Friday, December 24, 2010

Weekly Summary 12/17/10 to 12/23/10

Another successful week. I managed to achieve virtually every single goal this week, except for one due to a minor technical failure. I read two articles from The Objective Standard, constructed a special article for another blog (I'll link to it if and when its posted), saved up for a duck to roast, completed chapter 15 of Good Calories, Bad Calories (completing eight conceptual exercises), completed chapter 6 of The Logical Leap (completing seven conceptual exercises), strived to construct a list of certain information for my Project, constructed over three entries in my introspection journal, got a library card from the library near my workplace, and decided upon and submitted a request for my next reading items. Last week I thought I was being overambitious and setting myself up for reaching beyond my grasp, but I actually got everything done early! It becomes easier to perform up to expectations when the expectations are clear.

The goal I failed on was practicing deep breathing daily, but only technically. One night this week I had been working very late and by the time I realized I hadn't done my ten minutes daily of deep breathing it was already four minutes to midnight: You can't squeeze a ten minute exercise into four minutes. It was an unpleasant surprise to realize that upon glancing at the clock, but I did maintain the practice for the rest of the week regardless and think I still have sufficient grounds for drawing a conclusion. In truth, I don't think this is a very valuable practice for me to continue except in certain circumstances. While practicing I sometimes felt like I was going to run out of air and so had to resort to deep breathing through my mouth to catch up, and the ultimate effect was only that I felt light-headed for a few seconds upon finishing. It didn't do anything to change how I feel throughout the day, except for help me deal with anxiety whenever I found myself unknowingly holding my breath. I don't want to continue doing this daily, but I will try to employ it whenever I do feel stress or have involuntary breathing difficulties.

Beyond this, I also learned a lot in general this week by being so active: Keeping myself physically occupied, it seems, has done well to keep me mentally active as well. I had philosophical insights, formed new self-improvement goals, thought of ways to make myself more productive, and more which I plan on elaborating on in the future on this blog. It's interesting: The more idle I am the less there seems to be to do, and the busier I become the more potentially busy I could become. The latter is always preferable: productivity makes all of life better.

Most importantly, I've learned that there are still some failings with my conceptual exercises. I think their current form is fine and all, but I'm still finding it to be particularly cumbersome to perform them. I promised myself that I would do the conceptual exercises whenever the need should arise in my reading, but I've instead been allowing myself to continuously put them off until the end of the reading. It's simply too distracting otherwise. At the very least, I've broken free of limiting myself to five exercises per reading and have been doing as many as I found I needed in the reading via circling the unfamiliar terms, and I attribute that to my changing priorities. Instead of circling each and every word that is an iota unfamiliar, I've been reserving myself to those terms where confusion is my dominant interpretation. Consequently, I've been circling fewer concepts and have been maintaining motivation to tackle whatever list I come up with.

I think my current resistance against my exercises has to do with speed. While I could organize my lists alphabetically to look them up in the most efficient order, it is still the case that I spend a lot of time turning pages in a dictionary for what I view to be of small benefit in isolation. It's even worse when it turns out my dictionary doesn't have the concept, meaning I've been shifting through pages for nothing. If I found a way to do my exercises quicker then maybe I'd be motivated to do a greater quantity more often. It immediately comes to mind that I should use the internet, which I think I'll give a try this week to see how it works. It won't solve the problem of my resistance to doing conceptual exercises mid-reading -- that will need further thinking and practice -- but this is worth trying for now. Proper concepts are the key to knowledge: I mustn't neglect this practice.

For my Project, I managed to construct a small list of -- things. We'll just have to leave it at that. The alternative means I'm contemplating is becoming more favorable to me, but I'm still not decided upon it yet and am somewhat distracted from thinking about it due to my studies. I got some good thinking leads in my research, but things will progress much more beneficially once I dedicate myself much more greatly to it. Since I'm set to finish TLL next week I'll wait and ponder until then.

Now, onto setting goals for next week. I certainly should be able to maintain this pacing since I've demonstrated myself fully capable of accomplishing this amount this week. Study-wise, I want to read two more articles of TOS, complete chapter 16 of GCBC, and finish TLL

I'd also like to throw in a few self-improvement goals as well. One of the things I've learned while being so productive this week is how much time I waste with having poor concentration, so I'd like to work on that. I found out that I have a "trigger": If I pace around I tend to daydream a lot. So, this week I'd like to work on reducing the amount of unfruitful pacing. For general use of time, I'd like to establish the habit of getting out of bed as soon as I reach the conclusion I can no longer continue productively resting. Most of my day is actually wasted by lazing too long in bed or going about my morning routine too slowly, so I want to work on building up momentum much quicker. It's easy: All I have to do is get out of bed and move faster. Lastly, I'd like to begin establishing the habit of writing out a list in my introspection journal of good things that have happened to me on each day. My life is currently stressful and has some significant anti-values in it, so while I'm working to make matters otherwise I need someway to bring my attention back to the good things lest I under-appreciate them.

I can think of other self-improvement goals as well, but again caution must be exercised: If I take on too much at once I tend to find myself unable to maintain all the efforts. While I might be excited to immediately take on another venture, it must wait if I am thoroughly engaged in other ones. To keep future ventures in mind, I'll add an extra section to my Short-term Aims and Concentration List titled "For Future Reference" and will document in an approximate hierarchy what I'd like to take on in the future.

On a side note, one might think that this week would be the perfect opportunity to establish that recipe system I've been talking about, but now I'm having second thoughts. I've been thinking the other day about the important role of having one's emotions set in harmony with one's habits as a way of easily maintaining efforts, and I realized that my recipe system is probably counter-intuitive. It would take hours and hours to document all the stuff I have bookmarked on my websites -- and for what? Something I might hardly look at and could always easily reference on the internet. I need to think about formulating a better system, one that would require a minimum of writing and employ the maximum amount of informational benefit. The way I structure my life now I find that I don't need a recipe system, so maybe I need to make alterations in my life first in order to be able to view the system as something that would make my life easier and more efficient. Until I come up with that answer or at least something to try, I'm not going to bother spending so much time writing recipe cards if I think it has a chance of being a waste. I'll be talking about this in the future.  

Onto pursuing life.

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