Looking for balance in life, work, and relationships. #1000 days because the first 365 were pretty easy.
71660 words
antoszek.me

Love What You Have

501

This is probably the message I've repeated the most on this blog. But it's a hell of an important one.

Today, I've felt this in quite a few ways. I had a terrible nightmare, about loosing something important. Someone, I should say. I get these from time to time, but this one kind of hit differently. It just happened at a particular time. And it reminded me, again and again, to care about my people. To love them whenever I can. My life mission is about serving other people, so that's what I should be doing, at least every day.

But it's also important to care and love yourself. It's easy to focus on other while loosing track of one's own health, mental and physical. I've kind of disregarded my health in the past few weeks. All I cared about was "going back to normal", and having a speedy recovery. And I recovered too fast, and everything went down from a certain point. At least I have the medicines I need now. Hope I'm not going to be as reckless as I was.

Love your people, love yourself.

Don't dare to forget about that.

This Is My Book

500

At last, here we are. Half of a thousand posts, day after day. Without a single one missed.

Wow. I'm impressed.

Every single day I'm breaking a boundary that seemed to be unbreakable the day before. Such long-term work made we truly switch from achievement-based thinking to process-based. I don't care about the numbers anymore, truly. Another hundred is not a big deal, as I wrote one hundred posts ago. Every single day, even the worst day of the year, I force myself to write. To confront the messy experiences, the unformed thoughts, and the ever-conflicting feelings.

I suck at writing. I'm considerably good at putting words together, but I wouldn't call all of this writing. This is purely exercise, the 10 000 hours one needs to put into a skill to truly master it. A writer writes books, not blog posts. They think long-term, create one story from multiple experiences; I write multiple stories from a single experience.

This is my book. A jarring misinterpretation of a book, rather. A delirious wanna-be of a book. The posts are somewhat random; all that connects them is this distant search for balance. A word I still do not know the meaning of. Sometimes, I think I feel what it means, but certainly do not know. Other than that single connection, the posts are a hot mess. Just like myself.

When will I stop? No one knows, especially me. I have this arbitrary goal of 1000. But that's just a number, maybe The Search will die out tomorrow. Maybe on January 1st. Maybe on the 1000th day. Maybe never. When I reach a thousand posts, I'll look back and reflect. See all the work and see life; the ups, the downs. The crossroads, the clear paths.

Maybe I'll write a real book then.

A Bit Of Power

499

A few days ago, Fleet Foxes, one of my favorite bands, released their new album, Shore. Somehow, I was not aware of it until today. But I finally listened to it, delved into its beauty during a morning hour-long writing session.

I won't review the music; art is so personal to me, that I'm reluctant in talking about it publicly. I do it, but rarely. Also, I don't know that much about music. I listen to multiple genres, have my choices, but am not a reviewer. In any way.

I was not surprised by the album, all of the songs seem to be a natural evolution of their previous work. It was expected, but still pleasing.

The album gave me a sense of hope I haven't felt often in 2020. It's adventurous, exploratory, but also soothing and fulfilling, all at the same time. I feel empowered and comforted. So beautiful.

It's been tough this year. For all of us, in one way or another. Many things have been taken away from us. All but one, it seems; the ability to share hope, empower.

Even the smallest bit out there.

Redesign

498

Every couple of months I move the furniture in the places I spend most time in. I've been doing this pretty regularly for the past ~3 years, and it's been a fascinating experience. Every single time I've learned something new.

For example, yesterday I redesigned my work/rest space. Didn't buy anything new, just used what I already had. Maybe that's just a unique trait I have, but whenever I spend time in a physical space, I think about how it works, how I'm interacting with it. And thus, I pretty often have ideas on how to improve things. Yes, I'm that guy that who, when entering a friends house, has a lot of comments about it. Why is this shelf here? If you move it here you'll have a more natural flow. Et cetera...

After each redesign, I get a huge boost. Not just motivation-wise, but a clarity boost. I feel like I interact with the space more intentionally, more clearly. The redesigns are iterative: I note down the things that are not working, and then I redesign the space. Some things stay, some do not. All of that while I'm very rarely adding new stuff. More often just subtracting, removing unnecessary obstacles.

We don't often notice & appreciate the amount of control we have in life. Truly, we can redesign a lot of things. Not just our physical space, but our diet, routines, habits, relationships, communities. All it takes is a bit of intentionality and willingness to change.

Notice, analyze, redesign.

A Year Of Simplicity

497

Today marks a year of me living with a ultra-simplistic productivity system. In some circles I'm known as the 'productivity guy', and so I've used and built incredibly complex systems, both for myself and others. Writing this post today seems strange, but in the end, it's logical. Very.

Here's the system: I have my daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly plans in a Bullet Journal. I'm even using the official notebook now. That's the place where I write down someone's birthday, a conference I want to attend (virtual ofc these days), a task I'll have to complete. I love the pure simplicity of that system. It's very manual, requires a lot of menial labor, as some productivityists would call it. But, it's also very intentional. I like that. I see myself putting a lot less bullcrap in there. Only the truly important and valuable stuff. Other than the BuJo, I also have project tasks lists in Standard Notes, my note-taking app and overall second brain. They're very simple checklists, often with due dates, that I use when scoping a big project. I then migrate these during my weekly review to the BuJo.

For those unacquainted with the productivity underworld, this system might sound complex. Trust me, it's not. It's simple as hell. It's like level 3 out of 100 in terms of complexity.

I thought that this experiment was going to fail. I projected, anticipated, even, a crash sometime in the middle. I kind of assumed I'd go back to complex, digital solutions somewhere along the way. This analog/digital minimalism journey was just an experiment I thought I had to undertake to truly understand people using BuJo, to better complement my productivity trainings.

But it stuck with me. I'm much less stressed thanks to just a change of the system. I feel like I'm under control, but without stressing over micromanaging every second of my life. I don't miss deadlines, I'm never late to meetings. But I have space to create, to go off track, to explore. And that's something I never thought would be possible. I always thought its either or when it comes to staying on task and living stress-free.

Looks like, I've found balance. At least in one part of life.

The Search never ends.

Recovery

496

Pushing forward, growing, achieving success, and all of that feels good. Hard work pays off, truly. It always did and always will, no matter what we try to tell ourselves.

From time to time we'll take a hit. That's normal, it happens to all of us. It doesn't matter how hard we're trying, or what exactly are we doing, a hit will always come. Especially when we're not anticipating it.

Some of us think that after a hit, we'll just dust off our clothes, take a deep breath, and continue operating at the same high level as we did before. Those who think they're invincible will not appreciate taking a hit.

Recovery is very important. Respecting the time and work required to get back on the same level is crucial. Any professional will tell you that. Because, sometimes, if we raise up too quickly after a hit, we might fall down again.

Listening to your body, your mind, your soul, those around you is incredibly precious. Take your time, don't rush. You'll get back there someday. Maybe just not today.

Don't be the one who, while raising up from his knees, fell down on his face.

Clarity, Clarity

495

Oh how I wish I could summon mental clarity on the spot. Snap. Just like that.

Writing daily is not an easy task. Most days, I don't have much time I can block out for writing, and thus, it's just hard to collect my thoughts often. Writing at 11pm (like now) doesn't work well for me.

But there are so many moments when I wish I'd think more clearly. I don't know why, but I usually think clearly when I don't want to. Or at least don't need to.

Sometimes I'm so lost in thought I can't even remember the last sentence. Either while writing or while thinking.

But pushing myself to write, to think concisely, is the only way to gain more clarity.

So I will continue to push. And feel the pain.

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.