What We’re Watching: Challenge Yourself to Do What You’ve Always Dreamed

Dustin Gaffke image

I’ve always wanted to learn to play the guitar. It has been on my to-do list for years and, yet, it never quite reaches the top. Someday, I think, the timing will work out.

However, this is such a common human characteristic – make priorities and push back the wants and the dreams for the next time around. It is not a bad habit to focus our attention on the tasks and skills that have deadlines or significant impacts on our careers or lives. In fact, this is a smart approach in a world where our lives are so consumed by lists of things to do. But wouldn’t it be great to spend time learning and accomplishing something new just because you want to?

I started thinking about this when I read Leo Babauta’s blog post, “Turn Inspiration into Action.” He talks about the ways he has found to tackle his wish list of things to do or try, like write a book, lose weight and run a marathon. With so many excuses always getting in the way of Babauta not following through with his dreams, he finally figured out what worked for him to take action. A few of his tips include telling someone what you’re going to do so that you’re committed, making time to do it and creating reminders so that you don’t forget your goal.

I have also found inspiration in Matt Cutts’ TED Talk about the 30-day challenges that he gives himself. During these challenges, Cutts has taken photographs, ridden his bike to work, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and written a novel. He focuses on making small, sustainable changes that he can continue even after the 30 days have passed. You can watch Cutts’ full TED Talk here:

So, I’ve been asking myself: “What are you waiting for?” (Cutts’ challenge to his audience) and “What’s stopping you?” (Babauta’s question to his readers). With these two people as inspiration, I’m taking another look at my to-do list. I will try to fit in one of those “someday” items now…in fact, maybe I’ll go test a few guitars.

I pose the same questions to you – What are you waiting for? What’s stopping you?


Education Research and Journalism Fellow, Bon Education

Image available under CC License by Dustin Gaffke

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