Forced To Observe

The only habits that matter are mental habits. All other routines and rituals are aimed only at mental preparation.

I learned today that new experiences can activate proteins in the body, and these proteins can code for new genes.

This means that if you put your self in stressful situations, beyond what you think you are capable of, your biology changes. It adapts. Adaptation is what us humans (and every single organism) is about.

When I see someone I admire and think “I can't be like them.” I am correct, but only for that present moment. Currently I'm not like that person, but if I push myself, I will be physiologically and psychologically different.

I have to be willing to leave behind who I am in order to become who I could be. Every challenge then is quite literally an opportunity to grow.

I temporarily deactivated my Instagram yesterday. I already feel different. I still feel the urge to use it here and there, but reactivating it is enough friction to stop me.

This is practice for when I stop all social media use for the first 6 months of 2019.

This website will provide some tools that will help:

Make doing difficult things easy.

  • Do the difficult thing early.
  • Put on some music while doing what is difficult (if the music doesn't distract).
  • Have a short-term reward for doing what is difficult.
  • Have the long-term benefit in mind while doing what is difficult.
  • Know where the difficult thing falls in the grand scheme of things.
  • Use a stopwatch.
  • Eliminate distractions before starting. (do not battle distractions while battling what is already difficult).

Before I set off for my trip in February, I’ve had to make a few things clear for myself. This is because travel, to me, has been painted completely wrong by most.

I don’t believe most people enjoy travel in the sense that it is advertised. There are a few things that make us like travel: 1. Not having to work (i.e. vacation). 2. Getting to dine out every meal without feeling bad about the money spent. 3. Finally having something interesting to post on social media about.

The motive for my travels isn’t the possibility of happiness or any kind of pleasure. It is a break from my normal habits and beliefs. Every time I’ve come back from a long trip some habit changes that I was reliant on and beliefs get challenged.

Like a child, sometimes the only way to get them to part with the sucker is to hide it from them.

The feelings we look for all our lives show up in places we don't anticipate.

Sitting in my father's backyard always makes me realize this. I sit in one of the porch chairs and rest my feet on the empty one. The neighbors have palm trees and when the breeze comes through, it's as if it were traveling through a wind instruments.

I forgot what it was I originally wanted to do. When I was a child I wanted to make imposing and impressive things. I didn’t want to show people only the best pieces of my life.

Instead, I had ideas. I believed if I chased these ideas down, there would be something glimmering at the boundary.

I’m now more interested in things that are exciting without any need to be useful—at least in the sense that a tool is useful. Beauty is useful because it glows. It shines a light on what is ugly, and so, what needs to be improved. It doesn’t need to be philosophical, logical, or science-based. It just needs to make sense when it hits you.

It's not that we need to make mental health and depression less taboo. It's that we need stop only showing the highlights of our life. We need to stop presenting as if everything is perfect. Actually, we need to stop presenting period.

Before social media, our form of self-expression was art. And if you made everything in art all sunshine and smiles, people would rightfully criticize you for not getting it right.

But I get it. Social media isn't art. It serves as a mini PR campaign for each individual. Everyone who has an Instagram is a Social Media Manager. And as a Social Media Manager, why in the world would you advertise warts and scars?

The reason why most people are afraid to dance isn't that they can't.

It’s that dancing is an unsafe activity — you’re running out into an open field that’s surrounded by snipers.

One little awkward thing you do with your hands or shoulders or feet could mean getting shot with a critical stare.

You’re held liable if you don’t do it well, and we’re terrified of not doing it well.

So, it’s easier to never get on the dance floor to give it a try. Even though for that first second, we’re dying jump out of our seat and join in on the fun.

But we bury that intuitive voice with the rational mind and remain hiding in the bushes.

I had realized at one of my lowest moments that all human souls descend into the atmosphere looking the exact same. As if they had come via assembly line. And that the only identifiers were the oddities and misfortunes. The only thing that set a soul apart from the other was that one got knocked with a hammer, and the other cut with a knife.

We'd all look the same if it weren't for our scars. How else could you tell anyone apart?