Category Archives: philosophy

If you want to strengthen Will-Power, you’ll need to exercise Doing what you said you’d Do

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i'mpossible

I admit that I am a little self-conscious about how basic my first round goals are:

(Sleep, Diet, Exercise, this Blog, Work plans, reading & learning, organizing, scheduling, budgeting, etc.)

I also have a bit of shame in admitting that an embarrassingly common mistake I have made, is: I, (perhaps more frequently than the average person or at least more publicly), come up with fantastically ambitious plans & then I get distracted, derailed or my interest simply wanes… & then nothing much comes of my grandiose visions.

Thankfully, I have achieved at least enough, that I feel my self-esteem is at a healthy level & I have some workable degree of credibility with my peers. So, it just begs the question: What’s the difference?

When it has worked, Why? How did I accomplish &/or complete what I’ve accomplished &/or completed?

versus: that which I’ve left unanswered, incomplete, or wholly undone?

In part, this experiment , (I am, rather plainly, calling:) my “Fulfillment Project” is meant to discover & refine that key difference.

At the moment, I suspect a key factor has been the degree to which an endeavor was “self-sufficiently doable”. I mean to say, for example, that a resolution to workout for 2 consecutive hours every single day at a gym with a trainer is soon challenged… What if your car breaks down? What if your gym is closed? What if your trainer gets sick? What if you are running late? What if you have immoveable commitments & don’t have 2 hours? What if you get sick? Etc. Any of these occurences, would have a reasonable person let themselves off the hook for fulfilling on their commitment. 1 day off, might through happenstance, become 2 days or 3 days in a row & then you are off schedule. Before you know it, it often takes just as much re-starting willpower as it di to start in the first place; which must’ve been a considerable & hard enough to must ammount of willpower given the evidence of your not having been doing whatever it was that you resolved to do, before your recent resolution to do it.

 

versus

What if you commit to exercising full out for 10 minutes — NO MATTER WHAT

Even if you are sick, you could exercise for 10 minutes. 10 minutes is long enough to get your hear rate to maximum. 10 minutes is long enough to do 2 full sets of :

35 incline sit-ups, 35 V-shaped floor-washers, 35 leg raise push-ups, 35 deep-squats w/ calf-raises & shoulder-burns w/ fore-arm flexes, 15 chin-ups & 35 Supermans   —- all using only body weight.

10 minutes seems something anyone can muster even when they don’t feel like it. 10 minutes is so “self-sufficiently doable” that  it is hard to let oneself off the hook, even when thwarting circumstances arise. & often, for me, ( much more so than I ever expect), fulfilling on that 10 minutes creates a momentum that has me choose to keep going.

Setting my goals at “self-sufficiently doable” levels keeps me from feeling oppressed by them & subsequently resisting them & then justifying why I am not wrong for not fulfilling, but rather,  was overly-ambitious in setting soooo many goals sooo high in the first place.

“Self-sufficiently doable” keeps it easy so there is room for fun.

Plus: at the end of each day, I have exercised my will-power muscles & integrity muscles & commitment muscles. Keeping my word to myself doesn’t just make a life by design seem ” self-sufficiently doable”, but by practicing doing what I said I would do, I am, in fact, already living a life by my own design.

I am what I Do, not what I Think

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I had fun painting the backdrop, which I entitled "shhh-hh...."

Progress is taking action steps, not deconstructive analysis. I had fun painting the backdrop, which I entitled “Shhh-hh…”

5 weeks have elapsed!! along what is developing into my year-long “Fulfilment Project” for 2015. I have invested eye-blinding hours reading (mostly skimming) & studying dump-trucks full of information on the internet that I thought might help me on my quest to find short-cuts to sustained happiness & getting the most out of life for the minimum investment of effort. However…

     In the tragic-comedy of a Sisyphusian sort of insight, I just realized that I have typed 267 pages worth of notes! Ha! That is basically equivalent to a novel! (A really incoherent & fragmented, schizophrenic novel, but by page count: a novel.)
    The ridiculousness of this is, that just as I thought I was making progress, having summarized & correlated & compounded so much diverse information from the internet & having officially completed reading 2 of my selected books… it turns out that just reading my notes will take as much effort as reading yet another book! =2 steps forward & 1 step back… what a perfect irony!
— I just had a quick daydream montage in my mind of:
      …pushing myself to run along a flat desert sand path of a known distance of 10 miles. At first I am motivated by my progress of having run, what I estimate should be, 2.5 miles, so far…, until startlingly I suddenly see a bird twice the size of normal, swoop down & catch a lizard twice the size of normal & land on a cactus that is twice the size of normal…
      I begin to realize that, while I have, in fact, covered some distance & the 10 miles stayed a fixed 10 miles, I am shrinking relative to the desert & have, so far, shrunk to half my original size in a quarter of the time of my planned run; therefore, in net effect, the distance has doubled, since each of my strides now only covers half the ground. Further, if I have shrunk by half in only a quarter of the time, it stands to reason that, at the same rate, I will shrink by half again in the next, let’s say 25minutes, of time. So, if I was originally 5’10″ & planning to run 10 miles in 100 minutes, I am now likely to be, by the 100 minute mark, only 4.375″ tall & have only covered 2.34375 miles, but that isn’t the most disheartening news… I am still shrinking, so the net effect is that I will continue to cover only half the ground that I did each previous 25 minutes. So the next 100 minutes, I will only have covered an additional .1464843 of a mile. & the next 100 minutes after that would only add another .0091552 of a mile & the next 100minutes would only add .0005719… After 400 minutes ( 4x’s the 10 mile effort & 16x’s the effort I thought would have brought me to the 2.5 mile marker), I still would not have reached the 2.5 mile marker that I thought I had already reached… worse still: I would be eternally getting closer with infinity still to go…. never ever ever arriving.
The above daydream metaphor is often how pursuits such as these progress for me.
As it turns out, I just had a valuable insight!
 ….my internal mental action of studying & preparing to post, occurred in external reality as the emptiness of inaction…
My successfully expanding research to prepare to post, would be empirically observed as my failure to post anything at all over the past 2 weeks.
I just got more “forwarding” value from this insight that than all the reading & studying I’ve done up to now.
Here’s the insight:
When “approaching” a problem, I have a propensity to “take a step back”.
It goes something like this:
I ask myself, ” What do I want?”
I answer myself, “I should imagine how the 125 year old future me would apply his accumulated wisdom in suggesting an answer to that question.”
I resist the temptation to Hugh Hefner-ify the 125 year old me &…
I imagine the answer would be in the context of fulfillment & legacy & how I might make wiser choices today that become smarter strategies aimed at creating the greatest sustainable good for myself & those I love & that I would enjoy the journey all along the way.
cue my dysfunction:
Therefore since Time is the one ever-perishing, non-renewable, non-preservable commodity required to invest in all endeavors in such a life, I should develop an economic formula as a ranking & selection tool for discerning where one could best invest their time for the maximum return on that investment.
Therefore I should distinguish all the universal “Currencies” of life & their respective “Exchange Rates” as ratios to units of time.
Therefore I will have to quantitatively & qualitatively distinguish each currency into a discrete yet versatile unit.
Therefore I should invent an “Option Discovery” process, since the “ultimate” path is a rank only determined by its position relative to the “penultimate”, “antepenultimate”, & “preantepenultimate” best-fitting options available according to your intended result & criteria of tolerances.
Therefore I should divide all areas of life into distinct playgrounds.
Therefore I should distinguish all ways to play.
Therefore I develop a goal-setting process.
Therefore I should construct strategy principles into applicable templates.
Therefore I should develop a time management methodologies & motivational techniques
Therefore I should…
& so the research into competeing theories begins which explodes into an ever-expanding universe of peripheral topics & sub-topics;
 while I zoom-in to analyze the main topic at first with a magnifying glass, then a microscope & then an electron microscope & then I study the quarks which make up the protons & neutrons of the atoms that make up the molecules of the cells of the organs of each creature in each ecosystem on each continent of each world in the solar system of the project which I want to begin… eternally getting closer with infinity to go.
…Not this time.
Now, I get it. Memorizing a map is nothing like visiting a place.
I will figure this out experientially– by virture of tangible practice versus abstract theory.
I will “lean into it” so that, if I am to make mistakes & falter, I will fall forward…
even if on my face… it may still be over the goal line.
I have now learned:
You can infinitely divide a single stride into ever smaller units of measurement & divide any individual unit infinitely in half, but moving forward is actually taking step by step in a simple process of addition (whether or not you ever comprehend the infinite subsets of fractions contained.)
I think; therefore I am;
but I am what I do;
not what I think.

What I focus on gives me my Reality.

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face-deep blue-eyed peep into a sleeping rainbow

face-deep blue-eyed peep into a sleeping rainbow

I never finished the above painting when I was 13 years old & pondering what the future may hold for me… but I am glad, now, that I started it & got as far as I did. There are many lessons I have learned since then, that come to mind behind these same blue-eyes.  Peeping again into the sleeping rainbow of my future, I have learned that what I see is my reality; & what I see is what I focus on; therefore: what I focus on gives me my reality.

 

Since Spring is when new life begins, I’ve begun making a 90 day action plan to begin March 21st, the 1st day of Spring (until June 21st, the Summer Solstice) ,  for beginning my new C.H.A.R.M.E.D. life :

 

CELEBRATION: I will select somewhere to celebrate my accomplishments & to plan my next adventures in Commitment… Maybe Surfing lessons in Costa Rica?

 

HEALTH & FITNESS: 

I will develop the habit of exercising at least 15min a day 5x’s a week

 

ART & SOUL

I will have posted a minimum of 11 blog articles with self-created photos, drawings, videos, crafts, artwork, etc.

 

RELATIONSHIPS & COMMUNITY

I will have formed a Men’s Team

 

MONEY

I will have added $50,000 per month to the bottom line of my scrap metal recycling company

 

EDUCATION & ENLIGHTENMENT

I will have read 7 enlightening books

 

DWELLING

I will have completely unpacked, moved into & ergonomically designed every room, closet, shelf & drawer of my new home

I will have a complete garden plan ready to deploy in my backyard by the Spring Equinox

 

You can never get anywhere, except from exactly where you are

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Print

You can never get anywhere, except from exactly where you are…

…But you can get anywhere from there.

Ever have a silly thoughts like the following?:

  • As soon as I have enough money, I will be more generous & philanthropic.
  • Those group exercise classes seem really great, as soon as I’m in good enough shape, maybe I’ll sign up
  • When I know as much as they do, I’ll participate.

I recognize now, that I have missed out on a lot of life while I planned & researched & organized. I have spent a lot of life preparing for the life I want, rather than living it. Its sort of, as if I’ve been in sniper training & I only have the one shot to hit my target. I have spent a lot of time checking hour-by-hour weather and taking into account anything that could happen and packing for any situation that may arise and scounting out my best spot to set up and calculating wind speed and air density and distance and curvature of the earth and…(ad nauseam)

Meanwhile, I have witnessed very very successful people take a different approach.

I have this business partner, for instance: Someone once asked us both to answer a complex riddle. Well, I am the smart one. It was up to me to prove it.

My partner immediately begins a rapid fire of answers, silly & inane at first. Then he picks up lucky clues from his random shots in the dark and begins to zero in. & while I am quietly & intelligently devising a strategy for analytically applying deductive reasoning….*Clap! …WTH!?!? My partner who was overzealously spitting while spewing desultory answers like an automatic sprinkler, got the answer before I had even tried.

He was hunting with a machine gun while I acted as if I only had one bullet. If we were hunting for food, who do you think would go home hungry?

Want to know the dirty little secret behind my inactive failure & his flurry of action that ended with success?

I didn’t want to look stupid, but in the end, I actualized my fear because I failed. I was so grave & intense about it, as if it were life or death. My identity had been threatened.

My partner had no ego at all. Jumping like an enthusiastic kindergartner, he was enjoying playing a game.

That is the first secret:

Play Games. No one is going to die. So, why not play games that interest you?

Everyone starts somewhere, they say.  Let your ego know that your body is safe; your identity is safe. & pretend for the moment, that wherever you are is not just “fine”, but ponder for a moment, why wherever you are is the perfect place from which to embark on an amazing adventure from where you are to wherever you want to be. No one said you have to get it right. No one said you only get one try.

Where do you want to go?

Ready, Fire, Aim!

Pal-power & Friendfluence

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Entourage

 

I’ve been researching the psychology & sociology of happiness. A lot of what I’ve read all seems to tie in directly or indirectly with the types of friends you’ve had or have. We’re social creatures.

I asked myself how I might quantify the degree to which a friend is “Good”. What metrics might I use to measure the value of any social relationship & how, exactly, do those relationships differ from familial, romantic, business, etc? What are the potential costs/risks of a friend? What are the benefits? Practically speaking, If I want to be a good friend, I need to celebrate their birthday, & least some of the other holidays. We’d need to have “hang time”. I would need to be supportive through slumps & offer assistance when & where I can. How many hours per year does one need to budget to live up to what it means to be a “good friend”? How much more is a “best friend”?

This is totally unscientific & I’m just throwing together a guesstimation to find a better sense of perspective, but…

(not thinking about a “friend” or an acquaintance or an associate…)

To be a close friend is at least:

dinner or lunch once a month (2hrs x 12 = 24hrs/yr)

1-2 outings together/mo (4hrs x12 = 48hrs/yr )

1 needs the other = 2hrs/mo (24hrs/yr)

at least 5 holidays & celebrations/ yr ( 20hrs/yr)

text / phone /email , etc. (3-4hrs /mo x 12= 48hrs/yr)

so… I think close friendship is at least 144 hours a year / 12 hours a month / 3 hours a week

Doing a scribbled tally on the back of an envelope,

I think a best friend may be more like…, interestingly, around 365 hours a year  / an hour a day  if you spread it out evenly / 7 hours a week 

 

 

I don’t have infinite time & after fulfilling my responsibilities, I have things I want to accomplish…. so given the actual amount of time I have, if I divide it by the time it may take to be a “good friend”, … how many friends could I be a good friend to?

There are 168hrs in a week & you’re going to sleep around 56hrs

say your 2.5hr morning routine & round-trip travel to & from work (1hr) + 45hr work week + 30min/day avg errands = 65hrs a week

if your nighttime routine is 2hrs a night = 14hrs

easily shave off 3hrs a week for just plain head-scratching, distraction, & forgetting what you were supposed to be doing

So, the average person might have as much as 30hrs a week as a total time budget minus all current commitments (family, groups, organizations, volunteering, spiritual practices, projects, etc.)

But let’s assume your friend needs you outside your current interests & pursuits, how much time should you allow to be available socially without sacrificing your own goals & dreams?

30hrs/wk x 52 weeks = 1560 freetime hours a year. divided by 144 = means maybe you could have as much as 10 close friends, but that leaves almost no room for solitary pursuits & how would  handle the likely conflict of a plurality of friends needing assistance in different places at the same time??.

1560 divided by 365 = 4 close friends, but again, no solitary time.

Many things can be done together, & all the research suggests that this enriches experience…. & it is assumed that a large part of compatibility is similar interests… so, let’s say 50/50? So 780hrs divided by 144 = 5 friends.

I declared my mission was:

To serve as a Happy Pathfinder leading others to the access to create maximum benefit for minimum effort & produce exponential results.

so… how to optimize?

My answer : Create a Men’s team of a select 7 men founded on the virtues of fraternity. (If I was a woman, I would create a woman’s team) I’d like us all to meet together for 2 hours each week & at least 1 outing a month, to pool resources & support one another in specifically stated goals. This way we all get the benefits of 7 close friends for far less time commitment, because the time is coordinated & compounded.

I would like the aim of the group to be: How to get more out of life, than we put in.

So I’ve decided to give a working team name of M.E.M.B.E.R #8

because our aim is: Minimum Effort / Maximum Benefit / Exponential Results

& every man will have 7 brothers

& he will uphold the values & commitments our group even if he is the last man standing

& so every man is M.E.M.B.E.R. #8

I’ve invited 3 Good Men so far & we will have our 1st Team Meeting tonight , fittingly on the 8th

M#8 Men's Team

Mission Possible

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mission possible

Impossible is nothing.

Anything deemed impossible, is so called because it can not exist; therefore it is nowhere. That which occupies no space, is intangible; & is said to be nothing. No thing. So “no thing” is impossible.
Nothing is impossible.
Impossibility is made so from there being an absence of energy. An absence of energy is an absence of action.
All things are evidence for the existence of their equal opposites.
Therefore anything is possible through action.

So what possibilities do I want to manifest in my reality? How will I know the right action to take?

This is the point of a mission statement, for me. A mission statement is a guiding line.
^The finer the mission statement, the more portable it is… the faster I can course correct.
In any given moment, I am acting consistent or inconsistent with my mission statement. This kind of quick reference makes productivity possible, which makes all of my dreams possible.

There are plenty of things that I am not dependable for & even more things that I am not particularly good at, but there are a few things that I seem to do well with little effort & enjoy doing:
If you love what you do & what you do helps others & provides for a high quality of life… I think that would be the ideal.
How can I enjoy my life so sustainably, as the sentence above?
What do I enjoy doing that produces value?

I enjoy the sort of deconstructive analysis, that isolates key components. I enjoy distilling the essential essence to increase its potency. I enjoy synthesizing & assimilating in pursuit of optimization. I enjoy acting as a strategist & seeking the most beneficial course for the least cost & minimal risk.

 

 

This is my mission Statement:
To serve as a Happy Pathfinder leading others to the access to create maximum benefit for minimum effort & produce exponential results.

 

 

& so this blog is born,
made possible through my declaration that it be so…
made reality through my simple use of that which is available to me to serve my purpose…
I am enlivened at the notion that this small set of Intentional Actions may change my life EXPONENTIALLY.

GPS — How I found my Purpose

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Purpose

I’ve really thought about this intently, today.
I feel certain there may be no more important task than figuring this out for oneself.
& I haven’t been at all sure how to go about discovering my purpose, though I think of it like this:
Whether I am a complex confluence of random evolutionary mutations or a vastly precise design implemented by an intelligence of incomprehensibly powerful creative genius; either way, I am the way I am. Nothing could be more fitting than to be a full expression of what it seems I am uniquely suited to do.

So here was my approach: G.P.S.

I asked myself what I do best. I asked myself what I seem to do particularly well without much effort, & even that effort which is invested seems to increase my energy rather than deplete it. I listed all of my talents & skills which energize me & called these my “GIFTS”.
Gifts are meant to be given.

I asked myself “What endeavors enliven me?”
I asked myself “Who are my heroes? What are their vocations?
I listed all the subjects which fascinate me so naturally, that I’ve never bothered to wonder why & called these my “PASSIONS”
All passions are expressions of love. To love life, one must be passionate.

Then I juxtaposed these 2 spheres & in the intersecting overlap, I delineated their commonalities…my calling.

Finally, I asked myself how these GIFTS & PASSIONS could become my means of making a living… obviously, getting paid to do, what I would pay to be doing would be the secret to happiness. Directly, I knew, that to get paid would mean that I had produced value for the purchaser. So then final question was then obvious:
How might these qualities be wholly employed to be of service to others?
What problems could I use my GIFTS & PASSIONS to solve, to be of SERVICE?
Great is a synonym for large. To live a “Great” life, it would have to be bigger than myself. Me focusing on me can not even see all of me, so self-involvement is a small & poor life. The more souls I can engage, the larger my life. The more love & laughter in those relationships, the richer my life.

So there it is, my GPS… the convergence of GIFTS & PASSIONS focused into SERVICE to others.
This is how I found my Purpose…
Now, to live life on purpose.

Freedom is completion. You do not have to “finish” to be complete.

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White Winter Solstice Sky

Over the past few months, I have gone through the hardest part of a divorce. I have moved into one of my rental properties. I have closed my nightclub. I have closed my bar. I gave a company which I silently owned to the employees. I have written off several investments. I have entered into negotiations to trade my shares of the Foundry I started with my partner to my partner, in exchange for further equity in our other business together, a scrap metal recycling processing yard, & I will buy out his remaining shares, so that he may retire. My 30′s were exciting, but lost in the business of business. I suffered an enormous financial loss in 2008 & 2009 during the economic crisis. I lost $1M dollars a month for 4 months. Some employees panicked & started a competing company & betrayed me in a way that traumatized me. I loved them. In 2009, the man I made president of the electronics recycling company I started, panicked & loaded an overseas container with more than $1M worth of inventory & fled the country. In 2010 & 2011, I was trying to rebuild from scratch & my powerful & amazing wife jumped in head first & was independently trying to save us… the problem was that 2 people can not drive the same bus at the same time… it just leads to wreckage & that’s what happened to our marriage. We’re both fighters & we fought to come out the other side. We are best friends, but we had to amputate the marriage to save the body & life of our relationship.

So… here I am. Everything up to now has seemed such a rush & blur. I am somehow complete with all of my incompletes.
It seems very appropriate that it is Winter… dormancy, seems appropriate.

In my new residence…
My particular street is a beautiful vista of giant live oaks that arch over like a great cathedral. The last of the leaves are pirouetting to the ground like nature’s confetti, as if I was participating in a muted parade. I like that: the trees let go of their leaves which nourish the ground. I am devoting today to letting go of my past. Providentially, today is the Winter Solstice. In 7 minutes it will be 12:00pm EST December 21st, 2014 the exact “noon”, whereupon Winter begins. There is no duration to this, per se, it is an event. I find this an auspicious occasion to celebrate the release of the dead leaves of my thoughts & days leading up to this moment. I declare this as a pivotal event in my life. Today is my clearing. My wiping of the slate. My soil is made fertile by all I have learned & experienced & created up to this point. However, for my future to be whatever it will grow to be, there must be a clearing within which it can arise. So today begins my winter.

I had an insight while walking: it is possible to be “complete”, without finishing. I can simply let go of old frustrations, upsets & disappointments. By holdinging onto them in my mind, I have carried them into my present & I experience frustration, upset & disappointment now, as if something were happening now. I can simply let them go. I am complete with my unfinished business the moment I declare it complete, in the same way a fight is over the instant I quit fighting.

I welcome winter today, as the peace that comes from completion.

Today does not have to be a repetition of yesterday. My future does not necessarily have to have anything to do with my past. Today I let go of all the dead leaves of my past that litter my view. This leaves me free. Freedom is necessary to create. Space is necessary to create.

Today is as cleanly blank as a white winter sky; a halcyon clearing for all the fruitful & blossoming possibilities of tomorrow to occur.