Micro observations and the long, unglamorous road

A few quirks I’ve noticed over the past months –

Focus related
– Listening to music on headphones helps my mind focus a lot more than listening to music on speakers
– A closed door or closed space helps with focus more than an open space
– Spaces with nice views of the outdoors (preferably with a lot of green) improve thinking by a huge degree

Insecurity related
– Lack of sleep is correlated with feeling more insecure/unsure of myself (this likely has a causal relationship – I’m not sure yet)
– On days when I feel insecure/unsure of myself, I literally feel colder and prefer having an extra layer on

Productivity related
– The more hurried I feel in the morning, the less mindful I am through the day – getting the morning right is critical
– The best way to get large projects done is to schedule small bits of thinking time well in advance – it doesn’t matter that I don’t solve any problems, it matters that I begin thinking about it

Reading related
– Audio books, Kindle books and physical books work for different kinds of reading (this is probably a blog post in itself)

I thought I’d share this random collection of micro observations to illustrate two points.

First, it is that the journey to self awareness involves collecting small micro insights such as these. Insights like this go a long way in helping us design a life that works for us. For instance, you will never catch me walking around without headphones. They enable me to focus wherever I want. Similarly, I’ve learnt to be very protective about my sleep schedule and morning routine. I also find leading indicators of days I feel insecure/unsure of myself really useful. These are days when I double down on being mindful, do the simple things right (e.g. exercise, eat well) and work to get back on right mentally.

Second, if it isn’t evident already, the road to self awareness is long and unglamorous. Often, when you reflect on this stuff, you don’t find stuff that delights you. You see behaviors that occasionally make you cringe because you catch yourself acting on some bizarre insecurity or you see random quirks which make very little sense. The point, of course, is awareness. With awareness comes acceptance and action.

long, unglamorous roadSource

And, of course, let’s not confuse a lack of glamour for a lack of happiness. We earn our happiness stripes by working through the lack of glamour.