For those of you who aren’t laughing – are you dense? Don’t you know humor when you see it? Regular readers of this blog know that I believe the phrase “I didn’t have enough time” is the most ridiculous in the English language.
In reality, I simply haven’t prioritized my writing. Which is frustrating for me because I’ve convinced myself that I’m passionate about writing and that it is a priority of mine. However, as the hard streets of my childhood taught me – talk is cheap. Your priorities aren’t what you say – your priorities are what you do.
So it’s time for Markie to get his shit together and truly decide if writing is a priority or not. Hopefully you’ll see more articles come flying out of the old noggin in the next few weeks here.
I’ve got to get one more thing off my chest. I don’t necessarily love writing about my lifestyle design experiments. That said, I do love carrying out the experiments. These experiments have totally changed my life. I just struggle with putting those changes into words. It’s difficult to detail intrinsic experiences on paper (or on a laptop for that matter – and this thing’s got like 4 gigs of RAM) . I don’t think my readers would get much out of content like: “keeping a gratitude journal has been great – I really feel like a more gracious person because of it”. What the shit does that mean? There’s no substance, no data, no support. Simply some jackass writing what he thinks he feels. You read that right.
So I’m in this dilemma where I’m adamant about continuing with self-experimentation, but I’m unsure of how I want to share the purpose and results of the experiments with y’all. At this point in time, I’m going to plug along as I’ve been. I’ll keep it short and sweet with a brief results summary and recommendation. I’ll think critically about how I’m going to share future experiments in the coming days.
Now that we’re caught up, let’s jump into how LSD Experiment #3 went.
Expectation (E) vs. Reality (R)
By keeping a daily gratitude journal, I was hoping to accomplish five things. What’s that – you don’t remember what they were? Me neither. The internet does though. You guys know about the internet right?
E1: I become more pleasant (or at least tolerable) to be around
R1: See R4 & R5
TREND: SEE 4 & 5
E2: I become less critical of myself and others
R2: As I mentioned when I introduced this experiment, I didn’t really have a plan for how to measure this area. Based on the fact that I’ve been sleeping well, focusing well at work, having the motivation to exercise/be active, and being more engaging in my interactions with others, it sure seems like my expectation was reasonable.
However, it has been very apparent to me that I’ve become more impatient with a select group of coworkers. So there’s that.
E3: I buy less shit (shit = non-necessity)
R3: Since starting this experiment, I have bought exactly one item that I qualify as “shit”. It was a ten dollar pair of gym shorts.
And I only bought them because I was traveling and forgot my pair at home. Plus, look how fucking cool they are.
I did experience an uptick in spending in a lot of other areas: I went on a concert ticket buying binge, I went out for food and drinks more than I typically do, I renewed my Headspace meditation subscription, my heroin habit reared its ugly head, and then there was the usual rent/groceries/utilities/phone expenses. So, nearly all of my expenses have been on experiences or consumables, which do not meet my definition of shit, so I’m pretty satisfied here.
E4: I make new friends
R4: I seriously made a couple new friends in the past month!
Aside – making friends when you move to a new city, but don’t work in that city (thus, losing out on the default co-worker friends) is challenging. At least it was for me. Someone with basic social skills shouldn’t have a problem.
E5: Existing relationships become more profound
R5: Remember my goofy plan for measuring this area? The one where I label my interactions with three people and then get there feedback at the end? Remember you all thought it was stupid. Well, jokes on you – you were only mostly right.
Two of the individuals that I included in this experiment didn’t feel strongly about whether our relationship improved over the last month. For transparency, I had one relationship as neutral and one as regressing.
The third individual provided some really flattering feedback that included phrases like: “really really great”, “very healthy”, “encouraging”, and “various” (which one doesn’t fit with the group?). This was in-line with my feeling that our relationship was definitely improving.
Unrelated to the three individuals mentioned above, I connected with a friend who I hadn’t been in touch with for a few months.
Honestly, even if all of the above trends were negative, I would still continue keeping a gratitude journal. That whole unsupported intrinsic value bit that I mentioned in the beginning: “keeping a gratitude journal has been great – I really feel like a more gracious person because of it”. Yeah, that’s spot on.
It’s really convenient that the trends in all of the areas of either neutral or positive, and I’d love to say it’s absolutely due to the gratitude journal, but that’s probably not accurate. I also don’t think its accurate to say that the gratitude journal has had no effect on these trends.
I’ve come across two brief passages that have resonated quite well with me as I’ve progressed through this experiment.
The first is from a writer/artist named Steph Halligan:
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] I’m getting better at showing up. I’m getting better at shining brightly without holding back. And amazing things are happening when I show up as 100% me. So if showing up as 100% me helps me attract wonderful, like-minded people into my life and inspire others, then I’m going to keep showing up. And I’m going to keep shining this light to let others know I’m here. Be the beacon. Watch what comes your way when you shine your light. [/pullquote]
I’m a firm believer that we humans are naturally joyful and are drawn to share that joy with others. And through my month-long practice, I’ve come to fully support the notion that keeping a gratitude journal had helped me to both identify my own joy and spread it outwardly.
The second excerpt is from an article by Charlie Ambler – a writer who specializes in mindfulness:
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Making gratitude lists can bring us back to a place of natural reflection, where we focus on what’s good rather than what’s bad.[/pullquote]
A little more direct and a little less romantic than Steph’s, but I’ve been digging this quote since I read it three minutes ago*. With those twenty-two words, Charlie illustrated – much more elegantly than I possibly could – precisely how I feel about keeping a gratitude journal. I’m not going to ruin his bit by blabbing on about, so I’ll just leave you with this:
Keeping a gratitude journal has proven to be a great habit for me. I bet you would agree if you started your own.
*I actually came across this a few days back 😀
For those who are interested, here are current stats of my continuation of LSD Experiment #2:
“Actual Calories” don’t include calories from alcohol. I don’t consume alcohol because I’m hungry, so I consider the consumption unrelated to the effects of coconut oil. Make sense? Of course it does.