Articles tagged under beingawesome:

How To Mind Control Yourself Into Becoming An Awesome Person - #2

Remember the last you complained about how you didn’t have time to do all the things you wanted to do? That was about 5 minutes ago, wasn’t it? It’s a sad truth that, no matter who you are, you only have 24 hours in a day. And we all face the one central problem of needing to unlimited things with limited time. But what if I told you that time does not exist. That you can speed it up or slow it down if you want to. That how you look at the time you have and make decisions based on it will affect how many things you can do in a day. What I mean is you might find yourself able to do a thousand more things if you simply stopped thinking about time as a linear concept and started thinking that it was some sort of rubber band. In reality, time is something we define, based on how long it takes for a pendulum to swing to the other side, and for the earth to complete another revolution. Thing is, time, as we experience it, is really a different thing altogether. Most of you would’ve experienced how quickly time passes when you’re doing something really absorbing or fun, like sleeping, gaming, or for those of you so inclined, doing maths. And you probably would’ve felt how slowly and painfully it can pass when you’re doing something less enjoyable, like running a 2.4, attending lectures, or for those of you who are normal, doing maths. It seems as if time, for all its supposedly constant nature, can actually bend and stretch depending on what you are doing. Yes, I’m telling you things that you already know. The point of all this is really to tell you that you already know how to do it, but might not have realized how you can totally take advantage of this to make more time for yourself. What you need to do First you need to get a clear idea what exactly time is. A wise person described the difference between the concept of linear time and elastic time as the difference between analog and digital watches. On an analog watch, the hands tell you the time, and the rest of the day is laid out, set in stone. You can see the past and the future in equally spaced markings, and everything’s fixed. But on a digital watch, all you see is the present time. For all you know, the past may not even have existed. And the future is inexistent too. It is undefined, limitless. Try to think of time as the digital watch tells you. The time you have to spend is not yet defined, and you can determine what you want to do with it. It can also be much faster or slower than you actually think it’ll be. Just because running a 2.4 felt like the most time-consuming thing you’ve done in your life doesn’t change the fact that most people will really spend less than 15 minutes on the actual running. Now that you’ve stomached that revelation, start to plan your day based on what you need to do, rather than the time that you’ll take. Instead of thinking “I don’t have enough time to go running because it’ll take me 5 minutes to put on my gear…another 5 to get to the track….”, try “I need to go running, how much time can I spend on that? Oh geez I’ve only got 30 minutes, better get moving.” Next, find out how much time it really takes for you to do something. Don’t base it on your impressions, because we all know that time as you perceive it is relative. It really only takes about half an hour for you to do most things. The reason why you think it takes longer than that is because most of that time is spent fighting inertia and thinking it can’t be done, because, when you allocated one hour for something like getting a life, you probably split it up into bits of: First 15 minutes – mindless indecision. Next 15 minutes – getting off the sofa. And then – 15 minutes of realizing I don’t have enough time to get a life. And lastly – 15 minutes of ‘rest’ for that strenuous activity I just did. In fact, you can cook a meal for yourself, read a few pages of a book, take a shower, run a mile and even stop mindlessly browsing youtube in the span of 15 minutes. That’s the reason why successful people (and action movie heroes) seem to be able to do about three thousand things in two hours – because they know how to slow time down (by just moving faster and actually getting down to doing something). How is it possible that a guy could wake up at 6am, go to the gym for an hour and be at work by 8, then knock off at 5 and spend an hour travelling, an hour having dinner with his family, and still have two hours read and play Battlefield 3 and do whatever he wants? Well, because he doesn’t spend any time doing nothing. And this stems from realizing that time is up to you to control. How it works It all boils down to one concept that’s been preached to us for years now – time management. But this isn’t the kind of time management whereby you’re expected to just stop doing anything you want and instead do nothing but study all day. It’s the kind of time management that tells you can do still do things you want to do and achieve awesome things like enough sleep, great results and a muscular/slender body. But enough about boring old time management, here’s something else you need to know about time – that it really is elastic (warning: advanced scientific theories imminent. For those of you who are not interested, there’s always the cake at the end.) It’s something called time dilation, the idea that time actually slows down for you depending on how fast you are and how much gravity you experience. And it’s not even a theory, you know, because those people working on it probably realized it was too mind-blowing to be fake. Here are the first few lines of the wiki article on it: “An accurate clock at rest with respect to one observer may be measured to tick at a different rate when compared to a second observer's own equally accurate clocks. This effect arises neither from technical aspects of the clocks nor from the fact that signals need time to propagate, but from the nature of spacetime itself.” Wait, what? Well, basically… “A case of time dilation in action is that astronauts return from missions on the International Space Station (ISS) having aged less than the mission control crew that remained on Earth. Such time dilation has been repeatedly demonstrated...for instance by small disparities in atomic clocks on Earth and in space, even though both clocks work perfectly (it is not a mechanical malfunction). The laws of nature are such that time itself (i.e. spacetime) will bend due to differences in either gravity or velocity—each of which affects time in different ways” To put things simply, the closer you get to the speed of light, compared to someone else, the slower time is for you. This means you could literally travel on a rocket at close to the speed of light and you could come back to earth a year later (in your own time) and realize that about two million years actually passed there. This is probably science’s way of telling us that if you are willing to move faster, time will slow down for you so you get to do more stuff. So if you’re interested in living longer and such, plan your days based on the digital watch. If you start to see time as an elastic concept, that’s when you realize you control time, and time doesn’t control you. You can start to schedule more things into an already tight schedule, and get them done by slowing time down relative to you (read: moving faster). You’ll stop thinking you don’t have time for anything and wasting your life away on youtube and/or facebook. You have more time and can do more things that you think or know you can do. So run along now, and start changing the world. This week’s cake:

Why You Shouldn’t Ever Use Big Words

or: Why the author advances the supposition advocating opposition of incessant repetitive inclusions of the verbose in the common colloquial vernacular. Did you enjoy reading something like that? Even I had to read it through twice to make sure it meant what I thought it meant. And even so I can’t really care. Sure, some would probably dissect that long tapeworm of a sentence to point out that: “My dear fellow, in truth supposition refers to the uncertain belief of an idea, which means the sentence above is not consistent with approved grammar and vocabulary.” Yes, these are the individuals I’m talking about. People who care too much about how good their voice sounds, how nice their words echo in other’s ears, how superbly intelligent they seek to come across to other people, this article/write-up/pseudo-rant is a wake up call to you. That sentence up was like a death sentence. It was butchered by wasteful adjectives and verbs that no one wants to listen to. This is increasingly evident among the intellectual student body. So excited are we by our ideas and eagerness to talk, it escapes us that when we finally deliver the package to our peers no one can even comprehend what we say. Its one of the great tragedies nowadays, that the more intelligent we try to sound the less intelligent we come across. And this is not without good reason.  1. Say what you need to say! (And not more.) Ever heard this Grammy-winning song by John Mayer? It’s about having the courage to do what you need to do and ‘say what you need to say’ before the end arrives, so that you can pass on with no regrets. It’s about doing enough before it’s too late. So many of us are guilty of this. We do not say enough. We talk weakly. Our sentences are frail. Not because we say too little, no. We say so much and mean so little that the strength of our words diminishes. It gets diluted. Diffused, like particles in so much empty air. Everyone knows that one guy that just loves to brandish his intelligence. He keeps to himself until it’s absolutely necessary. Then when the time comes it’s also absolutely necessary that others know how smart he is. He probably views becoming a lawyer or a professional debater as his sole career prospect and sees each conversation as practice for the future. He argues for the sake of intellectual stimulation, but he is the only one stimulated.  The pen is mightier than the sword, but both are only effective when applied in the same way- directly. Words are only as strong as they are understood. Being too random and free with word choice destroys their strength. The great speeches of our time were anchored in simple slogans, because simple slogans were all they needed. This presents another simple rule: 2. Speak simply when you can. Imagine if Martin Luther King had said: “I possessed a fancy of outstanding conviction.” Okay. How would this be better than “I had a dream?” Did the former involved higher language caliber? More thought? How does using more advanced words equate to higher intelligence, especially when one disregards the listeners? His target audience, the tired and racially persecuted black Americans, was ignited by that short and simple phrase. King showed a lot more smarts using such a simple and relatable slogan, as opposed to a more verbose but detached one that no one would probably have understood. This brings us to simple rule number 3... 3. The occasion dictates the language used. Sometimes intellectual speech is needed to properly describe things. But by using complicated terms, we are actually trying to make things easier to understand. We need jargon to simplify ideas that are too long to be conveyed shortly. At heart, scientific and vocabulary jargon is a noble effort to summarize. The usage of acronyms too, signals our unconscious attempts to simplify things and concepts in speech. No one likes speech with lots of jargon. Sometimes no words are even needed. In a battle, people throw the gauntlet or raise their blades to signal challenge. Words then were viewed as a sign of weakness. In verbal battles too, excess speaking is frowned upon, viewed as redundant, and a waste of time. Even body language and being animated during debates are more intimidating than just empty words. Many people still have exaggerated responses for the occasion, especially those with low self-esteem. Yes, I know I’ll have a hard time proving this generalization but it is fair to deduce that people who constantly have something to prove really lack some self-confidence. There is a difference between talking intelligently and talking smartly. This is Rule number 4: 4. Be smart and stop being too intellectual. This does sound conflicting, but it just means being sensitive to the dynamics of the conversation. Many people are extremely intelligent but they just can’t stop seeing the all the world world as a giant Who Wants to Be a Millionaire stage. Getting carried away with an obscure topic of your sole interest is the surest way to lose engagement. Being smart = knowing when to say what at the right time = maturity and a better conversation. Being too intellectual = letting the random urge to express your knowledge take precedence over the occasion = serious awkwardness. Sometimes guys try to sound real intellectual and knowledgeable, and end up screwing up their first date because they dont know when to take the pedal off. They don’t realize the occasion doesn’t demand the hit points of Pikachu or the number of grand slams Rafael Nadal has.  However, you can’t help but want the other to know you take them seriously, and that you value their presence with your thoughtful engagement! So how do you act smartly here? The key word is subtlety. To be subtle is to be humble. It is to recognize that too much intellectual conversation always leads to confrontation. Sometimes it’s smarter in a friendly conversation to put on the brakes instead of raising the stakes. Time to be sensitive and recognize the tradeoff. Is losing a friend’s goodwill worth winning an argument? Being subtle is also being patient. There will always be another time, another occasion to exhibit your knowledge. Bottom line, coming across as someone intelligent at the right time, is a smart thing. Coming across as an intellectual all the time is not a smart thing. Summing up these few pointers: We should always: Say only what you need to say Speak simply when you can Let the occasion dictate the language you use Be smart rather than intellectual.   Being bombastic will probably get you scorn. Being prudent will probably get you respect. Nobody is impressed by sophisticated words. Most of the time, it comes across as pretentious and attention seeking. There is always, always strength in simplicity. “If you can’t explain [the idea] simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”                                                                                                                    ~Albert Einstein

How To Mind Control Yourself Into Becoming An Awesome Person - #1

You are your own worst enemy. You want to achieve amazing things, go places, lose weight, study more, study less…but everything inside you seems to want the opposite of that. You tell yourself that, this time, it’ll work. It’ll just take a little bit more resolve and self-discipline, that you’ll just…become a better person. But telling yourself to be more of an all-round useful person and hoping that you’ll listen just doesn’t quite work. Remember all those New Year’s resolutions you made? Wait, do you even remember them? Self-discipline is commonly misunderstood as the need to control yourself via sheer willpower. That, however, is only going to work for the few people who have willpowers strong enough to resist a freshly baked cheesecake placed right in front of their mouths. To say no despite its fragrant aroma wafting carelessly into their nostrils and evoking images of cheddary bliss and calorific wonder. Its called self-discipline for a reason. Just as how the discipline master enforces strict rules and punishments on students, disciplining yourself involves setting up rules, rewards and, yes, consequences for breaking the rules. In this series, we explore a few ways you can seek to attain personal mastery and control. Method #1 – Relinquishing Control Wouldn’t it be great if someone could just help you do everything you wanted to do? Technically, that would work, but the problem is there are just some things like studying, sleeping and working out that you really have to do yourself. And, worse, if you get someone else to do everything for you, he might end up getting all the credit! But that doesn’t mean you can’t get help. That’s because when I say help, it means you recruit another person or people to force you to do it. Because it’s way easier for someone else to make you do (or not do) something. Otherwise, we wouldn’t quite need policemen, fitness trainers and teachers. Say, you really, really want to work out and lose weight. Now the traditional way to do it would be to set your mind on it, and then try your best to pull yourself out of the house and hit the gym whenever you’re free, right? 3 weeks later…you’re probably right where you started, surfing twitter on your couch and telling yourself that tomorrow will be the day you hit the gym. Yes, tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. What you need to do. Once you’ve decided on a goal, you need to relinquish control of yourself to someone else. Now ignore how suggestive that might sound and focus on how it means that you basically need to put the powers of enforcement in the hands of someone else. Wanna lose weight? Tell everyone about it. Declare proudly on facebook that you’ve decided to go on a diet and hit the gym every Wednesday. This imposes a consequence on yourself, because if you don’t, you’re gonna look like a big fat liar in front of everyone. To make it work better, your goal needs to be measurable and achievable. Now I know you’ve probably sat through a boring workshop on goal setting which has already covered this, but I’m only saying this again because it’s important. If you simply declare that you’re gonna “lose weight XD #swag”, then it wouldn’t quite work because no one will be able to fault you if you simply lose about 1 gram. What’s worse is that you’ll forever procrastinate because you didn’t set a time limit for yourself. There just isn’t an effective consequence, and instead you’d be making up excuses like “It was an impossible goal anyway”, or “I am working out, you know, remember that one time two weeks ago…” Instead, try “Hi everyone I hereby declare that I will shed 5 kilos in 2 months or else I owe everyone a drink.” See how that will work? Because not only do you give people a way to measure whether you’ve succeeded, you’ve also given them an incentive to take it out on you if you don’t. For those of you who are a bit more shy, you could simply tell a friend about it, and propose a consequence of failure. For example, you could tell him that you’ll pass the upcoming maths test, otherwise you’ll pay him $10. If you think that’s not enough, then promise $100…whatever you need to make sure you absolutely a hundred thousand percent pass that test. Now the problem with this is that it can sometimes not be credible. If you made that bet with a really good friend, you know that he won’t be as cruel as to expect payment from you. Even if he does, you could just not pay him and he can’t force it upon you. So the trick here is to find someone who will definitely enforce it, someone with both the incentives and means to do so. In the most extreme case, you could literally give something to another person – your LoL account password, your basketball gear, even your phone – for ‘safekeeping’ so that you won’t have any way to access it. That would surely work better than telling yourself ‘alright I’m gonna quit playing and study more…this time’. How it works. Warning: The next few paragraphs involve some amount of geekiness and higher order theoretical thinking skills which may not be for everyone. There aren’t even pictures in this section. If you’re not interested, skip this section because there will be cake at the end. No, really. For those of you interested in the mechanics of how this all works (I shall assume you are because you’re reading this despite the cake at the end), then let me introduce you to game theory. Simply put, game theory is the study of how to make strategic decisions based not only on the possible outcomes of your choices, but how these outcomes will fare given how other people make their choices. Before I confuse you further, let’s examine how this all applies to self-discipline. In game theory, self-discipline is commonly modeled as how you are playing a game with your future self. For simplicity’s sake, let’s call your future self Neo. Now, Neo usually knows what’s best for you. He wants you to go work out, eat healthier, and study harder, so that he’ll be an all-round better person. But you don’t really want to go through all the work for him. What you really want to do is to enjoy the present and live while you’re young. #YOLO, whatever. Knowing this, what you want to do is help Neo win the battle against your current self. You want to force yourself to remember that Neo is actually you, in about a month, year, or even decade, depending on the kind of choice you are facing. By doing that little bit of ‘relinquishing of control’, you do two things which force you to get your act together. Firstly, you modify the game such that not working hard now imposes a consequence on yourself (being known as a liar, losing $100). Secondly, when you give things to other people to ‘safekeep’, you limit the options available to you, taking away the option that you would’ve done and leaving only the option Neo wants to do. In other words, it requires you to admit that you can’t quite control yourself as well as you want to, and let your future self decide… In the next issue, we examine: Method #2 - Thinking about time as an elastic concept Now, as promised: Have an interesting way/method of brainwashing yourself? Share it in the comments! Cover by
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