Thursday, March 28, 2013

Life Update: A Turn of Fortune(?) and Finally, Timing

Much apology to all of you. Despite my craving for writing going up as of late my attention has been scattered here and there.

Oddly, I have to say that I may actually be coming full circle with writing again, though I'm hesitant to muse aloud on it. Years ago I abandoned the idea of becoming a professional writer; now I may be reconsidering it, especially after discovering Don Watkins' blog Good Copy Coaching. But more on that below.

Anyhow, my situation remains rough financially, but things may actually be turning around for once, and hopefully for the long-term this time. After a bit of lagging that one restaurant finally hired me back, starting tomorrow, which will finally get me back at the status of two jobs. After that, I should be financially stable in a short matter of time, though it unnerves me to bother punching figures into a calculator, especially with unpredictable elements at play (which won't be mentioned here).

However, I have to say that I still remained baffled as to how I can possibly move out of my apartment without being homeless temporarily. The office persons are being kind enough to try and get me out of here early so that the skyrocketed rent won't punish me further, but even if that occurs I may not have sufficient funds to move into my current, ideal prospect. Hopefully I can work something out with that prospect in that event; I daren't ask for any more money at this point. I maintained my level of shame for being on the receiving end of charity and grow more pained the nicer people have been to me; all I want to do is quell my anxiety and get back into repayment mode already.

Beyond that, I've really been contemplating my own personal recipe for optimal performance. It surprises me to think that, even though I'm with myself all the time, it takes a tremendously long time to understand oneself. It's still unfolding to me layer by layer as to how I tick and operate, and wish I had this knowledge at a younger age for all that I've had to suffer to obtain it. Hopefully . . . just within short weeks . . . I can start enjoying things like The State of Complete Vigor and easy strenuous living.

Step by step, my current goals are to get into an apartment, pay off all my late debts, and get a laptop, at long last. (I work far better in environments outside the home.) Then ahhhhhh. Finally the cloud of doom dissipates!

Beyond that, my lofty goal is to begin making headway towards self-employment, again. As I continue to turn the prospect over in my head it ceases to lose its appeal; while I love the restaurant industry, I think I'd love more being location independent, being able to roam different climes while making a living by some technological means . . . such as writing. I don't know what spark brought writing back into my mind all of the sudden, but it is coming back.

Though, part of my desire, admittedly, is frustration. All these years of work in the restaurant industry and I still reside as a dishwasher? Really? The continuing injustice has eroded my patience to keep going in this direction when the feedback is so continuously negative.


I've got to keep my attitude straight and wash dishes (like a man, as they say).

It still haunts my mind on occasion that I lost that hotel job back in December of last year (which is why things have been so financially turbulent these past months). I still consider it the best job I've ever had with the best people I ever worked with, and its on my conscious to be at fault for wrecking my own opportunity like that. Out of grief and continuing desire I tried calling the chef to see if he'd be willing to let me in, but he dismissed the contact, so the consequences remain permanent.

At the same time I'm partially thankful for the suffering in that I've had to go forth and examine fiercely what went wrong within myself, so much so that know I think I may have a hang of any maladies and am creeping closer to optimal performance, as mentioned above.

But could it still be too often of men to have to learn their lessons through their worst suffering? I kick myself for having to be the kid to touch the hot stove to know better. Moving on, regardless.

Self-employment appeals to me not only because of its potential for location independence, but also for unleashing the lion's share of my hours from institutions, to be reinvested in endless and ruthless self-improvement, and to increase my chances of lasting success by freeing me from bosses who would stand between me and the customer. All that freedom . . . and all that dependence on your own potential, reality fully the arbitrer or rewards and not bosses above.

It'll take some time to get going, as I'll certainly have to work on the ventures while employed at restaurants, but 'tis all doable.

I'm frightened to give an estimate, but perhaps by mid-April all these unwelcome troubles will be over, and finally I'll be able to more fully dedicate myself here. Some ideas are brewing already, frustratingly unattended to.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Capitivating Loose Ends

Unfinished Granny Square by Durova of Wikipedia CommonsAs I mentioned in my last post, my new year's resolutions aren't actually that important; rather, answering some questions about certain nearly life-long maladies are, for they are problems that have haunted nearly every single endeavor I tried succeeding in. Answer the question effectively and apply the antidote, and I could set myself up for a far more smoother life, not held to the power of internal obstacles.

The next question: How does one best deal with loose ends?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Sensory Balance Equals Mental Balance?

Believe it or not my new year's resolutions actually aren't that important. Sure, they're all about improving my life for the rest of my life, but they're still more or less specific goals to be focalized on for a particular year, hopefully setting up lifelong habits, changes, or at least good memories, and then the next year a new set is established.

Art by Ripnel Patricia
The most important thing for me to tackle this year is a set of questions I've asked that my new year's resolutions revolve around in some way. After the general let-down of my 2012 resolutions I asked myself what went so wrong, and I've noticed that there were some fundamental perplexities that have actually followed me around most of my entire life, inherently hindering or making more difficult one goal after the next, so my main goal this year is to answer these questions in the best possible manner, for, if solved correctly, I think they'll solve the fundamental obstacles that has made each new year's resolution more difficult to solve than it should be, and, really, any goal I set for myself.

We'll be tackling these questions one-by-one throughout the year at intervals, and for now I think I may have an answer to one, about mental balance. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Plans: Not a Dictate of Your Life

Yes, indeed, the turbulent situation continues. Still haven't got anything down-pat, and still uncertain as to whether I'll be able to resolve it without temporary homelessness. My mood has been dancing a lot from a gloomy tiredness to peppy can-do. I'll let you know when it's over and we get back on schedule.

However, let's take a break from that and examine a little thing about life.

My thinking about careers might actually be shifting dramatically, though I withdraw from committing myself to anything firm. The lack of progress and education I've received in restaurants so far is now making me lose more and more interest in it . . . in favor of something else.

Quick advice for your life: Never cling to your plans just for the sake of your plans. Sometimes we can spend a lot of time with a certain conception of what we want or should do, to our own detriment.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Yet Another Life Update: Mixed News

I'm sorry I've deviated so far from the general theme of this blog and have faltered in keeping my posting consistent, but at this point, at least until April, life has been one big emergency, so it's consuming much of my time to fight these fires and get stabilized. Hopefully by April I've finally be coming out ahead financially; normal posting will resume once life isn't a big emergency.

Anyhow, mixed new regarding my apartment. The situation got a little bit better, but stress is still in full effect.

The office lady in charge of my rent is being gracious enough to postpone my rent until the 26th, and at that I have to pay only the rental portion and not the late fees. That makes things significantly easier.

However, I'm worried about being able to raise funds, for my paycheck and plasma donations can get me about halfway there, and I'll probably have to do fundraising to make it the rest of the way, unless I luck out and do a special research event at the group I signed up with. Additionally, I could tackle oDesk for some fixed price jobs. Plus, I realized I still have credit over in Michigan, so I asked for them to send me a new copy of my credit card, though it has an insufficient limit and is unknown whether it will arrive on time.

I feel like a louse asking for money, but I'll probably have to again. Once I get over this hump I'm going on a mad debt-paying spree, and will probably be adverse to it from here on out.

As a bit of a damper on my plans the restaurant that's hiring me back won't start me until the week after the next, which really tosses up my prediction as to what my income was going to be. Additionally, I think my current job is skimping on overtime, so my pay there turned out to be dramatically lower.

If I can time it right, it would do me well to try and lease the apartment I'm in early so that I can move out before my 60-day period is up, which would allow me to get my massive $750 deposit back and not be responsible for further monthly rent. (I gave the massive deposit since I was so desperate to get away from my drunken landlord, and god awful roommates in general.)

Once this hump is over with I should be in the far cheaper rental, coming out ahead, paying off my lenders, and tackling debt.

Again, I hate to ask, but any loans would be appreciated. I'll contact again as to the needs of the situation, but at the very least I'd appreciate some financial advice and whatnot.

Once this is over with I'm striving never to be in this situation again. What horrendous stress.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pay Deep Attention to Deep Values for Deep Passion

A short and quick tip: As an aid to finding your passion in life, allow great intrigue and pay deep attention to those moments when you experience deep emotions, for they offer the greatest evidence of the kind of life you want to live.

Such a moment occurred to me the other day when I stumbled upon this fantastic photo essay on i-Mockery about a couple's trip to New Zealand. It was so mesmerizing that I could not pull myself away for a half-hour, continuing to click page after page, accidentally getting absorbed while I knew I had other assignments to complete. It has stayed stuck in my head these past few days too, my attention regularly going back to review the memory of those beautiful photographs. (Oh that mountain hike!) It makes me feel soothed and daydreamy to contemplate it.

This may be a significant piece of evidence as to what kind of direction I want my life to go in, or at least one kind of activities I'd like to include into it to achieve the greatest happiness possible. Road trips have always sounded boring to me throughout my entire life . . . but now seeing this, I am immensely intrigued. Now I actually want to take a road trip, likely to New Zealand too.  (Copycat, I know.)

Though, this could also give me evidence as to what kind of career I'd like to have, but I don't know how it factors in. I already know that beautiful nature is a huge value of mine; I have spent countless hours meandering in deep contemplation among open fields, flowers, wood, tall grasses, open barrenness. I love nature parked and want to visit my local flower garden. I'd like to have a home in at least two separate climates to allow me to enjoy the beauty different climates have to offer: One in Colorado for the full spectrum plus winter, and perhaps one in the tropics for water. In other words, this is a deep enough value that I want to go out of my way to include it as a large part of my life, and into my daily routine if possible.

Career-wise, while I still don't know what I want to do in the supreme long-term, this could mean many things. Perhaps I'd like to be an author ticking away in his isolated piece of the country on the computer, writing his books and thinking amongst the trees, and with enough self-sufficiency skills -- such as a culinary talent for charcuterie -- the prospect of getting snowed in actually sounds nice rather than a torment. Or perhaps I'd like to own a restaurant that has a cuisine emphasizing "wild man" foods, the meat, game, and fish to be hunted for, and vegetable matter to be foraged, set upon land with the most beautiful grounds to be found for miles around, including full-time horticulturists.

In short, I don't know what kind of role I want environmental beauty to play as a dominant player in my life, but this is the direction I should investigate in order to gain the most fulfilling career possible, as this value generates some of the deepest and most absorbing emotions within me, making it a very high priority to me. I don't want a nature park to be something I visit on special occasion; I want it to be a pillar in my life.

The advice to all: Pay attention to that which makes you feel the strongest positive emotions. Those things, when an eye is kept on them, will reveal your key to happiness. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Life Update: Upturns and Timing Scares

How about another life update to let you know the author isn't dead in a ditch, eh?

Well, things are extremely mixed for me right now. It's mainly a matter of timing.

The good news is that the restaurant I've gotten fired from affirmed that they're willing to take me back on as a dishwasher, and would like me to call them back on Friday for the next schedule. That's not only good financially, but also for my resume' to negate the fact I was fired before. On top of that, I'm also getting more hours at my other ongoing job (though it's been underpaying, thus not sustaining me), and I've started freelancing on a platform called oDesk.

Yet furthermore, I'm doing some self-employment work with a partner and scoping out other opportunities. The plasma donations are still ongoing -- I rather like losing my needle phobia -- and now I've signed up for a kind of marketing group, which I have yet to hear from.

Though, in the short-term one thing I'd at least like to try is calling back some of my own chefs to see if I can get back into my old hotel job. It was the best place I ever worked at hands down and I miss it terribly. The odds are unlikely they're able to, but I'll try; I'm taking the same advice I gave a friend about his longing upon leaving a good job, and it took me a few days to realize it applied to me as well.

The difficult, though not quite bad-ish, news is that I'm still at risk for eviction, though the office ladies are being compassionate and really patient with me. They've given me lots of extensions, and I am quite ashamed for having had to take it. I'll have to work like a madman to make sure they get the money on time or it's curtains . . . though, I'm not sure. That's the only true bad aspect: The uncertainty.  I've also given them my 60-days departure notice.

If all goes well I should at least meet my necessary expenses this cycle, break even the next, and be on my way up the next, starting to get some savings going again and whatnot . . . I hope. These weeks will tell.

It's not the intellect-oriented lifestyle I'd like to lead ultimately, but hey, I've got to do what I got to do, which also means this blog will still remain inconsistently updated, for a time. Keeping the Vegeta Mistake on my mind so much lately has really done well for both my stress-levels and condition; on the social level, it's really the primary cause of this situation to begin with. My attitude has been straight since them, and it makes me feel sad to see people caught up in the same thinking trap.

At the very least, these kind of trials are really making me think about the kind of life I'd like to lead in the long-run. You know, my life's purpose and all. Being this close to my own bankruptcy has really made me appreciate the necessities for getting ahead in the world, and I understand now I've got to be a puritan in protecting those conditions lest I go back down. When you feel better it's easy to feel okay about indulging in some vices, such as unhealthy food, in the disbelief of how much harm they can do you (such as unhealthy food spurring unhealthy emotions), but you've really got to follow your mind on this one.

Well, I'm pushing through at least. I haven't had the ability to read the book yet, but I keep chanting to myself to be the undefeated mind.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Vegeta Mistake Variant: "Striking"

Ah, once again I've come upon another facet of The Vegeta Mistake, and quite an interesting one too, one that leads to deep behavioral mistakes particularly in career.

Since my last entry upon this, I've been thinking about that associate of mine and other people like him, and noticed a odd thread between their behaviors and frustrations, including a connection to my own life. One thing I've realized from that associate and others is that some or many of their complaints revolve around the past high points of their life, such as being in more prestigious and higher-paying positions, and what a lower point they've reached, and all the difficulties they have to face.

What I've noticed is that aside from the way they engage in their negative-oriented conversation, they also consciously lower the bar for what value they offer to other people, as some sort of protest, like striking a against an employer, in order to pressure people into giving them what they believe is withheld justice.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Just Another Heroic Genius

The Objective Standard blog has notified me of an interesting boy who came up with an astonishing discovery: A nearly error-proof way to detect multiple kinds of cancers, and, not only that, a method that smashes down the cost of the test to nearly a few cents.

In constructing a healthy view of humanity, it's people like these to look for.

Don't forget to help me find stories like these.

Time-Traveling with Regrets

The other day while driving to work I thought about the current circumstance of my life, and briefly lolled on the wish of some sort of ability for my present self to be able to send information to my past self, as a way of warning myself against past mistakes through detail of the consequences they have wrought, and to advise a different course, usually the one I'm currently on so that I can hurry up and get the value from it.

For instance, during the days of my hotel job I thought to myself just how I wish I was able to at that time send information through time so that I could spur myself to apply to this place immediately, so that I wouldn't waste my time applying elsewhere or focusing on anything else . . . just this one place that's going to be a value to you. If such a possibility were real I thought it'd be able to get me that value much sooner, advancing my life quicker (rather than chasing dead ends or going where opportunity isn't).

Then, in thinking about my unfortunate job loss, I change my mind into then wanting to send information back to warn myself against my mistakes, or else again encourage me to seek another opportunity sooner so as to avoid wasted time in the past situation.

During that drive to work I also realized what an unhelpful technique that is, too. Aside from the obvious impossibility of time traveling (since it would lead to metaphysical contradictions such as the Grandfather Paradox), it takes an impractical and impossible perspective on life.

Of course, there's the Butterfly Effect to consider. Perhaps if I had asked myself to act earlier on some opportunities, the opportunities wouldn't have been there to exploit. I may have only gotten the values I did because I approached them at the right time.

Secondly, it makes one undermine the value of learning from the present and for the future because of dwelling on impossible constructions of the imagination. I lose emotional emphasis on the here and now given that I'm daydreaming of improving my life an impossible way, by relaying info by some means to my past self (who, in reality, would likely disregard the information given his sense of judgment in his period).

To be a fully effective human-being I realize that both in action and daydream I need to keep myself nailed to the present, so that my thinking is upon actions actually available to me, courses possible, opportunities existing, and potential values for the future. For all I know this could be the darkness before dawn, and all the learning I've done from my mistakes could give me the greatest opportunity yet. I'm not going to see those incoming opportunities if I'm thinking about the ones that don't exist anymore, that aren't real.

Don't go time-traveling with your regrets, trying to revise your past in your daydreams to see if it'll make you feel better. The only way we travel through time is forward, and so must our thinking.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Vegeta Mistake: People *Still* Don't Care

Ah, sometimes I feel like I need my own personal lexicon to help other people (and myself) keep track of all the vocabulary I create. It'd be something to pass down to my children and grandchildren at least.

Anyhow, if you remember, a while ago I detailed something I call The Vegeta Mistake, a very self-destructive behavioral mode wherein not only will someone act on emotional temptation, but also do so with the implicit belief that it'll get them what they want, such as yelling out of rage to gain more control over people. It leads to a life more out of control since people do not you experience your emotions as you do inside your own head.

Anyhow, it's been striking me again lately just how severely impractical it is to commit this error. Recently I've gained an associate in my life, who I do consider a friend, who commits The Vegeta Mistake on a regular and almost daily basis. Despite my value of him as a friend, I cannot believe just . . . how little I care about the negatives he complains about.

Friday, March 8, 2013

*Background Concentration* and *Focalized Concentration*

Crap! Doesn't it bother you when you try to detail something as exhaustively as you can in one go, and then have some additional thoughts that you wish you had the first time around?

I know I'm making rather the repetitious rounds with this whole concentration thing as of late, but I've realized something important: There's two kinds of concentration. Knowing how to distinguish them makes an important difference in how you can implement them into your life. They are background concentration and focalized concentration.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Your Ultimate Self, Just Around the Corner

One thing that shocks me about making personal progress is that oftentimes it's possible to make an astonishing amount of progress in just a scant few weeks, less than a week, or even less than a few days. (Or hey, even in a few hours.) Granted, it takes months and years for changes to truly solidify into your core habits, to integrate into your being, but nonetheless it's amazing what kind of blazing pace is possible.

Good concentration, for instance, is possible to nurture in three days or less in its fundamental form. I've been mentioning these past few weeks just how obsessed with concentration I am, noting its important effect on mental health, and for the immense value it bestows upon you a very decent start can be had within a few hours. When I started at my autodidact studies it was a struggle to concentrate for even twenty minutes, and even that small effort exhausted me and gave me a headache. The next day I was able to go for over thirty minutes, and then the next day perhaps an hour, and then still some more after that. All the years I've spent besieged by uncontrollable daydreaming seem so odd when it can be controlled so quickly!

For years I seemed incapable of stopping daydreams . . . and took a big bite out of that habit with just twenty minutes of effort on my first day . . .

The point I'm getting at is that no matter how huge the struggle is at the beginning, starter progress can often be very rapid and onset quickly, and, really, the hardest part of any endeavor is just the first few steps.

That, in a way, makes the people I've known to waste their lives much sadder in this light. It's sad to know that of the particular problems that haunted them for decades, destroying them bit by bit until their last breath of life, could have been meaningfully addressed beginning with just an hour or less the first day, but they were so weak to even try they simply let their problems take them over.

Concentration is such a thing, which can either move your life massively forward or massively backward. To the negative, poor concentration can contribute to poor listening (damaging/destroying relationships), a faulty memory (negating one's power to meaningfully grow), damage the ability to learn (keeping one static in ability), and more. Concentration isn't the explain-all factor in success or failure in these areas, but it can have such a huge multifaceted effect.

And doesn't it seem preposterous for someone to let something so silly as poor concentration to go unaddressed for five, seven, or eight decades and let it do its incredible damage, when twenty minutes of meditation really could have given them a preventative boost?

Of course, this doesn't account for how difficult it can be to sustain particular practices over the long-term, especially if they're strenuous, but that still doesn't change the fact of how much beginner's progress you can make nearly instantaneously, or how much easier things get once it turns into an actual habit.

Whenever you're bouncing some self-improvement venture or another around in your head, don't let the consequences of not doing it accumulate when just a few minutes could change the direction of your life. Just a few minutes, and you could be miles close to your ideal self.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Do Not Forget!

That I have a tip jar! This blog is made free for everyone, for all time. I really enjoy the writing and hope it's beneficial for both of us.

However, my time dedications are shifted according to what's most profitable, especially at this period in my life. The less value I can gain from this, then, unfortunately, the less time I can afford working for you, and the output here must decrease out of financial necessity.

So if I have contributed some value into your life, might you consider sending some back?

To take some concrete considerations, consider my article on strenuous living. That is a very valuable resource on how to find your purpose in life, which is something many people can't figure out their whole life.

Or how about The Vegeta Mistake? People can slip in being self-aware of what their emotions are doing to them, and in effect act on temptations in ways that keeps them from getting the external effects they want, as they simply cannot see how their temptations are sabotaging them.

How about my explanation of how concentration factors in every facet in our life? It's something supremely valuable that can be a little too easy to take for granted.

Most, if not all, of my writings are based on my experiences with life. I sit not in an armchair; I run up into the winds of life to see how these play out in reality, coming back to talk of how the effects have materialized in my life, hopefully to contribute to yours. Learn from my mistakes so you don't have to make them; learn from my successes so you can have them too.

All in all, I just ask for you to do what's in your best self-interest and contributes most to your happiness. I'll be able to spend more time writing here if it's more profitable and offer you more unique perspectives and analysis if so, but only if so.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

My Best Reading Recommendations for Mental Health

Confessedly, this is long overdue. Back in 2011 I resolved to make 2012 the Year of Self-Mastery, as in my neglectful upbringing I had accumulated a lot of mental health problems, as I dealt with a very self-destructive family. Unfortunately, it ended up being a tougher year than I imagined, even marked by the loss of the best job I ever had, and I ended up not doing a big writeup of what I've learned in the pursuit of mental health as I didn't feel qualified.

However! Not all is lost, for I think that while I put the finishing touches on my character I can at least direct you to the most important books and authors I have purveyed in my journey, and I think that, at least, should be sufficient for you to get started on your own journey for self-healing, self-mastery, and eventually self-perfection.

Yes yes, psychology is a gigantic field for which it may be centuries yet before we reach ultimate knowledge, and that even with the extravagant amount we already know it can take a person years to understand and resolve his own difficulties. It shocks me just how much I learn about myself as I get older; it took me years, for instance, to learn that concentration was so darn important to my well-being, and here I went years allowing the lack of it cause harm.

It may seem awkward for me to come out and talk about my mental health difficulties, but it's something I've spoken about at length for years in the past, so the can of worms has already been opened long ago. Besides, there's no shame in talking about something that most of us, in fact, have, no? Anxiety, worries, fears . . . it's all in us.

Note that in my list I'm not including just resources that are focused on mental health; in fact, most of them aren't. By "for mental health" I'm talking about the most important resources that have benefited my well-being regardless of what its explicit purpose is.

I encourage you to tackle the list as it addresses your personal life, and hope you get the same impact out of them as they've had on me, which has been deep and immense. It's an important consideration, as the number-one obstacles in any pursuit in reaching your highest are the ones in your head.

Regardless of however tough the world may be and may be getting, it's ourselves that stand in our way most of the time, our beliefs and mistaken approaches to life. With the knowledge these books contain, it doesn't have to be that way, ever.

* * * * *
The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand

This is one book I've oft talked about, which I credit for my even being alive right now.