Are you doing now what you wanted to when you were 10?
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“As I’ve gone through life, I’ve found that your chances for happiness are increased if you wind up doing something that is a reflection of what you loved most when you were somewhere between nine and eleven years old…At that age, you know enough of the world to have opinions about things, but you’re not old enough yet to be overly influenced by the crowd or by what other people are doing or what you think you ‘should’ be doing. If what you do later on ties into that reservoir in some way, then you are nurturing some essential part of yourself. It’s certainly been true in my case. I’m doing now, at fifty-eight, almost exactly what most excited me when I was eleven.” ~ Walter Murch

A very thought provoking quote indeed. As best I can remember, there were three things I thought about the most at age 10: coding, teaching, and writing movies or books.

My dad was a teacher at the time, and though I can’t remember actually wanting to grow up to be a teacher, I used to pretend to be a teacher all the time at that age. My sister would sit in my “class” and I would teach, or preach (my dad did that part time while teaching full time) to her. This was a weekly practice we did for fun.

I’m about to start teaching full time and obviously have been coding for a living for almost 20 years. Not bad, as far as this quote goes, but I suppose it’s time I start working on that novel or screenplay.

How about you?

and everything changes…

I’ve mentioned before on my blog that I have an annual tradition of using my birthday as the focal point for setting and reaching yearly goals. Each birthday I spend significant time by myself, reviewing what I wrote and planned the previous birthday, assessing it against my progress, and setting new goals for the year ahead. It’s sort of my own personal State of the Union. Throughout the year, I have regular checkins and adjustments to make sure I’m on target and to allow for agility with my goals.

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Things I Hate NOT Doing
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I recently read Derek Sivers’ post, What do you hate not doing?, and it happened to be posted right before my birthday, when I traditionally take time out to review my year’s goals and progress, and set new goals for the coming year. A lot of changes in direction have occurred at this annual meeting with myself. I review last year’s personal journal entry, and compare it to the progress I made, then grade myself, record lessons learned, and write my goals for the coming year.

So Sivers’ post was timely and I liked his idea of focusing on what you hate NOT doing, as a way to highlight your passions, so I decided to write my version of, What do you hate not doing? to help me focus on Beginning with the End in Mind for the year ahead.

What do I hate NOT doing?

I hate NOT reading
I agree with Dave Ramsey, when he said: “You’ll be the same person in 10 years except for the people you meet and the books you read“. I don’t think learning ends with reading, but it’s a great place to start. You still have to try and experience things, but, you can save a whole lot of time in your trials, by learning from others, and reading is a great way to do that. You can expand your knowledge and your imagination, and I also find it stirs my creative juices and gets them flowing. Often times, I can’t even finish a chapter in a book without stopping to brainstorm.

I read a lot online all day long, but there is something about reading a book that is much more fulfilling. A book can develop ideas in much more depth than a blog post on the Internet. I pledge to devote more time in my schedule to tackle more books.

I hate NOT working to improve and implement a web site idea
Creating web sites is my biggest passion. I love the Internet and all the possibilities this technology opens up to make our lives easier and more productive, and like reading, it can expand our minds and our knowledge, and, unlike reading, allow us to meet new people and learn from them interactively.

I love the entire process of building an interactive web site, from concept to design and implementation, delivering the product and launching it for the entertainment, educational, or productivity value it provides to the target audience. I plan in the year ahead to continue launching new sites and expanding and improving the sites I’m involved with.

I hate NOT spending time with my family
Of all the things that bring me joy, little can compare to spending time with my kids. I love to watch them have fun, to watch them learn and grow, and experience new things. It’s a joy to mentor them, by sharing my experiences, allowing them to try and fail, and being there to cheer them on regardless of the result of their efforts. Books will come and go, web sites will be launched and taken offline, but continuing the family line and passing on family values to the next generation is truly the best way to leave a legacy.

I hate NOT keeping in good physical shape
This is the area I’ve been weakest in lately, due to both lack of time and past knee injuries. But when a schedule is as packed as mine is, besides passion, the next best source of energy is being in shape. For 11 years, I worked out regularly training in the martial arts, and simply have not found a replacement that motivates me to keep in shape as much as that did. I plan to do a better job with this in my 39th year ahead.

I hate NOT traveling
The contiguous United States alone is over 3 million square miles. Add in Alaska and it grows to almost 4 million square miles. North America is 9.5 million square miles. That’s a lot to see without even having to fly very far. In fact all of that can be seen via road travel. Certainly there is far more to see outside of the U.S. and North America, and this is why I love to travel. Every state and city in the U.S. I go to presents me with a new way of life. It’s amazing how different societies can be from city to city, even within the same country. I love to see the architecture, sample the foods, see the topography, and experience the culture of each new place. It’s also a great way to learn history, and teach it to your kids at the same time. My long term goal is to have an RV and spend a good portion of each year living out of it, particularly during the hot and humid summer months of Florida.

My perfect day
In summary, my perfect day would involve waking up in some new part of the country, preferably somewhere stunningly beautiful, exercising in the morning, enjoying a breakfast with a view of the beauty, while reading one of those books I really want to get to. Then sitting down to work on one of the web sites that really excite me, with a team of equally passionate and skilled individuals, producing useable, helpful, and aesthetically pleasing sites for its users. Then after a 6 hour or so day of that, stopping to enjoy our current location with the family. Teaching the kids about the history of the area we are currently in, and meeting the locals and finding out how they live. Retiring for the evening to watch some good television or a movie, read more, smoke a cigar, and enjoy a great meal with family and friends, both new and old.

So that’s what I hate NOT doing. How about you?


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