reality is weirder than you think

Tag: motivation (page 2 of 3)

Top five posts of 2017

It’s the end of the year, when it’s instinctive (or is merely traditional?) to look back and tally how we’ve been doing.

Even though this blog has only been in existence for about six months, I’ve always been curious about what the top posts are. A handful of title always pop up in my “Site Stats” area.

Let’s see if we can learn any lessons.

1. N=many is go!

While I very much regret to say that I didn’t finish the initial 90-day carnivore cohort over at N Equals Many, I was really excited to help out at first. I’m still definitely a carnivore, but I stopped tracking around 30 days in at the end of September. This is mostly because the “roller coaster” portion of my year kicked in and I prioritized keeping my sanity amidst getting a new job and moving, instead of trying to track everything. If you’re interested in carnivory, join us during World Carnivore Month in January 2018.

Anyway, I linked to NEqualsMany from that post, and I get traffic from the pingback.


2. A metric: the Creative Achievement Questionnaire 

This one surprises me, as it was born on a day that I had no idea what to write. I was looking around for a “quiz” or fillable question set to use as a template, and since Jordan B Peterson was on my mind, I found this questionnaire. It’s an interesting metric to check creative achievement against. I appreciate how it encompasses all different types of creativity, including scientific and architectural achievement. I question if someone can be truly well-rounded in this modern era of fine-tuned achievements, but it’s still a fun way to measure. Since posting this, I haven’t moved earned any new points, but I’m building a plan to do so in the next six months.

There’s no pingback on the post that I linked to, so people must find it from search.


3. Photo of the week: I hate dating edition

Ah, when I was new in town and spending a lot of time on Tinder and had just launched a series called “photo of the week.” Dating still sucks, and I try to avoid being in those positions.

I linked to this one on Twitter and tagged the person who took the photos, so it makes sense that this post gets traffic.


4. A very personal review of The Promethean by Owen Stanley

My very first fiction review! It’s not a great review, objectively, because my book reviews are very green at this point in my writing career. My thoughts are numerous, but I am not yet disciplined at corralling them into strings of paragraphs that make sense. I always want to tell the truth, but sometimes it’s difficult to write the truth of what I think about something with the thought in mind that the author could read it. The double-edge sword of the internet, I suppose.

I suspect that this post gets hits because I doubt there are very many reviews of it out there, especially outside of Amazon.


5. People who naturally write in passive voice

This is an old post. “Old.” Back at the beginning of this blog, I challenged myself to come up with a longer piece each week, like a weekly column. This was the first establishment (of two), and it gave me an excuse to delve into a people and writing problem that had been bothering me.

No idea where there traffic on this one comes from, which is kinda cool. Looks like I should write more of these long, introspective (extrospective?) posts.


In conclusion, there’s not much similarity between the five posts. The breadth represents most of the topics that I write about, except for fashion and k-pop.

It’s fascinating to me that only two of the posts had easily-identifiable pingback links. Perhaps I can extrapolate new blog ideas to explore from the organic traffic-attracting posts–like doing more looking into “creative achievement.”

It’s also obviously worth writing about my life as a carnivore, and writing book reviews.

But I’m still going to write what I want. That’s how I made it this far, and how I’ll make it another six months.

Image of the Week: “you can do it” edition

Originally, I was going to post that photo of Nikki Haley in the UN. It sufficiently summed up the week in politics. But it doesn’t jive with my personal experience for the week, so I’m not posting it.

This week has been long.

I’m growing tired of so much change in my life, and yet this week just piled on more: new boundaries to my conception of time thanks to the writing of Elliott Jaques, more layers to my understanding of the globalist cabal, the death by suicide of Kim Jong-Hyun of SM Entertainment (also YouTube’s algorithm keeps recommending me SHINee videos and it’s killing me) and changes at my workplace that will render me effectively isolated. I haven’t slept well. I’m tired.

But there’s good news. Reading between the lines of WordPress’ inflated pageview stats, a few real people have checked out Batfort this week. (Hi, people!)

Though I’m tired, I’m motivated.

So with that in mind, this is a photo of Jeff Bezos’ office when he was just starting out, in 1999.

I’m no Jeff Bezos, but we all have to start somewhere.

Productivity Reminder

Warning: blogception ahead.

I’m blogging about a blog post. If we do that too many times, it’ll cause a recursive rift in the internet (although that may not be a problem anymore with whatever is happening to Net Neutrality) that may cause the catastrophic end of all time. Or something.

Anyway, I wanted to document Ramit Sethi’s “Productivity Advice for the Weird.” It’s a good reminder of the real priorities in life, although 1. I don’t really know anything about that because I haven’t accomplished much in life yet, and 2. I disagree with some of his philosophy. I suspect that habits provide a nest for inspiration and productivity to occur, whether they build up in small chunks over time or if they grow with leaps and bounds in one long binge.

If creative productivity mirrors physical healing at all, it’s both at once. You have to have the tiny habitual victories every day, which eventually reach a critical mass for something transformative to happen.

I am terrible at getting enough sleep, so anything that will help me convince myself to get more sleep is a good thing.

The small habits of productivity that nobody wants to tell you except Ramit Sethi:

  • Get enough sleep
  • “Clean your room” (live in a functional space)
  • Stick to a meal plan (make fewer decisions)
  • Set healthy boundaries
  • Optimize your calendar (always know what you’re going to work on before you wake up in the morning)

There’s more, but those are the most basic ones that set the stage for everything else. It’s kind of like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but for productivity.

It probably also helps to have some sort of plan of what you’re working on, or at least a general direction of some sort. The best system will never work if it doesn’t have some content to work with.

What is it that our dads always told us? Plan your work and work your plan?

That seems to be another version of what this is. Definitely worth a read.


Six months with Batfort

Guys! Readers! All 2 of you! It’s been six months now.

Crazy, right?

You don’t know me, but if you’d been able to look over my shoulder at all the other blogs that I’ve abandoned all over the internet, you’d know that I usually make it about a month before I get bored with an idea and wander away.

For this blog, I decided on no rules. The only rule is “tell the truth.” Even the supposed question at the center of this blog (what is the relationship between aesthetics and truth?) doesn’t even get addressed in some of the posts.

We bounce around from k-pop to the alt-right to my daily life, books and publishing to fashion and my experiences in higher education. It’s not cohesive, not really.

But that’s okay.

It’s gotten us this far.

Some posts I’m actually kinda proud of. Others, not so much.

The goal for the next six month is to create more posts that I’m proud of than posts I’m not. Here’s how we’re going to get there:

  • More posts with infographics, because they’re fun
  • More posts where I talk about what I’m thinking about, even when it seems weird. Those posts seem to flow better.
  • Prioritize writing my posts earlier in the evening, so I’m not falling asleep while I’m writing
  • Write about products and books that I like
  • Try to incorporate more research and sources

Basically, I need to push myself in creating more original content. (Isn’t that the eternal state of the millennial?)

Today at my day job I edited a document that shouldn’t exist. Instead of getting published, it should have been set on fire and drop kicked into the void. Editing that thing was physically painful. If it were to become something that I personally was okay with, I would have to flay it down to the bones and start over.

Looking at that document reminded me that I often have things to say (OPINIONS, WHAT?) and that I have a gift of seeing what should or should not exist on a page or in an argument. Things just make sense once I understand them and their context.

I have the capability. I just need to shift my focus on to this blog and onto things that I want to exist and onto the truth.

That’s what’s important.

Arts and Habits

I’m liking this notion of developing “arts and habits:”

At school you are engaged not so much in acquiring knowledge as in making mental efforts under criticism.  A certain amount of knowledge you can indeed with average faculties acquire so as to retain; nor need you regret the hours you spent on much that is forgotten, for the shadow of lost knowledge at least protects you from many illusions.  But you go to a great school not so much for knowledge as for arts and habits; for the habit of attention, for the art of expression, for the art of assuming at a moment’s notice a new intellectual position, for the art of entering quickly into another person’s thoughts, for the habit of submitting to censure and refutation, for the art of indicating assent or dissent in graduated terms, for the habit of regarding minute points of accuracy, for the art of working out what is possible in a given time, for taste, for discrimination, for mental courage, and for mental soberness.

The art: how you do it.

The habit: what you do.

I feel like I’ve developed most of these during my worklife moreso than in school. Even though I was one of those stellar students that everyone liked, school (and by extension, my teachers( never pushed me hard enough to have to tackle the basic arts and habits that make up my day.

That said, it would be worth taking a look at my own daily practices to evaluate what arts are being developed, and what daily practices spring into being.

The art of getting faculty to do what you want.

The habit of tracking all expense reports.

The art of translating university bullshit.

The habit of examining the truth.


General inflammation vs. localized inflammation

Generalized inflammation is useless. Usually, pain provides enough useful information to be worth the trouble, but non-localized stress is exactly the opposite. It masks problems. Because it’s not specific, it doesn’t tell you anything useful about what is wrong or what might be causing the stress. It bogs down normal inflammation, and because it makes systems less efficient, causes much more work for the rest of the body.

Localized, acute inflammation — on the other hand — is a fantastic tool. It can lead you to what is wrong, and indicates that your body is working hard on that problem. Localized inflammation is your friend.

Life is kind of like that, too. Lots of low-level, incomprehensible stress is muy no bueno. You can never get a foothold in solving problems of that magnitude.

Specific issues, however, are much easier to identify, parse, and solve one step at a time. This approach is much more painful, and rarely fun, but it’s way more effective in the long run.

It all has to come to a head.

Meandering goals

Five years ago, I was on a high-powered biologic drug called Remicade. Remicade is extremely effective at blocking TNF-alpha, part of the signalling mechanism that causes inflammation. It’s also extremely, extremely expensive. The only way I could afford it (even with really good health insurance) was through a subsidization program run by the big pharma company that makes it. It was also magic for my chronic illness.

I had a dream that someday, maybe I could stop taking Remicade.

I thought that I was crazy for dreaming that dream. Seriously, it was difficult for me to fathom a way of living and managing my disease that would create a future where Remicade was unnecessary. Still, I had a goal.

It was a soft goal, not a SMART goal. I didn’t keep it in mind every single day, and it didn’t drive every decision that I made. Yet the idea of being free provided the fuel to move forward with exploring different options to take care of my health.

My specific goal wasn’t to get off Remicade, but I did want to explore the effect that diet had on my health.

My specific goal wasn’t to get off Remicade, but I did research and align myself with doctors who would be receptive to that kind of change in my treatment plan.

My specific goal wasn’t to get off Remicade, but I did pursue alternate theories to why my disease exists in the first place…

…which led me to discovering and treating Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth…

…which led to me getting off Remicade.

Rather than setting myself up against a specific objective with a deadline (which would have stressed me out, thereby triggering my illness and nullifying any attempt to be free of drugs #Catch22), I chose the path of obliquity.

This was completely inadvertent on my part, but it worked.

I have some goals now, new ones. Goals that seem absolutely, crazily unachievable. Goals that I’m not quite ready to speak in public.

Sometimes I wonder if they’ll ever happen.

Then I look back at my journey off Remicade, and realize that I’ve done it before. I can do it again. I just need to make the direction of the goal a priority, and pursue it doggedly.


“Procrastination is symptomatic of a half lived life”

Funny that AJA Cortes posted a thread about procrastination tonight, because I’ve been putting off this post for hours because I don’t know what to write about.

At this point, even though next to nobody reads this blog, I feel that I should have polished presentations to give to you every day. This very rarely happens, but usually I can dream up a post about something that seems thoughtful and deliberate.

That’s always been a problem for me: not knowing what to write, so procrastinating, and instead of using all that procrastinated time to conceive and develop a good topic, I just wing it at the end.

Most of the time it works out okay for me, but sometimes it doesn’t.

When it’s just me, that’s totally fine. Shouting into the internet void with a blog, that’s okay. Not ideal, but okay.

The problem comes when people have expectations of me, or depend upon my performance in any way. Then it becomes much harder to put things off until the last minute. Other people don’t think or react that way, for one.

Or if you’re dealing with a lot of people, it’s impossible for the group to react quickly enough to matter. You can’t just wing it in the end.

Funny how procrastination ends where other people start.


Creating the opportunity

I learned something today, that I think will stick with me for a great long while.

I thought I was negotiating for a new job. Trusted associates were giving me advice, tips on what to ask for and how to ask for it. Different industries and types of businesses have different ways of doing things.

Money vs. time vs. flexibility — what’s most important?

Turns out that none of that mattered, because my supervisor pre-negotiated on my behalf.

While I’m not sad about the outcome, I do feel like I missed a crucial point of inflection for learning how to negotiate. Instead of giving me the opportunity to try and fail, or to fail to try, I was given the end result.

Now, I’m not ungrateful. Don’t get me wrong.

But I do question methods.

If the data suggests that women fail to negotiate more often, and that part of the so-called wage gap exists because failure-to-negotiate leads to a smaller base salary that leads to smaller percentage-based raises 10 or 20 years down the line, wouldn’t it also make sense that you would want to demonstrate to women that they can negotiate, and reinforce that behavior by rewarding it with a salary raise?

So set the stage. Grease the wheels a little bit. Maybe carve out a “yes” from the HR compensation people first, then wait for a girl to try to negotiate up and reward her.

Giving it up front teaches the lizard brain that we can just expect it in the future, and we absolutely cannot.

This method is harder to watch, because it requires risk and includes the possibility of failure, either to plan or to execute. But it also means real success at the end.

Create an environment where someone can succeed by setting an expectation, providing necessary resources, greasing the wheels if need be, and then stepping back to let her learn how to fly.

Artificial, a bit, but effective.

I want to learn how to lead people like that.

Not by doing things for them and expecting them to learn the lesson despite that fact. That’s how you create dependents, not independents.

A metric: the Creative Achievement Questionnaire

I’ve been listening to Jordan B Peterson lectures on YouTube again. (Always super motivating and super depressing at the same time. Reality has a way of doing that to you.)

One of the hardest things to learn about creativity (and anything, really), is that potential means nothing. What matters is what you produce; your body of work.

For those of us just starting out on our creative journeys, it’s important to define what success means and cobble together some metrics to judge whether or not we’re heading in the right direction.

JBP and Shelly Carson created the Creative Achievement Questionnaire to test creative production (not merely creative potential!), and it turns out that it could make a perfect objective measure for achievement in creative pursuits.

My score is 11, which places me at the top end of the Novice Creative category. Mostly of those achievements happened in during my teenage years; I neglected to cultivate my creative talents in university and afterward. There are a couple of scores I could fudge to push myself into the Maker category, but that’s edging into “lying to myself” territory.

Now, as far as using this as a metric: looking over the scoring system shows that each creative domain is scored in a logarithmic scale of difficulty. It will take an immense amount of work to bump up my total score even 1 point, let alone a whole category. However, 1 more point will push me over into Maker–which I could make happen by next year.

If I really double down, I could push myself into the Creative category. I’ll have to formulate some concrete systems and goals to make that happen.

But! We now have a measure for creative output. Let us watch The Gap again and put it to good use.

Read on for the full questionnaire with my scores.

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