#NoinNovember 2018 Edition

Inspired by Joe Rogan’s ‘Sober October’ event, which is becoming yearly and slightly more sophisticated, I’ve followed along with great interest and wanted to continue with a second month of self-reflection. Joe Rogan is doing a workout challenge between friends to get them all into shape and sacrifice vices for the month, whereas mine began with some vices (on top of the fact I don’t really drink or smoke) and eliminating bad habits, now it’s about expanding on what I’ve kept doing since last November’s efforts, and adding to them.

My efforts are therefore cumulative.

So this year, I won’t be saying no to thirty things again like last year (30 days, 30 things), and instead saying “no” in various ways by wrapping up my self-imposed challenges into groups and theming them. Attempting it this year feels smaller in scale, but it’s actually adding to what I’ve done, enabling me to climb higher and stay on track with a more positive and meaningful lifestyle and set of choices.

So to begin with what can seem cheesy but i’m going to type it anyway, because I want to be upfront, let’s say no to negativity. For that I’m:

Not choosing the emotional route that leads to less anger (1), the daily events brought to me for example by commuting certainly make me look up at the MTR ceiling in frustration, I’m going to try and do away with that. Commuting is most definitely the most stressful part of my job. I’m also going to make no negative assumptions (2), I’ll just make an effort to ask and enquire to make sure (it’s not like I do this all the time but it’s useful to raise the skill level on that aspect of my character).

Something that really grinds me down are Twitter or Reddit comments that are misinterpreted and then getting sucked into explaining in text form which has further potential to be misunderstood or pointlessly argued because we’re all interpreting the tone of one’s texts. I’m simply not replying to anyone on the Internet via text (3), thereby cutting my engagement time with the related apps also.

Just this week for example, Jonathan Morrison (no relation) put out a video showing how people can’t tell the difference between an iPhone Xr screen and another screen that was on a technical level “better”. This video is in reaction to many people (measurebators) complaining about the low quality screen in the iPhone Xr. Turns out in a blind test everybody opted for the Xr screen because many other qualities matter beyond owning a 1080p screen. Check out the video here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcFXEXJicgc

I’ll admit I replied to a few people on Reddit regarding this issue, but I consider that time first of all, wasted and second, those I’m replying too are full of shit so why am I bothering? (Though honestly, my point was that I didn’t care about the quality of the screen as the tech is the same as every other iPhone since the iPhone 4 and I’ve never had a problem prior, why should I worry now, especially as it’s so subjective).

To piggy back off not replying, I’m also going to concentrate more on reading (4). Last year I culled who I followed on Twitter and attempted to remove as much news from America as possible and not get caught up in the now of current events which I consider for the most part, a waste of time and events unfold and most opinions in the moment are reactionary, instead of informed. I’m aware reflection and long form is more important, so this year I’m refining how I expose myself on social media and considering my own thoughts more. *You can also see I’m lumping a few things together to achieve this, I don’t really want to create a list of ‘do nots’ this year.

This brings me back to focus, it’s something I’m always trying to hone in on. I want to remove all lack of focus for the month and try to build and sustain this habit beyond just November. “A good habit is just as easy to keep around as a bad one” as my lecturer used to say. Saying, “I’ll do X for 1 hour a day”, is really simple and powerful, because its *just an hour* and overall I’m devoting 30 hours over the entire month!

These are the things I want to break down into chunks to end up in a better place than next month.

  1. An hour a day of exercise (5).

  2. Stop using electronic devices an hour before bedtime (In this case, I’ve lost an hour which is good!) (6).

  3. At least 1 hour of video editing (7).

  4. One hour of going to bed early, my new bedtime is 9pm (8).

  5. At least 5 minutes of meditation and stretching each day (9).

There are two more things which are very personal and that involves someone I love, to be more mindful towards her and rein myself in: First, don’t say no to Rea (10), and the second is to show her how much I appreciate her for the next 30 days (11). 

This whole challenge isn’t just about making me better immediately on the inward, but also on the outward.

So there we have it, 11 things to bring me forward this year into the next. I did put a call out on Periscope to see if others would want to join in. The response to my efforts were few, but those few that did respond hopefully will see through whatever they want to do for the month and I hope they get back with me in December.

#NoinNovember Challenge Year One Recap.

Last year I was inspired by Joe Rogan’s #SoberinOctober challenge with his friends. I felt inspired to create my own for November, last year this was my first 30 day challenge to myself.

November is almost upon us again. I haven’t planned what I’m going to do yet, but I would like to review what changes, good habits and behaviours are still in affect from last year’s self imposed challenge. These 30 items, some were just a little bit of fun, some created limits and acts of mindfulness. Importantly, they were meant to remove distractions and allow me to focus on what was important to me. How did I score?

Last year’s November challenge list (shorted, but full list here - ):


  • coffee - TODAY - Only 1-2 a month. WIN

  • to eating carbs - TODAY - I have cut down and I deliberately buy small ice-cream portions instead of convincing myself a larger tub at a better price is better ‘value’. What is the value really? WIN

  • to sleeping after 10pm - TODAY - I’m even aiming for 9:30 where work allows me. HALF

  • to eating sugar - TODAY - I barely eat even dark chocolate, i’ve switched to Cacao! WIN

  • to shaving - TODAY - I’ll do November again. WIN

  • to gaming unless on the MTR - TODAY - I have a kindle and actually read more than I did last year. I have discovered BOOM Beach though.

  • to missing the gym (12 sessions in the month) - I need to get my ass back in the gym. - TODAY - I actually quit the gym (due to expense, rather than laziness) and it’s even harder to be self motivated doing stuff at home. FAIL

  • to not creating a schedule - a proper schedule will allow me to fit my life changes in*. - TODAY - I never created a schedule that worked. FAIL

  • to spending any money unless it is transport or food related - TODAY - I’ve increased my saving by 100 US Dollars a month. Up to 900 now. I have wasted other money though. Saved $4000USD, a huge WIN.

  • to saving articles instead of reading them. - TODAY - I am saving less, but not saving enough. HALF

  • to porn - TODAY - Of course FAIL.

  • to masturbation, only sex - TODAY - Of course FAIL.

  • to saying no to things (especially to Rea) - TODAY - This double negative is hard to shake, but important I keep it for next year. I say no to Rea a lot, I'm making an attempt at making up for it. This one is for you again Rea x. FAIL

  • to Facebook for the whole month - TODAY - Bitch, I DELETED FACEBOOK! WIN

  • to Twitter for no longer than 30 minutes on desktop. - TODAY - Couldn’t delete the app because I needed the login details for another App (Periscope). HALF

  • to WhatsApp on my phone - TODAY - Deleted WhatsApp for personal use! WIN

  • to Reddit for no longer than 30 minutes on desktop - TODAY - I did delete the app, but then I brought it back and in the last month, I’m forever using it, but I did unsubscribe from half the reddit groups I was in. Let’s remember to be mindful again. HALF

  • to Facebook messenger - TODAY - Deleted! WIN

  • to Dating apps - TODAY - Deleted! WIN

  • to swearing - TODAY - I still swear. FAIL

  • to eating out unless Saturday (because of schedule) - TODAY - I have cut back a lot. HALF

  • to less than 4 swim sessions in the month - TODAY - FAIL

  • to using the phone when walking - TODAY - I barely do this anymore and get annoyed at others for doing it. WIN

  • to buying of plastic bottles - TODAY - I don’t buy plastic bottles. WIN

  • less than 5 mins of meditation for five mins a day - TODAY - FAIL

  • less than 5 mins of stretching every day - TODAY - FAIL

  • going without a day telling Rea I love her - TODAY - I do say it more often just on principle. WIN

  • less than 4 Mandarin classes in November - TODAY - I am learning Mandarin, it took me a while to get back on track however. HALF

  • effort spared in trying to write down my dreams - TODAY - I didn’t write down a single one. FAIL

  • electrical products after 9pm - TODAY - Life has a way of saying no and you keep checking things or watching one more video. FAIL.

WINS = 12 FAILS = 11 HALVES = 6

In this quick summary there were some big wins to be had, I removed a lot of time wasting distractions from my phone, and made huge savings when it came to holding on to my money for those rainy days. I definitely made plenty of refinements, not so much huge changes. I do feel my time wasn’t entirely co-ordinated as well as could be. Twelve ‘wins’ isn’t good, it’s a decent start. I think this time I should get 2/3rds of what I set myself as a ‘win’.

I didn’t ask anybody to join in with me last year, some viewers from Periscope were inspired and did set themselves little challenges, I hope to get more people to join in this year and will be telling viewers on Periscope.

I’ll be creating a new list for next month soon and posting it here.

For Thanos: How to be less of a Complete Bastard.

I just want to quickly touch on one aspect of the movie, which was Thanos’ end goal: lowering the population of the universe so the other half could survive, avert disaster and live in ‘paradise’.

Thanos as the ‘bad guy’ in the film, is given an arc which many people can be sympathetic towards by being a fleshed out individual with genuine motivations with some sense. As a ‘bad guy’ he doesn’t even want to rule over overs. Thanos isn’t ‘bad’ just for the sake of being bad. For comparison I don’t even remember who the enemy was in ‘Justice League’, he was unremarkable, I also don’t remember the ‘why’, I only remember he wanted complete dominion over existence. Yawn.

See also Noah’s Ark, these ideas aren’t new or as well written.

Thanos is written well in what seems a hat trick for Marvel, we had Vulture in Spiderman, War Monger in Black Panther, and I can only hope these serve as the baseline for what an antagonists can be for future Marvel movies.

During the Infinity War, Thanos notes, that to eliminate half of those living in all existence, it should be fair, random, without judgement on who is rich and who is poor, who contributes and who doesn’t. Clearly he’s given it some moral and ethical thought to maybe get people on his side, regardless of the physical resistance he receives.

I find myself agreeing with Thanos as over population is something I think about and currently believe there are too many of us on Earth to our detriment.

Here is where I say, “but”.

But with the power of all the Infinity Stones at Thanos’ disposal, couldn’t he have made his quest less painful for everyone involved and possibly in the process received less resistance? He didn’t need to kill half of everyone. Why was he rushing? Thanos still gets to go to his paradise afterwards once the de-population button is pressed. Those were two different objectives he had, they didn’t depend on each other.

What if upon acquiring the Infinity Stones, Thanos just decided to make half of all life, present and future, infertile? Meaning people have sex and nothing happens, no babies because of a random form of contraception? Nobody would need to die other than through naturally dying of old age. What would have played out then?