An Intentional Life

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As my quarter-of-a-century looms, I’m forced to reflect on life.

I don’t mean the typical “quarter-life crisis”, I reflect on the new and continuing stage of adulthood. Up until recently, “what I do” has been defined by other people. Leo is a teenager, a student, etc. Now when people ask me “what I do” It goes like this:

Oh~! I do XY for AB Company, Nice to meet you! Remind me again, ‘What is it that you do?’

Then my brain starts to run this function:

If ( jobDescription === “Big Shot”) {

get(’email’ || ‘phone’ || ‘linkedIn’)

} else {

run(smallTalk(“Weather”)}

Yes, It’s shallow. Yes, I’m a terrible person but don’t we all do this? (likely not all, but we look at networking as such a transactional thing. It’s ironic that growing up, we long to be able to create ourselves. To leave home, to be whoever we want to be. Only to be defined by our job.

As I grow older, I reflect on things that define me. Do I want to be defined by my work? Or rather when asked “what do you do” I’ll answer the things that excite me and bring me joy. Such as making things and helping people.

There other things that constantly defined us without our consent. If we are comprised of our habits then am I defined by my social media usage? Are the habits formed by these tools becoming who I am? Do I want to be the person that constantly checks Twitter for new followers (that would likely never tweet at me or have a real conversation)

Or Instagram, where I work hard to show images to reflect how edgy or trendy I am. Even writing this blog, I’ve opened Twitter and watched Arrow to delay writing the blog.

Now how to moderate the usage of distractions in my life. Where I am in charge of them, rather than having to open the app every 20mins to check on my progress.

—–

Right, so what do I do now?

Really it’s about learning to lead an intentional life.

A life where I’m more free to spend time with the people I love.

A life in which money isn’t a priority but a tool.

A life that is free to build and create.

A life that adds value to others rather than seeking the next step in my career.

 

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The Party for Advancement of Humanity

—– Probably Unintelligible Ramble —- PROCEED WITH CAUTION  —-

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— I was so supposed to re-write this and clean it up, but I’ll likely not do it. —

I’ve recently spent some time in the South for a good friend’s wedding. Overall, it was an exceptional experience.

However, there were a few things that lingered in my mind. I knew going there would mean speaking with folks who are the complete opposite of my political spectrum.

Now, I consider myself a moderate left. Which means, I understand and sympathize with the left and their social policies while still heavily invested in economic growth of America and empowering businesses. As controversial as that may seem, let me assure you, It’s not.

Anyways back to the story. Going in there, I knew certain folks are even employed by the same organizations that I’ve actively, very vocally, disagreed with.

However, after spending a weekend this these folks. And purposefully avoiding policital talk. I’ve realized a couple things. We are all the same.

We are all the same.

Regardless of the political differences, we are all on the same side.

The side of humanity.

The side of love.

The side that wants what is best for their children.

The side that remembers their daughters baby wishes,

only to finally fulfill them during her wedding day.

That dines together, regardless of political differences.

That’s the political side that I am with. Not a polarizing Right or Left.

Not antagonize anyone, but understanding the human emotions. That Love is just a valid emotion as fear, and neither are either good or bad, and neither should be seen as better. People’s fears or the other isn’t any better than our insecurities or whatever that may be for you.

What I’m really trying to get at is this:

To truly understand and pass legislation, we need to work with our fellow humans. And not view them as a demonic enemy. Because I hate to live a life that is constantly overlooking my shoulder, questioning people’s motives. and being cynical for their decisions.

I side with the Party for The Advancement of Humanity

The party that focuses on people and the future of our society.

Cycles of Misunderstanding

fav-book-sucks-1984I’ve recently finish reading 1984. First and foremost, I loved the book. It was entertaining, captivating and thought-provocative.  Not my favorite book, but I highly recommend it. And yes, I am a little late to the game. And no, we did not read this in high-school.  So to the main topic. From here I will assume that you have read the book. If you haven’t. Stop reading this and go read it. You’ll get much more out of it than my random ramblings.

Now onward to the book. 1984 was published in 1954 amidst the Korean War, Algerian War, and many more conflicts throughout the world. After the world being ravaged by two significant wars, many authors have taken it upon themselves to write about government and conflict. This sentiment is clearly shown through other contemporary authors.

“We were all at once terribly alone; and alone we must see it through.” – Erich Remarque in All Quiet on the Western Front.

The vision of gloom during this time coupled with the onset of communism made people question issues of morality, or right and wrong, of good and evil. So. Why did I read this book? I mainly read this book because recently people have compared our government and large corporate entities to “Big Brother” and I wanted to understand why they made such comparisons.

To those people I say: STOP IT! To those people I say: Life isn’t entirely black and white. It is beautiful shades of gray. Shades of gray molded and carved by perception and narrative. In a sense, everything is based on narratives.

Now, I want to expand a bit on the thought of black and white, good vs evil, hero vs villain. The narrative of hero v. villain rings throughout not only in 1984 but throughout the contemporaries of the book. (ps: also setting up nicely for the Cold War, were this Good and Evil was emphasized more). People are drawn to good v. evil stories. Comic books, movies and media constantly emphasizes this ideals.

So in turn we use these narratives to describe our world view. “Sticking it to the man” has become a way to fight a villain. We stigmatize politicians and police officers because we don’t agree with their methods or biases. I think a way that helps me, is to remember that those cops/politicians have families and friends. And yes, their biases are damaging to society. And yes, their racism affects many. (Trust me as someone who has been harassed by the police).

My main point is, if we view things as hero and villain. We are compelled to “heroic” acts (or violent) that feeds into the violence cycle. Or should I say the misunderstanding cycle.

If you have read this far (I commend you if you have) remember this. We need to teach others to view your side and to play by YOUR rules. If the “big business” is screwing up the environment. The answer is not to “do acts of heroism” that can be interpreted as acts of violence. But to change the narrative. Change the rules, bring people together, and change the leverage of power. Then change is possible.

Anyways.

I give 1984: 3.5 /5 stars

  • Good to read, not worth re-reading. And I don’t like the “good vs evil” narrative.

Hipster Bathroom Music

Hipster Bathroom Music

I take pride on noticing the little things. One of these things are the differences in bathrooms. Ha, yes. Bathrooms. The more affluent and hipster-y a place is, the fancier the bathroom. A pinnacle of hispterom is music in bathrooms. So during my travels, I Shazamed all the music I’ve come across in restrooms from co-working places, to restaurants, to music venues in williamsburg.  I’ve compiled them into a playlist in Spotify.

Enjoy!

5 Tools to be Hyper Productive

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I am by no means, a wiz at getting things done. I spend a descent amount of time playing video games and drinking beer with my closest friends. however, since joining Startup Institute, I have noticed my free time dwindle at an alarming rate.

Shockingly, as seen in my scientific graph, I have found that my productivity level is directly connected with my free-time.

Now, I am a huge advocate for free time but in the same vein I understand the necessity of getting things done.

So here is 5 tools I use that help me be super effective against procrastination. These tools help me get everything done in a reasonable time frame. They allow for time in my schedule to open up and do the things I love without feeling anxious or stressed because of deadlines.

Rescue Time

Rescue TimeThe main reason why I love Rescue Time is because is simple to sign-up for and it keeps track of absolutely everything you do. It gives me visual feedback on my progress by using fancy chats and colors. I can even set up goals to push myself to be more productive.

Simple NoteGoogle Keep / OneNote / Evernote

Simple NoteI use SimpleNote and OneNote. Many argue and die by Evernote (which is great, I have nothing against them). But the point here is having a platform that you can quickly write notes and have it synced throughout all your devices. All of my notes are small, quick thoughts that I can go back the following day and organize them where they need to be. For Example, If I hear a book recommendation off a podcast I will quickly write it down and go back to it the following day and add it to my “To-Read” List.  The point here is to write simple one or two words to go back the following day and do an action behind it. I Always try to have this place clear, it gives a sense of accomplishment and helps you quick remember important things.

Flux

FluxFlux is a simple piece of software that changes the hue on your screen depending on the time of day. Now at this point you might be telling me “Leo! This doesn’t help me be productive, quit wasting my time”, to which I will say “hold up, let me explain”. Your personal health is incredibly important. The healthier you are, the more productive you will be. Staring at screens at night is really taxing on your body and your eyes. Flux eases up that pain.

Keyboard shortcuts.

I love my computer. I love it not because it’s a PC or touch-screen on anything like that. I love it because it’s mine. I’ve customize it to fit my type of personality. Now personalizing isn’t hard, I don’t want you to become an expert on PC’s or Macs (which are great). But know your computer. The more you know your computer, the more you can tailor it to fit you. Sure you may not sure the Alt + Tab feature to quickly swap between programs, but know that it’s there. Some of these shortcuts will save you an incredible amount of time. Rather than right-clicking why not Command + X, then Command + V to paste. Simple things that makes life immensely more enjoyable.  And there’s no better feeling that to quickly move your computer like your some sort of computer ninja. (I will expand on Keyboard Shortcuts on a later blog, this is huge for me.)

OmniFocus

Omnifocus

If you’re a super busy person, this tool will absolutely keep you sane. I can’t really talk much about it since I don’t use it, but from what I’ve heard and listen, this is one of those tools that you just can’t live without once you start to use it.