30 Days of Writing 30 Minutes

On a whim, I committed to 30 minutes of writing for 30 days. Really I came up with the 30 minutes myself, but the idea was from this website: https://www.lift.do/plans/323220-500wed

The prompt given for Day 1 was “Commitment”. A bit of a bitter pill to swallow… but I’ve done worse things.

Here it is:

Day 1: Commitment

Prompt: What’s your relationship with commitment? Are you great at it? Or are you like me, and absolutely terrible at following through on things?

My relationship with commitment… what an interesting juxtaposition of words. I think of commitment as a relationship with something so that question is really asking me, what my commitment to commitment is? Hmmm…

I am committed to whatever is in my face first that gives me the most energy! That spontaneous definition of commitment startles me. It makes me wonder then, what is the right way to be committed? The right way to be committed is to be responsible: to not over-commit and to not sacrifice or hurt yourself in the process. That makes the most sense to me in theory, although I don’t do that. I see something in front of me that gives me energy and I hurdle 150 miles per hour towards that thing.

Another way I commit is based on the people that care about me. If they tell me to spend time with them, pay attention to something they’re doing, or just start talking to me, I commit to that conversation, that time, and give them that attention. Sometimes it is forced but I give it nonetheless. How can you not give it? It makes me think that you have to be committed to have the conversations that lubricate our day-to-day lives.

A better way to commit would be to think about what gives you the most energy, and commit to those things and people that give you the most energy. I recently broke up with my girlfriend of 2 months for that reason. I know – 2 months wasn’t a very long commitment at all, but it was immensely long for me. It was 2 months of dating and then 2 more months in a committed relationship (so maybe 4 months), that slowly started to become strained because I had other things and people and activities in front of me that I had to commit to instead. Mainly work…But let’s correct my suggestion: a better way to commit would be to think about what gives you the most energy and commit to those things and people that give you the most energy and enthusiasm for life, and commit what you can realistically commit to those things and people. An example of that is this exercise of writing 30 minutes every day. It’s not 9 hours a day – that would be way too much. I would get bored, there would be no more energy to be had after perhaps hour 2. Not to mention, I would be missing out on doing other things in my life, that currently give me a lot of energy.

I think I have something now, so let’s summarize. My relationship with commitment is that I am committed to whatever is in my face (!) that gives me the most energy at the time. I commit to people that care about me in the same fashion when they reach out to me or ask for time & attention. Reaching out takes energy and I respect that. So I give some energy back. A way I could improve my relationship with commitment is to define what currently gives me energy in my life and define an amount of time that is suitable for that thing or person. I’ve done so effectively with exercise. I work out 15 – 30 minutes, 3 – 4 times a week, effectively doing 4 hours of exercise/month. I am appropriately committed for the results I want: I stay lean, healthy, and energetic, and most of all, it keeps my appetite in check – I get hungry three times a day. On the other hand, I continue to commit ineffectively with work, in which I put in 10 – 12 hours a day, and then feel compelled to work more to try to get even more energy out of my job. I’m over-committed for the results I want because I see there are more results or rather because I am committed to being responsible, and I don’t always work in the most responsible of environments. Often times, clients are riddled with issues that are a result of poor decisions and irresponsible leaders. I feel compelled to fix that and it requires that I be responsible to the nth degree. But usually, I have no more energy to give to work, and I spin my wheels.
So, in short, commitment, means investing in yourself. You invest in your own growth, and everything you care about, because you know that energy will be returned back to you.

To help manage my commitments better, I am going to take a commitment inventory, and do so week-by-week, so I can see where there are clear deficits. Here’s this week’s inventory:

  • Week of Sunday 11/2 – (I guess my week starts on Sunday now)
    • TOTAL – 24 hours/7 days a week = 168 Hours
    • Do work
      • Work at Client A – 10 hours/6 days a week = 60 hours
      • Work at Client B – 1 hour/5 days a week = 5 hours
      • Release Management role – 3 hours this week = 3 hours
      • Consultants Assembly – 30 minutes/month = 30 minutes
      • Additional Reading – 30 minutes/day = 3.5 hours
      • TOTAL = 72 hours
    • Eat Food
      • Breakfast – 30 minutes/7 days a week = 3.5 hours
      • Lunch – 45 minutes/7 days a week (I like to take an hour) = 5.25 hours
      • Dinner – 1 hour/7 days a week = 7 hours
      • TOTAL = 75 hours
    • Sleep
      • 8 hours/7 days a week (I wish…) = 56 hours
    • Work out
      • 15 minutes/4 days per week = 1 hour
    • Shower/Shave/Get dressed
      • 1 Hour/7 days per week = 7 hours
    • Write 30 minutes a day
      • .5 hours/7 days a week = 5 hours

That’s just the basics but let’s do the math: 168 – 151.75 = 12.75 hours left

That leaves me with about 2 hours a day to do something to commit to, assuming those .75 hours are work/travel time…

Some initial observations:

  1. I poop while I sleep or eat food or do work (just kidding! but that time is somewhere in there haha).
  2. I work too much. I do have a tough week ahead, but I have lots of tough weeks.
    1. Every tough week means I can’t be committed to anything else.
    2. I need to reduce the amount of tough weeks, and punish people for making my week tough.
  3. I have 1 to 2 more commitments I can make a day. I need to do something social.
  4. I don’t know what I should commit to my relationships…
  5. I can’t write anymore today, or I’ll have over-committed. Or perhaps appropriately committed to writing, but will now be over-committed to something else as a result… I don’t know.

Thanks for reading – your thoughts and comments and criticisms are appreciated.
Sebastian

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Renewed Optimism – Choosing Freedom Over Coercion

I’ve been feeling really great lately, since having a refreshing New Year’s Eve with my bro Sheryaar, coupled with a variety of different things I’ve experienced in the last couple weeks. I think the biggest thing I realized during the 5 day mini-vacation I spent in Boston is that we all are truly alone, that although relationships with people can be so surprising, in the ways in which people have shared interests, shared attitudes towards life, sense of humor, etc., and how those commonalities allow other people to build on who you are, magnify your interests, and take you to new heights that would otherwise be unachievable alone (gasp; what a long sentence!), no one can really help you do what you want to do but yourself. You can put yourself in situations, with other people, in which you’re getting what you want, but the initial desire and fulfillment of that desire has to come from you. The important caveat is that you can fulfill your desires in whatever way you’d like, but the fastest and most efficient way to get what you want in life is to do so while carrying no attachment to what other people’s desires are. If you are taking other people’s desires into account, whether those desires are what others think you should be doing or what other people themselves want to do, then you will constantly feel constrained by the fact that you’re catering to someone else’s desires, someone else’s wants and needs IN ADDITION to your wants and needs.

If you think about it like a mathematical equation in linear programming where you are solving a certain equation in order to (in this case) maximize a certain variable, that variable in each person’s life is (or should be) their goals and aspirations. This can be as definite or as vague as you want it to be but to me it is simply your reason to live – your reason to get up every morning and do what you do. Because we all have the choice to NOT do – to die. But all of us that are living, no matter how dead inside, depressed, or pessimistic about life, every second of the day, choose life over death. So perhaps it would be appropriate to call this variable Life (L), only issue is that is very hard to measure Life – I’d like to say it is happiness which is an indication of purpose. A better word seems to be joy; the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires (according the Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Quickly, I find this explanation turning into simply a manipulation of language in which I express something with itself. The main assumption (which has to be derived, perhaps in the next post) is that joy is what is to be maximized in life. Perhaps it would be better said as fulfillment. Joy, fullfillment, happiness.. whatever other cliche intangible emotion you want to to put in there is fine. In any case (to leave that for another post), the main point is that we ALREADY have enough trouble just managing our own competing desires in the short and long-term. Go ahead and add another constraint of another person and you can imagine how you end up feeling as though you have EVEN LESS time to do what you want.

The reason relationships can seem time consuming and unfulfilling is because of the differences – the times in which one person HAS TO express themselves according to what they want, without really thinking about if it’s relevant to you or not. My father comes to mind here (among other people of course)…sharing for the sake of sharing. Here, finally it becomes clear that I am not glorifying selfishness – only caring about your desires and no one else’s – no that’s not what I’m saying at all. Selfish is wanting to dominate others – to stifle a person’s individuality and direct it towards yourself. It’s not only selfish but actually self-inhibiting because where you may feel powerful, it is purely an illusion. That person will be less engaged, less energetic, and less careful in fulfilling YOUR desires; coercion never is beneficial in the long run, so really it is short-term selfishness.

Damn it! Wikipedia totally wipes out the purpose of my whole post…

The purpose of coercion is to substitute one’s aims to those of the victim. For this reason, many social philosophers have considered coercion as the polar opposite to freedom.[citation needed]

Without a citation, I know but still! So, basically I’m arguing that you should be free and eliminate any coercion from your life. Oh and that I’ve felt really free and the last couple of weeks, in realizing that I will now put me first. Being on the receiving end of coercive acts as a victim ends up amounting to you not progressing towards your aims as you instead have another’s aims substituted with your own. Being the victimizer on the other hand, is also less beneficial than having free relationships because there is an opportunity cost of having a free relationship; the time you spend victimizing is short-lived and is time you could have instead spent in a relationship that is not forced.

Coercion, then only becomes a valid action when you are being subjected to it by another, unknowingly or knowingly, in an effort to force an end to that type of behavior. Coercion against coercion – a fight ensues, and continues indefinitely until either both parties go their separate ways, choosing not to act according to the other party’s aims – a resignation on one or both sides in which neither party dominates the other –  or the weaker of the two becomes the victim for the time being. A resignation is rather self-explanatory, most-likely just the pause of the conflict. In the case of a situation where a victor/victim emerges, the victimizer then needs to explain his/her actions, to prevent this relationship from being perpetuated into the un-fulfilling situation of a coercive relationship. An explanation of why force was necessary, using the logic to show that the situation that transpired was (and the coercive actions that were enacted were), in all actuality, done in consideration of what was best for both people. Otherwise, it could foster a habituation of coercion or action in spite of the intended aim due to resentment.

What a messy post.. looks like I need more practice writing! That’s all for now.

 

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Starting my blog again

I’ve decided that I don’t write things down enough. I find myself exposing myself to a lot of new information but not really retaining a substantial part of that information.

So, I’m going to write. One post a day, every single day until…until I have something else I could be doing with my time that is better than writing.

Hopefully, I get some people to actually read my posts, but regardless, this is going to be primarily for me, to organize my thoughts and help me engage more deeply with the things I encounter in life.

I’ve decided that I don’t write things down enough. I find myself exposing myself to a lot of new information but not really retaining a substantial part of that information.

So, I’m going to write. One post a day, every single day until…until I have something else I could be doing with my time that is better than writing.

Hopefully, I get some people that actually read my posts, but regardless, this is going to be primarily for me, to organize my thoughts and help me engage more deeply with the things I encounter in life.

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Time to get a job

You're already invested. Put it all on the line. Now.

With 2 days before my interview in Santa Monica, California I am starting to get a bit anxious. I went out last night to go do some Red Bull “market research” – YEAH RIGHT, everyone I talked to was either drunk or not interested… not really prime material for getting some insightful comments about Red Bull. I’m sure I’ll get a laugh out of it in the end, not to mention it has put me in the mindset where all I want to do is work until this interview. There is no need to go out and have fun, I had my fun, danced, talked to people, and learned a lot in the process.

Now its time to focus on getting this job. The card I pulled today embodies what I am feeling completely. According to aeclectic.net, “This is the ‘failure-is-not-an-option,’ card,” and that’s exactly how I feel. This is it. I’ve worked my whole year for this chance to get an awesome, cool job and Red Bull is the company I will be working for. Everything about the company screams “Sebastian” and I know I will be so happy working for the company, nevermind the whole Master’s program. I’m a person that works hard and plays hard. Yeah, it’s true, I probably work harder than I play, but that’s just the nature of not having any cashflow to really fund the playing. This job is perfect for me to live a balanced life, where I love the work I’m doing and am around a team of people who love the life they are living

So now, I really have nothing left to say here. I know what I have to do. It’s time.

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Do whatever you want! You’re free! But there’s more to that you say? Say more William Foote

Thanks random person on twitter for taking this picture!

“Do one or two or three things well and collaborate with others to do the rest. If you’re super smart do ten.”  – William Foote

Yeah, so I have no way to know if he actually said that, because I was still making my way to Cambridge. I was getting some much needed sleep so I could listen attentively to the rest of the conference. And thanks to the live twitter feeds, I was still able to get a (rough) synopsis of William Foote’s keynote speech!

Overall…I guess the conference was… amazing! In fact, every time I step into any conference or fair that focuses on showcasing organizations and themes of social impact, I am taken aback by the shear number of people dedicated to something barely alive at Babson. Certainly we’ve made leaps and bounds since I joined the Babson community as a First-Year, considering we now have a sustainability speaker every semester, not to mention Bill Drayton, CEO and Founder of Ashoka coming for our commencement. That is a sure sign that the triple bottom line has become a reality at Babson. In any case, what the conference really articulates is the power of individuality.

All the people at the conference (including myself) were there because they WANTED TO BE! What a mind-blowing idea, I know! But wait, give me a chance to state a bit more than the obvious. While this freedom would be expressed normally at Babson as a passion for business, making money, or for (not all the time) partying and drinking, here at this conference that individuality was directed at altruism. What amazes me about it then is that there are so many people that actually envision a future for their career in making impact. While at Babson, the traditional sense of an education that I have mainly grasped has been to go into the business world and go into investment banking or consulting (which is of course just a failure of my perception of the matter as a whole), here were a bunch of people who were banking on a different path: making an impact to those around them in whatever problem area most interested them the most and was most problematic for those people.

But going back to William Foote’s point: you just have to pick one or two things, perform these things exceptionally well and then collaborate. In fact, although he says to do 10 if you’re super smart, I doubt that there are actually many people that do 10. Not because there aren’t any super smart people, but because it makes so much more logical sense to be good at 1 or 2 things and then apply what you know to various other fields of experience.

Which is troublesome for me then, and brings me to the point of reflection that I actually wanted to arrive at, which is: I don’t do 1 or 2 things. I do 10 (metaphorically that is, I probably do like 6 things). In which case, that would imply that I am really super smart right? I wish that were the case, but really its that I’m not doing each one very well. Perhaps that is the reason I feel as though I am always behind. Because in fact, if I am doing 6 things, then to do them well involves an extraordinary amount of time. So, I’ve certainly accomplished explaining that feeling of always being behind… but a more pressing issue then is why do I get involved with so many things at once?

First, let’s start at naming these things:

Work

1) College – which really currently has 5 parts – doing school work for class in Biotechnology, Psychology, Existentialism, Writing Fiction, and Corporate Financial Strategy. Very different subjects, but for the sake of unifying them, it’s all for a balanced bachelor’s degree in business administration.

2) Leading Green Tower as Co-President – a lot of time thinking for, preparing, and running both regular and E-Board meetings

3) The Writing Center – 6 hours a week, plus another 1.5 hours for time before and time after that is spent walking to and from work or simply just resting from the mental exercise I just took a part in. Of course, I get paid for this, and that money is spent on food for the most part, which helps make everything better when it’s good.

4) Job Interviews – I have done probably almost 20 interviews, prepared for these interviews, spent extensive time following up

5) This blog – this is self-explanatory then, it helps work things out that are floating around in my head

6) D2E Business/Non-Profit / GT Sustainability Consulting – that hasn’t consumed a lot of time from me thus far, but currently will become my hobby of choice along with,

7) Hypnosis & other books –  currently, reading Trancework, a book I bought to learn hypnosis because frankly I was afraid of how much control I would have in hypnotizing someone. In any case, my brother has already given me a basic framework for this, and it seems it will be helpful for a variety of things once I master it. Although this is leisure, it frankly feels like work…

8 ) Working out – I’d love to put this under leisure, but frankly it currently isn’t. Lifting weights feels

Leisure

1) Family – I probably spend like 2-3 hours a week talking to them

2) Hanging out with friends – how much time do I spend doing this…. I have no idea…

3) Eating – the majority of which is also hanging out with someone…

4) Listening to music

5) Going to parties – I don’t even do this that often…

6) ….

So now I don’t know what to do with this really. I have convinced myself there is a false dichotomy between work and play but it would seem that I haven’t really convinced myself of this. In any case, my work is skewed, definitely, so even if it isn’t a dichotomy, then why not at least balance it anyways? If work is fun and play is hard work, then clearly I’m not working hard enough on play if I’m struggling to articulate my leisure activities.

The conclusion of all this then becomes that although I am not focusing on one or two things, it all ends up being useful for what I will focus on as I get out of college. And finally, that since I have such a poor idea of where I spend my leisure time, then I am going to be meticulous about identifying how many hours a day I spend on work and how many hours a day I spend on play. There’s really no reason there should be any discrepancy, and if there is then something simply needs to change. We’ll see how balanced I am this week then!

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Nietzsche, you’re blowing my mind

with a stache like that, he mustve been the man

“I regard the bad conscience as the serious illness that man was bound to contract under the stress of the most fundamental change he ever experienced — that change which occurred when he found himself finally enclosed within the walls of society and of peace. The situation that faced sea animals when they were compelled to become land animals or perish was the same as that which faced these semi-animals, well adapted to the wilderness, to war, to prowling, to adventure: suddenly all their instincts were disvalued and ‘suspended’. From now on they had to walk on their feet and ‘bear themselves’ whereas hitherto they had been borne by the water: a dreadful heaviness lay upon them. They felt unable to cope with the simplest undertakings; in this new world they no longer possessed their former guides, their regulating, unconscious and infallible drives: they were reduced to thinking, inferring, reckoning, co-ordinating cause and effect, these unfortunate creatures; they were reduced to their ‘consciousness,’ their weakest and most fallible organ!” This was a draft I wanted to while I was reading Nietzsche 2 weeks ago…and then I didn’t publish it! So you know what? I’m just going to leave it like this. Read it and get whatever you get out of it! But get something, there’s definitely something good in there…

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Okay Maslow, so why am I at the bottom of the pyramid again?

"Yeah man, I'm Maslow."

 

“Because you haven’t been sleeping properly you fool!”

Thanks…Maslow…I guess? You know, you’re right, but you didn’t have to say it as though it was coming straight from my Superego…

Anyways, I’ve definitely had a very busy week but I never want to rest! I wonder if unconsciously I might be preparing myself for a Monday through Friday work schedule because I woke up ready to get straight back to work…. Starting reading some interesting existentialism because I hadn’t read it for Wednesday’s class as I was writing my essay about love. I have SO MUCH I want to write right now so I’m just going to get it all out in spurts. That’s what happens when you don’t have time to write everyday I guess… Here we go:

On my week: Totally a success by ALL accounts. Made time for everything (except maybe that Corporate Financial Strategy class I skipped but even that was a good decision): went to the gym twice, finished an essay, started another, got two midterms back that I aced, and applied to the jobs I needed to for the week. Oh and I also talked to some girls that I wanted to talk to… But at the end of the week I still have this yearning for something more, I’m still dissatisfied. What I really didn’t like about my week then was that I didn’t hear back from any jobs!! That’s what it is! I really wanted to hear back from Deloitte, I thought surely I’d be invited to a final round. I know I want to do consulting but it seems most of the opportunities have disappeared. It’ll all work itself out in the end as long as I keep being enthusiastic, keep doing what I want to do, and oh yeah, of course, sleep. Thanks Maslow.

Wait a second… so instead of rattling it all out here, what I’m going to do is right a separate post for each category. In that way the posts won’t become unwieldily large and I can have time to rant about each category without EVERYTHING being personal. That way this won’t become a journal but instead a blog on different topics besides myself.

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