One word: how?

One word: how?

 

We all have great plans. I had these crazy visions of hitting 2018 hard right out of the gates and blowing it up these first two weeks. 

Then reality struck. And as we all know, reality can be a bitch. I got crazy sick and barely found the energy to get my paying job done. I walked around with my fly open, too spaced to notice. I coughed and coughed and....

What happens when life intervenes, and your momentum is broken?

You start again. One small step.

If you can't #findthehour, find 10 minutes. Lots of dreaming can happen in that much time. 

What do you want to point to in 2018? You tell me your's, I'll tell you mine. 

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson
 
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Every year I pick three words for the way I want to live. This year, those words are:

  • DEEPEN: I am the master of being distracted. Of doing too much. Of skimming along the surface of thousands of things. If it's shiny, chances are my gaze is upon it. So this year I want to focus on a few key things, and go deep with them. This includes relationships as well as projects, with family as well as dreams. Depth is what leads to quality. And quality is where it's at. 
  • SHARPEN: I want my intent to be razor sharp this year. To cut through detritus. To be better and to level up. I want to sharpen my game so that I can provide more value this year. I seriously want to 10x this shit. You in?
  • SHARE: As much as I am distracted by shiny objects, I'm also a hermit inside my own head. I want to embrace people more. Share more. Live in a place with more vulnerability, because that's where the action is. Not be afraid to lose. This begins, I think, with extending a hand and saying 'hello'. Let's try it together. 

Part of the above might be solved by one simple task: putting away the phone. If you see me on my phone, you have my permission to slap me. Or at least pinch me. Or at least say, hey, I'm right here, in front of you. This is doubly true of family and friends. Make it count. 

Deepen, sharpen, share. I like the sound of that. What are your intents in 2018? 

#POV

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson
 
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Part of my challenge is living in the past. Thinking about things I should have done a bit differently. To wit, there are at least two key moments in my life that I messed up (there's many more, but who's counting? Hint: I am).

Both were meetings that were set up for me by family in Hollywood. One was with Amblin Entertainment (Spielberg's company) and the other was with Disney. Pretty big meetings with pretty important people. 

To give some context around this, this was in the nineties and I was in my twenties. I had arrived in LA about a year before, and was making more money than I thought possible working as an assistant propmaster on some very big commercials. I was traveling around the country, had fallen into a very nice gig, and was dumb enough to think that money was burning a hole in my pocket. Dumb enough to think life was good. 

So when I took these meetings, I didn't have the right mindset. I wasn't leaning in and I wasn't nearly as eager as I should have been. I had a 'take it or leave it' attitude. 

Which is the kiss of death. Instead of being scrappy and living with a 'by any means necessary' attitude, instead of saying outright 'I'll do whatever it takes to get this gig', I played it cool. Too cool for school. 

Gratitude is an interesting animal. If it's at the front of how you carry yourself, it will kick open doors. If it's forgotten, it will eat away your opportunity. And though I was polite and professional, I didn't truly understand the moment. Gratitude and excitement should have won the day. Instead, it took a  backseat to my own hubris. The Disney job? It wasn't offered to me and wasn't a good fit anyway.

The Amblin job? I could have had that one. I would have had to take a HUGE paycut and start at the bottom rung again. I would've had to show some crazy incredible levels of enthusiasm. But it was there for the taking. Right there. 

And who knows where that would have taken me. 

But that bird has already flown. Regret is an assassin. So the lesson is learned:

If you're starting out, you'll have to be scrappy. And eager. And excited. You may have to work for no money and even longer days. It might look ugly and you might think you're above all that. And it might be true. You might be above all that. 

But I wasn't.  I confused self-importance with reality. So do the work, play the looooong game, do whatever it takes,. Look yourself squarely and honestly in the eye. All the other stuff doesn't matter. Not the money, certainly not the title. Not any of that other crap at the outset. 

What matters is the opportunity. Go for it. 

Thoughts? What's your advice to your younger self? 

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson

 

“One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. 

‘Which road do I take?’ she asked. 

‘Where do you want to go?’ was his response. 

‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered. 

‘Then,’ said the cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.”

— Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

 

Cats are smart people. Most are not easily rattled, understand the day's objectives, and generally approach things in a relatively empirical fashion. They spend much of their day dreaming. 

There is no one who can answer any questions for us. Cats understand that. They know that where they are is where they choose to be. 

But if we don't know where we want to be, that presents a challenge. If we're not decisive about our destination, it matters very little where we go. Or how hard we work. Or how many pieces to the puzzle we think we've found. 

If you're not clear on that, then maybe that's where you should start your #findthehour. 

Scheme. 

Plan. 

Dream. 

Until you see what you want right in front of you. 

#findthehour

Want to read the first couple chapters of my book? Email me here

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson

All good CEO’s are accountable.They live by Teddy Roosevelt’s mantra ‘the buck stops here’. 

It’s a scary thought, not being able to blame anyone else. Being forced to look reality right in the eye and make an honest assessment about yourself and your performance. When there is no-one else but our true selves standing in the spotlight. 

#FindtheHour is about finding that accountability. Creating the space where we can think about who we want to be and where we want to go. It could be the most important hour we’ll spend today, formulating plans around our dreams. Looking ourselves in the mirror and asking ‘Why?’

Want to #FindtheHour? Start here

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson
 
 
Download the sheet. It's magic. 

Download the sheet. It's magic. 

 

Join me in reclaiming our existence. 

I re-committed in the middle of the Summer ago to write one hour a day, every day. I was going to see how long I could keep the streak alive, inspired by Jerry Seinfeld, and as I started to gain momentum I thought I'd share some of what I've learned. 

My advice is very simple: find the one thing you love to do, and do it an hour a day. Sounds so simple, doesn't it? You'd be surprised at the enemies, real and imagine, standing in your way.

But here's 5 ways you can get started:

  1. Decide What Do You Want to Do - Maybe it's playing music with your kids, or gardening more, or writing, interior design, drawing. Don't worry about outcomes, just pick the one thing that floats your boat. I don't want to minimize how hard this can be, but noone else can figure that out but you. 
  2. Pick a Day to Start - I want you to look at your calendar and commit. Maybe this is today, maybe it's next Monday. Then I want you to outline how the perfect week looks to you - and where the hour fits in. Then plan it out. On most days, my hour is 7:30AM - 8:30AM, but sometimes when I know my better half is working late, I move this to the evening. But it has to be planned in advance, or the resistance will win. Guaranteed. PROTIP: Let the people closest to you know what you're doing. Say you would appreciate their support. Better yet, invite them in.  
  3. Download this Sheet - See the picture above. This is my streak. Jerry Seinfeld was once asked how he created so much, and he said he NEVER broke the streak. He wrote jokes every day. No exceptions. This has done pretty well by him. 
  4. The magic of 'Yes, and...' versus 'Yes, but...' This is an old improv trick. Open yourself to the universe, and instead of saying 'Yes, but...' (which implies resistance to all things good) you can say 'Yes, and..." to build on ideas and provide bigger solutions. And it also implies less internal judgment (I'm still working on this one). Internal judgment might be your biggest roadblock. 
  5. Go. You don't need permission to make it happen. Just start. Pick up the pencil or the guitar and create something. Don't judge, just do. Put the 'Yes, and...' into action. Write a poem to yourself. 

A lot of people have talked about the power of INTENTION. That's all this is, I'm no mastermind. But since I've been dialing in on #FindTheHour a lot of great things have happened. Awards, films coming together, a novel that is wrapping up, a lot of pieces that would not otherwise exist. And that is what this is all about, existence.

Go.

If you need anything, let me know. I don't have many of the answers and you probably have some great ideas too. Share them. I want to #FindTheHour along with you. Who knows what kind of cool shit could happen?

Next Post: Killing the Beast that is Resistance. 

 

LOG-IN ENTRY:

Streak Count of writing ONE HOUR A DAY: 52 days.
#FindTheHour

Music to write by: New LCD Soundsystem, yo! 

Stay frosty. 

#POV. 

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson
 
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The secret to great writing?

Starting. 

The secret to a better life?

Starting.

It's hard to remember that this is all a gift. This doesn't minimize struggle or random cruelty, there is indeed a world of grays and blacks that we have to confront each and every day. There is horror. 

But if we start to own our outcomes, if we begin recognizing that each moment is indeed sacred, we can make progress. And yes, it will be small. But the next day it can double, and then double again, and then...

Are you finding the one hour a day to remind yourself why you're here in the first place? That's what this blog is all about. There aren't a ton of answers. But there are beginnings. #findthehour

Soundtrack to my life at the moment. 

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson
 
 
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The question isn't:

Are you good enough?

The question is:

Are you good enough to yourself?

Instead of getting caught up in the downward cycle of the first question, let the second question prioritize what we do. Treating ourselves well is the start of treating others well is the start of treating the world well is the start of.....

Not to mention better work. 

Put #FindTheHour on the 'To-Do' list. Then check it off each and every day. I've been surprised at the results. You will be too. 

 

Well I finally finished the next draft of 'Devil's Candy'. Want to read the output of my #FindtheHour? 

Email me and I'll send you the first chapter. If you dare. 

 

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson

Jim Collins nailed it when he said 'good is the enemy of great'. Listen to my thoughts on how we can jump the divide. 

 
 

 

Well I finally finished the next draft of 'Devil's Candy'. Want to read the output of my #FindtheHour? 

Email me and I'll send you the first chapter. If you dare. 

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson
 
 
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If we aren't doing what we want, it's easy to spin into negativity. To look at the external forces of our day to day and blame them for where we are. It's a fallback position for many of us, because it's easier than actually holding ourselves accountable and doing the work it takes to get control of the moment. 

One great place to start with this is by living in a place of gratitude. Gratitude can solve a lot of problems, from office strife to personal relationships to the mountain of work that sits on top of us everyday. Being grateful can flip just about anything, and has an odd by-product of putting us in control.  In the driver's seat. So we can do more good work that matters. 

When we're grateful, it's hard to feel negative. Positivity begins to win the day. And we begin to find more and more places in our own internal landscape to stop and #FindtheHour. To get on top of the things that were once on top of us. 

Don't confuse being grateful with being weak. It could very well be the greatest strength we have. And it's right there, in our back pocket, waiting for us.  

Update: I am wrapping up my novel 'Devil's Candy' (at least this draft) and am excited by it. I've sent out the first chapter to a few people - so now it's out in the world. It will be going to publishers and agents in January, as I start work on my next project. Let me know if you want to take a look, and I'll email you a few pages. 

Keep doing the good work. 

 

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson

Tools for Creativity and Productivity

This blog is posted every Tuesday and Thursday about my quest to deliver quality. This is tied to my #findthehour project, where I am working at least one hour a day on a passion project (right now a novel called 'Devil's Candy') - and then counting the days that my streak is kept alive. Don't break the streak.

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson
3 CommentsPost a comment
 
 
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The stoics are of the belief that there are only two kinds of things in the world:

  • Those things we can control,
  • And those things we can't.

The trick is knowing which is which. This is a lifetime pursuit. 

But here's the good news: even for those things we can't control, there is room for us to flex our muscles (and our heart).  For we can control the way we respond. The way we act. The gratitude or lack of gratitude we show to the things that are happening around us. That's a choice more often than not. 

Another choice we have is how we spend our time. Who we focus on and what we create.  Yes, we can make excuses or let the Resistance wear us down. But we can also pick up the pencil and start writing. Or listen more deeply to the person across from us. Or....

Choices.  #FindtheHour

Want to read the output of my #FindtheHour? 

Email me and I'll send you the first chapter of my novel. If you dare. 

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson

 

 

 
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Whenever Will Smith reads a story or a script, he's always looking at it through this lens:

  • What does the Hero want?
  • Why does the Hero want it?
  • What will happen if the Hero doesn't get it?
  • What are the OBSTACLES keeping the Hero from getting it? 

That's it. Four simple questions that have propelled him to some fantastic work, and has helped build his integrity as one of the most popular actors and producer's out there. 

The magic behind these questions is that they extend beyond story and into our own lives. What do we want? Why do we want it? And how the hell are we going to vanquish the monsters in our path to get it?

(That first monster knocking at your door is self-doubt. Sharpen the sword.)

What #FindtheHour is about is helping vanquish one of the biggest obstacles: finding time. By being disciplined enough to find just one hour a day to pursue our passions, we can stop being pretenders. We can make stuff and build things that matter. We can play a little more. 

Is one hour enough? Absolutely not. But it may be just the start we need. 

So ask yourself your 4 questions. Go out and get it. And make @imwillsmith proud. 

 

Want to read the output of my #FindtheHour? 

Email me and I'll send you the first chapter of my novel. If you dare. 

 

 

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson