Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Review and 2017 Goals


In the review a year ago I had dubbed 2016 as the Year of Learning. I had already fixed my finances and my body and heath were in good places. I had just gotten into a new role at my job. So I decided 2016 would be about rapid learning. The second major goal was to create passive income streams. The last goal was to continue learning language.

Here was what I had written down a year ago:

Start

attempt 1 yoga session
studying mandarin.
Join a social group
Write an ebook
blogging on a weekly basis quota
Make $1 in passive income

Continue

reading
on the same diet
exercise every 4 days workout routine + ankles
tracking expenses
not drinking alcohol

Stop

Spending so many hours working and not learning. Budget hours for learning new things.
Whining about your situation. Arguing with people. Complaining.

2016 Review


I did do a yoga session (2 in fact) in 2016. I thought it was okay, but it didn't leave me feeling like I got a good workout in so I stopped doing it. I think this is obvious, but I only have so much time and I need to be picky on what to spend it on. I'd rather do a weight or high intensity workout session.

I was studying mandarin at the beginning of the year but I think at one point I did a priorities check and decided that this wasn't the most important thing and gave it up. I'm not going to pick up a language without in person practicing so I'll save it for when I take a trip. I'm okay with this decision.

I didn't join a social group. I did gain new friends during the year and reconnected with some old ones but I'd really like to join one that connects me to a lot of new people and meets regularly. I'm thinking toastmasters could kill 2 birds here

I did a quick outline of the ebook just last month. I need to put myself on a quota. I don't need to go fast, just to make sure I keep going.

I did blog more than ever this year which is great. I did this by not worrying about what I put out there and just made sure I shipped. I started out with a post a week early in the year and then got stagnant in the middle of the year. November I wrote 13 posts which is awesome. I'd really want to do a daily post - some of them being very simple thoughts and some would be long form.

I have to say that my 'continue' has been great. I kept a shared google spreadsheet marking down every single day I did exercise and what I did. I did a consistent hard workout every 4 days through July and then from there even increased the frequency. I did a lot of hiking. I did my first muscle up ever and was able to do 3 in a row. The last I checked I could do 21 good form pullups.

I read 64 books this year with a new technique. By read I mean purposeful reading. This was great but like Tim Ferris mentioned, we get caught up in newness. I actually don't need to gain more knowledge, but I need to practice existing knowledge. So for next year there will be no book reading (which is also time consuming) but just rereading my notes.

I didn't make $1 in passive income and its sad that I keep ignoring this. Its hard to do and I'm going continue with this.

2016 notable events


Brother passed away on Christmas Eve. One of the saddest days of my life
I quit my job - a scary but major necessary life change
Company that I worked for was bought so I should expect a little cashout in 2017 from stocks
I did a ton of interview prep, got significantly better - got an offer, but decided to not go that direction.
started the habit of making my bed each morning
gained the habit of flossing every night
decluttered - got rid of almost everything I had, ready for moving out


2017 Goals


With that said I have dubbed 2017 The Age of Exploration. I have it set up that I will move out in January, which will ensure I do one more round of minimizing and decluttering. From there I will be doing some traveling until a wedding requires me to be back. I would think that the best plan is to work on my book during travel off times and minor project ideas. When I get back I can decided to explore more places or to focus on exploring new business careers. Regardless I am treading into new and scary territory but I'm going excitedly and without regrets

Start

Work on a static muscle up.
working on the handstand
Toastmasters
writing ebook on a regular schedule
$1 in passive income
adding ankle rehab training daily
waking up early (again)

Continue

blogging on a minimum weekly basis
Morning/Gratitude journal
diet,exercise
expense tracking

Stop

watching sports
focus on the efficiency of the workout.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Jocko on Leadership

During his podcast Jocko reads his highlighted notes from The Armed Forces Officer. I've noticed that there isn't really much difference between military command and software engineering command. Leadership skill in different crafts are totally transferable. It also stands the test of time, this book was written such a long time ago but still has so many golden nuggets.

Notes:

Qualities of leaders

These qualities are the epitome of strength not of softness. 
  1. Strong belief in human rights
  2. Respect for dignity in every other person
  3. The golden rule attitude (treat people 
  4. Interest in human welfare
  5. Dealing with every man as if he was a blood relative

13 pitfalls of a leader

  1. To attempt to setup your own standard of right and wrong 
  2. Try to measure the enjoyment of others by your own
  3. To expect uniformity of opinions in the world 
  4. To fail to make allowance for inexperience 
  5. To endeavor to mold all dispositions alike
  6. Not to yield on unimportant trifles
  7. To look for perfection in our own actions 
  8. To worry ourselves and others about what can't be remedied 
  9. Not to help everyone wherever, however, whenever 
  10. To consider impossible what we cannot do ourselves 
  11. To believe only what our finite minds can grasp
  12. Not to make allowances for the weakness of others
  13. To estimate by some outside quality when it is that within that makes the man

  • Don't make snap judgments of people 
  • The ones who talk moderately will receive the respect of others. Not the ones who brag.
  • The man who will not listen will never developed wits enough to differentiate between a bore and a sage and therefore cannot pick the best company 
  • Remember the little things like names, titles, etc.
  • Success means leisure and focusing on what is important. 
  • Lack of common purpose is main downfall of groups 
  • There are no bad teams, there are only bad leaders
  • A leader doesn't need to understand everything but need to know if something is being done right or wrong
  • Refuse kindly vs acquiesce in a bad manners
  • There is so much worthwhile in living dangerously. Risk nothing, gain nothing
  • What is the main test of human character? Being patient through tough circumstances. Can you push on?



Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Muscle Up



It took me 3 months to be able to get to this point (not seriously working at it but going out and training it every other day). When I started I was able to do 15-20 pullups and 25 dips.  I started with explosive pullups to my chest and then some kipping and finally working on strength in the transition point between the pullup and the dip.

I was able to get 2 (ugly) muscleups. My next goal is to refine this to strict non-kipping muscleups and eventually (on parallel bars) transition to a handstand.

Why do this? Recently my gym membership expired and since my whereabouts might be unknown in the next year I've decided to avoid re-upping for another year. In the meantime I'm exploring some creative ways to stay fit without it. MMM has a great article on not needing to go to gyms. I do miss doing deadlifts but for now I'm going to completely avoid the gym and work on balance and core strength. I'm mainly going to be working on handstands and muscle ups not because they are necessary the most efficient to stay in shape, but because they are fun and I'd like to see how far I can go in that arena.


Monday, December 12, 2016

Visual Books

Audio books seem to be more popular than ever. When I listen to podcasts, which is like a short form audio book,  I often hear Audible.com as a sponsor. Amazon, who owns them also gives a free trial. So I decided to give it a shot.  Here's what I find so far.

The voice actor gives the book a bit more spice which is enjoyable, but after awhile I end up thinking that the audio is too slow and speed it up to 1.5-2x anyway which sort of kills that. I guess its hard for me to just sit back and enjoy a book when I know I can do it in half the time. There are certainly pros and cons to this attitude. Another thing that I found is that one of the main sells of audio books doesn't work well for me. The sell is that you can listen to it anywhere such as during the commute or working out. This sounds like it would work but what I find for myself is that I am so focused on my workout or even noticing things on my commute that I don't tune in to the book that well. Although I am hearing the words, the meaning is not registering in my head when I get the least bit distracted. I end up hitting the 15 second back button often. I don't find this surprising to me as I know that I am terrible at multi-tasking; unable to walk and listen at the same time.

So in order to listen to an audio book or podcast and get anything out of it I need to not be exercising or walking or commuting. Just sitting and giving it my complete attention. But if I were to do this, then I'd usually rather just be skimming a book instead. You can't really skim an audio book as fast as you would a book since you are really only limited to the jump forward button and the audio throughput is much slower than that of a visual scan.

I'm not saying that audio books are worse than visual books. I think if you polled the general population they would enjoy audio books better than visual books. I'm just pointing out some disadvantages of them and noting that I have a general preference towards speed of processing in my decision in most cases. For me the ideal audio book listening case is when I want to listen to a fiction story book with a specific voice actor that I enjoy. Otherwise I'll be processing my books in the old style visual format.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Advocate


I did a personality test at https://www.16personalities.com/ and here is what it came up with. Now like any other personality test on the internet, I know to take the results with a grain of salt. Just because I answered some questions and they gave me this result, it does not necessarily describe who I am. I wonder if I had answered one question differently or if I happened to be in a different mood if I would have gotten something completely different. I think its likely. When I read the results it sounds like it hit the nail spot on but I'll keep the Forer Effect in the back of my mind when doing the analysis.


In General...

INFJs tend to see helping others as their purpose in life, but while people with this personality type can be found engaging rescue efforts and doing charity work, their real passion is to get to the heart of the issue so that people need not be rescued at all.
INFJs indeed share a very unique combination of traits: though soft-spoken, they have very strong opinions and will fight tirelessly for an idea they believe in. They are decisive and strong-willed, but will rarely use that energy for personal gain – INFJs will act with creativity, imagination, conviction and sensitivity not to create advantage, but to create balance. Egalitarianism and karma are very attractive ideas to INFJs, and they tend to believe that nothing would help the world so much as using love and compassion to soften the hearts of tyrants.
INFJs are often perfectionistic, looking for ultimate compatibility, and yet also look for someone with whom they can grow and improve in tandem. Needless to say, this is a tall order, and INFJs should try to remember that they are a particularly rare personality type, and even if they find someone compatible in that sense, the odds that they will also share every interest are slim. If they don’t learn to meet others halfway and recognize that the kind of self-improvement and depth they demand is simply exhausting for many types, INFJs are likely end up abandoning healthy friendships in their infancy, in search of more perfect compatibilities.

On Friendships...

Really the only way to be counted among INFJs’ true friends is to be authentic, and to have that authenticity naturally reflect their own.
 INFJs don’t require a great deal of day-to-day attention – for them, quality trumps quantity every time, and over the years they will likely end up with just a few true friendships, built on a richness of mutual understanding that forges an indelible link between them.

On careers..

First and foremost, INFJs need to find meaning in their work, to know that they are helping and connecting with people – an INFJ Ferrari salesperson is a non-sequitur. This desire to help and connect makes careers in healthcare, especially the more holistic varieties, very rewarding for INFJs – roles as counselors, psychologists, doctors, life coaches and spiritual guides are all attractive options.
For INFJs, money and Employee of the Month simply won’t cut it compared to living their values and principles.
These needs are hard to meet in a corporate structure, where INFJs will be forced to manage someone else’s policies alongside their own. For this reason, people with the INFJ personality type are more likely to, despite their aversion to controlling others, establish their independence by either finding a leadership position, or simply starting their own practice. As independents, sole proprietors in the parlance of business, INFJs are free to follow their hearts, applying their personal touch, creativity and altruism to everything they do.
This is the most rewarding option for INFJs, as they will step out of the overly humble supporting and noncompetitive roles they are often drawn to, and into positions where they can grow and make a difference. INFJs often pursue expressive careers such as writing, elegant communicators that they are, and author many popular blogs, stories and screenplays. Music, photography, design and art are viable options too, and they all can focus on deeper themes of personal growth, morality and spirituality.
Where INFJs fall flat is in work focusing on impersonal concerns, mundanity, and high-profile conflict. Accounting and auditing, data analysis and routine work will leave people with the INFJ personality type fidgety and unfulfilled, and they will simply wilt under the scrutiny, criticism and pressure of courtroom prosecution and defense, corporate politics and cold-call sales. INFJs are clever, and can function in any of these fields, but to be truly happy, they need to be able to exercise their insightfulness and independence, learn and grow alongside the people they are helping, and contribute to the well-being of humanity on a personal level.
Multiple sites have claimed that INFJs are extremely rare (< 1%). I had always assumed that I was an INTJ based on what I have read about them as it is pretty obvious that I am introverted. I think most people will know easily if they are the I(introvert) or E(extrovert). The S(sensing) vs. N(intuition) is a bit trickier. This quiz says that I am slightly more N but I took another test that said I was much more towards S.

The F(feeling) vs. T(thinking) is the biggest surprise for me.  But in looking back, I can certainly see some of the traits in action. As a manager, I was always very people first, and made extremely strong connections with those that I had managed. Even as an engineer, I'd consider how people felt and try to address those issues along with the raw technical issues.

I am more J(judging) than P(perceiving). I like to approach life in a structured way and make decisions early rather than keep all my options open. If I get an email that needs a decision, I'll make one and reply right away. Everything is acted upon right away (although sometimes that decision is to delay). Although I like to keep my general life options as wide open as possible, usually when I am faced with smaller decisions, I have no problem making them and accepting the consequences.

I am more T(turbulent) than A(assertive) which means that I am more self conscious and perfectionist. More eager to improve but more sensitive to stress. The opposite would be someone who is more worry free and not pushing to their goals

Overall I think this result makes sense. It explains why I have a few high quality friends and am perfectly happy with that. It explains how work is not just an exchange for money and has much deeper meaning; and why I would walk away from a job with such great pay. It explains why I am attracted to working and living independently.

Again, taking this with a grain of salt. I think so many of the questions I could have answered either way and most of them I'll respond with "well it depends on the situation". But it was a fun exercise anyway.