Authorising your life

If life is a book, and you are the author of your actions, what is your next chapter and what actions are you going to write to get to the ending you want?

We do not get to write the forward for our life book. Our parents and culture do that for us. We have heavy collaboration in writing the first chapter, our pre-teen years, often with our parental figures. Once we get to our teen years, we start to break away from our co-authors and write the next chapter more shakily on our own. As an adult, we are writing our own solo chapters. When we find ourselves in a relationship, we may co-author a few sections, but we predominantly are the authors of our lives.

I can not write the script for someone else’s actions, but I certainly can for mine. I don’t write the consequences of my actions, although I certainly can speculate on the likely outcomes.

So here you are, the author of your life. The chapters of the past have been sent to the publisher and printed in a magazine – they can’t be altered. The next chapter though – that has yet to be written.

As you are writing this new chapter in your life, perhaps there are a few things you might want to consider

The Past
Every good author looks at the previous chapters to ensure continuity of the story. Well written characters evolve and change. Sometimes the story of our life is a bit static with very little change, sometimes it’s a bit frenetic with changes all of the time.

Ask yourself, how did your previous chapters end? We can either define the end of our chapter as the loss of an opportunity, person, possession, career and so on, or we can define them as the beginning of a new chapter, new opportunities, new people, new possessions etc. Have you enjoyed the way you have ended your chapters?

Is there a pattern to your chapters, with repeated experiences or solutions that don’t seem to get you anywhere? Well written characters learn and grow and these questions allow you to do so too.

The Last Chapter
The latest chapter is the most powerful. It is the calm before the storm of change, the thing the defines how you got to where you are today, where you have decided to change the course of the book. From this chapter you can ascertain whether the lead character has achieved at this stage all of the things they needed to achieve for the changes about to occur. If they haven’t occurred, this is some good material to add to this next chapter.

It is also a good point in time to reflect on what your character has achieved in the book of life. It is easy to get lost in all of the things that could have been and completely miss all of the things that have occurred, that have gone right, that your character has won at. It is important to have a balanced view of life. If it was all bad, your character probably wouldn’t have survived this far – so measure accurately the things that worked.

The Future
Now it is time to plan this new chapter. Having reviewed the early chapters, skimming the highlights until you reviewed in detail the last chapter, what needs to occur in this new chapter to get the book back on track?

The rules for writing this chapter are quite simple. Define the goal for the end of this chapter, but make sure that goal is achievable, since it is only a chapter, and not the rest of the book. Now write your actions that will work in the environment your character is in, with the resources your character actually has that will get that end of chapter goal. Remember the important thing about writing is not the things the character gets, it is far more about how the character feels about these things. The chapter should end on an emotion and the things and the actions lead the character to this emotion.

Now write carefully and review it before submitting it to the publisher.

To publish this fine chapter, simply follow the actions you have penned out for your character. You may need to submit alterations as you go. Remember it isn’t the plan that is important, it is the journey and the destination. If the plan changes, so be it.

What chapter do you plan to write?

Making use of the 6 Steps to Problem Solving Paradigm

I’m sure that those who read my posts regularly will be quite sick of my problems with Domain.Com. Fortunately those are over now.

I am left with the uncertainty of how to proceed. On the one hand I am tempted to rant and rave about how they stuffed me around for around 9 months such that I didn’t use my website, and how the preceding 4 months or so of web service from them was so horrid that it was actually beneficial for me not to promote my website, asking everyone to spread the word and so on. The upshot of this may be that it will hurt their site, but on average I suspect that it won’t.

Or I can just quietly be happy that I have now moved web hosts and say nothing. The upshot of this is that many people who do read what I write will not be prompted to inform people who read them about the problems, and thus they could fall into similar difficulties to mine.

Both of these are extremes and I have a policy of skepticism when it comes to extremes. They are generally wrong. At the crux the decision is between asking people to publicise my difficulties, much like Steve Mann, with the cyber eye publicised his troubles with MacDonald’s in France (http://io9.com/5927345/mcdonalds-staff-say-they-never-touched-the-cyborg-professor-despite-a-new-photo-that-clearly-shows-they-did), or to just let it go.

I am not one to let things go. However I am also very careful not to act in anger. Anger is an emotion that informs you of a problem. It can be a motivator for doing something about that problem, however without careful dispassionate reason, anger can motivate one to do stupid things.

So I should look at the 6 Steps to Problem Solving.

First, Analyse what I feel.

Joy – I feel much happier now that I have a new web host.

Anger – I have residual anger for the indifference demonstrated to me by Domain.Com when i was asking for help to my situation. I felt a lot of anger when I was forced to ring the United States of America from Australia on my mobile in the middle of the night to get any progress and finally got a solution after 1 hour and 40 minutes. I am angry that I was not granted a full refund for a web host that was, for the most part, useless.

Guilt – I have some foreshadowed guilt for those who may find similar experiences if I don’t expend resources trying to warn people.

Pain – I have foreshadowed sympathetic pain for anyone else in this situatin

Second, Analyse the problem
I am no longer using Domain.com to host my website. Therefore this part of the problem is solved.

I am quite happy with my new web host. I am experiencing my web site as I feel it should have happened in the first place.

What I am not sure about is whether to pursue Domain.Com further.

I am aware that directly appealing to them is a waste of time, since they did not respond to any of my electronic attempts to communicate – their case management system, their twitter handle, emails and appeals to facebook and google+ – and only responded to a phone call which cost me per minute I talked to them, with not sufficient monetary recompense for the effort. What I did gain from that experience was control of my domain again, which I feel was worth it. I do not feel that I would gain further by speaking to them more.

So the pursuit would be in the form of either vengeance as a reaction to anger, or an attempt to pre-empt feelings of responsibility for others who have a similar experience with them. Both of these reasons, while feeling right, are logically wrong.

Third, Make a Plan
I do not need to act against Domain.Com as the matter is over. The gains I would get from further action are less than the expensive I would incur to achieve them.

So instead I should complete updating my websites, and the begin promoting them again.

Fourth, Implement the Plan
I am partway through updating the websites. I have:
– Rescued most of my blog for http://jomida.com
– Reconfigured the pages to decrease web browser incompatibility and take advantage of new features of the web hosting platform (mostly)
– Add a new sub domain http://pyro-panther.jomida.com for the entertainment hobby/business I have
– Transfer http://fencewest.jomida.com

Fifth, Evaluate the solution
Too early to do this yet

Six, Reinforce the solution
Too early to do this too!