Caol Ila on a Lazy Sunday

Just opened a new bottle of scotch and am sitting here enjoying the lovely aftertaste of smoked oak. A Caol Ila Moch to be precise that I bought earlier today at my local supermarket. What a treat!

Next time I am to introduce someone to peated whisky I’ll offer them a Moch. It has a sweet, well-rounded, slightly lemony and fairly lightly peated character. The aftertaste lingers on in your mouth for about 10-15 minutes. Of course, waiting that long before taking another sip is unlikely going to happen here at my household.

On the inter-webs it said that Caol Ila has historically mostly been used in the Johnny Walker blended whiskies which makes me somewhat skeptical about the brand, but it seems that Caol Ila is now growing in its own right as a single malt.

By the way, how do people manage to pronounce Scottish whisky properly? I always get whiskies like Lagavulin completely wrong and I am sure its no difference with Caol Ila which is supposed to be pronounced “cull Ee-la”. Ehm, Carol what?

“Please say that again” I’ll ask the barman and they’ll raise a brow at me as I try to get it right for the 15th time. I’ve got this test that when I am able to pronounce Lagavulin right I know it’s about time I go home.

Of course its not easier when it comes to wine. I’ll call Côtes du Rhône “court ruin” and I won’t even attempt at pronouncing the Mourvedre  grape let alone the Nebbiolo or the Gewürztraminer.

In other news, I went with my roommate Karen for a huge bowl  of mussels, fries and white wine Friday evening. Yesterday I went for a couple of Indian Pale Ales with another good friend of mine followed by a big juicy burger. Today my roommate and I am cooking up some pork with veggies and having a chill evening at home.

Anyway, there really isn’t a point of me telling you these trivial things other than to add an assurance to all of you that I am in fact still alive and well. Considering that my last two posts were a now two year old tribute to a man who had just died at the time (how depressing) and a incoherent babble about not being able to write anything worth reading anymore (even MORE depressing) you’d imagine as far that I might not be coming back here ever again.

(I wouldn’t have bet on me being back either).

Reflections on my Writer’s Block

Every day I wake up with the feeling that I want to write something. And every day I don’t even try to sit down at the computer and open a word document to do so. It’s a weird thing, isn’t it, wanting to do something, but not wanting it enough to actually do it?

Don’t get me wrong, I write a bunch at work, but that’s not the same at all. I guess you could call the writing I do at work “creative writing”, but it doesn’t satisfy me on the same level as it did when I used to write stuff for the blog on a more full-time scale.

I have been at my job for about two years now and overall I have worked in project management for four years. So I know I must have built up some skills and confidence in what I do over those years even if I don’t think much about that on a daily basis.

I think that’s what I lack with the blog: confidence in my skills as a creative writer. I was never good at grammar; not in my native language (which is danish) and especially not in english. I feel even more naked when I write in english than when I do so in danish. I never really overcame this fear even tough I have been doing this for more than half of my life.

Somewhere deep down I hold a belief that I have talent, if not in putting together coherent sentencesses, then in  conveying a personal and meaningful message to the reader. I think that was what kept me going for the two years that The Measured Life was an active site.

What also kept me going was the wonderful and mostly positive reactions I got from people who had stumpled upon my writings one way or another. I was scared shitless every time I received a comment, mind you! But I also though of it as a very powerful way to connect with like-minded people. I am forever in awe of the people who decided to spend their time with me here on The Measured Life! I can’t thank them enough for being there with me along the way.

I suppose I am now looking to recreate some of that magic that came in to my life back then by getting back into the writing game…

For now I am not gonna spend a lot of time editing or in deep reflection over the output I produce (or at least that is what I tell myself). I am just going to be doing spur of the moment writing and I am going to be frantically clicking publish whenever I don’t feel like working more on a post.

I other news, I hope you guys (if there is still anyone out there) had a lovely Christmas with all of your families and a fantastic new years with whomever you happened to celebrate that with! I had a very eventful holiday break myself (too eventful even) but that is for another post.

RIP, Seth Roberts

I am very saddened to learn of Seth Roberts untimely death on April 26th 2014. Unlike many of the people listed below, I did not know Seth personally, that is, I never met him in real life.

Online, however, Seth actually took the time to contact me a couple of months ago when I had cited him in a post recommending honey before bedtime on this blog. He was very interested in knowing more about my experiments, and I found it a great honor that someone as accomplished as him would take the time to contact random strangers with few proven credentials for advice.

Back then, and to this day, this says a lot to me about what kind of person Seth must have been to the people who really knew him.  It is not every day that you meet someone who treats everyone, from every walk of life, equally. I don’t, if I must be completely honest, and I don’t think I have ever met anyone who truly does yet.

But Seth absolutely seemed to me like someone interested in getting to know everyone on equal terms. At least the few email correspondences I had with him leads me to think so.  He was also someone with unconventional ideas about how to hack life. I have experimented with many of his ideas myself, and will continue to live my life in the same vein that I imagine Seth did.

I don’t have a category on my site that matches news like these, so I am putting the post under spirituality. I do this because Seth was, although unknowingly,  a spiritual teacher  of sorts of mine – understood in the sense that to me being spiritual means being able to look outside the box of conventionality. Seth obviously did, and I will spend the rest of my life trying to do so too.

If you do not know who Seth was, take a look at his blog. Although he won’t be able to contribute to our collective knowledge further, his blog as well as his book are still very valuable resources for those interested in self-experimentation and in lifehacking.  I will leave you with links to posts by people who actually knew Seth well. (Borrowed from Tucker Max).

Tucker Max

John Durant

Richard Nikoley

Ryan Holiday

Ben Casnocha

Nassim Taleb

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Goodbye WordPress, Hello Freedom

home-sweet-home

Before making the decision to move The Measured Life from WordPress.com to Bluehost I worried a lot if getting traffic would be a thing of the past for me now.

I was thinking, that since most of my traffic came internally from WordPress, it would be a ghost-town around here after a move. Boy was I wrong about that (luckily).

It has been less than 24 hours since I indexed the new sitemap and since Google has begun crawling the site, but I am already getting some traffic from Google searches to some of my older posts. This leaves me with a very positive outlook on the future of The Measured Life.

The searches are already telling me a little bit about where I should maybe focus my efforts topic-wise. Without saying too much: People seem to like the somewhat more science-oriented posts I have done a great deal.

Which is great, because I have really wanted to boost my credibility for a long while exactly by writing about things that are maybe a bit less philosophical than usual and a bit more grounded in scientific theory and practice.

It has been maybe three or four months since I have written in English on a consistent basis, though, and that shows in the quality of what I write. At least that is how I am feeling about it right now.

Exactly because I am out of shape in terms of writing in the English language, this is just going to be yet another short post. This time around I don’t want to push myself too hard so I am taking it easy for now. Slow and steady wins the race, right.

Anyway, thanks to those of my old readers who might have stayed throughout the move. I am working on improving my SEO skills as well as a short eBook to be published on the site for free soon. So things should be back on track here in my little neck of the internet woods soon.

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Moving and relaunching! Stay tuned for announcements…

For quite a while now I have felt the need to do a change up around here in order to regain the desire to share my thoughts with you!

Long story short, I am moving the blog away from WordPress.com to be hosted over at Bluehost instead.

My hope being that gaining full control over the blog will inspire me to work more on putting quality content out there.

I am just going to do this, without having done a lot of research into the specifics of moving a blog. It shouldn’t be rocket science.

Now, I might loose all of my subscribers. I might loose my search engine rankings. I am not sure what will happen. If nothing else I know that I will keep my URL and all of my content.

The answers are out there, of course. I just have to do a quick Google search, yet I haven’t been inspired to do even THAT yet.

So I am just going to focus on getting the move done soon and take it from there.

So guys, anyone interested in following and connecting with me here in the future should stay tuned and check out the site from time to time over the next couple of weeks. Whenever I implement a new change I will make a short announcement.

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Finding Yourself is a Dialogue

In this post I argue that you can only truly “find yourself” through a dialogue with other people. And I invite anyone reading to join me on Google Plus for that purpose.

Join me on G+

I am at wit’s end about the future of this blog. On one hand, its been far more of a success so far than I could ever imagine; on the other, the lack of effort I put into it is growing more and more unacceptable by the day.

There has never been a coherent pattern to my posts. A a friend recently pointed out, I am “all over the place”.

In the back of my head I am always thinking, that because people sign up for the blog after reading one specific kind of post, they expect my overall output to resemble that type of post. That would be the “sensible” way of looking at it.

This thought pattern scares me. It keeps me from publishing my innermost thoughts because I gather that doing so will turn someone off. Of course, everything you do will always turn someone off. It is silly to try to please everyone, because you can’t.

Anyway, I realized that I am having all of these troubles because I am still in the process of finding out who I really am as a person – what my core values are, and what I believe in.

You don’t find that out through only having a monologue with yourself. You need to engage other people in dialogue in order to really understand your place in the world.

This blog here, this is “only” a monologue, more or less. Indeed, people do comment, and that adds a whole deal to my self-reflections, as a human being, and as a writer. But it is still not as much of a two-way street as I would like it to be.

I have therefore taken to making an effort to be more active in the Google plus community, with the goal of getting to know a lot more like-minded people than I do now.

My efforts over there are not about gaining exposure of myself, they are about getting to know other people more intimately. I want to know their story. I want to share mine with them. I want to see how this world wide web connects people firsthand by being an active participant on social media myself.

So if you ever feel like getting to know me as much as I want to get to know you, then add me on Google Plus.  I’ll add you back and get the conversation started. Looking forward to that.

See you there!

Jakob

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Absence

Salar_de_Uyuni

I have been gone for a while and that deserves an explanation. I was going to say that there are many reasons, but truly there are only three:

1. I got a new job

2. I met a girl

3. I am a perfectionist

I spend a whole lot of my time on the new job. I like what I am doing there very much, and I have also got a bunch of great colleagues, but nevertheless it has left me with little mental surplus to do any writing here.

I have also been very active in my dating life and am currently seeing someone who might turn into something serious. I am a little scared of the prospects of this, but am trying to stay in the now and not think so much about it.

And lastly, I want what I write to be great, and that feeling usually prevents me from getting started writing. Of course, that is counterproductive behavior, and I know that. The only way to be good – at anything – is to be bad at it first.

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Unfiltered

In which I talk about always being as authentic and honest as possible.

unfilteredAs somewhat of a professional procrastinator, one of the reasons I don’t get enough writing done is that I am putting too many constraints on myself. It has to be done either some specific way or I won’t do it at all. Let me take a detour to get to the main point.

Yesterday evening I discovered Unfiltered, the blog of one Brian Gardner, through this post by Joshua Becker over at the Becoming Minimalist blog. This discovery inspired me.

For some of us, everything we do online is meant to present ourselves at our best, often a best that is far away from the reality of everyday life.

On one hand I want to do something great with this blog. Of course, what I really mean with that is that I want a lot of readers!

So I keep thinking about what little changes I can make to achieve that goal, and I am never satisfied, no matter what I do.

On the other hand, I also know that I enjoy the process of writing simply for the sake of doing so. Writing is a therapeutic enterprise. One that’ll help you become the best possible version of you.

It’ll help you make both major and minor decisions in life.

To some extend blogging, and being part of the blogging community, has made me a better person. Through blogging, I have become aware of some of my biggest character flaws.

Incidentally, many of these flaws are the same as Joshua Becker mentions in his post on authenticity. They are:

  • Jealousy
  • Desire for approval
  • Lack of self-discipline
  • Selfishness
  • Protecting my image

I struggle the most with desire for approval and protecting my image, two sides of the same coin.

Now, all I really want is to live a simple life of meaningful work, hobbies that continue to expand my horizons, great friendships, and a meaningful relationship with a loving partner. That is all.

I am certainly on the way towards achieving all of that, but if I continue to put so many constraints on myself, I will never truly get there.

  • The perfect partner doesn’t exist
  • The perfect job doesn’t exit
  • The perfect friend doesn’t exist

We all have flaws. I, for example, will never write a “perfect” blog post, and I certainly won’t achieve any of my other goals if I keep having so high standards.

I think that being honest with ourselves like this, is the only way towards real happiness in life.

The constraints, I won’t just get rid of them by writing one inspiring blog post. But hopefully, by being honest and sincere, online and elsewhere, I will some day.

Anyway, I really weren’t going to write this long of a post. I just wanted to share with you, once again, a link to the most inspirational blog I have found in a long while:

Unfiltered by Brian Gardner

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Should You Stay Friends with Your Ex?

In which I discuss why you should never stay friends with your ex, and why you should use the no contact rule to get over them once and for all.

First of all, I am not an expert, but I do have a very strong opinion on the subject. That is because I often meet or hear of people who are hurting because they are dealing with their ex in a manner that is bad for themselves. My main goal in life is to minimize pain in people around me as much as possible, so therefore I feel very strongly about writing this post.

Now, my short answer to the question is a resounding NO. It is most likely not at all a good idea. My long answer is, well, long. This post is mostly based on my personal experience as well as on a little bit of psychological insight. I hope you will agree with some of my viewpoints.

Whether you can be friends with your ex depends on many factors, most importantly on whether you are:

  • the one who did the dumping, or
  • the one who got dumped

Next to this, it depends on whether you have hopes of ever getting back together with your ex or not.

Of course, most people who get dumped will have hopes of getting back together, while most people who do the dumping are finished for good with that other person. It may not always be this black and white, I know that.

Regardless of what position you find yourself in post breakup, I believe you will benefit very little from hanging out too much with your ex. And if you got dumped and want them back, then I would say that the no contact rule applies.

The no contact rules has been discussed many, many places all over the net, countless of times before. So you probably already know all about it. The idea is to promise yourself to break contact with your ex for a certain period of time. It could be 30 days; it could be forever, depending on the severity of your broken heart.

During no contact you are not allowed to:

  • Call your ex
  • Text your ex
  • Hang out with them
  • Email them
  • Leave your ex notes
  • Bump into them on purpose

During no contact you are encouraged to:

  • Better youself
  • Date other people
  • Keep busy
  • Just have fun!
  • Etc.

A lot of people, including people who try to make money off of the no contact rule, will themselves into believing that the purpose of the no contact rule is to use it as a psychological trick to get your ex back. (People want what they can’t have).

In my opinion, the purpose of the no contact rule is to free yourself from the psychological burden of pining after someone who clearly isn’t into you any longer. Do no expect to be able to change anyone’s decisions, in love, or in any other aspect of life.

My main reason for being so much against being friends with your ex is quite personal. I have lived out different of such scenarios. I have tried having casual sex with an ex. And I have tried having not much contact with an ex besides having her as a Facebook friend. None of these situations ended happily for me.

The casual sex only happened once in a blue moon, but it would completely warp my “friendship” with that particular girl. Every single time I would see her the sex thing would be on my mind, and its both not fair to another person to have a secret agenda with them as well as counterproductive for yourself to have your “dating efforts” go towards someone who does not want the same thing as you do.

Here is a general rule that applies to all sexual relations:

Always make sure that the people you date are in it for the same reasons as you are, no matter what those reasons may be! If you don’t, you WILL be hurt.

Even today, a couple of years after the last time we had a sexual encounter, I am not sure if I feel like seeing her ever again. It is not a healthy relation for me to carry on with, and success in life comes from letting go as much as from letting in.

Then there is the other girl I mentioned. She was the love of my life, and although it is embarrassing to admit, I never gave up on her. With time I grew to know that we would never, ever be back together, not in a million years, but it did not prevent my messed up brain from holding on to that tiny, little hope of reconciliation.

So after finally manning up, I deleted her number and I deleted her off of Facebook with the intention of never speaking with her again.

Life is too short for exes. There are literally so many other beautiful people out there for you to meet and connect with. And exes, they have a way of being in the way of you going out there and meeting those other people. You might not think so. But they will be. They might even be in the way of your current relationship flourishing, like it is supposed to.

The reason why I think you can never really be friends with your ex is one not often discussed in these kind of dating articles, and therefore one I would like to share here. It has to do with brain plasticity, or the fact that neural pathways are created every time we experience something new.

Some of these pathways grow strong over time, like the pathways responsible for us having addictions to stuff, and others, of course, do not linger. That is why we say that the brain is plastic: It changes and adapts to changes in our behavior and environment.

In simple terms, if we want to truly get over an ex we have to not activate all of the pathways that has to do with that person.

Let me come up with an example. If I think about Louise, my for this purpose fictional ex, in any context, my romantic memories of her will most likely linger on. Because, all of the pathways concerned with Louise are intertwined. The neurons fire off each other. In order to really get over her, I would have to not think of her and not have contact with her – at all. This is why cold turkeys can sometimes be the best way of overcoming addiction.

Of course the brain isn’t as simple as that, and the scientific field of neuroplasticity research is still in its infancy. But a very short summary of current scientific advancements would be that we now know that who we are, our identity, is not set in stone. We can make a a difference by setting rules and boundaries for ourselves.

The above is the reasons why I don’t think you should be friends with your ex. Not if you still have feelings for them, at least. Those feelings can and likely will linger on for years and years if you don’t remove them completely from your life. Do it. Life is too short for heartaches.

Now, if you truly are over your ex, then yes, by all means be friends with them. But I would never trust myself in deciding whether or not I still have feelings for them – my brain is constantly playing games on me, and so, I will never be trustworthy when it comes to things like this.

None of us will, because we are all wired more or less the same way. The best we can do is to ask a good friend, or someone else who are better suited to analyze our emotions objectively, if they think we are truly over our ex or not. Until then, don’t stay friends with your ex. Just don’t.

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