Archive - December, 2013

Looking Back at 2013

Digesting year 2013 will take more than just a few words – be prepared for over three thousand word feast of recapping the year.

Some things never seem to change, one of those is me slumping in my productivity at the end of the year – I’ve not been thrown off whack quite as badly as I did at the end of the 2012, but still holiday season seems to adversely affect my ability and willingness to work.

I have not been exactly just taking it easy either this year. I have not even had time to think. This time, perhaps, it has not been all my fault that I have been distracted. Life has thrown some curveballs at me just these last couple of weeks and thus I don’t really know what I am doing right now, once again. But time to write about that stuff will be when I have figured it out, now I’m merely going to retain an air of secrecy.

In many ways 2013 was moving along the same continuum as 2012 – my life transforming towards something it has not previously been. The transformation can be completed once 2014 rolls around and the beautiful butterfly is ready emerge – if I just follow through and let it emerge. I managed to double the amount of countries visited this with the Japan trip early on combined with the short trip to Sweden. The Japan trip is one I’m still very proud of. It was a lesson in discovering my own limits – or rather realizing there was still ways to go to reach them. Japan trip makes up a good chunk of my posts last year as I was posting up every day.

The latter trip of 2013 was visiting Lapland and Sweden which I didn’t do posts about, but that were still decent experiences. I did grow a lot of out of those experiences as well, but that trip admittedly was more like a vacation than either Japan or Malaysia in the past have been.

On the more professional front, I was fully emerged in being process oriented, building up habits and letting them go. I didn’t have much consistent focus in the end during the year, thus similar achievements like completing my book last year didn’t emerge. I just rather had aimless habits – but they are not completely worthless anyway.

I did manage to create a body of creative work on my fiction writing channel, that I am not going to share here. In any case it is on a foundation now from which it is good for me to build on.

Despite me not completing my personal projects, the main achievement obviously was my income soaring. I still don’t really have any passive income, which kinda sucks but nonetheless I already have location independence achieved through my means of active  income. That is perhaps the biggest and most important transitive achievement of the year. It sets me up for a 2014 where I could be anywhere in the world I please.

Goals I Set For 2013

Last year I set my goals publicly on this blog and I went for a very simple form of goalsetting this time. I only set three goals for the whole year, which ended up, in hindsight, to be a bit too little. Here are the goals with my comments on how well I pulled it off:

  • Establish a writing habit of 3 hours a day, every day. SUCCESS

I might not have kept this habit in the end as rest of my life overwhelmed it, but still I did write 100 days straight of at least three hours a day, proving to myself that I can do it, I can write consistently like the pros do. Of course, as things stand so far I’ve since been thrown off of writing almost completely. I do write a lot obviously still, but the well structured habit has not yet returned – that will have to happen in 2014 for my improvement in my craft to continue.

  • Increase your income to 1000 € a month – focusing on established platform at Fiverr. If that fails, get a job. SUCCESS

I didn’t establish a platform at Fiverr though it still provides me with side income. It was more of a matter of getting a location independent job.  Nonetheless, the main goal of finally sorting out my income to at least a reasonable level was a resounding success. Again, I have a foundation to build for the future.

  • Get yourself to Japan in February. SUCCESS

Everyone knows how this ended from all the nineteen videos I made during the trip.

So I completed all of my three goals for the year. It was all just a victory march from January to December then? Well as already said, I wish I had one or two goals more. This time I did underestimate myself. I will also structure the goals I set for next year differently. Still I want to avoid taking on too much – the year should have limited focuses.

Biggest Successes and Failures of 2013

Time to go a little bit deeper with my analysis of the year by listing successes and failures of the year. This one might repeat some of the things already said at least on the success portion. Let’s delve right into it.

Top-3 Successes

  1. Finally getting my income sorted out
  2. Creating a writing platform
  3. Spiral of Awesomeness

I did come up with even more potential successes to list, such as me finally starting to gain some muscle this year and posting weekly to the blog through the year – but the fact is that these three had the biggest positive effects on the year and are the ones that will give me the strongest foundation to go on. I have talked about my income and writing platform already, but Spiral of Awesomeness being here perhaps needs a little explanation. Didn’t I fail that challenge? Well technically I did, but that challenge gave me a huge momentum to go onward I will definitely do this type of challenges in the future. It was definitely one of the most productive times of my life so far and taught me a more important, over-arching lesson about pushing myself.

My hopes for 2014 can be pretty high up after doing so well this year. I beat the odds as well, for there was a lot that didn’t go according to plan, yet the year overall was a very good one.

Top-3 Failures

  1. Not putting out my best work on the blog
  2. Returning to too much playing games
  3. Not reading nearly enough

These are the three biggest failures I came up with. There were others too, like overtraining myself to injury, not doing anything with my niche site, but overall I’d say they didn’t have major impact to my present nor to the future. Some obviously, but these three are of higher importance if you ask me.

Looking at the three overall and all I feel is that I am leaving so much potential on the table by doing substandard work on the blog, wasting massive amounts of hours on games that I could have used in developing myself or my life, and not reading nearly enough. I read fourteen books in 2012 – in 2013 I have only finished one and nearly finished couple of others. Granted, there’s a blog that I read almost completely during the year and best blog texts can be almost on par in value with books, but still, point still stays.

Regarding the first failure, I even wrote a post about it expressing my anger on myself. Why did I fail on that? I have simply failed to set up a routine that allows me enough to time to craft well-thought posts, instead leaving me to scramble at the last minute on Monday (or like in this case, already few hours into the Tuesday) to make my weekly post. I know I have a lot of commitments, but since I have also committed to writing this blog, the least I could do is commit the time it deserves to it.

It is not as if I don’t have enough time, which brings us to the second failure – This year I fell back to my old habits regarding games, the biggest culprit being FIFA 13 during the earlier part of the year that almost completely destroyed my productivity for months. I guess games taking out people’s best edge is fairly common, but if I want to go for really hard success I will need to rise above this paradigm. Nothing is bad in moderation but as an addictive personality type, it is starting to appear I can’t do anything in moderation. Last year I played most of my games online with my friends, making it more a social activity that I don’t really mind, so what’s so terrible about it is that now I actually mostly played alone.

If there’s one thing I shouldn’t need to moderate it’s reading – it’s common trait for successful people to read a lot, and that’s where I have fallen short. This year I didn’t keep putting new ideas into my head enough. I only finished one book which doesn’t really stand up well against even my own last year’s feat of fourteen books.

2013 in Numbers

As I wrote in last year’s corresponding post and also on my Universal Awesomeness Score post, I keep track of almost everything I do on a site called Joe’s goals, leaving me with a lot of numbers on how did I spend my time during the year. Also, I have a software called Manic Time installed on my computer that tracks everything  I do. I thought it would be interesting to share some numbers at this point.

I did change the scoring system during the year so not all the same statistics are available as last year. Some stats that would be interesting were only started in the middle of the year during the change so I won’t be sharing them yet – those ones are for the next year.

The Path activity 433.5 hours

Last year this meant simply writing fiction, but towards the end of this year I redefined my path to be creative on more broader ways, so I now include stuff like writing blog posts and making videos into this. That being said, about 95 % of the hours still account from writing fiction.

The key takeaway is that I nearly doubled the amount from last year, averaging a bit over an hour per day through the year. For someone aspiring to be a fiction writer worthy of being taken seriously, that’s nearly not enough and while I considered my three hours a day writing challenge a success it still lasted less than a third of the year, so overall productivity still needs to be upped. Given I didn’t have that much work to do in the earlier part of the year one would have thought I would have put out a number that I can’t even beat in the future given my 40+ hours of weekly commitments, but I actually think I can beat this number next year, especially since broader range of activities will now account into the number.

High Value Work 525.5 hours

It’s a solid number amounting up to nearly 1.5 hours per a day. A lot of it is thanks to being forced to work 40 hours a week nowadays so I can thank for intense work after October for this number. Expect this same number to be closer to 2000 hours next year – which in comparison would be a massive improvement compared to 203 hours of last year, but I am basically required this now. It is funny how huge difference having to do something does.

The Grind 219 hours

This actually loses out to last years number, which is not all bad thing – clearly my working hours have now emphasized on more productive endeavors. Nothing much to say here, really.

Total work 1178 hours (3.2 hours per day)

All this work amounts to decent amount of work, but as said, for the next year just my Valuable Work should beat this number by almost double. Averaging seven hours of total work per day throughout the year is not beyond my grasp if you ask me, which would end me up going above 2500 hours total at the end of next year. If I want to do everything I am dreaming of in the 2014, I really have to push myself to the limit.

Footy 77 hours

I find it bizarre I am still half decent after so little playing. Being busy with other facets in my life and spending much of the year slightly injured really took its toll on this. It is sad that probably my favorite activity in the world was so marginalized.

Playing Games ~700-750 hours

I actually stopped properly tracking this towards end of the year, simply because I started getting lazy with the points system and all. Still, here’s a number that again trumps everything else productivity related. Just shifting all these hours to work will almost achieve my 2000 hour yearly goal. Where I get the rest of the hours from, I don’t really know, but I am sure time will tell :)

More Numbers: Universal Awesomeness Score

I think for anyone considering trying out Universal Awesomeness Score, which I’m simply going to refer to as UAS from now on for simplicity’s sake, would be interested in seeing what my numbers looked like after the initial use of the system. So I’m going to list out my top-5 weeks and days since doing the transition, as well as sharing the average day using the system.

Top-5 Weeks

Week 39/2013 – 475

Week 40/2013 – 403

Week 44/2013 – 331

Week 43/2013 – 293

Week 42/2013 – 254

After the first week my motivation really dropped and the aimlessness of rest of the year is really reflected on my scores. I am sure the new year will bring an improvement on that.

Average week: 275.6 points

I consider the average still very solid one.  Of course, in my own categorization it goes between mediocre and okay, but given that the rest of the year has not been exactly me pushing my edge, I am fairly happy with it. Of course, I hope the average of next year will be soaring somewhere above 400 points.

Top-5 Days

October 10th – 114

October 15th – 99

November 28th – 95

October 17th – 92

October 31st – 82

Average day: 39.4

I burst into some quite productive days, but average tells that I had slump days as well. I think above 100 will be needed to get to the top-20 list of next year.

The Best Posts of Year 2013

I decided to end this post on a high note, looking back at the year of this blog. As said, I have not been happy with what I’ve been putting out in my blog, but still, simply going with Sturgeon’s law, if 90 % of my posts are crap, there should be that 10 % that actually is non-crap. Since for most of the year I wrote one post per week, I am guesstimating I ended up with roughly fifty posts, so I thought only five posts would emerge as best, but I ended up with a bit more – If I’d read only two of them, I’d read the second one and Stop Taking Yourself Too Seriously one – just to get contrast how much I improved on expressing myself during the year.

Take the Right Action

Very simple, kind of trademark post about kicking your ass to doing the right thing. I like that it is on to the point and short.

Japan Day -2: Life Momentum

I really like the simple video in this, it puts me in a reflective mood about myself given this was very early on in the year and the kid I am watching in the video… well it is just a kid when I look it now. The concept itself is pretty sound. Of course whatever plans I give out didn’t really come forth. It is really not one of the best videos of the year, just a one that is a nice contrast to everything else.

Japan Day 17: Taking Action Enables Growth

Aside from hokey title and – in hindsight – not the most appropriate music choice, this video is actually really solid. I am low key cause I’m obviously exhausted but I am surprised how well I articulate myself and that concept is absolutely huge and crucial – hell, watching it now felt like an important reminder to me myself.

Japan Finale

The first video actually puts me to tears so I think it does the job, at least for me. I obviously agree with my concepts, and given the visceral emotional response I get from this it’s a shoe-in to my list. There’s a little bit of cheesiness factor in the end of the first video and one might argue Braveheart’s score would fit better with me leaving Scotland, but fuck that, it fits anything cause it’s like the most awesome score ever. Frankly I think the music choices for both videos are spot on.

Stop Taking Yourself Too Seriously

My delivery is pretty solid on this one and it’s a simple yet valuable concept.

Spiral of Awesomeness

This one made its way to becoming a staple Becoming Awesome post with the huge success I gained from completing the challenge. A true classic of a challenge I recommend anyone to take.

The Power of Testosterone

As far as posts that are simply written stuff go, this one is probably one of the most solid ones I wrote all year. Very informative stuff and makes me feel like stepping up my game – I miss that testosterone high that I’ve let slip far out of my hands over last couple of months.

The Universal Awesomeness Score

This massive post is still actually under construction and it will be the one that I use as a base for writing new posts in the future. As far as undestanding the system I go about using for my productivity and growth, it details a lot of it. I think if I can improve it during 2014, it could end up changing people’s lives, but as of now it is just the ideas expressed in an unstructured way. Still, if any post of my last year’s posts should be a Becoming Awesome staple, it’s this.

Alright, that’s it folks! The whole 2013 of my life recapped into one concise… Well, just one post anyway. Let me know what you think or ask any questions you might have in the comments. I’d of course love to hear about your reflections of the past year as well.

Life Is Short and We Are All Going to Die

Northern LightsToday’s post is something I’ve been intending to do a long time, as it’s so pivotal in my life philosophy. At the same time and for the same reason I wanted to make it perfect, which was exactly why I delayed on doing it. 

Sometimes my posts become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Things indeed haven’t been pretty lately – but I’m not gonna talk about that today. Today’s subject is all about realizing how short life really is.

Time Is Running Short

When I turned 24 I was very frustrated. I was feeling my youth ending and time was running short – now obviously life is much longer than just your youth and by living healthy you can extend your peak, but generally speaking the time is dwindling down fast and life will seem just a glimpse at the end.

I’ve always realized this. I’ve always had an acute sense that someday, I will cease to exist.

When I was a kid, this would make me anxious. Nowadays it’s the main fuel for keeping me urgent to keep living the life to the fullest. I can enjoy simple things as well because of this and am really rarely pulled down into a depressed state – last few days actually have been hard but thanks to these attitudes, I pulled myself back together quite fast. I recorded a video about this matter a bit over a week ago in Rovaniemi, so let’s check it out:

Now I’m not entirely happy with this video – you can see I’m kind of rambling, the lack of light makes my camera perform a little poorly and lack of practice lately really shows. Also my tripod broke down so I had to just shoot it with GF holding it. Given this is such a key principle of mine I am sure to cover it many more times in this blog and I am sure I will get it right in the future.

Enjoy Every Moment

The story about the Northern lights I tell you in the video really illustrates this principle – Because I know life is short and opportunities we have in life are limited, I really hammer the opportunity I have to the ground if there is even a little bit of a chance of success. Of course, in this case there was no downside to keep going, whereas in some situations there might be. Those would be different obviously.

You never know where life takes you. For whatever reason I might never be able to go back to Lapland and witness the Northern lights so I had to keep going that night. I walked long way out into the woods in nearby areas of Rovaniemi, trying to get away from light pollution. Of course, lady luck wasn’t with me as the clouds covering the sky failed to stop obscuring the stars.

But again on the same note of knowing the life is short, I was miserable about it. I didn’t resist it. Life is too short to get upset over things like that. It was a night of my life that I’m never getting back, so I enjoyed it as an unique experience. Every moment is an unique experience that you are never going relive, so you want to live it all to the fullest an enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy those moments of your life, well, the good news is that it will all be over very soon. It’s a sad yet also empowering fact of life. It’s hard to not feel the fire start burning in your belly when you start thinking about the fact that there isn’t going to be another time to live this day – so make the best of it.

Internalizing It

Everyone knows we are going to die and it has become even a cliche. But most people never actually stop to think of it, or really internalize it. Some are forced to face it by going through a near-death experience. Most just drown those thoughts in hurry and in distractions, perhaps rationally knowing they are going to die, but behaving as though live it eternal.

Who knows what happens when you die, but for sure on this plane you have only this life. So make the best of it with urgency. As I said, it takes your whole life to fully learn the lesson that life is really short, but its worth it to really strive to internalize it. The better you learn it, the more it will drive you forward in life. It makes you fearless and tireless. After all, what’s there to be scared of when you are going to die anyway? You can always rest in the grave after all. Of course I’m not one to advocate burning yourself out – I like leading a relaxed life as well to counterbalance working hard.

Work hard, rest hard, make the most of your opportunities and live the life to the fullest – not a bad guideline to live your life by to anyone.

Liked the video? Other comments? Put it below.

I think I’m going to do two posts this week – after all, year is about to change and I want to look back into 2013 and start planning for 2014 as I did last year. I’m not gonna set a day for it though – just fill it in when I have the time.

It Won’t Be Pretty

It’s been a busy week on the go, going above Arctic Circle and back – gonna head to Stockholm next, but I’m here to squeeze in a blog post as always.

One of the key takeaways of this last week for me has been that the improvement won’t come pretty. I’m blessed to have a really patient girlfriend who tolerates my bullshit and dysfunctionality.

It’s tempting to think that if you just put yourself out of your comfort zone for a brief period, things get better quickly. But no, you just keep pounding your head into the wall and making a fool of yourself.

Before I start to sound like a bitter old man (that I am), I’m not saying I’ve had a bad time. Indeed, last week has been probably one of the most memorable in my life, but that didn’t come without facing some adversity (and leveling my bank account).

For me to change into something better, to become awesome, it is going to require something much more than just a week, two or even couple of months of discomfort. As I already said it, two months is just a drop in the ocean.

So what does this all come down to? Well, to the simple fact that for you to improve, you are going to need two things: Determination & A good sense of humor. Let’s start with the latter.

Like I said, I’ve been making a fool of myself left and right. Some of these things other people wouldn’t even notice, but it is the kind of stuff that makes you self-conscious. In the past I would have simply gotten down for every single one of these simple mistakes, but now I have been able to laugh at myself which has made with going through the mistakes that one has to make to improve a bit easier.

The fact of the matter is though, that no matter how good you are at reframing things in your mind and retaining good spirits by finding the humor in everything, you are going to get beaten down at times. To not quit during those times takes determination. Frankly this is the spot that even more people fail than in the first part. I mean people who can laugh at themselves are somewhat rare in themselves, but people who have determination to go through prolonged tough periods to emerge stronger on the other side are even more rare.

It is much easier to stay determined if you have a track record of doing something for a long time and getting really good at it. I’m sure everyone has one of those things. Thing is, not all of us remember that point of sucking at it because we went through that at a young age. It’s sad to even think that there’s individuals that have not really gained any new skills on an older age simply due to the unwillingness to go through this tough patch.

For a guy like me, that tough patch will take a long time, especially in a broad set of skills that being social and fitting into the society (for lack of a better term) are.

Hope that made sense, as you can tell I’m half just cheerleading myself to keep going. Throw me a comment below.

Getting Your Girl Into Shape: My Sister’s Extreme Methods

into shape

My sister has a low body fat.

I shared my sister’s blog with one of my friends, just to show her what my sister looks like – incidentally, she got interested in how did my sister achieve her results. So because so many of you won’t speak Finnish, I decided to trawl through my sister’s blog and pick out the key tips on weight loss, training and diet. 

Now I’m going to have to start with a disclaimer that this post is more or less a summary of my sister’s methods and I don’t approve or agree with all of it. Still, the results speak for themselves so I’m not going to argue with them. I’m going to throw in my couple of cents at the end anyway. But let’s delve right into it.

 Diet

First thing’s first, getting to that low fat body composition there’s really not going around it – Diet is the most important thing. No matter what you do exercise-wise, you can’t outtrain a bad diet.

Food pyramid

The food pyramid – eat a lot of foods from lower end, very little of the tip.

Besides just eating good foods that are very simply illustrated in the above picture, meal sizes and frequency is also important.

So what makes my sister’s methods extreme is the low calories. I remember a time when she was constantly on a 400 calories a day diet. Granted, she didn’t actually adhere to it 100 %, but still, it was intensely low calorie one. Even to date, citing her blog, she still uses a diet that includes 1000 calories on training days. I personally don’t advise going on that low calories, but if you are really passive, you can really look to limit calories – fact is, you can’t avoid losing weight if you are getting extremely low calories.

However if you lead an active lifestyle I’d advise you’d scale up at least some.

Example meals for an exercise day (1000 calories):

Meal 1:
1 egg (or 250g of yogurt mixed with fruit), a raw potato and an onion, a little bit of cheese.

Meal 2:
250g quark (creamy cheese, high protein) mixed with fruit and oats (20g), or 2 eggs and veggies.

Meal 3: 
Plate of fruit, for example: a kiwi fruit, tangerine, 10 grapes and a banana.

Focus on raw, clean foods – quality food

The key thing is to replace the quantity with the quality of food. Raw and fresh food, lot of fruit and veggies. Despite eating very little, she probably gets much more vitamins and enzymes from her food than the average person. Like everyone else, my sis also recommends supplementing omega-3′s.

My sister also utilizes intermittent fasting. 24-hour fast every few days does no harm, and it further increases the calorie deficit that causes a lot of the weight loss.

Exercise

My sister lists following equipment as essentials for home training:

  • Ab wheel
  • Exercise band
  • Foam roller
  • Small & Big exercise ball
  • Monkey bars etc. with a chin up bar.

My sister can slaughter the pull-up bar  and I think any girl should have some arm strength – you might as well aim for the nine my sister says she can do without any warm up – she’s relatively stronger than me! Overall she combined all kinds of bodyweight training with stuff like yoga and pilates. Here’s a fast example workout she gives:

  1. Chin-ups 3 x max
  2. Wide stance squats with a kettlebell / dumbbell 3 x 40
  3. Ab wheel rollout 3 x 15
  4. Push-ups 3 x 10
  5. Dip on the floor 3 x max

Ideally you want to involve your whole body, push yourself and get out of breath.  Doing various exercises keeps the monotony away as well.

Finally you might want to check out what kind of training my sister did earlier from her Youtube channel (purely bodyweight exercises). Her methods have changed a lot over the years so it is kind of hards to give you a concise summary of it all. Indeed she used to do a lot of training with free weights as well in the past. Check out also her butt workout post that’s illustrated in pictures.

Caveats

As said, my sister used to train with weights as well, but fact is that gaining muscle comes somewhat easy caused her to grow big thighs – now frankly I think muscular thighs on a woman is awesome, but not everyone agrees. That is why she advises low calories these days, to avoid any unwanted muscle gain.

However if you ask me, I think any muscle you gain will be positive, that’s why I’d never go as low calorie as that. Also keeping so low calories requires a lot of discipline. I do agree with intermittent fasting though, even if I’ve not personally done it in a long, long time.

Also I don’t exactly agree with the essential equipment she lists. To get great workouts all you need is a pull-up bar. Push ups, body weight squats, lunges, pull-ups, hanging leg raises… there’s too many great bodyweight exercises to list. You can really kick your ass with just those. However, I’m not 100 % proponent of just training with bodyweight. I think there’s no beating heavy squats and deadlifts. Now given this post is directed for girls, you might not want to load up 200kg and tear your spine trying to lift it off the ground, but I think some squatting with a barbell on your shoulders  won’t do any harm as long as you take care of your form.

Doesn’t look bad if you ask me..

I really communicated most of my thoughts regarding diet and healthy living in my book Healthy Eating so no need to get any further detail on what I think. The point of this post in the end was just to summarize my sister’s methods.

Let me know what you think, if this caused more questions than it answered, feel free to as. I could even ask your questions from my sister, if you have some. 

Living in Congruence to Your Values

Today’s topic is kind of all-important in the topic of creating a really fulfilling life. Not living in congruence to your values can lead you to a dark place, so it is of utmost importance that no-one half-asses this.

You are better than this shit, bro

I know my posts of late haven’t been that good quality. Rushed, maybe a little half-thought, not a very much effort put in. Is this what I want to come up when someone googles my name? Is mediocre content what I want to have with my name written all over it. This is Jarkko Helenius, a mediocrity.

Of course not. I always preach about how I strive to put in the maximum effort. And I’m not saying my content of late has been valueless – There’s some good shit there too. But the way I see it, I pay a limited attention to the actual fruit of the labor, and most of the focus is on the process itself. That matter is worth a post of its own, but for now I can definitely say that the process I’ve been engaged in when it comes to these blogposts has not the been the most solid one.

Obviously if you just slam a half-thought post up in half an hour just before Monday ends it is not going to be as good as a well-thought idea that you then craft into a post in five to ten hours. Man, I’d be fucking king of bloggers if I actually put in that time to my posts. Yet it is a thing I always talk about – putting the effort in, really doing as good a job as you can do in everything. So as you can tell, there’s an incongruence to my values right there.

But I don’t even know what I’m doing

I’m going to move to Malaysia very soon – a bit on that later – and I’m going to leverage the move as much as possible to clear off distractions that keep me from living up to my values. But is it really all there is, distractions? Is that really the thing that makes me not live in congruence to my values?

Frankly, I’m actually well off knowing where I have disparities between my values and what I actually do. For most people, they don’t even really know what they value. They’ve not even defined it. Sure, they have a vague sense of what they hold in high regard and what they don’t, but if they were to answer the question on the spot, the answers would be vague and floundering at best.

So the first step of getting there is to actually define your values. When you know them – when you REALLY know them – that’s when you can take a good hard look at your life and see where you are doing well and where you aren’t. Let’s see for instance my life.

One of my highest values is bravery – I admire courage and doing bold things is really something I aspire to. Yet, when you look at my life, I’ve not really done anything outrageously brave. Sure, bravery isn’t all about doing things just for the sake of being brave, but surely I’m not living up to this value to the fullest. There’s lot of fears that need to be faced head on, and to live up to this value to I need to just dive in.

Another one is the already mentioned industriousness. My work has not gone the best lately, I’m still far off from having the optimal focus and I manage time like shit. Again, while it doesn’t look so good, and it appears that I’m beating myself up for it, I just have a harsh kind of self-talk, and in the end I have that all important AWARENESS of myself not living up the value. I know I will get there. When you really know your true values that go deep within your core, seeing yourself not living up to them is really an auto-correcting process. It just takes some time.

Finally there’s creativity (there’s more, but I’m just raising these three as examples). This blog is one of the outlets for creativity that I have, yet one could easily argue that I’m not using it to the fullest. In fact, in many ways one could say that I’m not doing anything at all creative at the moment. Ever since my writing streak got killed, I’ve been completely halted in my writings. But again, there’s awareness, so the improvement is around the corner. I have so much ideas coursing through my brain, but my energy and time is being constantly misdirected.

Incongruence – Worse than death

Awareness is the crucial first step on the path of repairing this disparity. Improvement is not an afterthought, though. You can’t just wait for the change to manifest in a beautiful, law of attraction-esque fashion. Nope, there needs to be a sense of urgency. If you lack a sense of urgency, you need to get deeper to your core with the values. When they really hit that heart, that’s when the urgency starts to happen. Another thing is never letting the momentum die. You need to keep your brain engaged with your values. That’s when they really get ingrained.

Not living in congruence with your values will lead to an ultimately unhappy life. You will be like one of those zombies, drudging through their days of nine to five in a daze, not really even alive. Numbing down the little emotions they have with alcohol and other depressants. On the other hand, when you start aligning yourself with your values, every single day becomes better than the last – not always, of course, but I can definitely say that the more I close in on that goal, the more fulfilling the days get.

Ultimately, I measure how my life correspond with my values with my Universal Awesomeness Score. While I self-righteously call it universal, it really is based on just my values. Tracking system like that is a good tool to add to that all-important awareness.

That’s what it all comes down to in the end. There’s a lot of things in the play, but the more you cast your eyes on the glaring difference between what you do and what you value, the more likely it becomes that you make the change. That’s how I got started on this journey of Becoming Awesome. Seeing how I was just vegetating in one corner of the world as the time of my life was dwindling down finally made me move. I’m glad it did.

When will you get moving? Hit me up with a comment.

Alright so I promised briefly get back to my move to Malaysia. I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned it here yet, but yes, it is clinched. My girlfriend is coming to Finland on 10th, and nearly a month later I will shake the snows of Finland off my feet, stepping into the plane and into a new adventure on 7th of January.

Sufficed to say, 2014 will be something else. I can’t even predict what’s around the corner for me. Exciting times.

Meanwhile, I’m also hitting up Helsinki, Stockholm & Lapland soon and while I won’t do daily vlogs like in Japan, I’ll definitely use the change of scenery to get some video content up. However as opposed to Japan videos, that again where by their nature kind of rushed and on the spot material, I really want to create something that stands the test of time better. Even if it won’t I want to at least do my best – cause that of course would be living in accordance to my values.

See you next week!