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Showing posts with the label effort

How Long is Too Long?

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By Douglas Clark
Do dreams have an expiration date? How do we know if and when we have devoted more than we should to a dream not yet realized? What a terrible and practical question posed against such a wondrous and uplifting things such as a dream. I guess for me a reality check every once in a while towards my dreams is necessary. That check is a gauge in assessing just how successful I've been at reaching for that goal, or more specifically, taking stock in what I've actually done to accomplish that dream.
Specifically my dream of becoming a published writer is still up in the air. Granted, my thesis is in the University Library and I have all of my blog posts. But let's face it; that is nothing compared to my novel being published by a big name publisher like Simon & Schuster. So I'm not officially published yet. And it has taken me years to get this far. So do I give up on my dreams? What I've noticed is not so much the time it's taken but the effort t…

What a Disappointing Turn of Events

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By Douglas Clark
About a year ago I applied for a job and had an interview that went great. I related very well to my potential new boss and his team, the work seemed interesting and the prospects of advancing appeared good. Everything looked like a good fit. After leaving the interview, I not only expected a job offer, I knew they would extend one. 
What I didn’t anticipate was the lackluster benefits package they would ultimately offer. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect a silver platter full of gold. What I got, however, amounted to only about one thousand dollars more than I made at the time, only at the new position I would be doing twice the work. Also, the healthcare and retirement package was almost nonexistent. 
Needless to say, I felt a bit perplexed. It’s a major thing to uproot yourself from a long standing position. One needs at least a bit of enticement to make such a switch. Obviously, I didn’t take the job. It led me to realize though, there’s nothing more deflating…

There Be Dragons Here!

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Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
T. S. Eliot


So I’ve debated what to do about this sketch I’ve been working on for a while. And by a while I mean over a year and a half. Granted I’m not really a ‘good’ artist, although I can make it seem like I’ve got a bit of talent. Really though, painting, drawing, sketching, pretty much anything artistic beyond writing is probably a distant second when it comes to depth in my talent pool, but I still like trying. I took classes way back in high school that taught me the basics of artistic creation but I’ve never pursued it further. However there are times I regretted that decision. Much like when I gave up on the saxophone. That’s why I go back from time to time to draw, or paint; just to see if I still can do it. For this effort, I’m rather happy with the results of the work I put into my sketch.
Now I don’t have any delusions that it will win any awards but for someone that has trouble drawing a dece…

Perseverance vs. Obstinacy

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The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't. ~Henry Ward Beecher
What good is a strong will if you are fighting for or against the wrong thing? I wonder that sometimes. Getting caught up in the mechanics of life, I noticed there are times when simply plowing ahead toward a goal becomes counterproductive. At that point, re-evaluation of the method, tactics, and even the very goal need to take place. All the effort in the world fails to help if the goal you work for holds no merit. So, where perseverance assists in forging ahead through the hard times, obstinacy blinds you to wrong, ineffective, and destructive behaviors that hinder success. 
Coming to this realization is difficult and sometimes painful; it can also be very hard. Admitting that you spend all that time and effort on a goal that proved unattainable is heartbreaking. But think about it this way, would you rather admit a change is needed today a…

21 Days to a Good Habit

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There’s an old saying that I’ve heard and read countless times.  It says to form a habit you have to do something for 21 days in a row. Now usually it seems easier to form a bad habit than it does to form a good habit. Ever wonder how you fell into watching TV every night, or eating macaroni and cheese for dinner; because it’s easy. Bad habits are easy to form because they don’t take much effort, usually because they arose out of some need for a short cut. You found that short cut and BANG, it’s a bad habit. Okay, so that 21 days may be an arbitrary number, and it’s fair to say that not all people will need 21 days and some people may need more. But you should get the idea behind the premise. Doing something consistently for a specific period of time will help form patterns in your behavior that eventually becomes second nature.
So, why the hell am I bothering with all this you might ask? Easy. I want to form Good habits. Why does it seem that doing ‘good’ things for ourselves are so …

Don't Fear the Emptiness

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I’ve often heard that when writers start a story the blankness of the white page can be a daunting adversary. I have experienced a bit of trepidation, anxiety even, when it comes to filling up all that white space. In fact, I even used to write on yellow legal pads just to avoid having to look at the emptiness of white. However, some writers find it paralyzing almost to the point where they quit writing all together. Now I suppose that painters and sculptors have similar problems at the beginning of a new project as well. Not all mind you, but some may. Personally, I’ve found a way to combat that paralyzing problem. Do you know what it is?
I write. Well, duh, that sounds simple doesn’t it? And a bit too obvious right? Let me explain. In my experience staring into the white, I’ve noticed that somewhere in my head I was worried about what might actually make it out onto the page. Questions would start creeping up on me and haunting my thoughts.  What if it’s all crap? What if I get stuck…

The problem with communication is the illusion that is has occurred.

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-George Bernard Shaw.


It’s interesting how when you open up to people, they reciprocate.It’s amazing how shut in and closed off a person can be if they stop communicating with others.Have you ever noticed that most people don’t like to start conversations?A lot of people feel intimidated and out of sorts if they walk into a room filled with people they don’t know.And public speaking, most people fear that more than death, or so the rumor goes.Why is this?I think it’s because they are shut off from others, sometimes for long stretches where they never challenge themselves to try harder, do more, experience something new.
When you open up to someone, even if it’s only one person, you get a chance to learn about who they are, what they are interested in, and what motivates and inspires them.Just recently I was talking with a guy I know at work.We’ve known each other for a while, but up until now, before I mentioned I was learning to play the saxohone,I had no idea he was musically inclined…