Saturday, March 21, 2015

Episode 2: 20 Hours (Ukulele medley)

Here is Episode 2 of The Sitch Podcast. I was going to do just audio so that I could edit and it would actually be a podcast instead of a video, but with what I wanted to show you in this episode, I thought you would rather watch.

The inspiration for this episode came from a YouTube video I watched for Praxis called "How to Learn Anything... Fast". Using John Kaufman's advice, I decided to devote 20 hours to learning the ukulele (something I have been wanting to learn for almost a year but "didn't have the time" to devote to it). Well, in about five hours, I learned eight chords and four of those chords can be used to play tons of pop songs from past and present.

I hope you enjoy this example of how you can learn something fast. Will you be world class? Nope. But you'll know a lot more than most people know about the subject and you'll have an idea of whether you want to continue learning about it or not.

What have you always wanted to learn? 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

My Cup of Coffee

Many of my college-aged friends were busy from Mach 1-7 talking about finals and then March 8-15 posting pics of their Spring Break awesomeness.

Meanwhile, I've worked 95 hours from March 1-15 plus many more hours in drive time and working on a project that does not pay hourly.

Yes, I'm tired. Yes, I'll like getting my paycheck. No, this is not your typical 20-year-old's Spring Break dream.

So why do I do it?

Even on the weeks where I am hustling, working night shifts, and sleeping less than I should, I do not envy my college friends. They post on social media about needing more coffee, cramming for an exam, and the stupid things their professors say. They spend their days in class, in their dorm, and in the coffee shop. Most of them can't wait for the weekend and they are even more excited about Spring Break -- an entire week away from this routine. Sure, college can be fun. I've been there (well, not the dorms, but definitely the classrooms and coffee shops). But I don't particularly want to go back.

My parents are totally willing to help subsidize my college education and the sought after "college experience". You can go anywhere you want, they tell me. We'll pay. But now that I've tasted a real work week, I don't want to go back to college life. In my opinion, it's a lot more fun to be working at a job I enjoy, creating value for other people, and getting compensated for that effort than there is sitting at a desk, drinking another cup of coffee, and getting deeper in debt. Rather than accumulating facts which I may or may not remember later, I'm building skills that can be seen. I'm learning how things work "out there" in the "real world". Instead of getting a scheduled break from the hustle, I have to request the time off. Rather than looking forward to a week of exams and then a week at the beach, I look forward to a week of solving real problems by creating solutions and seeking out answers -- not just memorizing them. If I fail, I can't just retake the test. I have to keep trying until I get it right. And when I do succeed, there is real value created -- customers recruited, money earned, etc. It's not everyone's cup of coffee, but it's the coffee that the real world brews, and I'm enjoying my cup.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Life is Fragile, Life is Fast

Two posts about life back to back. It's just that kind of week.

Yesterday afternoon, I received the shocking news that a member of the Praxis family passed away. He was only 25 years old. I only met him in person once, and I am truly thankful for that. We also chatted via Facebook a time or two and my older sister met him when they attended the same college a few years ago. From the little time I got to know this young man, I could tell he was a busy, committed, focused, fun, ambitious guy. Now that he has passed, I am seeing just how much he was loved and how involved he was in other people's lives. I don't think he wasted a single moment.

In addition, a friend of mine (in her late 50's) was taken via helicopter to the hospital last week where she spent seven days in ICU. It is predicted she will be in the hospital for another month. Although she was finally able to walk today, we did not know what her fate would be last week. She's lucky to be alive and on the mend.

Also on my heart this month has been a special family I have known for much of my life. They are about to remember the one year anniversary of the death of their seven month old baby girl. She passed last March.

My heart goes out to all of these families and I am humbled to remember that it could have been me -- it could have been my family. Life is fragile and life is fast. One day we're here, another we're gone. As trite as this saying may be, it is weeks like this one where I remember that the only uncertainty in life is that life is uncertain. Each day truly is a gift. Tragedy and even death can affect any of us at any moment -- no one is immune.

So today, I'm first going to be thankful to be alive and breathing, and then I'm going to try not to waste this gift.

Sorry for a short, choppy post. I just felt the need to share and perhaps help others remember to live each day to the fullest. As one friend put it last week, you can be driving along just fine and suddenly your tire blows out. Life can change that fast. So be thankful and take advantage of each day.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Own Your Life

We spend our whole lives trying to fit in, to conform, to do what's normal.

We wear the right brands, say the right things, participate in the right activities, get into the right schools, and follow the right career path.

Right for who? 

Right for you? Maybe.

Who suffers the consequences if following the normal route ends in bitterness, depression, and wasted time?


Who reaps the rewards if following a possibly unconventional route leads to satisfaction, success, and a full life?

Also you.

No one can make choices for you, but they will try to influence you to fit their mold.

How they view the world, what makes them happy, what satisfies their reason to go on living -- it's going to be different from yours. You have to find the right path for you. 

I would argue that most people aren't truly happy anyway. They work a job they hate. They have debts. They buy things only to impress. They have little adventure. They don't try in their marriage. They ignore their hobbies and interests. They stopped dreaming a long time ago.

And yet they try to tell you how to achieve success and happiness.

Here's the deal. Only you suffer the consequences or reap the rewards for your decisions. These advice givers, these "normal" people, lose nothing based on your choices.

Don't let others dictate your path. Take solid advice from trusted allies to heart, but own your decisions. If you manage to do this, you will own your life.