Four Months To Income Challenge Ends… In Under a Month

Spiral of Awesomeness really sent me into a spiral of… well, awesomeness. It is evident from the fact that my next challenge took me only a month to complete. That’s right, my Four Months to Income Challenge is already over as it’s goal has been achieved. 

Horizons Shifting

My life is undergoing a pretty fast period of transitioning at the moment. First half of the years was a pretty bad slump from me, but ever since July I’ve been blasting off and now I’m starting to reach the point where I’m going to escape gravity – well, so to speak anyway. I guess more appropriate way of putting it would be reaching an orbit. I’m not going to get into details but through my work I now have a steady income and pretty full schedule.

That of course leaves me to handle with completely shifted horizon. My inclination is to start a new challenge very soon, cause as last three months of my life have shown, I really respond to that kind of mode, but the thing is that I am going to be simply too busy to focus on any challenges for now. Once I’ve adjusted to my new life (which essentially just has me do the same workload regular people do), I might start thinking about adding some further challenge to it, but for now I’m contended to just keep doing what I’ve been doing.

That is, I am going to keep reading an hour every day, I’m going to stick to meditation and I’m definitely gonna take good care of my physical shape by exercising hard. One thing will change, though.

Twelve Week Challenge Turned to 100 Days

As of yesterday’s three hours of writing having been done, I have now completed three hours of writing for 98 days in a row. I am going to end this challenge to a nice round number of 100.

Why not keep going, you ask? Wasn’t writing three hours one of my goals at the beginning of the year? Well, definitely it was, and I’m going to keep writing a bit every day, as I’ve done for nearly 500 days in a row now, but as my workload is going to really intensify over the coming weeks, I am choosing to cut down on writing. I know now I am capable of doing that three hours of writing a day, it simply won’t be practical as I’m adapting to my lifestyle shift. In my current phase of life this will be the best decision.

In the past 100 days I’ve written nearly half a million words and it has been an incredible experience in terms of learning self-discipline, focus and forging my work ethic. My record day alone I wrote 7,500 words which is not my all-time record but definitely a ton to be written in just three hours.

Writing will still be very important part of my life, but life is all about balance and for now it needs to be cut back. There’s simply a lot of transitioning ahead of me in next few months. Not only getting used to this increased workload, but also the coming environment change with imminent move to Malaysia. Furthermore, I’ve been secretly planning a trip to US still before Malaysia, but will see if that will be possible a bit later.

Retaining the Balance

While my long-term goal is to achieve relative comfort with working insane (80+ hours a week) workloads, the balance is also important. I can’t just jump to those insane hours, I will have to small step my way to it. The fact is, my current priorities shifted given I now have some sort of finances going on – for me right now it is much more important to start combating my social anxiety and ineptitude rather than going for working even harder. I will need to leave some room in my life for other people in my life, which will be hard enough working 40+ hours every week and doing rest of the stuff I do every day.

For now I will focus on settling into my new pace of life, but I’m sure I will do some sort of challenge still before December comes – after all, there’s plenty of time before that.

For my blog nothing will change, I will focus on pounding out this one weekly update, and once I fix my computer, you might even start to see some videos again. I bought myself even a new microphone so the sound quality will improve again as well.

So yeah, this is today’s post, not so informative for most of you I admit, but I also needed to get that challenge thing updated. I am really excited for where my life is headed at.

As always, feel free to hit me up with a comment.

The Power of Testosterone

Ah, testosterone. The root cause in aggressive behavior in males. The crazy fuel. The thing that keeps us checking out girls. Yet at the same time, harnessing the power of testosterone is exactly what is needed to take what you want in life – is it any wonder that vast majority of most successful people in the world are men?

This is not gonna be a post about bashing females or telling about their inferiority. I don’t think that, but I do think that as men, because we have at least twelve times the natural amount of testosterone that women do, we are much more inclined to seek grand accomplishments.

It is widely known that testosterone is what makes us men more aggressive and more frisky. What it also does is give us that masculine radiance that just makes us naturally want to challenge ourselves.

That is why, if well harnessed, testosterone can be the fuel for your success.

In Spiral of Awesomeness, I inadvertently caused my natural testosterone level to start to soar. I worked out every day, ate much cleaner food, and challenged myself. to settle for anything but what I want. I’d rather die than not achieve everything I set out to.

In fact, I’m writing this post in a focused testosterone buzz after a good hard workout – though maybe a bit too hard… I’ll get into that in a minute. Now, let’s get to points what you can do to harness this power in yourself. Now girls might feel a little excluded here but really, these same things help raise your testosterone levels just as much as they help us guys. It also causes the same positive effects for girls as for guys.

1. Work out

Not only the biggest single thing you could do for your testosterone levels, but also probably the simplest one. I suggest you do an experiment next time you are feeling a bit phlegmatic, lackluster or depressed – head to the gym or do a really intense bodyweight training session. Done? How do you feel?

Well I can tell you how I feel – I feel like fucking money. Like million dollars. But do it right, don’t slack off,  you gotta really push your edge. Make yourself gasp. Make yourself grunt as you force final reps out. Feel the lactic acid, the burn in your muscles.

One great form of exercise is also the punching bag – punch that bag until your knuckles bleed… Okay, well I can tell from experience that you likely will strain your wrist first before you cause a knuckle bleed, and it is not smart to train too hard to injure yourself – but for the sake of this experiment, go a little nuts. (Disclaimer: Always consult a doctor before taking advice from Becoming Awesome. I won’t pay your medical bills that WILL come from following the advice on this blog).

Afterwards you will really internalize the difference a small surge of testosterone that the workout caused makes in your mode of being.

So stop reading this article already, whatever I write next will never be as valuable for your life as putting some death metal on to blast at your eardrums and heading out to pump some iron. Yes, totally use music, just further pumps you up into right frame for the workout.

2. Have more sex

Testosterone makes you more inclined to have sex, but sex also causes your testosterone level to go up. So its a really positive self-perpetuating cycle. Get a girlfriend (or two… or fuck it, as many as you like) that puts out and just enjoy the more masculine mode the constant sex will put you to.

If you can’t get laid, learn it. Don’t harass women or rape them. While that actually probably would increase your testosterone (as a high risk behavior), it will also land you in jail. Trust me on that. Just go out and approach girls, you will start figuring it out, or just by law of probability bump into a girl that really digs you, no matter how lame you are. Again, trust me on that. Besides, in pursuit of going for improvement on that, you will also do another action that improves your testosterone levels, which is…

3. Push your edge

Going for hard challenges, doing something scary or painful, taking on too much than you can handle… all good things to improve your testosterone. Stuff like competitive sports as well helps further amp this up. Do the kind of stuff that is supposed to be too difficult for you. Your primal responses will perceive it as if you are more alpha now and as a result with secrete more testosterone to help you to cope with it.

This has been studied in pack animals – the pack leader always has the highest testosterone, because when the former alpha gets dethroned the new alpha’s testosterone response goes up, while former has it decrease.

So take responsibility, compete, do some sick shit, take risks and see yourself becoming more of a man (literally) in the process.

4. Load up on meats & other forms of protein

Protein has become the easy quick pill answer for many people in terms of nutrition, cause it is a simple answer. But hey, it also works as long as it is in conjunction with a healthy diet, like I described in my own book.

Eating meats and other forms of clean protein (bar for soy, which actually increases estrogen) will further drive up your testosterone level, making all the other points in this list easier to achieve. Vegans might have tough time getting any testosterone response out of their body. Sorry about that, it’s just how our bodies tend to work.

5. Take care of your health in general

As I said in the prior point, just eating a lot of protein won’t do much good until it’s used as a part of a healthy diet. If you just pound processed meats you are not going to do any good on yourself in the long term.

Getting good sleep, staying low stress, in good shape and eating healthy will take you a long way. You will become more focused. You will become more masculine. You will become more productive just as a result.

As a last point I have to add that because this testosterone haze makes you really go for what you want, you also feel fucking happy in end as well. It’s an intense, radiant form of happiness as well. I wouldn’t change this post-workout feeling to anything in the world.

***

In the end, I don’t know how much of my recent massive peak in my productivity (I scored back-to-back record weeks in my point system for the first time since its inception) and state of mind can be attributed to my testosterone, but I am fairly confident the answer is A LOT.

This is one of the simplest, most fundamental concepts I’ve ever put out, yet it has incredible power. Testosterone is like plutonium – you can obliterate a city with it, but if you handle it with care, you can power up that same city for a long time with it. Anyone who fails to implement what I just said here is making a massive mistake.

As a final note, you CAN succeed with a low testosterone and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it – it is just that I feel like I’m in some sort of high and can clearly see the benefit for myself. At the very least try it out and make what you want out of it.

Share any experiences and feedback in the comments below!

In other news all my videoblogs are cancelled for now – lightning busted my computer and I only have limited use on this laptop I’m using, so I can’t be editing videos until I fix my computer.

The End of Spiral of Awesomeness™

Lotsa challenges ended yesterday. Today’s post is all about wrapping up Spiral of Awesomeness™ Challenge and some first updates on my Four Months to Income Challenge. Most of it in form of a video:

Going Through the Challenge

Let’s go through all individual parts of the original challenge in terms of how well I did on them:

The Path ~3-4 hours

In other words, for me this meant writing about three hours a day every day. This was perfectly successful, indeed for full 12 weeks that the original 12-week challenge already started. Granted, I sometimes was very distracted and I still have a lot to improve in the process itself, but I wrote over a quarter million of words during this time, so if I’m not satisfied with that, then I don’t know what satisfies me.

Working out 20 minutes-2 hours

Another perfect thing – I’ve been getting to pretty good shape. That being said, in the end a way too large portion of my workouts ends up nearer the shorter range – but you know what, fuck it, I do it every day and it is bringing results. I have nothing to complain, now it is just all about increasing the quality.

Stretching/Yoga 30 minutes

I don’t think I did yoga once, which is a bit disappointing fact, but I did stretch every single day. Again, a healthy thing to do and my body feels good.

Meditation 30 minutes

I had one outright missed day and a couple of cases that were borderline (I fell asleep while meditating). My meditation sessions generally were very sucky. Still struggling with this habit, but I’m putting the time in, so it will eventually start to click in.

Only cold showers not long cause you can’t stand it for long

Yes, I did this. Only just came out of my first hot shower in 8 months. As I said in a comment to my Merits of Cold Showers post, I can’t stand the coldest water on my head, it actually makes me feel woozy in just few seconds, and I need more than few seconds to wash my long hair, so I turn it slightly less cold for that. I am relieved to not have to do these all the time – they are great and I will keep doing them, but the comfort seeking part of me absolutely loathes it.

Additional Challenge: 1 hour of reading a day

I completed this – it didn’t turn out to be all that additional challenge. One hour of reading turned out to be fairly easy to incorporate to my life.

Stopping masturbation

Well, this is where I really failed hard. I would go as far to say this is the hardest challenge out of all of these, because it is all about wrestling with a biological desire (presuming you are not having sex – if you are it becomes easy).

Stopping eating junk food

This was a pretty much perfect success – granted, my diet is far from perfect, but I definitely stayed clear of worst crap.

Not drinking anything but water

Largely a success – with couple of acceptable exception. For instance, one day at work with my dad I ran out of my water so I drank dad’s soda just to keep hydrated. I didn’t cheat once because my willpower let go.

Did my life Spiral to Awesomeness due to the challenge overall? Well maybe that is a bit strong statement, but I definitely feel like I’m actually a hard-working guy now, as opposed to eight weeks ago, and I’m definitely raring to go for more. The past eight weeks have had me working harder than ever.

Eight Weeks of the Challenge

One final wrap-up for the challenge is to look how do the past eight weeks measure up in comparison to the most productive weeks of my life, according to my point system.

First week: #4 of all time

Second week: #7 of all time

Third week: #2 of all time

Fourth week: #6 of all time

Fifth week: Just out of top-10 of all time

Sixth week: #8 of all time

Seventh week: #5 of all time

Eighth week: Best week of all time

That tells everything you want to know how much of a success for me on a personal level the challenge was – the two most productive weeks of my life and seven out of eight weeks to my all time top ten. It’s not even the peak productivity about this that’s the biggest success, it is the fact that there was such consistency of high productivity for a long period of time.

But the hard part starts now – retaining that productivity for months and years to come. That is the only way that massive success is really created.

Merits of Cold Showers

I’ll be honest about how I came up with the subject for today’s post – I simply had no idea what to write about as I went to shower just now. It is a mundane idea that jolted through me as the cold stream hit on my skin one of the last few times. Thank god I don’t HAVE TO do cold showers everyday after this week. I will still keep doing them beyond Spiral of Awesomeness™ Challenge, though – here’s why:

Forget About Coffee

Coffee honestly never did anything to me. Honestly, I literally feel no added awakeness after taking coffee. So I don’t really drink it. However, with cold showers, you feel AWAKE and ENERGIZED after taking it – even if you feel cold to the bone. The combination of it making you breath deeply as well as forcing the whole body to vibrate to generate heat is a physiological combo that just inevitably leads to energetic state. I’ve often done meditation after taking a cold shower – the sessions tend to be jittery and restless.

Physiological Benefits

Another awesome thing about cold showers is that it indeed does make recovery faster for those of us who work out or indeed strain their bodies otherwise. That being said, I don’t really know much about this subject – I do know though that just doing cold showers doesn’t maximize the recovering effect showering could have. For that you will have to use contrast showers; alternating extremely hot and extremely cold water. I think I’m going to use that approach once Spiral of Awesomeness is over.

I don’t know about other physiological benefits – maybe in the future I will expand on these once I’ve had a chance to research. It definitely boosts up circulation.

Tough As Nails

The main reason I of course added cold showers to the challenge in the first place was the mental aspect. While it might feel good afterwards, I loathe getting under the icy water. It never gets easy. It never really starts feeling good. Well, it has certain rush to it. You certainly feel tougher when taking the cold shower

Ultimately cold showers build that willpower muscle of just getting the unpleasant thing over with – it also trains you to ignore the flinching reflex in yourself. You never learn out of it. That is why I think I will keep starting my showers with the coldest water possible even after the challenge.

Anything to add? Share your experiences regarding cold showers in the comments.

Now some of you might wonder what happened to video blogging idea relating to Four Months to Income Challenge. Simply put, I’ve had no time to create a video! I rushed a quick one today, but it wasn’t good enough to put out, so you’re just going to have to wait for that.

Four Months to Income Challenge

There’s still two weeks to go in my Spiral of Awesomeness™ Challenge, but as it no longer challenges me, I’m going to start my next challenge concurrently with it. I will still complete the eight weeks of the original challenge, just piling more challenges on top of it. In this post I will introduce my new Four Months to Income Challenge.

So What Is This New Challenge All About?

As I stated a long while ago, I’m set to move to Malaysia at some point in the near future. I’ve now committed since that post to make that happen at January of this year. Another thing that relates to my new challenge is the goal I set at the start of the year, in my post about goals for 2013 - I set out to increase my income to €1000. Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it, certainly a very basic goal. Perhaps it tells of my dysfunction as a person that it’s been so long that I’ve been unable to complete it.

If you have a look at the goals I set for 2013, you can notice that I’ve already completed the other two goals. So if I could complete that one, I’d probably for the first time ever complete all the goals I set for myself at the start of the year. So I’m set out to really hustle for it. Of course, a thing like that is also not completely in my own hands – but I’m at least set to give my all to the process, results come if they come.

From Fiverr to oDesk

This challenge will be a bit different compared to the Spiral of Awesomeness™ for it will be more fluid. Every week there will be a new goal, and every week the actions I take will be different. Essentially it is something I move along reacting to the currents of how my endeavor is going.

First week’s goal is simple enough – to work for two hours every day towards my income creation, with the ultimate goal that at the end of the week my oDesk account is all ready and I’m well equipped to attract people to hire me. Weekends are off, however, in this challenge. I won’t go with “do everything everyday” approach like I do with Spiral of Awesomeness™.

Yes, my aim has changed from my already well set-up Fiverr platform to oDesk. I see oDesk to simply have more growth potential and also for some reason, despite adding more and more gigs, my Fiverr hires are decreasing, not increasing. Besides, with the low rate I would get at Fiverr, I’d need to work really hard to get even to that 1000 € of income. So oDesk simply seems more feasible and I already have earned more from there over last two months than from Fiverr.

As for rewards, initially there is no reward set. Yes, kind of going against the principles laid out in some other posts, but I indeed DO have a reward thought, I just can’t use it yet because it breaks the rules of Spiral of Awesomeness™ Challenge. I intend to include a cheat-day to my diet starting after that challenge, but if I complete my weekly tasks I expand it to a whole cheat weekend. But explaining that is for some other post that relates more to nutrition.

Not setting any other rewards is simply matter of leverage – you set the reward if you need a leverage to get yourself moving. I don’t need a leverage right now – the pain of having barely any income is already a one, and another is the fact that I fucking need to move to Malaysia in January. I won’t want to be two years into the relationship without even living in the same country as my girlfriend, the prospect of it is completely absurd. Besides, to really change my life I need to get moving. I’m turning 26 in seven months, after all.

Haven’t I Heard This All Before?

You might be thinking that you have. I certainly have. I’ve heard these decisions from myself many times before. Something is different this time, though. Spiral of Awesomeness has kinda done what its name suggests. It has built up some discipline into me. It has built work ethic. It has built focus. I feel like I’m better equipped to tackle this goal.

Last few weeks has been the most productive period of my life and I have no doubt it will continue to be like that. In fact, Spiral of Awesomeness is starting to bore me. Like it doesn’t challenge me enough. As if my mind and body is CRAVING for more challenge. So I’m going to give it that. I’m going to keep pushing myself. Try to reach new limits of mental and physical capacity. Go for the edge.

I know I set to this journey to get it easy, to live the four-hour week lifestyle. But now I’m wanting to become the guy who just breezes through 80-hour work weeks. I know, it sounds absurd to hear something from a lazy guy like me, but that’s where I look to be some day. Time will tell if I am, or if I can become intense enough to do stuff like that. That’s not to say I want to be working 80 hours a week as a lifestyle, just saying that I want to be CAPABLE of that.

Vlogs

Another thing I’d certainly like to incorporate to this challenge is doing a weekly video blog (Vlog) about it. Everyone knows I want to improve my speaking skills, and though I think they have massively improved over the last year or so, they are still pretty crappy compared to everything that is out there. This is internet, so I’m competing for attention with the best, there’s simply no two ways about it. So essentially I will just have to accept that most people won’t give a shit about my videos.

So, why not simply do Vlog type videos where I just talk about whatever has been going on and riff off of that, instead of thinking through ready concepts etc. to present to people? I get the same amount of practice in, and who knows, the videos might even be more entertaining. They’d certainly be faster to create. Now I’m only undecided as to whether I should do multiple videos during the week, or do multiple videos but combine them to one video at the end of the week, or finally if I should simply create one video on the weekend and be done with it. Decisions for me.

I would have done a video for this post as well, but I’m just so short on time constantly that I was not able to pull that off.

In any case it seems likely that you will start getting more frequent blog posts than once in a week. Kind of two concurrent series going on – my Monday posts where I essentially try to present concepts and provide value, and my Vlogs every weekend where you can follow the progress of my challenge. Not to say they will be valueless, but generally my videos get only 5-15 views and I think that only ten per cent watch the videos through, so I’m not expecting a lot of views. Initially creating the videos was tough and uncomfortable, but now it is kind of a fun hobby that I will gladly do just for myself.

So yeah, that certainly is a mouthful overall. If this prompts any thoughts in you, don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments.

Two Months Is Like A Drop in the Ocean

Everyone knows that it takes a long, extended effort to really achieve anything. Well, guess I have to concede that not everyone knows it – and certainly many people don’t seem to act like it is like that. In today’s post, I’ll show you that two months really is just a drop in the ocean.

My Achilles Tendon

water-drop_l That’s the most bizarre headline I’ve written for a while – but let’s get right to the subject itself. My achilles tendon. As you might have figured from some aspects of my blog, I’m an avid football (that’s soccer for you, you US buffoons) player. I love it. I’ve been playing it for two decades.

So you can imagine my guttedness when I’ve practically missed the whole summer of practicing because of a persistent achilles tendon injury. I’ve not practically played consistently in over two months. I feel frustrated, and I also feel like all that skill accumulation is going to waste. But the thing is… two months is a drop in the ocean. How many training months I’ve put in? It measures at 50+, if not at over 100 months worth of practice.

So how does missing out on two months measure up on that comparison? All it tells me is that I should just be patient, it is just a short-term hitch in a long-term project that is becoming as good a football player I can be.

Two Months? Pitiful

Of course, the equation works both ways. When I complete my Spiral of Awesomeness Challenge, I would have taken heavier action than usual for two months. What a pitiful amount of time! Even the most hastiest of us can’t expect to achieve anything substantial in that time. But that’s exactly what many of us do. Many are dabblers and when a few months of effort brings no feasible results, people give up and try something else instead.

What’s the lesson there? Well, if you ask me, I would not bother even trying anything that you’re not prepared to put at least couple of years into.

As always, of course, nothing exists in a vacuum and there is exception to every rule, but this is the general principle that works in the world. That is why challenges like Spiral of Awesomeness™ have to be followed up with consistent effort over longer period of time – it can, at best, work as a springboard to something else (yeah, that’s what I call my next challenge, Springboard of Awesomeness™ – but now I’m just thinking aloud), not an end goal in itself.

For many years, I was exactly like that – I’d get fired up for writing challenges like NaNoWriMo, blast that 50 000 words in one month (though it’s actually worse, I usually would do 95 % of it during last five days of the challenge), then fade out and be happy in my pseudo-productivity and the challenge I put on myself for rest of eleven months. Really I was just a lazy pussy.

Life Happens in the Long-Term

So as you can now see, the ramifications of the whole idea works both ways. Two months don’t really mean anything. If you’ve managed to do something difficult you’re aspiring to do for that long, good – that’s a good start. On the other hand, if you are struggling with a delay, like an injury in my case, realize that while it is frustrating, it still means very little in the grand scheme of things – everyone will get misfortune like this every now and then. It is how you deal with it that will make you stand out – in my case, I will just have to be patient, for rushing back into full practice would just re-injure me and  lead to even more delay.

In the end, it’s still important to remember that while the change really happens slowly over the months and years, you still make the change happen day by day, moment by moment. It all starts on what you do today.

Thanks for reading this week’s post, don’t hesitate to let me know what you thought in the comments!

 

Spiral of Awesomeness™: Halfway There

You got an extra update regarding my challenge in the midweek due to my failure, but as you know from that post, the challenge goes on and with last week ending, I’m now at halfway point of the challenge. So with nothing much else on my mind right now, I decided I’ll reflect back on the first half of the challenge.

Spiraling Towards Awesomeness?

The first four weeks of the challenge have very much been a success even though in the end the challenge has already failed. Still, out of the 28 days I’ve done so far I’ve successfully completed all the Challenge tasks on 27. In the process all the daily habits of writing for three hours, working out, meditating, stretching and reading have all ingrained themselves in my daily routine. Just forgetting about all the other changes in my life over the past month or so, my productivity rise has been the most distinct.

Those following my Twitter know that the week three of the challenge was my all-time record week in my productivity score. In many ways it is not completely accurate measure of productivity cause it only measures quantity for the most part, not quality, but since it’s all I have to measure it with, I will have to go by it. Last four weeks all reside in top-5 weeks of my life in my productivity all-time list, ever since I started keeping scores in 2011. So I’m now consistently keeping up the productivity level that was my absolute peak performance at 2012. So I think its safe to assume that whatever peak performance I achieve during the end of the year will become the norm at some point of 2014.

It is an exciting prospect to say the least.

Change Takes Time

That being said, for the most part my life is still the same. I’m still not working enough it seems as you always seem to uncover just more and more you should do, and I’m still not earning enough – that’s something that this newly found increased work ethic will improve, but it will take time for it to reflect on my income level, and with still such relatively low time investment (~20-30 hours of work a week) any improvements won’t be drastic. Essentially I’m merely starting to reach the hours that everyone working in the corporate world are putting in.

The advantage of course is that I don’t need a boss to whip me into action. Also, now that I’ve achieved this 20-30 hour work range, its easier to start going for the 40-hour weekly workload. Rome wasn’t build in a day, and you can’t just jump into the moon, yadiyadiyada. In other words, all improvement in gradual bar for some freak outlier cases.

There has been some changes I’ve immediately felt. Achieving the regular workout routine back has certainly lifted my strength levels back to near my peak condition and when I look myself in the mirror I think my physique is the best its ever been.

Also, reading. That has to be one of the best habits a young guy could have, to read high quality shit consistently. Your average thoughts become so much smarter as a result. Makes it also easier to keep on the narrow path to success and exposes you to new ideas, which again feeds your creativity. I never expected instant results, in fact to be smart I’ve in many ways relinquished any need for results. I know I will get exactly the results I deserve anyway.

12 Week Challenge

I originally set forth for 12-week challenge to write three hours every day. Now, after being on it for eight weeks, completing that challenge seems just like an afterthought. I’m yet to decide if I will keep doing the three hours of writing every day beyond the challenge, but there’s zero doubt in my mind that I will complete the original challenge. The upgraded version (Spiral of Awesomeness™) failed, but as I’m still going for the latter half of it I would expect to make it to the end as well.

Both of these challenges seemed difficult when I set forth for them. Both went from challenging to more-or-less normality after a while. I don’t feel intimidated by the second half of Spiral of Awesomeness™. I know I need to remain vigilant, but I am feeling confident I’ll complete the second half. At worst I will fail 1 or 2 days but bounce back.

In many ways I’m relating all this to my travel adventures so far. Both in terms of Malaysia and Japan the trips seemed scary and intimidating, but essentially while you were on the path it became normality.

This is the biggest part of the whole concept of it being a “spiral” of awesomeness. Internalizing that any difficult challenge can become just a normal thing if you stick to it for a while. Everyone knows this. But internalizing it is the part where the magic truly happens. That’s why the success of smaller challenges compounds into you daring to take on bigger and bigger challenges.

I hope it will compound in my case to huge successes. But in many ways my future still is in the dark for me. As I said in one of my Japan videos, I feel in many ways to still be searching my way. I’d like to present an image of a guy who knows what he is doing and where he is going, but frankly I don’t. Only thing I know at this point is that I’m pushing the limit of my capacity, for whatever I decide for the future pushing yourself to be the best you can be is never a wrong decision.

Did this post prompt any thoughts in you? If it did, please share in the comments.

Spiral of Awesomeness™: The Rising Phoenix™

Okay okay, I know I like ridiculous headlines. But here’s the gist of this post – I failed. I failed my Spiral of Awesomeness™ Challenge. After three full weeks of successfully adhering to it, my discipline finally slipped up, my willpower betrayed me, and well, here I am… gathering the pieces.

What Happened, Bro?

I won’t get to details, but if you’ve read the original post you notice that the challenge consists of 7 hours worth of things to do, and NOT doing some things. Well I failed in the latter department. Well, actually, after doing something that wasn’t part of the challenge, I also fell asleep before meditating so that also got not done – but sufficed to say had I not already failed the challenge that wouldn’t have happened.

I don’t like to dwell on failure but it’s always healthy to look at why it happened. If my challenge is called Spiral of Awesomeness™, then the day that ultimately lead to my failure would get called Spiral of Shit™. It’s funny how things always work as spirals or chain reactions. I basically woke up much later than usual, which would have been fine if I had just gotten to writing like I did for the three weeks prior that right away. But no, I was coming off a record week, feeling good, and perhaps a bit complacency crept in and I allowed myself to procrastinate for a few hours.

Then I ended up being even further behind on everything when I played games socially with my friends. So after we stopped playing games, I was already tired but with a mountain of tasks to do. My willpower didn’t yet fail though. I kept persevering and completed most of my tasks. But all the tiredness and upset for myself for letting my discipline slip up ultimately ended in a willpower failure. I’ve known it before – my willpower breaks if I let myself get too tired. The rationalization hamster for doing shit that I shouldn’t do takes charge of my mind when everything else is too tired to stick around.

Goodbye, Malaysia

I set my reward for completion of challenge to be a visit to Malaysia. Well obviously given I failed the challenge I can say my goodbyes to that plan. If I don’t follow through not giving myself the reward then it shouldn’t have been a reward in the first place. Now obviously I’m eventually going to go to Malaysia, it just won’t happen this year.

It was an enormously hard challenge and while  I am not going to be apologist for my own failure, or have a loser mentality of being satisfied with it, I can still say I did well by being on it for three weeks. But like I said, I obviously won’t settle for it.

The Phoenix Rises

So here I am, at the ashes of the Spiral of Awesomeness™ Challenge. But you know what? I’ve not stopped. Anything but. I’m going to go for the full length. I’m going to rise from the ashes like the fucking Phoenix and complete the rest of the five weeks.

Some changes will need to be made, though, as a reaction to my failure.

  • Absolute zero tolerance on any form of instant messaging & games before all the tasks are completed
  • Zero tolerance for anything for that matter that’s just a distraction from the tasks of the challenge
  • Get up the bed by 10 am. every morning
  • Get to bed by 1 am. every night
  • Only form of entertainment allowed during eating is reading

I am glad that I failed. No, you read that right. For I had noticed distinct lack of quality in the way I went about the challenge at times. I had denied myself music for instance while writing under the ruse of it hindering my focus to the task itself. Well, how do I think chatting with someone while writing is going to affect my focus? Very negatively. This kind of pattern repeated all the time and it really defeated the purpose of the challenge.

Not that awesomeness hasn’t been spiralling into my life, because it has, but had I been fully focused to the process, the way I intended it, this whole thing would be a total Whirlpool of Awesomeness™.

Well okay I admit now I’m bordering on the ridiculous. But remember, don’t take yourself too seriously, right?

Anyway, back to the point. Only way I’m going to avoid somehow distracting myself is to absolutely close off distractions from my life.

That’s not to say I will never chat again, or play games. Of course I will. But it will have to come after I’ve taken care of everything I set out to do. Not doing everything you decided to do with your day is pathetic. But for the duration of completing my Spiral of Awesomeness™ habits and other tasks I need to do that day, I’m going to close all chat programs, deny myself games, even close my phone. Not even watching videos is allowed (Youtubepoops have become my nemesis) – normally I watch videos while eating but no distraction won’t be allowed this time.

Notice how I’m slowly but surely slipping into more and more rigid challenge, similar to the vein of my earlier failure of Self-Discipline Challenge. It comes to the old discussion about flow vs. rigidity. Initially this challenge was more of “flow” challenge as I had certain things to do, but no set pattern to do them. Self-Discipline Challenge, on the other hand, had everything engraved in stone with no freedom in it – no wonder I failed miserably. Perhaps this form of my challenge will finally provide the perfect balance of freedom and structure.

Now as for reward, I can’t obviously go for the Malaysia reward any more, so I will have to figure out something new. I’m not even sure if I do still need a reward – like I said, I’ve been doing this for three weeks now, so I have considerable momentum. But for those lower consciousness moments, when the rationalization hamster is running, its good to have something simple to aim for that even the brutish mode of your brain understands.

So for my Spiral of Awesomeness™ Challenge, reward for the Rising Phoenix™ segment (ie. the latter 5-week part I’m on now) is… Well, I will need to think about this cause I simply can’t come with anything that really compels me that I would need that I actually can get right now. But I’ll figure out a reward and continue without one until that!

Now if you excuse me, I’m going to get to the challenge.

As always, leave me comments!

Stop Taking Yourself Too Seriously

In today’s post I’m going to talk about the power of not taking yourself seriously. I also shot and cut a video about the topic, but as I have no time to upload it today I’ll add it in tomorrow. EDIT: And now it’s in!

Are You Taking Yourself Too Seriously?

When you start doing new things and to push your comfort zone, it is obvious that you’re going to encounter situations where you don’t do quite as well as you would wish. In fact, as you probably know, you quite often look very silly. This is a problem only if you’re taking yourself seriously. When you take yourself too seriously, every mistake hits at your ego and thus you tense up and start making even more mistakes.

For me personally particularly good example was when I was in the army. I was the worst shot of the company and it really bothered me. It made me wonder what is wrong with me. Every time we were at shooting range I lamented my failures, as opposed to just laughing at them and trying again. The thing became psychologically so big deal to me that instead of getting better with practice, my skills were deteriorating.

This is of course an extreme example of the case, but just goes to show that if you are on a journey to become awesome, you’re not going to last if you take yourself too seriously.

Treat Yourself as a Joke

This doesn’t mean that you lack self-respect – of course have self-respect, always try your best and don’t intentionally make a clown out of yourself (unless that is what you want from your life). But to really last on a journey that will deal you constant blows, you will have to learn to smile at yourself. Otherwise it will become simply too tempting to go back to your comfortable former life and never venture out of your comfort zone again. Only way to deal with constant discomfort and making mistakes is to give your self-image a rest and join the others in laughing at yourself.

Again using my army example, would laughing at myself actually improved my shooting ability? Probably not, but at least I would have been more at ease with myself and could have been more focused on the training itself, as opposed to focusing on fearing failure – which just brings more failure anyway.

Adopting the Right State of Mind

Just like any other change this will be down to the habits. You will simply have to learn to laugh at yourself at every chance possible, which will take focus.

I’m sure the guy I was at the army probably had the idea of not taking himself seriously in his mind, but its not that easy to actually remember in the moment. It takes years of cultivation to achieve that state of mind where you can take the life in a relaxed way, if it doesn’t come naturally to you. It is well worth it though and it’s a lesson becoming awesome really forces you to learn.

Let me know what you thought of today’s article in the comments!

Five Months After Japan

I’m still on my Spiral of Awesomeness™ Challenge, with two weeks completed now, but I’m not gonna talk about this today. Instead, I delved back into making a video first time in a while.

Youtube user Van Hohenheim suggested I’d do an update a longer time after Japan going through more how it affected me, so I took the bait and recorded a video for today discussing it. The end result is just about as vague video as the original conclusion was, with me also showing clear signs of lacking fundamentals in front of camera with poor eye contact, lot of stuttering and looking down.

That said you might find some value in the stuff I say. If you want to spare a few minutes the basic gist of the video is that travel is eye-opening, horizon-broadening experience, but one that doesn’t just flip your life around if you’re not having the right habits.

Check out my video below…

Made sense? Let me know in the comments. See you again next week, maybe this time I’ll spend all week trying to create a great video… then again, maybe not.

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