Looking for balance in life, work, and relationships. #1000 days because the first 365 were pretty easy.
63628 words
antoszek.me

Being Nice

494

I feel like I've written about this already. Or maybe I have, but in my mind. Either way, this is something that we need all to be reminded about. So let's go, again (or not).

Being nice is nice. It doesn't require much from us: just a simple smile. A more polite way of saying the same thing. Holding the door for someone. Simple, but impactful.

By being nice we show that we care. Not only about the person we're being nice to, but also humanity as a whole. That we respect what it means to be human, that we respect ourselves as much as we respect other people.

Respect spreads exponentially. It has a pretty high R factor (ugh Covid). A little drop of niceness here and there may result in a much larger wave overall. And it's even nicer to be on the receiving end of niceness. Just makes your day better.

Be nice.

Just because it's nice.

Avoiding The Feeds

493

I love technology, I always did. Some ma call me a 'tech enthusiast', and I kinda agree with that. I'm an excited tech early adopter, but at the same time a staunch digital minimalist. Best of both worlds if you ask me.

There's one 'innovation' technology brought us that I truly hate: feeds. The infinitely-scrollable, constantly refreshing, AI-generated feeds. Those feeds. The sewers, as I like to call them.

Those feeds are a mess. The information there is not presented in a coherent way, just random 'updates' that the algorithm thinks may be relevant to you. But how many things you'd like to be constantly updated on? Answer that on your own, but the answer is probably much, much lower than the algorithm wants you to think. So much context-switching, a feed is like a mind that cannot settle on a single thought. Lately, it seems, we've started to think like the feeds. All the time but with no context. No reflection. Just consumption.

But, there is important information hidden in the feeds! Among all that garbage, all that shit, to be frank, lies the occasional-valuable-update-I-want-to-see. Oh what can we poor mortals do? Nothing, it looks like. Give into the machine or die.

During the past few years, I realized there is a way to avoid the sewers, but still harness the power of technology. First, no AI-developed feeds. None. Block the Facebook main feed, stay off Instagram. Subscriptions on YouTube, Tweets displayed by date published, not 'relevance', and Reddit posts sorted by 'new' or 'best' are ok. Because they've been manually chosen by me beforehand. I'm only allowing myself to see the things I remotely care about, the things I value. Second, search instead of consuming what has been delivered to you. I don't follow many people on Twitter, but I like to stay in touch occasionally with many more. So I search for their profile from time to time and see what they've been doing, thinking about. Same for YouTube - I subscribe to only ~10 channels, and search for all the others I like to watch. Anytime there's somebody new I'd like to follow, I add them to a checklist I have, and manually check them out every once in a while.

Things become so much cleaner, so much nicer this way. No noise, only signal.

I do not want to be fed, I want to hunt on my own.

Floating In Thoughts

492

These days, it feels like we're thinking as often as we're breathing; all the time. There is a difference: we have to breathe constantly, but not think constantly. Thoughts can be left alone for some time and nothing bad will happen.

Here's an exercise for ya: set up four different random timers for the day. And when they ring, note down if you're thinking and what you're thinking about. As simple as it gets.

Then repeat that a few days in a row. What you'll most likely see is that you (and most of us) are thinking all the time. Very often about menial, unimportant things. About the past and the future we have no control over.

What if for a while, we'd try floating in our thoughts, instead of processing them.

Floating means not actively holding onto any thought. But also not escaping any thought. Letting our collective mind guide us through the maze that it itself is. Floating, remember? Not running, not enjoying. Just being.

So healthy, so detoxing. Feels like letting go of some poisonous baggage.

Just Don't Worry

491

Today I found this glorious diagram on Twitter:

problems.png

It's so simple, so obvious. We all know it, yet we all seem to constantly forget about this simple truth. If you can't do anything about a problem, then don't care.

Notice one thing about the diagram: when your answer is "I don't know", it also points you to I don't care. That's important. Often, when we're unsure about a problem; its importance, impact, potential resolution, we still try to meddle with it. Which is a senseless way of acting.

Unless you don't know if, and how (can be just a guess), don't deal with a problem. Leave it alone.

Solve anything, not everything.

An Internal Battle

490

Sometimes I fight. Rarely with other people, more often with myself.

I fight about all kinds of things. Sometimes they're menial, sometimes they're visionary. But, to be honest, most often I'm fighting about some unimportant thingy thing. Ah, the beauty of being human.

In a normal fight, one of the parties has to lose while the other has to win. It wouldn't be a fight without that. But, what happens if there's only one party? In this case, me?

Welp, it doesn't usually go so well. Fighting is tiring, and so, I loose a lot of energy over that. Sure, when I'm fighting about something important, then I might say it is energy well spent. But usually it ain't, as I mentioned before.

But, in the end, a fight can be transformative. Even if there's no clear winner, the exchange of thoughts is a healthy thing to do. Just keep it in balance with the other stuff.

Fight, because the non-fighters don't know what it means to win.

Abandoning Perfection

489

Perfection, no matter how we imagine it, is impossible to achieve in this world. There's always something to improve, period. Of course, everything has a state of good enough, but perfection, as a state, is unachievable. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a fool, sorry.

It took me a while to realize this, I admit. A few years. Or even more, who knows really. Maybe I'm still sometimes not getting it? Either way, it's not that easy to say au revoir to perfection.

When I look at people who've not yet realized this, a lot of feelings arise. Sometimes I feel like looking down on them. But that's stupid. All I should be doing is help them see that in most areas of life, they're already good enough. There's no need to be perfect. Growth is pretty cool, but it may quickly become unhealthy.

Wake up from the dream. Calm down from the nightmare. Life is here, right here, nowhere else. Think about today, about this very second.

No tripping over perfection.

Consume/Create

488

I consumed a shit ton of content today. Maybe it's hard to admit, but that's what happened. I'm sick (looks like the common cold, but who knows, mighe be even COVID), and so I've been sitting all day in the house. Which was a pretty unusual experience for me - even during quarantine I was going out everyday (I live far away from other people).

Needless to say, I couldn't focus on almost anything important all day. Other than writing this blog post, I truly didn't do anything meaningful today. Oh, I took a shower - that's it.

But I did do something, right? I consumed a shit ton of content. Watched countless YouTube vidoes (hasn't happened in a while), listened to a couple of podcasts, read too many Twitter threads. Un-intentional living at its highest. Well, gotta write today off as a meh day.

All of this made me think again about my ratio of consumption vs creation. How much time I spend on reading, listening, watching versus how much I write, record, publish.

Normally I think this ratio should stay at about 6:4 for me. 60 percent of the time consuming, 40 percent creating. But today this looked more like 99:1. How poor.

The idea of this ratio was one of the things that motivated me to write every day for the past 488 days. What strikes me is that for so many people this 99:1 ratio is the norm. They don't speak their minds, just sit and watch. A mind that cannot express itself is a dead mind.

Let's not be brain-dead, aye?

Precautions

487

Taking precautions is an interesting thing to do. Some people do that whenever they can, others don't think it's worth it. In Polish we have a saying: przezorny zawsze ubezpieczony, roughly meaning: the cautious is always insured.

There's a lot of truth in that. Sometimes even the smallest precaution might change the course drastically; save lives, even. In many scenarios, being cautious is just good for us.

But how cautious is too cautious? When does taking precautions become dangerous within itself?

At some point it must. Limiting ourselves and worrying about every step can be very hurtful to us and those around.

Be cautious to not be too cautious. But be cautious to be cautious.

Decisiveness

486

Taking things slow, pondering, reflecting is a good approach to life. Adding some self-consciousness makes us stronger, smarter, and more agile.

But it's important to know when to get out of this meandering state and make swift decisions. Knowing and understanding these warning signs is no easy task; missing them is something we've all done in the past.

It's easy to be decisive when we've got an audience watching us. It's hard to be decisive when we're floating through space.

Decide to act, decide to win.

Outside Acceleration

485

Sometimes there are moments in life when it feels like something else is pushing us forward. Not our internal drive, but some external, hard-to-understand force. Sometimes this might come from the everyday rush. The rush itself is a powerful force, once we get things rolling it might be hard to stop.

From time to time we find a stronger, deeper force. Something that seems to be coming completely from the outside, yet it knows where to hit, where to assist us in the journey.

It's hard to describe this. Noticing that outside force, outside acceleration, is hard itself. We just get going, endeavoring ourselves in the repetitiveness of everyday.

Sometimes it's the right people, the right environment, the right weather.

It's a natural force, it's all around us, and within us.

All we have to do is notice.

A Writer's Life

484

Writing is a fascinating thing to do. Telling stories, imagining scenarios, trying to make somebody feel like they're in a different world. All through words that are written down. Without anybody delivering them. Because of that, everybody has their own version of the story, their own way of reading the words. No one piece of art can be interpreted the same way by hundreds. Everything can be anything.

A writer, an artist, can only suggest. We use tools making up our craft to suggest you, the dearest reader, things to think about. To imagine. To experience.

It's an unpredictable game, truly. Sometimes daunting; what if they won't understand me? The writer doesn't fear misinterpretation by the reader; she fears her own misinterpretation of her thoughts.

It's hard to write down exactly what you feel. Even harder to communicate how you're feeling it. Words are universal, experiences are not. Thus, the writing process is a hot mess. It's transformative for the writer; thoughts that used to be mere impressions are now solid written statements.

Sometimes the writer doesn't want to read their finished piece, worried that a manufactured version of their memories will replace the original one.

A writer's life is a novel within itself; a journey to and a journey within.

A journey that never ends.

Versatility

483

Versatility is sometimes a trait above all traits.

Somebody versatile is able to continually grow, ask, debate, but also, at the same time, not spread themselves too thin.

I've always wanted to be versatile. In my mind, it was one of the ultimate aspects a person could have. Always admiring the versatile, not living within their self-imposed limits, but rather constantly exploring the world with a fresh and open mind.

But this pursuit has not always been beneficial. It's so easy to loose context. Trust me, there's a fine line between a versatile, and a lost person. So hard to notice if you're not experienced.

Be a multi-purpose tool, but never loose your one core purpose.

Probing Your Capacities

482

I've recently delved into the topic of internal capacities. A concept of how much of something we can internally handle.

We all have limits. Sometimes we wish we didn't have them, but, in the end, we do. Some of us can't spend much time with other people. Others get overwhelmed by their senses easily. Some have stronger bodies, some do not.

There are tens of different capacities we have all at the same time. We all get a quite similar amount of "energy" sent into our "batteries" every day. It's just that it doesn't always fit into the right ones. The limit gets reached, a breakdown incurs.

Probing and understanding how much can you truly handle is incredibly important. An important step in knowing yourself better. If you do know your capacities pretty well, then you can engage in certain activities more fully, knowing that they fit your profile better.

It's also incredibly important to try to understand the capacities of others. Knowing when your friend needs a break from the party, or when your significant other needs some mental stretching help building better relationships.

Know your strengths by knowing your limits.

Reach Out

481

Sometimes it feels like we crave contact, yet are too afraid to establish it.

What's even weirder is that we are more connected than ever before. It's so easy to reach out.

Maybe it's all just too much; too many options generate overwhelm.

Maybe it's because we're getting into more and more "low optionality" friendships, where not much contact is present, and thus not much bonding occurs.

Either way, it's very important to remember to reach out. To your online idol. To that friend you haven't talked to for years. To that ex of long ago.

The worst that could happen is no reply. Or a reply saying they're not interested. That's it.

And the best possible one? A new friendship, heck, even a relationship, could form. So why not?

Don't dare to not reach out.

Cycling Trivialities

480

There's significant beauty in the mundane, the everyday. It's easy to overlook and disregard that, but I'm slowly learning how to cherish those moments.

I've come to love cycling. It's such a beautiful thing to do: movement at a speed that's fast, yet very human, still. But it's also a great time to think, to process.

But I don't like to handle the big stuff, yuck. It's the little things, the simple ones, the boring ones I think about. And it's not really thinking, soaking up reality, sort of.

It's a process I can't truly describe with words; it's just something that has to be experienced.

So, how it's gonna be?