One thing that is often mentioned in the book Hardwiring Happiness, is that we don’t linger on positive moments long enough to build neutral structures in our brains for it.
Something positive happens, we feel happy, then we move on. The moment, the feeling is gone in less than 10 seconds. We move past it just like that, almost like it never happened. Kind of a similar experience to scrolling the feed on Instagram, don't you think? You see a photo, you hit like, you move on.
Anyway, this got me thinking, if lingering on the moment can help with making ourselves happier overall, can journaling help with that?
Maybe one way for us to linger longer on that feeling of happiness, is to write it down on our journal. Every time something positive happens, we write it down on our journal. And since writing something down with pen and paper takes time, maybe that time is all we need to linger on the positive moment and let it positively affect our brains.
A good friend of mine once said, the mark of a good rock band, is being able to perform their songs in acoustic format and still sound good. Well, here are two bands with some great acoustic renditions of their rock songs.
First up is Shinedown with an acoustic version of “Atlas Falls”:
This was supposed to be a part of a bigger journal entry, but I found that I had more things to say on this topic, so it gets its own dedicated entry.
Blog Posts vs Notes on a Digital Garden
An interesting observation I've made is that I bookmark blog posts, but I do not bookmark notes from digital gardens.
Does this mean that blog posts provide more valuable information? Not necessarily, but they have their advantages from a reader's perspective.
I think it's just easier to settle on a blog post I want to read, than to pick notes to read from a huge digital garden. It kinda relates to the article I read about Overchoice. It is hard to make a choice, when there's too many choices to make. And that's usually the situation with notes on a digital garden. The chronological or reverse chronological order of blog posts, which is looked at as a bad thing nowadays, is what makes it easier for me to pick something to read.
It was Blaise Pascal, back in the 17th century, who said “All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Fast forward to today and I can't help but feel that this quote is applicable to online discussions nowadays.
I think one thing that contributes to toxic discussions and debates online, is that people cannot accept a difference in opinion anymore. It's like everyone has this need to correct someone else online, to tell them that they're wrong and that their beliefs are stupid. The better reaction is to take a deep breath, understand that you don't agree with what you've just read and just let it go.
There's so much more to life, than spending your precious time trying to tell someone else online that they're wrong. Every once in awhile, you have to be able to just let it go.
Would you look at that. I managed to crank out a second journal entry in less than a year. With how things were going, I was certain I would only be able to write one per year. It actually took me months to write this single post. I spent maybe 10 minutes every week or so, adding stuff to this post as I go about processing my daily notes. Every little bit adds up. Similar to how reading for only fifteen minutes a day helped me finish books, working on this bit by bit every month, while really slow, was still enough to get another entry done. Anyway, here goes.
“We are always falling in love or quarreling, looking for jobs or fearing to lose them, getting ill and recovering, following public affairs. If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come.”
Here we go again with an example of the same problem — distraction — but just in a different form back then.
There will always be distractions in life, especially when you’re working on something important. The question is, do you let yourself get distracted or do you get your work done?
Today I decided to prune the items on my to-read list. It was getting unwieldy. I hoped to reduce the number of items in there every week. Instead, it kept on growing and growing and growing.
Prior to the purge that happened today, I had over 140 items in that list. I was like, “Enough is enough.” There's no way I could have read through all those links, plus read my books, while I kept adding more items every week or so. I needed a better way to manage the items going into my to-read list. I also needed a better way to determine if an item deserved to stay in my to-read list.
So today, I decided to come up with some criteria to determine when to add items to my to-read list, as well as when to remove items off my to-read list. The criteria are based off this excellent read from Nat Eliason — most of which I've already extracted and listed in here. These then are the questions I came up with, that would serve as filters for my to-read list going forward:
Does this fall into a category I'm interested in?
Does this answer a question that's already been answered?
Does this answer a question I have right now?
Is this going to help with something I'm working on now or in the near future?
Does this help grow my philosophical knowledge or does it entertain me?
The first one is that everything that begins to exist, has a reason for existence. This is also known as the principle of causality.
The second premise is that the universe began to exist.
Therefore, there must be a cause for the universe’s existence.
To say that the first premise is false seems very hard in the world we are living in today. How can something come out of nothing? If that were true, then we should at least notice this occurring around us.
Oooh, a car just showed up on my driveway. I wonder how that happened?
But we don’t, because something does not just come out of nothing. There is always a cause for something that exists. So how then do we explain the universe we live in? Did it come out of nothing or did something or some higher power cause it to exist?
Of course, being a religious person myself, the answer for me would be, that God created the universe we live in and everything in it. But I'm not writing this to force my beliefs on you. I just thought that this was a very compelling argument for the existence of a creator.
Does it unequivocally prove the existence of God? No. But it does make you wonder, right?
Sure, there are newer, faster, more fuel-efficient (not to mention fully electric), more luxurious cars out there. But nothing beats driving a paid-off car.
You think you love your car when it's brand new? You'll love it even more when it's paid off.
Did your car just get dinged? Oh no worries, it's already paid off. 😉
Does this mean that after paying off your car, you won't get tempted into buying a new one? Absolutely not 😄
So then what's the point of this post? Stay with me for a bit.
As a car guy, I struggle with this since I'm always enamored by cool new cars. However, the experience of not having a car payment, will make you think twice about signing up for another car loan. At least, it does for me.
All you need is 15 minutes a day to read a book. I'm speaking from experience. I've finished two books reading just 15 minutes a day, some days even less. Sure, you could spend more time reading. That will allow you to finish more books in a shorter amount of time. But, if you're already struggling to keep the habit of reading, telling yourself you should spend even more time reading won't help at all.
One thing I've learned from the Atomic Habits book, is that we're more likely to keep up with a habit if it is easy and convenient. The less effort it takes, the more likely we can keep up with the habit. If 15 minutes is the most you can spend reading, then by all means take it. You either spend 15 minutes or less reading, or you'll end up not reading at all.