What else can I do?

Boredom is painful.

I’m sure everyone has experienced that before; you forgot to bring your phone out with you or misplaced your headphones and you’re forced to sit in the train quietly, staring into the buzzing people around…

That is one of the reasons why we tend to gravitate towards our phones when we are bored, forever scrolling through feeds.

Anyway, is it only me but do you get the sickly feeling after scrolling through social media just to procrastinate? It feels like the aftertaste of spoilt milk? That mind-numbing activity of filling up the time because we are bored does not bring us any benefit at all let alone improve our social lives. Therefore, I have a hypothesis. We gravitate towards our phones/social media because we are bored and we do so to alleviate the pain that comes with boredom. Scrolling through social media provides us with that small dopamine bursts that make us feel better albeit just a short period of time. However, over time, those dopamine bursts no longer work and we become numb to the effects of social media and so we scroll for far longer just to get that same amount of pleasure and with it the more loss of time.

Because we are bored, many things change in our brain chemistry and going into social media is not making it any better. So the question is, how do we alleviate the boredom without numbing our brains to the pleasure chemical? That is a very good question.

Whatever that comes next comes from a point of self-reflection and evaluation.

I experience that sickly feeling after using social media even now. It becomes a reflex whenever I am bored to click on Instagram and look at what others are doing. However, one day, I realised that social media does not bring me joy anymore and wanting to know about the lives of others does not bring me the same benefit as before. I started to feel disgusted for scrolling through it and falling for the ‘twitch’. So, I listened to some advice on how to stop the ‘twitch’. I changed my screen to grayscale. It worked. I was not interested at all to look at my phone because the colour just puts me off. I started to use my phone less and the already depleted pleasure of using social media falls deeper. Photographs in black and white are not really captivating unless intended for such a purpose. Anyway, there come to a point where I was so put off by the colour scheme that it becomes painful. Why? I guess it was because my brain is trying to put colour into the photographs that it is working twice as hard to analyse what I was looking at. It gets exhausting to look at grayscale after a while so I decided to change it back partly due to that and partly due to the nature of my social life.

Anyway, I took to reading. Reading has always been one of my favourite past time. A good book and some coffee (woah… I really want a gooood cup of coffee right now) always alleviates stress for me. Once I set a goal to read 4 books in a month, which I kind of achieved really made my days more intentional. I didn’t suffer from the ‘twitch’ and my days felt more productive. So, that’s good recommendation I feel.

Also, waking up at 5am every single day is super effective in terms of productivity. I realised that once you get the ball rolling early in the day, you tend to be more productive throughout the day, ticking off checklists hour by hour. It was amazing. (I think I’m going to write a separate post on that).

Regardless, everyone has their own way of filling up their time from reading to sleeping. However, scrolling through social media or the like is something that I would strongly recommend against. It does not bring you benefit nor does it fulfils you.

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Not an Aesthetic

I’m sure everyone now knows about the slowly growing lifestyle movement that is Minimalism. With the increasing awareness of the lifestyle with bloggers and Youtubers that preach it, normal people are trying to find their way in applying such a lifestyle into their everyday life. However, the video argued that the lifestyle movement that is supposed to reduce waste and save the Earth is starting to become something less of that and more of a status symbol.

There are definitely some people who are true minimalist who lives their lives following the minimalism mindset because it helps them to focus and not to be caught up in the consumerist culture, however, there are also some people who adopt the minimalism lifestyle so that they can find an excuse to purchase expensive things for ‘quality’. Not only that, by doing so, they flaunt their purchases online and depict this lifestyle as something that is exclusive and aesthetically pleasing.

Definitely, Minimalism in itself has an aesthetic that appeals to certain groups of people and by following such a lifestyle, one can achieve it. However, when one forgets the purpose of such a lifestyle, it can go against the original philosophy of the lifestyle.

I am not hating on whoever that subscribes to the Minimalist lifestyle or any lifestyle for that matter. However, I am definitely against the hypocrisy that runs rampant in it. Whatever we do, we need to be aware of the purpose and our intentions behind it because if we are not careful, we might be caught red-handed doing the opposite of what we say we are doing.

A carefully curated life

Social media shaped the way we view the world just like how the traditional media did to the generation before us.

As a result of social media, we’re starting to see the world as a neatly cared for feed. We are viewing the highlights of everyone’s life.

The question is whether we are able to separate our unconscious mind from the subtle influences of social media and make our own choices.

I don’t think that is possible.

The Reality of Today

This video clearly explains the situation that we are in today. We are not in it for the experience but instead the portrayal of it.

We are currently living in a world where social media rules the world, literally. Look at politics where politicians bend to the will of the people when a movement goes viral. Look at Entertainment where the more fascinating and outrageous news is promoted by its virality is displayed everywhere. Even how we carry ourselves is predetermined by the social media following that we have.

The current generation tries to differentiate itself from the previous ones by not harping on materialism. That is why movements like Marie Kondo and minimalism is gaining traction. The idea of ‘I would rather pay for the experience than material goods’ is popular amongst millennials. However, with the rampant use of social media in our daily lives, we’re starting to see a shift in this paradigm. It has become less of ‘the experience’ but more of the ‘commodification’ of it. 

Therefore, we seek the awe of others whenever they scroll through our feed. We seek to be better than them in terms of the experiences that we have and the lives that we portray. Instagram and Facebook have become less of a platform to ‘share our experiences’ and more of a platform to ‘build our experiences’.

I strongly recommend everyone to watch the video because I feel that it sends a clear message as to our predicament this generation.

Who am I anymore?

I tend to run away from my own mistakes and the most important lesson that I have to start learning is to own my own mistakes.

I seem to have a tendency to run away from anything that troubles me and block them off of my radar but I think doing so is actually damaging to myself and the relationships that I have with other people.

By not owning my mistakes, I become an irresponsible person, not learning and also making the same mistakes over and over again. Over time, it will become a toxic trail that I’ll leave behind.

Therefore, I feel that I need to actually learn to accept the mistakes that I have committed and not hide them or cover them up with half-assed excuses. Be firm about it and admit it.

Sigh.

I’m sorry. I’m just sorry. I don’t know what to do. Who am I anymore?

What makes you happy?

What is your definition of success?

I didn’t realise until now that I do not really have a concrete definition of success. My life has always been revolving around hustling harder and finding a way to escape the 9-5. After listening to ‘The Ground Up Show’ by Matt D’aveila, I realised that I have yet to set a concrete idea on what is my definition of success.

The story of how Steve Wozniak rejected the chance and possibility of becoming one of the richest men really struck me. The podcast tells the story of how Steve was comfortable to become a normal working member of the company and not to be on the executive committee because he realised that that did not fulfil him. His definition of success is to build things and to have fun while doing it and when he was offered a high position, he simply rejected it because it does not fulfil any one of his definitions of success.

Therefore, the question now is, what is my definition of success?

I have always been excited about starting a family and wanting to call the shots as to when I can be home. I also never liked the idea of 9-5 where I am out there slaving for someone else’s dream. I always wanted to work for myself and be proud of my own work. I always wanted to be a creator, a person that brings actual benefit to those around him through the work that he does. I don’t want to live a mundane life. I don’t want finances to be an issue.

Maybe my definitions of success are/what makes me happy:

  1. Create art and design through my skills in the industry. (Be a Creative)
  2. Call the shots as to when and how I go about my day. (Be in control)
  3. Have fun while doing it.

I think those are my guiding light now and I think that as long as whatever I do meet them, I will go ahead with it.

Execution

It is already Week 5 and the semester is already coming to its midpoint.

Sometimes it feels as if a single day is no longer enough to do a single task. It might be due to procrastination and the many other minor tasks that pull me away from what is important.

But then again, what is important?

Prioritising our activities is very important. To know what should be done first followed by what is next will help us to put a sense of structure into our already chaotic lives.

So what do I need to do?

I need to cover a few lectures today along with slides for my presentation this Thursday. I have somewhat an idea of what to do and what’s left is the execution.