March 13th, 2019


Boom! Working on the self

I'm back from my long break to record and mull on some self-help (or the like) materials, basically pieces of advice that I find useful and think might be of interest to others as well. And LJ is the best platform for this out of the ones I use, as it allows the babble.

I guess the first question, though, is how and why I ended up interested in this stuff to begin with. The foundation for it was built some months ago when I found Marie Kondo's konmari Netflix show, and discovered that her advice or guidance for discarding and/or reorganizing one's belongings was not only very practical, but made me sort of more focused on what is important to me. I haven't completed konmari-ng all my things, but I've done enough to kind of believe that by getting your material shit together, you may even feel that your inner shit is more together... That you're ready to let go of certain things and leave them in the past, where they belong. Some things that used to be super relevant and then became things you were super nostalgic about are no longer something you want to move forward with, while others still hold that value and maybe you are now even able to showcase in your home in a meaningful way and seeing it every day gives you a bit of happiness. So, Marie kind of made me begin to accept that people in this line of work might be able to give some guidance and help that isn't just nonsense that preys on lost souls.

With that being said, it's not like I rushed out to look for self-help stuff. It wasn't until a few days ago that I bumped into Matt D'Avella's podcasts (via his 30 days without sugar video that YouTube was pushing at me...) and just started listening to them while solving easy sudokus. A lot of the conversations are with the kinds of people I've had very little exposure to: life coaches, YouTubers doing self-help/advice videos, minimalists, and... entrepreneurs, people who learned to make money from what they were drawn to doing. It's actually shocking how few people I know who are essentually self-employed, I mean there are some but most work in companies of some kind, or universities.

Anyway, although there are some nice chats going on, it can take a long time to find some specific piece of advice that seems really useful. I'll share my favourite one here, but first, here's the whole video:

Nate Green talks about coaching people, but interestingly talks about guiding the client to solve their own problems, and ends up sharing up this tip about, I think, starting new habits. His example is about attending the gym. He would ask his client how realistic, on a scale of 1-10, it would be for him to go to the gym three times a week. If the client responds anything below 7, he lowers it to twice a week. If it's still unlikely, he lowers it to 1, at what point the client would usually go "just once a week? ANYONE can do that. --> *I* can do that." So what you do is that you start with something so easy and simple that YOU think that "anyone" could do it. It's contextual because what is possible is very individual. (There is no "one-size-fits-all"!) The example is about exercise, but I see no reason why it couldn't be applied to almost anything you wanted to add or increase as a habit in your life. "Anyone can meditate for 5 mins every day." "Anyone can study a new language for 10 mins a day." Or I even found myself thinking how I could clean something later, then asking myself - "can I spare three minutes to clean this NOW instead of later?" So, it seems like a reaally clever and effective way of getting yourself started with doing something. And as Nate pointed out, even if you only go to gym once a week for a year, that's still 52 more times than you would've otherwise gone...

Another podcast I really enjoyed listening to was with Aileen Xu who, for example, takes the konmari way of thinking further; to relationships, social media... From this video, I don't remember anything as specific as above that I found helpful, but she talks about going for your goals - you should take risks when you're young, and today is the youngest you'll ever be, even if you're 50 :3 She just generally seems like a sweet and supportive person, so I'll accept the fluffiness ok. On her personal YouTube channel she talks about imagining where you want to be/what your ideal life is like, and writing it down in present tense as if you're already there. I tried doing this last night and it's.. wild in the sense in that it makes you evaluate what it is that you actually want, but can also be initially really embarrassing because it's almost like you've been conditioned not to even mention what your dream is because it seems so unattainable?

This 'task' also connects to the self-help book that I started reading yesterday, Jen Sincero's You Are A Badass. Because she points out that the person you want to meet is already out there; the money you want to make already exists; etc. You just kind of have to wire yourself to think that you both deserve and can have whatever it is you want, they're out there for your taking... There's more to it that involves breaking down the subconscious beliefs that make you be stuck what you're doing now instead of taking risks to get the kind of life you want (even willing to fail, because you're still closer to the life you want then than before you started and was in your 'comfortable' but unsatisfying and even unhappy bubble).

To me this is all quite topical because I'm currently unemployed; I have applied for research funding, but they're incredibly competitive and I'm not sure the academic career is for me in the long run, anyway. That is what makes me feel stuck, and makes it difficult for me to have a goal; I'm not sure how to get to a career that I'm not sure exists! I still want to work with digital games and gaming, but I have nothing on game design, which is of course the key way of ending up working in the industry. When these companies look for analysts, they look for people who can do statistical analysis. I'm all qualitative, baby. So I'd have to convince them all somehow that I have something to give for them, something that could give them a competitive edge. I'm not sure how to do that. I have a lot to work through so I can establish goals and begin to work towards achieving them...