Day 308 A lingering topic from my last discussion with Cam. I brought up the fact that sometimes I don't feel feel confident around other people and as a result don't look them in the eye while talking with them. Cam asked "Do you look yourself in the eye?" ...metaphorically, of course. And I think it's an interesting question; maybe I don't. I'm in a process of accepting myself, who I was, and who I am becoming, as I mentioned in a recent post. And one way that having not fully accepted yourself manifests is that you don't fully acknowledge the parts of yourself that you haven't accepted. You ignore them, sweep them under the rug. Don't look them in the eye, as it were. I've been self-conscious about parts of my appearance (that I have control over changing), but rather than proactively work on them I give into the resistance and ignore them until a later time. I don't fully acknowledge to myself some of the things that I want in life. It can be hard to notice what we want and actually allow ourselves to have it. It's strange, but clearly true to me. Maybe because we're coming from a core belief of thinking that we don't deserve it. Giving ourselves what we want would conflict with that belief. So the first step in the process is being honest with ourselves about what we want in life, even if the path to those things involves resistance (it undoubtedly will). The second step is pushing through that resistance and giving it to ourselves. One specific example here is that I was long overdue for a haircut. I guess in this case, the resistance comes from the fact that acknowledging my need for a haircut means acknowledging that I don't like how I look currently, and that's uncomfortable! Cue avoidance. Well, I got one today, from a barbershop that doesn't suck! And it turned out great. This the first non-shitty chain haircut (e.g. Supercuts) of my life. Waaay better. Life keeps advancing one thing at at time.
Day 305 Went camping up in the mountains this weekend with friends and it was a great time. I ended up recording some of our conversations and making them into podcasts, and they're turning out great so far. Recently I got fitted for contacts and I'm wearing them to work for the first time today. I'm realizing that I feel resistance towards doing this (wearing them to work), and I'm self-conscious about people seeing me change my appearance. Most of all I realize I don't like the positive attention that I anticipate getting, haha. When/if people tell me I look good I just feel uncomfortable. One of those things I need to work through. But hey, I'm doing it. I'm realizing this is connected to a broader problem I have of celebrating the positive things in my life and what I've accomplished, etc. Cam told me to journal about the value of starting projects without a specific end goal in mind. I am realizing that there is a lot of value in this. If I feel curious about doing something but I'm not sure where it will lead, it's still worth doing. Podcasting is an example of that. When I started I had certain preconceptions of what it would be like and after going through a few episodes I realized that most of those preconceptions were wrong, and that rather than determining ahead of time what the podcast would be, it would have to grow and change organically. Now I'm at a point where I can create basic podcasts without all that much effort, and with that skill in my toolset it's easier to start additional podcasting projects that are more focused. Hence, the above note about recording convos with friends (which I got positive feedback from) and the decision to launch a podcast about my learning Android. It seems like if I commit to the Android podcast that would even be something I could put on a resume to show that I'm engaged with the community and constantly improving, etc. Who knows. The broader lesson here is that if you develop your interests it can lead to interesting things, but if you talk yourself out of starting because you don't know where it will go, you will miss out on opportunities. Develop your interests as projects, even if you are unsure! Worst case scenario it doesn't work out and you can put that idea to rest instead of always wondering 'what if'. I am still working with Cam 1 on 1. We have 6 sessions left, I believe. That will mark 6 months of work with him and close to 1 year of quitting games. Craziness!
Hey Alex! I had the exact same fear when I first started with podcasting (which was only a couple months ago). I wasn't comfortable putting myself out there. It gets a lot easier, actually pretty quickly. It feels good to me to create podcasts and to get my thoughts out, and the fear diminishes when you get positive feedback or are just proud of what you've created. You just have to push through the initial discomfort and make incremental improvements. Also, remember that you won't be great at it first. I still have a long ways to go with mine. Here are my episodes if you're interested. I'm sure you can tell a big difference in my confidence level and quality between the first and most recent ep. Also, the first ep is really just me talking about how uncomfortable I am with podcasting haha. So far this podcast has just been random topics. https://soundcloud.com/travis-kirk-992919435 But, just last night launched a second podcast, based around my journey learning android development. If you're interested in that: http://zerotodev.libsyn.com/podcast I'm trying out libsyn for hosting this. Soundcloud is much prettier, but libsyn has better features. Costs $5/month though, soundcloud is free. Things to consider. Hit me up if you have anymore questions.
Also, for some inspiration: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/309485-nobody-tells-this-to-people-who-are-beginners-i-wish :D
Day 300 Boom, 300 days! I'm currently obsessed with the idea of getting into Android development. It was hard to fall asleep last night because I was thinking about it haha. I think that's a good sign. Yesterday I had a conversation with Cam about excellence. I have resistance to seeing myself as capable of excellence, even though I always strive for it. I feel gross calling myself 'excellent' because it sounds pretentious to me. I'm realizing that excellence is less about outcome and more about the mindset you bring to your projects and your life, the standards you hold yourself to, and what you value and see yourself capable of. These attitudes naturally lead to excellent outcomes, though. I have struggled to see myself as excellent because to me it implies that I'm the best at something, and in school I felt objectively that wasn't the case because others had higher grades than me and thus were 'better' than me. How can I call myself the best when I'm so clearly not? So it's a mindset that I've held onto long after grades have ceased to matter. Cam told me that excellence is something that you define for yourself, and that it's really about figuring out the standards you want for yourself and then successfully holding yourself to those standards. In that sense, excellence is subjective. Tangentially, this relates to how I have showed up in my career and the kinds of opportunities that I've considered for myself. I remember in high school we had a career day and my choice was "computer technician" haha. A friend of mine at the time was like "What? Why not programmer?"; I didn't think I was smart enough/good enough for that, don't be ridiculous! I'll never achieve that, I thought. I basically just didn't believe in myself or see myself as worthy of the things that I actually wanted in life. My career trajectory is a representation of me overcoming these toxic and inaccurate mindsets and limiting beliefs that I've picked up from my family and environment growing up. Android development, here I come! Eating out 7/10 - $17, out with friends in LA before the Louis CK show. 7/11 - $0! 7/12 - $0!! Exercise 7/10 - Kettlebell training - warm-up routine, 40 swings, focused on good form. Stopped when my form was starting to suck. 7/11 - Walking. 7/12 - None. Kindness 7/10 - Intentionally made conversation with someone and asked questions about them instead of focusing the convo on me. 7/11 - None. 7/12 - None. Need to do some exercise and kindness today (7/13)!
Hey Undertow, great to have you join us here. Your initial thoughts remind me of my initial thoughts when I started (tomorrow is Day 300 for me). Stick with it. You'll be surprised! You're right that gaming itself isn't the problem per se. But you'll gain a lot but giving it up. Best of luck man.
Day 299 Good morning Gamequitters! Today I am experimenting with the Pomodoro technique. This involves setting a timer for 25 minutes and doing focused work for that duration, and then taking a 5 minute break. Each 25 minute block of time is simply called a pomodoro. I'm on a break right now, but intentionally going to make it longer than 5 minutes haha. But basically I'll write this entry and then do another pomodoro. I'm liking it a lot. I'm also working on single-tasking during the pomodoros, being mindful and focused, rather than multitasking and getting flustered or stressed out. I have a simple roadmap for my plan to learn android development. First, I'm going to complete Udacity's "Android Development for Beginners" course, which I am currently about 45% done with. After that, I'm going to read "Head First Java 2nd Edition", which is apparently a great resource for learning Java, and presents object-oriented programming concepts in an nontraditional but intuitive way. After that, I'm going to read "Android Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide (2nd Edition)" which is apparently a great resource for Android, once you have your footing in Java. At that point, There are a couple other Udacity courses that I could take to fill in gaps if I missed anything from the Big Nerd Ranch (ha) book. An additional step I could/should take is to improve my grounding in CS concepts, specifically data structures and algorithms, but that's kind of a stretch goal for me at the moment. It's encouraging how many good/cheap/free resources there are online for learning programming and computer science. I already have a few small app ideas coming to mind. I am reflecting a little bit on why it is that I'm attracted to Android development as opposed to some other kind of programming. I have always loved Android since I got my first smartphone, so I guess that's a part of it. I want to better understand how this technology works since it's such a central part of my life. Also, learning it makes me feel like I'm learning something relevant, since Android has crazy market share in the mobile space these days. I guess I also appreciate what Android stands for - a system that is customizable to the user, open source, and generally supports the sharing of free software for everyone. Android as a platform reflects my values in some way, and contributing to that community will be fulfilling. From a technical standpoint, it will also give me a reason to learn more about Unix, Java, XML, design, etc, all of which are valuable and broadly applicable skills. I brought my lunch today and I'm proud of myself for that. The trick, I'm learning, is to pick foods that I feel good after eating and that are simple to prepare. When in doubt, don't overthink it. Peppered turkey + salami sandwich with provolone, mayo, and lots Coleman's mustard. My happy place. I'm learning to find what foods work for me and just keep repeating them. I've been eating this same sandwich for like a week and haven't gotten tired of it yet, which is extremely rare for me, so I'm doing something right. Eating out 7/10 - $17, out with friends in LA before the Louis CK show. 7/11 - $0! Exercise 7/10 - Kettlebell training - warm-up routine, 40 swings, focused on good form. Stopped when my form was starting to suck. 7/11 - Walking. Kindness 7/10 - Intentionally made conversation with someone and asked questions about them instead of focusing the convo on me. 7/11 - None.
This is an accurate representation of my current feelings. Actually, I have some additional thoughts from the Pokemon Go video. Cam, you mention the difference between a mindset where we expect to be entertained vs a mindset where we seek fulfillment. Maybe you've talked about that before, but it's resonating with me now really strongly. I think understanding this dynamic is crucial for growth. Our expectations play a big role in how we feel about a given situation. Last night for example, I got frustrated with getting home so late because it was partially due to circumstances beyond my control in the moment. But it was also because I had expected to get home earlier. Had I set my expectations more realistically, I wouldn't have been frustrated. Similarly, if we expect to be entertained, then we will be dissatisfied when we are not entertained. If we expect that we won't be entertained, that we have to create positive experiences for ourselves, that in order to find fulfillment we will have to put in a lot of effort and work and that it will take time, etc, then we will be satisfied walking this better path towards fulfillment, I think. The expectation to be entertained is a huge part of American culture. My favorite book, Infinite Jest, talks a lot about it. Entertainment in that story is a tool to control people - in fact, the plot revolves around a terrorist organization that makes a movie so enjoyable that anyone who sees it is compelled to watch it over and over again, ignoring hunger and thirst, until they die. As you can imagine the book is both dark and silly in some ways, because this doesn't sound realistic, but it is a powerful image. The movie is used as a weapon against people, and is referred to simply as "The Entertainment". Metaphorically, entertainment can control us and kill us if we let it.
Day 298 I saw Louis CK last night with friends in LA. Great show. Unfortunately, I didn't get home until 2AM, so I ended up taking off work today. Woo PTO. It's really not a big deal though. I haven't played Pokemon Go. Just saw Cam's video on it (great video btw, Cam). It's an interesting case study indeed. I have several friends playing it. It is the first thing that has truly tempted me, mostly for nostalgia/fun factor. It doesn't seem like that big of a time sink. But nonetheless, it's something that will take a certain amount of effort and time investment from me that could be put into my self instead. This is where I come to a conundrum though, because I apply the same logic to things like TV shows. The less I engage in pop culture to invest in my own growth, the more I grow, but sometimes I come off as out of touch to some people. In the end though it's really not a big deal. I guess just hang out with people who are like-minded, problem solved. Over the weekend I started learning android development and I love it so far. I've been dipping my toes into different areas of programming, but I think this might be the one for me. It's the first thing that's grabbed me and compelled me to sink time into it. Now I'm just charting the path for the best way to learn this. My ideal next 9 months will be work three months, quit job, travel three months, and then job search, all the while constantly learning android development in my spare time. I have on idea if that will be enough time to gain the necessary experience for a job, but if I made that a focus, maybe I can swing it. I may try to do podcast episodes about my progress learning android development. One of the assignments from Udacity was to record myself talking about code I had written, and I found it was enjoyable to do that. Also, getting comfortable talking about my code will be a good skill to have on the job, too. That's all for now. Peace.
On the point of diet vs exercise for being healthy, I would say both are important of course, but honestly I think diet is more important than exercise. This is certainly the case if you're trying to lose weight - it's easier to lose weight by restricting calories or by adhering to certain macronutrient ratios than it is to exercise a lot. But food is literally what you are made of, and eating good food will have an outsize impact on your general well-being. That said, bodies were meant to move, so we need to exercise too, and exercise has a big impact upon our mental states as well (reduces anxiety, etc). As for projects, some of them aren't meant to end ("foundations") - like food, exercise, sleep, etc. The ones that might end (podcasting, coaching with Cam, meetup, etc) will end not on a set time schedule but when I feel that it's time for me to move on from them for whatever reason. Maybe I gave the project a shot and it didn't work out or I'm just not feeling it, or maybe I've explored it to completion and there's just not a lot of growth left for me in that area, etc. It's really up to the individual. it's a good question though. It's important to be able to mix things up when they are no longer working for us. You are probably right! This is something I'm coming around to :D.
Day 294 I'm taking note of the amount of learning I'm able to do each day. Learning seems to consist of a few stages. First is engaging intentionally some kind of instruction or lesson or reading. This is to take in the new information necessary for learning and growth. For me right now, this is a lot of Udacity courses. After you have the new information, you have to practice it or utilize it somehow to make it stick and integrate into your understanding. So, practicing the coding techniques that I'm learning from the courses. After that, it helps to reflect upon what you've learned so that you are better able to understand it in the context of what you already know. Each day I have 3 things I do that probably constitute some part of this process - this journal each morning, coding in the afternoon, and reading books at night. Also, sleep and exercise and eating can't be left out of this process, because the better quality of your sleep, diet, and exercise, the better a mental state you'll be in, and the more productive you'll be at learning. For me, learning new things is a top priority. Eating out (prices approximate) 7/3/16 - $25; dinner and drinks with friends. 1 / week this is OK, but no more. It was a good time.7/4/16 - $25; coffee shops plus dinner with friends again. While I'm getting better at disciplining myself when I'm alone, I'm realizing that social situations are still a weak point for me.7/5/16 - $0!7/6/16 - $5 one beer while out with friends at a meetup. Acceptable.Exercise 7/3/16 - None7/4/16 - 25 kettlebell swings!7/5/16 - 50 kettlebell swings! (5 sets of 10)7/6/16 - NoneGenerosity/Kindness 7/3/16 - Offered my friend to stay at my place and work during the day.7/4/16 - Complimented barista on her 4th of July makeup/outfit. (tangential to generosity but I'm counting it).7/5/16 - Brought a jacket for my date. Opened door for coworkers. Neighbor offered to pay for my chair that she broke; I didn't ask her to pay for the full price of it.7/6/16 - Made an effort to include new members in discussions at Meetup last night.EDIT: Two more things I wanted to mention. I keep coming back to the importance of questions to ask ourselves to guide our thinking and action. With food, one of these is "How will eating/drinking this make me feel?" rather than "Do I want to eat this?". This may help ourselves act in our best interests even when we don't want to, haha. Another question for a project to help us get better is: "What I am not currently doing that would make this better?" Cam pointed out to me this week that to improve my podcast I could add a description. This is really easy to do and doesn't take much time, and also makes my podcast just look and feel more complete and higher quality. If we ask ourselves some variation of this question, we will be able to identify easy ways to improve our projects.
Day 293 Why do we journal? We do it to reflect on our thoughts and experiences. The act of reflecting has been demonstrated to help accelerate learning. https://sites.google.com/site/reflection4learning/why-reflect This is a reason that I seem to get the most progress personally when I journal regularly, and that I stagnate more when I don't journal. I've been meditating regularly for quite a while and I can notice an increased level of awareness throughout my day. Being mindful during small critical times during the day can have an outsized impact on your quality of life. These critical times are usually times of decision-making. For example, by being mindful at meal times we can tune into how we feel physically and get a sense of what kinds of food would make us feel good vs bad after-eating them. We can use mindfulness to avoid over-eating as well. For me, I've been eating out with co-workers a lot recently and just eating kind of junky food by reflex, but yesterday I chose to get a salad and felt a lot better than I might have if I got the burritos my co-workers were eating. I am gradually learning to get more serious about choosing what food and drink I consume and basing those decisions based not on how it will make me feel in the moment I'm consuming it but how it will make me feel afterwards, and how it will contribute to my health. I think this is probably a key mindset shift necessary for changing one's diet, and it's one I haven't fully completed yet. Anyway, the past couple of days I've made a point to avoid caffeine/alcohol, because they make me feel like crap, and drink lots of water, and eat better food. I feel better even after only a couple days of this. On a related note, I'm also trying to be more aware of how my body feels and learning to give it the exercise it needs, etc. Second date last night went quite well! I would like to see her again at the end of the week, but that would be basically 3 dates in one week. I haven't done that with anyone in a while. I wonder if that is a bit much, or if it doesn't matter. I guess as long as both people want it, it's fine. Most people I've been seeing lately ended up being 1/week because we both had pretty full schedules, but at the moment my schedule is more flexible and so is hers. Haha, I guess this is a fine 'problem' to have. I will also be seeing an old friend and her fiance who are visiting this weekend from Australia! I haven't seen them in over a year, so I'm looking forward to it. I want to take stock again of what my current projects are. A while back I posted a list of foundations/projects and it's time to revisit them: Foundation/Project Standard/CommitmentGoal/Purpose1Sleep8 hours / nightWaking up feeling rested with enough energy for the whole day2MeditationEverydayBeing focused and present throughout the day3ExerciseKB 2x / week, Cardio 2x / weekStay in shape and build muscle so that I feel physically good and confident in myself4FoodBe mindful of caffeine/alcohol consumption. Eat healthy food. (more veggies and whole foods, less junk)Feeling healthy, cooking rather than eating out5MoneyTrack spending with Personal Capital 1/weekGet spending under control, save more money (50% of income is ideal)6Personal Time2 nights / weekMaintain balance, create space for introverted recharging and reflection7Podcasting Create 1 episode/weekCreative expression, community feedback, personal growth, enjoyment8Coaching with CamMeet with Cam 1/weekContinuous personal development, with specific subgoals9MeetupHost 1 event/monthDevelop community and stay socially engaged10Massage Therapy1 session/weekManage/reverse symptoms of RSI from computer use 11 JournalingWriting DailyProcess experience & growI'm happy to revisit this list because without having consciously been looking at it I'm doing a pretty good job. I modified the Exercise item now that I'm no longer doing BJJ. Exercise and Food categories I'm changing up and recommitting to but making progress on. Everything else I feel I'm pretty much nailing and have down to a habit.
Eating out (prices approximate) 7/3/16 - $25; dinner and drinks with friends. 1 / week this is OK, but no more. It was a good time.7/4/16 - $25; coffee shops plus dinner with friends again. While I'm getting better at disciplining myself when I'm alone, I'm realizing that social situations are still a weak point for me.7/5/16 - $0!Exercise 7/3/16 - None7/4/16 - 25 kettlebell swings!7/5/16 - 50 kettlebell swings! (5 sets of 10)Generosity/Kindness 7/3/16 - Offered my friend to stay at my place and work during the day.7/4/16 - Complimented barista on her 4th of July makeup/outfit. (tangential to generosity but I'm counting it).7/5/16 - Brought a jacket for my date. Opened door for coworkers. Neighbor offered to pay for my chair that she broke; I didn't ask her to pay for the full price of it.