Tag Archives: positivity

20,284

I’ve written 20,284 words for one of my books. I read that the average non-fiction book is 80,000 pages, which means I’m a little over 25% of the way there! I’ve been writing since April 24th, which means I’ve written all those words in around two weeks, averaging 1267.75 words a day over 16 days. That doesn’t take into account the words in my memoir, and this blog. Over all three projects I’m pretty sure I’m averaging 2,000 words a day. It’s crazy, I feel really excited and kind of addictive.

I want to say it’s all good, but I have to admit that maybe I could be putting more effort into my finals. Today I showed up to the lab at 4 to work on finals and by 7:30 I hadn’t even opened my file. That’s the bad news, the good news is I wrote close to 4,500 and one of the best things I think I’ve ever written.

In my defense I’m at the head of the curve in terms of my final, and I’d say I’m still in the top third of the class. I really have to say, since starting this blog my life feels way better. I’m more productive, losing weight, reaching my goals and it’s finally beging to feel like things are turning around.

Not bad considering I was in fact considering suicide just before I started this blog.

If you’re reading this my advice is stop putting things off. I’ve always wanted to write a book but I feel like I kept waiting for permission. I always thought that if I got just a little more experience I’d be in a position where I deserved the right to write a book. Finally I decided that that day would probably never come, very few of us have those kinds of chances given to us. Sure, Snooki is pushed to write a book even though most people don’t think she can read, but for the rest of us if we want to write we should just write. if you want to learn an instrument pick one up and sign up for classes. Hell, just pick it up!

They say the first step is the hardest, but I’d say it’s the first few. I’ve started a lot of things but finished very few of them, the trick is to work of the momentum to where you can’t stop, where you’re constantly thinking about that next step and you can’t wait to take it.
Once again, the regrets always creep up. Even when I’m succeeding I say to myself “If only you’d been like this your whole life, think of the time you wasted!” But for all I know I never would have been able to achieve my full potential if it wasn’t for the time I think I wasted. I can’t prove that, but it’s possible on one hand and what I have to believe on the other.

If I seem like I repeat things a lot it’s because this blog is for me. I hope it helps you too, but I’d understand if it doesn’t cover an exciting range of topics. The thing for me is we don’t need to know all that much to succeed, for the most part. People are always looking for new strategies but I would wager most of the time that they already have the tools they need but they’re just not using them.

I’d guess you know what you need to do, you just need to let go of your excuses and start doing them.

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Of Grizzly Bears and Excuses

I woke up this morning and checked reddit again, I really am an addict, and saw something that made me get up and get on with my day.
It was the title of the post, “I was blinded and severely mauled by a grizzly bear and barely lived to tell about it. I’ve adjusted to blind life and gone on to earn my masters, marry the love of my life, write a book, raise two kids, and land my dream job.
If those words don’t sort of blow you away I’m going to assume you’ve already heard the story.
For all the troubles in my life it’s things like this that remind me how blessed I am. While I’m incredibly thankful that I’ve been blessed with all that I have I have this constant worry in the back of my mind that it has somehow weakened me. I’m so used to being in a relatively comfortable position that I’m afraid anything could break me. I couldn’t imagine going through what Mr. Bigley went alone, let alone moving past it to flourish the way he has. Honestly I can’t imagine living a life like his even with all my advantages.

Maybe it’s because of my advantages that I can’t imagine being successful like him. To be fair, early advantages are one of the better indicators of later success, but I truly believe that the highest levels of success are only open to people who have had to overcome. No one in the history books got there by enjoying a comfortable complacency.

That’s what this blog is about, pushing the limits. I’m talking about being a person who isn’t just happy to be good at one thing, but pushing outside their comfort zone and constantly expanding your horizons. Every day can be a blessing if we take the opportunity  although believe me it almost never naturally feels that way to me. With my messed up mind I tend to look at every day like a curse, it requires a conscious effort to rise above what was handed to me and work toward turning things around.

One of the first steps toward turning your life around is turning your mind around, and I’d suggest reading Mr Bigle’ys account if you’d like some good encouragement when it comes to re-framing how you look at life. Although I’m not sure I’d do it through reddit, great site but it can be a time waste. Here’s an article written by Dan about his life, a lot of great lessons to be learned.
Speaking of lessons learned I’m now downloading a google app called chrome nanny to block facebook and reddit so that I can’t use them when I’m at school and I should be doing work instead of looking at silly pictures.

I don’t think it’s true that what doesn’t kill us necessarily makes a stronger, but the countless stories out there of people overcoming incredible odds proves that we can always become stronger. I’m not saying it’s easy, I know it can be hard as hell trying to turn things around, but it can be done. Sometimes that all we need to remember.

Until we’re dead we can always make things better, even if it’s just a little bit. That right there is my definition of hope.

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Regrets

I was reading the comic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal recently and came upon his comic about changing past accidents

The thing is, I actually believe “my mistakes brought me here.” This is similar to what the man in the comic says, but subtly different. The author of the comic seems to imply that people who wouldn’t change their mistakes think that mistakes are by definition good things. I would put it more like “mistakes are inevitable.” The punchline of the comic is that the man wants to change a time when he “asked out a girl through the Taco Bell drive-thru.” It’s a funny joke, but I have to say that it seems to me that if he was the type of person who thought that was a good idea, just because he didn’t do it that time he very well might do it another time. Theoretically it would be better if we learned some other way than through mistakes, but sometimes we’re just kind of dumb and have to learn that way. Sure, if we had a genie things would be better, but in the real world that’s not an option.

Besides, I think he’s making an error saying that any changes made to the past would have a trivial impact on the future. Consider the butterfly effect, small changes have the potential to build up over a long enough period. Changing an event one week ago might not have a big impact, but changing an event 10 years ago could have a huge cumulative impact.
Besides, changing the past might have a positive impact on who we are, but it would definitely change who we are around. I might wish I was a different, better person, and I’m working towards that, but if my dumb mistakes in the past brought me into contact with the people I know and love now I wouldn’t change them. Some of my deepest bonds have been built around stupid decisions I made that my friends helped me recover from.
Still, thinking back I wonder what I regret the most. I honestly would say that it isn’t the big dumb mistakes I made, it’s the little compromises I made. If I had spent more time living instead of watching from the side lines, a little more time creating than consuming, or a little more time exercising instead of sitting around I really wonder how much better my life might be right now. It’s with that in mind that I write this blog, knowing that I can’t change the past and not regretting it because I still have a life I enjoy. 
Mistakes don’t necessarily make life better, but they’re a part of life and in the interest of positivity we should look for the goods that have come out of our falls. Sure we could theoretically be living a “perfect life,” but most of the time we spend thinking about such things is completely wasted when we could be living the life that we do have. Spending a moment to think about our regrets in the interest of learning from them isn’t a bad idea, but we should move on as soon as possible in the interest of actually living in the present rather than in the past.

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Writing to Redemption

I’ve mentioned previously that I’m working on my memoir right now. I’m doing it because I want to and I like the idea of being an artist. I’m not taking it all that seriously so right now it might as well be a glorified journal, which works fine for me. You might be better off journaling, but I find that I can’t stick to writing that no one will ever read. I don’t know if anyone will ever read these blog posts, but at least people can if they want to and they might get something out of it.
As I’m writing I feel like it’s effecting me in ways I never would have guessed. One benefit of a memoir over a journal is that writing your life story makes you sift back through your whole life, not necessarily just dwelling on the present. This is providing me with some interesting perspective. It’s also forcing me to confront some rather painful memories. I think a lot of people, myself included, can be haunted by our pasts but we refuse to aknowledge it. When the bad memories pop up we slam them down and put a lid on them, shoving them out of sight but not really out of mind. We may get these traumas out of the forefront of our thoughts, but I think they can be just as dangerous simmering in the background, casting a shadow over everything we do.

I’m right now confronting some of the things I’ve felt guilty for most of my life. I’m beginning to think that this guilt might have fed into my self-destructive tendencies. If I believe I’m guilty and need to be punished I might subconsciously punish myself or interpret anything done to me as a just punishment for my misdeeds.
You might have things in your past that you’ve never forgiven yourself for. By now I’ve forgiven pretty much everyone who has ever done me wrong over 5 years ago, yet I still hold myself responsible for things I did 20 years ago, long past the point where I’m sure everyone else involved forgot about the whole thing. By now I should be far enough away from these events to see things clearly and allow myself some closure but too often we just get so into the habit of avoiding and suppressing negative emotions that we never really deal with them and allow ourselves the healing we deserve.
I’m sure there are plenty of ways to face the past, I have simply happened on one that works better for me. I think writing a book allows me some distance, I get to treat myself like a literary character and I’m way more forgiving of faults in characters than I am in myself. I also know that a good story doesn’t just have a fall from grace, but a rise from the ashes. I’m not there myself yet, but the urge to write a good ending to my book seems to be giving me the energy and the permission to truly find peace with myself.
Think of your life as a book, what do you think you’d learn if you read it?

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Small Steps

I’m writing this in Microsoft word. I can tell because it just automatically capitalized the word Microsoft. Let’s try apple, looks like it doesn’t, but that’s not exactly fair. How about linux? Well, it doesn’t automatically capitalize it, but it does mark it as misspelled and suggest “Linux.”

Sorry, I’m easily distracted. You see, this is really switching it up for me. I don’t have word on my personal computers and so I’ve gotten in a habit of writing everything up in Google Docs. Even when I’m at school, like I am now, I usually use Google because that ensures that my files will pretty much always be available to me. That is until Google decides to rise up and enslave us and holds our files, email and personal information ransom until we bow down to them. But at that point I don’t think files like this will be my main problem.

So you’re probably asking yourself why I’m using word right now, well you probably aren’t but just play along. You see I have this habit of sitting down at a computer to get stuff done and saying to myself “well I’ve got to log onto Google if I want to write anything. And while I’m on Google I might as well check Gmail, and while that’s loading let’s just pop into Facebook and just see if I have any updates.” You can see how the little things like this can start snowballing out of control. The really nefarious thing is that my line of thinking isn’t exactly incorrect, if I did everything I listed it really shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes. I usually only have one or 2 emails that are really interesting and it only takes me around 30 seconds to delete the emails from group on I allow myself to keep getting “just in case,” and it would take me a similar amount of time to check my usual Facebook updates. I start off with a bit of truth, that what I’m proposing should only take a few minutes, and using it to justify something I know isn’t true, that ultimately I’ll only end up surfing the web for 5 minutes rather than 25 or 50.

I’m constantly reminded of the story of the witches in Macbeth. Now, I don’t have Wikipedia and it’s been a while so I’m going off my head here, but I remember the gist being that the witches tempt Macbeth with dreams of taking the crown by telling him two true things and one untruth. This is similar to how “psychics” work, throwing out vague statements that you’re bound to see in yourself until they have your trust and then weaving fantasy based off the rather trivial truths they’ve established. The human mind is a messy thing and has a tendency of ending up with the wrong conclusion, and it takes a truly conscious effort to correct ourselves to keep from falling prey to the many appealing fallacies out there.

Right now I honestly feel a little like a drug addict going through withdrawal. Opening up a computer and not going straight to email and Facebook just feels wrong. This is a clear sign that something has gone pretty wrong with the way I’ve allowed my mind to be wired, constantly strengthening poor habits and allowing them to subtly take control.

They say acknowledging you have a problem is the first step to solving it, and while I definitely agree with that I’d say the biggest step is actually making a real effort to change your problem. There’s a lot of people who know they have problems, I think we all know some kind of addict who keeps talking about changing but never makes any little to no effort to actually change their ways.

I just put my hand on the mouse to correct a spelling error and without even thinking my hand moved the cursor to open up the internet. It really is strange to realize how much we allow our unconscious to drive our actions, pushing us through the same pathways we’ve always been down until we become entrenched in them.

But I’m still a firm believer that until you die it’s never too late to change. I could definitely just get depressed and start sulking about talking about how much I’ve wasted or how things will never change, focusing on my failures. But I know that won’t get me anywhere, you have to look ahead if you want to get where you go. If you keep looking to the past you’re not in control, your past is in control.

Today I say that I am in control. The old me may still come back to haunt my thoughts from time to time, but I will not allow him to control my destiny.

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Watching Your (Information) Diet

It’s been 5 days since my last post. 

I feel like I should have some really good reason for not taking 30 minutes and writing even a quick post these last 5 days, but I don’t.

Honestly I have trouble keeping track of the amount of time I waste with fluff and junk media.  I define fluff media as stuff like TV, movies, internet and the like that aren’t particularly bad, but aren’t particularly helpful either. I’m a pretty big sitcom fan and I’d put most of them in this category. We might need some of this stuff to give our minds a break, but I think most of us could do with a little to a lot less. My main source for fluff is reddit, which is a great site  in short bursts but it ultimately is a bit like drinking your media out of a fire house. After a while everything blends together, after 2 hours of reddit I’d have a hard time naming more than a tiny fraction of what I actually saw while browsing the site.

Junk media is like junk food, it actually hurts us. Lately I’ve been thinking of the news more and more as junk media. It seems like every morning I check the news and I’m hit with a torrent of bad news that just makes me feel bad. I already know the world can be a harsh place, is reading about the latest abuses all around the world really helping me? Some of this stuff is necessary in small doses so we have a better view of the world, but you can definitely get hooked on it and end up with a skewed view of the world.

Frankly I need to admit I’m an internet addict and cut back on it. Ultimately I think I can achieve moderation, but right now I’m having trouble. I’m going to cut myself from the internet for 3 weeks, until the end of my school year.

I’ll still be updating this blog, I need to get online to check a few things a day but ultimately this should only take 15 minutes. I’ll just write my blog posts in word and copy and paste them rather than writing them online like now. 

Ultimately though I want to be more conscious with my time and my media intake. Just like we need to watch what we put in our mouth if we want a healthy body I think we need to watch what we put in our head if we want healthy minds. 

I’ll leave you with the three broad

  1. Quantity
  2. Quality
  3. Usability

Basically the ideal items of a media diet would be thinks that are high quality while taking up a minimum amount of your time and being applicable to your daily life. This isn’t to say that you need to take a zero tolerance attitude, sometimes you just need to turn your brain off and give it a rest, my main suggestion is to simply try and be more conscious about what you’re taking in rather than going about it mindlessly.

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