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Edward's Journal


Zakaex
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A month and a half of meditation is no small feat. Very few people make it that far :)

Hah awesome, just ten minutes a day really pays off over the long run though!

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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!

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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.

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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.

Edited by Zakaex
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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.

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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...

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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.

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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.

Grats on Day 62, btw.  I have a long ways to go still, but good to see that people are making it through the Detox.

Yeah, I know what you mean about one day at a time.  My dad used to say, "Everything adds up". It's a really simple statement, but has a very profound meaning when you apply it to goal-setting.  Every step counts.  :)

Edited by Dannigan
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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.

HUUUUUUGE results from this. :)

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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. 

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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.

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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.” 

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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!

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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.

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67 days, well done brother. All the little things you're learning are compounding over time. A few years from now you'll be blown away at how far these little wins can really take you.

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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?

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This is a great subject I'm pondering myself as well. In my case playing doesn't feel like reading or watching videos. For me the best way to wind down is just to go do something with my friends. Maybe to watch a movie, maybe to play some board game, maybe to just chat and drink tea. Being with friends just has a restoring effect. In my opinion there is difference between rest and play. Rest is often bit more on the physical and psychical side while play is, at least for me, on the social and psychical side.

Stuart Brown's book Play discusses this topic if I remember correctly.

Keep up the good work! :) 

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This is a great subject I'm pondering myself as well. In my case playing doesn't feel like reading or watching videos. For me the best way to wind down is just to go do something with my friends. Maybe to watch a movie, maybe to play some board game, maybe to just chat and drink tea. Being with friends just has a restoring effect. In my opinion there is difference between rest and play. Rest is often bit more on the physical and psychical side while play is, at least for me, on the social and psychical side.

Stuart Brown's book Play discusses this topic if I remember correctly.

Keep up the good work! :) 

Thanks for the continuous support man! Will definitely add that on to my reading list!

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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.

 

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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.

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