A few years ago, I learned a parenting trick that changed my life. It wasn’t complicated. I didn’t find it buried in one of those 400-page-long, zero-pictures parenting books that you often assume everyone has read but you. It’s not even that long. You can master this trick in 4 seconds. What is it?
Larry David feels just like me and you when it comes to criticism.
You’d think he wouldn’t. He co-created Seinfeld, the most successful sitcom of all-time. His current show Curb Your Enthusiasm is a smash success. He’s on the cover of this month’s Rolling Stone magazine. And yet, he still does the same math you and I do when it comes to critics.
What’s critic’s math?
Last week, we had an influential musician over to our house for dinner. We’d never met before, but had bumped into each other on Twitter a few times and have a lot of mutual friends.
After he went home and my wife and I were getting ready to go to bed, I wrote a tweet that said, “Great day with @__________, an artist who inspires me to be a better me.”
Then I asked myself a three letter word that has the power to radically improve every blog and tweet you ever write:
Someone once told me that the secret to being humble is remembering that it’s not all about you.
“It’s” meaning the world, the day, the conversation at a coffee shop, the traffic jam you’re stuck in, etc.
My friend said that in order to really believe it’s not all about you, you have to believe that everyone is more interesting than you. The person who cleans your room at a hotel, the guy next to you in traffic, the businessman who sits next to you on a plane. Everyone.
I thought this was an impossible feat. And honestly, kind of dumb advice.
(As I wrote recently, I’m going to end the year with the top 5 posts from 2011. Today kicks off with number #5. See you on Sunday, January 1 for Finish Year!)
A few weeks ago, I was supposed to run in an event called “The Warrior Dash.” It’s a 5K obstacle course that involves mud, fire, water and Viking helmets. I’d signed up for it months ago. But 24 hours before the event, I decided not to go.
Today is the day we all share the goals we’re committing to for FinishYear!
Why are we doing FinishYear?
Because completed dreams change the world.
What are we going to do?
Tweet, Facebook post or comment on this blog every day in January with the hashtag #FinishYear to share our progress, roadblocks and encouragement.
Why are we doing it together?
Because fear always tries to isolate you when you go on a new adventure, and dreaming is best played as a team sport.
When and where does it start?
On Sunday, January 1, 2012 right here on this blog.
That said, here is what I am committing to finishing this year.
Tomorrow is the day we all share our goals for FinishYear! I’m looking forward to seeing what you’ve got planned for 2012. As you work on your list of goals, I want to remind you of something. If your goals aren’t measurable or tangible, you won’t actually finish them. Every great book on goal setting will tell you that.
But how do you take a goal from fuzzy and undefined to crystal clear and actionable?
Here’s what I’m doing for one of my goals this year:
When I was a kid, my grandmother had a simple rule about taking us out to dinner: She’d pay for your meal if you ate the whole thing.
What I learned early on was that my eyes were often bigger than my stomach. Especially at cafeteria-style restaurants where I could grab plates of food as I walked down the aisle. Spaghetti? Yes. Hamburger? Yes. Bread sticks? Yes. Cake? Yes. Pie? Yes. I grabbed and grabbed and grabbed until I could barely carry my tray. It was too much, and trying to eat everything I had access to just to finish it usually made me sick.
Yesterday, I challenged you to finish something this year. I dared you to jump into Finish Year with me. But how do you pick something to “finish?” What does that even mean? If you’ve got a book you’ve always wanted to write, it’s easy to say “I’ll finish my manuscript this year,” but what if you don’t have a goal like that?
Those are great questions to ask, and the hardest part of Finish Year might be figuring out something worthy to finish.
Here are a few ways to build your Finish List:
Today, I turned 36.
And looking back over the last year of my life, there is a one lesson that stands out from all the things I learned.