The “Do Something” Principle & How it Can (Positively!) Change Your Life.

I actually first read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck last summer (love the title, love the book), but I’ve been coming back to it often. It’s one of those books that you can pick up and read from at any point and take something from it. It’s a book I’ll keep referring back to, I’m sure. I love those books, don’t you? The books that keep on giving, ha!

The author, Mark Manson, talks candidly about a ton of good topics; mostly, he touches on basic principles of life and how the world works (or at least that’s what I took from it). He really challenges you to think about how you spend your time, energy and what you “choose” to care about. Very simple, but helpful stuff.

I could write like 7 blog posts on topics this book had me thinking about, but today I want to highlight one that Manson calls the “Do Something” Principle. To be honest, I don’t think he’s saying anything revolutionary but rather just reminding us of something we already know: that getting started is hard. Not only that, but he talks about how and why we get stuck and don’t end up starting at all. My whole life, one of my mottos has been something like: just take the next (or first) step. I tend to get overwhelmed with everything and so I’m always telling myself: just do the next thing, B. Don’t worry about that step (5 steps from now) just do what’s next and worry about step 5 later. Another thing I say to myself often is: something is better than nothing – working out for 10 minutes is better than doing nothing at all. This simple truth gets me through most days. Because oftentimes, the mere act of starting is just the motivation I need to keep going.

I want to talk about the “Do Something” principle because Manson basically put into words a concept that I live by every single day – and have for years.

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What is the “Do Something” Principle?

Essentially, Mark talks about this principle as something he learned from a math teacher in high school. That teacher would tell students something like:

“If you’re stuck on a problem, don’t sit there and think about it; just start working on it. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, the simple act of working on it will eventually cause the right ideas to show up in your head.”

He goes on to discuss how he’s used this “do something” idea, especially when he was forming his own business years ago. He argues that taking action (with or without motivation) will eventually lead to inspiration and then motivation and that it’s a healthy habit-forming lesson.

Why is the Do Something Principle important?

First off, I’ve found this so helpful because I get VERY overwhelmed. I wouldn’t call myself a procrastinator, but I have a habit of taking too much on at once and starting things I don’t always finish. Because, I’m afraid of failing and allow myself to get overwhelmed. Too many ideas, not enough action. But I LOVED this sentence from Mark’s book:

“If we follow the “do something” principle, failure feels unimportant. When the standard of success becomes merely acting – when any result is regarded as progress and important, when inspiration is seen as the reward rather than a prerequisite – we propel ourselves ahead. We feel free to fail, and that failure moves us forward.”

WHOA. Right?!

It’s so scary to actually start a project sometimes – whether that’s because the project is huge and daunting or because we’re inexperienced, because we’re scared of failing, or we’re so busy – but I love shifting the mindset here. Mark encourages us to really take BABY STEPS, to take things moment by moment. If we’re looking at the task or project or thing as a whole, it’s bound to get pushed off for some reason or another. But if we simply start, that’s creating action. And that’s success! The success isn’t necessarily finishing or doing said task/thing (though that is a success), but the action, in general, is a success. Even if we fail or we mess up or we have to do that thing ten times. We’re still acting on it.

As someone who often puts things of for XYZ, this has been mind-blowing for me, and I’m so grateful for the lesson. I’ve started taking action and thinking of that as my success, instead of feeling like a failure for either not starting or not doing it “right.” It’s honestly been very freeing, too. When the metric of success is shifted, it’s suddenly easier to succeed – and failure doesn’t feel as important.

I can’t even explain how many times I’ve started on things now because of this. And how good/relieving/freeing it feels. My mind instantly feels more clear and it even boosts my confidence. It’s like taking all those little things in your head that have been swirling around – and freaking starting on them. But in the smallest way. Even when I really, really don’t want to.

How can you use the “Do Something” Principle in your life?

Gosh, I’ve found a million ways to use this personally, and I wanted to share a few of those with you. I added in some ideas that aren’t necessarily personal to me, but might be for you guys, too.

  • If you’re overwhelmed with your weekly to-do list, start making daily ones instead. Or even just a “morning task list.” What’s the one more important thing to do today? Just do that first.
  • If you want to start a new job or a new field, spend one hour updating your resume.
  • If you want to redecorate your house, start a Pinterest board of inspiration. Or donate one piece you don’t love.
  • If you want to lose 10 lbs, eat a salad for lunch, focus on one meal at a time – not what you need to eat for the rest of the month to stay on target.
  • If you have a ton of errands, run one. See how you feel after and where you want to go next (whether home or to another store).
  • If you have 10 blog posts to write, write 200 words today.
  • If you want to find a boyfriend or new friends in a city, spend one hour at a coffee shop alone. Or text one person.
  • If you have a lot of work that needs to be done in one day, shut down your emails, put your calendar away, and focus on one task at a time.
  • If you need to organize your house, clean out one drawer. Or set a timer for 20 minutes and do it for that long.
  • If you’re sad and can’t get over it, make a list of things that usually make you happy. Then maybe do one.
  • If you want to start working out, commit to 10 minutes of exercise. Just that day. Then see if you want to keep going.
  • If you want to clean out your closet, find three things to give away. See if you want to find more.
  • If you want to start a blog, pick a font for your header.

Hopefully you get the point – it’s all about STARTING.

No matter what you start on or where it falls in order of “importance,” just start. Do something, take action. I think you’ll find that you usually want to keep going – or at least you’ll find a little motivation/inspiration to do more the next day. And if not, that’s OK! You did something. You succeeded.

I’m SO fascinated by this simple yet effective mindset, and I’d love to know how you think you could use it in your life. What is something you’re really wanting to start but have been pushing off? How can you take action today? What one small thing can you start with?

Be sure to let me know if you’ve tried this “do something” principle yourself! Anyone else read and love this book?!

Don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps.

I am back on the homemade Chinese food kick… I hope you are ready! (if you missed my last venture with Chinese food and Kung Pao chicken, click here for the easy to follow recipe)

This time, it’s chicken lettuce wraps on the menu! All you need for these is a handful of ingredients and 20 minutes of your time. How can you came up with an excuse not to make these? They are perfect as a snack, an appetizer or even as a meal, whatever you prefer!

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Here is what you need:

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1/2 yellow onion – diced

2 cremini mushrooms – minced

3 cloves of garlic – minced

1lb ground chicken

black pepper to taste

1/4 cup of hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of oyster sauce

1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil

1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger

1/4 cup of water chestnuts – diced

2 green onions – thinly sliced

1 head of butter lettuce

Sriracha – optional

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Here is what you will need to do:

♥ In a large skillet over medium heat add olive oil. When the olive oil is hot, add onion and cook for 3 minutes before adding the mushrooms and cooking for an additional 3 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant.

Add the ground chicken to the skillet and cook until browned. Crumble the chicken as it cooks and drain off any excess fat.

Season with pepper, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, ginger and Sriracha. Stir until combined and then add the water chestnuts and green onions. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes then remove from heat.

Spoon 3-4 tablespoons of the mixture into the center of the lettuce leaf, serve with carrots, crispy noodles or chopped toasted nuts.

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You may need a new napkins after this but it will be 100% worth it!

Which Chinese dish should I attempt next? Do you have any recipes I should try?

XOXO.

B.

Adulting.

These are the last few months of me being a 20something and getting my life together has been at the forefront of my mind. There are days when I feel so #adultish and some days where I feel like I could be doing way more. Do you ever feel the same way?

I think part of it has to do with this transitional time in my life – someone once told me your late 20s are really the biggest shift in life for a lot of reasons. I definitely think I’m at a point where I’m craving a more stable, organized life that feels grown-up, but I know I have a ways to go – and I may never truly feel like I’ve got my “act together.”

After catching myself say this phrase time and time again, I decided it would be an interesting thought experiment to try and actually define what this “ideal” is that I’m comparing myself to or daydreaming about. Like, what does it actually mean to get or have your life together anyway? It’s such an overused, broad term. It likely looks very different for every person, but I was up to the challenge of breaking it down and sharing my thoughts with you. As always, this is 200% up for discussion and in fact, I encourage you to weigh in via the comments section (please!).

When it comes to making changes, size doesn’t matter. The way I see it, something is better than nothing. And sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest difference in our lives. I got a little overwhelmed before/during writing this post as I tried to think about what it really means to “get your life together” but I decided to push through my perfectionist (have-to-have-it-ALL-amazing-before-I-press-publish) tendencies and forced myself to just write down what I could. Preaching to myself here – something (a mini blog post) is better than nothing at all (or sitting on this “draft” for months waiting for it to be fully comprehensive). Of course there’s more I could cover here, but these are the first few things I thought of – and things that would make me feel a little better about my life/situation right now. Plus, I’d love to hear your contributions to the list as well!

How to get your life together.

Here are 22 actionable things you can do ASAP to get your life just a little bit more “together” – aka how to get your life together:

  1. Write things down. Better yet, get a notebook to carry around with you so you’ll have a place to write it. If you write “it” (all the things) down, you won’t have to stress about remembering it. Just make sure you’ve got it all in the same place. Indigo always has the best notebook selections!
  2. Simplify your to do list; learn how to separate the urgent from the important and prioritize.
  3. Go to bed 30 minutes earlier – try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time everyday next week (not counting the weekend of course).
  4. Embrace batch processing – set specific times to answer emails.
  5. Go to the dentist – yeah, just handle it. You should be going once every 6 months. I promise, it’s worth it.
  6. Quit hitting snooze – just set one alarm and put your phone on the other side of your bedroom. Snooze is a state of mind – don’t let yourself do it.
  7. Empty your inbox – grab some coffee, play some gangster rap and handle it. Oh, and unsubscribe from stupid stuff while you’re at it.
  8. Plan your meals for next week on Sunday. Do it!
  9. Throw out expired food/stuff in your fridge and freezer. Check weekly.
  10. Deposit money in your savings account, like often.
  11. Check up on your retirement fund. Wait, you have one right?
  12. Review your last month’s expenditures (I could write a whole post about this one).
  13. Quit binge-watching Netflix (or at least give it up for a month or so while you pursue getting your sh*t together).
  14. Start taking care of your skin.
  15. Sort through your snail mail.
  16. Clean out your purse.
  17. Sort through your socks and throw away the random singles.
  18. Pick your clothes up off the floor and put them away!
  19. Drink less soda. Sparkling water is what’s up. Or just water in general.
  20. Clean out your car and then wash it. While you’re at it, do you need to change the oil?
  21. Floss your teeth!!!
  22. Clean out your junk drawer in your desk/kitchen/etc.

Okay that’s all I got for you today – although I could go on. Honestly, posts like these seriously motivate me and I truly hope they do the same for you.

Don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

 

XOXO.

B.