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Everything posted by Pierce

  1. Thanks @tirEdOrange for the welcome and the encouragement! Any ambition I have comes from my greatest fear being that I do not want to waste my life, and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to become the person in which that fear does not exist. I've already learned a ton from you guys and I know I'll learn much more, that's why I really appreciate it when you all make posts here. My main, new resting activities are exercise, reading for fun, and social dancing; they've proven to be really effective, but the trial by fire will be next week when school starts back. If you rock climb and play D&D as two of your rest activities you're definitely doing it right, and I saw in your journal that you're reading has picked up a lot too, so it looks like you have hobbies that develop you physically, socially, and mentally. It's good that you're developing yourself in a well-rounded way. As for friends, it's taken me over a year, but I have built a new group from the ground up so I'm doing really well. Finding a group that is already built an activity was very instrumental here, and that's why my college's ballroom dancing club really saved me from isolation. More on going to the library below. Day 8 I usually wake up at 6am without a problem, but I slept in again today because of the lingering effects from Saturday night, so today was a bit subpar as well. It took me a very long time to push myself to walk to the library down the street, but I got a decent amount of reading done when I did. On the bright side, a book arrived for me on the holdshelf there today, Bushido: the Soul of Japan, so I'm pretty psyched to finish this time-management book and get to that before the week is over. Running and meditating went off without a hitch as well, though I'm going to start playing music while doing the latter to increase focus. My main dilemma is getting all of the miscellaneous tasks done that I want to this week, and properly preparing myself for the start of the semester. I'm taking almost solely science courses from here on out, so I'll be out of my element, and this needs to be my turning point for my grades. Tensions rise, but I know that I can excel at this. Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds and shall find me unafraid. It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.
  2. Loyalty is a high value of mine so I've been there too. Two things that helped me with this: 1. Loyalty should always be with myself first. If a relationship isn't serving my highest good (my best self), than to continue to participate in it is an act against my own self-love. Is there anything more disloyal than to act against your own self-love? 2. Relationships/Friendships are not all meant to last forever. Some people come in your life for a time and then they go. It is not disloyal to embrace the impermanence of life and change. In fact, sometimes, the most loyal thing you can do is to let someone go. It's not even just about you, it's about them. If the relationship isn't healthy, how is it serving their highest good either? Dang Cam, that's crazy good wisdom; that advice could have saved me a lot of pain in the past, and I know it will save me a lot of pain in the future. It's hard, because I'm transitioning from being a nice guy (externally focused) to being a kind guy that sticks to his values (internally focused). I completely agree with you that one of the most best things one can do for himself and those around him is to stick to his values. Many thanks for the advice. Thanks for the encouragement, TheBroMoe, staying physically active has been incredibly beneficial to my life. In the words of one of the my personal heroes, Richard Winters of the 501st Airborne in WWII, "Physical stamina is the root of mental toughness". That toughness has brought about a greater sense of confidence in everyday life, because I know that I can take pain and am fit enough to handle most situations that life can throw at me. As for reading, I'm going to use the cliche statement that it's a muscle you have to build. I would recommend starting with books on topics that interest you the most, whether it's fiction or nonfiction. Feel free to throw in a post below on what on subjects/genres interest you and I would be more than happy to send some recommendations. Other than that, find ways to make the subject interesting, and when all else fails break your time reading into 25 minute segments with a 5 minute break in between (the Pomodoro Technique). Learning how to speed read will greatly increase focus as well, and there are plenty of articles on the topic, and your local library will likely have books on it as well. Speed reading isn't just about reading faster, but also about skipping useless parts which will wear away at your focus anyway. One last tip: I'm not a big highlighting and under-lining guy, but it is good to be actively engaged with the text. The way I do this is by keeping a notebook nearby in which I write down important information I get from the text. This not only will help you retain information and stay focused, but it will also give you a record to look back on if you want to get the gist of the book again without rereading it. Day 7 It's been one week since I've started, and while I do think about video games sometimes, I honestly don't want to go back all that much. Yesterday I didn't think of them at all because I was blissfully busy, but today I've been very lethargic and thus have allowed myself a lot of free time, so I thought about them quite a bit. Sleeping in is frequently my enemy (I did so because I hit the dancing pretty hard and stayed out late), which is what set the pace for not getting much done today. My one victory is that I have started on Alan Lakein's How to get Control of Your Time and Your Life, which very well may prove to be one of the most useful books I read in my life. The amount of time I put in today was pretty pathetic, but I'm going to be much more focused in reading it tomorrow. I also am going to start reading my textbooks to prepare for the start of the semester in one week. This next week will be a trial run for how effectively I can keep my productivity habits in place during the school year. I am going to get A's this semester, so a strong start is essential.
  3. Day 6 I'm posting earlier today because I'm going out dancing tonight until late with a whole bunch of my friends (I'm going to teach a good friend of mine how to East Coast Swing for the first time), which I'm incredibly pumped about. I ran my first 5k earlier this morning and did unbelievably better than expected! My fastest training time was around 33 minutes, but the time I got today was 23:54, and came in 28th place out of 329 runners. Not bad for someone who has been training for this race only for the past two weeks. I think part of the reason I did so well, was that weight training during the year kept my cardio and leg muscle strength already at a really high point, and I trained in much more rigorous conditions than those of the race (sprinting up really steep hills and then walking/jogging down and repeating is the fastest way to get in shape in my experience). With all that said, I really owe all my credit to my friends who ran with me. One of them assistant-coaches baseball and is in incredible shape, so forcing myself to stick with him was what brought success. I definitely think running with friends is yet another replacement for video games, because it has the four factors: 1. measurable growth 2. a social component 3. an escape from every day life and 4. is challenging. One more thing: one of the friends that really had me bummed from last night ended up signing up for the race at the last second. Before and during the race, I really didn't care, and ended up congratulating him for his time, because in the end that race was about pushing myself to become a better person. When we focus on a goal as simple as that we really can't be phased too much by past negative experiences or addictions. They look so dross in comparison.
  4. Oh, nice! I don't think I've heard of Letters to a Stoic, but anything by Seneca is worth reading; he's probably my all time favorite author. Disappointingly, I can't say I'm an artist in any conventional way. I like to write, if that counts, but even that isn't something I do often or in any structured fashion. I have tons of respect for people that are into art, though, and always like to see their work and learn about the mentality they have behind their creation process. It's for these reasons that I was psyched see the photos you displayed, because I could learn more about an art I don't know too much about and was able to have a glimpse of your perspective of the world and what you see as beautiful within it. Keep up the solid work bro!
  5. Day 5 Finished the Navy SEAL book, got a haircut, and got dinner with friends who are running a 5k with me tomorrow. It was good to see a lot of my friends that I didn't see often that are really supportive of me and I of them, but two other people showed up that were apathetic in their friendship with me in the past for years and didn't show any sign of change even now. It was painful to see them even though I externally exuded confidence throughout dinner and chose to hang out with my real friends instead. I definitely need to move on emotionally from people like that, but its hard when you put a high value on loyalty in your other friendships. With that said, when I think of the struggles I have versus what people have gone through throughout history and what they are going through now they become insignificant, and I believe that's a good thing. I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul, and therefore I choose to live a life in which I am so passionate about developing my skillsets and helping others that I don't have time to worry about negative people or have negative thoughts. Also, the meditation trick worked great and I did stop by the library for a bit. Stoked (and a bit nervous) about running my first 5k tomorrow.
  6. Wow, I definitely hope I'll follow those trend graphs, if not exceed them. I bookmarked Jocko Willink's page and plan on checking it out later, thanks for the hookup, looks promising. Day 4 Not so productive today, but still on track. Staying at home is a huge productivity drain. I know that I can be more productive at the library that's within walking distance, but it takes a lot of momentum to get there. It's not going to happen unless I set a habit. I'm going to set a daily on Habitica to at least walk over there every day, because I know if I walk through the door I'll commit to do at least some work. Meditating also fell through, which is too bad because that's something I really want to have a good routine with. Setting a routine for it is proving to be difficult, and I may need to do it as soon as I wake up to prevent procrastination. If I follow through with those two goals tomorrow I'll be quite happy.
  7. Marcus Aurelius is a good friend to have, and I am tight with him as well. I recommend hanging out with his friend Seneca as well, who wrote On Peace of Mind and On the Shortness of Life, which are two of the most useful books I've ever read. In my opinion, the mark of a true artist is someone who can share the beauty and vision with others that they see from seemingly ordinary sights. You have a gift, my friend, please continue to hone it and share it with the world.
  8. It sounds like you've got this down pat man. Speaking from personal experience, it's a good sign that being frustrated with your work hasn't driven you back to your old ways; that means you're starting out with a healthy bit of staying power, and I can respect that. As for facebook and twitter, I have to agree with you that they are mostly a drain and your time and happiness, though they do have their uses. Hey, and totally feel free to post some of your work in photography, I'd definitely be interested in seeing it.
  9. Day 3 Today was pretty easy as far as staying on track, because I took the bus to campus an hour after I woke up and spent the morning studying ahead on Khan Academy and doing some other research on the internet at the library. I'm on my mini-break between summer classes and the fall semester, but I came on campus to meet a couple of friends for lunch. Seeing them was great, and my day was definitely on the right track. After talking with them I really didn't get too much done, just listened to music and piddled around on the internet, but I got a text from a friend I hadn't seen since the fall who wanted to grab dinner. Seeing friends all day was definitely a great boost for morale, and the fact that I got some studying done in the midst of that definitely boosts my confidence that this 90 days is going to be the start of when I rebound academically, and more importantly, take complete control of my life. Once I have shed the shackled of this final addiction, its hard for me to imagine why I can't achieve even the loftiest goals I've dreamt of. One final note: I've recently been reading the autobiography of a Navy SEAL (creatively titled The Making of a Navy SEAL) and reading it has been tremendously more fun than video games. The feelings video games elicit are joy, which subsides to a numbing contentment, the same kind that I would imagine one would get from a morphine drip; at night that feeling gives way to disappointment and horror at how the day is gone, and I am only able to wash away my guilt through promising myself I will never do it again. The guilt will stay as a dull pain over the next day or so until I forget about my past actions. Reading this book was different. There was that same peaceful flow of being in the moment as I read it, punctuated with times of ecstatic joy at the high points of the novel. I came out of it not with guilt, but with inspiration that I can do incredible things if I keep with the same tenacity and ambition as the author. I've felt this way from reading before, but it's definitely been enough months that I've forgotten how much fun it can be. Video games are easy to access, while reading has a harder initial investment (the harder the material, the more the investment, but also a higher potential payoff); the former could to be likened to a candy bar as the latter is the crispy deliciousness of a Subway sandwich. There's just no real comparison.
  10. Thanks Cam and play_time_is_over for responding! This is actually pretty incredible advice, and I really want to thank you for sharing it. Even though it's day 2 and I accomplished most of the goals stated above, it by far wasn't my most productive day and I definitely relapsed on a lot of my non-gaming goals (aka avoiding productivity drainers). I try to spend as little time as possible on electronic entertainment as possible, but I spent quite a few hours mindlessly surfing on the internet and watching the Walking Dead and the Bourne Identity today. Since I saved up my willpower I got a lot of other things done and am still gaming free. I'll keep your words of wisdom in mind as I go along. Day 2 Had some minor cravings, but as stated above I was able to satiate them with TV and the internet. As I go along I really want to transition that hunger for down-time into reading, but I'm willing to pick my battle as long as my other main goals stay intact. I'm filling my temporary reprieve from weight training and school for the next couple of weeks (I start back at the end of August) with training for a 5k I'm running Saturday and studying ahead for my classes on Khan Academy, so it was pretty nice to have worked on both of those. Sure, I can get more done in a day, but so long as I don't fall into large-scale slumps of a bad habit I'm pretty optimistic about the future. Two things that I want to implement that may help: doing my hardest tasks first thing in the morning (I'm a morning person) and then giving some scheduled time to relax in more edifying means, and using the Pomodoro technique (25 minutes of work and then a 5 minute break, and a 30 minute break after 4 of those). If I don't have giant cravings pulling me away I think I can do it.
  11. Day 1 Hey everyone, First off I'd like to give a bit of background information: My name is Pierce, and I am a 21 year old going into my junior year of college as a Biology major. I've been a gamer since elementary school and it was, for the most part, the center of my childhood. At age 16 I realized that I wanted to take charge of my life, and that would definitely mean quitting gaming and replacing it with other activities. I gave away my Xbox 360, my older consoles, all of my games, and my World of Warcraft account. If I had known that five years later I would still have this struggle, I don't know how I would felt then, but as you can see I was very committed then and I at least "feel" that I am just as committed now if not more so. Over this past half-decade I have made so many commitments only to relapse again, that I couldn't count all of the times. There would be some days where I would wake up, try to fight the craving, install Steam again or go to different flash game websites, play video games all day while only doing minimal school work, and then would feel disgusted with myself at night and promise myself that I will never do it again as I uninstall the games off of my laptop; if I didn't have school that day the cycle would usually repeat. So long as I have access to the internet I am at risk (even if it's watching streams on youtube), and I can confidently say that, for me, gaming is an addiction. Here's the strange thing: on the one hand I feel that I am 100% committed to rooting out every facet of gaming out of my life, but I keep on coming back to it. I know that quitting gaming (and really most of the other electronic entertainment I consume as well) would be one of the greatest ways to add more joy, fulfillment, and success to my life. Furthermore, the ridiculous thing about my addiction is that the damaging effects go way beyond me. I want to become a doctor and one day practice medicine in countries like South Sudan, that don't have access to resources that even our pets are guaranteed on a daily basis (as a side note: I have mad respect for what you're doing in Tanzania, Cam). As I waste time on an activity that is literally just putting my life on stand-by as I sit like a mindless drone in front of a screen, people are suffering. I don't say this out of guilt, but out of a sense or urgency that is all too easy to forget. I can use that time to develop necessary skills, and more importantly focus on school. School... it's something that I definitely see the value in and enjoy most of the time, but something that I've never been consistently good at. Becoming a doctor is probably one of the hardest professions to get into, with admissions board being especially unforgiving, and my performance in my undergrad years will be one of the greatest indicators to them as to whether I'm a good fit for their school. All of my life my strengths have been in reading, writing, and philosophy, which I wouldn't trade for the world since it has been through them that I have learned how to think for myself and become my own man, but they can't help me much in reaching this next stage towards my dream. I have been deficient in math and the sciences since middle school, so it seems as if I have to put forth double the effort to understand a concept in my classes now. Math, physics, chemistry, and yes, shamefully, even biology have been kicking the snot out of me as I largely scrape by with a passing grade. Because of this, it's almost certain that I'll have to take additional years either doing a postbac (repeating some courses) or a masters degree to prove that I can succeed in the midst of rigorous courses. Time wasted on gaming has played a very large role in why I haven't been able to catch up. It's like playing [insert title of immensely difficult video game here, i.e. Dark Souls], and knowing exactly why you just got slaughtered by that horde of enemies or boss, but choosing to continue to make the same mistake over and over because you can't muster the discipline to go about the fight in a more meticulous way. One of the greatest enigmas of my life is why I continue to do this to myself when I have so much to gain by quitting and so much to lose by quitting. I found some answers recently using a technique that was immensely helpful (found in this video by Actualized.org https://youtu.be/qy_INVm_Pw0). I was trying to do some organic chemistry homework when I got an intense craving to go on Steam. I failed in resisting it and I turned it on, but this time I paid close attention to my emotions as I played. Since I have been struggling with my online o-chem homework, I felt an intense feeling of frustration as I kept on getting problems wrong, but the feelings that I felt as the game loaded and as I played it were of complete serenity. When our state of equilibrium (or comfort zone) is disrupted by a very difficult activity, our subconscious tries to restore balance by nudging us towards a more comfortable activity (ergo, I go to gaming). I know this can be fixed if I learn to enjoy my school work, but for some subjects I really haven't been able to no matter how hard I try. My hope is that by quitting video games I'll be able to reprogram my state of equilibrium to be at peace with reading and doing homework. In addendum: I feel sometimes that I am two people. One of the two, my "higher self" if you will, has my mortality in plain sight and therefore wants to make every second count towards my biggest goals. My "lower self" is motivated by pleasure, highly animalistic, and seems to be more powerful than the first entity in short-term matters. It is my hope that the two will become one some day soon, and doing the 90 day detox seems to be is a major step in that direction. If I did my math right I'll hit 90 days on November 3rd; I don't plan on stopping there, but that's a major milestone along the way and I want to assess my progress when I get there. Now that I've laid out where I'm coming from, here's my action plan: I've installed K9 Protection on my old windows laptop, which will prevent me easy access from Steam other gaming websitesI've also installed an extension on my chromebook that allows me to shut off all internet access for a period of time (my concern is that I have to voluntarily choose to turn it off, which may prove problematic) I have social accountability: my friends and family, and this public journal.I will fill my time with worthier pursuits: reading, dancing, studying, etc.I've been using Habitica.com to track progress on habits for a while nowI have the will to win: I AM IN CONTROL OF MY LIFE AND I WILL QUIT VIDEO GAMESMy goals: Quit video games, starting with the 90 day challenge, and charting progress here every dayPutting my main focus for the upcoming semester on getting only A'sLimit youtube videos to music while working on main goals each day, and limit to only watch self-help videos and news when those are doneRead during free time (finish at least 1 book a month; history, philosophy, self-help, etc.)Lift weights three times a week, gaining strength and muscle (every ectomorph's dream, haha)Meditate 20 minutes dailyLess important goals:Improve at cookingBecome a better dancer (I usually go to various Latin and Ballroom studios every weekend with friends, an activity which fits the same four areas that makes gaming addicting according to Cam)Do one challenging activity each monthPractice guitar at night of all other goals are doneOne last thing, I wanted to leave a note for Cam, if you get a chance to read this: I remember reading an article by you in kingpin lifestyle about a year and a half ago, and thinking about how I had probably just read the first reasonable piece of advice on how to quit video games that I had encountered thus far. You took charge of your life when you saw it wasn't going the direction you wanted and you turned into something that is awe-inspiring, and you did it in a way that proves to others that they really don't have any excuses if they think they can't do it too. Gamequitters fills a niche that is so vitally important for our generation, one that helps people in a tremendously important way. The fact that you take the time read and respond to pretty much all of the comments on your youtube videos and most of the posts here, shows how much you care about the people you work with. I am really inspired by your example, man. Looking at your trajectory from when you started your journey to now, I'm honestly pretty stoked to see what you end up doing in the next twenty years (especially with the humanitarian aid work you've started delving into). It's amazing that I can be in correspondence with someone I respect so much, and that's definitely something I'm not going to forget anytime soon. Anyway I don't mean to boost your ego up too much Cam (a joke; from what I've seen you're not in any danger of losing your humility), but I just wanted to encourage you with that. Keep up the incredible work bro.