Monday, September 30, 2013

Perspective-Keeping with a Daily Tally

Steve Jobs opens the floor:

“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

Mulling that over, I developed a perspective-keeping technique I’ve grown attached to which I call the “Daily Tally,” which I try to do every single day as my own way to look in the mirror.

One thing this quote made me realize is that oftentimes a lot of consistencies in my life will go unnoticed or unappreciated. I might be making significant progress on a goal, for instance, and not notice the individual increments of success since I don’t pay attention. Or, I might be treating people too sourly than I should allow of a personality, and I lose track since I get too focused on the trees in neglect of the forest.

To keep my eyes open, in my notebook where I track my goals I have written some questions I’m supposed to examine every day and internally and explicitly answer to keep track of what’s going on in my life. Where I’m moving forward. Where I’m moving backwards. Where I need to tweak.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

*The Addams Family*: Full of Healthy Philosophy?

One reason why I prefer being an adult over a kid is that with a stronger intellect I can deepen my appreciation and enjoyment of certain things through thinking. No such height of pleasure in kid cognition!

I recently had such an experience when I watched an analysis video by a person named Nostaglia Chick about The Addams Family. Despite the fact I grew up with, at least, the animated version, many of her insights make me look back upon it starry eyed, now.

In short, TAF may be unintentionally a work of art relaying a very healthy view of how to live your life.

Just make your own choices and indulge in the things you honestly take pleasure in, and don't fret about other people's judgments. TAF is completely eccentric in their lifestyle habits, to the point of being a unique phenomenon in their whole state (probably), but they're composed of very contented individuals that simply engage in their own interests, whether it be exploding toy trains or illuminating light bulbs orally, and it doesn't register with them emotionally to see other people's disgust or disapproval. They're not eccentric on purpose to garner such attention; they're eccentric because they don't let popular opinions determine their choices in life.

I find myself further heartened by Mortician and Gomez's marriage. In contrast to, say, The Honeymooners of the time, they're in love in incredible depth and find endless occasions to express it, and both are equal partners in raising their children.

What a good way of looking at life. The theme is stuck in my head now.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The "Tell Me Everything You Know" Technique

There is much in my mind to say about Great Men Autodidactism, but let us kick off with a strategy I've been thinking about a lot lately: The "Tell Me Everything You Know" technique.

I've learned of it from educator and education theorist Lisa VanDamme, who describes it as being utilized in her own school. Simply, it involves that, upon a given subject, you relay everything you know about it. Literally everything, regardless how annal is it.

The point is the develop memory recall and integration by combing the mind for more and more details, which would otherwise fade off in approximate form or be forgotten, not be integrated into one's knowledge, and so forth. Think of all the times we may have forgotten what we've eaten for breakfast. We've forgotten because we don't call that event to attention; it becomes an unmemorable occasion, and falls out of mind even though we may have spent a half-hour eating it.

But take a period of the day to recall such events as this, and suddenly you've mentally exercised yourself into having an infallible memory for the whole week's breakfasts, and more!

This method really excites me for both its practicality and potential time-savings. One significant factor in considering optimal autodidactism is the time dedicated to the methods: Remember, our aim is to find ways to learn best while living productive lives; not staying between shelves in libraries.

I'll have to do a ton of experimentation and thinking upon this method, however, for while it has great practical implications there's still many things to be tweaked out, such as the communication method used, the length of time allotted for it, and so forth.

For instance, one of the wrinkles to be ironed out is when to stop. If you were to, say, utilize this method in a written journal at the end of a college reading assignment, you may find that you go on and on and on and on . . . there's practically no limit to what kind of knowledge you can summon up.

And communication is important too. Internally verbalize it, or speak it out loud? Stick to writing? It's an important consideration, for I've found there can be odd glitches at time in switching between methods. For example, I've noticed sometimes that I can visualize in my head myself having great and witty conversations, but in actually utilizing my mouth in real-life I find I can't speak up to the caliber as I can in my head. There's a difference, and it may be best to find a balance between all three methods.

While i'm going to be making huge changes to this method in the coming weeks, for now, here's what I've got:

At the end of every day, I pull out a journal dedicated to this purpose and write out individual entries for to the day's worthwhile learning, memorable thoughts, worthy experiences, and so forth.

First, I comb my memory to chronologically go through the motions of the day to better enable recall, and put in squares a few words related to particular learning or thoughts. Afterward I either expand on them all or just star specific ones worth writing, letting the other ones go for time efficiency.

Then I put a hyphen to mark a new section, write out the subject (a book title, category such as "science," etc.), the time of day (for context establishing), and then write out as concisely as possible what I learned. Same for the following entries.

There are some changes I'm preparing to employ, however. For one, I may begin doing a spoken version in the morning and a written version at night to increase the degree of neurological and mental stimulation I get. Secondly, in the cover of the journal I'll jot down some words marking categories, such as math, science, the culinary arts, and so forth, that I could turn to and stare at to jog my memory, in case looking at something like the words "culinary arts" and "charcuterie" might help me remember some thinking I did about curing chorizo past noon while walking in front of a butcher counter.

Additionally, perhaps I could vary up the extent of the method. Before I set down a book for the day I could perform an exercise on the chapters read, and then review it again when it comes to performing the method on the entire day. Lots of experimentation is needed.

As of far, I need WAY more practice in this method, but the few nights I've done them have felt . . . interesting. It's a unique sensation to attempt to recall the major intellectual points of your entire day, especially when it comes to potentially important thoughts you've have and didn't document.

I think it's feasible since there is scientific proof that the mind and brain can be worked and strengthened like muscles. The more you attempt to recall and integrate memories and learning, the more the brain and mind grow and adapt to accommodate the purpose and make you better at it.

Such is one step towards better learning (and living).

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Autodidactism of Great (AND Productive) Men?

This post shall mark hopefully the first of a long ongoing process to figuring out the absolutely best way to teach yourself, to be an autodidact.

Now, autodidactism is a word I certainly use an awful lot. I'm rather infatuated with it since it denotes to me the mark of the best-minded person one could be, one who chooses to seek out and engage in learning on one's own terms, and to be dedicated to that process all of life, to contrast with the sordid popularity of going to school, getting a degree, and simply stopping any directed learning after that . . . for the rest of life. Any stupid person I met was always voluntarily like that, preferring the Ooze over the work of obtaining The State of Complete Vigor.

I like to consider myself an autodidact since my formal schooling failed me grandly. Because I have an accent caused by my hearing-impairment, the majority of my schoolteachers and classmates thought me to be mentally disabled or actually retarded, so most of my schooling was spent in special-ed classes either wiling the day away or else doing work several grade levels beneath my capacity. I dropped out of college after being horrified with the lack of an intellectual atmosphere, such as the professor who gave open-book final exams or to see my "peers" be intellectually idle. Since then, I've been trying to establish the right habits for lifelong self-initiated learning.

Yet, despite my years of bouncing the concept around, I was rather surprised to comprehend a few weeks ago that my view may be fundamentally flawed.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

How to Reincarnate This Blog?

It must be disobeying a deep part of my nature to not to write, for the slightest departure from it haunts me like a bad deed, and if I be a bad blogger, I resort to being a good FB note writer, or handwritten journal introspector. Are those of us who like to write possessed by the near-painful urge to maintain the practice?

Well, I ought to write more to invest in what could be some meaningful skills in the long-term, and let us see if we can brainstorm a way to resurrect this blog. After some thinking, I think I've come up with a way to change direction only slightly and come back home here as the pad of paper to resort to.

Aside from the turbulence the originally occurred in my life, now subsided, I've lost the will to maintain this blog's original intention, which was to be a near-professional and profitable venture on focused self-improvement writing. It's my favorite writing category and easy enough to set habits around, but alas, profitable it did not become, and the turbulence that occurred really kept me from this for a long time and demolished the habits I had set around it. There's no longer any interest in me to be professional at this. Yet, there's still plenty of interest in me to relish in writing here somehow, so a reincarnation in some form might be better.

How about this: Why don't we fall back on a classic personal blog theme, meaning I talk concretely of my life's practices and general thoughts, and we fit that in with the overall self-improvement theme originally set for the blog? In other words, why don't I just spend more time talking about how I myself engage in self-improvement and my general thoughts to living a better life?

I think one of the biggest difficulties of my original conception is that I tried making most of my other articles "timeless" pieces that could be referenced for years come without showing noticeable age, such as very time-sensitive references to my life and whatnot. To be "professional," I wanted everything to abstractly laid out in principles as much as possible as scientifically as possible as if each individual article could be put verbatim in a book without awkward personal references or build-ons to older blog posts.

It makes sense, for the majority of my self-improvement techniques are continually at work in being perfected, and almost never can I write such an independent article that guarantees I won't make a significant change to the technique's methodology. Plus, it's a little strange to try and divorce the technique from concretes of my own life since I am not a scientist or guru on self-improvement, but rather a guy who practices these very techniques, spawning the thinking to begin with. It's not like I scope the literature of other people's practices and commentate on them; it's nearly all first-hand experience.

To become personalized and dispose of any thought towards profit making and "book-ready" article ought to ease up the restrictions enough to allow ease of consistent attention towards this outlet, rather than as a project upon which I must set up formal assignments and advertising procedures.

Though, I want to prevent breaking your heart in advance by promising no timelines or consistent posting. Perhaps ten times a week at all shades of daylight one week, a two-week break, and three posts at noon on the spot the following week. I may enjoy writing and wish to dedicate myself more to it, but there's still a real-life to tend to, as well as a career and hopefully entrepreneurial ventures. This shall be more a mode for me to sharpen my skills and brainstorm aloud with an audience.

I shall try in that vein, and let us see if we can fill the imaginary stadium seats for an audience again, and either come alive in your RSS feeds again or else return as subscriptions.

Let us try again!