Things

Just read “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” and it’s inspired me to be a little more deliberate with deciding what I want to get good at and also not wasting time doing useless shit. I want to be much more aware of trying to get better at something rather than just doing something a lot of times with the hope that I get better at some point. The point is I need to get out of my comfort zone in order to make progress. That is, whether we’re talking about physical or mental activity, there is gonna be some inherent reluctance to trying to go beyond. But I have to break that.

I’ve already kind of started doing this. First with the reading a book a week and then writing a review of the book. Writing for me has always been a monumental mental activity cause I suck at articulating my thoughts into words. But I hope that by going through this mental challenge that I’ll get better at it in the end. It also forces me to rethink and think a lot more about what I just read instead of just forgetting about it all after reading.

With rock climbing, I’m going to start trying to take more lessons and get evaluated by instructors to see where I can improve on. For the past few months I’ve just been doing my own thing and although I have gotten better, I’d like to get better faster. I wanna be a fucking bad ass rock climber.

With MovNat, I’m going to start being more strict about practicing and practicing and practicing especially the fundamentals which I am weakest at. That is, balancing, jumping, and crawling. I’m also gonna be more active with the Parkour community. Here, I think it’s just practice practice practice.

With teaching MovNat, I’m thinking maybe I should like try becoming an actual fitness trainer part time. I definitely am not getting enough exposure in practicing teaching fitness and it’s something that I’d like to be able to do well. And it’s always hard to do it with friends because teaching friends is sometimes awkward. Will have to look at this one.

In terms of programming, I think with joining this startup I’m going to start to really study different languages and web technologies. Maybe even contribute to some open source projects maybe. If I can find the time somehow…

In terms of music, I really wanna get good at piano and singing and then if possible, guitar on the side. I’m gonna try and start working on different songs which I’m not so familiar with and more uncomfortable with. I’ve been playing the same songs for the past 8 some yearsish haha I should start trying something different.

In terms of being more social, I’d say this is definitely the thing I need most work and practice on. I think for this I’m going to try and get into a difficult social situation every day. This scares the shit out of me but hey that’s the fun part. If it scares me then I know it’s out of my comfort zone.

These are the things I want to focus on I think. There’s so much more that I’m working on but these should be my focus haha. I mean fuck it, I just want to be fucking good at everything…and healthy and happy while I’m at it. I think the main thing is not to waste time cause I waste so much fucking time all the time. I don’t consider relaxing or chilling to be wasting time but the time I spend on Facebook and surfing the web aimlessly, that’s a freaking waste.

Voted!

I voted for the first time today! Something I should have been able to say 4 years ago especially since I was in Pennsylvania then. I’ve been pretty uninformed about the current election period which isn’t very good. But based on the few things I hear I’m voting for Obama. Not that it’s exactly gonna matter considering I’m from California.

I’m also becoming more convinced that income inequality is one of the root causes of the decline of health in America. I just read this really interesting book on stress and the science shows with little doubt that income inequality is a source of health degradation in a society. In poorer places with less income inequality, health and happiness is always greater. So the author says if you want to be healthy and live a long life make sure you have rich and successful parents because it is the #1 indicator of your future health. Kind of depressing right?

With this in mind, I’m definitely leaning more leftish now in terms of governments role in social and economic issues.

Not enough time!

There are so many things I want to do and get good at. There is just not enough time! Here are some things on my mind that I want to get really good at:

  1. Client/server technologies. Specifically the ones for the startup I’m about to join.
  2. Krav Maga
  3. MovNat and teaching it
  4. Working on Uncommon Coder project
  5. Tai Chi
  6. Skydiving
  7. Reading
  8. Socializing/meeting new people
  9. Guitar/Piano/Singing
  10. Dancing
  11. Meditation
  12. The Burning Man culture
  13. Blogging
  14. Eating well
  15. Rock climbing
  16. Parkour
  17. Free diving
  18. Travelling
  19. Making myself laugh

See, those are just the things that come to mind at the moment. I’ve been actively trying to actively pursue these instead of doing the time wasting things I usually do. I find that I just don’t have enough time to get into all these. Most of my time is spent at work these days in front of a computer. Time management is probably key here and also a willingness to just do.

Let’s do it to it.

 

Things to work on

It’s come to my attention recently that I absolutely suck at doing goodbyes after any kind of social interaction. They always seem to end very awkwardly unless the other person knows what they’re doing and takes over the say goodbye part. So new thing to work on: getting the goodbyes to be less awkward.

Part of the problem I think is that I am still insecure about the whole touching other people thing: handshakes, hugs, whatever, it’s still something my head is always hesitant about. So another new thing to work on: be more comfortable with touching.

Looks like this blog entry is gonna be about things I need to work on. Here’s another one: be more open to expressing my feelings. I still find it often that I keep things inside instead of freely expressing what I feel. This stems I think because of a fear of rejection or being judged. Yes, it does feel safer keeping those emotions in, it prevents me from growing as I believe growing in the end is about becoming less afraid and more free in this life.

So fuck you rejection, I’m not afraid of you!

facebook and time

I have a couple of new ideas. I’ve found myself recently getting sucked in by the internet again and wasting time checking facebook, and surfing the web, but really mostly facebook. I just have to check it like every so often when I’m stuck with nothing to do. It’s just my first reaction but not one that I’d like to continue as a habit. So I uninstalled facebook from my phone today. I think at some point I want to get rid of the smartphone overall. I really don’t think it adds too much value to my life besides giving some convenience. I’d like a downgrade please 🙂

Also, I’ve been thinking that my life is so tied to the current time. Why is it? Do I really need to eat food around 12pm or can I just eat when I feel hungry. The idea of absolute time consumes a lot of my mind space I found. As in I am always trying to find what the current time is and adjust my behavior based on this information. Why should it be like that? So I wanna try and be as less reliant on the clock time as possible. Wake up with the sun, sleep when I’m tired, eat when I’m hungry, etc. etc.

Obviously we are in a modern world and hitting deadlines and stuff is just a thing of reality. But I’d like to be much more less reliant on it in my everyday habits. Absolute time really in the end doesn’t matter anyway right? It’s one’s experience during that time. Some people lead amazing short lives which may feel like an eternity of joy whereas some people lead long, boring lives where not much is experienced. Time really in the end doesn’t matter. Well, let me restate: Time in the end should not be the end goal.

That said, it’s time for me to get off the internet and living life!

Mindfulness

I was driving to my friend’s place today in a sort of stressed mood. I had a long day at work and there were just different things on my mind. I was trying to get out of that stressed mood but just couldn’t. I couldn’t seem to relax myself like usual. Then I found the trick: focus on the present. Forget all the things that are clogging my mind and be mindful of my surroundings and the things I can sense with my senses. I then saw the beautiful mountains and the beautiful colors of the sky and I was automatically at peace again.

I think in today’s modern life we have so much shit going on in our heads that we are rarely ever mindful of what is actually going on around us in the real world anymore. It doesn’t help when you are a programmer working in a virtual world for most of the day. But this is something I want to really work on: the idea of being always mindful. It makes life so much more interesting, indeed life isn’t the stuff that occurs in our heads it’s the experience we live through every single present moment. And being aware of that I think is very important.

I’ve also realized that although this is something I have become aware of it still needs practice to do. I’ve been pretty much mindless for most of my life I think and so it takes practice to really be mindful if I want my brain to readjust to this new way of thinking.

I think Buddha or some other enlightened dude after many days of contemplation found that the source of human suffering was due to our attention. Where we place our attention can make all the difference between happiness and unhappiness. We can either keep our attention on bad memories or stressful things or we can shift it to the reality of the present.

 

Tagalog, Music, and Self-Expression

New project for the next few months: learn tagalog! I’ve been saying this for like that past two years but now I’m committed to doing it. I just started going to this learn tagalog website and start doing the lessons. I think it’s about time I finally start learning my own native language. I should be able to go through all the lessons faster than someone totally new to it because I actually understand the language. I don’t need to translate most words to english to understand what’s going on.

I was gonna start trying to learn another language but in the end I think I should learn filipino before anything else. It would be cool to speak it again. Plus, I’m planning on going down to the phillipines perhaps later in January.

This is also a part of my quest to train my brain so that it doesn’t languish. I’ve been practicing my left hand writing and also doing various movement skills, and now learning a language. All of these help build new neural pathways. That, plus it’s super fun to learn new things again. That’s one thing I want to make sure I do for the rest of my life: never stop learning/growing.

I’m also trying to expand my music listening as well again. I’ve kind of been stuck in all of the old songs I’ve been listening to in the past 6 years. Time to expand! Check out this song: http://youtu.be/-JFO7Wb-p2A. Something totally new but fucking amazing. Supposedly music in northern mali is being banned. I can’t imagine how in today’s modern society, something as universal and intrinsically human as music can be banned. That is downright evil in my opinion: the suppression of human expression. I can’t think of anything worse than that.

I believe that self-expression could quite possibly be the most important thing in life. Why else are we in this world? If you think about it strictly on the basis of evolutionary terms, by fully expressing yourself you are most helping the human species by exposing to the world what makes you who you are genetically. And by doing this, you allow nature to determine how competitive you are in this world. But forget evolution, we all know intrinsically that self-expression is profoundly human.

No More Bullshit

So my college roommate, Karl, has been chilling around in CA with me and a bunch of other friends this past weekend. It’s been fun.

The other day an interesting situation came up. So I’ve been telling people how I’ve started doing meditation. There are a couple of ways to do it but the way I’ve been practicing is by picking a word and saying it constantly in my head and focusing on that word.

Now the interesting situation that came up the other day was after I had done some meditating Karl asked me what word I used. For some weird reason I was kind of embarassed by the word I used so I said that I used the word “one”, which is the standard word to use in the books I read. When I said that though Karl said “No you don’t”, I was like “huh? yeah, it is”. He then said, “I can tell by your facial expressions that that’s not true”.

Damn, it’s crazy how easily people can tell whether you are bullshitting or not. We can pick up all those tiny, subtle body gestures that let’s us translate “yes, this guy/gal is bullshitting”. I know I can tell when some people are lying. So yeah Karl, you fucking got me.

Which brings up another point: why the hell do I still lie about stupid shit like this? I’ve been trying to get rid of the bullshit in my life and yet I am still a source of it. There are some secrets that I don’t open up because it may cause a social raucus. But this is just stupid. I was just afraid of the embarassment of the word I use. I wonder why. Maybe it’s because it’s personal and I’m opening myself up to ridicule or judgement. I didn’t realize I’m still that insecure about things about myself. Either way, there’s no point in lying. I could have just said, “I don’t want to say”.

So from now on I’m going to make a more active effort to being open and honest. No more bullshit.

So you’re now probably wondering what the word I use to meditate with 🙂 The books say that you should use a word that calms you down and that you highly associate with. Also, it should be one syllable. So I use the word: LOVE 🙂

Meditation

So I’ve started meditation recently. I’ve been really interested in stress management recently and have been reading a bunch of books on it and one thing that kept popping up was meditation as a way to release stress. I’ve always thought before that meditation was just this weird activity people did but after reading some things about it I found that there is a lot of scientific evidence for it’s benefits.

So past few weeks I’ve been practicing meditation. Essentially what it is is focusing on one word or object without letting your mind wander off into different thoughts. If that occurs, just brush aside what you were thinking. And you’re supposed to have a passive attitude towards it all.

It’s actually a lot more difficult than it sounds cause I find myself just thinking about random things. It’s surprising how fast and easily your mind gets clogged with random thoughts.

I’ve found the benefits to me to be tremendous though. I can get by with less sleep and feel more energetic. My thinking is more clear. I am able to control my calmness so much more now as well. I am also much more aware of my mindfulness. I found it very similar to smoking in that I am totally relaxed after it and happy but without the drug side effects 🙂

Health to Me

Something I have to realize over the past 2 years of working in industry is that workplace environment is something that is very important to me. The workplace environment at NVIDIA sucks. I have the best manager, an awesome team, and the projects I’m working on fairly cool. Yet despite these, I still have that dread of walking into the office everyday giving myself up to the depressiveness of cubicles, few windows, too much AC, etc. etc.

The one thing I think that I’ve learned about health in the past year is how related health and happiness are. Without one, it’s very hard to have the other. See, health to me is not simply the absence of disease. Under this logic, many people would say “oh yeah I’m perfectly healthy” because they are disease free. But health to me is the mind/body working to it’s fully intended function. If you’re fat, no you’re not healthy. If you’re depressed, you’re not healthy. If you’re overstressed or lacking sleepy, you’re not healthy.

I came upon this realization when I ate well, got sleep, sun, exercise, socializing and at random points of the day I would just be in this ridiculous state of joy/happiness. It was just an “omg i love life and the feeling of being alive!”. No drugs/alcohol necessary. The only difference is this is totally natural and sustainable. It is this sort of feeling which is my drug which I want to share with others.

For me, there are a couple of things I found which are essential to me for my health. They are:

  1. Sleep
  2. Healthy Food
  3. Sun/Nature
  4. Movement
  5. Socializing/Self-Expression
  6. Stress management

And other things of less importance:

  1. Improving at something
  2. Exploring new things/people