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Rising To the Challenge

I was beginning to think it was time for a new challenge.

At several points in my life, when feeling I was in a slump, like I needed some sort of challenge to get myself moving again, I defined grand challenges for myself. Yes indeed, grand; the bigger the better. I thought a large challenge would yield epic results. A nod to the old business adage of “Go big or go home!”

Examples of several of my grand, and by that, I mean year-long, challenges include:

Buying nothing new for a year.

Buying all of my nonperishable life supplies in one epic shopping event so as to reduce my carbon footprint.

Sourcing and eating only local food from within a 100-mile radius of my home.

Growing, raising, and preserving my own food.

I stayed true and completed each of these challenges. I was grateful I made it and pleased I had learned something along the way. However, while I was relieved the challenge was over and I felt momentarily exhilarated, and perhaps even a bit heroic, there was never the change I had hoped for.

Fearing I was heading into yet another slump and wanting to be proactive, I began thinking about another challenge. I was undaunted by the change failures of the past, certain that this one was going to be the one to really change me.

I started by asking friends and looking for ideas. Deciding that there might be some ideas in the most recent books I had read, I went back over their titles. Looking at Atomic Habits by James Clear, I remembered he had written something about change. I was off.

In the book, Clear outlines that a daily change for the better, as insignificant as 1% better, adds up to a total change of 37.78% by the end of a year. The 1% change seemingly makes little difference on any one day, but compounds over time. Just like money.

A small change, a 1% change, done regularly, could transform my life, and if I did it for a year, I’d be 37.78% changed. A much better result than my epic challenges had ever delivered. I was all in.

On a daily basis, excluding time I spend sleeping, by investing 1% of my time at being better, which equates to 9.6 minutes per day, I would be 37.78% changed at the end of the year. Done.

After much careful thought, I have decided to invest my 1% in becoming a kinder, more thoughtful, empathetic, and compassionate person. Every day, beginning 01 July 2022, I am going to go out of my way to invest 9.6 minutes in making a difference for someone or completing a random act of kindness.

I can’t wait to rise to this challenge.


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