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Now at Dare To Express!

November 28, 2009

Hey readers!

I’m now at a website on self-actualization called Dare to Express. It’s my new blog, and all my new content from now on will appear there.

I’m really hoping for it to be come pretty big – I have really high expectations for my blog’s success, because I know I’ll be producing some quality content.

There’s not much else I can do besides link over there, so I hope to see you all there!

Last Post on the Princedom

November 10, 2009

I had to make it a video one:

Enjoy guys, and I look forward to seeing you on the new blog.


Sensory Focus Challenge

November 6, 2009

One of my biggest sticking points in my daily life is that I happen to get stuck in cycles of thought and procrastination that pull me out of the present moment. When I do that, I essentially deny reality: the physical world becomes subjected to the sterilizing nature of my mind, with its words and labels. The physical reality perceived by my senses takes a backseat to the whims of my mind, and, as such, I waste time staying in my head and am not present, leading to bouts of anxiety, lowered energy levels, and, most of all, a feeling of neutrality in my body. The last symptom is the worst, as my goal is to be flying high and feeling good all the time, and being stuck in my headspace instead of absorbing reality and expressing without thought hampers me incredibly. This is such a huge problem for me, I think; I can say all I want about my lack of discipline, but that’s improving and only hurts me minimally. My biggest problem (though it has improved significantly over the past couple of months) is my lack of presence during my everyday life. It’s relatively easy to get in the present during meditation, for example, but during my everyday life I notice my constant thinking and I realize how useless most of it is.

This is why I created this challenge – the Sensory Focus Challenge. This challenge will force me to be live in the present and drink up reality. This will potentially create a bevy of benefits for me, including:

– More consistent good feelings
– Increased expression (being outside my head leads to free-flowing expression)
– Increased productivity due to increased focus on task at hand rather than externalities and decreased procrastination
– More decisiveness and conviction in speech and action (less thinking before action)
– Better memory and quality of work due to focus

The two rules are pretty simple:

1) My focus must be on something my senses can perceive at all times.

Reality is defined by its ability to be perceived by my senses. That is, the physical reality that I deny throughout my life through excessive thought is the “reality” I want to be present in all the time. The needless thoughts in my mind do not constitute reality and thus can be ignored. The sensory perception rule is, at its core, another way to say “be present” – though it is easier to define when I am or am not only focusing on my senses rather than define when I am or am not being present. Before, I could ask myself, “Am I being present?” and my mind could make up a million rationalizations to support that I was being present – even if I wasn’t present at all. This time, I can ask myself, “Am I focusing on what my senses are perceiving?” and I’ll get a clear-cut answer whether I’m being present or not. This will totally eliminate distractions and keep me focused in the present, leading to full-on expression, more decisiveness, better focus, and overall warm, fuzzy good feelings. It’s like getting in touch with your core self. That’s presence.

2) I can only think the thoughts I want to think.

Obviously, I’m going to have to think plenty of times throughout the day – it’s not like presence negates the use of our mind. Rather, it negates the overuse of the mind. I like to think of it this way: when I’m just drinking up my surroundings and my senses, my mind is in standby mode, waiting to be put into action. When I need my mind – to do some math, to do homework, or to write my blog post – it kicks into action, but I can be present and think at the same time. How? I still maintain some concentration on my senses while I’m thinking and devote my FULL attention to whatever the thought is, but let go when I no longer need to think. That way, I stay present with my thought process, but let go as soon as it’s over. While writing this post, I’m trying as hard as I can to concentrate on the feeling of warmth that is my own body and my breathing while also devoting my full intellectual capacity to the post I’m writing here. There is literally nothing else going on in my head right now – just focus on this post and the feeling in my body. Nothing about school, chemistry, or my future plans for this blog. When involuntary thought starts to creep in, I just pull the plug completely on my mind and start again. But with full focus on necessary thoughts, there is literally no space where these involuntary, recursive thoughts can invade. They have no room in my currently full headspace.

The challenge is, of course, living by these things for all my waking hours. I’m shooting for this challenge to last 11 days. Why 11? I don’t know. It seems like a good, unique number to me, and is neither too long nor too short. That puts the final report for the challenge at Tuesday, November 17. Stay tuned, guys, and wish me luck.

Video Post #2: Hard Work Beats Talent…

November 5, 2009

New video post up for you guys, illustrating one important quote…


Just Breathe

November 3, 2009

This may seem like a strange topic to talk about, but it’s been proven (to me at least) to help in any and all situations.

It’s extremely simple, but the simple can help us a lot in many situations – as we tend to overcomplicate our lives by bending over backwards to fulfill little productivity quotas with techniques. Sometimes the projects pile up, and we are left with the stress weighing us down. But we can just dissolve into the moment and snap ourselves back to reality with one simple thing that you do nearly every moment of the day: breathe.

When you’re doing anything, and you start to feel your mind wander, just pull your attention back to your breath. When you feel the pressure of a deadline coming down on you, pull your attention back to your breath. When you are faced with a task that you really don’t feel like doing, just pull your attention back to your breath. When you just want to relax, just pull your attention back to your breath.

It’s like a fool’s mate – in any and every situation, pulling your attention back to your breath helps pull you back to reality and clears your mind of any unnecessary thoughts. It creates a feeling of peace and harmony within you, and cuts away all other distractions that you have going on. It keeps you focused on what you’re doing and not what’s going on inside your head. Even if it didn’t have any of those benefits, it’s still good to do because it feels good. And aren’t we all chasing good emotions one way or another? Just breathing doesn’t cost you anything and can be done in any moment at any time during your day, unless you happen to be submerged underwater. In that case, breathing is potentially harmful and it is strongly recommended that you not breathe. But when you’re in an area where breathing air is possible, focusing on breathing is exceptionally helpful and it just feels good! How could you not breathe!

There is a technique to proper breathing, however. You can’t just tell yourself that you feel good all the time because you breathe all the time – this is about the focus on breathing, not just the act of breathing itself. Focusing on it is what matters, since that creates the feeling of peace and presence (ergo, not being stuck in your head and focus on physical reality) that makes this so effective. After you’ve focused on your breath, make sure you take relaxed, deep breaths – you should try to inhale into your stomach, not your chest. Breathing into your chest is shallow and creates tension in your body. When you exhale, it should be relaxed and slow, devoid of any effort.

Another way to think of it is how it’s expressed in David Deida’s Way of the Superior Man. He says you should imagine inhaling as cycling energy from your head to your stomach area, and exhaling is like cycling that energy up your spine and back to your head. With each breath, the energy is cycled throughout your body. This still uses the same basic technique from above, just more spiritual. Personally, I like using this method, as it pulls me out of my head even more and makes me much more present and relaxed. But for some, especially those who haven’t meditated, it may be difficult at first.

Here’s my mission for you guys:

Right now, focus on your breath for 5 breath cycles (inhalation/exhalation).

After that, grab a clock, and put it next to your workplace.

Do whatever you feel like, but every 10 minutes, just pull your attention back to your breath. Observe how it feels and try to do it as long as you can. Don’t worry if you can only focus for a few cycles.

Report back in the comments section or just take this knowledge and apply it in your everyday life.

Everything Points to One Thing: Action

November 2, 2009

Everything ever told about self-improvment is the same thing, just expressed in different ways.

Self-improvement is really simple. Too simple.

To break it down better and to make it easier to understand, let me put it this way: what is self-improvement?

Self-improvement is the art of improving the quality of everything in our lives. Self-improvement is the larger whole that encompasses improving various, smaller things about yourself, whether it’s your mindset, your productivity, your organizational skills, your ability to express yourself, your eating habits, your fitness, anything you can think of that you think benefits you as a human being. Since self-improvement lies with your progression in any of those areas, you need to improve in those areas in order to “improve”, overall, as a human being. You can only improve if those “target” parts of your life are improving – you set out to improve these areas or skills, you go out and meet your goals, and you can say you’ve “improved”. This is blindingly obvious, but it’s often the unsaid obvious that goes overlooked.

But how do we improve in these small target areas, these skills or habits that we wish to improve or get better at?

In order to improve, two things need to happen: practice (action) and learning. These are critical to improvement, and one cannot improve without both happening at the same time. Acting on its own may give you a sense of accomplishment, since you’re acting, but if you do not take the time to learn, you’ll just do the same thing over and over again, without getting results (or maximum results). You’ll just be a robot, going through the same old motions, never achieving anything – or, at the very least, you’ll be shortchanging yourself. This is why many have defined insanity as “doing the same thing, over and over again, and expecting different results”. You’ll be insane if you expect to just act, not try to learn anything from your actions, and improve in any way. You won’t. On the other hand, if you do nothing but learn, and not act, you won’t get anywhere either. All you’ll do is read 30 different blog posts on self-development each day, and nod your head, but you won’t become more productive, happier, or anything, since you’re not applying what you read. Again, this is all extremely obvious, but it’s often the unsaid obvious that is overlooked.

When you put acting and learning together, however, you have an unstoppable combination. You’ll go out, adopt the Pomodoro technique (or whatever it is you’re working on) since you’re trying to improve your productivity, and after about 3 weeks or so of steadfast adherence to it, you’ll probably have become more productive. This is action applying learning, since you learned the Pomodoro technique from Oscar over at Freestyle Mind (or wherever you read it).

But what happens if your productivity (somehow) dips during your use of the Pomodoro technique? Well, then you conclude that maybe boxing things off like that didn’t work for you, and you may go off and find another productivity system like GTD. When you adopt GTD (or even Zen to Done), you productivity skyrockets – you made a breakthrough. This is learning applying action, followed by action applying learning since you took your own experiences and learned from them, then tailored your next set of actions with the knowledge you had learned in mind. If you had never acted and TRIED the Pomodoro technique for a week, you would never have discovered GTD and boosted your productivty. At the same time, if you hadn’t learned from your experience with the Pomodoro technique and learned about GTD, you wouldn’t have ever gotten that same boost in productivity, either. Action and learning were both critical to improvement.

I’ve left something really important out, however.

Learning after action is pretty much automatic. Practice makes perfect because we are hardwired to learn in order to improve after our actions. My hypothetical example of all action and no learning could not exist, because it is literally impossible to not learn after taking action many times. Sure, maybe after two or three times you might not have learned much, since you don’t have enough reference experiences to learn from. But if you’re taking tons of action, you’ll have no trouble learning, as you’ll (relatively) quickly find out which actions bring the desired results and which don’t. And then you’ll perform more of the right actions and less of the wrong ones, thus improving the skill/trait and yourself.

You have to trust the process in order for this to work. You have to go out and take tons of action, just keep practicing and trying to progress at anything you’d like to improve at. Want to express happiness more often? Try to smile all day, every day. After awhile you’ll be showing positivity. You have to throw yourself at these things with reckless abandon, because all your work will pay off, whether it looks like you’re getting results or not. If you’re taking action and nothing seems to be happening, push harder – you’re at a plateau, and plateaus can only be broken through by action. Eventually, the day will come where you’ll have that glorious breakthrough and reap the rewards. But, in the process, you have to trust that that day will come. I liken it to anything you did as a toddler. You couldn’t walk, but you crawled and tried to stand up and walk, holding one of your parents’ hands, and you fell down too many times to count. But you kept trying over and over to walk, falling down over and over again. But, one day, your mom let go of your hand and lo and behold, you could walk. You unconsciously trusted the process, because you kept taking action over and over with seemingly no result, and that one day, you learned and improved. This goes for learning how to talk and how to read. How many times did you spout incomprehensible syllables from your mouth, imitating the people around you with futility? Of course, you ended up forming your first word all the same, since you had tried to thousands of times before. That was trusting the process. With reading, you probably learned your ABC’s, but you stared at collections of these letters of pages your parents read to you thousands of times without understanding it. However, one day, you picked up a book and could read the words on the page. All those times you did the small action of just looking at the page helped you eventually learn the skill of reading. You trusted the process.

Since learning can be taken care of itself with action, there’s only one thing that’s left: action.

Action is what every single person who deals with improvement of any kind wants you to do. Just act. That is the number one way to improve yourself. Everything that is said on self-improvement are just different ways to get you to act.

Just do it. Act constantly and consistently. Don’t sit here reading blog posts all day. Make waves in life – go out and act. Do anything except sit in front of the TV or your computer (unless you’re getting paid to do so). Whatever you do, don’t stop acting, and trust yourself and the process to improve you when you come out on the other side. Sure, you may run into a plateau, and if you get frustrated with your lack of progress, take a step back, and say, “I trust in the process to improve.” Just let instinct and intuition run from there, followed by truckloads of action. Keep acting until you can’t act anymore, then go out and do something bigger than anything else you’ve ever done.

Here’s an action plan for you.

After you finish reading this post, turn off your computer.

After you turn off your computer, you’ll grab the nearest thing with words on it (literature). If it’s a book, read the first 10 pages. If it’s a newspaper or magazine, read the first article.

After you’re done reading, find another human being. Communicate with them anyway you wish. Just talk with them for however long you feel like, and give them a kind gesture like a handshake or hug or kiss when you part with them.

After you’re done talking to them, smile. Just try to smile for as long as you can.

After you’ve first cracked a smile, find a piece of paper (you can use the literature you read and write in the margins) and a pen, and write 1 thing that you want to do right now that is not passive (watching TV/surfing the net).

After you’ve written it down, go do it.

You are now on the path of action. Let your momentum carry you through, always, and realize that there is no substitute for action.

Just act. Go now.

First Video Post!

October 29, 2009

One small step for man, one giant leap for my personal development.

First time I’ve shown my face here? You bet.

Topics covered include: who I am, my aspirations for my blog, my aspirations for my life, and the idea of journey driven self-development.

I apologize for the crappy quality, as I’m using my Mac’s iSight camera and had to have the video compressed for youtube. I’ll try to get a better camera for tomorrow’s post, but I have no guarantees.

Enjoy, guys, and I really appreciate your feedback.


Finding Expression, Part 2

October 29, 2009

First off, I bet all of you will be asking, “Why Part 2? Where’s Part 1?”

The answer is that Part 1 hasn’t been written yet, since it is going to be much longer than Part 2. At the same time, Part 2 can be implemented right NOW (as you guys know I’m a huge fan of Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now), without knowing what Part 1 is about. Part 1 is merely the process that I used to arrive at the place where I am now, which is a place of almost… emptiness. It’s strange. I am close to a tabula rasa in a lot of ways, but in others, I am very detailed, intricate, and distinct; that is, in some parts of my life, I am blank, but in others, I am the same vibrant guy I’ve always been.

Confused yet?

Don’t be.

As the post title implies, I am going to be introducing how to express yourself freely. This was a subject I outlined in my last post, Why I Am Free, where I expressed what expression means to me. But I don’t feel like I went far enough in explaining what expression was or how to obtain it. This is my job today: to express the full meaning of expression and the way that we can obtain it. It’s all pretty simple.

Expression is an interesting phenomenon to try to describe, yet it appears to be ubiquitous in our society, what with all the “express yourself” slogans and all, referring to creative works like art, writing, and so on. And it’s true, most peoples’ expression takes place in works of creativity, and that’s awesome. But so many of those people keep their expression bottled up inside due to external conditioning factors (see my mega-post titled Past, Present, and Potential for more on social conditioning) that the only place they feel safe to unleash themselves for all to see is through an artistic medium. And that’s a tragedy.

This brings me to my next Princiom:

Princiom #8:If someone were to ask me what my mission was in life, I’d answer, “Liberate expression.”

Expression is so critical that I see it as the real thing that matters most in life. Not altruism, not moral compass, not anything else. Expression.

However, my definition of expression may clash with your definition of expression. Here is mine: expression is any action that is motivated by someone’s core and their values (their “true self”, under all the layers of ego and the anxiety it creates). This means that expression can be literally anything, as long as it is motivated by someone’s soul (abstractly speaking).

Now, I’m sure some of you will ask, “Well, what about terrorists/George Bush/Hitler/other bad men? Weren’t they expressing their true selves through tyranny?”

Yes and no. Yes, they may have been expressing their true selves, but societal indoctrination had a hand in all three of those people’s deeds (not to compare Bush with Hitler; it’s very tongue in cheek). The Third Reich was very connected to German ideals, terrorists get indoctrinated by religious extremists, and Bush… Well, no comment. Thus, their actions may or may not have been from their cores. The only way to tell would be if you could put a terrorist in Canada and see if he achieves the same thing (from birth) or make Hitler grow up in Africa. But the world may never know.

I’m getting a little off track. Expression can be explained in a different way, too. I also think of it as “owning your actions”. That is, expression is communicating your personality at the highest level. Try framing things like this for a day or two: try treating your actions like they are expressions(!) of your personality. If you want to communicate that you’re a fun person, start smiling and laughing. If you want to communicate that you’re social, talk to EVERYONE. If you want to be funny, start making jokes and being high energy in conversation. If you want to be a leader, lead. You get the idea.

I’m sure some of you will ask, “But Prince, being social and leading isn’t me! It won’t be an expression of my core personality!”

Ah, but of course it is. Your core personality is a blank slate until your actions start to define it via expression. But, at all times, it is blank, until your actions communicate what your core is.

As I alluded to in a previous post, the love of life itself drives many of my actions. And that same desire to live has to drive your actions day in, day out. You have to learn to pull it all from the inside, and communicate in the moment whatever it is you’re feeling. I know I said that I try to make sure that the love of life itself drives each and every one of my actions, but that doesn’t have to be it. Think of it as sort of a base layer that automatically makes your expression positive. Then you can add just about anything you want on top (as long as it is neutral or positive; negativity should be done away with unless it is truly important), and it will come from the core of feeling good inside your own body and totally accepting yourself. It’s like you have love to give, and you give it in your own way.

There’s no agenda behind expression, however. There’s no pretense. There’s no seeking to impress others. It’s just putting yourself out there on display, for others to see. The reason why so many people don’t express is that they are, at their core, uncomfortable with who they are – they feel that if they were to really express themselves and got a negative response, they’d get deeply hurt, as they depend on others for validation. Thus, people close themselves up and only seek to “impress”, rather than express; that is, they don’t show their core selves.

However, you’re not like that, are you? You’re not afraid. After all, you don’t believe other people mean much anyway – as long as you’re expressing yourself truly, you satisfy yourself.

There is, however, another component that can give yourself a boost even if you’re not feeling good: self-amusement. That will be the subject of next post.

Revamping Reality, Part 3: Restructuring Goals

October 19, 2009

Since I recreated my reality and gave myself a sense of purpose, I decided to endow myself with goals. These goals are pretty much the same as they were in Operation Hamilton, except I’m giving myself the flexibility to change my goals from week to week (add or subtract weekly goals, or change the quantity of a given goal). That way, I can truly assess my growth and stay fluid and flexible – I can modify my goals system using just about whatever I want.

How I have my goals broken down is this:

Daily Goals, which are grouped into two sides, health and discipline.

Health includes getting adequate sleep (if possible), drinking 5.5 L of water, stretching out my back, exercising 6 days per week, and eating 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Discipline includes finishing my homework, writing out my Code every morning, doing my chore to fund my trip to Europe, and limiting time wasted on the Internet and TV.

Weekly goals, at this time, include:

“Reality Checks”, where I remind myself to mold my reality according to the Facts written in my previous post and to stay on my purpose. this is important in constructing my reality – soon, maintaining my reality will become effortless, but this period of conscious thought is needed to make it real in my mind.

Read a large number of pages in books, so I can broaden my horizons.

Stickhandle in my basement for hockey, so I can improve my skills.

Leave comments on others’ blogs and post here, to improve my writing skills and expand my network on the internet (and to gain some awesome insights through peoples’ posts!).

Limit my number of cheat foods to stay healthy. Treat my body like an engine; good stuff in, good performance out.

Make entries in my notebook, to make sure I’m always thinking about anything and creating ideas of my own.

Meditate for certain number of minutes each week to center myself allow myself to feel good all the time.

I track all my goals on a whiteboard I have hung on my wall. For each week, I have a symbol, so it is easy to keep track of all of them on my whiteboard. The whiteboard’s visibility reminds me to accomplish my goals, day in, and day out (or at least, it should, considering I installed it earlier today). I can already sense that the motivation to complete my goals is much stronger now that I’ve publicized them, in a way, on my wall. I highly recommend it.

Sorry for the short post – I’m in a rush. To complete my goals.

The Prince

Revamping Reality, Part 2: Restructuring Life

October 17, 2009

This is the post that changes my life – because it actively defines my reality and sets me on my path through life.

My evolution first began in my post Past, Present, and Potential, where I first outlined a code of ethics for my life. Unfortunately, my code was flawed in a lot of ways. For one, it didn’t really define my reality how I liked it to. Yes, it set out my values, and set out what I was supposed to do, but it was disorganized, like I tried to fit my entire being into one set of rules. It also was a little too large; I never ended up memorizing it, regrettably. It was shortsighted, and needed refinement.

Now, I stand here, with my reality partly broken down by certain events. As I stated in my last post, my reality turned out not to be strong enough. Why? Because it didn’t have a solid foundation to stand on. This foundation is the subject of this post.

When considering a foundation to lay a reality upon, it is important to realize that the “pillars” of my reality have to be impervious to outside forces. That is, they have to be incontrovertible – they cannot be disproven. What do we call things that cannot be proven to be false?


These facts that make up my reality cannot be proven to be false, ever. They cannot. The Facts, as I’ve called them, are always going to be true, no matter what – when framed correctly. For example, say one of these Facts was that I am a man of action (and it is; it’s Fact #3). One could try to disprove this by saying that, if, for one day, I refused to take responsibility or didn’t get something done, then I would not be a man of action. I counter by saying that it was only one day, and one day does not change who I am fundamentally. The other person counters with the suggestion that, perhaps, 2 days would contradict the fact that I am a man of action. Again, I would say that that 2 days would not change who I am fundamentally.

And, so on it goes, until an infinite number of days is reached, and still, as paradoxical as that is, no matter the number of days that I act like a man of inaction, I will always be a man of action. Thus, the fact cannot be proven to be wrong – at least, in my reality.

I meditated pretty seriously on my list, and wrote what I wanted down. Here are…

The Facts
1. I am enough. I am high value.
2. I give my love to everyone and everything; they all deserve it.
3. I am a man of action.
4. Everything I do is quality.
5. There is neither good nor bad. Everything simply is.
6. I’m always feeling incredible, bursting with positivity, passion, and energy.
7. I am expressive – my actions radiate the internal bliss I have and communicate my core personality.
8. I am always present; needless thoughts do not cloud my head.
9. Everything is a means unto itself.
10. I am always evolving; I am always growing; I am always improving. I do not rest on my laurels.
11. I lead people into my reality.

All of the facts on my list are important in their own right, and if I were to discuss them, this post would be several thousand words long. This week, I’ll dissect The Facts, paying special attention to each in each of my posts. That way, you and I will further understand my reality and what it’s like to live in it.

Later today, I realized that my reality wasn’t as strong as it could be because I didn’t have purpose. Well, luckily, the God of all self-improvement bloggers, Steve Pavlina, bailed me out with an excellent post on discovering purpose. With that exercise, in about 20 minutes, I did discover my purpose (although I didn’t end up crying, I came very, very close):

My purpose is to be a leader who is confident, independent, and lives in accordance with his values; to be a limitless fountain of love and positive energy; to create an enduring reality of bliss and love through creative and congruent self-expression; to lead others into a reality of love and acceptance and awaken the best in them; to always grow and improve myself; and to give my full effort and attention to every moment.

With The Facts and my purpose, I now have a solid foundation as well as a direction to my reality. I deliberately wrote my purpose so that it could be fulfilled in any possible moment – that way, there’s accountability and I am always forced to stay on my path. If, for example, my purpose was to become the best hockey player ever (not going to happen; it’s just for fun for me), during the time that I wouldn’t be practicing, I could just say, “Oh, I guess I don’t have to act on my purpose since I’m not on the ice” and all direction to my life goes out the window. My purpose also preserves balance – there is no focus on any one area of my life in particular, so I can fulfill it in creative ways. For example, even now I am fulfilling my purpose since I am improving myself by writing this post – not only through making the ideas more clear by expressing them, but also by improving my writing skills. This is also an activity that fulfills my need for creative and congruent self-expression.

Stay tuned for articles dedicated to defining the facts themselves, and how they work. Tomorrow’s post will be on the redone, yet again, Operation Hamilton. Except, this time, I’ll make it final, for it will contain the most thought possible.