Expanding Your Comfort Zone: Jumping into the Deep End vs.

Waddup freaks! It’s your favorite weirdo writing today from Goiânia in Brazil, some way off the beaten path. I shot a video this morning following a discussion with a friend of mine about growth and what approach should you take to it.

Her approach was more based on doing a little bit every day, slowly stretching the limits of what she was capable of, whereas she perceived my approach to be more “jumping into the deep end”, just doing really challenging stuff like travelling to the far ends of the end, etc.

After pondering about it for a while, I decided to do a video about my conclusions. Check it out below:

I can definitely say that I have plenty to improve in my expression, but at the same time I feel like I’m improving. Anyway here’s what I was trying to communicate:

Your comfort zone is like the intensity you can grow at, like I said in the video, going far out of your comfort zone is like doing an intense workout. But doing a single intense workout won’t make you jacked – it takes a long time of consistent effort to be able to achieve that. Once you get used to more intense workouts though, your potential increases immediately. It’s the same concept, just applied on a grander scale.

So obviously wise approach is to consistently push yourself, and always be leaning to the edges of your comfort zone. If you can handle jumping to the deep end every now and then, that can can then fuel even further expansion of that comfort zone, especially once it becomes hard to push that comfort zone in your regular day-to-day life. The growth itself, on the other hand, doesn’t happen linearly at all. Just like in working out you can actually get weaker in the short term despite pushing yourself, or plateau for a long time, you improving yourself and your life overall won’t happen linearly in a straight upward slope.

That’s why you have to focus on the process. Push yourself and trust that eventually results will come. Be more concerned on how well you are spending your time, rather than the actual results you’re getting. And of course, be happy of small victories, like I was today for getting out and doing that video (it actually still isn’t easy at all).

Hope that makes any sense, I’ll get back to you soon :)

Brazil Preparation Challenge

In case I haven’t made it publicly obvious enough on here, I am headed to Brazil on June 9th for the World Cup. This is something I’ve been talking a lot in multiple posts, but now the talk is actually becoming reality. It is going to be my most intense trip yet, so it calls for some preparation, not just in terms of booking flights and tickets and stuff – I need to also have my routines razor sharp to be able to pull the trip off with honors.

Working Vacation

I guess the first thing to note regarding Brazil is that I will have to be able to retain my industry in terms of working through the whole trip. I am allowed have some slight dips, but nothing more than that. I know already from my trips to Malaysia and Hong Kong that this is extremely hard equation while traveling. So I have to do my best to have everything ready and drilled while things are still easy back home. Here I don’t need to figure out logistics every day, here I don’t have anything unpredictable going on, here practically it’s just a matter of putting in the hours. So if I can’t do it with absolute perfection here, what hope do I have far away from home where logistics might be completely against me?

Another thing is that I need to start getting used to doing the things I will be doing in Brazil – in other words, getting out and creating some videos. Cause that’s exactly what I plan to do in Brazil. As usual when traveling, I don’t want to waste the chance without getting some videoblogs done. This is something I was really unhappy about in Hong Kong and Malaysia, and to an extent in my Lapland trip as well. All of those resulted in just one video, which is better than nothing, but certainly in hindsight I wish I would have done more.

I’m not gonna go all out either like in Japan and make a video everyday, but I’d like to be working on my videos on most days. Now I probably do shorter form shooting – in other words, have longer videos pre-planned, and then shoot just one segment per day for that video. I might not even cut anything in Brazil, certainly sounds a bad idea to me to be doing a lot of video editing while I could be enjoying a new country, especially given how much work I’m already doing daily.

If I decide to do some videos where I talk more about the trip itself rather than about my life philosophy etc like in most of my videos, then I might slap those together much quicker and indeed upload online there, since it’s more timely content. But if it’s me talking about some higher concept then there’s no reason to overwork myself to get them online before being back home.

Brazil Routine

I’ll explain the routine here in the video:

Now as most of you won’t watch the video (and I’m fine with that since I’m better at writing anyway), I’ll recap most of the content here. Also the vid was made earlier on the week, so now it’s practically only two weeks until Brazil – I’m slow.

Basically I have my day divided up into just three components that I need to complete daily.

Work Component

Basically this is just sitting down at a computer for two stretches of four hours and trying to remain relatively undistracted to get as much work as possible done. Ideally that would be 7-7.5 hours and my daily bit of writing 750 words. If I pull this off, I don’t even need to do work every day of the week, I can have one full day off, or couple of days where this component is halved. Between the two four hour halves I could go eat, do another component, go out, whatever. The idea basically is just that once you sit down, you’re staying there for four hours and whatever you get done, that’s that.

The method behind this madness is quite simple – if I ‘ve noticed anything while working is that having a simple focus is what helps productivity more than any other hack. Just setting a time for four hours and then sitting through it, knowing that it is the time for work-mode, is an effort to override all the over-thinking and procrastinating processes inside you. Four hours as a time span is too long for beginners, but I no longer have the luxury to call myself a beginner, so I go for it – it is not completely overwhelming either that something like ten hours might be.

Besides, all it means is that the timer is running – you don’t actually even have to work for the four hours straight, you can take short breaks during it, as long as the overall focus remains and you still get reasonable  amount of work done. Three hours of work out of four hours of it is absolute minimum, though.

Physical Fitness Component

You know how nazi I am about this stuff, and for a good reason – when I drop off my routine, I drop off badly, so I can’t afford to let myself get there. My intention is to keep working out through Brazil, and simplest way to do that is to lump your physical activities together and do them at once. So starting with my typical 30 minutes of stretching (or doing 15 mins in the beginning and 15 minutes as a cool down)  and then working out just makes sense. Now I would imagine I have no problems with playing football in Brazil, so I at least have one easy access form of working out – then again, I’m a huge proponent of bodyweight methods so pretty much my full range will be available for me at any place.

Video Blog Component

Lastly there’s the part of the day that defines how much I output into this blog. Practically in Brazil this means that I  strap up my camera and tripod with me and head out to visit some place that would offer me a scenic shot and then do the bit that I have prepared for that day. This might just smoothly and naturally integrate with rest of my trip while in Brazil, but I want to have the habit of creating videos already formed here so that it will be automatic when I arrive in Brazil. You don’t want to start overthinking things when you are having crowds around you – better get the process down well here where its quiet.

Ideally I want to shoot such short segments that I can have pretty much everything I want to say in my head at once. Either that, or just shoot the kind of video blogs where I talk about the trip freely, where it doesn’t matter that much what I blather. My aim for Brazil is to make 2-3 videos where I talk about the approaches I have to life and then perhaps do some videos where I document the trip itself more. I am not yet decided on how I go about with that, but that’s largely irrelevant now. Now matters that I have the right habits down.

Simple System, Simple Usage

As you can see I didn’t devise anything very complicated for myself. That’s cause the older I get, the more I realize that it’s the simple stuff that actually brings the results. There’s always a temptation to think that getting a lot done is something you achieve by complicated systems, but no, you really achieve it with very simple systems and then just retaining consistency. Retaining it when handling with the chaos of life.

This was all thought with the consistency in mind, and making remaining consistent as easy as possible. It’s made so that I can stay on top of my things with just using my simple mind, and not needing using any complex productivity tools like my Universal Awesomeness Score for instance is. I will of course keep tracking that throughout the trip, but partially this simple system exists to make that easy as well – cause everything is made into very clear, consistent blocks of work, applying them to my system at the end of the day will be easy.

The hard part, like with any system, is actually applying it and following through. That’s what the next four weeks before Brazil will be about. If you go through my blog you will find a TON of failed systems I’ve devised for myself. Some of those sucked, some of those were okay, but on most of those I had no follow through. Now there’s the emotional leverage though – I can’t afford to fail. This trip has already required massive investment both in terms of effort and finances. So I am not about to let it drip through my fingers without getting the best out of it. I need to be well drilled ahead of it.

Finally let’s talk about priority of all the different components. It is very simple actually:

1. Physical Fitness Component

2. Work Component (at least one half of it)

3. Video Blog Component

Even if a day is full of stuff, logistics don’t work, something else goes wrong – I can always go do my workout, if nothing else then running. Hell even if I get jailed I can still do push-ups and handstand holds in the jail cell, among other things. And even if I’m lacking time, I still should always strive to get at least one half of the work done. The video blog is not absolutely necessary so if things go a little wrong or if I’m just a bit slow during the day, that is easy to drop to save some time.

Ideally all components should be completed, but I’d guesstimate this is about 11-12 hours of time investment every day to complete all three. While traveling in a foreign country, accounting for wandering around, getting lost, figuring directions, etc. etc. etc. it is impossible to get all of that done every day, even if you take no rest and just blast away all day.

In the end I won’t absolutely have to complete 40 hours of work every week either – if I get to 30 every week things won’t be disastrous either then. Finally the actual order of doing this stuff will vary a lot, but usually if I know I surely have the time to do everything, I’d start with the work.

So anyway, thanks for sitting through another War & Peace of Blog Posts, nearly 2000 words again (is it just me or is my average blog post getting considerably longer than it used to be?), I’ll head out to completing my “components” for the first time.

Drop me a comment below! Also share the post if you liked it, I’m not promoting my blog at all so if it’s gonna spread it has to happen through word of mouth.

Why I Broke Up with My GF

Enough time has passed, its time to go through some demons from my past… This post is going to be very personal and little about self-development, so if that’s your thing you might want to skip this one.

As I’ve mentioned in this blog many times, my relationship with my GF came to an abrupt end at the turn of the year. This post is going to talk about that.

Any break-up is hard on a person’s emotions, but the way our relationship ended was completely fucked up. I experienced the lowest of low in the aftermath – the dynamic of the relationship and all made sure that this was about as painful of an experience as I could have had.

Everything was set. I had worked hard, pushed myself for two years. I was ready to make the leap, to completely restructure my life for a woman (never a good idea) and move a country for her. Only thing in between was her coming over and us spending a vacation here in Finland together before we’d fly back together victoriously.

Fact was though that things have been deteriorating. Still, I was hopeful that being physically together could help the things. They didn’t. The vacation was marred with arguments, and the worst of them ended in this:

It would have been hell of a good sex... but it wasn't from sex.

It would have been hell of a good sex… but it wasn’t from sex.

I was so shocked and my reality was shattered. It’s one thing to have some petty arguments, and whole another to have the other person hate you so much that she physically assaults you, especially to that extent.

What The Hell Happened?

I’ll give an honest account on how things escalated to that point. We had been eating a dinner on the cruise (as you can see, I’m in a small cabin). During the dinner I made some silly joke, like I generally do, and it for whatever reason upset her. Lack of sense of humor on her end marred the end of our relationship. The tensions were heightened as we returned to cabin. I wasn’t wearing a shirt as I was preparing to work out (yeah, I don’t stop even for a cruise). I was still annoyed at the fact that she got upset over nothing, so I was lecturing her about it – not mature thing to do, admittedly.

She wasn’t listening though, instead fiddling around with her phone, that she had used all through the vacation to message with another guy (yeah… there was another guy in the picture. She ended up staying with that guy for rest of her vacation and they are now dating. Figures), so that further drove up my annoyance.

I demanded her to listen, taking the matters to my hands quite literally. I snatched the phone off her hands. Note that I was annoyed, but no super aggressive. I told her I’ll give it back to her when she answers my question. I don’t remember what it was – but the subject of our argument was trivial at this point. I was just wanting her to answer to me and then I’d given back the phone.

She didn’t answer me, instead tried to grapple back for the phone. She really escalated fast into massive anger. “Give it back!” She demanded. Being taller and stronger than her, I merely positioned my body between her and the phone and played keep-away with her. If it was funny at all, it stopped being funny few seconds into it. Realizing she could not get her phone, she sank her long nails right into my flesh!

This was absolutely shocking to me. But I have a personality of a pitbull and when I am being hurt, that just makes me stick to my guns more and become even more stubborn. Any sane man would have thrown her phone at her and walked out of her life for good – if her fucking phone is so important to her that she is willing to hurt a man she is supposed to love, then fine, have your fucking phone. All I asked was an answer. Violent response was completely disproportionate to the situation.

But I didn’t walk away. Feeling the sharp pain, I pushed her on the cabin bed off me. She got up and lashed out again. I pushed her down again. At no point I used violence at her. I merely pushed her away repeatedly.

Now what’s so dark in this that generally, when lets say guy punches a girl, he immediately realizes the gravity of what he is done and is sorry for it. Generally, at least. It’s a moment of boiling over, and then its over. But for my girlfriend it wasn’t like that. She drew blood from the first scratch, but kept getting up to fuck me up more every time I pushed her down. I thought she would calm down if I just weathered through it, but it just went on and on.

I don’t know how much time passed. Ten minutes? 20? 30? I have no idea. We struggled for a quite a while with the same pattern. At some point she cut at my wrist with her long, sharp nail. I still have a scar on my wrist that makes me look like I attempted suicide in the past. It wasn’t blind rage – it seemed almost a calculated effort to try to cut open an artery.

For a fucking phone!

In the end, I pushed her again on the bed, she ended up on her stomach and I happened to just get on top of her. I grabbed her hands with force and twisted them backwards, pinning her down there. The situation, at least to that extent was over.

I was the bloody mess of above picture – well worse actually, given I took a shower and wiped most of the blood off before the picture. She left the cabin feeling anger towards me, showing no signs of regret or remorse. Which is something that remained consistent through the following months. At every point we discussed this afterwards she felt she was justified and I got what was coming to me. In fact, if anything she accused me of it.

Now I’m no one to say I was faultless. I’m first to admit my faults. But at this situation, I didn’t do anything outrageously bad, definitely not something worth getting permanent scars for.

While the damage on my body looks bad, its not even an increment to the emotional scars I got from the situation. I’ll be fine, but certainly that’s something that will leave a lasting mark in my mind about women.

Aftermath

I’ve tried my best to forgive her for what she did and try to remain friends with her, as I thought it was just an isolated incident and that wasn’t the kind of person she is. However, I think I needed a little help. “Sorry”, from her end would have been a good start. But as said, she felt no regret nor remorse for what she did. Instead, every time we talked her whole modus operandi was to point out how it was all my fault. I’m not denying it, it was probably all my fault. Regardless, laying your hand on someone who you are supposed to love is not something that can be justified.

In the end, fact was that she had fallen out of love with me a long time ago. Her resentment towards me was deafening. Attack on me was just an expression of that hate for me.

I did a lot wrong during that relationship to deserve that hate.

It was a lesson in setting personal boundaries for me – I should have never hung out for a so long time with someone who clearly was not enjoying my company – lack of sense of humor was a sign of such.

Anyway, to get back to my story we had gone through this pretty crushing way to break up, and then the final kicker – I had my 900 euro tickets to Malaysia still -you think I was going to let them go to waste? Of course not, but Malaysia was not the best environment to be in at that point. Everything around me was like rubbing on my face all the effort I put into the failed relationship. So I was absolutely destroyed. It was not until Hong Kong when my recovery started and I bounced back.

I will write more about what I learned through this difficult experience in the future. Now, I just wanted to come out with an account on what happened.

Reconstruction of My Routine

WreckI’m back. I’ve been a total trainwreck* of late, which has seen me completely fall off my habits, especially off my weekly posting schedule. My blog is at a crossroads and definitely I feel a change is in order. Mainly though this post will be about me attempting to get back into work groove.

*Trainwreck in my case means I’ve been having too much sugar.

Hong Kong Fallout

I stayed on most of my routines fairly well during my excursion in Hong Kong. I kept doing my workout every day, even if sometimes the logistics got difficult, sometimes doing my workout at 2 am.

What killed me off (not literally!) was falling sick during the last days of Hong Kong. Now I have been off everything for a long time.

However, I turned into a trainwreck during Hong Kong even before all of my routines breaking down. Don’t get me wrong, Hong Kong was incredibly awesome and I’d put the whole trip up there as one of best moments of my life, but the fact was that the whole idea of traveling while doing my location independent work was pretty much shattered. Doesn’t help to have a location independent job if you can’t actually maintain the processes of doing it while being, you know, in a different location.

I’m not gonna get into detail about what happened in Hong Kong to make me so hazy brained to not be able to work, as it would be unsavory story with plenty of debauchery (and mom, if you’re reading, this… Nothing happened in Hong Kong. I was just sight-seeing. I’m a good boy). The key thing is to understand that it kinda threw me off the rails and left me with a lot to think about.

Avoiding this in the future won’t be the subject of this post, instead now I have to focus on simply getting back to my ways.

Public UAS Tracking

Yeah, for those who don’t know what UAS stands for, it’s Universal Awesomeness Score. My few months old scoring system that I’ve not been so careful to stay on top of. What I mean by this is that I’ve not been the most meticulous tracker of my own productivity lately. It’s simple, really. When you are a wreck who is not working much to begin with, you are not feeling very inclined to track your own productivity. Just discouraging.

It has to get sorted, so I am moving my points tracking on this site, on a separate page. I don’t want to start spamming the main blog feed with my weekly updates, but I want my points still to be a part of the site – after all I redesigned the whole points system so it fits everyone better. If I’m not using my own system well and setting an example, how can I expect anything else to do it? Furthermore, it being “public” (not that there’s many people reading my blog) would motivate me to push myself into higher and higher scores.

This kind of signifies the change that this blog is facing as well. I am yet to decide what direction I want to take this blog to. So far it’s been posing mostly as a personal development blog, and there’s always aspects of that in it as I am so heavily into growth, but at the same time I feel like I am not very good at it. Yeah, you get better by doing it, but if I’m only going to post once in a week the progress is going to be slow.

Yeah, that’s another thing. Posting once a week. I don’t think that really fits me. I mean, on one hand it does, very much. Forces me to be productive. But this should be something to aid me moving forward on my path, this blog – not something that I feel forced to do. The messages here on this site should come out of inspiration, not out of obligation. Obviously often times its a mix of both, but I’d definitely want to be leaning more on the inspiration’s side.

Since I’ve already fallen off the wagon of weekly posting, I’m to keep just posting freely at least for a while, at least until I figure what I want to do.

When we get to the bare bones, this blog should first and foremost be an expression of myself. Whether that turns this into more of an personal journal like site or something, that’s something that I will have to figure out. I do know I want the blog to be a window to my life.

The New Routine

For my new resurrection, for my Phoenix-like rising from the ashes, I figure I need at least some sort of template to base my days around. Of course I am going to be very flexible in case something comes up, but if nothing comes up I think I need to be disciplined. As I’ve learned in the past, the template should not be something that completely overwhelms me. So here goes:

- Wake up to a new day -

  1. Work for three hours
  2. Breakfast
  3. An hour of reading
  4. 15 min of stretching
  5. Work out
  6. Lunch / second meal**
  7. An hour of reading (optional)
  8. Mediation
  9. Write for an hour
  10. Third meal

** I very rarely have my second meal at lunch-time. *Grins*

- Few hours of free activity -

  1. Address pelvic dysfunction + porn star warm up*** / This can be replaced with session of Yoga
  2. Work more until feel tired / lose focus
  3. Final meal of the day
  4. Sit down for 5 minutes to plan and set goals for the next day
  5. Read fiction until sleepy

*** Porn-star warm-up is a hip-mobility routine on Amped Warm-up Guide

So there it is. As you can see, it is divided into two parts, like bookends of the day, but naturally I will move around little blocks of the day as I see fit and some probably will be omitted altogether on some days. The essentials really are to put in a few hours of work in every day, read a bit, eat a lot, write, exercise, meditate and stretch. Beyond that, everything else is just bonus. If I don’t let my time leak into silly things like fiddling around with my phone, it is all very doable with a nice window of time in between the two routines where I can do whatever I want.

I’ll dissect some bits of it a bit now. Why I want to delve straight away to work? Well, because after all of this time I still have most trouble with it. It is the thing I want to procrastinate with. But if I start the day with a simple minded focus to get it done, I usually do very well. Doing three hours straight away just sets me up well for the day. I’ll have breakfast only after that. As my meals are generally heavy and I feel tired after them, reading is a perfect follow up activity for the meal. Then it is always nice to get the body maintenance out of the way for the day.

Again, after second meal I might want to do something lighter like reading, but meditation will be good as well. If I am tired it is a good way to train your mind to be more focused during tiredness, something that’s very useful to learn. Ideally after meditation the worst food coma would have cleared and I’d have a nice, focused and clear mind to start writing for the day. After writing I’ve earnt another meal and some free time to unwind.

Ending the day well is of course important. I want to do more body maintenance cause I do a lot of sitting, I have notoriously tight hips and already am having some back problems. So it doesn’t hurt to alleviate that. Not to mention the extra hip mobility might come in handy on those days that I’m not going to bed alone…

Before slamming down some more work for the night I think its useful to grab a snack. After the further work and the final meal I’ve definitely earnt my rest. Fiction is perfect to read before sleeping as it generally doesn’t put you in a state where you are thinking about super logical stuff or doing future projections and reflections in your mind.

So there. Good plans have been laid, now the predictable battle in staying disciplined to them is ahead. But of course, this isn’t a challenge, I’m going to be flexible on these, I just want to have some go-to structure for the indecisive moments.

Dump your comments below. Come on, don’t be shy.

Courage and Fear in Modern Society

It’s time for the long-awaited bungy jumping video, and some other reflections related to it. This time I don’t have much of an intro, I think I nailed the video this time even though technically it’s not done well (the speaking part was just shot using a phone and holding it in hand – the bungy itself is HD shot with multiple cameras by AJ Hackett). I think I did a good job communicating my message anyway.

So check the video out:

As for the “tomorrow’s video”, well it never got made – by the time I was in Malaysia I had gotten reaally sick. Way too sick to be sleeping on the station floors or walking around KL with 10 kg backpack. Thankfully my ex loaded me up with enough drugs to take out an elephant so I held over for the nearly 24 hour transit back home. Not fun to be sick while travelling, but then again would there be a better timing for it anyway?

But enough about KL, let’s go back for a moment to that moment in Macau. I step on the edge and look down. It has been a long wait to get there. I was early at the tower in comparison to the jump time. I had just sit for a long time with the crowd of people staring at me, along with the other few guys and a girl that were lining up to jump down.  Thinking of what mess I had gotten myself into. I felt like I did a good job maintaining outward calm, but my bubble had been bursted when one of the guys of the staff came to get me. “Why you so serious man? You scared?”

Whether I had been scared or not then was irrelevant now that I had stepped to the edge. Cause this was being scared. This was being fucking scared. I look down into the drop of over 700 feet and all the blood tries to escape my body, as if not wanting anything to do with it. Complete numbness overwhelms my insides as my reptilian brain screams at me. “Take a step back. TAKE A STEP THE FUCK BACK.”

You can hardly blame it. It doesn’t realize I’m all strapped up and a rope will stop my fall. It merely wants to preserve my life.

I briefly blame my mom for not stopping me getting these stupid ideas before the countdown starts. I am in position to jump. Five, four, three, two, one. I gotta say it is pretty savvy, the way they send you out. The loud countdown gives you just enough social pressure to do it. To nudge you through the fear. I didn’t really jump right by leaning forward as you are supposed, I was so stiff with fear I merely dropped down. It didn’t matter, gravity handled the rest.

As for the jump itself, the moment I was off the edge all the fear subsided cause there was no room for it any more. Just a few second of intense consciousness as my body raced towards ground. The rope stopping my descent didn’t really feel bad. You would imagine it is abrupt, but it felt smooth enough to me. But then again I was falling fast so what’s smooth in those speeds anyway?

I didn’t let out a sound the whole way. After saying goodbye on the edge (you can’t hear the things I say cause I muted the video so that the background music they put didn’t clash with my own background music – you didn’t miss much aside me saying awkwardly “awesome”, the goodbye before the jump and the countdown) I was just quiet the whole time until at some point I just put all the emotions concisely into one sentence “Holy shit…” while hanging from the rope.

Would I do it again? Sure, I would do it. But don’t mistake that I think I did something brave that matters. I did something brave that gives me an adrenaline rush and empowers me – the brave things that change life for myself and for others are different. In many ways, they take more courage anyway than dropping down from a ledge, and they need that more courage applied repeatedly, day in, day out.

Thanks for tuning in this week, drop me a comment and let me know what you thought!

The Full Scale of Human Experience

Let’s start with an update regarding my trip. I had some messed up stuff happen with my monies and as an end result, I will have to return to Finland instead of staying in Malaysia after my HK trip ends. I bought some match tickets for Brazil already which put my finances to a stretch, and the kicker is that now I even won’t get the tickets, the money is just temporarily off my account. Needless to say, it was not fun to run out of money during my Macau excursion. Oh well, lesson learned in keeping a buffer of money always available. Now with the boring shit off my chest, let’s delve into the post itself.

As my above paragraph states, my journey is coming to its abrupt and unplanned end. Lessons have been learned aplenty but reflecting back on past nearly a month, all I can say is that I’ve experienced nearly everything there is. From the low points to extreme highs, I’d go as far as to say it’s been the month of my life so far.

Is that an overt statement? I can’t say for sure. Perhaps it is just silly mental masturbation to think about such notions as “best month/year/any period of time of my life” but I like to do that. So far I’ve called my first month in Malaysia the best of my life and it was indeed a huge turning point for me. It was challenging for that kid who suffered from crippling shyness, yet it was filled with happy memories and gratitude for the experience, with very few lows.

Now? Well, as I’ve said here on the blog already in a passing mention, I broke up with my gf ahead of the trip. Anyone who’s been following me for a period of time knows that would be a big deal to me. I invested a lot of effort into making it work, literally hauling my ass to the other side of the world to make it happen. It wasn’t going to be though, and the repercussions were of that magnitude. Being in the environment where I have got myself just for the relationship just rubbed its failure into my face further.

So the first half of the month was spent in a blurry state of mostly depression, with few glimmers of feeling better. What about Hong Kong? Well I have to say Hong Kong has definitely its rough edges, but my experience here has been extremely positive. Indeed to such extent I am feeling like coming back after my Brazil trip gets sorted out and over with (I make an adventure of a lifetime sound like a chore).

If Malaysia 2012 was more of an even line of positive emotions upwards accumulating into a great month, Malaysia/Hong Kong of 2014 has been more of a extreme up and down thrill ride. Which one will I prefer? Well my heart would probably prefer the former, but honestly, give me the thrill ride.

That’s where the best memories are made, after all. The intense lows will just turn into powerful memories in time and intense highs… Well even more powerful memories, not to mention they feel incredible when you experience them.

The Full Scale of Human Experience

What it all boils down to is experiencing all that there is and experiencing to the maximum. I won’t shy away from intense sadness, I won’t shy away from intense pain, and I most certainly won’t shy away from intense joy. But to get joy, pleasure, passion, whatever, you will have to put yourself vulnerable to the intense negative aspects as well. I’ve had very stressed moments during this trip, I’ve had sad moments, but in just few days or moments that can all change into even a surreal level of bliss.

In the end it is all about experiencing the full scale. It’s from the emotional spikes that the strongest memories are made of, not just even bliss of everything going smoothly from start to finish. I talked about this in the past as well.

So now that we have established that you want to go for the full scale, how do you do it? Simple, put yourself at risk, go for too big goals that inevitably draw out the mistakes of you. Have zero fear or hesitation to commit to your courses of action. Get emotionally invested.  Things will fail and you will get sad. Things will succeed and you will feel happy. Regardless you will experience intense events, stuff that you won’t even believe that could happen to you. You will wake up asking yourself what is happening to your life. On some mornings in a positive sense, and on some mornings in a negative sense.

It is all just sides of the same coin. So when I cry for sadness I don’t resist the emotion at all (except if I’m in front of people – I like to grief in privacy), similarly I attempt to let the joy of good things take me over when it comes to take me. I’m not saying I’m perfect at this either, but the more you open yourself up to the full scale of human experience, the more incredible your life will be.

Bad shit happening won’t make your life any worse. You need to understand that. What it will do is harden you for the future trials and give you great stories to tell in the future.

Hope that made sense – do share your thoughts in the comments. I’m too tired to keep writing now – see you next week!

Also, yes, I made the bungy jump as intended in Macau. I’m not gonna talk about it now though – next week will be all about it.

Emotional Leverage

Okay, so I’ve talked about small-stepping your way into new habits, I’ve talked about how you have to take the right action amidst the chaos of life, mentioning also that we already know what to do – it’s just doing it that matters. So today I’m going to talk about the final piece of the puzzle, emotional leverage.

You need to actually get an emotional leverage on yourself to actually chance, to actually grow and to actually make yourself a success. For I can talk about challenges and small-stepping my way into good habits all I want, but if I don’t have the emotional leverage I just am not going to stick to it. Emotional leverage often times is anchored in pain – you just feel so bad that you are prepared to go through some other kind of discomfort just to change it. But it might be just being drawn to something so much that you just do anything to get it.

But the absolutely worst place to be is in a good situation. That’s where I am now. I am feeling alright. I’m not having very powerful urge to change even though I know I need to take action still in many parts of my life. Especially on the becoming social part. I mean sure, everything is alright and I can be happy as things stand, but I am not where I ultimately want to be – I’m sure many can relate with the feeling. There’s nothing bad in where you are, and the rewards of putting in the work on your endeavors don’t seem that tempting, so you just don’t take any action.

Just having a blogpost for goals of that year isn’t enough in itself to drive you on. There needs to be drive, the burning desire to make something happen.

That’s the final frontier. Mastering your mind to the extent that you can manufacture that desire for any goal you might have.

I can’t say I can do it. This blog is littered with failed challenges, that often times fail because I didn’t manage to get an emotional leverage on myself. There’s other reasons to it, of course, but that’s one primary one. The times I have managed to get that emotional leverage on myself don’t often even make sense to me.

As said, the emotional leverage always comes from reward or punishment. That’s why if your life is shit, that can trigger you to take heavy action, as the pain of the present continuing is a bad enough prospect to get you moving. But nowadays, for most people, life is just comfortable. It’s not bad and even if your dreams are day by day slowly dying, there’s hardly any pain, just the feeling of mediocrity.

Your survival instincts won’t care if you succeed, they won’t care if you reach your dreams. They won’t care about anything but minimizing the output and maximizing the input. That’s why getting that leverage on yourself when everything is comfortable is so hard.

I know I’m rambling. Really I don’t have any easy answer to how to achieve the emotional leverage when life is just comfortable and your primal mind doesn’t want anything to change. That’s the way for the status quo to remain. My mind right now is in a weird haze that’s resulted from combination of lack of sleep, lack of good food (I have really hard time eating healthy while traveling) and some other debauchery that is something I’m not going to get very detailed about.

If I have to conclude this post somehow I’m going to say this: All of my latest topics work in conjunction. Yet, there has to be emotional leverage, and the more you have it the more you can change at once, but in the end the change is going to be gradual, in other words you will have to small-step your way into it and keep on the process continuously when life throws shit in your face. For small changes you won’t need that much emotional leverage. For instance, how much effort it really takes to start drinking more water? Not really much at all. But starting to talk to strangers on the street when all your life you’ve been anti-social? That’s gonna take a bit more of that leverage.

Some people are blessed in not needing to make big changes in life to become a success. I’m not one of them. I’d be inclined to think anyone reading this blog regularly isn’t that kind of person either. We usually have big enough flaws that take major action and big changes to turn around.

The key thing is that every moment you are either growing tiny bit, or dying tiny bit. The expression of this inner change to your life might be very abrupt, but the inner change itself happens very slowly, by taking the right actions over a long period of time. An example of this is my own income – it jumped up quite quickly, but the process that led to this jump took me couple of years of hard slow work. If I don’t keep up the same work, the same inner traits that enabled the higher income for me will dwindle down and then I might lose it in as abrupt moment – that’s just how it works.

Maybe in the end it is about finding that small emotional leverage in you from moment to moment to do the slightly uncomfortable thing all the time, to move against that flinch, instead of having such pain or deep burning passion for something that makes you completely rehaul your life.

Both things obviously can and will happen, but it is the small actions that are more sustainable.

It’s a battle within yourself – it’s the old adage of you being your own worst enemy, and no one else.

Now, I’m gonna leave you with homework to check this classic post of Julien Smith. I’m going to reread it like fifth time myself.

Drop a comment below!

Small-Stepping Your Way into New Habits

Here’s a brief update on my challenge: It’s over before it really started. I realized quickly it’s way too much for me. Which brings me to today’s post, which is basically the lesson I got out of the experience – which is basically small-stepping it when it comes to forming new habits.

You Can’t Jump to the Moon

I have a feeling I’ve said that before. I have a feeling I might have used that analogy before. Whatever. If I sound like a broken record it is because I keep coming back to the same basic lessons.

Encouraged by the success of Spiral of Awesomeness, I set forth to chew a piece a bit too big for my mouth – the Super Cyclone of Awesomeness. Aside the cool name was a difficult challenge even if I had done all of the habits of it before – as it leaves very little time for dilly-dallying around. So say like if I get a lost and wander around for an hour, I’ve already screwed up basically.

I’m not saying that the new challenge is impossible – that’s be a lame excuse. But I can’t just jump into it like Spiral of Awesomeness. The difference is that in Spiral of Awesomeness none of the habits were completely new to me – I just had not done all of it concurrently for an extended period of time before. In Super Cyclone of Awesomeness there was a lot of separate pieces that would take a lot of willpower in themselves. For instance, I’ve worked a lot of five hour work days, but doing that every day doesn’t come completely automatically. Highest willpower thing for me is naturally talking to people which doesn’t come naturally at all. In fact within the habit itself it is gonna take time to build up to the five approaches a day.

Let alone grouping all of this new stuff into the same challenge while figuring out being in a foreign country and recovering from a pretty devastating break-up (yes, I had that happen to me as well)? It’s simply gonna be too much.

Repeating Spiral of Awesomeness

Only way it’s going to happen is mastering things one at a time – it always comes full circle back to this. That is why I’m now mostly focused on mastering the five hours of work a day habit – That will be my main focus, while retaining workout, stretching and writing habits I’ve already reinstated. As for rest of challenge’s different components, I will do them as I can, but right now I will focus on just starting to string those five hour work days together while travelling.

Realistic schedule looks something like that:

5 hours a work 30-day challenge Jan 20th – Feb 20th

4-week challenge of reading at least 5 hours a week Feb 17th – March 16th

30-day challenge of daily mediation March 17th – April 17th

30-day challenge of approaching 5 people daily April 18th – May 18th

I didn’t check the dates if its perfectly like that, but that’s the general idea. At the end of it I might not still be concurrently doing all the habits, but at least my life would look lot closer to the challenge and taking it on wouldn’t be too much for me.

Just Building Up into It Takes Time

Once I have all the habits rolling it will take some time for my life for completely change, but it will certainly change if I keep at it. However, just building up into so that the processes come from the spine will take time. Even after I complete the challenge in the unforeseeable future I will still probably keep dropping off the habits, sometimes consciously, sometimes accidentally.

It’s over a long period of time that these things really ingrain themselves. Even if you could adopt habits instantly, you’d still need time to see full results. Life is a patient man’s game.

Not surprised to see me crash and burn in my challenge? Tell me in the comments.

I am heading out to Hong Kong next – I will shoot a video in Kuala Lumpur as well at some point, but not until I come back. 

Handle The Chaos & Succeed in Life

I’ve been in Malaysia now a few days and certain things have glaringly slapped my face already – I’ve for instance had to postpone my challenge simply to handle the logistics here first. However now today I’m gonna finally get underway with my challenge. As for this week’s post, I’m gonna talk about that experience and how it relates to succeeding in life.

When Chaos Smashes Against Your Face

I think the video is solid enough though some elaboration through text is in order. Given I have purple shirt on I can’t really complain. :)

So what does the chaos mean? Well I refer it to anything unfamiliar or random that turns up. Back home the level of chaos for me is very low, and probably for most people their regular day-to-day life is low on chaos. But when you start venturing out of your comfort zone and striving towards something better than where you are at right now, that’s where you are going to start being faced with chaos and increasing levels of it.

Why is handling it well so key for success? Well I guess you could achieve considerable success on certain areas of life even without facing up to the chaos, but to really go to the top at any area of life you just have to learn to deal with it. The better you deal with chaos, the better you are able to just keep on your path when life bounces you around.

The best of us just keep bulldozing on in those situations.

Anyone Can Learn It

The beauty of it is that through challenging yourself this metaskill to all skills really can be learnt. My favorite way to do it is travel, which of course is beneficial in many other ways as well, like opening up your mind into alternative ways of life, expanding your horizons and making you see all that is out there in the world.

We all start at a some level. For some people, just waking up at a wrong time of the morning is enough chaos to throw us off completely. For most of course the level is higher. Whatever it is, the way to deal with it is to face the chaos and put yourself constantly to the test. In the end, chaos is all there is. Nothing is permanent, no life situation. That is why being ready and able to deal with shifting horizons is such a key skill in life – even if you try your best to avoid it, it is unavoidable. Life is constantly changing, life is a constant chaos, and it’s always going towards more entropy.

Did any of that make any sense at all? Let me know in the comments!

Speaking of chaos, I’ve decided to scale down my challenge – 100 approaches a week from zero is quite a bit, so I’ve decided to drop it to fifty per week. 

Super Cyclone of Awesomeness™

I had a proper post planned for today, however the videos I had made in Sweden were horrible – not so much for the content, but I had decided to shoot them with my phone and without a mic – big mistake. The sound quality was simply too low to even consider posting it up. So instead let’s formulate a challenge that gives me a big push towards my year’s goals.

If Spiral of Awesomeness helped my life to a whole new level, this should take it even a notch further. You could think of it as Spiral of Awesomeness: The Advanced Version.

The general idea of the challenge is still the same – complete certain things every day for a certain period of time. How long this time? Well, I think going for until end of April is a nice goal. So this is going to be a reaaaally long challenge.

The difficulty level is also taken up a notch for every day. Thankfully I now have other leverages too to keep me pushing forward on some of the things as opposed to just this challenge.

The Challenge

So let’s get straight to it – the general format is familiar to everyone who has been reading my posts in the past, especially the previous challenge. As said, the composition of the challenge is a bit different this time.

My yearly primary goal

No further comment needed, everything is in that post.

 

Work At least 5 hours a day

So that means no off days for me until the end of April! Of course “Work” is a very general term – on the last challenge there was very distinctly defined “The Path” activity. This time any kind of productive output will do, but the quantity will need to be upped as well. Given I have to work 40 hours a week at least simply to sustain myself this shouldn’t be that hard – it is merely consistency that I am looking for. Five hours a day isn’t a too tall order, and as far as off days go, I can work some other stuff on other days. Working on other projects often is like a vacation to your mind.

The Path - At least an hour a day. 

Note that The Path activity still counts into the five hour work total. I haven’t forgotten the Path here either but frankly right now I can’t quite commit three hours to it. Still keeping up with the practice for an hour a day will mean that progress will be made. The definition of the Path is still the same as in Spiral of Awesomeness – Something you are striving for mastery in, the thing where you are looking to take yourself as far as you can go. For me it is writing, though I’ve widened the scope to creative endeavours in general, so even this blog counts for that score nowadays.

Working Out - Warm up + 20 minutes, breaking a sweat, out of breath

Very simple definition for the simple thing that I’ve so far been keeping up with relative ease. There’s not much more things that are as valuable as exercise is, so this is a no-brainer to include here.

Stretching - 30 minutes

Another very simple one. For others maybe overkill, for me simply a necessity.

Meditation 20 minutes

I really need to get this habit down – now that I’m getting more and more busier in life, my mind is getting more scattered as well – it really needs this moment to slow down and gather the focus.

Reading - 5 hours a week

My goal for the whole year is to reach 10 hours a week pace, but I have to small step towards it. Five hours with all the other commitments is hard enough as is.

Planning the next day at the end of last

This is one million dollar habit that I really should get down. At least jot down one primary objective for tomorrow as well as three secondary ones. Of course this challenge will make planning the days easier as well since it’s the same stuff I will be doing all the time anyway – but having this habit down would stand a good stead for me in the future.

Only water allowed as a drink – except during meals

I’m not going to go as nazi as last time for I need calories to reach my weight goal, but I at least will drink up water outside of meals. My water drinking habit has really dropped since its best days.

I am going to leave the challenge to this. I don’t want to overwhelm myself. Some might remember cold showers from old challenge, but as things stand, if I’m going to be in Malaysia, there won’t be any cold showers. As for nofap, that’s starting get more natural to me but nowadays I go more on the moderation route.

Finally I will be setting three strikes rule – instead of the whole challenge failing from one missed thing like last time around, I allow myself three strikes. Say if I narrowly miss my work goal one day, as long as I still complete the rest of the stuff, that’s one strike. As long as I only miss one part of the challenge, it only counts as one of the three strikes. However if I miss two things in same day that will still be failure of the challenge. I just want to make sure that putting my best effort in still keeps me in the challenge even if I miss something. Still, I only can fail twice before third one ruins the challenge – so it’s still hard.

Rewards

As always, there needs to be enough at stake for one to trudge through the challenge. So I will set couple intermediate goals and appropriate rewards for them.

Two weeks

Reward: Return to Finland once the full challenge is finished.

This one is a big one for me, I will probably be tired of being abroad by end of April. So it should give me the leverage to keep going those hardest first couple of weeks. Failing would be a huge punishment on the other hand, cause I really like being back home in Summer, at least generally speaking. If I fail, I will just do my Brazil travel straight from Malaysia and then return to Malaysia from Brazil. That is, if I choose to stay in Malaysia – everything is hanging up in the air now. In any case I’d remain out of Finland at least until next Christmas.

End of January

Reward: Upload a video of Macau Sky Jump to blog

Nearly a full month completed. I will be at Hong Kong at this time, so pending a successful completion of the challenge thus far, I get to show off me doing the Macau Tower Sky Jump everywhere. I will do it regardless but if I have failed to get this far, I won’t deserve to be a showoff about it. Very mild and subtle reward/punishment but one that works to the petty part of the mind and gives a little bit of fuel on those hard moments.

End of February

Reward: Bungee Jumping

I’ve made it to pretty much the halfway of the challenge. By now doing another bungee jump in Malaysia is a mild goal since the Macau Sky Jump dwarves most things I could do, but its still enough to excite me on those hard moments and to add another peak experience to my life.

Completing the whole challenge

Reward: Buy official World Cup Ball + Get autographs

The elusive finish line has been passed after a lot of struggle. It’s time for a well-earned break back home before adventuring to Brazil. Wouldn’t this be enough of a reward in itself? Well sure, but if I succeed all the way I will allow myself to get the obscenely expensive official ball and go to hunt for some autographs on it – then give it to my mom. She’d totally like something like that. :)

Sure, it appears more hassle than a reward but I think I’d be excited to do it. It’d be a funny little side excursion.

The Challenge will start on 9th – the first full day I have in Malaysia. Of course the weekly approach and reading targets won’t be valid yet cause it’s midweek start, but all the daily targets already apply.

That’s this weeks post – exciting but hard spring ahead, lot of work, lot of pushing myself and probably lot of sleepless nights as well… I don’t know where life is taking me…

What do you think of Super Cyclone of Awesomeness Challenge? Hit me up with a comment.

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