The nightly review

Over the years of listening to Tim Ferriss Podcast interviews, reading Ryan Holiday, reading Seneca, reading a lot of articles on meditation, productivity and being profoundly influenced by certain philosophies from Stoicism and Buddhism – these have led me to develop a night routine. As a part of this nightly routine (when I’ve not fallen off the wagon), before I go to sleep, I do my “Nightly Review” in my everything-book.

The questions I ask are

What did I do right today?
This can be a highlight reel of my accomplishments of the day, or just a list of tasks I did. Sometimes, it is a short list of keywords, sometimes I wax lyrical. I almost always answer this first – to start on a positive note.

What did I do wrong today?
This can be an emotional landmine or a wake-up call. This is the section where I list/write about tasks I didn’t do, goals I didn’t reach. More importantly, this is the section I take stock of my behavior for the day – especially the unsavory behaviors – was I mean? gossipy? was I distracted? was I angry? frustrated and vengeful? This is the log of my human foibles, to try to recognize them and better myself tomorrow.

What is left undone?
What needs to be done tomorrow? What should have been done today but didn’t get done? What was started today but not finished today. A launch-board for tomorrow.

Did I choose courage over comfort today?
This is a Brene Brown question which has made a big difference in what I tend to look for in my day. A way to push past my natural inhibitions and reservations. To be more generous, to step out of my comfort zone. I try to have at-least one occasion every day where I choose courage – so I have an answer when I face this question at the end of the day.

I also engage in an evening meditation, just before going to bed. This takes the form of a Marcus-style philosophical diary (not for publication!), during which I revisit the events of the day, asking myself the three famous questions posed by Epictetus: What did I do wrong? What did I do (right)? What duty’s left undone?
– Professor Massimo Pigliucci in this New York Times article

The Mildly Dissatisfied and Insecure

We have evolved to always live with a certain degree of dissatisfaction, and insecurity, because it’s the mildly dissatisfied and insecure creature that’s going to do most of the work to innovate and survive. We are wired to become dissatisfied with whatever we have and satisfied by only what we do not have. This constant dissatisfaction has kept our species fighting and striving, building and conquering. So no – our own pain and misery aren’t a bug of human evolution; they’re a feature.

– Mark Manson in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

Does this explain why we feel something is missing – when things are going well for us, and why a non-existential threat which makes us struggle makes us happier…

On time-luxuriousness

“Stopping = white space. Stopping = room to run free and create from the deepest place of being without restraint or compromise. Stopping = more time for what matters most. You know how to go, go go. Stopping, however, is the stuff of smiley Zen masters with all the time in the world.”
– The Fire Starter Sessions, Danielle LaPorte

What is the word to describe this:

the stuff of smiley Zen masters with all the time in the world

We have time-starved, rushing, busy. But what is the opposite of that? What is the one word for that? The best I can come up with is time-luxuriousness.

January 2017 Reading Log

Here is my reading log from January 2017. It has been a year since I last updated my reading logs here. But I am back. And with a new and improved clickable HTML table – as opposed to the images I was posting last year. Now, clicking on the book titles will take you to their Amazon pages via my affiliate link.

The best fiction book I read in January is Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed. The world building is amazing. The plot is quite different, and the setting is muslim / arabic / desert. Something I just don’t get to read often. Very highly recommended for those who like well written, beautiful stories with unorthodox heroes. I am now eagerly waiting for the next instalment in this series. A very close runner-up was N.K.Jemisin’s The Fifth Season – again, the first book in the series.

For my fiction pick, it has to be The E-Myth Revisited by Michel E.Gerber – just because of the sheer amount I learnt about starting and running a small-business. Practial, eminently useful and the timing for this information was just right – and so this book won over both Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harris and
Spark Joy by Marie Kondo
, both excellent books which I will be re-reading.

January 2017

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
1 2 3 4
Sebastian Junger
(library book)
5 6 7
8 9 10 11
Yuval Noah Harari
12 13 14
15 16 17 18
The Fifth Season
(library ebook)
19 20 21
22 23
Spark Joy
Marie Kondo
(library book)
24 25
Throne of the Crescent Moon
Saladin Ahmed
(library book)
The E-Myth Revisited
Michael E. Gerber
27 28
29 30 31

You can find all my previous Reading logs here

Debbie Millman on sensitivity and rejection

“I have noticed a pattern in my life of being very easily hurt by an initial rejection, so much so that it thwarts any other attempt at making something like that happen for a very long time. I am extremely sensitive and any rejection takes me off of that path for a very long time. It takes me a long time to recover.”

“I am somebody that has a very hard time taking ‘No’ for an answer. It takes me a long time to recalibrate and get my courage back to continue to keep trying.”

Damn. Is she talking about me or herself? I never considered myself the sensitive type – but this pattern Debbie is talking about, that’s me. And maybe, just maybe, it might be about you too. If so, this other part where she talks about what to do about this pattern might help us:

“Don’t ever accept that first rejection ever. Give yourself options. The timeliness of those options or the timeliness of those retries – do at your own pace. You are not in competition with anybody but yourself.”

From Tim Ferriss’s podcast interview with Debbie Millman – #214 – How to Design a Life – Debbie Millman