Life Lesson: Do Things.

I've heard it said that in our twenties we fumble around in life trying to figure out what we're good at. Then in our thirties we know what we're good at and spend the next decade or so getting better at it. Our forties are spent getting fat, then our fifties growing senile.

While I don't know about those last two, the first two sound like they're probably pretty right on. As a wiener of a twenty year old I put my hand to everything and succeeded grandly at none of it. I don't know that I could argue I'm succeeding at much of it even now, but I've learned what I really enjoy and what I'm good at. Something nobody told me is that having children will give you a tight focus in life. After my second girl was born I found myself sitting down and making a list of things I wanted to do in life for hobbies outside of work. My list was about 5 items:
  1. Run
  2. Write
  3. Mountain Bike
  4. Program
  5. Graduate Studies
I don't think I dwelled on this for very long before I realized with two children I was fooling myself and cut out numbers 3-5. Those who know me know it took time to cut some of these out. I'm still working on finishing up one of my graduate degrees, but it is prioritized low on my list. Always losing out to running and writing.

For about four years now I've had this blog (and my other for almost as long), and it's changed dramatically over the years. I'm okay with that. Things I learned about writing:
  1. Write like a crazy person.
  2. Never announce a change of direction for your writing (blog et al.), just change direction.
  3. Write like a crazy person.
  4. Revising is only painful at first, it quickly becomes a pleasure.
Just because you can publish anything without reviewing it at all doesn't mean you should. Writing is about writing, therefore write. And write. And write some more.

Similarly here are some things I've learned about running:
  1. Run like an idiot.
  2. Don't wear shoes.
  3. Run like an idiot.
  4. You will fart your brains out after the 5th mile. This is normal.
I used to run for the sake of mental stability. The biggest change I ever made was shedding my shoes — now I run because I love it. I run far because I don't want to stop, and mental stability has become a mere pleasant side effect. As a side note, don't run during the day barefoot on pavement which has been cooked by the 104 degree Houston sun; run in the morning, or just before sundown.

On reflecting on these things I realized these lessons also have parallels in my spiritual life. Knowing what I know now, I wish someone would have told me the following:
  1. Chase God like a fool.
  2. Ask God for the desire to desire Him.
  3. Chase God like a fool.
  4. When you find yourself distracted by the world (fame, lust, pride, money) it's probably because you're failing at numbers 1 and 3.
You'll find the things you love to do are really pretty simple. You could spend hours each day reading about how to do them better, but the best way to learn to anything is just to do it so much it becomes ridiculous. The best way to learn to run is to run till your legs feel like Jello, and then some more. The best way to write is to write so much you don't just discern a writing voice, you discover two or three, and you learn a Hindu accent just to mix things up. The best way to follow the Lord is to chase after Him like nothing else matters.

Walk slow. Run fast. Write all the time. Publish only some of it. Wake up early. Read the Bible and mark it up as though it is God-breathed revelation — because it is.

The time you spend reading about something should never outweigh the time you spend actually doing it. The Getting Things Done (GTD) crowd is the epitome of failure in this world. You could spend 4 of your 8 hours every day learning new software to help you better get things done or you could actually just do things.

Time spent writing should be greater than time spent reading about how to write, or trying new writing software. Time spent running should be greater than time spent reading about running or running gear. Time spent with God should be greater than time spent reading about how to spend time with God.

The truth is, if you do numbers 1 and 3 in any of these you will figure out 2 and 4 in no time. Everything other than passionate pursuit is secondary and will be learned through experience if you maintain said passion. And maintaining passion is easy if you just stay in the pursuit.

Knowing what things are worthy of your time can be difficult. But once you've decided where you will spend your time, the how is simple. Listen to Nike — Just do it.