The Art Of Being Here

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Category: The Process (page 2 of 3)

Breaking the cycle of struggle

The Problem

I’ve been having a bad time in the past month.

I feel tired. Things don’t seem to be moving — wait, they AREN’T moving at all. And it’s entirely my responsibility — I’m avoiding all the things I said I would do, and the things I know I need to do.

I’m slacking off yet I feel tired. (How do you get tired when you’re not working hard?)

All the feelings of being clear have vanished, and when I look at the notes I wrote for myself, I can’t identify with the person who wrote it. It feels like I’m back at square one, and I’m making the same mistake as before. Again.

Welcome to the Jungle of Change. Or whatever dark miserable place you dislike.

When things are working and getting better, it’s easy to feel good. When we’re rocking it and we’re our better self, anything looks possible.

But when things go to hell, everything looks like hell — for me, anyway.

And it always feels so hard to get out: because a poor situation means poor thinking means poor state means poor actions, and the cycle continues, no matter which point you start at.

When I’m like this it’s easy to get caught up in all the things that don’t really matter.

  • Looking at how well others are doing. Feeling envious. Feeling hopeless. Feeling alone.
  • Chasing strategies and tactics. There is an infinite supply of people who will want to sell us these.
  • Looking at equipment and tools to buy.
  • Constantly trying to affirm how good (we think) we are. Trying to get others to tell us how good we are.
  • Worrying about how we are compared to other people. Worry about how we look doing it.
  • Engaging in fearful thinking.
  • Trying to explain away our failures and mediocrity with more nonsense.

I used to give up at this point. Or chase my own tail without knowing it. No more.

This isn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last. Bad habits return, and sometimes life happens. But thankfully I’ve dug myself out of it before, so I have no excuses not to give it a go.

The Solution

…for me anyway.

It’s time to refocus on the basics: sleep, diet, the right routines (especially my “morning take-off”). Let those sink in and work their magic. That’s it. The rest usually follows.

If you’re caught in the same crap, you’re welcome to try my solution. I guarantee it works… for me. But then again I’m not the only one preaching the benefits of the above, so it can likely work for you. 😀

This is the only way I know how to recover the most precious two resources in life: time and energy.

I’ll be back.

Design principles for Life

The best ideas tend to be useful in many situations. In fact, I’ve found that taking concepts from one field and applying it to another produces interesting results.

In design thinking there are many principles that help designers approach any design problem at hand. So what if we apply these principles to life?

We’re always talking about lifestyle design these days anyway, so why not use design principles to do that?

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Gordon Ramsay’s simple advice to a struggling chef

I was heartened to read Gordon Ramsay’s Reddit AMA response to a chef who is struggling with both work and life.

The chef seeking advice, who works in a kitchen of a Michelin-starred restaurant, is clearly disillusioned from long days, feeling unappreciated, and facing a situation at home that’s a “fucking disaster”.

He gets frostbitten from working in the cold room but is too afraid of the chef to take a break. He cries in the toilet because a “thank you” from a customer is all he feels he gets for his efforts.

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7 lessons I learned from The Shawshank Redemption

Ah, The Shawshank Redemption. A friend of mine says he has re-watched the film more than any other. We’re talking double figures here.

It’s also a but of a cult classic of inspirational movies, and there are stories of how it totally changed some peoples’ approach to life.

Yet I can’t remember much from when I first watched it; and while I don’t make it a practice to re-watch movies, I thought it’d be nice to give it another go and ended up discovering more than I ever remembered from my first viewing.

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What’s this all about?

Being the perfectionist I am, I really wanted to start this blog at a level of AWESOME: write fantastic, engaging stories, expound on great truths, deliver ground-breaking insights, and dish out inspiring advice. I’d wow people with my writing, and build an audience that think I’m a god.

But the more I write the more that feels like that wouldn’t be true. I know I’m not that person— I’m not the guy who’s sorted it all out, I’m not the perfect guru, I’m not even where I want to be. Why am I expecting to be that perfect guru?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of the progress I’ve made, and I can’t imagine going back to where I was. But I also know I’m pretty far from where I want to be.

It’s been at the back of my mind for the past few days, and I’ve been wondering if maybe that’s not really what all this writing should be about. Maybe I’m supposed to be writing for the future.

I get this feeling that one day, when all this is over, and I’m not stuck where I am, I’ll look back on where I was, and think I know all about it, and what it feels like. But that’d be bullsh*t.

I’ll have some perspective, sure, but I’m quite sure that I’ll be wrong about what it feels like being me now, what it feels like staring into the abyss on one side, and looking into the uncertainty of the future on the other; what it feels like having all the possibilities but not knowing which ones to pick, and which ones are the ones that will change things forever; what it feels like seeing fear everywhere, and knowing that there’s more I can’t see.

So what I can do is write about now— about where I am. This will be proof of what it’s really like to struggle, to know but not yet understand. Hopefully it will also serve as proof that it’s possible to go from feeling like nothing works, to living a real, happy, fulfilling, and meaningful life.

I still hope that one day all this writing will lead to something that can hopefully inspire and guide; but for now maybe it’s better to write what’s true.

As Ernest Hemingway, one of my favourite wordsmiths, wrote, “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

Best motivational video ever.

This video has rescued me from the jaws of darkness more times than I can count— when I felt nothing but fear and dejection and just felt like giving up.

I still watch it regularly.

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