Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The results

My 30 days are up and I failed in my initial goal for this experiment. I didn't create a product and I stopped following my rules halfway through. It didn't work out as smoothly as I imagined because my original inspiration for the experiment came out of impatience and frustration instead of the actual desire to create something positive for myself. A month ago I was fed up with not having a clear path in life and I just wanted something to happen, but now I see that uncertainty goes hand in hand with dreaming. Here is a list of the biggest reasons why this experiment failed and what I learned from it.

  • I assumed I was a dreamer. That was the premise of the entire experiment but there is a difference between knowing and being. I'm sure you've heard the phrase "Knowledge is power" but I don't think that's true. Its only when you apply that knowledge to a specific cause that it gives you the power to create your life the way you want. So basically this past month I learned I'm not as awesome as I thought I was and I have a long way to go before I can call myself a dreamer. 
  • I wasn't honest with myself. I thought entrepreneurship and writing were my passions, but in reality they are just things that would make me appear successful. Part of being a dreamer is pursuing interests that you enjoy and feel strongly about. This allows you to put in the hard work necessary to make your dream come true. I was forcing myself to sit down and write and it felt awful. I read somewhere that you don't need discipline if you have love, and corny as its sounds I think there is some truth to it. 
  • I felt the need to rush it. I have a habit of speeding through my life, I've always tried to just move on from one phase of my life to another as fast as possible.  But nothing major gets done in 30 days, change is gradual and you should enjoy the process. 
So now I'm back to square one. I will be an entrepreneur, but I don't feel the need to rush it anymore. I'm going to pick up skills and keep learning, I started programming and I'm enjoying it so I'll see what I can do with that. I'm also going to start being more honest about what I really want to pursue  Above all I'm going work on actually being a dreamer. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Rule 3: Finishing strong

One of the best feelings in the world is to wake up just as motivated as you were the night before. I remember nights where I got randomly motivated right before bed but as soon as the next morning came I went right back to my old habits. I hated these moments. I just couldn't figure out why my motivation didn't carry through to the next morning. Well I narrowed it down to two reasons. One of the reasons I covered in my last post, about inspiring yourself every morning, the other reason I'll cover in this post: The art of finishing your day feeling great.

I'm 11 days into my experiment and I feel much better then when I started. Of course my progress is an accumulation of months of trying to get my act together but this experiment really forced me to buckle down. My days are more productive now and I've found resources that maximize what I do everyday. For instance I started using the program LifeRPG which is a genius productivity tool I found on Reddit.  It funneled the obsessive method I used in gaming to my everyday tasks, and I'm already seeing results. I also picked up coding as another possible interest to pursue. None of this progress would be possible if I didn't constantly remind myself of my goals every single day. Both in the evening, and in the morning.

Have you ever wondered why New Years resolutions often go unfulfilled? Well think about it this way, repetition is the only way you can make something a new habit or lifestyle. If you just declare a new goal for one day without a plan or a reminder of that goal there is no way you can build enough momentum to escape your old habits. Reviewing your goals at night is the best way to remind yourself of the things you aspire to do and it lets you reflect on everything you did that day. My nightly ritual is to first reflect on everything I did that day, I look for mistakes, things I could have done better, and anything out of the ordinary. Then I review the goals I've set for myself for the near future and I write down some ideas for what I can do the next day. Once this is all finished I just relax and go to sleep.

During sleep your subconscious mind works on everything you thought about right before retiring, this often leads to insightful dreams and waking up with key insight on the problem you were having the night before. Make use of this function by directing your thoughts productively each night so that you can wake up refreshed and ready for the day ahead.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Rule 2: Getting a fresh start

Its day eight now and I recently escaped a snag in my plans, In fact, if it wasn't for this blog I would have already quit. Not a lot of people know this about me but I am a huge gamer. I started playing online games when I was in my sophomore year in high school and I've been playing on and off since then. I've always been ashamed of it. It just felt like a huge waste of time to put so much work and effort into a computer game with nothing physical to show for it. Over the years I've learned a ton and met some cool people online and I'll do a post about that in the future, but for now I've decided to hang up my gaming mouse and devote all of my time to my dream.

So lets jump right in with rule two: I must start off everyday with a list of tasks that will further my goal, and I can't do anything else until everything is finished

This is the most effective technique  to improving your quality of life. There is so much potential in every day of your life and all you need to do to tap into it is have the desire to create a productive and fulfilling day. If you start off everyday with small goals and intentions there is a higher chance that you will spend your day doing the things that you find important and fulfilling compared to just going through the motions. You will have more moments, better interactions with the people around you, and you will go to sleep at night satisfied that you spent your time wisely. Think about the first time you entered a new place in your life, like the first day of school or a new job. That first month always feels long because you are consciously there to experience all the new things happening around you. Your days were filled with new people, tasks, and scenes and the primal side of you needs to stay alert to protect you from any kind of danger. Then as you start to become adapted to your new environment things start to speed up. Suddenly you are doing the same thing everyday with little variation and weeks and months speed up without anything new. I'm terrified of being in this state and I do my best everyday to combat it.

How you start off your day also influences the choices you make to the different opportunities and situations that come your way. If you go about your morning with no type of direction or intention you enter this zombie like state where you  pass through all the new opportunities and experiences that are constantly  entering your life. Your state of mind dictates what you get out of everything you experience. I don't quite have the knowledge and writing skill to communicate the importance of this concept yet but know this: Your state of mind shows from the inside out and it dictates exactly how your life plays out. When your in a positive state of mind you make the most of every situation on a level you're not fully conscious of. And the best way to make sure you stay in a positive state of mind is to start off each day with goals and intentions. Just take a couple minutes right after waking up and make a list of things you would like to do or experience and keep that list in mind as you go about your day. As you make a habit of doing this you'll accomplish more and experience things you would've normally waited months to do. Along with a list of broad goals for a longer period of time you'll be well on your way to living a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Rule 1: the value of a deadline

This is the first of five posts about the rules that I have set up for my experiment. The experiment is basically a cultivation of the mindset that creates well being and fulfillment. It's set up so I can test out all the advice and suggestions I've gathered from my quest for a solid philosophy to live by. I've gathered these principles from various philosophies, religions, self development coaches, success experts, gurus, and various other sources I've stumbled upon. I finally have enough general knowledge built up that I can start testing out these ideas and seeing what works when applied in different combinations.

For some reason there's this limiting belief out there that "I have to live by this one way of life exactly as its been written". People get so caught up in the idea of "MY" way of life that they take it personally if someone disagrees or lives differently. Instead it's better to have beliefs based on how well they work for you; use and emphasize what works and makes your life better and discard what makes your life worse.

Rule one states: I have 30 days to create a product or service of value to a chosen niche (a small group of people I'll be selling my product to).

It deals with setting a goal and a tangible date to get it done. This allows you to create a plan that is easier to track on a day to day basis. Before I started setting goals I just expected things to come to me. When I was in college I wanted a lot of stuff, back then I wanted to party, and have a lot of friends and experiences. I wanted a good time but I didn't know I had to consciously make an effort to get all those things. I just expected to eventually do all those things because its what everyone else did. In my mind my reasoning went like this:

-These are the things a college student does, it's what my friends are experiencing, it's what everyone's been telling me happens.
-I'm an average college student so I'm sure it's going to be the same for me too, til then ill just keep doing what I'm doing.

Eventually I grew tired of waiting for things to just happen to me and I searched for a better way to think. Now I know that you don't simply wait and expect things to happen to you. You clearly define what you want and you take action to get it. Setting a goal makes that process that much faster because you now have a deadline, and to meet a deadline it takes thought and action NOW, not at some point down the road. One of the best shifts in my thinking I've made is going from a future to a present oriented person. I don't sacrifice my now for my later, I make the most of my now so that when I get to later I will be prepared for whatever may come my way.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Self development

I've made great progress in my first couple days. I'm talking to more people about their dreams, I'm refining and improving on my ideas, and I have a plan laid out for the rest of the 30 days. Before we get into all that though I want to apologize. In my first post I said this wouldn't be one of those blogs where I tell you how to live your life, but that seems unavoidable because so many of my planned articles deal with how to dream and the little tweaks you can use to make the most of your time right now. I strongly believe that you should only take advice from people who already have or do what you want to accomplish. I live with my parents and I have no major accomplishments to date so it feels hypocritical to impose my philosophy on you when I'm sure many of you are in a better situation then I am. I will say this though, I genuinely care about people and my first and foremost intention for everything I write and create is to add value to your life.

 Personal development has always been a passion of mine, I'm not sure how or when it started but its a concept I've been thinking about regularly. I've always liked those long role playing games where you start off as a character with nothing and somehow you get thrown into this adventure with others where you grow and mold yourself to become a hero who achieves something great in the end. All these characters had traits of curiosity, courage, understanding, and adventure which allowed them to take on the challenges they faced on their journeys and it was only through overcoming those challenges that they gained the experience and equipment necessary to grow. Life works the same way. Its not about where you start or what you are born with that decides how far you go, its about the mindset you cultivate and how you relate to the experiences you come across.

My writing isn't where I want it to be right now, and my personal life needs a lot of work, but that's the point of all this. To try and learn and to get better, and to one day look back proudly and see how far I've come because I had to courage to take action. If I had to sum up the meaning of life, which is different for everyone I would say "To constantly grow and become better and to help others do the same". My next five posts are going to explain the concepts and reasoning behind each of my rules during these 30 days, so stay tuned and see you next time.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Introduction to dreaming

Hello everyone, and welcome to my dream experiment. This is a 30 day try hard effort to live my dream of being an entrepreneur. I want to see how far a person can go in achieving their goals when they put all their mental effort into it for a month straight. An entrepreneur is a person who creates a business around a product or service under extreme uncertainty. Its a person who earns their living by creating value and enriching the lives of others. I've been toying with the concept for over a year now but I've never had the courage to go all in. Then, two nights ago I had an epiphany roaming around the streets of downtown Charlotte. For the last couple months I believed that If I just read, stayed informed, and kept my goal in mind an opportunity would come my way and I'd have somewhere to start; and although this worked well in the past I got tired of waiting. After my original plans for the day fell through I made a firm decision that I will find a way to make a change by the end of the night. And that's where you come in.

A key reason why all of my previous efforts failed miserably was because I didn't tell anyone about what I wanted to do. I didn't let my family or friends know anything, so when I started slacking and giving in to all the reasons why I should just quit and go do something normal no one was there to tell me to man up. So I over corrected and here you are today. This time if I decide to quit after a couple days I can count on at least one person to ridicule or motivate me back on track. I'll be posting my progress on here along with the philosophy behind my method which I'll introduce at the end of this article. But fear not, this isn't one of those blogs where I tell you how to live or give you the secrets to happiness, there are tons of resources out there that can do a much better job then I can. However, I will be writing about some of the techniques I'll use during my experiment. If you see something that resonates with you feel free to use or talk to me about it.

Now here are the rules of the experiment:

  1. I have 30 days to create a product or service of value to a chosen niche (a small group of people I'll be selling my product to)
  2. I must start off everyday with a list of tasks that will further my goal, and I cant do anything else until everything is finished
  3. I must end my day with a reflection of my current accomplishments and failures, along with a list of things I could have done better
  4. I will only work on my tasks when I'm in a state of complete focus in 50 minute intervals
  5. I wont-or i'll try my best to keep my goal off my mind whenever I'm not working on it
Finally, why am I doing all this? Because I want to do my part to create a better world, and I think the only way for one person to do that is to find, pursue, and share what they love with the people around them. I'm Leul, I'm a dreamer, and this blog is a record of my first dream experiment.