sup homeslice. This site is in beta. Posts are drafts; streams of consciousness.
Better to have published and been Insulted & Humiliated than to have never published at all.

Having more money usually results in no more than a higher Quality of Life (QoL.) It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll suddenly begin forming new habits because of this big change in your life.

Our hobbies and things we buy are directly correlated to our budget. We implicitly raise our standers of quality and how we perceive purchases. If hiring somebody to fix your shower head will cost $50, and you make $50 an hour, that means you’re spending only $50 vs the 3-4 hour DIY job you’re thinking about to save money. 3-4 hours to do something means the cost (in work hours) comes out to $150-200 and probably low quality work.

People who overspend when they are rich are people who likely overspent and gotten into debt before coming across their fortune. Here’s an example: Spending $300/night on a hotel isn’t that big of a deal to somebody who makes $1000 a day. If that person is making $30,000 a month, $300 to them is only 1% of their monthly income. 1% of $4100/month – a common middle class monthly income (~$50k/year) – is $41. That doesn’t sound absurd. In fact, we will probably opt to spend much more if we feel this is a one time thing, or “we’re on vacation so we might as well stay somewhere nice.”

Spend at least $10+ buying something you really want to eat. The healthier, more expensive, more ethnic – and anything else that may make it easier to justify eating the meal, the better.

Buy this meal, prepare it, unpack it, etc, and then have it sitting in front of you. Oh, and don’t eat it. Just sit.

DO NOT taste any part of the meal. Don’t even taste the ketchup packets.

DO NOT eat anything for the next 8 hours.

DO notice the smell and freshness of it.

DO make note of every justification you’re coming up with. (See list below)

Remember that this is a test of self-control, not healthiness, finances, or anything else. The cost of the meal is the cost of the experiment, not “a waste of money.” Yes there are starving kids in Africa, but when did you give a shit?

This will likely take a few tries, but try to 1up the last meal you failed to resist.

Justifications that may be going through your mind:

  • I’m wasting money
  • I’m wasting food
  • My mom/Gods told me never to throw food out.
  • I never tried food from this place
  • I never tried this dish/item
  • I’m gonna be awake for a long time so I should eat
  • I’m hungry. It’s not healthy not to eat
  • I need protein (or carbs, or fats, or calories, …)
  • I have dry mouth (water is OK but don’t fill yourself up)
  • I’m afraid of getting an ulcer (or some other medical condition)
  • I just drank coffee, alcohol or <insert other drug>, it’s better if I eat something with these drugs
  • I don’t have self-control, who cares?
  • I’ll try this again some other time
  • Just a bite (1 bite is justified same way as entire meal)

Notice that in the back of your mind, the goal that you will eat the food will remain. What’s stopping you from eating the food is your search for a reasonable justification. The point of the task is to stop this searching and just accept the unwanted end result – no soup for you.

Posted in Bad Habits, persistence, self-awareness at December 12th, 2009. No Comments.

Imagine taking a camcorder and recording yourself for 24 hours on an ordinary day. You could actually get hold of a camera and do this, but this may be difficult as batteries don’t last longer than a few hours, and your camera might not be portable enough to be practical in some situations (mounting it while driving, walking around with it, etc). Just visualizing this scenario works just as well if you put thought and effort into it.

Imagine this in third person; You seeing yourself from the outside, and with no audio (and if you actually do record, play it back on mute).

Your camera is positioned toward your bed and begins recording as soon as you’re up in the morning – up as in conscious, not necessarily fully out of bed. What would you see next? Some people get up right away, but most probably remain in bed fully awake for awhile, pondering the universe and their existence.

Now you go through your morning routine (SSS: shit / shower / shave), and eat, or not. Assuming you sit on the computer to work, what would you see yourself doing? Maybe pausing in between work, browsing random sites, just staring at the screen not doing much.

Imagine the rest of your ordinary day. If you’re a thinker, most of your life only happens in your head. On a muted video, you’re sitting around not doing much, but at that moment in your head, countless thoughts, ideas, worries, and emotions and imagery are happening, and you might not realize that to the rest of the world, you’re just standing still. No action is being taken, and you can finally see why hours go by without much work getting done.

Posted in self-awareness, Thinking vs Doing at August 2nd, 2009. No Comments.

Thinking about doing something, but never actually going ahead and pursuing it is actually more common than you think. I’ve met very very few people (none I can think of off the top of my head) who will take an idea, no matter how simple or grand, or what the potential is, and then implement it. Some start, but most will lose hype in the idea within days if not a few weeks.

When we feel hyped about an idea we have (a new project, a business plan, etc), we feel the idea is brilliant, perfect, etc, and we feel determined to begin working. This hype never lasts however, no matter how brilliant the idea is in an objective sense. We eventually sober down and will easily begin pushing the idea further back on our todo list, if not completely disregarding it as being unfeasible or stupid. Every idea is stupid unless it works.

Being a Doer instead of a Thinker requires an excruciating amount of discipline. 99.9% of people can’t do it. Stop thinking you have a mental illness or any sort of problem, disadvantage or misfortune. You don’t even have a lack of discipline, if you’re comparing yours to the average person. Sure, Amphetamine might help, but it doesn’t mean you have ADD. Depression and anxiety can hinder progress and stop you from doing pretty much anything, but it doesn’t mean not being depressed or anxious will necessarily mean you will begin knocking big projects off your list.

Understanding this may give you a more accurate picture of yourself and put you in a more positive mindset. You don’t want to be normal, you want to be exceptional. Suddenly, there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with you — instead, you have a drive to work beyond your limits and excel at what most people cannot – Doing things when you absolutely don’t feel like it. Skipping naps and other enjoyable things to get shit done.

There’s no question that buying in bulk means you’re paying (much) less per individual unit, but in the long run does it save you money? The obvious answer is yes – how can it not? Instead of buying 1 train card for $4 everyday for 30 days (total $120), you would save $40 if you buy an $80 30 day unlimited card. In fact, you would likely save more because on some days (maybe weekends) you might use the train multiple times.

With metrocards, or anything you purchase on a regular basis that you can sit down and calculate a near exact cost of (cable bill, monthly memberships, etc), buying in bulk is a no-brainer. However, things you consume or use up, like gas or food, likely end up costing more when bought in bulk.

This happens if you don’t have a system for how you plan on using what you bought over an extended period. Instead of buying one Twinkie a day, you might think you’re saving $20 buying a big monthly supply (monthly supply being 31 Twinkies, for example). Without any form of control or restriction placed on the Twinkies, it’s likely you will now just end up eating more than one Twinkie per day. You might finish the Twinkies in a week instead of a month, and then probably either get sick of them and quit buying them for a week or two, and then resuming the cycle, or resuming it right away. Food isn’t the only thing we can abuse…

With a full tank in the car, I’m much more likely to speed or drive aggressively. With multiple bags of cat food in storage, I would probably take out scoops without caring much about losing any bits of food. I.e., some bits fell on the floor, or I put too much and need to throw out the old bits.

This also happens with money. If you have $100 in your bank account, you’re much less likely to charge small purchases, and become very vigilant about what you’re buying. With $3,500 in your bank account, this self monitoring is inhibited because suddenly, the loss is insignificant relative to how much you have in the bank. This is illogical. Saving $1 is saving $1,whether you have $2 in the bank or $2,000.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy in bulk. Buying in bulk is an excellent way to save money, but also requires that you micromanage your supply.

Posted in Bad Habits, Money, self-awareness at June 8th, 2009. No Comments.

What you do is your own choice. Nobody can force you to do anything. People can have an influence on you, but so can anything. Filter out things you feel will influence you into doing something for which you won’t accept responsibility.

Things don’t have to suck. Our memories, opinions, beliefs and thoughts label everything good or bad. We choose how to feel. This means that things suck because we choose to believe they suck. See above.

There’s no such thing as multitasking. It takes your brain a little bit of time to settle into the groove of whatever you’re doing. This becomes impossible if you’re constantly distracted or willingly trying to finish multiple things at once. Stop it.

Be confident, but to do so you first have to thoroughly understand what confidence means to you.

Understand and internalize that progress is made in little steps.

We can justify anything to ourselves. We pick certain facts and beliefs and use them to formulate a very logical justification for …pretty much anything. Any one of us can go out and murder children, and no matter how bad we feel about it, we will eventually find countless reasons to justify what we did. This is part of human nature.

Despite what your therapist taught you, when you’re with other people, or in a public place, you likely are being judged and looked at. It’s normal. We all do it all the time. Is it really a problem? Does the judging we do the first second we lay eyes on somebody affect or hurt them? There will always be people who hate you or things you do. They have a right to think you’re retarded or ugly. Why do you care?

Life isn’t a race. You’re not playing against anyone else. Don’t compare yourself to others. This belief can impede everything you do and can sometimes feel impossible to change, even after becoming aware of it.

You can do or be pretty much anything. Excuses are easier to come up with than most other accomplishments, and we naturally choose the path of least resistance. We can learn to speak a new language fluently, or master a new skill, or build something remarkable. We can also convince ourselves that we’re incapable and incompetent.

Life sucks. It will always suck until you decide to believe otherwise.

Change. A big part of changing is just the realization, or belief, that you have changed. All the work you do between point A and point B is done to convince you that you’ve changed. By believing that some change has already occurred, you can greatly speed up the process. For example, if you’d like to be more confident, then just believe (or pretend) that you are, and do what you would do if you were more confident. (I’m not talking about any New-Age shit.)

If you want to lead, take charge. This is easier said than done. Most people will never be able to take charge unless they feel they’re superior to those in their group.

The hardest task is always getting started. There’s rarely a more efficient way than just to stop thinking and start doing. Don’t get stuck in a position where you just sit and think about how to get started, or of any shortcuts. You will end up either never starting, or just getting started the conventional way.

Relax. Things are fine, even when they’re not.

A lower income class man might look at a homeless man and wonder why he doesn’t get a job. Why he works his ass off picking up bottles, when he can use that time and energy to make much more money, for relatively less work. Anyone can do it, he thinks.

You look at a lower income class man and wonder why he doesn’t get a real job, instead of spending nearly all his time working 3 crappy jobs to make in a year what you make in a month. Anyone can do it, you think.

A rich man might look at you and wonder why you don’t stop working for somebody else, and instead learn how money works to become rich. Anyone can do it, he thinks.

The homeless, poor, and middle class man all believe they can’t surpass their status, and therefore won’t change what they’re doing because it’s, to them, futile. They look at the classes above them and attribute that to luck, genetics, parents, government conspiracies, Gods. Some might attribute the higher class(es) as being only attainable by unethical or illegal means.

Some might attribute it to hard work and believe the path their following will lead them there, eventually, if they persist. They see life as being setup in tiers; A ladder. They need to start low and work their way up to become relatively rich (enough bottles, a better job, etc).

None of them believe they can reach the status of the rich man (own a Ferrari, a successful business, etc), and so never will, with the exception of luck. This causes the belief that rich==luck is to be reinforced further.

* Note: There’s a book titled How Come That Idiot is Rich and I’m Not? This post is not based on anything in that book. I have not read the book.
Posted in persistence, self-awareness at March 21st, 2009. No Comments.

We naturally put the blame on others. We blame people for making us angry. We blame somebody for consistently being late. We blame our professors for not teaching well. We blame our cat when she creates a mess. We blame the the government, the rich, and the poor. It’s easy to put the blame on others. All we need to do is believe it, and justifications will form and help us hold our opinion indefinitely.

Eventually we might get tired of just getting screwed and take matters into our own hands. We learn that nobody can ‘make us’ do anything, and we stop getting angry at people. We realize that our friend will always be late, and get over it by just not depending on him. We figure out that our professors are there to help, but we need to pick up the book and actually do some work if we’re not satisfied with that C-. We learn that cats always knock the jug of water over, and we should adapt by just not putting the jug and the cat together.

Every single thing we do is our own choice. We choose to go to work. We choose to pay our bills. We choose to drive safely, or to drive recklessly, or to walk 20 miles to work. We choose our friends, and we choose to get angry or depressed over certain things. It’s easy to put the blame on anything else, but it won’t help solve the underlying problem. It’s part of our ego’s self-defense mechanism. Spending all day complaining and ranting all day is a waste of your time, and the time of the person your yapping to. Nobody cares. Putting yourself in the 3rd person might help make you aware of this bad habit.

Who did you blame today?

Posted in Bad Habits, self-awareness at March 16th, 2009. 2 Comments.