Sunday, January 19, 2020

Hold the space for your cravings.

Here is a quote from Tamara Levitt, a mindfulness instructor in the Calm app.

Hold the space for your cravings, observing them until they pass. To heal, we must bravely stay, rather than run. 

This is a great idea and as always it requires a lot of practice. The author also asks us to focus on our breath while observing the craving. Hope this helps.

She has a lovely video up on her website with the message that failure is a brave effort that should be celebrated. We all need that reminder once in a while.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Year of articulation

This year I want to focus on articulating my thoughts. I want to have and express an opinion on things that are relevant to my work. I want to be able to persuade people to see my point of view. I want to practice using logos, ethos, and pathos to be an effective communicator. This will be the focus of my speaking, reading, listening and writing practice. 

I to use this to communicate my thoughts, persuade people to use my design, debate the merits and demerits of my architectures. I want to use this to make allies, to motivate people and generally be an effective communicator. 

I want to do this so that I don't try to translate things from my mother tongue and waste precious time or create awkward pauses when speaking. I want to do this to sound confident and fluent. 
I want to be able to do this to move to a better role and to make a bigger difference in the world. All my heroes are very articulate and great speakers. In the direction where my work is taking me, this is a superpower and I want to learn that and wield that. 

Year of Focus - Update

Last year my main goal was to work with focus. Though I cannot say I have achieved it 100% of the time, having that goal helped. I was able to work with focus when I was intentional about the work I wanted to do.

I also found that the Deep Work Manual helped a lot in maintaining the focus. I also found out ways I can overcome getting distracted. This is still though a work in progress. The top things that helped me stay focussed were

1. Being intentional about what I  do
2. Periodic check-ins to see what I focused on
3. Eliminating distractions in the environment as much as possible.
4. Ritualizing and having strict rules about using the internet
5. Recommitting every time I slip out of focus
6. Performing regular self-care maintenance - sleep, water, exercise, and meditation

I built up a focus routine that I can enter into whenever I can create the intention for focus.
This year, I will improve further by starting every task with intention.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Plan your day

My default state is distraction. What that means is that if I'm doing something, I can suddenly jump to something unrelated and not return at all.  From the time I've reflected upon myself, I found that I'm easily distracted.

I've been trying to understand how best to live with this state and how to be productive in spite of this. Cal Newport's books - Deep Work and Digital Minimalism helped with ways to work with that.

The first important step that defines my day is whether I have taken the time to plan my day out. Take a day where I start my day without planning when I'll do what. I'll find myself starting with my first task and it taking most of the day if not the whole day.
The only solution that worked to avoid this is to take the time to plan the day. In the morning,  sit in front of you calendar and plan all the things you want to do that day in the calendar.  This step will create an intentional day. It will make it easy to resist the distractions and plough ahead. It also is the rock to which we can return to if we have wandered somewhere unrelated. This sounds simple but simple things make all the difference. Pair it with the following deep work rules to have a focused day -  Don't use the internet for entertainment and use internet during a specified time.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Interesting ideas from Digital Minimalism - Cal Newport

Cal Newport wrote about digital Minimalism which is about the tools to beat digital distraction. As you know I'm a fan of Cal's so good they can't ignore you and Deep work. So though this topic felt familiar I felt compelled to read it. And boy I am not disappointed. There are many great tools about beating digital distraction. So you should just go and read the book. What follows are things that I found interesting and would like to remember.

After convincing us of the fact that being distracted always is not doing is any good, he asks us to do a one month digital detox. I.e completely do cold turkey on digital media. Then after one month deliberately bring back those tools which you feel add value to your life and only if that tool is the best way to add that value. Then after adopting that tool develop a strict standard operating procedure for using it basically about when you're allowed to use it and for how much time. This is the gist of the process.

Then he goes on to give various practical tactics about using digital tools effectively. Following are the things that felt very useful to me.

Create a seasonal leisure plan. This is a great idea as the kind of things we can do varies by season and by thinking and planning your leisure for the season you can follow them effectively.  Pair them with weekly plans to make it concrete.

Choose active leisure. - Mr Money Moustache who is a millionare buys and fixes up houses and his leisure consists of making things.

Join a group - There is a cafe in Canada called the snakes and Lattes cafe where you go in a play board games with whoever is before you.

Life 3.0 - Interesting things I learnt from that

I read an interesting book called Life 3.0 written by <>

Memory and computation are substrate independent.

AI can grow and develop very fast

Once it develops there are various ways in which it can takeover

Earth is doomed in millions and billions of years. So the way for human race to live is by becoming an interplanetary species. If we develop vehicles which can travel very fast we can go and that is where we should focus.

There are multiple theories of studying consciousness. According to an interesting theory, consciousness is how it feels when our body is processing and reconciling the data with existing data stored 

The wonder of scientific development

The story I'm about to tell may be obvious to lot of you but it was not obvious to me at all.

This is about how scientific inventions and discoveries happen. 
Since ancient times it was evident that rubbing fur on a smooth thing have people shocks. But it was not possible to study the nature of electricity. Then Volta found a way to create electricity on demand. People started to play with it and then slowly the principles surrounding electricity were discovered. Then in one experiment someone discovered that electricity can cause magnetism and playing with that again caused people to play with it and they discovered electromagnetic effects and then it revolutionized everything and more and more secrets of the nature opened up.

Let's consider the theory of gravitation.  He wondered how Earth and moon are hanging in balance and why is an apple falling to earth. Building on Galelio and Kepler's theories and with his grip on maths he calculated and proved that the attraction between objects varies based on the square of the distance between objects. In doing so he also created a new field of calculus. It was a giant leap for mankind in unlocking the secrets of nature.

What I'm trying to say here is that there are few true new inventions, most of the things are invented in the adjacent possible whenever a new invention happens. Just by playing with the new invention, combining, applying that to multiple unsolved problems, diligently experimenting and analysing the results  that have us 90% of the inventions and discoveries and that doesn't take a genius but just a committed,  diligent and curious person. There is also a role of serendipity in this. Lot of times speaking and working with other intelligent people can help break a logjam. So the learning here is that keep up to date with new discoveries in the field, experiment with it, talk about it and share your learnings. You might find or do something that can push mankind forward.