The first one hour in the morning

The first one hour in the morning is a must for all those who wish to be the best version of themselves. In this essay, you will learn guidelines for how I design an ideal and positive day and be able to conquer anything that may stand in the way. From staying focused and being productive, to tackling your own mental health concerns, this essay has something for everyone.

When you wake up, the first thing you must do is go to the bathroom. After you have relieved yourself of all your morning fluids, make sure to brush your teeth and rinse your mouth with water.

The first one hour of your morning is the most important part. If you conquer the first hour with a positive attitude, you will have a great day. If you don’t, then nothing else will matter.

Never start your day by checking email or notifications or even worst, social media. This will only stress you out and give you a feeling of being behind.

Start your day with a stretch. Stretch every muscle in your body. Hold each stretch for at least 10 seconds. Make sure to be conscious of your breathing while you are stretching.

Start your morning with positive books that will motivate you. Try to read at least one page in the morning, no matter how early in the day it is. This will set the tone for the rest of your day. Read biographies of people you respect and admire, or inspirational stories about their success in life, if it is written well you can extract some valuable information from it that can be applied to your own life.

For me, I start my day with a morning page (also known as morning pages) and my most important task of the day. Morning page is a mental exercise where you write three pages of anything and everything you want, without stopping for at least 15 minutes. Some people find it helpful to use a timer or alarm to remind them that they shouldn’t stop writing until the time has passed.

I put three things in this exercise: what I plan for the day, things I am grateful for and things that I forgive or I want to let go of. I do this exercise almost every day (sone exception for the day I had crazy deadlines or my sleep pattern went south). I use the time to clear my head, plan for the rest of my day and reflect on what I want to achieve.

I don’t really have a rule for this. But some people that I know do the 5-5-5 rule for this exercise. Every morning, set aside 15 minutes to think about ourselves and what you want to do to accomplish that day.

Mental exercise such as morning pages has been proven by science to improve mental health and relieve stress. Some individuals find it to be addictive. But I don’t think it really matters if you do this a few times a week or every day. What is important is that you do something for yourself and your mind.

The last thing I do in the morning is to meditate for five minutes. This helps me clear my head and relax my muscles especially after a full night of sleep. While I don’t always do this every day but I try to consistently do it almost every morning. If I am on a tight schedule or a full day ahead, I skip this step.

Praying also is a good form of meditation and reflection. Setting up a morning ritual for yourself is a powerful thing. If you have little time to do this in the morning, then try to squeeze this in your lunch break or even during your commute to work (I’ll share this at another time). Also, there are products available like Headspace that help you meditate for 15 minutes.

If you struggle with meditation or don’t have a routine that helps you to relax, then try the following breathing exercises:

Breathe in slowly through your nose for four seconds. Hold it for four seconds. Exhale through your mouth slowly for eight seconds. Hold it for eight seconds. Repeat this cycle six times. You can repeat this cycle twice more if needed or do additional cycles to get the desired effect.

Avoid screen time in the first one hour if you can. If you decide to go on social media, do it in the last hour of your day and don’t allow yourself to check-in.

A productive morning begins with a good attitude. If you are consistent with these simple things, you will be able to face any day with confidence and success.


Mindfulness

I considered myself spiritual enough.

My thought process had not changed until I learned how to meditate and manage distractions. I had been practising for years, without any real substance or progress, but after the onset of a few days of daily meditation, I realized that I was at least doing something.

Mindfulness can be a very effective way of dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression. It’s also a great way to improve your physical health through nutrition and exercise. In layman’s terms, mindfulness is the intentional act of paying attention to what is happening at the moment without judgment.

Mindfulness can take in many forms, such as :

  • Meditation (the act of de-stressing through paying attention to your breathing)
  • Exercise (focus on your body moving, rather than thinking negative thoughts)
  • Nutrition (paying attention to what you are eating, how your body feels afterwards)
  • Wander (being conscious of your surroundings, rather than rushing to get places)
  • Conversation (having an effective conversation with someone requires mindfulness so you are not thinking about the million other things going on in your head)

There are many more forms of mindfulness, I am simply stating a few. Mindfulness is the art of managing distractions that clog our path to happiness, while also improving our physical well-being.

The act of non-thinking is mindfulness in action. It is a conscious observing, noticing, non-judging, patient, curious, accepting, trusting, non-striving and detached style of being with our unfolding mental and physical experience. As the result, deeper awareness and understanding can emerge.

Based on Mindful Walking, the seven principles that the author taught are:

  • Non-judging (being aware of thought without letting it affect your emotional state)
  • Patience (confidence in yourself, your value, and your potential)
  • Beginner’s mind (being humble and able to see the world as if you were experiencing it for the first time)
  • Trust (believing that everything will be okay)
  • Non-striving (not setting any goal for yourself, except to be the best you can be)
  • Acceptance (letting a thought or emotion be there, without trying to force it away)
  • Letting go of your pain (resentment, anger, sadness, or anxiety)

What I have learned from my own experience is that you cannot live a life without distractions. Thoughts and feelings come and go, but the only constant is the awareness of them. My biggest obstacle to practising mindfulness was letting my mind wander too often.

I would add a few things on top of the list above;

  • Gratitude (count your blessings and take note of all the things you are grateful for)
  • Forgiveness (letting go of anger and resentment, as those emotions do not serve your well-being)
  • Self-compassion (accepting unpleasant emotions without judgment when they arise in yourself)
  • Focus (our minds wander all the time, paying attention to your surroundings will help you get back to your task)

My spiritual journey began back in 2011. When Irwan and Ajmal introduced me to Mindvalley and some personal growth culture. Vishen taught me the state of bliss, a state of mind that does not judge but simply accepts. I learned to let go of things that were out of my control, and most importantly that I could be happy at this moment if I was conscious of it.

Am forever grateful. Thank you, everyone. That’s my daily 500 words of Zen. Love yall.


Moonshot Thinking

I think that was where the moonshot originated whenever I think about it. The 1960s were marked by social unrest, most notably the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement. The U.S. and Russia had a space race in the 1960s. The race was marked by two collectives of patriots striving towards the impossible.

A moonshot is unimaginable. it was an impossibility. We can’t even imagine what we will be able to do if we don’t try our best. We must keep moving forward no matter how difficult or impossible it may seem at first. It is for this reason that Moonshot Thinking is so important for us as individuals and as a society.

Moonshot Thinking, what is it?

Moonshot thinking is an approach to innovation where you target solutions that are 10X or 10 times better than what’s existed so far. It calls on teams of people to look for unconventional solutions. This 10x mindset means challenging the idea that progress can be made in linear steps.

Google X was meant to be a research lab that doesn’t work on anything related to Google’s core business. It’s a sort of anti-corporate research lab. The job was to solve big challenges and find innovative solutions. High-altitude connectivity, Project Loon, and the self-driving car were among the first moonshots that they took.

Each X project is hand-picked and works in tandem with the company’s core strategy. Each of the projects was meant to act like startups within Google. They were given enough time and resources to develop breakthrough technologies in specific areas. The Google Loon project is trying to build cheaper access to the internet in remote areas.

Astro Teller, the founders had the 10X, moonshot mindset of thinking big. The mindset means that they wanted to take big risks on technologies that would help them reach their goals of growing the company. They constantly investigate and prototyping new technologies.

Why does moonshot thinking matter for growth?

Moonshot Thinking empowers people to imagine the future. It’s about their willingness to see possibilities that are not visible at first sight. It can be used to identify opportunities that other people don’t see yet. Moonshot thinking makes people think creatively and alone.

Moonshot thinking encourages people to question their assumptions. It challenges people to create things that are different from what is commonly seen elsewhere.

It helps us plan, fail, and learn through iteration. Fail is a good thing. It means learning. There is no big success without big failures. It’s a way of gaining knowledge and experience in the long run.

How should businesses approach this concept?

Moonshot thinking involves taking risks and trying new things. It is about experimenting and failing fast. Failing forward, some say. Even though mistakes are essential for Moonshot Thinking, they can’t be avoided. It is important that your team recovers quickly from them.

Other than experimentation, a business could do this by creating a culture of learning and transparency. They should find ways to connect their team so that they could facilitate each other. Collaboration is key for success in Moonshot Thinking. We can inspire each other by learning from each other’s experiences.

Moonshot Thinking is a way of thinking that we use to overcome difficulties and obstacles, while we search for new solutions or ways of innovating. It’s about putting yourself out there and making new things happen.

Failure is inevitable, but you must accept it as an opportunity to learn.

How can we apply moonshot thinking to ourselves?

In the book The 10X Rule, Carolyne advises setting yourself targets that are ten times greater than what you think you can achieve and taking actions that are ten times greater than what you think you need to reach them. Setting goals too low is one of the most common mistakes most people make. The only way to reach your full potential is to take massive action.

Many believe that 10X thinking is expensive and requires a lot of resources. Instead, 10X thinking is just the opposite. It is about finding inexpensive, creative solutions to hard questions.

While it is important to imagine the future, it is also important to use your imagination in the right way. Don’t be a prisoner of your own imagination. Moonshot is about knowing when not to imagine or reinvent the wheel.

When JFK delivered one of the most famous speeches in American history, in front of forty thousand crowds, he said:

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills”

-JFK

I believe this speech is a true representation of Moonshot thinking. It was not about the destination but about the journey itself. Moonshot Thinking is about working with an audacious goal and taking massive action to achieve it.


Separation of Concerns

The separation of concern refers to the division of tasks within a broader function or responsibility to separate different functions. The process is often used in management and business, where it allows for specialization of functions according to their area of expertise.

In software engineering, software modules whose functionality have been separated into concerns should be design-time interchangeable. A module that is designed with concerns in mind is also said to be modularised. The idea of separation of concern is particularly relevant in object-oriented programming, where the concerns are often the same class.

The same can be said for complex enterprise applications building blocks. Separating the various concerns into different systems or layers simplifies code navigation and maintenance. When changes are implemented, the effects and regressions on other areas are minimised, and a healthier and more adaptable programme emerges.

Let’s visit how the same philosophy can be applied in business.

Decentralisation of control

In business, decentralisation of control refers to the distribution of decision-making power away from one central authority. Decentralisation can have positive and negative effects. It can be used to foster creativity and innovation, but it can also lead to infighting, inefficiency, slow decision-making, inconsistent policies, and poor-quality decisions.

In the context of software engineering, decentralization of control can be applied in two ways:

  1. In a module-based architecture, a module specifies a set of concerns and the way they interact. If a module provides a good abstraction and has its internal implementation sufficiently separate from the next module, then it can be exchanged for another module, and the internal implementation can be changed wholesale without affecting any external behaviours.
  2. In a layered architecture, the lower level layers implement the bare minimum to support all the higher-level layers. Ideally, the lower level does not need to be concerned about higher-level functionality. It can be designed independently of them and independently evolve over time.

Decoupling

Decoupling is the ability of two parts that are connected or related to function independently from each other. A good example of decoupling is putting a car engine in a boat to make it faster. Decoupling can be used without damaging the system itself.

In OOP, decoupling is often considered cohesiveness. High cohesion occurs when the elements of a module are well related to each other. Low cohesion means that the elements are not closely related to each other.


The philosophy behind this concept for the business is that by keeping functional areas, such as accounting and management, separate and independent from each other, the enterprise can function more efficiently. The same principle applies to software development for modularity and reusability.

This disconnection is intended to prevent repetition and redundancy. So that the segment or section can perform the best. It same philosophy behind microservice architecture. By avoiding functions duplication, any errors found will only need to be fixed once. Changes to one area of code will not have unintended effects on other areas of the programme.

One way separation of concerns or decentralization of control be implemented is by having a different leader for different areas, and having one leader who overlaps the other leaders.

How the SOC benefits the design business

The separation of concerns helps to keep the department clean, accessible and highly reusable. The modularity in business is designed into different areas so that it can be easily modified and changed to cope with business changes. Modular operation is structured, well structured and easily navigate. There is a positive effect in communication and coordination between different business departments through this strategy.

The benefit of modularity is the separation of concerns, which involves different concepts such as abstraction, coupling and cohesion. We can view the department as like code and classes in a program. Divide and conquer, decentralization or whatever we may call it, has a positive impact on conducting an independent operation.

Like software engineering, it helps with the reuse of different parts without having to write tedious procedures for each part, save time and effort when it comes to diagnostic. It also provides a simple method for building blocks, allowing the system to be re-used in different projects with minimal effort. The separation of concerns also aids in continuous integration and feedback, both of which are critical when developing the business.


Frugality

Frugality is a virtue that involves moderation in the use of money, materials, time and energy. Although there are many definitions of frugality, the definition by Merriam-Webster defines it as “the quality or state of being frugal”.

One benefit that business has by maintaining frugality is its ability to maintain high standards while keeping an eye on expenses. An organization can also become more competitive if they are able to keep their costs low. Finally, an organization that maintains frugal practices is more likely to maintain innovative practices.

In startups, there are several positives to frugality. Startups must be able to control their expenses to survive, so they should take advantage of any opportunity that can save them money. A startup may also save money by using less energy by using solar energy or even saving electricity. Finally, there is the issue of not eating out as much as one might do in a larger company because it saves money.

Get rid of the office if you have to. If you can’t, at least have it be more for the show for the outside world. Make sure people are taking advantage of all of your facilities.

Frugality comes with many disadvantages for startups because there are risks involved with cutting corners. Being cheap is good, but never compromise with quality.

An organization can become more competitive if they are able to keep their costs low. In addition, an organization that maintains frugal practices is more likely to maintain innovative practices.

Check where the top 3 resources are and expenses go to. Technology is an important resource in startups. The same frugality rules apply to technology as the other resources stated above. The main purpose of obtaining technology for a startup is to save money and time.

Finally, in today’s highly competitive market, startups must be able to demonstrate monetization in order to attract investors. One way to demonstrate that they are profitable is to avoid paying for unnecessary services. If a startup does not have any employees, for example, there are numerous free software tools available. Keep it, however, if the tools can double productivity and output.

The difference between startups and normal companies is their struggle to survive. To prevent this the startup should be strict with expenses and make sure people make money in order for them to survive.

Startups should be frugal to stay competitive, but they need to have a budget for particular areas where they will have to spend their money. The budget can help speed up certain processes and allows startups to focus on what is most important.


Uncluttered your life

When your life’s too cluttered and overwhelming then you may shut down and procrastinate by lying lazily on the couch and just watching the TV or your smart phone.

When that’s the case then start uncluttering both your work hours and your private time. Two questions that have helped me to do that and to find what is most important are:

  • What would I work on if I only had 2 hours for work today?
  • If I had just 1 hour of free time today then how would I spend it?

Use these to get out of an old rut, to question your normal day a bit and to find your top priorities.

Then see what you can eliminate, minimize or perhaps delegate of the things that are not contained in your answers.


Focus less

Found this powerful advice at Medium. I feel the need to re-post it here is a must. This post is credit to Dan Pedersen.

You cannot concentrate more, you can only concentrate less. You cannot try harder, you can only try less.

What does this mean?

It means that if you stop thinking about concentrating more, if you stop thinking about trying harder, you’ll do it automatically.

When we set up two targets – the thing we want to do, and the thing we are trying to do to make it happen, we lose focus and become distracted.

In other words, trying to concentrate more, or “trying harder,” actually distracts us from our natural ability to simply be in the moment and do it. In this sense, concentrating more equates to concentrating less and trying harder is equivalent to trying to try.

The Need To Win

When an archer is shooting for nothing he has all his skill. If he shoots for a brass buckle he is already nervous. If he shoots for a prize of gold he goes blind or sees two targets— he is out of his mind!

His skill has not changed. But the prize divides him. He cares. He thinks more of winning than of shooting— and the need to win drains him of power.

~Thomas Merton, The Way of Chuang Tzu


Repetition makes perfect

That’s another way to say, practice makes perfect.

According to Malcolm Gladwell, it took 10,000 hours to be great at something. To some people like me, such amount of time are a luxury and just couldn’t afford it. 10,000 hours is equivalent of 5 years of full-time job. People like you and me don’t have time that much. Perhaps often, we sometimes want to get stuff works and be, rather than being an expert.

At first, for 10,000 hours, I think I would never be good at anything. Josh Kaufman preach it took only 20 hours of deliberate practice to good at something. By the mean by good is efficient, not expert.

You just want to be good at it. You just want to be effective. Just enough to to get something going, either to kick off, or start a new hobby.

Take writing for example; writing is not the result of our clear ideas. Our clear ideas often emerge in the process of our writing. This is a case of a dialectic. Philosopher Georg Hegel described a dialectic as a three-fold process. There is a thesis that gives rise to its reaction, an antithesis, which contradicts or negates the thesis. The tension between the thesis and the antithesis is resolved in the form of a synthesis. A blog post or casual Facebook status is a combination of your thoughts and the process of putting them onto your computer screen.

This video showed examples to be good at drawing by repetition and reiteration. It’s shown precursory information you need to know before begin any 20 hours of deliberate practice.

Warning, it’s an hour long. So you might suit and make yourself comfortable.

Deliberate practice is the key is to build up your mileage. By trying the same thing and in different variables to produce a different result. Identify what you have done differently and what you’ve learned previously. Then, reiterate and learn from the past mistake to form a new analytical assumption or a stronger muscle memory. Naturally, you’ll became fluent at it.

At first, you probably not confident how to do it correctly or done it nicely. Keep repeating the same practice, and eventually, it will become a new set of knowledge to you. Later stage, it will be made more analytical and logical to you. If you had repeat enough, it would become a skill.

I always look back at myself; storytelling is not something I am good at (need to pay attention to this one more often),  To me, the ability to convey a message in the clear picture or layman idea or in the language that everybody could understand is a skill. For this year, this is one of the parts that I would like to improve and learn for my personal development.


Idea worth sells

In today modern society, almost everyone talks about ideas. These ideas could be silly or can be great depending on our own personal considerations, but I believe any ideas can be beneficial to one another.

In some cases however, not everyone is at the same height as the idea-teller do, hence making the message delivery difficult.

Let alone if the idea-teller has lesser schemes/knowledge or the difference point of views on the subject. Also, put aside the story of factuality and realisticity. Far away. I am stressing about the importance how to create a compelling message and get the idea delivered. That’s all. The gist is to put it into perspective to tell the why, what is the takeaway and why we should care. I am talking about the being a character with the ability to deliver what we think that matters out from the mind. Frequently, good ideas come together with the right message, but it unable to go far because the teller fails to put into the right context to the receiver/audience.

Compelling story telling is an essential skill. Persuasion is always important – be it in advertising, politics, to succeed in job interviews and other many areas. Like it or not, today careers always fallen into this category. Most of the work requires good skill at selling. This demand affects to many aspects in today society.

The bold statement is, everyone should be able to present our ideas effectively. A good message is snap and sticky (graspable).

A sticky (great) idea must be simple to understand. A good idea sticks the best when they’re conveyed narratively. Like telling as a story. Einstein once described; how a person only really understood something if he could explain it to his grandmother.

Let’s follow this snip;

A few years ago in America, certain health groups wanted to raise awareness of the fact that movie popcorn – at the time prepared with coconut oil – contained extraordinarily high amounts of saturated fat, making it extremely unhealthy.

Simply telling consumers that a bag of popcorn contained 37g of saturated fat proved ineffective – the number was too dry and academic to stick in people’s minds.

So they tried something stickier:

“A medium-sized ‘butter’ popcorn at a typical neighborhood movie theatre contains more artery-clogging fat than a bacon-and-eggs breakfast, a Big Mac and fries for lunch, and a steak dinner with all the trimmings – combined!”

This vivid message stuck, spread, and eventually led to the replacement of coconut oil with healthier alternatives by all major American cinema chains.

What we can learn from the story above, the content delivered are both the same, but it only snapped the right spot when it compelled correctly and reflectable to the audience’s experience. People only will start to pay attention when they care, and that will make it efficient.

Let us see what make a message, effective.

#1. Short, clear, easy to chew and digest.

An effective message means it is simple enough. It is understandable the temptation to explain an idea as thoroughly as possible. But when it comes to stickiness, too much detail can be counterproductive. It’s all okay if we know that the audience has the same degree of complication e.g. presenting at academic conference. But what about to who aren’t? If the message was unable to deliver to that people, we’re done.

Rather, strip down what is the matter the most, and keep it in a simple statement. It is easier to understand and grasp the big idea. When delivering a message to masses, it is important to make the message easy as possible regardless any nuances. If it takes long to someone to get the superficial ideas on what you are going telling them; you probably lost their interest. Think about compelling tweets that caught us to click their links.

Opera soup performers are a good example at this. Even the show have not started yet, but they have the audience attention by making an opening stunt that gave heart pounding percussions of ‘this is going to be a good show, now pay us attention’. Before performer reveal it’s content (the show), they gave a subtle motion to their audience to give their attention first and pour the mood and theme.

Get it?

#2. Feed curious, surprise and unexpected element.

In screenwriting, the plot is always a good tool in what make a good story, buying one’s interest.

When delivering a longer idea, always throw provoking curiosity. Surprises making recipient wanted to hear more and stick. Apparently, science told us that our brain turned on unpredictable pleasant things. The brain is love to hear more about the element of struggles, pain and drama more compared when fallen in love. Subconsciously it permits surprised desire experience.

Either you agreed or not, these elements are making people wanted to hear more and more. Make them curious enough, and feed with surprises.

#3. A compelling message must be credible, snappy real and complete.

Be genuine. Good stories are first-hand happenings the teller actually experienced. Yet if it’s a story that’s passed on another after another, an effective presentation still has an element of how that story relates directly to the teller, told in the teller’s own words. The recipe works best with the right amount. Do not over do it.

Regardless of the audience size or background, good stories should work for any audience. It is not how many people can hear what we concern, but just that someone, somewhere stick is listening to it.

When delivering ideas, always keep the first person perspective in mind, because it will give more credibility and original. Incomplete information often makes it difficult or even impossible for the recipient to carry out an appropriate action.

#4. Emotional appeals inspire people to action.

Ideas stick best when they’re told as stories.

Introverts probably struggles compelling idea rightly and that usually make us uncomfortable. Usually, when I able to sold stories, those story usually contain the emotional component. Most of the memorable ones have humour, pain or joy (sometimes all or any combination of three). If every story were simply facts stated, one after another, most of us wouldn’t listen or remember any of it.

To stick a story right, knock the spot with emotions to appeals inspire people to action/respond.

TLDR; Every idea can be presented so that it sticks. Successful stories, advertising campaigns, and ideas that hold generally share recognizable characteristics. The Heath brothers; summed up this straight mnemonic SUCCESs;

Simple – pull the nucleus of the idea
Unexpected – grab people’s attention by surprising them
Concrete – make sure an idea can be grasped and remembered later.
Credible – give an idea believability
Emotional – help people see the importance of an idea
Story – empower people to use an idea through narrative

Any talks at TED are a good example; of every presentation perhaps buried a higher degree of abstraction or technicalities behind it. But the way it delivers is what makes anyone able to understand the message.

So you probably think you think had groundbreaking ideas and billion dollar business ideas (yes I can hear you) that will disrupt this planet badly. You gotta sell that to people with your idea and get it loud. But if you are not convincing or persuasive enough, you will never get the idea sold. Think about this the next time you want to tell someone something (or whether it’s to sell a product/service, make a point or give a speech).

If you want people starts to pay attention to you, be good at storytelling.


Constructive among chaos

To me, right now – the life does not feel like something that has to be balanced, but rather like a tension that has to be managed.

I no longer believe life-work balance. I open-heartedly accept and feel the great pleasure of doing many things.

This awakening of life mostly is figuring out how to create the midst of chaos and make it meaningful out of them. Fondness.

Be happy with the chaos and envoy a journey.
Be happy with the chaos and envoy a journey.