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

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

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?

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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First Impressions

Today I lost a very great job opportunity because of certain communicative misconceptions between the interviewer and I. I of course tried to remedy the situation, but the truth is that people very rarely change their already established first impression of other people. At least not in the short term.

This could be because of something called confirmation bias. That is, all of us hold certain beliefs to be true, and we are programmed to feel negative about things that are counter to those beliefs. No matter if said beliefs are based on solid evidence or not.

I therefore think that, while it goes against my own beliefs, it is necessary not to be completely honest whenever you meet someone for the first time. I am not saying to be dishonest, but that withholding certain aspects of the truth is often in ones best interest.

Personally, for example, I find some people to be quite biased against mindful living, meditation, and spirituality in general. I used to be one of those people, and I viewed spiritual folks as being more or less crazy loons. They would never have a chance to redeem themselves.

Of course, later on I understood that I was the one viewing the world solely through my own eyes, and that doing so was not bringing me lasting happiness. All it did was make me a negative grump who criticized everything and everyone.

Unfortunately, most people never get to realize that every single aspect of reality is up to subjective judgement, and that their judgment is just about as subjective as any other. Evidence is secondary when it comes to human feelings.

What we can learn from this is to respect everyone equally, no matter how skewed a view of things we might think they have.

But more importantly so, what I really take from this great loss of opportunity is an understanding that situational awareness is a very important skill to cultivate in life:

Sometimes, holding back to begin with is the best way to get people on your side in the long run.

If this makes you think, please add to the discussion below! I need the input severely.

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Focus

Never do more than one thing at a time. There are only two exceptions I can think of, at the top of my head:

  • Eating while watching television or a movie
  • Listening to music while working or working out

Note: This is an experiment with doing short form posts. Sometimes a point doesn’t need arguments to support it. This is one of those instances. I absolutely believe that you should strive to never do more than one thing at a time to become more focused and more productive. If I just HAVE to do something, like writing this, then I pause whatever else I was doing at the time and get back to it once I’m finished.

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3 Effective Types of Blog Posts

For a while now, I have been thinking about structuring my blog posts from a new set of predefined rules. The following three types of blog posts will in my opinion work great with my blog,  and – hopefully – with yours too.

  • The Seth Godin Post. Seth is the master of short form blogging, or micro-blogging. Many of his posts are only a couple of paragraphs long, and that can be a great thing when utilized correctly. He cuts out all of the bullshit and delivers only what he deems absolutely necessary. This is a great way of being more effective – in blogging, and in life in general. Find Seth Godin’s blog Seth’s Blog here.
  • The Leo Babauta Post. Leo Babauta is the master of bullet points, of lists, and of breaking up longer posts into more digestible bits. Many blog followers will only read text that is in bold or text that is broken up into small peaces. Leo knows this, and he has successfully built one of the largest worldwide followings based on this knowledge. Find Leo Babauta’s blog Zen Habits here.
  • The Minimalists Post. Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus mainly write what they consider to be somewhat long form essays. This approach works well for them because they are really good writers, and because they have a lot of personal things (to their own lives) to say. Out of the three types of blog posts, I think this type is the one that is the most useful to the reader because it’s not as much about the information as about the people, but I also think that it is very difficult to master. Find Joshua and Ryan’s blog The Minimalists here.

All three of these highly successful bloggers get along just fine by structuring their posts the same way over and over again. They understand that simplicity is key – even if their approaches are quite different from one another. I don’t think any of these styles are superior to the others. Just as there are many ways to reach spiritual enlightenment, there are many way to become a great blogger.

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Join me for Dan Ariely’s Online Course ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior’

Dan Ariely, author of three bestselling books I’ve all enjoyed reading (Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, and The Honest Truth about Dishonesty) is teaching an online class (for free) over at Coursera.org. I am going to take this class myself, and I therefore want to recommend it here on the blog.

The Coursera Team are also great fans of Dan’s work, as you can see in this blog post of theirs – it’s an introduction to Dan and to behavioral economics for anyone not yet familiar with him and this field of study.

I am specifically taking Dan’s class because it is particularly useful for marketers, but I can promise you that taking it will be interesting and a great experience for anyone already interested in knowing more about everyday human behavior.

There is an expected workload of about 10-12 hours a week, though, so it isn’t exactly just a picnic. The class opened for signup this Monday and week 1 will begin on the 11th of March 2014. (Sorry for putting out the wrong info before).

Sign up for the class here, or read more about Dan and his research by following the links below. I hope you’ll find Dan’s work as eye-opening as I do.

Learn more about Dan:

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