Stoic Challenge Recap (Days 4-9)

My schedule got full, so here is a short recap of how I did with each challenge the last few days:

King Minos and Virgil guiding Dante -

King Minos and Virgil guiding Dante -

  • Day 4 - Go a Day Without Complaining

    • Middling success on this one. I was amazed just how much my first thought about a perceived problem or slight went immediately to complaining about it. As if that would make me feel better.

    • While I did get through the entire day without complaining, I was happy that I increased my awareness of a mental tick for complaining.

  • Day 5 - Go on a Staycation

    • Perhaps you do not consider a doctor appointment, working remotely, and getting a tattoo a staycation - THAT’S the beauty of a staycation! You choose what you want and go on an internal vacation.

    • Doctor appointment gave me an opportunity to hurt my brain reading Stephen Hawking’s, “A Brief History of Time,” while I waited.

    • Working remotely allowed me to experience the past joy of my freelancing days of working in a coffee shop.

    • The tattoo was completing two-thirds of my right sleeve. I spent four hours getting stabbed, which I would normally consider the exact opposite of a staycation, but… I got to focus on meditating.

  • Day 6 - Go a Day Without Your Smartphone

    • This was an abject failure. I think I made it 10 minutes after waking up before grabbing my phone. In my defense, I was coordinating a double-date with my sister and her fiancé, my girlfriend and myself. Also, I really needed to check the day’s Strange Planet cartoon because that gives me joy.

  • Day 7 - Write Three Thank You Letters

    • This is the first challenge I was upset that I did not complete because this was a habit I formed once and let fall by the wayside.

    • For most of 2018, I wrote three thank you letters to colleagues, volunteers, or mentors every Friday as part of my Work Shutdown Ritual. It was a very nice way to get away from my computer screen at the end of the week, and it felt great to show my appreciation for someone’s help or advice in a tangible way.

    • If nothing else, failing this challenge made me realize that I liked writing weekly letters and I intend to make them part of the end of my work week once again.

  • Day 8 - Do Your Max Amount of Pushups, Sit-ups, or Pull-ups, Wait 1-minute, How Many More Can You Do?

    • I did pushups: 26 to start, one minute break, and then I banged out 20.

    • In my youth I worked up to 300 pushups every day (not in a row). Which is why I have a bit more bulk in my upper body compared to the rest of me. Unlike then, on this day I focused on proper form and pacing. One habit ingrained in my subconscious is more is better and I have sacrificed quality for quantity, which is really strange because I’m the only one keeping track of these numbers.

    • Thanks to my good friend and trainer, Ryan Carr, I kept tension throughout my entire body and controlled my breathing on every rep. It was harder than just flopping about like a dying fish on dry land, but more effective in training my body and my mind. My body worked harder on fewer repetitions, and my mind work harder to maintain good form.

  • Day 9 - Pick a Work of Fiction to Read

    • WAY ahead of this challenge! I am on book twelve of the Wheel of Time series, that a friend of a friend recommended. I like to end my days with a fantasy read in bed and this book has been the perfect way to bring the day to a close.

I will endeavor to write more frequently, though I may do some recaps if I miss a few days. I am working on my speech for the 37th annual NASO Summit in Spokane later this month, and I am forcing my creative juices into that task.

Also - stay tuned for a new page on my blog - Tools for Working Professionals. Like my Tools for High School Students, I am curating a collection of effective mental agility tools for those in the workforce.