Good morning, afternoon or evening reader! My name is Thomas, and welcome to my blog.

This is where i will be discussing personal development, productivity and anecdotal events in my life, and what i have learnt from them.

Would love you to join on the journey!

🙂

Phones

This is a distinct predicament that i have had throughout the past few years of my life. Once i began to have my own income, through my job, i began to frivolously spend money on objects i don’t need. This hit its peak towards the end of 2019, where i had the ingenius idea to have a no spend year. So, i thought it would be a good idea to spend all my money on what i needed, or wanted to have for the year. Obviously, this did not go according to plan, and i still spend money throughout this year; not as much, but i still do .

My phone contract was going to end in late 2020, and i thought i should buy my new phone outright before it ends. Then, i could get a cheap sim card to save money.

But that is when the issue started, i bought 3 new phones.

WHY DID I DO THIS?!

Not only did i have less money than beforehand due to this, i also disliked all that i had bought. I began to view the phones as a failure to self control. I hated myself for my mistakes.

But, after this, i had an amazing idea. Instead of holding onto the phones that held no value in my life, i decided to give to those who needed it. My friend didn’t have a phone because he couldn’t afford it, so i gave one to him. I gave another to someone else, whose mother couldn’t afford to have a phone due to spending all her money on her family. Obviously, this is not a scenario i find myself in, i am in a better situation, and i am grateful for it.

The final phone, i returned back to the supplier for a refund. Although, this may seem selfish, it gave me permission to reflect on all that i had done, and i learned something from it.

Items do not cause happiness. They can help, they can cause preliminary happiness, but not continuous. Giving and helping others does cause true happiness.
Who could you help today?

YouTube detox

A month on from my last detox, that did not go that well in all honesty. My addiction to the internet, especially YouTube, has began to spike again. I find myself watching endless streams of videos, constantly refreshing my recommended tab; waiting for the next piece to catch my eye.

This has affected my health in ways that I did not know it could. I find that my screen time has increased by a large margin. Though I watch Anime on Crunchyroll, it is not as frequent as the Google site. I am now well aware of my existence, and how I am wasting it, consuming the success of others. I keep telling myself: I am better than this, I can do more. But I am always so hesitant to do so. It is like I need to go on there to be happy.

That isn’t right, I need to find true happiness within myself, not through objects. So, for the next 30 days, YouTube is off the table. I cannot go onto it for any necessary reasons.

It is time to see how strong my self control is.

Ikigai

Yesterday, I bought a book: Ikigai, written by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles. Today I finished this book, and it was truly one of the best reads I have had in a long time.

So, I thought I would delve into a bit about what the book entails and describes.

An Ikigai is the reason for your existence. It is the purpose you strive for in life, your meaning and role on this earth. Since your birth, your ikigai is said to be present inside you, and your life’s journey is the quest to find this meaning, and grasp it with open arms and never let go. The importance of finding this meaning is shown throughout, as it can lead to you living longer, and more fulfilling lives shown by the centenarians in the book.

However, the writers stress that you should not put stress upon yourself to find your Ikigai. Whilst it is important to look for it, attaching a negative emotion to it could undermine its importance. Moreover, the method of finding your Ikigai is through trying new things and experiencing life to the fullest. The book uses stoicism to remind you of your morality. One useful phase I found recently was ‘moment more’ or remember death. It is impertive to live life to the full, because this is the only way to live without regrets.

One of the most valuable quotes that I found from this book was “ichi-go ichi-e” which means ‘this moment exists only now and won’t come again. I will begin to implement this into my life, as to live in every moment and not take a second for granted. Only then, are you not afraid of death.

Finally, here are the tips that the book explains at the end to live a good life. I won’t go into too much detail, but these will be a reminder to you, and myself, how to live a good life. There is no secret other than to live, but these can aid you in success.

  1. Stay active and don’t retire – this keeps the brain active, swaying away from ageing.
  2. Take it slow – “walk slowly and you will go far”.
  3. Don’t fill your stomach – eat until about 80% capacity, this will keep you healthier.
  4. Surround yourself with good friends – good people = good results
  5. Get in shape for your next birthday- Hormones are released during exercise, making us happy.
  6. Smile – 🙂
  7. Reconnect with nature – Trust me, it will recharge your batteries
  8. Give thanks – This will help you be happy
  9. Live in the moment – today is all you have, make it worth remembering
  10. Follow your ikigai – your mission is to discover it.

Adventures…

Has there ever been a place that you have always wanted to go to? a place which you thought would be impossible to get to, due to being ‘too expensive’ or ‘too dangerous’. For me, there has always been a place that i would love to go to.

Need a hint? It rhymes with Hapan…

Obviously, it is Japan, why wouldn’t i want to go there? As you can see from the past month, i have fallen back in love with anime, and the typical japanese lifestyle. Call me an otaku, or a weeb, but i really appreciate and cherish the culture, and subcultures, in Japan. I have never been able to go there , because i was too young, or i didn’t have enough money to go there. I wanted to go there this summer, but with the novel virus pandemic, that the whole world has been put on hold for, so will my trip. But, i will go there. It will most likely be next year, after my first year at university.

Adventures are great. They are a way of showing yourself what you are able to do. For example, when i was in secondary school, there was a trip to a theatre in London; to see warhorse. I wanted to ask the girl out that i really liked at the time there, but of course, i was too nervous to speak to her. Eventually, once we arrived, i nerved up the courage to talk to her and tell her how i feel. When she said yes, i was relieved and excited. I couldn’t stop being happy. This adventure was only minor, but it showed me how my imaginary boundaries have stopped me from me chasing what i want.

Do you want to climb a mountain? Find a way to do it; with the proper equipment of course.

Once the lockdown phase is lowered to a lesser degree, or the virus poses less of a threat to human life, i am going to arrange my trip to Japan. It can be scary to do something you haven’t done before. You will tell yourself you can’t do it, or imagine these crazy ‘what if?’ scenarios. The only thing stopping you is you.

Go do what you want, and make sure you have fun. But, i would wait until the pandemic ends.

Have fun

I am not going to lie to you, I did not come up with this idea. I had just finished watching a video by John Fish, a YouTuber who produces content focusing on productivity and life. He raised a good point about this pandemic, and how we should be responding. His dad gave him some good advice, “whatever you’re doing, make sure you’re having fun with it”. What this is saying is to not focus on what you can achieve from doing work, studying for exams or working out, just as long as you are having fun whilst doing it, the results will come to you.

This changed my perspective of quarantine. A lot of it I have spent trying to be produxtive, so I wouldn’t look like a failure afterwards. But, this mentality is wrong. I shouldn’t be pushing always for the end goal, it only matters if I had fun doing it in the process. For example, in Year 13, I spent a lot of it with my friends, having a good time and forming those strong bonds. There was another girl, who focussed completely on her studies, and did not have fun along the way. As a result, she doesn’t have the same friendship intensity as I do now.

This doesn’t mean to not care about your future. It is quite the opposite. However you go about chasing your dreams, make sure you have fun whilst doing it. The end result will not be so amazing that it will change your mood. The journey is more important than the destination.

I’m definitely going to implement this into my life, will you?

Putting our phones down..

The phones over 94% of Americans carry in their pockets has revolutionised the digital age. Everybody is connected to everyone; all at once. Yet, the rate of happiness collected globally has seen a massive decrease. Most, if not all people would agree that our phones are a contributing factor.

Social media portrays the vision of ourselves to others that we want them to see. When I was younger, when i was having my photo taken, I would always tense my biceps; to look strong. There wasn’t much of a difference in the photo, and now I am always reminded of how I felt when the photo was taken. I wasn’t happy, I wanted people to see how strong I was ( I was 15).

3 years on from this, and I can see old classmates acting the way my 15 year old self did. The stylised, sexy photos people post to instagram and on their snapchat stories, aims to gain some sort of admiration from their followers. People want to be known, and liked by all (social validation). We think this would make us happy, but rather it does the opposite. Being constantly self aware, self conscious of how we present ourselves to others, has led to the movement of Digital Minimalism.

This art was named by Cal Newport, the author of the book by the same name. Cal states the benefits of cutting back from technology, embracing having less than more, can make you happy. Being an advocate for this, I have experienced many benefits.

For example, the purpose of social media is to keep us connected globally. I have met new friends from across the world using these sources, but not close friends.

I found I speak to my closer friends more frequently without the use with social media. I come across as less insecure, and more confident with my own beliefs.

Cutting back on using my phone has led to a creative spark within me to pursue making content. Although the blog website does not get many views, I don’t care because I enjoy making the content I publish. I am ahead of my schedule when it comes to making posts!

Finally, the main benefit I discovered from cutting back is I read more. Usually, It would take me a couple of weeks to finish a book. This week alone, I have read 2 books, over 300 pages long. I am starting to see benefits in sleep as well, which is very important.

I can’t tell anybody to do something, but if you feel as though you are too connected to social media, and your phone, it is time to pursue a more intentional life. Digital minimalism is the way.

What I have learned from Quarantine so far…

I thought I would put a list together so far upon what I have learned during the time of quarantine in the UK.

  • The News can be detrimental to your health
    • This one is pretty obvious. In the times of the coronavirus pandemic, the news has been the go to source of information. Whilst this has been good for the public to be informed, the rates of depression are on the rise. I remember at the start of the pandemic, I use to google the death rates of the virus in the UK DAILY. Granted, my parents hold a pessimistic view about the situation ( they still read the news) and this impacts how I start the day. However, by starting the day, not reading the news; has made me more of a positive individual. This has made me stronger.
  • Meditation, and staying present is important
    • I have consistently been meditating throughout this time of quarantine. This is the most important time of my daily routine, where I just sit with my thoughts; counting the breaths . This had a tremendous impact on my levels of stress. Being more aware of my emotions has allowed me to control these to be churned into positivity. Ferris Bueller once said “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it”. Meditation has given me access to staying present.
  • I love my dogs so much
    • Going on dog walks everyday has broken my day up. Both of my dogs have kept me going. From making me angry due to running off into a field, to rolling around in a muddy puddle; which made me laugh.
  • I am so grateful for this time
  • I am very grateful to be alive, with my family and friends being healthy and safe. I am grateful to be living in a nice home; not struggling with my financial side, to be able to focus on my own projects.
  • My aggression
    • I still have a lot of built up anger inside of me; since I was younger. It is a everyday work in progress to improve my state of mind, so I may be happier and healthy for the forthcoming times.
  • My beliefs
    • What I believe that I am capable of, is in pandemonium. I can do anything I want; no limits. I am able to do something new, and believe in myself.