Do Something That Scares You Right Now
A wise man once said, ‘Do something that scares you once a day.’ I can’t remember who it was though, so if anyone has any idea then write it in the comment box below. Maybe I said it? This is great advice though because as humans we naturally tend towards going more and more into our comfort zones.
Unfortunately (or maybe it’s fortunately) we can only become a better person if we are pushed outside our comfort zone. Being outside our comfort zone gives a new perspective on life and allows us to prioritize more effectively.
Kelly Slater, who some people consider to be one of the greatest athletes of all time said, “it’s hard to go throughout life and not just get stuck in pattens when your minds not expanding and staying open is when you really age physically.”
So if you don’t want to become a grumpy old bastard then get outside of your comfort zone and get out of your regular pattern of life.
Stand up, right now, and go and do something that scares you (nothing illegal or damaging please, good vibes only.) For example:
- Making up with an old friend you fell out with
- Ask someone out for a drink
- Admit something embarrassing to a friend
- Stand on a table and announce your love for someone
- Submit an idea about what to do when you’re bored
- Public speak
- Join a dance class
- Text your Mum and tell her you love her
- Explore somewhere new where you live or work
If you’ve got any good ideas about doing something that scares you everyday then write it in the comment box below, (even if that scares you.) Go here if you need some inspiration.
List 5 Things You Appreciate About Technology
I recently read a book called “The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves” by Matt Ridley. I absolutely loved this book because he explained the myriad of ways in which technology constantly raises the standard of our living by creating wealth and prosperity.
Technology continually reduces the hours that we need to work to meet our basic fulfilment of food, water, clothes and shelter. For a basic standard of living most people only need to work a few hours per day.
It made me think how little I appreciated technology and all the research and development that had gone into making the things we take for granted. Of course, our absolute quality of life has never been higher, but because everyone benefits from this, our relative quality of life, (in comparison to the people around us) stays the same.
Unfortunately, as a species we tend to look at our relative quality of life far more than our absolute quality of life, thereby not really appreciating what prosperity we already have.
This made me think of writing a list of ‘5 things I appreciate about technology,’ so here’s mine.
- Someone wrote the computer coding for a dating app called Tinder so I can meet nice women outside of my work/ social circle and without going to a club, really easily.
- Someone invented a computerised fuel injector for my car (to replace the carburettor) making my car twice as efficient, reducing my fuel costs by 50%.
- Search engine companies designed an algorithm that allows me to find the most amazing information that I need within a few mouse clicks, instead trawling through random websites, saving me literally hours.
- Someone invented an antibiotic spray that helps stop my dog’s ears getting more infected, (which stops them smelling so bad.)
- New material technology means I can cheaply and easily install double glazing in my bedroom making it warmer in the winter, so I don’t see the condensation from my breath when I wake up in the morning.
It’s really easy to take the everyday technology we use for granted, instead of focusing on our absolute quality of life and appreciating the prosperity and comfort we already have.
What are 5 things you appreciate about technology? I also think that technology amplifies our existing habits, so if we are generally lazy then technology allows us to amplify this laziness and basically become modern slobs. But if we have positive habits than technology can allow us to live an fulfilling and healthy life.
Take The Wikipedia Link Jumping Challenge
This, my friends, is a wonderful game that you can play for free and anywhere with an internet connection. Ideally you need another person to play with (hence sort of making it a competition) but if you’re really keen then feel free to ‘train’ by yourself.
It might also be a good idea to have an adjudicator who thinks of a the new random page and also makes sure no one cheats. Lets have the starting page as http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adjudicator. Now choose another completely random page, for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Caledonia. So the aim of the game is to go from the first page to the random page using only the internal links on the page. (No searches and no leaving wiki)
This challenge tests your knowledge of words and word associations, whilst challenging you to think ahead, seeing how words that might be linked in the description could lead to the page you want. Ok let’s try it out and see how long it takes. Taking http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adjudicator as the starting page and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Caledonia as the page we want to get to. Two seemingly unrelated pages, so how can we link jump from one to the other as fast as possible?
Here are the steps I took to get from the first page to the ending page.
Quite and easy one? Yes, knowing that New Caledonia is a French overseas territory meant that going to the United Kingdom page would probably allow me to go to the French page sooner or later. It can get much harder than this though. Going from New Caledonia to Adjudicator would be very difficult.
A quick trick to help you is to use the CTRL F command which brings up the ‘find’ box. This can help you speed up the process of looking for a word you think will help link to the next page. However, if this word isn’t hyperlinked then it won’t be much use.
Ok, so new challenge, try to go from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperlink to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vilfredo_Pareto as quickly as possible. This is a great game to play at work since if you ever get caught then it just looks like you’re working hard on some in depth research. You’ll also learn a lot about word association and random other pieces of knowledge that might not necessarily be particularly useful.
Start Watching TED Videos
Forget about TV! TV is designed to extract economic value from the viewer. Often we think that the way newspapers and television stations earn money is through selling us a copy or subscription of their service. This isn’t true at all. Almost all their revenue comes from advertising.
So what? Well what this means is that the advertiser is actually the customer (not you and me) and we are the product being sold to the advertiser like a commodity. There’s a guy called Sut Jhally who gave a lecture about this called ‘Factory In The Living Room.’ You can watch it below.
Personally I don’t like to be a product so I don’t watch TV. However, sometimes it is just nice to mong, and sit back and relax. The best way to have cool, interesting information pumped into you without being sucked dry of value by advertisers is to watch TED videos.
Literally within a few months of swapping TV for TED you will become a genius. You can find TED videos directly from the website or on their YouTube channel (which is a bit easier to find the ones that interest you!.)
So there we go. Watching TED instead of TV will make you a knowledgeable genius, and you’ll watch much less advertising as a result. And because you’ll watch much less advertising you’ll buy much less crappy products that you don’t really need. Instead you’ll invest this money in long term appreciating assets and all will be good in the world.
Exercise Your Facial Muscles
Yes, you do have muscles in your face, and yes, just like the other muscles in your body they should be regularly exercised to have a firm, strong, well-shaped face lol. Have you ever sat on public transport and looked around you at the people. You might notice that a lot of people have ‘melting faces.’
Their faces are being dragged downwards by gravity, making them look unhappy and un expressive. This is because most people don’t naturally express themselves very well, or take the time to regularly exercise their facial muscles. As a result they start to atrophy with age, giving the appearance of melting.
Regular exercise of your facial muscles keeps your face in ‘good shape’ keeping it symmetrical (yes our thinking patterns actually cause our face to become asymmetrical) as well as firm and expressive. Taoist wisdom promotes the regular exercise and stretching of our facial muscles.
It’s cool because you can do it anywhere, especially when you’re bored driving or watching TV (people will think you’re weird if you do it in front of them.) Facial stretching is the ultimate beneficial boredom killer. Here’s one good exercise you can do, but there are many more. The main idea is that you’re stretching and exercising the muscles in your face.
Why is it that many actors and singers still look great into old age, whilst most normal people just get droopy stolid faces? Well it’s exactly because actors and singers are always exercising their facial muscles by being expressive and outgoing. With facial muscle exercises you don’t have to act and sing the whole day, you can get the same effect from 5 minutes of facial exercises.