Active Restlessness: How to be productive

I still remember the days when my mother called me lazy. Lazy for not cleaning my room. Lazy for sleeping in. Lazy for not emptying the dishwasher. Lazy for not taking out the trash. Lazy for watching TV. Lazy for wanting to play video games (even though I was never allowed to own them).

Now, I’m told I’m too intense; that I have no chill. I’m told I need to sit down and relax and take in the sights and smells.  Well, they are right (whoever they are) about that on a certain level, I do eat incredibly fast out of habit.  At this point in my life is no longer have a legitimate excuse to sleep in.  When I was younger I wish I had thought of a good reason for wanting 12 hrs a night.  Now I wish I could subsist on 4 hours a day and use that time for other things. Alas, I cannot function on less than 6 a night, preferably 8-9.  I know that and aim to achieve it every night, enforcing discipline and the help of technology to maintain my sleep schedule. This discipline comes from a mindset I call Active Restlessness. It is a mental schema of never being content with where I am and what I’m doing in life and finding peace from it.

I engage a mental paradox in order to close that paradox in a feedback loop expanding into myself.

I listened to a Jordan B. Peterson podcast a few weeks ago and something he said resonated with me.  It echoes much more clearly my mindset than I’ve attempted to articulate throughout several drafts of this article.  I’m paraphrasing:

“What is good? Good is not what is good for you now.  That chocolate bar taste good and is good now.  Good is what is good for you in the future.  That chocolate bar attributes to diabetes, that isn’t good is it?  So it must not be good.

Good is not necessarily what is good for others now.  Letting your son play video games instead homework probably isn’t good though it may stop him from bothering you about wanting to play video games and you can actually get work done – which is good!

Good is what is good for you in the future and what is good for others in the future as long as it is not harmful to you now.  What that means is it is not good to sell sex for money to keep yourself and your family off the streets if it means you are at risk of sexually transmitted diseases and become emotionally damaged – which isn’t good for you in the future by the way.  That is not good!

Good is the act of putting of that good feeling now for a better and more pleasurable feeling in the future.  Don’t eat that candy bar now, delay that gratification, and you will feel good when you are comfortable in a swimsuit a few months from now.  That is good.

Delay the good now for good in the future.  This is a necessary action we’ve practiced since the dawn of time. Don’t eat these seeds now – even though we’re starving – because we need to plant them in the spring to grow crops and get more food!  That is good.”

I like the way he stated that definition of good.  I’m sure I transcribed a lot of it incorrectly, but that is the gist of his original thoughts; please find his podcast if you want to hear the whole thing.

I encourage you to take a similar mentality of Dr. Peterson’s definition of good and channel that into what I describe as Active Restlessness.  By this, you put yourself in a constant state of action by refusing to be idle.  Restlessness has an implied supposition to meaningless work.  You aren’t sure what to do with yourself so you do whatever you find to occupy your thoughts without actually doing anything.  Perhaps you get restless waiting for a flight or sitting in a doctor’s office; maybe this occurs when you get home at night in an empty house and turn to porn as an outlet for activity.

Next time you are having a long commute or sitting in traffic, turn off the radio and sit quietly with yourself.  Ask yourself what you’ve done with your life this year and how those actions so far will make next year or next decade better.  Are you working towards a goal that will increase quality of life? Have you learned something you can leverage at work or in your relationship? Can you run farther than you ran yesterday?

Identify your weaknesses then identify your goals.  Most self declared gurus will tell you to define goals first then work towards those goals.  This is the wrong mindset and perception is reality. Let me explain.

If I ever find this title I’ll update it, until then it will remain a mysterious POW book.

I read a great book years back in middle school about a pilot who got shot down in Vietnam.  He was a POW for years locked in isolation with concrete walls forming his cell.  Using a code he learned in survival school, he was able to communicate with other prisoners. It was slow and tedious but once he figured it out he could read it instinctual without his makeshift cipher. For the next few months he was kept there, often moved between cells until he discovered himself next to another POW who spoke Spanish.  He learned Spanish using a cipher.  If that doesn’t speak to the power of the human brain I don’t know what does.

As a way to stave off boredom and keep his mind sharp, he did a push up contests with fellow prisoners.  I don’t remember what he hit but it was upwards of 800 in one sitting while living off a malnourished diet.

Eventually he was transfered to a more open camp.  POWs could interact physically with each other and he still kept this push up routine.  One day a young private walked by his cell as he finished a set and said “wow, I wish I could do that!”  This pilot told him to try and see how far he got.  Kid got somewhere near 40.

“Okay,” the pilot told him, “try again but this time let me count.”

The young private hit 140 without breaking a sweat.  He freed his mind and let his body control itself.  I want you to do the same.  By telling yourself ‘I want to be able to run a 10 minute mile’ you will get there then stop.  Instead, look into yourself and think ‘I’m not a good runner, I need to become the best runner my body will allow.’   I promise you will hit sub 6 minute miles much faster than if your goal was to hit 10.

Identify your weaknesses, then set an impossible goal nested into a realistic goals.

For example, I took swim lessons for years as a kid and thought I was pretty good at it.  I decided I wanted to become a lifeguard (goal) as a first job – much better than flipping burgers.  At my mother’s urging, I went to the community pool prove to her that I could swim the test inside the time.

I was winded by the time I reached the end of 1 lap – let alone 8 (weakness).

That spring semester I scheduled a long lunch break and went to the pool every day.  My goal was to swim 8 laps in 5 minutes when I could barely swim one.  I discovered I couldn’t actually swim. I put my face in the water and stroked, but didn’t properly kick my feet or even know how to breathe without taking in water (weakness).

At this point my priorities changed.  I no longer cared about the goal of passing a test, I wanted to learn to swim!  I set a goal to be the best swimmer there was (impossible – I’m not built like Phelps).  Small goal was to swim a total of 8 laps a day, no matter how many breaks I needed.  I hit that every day, slowly trying to swim a bit farther each time.  Within a month I could beat the test.

At this point, I would have stopped and taken the test, passed, then continued with my life had I defined my goal first.  I beat the weakness enough to get where I set my sights.

Back in the water the next day I set a new goal – 20 laps.

-50 laps

-100 laps

-1 mile

-2 miles

FYI, for a standard pool, 70 laps (there and back = 2 laps) is 1 mile so I hit my 100 lap goal before I even cared enough to compute distance.  At my peak, I could swim 2 miles non-stop with no stretching.  I would stop without breathing hard.  I stopped at 2 because it was mentally draining to stare at the bottom of the pool for that long.

Identify your weaknesses, then set an impossible goal nested into a realistic goals.

I now apply this mentality to my life.  I make huge demands of myself then parse it down into smaller achievements.  The difference in my mentality is these are to plug personal weaknesses not to gain personal victories.

The first step to applying Active Restlessness is to first define your weaknesses in your life.  Then, identify your vices.  These are the things that are not good. Be it TV, masturbation, eating or even reading.  I used to read to relax and escape reality.  Now I don’t read fiction without a purpose.  All of my books have something to teach me.  My reading list has grown and so have my interests.

Go try Active Restlessness in your own life by asking yourself if what you are doing at this very moment in helping your future self or even hurting your current self.  Ask that of yourself every time you want to sit down and do something you’ve defined as not good.  When you realize you want to waste your life on something, get up and do something else.

For me, I keep a list in Evernote (including article drafts) of all the things I need to do.  Often they are 1x chores to do around the house or even recurring ones like vacuuming.  They don’t have to be big.  As Dr. Peterson likes to say, “make your bed.”  Yes, that can be on your list.  Get that as a habit and add harder things to it!

Active Restlessness might have saved my life.  It has certainly saved my boredom. I find peace knowing that I’m not wasting mine playing video games or jacking off to porn.  Everything I do has a purpose, even if it is just going out dancing and having a good time.  That is a stress relief and I have trained myself to de-stress by being active.  I can barely sit still through a 2 hour movie.

Like, share, comment on ways you can implement this in your own life.

Until next time,

-Han

How to Purge and Control the Media You Consume

pexels-photo-267350-1024x743I started this article with the intention of talking about a concept that quickly diverged into at least 3 topics.  As I expand upon my original premise I expect that to grow and hopefully a blog will spring forth!

Herein, I want to talk to you about the steps I’ve taken to reduce and control the media I consume.  I recently bought an actual TV after years of barely watching even Netflix on my laptop.  On a base level I regret it as that media consumption has crept into my life.  I’m taking steps to reduce my media consumption as a whole.  Here is how, line by line.

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Instagram.  I don’t use it due to my belief that the filters and pure narcissism sharing nothing but pictures is unhealthy.  It allows people to live vicariously through others and become envious of their fake lives.  If you get motivated from looking at a woman’s butt pictures to go workout, great. If seeing that Lamborghini makes you hustle harder, more power to you.  That is not me.  With that said, @KyleTrouble had an excellent tweet on the usage of Instagram and I recommend you check it out.  I transcribed it here:

If you’re using it as a CRUTCH you’re probably going to be disappointed. If you’re using it as a replacement for swiping right on Tinder, it’s just more work and more bullshit to filter through. At least on Tinder they’re hand delivered. With IG you have to work to find.

If you have enough time in your day that you can actually spend hours and hours, filtering through hashtags and geos to find girls and then try to “DM slide” them… Guess what? You got too much time on your hand. (Women like men that have things going on for them…hint hint)

If you are just spending your whole day messaging girls, are you really getting anywhere? IG is probably best used as a TOOL to show off your INTERESTING life and to HOOK girls. If your whole life is DM-sliding, that’s not all that interesting, is it?

This means that if you meet a girl at a bar, or on the street, or heck, even on Tinder itself – that you can use Instagram as a way to instantly show major, major proof.

– Status

– Power

– Travel

– Money

– Body

All of these can be shown off in an authentic way.

You know that phrase, “A rich man doesn’t have to tell you he’s rich.” That’s what IG does. It allows you to show your entire life, in a matter of SECONDS, to a girl in your pipeline. She sees a snapshot of your life in 30 seconds. And you don’t even have to say a word.

That’s powerful, because it’s full-on social proof on your smartphone.  You don’t need a wingman to “DHV” you, or to work out clever ways of showing off your value without coming off as an arrogant ass. It’s all right there on your profile.

Of course, IG absolutely feeds into the narcissistic aspect of this. Girls are always going to want to upgrade to the best man they can get. Instagram makes hypergamy global…as @RationalMale points out.

In conclusion:

If you use Instagram but have never, or are unwilling, to actually talk to girls in person…delete the app ASAP because it probably won’t help you. You must UNDERSTAND WHY it can work to use it properly.

And there you have it: delete the app.  Social media exists to connect you with people but if that connection is not made in person it is fake, empty, and a waste of time.  I will refrain from provisioning advice directly related to this platform as I don’t use it.  I had Instagram for 1 month and got rid of it because of how toxic it was.  It provided me no value as a college student and ended up being just Instawhore bikini follows.  I had a moment of clarity, realized I was killing brain cells and purged everything.

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Facebook is toxic with minimal value. Take a hard, objective look at your feed and ask yourself: does this bring me value? Do these friends enrich my life? Are these pages providing me with anything other than a sounding board of opinions or hate? I’m I following any of these pages just to piss myself off and feel important and enlightened by their stupidity?  Facebook use has been directly correlated to depression and anxiety.

I will attest to this myself.  I used to check Facebook 50+ times a day.  I have confirmation bias but 14 times a day seems very low to me based on personal experience and observation. Just like I did with Instagram I had a moment of clarity and have taken steps to purge Facebook from my life.

Step 1 to purging Facebook is to determine what you want from it.  Determine your mental point of origin and state of existence. The may require self-introspection. For me, it is locating local events to go to and dance conference dates across the country. I don’t particularly need it for the political memes, drama, baby pictures, graduation pictures, Marxist idiocy, or vacation updates.  I need it for those random date night ideas to spruce things up.  I need it to find roommates when I travel for dance events.  Both of these things do not require 14 checks per day.  Take a look into yourself and ask what value it brings you.  I can’t answer this questions for anyone but myself.

Step 2 is to define irrelevant friends.  After I looked inward and decided what I actually want from Facebook, I had to remove all things that I didn’t want.  Just as we encourage each other here to cut toxic people from our lives, do that with those “friends” that wouldn’t show up to see you in the hospital.  To me these are people I meet at conferences or conventions or who live a far distance from me across the country or world.  They add no immediate value to my life in day-to-day interactions.  If I got into a car accident they aren’t going to fly in and see me because they barely know me – perhaps we met once.  The exception is 2 who I text on the side, i.e. I interreact with them outside of social media.  We don’t just “like” each other’s pages but discuss business ventures and personal life in detail.  Go to Facebook and determine who is truly important to you and who you are important to. Blood is thicker than water but weird 2nd cousin Steve doesn’t make that list for me.  Be objective. Be ruthless.  Good rule of thumb are those friends who you haven’t spoken to in 6+ months or can’t remember last time you talked.

Step 3: Unfollow or unfriend all toxic, lackadaisical, and “irrelevant” friends.  I had a friend who I met through another.  He was an ardent communist/socialist/mentally ill person and kept posting stupid stuff.  I couldn’t resist and would point out the idiocy. Don’t do this.  It is a waste of time and I lost a person who was fine outside of politics.  Similarly, there are people I met at a bar dancing and we’ve never met up again.  He was a cool guy, but those goat pictures are clogging up my feed.  That single mom who complains all the time about no money? Gone. That fat guy who brags about how tall his truck is? Gone. That one friend always asking you to share their page? Gone.  You don’t have time for this. You are worth more to yourself than to allow berattion of their problems to enter your mental point of origin.

Step 4: Delete the app from your phone.  You will discover an increase in productivity after the initial withdrawal.  Trust me, it is for the better.  When I initially did this, I would reach for my phone out of habitual lulls at work.  Responding to a text? Close and try to check Facebook.  I made the excuse of not doing this for a while after hearing I can no longer auto login into new apps.  Don’t delete a certain cookie and you can.  In addition, the messenger app still works if people need to get into contact with you.  I also recommend turning off notifications. More on this later.

Step 5: (optional) Disable your account.  If you find yourself accessing the computer to check it more than 3x a day, post your hiatus and disable your account for 1 month.  As it currently stands, I log in every 3 to 5 days and the world hasn’t ended.  Mostly this is just clearing notifications and make sure I’m not tagged in anything exciting.  People mysteriously don’t seem to notice your presence missing. I guess we just aren’t as special as we all thought.

If these steps aren’t enough, just realize that Facebook encourages you to be a narcissist per this peer review article.

H1: Individuals with high narcissism scores will be correlated with a greater amount of Facebook activity.

H2: Individuals with high narcissism scores will use more self-promoting content on Facebook.

H3: Males with high narcissism scores will display descriptive self-promotion, while females with high narcissism scores will display superficial self-promotion.

H4: Individuals with low self-esteem will be correlated with a greater amount of Facebook activity.

H5: Individuals with low self-esteem scores will use more self-promoting content on Facebook.

These traits give myself a good understanding of why I dislike women who post a lot of content.  No matter how hot they are, I cannot find myself attracted to them.

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Twitter is better than Facebook if you capitalize correctly.  Keep your following count ruthlessly under 100.  Determine what you are interested and want to learn and follow those people.  When you learn and stop providing value, reassess and decide who to drop and who to pick up.

For example, I’m interested in TRP, crypto, and drop shipping.  As I’ve picked up crypto followings I’ve learned new things.  Now a lot of those accounts provide me little value, a small fraction of these still reveal valuable insight.  As my drop shipping interests have grown, so has that following count to the proportion of the dropped crypto accounts.

I find that I like, personally, aphorisms and quality content. I use the aphorism to keep myself motivated and aligned with my end goals in life.  I leverage the content as intended.  Also, make sure you keep your content manageable – going back to limit who you follow.  If every person on your feed is linking to a 10k word article, you can’t read it all and the actual reading falls by the wayside.  Learn to tailor your feed to represent a manageable volume of content.  My feed is like a good steak.  Lean but juicy in quality, any fat adds flavor to the experience (trolling SoyBois©).

As big as my desire is to follow politics it is to rife with opinions and lacking factual content.  I don’t follow Cernovich because of how wide a net that casts.  I follow Trump for the entertainment but no new outlets or any other personalities.

I’ve been told you can follow porn stars on Twitter.  My only response to this is “why?”  Those thots don’t care about you and you’re jerking off to them? Tag me so I can get some tasty fat in my feed.

The key element to Twitter is to use it to your advantage, otherwise treat it like Facebook and remove it from your reach.

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Texting/Email can be a time sink as well.  I highly recommend for my Android users to download Automateit.  The app lets you set times to mute your phone based on schedule or location and a host of other tricks. The paid version syncs with your calendar to mute anytime you have a meeting marked “busy”.  Not only is t handy for me to make sure my phone never goes off in class or a weekly meeting, it was the first step in reducing the constant ping in my life.

Then there is the obvious stuff. Disable notifications for everything then work backwards.  For some that is work emails, others text messages.  You no longer have Facebook on your phone so you’ll get no banners there.  I don’t receive email notifications. This is a personal choice as nobody dies if an email is missed.  If you are a lawyer, perhaps you should consider this a critical app.

I am on Android and use Nova Launcher and made email a full screen widget.  Nothing prompts me of incoming emails, but with a swipe I pass over my inbox and can easily check if anything important has come in.

Similarly, Snapchat is silent but has a screen notification.  I don’t feel a need to be told of every selfie but I don text off it.  Normal texting is audible plus banner popup.  Slack only pings if I’m mentioned.  Of my 98 apps on my phone, I have 3 that give me any sort of indication that I need to check my phone.  For everything else, it will be addressed when I get to it.  Twitter, Letgo, Meetup, Slack, Messenger, WSJ, Blockfolio, Mint, Groupon, Amazon, OpenTable, all are muted.  They are not important to me and can wait for when I am concerned about their existence.

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TV snuck up on me.  I got a great offer for a big screen (to me) for 100 dollars and couldn’t pass it up.  I have noticed a steady increase in my TV consumption via Netflix and Amazon Prime throughout the period since buying it.  Most drastic step is to get rid of the TV I’ve proven no need for for survival. If I don’t get the June challenge done, that Netflix will get disabled and that will probably happen.

Up until then, my gf watches more TV than I do, having this incredible ability to watch TV and get work done.  I don’t possess that.  The steps I’ve taken have been increasing my reading and gym time; actively taking effort to not sit down and relax. Stagnation is Death. Literally. Unless she is begging me for alone time/cuddles. I no longer watch TV.

To benefit this, I changed my mindset about Netflix.  I took an objective look at the content and asked myself if I learned anything from it.  Resoundingly that answer was no.  Boom. In the effort to optimize my life, if the Netflix show is dumb or not remotely interesting or educational, I lose interest and don’t watch it.

This is a work in progress and I will keep you up do date.  I’ve also considered journaling my usage.

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Good media is controlled media.  I do my best to control what propaganda I consume.  I read the Wall Street Journal every day.  I recommend it as a good middle of the road news publication.  There are liberal articles but they also publish unbiased ones as well.  Keep an eye out and ask yourself if you believe it.

Paul Joseph Watson on YouTube is highly recommended by myself for a hardline conservative personality on global events.  Check him out and decide for yourself.  Again, ask yourself if you believe it.

I don’t follow Info Wars but won’t go into the details on that one.  In the end, my good media is biased to the conservative leaning but I still leave access to read opposing opinions to keep myself sharp.  I believe this keeps me from blindly taking anything I hear from my “god source” as truth as many do on Info Wars or Huffington Post.

 

These are just tricks to use to optimize your everyday life.  The best thing is to make that decision to change and actively resist the desire to slow down. Force yourself to be restless.  In the end it all boils down to a change in your mental point of origin.  If you don’t want to change then you won’t change.  That simple. These tips outlined above won’t help a person who won’t help themselves.  All I can do is show you the door. It is you who must walk through it.

Until Next Time,

Alpha-Priori

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