February 6, 2014

January 2014

Welp, 2014 is already 10 percent down.  The year is flying by and I was hoping to have some better traction on my goals for this year and for life in general.  I have been thinking about where I want to be in 5 years and what seeds I should start sowing now to get there.  5 years will be here sooner than I think, what person will I become?

If I want to be a good guitar player or photographer or writer or entrepreneur or drill and blast engineer in 5 years (or glassblower, treehouse maker, expat tax law guru, runner, cabin designer…) what can I do now to get there?  I can do the big obvious things rather easily.  I can take a few guitar lessons, or a photo course, or join a writing workshop or take a course on starting a business or attend a blasting conference.  All of which are good places to start, even a necessity. 

But in my experience, mind numbing consistency always wins out. 

I had the privilege of working with one of the world leading consultants in my industry during an audit of our site.  I was in my first year of real work so even though I had no idea what I was doing, I was smart enough to ask him for his advice about my career.  “Simple.  Just read a technical paper or book on mining for 30 minuts every day and in 5 years you will be an expert- one of the best in the world.”  It’s funny thinking about it now because that was exactly 5 years ago.  Where would I be today if I actually heeded that advice?  It isn’t fun or sexy, but it never is when trying to be the best.   

Maybe the best thing to do is just to write, or pick up a guitar, or take photos.  Do the thing you want to be good at, do it daily for 15 or 30 minutes, and in a few years you might be the best (Male, Engineer, under the Age of 30, living in western Australia, but born in America, that has a beard).

Learning New Stuff.  I have been busy planning for trips and travelling to get any consistency in.  It is difficult when you move around all the time.  It is a barrier to practicing that will be difficult to remove unless I get a permanent residence.  For now I will do my best with what I got. 

Bible in a Year.  I downloaded a $1.99 Kindle bible that sorts everything for you by day.  2 chapters of Old testament, a bit of psalms, a bit of proverbs, and 1 chapter of new testament.  It takes about 15 minutes to knock out a days reading.  I am still on track with this one but without the neatly organized and easy to use kindle book, it would be a bigger chore.  In other words, the system I have in place eliminates some of the barriers to completing the task.  February 6th verse Exodus 23:4 If you meet your enemy’s ox or donkey going astray, you shall surely  bring it back to him…

Reading books.  I wanted to read 50 books this year with my own outline and/notes on each.  I am only at about 4 so far.  I’m falling behind a bit.  Once again he kindle simplifies this chore dramatically in cost and time.   My sister gave me about a 1000 kindle books on CD plus I have a bunch already.  And not to mention paper and audio books I have accumulated over the years.  Here is what I have read so far in 2014…

The Grand Weaver by Ravi Zacharias.  I get anxious about where I am going and what I am doing with my life.  This book eased those tensions a bit.  But I mainly picked it up because I really admire Ravi as a man.  He has led an incredible life and I happened to see him speak at College.

So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport.  This may be the most important book I read all year.  I won’t do the book justice but I will give you a brief idea of what it is about and what I took from it in a few sentences.  There is a common idea that to be happy in life you must follow your passion.  Cal dispels that myth with various case studies of people are happy with their lives and careers as a result of being really good at a rare and valuable skill- what he calls career capital.  First you get good at something, then as a result of being really good at something you get autonomy and the ability to use that rare skill to work towards your life mission, whatever that may be.  Another concept that alone justifies the cost of the book is deep work.  Check out his blog study hacks for more.  And I promise to publish some notes.  It will be a 
February goal. 

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary V.  I flicked through this one rather quickly and only got half way through because it doesn't really apply to my life...Actually it does because I just got a new Smartphone and there are 323 million mobile phone subscriptions in the USA alone.  Mobile will rule the world.  The book is about social media marketing and how to promote your products on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest.  There are some really interesting case studies to review.  “If you want to talk to people while they consume their entertainment, you actually have to be their entertainment…” 

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (Audiobook).  I finally downloaded this one as it has been recommended by Tim Ferris.  Audio books work well for me because I drive quite a bit back and forth to site.  The book is about a boy who grows up in the graveyard which sounds boring but the performance put on by the Author as he reads  and the imagination to write such a book is quite impressive.  I couldn’t take the headphones out the last two hours.    

Upcoming Books: Currently reading The First 20 Hours by Josh Kaufman on learning new skills.  Might start working through The Supple Leopard by Kelly Starrett to work on my mobility and flexibility.  The Talent Code, Guns Germs and Steel, the Art of Learning.  I kind of have a learning theme going.  But I feel like I need to get back to some more fun books- like adventure travel, novels, biographies.  Too many how to or business type books that have great ideas but I never actually apply the principles so they become wasted effort.    

Jakarta.  My only travel in January but a good one.  I stayed with my friends at their siblings house.  I love the high regard for family people have in Indonesia.  4 generations live within 3 minutes walk of eachother.  We had 9 people sleeping on couches and floors in the small two bedroom house with one bathroom.  They ask me what Australia is like to which I replied quiet.  Jakarta itself is not much of tourist place.  Just a big city---but I have a feeling there is more to it than that.  Little kids were scared of me because I had a beard.  Indonesians are very upfront.  They introduce people like hey zach, this is my fat friend suzie.  They tell you if you look fat or ugly or smell bad or if they think you are attractive…Jakarta is very different than Bali.  All Indonesians are incredible muscians.  I want to watch Jalalanan movie… 

Upcoming travel.  Japan in 5 days.  New Zealand in March maybe…

Running.  Still going terribly bad. 

Podcasts and consuming too much.  There is so much info out there.  Recently, I have been listening to so many different podcasts at work.  Podcasts seem to be the big thing now.  Running Podcasts like talk ultra and marathon talk, School of Greatness,  this American life, James Altucher, Bryan Callen…So much to take in.  I don’t get why people need TV anymore and people always ask me how I live without one.  Because there is endless stuff on the internet that is better and without ads and can be watched at any time other than 8-9 o’clock in the evening.

Ok.  That’s it.


Picture is of the flooding in Jakarta.  We had to trudge through water to get to the main road (taxi/bus) from where I was staying.    

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