In this article I will be sharing my techniques to save you time and enable you to be more spontaneous.
Setting yourself up initially will require an investment of several hours, but the rewards make it well worth it. These rewards include greater freedom to do what you want when you want to do it, adding hours to your life each week by eliminating the time and effort that you'd otherwise spend preparing on the spot, a sense of security knowing that you will rarely be caught unprepared, and a sense of gratification and pride when you have the tools you need on hand for an array of opportunities.
The first time I heard the cliches "Love yourself," "You can't love someone else if you don't love yourself first," etc., I didn't give them much thought. Of course I love myself, who doesn't? And even if I didn't, that doesn't have any bearing on how I treat others.
I now think that these statements mean more than emotional masturbation and trite self-help affirmations.
First, understand that who you are today is not the same person you were 10 years ago, or yesterday, or even 10 minutes ago. The person you will be when you wake up tomorrow is a different person still.
Consider how you treat someone who you love. I will expend extra time, energy, and even money to improve the life of someone I love. This isn't because I'm a generous and selfless person. I value certain relationships because of reciprocity; a person who I love has made my life better in the past, and I expect them to continue to do so in the future.
On the other hand, if there's someone I don't know or who I don't value, I will not necessarily go out of my way to help them. If I dislike the person, I might even gratify myself now even if I suspect it will cause them inconvenience or pain now or in the future.
The following article was written by my friend James Becker. He is not only knowledgeable about music, but about the process that goes into creating music from nothing.
1. Don't Limit Yourself
The more boundaries you perceive or create (oftentimes the difference between these two is minimal) between you and your creative goals, the less your creative energy will be allowed to flow freely. Your self-expression will be hampered. Don't limit yourself in your methods, and don't limit yourself in your approach (scope is a wholly different matter—for another article).
If visual art is your thing, try a new medium entirely: put away the brush and bring out the crayons. Visit an art museum that doesn't fall into your typical inspirational aesthetic. Music? Study the sounds of something outside your preferred genre.
Plans, ideas, and creations may originate from the mind, but they can't survive there for long. New connections are formed constantly in a fertile mind, and old mental states fade away. You are not the same person you were a year ago, a month ago, or a day ago, because your mind has also orchanged.
Because of this, whatever you have going on up there right now will soon be replaced, it will fade out so something new can grow. When you have an idea, a lyric, a song, a theory, a hypothesis, or any other mental produce that you think has value or potential, move it from your own mental headspace into the world
Here are some ways to do this:
1) Bounce new ideas off of someone who knows more than you.
If you read on different topics, spend time with people in different subcultures, or take part in many unrelated activities, you may see a connection between them that an expert in only one of cem would not see. If this happens and you know someone who is more knowledgeable on one of the topics than you, send them a 1-paragraph email getting feedback on it.
To get this bounty, all you have to do is send me photo or video evidence of having played this game, as well as a one paragraph description of yourself and/or your experience.
I will mail $50, cash or check, to anyone who submits photo or video evidence proving that they played this game before I get around to playing it myself.
Here are the rules of Wyoming Hold'em, which I made up last week:
In Texas Hold'em there would be a final round of betting, but here no more betting needs occur since everyone can see all of the cards. Hopefully everyone wrote down their hand at the beginning, since now it's impossible to tell who shot which card. Distribute the spoils, then repeat.
Not all time spent with others is eqally valuable.
The value of your time spent with others falls on a wide spectrum. Here I'm talking about value in terms of value to each person, the value of the relationship, and the value to each person's life outside of the relationship with the other person.
At one extreme end of the spectrum are activities which are detrimental to both people, and which the people encourage or support each other to engage in (see: codependency). An extreme example would be two alcoholics who drink together, each of whom helps the other one justify his self-destructive habit. A less extreme example would be two people who like to complain to one another and make excuses about their failures in different areas, each one absolving the other one of responsibility for problems in his or her life.
On the low end of the spectrum of value are activities which are not harmful, but are generally a waste of a time. Watching TV, playing video games, or engaging in other time-wasting activities might strengthen a relationship to some degree by virtue of the rapport and trust built by enjoying the activity together, but nothing of value to anyone else comes of it.
Higher up in the spectrum is conversation. Getting to know another person on a level deeper than the superficial is valuable to both people. Conversations like this usually involve people’s plans, their ideas, their motivations, and their values. This is valuable to both people because a) each participant is exposed to ideas and concepts they weren't previously aware of, b) each person can more fully develop and examine their own thoughts when they expose them to another person’s perspective, c) trust and understanding are built in great strides when people connect on this level, and d) when discussing plans or dreams, each person can try to find ways to help the other person achieve their goals or bring their plans to fruition.
Numerical Measurement : Spreadsheet :: Subjective Measurement : Journal
This has to do with the first type.
1. Define what you are measuring. [Examples: Physical ability, finances, habits, diet]
See note on example spreadsheet.
I recently began the habit of meditation. I had neither practiced it before nor learned anything about it, so I came up with my own 3 step process to follow:
I chatted with Ari, who practices meditation daily and has done so habitually for some time. He suggested that the first 2 are appropriate for meditation, but not the third.
That is when I learned a new concept: That of the distinction between meditation and manifestation. Manifestation is equivalent to a term I am more familiar with: Visualization.
Meditation : Present :: Manifestation : Future
"Flow” refers to the ability of a rap vocalist to deliver auditorily and intellectually compelling lyrics.
Partial list of Flow’s components :
Get everything out of your head and into the world.
I'm starting the timer now.
Update: Yesterday morning my stool dyed the toilet water pink, but the color wasn't very strong. I didn't finish the whole 3 beets; I probably only ate 1 in it's entirety. This would indicate that food takes about 1 day to pass through my body, which seems short. I will repeat this experiment in the future and be sure to cram more of those delicious red roots into my belly in a shorter period of time.