Mental Warm-Up

Warming up at the campfire  watching the sunset

Getting started is not easy, especially if it’s something monumental (in your head or in reality). In spite of all my efforts to try and psyche myself into action, I’ve always found myself procrastinating more.

So here are some things I’m trying to overcome this hurdle to my hurdle.

1. Situate yourself in the environment of work. Sit in the chair where you’ll be doing the work. Then, instead of scrolling on Instagram or Tiktok, open up a notepad and read a non-fiction book, ideally something inspiring like a business book. I’ve been getting into Ben Horowitz’s The Hard Thing About Hard Things.

2. As you read or meditate in your seat, jot down any ideas or tasks that come to mind. Our brain instinctively knows what we need to do and it’s constantly working within our subconscious to come up with ideas for the task at hand. BUT our mind is also fearful, full of doubts, and worries.

3. At some point, you’ll want to do things related to the task at hand; writing a simple email, researching something small, and a little bit at a time, we warm up to the idea of this task. Mentally, we’re riled up to tackle the task at hand.

So whenever something is too big to face, don’t forget to warm up. It takes some time to get into the zone. As with piano, our fingers are not instantaneously prepared to tackle difficult études or concerti without warming up. But after some preparation, it’s game on.

How to be fearless

If I may venture to give advice, although I don’t believe I am qualified to as this is also something I’m in the process of working out fully, I think this may be one way to become fearless

It came to me whilst I was reading a 3-2-1 article by James Clear. Of satisfaction, he quoted author Ann Hastings on the availability of satisfaction:

“Satisfaction is always available. It is just not always looked for. If, when you enter any experience, you enter with curiosity, respect and interest you will emerge enriched and with awareness you have been enriched. Awareness of enrichment is what satisfaction is.” Ann Hastings.

It dawned upon me that fear should also be treated in the same way! If we can treat something we fear with curiosity, paint the task, person, or the event with respect, build interest and knowledge within that looming darkness, we twist the arm of that which we are afraid of. We become aware of this shadow in our lives via a different lens.

And this is perhaps how I’ll work on my procrastination and my fears.

I want more

All the way to the horizon

Habit creep. An idea that I read about from the amazing James Clear. He writes about how we should adopt habits in the same way lifestyle changes happen slowly yet surely (subscriptions to Netflix, upgrading your phone..)

So what habits do I want to creep into my life?

What I want to keep up: yoga, cold showers, blogging, posting on Instagram, reading

What I would like to slowly have creep in my life: daily workouts, French, Chinese, daily finance research, more content on social media, more practice hours, and focus.

Like in the last post, focus is key here. If I’m to maximise my day so I can fit extra activities, something has to go. So it begs the question: what do I dispose of? What drains my time and energy?

Reflection

At Orford..

I’m developing an idea for a praise and worship session. To give some context, I’m a Catholic and I’m in the process of organising a Bible Camp that’s centred on the art of the debate and dialogue with others.

But to focus back on this session. I want it to be meditate and reflective. For my secular readers, this is also relevant because we ought to reflect constantly on what we’ve done well, what we can do better, and to meditate on our goals for the future. In particular, if we can visualise ourselves doing things better in the future, we WILL have a better chance of succeeding in doing so.

And so, my idea revolves around everyone having a notebook and as words or a passage from the Bible pop onto the screen, they’ll write down how those words are reflected in the story of their year. And to work on how they’ll work on it the upcoming year. To be more specific, a word like discipline.

Discipline: this year I worked hard on discipline by using an agenda, recording my practice hours and intentions in a journal, doing yoga and meditation in the mornings, working out, taking cold showers, and finding the time to read and reflect. I need to work on my discipline of mind; in particular, focusing on one task and solely on one task for a certain period of time. To not allow myself become distracted. To train the muscle of focus.

Something like that. It’s not such a crazy idea right? And at the end, they’ll be able to use these notebooks for the upcoming year’s reflections.

Thoughts?

I don’t know about them but I definitely need to do something like this!

How to hustle

This is my mind. Too many little projects. Muddled. I’ll never reach the sea nor the horizon this way.

I think I’ve found out what I lack.

I lack the hustle. I think I work quite hard at a lot of different things at once. I like working a little on ideas here and then working on another idea there. But I lack the hustle of focusing on one or two things INTENSELY.

I start some series and then drop it when I feel like it’s not going in the direction I’d like it to. Or I’ll watch a movie, and get distracted it and look up something on my phone. Or blog.

What’s one crazy thing I can do to make me hustle better?

Is it having a clear goal and banging the hammer on the nail of it every single day?

The entrepreneur and musician Derek Sivers has this amazing gift of being able to focus. Only WANTING to focus on one thing until it’s done. Sometimes that meant isolation.

I need to practice the art form and discipline of focusing on one thing for a long time. I need to enter into Deep Work. This is the only way I’ll succeed.

I need to be clear with my goals, clear with my daily intentions, and disciplined in my practice. If I dedicate one hour to something, that hour is dedicated to it.

I will not veer, I will not get distracted until that goal is done. If I get distracted, like meditation, I will return back to it.