Redundancy, Success, and Supervillians

malcolmmerlyn

Often redundancy is viewed negatively, seen as a waste of time, energy, or resources. Why do something twice when it’s already being done once?

Take the words of fictional multibillionaire and mass murderer Malcolm Merlyn:

“If I’ve learned anything as a successful businessman, it’s redundancy.”

Mr. Merlyn set up a machine to destroy the impoverished ghetto that he believed to be the root of his city’s problems. When the hero swooped in and disabled the machine, Merlyn ultimately succeeded even in defeat because he had actually placed two earthquake machines. Pretty smart. Why don’t more supervillians count on the good guy fucking everything up? I mean, every Hero has a long track-record of royally screwing up every perfectly crafted evil scheme, so inquiring minds should wonder why more Bad Guys don’t just plan to fail. 

Now, most of us don’t have to worry about our WMDs being disabled by a hooded vigilante. This quote, though, illuminates something many of us can implement into our daily lives. Often to create consistent, effective patterns in our lives, we must take certain steps to prevent interference from outside sources. There are myriad possible causes for external interference, though typically much more mundane that Mr. Merlyn’s.

Here are some

Multiple alarm clocks-

Most of us have overslept. Some of us habitually get up, turn off our alarms and go right back to sleep after lying down Just for a Minute™. This is one of the best examples of redundancy in action: setting one alarm clock for 15 minutes after the first one will motivate you to get up and stay up at the first alarm, and will wake your sleepy ass up again if you fall back asleep. I use a mildly annoying radio station for my first alarm, but my second one is a blaring siren. Needless to say, this is a real kick in the ass to get out of bed within 15 minutes.

Redundant Reminders-

Here’s another excellent strategy that is already pervasive throughout self-improvement culture: remind yourself to do what needs doing. I put notes on my walls with positive affirmations, reminders, and triggers to tweak my thinking. I even have a note on the ceiling above my bed to remind me to focus on meditation as I fall asleep. These are all excellent resources, but to be really effective you must take advantage of another source for reminders: other people. If there’s one thing people are good at, it’s being redundant. Ask your neighbor, your girlfriend, your roommate to text, call you, or bang on your door with a reminder to read, write, or make abstract art out of old ashtrays. Ideally, you could have a reliable accountability partner (or five) who would work with you to mutually keep each other on the right track. Whatever your mission is, be it a fitness goal or a writing career, employ your peers (and your environment) to help you make it a reality.

Redundant Planning-

What do you want to do?

Figure out what you would like to accomplish, and decide a reasonable path towards that goal. Start with something easy and work your way towards your ultimate goal. Make a list of attainable action items to get done to bring yourself closer to success. Now, think about what could happen that might completely fuck up your goals. Maybe your computer could get fried and you’d lose your work. Maybe there could be a death in the family. Maybe your psychotic other personality blows up your apartment. That’s unlikely, but the idea is that you should figure out precisely what you’re going to do, how you’re going to get there, and what could possibly go wrong. Prepare for these eventualities and take action each day towards the achievement of your ambition. This last bit sounds rather lofty, and might be difficult to implement in “Real Life”, but making real, planned, attainable progress is the best way to get moving in whatever direction you choose for your life.

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New Year’s Resolutions

newyears

Every year the innumerable indolent fools of the world promise themselves that this year will be the year. This year, I’ll go to the gym every day, never eat anything sweet again, and I’ll quit smoking for good. Typically, these mouth-breathers will have great success for about a week, then they’ll say, “Oh, I’ve done so well. I deserve to indulge myself just this once because it’s the weekend/a holiday/other bullshit celebration”. They indulge their newly vanquished vice, thus giving it more power over them than ever. A new vicious cycle of failure begins again, starting the same damn pattern they’ve been living through their entire lives. “New Year’s Resolutions”, as most Americans use them, are an utterly worthless waste of time.

Now, I’m writing this on New Year’s, and the title is “New Year’s Resolutions”. Clearly I believe there is some value in this tradition.

People seem to need an excuse to change their lives for the better. New Years is an excellent excuse, so use it if you find motivation in the pretty new number on your calendar. Make a simple resolution that you know you can keep up with for the entire year. It doesn’t have to be something hard, just make it something that you know will benefit you in some way. Here are some attainable resolutions that anybody could follow through with:

-Go outside every day. Commit just to stepping outside into the sunlight once every day, and if you feel like walking, well, you’re a regular overachiever.

-Give up soda. That shit is poison and will kill you. Consider drinking almost anything else, like milk, apple juice, or goat’s blood.

-Every day, eat a vegetable. No ranch dressing, you fat fuck.

-Every day, read something. A book, the newspaper, a blog, or your favorite news site. Not Tumblr, and no, texting does not count.

-Learn something once a month. Maybe learn a new recipe. Try out a new hobby. Buy some powertools and just go nuts while the neighbor’s out of town with his door unlocked. Doing new things will relieve the monotony of your shitty life, and it’ll make people say, “Wow, this guy is way more interesting than that dick Larry.”

Yeah, doing things is hard. It’s worth it, I promise. Make a commitment to making 2015 slightly less fucking horrible than the year before. Future-you will thank me.

Systemic Micromanagement

Dirty-HarryCHANGE

In life, we often must adjust certain factors that influence to achieve optimal personal growth. There are many small, beneficial changes we can make in our lives, and there are just as many negative aspects that could be eliminated. To maximize your personal growth, you must make small adaptations to your environment to best suit your needs. A systemic micromanagement of your environment, your actions and your mindset is required to produce the level of change that you desire.

I’m assuming you want to be the best possible version of yourself. If you think you’re perfect, or that you couldn’t stand to improve in any regard, I recommend reading a different blog. Albert Einstein said it best, “Once you stop learning, you start dying”.

As men, we must take steps to assess our environment’s efficiency. If we find an aspect of our lives is lacking, we must take control,.changing that aspect for the better. Got shitty friends? Get rid of them. Poor diet? Buy some fucking vegetables. Just plain lazy? Take a cold shower and do something productive. It really doesn’t matter what changes you want to make, so long as you’re actively adjusting your environment to reflect your goals.

I want to boil this down as practically as I can here. I want you to be able to read this article and immediately convert my words into tangible action. Here’s a tip for you that will be useful to immediately (and effectively) micromanage your life:

Go for a walk in the mornings

Morning walks are great for many reasons. They’ll get your blood flowing, kickstart your metabolism for the day, and even give you some warm, oh-so-useful vitamin D. In Tony Robbins’ “Hour of Power” seminar, he recommends taking an hour in the morning to set yourself up for success. I highly recommend checking it out. He discusses incredibly valuable information ranging from breath pattern adjustment to the formation of positive daily habits. Tony Robbins’ is a man who understands the value of daily value-added adjustment of environs.

What I’m trying to say here is that we must constantly be improving our lives for the better. Where do you spend most of your time? For most of us, it is probably some combination of at work and at home. Look around your regular environment in those two places. It’s highly likely that you ought to make some adjustments, and you’ve probably been planning to change things up for a while. Change is essential to growth. Not only that, but changing things around us, even trivial things, will put us into a slightly different mindset. We’ll start to see things in a new light, and that new insight is what can allow us to manually shift our viewpoint in an intentionally positive, beneficial direction.

This is about more than being in a mindset geared towards change. This is about taking stock of your life. This is about seeing everything from an objective point of view, and then taking action to shift it towards your desire. All we have to do is take command of our circumstances; we must thrust our will forwards and blaze a trail of change through all inadequacies.

Most people are unsatisfied with one thing or another. Fucking change it! It doesn’t have to be some huge thing. Fix something. Just do it. Change something, make it better.

Once you’re in the mindset of “How can I make things better?”, you will produce an aura of systemic change that can only be achieved by painstaking micromanagement. We’re all dissatisfied; let’s start acting like it. At first you will struggle against your own mind. You’ll have to force yourself to take drastic action, to break out of your day-by-day bondage.

Believe me, the world is run by people who take control. The world is owned by people who were tired of their circumstances, and who seized the moment and made it better. Figure out what needs to be done, and do it. That’s all there is to it.

The Importance of Positivity

positive and negative

In all of our lives, we tend to go through periods of change. We grow as people, and we are (hopefully) in a constant state of personal growth towards a better future. No matter what stage of life we’re in, we are constantly adapting to an ever-changing environment.

One effect of this constant state of reaction to the world is that we can often be caught up in the flow of things. I’ve written before about the importance of maintaining forward momentum, but another aspect of that is the importance of maintaining a positive outlook in relation to the changes you are always going to be going through. We all experience periods of sadness, happiness, productivity, laziness, and other polarized periods of good and bad states.

No matter how happy you are, or how productive you are, you will always slip into a less happy, less productive state. That’s just the way the mind works. If we were always 100% happy and 100% productive, we wouldn’t have a relative point to compare our success to.

Even if we can’t control the ups and downs flowing in our lives, one thing that we absolutely can control is our mental state. No matter what life throws at us, it is possible to always maintain a certain level of stability in our thought patterns. We may be discouraged by external circumstances, however we can train ourselves to brush off all external negativity to create an unshakable sense of peace within our mind. Yes, we will still fluctuate between highs and lows, but our positive peace of mind can be maintained with some intentional reinforcement.

There’re whole books about creating positive self-talk, so I’ll keep this succinct: every word you say to yourself should be positive, encouraging, and uplifting. We have enough negativity around us without facing judgement from within. YOU are the only reliable source of pure positivity, so you must train yourself to always utilize positive thought. Each time you catch yourself thinking badly about yourself, reframe it in a positive light. You might think, “I’m so fat! I hate being fat, I wish I could be thin faster and easier like those other guys!” Reframe that thought into, “What can I do to lose weight faster? I’m so excited to improve my health. Soon, I will succeed in my fitness goals. I can be fit if I keep on working at it!” This is essentially the same thought process, but completely shifted into a positive light.

Form a picture in your mind of where you’d like to be in a year’s time. Do you see yourself healthier, wealthier, and wiser? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you reach that next level of success? For myself, I see a bright, bright future ahead. I feel the warm golden glow of that beautiful future, and when I think about where I will be in a year I feel an incredible excitement to get there.

First, figure out where you want to be. Second, figure out what you’re going to do to get yourself there. Third, envision your successful future and grab hold of that great feeling and never let go. That’s all there is to it, my friends.

Related reading:

http://therationalmale.com/2012/02/23/looks-count/

https://heartiste.wordpress.com/2007/09/24/a-critical-moment/

The Exponential Growth of the Self

littleshopofhorrors

Personal growth. Describing the best methods for growing as a person is one of the primary functions for this blog. There are many aspects of growth, but I’d like to elucidate a particular aspect of it here… The fact is that, like many things, growth tends to spiral out of control. The key here is to put yourself in an ideal environment to produce self-improvement.

What have you done today? That’s the big question you need to ask yourself. Don’t fucking bother with what you’re going to do next month if you aren’t already on top of what you are doing RIGHT NOW to advance your goals. Procrastination is rampant in our society. The internet, alongside a multitude of other causes, has given us infinite instant gratification. The first step towards personal growth is to banish your dependence on the feelings of gratification, validation, and satisfaction you get from social media (or booze, drugs, masturbation, etc.). Set your sights on doing something today that is conducive to your goals for the future.

Once you’re working on the elements of your life that actually matter, you will notice that you look forward to the progress you will be making in the future. Too often in life, we do things simply because we’re supposed to. When we wake up in the morning without a cause to wholeheartedly put our energy towards, we fall into a stagnant idleness that breeds a feeling of contempt towards ourselves and the lives we find ourselves drifting through. Stagnation is the enemy of success. To prevent stagnation, we simply must engage exclusively in activities which we are passionate about.

Passion is key to exponential growth. I’ll write more about this in the future, but I’ll say now that if you don’t really care about something you’ll never improve as a person. This can be anything, as long as you believe in something. Be strong, passionate, and dedicated to whatever course you take in life. If you find yourself doing something just because you’re supposed to, ask yourself what you’d rather be doing. Quit your soul-sucking job and chase whatever “stupid dream” society has told you was impossible. The same people who tell you “you can’t” and the same idiots who work 9-5 jobs for dickbrain bosses they can’t stand. The only one who cares about you is YOU; start acting like it.

The key here is that not only to always be working towards something you care about, but also have an internal definition of success. If you rely on outside sources for approval, you will constantly be disappointed. No matter how good you are at what you do, other people will always fail to provide adequate validation due to jealousy, incompetence, or apathy. By framing our mind as “becoming”, rather than “producing”, we will always succeed. If today you are closer to becoming your ideal future self, you have succeeded. Always remember that.

Again, growing into the person you want to be will not be easy. It’ll be hard work, but here’s the most important part…

Difficulty is irrelevant.

The ONLY factor that matters here is whether what we’re doing is worth it. If you complain that becoming the person that you truly know you are meant to be is “too hard”, you clearly are not meant for great things. If you want to be a writer, then write. Whatever you want to do, do it TODAY. Disregard your thoughts of difficulty; if you’re working on achieving the thing that you really, truly desire, any work that brings you closer to that goal will be worth doing. This is essential, my friends. The simple act of doing worthwhile work is the most basic component of personal growth. The reason so many people hate their lives is that they slave away every day to get a paycheck. Their work is a meaningless number on a spreadsheet; the worst fate you can face is slavery of the mind. Carry fear in your heart of the robotic stagnation that comes with indentured servitude to an indifferent corporate master. Never forget why growing into the best version of yourself is important; always remember your mission.

Growth, passion, and dedication are the three ingredients that add up to an explosion of productivity. Forget about postponing the things that must be done. Shut up and do it. If you are like me, you are damn sick of being told how to live by an ignorant society. Do what really matter in life, and ignore haters who shit on your dreams.

If you’re satisfied with a mediocre life, coasting towards death one paycheck at a time, then I’m happy for you. People like me can’t exist without people like that supporting the infrastructure. However, I will never live in a world where I am not constantly forging myself into something a little closer to perfect. I’ll never stop getting better, and neither should you. Remember that you are the only one in your life that matters. Never neglect yourself; remember that working to refine yourself into something greater is the most worthwhile work in the world.

You will fail many times before you ever achieve the success you desire. Your failures will refine you into a being far greater, one capable of smashing through the barriers that hold back so many others. For every failure, count two victories in the future. When you fail, you gain a strength that can only be gained by trying and failing. This is an essential stage of growth, and it is possibly the most difficult. Never forget in your weakest moments that only by being shown how great our weaknesses are can we finally overcome them.

Ignite a fire in yourself that screams for MORE. Always be thinking of ways to improve. Never let your enemies drag you down. Your endless quest for success will begin incredibly slowly. Over time, you’ll notice a subtle change in your mind. You’ll hunger for more, to achieve more every single day. You’ll burn with the desire to become what you’ve always known you could be. Soon, that burning desire, that result of your great strides towards growth, will become an exponential explosion of improvement in every aspect of your life. It’s hard, but you don’t care any more. It seems endless, but now you’ve gone from dreading your labors to taking joy in your improvements. Suddenly you look up to see that the endless mountain you’ve been climbing has a peak. You’re on your way there, my friends. Your climb begins now.

Related reading:

http://therationalmale.com/2012/01/13/just-be-yourself/

http://yohami.com/blog/2012/01/03/be-yourself-do-what-matters/

Productive highs and restful lows

productivity

In life, it is natural for us to go through periods of excellence followed by periods of negativity. We can have large trends in our lives, where the whole of our lives is in a general downward trend. Alternatively, we can live in an upward-trending manner. As men, we can constantly be working to improve ourselves and our station in life. Through hard work and persistence, over the course of our lives we can mold our reality to be one that we are content to be a part of. To accomplish this, however, we must identify small trends in our lives, which tend to be upwards or downwards. Over the course of days, weeks, or months, we all go through small trends. Sometimes we get caught in a negative slump until suddenly we have a mental realization, a spark to ignite change. We begin to make great strides in improving ourselves. Maybe we hit the gym, or we work on that novel we always talked about writing but never got around to. Then, some time later, we stop working quite so hard. We made a lot of progress and we feel pretty good about it. We allow ourselves to slip into a period of much lower productivity. These are natural trends in how human performance tends to function. People can’t operate at 100% maximum power every day or they’ll become exhausted. People need to take a breather in life. In order to achieve maximum productivity, you must identify downward trends in order to convert them into restful periods. You must also identify positive trends, in order to become as productive as possible during those times so that your restful periods seem earned, normal, and easy to break out of once you’re ready to resume working hard on improving yourself.

I believe that the most important thing in life is to have a mission. We need some ultimate goal that we can strive towards over the course of our lives. Some guys want to be a professional athlete or musician. A lot of people desire to be a writer, as well as countless other creative types. Some people dream of great success in business. Whatever it is that you wish to become in life, set out towards becoming that. A general positive trend in the direction of your ultimate goal is all that is required to guarantee yourself that if you haven’t achieved your life’s ambition in the next ten years, you will at the very minimum be significantly closer than you have ever been before. You’ll face ups and downs no matter what ambition you settle on. If you live your life every day to the best of your ability, focusing on gradually replacing bad with good in your life, you will achieve something. That’s all we need to be happy. Life is a journey and for most of us, it won’t take us in the direction we think it will. As long as we live our life in a general positive trend, we’ll wind up somewhere worthwhile, even if we haven’t arrived at the “goal line” we originally envisioned.

A final piece of advice: don’t take yourself too seriously. Focus more on getting shit done than on making it perfect. When we first start out, no matter what the avenue of interest, we’re going to suck. Skills sharpen over time. Our first draft of our book will suck. Our first attempt at songwriting will be shit. Our first joke will fall flat. As long as we’re making something we’ll always be sharpening our skills. No matter what goal you have in life, it will require skills to get there. Practice at becoming whatever great thing you wish to be. Do the things that you’d like to be doing in 10 years. Buckle yourself up in your big boy pants and make some quantifiable progress in your life.

Related reading:

http://boldanddetermined.com/2011/01/03/how-to-be-hyper-productive-in-3-easy-steps/

Calm, cool, and collected

keepcalm_box

Greetings friends. Let’s talk about keeping our heads in the game.

We all want to be successful, whether in relationships, work, or our private ambitions. Unfortunately, many of us can get stuck in a cyclical negative mindset. Obsessing over the things in your life that you can’t have, whatever they might be, benefits nobody. Think instead on how you’re going to fix whatever problems can be fixed. Cast out your mental focus on these detriments; it will bring you no joy to wallow in your misfortunes. Remind yourself of the good things in your life. Remind yourself that you are truly someone worth being. If anyone does not like you, does not appreciate you, or disrespects you, they are no longer a concern. Move on with your life. If that person turns into a threat, you can then deal with them accordingly. Judge others by their benefit to you, and do not succumb to illogical flights of fancy.

Think of the last person you saw who made you feel happy when you were around them. Think about what that felt like. If people don’t give you that feeling, what other benefit are they providing you? Is it worth the investment? Are they actually worth your time?

Focus, gentlemen. Take three deep breaths. Learn about meditation. Focus on that thing that lives in the back of your mind, that little voice that knows exactly what you want in life. Feed that voice, and ignore the rest of the world. The only person who matters in the whole wide world is YOU, my friends. YOU are the only one who really, truly will always be there with your best interest at heart. Remember that, and focus your energies into forging yourself into a weapon to fight off the forces that oppress you.

Related reading:

http://therationalmale.com/2011/10/20/alpha/

https://heartiste.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/how-to-treat-a-beautiful-woman-like-a-plain-woman/