Reflection & Changes

I have been working really hard since the beginning of September. And I realized abruptly that I had fallen off in some my daily habits. Being sick for 10 days hadn’t helped. I stopped a number of my hard won good habits. I just thought it would be good to do a general article this week. Try to look at some of the good things I’ve read about and discovered and what I’m doing to get back on track.

I had an epiphany the other day. It was one of those out of body experiences where all the sudden I heard what I sounded like when I was swearing. This was about three weeks ago. At the time that I was in the military swearing was quite common. I picked it up as a habit, and I’ve sworn for decades. Not every conversation or every 3rd word but there is no doubt that when I have rage, frustration, or I’m trying to emphasize how strongly I feel about something, I have a tendency to fall back on expletives. But I realized just how ugly it sounded. So, I’ve been trying very hard to reduce the amount of swearing that I do. In fact, trying to cut it out completely. It’s been difficult, but I think I’m succeeding. Unfortunately, when faced with politicians or corruption, I still find it hard. One small hack that I am working on to help me is trying to increase my vocabulary to describe what I’m feeling. If I can improve my word bank, I won’t have to resort to obscenity to express myself.

I recently found two websites. www.artofmanliness.com & www.bakadesuyo.com .

The AOM site I discovered through their podcast. Just lots of good information, well presented. Don’t be put off by the name 😊. The site is well laid out, and the podcast is one I listen to regularly.

The other just seems to resonate with me personally, and I really like the guy’s writing style. I strongly recommend it to anybody who wants to click on the link.

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My traveling days will start again soon, I am heading to Hong Kong for a couple of days in another week or so, then Thailand around mid-December, and back to Argentina at the beginning of January for several months.

I’m attempting to climb back on the Spanish horse. Trying a methodology called ‘The Mimic Method’. A lot of emphasis on hearing and mimicking pronunciation. Been difficult. Makes my mouth muscles hurt. I really got distracted by everyday business obligations here in Asia. Ah well. My fault. Have to fight back to where I was and improve.

My interest and research in resilience and stoicism is paying off. Thinking about it because I’ve researched it has really helped me. It has made me more aware of where I need to improve in day-to-day life.

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I’m reading three books currently, “One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way” by Robert Maurer, “What Doesn’t Kill Us” by Scott Carney, “Code of Trust” by Robin Dreeke. I will do a short book review for those when I finish them this week.

I slacked off on my meditation as well and I’m trying to get back to that. I don’t use Headspace anymore. They had this thing where they automatically told you how many continuous days you had been meditating. And if you missed it even by a day it would go back to zero. That was stressful for me. And if you wanted to try to reset your days (get your total days back) you had to go through an email process where, believe it or not, they would interrogate you as to why you missed it before they would do so. I decided that the stress brought on by them doing that to me was counterproductive when it came to meditation. I use an app now called Insight Timer which is free and works very well. I think Headspace was a very good app to get started but once you understand the essence of meditation (the hardest simple thing you will ever do) I think the insight timer works just fine.

  • Sit upright in a natural and relaxed posture
  • Take deep breaths and follow the breathing process in your mind
  • As your mind starts going off into its own various hamster wheels, as soon as you’re aware of it bring it back to following the breath.

Sounds simple, but it takes a lot of work. But as I’ve said before, there’s no doubt that meditating has had benefits for me. I’m a calmer person, I find it easier to concentrate, and most interesting for me, when I don’t do it – I notice the difference.

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I’ve been trying NOOTROPICS. Nootropics are a class of supplement bruited about as being able to enhance your mental processes. [Examples are NALT, AlphaGPC, Noopept, Aniracetam, etc.) They are supposed to act as mood elevators, help you concentrate, study better, etc. I researched this for a while and decided I would try it. All the sites I read mentioned explicitly that there were no bad side effects to these types of supplements. I ordered a three-month supply for a basic 'stack' [www.braintropic.com]. The site lays out the stack, it isn't where I bought them. Stacking means taking multiple different supplements to enhance or maximize the effect. I am right now at the 40-day mark, and unfortunately, I have to say that I haven’t really noticed a huge difference. I haven’t noticed any bad side effects, but I haven’t noticed that I am feeling better or thinking more clearly, concentrating better than I normally do, or being able to retain what I study more efficiently. Honestly, I’m thankful. Once I finish the product that I have ordered that will be a lot less supplements to take every single day. I think it was worth doing the experiment, but they don’t seem to work for me. But I will complete 90-days to run the experiment through to its conclusion.

www.examine.com  is a site that offers (I believe) unbiased research on supplements. A good ‘go to’ source. I personally think there are few supplements worth taking. Vitamin C, Turmeric & Cumin, Vitamin K, possible Vitamin D (if you don’t get a lot of sun), that’s about it. But if you want to take something, check it out here, then run a scientific experiment to see if it helps you. Incidentally, their take on nootropics is that they may be helpful but there is not sufficient evidence to support the claims.

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I think the concept of experimentation is crucial. And, concurrent with that, tracking the results. This may take the form of a log, a journal, periodic blood tests, etc. And you have to run the experiment for a sufficient period of time to make it statistically significant. If you skip either tracking or taking an appropriate period of time, you’re wasting your time and or money.

So. Done for the week. I hope to post quite a bit more between now and the end of the year. I’m looking forward in many ways to getting back on the road.