Archive - July, 2015

Addiction of Distraction

Back when I wrote the Focus on Focus post I was in a fairly focused state of mind to begin with. I had been productive at work, and focus on focus was really the next level – something to help me notice when I was veering off.

Since then, as I have recently stated, I have fallen increasingly off the wagon. I have become similar to most people in today’s world – my life is not only dominated by constant, endless distraction and short attention span – we actually start to actively crave it.

When you fall deep into this state of mind, focus on focus kind of methods are simply beyond your reach. You start doing something like work, and after only a brief moment of it you habitually start seeking distraction. Okay, can I check Facebook? Maybe I have gotten a new mail, or maybe I should check if there is any football news. It is like a clockwork – you get that craving constantly. It is truly an addiction of distraction.

It is so easy to succumb to it as well. Facebook and smartphones heavily stack the odds against you. But hell, you don’t even need those. All that is needed is that you have anything unrelated to work open that you can quickly glance, whether it is some website you are reading, a book, folder of vacation photos, whatever. Anything that gives you your fix of distraction. Double points if you can lie to yourself that it is actually good – like reading a book or something.

It is not that reading a book is bad, it can indeed be good and it definitely is much healthier to get distracted to an informative book than to useless social media feed, but the condition itself is still present. You are not in control, you are still feeding the addiction to distraction. Sure, if we have to get distracted, it is much better to get distracted to semi-productive things, but ideally to get where you want to go in life you have to employ some intense focus.

So this addiction is something we have to start treating to become awesome. Given we are all distraction junkies, it is probably a fact that none of us will be ever completely clean again, especially in a world that is full of what we crave, but we can become better.

First step is simply starting to notice that this thing exists, and here is where this ties nicely with focus on focus post. It is a similar mental process.

Close off all the distractions. Leave nothing on that could distract you from what you have done. This is really the only way you even have a chance. Start doing whatever it is that you have to do. I don’t care if its homework, work project, some menial task that you have to do, anything goes as long as it is important and doing it doesn’t just naturally flow out of you. If it does, well even then you might notice when you get distracted.

As soon as you start doing it, you might indeed have some focused time at first, but eventually the craving for distraction comes. You really don’t notice it during day-to-day life, because you always have a handy distraction to immediately satisfy the craving. But when you do everything you can to remove the distractions, all the sudden the craving is there and there is nothing to satisfy it – not at least the things it is used to. That makes it easy to identify – oh shit it is true, I am WANTING to be distracted. You crave for it, you need the fix. Only by training you back into ignoring the craving is the way you can treat the impulse.

But it never will be fully gone. I wrote the Focus on Focus post a good while ago. I had good focus then, at least compared to what I have now. But as with any addiction, you can fall off the wagon and then you have to clean up your act again.

Achieving success, however you might define it, is easier than ever before. Want money? There is so much wealth in the world you don’t have to work nearly as hard as 100 years ago to accumulate comfortable wealth. Emotional satisfaction? Life is generally easy so if you just master your emotions, you can be happy as well easier than before.  Really the key thing to anything like that is gonna be this ongoing battle against distraction in this increasingly clickbait-filled world. The problem is that losing this battle is often more gratifying on the short-term.

Meditation really is the ultimate distraction addiction cure. Meditation is all about doing nothing and not getting distracted, and when you are attempting to do and thing nothing, literally everything becomes a distraction from it. Aside that, anything can be an active meditation.

Drop me a line below as to how you deal with your Addiction of Distraction.

New Challenge

I’m back.

Its been a long time without posting, but all the while I have still been endlessly introspecting, and even made a few videos – but now I am officially 6 months behind with uploading them.

As of writing this, its start of the July. Year is halfway. I have about as little to show for first 6 months of 2015 as blog would suggest. I mean its not all bad, I still have visited two new countries and developed my relationships, but I have let bad habits and complacency seep back into my life. As a result I have been lazier than in two years.

But I know I have to change and this post will be one of those building blocks of that change.

You guessed it, another challenge coming up. Doesn’t this blog already look enough of a graveyard of failed challenges? Indeed the latest post prior to this is one of those.

Well, it is true that I have failed (and miserably so) most of my challenges, but the way I see them is that they are experiments, not all of which are supposed to even succeed.

Besides, this time I am highly motivated (as was the case with Spiral of Awesomeness), and I have designed a challenge that is very flexible and not too challenging. Furthermore, I have good incentive to do well in the challenge.

What Is Behind This Challenge?

I have been living in Bangkok for good few months now, and life has been very comfortable – too comfortable you could say. I have stopped pushing myself consistently. Lately I have been asking myself why did I wanna stay in Bangkok in the first place?

Primarily it was to work on my social skills.  Well, the work on my social skills has kind of stagnated as I am not going out as much as I hoped for. And why is that? Well aside lack of willpower which definitely is partial reason, as well as laziness, the real reason is that my weeks have lacked structure.

So I either have to have that, or I have to change my life situation. Which is where the reward/punishment of the challenge comes in. If I cant get my life more structured and start to get more of a social life going, I have to change something or go home – there would be little point staying. So should I fail this challenge, I have decided that I will start a long low-budget travel tour around for at least few months.

Not much of a punishment, you say? Sounds more like a reward. Well, it is definitely not as unpleasant outcome as there could be, for many people would kill to be able to do something like that.

Thing is, I have had my travels already. I have been to 13 countries – not saying that its particularly big number or anything to brag about, but I have been around and seen travel, it is not as big of a novelty for me any more. And while I love the awakeness of the traveling constantly, there was obvious reasons I chose to settle to one place for a while in the first place.

So if I am not executing those reasons in the first place, there is no reason to settle in one place. Therefore in terms of growth it is better to get back moving and stop again when you appreciate the more stable life more again.

However, if I succeed in this challenge it means I am doing better job in those reasons that I originally chose to stop – therefore it makes more sense to stay put.

So instead of straightforward punishment/reward, its more of just logical conclusion of the prior events. Both outcomes have their good sides and bad sides. But obviously the “fear” of having to do many month long travel tour is that it is kind of scary after having been in same place for so long to again have to go to new places and figure out how to make the basic logistics of your life happen (though to be honest this is not very hard any more pretty much anywhere) kind of works as a punishment for the hindbrain.

The Challenge

Daily Components

There is not as many daily components in this challenge as there was in Spiral of Awesomeness – this is slightly differently structured challenge. There is only few daily parts:

  • Wake up at 5 am.
  • Perform morning workout and eat breakfast before 8 am.
  • Work 8 am to noon, keeping all social media & other distractions off until that.
  • No junk food
  • Nofap

I thought about adding more to the daily parts of the challenge, but as I want to keep the difficulty level in check I decided to keep the consistent things to just a few. I can always just keep adding on the challenge as it goes on.

Those in itself would form a decently difficult challenge, but cause I want to hit the sweet spot I want to add the difficulty by also specializing some days. Only some though – I don’t want to live my whole life rigidly following a schedule, but regimenting some of my days sounds right.

We will see how it all will work in practice.

Monday

Monday is the start of the week and over my couple of years of doing the current job it has become my de facto day off. After all, I have 7 days to complete my weekly work and I just finished an exhausting end of the week rush to complete my work. I deserve a little break!

Well spending Monday off often lead to chain reaction of also being haphazard with work the following couple of days – leading to a pile-up of work and you guessed it – end of the week rush to finish work.

This steady pattern of spending weekend working arduously and taking Monday off has gone long enough. I am sick of it. So we are going to flip the script. Monday is gonna be “The Work Day”. I am not going to turn any social media on all day, and the whole day from dawn to dusk is dedicated just for work. The aim is to complete 10 hours of work and also prepare a blog post ready.

So instead of just wasting my Monday and setting everything up for rushing all week, let’s flip the script completely. Spend all Monday working and then start the whole week on the right foot, easing the whole stress for rest of the week knowing that I am not gonna have to rush again.

Tuesday

Tuesday is the exercise day. Problem with my old daily exercise was that I was kind of phoning it in most days – I mean its better than nothing, but best results come from  working out hard. So I am going to require on day of going balls to the walls with exercise. I do morning exercise just like normal but also carve out few hours in the evening/afternoon for really blasting away hard and getting my body sore.

Friday

Friday is the optimal day for social activity so I want to be going out on Friday.

Saturday

As most of my work ought to be done by now for the week, I want to have a little reading day on Saturday. Reading will replace the work portion of the regular day routine, pending I am done or almost done with work for the week.

Sunday

Sunday is my day off. I still wake up at 5 and do the morning exercise, but aside that I dedicate this day to spending my time with my girl and chilling it out. Eating junk food also has green light for this day (as my gf likes ice cream and cakes and other stuff like that). So it is essentially a cheat day.

So there is the challenge in its wholeness. Starting tomorrow, this challenge will run until my current visa runs out in September. After that I will have to do some travel anyway, but if I succeed I will have a good reason to come back for another three month stint after only a short trip.