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I love the idea of absolute immersion which Tynan described in his recent article, "Love Work." I intend to apply similar techniques to the next big job, project or passion that comes my way. But I am not ready just yet. When the time comes to make that leap, I'll be first over the edge, but for the moment I have found something else. I've diverged from the 'normal' but have not found or created the next road. In terms of a lifetime I am standing still. Taking a break. Stagnant. But guess what? You don't have to be running forward to smash complacency. If you are tired of the status quo, but unprepared to leap into a new life, this post is for you.
I'm a mechanical engineer, more or less. I love solving complex problems, but that love does not extend to the issues that come with the bureaucratic workplace. To that end, I'm done with the corporations. There are too many interesting problems in the world going unsolved to waste time and talent generating minute changes in stock values. That's all I really did at my last job. There was no sense of ownership in one's work, which for me led directly to having no sense of purpose. I need a sense of purpose.
So last June I turned in my notice and looked at my options. I had enough money to do whatever I wanted for the first time in my life. (I'm 30) No ties to anything. Basic freedom. The open road. It was overwhelming.
I would roll through half a dozen ideas a day, thinking each better than the first before coming back to zero. I have lived a pretty standard life; being faced with unlimited options is a foreign concept. "What would you do if you could do anything?" That's a powerful thing. Generally a rather decisive person, I was stuck with a decision life had not prepared me to answer. At least not immediately. I needed a stop gap.
So I packed up the car, moved from Seattle back to Tennessee, and started teaching. A one year appointment at a state university, instructing sophomore level engineering classes. You could call it a demotion of sorts. You could call it a step backwards, career wise. You could very accurately call it a 6 figure pay cut. I call it perfect, for three simple reasons:
Inspired by Tynan’s „Love Work“ post I want to kick off a series of changes to my life to drastically enhance my productivity. Its always a good thing to reflect your days while doing these kind of projects so I was thinking to start a blog, but then I realized SETT is quite perfect for that. So here I am, documenting my progress! Im surprised Im the first doing this :)
So how am I? I’m a 23 year old German that just graduated from university. Although I had the best GPA of my graduation year (Small group though, something like 80 people. Im from a small University.) I decided not to look for a job like my fellow students. While I was studying abroad in South America and working as an intern in China, I fell in love with travelling and being fully in charge of my life. So since 1 month Ive been working on writing a guide book in German for students that would like to go abroad as well. After that Id like to start my own business.
Unfortunately I have troubles working hard at home. There are so many distractions, that I am barely able to get more than 4 hours work done on a good day. Im not working on weekends and because of that Im usually super unproductive on Mondays too. Damn it!! So I have decided its time to do something about it.
When not working, Im well aware of failing my goals. Ive noticed Im doing two things to deal with the guilt: Watching TV shows/Surf on the web and eating fast food. Lowering my consciousness like that helps in the short term to make me feel better, but of course that’s not what I really want. To prevent falling in that trap, I want to cut these things out for at least 3 months. I know this will be hard in the beginning, but Im hoping that my preferences will have changed at the end so I can easily maintain it. I already blocked all time wasting web sites with a browser plugin and deleted all TV shows and movies from my HD. My fridge is stocked with healthy veggies and fruits and my girlfriend agreed to cook vegan for me the next few months. So far so good.
My goal is to work 60 hours a week. While that’s not remotely as extreme as Tynan suggests in his post, its still a 300% increase of the 20 hours a week Im doing currently. Since Im doing sports every day and am also living with my girlfriend, 60 hours is as good as it can get for now. Im intending on working 10 hours on weekdays and about 5 hours on Saturday/Sunday to maintain the daily habit.
I've always loved Japan and its culture. I've been watching anime for a few years.
Now I want to start learning it. Recently I've been using the Michel Thomas method for other languanges ( french, spanish) and I find it really useful. Check it out if you haven't heard about it.
There's also a japanese one, not by himself, but by some of his students. Seems fine. I'm thinking of starting with this one.
What are your thoughts on this? What resources do you guys recommend? Also @Tynan, mind sharing how you started learning it? The kanji post is solid.
I've enjoyed the recent posts about work and prioritizing important activities but how do you deal with information overload that may take away from work? There's so much interesting, beneficial content on the internet. Are you efficient at processing information or is it more about being good at shutting out everything but the most essential content?
I've found using RSS helps, but I still feel like I spend way too much time consuming content. Most of it is beneficial which is why I feel so conflicted dealing with it and have yet to find a satisfactory solution. I was thinking maybe doing a month long "fast" in regards to internet consumption to reset.
I'm interested if Tynan or anyone has a successful system for dealing with it?
Tynan, you last entry about turning 30 was a classic, and I am here to help you.
Step 1: You are never going to get any chicks living in San Francisco, San Franciso is the gayest city in America. You need to relocate to Palo Alto, and date all the cute Google and Facebook engineers. I am sure alot of those girls have $10M+ in stock options.
Step 2: Your wedding will be great. You can have Mystery as your best man, and for your groomsmen you can have Style, Papa, Tyler Durden, and Ramit Sethi from "I will teach you to be rich".
Step 3: Honeymoon? Japan?
After that you are set. But seriously location is everything. I have an uncle who lives on California Street in San Francisco, and he just got married for the first time at age 63. Bad city for chicks.
Let's start a book list... if you read a book that you like, leave a comment to this post about it. If you liked a book that someone else read, upvote it. Then we'll have a top books list...
http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/11/boosted-boards/Do you still use one Tynan?
What are your guys' thoughts on city mobility in general? Bike,board,segway?
Months ago, I compiled all of Tynan's blog posts into a Kindle friendly mobi file so I could read on the go. It was also an interesting project to sharpen my PHP skills. Tynan gave his blessing so I present to you the entire Tynan archives.
Tynan Blog Mobi with Images (~21 megabytes)
Tynan Blog Mobi without Images (1.6 megabytes)
Note, the ebook only goes up to February/March 2012 since that's when I my program. Since the website is using SETT now rather than Wordpress, I can't make it an updated one.
I also have a few others like Tim Ferriss and Sebastian Marshall (it's been months and i'm still reading his posts). Let me know if you guys are interested or know of any other great authors.
The human experience is a complex endeavor, made up of emotions, experiences, and wisdoms. Each emotion, sad, angry, depressed, happy, gleeful, joyful, and many others, is necessary to get the most out of life. One must overcome hardships, dips and peaks, and struggles. Each event, positive or negative shapes who we are.
Perhaps the best way to teach, is with example. For this, I will use my own life. It is what I know best, and I believe it adequately shows the joy that can be found from the sad. When we begin this tale, I am in 1st grade, living in Garden Valley, California.
Garden Valley, perhaps the best place I have ever lived. My family actually lived a few miles outside of town, in the mountains. We had a long, steep drive-way leading down to our house. The house was a pale blue, with a darker blue lining. It was a nice house, an old house, with many fond memories. We had a deck the hanged roughly 35 feet over the garden bellow. We used to sleep on the deck, gazing at the clearest sky I have ever seen. I mentioned we lived in the mountains--that wasn't even half of it. We had forests, stretching out for what seemed like forever, and, to top it all off, a waterfall. Not a small one either. This waterfall was roughly 50 feet high. It was... Mighty. During the Summers it would dry up, and one day, my father had my brother and I climb it--no ropes, gloves, or helmets. Oh, it was marvelous.
My school, Creekside, was amazing. It was named Creekside because it actually had a small creek running through it. The education was, well, I could do exponents and double digit multiplication in 1st grade. My friends... There was Austin, Dalton, Kevin, Crystal, Matthew, and a few others. They were, epic, in the truest sense of the word. I still remember my teacher, Ms. Alan. She was really cool. My life was amazing at this point. I had never been happier in my life, but soon things would take a radical change.
So I make my living building communities for startup companies. Currently, I'm building the community around WP Engine, which provides a managed hosting platform for WordPress (Heroku for WordPress). And naturally, the tool I'm using for most of what I do is WordPress, which has an incredible community of folks adding new things to in every day.
With that background to provide the context out of the way, I'm curious to hear what problem you want to solve or what you want to accomplish with SETT. I see this at first as being something that has been done already, either with WordPress's P2 theme or even their new LiveBlog plugin.
The reason I ask is twofold: I admire and respect your work and lifestyle, and I think that I'll learn something from the conversation with you, and then add something from my own experience that will make a difference as you build the product.