Why am I so lazy?

Have you ever wondered why? I have for a long time now.

Well, I recently came across an article which gave some very interesting insight on the matter. In the article, Joy suggests that parents should not reward their children by complimenting their intelligence. Instead, parents should compliment the amount of hard work and effort that their children put in. The reason for this is as follows:

If you think your raw intelligence is something  you’re born with, then you will rely on it.  When that happens, you expect to “get it” easily and then you don’t “work for it.”  If you fail to develop the habit of hard work in developing your intelligence, then your accomplishments will be severely diminished.

This actually makes a lot of sense when I think about it. My parents always told me that I was very smart and that I would be successful in life. They told me that I was even smarter than my brother, and that I would be more successful than him.

Then why aren’t I? Is it because I lack the confidence in myself? Yes, partially. But I think that’s more of a symptom rather than the root cause. As it turns out, I’m finding that success is defined more by work ethic rather than intelligence. I believe that if I had a better work ethic, I would have accomplished more in my life, causing me to be more confident in myself. And with my increased confidence, I would build my work ethic even further. I believe that these two build each other up in a cyclical fashion, similar to the chicken and the egg conundrum.

Thinking back, my parents never complimented me on how much I worked or how hard I tried. Not that I blame them or anything, because I realize that they did their best to raise me. More importantly, I realize that it was my own responsibility to work hard. But still, I find it fascinating reflecting on my work ethic throughout my life.

As a naturally smart student, I relied heavily on my intelligence throughout my entire school career. Sure, I eventually had to put in more and more effort as I got into high school and college. However, I never really had to “work hard”. While other students would study for days or even weeks for their exams, I would study mere hours. I didn’t get the best grades in my classes, but I did do well enough to get a satisfactory grade. Enough to just get by.

And that’s all I pretty much do: work hard enough to just get by. But when I don’t have teachers or a a boss to tell me what to do, what does it mean to “get by”? I don’t have upper management giving me tasks and deadlines, so I really have … nothing. Nothing to do to get by.

What’s left then? I assume it’s what I quit my job for: to do what I want to do, i.e., to become an entrepreneur and start my own business. And what does one need to do to become a successful entrepreneur? Work hard. And therein lies the rub.

So what lesson can I take from this? Well, I obviously need to build up my work ethic. I didn’t train my work ethic properly while growing up, so now I need to make up for it by power-leveling it for a few years (hopefully months). It’s going to be a tough ride, and I’m excited to take on this challenge.

Overcoming OCD and Perfectionism – Productivity Roadblock

I experienced my first major roadblock yesterday. Not for the first time, mind you, but this is the first time I’ll be putting it down in writing. In turn, I hope that this will help me address it more effectively.

I have a lot of trouble when I come across a problem and I don’t know how to solve it. Being a perfectionist, I obsess about it and give myself time to mull it over, hoping that I’ll eventually figure out the solution. This does work, but there is a major drawback to it:

I drop everything else until I figure out the solution. That is, I completely stop myself from doing anything else on the project and instead do time-wasting activities like playing games or browsing the internet. I try to tell myself, if I focus on this one task, maybe I’ll figure out the solution faster so I can get over it.

But that’s a lie. In actuality, I believe that my OCD and perfectionism prevents me from taking further action because I’m afraid of doing the wrong thing. I’m afraid of making the wrong choice, and I’m afraid that I won’t be happy with the solution I choose. In other words, it’s a form of “fear of failure”.

For now, I can think of three ways to handle this:

  1. Redirect my attention and focus on another problem (instead of dropping everything completely).
  2. Implement a solution quickly, even if it’s not perfect. In time, I can visit it again if I ever do think of a better solution.
  3. Drop it. In the end, it may very well be a problem that doesn’t need solving outside of my OCD tendencies.

I don’t think I should try and decide on any of these, so I’ll leave it there. In fact, I think it’s better to keep myself open to all three and to decide this on a per-problem basis.

For reference, my current problem is trying to figure out how to make my code extendable. It seems that the framework’s logic isn’t exactly what I thought it would be, so my simple solution didn’t work. Ill need to either hack around it to make it work the way I want, or to make it more difficult for users. Tough choice.

From lazy to productive – The journey begins

I’m lazy as hell.

Finally, I can get it out there. I’ve needed to get this out for a very long time now; it’s been haunting me for months, sitting in the back of my mind festering itself. But now that it’s out there, I finally feel free.

When I quit my job two months ago, I had grand dreams of working on new and exciting projects. I wanted to build small websites for clients, create various plugins, and even architect entire web applications.

But sadly, I did none of those things. Instead, I played games, watched movies, and built legos. Worst of all, I browsed Reddit (… yes, that bad). I wasted so much time doing absolutely nothing that I have finally gotten to the low point where I absolutely hate myself.

So today, that changes.

I found a good deal on domain names, came up with a decent name, and then set up this blog. I plan to chronicle my journey from being a lazy bum to a productive entrepreneur. I need to battle my inner demons and take control of my life, and I will use this blog as a tool to keep myself accountable to both myself and to the public.

I’m going to start off by doing a little research and trying out various things to increase my productivity. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find some simple methods to get me started. It’s going to be a long and hard road, but I already know it will be worth it.

First project: Exploring the art of writing things down.

Let’s do it. Leeroy Jenkins.

Meditation: My Story

It’s kind of weird because I got into meditation by chance. I was reading a book called The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, and I wanted to practice focusing on the present moment as he advocates. So what I did was to spend 15 minutes every morning (while walking to work) just focusing on the environment. Instead of thinking about random things, I would comment on whatever I saw as I was walking. “That car is red. The license number is XYZ. That guy looks so sad and bored. That girl is smiling and looks so pretty.” Things like that.

Eventually, I got some very useful advice in another one of Eckhart’s books, A New Earth. He suggested focusing on your breathing, so I tried that and was immediately surprised. As it turns out, it’s impossible to focus on your breathing and to think at the same time. Try it out: take a big, deep breathe right now. Then, take another, and another. You’ll find that it stops your thoughts completely.

Unfortunately, both of these methods are difficult to keep up. For me, they’re just … boring. Compared to fun daydreaming and planning things for the future, they’re too boring. But I still try to them to do them whenever possible; I like to focus on the environment when I’m out and about, and I like to focus on my breaths when I’m in bed about to sleep.

As I mentioned before, I got into meditation by chance. This is because I was never interested in meditating, but instead I simply wanted to focus on the present moment. As it turns out, both are very similar to each other in that they are methods for controlling your thoughts. If you can do one, you can do the other.

What’s interesting is that I prefer to use the phrase meditation as opposed to focusing on the present moment. I believe that meditation is more widespread and thus, people would be more familiar with it.

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Insanity workout review

After a gruesome 63 days, I’m proud to have finished this workout!

In the past two months, I’ve spent about 50 hours on exercise. It’s kind of scary thinking about it, because this is more time I’ve spent on my body than the entire rest of my life. 50 hours. It seems like such a small time frame, but looking at the results, it seems like so much more.

I had my doubts, but I’m grateful that my mind and my body did not give up. I’ll admit that this wasn’t the first time I’ve tried the Insanity workout: I actually attempted it a few years ago, but I didn’t get past 20 days. I remember using some lame excuse back then, like I was too tired and didn’t have the time. But it’s pretty obvious that I simply lacked the motivation and the willpower.

This time, however, I managed to go through the entire program. The first few weeks were exactly as I remember: very difficult, but doable. Even though I had a general idea of what I was getting myself into again, the workouts were hard enough to keep me on my toes and tire me out.

The biggest challenge was the beginning of the second month. Specifically, the very first day of the second month. Up until that point, I had only done the easy workouts of the first month. These workouts ranged from around 35 to 45 minutes, and the actual exercises were simpler and easier to do. In the second month, however, the workouts ranged from 45 to 60 minutes and contained more difficult exercises.

So the first day of the second month was, as you can imagine, the 60 minute workout. Not only that, but they also make you do the 25 minute fit test before the real workout, so it’s actually a 90 minute workout. In my case, it took me 2h 30m to do it. It was so extremely difficult that I had to take extended rest breaks to finish it.

Nevertheless, it was worth it. I felt amazing after that day, and it became much easier the next time I had to it.

I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t take any before pictures, so I have nothing to compare myself to. However, I do know that I have gained a lot of benefits:  strength, endurance, and confidence.

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Freedom – Unemployed, but free

February 15, Friday – I’ve acquired my freedom! It’s been quite delayed, but I finally quit my job. I’ve thought about leaving for a long time now (about half a year), and I’m ecstatic that I finally pulled the trigger.

I quit my job once before, but nothing like this. Back then, I simply hated the job and did not want to work there anymore. I had no plans, no goals, and no ambitions. I traveled a bit, but then didn’t really do anything except stay home and play games. This time, however, it’s different. This time, I had two possible paths.

The first path was to go work for a company called AppNexus, where I had applied to recently. I went through a gruesome five hour interview two weeks ago, and to be honest, I was partially interested in it. It looked like a great place to work: awesome working environment, smart people, and interesting/advanced projects. Fortunately, I never heard back from them.

Thus leaving me no choice but to follow the other option: become an entrepreneur. I know that’s a vague statement, but it’s quite accurate. I have no idea what I want to do. Do I start an online business, become a freelancer, or just find some odd jobs here and there? I don’t know.

All I know is that I want to figure out a way to make money without having to go through the standard 9 to 5 job. I want to do something that I’m excited for, and I want to do something that gives me freedom to do what I want when I want. No more waking up in the morning dreading going to work.

And so begins my journey into entrepreneurship. I know it’s going to a long, hard road, but at last I’m excited about it!

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