing their truth out in life is also something I’m passionate about.

Have fun
Nope. Happiness is something that requires tenacity. Having fun isn’t. Besides which, the goals this incorporates for me is far too fleeting to be classed as gritty.

Slow down
I tend to class Tai Chi under this goal, so it’s staying.

Connect with others
I must be oh-so-careful with this goal. I must use it to cultivate the relationships that are important to me and not the ones I feel guilted into keeping. I think the key here is to be more specific, as concrete as possible.

In fact, I think that needs to extend to all of these. I need to reexamine my goals and make them as concrete as possible. I feel I’ve made progress on that already this year, but I can see I still have a way to go. 7 years ago


CalissaIn the meantime.

Smile at myself in the mirror

Enable myself: Finish edit.

Pursue what I love (Finish Awakening. Get my work out there): Resume work on Chapter 13. Check Andromeda guidelines (2 hours)

Slow down: Practice Tai Chi (30 min)

Nurture my spirituality (Redo the Artist’s Way): Complete some AW exercises (30 min)

Challenge my intellect: Reassess this goal

Respect my body (Improve my diet): Plan meals for the rest of the week.

Connect with others: Email Sarah

Have fun: Colour in7 years ago


SaafirRethinking some of my goals: A gritty Monday

I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.
Frank Lloyd Wright


  1. CREATE BEAUTY. Create beautiful martial art. Earn my black belt in Tae-kwon-do. Learn the first five forms. Exercise for thirty minutes each day. Learn an entire Vinyasa flow.
    Wake up a little early. Memorize the rest of the basic flow so I can mark that goal “done.” Meditate for twenty minutes

  2. WEAVE A TAPESTRY of compassion. Stay happily married for fifty years. Be someone’s best friend. Go to my little sister’s track meets. Call my mom more often.
    use the drive to Fort Worth as our time to catch up. Try to listen really well. Draw a little note and send it to Mom.

  3. CREATE BEAUTY. Learn enough about the history of jazz to teach it at the college level. Learn to easily distinguish jazz drummers.
    Practice the Sarah Vaughn songs.

  4. USE MY GIFTS of intelligence and curiosity to serve others. Learn enough about analytic philosophy to teach it at the college level. Study philosophy for ten hours each week and write a decent term paper. Earn an advanced degree in the social sciences.
    Go to class. Take a stab at reading the paper. Use two solid hours tomorrow morning to study philosophy

  5. DO GOOD WORK. Create the best youth development program in the country. Figure out how to use my strengths every day at work.
    Think harder about volunteering. Decide if the library is the best choice. Go to the library and talk to D about the music project.
    7 years ago

CalissaReassessing

I’ve been thinking a bit about this goal lately. The last week has proved it to be an excellent goal for helping me overcome my procrastination and working towards my goals in incremental steps. It challenges me to be concrete, to break things down and really look at how I’m going to achieve them.

That said, it’s not something I want to do every day. As dear Serenity noted recently, I expect a lot from myself and set the bar high. Sometimes that’s setting myself up for failure. Each day so far I’ve tried to work in a few activities that are relaxing and fun. Even so, there are days when I just don’t want that checklist hanging over me. Like on the weekend, for example.

I’ve decided I’m going to keep with this goal though. Because I like a challenge. Because I want to achieve those long term goals. And many of my goals and projects are long term. Awakening is an excellent example. I’ve been working on that story for over 4 years now. This year I’m determined to see it through to the end. 7 years ago


SaafirPassionate, Persistent, and Strong

I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen. —Frank Lloyd Wright

I started off my day in a funky mood. I woke up too late to do my morning ritual. I think I can steal away from work to exercise and meditate for a half-hour. That should make me feel better. I read the first two chapters of a fascinating new book by Marcus Buckingham, the Gallup guy who writes about strengths in the workplace. He argues that the route to flourishing is to identify the unique way your brain is wired and spend your whole life developing along those lines. He claims that we can grow most in the areas where we are already strong. His description of what it looks life to build a life around your strengths sounds a lot like the recipe for building grit. You can’t be passionate and persistent about anything. You need to pick areas that you are drawn to, that give you energy, where you feel like your best self.

1. Develop a morning ritual. Meditate daily. Exercise for thirty minutes each day. Learn an entire Vinyasa. Earn my black belt in Tae-kwon-do.
Meditate for twenty minutes. Do a half hour of yoga tonight.

2. Stay happily married for fifty years. Weave a tapestry of compassion. Be someone’s best friend. Plant a garden.
Leave Kim a sexy voicemail. Make sure we get our fifteen minutes on the drive home tonight. Finish the laundry. Call Hanan and Latifah.

3. Create beauty. Learn about 1920s jazz. Draw every woman from the Fall 2002 issue of Perfect 10
Practice the Sarah Vaughn songs. Draw another picture.

4. Use my gifts of intelligence and curiosity to serve others. Study philosophy for ten hours each week and write a decent term paper.
Sketch out a plan for studying this weekend. Do step 1.
7 years ago


SaafirToday: Passion and Persistance

I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why, I succeed. —Michael Jordan

Grit is sticking with a challenging goal in spite of obstacles. Grit is digging deep to find the passion in my everyday life. Grit might be an antidote for depression and despair. It is the only life I get, after all. I have stuck with meditating every day. Tomorrow will be day eight in a row.

1. Develop a morning ritual. Meditate daily. Exercise for thirty minutes each day. Learn an entire Vinyasa. Earn my black belt in Tae-kwon-do.
Meditate for twenty minutes. Do a half hour of yoga. Do the laundry.

2. Stay happily married for fifty years. Weave a tapestry of compassion. Be someone’s best friend.
Make sure we get our fifteen minutes. Use the book this time. Do the laundry.

3. Create beauty. Learn about 1920s jazz. Draw every woman from the Fall 2002 issue of Perfect 10
Draw another picture. Listen to the rest of Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five and Hot Sevens.
7 years ago


CalissaDay 5

Smile at myself in the mirror

Have fun: Have dinner with Merceria and the Countess

Enable myself: Complete my shopping and visit the bank

Nurture my spirituality (Redo the Artist’s Way): Take myself on an Artist Date

Pursue what I love (Finish Awakening): Resume work on Chapter 13 (2 hours)

Respect my body (Improve my fitness): Practice Tai Chi (30 mins)

Connect with others: Make an effort to smile at strangers

Slow down: Make an effort to slow the pace of my walking

Challenge my intellect: Begin reading the Style Manual7 years ago


CalissaDay 4

From one of my favourite “gritty” songs: Hope on Fire by Vienna Teng

Gotta fight, gotta strike‘cause there’s no turning awayfrom what you don’t want to know.

Gotta see, gotta be,if they’re all going astraydon’t let them take you in tow.

You’re a one-man shift in the weather,you’re the woman who just won’t sellclimbing up and ringing the bell.

ooh you’re gonna make your mark this timeooh you’re gonna set your hope on fire

Smile at myself in the mirror

Pursue what I love (...But do it anyway): Redraft Siren Songs (3 hours) (1 hr)

Slow down:Reiki my knee (20 mins) (30 mins)

Respect my body (Improve my diet): Go through the cookbook I was loaned for recipes (15 min)

Nurture my spirituality (Redo the Artist’s Way): Complete a few more of the Artist’s Way exercises (30 min)

Challenge my intellect: Complete my Journaleer’s homework (30 min)

Enable myself: Work on my files and create an invoice template (15 min)

Connect with others: Check my list of people to email/write to/call to find anyone I haven’t contacted in a while. Email S with dinner time tomorrow.

Have fun: Blow bubbles7 years ago


CalissaDay 3

So yesterday wasn’t such a good day for this goal. Not to worry, today is a new day.

Respect my body (Rest and Recuperate): Sleep in

Slow down (Practice Tai Chi regularly): Practice Tai Chi (30 min)

Nurture my spirituality (Redo the Artist’s Way): Complete a few more of the Artist’s Way exercises (30 min)

Connect with others: Email GypsysLittleDreamer

Have fun (Spend more time looking at the sky): Lie out on my trampoline for 15 minutes

Challenge my intellect: Complete my Journaleer’s homework (30 min)

Pursue what I love (Get my work out there): Print competition list

Enable myself: Work on my files for 15 minutes7 years ago


CalissaDay 2

It appears the week is going to be much less stressful than I initially anticipated. Still, I’m enjoying this goal so far for the way it helps me progress incrementally, but concretely towards my 43T goals. So for tomorrow:

Enable myself: Be fully prepared for my job interview tomorrow. Dress nicely, arm myself with information and show up on time.

Respect my body: Pack lunch and plenty of snacks so that I don’t suffer any of my hypoglycemia-like attacks

Slow down: Practice Tai Chi (30 min)

Nurture my spirituality: Complete a few more of the Artist’s Way exercises (30 min)

Challenge my intellect: Complete my Journaleer’s homework (30 min)

Connect with others: Ring Mum and Sahaquiel to let them know how the interview went

Pursue what I love: Print competition list

Have fun: Release some paper cranes on the bus to my interview7 years ago


CalissaI hope Saafir doesn't mind...

...but this has always been my favourite of his goals, so I have adopted it for myself. I have a feeling I’m going to need it this week because it’s going to be a very stressful week filled with new things and tight deadlines.

I’m not sure how this is going to go, but let’s try this and see
how it goes.

Challenge my intellect

Produce editing quote (2 hours) (30 mins)

Slow down

Meditate for 10 minutes

Take care of my body

Practice Tai Chi (30 mins)

Connect with others

Spend some time with my boyfriend

Nurture my spirituality

Read over this week’s Artist’s Way lesson and begin exercises (30 mins)

Enable myself

Get back to my routine

Have fun
Spend 15 minutes looking at the sky

Pursue what I love
Print out competition list 7 years ago


SaafirDay 3 of 30: Enthusiasm!

There are several reasons why I’m anxious about today. First, Kim and I planned to take the day off and spend it together. Second, I had a really bad day yesterday and I only slept for four or five hours last night, so I’m not hopeful about today. Lastly, we never made plans last night, so I’m afraid we might waste our time today and end up dissatisfied. In planning my “gritty” use of my time today, I must be realistic about these threats.

The Greeks understood the mysterious power of the hidden side of things. They bequethed to us one of the most beautiful words in our language—the word ‘enthusiasm – en theos – a god within. The grandeur of human actions is measured by the inspiration from which they spring. Happy is he who bears a god within, and who obeys it.
Louis Pasteur

1. Stay happily married for fifty years. Weave a tapestry of compassion. Be someone’s best friend.
Plan our day together as best I can. Bring enthusiasm and curiosity to the project. Call Latifah and Hanan today.   

2. Develop a morning ritual. Meditate daily. Exercise for thirty minutes each day. Learn an entire Vinyasa. Earn my black belt in Tae-kwon-do.
Write a journal entry. Meditate for ten to twenty minutes. Hike with Kim for several hours.   

3. Read 50 books this year.
Work through the rest of the Gottman book. Do a few exercises with Kim. Read a chapter from “Truth.”   

6. Create beauty. Learn about 1920s jazz. Draw every woman from the Fall 2002 issue of Perfect 10
Finish my drawing. Take a dozen photos on our hike today.   
7 years ago


SaafirDay 2 of 30: Persistence and passion with the little things

This is another drawing from my gritty project. It’s not great, but that’s not the point. I stuck with a difficult project that I really care about for longer than a few weeks. Now, I want to point that kind of focus at everyday things that end up meaning a lot to how my life feels; things like doing good work each day, organizing my money, exercising, and meditating.

Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.
Theodore I. Rubin

How many a man has thrown up his hands at a time when a little more effort, a little more patience would have achieved success?
Elbert Hubbard

1. Stay happily married for fifty years. Weave a tapestry of compassion. Be someone’s best friend.
Work on our money some more today. Call Hanan again. Write an e-mail to Latifah.   (30 min)

2. Develop a morning ritual. Meditate daily. Exercise for thirty minutes each day. Learn an entire Vinyasa. Earn my black belt in Tae-kwon-do.
Meditate for ten or twelve minutes. Run two miles.   (30 min)

3. Do good work. Create the best youth development program in the country. Use my gifts of intelligence and curiosity to serve.
Go to work from 1:00 until 6:00. Write up a plan for researching and writing grant proposals. Help install “Stories.   (7 hrs)

4. Read 50 books this year.
Work through the rest of the Gottman book.   (1 hour)

5. Study philosophy of language for ten hours each week, write several check+ RTPS, and write a decent paper
Skim the Ramberg paper and write an RTP of it. Read the Evan’s paper again.   (2 hours)

6. Create beauty. Learn about 1920s jazz. Draw every woman from the Fall 2002 issue of Perfect 10
Burn a couple of Louis Armstrong discs. Finish my sketch from yesterday.   (1 hour)
7 years ago


SaafirResurrecting a Great Goal: Day 1 of 30

This drawing is part of my grittiest project to date: I spent eight months learning how to draw, and now I’m pretty good at it. I’d forgotten how potent my “get grit” goal was until I was reminded of it during therapy last week. I was reminded of this project when I read about the life of Wilfred Van Orman Quine, the great twentieth-century philosopher—he was a man who had grit in abundance. I’m going to try it on again and see how it fits. I’ve been dealing with a bad depression for a month or two now and I need all the help I can get sticking to the healthy behaviors that make me feel better. Maybe if I tried a stripped-down version of grit building for a month, I’d feel better. It’s worth a try.

Passion! Persistence!

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.
Robert Louis Stevenson

Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.
Vincent Van Gogh

1. Stay happily married for fifty years. Weave a tapestry of compassion. Be someone’s best friend.
Strive for kindness and passion in my interactions with Kim today. Call Hanan. Call Latifah and catch up.   (30 min)

2. Develop a morning ritual. Meditate daily. Learn an entire Vinyasa. Earn my black belt in Tae-kwon-do.
Meditate for ten or twelve minutes. Do a yoga flow.   (30 min)

3. Do good work. Create the best youth development program in the country. Use my gifts of intelligence and curiosity to serve.
Go to work from 1:15 8:30.- Write up a plan for researching and writing grant proposals.   (7 hrs)

4. Read 50 books this year.
Polish off the Stroll book. Decide if it’s worth reading analytically.   (1 hour)

5. Study philosophy of language for ten hours each week, write several check+ RTPS, and write a decent paper
Read through the Evans paper and write an RTP on it. Go to class.   (2 hours)

6. Create beauty. Learn about 1920s jazz. Draw every woman from the Fall 2002 issue of Perfect 10
Burn a couple of Louis Armstrong discs. Do a quick sketch from one of the photos. Scan all of the images in my notebook to my computer.   (1 hour) 7 years ago


SaafirThis, of course, is an ongoing project...

but I have made some inroads into it this year. I will continue to cultivate my ability to stick to projects for a long time and with passion and zest. 7 years ago


SaafirI'm re-opening this goal...

because I’m fond of it. Although I may not be able to change my set range of grittiness, I can move to the upper end of my set range with practice.

“I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why, I succeed.”
- Michael Jordan 7 years ago


SaafirMore about this later...

The results are in, and the story is grim…the psychologists say that you can’t improve your grit by much. Either you have it, or you don’t. 7 years ago


SaafirIt's Dogged as Does It

Yet another feather in the cap of dogged determination…it produced both the exquisite intricacy of life on this planet, and our best explanation of how it all came to be.

Scientific American: It’s Dogged as Does It
Retracing Darwin’s footsteps in the Galápagos shatters a myth but reveals how revolutions in science actually evolve 7 years ago


SaafirGrit Today...

To cultivate grit today, I will…

1. Stay happily married for fifty years. Make our balcony, bedroom, and living area a beautiful sanctuary.Wash two loads of clothes, and take out the recycling. Jot down two ideas for creating our sanctuary. (2 hours)

2. Exercise daily. Build my strength, agility, and flexibility for the martial arts. *
Meditate. Walk a few miles. (40 min)

3. Teach hundreds of teens how to use computers to create art and serve their communities. Create three beautiful things this year that require more than one week of effort.*
Send that e-mail to Mary and Santiago (0.5 hr)

4. Spend an hour a week with each of my closest friends and family. Show kindness and attention to strangers
_Call Danny and Latifah. Spend a few hours with Hanan and Asiyah (3 hours) _

5. Systematically master analytic philosophy and evolutionary biology well enough that I can teach them at the college level. Buy and read every title in “The NLRP”. Study for fifteen to twenty hours each week, earn As this semester, graduate college, and earn an advanced degree in the social sciencesStudy (write paper) from 1:00pm until 7:00pm

6. Listen to 40 jazz albums this year. learn to distinguish jazz drummersListen closely to “Mrs Parker of K.C. (Bird’s Mother)” and attempt to memorize the melody of the head. Also, compare Billy Higgins on this set to Tony Williams on Nefertiti.8 years ago


SaafirRenewing my quest (18,523 days to go)

I cultivate grit when I…

  1. Achieve a goal that takes years of work
  2. Become known as a person who performs to his potential
  3. Overcome setbacks to conquer an important challenge
  4. Stick with my goals
  5. Finish whatever I begin
  6. Learn not to be discouraged by setbacks
  7. Become a hard worker
  8. Maintain my interests over a long period of time
  9. Don’t let new projects distract me from my previous projects
  10. Don’t allow circumstances beyond my control to prevent me from realizing my full potential
  11. Learn diligence
  12. Work daily on projects that will take years to finish
  13. Maintain my vision for where my life is headed from year to year
  14. Learn to think of life is more of a marathon than a sprint
  15. Don’t change my interests from year to year
  16. Stay committed to ideas and projects. Avoid becoming obsessed with a certain idea or project for a short time, and later losing interest in it.
  17. Discipline myself by practing a sport, musical interest, or other skill daily
  18. Develop ambition
  19. Maintain focus on projects that take more than a few months to complete
  20. Keep New Year’s resolutions very well

from Duckworth, Seligman, and Peterson, Copyright 20058 years ago


Saafir18,524 days left until I die (If I'm lucky)

Passion! Persistence!

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.    Robert Louis Stevenson

Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.     Vincent Van Gogh

I feel like I have a brand new life. Four weeks of meditation, exercise, therapy, and an anti-depressant drug and my dark mood is gone. I didn’t realize how pervasive my anxious and sad feelings were, but now that they are gone I can see how they had seeped into every minute that I was awake. It is easier to be persistent if I don’t have to beat away a black dog that nips at my heels every step I take. So what now? I could feel great and still not make anything of my life. Or I could seize this opportunity with enthusiasm and focus.

1. Stay happily married for fifty years. Make our balcony, bedroom, and living area a beautiful sanctuary.Clean for an hour before work today. Find the paint swatches that we got over Spring break and price paint at the hardware store. Jot down two ideas for creating our sanctuary. (1.5 hours)

2. Exercise daily. Build my strength, agility, and flexibility for the martial arts. *
Meditate. Do stretches and shadowboxing. Jog two miles in under eighteen minutes. (40 min)

3. Teach hundreds of teens how to use computers to create art and serve their communities. Create three beautiful things this year that require more than one week of effort.*
Prepare, prepare, prepare—spend an hour planning furiously. (1.5 hr)

4. Spend an hour a week with each of my closest friends and family. Show kindness and attention to strangers
_Call Hanan (can she come to the Museum with me today?) Call Latifah and Sammie. (1 hour) _

5. Systematically master analytic philosophy and evolutionary biology well enough that I can teach them at the college level. Buy and read every title in “The NLRP”. Study for fifteen to twenty hours each week, earn As this semester, graduate college, and earn an advanced degree in the social sciencesSpend six hours studying today, come hell or high water, deluge or famine. 11:00am – 1:00pm, 3:00pm-5:00pm, 7:00pm-9:00pm

6. Listen to 40 jazz albums this year. learn to distinguish jazz drummersDecide if I want to learn the melodies from the jazz albums I’ve listened to. Try it out with the Eric Dolphy set.8 years ago


SaafirMarch 7: Fewer goals, more focus

Diligence! Enthusiasm! Sweat!

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.    Robert Louis Stevenson

Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.     Vincent Van Gogh

Diligence means working hard and long on projects, even when I don’t feel like it. I’ve increased the amount of hard work I do every day, but I have a long way to go yet. My life is beginning to feel full and engrossing. This will be an incredible trip.

I spent a good bit of yesterday in an anxious, depressed funk, but the day turned out good anyway. As long as I can moderate my moods for long enough to start working hard, my moods don’t really matter much. My approach will be to focus intently on my goals and let my moods take care of themselves. My list from yesterday is only partially completed, and that is okay, because I listed an unrealistic number of goals to accomplish. I’ll continue that list and add a few more items today.

1. Stay happily married for fifty years. List 100 things I love about my wife.Exercise with her this morning at the gym. Pay close attention to her today. Try to understand how she is experiencing life from moment to moment. write ten things I love about her today and record it on her voicemail

2. Systematically master analytic philosophy and evolutionary biology well enough that I can teach them at the college level. Buy and read every title in “The NLRP”. *
Spend *three hours
studying today, come hell or high water, deluge or famine

3. Teach hundreds of teens how to use computers to create art and serve their communities. Create three beautiful things this year that require more than one week of effort.Prepare, prepare, prepare—for tonight’s performance, for the budget meeting, and for the career day.

4. Spend an hour a week with each of my closest friends and family. Show kindness and attention to strangers
_Hug five people today. Ask someone about thier day and really listen _

5. Exercise five days a week for two months. Prepare for training in the martial artsDay 1 this week: Run a mile and a half. Do kicking combinations that focus on strength and flexibility

6. Listen to 40 jazz albums this year. learn to distinguish bop pianists and drummersLearn Sarah Vaughn’s version of “Pennies from Heaven.” Also, listen to Elvin Jones in “A Love Supreme”

7. Study for fifteen to twenty hours each week, earn As this semester, graduate college, and earn an advanced degree in the social sciences
_See #2, Get a feel for what I need to cover by tomorrow morning, early in the day _ 8 years ago


SaafirMarch 6: The day is full of possibilites

Today = Fun and Engagement

Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.
Theodore I. Rubin

How many a man has thrown up his hands at a time when a little more effort, a little more patience would have achieved success?
Elbert Hubbard

I was really bummed out last night when I woke up from another nap. I had already slept until noon, and I had only done half the things on my to-do list when I found myself on the bed again. I guess my long night took drained my energy and my body just needed to rest. Today, I still feel a little tired, but it’s 6:30am and the day is just waiting for me to dive into it.

1. Stay happily married for fifty years. List 100 things I love about my wife.Cook the potatoe-lentil thing today. Add ten things to my list and send her the link.

2. Systematically master analytic philosophy and evolutionary biology well enough that I can teach them at the college level. Buy and read every title in “The NLRP”. *
Pay attention and take good notes in my classes this morning. Put in three solid hours studying EVSE. (6 hours)

3. Teach hundreds of teens how to use computers to create art and serve their communities. Create three beautiful things this year that require more than one week of effort.*
Call Santiago and Mary about tomorrow. Deliver the power adaptors and a list of challenges to Santiago for this afternon. Type at least a draft of my budget and e-mail it to Chip (1 hour)

4. Spend an hour a week with each of my closest friends and family. Spend more time and care with all of my friends. Show kindness and attention to strangersCall Ashleigh, Hanan, Ayesha, and Danny

5. Exercise five days a week for two months. Prepare for training in the martial artsRun on the treadmill for a half hour this morning8 years ago


SaafirSunday, March 5: Passionate Work

Today = Hard work for seven hours

Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.
Theodore I. Rubin

How many a man has thrown up his hands at a time when a little more effort, a little more patience would have achieved success?
Elbert Hubbard

Last night, Kim and I were out untili 2:30am dancing at Gloria’s with Ty, Cornell, Silas, and some of Silas’ friends. We picked up Cornell and Ty and drove up to Addison. It took Silas all of three hours to finally show up at the club with his crew, and Julian couldn’t get in because he had ripped jeans. While we waited, we went to Friday’s and got appetizers and drinks. The club cost $10.00 to get in, but it was a really fun time. Beautiful couples dancing to the throbbing rhythms of a full Latin band. I am just know getting settled in to work today and it is after lunch time.

Yesterday’s museum school class went really well. I woke up anxious and I didn’t settle down until I was teaching the class. I’ll record the details on the DesignIT blog. Rockey and I hung out and planned for several hours after the class. We also a) practiced juggling, b) discussed the evolution of playiin squirrels c)watched ‘Turtle’ the squirrel play in the courtyard, and c)ordered a popcorn machine and a cotton candy maker for Tuesday night.

1. Stay happily married for fifty years. List 100 things I love about my wife.Help her with her studying. Offer to work on her hair tonight while we watch Gray’s Anatomy. Add ten things to my list and send her the link.

2. Systematically master analytic philosophy and evolutionary biology well enough that I can teach them at the college level. Buy and read every title in “The NLRP”. *
Write a plan for completing a)my philosophy term paper, b)my philosophy mid-term paper, c)my environmental systems test, and b)my environmental systems term paper; work for three hours on philosophy, and three hours on environmental systems biology (6 hours)

3. Teach hundreds of teens how to use computers to create art and serve their communities. Create three beautiful things this year that require more than one week of effort.*
Type at least a draft of my budget and e-mail it to Chip (1 hour)

4. Spend an hour a week with each of my closest friends and family. Spend more time and care with all of my friends. Show kindness and attention to strangersCall Ashleigh, Hanan, Ayesha, and Danny

5. Exercise five days a week for two months. Prepare for training in the martial artsRun on the treadmill for a half hour8 years ago


SaafirMarch 2: Live now!

Live like today is the only day I’ve got (because it is)

Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.
Theodore I. Rubin

How many a man has thrown up his hands at a time when a little more effort, a little more patience would have achieved success?
Elbert Hubbard

1. Stay happily married for fifty years. List 100 things I love about my wife.Tell her how much I love her in an e-mail. Make extra attempts tonight to really listen to how she feels about her day. Call her at least twice during the day today.

2. Systematically master analytic philosophy and evolutionary biology well enough that I can teach them at the college level. Buy and read every title in “The NLRP”. Study for fifteen to twenty hours each week, earn As this semester, graduate college, and earn an advanced degree in the social sciences
_ Prepare for my American Literature test tomorrow. Read the Plato sections that Dr. Byrd highlighted. Try to refine a topic for EVSE paper (2 hours)_

3. Teach hundreds of teens how to use computers to create art and serve their communities. Create three beautiful things this year that require more than one week of effort.
_Create a contract for Justin (1 hour). Write P.O.s and check requests (30 minutes). Work on numbers for meeting next week. Send draft to Chip. (1 hour). Prepare for workshop tonight (2:00 – 4:30) Order LEGO and adapters (30 minutes). Order more t-shirts. _

4. Spend an hour a week with each of my closest friends and family. Show kindness and attention to strangersCall Mom, Hanan, and Danny. Send a couple of e-mails to family and friends.

5. Exercise five days a week for two months. Prepare for training in the martial arts
_ Workout with Kim tonight, after work_

6. Listen to 40 jazz albums this year. learn to distinguish bop pianists and drummersCompare Tony Williams with later Elvin Jones over the next few days8 years ago


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