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Everything posted by Zakaex

  1. Day 74 (March 26, 2016) Had an extremely productive day today shying away from my computer, from studying to doing house chores and eating correctly (experimenting with the intermittent fasting). Here I am concluding that if you set your mind to do something: whatever the mind perceives it can achieve. Although the grind does not seem very fun at all when compared to the other instant gratifications we have in life, Jeff Bezos talks about in his book "The Everything Store" by Brad Stone, that he believed in no work life balance at all. Which begs the question of whether or not it is possible to love doing taxes or washing the dishes?
  2. Day 73 (March 25, 2016) Looked up an interesting YouTube video today by Thomas Frank talking about effects of listening to music while studying. Despite him being a former college student claiming that he has 'tested' it by working with and without music, I still find it rather subjective as his initial tests do not come with any quantitative analysis which could turn out very personal to every individual. However, he did suggest this website. A music generator designed by neuroscientists to increase focus, relax better or have better sleep. As a matter of fact, I am just typing up today's entry while listening to one of the modules designed for relaxed focus journaling. Whether it works or not is still to be determined, but so far I do seem to be able to concentrate better than YouTube tracks.
  3. Day 72 (March 24, 2016) Discovered intermittent fasting today and have decided to try it out starting next week: A method to lose fat, gain lean muscle mass all the while freeing an additional two hours or so in my schedule (not needing to prepare meals anymore)? Hell yes! At first, I was kind of skeptical about it. With every thesis, there is always an antithesis, so I tried to conduct some research about it - "why is intermittent fasting wrong" and "why intermittent fasting works." My conclusion to this after not only consulting with the internet but also my personal trainer (who had witnessed successful experiences from his colleagues), is that this method does indeed work with the exception being that you are pregnant or diabetic. Interestingly enough, I have never thought of dieting through fasting before; it always use to cross my mind that every after five hours I just have to eat to have more energy or be more productive, etc.
  4. Day 71 (March 23, 2016) Listening to the audio book " Psycho-Cybernetics" by Maxwell Maltz on the way to the gym today. Thought it might've been some weird science textbook on biology, but it turns out to be a self-help book written through the life experiences of a plastic surgeon. Maltz goes on to say that there are literally people out there hypnotized by their selves with negative beliefs; these are then confirmed through actions LED by that same conviction (me being one of them before). I immediately thought of the countless friends, classmates of mine claiming that they are not a "math person" just because they consistently receive poor grades in math, yet one thing I realized by now is that we have never asked is how much time was spent studying for the subject. More often than not, we reap what we sow; the chances are that the ones who have higher grades did work for it through a much more focused commitment than the average student!
  5. Not encouraging anyone to cut down on their streak of course, but hopefully an encouragement to those who have once failed in something and convinced themselves that this is some label for them destined to stop trying.
  6. Day 70 (March 22, 2016) Purchased and started reading the book "Rewire" by Richard O'Connor. Surprisingly, it contained amazingly insightful information towards addictions and how to cure them. One unusual method I have found out but yet to try is the visualization exercises. In chapter 12, O'Connor states that: "In order to protect yourself from the Undertow [a.k.a. Relapsing from any self-destructive habits that you may have], you have to keep practicing your skills so that you'll be less vulnerable to backsliding. So keep returning to that psychic gym. Practice mindfulness meditation and willpower skills every day. If you hear intrusive negative thoughts, keep reminding yourself that it's just noise in your head." He also mentions how, despite contrary belief, relapsing does not 'reset' your entire process of trying to rid of any bad habits that you may have, but instead, it just builds on top of the skills (mindfulness, willpower) to continue making wiser decisions, slowly leading you to the promised land.
  7. Day 69 (March 21, 2016) Was having a relaxing day today recovering from workouts until I finally gave into cravings and started to catch up on some shows online. Initially, it all began with the infamous "just one episode." phrase to myself which backfired terribly from having friends barging into my room to sleeping in late because of that and missing class the morning after. The lesson to learn here for me is that to make significant changes in our lives; our environment has to be different. If only I had friends who were into self-development and working out with focused goals, instead of gaming/anime/Netflix addicts, I could not imagine how much more willpower and motivation I would have gained by just having them around the house.
  8. Thanks for the continuous support man! Will definitely add that on to my reading list!
  9. Day 68 (March 20, 2016) Another day, another small victory. Hopefully over time, as Cam said these will build into something big. I was thinking about how to balance work and play today, and whether or not some things should be considered 'play' or not. Take for instance, after this detox is over, should I start gaming moderately again so that I know what is going on right now in the gaming community and not be left behind in conversations? Watch a few "hot" Netflix shows so that people can talk about who dies in Game Of Thrones next without me going clueless? Or should I spend my 'play/spare time' doubling down on myself - reading books and continue to watch self-help videos instead, I wonder if by doing so we can rewire our brain into an entirely different person and start hanging out with crowds that will require discussions of only such topics?
  10. Day 67 (March 19, 2016) Just winning another day through small achievements - walking 7,000 steps, sleeping for around a full 7 hours and studying for 30 minutes on self-help mediums (Video and books). Tried to fit in a few hours of "relaxing" watching some Family Guy episodes as well, which I usually end up regretting due to the fundamental economic principle I learned the other day: opportunity costs. Despite "free" something might seem to us, in a sense nothing is, that is because time is always moving forward and it is something precious that we will never get back. For example, If I was the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company making a million every hour I decided to work at my office, and one day I went and watched a 3 hour movie, I have already lost 3 million. By keeping this principle at heart, I started to learn and treasure time even more by the days to come.
  11. Day 66 (March 18, 2016) Finally reached day 66, this is a pretty cool milestone because based on a study conducted by UCL, it takes around 66 days to form a habit entirely. So whether I have successfully developed a habit of not playing video games or writing a journal entry every day, today is quite the achievement for me strengthening my reliability factor to be able to stick and commit to something. Hopefully, this would just mean that the next coming 24 days would be but a breeze!
  12. Day 65 (March 17, 2016) I was listening to a free live talk by Tai Lopez (author, entrepreneur, investor a.k.a. the Lamborghini guy) the other day and recorded a segment to be used as the reference for it spoke to me. He was talking about if we could have one super enhancement in anything we already have what would it be. Some people commented on being the same as Bill Gates & Warren Buffet: “Being able to read super fast.” some went on to say "Become very sociable." While these are all very powerful indeed, Tai suggested something that I think it just might trump all others: the ability to motivate yourself. We live in this current day and age where you can almost Google how to build your computer, high-speed internet and thousands of online courses to teach you almost any subject, learn any language. Most of us are still afraid of reaching out, wishing to stay comfortable in what they are doing. If we have to ability to motivate ourselves, wouldn't we be able to remove procrastination and direct all our energy on to only what we want in life? Bruce Lee once said, “‎The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.”
  13. Day 64 (March 16, 2016) Learned a new valuable lesson today in regards to self-motivation from one of the Udemy online courses I have taken (for free too!). We are often too driven by instant pleasure seeking when it comes to the things we desire, and because of an evolutionary mismatch. The fact that we are blessed with so much access to food and entertainment just backfires on us when accessibility for either of emotional needs are just one click (or one order) away. Freud says in his book "Civilization and its Discontents" that we are driven by two things in life - pain avoidance and constant pleasure. We often lack the motivation and start procrastinating away from an "important" task because we are not emotionally attached to its importance, so if we start discovering what drives us forward, we can use that fuel to manipulate ourselves to do whatever is necessary. I was trying this method of emotional attachments to tasks earlier today. When I wanted just to relax and chill the whole day after a full body workout at the gym, I realized that I still have to do my daily meditation and gratitude journaling, but then I am also in the middle of an intense catching up with Breaking Bad. In the midst of struggling with my heart and brain, I started giving myself more and more reasons as to why I should complete my daily tasks before hand and not leave it to tomorrow-land (the place where 99% of human productivity and achievement is stored). Firstly, by finishing my to-do list I will have a running streak of 44 days of meditation already, and it would take a long time to rebuild, secondly, by being persistent in what these healthy habits not only will I become stronger mentally, but it also takes less than an hour to complete everything. By connecting both my 'old brain' with my 'new brain', I was able to prioritize things appropriately and keep on persisting through forming new habits.
  14. Day 63 (March 15, 2016) Had a very productive and healthy day today, sometimes by setting small steps for any huge climbs we have in life, be it to get healthier or achieving a better grade, it is always easier to start small. Maybe somehow during the long and tedious grind I lost track of that perspective and was frustrated by not seeing bigger results for just a short period, resulting in me wanting to do more both mentally and physically, thus wearing me out to the point in which I just wanted to give up altogether. Today I "restarted" my dieting diaries (using MyFitnessPal app), and have started with a goal of losing 1lbs per week. By setting a much less demanding goal than before (losing 2.5 lbs per week) I was then able to eat a lot more without starving myself (which turns out to be a terrible idea in the long run) while knowing I am in fact reducing weight slowly but surely.
  15. Day 62 (March 14, 2016) Began to implement one of the methods I have learned from the Respawn handbook - daily wins. By making sure, I am accomplishing a set of tasks each day that strengthens and improves my health (i.e. exercising, gratitude journaling and reading), I was able to feel as if my goals are not so far fetched away. By winning one day at a time momentum is building up much more easily and I am allowing less and less time to get all stressed up.
  16. Day 61 (March 13, 2016) Today I was lucky enough to be distracted with upcoming exams and assignments as we are closing out on this semester. By documenting my progress and writing down any muddled thoughts, I had during this long journey helped me to spot out patterns of my behavior. One of them I found repeating over and over again are the bad habits that I fail to keep in a streak other than quitting video games. However, the days between relapses start to get further and further, perhaps just like any muscle in the body we have to train and prepare to build mental resilience for anything. Also, I am not acting out on any of the listed solutions I have given for myself to break the chains of these other bad habits that is hindering my overall health in life. Sounds ironic but I will need a solution to start solving...
  17. Day 60 (March 12, 2016) After being bombarded on the internet forums, recommended over and over again by friends and housemates, I have decided to watch the anime "Erased". What initially started as "just one episode" turned into an entire night of catching up with the whole season for me. What fascinated me and got me thinking again and again midway through the episodes was the show's protagonist's ability to time travel back when he was only eleven years old, while maintaining the mind of his former twenty-nine-year-old self. What if I had the ability to go back in time, back when I was eleven again? With my current mindset and experiences, what would I have done differently? Despite refraining from drowning myself in regret again by dwelling on the past, I reframed the entire perspective, this time asking myself "What if I was my future self ten years into the future has time traveled back into the now?". This new outlook began to motivate and inspire me. By reverse engineering my perspective and looking at the butterfly effects created by myself: every time I decide to haul my butt off into the gym even when I don't "feel like it," choosing to eat a banana over a small pack of chips or reading a self-help book. All the small little things we are doing in the now eventually add up to something greater. And through the reversal of perspective, we sometimes might just get the motivation we need to get through the grind.
  18. Day 59 (March 11, 2016) Still struggling to manage a healthy diet today, continuously relapsing at the sight of French fries on the "Grill" counter in my dining area, perhaps I should start learning how to make my food at home just to avoid this evolutionary mismatch. It is just disturbing how many big food companies nowadays are exploiting our brains at a distinct level: tasting one single potato chip has so much salt and sugar that so hits us at the actual neural level. Taking in deep fried food or 'instant' anything overrides what scientists call the "new brain" (our rationalized minds) and having our basic, human instinctual drives take over for the sake of survival. Dieting is also what ultimately separates video game addiction regarding levels of difficulty in my opinion - our ancestors have survived for centuries without a PS3, but it was their hunger for any food they can devour safely that gave us a place in this world. So the ultimate battle is not to eat or not, but to maintain a strong willpower to eat something over the other, which for me would take extra extra effort haha.
  19. Day 58 (March 10, 2016) While talking to my personal trainer today at the gym during warm-ups about online training programs for fitness, he mentioned something rather profound. Due to the advancement of many things especially technology nowadays, we are bombarded by media almost everywhere we go. Online training programs promise us that we too can become "ripped" by the end of 12-weeks (or "sexy and slim" for females I guess) if you follow everything outlined from 500lbs bench presses to deadlifts to the letter. We become tempted to have that dream body afterward and spend our hard-earned savings onto something we could not even stick to after two weeks. Bodybuilding, as my personal trainer put it, is like sculpting a piece of rock, and rocks come from many different forms and shapes, his job as a consultant for me is to give me the right tools to start morphing myself into a sculpture that I want. Whereas many online programs out there would assume we have newly created MMORPG characters that start out with the same stats and shape, and that could explain why many who decided to spend their money on them end up either hurting themselves or overtraining their body.
  20. Day 57 (March 9, 2016) Another day another grind. Happened to have started reading the book "Who Moved My Cheese" by Spencer Johnson, which is so far revolutionalizing my outlooks on life in general, and yeah it is a self-help book despite its cheesy name (pun intended). A basic summary of it is that the there are two mice and two "little people" - individuals who are just like us, but is the size of a rat. All four of them are in a maze constantly in search of cheese, but their approaches to their findings widely differ. Once a block of cheese has been found, the mouses eat sufficiently and returns the next day, once they notice their supplies are running low, they begin to venture deeper into the maze and to explore without hesitation. Meanwhile, whenever the little people have discovered blocks of cheese, they become comfortable, making the cheese station their home, enjoying their life one day at a time, moment by moment. By the time the little people realized it, they are starving, frustrated and enraged on why their next meal isn't there for them, pointing fingers and trying to put the blame on each other. This entire metaphor gave me clarity on how not just modern day people, but some of my friends, family members are all little people for many of their wants and needs in life. All they do is complain about why their 'cheese' is not there, feeling how 'entitled' they should be to have it. Meanwhile, others are out there, searching far and wide, taking risks, going through dangerous routes inserting extraordinary effort to get what they want. The lesson for the day: life does not respond to what we want, but what we deserve from the amount of effort we insert into our day to day grind!
  21. Hah awesome, just ten minutes a day really pays off over the long run though!
  22. Day 56 (March 8, 2016) Finished the day off proudly. Despite losing my third intramurals game, I was happy about the progress made through self-improvement. It used to be that every time I stepped on the basketball court, the anxiety and nervousness all kicks in - as if the pressure was all on me. But when you peel back the layers of reality, basketball is just a team game where everybody takes a part of the match. Throughout these forty or so days of focused meditation, I was finally able to get myself into a much more focused, flow-like state. Where, instead of trying to struggle with my inner demons and forcing myself to get better mentally, I was able to accept the situations placed in front of me; know my limitations and capitalize on my strengths. Similar to how to serenity prayer puts in: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference." I am not a very religious person by any means, but through a month and a half of meditation, I was able to feel a difference in calming the mind in order to see a bigger picture of things.
  23. Day 55 (March 7, 2016) Got dissed today by a group of seniors on me not able to play physical on the court in a pick-up game (lol). As an INFP personality type that hit me hard, yet it is just what I needed; I better start learning how to toughen up in this world now if I have to win it. I walked back home today thinking to myself how nice would it be if I could ease my helplessness onto video games again, being the main hero that (usually) gets all the women and dominates as the strongest over time within a matter of hours. Whereas in real life, the grind feels like forever, it could take months and years, and even then you wouldn't even be able to see progress. However tough it may be, I realized now as Bruce Lee once said, “‎The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” I have to stop hiding from a shell and man up to this world.
  24. Now that you have mentioned it, there was a section on how to use those 5-minute breaks efficiently, and it is as you have outlined. Social media/YouTube are dangerous drugs for productivity because of the amount of content there is out there, and it is strongly recommended to stick to things like cleaning up and stretching.
  25. Day 54 (March 6, 2016) Downloaded a new book called "The Pomodoro Technique" by Damon Zahariades onto my Kindle and did a quick read as I finished my brunch. Despite being familiar already with this time tracking technique (25-minute work, 5-minute break = one Pomodoro), I was still not being as productive as I thought it should be. After every 'Pomodoro' I still end up procrastinating, browsing YouTube, reading books (though considered a healthy habit, it is still not helping me accomplish my assignment for the week). This book covers exactly the issues underlying problems as such: Pomodoro is a technique intended to give you only maximum focus on one single task, but we still tend to fall prey to Parkinson's Law ("work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion."). Working in 25-minute increments does not cure procrastination because we can just fit in more 25-minutes throughout the day until we realize we have run out of time, rather, one of the key takeaways I have taken away from this book so far is applying the Timeboxing technique to the Pomodoro Technique. What that does is to limit ourselves to a certain allocated number of Pomodoro's (25-minutes), that way perfectionism is discouraged on any task given which could significantly reduces the time you need to accomplish it.
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