Democracy Dies in Darkness

Some Lessons Learned Towards the End of 2018

Hi guys, it’s been a while since I wrote anything personal. To be honest I am trapped between some serious laziness and increasingly demanding course work this semester, and I just didn’t feel like writing while the school is going. In fact, I haven’t posted about my trip to Hawaii (which took place in January this year), nor I am certain if I will post about it since it’s been almost a year, and some memory faded away.

Anyways, though having a extraordinarily busy week (and survived), I think I have learned something in the process. Maybe they will come in useful later in my life – who knows.

1. Time is like water in sponge

Time is like water in sponge; if you squeeze harder, there is always more.

Lu Xun

This famous quote, written by influential modern author Lu Xun, has been cited countless times in books, speeches, and used to educate children to spend their time wisely. I have heard it so much time – to a point that it doesn’t mean anything to me other than a quote to use in essays. That perception has fundamentally changed, though. What happened, you might wonder?

It all began last week. I had seemingly endless obligations I had to attend to that kept me busy throughout the week, from day to night. This ranges from homework and exam preparations, to advisor meeting and helping my roommate out on a programming assignment. Just all sort of chores that I can imagine for the last semester before graduation. They are not physically demanding per se, but every one of them adds up to my stress.

To cope with this situation, instead of indulging myself in video games (which sometimes I do after an extensive project or big exams), I spent much more time on studying than ever before. I utilized all the time (sans time spent on basic human needs and occasional relaxing time)  that I’ve got after class on the projects and exam preps. That would sound like a crazy idea to me a month ago, but somehow I managed to survive through this and in the end it worked quite well – I’ve cleared all assignments and projects due in next week.

So it turns out that Lu Xun’s words are true – I have never “squeezed” myself this hard before thus I never got to know my true potential. Not that I want to do that again – I want so bad to go back to the peaceful life in the freshmen and sophomore year – but it’s nice to know that with some proper time management and a little determination, I can utilize the time as much as humanly possible.

2. Video games are not essential

When I was young it always terrifies me that most adults do not play video games on a daily basis – which means that there must be some kind of painful process that removes video games from their daily agenda.

It turns out that, I was kinda in that process last week and the week before last week. I haven’t played anything since November 3 (9 days ago at the time of writing), a fact even surprised me myself. Record shows that there were ~10 hrs of gaming past 2 weeks, and you can compare that to my usual average of ~90 hrs (at the height of this, ~150 hrs). Something’s changed before I even realized it. While I can certainly contribute this change to situations mentioned in point 1, I cannot offer an explanation why does video games aren’t as attractive as they used to be. Part of growing up or, God’s work.

Either way, I’m glad it was done without any pain that I imagined.

3. On formation of habits

Recently I came across an article on Medium, This Strategy Makes It Impossible To Procrastinate by Darius Foroux. At first glance this might seems like a random sensational headline, but it actually inspired me to do things that I did not wanted to pick up (including writing this post…) because I felt like they are too huge.

This article essentially says that people has tendency of avoid doing something not because they are actually infeasible but because of perceived difficulties. This is especially true for forming habits – like going to gym, most people give up rather quickly. So he argued that instead of making new year’s resolution style targets, try begin with something small – such as reading 2 pages of a book, or go out for a 20 min walk. He quoted that,

“A new habit should not feel like a challenge. The actions that follow can be challenging, but the first two minutes should be easy. What you want is a “gateway habit” that naturally leads you down a more productive path.”

James Clear, Atomic Habits

So I tried to start reading yesterday – I haven’t been a reader since elementary school. To facilitate that I convinced myself to get a Kindle Paperwhite (coincidentally a all-new PPW just released the time I decided to buy one). I also tried to restart my blogging, which I effectively abandoned some time last year. Hope they will go well.

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有点感触 立立是已经习惯用英语思考么 写出英文的时候是一种翻译状态还是自然呢 羡慕国外自然的外语环境 国内只能练听读写 说出口的机会太少了 对时间的管理和对习惯的培养也是我需要的 对那些自己不想去做的事情的开始 共勉吧