The ultimate tool for corporations to sustain a culture of this sort is to develop the 40-hour workweek as the normal lifestyle. Under these working conditions people have to build a life in the evenings and on weekends. This arrangement makes us naturally more inclined to spend heavily on entertainment and conveniences because our free time is so scarce.
I’ve only been back at work for a few days, but already I’m noticing that the more wholesome activities are quickly dropping out of my life: walking, exercising, reading, meditating, and extra writing.
Another weekend has past. This time I attended my 5th Rails Girls Switzerland event. Once again as part coach and part photographer. Had quite a blast and was able to catch up with some friends I haven't seen in a long time. All the pictures are available on a shared Google Photos album. It's the first time I used Google Photos and have to say it's quite cool. At the next event we should create a shared album from the get go and tell the attendees to join and share their own pictures as well.
I’ve finished reading The Elon Musk Blog Series by Wait But Why yesterday evening. All in all a really good blog post series but the last chapter was my personal highlight. It’s a depiction about how Elon Musk is able to do what he does. If you think about your body as hardware then your consciousness, your thoughts, your feelings are your software. And it’s what the last chapter is all about. I don’t have the time to go into much detail, but you can read the whole chapter here.
For me personally, it’s like I’ve found the next puzzle piece for conquering my fears:
Humans are programmed to take fear very seriously, and evolution didn’t find it efficient to have us assess and re-assess every fear inside of us. It went instead with the “better safe than sorry” philosophy—i.e. if there’s a chance that a certain fear might be based on real danger, file it away as a real fear, just in case, and even if you confirm later that a fear of yours has no basis, keep it with you, just in case. Better safe than sorry.
I’ve already been through epiphany #1 (I don’t know shit) and epiphany #2 (No one else knows shit either) but got stuck on epiphany #3 (You’re playing Grand Theft Life). It’s mostly my fears that hold me back and keep me from making progress. Everything else is ready to go. Damn, I can program almost anything but can’t sell it. Because somewhere deep down I’m afraid of what other people might think about me. Objectively does it matter? No. Most people will stop thinking about me the moment I leave their plain of sight or hang up the phone. Because unless I’m the source of their worries they don’t have the time to think about me. And I don’t intend to worry people, I intend to help them. But as described in the quote above, humans are programmed to take fear seriously, even if those fears are not rational. So, how can I solve this? Let’s use another quote to answer that question and close this thought:
The challenge with this last epiphany is to somehow figure out a way to lose respect for your own fear. That respect is in our wiring, and the only way to weaken it is by defying it and seeing, when nothing bad ends up happening, that most of the fear you’ve been feeling has just been a smoke and mirrors act. Doing something out of your comfort zone and having it turn out okay is an incredibly powerful experience, one that changes you—and each time you have that kind of experience, it chips away at your respect for your brain’s ingrained, irrational fears.
Don't worry. I haven't forgotten about this place. I started writing morning pages since about one month ago and stuck with them more or less. Most of them are written on paper and lately I've started to write them on my Laptop. I haven't reached a point were I'm comfortable publishing them but that'll be the next step. Until that happens. Here is a great article for you to read:
Stumbled upon a great thought today:
The inherent problem in any book that's a how-to for something artistic, whether it be writing or painting or making music or the artistry in tailoring a custom Voltron costume, the problem with the how-to book is that when you're reading the how-to book you're not doing the actual thing you're being taught to do. In other words, a book ABOUT writing is probably less helpful to a writer than a book that's just plain good. A how-to book about painting is probably of less use than a book of paintings you enjoy.
I've looked into storing locations with Ruby today. Haven't found what one could call best practices, but discovered a lot of interesting gems.
The initial idea was to save the address, zip code and country code. This way we could find out about the location and region with a reverse lookup. Preferably without hitting an external service.
Here we go:
Not sure what it includes, but certainly not data from Switzerland
This one looked promising, unfortunately US only as well
US only –.–
Getting closer. Ruby gem for a pretty cool service called GeoNames that let's you lookup all kind of location related data.
This one almost did it for me. Unfortunately the Swiss regions are a mix of french and german. Could do a PR but I feel like this needs to be correct from the start.
Another interesting one. But also weird localizations for Swiss regions...
Not what I intended in the beginning. But the best I've found so far.
And last but not least geocoder. Also hits external services for looking up information.
The ones that do not hit external services unfortunately had wrong localizations. I could create a PR for fixing the ones from Switzerland. The problem is I also need location data from other countries and I don't know if the provided information is correct or not. That's why I'm going with geokit/geokit or alexreisner/geocoder. Both seem well maintained and popular.
It’s interesting for me how I can get caught up in certain moments in life and totally miss anything else. I don’t mean this in a positive way. I can recall two specific periods during the last 4 years where I was so deep submerged with solving a problem that, in retrospective, I wouldn’t say I enjoyed living. I stopped reading, I was absent at social interactions, I was anxious. All because I wanted to fix those problems and get them out of the way as soon as possible. I don’t talk about a week or two, I talk about being in this state for three months. And saying I want to fix something as soon as possible and spending three months on it doesn’t seem like a good idea when ignoring your health and all the other things that you normally would enjoy. Also I don’t think only spending time on that one problem wasn’t that effective. I remember sometimes sitting in front of the computer and thinking about how I could solve a certain problem without making any real progress. That whole pressure I put upon myself stunted me. It would have been more wise to define a certain time during the day to work on it. But of course, we are always wiser afterwards. Or are we? The reason why I write this down is because after reading the chapter “Alive time or dead time?” by Ryan Holiday’s new book Ego is the Enemy is that I realized those months I spent on solving those problems were mostly dead time. Life is too short to spent it ruthlessly. So this note should help me remind me of that.
A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts, so he loses touch with reality and lives in a world of illusions.
— Alan Watts
An interesting quote to keep in mind while designing Shimatta. Shimatta's goal is to capture thoughts based on your daily experiences and learnings. It shouldn't actively force you to think about stuff that you could write down just for the sake of doing so. But what if a thought occurs but you're not in the habit of writing them down or you forget doing so?
A solution for this could be to let the user setup individual reminders. Reminders that will be sent at a moment the user thinks is the best time to reflect on his thoughts. Be it in the evening or the next morning those thoughts occurred.
Also just reminding a user "what was on your mind today?" might be to generic. Everyone is different, everyone does different things during the day. I for example stumble across interesting articles or programming libraries during the day which I might want to keep in mind. So my reminder should ask me:
"Have you found any interesting links today? What's interesting about them and how will you be able to implement them in the future?"
Of course, those are just thoughts about improving how to write down thoughts. And as the initial quote said, just thinking without doing detaches you from reality. I don't know if the described solution above is useful unless I built it and tried it out.
I’m not saying we should only build products that are “exciting.” A lot of products are boring and unsexy. That’s OK. The key is to solve problems for a group of people you’re passionate about. If you can make money doing that, without undermining your values, you’re winning.