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.
If I had to summarize my struggles over the last couple of years under one label, I would probably choose the term “freedom.” Everything I do seems to come back to that one single notion: Striving to attain more personal freedom. At times when I was making progress with that, I usually felt happy; and when it wasn’t happening for me, I tended to be on the miserable side of things.
For me, living a digital nomad lifestyle goes hand in hand with being a minimalist. After all, what’s the point of being completely location indenpendent, i.e. free as a bird, if you are constantly carrying two major suitcases and a monstrous backpack around? More stuff just weighs you down, and that’s the opposite of being as mobile as possible.
However, that doesn’t just go for the things that you carry with you; it also applies to the environment and the equipment needed for certain key activities in your life – such as keeping fit. “Normal” people join a gym, because for some reason, they feel like they NEED a special place to work out, they NEED a wide range of equipment, they NEED to wear certain clothes while doing so, etc. And of course, in order to do all of that, they need enter an agreement with the gym owner in the first place, further binding them to one place.
This blog is obviously a self-development blog. Many people despise that topic, as it smells of indecisive advice like “think positive” or “be grateful every day.” I can understand why people make fun of this – I can’t stand that kind of nonsense either.
The way I look at self-development though, the real thing I mean, is that you really have no choice in the matter. You are either winning or losing at it, notwithstanding a proclaimed interest in Oprah style self-help books or not. You are either losing weight and gaining muscle or you are getting fatter. You are either moving towards a point in your career that fulfills you or you are moving away from it. You are either getting more and more emotional rewards from your relationships or you get more pissed off by the day.
Self-development, i.e. your progress in key areas of your life, is ALWAYS happening, one way or the other. You simply can’t get away from it.
About a year ago, I read the book “The One Thing” by Gary Keller for the first time and immediately got the sense that it had been written specifially for me. It nails my single biggest problem which is my inability to focus on just one thing for an extended period of time, until you have fully mastered it and before you move onto the next thing.
There is a certain irony there. When I tell people that I have a very hard time prioritizing, they usually don’t believe me. On the contrary, they take me to be someone who focuses excessively, bordering on obsession.
I’m a huge fan of habit building. Whatever skill you want to possess, whatever project you want to tackle – forming the right habits is the answer. That means any kind of complex task is best tackled by working on it DAILY, in MANAGABLE chunks. By working on it daily, this new routine becomes completely ingrained in you, so you never stop – regularity is key. By focusing on manageable chunks, you make sure you can keep the habit up, even after a really bad night’s sleep or when feeling sick – sustainability is key.
I’m one of the biggest nerds you’ll ever meet. I could make many claims to prove that epic statement, but the most convincing one is probably the story about how I got into fantasy role playing games. I’m not taking about computer role playing games, oh no… I’m talking about sitting around a table with a sheet of paper in front of you, with a bunch of other nerds, listening to the “dungeon master” tell a story of how your group of characters just met up in a tavern. Every now and then, you roll a couple of die to determine if you successufully slayed the dragon or found the secret trapdoor. That type of thing.