Emotional Eating is Yummy, So Why Not Become an Expert?
Friday October 21, 2022
Lately I’ve realized: It totally sucks that there’s this term “Emotional Eating”, which involves being ashamed or unhappy, and not processing one’s emotions, and completely messing up and eating too much.
“Emotional eating” should be a positive term. It should involve eating the stuff you really like to eat.
In other words, it should build on your own personal values system. And we know that your personal values are powerful and healthy when it comes to assisting with life-changing goals.
Signs of a Really Good Emotional Eater?
Maybe this sounds foreign. But I think a truly healthy diet culture should be able to teach people HOW to become Expert Emotional Eaters.
Let’s play with that idea a bit.
Here’s where I think an Expert Emotional Eater (EEE) should be:
- The EEE should be in general control of their health. They are taking care of themselves in a good way.
- They should be happy with their weight, or with the direction their diet & eating is taking.
- They know how to leverage their favorite foods toward weight loss or weight maintenance, not just weight gain.
- They can design a diet with their favorite foods as a foundation, or centering philosophy.
- They find it easier to lose weight on a diet that is calibrated to their favorite foods.
- They should know how often they should eat favorite foods to continue supporting a challenging emotional situation, such as extreme weight loss.
- They should be able to list their favorite foods in any given category.
- When listing favorite foods, they should be able to tell you what portion size they usually like with that.
- Why? Well, partly because they are also looking forward to what they’re eating later, and want to leave room for it.
- They should have a nuanced opinion on “health foods”, rather than simply “this is healthy, and that isn’t”.
- They understand that “healthy eating, for me” may be a different thing from someone else’s healthy eating entirely, and also better and more useful to know about, in many ways.
- They ensure they get enough nutrition, but also know how to be flexible with a pro-nutrient, or even pro-macro approach. They understand that many people get more than enough nutrients, and that nutrients can be measured and managed without changing an entire diet too much.
- They know how to both refine and broaden their tastes. Their idea of good food may have some complex theories inside. Plus, they know what they like, but they also keep an open mind.
- They see the world of emotions as a beautiful place that goes so much deeper than Good vs. Bad emotion.
- They are able to set healthy boundaries with others on the topic of eating, for example in social eating situations.
So, there’s one set of ideas, just to demonstrate more about what this could mean.
There are many ways to lose weight and be healthy. You could say we’re drowning in them. But the one you’re reading here is just a bit higher on the “let’s work with my normal biology, chemistry, and cave-person brain” scale than, say, extreme volume eating combined with strict macros.
Personally, I like to combine this Pro-Emotional Eating perspective with a caloric-deficit model to lose weight, and that becomes something like my Moderated Dirty Cut.
I lost over 35% of my body weight and overcame obesity in this way, and many of my friends didn’t recognize me afterward. I still enjoy working on the Pro-Emotional perspective, learning more about what I like, and when, and why, and so on.
I think this model, the Pro-Emotional Eating Perspective model (PEEP!), let’s call it, is worth considering, if you like the way certain foods taste.
It’s meant for the people out there who know they benefit emotionally from eating good food…and who definitely know they have preferences that they enjoy.
When compared with typical weight loss via numbers only, or nutrients only, I think the theory speaks for itself.
Do you change your body language, mannerisms, or speech with different people?
Wednesday October 19, 2022
When you interact with other people who are different personality types, do you change the way you act or speak around them?
Quick answer: Absolutely.
And: If you are interested in it, I think you should try it.
I don’t really do this in the mimic-other-people sense that you may have read about. Like if someone folds their arms, I’m not going to fold my arms just because they did!
I don’t find that very interesting or creative, in fact it seems kind of shallow and easy to detect. If I detect someone else doing it, I find myself leaning toward not trusting them.
Most of the time I think you can keep your general style but change the expression on your face, the direction in which you look, and the words you use, here and there.
A little bit goes a long way.
You Can’t Always Be Yourself, Subconscious Edition
The truth is, you cannot always be yourself. As an idea, or model, it certainly works in some ways (do what you want to do in life, generally speaking!) but it is really broken and overused in some other big ways.
For example, reading articles like this one is learning. Learning is growing. Growing is change—everybody does it, all the time. Change is stress. Stress comes and goes. So, know the process and embrace it! And take breaks to enjoy what you’re becoming.
And that’s just the barely-conscious stuff. Your subconscious mind may also have some plans for you—you may suddenly decide you want a bright red sports car for your 50th birthday, even though you just bought a gray economy model!
Well, there’s a change. Surprise!
You Definitely Can’t Be Yourself, Group Edition
The same general idea is true with relationships.
Interpersonal dynamics always change, with each new interaction. The change depends on the personalities and traits of those involved.
Yes, this means that you definitely change, contextually. You may have already realized that in some cases you almost seem to become a completely different person, when you’re around different groups of friends, coworkers, relatives, and so on.
Unless you become aware of the specific dynamic, and know what to do with it, you’ll probably be stuck in whatever the default is for the combination of your personality type and the others who are involved.
You will probably, at some point, find yourself in a frustrating, repetitive loop that may remind you of some painful time in your past, or prevent you from making some kind of breakthrough you desire.
Personally, after studying this stuff for a long time, I do find that I’m usually aware of the dynamic. This means that I have some control over it.
Since I have some control, I tend to make conscious decisions about what to do—like which cognitive processes to favor in conversation, and which to avoid, sometimes—and I refine that initial decision over time.
(I’ve also made some REALLY dumb decisions about this in the past, and I’m glad to have had a lot of practice since then.)
Here’s some important stuff to keep in mind.
- This takes time to learn. In some cases it is REALLY hard and frustrating. You may not be aware of many others who are willing to do it.
- Corollary: In many cases it’s better to disengage, change roles, teams, situations, etc. first.
- Corollary: People who are not willing to engage in this kind of study & change are definitely missing out in a variety of ways.
- You are changing yourself by doing this. And “Don’t change yourself to suit others” is a terrible model here, don’t apply it or you’ll fall into all the old loops and traps. It’s more like, “Change yourself to have more control over your life” IMO.
- By the way, this also involves inviting others to change. For the sake of preserving your own energy and motivation levels, there will be times when you MUST be willing to invite others to responsibly step up to the plate, so to speak. For example, it could be that you MUST be willing to invite the other party to really open their mind in some way, if they are asking you to close yours. Even if they don’t know how hard you’re working behind the scenes, you still must be willing to invite or direct them to use their best effort to work with you, when things aren’t exactly equitable for you.
- If you are taking conscious control of this activity, then you should certainly organize it, log it, and track it. At least at first.
- It can be extremely helpful to think up creative ways to be upbeat and be less of a hardass. There are very few situations where hardassery is the only option.
- You can’t solve a relationship, but you can sure as hell do a lot to make it work way better.
- Set boundaries with yourself. If you’re an introvert, don’t overexpose yourself to people, or to constantly-changing groups of people. If you’re an extrovert, be really careful not to sum everybody up, or tell yourself “I know people”. That’s a good way to lose control fast, when the dynamic isn’t going in your favor. Gentle, thoughtful moves are often best.
- A personality type system can be described as a model that helps to develop fairly-safe assumptions about a group of people. This description bundles two important aspects: First, the word is “assumption”, not “fact”. Second, an individual is not a group! Be careful and watch the individuals’ responses to what you are doing.
- If you know what cognitive processes or functions a person prefers, congrats—you also know what to avoid, if you want to work with them productively. That’s huge sometimes!
- There are some pretty safe general rules you can pick up fast. If somebody’s being an untrustworthy rogue, it’s generally not a good idea to act like a clueless tourist around them, unless you have a specific idea in mind!
- Another simple one: Introverts often don’t understand how important attention is, to extroverts. If you are not giving an extrovert (or a person acting extroverted) some attention, you are withholding or reserving some control for yourself. End of story. If you need control, the attention dynamic is one of the first areas to review.
- If the situation seems difficult, make simple, reliable decisions early & fast, and commit. If it’s an important, ongoing situation, always buy yourself time and know how you’ll use the time with respect to that situation.
- Don’t be mean or cruel to people. It’s not worth it. You want revenge? Dumb idea! Get something else, like at least get satisfaction first, and see if that’s enough for you.
- Corollary: Communicate with people early and directly so you don’t have to be sneaky.
- Use these tools to make the world better. Watch for others gifts, as an expression of their cognitive preferences.
As a result of this kind of work:
- You should feel more capable of setting gentle boundaries with other people.
- You should feel more comfortable in your long-term relationships.
- You should feel like you can make smarter decisions about when you want to have some other people around, and when you don’t. You may even learn how to decide what kind of setting that will need to be, to support you best.
- You should feel ready to grow into a more circumspect, healthy version of yourself, using a gentle approach that works better than obsolete models like “don’t change who you are”.
- You should feel more unlocked in life, more generally capable, and definitely more skilled with people.
I hope that helps, Amber!
My Top 20 Science Fiction Movies, And Some Extras
Monday October 17, 2022
I came across somebody’s Reddit thread asking users to post their top 10 sci-fi movies, and ended up looking through my master list to find just the sci-fi ones.
By the time I was done reviewing mine, I had a list of 20, so I thought I’d go from that because there’s more which is great in a favorite topic. So I’ll list them here then break things down further a little bit.
- Contact – 1997 (Some of you personality type otaku out there want to know who the INTJ character is in this film, and I will just say I think he mostly works in the background in the story, but damn if he doesn’t make HUGE contingency plans.)
- The Quiet Earth – 1985
- Back to the Future – 1985
- WarGames – 1983
- Matinee – 1993
- Close Encounters of the Third Kind – 1977
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture – 1979
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – 1982
- Somewhere in Time – 1980
- Blade Runner 2049 – 2017
- Blade Runner – 1982
- Inception – 2010
- Tenet – 2020
- 2001: A Space Odyssey – 1968
- Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back – 1980
- 2010: The Year We Make Contact – 1984
- When Worlds Collide – 1951
- Meteor – 1979
- Westworld – 1973
- The Day the Earth Stood Still – 1951
Those aren’t all super rewatchable to me, and the most-rewatchable list changes more frequently over time. But here’s my current most-rewatchable sub-list:
- The Quiet Earth
- Back to the Future
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture
- 2010: The Year We Make Contact
Points of Hesitation, Pain, Frustration, or Pause
Here are some weird points that stood out to me while I reviewed the list.
- I really, really wish I could watch The Quiet Earth again for the first time. I caught it on PBS one night and only saw part of it at the time, but it blew my mind. I remember wondering if I’d ever be able to finish watching it someday.
- Back to the Future stood out by comparison as a kind of bland pop culture title as I scanned my list at first, but thinking on it further, it’s a really damn good film. It gets better the longer it runs, with the beginning maybe the hardest part for me to sit through, in a way.
- I hesitated on WarGames, like “is this a science fiction movie?” for some reason. But damn if it didn’t really pick up the Colossus: The Forbin Project torch and run with that thing. Plus really quality hacking history in there, and adolescent love, and a radio-controlled flying dinosaur flown by a mysterious wizard…oh and MISTAH POTATAH HEAD!!!
- Matinee was similarly a strange fit in some ways but I’m not trying to be hyper-exact here. I really enjoy it. Similar with Somewhere in Time as well. I absolutely love the idea of actual, this-is-really-happening time travel via gettin’ dressed up and being authentic, and meditating a bit, and well, it just seems like the sort of thing the ideal universe really ought to reward with the gift of time travel. Even if you do wake up completely exhausted afterward, or worse!
- Meteor was kind of a sleeper WTF for me. Examples WTFs, “Why The Frick haven’t I heard of this film” and “Why The Flip do I like it?” come to mind. But it’s like comfort food for my mind. There are parts that make me laugh out of corniness, there are parts that make me roll my eyes. But overall it’s fun to watch. I like the score, and I like the look of the titles for some reason. Oh, and I do happen to like Henry Fonda, Brian Keith (god would he read a good bedtime story!), and Karl Malden.
Extra Content! Indie and Low-budget Titles, and Other Points of Interest
- The Impossible Planet by Dave Herring is one of my favorite indie, home-animated sci-fi films. It’s very low-dopamine. Easy to watch, and yet I found the mysterious vibes compelling and the story works well. Dave also created some other likeable titles, such as The Subway Shining. I think you do have to approach these from a home-crafted point of view, though.
- I also liked the low-budget The Clones from 1973. The story was solid and it was fun to watch in the procedural sense.
- More recently, Lavalantula (2015) was entertaining to watch with the family, and I found myself wanting to watch it again, which I didn’t expect.
- On seemingly different sides of specific political lines, Moscow to Cassiopeia (1974) and The War of the Worlds: Next Century (1981) (free to watch online) are a couple of Cold War favorites out of Eastern Europe.
- Closer to a romcom sci-fi mix, 2001’s Kate & Leopold is another one I watch at least every year or so.
- The Black Hole from 1979 is probably my favorite sci-fi crossover with the haunted house genre.
- I thought about this one very intensely: 1981’s Scanners features my favorite head explosion, by a long shot.
- 1962’s La Jette is the shortest film on my main list, and also the most slide show-like, of course.
It was fun to take some time and think about all these. I’m already mentally highlighting some favorites to re-watch this week at work!
Filed in: Interests /109/
A Metaphorical Vampire Model
Saturday October 15, 2022
A Happy Halloween Season to you all!
I present a simple model, and may it lead you to your own spooky conclusions…
Blood is vitality, life.
Vampires need blood. Metaphorical vampires need vitality. Without it? They will appear almost frozen in expression. Cold.
If they wait too long to provide themselves with their own sources of vitality, they may become compulsive, and must use…
Vampires are terribly good at being cutting. Demonstrating decisive actions, delivering cutting remarks, and relying on sharp wits.
When vampires must use the teeth, the best objects are soft, warm, squishy, alive. Metaphorically, that is…
Vampires don’t just consciously think about business.
Vampires are business.
If you look at someone with deep, long-lasting, sustainable talent, you’ll see—they don’t really think about it much. They do it. They are it.
Vampires find themselves turning all sorts of transactions into business transactions. Even a supposedly personal relationship can take on strange businesslike characteristics. Silly sometimes, but it happens.
(Does this surprise you, Jonathan Harker? With little more than a hand wave, the business portion is completed! Now: Fulfill your duty to meet my desire.)
At a young age they begin to think about the “big picture” business moves. They seem to know that they belong in a castle or similarly regal dwelling of some kind. Know it or not, however, they often find themselves in such a state—it happens to them very often.
Vampires do often wish they could turn their desire into business, and vice-versa. But that’s too often a trap of the obsessive variety, it doesn’t easily work, and it brings mainly loneliness. Such puzzles can make life seem to drag on forever…
Vampires may be immortal; humans may not.
Still, some humans can think well in past, present, and future timelines. Linda Berens teaches this about one temperament in particular: The NT Theorist temperament.
You may expect such humans to seem wise, stoic, even naturally hardened, in some ways. They have already been through a lot of things that they didn’t really have time to go through.
How does that work?
Vampires don’t appear in mirrors, because they are mirrors. Vampires naturally show people what they fear about themselves.
So, when someone looks in a mirror for a scary beast and doesn’t see the vampire, and they only see themselves?
That’s the lesson.
Some humans (who may not think of themselves as vampiric) are said to be mirrors, like this. When they open their mouths, others wish to shut them, because painful truths may be revealed.
Vampires must work in the dark because their symbolic message is very potent, and their own weaknesses may become immediately apparent with a little sunlight. It’s true; this can lead to a dangerous situation for a vampire.
But also, Vampires are naturally comfortable sensing in the dark, i.e. perceiving meaning in chaos.
For this gift to work properly, a little bit of light may be far too much.
Evil? Good? What is goodness?
Finally, vampires think a lot about value. Very deeply, too.
For this reason, they don’t really know what’s universal good, or what’s always bad. To many non-vampiric people, this is frightening—terrifying.
Still, vampires are part of who we all are.
Everyone has a little vampire inside them. Bad and good, running together. A need to find their own bite, when the vitality has left and the mortality may even soon be in question.
An Intuitive Growth Aspect: Precise Body Studies?
Friday October 14, 2022
What is something you learned lately that you didn’t know when you were younger? As an intuitive personality, if you can give an example of a sensory skill it would be helpful.
Sensory skill! That’s a good q. There’s probably a lot of that, much of which wasn’t so clear or interesting when I was younger. Here’s one thing that comes to mind.
It’s been very fun and helpful to figure out just the right way to move my body to do things I couldn’t do before, or solve problems.
Here are some examples:
Example 1. Precision Study for Pain Management
For example, when my shoulder was injured recently, I couldn’t move my hand from the keyboard to the mouse without extreme pain.
So normally I’d move the mouse, or buy a trackpad keyboard or something.
But I decided to try different body positions and movements.
I figured out that I could invert my palm, turning the thumb down and to the outside, and there was no pain at all while doing this movement! Weird.
Then I kept trying that with other painful situations, and found even more of those. In one case I could wiggle my finger tips a bit and completely unlock my shoulder.
Example 2: Tricks and Techniques
Just today, I spent a half hour writing down just the right finger and hand motions and angles for opening, lighting, and closing my Zippo lighter.
I mostly use this lighter for 1) fidget toy and 2) sealing frayed ends of paracord lanyards or rope.
And really, if I’m fidgeting with this in the first place, I also want to learn some cool ways to use it. So that was a lot of fun.
Example 3: Fixes to Other Problems
Finally, I was pruning a tree with this interchangeable saw I have. But it kept dropping blades. I’d start to saw, and then the blade would pull right out of the handle.
My first reaction: I got a piece of junk of course, I hate this saw, UGH, probably better to get ONE saw that does ONE job!!!
But then I thought about it and decided: I’ll watch myself using it, lightly at first.
So I get a kind of comfortable setting for my hand going, it’s feeling nice. THEN I notice…
My thumb rests on the side screw while I’m sawing…then gradually loosens the blade-tightening screw by slowly turning it to the left!
These are the types of things that I frankly ignored or didn’t care about when I heard them from others, in the past.
But these days they are a lot of fun and they build confidence.
I also used to google this kind of thing a lot. Why solve it yourself when others already have? The problem with that is, if you find a fitting answer, you still get others’ techniques, others’ ideas, and you aren’t able to build up or strengthen your access to introverted perception & judgement functionality, for example. It’s also a risk to your creativity, to say nothing of your access to your sensory side. (As an introvert, it’s very helpful to pretty much own and fully-leverage your introverted side, to the extent you can)
In most cases it helps me to plan for some extra patience—at least multiple sessions—and space out the learning a bit. In other cases it helps to write things down and save notes for later.
I hope that helps, Jacob—and anyone else out there who might find some extra-precise body studies helpful.
Learning to Stop At The "What Do You Mean By That?" Threshold
Wednesday October 12, 2022
One of the biggest problems humanity faces today is pretty tricky: It’s the concept of the unknown.
I believe that, moving forward as a species, we will need to tackle and solve this problem, making the unknown less of a feared condition or aspect of life.
Lately I’m noticing even more than usual that, far from applying only to fringe topics like UFOlogy, it most certainly even applies to everyday questions.
Can I Have More Details on The Unknown?
I noticed that a lot of people are wayyyy past their personal comfort level by the time they ask “What Do You Mean By That?”
They don’t like having to ask this. Not just because it makes them feel dumb, which is true sometimes. But also because they are very uncomfortable with the unknown in general.
And—is it really wise to continue talking about the unknown in such a case, with someone who is that uncomfortable already?
What if it started with a simple topic, like you saying “here’s an idea for this weekend’s party?”
In my experience, even thinking about this simple type of future activity can cause high levels of stress for those who fear the unknown. Everyone has their threshold.
This is why I think it is important to start thinking more deeply about responding to the question and mindset as soon as it comes up.
What to Do About It
Here’s something to try on your own: Stop things short, as soon as you hear “What Do You Mean By That,” or sense a similar questioning mindset. Set a temporary boundary right there. And then make some time to ask yourself:
- Am I trying to communicate something that exists in my mind, as a concept, imagined idea, or plan? (I generally call this “intuitive” material, or information from the realm of the intuition)
- Is it possible that this person is uncomfortable or lacks experience with intuitive-weighted topics, like planning? Or mental imagery? This is really good to know as early as possible. New phrases or tools can be used to help make these topics easier to deal with. And knowing about this issue in general gives you more control over potential problems that may arise.
- Is it possible that this person needs more bigger-picture context? For example, some details about the history of the topic in question? Even for party planning, it can be helpful to rewind a bit, and say, “before I go into my idea, here’s some background.” Basic sequential logic can do wonders here.
- Is the conversational approach appropriate, or is more formal training or a formal presentation a better idea? This is especially helpful to consider if you need people to work with you, or for you, at the level of plans, ideas, and concepts.
Why It’s Important that We Help Them
It may not be your fault for having an idea that others don’t understand. But it’s a good idea to start thinking about that bridge—about what can be done in these cases. Cases that can come up when the “What Do You Mean By That” idea you’re trying to communicate refers to a concept you can’t exactly produce in physical form from your coat pocket, but which you also really need to get across.
And why is important for us intuitives, planners, conceptualizers, inventors to think about this?
Because it involves creating new processes to be used in the future.
So, by definition, those in your audience who aren’t comfortable with the unknown probably can’t do this part for themselves, either. And it doesn’t make them ignorant, or stupid. Far from it! Some of the most clever, executive-minded, and productive people I’ve ever met have also really struggled with the unknown.
If we really want to improve the universe, the world, humanity, and its general readiness for future events, those of us who can face the unknown comfortably have a lot of important work to do, to benefit those who can still make their own contributions…though perhaps not with the exact same gifts.
Interests & Life Update, 2022-10
Wednesday October 12, 2022
It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and some of you kind readers checked in with me, so I thought I’d share a little bit of what’s been up.
Used My Own Free PDF Download
I’ve been publishing free downloads online for like what, 20 years now? Something like that.
I use my own downloads all the time. It’s kind of funny (moreso when I google my own site on accident and it’s got exactly what I needed) but I guess it makes some kind of basic sense.
Anyway, in the past I created a free PDF guide / download for COVID sufferers.
So I was wondering, when will I get COVID myself?
And when I get COVID, will I use the tools I wrote about? I was pretty sure they were helpful, but you never know, really.
Answer: You’ll get COVID in September, 2022, and it will suck, and yes you will use all the tools, and more.
Well, I’m glad that’s over with. It went through the family and caused a number of setbacks, one of which was posting to this blog. So yeah, it sucked.
Some aspects that come to mind:
- Weirdest Goal for Whenever COVID Left My Body: Sitting in the yard, doing some whittling. Like GOD, when can I WHITTLE again?! Seriously this was such a random desire…
- Funniest COVID Activity: I personally tend to use TONS of caffeine when I’m sick, because I ran some measurements and it helps me out. So it was funny to hit something like 500mg this one day, and then lay there listening to tunes in my bed, with my feet shaking like TAPPITY-TAP-SHAKEY-SHAKE-BOPPITY-BOP. The shaking doesn’t bother me, it’s just a side effect of the caffeine. But I was chuckling about it because Megan was like “yeah I’m not sleeping in here, I mean look at your feet going off.” (She had COVID too btw)
- Loftiest Goal During Post-COVID Lethargy Period: “When this is over I will climb a friggin’ MOUNTAIN.” (Was I serious? I don’t really want to do that anymore unless it’s easy and comfortable ;-))
- Biggest COVID Annoyance: I got out a favorite candy bar as an experiment to get my spirits up, but I couldn’t taste it at all. lmao. It basically tasted like slime, or garbage. So annoying.
- Most Weirdly Helpful Supplement: After my sweet-taste came back, I suddenly found that gobs of sugar were helping a lot with the lethargy. More than caffeine even. It was weird at first, but I made the difficult decision to swim with the tide. THEN SUGAR IT WILL BE, I uttered to myself with steely resolve! Some absolutely epic sugary snacks were consumed. (This was also somehow my weight-gain portion of COVID. Strange!)
I Watched the Kids By Myself for a While
Megan flew to Denmark and hung out with some old friends there. Eventually she flew back home with like 20 lbs. of candy for the family to enjoy.
In the meantime, I microwaved a ton of food for my kids, and they probably all wondered when I could get back to blogging. Megan is a really good cook. A phenomenal cook even.
So I’m back to blogging now, and we’re all eating better as a result.
- I played with tarot cards for inspiration, they’re pretty useful for that. At first I was like, “what do these mean?” And looked them up every time. But now I just look at the pretty pictures and name everything I can see in the picture. Then I kind of review those themes, and it helps me think about things and come up with ideas.
- I polished up my role-playing GM skills a bit, playing a Chic Spy RPG with my kids on Chic Spy Day (5 October), and a fantasy roleplaying one-shot on another day. It’s getting to the point where I am doing less prep, but in a good way. My son was picking some pretty amusing character names, like Timothy Plaguebringer, and at the same time my daughter is sometimes like, “I’ll be Cheryl” and that’s that. “Timothy Plaguebringer, meet…Cheryl!”
- I have been reading a lot of books. And I realized that cover imagery is just huge for me. I pick a LOT of books by their covers, and this doesn’t embarrass me anymore. In fact at this point I almost always refuse to buy even a really amazing book that’s on sale, if I don’t like its cover. This is for lots of reasons, but among them: I will never be able to finish the books I already have.
- I have been whittling in the back yard.
- Over the last few years, I’ve been wondering, “what’s advanced fitness look like, for me?” And this question was really quite a derail. At first I was like—of course, let’s go “higher, faster, farther.” And then I think that got VERY boring before I was ready to admit it. And so from what I can tell, improvised skill-based activity is looking like a really solid solution instead. To give an example: Earlier this year I pulled an empty peanut butter jar off the shelf, and started hucking pencil erasers into it, from 20 feet away. My kids joined in. Now it’s a weird family game (trying not to say tradition) but I swear it’s fun! There’s also a knack to it… So, I’m working this new vein and finding really interesting lessons relevant to what I’d definitely consider advanced fitness. Weird! But it’s been cool to discover.
- I installed a dishwasher, which I’ve never done before. If you want to do it well, it can present some weird challenges, like “don’t flood your kitchen”. Also I’ve never been more afraid of breaking a brand new appliance in my life, maybe.
- I listened to a ton of good music and have probably never been more thankful for music. What IS it about that stuff? Seriously.
Here are some bangers I’ve enjoyed again, or enjoyed anew, recently. Take care everybody!
(I guess you never know what tunes will get you through hard times, but Shannon’s eyes was SUCH a COVID CURE here, I swear!)
Four Journaling Snippets for A Way Better Day
Wednesday October 12, 2022
Since I journal in a text editor every day, I decided some years ago to start using the editor’s snippets feature. This way I can type a little shortcut code, hit the TAB key, and it types in some text, and this saves me some time.
Along the way I had this thought: I can also make snippets that add a bunch of fun or interesting or helpful stuff. So I set about doing that.
As of this writing, I use over 100 snippets. I almost can’t believe I’m writing that.
Some of the snippets may enter some text or super-secret symbolic productivity codes for me, but a lot of them also call various scripts and programs I’ve written in at least 10 different programming languages. (By
the way, this kind of simple task is a great way to try out a new hobby programming language. “What time is it in Europe?” or “What’s the weather forecast?” or “Recommend a movie?”)
So, here are my four favorite text editor snippets, plus a little bonus or two because I love this topic.
1. The interests snippet.
For this snippet I type ‘intt’ + TAB.
Here’s an example of what it types into my editor:
- Browsing book stacks online or off: Gutenberg, Archive.org, AZ, Google Play books, etc.
- Inventing & extending my own shorthand
- Drawing aircraft
- Finding new favorite comedians
- Writing about different worlds / cities / etc.
- Quality local news sites (towndock.net for example)
- Helicopter attack on Argentinian Submarine ARA Santa Fe (S-21)
- Youtube supercuts, e.g. the Verge’s $2000 PC build, 80s or any decade supercuts, etc.
- Norse Mythology
- Evaluating new organizing or cleaning tools
- Pakistani films
- Europe (News, past, present, history)
- Diecast aircraft toys, window shopping
- Shortwave radio blogs like SWLing
- Learning the JU-52 in Flightgear
- Watching youtubers like JoeandZachSurvival going to the tent to set things up https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=To-8KpfxgOE
- Books about Europe in WWII
- Taking online self-study courses like Wikiversity courses
This snippet is especially fun because it picks randomly from a master list of over 1,000 things I’m interested in. So, like most of the snippets in this article, I get a different set of items every time I type the snippet.
For a little background, I’m a life coach (more of the kind that’s into goals, productivity & creativity than energetically pumping people up via body motions and emotive expressions, tho), and I’ve learned that having interests is like having extra health points.
If you are doing something you like today, things will be more interesting for you, and so you’ll have more energy.
And really, energy is health points, in a way. It’s fun to think about life like this, anyway! You lose and gain some during the day at different junctures, but your baseline level is higher if you’re generally interested in your life.
So, it’s pretty interesting see these fun combinations come up. Is it time to check in on the Pakistani film scene? Or find a new favorite comedian? Or watch that Verge PC build video again?
I mean, I’m up for any of that…
2. The intuitive journaling cues one. Bound to ‘up’ – tab.
This one can be really therapeutic or creatively intriguing. Here’s an example of what it types into my editor:
- PLACES: Where does your mind’s eye take you and what do you see & do there?
- CONTEXTUALIZING: What does this day seem to make you feel about where your life is headed?
- PLACES: You are building a really pleasant neighborhood for yourself in a sandbox video game. What’s it like?
These items are also randomly selected. They are a very direct way to draw on the intuition, which is an excellent set of tools that can help you uncover new opportunities, or deeper concerns, or just use your imagination in a calming, comforting, or meditative way.
If you want to see more of these, please see the list of intuitive journaling cues that I posted previously.
3. The productivity-journaling cues snippet: Bound to ‘upu’ + tab.
This snippet is more about offering random questions that get to a more straightforward assessment of things.
Here’s an example of what it types into my editor:
- What would I appreciate tomorrow, that I can do today?
- What’s standing in the way of your work?
- What’s irritating about the next steps?
- What sucks about various aspects of life lately?
- What’s a schedule that would work?
Again, these are randomly chosen. I’ve learned to make them pick out different time scopes: Today, lately, this year, and so on.
They are very straightforward and also productivity-inspiring, which means they can provide a very quick way to burn out from productivity exhaustion, a term I coined a while back. So I tend to avoid using them unless I’ve been doing lots of intuitive work and need to get focused on my schedule again.
4. The random personality archetype picker! Bound to ‘pl’ + tab.
This one is definitely a favorite snippet. I have to say I enjoy even typing in this shortcut. It’s kind of exciting.
Here’s an example of what it types into my editor:
(Yes, that’s the Richard Simmons on that list! Why is he in my text editor??)
So, for some background: When I started studying archetype a long time ago, I realized that all these different characters—thousands of them at least—can be said to live inside each of us. They express a given set of perspectives, or what you might call tools.
And, in addition to admiring, or hating them: You can use those perspectives or tools, for growth and for understanding yourself better.
So, when someone really interests me, I add them to this list. Then when I type the snippet, the list is shuffled and some random names are spit out.
I can then use this team of characters, like a detailed extension of the “Cabinet of Invisible Counselors” concept.
I like to use their voices to answer and select the items from snippets 1, 2, and 3, above. Or in other words, I answer those questions as if I’m the character.
The result is often very different and satisfying. Sometimes it’s redundant, like if I get Richard Simmons and Cat when I don’t exactly need some encouragement or a joke and a smile. But I’d say that it this technique completely fixes my day about 1-2 times a week, because I can draw on a perspective that’s very effective, but difficult to access by definition, because it’s not my own default perspective.
5. Lists (Bonus Item!) ‘ls’ + tab.
I also have a simple snippet that starts a new list for me. It’s in Markdown, so it’s just some newlines plus a dash and a space. But it has been worth it because lists are really helpful.
Don’t forget to make lists while you journal!
- Things you might forget about if you don’t write them down
- Things you want to do after your hard work is done
- Names for your new imaginary pet
- Pictures you think Elon Musk is probably doodling right now
- Your next snack
These snippets have helped me out a lot over the years. They really do make every day a little better. And they also keep me on track, while at the same time they can also help me recover my personal interests in the middle of a burnout-level, overproductive day.
This balance-focus is why I created my own productivity system called Task BATL.
You see, far too many people sacrifice their personal values for a week of checking things off lists, like they are a computer program. Then after doing that for a while, they wonder why they’re not enjoying life. It’s not cool, and I see too much of it, so I’m trying to help fix that.
If you use a text editor for writing, it’s probably worth your time to think about how the technical features can make the non-technical parts of your life easier (I admit I even have a snippet that tells me how old I am) or more enjoyable.
BTW, the Richard Simmons of my mind’s eye says hi! Good luck & enjoy your journaling everybody.
Career & Job Advice: Notice How Your Team Changes You
Thursday July 14, 2022
I’ve coached job seekers for years, and I see this common mistake again and again: People tend to make their job situation all about their own skill or passion.
Heck, career advice books push this strategy all the time, so it makes sense that this would turn into a huge blind spot!
The truth is, your team will affect you more than you can possibly imagine OR control.
Your team, meaning all the people around you at work, will change you and your job. They will even change your skill level, starting with your own perception of your skill level at work!
This aggregate effect will seem like a hidden force controlling your career, as long as you keep focusing on yourself alone. And if you haven’t changed teams recently, you may have no idea how much you are missing out on: New energy, new productivity, new friendships, and new optimism.
Keep in mind—when you are only noticing, or working on, YOUR skills or on YOUR tasks, you are not focused on your team, by definition. You are letting the control scheme continue unexamined.
So, at the very least:
- List the ways the people with whom you work seem to affect your personality.
- List the pros and cons! Get a good long list going with details and examples!
- Plan to make strategic changes at work.
- Plan to make strategic changes in how you manage your career based on this knowledge.
- If you’re in leadership—help people shuffle things up and work in different groups from time to time. Ask what they think about the changes in group & how things went! Help them work with people who can get them feeling more positive and productive!
- Never blame individuals for problems you observe in team dynamics, unless you have really good reason and some team buy-in. Instead, focus on making your own changes to your career. Always work to change things as soon as you recognize the need, and keep it breezy & cheesy—nothing personal!
In conclusion: Learn to change your team to change your job…or change your job so you can change your team.
Good luck out there everybody!
BTW, about passion and capacity
Wednesday June 15, 2022
I had this summary-thought recently:
“Dispassionate capacity points to stable capability.”
Looking it over a few times, I think it could be a pretty reliable model for measuring one’s day-to-day work, for example.
So, I ask: Are you appreciating, and employing, your dispassionate capacities?
We talk a lot about passion as if it’s a huge target worth chasing in life. But some things must be done because simply because there’s capacity to do them. Must be done for who? For you!
They are marked as stable and capable, not so much passionate.
And that’s good, because it also feels good, even if not passionately so, at some lower level. You should feel more stable and more capable as you engage those parts of who you are.