The Best Life Hack I’ve Ever Known (I’m Not Bullshitting)

This post feels a lot like self-reminder somehow.

I read lots of life hacks. I love life hacks; thought it’s easy to do and could get immediate results (which is not true, sadly). Some life hacks are bullshit (maybe because I don’t put it into action), but some others are actually so obvious but never come across my mind so I’m just blown by it.

Since a couple months ago I’ve listened The Tim Ferriss Show, a podcast by Timothy Ferriss, the guy who always finds ways to maximise his productivity and basically can do anything I want to master (e.g. tango dance, foreign languages, and cooking). Anyway, on one podcast, he invited Adam Robinson to share what he learnt from Bobby Fisher, the best chess player back then (probably until now; I’ve no idea about world of chess). And here’s the best thing that he’d said:

I always create FUN, ENTHUSIASM, and DELIGHT for THE OTHER PERSON.

What gives you a well-living life: you don’t want anything–don’t expect anything from others–but you give everything. Basically you’ve got NOTHING TO LOSE.

People usually suffer when they’re too much focusing on themselves, when they expect too much from other people without changing what they can give in return. But, what if in everything that I do (e.g. doing job interview, teaching, or even buying something at the convenient store), I focus on others instead of myself? What if I don’t mind the results I’ll get as long as I can make them smile at least?

For example, when I did my first job interview, the interviewer asked me what I expect this company to give me in return (beside salary). It was the last question and it really caught me off guard. Seconds later I answered, “I have nothing to expect.” (I don’t know if this was me being nice or stupid.) But that was the truth: I just wanted to learn something new by working there, and it could be anything (I didn’t have any specifics target). He just laughed and asked me again, “Really? Don’t you have any?” No, I didn’t. Several days later I’d been welcomed to the company.

I also have bad days, and the worst one was when I became a part of the board in a student club. When facing obstacles, instead of trying to solve it one by one, I thought, “This thing doesn’t suit me. Others can do it better, so why me?” and other nonsense things. I focus too much on myself, to the uncomfortable feeling, and I ended up screwing up.

It’s been easy for me to feel happy when I connect with everyone I encounter and when I expect magic in every encounter. It makes life more exciting! Now I can be aware quickly when I don’t give positive vibes, and I’ll just fake it until I can be sincerely happy. Of course sometimes it’s hard to do so, especially after something really bad happens. If it happens, I’ll stay away from people for awhile if I can help it. Don’t want to accidentally spill something I’ll regret, do I?

(Uh, just realised I wrote too much “I”. Whatever.)

I’m not bullshitting myself; I’ve also still got much to improve. Yet I have some tips to make me easier to change my bad behaviour:

Don’t give yourself any labels.

It’s okay if it’s a good label. But if it’s not, it will be hard to change because you kind of accept what you are because you are just too lazy to change. Does it make sense? For example, I used to label myself as a shy person and I was usually afraid to start a conversation. That label made me think to myself, “Okay, I’ll just wait here until someone comes and talks to me. If they don’t, it’s fine because I’m used to being alone.”

Cut the shit. Don’t lie to yourself!

If I feel bad because of something, I dig in. I find out why I feel that why and how I can work things out. It’s not easy, but if you can tackle something that bothers you a lot, you’ll find other things feels nothing compared to that one. Eat the frog first.

My laptop is running out of battery. I hope you can get my points. Good luck to all of us, and see you on top (of the building? Of the mountain? No, of your career! ;))

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10 Ways to Screw Yourself Up

It’s very hard to improve our lives so it can be better, so why don’t we screw ourselves instead?

I have read writings (either books or blogs) about self-improvement. Most of them say that I need to change myself in order to achieve what I want. But, I think I have a freedom to choose because I don’t need to change myself if I don’t want to.

Back then, I didn’t want to change myself. I was happy with what I was even though I knew I didn’t do much to get closer to what I want to be in the future. In short, I chose to screw my life and I enjoyed doing it. After all, it was easier to do what I wanted to do rather than do what I needed to do.

These were what I had been doing for months (not in exact order):

  1. Looking straight to the front when I walked.
    Everywhere I went, I didn’t look around my surrounding. Chances that I may walked past my friends were high because I also did that when I was in campus. Sometimes I didn’t bother to look around and said hello to my friends or acquaintances. It always depended on my mood back then.This also had to do with me being irresponsible. Later about it on number 9.
  2. Being late.
    Whenever I attended classes or made appointments, I usually came few minutes up to one hour later. When I arrived, they would shake their heads in disapproval, complain, or simply didn’t recognise me at all. It hurt, but it was my fault.
    (Note to self: coming late means I don’t respect the person enough to waste their time waiting for me.)
  3. Procrastinating.
    Keeping myself busy was (and is) the worst kind of procrastination because I was caught up in a delusion that I did something useful, while actually I had something else that urgently needed to be done. It was on the top of my to-do list, but I just didn’t want to do it because it seemed overwhelming and hard to tackle.
  4. Watching TV series.
    I couldn’t stop watching Friends when I was in my third year. I even skipped my classes (yes, I was that pathetic) just because I couldn’t take my eyes of Joey, Chandler, etc. It was sad to lose friends because I watched Friends.
  5. Reading comics (webtoon for me), novels, and any kind of stories excessively.
    Again, I couldn’t control myself.
  6. Do not look at people straight in the eye when talking.
    I just didn’t feel comfortable when I looked at them straightly. I think my religious background has a great influence on it, although I didn’t understand why. In my opinion, not doing so means that I position myself lower than my talking partner. For me it’s not effective to avoid looking at someone in the eye. How will others value myself if I don’t even value myself?
  7. Do not exercise regularly.
    Exercising is very tiring and not all the people are looking forward to exhaust themselves. Sleeping on my bed and snuggling under the blanket are very, very preferable.I have been exercising, but I didn’t do it regularly. I only did it whenever I wanted to. For instance, I swam on Sunday with my sisters when my sisters asked me to accompany them, or I ran because I didn’t want to be late.
  8. Do nothing for a very long time.
    How long it would be depends on your perspective. For me all day long was long enough, and sometimes in a day I didn’t do anything beside sleeping, eating, and peeing. Every now and then I couldn’t even tell what’s the difference between me and the cat outside my house.
  9. Being irresponsible.
    Ditching everything I had to do because I just didn’t feel like it. Abandoning my friends because I just didn’t feel like meeting them right now. Turning them down by not doing something they expected me to do (for instance, doing my role in an organisation) because I just didn’t feel like it. Skipping classes and just laying around all day. Oh, joy.
  10. Do not believe in myself.
    I hated myself for what I did on previous list. I didn’t even do what expected myself to do. I felt low, depressed, and helpless… and the saddest thing was I didn’t realise that it was me who made me feel that way. (In the end–after several months!–I realised it though, thankfully.)

It was very easy to screw my life, feel lonely, and be an ass. I had done it for almost a year if I’m not mistaken. It was very easy to do anything that I want to do, ignore others, and pretend that I didn’t need anyone but myself and my very close friends.

Then again, it’s just a mere choice. I can choose to be anything that I want. It only depends on my goal, what I want to achieve.

Just a month ago, I realised that my willingness to do something equals what I achieve. When I looked around my surrounding and I saw that my life isn’t changed at all for God knows how long, I realised that my willingness to change my life, to achieve what I want in life was very weak. I was like a kite without string; wandering around the sky, just following whichever way the wind tells me to go.

It’s okay if that’s what you want in life, but I don’t want that. I have goals. I have dreams. There are 100 things that I want to do and I am going to cross my bucket list one by one.

In the end, I choose to do the exact opposite of my former list. The result is really rewarding. Things that I listed before seems like not a big deal; those are just small things anyway.

But small wins make me feel great. It makes me want to accomplish more and more and more.

Cheers!

Asri F. Septarizky