Feb. 1st, 2014 09:47 am
flexagon: (humans...)
So there's some medium-big stuff I haven't written about here, that I won't write about here. (It's more or less over.) Funny thing about me is that I accept these "don't talk about it" deals willingly; and I keep my word; but then if there's something on my mind that I feel I can't share, I have a tendency to clam up entirely, about everything. I feel confused, stuck, like someone pressed my "mute" button.

The canonical example of this is surely the way I didn't write to my grandparents for, uh, ten years, after agreeing with my mom that I wouldn't tell them about my biological child Birdie. I finally decided it was more cruel to not write than to keep a secret (one little secret... but I hate them), and I was writing regularly just about every two weeks until something else came along that I decided not to tell them about. For the last year I've barely written.

I think probably this reliance that I have on complete freedom of speech is non-adaptive, that I should learn to get more comfortable with limitations. I don't even know what goes on in my head to make it happen though. Maybe I consider it normal to talk/write about the thing that's most on my mind; so if I write/talk about B when A is really on my mind more, it feels deceptive.

Any comments or advice, citizens of LJ who maybe don't write about everything?
flexagon: (racing-turtle)
From the last will and testament I just ordered from, in the section regarding how my funeral is to be held:

I specifically ask that people withhold judgement of other people's reactions to my death. It is explicitly all right with me if some people are relieved or happy, or simply do not grieve as is considered "normal". All reactions are to be accepted. Judgmental people will be haunted to the best of my ability.
flexagon: (racing-turtle)
Dear internet,

It's Thursday, and so I'm feeling a little lonely. So far this business trip has had two fantastically redeeming virtues though, not counting the sun and warmth of California:

1) I cleaned out my Amazon wish list on Mon/Tues and I'm AMAZED how good it feels to have done so. I bought about nine things (almost all used) and deleted a few more than that, and now I have four things remaining on the list. On my way to me in the mail: very random selection of used children's books, science fiction, the Sims 2 official game guide, a cookbook, a CD, recreational mathematics. :)

2) Bought and devoured a book called The Talent Code and I thought it kind of rocked. In subject matter, it's about how skills are learned... and that means it's largely about brains (BRAAAAINS) and about how neural pathways are enforced via wrappings of myelin around the nerve fiber. In authorial tone, it's entertaining and easy on the ear.

Most inspirational point (to me): myelin doesn't care who you are--it cares what you do. When a neural circuit fires, oligodendrocytes and other supporter cells sense it and reach out to wrap that circuit with myelin (which acts as electrical insulation). Signals can travel down a well-myelinated circuit up to 200x faster than down a non-myelinated circuit, and myelin can even alter the speed of a signal so that (for instance) two signals arrive in the same place at the same time. [No wonder it feels "natural" to do something you've done a million times before. It's not false modesty on your part, or getting used to how something feels over time, it's the actual perception of using a part of your brain that's become wired for broadband signal transmission.]

So skills are formed by firing the circuit, thoughtfully, attentively. Fine tuning, adjusting, getting out there and firing it and firing it. Another quote I liked very much: Struggle is not an option: it's a biological requirement. Myelin doesn't know who you are or why you're doing something, but it rewards attempted precision with more precision and more ease.

And this theory makes so much sense: skills are generally formed slowly instead of quickly because, though neurons fire fast, wrapping the suckers is slow. It may take days or weeks for a single section of myelin to curl up tight into the 40-50 wraps around an axon that it's capable of. Myelinating a big circuit takes a lot of time and dedication. You have to care enough to keep firing it for all that time. Becoming a world-class anything takes around 10,000 hours of practice, as documented in many books before this.

So, I knew some of that, but the book gave me more to think about. It talks about how to practice effectively, and that's useful. It also discusses "talent hotbeds", the places where huge blooms of talent seem to arise, and coaching techniques, and the things that trigger different people to have the energy and drive and passion it takes to myelinate like crazy. And, all somewhat speculative neuroscience aside, that is the chapter that taught me something so huge about myself that I don't want to blog it. I want to know my own triggers... I don't necessarily want the world to know them.

P.S. Miss you, kitty.
flexagon: (racing-turtle)
I'm 32 today, and I'm working from home (not voluntary, our office is temporarily closed as a health measure; but it's an interesting break from routine).
I'm 32 today, and I just got diagnosed with mild sleep apnea, which is no surprise and I guess is my next health improvement project.
I'm 32 today, and yesterday I pretty much did my splits on the left AND right sides.
I'm 32 today, and the significance of this number in binary does not escape me. I expect to get comments about being 10000 anyway, because that's the way my crowd rolls.
I'm 32 today, and my financial advisor says what can I say... you are an oasis in an otherwise very stormy economy. It's good to be an oasis.
I'm 32 today, and I pretty much worked all weekend, but you know, that's okay from time to time.
I'm 32 today, and for my birthday I got a Furminator and a regular expressions cheat skirt.
I'm 32 today, and my caffeine levels are lower than they've been in probably a decade.
I'm 32 today, and this morning I did half an hour on the elliptical and then did 25 pull-ups. My actual workout will be this evening. :)

My present to myself is this new "racing turtle" icon. It's made from a scan of an old t-shirt. I loved that t-shirt to death but I still have the turtle... The happy, confident, body-modifying turtle who decided to augment himself and go fast. :) He's a bit less wary than my "putt putt putt" icon, while continuing to have a theme of motion. I might have to sharpen him up sometime; his gray outline is a little blurry when he's reduced down so far. But I love him anyhow.
flexagon: (Default)
Hahaha. Well, I'm done worrying about the ambition thing for now. I just had a perfect illustration of how and why goals don't always work for me, on Monday, when I went to see Flea the financial advisor. He and I had set some "goals" for me a few years ago, and those goals have been left in the dust... and frankly, I find that motivating. It's fun to be out ahead.

Later that night I also finished something I originally planned to spend a year on, after almost exactly nine months (cue the pregnancy jokes!), and that one was an ambitious project/goal indeed. I started it with LOTS of skills still necessary to acquire along the way.

People should, and probably have a moral obligation to, know what works for them. I have a growing belief that my style works for me. For one thing, since I do apply myself assiduously to improving the things I'm working on, I'm not sure what difference it would make for me to have longer-term goals. I stick with things anyway. And, not to burst into song or anything, but all one can ever do anyway is what you can do today. Now is when we live.

I don't know why I feel so driven to clarify myself, lately, given that it doesn't work very well. :)
flexagon: (Default)
Sometimes I wonder out loud if I should be more ambitious, and the response is usually "silly [ profile] flexagon, you ARE ambitious!".

Then I'm like "Oh yeah? Show me my goals then" and they're all "Look at all the stuff you do" and things devolve from there.

I think I've figured this out. I think I really only count it as ambition when there are long-term specific goals that assume/demand a lot of progress. For example, a plan to go to (and get through) med school is ambitious. Training to run a marathon, when one can currently only run 5 miles, is ambitious. Planning to get promoted in a year is ambitious, at a new job.

Stretching every day and working hard at stuff in one's current job description is just disciplined, not ambitious. (And I am disciplined, I won't fight you on that.) For the most part, I work on applying myself to things I can do, plus the next incremental step. Obviously that can take a person a long way, and the idea is to blink and look around every now and then to see where one is, and yet I would call no particular part of the process ambitious since it's all focused on the present and the immediate future.

Is my personal lexicon just way off from the way these words are used?


flexagon: (Default)

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