Writing Transformation Challenge 0.1

The longest two weeks of my life are coming to an end. Ok, I’m exaggerating. But man, this was harder than I thought. The idea was to get rid of my notes, but in reality I created so many new ones – of course – because the more I write the more I think and the more I think the more I streamline my insights.

The learning curve is steep, but through this challenge I definitely made the most progress I’ve ever made with any writing experiment. I literally wrote my ass off. But no pain no gain, right?

Nevertheless – I completely under-delivered. This was partly due to my perfectionism, but also because I was quite involved with editing projects and other work.

Instead of 14 articles I published only nine. Six of the 14 days I worked full-time. I visited my parents in my home village and I was living on a campground. I had a lot of social interaction, which drained my energy.

Nonetheless I used every free minute to write – in the subway, waiting for the bus, in the train, before going to sleep…. I spent nearly every spare moment writing.

I’m proud of what I have achieved in these two weeks. This challenge reached depths that I have never suspected and this is all that matters.

Killing The Darlings Fastly

The time restraint of the two weeks definitely forced me to steam down my insights. This made me think sharper. Due to the time pressure I had to ‘kill my darlings’ very fast. What do I mean by that for those who don’t write? I had to shorten and revise my articles faster and this helped me in the process of ‘detaching’ from my writing.

Writing is Growth

I find peace while writing. I love the process of filling a page with my thoughts.

Publishing with the idea to have to revise it ten times afterwards doesn’t satisfy me and it doesn’t improve my writing either. “Learning years are not earning years.” I guess patience is key and as long as I keep going everything is fine.

Pressure shapes a diamond, but it contracts my brain. It is more important to develop a writing routine than forcing myself to press the publishing button. There are things that are just not ‘ripe’ yet.

There is no such thing as ‘finishing an article’. There is always something to add. There will be always ten new articles in the pipeline. And that’s good – as long as the ideas are flowing I’m going to write.

“Writing over publishing”

I wrote between two to ten hours per day, but if I’m tired I better get some sleep. My topics are too fundamental to just pour them out. The range of subjects expands with every article that I write.

It blows my mind what I’m learning from this challenge. Even though my perfectionism screwed up the quantity of my challenge. I’ve never wrote more within two weeks. I feel like a tiny barrier in my head broke. And this is all that matters. I will keep going.

 

Writing Transformation Challenge 0.0

This is another type of challenge right here. I’m tired of all the notes in my notebook. I’m tired of scrolling through all my endless drafts. Something worthwhile needs time, yes. I got that. But by rewriting an article a hundred of rounds I might lose my original idea and in the end I risk improving for the worse.

Many times I don’t publish only because I think: “That’s not good enough.” “Somebody said this before.” “I can do better.”

Of course I can do better. But when is better good enough? A lot of times I feel like the more I’m trying to improve the more I’m destroying my own writing. I feel like I’m loosing messages that could be worthwhile for somebody.

The other day I went to a writing meetup in Munich. I always like the exchange with other writers. Only now I realize how important it is for my motivation to hear about the broad experience of all these novel authors, script writers, ‘conceptioners’ and comic scribblers.

This time I met Marie from France again and we were talking about a phenomenon: Every so often a book doesn’t get published, because the author changes his or her mind. “I heard this from many publishers.”, Marie contemplated. “You better publish quickly before you can change your mind.”, she encouraged me to silent the judge before it can execute.

The suspicion is close that I’m not brave enough. “I have the feeling you are hiding yourself.”, a couple of weeks ago a friend and potential work partner pointed out to me. And yes, it is true – I am hiding. I’m afraid to publish.

But this blog here is not about me. There are millions of people going through the same things like me – they suffer from anxiety, depression, a broken heart, insecurity, self-doubts, pms, every topic that I address … I have to stop considering my writing as ‘my baby’.

It is my baby in a way, of course. But why am I writing? I’m writing because I want to change perspectives. I change my perspective by reading books, listening to lectures and talking to people. Realistically I’m nothing more than a catalyst of what I read and what I experience in the real life.

These experiences are not unique to me. What is unique is the way everybody processes these experiences. I’m doing it in this way here. Writing is my therapy, creativity is my valve.

I most likely experience real freedom while filling an empty page with my own words. Unfortunately a state of flow is still rather an exception than a rule.

Being a writer is a gift and a curse – however I need to put myself out there in order to fulfill the purpose.

Why do I call it “Writing Transformation Challenge”? I want to develop my own writing style. But by polishing my articles to a point of unrecognizability I kill my style. With this challenge I want to see if pressure makes the diamond…

The goal is to publish a post every day the next 14 days. Day one will be tomorrow.

 

Why I Get Nothing Done

It’s not accurate that I get nothing done. I just don’t get done what I want to get done.

I found this verbal outpour in my inexhaustible source of notes. What stunnes me is how accurate I describe my – I would like to call it – ideation process. In a few years probably I will smile about this type of examination, but right now it illustrates my behaviour lively. My goal is still to write my heart out here – believing in the process and stuff. So, here we go:

“Why I get nothing done” – Well, this is actually the wrong title for this article, because it suggests that I know why I get nothing done. Reality is, I don’t know, really. But if I continue searching I might won’t publish anything (like in most cases as you will find out later on).

In the hope to unclog my blogging-pipeline I will just press the publishing button in a few minutes.

What happens if I want to write an article?

Phase 1: “I have an idea”

Well, it all starts with an idea (some random situation, metro, bed, toilet, any kind of waiting room, forest, plane, train,…) I write down the rough idea/insight into my notebook or on my phone. I think to myself “This is already half the article. Great I will just sit down for half an hour more and than it is all ready to publish.”

Happy and half-accomplished I continue my day knowing that I will write an article the next time I’ll sit on my computer.

But than reality strikes. I open my laptop. I even close all the unnecessary tabs and windows and I start writing. At the beginning it all looks promising. Until one point. Let’s call it the point of no return.

I’m overflowing with ideas and all of a sudden I realize that I have to start another article, because I already reach too many aspects with this one article. And then I think: “Wait a second?” – “Do I actually know what I’m talking about here?” – “What does this word actually mean?” All of a sudden I’m losing control over my own thoughts. I start another document. Maybe a third one where I’m trying to filter my thoughts. Let’s call it ‘outtakes’.

Then I get so confused and I decide “I leave it for now” and rather listen to some 432 Hz forest sounds.

Phase 2: “I want to finish this article”

A couple of weeks later another idea crosses my path. And than it comes in to my mind that I already had started a similar article a few weeks back. “I should have a look and re-read what I thought a few months ago”.

“Wait – I think I read an inspiring article about this topic in a blog. Or was in a book? Or did I have a conversation about it? Or was it Alan Watts who visited me in my dreams and told me about it? 🙂 ”

And this is already the beginning of the end. In this case either I will find out how shitty and unispired my idea is or I just get sucked in by ‘inspiring talks’ on youtube or the odd TED talk about “How to travel the world with no money” or something like this… You get the point.

Phase 3: “Procrastinating procrastination”

But then, sometimes something magical happens – I catch myself watching stuff not related to my topic and miraculously I shake an article like this one off my sleeve.

Hm, I’m not sure if I’m crazy or if this is just part of the process? Maybe I’m just learning? I guess it’s part of the process. I also guess it’s time for The Artist’s Way – many people I admire recommended me this book. The thing is – I write so much already, but none of my ideas gets out of my way. So – maybe this is my way? We will see.

Cheers from the procrastination front

 

The Revival of the Growthbuddy

Something is itching and aching. Twisted in pain I’m playing hide and seek. Disparaging my insights – disregarding my emotions. There is this void in front of me – this abyss of the unknown. I’m scared, but it’s time to wake up from this paralysis.

The past months I neglected my growthbuddy. If I really want to transform I need more self-discipline. Come on? One article every two months – that’s a joke and it is not the idea of this blog.

Oh dear, I’m not even trying to find any excuses. It was more comfortable to just crawl into my shell for a little while instead of turning my interior to the outside. Before I go down deeper any rabbit hole, it is now the time to make a leap again. It is time for manifestation.

Growthbuddy 2.0 – here we go. I will blog my heart out – at any costs – with flaws and losses.

This is a very demanding time. In these days I’m facing big challenges – learning the language of my heart while muting the voices in my head. Tada: I changed my whole life again and now I’m hesitating. Was it a good idea to give up my room and become a nomad? I have to admit that this is pretty fucking hard.

But NOW is the time to write. Now I’m growing above me – tomorrow is another day. So, what’s the plan? I want to honour my (growth)buddy again and post post post whatever and whenever I can (at least once a week).

  • I want to revive my threesome.
  • I want to resurrect the dead wood in my notes. There are tons of articles that I started and never finished.
  • I want to drop my perfectionism and post something more intuitive here. I’m not sure – maybe I even start some column or something like this.

Stay tuned buddies and love yourself more!

 

The Growthbuddy is Growing

This morning I woke up with a concrete slab on my body – literally of course – otherwise I couldn’t sit here and write.

Since I’ve started with growthbuddy, I have started to re-think my life more intensively – yes “Uli-you-think-too-much”-friends, you read right…

And I have to admit: It’s not easy –  I’m facing new abysses of my psyche everyday. So far so good, let’s jump right into the void (and stop being pathetic).

I was laying in my bed and like every morning I thought to myself “I could stay in bed or I could get up and make the most of the day.” The last weeks this decision process took a little longer.

So I stared into space asking myself, what it is worth to get up for. I felt demotivated and frustrated with a slightly tang of worthlessness. But there was this little voice inside of me. It whispered quietly but self-assured: “Come on, get out of here!” – “Aye, aye!”

Since years I’m reading books about personal growth, dealing with fears, productivity, living in the “now” – nearly non-stop or at least once in a while. The last couple of weeks I was watching a lot of TED talks of all these great people, who are changing the world and share their advice.

But today I realized, I’m not applying the advice to my own life – at least not enthusiastically enough.

“It takes a lot of reinforcement to incorporate new concepts into your behavior, so commit yourself to doing the exercises. The amount of improvement you experience will depend on how much you are willing to participate actively.” Susan Jeffers

All of a sudden I understood:  In order to change my way of thinking, I have to change my behaviour actively. I really have to do the homework. Of course: Reading is good – sucking in all sorts of information is healthy, but it is only half the rent.

My Learnings Today:

  1. I have to get active and actually work on my personal development. DO the exercises Tim Ferris and Susan Jeffers are talking about instead of postponing them, which makes me come to my second learning of the day:
  2. I have to consider this personal growth thing including this blog – but mainly the growth action behind the scenes – as a business. My life-business. And it definitely has the same or an even higher significance than any other job.
  3. The mind is like a computer. (according to Elon Musk;) And a computer can be rebooted, configured newly, updated or upgraded. Or you can just throw it out of the window. I don’t want to get rid of my mind – at least not infinitely – but I can definitely change my running system, if I really want to.
  4. Also I understood, that I don’t know enough about my brain. Well, this is not necessarily a new insight. More importantly I understood, that I can change it. My goal is it, before getting more specific, I need to learn more about the prefrontal cortex and about Elon Musk. (Yes, he is one of my idols in terms of rationality and willpower.;)

The bath of self-pity is still warm and cozy. But I want to drain it down the tub. What am I talking about? Well, I want to find out, what is really hindering me from living a satisfying life, why am I always doubting my purpose? Where is the lack of self-confidence coming from?

My Next Steps:

  • defining my fears
  • learning more about self-love/acceptance
  • reading more about Elon Musk 😉 (Biography already ordered)

“Life becomes a Sunday afternoon; we ask for nothing grand, and we cease to demand anything more than we are willing to give. In that state we think of ourselves as being mature; we put aside the phantasies of our youth, and we seek personal and professional achievement. We are surprised, when people our age say that they still want this or that out of life. But really, deep in our hearts, we know that what has happened is that we have renounced the battle for our dreams – we have refused to Fight the Good Fight.” Paulo Coehlo

People, who make their dreams come true are commited to pain and suffering. They are willing to “fight the good fight”. They go out there. They accept the hard work of mastering challenges and overcoming obstacles.

I’m fighting for more self-confidence, less insecurities, anxiety and self-hatred. But in order to do this, I have to change myself actively – not only by reading and talking to people. But step-by-step I have to change my habits and reboot my system.

Don’t renounce the battle – fight the fight.

 

3 Tricks That Will Boost Your Productivity

I am a procrastinator. Everyday I find excuses, why I’m not able to achieve my goals. Sometimes a dentist appointment is hindering me. On other days time-consuming social commitments are filling my day. On some days I’m just too tired, too lazy, too ‘uninspired’, too hungover, too “busy” with anything else apart from what I actually want to do. There is always something, that holds me back from doing, what really matters to me.

You find yourself in my distractibility? The first step is to ACCEPT, that life is an unpredictable mess sometimes (my life most of the time).

Let’s not resign ourselves to the situation of being a procrastinator. Instead of punishing ourselves for being non-productive and expanding our lack of self-confidence, let’s start to develop strategies! These tricks already helped me.

1. Go for 10-minutes Slots

I’m postponing things ALL THE TIME, but under pressure I can work effectively. So why not produce the pressure myself before the deadline is scratching the neck?

This is an advice I already got from different resources: Go for ten minute time slots! Setting an alarm is not only useful when boiling eggs, but also when you’re brain is bubbling over. Interestingly Blender Guru Andrew Price was my final eye-opener. (Video below)

The trick is to focus on one thing you have to do, one idea or one project. You start the task and within ten minutes you work as fast and intense as you can. After these ten minutes you will notice, how much you can get done within only ten minutes. After these ten minutes you find yourself either highly motivated to keep working (getting into the flow) or you move over to the next task/appointment or commitment. Either way – YOU GOT SOMETHING DONE.

Everybody should watch this video (not only people, who use Blender):

2. Fast Writing

“Writing is thinking” – This is a direct quote from the book “Accidental Genius: Revolutionize Your Thinking Through Private Writing” by Mark Levy, which I read recently.

The key is: The faster you write, the faster you think. According to Levy you have to toss your perfectionism overboard in order to reach the “essence” of your thoughts. You don’t “plan” your thoughts, right? And sometimes you have genius ideas? So why not write down your thoughts exactly the way they leave your brain?

For me this book was groundbreaking in many ways. It didn’t only revolutionize my approach, when writing an article, but also when starting a new project at work. Every project starts with a written concept, so you can apply this trick to a lot of tasks. Combined with the “timer” this trick is your master weapon.

3. Do the First Step Immediately

You are thrilled by an idea. You really want to realize it – but when? I had this feeling with this website. This growth buddy rattled around in my head for a couple of weeks. Than I decided to just buy the domain – Et voilá, the first step was made. Of course, there is still a long way, but every journey starts with the first step, right? In case of this blog, the domain was the first step.

But sometimes you might come up with ideas you can’t realize, because you don’t have the skills or the knowledge. In this case you should share it with a friend or at least write it down in your ideas book or other document – but I highly recommend you to TALK ABOUT YOUR IDEAS. It helps.

Hopefully you find yourself in these tricks. Do you have more advice/resources about productivity? Leave them in the comments.

 

Who is this Growthbuddy?

The other night I woke up from this weird dream. Actually I wasn’t even sure, if I should share it or not, because it sounds so bizarre. But I decided to let you take part in my inner journey entirely – everything else would be boring.

In my dream I was nine months pregnant – just about to give birth. Unknowingly I carried new life within me. When I woke up, first I felt relieved, that it was just a dream. Then it dawned me: “This must be a sign!” All of a sudden I was thrilled by one idea: Setting up this domain!

Growthbuddy.rocks was born

Since a very long time I thought about catalyzing my brain clutter somehow. From time to time my close friends, who read my blog uliquitous would pressure me: “You should write more about your thoughts.” Apparently my thoughts are different to their own thoughts…

Well, the time is now. I gave digital birth. And my growthbuddy is walking its first steps. This is the first chapter of a neverending story called “life”, “personal development”, “building character”?  I’m not sure how to name it, but I will keep writing.

“The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step”
Lao Tzu

Who or what is this growthbuddy?

I discovered the word growth buddy in Susan Jeffers’ book „Feel the Fear and do it anyway – How to turn your fear and indecision into confidence and action“.

Either if it is creating a new career, exercising more, transforming your relationship into a healthy one or learning a new language. What mainly holds us back from changing anything in our lives is fear: Fear of losing something, fear of the unknown, fear of failure – the fear of change has many different names…

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”

Growth buddies are there to support each other in the process of change and overcoming fears. They encourage each other to find their own path in life. This blog is supposed to be my growth buddy. My catalyst for the discoveries I make.

I always wanted to introduce you to my brain clutter, but I didn’t find the right format for it. I will find out, if this is the right format.

Who am I to talk about personal growth?

I did not walk the Camino de Santiago, I didn’t raise a child, I’m not a guru. All I do is changing my life from time to time – apparently a couple of times more than other people do. I try new things, I choose detours and – most importantly – I walk my own pace.

And on the way, I acknowledge my inner process. A process, which I didn’t understand entirely yet. This is the reason, why I started this blog.

Things I’m working on

  • listening to my intuition
  • learning to meditate
  • becoming a non-procrastinator (Tim Urban is helpinge me 😉 )
  • focus instead of doing one thousand things at a time
  • getting out of my swimming pool of self-pity (Susan Jeffers calls it the “chatterbox” – “The voice that drives you crazy” – direct quote of my chatterbox: “You suck, Uli”)
  • stop blaming myself for a lack of knowledge, discipline, inner strength and other self-defined shortcomings
  • living an authentic life