Posts in "Thoughts"

A Craving For Understanding How Time Passes

Recently I’ve developed, involuntarily, a craving for understanding how time passes, how much have passed and if I’m aware of it and not out of my control. It’s not about using time efficiently or productively, actually not at all, but more about the recognition of time.

Often times I feel like my time has been “stolen”, like “how could it be possible that 1 hour passed so quickly when I was hanging out with my friend?”, that’s happy moments, and “oh gosh I can’t believe I’ve spent 20 minutes to wash the dishes”, that could be the natural outcome of a chore.

What Time Is It?

“What time is it?”, a couldn’t be even simpler question that we may ask ourselves or others several times a day, it’s not just about understanding what’s the time now to arrange your next activity, but also how much time have passed since the last “checkpoint”, to have a sense of it.

When working in front of my laptop, with a glance I could just tell what time is it. But the challenge comes when I’m “off”. I don’t have a watch and that wasn’t a problem to me until now. How do you know what time is it? Either check your phone or ask someone nearby, I guess that would be the answer for most of people who adopt the same lifestyle.

Sure you could pull the thing from your pocket, but that’s a huge obstacle. That extra process could prevent you from even trying to understand the time, also sometimes you’re physically impossible to reach your pocket when your hands are busy(tight?).

All these things give me a compelling reason to wear a watch again. I’ve purchased a Pebble watch and I’m very excited to see how could I utilize this tool to have a better sense of time.

How Would You Perceive Time?

There’s an interesting watchless watch called Durr, it doesn’t tell the time, it’s not smart at all, it just vibrates every five minutes, gives you a new measurement about time. It’s a very interesting concept, but also reminds us the big gap between how we perceive time and how it passes physically. Like the writer says, what I want is a friend reminder of how uselessly unproductive I can be sometimes.

I’ve found myself amazingly suck at time management. So many mornings I check the time of the train, and tell myself I should leave the house in 14 minutes and then find myself running late 2 minutes and miss the train.

Then let’s think in the bigger span, in one week, one month and even years, how could you tell time actually passed, how would you describe your last year? What proves your existence, what mark you’ve left?

We’re not physicians nor philosopher, to answer it in my way, I think the best possible and practical way is to keep a journal. I do write in Day One time to time, and recently I also started to record short videos of myself describing recent changes in life. Verbalizing is quite different than writing, there’s no time to stop and edit but meaningful pause. It’s a different experience, feels like talking to yourself. “Video journal” never comes to my radar but I wouldn’t be surprised there’re quite amazing services targeting that area.

Oh besides that I’m also keeping an engineer journal. I spend more than 40 hours a week on programming both work and private, that’s a big component of my life. And the “format” of the journal is quite different than personal journal, I split the sections to “Frustrations”, “Questions”, “ReadLater” and “Done”. It gives me a sense of self improvement when I see more and more of my “Dones”, and how I’ve used time struggling and learning stuff.

If you’ve found your answers to “what time is it” and have your way of perceiving time, then lastly how would you spend the time?

October 22, 2015 Thoughts

4 Ways To Calm You Down When You're Really Angry

So you can still be who you are and avoid hurting people you are not intentioned to

I don’t usually lose my temper, but if I get angry, it’s true - I’m scary. It’s like a room full of gas, any tiny spark will fire the whole universe. No one likes to get angry, we can’t control the trigger, but we surely could choose how to respond.

Whenever I get angry, I mean really angry, what I tend to do is getting drunk, throwing whatever stuff reachable against the wall(normally my phone), wasting money on things that never make sense when I’m sober. Oh there is a bottle can on the road? Perfect I would kick it badly and let it bounce and bounce. I do have the violent part inside me.

However, over the years I’ve learned it in a hard way that if I can’t calm myself down, not only the issue can’t be solved, but also it’s gonna hurt the person involved and further make a huge negative impact to the relationship almost unfixable. Thus I’ve written down 4 ways to accomplish the inner peace and use it as a personal reference.

1. Are you overreacting?

“There was never an angry man that thought his anger unjust.”

You must have every single reason to be angry, maybe that’s something related to your deep down memory, maybe that’s what you called belief, principle, the way you see the world and how you’ve disciplined yourself, but the person just break it cruelly again and again.

Well, take a deep breath first. Even though this sounds the stupidest question but I insist on asking and trying your best to answer it.

Are you overreacting? Is what you see and hear really the truth? Is the person who get you angry aware of your reason being and expectation? If you know the person well, do you think it’s his/her intention? What if there’s some misunderstanding, what if you missed one important piece of the story?

I find these questions very effective to shift my focus from being a “victim” to a “outsider”. And for my experience, to be honest most of the times it was not that big as I thought, main reasons were either lack of information or lack of communication.

2. Go outside, move your body

Go for a long walk with your favorite music.

You wouldn’t believe how amazing moving your body will lift your mood. If I close myself in a tiny room that may feel like sitting inside a time bomb. Limited space and static view will make you do nothing but stuck in your little angry world.

Also fast paced music is recommended. Just follow the rhythm and move your body, try not to think about the thing.

Normally after a 60 minutes walk I would start to think, “yeah maybe I’m being a little bit childish here”.

Any outdoor activity that can make you find some sort of solitude, make your brain go into autopilot mode is ok.

3. Pause, don’t hurry your response

“You can be right, but wrong at the top of your voice”, one great lesson I learned from book Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs

There’re times when you can be 100% right, but if you deliver it poorly it could cause so much trouble when you try to confront/communication later. And there’s no way to get back what you said, you could equally hurt the person if you can’t control your words.

Think about being the other side, have you forgotten what a person says to you when they are angry? You probably not, even though you can’t recall the exact words, you must still remember the hurt feelings. Don’t make the same mistake.

For me, I thought I was picking up the softest words at that time but, it turned out, I regretted afterwards every single time. I wish I would never said that kind of thing. So I just admit I’m totally not capable to response without anger when the emotion is that high.

Don’t speak with hatred, it backfires and really hurts.

4. How you react now is gonna redefine and reinforce who you are and who you want to be

There is no single moment more important to test who you really are than when you’re angry. How you react at this emotional high is gonna make a significant mark on your characters.

If you seek alcohol, close yourself and run away from this incident, next time you have a high chance to repeat the same thing, and the next time, and the next time… Through the repetitions the evil routines will grow and be “promoted” as your go-to solution whenever you get angry.

Everybody functions ok when he/she is happy, but not everyone handle the opposite well. This is the key moment to show your true color, to distinguish yourself from the others. On the plus side, if you handled it well the reward is invaluable. This is also a great chance to build and strengthen the trust between you and the person, and the people around.

We all have darkness inside, don’t let yourself be swallowed by it. Instead, conquer it, tame it.

I use this as the ultimate weapon to remind myself.

Last, because we care

Even though I’ve listed all the methods it’s still hard, it’s a hard work and pain process, and I assume this is never gonna be easier. Why? We get angry because we care. There’re things and people we care about, and when it doesn’t reach our expectation, the way we wish it to be, the stronger the presumption is wired in our mind, the more angry we become.

Be aware of the trigger, learn to deal with it and don’t make the move you know you’ll regret later.

When was the last time you get angry and how you responded to it? How do you calm yourself down?

May 11, 2015 Thoughts, life

One Pitfall About Saving Money

I consider myself strict at spending money. I would choose a station in 20 minutes walk distance over a 3 minutes one just to save less than 200 JPY yen. I would bypass a vending machine even though I’m thirsty but not buying a bottle of water. I would go into bathroom without turning on the light, and choose wearing more clothes rather than turning on underfloor heat to save electricity expense, the list goes on and on… (most of these habits are inherited from my parents, saving money is like a gene inside their body)

Some time ago I randomly picked up a book in bookstore, one chapter was about saving money. Can’t remember the exact word, but the general idea is this:

People who have the habits of saving money, tend to buy more and/or expensive stuff than they need, have low resist to the temptation, because they don’t know the joy of spending money, they think they have been suffered enough that they so deserve to have that one item.

That rings a bell. I do remember I say something like that to myself in the past when struggling with buy or not buy situation.

“Come on you’ve been working so hard, you definitely deserve this!”

“Look at others, see how they’ve spent money on drinks, clothes, parties, no harm to indulge yourself a bit this time!”

“It’s 50% off sale, you’ve got to buy something for yourself right?!”

And things I’ve bought under that mindset usually turns out to be a total waste: either I don’t like it, not using it anymore(like clothes), or over spec that’s higher than my need(pc parts).

Since I realized this pitfall, I’ve been really conscious about the conversations with myself. I stopped using the word “deserve”. Now it looks like this: “I choose to spend the money because of …, so that I could …, I’m 100% it’ll contribute to my …, I know it’s a clear YES, it’s a worthwhile investment, not because I deserve it, not because it’s on 30%, 50% or even 80% sale, not because I feel shy to say NO.”

I could be spending more money overall on food, books, self investment now than before, but that’s my rational choice & investment under conscious mind, with a purpose on health, learning, and self growth. Most importantly, I don’t feel the urge to indulge myself, the guilty when spending money anymore.

January 02, 2015 Thoughts