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[AKN #22] Know thy self, how to make a suitcase, and Nordic prison or luxury SF apartment?
another krappy newsletter #22
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Hope you had a Merry Christmas! I am allowed to say that because Christmas is actually an agnostic national holiday. Think about it. Everywhere except Chinese restaurants take the day off and they are only open to feed the demand of non-Christmas celebrators. Low key, everyone is merry on December 25th. So hope you enjoyed the time off even if you aren’t fake Catholic like most of America.
Don’t mind me. I am just out here fighting the War on Christmas.
This is my last post of 2020.
Which is the kind of dubious milestone that forces you to stop and reflect about the previous year. It has me thinking about what I would like to change next year and what I would like to keep the same.
Honestly, I feel lucky. I don’t want to change anything that drastically. I want to do some slightly different things. Or emphasize some things more next year as opposed to how I did this year. But overall, I am in a good place.
Spirits are high. There is a vaccine coming. There is herd immunity coming. And look out world cause there is another New Years Resolutions hot take coming.
On to the newsletter!
Table of Contents
Understand your psychology to actually fulfill your New Year’s Resolutions
Vacuum forming a suitcase
Nordic prison or luxury SF apartment?
1. Understand your psychology to actually fulfill your New Year’s Resolutions
Most people will not achieve their New Years Resolutions because they don’t understand their psychology.
I know because that used to be me. It was routine to enter New Years full of hope that I will change something. I would come up with a dope New Years rezzy with some aspirational reasoning behind it. I would come out hot. Get it going. Maybe make a nice little vision board. But then when I looked up three months later, I had regressed back to pre New Years me…
In doing the post mortem on my failed attempts and successful attempts, I realize that my main issues have come from not understanding how I personally work. Rather than setting up a structure that allows me to push the metaphorical boulder down a hill, I would routinely choose to enter a Sisyphusean struggle by creating routines that I would have NEVER kept up with if I was honest with myself.
The way to succeed with habit change is a two step process. The first step is self awareness. The second step is actually changing. This post is a deep dive on the self awareness step and how I have come to understand what I will and won’t do.
Perhaps this is something you have also struggled with. It might not work exactly like this for you, but hopefully you can take a nugget or two away from it and it can avoid you months of disappointment.
Kevin’s Personal Operating Manual for actually doing the thing I want to do
If I want to achieve a goal or change a habit, I need the following conditions to be met:
I need an audience. I am a performer. I like positive praise, feedback, and attention. I found that I can use this to my advantage when trying to stick with new habits and routines. I do this by “building an audience” to review my progress.
Three concrete ways that I have “built an audience” for some habit I am trying to keep up on:
Hire a coach. I hired MyBodyTutor to do daily check ins on where I am at with meeting my fitness goals. The service provides me with an audience of one coach who I text what I ate every single day. Having that accountability makes it much easier to stick to it when things get hard because I don’t want to let the coach down.
Take a live course. I succeeded in starting a writing habit by signing up for Write of Passage: an online writing course that is done over Zoom with hundreds of other real people in real time. Like this was a legit college course basically. There were lectures and discussion sections… The structure allowed me to make friends who give me positive reinforcement for engaging with the material. The teacher tells me I am doing a great job. My classmates tell me I am doing a great job. It just works. Long live the class room and the Socratic method.
Starting a newsletter. I committed to delivering a newsletter to you all every Tuesday. I don’t want to let you down so I keep hitting the deliverable. It is actually a very effective way to keep me on top of things.
I need competition. I love to compete against other people. I have a fairly unhealthy competitive streak in me which I need to check every now and again. I will often times find myself like “why do you care so much?” Good question. But having that baseline competitive nature can work well if put into something that moves you closer to your goals. I bring my best effort when I feel like someone may beat me.
Three ways I have used this:
Group workout classes. Let’s get one thing straight, if you are lifting next to me at a class, we are in a competition. No one is going to outright say it. But you and I know better. I am competing with you. You are competing with me. This is how my mind works in workout classes. If I get paired up with the right partner, this is great. I will push harder than I would have alone.
Leaderboards. One of the best things about Peloton is that it does this thing where it lets you know how other people performed in the same workout. Hello untapped energy reserve! Not losing to some 48 year old from Tennessee named Rocky Top Gal. Fuck you, Rocky Top Gal. First of all, you are a cheater and you know it. Where did you get all those pink 50s you cheating whore! Like I said. Healthy competitive streak in me.
Weight loss challenges and competitions. If I want to ensure that I will be compliant to something, add in a competition with other people I know. Things like a simple public spreadsheet where we tracked our weight or a board in our house that has our weights written on it week over week force me to rise to the challenge.
Limit moderation where I have trouble exhibiting moderation. In certain contexts, I can do 0. I can do 100. But I cannot do 50. For example, if I drink 1 beer, I will drink 5. I do not possess the ability to stop myself.
If I want to accomplish some new goal or habit, I need to deal with this odd piece of my personality. Where is somewhere I cannot control myself?
Examples of what I have found:
Slow Carb diet. This is the diet that I have had the most success with over the years because it programs in the fact that we don’t have moderation around a lot of foods.
Snacks. I cannot really control myself around baked goods and goldfish. Eliminating them is easier than being tempted by them.
Alcohol. Is there value in figuring out how to drink 2 beers? Sure. But I have not been successful at getting there. Instead, it is much easier for me to say “I am not going to drink 6 days a week and I am going to get White Girl Wasted on Saturday.”
Deleting social media apps from my phone. I cannot not look. If it is on my phone I will use it. If it is only on the desktop version, I will use it responsibly. This has worked for Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. If one of your goals is to limit your social media intake. I would say you should consider deleting the mobile app. You will be surprised at how your usage level stops considerably. Stop pretending you have moderation or that you are going to follow the stupid “social media batching” appointment you set in your calendar.
I will execute simple. I will eventually stop complex. The more complex a task gets, the more likely I am to stop doing it.
Substack vs Wordpress for publishing. WordPress is unnecessarily complicated. It is so frustrating. I will routinely find myself stuck formatting a text box rather than publishing something. I have recently stopped posting on my personal blog because I find the interface so irritating. Whereas Substack is just a Google Doc where you press publish at the end. SO MUCH EASIER. I look forward to using the interface because it is so clean. If it is simple, I will use it.
Peloton. I talked about this in my Peloton post. But basic premise here: it is a gym in my guest bedroom. I am much more likely to use it because it is so close by.
Get real about why I want what I say I want. There is this desire to approach goal setting like a college admissions essay. Like someone is going to ultimately be judging you on why you want to do what you want to do. This ends up with these eye rolly mission statements for why people want to lose weight or go back to school. Honestly, just get real. Use real people words.
Losing weight. Someone who wants to lose weight might say something like: “I want to do this to show to future generations that this is possible!” Its like. Yea. Ok. I guess. But is that actually the reason why you want to lose weight? Like cool cause…but I just feel like its way more likely that you want to look good naked. That is OK. You don’t have to construct this false virtue signaling narrative about the future. Just tell me you like having a six pack and you like attention from the opposite (or same) sex. I would get that. Cause I am human. And that’s why we do stuff.
Going back to school. Every person who I have ever talked to about going back to school is doing it because they want to make more money. But ask them for their reason and it will be something like “blah blah blah getting an MBA will strategically position me to blah blah blah”. Bro. You are going back to school, why are you still talking like you live that corporate life? You are a greedy fuck just like the rest of us and you want a five to six figure raise in a well established industry. I get it. Makes sense.
If I don’t have these things in place in some way shape or form, I have found that I will not keep going on some audacious plan I have to change careers, lose weight, save the world or whatever.
Let me know if you have any systems or things you do to account for your own unique weirdness. I always laugh at how the most successful people I have ever met have very specific idiosyncracies and ways in which they channel them to their advantage.
If this type of discussion is new to you and you would like to try it out yourself, I have a few tips:
Take a personality test. Like actually. I know it sounds a little bit woo woo, but I find this to be a really powerful way to at least have a framework around why you do what you do. Use them as a compass mostly. Like can they point me in the correct direction?
The most effective one that I have found is the Enneagram.
As an example for how this can be helpful, I am an Enneagram Type 3. If you read up on that, you will see that a lot of my findings above have come from what motivates Type 3s.
Disclaimer: Listen. I totally get it. You probably think this is fucking stupid. You probably won’t do it. But I assure you that it can be helpful in knowing how you can get yourself to be more effective. Idk. Maybe I am full of shit. It would sort of fit the blog name…
Do a post mortem on when you set a goal and did not succeed. What happened?
Do a post mortem on when you set a goal and succeedd. What happened?
Reach out and ask me for advice! I would love to help you out. I find human behavior really fascinating so I am always down to nerd out on this type of thing.
2. Vacuum forming a suitcase
This is a dope video showing how they make the outer surface on some plastic suitcases.
A little lesson in what is going on in this GIF.
This is a process called vacuum forming.
High-level: You heat up a thermoplastic sheet with infrared heaters, you force that now hot sheet against a cooled mold (or mould if you are British), and then you suck out all of the air with a vacuum and allow it to cool.
British friendly infographic of vacuum forming
A mold is made with the shape and features you want. For a suitcase, you are creating a mold that is ribbed (for her pleasure) in order to create the desired features.
The mold is placed into the vacuum former oven.
A plastic sheet is clamped above, but not on the mold.
In the oven, the heater is positioned above the plastic. This will heat up, warming the plastic, and allowing it to become flexible and moldable. After a few minutes, the plastic should be at a temperature to allow molding.
The mold’s platform is moved upwards and into the flexible plastic.
The vacuum is then switched on, removing all air from the oven. This allows the plastic to form to the shape of the mold.
Once cooled, the sheet is then removed from the oven, the mold is removed, and any excess trimmed.
Sources to learn more:
Note to reader: I have been really enjoying doing these manufacturing deep dives. If you have anything that you have always wanted to know regarding how they make something or why some famous engineering disaster happened, let me know and I will publish a post on it.
3. Nordic prison or luxury SF apartment?
I can say without a doubt that these Nordic prison cells are 1000x better than most SF apartments I have seen.
A classic moment in pre-pandemic times right out of college: you head over to your friend’s place for a pregame. At this point, you find out your friend lives in a partitioned off common space in a 900 sq foot one bedroom with three other people.
“How quaint!” you say in a “trying not to be condescending, but ultimately coming off as condescending” tone.
Those days were dope though. I am sure things are lame as fuck in Norway.
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