I choose not to follow my dream. (Instead of I don't have time to follow my dream)

You read it right, you choose not to follow your dream. The reason I said that it is because you had time to accomplish other stuff but not to make that next step toward your dream. You wish to write that book and you watch a movie instead of write another page. You want to learn to play the guitar, but instead of practice you choose to go shopping. You want to buy a new house and instead of saving those $50 you pick go out for dinner.
People make millions of excuses of why they can’t follow their dreams and in many cases the reason they are not following their dreams is not because they can’t (as they tell themselves) but because they choose not to. I am a writer and a speaker. When I don’t write I am not getting closer to my dream, but it has nothing to do with the excuses that I give myself, the reality is that in many cases I choose not to follow my dreams an instead convince myself (like many do) that there is no time right now to follow the dream.
It is totally fine to choose not to follow the dream, if you are making a conscious choice, it is really bad when instead of making that choice you allow your own self to convince you that instead of choosing you are just a victim of lacking of time…

Need to accomplish something important today? Unplug the Internet

Need to accomplish something important today? Unplug the internet. You read it right on the tittle, as much as the internet can help us to accomplish great things it also make us waste time that we don’t even noticed we are wasting.
I have mention many times that I wake up at 4:00AM because I have learned that if I do, I found time to Focus and Concentrate on those things that are really important to me. I also avoid the internet at that time in the morning, not for any other reason that my goal is to be productive before my kids wake up. I work from home, I have a toddler and a six month old baby; silence is a rare thing here.
The same thing happen to all of us with the internet, the internet in a way it is like a toddler running around shouting, happy, and make you pay attention to it constantly. Sometimes to accomplish that important task you need to get the toddler to take a nap and use that time to accomplish that important task. Unplug the Internet produce the same effect.
Don’t believe me, try the following:
– Pick one important task.
– Calculate how long it will be to finish that task.
– Unplug the internet cable.
– Discover that will take less time that what you normally will need to accomplish that task.

I was so happy writing that book until suddenly…

Writing it is one of those professions that are interesting. Anything and everything is useful and useless at the same time.
Writing a book is one of those things that many think it is really easy to do and provide no real challenge. I just wish more of that people where simply right. I love to have written, the writing of the book, that’s a different story.
In my experience this is how it goes (or how it had been on each book I had written). You begin with the idea, exited to begin to think on the book, plan the book, dream about the book… You even begin writing and are having fun…
Suddenly, everything when dark, you start shivering, fear begin to posses you and the writing process is over. Every time you sit on that chair to continue the manuscript you feel the cold, the loneliness, you can’t even write your own name, you fear even the name of your own book and are so happy no one knows you were writing a book… Welcome to the Valley of Despair. This is the place where you can find all the hope in the world, at least the most writers hope in the world.
If you have ever try to write a book you know the place. Most people run and never show up again after they have been there. They convinced themselves that they can’t write, they are not writers or the book wasn’t even a good idea.
Sadly there is only one way out, trough the Valley of Despair. There is no coming back, no turning around, you can quit and forget about that book or you can begin the adventure and walk trough the Valley of Despair.
I wish you good luck, it is wet, dark, cold and stinks, but it is the only way to finish that book you dream on writing.
Why is that way, I have no clue, but know many writers that struggle with it. I am one of those. I come every day and work hard to get out of there, but sometimes for weeks, even months all that I do is to shiver, be terrified, cold and in despair. All that I want to do is to quit the book. To stop writing it. To forget about it. Eventually and without any warning you are out, you survived, you are not terrified nor shivering… Eventually you discover you actually wrote a book. Then another story begins.

Working on my iPad: Should I use a Keyboard with my iPad?

Should I use a Keyboard with my iPad? is probably the most common question I got when people ask me things about the iPad, Which Keyboard do you use? is probable the second most common one.
The short answer is yes. I currently use a Logitech KB810; but the answer it is much more complicated than a yes or a no. I don’t use my keyboard daily, because I use the keyboard only when I can block four hours of writing. Otherwise I will use the onscreen keyboard of the iPad.
When I got the iPad it wasn’t like that, I could not type slow enough to make it worthwhile, so I always end up using the keyboard. With a little practice and some time (and a software called TapTyping[www.twitter.com/taptyping]), I learn how to type on the screen of the iPad almost as fast as I can on the keyboard, so if I am not going to be working for a really long period of time I can use the on screen one.
The reason I pick the keyboard on those occasions that I can write more than four hours is comfort and to be able to get more screen. When using the keyboard I can place my iPad on Portrait mode and see a whole page of text, that it is irrelevant when I know I can be interrupted every seven seconds, when my four year old and the six month old baby are around.
Should you use a Keyboard with your iPad? Depends. My advice is that you learn to use the onscreen keyboard. The more components you need to carry the less chance you have to pull your iPad on a moment notice and work for ten minutes.
I carry my iPad with me and I can get use of those weird ten minutes that I am waiting and pull the last article or book I am writing and do a little bit more while waiting, but if I need a keyboard to do that, I most likely will never do it. It was exactly the reason I never did in the laptop. The laptop was heavier, and not as quick and simple to use as the iPad is.
The long answer to the short question is NO. Learn to type on the screen, learn to type fast on the screen. Remember that the iPad is not a laptop, and you may need to reconsider some of your current experiences and workflows to really get the most out of it.

The Lizard brain and the Monkey Mind

After I wrote yesterday about the Lizard Brain, Gary Vamer wrote a fantastic comment that inspired the following post, he said:

“Always good to remember the Lizard brain… since our humans brains tend to forget! Nice Post, and nice reminder to push through the fear and move on. Now if I could only get the Lizard Brain and Monkey Mind to play nice I’d be all set!”

I think if somehow we could figure it out how to make that work, we will be all set…
In case you are not familiar with the term “Monkey Mind” is a term that it is usually used in Buddhist which describes the persistent churn of thoughts in the undisciplined mind. You know when your mind it is like a monkey mind, going everywhere and accomplishing or letting you accomplish nothing.
As you may guess, it is not enough to beat the Lizard Brain, if you can pass the fear and finally move but had no guidelines, your monkey mind will take over and you will do circles but accomplish little.
Even when I struggle constantly with my Lizard Brain, I have a better control of the Monkey Mind. I have learned that when I have clear expectations and guidelines for my Monkey Mind in general I am able to work much better a soon as I get the Lizard Brain quiet. I have learned that my Monkey Mind need to be reminded that there will be chance to play as we walk the path. For that reason I begin my day planning the day, reading my goals (short and long term) and trying to identify what really had my attention. Usually that process help me keep the monkey in check and force me to deal only with the Lizard Brain.
My success with the Lizard Brain and the Monkey Mind is another story.

When are you going to let your fears stop you?

When are you going to let your fears stop you? Yes, you read that fine. It wasn’t a mistake, and your answer most likely was that I was crazy. Regardless your fears stop you constantly, sabotage you, and distract you for that goal or dream you have. The worst part is that you allow it; you let your fears do it.
Seth Godin had said a lot about what he called the Lizard Brain. The objective of the Lizard Brain is protect you, is to generate fear so you don’t do anything and stay on that place that you are fine, safe and protected. That means that anything that it doesn’t know how it is going to go, should be avoided.
The big question is when are you going to do something about it, or you are simply going to let it stop you. I wish I could give you 25 steps to beat your own Lizard Brain and accomplish this, but in my experience it is a unique journey. You need to constantly beat the Lizard Brain.
When you prove that something it is not as dangerous as your Lizard Brain is trying to make you believe, it is going to stop nagging you and let you do it. Be aware that the Lizard Brain job is to scan danger, so even if it accept that there is no danger on that little thing you just prove, it will continue, and stop you in the next step. To make things worse, it will learn the technique you use to beat it the last time, so it use a different strategy to win.
The good news, is that you don’t need to do anything. If you regardless decided to do something about it, ask: When are you going to let your fears stop you? After you remember how absurd this is, wake up and work until the Lizard Brain discover the answer to that question. At that point, she will win again and your job will be to identify how to beat it once more.

The keyboard on an iPad… it's optional

Mi friend and co-author of the book #iPadOnly, Michael Sliwinski always said that with the iPad the keyboard is optional.
Most people get their iPad and immediately get a Keyboard. I did it when I got mine on 2010 and have use it for every time I need to write for two hours or more. The reality is that for anything else I don’t need the keyboard for anything else and I am even able to work without the keyboard for writing, it is just that there is something nice when I am spending a long time siting writing to be able to use the full screen.
People it is obsessed with trying to make their iPad a laptop and get frustrated when they discover it is not. Those things that many called weakness of the iPad are in many cases exactly the strengths they have. The lack of keyboard it is one of those.
When I am going to write or respond email, analyzing data, working on spreadsheets, making presentations, mind maps and much more things, I really don’t need the keyboard for anything, and because of that I can work on many places that a laptop will be the wrong tool for the job.
The reality is that we use the keyboard and the mouse constantly because those where the best tools available on a PC. Most likely you have seen that famous keynote where Steve Jobs announce the iPhone. At that time most SmartPhones had a small keyboard, when he announced that his iPhone was not going to have any, people was sure he was going to fail. Well I think time has shown us that he was not necessarily wrong.
The iPad has exactly the same power to change the keyboard and mouse paradigm and we are seeing how more and more people it is using tablets and more specifically iPads to do their job.
In 2011 when I mention that my iPad was my main machine and that I was #iPadOnly people tough it was impossible. Two years later, many people is trying to accomplish the same, but they are not yet ready to abandon their old believes and because of that, they simply find frustration and try to do a familiar set up.
I have joke that if Apple release a mouse to the iPad, many people will get it as a compliment to their iPad keyboard. The reality is that the keyboard is optional, for most part you don’t need it, and if you spend enough time practicing and paying attention you most likely will use it on exceptional occasions, unless you write for two or more hours straight almost everyday.

Everything is about perspectives.

Everything is about perspectives. I can work #iPadOnly because I took the time to check my own workflows and give me some perspective on what and where I am trying to accomplish and doing. My daughter eats vegetables because for her it is a normal food (and from the perspective of the parents she has consequences if she doesn’t.) In the past I was a frequent flyer (more than 200,000 miles on a year) and except when I got bumped to First Class I always found the space really small. I stop flying for a living in 2010 and begin working full time at my home office. To be honest, we haven’t travel that much on a plane since. Regardless I notice how this week my perspective changed. I use to weight more than 350lbs. That fact defined my perspective regarding the size of the rows on airplanes, and based on that perspective, they were really small, the little table is way to close (even impossible to use if the person in front of you decide to recline) the seats are tight and the person next to you (asumming you didn’t got the lucky middle, in which case is the people around you) is way to close. I did it for more than 200,000 miles every year but was never something comfortable (unless you got sent to first, that happen often when you travel that much)
As I was saying this trip came with some change in perspectives, I set my iPad mini to work on the table and decide to pull it closer because it was more comfortable to type. It was in that moment that a little something in my brain fire a smile and for a moment I was really proud. I was more than 150lbs lighter than 2008, 100lbs lighter than my last work flight in 2010 and 20lbs since my last plane trip and for the first time in my adult life I was comfortable in that space.
I am aware that airlines rows have less and less space, so I am sure it’s not that. Also I didn’t got bumped to first class in this trip. The thing is the change of perspective, this seat are not as small as I remember them, the table is not as close as it used to be, and actually this may have been the best working session I have ever had on a plane, while sitting on coach. The perspective changed and seems totally different than 150lbs ago (even 20lbs ago) from an uncomfortable space to a one that it fits perfectly.
It was this exactly the fact of how I was able to change everything that made me think about other perspectives that may also need to create an adjustment, that may need a readjustment or even a radical change.
We tend to come to the conclusion that certain things are the way they are, I did for many years , airplanes were small spaces, I never considered that: I was too big.
This is a topic that I want to continue covering, and I want to leave you thinking for a moment on what may need an adjustment on your own perspective… I can think on a couple of things…

Are you ready for the second half of the year?

It is interesting that June it is almost gone. There are 5 more days to the second half of the year. At this point it is a great moment to sit and reflect on what are you accomplish so far, and how in line you are with your goals. At this time many people drop the idea of those goals and will begin to plan when december comes around again.
I am a believer of reviewing your goals constantly, in order to remember where you are and where you are going. For example 5 years ago, I decided to stop smoking and begin taking care of my health. I have weight myself almost every friday since. I have lost more than 150 lbs (75 kilos) because I have remind myself often what to do and what I am trying to accomplish.
I have publish eight books since 2011. Not because I am a better writer, not because I write faster than many writers. Because I remind myself every morning that I am a writer and my business is to write.
That doesn’t mean you win all, or you are successful every time. I have fail on the blogging side many times, I get tired, busy, distracted and weeks pass without me posting, and the more I let it go, the harder is to come back.
But it is this constant checking what allow me to keep most of them on movement and had allow me over the years to accomplish many of them.
When was the last time you check where are you and where you want to go? When was the last time you check your goals? I recommend that you do that daily, in the worst scenario weekly.