A typical workout session for me can be anywhere from ninety minutes to three hours, depending on my energy level and the amount of time I have available. But there are those days that I… More
Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Weak men wait for opportunities; strong men make them.Orison Swett Marden
This quote is at the core of the main issue I am working to resolve. I’m chipping at it a little bit at a time. With every step I feel that I am getting closer.
When is being afraid of an elephant not about the elephant?
Everyone has fears they would like to conquer. The fear of roller-coasters, the fear of spiders, the fear people, and the fear of elephants. Some people ignore it. Some run away from it. Others have no choice but to face their fear.
What I have discovered is that fear is a cascading set of smaller events and actions that build up into a suffocating tidal wave. And often those actions and events occur so fast with such subtlety that they are hard to recognize in the moment. It requires a lot of deep thinking and replaying of events in your mind. Step by steps. Until you can determine with some assurance that you’ve discovered the trigger. That one moment that when your body suddenly stopped functioning. And the fight or flight response kicks in and determines flight is the best course of action.
For me, building habits to adapt to these events is what has worked. And these events are usually made of three components: expect (predict), keep calm, avoid.
When I find myself in a similar situation I try to predict what will happen next, expect that particular event to occur. Then I breathe to keep calm waiting for Armageddon to let loose. And I enact my avoidance measures; take evasive manoeuvres to avoid an event collision until I’m past it. Over time I’ve been able to build resistance over these events.
But be warned that while you may have defeated one event, there most surely will be more hiding behind it. The trick is to write down all these discoveries and resolutions in a journal to help program them into your subconscious. Remind yourself of these on a daily basis to build them into habits.
As you build on these fear busting habits, you’ll eventually start seeing a clearer path ahead. It takes time. A lot of self-reflection. And a lot of emotional turmoil. If you feel emotionally raw after a session, then that means it’s working. It’ll take a few days for your emotional system to rebuild itself. It’s like you’ve thrown a fork in your emotional soup and stirred it; a lot.
It’s important to write everything down; just reflecting on it isn’t enough. You need to let your knowledge pass through as many senses as possible. Write it down. Read it. Speak it. Hear it. Draw it if you must. Art is a great way to open up the pores to the subconscious.
The Challenge with Self-Improvement
Is the inability to move through those dominoes fast enough. It’s debilitating. Especially when those dominoes must fall.
Habit Journals FTW!
Every once in a while I go on a Googling binge researching ways to improve myself. How can I better organize my writing, my thoughts, and see what others are doing. This time I decided to Google YouTube (is that a thing?) and I found Habit Journals.
Habit Journals are effectively what you might think they are, journals to track the progress of your habits. But what I found on YouTube was a lot more impressive than just that. There is a whole community of people keeping of their habits in an artful way. They’re taken the Bullet Journal method and threw crayons at it. The ladies usually go for the colour look while the guys usually go black. But any way you look at it, they’ve turned the Bullet Journal into a hobby of sorts.
So I decided to do my own Bullet Journal and experiment with the artsy part of it like the ladies do. What I immediately discovered is that art makes deep thinking much easier to achieve. It seems to allow the brain to relax and open up. And writing my thoughts a lot easier. And in turn, helps in programming my habits more effective.
If you Google Habit Journal you will get two sorts of results, fill in the blanks books that guide you through the process of habit journaling. And tons of blogs that describe how to track your habits in blank paper books like the Leuchtturm 1917 with dotted pages. If you browse through the videos and blogs you’ll discover the tools used and how those tools are used.
Pinterest is another place to look for a great source of ideas for habit journals. For those who are looking for creative ways to lose weight, or eat healthier, or whatever part of your life you want to improve, Habit Journals are the way to go. But if you want some guidance in working on yourself, purchasing a professionally made habit journal may be the way to go. Something like the Daily Greatness Journal which has a page for every day of the year with prompts.
Myself, I plan on learning to draw so I can improve my creativity and thinking process to make this a great year.
WTF is Habit Programming?
Improving yourself is damn hard and takes a lot of time. It’s about figuring out how you work and learning how to learn. And the best way to learn it to organize and categorize your thoughts, feelings and actions. And today I came up with something I call Habit Programming. It’s something I’ve been doing for a while, but I just figured out it is its own thing.
What is Habit Programming You Ask?
Let’s start at the beginning. You have a goal you want to reach. We wouldn’t need goals if they were easy to reach, otherwise we’d just do them. So we need to break down goals into manageable units called habits.
So if you want to go on a big vacation at the end of the year, you need to save money. So easy, you just reserve a chunk of your paycheck to saving it for the trip. Problem is you like spending money on things you don’t really need. So now you have to figure out why you buy stupid things.
So next time you’re at the cash register paying for something you don’t need you suddenly have a epiphany. Buying something new fills an emptiness inside your soul. So you make note of this. Having an empty soul makes me want to spend money. That is what I call Habit Programming.
Next time you go shopping because your soul feels empty you take a walk around the block to subdue that feeling.
The next paycheck you realize you have fewer bills to pay. So you decide to go spend the difference because, eh, it’s free money. But after you’re spend the money you feel bad because you could have saved it. So you take note of that for the next time you get paid.
The trick is to be able to catch yourself at that exact moment you realize you’ve made the mistake. And then write it down the your habit journal you decided to start using.
But what I decided to do different with habit programming is to write down my note with a strong key word. Trying to remember all these notes is hard. But the brain is capable of quickly retrieving information based on contextual keywords.
So I would write down my habit programming note like below:
Soul Crushing – Don’t spend money on stupid things.
Free Money – Don’t spend free money, save it.
But for the above to work, you need to write it down with a pen/pencil to paper. Read it back loudly. Speak it out loud if needed.
You may think that the above is a bit hard to remember. So I might decide to add a third line for those other times I try to spend money on stupid things.
Soul Crushing – Don’t spend money on stupid things.
Free Money – Don’t spend free money, save it.
25 dollars – Spend no more than twenty-five dollars on stupid things.
The above three lines would usually keep me going for a while until I find something else that I need to add to the list to save money. Before you know it in an attempt to implement a good habit, you’ve vanquished a bad one.
I have been doing this habit programming thing for a year and it really works for me. It takes time and effort. But I find that it helps a lot towards achieving my goals. At first, it was really hard to figure out those triggers and correct them. But over time I became a lot better at pointing them out and writing them down. And before you know it, it becomes a challenging game.
How to answer the hard questions
I do a lot of things to improve my life. I go to the gym, I read everything and anything I can get my hands on almost every topic having to do with self-improvement. I pay attention to other people’s behaviours. But the one thing I don’t do enough. The one thing that is the hardest. And the one thing that has shown the most success that I don’t do enough of. The one thing is having conversations with myself. And asking myself the tough questions. Continue reading “How to answer the hard questions”
Know Yourself and Your Enemy
A long time ago I read The Art of War for the sake of reading it as it was one of the top books to read at the time. It’s a very small book written by a Chinese General over 2000 years ago. Recently, while reading a book on mental toughness, I came upon the following quote by that General, Sun Tzu. Continue reading “Know Yourself and Your Enemy”
Why nothing’s impossible
“Nothing’s impossible. There are just people that aren’t willing.”
There are certainly people who don’t know how to accomplish certain things. Those challenges that they can’t overcome. Those are the people who will give up and say it can’t be done.
Nothing’s impossible. Sending people to Mars today is certainly technically challenging. But if you’re willing it’s definitely achievable. To get there you just need the drive and the fortitude to ask for help.
Nothing’s get under my skin more than someone in a position of authority who you would think also has the experience to go with it saying that something in impossible. From a business sense, it may not be doable. From a financial sense, perhaps not within budget. But to simply say it’s impossible and stop there makes no sense.
Development Sandbox: Building A Better Math.pow() Function
I remember a long time ago I had read an article comparing two keys on a classic calculator. Someone had asked why the [Xy] key where y is equal to 2 is slower than the [X2] key. So I thought I’d have a look at the JVM’s equivalent function, Math.pow(). But also I wanted to see if I could create a better version of that function. Continue reading “Development Sandbox: Building A Better Math.pow() Function”
Ways to Learn a New Programming Language
Every programmer should be learning a new programming language on a regular basis. That’s every three, six or twelve months. For me, I like to vary my languages by paradigm. Object Oriented Programming. Functional Programming. Declarative versus Imperative Programming. Compiled Languages versus Scripting Languages. Dynamic versus Static Programming languages. There are two reasons I want to learn new languages. One, I like to apply what I’ve learned from one paradigm and apply it to my current situation. Second, I like to stay up to date on the needs of the industry and be ready for whatever may come. Continue reading “Ways to Learn a New Programming Language”