Get Crawling

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Life is imperfect, we need to accept this right off the bat. Imperfection is not the reason not to get started and going. I am imperfect. So may be you. Yet both of us have the capacity to become something a little bit better, this in fact I feel like is the meaning of life.

To be able to become a little bit better, in order to benefit others more. To love myself so that I could nurture the growth of others as Scott Beck put it.

Whatever it is you are interested in doing, you should find a ways to do it now, or very at least today something towards it. Then just repeat it the next day and you are again a step closer.

Today I for example I calculated that I managed to combine three activities that must be done into a one: exercise, chores and learning. In fact all of these I wanted to do now, because I know that how much I will benefit from all of it. I feel like it is great use of time to batch activities like this.

World won’t be perfect over a day. Sometimes big breakthroughs do happen overnight either by coincidence or by sheer creativity and necessity. Yet most of the improvement happens gradually over time. Breakthroughs are rather unpredictable and what matters most is the crawl: ability to every day proceed towards what is deemed as important.

Now when we are moving, let’s talk about prioritizing your tasks.

Prioritizing is one of the most difficult cognitive task we can set for ourselves. We have to make choices to do and not to do. I recently learned that it’s rather useful to set the morning for prioritization and this is true especially for me who gets interrupted a lot at work during the day in an open office setting.

Of course prioritizing happens through the day and through week. I plan my work week ahead during Sundays. This has been a habit for me since my college years when I liked to dedicate Sunday for quiet study and contemplation without any interruptions. I still do enjoy this Sunday study time a lot and in fact even today I used to prioritize my life board – it’s kind of collection of post it’s full of wisdom that include my goals, daily actions to crawl towards those goals and important tools to keep with me during the journey. Reorganizing and updating this info is one of my favorite things to do during the week – I feel like when I organize my life board my mind gets clearer as well.

Now you know what you want to do during the week and during the day, just get crawling.

Daily Total Energy and Stamina

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Do you rather take the elevator than the stairs, even if it is just a few floors to walk? I try to take the stairs every time, because I like being active. With further pondering I realized that if possible I try to stay active because, I recognize the lazy and comfort seeking thinking and I am willing to put in the small efforts in these cases every time to stay on the better side.

Then I hop off two stations before my closest metro and walk home at 19:30 in a gentle snow shower. Another thought occurs to me: perhaps not everything in life is not about the intensity or the power in the moments. Although these are one kind of breed, there are many types of energy.

Burst is not everything.

There is also stamina.

What if you could increase your total stamina, by training in the small moments like choosing to take the stairs instead of elevator?

In time actually these choices become automatic and part of your identity as well. I believe, I’ve been raised in the way. My childhood home a house with three floors and naturally didn’t have an elevator and more importantly I’ve been brought up to be self-sustaining in the way not to waste excess resources. With this kind of thinking I always somehow seem to be considering that the energy that can be saved with the elevator can be used for different purposes. In addition I’ve always liked the idea to use every opportunity to be active and get small doses of exercise.

Overall if you increase your active time through the day and minimize the passive time, you’ll be great of. I’ve noticed my stamina increase and my thinking is more optimistic as well. Building stamina like this does not only serve your physical but mental stamina as well.

I’ve minimum standard of 7K steps for each day and my goal is 10K steps each day. I work rather long days and it depends a lot if I can reach the targets. I’ve noticed that for me what works the best is to do a bit through the day, in this way many times I hit 10K without noticing.  It’s the habit of walking a lot that helps here: if I’ve to move around I prefer walking if possible.

What do you do today to increase your stamina tomorrow?

Janne

Start Now

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Where ever you are and where ever you want to go, start now.

There are really no excuses to procrastinate. The life you want, you can start living it right away.

Here are some examples:

  • You want to jog more? Go out and start do it!
  • You want to start a vlog? Start with whatever video cam or your mobile phone and do it!
  • You want to write? Start typing!
  • You want to accumulate wealth? Start saving from what you have, to look for opportunities with that that amount!

Too often the people who I talk with have barriers between their ideas and action. In reality, there are no excuses to start doing. In fact the most important thing you can do after an idea is to take action. Then keep doing that action on each day until it becomes a habit. Then keep that habit until it becomes your identity.

What is it you would like to do? Start now!

Year 2017 Expectations, Outcomes and Summary

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Life is ongoing change project, whatever we want it or not. Consciously we might have several ideas what to change, yet consciously we can only live a moment by moment, doing one thing at a time.

To reflect this, I took a peek into my journals and now offer the same chance to you to see how the expectations turned out.

My 2017 expectations and outcomes:

  • Keep writing and publishing every day. I later adjusted to 330 published posts. With this I’ve been successful and happy with. Important lesson right of the bat: do not be afraid to adjust your goals because the long run matters.

    As I wrote in habit combinations recently, writing somehow links so many important habits for me. Although I’ve recognized that it’s not writing per se what drives me, it’s more about the clarifying thinking, learning and then to be able to share that. Writing is medium for that, however the daily habit of writing ensures all these habits do progress to the currently desired direction.

    Outcome: 337 posts published in my English blog. In addition I started writing in Finnish to Posinkautta blog where I published five a bit more invested posts. To reflect back even further back in 2016 the growth from 261 posts to 337 or 29%! Next year the gains in publishing quantity are marginal, so therefore I’ve to write even better quality 🙂

  • Read 40 books. This I exceed by 42 as of present, audiobooks banzai! As a side note on 2016 I struggled with my reading goal of 36 books, however then I didn’t listen any audiobooks compared to this year 20.
  • Meditate at least 5 minutes every day. Meditation is my refuge even if it’s just as short while. However, especially when I am feeling upbeat I tend to forget about this which is sad. I still have to remind me that meditating does lead to my ultimate goal which is the good karma.
  • Exercise at least 5 minutes per day. While this may sound silly and little on a week level, my idea was more to kick start my morning routine or the jog, my logic went like this: if I’ve minimum standard for starting, keeping going is more interesting and many times I would indeed.

    Exercise goal has changed dramatically during the 2017. In the second half of the year I started Salsa, which I enjoy a lot and I’ve to make time to practice this in the upcoming year.

    Another thing that changed was my birthday gift, a polar watch which allows me to track my activity levels more accurately. Now I’ve daily goal of 10 000 steps which I try to keep on 7000 minimum. This has become rather attainable everyday if I just keep on moving right from the morning. Starting the exercise still feels like a chore so I’ve to work on to make it perhaps more social and through that meaningful.

  • Travel 2-3 times. I’ve tried to follow Dalai Lama’s advice to travel twice a year. During 2017 I felt I succeeded in this especially since I spent most of my summer traveling in Croatia, France, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. From my previous travels I had also noted that I should allow more freedom during the travel so I decided to try with no fixed come back date and went to solo travel with only one way ticket. That worked wonders! #learning
  • Form a mastermind group around investing. This idea I didn’t manage to further. On the positive side I did meet and befriend several people who are into different forms of investing and I’ve had great conversations about the topic. My network around the topic grew. Actually now looking at this idea, I think it would be more rewarding to over line the investing part of the mastermind group and just to have a group who has ambitious life goals and then to work on attainment of those. Finances are big part of the life, however there is much more as well. I’ll keep this idea in mind.

    Mastermind requires commitment because it’s a regular meeting format around once a month would be ideal. It’s more purposeful and intentional than just the interesting conversations I am at the moment having.

Summary

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

Planning is preparing and preparing is everything in succeeding. Yet once the moment is at hand, we must be prepared to discard the plan, because something greater is at hand. Life is constant prioritization if I were to do similar reflection on the other past 29 years of my life, I would be proud and say that the 2017 has been the greatest experience of my life.

Past can be either a prison or a library, source of learning. Therefore we shouldn’t attach too much ourselves to the past. We should learn from our past and then keep on going. Greatest experiences today come when you understand your mistakes before and decide to find or create a new path today.

I started the year with a piece of wisdom from Mark Manson: “Focus to what truly fucking matters.” By now, at the end of the year I’ve forgotten this advice, a failure? My suffering for example yesterday was cured by simply remembering this phrase. Letters and words put together create what we call magic. As a writer I am a wizard.

Life is full of uncertainty of and consciously unexpected events. In 2017 year biggest this kind of change was in my relationship status back to single life in the summer.

Life is too complicated to comprehend and control, yet we are in control of our fates no matter what happens. We are the captains of our own souls and fates. Plans are the blueprints for our fates, and what we do each day towards those plans are the tiny manifestations of that fate.

Human mind tends to overestimate what we can achieve in short time and underestimate what is possible in a longer time frame. Therefore do not think your life only in terms of year, find a bigger perhaps three year plan! Year is a good measure to see some results, yet do not attach or condemn yourself too much because you did not achieve your goals, life is greater than that! Most important thing is to keep doing, keep doing, keep raising up and doing what you want to become!

On the following days I am going to follow Mark Manson’s advice and focus on what matters. And I am also going to follow the advice that I sometimes do not enough: trust my own judgement on this.

What’s your focus for the upcoming year and for your life? What do you want to achieve? What are you going to do about it today?

Janne

Exercise Advantage

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We are created to move. The benefits of exercise transfer to all areas of life. I guess one of the most underappreciated form of advantage is the cognitive advantages: people who exercise more learn faster and remember better.

Above all it is not even that difficult: we just need to reduce the passive time and substitute it with standing up or walking for example.

The 10 000 steps a day is a worthy goal. Even if you cannot make it to the 10 000 try 7 000 at first, it’s gonna transform your life in the long run, not just your body, but your mind as well.

Over time, exercise energizes. Exercise let’s us to rewire our thoughts and emotions into a more positive state as well.

Health is based on movement, nutrition and sleep. If you have enough of all these, you are likely to live a healthy life. Then there are exceptions to both directions. Those who exercise gain the health advantage, those who do not throw the advantage away.

Capacity Matters

 

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Today I was reflecting that I am happier when I’ve meaningful work to do, than when I do not. I do not mind the work to get it done.

People make the work meaningful, all the people involved, especially those who I work for the most of the time.

What I like about working, is that it builds the capacity to work more. During last summer I noticed, that both my mental and physical stamina are at surprisingly good levels. Then I started to ponder how this came to be, and mostly I came to the conclusion that it has to be not only the physical exercise and small things I do each, but the mental exercise as well.

Work builds capacity. And above all it’s the capacity that matters.

If I were suddenly taken into less challenging work, it would start deteriorating and in few months I would already be in position where I cannot the old.

I think capacity matters, especially if you ambition matter. And I do think that we all have or should have a purpose that for which challenging ourselves matter and therefore our capacity matters. We shouldn’t settle for just anything, we shouldn’t lower our standards, but to keep challenging our capacity.

Cognition Advantages

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A common misconception is that intelligence is fixed. It’s not so much at all.

In fact I dislike to use the word intelligence at all, because it is so emotionally loaded.

I’ve contemplated the topic of intelligence a lot especially from personal development / intelligence improvement point of view, from which I wrote a popular reply to Quora on 2013.

The more I’ve learned the less I’ve liked the word intelligence. If we are thinking along the lines of Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences there are so many kinds of intelligences that it’s absurd to claim any kind of intelligence.

Therefore I am more in line with ability to think and learn. When it comes to thinking and learning it’s all about cognition.  When we are talking about cognition we are also talking about great health, because these two are strongly interconnected.

Here are some cognitive advantages:

  • Basic acknowledgement when it comes to cognition is that our brains do consume a lot of calories, one fifth of all our intake. Quality of calories for sure matters in the long run as well. Pay attention to your diet from your minds perspective.
  • Unrested mind is literally the same as drunk. Have good quality and quantity sleep.
  • Fear literally shuts down our cognition at worst, or any kind of fear inhibits our higher cognitive function. Learn to recognize fear.
  • Stress, especially the stress about safety (i.e. income, relationship, home…) reduces our cognitive capabilities.
    • Build income buffers to reduce this.
    • Work to create more opportunities for income (=diversifying)
    • Learn to invest and manage money.
    • Learn what is in your control and focus to that.
  • Be happy first. Success follows happiness, not the other way around.
    • Start a journal and find three good things about each day.
    • Start giving to others, that way the happiness lasts longer.
  • Learn to control your breath: meditate
  • Exercise, even walking is better than nothing!
  • Work proactively with the numbers on your side
    • This reduces both stress and fear plus it gives you good night sleep knowing you’ve worked from the probabilities.
  • Emotional first aid: learn to forgive yourself.

How to Succeed with Your Most Important Dreams or Goals

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Strategy, is the ability to lead the strengths so that the decisive battle will not be lost. Strategy is therefore and verb: the act of leading.

So if in your life you are dreaming of something; in fact anything you want to do or achieve for example, you start putting your strategy to action.

Now put your dream or goal into context: what are the priorities at present in your life? List values such as: health, career, family, activities, hobbies,  friends, lovers… Think about all these priorities in relation to your goals and dreams.

What values you do not want to fail at? Do not accept the failure at these tasks. Prioritize the most important things in your life: i.e. if you value your health as you should, then you should ensure that the health will be taken care of no matter what. That’s why many people prefer to take morning for their exercise, they are serving first and foremost themselves with this, so that they may nourish the growth of others.

I repeat: do not fail to do that which matters most to you.

To see what matters most to you, break down your big dream or goal first to a concrete five year goal, then to a yearlong goal, then to month, week and a day goal. Remember strategy is a verb, what are you going to do today to progress at your most important dreams or goals?

My Salsa Roots and Goals

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Today’s experiences provide me with so wonderful ingredients for reflection that I simply cannot pass. It’s very much related to my new hobby: Salsa and how I found out about it.

I’ve found that introducing my new hobby to people get more surprising reactions. Even more surprising reactions people get when they hear the name of the Salsa instructor Mikko Kemppe, who is apparently known even better among young men for writing a free dating guide.

I found Salsa, Helsinki Salsa Academy and Mikko Kemppe purely through my Facebook friends, who had liked Helsinki Salsa Academy when I was looking at their ad in the beginning of July. For a longer time I’ve been considering now to start a hobby, for which I was first considering fitness boxing, however which I felt was a bit lonely and also against my ideals of violence even though the fitness boxing in itself you don’t have to be punching anyone in the face. I just felt that I although at some point in my life, I had liked boxing and especially the training method of boxing, now it didn’t seem to match my value system anymore. So I was considering alternatives, for which dance seemed to be one rather wild take. Yet dance in my world had rather special meaning as  I understood it as a creative and love, fun and connection building activity. I didn’t have any dance background at all, but when I started to look further into what Helsinki Salsa Academy offered I started to like the idea of trying out Salsa in intensive weekend setting, so I signed up.

My decision wasn’t easy, however the abundant videos of previous experiences at the website made it much easier to make. After checking the schedules, which seemed to fit my plans perfectly I just needed to go ahead and decide what I want from life. I considered my options and thought that the positive energy that the Salsa has, is certainly very attractive. I am attracted like a fly to positive and energetic people and based on that insight I had my mind.

I loved every second of the Salsa intensive. They were three and half our intensives on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was the first day I also met Mikko Kemppe live. I had tried to watch some of his Youtube earlier, but I couldn’t go on for too long, because I felt his speech was rather slow and the topics were not in my top of mind at the moment. Mikko made very positive impression with both of his style, positive energy and story-telling ability. I liked his style quite simply and decided that if I am able keep on Sunday I shall continue my efforts during upcoming fall.

So it turns out, on Sunday I was having rather positive surprises! Despite little sleep due to the night life, I was having amazing time! So I without much hesitation I decided to sign up for the fall courses right away.

Yesterday I had the first lesson in novice group. In between this intensive and this session I had practiced and learned by heart already all the basic steps, so continuing now was rather easy: I could focus more to the form and body movements on single training part. With pairs, I still have a lot to learn. Leading is hard: you’ve to keep in rhythm and be creative about actual dance, while at the same time executing the moves of course!

What I like about Helsinki Salsa Academy approach is the certain ‘seriousness’ at the business. First thing pretty much we did at the novice group, was to introduce ourselves to the group and set some goals for ourselves, for the next three months and next year.

It is this goal that then inspired me finally to write this blog as well in the end, because I managed to put it in some inspiring words. My one year goal is quite simply to become Salsa club tourist. To me this has rather deeper meaning than the actual words might perceive: I mean by this the ability pretty much go to visit any salsa club and go and have fun on the dance floor.

It’s rather measurable with the salsa club dance floors visited too, so I like that. Then there is of course the subjective experience part.

As for my three month plan, my goal would be to take the first step on the dance floor as I’ve just begun I think it’s a good place to start and to work towards.

 

Wisdom Begins by Letting Go

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Achievement is one of hardest things to let go. I do not know how come we are still so easily moved by such motivation.

Letting go and accepting the present is a good exercise as it is rather never ending practice.

Where I sometimes seem to worship habit, sometimes I am willing to let go even a positive habit for the experimentation of the letting go.

Wisdom is wise priorization.

Let go and make room for priorization.