“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

I would highly recommend the Art of War by Sun Tzu to anyone as a self improvement piece. There is no doubt as to why this is highly regarded by many sales and business people wanting to gain the edge.

Although, the text was produced with the battle in mind, a lot of similarities can be drawn to everyday life. We battle and struggle with ourselves everyday, as we do with others. Its not about life and death and is generally used in context with the selling your product, or how to present yourself to someone to get what you want (oversimplified summary I know).

There is a consistent theme throughout the book which I think is important to everyone and that is to know oneself and until we know ourself we can be our own enemy.

So if you are hitting a brick wall in your life (maybe trying to make or break a habit) why not try a different approach? Maybe looking at yourself and the problem from a different standpoint may reveal the path with the least internal resistance. Isn’t it always better than working with yourself to reach a goal than to work against yourself to do so?

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“Let that which does not matter truly slide.”

I know, I know! Another Chuck Palahniuk quote, but it is so fitting for this post. This is my favourite documentary. Saw it a few years ago and it has certainly helped me lead a much more stress free life and in turn hopefully give me a few more years. If you every have wondered the effects that stress has on ones life span, health and position in the hierarchy look no further.

Stress, Portrait of a Killer – Full Documentary (2008)

Please note that I did not upload this vid 🙂

Money for Nothing: not the universal currency

It has become recently apparent that I am obsessed with time!

Time has the power to both imprison and empower us. It is the basis of our society and culture. Much of what we do and who we are is measured by it as it endlessly weathers our universe.

For me, time is the currency in which all debt is paid.

I’ve recently made it past the quarter century mark and can honestly say that I have been somewhat uneasy by the future that I have traded my last 25 years for. I have led a happy life so far, with some amazing achievements. I have always been motivated and goal orientated. Even still, the pit in my stomach is growing by the realization that I am still on track to live out my existence paying for time with time.

On average we are likely to spend about 100 hrs per week (including work, preparing for work, and sleeping), paying for the remaining 68 hours. Our lifestyles may be very different, but we are likely to have the same amount of time to reach our ambitions and follow our goals. But how can we achieve the many different things that we want and lead the life we desire if 68 hours a week is all we have to achieve it in?

Let’s look at how we spend our time so that we can actively reclaim as much of it as possible, instead of handing our precious currency over for the permission to make it to another pay check.

Work:(~50 hours a week) Because the time that we spend at work is an expectation imposed on us by external forces (culture, superiors, peers), our time spent at work is harder to compromise and steal into. Not for a lack of trying though, this is were our holidays, extended lunches and sick days come into play.

Sleep (~50 hours a week): We should be sleeping about as much as we spend at work, but because 68 hours a week is not enough time to chase our dreams, maintain relationships, do chores and loose hours of time in front of the TV, it is only natural that we are tempted to stay up later and wake up earlier. But at what cost? There are some pretty interesting techniques that people have come up with by sleeping less and still improving efficiency (will focus on this in a future post).

Freedom (~68 hours a week): I keep referring to an average of 68 hours a week as the amount if free time we have but for most people (including myself), which is a considerable overstatement: as work, study and other commitments tend to eat away at our energy so that all we want to do with what is left is to relax and not think.

How does your life look? Breaking down my life into the above 3 categories, 2 questions become immediately apparent:

  • How can I move more time from the first to categories into freedom? and,
  • What the hell have I been doing with 68 hours of spare time each week?!?!

If you are out there and have some ideas about reclaiming my time feel free to share :).

The search for time

Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club) wrote “On a long enough time line, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.”

As the years pass and the list of my accomplishments is exceeded by and dwarfed by what could have been, the search for more time has become increasingly desperate.

This is where my writing comes in: I am recording what is usually intangible streams of contemplation an effort to ultimately step out of the shadow of, and stand shoulder to shoulder with Me. By writing about time I hope to, bring the issue to front mind and actively change the dogma of time use and most importantly how to get more of it.
I mean, that’s what it all comes down to, right? More time. We all work harder to enrich those spaces of time in which we are free to fill with whatever makes us happy. That time may be; each night after work, the weekend, the annual holiday, the trip around the world, a happy retirement, etc. The problem with these spaces of time is that they are small and fleeting and our society has grown accustomed to working so much for so little freedom.
So, how do we get more?