I haven’t written on my own blog in a while mainly because I’ve started doing videos on Youtube, so that’s had my attention for some time now. I had wanted to for a long, long time — there was something compelling about the idea of “being a Youtuber,” or “being a livestreamer,” or seeing and being inspired by people I know online who do simple, authentic videos of themselves talking through their own human experience.
What I’m doing on Youtube isn’t anything fancy; it’s me trying to find my voice, develop better communication skills, comfort with my own voice, finding my own communicative quirks/faults, and getting better about both expression and editing skills. (You can check it out here if you’re interested: austinpranger.com/youtube.)
This blog post, however, is more of a generalized update on life. Generally speaking, I’ve been focused on the following:
Getting My Own Place
Also named “HQ” in my list of projects/North Stars, getting my own place is — I’ve been saying, not something I can afford, but need to do. I can ‘afford’ it, but I can’t sustain it on my current situation. And that’s the point: I have been living pretty complacently and lethargically. Kyle Cease often talks about putting yourself in a situation where you HAVE to grow. This is one of those moments for me and was one of the top actions I knew I needed to take while I was at Evolving Out Loud.
It’s exciting and scary at the same time. I don’t know if I will be able to handle it. But I won’t know until I try.
I’ve begun to see me “getting my own place” as an investment in myself. If I failed at making any money, I will last about 6 months, maybe. But that’s 6 months or 180 days of opportunities to get my life in order, establish a financial foundation, develop new skills, new connections, and evolve myself into someone who can actually take care of himself.
That’s the punchline: becoming someone who is self-sufficient. Even if I need help, or have to rely on others occasionally, there’s a massive difference between being self-sufficient and getting help – and being dependent on others for almost everything, except for a few things.
That’s part of the excitement. Growing into someone who can actually get things done. And being able to call a pocket of the world ‘my own,’ design it as I wish (in any pleasing or crazy way I want), have a space to invite others to, to use it as my “headquarters” or springboard for everything I want to accomplish in my life. This ties in massively to my pursuit on minimalism.
Note that I did not emphasize “being a minimalist.” Yes, this pursuit will make me a minimalist, but my goal is not to be a minimalist. My goal is to pursue minimalism, the practice and philosophy of identifying what is truly important in life and removing all the excess. There are many definitions and ‘looks’ of minimalism; as many as there are people practicing minimalism.
I seek to ‘pursue’ minimalism in that I wish to practice what feels right out of all the different ideas/philosophies I’ve heard, practices I’ve seen incorporated, ‘looks’ I’ve seen designed, and general ideas that come up when I think about living intentionally. I don’t care about doing what’s trendy or “the best way to be a minimalist.” None of that matters to me. It’s the ethos of minimalism, to me, that is most exciting. I want a lot less stuff, but I still like stuff.
It comes down to creating order from the chaos in my life. And this ties in perfectly to what I’m going through via Jordan B. Peterson, both in his book and the Self Authoring Program.
Creating a Map of My Future: The Self Authoring Program
The new title for my initiative to get my life in order is Order from Chaos. Jordan B. Peterson talks about order and chaos in life. I’ve recently picked up his book (12 Rules for Life) and have had his Self Authoring Program for a while now. I’ve completed it almost in its entirety once before last year (opting to do it imperfectly, but even that was powerful). Now, post-LA/EOL, and as I’m orienting myself towards getting my own place, the Self Authoring Program (particularly the Future Authoring segment, at the moment) will help me clarify my intention. To go from, as JBP would say, “low resolution to high resolution” in my goals.
The “map” I am creating of my future is not a fixed map, it’s not permanent. It’s refining the direction of my North Stars, in this moment, and second-most-importantly: creating concrete, tangible steps for their attainment. (The most important step: taking action to attain them.)
As of this moment, and they may change, my current 8 North Stars:
- Acquire and curate the HQ.
- Become disciplined via routine and consistency.
- Create value and generate income to build a financial foundation.
- All-star bound & dance development.
- Be immersed in creation, art/design, and self-expression.
- Improve communication skills and develop positive relationships.
- Cultivate Communities of Awesome and develop leadership capability.
- Go to Burning Man and integrate principles of life.
Simultaneously, I must be wary of my tendency to plan plan plan plan plan and never take action. This is even cautioned in the Future Authoring program:
People often worry themselves unproductively by constantly revisiting their goals, instead of concentrating on their attainment. It is easy to undermine yourself, by always questioning your aims and intentions. Am I doing the right thing? Have I chosen the correct goals? This leads to chronic worry, unproductive behavior, and lack of opportunity to learn.
Now that you have set goals, it is best to concentrate on a daily or weekly basis on implementing the strategies you have devised for their attainment, instead of worrying about the goals themselves. It is just as important to stick to a plan, as it is to make a plan.
If you implement your goals, even if they are not perfect, you will learn enough during the implementation phase to make better goals next time. As you continue to repeat the process, you will get wiser and wiser.
Set aside some time every week or two – no more than ten or twenty minutes – to mentallyreview your performance. You will gather all sorts of useful information that you can use to reconsider your plans, down the road.
Researchers have found that if someone performs goal-setting tasks multiple times over a long period, there is a greater chance of health and productivity improvements.
As a result, you might wish to engage in this sort of exercise on a regular basis, every four, six, or twelve months, as your situation changes.
Yes, I’m ‘planning’ again, but I’m operating from a new place – especially after Evolving Out Loud and as I’m directing myself towards getting my own place and pursuing minimalism (physically, digitally, and mentally). This is my attempt to ‘modularize’ my life: making my pursuits a massive emphasis within my life so that it’s clear as day where I should be going and what I should be doing. Rather than having a ton of little things I want to work on.
Creating & Expressing
As previously mentioned, I’ve started creating content on Youtube. On one hand it’s really exciting and fulfilling to do, but on the other it’s stressful knowing that I still don’t know my niche aside from “trying to figure out what my channel is about.” Getting my niche down has been a challenge of mine for years ever since I started doing business online, writing online, and now doing video online.
And part of the issue with the way I’ve approach “finding my niche” is that I keep trying to “think and figure it out.” Many things, for where I’m at in my life right now, don’t work like that. You can’t just think and figure it out. Instead, you have to get your hands dirty and figure it out by doing – not thinking.
While my Youtube channel, at the moment, is all over the place — it’s a form of creation and expression, helping me to find my voice by using it. I’ve made a lot of personal discoveries over the past couple of months that wouldn’t have been possible had I not flipped on the camera and started talking.
Rather than give myself a hard time for not having a crystal-clear “niche” or “channel theme” – both on Youtube as well as everywhere else… I’m choosing to simply be in the process of figuring it out by being in motion. Figuring it out from a place of stagnation is not the way to do it. It’s better for me to run down ANY road at this point and figure out, by being down that road, whether or not it’s the road I want to be on – or shift gears and find a different road.
Establishing Business Ventures
I’ve taken a small hiatus from ‘business’ and making an income — which is an extremely privileged thing to be able to say. I recognize this has been due to the fortune of living with my parents + being able to save + almost no expenses + the income I made from writing over the past couple of years.
And although I feel like I’ve been moving in slow motion with getting my life in order, there has been a lot of internal development, soul searching – if you will. With these efforts to modularize my life, get clear on my goals, and seek a more intentional life… getting clear about more business ventures is beginning to resurface again. My main avenues at the moment are going to be through writing, dance, and potentially a relatable part-time job (once I get my own place, if writing and dance don’t take off soon enough). I may explore other mediums such as doing video and editing, other forms of writing, developing websites, and so on.
That’s a quick rundown on all that’s happening and where my focus is at the moment:
Getting My Own Place
Future Authoring / Self Authoring
Creating & Expressing
You can keep up with my journey right here on this blog and on my Youtube (austinpranger.com/youtube) – as I figure out how to navigate in this life and find my own voice.