I live for every spare moment with my wife

Are other people unhappy in their marriages? Because I feel like some are. Perhaps this is an emotionally charged rant, but there is some truth in it. Maybe people have different relationships that work for them (or that they think work for them). But, here we go:

I don’t understand why everyone wants to plan things and invite me but not necessarily my wife. I’ve had people say to me “Well, why can’t you spend a little time without your wife? or “Why can’t you go do this crazy fun thing that’s not really fun to do with kids and isn’t easy to do with kids?” (ok, that’s not how they word it). 

My wife is my best friend. Therefore I spend as much time with her as possible (between kids and work this isn’t alot). I don’t just ditch her and play cause raising children is “women’s work” so I’m always going to want to figure out how to include her and probably the kids into whatever extra activities occur. 

I really appreciate my friends wanting me to come hang out with them, and I definitely want to, I just want to figure out how to include my best friend (my wife). 

People will do the same to my wife and ask her to leave and go and have girls nights or some  church-related activity 5 times a week (slight exaggeration). It’s not that I’m not willing to watch the kids, and I have done so that she can go do something. But people treat me and her  the same way. They look at us funny when we say “well, when I have time off I kind of like to spend it with my wife/husband.” 

This occurs more with single people. Having a life style where two people try to become one and share in all they do is a little foreign to them. I understand that. The concept is different and that’s ok that they don’t just automatically understand that (hopefully it’s less foreign after reading this blog post). I do sometimes feel that if we weren’t married, people wouldn’t think it so odd that we want to spend all this time together! As if it is less odd to want to spend every spare moment with a friend instead of your eternal companion! 

But so many others are married but they don’t seem to want to be around each other.

It’s like they don’t understand why I want to spend every spare moment I can with my wife. She’s my best friend. She’s the love of my life. They don’t seem to get it.

I can’t understand how people can have both husband and wife work different schedules and therefore never get to see each other. I don’t get how they can live like that. Time with my wife is one of those rewards of life that I value above all others. 

That doesn’t mean I don’t have friends. That doesn’t mean I don’t like spending time with them. But what it means is that my family members are my most important friends. And that’s ok.

I just wish people would accept the fact that since I want to spend time with my wife as much as I can that it does not mean I am a slave. It does not mean I am attached to a ball and chain. It doesn’t mean I don’t have freedom. It just means that I like her the most. It means that she is my favorite person to be with and if I can’t do things with my wife, then I’m not sure if I want to do them. I don’t think that I agree with the idea that husband and wife should have their own lives. Why the heck did you get married if you don’t want to be together? This might work for some, but often I just think people only think it’s working for them. Time will tell. 

Friends and family are all important. But my time is limited. And my best friend just spent all day with the crazy kids and I don’t know if I want to give up that almost one hour of one-on-one time with her. 

Just a little rant from Thomas. Peace, love, and all that jazz. 

Booyah!

Advertisements

You can’t choose to be perfect on your own

We do not have the self-contained ability to be perfect. Does our agency give us the ability to be perfect? No. It might technically give us the option, but it does not give us the power nor the knowledge.

Could Peter have chosen not to doubt when he started to sink? Technically yes, but he didn’t. And I think he really couldn’t have. He is human. He is weak. His lack of strength made him lack the drive to choose perfect faith in that moment.

Christ, when he was born, was not complete nor perfect. But, he lacked all of our inherent weaknesses and had within him every possible strength. At least the strength of perfectly relying on God. And in that strength, he only made right choices.

You will make mistakes. Remember that because you are weak, a human, and NOT a God, mistakes are inevitable. As you rely on God and continue to strive to make better choices, you will be more able to avoid mistakes. But until you are perfect they will always be there. Not because you are wicked and malicious, but because you are human. There are moments when your agency will not be enough to overcome your frailty and you will do wrong.

You can build up strength now through prayer and effort to avoid some future mistakes, but the best strategy is to not let past mistakes bother you, instead use your energy to repair the damage and to prevent future errors.

My son, perhaps technically, has the right to choose to speak perfectly, but not the ability nor the knowledge. He has no external restriction placed upon him, only internal. 

We can’t just choose to be perfect. We can choose to rely on god, and then his knowledge and power will help us to slowly go through our metamorphosis. To use this cocoon of life and hardship, and to emerge as something greater.

Booyah!

Do you like or share without actually reading? 

Why do people “like” articles without reading them? They read the title, or see the featured meme, and just give it a like without knowing the full extent of what they have just promoted.

I had one blog post for which I used a cute meme for the featured image and I noticed that it got many more likes than the blog post where I simply posted a link alone without a picture. I think many, on first glance, thought I was only sharing a meme. And therefore liked it.

I was excited that so many had liked the last post, but I didn’t want them to like the cute cartoon, I wanted them to read the blog post! So I decided I’d rather have less interactions that are more meaningful. People don’t mistake it for a meme if the picture on my blog post has no words.

I don’t want my blog post to get shared through the like-osphere and never get actually read!

I fear that that happens a lot. People like and share articles based on the picture or title alone and most don’t read the article itself. This blog post about Bernie Sanders becoming president through a weird loophole talks all about this.

You can chart out a whole network of people who shared that article and only a tiny percentage read it. How many articles suffer the same fate?

Don’t be a shallow sharer. Share less. Read more. Think more. Social Media is shallow enough. Dive deep. Learn more. Then share only what is truly valuable.

Go forth and be epic!

Booyah.

Debating the value of an idea or belief is not debating the value of the person who holds it.

Some people are willing to separate themselves from their ideas, while others are not.

I have some acquaintances who are easy to discuss differences of opinion with, because they don’t take it personally. Others get frustrated when I question an idea. I don’t necessarily question because I disagree, but because I want to view it from all angles and want to see if there are any holes in the idea. They see it as a personal attack.

Most people are not interested in truth but only in confirming what they believe.

People should be willing to place their beliefs on the altar of truth and then sacrifice it if the belief proves unworthy. Like Abraham and Isaac, you might not have to, but sometimes you will. You must be willing to leave behind false, broken, or incomplete ideas if they fail to pass the test of truth.

But the world is full of people with confirmation bias. They only want echo chambers.

Facebook and the current election are great examples of that. Facebook will show you that which you are most likely to like and interact with and that which matches what you say in your posts and what your search for on the web (and peeps usually search for things to confirm their beliefs, not offer an alternate perspective). Therefore everyone thought their favorite would win because “everyone on Facebook says so and agrees with me!” Facebook is flooded that way. Google too.

Am I wrong?

These three words have been vital to my growth. To constantly ask myself this has helped me to keep an open mind, to discard weak beliefs, and to keep and strengthen those that can stand the test of analysis of the evidence time and time again.

Rather than taking offense and shouting and declaring that my education or some vague authority makes me right (my argument not my authority should make me right instead, but I know people who do such blanket appeals to authority), I try to be open to the ideas and arguments of others.

I try to provide all foundations and steps of my argument so people don’t have to make leaps of logic or leaps of faith to accept my conclusions.

And I try to not take criticism of my ideas personally. Every false belief rejected is not a tragedy but a triumph, for you are now one step closer to the truth.

Boo yah!

-Thomas

How to overcome getting overwhelmed and work efficiently

I sometimes have a problem with getting overwhelmed and feeling anxious about all that I have to do. Over time, I’ve come up with these ludicrously simple (and ludicrously difficult for someone who has a hard time focusing) rules and tools.

Here are my rules of efficiency:

1: Focus on one task at a time

Focus on one task at a time, work on it for at least 30 minutes (use a timer, it helps) or when you need someone else’s input, then make the contact (in person, set up a meeting, make a call, or send an email).

2: Focus on a task for at least fifteen minutes to get momentum

I find that if I focus on one task for at least fifteen minutes, I get into the groove and the rest of the time comes much easier.

3: List all projects and subtasks, put aside and focus

List all projects and sub-tasks needed to get those projects done. Put this list aside when focusing on 1 task (this helps keep you from feeling confused and overwhelmed because you won’t have to remember it all, there is a list!).

4: Multiply expected time by 2 or 3

Assume that everything will take 2-3 times as long as your first impression. Don’t commit the planning fallacy!

5: Listen to non-distracting music

Listen to wordless, calm music like this meditation track (it must be music that will help drown out distractions but won’t be a distraction itself).

5: Wait to check texts or emails

Do not check texts or emails until you are between tasks.

6: Take breaks

Take short breaks (5-10 minutes) every hour or two and long breaks (15-30 minutes) every three or four  hours.

7: Spend 5 minutes pre-task getting pumped up

Spend 5 minutes before each working session to plan, visualize, brainstorm, understand and get pumped up for what you are going to work on next, write this in a paragraph or two on paper. It helps you to get in the mindset.  (Thanks to Rachel Aaron for this glorious tip!

8: Be patient with yourself

Some days you can’t do it all. Forgive yourself. You’ll have to shorten your list and simplify your life as you go along. But if you stress about everything you have to do, the guilt will make you explode!

There you go! Quit lying to yourself about your ability to multitask. You can’t. Become a monotasker (someone who can actually focus). Quit stressing out about all that you have to do, and do one thing at a time. You’ll get a lot more done.

You can do it!

Booyah!

-Thomas

Note: Article Updated Mon Dec 5 2016

False progress activities (Getting nowhere, but working so hard!)

One thing we do when working towards a goal is something I will now coin “False Progress Activities.”  This is when we want to procrastinate the hard part of a goal (e.g. actually writing the darn query letter) and we instead focus on tasks that help, that are far easier, but give little progress.

For example, I researched a bunch of articles on writing query letters, and am now combining them into a super-article! Taking out every tip and sorting them by topic (overall style, intro paragraphs, synopsis paragraphs, closing paragraphs). It’s very educational!

Or… I should be reading 1 article, attempting a draft at that query letter, and then reading some more and editing it and having others read it and rewriting again…

BUT I LOVE ORGANIZING! It makes me feel industrious! I’m getting nowhere but I’m working so hard at it!

Time to toughen up and write a first draft of that query.

 

 

And I just realized… I can’t procrastinate giving my novel a title if I’m going to submit it. 😛

(Anti-)Social Media

Why do they call it social media? People share a lot of words, but so much communication is lost. Body language is gone. Tone of voice is gone. Touch is gone.

People spend their lives experiencing other people through the medium of little pixels on a screen, rather than directly experiencing them. It’s like a meta-sociality. I see/comprehend text. Text comes from internet. You physically type in text/think the text. I know that in the physical world we have mediums too (sight, sound), but the fidelity is higher, the people are actually present.

Maybe someday, when video/audio/social media is a matrix-level VR experience, we’ll be having a different discussion about this. But the majority of people right now are have a different kind of sociality. A weaker one.

  • Sharing pictures of babies rather than letting our friends hold our babies.
  • Sharing scores of games rather than playing frisbee or flag football in the park.
  • Sharing a relationship status rather than actually enjoying the company (or the identity) of that person we have a relationship with.
  • Having “friends” we never are physically near to, and wouldn’t contact in case of emergencies.

Let’s put down the phones and have richer physical experiences. Or we’ll reach the end of our lives, and the majority of our time will have been spent looking at tiny squares on a screen.

We can see people in one of two ways. We can see the light reflecting off their face directly as they stand in front of us. Or we can see the light from pixels on a screen taken from the image recorded when once upon a time real light reflecting off of a person’s face into a camera’s sensor.

One is a direct experience. The other is a diluted experience through variety of filters and mediums.

The first sounds better to me.

Rationality and Religion had a kid (or is it the other way around?)

I’m trying to marry rationality and religion, but look at this quote, my wife posted it on the fridge without having any idea that I was thinking about this lately (It’s from one of my church leaders):

“Human judgment and logical thinking will not be enough to get answers to the questions that matter most in life. We need revelation from God.”

-President Henry B. Eyring

It essentially says not that I can’t marry the two, but I don’t need to. Revelation supersedes rationality. I can get straight to fully-known pre-qualified truth and knowing with a different kind (and more efficient) work than rational inference. (i.e. Revelation, spirit to spirit.)

God will transfer truth and knowing straight to my mind (with a lot of work, of course). Truths whose evidence cannot yet be seen, but can be known.

In that way, can testimony (or revelation) be empirical/experiential evidence? Witnessed/personally experienced through a sixth sense of “spiritual knowing”?

How much time do you spend doing nothing?

One of my church leaders asked that question. If you’re spending a lot, then maybe you should use that time to serve others.

For me, a lot of my time is spent with my family. I don’t want to just abandon them to serve others, but this still applies in the home. Rather than do nothing, serve your family. And if you have time, serve your broader human family.

Nap time on Sunday is probably a good time for me to serve my broader human family. J And perhaps even Saturday. I write for 2 hours in the morning, then go to work for 8, I don’t have a lot of time to serve others other than my family throughout the week, but those two days, I can and probably should.

Mind over dark matter

I can’t mind that people who aspire to rationality laugh at religion. Someday I will rectify the two. But I think the key lies in the fact that the eternal spiritual realm that lies beyond this one is a type of matter that does not interact with the 4 fundamental forces of nature, as we know them. A part of me is made of this beyond-dark matter. Invisible matter. That the spiritual realm speaks to my spiritual self/mind which is intangibly and invisibly tied to my physical self.

That is how I tie in my spirituality with my rationality. One gear in my rationalist machine is the influence of the eternal and divine realm that lies beyond this one. An influence that I can access with my soul.