Everyday, Do Two Things

I’ve been in a funk lately and I would love to blame on the weather change but it’s not. It’s my motivation.

For the past two months I’ve done very little and the year is almost 1/3 over. I have a lot of catching up if I want to get most of the things done on my new year’s resolutions list.

My list is pretty long and it scares me sometimes just to look at it. If I can get half of it done then I’ll be happy. However, as I was looking at the list I found there are some commonalities. Most of the items belongs to either things I want to learn or things I want to create.

To learn:

  1. Read two books per month
  2. Learn 50 Chinese vocabularies per day using Anki
  3. Finish web development courses on FreeCodeCamp.com
  4. Learn Processing by reading Processing Handbook
  5. Learn 50 songs on guitar

To create:

  1. Write well and often
  2. Edit photographs
  3. Take more photographs
  4. Experiment with other creative outputs, ie drawing, design.

The more I see what a human ought to do, the more I realize that the whole process is a “take and give.” Taking is by learning something other people have done and giving is by creating something for other people. The whole thing can be viewed as a cycle.

I believe understanding this is crucial to self improvement. Everyday, I must take something from someone through learning and everyday I must give something back by producing and creating.

Let this guide me through the rest of this year. I’m very interested to see the results when the year ends.

Q1, 2017

Well, today is the first day of spring and I’m feeling a bit energetic. So energetic that I don’t want to do anything. Not even reading or playing the guitar.

I’ve been thinking about the past three months. Seemed like I had an optimistic start to the new year then after a month or so I began to run out of steam. I was sorting and editing some photographs but for some reason I stopped doing it. Need to get back to it.

Talking about photography, I thought about getting a smaller camera, maybe a mirrorless camera. Then I decided that my current camera, the Nikon D7000, is still good though a bit bulky for traveling purposes. For my next camera, if I decide to get a new one, it must have the following features:

  • USB 3 connectivity
  • Wireless (connect to a smart phone)
  • GPS enabled
  • Waterproof
  • Battery that lasts long enough for me to take 1000 pictures on a single charge

I haven’t found a camera that does all of that. Maybe someone knows more than I do.

I also researched the current smart phone market and the cameras on them. They definitely have the right resolutions but their zooming capabilities is limited to digital zoom. The upside is the convenience, connectivity, and the portability. Maybe my next camera should just be my phone. I’m waiting on the next Google Pixel that’s coming out later this year to see if it’s worth it to jump ship from Apple to Google.

In terms of reading, I read four books so far this year: 10% Happier, The Happiness Project, The ONE Thing, and Smarter, Faster, Better. I enjoy reading positive psychology books and three out of the four are in that realm. I want to average two books per month. I’m two books behind right now. The good news is that March is not over yet, I still have some time. I’m also open to book recommendations. Though I read mostly nonfiction.

For the next quarter of the year, which ends in June, I want to make sure I finish all my photo sorting and editing and that I’m on track for reading two books per month.

Now that I’ve written that, I’m accountable.

What have you been doing for the past three months? I hope you also enjoy the upcoming beautiful weather, wherever you are!

What I Read

As I look back on 2016, and my past in general, I find one of my favorite reading topics is on happiness and positive psychology.

Recently, I finished reading 10% Happier, which is about the news anchor, Dan Harris, and his personal path to discovering meditation and Buddhism. I read Tuesdays with Morrie twice, most recently this last December. I read the popular book Grit by Angela Duckworth. It was a great read. Definitely recommend it. I’m also a fan of Shawn Achor, having read both Before Happiness and The Happiness Advantage. One of my favorite positive psychology books is Finding Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. And I’m currently reading The Happiness Project.

However, I don’t know if it’s because I’m happier after reading these books or is it because I’m unhappy and that’s why I’m reading them. It’s like the chicken and the egg paradox.

Another thought is that maybe it’s just my interest. I do remember I wrestled with the questions of happiness when I was younger. What it means and how to attain it. It’s an aged question but the pursuit for the answer has always fascinated me.

I suppose the simple answer is to just do what makes me feel happy, like photography, writing, web development, guitar, and reading.

I hope to share other interesting books on this blog. Meanwhile you can find me on Goodreads.com. It’s a great website for tracking all the books you’ve read, been reading, and wants to read.