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Always a Way to Improve

I didn’t write a headline for this post, I will just kinda do a stream of consciousness and then just see what comes, then slap the general theme or whatever conclusions I might come to as the headline. So let’s go…

May Madness Challenge is now running on its second week, and so far I have been successful, even if just grazing the bar sometimes with my 50 points a day requirement. It could have been an easier landing to the challenge, though.

First setback obviously has been my erratic sleeping pattern, which makes consistency hard and planning of days tricky. I cannot complain about that too much, though, as that is entirely in my control. Bigger problem has been falling sick in the beginning and in fact I am still having health problems. Nothing severe, just a bit of a fever, but it does make putting in longer work hours bit tougher.

No cutting slack though. I would cut myself some slack if I set a really difficult target like 100 points per day, which gets borderline impossible if you are sick and feeling lethargic, but I precisely set the 50 point daily limit to have some room for manuevering. So no mercy on that. 50 points is not that hard to get, just put in few hours of concentrated work during the day, read a bit and do some other good shit, and you will get there. So I am not doing anything earth shattering here even though I am sick.

It just shows how much of our lives is just up to our decision, though. I am far from my best conditions, yet if I just commit to it, being that productive every day is not that hard. It is not an impressive level anyway, but it will lead to some improvements already in a person’s life, and to point out how rarely I reach even this measly levels, last time I scored 50 points on nine successive days was back in 2013 – unfortunately that is not something I cannot confirm as I lost all my old records expect the top-10 weeks of all time, but given I had scored multiple over 400 point weeks in a row it is likely I also stayed above the 50-point line.

In the end the points itself don’t matter – it is just a tool for measurement, something to show how much a simple decision and emotional leverage to stay disciplined can cause change in your life. My points increased by about 50 % from the average of previous few weeks. Was my life strictly speaking better? No, to be honest not, as I was still adjusting to the new limitations and hence not being as free to go out etc, as well as getting sick, but I got done a lot more than I have been getting done lately. Again, I am still on no impressive level, but you cannot jump from 1 to 100… Or maybe you can, who knows, but point is I am not trying to sell you on some magic pill that changes everything. I am still on the red on most individual things in my tracking spreadsheet – which means I am still not doing enough of almost everything by my own standards.

Few weeks of 400 points got a book done, and few weeks of 300-500 points that the challenge ought to bring would make me get shit done on more acceptable pace.

Thing is, what I am describing here is what the high-achievers will get on their worst weeks.For high-achievers, even when they are taking a break from working, stuff like meditation, reading, social relationships, etc. are such prevalent things in their life, that they would rack them up into the 300s easily every week.

Why is that? Well my first instinct was to phrase it above that it comes naturally to high-achievers, but I am sure that for lot of them it did not come naturally to begin with – but over time it became natural for them. It was all a matter of self-training. They had strong enough motivations to keep enduring in self-discipline for years and years to build habits that naturally support a good life. I have done it in the past too, but I have to admit that lately I have ceased to really actively build positive habits. Why that is would merit a whole another post pondering.

Thing is, always keep moving. You might have been standing still for past two years, and lament how you used to be sprinting ahead of the pack and now struggle to even keep up jogging pace. You gotta build it up again. Or you don’t have to – you can always choose mediocrity. I am not even being sarcastically motivating you with reverse psychology – for some people it really is satisfying choice and they can be happy just chilling their life. Not everyone has to push everything in their life to the max, you can also just chill it to the max and be happy, some people can certainly do that.

For me, the force that set me moving, the dissatisfaction, the knowing that I can do better than this, the need to prove to myself time and time again that I am awesome and can become awesome every day, is now counter-balanced with the force of feeling everything is good and right, chill and satisfactory. The good is the enemy of the best. Breaking the inertia of the chill and having all your basic needs met is a tricky thing, again worthy of a post of its own.

I have struck some chord within myself with this challenge though, cause for all the little nuisances I am still going and seem to have the mindset to keep going until the end. The first week is always the hardest, and with the added difficulty I have been enduring it is unlikely things would get harder – hope I won’t jinx it by saying that. Just goes to show how granted I have been taking my health and my time to not even match what I am now doing while healthy.

So perhaps it all comes back to that old notion about life being short, thing that I have already taken multiple times to reiterate. It is a hard lesson to internalize. Easy to know as a thought, but to internalize so you really have understanding of it is a whole different ballgame. You love someone more when you almost lost them and know deep down you might lose them again. Every moment with them becomes precious. So too becomes life when you fully, deeply realize with every cell of your body that your life might be taken away from you any moment. We all lead a cushy existance that rarely pits us eye to eye with that reality of death, even death of our loved ones does not necessarily be enough to give us that deep understanding.

Thing is, I am about to slip into another monologue that would be worthy of its own post, so I am gonna cut this one here. As expected, this was exactly the kind of post you would think about after I said I will write a stream of consciouness; rambling, lacking focus, just generally all over the place. If there was any thread running through the post, it was that we all have to power to change our lives at any moment and all it takes is to find a way to get over ourselves.

May Madness Challenge

It has been a while I have wanted to put myself under a challenge. I have started and failed some challenges since the major success of Spiral of Awesomeness, but nothing has really concretely even started, which has at times even made me think that the whole model of making challenges for yourself is a bit contrived anyway.

Something about it appeals to me though and it can be hard for me to set my mind correctly to get started on some things if I just think I should do something. I guess I am a guy who reacts well to a set, simple target and working towards it. I don’t know what it is, and ultimately the results have been mixed anyway. Thing is, I am ready to try something again after spending last few months more or less stagnating.

After all, if any challenge can be as big of a success as Spiral of Awesomeness was, it is not just a gradual increase in the quality of my life, but a whole jump to another level. In the end it does not matter why something works, what matters is that I get a psychological leverage over my primitive brains. Competitiveness is one way to do that, as is this challenge mindset.

So with all that in mind, let’s delve right into what I want to do for my May Challenge.

May Madness

It was a long process trying to figure out what kind of a challenge I would set. Spiral of Awesomeness was very structured, and I tend to respond very well to that kind of parameters, because it is very black-and-white, very little thinking involved. However the way my life is at the moment would be at odds with the level of rigidity such challenge would require. I needed something more fluid. I am sure eventually I will try to put more structure back to my life, but I needed more of a challenge that involved mindset rather than specific actions.

In the end the answer came to me from closer than I even thought – my point system, the Universal Awesomeness Score. In short, UAS tries to condense my quality of life/productivity in one number. It does not actually necessarily tell how good my life is, but it does measure well how well I am using my time. If I score high? Might have been a shit day, but I at least put in a lot of effort that day and did things I consider to be valuable to me. So while not perfect, it is a decent yardstick and I did score my highest weeks during Spiral of Awesomeness challenge – and all that effort wound up changing my life. To put it short, I don’t see anyone scoring highly in it for an extended period of time and NOT getting some rewards from their hard effort.

The risk of course is that without clear guideline the daily actions become a bit muddled, but I will try and see what happens. Regardless, it gives me the fluidity to do whatever I want on any given day as long as it is accruing me more points.

The only thing to decide was what is the appropriate difficulty level. My first instinct was 30 points per day, which is something I have been doing fairly consistently over recent weeks. I realized in the end though that it is not much of a challenge. There should be difficulty, so I decided to hike it up to the upper limits of my ability. Scoring 50 points every day is fairly hard and takes lot of discipline and consistency. This year I have scored over fifty only on nine days, so stringing a month of going over it every day is gonna be challenging. However, if I can do it once in a while, I can do it repeatedly. If you can take one step, you can take thousand steps.

50 points a day translates to about 350 points per week. Right from the start this is more than I have scored in any week of the year so far, in fact I have gone over 350 points only 3 times since start of 2014. So it is very challenging, but as said, it is within reason to go for. To further challenge myself, I want to beat my old weekly record from 2013, and take my record to 500s, so one of the weeks of the challenge has to score 500 points for me to consider the challenge a success.

The Parameters in Short

  • Score 50 points every day (midnight to midnight Thai Time)
  • Starts May 3rd, lasts five weeks until June 5th.
  • One of the weeks has to score at least 500 points.


Completing the challenge successfully, I will buy myself Muay Thai Pads to assist training. If not, I will not buy them for at least 6 months. This is the perfect kind of reward as it is something that I really do wanna get for myself, but don’t necessarily need so I can forego it in case I fail. This gives a real, tangible outcome for my subconscious to motivate me.

Click Publish More

You would be surprised but I actually have a lot of drafts in the works. I mean, I guess that is not too much of a surprise considering I have like 7 unreleased videos from early 2015 still in the works, but the point here is that I don’t press publish enough.

So I am gonna do what Seth Godin tells people to do about shipping more. Which in my case means clicking publish more often. I guess I have been bit of  purist when it comes to the blog, vetting the topics that are good enough etc. bit too hard.

The point of the blog is to be a place to dump my thoughts. A record of my journey. It has not been much of a record lately. It is not supposed to be a perfect resume of writing and life lessons, it is supposed to be bit gnarly and rough around the edges like the life it represents.

So I will click publish more. Post short posts, long stream of consciousness post with no points, and yes, the occasional home run post that actually makes sense as well. At least I hope so.

Time to abandon the perfectionism in any case, and ship more! So see ya next time :)

Competitive Spirit

I have always hated losing. I have always known myself to be competitive as well. I know competition brings the best out of me – that is what made me so good at Football, constantly competing with my brother who probably has similar mindset while growing up. Our competitiveness made us soar far above everyone else in that endeavor where I am from. How far above everyone else? Well, in the last game we played, me and my brother teamed up with two others to play against seven of the rest. That is four on seven. Surely we got our asses handed to us?

No way. We absolutely crushed them, the most devastating victory I can remember from the years of playing football in my home village – the final score was 49-8. Both me and my brother scored over 20 goals, the other two people in our team were mere fillers in comparison. So to say competition brings the best out of me would be an understatement to say the least.

I have always known that, but to what extent only dawned me yesterday. You see, my life has been kind of bereft of competition since I have left Finland. I guess the most important competition we have is the eternal me against me battle, but as said, it has always been pitting myself against others that has drawn all the resources out of me.

To what extent I am ready to go to achieve the victory? Well, as I learned yesterday, I want to win so bad I am willing to destroy my health in the process. I will ignore pain, total exhaustion, and drain myself completely just to not lose.

Bangkok is brutally hot at the moment so heading down to the park to practice a little bit footy is always gonna be bit tiring, but still when I am just doing tricks on my own with the ball on my own, it never gets close to being too much for me.

Enter few young guys asking me to play with them. There were three of them, and they looked like they were in their teens. I shrugged and thought why not. Its probably been two years since I played against other people due to my travels and then injuries following.

But the stage was set, 2 on 2 football just for fun – yet even that was enough of a stage for me to not allow myself to lose. I don’t know what it is, maybe it is an ego thing, but on one hand I don’t think so, cause it does not seem like there is no thinking involved in it. It is just that once I enter into competition, I just automatically will do everything to beat the others.

Now if you know anything about 2 on 2 football, it means there is no respite from running cause both sides only have two players. So the draining heat combined with the fact that I have not played regularly in a long time meant I was in for an epic gassing. Early on the game, I rounded off my opponent to slot in an easy goal to the empty goal, but after that sprint I already felt massive amounts of lactic acid in my muscles. If this was me in 2010, just few breaths, little jogging and it would have all cleared up. But this is not peak performance me, this is me slowly recovering from back injury -me that has not done any intensive cardio that induces such massive lactic acid build-up in years.

Yet, there was that competitive spirit that would not allow me to quit. Sure, I stopped running all the time and just gasped for breath, but if there was a hope of goal, hope of getting the ball, any glimpse of opportunity – it would be full sprint again. We were playing on the pavement, yet that did not stop me from throwing myself onto the ground in attempt to block a goal bound shot. Adrenaline made sure I did not feel the pain.

I am not writing this to brag about myself. It is more that yesterday was awakening of something that has been missing from my life for a long time. In the end there is not even anything to brag, for after my easily slotted opening goal, we conceded three goals and lost the match. I am not even sure if anyone else was counting them, but for me it has always mattered. Is it an ego thing? I don’t know. All I know is that it matters to me, and win or lose it makes me feel alive. I strive to compete, and I thrive in competition.

I heard a whistle, I did not know what it meant but the kids left. For once I did not lament losing too much, for chasing the win would have probably killed me. I was more relieved that the match ending would allow my pride to rest. I staggered to the stairs where I left my water bottle, took a sip of water and gathered my gear. For the next couple of hours I felt like I was gonna die from the heat. My face was red, and I don’t think it was sunburn (it being gone now and all). Cold shower and couple of hours later I finally started feeling normal again, but not without remembering how much more competition gets out of me. Perhaps too much in this case, when I do not know my limits in the extreme heat and bump up the intensity too much, but nonetheless it was a powerful moment of self-(re)discovery.

Since that moment last night I have been thinking about my competitiveness and relating it to most things I am good at. I love poker, for instance, and while I chose not to pursue that as my main path, it is a competitive thing that made it very natural for me to become competent at it.

I loved competing so much, I even made things like dream recall and lucid dreaming competitive things. I never made writing into such, guess my creativity flowed enough to not needing to compete to get it done – yet now I wonder if I would have gotten even more done if I was competitive about that though.

But I obviously don’t fully know myself yet. This competitive spirit is kind of elusive as well. If I am in direct competition like a football match, obviously it comes out. It also comes out when I am playing video games with my friends. But most of life, I don’t feel competitive. I don’t feel necessary to make more money than my neighbor, or whatever. I don’t feel competitive compared to the average man, or needing to compete in social status and material possessions. That is all intangible for my competitive spirit, and I think for sake of my overall happiness, that is good. As a logical guy, though, seeing how it really drives me to the next level, I start thinking of the applications of this competitiveness, and makes me wonder how to inject more of it into my life.

For instance, my work is already competitive to begin with. I am in direct competition with my teammates, as our quantity and quality of work is compared against each other. Yet, I do not feel the slightest inkling of a competitive spirit in my work, which is why my income has not increased over the years. So what blocks it? The feeling that I cannot beat them? Just not caring about this form of competing? Not knowing who I am against? I know them by name, but I have never personally met any of these people.

As said, usually I also feel competitive when playing video games with my friends. Yet lately even when I play a new game with my friend I have not felt much of a competitive spirit. Perhaps cause I am a beginner in the game and he has some experience, or maybe cause I haven’t quite gotten into it, but once again the competitive spirit has been elusive. If I don’t care, I don’t care. But what triggers me to care?

Ultimately I don’t have answers. I wish I had, cause I figure this is something that could change my life for the better. Having seen the power of this mysterious competitive spirit on me, I wish I could just turn it on at will, but it is some kind of subconscious trigger that I am yet to fully understand and manipulate.


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.


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.

Leaning on Others

Over that past 10 months I have recorded a number of videos, but I have been engaged in procrastination of epic proportions – and as a result, these videos are yet to be posted on the blog.

Today’s video has been actually just sitting on Youtube for many months already as a hidden video. It was shot at the start of the current year while I was still in Hsinchu, Taiwan. Let’s check it out>

I am actually glad that I get to look back on lot of these videos, cause my life has changed a lot over the course of last 10 months, and it is like getting a view on my old self that had his own viewpoint that fit into his life situation and then I have my own that is also laced with many months of more experience of living based on those ideas that few months ago were in his head. This is gonna be a recurring theme as I one by one post these old videos up – this whole glut of videos I have already done has made me stop recording new ones and I will not intend to get to that until I have everything out, despite coursing with ideas for new videos.

So with all that intro, let’s talk about what I said on the video.

What strikes me in the video is how absorbed around the events involving me I am at the time of making of the video – looking back now it is easy to make connections to broader ideas.

There is no ill in leaning on others in itself – I think it is healthy to lean on others to certain extent, in fact as a social creature we are bound to do that. Hell, when you go to a restaurant you are dependent of the cooks to prepare the meal for you and for waiters to serve it. But obviously that is not what I mean in the video. I talk more in the context of relationships.

As a person in a relationship, you have to be your own individual first before you can even get started. So when you are just leaning on the other person, adopting her goals, going along with it, it is gonna wear down on the other person ultimately – that is, unless it is in the first place their wish that you just are along for the ride. However most girls do not want that, they want to be the one to be along for the ride with you – to be part of your experience, not you being part of her experience.

Which is why you have to have your own shit handled first on your own. Once you are at that point and you know what you want, then sure, you can start integrating other people in your life. I can lean on my girlfriend to do my laundry and cook for me now, and it creates a mutually beneficial relationship. A good life has lot of people you can lean on, but in the end, you have to be able to stand on your own two feet first, before two people can start propelling each other.

It is really a simple concept in the end, but when you are a young guy figuring shit out, you are bound to get it wrong. Nothing wrong with that while you mature.

I remember in my 3 things learned from 200 days of travel I recommended knowing someone local to show you around. That is form of leaning on the other person too. Am I telling you now to not do it? Contradicting myself? Well to be honest, I am still like that – if I go to a place, I would be better off being shown around by someone. In the end, it all depends from the mindset you are coming from. If it is just someone helping you to reach whatever you want to achieve, go for it. But if you do not even know what you want, even vaguely, it is not gonna be a good experience.

So in the end my overleaning pushed the person on the video away from me, it is something we will dissect more with my next video update, that hopefully will not take too long to put out.

In conclusion, stop leaning on others, be the one others lean on.

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


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 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.

Road to Brisbane Challenge

The sequel to the famed Spiral of Awesomeness ended up miserably prematurely – well, perhaps miserable is wrong word as I did perfectly adhere to it for five days, then it became impossible with Valentine’s Day springing on and me wanting to spend the weekend with my girlfriend. Subsequently I scrapped trying to adhere to the challenge which spiraled me out of control into horrid, unproductive weeks after another. Now its time to change that.

Challengify It!

Know thyself is the old cliche and in my own case, I know that I get the best out of myself when I put myself into clear criteria, like original Spiral of Awesomeness was. However, it all comes back to the old argument of flow vs. rigidity. There’s no exact answer, and we are all on the different parts of the spectrum, depending on our life situation, personality and what we’ve done in the past.

Both Spiral of Awesomeness challenges have quite high degree of rigidity. Perhaps even in my current life situation I could perform well with it had I already gotten used to everything that is part of the routine, but I was once again trying to jump right into the moon as most of those good habits had atrophied prior to the challenge. Yet, even despite this I managed to kickstart everything… for a few days. But over long term these kind of kickstarts rarely work. You obviously need to kickstart to some degree, but too much and it will collapse on its own impossibility. Generally speaking, the faster it goes up, the faster it comes down. Lasting change is built slow.

You can’t go completely with flow either – or again, some people can, but I know myself – I can’t. I need “challenges” to add some rigidity into my days. Key learning from the failed sequel to Spiral of Awesomeness is that I can’t pour too much rigidity into it. Challenge is essentially just having a routine of sorts, I call it a challenge mostly for psychological effect, as a motivational tool.

So key is to drop that part and leave more room for maneuvering. But as said, for me it makes a massive difference to be on a “challenge” with set parameters that I have to fulfill.


Now at the end of the month I will be going to Brisbane, Australia to attend an RSD program. This is a massive investment on my social skills, and I don’t intend to let it dwindle to waste. Combining flight tickets and the program price already goes WAY over my one month’s salary. So I wanna really capitalize on this event to go to the max. I want to “warm-up” to the event with this few weeks I have before heading Down Under.

The more important part of course will be after the event, but I think its crucial to have better habits built up while being in Bangkok prior to the trip as well to take the value up to 11.

So my main focus for the rigid section of my days is being social. I have filed for leave until the end of my Australia trip, so I have absolutely no obligation to work at all (aside needing some money to stay afloat with my expenses, but my expenses in Thailand are extremely low so that’s not a lot). Basically that means my days are at completely blank slate. Ah, free 14 or so hour space of time to fill just as I wish.

Given all the failed rigidity I’ve given myself over the recent months, that freedom feels almost too abundant. So how do I fill it? Spending time with my new girlfriend?

Sort of. I want to be going out at least two hours a day every day without fail. Some days I accept if I just hang out with my girlfriend, but ideally I obviously want to be actually out, under the eyes of people, cause that’s where my sticking points are. At the end of March I want to be used to being out and still being myself.

Rounding it Out

Obviously the challenge can’t be just 2 hours of going out, or it could but I wouldn’t call it a challenge, merely trying to put down a new habit. Since I am all about challengifying everything, it needs to be well-rounded. Obviously, if I had my life together I would just add going out into already well established routine, but it is starting to seem like I will never have a well-established routine so I need to make a challenge that takes into account everything. After all, I still need to make sure I do other stuff as well.

So there’s two other strict daily habits – first is setting a daily goal and completing it. It’s a habit I’m yet to establish and can easily work in conjunction with going out, especially since the goal can be related to going out. Another is 2 hours of daily physical maintenance. Every form of exercise goes into this, as well as stretching, massage, etc.

That’s it. Basically out of that vast space of 14 hours from which I am basically slicing only 4 hours for mandatory daily tasks. Should be much better balance FOR ME in terms of rigidity vs. flow – rest of the day can be used as I wish.

Finally I want to make sure bad habits don’t settle in, but instead of full denial like in Spiral of Awesomeness, I am just going to use my Universal Awesomeness Score – I am not allowed to have daily and weekly scores fall under certain, increasing limits:

Week 1 (Daily – Weekly): 20 – 150

Week 2: 25 – 200

Week 3: 30 – 250

This is only a three week challenge, after that I will set out for Post-Brisbane Challenge, maybe I will come up with some catchy name to it. Anyway point limits will make sure I don’t gather too much negative points from bad habits, or even if I do I round out my activities with stuff that hauls more points. Here also comes another element of principles that work for me – streakify it! If I have a three week streak of going over 20 points every day, I am much less likely to let myself slip up. It’s just an easy psychological leverage I have over myself. I don’t know why things like this even matter to me, but fact is it works so starting to string together good days builds good momentum that will pay huge dividends in the near future.

Thing is, if I am going to achieve the lofty aims I have for my life, I will need to start stepping up much more. During this challenge I will already turn 27, and my youth is already at its dusk. There’s still lot of life left, but the groundwork is starting to be finished, and if there’s something wrong with the foundation, whatever I do later will suffer as well. Time is short, but I have to make haste slowly, for rushing will only lead to more failure.

Any thoughts? Drop a comment.

Spiral of Awesomeness II & Goals for 2015

What’s up? We are over a month into the new year already, so its kinda late to be starting setting goals for the new year. And its kinda not necessary this year, as I already set my longer term goals in an earlier post from last year. However, some of those do need a little recalibration so I am going to touch them briefly, but main point of this post is re-initiation of one of my most successful things that I’ve done on this blog, Spiral of Awesomeness.

For those that don’t know nor care to read the original post, Spiral of Awesomeness was an 8-week challenge I set for myself in 2013 after having first been on 12-week challenge to write 3 hours a day for 4 weeks. Not only did the challenge make me work harder than I ever did before and elevate me into a whole new state of mind, it also indirectly led to me in getting my new job. I was scoring very high in my scoring systems at the time. In short, my life was just very well together at the end of that challenge. It had a grand title, but it truly lived up to it, for that period of my life truly was the spiral of awesomeness. I’m still feeling the ripples of it in my life today.

Feeding More Awesomeness into My Life

There’s kinda the sense though that my life has been a mess for a long long time. I’ve not had my things together like that pretty much at all since the challenge ended. After Spiral of Awesomeness, I got my job which completely threw my life off balance. I couldn’t retain the way of life I had had before that, especially since I’ve capitalized heavily on the nature of my job by traveling extensively.

But now travel is the norm. Working every week for 40 hours is kinda the norm, even if I still struggle to do it well – as said in my numbers post, I really only average about 20 hours of actual work per week, so its obvious I’m lagging far behind on what my actual productivity could be. Accepting these things are really what are the start point of embarking on Spiral of Awesomeness once again.

Cause on the surface it appears that if you read Spiral of Awesomeness today, in many ways I am doing more right now than I ever did on Spiral of Awesomeness. So why did I feel so awesome back then, and so shoddy right now?

Engaging Every Day

Part of it is habitual, cause Spiral of Awesomeness was a daily challenge. You had to engage every day. Every day you’d have to sit down and push through the resistance with 3 hours of writing. You always had to earn your keep.

What now instead happens is I kinda go with the flow and dilly-dally around too much, then are forced to engage on massive 10-hour work marathons, scrambling to make it to my weekly required hours. That’s not how I want my life to be. Not only it is stressful, it also takes a lot away from the quality of my work. What if I were to engage for 3 hours every day of the week with my work? I’d actually match my 20 hours of work a week I am currently doing. If I was actually focused and did it every day, even for just 3 hours a day, I’d almost certainly increase my overall output.

Life is built of habits, and I’ve let a lot of good habits crumble. What Spiral of Awesomeness is essentially is a challenge to make sure you retain your habits – all of them, or else its a failure.

You might remember that I actually failed my original challenge. Still it gave me massive momentum and motivation to keep those habits up.

Spiral of Awesomeness II

I can’t do the challenge in its exact, original form. Or I could – but I don’t want to. Frankly it would be too difficult right now to do in its original form. Despite having had my job for over a year, because I’ve not taken it upon me to build proper work habits, its still too straining for my willpower to complete 3 hours of writing / the path and still manage my 40 hours of work a week well. So instead, the sequel of Spiral of Awesomeness will revolve around work, and getting the basic things in ones life working right.

However, one thing that has saddened me in my life of late is that I’ve completely neglected some things of it, like writing. I want to get back on the stride with it, so that will be part of the new form of challenge. There will be also weekly goals to give more sense of purpose to actions that are taken. Let’s not waste further time on explanations, I’ll go through all the different parts of the revised challenge now:

The Work 4 hours

The simplest part of the challenge, just have to put the hours in every day – note this is measuring the time I spent engaging, not the time that my work timer is running. I would guess it takes at least five hours every day to reach this four hour mark daily – some days it might take up to 10 hours.

Writing 1000 words a day / 1 one story a week

I’ve been writing 750 words a day since forever, but now I’m gonna bump it up to thousand. Furthermore, to keep myself from just aimlessly writing descriptions or continuous stream of consciousness like I often do, I am going to set my mind to put out a short story every week – out of 7000 words I write every week, one decent short story should be reasonable to expect.

Working Out at least an hour

In my old challenge I only demanded myself 20 minutes, but nowadays I know that’s just going to lead to stagnation. I have to put the time in, that’s the only way to really take care of your body.

Stretching 30 minutes

I actually wasn’t intending to put this back in, but just now that I read through the original challenge I decided to drop it back in. Why? Cause stretching is not only a break for the mind, it especially is very good for MY body. As much as I’ve started the neglect this part of my old routine, its just made my body to be more and more dysfunctional over time. I need this half an hour, my lifestyle is too sedentary to go without it.

Meditation 20 minutes

Another thing I was kinda on edge if I really wanna do it, but whatever, lets go with it. I’ve never been able to maintain this habit, and I’m unsure if I’ve ever seen any benefits myself, but I am gonna give it one more shot – if I could even sustain it for 2 months in a row, I’d have much fairer opinion of it.

Reading 1 hour + complete a book per week

I heard average CEO reads a 50 books a year so it makes it about a book a week. Even if my record is 14 books a year I’m gonna set that ambitious goal and try to keep feeding my brain with good information. It might indeed take more than the mandatory hour of reading to complete a book per week… This was just an additional goal in original Spiral of Awesomeness, now I’m going to make it a mandatory part of it.

Going out complete a social challenge

As final point of this new challenge I’m gonna add going out regularly to cover all the bases in my Universal Awesomeness Score categorizations – I want to make sure I don’t have any negative marks left on the daily scores. The social challenge I complete my time out will vary and increase in difficulty as time passes on – important thing is that it’s more willpower taxing than time-consuming, for time is not something I have a lot.

Setting a goal for the next day

Another one of my continuous life failures is that I’ve still not mastered this habit. Setting a goal for the next day before you head to sleep is OBVIOUSLY massively valuable habit. I gotta get this down.

Three meals

I know what you are thinking, this should not even make it to a challenge like that. What’s the point, everyone does it anyway? Well, not me. I’m a mess when it comes to basic things in life. That’s one of the bizarre complexities of my personality. I’m advanced on some facets of life, have very deep, well-thought out opinions and views, but on the other end stay skinny cause I constantly skip meals. This challenge takes time, so to not start skipping meals to make more time, I have to include having 3 meals a day as a point in challenge. Failing this will need to fail the whole challenge, otherwise I simply will let it slip at some point.

The Part About “Stop Doing These”

I am going to stop all the same bad habits as last time around, with the exception of drinking only water, I want to keep as much calories going as possible this time around so while I will surely drink plenty of water, I will drink other stuff too. Also, music is okay too this time around.

So there you go, whole challenge that is Spiral of Awesomeness II. Hope it goes well!

Gradual Start

Of course, I won’t jump into the whole challenge right away – I’ll have a transitional week first where I’ll only do work, writing, meditation and reading. “Bad” habits are still allowed for this week as this is only final preparation for the “real deal”.

The Challenge officially begins on February 9th.

Now of course the question is, what about the rewards? Those were the key component that made my original challenge work – just that little bit of extra motivation to keep you going on the lazy moments.


Preliminary 3 weeks: Completing this with flaws won’t ruin the whole challenge, but if I do succeed, I’ll reward myself with… something personal haha.

Week 1 – I’ll allow myself to post on Facebook again – if I fail, I’ll delete my Facebook.

Week 4 – Another Hong Kong trip (if I fail, I just go to somewhere else)

Week 8 – full completion – Skydiving & Lake Taupo Bungy in New Zealand

So length-wise this will be similar to original challenge,  8 weeks of main challenge. It’s difficult to complete and I think the reward matches that difficulty.

I also allow myself 3 times of missing some habit – simply because challenge is so hard, I don’t want it to fail just cause I eat only two meals one day for instance, or maybe forget to meditate. So I can make 3 mistakes, and only at fourth one the challenge actually is broken. I think that’s fair considering challenge is harder this time around, and also gives a little bit room for maneuvering. It’s still enough to keep you honest so that the only time habit is missed is when there’s absolutely no time or it’s simply forgotten.

I really struggled to find a compelling week 1 goal but then when it came it really clicked perfectly into place – Ever since I got a Facebook account I’ve been slowly getting sucked into there more and more, but its not actually necessary. I’d feel bad to have to delete my FB but if things come down to that,  I still can do it, so it works perfectly as a reward/potential punishment for failure. And pending I succeed and won’t have to lose the account, it works as easy template goal to set for start of future challenges.

Now that the Spiral of Awesomeness II is all set up, lets have a look at the goals for the ongoing year.

Goals for 2015

As established in my 18-month goal post, I already have a set of goals I’m working towards in the midterm – the end point of the 18-month period followed there is February 2016, so this basically is year from now. I set the following physical goals 6 months ago.

Physical Goals

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

Let’s look at the progress made so far in each of these, then revise if needed

Gain weight until 85 kg

Well I’ve dropped weight or stayed about the same over 6 months. I think its impossible to expect me to make it all the way to that target, but its doable to get to 80kg if I improve my habits and work hard. So let’s revise this just to 80kg

Run 3000m in 12-minute test

The good thing about cardio is that I have strong base and its pretty quick to train. 3000m in 12 minutes is very reachable from even mediocre shape in just less than 6 months of training. Even if I’ve not really gotten in any better shape, this is still very reachable goal.

Deadlift 140 kg

I’ve not done any deadlift in a good while, so its hard to say where I stand. However given how beginner I am still with this move, I don’t think its impossible to achieve as long as I put any training in to do it.

Bench press 85 kg

Again, not doing any specific bench press work – my life really changed in terms of me not being able to regularly do weight training. I am working on my upper body and getting stronger, so I’d predict there’s hope to achieve this goal even without much specialized training. No revision here.

Freestanding handstand

Not practicing much, but I’m actually doing good progress on this. Able to do headstand for as long as I like pretty much, also able to hold a crow stand. I think its very reachable goal over next 12 months.

Record in chin-ups

There’s hope for this, but I’ve not once again trained enough. I need to up my training to have any chance. Still doesn’t merit a revision.

Last two goals are more general and vague, so I won’t go through them, they will stand as wanted.

Work Goals

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

No progress in this one. That said, I don’t see any need for revising, targeting more income is always a good goal and I think its also very reachable amount.

Get one raise over next 18 months

Well even though only 6 months has passed, is basically been two review periods without raises so I think I need to improve a lot soon to reach this goal. But I think its still doable so no changes.

Add oDesk work

As seen above, I scrapped this goal completely. Frankly I don’t want to target this. If I do wanna do extra work, I wanna pour it into my own projects, not into working more for other masters.

SEO Site

This has actually taken steps back. I had hacker put phishing page into my site so the rankings took a heavy hit, of course not updating it in a while didn’t help either. It’s a shame cause there’s still potential, and I do believe this can be improved and goal ultimately reached – I just dont know how I am going to have time for all of this.

Start reading 2 hours a day every day

Given this is more of a habit thing I guess this might be done at any point, I am definitely reading more now that few weeks ago, the process has only started though.

Social Goals

  • Approach people when abroad and get used to talking to strangers
  • 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.
  • Learn Portuguese at least to such extent you can have basic conversations.
  • Retain your freedom by not committing into anything yet.
  • Become calmer, kinder, less judgmental – generally just keep ironing out the personality flaws.
  • Get a social circle of friends wherever my journey takes me next. Retain and deepen the existing friendships.
Approach people

This is something that has to become one of the main goals of the year, one that I’ve definitely not done enough progress on. It’s just matter of willpower and getting the habit going.

More expression

Despite failure in the first one, this second one is already showing significant improvement. While I might be still a bit scared to offend some people, I’m getting better all the time, just cutting layers of pretense of my personality all the time.

Learn Portuguese

Well this whole staying in Thailand thing kinda threw me off this goal, I know very basic stuff only. Should this be on the backburner and should I be focusing on learning Thai/Asian languages? I think yes, but I don’t have to completely drop it anyway. Maybe by next February I’ll be in Brazil anyway.

Retain freedom

I had honestly forgotten I had this goal, haha. And I was honestly considering to let go of at least some of my freedom. But let’s keep this, for this is actually very good and self-aware goal. I need freedom right now, it’s deeply tied with my other goals and living situation, and the phase in my life.

Becoming calmed & kinder

I’m doing good progress on this one, I think. A girl recently told me “oh I’m so polite” which is ironically exactly the opposite of what the previous girl said. Shows that pain and failure is a good catalyst for growth.

Get a social circle

Trying to make progress on this but honestly not so good so far, I’m struggling to retain the relationships I build. Still, it’s a good goal.

In Conclusion

So yeah, these goals didn’t need that much ironing out in the end. They are all very doable goals. Combined with Spiral of Awesomeness, I have a good idea of where I’m headed at over the coming 12 months. If I achieve even half the goals set here, I will be happy – the most important goals for me to achieve are the social goals, then physical goals come secondary to it. Work goals are actually the least important for me right now, but obviously all of it is important.

Spiral of Awesomeness has in it built enough time for everything, to make progress towards all of those goals. After the 8 weeks is gone, my life should look very different already than it looks now. This is really only the launchpad to the next level – most fuel is burned escaping the gravity of the old life, and once you’re at the orbit, you’re kinda just floating around, doing corrections but not having to expend so much effort any more. That will be the next level shit.

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