Here’s a list of the various types of blog posts I’m making:
- A blog post that solves a problem or answers a question.
- A post summarizing something I’ve read or watched.
- A list of stuff, kinda like what you’re reading right now.
- Something I learned or noticed recently, an insight of some sort.
- Random stuff I’m pondering.
- Random stuff I’m doing or trying.
- Tips and tricks for doing stuff.
- Reviews and recommendations on stuff I found useful or interesting.
- A short story of some sort.
- If I’m being lazy or lack the time, I might just share an article or video about something instead.
Looking back at some of the stuff I’ve written over the years, I’m starting to see a pattern of some sort. I can’t quite categorize the various blog posts I’m writing but I now have a general sense of the type of blog posts I want to write.
What do we have against birds? What makes the saying, “Kill two birds with one stone” so well known? Have you seen or heard of anyone killing birds with a stone before?
Well, back in the old days, humans probably throw rocks at birds in an attempt to kill them. It’s a crude way of getting dinner but hey, food is food. Perhaps that was how the saying originated, who knows.
In any case, the saying basically means to solve two problems with one action, something like a win-win solution. But it’s really outdated and so un-bird-friendly. Let’s come up with twenty bird-friendly ways of saying that idiom, starting with:
- Kill two flies with one swat. Well, I did say bird-friendly, not fly-friendly.
- Fill two needs with one deed. I really like this one.
- Fix two bugs with one line. For all the programmers out there, this is the mythical line of code you’ve been searching for.
- Crack two coconuts with one hit. Do you even know how to crack open a coconut? It’s a vital survival skill if you’re ever trapped in a tiny tropical island with only a coconut tree as your companion.
- Read two page with one glance. Probably an impossible act, doubt most people can even read one page with just a glance.
- Break two banks with one swipe. Ah yes, the power of an impulsive buyer. Please don’t ruin yourself financially.
- Buy two for the price of one. Very creative of me, very creative indeed.
- Wake two mates with one snore. If you ever stayed in a backpacker’s hostel, you might have experienced this.
- Fell two trees with one swing. Again, bird-friendly, not tree-friendly. Wait, birds live on trees!
- Sink two balls with one stroke. For those who play snooker or billiards.
- Hit two pins with one bowl. If you only managed to hit two pins on your first try, it might be one of your more embarrassing moments in a bowling game. Unless it’s the 7-10 split, in that case, bask in your glory.
- Mail two letters with one stamp. Don’t think it’s possible to split a stamp into two letters but worth a try someday.
- Solve two issues with one tissue. At least this one rhymes!
- Hold two thoughts with one mind. F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
- Eat two meals with one deal. Maybe some restaurants can start a “lunch and dinner combo meal deal” or maybe a “two lunch in a row deal”. Students would love it.
- Catch two rabbits with one trap. Whoever said “He who chases two rabbits catches none” clearly have not heard of the concept of setting up traps.
- Catch two birds with one trap. Okay, this isn’t exactly bird-friendly but at least they’re not killed. Yeah, I’m running out of ideas.
- See two moons with one stare. I believe this saying has a completely different meaning, something like being drunk on a full moon perhaps.
- Hit two apples with one shot. If the classic shooting an apple off someone’s head is a display of marksmanship, it only stands to reason that hitting two apples must be twice as amazing. Surely that’s how it works, right?
- Solve two unknowns with one equation. Remember simultaneous equations where we need two equations to solve for two unknows? Wouldn’t it be amazing if we can solve for those two unknowns with just one equation?
True to what I wrote yesterday, here are twenty ways to get people to take action. Enjoy.
- Point a gun on their head. The easiest and most effective way is to raise the stakes so high, that they can’t NOT do it. They won’t like it but it gets the job done.
- Give them money. Yes, money talks. It’s not as effective as the gun on their head method but at least they won’t hate you as much. Also, this method is known to backfire depending on the circumstances.
- Do what Tom Sawyer did and trick them to want to do it. Might not be easy depending on what action it is but there’s probably a way.
- Tell them that their neighbors or people they care about are taking action. Similar to the results of a study done by the University of Exeter, they found that people use less energy (gas and electricity) if they believe their neighbors do as well.
- Persuade them to take action. It sounds simple but how do you do that? By becoming a master persuader. That’s a term I learned recently from famous cartoonist Scott Adam, creator of Dilbert, in his book Win Bigly. Which reminds me, I ought to write about that book in a separate blog post after I finished it.
- Appeal to their moral beliefs. Show them that it’s the right thing to do.
- Appeal to their religious belief. That’s another possible approach.
- Use logic and numbers to get them to want to take action. Again, this method can backfire easily as people tend to believe only the facts that support their conclusion.
- Get to the root cause of why they don’t want to take action and solve that. Unfortunately, we have a tendency to come up with one excuse after another on why we don’t or can’t do something. Still worth a try though.
- Perhaps if the action is too big of a step, break it down into easy bite-size steps and start from there. Sometimes, the hard part is simply starting. Once they got started, momentum will naturally follow and they will take action.
- Get them interested. Appeal to their curiosity and make them want to take action. Give them a strong reason why would want to do it.
- Create a tribe of people who take that specific action and get them to join. Often, it will be enough to get them started.
- Hypnosis? Can’t hurt to try but it’ll probably backfire.
- Constantly remind them and plant the idea in their head. Eventually, the idea will grow and they will naturally take action.
- Or, simply pester them endlessly and hope that they’ll take action instead of reporting you to the police.
- Play the ‘favor’ card. Probably not sustainable in the long run but could work as a short-term solution.
- Give up and try getting someone else to take action. In some cases, this would be the wiser thing to do. Or perhaps you could just do it yourself.
- Realize that not everyone agrees with what you say. Perhaps we shouldn’t be trying to get others to do the things they don’t want to do, even if it’s in their job description. They deserve to be free, they deserve to be able to do what they want, and perhaps they even deserve your respect for that.
- Close your eyes and pray that the problem will take care of itself. Best case, the problem goes away and nobody has to do anything. Worse case, nothing happens.
- Maybe the solution isn’t to get people to do the action. Maybe it’s to adapt the action to fit the people so they will want to do it. Now that’s hard, it’s a completely different approach and will require some creative thinking to get there.
You’d probably notice that the quality of my ideas is like a U-shaped curve. The earlier ideas were somewhat okay and predictable, the worst ideas were in the middle, and the more unconventional ideas are towards the end.
That’s the general progression I’m experiencing. All the common ideas come first and once I’m out of those, I’ll start coming up with bad ideas. Eventually, I’ll come up with something creative or unexpected. Give it a try yourself!
Anyway, I hope you found this list useful, or at least, somewhat entertaining.
It’s so easy for us to procrastinate, I expect it should be a piece of cake to come up with twenty ways to distract yourself. In theory anyway.
But why would you want to distract yourself when you should be focusing on the task at hand? Simple, you would want to distract yourself when you’re distracted. Makes sense? No?
Put it this way, you want to get something done but you’re too distracted to do so. Why? Because your stomach is growling. Or maybe you just can’t stop thinking about that song or movie. Maybe there’s something nagging you at the back of your head, something you can’t stop thinking about.
What do you do? You switch gears and try to distract yourself from that distraction! What could possibly go wrong? The end result, you’re not distracted by your hunger anymore. You’ve successfully distracted yourself from whatever song or movie or nagging thought in your mind. Thus, you can get back to focusing on whatever you want to get done in the first place. I am a genius!
And without further ado, here are twenty ways to distract yourself. Enjoy.
- Go for a run or workout.
- Make random sketches, doodle something funny.
- Snack. When in doubt, eat.
- Pace back and forth as if you’re troubled in deep thought while you try to distract yourself from such deep thoughts.
- Tidy your room, that book over there is slightly tilted. Go straighten it up. Go straighten all your papers and books.
- Strike up a chat and message a random friend about some random topic.
- Stare blankly into space for a few minutes and pretend you’re experiencing something profound.
- Mindlessly cycle through a few apps on your phone and keep on refreshing.
- Lie in bed and think about what you could’ve been doing but aren’t. Practice your imagination and visualization skills, try to get them as close to reality as possible.
- Debate whether the above method can result in reality being warped by your imagination, or whether it is an asymptote and you can only get close to but never quite reach reality in terms of how realistic your visualization skills are.
- Look up the definition of random words you just thought of. Quick, what does “asymptote” mean?
- Check the map and see where Iceland is. Or Trinidad, the name sounds cool and you probably don’t know where it is. Go look it up!
- Go to various news aggregator sites and keep on refreshing. Read as many headline-worthy articles as you can.
- Go read random articles in Wikipedia and keep clicking any links you find interesting, you’ll keep yourself distracted for hours.
- Go watch some videos on youtube and keep clicking on any of the related or suggested videos you find interesting.
- Go dig through random drawers and cabinets. You might find something interesting that will distract you for a while.
- Be a busybody and stick your nose in other people’s business.
- Write about your thoughts and journal the distractions you want to distract yourself from. Make it really meta, it should turn out interesting.
- Stop, just stop. Don’t think, just let it be. With any luck, your distraction just slipped by and you are free to do whatever you want, except act on the distraction you want to distract yourself from.
- Inflict pain on yourself, pain is the ultimate distraction. It forces us to focus on it, thereby eliminating all other distractions.
See, easy. Nothing like that breaking an addiction list or that list of plot ideas for a novel.
Now get back to doing that thing you wanted to do but was too distracted to do so.
Most of us are addicted to something. For some people, it’s junk food and video games. For others, it may be smoking and drinking. Some people consume too much ‘corn’, actually it’s not corn, it just rhymes with corn. While others can’t stop using the internet, for reasons ranging from online shopping to social media.
Note that not all addictions are necessarily bad. I know someone who’s addicted to being a hard worker and exercising like crazy. She’s also very much addicted to eating healthy and personal growth stuff.
So without further ado, here are twenty ways to break an addiction.
- Just stop being so damn addicted to it. Yes, it’s easier said than done but it’s the simplest and most straightforward answer. If you know you want to stop, why don’t you just stop? Chances are, it’ll backfire horribly on you.
- Gradually reduce and limit the number of times you do it until your addiction breaks. Sadly, method #1 is nigh impossible for some people. It’s probably why they’re addicted in the first place. So, method #2 says you slowly transition out of it. A bit obvious, moving on.
- Find something to replace or displace your addiction. Sadly, method #2, much like method #1, is still susceptible to what’s called the withdrawal syndrome. The reduction may cause you to crave it even more and hence backfire horribly on you. Unless you do something to distract yourself that is.
- Do what Odysseus did when he wanted to hear the Siren’s song, which is known to enchant sailors to shipwreck. Kinda like an extreme form of addiction if you may.
Odysseus was curious as to what the Sirens sang to him, and so, on the advice of Circe, he had all of his sailors plug their ears with beeswax and tie him to the mast. He ordered his men to leave him tied tightly to the mast, no matter how much he would beg. When he heard their beautiful song, he ordered the sailors to untie him but they bound him tighter. When they had passed out of earshot, Odysseus demonstrated with his frowns to be released.
- Pay a friend a certain sum of money if you failed to keep yourself out of addiction. Slowly increase the sum of money by 10% for each failure and watch that sum skyrocket. Either you stop your addiction or your wallet goes bust. Note that this might also backfire horribly on you, especially if you’re someone who’s filthy rich or not good with money.
- Announce to the world your attempt to break your addiction, this will create public accountability. Peer pressure and social embarrassment from not sticking to your claim will force you to break your addiction. Also, by announcing your intentions, you make it easier to stick to. But, similar to the New Year’s resolution effect, it might just backfire horribly on you as most people don’t do what they say the will.
- Join an online or offline community that focuses on breaking your specific addiction. By surrounding yourself with people who also want to break their addiction, the group can provide mental and emotional support throughout your journey. Coaches and success stories from the community will surely help as well.
- Convince yourself that your addiction is not an addiction. That it’s moderation. Therefore, you’ve successfully broke your addiction. Note, be aware that you’re extremely likely to be playing into the hands of various cognitive biases if you do this. Also, it’s highly likely to backfire horribly on you.
- Hypnosis. It’s worth a try. Probably.
- Buy courses, read books, attend speeches and learn from people who managed to break the addiction you want to quit. Follow their advice, not the advice from some random blogger’s post on ‘twenty ways to break an addiction’. Do what they do!
- Brainstorm and list twenty ways to break an addiction, try each of them one by one and see if they work. Try not to fall into the trap of writing twenty horrible ways of breaking an addiction like some blogger you may or may not know.
- Go on a 1 day fast from your addiction, then try 2 days, 3 days, and so on. Do it until you break your addiction.
- Meditate and reach enlightenment. If you do, you’ll find that your addiction no longer has any meaning and would naturally stop it without any struggle. I’m running out of ideas here, still another seven to go!
- Journal and write about your addiction. Do some self-reflection on why you’re addicted. Find the root cause and stop the addiction at its core. You might even be able to publish a book on your addiction someday and be that person from method #10.
- Try reverse psychology, binge on your addiction until you’re sick of it. Then stop. Note that this might backfire horribly on you as well. Wow, there sure are a lot of methods that would backfire horribly on you. I’m so glad I’m not you.
- Try the placebo effect? Like, drink sparkling grape juice while pretending it’s alcohol. Browse the web with your imaginary phone and pretend you’re reading or watching something interesting. Pretend your life is a video game instead of actually playing a video game. I don’t know, try to be creative on this one depending on your addiction.
- Visualize yourself breaking your addiction. Imagine how awesome life will be. Now try to make that a reality. Or you could deny reality and just live in your visualization. I mean, we have virtual reality so why not give it a try? Maybe turn it into a virtual addiction? Oh my, still three more to go.
- Imagine yourself being bored of your addiction. As if you’ve outgrown it already. Just quit and move on to better things in life already.
- Ask yourself, what would <insert role model who’s not addicted to what I’m addicted> do? Not do what you’re addicted! Now follow that advice and quit your addiction, be like your role model!
- Join or create a ‘quit <insert addiction>’ campaign. Try to help others quit and who knows, you might just be able to quit for yourself in the process.
There you go, twenty
horrible ways to quit an addiction. Hope you guys found it useful. Ah who am I kidding, hope it made you guys laugh.
November is fast approaching and you know what that means. It’s almost time to celebrate the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)! Grab your favorite word processor and join in on all the fun.
Here are twenty plot ideas for a fictional novel you could write about.
- A woman woke up in the hospital and can’t remember anything. She suffers from nightmares and vivid flashbacks involving a man in a trenchcoat, lots of blood and police sirens. The hospital and the police refused to tell her anything and the only clue she had was a badly torn note with the words “13 Benevolence, Starved, and Kensington”.
- A researcher discovered a way to send and receive messages through time. Suddenly, he received a bunch of messages from someone claiming to be himself from some 50 years ago, warning him not to continue his research. 50 years ago, the researcher wasn’t even born yet. Yet, there was proof that he himself was the sender from 50 years ago.
- Do cats really have nine lives? On the way home from school, a 15-year-old girl found a dead cat lying by the road and decides to give it a proper burial. A few months later, she found the same cat again by the same roadside. Some weeks later, the same cat appeared and followed her home.
- A years ago, a meteor crashed into Earth and wiped out two-thirds of the population. The survivors soon died off one by one as the Earth is made mostly uninhabitable due to the huge dust clouds blocking out all sunlight and making the air unbreathable. A small group of survivors remained, living in underground shelters but provisions are running low and there is conflict on what they should do next. Is it better to live or to die?
- A man found that the mug his wife’s favorite mug is actually alive. It is the reincarnation of his wife’s late lover. The man is the only person who knows of this as the mug approached him one day, feeling bored of the everyday mug life, and started talking to him. How will the man’s daily life change knowing that his wife kisses the mug every day when having coffee in the morning? Can he control his jealousy? What of the mug? How will they get along?
- A struggling novelist is handed his 1,000th rejection letter. He received it with a crazy laugh, it left him devastated and somehow flipped a switch in his brain. Now he lives life as a crazy over-the-top “mad scientist” who microwaves a lot of bananas and throw rotten eggs at anyone wearing sunglasses. His next book was a bestseller list, it was titled “The life and times of a crazed mad scientist”.
- A pillow manufacturer discovered a business opportunity when she found out 72% of lonely singles hugged their pillows every night, pretending to be in an actual embrace with an imaginary lover. She teamed up with a psychologist on how to create a better pillow that mimics the experience these lonely singles were looking for. In the process, her boyfriend broke up with her and she finds herself addicted to the pillow she created. A strange phenomenon soon occurs as more and more lonely singles fell in love with their pillows.
- Someone once said that there is no such thing as forever. Yet, he found himself floating, seemingly forever. Painfully aware of himself and his surroundings, yet he is powerless to do anything. It’s been so long that he has already forgotten who he was and why he exists. Every few hundred years, a voice would reach out to him and he would have company. But only for a brief moment. One day, the voice reached out and told him his life story.
- Due to a careless knee injury, the cocky NBA rookie’s career ended before it even began. Instead, he became a high school basketball coach and fell in love with coaching his students. There, realized how his poisonous his attitude had been as he saw the same behavior in some of his students. In exchange for teaching them basketball, his students taught him sportsmanship and the joy of having fun.
- Due to the experience of being knocked out when someone abruptly opened the door and slammed it in her face, she always knocked before opening any doors. This ensures that the person on the other side is aware and will stay clear of the door. One day, in a rush to go somewhere, she knocked on the door and forcefully opened it without waiting. It hit a lady straight in the face and knocked her unconscious. That lady was herself.
I know I said twenty but it’s hard coming up with so many ideas. It’s also getting late so I’ll leave it as it is and underdeliver by 50%. You are free to use any of the ideas above for your novel, just let me know so I can read it.
Here is a list of twenty things to consider doing daily.
- Wake up early. There’s a lot of good reasons to wake up early and most successful people have morning routines which include waking up early. Sadly, I have a lot of trouble on this area. It’s something I’m working on but with limited success.
- Make your bed. To quote Admiral William H. McRaven:
If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed… If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. And by the end of the day, that one task completed, will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made, that you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.
- Write. Ah yes, writing. Writing trains your brain and sharpens your way with words. It helps organize your thoughts and teach you how to communicate.
- Exercise. This should be a no-brainer. Make it a habit to exercise daily. It doesn’t have to be intense, something as simple as 10 pushups a day or a 5-minute jog every morning. Of course, it’s better if you do more but try to do at least that baseline amount every day.
- Meditate. I’ve just started this habit recently and it’s been working wonders. Don’t underestimate the power of meditation! It helps develop a calm mind and sharpen your mental senses.
- Floss. Everyone knows they should floss. So floss!
- Drink tea. I like tea, it’s also good for you.
- Read interesting articles. Again, pretty self-explanatory.
- Plan your day ahead of time. Spend just a few minutes and plan your day. The return on investment is huge!
- Take a bath or shower. I admit, I’m starting to run out of ideas here. Twenty things to consider doing daily, how much time do we have every day? At least remember to bath or shower.
- Sit on the toilet, move your bowels. Try to do it daily, unless you enjoy the feeling of constipation.
- Enjoy a moment of quiet and reflect on your day. We live busy lives, hardly do we have the time to sit down and enjoy a moment of peace. Try stopping every now and then just to reflect on your day.
- Socialize and talk to people. There’s a lot of mental health benefits to socializing. Chat with a few friends, talk to strangers, and go join social activities every now and then.
- Go for a walk around the park. Research shows that nature is good for you. A 30 minute per week stroll at the park is enough to reduce depression and heart disease!
- Watch a TED talk. There are thousands and thousands of interesting talks available, they can really open your eyes to interesting ideas all around the world.
- Listen to audiobooks or podcasts. There’s a lot of podcasts I’ve been meaning to listen to but can’t quite find the time. Instead, I’m devouring a lot of audiobooks during my daily commute, which is probably just as good. I could consider switching to podcasts and alternating between the two.
- Create a daily practice on something you’re learning. It could be a musical instrument, a foreign language, drawing, and etc. Draw a sketch a day, practice a chord a day, or learn a sentence a day. Small efforts add up fast!
- Sleep early and sleep well. Rest and sleep have a big impact on our personal performance. There’s a lot of downsides involved with sleep deprivation. Wouldn’t you rather avoid it all?
- Take care of yourself and carve out time throughout the day for yourself to enjoy. The one person we’re most likely to neglect is ourselves. Just think about it, how often do you break promises with friends? Hardly I would imagine. How often do you break promises with yourself? Very often. So take better care of yourself. Spend time tending your own needs.
- Create a list of twenty things. Yes, this is a bit meta but creating a list of twenty ways to do something or twenty ideas or how-to’s will helps improve your creativity. It stretches your mind to think outside the conventional and into the unconventional.
Of course, not everyone will have the time to do all those twenty things every day. The idea is to consider them. Some are really worth doing and you can call it a success if you managed to do just a few of them.
Here is a list of twenty ways to make music. Enjoy!
- Play a musical instrument.
- Sing while playing a musical instrument.
- Clap with your hands or tap your feet.
- Hit random objects to make sounds.
- Be a DJ and spin those disc thingies!
- Record random audio clips or conversations and mix them into a song.
- Do what this guy did.
- Play music from your phone or other devices, duh!
- Put on headphones and mentally play a song, pretend the song is coming from your unplugged headphones.
- Hold a wand or stick, move it frantically in front of people with musical instruments and hope they make some music!
- Take a piece of metal foil and wiggle it.
- Blow on a piece of paper and experience the magic of vortex shedding.
- Add varying amounts of water to glasses and hit them with a spoon.
- Take a piece of string and try to pull or strum it and basically make it vibrate.
- Play with a piece of spring and make that “twang” or “boing” sound.
- Listen really carefully to your surroundings, chances are, there’s already music in the background. Or at least random sounds, which sounds like music.
- Be a mad scientist and explore the unconventional side of music.
Everyone makes lists, so let’s make one. Here’s a list of stuff you might want to make a list of:
- Grocery shopping – All the usual stuff you buy, you probably already remembered them to the point of not needing a list anymore.
- Todo list – Ah yes, the classical todo list. Everything you want to do goes here, the ultimate list for both the productivity hacker and the master procrastinator.
- List of clothes – This is particularly important if you want to know how many socks you’ve lost. You might even be surprised how much clothes you own and how much you hardly wear.
- Stuff I own list – An incredibly hard to make list that captures everything you own. Many wonder if there’s even a point in making such a list. Surely it’s nice to know how many marbles and USB cables you own?
- People I know – Some people might find it worthwhile to make a list of all their friends, family, acquaintances and so on. Just note that some people might call you a stalker if they ever found out you own such a list.
- Username and password – Of course, it’s not a good idea to store this list in plain text, let’s hope you store it somewhere secure, like in your mind somewhere. Very useful if you can’t remember which email address or username or password you used for which site. A password manager works too.
- Reading list – This is especially important, I have an ever-growing list of books to read that only keeps on growing. Let’s hope you don’t have the same problem.
- Watch list – This is a special list that can mean three things. A list of all the watches you own, a list of movies or shows you want to watch, or a list of stuff you want to pay attention to.
- Wish list – Everyone has a wish or two, it’s just a matter of whether or not they admit it. Or perhaps, whether or not they realize they are wishing for something. A wish is a desire and everyone has desires. Therefore, everyone has a wish or two.
- A master list of lists – A list of all the lists you own, kinda like this one.
And many more! How many lists do you own? Sometimes when I feel bored, I start making lists. Occasionally, things can get a bit out of hand and I end up having to create a master list of lists of lists of lists.