It’s time to implement Plan B. But first a little background…
Yesterday I spent a little over an hour studying Farsi using Rosetta Stone. Though I am constantly learning the language from being married to Princess Little Tree now, this was the first time I had opened my Rosetta Stone Farsi pack in almost two years. One would think that once a purchase that expensive is made there would be no stopping you from making full use of it. But such is human nature. In business it is common knowledge that nearly 90% of all purchases are impulse buys (all except the very basic necessities) — which makes it easy to sell almost anything to anyone (this is the key to success in sales); and furthermore that most people do not purchase things to use them half as much as they purchase them for the initial rush they get out of the purchasing process (another key to success in sales). Another well known fact in the world of business, sales and consumerism studies is that less than 10% of people who purchase any kind of non-essential luxury items, these might could include educational or improvement courses, books, magazine subscriptions, timeshare resorts, clothes and shoes, etc, actually use the items purchased; less than 1% make use of them more than once. No matter how much they spend. The cost of the item is never a factor.
I heard these statistics early on in life and made a promise to myself that I would never fall into that 99% group who buy things and never use them. I’ve purchased every course Anthony Robbins has ever released (and countless others) and completed every course several times from start to finish. Some of those babies are 30 day courses. Not necessarily easy. At the age of 25 I set out to learn how to speak and understand as many languages as I could until I felt satisfied. When pressed, I consider the practical application of how many would be truly necessary or useful and a rough estimate for me personally usually comes to about ten when I consider every language that I currently am aware of and how many I have a desire to learn. As many already know (this is contextual), presently I am moderately proficient in five, including my native English. The reason? Because once I decide to take on learning a new language I continue with all of the steps in the system I designed many years ago to learn any foreign language proficiently. It’s a simple system, but contains many steps, and usually take about one solid year, or two. It isn’t easy. But I enjoy it. And that’s what really counts.
People who say they “can speak a foreign language” and then only know a few words is one of the few things I find un-pleasurable in my fellow human brethren. There is also that pesky habit some people have of jumping in at any opportunity they get when a foreign language is mentioned in casual conversation among a group of people just to announce that they “used to be able to speak that language” or “lived in that country and spoke that language” but they’ve “since forgotten it all now”. Hey, we all have our pet peeves. That just happens to be one of mine. The reason I bring it up is because having learned these statistics about impulse consumerism early in life, I have always made it a habit to master as much of everything I set out to do, or at the very least attempt to. Unless upon further examination I decide to abort the mission because it no longer interests me or I decide it to be no longer useful. With learning foreign languages, once I established that goal, I created an efficient system with numerous steps based on research and studying the various methods that people have used throughout history. That system I have already written about and mapped out here in the Diaries. No need to go into it again here. But suffice it to say, it takes a lot of commitment, dedication, effort and hours; as anyone who has pursued the same goal can corroborate. At times in the past I have found it excruciatingly tedious to keep on once I commit. But I do it anyway.
That is until the last two years. I have failed miserably in my quest to learn Farsi. I decided and committed to learning Farsi seven years ago. It is the first foreign language I ventured to learn that did not use what we commonly call the English alphabet. I put a few years into learning Hebrew as well, but never approached it wholeheartedly using my system. With Farsi, the process was going to be much more difficult than any other language I have attempted to learn thus far. Learning to speak and understand it is one thing. Learning to read and write in it is another entirely. The former being my goal, not the latter.
Purchasing the Farsi set of language packs through Rosetta Stone I felt would offer considerable help in my goal — normally I use Pimsleur’s system in terms of the audio portion of it. I also make sure to take at least one-hundred and twenty hours in sit down classes with a teacher. That’s how I usually begin. (Again, I’ve already written about all of this in prior posts years ago.) Being married to Princess Little Tree enables me to get the classes portion in on a 24/7/365 basis. And for the last seven years I have been attempting to slowly learn the language through audio and books and studying as I always do. But over the last three years I have fallen behind in many different pursuits I have committed to. Not just in my goal to learn Farsi. I almost completely stopped writing any and all the books I have been working on over the last twenty years. I stopped blogging daily in the Transcendence Diaries. I stopped going to the gym and working out. I don’t even check email anymore. Which people still find impossible to believe. But on and on it goes.
I have been pondering this odd shift in my behavior a lot over the last few months. Wondering why all of a sudden I became such a muggle, or slug, or buffer… terms that perhaps only a few might be familiar with. In other words, where the hell did my relentless ability to commit and follow-through beyond normal-human go? Well for one thing I got married. And in the process I not only adopted a wife and all the accompanying responsibilities that go with that, but two step daughters as well; in addition to the fact that I have way too many jobs and twice as many hobbies. We’ve also been living bi-coastally for three years (something I don’t recommend unless you have the money to afford a decent sized full time staff to help with the sheer giant sized quantity of extra work involved in that sort of lifestyle), and along with all of that we’ve been actively trying to have children of our own.
Making babies may be easy for some, especially when you’re young, which is part of the problem with the rampant pandemic of unwanted pregnancies among the world’s young people. But as women get older it becomes more and more difficult to accomplish such a seemingly natural task. Without getting too personal (one of the reasons I have not been regularly posting in the Transcendence Diaries on a daily basis as I used to do since I started it in 2002), let me just say that baby making turned into a full time job for us very soon after we made the decision to start our own family; it has included numerous doctors all over the country, more “procedures” than I can count, and more heartbreak than anyone should permit themselves to endure in one lifetime. Needless to say we have still not achieved success in our quest to have beaucoup offspring, but we’ve also not given up. I am still very confident that one day we will be proud parents and grandparents of a large brood of little Ambassadors and Little Trees.
To get back to the point, I can now clearly see and understand why I have fallen behind in so many of the things that in times past used to be daily routine for me, such as blogging, writing, exercising and learning foreign languages. But that’s just the “reason”. Discovering the potential reason for something does not necessarily mean that one has to succumb to it. For me personally this just might be one of the single most important keys to success that I have learned. There may be a very good and valid reason why we are not able to do something; but that doesn’t mean that we have to succumb to the limitations of that reason. We may just need to re-engineer our systems and shift a few things around.
Welcome to Plan B. Once I felt comfortable that I had discovered the real foundational reasons behind my sudden lack of being able to accomplish as much as I was used to in the past, i.e. I inadvertently took on a variety of numerous other new duties and responsibilities, I spent the last two months analyzing what possible solutions there might be available to me to still be able to maintain my current lifestyle and all of its itinerant jobs and duties AND add the usual number of extracurricular activities I am normally accustomed to being able to accomplish. I’ve been thinking about the year I spent in military school. Greenwich Military Academy (not the real name for obvious reasons) taught me plenty. The majority of the stories and lessons from those days are in The Adventures of Fishy book. That one, though it was the very first book I started, is presently in position number 5 or 6 on the conveyor belt in terms of completing and releasing the books. For multiple reasons. Just an fyi for me as well as you whoever you are.
The aspect of military school that I have found most useful over the last few months in attempting to find a solution to my current quandary was how regimented and disciplined every moment of every day was. We may have had a few hours off on Sundays; I don’t remember now. But other than that, from 5 am all the way through till lights out at 10 pm during the other six days of the week, every single minute of every single hour was accounted for with a very set and specific task or duty. No, it did not suit the lifestyle of an artistic personality type such as mine, hence my only spending a year there; but it did show me the potential for how much we could accomplish in a day if we set our minds to it or were forced to. In my current case, I both desire to and thus have set my mind to it, AND am being forced to, for a variety of reasons. Not the least of which is because if I don’t, I am never going to continue to grow into the person I have always hoped I would be and always known I could be. This is a change that needs to be implemented.
From my current vantage point, how I see it is that I need to made a conscious decision what my top priorities are both short and long term and set aside time to partake in activities that will lead me towards achieving those goals on a regular basis, either daily, weekly, bi-weekly, three times a week perhaps, etc. We spend much of our time during each day doing things that are not necessary to our general advancement, nor that lead us towards any specific goal. Casual conversations. Group dynamic activities for the sake of the group. Herd activities so to speak. Some of it is sheer laziness. Some of it is resistance to change; or resistance to the seeming enormity of a project, i.e a project seems so damn big that we don’t see how we’ll ever complete it, so we never start it; or perhaps resistance to learning or attempting something new that we’ve never done before. There are a variety of reasons why we do things that don’t serve our bigger picture goals, or don’t do things that would. The key is to just START. Start to make the change.
For me that change is two-fold: limiting the amount of time I spend doing things that do not serve, and this is most easily accomplished by filling our time up with doing things that do serve. If as soon as I wake up each day I jump right into 30 to 60 minutes of studying Farsi, I will eliminate the usual hour or so I spend drinking coffee and chatting or checking social networks etc. From there a work out. Then a shower. Then work. People have no idea how much work-work is now involved in being a rockstar/recording artist. It isn’t like the old days, all sex drugs and rock’n’roll. Lord knows I wish it were. But it just isn’t. Our job has changed tremendously. There is a huge amount of what one might call office work involved in the job now. There is still every bit the need for song writing, practicing your instrument, recording, rehearsing with the band, fashion and styling, making music videos, album production, schmoozing marketing and promotion, etc. etc. There are just a boatload of other jobs and duties that have been added to our plate.
Let us say we spend the better part of the work day — post morning activities — doing actual work-work. We can then take a break. For me a break, preferably in the form of a 30 minute nap, is imperative to my mental and emotional sanity. No sense in fighting it. If I push my way through, by jacking myself up on something to minimize the tired feeling, I still end up feeling like a nervous wreck by 6 or 7 pm. So I have come to honor my own body’s need for dark quiet time to do nothing but relax and recharge.
Just after break time, we jump to either a few hours of writing and working on one of the books, or blogging. Then a limited amount of family quality time. Limited being the operating word there. The need for quality family time is essential when you’re an active member of a healthy functioning family. There’s no getting around it. Dinner time and an hour or two after that should suffice. But if the fam wants to watch Glee or X-Factor, there should be absolutely no reason you (or I in this case) should feel obligated to do so too. It’s an activity that does not serve. Perhaps the key is to make the family time we do spend with our loved ones as fulfilling and high quality as possible, limiting the hours, but not the quality. That still leaves plenty of hours left in the evening for studying and learning, reading or watching things that are both enjoyable and educational. If you dig learning, then anything educational is going to be enjoyable anyway. So that part is easy. And then once everyone goes to bed I find to be the best time to blog and/or write. That midnight to six am time period when all is quiet and the whole world is covered in darkness.
Today is my second day on this new schedule. I am still working it out, working the kinks out. I spent a bit too much time learning Farsi and a bit too much time on this blog post. But that’s okay. The key is that Plan B has officially started. Time for a work out and shower. I’ll keep you posted.