Archive - January, 2014

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.

Goals for 2014

Happy New Year everyone. It’s time to cast the look to the future and see what I am going to be focusing on the forthcoming year, a year I hope to be the best of my life so far.

That whole which year has been the best of my life thinking is something I like to play with a lot in my mind, but it is really hard to figure out, bit of a mindfuck. It’s not that it matters anyway, I just find it funny to think about. I can’t really differentiate between 2012 and 2013 – perhaps in the former I had more powerful experiences, but during 2013 I had more of them and was taking it to the hilt.

Now I am really looking to further escalate the complete change of life that was set in motion on April 2012 – or technically even before it.

What is making setting goals for 2014 a bit challenging is that actually a lot of things has changed since I made the last fully committed decisions. I don’t really know if I’m going to stay in Malaysia, I only know that I am going to fly there in a week. And that I haven’t told my parents yet, which is gonna be a bit fucked up situation, but hey, that’s what I am all about, getting myself to those fucked up scenarios. I think it is fucked up enough to end up in Malaysia without any clue what’s gonna happen…

Life is an adventure though and I definitely don’t want to think that I’m complaining – I’m excited to see where this turn of events takes me. It is just a challenge to figure out what kind of goals I can set. Especially since if I choose to stay in Malaysia, I have no clue where I am going to be spending my time during the next year.

But I’ve been thinking about this, and realized, that why don’t I just set goals that are completely independent of where I’m staying.

One Main Focus

For me, the clear goal for this year that rises above everything else is to Become Social as is one of the things mentioned in the logo of my site. As you all should know by now, I’m socially awkward, anxious and anti-social introvert (enough descriptive words about it??) – that is something I want to change this year.

But “becoming more social” is too vague of a goal, so I need to get more specific. Also, shouldn’t I have some other focuses… Well, in the spirit of this post, I am going to set one “breakthrough goal” and adjust everything else towards that. I also want to set 2-4 smaller goals for the year as side projects so to speak. This breakthrough goal should be something that completely changes my life. The only facet where I see my life completely changed by now is indeed is the social life.

So how do I make my becoming social goal exact and quantifiable? Here’s how.

Main Goal of 2014: Becoming Social

  • Approach at least five people every day / go out for at least an hour daily
  • Approach a total of least 100 people every week
  • Approach at least 10 people a day online every day.

Looks pretty insane? Let’s dissect it a bit. As you can see, it is all about approaching strangers for me. Sure, there’s more to social life than just talking to new people all the time, but this is the area I have biggest difficulty with – as you can see I can appear somewhat well-adjusted on camera and it’s the same with people I’ve know for a long time. It’s talking to strangers that’s the hard part for me. Besides, getting exposed to lot of new people should give me the social experience I definitely need.

The secondary aim of this, besides just getting me comfortable at being social at all times, is to build a rich social life. I will be approaching a lot of people – if I complete my goal I will have met over 5000 people by the end of the year – even if only one out of thousand leads to anything, I have five new close people in my life by the end of the year. Doesn’t sound a bad deal to me. It is likely be much more than that, which sounds like it might even get too much to handle for me.

Besides just the people I will approach, through online means I will contact another 3000 people – the benefit of this is that approaching 10 people online takes less than five minutes. So I am “drawing water” from every source.

Now I decided to set on a goal of five people every day because I don’t want to put myself up against the wall at all times – initially I was thinking of slapping myself with an insanely high goal like approaching 20 people a day – but on some days time constraints will force me to go a little bit lower – or I meet someone interesting and want to spend longer time talking to them instead of just approaching new people constantly. I still require at least an hour of being social every day, so I need to still keep the habit up every day.

To compensate the lowering of daily goal so drastically I set the weekly goal quite high 100 people a week means roughly fifteen per day. So I need to be talking to new people all the time. It also means that on some nights I will have to stay out longer than one hour to put more approaches in.

Setting Up Rest of My Life Around This Goal

The goal is ambitious to such extent that I can’t complete it unless I commit balls deep 100 % to it. One thing is for sure – I can’t be at home for this. You simply can’t put 100 weekly approaches of new people in if you are living a place with 900 population. So if I am to complete this goal, I need to be in a big city, or traveling at all times. That being said, while I do hope to be traveling for most of the year, I think at some point of the year I will come back home to recharge batteries for a while, probably for summer. Of course during that time the goal will be on hold. But the general idea is that I’d keep on this goal for the full year – and maybe beyond. After a year I will be wiser as to what kind of volume works best for me.

As far as other hobbies go, I don’t think this kind of life leaves room for much else. I am going to naturally keep working out and stretching daily as I’ve done so far, and I am going to play football as well. There won’t be room for much playing games, I wouldn’t think.

Secondary Goals

As said, my life will be mostly built around this goals, but I do want to have other side projects going on – life can’t be just mindlessly going around talking to people like a chicken that had its head cut off. So let’s list them in the order of importance:

  1. Traveling to Brazil for the World Cup
  2. Working at least 6 hours every day
  3. Gaining weight until I reach 90 kg
  4. Using my own book to improve my nutrition – then in turn improving the book as I go along.
  5. Writing at least one story per week.
  6. Visit at least two other new countries besides just Brazil.
  7. Start reading at least ten hours a week.

Let’s go through these goals in better detail.

Traveling to Brazil

Brazil and World Cup is a once in lifetime combination and for a football fan like me it would truly be a pilgrimage to do it. It will be an expensive trip though and will need planning and probably a lot of luck to complete it. If I do end up going there, you will be sure to see some videoblogging from there as well :) This will be one goal that I will see quite early on during the year if I am going to complete it – I think around March/April time I will be knowing how my finances have evolved and how much I would need to save for this trip.

Working 6 hours per day

Life needs to retain balance, and for me work is definitely important to keep funding this lifestyle. Perhaps some day I can cut back on working so much and focus on other things more – Now isn’t that time though. I need to plod through my days, putting in the work every day so I keep the momentum going. I don’t intend the coming year to be the hardest working year of my whole life, but it should be hardest working year of my life so far. 50-hour workweeks should be a regularity. Also I no longer want to scramble at the end of the week to make my hours, in fact I’d prefer if most of the work of the week has been already done by Friday.

It is not going to be an easy goal to complete, but it will frankly be a necessity.

Gaining weight until I reach 90 kg

When I came back from Japan, I was a skinny guy weighing 69 kg (152 pounds). Now, nearly 11 months later I weigh about 83 kg (182 pounds). Still a skinny guy though – which makes me think I can fairly healthily and without turning fat go for all the way to 90kg (touch from 200 pounds).

After that I will cut down and probably return to my ideal weight between 75-80. It’s a classing case of bulking first, then cutting. I do it mostly for gained strength, but also a bit for the aesthetics. Let’s face it, it’s nice to be more muscular, but mostly I care about performance.

 Using my own book to improve my nutrition

I’ve been frustrated with my nutrition being far from perfect, especially since I should be practicing what I preached in my book – so I will do it kind of inversely, and use my own book as a guide to lead me into a more healthier lifestyle. In turn I get experience on how practical the book is in actual use which will help me to create the revised edition I’ve been planning to do for so long.

Writing at least one story per week

Within this goal is built-in another goal, writing at least an hour per day. I really want to get back into the groove when it comes to writing. Last year I wrote a lot of stories and I really want to improve on that and keep building on it. I also want to keep increasing the quality of the stories, spending more time per story.

Visit at least two new countries besides Brazil

This goal is already in the works, for I already booked the tickets to go to Hong Kong from Kuala Lumpur on January 23rd. The other country I visit, that I do not know yet. I might even end up traveling to three or four countries besides Brazil, but that’d just be nice bonus. This is a goal likely to get completed on its own weight without having that much exertion of effort.

Start reading at least ten hours a week

I’ve repeatedly expressed my frustration at my lack of reading, so I will really look to push past that thing. This week it’s too late to read much, but starting next week 10 hours a week will be my minimum. No excuses. I want to have a long list of books read by end of the year.

Wrapping It All Up

So as you can see, this year I set quite a bit more goals than usual, but there’s good synergy between the goals at least generally speaking. Reading supports really everything, writing is something I’ve done a lot already, working helps me to retain a focused mode through life and going out a lot motivates me to keep up with everything else – I don’t want to be putting myself out while being a complete loser.

I won’t want to obviously tackle all of these goals at once. It is just a continuous effort to get closer to that ideal. The main goal is what overrides everything else, naturally.

What do I expect my life to look a year from now? Completely different from now. I would expect a guy who is at ease with himself and who is living in a social abundance. Very focused and intense guy. One who has had a lot of experienced and that has grown a lot. One who essentially knows himself better by then.

It’s going to be a pretty exciting year folks. I’m in for a wild ride full of hard times and awesome times – isn’t that what life’s all about and what it’s supposed to be?

Hit me up in the comments to share your thoughts about my goals, and do share your own as well!