Experimental Best Practices

As I review the past week, I’m realizing I’m in a good place. I’ve had good days in the past year or 2, but they’ve been very much singular, and few and far between.

When you conduct experiments on your lifestyle, to see if they will bring more joy and accomplishment to your life, it’s important to remember to run 1 experiment at a time, so you can tell what works.

I’ve been trying a couple of new things, and they worked, but now I don’t know if one worked, or they all worked, or 2 together worked and the other 3 didn’t.

Here’s a sampling of some of what I’ve tried and how long I’ve been trying it:

  • Daily supplementation with 5-HTP to enhance serotonin production – 2 weeks
  • Daily journaling, with a focus on gratitude and ideas which emerged during the day. I’ve been thinking about capturing synchronistic clues! – 2 weeks
  • No caffeine – 3 weeks
  • No alcohol – 2 months
  • Whole30 eating plan – 3 weeks
  • Daily planning sessions – 2 weeks
  • 10 minute of meditation – 2 weeks
  • Daily relationship check-in with my partner – 2 weeks

My guess is that the 5-HTP and the meditation are the 2 most potent factors, but it’s anyone’s guess at this point.

I’ve also been trying to get back into running, with various states of success, and… I have an experiment coming up this weekend, which I’m particularly excited about.

Boundaries and Planning

I was thinking of writing about boundaries today, because:

  1. I don’t do a good job defining them.
  2. Not setting them is killing me.

I also got this quote from James Clear in his weekly newsletter.

“Aim to be great in 10 years
Build health habits today that lead to a great body in 10 years.
Build social habits today that lead to great relationships in 10 years.
Build learning habits today that lead to great knowledge in 10 years.

Long-term thinking is a secret weapon.”
James Clear

I think they’re related.


Do you have any good suggestions for identifying, defining and enforcing boundaries in your life?

Journaling and Gratitude

According to the experts, expressing gratitude helps improve your quality of life.

I’ve begun a nightly journaling, planning and meditation session as part of a goal to improve my life and dig me out of the emotional slump which I’ve been in.

Unfortunately, I’ve combined this with changing up my supplement stack, trying a new diet, getting off caffeine, and being more honest and straightforward in some of my personal conversations.

Something is working. The problem is, I don’t necessarily know if it’s all, or some, or one, or none of these things working to help me feel better.

I feel like the shit-storm is still raging around me and yet I feel more sturdy to stand against it.

It feels like change is coming. The good kind!

Also, Mercury is in retrograde, but I don’t have time for that!

Reinvent and Rebuild

I’m trying to begin a new phase.

The last two years have involved more wallowing in self-pity and waiting around for things to change longer than I care to admit. I mean… I’m admitting it, but I’m not going to describe the vast extent of those activities. And they’re pretty vast… Like really vast… But enough of that.

One of my new year’s resolutions is that I want to end 2020 in a deep and meaningful relationship that is helping me grow and become a better person.

I’m also OK if that relationship is entirely with myself because no-one knows me better or should love and appreciate me more.

So here are some things I’ve been working on for the past week, and some I’ve been working on a little longer.

  • I’m doing a 3-month abstention from alcohol. This has been going on since January 1st.
  • I’m 2 weeks into a complete eradication of caffeine from my diet. I think I have pretty severe adrenal fatigue.
  • I’ve been doing a Whole30 for almost 3 weeks now
  • I’ve been journalling nightly for over a week
  • I’ve had a nightly planning session to prepare for the next day. It’s not super effective, but I’m doing it.
  • I’ve been meditating for 10 minutes each night. Headspace was started to annoy me, so I’m doing a timed session with a Binaural Beats playlist on Spotify.
  • I’ve started running again

There are also some things I’m planning to get working on in the future.

  • Plan to pay down my credit card debt and start building some savings.
  • Finish the requirements for my WTSDA Black Belt
  • Develop a daily Tang Soo Do practice which includes a review of my forms and all one-step techniques at least twice a week
  • Get back to planning out and executing my dream of Code-Em-power, a computer literacy program for woman and minorities.
  • Somewhat related, I need to visit my friend in Chicago again. I miss her, her daughter and the city.

So, here’s to reinvention and rebuilding, with a virgin, and whole friendly beverage of your choice!

At Least If I Believed In God…

At least if I believed in God, I’d have someone to direct my rage at.

Although if I did believe in God, I’d probably do the ‘Good Christian’ thing and tell everyone that it was all part of God’s plan for me and that I was growing.

I’m not growing. The current situation kinda sucks. But it’s all first-world related, and I’ll hopefully be able to dig out of this mess in a few months.


Show Your Hand

My manager said something interesting to me this week. We’re trying to find a new team member, and I was worried that his star candidate might not be fully aware of the requirements for the position.

“We don’t want to show our hand”

I love my job, but when I got hired, the hiring manager had the mindset that any engineer could do the job he was hiring for, and so instead of sharing details with me, he talked in generalities. He hid his hand, and the result was six months on me struggling to get up to speed on the project. It was a welcome change from the previous employer who worked me to death, but still not pleasant.

Why do we feel the need to not be upfront and honest?

My favorite question of late has been, “What is your ask?”

People feel the need to explain themselves and paint a picture before getting to the point. I don’t care about the backstory as much. I want to know what you need. If I know what you need, I can help you, or know that I can’t help you without the linguistic dance.

Of course, I state this, as a man who is trying to figure out his needs as a human being.

And sometimes, know what you need is half the battle.

When Someone Shares Something Beautiful And It Bothers Us

I shared the video of Will Smith a few days ago. It talks about seeking out people who fan our flames.

My week started off in the most phenomenal way. I did a float in an isolation chamber first thing on Sunday morning. It was incredible! I came out buzzing and feeling on top of the world.

On Sunday evening I shared a quote on Facebook. It was from some Toltec teachings that I’ve been reading, discussing how each of us is perfect.

Perfect because we are exactly the product of our experiences and our choices.

Perfect because we are here in the present.

Perfect because we are.

It was interesting and disheartening that a friend, who has meant a great deal to me in the past, took issue with what I said.

Not only did he point out why I was wrong, but he brought up something I’d said a few months ago about being psychologically damaged by my experiences with religion.


Why did he feel the need to impose his views on me?

Why point out my weaknesses and vulnerabilities?

It made me this of this selection from Hafiz, a 14th-century Sufi poet.

The small man
Builds cages for everyone
While the sage,
Who has to duck his head
When the moon is low,
Keeps dropping keys all night long
For the


From here:


I’ve been thinking a lot about healing lately.

Years ago I felt that maybe a therapist would help. People suggested it too. Some out of concern for my welfare and some because they view mental health as a weakness and wanted to point out that I was weak. First off, fuck that second group… They caused the problems in the first place, and their intentions aren’t pure. They’re dead to me.

But back to the therapist. I’ve had the opportunity to interact with a lot of different therapists over the past year in various capacities. I think the guy I found to help me out is one of the better ones.

But I don’t know if he’s helping. I think he has some good ideas, but I think he’s developed an idea of who I am in his head and he’s solving the problems for that guy.

That guy is close to me, but he’s not me, and that makes diagnosis and treatment a little like a shot in the dark.

PSA: Dealing With Someone Who Is Overwhelmed.

I’m not entirely sure what the Live Your Legend topic was for today.  It’s been one of those days.

I woke up at 3 this morning with one of those headaches that feels like someone has driven a knife through my eye, and into my brain.  Took some pain meds and actually fell back asleep.  This is kinda good because I’ve been struggling with insomnia of late, and waking up anytime after midnight usually just results in me trying to sleep, and succeeding at all.

It was a struggle to get out of bed…  And I got to work late.

I’ve been wearing a couple of hats at work lately. Which is good for my career, but not so good for my sanity. My boss keeps commenting that he’s worried about me, and doesn’t want to burn me out. And then assigns me busy work, or offloads a decision he doesn’t want to make onto me.

Thanks, Man.

The truth is, I’ve been burned out before, and this is nowhere close to that. But I am overwhelmed. Between work, home, family and personal issues, I’m barely keeping my head above water.

Lots of people ask how they can help.

The thing is…  When they ask, I have to then spend energy trying to find a way for them to help me out.  Usually, they throw in some kind of helpful comment about me needing to be willing to let go, give up control and trust people.

And then invariably, after I’ve spent time finding something they can help with, explain it to them, they drop the ball, and I’m left picking up the slack and being even further behind than I was before.

My advice.  If you’re seeing a friend, family member or co-worker who seems overwhelmed, don’t burden them with the additional task of having to find a way to shed some of the load and make you feel better.

I think that’s what drives most of this. Mike seems overwhelmed, Mike is busting his ass, and I’m sitting here like a lazy schmuck.

If you want to help me, or anyone…  Figure out what they need and do it.

Or just support them.  Something a simple acknowledgment of their effort and achievements will go further than any form of help or support.