- On Sundays, I will allot 2 hours of my afternoon to read in a cafe with good lighting that makes me happy and keeps me alert. I try not to switch around locations.
- Every morning, as soon as I wake up and before I reach for my phone, I run a motto through my head: it usually rotates from these three:
- By the grace of God I am worthy.
- Thank you God for this day.
- God, help me to give my day to you.
- I read at least a chapter of the Bible every day. Currently I am working through Isaiah. Usually I will read Psalm 95 and dedicate a prayer to God before, so that I can prepare to give my heart and attention wholly to the reading.
- I go in for a video call with my family once a week. Objective: To hear what my mom and my sister has been up to and to actively engage in listening to the people most important to me.
- I drip coffee every morning. Grinding coffee and hand-pouring coffee is a therapeutic experience on its own. Having the consistent and dependable reward of drinking better than average coffee always leaves me coming back the next day ready to go into the routine regardless of how snoozy I am.
- Before my foot injury, I would wake up at 6 or 6:15 (depending on the day) to run a route of 4 miles at Central Park (north – south from my place to the south entrance cleanly amounts to that much). It was one of the most rewarding and helpful routines I’ve developed in my adulthood. Unfortunately, due to my present state, I satisfy myself with long walks back home from my work place (about 4 miles), and I always work to stretch out my body for about 15 minutes either in the morning or before I head to sleep. I’d like to walk more often.
- In the mornings, if I’m extra productive, I try to get to text messages that I haven’t responded to in the previous days.
- Throughout the week, I task myself to read the book I am currently on if I ever find myself still fully alert post-work hours. If I’m less than fully alert (had wine; burgers!, tired out of my mind, or feeling unfocused), I will pick up a lighter book (if I have one by the side and at the ready), read articles and studies I’ve pocketed (my go-to sites are on the website tab), or a short essay.
It’s hard to get into a routine, because the word itself implies that you are blocking off a finite resource, time, of yours for an extended amount of time to invest in a variable reward, and sometimes starting one for the sake of doing it for accomplishment or because it aligns with your value-based identity just isn’t that sexy of a pull.
From my personal experience though, investing in the time to develop these practices has probably contributed to the greatest positive changes and developments in my life.
They keep my character, spiritual, physical & mental life strong.
Getting to a point in which you regularly exercise habits that require little to no cognitive effort to initiate (holla heuristics) is also a great reward in itself (less work for increasingly more rewards!).
They also help me keep my positive, optimistic, and energetic demeanor (which are arguably my most marked characteristics) in a way that’s as close to 100% authentic and sincere.
Anyways, it’s 9, I’d best start my day. Happy Memorial Day. I remember and honor those who gave their lives up for us.
“Don’t just fill up on things that you’ll have forgotten the next day”- Jonathan McReynolds
“What is the value of a fine watch if you don’t keep winding it and it can’t keep time.?
Here is my 2016 book list of books I’ve carried through completion and thoroughly enjoyed, with random, rambling annotations:
Books with * = well read, well worn, well kept
Books with ** = SUPERSTAR
- *The Unpublished David Ogilvy by David Ogilvy, Joel Raphaelson
- War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
- Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann: Recommended by my friend Nick McClish; Hans Castorps take on life in a sanitorium is hilarious and may I say, morbidly magical.
- *Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
- *How Proust Can Change Your Life by Marcel Proust: I bought this at the Strand bookstore for $2 and it opened me up to the world of Proust. Guys, $2 + tax can indeed change your life for the better.
- *In Search of Lost Time: Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust: This book changed my life, but if you are a grammar N*** or someone who considers brevity a virtue, then this is not that life-changing book for you.
- *Bible (NIV): For my spiritual and moral feeding – I hold this very close to my heart, always, for the truth of the Lord breeds the purest of love, knowledge, kindness, goodness, forbearance, joy, and peace.
- ** Leonardo’s Notebooks edited by Anna Suh: my eyes were burning from the amount of manuscript notes I had to read that he created; can you believe that someone with a non-classical education has over 20,000 notes in total of mind-blowing studies and findings found through sheer observation and experimentation? Wowzers.
- Chaos Monkeys by Antonia Garcia Martinez: hilariously scathing, and very tell-all by nature, a book on the going ons of the SV tech world from the eye of one man who managed to get acquired by or work for some top companies. A peer and Director of Salesforce who I recently met told me this is much like the HBO series: Silicon Valley, so for those who liked watching that, you ought to take a chance on this.
- The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli: I never got to read this in school, but all of a sudden I had the urge to read this now and on Machiavelli’s thoughts on acquiring, conquering, managing, and losing principalities/power/people. Pretty relevant, I’d say.
- The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller: talks a lot about the moralistic brothers of the church vs. brothers who’ve gone wild and then returned to the folds of God – really cool and enlightening read on the hypocrisy of institutions like religion and even more importantly, why it’s even more necessary to stay steadfast in your faith in God.
- **Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan: I had been exposed to surfing this year through a man I loved, and naturally became curious as to the intensity of adoration felt for this specific hobby by him and by many other friends. Finnegan explains the surfing life perfectly, and I am totally hooked – theoretically speaking.
- *Blood, Brains, and Beer: Autobiography by David Ogilvy
- **Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: recommended by my friend David Kong. I enjoyed it and as a Jane Austen fan, really glad I got to read another stellar work of hers!
- Ein Mein Manifesto by Eric Jarosinski
- **Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
- Algorithms to Live By by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths: My older sister had this on her Audible.
- So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport: because I enjoy reading Cal Newport’s blog and was deeply changed by his book Deep Work. This is an earlier book of his, and I have noticed that his prose here is not so pithy, but still to the point. It serves its purpose.
- **Team Genius: The New Science of High-Performing Organizations by Michael Malone and Rich Karlgaard: because I wanted to make the company I worked in at the time better.
- Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington
- The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Recommended by my dear friend, Victoria Wong! It’s one of her favorite books. Funny story: There was a time when I was quoting this book, and a friend had asked me who the author was, when I replied, “Mila Kunis” with the sureness of a cock. I was deservedly embarrassed.
- Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein
- Who Needs the Fed by John Tamny: I picked this book up because my younger sister works at the Fed, and I am always down to read a book that will enlighten me more on the activities of loved ones.
- Virtual Billions: The Genius, the Drug Lord, and the Ivy League Twins Behind the Rise of Bitcoin by Eric Geissinger: The book in its entirety wasn’t engaging, but the first couple chapters were amazing in detailing the foundations of Bitcoin & its network, and the influencers * all the the ants involved in this crypto currency ecosystem.
- The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane: written for the layman, it reinforces wise mental hacks that are necessary to live both in optimism and be successful.
- Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security by Laurence J. Kotlikoff: A book picked up in an effort to aid my parents when they become of age.
Things I’ve started or am looking to read in 2017!:
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: I’m reading this one to get to know my younger sister better. She is a big fan of Tolkien.
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky: I’ve only read the first few chapters, and so far the story lines of the characters introduced and families are absolutely ACE! The complexity! The depth! The scandal! Recommended by my good friends: Sewon Yang and Max Heering.
Leonardo da Vinci: The Marvellous Works of Nature and Man by Martin Kemp
I wish the world the biggest growth it’s seen yet this 2017.