Life: A Poem

February 2nd, 2024

Life: How badly I crave you.
Life: How much you mean to me.
Life: How I desire some excitement.
Life: Where are you now?
Life. Death. All the same.

This is a poem I wrote during a moment of serious blues. Such blues that mere words aren’t enough to explain and highlight what I felt. Only through art, a poem, could such feelings be reflected properly. Well, properly enough I hope anyway.

Sun and Steel: Reforging the Body

April 16th, 2023

Body and mind are linked. Forge the body, and you’ll forge your mind. Not only physically stronger, but also mentally strengthened.

Sun and Steel was a book by an insane Japanese dude who seen the military aggression of Japan and then the softness, inflected by consumer goods. He ended his life after storming a JDF compound and then committed Seppuku. Pretty god damn nuts if you ask me. The book, Sun and Steel was an autobiography about reforging the body. Where to forge the body also forges the mind. They’re both intrinsically linked together. Just like soul eater said, a healthy soul resides in a healthy mind in a healthy body.

  There’s something fucking magical about forging the body. It like reduces your anxiety about this and that. In a way, you just become you. There’s less bullshit and less oh no my body sucks and all that. Your mind sharpens up, your senses don’t get dulled. But, most importantly, each time you exercise, each time you forge your soul, there’s power that springs forth like no tomorrow. Sun and STEEL baby.

  The body is the most direct connection one has to the mind. The body literally houses the mind. The worse the state of the body, the worse the state of the mind, with some exceptions. After 30, our mental state degrades in a linear fashion and there’s virtually no way to prevent this. Exercise slows down this progress so that we age gracefully. My grandpa is reaching over 70 but he doesn’t seem that physically old. Constant farmwork, moving around most of his body, and walking more than a few km per day just due to work has forged his body. Others aren’t the same, their body becomes weak and frail, as if a gust of wind would blow them over. They have not been forged in the sun, they have not become steel.

  Forging the body directly shifts your mindset, where what was lamented as impossible no longer becomes so. You feel invincible. Even beset by an infinite number of worldly issues, they don’t become your Achilles heel, instead, it’s merely a stepping stone towards further greatness.

The Correct Type of Accountability Partner

March 19th, 2023

Accountabliity Partners must know and understand you properly. They must be able to hit the truth about WHY you want to change.

I always see posts on Reddit asking for an accountability partner. Someone who you tell what you want to do so they can keep you accountable and on track with that goal. There’s even paid accountability groups, where everyone keeps each other accountable to whatever task they wanted to do. This all sounds great in theory. But, in practice it’s a lot more nuanced then just telling a random stranger on the internet what you want to do and magically expecting that you’d do that.

  The theory of accountability partners is that you, a social animal, care about the consequences of not going through with your word. However, people lie. Others don’t care about people in general. Words are the wind, just because you say something doesn’t mean you give a damn about going through with it. In the end, running away from those people, those groups, is always an option.
Online Universities (Unis) have an abysmal completion rate. Everyone starts the course then completely forgets about it. Physical Unis have layers of accountability, but they have real external punishments as well. In a course, friends would ask about how you went with the latest assignment. Nobody wants to be the person so constantly says they haven’t done it. Or in classes, the tutor would ask about your progress on the coursework. Again, do you really want to look like a dud?

  Normally, this is good enough to compel people to move forward. There’s a social shame and stigma attached to someone who does nothing. Except, for me, I just ran away. I ran away from the friends I made so I’d never need to talk about coursework. I stopped attending classes so the tutors could never ask me about assignments. I ran away, then failed that course.

  Just having someone to ask about your progress isn’t enough. Ben, on the the Charisma on Command podcast, talked about when he was hesitant to approach a girl in a bar. His friend tried multiple ways of convincing him but nothing worked. Until he touched upon who Ben saw himself as. A charismatic guy who runs the Charisma on Command Youtube channel. Could he really call himself someone charisma and teach others if he didn’t approach this girl? That was what compelled him forward. Not his friend being by his side, holding him accountable just by listening and watching him. It was holding him accountable to who he sees both his current and his future self to be.

  The correct type accountability partner must know who you see your current and future self as. Then and only then could they hold you accountable. There will always be times you falter and slack, after all, if it was easy, did you really need someone to constantly hold you to your word? Your partner’s true moment to shine is during those lulls, to re-invigorate yourself by holding you to who you wish to become. To align your current actions with your identity.

  Take myself as an example. After reading experiences at Nazi concentration camps, the Communist Revolution and the resulting mass incarnation or massacres from the Gulag Archipelago in Russia and The Great Leap Forward in China. I wondered, take everything away from a man, what does he have left? Let’s say we were in that same position. We lost everything. Our homes and possessions, family, friends, community and are locked up in hard labour. What do we have left? To me, the only thing I had left was my word. Hence, I define myself as a man of my word and will go to great lengths to keep it like that.

  However, yesterday, I said I’d fix my sleeping schedule. I’d wake up early in the mornings to take steps to will this world to my image. Yet, I failed. Instead, waking up midday and, yet again, nothing could be accomplished. My hypothetical accountability partner hold me against that. How I said I was a man of my word, yet what do my actions tell the world? They would provoke me into action to be who I define myself as. That is to get up and get ready early in the mornings, to will my world into existence, instead of sleeping half of it away. So, it isn’t perfect, but better than nothing.

Lived Experiences vs Experiences Through Media

January 16th, 2023

The man who doesn’t read only lives once before he dies. The man who reads lives a thousand different lives before he dies. This is a quote from George RR Martin when talking about the value of reading and I believe this statement is quite true. To read is to see how other people experience life and how their perspectives shaped their lives.

  Malcom X, black activist, was fiercely anti-white for most of his life. In fact, a majority was shaped through a tribal view of white man and black man. This man grew up in the 1920’s, where anti-black sentiment was far more deadly than today. Remember Michael Brown, the black who was shot and killed by police and kick started the Black Lives Matter movement. The most inconvenient fact that he was reaching for his gun before being shot and killed was revealed after a through investigation, an ignored fact. Or how, on average, white people are more likely to be killed by police than a black. Hence why today’s anti-black sentiment wasn’t as deadly as the 1920’s.

  Back then, there were serious consequences, like how Malcom X watched as hoons set fire to his house and the police just stood by and watched. These constant acts by white people against blacks shaped his world view, to the point everything became tribal. Us vs them. Blacks vs Whites. Although I thought, as I read through the biography, it was a dumb view. If I had lived the life he had, then I’m sure I wouldn’t have been so different.

  Reading about the lives of others can help us understand why people think a certain way. It can also help shape our own views, if we see the path someone else took to a particular worldview, then decide whether we want our own to be shaped like theirs.

There are limitations though. Somethings in life can’t be read about and understood properly. It’s only through living it can we experience something completely different. Like, experiencing the calming effects of the sea, the sights and smells. You just can’t experience the same thing through words, pictures or video. Not even VR can replicate that perfectly, it’d be nothing more than an imitation in the end.

  Or the granduer and magnificence of nature and hikes. Objectively reading about hikes sounds terrible. It’s a tough climb to go up 50 to 100 meters. You see trees? Well, you can see trees virtually anywhere, what’s the difference? Or the view at the summit. So what, someone has a pic on Instagram don’t they?

  What about living in small cities vs large cities. Reading about them sounds meh. A small city has everything closing early, where people rush around a lot less. A large city has things opened to till everyday and with everyone rushing towards their objective. Isn’t that the only difference? How can you explain the idylicness of the small city, the lack of any rush and the leisurely flow of time. Only through experiencing this could you properly comprehend what life is like in such a city.

  One final limitation would be suffering. My sharehouse was 2km from the Central Business District (CBD) of the city. I used to run 2km everyday, so such a small distance is a breeze. I’d be a relaxing walk to see the CBD and the surrounding regions, oh so I thought. As I continued my walk, I looked to my right and thought it was odd to see a 2 story building in the heart of the CBD. When I looked a bit closer, it turned out to be 8 stories. At the nearby intersection, on the right was a enourmous slope downwards and then going straight up back to the same level I was standing on. I thought to myself, hah, sucked in plebs that need to walk that.

  I checked directions to the sharehouse and realised I had to go right. It turns out that I was the pleb. So, with my 5 kilogram backpack and 10 kilogram suitcase, I struggled down and up that hill. At the very top, already out of breath, I cheered that the hill was done, it should be flat ground from here on out. Except, it wasn’t, the path just kept going up and up and up. Every time I stopped to catch my breath, I looked at the road and the inclines never stopped. Finally I reached a turning point and I thought the suffering was over.

  Too bad hell had no depth. Turning my head towards the path google maps showed, there was a 45 degree incline upwards. Is this even legal? I had to double check the maps, just in case there was a mistake. There wasn’t… My backpack felt heavier as I climbed upwards. My arms were aching from dragging what should’ve been a 10 kilogram suitcase upwards. Each footstep up resounded with a thud of my entire existence. The path of suffering, as I named it, required multiple breaks every few meters. Then, finally at the top, at the telephone poll that marked the end of my suffering, was just more inclines.

  Hell has no depths and the path of suffering proved that. Still, after just a tiny bit more, my suffering would be over and then it’d be flatland from there on. Surely, it can’t go any higher, right? Yet, again, I was wrong. The final road to the sharehouse was an incline. What I thought would be a leisurely 2km walk, turned out to be the depths of hell, well, at 150 meters of hell that is.

  Merely reading about my suffering cannot convey the truth to you. Only through experiencing the pain through your arms, legs, and back. Walking down and up hills. Puffed out every few meters. Sweating profusely. And experiencing the weight of the universe as you take another step forward. The weight of your entire existence with every step could you truly understand the path of suffering.

Artificial Restriction Elevates Experience

December 18th, 2022

With $300 AUper week, I can’t afford much. $35-50 on foods, a shit ton on rent and whatever meager leftovers as either tourism or a meal out. As such, my meals taste so good, despite not having much. The restrictions elevated my experience of foods. Despite the fact it’s nothing more than some sausages, salads and a bit of relish, I’ve never had such a good meal in my life.

  It also elevated my meals out. Because of how finite my funds are, because of how my meals must be extremely cheap, a meal out is godly. In addition, the restriction of no oil and low carbs means my options for home meals are basically meat, salad and veggies, nothing else. When I eat out, there’s no restrictions, it’s full on food goodness.

  Restrictions, even though artificial, changes ones perspective on life. Much like how you only notice things after you lose them, the same story applies here. If you could meat wagyu steak everyday, then is it really special? Same story with rump or porterhouse steak. Only when you can’t afford it regularly does eating it become special. For how long did you have to wait to afford that steak? For how long have you been craving it. Finally you can cook up the steak and enjoy it. Not being able to afford it for a while only serves to heighten it’s value.

Although I wouldn’t do this forever, it is quite an interesting experience. It must be longer than a week though, at minimum 1-3 months. You see youtube videos of people trying to live under poverty for a week, but that means nothing. Why? Because it’s only a week, in the back of their minds, they can just go back to porterhouse steaks in a few days. With a month, the distance is far too long to imagine going back properly, thus you must change your lifestyle to accommodate a new way of living.

  Why wouldn’t living with $300 per week, in a first world country, be great in the long run? Well, you can’t really go anywhere or do anything. Friends wanna go out and eat? Sorry, I can’t afford that, my budget is $15 dollar meals. Going to some adventure room? Sorry, I cannot afford that. Eventually, they’d just stop inviting you all together. After all, your answer would always be how you couldn’t afford it anyway.

The Misery of Linear Celebration of Accomplishments

June 19th, 2022

Don’t celebrate in a linear fashion, otherwise celebrations will slow down to near non-existence. Celebrate the journey with random milestones, ones that aren’t tied to any particular destination.

It’s a natural tendency to celebrate things in a linear fashion. Say you have a youtube channel, so you’d celebrate the 1st view, 10th, 100th, 1,000th, 10,000th, 100,000th, 1,000,000th and so long. Except, this is a terrible idea. Look at how much each increment increases by. Progressively, celebration becomes few and far between. Then what motivation would be left? We constantly get bombarded news of overnight success, or fast rising stars. Too bad that’s not the same for all of us. There’s an availability bias on fast rising stars, everyone wants to report on that. It took Gigguk, the anime youtber, 10 years to reach 1 million subs. In contrast, it took a vtuber a few months to hit 400k. There isn’t as much fanfare for Gigguk’s long and arduous journey. So media gives the illusion of constant overnight success, instead of the slow slow and tedious road towards success.

  With a linear celebration and the illusion of instant success, we’ll all be constant depressed at our slow progress. Instead, celebrate incremental progress and the milestones. Don’t make things about some arbitrary number eons away. Make it small and constant. Instead of 1,000 to 10,000, make it each 1,000 people. Or create our own goals, things that matter and mean something for us. Celebrate along the journey, constantly, to feel it’s a path worth taking, to feel the pride and joy of our accomplishments. Don’t let some random number dictate whether we should celebrate something we take pride in. Don’t let those numbers halt all sense of feeling it reaching it.

  Even for my own podcast and blog, I don’t look at the numbers. No matter what the number is, I’d be disappointed it’s so low. So instead, I celebrate the small things, an interesting topic that episode, how my recording and vocals have improved, or improving my description by learning from other podcasts. In reality, it’s likely that I’ll never earn enough from the podcast or blog to sustain myself. I’ll never have millions upon millions of daily downloads like Joe Rogan. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t have a cake at the 50th episode, to celebrate the long and arduous journey thus far. So take joy in what we do, slowly, surely, and do it constantly with small, non-linear milestones.