Two Changes

After the Dragon Boat Festival in 2022, inspired by a few books, I embarked on two unique and interesting endeavors that still stand out today. A year has passed, and I want to write something to document this experience.

Developing the Habit of Tracking Time

The first change was attempting to chart my remaining life by using time as the horizontal axis and experiences as the vertical axis, meticulously recording (only what I consider important) my time.

Imagine someone in this world who, starting at age 26, set clear life goals and recorded every minute of his life. Despite facing several major upheavals, he continuously improved his time-tracking methods until he passed away at 82. Through this method of time management (which had a significant impact), he achieved remarkable success in various fields (mathematics, physics, statistics, education, engineering, etc.) without missing a single day of recording in 56 years. I believe anyone would be astounded by this.

I first learned about this man named Lyubishchev from a video by a YouTuber. After watching the video, I eagerly read his biography, "The Remarkable Life." I can still recall the complex emotions I felt after watching the video and reading the book. Initially, I was shocked that such a person existed. Then, I felt regret for not reading the book earlier (a common feeling for me). I was also grateful to have learned about him before turning 30 and to be deeply moved by his story. Some lingering thoughts continued to swirl in my mind.

On the day I finished the book, I started tracking my time. That day was June 9, 2022, and I recorded four time entries.

A year has passed, and looking back at these records, I am amazed to find that I have continuously recorded my time for over 300 days, resulting in more than 2,000 entries.

Almost every entry reflects objective external events, both rational time statistics and emotional experiences. Each record is proof of my attempts and efforts. Through these records, I can clearly recall what I did on a specific day a year ago, how much time I spent on certain activities, and how I felt at that time. This feeling is fantastic! It's like having a time machine, capturing every moment from a god's-eye view, forming a long timeline that allows you to trace back and relive past moments.

Effective Reading and Working Time

While one cannot change the past, one can draw inspiration from past behaviors to prepare for the future. Evidently, daily meticulous time recording, statistics, and summarization have greatly helped me in reflecting on the past and focusing on the present. I noticeably feel more focused than before. When I sit at my desk, block out external distractions, and start the timer, I quickly enter a state of flow. This immersion in the present moment and the subsequent feeling of fulfillment are addictive.

Seeing the time records accumulate daily and observing subtle internal changes brings a sense of groundedness and satisfaction. I gradually realized that many uncontrollable events in the present are actually the result of countless controllable moments in the past. You can control your daily time allocation (both work and non-work), your mindset, your judgments of others, and everything within your control. Then, harness your nerves to feel the energy you can control and its presence. This energy will gradually strengthen over time, and once it reaches a certain level, the anxieties previously caused by external factors will slowly dissipate, and all energy will begin to radiate from within.

Years ago, I thought it would be better to live life with clear goals and a sense of mission, trying various things to maximize life experiences rather than drifting aimlessly. The outcome might be great or terrible, who knows? You won't know without trying. The experience itself, the dynamic essence within actions, is hard to visualize. However, through Lyubishchev's time-tracking method, it suddenly became clear to me that this is a way to visualize those beautiful, dynamic aspects of life. Numerous time records, countless time points, and myriad experiences converge into a complete life. Thinking about it feels both romantic and poetic!

Wer einen Grund zum Leben hat, kann fast jede Herausforderung meistern

A person who knows why they live can endure almost any kind of life. 

— Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Actively Communicating and Sharing with Others

The second change was actively communicating and sharing with others, especially with people from different fields.

The impetus for this was reading a best-selling book called "Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise." I remember the book mentioning that the fastest way to learn something is to find the most outstanding people in that field (these people may not be the publicly recognized experts, as some recognized experts are just well-packaged; rather, it's about finding those with true skills, which is not easy), then try to understand why they excel, clarify the underlying logic, and then emulate them through deliberate practice. By following this method, even an average person can reach new heights.

Based on the insights from this book and another, I began to identify elite individuals from various parts of the world and different fields, attempting to establish connections and engage in deep conversations with them to gain insights and experiences. To date, I have connected with dozens of teachers from different fields and countries.

  1. A billionaire with seven children who aims to drive global development (USA, 50+ years old)
  2. An indefatigable serial entrepreneur (Australia, 50+ years old)
  3. A linguist from a top university fluent in five or six languages (USA, 40+ years old)
  4. A British BBC broadcaster who loves encouraging people (UK, 40+ years old)
  5. A senior executive from a top global company who enjoys Chongqing hotpot (USA, 50+ years old)
  6. A humorous and helpful business coach who often offers advice and solves problems for me (USA, 50+ years old)
  7. A yoga teacher who is a great listener and questioner with a very calm demeanor (Ireland, 30+ years old)
  8. A versatile worker who shares many interests with me, working as a DJ, band lead singer, civil servant, boxing coach, fitness coach, wedding host, and English teacher (USA, 30+ years old)
  9. A former senior executive who later became a psychological therapist (USA, 70+ years old)

The most memorable conversation was with the psychological therapist. His analysis and insights brought me a lot of inspiration. We discussed our moments of enlightenment and understanding of human nature, as well as special experiences and encounters involving psychology, philosophy, and theology (my English and knowledge weren't deep enough for more advanced discussions, so I could only express myself in simpler terms). When I shared many of my thoughts with him, he was also amazed at how, despite our significant age difference and different backgrounds and experiences, we had very similar hobbies and cognitive understandings. This in itself is fascinating and incredible.

Earlier this year, I read a speech by Steve Jobs about connecting the dots. I thought that every person you meet and every experience you have in life is like a dot. These dots may initially seem unordered and unrelated, but after some time, they begin to connect, either in series or parallel, forming a powerful force that propels you forward.

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

I am not keen on fleeting joys. What brings me deep pleasure is discovering, experiencing, and creating beauty. Whether this beauty is inherent in things or people, regardless of whether the pursuit of beauty involves feelings of sadness, disappointment, surprise, or joy, I can relish them because I draw inspiration from them, making my life more pure and natural. What I can do and control is to keep trying, feeling, refining, and evolving.


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