Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Something a little bit different...

...for me at any rate. Ashley Ambirge at The Middle Finger Project (I really love that blog name), had a link to the Seth Godin's The Domino Project . The latter is is running something called Trust 30.

Trust 30 is "an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself" . The basic idea is that if you sign up you will receive a daily e-mail for 30 days each of which will set you a writing task. I'm not much of a believer in these sorts of exercises (I usually don't show up for team building type time wasters at work and seldom participate when I'm forced to put in an appearance). However, with the goal of transiting from my highly structured life (where I have relatively little need to actively find things to keep me occupied) to early retirement where the potential for boredom and sloth is a serious concern, I decided that this might, just might, be (a) interesting and (b) useful.

Having signed up, the first exercise was something of a disappointment, being both predictable and unoriginal - you have just discovered that you have 15 minutes to live etc. The "you only have x time left, what are you going to do with it" exercise is a staple of motivational speakers and writers. Steve Chandler's 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself included such an exercise (although with a longer time frame).

Notwithstanding the absence of novelty, I still went ahead and did the exercise. I'd read about and listened to people describing the exercise and their (or someone else's) experience with it - but I'd never done it myself.

In summary, if I was down to my last 15 minutes:

1. I would not be wasting time on regrets, apologies or cleaning out my sock draw. 15 minutes isn't long enough, there will be no benefit to either myself or anyone else and items #2-4 are more important;

2. I would spend all of my 15 minutes with my wife and children (multitasking on Skype to the rest of my family);

3. I would open one of the bottles of Chateaux Mouton Rothschild 2000 sitting in my wine fridge. It's way too soon and there's no time to properly decant, but what the hell, it was brought to be drunk;

4. I would provide my wife with updated passwords to my on line accounts and transfer enough money to carry the family through the probate process. Fortunately, I have a current will and my wife knows where everything is.

What else is there to say? While this is what I would do, it's neither original nor inspirational. Perhaps I just failed this project? Or maybe not. I did spend some time thinking about regrets and the thing I regret most was not finishing the fantasy novel I started writing in the late 1990s (work was a bit slow during the Asian crisis). I started picking this up last year but haven't really made much progress. The novel is on my retirement "to do" list and, if not finishing it was my biggest regret, should be prioritised.

So I did get something useful out of the exercise after all - a new feeling for my priorities and (possibly) a little motivation.

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