You Can Do Anything for 30 Days…………


“The pessimist complains about the wind;
the optimist expects it to change;
the realist adjusts the sails.” ~ William A. Ward

Adjust your sails. Good advice if you can do it. So many of us are set in our ways and adaptability and flexibility have left the building of our lives—darting out the door right before Elvis.

In order to flex my adaptability I have decided to take the advice of Matt Cutts who gave a TEDTALK recently. He suggests that we choose something from our bag of wishes and do it for 30 days. Or more exactly, he says in his 3 minute and 27 second talk “think about something you have always wanted to do and do it for 30 days.”

Apparently 30 days is just the right amount of time to add or subtract a habit and according to Cutts “makes your time much more memorable”. He said he was stuck in a rut when he decided to follow the advice of that great American philosopher, Morgan Spurlock, and add something to his life for 30 days. The audience reacted with laughter to this last statement so I looked up Spurlock. He is the guy who ate McDonald’s food three times a day for 30 days and wrote a book about it. It took him 18 months to regain his health and normal weight. (I am assuming he did not choose the salads or healthier choices on the menu). He was also the mind behind the television show 30 Days where he took on a variety of tasks and personas for 30 days, the most famous of which was spending 30 days behind bars. He only spent 25 days in jail though, as most people in his state of Virginia only do about 85% of their sentence.

I may be missing something here, but from a cursory review of the documentary filmmaker, television producer, screenwriter, and activist—I think that the audience’s laughter when Spurlock’s name was brought up was unwarranted. But, perhaps they were laughing at some of his stunts and not the man himself. What do I know? Anyway, back to the subject at hand—and one which was made famous by Spurlock: trying something new for 30 days.

In his TedTalk, Cutts urges us to give the 30 day challenge “a shot”. He believes that if you really want something bad enough “you can do anything for 30 days.” Some of the things that he did for 30 days were: ride his bike to work (which he now looks on as fun); take a picture a day for a month (he says he remembers exactly where he was and what he was doing when he did this); and climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa (something I will not be doing anytime soon).

He also wrote a book in a month. 30 days and he had a novel, which he calls “terrible” because “after all I wrote it in 30 days”. He said that it takes writing 1167 words a day in order to come up with a book and advises those who might take on this challenge to not go to sleep until you have made this daily quota. He jokes that you may be sleep deprived, but at the end of the month you have a book, and when you are making small talk at a party you can call yourself a novelist.

Cutts has inspired me. Not to climb a mountain—but taking a picture a day sound doable; as does possibly writing a book in a month; or finally taking that step and learn how to draw (something that has been on my wish list for years). He says that doing the big crazy challenges are fun, but it is the smaller things that you do for 30 days that will stick.

“What are you waiting for?” asks Cutts. Good question. I think I will adjust my sails and come up with a few 30 day challenges. One thing I know for sure though, climbing a mountain will not be on the list.


What could you do for 30 days that is out of the usual?

Published in: on June 11, 2014 at 1:00 pm  Comments (10)  
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“Your difficulties are not obstacles on the path, they are the path.”                                                                         ~ Ezra Bayda

If Ezra is right, then I am forging a new way of doing things. I am going to embrace my difficulties. Okay, embrace may be too strong a word here… how about not reject them? I think that I should quit being Cleopatra’s neighbour and move away from denial, which is a nice place to visit, but I don’t want to live out my life there.

Sundown in the Nile

Sundown in the Nile (Photo credit: Carlos Bustamante – Cartagena)

Obstacles make you take life a little less for granted; they make you more flexible, more pliable; and…okay, let’s face it—life would be more lovely without them—but would we realize the loveliness? I would like to think that I have now faced enough obstacles to last me a lifetime, but if they are, as Ezra says, “the path”, then I guess I will just have to “embrace” them… just not too tightly.

Can you look at difficulties as bliss?

Published in: on May 31, 2013 at 2:16 pm  Comments (33)  
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~A Definition of Life~

Satana (Marvel Comics)

Satana (Marvel Comics) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“It’s all very hard, but there’s a lot of collateral beauty along the way.”

This quote is in Adair Lara’s book, “Naked, Drunk, and Writing” (a wonderful book for all you writers out there). She does not take credit for it, saying that she read it somewhere. But I find it a very apt definition of Life. Life is hard, no doubt, but it is accompanied by splendour.

There are a few things that make life, shall we say ~ challenging. But today, after seeing the devastation wrought by Sandy (the name should have been less friendly—something like Satana) I am grateful for what I have.

We had a few hours without electricity, which makes me aware that I was merely inconvenienced. There are people who are in danger and in the dark, and it may take weeks for the situation to reach any kind of remedy.

There is no understanding the ravages of nature—it is not something we can do anything about. We can learn from what has happened—we can prepare—but these things are a fact of  life at its hardest.

I saw people going through garbage for food. I saw people lined up waiting to get gas. I saw people surviving with nothing. And I saw people helping people.

I see the media drawing attention to things that may be otherwise undetected. I see celebrities trying to do something to help those afflicted “Rise Up”. I see people who were not touched by the devastation helping people who are.

I really do not know how to end this—so I am going to leave you with a couple more quotes that may in their own tiny way help:

“Life is like an impromptu recipe—you make the best out of what ingredients you have on hand.” ~Laura Kalkadian, from American Cookery: A Novel

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life…It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” ~ Melody Beattie, author

From what I can see on the news, people are making the best of their situation–people are forming families of neighbours and friends to help them through, and they will Rise Up again. But it is not going to be easy and there will be, right beside the good–the bad and the ugly. People on the whole, will make the best of what they have, will share, and strangers will be turned into friends.

How are you dealing with the aftermath of Sandy?