Judaism Self-Improvement

Read Up, Speak Up, Show Up

So, last night and this morning, I attended Rosh Hashanah services at Temple Or Hadash in Fort Collins, CO. In his sermon last night, Rabbi Scott Goldberg implored us to “read up, speak up, and show up”. Namely, that we should endeavour to read as much as we can, speak up (including supporting non-profits we are passionate about) and showing up.

As it so happens, I am now re-reading Chris Guillebeau‘s first book, the Art of Non-Conformity. Honestly, the High Holidays are one of the best times of the year to read these kind of self-improvement books.

My Reading List for the New Year

I’m planning on re-reading both the Art of Non-Conformity and the $100 Startup. After that, I have a few other books about a number of other issues to add to my reading list. I’m looking into books like The 4-Hour Body, Living a Jewish Life, the 5 A.M. Miracle, Pretty Face, and a few others. I’m trying to build a collection of books to re-read, finish reading, or start reading. If everything goes well, I should have a list of 30 non-fiction and 20 fiction books to read by the end of the week that is a pretty diverse collection.

The Pursuit of Justice

This next year, I must commit to fulfilling my goals all while upholding my pursuit of justice. For me, this may be harder than it may be for others. Earlier this year, a former landlord was able to get an unjust judgment against me. This landlord refused to vet the other tenants well, putting me in a situation where I was threatened by a madman with a gun. The landlord chose to hold me liable instead of the madman. I cannot see any scenario in which it would be just to either pay her or allow her to get any portion of this judgment.

So, the pursuit of justice will involve finding a way to live the best life I can all the while ensuring that I do not pay this former landlord a dime. I am currently exploring ways and means to avoid this.

Pursuit of Self-Employment

If I’ve learned anything from my time at Greystone Technology and the other firms I’ve worked at in the past two years, it’s that traditional employment is wholly unreliable. It would be incredibly foolish for me to continue to pursue traditional employment. Instead, I’ll be taking inventory of my skills and abilities over the next month to try to create a business.

At my last job, I remember how hard it was to take Shabbat off. They always wanted me to work Saturday and Friday evenings. If I were still there, I don’t know how likely it would be for me to attend High Holidays services today. Additionally, if I wanted to do anything else, it would be harder if I was working for someone else. Everything I mentioned above requires a bit more in the way of personal freedom. I need to be in control of my own schedule.

The Stage

When I used to have a subscription to Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner, it had a distinction between “front stage”, “back stage” and “off stage” days. According to the Full Focus Planner website,

These concepts are taken from Michael’s online course, Free to Focus ™ and can be incorporated into your use of the planner. In short, Back Stage is time preparing for your main work (e.g. writing a script for a podcast), Front Stage is time presenting or doing your main work (e.g. recording the podcast), and Off Stage is time spent not working.

Technically, Rosh Hashanah should have been an “Off Stage” day, as it’s a Yom Tov. However, I started thinking about this post as I was leaving and started writing it once I got home. Therefore, it became a Back Stage day. I’ll need to be more mindful of this going forward if I want to be better about guarding my days.

Additionally, building this discipline into my workflow is critical if I’m going to attend Middlebury Language Schools. If I want to really deepen my language skills and immerse myself without worry, I’m going to have to prepare for this if I want to blog on a regular basis. Therefore, I think planning my back stage days would make this possible.

Getting involved in charity

I’m not sure how to do this, if I’m going to be honest. The charity I really want to work with is the Jim Collins Foundation. I think the best way that I can do this is by improving my skills and engaging in fundraising. This charity is near and dear to me as access to care for trans people is incredibly important to me.

Blogging More Often

One of the things I’m hoping to get back into is blogging. I figure I’m going to start here posting twice a week for a few months and see how I do with it. This post is a bit more off the cuff but I figure the best place to start is now.