Today I Feel Like Doing Nothing…and Why I Hate Days Like This

Via Wikipedia

We’ve all had days like these, in which bathing in an absolute state of utter laziness is the only thing we want to do. I know I’ve had my fair share…Of course, I use the term “do” here rather generously, for it is precisely the absence or lack of doing that is sought on such days.

It is ironic to me just how strong this feeling is, despite the fact that I absolutely hate such days. Do keep in mind that “hate” is a word I do my best to refrain as much as possible from using, due to its strength. Regardless, I will not even attempt to refrain from using it in this situation, because it portrays my feelings all too well.

You see, I like accomplishing things. They don’t need to be huge, or extremely important (though I wouldn’t mind it), as long as at the end of the day, I can proudly look back and see that something got done. Little things, like cleaning up a room, or reading 20 pages from a book can make me feel like the day wasn’t wasted.

One of the people I respect the most used to constantly remind me that each day I need to be better than I was the day before. He referred specifically to learning, because he was a teacher, and so this followed naturally. However, I think this can be taken more generally. You can be a better person by doing a simple gesture, such as giving an elder your seat on the bus. And then of course, you can be a better person by gaining more knowledge, by adding to the pool of known information yet another fact.

I believe in being better each day very strongly. This is like a driving force, able to give constant motivation.

And yet, there are days when “being accomplished” is the last thing I want to achieve, on a practical level. I say “on a practical level”, because as far as my beliefs go, they don’t change. Strangely enough, my desires collide. Here I am, stuck between not what I want to do and what I should do, but between what I want to do, and what I want to do. A strange feeling, indeed!

At the end of the day, I always try as best as I can to remind myself that this feeling of laziness is nothing more than the result of chemicals working funny in my brain. That’s all there is to it, though it sure feels like much, much more.

The thing that always ends up helping me get over this “I feel like doing nothing” feeling is always thinking of how important it is to me to advance each and every day. As I said, I don’t strive for necessarily big things. Something easy is enough, so long as it gets me going. The rest comes easy after that.

 

Then, of course, there are days in which taking a break is a good idea. But there’s a crucial difference between these types of days, and days like today, and this difference rests in a conscious decision to take a break. I figure this is much better than falling pray to chemistry that has gone awry.

Is there anything that motivates you to keep moving even when you reaaally don’t feel like it? I’d love to hear your input on this one 🙂

/Larisa

Advertisements

“Think Like a Freak”, Plus a Few Words on Creativity

Via freakonomics.com

As promised, I am writing a separate post about “Think Like a Freak”, by Stephen Dubner and Steven D Levitt. This book is scheduled to come out on May 13, and it looks like it’s going to be very interesting. In essence, what they’re trying to do here is to teach their readers how to think outside the box. They also promise to evaluate decisions we make in our lives and the morals we apply, and to show the readers tricks that will help in thinking better.

This is pretty much all that we can know right now, but if you’d like to get a better sense of how the book will deliver on its promises, you can click here to be taken to a post one of the writers made about it. On that link you’ll also find the table of contents.

To prepare for the release of this book, I wanted to discuss a few quotes that speak about creativity and its importance. It’s been known for quite a while that thinking outside the box is extremely important. Since this is the topic of this book, getting a sense of the ideas that paved the way to it would be quite interesting.

Via static.flickr.com

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”

-Brené Brown

If you look through quotes on creativity, you’ll find that a lot of them speak about the idea that taking a risk is a crucial part of being creative. Of course, in order to take a risk, you have to accept that you’ll feel vulnerable. Creativity implies the danger of failure, but it’s not something we should run away from. If we fail, then we know what not to do, and if we succeed, well…then it’s all good.

“White. A blank page or canvas. So many possibilities.”

-Stephen Sondheim

This captures the way a creative person thinks very well. The “blank page or canvas” can be anything that needs work. For a writer, it is indeed a page, for an interior decorator, an apartment. But even a piece of wood, a rock, or an engine can all be considered the starting point for something absolutely amazing.

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

-Albert Einstein

Knowledge is extremely important, but when it comes to creating something new, it fails miserably. That’s why creativity is so much more important: from it, new ideas can emerge. Imagination is the starting point for inventions, then knowledge comes to fill in the small details.

“A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.”

-Ayn Rand

Since I’m currently reading an Ayn Rand book, when I saw this quote by her I thought I should include it. Creativity, and what is born from it, are rewards in it of themselves, and thus, they you can find motivation in them.

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”

-Scott Adams

We’ve gone full circle with this last quote, which touches the same idea as the first. Making mistakes is normal in creativity. But among those mistakes, there might just be a few that are, in fact, not real mistakes. They might appear to be that because they’re unusual. That’s where the genius of creativity steps in, helping you realize which “mistakes” you should keep. That’s also how art begins.

I am very curious to find out what “Think Like a Freak” will add to the lessons thought by these quotes. In the meantime, if you’d like to immerse yourself in more quotes, make sure to head over to Quotery, which is where I found all the quotes I used in this post.

Have a wonderful day!

/Larisa

Get in touch with me:

Facebook

How NOT to Study …and What You Should Do Instead

Via Deviantart.net

So here’s the deal. I’m supposed to be studying, but for some reason, all I want to do is write. Ha! I said “for some reason”, as if I didn’t know what that reason was. But I do. Over the years, writing has become my favorite thing to do, particularly at a time when stress is running high like now. You see, I’ve entered exam season. In case you’re not familiar with this 5th season, it’s a time when the world outside just stops existing, and all that is left is the simple act of studying.

That’s how it’s supposed to be, at least, but let’s be honest: nothing is ever the way it’s supposed to be. Thing is, the world has a way of re-appearing from time to time, and just distracting the students, who are completely helpless in front of its evil workings. What a jerk.

Ok, now, enough with the jokes. Let’s get serious, or at least try to. “The world” shouldn’t take the blame for offering small distractions. Instead, the student should not accept those distractions.

But man, is it hard! After months of being a good student, and concentrating on studying, my mind just sort of …leaps forward. Both my mind and I want summer, and the break it brings with it. It’s so close I can almost touch it!

 here’s how not to study:

1. Don’t sit with your computer/laptop/Ipad/phone on top of your notes, and fool yourself into thinking that’s studying. It ain’t. Unless, of course, you need your computer/laptop/Ipad/phone for studying. But then all other windows or applications should be off, so as not to tempt you.

2. If your “breaks” are longer than your studying periods, they’re not breaks. Take it for what it is, and tell people you’re catching up with the internet, and when it bores you, you study for five minutes. Then of course, you realize reading is much more boring than staring at your laptop’s screen, so you go back to doing that.

3. Learning won’t happen while you’re singing along to whatever song you’ve just found. First of all, how on earth did you just discover a new song while studying? And secondly, either turn that music off or change it to something with no lyrics. Unless, of course, they’re going to be asking you on the exam about the words in that song. If that’s so, continue…

4. Staring at a blank wall isn’t studying either. It’s just staring at a blank wall. In fact, it’s much the same as staring at a computer screen, without the strain on the eye.

5. Complaining about all the studying you have to do won’t get you bonus points. In fact, it might get you negative social points, because all you’re doing is pissing everyone on social media off with your “suffering”. The people who don’t have to study won’t feel your pain, and the ones that do have to study, are probably studying. Note that this act does not involve social media whatsoever, so the only group of people who could possibly understand what you’re going through won’t read your updates.

Via staticflickr.com

What You Should Do Instead

I have, however, found a method of studying that doesn’t make me want to throw everything in the garbage and run away. Well, it does still involve some self control, but that’s not all.

1. Take short breaks every 20 to 30 minutes. Did you see what I did there? I said “short” breaks, which by definition don’t exceed 10 minutes in length. This way, your brain won’t get exhausted with all the info it has to absorb.

2. Think of how you can apply the knowledge you’re learning in real life situations. This will motivate you to study, and it might just make it…dare I say?…fun!

3.Turn that damn computer off. And any other device that might be tempting you. Seriously, do it.

4. Don’t eat like it’s not your own body that will suffer the consequences. Your brain needs healthy food to work properly. Help it.

5. De-stress. Exams are stressful, but you shouldn’t let yourself be constantly stressed. Do something that calms you down. As you might have figured by now, writing is how I relax. Also drinking a cup of tea seems to help. As for you, find whatever it is that calms you down, and do it.

 

Now you know what doesn’t work, so you won’t have any excuse to continue doing it. Although something tells me you don’t really need any excuses. Well, if you’re feeling adventurous, try doing the five things I recommended, and you might just be surprised with the results 🙂

Have fun studying!

/Larisa

Three Books I’m Welcoming to My Library

DSCN1283

The other day I paid a visit to Chapter’s, to make a few much desired purchases. Did I say a few? Well, in fact I only meant to get one book, but I ended up walking out the store with two guest purchases. I don’t regret it one bit, and I hope that reading them won’t make me change my mind.

The first purchase was “The Sixth Extinction”, by Kolbert. I wrote a post about this book when I heard of it, and ever since then I’ve been wanting to get my hands on it. Well, now it’s here, and I can calm down.

DSCN1287

One of the “surprise” books I got was “The God Delusion”, by Dawkins. I have never read anything by him, but I’m surely excited to begin. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this specific book, and seeing it on the shelf reminded me of that.

DSCN1286

The last of my purchases was “How to Create a Mind”, by Kurzweil. I have never heard of this book, but the title intrigued me for two reasons. One, as you may have noted, it has the word “mind” in it. If you’re wondering, the presence of that word doesn’t make me instantly want to purchase something, but the combination with the rest of the phrase intrigued me. Plus, it continues with “The secret of human thought revealed”. That, and the description at the back made me want to learn more. The second reason had to do with the wording. Working as a sales copywriter, I can recognize the tricks people use to get their products to sell. Beginning a title with “How to…” is one of them. I’m by no means condemning the technique. As you’ve surely noticed, it is the second reason that made me purchase the book. Even if I the material found in the book will not delight me, I’m sure it will be delivered in a pleasant manner. I flipped through the book just to make sure, and indeed, the writer’s manner of writing is clear and mesmerizing.

DSCN1285

There are two more books I’m hoping to get my hands on, just to make sure I’ll have enough reading material for the summer. Specifically, I want to buy “Freedom Evolves”, by Dennett, and  “Think Like A Freak”, by Dubner and Levitt. The former is quite difficult to read if I’m not mistaken. As for the latter, I’ll make a separate post just for it. Anyway, even if I don’t get to purchase them now, I’m quite content with the ones I got recently.

 

I hope I’ll have time to read all these books this summer. I am very excited about them, but at the same time, there are other books I hope to read. For starters, the “Fiction” section of Life’s Books has been quite deserted, and I want to change that. Actually, I’m not about to change it very soon, because the book I’m reading right now is non-fiction as well. Oops :/ Well, it’s on my “to do” list, so you can expect a fiction book in the near future.

I hope you are all doing well 🙂

/Larisa

 

Spring’s Lessons

DSCN1174

I was taking a walk recently in the midst of trees blooming and the caressing light of the sunset, and I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed. It seems to me that spring is just the perfect season for realizing how beautiful life is, but also for understanding that there’s little time to take in all that beauty. I do realize that I’m making some pretty solid claims, so I’ll explain myself.

The first part, that spring reminds us of beauty, I think is pretty self explanatory. It’s hard not to think so, when everything around you is dressed up in nature’s most beautiful attire. Wherever you turn, there’s a beautiful scent to welcome you. When the wind comes out to play, it starts raining with soft petals. Sometimes, the same wind takes those petals and pulls them up in the air, as if trying to show them off to the world.

I think there’s something to be said about the contrast between spring and winter, because it plays a big role in accentuating spring’s beauty. I don’t mean to say that winter is ugly in comparison, because it surely has its own elegance. However, seeing the branches of trees that have been deserted, fill themselves not with leaves, but with flowers, which are infinitely more beautiful, is quite the spectacle. Where there has been silence, now there’s the song of birds to occupy it. After three months of silence, the most beautiful song in the world sounds even more dazzling than it would have normally.

As for my second claim, that spring reminds us of the limited amount of time we have, it might not apply to everyone. For me, however, it does just that. As I’m admiring the view that surrounds me, I cannot help but think of the fact that it will not last for long. The trees will soon lose all their flowers, and leaves will take their rightful place. It’s not a tragedy by any means, because the deep green of those leaves is bound to delight the eyes that fall on it. But you see, we get to spend so much more time with that green than with the white or pink that flowers wear, that it’s easier to get bored of it. And so, we find ourselves in a constraint when it comes to the flowers of the trees. We love them, but we won’t spend a lot of time with them.

DSCN1168

This makes me want to take advantage of every moment I get to enjoy them. I take more walks, I take my nose out of my phone more, and I also find myself looking out the window more. Even when there’s something else I have to do, I prefer to do it outside. So I’ll often take my notes, and study in the park. The fact that I do all this just to get to spend more time with spring is quite unique. Normally, I don’t go out of my way to do things like these. If there’s something I want to do, but don’t have enough time for it, I simply tell myself I’ll do it later.

And that’s precisely where I’m wrong. I don’t have all the time in the world, as I seem to think. While I’m busy finishing whatever needs to be finished, the world around changes. It might change so much that by the time I could do the thing I wanted to do, that thing will no longer be there. Even if it will remain, my attitude towards it might change, so that I won’t want it anymore. “So what?”, you might wander, “if I don’t want it anymore, then where’s the trouble?”. Well, the trouble is that you wanted it at some point, but you didn’t do anything about it. You essentially lost a chance at doing something you would have enjoyed in that moment.

Now, I’m not saying that people should always do whatever they want, and forget about responsibilities. In fact, I think we should never forget about responsibilities. But we should learn to balance them.

As I’m looking out the window now, there are very few trees with flowers left. I do feel a hint of regret in me, but at the same time, I feel happy with myself for having taken advantage of what spring had to offer. I haven’t grasped the appreciation technique quite completely, but I’m starting 🙂

DSCN1184

/Larisa