My war, you’re one of them – 31st January 2020

“Keep this thought handy when you feel a fit of rage coming on—it isn’t manly to be enraged. Rather, gentleness and civility are more human, and therefore manlier. A real man doesn’t give way to anger and discontent, and such a person has strength, courage, and endurance—unlike the angry and complaining. The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength.”

I’ve never been a manly man. Well, I say that, though I can remember trying to be one from about ages 11-14. Then I started getting bullied a bit at school and realised I wasn’t ever going to be a strong boy physically.

Not me but you get the idea…

I retreated into my mind but taking resentment and bitterness there. I filled myself with seething hatred for everything around me, confusing what I considered personal injustice with larger injustices of the world. Everything was against us. It was us and them, whoever us was and whoever they were.

I dove head first into the moshpits of punk rock. Besides my mother, punk really was a rock for me to hold on to. Sometimes I clung too tight but eventually I found my way.

Justice and fairness are still amongst my top character strengths, thankfully along with curiousity and gratitude – those two came later.

These days I’m trying to calm my mind to bring some inner peace but the tunes of yesterday still rattle around from dawn to dusk. This inner noise is it’s own sort of peace, it’s familiarity calming, the anger gone.

Man is spelt big M.A.N. it’s the letters of the law,
Man is spelt big M.A.N. that’s who the law is for.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful for the supportive teachers around me. They have helped me cover a lesson today and it was easy to stand once I found the right person to talk with.

It keeps us away from who we should be loving – 30th January 2020

“How much more time, energy, and pure brainpower would you have available if you drastically cut your media consumption? How much more rested and present would you feel if you were no longer excited and outraged by every scandal, breaking story, and potential crisis (many of which never come to pass anyway)?” Excerpt From “The Daily Stoic” by Ryan Holiday

This is something I’ve been conscious of for about ten years, since first reading an article about how ‘the news’ is not something that is good for us. In my lifetime the news and its delivery has changed considerably. Someone who read newspapers or watched BBC 2 news analysis shows was deemed to be knowledgeable and worldly.

These days news is everywhere and very little of it is actually news. A couple of decades ago Jello Biafra urged us to ‘become the media’ and technology has now allowed us that opportunity but we, as humans, have subverted this idea to push along our personal agendas.

So, I turned off the news, anywhere it could be found. If there’s something I really need to know I will find out about it. 99.9% of everything else has no real consequence in my life. That gives me a lot of free time to appreciate all the good things in life. It brings me closer to those I should be loving.

Another fantastic slow news day!

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful for the sunrise each morning. With the temple as a pointer on the mountain, I can see how ancient man used this to measure time.

If I took the time to bleed from all the tiny little arrows shot my way – 24th January 2020

– challenging but attainable goals
– strong focused concentration
– intrinsically rewarding
– feeling of serenity
– loss of self-consciousness
– timelessness/lose track of time
– lack of awareness of physical needs
– complete focus on the activity

How to achieve flow?
– Doing challenging leisure!

extrinsic = external
intrinsic = internal

extrinsic motivation can undermine intrinsic motivation and growth mindset

Growth mindset

– focus on learning not outcomes
– good performance takes hard work
– hard work is good
– effort = good
– make the most of deficiencies
– capitalise on mistakes
– no decrease in internal motivation
– performance increases over time

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful to be able to watch the sunrise in the morning and prepare myself for the new day.

I wish there was no stopping me now – 23rd January 2020

Stuff that really makes us happy
– wanting the right parts of what we already want, activating your signature strengths

Character strengths are ubiquitous, fulfilling morally valued, not able to diminish others, opposite of a negative trait, trait-like, measurable, distinctive, paragon, prodigies, select absence, institutionalised.

Signature strengths = most essential to who you are, where you flourish most. So, seek out a career with your signature strengths.
Practice = use of your top strengths in a new and different way every day
Using top 4 strengths are best

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful for the kids who greet me with happy smiles in the morning. I can appreciate the connection I have with them.

Oh, to be the cream – 22nd January 2020

Miswanting – why do we miswant?

4 annoying features
1. we compare using reference points
2. wrong intuitions about what makes us happy
3. we get used to ‘stuff’
4. we don’t realise we get used to stuff
To overcome these we need to use intentional, effortful strategies

Reset your reference points
– a reference point is a salient (but irrelevant) standard against which subsequent info is compared. They affect our happiness judgments
a – concretely re-experience
physically go back to the place or in your mind back to that time – what was your reference point then?
b – concretely observe
go and see what other things are really like
c – avoid social comparisons
– use the ‘stop’ technique ie notice making comparisons and say ‘stop’
– show gratitude
– be conscious about what you see
– stop/reduce social media, be conscious when using it.
– interrupt your consumption, pause things you enjoy, they will give you a boost when you come back to them
– increase your variety, do difficult things each day, try different foods, different books, etc

For hedonic adaptation (getting used to stuff)
– ‘stuff’ doesn’t make us as happy as we think it will, ‘stuff’ sticks around so we get used to it
– invest in experiences, they go away but you have memories
– we don’t adapt to experiences, we don’t get used to them
– experiences are difficult to compare to material stuff

What if you already have awesome stuff?
– savouring
– negative visualisation
– make this day your last
– gratitude

Savouring – stepping outside of an experience to review and appreciate it
Activities that enhance savouring
– tell another person how good you felt
– look for someone to share with
– think about how lucky you are (gratitude)
– think about sharing it later
– physical expressions of energy
– laugh or giggle
– tell yourself how proud you were
– in the now, absorb the moment
Activities that hurt savouring
– focus on the future, after the event
– you remind yourself it will be over soon
– tell yourself it’s not as good as you hoped
– tell yourself nothing lasts forever
– tell yourself how it could be better
– tell yourself it will never be this good again
– tell yourself you didn’t deserve this good thing

Negative visualisation
– imagine you never had this

Make this day your last
– what if you lose this thing

– show thanks and appreciation for what you have and share it with other people

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful to meet and chat with Diego, a teacher at the other Anuban school. He seems like a nice person and understands the situation here in Thailand.