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Florian's Challenge


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Thanks for the advice! I actually went to sleep in a sleep lab, and they did not diagnose anything out of the ordinary. You are right with the need for good sleep - the time I safe while sleeping less, I pay in being less productive over the day. Without my alarm clock though, I sleep 7 hours. Maybe that's what I need.

I am actually looking forward to measuring weight and body fat in the morning (most), and also to my whole morning routine. That absolutely pushes me out of bed.

What treatment did you find for your sleep apnea?

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Here is my vision board.

It is centered around a view of New York at night. I just like the city lights, it reminds me of early childhood days, when I looked over the city of Hamburg while my grandma held me in her arms.

From top left, clockwise:

Sports car. Maybe I'll just drive it down to the beach once and jump into the water.
A scene from Wagner's Ring that I'd like to see in 5 different continents.
US passport - I will be American citizen.
A view on the Marianna trench, I'd like to go Deep Sea diving.
I think the next picture shows the USS Pennsylvania - I'd like to spend a few days on a military submarine.
Blackbeard's ship in the Caribbean - I'd like to follow some of the ancient pirate routes, if possible in a pirate ship.
A mediterranean French village, spending a summer there would be great, I love that countryside.
My own private island to unplug and be in the vicinity of the ocean's.
A house with wife and dog. The kids must be playing in the backyard.
The house I envision would be similar to the brick house on the left...
... or in the woods like Frank Lloyd Wright's "Falling Waters".
A loft, flooded by light. I like light. This would be my city version of an ideal place to live.
A reminder that I would like to be able to lift 400 lbs.
I'd like to get to 8% body fat (or within the 10 - 12% range, 3 - 7% would be a bit too skinny for me).

Vision Board.jpg

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One thing with which I am struggling most is that I

(a) want to spend as much time as possible with the items that are important to me;

and that

(b) there are so many items I like that it is difficult to chose,

As a result, I often end up overloading my daily lists. I'd like to learn that it's ok to do something later in the week or month.

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You've got a ton of great goals!  If you ever start to feel like it's a bit much, just remember that it's better to make some progress every single day rather than make a ton of progress one day and do nothing for the next few days.

That said, if you find that you can consistently handle that much, go for it!

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Thanks again for the answer, Tom.

Day 6

I asked for the 10% discount for coffee. Audio File attached, I had a digital audio recorder with me. Actually, this recorder is really useful to note a thought or idea before I forget about it. I felt a bit nervous before asking, and I think that just came from focusing on the task. Why would the task be so present? Because I am not often getting a coffee when I am out.

Next time, I want to speak up and ask with more authority. I also want to find a better reason for the discount than "Because it's a nice day." A better reason would be: "because I want to buy this shop and I need to start saving up" or something like that. Or even "because it would really really make my day. Really."

Another time. I also hope that my habit of talking to more people will make it more "normal" to communicate with people and then ask for a refund or anything else fun. Can I get 10 percent off.mov Can I get 10 percent off.mov Can I get 10 percent off.mov

What am I grateful for today?

1. Getting up early.
2. My space heater.
3. Math.
4. Friends and family.
5. Living in the US.
6. My scanner.
7. Writing.
8. Abundance.
9. Internet connection.
10. Mets in the World Series.

My morning routine went well. Meditation-wise, I had actually started with headspace 10 days ago, so I bought the extension for $12.95 per month. The first 10 "lessons" are 10 minutes each, the next 10 are 15 minutes. While the first lessons are all about learning to let your thoughts be and don't try to tackle them immediately, these coming lessons are more about gratitude and giving value. It's gonna be interesting.

I also want to look more into additional ways of being in a "meditative mindset", for example, completely focussing on the task at hand. Like, when you wash the dishes, you don't think about what happens afterwards. You only wash the dishes. That way, you focus on what you can do right now and not what might happen in some distant future. "Not worrying about unlaid eggs", according to an old German saying.

I have also looked into the "5 minute journal" and taken some additional questions out of it:

What would make today great?
If I got all my work done for my blog and started writing my resumé.

Daily affirmation.
I am up and rising!

At the end of the day, you gotta ask yourself two more questions, that I answered yesterday already:

Three amazing things that happened today.

1. A friend is in New York and we may meet.
2. I managed to stow away my cravings for sweets.
3. I woke up at 5 am without alarm clock.

How could I have made today better?

Getting less distracted by internet stuff. -> Resolve to check twitter and facebook in more depth some time later in the day, but don’t waste my time on social media early in the day.

Always dress well

I realized something else: whenever I am dressed well, my day goes better. Even when I am sitting at home in front of the computer, I am not goofing around in my pajamas. The clothes you wear feedback on your mindset, I think.


Can I get 10 percent off.mov

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Thanks Cam.

Quick realization. I had originally planned to work, then I had a dispute with someone that I wanted to tend to and I am a bit frustrated right now. My schedule is off and I feel a bit chaotic. The temptation to just go to the supermarket and get my favorite ice cream is high. I'll withstand though.

But this is exactly what I feel like when I fall back into addictive behavior. The day's schedule is mixed up and I feel insecure. So now I yearn for a "quick fix" and get some external validation. But this is also what perseverance means. Do the work even under non-ideal circumstances. A good point to learn.

I remember watching Game 5 Mets vs. Dodgers in this year's baseball playoffs. The Mets pitcher de Grom, who normally cruised through games, now had runners on base every innings. Yet he persevered and prevented runs even when his "stuff" wasn't there. The Mets still won.

I can always think about that as a role model situation when things don't go smoothly. Taking a breath and then going back. Hope that works.


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Exactly. This is all about developing resilience. Great job being mindful and catching yourself so you have the opportunity to adapt. It would have been easy to just go through the motions, hit the supermarket, grab your ice cream and not even realize why you were doing it.

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Day 7

Day 7 already? Time truly flies by. As the saying goes: the days are long, but the weeks/months/years are short.

This is what I am grateful for today.
1. Getting up early. Before 6 am.
2. Good night’s sleep. 6 hours or more.
3. Meditation. Being happy myself makes others happy too.
4. Being in a happy mood.
5. Mastermind Meetings for my website. They clarify things and motivate me.
6. Helping my friends. I love it when I can share experience that helps them.
7. Enjoying the moment. Just live in it. The moment is eternal.
8. Taking my time. As little or as much as I need vs. obeying to strict times - I am trying that out.
9. Trying out new things and routines.
10. Daily idea practise. It actually works and opens up your eyes to so many opportunities.

What would make today great?
If I am exhausted from the day when I go to bed.

Daily affirmation.
I am focused and will never give up.

Three amazing things that happened today.
1. A friend is in New York and we may meet.
2. I managed to stow away my cravings for sweets.
3. I woke up at 5 am without alarm clock.

How could I have made today better?
Hardly much. I could have fried the bacon (in my bacon-onion omelette) a little bit longer, but by and large, it was ok.
Guess that means the day was ok.

Photo with complete stranger
I searched a bit longer because I wanted to have the picture taken with a younger girl or woman - don't know why... ;-)

Picture is attached. She was waiting for her bus for her engineering class at college, and of course I made sure the bus would not all of a sudden arrive.

I wrote the note because I don't have a printer with me. I guess that still served its purpose.

Cam, great missions!

I dont know this person.JPG

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Day 8

What am I grateful for today?
1. Shelter. Especially in fall, it can become cold outside.
2. My audio recorder. Because I can capture any thought.
3. Sleep. Because it is great to regenerate. This even rhymes.
4. Writing. It gives me calm and serenity.
5. Being alive. Otherwise I would not be writing this.
6. My iPad. Tons of books on there.
7. That we can buy anything. There is nothing we have to yearn for.
8. My morning workout. It pushes me forward and makes me feel I have achieved something.
9. Music. It is always on my mind.
10. Friends and family. They got my back.

What would make today great?
If I got all my stuff done without distraction.

Daily affirmation.
I am going to push through any fear and make great things happen!

Three amazing things that happened today.
1. I spent a long time on the phone with my Mom.
2. I got an unexpected gift.
3. I managed to pass the snacks at the supermarket counter without any "desire" to buy them. Even my favorite ones!
4. I had this impression that a certain class of mathematical functions has a specific property and came up with a way to show it. Sounds nerdy, but it really was fun to me. The great thing here was that I felt like giving up twice and I kept at it.

It really helps to push through cravings. If I look back at this week, I had some cravings now and then to eat some snacks, but as painful as it can sometimes seem - (a) it goes away, as long as I just focus on one step at a time, and (b) those cravings really only come down to maybe 1 - 2x 2 hours in the afternoon.

How could I have made today better?
I could have focused on my work a little better. I think I need to plan my work in more continuous blocks of time. Especially in the morning, I have a lot of different activities - they can all easily take longer than I initially expected. And then the remaining time in the day is cut short and distraction sets in. So what I will do is I will set a clear start and end time for those activities and see whether the rest of the day goes a bit easier.

Moment of appreciation
See attached. I went up to the first person in the supermarket and complimented her on her scarf (see recording). Then later on I found a couple fighting with their parked car. The motor was not starting. Normally I would have skipped talking to them because I don't know how to repair a car and then think I can't offer them anything of value. Not this time, I asked them if I could help with anything though and they said they had it handled. Still, it was fun talking to them. 

Too many opportunities have passed by where I held back in the past just because I thought I did not have the perfect advice. 

I can sometimes be a bit intense because I can't let go. I try to be perfect and become needlessly competitive in my mindset where everyone else just chills out and has a good time. Trying to be perfect seems to me a bit like computer gaming. It's like fulfilling a purpose that someone else just determined for you. 

Trying to improve myself is nothing bad. My problem is that I sometimes have the mindset of needing to be perfect in everything

What I want is to learn to let go of the desire to be perfect in projects that I am not really that interested in and just focus on improving my work in fields that I am really passionate about - because those are the projects that I am really chosing to do myself. Those are the projects that I really want to pursue.

The TED talk by Brené Brown has helped a bit in thinking about it. Here is the link again. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCvmsMzlF7o

I like your scarf.mov

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I can sometimes be a bit intense because I can't let go. I try to be perfect and become needlessly competitive in my mindset where everyone else just chills out and has a good time. Trying to be perfect seems to me a bit like computer gaming. It's like fulfilling a purpose that someone else just determined for you. 

Trying to improve myself is nothing bad. My problem is that I sometimes have the mindset of needing to be perfect in everything

I definitely relate to this. 

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Thanks, Cam. There is actually a second point which occurred to me this morning while I was looking at my body fat values over the last days:

27.2% - 26.4% - 26.8% - 27.8% - 26.4% - 26.5% - 26.2% - 27.0% - 26.8%

Excitement followed by heart break... ;-) even though I had almost the same meals - low in carbs - every day.

Overall, these values form a downward slope. And probably everything we learn or improve ourselves in follows a similar zig-zag pattern.

My question is - are we really improving ourselves or are we just realigning ourselves with who we deep down really are by cutting out anything counterproductive to our goals?

And the third point is about these distractions that we may try to cut out of our lives.
Most distractions I get are from ideas and thoughts that pop into my mind. My whole life, I have music in my mind. It's always there. LAtely, I realized I also have a multitude of new ideas and thoughts in my mind. Thinking about them makes me excited. I don't need the internet to go off on tangents. My mind does that already. And most of the time, the train of thoughts are in a positive direction - if not, I make sure they get back into positive territory.

Are those really "bad" distractions? And further - how do I put these thoughts into focused action when my dreams alone can give me a momentary "kick"? Maybe it's through (1.) creating a schedule of specific items that need to be done on a certain day; (2.) quickly writing down any idea that comes to your mind; (3.) allowing yourself some time for additional action that you can take after being inspired by your ideas after you fulfilled your schedule (1.). For example, if you leave yourself 1.5 hours to wrok on your website, one hour of it can actually come from drafting a blog post, and the additional 30 minutes you can use to try out some new design plans for your outline.

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Have you ever tried Trello? Quoting it's Wikipedia entry: "Projects are represented by boards, which contain lists (corresponding to task lists). Lists contain cards (corresponding to tasks). Cards are supposed to progress from one list to the next (via drag-and-drop), for instance mirroring the flow of a feature from idea to implementation."

Consider my work board. WIP is the maximum amount of items I'm allowing myself to keep in a certain stage. Backlog captures all tasks and ideas. Done reminds me of my accomplishments and makes it easy to report to management.

Lists: Backlog | Priority (WIP: 5) | Today (WIP: 4) | Doing (WIP: 1) | Done

It quickly became an essential tool to manage my work and personal life. Give it a try!

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Day 9

What am I grateful for today?
1. Books. They are like mentors.
2. Family and friends. They give me a sense of belonging.
3. Fall season. I just love the leaves change their colour and see them fall.
4. My morning routine. Gives me stability for the day.
5. Getting up early. The whole day is in front of me.
6. My white board. A great way to have my goals mapped out.
7. That the days are long and the years short. You don’t even notice how time flies by.
8. Low-carb diet. It leads to loss of body fat, eventually.
9. Calisthenics. An easy way to work out at home.
10. My morning coffee. A nice little tradition which pushes me completely awake (though I ultimately don’t want to depend on it).

What would make today great?
If I manage to get all my tasks for today done in time.

Daily affirmation.
I am not shying away from challenges.

Three amazing things that happened today.
1. 15 minute meditation does not feel like that long anymore.
2. I brought a project forward that I had long postponed.
3. I did not fall down in my dance video.

How could I have made today better?
Distraction was relatively low today, but sometimes things just take a bit longer. I talked to someone and that was a bit emotionally draining, for example. So work afterwards was a bit slower then. These things happen. It would have been great had I scheduled my daily list with less items. if I can get through my items in 8 completely focused hours, I can plan on working 4 hours and have those additional hours as buffer and/or for reflexion. I think I will adjust my schedule for the next 1 - 2 weeks and then I should have a pretty good view on what I can get realistically done on any day instead of jamming the day full like I currently do. 

I will also try Tom's suggestion with Trello, that could work greatly.

Dance video
I still love Heavy Metal, and I just this year discovered how great Megadeth's album "Rust in Peace" really was. Here, I am featuring the beginning of "Tornado of Souls". I actually went to my youtube channel, clicked on "upload" and recorded the video directly from within youtube.com, using my internal Apple webcam. If you do that, the upload takes seconds. 

Honestly, I was not too fond of the idea of posting it to Facebook, maybe even a bit fearful, but what the heck, I posted it to both Twitter and Facebook. My God, what will people think of me? Fun, that's what.

Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJCv6HwumQM

Youtube Video Upload.png

Edited by Florian
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I was actually really happy that I did not lose balance and fall down. Long time ago that I did headbanging.

What am I grateful for today?
1. The Mets winning Game 3. This is the first step to a suspenseful World Series
2. The Game Quitters Website. The forum is greatly motivating and holding myself accountable.
3. Family and friends. Talking to them every day is a key to enduring happiness.
4. Getting up early. The whole day is in front of me!
5. Music. Metal or Classical, it does no matter.
6. My friend Jonathan. He always has my back.
7. Resubmitting our manuscript. The team has done great work on it.
8. A warm apartment. Important in fall.
9. Chocolate-flavored protein shakes. Great new taste.
10. That everything we need is at our finger tips. For example, I can have stuff delivered the SAME day that I ordered it from Amazon. Same thing with books that I get delivered instantaneously onto my iPad. This is ALMOST like the Star Trek replicators.

What would make today great?
Once again, it would be great if I could get as much done as possible.

Daily affirmation.
I am pumped up and will give it my all!

Three amazing things that happened today.
All towards beating discomfort!
1. I dared to charge an employer that wanted to hire me as a freelancer $35 per 500 words. I found that a reasonable price, including all necessary reading or research I’d have to do, but I was very hesitant to charge more than the “entry rate” of $4 for 500 words. “Am I really worth that much?”
I am still new at pricing myself doing some freelance work. Last time I charged low though, the person I was waiting for was trying to haggle me down some $ more. Not again. Maybe I have to indeed aim low at the beginning, but if I do so, I will do it out of necessity, not out of a psychological barrier to charge more.
2. I scheduled my Karaoke date and actually became excited about possible songs. Number one on my list is "Bohemian Rhapsody, not really easy, but a welcome challenge.
By the way, if you are ever going to the Opera, Mascagni's "Cavalleria Rusticana" is the same story.
3. I worked more on the booklet draft that I postponed for a long while.

I realize that I get towards tasks easily when I (a) know my purpose with it, the "why" and (b) specify precisely the next action step. Then it's really easy to get going. If the task is halfway defined, like "write booklet", then it doesn't get done, because it seems like a big task that is impossible to tackle. But when I write "1. make an excel spread sheet of all websites yuo want to include in your booklet and 2. copy blog posts out of the websites into a word file", it is easy to do the next step.

How could I have made today better?
Could have stayed focused for a longer while, but then again, I take things a little easier on saturday.

Scheduled for an Open Mic night next wednesday at the Lovecraft Bar in NYC. Will be fun!

I sent out three messages of appreciation.

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'I'm just a poor boy, from a poor family...' Spare me my life from this monstrosity...! 

I'm sure though it'll be the greatest monstrosity ever!


Day 11

What am I grateful for today?
1. Winter time. I gained one hour. What's not to like about that?
2. Great weather. I like the fall, even though it may be cold.
3. Morning calisthenics. I am glad I am keeping with it, even though it can sometimes feel like a nuisance - I just think about my fitness goals and I'm fine again.
4. Coffee. It kicks me up, though I don’t need it any more in the morning.
5. Writing. It keeps me in the loop for my work.
6. Cooking. It’s actually fun.
7. To have everything I need to live. I don’t need a lot of luxuries.
8. Living in the US. An old dream I first had 20 years ago, come true.
9. Always having an active mind. There are always thoughts, and I can feed off them.
10. Music. It’s always on my mind.


What would make today great?
If I fall to bed exhausted, that would make today great.


Daily affirmation.
I am jumping into this month with happiness!


Three amazing things that happened today.
1. I restarted the #NoNothingNovember challenge. Check it out on Reddit:
You give up three vices for a month and install one new habit. It's truly inspiring to read the comments - what people want to start anew in November. Lots of people want to work out, learn to meditate (!) or study for exams... and then there are those who want to learn Painting, Martial Arts, Archery, Lucid Dreaming...
My own goals are: #1 - No Internet distractions, #2 - No snacks, #3 - Getting up at 5 am. And I want to use this month to become more productive.

2. I started posting on my blog again, including Youtube video: http://lifesciencementor.com/nonothingnovember-2015-edition/

3. Today, I had the least distractions since the last half year maybe.


How could I have made today better?
If I had planned it a little better in advance, I would have felt better because I would have had a better overview of what I needed to do today. 

Cold shower
Did it. Part of my morning routine. It gets a bit more unpleasant in the New Jersey winter, and with my long hair, shampoo does not wash out quickly, especially not with cold water. Still, I am doing it, because it invigorates me.

Edited by Florian
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