Even though I acknowledge that “end of year” is just an arbitrary date, I take January as a good time to look back and ponder over what activities/relationships/methods had the best return on investment and I should invest even more this year, and what are those that I should cut back.
January seems to have this tradition since Roman times – it’s named after Janus, the Roman god with two faces. One is looking backward, a.k.a reviewing last year; and the other forward planning the upcoming one. (I learned this from Jesse Lawler’s newsletter. Jesse hosts one of my favorite podcasts Smart Drugs Smarts)
One of the things to review is of course my Titan Experiment activity.
Overall result: I’m very happy that I started it! It improved my life – physical and mental health, relationships, productivity – you name it. On top of direct benefits from experiments it had meta-benefits – I’m more confident, willing to take more risk, I’ve met new interesting people, learned new skills, had interesting conversations. As it should be according to Scott Adam‘s theory of systems (instead of goals) for winning.
These are my favorite and most effective experiments in different categories:
Fasting has amazing benefits. It kickstarts many cleansing processes in the body – including eating zombie cells that potentially could cause cancer, and using the nutrients to build new stem cells (requires 4 day fast). It’s the only natural stem cell therapy that we know about. Last year I did 3 day fast as part of TE, and then 4 day fast in November. It requires preparation and one needs to be careful, but the benefits are worth it. Easier option is to do 24 fast (or at least fasting-mimicking diet), which I do practically every Monday.
Another that I ended up loving, but not writing about, is acroyoga (by Jason Nemer). I used to find yoga very boring, but acro is something different. It’s fun. And challenging and different and warm-friendly.
It was simple – for one week I had to ask for discount whenever I was buying something. This was a great reality check for me (e.g. how good I am in making up excuses in my mind), and a great training of being uncomfortable and taking No without feeling hurt.
It also inspired one of the Christmas gifts I gave – Rejection therapy game
This advice was about actively surrounding yourself with people who can challenge you and enable you to grow. It made me start Life Hackers Singapore group, and join some other groups with interests similar to mine. It’s so helpful (and a good reality check) when I have to express my thoughts and discuss them with others – otherwise they’re just fluff in my head.
Best and most used experiment: Fear Setting by Tim Ferriss
My all-time favorite and most used advice from Tools of Titans is Tim’s fear setting. Whenever I find myself in analysis-paralysis, whenever there’s a decision that haunts and scares me, I come back to this simple tool.
Taking the hazy fears, worries and counter-arguments that keep circling my head and putting them on paper helped me to do a reality check on them and figure out whether they’re real threats or just clouds shaped like monsters.
Sometimes my concerns are real and valid. But most of the time, the action I’m delaying is the right thing for me. It just requires some uncomfortable steps at the beginning so my mind looks for excuses and justifications. Fear setting allows me to see through those.
For example, I had lots of excuses why it’s not possible for me to ask my company to cut my working week down. I went through the fear setting exercise and realized that whatever bad scenarios I could think of, all were preventable or possible to reverse/correct. On the other hand if I asked and if it worked, I’d have amazing opportunity with 52 more days every year to do something meaningful. So I did it and I’m very glad that I did.
Yes there were some failures. Like when our once-a-week cleaner came on Friday of the week of living like a poor person because I forgot about this perk of middle-class life. Or when I was late to work during my “Inviting Mara for tea” week – because I was (over)reacting to a mistake of a service provider by nasty email. Or when I was making beetroot gummy bears from hydrolyzed gelatin and ended up with “salad dressing” (now I know that gelatin is hydrolyzed in order not to gel).
But learning new things and building awareness is part of Titan Experiment 🙂 I will continue in 2018!