Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Someone asked what I remember as the best times of my life.

They’re almost all times when I was being the most productive — when I was creating the most.

I don’t subscribe to many blogs these days (perhaps two or three) but Derek Sivers’ is one of them. And while it’s been a while since I finished reading Derek’s book Anything You Want I still find his writing incredibly insightful.

No doubt that’s down to quotes like the aforementioned, which are incredibly simplistic to grasp and even easier to relate to.

Such writing holds up a mirror to the things we so often forget. The lessons contained within his most recent post, Disconnect, summarise my current thought processes exactly. It’s been swirling around in my head all day. The destruction idleness and inactivity brings. The liberation that focus and creation delivers. Read More

Discipline = Freedom

July 26, 2016

“Extreme Ownership. Leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.”

When former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink says something like that, you take notice. To him, as it is with the co-author of his book and fellow SEAL Leif Babin, the concept of ‘extreme ownership’ is one that’s pivotal to any kind of successful human endeavour. Responsibility is the name of the game. Instead of actively trying to shirk it? Embrace it. 

Jocko first entered my world through a suggestion of a friend. Duly playing along with my social responsibility to pay respect to such recommendations, I first sought out what he had to say thanks to the Tim Ferriss podcast. Spellbound by his story and deeply influenced by his “get-up early and go after it” philosophy, I was intrigued to learn more. That subsequently led me to his outstanding podcast (which you’ll see listed here numerous times) and eventually his book itself, Extreme Ownership.

This is a guy who’s seen a lot of things, lived through some extremely testing times and still finds himself engaged in battle. But it’s not the kind of conflict of his military past. It’s the daily struggle for betterment. To work on yourself and push yourself further each and every day. That’s the kind of message that Jocko promotes.  Read More

Stagnating? Stalling? Standing still?  

If you’re anything like me, these words likely describe an all too familiar feeling. It’s a feeling related to fear. To being anxious about what comes next. 

Although I don’t like to admit it, I am, as most humans are programmed to be, incredibly risk averse. I seek out comfort where possible. I resist anything that could possibly lead to change. I like to maintain control where possible and do everything within my means to attempt to keep things ordered.  Read More

“When you pick up a grain of salt, you are holding more ions than there are stars in the visible universe.”

These are the quotes that are largely responsible for drawing my attention away from the more traditional arts (those I was so infatuated with as a skinny-framed youth) and putting me, more firmly, on the trajectory of learning more and more about science.

This quote, taken from a recent read of Peter Atkins’ What is Chemistry?, has a similar effect on one’s perspective of life and meaning that reading something like Carl Sagan’s Cosmos has on a first time reader.

Reading both has the result of blowing wide open your sense of awareness. Of taking you out of whatever meaningless dilemma you may find yourself in and reminding you of the ridiculous machinations of your ego.

Essential reading if you ask me.

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Earlier this year, in April to be exact, I undertook my first long distance running challenge. The Madrid City Half Marathon.

To say that training for this was enjoyable, compared to hitting the weights or doing something like calisthenics (in which my interest is steadily growing), would be an overstatement. The truth is that it was something of a slog. Interrupted half-way through, I might add, by a silent meditation experience that took me out of training for the best part of a fortnight.

That said, I was still pretty happy to cross the finish line of a race a little over 21 kilometres, with no prior distance running experience, in just under two hours.

How I did it? Not like I used to approach cross-country running back in my school days, that’s for sure. I ate a lot better, trained with more discipline and slowly worked my way up to it. I also avoided sprinting hell-for-leather at the start to get ahead of the pack, like a thirteen-year old kid thought best, before falling all the way behind.

The exact process I’ll lay out here. No doubt there’s a million-odd ways to train for this (in fact, my friend Anton (superb artist), did pretty much zero running at all and still came in at the same time as me, albeit with a couple of marathons under his belt – and a whole load of crossfit – previously).

This is what worked. Read More