Planning to Fail

Last updated on March 30th, 2021 at 11:22 pm

Those who fail to plan plan to fail. How true it is. Planning isn’t something that comes naturally to me at all. I rather do things flying by the seat of my pants, forever improvising and adjusting my path to achieve success. It’s worked pretty well so far—I’m not incapable of thinking ahead, I just don’t like to do it. But you sure do learn a lot through the planning that you failed to do.

The 2K11 24/7 has been quite the journey so far—in a little over a week from now, we’ll be looking at the 300th post of the year (and what a post it’ll be)! But because I decided to do daily posts this year, because I chose to delve deeper into the world of blogging than I ever had in the past, there’s a number of lessons I’ve learned through the entire experience…

Calling it Quits

Last updated on April 5th, 2021 at 08:40 am

Calling it quits is easy. Why commit to something you really don’t want to do? Does it benefit you? Is there anything you’ll gain from being stuck in a situation you don’t want to be in?

That’s a question I face more often than I’d like to admit.

If you didn’t know, I’ve been attending a sewing class on Tuesdays—I figured that having more domestic skills to bring to the table would be useful now that I’m a married man, but starting with sewing may not have been my best decision.

In the first 4 weeks of the 8-week program, we learned a lot of the basics—how to thread a sewing machine, the different kinds of stitches available to us, how to sew in a zipper and so on.

The second half has been a little harder to digest. We’re in the middle of working on a 4-week project, and regardless of the gender of anyone in the class, it’s making a skirt.

Since I won’t seriously expect Sarah to wear anything I sew as a beginner effort in her regular wardrobe, I’m probably not as excited, motivated or driven as I could be to finish the project.

Realistically, I likely won’t.

But something in me refuses to quit. Somewhere inside of me, while I know that doing this right now might not see any immediate gains, but practice makes perfect. We never know the roads upon which we’ll travel in life, and the more skills you acquire, the better equipped you’ll be for whatever life throws at you!

I might not always be on time, and I might not even care that much for the project anymore, but I’ll see it through.

We’ve become so obsessed with finishing the race that we give up pre-emptively before we’ve given all that we can. If you need to get a report done by end-of-day Monday and you don’t, will you die? No. Your boss may be displeased. You may lose your job if it’s important enough—but you will live to fight another day.

If you don’t manage to get all your errands done in a weekend where you’re feeling particularly tired and worn out, will it be there end of the world? NO. People might be mad at you and you might need to play around with your schedule to get things done, but you will live to fight another day.

So never stop trying. Never stop being conscious of your schedule and only fitting in what’s actually feasible. But there’s no real shame in failure— you can’t possibly win them all!

No matter what you do, the Earth will still be revolving when you wake up. Beat yourself up all you want. Be angry all you want. But if you’ve learned anything today, I hope it’s this:

You’ll only be making things worse for yourself far more than you’re making anything better for anyone else.

Food for thought.

–Casey E. Palmer

The second logo for Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad

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Less is More.

Last updated on April 5th, 2021 at 08:35 pm

After watching a TED Talk from Graham Hill espousing that <=>—that is, less is more, it really hit home. Not simply because it was something I was already trying to do as much as possible with my stuff. Not simply because he’s a pretty compelling speaker. The thing that really hit home for me is that he showed it could be done. It’s very much possible to achieve happiness, if not become happier if we have less stuff in our lives.

He rolled up so much of what’s been in my mind into one chat:

  • carefully considering the things we want to buy before we actually buy them;
  • making better life choices that don’t entrap us or lessen our quality of life, but instead, liberate us to live the lives we actually want to live; and
  • being able to unlock the secret to happiness and identify when our behaviours actually lead us in the opposite direction (and this happens way too often)

We overcomplicate our lives by convincing ourselves that everything isn’t simply part of one greater whole.

Inspirational Sundays: Maurice Ashley

Last updated on April 5th, 2021 at 09:34 pm

A sunrise with text overlaid: “The thing always happens that you believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen.” —Frank Lloyd Wright (on belief)

Earlier today, I was taking a break and indulging in some TV (a rarity for me), when on PBS, I came across a documentary called America Beyond the Color Line. While I don’t often have the patience or attention span to sit through a documentary, this one struck a chord when I saw an interview with Maurice Ashley — the first Black chess international Grand Master in history. It wasn’t his accomplishments that piqued my interest, though—it was his views on what chess can do for others, especially the people we often let slip between the cracks in society. You can see what I saw below:

It’s when those who’ve managed to share fame, prestige and power in life choose to share it with those less fortunate than themselves that we start to make some real change in the world. As is said later in the same documentary by someone else, the program that Maurice helps with is trying to convert “people eating up $60,000 in taxes a year to people who pay $60,000 a year in taxes”.

With a lot of work, little by little, and more people like Maurice Ashley—we can make it.

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A Mention of Reinvention

Last updated on March 21st, 2021 at 01:36 am

A simple graphic telling people to re-invent themselves.

Do you ever wake up feeling like you’re living someone else’s life? Like you’re just going through the motions day by day and you’re not really connecting with everything going on around you? That’s definitely me some mornings—the ones where I wake up a little unsure of what the point of the day will be. Or the times where I wonder how I wound up with things in my schedule that I don’t really feel like doing.

We’re quick to label it depression or to tell people that they should suck it up and that “it’s just how life is”—but something doesn’t ring true there. While it’s true that we’ve become adept at making mountainous problems out of molehills, it doesn’t automatically discount our feelings of unease toward our lives. Taking examples from my life, when people meet me for the first time and discover that I’m a public servant, they’re floored. The idea of a creative, energetic youth and working in an environment that’s not typically seen to be so usually never matches up in their minds.

Though I tend to laugh it off and simply go with the flow, maybe there’re elements of truth there. Perhaps there’s something to be said about our performance, thinking and behaviour when we’re not in situations that complement who we are. It’s not only limited to our work lives—it can be applied to just about any part of your life!