Shaking off the rust.

Life is in locomotion.  Man has to keep making. He has to keep moving or he will die a death that would have haunted his living years.

For years, I kept stalling from writing. Many reasons contributed to that. The biggest was fear. The fear of not having something to say, something unique that people would want. That fear kept me in a comfort zone I refused to move out of for the longest time. Sharing links on Twitter and Facebook became modus operandi. Fuelled by the likes or retweets I sat in the comfort of having producing the least amount of work because it would draw the least amount of criticism.

Well, fuck that.  What happens when you keep eating and not producing? You become fat.  Target achieved mate. I did it for so many years and I think psychologically I influenced my physicality. Alright Jabbah, it’s time to move off this island.

But why did I stall so much? I was afraid. Fear is a powerful inhibitor of actions. But when you embrace the fact that irrespective of what you do your work is the only thing that outlives you and the only thing you can call your own besides your body, you realize if you want to make a difference, you have to produce. And when you produce is when you start to live. The state of flow you induce is when you effect harmony between your physical being and your spiritual one.

All you can do to have a meaningful life is to move. Is to make.

But you can’t just will work out of thin air because willpower is a resource that needs replenishment through action. The more you make the more your will is to make. What I know might work is to put yourself in an environment that forces creativity. It might not guarantee that you might start creating, but not doing it is certainly a sure shot way of not being able to create.

That environment happened last week when I placed myself, circumstantially, in the midst of people constantly producing. I have this urge I can’t contain any more. Perhaps it was seeing some of the older blog posts I wrote as part of different companies or perhaps it was that my head was abuzz with a bunch of thoughts. Perhaps it was going through Paul Graham’s essays and wondering what if I could write like that? I don’t know what the reason was nor do I think it is particularly important because it was unique to me this feeling and all I can do is I wish you have your own.

You can force it by placing yourself in the midst of constant productivity around you and breathe into it.

Produce daily. Embrace failure for what it is. Set up a schedule and constantly work towards bettering your craft. I’ll leave you with a video I go to often when the fear creeps up.

j j j

Habit building.

consistency

 

They say it takes 21 consistent action days to ingrain a habit into you. With any theory. It’s important to test it. I tried this on two things.
Brushing daily twice. Photographing something daily.

I have brushed my teeth daily for about 3 months now. The picture taking forced it’s own problems with me not being happy with the way a picture turned out, or wanting to take for the sake of taking a picture just to meet the quota. I tried to find out reasons to the degree of success in each endeavour and I present some findings here.

1. A mechanical task is easy to complete. An artistic one is hard to consistently continue.
Brushing my teeth = mechanical, easy to do no thinking required and therefore has a higher degree of completion.Taking pics and then complicating it with filters and such made the endeavour much harder. It trained my eye to look for picture opportunities but then I lost the beauty of the moment and wanted to instead capture it and sometimes I got the worst of both (miss the moment and not take the picture either).

2. Motivation is intrinsic. Driven by either fear or success.
I have had 3 root canal treatments. My motivation to brush twice daily (once in the morning obviously and the other before going to bed) was motivated by fear of the drill. That’s what we would call the stick method (in the carrot and stick). As my mom would say, “Prevention is better than cure”. The other way to stay motivated is taking up a habit to achieve a goal. The closer you get to it, you start noticing a few things:- the more different you are through the process of learning, the results you see act as fuel to change or challenge yourself further. Photography didn’t fit in this because it was a self evaluation process without the results of improvement being appreciated or instantly recognised by you. Every picture you take is good after all.

The best consistent habit though is one that I read on Lifehacker and passed on by Seinfeld. I post it here for motivation.

Seinfeld revealed a unique calendar system he uses to pressure himself to write. Here’s how it works.

He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.P

He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”

“Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis.

The next task I plan to take up is writing. And exercising. But instead of a daily activity I plan to make do with 3 times a week. With the chain being recorded successfully on a weekly basis.

 

j j j

Updation

Isn’t a word.

But the last post was about Take 3 and I got nothing done. 2013 went by in a whizz. It was a great year with interesting people, challenging projects and some personal learning. 2013 mended a lot of philosophies I had or have been unsure about. As the year goes I plan to explore these in the blog.

I started with redesigning my website www.karthickgopal.net. It needed an uplift  and I decided to add in my minimalist take. I have to modify the blog to match it, but one step at a time. I am using the Focused theme on WordPress.

This was the old design which had a lot of intro text, salutations in the language of Khala and many broken links.

Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 4.43.43 pm

On the 31st of December (it still is as of writing this post), I sat today and put together a website. It was inspired in design. The custom portrait is by an artist called Fishuu who does great personalised cartoon sketches. He’s regularly featured on Teamliquid. This theme focuses more on simplicity and effectively highlighting a few links and redirecting to others.

Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 4.43.57 pm

It’s been about 6 years since I first started blogging. I haven’t kept up very well so far and before I promise regularity in the blog, there are 2 thoughts that are great guidelines to live by for 2014. So this could be a looking forward to 2014 post.

Both these thoughts are from Derek Sivers. You should check out his blog. My favourite section is the review of books that he does.

Thought no 1: Shut up don’t announce your plans.

The gist of it is 

Tests done since 1933 show that people who talk about their intentions are less likely to make them happen. Announcing your plans to others satisfies your self-identity just enough that you’re less motivated to do the hard work needed.

I have put this theory to test and found it to be reasonably sound. In any endeavour it is better to work at it for a while (it takes 30 continuos days to form a habit) and then announce it to the world. This realisation came a few days back when 2013 was ending. So before you start expounding on all the great things you wish to achieve, pick up realistic goals, work on it for 30 days and then come and post about it.

Thought no 2: Hell yes or no.

Way to many times we commit to things we can’t do. We commit to them because we want to be nice. I have often flaked out on a bunch of things mostly because I had no time or intention to get it done, but I didn’t want to appear rude. What happened? I was mistaken as unreliable for not completing certain things or appearing at certain events. Given a chance, I would explain it to these people saying my intention wasn’t hurt, I just didn’t have time. There were other things I should have focused on.

Derek mentions the following,

When deciding whether to commit to something, if I feel anything less than, “Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!” – then my answer is no.When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say “HELL YEAH!”.

We’re all busy. We’ve all taken on too much. Saying yes to less is the way out.

 


2013 was great, here’s to a fantastic new 2014.

newyearhorse

j j j

Hello world!

Hello world!

2012 was a mess of a year. There was no focus. The world was ending and this blog was spread over 6 domains. The world didn’t end but what was consistent in this ghoulash of inconsistency was the lack of regular blogging from my end.

I tried experimenting with a number of things, Tumblr, Twitter, posterous, Read it later and reblogging. Turns out most of these things are great as consumers but not creators. From a number of different people I have seen, they feel content when they create and not just consume. As a guy who follows competitive gaming that is something I am trying to imbibe into my system. The concept of creation.

I did learn a few things in the process which would be the subject of many of the following posts. What better time to focus on writing, fleshing out ideas and observing the world with a detailed analysis than to do it on your own domain? Here I don’t have someone to answer to, someone to influence here and someone to constantly pay for my bills.

What would I focus on? Primarily three areas of interest. Lifehacking (experimentation with lifestyles and ways of working), Product Management (I do this on a daily basis with a gaming company) and Writing.

I’ll focus on the intersection of Technology and Entertainment as well as the outliers.

Occasionally I diverge into movies because I’m a huge buff and I’ll spray posts on eSports, a competitive gaming environment that I am a fan of.

This re-blog or blog from the rise (I have been watching too much of Batman) is a humble attempt to create something of permanence.

So starting today, Welcome to Karthick Gopal’s Blog. I hope you enjoy your stay here, please do comment and let me know. Namaste.

P.S – You should connect with me on Twitter and Facebook. Perhaps even Linkedin!

j j j