Monday, May 26, 2014

Eric Hoffer's Patience in Mundane Labor (and How to Cultivate It)

I'm at a particular point in my life where I'm trying to regain my career direction after recovering from my prior stagnation, and man am I chomping at the bit to either make some progress or move onto something else. Staying for so long in one thing, dish washing, puts friction on my nerves sometimes. It's so monotonous and frustrating that it's amazing that I've tolerated it for this long, and it particularly frustrates me to not make headway, so I've either got to push extra-hard or find something else.

Though, at the same time I've got to heed the wisdom Eric Hoffer bestowed in his own life of physical labor, for he has some mental fortitude techniques that are perfect for anyone in a physically strenuous job, especially ones that drag on the mind with their repeated motions. (This is especially for you guys that are discontent in those tough jobs.)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Keeping Self-improvement Permanent Through Lifestyle Change

In contemplating all the changes I could make to my mind via autodidact ventures, the one thing that has worried me for years is the prospect of working so hard to develop a skill and to either need to dedicate large periods of practice time each day to keep it fresh, or of accidentally neglecting the skill so as to let it decay, essentially wasting my original effort in having built it up in the first place.

This worry came to my mind some years ago when I was in the habit of training myself to do mathematical calculations online for about a half-hour a day, in an effort to develop a mental calculator. Although I have no intentions of being a mathematician, I consider math a tremendously weak intellectual area of mine which is nonetheless very probably useful, especially in use in culinary math, and I'd be best off developing some mental math skills so that I never forget how to do the functions and would be able to calculate faster than my fingers tapping a calculator.

However, those drills didn't really make me better at, say, walking around the grocery store with precise spending calculations (due to differing context: Standing static at the computer vs. walking around in a different sensory environment), and I fretted about the worth of my cutting out 20-30 minutes each and every day to practice this skill for prospectively the rest of my life when those minutes could perhaps go better elsewhere.

Years later I think I have found the solution: Simply "fuse" the skill you're trying to develop into your very lifestyle, so that the daily motions of living automatically keep the skill practiced and thus totally immune to decline.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Right Saying at the Right Time: Pin Pricks to Change

Quotes and aphorisms: We all love them, but sometimes it can be hard to harness their practical power if we can't remember their insights at the right time.

However, have you ever tried just keeping a scant few at hand to recite at odd times of the day, to shift your perspective in the right direction? For me, saying two things has really given me perspective on my behavior, and is useful to repeat throughout a day and at night before bed.