I didn’t read any good books this week.

Hi, readers. I am sorry but I don’t have a book review for you. I am choosing to spend my money on other things rather than books now. So if my parents don’t pay for books I don’t always have new, quality books to read. I read a few free books online but none were really worth the time. I would give them 1 or two stars so not enough to justify a review. If any of you know of quality books on personal development I’d appreciate it.

To happiness, and beyond!

Food

I intended to iterate in 3-day cycles until I found a relationship that served me more with food. What I have found is that my eating was out of kilter because my life was out of kilter. It was partly a way to self-sabotage. It is unlikely that you will be very productive or break bad habits if you are feeling sluggish and off from eating wrong. As well as not believing in my daily actions I was not believing in myself.

In part, I stopped trusting my voice in fear that I was wrong. General fear and uncertainty about the future and my ability to pull it off was fuel to the fire. Movies also became really boring. At some point, you just change out of frustration and resolve to attempt it, even though you might fail.

Through this, I wrote down some of my thoughts and analyzed them. I was blown away by how many beliefs I had circulating. No wonder some of them were conflicting and ground me to a stop. I used a lens that sees beliefs as assumptions about reality that pruned possible options to eliminate probable dead ends and allowed you to focus. Putting them on paper I saw that some were very flimsy. Working with assumptions that had little evidence to support them wasn’t very intelligent.

I questioned some and discarded others. Reducing them to thinking and mere interpretations allowed me to stop seeing them as cold facts of the world. It’s hard to fight reality. Interpretations can be changed, adapted or re-created.

Food was directly coupled to the rest of my life. I no longer needed to stop myself from myself. I need less to desperately distract myself from a world that seemed too terrible to face. I partially stopped delaying what was inevitable to me. I was willing to explore once again. So I did things that made eating a side-show. I brought back more authority to my choices and compassion for myself. I created the mental distance that allowed me to feel an impulse and not immediate react to it.

What did I eat during this wallowing? Too much bread with peanut butter and coconut oil. Sometimes cheese. Broccoli or rice with way too much mayonnaise. Pasta. Meat that did not seem genuinely appetising and left guilt. Generally too much, so that I was sometimes over-full. Sometimes I would eat when I wasn’t really hungry but just seeking something to do. If there was chocolate or sweets around it would have been gone. There wasn’t so yeah choice architecture!

To happiness, and beyond!

Finding the wrong routes.

I played a logic puzzle games called Grow Tower. It is not a very complicated game. You have to place blocks in different sequences, trying to grow your tower as high as you can. The blocks interact with each other and can set off cascades. You could solve it by just brute force trying all the different combinations, but it’s faster to see the patterns and construct a solution.

After finding most of the correct moves it still took a surprising amount of failed attempts to finally crack the pattern and beat it. It was very satisfying to do so. The animations were unique and I enjoyed watching them.

There are more such puzzles. A specific one that is a lot more complicated and has a completely different setup that one I have not cracked. I suspected for a while that I would not crack it by trying to keep it all in my head. Yet I still delayed in starting to write down the wrong solutions. This puzzle will take me at least a few hours, maybe more.

I have started to write down the wrong solutions so that I make sure not to retrace them. If I want to solve the puzzle I have to keep going.

We(I have) done the same in life. Not taking the effortful road even though we can see that the easy one is not going to work. Persisting with ineffective solutions. I don’t know whether it is just the sunk cost fallacy or whether people are just unwilling to accept that it will take a lot more work than they would have liked. A lot more than they thought initially. Huh. I’m just talking to myself again.

Persistence. To keep trying is something that could lead to more success in solving puzzles and in life generally. I wonder why I seem to quit near the end. When the going gets hard. Maybe school taught me that it is always easy. Yet I know some things cannot be bought. Discipline. Self-control. Self-confidence. Enthusiasm.

I think. Probably too much. But I think that we could all probably do with a measure of reflection. We could all stop doing the thing we know is not going to work. We don’t need to be afraid of trying and failing. The great journeys have many dead ends. Roads that end up at being only to a place with a great view are also worth walking. Life is a Brownian motion.  The game of life is truly worth playing.

To happiness, and beyond!

 

Living as a new re-incarnation

While I walk to the University of Witwatersrand for gymnastics practise I listen to podcasts. They include The Primal Happiness, The Charge, The One you Feed. In a recent episode of primal happiness, Chris Morris said something that blew my mind. Paraphrasing it: When you were 8 years old you had a different body, your appearance and dress was different, you spoke differently, thought differently and socialised with different people. So when did that person become you? Would you agree that to all intents and purposes you re-incarnated?

This blew my mind. That reincarnation is not after death and then being reborn, but as a continuous process that happens as we grow and change. This lens can explain so much, and is to me more powerful than the standard interpretation of reincarnation. Where you draw the line between the previous you and the current you, your previous life and your current life I do not know. It could be a year, a few months, a day, differing scales depending on the amount of change or an infinitesimally small amount a la calculus.

So in each moment we act, decide and change by being reborn into a new life. And we hold the reins of change. We can decide where we are going.

This lens totally demystifies past-life regression or experiences. We just call them memories. different body parts change at different speeds. We reincarnate a stomach lining within a few weeks, 10 % of our fat cells each month, and our nerve tissue changes the slowest. So your nervous system which underpins all that you are changes the slowest and the way you eat starts changing you within days.

Each story is the story of a reincarnation. A rebirth from experience. Every time that we as individuals go through a major life event that changes us, we are reborn as a new person. So as what person will you reincarnate if you keep doing what you are doing now?

To happiness, and beyond!

 

 

Nobody Wants to Read your Sh*t by Steven Pressfield

Rating:5/5

One sentence: Write your message like a golden story.

Everybody is busy and focused on their own lives. Convey your message as a story that speaks to the universal stories within us and uses techniques from the ad, screenwriting and movie business.

Everything is a concept. Find the core idea of whatever you are trying to say and strip away all else. There is always one central idea that reframes the whole situation. If you find it you can use it  over and over in spin-off after the spin-off.

Everything has themes. Connect your message universal themes that everybody loves. Eliminate everything that does not fit with your themes and repeat them constantly.

Heroes and villains. Find the “good guy” and the “bad guy”. Epic clash, inner transformation for the good guy, good guy triumphs. Suffering pulls at every heart. The deeper the pit of pain the more satisfying the victory.

Three parts. Beginning. Middle. End. Setup, Inciting Incident, Climax, Dissolution. The hero leaves the normal world, tries to get back and finally ends in another, new normal world.

The All is Lost Moment. When the possibility of success seems impossible. The lowest low. The dark before the dawn. And then the miracle happens and the hero triumphs.

Write for a star. We all want to feel important and the star of our life. Make the story interesting. Require deep emotion from the actor. Let them be eager to add your story to their career. Let people want to say that they have helped you. Be something others wish to be associated with. Have a noble cause.

Having read this I see so many stories in a new light. Also the story of my life. I struggle to decide whether I am now on an adventure or resisting the call to one. One moment I feel that my true purpose is out there, not sitting here and drilling pointless maths. The next I accept that drilling is necessary for success and something that has to be done.  Whether the villain is school and conformist culture or my own laziness and desire to fail.

This book is great. I recommend it to everybody who has ever watched a movie, completed a project despite resistance or told a story. Everyone. Because Nobody Wants To Read Your SH*T

To happiness, and beyond!

August Monthly Review

Another month.

My focus for this month was that of doing my physio exercises. I started well with a chain of 7 created in July. I managed to continue for another 10 days, making it 17 in total. That was the longest I would get it this month.

I lost my chain for 4 days and then restarted it. When Wednesday came along I did not do it before going to gymnastics and afterwards, I was tired and did not do it. The rest of the month was fitful and did not have chains longer than 2 days. The days when I did do it I did it before going to gymnastics. Leaving it for afterwards, when I had walked back and was exhausted did not succeed.

Getting to all that I wanted to do seemed hard. It felt like the week had only begun before it was time to do a book review or write a blog post once again. I can definitely improve in that aspect by planning ahead what I will read as well as general time management.

My experimental week where I did not attempt to do academic work was instructive. By chunking a lot of social interaction in a short space I have already adjusted and started calibrating in a another direction.

My learning Zulu from the gate guards also moved forward: I now know 20 words easily and 10 more barely.

As for my overarching narrative I still feel that there is something lacking. I want to move out and go and work, yet I also want to stay and get very good marks for my matric. Getting sick this past weekend was also not a pleasant experience. I am grateful for it, for by feeling really bad I re-appreciate just feeling normal and non-delirious once more. But I don’t want to be sick deliberately.

For the next month I will not choose one focus and track that. I am going to do 3-day iterations and review after each. Iterate what? My eating habits. I have not felt in control or highly supported by the food that I have eaten these last few months. I am above my ideal weight with somewhere between two and five kilograms. I don’t like it. I think it is easier to never get fat than it is to become thin again. So now I will give it focus until it is once more a place of strength.