An Episodic Approach to Fulfillment

They say it is the first step that costs the effort. I do not find it so. I am sure I could write unlimited ‘first chapters’. I have indeed written many.

J.R.R. Tolkien
Photo by Michael Competielle

Every Day’s a New Day

Today I’m going to concentrate on writing the entire outline and finish a draft of the novel I’ll call My Life. I’m going to determine every possible outcome and decision now… today and nothing will change those decisions and I’ll never deviate from the plan. This is my life, from being to end, done complete and uneditable.

Unrealistic and impossible you say. Preposterous!!! Okay fine, you are correct. So why do we try to do it? What I’m realizing is that I have an ever-changing series of ideas and ideals. Places I’d love to see, things I’d love to do and connections I’d love to make. A simplified outline I’ve written with a huge pencil with a gigantic eraser.

Daily my interests change as I remold and remodel myself. New ideas become new adventures and bad investments are thrown to the wayside.

We never really change. The person we were 20 years ago is who we still are today. Our needs and desires change as do our connections, but the actual fabric from which we were created has been woven starting at a very young age. What we can change is our need to evaluate our shortcomings and determine the best path to overcome the obstacles.

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

Dale Carnegie

What Have You Actually Done

Yesterday I met up with a friend I hadn’t had the opportunity to physically see for over 6 months. A creative person who’s work I truly admire and whose free time I cherish. Running through my memory bank of our last encounter followed by an assessment of my 6-month endeavors, I felt it was imperative we could discuss accomplishments and not ideas or ideals.

How ironic it was to find out this friend was worried that they hadn’t accomplished enough to actually keep me engaged. We discussed the idea of prioritizing time and how we both have eliminated distractions such as posting or reading Facebook or getting bogged down by junk emails.

I admitted a harrowing fact about how I like to get rid of junk mail and junk magazines and so, therefore, I’d prioritize reading the junk so I could delete it while saving the good stuff for a later date, sometimes months or years later. I wasted time oversaturating my brain with the trash while off placing meaningful information, spontaneity, and inspiration for a later date. Worse yet sometimes those magic moments never returned.

Ironically when I compiled the list of accomplishments I found out that I had actually completed a monumental amount of work since our last meeting. As we discussed how I was able to be so successful in completing tasks we realized it was purely from starting each day fresh. A new chapter in the continuum of the proverbial never-ending saga of life.

I’d recognized the need to prioritize reading the important information and filling my mind with the topics I find interesting or inspiring. It’s within those moments of inspiration and interest we need to act. We need to write or paint or photograph. We can’t hold back those moments waiting for another perfect moment. The moment is immediate and imperative. It is now!!!

Each new chapter we write is an episodic approach to creating the fulfillment we need in our lives. Positive thoughts and clarity of steps to ultimately help us obtain our goals of financial freedom or developing a passive income. Designs to help us create the connectivity to the types of people and scenarios we want in our lives.

“I’ve never been comfortable with the goals because we never come close to the goals.”

Larry Harvey

Yesterday Is Gone So Stop Looking Back

We learn from our experiences, however, we learn more by being experimental. Trying out new ideas helps to expand our level of creativity and experiences. Trying new foods or music, visiting new places, or taking a different route to ultimately get to the same place makes the experience different. Try a new path and embrace the outcome.

Run or leap, don’t contemplate. Make new connections and meet new friends. Expand don’t contract. Read new materials, visit new places, explore and immerse yourself into each new chapter. Write a new episode and make a change. Find inspiration, build, and create. Share your experiences and fashion a new fabric in which you will wear and make it your own. Want, try, and do. Stop waiting for the perfect moment for the moment is now. Take risks and make your move. Today is the new episode in The Book of You.

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

Steve Jobs

Using Data Science to Predict the Future and Save the Planet

As data scientists, our job is to extract signal from noise.

Daniel Tunkelang
Photo by Michael Competielle

The Big Data Age

We are presently embedded in the fabric of the historical time period presently known as the Information Age and more importantly the Big Data Age. Data and digital storage have changed the way in which we share knowledge and information. It also has changed the vessel in which we consume content. A wealth of valuable knowledge is literally a few keystrokes away.

Technological trends have created a booming industry of “smart” connected devices known as the “Internet of Things”. These devices were previously “dumb” devices such as your toothbrush, watch, or refrigerator. This new technology is booming as connectivity is being installed by manufacturers in most business segments. According to Intel 55% of all data will be generated by IOT by 2025.

Recently I purchased a new GE window air conditioner. As my household has reduced inhabitants over the past few years and the central air conditioning system is gracefully aging, I’m looking for ways to reduce my carbon footprint. The weight of this new window unit isn’t dissimilar to the older models I remember in my apartment living days. Its the integration of IOT wifi connection that took me by surprise.

Why does a simple air conditioning unit need Wi-Fi connectivity? It actually doesn’t. As I pondered the invasiveness of having “big brother” monitor my air conditioning consumption I decided to connect anyway.

GE provides an app SmartHQ that allows you to connect your device to the outside world. The app monitors outside temperature, fan speed, targeted temperature, filter status, and allows an option for economy mode. You can remotely monitor your indoor temperature and program times until will cycle on and off.

Why Share the Data?

Okay, so data sharing and a connected world is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, we are becoming more disconnected as we add more connected devices and streams of data. I’ve written about it and work to spend some of my time disconnected. So what lies on the other edge of the sword? The future of our planet.

So you may have stopped reading by this point however if you have hung on for the ride I’m going to clarify it all for you. We are not only currently struggling to deal with Global Warming and a Deadly Pandemic, but we are also dealing with Global Economies and potential economic collapse.

So why exactly does Data Science matter?

Ask someone how they feel? Most of the time people feel “fine” or “okay” or tired. Who in the world knows you better than Google? And more importantly Google Trends? Oh, so that’s where all of my data is stored? Sort of. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, 92% of internet searches go thru Google.

The power of instantaneous Global Data can and will be used by scientists, marketers, manufactures, and governments to see current trends. An outbreak in COVID cases? Google probably knows first. According to this week’s Google Trends for the United States, the effects of COVID seem to be trending.

We are ultimately seeing trends in hardship cases for illness, economic struggles, civil issues, environmental concerns by compiling and analysis of the data. By willingly volunteering the data we allow Data Scientists the opportunity to share the information that can ultimately prepare us to forecast the future and make minor adjustments to fend off outbreaks and struggle.

Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.”

 Aaron Levenstein, business professor at Baruch College.

Ignoring Distractions To Regain Focus and Expand Creativity

“Be so busy improving yourself that you don’t have time to pay attention to anything or anyone that distracts you from your growth.” Anonymous

Photo by Michael Competielle

We Live In A World Of Static

As I step outside early in the morning I recognize the silence and serenity of the early morning. Distance traffic and air travel are at a minimum and the sounds of nature take over as birds are chirping and owls hooting off in the distance. One thing we have learned during the Coronavirus Pandemic is just how quiet the world is or better yet just how noisy our world was.

Remember those times when you would sit in a quiet library as you studied or silently read. What noise distracted you? A sneeze or cough? The squeak of a distance chair? When we are attempting to focus we also need to filter out the noises that disrupt our concentration.

Now let’s imagine we are going to study or read the same material in another environment such as a gym locker room or movie theater playing a Marvel squeal. How much of the room’s noise will distract your mind from absorbing the content you’re trying to obtain?

We live in a world of outside noise and the distraction is like static, hissing in our ears and reducing our abilities to focus and retain information.

How much will you learn with your head in a beehive?

Michael Competielle

How Often Are You Manipulated And Misdirected?

My iPhone quietly rests within a few feet of me at all times. A connection to the outside world, a wealth of information and connectivity. It’s ringtones and alerts silenced in an attempt to minimize distraction as I attempt to sleep, create, or learn.

As a creator of content, my mind struggles to rest as ideas and concepts twist and turn inside my mind like a Rubik’s cube. Complex concepts simplify themselves while I’m at rest, the power of the human brain. I’m always thinking, processing, and discovering.

Often during this precious time, I’ll pick up my phone and mindlessly doomscroll thru Facebook or emails allowing my brain to become distracted and triggered. A relative’s political rants or the barrage of marketing emails begins to fill my brains RAM with static and negative thoughts. How much trash can our mind take before we reach the saturation point? And why do our brains get hijacked during these disruptions?

We are continuously being marketed to. Advertisements blaring from televisions, billboards, inside blogs, and from people’s mouths to our ears. Everyone is always selling and we need to filter out the trash from the treasures.

Brain Plasticity Theory 

The human brain has the ability to change over our lifetime by forming new connections between our brain cells known as neurons. Plasticity is the ability to allow our brain to change with learning. 

But what happens when we stop thinking or even worse our thoughts are hijacked by the outside world? Our mood and focus modified and hindering our ability to maintain proper brain function. 

When we are told how to think or feel about a topic, situation, or product, we are being emotionally highjacked. It’s only through cognitive thinking and analysis that we can honestly make an evaluation.

How To Ignore Distractions

  • Unsubscribe from mailing lists that don’t interest you
  • Remove apps like Facebook from phones and tablets. 
  • Stop watching the news
  • Ignore and avoid people that distract or frustrate you
  • Prioritize yourself by making certain others don’t derail your directive or mood
  • When you are disrupted or triggered try to quickly regain focus

Get Great Sleep

So what exactly happens to our brain during sleep and why is it required? 

When we sleep our brain is cleared (the glymphatic system) of neurotoxic waste in our central nervous system. It is during this valuable sleep time we can incorporate our day’s thoughts and experiences into long term memory. Our glymphatic system is most active during sleep and why we feel refreshed when we awaken. Sleep affects our ability to learn, focus, be creative, problem-solve, and concentrate.

Don’t Hijack Your Day

When I wake up I used to grab my phone and read thru social media posts, emails and watch the morning news. I was starting my morning by altering my cleansed mind with trash and static. I’d quickly forget the connections I’d made while resting and feel overwhelmed and anxious. How can I create or focus on all the troubles of the world in my foreground?

By cleansing the decks of distraction and static I’m keeping my eye on the prize. Mornings are spent listening to audiobooks I’ve prechosen. The words guide can easily be connected to correlate to my present studies or content I’m creating. I’m in complete control of my mind and function as the primary gatekeeper by denying access to the static.