When I Should Be Studying

I start this sentence, extend this sentence and now continue this sentence for no reason other than to delay yet more the commencement of my final college assignment for the year, due now in a little over thirty-eight hours. I giggle at the irony in the topic of today’s reading: Motivation.

As I trawl the bore of management jargon found within the pages of the now, in my eyes at least, infamous ‘Samson & Daft’ text, I look out to the blue skies and crashing waves and wonder why on earth I ever dreamed of continuing my studies for another three, maybe four, years.

Sure, there is much more that I could learn from continued study though for me the most crucial lessons from this course were from no textbook but rather from succeeding in my commitment to getting it done. 

There is not much for me to write this morning; I do really need to get back to my readings. The truth is, I’ve written more here in this blog over the past fifteen minutes than I have in the pending assessment piece (only 1800 words to go there…).

So, I’ll conclude with this, an excerpt from my journal last week:

“Knowledge alone is futile without efforts toward a richer understanding. Though even understanding has little practical use without application. Only through the application of knowledge’s derivative comes wisdom; not in knowing what to do or what something is, but why it is so, most importantly, why it is not something else.”

PJ.

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I can do all things but not all at once.

I’ve been waiting a while to write this blog. Time has not been plentiful enough in order to dedicate the time [and mental energy] required to do so.

For the past three months I have been reunited with my pursuits for tertiary qualifications. Last year served up a false start to such endeavours. Simply, I did not believe I could do it. I conjured up all manner of excuses as to why I could not.

I’m not designed for ‘structured learning’.

I can figure all of this out myself anyway.

And most [in]famously:

It’s just not meant to be…

I dropped out of four subjects with no intention of ever resuming my studies. This was in August last year. As 2017 began, this stubborn belief remained. I was unsure how the year would unfold. I was nervous and apprehensive. How could this year ever compare to the roller-coaster of 2016? A year which featured a move to Sydney, a trip to America and my first forays into the world of film and TV? On the cards were little exciting prospects.

I realise now the value of what 2017 is offering to my life. Intertwined with daily life at present is a simple message:

You can do all things but not all at once.

There was a time not that long ago in which I would draw in my journal mind maps detailing all of my life’s present endeavours: Businesses I wanted to start, friends I wanted to help, blogs I wanted to write, speeches I wanted to give, adventures I wanted to embark on, changes I wanted to make in the world, charities with whom I wanted to work. Not to mention the race car driving or fitness challenges I was also working on behind the scenes!

When you’re standing in the middle of this complicated web posing a myriad of possible directions about where your life could lead, inevitably making a step in any direction becomes rather hard. As I have found it to be.

This year I began to emit an energy that sought clarity over what I needed and where I needed to step next; what I needed to focus on. Fast forward six months and I have now concluded my first trimester of study (take two), albeit at a reduced study load.

I doubted myself in the early weeks. As the first round of assessments loomed large, the voice of negativity spoke loudly in the back of my mind, seeking to convince me once again that this just wasn’t for me. It did a good job too. In fact it was so convincing that at one point I emailed through my intention to withdraw from the course, mistakenly thinking I could do so without financial penalty having misread the dates on the student web portal.

Acknowledging the pain of having another $5,000 added to my student debt for nothing, I said to myself, ‘F*ck it, I’ll submit the work I have done and hope for the best.’

I only just passed my first exam, largely a result of attempting it with no preparation and beginning just half an hour before it needed to be submitted! But the other assignment I not only passed but received a High-Distinction.

Maybe I was on the right track after all?

As the trimester wore on, many distractions would rear their heads. But I chose to remain focused. All of the things I wanted to do, all of the things that were tempting me away, I began to put as reminders in my calendar for when I was on uni break.

I kept saying to myself, I can do all of these things but just not now.

Two bouts of sickness and some brutally long days at work served as continued attempts to lure me away from completing these subjects yet somehow, as the final due dates came and went, I’d somehow managed to submit everything. Now the anxious wait for my marks to come back…

***drum roll***

Two High Distinctions on my final two assessments and two distinctions overall.

Maybe I was on the right track!

It might only be the very beginning of a looooong three year course but in this short time I have learnt that I can do this. I’ve learnt that I can focus. I’ve learnt that all of those creative juices and ideas that flow through my mind every day for businesses and creative exploits are good enough.

But with these lessons acknowledged, by far the biggest thing that I’ve learnt so far – aside from creative strategy and integrated marketing communications – is that for me to succeed in all of the dreams and ambitions I have bustling around in my mind, I must learn to become disciplined in saying no to the ideas that serve only as distractions. Yes, I can do all of them, but no, not all at once.

I think there is a lesson here for all of us.

We wake every day with a multitude of possibilities at our fingertips. At any given point we can begin to write a completely different story for our lives. And whilst it can be hard to choose just one, only when we do will be able to realise the magnitude of the success that awaits us.

PJ.

When You Just Need To Write…

They call it a stream of consciousness. Where you just start writing and don’t stop to read over what you are writing. That’s what I’m doing now.

I haven’t written for a while. I don’t know where the weeks are going! I’ve been through an interesting period as of late. Financial doom loomed large for a period. Miraculously I was able to pull through with the help of close friends. It was a re-commitment to my connection with a higher purpose. It was the embrace of what Tony Robbins describes as ‘absolute certainty’.  It was the knowledge that things were going to be okay no matter what. That the job, the flat, the friends and the opportunities I required would come. And they did. Through patience, prayer and persistence I was able to endure.

And so I sit here today ready to start work. I don’t feel too great. Sydney’s cold and rainy weather is taking its toll with illness slowly setting in. I’ve wanted to write more. But I’ve been distracted by life and things that are happening. Study, now, that has recommenced. Marketing. Advertising. I love it! The pursuit of a deeper understanding of human psychology. Behavioural economics. It’s fascinating!

I didn’t see myself studying this year. I’d put it on hold last year when work and other projects got in the way. Instead I’d entertained ideas of travel and adventure. Dreams in which I saw myself downsizing my life, packing my bags and setting off on a journey around the world! That’s what I had in my mind for 2017. And yet a relationship, short-lived albeit, opened my mind to some ideas that I hadn’t previously considered. It made me realise that the talents I have could no longer be allowed to remain undeveloped and unrefined; that I needed to invest greater time into understanding and expanding my knowledge base. And so within a week the decision to return to study seemed obvious. And with it a return to a dream I first had at the age of eleven.

Let me add that this relationship was rather disappointing in the end. Though short, it didn’t seem that way. And so heartbreak was an unfortunate consequence of its quick demise. Though I recognize the important part it played in my forward steps. It reminded me of underlying anger and the passion I have for empathy and selfless nature. It is hard for me to write. Still there is a wound to heal. This realm can be a times all too confusing.

But still I march on. Making plans. Assessment deadlines loom. I am progressing. This feels good. I acknowledge and embrace the sacrifices I must make in order to fulfill this grand vision. It is hard to say no to social invitations when for so long this was all my soul craved. Acceptance. Belonging. Sure, there is a balance I must find. And in this space I feel I am also making progress. But still I must not allow myself to become distracted.

Every day I add thoughts and ideas to the journal I carry around with me. Thoughts and ideas on businesses, speeches and changes I hope to soon create in the world. Improvements. I don’t know exactly how all of these ideas will unite to guide my direction. But slowly I feel I am getting there.

I carry a US $1 bill with me in my wallet leftover from my time in California last year. It serves as motivation that pushes me toward the next phase of learning I will embark on. Sometimes you just know when something feels right. And so very quickly this has become my goal. A return to the US  to connect and to learn.

Surely things will only get harder from here. My patience for ‘the simple life’ I am currently lead to live will wear thin I’m sure. And yet in honesty to myself I must confess that all these visions and dreams I have are not self-created. And with that in mind I must realise that the strength I must find to achieve such feats will only come from the same origin.

And so I look up.

PJ.