Top 5 Posts All Time

Sunday, November 30, 2014

No Nothing November - Day 30

Link to all my posts for #NoNothingNovember.

This is it. The final wrapup of #NoNothingNovember.

Sleeping:

Regarding my sleeping habits, forcing myself to wake up earlier was hugely useful for my productivity. After about two weeks, I started to naturally wake up earlier. I felt energized and got a lot done in the morning, and realized that my energy levels naturally start to wane around 14:30. It also had the positive effect of forcing myself not to waste time at night and not drink too much alcohol at night, since I knew such activities would hinder waking up the next day.

Smoking:

Regarding smoking weed, it's not something I consider a vice. It's something I can consider a vice, if I do it for recreational purposes. But if I smoke with a predetermined purpose (self-awareness, creativity for a business project, etc.), then it can be a tool, the way caffeine can be a tool. It does take some awareness and humbleness to recognize if I am smoking for recreation or for a purpose.

Meditation:

Meditation had the most positive effects on my life, and I feel like I am just scratching the surface. I feel more aware of my physical body and my mental state. Awareness itself is sometimes sufficient to change something, and it allowed me to choose whether to stay in such a mental state (or physical tension) or not. I'll describe what I've explored below.

Concentration Awareness:

I used concentration meditation for this. This involves focusing on an external object for as long as possible, such as a spot of paint on the wall. Concentrate. Your mind will start randomly "getting bored" and giving you thoughts. Every time a thought pops up, you refocus on the wall. At the start this will last maybe 10-30 seconds. Eventually with practice you'll get to a point where you can do this for many minutes. This will make you aware of your concentration, and also has been described by some as a "muscle" that you don't even realize you have until you have achieved the result.

Physiological Awareness:

I used body scan meditation for this. What I do is lie down flag and keep my eyes open. I focus on each piece of my body (foot, then calf, then thigh, etc.). You can tense the body part up, and untense it, to become aware of the tension feelings. You will eventually get to a point where you start becoming aware of more hormonal changes. You'll notice where the hunger feels, where the stress feels, where the joy feels, etc. Try to "chase down" the physiological feelings mentally.

Then, when you start to feel angry in the "real world" for example, you'll be aware of the physiological feelings. When you start to feel happy, you will be able to focus on it and increase it.
So once you are more aware of physiological hormonal feelings, this merges a bit with your mental emotional state. Which brings me to:

Mental Awareness:

I used mindfulness meditation for this. This involves sitting and letting any thought come into your brain. You don't fight it. You then "take a step back", and just acknowledge it as "interesting thought" and move on to the next one. This is sort of like amused mastery at your own mind. Eventually once you start dismissing more thoughts (similar to Concentration Awareness), deeper more emotional thoughts will start coming to the surface.

When combined with concentration awareness, you'll be able to focus your mental energy on the thoughts you want, for your emotions.

Emotional Awareness:

For this, you'll want to do a similar technique to the body scan meditation, where you tense the muscles and release. So you think of a memory in which you felt a strong emotion in the past. You try to feel the rage, or joy, or excitement, and then turn it off. You keep practicing this, and you'll be more aware and have more control over your emotions. The ultimate frame control.

Summary:

#NoNothingNovember was great for me to recognize certain vices which were holding me back, and increase my own discipline. Any excuse for self-improvement is something I fully embrace. I am much more particular about my daily actions. I now look at each action (even if it's just relaxing and watching a movie) as either self-improvement or not. I am much more deliberate about my actions, and have been using my time much more efficiently. For each moment, I make sure to ask myself what action would benefit me, and then do it.

Monday, November 17, 2014

No Nothing November - Day 17

Link to all my posts for #NoNothingNovember.

I have been traveling for business so I haven't had time to blog enough these past two weeks, but fear not, dedicated readers; I have not abandoned my #NoNothingNovember practices.

Sleeping

Waking up early every day has been hugely useful. I have been extraordinarily productive in the morning and by the time I'm into the late morning, the momentum from being awake for so long carries me along. By the mid-afternoon (around 14:30) I admittedly get more tired than usual, likely due to my body being conditioned to begin feeling tired after being awake for 8 hours and winding down the day. It's at this time I'll take a break from working to do some concentration meditation, walk outside to change my environment, or exercise. I am trying to reduce my dependency on caffeine but on difficult days I'll have a second cup of coffee. 

This has also forced me to go to sleep earlier each night, and in doing so I have come to realize that I have spent too many hours in the evening hours being unproductive. How productive am I really being from 21:00 to midnight? That yields several hours of wasted time in my day.

Again, I'll reiterate from Day 4 that alcohol really hinders my waking up early. As such, I have been drinking less, whether going out or at home. This has caused my fitness to improve, and any malaise feelings the next day from being hungover to be lessened. In addition, going out to bars and clubs while not being as drunk as everyone around me has had the interesting effect of having me observe more interactions and being more in control than those around me. It increases my mental acuity in these situations and has allowed for actually more fun and "productive" nights (in terms of hooking up and also learning and observing others' interactions). It also allows me to feel more in control of situations than the drunk people around me, and be more in control of my emotions and actions.

Cannabis

Okay, so I don't consider weed a vice anymore. I consider too much weed, or regular weed, a vice if it becomes an addiction. To me, smoking causes me to be more creative and less productive. So by not smoking, I have been much more productive. However, the level of creativity in my work has taken a slight hit. In addition, my self-awareness insights and breakthroughs through marijuana has also slightly decreased, although it is somewhat offset by meditation.

So while I feel empowered to know that I can easily put down cannabis if I choose (feeling more in control), I do want to use it as a tool in my arsenal, for both increased self-awareness and creativity. Limited amounts of weed, using it as a conscious tool, is what I will be pursuing once this month is over.

Meditation

Meditation is an ongoing process for which it takes more than a month to get the full effects. However, I have already noticed several benefits.

Concentration meditation has benefited me by increasing my focus in my current task. It also has the benefit of clearing my mind in moments of feeling overwhelmed with my work. Even a few short spurts of 5-minute concentration meditation (in which I clear my mind by focusing on an external object and refocusing whenever a thought enters my mind) is like a nice little boost of concentration or relaxation throughout the day. Longer periods of concentration meditation (15+ minutes) has allowed me to recognize some thoughts which were buried in my subconscious as they float to the surface.

Body scan and mindful meditation has benefited me by (obviously) giving me more awareness of my body. But while the direct effects would seem obvious, the indirect effects are interesting.


  • I have been able to focus on physical feelings of either anxiety, malaise, or tension. This awareness allows me to remove such feelings the more I explore them.
  • In addition, it has had the interest effect of viewing my body somewhat impersonally. I see my body in terms of a larger timeline as simply a tool used to achieve my goals. Sculpting it to become attractive, garner respect, and be strong enough for either defense or offense. Viewing my hands as tools to make more money. This detachment is an interesting feeling I am just beginning to explore.

Conclusions

Overall, #NoNothingNovember has had some interesting, positive effects on me. In addition, it has increased my confidence stemming from increased experience of my ability to give things up through sheer dedication. My journey towards self-actualization via self-awareness marches onward.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

No Nothing November - Day 4


The oversleeping bit is becoming easier and easier every day. However, I've noticed that anytime I have more than 5 drinks the night before, waking up early is exceedingly difficult the next day. Yet I am still more productive throughout the day, and can use the morning more effectively, than when I was oversleeping.

With regards to cannabis, I am still not convinced that it does not benefit me. My creativity is slightly less than when I smoked a few times a week, although my drive is slightly more. It's a balance I will have to find as time goes on.

With regards to meditation, that has been going excellently. I begin my session with 15 minutes of concentration meditation which helps exercise my mental muscles of awareness, and calm any lingering thoughts from the day. I then begin a body scan, starting from my foot to my head, noticing and removing any tension as I proceed methodically. I then am in a relaxed state in which I can begin to notice how certain thoughts popping into my head elicit certain physiological states in my body. This allows me to choose which thoughts to follow and which thoughts to dismiss. I am noticing more subtle motivations, such as when I do not realize how much I am posturing or have unnecessarily used Powertalk throughout my day without realizing it (part of The Gervaise Principal, which I frequently try to apply to my business dealings).

Overall, I believe that without the motivation of #NoNothingNovember, I may have skipped some of these days meditating, and would have overslept and smoked more. I can see the thought process unfold throughout my head as it occurs, and I thoroughly enjoy the simple excuse of "It's November" to make myself more motivated.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

No Nothing November - Day 2


This is the second day of No Nothing November. The oversleeping bit is something I think with enough motivation I can easily overcome. The effects of not oversleeping, however, will likely be more pronounced on the weekdays. The fact that it's a Sunday means that not oversleeping didn't really affect my day much in terms of productivity. However, I have to admit waking up to a blowjob followed by sex while having some coffee is a nice easy way to jump start the day.

In regards to no cannabis use, I'm unsure how I feel about that being an actual vice. Skipping a day of cannabis is not a big deal for me since I don't smoke too often anyway. However, cannabis has allowed me to come to some self-realizations that simply would have taken too long to arrive at otherwise. After November, I may consider cannabis use as a semi-regular accelerator for self-improvement, as long as I don't end up becoming addicted and smoking daily.

The meditation has been interesting for the past two days. Yesterday, during my body scan meditation, I realized how much physical stress I feel throughout my body. I strongly believe that the first step to defeating something is to truly understand it. I need to 100% define the boundaries and extent of something such as physical stress before attempting to remove it. Simply saying "relax" completely dismisses the importance of understanding the how.

Today, during meditating, I tried to focus on each part of my body and become aware of any physical tension felt. It was actually difficult because due to waking up on time (and staying out late partying last night since it was Halloween weekend) meant I kept almost falling asleep. However, I remembered my concentration training, and focused on an external object in my room in order to stay awake and aware.

My plan is roughly to:
  1. Become aware of the physical stress throughout my body (body scan meditation).
  2. Work on systematically removing that stress from each part of my body (body scan + concentration).
  3. Become aware of the mental stress in my mind (mindfulness meditation).
  4. Work on systematically removing that stress (mindfulness + concentration).
I'm not sure how 3 and 4 will work, but what's interesting is that sometimes simply being aware of some automatic thought, motivation, or physical stress, is sufficient to have it begin removing.

Onwards we march towards self-actualization.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

No Nothing November - Day 1

Link to all posts.

There was recently a thread on /r/theredpill about using November as an excuse to kick some of your vices. This is standard practice for many people in terms of lent, or for specific months to be "aware" of certain diseases.

But hey, why not jump in? Any excuse to make improvements to myself is as good as any others.

I decided to give up three things in November:

  • Oversleeping
  • Cannabis use
  • Skipping meditation days.

Oversleeping


Oversleeping is definitely a big vice of mine and I am fortunate enough for the luxury of it given my career. However, it holds me back, doesn't develop any discipline, and fucks up my sleeping schedule.

The comfort of one's bed is appealing against the harshness of the world, and having the ability and to luxury to be able to oversleep means I have little incentive to change that behavior.

But it's short term versus long term benefits. Yes, sleeping in the moment feels nice, but I get less work done, I am less likely to go to sleep on time the next night, and I may feel groggy if I lay in bed for a while.

In addition, I welcome challenging things to overcome. Once I've kicked a vice, I now have another "confidence token" to put in my bag, further supporting my self-esteem since I am not more confident that I can overcome challenges.

Cannibis Use

I don't really use weed recreationally to go out too much. But it is something I use to increase my self-awareness and explore my psyche, especially in times of strife. It also helps my creativity.

But it's a crutch. It's a temporary tool I refuse to be dependent on for self-improvement. Just because it works in the short term (and perhaps especially because it works), means that I may become dependent on it to improve myself or clear my mental state.

Another challenge to overcome to increase my confidence.

Which brings me to...

Meditation

Meditation. It results in the permanent lasting changes in my mind. As I stated in my September 2013 post "How I Got Here", meditation was the first step to opening my mind to other possible ways to experience the world. In a not-so-roundabout-way led me to the manosphere.

But I am not as disciplined with as I want. I've noticed a correlation between my time and frequency meditating, and significant long term positive effects in my life, the mechanism of which may not necessarily be obvious.

For example, meditating on the anger of not having a white picket fence dream yet allowed me to realize that there were other ways to live, and other ways to be happy! It allowed me to be aware of the social conditioning upon which my happiness depended. And at the root of it all, that's the goal of meditation: awareness.

So no more skipping days. I will do concentration meditation throughout the day and mindful or body scanning meditation at night.

It's time for the next leg in my journey of self improvement to begin. I'd say wish me luck, but I don't believe in luck.