When will I die?

It is this same morbid question that we ask ourselves on a regular basis. When will I die? What will I achieve before then? How will I be remembered?

On top of our own morbid internal voices which urge at us to lift ourselves from the mundane existence to the higher levels of spirituality, social status, and career. The seemingly recent explosion of the self improvement craze has us all, at one point or another, seeking the next best diet, sleeping plan, exercise regime, self help book, and the list goes on.

Without a clear personal direction is the desire for self improvement for the sake of itself beneficial and even sustainable? Without a strong enough goal to strive for do we risk desensitising ourselves to the proposed benefits of self improvement in such a saturated industry with outlandish claims? Humans have a great ability to subconsciously ignore that which is not immediately important, regardless of the weight it may have on future tasks or endeavours.

An interesting example to ponder is the Tikker wristwatch http://mytikker.com/. I came across this while searching for a watch with the ability to countdown ones life (seems to provide a average life expectancy based on certain parameters similar to http://www.poodwaddle.com/Life/). It seems to deliver, although I would have preferred a traditional 12 hour analog face with midnight representing birth and death. 

Without a clear life direction would this serve as constant reminder of the passing time and prompt us to get our life in order or would the gimmick soon wear off and precedence be given to immediately important endeavours? 

Isn’t that the problem in the first place? We have so many constant reminders about our impending doom such as birthdays, new years, and the ageing of our mortal forms. The problem is not that we are not reminded about the fact that time is passing. The problem is that the reminders are too frequent and insignificant for us to hold any weight in comparison to the short span of our often volatile situations.

In terms of death, let the mystery of when remain. Steer your short and longterm paths toward true happiness and your purpose will soon follow.


Travel into your past

One of the results of my obsession for time is the utter shock and, at times, the despair that I have little to no recollection of the detailed actions, thoughts, and feelings which have comprised up of my life. The brain is a processing powerhouse and is extremely good at retiring memories which it deems irrelevant to survival.

Over the last 10 or so years I have kept scrapbook of sorts, which contains the notes, ramblings, and (as I probably thought at the time) the stroke of genius that would change the world :P. I very rarely went back to read these once they were entered and some almost seem as though they were written by another.

As I go through these obscure and unstructured thoughts, certain patterns in my thought method, ideology, and feelings creep up. It is almost as though I have learned the same lessons, come to the same conclusions, and asked the same questions multiple times in different contexts over very wide timescales (separated by years and years). And, as a result, the following questions have been keeping me up at night over the last 3 or so years.

How many times do we learn the same lesson before it sticks?

How else could I record about my past? And what useful information could be extrapolated to speed up this learning process.

And, most importantly, how could my lessons impact others facing the same obstacles and vice versa.

I’m going to finish (for now) with this amazing TED video to help communicate the importance and sheer magnificence of visiting one’s own past to learn.

“Sleep? Pfft who needs it?”

If I were a cartoon character, the above would be my catchphrase. That and “I’ll buy and extra soft coffin for when I die.”

Sleep has always been a constant no matter what happens it will always be there and is usually quite patient. For a former (or so I to think) master procrastinators, like myself, an extra 5 minutes could have just as easily become 5 hours. But inevitably once the Sandman finally reaches up an claims me as its victim it usually is quite reluctant to let me escape the next morning.

It’s so easy to steal slumber time and it actually feels like we are gaining more time when in actual fact it is quite the opposite. Any theft of sleep will need to be paid at some point in some way: whether you are working at half speed or totally loose few days to weeks to recover. Are the few extra hours a day really worth the war zone that also entrenches within?

I have completely burnt myself out at times and sunk into a depressive funk which seems to linger forever and seems impossible to get rid of. This is certainly not conducive to creativity or productivity and is a leach to any motivation. Quite horrible!

The solution? I am finding that ensuring a good 7-8 hours of sleep coupled with an understanding of how I would rather use my time has certainly proven to be quite effective. The feeling of empowerment is great and I am accomplishing way more than ever, all without the struggle against myself. I would now much rather spend time reaching one of my goals than feeding Facebook or reshaping my eyes in front of the TV.

It takes a bit of a change and won’t come overnight but the benefits don’t take long to show themselves.

I have had to:

Be time conscious and selfish: I was wasting around 6 or more hours a day and wouldn’t even be able to tell you where the time had gone. After realising how much time was being whittled away all it took was a bit of repetition to remind myself of how valuable my waking hours are and how I would rather spend it.

Know myself: The fight to get up in the morning is really just a result of not getting enough sleep so for me this is where I focused my energy. So, I made sleep my main goal, I decided that with adequate sleep I would be at my best to model the rest of myself. After a few weeks of getting over 8 hours sleep and repaying my sleep debt I now wake up without an alarm 7-8 hours after getting to sleep, feel better than ever each day and have more energy.

Schedule:  I spend my life on computers, so naturally I have schedules on my phone or computer, but they are so easy to ignore 🙂 I have become so much more organised since carrying a diary around and using it to plan each day.

Gradual changes: Constantly reminding myself about the interesting yet purely anecdotal metaphor story of the boiling frog?. Making sudden and drastic changes for me never works and for every habit I break or make I will generally need to start small and work myself up to my goal.

It has always been counter initiative for me that going to bed early will actually lead to a more productive and time rich me… Never happier after changing this mentality.

Evolution of survival

The following is the fundamental idea which lead my change in focus over the last few years and is why I am writing to the aether.

Looking at the evolution of how mankind’s survival has developed over the ages is quite intriguing.

Survival of the fittest is how it all started. Every man/woman fending for themselves or clan: hunting and gathering. With farming, our ancestors have been able to collectively set down their hunting tools and pursue something other than filling our stomachs on a daily basis.

Likewise the industrial revolution saw much of us flock to cities and into factories and provided everyone with more freedom to earn and the energy to pursue ones dreams which lead to advances, and even the creation of many other industries.

All of our advances have allowed us to unite in so many different enterprises which have all lead to the world in which we live in. The have provided us all with the opportunity/illusion that we can be who and what we want to be. Survival rates of just about everything are increasing. We are on the verge of prolonging life eternally, yet we seem to be stuck.

The idea that I am am finding hard to grasp is, why after so so much evolution does the majority of the population still hunt and gather for a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly sallery?

Is this how it has to be? Are we all fulfilling our life’s purpose? Can we do better? How can we all change the status quo?