June 30: A Month Well Lived

The Task.

Look back on my month of challenges and give myself some critiques, notes and thoughts.


Why This Challenge?

Well, what is the point of doing something to improve yourself if you don’t actually look at what you have done and the lessons you have learned? It is hoped that doing this will not only uncover additional lessons that encompass the entire month but solidify all of the teachings I have come across.


Execution.

Writing this post, and skimming back through all of my old ones.


What I have Learned.

During June I had 30 challenges and missed five of them. These five are reading the Quran, going camping, learning a song on the guitar, speaking to a stranger and investing in the stock market. Only one of these challenges – investing in the stock market – was due to not being able to, on account of the minimum stock purchase being $500. The others? Well, the two days that encompassed reading the Quran and going camping I had a patch of depression and laziness, which spilt over to the other challenges I missed.

This is a problem that has followed me constantly. I will have a week or two of good productiveness whereupon I shall accomplish many things. Immediately following these days of kickassery, I fall into a hole of sadness, void of all motivation and run instead by the twins named “what the hell is the point?” and “I don’t care anymore”. Occasionally this will last one or two days, but more often than not it will last a week or so. Fortunately, as I grow older and more capable, coupled with the wisdom of not going so full steam ahead, (but rather a constant, steady pace) these potholes have been getting rarer and smaller.

Recapping What I Have Learned From Each Challenge This Month:

  1. Start a blog. Starting a blog was actually a really great idea. I enjoy writing it and it kept me on track a lot more than I would have been without said blog. I do indeed wish to continue this.
  2. Giving a busker $20 showed me the infectious nature of happiness and the joy of giving.
  3. Banning YouTube kind of didn’t work and I need to do so again.
  4. Going for a walk was pleasant.
  5. Curtains have improved my sleep considerably. I am glad to have them.
  6. It was nice to appreciate someone.
  7. I really enjoy having a photo wall. It is pleasant to look at and meaningful.
  8. Catching up with relatives is considerably more enjoyable when it is of your own volition.
  9. Baking can be hard. Don’t worry too much about your failures.
  10. Sewing is easy. Don’t worry too much about rips.
  11. The 2-hour meditation session was one of the most difficult challenges in the entire month. Would highly recommend it. I learnt that I need to start meditating again.
  12. Decluttering my room organised it a bit better, and I need to do it again.
  13. Taking the time to learn a poem by heart forces you to delve considerably deeper into the meaning, both personal and overarching, of each individual word and phrase.
  14. A 24 hour fast was much easier than I thought and made me feel great.
  15. The Wim Hof method was definitely useful, however, the way of actually doing it is so over the top and time consuming that it is not practical for everyday use. I discovered the potential of my body with this challenge.
  16. Laying on the sidewalk showed me that no one gives a crap. They are way more focused on themselves than they ever will be about you.
  17. Going for a bike ride was pleasant and showed me the importance of equipment upkeep.
  18. The life image somewhat helped, but not knowing what I want in life was a major hindrance, as you would expect.
  19. I did not do this challenge.
  20. I did not do this challenge.
  21. No tech for 24 hours was great fun, and actually very relaxing.
  22. Making my bed was great to come home to and I shall try to make it a habit.
  23. Not only was dancing great exercise, but it was a great release.
  24. The dream house exercise was kind of pointless.
  25. I did not do this challenge.
  26. The grateful listing thing was very nice to do, and I have definitely noticed a change in my perception of things.
  27. Skydiving truly was amazing, I must do it again without the illness so I can actually enjoy it.
  28. I did not do this challenge.
  29. I did not do this challenge.
  30. I am currently doing this challenge.

All in all, I have accomplished a lot this month. I  have also learnt a lot this month. It was a change of pace to do something every day, which made me glad I did this.


Moving Forward.

I thoroughly enjoyed this blog. That being said, a challenge a day is quite a lot to put into action, hence missing 5. So as I continue this blog – yes I will be continuing – some changes need to be made.

Posts shall decrease to either a weekly or twice-weekly basis. This means that there is no excuse for me to delay a whole week’s worth of posts like the past. This change will be complimented with a decrease in challenges. I have thought things through and my decision has landed on a challenge a week, coupled with month-long challenges. I think that this is much more doable with day-to-day life.


 

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June 27: 14,000 Feet Up

The task.

Leap from a hunk of metal that is filled with explosive liquid, while strapped to another person. How do you survive? A big sheet and some rope. I am not talking about a MacGyver episode, I am talking about skydiving.


Why this Challenge?

We all know someone that has skydived and, at least in my case, every single one of them describes the experience as ‘once in a lifetime’ (which, by merit of being able to do it twice, is a false statement, but whatever). But anyway, I figured I had better do it.


Execution.

I would like to start by saying that I was not well this day. On a scale of one to ten, ten being optimal wellness, I was around about a negative five. I am not joking. My skin was ghostly white, I felt incredibly sick and I vomited both during the skydive and afterwards in the car home. Why did I not postpone? Well, I had already paid for my ticket.

Prior to the day, some work colleagues found out about the challenge, which they decided they wanted to do also. Matt, Ben, Alex and I booked the event online, at Redcliffe. We got there, I paid for the video package ($160! Highway robbery!) and we got into the harness and jumpsuits. A ten-minute bus ride, and into the plane we went. Another ten-minute plane ride to 14,000ft and the roller door opened.

At this moment, I stopped worrying about my sickness and my fear of heights kicked in for the first time. There was nothing I could do, however, so I resigned myself and did what I was told. Legs over the edge. Hands on the chest. Deep breathe. Out the plane, instructor strapped to my back.

The gut-drop lasted no time at all. The cold wind lasted the entire time. I was chilled to the bone and flying through the air. Freefall. Freefall. Freefall.

The chute opened. The chill was a little less, the speed a lot less. Aaaaaaannnd, I was going to be sick. Thank god my instructor had a bag because it would not have been pretty otherwise. I got to enjoy the scenery for a total of 3 seconds the entire time before I had my legs up and we landed.

 


What I’ve Learned.

Try to be in your best condition for big events in your life. I will not say why, but I could have definitely prevented my sickness, which would have allowed me to enjoy the skydiving a million times more. I will definitely be going again.


 

June 26: Gratification Abound.

The Task

List 30 things I am grateful for.


Why This Challenge?

There was a study undertaken which compared the effectiveness of different activities on participant’s happiness. I cannot link this study, unfortunately, as I have not read it directly, but rather second-hand accounts of it. What the study found was that a gratification journal, which consisted of writing down 3 things you are grateful for each day, was one of the most effective boosters of overall happiness. It is said to be the case due to its uncanny ability to focus your attention on the positive, and not the negative. During the day, the participants started to look for things they had gratification for, thus focusing on those instead of more negative events.


Execution.

I typed up an empty list numbering from 1 to 30, sat down and filled it in. I made sure to actually feel gratification toward each one, else the exercise is useless.

I AM GRATEFUL FOR:

  1. The food on my plate, and the easy access I have to such food.
  2. Unlimited access to drinkable water.
  3. A safe roof over my head. Without it, I would be left to nature’s elements and may not even survive.
  4. Cheap access to public transport. For just $5 I can travel 14km in under an hour. If I had to walk it would take me two and a half hours.
  5. MY AMAZING GIRLFRIEND, for putting up with my flaws and my jealousy and just being perfect for me.
  6. Electricity. With it comes the ability to accomplish so many amazing things that tribesmen of old would think me a god.
  7. The Internet: despite its ability to stop me from accomplishing things, I know so much information it is incredible.
  8. The fact that nuclear war hasn’t accidentally been started. It has almost happened 3 times. (Probably more!)
  9. The fact that nuclear war hasn’t purposefully been started. I have reasonable faith in my personal ability, but I do not think I am resilient enough to withstand that.
  10. The diversity of food that is within my reach. I can get Asian, American and African produce all from the same Australian grocery store.
  11. Alarms and clocks, for starting my day and keeping track of it.
  12. Shoes. I wouldn’t know the first thing about making them, and they are extremely useful.
  13. Washing machines. It really wasn’t too long ago that people had to spend hours doing it by hand.
  14. Hot water. I can turn a knob and get it. Could you imagine a world where you had to have cold showers ALL of the time?
  15. Stoves. I do not have to labour over attaining wood and then lighting said wood.
  16. The collaboration of society that allows humans to specialise in fields.
  17. The performance industry, providing thought-provoking entertainment, expressing emotion that words cannot and spreading happiness.
  18. Advances in medicine, allowing us to live longer times.
  19. Books, preserving knowledge and creating entire universes through imagination.
  20. Music, in all of its glory and variety.
  21. Clothes, for warmth and protection from elements
  22. Photos, capturing infinitely minuscule moments of time as constant reminders of memories.
  23. Air conditioning, allowing us to bypass discomfort.
  24. Emergency services, keeping society safe.
  25. Laws, however unjust at times, they still improve life considerably.
  26. Refrigeration, preserving food.
  27. Food processing, for making food standardised and safe.
  28. Farmers of all types, whom often do not get recognised but whose work is shown on everyone’s plate each day.
  29. The love I have in my life
  30. Out of an infinitely small chance life was created on this rock and so I am able to sit and write this list.

What I’ve Learned.

I take a tonne of things for granted, each and every day, which sitting down and appreciating was very nice to do. For the next couple of days, I shall be aware of them and cherish them more so.