Last Winter holiday, I stayed back in Japan to run a short experiment. It was an “arts” experiment as opposed to a science one and it started off with problem statements such as:
What are my mental habits when reading? how long does it take for me to plan and implement a project? how can i be more efficient in my work and studies? How difficult is it to start a new skill such as drawing?
There isn’t any final solutions or conclusions, but till something new is discovered, 2016 will be a year for me to destroy and re-create systems. Why systems? Because in a fluctuating world, even our own thoughts, needs and conditions change over time…However, if I can anchor myself on a set of systems, be it schedules, morning routines or reprogramming a mental habit, maybe i can be more productive.
My friend Jyon used to say:
“What Gets Written Down Gets Done”
Therefore, here I am with my goals and resolutions. Knowing the fact that I’m gonna turn 21 real soon, i shan’t waste no more time.
Goal One : Rapid Acquisition vs. Quality Content
Resolution One: Daily Reading- an hour of focused reading everyday.
New discovery- apart from speed-reading, there can be other alternatives to reading a book depending on its genre and content. This time, I tried what I call a full-fledged visual reading exercise.
By that i mean from the very first page of a novel till its very last, I try to visualize its entire plot, perhaps myself or someone like “Tom Cruise” as the protagonist. Converting words into images and narratives into motions, I read as though a drama is being played out in my head. I shared this with some of my friends and they told me they had been doing so from a young age which is why they love reading books like Lord of the Rings more than watching em’ on television. Results were stunning: absorption and retention rate increased by many folds and although it took me 7 straight days in a cafe to finish a 400 page Utopian novel, re-imagining everything from where I was disconnected, it was an enjoyable process.
Resolution Two: Daily Listening- a podcast a day keeps the school away(obsolete).
After discovering tons of mind-blowing podcasts on Itunes, I’m glad and sorry to say that our school education has become somewhat unnecessary unless they as what my teacher adviser David Waters always emphasize: “provide us an environment for the heat of discussion, whereby by relating, comparing and arguing with teachers and peers over certain standpoints, one learns to distill his thoughts and be able to deliver ideas with order, wisely and competently.” Anyways…
The web is full of both shits and diamonds, you can count on them to waste an entire day off or optimize them to learn almost anything you want. There are tons of good podcasts out there talking on diverse topics and guess what they are all almost free! Hence i’ve stopped reading newspapers online (most news are negative or written biased anyways and good ones like NYT want you to pay to read them), reduced my time on social media and narrowed down my info exposure to just reading blogs and listening to podcasts. Here, I recommend two of my favorites:
If you’re crazy about growth-hacking and understanding how outliers made their way to become world class performers, Tim is the man who’s gonna help you interview and deconstruct them. A life-hacker himself, and a person who possess both brains and brawn and of course balls, Tim will teach you to learn anything 😉
History had never been so interesting and captivating, Dan Carlin is seriously the best history-storyteller I’ve ever come across in my life. Dan’s Hardcore history is composed of long-series that are designed to keep you awake for hours. He presents fact as they were, relate them to one another, compares them with analogies and helps you derive great lessons from historical events. If you don’t know where to start off, and this list of questions provoke you..
1.Was Genghis Khan tolerant or extremely cruel?
2.What was his traits or the Mongol traits that made them so strong and powerful?
3.What are the impacts of their conquest? Did they do more harm or good to the present world?
try listening to the first episode of the Wrath of the Khans, where he talks about the rise of Genghis Khan and his empire. Behold…
Goal Two : Morning Rituals for Body and Mental Development
Resolution Three: Morning Workout or meditation
Just as food is important for the sustenance of my body, meditation is important for the sustenance of my mind. Right now, I’m trying to start off my day in a more mindful way, either by doing a 30 minutes meditation or by practicing my martial arts routine. Surprisingly, I found the vipassana (insight) guided meditation by atheist philosopher Sam Harris to be really erm well-guided, especially for beginners. Just try out his 9-minutes guided meditation (see it’s not even 10 min), and he also runs a really interesting podcast called Waking Up. Sam is perhaps one of the most eloquent philosophers.
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Just try 10 minutes of mindfulness a day for 10 days in a row, you’ll start to reap its benefits- try, feel and experience them.
Goal Three: Application, Communication and Creation
Resolution Four: Daily blogging
I’m pretty sure I can’t post a blog post every single day, but I will try to spend some time writing for at least 30 minutes a day. Tim Ferriss interviewed my favorite marketer Seth Godin a few weeks ago, and he said something really inspiring:
“The first thing I should say is that everyone should blog even if it’s not under their own name every single day. If you are in public making predictions and noticing things, your life gets better because you will find a discipline that can’t help but benefits you. You can keep a diary that’s fine but the problem with diaries is because they are private you can start hiding. In the public in a blog, there it is 6 weeks ago you said this, 12 weeks ago you said that…are you able everyday to say one thing that’s new, that you’re willing to stand behind. I think that’s a huge wonderful practice…”
Resolution Five: Build my startup
First I must apologize for spamming everyone with a request to like my new page SOLAS WEAR on facebook a few weeks ago, and thank you for those who’d liked it! SOLAS 依著 is a new social business founded by me and a few friends. Why? We wanted to build an organic clothing label that is not only cool and trendy, but simple and thoughtful in a way that is able to inspire others to do something about their life. I know it sounds generic but simply we want to create affordable, safe and comfortable outwears for humans. I hope that in the long run, we can work with other agents of change to push humanity projects forward such as using part of our profits to support education, spread good ideas, designs and cultural values. However, visions no matter how great they are, can’t be realized without the commitment from their dreamers and of course the faith of countless people who believe in them. We are currently in the process of coming out with new designs and writing our website, so stay tuned and thanks for supporting!
A New Semester Ahead
After three weeks of Chinese New Year celebrations, meet ups and yum cha sessions in Malaysia, I just got back to Japan few days ago. One of the most intriguing questions I received from a friend was: Stop trying to learn and start creating yourself. I neither agree nor disagree with that statement, because I found learning (growth) and contribution to be an enjoyable and fulfilling process. However, I will moon over the question of creating myself~ why, how and what? A new semester will commence in April and I’ll have a month to think about it haha 😉
To all reading this, I hope the resources above were useful and may you achieve your goals and resolutions in life.