The secret art of stepping away

Earlier this week I found myself talking to a friend who is getting ready to go back to college. I gave her the usual advice that my wife and I give to all our college bound friends, make sure you take a fun class every semester.

Contrary to what some might think, we don’t give this advice just to make sure the person has fun. The reality is it helps with their other classes.

Why stepping away helps

Taking a fun class, or taking a day off from your big project to do something else, helps you because it changes your focus and lets your conscious mind rest from working on the class/project. We see the same effect with studying. You see better outcomes if you shift subjects every so often and come back later. (How long is a ‘so often’? That depends on the individual and your mileage may vary. For me it’s about an hour to two hours (for studying))

The key is to get enough in, and enough time in, to make a worthwhile step forward without spending so much time that you become counterproductive. In fact we can see the same principle in play in physics and chemistry when painting or putting a patina on metal. It is often a good idea to put on multiple thin layers rather than trying one thick layer that goes on all at once.

The multiple layers allow for better drying and damage resistance while the thick layer gets gloppy, takes longer to dry, and is more prone to chipping. Biologically multiple contacts and repetitions help build neural pathways and muscle fiber in ways that are very different from the patterns developed by the one shot approach.

Growth applications

We see the same principle in a lot of self-help and personal growth applications. This is why goals and affirmations are to be put up in visible places, so you can see them frequently and they get ingrained. It is much more effective to do it this way than the “think really hard about it once then go out for pizza” technique.

I know that this isn’t easy dear reader, but I also know it works. That’s why even though I’m up to my eyeballs in book stuff it’s a good idea to get away once in a while and do something different (even… Gasp… something that has nothing to do with writing a book!).

That’s it for today dear reader. Keep working on those projects, but remember to take some breaks along the way.

See you next week.

Don’t Fake, Become

It happened again yesterday. I heard someone say that old line, “Fake it till you make it.” Most of the people I’ve heard say that are well intentioned, but it’s really not a good message…

Most of the people I have heard say “Fake it till you make it” really seem to mean “Keep trying”. There also seems to be a component of “I don’t know how to help you”, or “I’m not going to help you”. The thing is, even if the person does go on to help, the message is still until you succeed you are a fake.

Calling someone a fake is kind of insulting and can be bad for moral. If it’s not there already, you are introducing the thought “I am a fake” into the persons thought process. There is a better way.

Don’t focus on “making it” (or faking it). Focus on becoming. For any skill, desire or dream are you closer to it now than you were before? If the answer is yes, then you are becoming. The key is to take a constructive step toward becoming what you want, and then take another.

There is a similarity in both theories. At some point you start thinking of yourself as what you want to be.

The difference is that the “fake it till you make it” plan often focuses on an external marker of achievement and you’re considered a fake until you get there. Under the becoming strategy the markers are internal. You can see that you are becoming what you want and because your markers are internal, on one can take that from you.

In fact, if you really are seeking to become, once you do become it is undeniable. You can create, and have created, that fact for yourself. It cannot be taken away from you unless you choose to give it up.

What you are becoming becomes part of your identity.

What we are talking about when we talk about becoming is not a quick or easy process. However, it is a possible one. In fact, to truly become, a process that takes you some time is the best (if not only) way to succeed. Becoming requires thought, planning and effort. Becoming demands integrity and honesty with yourself. You do not overcome your weaknesses by simply ignoring them (Told you this was hard!).

At the same time, do not let your weaknesses stop you. You are becoming. By definition that means you are growing and overcoming weaknesses. That means when you find an obstacle you find a way past it. You overcome it. You go around it. You build a team. You find a way.

When you practice becoming you grow and become more than you were. Your capacity increases. And, it can be an open ended process. If you choose wisely in what you choose to become there will always be new vistas and new achievements to seek after. You can be the greatest and still become greater.

There is far more to be said than I have said here. And, that’s ok. Like myself, my company and my blogs are becoming. They are growing. For now dear reader this is the thought: Don’t ‘fake it’… Become.

Why are we doing this (Part 2)

Yes, you could say we addressed this last week with our mission statement; however, why we are doing this is a bigger question…

‘Why’ doesn’t just make for a big question, it makes for an important one. Check out this post to see why.

As to the ‘why’ we’re talking about this week…

Generally the people we work with, and the people we want to work with, are talented people who are growing in their skills. They are growing in both their skill level, and in their skill set.  This means they have put a lot of time and effort into the things they do. In general we hope for rewards from what we do, but monetary rewards can take a long time to amount to anything significant. So, why do we do what we do?

When I say there is no one answer to this, it is literally because every individual has his or her own answer that is as unique as she/he is.

For myself the editor/publisher side of why I do what I do grew out of need. I wanted to tell stories and I had to learn the editing/publishing end in order to improve those stories and share them with others. As I grow in doing these things I find there is a level of joy in making a good story better. It has value because it makes me happy.

The publishing side is also rewarding because I get feedback from other people. As a publisher I get to see the people I work with grow as individuals and I get to see their work, and my own, appreciated by others. I get to share and see the fruits of that sharing.

As a writer/story teller there are many reasons for why I do what I do. The teaching sharing dynamic is still there, but there are other reasons.

Creating stories allows me to explore. It allows me to play with “what if” and “how did that happen” questions. Story telling can also be a way to safely analyze (or hide from) the painful experiences and questions of life, the things that are hard to deal with on their own.

The number of answers to “why do we do this?” is equal the number of people answering (at least). But one common thread is that we find value in what we do. Often we actually enjoy what we do (and when we don’t we do what we need to because it supports something that we do enjoy).

Each of us has our own reasons for doing what we do. I’ve shared some of mine. As for Carl…

Well, why does a dragon do anything?

The rest of you? Why do you do what you do? Feel free to answer in the comments.

Thanks for reading (and responding).

See you next week.

Farangian

Welcome

Welcome to the Forever Mountain Publishing website! Through the material here you will find out something about who we are and what we do. You may also find an opportunity for yourself.
Any good company should have a purpose and mission. And, to be really effective, that purpose and mission should be explainable in a concise, understandable mission statement. So, here we go…
At Forever Mountain Publishing it is our mission to produce books and other media that will help people to grow as individuals and active participants in an interdependent society; to help people become more and better than they have been before.
How do we do this? How can a collection novels and other books help individuals and communities to be more and better than they have been before?
The answer is… in many ways actually!
Throughout history (and what we know of prehistory) people have responded to and are/were motivated by stories. The number of boys and girls who have dreamed, aspired, and actively sought to become like the heroes in the stories and legends of their lives is beyond our ability to count. By producing quality stories; stories of succeeding, overcoming, and achieving, we can help motivate the individual and help others to have hope and believe that there is a way forward.
The nonfiction works we publish can provide information that the individual can use to improve her/his life and the lives of those around him/her.
It is true that the individual has to have hope and desire, but once they are in place information is a necessary next step. The stories can help with the hope and desire and the nonfiction then helps with the knowledge component.
“So when you say I might find an opportunity for me, you mean buy your books…”
Well, yes, but that’s not all I’m saying! Of course we want people to buy our stuff, and I encourage you to do that. However, we’re also looking for people who do things.
We are seeking to work with those who have potential that can be developed. So, we’re looking for writers, artists, editors, musicians, audio engineers and videographers who would like to work with us on projects. One of the purposes of forever mountain is to work with growing and learning individuals. This again fits with our mission. Sure, the man or woman who’s been in the field for 50 years has a place in the field somewhere, but when we can, we would really like to work with those who are growing and learning (of any age) and not those who are just coasting or slowing down.
As I have traveled the road that led me here to Forever Mountain I have found that people value the things they invest in (through time, money, emotion…). I have invested my time, money, and emotion into writing and publishing books to help people become better. I hope that those who come into contact with us and our products will invest their time, money and emotion so that they may become more than they have been before. And, that’s why I’m doing this.
Patrick S Kidder
Editor In Chief
Forever Mountain Publishing.
P.S.
If you have a desire to help or a project that you think might fit with our mission, don’t be afraid to contact us! It is our intent to grow and be better and we’re not planning on doing it alone!