Hello there. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, which I’ve been asked about several times.
First off, thank you for asking.
Often in my life I’ve had grandiose plans that I’ve thought up, and started strong - only to fizzle into a growing pile of ‘future projects’. (I have multiple folders labelled “Future Projects”.) The good part is that the ideas keep coming; the bad part is that the years keep passing and few things get finished. Perhaps the best way to illustrate this may be through a class I took 4 years ago. One of our assignments was this: in the next two weeks (while class was off) come up with something you’ve been putting off for a while, and finish it. We brainstormed and shared. I said I had three books I would like to finish. Everyone laughed. The teacher turned to me and said, ‘there’s your problem’.
And this continues to be my problem: lofty goals sans practical action. Or, as John Lennon may say, “You may say that I’m a dreamer…”
I’ve tried combatting this problem over the past 4-years, reading a lot of books on time management and prioritization, listening to a lot of audio about getting things done, and watching seminars on productivity, but it wasn’t until mid-December that I realized what truly is My Problem.
My Problem: an update
The way I learned productivity was through action, not process. The way you measured a goal was through checking it off a list. Run three miles. Check. Lift weights. Check. Mow the lawn. Check. Get groceries. Check. And to this day, I thrive with a To Do list. If you give me a list of tasks, I can finish them quickly, and get a sense of pride crossing things off list. But a To Do list, at its root, is simply a separate set of tasks that is only joined (however loosely) through each being an action on that list that needs doing. It’s easy, with a list like this, to confuse separate tasks with an overarching theme. But. In the case of goals, and achieving dreams, it is process not tasks that should be at the center.
I’d confused the two. So often, my process was only another To Do. Another action in a series of actions that was (however loosely) under the umbrella of The Real Tom Bratt. My Problem in making measurable tasks my priority was that my true work - writing and recording things that positively impact people’s perspective - often fell to the back-burner. It was only after the tasks were completed that I focused on my purpose. Which obviously leads to frustration rather than fulfillment.
This was pointed out so clearly, recently, when I brought in my list of goals for the near future to a professional. I’d been recommended a book called The One Thing, which (spoiler alert) is all about finding your purpose and making sure your life is set up that you achieve it. For me the One Thing is writing. What I’m writing may change, but my One Thing is getting words on a page.
Surrounding this One thing, I’d created several thought-bubbles that I saw as all connected. Like, if these thought-bubbles are all doing well, then I’d be happy, fulfilled, and writing. I was, quite honestly, fairly proud of the list. The professional I was working with took a glance at my list, and said to me, “You know what you did, right?”
“No,” I responded.
“You turned your One Thing into a To Do list.”
This time, I got it. So many things in that one comment made so much sense. At the center of my Life Goals was my passion, the thing I think about often, and what I believe I’m here to do. Yet, surrounding that was a task-sheet, a To-Do list, that functionally speaking, only took time from the main thing.
Which brings me to 2019.
I’ve been working on a book for about a year and half. I’m on the third draft of it, and it’s good, timely, and important. It covers a lot of topics, including God & Politics. In the editing of the book, I’ve deleted about 100,000 words that didn’t quite work for the book, but go with the theme. Some of these words will turn into a podcast; others will turn into the series I’ll be publishing on this website all year.
The series is called UnWoke (as is the podcast), and focuses on a different topic every month or two. The first post comes out this week, with two per week after that, coupled with a bi-monthly podcast. The goal is to take a broader perspective on many different topics, realizing that most things are a lot more complex than we give them credit.
Here is how you can help:
If you like a post in the series, you can share it on any social media platform you choose.
If you like the podcast, you can rate, review, and subscribe.
And if you feel so inclined, you can donate through my Patreon page.
Back to the Silence
I’m so thankful to all of you that have read my work, commented on my work, and asked for updates. Many of you noticed I didn’t put much out at the end of last year. The truth is that I felt a need to stay quite. To listen. To think. I began and stopped many things, before finally embracing the silence. Through it, UnWoke emerged. I’m really excited to share the content with you all. If you have any questions, things you’d like covered, or recommendations, send me an email, here.