Reaching any goal

Have you reached every goal you have? No? Than something isn’t working, and that something is you. To do something you’ve never done before, you have to do things differently than you have before.

Losing weight, starting a business, being creative, everything demands a change of routines and lifestyle. You have to change.

Don’t be afraid to throw out who you are. When something doesn’t get us what we want, change is the only way we can get it, so embrace it fearlessly. Here’s how:

  1. Disregard how you usually do something (or how you are, that’s nonsense).
  2. Read about or talk to people who have done something.
  3. Try it.
  4. Do it all over until you succeed, or want to do something else.

This post is a part of my 6 month experiment of discovering strategies for life.

How to plan well

Today there are so many things to do that most of us are running just to keep up. So many obligations and so many things we want to do. There’s just never enough time.

Minimalism and Stoicism has the answers apparently. But it’s hard to find the time to get around to them.

This way to live our lives isn’t working. Not really. We’re constantly breaking plans and coming up late on deadlines. The truth is that we can’t do it all. We can do anything, but not everything.

It’s time to apply that knowledge to planning:

Don’t plan more than you have the energy for on your worst day. Stop trying to make it your best day.

Is it that easy? I think it may be. I’ve added it to my set of life strategies, and will try it out for 6 months.

Strategies for a successful life

If you are anything like me, you’ve read a ton of great books and articles about how to live well. Learned tips and tricks from masters about how to achieve what you want in life. But honestly, I’ve probably forgotten more good ideas than I remember. Some idea I’ve had to relearn more than once. Some would’ve made my life much easier if I had just remembered them. Which is why I’m so inspired by Derek Sivers idea of Directives.

Derek takes notes while he reads, when he finishes something, he summaries it. Then he takes what he’s learnt and adds it to a Do’s and Dont’s list. The list becomes an ever evolving set of strategies to live a better life. I think this is a great idea.

As one his directives is to shamelessly imitate, I’ll take that advice and start doing the same thing. Starting today, I’ll post everything I learn and keep a running list of Do’s and Dont’s. I’ll tell you how it pans out in 6 months.

Don’t let pride guide your focus

Whenever you create something you’re proud of, there’s a natural tendency to want to tell everybody about your success. Look at me. I am so great! The more you share, the more addicted you become to the attention and the less you focus on the work that made you proud in the first place.

— Sam Dogen

Started the day of with this great read. It’s important to remember that ego isn’t something you have, or that some people were born with, it slips in whenever we’re not watching.

Egocentrism is the lazy default, the black hole inside every human that we need to constantly struggle away from.

The Cult of Enthusiasm

We live in age of overwhelming optimism.  Everyone’s life is maical, and every experience awesome. You can’t buy cereal without being promised a soul uplifting and life affirming spiritual experience of purest joy. And yet, people are unhappy. Why is this?

Optimists are right in being wary of negativity. Most negativity simply hides fear, it creates barriers where there are none, making sure we don’t try something because it can’t be done or because what would people think? Negativity is a sneaky way for us to make ourselves victims. Pessimism is useless, we should never be victims.

But at the other end of the spectrum is the almost maniacal optimist. The person who’s so enthusiastic at all times it’s is simply beyond reason.  Well, what’s wrong with that?

Forcing enthusiasm has two major issues, as the journalist Oliver Burkeman outlines in his excellent best seller The Antidote.

Fail at Life

Firstly it sets you up to fail. How we talk to ourselves about things has a very real influence on how we feel. It sets expectations on the situations we find ourselves in, and life will simply never be a barrage of awesome and amazing experiences. It can not be, because the human mind isn’t made to handle that. It would simply stop registering the good things. How many times have you been reminded to count your blessings, only to realize life isn’t so bad? By expecting daily life to be amazing, we’ll constantly face being let down or surrounded by haters. Not because the world is actually like that, but because we‘ve created an impossible expectation. 

Use it or lose it

Secondly it seems we actually lose the ability to experience real joy and happiness when we’re constantly forcing the simulacrum of those emotions. According to burkeman “fake it til you make it” is not just incorrect, but is actually the opposite of how your mind is built to work.  Counter-intuitively looking at things from a negative point of view, a bit sceptically or even critically, you’ll set yourself up to be positively surprised often. And prepared for the situations when you’re not. 

We should never limit ourselves with artificial barriers of negativity and fear. But if we want to experience real happiness, we also shouldn’t buy into the cult of enthusiasm. Don’t force enthusiasm, look critically at the world and enjoy the ride. 

Why social media is dying

I’ve witnessed and anguished over the decline of my favorite social media, Twitter, for years. Now it seems everyone is talking about the implosion of Facebook and all the algorithmic feed platforms like Instagram.

Today I realized just how much people crave chronological feeds of what people wish to say. I’m sure you’ve seen stories like this:


It’s the traditional social media feed. The chronological text update from someone.  reinvented in the “disappearing story’s” popularized by Snapchat.It’s the traditional social media feed. The chronological text update from someone.  reinvented in the “disappearing story’s” popularized by Snapchat.

It’s the traditional social media feed. The chronological text update from someone.  reinvented in the “disappearing story’s” popularized by Snapchat.

It turns out that while social media is dying. The reason it exists in the first place is still just as valid:

 “Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation…” — Oscar Wilde

Whatever made these companies think it was ever about anything else?

 

Staying awake to life

Call it mindfulness, call it happiness. Staying awake to the world is crucial to live a full life. Here are 5 excellent life tips by Sara Hendren.

Here is the hardest thing for many people about adulthood: Staying awake. That is, resisting the somnambulance that will grow like weeds over any state of habitual life, excepting acute crises. You have to actively invite experiences into your life that will interrupt the smallness of your story and the calcifying generalizations you make about the world based on your own private universe.

— Sara Hendren

Reading news is pointless and you shouldn’t do it.

I’ve seen studies on this before. But never heard the argument quite so coherently stated as in this post from Farnam Street.

Being well informed isn’t regurgitating the opinion of some twenty-two-year-old with no life experience telling me what to think or how outraged to be. Your first thought on something is usually not yours but someone else’s. When all you do is consume, you are not only letting someone else hijack and direct your attention; you are also letting them think for you.

— Farnam Street