Entrepreneurship

Get out of my way

This will definitely be one of my most favorite articles. Pascal must have been thinking something like this or something very similar as he was creating the draft for this post. It took only a year and a half to eventually get to write this post.

The biggest win in terms of productivity which I found for myself is that idea of getting out of my way. I found it somewhere between third and fourth semester in university. I had failed every exam during the first two semesters of my studies, but I had the will to finish my degree in the standard period of 5 years for the bachelor's and master's. The third semester was when I learned how to study, a skill which I hadn't picked up in school. 

I had and still have a very good friend who was in with me on that goal and so we agreed to learn for every exam together. 4 weeks of at least 5 days a week for one exam. In some kind that friend taught me that very important lesson. He was my trainer. He knew exactly how much time he needed for a given task and he had no excuses for himself. 

With him I learned to stop to complain about my tasks. I hated almost every second of studying, but together we just pushed through it. During that time I still managed to meet with people once or twice a week even though I was still visiting my grandmother once a week.

Here is what I think makes this so effective:

- If you just start attacking your problem, you won't procrastinate on your task for an hour before you start doing it anyways: 1 hour won

- If you know that you need to get shit down in order to be able to allow yourself to see your crush, you'll be a lot more motivated.

- We had one goal, we had a very clear task to execute in order for us to reach that goal and so the only discussion we had was whether or not to prolong the lunch break for 20 minutes more or not.

Only when I got out of this super working relationship I saw that I was performing better than most of my pears and I saw other struggle a lot with even starting a task. I've talked about James Clear's website a couple of times before and I still believe, it's a great resource for hacking your productivity. Start something now!

A year of why?

It happens to every single one of us. One day we wake up and we just wonder why we're doing all that stuff that doesn't really mean anything to us? For most people in my parent's generation this was called the midlife crisis as it was striking people in their 40's or 50's when they are pretty good in what they're doing professionally, the children have grown out of their teens and they finally understand that they've wasted a pretty big part of their lives chasing money or whatever was driving them. 

My generation however is obsessed with doing everything right in the first place. Don't make a mistake. Don't get into the treadmill of work to fast. Take a year of between school and university, do a work and travel, change jobs in between... . I've always been like that. Even though I couldn't afford to take a year of and I was kinda rushing through my studies, I never wanted to do anything meaningless.

I didn't write a lot of blog posts during the last year as I was jumping from one thing to another, but when I decided to go back to my blog and start writing again, I thankfully read my pages "Who I am" and "Me in 2021" again. What I found was that I had lost touch with the me of a year ago.

I started this blog because I want to help others, but for the better part of 2017 I've been fairly egotistical. I spent 4 months of 2016 more or less full-time in an unpaid refugee project in Berlin, yet I've hardly met any of my new friends. I've spent half a year obsessing about my position in the startup I've been working for, thinking about coding projects I wanted to get done in order to eventually cash in on those projects in one way or another. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and way to high cholesterol: At the age of 25 I'm taking 3 pills every day.

Reading those ideas I had for who I am and who I want to be, reconnected me in some way. I would recommend you to do something like this and revisit it every now and then. I made some changes to those pages and I'm certain that I'll be changing a lot more in the future, but some things are not meant to be changed that easily. Changing them will make you feel uneasy, stressed and you won't like the position you're in. I'll see if I can stick to that and what kind of conclusions I need to draw from there.

Moving forward

I haven't written anything in this blog for about two months. Two months are a quite long time. I've made new friends, met old ones, I felt miserable for three weeks without really talking about it, I've dated a girl, started new activities and discontinued old ones.

I read this article yesterday about the morning routine of seven pretty successful women. Not only are all of them stunningly beautiful (I don't mention it because I am a sexist and I think women have to be beautiful. I rather like to appreciate the beauty in all people), but all of them have a morning routine, which they believe is part of their success.

I'm mainly writing this blog for two reasons beside the fact that I'm an attention whore:

  1. I like to give advice to young people who need it. I want to show that there is a silver line on the horizon and I want to help people figure out how to deal with their depression.
  2. I need to write stuff down in order to hold myself accountable. I want to showcase my journey in order to a) show that I know what I'm talking about and b) stick to my plans.

So apparently I've failed in both points, but at least I'm restarting. I also stopped meditating every day, but I've incorporated some techniques in my every day life. 

Long story short: I will change my behaviour to the following. I will start every day by writing down 5 things, which I want to do. At the end of the week, on Saturday I will give a report here on what I've accomplished. Hopefully this will a) make me feel awesome because I actually reflect, that I've achieved something. b) pressure me into actually doing something c) there is no step 3.

 

 

Perfectionism

Perfectionism kills productivity. At least for me that is the most hurting truth ever. 

Even though the articles and pages on this blog don't look all that thoroughly crafted, I truly see myself as a perfectionist. It's not part of my nature to expose stuff that is not finished to the world. It hurts. It makes me afraid that others will think that I am incapable, because they will not see my peace of work as perfect and beautiful as I imagine it to be in the future; I don't start working out, because I would have to do stretching afterwards, to have the best results and I don't want to stretch; I don't even start cleaning up my room, because I would need to take the trash out or do laundry.

So I end up not meditating, not doing any sports, procrastinating on my studies even though I'm in university and feel miserable about myself at the end of the day. This blog started as my way out of the vicious circle, because I could just start of working on an article and finish it somewhen in the future. Most of the time I finished my articles in one session and suddenly I couldn't even start to write an article. Why? Well, I wouldn't be able to finish it in one session.

I don't mean to write something crappy, but I need to work against that perfectionism. Why? Besides the fact that I need years to start working on something, because I know that it will be so hard to finish it, I also don't finish most of my projects. I am a person that a has a very high need of approval and I just loose the motivation if I don't get any approval. I stop to work at most of my projects after hitting 60-80% because it's not new anymore and I would need some kind of approval from someone, even me. 

I finally started working out again after almost a month of missing it. I skipped half of the stretching routines both times, but it is okay. At least I am doing something. I did meditate twice this week, also starting over after a month. I wrote another blogpost, I even managed to read on in that one book, that I had laid aside for two months. I am not very proud of my work, but I am proud, because I managed to show up. At least I keep moving somewhere and as soon as I build up some momentum again, I might even move in the right direction. Until then I will stick to 

Quickfix

I believe that often times the answer to a problem is quite easy. What most people fail at is the discipline to carry out what they know to be right. For the last days I have been struggling with this. I haven't been out as long as I wanted to. I didn't really stick to my daily morning routine of either showering or doing sports and I failed at going to bed early. 

I think that the most important skill that I picked up during my studies is discipline. But what is it worth that I can be disciplined when I am not being it? I know that happiness is a skill that I can manage to learn but like with every other skill I need to grind myself.

It seems that perfection is attained not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to remove. - Antoine de Saint Exupéry 

Today I woke up after about 5 hours of sleep and I just wanted to lay in bed forever and probably watch some episodes of Arrow (a pretty decent series on Netflix). Where would this lead me? Well I wouldn't need to feel myself, but that would only work for a couple of hours until I wake up and find myself in a even worse position because I'd realize that I haven't achieved anything today and hate myself even more. 

I am writing this article to remind myself that I don't have to identify with my feelings. I don't feel like doing sports now, but I will do it anyways because it gives me satisfaction, mental and physical strength, it gets my blood flow going and because it is part of my routine to a healthier, happier and more productive me. 

Seeing opportunity

I strongly believe that hustling is 90% of becoming great. The other 10% is chance. I think chances will come along for pretty much everyone but only those who currently try will finally see the opportunity when it is strolling down the line with you. 

I've had some pretty bad days this week. I got sick, I stopped working out and my lovely meditation app (get it at headspace.com) just introduced a new meditation technique, visualization, which is pretty frustrating because I feel unable to do it. Many words, little meaning: I feel miserable.

As an result of that I've been bingewatching Gotham and House of Cards on Netflix and those are definitely shows, I'd recommend, but it's very unfulfilling. I am on a vacation with my parents. I planned to get some video cutting done here, but I lost the USB stick with all the material. I guess everyone sees my train of fought: I'm finding lame excuses. 

Tomorrow is the date of my brothers confirmation. I have big problems engaging in conversations with my family and it's friends because I feel sluggish and bad about myself, but I will take the opportunity.

Which opportunity? I will train to network and have mindful conversations under the best situation possible: I feel bad, so it's hard for me to engage into meaningful conversations or conversations that don't interest me at all. So that's quite a hard level to work on, but it's okay if I fail. It's family. Nobody cares if I leave at a certain point in the talk. I don't lose money or a relationship about it. I can just be there and work on my skills trying to hide how much I hate myself and the situation I'm being in. Sounds great, right? I'm almost pumped. Almost.

Career Advice

Yesterday I stumbled upon another interesting article. It covers the question what differs people with great career paths from those who always seem to struggle and never really seem to get out of their mediocre life. 

Even though I find the article worth reading I just want to focus on one particular part of it. It mentions another article by the NY Times which discusses the success of second generation immigrants in the US when compared to Americans whose families have been living there for a longer time span. 

It turns out that for all their diversity, the strikingly successful groups in America today share three traits that, together, propel success. The first is a superiority complex — a deep-seated belief in their exceptionality. The second appears to be the opposite — insecurity, a feeling that you or what you’ve done is not good enough. The third is impulse control.

I want to become an entrepreneur. Probably it's because I have all three of those traits. As I pointed out in yesterday's post, I should really be living in the here and now, but obviously none of this traits is going to make it easier for me, as it isn't for anyone else:

But this success comes at a price. Each of the three traits has its own pathologies. Impulse control can undercut the ability to experience beauty, tranquillity and spontaneous joy. Insecure people feel like they’re never good enough. “I grew up thinking that I would never, ever please my parents,” recalls the novelist Amy Tan. “It’s a horrible feeling.” Recent studies suggest that Asian-American youth have greater rates of stress (but, despite media reports to the contrary, lower rates of suicide).

On the other hand I don't really feel like settling for a life in mediocracy. I strongly feel like I want to leave a footprint, a legacy and I almost feel blessed that I have those three traits. People ca laugh about me, I don't care (superiority complex); I will prove myself (insecurity) and I have the discipline (impulse control). I don't really know how to act on this. Certainly the different point of view on stress that is being taught in the TED Talk I linked in yesterday's article should make a difference. Also I won't stop meditating. I feel like I need to get more resilient to stress and to my negative emotions in order to win this game. As soon as I have any further thoughts, I will let you know. :)