No End in Sight

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“On a long enough time line, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.”
― Chuck Palahniuk

Youth is a time when we think that everything will last forever. We are ignorant of the realities of live. No end in sight.  Won’t don’t seem to grasp the idea that all that we are and all that we know will one day or another vanished. We often think about a future that might not happen after all. We are mesmerize by these thoughts. In reality, we have no proof that we will still be here in 1 year, 5 years or 40 years. The shortness of life is reality. Like the stoic philosopher Lucius Seneca said: Now I bear it in mind not only that all things are liable to death but that liability is governed by no set of rules. Whatever can happen at anytime can happen today. It’s the great unknown.

In Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club, the author state that we will all die, that the survival rate of anyone is nil. Worst than that, we keep ignoring the idea that we will die someday. It’s the main reason we are living and accepting a lesser life. It’s the main reason we make the meaningless become meaningful. The big car, the swedish furniture and all that crap. It all come back to the “Memento Mori” idea. It means “Remember that you will die” in Latin. What does it mean? You’re 1 minute older than you were when you started reading No End in Sight. Your 1 minute closer to the end of your life. When you think about it,  it’s a breaking point to start to something meaningful. Time is a scarce value. Use it well.

Not only people forget about the shortness of life, but they challenge death. They seem to be afraid of nothing. Death isn’t something they understand. It’s something far away. In Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, we learn about Chris McCandless, a young man who want to be free society. He makes a Jack London of himself and goes alone in the Alaskan’s nature. He will meet is faith and will never comeback. At some point in the book, Krakauer talk about how young folks think they are eternal. They don’t see consequences to their actions. That’s why they drive fast, do extreme sports, try drugs, go in dangerous countries or try to survive nature. We are like everybody else, we are subject to the law of average. About that Lucius Seneca said:Misfortune has a way of choosing some unprecedented means or other of impressing its power on those who might be said to have forgotten it.Challenge death and it will find you.

The more we age, the more we start to understand that everything will end. One day you have all life in front of you, the other it’s all behind you. This is a cycle. We cannot avoid it. We keep seeing calls to live for the moment. We keep talking about the shortness of life. But the more we talk about it, the more we seem to forget it. It become more an idea than something to act about. Who do you know that really live like he’s going to die tomorrow? Like in the movie In Time, your time is going down. Rien n’est éternel.

Listening to: Wisdom in Chains – When We Were Young

The Perfect Story

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I’m always surprised when people are like, ‘I want to be just like Don Draper’. You want to be a miserable drunk? The outside looks great, the inside is rotten. – Jon Hamm

Everything always seem better elsewhere. The sun is always brighter far away. This is a common feeling that we have. We tend to look at others and compare ourselves. Others are always more lucky. Take a closer look and you’ll start seeing the misrepresentation of your thinking. 

Your friend Eric is a party animal. He’s always down to go out and drink. He’s the first to order more drinks and shooters. He seem to have so much fun. He’s the definition of cool. He get along well with all the people. Monday, Wednesday or Saturday? It doesn’t matter for him. Every day is the weekend. In reality, he’s an alcoholic. He’s constantly wearing a mask. He’s drinking to forget all his problems. He doesn’t want to look at the reality. He’s 32 years old in a dead-end job because he didn’t finish school and he doesn’t know where he’s going with is life.

Your girlfriend’s sister Anne is the definition of the perfect girl. She’s a hot blond, with a perfect ass and big round boobs. She’s hot, sexy and all your friends want her. The truth? She’s obsess about her look. She’s spending 12 hours a week in her local gym to keep her perfect ass. She keep a close and perfectionist look at her nutrition. Her boobs are fake. She’s thinking of getting them even bigger because she has a limiting belief that they are too small. She’s not comfortable with herself. All of this started because she think she’s ugly and too fat. Men’s attention is her fuel. Without it, she would fall into depression.

Your neighbor Sam is rich. He has a Porsche 911 Carrera 4S of the year and a crazy huge house. He’s always in expensive restaurants. He is making you jealous with his 20 000$ swimming pool. The reality? He’s dead broke. If he lose his job, he’s in total bankrupt. Is fortune is the result of loaded credit cards, bank loans and a mortgage that his choking him. By the way, the Porsche is paid weekly. He can’t sleep at night because of his money worries. Stress is eating him from inside. All you see about him is a mist. You don’t see the real situation behind your neighbor’s facade.

Your friend Dave is always bragging about how many girls he’s f*cking. He’s constantly saying that he’s the real deal, that every women want him. You see him living the great bachelor life. The reality? He fell that he was a looser in high school. He’s trying to get back at what he missed 10 years ago. He’s trying to prove himself that he can get all the girls he want. He want to show “them” how he became something else. He’s lonely, he would like to have a girlfriend, but he’s afraid of commitment.

You think these stories are exaggerations? Maybe they are, maybe not. Never forget that the grass is always greener on the other side. The perfect stories are most of the time not what you think they are. You would trade your life? You would be surprise in what you would get your shoes into. No humans are perfect. We all have our problems, even the last people you would think of. Perfect stories don’t exist.

The Lost Art of Journaling

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“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”  – Oscar Wilde

When we talk about journal writing, most of the time we think about an outdated habit. Something that your grandmother or your grandfather did. You might also think that it’s something done under special circumstances like a soldier during the World War II or your friend that went travelling South America for a year. Study the life of great people and you will notice a common trait among them. They were journal writers. To name a few: Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Charles Darwin, Joseph Campbell, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Churchill. And I could go on. I guess that if these men thought it was a good idea to do it, then it’s a great reason to do it. I guess that your main concern is how a journal can be useful. I’ll answer to that question. You will see that it can be more useful than you think.

Why you should keep a journal.

*For struggles & bad times. One of the best asset in my opinion is that you can always rewind in your journal. It’s like time travel. You can see exactly what happened two years ago or three years ago. It become really useful when you want to see how you behave during bad times or during struggles. What was good then, might be a good plan for today. By writing a journal, you might be helping yourself for the future. Furthermore,  writing a diary is probably one of the best stress and anxiety reliever. By writing your thoughts, you’ll be emptying your head. It’s like taking weight from your shoulders every time you do it. It help letting go worries.

*For decisions. Do you have difficulty taking decisions? A journal can clearly help you it that area. It can assist you during dilemmas by mapping your thoughts. You can write down all the reasons that lead you to your decision. You can compare the positive and negative aspects of all decisions you have to make. In case of doubt, you can always go back and see what were your motivations behind your decision. By writing a journal, you will observe that your settlements will be much more thought than before. You’ll be doubtless with the direction you’re heading. 

*To express gratitude. It’s easy to lose sight of the good things in our lives. Negativity is easily seen at every corners. It’s not because you don’t have a million dollar in the bank or a big house that nothing is good in your life. If you take the time to think, you’ll find many things that you are thankful for. Maybe you have a job you like, a great girlfriend, you’ve beaten a personal record in the gym, you had a great weekend or you just had a great meal for dinner. It can be anything. It help see that the negative stuff is not as bad as it seems. It give a sense of well-being and more positive outlook at life.

*For your memory. It can help you boost your memory. You will be better at remembering details of your life. Seriously, wouldn’t you want to remember what you did exactly today 5 years ago? It’s crazy that we let great moments of our lives go to oblivion. By writing about your life, you’re crystallising your memories forever  It will not only help you remember the good, but also the bad. During your existence you will encounter victory and defeat. A diary is the perfect way to remember what you did during those times. Repeat the good, avoid the bad. You can learn a lot from yourself. Also, a journal is great place to keep notes of things you want to remember. On my part, I like to keep summaries and notes of the books I’ve read. I’ve got that inspiration from the book Accidental Genius by Mark Levy. You have creative ideas? It’s the perfect place to keep them for later.

*A sense of personal growth. Keeping a diary is the perfect tool for goal tracking. You can log about how you’re on the good way or on the wrong way to achieve them. You give a sense of continuity to you commitment. By writing about those commitments, you think about them. The more you think about your goals, the more likely you’ll get things done. You can finish your writing session by saying what will be your next real world action. Another great use is for challenges. It was a great assist during my month without Facebook

Starting your journal.

*The medium of choice. The first decision you’ll have to take is about your medium of choice. You can use the old school  analog method with a pen and paper. For that, you will a lot of choice with Moleskin. I would say that the best advantage of that method is that it’s more traditional. You’re more likely to remember what you write. The downside is that it is more difficult to do research and to classify your entries. Personally, I use to the digital method. I write my journal entries in Evernote. It’s a no brainer because all my notes are classified with it. The choice is plain and simply up to your preferences.

*What you should write about? I would say that the most simple thing to do is to write about your day. How it went and what happened. Most of the time those will be your journal entries. Whenever you want, you can write about a bunch of other stuff like a quote, a movie you just watch, a song your listening to, memories from the past, a goal you want to achieve, something happening in the world…well you see the idea. Just f*cking start and ideas will come. If you want, you can write different journals for different things. The best example would be a travel journal.

*When to write? The best thing to do is to write everyday or almost. Personally, I write from sunday to thursday. Usually, I do it at the end of the evening just before reading or watching a film. I write for 15 minutes. If I want to write more, I do more. Sometimes, my entries are shorter. It’s totally random. Just go like you feel. On Friday, I write a retrospective of my week in different areas of my life (job/business, personal finance, health, learning, creativity and social life). I take that time to look at what I want to accomplish for the next week. I do something similar to that at the end of each years. 

This will help during your struggles, with your decisions, with your personal growth, with your memories and it will give you a more positive outlook about life. Now that you know the reasons why should do it, it’s a no brainer, you should start. What are you waiting for? Let start that damn journal. If you already have the habit of writing in your journal, thumbs up to you. Keep the good work!

Listening to: God is an Astronaut – Parallel Highway