Archive - January, 2016

Looking Back at Year 2015

Due to lack of time and general lack of activity on the blog, the year recap is going to also be a little bit different this time around.

Year of Blog Silence

To say it has been a year of complete silence on the blog would not be entirely true, but fact is I have not written much during 2015 – I only have 8 posts with timestamps on year 2015 so there won’t be top-5 posts of the year this time around…

So what happened? You could call me lazy, but that is not again the whole truth, though as you see from numbers recap later on I was overall less active and lazier this year. Real truth is though I just simply was much more pre-occupied with life. But again that would not be entirely accurate either – during 2014 I traveled to 8 countries, worked a lot and still managed to be very active on the blog.

2015 saw me only add two new countries to my “countries visited” list. I had perhaps more of a social life than in 2014, but even that does not explain it – as I know from 2014, it is possible to pull this all off.

The true explanation lies in being scattered, simply not prioritizing the blog, and due to the fact that I am not that fascinated with video editing – cause you know, there is at least 5 videos I shot almost full 12 months ago that I am yet to post on the blog cause I just haven’t gotten around to editing them! And because I know I have huge backlog of videos already waiting for release, I have held myself from making new videos – which in itself is not easy since it is always bit nerve-wrecking to put yourself in front of camera, especially when you do it in a public place.

Perhaps also a big factor was getting a girlfriend, but at the same time no regrets there but integrating another person in your life will take hours and energy away from other endeavours no matter what you do.

But now that I have gotten the blog silence issue explained, let’s actually talk about the past year.

Cruisin’

What actually happened in the past year? Well, not a hell of a lot… and actually so much it is even hard to grasp. After rollercoaster ride of a 2014, anything would have felt pretty smooth sailing… or actually if I had pushed myself harder, I could have made this year into an even bigger rollescoaster, but I really didn’t. I was cruising the whole year, just coasting. In the end it feels like I had a gap year with nothing much happening.

But as I already said, actually a lot happened. I just did not document it much on the blog which changes how I look back into it, and I was not near the limits of my ability, which also made it less intense. I was not living on the razor’s edge, but I was not completely just sitting on my laurels either. I just fell short.

All this makes the year sound like a bad experience, but it was not. It was a great year. The problem actually is that things were too good. I was too satisfied.

When I started this blog in 2012 I had nothing going on for me. I had no money, I had no experiences, I was not a cool guy, I was just someone with a chip on my shoulder and lot to prove. This year showed me what happens when circumstances are different – I finally had reached a place of some satisfaction and lacked motivation to go further. I had money to comfortably do most things that I want to. I have more experiences than your average guy. Some people might even call me a cool guy. I live comfortably in a warm place, I live on my own terms and I have all my needs met.

So I took the gas off the pedal, for better and for worse. For most of the year I have been trying to find a way (and a reason) to kickstart myself into progress. I already proved to everyone I can turn my life around and it is pretty much as I want it right now, but can I reach my loftier long-term goals? Do I always have to be back against wall to really keep myself moving?

It is hard to call the year failure in any way when I finally have everything that I ever needed. After all…

  • I am living in a big city with a very nice room in prime location – more than I could have really even asked for.
  • I have absolutely no worry about my immediate finances, I can buy any normal items any time I need them without feeling stress about money.
  • I live my life almost completely on my own terms. If I wanna not do anything for a day or two, I can do it (or should I say, not do it?)
  • I don’t have to deal with people I dislike on a daily basis. I choose my circle of people entirely on my own. No coworkers or family members to deal with.
  • My life is almost completely stress-free. I am not preoccupied with any worries.
  • I don’t have to get up in the morning if I don’t want to.
  • I can eat delicious and healthy food on a daily basis.
  • I have everything I need for my daily habits close to me.
  • I am surrounded by people who respect me and treat me well.
  • I get all the physical affection I need.

Now, don’t get me wrong, my life has not suddenly turned perfect, but I have a whole host of reasons to feel satisfied. Especially considering I always seen myself on some level inherently flawed and probably deep down never believed I could get into this good situation. So is it any wonder I have been kind of cruising for the past year?

Unhappiness was my driving force. Now I barely feel any unhappiness, so the wind has died down and the sails are hanging still. Again, don’t get me wrong, I still get upset regularly and things are not perfect, but I am talking about deep level of dissatisfaction at life – there is none left.

So the next year’s story is going to be about finding a new source of thrust. My goals in life are much higher than just at selfish satisfaction – and deep down I know that if I coast long enough, I will lose also the satisfaction I feel now. I don’t want it to get down to that. I don’t want to always have to be back against wall. Even if my psychology only reacts to that, I don’t want to be reliant on that.

What exactly is my goal for life is not an exact thing, but there is an image of my head where I want myself as a person to be, where I want my finances to be, where I want this blog to be – and I am still short of that.

In short, what I have now is what I was wired to be happy with – I grew up in 50 square house and it was for 5-person family – that was no ghetto lifestyle of course but to go from that into living in 40 square room in center with my girlfriend just means it is no wonder I feel so abundant and satisfied – and that is just one thing out of many where I went from very little to a lot. I always was easy to please guy. Simple guy with simple joys. But the journey never stops and there is always the next level to go to.

But thing is, I don’t have midterm goals now, so I am just floating along, drifting around. I don’t plan ahead longer than 3 months. I know where I want to be at 35, but it still feels so distant I am lacking urgency. Lack of urgency has always been my problem. That is what got me onto this blog in the first place – turning 24 without having done a lot. Now I am turning 28 and while time is drawing short on my youth, there is not so many things I haven’t done that I always wanted to do in my youth.

2015 Goals

Basically my goals were set to expire on February, since at the time I originally set them for 18 months and 18 months from the time of originally setting them was February 2016. But since I tweaked the goals last year, might as well have a look about how I progressed towards them in the meantime. I won’t be setting new goals at this time yet anyway, will leave that to a later post and to bit more introspection.

Physical Goals

  • Gain weight until 85kg 80kg DONE
  • Run 3000m in 12-minute test FAIL
  • Deadlift 140kg FAIL
  • Bench press 85 kg FAIL
  • Free-standing handstand FAIL
  • Record in chin-ups FAIL
  • Become much more flexible FAIL
  • Get rid of back pain FAIL

On the physical side of things, it has been a spectacular failure. I mean when I look at the mirror, I am satisfied. I don’t think I am the fittest dude, but I am happy with how I look. But problem is that my preoccupation with other things has seen my physical health deteriorate. Most glaring example is that my backpain not was not ridden, it got much worse with me herniating a disc in July, a problem that has since been persisting.

I have no idea with how I would perform on fitness tests but I am quite sure I would not reach the levels I set as my goals. I have not gotten any stronger overall during past year. I am far from my record levels in chin-ups. It just has been all about lack of effort in this department.

Work Goals

  • Add $1000 / month to income FAIL
  • Get one raise over next 18 months FAIL
  • Add steady 10 hours / week of oDesk work 
  • Work your SEO site to earning 500 bucks a month FAIL
  • Start reading 2 hours a day every day (kinda indirectly related to this and didn’t really fit anywhere else) FAIL

All failure though as I discovered during the year, my present income goes longer way than I even imagined as long as I don’t leak too much money on excess expenses. Still, tells of distinct lack of focus that I have all these goals and I did not reach any of them… perhaps too many goals making me too scattered? Whatever may be the case, my approach for sure did not work.

Social Goals

  • Approach people when abroad and get used to talking to strangers FAIL
  • Look to express yourself with less barriers, more freely. Knock people off the fence so that they either like you a lot or hate you. PARTIAL SUCCESS
  • Learn Portuguese at least to such extent you can have basic conversations. FAIL
  • Retain your freedom by not committing into anything yet. FAIL
  • Become calmer, kinder, less judgmental – generally just keep ironing out the personality flaws. WORK IN PROGRESS
  • Get a social circle of friends wherever my journey takes me next. Retain and deepen the existing friendships. PARTIAL SUCCESS

Well, lot of people for sure hate me, hahaha. To balance it out, there is also couple of people who do like me a lot as well. I have gotten better at social expression, but not at the rate that I was hoping for.

My goal I guess was not to have a relationship but obviously with my mindset that was impossible to achieve, or should say at least against the odds. The more girls I met, the more likely I was gonna meet someone who clicks with me well. My relationship to my gf is as non-committal as possible, but obviously there is a level of commitment always when you are with someone. I will talk about that in a future relationships post, for now that will be enough about it.

On social level the year was partial success but I did not really push it to the limit like I said earlier.

2015 in Numbers

I might have ceased to make aggressive progress, but I never stopped aggressively tracking myself. Every week keeping my UA Scores has become a habit that paces my life on a weekly basis. I wrote some parts this post last year in its separate post, now everything is gonna be done in same post.

Looking at the base numbers, for comparison’s sake I am gonna include 2014 numbers next to this year’s.

The Path activity 22.5  hours (2014 – 93 hours)

2014 was 25 % of 2013, and 2015 was 25 % of 2014. Are you telling me I am gonna do less than 6 hours of writing in 2016?

It is the typical struggle most people have. When you have nothing going on in your life, it is easy to find time for the things you are passionate about, but when you suddenly have commitments, it is hard to squeeze it in. Which is sad – I love writing and communicating my ideas, but I haven’t really found a way to integrate it into my life and when things get too hectic, it is so easy to drop it off. But aren’t I supposed to do work and other things to enable myself to do what I was put on this earth to do? That is what The Path is supposed to be, after all. Problem is that the only way to really do it is to monetize your passion somehow so you can do it full time and that is something that I have not managed to do.

Still, it is not like I work 80 hours a week – if I managed myself better, I could have sustained at least last year’s levels. In hindsight that would have already been satisfactory compared to this clusterfuck.

High Value Work 537.5 hours (2014 – 991 hours)

You would expect all the hours missing from the Path activity went to working more, but actually my workrate dropped to nearly half of what it was. It is baffling looking from distance, but knowing how I lived my life last year, I am not surprised that my workrate went so significantly down. I had crappy work habits almost whole year, just laziness, coasting as I called it earlier.

The Grind 27.5 hours (2014 – 31.5 hours)

I don’t feel too bad that this number kept dropping further down. After all, The Grind is the aspect of life that you should not strive to increase, it is just what you have to do. Of course, if you do not embrace the grind it might be the sign of negligence but in general I count as grind the things that you could delegate, so I am not feeling bad at all for having a low number here.

Total work 587.5 hours (1.61 hours / day) (2014 1115.5 hours, 3.05 hours / day)

No surprises here, working only 1.6 hours per day it is no wonder I felt so satisfied all year. But it is really inexcusably low and no one can get away with such laziness over longer term. I think even low amount like 3-4 hours is while not impressive, at least sufficient to keep your life together. So the idea is to rise to that level over the course of next year.

Footy 0.5 hours (2014 - 37.5 hours)

Just when I was all set to resume my passion, I popped a disc on my back which made all kinds of movements painful. It does not look good for my footy hobby. Other things just have eaten away all the time from it and when I finally am ready to resume, of course I get injured. Only positive sign is that I live close to places to practice at, so all hope is not lost if I ever manage to recover from having a shitty back.

Playing Games 154 hours (2014 – 140 hours)

I am surprised that this actually managed to increase considering I spent all year on different continent than people I play games with. But I don’t mind it – after all it is relatively low level so it is not a hindrance to reaching other goals.

More Numbers: Universal Awesomeness Score

Top-5 Weeks

Week 7 – 376 points

Week 52 – 340 points

Week 49 – 268 points

Week 46 – 247 points

Week 28 – 211 points

Last year 274 points was the cut off point to make it to practically top-10 % week of the year, but this year that cutoff was much lower. There was no week that broke 400 point barrier which really should not be as elusive as it has been for me, and even 300 points got broken only twice as opposed to 4 times of last year.

Average week: 114.4 points

Just like all the other numbers, my average week keeps plummetting. Seems like 2013 is still the year to beat, it was the latest time when I had urgency under my ass. Drop of 11 points is not that bad, but when the existing number was not that high in the first place, it does not bode well. I am only 27, I should still be steadily improving – this cannot be my peak level already, can it?

More UAS Analysis & Numbers Crunching

One significant change compared to last year was the strong days. My strong days in 2014 were heavily weighed to the end of the week, but this year my points came more evenly during the week. I would say it is one encouraging sign during a year that was mostly full of regression. Just like last year, saturday is the best day on the week in terms of average scores, but second best day this time around is tuesday, which last year was the worst day. Thursday proved to be the midweek lull as the weakest average score of 13.5 points, but compared to Saturday’s 21 point average even that was not so bad.

Sunday actually was the day that was lacking any top scores, with best Sunday being only 49 points – all other days breached 50 points at some point of the year.

I accomplished my daily goal only 23 % of the time. This could point to goals being too hard, but actually bigger problem is not setting them at all. It is just a habit that I have failed to settle so far. So coming year it should be one focus.

Most of the rest of the numbers were quite even with last year, but not a single digit went up from last year. That is something that will need to change if my quality of life is to go up, I have zero belief that my current level of effort is enough to even sustain my current life.