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Courage and Fear in Modern Society

It’s time for the long-awaited bungy jumping video, and some other reflections related to it. This time I don’t have much of an intro, I think I nailed the video this time even though technically it’s not done well (the speaking part was just shot using a phone and holding it in hand – the bungy itself is HD shot with multiple cameras by AJ Hackett). I think I did a good job communicating my message anyway.

So check the video out:

As for the “tomorrow’s video”, well it never got made – by the time I was in Malaysia I had gotten reaally sick. Way too sick to be sleeping on the station floors or walking around KL with 10 kg backpack. Thankfully my ex loaded me up with enough drugs to take out an elephant so I held over for the nearly 24 hour transit back home. Not fun to be sick while travelling, but then again would there be a better timing for it anyway?

But enough about KL, let’s go back for a moment to that moment in Macau. I step on the edge and look down. It has been a long wait to get there. I was early at the tower in comparison to the jump time. I had just sit for a long time with the crowd of people staring at me, along with the other few guys and a girl that were lining up to jump down.  Thinking of what mess I had gotten myself into. I felt like I did a good job maintaining outward calm, but my bubble had been bursted when one of the guys of the staff came to get me. “Why you so serious man? You scared?”

Whether I had been scared or not then was irrelevant now that I had stepped to the edge. Cause this was being scared. This was being fucking scared. I look down into the drop of over 700 feet and all the blood tries to escape my body, as if not wanting anything to do with it. Complete numbness overwhelms my insides as my reptilian brain screams at me. “Take a step back. TAKE A STEP THE FUCK BACK.”

You can hardly blame it. It doesn’t realize I’m all strapped up and a rope will stop my fall. It merely wants to preserve my life.

I briefly blame my mom for not stopping me getting these stupid ideas before the countdown starts. I am in position to jump. Five, four, three, two, one. I gotta say it is pretty savvy, the way they send you out. The loud countdown gives you just enough social pressure to do it. To nudge you through the fear. I didn’t really jump right by leaning forward as you are supposed, I was so stiff with fear I merely dropped down. It didn’t matter, gravity handled the rest.

As for the jump itself, the moment I was off the edge all the fear subsided cause there was no room for it any more. Just a few second of intense consciousness as my body raced towards ground. The rope stopping my descent didn’t really feel bad. You would imagine it is abrupt, but it felt smooth enough to me. But then again I was falling fast so what’s smooth in those speeds anyway?

I didn’t let out a sound the whole way. After saying goodbye on the edge (you can’t hear the things I say cause I muted the video so that the background music they put didn’t clash with my own background music – you didn’t miss much aside me saying awkwardly “awesome”, the goodbye before the jump and the countdown) I was just quiet the whole time until at some point I just put all the emotions concisely into one sentence “Holy shit…” while hanging from the rope.

Would I do it again? Sure, I would do it. But don’t mistake that I think I did something brave that matters. I did something brave that gives me an adrenaline rush and empowers me – the brave things that change life for myself and for others are different. In many ways, they take more courage anyway than dropping down from a ledge, and they need that more courage applied repeatedly, day in, day out.

Thanks for tuning in this week, drop me a comment and let me know what you thought!

The Full Scale of Human Experience

Let’s start with an update regarding my trip. I had some messed up stuff happen with my monies and as an end result, I will have to return to Finland instead of staying in Malaysia after my HK trip ends. I bought some match tickets for Brazil already which put my finances to a stretch, and the kicker is that now I even won’t get the tickets, the money is just temporarily off my account. Needless to say, it was not fun to run out of money during my Macau excursion. Oh well, lesson learned in keeping a buffer of money always available. Now with the boring shit off my chest, let’s delve into the post itself.

As my above paragraph states, my journey is coming to its abrupt and unplanned end. Lessons have been learned aplenty but reflecting back on past nearly a month, all I can say is that I’ve experienced nearly everything there is. From the low points to extreme highs, I’d go as far as to say it’s been the month of my life so far.

Is that an overt statement? I can’t say for sure. Perhaps it is just silly mental masturbation to think about such notions as “best month/year/any period of time of my life” but I like to do that. So far I’ve called my first month in Malaysia the best of my life and it was indeed a huge turning point for me. It was challenging for that kid who suffered from crippling shyness, yet it was filled with happy memories and gratitude for the experience, with very few lows.

Now? Well, as I’ve said here on the blog already in a passing mention, I broke up with my gf ahead of the trip. Anyone who’s been following me for a period of time knows that would be a big deal to me. I invested a lot of effort into making it work, literally hauling my ass to the other side of the world to make it happen. It wasn’t going to be though, and the repercussions were of that magnitude. Being in the environment where I have got myself just for the relationship just rubbed its failure into my face further.

So the first half of the month was spent in a blurry state of mostly depression, with few glimmers of feeling better. What about Hong Kong? Well I have to say Hong Kong has definitely its rough edges, but my experience here has been extremely positive. Indeed to such extent I am feeling like coming back after my Brazil trip gets sorted out and over with (I make an adventure of a lifetime sound like a chore).

If Malaysia 2012 was more of an even line of positive emotions upwards accumulating into a great month, Malaysia/Hong Kong of 2014 has been more of a extreme up and down thrill ride. Which one will I prefer? Well my heart would probably prefer the former, but honestly, give me the thrill ride.

That’s where the best memories are made, after all. The intense lows will just turn into powerful memories in time and intense highs… Well even more powerful memories, not to mention they feel incredible when you experience them.

The Full Scale of Human Experience

What it all boils down to is experiencing all that there is and experiencing to the maximum. I won’t shy away from intense sadness, I won’t shy away from intense pain, and I most certainly won’t shy away from intense joy. But to get joy, pleasure, passion, whatever, you will have to put yourself vulnerable to the intense negative aspects as well. I’ve had very stressed moments during this trip, I’ve had sad moments, but in just few days or moments that can all change into even a surreal level of bliss.

In the end it is all about experiencing the full scale. It’s from the emotional spikes that the strongest memories are made of, not just even bliss of everything going smoothly from start to finish. I talked about this in the past as well.

So now that we have established that you want to go for the full scale, how do you do it? Simple, put yourself at risk, go for too big goals that inevitably draw out the mistakes of you. Have zero fear or hesitation to commit to your courses of action. Get emotionally invested.  Things will fail and you will get sad. Things will succeed and you will feel happy. Regardless you will experience intense events, stuff that you won’t even believe that could happen to you. You will wake up asking yourself what is happening to your life. On some mornings in a positive sense, and on some mornings in a negative sense.

It is all just sides of the same coin. So when I cry for sadness I don’t resist the emotion at all (except if I’m in front of people – I like to grief in privacy), similarly I attempt to let the joy of good things take me over when it comes to take me. I’m not saying I’m perfect at this either, but the more you open yourself up to the full scale of human experience, the more incredible your life will be.

Bad shit happening won’t make your life any worse. You need to understand that. What it will do is harden you for the future trials and give you great stories to tell in the future.

Hope that made sense – do share your thoughts in the comments. I’m too tired to keep writing now – see you next week!

Also, yes, I made the bungy jump as intended in Macau. I’m not gonna talk about it now though – next week will be all about it.

Emotional Leverage

Okay, so I’ve talked about small-stepping your way into new habits, I’ve talked about how you have to take the right action amidst the chaos of life, mentioning also that we already know what to do – it’s just doing it that matters. So today I’m going to talk about the final piece of the puzzle, emotional leverage.

You need to actually get an emotional leverage on yourself to actually chance, to actually grow and to actually make yourself a success. For I can talk about challenges and small-stepping my way into good habits all I want, but if I don’t have the emotional leverage I just am not going to stick to it. Emotional leverage often times is anchored in pain – you just feel so bad that you are prepared to go through some other kind of discomfort just to change it. But it might be just being drawn to something so much that you just do anything to get it.

But the absolutely worst place to be is in a good situation. That’s where I am now. I am feeling alright. I’m not having very powerful urge to change even though I know I need to take action still in many parts of my life. Especially on the becoming social part. I mean sure, everything is alright and I can be happy as things stand, but I am not where I ultimately want to be – I’m sure many can relate with the feeling. There’s nothing bad in where you are, and the rewards of putting in the work on your endeavors don’t seem that tempting, so you just don’t take any action.

Just having a blogpost for goals of that year isn’t enough in itself to drive you on. There needs to be drive, the burning desire to make something happen.

That’s the final frontier. Mastering your mind to the extent that you can manufacture that desire for any goal you might have.

I can’t say I can do it. This blog is littered with failed challenges, that often times fail because I didn’t manage to get an emotional leverage on myself. There’s other reasons to it, of course, but that’s one primary one. The times I have managed to get that emotional leverage on myself don’t often even make sense to me.

As said, the emotional leverage always comes from reward or punishment. That’s why if your life is shit, that can trigger you to take heavy action, as the pain of the present continuing is a bad enough prospect to get you moving. But nowadays, for most people, life is just comfortable. It’s not bad and even if your dreams are day by day slowly dying, there’s hardly any pain, just the feeling of mediocrity.

Your survival instincts won’t care if you succeed, they won’t care if you reach your dreams. They won’t care about anything but minimizing the output and maximizing the input. That’s why getting that leverage on yourself when everything is comfortable is so hard.

I know I’m rambling. Really I don’t have any easy answer to how to achieve the emotional leverage when life is just comfortable and your primal mind doesn’t want anything to change. That’s the way for the status quo to remain. My mind right now is in a weird haze that’s resulted from combination of lack of sleep, lack of good food (I have really hard time eating healthy while traveling) and some other debauchery that is something I’m not going to get very detailed about.

If I have to conclude this post somehow I’m going to say this: All of my latest topics work in conjunction. Yet, there has to be emotional leverage, and the more you have it the more you can change at once, but in the end the change is going to be gradual, in other words you will have to small-step your way into it and keep on the process continuously when life throws shit in your face. For small changes you won’t need that much emotional leverage. For instance, how much effort it really takes to start drinking more water? Not really much at all. But starting to talk to strangers on the street when all your life you’ve been anti-social? That’s gonna take a bit more of that leverage.

Some people are blessed in not needing to make big changes in life to become a success. I’m not one of them. I’d be inclined to think anyone reading this blog regularly isn’t that kind of person either. We usually have big enough flaws that take major action and big changes to turn around.

The key thing is that every moment you are either growing tiny bit, or dying tiny bit. The expression of this inner change to your life might be very abrupt, but the inner change itself happens very slowly, by taking the right actions over a long period of time. An example of this is my own income – it jumped up quite quickly, but the process that led to this jump took me couple of years of hard slow work. If I don’t keep up the same work, the same inner traits that enabled the higher income for me will dwindle down and then I might lose it in as abrupt moment – that’s just how it works.

Maybe in the end it is about finding that small emotional leverage in you from moment to moment to do the slightly uncomfortable thing all the time, to move against that flinch, instead of having such pain or deep burning passion for something that makes you completely rehaul your life.

Both things obviously can and will happen, but it is the small actions that are more sustainable.

It’s a battle within yourself – it’s the old adage of you being your own worst enemy, and no one else.

Now, I’m gonna leave you with homework to check this classic post of Julien Smith. I’m going to reread it like fifth time myself.

Drop a comment below!

Small-Stepping Your Way into New Habits

Here’s a brief update on my challenge: It’s over before it really started. I realized quickly it’s way too much for me. Which brings me to today’s post, which is basically the lesson I got out of the experience – which is basically small-stepping it when it comes to forming new habits.

You Can’t Jump to the Moon

I have a feeling I’ve said that before. I have a feeling I might have used that analogy before. Whatever. If I sound like a broken record it is because I keep coming back to the same basic lessons.

Encouraged by the success of Spiral of Awesomeness, I set forth to chew a piece a bit too big for my mouth – the Super Cyclone of Awesomeness. Aside the cool name was a difficult challenge even if I had done all of the habits of it before – as it leaves very little time for dilly-dallying around. So say like if I get a lost and wander around for an hour, I’ve already screwed up basically.

I’m not saying that the new challenge is impossible – that’s be a lame excuse. But I can’t just jump into it like Spiral of Awesomeness. The difference is that in Spiral of Awesomeness none of the habits were completely new to me – I just had not done all of it concurrently for an extended period of time before. In Super Cyclone of Awesomeness there was a lot of separate pieces that would take a lot of willpower in themselves. For instance, I’ve worked a lot of five hour work days, but doing that every day doesn’t come completely automatically. Highest willpower thing for me is naturally talking to people which doesn’t come naturally at all. In fact within the habit itself it is gonna take time to build up to the five approaches a day.

Let alone grouping all of this new stuff into the same challenge while figuring out being in a foreign country and recovering from a pretty devastating break-up (yes, I had that happen to me as well)? It’s simply gonna be too much.

Repeating Spiral of Awesomeness

Only way it’s going to happen is mastering things one at a time – it always comes full circle back to this. That is why I’m now mostly focused on mastering the five hours of work a day habit – That will be my main focus, while retaining workout, stretching and writing habits I’ve already reinstated. As for rest of challenge’s different components, I will do them as I can, but right now I will focus on just starting to string those five hour work days together while travelling.

Realistic schedule looks something like that:

5 hours a work 30-day challenge Jan 20th – Feb 20th

4-week challenge of reading at least 5 hours a week Feb 17th – March 16th

30-day challenge of daily mediation March 17th – April 17th

30-day challenge of approaching 5 people daily April 18th – May 18th

I didn’t check the dates if its perfectly like that, but that’s the general idea. At the end of it I might not still be concurrently doing all the habits, but at least my life would look lot closer to the challenge and taking it on wouldn’t be too much for me.

Just Building Up into It Takes Time

Once I have all the habits rolling it will take some time for my life for completely change, but it will certainly change if I keep at it. However, just building up into so that the processes come from the spine will take time. Even after I complete the challenge in the unforeseeable future I will still probably keep dropping off the habits, sometimes consciously, sometimes accidentally.

It’s over a long period of time that these things really ingrain themselves. Even if you could adopt habits instantly, you’d still need time to see full results. Life is a patient man’s game.

Not surprised to see me crash and burn in my challenge? Tell me in the comments.

I am heading out to Hong Kong next – I will shoot a video in Kuala Lumpur as well at some point, but not until I come back. 

Handle The Chaos & Succeed in Life

I’ve been in Malaysia now a few days and certain things have glaringly slapped my face already – I’ve for instance had to postpone my challenge simply to handle the logistics here first. However now today I’m gonna finally get underway with my challenge. As for this week’s post, I’m gonna talk about that experience and how it relates to succeeding in life.

When Chaos Smashes Against Your Face

I think the video is solid enough though some elaboration through text is in order. Given I have purple shirt on I can’t really complain. :)

So what does the chaos mean? Well I refer it to anything unfamiliar or random that turns up. Back home the level of chaos for me is very low, and probably for most people their regular day-to-day life is low on chaos. But when you start venturing out of your comfort zone and striving towards something better than where you are at right now, that’s where you are going to start being faced with chaos and increasing levels of it.

Why is handling it well so key for success? Well I guess you could achieve considerable success on certain areas of life even without facing up to the chaos, but to really go to the top at any area of life you just have to learn to deal with it. The better you deal with chaos, the better you are able to just keep on your path when life bounces you around.

The best of us just keep bulldozing on in those situations.

Anyone Can Learn It

The beauty of it is that through challenging yourself this metaskill to all skills really can be learnt. My favorite way to do it is travel, which of course is beneficial in many other ways as well, like opening up your mind into alternative ways of life, expanding your horizons and making you see all that is out there in the world.

We all start at a some level. For some people, just waking up at a wrong time of the morning is enough chaos to throw us off completely. For most of course the level is higher. Whatever it is, the way to deal with it is to face the chaos and put yourself constantly to the test. In the end, chaos is all there is. Nothing is permanent, no life situation. That is why being ready and able to deal with shifting horizons is such a key skill in life – even if you try your best to avoid it, it is unavoidable. Life is constantly changing, life is a constant chaos, and it’s always going towards more entropy.

Did any of that make any sense at all? Let me know in the comments!

Speaking of chaos, I’ve decided to scale down my challenge – 100 approaches a week from zero is quite a bit, so I’ve decided to drop it to fifty per week. 

Super Cyclone of Awesomeness™

I had a proper post planned for today, however the videos I had made in Sweden were horrible – not so much for the content, but I had decided to shoot them with my phone and without a mic – big mistake. The sound quality was simply too low to even consider posting it up. So instead let’s formulate a challenge that gives me a big push towards my year’s goals.

If Spiral of Awesomeness helped my life to a whole new level, this should take it even a notch further. You could think of it as Spiral of Awesomeness: The Advanced Version.

The general idea of the challenge is still the same – complete certain things every day for a certain period of time. How long this time? Well, I think going for until end of April is a nice goal. So this is going to be a reaaaally long challenge.

The difficulty level is also taken up a notch for every day. Thankfully I now have other leverages too to keep me pushing forward on some of the things as opposed to just this challenge.

The Challenge

So let’s get straight to it – the general format is familiar to everyone who has been reading my posts in the past, especially the previous challenge. As said, the composition of the challenge is a bit different this time.

My yearly primary goal

No further comment needed, everything is in that post.


Work At least 5 hours a day

So that means no off days for me until the end of April! Of course “Work” is a very general term – on the last challenge there was very distinctly defined “The Path” activity. This time any kind of productive output will do, but the quantity will need to be upped as well. Given I have to work 40 hours a week at least simply to sustain myself this shouldn’t be that hard – it is merely consistency that I am looking for. Five hours a day isn’t a too tall order, and as far as off days go, I can work some other stuff on other days. Working on other projects often is like a vacation to your mind.

The Path - At least an hour a day. 

Note that The Path activity still counts into the five hour work total. I haven’t forgotten the Path here either but frankly right now I can’t quite commit three hours to it. Still keeping up with the practice for an hour a day will mean that progress will be made. The definition of the Path is still the same as in Spiral of Awesomeness – Something you are striving for mastery in, the thing where you are looking to take yourself as far as you can go. For me it is writing, though I’ve widened the scope to creative endeavours in general, so even this blog counts for that score nowadays.

Working Out - Warm up + 20 minutes, breaking a sweat, out of breath

Very simple definition for the simple thing that I’ve so far been keeping up with relative ease. There’s not much more things that are as valuable as exercise is, so this is a no-brainer to include here.

Stretching - 30 minutes

Another very simple one. For others maybe overkill, for me simply a necessity.

Meditation 20 minutes

I really need to get this habit down – now that I’m getting more and more busier in life, my mind is getting more scattered as well – it really needs this moment to slow down and gather the focus.

Reading - 5 hours a week

My goal for the whole year is to reach 10 hours a week pace, but I have to small step towards it. Five hours with all the other commitments is hard enough as is.

Planning the next day at the end of last

This is one million dollar habit that I really should get down. At least jot down one primary objective for tomorrow as well as three secondary ones. Of course this challenge will make planning the days easier as well since it’s the same stuff I will be doing all the time anyway – but having this habit down would stand a good stead for me in the future.

Only water allowed as a drink – except during meals

I’m not going to go as nazi as last time for I need calories to reach my weight goal, but I at least will drink up water outside of meals. My water drinking habit has really dropped since its best days.

I am going to leave the challenge to this. I don’t want to overwhelm myself. Some might remember cold showers from old challenge, but as things stand, if I’m going to be in Malaysia, there won’t be any cold showers. As for nofap, that’s starting get more natural to me but nowadays I go more on the moderation route.

Finally I will be setting three strikes rule – instead of the whole challenge failing from one missed thing like last time around, I allow myself three strikes. Say if I narrowly miss my work goal one day, as long as I still complete the rest of the stuff, that’s one strike. As long as I only miss one part of the challenge, it only counts as one of the three strikes. However if I miss two things in same day that will still be failure of the challenge. I just want to make sure that putting my best effort in still keeps me in the challenge even if I miss something. Still, I only can fail twice before third one ruins the challenge – so it’s still hard.


As always, there needs to be enough at stake for one to trudge through the challenge. So I will set couple intermediate goals and appropriate rewards for them.

Two weeks

Reward: Return to Finland once the full challenge is finished.

This one is a big one for me, I will probably be tired of being abroad by end of April. So it should give me the leverage to keep going those hardest first couple of weeks. Failing would be a huge punishment on the other hand, cause I really like being back home in Summer, at least generally speaking. If I fail, I will just do my Brazil travel straight from Malaysia and then return to Malaysia from Brazil. That is, if I choose to stay in Malaysia – everything is hanging up in the air now. In any case I’d remain out of Finland at least until next Christmas.

End of January

Reward: Upload a video of Macau Sky Jump to blog

Nearly a full month completed. I will be at Hong Kong at this time, so pending a successful completion of the challenge thus far, I get to show off me doing the Macau Tower Sky Jump everywhere. I will do it regardless but if I have failed to get this far, I won’t deserve to be a showoff about it. Very mild and subtle reward/punishment but one that works to the petty part of the mind and gives a little bit of fuel on those hard moments.

End of February

Reward: Bungee Jumping

I’ve made it to pretty much the halfway of the challenge. By now doing another bungee jump in Malaysia is a mild goal since the Macau Sky Jump dwarves most things I could do, but its still enough to excite me on those hard moments and to add another peak experience to my life.

Completing the whole challenge

Reward: Buy official World Cup Ball + Get autographs

The elusive finish line has been passed after a lot of struggle. It’s time for a well-earned break back home before adventuring to Brazil. Wouldn’t this be enough of a reward in itself? Well sure, but if I succeed all the way I will allow myself to get the obscenely expensive official ball and go to hunt for some autographs on it – then give it to my mom. She’d totally like something like that. :)

Sure, it appears more hassle than a reward but I think I’d be excited to do it. It’d be a funny little side excursion.

The Challenge will start on 9th – the first full day I have in Malaysia. Of course the weekly approach and reading targets won’t be valid yet cause it’s midweek start, but all the daily targets already apply.

That’s this weeks post – exciting but hard spring ahead, lot of work, lot of pushing myself and probably lot of sleepless nights as well… I don’t know where life is taking me…

What do you think of Super Cyclone of Awesomeness Challenge? Hit me up with a comment.

Goals for 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

One Main Focus

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

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

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

Main Goal of 2014: Becoming Social

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting Up Rest of My Life Around This Goal

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

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

Secondary Goals

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

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

Let’s go through these goals in better detail.

Traveling to Brazil

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

Working 6 hours per day

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

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

Gaining weight until I reach 90 kg

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

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

 Using my own book to improve my nutrition

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

Writing at least one story per week

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

Visit at least two new countries besides Brazil

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

Start reading at least ten hours a week

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

Wrapping It All Up

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

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

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

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

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

Looking Back at 2013

Digesting year 2013 will take more than just a few words – be prepared for over three thousand word feast of recapping the year.

Some things never seem to change, one of those is me slumping in my productivity at the end of the year – I’ve not been thrown off whack quite as badly as I did at the end of the 2012, but still holiday season seems to adversely affect my ability and willingness to work.

I have not been exactly just taking it easy either this year. I have not even had time to think. This time, perhaps, it has not been all my fault that I have been distracted. Life has thrown some curveballs at me just these last couple of weeks and thus I don’t really know what I am doing right now, once again. But time to write about that stuff will be when I have figured it out, now I’m merely going to retain an air of secrecy.

In many ways 2013 was moving along the same continuum as 2012 – my life transforming towards something it has not previously been. The transformation can be completed once 2014 rolls around and the beautiful butterfly is ready emerge – if I just follow through and let it emerge. I managed to double the amount of countries visited this with the Japan trip early on combined with the short trip to Sweden. The Japan trip is one I’m still very proud of. It was a lesson in discovering my own limits – or rather realizing there was still ways to go to reach them. Japan trip makes up a good chunk of my posts last year as I was posting up every day.

The latter trip of 2013 was visiting Lapland and Sweden which I didn’t do posts about, but that were still decent experiences. I did grow a lot of out of those experiences as well, but that trip admittedly was more like a vacation than either Japan or Malaysia in the past have been.

On the more professional front, I was fully emerged in being process oriented, building up habits and letting them go. I didn’t have much consistent focus in the end during the year, thus similar achievements like completing my book last year didn’t emerge. I just rather had aimless habits – but they are not completely worthless anyway.

I did manage to create a body of creative work on my fiction writing channel, that I am not going to share here. In any case it is on a foundation now from which it is good for me to build on.

Despite me not completing my personal projects, the main achievement obviously was my income soaring. I still don’t really have any passive income, which kinda sucks but nonetheless I already have location independence achieved through my means of active  income. That is perhaps the biggest and most important transitive achievement of the year. It sets me up for a 2014 where I could be anywhere in the world I please.

Goals I Set For 2013

Last year I set my goals publicly on this blog and I went for a very simple form of goalsetting this time. I only set three goals for the whole year, which ended up, in hindsight, to be a bit too little. Here are the goals with my comments on how well I pulled it off:

  • Establish a writing habit of 3 hours a day, every day. SUCCESS

I might not have kept this habit in the end as rest of my life overwhelmed it, but still I did write 100 days straight of at least three hours a day, proving to myself that I can do it, I can write consistently like the pros do. Of course, as things stand so far I’ve since been thrown off of writing almost completely. I do write a lot obviously still, but the well structured habit has not yet returned – that will have to happen in 2014 for my improvement in my craft to continue.

  • Increase your income to 1000 € a month – focusing on established platform at Fiverr. If that fails, get a job. SUCCESS

I didn’t establish a platform at Fiverr though it still provides me with side income. It was more of a matter of getting a location independent job.  Nonetheless, the main goal of finally sorting out my income to at least a reasonable level was a resounding success. Again, I have a foundation to build for the future.

  • Get yourself to Japan in February. SUCCESS

Everyone knows how this ended from all the nineteen videos I made during the trip.

So I completed all of my three goals for the year. It was all just a victory march from January to December then? Well as already said, I wish I had one or two goals more. This time I did underestimate myself. I will also structure the goals I set for next year differently. Still I want to avoid taking on too much – the year should have limited focuses.

Biggest Successes and Failures of 2013

Time to go a little bit deeper with my analysis of the year by listing successes and failures of the year. This one might repeat some of the things already said at least on the success portion. Let’s delve right into it.

Top-3 Successes

  1. Finally getting my income sorted out
  2. Creating a writing platform
  3. Spiral of Awesomeness

I did come up with even more potential successes to list, such as me finally starting to gain some muscle this year and posting weekly to the blog through the year – but the fact is that these three had the biggest positive effects on the year and are the ones that will give me the strongest foundation to go on. I have talked about my income and writing platform already, but Spiral of Awesomeness being here perhaps needs a little explanation. Didn’t I fail that challenge? Well technically I did, but that challenge gave me a huge momentum to go onward I will definitely do this type of challenges in the future. It was definitely one of the most productive times of my life so far and taught me a more important, over-arching lesson about pushing myself.

My hopes for 2014 can be pretty high up after doing so well this year. I beat the odds as well, for there was a lot that didn’t go according to plan, yet the year overall was a very good one.

Top-3 Failures

  1. Not putting out my best work on the blog
  2. Returning to too much playing games
  3. Not reading nearly enough

These are the three biggest failures I came up with. There were others too, like overtraining myself to injury, not doing anything with my niche site, but overall I’d say they didn’t have major impact to my present nor to the future. Some obviously, but these three are of higher importance if you ask me.

Looking at the three overall and all I feel is that I am leaving so much potential on the table by doing substandard work on the blog, wasting massive amounts of hours on games that I could have used in developing myself or my life, and not reading nearly enough. I read fourteen books in 2012 – in 2013 I have only finished one and nearly finished couple of others. Granted, there’s a blog that I read almost completely during the year and best blog texts can be almost on par in value with books, but still, point still stays.

Regarding the first failure, I even wrote a post about it expressing my anger on myself. Why did I fail on that? I have simply failed to set up a routine that allows me enough to time to craft well-thought posts, instead leaving me to scramble at the last minute on Monday (or like in this case, already few hours into the Tuesday) to make my weekly post. I know I have a lot of commitments, but since I have also committed to writing this blog, the least I could do is commit the time it deserves to it.

It is not as if I don’t have enough time, which brings us to the second failure – This year I fell back to my old habits regarding games, the biggest culprit being FIFA 13 during the earlier part of the year that almost completely destroyed my productivity for months. I guess games taking out people’s best edge is fairly common, but if I want to go for really hard success I will need to rise above this paradigm. Nothing is bad in moderation but as an addictive personality type, it is starting to appear I can’t do anything in moderation. Last year I played most of my games online with my friends, making it more a social activity that I don’t really mind, so what’s so terrible about it is that now I actually mostly played alone.

If there’s one thing I shouldn’t need to moderate it’s reading – it’s common trait for successful people to read a lot, and that’s where I have fallen short. This year I didn’t keep putting new ideas into my head enough. I only finished one book which doesn’t really stand up well against even my own last year’s feat of fourteen books.

2013 in Numbers

As I wrote in last year’s corresponding post and also on my Universal Awesomeness Score post, I keep track of almost everything I do on a site called Joe’s goals, leaving me with a lot of numbers on how did I spend my time during the year. Also, I have a software called Manic Time installed on my computer that tracks everything  I do. I thought it would be interesting to share some numbers at this point.

I did change the scoring system during the year so not all the same statistics are available as last year. Some stats that would be interesting were only started in the middle of the year during the change so I won’t be sharing them yet – those ones are for the next year.

The Path activity 433.5 hours

Last year this meant simply writing fiction, but towards the end of this year I redefined my path to be creative on more broader ways, so I now include stuff like writing blog posts and making videos into this. That being said, about 95 % of the hours still account from writing fiction.

The key takeaway is that I nearly doubled the amount from last year, averaging a bit over an hour per day through the year. For someone aspiring to be a fiction writer worthy of being taken seriously, that’s nearly not enough and while I considered my three hours a day writing challenge a success it still lasted less than a third of the year, so overall productivity still needs to be upped. Given I didn’t have that much work to do in the earlier part of the year one would have thought I would have put out a number that I can’t even beat in the future given my 40+ hours of weekly commitments, but I actually think I can beat this number next year, especially since broader range of activities will now account into the number.

High Value Work 525.5 hours

It’s a solid number amounting up to nearly 1.5 hours per a day. A lot of it is thanks to being forced to work 40 hours a week nowadays so I can thank for intense work after October for this number. Expect this same number to be closer to 2000 hours next year – which in comparison would be a massive improvement compared to 203 hours of last year, but I am basically required this now. It is funny how huge difference having to do something does.

The Grind 219 hours

This actually loses out to last years number, which is not all bad thing – clearly my working hours have now emphasized on more productive endeavors. Nothing much to say here, really.

Total work 1178 hours (3.2 hours per day)

All this work amounts to decent amount of work, but as said, for the next year just my Valuable Work should beat this number by almost double. Averaging seven hours of total work per day throughout the year is not beyond my grasp if you ask me, which would end me up going above 2500 hours total at the end of next year. If I want to do everything I am dreaming of in the 2014, I really have to push myself to the limit.

Footy 77 hours

I find it bizarre I am still half decent after so little playing. Being busy with other facets in my life and spending much of the year slightly injured really took its toll on this. It is sad that probably my favorite activity in the world was so marginalized.

Playing Games ~700-750 hours

I actually stopped properly tracking this towards end of the year, simply because I started getting lazy with the points system and all. Still, here’s a number that again trumps everything else productivity related. Just shifting all these hours to work will almost achieve my 2000 hour yearly goal. Where I get the rest of the hours from, I don’t really know, but I am sure time will tell :)

More Numbers: Universal Awesomeness Score

I think for anyone considering trying out Universal Awesomeness Score, which I’m simply going to refer to as UAS from now on for simplicity’s sake, would be interested in seeing what my numbers looked like after the initial use of the system. So I’m going to list out my top-5 weeks and days since doing the transition, as well as sharing the average day using the system.

Top-5 Weeks

Week 39/2013 – 475

Week 40/2013 – 403

Week 44/2013 – 331

Week 43/2013 – 293

Week 42/2013 – 254

After the first week my motivation really dropped and the aimlessness of rest of the year is really reflected on my scores. I am sure the new year will bring an improvement on that.

Average week: 275.6 points

I consider the average still very solid one.  Of course, in my own categorization it goes between mediocre and okay, but given that the rest of the year has not been exactly me pushing my edge, I am fairly happy with it. Of course, I hope the average of next year will be soaring somewhere above 400 points.

Top-5 Days

October 10th – 114

October 15th – 99

November 28th – 95

October 17th – 92

October 31st – 82

Average day: 39.4

I burst into some quite productive days, but average tells that I had slump days as well. I think above 100 will be needed to get to the top-20 list of next year.

The Best Posts of Year 2013

I decided to end this post on a high note, looking back at the year of this blog. As said, I have not been happy with what I’ve been putting out in my blog, but still, simply going with Sturgeon’s law, if 90 % of my posts are crap, there should be that 10 % that actually is non-crap. Since for most of the year I wrote one post per week, I am guesstimating I ended up with roughly fifty posts, so I thought only five posts would emerge as best, but I ended up with a bit more – If I’d read only two of them, I’d read the second one and Stop Taking Yourself Too Seriously one – just to get contrast how much I improved on expressing myself during the year.

Take the Right Action

Very simple, kind of trademark post about kicking your ass to doing the right thing. I like that it is on to the point and short.

Japan Day -2: Life Momentum

I really like the simple video in this, it puts me in a reflective mood about myself given this was very early on in the year and the kid I am watching in the video… well it is just a kid when I look it now. The concept itself is pretty sound. Of course whatever plans I give out didn’t really come forth. It is really not one of the best videos of the year, just a one that is a nice contrast to everything else.

Japan Day 17: Taking Action Enables Growth

Aside from hokey title and – in hindsight – not the most appropriate music choice, this video is actually really solid. I am low key cause I’m obviously exhausted but I am surprised how well I articulate myself and that concept is absolutely huge and crucial – hell, watching it now felt like an important reminder to me myself.

Japan Finale

The first video actually puts me to tears so I think it does the job, at least for me. I obviously agree with my concepts, and given the visceral emotional response I get from this it’s a shoe-in to my list. There’s a little bit of cheesiness factor in the end of the first video and one might argue Braveheart’s score would fit better with me leaving Scotland, but fuck that, it fits anything cause it’s like the most awesome score ever. Frankly I think the music choices for both videos are spot on.

Stop Taking Yourself Too Seriously

My delivery is pretty solid on this one and it’s a simple yet valuable concept.

Spiral of Awesomeness

This one made its way to becoming a staple Becoming Awesome post with the huge success I gained from completing the challenge. A true classic of a challenge I recommend anyone to take.

The Power of Testosterone

As far as posts that are simply written stuff go, this one is probably one of the most solid ones I wrote all year. Very informative stuff and makes me feel like stepping up my game – I miss that testosterone high that I’ve let slip far out of my hands over last couple of months.

The Universal Awesomeness Score

This massive post is still actually under construction and it will be the one that I use as a base for writing new posts in the future. As far as undestanding the system I go about using for my productivity and growth, it details a lot of it. I think if I can improve it during 2014, it could end up changing people’s lives, but as of now it is just the ideas expressed in an unstructured way. Still, if any post of my last year’s posts should be a Becoming Awesome staple, it’s this.

Alright, that’s it folks! The whole 2013 of my life recapped into one concise… Well, just one post anyway. Let me know what you think or ask any questions you might have in the comments. I’d of course love to hear about your reflections of the past year as well.

Life Is Short and We Are All Going to Die

Northern LightsToday’s post is something I’ve been intending to do a long time, as it’s so pivotal in my life philosophy. At the same time and for the same reason I wanted to make it perfect, which was exactly why I delayed on doing it. 

Sometimes my posts become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Things indeed haven’t been pretty lately – but I’m not gonna talk about that today. Today’s subject is all about realizing how short life really is.

Time Is Running Short

When I turned 24 I was very frustrated. I was feeling my youth ending and time was running short – now obviously life is much longer than just your youth and by living healthy you can extend your peak, but generally speaking the time is dwindling down fast and life will seem just a glimpse at the end.

I’ve always realized this. I’ve always had an acute sense that someday, I will cease to exist.

When I was a kid, this would make me anxious. Nowadays it’s the main fuel for keeping me urgent to keep living the life to the fullest. I can enjoy simple things as well because of this and am really rarely pulled down into a depressed state – last few days actually have been hard but thanks to these attitudes, I pulled myself back together quite fast. I recorded a video about this matter a bit over a week ago in Rovaniemi, so let’s check it out:

Now I’m not entirely happy with this video – you can see I’m kind of rambling, the lack of light makes my camera perform a little poorly and lack of practice lately really shows. Also my tripod broke down so I had to just shoot it with GF holding it. Given this is such a key principle of mine I am sure to cover it many more times in this blog and I am sure I will get it right in the future.

Enjoy Every Moment

The story about the Northern lights I tell you in the video really illustrates this principle – Because I know life is short and opportunities we have in life are limited, I really hammer the opportunity I have to the ground if there is even a little bit of a chance of success. Of course, in this case there was no downside to keep going, whereas in some situations there might be. Those would be different obviously.

You never know where life takes you. For whatever reason I might never be able to go back to Lapland and witness the Northern lights so I had to keep going that night. I walked long way out into the woods in nearby areas of Rovaniemi, trying to get away from light pollution. Of course, lady luck wasn’t with me as the clouds covering the sky failed to stop obscuring the stars.

But again on the same note of knowing the life is short, I was miserable about it. I didn’t resist it. Life is too short to get upset over things like that. It was a night of my life that I’m never getting back, so I enjoyed it as an unique experience. Every moment is an unique experience that you are never going relive, so you want to live it all to the fullest an enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy those moments of your life, well, the good news is that it will all be over very soon. It’s a sad yet also empowering fact of life. It’s hard to not feel the fire start burning in your belly when you start thinking about the fact that there isn’t going to be another time to live this day – so make the best of it.

Internalizing It

Everyone knows we are going to die and it has become even a cliche. But most people never actually stop to think of it, or really internalize it. Some are forced to face it by going through a near-death experience. Most just drown those thoughts in hurry and in distractions, perhaps rationally knowing they are going to die, but behaving as though live it eternal.

Who knows what happens when you die, but for sure on this plane you have only this life. So make the best of it with urgency. As I said, it takes your whole life to fully learn the lesson that life is really short, but its worth it to really strive to internalize it. The better you learn it, the more it will drive you forward in life. It makes you fearless and tireless. After all, what’s there to be scared of when you are going to die anyway? You can always rest in the grave after all. Of course I’m not one to advocate burning yourself out – I like leading a relaxed life as well to counterbalance working hard.

Work hard, rest hard, make the most of your opportunities and live the life to the fullest – not a bad guideline to live your life by to anyone.

Liked the video? Other comments? Put it below.

I think I’m going to do two posts this week – after all, year is about to change and I want to look back into 2013 and start planning for 2014 as I did last year. I’m not gonna set a day for it though – just fill it in when I have the time.

It Won’t Be Pretty

It’s been a busy week on the go, going above Arctic Circle and back – gonna head to Stockholm next, but I’m here to squeeze in a blog post as always.

One of the key takeaways of this last week for me has been that the improvement won’t come pretty. I’m blessed to have a really patient girlfriend who tolerates my bullshit and dysfunctionality.

It’s tempting to think that if you just put yourself out of your comfort zone for a brief period, things get better quickly. But no, you just keep pounding your head into the wall and making a fool of yourself.

Before I start to sound like a bitter old man (that I am), I’m not saying I’ve had a bad time. Indeed, last week has been probably one of the most memorable in my life, but that didn’t come without facing some adversity (and leveling my bank account).

For me to change into something better, to become awesome, it is going to require something much more than just a week, two or even couple of months of discomfort. As I already said it, two months is just a drop in the ocean.

So what does this all come down to? Well, to the simple fact that for you to improve, you are going to need two things: Determination & A good sense of humor. Let’s start with the latter.

Like I said, I’ve been making a fool of myself left and right. Some of these things other people wouldn’t even notice, but it is the kind of stuff that makes you self-conscious. In the past I would have simply gotten down for every single one of these simple mistakes, but now I have been able to laugh at myself which has made with going through the mistakes that one has to make to improve a bit easier.

The fact of the matter is though, that no matter how good you are at reframing things in your mind and retaining good spirits by finding the humor in everything, you are going to get beaten down at times. To not quit during those times takes determination. Frankly this is the spot that even more people fail than in the first part. I mean people who can laugh at themselves are somewhat rare in themselves, but people who have determination to go through prolonged tough periods to emerge stronger on the other side are even more rare.

It is much easier to stay determined if you have a track record of doing something for a long time and getting really good at it. I’m sure everyone has one of those things. Thing is, not all of us remember that point of sucking at it because we went through that at a young age. It’s sad to even think that there’s individuals that have not really gained any new skills on an older age simply due to the unwillingness to go through this tough patch.

For a guy like me, that tough patch will take a long time, especially in a broad set of skills that being social and fitting into the society (for lack of a better term) are.

Hope that made sense, as you can tell I’m half just cheerleading myself to keep going. Throw me a comment below.

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