Archive - January, 2013

Japan Introduction

Hello, it’s been a while again since my last post. I really am struggling to make the posting habit to blog stick. Does not bode well for Japan, but then again there it will be my only goal.

I’ve been work drenched on Fiverr so I’ve not even had time to really focus on my IndieGoGo-campaign. Seems like it’s gonna run out again without having raised a penny. Oh well. It looks like I’m going to be surviving anyway, I just might be very tight on money towards the end of the trip. Now all my stress is about accommodation – as things stand, I’ve not clinched a single night of accommodation from couchsurfing. Kind of stressful, but I have still some time, hope I’m not gonna end up stranded in Japan. Whatever happens I’m sure I’ll survive and that it will be educational.

Anyway I decided to shoot up this video to include in my requests. Just to show a bit about myself. It also serves as a model for other videos of Japan. I decided to add music etc. to add personality to them. Since I’m getting very little traffic, might as well make it so that I like my videos even if it puts off everyone that don’t like metal. Overall I’m not too crazy about the video though. I have a very subdued vibe, which I guess it’s pretty natural but doesn’t fit too well for the video, let alone the energetic intro/outro music.  I’d do it again better, but I’m still super strapped for time, so you will have to make do with that.

Okay so I hope you enjoyed the video, in any case it’s good to be back at updating the blog. It’s been a bit too long break, especially considering I should be engaging people more than usual, not less.

If you have anything to comment on the video, please do it in the comments – I really could use more feedback on the stuff I’m doing. 

IndieGoGo Campaign Extended – FINAL CALL TO ARMS

Alright, enough with the esoteric posts about non-resistance and life philosophy. It’s time to get down and dirty – last rush to raise some funds for my Japan trip.

I relaunched the campaign to set the final date later, and lowered my goal for the campaign. The page is still in the behind the same URL. I also edited the perks a bit. Finally I’m going to get more engaged and really put in more effort this time. Going to start daily videos again to get into the groove of shooting and editing videos – if I can’t do it back home with consistent basis, I’m not going to be able in Japan, in foreign environment, especially given I won’t a have a moment’s peace there like I have here.

I’m refusing to give up on this – persistent little fucker, aren’t I? Then again I don’t really have much of a choice but to be persistent if I’m 1700 € short on my budget with no certainties of getting more money in time.

I have unpaid wages yet to receive that would ease me past the worst panic and stress, but there’s absolutely no certainty to receive them in time. Funnily enough I’m yet to even tell my parents (they definitely aren’t following this blog and they wouldn’t even understand it to begin with) – so I’m gonna have to endure a freakout on that matter as well – remember, I might have done the Malaysia trip last year, but I didn’t change my day-to-day life too much… So they are definitely not expecting me to go to Japan – especially in such delicate financial situation. To them I’m still the timid introverted kid I’ve always been. In a sense they are right as well, cause I am timid, introverted and shy… but they can’t see the inner transformation I’m going through.

Why Is This Japan Trip So Important to You?

Put me from two years ago into my shoes right now. This extremely dysfunctional kid would be very stressed for a while, then he would pull back from the whole thing. I’m not going to pull back. I’m going to follow-through. I committed five months ago to making this trip happen. I failed repeatedly in my attempts to earn money. I earned some, but not the goal I set to myself. But I was still committed. I might be lacking money, but in the end if I can afford the fare, then all that matters it resilience and determination.

I think my brain has kind of lulled itself into lack of urgency cause it thinks it won’t matter that I’m lazy and don’t earn money. It thinks I’m simply going to call off trips like this if I don’t earn money. But no, I’m going to teach my brain a lesson. That it might as well give me the resources to work hard cause I’m not going to pull back. You’re not going to enable me to work hard, brain? Fine, let’s go without money then, asshole-brain. That will be a challenge.

But of course, I’m hoping to not go without money. I don’t know any more how to convince you people to help me. No-one owes me anyhing. I’ve already shared what I think in my earlier posts. Everything that happens is exactly what needed to happen. In the end I’m sure I’m going to have an awesome trip that gives me another inner growth spurt and have bunch of awesome videos to show for it. It won’t be inferior experience without money, just different.

This is also why I have difficulty dealing with people giving excuses. If you are fucked up and dysfunctional and want to change, it travel is a good way to do it. Budget airlines and stuff like couchsurfing makes it so ridiculously easy and cheap these days, I can’t believe people don’t travel. And I’m not saying you even need to be fucked up to do it – regular joes will benefit from seeing the world. Maybe that’s for another post to discuss.

I know that couple of years ago I was the kind of guy that was waiting for the perfect circumstance, when I have a buffer of money in my bank account etc… But no, it’s not gonna happen. Instead I dare you to do the trip you always wanted in the most extremely imperfect and difficult circumstances as possible. Wake up to living people!  If an introverted and shy loser can make a trip to Japan while barely affording to even going to country, surely you can do a cheap trip within the same continent?

So yeah, I’ve talked the talk, now I must walk the walk. No excuses, let’s do this.

Alternative Way to Help Me:

Don’t want to donate me money? Well that’s okay, how about let me work for you? I offer writing gigs etc. on Fiverr – Check out what I’m offering  You can also hire me straight without any money going to Fiverr etc. Drop me a line on G+, Twitter or in email (if you’re subscribed you’ll get my email address) and we can discuss.

Wanting the Reality

Eastern philosophy often talks about being in non-resistance to reality. When you have no resistance to the state of affairs, you are at your most peaceful state of mind and thus best-equipped to deal with the situation you are in. Depression, complaining, anxiety, etc. all stem from having some kind of resistance to way things are – that is why non-resistance is good.

I’m going to talk about the same idea, but the way I frame it is by phrasing it “wanting the reality.”

What I mean by this? I mean that you achieve non-resistance when you actually want the situations as they are. I have had a lot of resistance over my financial situation over in the past weeks. How did I overcome it? I started wanting it to be the way it is. I can see that you look quite perplexed right now. “You can’t seriously want to be broke, especially when you’re about to go into a foreign country?” You might say.

Obviously I’m not happy about being broke, but I’m pretty calm and peaceful about it. Things are just the way they are supposed to be. Lazy guys shouldn’t have a lot of money. I believe having no money is exactly the experience I need right now – and with that believe comes the wanting of the current reality. It ties in nicely with the yesterday’s post, where I said I believe that every experience you have is exactly what you need. When you believe that, it’s obvious you are wanting any current experience you’re having – cause you know you are needing it.

When you want things the way they are, you are at non-resistance. Cause what is non-resistance but wanting the things just the way they are?

But of course no-one never is completely non-resistant to reality. But to that I say that whatever it is you are resisting, you can snap out of it by reminding yourself to want it.

So there are my thoughts for today. Maybe this is more esoteric than my usual posts, but whatever, if I’m going to post every day, whatever concepts I’m thinking have to be enough. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Failure Does Not Exist

My campaign is winding down, with only four days left. The amount raised still shows nice round 0. I think it’s safe to say that unless something freak happens that will be the end result as well. So one could indeed said that my campaign failed. I’m not going to get into the reasons why it happened, but instead focus on moving forward.

Which is why this is a good spot to talk about the paradigm that failure does not exist. There’s only success, or lessons learned. Also I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “every failure is a brick in my palace.” - It points to a similar line of thinking.

In this case, the lessons learned were that I still lack urgency and that I still don’t work nearly enough (in fact recent weeks admittedly have been among the laziest of recent years, in a time when I desperately needed to be at my most industrious). Thanks to everyone who helped me to try to make it a success, if anything I learned that there are few people that do have some believe in me. And you know, I’m not totally giving up on the campaign and I’m sure there are people who want to support this Japan trip, and you can do so. Reality will tell what happens within the last four days of campaign. Whether the amount in the end is 0€, 50€ or in some magical way 1500 €, I’ll be fine.

In the end, this was not a failure. I learned those lessons, and Japan trip is still on – even though I admit to having occasional stress about how I’m going to make it happen with so little money. In the end it doesn’t matter. Failure only exists if you make it exist. I’d create failure in this situation by pulling back from going to Japan citing lack of funds. But no. I’m going to practice follow-through and do it anyway. Fuck excuses. 

I know lack of funds will add difficulty to it, but you know, I also believe that in life you will get exactly the experiences that you need. On rational level that doesn’t make any sense, but that’s the underlying belief, kind of blind faith that drives my actions. You need that blind faith if you are ever to realize your dream of becoming awesome. In this case, the experience will be me being forced to follow through despite not having enough money.

Choose to not fail and stay true to your commitment, whatever that is.

Meditation and Concentration

I usually get my best post ideas during meditation, and today’s post isn’t an exception.

So it’s gonna be about meditation, and meditation’s effects on the brain.

My main aim when I’m meditating is simply to focus on doing nothing. Focusing on doing nothing, just existing or being presence like it’s often called, it’s probably the hardest thing to focus on. It’s actually much easier to achieve that kind of meditative, empty mind state when you’re doing something that you enjoy and fully immersed in that.

But when you weather through you brain wanting to give up and start doing something interesting instead of nothing, and actually manage to concentrate on nothing, it carries over to everything else.

When you can concentrate on nothing, you can concentrate on anything else too. 

I don’t know if that was insightful or not, share what you think in the comments, I’m just imitating Seth Godin with these short posts.

Meanwhile my fundraiser is not doing that well! I know I need to work harder on it given I only have 13 days left (I’m probably gonna set up straight Paypal-donation button on this page so if people get excited during the project they can feed money for me).

If I am at 0 at the end of 13 days… Well, I’m not screwed but Japan will be quite a challenge. Then again, isn’t that the whole point?

Take The Right Action

I’m not feeling well today. Having a really bad day. I have them occasionally too.

So not exactly in the mood to writing a blog post – which is why only topic I wanted to write about for today was taking the right action regardless of how you feel.

The more deeper I delve into personal development, the more it actually comes down to this simple truth. You already know what you’re supposed to be doing  - what is the right action – but you just aren’t doing it.

You know you should push out more writing. “Eeh, well I’ve worked harder than usual lately, I just reward myself by playing a bit of Skyrim.” Bullshit. Take the right action!

“Fuck it, I can get away with that bag of chips, I’ll just eat it”. Nope, take the right action!

“I’m not feeling up to posting to blog. I just want  to go to bed and wallow in sadness.” Well waa-waa mr. cry-baby, you’re not going to do that. You’re going to sit down and write a god damn blog post. Cause that is the right action, and you’re going damn well take it.

Taking the right action is in the end probably the single most important skill you can cultivate – Think how much better your life were if every single minute of your life was spent taking the right action. You’d be like Richard Branson on speed.

Of course we are not robots and we will never be spending every minute of our lives taking the right action. But we can strive for that. We can strive for spending our time better. We can earn small victories every day. Turn off that TV and instead craft a plan to make your dreams come true.

For me, writing this blog post is the right action. Some might say that knowing that right action is the bigger challenge that actually stops them. I disagree. I feel that deep down, we know what the right action is.

For certain I know this: No action is always the wrong action.

So when I go to Japan I will certainly feel overwhelmed some days and not like shooting my daily videos. But I pledge here that I will take the right action regardless how I feel. I’m going ignore my bullshit excuses and just do it.

Lots of Belief, Little Hustle

In today’s short post I wanted to talk about an insight I had earlier relating to thinking about my IndieGoGo campaign.

I think the paradigm I was approaching the whole fundraising to Japan earlier was “Lots of belief, little hustle.” Now what do I mean by that? Well I had almost blind belief that somehow it will all work out while I actually weren’t putting in all that much of work.

I’m now having a key paradigm shift where I’m realizing that chances I will succeed with my fundraiser are very, very low. Meanwhile just to tilt the odds a bit to my favor I’m starting to works harder, to hustle more for it. So now you could say I have no belief, but some hustle. I do think there’s some chance of at least something of a success, otherwise I wouldn’t even be trying any more, but I know that at this point odds are getting increasingly lower as my campaign is not starting to get friction.

Of course neither approach is perfect, the best would be to have that blind belief while you’re working your ass off.  Or at least have strong belief that it will turn out well – maybe blind belief can be equally detrimental as no belief.

All hope is not lost and luckily flight tickets to Osaka are on sale at the moment on Finnair so I caught a lucky break there. Another might be if you’d contribute to my campaign today. The lost hope might reborn with that.

And yes, I’m going to hammer that IndieGoGo campaing to the bitter fucking end, cause I really need it to succeed against all the odds.

Books of 2012

For today’s short post I decided to post up a list of books I read during 2012. There’s couple ones that are Finnish so disregard those – after the list I’ll go through some of the best reads in more detail. So here goes:

1. George Leonard – Mastery *****
2. Claes Andresson – Luova mieli ***
3. Tea Del Alma Silvestre – Attract and Feed a Hungry Crowd: How Thinking Like a Chef Can Help You Build a Solid Business **
4. Danny Iny & Sean Platt – How to Build a Blog ***
5. Joshua Fields Millburn – Falling While Sitting Down ***
6. Paulo Coelho – The Alchemist *****
7. Gary Vaynerchuk – Crush It! ****
8. Chetz Togom – Suddenly I See ***
9. Guy Kawasaki – What The Plus! ***
10. David Allen – Getting Things Done ****
11. Eckhart Tolle – Power of Now *****
12. Eckhart Tolle – Practicing the Power of Now ***
13. Randy Ingemarsson & Joku – The Fifth Man ****
14. Eckhart Tolle – Stillness Speaks ****
15. Mary DeMuth – The 11 Secrets to Getting Published ***

Alright so let’s go through them briefly. Behind every title there’s my star rating for each of them – I consider five star books masterpieces, ones that everyone should read, I’d even go as far as to say they are worth multiple reads.

As for four star books, they are all excellent reads as well, but just don’t consider them something that you would have value coming back to time and time again. Three star books are decent, and I don’t have bad things to say about them – less stars gets too mediocre to even bother. So let’s go over the five star books in further detail.

George Leonard – Mastery

This book caused a whole bunch of consciousness shifts in me and also resonated very true in a deep way for me. I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who wants to achieve mastery in something. It teaches you the right frame of mind in which to approach skill accumulation. Absolutely brilliant book and one I certainly will read again.

Paulo Coelho – The Alchemist

I saw this being favorite book of many people I admire so I started to read it and in similar fashion to Mastery it resonated with me a lot. But contrary to Mastery, this is actually a fiction book, other of the two I read this year (for someone identifying primarily as a fiction writer I read way too little fiction). But inside its story the book has pretty much keys to satisfying life and they way story is told really shakes you awake. I think everyone should hands down read this – it is a bestseller so many indeed have read it, which is good cause books with this kind of message aren’t common enough.

Eckhart Tolle – Power of Now

Another bestseller on the list. Tolle might be a little bit too “woo-woo” for some people but what he says, no matter how weird he phrases it, resonates very true for me and makes perfect sense. Also, I listened to this book (and all of Tolle’s stuff) as an audiobook. The guy’s voice calms and brings of present like nothing else… and it’s also incredibly effective sleep medicine. Seriously, if I got money every time I fell asleep while listening to his soothing voice, I’d have no problems making the Japan trip now.

Which is exactly what I’m going to push to you at this point – it’s still early days for my IndieGoGo-campaign and I seriously need some contributions. Don’t hesitate to do that!

Click here to go to my campaign-page.

And check out some of these books if you haven’t, they are really great reads!

Please do share the best books you read in 2012 in the comments!

Goals for 2013

I did write already about how I’m going to set goals for this year, and the idea was fairly clear – commit to less, complete more.

During the Christmas time I spent a lot of time thinking about my long-term goals in-between all the playing games and eating junk food. I figured that since writing seems something I’m not only good in and passionate towards, it’s definitely something I need to commit more to. I shared my statistics in my looking back at 2012 post and if anything they tell me that I’m not writing enough – not for someone who is looking to commit to mastery in his craft.

They say that you need 10 000 hours to become world class at something. That’s three hours a day every day for a decade. Not just over half an hour a day. So if I’m looking to hit the top level which I’m striving towards, I really need to up my output.

But is writing what I really strive to be great in over the long-term? That’s where my thinking often got stuck. A key realization in there for me was that growth is the key thing for me. Stuff like travel, challenging myself, taking on some different, smaller goals will always need to be there for me to become the person I want to be. Who is that person? The image in my mind is fuzzy, but I know I won’t become that person if I stay inside the next decade, just typing.

That’s not my path. But is 3 hours a day doing that? Certainly not. I think it’s perfectly reasonable for me to expect me to increase my work output, not just writing but work ethic in general. As my girlfriend so beautifully puts it, writing is my flair. So I should commit to it, for real, and start doing the hard work, day in, day out, to slowly some day be the master writer I dream of being.

So after all that, I decided that my first goal this year is to start writing 3 hours a day, every day, like the professional I aspire to be.

I won’t start doing it right away, no, I’m going to simply slowly keep pushing my limit and trying to increase the average output.

After that had been decided, my attention turned to perpetual problem that I had had ever since I had quit winning in poker – money. It seems I’m constantly lacking money. There was a time in my past where I didn’t worry about money at all. Not that I was rolling in money, but I had it abundantly compared to my needs. I want that time back. It’s so frustrating planning a trip to Japan while not being able to be certain if you have anything to eat during the last days.

I know it could be worse, but how embarrassing it is for an adult man to not be able to figure out an income for himself? Very much so.

So that is my second goal – get my income sorted. My short-term plan is to move to Malaysia to live with my girlfriend, and I won’t need a lavish income to do that – Malaysia is a cheap country to live in – but given I’m starting from an income level that’s probably like an average of 200 € a month I really do need to increase it. Not only that, I need to make it location independent.

For me to do this easily, I’m looking at what things are bringing me income right now, which are…

  1. Working for my dad, doing grunt work in his company.
  2. Doing freelance writing etc. on Fiverr.
  3. Selling books on Kindle.
  4. Doing affiliate sales through my niche site.

First one out of those is instantly eliminated – it’s not location independent by any stretch of imagination. Of course I will keep helping dad as long as I’m in Finland, but that won’t solve my income issues over long term.

Second one is what is the most appealing to me – it’s not passive income, but it is location independent. It also converges with my writing goal as most of my gigs up on Fiver are writing gigs.

Third one can match up to the second one – again it converges with writing and is pretty much fully passive. It is much more delayed gratification compared to Fiverr, though, but rewards for your work CAN be higher.

Fourth is another good one – but it’s very limited in its income potential. That said, there’s a lot more that could be done with that site, and it definitely could be a valuable asset for a guy like me who doesn’t need a lot of income. Because it’s web site work it does involve writing too.

How much I need then? 1000 € a month actually would be quite sufficient for me to support myself while in Malaysia. Some people say you need to set your goals high to inspire yourself, but to be frank, setting it to like 10 000 € a month doesn’t inspire me at all more. There’s not much I can’t do that I want to do if I would just earn that basic rudimentary income, which I’m not earning at the moment (thus leaving me to live with my parents).

So which one is it? I think all these alternatives measure up pretty well against each other and I could go with any of them. All the wisdom relating to this matter though urge you to commit to one thing at a time, so I’m going to do that.

You know my choice already if you put the pieces together. I said I needed work ethic. I also need to improve my income fast. I said I need to improve as a writer. What better way to do it than to flood myself with an active income through Fiverr? Also, if I for whatever reason don’t get a lot of orders I can still commit time for writing books for Kindle and working on my website.

If this for some reason fails, it’s time for me to get a job – if I don’t get income through unconventional means even the measly target of 1000 € / month, then I simply have to concede to going through conventional means.

So let’s conclude:

Goals for 2013

  • Establish a writing habit of 3 hours a day, every day.
  • Increase your income to 1000 € a month – focusing on established platform at Fiverr. If that fails, get a job.
  • Get yourself to Japan in February.

I really like this – very simple, concise and most importantly FEW goals. That’s pretty much only two things for me to focus on – writing and getting more writing gigs on Fiverr. Let’s see if this simple-minded one thing at a time focus yields results.

As for this blog, I will of course continue to improve it, but that’s something that has to remain being done on its own weight. That said, I will commit to write to my blog every day this January – though it will be more related on raising awareness on my fundraiser and also related on Japan trip in a sense that I need to have the habit of posting every day set before I go to Japan if I’m to have any chances of succeeding in what I am promising. As my early year focus is on Japan, I’m going to put large majority of my effort this January to pushing my fundraiser.

Which is exactly going to do now. If you enjoyed my post, if you really crawled through this over 1300-word piece, commit a few seconds more of your time to helping me – open my campaign page, give me a small contribution and then share it with a friend. Doing so would be a massive help for me and I certainly will remember those first few people who contributed in my project and helped me to make this unlikely Japan project true.