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30 Days Of Blogging

With this post I will have completed my 30 day Challenge, which means I have posted for 30 consecutive days.  Well, kind of.

I skipped two days because of family reasons, but even during those two days I was still writing.  I just didn’t have the ability to post them.  So I’ll take it as a win.

The reason I originally set this goal was to form a habit of writing.  I can honestly say that it’s worked.

In the last two weeks, writing has become like going to the gym.  I almost feel like I need to do it, and if I don’t I feel guilty.

Will I continue to post everyday?

Probably not.  I will continue to blog, but I will focus on writing longer and more in depth posts rather than just rattling a post off just for the hell of it.

Now that I have been writing consistently I’m starting to discover what I like writing about and what people find interesting.  I’m also realizing that what I like to write about and what people have read/liked are not always the same thing.  With upcoming posts I  will try to strike a balance between writing what I’m passionate about but also what will be engaging to you the readers.

The only way I can tell about what my readers enjoy is through views/likes stats, but I’m not sure these always paint an accurate picture.

So I will ask of you, what posts have you enjoyed the most, and what posts have you disliked the most?

How To End Suffering

Joe is your typical westerner urbanite.  He has a well paying job.  He makes enough to live a cushy life and save a little for sometime down the road.  He lives in a mid size city with everything you could want.  There are brewpubs, cafes, and a park all within walking distance of his apartment.  He’s not married and has no kids. His dating life isn’t great, but he does have the occasional fling with decent looking women.  His social circle isn’t huge, but he has a few quality people in his life that he considers true friends.  He works out at least 3 times a week, and has even taken up boxing.  He’s in great shape and compliments that with good style.

On paper, Joe’s life would be the envy of the majority of the World’s population.  Joe knows this, yet he still feels there is something missing.  He wouldn’t consider himself depressed, but he knows he could be happier.  There just seems to be this gnawing feeling that he could be doing more, seeing more, being more, and it won’t go away.

Joe starts devouring self improvement books and blogs.  He reads Tolle, the teachings of Stoicism, and even gets into eastern philosophy.  He begins meditating and practicing yoga regularly.  But the gnawing feeling still persists.  In his pursuit of a happier life, Joe decides to go zen monastery to talk with a guru.

Joe feels awkward upon arriving to the monastery, and even more awkward when he meets the guru, but he wants answers.

The guru stares at Joe with a big smile and deep relaxed eyes.  There is a long silence and Joe eventually blurts out  “Hi my name is Joe.  I came here today seeking happiness.”

The guru’s smile grows wider and his eyes light up a bit, but he doesn’t speak.  Joe takes this as a sign to keep on talking.  “I have so many great things in my life, yet I’m still suffering.  How do I fix it?”

The guru takes a long deep breath and finally speaks.  “In order to end suffering you must remove all desires.”

The guru gets up and walks away.  Although the guru only said a few words they have impacted Joe significantly.  Joe has an “aha” moment and knows what he must do.

When Joe gets back to his apartment he begins getting rid of all the possessions he rarely uses, until he is down to the bare essentials.  He gives up drinking.  He removes sugars and processed foods from his diet, only eating vegetables, healthy fats, and lean meats.  He gives up watching the news, and vicariously living through his favorite sports teams.  He gives up meaningless sex.  He doubles down on the meditation and yoga.

After a few weeks, Joe feels better, but the gnawing feeling still persists.  He decides to go back to the monastery to meet the guru.

The guru greets him once again with a big smile and deep relaxed eye contact.  “I have given up all desires, yet I still feel suffering.” Joe says a bit defeated.

The guru takes a long deep breath.  “But you haven’t given up all desires.”

Joe looks at him confused and a little frustrated.  “What do you mean?”

“You still desire to get rid of all your desires.” The guru says before getting up and walking away.

Joe is more than frustrated.  He tries to get the attention of the guru as he walks away but the guru keeps walking.  He begins to feel slighted.  He came here for answers yet the guru just seems to ignore him.

Joe gets so angry that he vows never to come back to the monastery again.  He decides all this eastern philosophy is “bullshit.”  He’s gives up looking for answers, and that’s when it hits him like a ton of bricks.  A quiet peace washes over him.  He begins to see the folly of his pursuit.   

The Psychology Of A Hater

Have you ever hated on someone?

Has anyone ever hated on you?

I bet you can answer yes to both of these questions.

Don’t lie.  Everyone has been a hater from time to time, and everyone has been a victim of a hater.  Such is life.

I bet you have hated on people for no good reason.  I bet there are celebrities, athletes, and people in your social circle that you secretly or not so secretly despise.

Why do you feel this hate?  Why as a society do we love to tear apart anyone with a trace of success?

When we see someone successful, someone killing it in life, someone living up to their potential, it’s a subtle reminder to ourselves of how we’re not living up to ours.

When you get down to it, a hater is someone who hasn’t realized their own potential.  They can’t handle the negative emotions they feel when they’re in the presence of success and because of this they lash out.  They attempt to bring anyone above them down to their level.  It’s the old crabs in a bucket scenario.

The next time you feel that burning fire of negative emotions when you see someone killing it don’t give into hate.  Instead become curious.  Let it fuel you.

Never be jealous, always be inspired.

Why You Should Ditch Jogging For Sprinting

I love the feeling you get after a long jog, especially if it’s a nice day out.

But is jogging/long distance running really the best way to get a workout?

A few months ago I ditched jogging/long distance running for short sprint sessions.  I did this for two reasons: 1. I read an article by Mark Sission about the benefits of sprinting.  2. Winter hit, and my workouts had to be done indoors.

Other than playing a few pick up games of basketball I’ve stayed away from any heavy cardio training.  I changed my workouts to where I do compound lifts three days a week and sprints sessions 2-3 days a week.

My sprints sessions have been on the treadmill, which I know isn’t ideal, but I had no other options due to the weather.  I usually warm up for a few minutes with some stretching and a light jog.  After that I begin sprinting.  I do a full sprint on the treadmill (11 speed) for about 30 seconds and then wind down.  I cool down at walking speed for 2 minutes and then begin sprinting again.  I do about 4-6 30 second sprints each workout.  My workouts never takes me more than 20 minutes.  My sprint sessions are short and sweet.  I don’t feel exhausted after doing them, but do I feel like I got a workout in.

Should you ditch jogging/long distance running and sprint instead?

You may want to after reading these two articles by Mark Sission:  15 Reasons to Spring More This Year & The Evidence Continues To Mount Against Chronic Cardio.

How To Learn Any Skill Set – Think Small

Recently, I’ve been trying to teach myself Adobe Illustrator.

I tried to jump right into Illustrator by doing some tutorials.  It went well until I inevitably got stuck.  Looking back, I was biting off a little more than I could chew.  I was trying to do tutorials that were way past my skill level, which is complete beginner level.

After a few tutorials, I became frustrated and decided I had to go back to the very basics.  I needed to learn Adobe Illustrator from the ground up.  I downloaded some lesson plans for beginners.  The lessons have been dry & basic so far, but I have already learned things that would have helped in the tutorials that I got stuck on.

The lesson here – when learning a new skill always start with the fundamentals.

When you attempt to learn something new you will you will want to jump right in full throttle.  If you’re like me your excitement and naivety will make you think you can master a skill that have taken other people years to master, sometimes longer.  After trying to learn the new skill it will become evident that you suck at it.

If you attempt to learn a new skill start with the basics and start off small.

The basics of a skill might not be sexy, but they will build a strong foundation that will make it easier to take on more advanced aspects of that skill set later on.

You should also be starting off small.  You gotta crawl before you walk.  Don’t overwhelm yourself.  Biting off more than you can chew will only lead to failure.  In the beginning you need small victories in order to build momentum.  In my case, I should have set a smaller goal of learning about workspaces & panels, before I tried to attempt elaborate logo designs.

You may learning a skill set that is completely different from Illustrator.  Maybe your learning to code, write your first ebook, or staring a compound lifting program.  Whatever it is, learn the basics first and start off small.

For example, let’s say your starting a compound lifting program.  Before you even put weight on the bar you should make sure to practice your from.  Just use the barbell if you have to.  Only after you have got down your form should you begin adding weight.  This will set you up with a strong foundation to make big gains and could help prevent serious injury.

The Curious Case of Phineas Gage & The Frontal Lobe

The human brain went through an unprecedented growth that more than doubled its mass in a little over two million years, transforming it from one and a quarter pound to 3 pounds.

During the growth spurt the brain didn’t grow proportionately.  The major growth was centered around an area called the frontal lobe.  The frontal lobe is the most recent addition to our brain and it allows us to imagine the future, sometimes referred to the “planning part of our brain.”

Until recently, scientists have thought the frontal lobe doesn’t serve much of a purpose, because people who have damaged their frontal lobe seem to function just fine.

Phinaes Gage was a foreman for the Rutland Railroad.  In 1848 there was a small explosion that launched a three and a half foot long iron rod into Phineas’ left cheek, driving it through his cranium and out of the top of his skull.  His frontal lobe was completely destroyed, but it didn’t seem to have much of an affect on Phineas. After the explosion, Phineas picked himself off the ground and asked one of this coworkers if he would escort him to the doctor.

Phineas lived a normal life after the incident.  He lived, saw, spoke, worked, and traveled without a problem.  If the rod had struck any other part of his brain he might have gone blind, lost the ability to speak, or died.

The curious case of Phineas Gage led neurologists to believe that humans could get along just fine without a frontal cortex.  One neurologist was wrote in 1884, “Ever since the occurrence of the famous American crowbar case it has been known that destruction of these lobes does not necessarily give rise to any symptoms.”

In the 1930’s, a Portuguese physician named Antonio Egas Moniz furthered proved how one could function just fine without the frontal lobe, and even made the case we may be better without it.  When Egas Moniz performed frontal lobotomies on monkeys he noticed that it had calming effects on them.  Later Egas Moniz tried this procedure on human patients with the same results.  Frontal lobotomies became standard treatment for people suffering severe cases of anxiety and depression. Egas Moniz even won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1949 for his surgical techniques.

People with frontal lobe damage seemed to be no worse than they were before the damage and sometimes even seemed to benefit from it. But there was one thing people with frontal lobe damaged couldn’t do – they couldn’t plan for the future.  People with frontal lobe damage were able to do everything a person with a fully intact brain could do but were woefully inadequate when it came to planning.  As such, people whose frontal lobe damage are described by those who study them as being “bound to present stimuli” or “locked into immediate space and time.”

When Should You Stop Going To The Club?

Last night I started off my night going to a pub.  It’s a pub I go to often.  It’s small and usually has live music.  Some weekends it’s packed other weekends it’s a ghost town.  Last night it was a ghost town.  Some 90’s cover band was playing.

I scanned the bar for any good looking women.  Not much doing.

I try to get into social mood by dancing a little.  I finally see a decent looking blonde sitting at the bar and approach her.

We start chatting and the conversation is going good.  I can tell she is interested.  She even made sure to mention that she was with a guy tonight but he wasn’t her boyfriend.  They are “just friends.”

Of course, her male friend comes over and proceeds to cockblock me and I can tell things were getting a little awkward for her.  I let it go.  The crowd was dying down anyways.  I wanted to continue my night so I left to go to another bar.

I ducked into a bar that you could say is club like – loud shitty music, a lit up dance floor, and half dressed women.

After a few minutes of standing around watching the end of a hockey game and sipping on a glass of water I had to ask myself “why the hell are you even here?”

When you reach a certain age the club is almost unbearable.  I think the cut off point is 27 and that might even be a stretch.

Let’s face it, if your a guy the only thing the club has to offer is half  dressed women and the off chance you may stumble into a one night stand with one of them.  Other than that, the club has nothing to offer you.  Nothing.

  I use to enjoy going to the club or at least tolerate it.  I spent an unjustifiable amount of my twenties in the club drinking way too much and chasing girls.  Going to club has it’s time and place, but stepping into a club after the age of 25 will do nothing for you but destroy your soul.