Everyone has at some point heard or read about this famous fable by Aesop: The hare and the tortoise.
A hare was making fun of a tortoise for being slow. So they decided to sort it out with a race, with the argument that the fastest will win the race. Overestimating his own abilities the hare ran a few miles then took a nap under a tree, underestimating the tortoise, concluding that he will wake up once the tortoise catch up with him.
The tortoise meanwhile kept going slowly but steadily, and eventually caught up with the hare that was still sleeping.
And the rest we all know, the tortoise won.
My sequel of the story:
One week later a fire started deep into the same forest where the tortoise and the hare live. Both of them saw the fire and realized that they need to rapidly inform the other animals. The tortoise being proven the fastest was assigned the mission of informing the entire forest, while the hare just ran away. Confident about his proven abilities the tortoise set out.
In the end the fire caught everyone up, and they all died, including the tortoise. Only the hare lived.
This forest is our new modern society.
Be careful of those proven won arguments,
Which can make you stupid enough to lose sight of reality.
A fundamental concept that I’ve realised when it comes to new habits.
Any habit that you just started to work on only last for a few days or at most few weeks.
It’s like when you want to study for an exam. To be able to successfully complete the work or revision you need still time (a period where you can forecast and predict how your time will flow, what events are aligned and in what order of occurrence), i.e. Stability in your schedule.
So whenever you are striking routine; it’s easy to implement those new habits. Yet as soon as one unexpected event occurs, that “stability” is thrown off balance and its mission failure.
Our “current” habits such as wake up time or study routine, whether we exercise or meditate, all these events are systematic. These events will occur with or without the required stability. In fact they are not habits as we commonly refer to them to, but requirements; requirements that are necessary for our day to function.
Brushing your teeth
Whether waking up early or late;
Or whether you had something to do before brushing;
Won’t make any difference because in the end you will complete that task simply because it’s a necessity, not a habit. If I don’t I usually feel sick or uneasy.
Same goes for showering.
Then what about reading a book or meditating?
We have not been instructed that these habits are a necessity to us nor been trained to get “addicted” to it. You won`t feel sick or uneasy when not reading or mediating.
We all see them as an “extra” thing to do.
And things to do we have a lot of them, queuing up.
When sorting out which one of them to do first; we all think that we pick the easiest one.
Think deeply, and you`ll see that we all pick the most important one, neglecting the rest.
Our important task is the one most often someone is expecting from us. We all prioritise things that have deadlines placed by an external influence. Like those commitments that we give to others. – An assignment that we have to return on due date is how we gauge the importance of our task.
What I’m trying to point out is that as long as you don`t have big commitments or unpredictable things popping into your life, maintaining a new habit won’t be much of a work especially if you just started them. Besides when you’re on free schedule, your brain don’t have much to occupy itself, so might as well play along to have some distraction. But as soon as serious work kicks in, we no longer plays the habits game.
We all try new habits because we concluded that there is something wrong with our schedule of things, maybe we noticed lot of mindless distractions, lack of physical exercise, poor hygiene etc. so we ought to correct them and its usually through a change of schedule like changing routines/habits.
Habits are like medicines
As long you are sick you`ll remember to take your tablets
But as you heals, you`ll slowly forgets about them.
And the cycle repeats itself
Habits are not necessities
They are not the same for everyone. It’s intriguing that we can look at this difference where they both have the same objective as parallel worlds.
You as a teenager may be struggling to make waking up early as your new habit, while someone in another location on the same earth wakes up every day at 6.00am sharp, just because it’s a necessity. Maybe what I’m saying as being a necessity is just a cue to waking up.
Really? We`ll see about that later.
Maybe you want to meditate every day and was unsuccessful, and in another life someone is a yoga instructor, and needs to practice meditation; like a football player would practice every day to harness its art, not because it’s a habit, but rather a necessity to his life.
Living is what is common to all of us
What is necessary to keep us living is what decides our day.
Habits are just “party animals” that peps our living experience
Want to be an early riser?
Take a job or go to a school far from your house and in no time you`ll have a new habit- waking up early!
Are necessities cues?
All books that talks about habits describes cues as the driving mechanism that actuate the levers to reminds us we have a habit in progress, waiting for completion.
So are you wondering?
“Aren`t those cues the necessity that will make us realize that we have a task to do?”
Lining cues along my day to make me remember that I have something to do, is the same as visual assault.
Like bullies that frown at you, forcing you to stay alert so as to not miss the bell!
And as for someone like me, who do not worship “the modern productivity of doing lots” but rather harness mindfulness, refuses to handle such a day.
And everyone does refute the cues bombardments up to a certain tolerance level.
Maybe that’s one of the reasons why absolutely everyone, including all the habit gurus, has never had consistency over a crazy long span of time. They are just like us- surfing the waves of habits, with frequent up and down moments.
Utility of cues?
Cues are mostly add-ons when well utilised. Special features that we add to our routine to temporarily boost our performance. Like those potions which gives us immense power or new abilities in games; but doesn`t last for long. And as soon as we use them, we need to get new one.
Reason why we all have that special reset button for when habits deviate, to re start over again.
Back to necessities
Can we force our mind to understand that certain habits are necessary for us to feel good? To the extent when even our schedule is upside down we still want to complete the habit?
I don’t think we can.
When we say we are adopting a new habit, we are just making sure that we will be working odd hours. Our brain will be perpetually under pressure for maintaining that effort to remember and complete the task.
Yes, implementing a new habit is like that safety sign at all construction sites-“warning heavy work is under progress”.
And there is a limit to which we can sustain that pressure. And the moment that we lose track of the new habit, for sure know that we already got to our limit.
Back to 30 day challenges
This technique works great, well up to 30 days. When you say that you`re going to extend it, you are irritating yourself on an unconscious level-Ah shit here we go again.
This time it’s not a challenge, but a pain in the ass and doesn`t take long before snapping.
Then what`s the plan.
After lots of trial maybe the habit will get promoted to your “necessities’ list”
When did life become a constant repetitive series of boring episodes, where each day is a near exact copy of the last?
The truth is, the flow of time is not constant, and our perception of it is warped and twisted, and is a downright cruel joke sometimes.
We live in islands of time, where one important event is preceded by many – or few, I guess – repetitive tasks before it, and then superseded by the same tasks before the following event.
Take booking a doctor’s appointment a few months in advance, for example. Months suddenly shrink into days, days shrink into mere seconds while we repeat the same process over and over again, waiting for that appointment to happen. Most of the time we spend living is in those moments when we’re not doing anything, those moments when we sit back and look at ourselves and wonder how we got here. Wonder who we are. Wonder where we’re going.
The truth is, life is not short, nor is it long. It’s simply a measure of time allocated to each person for us to grow as an individual and as a species, as a civilisation together. Enjoy every moment before you no longer have the ability to, but also allocate time to plan the future and catch sight of your dreams once again. Those childhood dreams swallowed up by the waves, and the dreams you had with other people that got blown away by the storm.
Time is a cruel mistress, and fate is but a mere daydream.
We’re not meant to live our life like this, spending every day just to meet the next head on. We’re trapped in a cycle of just getting through today, so we might realise our dreams tomorrow. But in truth, waiting for tomorrow will seem like an eternity if you try to persevere through the endless flow of time that way. If you truly want to make the most of the boring days when you’re just waiting, take the time to plan out your future. Dream big, because even if you don’t reach the stars, you’ll have a hell of a lot of fun just building the ladder.
The universe is our playground, and we’re the children. The laws of physics are the rules, and we must abide by them, even if they may seem silly or unjust.
Even with such harsh bindings and laws, life has still blossomed on this pale, fragile blue marble. If with such impossible odds something beautiful like us could exist, we should make the most of it.
Who knows, maybe intelligent life might reappear sometime arbitrarily far in the future, but it certainly won’t be us. The fact that you are reading this means that you still have a chance to make your life better. So get a brush made from stardust and use the universe as your canvas, as this might be the only chance we have to shape the universe with true beauty.
Even if you might feel hopeless, have courage. All is not lost if you’re still alive, no matter how crippled or wounded you may be. So have the courage to pick yourself up with your own two hands, to stand on your own two feet.
Roar in defiance at the world, because it’ll have to try harder if it wants to stop you. You – and only you – have the strength to get out of your situation, the strength to put one foot in front of the other, the strength to never lose hope.
I’ve been through some of the worst incidents myself, and I’m still standing. I’m still standing, because I never lost hope. I’m still standing, because I always had the courage to keep pushing forward, because I always had the strength to stand on my feet, because I never lost sight of the future where I was happy. If I could do it, so can you. You have the same strength I do, you just haven’t realised it yet. So take my hand, and I’ll lead you into a better future. Walk by my side, because I’ll always catch you if you fall. You can do it, trust me. Just never, ever give up.
Starting a new year is always something that we all carefully plan for. By November many are planning and budgeting for December. It`s one of those months where everyone is hype up.
Maybe it’s because of the gifts, the family gatherings, the round table dinner or the firecrackers.
Apart from enjoying this festive month; there’s another aspect to it. The anticipation of a new beginning.
Everyone pictures the start of a new year as a new beginning, even if it’s just the rise of another sun. This one holds more significance.
It feels like we are at the end of the last page of our 2020 logbook, where the last entries will frees us from the hassles and fears of this year.
And upon taking the very first step into 2021, the same trend follows; the new resolutions.
-New Year, new me
Well there is a sad truth to it.
It’s not New Year which is the reference for changes; rather it’s our judgement on when we can possibly make that change.
And interestingly that change is a striking dopamine dose. We all get excited for new things, be able to turn the page or even open a completely new book. But routines won’t allow for such feelings, or rather we think so.
And New Year always brings that auspicious timing for some to bring changes to their lives.
And why not take upon the chance?
-changes come from within.
How is that plausible?
Everything we see, think, observe and interpret comes from our study of the environment around us. If you are surrounded by mediocrity, violence, toxic friends…etc.; how are you supposed to bring that change from within?
You cannot just build a virtual barrier around you!
For me a change comes from 2 factors:
If you live in a messy room and you want to get more disciplined and committed to your new goals; before straightening your mind, straighten your living environment.
And if you want to be more healthy stop hanging around with drunkards.
In every situation; whatever habit you want to change, improve or implement; these 2 factors will have a lot to tell.
2019- “Starting 2020, I’ll be every day at my best level”.
Well that was a deceptive line I’ve told myself. Back then, I defined productivity as a result of constant discipline, maintaining a high focused state for long periods (months).
But every time that I broke that flow; I became more and more aware of how productivity really operates.
-The human brain always chooses the easiest way to go about things.
Yes you read it right.
The human brain is lazy. I won’t get into details, there are great papers well written about this statement out on the net.
If someone thinks that the brain; always choosing the simplest route it can; to be just my perception then think about this:
The effort required to deliberate on a decision,
can in itself affect the decision you`ll be taking.
Besides the effort required, your current mental state will bias the decision greatly.
The same dilemma presented to you at 4 different moods will result in 4 different decision making.
Even if you stay true to your values at all levels.
We are hard wired to follow the path of least resistance.
It’s a survival instinct that we took from our ancestors. These traits serve as bounds to stop you from going beyond familiar paths.
And same can be applied to new experiences that you want to try out. Even with the best efforts, our brain pushes back to the already tried paths
Anyone who tried to implement a new lifestyle has experienced this graph. And I wanted to understand it before launching myself into that improvement journey.
I`ve spent the whole year trying to build new habits; but the focus wasn’t on whether I was able to stick to them but rather on noticing the mental effects it had on my mood and how different situations coupled to it affects my current emotional state, changing my view that I have on pursuing the habits.
And the answers obtained were astonishing.
We always focus on the practical, concrete side of things when implementing habits. Little we are aware that ¾ of what we tend to control as habits comes from the mind and all the influences that it receives.
The last thing and first insight that I will share is that I think new habits should not be viewed as something you want to make part of your daily life. Because most often your brain will refute that idea. The mind is really stubborn and works on its own.
So instead make it believe that it is a challenge, rather than a task to complete.
Tasks are very dreadful and boring which most of us hate. How many of you have deadlines and still procrastinates about it?
Same happens to new habits.
Many scientific evidences prove that merely 30 days of consistency is enough to make a new habit. Therefore the best tip I can give myself is:
-Tackle habits as 30 day challenges
Your brain always hypes up when it is time to take onto challenges;
Use your ego freely, proving everyone wrong
As you would, when someone would affirm you cannot do it.
Minimalism- I`m sure most of you reading this word already heard about it, and knows a little how it works.
We also have other derivations of it; like essentialism, prioritism etc…. But that`s just marketing of words. Deep down all it means is just minimalism.
Each one of us has different perceptions about minimalism;
Some compares it to some sort of Sept, like some new kind of emerging religion.
Some may describe it as some sort of therapy than mentally deranged people use to feel good.
Other may interpret it as having control over your life.
Other may condemn it as some sort of brand, a trendy status that people use to attract attention.
Surprisingly all of those perceptions exist and I know people using them as such.
Then we also have people who are exploring minimalism in a scientific concrete way.
Simply put, those people don’t just use what was told as to be minimalism practices.
Then conduct small tests, tweak it wherever it is more appropriate to do it, analyses and then deliberate on the usefulness of such practice. These people are not brainless machine like waste carriers which collects all thrash they come across.
Ever heard of: Matt D’Avella, Nathaniel Drew, Joshua Fields Millburn and Rayan Nicodemus, Joey Schweitzer or Thomas Frank.
Each of those individuals explores and uses minimalism extremely differently. Some of them clearly states that they are minimalist whereas others don’t say it explicitly or maybe they aren`t, only focusing on certain aspect of it.
For me all of them share a common point of view: How not to get lost and run towards the nonsensical ridiculous rushing world we are in. Through their content sharing, they bring forth and make us realize how bad distractions are slowing killing our life experience, progress or productivity.
They are trying to show us how to get a more realistic view of life, like giving us freedom over the misconceptualized definition of success that everyone thinks they are forced to swallow and believe firmly into.
Minimalism is an extremely vast topic which intertwines with tons of other concepts. This may be one of the reasons why each one of us has a different view of it.
Someone may be more into exploring abilities of oneself kind of a productivity teacher like Mr. Frank.
Or like Mr. D`Avella more into mindfulness and fulfillment.
Or even abstract and philosophical like Nathaniel Drew.
Each of their journeys touches in some way minimalism in a deep distinct thoughtful way.
Of course there are many others out there which I don’t know of, or maybe their minimalism doesn`t really inspire me that’s why I’m not mentioning them.
Minimalism is not only perpetual reduction of the amount of physical things you own, it also englobes the mental aspect of things, emotion, relationships that we trapped ourselves into like a cluttered mind, same way we mess up our house with a lot of useless, unimportant materials.
I don’t know about others, but I really don’t like filled schedules. It can be heavy, but not full; translating that per day, I’ll only do things for a certain amount of hours and then I’ll shut engine.
Of course there will be exceptions, where all day work is required, but certainly it will be followed by rest days.
I know many people around me who are lost, trapped in that rushing trend of making ends meet, struggling hard to make every individual on earth to see them, to acknowledge them.
I used to form part of that crowd.
Many of us want to be talked about, like it’s a requirement to be visible in the current world. Most of us don’t know we are lost, or maybe we know, it’s just that we think there is no other option than this one.
I soon realized, this lifestyle wasn`t meant for me. Mine needs to be slower, calmer, less filled with things “to care about”.
Just search for less and minimalism will pop up.
Most of our days play the same tune:
Things to do
Things to think about
Things to have/buy
How much is enough?
Things to have
Why do we buy things?
To use them.
When to use them?
When we need them
And when do we need them?
Maybe every day, or maybe once a while or even better we predicted that we would need it and bought it based on whatever reason was available to us at that time.
Have you ever considered how your life would be without it?
Easy. You don’t own it, yet you are still alive, full of enthusiasm.
All you did is just have a thought about buying it.
So I can safely say owning something is rather a choice more than obligation, whether you did convince yourself to afford it.
“Happiness isn’t about money” –is it that true?
Or is it more about how comfortable your financial situation is?
In our modern materialistic world, our happiness level is gauged by how comfortable our financial situation is. And that’s a given fact no one can denies. Thus instead of buying things to make you feel good; you should feel good about having a comfortable financial status. No need for it to be fancy, just know that there is no need to stress over it is enough of a big burden lifted.
The Famous Favorites
What are your favorite’s foods, clothes, shoes, movies, friends, etc…?
Favorite: “A person or thing that is preferred to all others of the same kind or is especially well liked”.
Judging from that definition, how come such a word has on official plural form? That’s contradictory!
And we are the most affected by this contradiction; everyone has favourites nowadays. From my perspective having something as your favourite means that the latter holds a special meaning, creates a unique type of emotion when connecting with it.
One marble form a stack of 100 marbles becomes special when you have a special unexplained attraction to it. But if you have 100 favourites marbles from 200 marbles, that makes you someone shallow; because that’s not speciality, that’s greed. That marble loses its value to you because it is not unique; there are 99 more that hold the same value. So in the end it’s like choosing 1 marble from a stack of 100, with no biased preference whatsoever.
How about rating your relationship with other individuals in order of preference?
Ever heard of someone falling in love with another woman after getting married? Well if he did really love the first one, how come he fell in love twice? Isn’t that something unique to occur? I’m aware that there are firsts and second or things like relationship maintenance, but occurring twice at the same time! – That’s absurdity
We all want to be famous even though we are not good at anything
And we fulfill this prognostication by having many acquaintances. And I usually view this practice like recruiting members, trying to build a fan club.
Having many acquaintances doesn’t mean anything; it just shows how good your memory is at remembering people’s faces.
Relationships are like plants; if you plant too many in your garden, they will compete for space and many weak ones are going to die; and if you plant hardly any, the garden will be a void. You should rather water and nurture only the few that are going to bear fruits.
Emotional attachments fade out with time if not maintained,
Don’t opt for too many where you can’t handle,
Focus on the few real ones.
You can’t help yourself not meeting new people
The 3 levels:
They usually show how deep or significant I would usually interact with people I know.
Family is not a term that I use to express blood related people, its more for people who knows you inside out, who really invest their time and energy in valuing the bond we share. And that’s not something you can ask for it’s only showed through actions. And I ought to do the same for them. Many of the blood related individuals don’t fit in here and very few of what someone would call friends will get into it.
Then we have friends, those who know only a certain aspect of your personality or self. Their picture of you is usually based on the environment that you usually meet and interact. Thus it’s highly possible they will help you as friends, but that would be only in that referenced environment. Outside this would be pure awkwardness or exposing your vulnerability. For example classmates or co-workers.
Lastly we have the outermost shell, acquaintances. Those are individuals that usually hold no meaning to you, just people that you happen to know. But that doesn’t mean they are bad persons whatsoever. It’s just that I don’t value spending time to connect with them.
Do remember, those 3 sets are dynamic; elements inside them can moves in and out over time, a lot in fact. Each of those labels can change on someone with time. Its really something unpredictable that just occurs and you accept it.
Like good school friends are lost after quitting school, because you don’t meet or talk much after and the relationship slowly fades out. And on the other side you start hanging out with new people with whom you becomes good friends later on.
I want to point out that there is no fake self in not showing someone what your personality as a whole is. Putting everything bad or evil aside, not showing someone who you really are can be rather seen as a lack of communication between individuals or more like willingness in keeping it for yourself. Maybe he wasn’t worth it or wasn’t ready to know it yet, that’s personal preference.
Things to do, Things to think about
If you own less physically and mentally,
you have less to think about and thus have less things to do.
Having many relationships mean that you will have to do a lot of “maintenance” to keep them alive; and can sometimes be physically and mentally tiring.
Owning many things most certainly implies the need to keep track of this huge number of items (even though we are going to forget about a lot) in mind and a lot to replace as they get old or broken, because simply put;
Humans get easily attached to objects that form part of their routine.