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Productivity and Motivation

I had some very interesting conversations with two people.

One who mentioned the importance of reading a lot regardless of whether or not you had a specific question but instead to introduce myself to new ideas which may raise questions of their own. This is an interesting idea and I’m sure it works for him but my question is would it work for an introvert who spends a lot of time on reflection and innovation, or would all that reading just overcrowd an introvert’s mind.

The other suggested working towards a steady job regardless of whether or not you had dreams of your own. It seemed like he valued the simple luxuries like a big house, a car, ect, more than I do, but I still really do see where he was coming from. He grew up in a pretty well-off family and now that he wants to move out on his own he is realizing how much he his parents were providing him with and he wants to have that for himself and his family. That’s very reasonable. The thing is, I’m not sure I had been thinking that far ahead. The only times I had thought that far ahead were to motivate myself to make money for completely different reasons. Recently after hearing steve pavlina talk about why you should never work for someone else or be paid for your time, ect, I started thinking, “ya that’s right , why should I work for anyone else, why should I ever go to school again” also I realized I wasn’t being true to myself by just going to school for a major I didn’t care about just to get the diploma just to make money so that maybe girls will see me as an independent and more powerful person. I realized it wasn’t worth giving up on who I was, sacrificing it all to make money. I realized I was worth more than that.

However I think when I was in school I was overzealous towards schooling, and money. Then when I got my college diploma and no job for 5 months and realized I hated my major, I become over zealously opposed to school. I Think both experiences were eye opening but that now my choice has to be based on a more complex strategy then just doing the opposite of what I had been doing. SO I’m thinking of being BOTH true to myself AND getting myself set up for when I want to start a family.

Next point is that me and I think many other passionate people, artist, ect, will not be able to work on their passion for hours at a time. Besides those times when inspiration strikes, any other work in that field will be the same as working on something they aren’t passionate about besides the fact that they are being true to themselves. Put another way, my creative output from a year I was in school and my output from a year I was free 24/7 where about the same. so there is no point not spending time on something else if the time will be just wasted other wise. Only it has to be something that seems worth while, and in a healthy environment, so working in a field and around people you can’t relate to at all would be unhealthy.

The Plan:

Put the best of all worlds together.

So you have your passion(s) on the one hand, the “right now hand”, and you hope that with those you will reach a point where you are making a decent income without having to work so hard that you lose interest in them “burn out”.
and you have your future, the time when you will want to start a family and want to be able to live well with them.
My latest hypothesis was that if you were to focus on giving to yourself and to everyone around you and have a positive attitude and be true to yourself and be healthy, that people would pay you for just that. However another idea, possibly less risky, and actually in some cases more time efficient, would be to do do both.

Assuming nothing your passionate about has a corresponding university major, simply choose what ever is closest and has good earning potential. There should be something like that, something where studying it would improve how you perform in your passion. Then study that at a more relaxed pace than in university.

Be true to yourself now AND work towards the life you want for your future family at a pace set so that you will have what you need when you need it.

Create when you want to create AND schedule a time everyday where you study as if in school.
Self study until you have the money to enroll in a course but be meeting people in your chosen field all the while.(Very different from when I graduated and then started trying to make contacts)
This strategy includes what the first person told me which was too try reading just to expand my knowledge base in my field of interest. However I am doing it two aims, two

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Make all variables cool names is a small start.
Give a cool background image.
create an imaginary company that is cool and from eve online.

What if I was doing transmission line analysis.

I could make the lines transmit something cool.
Use cool colored wires.
write in a cool font.
have a calculator that makes cool sounds.
have cool music playing in background or in head.
superimpose futuristic coolness like eve online, over the work.
Work with other people.
Work with hot girls around.
…if this was a class lab, I could suggest a role play concept
to work with, and solve all problems with that concept in mind.
Example, find length of whatever for whatever coil or whatever?
Create a small back story with the calculation as very important.
Use cool colors for all wires. Cool fonts for all writing.
Write on cool paper. Transmit something cool over the frequency,
cool as in a very specific frequency number, “911khz”for an
in bad taste example.

Take a picture of the spectrometer and Photoshop it to look
cooler and for the actual waves to be a cooler color.

Think of other cooler uses for this measurement.
Is it used in anything else that is cool?
How can u use this concept to make something beautiful?
Can you create a filter or affect sound in someway?
What about images or video?
Can you create anything very powerful using this.

There, and transmission line theory was so boring for me.

That was 20min worth of brainstorming, or less.

Remember, the idea of adventure point and click didn’t even
come to me on my own, I had to see it online to remember/think of
it. So imagine how many other ways I could make transmission line
theory fun and beautiful if given the time.

The problem is people just assume it can’t be fun. It can though, the
whole process can be turned into one giant work of art, if you
only have the winning attitude, and figure out how.

Infinite possibilities for overcoming any situation. That is just
reality as it can’t really be proven other wise.

So beyond just having hope for what you want, is the hope that
you can create things you want, out of things you don’t even
want. Making work fun. Of course you still want the initial things
you wanted more if they were worth while to begin with, but
the work can be fed love to the point that it is enjoyable enough
to be done with zeal as well.

I think this love and beauty can be applied to every area of life.
However, I also not that if there is a negative situation, like
danger or unhealthy atmosphere, it should be dealt with using
intelligence not fear. Relaxed intelligence. Negative situations
don’t need to be met love, that is for the mundane, not the
unhealthy. Well if you can do beauty, love, smart and relaxed, to
beat something negative then more power. It’s past my bed time.

Now I realize that just deciding to have fun is not
enough.

I know making music can end with something beautiful.
That still is’nt always enough to drive me to create
any. Days like today, the only way I can find fun
easily is with the most passive of pursuits.The
easiest wins. SO I watched like 3 farscape episodes
and enjoyed most minutes of it.

WHen it comes to active fun though, I don’t have that
energy. WHy is that. WHat is keeping me from having
it. Well I’m sure changing my sleeping pattern
as well as the overtraining I did yesterday and the
fasting today have something to do with it.

However these things happen. I’d rather not have to
“pack it in” and wait for a better day to try
again. That does’nt seem ideal or powerful or
independant.

I also feel like if I was with freinds I would be
able to have more fun, but then it is the same
passive thing again. The freinds bring the fun to me.

My solution is chosing mini goals, so small you just
have to do it once. Then so easy you can’t do it just
once.

I remembered this as I was thinking about discipline
as the factor I needed. However, mini-goals are more
in the realm of fun as well. I’ts like a seed of
active fun. Pop one bubble of bubble wrap is the seed.
Eat one chip.Seed.

I can also so with confidence from
my research that the seed process is
dopamine dependant. This leads me to believe that
I am running on less dopamine than usual and I
assume it’s mostly over training by doing
forced reps of dead lifts 5×5 yesterday.

So this is’nt the same as forcing myself do to
something out of hatred. This is more about forcing
myself to do something because I realize I don’t feel
like doing anything and know this is not healthy and
needs to be dealt with right now.

Then it is also about the general fun factor of
active fun / creation, that needs to be facilitated
by the seed of a mini goal.

It’s for the sake of love and fun, it’s not forcing
myself to work only for money. It’s pushing myself
gently into a fun-positive state so I can be
productive towards goals I beleive in.

Also , I will use prioreties, setting the work as highest.
SO I would say, I only have to do one mini goal, but the
max I can do is 8 hrs of work. Aswell, until I reach 8 hr,
I wont work on anything that is not that goal, because
it has priorety. Once done the 8hrs, I move to the thing
with next highest priorety, lets say mandarin.

mini-goal:entertainment intervals, as short or long as
is fun and rewarding.

Is this a maintainable and productive lifestyle?
We shall find out! 20/05/2013

plus: Triggers – environmental reminders of goals, helps
motivation

Plus: keeping creation and connect/consume , in different
micro goals.

Plus: be patient so that micro goals can be satisfying.

The Pokemon Lifestyle
(Paragraph three is summary)

I grew up with pokemon. A show about a guy names Ash who had a long term goal of becoming a pokemon master. A goal with an intentionally vague meaning apparently. Here’s the thing. I didn’t sit down t every episode waiting for him to become a pokemon master. If I did that, I would be disappointed every episode until he got there. I watched every episode to experience his daily adventure.

Every episode was a new adventure, he was gaining something amazing in every episode. A new pokemon, a new friend, new information. Something cool. I’m not sure if his journey has ever came to an end and I don’t remember watching a “last episode” and the show is still airing new eps I think.

Don’t worry this post is me just saying I should enjoy the journey. The thing is Ash’s journey was non stop winning, every episode and often seemed to be by chance although he was willing to do whatever it took to win. I think in real life, people have to create their own daily wins. If I can create a big win every day(in the direction of some long term goal is even better) then I am enjoying the journey. However, that daily win needs to be big and it needs to be big independent of any long term goal it may relate to. The long term goal is just icing on the cake of life. Life is it’s own ultimate win made up of consciousness and daily(hourly) winning.

This idea of having daily goals, daily wins, I think is a very important part of enjoying the journey. It kinda relates to mindfulness because I think when the goal’s completion time is short enough I think it’s easy to become absorbed and in the present. Where as the longer it will take to achieve, the more stressful and the less engaging the goal will be.

There are some long term goals that automatically produce nice short term achievements. For me, working out gives me a nice “pump”. It’s an achievement, I finish the workout noticeably bigger than when I started. Also I feel good. Also, every set of an excessive is an even shorter goal that gives a small pump and small feeling of achievement.

Not all long term goals have this innate thing though. Some times I have to chose to create value for myself in the short term in the direction of a long term goal. I could learn a new language by memorizing 10 000 sentences. Or I could write a poem in the languages using a dictionary, and put it online for people to read. Then write a speech, then translate something, then write a song and sing it and make a video and put it on youtube. ect ect. Just separate individual goals, creating value for myself every day.

The long term goal is just a path, I still have to walk the path. The walking of the path is my life, my consciousness, with out it, there are no goals.

Ok, another example. Lets say someone had an office job for a year and wants to get in awesome shape. They could eat all things they don’t like and run on a hamster wheel 4 times a week and do the same lifts 3 days a week for 6 months. Or they could: Make one health adjustment to their diet. Beat someone of equal skill in a sport. Reduce their bad cholesterol by one point. Make another health adjustment. Learn one more skill in a sport. Learn an Olympic lift. Increase the weight they lift for one lift.

Anyways, knowing what Ash’s adventures were like, let’s say I wanted to be a pokemon master. If I had the choice to either snap my fingers and be a pokemon master(fast forwarding through the journey or hamster wheeling it), or go through his adventure and at the end be a pokemon master…

Well let’s analyze the choices. If I snapped my fingers and fast forward to the part where I was a pokemon master, sure that’s cool, but would I have met Brock, Misty, Pichachu? Would we have defeated team rocket a billion times? Would I have seen bulbasaurs secret forest? Would I have met the squirtle gang? Would I have met the ghosts in lavender town? Would I have even been to lavender town, sapphire city, vermillion city? Would I even know those were names of colors? Would Even been out my front door? Nope, cause that was all stuff Ash did on the journey.

I would chose to go on the adventure, for the adventure it’s self. So what is a pokemon master. Apparently this was left up to the imagination of the viewers. http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Pokémon_Master
I imagine “pokemon master” might actually be a way to describe someone who is enjoying the journey of becoming a pokemon master, or enjoying the journey to any long term goal.

I notice that when I really get into the Hanzi studying, close to about a month in I start to worry about if I will Finish or not. It is an extremely compulsive worrying and it seeps into my image of learning the language as a whole. What I mean is, the more I start to worry, the more I associate the language with stress. I obviously love the language a lot for it to cause me this much worry, but the worry has already once been my undoing. It got to the point where I couldn’t sleep properly and I eventually felt it was best for my health and any future chance of learning the language for me to quit so I did.

Now I’m back at it, and the worrying is rearing it’s unattractive head once more. this time I have many more perspectives to view the worrying from.

For one, I am viewing this as a challenge, and one I will overcome and learn from and be able to apply to many other areas in my life so it’s such a win right now.

I can see areas that are causes and affects of stress.Three are passive, (physical, mental, and emotional), and one is active, the actually acting on the stress either my ruminating on it or surfing the web for help or trying to figure out how to deal with it. different forms of stress I think require different treatment but it seems with this compulsive form of worry, the actual acting based on the stress is what needs to be treated.

Lets make no mistake about it, what I have here is a compulsion. It is a chronic worry that starts with the fear that I wont reach my goal, the fear that I will lose interest before I can reach it. This worry then leads to me associating the language with stress which builds until it becomes at least temporarily self-fulfilling.

The compulsive action that I need to treat is the super vigilance of the possibility of losing interest. Of course I need to keep my motivation in check, but not constantly and not as actively as I start doing as part of the compulsion. There is a difference. I am already putting off any other interests so that I don`t get distracted. I already started of small and built up slowly. I already made learning the Hanzi fun. I already try to focus on one day and one moment at a time instead of setting my sights on a goal so far away that it makes me sick with need which would be stressful on it`s own. Things like this keep motivation in check. These and then just doing the work and making it a habit.

What have been doing compulsively is checking to see thathatat I am still enjoying the work, compulsively checking that I am not too stressed or on the verge of burning out and compulsively checking that I still want to learn Chinese. Really downer type stuff. This is due in part to the fact that I am an INTP and so I have had many fleeting interested thathatat came and left me feeling like I`d failed once I lost interest. Another part is that I naturally have a bit more anxiety than the normal person which leaves me a bit more open to compulsive worrying and precautions.

However, I have wanted to learn Chinese since I was first introduced to it at around 8 years old so I think that is saying something about my level of interest. It`s probably not going anywhere. It`s more valuable than a fleeting INTP interest in something like poker or magic tricks that lasts for like a week. I think what was happening was I was filtering through what was really valuable to me and what was not. Poker is not. So that`s why I never kept up with it. Chinese is. That’s why it`s been a life long journey.

How do I defeat the stress, the worrying. The main thing I am going to try is to not entertain the compulsion which only strengthens the anxiety. I will simply let go of the idea and keep learning as if nothing is standing in my way. That way if the stress is truly just because of the compulsion then the less I entertain it, the weaker the thoughts and anxieties will get until they can no longer exist.

When I decide not to engage in the compulsion, I am left with choosing to have fun in everyvery moment and letting go of what will happen when I complete the Hanzi. I know I can do it, I’ve made it easy and fun, and I can continue to make it even easier and more fun if I need to. To be so stressed out about what will happen once I finish (not be interested any more or something) definitely says something about where I am in the moment and day to day. I’m not enjoying myself simply because of a worry of the future. That is what I need to fix. That is what a lot of people need to fix in life in general. People need to decide on what they want to do, decide what makes sense, and then enjoy every moment of there lives with confidence that they will reach there goals and that they can overcome any obstacles if they arise

Other areas of stress reduction work too like full-body relaxation(for physical and emotional) and positive psychology(for mental) which I am doing as well.

This is my first assault against burnout and I think the logic is sound and that it should work. Otherwise I will try something else. Also I hope others can benefit from this as well.

Another possibility is that the speed I am going, working up to 5 hours a day, is based on the need to finish fast because of the fear that if I don’t I will lose interest. I have a strict bed time and schedule and I do this every day without fail unless I have work then I miss one or two of the five sessions per day. The thought of doing 5 hours a day is stressful to imagine however I have made studying quite fun and find I can easily get into a flow so time passed very fast. 5 hours studying a day doesn’t even compare to school, plus I have done this same strategy for a fitness certification with success so I know it’s not too hard.

So the thing I have observed was that with fun, at least the type you consume like movies, video games, and TV, it’s more about the novelty of experience than being desensitized to it. The thing is in most of these cases novelty and sensitivity are synonymous. You are desensitized when the experience is no longer novel and it is no longer novel when you’ve done it already and to the degree to which you’ve done it. Of course this is sensitivity to novelty which is a form of stimulation being intensified or lessened depending on how novel the experience.

So the thing is that you can easily alter the level of novel by simply not being aware of the past experience and you can do this in a few ways, looking at things from new perspectives is one, and simply being present which would mean not being aware of the past experiences and being an unbiased observer, is another.

So in my quest to develop this ability in myself to apply to many areas in my life, one being learning the 3000 Hanzi, I am working out how to condition my mind to easily focus on the present. I feel that to streamline the process would allow it to be more fun and less a monk’s disciplinary quest.

So to do this I would need to create a lifestyle that makes it easy so I would have to remove elements that draw me compulsively to thinking of the future.  So what are those elements? I need to make a list. Besides the regular daily worries, and hunger, thirst, I will put out two that I think people don’t commonly associate with compulsion and stress.

Stories

I observe that stories, TV, video games, anything with a long story and cliff hangers gives me an urge to know what happens next. This urge is a pull towards the future, its enjoyable when you can find out quickly but it’s also an urge, an anxious feeling, a form of stress. This feeling is not conducive to a present moment focused mind.

Goals

I think goals invite thoughts of the future. A goal is something you don’t have presently but want to get in the future. Even surfing the internet, even learning mindfulness, these are all goals and thoughts of them take us out of the present moment. Goals are a form of psychological stress because your mind sees them as an extension of you that you don’t have yet which means it is a detached part of you. this is stressful like losing a hand is stressful, depending on how important the goal is and how long it will take to get it. I would say the further into the future the goal is the less you should think about it. Also the more important it is the less you should think about it. Also the harder it is to achieve the less you should think about it. Ofcourse there are times when it is efficient to think about it but otherwise people just think about it out of compulsion.

Being present isn’t as much about a goal of being present. How could it be when those are two conflicting things. Being present is about letting go of the future and the past. It isn’t a goal, it’s closer to a forfeit.

There’s nothing wrong with having goals, but thinking about them more than you need to is stressful. I think a better way is to choose a goal and then work towards it while being present. Yes this is possible. Just because your in the present doesn’t mean you forget what you wanted to do there. Well maybe in extreme cases it might but not the way I’m suggesting. You choose a goal for the future, then come back to the present with the intention to work on it. In the present you work on it, forgetting the bigger picture and working moment by moment simply focusing on the present. Not about how much you’ve done, just focused on experiencing each moment of your life while your working.

Ah, correction.

You aren’t supposed to try to focus on the present, that is a paradoxical goal. You should simply let go of anything that is not the present. Letting go is not a goal, it might seem like one but it is not a form of stress, it’s a form of release and so I stand by my idea that it is not a goal.

Then if you are working on something, instead of seeing it as a goal, just do it, while not having the past of future in mind as much as possible.

I feel this is the least stressful way to go about working on tasks especially larger tasks. Not only is it not stressful, it would be enjoyable as you would be able to experience novelty. Its about actively enjoying the journey towards a worthy destination.

The one time I did nothing for 4 hours:
I once did an experiment where I hung out in my room and did nothing, just stood, sat, and stared off into space for at least 4 hours. I wanted to see if I could over ride all the urges that ran through me on a daily basis like surfing the internet, watching tv, playing video games, and goals. So I did nothing for four hours to see if I could condition myself to be comfortably in that state.

What happened was that at around the four hour mark I was playing with a piece of string or something equally as mundane and I was actually beginning to enjoy myself while doing so. I ended the experiment around then, coming to the conclusion that fun is relative to what you have available to you. Meaning you can have fun with nothing but a piece of string if that’s what you have to work with.

The time I studied for 2 weeks straight :
During the 2 weeks leading to the end of one particularly hard semester in college I was studying non stop almost, for two weeks. After the exams were over and I realized I was a “free man” for the next 3 weeks winter holidays I felt a rush of emotion. I had 3 weeks to do what ever I wanted. From this I concluded that if you got used to one level of fun and then an more intense level was introduced you will experience a rush. Strong pleasure associated with the expectancy of fun and the fun itself will be more enjoyable having not been experienced recently.

These two experiences lead me to believe that fun was like a drug and that it was something you could become desensitized to and need more of to get the same high or a better high. Also that you could desensitize yourself by going cold turkey for long enough to “get used to” a lower level of fun.

However I am re-examining my findings in light of new research into Mindfulness. There are two factors of mindfulness that seem to fit the two experiences I described. Present moment, and novelty.

The present moment is being focused on the present moment only, without relating it to the past or future or seeing it as good or bad.

Novelty, I would say is a form of fun, meaning when you experiencing it, you are having fun. It is the feeling that you are seeing something for the first time, seeing the wonder of something. What it is is your brain taking in an optimal amount of data from something. When you see something for the first time, the less related it is to something you’ve seen already, the more novel it is and the more data your brain will take in at once to process this new thing.

The connection between present moment and novelty is that if you observe something as it is in the present without relating it to what you know from the past, you create novelty because you observe that thing as if you haven’t seen it before.

Part of my first experience may have been of novelty because I was playing with string almost as if it was something I had never seen before. I wasn’t thinking about the future or the past, I was just in the moment.

The second experience is more related to present vs future thoughts. Once I finished studying I realized I had 3 weeks to explore new and novel things and that was exiting but it was future oriented. When it actually came time to have the fun, I didn’t have as much fun as I had anticipated. Maybe because I was anticipating more than being present.