Archive - October, 2014

Zone of Awesomeness

Today we are gonna redefine what being out of your comfort zone means in my first video from Bangkok… Check it out below.

I was a bit out of it after exhausting flight to do a video, but I think I got my point across and the main thing was to push myself. I failed to do that in Helsinki and wasn’t about to let that happen again. It is all a part of building momentum for this trip. I know the start is gonna be slow anyway cause I just get so unbelievably anxious at first.

Anyway, lets get to today’s subject. As detailed in the video, by Zone of Awesomeness I am referring to that zone out of your comfort zone, pushing your limits.

Just by mindlessly doing tough acts isn’t going to bring you success in itself, but it still beats doing nothing which is why I would always err on the side of challenging myself more.

Of course, there’s the point where you go beyond Zone of Awesomeness, and instead go too far and actually detriment yourself. That happened to me in the army – it was simply too much for my system and instead of making me tougher, it broke me down, at least on a certain mental level. Even then I’d say it did give me certain toughness, at least when I get stressed I know I have experienced worse.

For most people, challenging yourself too much is not a problem. Our lives are too lax, too easy. Learning the habit to push against The Flinch, as Julien Smith calls it, is very useful.

It trains your mind to do what you tell it to do despite the circumstances. Despite being tired, despite being anxious, despite whatever it is that is making you uncomfortable. It is teaching you to not give in just because of some inner, or even sometimes some external resistance. No matter what you feel, just doing it as you planned.

Just doing push-ups on sharp rocks doesn’t develop a well-rounded awesomeness into you, though. It will make you pain tolerant and gritty in a certain sense, but it wont make you any less socially anxious (speaking from experience). That’s why everything you do, you have to find the Zone of Awesomeness in it, not just push yourself in one area.

In some things, Zone of Awesomeness doesn’t even necessarily mean uncomfortable things. It just means the mundane and the repetitive – like practicing some hard new skill with ball when playing soccer. You try and you fail, and you try and try. Most people just kick around when they practice, but you instead focus on whats hard and not so fun. In the end you will be better player even with same quantity of practice. You’re willing to go beyond fun and easy forms of practice.

Zone of Awesomeness exists everywhere and you can always expand it. For some people it might be something as simple as looking someone else into the eyes and resisting the feeling to watch away. For other peoples it might mean crossing the English canal by swimming, or something crazy like that. Hell, those two might even be same people – you can be in incredible shape and still be completely socially anxious.

That’s why its important to push it in the every facet of life and make it a point to push your awesomeness every day. It needs to be a habit. You need to be asking yourself, did I reach the zone of Awesomeness in what I just did?

If not… Well you can always fix it now. One more time. One more effort. When you feel like quitting, going on a little bit longer. It all stacks up over time and makes a big difference in the end. That’s why its important to have a positive mental narrative of it as opposed to seeing it as a drudgery without a point. Even if it in isolation is kind of pointless, you can still see the bigger picture by saying fuck yeah, I reached the Zone of Awesomeness today, and its a small brick in my palace.

It will then become easier and easier to push into it – but at the same time to really push it you need to be doing more and more. I’m all about taking our lives to the limits they can go. I’m not the most extreme guy myself, for me on a day like this it is more than enough to just get a video done, but it builds onto that momentum and to reach my Zone of Awesomeness its gonna take a lot more at the end of the month. I hope I still keep reaching for it every day. Setting the tone right from the start is important.

Drop a comment if this made any sense… or especially if it didn’t :D

Spectator Society

Final two videos from my Brazil/Turkey trip wrapped in this one post – first is about my take on the whole spectator society, second is kind of unrelated video where I just slapped together random clips from Brazil – it’s not really a good video and more for my personal memory, but if you’re curious you can check it out too. But first, let’s talk about how we are living a shadow existence in spectator society.

I’m actually pretty happy about how this video turned out. I am coherent and make my point, with my current speaking skill that’s about as good as I could’ve done. I don’t really have anything to add to it – of course the issue is more multifaceted than just the thing that I talk about, but the point is still valid.

Now lets get into another video I created – this is mostly just long shots of scenery or match footage of crowds during World Cup, I really didn’t bring camera around a lot which would’ve helped in compiling a video like that. It’s kind of a conflict in my life, trying to avoid living through camera lens while at the same time kinda having to cause I have a video blog to make. Finding a balance in Thailand and Philippines will be interesting. As for now, here’s a 20 minute video that’s admittedly kinda boring, just static shots intermixed with me blathering on vaguely about my trip. I think the best part is the emotional ending, but I wasn’t really speaking well there, cause as admitted “I wasn’t feeling it”.

As usual leave me any comments below, see you very soon :)

Honesty

So in while in Istanbul I got lied to and instead of being butthurt in response, I decided to record this video sharing my views about honesty and integrity.

Video came out a little bit feel-good and unclear about some things and there is some sound issues, I don’t know why the mic didn’t work well in this one. Anyway, the stuff that I talk about in the video is something I genuinely believe in, not just a butthurt response over things going not the way I wanted them to go. I don’t think you have to lie and cheat your way to the top, if anything that will only detriment your life.

I know, I’m easily counter-argumented with lot of deceitful people who got it all in life. Perhaps some of them were even happy doing it. But I am talking of normal people here. For me I don’t see any benefit at all in lying. Only thing it would do to me is strain my mind more with having to keep up with the lies. It’s liberating and relieving to not have to manage any image or a web of deceit.

It might sound astonishing that I’ve not knowingly told a lie since probably 2011, but its true. I might have tricked myself and told something like that to people, but I’ve not knowingly lied to anyone. I’m not saying it to be high and mighty to suggest I’m better than everyone – I’m saying it to point out “I know what I’m talking about, I live according to my values”. And I’m telling you, its a much better way of life than toxic little lies that weigh down on you. Everyone deceives and manipulates sometime, but when you don’t consciously do it, its easier to catch yourself when you’re doing it unconciously.

Now you might argue there’s time and place for little white lies… but the thing with those it that it becomes very grey area – what if you choose to lie in a matter that you think don’t matter, but don’t realize it matters more to the person lied to? It doesn’t matter if you never get caught, but if you do get caught with the lie, it can be much more destructive than you think.

Is honesty painless then? Of course not, if it were, everyone would naturally be honest. But it is in the long run much less painful. You exchange lot of short-term pain for being in long-term in better alignment with your values and life. Often lies are just delaying pain.

Being honest doesn’t mean telling everything to everyone. If I am getting to know a new person, they won’t know much about my pre-existing relationships aside the things I mention in the blog. I tell a lot of my life in this blog and its all genuine truth, but at the same time its only a small glimpse to my life – it’s like looking at surface of ocean, you can’t see what’s in the vast depths below. As person grows in importance in my life, they will gradually “earn” to know more about me.

But this is where absolutes, in my perspective, end. That’s a whole another discussion what should be told and to whom. Also, I could easily lie to a person I don’t know at all. If a beggar comes ask for money, while I usually tell them they need to work for their money, I could just say I don’t have money on me without guilty conscience.

Honesty With the World

Finally there’s the thing about honesty with the world. It represents doing the hard work instead of going for the shortcuts. If you want a successful relationship, the “dishonest” way is to get someone a bit out of your league with trickery and then keeping them in line with manipulation. Leads into a toxic relationship for both that’s ultimately horribly end. Less dishonest way that lot of people do it is just settling on someone that’s kinda good just to get the problem out of the way – then losing passion for that person slowly over the years. The honest way, of course, is to get through the years of grind to become that person who deserves an awesome person, going through a lot of people and ultimately coming out with someone who you really know fits you.

I’m not saying that’s the only way to make it work, of course there’s countless examples that would go against that example, but the general principle is the same – you have to be “honest” with the effort you put in to tip the odds in your favor. You can’t buy a program that promises you to get rich overnight and then expect to roll in cash. No, you gotta do it the hard way through lot of effort and failure, probably even public failure as your first attempts in business go broke. When I was playing poker, I went bust countless of times.

Achieving riches through lottery, for example is cheating the system. You won’t change as a person when you win the lottery, all it is that you now have more cash, which you soon realize its largely just superfluous and doesn’t matter that much to your life beyond your survival and maybe driving around in a more expensive car. If you were uninteresting and unhappy person before winning, you will be that after too. Money can help change that, but unless you’re doing the change yourself, it won’t do a thing.

Often time lottery winners just waste their money cause they haven’t learned the process of managing their cash. As they say, fool and his money are soon parted. The worst thing about losing that fortune for them is that they can’t recover it. If a man who worked a decade loses his fortune, of course he will be as miserable as the lottery winner, but he will get back into the grind next time with firm belief that he can rebuild. That will give him real security and confidence – one that’s based on his own character, not just having a lot of assets.

It’s a hard concept overall for me to communicate, this honesty thing. I know 99.999 % of people lie all the time, and this will probably do little to change it especially since some people can make convincing counter-arguments about how lying and pretending are good. I just don’t agree. I don’t pretend I don’t like people. I either like them or don’t communicate with them.

Isn’t it enough that we lie to ourselves? Why further complicate our coexistence with hidden intentions to each other?

Power Games

Yes, deception can be a form of power. But in this world where everyone are kings in terms of possessions, health, living situation and amount of food we have available, do we really need power games? I don’t want to assert my power over other people aside from how my words might improve their lives through new insights. It’s obsolete – but I guess like fear its one of those obsolete primal responses, faults of human psyche that’s gonna stick around until we start actively modifying it. But you can on a personal level start taking control of it today. But its tough since telling the truth is often punished, especially if it is a hard truth. For me it is easy cause I see the overall picture gets better over that small discomfort, but convincing that to others is harder.

I don’t judge anyone for lying. People I love and still love have deceived me many times. I don’t think they are evil for it. Every time I just look at their senseless lies and think to myself “she didn’t lie cause she’s evil… She was just retarded.”

Yeah, that’s also kind of reframing it funny to call her retarded for it. There’s no judgment in that. We are all retarded. That’s why we lie and are scared and lazy and… well list goes on and on. Let’s just all try to be a little bit less retarded.

Narratives – How Are You Interpreting The World?

Today I’ve got a video up from Brazil as I’m trying to deal with the whole clog of videos I already have ready that I made in Brazil & Istanbul before  I leave to Thailand on October 6th. We are gonna talk about mental narratives and how it makes us interpret the world positively or negatively – which makes a massive difference in our actions and subsequently what our lives turn out to look like. Check out the video below.

I’ll be the first one to admit that wasn’t one of my most coherent ones, but let’s dissect that a little bit more here.

Reality is Subjective – But Malleable

So is the glass half empty of is it half full? The classic example of ways of thinking but of course a cliché and simple one. There are countless of ways you can interpret reality through whatever is the narrative in your head, and everything else is then fitted to that narrative. So just one perspective change can have significant ramifications to your mental space.

We all have narratives in our heads. That’s inevitable. If there weren’t our simple minds just would not be able to deal with the complexity of the world. They help us simplify things in our head. However, faulty narratives that temporarily make us happy by giving us false comfort inevitably lead to our own destruction.

So its very important to be conscious about the way you construct your narrative. Is the story I’m telling myself in my head beneficial to me?

If you think you’re the coolest guy in the world and truly believe it, it is going to manifest itself somehow in your life. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting anything law of attraction type stuff here, but if you do tell yourself good things, you do take more chances and even if you fail somehow, it still has to fit that “I’m coolest guy in the world” narrative so you  won’t let it get you down.

I’m not suggesting you pick that as your narrative by the way, it obviously has its good and bad sides. But we all believe in something, whether its religion or something else – even extreme nihilism is still a narrative in your head, as opposed to reality. Even if you decline all the -isms and things that are taught to you, you still have a mental structure that I call a narrative. What I am just saying is that you become aware and conscious about what kind of a worldview and narrative there is in your head, then mould it such that it actually supports you in whatever are your goals in life.

If you think you’re disgusting and ugly, you will generally put people off. For me that of course was never true, but I had never been called handsome in my life until 23 – only cause I thought I was unattractive.

Significantly shifting your belief systems will feel like living in a different reality. It is rare that these shifts happen suddenly, but when they do, the old narrative feels like a different existence altogether. I don’t know if my mental narratives shifted fast or slow, but one thing is for sure, my life was very different in my old mental paradigms. I was living in the same reality, but my capabilities were greatly limited by what was going on in my head.

Still to this day that holds true – we are all our own worst enemies and the most important battle is fought within our minds. So start asking yourself – How am I viewing this situation? Is it accurate? Does it help me?

I am not a a believer of any Christian religion, but people with strong faith often have easier time dealing with hardships in life. Why? Strong, positive narrative. If you truly think you’re going to heaven or whatever, or that God loves you or whatever they believe, you’re going to have more perseverance than a nihilist who just thinks everything is meaningless and life sucks.

I don’t think either of them are right. I don’t think right even exists, I think every worldview is true to its subject anyway.

A lot in the journey of Becoming Awesome is shifting your narrative. Instead of thinking yourself as a piece of shit, valuing yourself. Forging that narrative that I am awesome stronger. It leads to you going for awesome things. You make a mess of some, but some you succeed – and then you actually are awesome in some way, and the narrative strengthens. It’s a cycle that just needs to be kept going. If you believe world is your oyster… it might well become it. If you believe it is a harsh place where you’re just struggling to cope, that’s probably what’s in store for you.

To me, a balanced narrative has a bit of both in it. A balanced narrative recognized that world indeed is a harsh place, but that if you work hard it can also be your oyster. A good narrative acknowledges the challenges around but reframes them so that they don’t put you down.

But I am not going to spoon-feed you any more of what I think in this post. I hope that stirred up something in your mind, I’m gonna head to my next task before I run out of time.

Drop a comment on what you think about narratives!