As a blogger, I read many blogs – big surprise, I know. And since blogging is such a personal endeavour, you can’t help but notice the very different thought processes, mindsets and quirks of the authors doing the writing. For some reason, this is something that has always fascinated me – to distil someone’s psychological core features from the seemingly objective ideas that they present to you. The thing is: As objective and well thought out as these ideas come across, if you look closer at the tone and mannerisms, the things said AND unsaid, the writer’s personality is always just lurking beneath the surface.
If you know me, then you know I believe the key to every kind of success is forming the right kind of daily habits. Whether it’s mastering a skill, getting healthy, becoming more organized, or successfully running a business, having the right habits in place is the ultimate answer. Taking this into consideration, I recently began to differentiate between certain types of habits.
A quick recap:
One of the main reasons I STARTED this blog was because I wanted to hold myself accountable for my self-prescribed daily habits. Letting others know to put more pressure on myself, all that stuff. One of the main reasons I KEEP WRITING this blog is that it helps me to stick out the grind, i.e. the process it takes to get good at something.
There is an all too human urge for instant gratification and it has only gotten worse with the arrival of the digital age. We want it all and we want it now. Any effort requiring more than a few clicks seems outdated and boring. The idea that something has to be learned and practiced daily, over the course of several years, has completely gone out of fashion.
We are the culture of the “hack” – everything can be somehow circumvented, or so we like to think.
I sometimes look through older blog posts of mine – not so much from this blog, as it is still relatively young, but from my previous blogs. It’s funny to see how you thought and felt about a certain issue at a certain point in time and how your views have changed in the meantime. Quite often, I feel pretty embarrassed. I look at some of the claims I made in the past and cringe at the sloppy development of my argument or their sheer naivety.
My friend J and I were talking about the causes of sleep deprivation today. One of the main things we came up with was the inability of most people to keep a regular sleeping schedule. Going to bed and waking up around the same time works fine during the week, but as soon as the weekend arrives, all resolutions go straight out the window: I mean, it’s the weekend after all! I get to do something fun, like hanging out with my friends and getting buzzed! Let’s do it!
My best friend J recently decided to go on a low-information diet. He is normally the guy who checks several news sites every day, follows a bunch of podcasts, and rounds it out with some Facebook time. As he so eloquently puts it: He is very good at dicking around, hence the diet.
The term “low-information” diet was originally coined by Tim Ferriss in “The 4-Hour Workweek.” It refers to a conscious daily effort to NOT expose yourself to any kind of news or social media. I have my reservations about Tim Ferriss’ writing (too many quick fix promises are involved) but some of his ideas are spot on – and the low-information diet is among his best.
I’ve been eating a Paleo diet for more than 3 years now and I still think it’s the closest thing to magic when it comes to dieting and healthy eating. It completely resolved my chronic sinus infections that lasted over 20 years within 4 weeks. In addition, it gives me more energy during the day; after a bad night of sleep, I can still be somewhat productive the next day; it helps you make faster progress with your strength training; and as a side note, even hangovers don’t hold the same punch anymore…
Unfortunately, all of these very good reasons are not the usual reason as to why people start a Paleo diet – let’s face it, you just want to lose these love handles.
I’m as cranky as I can get right now: Over the course of the whole week, I was awoken by the sound of drilling and hammering due to some serious construction going on at the top of my apartment. If that wasn’t enough, the little hipster next door thought it was a great idea to host all his skinny jeans wearing friends this weekend for an epic electro party marathon. Initially, I tried NOT to be the party police and let them go on. However, when they started throwing shit against the wall, I put on my best “Rickson Gracie is not amused” face, went next door, and cut the party short – which gave me at least some slight emotional satisfaction.
I’m always completely astonished by how much doing mental work resembles physically working out. It works exactly the same way. You stop doing your workouts for a while and when you start up again, you feel weak and won’t accomplish much at first. The same applies for any kind of intellectual work; if you take a break from it for too long, your mental muscles diminish.
I know it’s true because I went through the same thing. After graduating from college in literature and philosophy, I was in pretty good shape, so to speak. I was very used to sitting down for extended periods every day and getting a good chunk of complex reading and writing done. It felt normal and natural to me, as I had been doing it for many years up to that point. Then, as the logical extension of my academic training, I decided to start a martial arts academy for Mixed Martial Arts… Long story.
I was talking with my best friend about a book today, “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World” by Harry Browne. It is an interesting take on one of my favorite topics. In general, it leans towards the American version of libertarianism, which I have some reservations about, but I do like his take on personal freedom. In essence, Browne observes that most of us are constantly placing expectations and demands on each other, and then are either heartbroken or angry when the other person does not play along. Browne goes on to argue that doing so is foolish. You can always ask for something, no problem – but you should never get emotional if you receive a refusal. The other person is simply not someone to be molded and controlled.